Accidental Collection

Why are collections of things so satisfying?

Years ago I bought my first Hobonichi Techo planner and had it delivered straight from their online store. When you order directly from the company they include a branded multi-color click pen and every year they make a different color.

It was a fun little bonus but not particularly useful to me since I use fountain pens for most things, including in my planner. I started buying my Hobonichi gear from local outlets once that became an option, which meant no more pens.

Last year, however, my local stationery shop started doing a group buy directly from Hobonichi so we could have access to anything we wanted in the shop while also splitting the shipping. Enter the return of the Hobonichi branded pen. It was a fun bonus but again, I didn’t pay too much attention due to the fact that I didn’t really use them – although I did notice that the original one had disappeared.

This year there was another Hobonichi group buy and a new pen to celebrate the 20th year for the company. Out of curiosity, I went hunting for the original and found it in my daughter’s backpack. She also has been using the red one from last year in her own school planner.

Suddenly, even though I don’t have a particular use for them, these pens matter to me. Collecting them matters to me. I don’t know if it was seeing them have a use for my daughter, or just the fact that we now have three of them that pushed me over the edge. One is just a thing, two is a couple, does three catapult it into a collection?

Does anyone else have an accidental collection of something?

Things of Interest 2020 Week 41

This was the week Covid swept through the White House and the Vice Presidential debate was upstaged by a fly. Still, there were some things of interest…

Music

  • Jacob Collier (via You Tube) I was recently delighted when my brother sent a link to a Jacob Collier video he stumbled upon. He was just discovering Jacob’s genius for both composing, and explaining music. In this particular video he explains harmony at various levels of complexity from child, through expert, all the way to Herbie Hancock.

Watching

  • This colorized video of a Snowball Fight in Lyon, France.

Reading

  • Browse the World’s Strangest Books (via The Guardian) A book made of cheese, a Koran written in Saddam Hussein’s blood, a triangular shaped book written entirely in code – this article has it all.
  • USC’s Dying Linebackers (via Sports Illustrated) I don’t have a great interest in sports but I highly recommend this well written piece that shows the human toll of football’s traumatic brain injuries.

Well, we’ve made it through another one. Onward to next week friends.

Big Dipper Stamp

I added to my collection of stamps to use in my Night Sky Field Notes edition with a big dipper stamp.

I already had a little oval stamp I made years ago using a tiny scrap of eraser so I played with using it for star centers. There are some imperfections in the piece of block that I used to carve it but I think it works for a night sky.

Big Dipper stamp in the Night Sky Field Notes.
Big Dipper stamp tests. I don’t mind the imperfections.

Things of Interest 2020 Week 40

A lighter week in Things of Interest, perhaps since it’s been a heavier week in world events. Still, a few things…

Listening

  • Home Cooking – This new podcast features Samin Nosrat (of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat fame) and Hrishikesh Hirway (of Song Exploder) talking about cooking. A cozy podcast and Samin’s laugh delights me.

Doing

  • Cleaning Outside Windows – An unconventional Thing of Interest. In our region we are staring into increasing darkness with the return of fall and winter. Couple that with the knowledge that we will be basically at home the entire time due to Covid and I wanted more light. Thus, the motivation we needed to clean the outside of our windows after mumble mumble year. The light! We now have windows, but in HD! If you are able, I recommend it.

Watching

  • Guessing Paint Colors (via Twitter) – I could have watched the first presidential debate, or I could watch a delightful gentleman try to guess paint colors from the pigment going into a bucket of paint before it’s mixed.

Onward to the next week friends.

Moon Stamp

Inspired by the love of the new Field Notes edition The United States of Letterpress, I dug out some old editions I had stashed away. I’ve used the little notebooks to keep quotes, make lists, write down my thoughts and even have used them as tiny daily sketchbooks.

Most recently they’ve acted as a collect all for written expression but I also carve and use little stamps to fill in the blank spaces.

I picked back up the habit last week and liked the idea of stamps to match the Field Notes covers. So far I’ve made a moon phase stamp to use in the Night Sky editors that I’m working through.

Things of Interest 2020 Week 39

Music

  • Nooks Bells by T-Pain (via You Tube)It’s a rap about Animal Crossing. What more can I say?
  • Earth Wind and Fire 21st of September celebrations on the internet

Stationery and Art

  • United States of Letterpress (via Field Notes) Field Notes has commissioned a handful of letterpress printers to make covers for their latest edition and made this very cool video about it. I’m sorely tempted to grab a pack.
  • Desktop Diaries: Oliver Sacks (via You Tube) In this video Oliver Sacks, neurologist and author, gives a little tour of his desk. His collections of elements and minerals reminds me of a personal altar.
  • Drawings by Charles Darwin’s Children (via Open Culture) The drawings are utterly charming and surprisingly intricate.

Twsbi Eco

I’m slowly, (very slowly) trying to get back into the habit of drawing. Drawing takes a fair bit of concentration in a way that knitting a sock doesn’t. So I’m going back to basics and just drawing what’s nearby – in this case, a fairly new pen I’ve been using.

I use a Lamy Safari filled with Platinum Carbon Black ink for all of my sketches. It’s my favorite ink to use when I know I’m going to be doing a watercolor wash – I find it to be the most waterproof. However, this mean the Lamy is always filled with black ink so I’m ready to draw whenever I’ve got the energy and inclination.

I’m opening a door a month. It’s the small pleasures that keep you going in 2020.

I received the Diamine Inkvent calendar as a gift last year and had been wanting to try out all of the different inks in my planner, so back in February I picked up the Twsbi to try. So far it is easy to clean and low maintenance – absolute requirements for me. I also enjoy that it doesn’t need a converter and I can see the color of the ink in the pen since I’m switching colors every month.

The Twsbi with the drawing of itself. Yes I have to look up how to spell Twsbi every time.

Things of Interest 2020 Week 38

Art

Music

Cereal cut out record of the Jackson Five

Videogames

Witchbrook’s spooky, cozy look.
  • Undertale 5th Anniversary Concert (via You Tube) The actual music starts around the 44 minute mark although there are some fun animations in the time leading up to the concert that certain members of my household greatly enjoyed. If you know the game mechanics then the end of the concert is especially clever.
  • Witchbrook, the upcoming Stardew Valley, witch mash up game just launched its’ own website. Cozy, spooky, farming vibes.
  • Actors in old video game commercials. (via Twitter)

Hope in the Time of Covid

  • Dear Larry: A Letter to Home (via You Tube) A short local video showing how a town handles the lockdown. Warning, it could make you cry.
  • Ladybird Diner You see Meg of the Ladybird handing out free meals in the video above. She shut down her restaurant and has been using it to feed anyone that needs it, no questions asked. She is a wonderful writer and is putting out a book, the proceeds of which will be used to keep feeding people.

Creativity in the Face of Mortality

I’ve always been in awe of people who, when they receive the news of their approaching death, meet it with continued creative work. The recent death of Chadwick Boseman brought it to the front of my mind again. People were in awe of the fact that every single film he acted in since 2016, including the physically demanding role of the Black Panther, he performed while undergoing treatment for cancer.

What is it that drives a person to keep creating in such circumstances? Is it just the momentum of habit? Is it the need to leave your mark on the world? Is it the the feeling that whatever you have within you to share, you must work quickly before your minutes on earth run out?

I think of neurologist Oliver Sacks who wrote so much in his final months that his essays were collected into a book called Gratitude.

David Bowie died days after releasing his final album Blackstar.

I don’t know if there is such a thing as a good death or a “right” way to die; but if I have any control at all on how I face that transition, I hope that I am able to meet it with the ability to keep creating, in whatever form that takes.

Yesterday I read the moving letter from knitwear designer Cat Bordhi to Ann Shayne of Modern Daily Knits. I recommend popping over and reading the full post but something she wrote particularly struck me.

Knitting has the most marvelous ability to free up the knitter as a human being, while masquerading as innocent knitting. It is actually the best personal trainer you will ever find, offering spiritual guidance all along the way. I am so glad this is what shall carry me Home over the next week or so. 

Cat Bordhi

β€œI am so glad this is what shall carry me Home.”


Seven Seas Socks

Socks knit out of Seven Seas Felici Yarn from Knit Picks.

When the pandemic really got underway here in the United States, I found all of my creative energy drying up. I used all of my energy just trying to keep up with and understand a staggering amount of new information. It felt like each hour there was a fresh new piece of horror to digest.

Creative pursuits can often help with anxiety; and art, at its most basic level, can help make sense of the world.

But creativity takes focus and mental energy.

I think sometimes people get the idea that since hobbies and art practices help with anxiety, that they are always easy and relaxing in the moment of creation. The reality is that different projects take different amounts of, sometimes, serious concentration. So the sad fact is that there are moments when creativity is elusive, and they often line up with times people are in the most distress.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that for a while I hadn’t done shit.

Slowly, though, I’ve found creativity creeping its’ way back into my daily life. Unsurprisingly, the first finished project of the pandemic era has been a pair of socks for my daughter. It’s not surprising since, for me, socks are a fairly mindless endeavor. My brain still can’t take huge amounts of focus at once but it can now focus enough to knit in circles. Progress.

Cozy socks to face the winter ahead.