Monthly Archives: October 2012

I am a list maker! It’s in my blood.

I’m Lisa, and I am thrilled to be doing a guest post.  I can usually be found on my blog PixieSpittings.

Wendy did a post here about my Grandfather the mail carrier a while back and while I was digging through my grandparents old cedar chest looking for some things for that post, I happened to find a slip of paper that made my heart skip.


I recognized the handwriting immediately as my Grandmother’s.  I see it often on the backs of old photos and in the many handwritten recipes that we have to remember her by.  But I had never seen this treasure before.  She often reused and repurposed things that might otherwise have been thrown away.  So, it was no surprise to see that she used a calendar page from July4, 1958 to make a list of household tasks to be done.  I love that she made the list and then went back and prioritized the items. I’m so glad to have found it, but I do wonder why such a mundane list was saved in the old cedar chest.

Part of the reason I was so excited to find it is that I am an avid list maker.  I have a notebook dedicated to lists.  I have lists of movies to see, books to read as well as many more goal oriented lists.  I never find myself with extra piles of money lying around, but I have a big $ wish list in case I ever do.  I put things on this list that are not practical or even realistic.  I started the list a few years ago and add to it from time to time.  I firmly believe in the power of “writing it down” and have been so excited to check a few items off the list over the years that didn’t seem attainable back when I originally wrote them down.

List making must run in the family because last year my then-7-year-old handed me this list.  She took it upon herself to make a list of family chores.  She listed a few things in her column including her new dog poop pick up responsibility.  She took the liberty of writing in a few things for her little sister to do and then asked my husband to list some of his regular duties around the house.  She gave the list to me with my column empty and said “You do everything else.”  I like to think that was her way of acknowledging all the many things that I do around the house, but I’m pretty sure that she just didn’t want anything else added to her column.


My appreciation of lists doesn’t end with merely making them.  I picked up this book a few years ago and still flip through it on occasion.  It is a collection of random people’s actual lists.  It includes everything from meticulously written lists to careless scratchings on paper and the best part…the stories of the people who wrote them.


Spooky Scribbles

The ghosts and goblins are arriving in just one week but you still have a chance to invite the gang over for a last minute Halloween Party. And with these free Halloween downloads from Design Mom Gabrielle Blair, sending out invitations is a snip snap.


 Martha Stewart skeleton invitation will scare the skin off your guests


Nothing like a toe tag invite from blush printables

Or if you simply want to send a few spooky scribbles out to those you love…

…head to Paper Source where you can find all sorts of creepy stationery and stamps. It was a great excuse for Emmett to practice writing out his friends’ names too!

Don’t forget to make the envelope extra memorable with one of these scary stamps (only two day delivery). After much discussion, the boys decided on the Happy Halloween postage for their cards.

Before I begin my next project (stay tuned for more on the postcard swap!) let’s hear it for our guest bloggers by the way!! Thanks Alecia and Jenni. Way to get people to grab a pen.

I’ll Take Manhattan – A Stationery Shopping Guide

Being the devoted brown ink fan that I am, Wendy and Nick asked me to write a piece for the blog’s one year anniversary. Enchanté.

While in NYC for work, I spent some downtime discovering some of Lower Manhattan’s finest offerings for stationery. Before we get started, here is a playlist to accompany your stationery craving.

Top Hat/Lower East Side

The LES exudes rockstarness. The cool factor at Nina Allen’s shop, Top Hat, is high and therefore a definite rockstar of stores. Top Hat’s pusher is Nina’s wholesale company Sweet Bella. Serving the Northern Hemisphere, Sweet Bella wholesales many distinct, keenly designed items ranging from sundry type items to whimsical bits and bobs.

Come on in!

The notecard offering is modest as it’s carefully selected. I especially like the stitching notecards. What a unique way to share a memory of a trip, give to someone embarking on their own journey or to represent one’s own wanderlust.

Learn to sew and create a memory of a trip.

Top Hat carries other stationery necessities such as pens, notebooks, push pins, etc. My personal favorite is washi tape. MT, the top dog of decorative masking/washi tape in the entire universe, is well represented at Top Hat. Including the latest addition from MT – MT Casa. Pure genius.

MT Casa gone bananas!

Easy on, easy off. You could change it up weekly.

Fascination with initials is shared by many.  These letters are handmade in Stroke-on-Kent, England  and cast from vintage originals. They come in a variety of fonts and sizes and make a delightful gift or addition to a spot in your home that needs a reminder of you. I wish I had picked up the ampersand – crazy cute.

Oh, hi, Cute.

Terrapin Stationers at Bookmarc & Little Marc/West Village & Greenwich Letterpress/West Village

brown ink and friends are huge fans of Terrapin Stationers (see my personal favorite here). I inquired about a visit to Terrapin’s workshop and received a quick reply from Terrapin’s head honcho, Ted Harrington. My dream of meeting the man who quite possibly uses the f word more than I do, was not realized as I was last minute and a weekend. Ted very kindly referred me to Greenwich Letterpress. Before visiting Greenwich Letterpress I checked out Terrapin’s exclusive line for Bookmarc and Little Marc Jacobs. These fine goodies are only available in-store- only a few are featured here. Lucky you, they take phone orders. Terrapin’s standard collection can be purchased on line as well as at a stockist near you.

You needn’t be British to send these festive invites for your next soiree.

Put it here, baby!

Sassy bookplate.

You’re gonna party like it’s your birthday with this card.

Next up, Greenwich Letterpress. I was pleasantly surprised with the massive selection of cards ranging from their own cards as well as other top notch stationers such as SuitorLifeOriginal Crown Mill, Hammer Press  and Oddball Press.

Adorable storefront.

Just as cute on the inside.

Original Crown Mill by Pelletier. In navy vellum. Yum. And regal, too.

The gift selection was party centric including party favor striped bags and a good luck horse shoe.  The stationery accoutrements were witty and fun- especially these pencils and notebooks from SuitorLife. The food snob placecards will surely rouse the discerning guests at your next Sunday Supper and even your CSA lovin’ friend.

Placecards accompany the Food Snob Dictionary.

brown ink and friends will likely enjoy this smart pocketsize journal for letter writers.

Encouragement. Inspiration.

Suggested list ideas. brown ink.may have an idea or two!

Mr. Boddington’s Studio/Chelsea

Mr. Boddington’s Studio is by private appointment only which requires planning in advance and punctuality. Thankfully, Brand Director Jessie Camden, was kind enough to accept my plea for a quick 15 minute visit. Upon an on time arrival, I was squealing with delight and maybe using a few too many f-bombs. The studio is bright, open and invigorating with layers of notecards and other goodies to be discovered.  From floor to ceiling, walls are strategically organized with Boddington’s creations – wrapping paper, note cards, recipe cards, notebooks, coasters, gift tags. And of course, wedding suites – weddings are a majority of their business.

Wanna hang out here all day?

Their custom hand drawn prints can serve as a focal point and/or an accent. Opening an envelope and discovering a custom liner is common with Boddington’s. It’s like discovering the malted milk ball at the bottom of your ice cream cone! The clever copy is written by the talented gang at Boddington’s.

Wrapping paper heaven. All custom designed.

The patterns are out of hand and the paper is like cashmere.

Studio and workspace for assembling stationery packages for lucky recipients.

Gourd season is upon which has me lusting for this bright orange leather notebook. The lizard notebooks, bound in London, are new for Boddington’s.  The gold edged paper is the perfect gilded touch. For those who keep track of passwords on paper, consider this twee notebook. Heaven! Look for stockists in your area otherwise order direct from their website.

Happiness is a cheery notebook.

Hello, awesome liner.

Guess you won’t be forgetting your passwords anymore.

Project No. 8/Midtown

Just a brief jaunt from Mr. Boddington’s, you will find Project No. 8 located in the ultra hip Ace Hotel. This store has the traveler in mind. If you’re in need of a souvenir for your best mate, a wool cap to thwart the autumn chill or a mag to read, you’ll find a thoughtfully considered mix of items. Naturally the shop’s countertop card spinner features a well curated lot of cards from such stationers such as Set Editions and LA based artist, Ashkahn. You will also find an assortment of stylish notebooks and writing instruments to accompany your card purchase.

Good reminder. A fun item to pass out at parties perhaps? By Set Editions.

For the wanna be rocker in your life. By Set Editions.

By Ashkahn. Reading is sexy- like the magnet says.

Once you’ve made your purchase you might want to grab a pick-me-up from Stumptown Roasters and enjoy some quality notecard writing time in the hip hotel lobby. Chances are you’ll Shazam a few new tunes to add to your next playlist. Oh, if you’re ready to nosh consider Sub No. 7 around the corner. I’m partial to the Mongolian Tofu with a Muchim pickle on the side. Dope.

Note: If you’re a dude, shopping for a dude or just into dudewear, head downtown for Project No. 8’s men’s furnishings outpost.

Marimekko/Flat Iron

My visit to Marimekko’s flagship store was enhanced by my insanely delicious Menta Bianca Stracciatella gelato from next door neighbor Eataly’s Gelateria. The iconic Unikko pattern lends itself quite well to the notecard offerings. The Isola print letter set in black and white comes with top flap closure envelopes- a nice detail. The notepads, notebooks are covered in Marimekko prints and inviting a place to keep to do lists, doodle or journal.

ABC Home/Flatiron

The beloved home mecca has a large stationery area located on the ground floor. The displays are well art directed and fit in with the store’s vibe. Lines include Sapling Press, hat+wig+glove, co and Motel Deluxe,  just to name a few. Stationery accoutrements abound if you care to indulge – pens, notebooks, paperweights, rubberstamps, labels and the like.

Simple. By Hat Wig Glove and Co.

Motel Deluxe’s Colorations line. Color Blocking is in this fall.

The kid’s section on the third floor offers a small but kid focused selection of note sets and individual cards. The stylings and packaging is geared toward kids just as the rest of the department is. Of course everything is top notch with a healthy dose of wonder.

Calypso Home/Soho

This home goods purveyor carries a line of luxe stationery by New Orleans based designer, Alexa Pulitzer. The collection has a gypset vibe with a dash of regalness. An exclusive, very French, suite will be available soon in stores and on line – get a sneak peek here. Feel free to throw a John Derian paperweight on top of your growing stationery supply and don’t forget to send me a card from your beachside retreat in St. Barth’s.

Pug Royalty by Alex Pulitzer.

Royal Giraffe makes for a fancy shopping list.


In classic Japanese style, Muji welcomes you with a neat display of writing instruments. The simple and functional stationery is also meticulously displayed. Craft paper notecards and envelopes are good for everyday use or you can embellish them on your own for a special occasion.

Pearl River Mart/Soho

This treasure trove offers a wide array of Asian items. The extensive stationery section includes paper products from China, Japan and various locales. The stationery sets would make a perfect gift for your niece or daughter. You can find loads of oddities from notebooks to kitchenware, slippers, etc. A perfect stop if you’re prepping for a party or looking to stock up on your stationery stash.

The two-story mecca.

Tribeca Treats/Tribeca

Tribeca Treats creates delectable delights and carries an inspiring potpourri of stationery to match the sweets. Tyler, long time employee and NYU student, was happy  to share his personal favorites from the extensive card selection in the shop. Bonus! Sweets and stationery! A majority of the quality selection is letterpress. The wide array of brands spans the US from local NYC stationers Greenwich Letterpress, Chicago’s Snow & Graham, Pittsburgh’s Sapling Press and San Francisco’s Chewing the Cud.

You can also find unique party provisions such as napkins, cake stands, candles sparkler cupcake toppers, cookbooks and kitchenware. Dip in for an afternoon sugar fix and indulge in some card purchasing while you nibble.

Sparklers from Tops Malibu.

A juicy pen is waiting for some fresh new paper to make friends with and needs you to make the introduction. Off you go.



beware of walking mailbox

Although I am a big, BIG instagram fan and user (look at this madness below, so cool!)… 

 (some serious guerilla knitting going down on 46th & Bryant)

 …I am right onboard with Alecia’s thoughts in yesterday’s posting, and the importance of receiving a piece of writing in the mail which is both personal and thought out. Thanks dear.

And by the way, if you would like to read more of Alecia’s writing check out her insightful blog. So bring on more guest bloggers I say! Off to continue our week of rest…hardly.

Instagram, Insta-Life


Always the optimist; a lifelong supply of my Italian postcard books

I just got off the phone with my 22-year old daughter, Isabelle. I had the phone on “speaker” because I got so tired of holding it in the crook of my neck while spending the last thirty minutes trying to set up Instagram on my phone. She was giving me a tutorial from 1200 miles away in Charleston, SC where she works for a catering company and part of her job / pleasure is to do the social media for the company (Duvall Catering.) As Charleston is a hot spot for parties and good food it’s a rockin’ job and she’s happy to help her moderately luddite mother.

I had some idea that I should be Instagramming. I love to take photos. I can set up a shot after spending years as a stylist for shelter magazine photo shoots. I had seen how my friend Anna’s new shop, The Foundry Home Goods Store in Minneapolis, had benefitted from people Instagramming her from here to Texas. Literally. Texas.

I thought, okay, get with it. The majority of my work is visual (interior design) so I need a visual medium. So, I uploaded (I almost said “downloaded!) the Instagram app and that went fine. Then, I tried to set it up, but I couldn’t make it work. Trying to sync it to Facebook was a pain. I couldn’t remember my Facebook log in. Really, can people remember that? I had to set up a whole new account and tattoo the password on my hip so I wouldn’t forget it.

It didn’t take long, but I soon realized that Instagram is a foreign language. I had to log out so Izzy could log in to set it up. “What do you want your Bio to read, Mom?” I told her. She configured it. “Okay now I have to explain how you link to other people.” Well, easy breezy, I’m sure. I saw the “@” sign used. I know what that means. (Thought I did!) How hard can it be? But what the heck is the “#” sign for? Pounds of what? Why does it look like people are talking jive? I looked at a few photos and the text below them looked like Russian.

Then, Izzy starts talking Hash marks. “Hash, Mom, like the drug.” You need to get this down. Or no one will be your friend. Do you have a pen and paper?” Jeesh! No friends. This is too much. I get how to take a photo. I get how to set up the frame and make it look the way I want it to look. But, if I don’t get the hash thing, I will have no friends. I am not entirely sure my brain is wired for this.

“I need a break, Iz. I’ll have to finish this later.” I have a thank you to write. I want to find the postcards I made from my photos in Italy and thank my friends for their house warming gifts. Please. Just give me a pen and my postcards. Now.

Yeah, there you go. I made postcards books. Real ones. Hard copies. 200 of them in fact, which was pretty dumb, but, hey, I have postcard books of Italy that will never run out. Hand made at that and printed locally. And they arrive with a stamp on them. Not with the ding of bell on your phone. Written to one person at a time. And I have to stop long enough to think about that person, his or her quirks and preferences and maybe his / her sense of humor. I don’t think you do that on Instagram. I think you just splatter it on the world canvas, then hope that your droplet in the electronic ocean makes a splash. I’m not sure I’m cut out for this. Even Izzy said, “It’s pretty new, Mom. It would be cool for your brand. But, not many people your age will be into it.”

Thanks, Iz.

I never really got Facebook. Don’t care. I’d rather know that someone, somewhere stands there with my postcard in hand, surprised to pull it out of the mailbox, examining the image, wondering something about it’s origin, smiling at being thought of in this way, reading the text, smiling again to know that I care about him / her, this one person in a particular way. So, I’ve turned off my phone and I’m off to buy stamps.

Monday is laundry day. Sienna, italy, 2008Monday is laundry day. Sienna, Italy, 2008