Recent Stationery Acquisitions

Happy Sunday! It’s a rainy day in London today and I am using the opportunity to indulge in indoorsy pursuits. This includes making a beef bone broth which has been on the go for a few hours now and has a few still to go! More on that another time.

It’s about time for an update on the masses of stationery I have acquired in the last few weeks. I’ve always got my eye on little things that I would like to add to my collection or to make my life a bit easier. At the moment these are mostly writing implements, inks, woodcased pencils, washi tapes, etc. I have a little stack of notebooks waiting to be used so I’ve got a few more brands on the wishlist for the future.

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I used a solitary evening after work to use some of my paper collection to make homemade envelopes. This was a surprisingly easy task. I picked up a few envelope sizes from a nearby paper shop and proceeded to pull the glued sections apart to create an envelope template. I drew around them with a 2H pencil (to leave very light lines), cut them out, glued the edges, hid them away in a heavy book for a few hours to glue solidly, and attached some old luggage labels and black card for addresses. I posted them all out to friends and family and they were hugely well received. It’s great to devote effort to something and share it with others. One of my friends is sending me a letter back, I can’t wait!

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Here is part of my collection of all time favourite papers. A good friend actually gave this to me for my Secret Santa gift last year having picked a ream up from a pop-up shop in Paris called Petit Pan, and needless to say it went down a storm. The papers have a fine Japanese quality about them, both in their delicacy and design. They make beautiful envelopes. I actually hate using the paper a little bit because I can’t bear to take a pair of scissors to them. I also bought a Palomino Blackwing Pearl pencil, which is described as similar to a 4B grade pencil, some Midori Origami Memo paper (you can write a reasonable sized note and fold it into various origami shapes, I picked hexagons) and some craft-style Midori labels. The Midori Kraft envelopes were a great little find in a lucky dip bag that I ordered from The Journal Shop.

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Receiving the lucky dip bag was a bit like Christmas Day!

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Here’s one of the Midori Origami Memo hexagons all made up and unfolded again. They’re affably tiny when folded up. It’s a bit of fun.

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This was a little haul from various sources including a Palomino Blackwing, Iconic pastel double-ended pens, Coccoina glue stick, little “Write On!” stamp, vintage “Hello My Name Is” labels, and some Louise Fili Tutti-Frutti coloured pencils. I used the Coccoina glue stick for my homemade envelopes and it is as effective as one could hope from a glue stick, with a pleasing almond-like sweet scent. The Iconic double-ended pens have been a useful addition to my every-day collection, although the fineliner end is a little incompatible with the pastel palette as they are quite difficult to see on paper. I’m loving the “Write On!” stamp inked up on my Lion stamp pad for adding to notes, my envelopes and letters.  I haven’t had an opportunity to use the Tutti-Frutti pencils yet, I will report back.

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A very practical addition is a Seeso Graphics vintage A5 pouch. It’s a gorgeous black pouch for your everyday items that you need to keep together in your bag. I promptly added my Moleskine notebook and writing implements of choice for the week (Iconic lime green pastel double-ended pen, Palomino Blackwing 602, a washi tape of course, my brass sharpener, Muji eraser, grey fine-point Sharpie, turquoise Faber-Castell Broadpen 1554 and Lamy Safari with Diamine Bilberry). It’s helped me feel organised and encourages me to carefully select the tools I want to carry around with me for the week rather than bringing a bit of everything. It also looks professional, which helps create a useful first impression (before I bring out a pencil with a pencil cap attached anyway!).

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These are said pencil caps by Iconic. In short they are like pen lids, except for pencils. Why would one need such a thing you ask. Well, if you like to keep your pencils sharp, then the chances are you will break the tip in your pencil case, or leave marks on whatever it comes into contact with. Both problems are eradicated with these little beauties! Plus they add a bit of whimsical character to the pouch.

My other acquisitions include:

– Diamine Claret Ink 30ml bottle (currently in my Kaweco Sport)

– Rhodia dotpad, Orange, A5

– Tomboy Mono 100, H grade

– Diamine Bilberry Ink 30 ml bottle

– Monami 0.7 153 stick in blue and orange

I’ll be posting my stationery wishlist soon to share with you what I am going to be investing in in the near future. Have you used any of the above or got any tips for the wishlist?

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Clerkenwell, Sunshine and Stationery

What a day. Every so often the sun throws her English expectations out of the window and comes out in full force. Today was one of those days: blue skies, no clouds, warm breeze, people everywhere. It’s impossible not to be enamoured by a day like this in London. I spent the opportunity being outside as much as possible. Unfortunately a good part of this outdoor pursuit involved visiting a site I’m working on in Hammersmith, right on the Broadway. Heat and exhaust fumes don’t make for the most charming summer memories. But this afternoon when I skipped out of work I took a long walk to Clerkenwell.

One of life’s great pleasures for me is stumbling upon a new place. Luckily there are endless possibilities for this to happen in London. I found a green space called Spa Fields, just south of the wonderful Exmouth Market. It’s not the largest park in the world, and probably took me about 5 minutes to stroll through in its entirety. I thought it was incredibly characterful though, with some interesting landscape architecture elements including a rolling set of mounds comparable to a mini BMX track, a lavender plantation, vine covered arches and a pyramidal centre building. The yellow grass shows quite how warm it’s been recently.

 

What was noticeable about this park was the range of people using and enjoying it. There were locals and young people, office workers with their trousers rolled up and families. There are many playful elements wrapped up in this green space that make it seem a bit quirky.

Coming out of the park I headed towards Arlington Way, just past Sadlers Wells theatre on the way to Angel. I was intentionally heading here to visit the fabulous Present & Correct shop. Clerkenwell is so full of fantastic architecture. The street layout, other than the trunk-like Farringdon Road, is fine, organic and dense lending itself to a range of functions; churches and old school buildings are found in the centre of small neighbourhoods that are definable because of their common architectural features. One standout building for me was this residential complex on Rosebery Avenue called The Laboratory Building. Predictably it was an old laboratory. I loved the art deco features on this building, the curvature of the frontage and its floor-to-ceiling windows. If you look around the building these windows delineate the height of three floors, and all the floors have their own window type.

Arlington Way itself is a typical Islington street in many ways. On one side there is a 60s style fabricated estate development, with traditional two-up two-down town houses opposite. A number of these town houses have ground-level retail functions with beautifully decorated frontages. There are also some vintage features that have remained such as a traditional painted wall advertising funeral services.

Present & Correct was really the highlight of my day. It’s a beautiful and tiny shop devoted to stationery and products associated with everyday artistry. It’s full of unique designs with a quality and bespoke feel. The shop is also immaculately presented. I would like to devote a whole post to this shop soon. If you are a fan of the genuinely written word as I am, check this shop out for yourself. It’s probably my favourite shop in London at the moment.

My purchases. Detail is everything. My shopping bag from Present & Correct comes complete with a record card a la 1950s library. And yes I continued to Angel and stopped off at the Hummingbird Bakery for my favourite pick, the black bottom cupcake.

Here is today’s haul. It consists of a Palomino Blackwing 602 graphite pencil, a “from the desk of” stamp and Lion ink pad and a vintage telegram. I’m going to save the telegram to write a letter to someone that I know will appreciate this as much as I would! Honestly, if I received a letter like this from a friend, it would be in a frame and up on the wall. I’m intending to do a review of the Blackwing soon.

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful London evening!

Oh and also, while I was loitering in Spa Fields, I read an interesting Guardian article which is essentially a dummy’s guide to building a city. I’ll probably write a response to this article in more depth but as an urbanist I think there are some good points here, but also some critical considerations missing. Disaster-proofing for example. Thoughts welcome.

 

 

Kaweco Sport

I’ve been coveting the Kaweco Sport fountain pen for some time. It seems to be a bit of a cult classic and given that this is a sub-£20 pen, I thought I would finally give it a try.

I chose a fine nib as I have italicised handwriting which is best suited to fine lines, and chose a mint green finish. There are a number of other, darker colours, but something about this pen made me choose something less solemn. The Kaweco Sport arrived in an unremarkable, simply branded black box. My first impression was: small! Altogether the pen comes in at just over 10cm long when capped and about 13cm with the cap on the end.

 

There’s no doubt about it that this pen is fun to use. It is eye-catching and unusual, the octagonal chubby lid is nostalgic and has an almost 70s era quality about it which is further emphasised by the plastic finish on the pen. This whole air of playfulness is topped off by its short stature. I couldn’t wait to get writing. I’ve given it a couple of days of break-in time, as the first times I used it I had quite a few gaps in the ink flow, which does seem to be improving with use.

 

 

The pen has two cute silver accents. Firstly, the logo which is very clean and elegant and secondly at the top of the cap.

Here’s a sample of writing for you to check out for yourself. I’d like to keep this pen in my arsenal for using informally, in my notebooks. Although the nib is fine (they also do an extra-fine), the pen would need to write slightly more smoothly to bring it into more formal territory for me. If you’re looking for a lifetime companion kind of fountain pen, I’m not sure this is it, but I would certainly recommend it as an investment if you’re looking for a fountain pen which is adaptable, reliable and something different from the norm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well hi.

Here I am!

I can’t tell you how long I have been procrastinating about getting this website going. If you want to know a little about me check out the About page. I’ve spent a few days navigating the world of hosting and platforms and page upon page of mysterious technological jargon. It has left me convinced that someone somewhere doesn’t want any more websites in the world because they don’t make it easy! However I somehow seem to have emerged on the other side with a reasonably functional site. I’m lucky to have a few friends with insight into this world of creative design and technology so I’ll be petitioning them for tips very soon.

On my part though I have been collecting many projects and snippets of my days to share with you over the last couple of months. I have always been an avid scribbler of thoughts, sketches, ideas and lists which I draw on day-to-day whether it’s to draw on something uplifting or to focus my intentions, both in the long and short-term. I’ve fretted somewhat that starting a personal website is a self-indulgent thing to do, but I’ve come to the conclusion that The London Parchment is going to be an opportunity to be creative with my own expression.

So please join me along the way, feel free to start up a dialogue in any way you wish. I’m looking forward to it!