We recently got in some stationery-adjacent things, which are sometimes my favourite things to get in. We (I) spend a lot of time overanalyzing the specifics of which ink with which pen, or how I’m going to use which notebook for what, but sometimes it’s nice to have something entirely new to contemplate. 


We’ve gotten some plant things in. I remember in my first classroom as a teacher, I had a bank of south facing windows all along one big wall. It was an old building, as most schools in Toronto tend to be, and the ceilings and windows were high. I had plants, of course, all along one wall, and a teacher came in and commented that it was a bit jungly in my room. I think with the extra dampness and foliage there was a bit of an earthy fug, which, I suppose, could’ve come from either the plants or the adolescent students. It wasn’t quite a compliment but I’ll take it. 


Plants have come and gone and I’ve had some plants survive through the deserts of unwatered holiday seasons, or left to languish in the bottom of old Victorian houses, waiting months for renovations. One of my largest plants was once left in what is now the back office of the studio shop because it was too big to move, trapped in the back behind stacked up furniture, gathering dust. At some point a contractor upended his water bottle and left it in the soil of the plant, which was both thoughtful and sort of a weird littering situation. Perhaps he was trying to leave a sign for future passers by. This plant could use some water. Many plants have not survived on the voyage of life, and I remember them fondly, treasuring their return to compost as part of the circle of life. 


Some years have been better than others, with repotting plants that have outgrown their pots, roots crawling out through the water hold on the bottom, or occasionally trimming off dead leaves. I once found a centipede in the soil of one of my plants and had no choice but to abandon it to the outside world. The freakiness of 5 ft long aerial roots, slowly wending their way into the air with the sole intention of strangling me while I’m asleep in my bed, a large jade plant that looks alive, although if you touch it in the slightest, things start falling off, so everyone just leaves it alone. Beside the jade plant, I have a pot of soil into which I put all the small branches and the dozens of individual leaves that have fallen off the mama plant. Jon refers to the pot as “what is this is this even a real plant” but I’m holding out hope that they will one day sprout roots and grow into little babies and then little children jade plants. 


At Caleb’s school, they planted some pea shoots in little paper cups. It’s all very elementary and very cute. They decorated the cups and Caleb drew some sort of four-eyed monster on his and I was not at all demoralized when I saw the beautiful, neat and colourful mosaics and nature scenes drawn by some of the other kids in his class. I think there must have been some nuclear fertilizer in that soil because those things sprouted very quickly. Pea shoots to strangle Caleb in his sleep.



In any case, with the gloom of winter upon us, and what seems to be many more months of spending time in our same spaces, there’s never been a better time to take care of a plant. If this is asking too much of you, given the current climate of life, these would also make great Christmas presents for any plant-lovers you know. 



These are a set of cards with an illustration as well as description and care instructions of a plant on each one. You can also include these in snail mail, use the cards as gift tags or bookmarks, or try and get one of each in your home. 



A beautiful book on plant care, called Plant Therapy. Tips and tricks for specific plants as well as plant life overall in your work and home spaces. 




New correspondence cards, with some classic covers. Always nice when you can pick a book that’s perfect for the recipient.



We also got in these mindfulness cards, Ways of Tuning Your Senses. A way to take a break during a long day in your home office, journaling prompts or inspiration, or to send to someone who needs it. 




Lots in, and lots more to come! The tables in the back of the warehouse are overflowing, as is my own desk, and the floor space around me. New stuff and restocks, stacks of paper and notebooks. Christmas cards, Sailor Compass pens, MD 2021 diaries. I’ve been taking a lot of photos these days. 


Currently reading: Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings

Currently writing with: Sailor Compass in Yellow with Sailor Kobe #7, Pilot Custom 74 with some sort of dark blue ink, Blackwing Eras, Pilot Custom 823 with Sailor Shirakashi

Currently enjoying: a second cast iron pan

Alternating complaining about: the house being too cold and my eyes being too dry from the heat

Currently dreaming about: warm feet



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November 02, 2020 — Liz Chan



Rosemary said:

Yes, plants during the pandemic have been a small balm. One neighbour put cuttings in a jar placed in one of the little free libraries in our neighbourhood. Now one of those little cutting is growing happily in a pot on my window sill. It’s a reminder that we can still share and be kind these days.


Cate said:

Growing a new tiny jade plant from a fallen leaf felt like one of the most incredible things I have ever done, even though I did nothing and the plant did everything. My mother-in-law thought it was a weed and pulled it up. The circle of life continues.

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