Thanks to everyone who commented on the Pen Habit post. I never intended to scare anyone into thinking I might cease publication or anything. I just wanted to think out loud about the blog. I love doing this and I think I’ve been putting invisible pressure on myself to do more, more often and bigger. In reality, I think I have been my own worst enemy.
All the comments and messages on Twitter have been hugely uplifting and I am so grateful to have such kind loyal readers. I’ll say it over and over again, pen (and pencil) people are the best people in the world.
When I started the blog over four years ago on Tumblr I posted twice a day, five days a week. The content was less involved then than it is now but I have never really tried to taper the pace even though most posts take a lot longer to produce today. The Monologue Journals is a great example (a huge pile of notebooks in different paper weights, sizes and configurations required lots of photos, testing and a lot of specifics transposed into the post) compared with a “look at this beautiful office” post of four years ago.
As it stands right now, there are no plans to change the blog. There will continue to be Link Love posts almost-weekly*, Fashionable Friday, and From The Archives. I will continue to write ink, pen, pencil and notebook reviews as well as publish news, Kickstarter announcements and the occasional Art of The Day post or work space photos. There just might not be two posts everyday. Maybe just one. If I don’t post for a day or so, don’t worry. Sometimes, it gets a bit busy and sometimes or its just a slow news day (whether I’m responsible for the slowness or there just doesn’t seem to be much going on).
I’m always looking for new products, something different, something well-loved or just something beautiful. I hope I can keep bringing these finds to you in a thoughtful and timely manner.
If there’s anything you’d like to see more (or less), please leave a comment.
*It’s hard for me to keep Link Love on a specific day but I get one out every week or so, usually on Wednesday but I’m off this week. AGAIN.
Oh yes, you can do a perfect french manicure using reinforcement dots. Need I say more?
(via Popcosmo and Bellashoot)
For those of you who follow The Pen Habit, you may have already heard about his announcement to cease recording his pen review videos and the subsequent follow-up about amending his format and explain in more detail his reasoning. Matt’s comments rang loudly for me about the amount of time he spends preparing and recording his reviews, not to mention the amount of money he has spent on pens.
Matt’s decision came on the heels on Brad’s recent announcement to cease publishing his weekly Ink Links.
All of this led me to think about what I do and why I do it. How much time (and money) is too much to spend on a hobby? Its made me wonder if I should reconsider how much time I spend doing this blog versus actually living and reading and writing?
I have not made any decisions one way or the other because I like what I do. However, every week I do struggle to stay on top of all my reviews as well as working my full-time job and all those daily tasks that often get overlooked to squeeze in one more blog post, photo shoot, photo editing session or some other blog-related project.
I love this community. I love pens and inks and paper and all the other things to make a beautiful place to work. So bear with me while I get over my own growing pains.
Tessa at All Things Stationery is building a map of all the best stationery and pen shops in the world. She’s got it started but she needs our help. Can you send her your favorite local stationery or pen shop (no, Office Depot does NOT count)? Let’s find all those mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar stores and get them on the map. Literally. This way, we can start planning the epic office supply world tour.
Send your recommendations to Tessa directly.
If you think we pen geeks get a little OCD about documenting our new fountain pen inks or testing papers in various notebooks, then you’ll appreciate this. In 1692 an artist created an 800-page handwritten book of paint swatches and documenting color at that time. Many comparisons are being made between this book and the modern day Pantone swatch books. Pretty epic, huh?
There are even more photos available to view, all collected in hi-rez though the server is clearly overburdened at present.
(via Colossal and linked from Erik Kwakkel. Thanks to Bob, Teri and everyone else who sent me the link)
My mailbox has been overflowing with green bounty. A handmade leather envelope for storing pens and pencils from my Australian pen pal (she made it herself!), an assortment of awesome green pencils from Johnny at Pencil Revolution and, of course, the beautiful but hotly-debated Field Notes Shelterwood. Reviews will be coming soon. In the meantime, enjoy the spring greens!
The Desk is spending this week cavorting with nature, staring at the crab apple blossoms and skipping through fields of clover (… as soon as the snow stops. Stupid weather!).
Hope you are enjoying a little spring break and communing with nature yourself.
I’ll be back next Monday with lots of reviews, products and stories. Happy Easter!
(image via Bytes Daily)
If your goal today is to avoid being pinched, make sure you carry a green pen or pencil. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Totally off-topic but with Oscar Night this Sunday, I thought I’d share a fun way to celebrate the event. Oscar Bingo is one of my favorite ways to integrate pens or markers while I watch the Oscars. Just print out a Bingo card and get your favorite marker or pen to mark your squares. It helps to watch with friends too so there’s some competition as to who gets a BINGO! first.
I usually play Oscar Bingo using the cards created by How About Orange. This year, I also might try playing with the Studio 360 boards. Two bingo boards at once will double the fun.
Do you watch the Oscars? Do you have your Oscar Ballot all filled out and ready to compare with the actual winners?
(photo and Oscar Bingo cards from How About Orange)
While surfing around ModCloth looking for stationery, I found some other goodies for the office and for the office supply geek.
First, there is the cookie-inspired USB cup warmer. I’ve been grumbling about my coffee or tea cooling off and I have one open USB port left on my office computer. Solution? At $14.99, it just might be.
In the middle image is the vintage-inspired, ceramic dachshund paper organizer. Display your incoming post, letters and photos in the coils. It’s hot dog cool for your desk. Just $12.99.
And what paper nerd wouldn’t want to curl up under a sheet of notebook paper with the Free Verse Reveries duvet cover? Dream sweet pen and ink dreams. $89.99
And the Pencil Me In shoes are back in stock. It’s the perfect shoe for the teacher, librarian or office supply geek in your life. $109.99. If you’re feeling generous, I wear a 6.5.
While I could not get Flickr to upload my travel photos, at least it saved my goodies, so I shall share those with you today. I did not buy a lot of goodies knowing so many things could be purchased later via Jet Pens and other vendors’ online shops so I limited myself to must-haves and small items that would fit in my carry-on bag.
Above, Melissa of Craftgasm and the Smithsonian Postal Museum shared the postal love with a little pink mail box filled with paper treats.
If you put red-and-blue airmail stripes on anything, I’m likely to buy it. Maybe that’s why I love red/blue pencils so much? The pencil pictured above came from the epic Patrick & Co. stationery shop for a mere $0.39. Patrick’s is a classic stationery shop that’s been in business for over 100 years with an endless array of legal pads in every color imaginable, pens and pencils in jars to be purchased individually and so much more. There are two locations in downtown San Francisco, both near Union Square and should not be missed. The Dennison Airmail seals and the gummed labels came from Saturday Morning Vintage who had a stellar booth at the vendor market at Ex Postal Facto. The G. Lalo Verge de France stationery pad came from Patrick & Co. while the Air Mail stationery and envelopes came from Maido.
I purchased a few Pilot Hi-Tec C refills and a Hi-Uni HB pencil in the Maido shop in the Westfield Mall in Union Square. I also visited the Maido shop in Japantown and picked up a few more goodies. The postcard set tied with twine came from the 826 Collective Pirate Shop in the Mission. What fun! The Ohto Dude pen was compliments on Jet Pens along with a couple Morning Glory Mach 3 pens.
And of course, no trip would be complete without a little green. I got a word cards deck, some green gel pens, a “beans” cutter and itty bitty green staples from Maido. There will be more details about these purchases in the near future but I wanted to give a little taste of the stationery bounty available in San Francisco, should you find yourself there.
I’m going to be traveling for the next couple days, attending Ex Postal Facto in San Francisco, finding all sorts of pens, office supplies and postal wonder to share with you when I return.
If you live in SF, come by any of the Ex Postal Facto events and say hello. I’d love to meet you!
Here’s a round-up up the most popular posts from 2013 that appeared here on The Desk.
- The Great Beginner Fountain Pen Debate
- Customizing a Midori Traveler Notebook
- Pilot Metropolitan Review
- TWSBI Mini Review
- Bullet Journal
- Piccadilly Essential Notebook
- Pipe Desk Building Plans
- Midori Traveler Star Edition
- Classroom Friendly Sharpener
- Kaweco Student Fountain Pen
I’m surprised to see the Bullet Journal and the Pipe Desk in the top ten but they are both great things to know. Thanks to all of you for continuing to read my reviews, leaving great comments and feedback and inspiring me with your own adventures in paper, ink and writing tools.
Happy New Year to all and happy writing!
Since one of my goals for 2014 is to cook more meals at home, I need a system to store and organize recipes. Office supply geek thing at work, clearly! I’ve been searching the internet for good recipes and culling the stacks of magazines all over my house for potential recipes and sticking them in a file folder. This is not an ideal way to find a recipe so I am headed out to the office supply store today to pick up a binder ($3.89) or two, dividers ($0.99) and an assortment of plastic sleeves ($12.79/box of 50) to store my recipes in a more orderly fashion. I like that the plastic sleeves will keep the recipes safe from spills too.
I’ve been searching all morning for a good source for standard 8.5″x11″ sheet protectors that are divided to hold two 5.5″x8.5″ sheets since I have a bunch of smaller pages from Everyday Food (now defunct) and to hold recipe cards instead of a box. Sadly, I have been unable to find any at a reasonable cost (most seem specific to holding archival photo prints and are quite pricey). I may end up with a small binder and sheet protectors for the Everyday Food recipes, specifically, if I can’t find a better option.
I will probably keep dessert recipes in a separate binder to keep all the binders light and agile. Besides, I don’t tend to use them with the same frequency as dinner recipes.
In case you are curious, I found a lot of great recipes on Budget Bytes, including easy-to-make crock pot dishes. Also, the Dragon Noodles dish is delicious, easy-to-make and infinitely customizable. I added frozen edamame to mine for some extra protein.
Does anyone else have a good system for organizing recipes?
(photo via Freesytlin’ Beth)
Gold Foil Calendar on raspberry paper with easel stand $52. Refill only $38. Also available in Kraft with opaque white foil stamp. (via Sugar Paper)
I love the few, quiet days between Christmas and New Year’s. I use the time to potter around the house, tackling piles of papers, cleaning out my in-box (paper and digital), using Christmas cards to update addresses in my address book and other organizational projects. I try to write my thank you notes, catch up on correspondence, read books and catch up on movies. I really need a month but a week gets some of the projects checked off my list for the new year.
I love using the New Year as a chance to do things better. Lots of people talk about resolutions, but I think of them more as plans and goals. I often choose things that should be attainable in theory rather than things that are completely new habits or lifestyle.
So far, my personal goals are pretty humble:
- learn to cook more meals at home (besides frozen pizza)
- fix up my vintage bike (needs new rear wheel and tires)
- keep riding my bikes (4-5 times a week)
- keep writing lots of letters (and reply more quickly)
- match my GoodReads goal from 2013 (60 books)
- travel to SF for Ex Postal Facto
- more goodies in The Well-Appointed Desk shop
What are your goals for the New Year?
(This post is completely and entirely off-topic. Apologies to all and a promise to get back to business ASAP)
As a loyal listener to the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, AKA PCHH, I often spend my Friday afternoon thinking about “what’s making me happy this week.” This week, and Friday in particular, I spent the day glued to a live feed from SF and the adventures of Batkid.
So, this week, San Francisco is making me happy, for giving a little boy the chance to be a hero.
Use colored brads to decorate a white pumpkin for a confetti look or use gold brass brads or thumbtacks to decorate a classic orange pumpkin. The supply closet will never know what hit it.
(via A Subtle Revelry)
I’ve been unable to reach two giveaway winners to send them their goodies. If you are Maggie B. winner of the Poppin 18-month Planner or Suzanne winner of the Floral Bomb assortment giveaway. Please contact me at the Ask The Desk contact form. Tell me the email address you used to enter the drawing and your shipping address. I’m assuming my emails got lost in your junk mail filter.
If I do not hear from either winner by the last day of September, I will draw new names from the original entries and have to give the goodies to a new winner.
As a result, in the future, I will add a 30-day reply window for giveaway winners so please use your regular email address when entering the giveaways here. I promise, they are hidden in my WordPress contact form. I am the only one who sees them unless the giveaway is specifically sponsored by a second-party and I do not keep email addresses.
More Giveaways: And just to sweeten the pot, for those souls who read this whole post, I’m going to give away a Jet Pens gift certificate for $25 just because I can. (Thank you very much, Jet Pens!)
To enter: Leave a comment and tell me what currently on your Jet Pens wishlist to be officially entered.
FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Saturday, September 21, 2013. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Sunday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). ONE entry per person, please. Please include your email address in the comment form (not in your comment) so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. Gift certificate will sent digitally via JetPens. Winner has 30 days to reply to my email. If I can’t reach you within 30 days, a new winner will be drawn from the original entries.
A Bullet Journal is not a brand of notebook. Rather, its a method by which to annotate notes to help organize all those random events, ideas and things that need doing. I had not heard about Bullet Journaling until I listened to the most recent Pen Addict podcast, episode #70. The podcast featured an interview with Ryder Carroll, the creator of the Bullet Journal system. I’m fascinated by the idea of creating a system and being more thoughtful about the manner in which I take and keep notes. Unfortunately, the system works best for simple to-do’s and someday-maybe projects and not bigger projects like work assignments with many steps stretched over weeks of months. But there are the beginnings of ways to tackle that. I think blending the Bullet Journal system with GTD might give me a workable paper system.
Have you tried the Bullet Journal? Has it worked for you?
(via Pen Addict Podcast)
This video was featured on The Verge this week and features Hallmark and focuses on the precarious state of the greeting card as a means for communication in our modern age. The video also features views of the halls I walk and many people who I’ve worked with over the years (I spent several years in the humor and Shoebox group. Yes, it really is a tiny little division of Hallmark). There are images of our legendary Crown Room (not during lunch), the outside of the building and even some peeks into the cubicles of people I know.
As folks who appreciate analog tools, I hope you also appreciate cards as a way to communicate with family and friends. Not to mention that, without the lovely steady paycheck from Hallmark, this blog might not be here.
PS: Even the Ford ad that bookends the video was filmed in Kansas City.
(Sorry I was unable to embed the video.)
Edit: Updated video and article links on Tuesday, Sept 10 as the original links went bad.
I appreciate any company whose branding leans heavily on quippy uses of office supplies. For one, few jobs are nothing but sparse workspaces and iPhones so of course you need good office supplies. And second, the products aren’t overbranded with the company’s logo but rather with the principles that guide the company.
I’m speaking of the new branding campaign for advertising giant Hill Holliday. They are using stark black and white with liberal Helvetica to create the brand message without using logo-fied golf shirts (don’t do it).
I love that they quoted Yoda on an office wall.
(via Under Consideration with a shout-out to Paper Pastries for the tip)
If you buy fountain pens, then you’ve probably stumbled across the term “iridium-tipped” at some point in regards to fountain pen nibs. But do you know anything about iridium? I knew it was used to harden the nibs of pens but I did not know it was one of the hardest metals in existence. I have also noticed recently that some pen manufacturers are describing the material they use to tip nibs as “iridium alloy”. I also didn’t know that its also one of the most expensive metals in the world. As of today, iridium is selling for upwards of $925 per troy ounce. For some scale, gold is at about $1300. Crazy.
Nibs.com has a detailed article about the iridium and alternatives used for nibs.
(via Wired 21.08, article is not currently available online but is the current Aug 2013 issue on newsstands today)
Greetings from The Well-Appointed Desk summer road trip! That’s right, I had to stop at the legendary I-80 rest stop in Iowa that features a giant pen nib out front.
The site is designed to recognize the writing heritage of Iowa. From its universities to authors who’ve both lived in and traveled through Iowa, all writing is celebrated.
Not just giant pen nibs are featured, the lights around the property are pencils and the “erasers” are lights!
Each of the covered seating areas feature laser cut metal sheets with quotes. This is a Tennessee Williams quote.
On the floor inside is a quote from Jack Kerouac from On The Road: “…between the East of my youth and the West of my future.”
Well worth the stop!
Today is the third anniversary of The Well-Appointed Desk. In that time, I’ve posted over 1800 times, reviewed dozens of pens, notebooks and other office supplies, given away lots of goodies and made tons of new friends. I am amazed that I find new things to talk about every day!
To celebrate, I am going to give away a pile of samples. Everyday this week I am giving away a stack of goodies — some were review products with one or two pages used in the back for pen testing, some are brand-spankin’ new. Keep your eyes peeled.
Here’s a sneak peek of the assortments to be given away this week. Happy blogiversary to me (and to you)!