All posts in Paper

Collage: untitled (Mod Podge experiment)

Until just now I thought Mod Podge was called Modge Podge, you know, like hodge podge. ANYway, it is a sort of crafter’s varnish that you might paint over any manner of paper-y art things, like tacky collages. Behold:


Was fooling around with collage in the last day or so, as I am trying to make a banner for a personal/professional-type site (which is nowhere near complete, I feel compelled to mention. Making such a site was recommended by my graduate program, personal branding and all, oh boy. Please resist the urge to make a sarcastic remark…)

Back to the collage. Lately I’ve been interested in mixing art/ephemera and text, which I believe is known as art journaling. Probably there are a whole mess of people out there who art journal in blog form (must avoid browsing internet for this likely phenomenon and falling into 10-hour digital detour…)

This was more or less the idea I had for Silent Type 2, because generally I think, with the glut of content out there, that words need pictures to get noticed, but less cynically, that images enhance information. I’ve been doing loads of research on using visuals in information, and feel that hand-drawn art and ephemera in particular are compelling due to their rarity and personal meaning. Here is a mail artist I admire who does this kind of thing well.

Any further issues of Silent Type I might do, or other zines, would probably further look into this idea, although not anytime soon, oh heavens no.

I dare you to try collage in one of your typecasts.

PS, I totally love masking tape. It is my favorite art supply. What’s yours?

Type-in prize: sketchbook (and a side note about copic markers)

Thanks to the Lambs of Snohomish, charming folks indeed, for another fun type-in today.

Since Little Flower Petals was not in attendance, I actually had a shot at the typing speed contest victory, prize of which you’ll see below.

Uppercase books sells these altered-book notebooks, which I recommend as excellent sketchbooks because of the binder rings and hard backs (unless you feel that eviscerating old books in this way is tantamount to key chopping, which I don’t, due to their overwhelming abundance).

I used my prize today to practice drawing with a few copic markers that I picked up on the advice of the visual designer Eva Lotta-Lamm in this excellent presentation on visual note taking, or graphic recording, which is something I’ve been posting about recently.

Copic markers have one end with a tapering, flexible tip, like a paintbrush, and the other end squared off, like a white board marker. They are good for adding drop-shadows and color accents to black and white drawings, and they are as expensive as hell. (Side note, the art shop where I bought mine told me they’d had $2k worth of the markers stolen earlier that week).

They are lots of fun for coloring in doodles and such, and price aside, I highly recommend them.

Random drawing for prizes: Apica notebook!

So, you lost Magic Margin’s drawing for Rhodia notebooks. Dammit!

Well, hold on just one minute, now. Don’t go getting your knickers in a twist. Seems that Uwajimaya opened a new location ’round these parts, so you’re in luck.

What? What does that have to do with notebooks, you ask? Well, Uwajimaya, an insanely great Asian grocery store, tends to carry imported stationery and whatnot (and even has a bookstore in its downtown Seattle location). I was ambling through the store’s latest new location the other day, and found, in a display of Sumi-e painting supplies, various sizes of the highly-regarded Apica notebook.

Now, one doesn’t tend to find Apica notebooks lying about any old where; I’ve only been able to buy them from eBay importers in the past. So I consider this a good thing.

One of the most appealing qualities of the Apica notebook, you will undoubtedly agree, is its cryptic cover phrase.

I grabbed two red ones of the 5″ x 7″-ish size, and would like to share one with you. Leave a comment about your favorite notebook brand and I’ll pick a winner this Friday, April 1st.

Myndology disc punch: mail art notebook

So I got myself a Myndology disc punch. A disc punch, if you were not aware, is a thingy that allows you to perforate paper so that you can place discs in the preforations and either create notebooks, or add random papers to existing ones.

Some of you Getting Things Done types have one of these from Rollabind/Circa, and use it to create fabulously organized and scheduled lives in notebooks with sober black covers. I, however, am a practitioner of another system called Starting Things, But Never Finishing Them. This consists of entertaining half-cooked ideas, getting out a bunch of paper supplies, making a big old mess, taking a coffee break, and then realizing, dozens of distractions later, that you have a bunch of stuff to clean up.

One such project included trying desperately to organize my letter writing stuff, after reading the following Clickthing post. Now, trying to live up to the inventions of Mike Clemens is a losing game, my friend. The man has a gift. But the fact remains that I have a disorganized snarl of paper that includes letters to which I would like to track and respond. What to do?

Enter the Myndology disc punch. I began madly punching letters and envelopes, and binding them with discs. I learned that anything covered in tape or made of thin vintage paper is a poor candidate for punching, but all other items are fair game. When finished, I grabbed two stray sheets from the teetering pile of school art projects generated by my older child, called them covers, and that was that.

I now have a bound book of letters to read through (although I’m not any closer to writing replies). Perhaps I will clean up this mess tomorrow…

Vintage office sticky notes, mail art, self pity

Here’s Cavallini’s sticky notes, they have lots of other stuff, some typewriter-themed.

Know that I’m reading your blogs, and apologize for not commenting for the last week or two, I’ve been reading on a smartphone during middle-of-the-night baby monkeyshines, and have not yet mastered the art of thumb-typing in microscopic forms with a virtual keyboard while insanely sleep-deprived.

There was some other footnote I was going to add, but I totally forgot. Worst. Pencast. Ever. (Brought to you by Lamy Safari medium nib and Myndology ring-bound notebook)

Vintage airmail stickers from Laughing Elephant

A couple of years ago, I bought a packet of vintage airmail stickers from a Portland art supply store. There were 46 stickers total, and each one was a different design – no duplicates. They’re great – I’ve been using them on letters and such, but I was down to just a few remaining, and so decided to hit the Laughing Elephant web site the other day to order another set.

Now, there’s lots of cool stickers on the Laughing Elephant site; Monda would love these, for example. And gosh, some of you sci fi nerds would be crazy to pass up the world of tomorrow set. But! No vintage airmail labels to be found online. Surely some kind of administrative oversight.

I called the Laughing Elephant customer service line to ask how to order them, and was given the harsh news:


Apparently for some time now! Aaaarg! My mind returned to the scene of the initial purchase, where there was a small bin of them by the register of that art store… I should have scooped up all that remained when I had the chance! Where is a world of tomorrow time machine when you need one?

Just then, the guy on the phone said that someone, on hearing of my despair (My exact words were, in fact, “noooooo!”), dug two remaining packs out of the warehouse… the last two.


However, if you suddenly find, like me, that you can’t live without vintage airmail stickers, there is a very cool-looking handmade set on Etsy right now. Check out the plush typewriter while you are there.

Rubber stamps: Typewriters, ephemera, etc.

Stamp Companies

Blue Diamond Stamp Company

Hero Arts Stamps
Rubber Soul Stamps
River City Rubber Works
Art Impressions Rubber Stamps
A Muse Artstamps
JudiKins stamps
Paper Source
Invoke Arts
American Art Stamp

Drawing and product review: Knock Knock Personal Library Kit

I was recently offered an opportunity to review and give away an item from Knock Knock, which is OK by me, since I’ve purchased the Pro and Con and Paper E-mail notepads in the past (I particularly enjoy the paper e-mail, which makes a certain throwback statement when taped to someone’s monitor at work).

I chose to review the Knock Knock Personal Library Kit* because it looked kind of swell, and like something that would appeal to the typosphere, a crowd generally in favor of preserving the book in print form.

This Library Kit makes an interesting statement about a nuisance we have all taken for granted until now: that books exist, and as such can be loaned or lost. What precious book is forever lost from your collection, and who still has it? In the era of the ebook, losing an inscribed hardback copy of 100 Years of Solitude to a lost love or former friend becomes instead a tech support incident regarding data corruption or DRM.

Anyway, the product: well, here you see what it contains: 20 due date cards, 20 card pockets, a date stamp and ink pad, and small pencil, the kind you might find with a stack of scrap paper next to a library catalog computer these days.

The card envelope is nice and sturdy with a space to write your (that is, the book owner’s) name, and affixes easily to the inside book cover with two peel-off adhesive strips. The card itself has lines for the book title and author on the front, followed by multiple lines for borrower information that continue onto the back. (If you ever use checkout card in your books, I strongly recommend using your typewriter to fill in the book title and author information, to channel some 20th century card catalog style).

The date stamp runs through the year 2020 (incidentally, is there anything as mournful as an old date stamp where the latest year passed long ago? I’ve come across one or two of those in my thrift store journeys, and they always make me feel a brief mortal chill). The ink pad is serviceable (not craft-store sturdy, but OK) and the short pencil is likely to get lost within the blink of a curious preschooler’s eye, but anyway, the packaging serves as a tray that can hold the whole system, like a tiny Monopoly game, if you want to store it out of reach.

It’s charming, for sure– the cards look rather nice affixed within your favorite books, as a kind of rebuke to lazy borrowers (who are unlikely to return your tomes even with this reminder, the bastards that they are). You can find all manner of vintage or old-style library checkout cards and envelopes on eBay these days, but the modern red design of these works for me, standing out from the page a bit better than the old buff-colored classic designs. That said, if you don’t loan out a lot of books, and a lot of books repeatedly, this card set would be nothing more than a novelty for you. Oh, I know you would like to fool around with the library kit, and see how a few card return envelopes look stuck to the inside of those certain volumes within your own library, but trust me, this is a practical item and should be used as such. Any librarian would agree.

If you ARE loaning out books, and can immediately think of at least 10 whose tenure in your collection might be potentially secured by this product, I strongly encourage you to put your name (and hopefully a story about a long-lost book) in the comments for this drawing– I would love to send this right off to you.

Winner announced February 1!


*I received a personal copy of this kit gratis, in addition to the one I am giving away, which will be mailed to the winner unopened. As possibly mentioned in the past, when I do product reviews or giveaways, I will disclose the origins of the product and whether I was asked to review it. If asked to review a product, I will do so if I am personally curious about or interested in the product, but still endeavor to give an honest review.

Rhodia Meeting Book, and Blue Diamond stamps

Rhodia, it’s official. You are better than e-mail.

This weekend I went to the Urban Craft Uprising in Seattle and bought the two Blue Diamond stamps that you see on this page. I’ve always been a skeptic of the acrylic style stamps, being that your traditional wood and rubber stamps seem a tad more old school to me, but I’ll say this: the Blue Diamond stamps seemed to make cleaner impressions than rubber stamps, plus, you can see exactly where you place them on a page (because they are applied with a transparent acrylic block). So for any stamping types out there, I would say give them a try.