What to write always seems to be the hardest thing about Incowrimo. The good news is that it’s actually easier than you think. Reconnect with people – find something you have in common. Write about something nice 🙂 Be kind, ask questions, or just one 🙂 Keep it light.
I always mention pen and ink combo and then decorate remaining space with doodles, ink splats, stamps, washi tape, stickers, etc.
Plan your incowrimo – it’s perfectly fine to start with few quick thank you notes, postcards, Valentine’s card and slowly build up to letters.
In this second part of our letter writing series, we will be looking at paper and filling those envelopes.
My recommendation for a more sophisticated writing experience are the Original Crown Mill sets. Each box comes with enough stationery to get you through a month of incowrimo, easy. The laid paper in these sets are the reason why this feels luxurious. Ordinary copier paper is no match for the ribbed texture here which looks and feels more personal. That is the tone we want for Incowrimo 🙂
The Crown Mill comes in two different sets. The gold box comes with cream coloured materials. Silver box contains white paper and envelopes.
When I talk about writing letters I have to mention Triomphe. It is a brand of pads and envelopes by Clairefontaine – famous for its glassy smooth 90gsm bright white paper. These pads have plain paper in them and come with a ruled cheat sheet which will magically help you write in neat, straight lines. Simply genius 🙂 Envelopes are lined with white paper and the seal is diamond shaped which makes them perfect contestants for wax seals. They certainly do look classy and are fantastic value for money.
We had these pads reviewed by the wonderful Azizah on her blog. Have a look – there are some fantastic photos which will inspire you 🙂 Perfect incowrimo cue.
My go-to is Rhodia R pad. Some may consider it as a budget option because it is just a pad. Don’t be fooled – it is gorgeous 90gsm buttery smooth ivory paper. We sell them in plain or lined paper. I pick lined over plain because when writing, I can anchor the letters to the lines and find it makes my handwriting look neater. Certain fountain pen inks ‘shine’ on ivory paper, others look great on bright white paper. My top 3 inks for ivory paper are KWZ Honey, Diamine Syrah and J Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre. Pages tear out easily, one by one, and it does look rather smart 🙂
February, the shortest month of the year is almost here... For many stationery geeks this is the time when we sit down and write one letter a day to someone. INternational COrrespondence WRIting MOnth aka Incowrimo here we go...
In the beginning it was a simple idea – write more letters. Vintage social media beats email/text every time. It is without a doubt more romantic and personal.
February was picked because it is the shortest month of the year. So if you commit, you will only need to write 28 (29 during leap year) letters, cards, postcards, notes, post-its, napkins…
Who you write to is up to you, of course. This is a fantastic way to reconnect with old friends and family. Write to loved ones, write to strangers…or write to us if you like 🙂
To start off Incowrimo, I make a list of 28 souls 🙂 Next step is my favourite one – grab all the stationery which I can find around the house/office and start brainstorming 🙂 The usual ingredients are: envelopes, paper, cards, postcards and stamps. Extras like shimmering inks, washi tape, wax seals, stamps are the cherries on top.
In part one of this letter writing series, we will be looking at envelopes.
Envelopes are the first thing that your recipient will see, so I try to make them stand out.
Colour usually does the trick – your bank would not send you statements in pink envelopes 🙂 Silver and gold envelopes catch the eye and say “you are special.” Plain envelopes are okay – Decorate! Why not recycle any old ones too? Incowrimo is prime time to open that stationery drawer grab the cute stuff which is too good for use in your journals.
Check carefully that you have the correct address and also write a return address – you never know, one letter can be the beginning of beautiful pen-pal friendship 🙂
Make sure you use some kind of waterproof ink – this goes especially for fountain pen users in UK where we get a lot of rain. Iron Galls should do the trick, if you don’t have such inks, hack it with clear tape over the address or use clear wax to make it waterproof 🙂
I participated in Incowrimo 2016 while I was working on improving my handwriting. Those two go hand in hand and it was really rewarding to put all those hours of practice to some good use. Commiting to do something for a month became a lot easier as soon as I put my mobile away. Go offline and take time to unwind. Sit down, surround yourself with stationery, put nice music on and focus on someone and then just write… It is a very happy place, trust me 🙂 What are the chances that you will start a new hobby after writing 28 letters?
One last piece of advice. If you think that 28 letters is a lot and you will struggle, set yourself some kind of reward – a beautiful pen or new ink works for me every time 🙂
If you would like to join and pledge to write one letter/card/note a day please head over to www.incowrimo.org
In Part 2 of Writing Letters for Incowrimo we’ll focus a bit more on what goes in the envelope… (Hint: It’s paper!)
Holiday season is upon us, so I have picked a couple of paper companions. Each one has something special to offer. When travelling you probably want to pack something portable, durable, with pockets for tickets and accessories. Here are the top products that match that criteria:
Mark’s – Storage It in A5+ or A6+
First choice is very obvious. These Storage-It notebooks were made for travelling. Each has a pocket, which is great for carrying passport and phones. Mark’s range offers several inserts, sticky notes etc… perfect companion Mark’s ticket sticky notes
Clairefontaine – Travel Book in A4 or A5
Interesting book. Vintage on the outside, black&white pages inside. The idea is that you will put your photos/trinkets on the black page and write on the white page. This is an absolute must for those that print their photos using free apps or carry pocket ‘polaroid’ printers. perfect companion: MT tape and Stabilo metallic gel pen.
Moleskine – Voyageur
Perfect travel journal. Contains index tabs, so your travels can be managed in style and mixture of papers.
Lovely touch with cloth cover, 3 bookmarks (part, present, future?) and ‘I am here arrow’ for photos. Moleskine won’t short you on cool accessories, these journals come packed with stickers, perforated pages (perfect for packing list, to do lists etc). Handy back pocket for all mementos or tickets. perfect companion: Paperways mini sticky note set
Field Notes – Expedition
Save the best for last… All of the Field Notes notebooks like to be used and abused. It doesn’t need carrying pouch, would gladly live in your coat or jeans. I have picked it because of it’s pocket size, portability, hi-vis orange cover and dot paper. ‘Paper’ is water and tear resistant which makes it The ultimate notebook aka the survivor. I carry this one in my camera bag and it has all the settings, location, timings inside. Absolute essential 🙂 perfect companion: Fisher Space Pen
We have limited stocks of the Expedition edition, so if it sells out, why not try…
Field Notes Bundle
Get a pack of the classic Field Notes notebooks with a rubber-band pen loop and a Field Notes Clic Pen.
Having just had to go through the pain of moving offices, there were some highlights. The removal firm was fantastic, we did the move all according to plan and, best of all, was the discovery that MT tape was fantastically useful – before, during an after. We used in all sorts of ways to make the move easier – all those little things that add up to an easier day. And having moved, I have discovered a new use for the tape – all the spare keys are identified by tape, each one representing a different door or padlock. Having just been faced with a whole new set of keys, and not wanting to put them in a drawer and then never know which key opened which lock, I marked up each one and now will always know what each key does.
During the move we used the tape to mark items of furniture, stick notices to walls to help the removal team, bound items together and more. The beauty of washi tape is that it doesn’t mark or leave anything behind, so no time wasted trying to get tape and stickers off desks and walls, no peeling paint in your nice new offices five minutes after you’ve moved in.
All you need is a good selection of tape – we had several spare rolls lying around so it was easy but just select half a dozen rolls – colours, patterns, the more varied the better – and keep them in your drawer. Whenever you need to stick something up, bind something together or clearly identify different items, reach for a roll of tape. It will transform your life.
Last week was amazing. We have been delighted to see our friends celebrate National Stationery Week! World Stationery Day fell on Wednesday, the day of the show.
Unlike other people, I did not go to sleep the night before the show because I was buzzing with excitement 🙂
I have walked around and talked to people, had a really nice time. Following stationery got my attention and I would like to share them with you:
Amodex ink & stain remover is a great product that Bureau sells already, perhaps more people should know about it. If you ever get an ink stain on your shirt, all you have to do is to throw it away and buy another one. Just kidding! Apply Amodex for couple of minutes and give it a wipe. Stain will be gone. It works on all sorts of surfaces and will remove Sharpie even from the white boards (yes, we have all been there…) My only beef with Amodex is that it is a single serving friend…stains happen, especially with ink. So they came out with a travel size* which looks like a mascara (don’t mix with real mascara) and you get around 5 uses out of them. If you like watching demonstrating videos on Youtube, then definitely search for Amodex, it’s good fun! 🙂
*NB – this isn’t on sale at Bureau Direct yet – due soon we hope!
I have seen hundreds of different MT tape designs. This tape has found it’s way to every house hold and every bag. If you haven’t heard of washi tape you need to ask youself: Where have you lived in the past year? The number of MT tape rolls I own are now in double digits, yet I still need more. Jo, could we please get the Airmail one?
Another American stationery that I was curious to see in real life was Quiver, leather pen holder. Their products are so neat and very much loved in USA…perhaps we will carry them one day. (I am not a one pen person, but maybe you are…) According to Bob from Quiver, these make amazing corporate gifts – over to you Faisal 🙂
It was really nice to talk to Fisher Spacepen people. I had informed them, that their video about “How a Fisher Space Pen helped save The Apollo 11 Mission” is trending. What a better marketing than pen saving lives in space?! Beat that!
Had a quick pit stop at the Lamy stand. I am a big fan of Lamy. They had their two big releases of the year 2015 already (Copperorange Al-Star and Neonlime Safari) but apparently there is one more surprise waiting for us in September. (disclaimer: please do not expect a purple Safari…)
Next up, long chat with ink makers J. Herbin. I have invited myself to their factory and introduced myself as Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink ambassador 🙂 Stormy Grey has been the most anticipated product of the year and got a lot of people back to writing with fountain pens. And for that they deserve a medal. It was also nice to hear that Bureau had sold the most Stormy Grey of all retailers in the world. Nice one!
I have tried a lot of different papers too. It’s amazing to have so many to chose from. All of them got inked with my Broad Japanese Pilot Vanishing Point. Some of them couldn’t take the wet line, some of them could…what really surprised me was a tiny Midori wirebound A7 journal with colour paper (green of course). It handled the ink like a pro, looked super cute and the brass wire looked stunning. I really hope we will be able to get those one day. For now I will cherish mine which came with a sausage dog D-clip, SCORE!
It was a nice surprise to see Herlitz making it’s way…perhaps less known in UK, but it is the brand that I grew up with and I would buy it again.
Journals and diaries are absolute essentials these days. It was interesting to see Filofax and their fountain pen friendly paper. Paper is cut in a special way, so it can be removed and then put back/filed. Not bad, not bad at all…
But the one diary that I would like us to carry comes from Organise-Us. Interesting September to December format (which might not be for everyone), beautiful leather covers, pearlescent insides, all made in UK, even the box. We should put that on a map. Champagne gold ‘Notes before bed’ is one of my favourite items from the show.
I would like to end this virtual tour with four outstanding stationery bytes 🙂
Wow effect prize goes to Pentel Energel quick drying gel pen. I could not believe my eyes…this ink dries out instantly. No more smearing, no more inky hands – that’s great news for all you lefties out there. I also have to mention that their colours are bright and very well saturated. I have landed this amazing orange pen and I LOVE IT!
Prize for the most desirable item of the show…tough one….no, not really 🙂 The world stopped spinning as soon as I saw Hobonichi. Japanese journal with Tomoe River paper. For some reason it reminds me of Bible… Paper, pen and ink are my Holy Trinity, so why not. I don’t journal, but to have one of these in my hands I wanted to. I was so inspired that I wanted to start writing right away. To quote one of my instagram friends Gabriel: “I didn’t know I need one, but now I do” sums up Midori and what they do…it’s just perfect.
The best writer of the show…again, this one is a no brainer. I love fountain pens, so this was a perfect opportunity to
try e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. And I did 🙂 New ink which contains glycerin, rare Kaweco gold nib, prototype fire kissed nib
too…but, none of those wrote as well as Stabilo Easybirdy. The concept is fantastic – everybody has a different grip, so why not have a pen with adjustable nib which helps with writing experience. I will have to present this pen (once it
arrives, thank you Stabilo!) to my handwriting tutor and see what she thinks : are we making things too easy for kids? Or are we actually helping their little hands?
And finally…the must buy…well this one is going to be quite obvious, it’s a pen. Not any pen, Mark Twain’s Conklin Crescent filler pen. It’s a modern reproduction of a famous vintage pen. Work of art, And yes, I need to have it…
One last thing, I have been challenged by Charlie from Manuscript to turn his pen into an eye-dropper aka demonstrator (along with Lamy Vista). Challenge accepted!
ps: I have left quite a few of my birdys around the stationery show 🙂 Here are few of them: