Category Archives: Favorites

Head First Jump

I can feel it. Spring is here. I suddenly want to tackle the clutter only I can see and jump head first into the multiple projects on my mind. Change in one’s life can do that, you know. Shake things up! And I’m all about trusting my intuition and embracing the unknown in the seasons ahead.

In the near future, the Brown clan will revel in a stay-cation. Little do my peeps realize, I have big BIG plans for our 11 days in town…

  • Writing out our Family Tree will hopefully answer all our children’s questions such as ‘who was my great-great-grandfather?’ and ‘Am I more Scottish then English?’
  • Surprising the kids with these gorgeous watercolor pens and postcards
  • Create, divide and conquer this printable To-Do-List from All for the Boys (such fun, don’t you wish you were here vs. Mexico?)
  • Nudge my three little ones to slow down, pick up a pencil and write a new pen-pal (see video below!!) Perhaps an International pen-pal is in the making!

As for me, I’ll be checking out Alexandra Franzen’s One Letter Today free workbook all about the art of letter writing, trying this DIY face-mask, and diving into the pile of books on my side table.

Easter Egg Magic with glitters and tattoos!

But before break begins, this past weekend Beatrice and I got our crafty on with the Bunny Die-Cut Shape Easter cards from Paper Source (so simple with stamps and stickers!). And we joined a friend to create these DIY glitter eggs from Rip&Tan with tattoos as embellishments. I’ll be peeling off super glue from my fingers over the next few weeks but completely worth it!

Image-1And just a reminder, the Brown Ink Paper Goods store is closing its door this Friday! Bittersweet, but as I mentioned, I’m embracing my intuition which is clearly screaming there is more for me. So I will jump, head first.

    Back to Business

    After dropping my youngest child off at her new school yesterday morning, (the last of the three start dates for our children), Summer had officially come to an end in my book. Even though the season flashed by in a blink, did it feel right? Oh yes. Were there tears? Plenty. But I’m a gal who craves routines, clear intervals, and all kinds of new beginnings.

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    (photo credit: Chip Longacre, my father, at the Canyonlands National Park in Utah taking a journal writing break with the smoke from CA and WA wild fires creating a heavy haze.)

    After an enjoyable and most needed pause from blogging over the past few months, I’m ready to connect with you all once again!  So let’s begin with a few of my recent favorites…

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    Kick off the season with one of Rad and Hungry’s top Picks for the Fall. The USA Booster Pack even includes vintage US postage stamps; three-color engraving from a single plate on a Giori Press makes these stamps beautifully textured and unique!

    There are currently twelve Master Penmen in the entire world and Jake Weidmann is the youngest. This guy not only has talent but also a passion for writing by hand. (My favorite quote: “If you don’t teach your child handwriting, the thoughts that they develop when they wish to communicate through a computer will vanish as soon as they touch the keyboard.”)

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    Was that just a pencil being Instagrammed from the hot, Manhattan CW Pencil Enterprise? The Guardian‘s Fashion Editor, Jess Cartner-Morley, believes fashion’s fetish for paper goods has surprisingly survived the rise of technology. (Cheers Tyler!)

    Why not be earth-conscious when sending your child off to school or adding to your office supplies with these Nature Made Eco Erasers created out of old scallop shells in Hokkaido, Japan from eco-friendly Grey Ray.

    QUOTE-joy-by-gina-sekelsky-studioMy lettergirl gal, Gina Sekelsky, is offering a free, printable quotes each day during the month of September!

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    Swooning over the Rifle Paper Co. Folk 2016 calendar, soon to be seen on Brown Ink Paper Goods!

    So here’s to fresh starts, sharpened No.2 Pencils, and slowing down. Yes, you heard me. Summer is a season for constant motion, road trips, too much sun, and late night gatherings. Let’s embrace these shorter days, quieter moments and getting back to business!

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      Last night while the Brown family ate dinner on the porch (roughly 7.5 minutes before the kids jetted off to play in the yard!), we began counting the weeks left in Summer. Yes, I’m aware this conversation was taking place way too early! But here’s the simple truth…Minnesotans have both the beauty and frustration of living with clear beginnings and endings to the four seasons. Summer is fast, fun, messy, full, exhausting and tremendously entertaining.

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      Which is why I’ve decided to take a temporary pause from blogging over the next two months and spend more time with my three young children, handwriting as much as possible, sharing the bounty of our garden and participating in the family circus. You’ll still hear from Brown Ink Paper Goods regarding a sale or two over the Summer (check out the latest discounts here!) and posting new products on Instagram, TwitterPinterest, and Facebook. Otherwise, I’ll rejoin you all in late August. Until then, put the phone down and let your closet, inner-youth take over whenever possible! Before I leave you, here are a few highlights from the past month worth checking out…

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      Cocorrina’s current obsession with brass office supplies from Kohezi!

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      The always creative USPS Stamps blog recently spotlighted two experts to help us style our cards as well as find the right words while corresponding!

      Enjoying the Lettres Grandes from Nowness, a film series of French actors reading letters such as correspondence by Van Gogh to his brother.

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      No one highlights the National Stationery Show quite like Nole from Oh So Beautiful Paper (I finally met the gal in person at the show this year and expressed my appreciation for her inspiring site!). Check out her favorites, 13 post series, from this year’s show!

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      The new NYC boutique, C.W. Pencil Enterprise, is a must-visit for all pencil enthusiasts headed to The Big Apple. Speaking of traveling…

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      Did you hear the latest? Boutique hotels are now offering letter-writing amenities in hotel rooms, one even has personalized stationery awaiting their guests!

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      Recently released More than Words: The Illustrated Love Letters, Thank-You Notes and Travelogues of Great Artists is one to add to your coffee table collection this Summer.

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      Make it a memorable Summer. Be daring, share what you love, and write when you can. xo

        March Madness

        As I was recovering from pneumonia, working on new Mother’s Day cards from Brown Ink, and cleaning the yard – only to have it dump inches of snow once again – this past month, exciting happenings were hitting the web this month of March…

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        One of my favorite boutique stationer designers, Suann Song, is making headway with her recent Kickstarter Appointed, a gorgeous collection of tools to inspire the writer within you. Suann has raised well beyond her initial pledge yet the incentives for becoming a backer are too difficult to pass up, so much so that I recently became a backer (only a few more days before it closes!)  Look for this handsome collection to be a part of the Brown Ink Paper Goods boutique this coming Fall!

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        Talk about handsome, Autopoint, a 1918 company known for their All-American, fail-proof construction, has just come out with these timeless, mechanical pencils found on Best Made.

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        Being “old school” has its beauty, literally, in this lovely story used in the Hermes SS15 catalogue seen on Keep it Chic, where keeping a diary has become chic once again. Thanks for keeping it old-school with your hardcover agenda, Preston Davis.

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        One of the greatest artists of the 20th Century, the work of artist Martin Ramirez has been honored by the U.S.Postal Service by the new Forever Stamps. His work is stellar as he combines his personal take on the landscapes of life in Mexico with American culture.

        Back again, the inspiring folks from Egg Press and Hello!Lucky are challenging us all to write one letter, each day in the month of April with their Write_On campaign. Seem daunting? It may help to hear this group is kindly mailing out free Writing Kits to anyone up for the challenge. This year, I am fully onboard. As they mention in the video, both the act of writing and receiving a letter can bring a welcome change in your own life as well as others’. There are more reasons to write than you might imagine. Right on, #write_on — A worthy challenge.

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         Happy Spring. Happy April. Happy Writing.

          Anise & Smudges

          I love traditions. Every year after Christmas I look forward to the arrival of Grandma Sally’s Springerle cookies which she consistently makes in the early part of the new year. Being a crisp cookie topped with anise seeds, Springerle is often not for everyone and is definitely an acquired taste. But over the years I’ve become a huge fan, especially knowing the beautiful cookies were made in my mother-in-law’s kitchen!

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          So last month when Sally asked me if I would like to take part in her tradition, I jumped at the chance to learn the ins and the outs of Springerle. I knew the cookie is not a quick one to make –  you let the dough chill for a day and then wait another day for the cookie shapes to dry before baking – but Sally was ready for her students, Beatrice included.

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           Sally has been creating Springerle for years having made these cookies as a child with her mother. It was a German tradition her biscuit-loving relatives had brought over from Europe. Sally takes pleasure in the three day baking process and also the sentimentality behind this traditional, Winter cookie.

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          As Sally and I began rolling out the dough, pressing the cookie mold, and cutting the shapes so delicately, I couldn’t help but notice her cookbook close at hand. This book was far from any ordinary cookbook. What I found was more of a well-loved and well-used cooking journal of sorts. Handwritten notes were both taped onto the pages as well as written on the actual pages of the cookbook. Detailed reminders of ingredients to buy for next season, notes on the quality of the dough, the dates and amount of cookies baked, which molds were used and general baking suggestions could be found throughout the pages. This was so representative of Sally, not only thoughtful in her baking but also one to write everything down.

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          Of course, aside from the cookies, after we finished molding our gorgeous biscuit shapes, Sally did not let us depart without a Springerle recipe card which she hand wrote herself, of course. I can only imagine the smudges, added notes and baking suggestions which will be added to this new recipe card for years to come as I continue the tradition with my own children. Thank you, Sally, for both old and new traditions and the value you give towards handwriting in your life.