Category Archives: washi weekend

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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Washi Weekend: Letter Ledger

For the past few months, I’ve been using this Letter Ledger to keep track of my incoming and outgoing mail. I learned about it from the blog Paper Pastries and I was inspired by Margaret’s idea to use washi tape to personalize her Ledger. I used some of my latest favorite washi tapes (some are actual Japanese tapes, some are more “scrapbooking” tapes). I don’t think I will ever tire of pool blue, but if I do, I can change the tapes out–simple as that!

I love my Letter Ledger! It appeals to the “documenter” side of me (I love making lists of things and writing things down) and it helps me to remember who I owe a letter to, what I want to write about and what questions I want to ask.

And, there is a handy pocket in the front for stamps and my Letter Writers Alliance membership card!

Now, if only I could find the perfect address book…

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