Succotash at the Studio

Japanese Stationery Tour Part II: Our Top 10 Picks Continues

Stationery stores are almost as prevalent as vending machines in Japan. Some of my favorites from this trip were found in Kyoto, maybe because they were smaller or because we loved it so much there, but probably because we hope to carry these paper products very soon! Enjoy Part 2 of our Japanese Stationery Store: KYOTO. Click below to keep reading.

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Tips for How to Use Your Travelers Notebook

From agendas to journals; and even wallets, Travelers Notebooks allow you to do this in the most flexible and stylish way. These leather notebooks from Japan are highly coveted and often imitated. They have been around for a dozen years. Simplicity and balance are key to their philosophy. The notebooks and various inserts have been designed for ones daily travels in life. Whether you use them for planning and organization, sketching, or journaling, you are free to customize them for your own needs. Created around the famous MD (Midori Diary) Paper. One is assured of the smoothest highest quality paper for most any medium.  See more of the entire line from Travelers Company.

customize your travelers notebook

Here is how some of us use our notebooks, we hope you will be inspired and show us how you use yours.

Cowboy Alex uses his Travelers Notebook as an agenda:
"Sometime four or five years back, I decided that I liked having a paper trail of my weekly appointments. I am a visual learner and will always remember my schedule if I recall what the pages look like - either blank or with names and times scribbled on them. Putting things into my phone just didn't help me retain them to memory, and I prefer to have a general idea ahead of time of what my days or weeks are shaping up to look like.

Anyway, my first paper agenda was a year-specific one, and thus one I had to trash after the year was over. Then, I learned about Traveler's Notebooks, which combine beautiful leather covers with interchangeable inserts, one of which is a weekly calendar. I was hooked!

First I had a regular-size black one with a red binding cord, then I switched to a limited-edition olive, which has aged beautifully and still smells divine. 
Often, I get compliments on it, even though paper agendas are still (sorta) a thing of the past. Along with a Blackwing pencil, the writing from which I can erase if necessary, I keep all my most important dates and notes in my TN. I even decorated my weekly calendar pages with some custom tape I found in the studio that says: 'You are loved. You are awesome. You are enough. You are lovely. You are worthy.' "

how i use my travelers notebookmy travelers notebook

Regular attendee to the Midori-Travelers Notebook, Heather, uses her passport as a wallet:
I went to a Travelers meet-up at the Paper Seahorse.  A couple of the participants were using their Passport size Travelers as a wallet.  I decided to give it a try and purchased a dark brown color.  It has worn extremely well.  I really enjoy using it for my wallet.  It appears streamline and helps me feel organized.

travelers notebook wallet
Cowgirl Dani loves the smaller passport size for traveling:
"One of the new ways I've started using my Passport TN is to keep a mini travel journal with the 003 inserts.  When I travel with friends, I've started taking extra inserts so I can "collect" things for them.  On a recent trip to Yellowstone and other National Parks, I gathered the park stamps in these.  Then, I create travel journals for each of them.  They are just the right size and give each of my friends (who don't journal!!), a memory of their trip and our travel times together."

I personally have four notebooks and an insert helping my through life at all times. I am an analog gal and the digital calendar and agenda never ever worked for me. Pen to paper is faster, more tactile and fulfilling for me. I love that I can be colorful and creative and express myself through pen and paper:

Once a week, on Sundays, I use my Camel notebook with green cord for my reflective journaling practice. I "theme" my week and capture the highlights, often sketching or pasting in treasures along the way. I have been doing this for three years now. Each of the inserts I use hold six months at a time. I love it because they are small and yet hold so much. I cover the inserts with handmade paper or wrapping paper according to my mood of the season. I started out with the 019 inserts but now use the 003 inserts.

camel travelers notebook journaling
My daily planner is the limited edition Olive color (my favorite color of all time and I can't believe they made a notebook just for me!) I use the monthly insert (017), a kraft folder insert (020), the weekly insert (019) and sometimes a blank insert (003) for notes. It has all of my appointments, to dos, birthdays to remember, ideas and things I want to remember like gifts for people, movies or books I want to watch. Besides my iPhone, this is the item I have with me most of the time. I have a cute seahorse charm for my paper marker and I also cover my inserts with handmade paper.

olive travelers company notebook
My Brown regular size notebook was my first planner. I now use it for my self development in a kraft insert (014) I take notes of books I have read and quarterly I do a vision / mood board to check in with myself.

customized travelers notebook diary
I also use the kraft insert (014) for my travel vision board. I collect all the images and article of places I intend to visit. All the international places is in the front and all of the places in Florida is in the second half. I am inspired every time I open this book to add something. I am a big believer in creative visualization and positive affirmations. I used to collect inspirational images and saying and keep them in a folder, how silly is that? Now they are in my notebook and it is a living thing I use and look at all the time.

customize travelers notebook insert
And last but not least, I have Camel passport sized notebook that I use when I travel. It is small and yet holds alot. A zippered insert (004) makes sure loose items are safe. The kraft folder (010) keeps items organized. A lightweight bland insert (005) for taking notes and of course my actual passport! Right now I am tricking mine out for my trip to Japan. I am sure I will find some cool items to add to it. Stay tuned!

Sweet Paul Makerie 2017: Making & Creating in Brooklyn

Finally, able to share with everyone a magical weekend of making in Brooklyn. I was fortunate to attend my 5th Makerie, a creative retreat designed by the amazing Ali DeJohn.  It was the 3rd Sweet Paul Makerie for me, which is a collaboration with the luscious Sweet Paul Magazine.  The Makerie is a weekend of creative making, nuturing and celebrating.  Ali and Paul dreamt up another oh-so-cool retreat in the heart of Gowanus, an arty neighborhood in Brooklyn.  

Opening reception was held at the studio and shop of Lotta Jansdotter who I was lucky enough to take a workshop with at an earlier retreat.  It was so great to see where she plays and creates.

Gowanus - Makerie

Anticipation of spending two whole days taking four workshops and eating delicious food with cool, smart people is what fueled me through many late work nights.  Being there reminded me why I started this business and to be brave and take risks in life.

Here are the workshops I took, it was almost as if they were created for me, as it was a dream come true:

sashiko japanese mending
Sashiko Mending
- Taught by Katrina Rodabaugh, she lives and breathes textiles and social responsibility. Sashiko is the art of Japanese decorative stitches to reinforce items. This mindful mending extends the life garments and reminds us to not be wasteful and disposable.  We did a sampler tea mat for practice and finished with mending a piece of clothing we wanted to keep rather than throwing away.  The white stitching against the blue of the denim is quite striking.

Alternative Botanicals
- Taught by Melissa Martin - Julien of the Proper Flower, she is also part of the Matthew Robbins team.  While I missed not taking a class with him this year (hope he comes back next year?) She was a ray of sunshine and made us all have a dance party in the middle of making!  We re-thought succulents and wearable botanicals.  Rings, pins, headbands, bracelets and more, we learned to make floral jewelry and discover some alternative centerpieces.  The best part was working on such a tiny scale.  Designing for a pin or ring is definitely an exercise in restraint. 

bobbin lace

Bobbin Lace
- Taught by Elena Kanagy-Loux, who founded the Brooklyn Lace Guild, this was my favorite class for sure. It was also the class I was the most nervous to take.  It looks complicated and hard.  I released my fears and jumped in.  Elena was an excellent teacher and I actually took to lacemaking like a fish to water!  I have always loved lace, my mom used to tat and it is pretty advance in my mind.  Bobbin lace is sort of like macrame but really tiny.  It took 3 hours to make a 5 inch by 1/2 in piece you see here!

Coptic Book Binding
- So I saved the best for last. This was a book binding class that was one of the most comprehensive I have taken.  I especially like the coptic stitch because the books lie flat and you can see the exposed spine.  Delicate yet strong, the stitching shows it is handmade. Taught by the incredibly talented Natalie Stopka, I wish I could have taken all of her classes.

There were several surprise speakers, one was Genevieve Gorder, an interior designer who spoke on trends and the Fabulous Beekman Boys!  I really miss their show, they have had quite the journey and are now featuring local makers in their fabulous shop in Sharon Springs and online.

The entire event was held at 501 Union (an stylish event space) and the Textile Arts Center, just down the street.  If you are looking for amazing and unusual classes, this is the space for you. And if you are looking for a national/international creative retreat, The Makerie is for you. They have events in Boulder, Colorado as well as in the New York area with Sweet Paul.  To all the sweet and creative people I met, thanks for playing and see you next year!

What is Washi Tape? And Why is MT the Gold Standard?

Washi tape literally means "paper" tape.  It is colorful and simple, can be torn by hand and is easily repositionable. The tape can be layered for pretty effects and it can be written on. It is often used in letter writing, mail art, decorating lunch bags to gift wrapping.  Whole walls have even been decorated with washi tape. Best of all, it is temporary and reusable.

There are many brands with varying degrees of sizes, color, price and pattern. In our opinion, not all washi is made equal.  MT is the original brand of washi paper masking tape, created by the 100 year old company Kamoi Kakoshi and produced in Japan. The superior level of ‘just right’ adhesion allows MT to be easily repositioned and to be used on painted walls without damaging paint. Their highest quality and vast selection of designs have made them be sought out by some of the worlds best artists.  We proudly carry a large selection of washi tapes, but our heart belongs to MT.

Read more about the MT Story here.