Have you ever wondered what all the different pencil types - HB, 6H, F, represent? Or what all the fuss is about Blackwing pencils? Today's the day you're going to find out.
Please tell us you've also bought your dad soap-on-a-rope. We can't be the only ones who've tried to find a cool, impressive, unique gift for dad only to end up with a tie. Dads can be tricky to shop for. How many grilling accessories, fishing gear items, or golf balls does a guy need?
- Leather Rustic Book Photo Album ~ For the dad who loves to reminisce... preserve all his favourite family memories in Claire Magnolia's handcrafted Leather Rustic Album. Made of soft top-grain distressed leather, this rustic album features a wrap tie closure. It is bound with glassine tissue interweaving between thick ivory cardstock pages for preservation and protection.
- Audubon Birds Puzzle 1000 Pieces ~ For the dad who loves puzzles... this delightful 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle is perfect for bird enthusiasts. The image comes from the vintage archives of Cavallini Papers & Co. The puzzle is packaged in a 10 inch long cardboard tube, with puzzle pieces safely stored in a muslin bag inside.
- HAM Fine China Mug ~ For the dad who loves to cycle... the perfect mug for his morning coffee or tea. HAM fine china mugs are hand decorated in Stoke-On-Trent. Each holds 300ml, comes in a HAM gift box and is dishwasher and microwave safe.
Mom isn't the only one who'd love to receive a handwritten letter. Many dads go without praise for long stretches of time, and we suspect he'll be touched to hear a few words of gratitude. Share with him what he's done that's meant the most to you. Remind him of some meaningful or humorous memories. Mostly, just appreciate him while he's here. It's too easy to let the years slip away without expressing your thoughts and feelings. Celebrate him this Father's Day on Sunday, June 20th.
p.s. Next week we'll kick-off a special six week series on writing instruments. Ever wonder what the difference is between different types of pens and ink? Why people are so passionate about fountain pens? Sign up for Tuesday's Tonic so you don't miss an issue. To subscribe, and receive treasured notes to your inbox each Tuesday morning, scroll allllll the way down to the bottom of our website and enter your email next to the button that says "SIGN UP"
When I heard JK Rowling say in an interview that she couldn't recall a single word from the commencement speech at her graduation, I laughed. The experience was mutual. Can you remember anything from the speech at your ceremony?
- LAMY Aion Rollerball Special Edition ~ The smooth deep-drawn aluminium body components are the first of their kind and give the series a unique, harmonious appearance. Made in Germany.
- Katie Leamon Luxury Personal Organizer ~ A beautiful keepsake gift for the new graduate. This luxury leather personal organizer is clean in its design, which lets the beautiful hide colour and texture speak for itself. Proudly made in England.
- Pilot MR1 Metropolitan Rollerball Pen ~ A smooth bodied pen, great for everyday use. It has a metal barrel, tip and clip and smooth plastic grip. Comes with a black gift box. Refillable and more environmentally-friendly than a disposable pen.
If you or your loved one is graduating this spring, we say, caps off! Congratulations on your achievement! We wish you a joyful, prosperous, and fulfilling future!
This week we are featuring our gorgeous new collection of Paperblanks notebooks.
- Joyous Springtime Dot Grid ~ Mila Marquis’s ethereal artwork combines sparkling emotion and unashamedly sweet depictions of fairies and flowers.
- Floralia Lined Softcover ~ The eternal appeal of a classic floral design is captured in the work of Irish illustrator William Kilburn (1745–1818).
- Dharma Dragon Lined Softcover ~ Ancient spiritual practices meet modern digital art in a kaleidoscopic reproduction of an original Android Jones artwork.
- Madame Butterfly Blank Softcover ~ French author and illustrator Benjamin Lacombe lends his unique spirit to our collection with this lively Madame Butterfly design.
- Violet Lined Hardcover ~ This captivating image comes from the first edition of Scottish poet and anthropologist Andrew Lang’s The Olive Fairy Book.
- Blue Velvet Blank Hardcover ~ Inspired by a piece of a 15th-century velvet dalmatic on blue velvet, decorated in brocaded gilt metal thread.
Have you noticed Japanese papers in the shop? Maybe you've thought they're beautiful, but felt a bit intimidated, uncertain about how to use them. Or maybe you're already as smitten as us and want to know some new things you can do with them. If this is the case, this week's topic is for you.
Iris folding is the method of folding strips of paper (usually coloured) to create an effect that looks like an iris - the diaphragm of a camera lens. These designs can be used to make greeting cards, album covers, or beautiful framed wall art.
Chigiri-e is a type of paper collage made with washi. 'Chigiri' means to tear or shred in Japanese, and 'e' means picture. You use a template to tear off a piece of paper in the shape you want and then glue it to a thicker paper used as the canvas.
- Chiyogami Mosaics ~ Six colour co-coordinated sheets of larger and smaller sizes plus over 20 pieces of Chiyogami paper in surprise patterns, colours, and sizes.
- Floral Collection ~ A package of Chiyogami papers measuring 8.5 x 11" (21.6 x 27.9 cm) each. Includes five sheets with Japanese floral patterns.
- Japanese Traditional ~ Includes five colour co-ordinated 8.5 x 11" (21.6 x 27.9 cm) sheets of Chiyogami paper with traditional Japanese motif patterns.
- Chiyogami Buffet ~ Package of 45 Chiyogami sheets in a "buffet" of assorted patterns and sizes.
- Emergency Pocket Pack ~ Mix of 3 x 3" (7.6 x 7.6 cm) Chiyogami sheets in 24 patterns. For art emergencies!
- Kimono Squares ~ 6 hand-printed squares of Japanese papers, each 8.5 x 8.5 " (21.6 x 21.6 cm).
Inspired? We hope so. Using Japanese paper is a great way to develop your creativity and learn a little bit about Japanese culture. There's a reason these papers and crafts have remained popular for hundreds of years.
If you try iris folding, chigiri-e, or find another use for your chiyogami sheets, let us know!
On these rainy, grey days, it's easy to complain, but we're lucky. Most of us have such cozy shelters to nestle into with a myriad of modern day conveniences that would be the envy of our great, great grandparents.
We hope this week's featured products will inspire your creativity!
- Epsilon Premium Sketchbooks ~ Pens and markers glide on it beautifully.
- Blackwing Matte Black Pencil ~ Single pencil in soft graphite. Ideal for the artist.
- A Surprise Bundle of Ephemera ~ Assembled with love by Niagara's Harry & Ida.
It's easy to get lost in your creative pursuits and discover the afternoon whizzing by. Take a cue from your pet: stop and take in the moment and just gaze out the window. Through the comfort of the indoors, you can listen and watch the rain, which is soothing in itself. Just thinking about this makes us wonder... do you hear the music?
So, you wake up, get showered, dressed... you're out the door feeling put together and ready to face the day. Then, before you can say, "wet blanket", a car roars by through a large puddle and now you're the blanket. Familiar? We know that feeling of being soaked down to our wet socks a little too well.
No wedding or baby shower going on within your circle this rainy month? Consider curling up with a good book, a warm beverage, a movie or show.
We've got you covered with ideas on how to spend these rainy days indoors - more on that next week.
Last week we delved into letter writing. Who's one person you can bet would cherish a letter from you? Mum! You dads out there may want to step in for your little one here for the first time or new mother of your child.
This time of year also makes us muse: have you ever asked your mother about her childhood? Your mother's mother? How well do you really know your mom? So many people go through life without really knowing much about their background. Consider using Mother's Day as an opportunity to connect with your mom and learn more about her as a way of honouring the woman who, quite literally, ushered you into this world.
We wish you all a wonderful, healthy, loving Mother's Day!
And before those May flowers arrive, we'll discuss April showers... next week!
Have you ever checked your mailbox outside, fully expecting to find a fistful of flyers or bills, and instead, discovered a beautiful cotton envelope in a pretty colour with whimsical handwriting on it... addressed to you? Whether you've had a rough day or a great one, little surprises like this are one of life's treasures.
In this day of technology-dominated communication, correspondence that is personal, tactile, and thoughtful stands out like a bright star in the night sky. You might even say receiving it is appreciated more now than when it was the default form of communication.
Letter writing is a wonderful way to express gratitude, love, and good will to someone. Since no tech company is monitoring or scanning your communication, you may feel more free to express your feelings. Is there someone who's done a lot recently without thanks or said something specific that changed you in a positive way? Maybe there's someone you haven't talked to in a long time and explaining things feels too awkward over an email or text message. The act of handwriting is a great way to reflect on things and relieve stress.
A handwritten letter lets you customize your message. You can choose colourful stationery. You can decorate the letter and envelope with doodles, stickers and a sealing wax. You can enclose a personal item, such as a photograph, feather, bookmark, clipping, or recipe card. Even choosing a stamp is a detail that you can select with your recipient in mind.
Letters are creative expressions that evoke the senses. There's the feeling of the paper - smooth, textured, soft. (Some papers are truly exquisite. Next time you're at Figg Street Co., run your hand over some G. Lalo or Rhodia paper.) Colours and unusual shapes and designs that stand out in the post. Even scented inks fountain pen users can buy to add a special perfume. The sound of opening the mail, or maybe more moving, is the sound of the writer's voice that seems to come through a handwritten letter more clearly, don't you find?
Once it's sent and received, there are more creative possibilities. Have you ever gone through your keepsakes and found old letters? How did you feel? There's something thrilling about revisiting old letters. Whether they're love letters, correpondence with a pen pal, mail from a close friend or letters that expressed thanks, if they made you feel good once, they're bound to delight you again. Consider wrapping a stack of them with a pretty ribbon, piece of string or lace. Then, like a small child who buries a time capsule in the back garden, stash your lot in a shoebox or special container for future moments of discovery and joy!
Whether you are an employee, student, business owner, or use a desk for administrative or creative activities, there is something satisfying about a clean workspace. Some like a tabula rasa or blank canvas look to their desk, while others delight in seeing a jumble of pencils and pens in holders and an abundance of colourful office supplies at hand. Whatever your style, your workspace probably feels best when it reflects you.
Consider colours, textures, fragrance and items you like. It doesn't all need to be functional. Adding a vase of flowers to your area can give it some life. Keeping items that make you feel good close by will make your use of the space more enjoyable.
Some people also create habits or rituals around specific objects. For example, many authors light a candle on their desk as they prepare to write. Others set out a week-at-a-glance notepad on their desk and review it each morning before setting to work.
Consider making the ordinary extraordinary: rather than kraft paper brown file folders, add some whimsy with cheerful colours and uplifting patterns and designs. If you like metallics or sparkle, think of the objects you frequently use and whether you'd enjoy a more beautiful option. That funny mug or pretty vase might make an excellent pencil holder! By energizing your workspace with things that inspire you, you'll feel good as you work through your day.
As we watch the little bulbs of early spring push their way up through the soil and see perennials return and unfurl, we, too, become a little more keen to move about. One way many of us peel back the feeling of winter and experience the fresh and new is by spring cleaning.
There is something uplifting about removing things that are unused, unnecessary or undesired. That feeling of spaciousness makes room for happier moments. Releasing the past and making space for the new.
Once unwanted items are removed, we may want to clean our storage spaces or our home overall. Washing windows, sealing stone countertops, cleaning cabinets, the inside of our refrigerator, microwave, and shower can reinvigorate our space with a sense of vitality.
After everything is sorted and clean, we organize our belongings and determine what and how we wish to display them. This is when we may discover some changes we'd like. Perhaps your vase needs an update. Or you may realize you find keeping your favourite pieces within eyesight is more uplifting than hiding them away. Other things that are necessary, but perhaps not as visually interesting may get moved into drawers rather than shelves. Maybe you enjoy the look of utilitarian items and prefer it the other way around.
Perhaps one of the best parts of spring cleaning is knowing it's a part of life that you can actually do something about. It's empowering. Whether your space is a condo, apartment, townhouse, one room, a whole house or even just half of a closet - it's up to you. It's yours to design.
Leaping. Jumping. Bounding. Emerging. Taking shape. Developing. Growing. Becoming. Signs of spring. Brown turns to green. Petals and blossoms emerge. Chirping rouses us from our sleep as birds return from their winter holiday. There is that wonderful damp and earthy scent of soil in the garden as it begins to wake up to activity.
For those of us who love stationery, we sometimes switch over to lighter and brighter colours of paper, pens and ink without even realizing it. It's our natural affinity for colour at this transitory time of year.
Anyone who's spent any time in Southern Ontario knows March is consistently inconsistent weather-wise. We watch our thermometers go up and down as spring starts. We accidentally step into puddles of melted snow and listen to the sound of icicles falling to the ground. The first few times we receive a truly beautiful spring day, there is a jubuliant feeling in our neighbourhood. You know what I'm talking about - the first few days when we can comfortably sit outside for a while and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Not needing to wear any winter accessories while taking a walk. Or the first day of the year when you can drive with the window down!
For gardeners, it might mean sowing snow peas outside or watching the snowdrops, crocuses and iris reticulata bloom. There's a joy in those first few garden chores that re-connects us with our plants and the soil. It is like visiting an old friend you haven't seen in a while. It feeds the soul.
As you step outside and breathe in the spring air, take in the birdsong and savour each moment. This is a particularly optimistic time of year. As we sweep away the remains of winter, we step into another popular annual activity: spring cleaning! More on that next week. Until then...