Category Archives: washi weekend

Washi Weekend: Handsome Man Bartender

We were shopping in the fancy department store, Takashimaya, when I found this hilarious “Handsome Bartender” washi tape. Naoto made me buy it because “it’s so you!” and it made me laugh. There are several other Handsome Man tapes: a teacher, a high school student, a host, a doctor, and a freelancer. (You can see the others below the Handsome Bartender link.) Really, there’s a handsome man for everyone. Right now I’m using him on my cocktail notebook (a gift from April who purchased it at an old school stationery store in Massachusetts.) I also put him in my planner for July because he just fits. I think I need to find a way to use him on some mail this month. I can’t keep him all to myself!

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Washi Weekend: Wrapple

 

Back to Japan posts–

Since our last visit, Wrapple moved out of Parco and into a bigger, street-level spot near Tokyu Hands. It is such a fun space–clean and bright with lots of washi tape accents.On the first floor, there’s a counter where they offer tea, coffee, and sweets and then as you go back into the store, all of the washi tape, stickers, embellishments, and packaging are displayed along the walls. There are so many rolls of washi tape. In all of the stationery stores we visited, Wrapple has the best selection of washi tapes. They have brands that I didn’t see in other stores and the most extensive selections of solid mt tapes. They also sell their own exclusive designs that are really different and fun!The stairs are decorated with mt’s home washi tapes. I loved so many of the new home designs, but alas, I have some at home that I’ve never put on our walls so I didn’t allow myself to buy more. Upstairs there are couches and tables where you can enjoy your coffee or tea. There were people working on laptops and meeting friends up there. It was really quiet and no one was playing with the washi tape, so I felt a little weird playing at the Make & Take table. But, I decided the washi tapes were too tempting so I made myself a little tag. Since it was Halloween time, you could also make a washi tape mask, or decorate your placemat with the washi tape. Next time, I’m going in with a plan and making some postcards to send!

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Washi Weekend: TV Tray

A long time ago, I asked my parents to keep an eye out for a single TV tray so I could eat my lonely dinners on the couch. (When Naoto works, that’s where I eat…I know it’s uncivilized, but it’s very cozy!) I’ve also been using my TV tray as a letter writing desk. I don’t have any “before” pictures, but it’s basically just a boring oak TV tray, probably from the 90s. This week I decided to jazz it up with all of my mail and writing themed washi tape. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out! It’s satisfying to see the whole “story” of some of my washi tapes that only get seen on envelopes. And, as always, it’s always good to spend out some of my stash! If I get tired of the mail theme (NEVER!) or the tape gets ruined by a soup spill (likely,) I can always switch it out for something else.

In other news, this pretty much sums up my accomplishments for the week. I’ve been keeping up with writing letters and I’ve been doing a lot of reading…I don’t think I have the winter blues right now, but I’m definitely feeling like I’m in hibernation mode. Thankfully, my work schedule is getting busier and we have a few events on our social calendar this month that should get me out of the house more often!

 

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Snow Mail, No Mail

The weather has been insane in Chicago lately. After a very snowy weekend, we had sub-zero temperatures on Wednesday with wind chills of 45 below. It was colder here than it was in Alaska. It was so cold, the entire area was pretty much shut down. No school, no work for many people, no Metra trains, even no Trader Joe’s and no mail service since Tuesday! (Update: mail arrived Saturday night!) It was almost as cold on Thursday and it snowed some more Thursday night, but now this weekend it’s warm and rainy. Now every thing is a mess of slush and dirty snow. (Dirty snow is my least favorite part of winter.)

I took some inspiration from the weather and used some of my wintry Japanese stationery to kick off the Month of Letters. The snowflakes are an old Midori set I bought a few years ago and the polar bears are from Maruzen. And the washi tape is old mt and I was kicking myself because I have other snow washi, but I packed it away with the Christmas stuff…

I sat under a blanket right next to my space heater while I wrote the letters…a cup of hot tea and a warm kitty nearby. It was a cozy to kick off the month.

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mt Halloween Pop-Up at Tokyu Hands

Next week, I’m hoping to finally work on my little “scrapbook” from Japan, so I figured I could start blogging about it as I go through pictures to print and ephemera to paste. It’s going to be weird talking about Halloween in January but, I think we’ll be okay. Halloween has become a pretty big deal in Japan. In fact, thirteen people were arrested in Shibuya celebrating Halloween…it was a huge scandal and all over the news. (We watched from our Airbnb in Osaka.)

But I digress…

I found out about an mt pop-up shop at the Tokyu Hands store in Ikebukuro before we left and Naoto made sure to add it to the stationery tour list. We decided to check it off the list on our first day in Tokyo.   The whole front of the store was “wallpapered” with mt’s Halloween tape and the first floor was mostly devoted to mt. They had all of their limited edition Halloween and fall tapes available and tons of other packs and single rolls set up in bins for easy perusal. In the middle of the shop, there were Halloween patterned streamers hanging down…the picture doesn’t do it justice…we really needed a selfie stick to show off the full effect. They also had a game where you could pay ¥500 and blindly reach into a bin and take out as many washi tape as you could grab in one handful. I decided not to partake because most of the tapes were pretty basic and I have plenty of washi tapes. I sort of went into this trip deciding not to buy too many washi tapes because I already have so many, but that plan flew out of the window when I landed in Japan.I did try to buy just the ones I truly loved……but really, what’s not to love? I ended up getting the Halloween washi tapes (and duplicates for friends,) mt Halloween monsters wrapping paper, Bande Halloween roll stickers, tiny jack-o-lantern stickers, and some other stationery. Oh and Naoto got Presley a cat treat…at this Hands, there was a whole floor devoted to pet supplies along with a cat cafe. I am looking forward to THIS Halloween when I can use some of the things I bought. If you’re in Japan, I’d highly recommend checking out mt’s website and Instagram to see if they have any pop-ups near you. Thanks to Naoto for starting our trip out with a bang.

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Washi Weekend: Back to School Edition

washi weekend, MT tapes, sparrow notebook, school suppliesI’ve been in 100% neon mode for my mail and my planner this summer. I’ve been using all of my neon washi tapes, pens, pencils, stickers and papers. It’s been fun, but I’m ready for a change, a change to school supplies. Even though I’m not going back to school, I ordered myself a few pencils from CW Pencil Enterprises last week. Those new pencils got me in the mood to refresh my desk space and break out some back-to-school treats from my washi and Japan stationery hoard. I have a “Japan drawer” in my desk that holds a bunch of washi tapes and backup pens. Since we most likely aren’t going to Japan this year, I’ve been dipping into my stash more and more. It’s like having my own little store to visit. washi weekend, MT tapes, sparrow notebook, school suppliesI bought a few limited edition washi tapes during our last trip that fit the back-to-school bill perfectly. The top two are collaborations between mt and two iconic Japanese brands, and the bottom one was a special tape created by bunbougu cafesparrow notebooks, sparrow washi tape, japanese office suppliesThe first tape (similar) comes from the Tsubame Notebooks in Japan. These notebooks are iconic in Japanese schools, kind of like composition notebooks here in the U.S. Except, as usual, Japan Does It Better! The paper is high-quality and works really well with pencils and a variety of pens. (This JetPens video shows it all nicely!) Tsubame Notebooks have been hand-bound since the 1947 and have remained unchanged since then. I just love the graphic sparrow logo. And here’s a little secret: I bought the notebook after I bought the tape. Fueki glue, Japanese glue, washi weekend, MT tapes, school suppliesFueki glue is another popular Japanese school supply. Fueki-kun, the little yellow mascot, is a pot of glue. It’s made from 100% corn starch and is safe for young children. Fueki has been around since 1925 and offers a large line of products, including (grown up) glue sticks, India inks, paper supplies, and even cosmetics. I’m a bit older than the Fueki-kun market, but I thought the little pot was so cute and it was only sixty cents so I bought a few. The little dog makes such a cute tape, don’t you think?

bunbougu cafe, tokyo office supplies, tokyo stationery, washi tape, pencil sharpenerAnd lastly, a little bit about the bunbougu cafe tape. It has drawings of pencil sharpeners, pencils, and pencil marks. Next to the pencil sharpeners, it says, “gari gari” which is the onomatopoeia for “grate grate.” (Things sound different in Japanese–all of their animal noises are different too!)

presley with Fueki nori on her head, things on my catI’m looking forward to some back-to-school mail this week!

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The End of Another Letter Month

bear mail cat mail cat mail 2 stamp washi letter month oney, letter monthYesterday marked the end of Letter Month. Last year, I felt a little bit burnt out at the end. This year, I feel re-energized about letter writing. I don’t really think it’s due to Letter Month though. I think it’s mostly due to meeting so many of my letter writing friends and feeling inspired by the mail people I met at Ex Postal Facto.

In total, I sent forty-three pieces of mail–two more than I sent last year. While I did write a letter every single day, there were some days that I didn’t make it to the mail box (which is sad because we have one in our building!) because of forgetfulness (or hibernation). But the act of writing happened every day and I hope to continue that to some extent beyond Letter Month. I did spend out some stationery I’ve kind of been hoarding, but I did not expand my mail art skills at all…mainly sticking with the usual washi tape and rubber stamps… There’s always room for improvement next year!

Presley and writing lettersThanks to everyone who filled my mailbox this month!

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Wrap, Wrap, Wrapple

wrappleWrapple was our first craft shopping stop in Japan. I’d read about it on Hello Sandwich‘s blog (and in her Tokyo Guide) and wanted to see all of the wrapping, washi tape and packaging goodness Wrapple had to offer. Parco

The store is located inside Parco,  a large boutique shopping center in the Shibuya neighborhood. Parco is kind of like a mall, except each “shop” seems to flow into the next. Wrapple is tucked into the corner on the fourth floor in between a clothing shop and a coffee shop. They have a ton of papers, rubber stamps, scrapbooking supplies, stickers, boxes and ribbons–really anything you might need for crafting projects or to package a gift sweetly. They offer workshops, too, varying from paper crafts to slipper making (with ribbons!) wrapple washi tape displayWrapple had the best selection of MT tape of any store I visited in Tokyo. For those who don’t know, MT tape is the original washi tape and it is the highest quality washi tape of all. It is made in Japan and nothing tears better, removes better and re-sticks better than MT. It also stays on posted envelopes better than any other paper tapes out there. (I complete agree with this washi tape evaluation.) MT not only performs beautifully, but their line has everything from wonderfully simple patterns and solid colors to crazy-unique designs like pancake recipes, solar systems and grass-munching cows (I bought all three.) MT releases seasonal patterns as well, and we were there to see Wrapple receive some new designs. (Fun stuff!) I bought a load of washi tape from Wrapple. And we went back a second time so I could buy a few rolls of MT Casa, extra-wide washi tape designed for decorating walls and furniture. MT CasaThese are the ones I picked. I have zero plans in mind right now, but I picked some nice neutrals and a pool blue with high hopes that we can use them in our (some-day-freshly-painted) bedroom. The tallest one is eight inches high, the middle two are four inches and the tiny blue one is two inches.  I would have killed for an air mail tape for my walls.
Sadly, it does not exist (though I think a petition is in order…)

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Over the Moon

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I like to send silly greeting cards to Naoto at his office (the translation office, not Trader Joe’s). I do it because he mostly gets the boring mail at home and because I have a compulsive habit of falling in love with the perfect greeting cards for him and buying them too often. I love going to visit Naoto and seeing them all displayed on the ledge behind his desk.

When I saw this card with “Presley” flying over the moon, I fell in love (as I do with all Rifle cards!). I decided to send it to Naoto as a little pre-Valentine. I also made him a special blue washi tape bunting (because blue is his favorite and all of the pink ones just seemed too girly!) and tucked in inside the envelope.

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I decorated the envelope with some blue washi tape and a vintage paper heart from this set by K is for Calligraphy and I used one of our leftover wedding invitation stamps for the postage (because who else wants to see that stamp!).

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When I went to Naoto’s office on Wednesday night, he had the bunting all strung up by his desk. You can see his little card collection in the background (along with the all-business bulletin board information!)

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For his “real” Valentine, I bought him a box of Choco Tacos (mentioned recently here)…I’m pretty sure he appreciated those more that the washi bunting!

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washi weekend

Over the summer, I entered a giveaway on the Short Small Sweet Blog. Ru was lucky enough to attend an MT workshop with Hello Sandwich (who is seriously my craft idol) and she was giving away some treats from her day including MT tapes and the MT Textbook that shows plenty of washi tape ideas. Well, I won and my package from Ru arrived this week!

I love the tag Ru created and I am thrilled to add the brightly striped, super-skinny tape to my collection along with the other two Limited Edition tapes (one is graphic flowers, the other is people in traditional clothes from around the world). For those of you who are new to washi tape, MT tapes are the cream of the crop–they are the original washi tapes, made in Japan and are the highest quality tapes. I have a huge MT collection (thanks to my sweet sister-in-law and our trip to dozens of stationery stores in Japan last year) and I also have other decorative paper tapes (made by Target, scrapbooking companies, crafting companies, etc) and there is a difference. Not to say the other tapes are bad, but they just don’t always perform to the level of the MT tapes. (Naoto calls me a washi tape snob…he’s probably right.)

Thank you, Ru, for the amazing mail! I will be crafting the afternoon away!

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