While hunting around on Simple Desktops, I found a whole collection of office supply themed desktop wallpapers. There’s lots of other simple, graphic wallpapers for fans for superheroes, space, color and pattern too. They are all free to download.
Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas Card time, isn’t it? The biggest trend in holiday cards is photo cards and the easiest way to do that is online. There are lots of possible services but I thought I’d give a shout out my recommendations (there’s a little plugging the firm as well).
First up is Tiny Prints. Their quality is top notch with unique, fresh designs. They’ve recently added foil stamped designs. They offer postcard, flats, folded and round cards as well as a range of die cut edges for each design. They are offering a 25% discount until November 28 so if you hope to use one of their fabulous designs (and save some money), you’ll have to act fast.
Minted is another personalized card company with some great looking, modern designs and this year, they are offering foil as well as the more common digital litho offered by the other companies. You can also choose from several different die cut shapes like wavy edges, rounded corners or tag shapes. They offer flat cards, folded cards and mini booklets. They have a 15% off sale through today: November 26.
Hallmark Personalized Greetings (plugging the firm!) offers a wide array of photo card options including the premium foil stamped designs and sleeved designs. They have multi-image and multi-panel designs as well as classic postcard styles and folded cards. Their are laser cut and ornament shaped cards with ribbon ties to hang like an ornament. Upload your address and have cards sent directly to your mailing list or have the stack sent to you and address them personally. Hallmark is offering 40% off all holiday cards through 12/26 with the offer code HOLIDAY40.
Hello Lucky offers some unique design elements, beautiful type and patterns but they don’t have a lot of the bling that the larger companies offer. A lot of their folded cards feature artwork on the cover with the option for a photo or newsletter on the inside so your family and friends can admire your handsome family or a simply lovely card. They have location-specific illustrations and silhouette skylines Chicago, Boston, New York, San Francisco, LA and London.
If what you want are photo-free, elegant, classic holiday cards, Crane & Co offer a selection of their boxed cards. Their cards are engraved, embossed and include lined envelopes.
Are you planning on sending cards this holiday? Have you chosen your cards yet? Addressed and stamped them? Are you making your own?
There were lots of hard-to-categorize bits of wonderfulness on the pen-blogospere this week including the epic link list from the Pen Addict Podcast Gift Guide Episode (#81) which is a link list onto itself.
- Pen Addict Podcast #81: You stole my Wish List Item featuring ME! with huge link list (via 5by5)
- Cut Once Heirloom Ruler on Kickstarter (via Office Supply Geek)
- Royal Visit: C.S. Lewis’s Royal Typewriter (via La Vie Graphite)
- Is it Ms. or Mrs.: The Crane’s Blue Book of Stationery (via My Pen Needs Ink)
Letter Writing and Post:
- Harry Potter USPS postage stamps! (via USPS)
- The Art of Letter-Writing Isn’t Lost on These Scribblers (via NPR)
- A4 in America (via Rhodia Drive)
- Rethinking the DIY Planner for 2014 (via A Penchant for Paper)
- Public Supply Noble Notebooks (via A Continuous Lean)
- Diamine Salamander (via FPQuest)
- J. Herbin Rouge Hematite Reviews (via No Pen Intended and These Beautiful Pens)
- Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki (via A Penchant for Paper)
- Inky Fingers? ReDuRan Is A Must Have For All Fountain Pen Users (via Unroyal Warrant)
- What’s Standard Rollerball Ink Made of? (via Gizmodo)
- Houston, We Are in the Pocket (via The Pen and the Paper)
- Pilot Prera Review and Giveaway (via From the Pen Cup)
- Ed Jelley’s Pen Inventory (via Ed Jelley)
- Kickstarter Visionnaire Review (via Dante Bertana)
- Kaweco Elite (via Pen Addict)
- TWSBI Vac 700 Oil & Lube (via FPQuest)
- Pen of the Year 2013 (via Gold Spot Pens)
Pardon my repeated turns to digital recently. As computers, cell phones and tablet devices are as much a part of our working life as pens, paper and staplers, I feel its worthwhile to include references occasionally.
- Pencil, digital stylus (via FiftyThree)
- Photoshop + Lightroom CC package is just $9.99/mo through 12/2/13 (via Adobe)
- What Screens Want (via Frank Chimero)
In case you missed the news last week, Field Notes announced the Winter Edition of the Colors Series called Cold Horizon. It is a another departure from the traditional Kraft cover version. This time the covers are a gradient blue and each of the three books are a slightly different gradient but they can be lined up to transition in color from one book to the next. The covers are a glossy coated stock this time to enhance the icy cold look. Inside is the standard Finch paper stock printed with grid marks and tinted in light blue, light green and cool gray — each book a different colored stock inside.
I think this edition is distinctively different from previous incarnations. I’ll be curious how people react to the new Field Notes Cold Horizon once they have it in hand. I need to renew my subscription ASAP to make sure I get at least one set to review and compare.
A set of three Cold Horizon Field Notes sell for $9.95. A year’s subscription is $97 and includes four quarterly editions, starting with the Cold Horizon, and a bonus 3-pack of Kraft mixed and a 3-pack of Kraft Grid.
Since I was unable to obtain a replacement for my Paperblanks planner, the folks at European Paper came to my rescue and sent me a Leuchtturm1917 large hard cover planner. Its a little smaller in size at 5.75 x 8.25″ (roughly A5) than the Paperblanks (7″x9″) but it still has plenty of room to write. It includes the week-on-one-page layout on the left with a lined page on the right which is the layout I wanted.
Inside the shrink-wrapped package was a sheet of stickers to label the spine and cover of the book, a history of Leuchtturm accordion-folded pamphlet, a sheet of white paper with lines on one side and a grid on the other, a separate address booklet and a thank you note. The white paper sheet can be put under the blank pages in the back “notes” section of the planner to accommodate either preference (brilliant!).
The Leuchtturm1917 planner uses the same ivory paper stock found in their regular notebooks and includes the guesseted pocket inside the back cover as well as the vertical elastic closure and ribbon bookmark. I tend to keep the elastic on the back cover while at work since my planner mostly sits on my desk. When I bundle it up to take it home over the weekend, then I use the elastic. Inside, there is a year-at-a-glance calendars for 2013-2015, a vertical monthly calendar (with moon phases), a spreadsheet chart of holidays (both US and international), and a project-planning grid for the whole year. In the back of the planner is about 28 pages of blank pages for notes.
In the weekly planning section, the right hand page features fine, very light grey lines, quite tightly spaced which I prefer and can be used for to-do lists, meeting notes or other weekly needs. Each weekly page starts with Monday. Saturday and Sunday share a slot at the bottom of the page. Since I mostly use my planner for work, its not a big deal for me but it might be a deal breaker for some folks who work weekends or whose work week starts on Sunday.
I tested the paper with an assortment of pens. I’m a little more lenient with the paper in my planners than I am with notebooks since lighter weight paper means a smaller, more portable book which is preferable. I don’t hold hopes that my planners will not bleed through or show through if I slap down 1.1mm stub nibs with bulletproof black ink and its not what I need it to do. If my assorted gel pens and the occasional fountain pen work, I’m satisfied and that’s where the Leuchtturm delivers… and then some.
From the reverse, there’s a little show through with the black Marvy Le Pen felt-tipped pen but all the gel and ballpoints kept their inkiness on the right side of the page. Even my fountain pens kept most of their business on the business side so that I can write in my planner when I need to, with whichever writing implement is in my hand.
I’m really psyched about the little address booklet that can be tucked into the pocket inside the back cover and allow me to keep a quick selection of addresses with me and handy.
The address book has tabs dividing the alphabet and provides lines and a two-column format but there is not additional text so if an address book is not useful for you, you can use it to store passwords, web site URLs, birthdays, or anything else.
Overall, this is a solid product. While its not flashy or overly fancy, it is a classic, utilitarian, German product — clean, precise, well-built.
European Paper sells the Leuchtturm1917 planner for $17.95 and offers three different cover color options: black, lavender and taupe.
I had to wait ages to get my hands on a few of the Morning Glory Mach 3 0.38mm liquid ink pens and, boy, am I glad I finally got them. I acquired three colors: lime green, red and blue-black. These are standard plastic, single-use capped pens with a metal, liquid ink/rollerball tip. The caps click when posted on the end of the pen so they don’t fall off while writing. It give the pen a nice weight as well. There is no fancy silicone grip area, just a bit of texture on the clear plastic at the grip.
Let’s talk about the wicked 0.38mm tips. My pen fandom started in high school when I first got to use a Pilot Precise V5 and I realized that not all pens were created equally. Now I know there are some flaws in the V5 — its leaky and a little gunky on the end — but they had a nice crisp point that writes well. So imagine a V5 on speed skates and you have an idea of the experience using a Mach 3. Its a needle point tip that’s much finer than a V5 and silkier too.
Now, should I mention that the Mach 3 is available in 13 colors though I question the usefulness of the flash yellow.
The Mach 3s write beautifully. Smooth. Great colors. The lime green is even a great useable shade. I love the blue-black! All hail, blue-black! At $2 each, there’s no reason not to pick up a few with your next order at Jet Pens. My next batch will definitely include the green, light blue and maybe a purple.