What's the difference between fountain and calligraphy pens?

What's the difference between fountain and calligraphy pens?

The Cambridge dictionary defines calligraphy as "the art of producing beautiful writing, often created with a special pen or brush". People who practice calligraphy would likely add that it uses specific, basic strokes.

Calligraphy

 

There're many different font styles and influences worldwide, including Old English, Latin, Gothic, Chinese and Islamic, among others. This method of writing declined in popularity from the 15th century onward, after the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg. However, its popularity was revived at the end of the 19th century due to William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement.

 

How do fountain and calligraphy pens differ? Fountain pens that use extra-fine (EF) through broad (B) nibs create lines of consistent width, sometimes called 'monoline'. Calligraphy pens use flexible nibs with a wider tip, which allows for different pressures to create thin and thick lines with the same writing instrument.

 

Calligraphers may use fountain pens with specific nibs designed for calligraphy, such as italic or stub nibs. Stub nibs are usually denoted by their width (e.g. 1.1mm) and may come in different sizes. Other options include felt tip marker pens with brush tips and dip pens. All these allow for basic strokes to be drawn with both thick and thin lines.

 

Calligraphy is typically much slower than writing cursive, which is generally a faster way of writing than printing. Once the basic strokes are learned, many find calligraphy to be meditative and calming. It's certainly a very personal and creative way of handwriting. You can express yourself with your choice of font style and size, pen and nib types, and ink.
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Dot Paper Marker Pens

 

  1. A Rhodia Dotpad is the perfect place to practice your calligraphy. This Rhodia notepad is staple bound and folds over very cleanly; there are horizontal fold lines embossed into the front cover. Dot grid, 80 fountain-pen friendly acid-free micro-perforated sheets for easy removal.  
  2. Dingbats* Ātopen brush markers work beautifully for calligraphy practice. Each marker pen is double-ended. One end has a tapered brush that is ideal for calligraphy and the other end is fine-tipped. Therefore, it's like having 12 pens that only take up the space of six in your pencil case!

Pauline Hall

Figg Street Co Gift Card

 

Whether you chose to write in cursive or try your hand at calligraphy, one thing you'll need for sure is ink. There's a whole world of ink out there! More to discover next week, in our sixth and final newsletter in our six week special series on writing instruments.

Go with the flow...

Go with the flow...

If you enjoy the feel of ink flowing smoothly while writing, you'll enjoy using a fountain pen. Although they've been around for a long time, the exact date and place when the first one was created are unknown. Historical references to writing instruments made with ink reservoirs date back to 974 AD in Arab Egypt, and during the Renaissance by Leonardo da Vinci.

History of fountain pens

 

Each fountain pen is made up of a barrel (the casing for the body of the pen), a grip section, a feed which connects the ink reservoir with the nib, the nib, a cap, and a converter or ink reservoir. A small slit in the nib is what allows ink to flow through it and onto the writing surface. This flow of ink occurs in part due to gravity, but mainly by a process called capillary action, which means that liquid will flow into narrow spaces, even if it's counter to gravity. It's similar, in effect, to the concept of wicking. This also explains why many refer to fountain pens as a "controlled leak".

Nibs are usually made of stainless steel, but some more expensive ones may use gold or palladium. The tip, which makes contact with the paper, is much harder than steel or gold. It's usually made of iridium, a very hard metal. Iridium can be ground into different sizes to make varied line widths, called nib sizes. Common ones include Extra-Fine (EF), Fine (F), Medium (M), and Broad (B).

Extra-fine nibs are good for tiny handwriting, razor sharp lines, and use less ink than broader nibs. However, they may feel less smooth and show less shading and the shimmer effect of specialty inks.

Fine nibs are comparable to most ballpoint and gel pen tips. It's the most popular nib size and since it doesn't use too much ink, the writing dries relatively quickly.

Medium nibs are a great option for beginner fountain pen users since there is less scratchiness than finer nibs; this size tends to write buttery smooth, akin to a gel pen.

Broad nibs are great for specialty inks to show them to their full effect. However, it uses more ink, which takes longer to dry. Also, such nibs may require high quality paper because feathering and bleed-through can result on papers not made for fountain pens.

Fountain pens are considered environmentally friendly since they're refillable. Most use pre-packaged cartridges or converters, which means you can use bottled ink. Some models are made with the ink reservoir built-in, so you can feed ink into the pen directly, without using a converter.

Fountain pens write very smoothly, which is enjoyable and makes for faster writing than a ballpoint pen. Also, using one requires less pressure, so it's more ergonomic and comfortable for long writing sessions and for anyone with a hand, wrist or forearm ailment. One of the reasons for the resurgence in the fountain pen's popularity is how personal it can be. There are an assortment of models, nib sizes, inks, etc. so writers and artists can express their personal style through their choices.

 

 

 

Here are two of our favourite fountain pens available at Figg Street Co. Browse our fountain pen collection to find YOUR favourite!

  • Kaweco Brass Sport Fountain Pen - The Kaweco Sport fountain pen dates back to 1911. The brand created a fountain pen that was compact when its cap was on, making it pocket-friendly. It was targeted to specific customers, including sports people, which is where it gets its name.
  • Ferris Wheel Press Duck Duck Goose Brush Fountain Pen - Each fountain pen is handmade from copper, brass, and stainless steel for a well balanced yet substantial writing experience. Each intricate detail of the grip is now engraved to enhance the tactility and feedback of a design that is bold as brass.

 

Flow state drawing

 

Fountain pens are one of the most personal writing instruments out there. Their nibs make some of us think of calligraphy, especially when we're new to them. How do calligraphy pens differ from fountain pens? Find out next week!

 

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Get the ball rolling...

Get the ball rolling...

Now, since you know ballpoint pens are the most commonly purchased pens world-wide, you might be wondering, why would I want to use a rollerball? Moreover, what exactly is a rollerball pen?

Rollerball Pens
Rollerball ink is usually one of two types. Water-based ink, which uses dye for colour, or gelled ink, which is pigment suspended in water-based gel. Water-based ink rollerballs were introduced first, in 1963 by the Japanese company Ohto. The gel-type rollerball pen was patented in 1982 by Sakura Color Products, also Japanese.

 

Gel-based inks allow for a greater variety of bright colours because pigments are better suspended throughout the liquid medium than in water-based inks. (Pigments sink in water-based ink, like sediment). However, even water-based ink rollerballs offer more colour choices than ballpoint pens because of more water-soluble dye options.

 

Why else might you choose to use a rollerball? It's more ergonomic than a ballpoint pen. Writing with a rollerball pen uses less pressure and the less viscous ink provides for a smoother experience (no blotches). This is especially beneficial for those who write for long periods or develop hand or wrist cramps from ballpoint pens.

 

Also, the diameter of the ball at the tip of a rollerball can be smaller than ballpoint pens, making for finer lines when writing or drawing. Refills are commonly offered, which make them a more environmentally friendly option than disposable pens.
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Here are just two of the fantastic rollerball pens available at Figg Street Co.

  • Lamy Al-Star Rollerball Azure - The casing of this rollerball pen has a distinctive transparent and ergonomic plastic grip for comfortable writing sessions. It also comes with a spring-action chrome plated metal clip. Available in an assortment of colours.
  • Lamy Swift White Rollerball Pen -The LAMY swift rollerball pen needs no cap at all (rare among quality rollerball pens). The metal casing has a perforated grip area, which helps you to hold on, and simultaneously gives the pen a stylish look. It has a push-button retractable clip in a classic style that demonstrates the basis of Bauhaus design: form follows function.

Do you enjoy the smooth feel of flowing ink? If you do, you'll want to join us next week when we look at a classic pen with many loyal users and a resurgence in popularity: the fountain pen!

Ball tip or Felt tip?  That is the question...

Ball tip or Felt tip? That is the question...

Sometime after you learned how to print and draw with a pencil, you likely moved on to using a pen. And chances are, you used the world's most popular type of pen, the ballpoint.

Ballpoint pens with journal
There are several features of a ballpoint pen that distinguish it from other writing instruments. Most of these pens use a viscous (slow flowing) oil-based ink, which includes dye suspended in alcohol. This is quick drying and waterproof, which means it's less likely to smudge or bleed through paper than many water-based inks.

 

Ballpoint pens work well on a variety of surfaces, including many slippery or coated papers. They are available as both disposable and more environmentally-friendly refillable models. They're easier to control than other pen types, delivering ink exactly where you want it. Its versatility makes it an excellent choice as a portable pen to keep in your bag or pocket.
Some new models use hybrid ink, which has low viscosity and make writing a smoother experience than typical ballpoint pens. Our Anterique Brass Ballpoint Pen, made in Japan, uses this quality of ink, which is well-loved by its users. [A bit of trivia: Anterique derived its name from combining the word antique with technique, which gives you a clue about the company's mission.]
Marker pens
These pens have tips made of porous material - ceramic or felt (hence 'felt tip'). Each pen has a container and a core of absorbent material which wicks the ink along it to the tip. Today, the ink is usually alcohol-based. However, prior to the early 1990s, inks used toluene and xylene. Not only were they unhealthy, they smelled pretty bad, which some of you may recall.

 

The variety of colour options for felt tip marker pens include metallic colours, such as our Stabilo Pen 68 Metallic pens. These marker pens look especially brilliant against black paper. Felt tip pens are a fantastic choice for bullet journal enthusiasts or anyone who enjoys adding some colour and line variation to their lettering, writing, doodles and sketches. They can also be used like pencil crayons in artwork.

 

Vivid and pastel colours and brush-like effects are also available in felt pens. Our Dingbats Atopens, made in Japan, use water-based, archival quality ink and are dual-ended. One end is fine-tipped for those perfectionists who enjoy a precise line and a brush end, which is a great way to express your creativity and personalize hand-lettering.
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This week we are featuring some of our favourite ballpoint and marker pens. Which one is your favourite?

  • Dingbats* Ātopen 6-Pack Dual Tip Fineliner/Brush Pens - Available in Primary or Pastel - Atopen is a versatile marker pen with two different tips. You can use them to write, draw, for all kinds of arts projects, and for calligraphy. These archival quality marker pens are made with water-based, fade proof, waterproof, and lightfast ink. Xylene-free and odourless, too!
  • Stabilo Pen 68 Metallic - Wallet of 6 -STABILO Pen 68 is a colour-intensive premium fibre-tip pen for strong lines and large areas. The metallic effects are particularly vibrant on black backgrounds. Accidental blots or annoying pumping? Not with this pen!
  • Anterique Brass Ballpoint Pen 0.5 - Luxury solid brass shavings for optimum weight and balance. Equipped with an ultra-low viscosity oil-based "Mach Ball Ink" for an impressive smooth writing experience.
Rolling 'write' along (sorry, couldn't resist), next week we'll fill you in on a pen that some consider a great hybrid between the ballpoint and the fountain pen: the rollerball!
Pencil it in

Pencil it in

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.

Woman with pencil in hair
For several decades now, pencils consist of a few elements: the wooden barrel, the graphite core, and often a ferrule and eraser. The ferrule is the metal ring that holds the eraser intact. The graphite core is often called a lead, but lead has not been used as a core for centuries. Graphite is a crystalline form of carbon, harmless if consumed, and mixed with clay to create the central stem.

Here's a little lesser known fact about pencils: works written or drawn in pencil tend to last better over time than ones produced in ink. Pencil markings are water resistant and hold up well to light.

As for types of graphite cores, the variations are due to the proportion of clay and graphite. The more clay, the harder the pencil. There is no common standard among pencil manufacturers regarding how to grade pencils. However, many of us have seen commonly used European designations, which use the letters H, B & F, and are interpreted to mean hardness, blackness, and fineness, respectively.

The range is typically from 9B, which is extremely soft and very black through to 9H, which is extremely hard and light grey. Standard writing pencils are usually graded HB, which falls between these two. The softer pencils along the B range are popular with artists for sketches. The hardest H pencils are used for special purposes such as cartography, and various printing techniques.
Blackwing Pencils
Blackwing was created in the 1930s, and Chuck Jones, the creator of Looney Tunes, produced his work using Blackwing pencils exclusively. Many other artists were loyal users, including John Steinbeck. The company went through several corporate changes over the years and the pencils were discontinued in 1998. This created a run on the remaining inventory, sending their prices up to $40 a pencil. Then in 2010, the brand was resurrected by a California company, Cal Cedar.

The pencils are created using cedar barrels, which smell great when you sharpen them. The quality of craftsmanship and materials is very high. No broken 'leads' or dry pink erasers that make things worse when you use them here - these pencils are second-to-none and the erasers are terrific.

The brand issues limited edition boxes of 12 in unique colours and graphite core combinations. Each edition has its own number and backstory. The standard, permanent Blackwing pencils are also sold individually, so you can give different types a try and determine your favourite. Be forewarned, once you use these, you'll have a new experience of using pencils. They really do make the ordinary extraordinary and make you appreciate such a seemingly simple thing.
Blackwing Pencil Sharpener
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Blackwing Eras Blue Blackwing Eras Blue
Blackwing Eras Special Edition - Blue & Orange

 As the fragrance of blooming lilacs, lily of the valley and peonies draw you into the garden or park, it's a great time to sit with your pencils and sketchbook. Inspiration abounds! Or maybe you'd prefer to write in your journal. In which case, you'll likely use a pen. Have you ever wondered why there are different kinds of pens and what their special features are? We'll fill you in over the next few weeks, starting with the ballpoint pen to kick off the month of June!
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Time to Thank Dad

Time to Thank Dad

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?

Sitcoms know a bit about this. There's been a variety of dads who've provided us with laughs over the years. Steven Keaton, Martin Crane, George Jefferson, Phil Dunphy, Cliff Huxtable, and who could forget George's dad, Frank Costanza. Whether loud and obvious or quiet and emotionally unaware, comedy writers will find a trait to poke fun at.

 

In real life, dads can be complex. Their role has shifted a lot in the past few decades, and there isn't always a lot of empathy for their situation. A dad has a big impact on our life. Their presence can make us feel safe and stable, even when we're an adult child. And you know this to be true: there are some conversations and experiences that are just meant for dad. Calm dads in particular can be a great source of reassurance when our lives feel overwhelming.
  
  • 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"

Caps off!

Caps off!

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?

Graduation is celebratory, and yet it can often feel like a cocktail of emotions. There's the pride and relief of achievement, the anticipation of life's next stage... and maybe a summer holiday! There can be a sense of nostalgia recalling memories and knowing you may be moving away from classmates and friends. Sometimes there's a blend of fear and excitement about the future. The ceremonial music alone can bring on tears.

Whether you're graduating or not, it's always a great time to look back and think about what you've learned. How are you different today from the you a few years ago? What do you like better about yourself? Chances are, you've developed a new skill, attitude or picked up a dollop of wisdom. Celebrate yourself for it! And make sure your victories don't become long forgotten speeches - write them down.

Use cute little notecards and jot down one great thing you've learned or done today and put it in a jar. Keep this up, and at the end of the year, you'll see all the wonderful ways you've grown. Or, keep a journal that expands on moments you want to remember. Our brains have a negative bias when it comes to memory; override it and keep the positive alive by writing out the details. Remember the five W's & H: who, what, when, where, why and how. Add a little doodle or sketch, or snap a photo. Spray your notecards with the perfume you're wearing or add whatever triggers a pleasurable memory for you.
  
  • 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!

Do you want to feel better?

Do you want to feel better?

Spring can make us a bit antsy for movement. Winter often means a more sedentary pace, but spring really calls out for us to stretch and move about. We all know it's great for our body, but some of us find out (sometimes the hard way) that it's also best for our minds and mood.
Bike riding
Want to try something really easy? Close your eyes (after you finish reading this paragraph, that is) and hold out one of your arms in front of you. Now ask yourself, how do I know my hand and arm are out there? Can you feel the aliveness in your hand and arm that makes you aware that you have a limb there, even though you can't see it? This is a great way to connect with yourself and feel more centered.

The Niagara region is rich with beautiful areas in which to exercise: the escarpment, fitness trails along the Welland Canal and Niagara river, the beaches along both Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, provincial and city parks, vineyards, and marinas. Whether you enjoy walking, running, cycling or roller blading, there's somewhere beautiful to do it close by.

If you prefer working out indoors, or you need to, there are many options. There're video workouts, which have become even more popular this past year. There're monthly subscriptions available though fitness instructors such as Tracy Anderson and Taryn Toomey. It's also great to check out your local yoga studio or gym. Many are now providing online classes. Free weights and home equipment are another option, if you have these tools. Otherwise, you can always design your own workout.

Anya Taylor-Joy, the actress known for her lead roles in The Queen's Gambit and Emma (2020) said she starts each day by dancing to three songs of her choice. Elizabeth Gilbert, the American author, said she also dances every day and that it has been an effective part of her healing process after the death of her partner. Both these women dance freestyle. No training required!

Featured Products

  

  

 

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.

Yoga Centre of Niagara

The key is to find whatever feels good to you. If you're someone who performs best when there's accountability, consider buddying up with a friend or family member over the phone. Or create your own exercise log. Perhaps even to share with others. Exercise is flexible - we can customize it to be a reflection of ourself and make up the rules, if any, as we go. 
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Do you want to learn how to use Japanese paper?

Do you want to learn how to use Japanese paper?

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.

When you picture Japanese paper, what images come to mind? Chances are, you think of colourful patterned sheets of cherry blossoms, leaves, or other symbols and motifs. Such paper is washi that has undergone the process of chiyogami. This means a repetitive process of transferring a pattern onto paper by hand using wood blocks (used primarily before the 12th century) or silk screening.

 

The pattern on a chiyogami sheet is applied one colour at a time. It's a fiddly process! Each screen needs to be perfectly aligned so the colour transfers onto the correct places of the pattern. The traditional inks create a vibrant effect which stands up well to fading. Many chiyogami patterns have metallic accents added at the end, which enhances the beauty of the design.

 

Now, what can you use chiyogami sheets for? Truly, your imagination is your guide. Most commonly, it's used to cover books (including notebooks and albums), as envelope linings, to decorate tea tins and small paper boxes, for origami, gift wrap, collage, paper dolls, scrapbooking, iris folding and chigiri-e. What's that? What's iris folding and chigiri-e?

 

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!

It's rainy and grey outside. What can you do?

It's rainy and grey outside. What can you do?

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.

 

Rainy day crafts

 

As the rain makes a meditative pitter patter sound against the window pane, we can delve into our inner world and put pen to paper. It's a great environment for journaling or sketching. We can draw with graphite pencils or coloured ones. We can use markers, charcoal or pastels. Whatever resonates with our self-expression. Check your notebook - does the paper stand up to watercolour? If so, paint away! For the little ones, finger painting may be a better idea. For true artists, perhaps acrylics or even oils.

Rainy days are also great days for crafts. There's knitting, crocheting, and sewing. There's a variety of paper-based crafts. Origami uses beautiful Japanese papers. You can create 3-D hearts, butterflies, cranes, and miniature boxes which double as gift containers.

You can make life-like paper flowers to fill a vase or large, pom-pom sized ones to decorate a room. Consider making decorations for someone you know who's having a wedding or baby shower coming up. Or any other type of celebration or event that can use a little creative expression. Mother's Day is around the corner!

 

Featured Products

We hope this week's featured products will inspire your creativity!

 Blackwing Matte Black Pencil 

 

 

Relaxing Music and Rain Sounds

 

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?

 

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Grab your umbrella!

Grab your umbrella!

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.

Rainy days

During this time of year, it isn't just rain showers that come around. As a prelude to the June wedding season, you might receive an invitation or two to a shower. These strange times won't hold us back from living life, instead, it exercises our creativity. Many people have adapted by holding outdoor garden showers or "shift showers" where two to five guests have hourlong shifts.

 

We can combine or replace this with livestreaming. And rather than bringing gifts the day of the event, guests can ship or drop off presents in advance. There are also some games and means of connection that are not affected at all, such as asking each guest to enclose a recipe card with a recipe written on it with their gift.

 

And as baby birds and other little animals venture out this spring, so, too, do little wee human beings. Baby showers can use new tactics such as "sprinkle showers" where guests sign up for a time slot during the day, drive-by showers, or virtual showers. To unite everyone in celebrating, you can send paper decorations and party favours to guests ahead of time so everyone can join in on the day of the event.

 

Vows Book
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

 

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.

 

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Touch her heart...

Touch her heart...

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.

 

Flowers with Mother's Day card

 

Mother's Day is right around the corner - it lands on Sunday, May 9th this year. How do you celebrate? Is it breakfast in bed, a family brunch, cards and flowers? This year more of us will be celebrating online or over the phone. For mothers who are separated by distance, a handwritten note makes a nice surprise.

 

Katie Leamon Heirloom Notebook
Miranda Hart Gardening

 

For those who are closer, food and flowers are perennial favourites that can be played up with decorative napkins, tablecloths and beautiful dinnerware and vases. Put love into your cooking, baking, and decorating, and it will certainly be felt. Handmade decorations and bouquets are a great way to personalize the table and honour your mom's favourite colours, motifs, and flowers. As the spring garden blooms, and if the weather cooperates, families can enjoy some nature outdoors together.

 

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!

 

 

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