Spring Break!

Dancing vintage easter egg bunnies

The Desk is spending this week cavorting with nature, staring at the crab apple blossoms and skipping through fields of clover (… as soon as the snow stops. Stupid weather!).

Hope you are enjoying a little spring break and communing with nature yourself.

I’ll be back next Monday with lots of reviews, products and stories. Happy Easter!

(image via Bytes Daily)

This Just In: Papermate to Buy Kaweco

ppaermate-kaweco

Papermate, a division of Sanford and Rubbermaid, has announced that they are planning to purchase the German brand Kaweco in an effort to introduce the American market to upscale, fountain pens, mechanical pencils and refillable pens.

While not being described as a hostile takeover, the purchase is not without its controversy. Kaweco’s current owners, Herlitz, could not be reached for comment.

Cursive: Is it really that important?

thick pencil lettering

NPR recently did a report about the value of cursive in child’s brain development. By their best calculations, all fine motor skill activities are valuable to brain development, be it printing, cursive or keyboarding. But the best option is for kids to be doing all sorts of fine motor activities.

This story, however,  does not address the issue of legibility, speed of writing or not writing like a 6-year-old when you’re forty.

Opinions?

(via NPR.org)

Wired’s “Pro Tip”: Alvin Brass Bullet Sharpener

Wired Pro-Tip article

In this month’s issue of Wired magazine, there is a brief little article about the Alvin Brass Bullet pencil sharpener ($6.17 from our local art supply store, Creative Coldsnow). This dandy little brass, knurled sharpener features the all-important KUM blade. Simple, classic and 100% effective. Glad to see even the tech geeks see the value in a classic manual tool.

Typewriters on the Oscars

Penelope Cruz and Robert De Niro present at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES TAGS: ENTERTAINMENT) (OSCARS-SHOW)

Penelope Cruz and Robert De Niro present at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES TAGS: ENTERTAINMENT) (OSCARS-SHOW)

I’ve been scouring the internet trying to get some information about the typewriters used as a backdrop in last night’s Oscars broadcast during the Best Writing categories. Did you see them? I haven’t been able to find any information about the typewriters, who owns them or where they came from (the Museum The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, maybe?). If anyone finds any information, please leave a note in the comments.

Somehow, in my searching, I found this photo instead:

 ( New York Public Library ) Nine women pose on a really big typewriter on display at the Underwood Elliott Fisher Exhibit at the New York World's Fair, 1939-40.

( New York Public Library )
Nine women pose on a really big typewriter on display at the Underwood Elliott Fisher Exhibit at the New York World’s Fair, 1939-40.

Thank you, internet non sequitur.

News: Planner Camp

PlannerCamp-Header

Planner Camp is an online class, forum and resources to help you create your own planner to organize and plan your perfect year. Planner Camp starts on Monday and costs $49US. Some of the topics and features of the project include:

  • Three weeks of private posts, tips and video tutorials
  • Access to a private student Facebook Group
  • Pre-designed planner templates for you to customize into your perfect planner, fast!
  • Weekly video based lessons on customizing the planner templates using Adobe InDesign ®.
    Don’t have it? Don’t worry! Check the FAQ for details on the affordable month to month access option & 30 Day Free Trial.
  • Pre-designed templates that are customized to work with two tried & true binding systems: Filofax ® (A5 size) & M by Staples™ Arc Customizable Notebooks (Junior size).
  • Advice for printing at home or working with a professional printer, including strategies to minimize costs.
  • Unique design ideas to help you create a year built around your values & passions! From taking great care of yourself to accomplishing your goals, feeling fabulous, and having as much fun as you can dream up.
  • Weekly open office hours for one-on-one student questions, design support and troubleshooting.

(via Freckled Nest)

Top 10 Most Popular Posts for 2013

top10 posts from 2013

Here’s a  round-up up the most popular posts from 2013 that appeared here on The Desk.

  1. The Great Beginner Fountain Pen Debate
  2. Customizing a Midori Traveler Notebook
  3. Pilot Metropolitan Review
  4. TWSBI Mini Review
  5. Bullet Journal
  6. Piccadilly Essential Notebook
  7. Pipe Desk Building Plans
  8. Midori Traveler Star Edition
  9. Classroom Friendly Sharpener
  10. Kaweco Student Fountain Pen

I’m surprised to see the Bullet Journal and the Pipe Desk in the top ten but they are both great things to know. Thanks to all of you for continuing to read my reviews, leaving great comments and feedback and inspiring me with your own adventures in paper, ink and writing tools.

Happy New Year to all and happy writing!

White House Calligraphy Office

calligraphy-office-2008-nw

I stumbled upon this video from the inflammatory article published earlier this year about how much the presidential calligraphers earn each year. While they may make more money than most of us, the skills they have are unquestionable.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I think this classic hand lettering skill should be preserved especially when its done for the President for State Dinners and other official events.I can’t imagine getting an invitation to dinner at the White House whipped out on someone’s ink jet printer, can you?

I spoke with a friend who works as a professional calligrapher (not at the White House) who said that the team that the team that work at the White House work under intense pressure, often having to letter 200+ place cards in a day or two for an official event. They also work with very strict expectations for the style of calligraphy they do. the whole office is staffed by one chief calligrapher and two deputy calligraphers — a total staff of three.

I think its worth whatever these folks are being paid. That being said, Politifact did their homework and the calligraphers salary is not so disproportionate to other staffers with uniquely specialized skills (the Social Secretary makes $118K).

calligraphy-office-2008-ne

In the video, you can see one of the calligraphers (a left-hander!) working on a certificate. He is a third generation White House employee. Watch the video for details.

Do you think the White House should continue to employ calligraphers?