I get the gorgeous Philatelic catalog from the USPS. Once I am through looking at it and deciding which pretty new stamps I need, I usually toss it in the recycling bin. This time I decided to upcycle it instead of recycle it - so I turned some of the pages into envelopes. The paper is sturdy enough and I understand that as long as there aren’t any postage stamp size images on it, it should go though the postal service just fine. I’ve sent out 2 letters in them and there haven’t been any complaints so far.

The ones with the square flaps were made with a template I created and the one with the pointed flap was made using the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board. I love to use that for envelopes because it is so quick and easy, but I haven’t figured out how to make envelopes with the design going a straight across like the other ones rather than sideways. So, sometimes my own template is the way to go.

DSCN4693          DSCN4698

DSCN4694         DSCN4695

DSCN4696          DSCN4697

The paper is a coated glossy paper, so I use my ATG adhesive. Glue sticks wouldn’t work very well with this type of paper, I think it would come unglued before long. That would make ME come unglued!

If you will excuse me, I must get busy. I have more envelopes to make. No rest for the wicked, as they say ;-)

I recently won some goodies from JetPens.com - woohoo!! - so I will be back with a review as soon as they arrive.

Lots of Notecards

I got a new stamp and actually inked it up the next day! My usual method is to drool over something, procrastinate about buying it, give in and buy it, then let it gather dust for weeks on end. Not this time, though. I’m proud of myself :-) I saw this stamp and knew it would be perfect for my letter writing. I used some patterned paper that is white on the opposite side for the notecard base. I have plenty of that, so there’s no reason I can’t make lots of these.

Hero Arts Hello Grid stamp and Green Hills Mid Tone ink.


Same stamp and Hero Arts Orange Soda Mid Tone ink.


I bought a package of kraft notecards at Hobby Lobby a while back just for the envelopes, only to find that they aren’t the right size for a standard A2 card. I can use them for letters, though. I had no intentions of using the notecards until I received a letter from a pen friend with a cute typewriter embossed in silver on the front. A light bulb went off in my poor little brain.

Since I’m too lazy to get out the embossing powder, anti-static pad, and the heat tool, I just grabbed my Hero Arts Black ink and went to town. Figuratively speaking, of course. I couldn’t actually stamp on the way into town, could I? That would be dangerous. No stamping and driving. Promise? Good.


I’m not sure about the neon dots on this card. I only used them on one, and left the others nekkid - well, aside from the stamp. So maybe they’re semi-nekkid.



Next time I will stamp this one vertically and add the “Hello” stamp from the card above, so it looks more balanced. I love this Kliban cat.


This little kitty is just too cute. He would look better embossed in clear, but my black pigment ink pads may have dried up from neglect. I’ll check on that and report back.


That was my project for today. I stamped several of each design so now I have a nice stash of notecards. I have some new things coming soon, so I hope to knock the cobwebs off of this blog and post a little more often.

GrandLuxe Notebooks

I was a lucky winner of 3 notebooks from the Notebook Stories blog and even though there is a review there, I thought I’d share my own opinion here.

These are the ones I received -a Monologue Jotter, a Monologue Sketch Pad, and a Déjà Vu Notebook. Although it doesn’t say it on the label, Made in Malaysia is printed on the back of the last page of the books.


First, the Monologue Jotter. The cover is a soft suede-like fabric. It has a nice elastic closure as well as an attached ribbon bookmark. It retails for $30.99 in their online store. They are $18.50 - $25.15 on Amazon, depending on color.


It has 96 pages, 48 lined and 48 blank. I thought that was a bit strange, but the blank pages would come in handy for drawing and sketching, I guess. The lined pages are lined on both sides. You may think that’s not necessary to say, but the Déjà Vu is a bit different. Read on :-)


The pages are a nice cream color, not too thin, and fairly smooth. The odd thing was this cut out for the pen loop. Mine didn’t come with a ballpoint pen, which was fine with me because I would have given it to my husband straight away. The pen loop seems to be made from the same fabric as the cover and has no give to it at all, which limits the size of pen that will fit in it. I forgot to do some writing samples in this one, but the paper is the same (80gsm) as what’s in the Déjà Vu notebook, so I expect the results would be the same. The Déjà Vu review is at the bottom of the post - fountain pen ink spreads quite a bit and also shows through to the back of the page.


I tried several pens and the only one that even came close was my Mach 3. Even then it was just weird trying to get it in and out of the loop.


I had to lift all of the pages up to make it work, and then it was too long. It didn’t fit in the cut out space.


There is an expandable pocket in the back, but the pen loop interferes with it a bit. Yes, that’s an ink pad, and I know it’s meant for notes, receipts, and the like - and would work fine for those. I just don’t really understand the thinking behind the design. I’m not sure I would pay $18 or more for this notebook, given the quality of the paper and the odd little “features”.


Next up is the Monologue Sketch Pad. I really like the cover of this one. It has a subtle texture and those lines etched into the cover are quite pretty. Retail is $11.99 in their online store, around $12 on Amazon.


The pages have a texture similar to a lightweight cold press watercolor paper. I couldn’t capture it in a photo, so I scribbled a bit of pencil on the paper in an effort to show the texture. If you look at the left side of the photo you can see it is a pretty thick sketch book. The bad news is that it’s not refillable, the notebook is glued on to the back. Not terribly environmentally friendly.


The label states that it is suitable for drawing with charcoal, chalk, graphite, pencil, pastel, oil pastel, was crayon, red chalk, collage, oil, marker, spray, and tempera. Well, I had some markers and a pencil. And some watercolors, which is not listed as suitable. They worked fine, except the watercolor wrinkled the paper quite a bit. Fair enough, it didn’t say it was suitable for watercolors.


I had to try my Lamy Safari, of course. Fine nib, inked with Noodler’s Shah’s Rose. Yes, I do love that color and use it excessively. It actually looks pretty good on this paper. I wouldn’t necessarily use it for letter writing, but it’s heavy enough to be stamped or doodled on and used as a postcard. The pages are easily removed, too, so using them as single pages outside of the notebook is a possibility.


I can’t think of any reason why they named this one Déjà Vu…but they did and who am I to argue. It is a bright orange, with a velour-like cover over what feels like thin-ish chipboard.  There wasn’t a page count on the label, but it’s very thick. So thick that it will not lay flat for writing, it has to be held open. I didn’t find it for sale on their website, but Amazon has a grey one for $10.50.


The pages are also cream colored, lined on one side and blank on the back. No idea why.


Again with the pen tests. Fountain pens, gel pens and even a hybrid ballpoint. The paper is really smooth but the fountain pen ink spread a lot.


The Lamy EF nib looks more like the F nib should.


Almost all of the ink shows through to the backside of the pages, especially the fountain pens. Maybe that’s why they didn’t bother to print lines on the back, you couldn’t use them anyway.


I will definitely find a use for these, it just won’t be with my fountain pens. Although maybe other ink will perform differently on this paper. I have learned that much so far - pen, ink, and paper combinations can produce very different results. I should probably keep track of those results, but where’s the fun it that?

Furrow Books Review

Aaron Zeller of The Zeller Writing Company is starting a new company called Furrow Books. The notebooks are made right here in the US, in Omaha, Nebraska. I was recently selected as one of the beta testers and I’d like to share my review with you. They are starting a Kickstarter campaign in the next week or so to get the ball rolling.

The one I received is 3-1/2” x 5”, the same size as a Field Notes pocket notebook, but they will also be available in a larger size. There are 48 pages, folded and put together with 2 staples. I was told that they might consider stitching it instead of using the staples, depending on the feedback from the testers. I would prefer the stitching, but we’ll see how that goes. The cover is a nice weight beige card stock, with speckles in the paper. It will be left blank and you can, of course, either leave it that way or customize it with your own artwork, collage, stickers, etc. There is a stamp on the back which will be replaced by a printed logo and name in the final version. Keep in mind that this prototype is handmade and a bit rough around the edges, but the final version will be pure perfection.


It comes with an insert that is printed on one side with lines and the opposite side has a grid pattern. It can be used behind the pages as a guide and it works quite well. I’m not sure I would use it very often just for quick notes or lists, and I would probably lose it at some point, so I would prefer the lines or grids be printed on the page. It is a nice option to have, though.



The paper is an off white and very smooth. I like the off white, I think it’s easier on the eyes than a bright white. I used several different pens and it worked well with all of them. I don’t have very many fountain pens, so I can’t testify as to how a wetter or broader nib might perform, but I am quite happy with it. The fountain pen nibs glided smoothly across the paper, even the EF nib. The Pilot Precise and Mach 3 were very smooth, too. The Pilot Juice is a little scratchier, but it’s that way on almost all of the other paper I have so that’s the pen, not the paper.


You can barely see the writing on the other side and I wouldn’t have a problem using both sides of the pages.


The only one that showed through enough to make the back of the page unusable was the Sharpie, but I expected that. They show through nearly everything.


I didn’t notice any feathering or bleeding of the fountain pen ink.



I tried a pencil, mostly to see how it would erase and if it would leave any residue or damage the paper. It erased cleanly with no damage to the paper at all. It would depend on the quality of your eraser, I’m sure. The hard orange ones on the wood pencils might not work as well, but who uses those anymore?


Here is a little more information provided on the sheet that was enclosed with my notebook.


All in all, it is a really nice little notebook. I have no idea about price points, but I’m sure it will be competitive with similar products. The fact that it’s made in the US is a definite plus for me. I look forward to seeing the finished product and I wish Aaron all the best in his new endeavor!