Christmas by the Sea Antique Finds

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I have returned to the land of Tea and Sales and Christmas Craft Markets. I recently attended the 27th Annual Seaside Christmas, sponsored by the Seaside Tourism & Business Association for the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. It took place over three days in mid-November, and included 19 stops from Lawrencetown Beach to Salmon River Bridge, a route spanning some 45 km. Numbered wreaths guided the journey.

One of the most interesting places was Old Times, Old Friends Antiques, Collectibles and Dolls, located in Musquodoboit Harbour in a very out of the way and enchanted seaside spot. The tiny shop is actually part of the owner’s home, and is bursting with items from yesteryear. And they serve shortbread to you as soon as you walk in the door! I found some plates in my china pattern, Johnson Brothers’ Shakespeare’s Sonnets, for a very reasonable price. And I was thrilled when I spotted two pen/ink stands minding their own business on a bottom shelf.

two-stands

A little bit of bling for the desk eh? These brass inkstands were made in Belgium around 1910, apparently. I was able to find them on various ebay sites so they appear to have been a pretty common item at the time of manufacture. So nothing especially rare and not that expensive; I paid $65 for both and that price is in keeping with what they are listed for on the various ebay sites I visited.

pen-stand

Here’s the pen stand. So fancy! We’ve got angels and flowers aplenty. It came with the pen but the pen is in very sad shape. It looks old and well used. I might review it in more detail once I ink it up but for this post I want to focus on the stand. I thought it was just divine.

close-up-of-pen-stand

Here we have an angel playing a horn to his friend the donkey. I’m not sure of the significance, if any, of these creatures but it is very charming.

closed-ink-stand

And here is the ink stand. It doesn’t match the pen stand but they do look nice on the desk together. The sides could act as a pen rest, or a cartridge holder.

open-ink-stand

I imagine the idea was to decant the ink into the white liner and dip your pen into it. I won’t be doing that; I doubt I will put anything into the liner. I just like to look at it.

I will definitely be returning to Old Times, Old Friends Antiques. There was a lot to see and I’m sure I missed some amazing treasures. It’s worth the trip for the shortbread alone!

My Posting Schedule and My Planner for December and Next Year

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Hi everyone hope you are all having a lovely weekend. I was hoping to resume my pre-move posting schedule, but as you have seen that has not happened. My back has been giving me trouble since the September Labour Day Weekend and this week I wrenched it mightily which did not help. I find when I am in a lot of pain my focus is very narrow; I go to work and get only the essentials done at home. My amazing husband is keeping the house running while I concentrate on chiropractic appointments (finally found one I connect with), massage therapy and light exercise. This weekend I spent the majority of Saturday in a medical clinic waiting to see a doctor about pain medication. I shall put regular blog posts as one of my New Year’s Resolutions.

Anyway, onto more fun stuff, like what planner I will be using in 2017. It seems everyone is talking about their plans so I thought I would share mine. I’ve been using my A5 Filofax Finsbury since July. I’ve had so much to keep track of during the move that I needed the big binder. But things have calmed down somewhat, most of the To Dos are checked off, and I thought this month might be the perfect time to try out a Bullet Journal.

I last wrote about Bullet Journaling in July of 2014 and I’ve been watching YouTube videos about this system ever since. I like the simplicity of it; I find the A5 Finsbury big and bulky to lug around. So this afternoon I took a couple of hours and wrote some notes in my journal about Bullet Journaling. I watched videos from BohoBerry and Ryder Carroll and decided to tackle my own.

bullet-journal-notes

Ryder says to commit to the system for at least two months to determine if it works for you, so I decided to start with a Leuchtturm Jottbook, something small to start off with.

jottbook

The squared option is best, because with Bullet Journaling you are essentially making lists, of tasks, events and notes. This is much easier to do if the squares are already there for you.

index-bullet-journal

Luckily the Leuchtturm notebooks come with a Contents page (which I am using as my Index) and the pages are numbered. Perfect for mapping out the Future Log, Monthly Log and Daily Log.

future-log

I’m starting my Bullet Journal in December 2016 so my Future Log starts with January 2017. I chose the 6 month layout. I only had to draw two straight lines – easy!

future-log-2

Here are some future tasks I wanted to make note of. You can see I am using the standard Bullet Journal legend: a dot for tasks, a dash for notes, and a circle for events. Well I hope you can see it; the photos didn’t seem so dark when I was editing them. Sorry about that!

monthly-log

Here is the Monthly Log page. I covered up some personal events. Ryder says to be super brief here, so if you have more than one thing happening on a given day you can fit it all in on the one line. And I see that I put a circle by Christmas but forgot the circle by New Years.

If you want a day or event or task to have priority Ryder suggests adding an asterisk to the left of the symbol. Be sure to leave space on the left margin for such signifiers: an asterisk denotes priority, an exclamation point denotes inspiration, and an eye denotes exploration, meaning that idea or tasks needs further research.

daily-log

December is a busy month, and so far my tasks all have to do with Christmas! The task list goes on the opposite page to the Monthly Log.

daily-log

And here is my Daily Log. It is suggested not to plan the days ahead; do that on your monthly log or future log. This space should be free form in that you never know how much space you might need for a particular day. And this space isn’t just for tasks; record whatever you want, from ideas to the weather. This was my To Do list for today and I only have one thing left. Notice I didn’t write down blog post! But I will now, and mark it done, using an X. To change the status of a task, X denotes complete, > denotes migrated to the next month’s log, and < denotes migrated to the future log. You wouldn’t start the migration process until the end of the month, when you likely will have your next month’s spread laid out.

Ryder has made provision for tasks and notes that are similar, which you might want to keep together. He suggests putting these in a Collection spread, in the next blank spread available. This could be tasks for a project or a shopping list. As I move through the month I will see what makes sense for me.

And that’s it for my Bullet Journal, at least for now. Boho Berry has some amazing spreads, and there are lots of Bullet Journal examples out there from which to get inspiration. People have added tracker pages for every habit imaginable, along with book, movie and tv show lists. I will revisit my Bullet Journal before the New Year to see how it’s working. Please comment below if any of you use this system, and your thoughts on it. Until next time. 🙂

The Colouring Notebook and a Different Kind of Advent Calendar

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Hi everyone. Tonight I wanted to tell you about a Colouring Notebook that I purchased on a whim; I saw this video and promptly went to the link and ordered one. I don’t do that too often but I just had to have one.

I have been watching JournalJoy’s videos for a while now and always enjoyed them. A few times I have been tempted to buy a notebook she has reviewed but usually the companies either do not ship internationally or the shipping is prohibitively expensive. But this time everything was in my favour; Colouring Notebook ship internationally and right now the price is only $14.95 US! You can order one yourself at https://coloringnotebook.com/. You can choose blank, lined, or dot grid. Mine arrived in a little over a week. The postmark on the package said Ukraine.

I have some adult colouring books which I use on occasion but as soon as this arrived I started colouring in it right away. The 100 gram paper is very smooth and creamy. There are about 50 beautiful illustrations in it, interspersed with lined pages for writing. I will not be using my fountain pens in it due to feathering, as mentioned in the video. But my gel pens look fantastic in it, for writing or for colouring. I used my Staedtler Triplus 0.5mm markers for colouring and there was no bleed through.

I’m thrilled with it and would recommend it for a Christmas gift or a treat for yourself. It adds a new dimension to your journaling. I didn’t post any pictures of mine as I thought the video did a wonderful job.

And the second thing I wanted to talk about was the Hannah Braime Becoming Who You Are Advent Calendar. I get weekly emails from Hannah and her site is an amazing resource for journal writing and self-awareness. Her articles and classes encourage authentic living with compassion and courage. Her weekly emails are free for subscribers, as is her library with tons of thought provoking material.

I signed up for her Advent Calendar where I will receive a prompt each day, focusing on the year that has passed and the year to come. I’m so excited! Maybe I will write about them in my new Coloring Notebook. 🙂

A new pen and notebook from Amazon

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Last week an Amazon package was delivered to my door, which is always exciting. I had ordered a Fuliwen pen after seeing a Youtube video, and a Valery refillable notebook which I had found when browsing notebooks.

pen-on-desktop

I am unfamiliar with the Fuliwen brand. Amazon says this pen was made by a “famous company in China called Fuliwen”. I thought the barrel and hardware was very pretty, although now that I see it in person I am not a fan of the pearl bead on the clip.

uncapped-pen

The section is an interesting shape, one which I have not seen before. The material is advertised as celluloid but I would be surprised at this price point: $19 Cdn.

nov-13-nib

The medium nib is on the small side for the size of the section I feel. It is stamped Straffen, which I read are made by X-Fountain Pens. I cleaned it and tried to find a blue ink that would match the barrel.

all-the-blues-desktop

Clockwise from top: Noodler’s Blue Upon the Plains of Abraham, Parker Blue Quink, Paradise Pen Blue, Waterman Serenity Blue, J. Herbin Blue Myosotis, and Lamy Blue. I chose Parker Blue as the best match to the barrel.

nov-13-writing-sample

And here’s the writing sample. I chose a Clairefontaine notebook. The pen is very smooth with no skips or hard starts, and it started writing as soon as it hit the paper. I was using it in my regular journal later on that day, and it suddenly went dry. I shook it a few times and it resumed writing. But it will never be a favorite pen of mine. That pearl bead is ugly, as I mentioned before, and the pen can’t be posted, which this pen needs, due to it being super light. It just doesn’t fit well in my hand either. But I can’t fault it’s performance, other than running dry once, which was soon fixed.

I also purchased this notebook and cover, made by Valery.

front-of-notebook

It’s not leather but a very nice imitation. I really like the white stitching and the tree motif on the cover and in the charm bookmark. There is another charm on the spine of an eagle with wings unfurled. It doesn’t seem to fit in with the tree motif; kind of sinister really. But luckily it can be removed.

empty-notebook-cover

Here is the inside of the notebook cover. The cords could easily be loosened to release one or both of the charms if needed.

inside-notebook

The notebook is pretty standard, lined with very thin paper. I do not know the gsm. I didn’t have high hopes for the pen test but it stood up fairly well.

nov-13-pen-test

I’m just realizing now I deleted the photo of the opposite page. Oh well there was no bleed through and just a touch of ghosting. And very little feathering. Safe for our fountain pens.

Overall I am happy with the pen and notebook. Taking a chance on unknown products can be fun.

Happy writing everyone.

Sheaffer Skrip Ink

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A couple of dear friends were in town this past week and one day we found ourselves in Windsor, Nova Scotia. We had amazing fish and chips at Frydaddy’s and then wandered up and down the main street. I found myself drawn to a small stationery store called Brooklyn Office Supplies Ltd. I hoped for a fountain pen or two, since a nib is featured in their logo. Unfortunately they no longer carry fountain pens. The proprietor told me they can no longer order them, which is a shame. They do still carry cartridges and bottled ink, so I picked up two bottles of Sheaffer Skrip, one in black and one in blue.

two-sheaffer-botles

You’ll notice some tape on the cap of the black ink. I didn’t notice when I bought it that the cap was broken. I taped it up but it is not an airtight seal so not sure if the ink is ok. Above you can see a writing sample using both inks, written with my glass pen. Both ink colours are vibrant and true. Unfortunately that black ink is stuck onto my glass pen now. I can scrape some of it off with my fingernail but it is a slow process. Keep in mind the black remained even after the blue test. Perhaps the broken cap has allowed air to impact the black ink somehow. Lesson learned: examine ink bottles before buying them, especially in independent stores with low traffic.

glass-nib

I am happy to add two new inks to my collection, from a brand I have never tried before. At this point though I would not put the black ink in any pen that might show a stain. Both inks showed mild feathering in my Eccolo notebook.

sheaffer-ink-test

I will always try to support independent stationers and if you are in the neighborhood visit Brooklyn Office Supplies Ltd. as they have a charming shop with knowledgeable staff. Just make sure any ink bottles you buy are intact!

New Journal (s!), Old Desk

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Last Monday I wrote about my struggle to choose a new journal after finishing my Franklin Christoph notebook. I was torn between my William Hannah Kingfisher and a large Eccolo journal I bought at Staples. The truth is I couldn’t decide so I chose both of them!

two-journals

Let me explain. I LOVE the William Hannah notebook and it will become my daily journal. The paper is amazing for fountain pens and the notebook just makes me happy. BUT – I have a love of pasting things into my notebooks and I wanted the Eccolo (pictured above) because it wasn’t so precious, and it was larger than the William Hannah, so I can stick all kinds of stuff in it without feeling I’m ruining the pages. So both of them have been brought into my rotation.

eccolo-journal-desk-page

Here you can see the Eccolo. I’ve pasted pictures of old desks and tea sets from old issues of Victoria magazine. You can just see my journal entry peeking out. It’s quite personal so I felt the need to put the magazine cutting on top of it.

eccolo-journal-folded

Here’s another page from the Eccolo. It’s more rough and tumble than the William Hannah but my heart really belongs to the William Hannah. I couldn’t show the pages because they are ultra personal. But trust me, that journal now goes everywhere with me.

I thought you might want to see more of the desk these journals are sitting on. This is my rolltop desk, which I have owned for more than a decade. In my previous home it lived in the living room and was rarely used. Now in my present home I have a much larger office and I can use both of my desks. You’ve seen my black desk in a few posts, and my computer and extra monitor live on it. When I work from home I use the black desk. It’s just a simple desk with a very large, flat top, perfect for typing. However my rolltop desk is perfect for writing and I am so happy I can use it in my new setup.

rolltop

I took this photo without too much thought, apparently, as I cut off the drawer that is underneath the lock. When my office is completely set up I will take a better picture. For now, this is the top of the rolltop desk. It is made out of oak and is a rich brown colour. The lock works and miraculously I still have the keys!

top-of-desk

I have a banker’s lamp on the top (thank you Christine!) and I try to keep it relatively clear of stuff. Right now I have my letter box, a few books and a card file stationery box.

front-of-desk

You first saw this desk in my post about my glass pen. Here is the main part of the desk. I have a white desk blotter to protect the writing surface. The banker’s lamp gives a lot of light but the cubby holes can be a little dark so I added the fairy lights and the candle holder (with a battery operated candle) to further illuminate the area.

left-side-of-desk

I have my glass inkwell on the left, with some small notebooks just above it. I keep my Harrod’s pen set and some page flags in the next slot, followed by a couple of ink bottles (Gypsy Rose Deep Ocean and Noodler’s Raven Black). You can also see my glass pen sitting in the pen rest built into the shelf.

right-side-of-desk

On the right side you can see another ink bottle (Waterman Inspired Blue) and a resin stamp box in the shape of a stack of letters. On the top shelf is a notepad and a tin model of a typewriter. Behind the typewriter is an amethyst. The drawers contain various office supplies that are small enough to fit in them, like post it notes, page flags, paper clips, scissors, etc. Finally I have a blue leather pen case and my ampersand paperweight on the desktop. And that’s my writing desk. I try to keep the surface clear so I can write whenever I want, and keep my computer desk covered in the latest project, either work or home related. So far it’s working out really well.

I hope you enjoyed this quick tour of my desk, and thanks very much to those who gently encouraged me to make my choice of the next journal (or as it turns out, journals) that I will be using. Happy writing!

I’m Still Here

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I wanted to write a quick message: I am still here! I am sorry for the empty field that is my posting of late. I have lots of ideas and little time it seems. But I am working on it. I know I’ve been saying that for months (!) but it’s true. I am just finishing up one of my journals – the Franklin Christoph Notebook – and I am trying to decide which journal to move into next, as my daily journal. I started the Stone Journal for the ink display with the glass pen but I’m not sure about it being a daily journal. Is the time right to jump into the William Hannah Notebook? I’m intimidated by it’s beauty but drawn to it every day. Or maybe into a rough and tumble Eccolo? Or a cheaper (so less pressure) Staples special? Or my beautiful dragonfly journal? Wow I’ve had that one for two years now and haven’t written in it yet. So many to choose from.

I need something to write in tonight so I will open myself to my journals and one will choose me. This weekend I will let you know which one. Happy journaling everyone.