Playing with Products
***Actually, I think a bottle of ink is a really wonderful Christmas gift - it's something that will last a long time, but something that will be used. For someone who already has a few bottles of ink, every time they fill up from the one they've received from you, they'll remember you. I still fight with my hoarding tendencies from time to time - oh, what will happen if I ever use up this bottle of discontinued ink?? - but I do truly feel like everything should be cherished and used. I hope all of your Christmas shopping is going well. It's still fairly early in December, but Time Marches On - obviously the capitalization is to indicate that the hands of time are not joking around when it comes to the countdown to Christmas morning. We don't often get Caleb too many toys, but once a year for Christmas we like to get him something special. I had shown Jon this brilliant idea I had for Caleb's gift: a wooden doll house. You can even get an Asian doll family! I mean really, how often does that happen. Although now that I'm thinking about it, I don't know if I should be worried about how Asianness will be depicted on such dolls. In any case. Jon was a bit worried about the whole concept of a doll house - Caleb is sort of more of a trucks tearing over "obstacles" like a sleeping dog, or build a block tower and then crash into it as hard as possible, or drive your car into garbage cans in the warehouse kind of kid - so we put the idea on hold. However, later, while I was doing some work on my laptop, Caleb looked up and saw an advertisement for the dollhouse in a sidebar, and he got so excited I had to close the screen and distract him with some snacks. Sometimes (all the time?) Big Brother Internet Advertising is a bit scary, but sometimes it just ruins everything you try to do to help Santa out. Currently reading: The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer Currently eating: grapes, although it's twice smelled like poutine in here from two different staff, and my strength is waning Currently writing: doodling on an A4 top-spiral dot pad, with a Parker Sonnet (Kyo No Oto Hisoku), Aurora Duofold (Kyo No Oto Adzukiiro), and a Lake Tahoe Blackwing Currently looking forward to: potentially poutine, but also the 16.2 Blackwings heading our way Latest heard from the mouth of babes (Caleb): "Are you a prince or a princess?" "I'm a firetruck."
***In other news, we received part of our Hobonichi shipment in today! We're still waiting for the rest of it to arrive, hopefully tomorrow, but the team has already started shipping out pre-orders. All these new choices have me waffling back and forth between how I want to start January off next year. Things are bound to get a little crazier as we enter into the holidays, but as we get ready to welcome the new baby and send Caleb off to school (with an impossible number of forms and welcome picnics and tasks like picking up indoor shoes that I never really seemed to think were so onerous when I was a teacher...) - I'm hoping to simplify next year, as, I suppose, is the goal every year. I've been on a decluttering binge for the last few years, physically decluttering items from our home that we aren't using anymore, and I've been trying to be careful about new things that aren't consumables (paper, ink) that I bring into my desk and my life, so I want to make sure the things I select are really going to be part of helping me enjoy writing and all of the things that fill my days.
***And in other news, we've got a sale table going on in the shop. Normally we have an IKEA cart with a few sale items, but with the fall, we've been cleaning and dusting and organizing. Things will slowly trickle onto the website as well, so keep an eye on our Specials section of the website, but if you're in the neighbourhood tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday, please stop by and see what we have. There are some slightly damaged goods (like notebooks with corners that are dented from shipping) or pads of paper without their plastic packaging that we opened for photos for the website, as well as a few things we're overstocked on or maybe discontinuing. And maybe a few surprises! Who knows! (As of this point in time, literally no one!) This isn't going to be quite the same magnitude as our warehouse sale last summer, but this summer has been a busy one so we haven't managed to get our act together to hold another big sale like that. However, if you do stop by the shop, you might be able to grab a good deal or two.
- coconut chicken curry (plans for dinner)
- post office (need to pick up package)
- Pelikan M200 Cap (trying to see if I can order a replacement)
- taking or leaving information like a phone number or email address
- leaving notes for people
- currently inked pens - I cross off pens when they've run dry, and add new ones, and then when the card gets a bit scraggly, I start a fresh one
- flash cards for studying
- using washi tape to put them up on a wall to organize timelines or projects
- lists (books to read, restaurants to try, things you're going to stop saying in front of your kids)
- tracking things, like daily expenses or gym visits (HAHAHA)
- making to-do lists for other people (my favourite)
In other news, it's been a nice end to the week. Friday was busy and productive, and now it's Saturday. Saturdays are always one of our busier days in the shop, and it's nice to know that there are still so many people out there interested in writing by hand, that it's not a dying process (yet), but also that there are so many familiar faces these days.
We had quite a few old Wonder Pens friends come in this week and over the past little bit, which was a real treat. With so many big shops getting bigger and small shops closing down, it's a rare and incredible thing to have built relationships with customers who have supported us for years now. While you never know what's going to happen tomorrow, I couldn't be more grateful to be a part of that today.
Following the blog post on Chicken, he's been very popular. Right in line with what I'd expect from him, immediately after telling everyone how catty he is, he's been very friendly and affectionate, lounging in front of them on his back, on top of the pen counter blocking all view of anything underneath. It's really something else, that even in being friendly he manages to embarrass me.
Just for the record, this is how he is most of the time: six feet away, with his back turned, and watching as though everything being done is entirely beneath him. And possibly ready to dart out the open door.
In other news, our Introduction to Fountain Pens workshop has filled up fast! Our first session, Saturday, May 20th, filled up the same day, and so we've opened up another one for the next Saturday, May 27th, from 10:30 - 11:00 at the shop. You can call the shop (416 799 5935) or email us (email@example.com) to reserve a spot.
Who knew there were so many of you looking for a crash course in fountain pens! Actually, for some of you I suspect most of the material will be review, but it will be great to have you there in any case. I'm really looking forward to the first workshop.
In other news, I think spring is officially here.
Despite my declaration of spring, today it's been snowing. I've reached the stage where my insisting it's spring has gotten slightly hostile, but I'm ready for sunshiney days and ice cream and people wondering if the shop air conditioning is really working or if it just makes that buzzing noise for show.
We've had some warm days and cool days this past week, but now that I've found them again, I'm wearing my Birkenstocks out and about and there's no going back. In fact, I'm now considering an additional pair, so I have some variation in my extremely limited wardrobe, variety being the spice of life and all, so you can tell I'm serious about this.
Every season it seems we're in need of new everything for Caleb, which is both fun and a bit painful. We did a bit of spring wardrobe shopping for Caleb and I picked a few things that I know he'll love - t-shirts with firetrucks and cars - but mostly I picked things that I couldn't resist, including tank-top pineapples with sunglasses and neon shorts.
I was never not-glad that I did, but on days like this, I'm particularly glad for something bright in the shop.
One day Caleb's going to be too big to fit under this desk, but until then I'll continue to watch, slightly horrified that there are spiders lurking under the top, and take pictures.
***In other news, I found my sandals. You might recognize them from Instagram, if you are observant, or you may have noticed their absence if you are even more particularly observant. In any case, they went missing. I suspected Caleb of hiding them somewhere, which wouldn't be the first time, and I was even vaguely suspicious that he tossed them in the garbage, but I felt fairly confident that he is aware of the concept of garbage and in any case, he doesn't typically toss random things in (or at least not that I've noticed so far...). I kept telling everyone to keep an eye out for them, and everyone kept saying they would turn up. Jon ordered me an inexpensive pair of flip flops from Amazon to tide me over, but it turned out to be a disaster because he ordered me the cheapest pair which were shipping from somewhere in Asia, and it took two months to come in - the entire duration of which I kept pestering everyone to keep an eye out. I kept accusing him of forgetting and not having even ordered them, which is why it was taking so long, considering we have Amazon Prime, and he kept saying "no, no, they're coming, just wait." In any case the flip flops came in, and it still was not quite the same. For one thing, it was always slightly awkward to be flipping and flopping into the shop in the middle of winter. Birkenstocks, while admittedly still sandals, at least have an aura of mild seriousness, being brown and leathery, that turquoise flapping beach sandals do not. Eventually the conversation gradually shifted to a more chipper "well, now you can get a new pair!" which I took to mean no one was keeping an eye out any more. I was literally on the verge of ordering a new pair of Birkenstocks when we moved the couch in the apartment the other day, and along with finding an unpleasant assortment of various goods, including a very old clementine, we found my sandals.
In other news, despite a recent snowfall, with the longer days and the sunshine out, the hope of spring is in the air. Caleb loves the snow, marching through it to make new paths and explore, with Super romping figure eights around him, but I'm more of a spring flower.
It's still cold out, but I'll take cold and sunshine over the grey any day. Here in Toronto, it was so warm that the we had the shop door open for most of Saturday, and it looks to be a warm week ahead.
With the spring ahead of us, we've got a lot of new releases coming up in March and April, and I can't wait for some of them. There are a few special editions that have been announced, like the Lamy Safari special edition and the Olive Traveler's Notebook, but we have a few new lines coming to the shop as well.
The warm weather will also mean a new crop of inks in, and I know some of you have been eagerly awaiting temperatures high enough to order ink without worry.
But best of all will be those clear and crisp walks with just a jacket or sweater, a trip to the cafe with just a book or a journal instead of damp mitts and scarves, and farmers markets and flowers everywhere. Soon enough!