Tag Archives: washi tape

Chalk-Full of School Supplies

Chalk pencils, Chalkboard tape, Japanese office supplies, Hester & CookI think my husband’s punning is rubbing off on me…

I have a little chalk theme going on today. I am old enough to remember chalkboards. Our school transitioned to white boards during my high school years. Mrs. Petersen kept her blackboard though. I always appreciated that about her. I always found the marker to be so slippery on the white board. It didn’t have the same feeling as writing with chalk. And the sound! Normally, chalk sounds so pleasing scraping across the board. But then there’s always that one moment when the chalk makes that horrid high-pitched squeak that catches everyone in the room off-guard. I wonder if that sound is why white boards were invented. I ordered this Hester & Cook “Midtown” white pencil because I’m always looking for a new way to write on dark papers, especially this time of year as I gear up for Halloween mail. I was pretty skeptical about it because colored pencils usually don’t show up well on dark papers (in my experience.) But the pencil was really good! I thought it looked very chalk-like and it writes sort of like a cross between a crayon and a colored pencil. It was a little waxy, but it wrote smoothly, and like I said, covered the dark green paper well. (I smeared it a little bit…) Hester and Cook chalk pencilI plan to use the pencil to decorate the table and black place cards for our next Phantom Flight Night. Though I really like the classic green chalkboard look, too. Nihon Rikagaku chalkboard tape and chalk set, bunbougu cafe, chalkboard tape, Japanese office suppliesI picked up this Nihon Rikagaku black chalkboard tape set at bunbougu cafe last year. (The green tape in the top picture is also Nihon Rikagaku. I found that at the Paper Source Warehouse Sale, though it is not carried at Paper Source.) Nihon Rikagaku is another old Japanese company. They’ve been making chalk since 1937 and since 1960 they’ve hired adults with cognitive disabilities to work in their factories. (I didn’t know this at the time of my purchase, but it makes me want to look for more Nihon Rikagaku products on our next trip. You can find their basic chalk on Amazon!) Nihon Rikagaku chalkboard tape and chalk set, bunbougu cafe, chalkboard tape, Japanese office suppliesThe tape is made from Japanese washi paper and it’s coated so chalk can be erased easily. I’ve only used this on gifts (like it shows on the tiny package label) so far, but I think it would be a fun way to label things in our pantry.

 

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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 Royal Society of Venturesome Parcels

Letter Writers Alliance, RSVP mailings, Pigeon MailOnce in a blue moon, the Letter Writers Alliance will release a small subscription series called the Royal Society of Venturesome Parcels, or RSVP. It’s a four-week themed mailing of postal and vintage surprises. Most recently, the theme of the RSVP was Pigeon Fancier and I managed to get one of the subscriptions. There is so much mail love in the mailings…Donovan and Kathy really go all out curating the perfect items for each theme. And the design and the details–like the pigeon stamp and wax seal on the address label–just make it such a treat to find in your mailbox each week. Letter Writers Alliance, RSVP mailings, Pigeon MailLetter Writers Alliance, RSVP mailings, Pigeon MailThe first mailing included a Pigeon Fancier membership card. Subscribers received an email asking us what our pigeon’s name should be. I chose Dorothy Zbornak of Golden Girls fame. And there was a bag of tea (that I haven’t tried yet) and a bag of delicious coffee, too.  Letter Writers Alliance, RSVP mailings, Pigeon MailAnd! There was a pigeon espresso cup! (I believe it’s made by Circa Ceramics here in Chicago.) Letter Writers Alliance, RSVP mailings, Pigeon MailThe second mailing was a sweet little box. This is what it looked like inside. Letter Writers Alliance, RSVP mailings, Pigeon MailThere was a pigeon patch, two tiny pigeon rubber stamps, a pigeon washi tape, and a pigeon tape dispenser. (OK, it looks more like a dove, but you get the idea…)Letter Writers Alliance, RSVP mailings, Pigeon MailThe third mailing was Dorothy’s papers. It arrived in a personalized kraft folder with some pigeon stamps. Letter Writers Alliance, RSVP mailings, Pigeon MailInside, there was a stack of vintage pigeon awards and diplomas that can be used in mail art (or added to my paper collection.) Letter Writers Alliance, RSVP mailings, Pigeon MailAnd, Dorothy has her own personalized stationery…she will be penning a letter shortly. Letter Writers Alliance, RSVP mailings, Pigeon MailThe final mailing–surprise!–was Dorothy herself! Donovan’s calligraphy adorned a banner on the top of the box. Letter Writers Alliance, RSVP mailings, Pigeon MailEach pigeon was hand painted according to our specifications. (I requested a blue pigeon based on this information.) For now, Dorothy is living on my (messy desk) but I have plans to hang a shelf for some of my mail things and she’ll probably live there. Or maybe I’ll mail her someday…

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Write On Party

Photo on 4-23-17 at 4.26 PM, Write On GuestsLast Sunday I had a few people over for a letter writing party. I ordered the Party Pack, which was kind of a party-in-a-box with pens, confetti, and Write On packs for everyone, along with other goodies like a printable invitation, a letter writing themed playlist, and a Write On calendar and tote. air mail envelope garland, Write On party set-up 4, National letter writing monthI hung some vintage air mail envelopes and a Japanese air mail kakejiku (hanging scroll) from the ceiling and I strung up a few more air mail envelopes to make a garland. Write On party set-up 1, National letter writing month Write On party set-up 1, National letter writing monthI covered the table in kraft paper and sprinkled the confetti along with some mail things from my collection. Each person got a Write On kit and a little brochure about letter writing. Write On party set-up 3, National letter writing monthOn the stereo, I had all of my mail themed rubber stamps and washi tapes along with some extra air mail envelopes, postcards, and my new Mr. Zip book. (He deserves his own blog post!) Write On Party, envelope pies, letter writing treatsFor snacks, I made a pot of tea and put out some Trader Joe’s truffles, some Japanese Happy Turn crackers, and I made these little envelope pies. I found the idea here–they were so easy and even though mine looked rather imperfect, they were a really fun addition to the simple menu. write On party guests, National letter writing month write On party guests, National letter writing monthIt was a relaxing afternoon of chatting and letter writing. We all really wrote letters! (I finished two!!) My only regret is that we didn’t have Naoto take a picture of us writing in action, but we got a fun group shot using Photo Booth (at the top.) I think I’ve said this before, but I love letter socials. Obviously letter writing is a good solitary activity, but sometimes it’s interesting to get together and share our hobby in person.

I’m a little sad Write On is over, but the letter writing shall continue! I managed (thanks to a solid push to the finish line last night) to finish 31 postcards and letters and I’ve replied to everyone from my pile of overdue mail…whew! I need to give myself a pep talk to keep that momentum going in May!

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Letter Month, The End.

Month of Letters, Letter Month, mailing from West Loop, Sawada Coffee, blue box, USPSHow did your Letter Month go? I have to admit, I crawled towards the finish line. Not making and sending a bunch of Valentines really messed with my mojo for this project. And I’ve been feeling very boring lately, even though I’ve been busy this month, so letters aren’t coming easily. Meh. Thanks to everyone who sent me mail this month! You guys were the light at the end of the tunnel because I wanted to make sure I responded to all of the mail I received in February (as the original Letter Month rules suggest.)

I tried to take a picture of my hand “feeding a mailbox” each day so please enjoy some of my favorite shots from the month. IMG_8739IMG_8645IMG_8821IMG_8391 2IMG_8633letter month, feed your mailbox

Good things:

  • I sent a few packages this month and it’s been fun to play with stamp combinations and mail art on tiny boxes.
  • I did mail at least one item for every day of February. I missed one day completely (but made up for it the following day by writing two letters.)
  • I am all caught up on my mail pile!
  • I enjoyed clicking on the #lettermo hashtag on Instagram to see what other people were doing throughout the month.
  • A package I sent to Danielle weighed 12.9 ounces, a mere 0.1 ounce under the 13 ounce weight limit for mailing a package from a blue box. It was a mail miracle!

My totals for the month:

  • 19 letters/cards
  • 9 postcards
  • 3 international letters/postcards
  • 3 packages
  • 34 total mailings

Aaaaaaand off to mail my first card for March.

 

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Don’t Be Cruel Valentines

img_8621I only made a few Valentines this year. (I got behind in planning as usual.) I made a few Elvis Presley Valentines and a few MY Presley Valentines. For the Elvis ones, I started with my usual heart cards and stamped them with some hearts. Then I used my vintage DYMO label maker for the words “Don’t be cruel.” I added an Elvis sticker. (Ah, that gold lamé suit is fantastic, right?) On the back, I wrote “Be mine.” (Get it? Don’t be cruel, be mine?) Easy and kind of cheesy…perfect.img_8622
For my Presley-the-cat fan friends, I made cards using A2 cards and some pictures of Presley hanging out with Yeti holding our special Presley patch. I added “Presley loves you” with my DYMO on some and “P *heart* Y” with Thickers on others.img_8627img_8628img_8643They were fun to make and, even though some will be late, I suppose a little message of love is well received all month long, right?

 

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Mail Totals for 2015

2016 mail so far,How is January almost over? Before we move too far into 2016, and before we get into Letter Month, I wanted to share my mail totals for 2015. Last year was the first year I’ve kept track of what I sent and how much I spent on postage.

daily mail trackingEach day I write on my daily calendar page what I sent out and how much the postage cost. On this particular day, I sent out three letters, four international postcards (for a postcard swap I participated in), and one U.S. postcard. tracking mail sent each monthThroughout the month, I tally up the total number of U.S. letters, international mail (letters and postcards cost the same, so I lumped them into the same category), U.S. postcards, and packages I sent that month.tracking mail sent each month, tracking mail spendingThen, at the end of the month, I total up the number of pieces sent and the cost for the month and write it on the monthly page of my calendar.

My totals for 2015:

$231.41*

U.S. Letters: 213

International (Postcards & Letters): 31

U.S. Postcards: 63

Packages: 9

Letters & Postcards Sent from Japan: 26

Total Mail: 342

Not too shabby, right? My best month was December (no surprise) with fifty-six, but February wasn’t far behind with fifty-one. And September was the worst with a piddly FIVE pieces of mail leaving my mailbox. Womp, womp!

This week, I’m trying to respond to all of the mail I’ve received since the start of 2016 (some is pictured at the top) so I can start Letter Month on a clean slate. Wish me luck!

How’s your mailbox so far this year?

 

*This total does not include the cost of postage of mail sent from Japan.

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2016 New Year’s Postcards

Adami Hasegawa New Years postcards 2016After buying Japanese New Year cards (nengajo) for the past two years, I decided to try making my own for 2016. They were pretty simple…so simple that I made a stack of fifty! So far, I’ve sent out about half of those. Adami Hasegawa New Years postcards 2016, 2I started with some A2 Paper Bag flat cards as my base. Last summer, I picked up a traditional nengajo stamp at a (yet-to-be-blogged-about) stamp shop in Kyoto and I was happy to get to use it for these cards. I embossed the Japanese characters and then added my Greetings from Illinois, LWA member, and a giant 2016 in blue, red, and gold inks. I added a quick message to each card. Adami Hasegawa New Years postcards 2016, nengajo, Japanese washi tapeOn the front side, I added a strip of Japanese patterned washi tape and a label. It feels good to start off the year with good mail momentum!

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Thanksgiving Mail

Thanksgiving Inviation 2015, paper leaves, vintage ledger paper, vintage Avery metallic tape, Japanese stampI finally finished my Thanksgiving invitation…about three hours before Thanksgiving. I wasn’t feeling very inspired in November but I really wanted the invitation to include the vellum ledger paper and vintage Avery metallic tape I bought on Instagram. (Note: Vintage paper sales on Instagram are very addictive. And fun.)

I always try to add a quote to our Thanksgiving invitations. (Here’s a list of some favorites.) “Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way” is a Native America saying and I love how optimistic it is. I typed it out on a leaf that I cut from patterned paper and layered it with some other leaves from my stash. I added a strip of the vellum and a bit of the tape and a Japanese stamp. Done, right? Well, no. I had to make a mess of things and try to stamp the year on the top with my giant number stamp. But I didn’t press down hard enough and the numbers were messed up so I had to write over the numbers…anyway…I’m trying not to dwell on the numbers…or the fact that I handed the invitation to my parents when they walked in the door on Thanksgiving Day…Thanksgiving mail, vintage book pages, mail artI did send some other Thanksgiving mail. A few weeks ago I attended the LWA letter social at my library and there were some vintage books available for mail art. I had too much fun choosing images for mail art. And when I didn’t use vintage paper, I had fun using postage stamps and turkey stickers to jazz things up. (That Write More Letters postcard is from Craftgasm. I added the turkey.) Thanksgiving mail, vintage book pages, mail art Thanksgiving mail, vintage book pages, mail art 2 Thanksgiving mail, vintage book pages, mail art 3 Thanksgiving mail, vintage book pages, mail art 4And now…holiday card season begins. Once I finish decorating, that is.

Have you started your cards yet?

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KimBOOly HAUNTSegawa’s Mailbox

Paper Pastries Halloween MailMy mailbox was filled with a steady stream of Halloween mail last month. Margaret sent the package above, adorned with all of the fabulous spooky stamps of the post office’s history! Inside, there was a Halloween card and a tiny wooden casket filled with candy. I LOVE the creative use of the wax seals! Margaret wrote a blog post about creating the little candy caskets. Such a fun postal treat! I’m going to use the little casket in my Halloween decorating next year and I’m hoarding the envelope too. candy corn postcardSarah sent this fun see-through candy corn postcard. It was laminated into the postcard size, like the corn was floating. Japan Post Halloween postcardYuki sent this amazing Japan Post Halloween postcard. These seasonal cards are coveted by me and many other Japan Post lovers…I screamed with delight when I saw it in my mailbox! Japan Post Halloween postcardYuki sent the postcard in an envelope, but still used vintage stamps with special postmarks on the postcard. I’m sure the postcard will make a reappearance next year in my Halloween decorating. It’s too good to file away with my other mail. Halloween cardsAnd, above are the other sweet, charming, funny Halloween cards I received. punny addressesDanielle, who sent me two Halloween cards, addressed them in the BEST way! KimBOOOly Adami- HAUNTSegawa and KimberlEEK! ADOOMi-HAUNTED HOUSEegawa made me laugh for days. And that Parcel Ghost sticker–so good!

Thanks to everyone for making it a great mail month! Anyone else receive anything spooky in your mailbox?

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