Bookbinders – a Stationery Addict’s Dream

Bookbinders is Brisbane’s own fabulous little stationery shop, and it’s not too far from where I work. Last week, I stopped by to check it out. Owners Leanne, Roger and Michael took me for a tour and answered all my questions. When Leanne used the word ‘toothy‘ to describe paper, my heart knew it was among friends.

Bookbinders stationery shop is sure to warm the hearts of all true pen and paper lovers. The owners are the real deal — Roger and Michael are both bookbinders by trade. They stock a huge range of premium products, from Midori Traveler notebooks and accessories to Pilot Prestige pens.

For stationery addicts outside of southeast Queensland, check out Bookbinders’ online store, but Brisbanites should definitely visit. While you’re there, check out Bookbinder’s charmingly old-world Kingsley Hot Stamping Machine (shown right) for monogramming notebooks.

Paper – Canvas of Dreams

My resolve not to buy another notebook crumbled when I saw the Field Notes steno book. It’s a handy size to carry around, and its sturdy cover will stand up even to handbag punishment. The spiral binder is at the top, comfortably out of the way no matter which side of the page you write on. The ivory paper is lined and divided into two columns with an attractive but unobtrusive shade of tan.

Bookbinders also carry paper products — toothy and otherwise — by Apica, Fabio Ricci, Hugo Boss, Midori Traveler, Tomoe River, and their own brand.

Fountain Pens – Swanky Word Swords

They cater to every pen budget, with a range that spans from the economical, everyday-carry type to the swoon-worthy, high-end fountain pens.

At AU$9.90, Pilot Preppy fountain pens are a good everyday carry solution. A Preppy is cheap enough that you won’t worry about losing or dropping it. I’d heard that fine nibs made in Asia are finer than European fine nibs, but it’s crazy how much finer. The 0.3 will be perfect for my planner, where I prefer tiny writing in a crisp line to keep everything neat. My next Preppy will be a 0.5 medium as the 0.3 is a little too scratchy (and not juicy enough) for my taste and writing speed.

Ink – Writers’ Elixir

Some stationery shops tuck the ink bottles and samples in a tantalising display behind the counter, out of reach. Not so at Bookbinders. They let customers handle the ink. If you’ve longed to experience the entire scintillating  range of Iroshizuku inks, stop by for a play at their display desk.

Especially cool is Bookbinders’ own brand, Snake Ink. It comes in nifty packaging — a tiny burlap bag like a snake catcher uses. Each shade is named after a species of snake.

I admit it — I was a sucker for their motto:

SNAKE INK: Cures Writers’ Block

Yes, thank you. I’ll take three. I demonstrated some restraint and bought only one colour, a gorgeous grey shade called Ground Rattler. It has a lovely pencil look to it.

I love the branding!

The Ink Miser kit consists of a shot glass and pipette (new word for me. I had to ask Michael to spell it for me. It’s a dropper with a long, flexible tube). The kit makes refilling fountain pens easier and tidier, and it prevents wastage.

*Sigh* Ink … It’s almost magical. It makes me want to write and write and write. Check out my Pinterest board, Writers’ Elixir, which features dreamy inks and writing implements.

Stationery – Necessities, of course!

I couldn’t resist the Maste washi tape with the tumbling pandas. Nor could I say no to the Midori pug-shaped brass paperclips. Swoon!

But the coolest discovery was the mini Midori tape measure. Smaller than one inch square, it’s the perfect size to tuck into a wallet.

Desk-cessories – aka Mind Declutterers

My favourite find was the Landscape Desk Organiser, a clever metal box with lids that come in a variety of ‘terrains’ or surfaces. I picked the business card holder style. It’s currently my glasses and pen perch. I have the annoying habit of leaving my reading glasses in silly spots and even losing them on my desk under papers and notebooks. So far the Landscape organiser is helping. Inside I’ve stashed frequently used items, like paperclips, rubber bands and lip balm. These are currently (at time of posting) on sale for a fantastic discount, so get in quick!

The Verdict

I plan to go back and pick the brains of the owners. I’d love to learn more about their monogramming machine and find out what makes bookbinders tick. I have lots more to learn and share about ink too, so watch this space!

Over to You

Do you have a favourite pen, ink or notebook? Does ink inspire you? Do you like traditional colours (blue-black), fun colours (crimson) or earthy (chestnut). Guess which I prefer!

Photo Credits

With the exception of the top photo, all images come from Bookbinders.com.au with the permission of the owners.

The photographer is Millyjane

World Stationery Day Celebrations

Fabulous Mail Art

Fabulous Mail Art

World Stationery Day? Sounds like my kind of holiday! There was no way I was going to let such an occasion pass without revelling in (and possibly pushing) my addiction to paper products and desk-cessories.

While a day devoted to the love of stationery may seem frivolous, it provides a perfect opportunity to teach young people:

  • The art (and conventions) of correspondence
  • The usefulness of handwriting in the Keyboard Age
  • The history of mail and philately
  • Pen pal nostalgia
  • And so much more: mail art, epistolary novels, …

It’s surprising how many teenagers don’t know how to address an envelope or know where to stick the stamp. Sadly, many have never experienced the simple enjoyment of receiving a handwritten letter just for them.

Lunchtime Letter Writing Frenzy

Students feasted from a smorgasbord of stationery delights. The green and white envelope (centre) was made on the day.

Students feasted from a smorgasbord of stationery delights. The green and white envelope (centre) was made on the day.

To exploit the opportunity, I teamed up with the teacher-librarians at the secondary school where I work to host a Lunchtime Letter Writing Frenzy.

The librarians created a gorgeous display that featured books about letter writing and calligraphy, artfully lettered envelopes, and stationery samples. We even offered a tempting selection of free stationery and printables to choose from.

I collated some letter writing resources to teach the basic conventions of letter writing. Australia post offers some straightforward guides on how to write a personal letter and how to address an envelope, which I laminated for each table.

Hands-On Fun

I made these! The green one printer paper embellished with washi tape. The other is double-sided scrapbooking paper.

I made these! The green one is printer paper embellished with washi tape. The other is double-sided scrapbooking paper.

The students selected the letter writing paper from a choice of Kiki-K papers, fancy aerograms, and printables. We had fun helping the students decide who to write to and what to write about.

To add a crafty element, I set up a Make-Your-Own Envelope station, using a scrapbooker’s envelope punch board. With a range of stickers and some washi tape,  it was irresistible. The students loved making their own envelope out of a sheet of coloured printer paper.

I invited a Year 12 student to demonstrate some gorgeous lettering and calligraphy. The students could address their own envelope or give it to her to do something fancy.

Everyone who completed a letter and addressed an envelope correctly earned a novelty eraser. The best part was the fun wasn’t over when the bell rang. We encouraged everyone to  mail the letters to see if they get a letter in return. I hope they do, so they can discover the fun of snail mail correspondence.

Extensions Galore

My writing group, The Inklings of NCC, helped host the event. In our meetings in the lead up, we learned about epistolary novels and the fascinating  possibilities of using diary entries, letters, and other media to tell a story. We had a go at telling a compelling story in letter format.

There are some wonderful MG and YA epistolary novels out there. Here are a few to consider. (If you have a favourite, please share in the comments!)xthe-absolutely-true-diary-of-a-part-time-indian.jpg.pagespeed.ic.z3oprjSbp0

At the end of a fun and frantic lunchtime event, I am more convinced than ever that World Stationery Day is not frivolous at all.

Image Credit

Mail Art 52, by Tamarka, CC BY-SA 2.0

New Year, New MochiThings Planner

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 3.42.01 pmThere’s nothing like starting a new year with a fresh diary. All those empty pages, waiting to be filled with the dreams and designs and fun of an unfolding year.

Despite being digital-calendar-dependent, I still revert to a hard-copy scheduler for month-to-month planning. There’s something about the act of writing it down that helps me macro-manage my time, and I like the bird’s-eye view of a whole month spread out in front of me. It’s an essential tool for writers and bloggers as far as I’m concerned.

IMG_0427Last year, I used MochiThings‘s Iconic Desk pad. Each page of the dateless pad has a blank monthly grid and an elegant design down the right side. I use that space to write summaries of the past month and alerts for the month ahead.

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Deco Stickers to highlight dates.

Fine (.28) gel pens, petite deco stickers, and washi tape turn the blank calendar into a colourful,effective planning tool.

 

The transparent deco stickers are a fun way to keep track of writing progress. Yellow spots mark my Spilling Ink posts and pink ones mark e-Quipped. The book-spine washi tape (pictured below and sold here) highlights literary events, while other washi tape indicates important dates, like submission deadlines and holidays. At the end of the month, I archive the sheet for record keeping.

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Washi Tape with books!

The one downfall of the Iconic pad is that it’s meant to use on a desk, so it wasn’t the best thing to carry to meetings and so forth. I decided I’d upgrade to a more portable planner.

I went straight back to the MochiThings website because of their enormous selection and fantastic website. They have something for everyone, even über-picky shoppers like me. Here’s my planner checklist:

Size:

  • Big enough for info and stickers
  • Small enough to fit in my laptop sleeve
  • Room for notes

Sturdiness:

  • Heavy duty cover
  • Rounded corners to prevent dog-earing
  • Protective sleeve for portability

Appearance:

  • Able open flat
  • Stitched binding (Spiral binding makes hard to write on the left page, and spines prevent the page lying flat)
  • No distracting graphics or weird sayings
  • Stylish design — not too plain, not too prissy

Ahem…Like I said: über-picky. (You should see my specs for notebooks and pens!)

A Foxy 2016 Scheduler

After losing half a day to browsing the MochiThings website and blog, I found the perfect scheduler for this year. The 2016 Ardium MonthlyPlanner for US$14.95. Out of an array of gorgeous designs, I chose the Mustard Fox. Very cute, and it ticks all the boxes above—especially the style box. Foxes AND mustard. Gah…

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A close runner-up was the Molang Scheduler. It includes weekly as well as monthly pages, and it comes with a set of cute stickers of Molang (a cuddly monster or a fat bunny?). The spiral binding sits at the top of the calendar, where it won’t get in the way. In the end it was a tiny bit too small for my handwriting, so I picked the slightly larger Ardium. Molang is a  blank calendar, so it can be started any month of any year. A set of bright date stickers will make it pop.

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Hmmm…I still like this one a lot. I hope I’ve made the right choice!

My third pick was the Scheduler Kit for $19.95. It comes with a Medium Monthly Planner (below), a sticky note set, a stick-on diary pocket, a set of date stickers, and a 2015/2016 calendar sticker set. All of the items can be bought separately, and the Medium Monthly Planner comes in a variety of sizes. I prefer large one.

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Whooo Needs Accessories?

My 2015 Panda calendar stickers are going into retirement to make way for the Owls of 2016. These Owl Deco Stickers are a hoot. They’re probably a little large for use in a planning calendar, but Whooo cares?

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MochiThingsOwlStickers

And these little Owl Index Stickers are adorable.

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Back to School Bonanza

The end of January means it’s back-to-school time in Australia. For first time in nearly twenty years, I didn’t have to order a huge haul of stationery for the school year. It’s a good thing, because I’d have a hard time resisting MochiThings’s School Collection. Look at the adorable fringed backpack stuffed with all kinds of goodies–pretty notebooks, a whole Roy-G-Biv of gel pens, stickers, pencil cases, and more. $199.

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What a haul of goodies! Forget the planner–I want to go back to school!

Check out Tumblr for the MochiThings Blog.

Stationery Fiends, Anyone?

Does new stationery make you weak in the knees? Tell us what desk-cessory or paper product you can’t do without.

MochiThings images used with permission

Cute Stationery Gifts Galore!

Stationery, office supplies, school supplies–or (the term I’ve coined) Desk-cessories. No matter the name for this category of stuff, I crave it! Paper products bring on a swoon. Lovely pens leave me breathless. Beautifully appointed desks make me go ga-ga.

Better Together Note Pouch | Be still, my beating heart!

MochiThing’s Better Together Note Pouch | Be still, my beating heart!

Just looking at this photo of MochiThing‘s Better Together Note Pouch triggers furious flood of dopamine in my brain. Sigh.

Hi, I’m Alison and I am a hoarder of notebooks, a collector of pens, a shameless drooler for desk gear. Go ahead: Call me stationery-addicted. I don’t care. Just hand over the damn stickers/stapler/sticky tape dispenser, and no one gets hurt.

Suppliers for My Next Fix

photo (12)

Screen Shot of my iPad

I have a dealer to satisfy every paper-product urge: Classy-Fine, Fancy-Pantsy, Artsy-Fartsy, even Cutesy. I keep my black book of suppliers in a folder on my iPad called “Paper Fix.” In it are about twenty links to pen and paper merchants’ websites around the globe. (Don’t judge me! Plenty of women do the same thing for handbags, shoes, and make-up. Anyway, a biro is a lot cheaper than a Coach bag!)

Need a Cute Fix?

Nobody does cute stationery like MochiThings. Today, I’d like to share a few cute items from the MochiThings collection. Any stationery lover will enjoy adding these items to her (probably not his, sorry guys) desk top or pencil case. Below are the Spilling Ink picks, with a couple of bookish items to start off.

MochiThings Cuteness Overload

Planner with a Fairy Tale Flavour

Cute Stationery MochiThings

Who says your daily planner has to be dreary? This Alice in Wonderland Planner is packed with gorgeous features. A durable hard cover, an elastic band to keep it closed in your handbag, and, best of all, lots of stickers to brighten your day. It’s dateless, so it can be started any time.

Fairy Tale Phone Wallet

Cute Stationery MochiThings

You can coordinate your planner with this cute Alice phone case for iPhone 5. It comes in Alice in Wonderland or Le Petit Prince. The wallet includes slots for three cards and a place to stash a couple of notes or business cards.

Pretty Ruled Notebooks

Cute Stationery MochiThings

Any school student would love to start the year with a few of these funky printed notebooks. They’d make a writer happy too!

These Sticky Notes are Too Cute!

Cute Stationery MochiThings

Use these Matroyshka Sticky Notes to mark pages when you’re reading or to decorate your planner.

Cable Holders

Cute stationery MochiThings

No more rooting around under your desk in search of wayward cables. These cute self-adhesive Rabbit Ear Cable Holders will lock them in place on your desk surface.

MochiThings – More Than a Cute Face!

 

 Basic Monthly Planner

Cute Stationery MochiThings

This Medium Monthly Planner is basic but oh-so-handy. No frills, just page after page of empty planning space. I’m getting one of these to do my blog planning in 2015.

Super Handy Purse Organiser

extra_large_slim_purse_organizer

MochiThings doesn’t only do cute–they also specialise in functional. Tame the black hole in your handbag with this wonderful Slim Handbag Insert. You won’t believe the stuff you can fit into it. This one is at the top of my Christmas list! (Santa, take note!)

Gifts that Satisfy Paper Urges

Quell your cute cravings at MochiThings–or better yet, equip your favourite writer with some fresh desk-cessories because…

…Happiness is a well-appointed desk (and fully kitted out pencil-case.)

Images of products are used with permission from MochiThings.