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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Remembering our Individuality in the Digital World

When I first learned how to write my name at the ripe age of three, I wrote it on everything: books, furniture, walls, VHS cases, anything that my tiny three-year-old hands could find.

Any of us who remember our earliest years can likely recall an almost innate attraction to scribbling with pens. Despite our writing often being illegible, and the nuisance it caused for our poor parents, scribbling might have indicated something much more profound in us: a need to express ourselves.

Finding Ourselves in an Age of Automation

As kids, tapping into our creative roots was as instinctive as breathing. But as we grew up and entered a modern, technology-centric world, losing touch with our expressive side has become all too easy. Screens glow at us, urging us to click and swipe, and we are constantly bombarded with information from all around. Slowly, we can become more and more detached from ourselves. Automation and efficiency are at an unprecedented peak, and when so much can get done in such little time, we can easily obsess over doing more, and doing it faster.

All said, advancements in technology aren’t necessarily a bad thing, and by no means are we destined towards a path of complete detachment. One basic ingredient for getting back to center is a simple reminder to ourselves: take a break! No matter how many screens are around us, or even where technology takes off to next, spending a little time away from our devices so we can express ourselves will always be one of the most gratifying experiences for a healthy, self-aware state of mind.  

One Small Step for Self-Discovery

When we communicate, we’re not just communicating with others – we’re communicating our thoughts and feelings. Having a chance to communicate freely without a screen in front of us, and exploring creatively in any way that we feel called to, can lead to unexpected discoveries within ourselves. Doodling, journaling, and yes, even scribbling – these are all seeds that can blossom into new passions, interests, and abilities that we may have never realized were inside of us. 

Michael Sull, a master penman and recognized authority on Spencerian calligraphy, tells us that no matter where we are at in our life, “there should always be time in a person’s schedule, and even more than that, the desire of a person for their personal schedule to stop, get away from the digital world, and express yourself personally, individually, like nobody else can, because it’s you.”

A Future for Self Expression 

Michael Sull has had the opportunity to see firsthand the massive shift from analog to digital overtime - he has been teaching his mastery at penmanship for over 40 years. Today, his lifework has a focus on reigniting the creative spirit, and he tours the world teaching transformative workshops on handwriting. But his hope for others is by no means limited to penmanship. “My hope,” he says, “is that more and more people will learn the joy of expressing themselves personally and physically through the act of handwriting, of painting, of calligraphy, of all sorts of hobbies that involve human activity.”

Sometimes we can get lost in the non-stop motion of the modern world. While we're swept up in the stream of social media and instant communication, and our attention is grabbed from all corners, we can easily lose track of ourselves. Never forget to take time to look within, find your sense of self-expression, and remember that you are an individual, like no one else. You are you.

The Paper Seahorse will be bringing Master Penman Michael Sull to the Tampa area for a weekend-long workshop series. From November 30th to December 2nd, Mr. Sull will be teaching intimate, creative classes on handwriting, flourishing, artistic signatures, and Spencerian script. Class sizes will be limited, so those interested are encouraged to sign up early. More details and class descriptions can be found here

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!