Ask The Desk: ID Protection Stamps

Ask The Desk Header

Sandy asks:

Think this is good idea?
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I assume the question regards any sort of blotting stamp for security purposes. Folks seem to like these as an alternative to paper shredders as they are smaller, quieter and portable for obscuring personal information on printed material. While shredding makes sense for a lot of papers, sometimes you just want to throw those credit card offers in the trash and the only incriminating information is your address. A quick stamp, stamp, stamp might be enough to make it possible to throw the papers in the recycle bin.

The general term to describe these stamps is ID protection stamps or ID Guard stamps. I definitely think that the Max Korkoro model, with the rolling stamp and ability to refill the ink easily makes a good option. The price for any ID protection stamp seems to be about $10 which seems reasonable.

The only thing I don’t know looking at the photos and description is whether the ink is water resistant when dry. That would be the winning feature. If its water-soluble, then someone might be able to wash the ink off reveal your address or account numbers.

So I suppose I ought to order one and put it to the test, huh?

Timbuk2 Terracycle Mail Bag Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Terracycle Mail Messenger

Ever wanted a bag made form old USPS mail bags? Well, now’s your chance. Timbuk2 has introduced the Terracycle messenger bag made from old canvas mail bags. Each bag is unique and this option will only be available for a limited time. They are available in small ($99) or the medium ($109) and in original white canvas or in an overdyed brown (seems more UPS than USPS, but who am I to judge?).

I REALLLLLLLLYYYYY want one.

Timbuk2 Terracycle Mail Messenger in brown

Paper Pastries’ Custom Return Address Stamps

Paper Pastries Custom Return Address Rubber Stamp

Paper Pastries just created some new custom, hand-lettered return address stamps featuring animal silhouettes. Margaret asked if I’d be a volunteer address for her new creations since she knows I’m a cat lover. She created a lovely hand-lettered rubber stamp with my return address inside a big fluffy cat silhouette. Looks like my big ol’ Maine Coon Milo!

Paper Pastries has a dozen different, animal designs available: cats in various poses,  dog silhouettes, and even a bunny! Or you can send her a clear photo of your pet to be turned into a custom silhouette stamp. Then she’ll hand letter your address and make this fabulous wood, art block stamp for you. Each stamp will cost $70 but they are original designs, made just for you and, seeing one in person, it’s clear that its a great value.

Paper Pastries also has state silhouettes, custom calligraphy and unique hand-lettered rubber stamps available as well.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Paper Pastries for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Kickstarter: Tiletto

Tiletto

By now, I’m sure you’ve probably already heard about the Tiletto. Tiletto is a Kickstarter project that’s a multi-function letter opener made from titanium, of course. It can also be used as a bottle opener (my favorite additional feature), hex wrench, straight edge, pry bar, box opener, and the list goes on. Its durable, functional and pretty elegant looking. You can get in on the ground floor for $30. The project has just eleven days left.

More Than Just Pens

Washi Tape from JetPens

Sometimes I forget there’s more to JetPens than just pens. I recently went on a hunt for some cool non-pen goodies on Jet Pens. First, Jet Pens is now stocking an assortment of washi tape. I got a roll of MT red cross tape  ($4) and a roll of Pine Book Nami Nami deco tape which has keys and locks printed on it and a wavy edge ($3.65).

MT is THE original brand of washi tape and the best quality by far. The printing on the tape is always very good and its stickier than some of the other brands. I do hope that Jet Pens continues to stock the MT tapes and offers a wider selection of prints and sizes in the future. Those $3 and $4 rolls are a great way to bump up to that free shipping and great for adding a little color to your workspace, notebooks and letters.

Kurochiku Japanese Pattern Eco-Bags Sugar Candy

I also decided to try out the Kurochiku Japanese Pattern Eco-Bag ($10). There were about a dozen different patterns to choose from but I chose the simplest which was navy blue with colored dots on it. The pattern is Konpeitou which translated to “Sugar Candy”. I guess the dots do look like little candies.

This is one of those reusable shopping bags that fold up into a small carrying case. The carrying case was pretty heavy duty with the same fabric as the bag with a padded lining. The actual bag is shaped like a traditional tote bag (a big rectangle) with straight straps and a wide gusseted bottom which will allow it to hold lots of books, groceries or other shopping goodies. The material is considerably heavier duty nylon than other reuasble bags I’ve had and the seams are all nicely finished. I can definitely see using this for a long time. It seems durable enough to stand up to a trip through the washing machine if it gets dirty.

I might have a little trouble refolding it properly to fit back into the carrying case but I’ll cram it back in for awhile. All in all, I’m quite impressed with the bag and can see why its $10 and not $1.99. It is made to look good and last.

Kurochiku Japanese Pattern Eco-Bags Sugar Candy

So, there’s more to Jet Pens than just pens. Happy shopping (and don’t forget to bring your own bag)!

Review: G. Lalo’s Vergé de France Writing Pad

G. Lalo Writing Pad

For some time now, I’ve kept and ear and an eye open for good quality writing paper for letter writing. Stationery (not note cards) is getting harder and harder to find so I’m always on the look out for it. I’m familiar with the French line G. Lalo but had not tried out their paper until recently. It’s a textured paper with a classic laid finish which gives it some toothiness. I was concerned the toothiness would cause ink to bleed or skip but I should have expected that an upscale French paper would be as luxurious as it sounds.

G. Lalo Writing Pad

I’ve used  the G. Lalo Vergé de France pad for a couple weeks to write letters and found it easy to write on. The pad is a standard A5 size (5.75 x 8.25″) with a glue edge at the top to easily tear away sheets. Each pad had a cardstock cover with a metallic finish and gold embossed logo. It folds back easily. Each pad has 50 sheets.

The pad I purchased is listed as white but I found the stock to be a warm white/ivory color which is pleasingly warm but not so dark as to alter ink colors dramatically. The paper is blank but I use an undersheet with lines or grid under it to keep my lines neat and straight.

G. Lalo Writing Pad

The best thing about the paper is that not one single fountain pen I tried on it bled or splined or did anything untoward. This is THE paper for writing letters for sure. The paper is thick enough (100 gsm)  to use both the front and reverse of the stock too so its economical — relatively speaking.

I purchased my pad at Patrick & Co. Office Supply in San Francisco but can be purchased online through European Paper for $11.50/pad (if you purchase two or more, the price drops to $11) and they stock a range of colors including a lovely pistachio green. I might have to grab another pad. Matching envelopes are also available.

Link Love of Epic Proportions!

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Writing & Letter-Writing:

Paper & Notebooks:

Notecards for All

Clockwise from top left:

Clockwise from top left: Long Overdue Notecard Set ($19.99), Pendleton Greetings Notecards ($14.99), Terrarium of Expertise notecards ($9.99) and Art of Instruction Notecards  ($19.99). All sets from Chronicle Books via ModCloth.

In the last week of InCoWriMo and A Month of Letters, I am seriously starting to deplete my stash of writing paper and notecards. While I love florals and pretty cards, I have a lot of male correspondents and prefer to send cards they might find appealing. I think Chronicle Books is great at providing a great range of  looks in their notecards, postcards and stationery so I picked out a few favorites. I love the Art of Instruction postcards full of vintage botanical illustrations, maps and anatomy sketches. The Pendelton set is all deep colors and classic blanket patterns — a toasty note for this endless winter in the Northern Hemisphere. I spotted the Long Overdue notecard set in the faux card catalog box while in San Francisco but knew I would never be able to fit it in my suitcase so I’m delighted to find it online. Its filled with reproductions of Library of Congress card catalog cards and the box is perfect for storing incoming letters once the cards are used up. The painted terrarium notecard set is a little more feminine but quirky and fun with great diecut shapes.

Clockwise from top left: Typewriter Notes, Woodcut notes, Cheers Notes and Rex Ray notes. All from Chronicle Books.

Clockwise from top left: Typewriter Notes ($14.95), Woodcut notes from Princeton Architectural Press ($15.95), Cheers Notes ($12.95)  and Rex Ray notes ($14.95). All from Chronicle Books.

I found even more notecards I liked at the Chronicle Books site including one of my favorite artist’s Rex Ray. The Woodcut, Cheers and Typewriter sets all have wide appeal that both men and women might like. Chronicle Books also offers more stationery sets and postcards than I can possibly list here. Check out their site or visit your favorite shops to find more great postal inspiration.

Hope these inspire you to start, finish or continue writing for February and beyond.

Eyecandy from San Francisco

Happy Heart Mailbox

While I could not get Flickr to upload my travel photos, at least it saved my goodies, so I shall share those with you today. I did not buy a lot of goodies knowing so many things could be purchased later via Jet Pens and other vendors’  online shops so I limited myself to must-haves and small items that would fit in my carry-on bag.

Above, Melissa of Craftgasm and the Smithsonian Postal Museum shared the postal love with a little pink mail box filled with paper treats.

Red & Blue Goodies

If you put red-and-blue airmail stripes on anything, I’m likely to buy it. Maybe that’s why I love red/blue pencils so much? The pencil pictured above came from the epic Patrick & Co. stationery shop for a mere $0.39. Patrick’s is a classic stationery shop that’s been in business for over 100 years with an endless array of legal pads in every color imaginable, pens and pencils in jars to be purchased individually and so much more. There are two locations in downtown San Francisco, both near Union Square and should not be missed. The Dennison Airmail seals and the gummed labels came from Saturday Morning Vintage who had a stellar booth at the vendor market at Ex Postal Facto. The G. Lalo Verge de France stationery pad came from Patrick & Co. while the Air Mail stationery and envelopes came from Maido.

Red and Kraft is good

I purchased a few Pilot Hi-Tec C refills and a Hi-Uni HB pencil in the Maido shop in the Westfield Mall in Union Square. I also visited the Maido shop in Japantown and picked up a few more goodies. The postcard set tied with twine came from the 826 Collective Pirate Shop in the Mission. What fun! The Ohto Dude pen was compliments on Jet Pens along with a couple Morning Glory Mach 3 pens.

For the love of green

And of course, no trip would be complete without a little green. I got a word cards deck, some green gel pens, a “beans” cutter and itty bitty green staples from Maido. There will be more details about these purchases in the near future but I wanted to give a little taste of the stationery bounty available in San Francisco, should you find yourself there.

Ask The Desk: Organizing Correspondence

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I recently received a letter from Paul asking:

What are the best practices for archiving correspondence?

My first recommendation was the Paper & Type Letter Ledger which I use to archive all my correspondence. I use this to track regular correspondence as well as any thank you notes I might send. Christmas cards and thank yous get stored in a list in Field Notes since I really only reference those lists once a year. After some thought, I came up with a couple other ideas.

One idea is to tag letters with a sticky note with notes regarding your reply. You can write a few lines about what your reply stated, the date sent and any other info you think relevant. Then you can file the letter. I do store my letters.

I file my letters in accordion file folders by recipient. When I strike up a new correspondence, I have a folder for “Misc. Correspondence”. Once I’ve received a few letters from the same person, they get their own folder.

I read somewhere (it was ages ago so I’m not sure who does this. If its you, leave a note in the comments!) to store letters in 3-ring binders. You can slide the letter into a plastic sleeve with the envelope if you’re inclined to keep that too. Or simply hole punch the letter. Then you can easily review previous letters. You can add a 3×5″ card or sticky note to the sleeve with information regarding your reply. Add divider tabs for each correspondent.

For a digital solution, I saw this post on Lettermo. K. Tempest Bradford recommended using Evernote to photograph and tag your outgoing letters. You can then tag the photo and Evernote may even recognize words written in the letter depending on how tidy your handwriting is. You could actually photograph your incoming post as well and put both images in a collection so that you have quick access to the history of your correspondence. I think this is absolutely brilliant.

Hope these ideas help. Anyone have a different technique for tracking what you’ve written or how you keep your letters?