New stationery, fresh from Japan! You can find them here on the website, sets of correspondence stationery with envelopes, stickers, tiny little people wandering the earth in search of tasty concession snacks.


I have been looking forward to these for a long time, not sure when they would arrive and what exactly they would look like. They are charming and the detail is so lovely and they are perfect for sending out in the mail, especially when you are doubtful of your spelling and penmanship and your letter is six months late and all you want is for your pen pal to still like you. Perhaps they seem particularly nostalgic because they are so clearly of pre-Covid times.



There are four different themes, each of them a perfect day’s adventure, with matching stationery and envelopes, sticky notes, stickers and washi tape. A whole matching set would make a lovely gift for someone who needs a stationery pick me up.


The washi tapes are so much fun, maybe more so because I can’t resist a good tape. I obviously don’t have enough.


I am saving a couple of the sheets of the camping Starry Night theme for our next camping trip, for Caleb and myself to write letters on, even if we’ll post them only once we return to the city, and looking forward to using the rest soon.



I am using the sticky notes a bit willy-nilly in my planner, and I’m trying not to be too precious with them. Special editions come and go, and I’ve begun to appreciate consumables (stationery, washi tape, stickers, etc. As opposed to a special edition pen) because there’s an element of using them up to completion, of looking for the right recipient to receive a special note, or of putting little colourful patches in my journal. I’m saving some of these sticky notes to put in my journal to write little reminders of special things, funny quotes from the kids, reminders of a quiet moment, a great line I came across somewhere.





I am enjoying the company of different creatures as I take photographs and as I tap away. The cats are learning to get along, or at least exist near each other.


This is good timing for these to have arrived because my next blog post is going to be the announcement and details of our next pen pal match up. It will be run just like last time, so no surprises, but if you are looking for a pen pal, please stay tuned. After each time it closes, weeks or months after, people write and ask if they’ve missed out and how will they know about the next one, so I’ve been trying to give lots of warning in the newsletter and in other places. It’s coming! Be warned.





These days I am hiding from the cold with my books and journals and favourite inky pens. It really got frosty out very quickly. I recently picked up a copy of John Irving’s The World According to Garp and I had forgotten how funny and biting and sharp it is. At the very beginning there is a scene where a man catches a pigeon in his chest, and after a good laugh, I’m now looking forward to settling in, enjoying Garp and Jenny and the world around them. I just finished Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell, which was heartbreakingly good. I had been a bit loathe to start: Shakespeare’s children, moving back and forth in time, the historical elements of doing laundry and farming did not seem like something I could easily dissolve myself into, but oh, did I ever. I dissolved. Two good books in a row? What opulence. To remind myself of such good fortune, I am continuing to slog through The Brothers Karamazov. Karamazov autocorrected to Kalamazoo just now, and it might as well be for my speedy journey through it.


In-person learning for the kids returns on Monday and I am grateful and worried. It seems I have made only wrong decisions ever in parenting these children entrusted into our lives, and yet here I am, sending them out into the wilderness of variously vaccinated humans, and asking them to return home safely to me. You can’t stop living life, the ominous they say. Okay, got it, got it.


In any case, it’s a bit of the usual in this crisp January start to the year, and we are welcoming boxes in with the occasional broken bottle of ink, and we are eagerly awaiting other boxes from Japan and Europe and possibly the US, and I’m trying to squeeze in special orders with Jon to try and get some samples of things in and he is balking and saying Liz I can’t do it, there’s already a language barrier and my order is in, and I’m trying to work on some math with Caleb because I’m worried about him falling behind and he’s giving me that glazed eye look of a child who stopped listening to me shortly after I began talking, and it is a particular inconvenience that Chinese New Year seems to be coming absurdly early this year, how can that be right?


But we are lucky enough to be warm and cosy indoors, and my tea is lukewarm, and the cats are sleeping near each other, and there is a stack of new things for me to photograph and test out and I can’t wait to dig in.


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January 14, 2022 — Liz Chan

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