Pen & Stationery
December 8, 2015
At The Movies
Written by Yvonne
Oscar season is coming. It is time for the best contenders for the Academy Awards to make their film circuit debut, and so I’ve decided to showcase several products that remind me of the red carpet.
First, is the limited edition Montblanc Alfred Hitchcock 3000 fountain pen. This special pen has a cap and barrel that is inspired by the stair-way effect from the movie Vertigo. The clip is in the form of a knife, which pays homage to one of his most famous movies, Psycho. The lettering from the cap ring is taken from a film roll. His portrait is etched onto the nib, which is made of 18K gold and rhodium-plated. The pen also comes with 925 Sterling Silver fittings with special effect lacquer on the cap and barrel and features a piston mechanism. The pen comes in a case shaped like a roll of film and an acrylic clapper board display.
Camera, rolling, ready, action.
Record your best memories on these sticky notes, which come in the shape of camera roll, complete with material reminiscent of celluloid. Each roll contains 80 frames/sheets.
Keep your pencils sharp with our camera pencil sharpener in the shape of a vintage hand crank camera. The sharpener has an adjustable knob and features a pull out tray for shavings.
Send a message with these boxed thank you notes, which resemble silent film frames. The envelopes come with a small motif at the top.
Write notes on stickets sticky notes in the shape of movie tickets. These come in four vibrant colors.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with our Compartes gourmet chocolate bars, in two unique flavors, Old Hollywood and The Drive In. The Drive In is a caramelized popcorn milk chocolate bar made from three different types of popcorn, while Old Hollywood is a dark chocolate bar with smoked sea salt. Packaging for Old Hollywood is accented with art deco patterns in black and white; The Drive In features popcorn spotlights and a sea of cars. Both are crafted in Los Angeles.
December 1, 2015
Reflect. Write. Recharge.
Written by Sujey
Holiday season is here! Every year I’m shocked at how fast the year flew by, and although the holidays are my favorite time of year, they’re also the busiest! We all have last minute projects to get done, shopping, holiday events, family commitments, the list goes on…
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to stop for a minute, reflect and recharge before I can focus on everything that still needs to get done. Why not take a few minutes for yourself and jot down the things you’ve accomplished throughout the year; Focus on the good. Treat yourself to a 90-second thankful list; you’d be surprised how refreshing it is to put it all on paper. It can be short and sweet or lengthy and epic… whatever it is, write it from the heart.
Here are a few items around our Pens & Stationery department to help you do just that.
Grab a journal, your favorite pen, and light a scented candle… here are my top three!
June 7, 2015
The Colorful Kitchen
by Eric Villiers
If you’re like me you spend a significant amount of time in the kitchen. I love to cook and find it to be a fun and creative release coming up with new and interesting dishes to make. I love a stark white kitchen. They are extremely elegant but at the same time I think they can stifle creativity. I’ve found that adding pops of color to my kitchen helps to get the creative juices flowing.
One of the best ways to add color to your kitchen is with the items we use to store and serve food on. Bauer Pottery comes in an array of bright colors. I love this brand because you can mix and match the colors allowing one to really let their personality shine. On top of this Bauer Pottery Company is Los Angeles based so if you choose to invest in one of their pieces you are supporting the local economy!
Another fun way to add color to your kitchen is with the tools we use to cook with. At Vroman’s we carry a large number of cooking Tools and utensils that will brighten your cooking space. A couple of my personal favorites are the Bamboo Utensil Set. I own these and love cooking with them! Because they are bamboo they won’t damage any of your pot or pans. Another fun item is the 55 Minute Magnetic Timer from Kikkerland. They come in multiple colors and will add a nice pop of color to your refrigerator or any other magnetic surface you may have in your kitchen. Colanders can be fun and unexpected way to add pops of color to your kitchen. The Cactus small colander by Now Designs is both beautiful and functional. They also produce a number of other colors that we carry here at Vroman’s!
The easiest way to add color to your kitchen is with the item we use to keep it clean. Towels are a great way to add punches of color to your space and you can change them to match the season or your mood. I love the Flour Sack Towels we carry and the orange and turquoise patterned ones pictured above are some of my favorites. Many people forget that the sponges we use to clean with are an inexpensive place to add some color. The Tawashi Scrubbers from Now Designs come in vibrant colors. I especially love the Lemon and Kumquat colored ones we have for sale. The other nice thing about getting scrubbers like these is you can wash them in your washing machine and reuse them for much longer than your traditional sponge. Hot Pads are great way to add touches of whimsical color. Here at Vroman’s we carry multi-colored felted hot pads that come in varying sizes and color patterns. Hopefully you find inspiration in all these colorful items to maybe try using a new spice or ingredient in your cooking. Bon Appétit!
May 27, 2015
Holy Comic Book Pens, Batman!
In celebration of comic book day, I’ve decided to shine the bat-signal on our officially licensed, limited edition heroes vs. villains Montegrappa pens, representative of four iconic DC Comics characters.
Wonder Woman, the warrior princess of the Amazons, was created by Dr. William Moulton Marston, (who also discovered the lie detector test) in 1941. The golden bracelets bound to her wrists can repel bullets, while her lasso forces everyone that she captures with it to tell the truth. Unlike her male superhero counterparts, Wonder Woman can be injured and loses her powers if any man places chains on her bracelets. Marston ultimately created Wonder Woman in order to encourage young females to feel empowered, courageous, and strong.
The Dark Knight, created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane makes his first appearance in Detective Comics in 1939. After witnessing the murder of his parents, Bruce Wayne swears to avenge justice on criminals. Throughout the series, Batman fights a variety of unique villains, such as the Joker, Poison Ivy, Cat Woman, and the Penguin. Unlike most superheroes, Batman, much like Marvel’s Tony Stark (Iron Man) does not possess any superpowers. Instead, he relies on his self-training and knowledge of martial arts and self-built technology to aid him in his quest.
The Penguin, a mobster and thief, is considered to be one of Batman’s oldest adversaries and is known for his passion for birds. His nightclub ventures cover his criminal activities. The character was inspired by the mascot for Kool cigarettes, which was a penguin with a top hat and cane.
Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and drawn by Joe Shuster first flew onto comic book pages in 1938. Kal-El was born on the planet Krypton before being sent to Earth, where he is raised on a farm as Clark Kent. Clark eventually becomes Superman’s alter ego while he works as a journalist for the Daily Planet and strives to protect the citizens of Metropolis against villains such as Lex Luthor.
May 15, 2015
by Rebecca M.
Spring is in the air, and although we don’t get much of it here in sunny California, for me, the idea of springtime always conjures up images of rain, leafy green foliage, and a general freshening of the atmosphere. Along with rain and new plant growth comes the annual increase of entomological sightings.
I always like to gauge the advent of Spring by the amount of bugs I come into contact with on a daily basis. Here in California, we don’t get the same influx of large, loud bugs that overtakes a lot of the country, but we do see a marked difference as we make the transition to summer.
It’s easy to place insects in a lineup of day-to-day bothers, but learning to appreciate their beauty and all they do for us can completely change the way you view insect life. Insect diversity is vital in maintaining the equilibrium of the environment. Vroman’s has a few products that can help you take on a more appreciative perspective of these lil’ creepy-crawlies.
An Illustrated Directory of the Insects of the World is a truly stunning collection images of over 600 insects. This is a perfect guide for children and adults alike!
Waste Not Paper has an entire line of beetle-themed paper goods, including boxed notes, gift wrap, and gift bags, pictured below.
Drawing & Painting Insects by Andrew Tyzack introduces the reader to the detailed and delicate structure of insects by guiding you through the process of translating their beauty to two-dimensional art.
Boma Jewelry’s Royal Bee Necklace is a perfect gift for the queen bee in your life! It is a sterling silver piece with an understated but adorable imprint.
Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart is an informative and intriguing look at some of nature’s less friendly creatures, giving illustrations and trivia along with descriptions of these arthropods.
(Editor’s Note: Happy Birthday, Sujey! Much happiness and felicitations on your big day!)
May 5, 2015
On The Hunt For The Perfect Font!
Weddings are about you and your fiancé’s personality and of course the theme of your celebration. The design of your invitation sets the tone for the big day, so whether you’re planning a glamorous black tie affair or a more relaxed, family oriented celebration, the look of your invitation will give guests an idea of what they can look forward to.
I’ve rounded up some of my favorite font pairings for invitations; if you love fonts just as much as I do, this is a great way to start an inspiration board… though you can also start with a color palette or your wedding venue to inspire the look of your stationery.
Here at Pens & Stationery, not only do we have plenty of designer catalogs you can order from (like Vera Wang and Kleinfeld Paper), we also offer in-house printing services; we would be thrilled to help you design your invitation suite!
April 28, 2015
My First Favorite Authors
I was lucky enough to grow up in a house that had a pretty extraordinary book collection. Both of my parents were products of the 60’s, and in their youth lived in Berkeley, CA, hung out on Telegraph Avenue, got tear gassed, and went to poetry readings across the bay at the City Lights Bookstore. So needless to say, by the time I came around, they had quite a collection of books by all of your favorite literary rebels.
I didn’t pay these books much mind as a kid, but as I got older, it became apparent that they were different. These books seemed gloomy, dangerous and mysterious; I remember trying to figure out why anyone would want to read the diaries of some French Woman named Anais Nin. They didn’t look like the sort of books you could casually glance at – they looked like a commitment.
However, I was a big reader as a kid, but my tastes were purely escapist; non -fiction books about Dinosaurs and horror films, or Stephen King, Clive Barker and occasionally Dean Koontz. It wasn’t until I became a teenager and discovered the art of being surly and tortured that those gloomy, scary books at home started to beckon.
The first volume I picked up was ‘Life and Death in the Charity Ward’ by Charles Bukowski. I don’t really know why. I was just bored, and since “death” was in the title, I picked it up and read the first sentence, found it surprisingly funny and horrifying, and before I knew it I had read the whole book cover to cover. I started to carry it around with me, reading passages in class when I should have been paying attention, and telling my friends about my new hero, Charles Bukowski. Lucky for me, my parents seemed to have his whole collection at home.
His humorous, nihilistic world view fit perfectly with a long haired teenager of the Grunge generation, and like many before and after me I came to regard him as a friend, there for me when times got tough. As I later remarked to a fellow Bukowski nut, no matter what is happening in your life at any given moment, there is always a Bukowski quote to put it in perspective.
That December was the birthday part of a family friend named Richard, who, like my parents, went to UC Berkeley. The big moment at his birthday every year was the gifts he would get, as it was a tradition to find him the most subversive or outrageous present ; I recall that this was where I first discovered the RESearch publishing company, as someone had bought him a copy of ‘Bob Flanagan; Super Masochist. ‘
But the book that I remember the most was the first printing of Introducing Kafka. Now reprinted just as ‘Kafka’, it was part of a series of illustrated books on the likes of Mark Twain and Plato, which were all called ‘Introducing…’ What caught my eye was that it was illustrated by Robert Crumb, whose art work I was familiar with since seemingly everyone my parents knew had Crumb art books, or at least art prints, at their houses.
Since I always went through Richard’s books at the party, I started looking at the Kafka book, and was immediately attracted to Kafka’s absurd levels of self loathing, a concept I was very familiar with (and at thirteen, who isn’t?). I also liked the fantasy aspects of it – something like “The Metamorphosis,” in which a man is transformed into a giant insect in his sleep, connected with my love of horror movies but remained something totally different, more like reading a deeply personal fairy tale. However, Kafka was not one of the authors that my parents owned, and so I travelled down to Border’s and purchased a copy of ‘The Metamorphosis and Other Tales. “I remember feeling really classy and debating whether or not I should pick up coffee as a habit.
Over the years, I went through the rest of my parents’ book collection, and then moved on to the vinyl, but to date, the discovery of Bukowski and Kafka remain deeply formative moments of my youth. They helped inform not just what I like to read, but who I am as a person – although I’ve since decided that being gloomy and tortured is exhausting. I’m sure most book lovers have moments like these in their lives, where they made that first, intense connection with an author. I’m really lucky that I didn’t have to travel very far to make mine.
February 19, 2015
My New Year Resolutions! (Well, it is Chinese New Year!)
With the New Year I have made a couple of resolutions in the hopes of getting 2015 started on the right foot. Here are some items that may help to get your year started on the right foot too.
1. Pop Teapot, $57.95
As a person who tries to be as healthy as possible I have resolved to drink more tea this year. The Pop Teapot is great for this. It’s large enough to steep several cup of tea at a time so that you don’t have to keep boiling water every time you want another cup! On top of that, it has a great modern look to it.
2. Vivian Maier Street Photographer, $39.95
I have decided to expose myself to more art this year. I love going to the museum but I don’t always have the time. Vivian Maier Street Photographer is a great solution. I can always have inspiring art on my bookshelf that I can look at anytime I need inspiration.
3. Cross Century Fountain Pen (Chrome), $55.95
I want to write more this year. Having a pen I love to use helps me stay motivated. The Cross Century Fountain Pen in chrome looks so good that I want to write with it all the time.
4. Where the Wild Things Are Tote, $18.95
Staying organized is always a challenge for me and I have resolved, once again this year, to get organized. The Where the Wild Things Are tote is a great bag to keep all my stuff organized while I’m out and about running errands. It’s also a great conversation starter and helps me to remember not to take life too seriously.
January 31, 2015
New Year’s Resolutions
There’s nothing like being able to take the New Years as an opportunity to create a fresh start and start a new journey. Here are some items that I love that will help guide you to wherever your travels take you this year!
We’ll start off with these brightly colored luggage tags from Kate Spade. They come in three different patterns, black with white polka dots, pink with orange stripes and green, with the words Off We Go! in Green. These distinct tags will help you easily distinguish your luggage and make them easy to spot.
Next is the Blue Airmail Paper from Kikkerland. It’s easy to get caught up in emails and tweets, so these will help you add a personalized touch to your messages. All you have to do is write, fold and then send. They make sending handwritten letters and notes a breeze. Just stick on a postage stamp on these classic red and blue lined sheets and you’ll be on your way.
Then we have these fun polaroid note cards, which comes in an assortment of 20 different cards and envelopes. Their soft vintage coloring evokes a sense of nostalgia, especially since polaroid film is hard to come by. The photos have a high gloss to them and the Kraft paper envelopes add a timeless feel to the set.
And finally, we have these small blank notebooks are great for jotting down notes or sketches and doodles. They come in a back of two, one with a passport logo in gold foil and another with illustrations of iconic monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc De Triomphe, Big Ben, and The redeemer statue from Rio de Janeiro. You can revisit your thoughts later and share them with those around you.
January 18, 2015
New Year’s Intentions… Ditch Those Resolutions!
The thing about making a resolution is that we tend to place strict guidelines on the goal, which makes for an unrealistic outcome. Life happens, some days are more hectic than others and it’s easy to get discouraged when a resolution isn’t fulfilled. However, when we set an intention, we can modify those strict guidelines into more flexible, realistic versions of the same goal. For example, this year, one of my intentions is to cook more homemade meals and establish better habits in order to live a healthier lifestyle. I’ve rounded up a few items from the department that I think will help frame this intention and keep me motivated even on a hectic day!
- Kraft Market List by Sugar Paper
Sugar Paper never disappoints with their pretty paper goods, so I’m adding this market list pad to my collection! Now I can jot down what I need from the grocery store in order to prep my meals for the week.
- Rifle Paper Co. Herbs & Spices Art Print
Not only is this beautiful print perfect for my kitchen, it also reminds me to play with different spices when cooking so my taste buds won’t get bored!
- Mexico: The Cookbook
Oh. My. Goodness! This book is gorgeous and it holds over 700 recipes of Mexican cuisine from every region in the country! My family is from Guadalajara, Jalisco, where the food (and tequila) is out of this world… but this book gives a lot of insight into the cuisine of other regions that I have yet to try. This is a great resource to try new foods, while knowing exactly how my food is prepared because I’m making it myself!
January 13, 2015
Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015
I‘ve made a few New Year’s resolutions, like I’m sure many people have, in order to help me make the most of 2015. Now normally I stick to my resolutions for the first few weeks of January and then go running back to my old, messy, unhealthy habits. But not this year! I am determined to follow through with at least four of my Resolutions. Fortunately for me, I have seen a few items around Vroman’s Pen and Stationery Department that are perfect for keeping me on track. Let’s call them New Year’s Resolution helpers…
1.) Octopus Pen Stand from Jac Zagoory Designs, $104.95.
My first resolution is to write more often, and this gorgeous octopus pen stand is going to help me do it. How will a pen stand help me write? I can put this amazing octopus on my desk next to my journal and fountain pen and voila, my desk is transformed into a writer’s desk. Now we sell a few pen stands in our department but the octopus is by far my favorite. It’s made of Pewter and produced in the United States, which is fantastic on its own. But what I like most about this item is that every inch is covered in detail, from the top of the octopus head, to the expression in the face, to the tiny suction cups on the tentacles. There’s even a fish caught in the grasp of the octopus’s tentacles. It is the perfect inspiration to help someone pick up a pen and get into the habit of writing.
2.) Joy Aluminum 1.5 Calligraphy Pen from Lamy, $45.
My next resolution is to learn how to do calligraphy. The Lamy Joy is the perfect pen to help me get my bearings before I venture into using more adventurous calligraphy writing instruments. I am absolutely in love with this pen and can’t wait to add it to my growing Lamy collection. The feature I am most excited about is the ability to switch out the nib it comes with for any of the various calligraphy nibs Lamy sells separately, great for practicing with different point sizes. It also has a lightweight body and an ergonomic grip, which is ideal for writing for long periods of time (which will come in handy as a I slave away practicing every letter curve and line).
3.) Whistle While You Work Tackle Box from Kate Spade New York, $40.95
My third resolution is to get more organized. I can’t think of anything better to use in my pursuit to get organized than this fun and colorful tackle box. It comes with 3 pencils, 3 binder clips, 6 bow push pins, 6 bow paper clips, 1 roll of tape, 1 eraser, 1 pencil sharpener and 1 sticky note pad. But don’t be fooled, this is not your ordinary group of desk supplies. The binder clips have clever sayings printed on them like “In a pinch” and “It’s under wraps,” and the eraser reads “To Err is Human.” This tackle box is a great way to add a little “oomph” to my planner. Who wouldn’t be motivated to be organized using these cute desk accessories?
4.) Book Club Notepad from Matrick and Eve Designs, $13.95
My last resolution is to read more. This adorable notepad will help me keep track of all the books on my to-read list. This notepad definitely brings out my inner book nerd. I love the shelf of books at the bottom of the notepad and the subtle pattern in the background that elevates this design to another level. I can already picture it sitting on my desk next to my piles of books.
There you have it, my New Year’s Resolution helpers. If none of my resolutions match yours, fear not. Vroman’s has a variety of items that can help you stick to your resolution, whatever it may be. Happy New Year!
December 11, 2014
These are a few of my favorite things!
1. Noodler’s Flex Nib Pen:
I’ve always thought Fountain Pens where interesting; however, I didn’t get a chance to use one until my early thirties when I started working the Vroman’s Pen and Stationery department. Of all the amazing fountain pens on display, my favorite still remains the Noodler’s Flex Nib. Light weight, inexpensive, and created by Nathan Tardiff, who is essentially the Willy Wonka of pen and inks (his company produces an invisible ink!) this is a great, eccentric, and fun pen to use. It’s best feature is it’s flex nib, which allows you to create lines both thin and thick, which is fantastic for illustration, although it works just as well as a writing pen. It’s also unique in that it has a built in piston system – meaning that rather than use a cartridge, you just unscrew an attachment at the back of the pen, dip the nib into a bottle of ink, and then re-screw in the attachment, which will draw the ink into the body of the pen. Wipe on a paper towel, and it’s ready to go! They’re only $18.95, and come in a multitude of different colors.
2. The Far Side Gallery – I remember as a kid there were two news paper comics strips that fascinated me; Calvin and Hobbes, which I, like many other children, deeply related to, and The Far Side, which I didn’t relate to. In fact, I couldn’t even figure out why it was funny. Was there really a nervous condition where you were afraid that somewhere, somehow, a duck was watching you? (There is). And was the joke in the phobia, or the illustration? Now as an adult I get it, and am currently the proud owner of two volumes, although there are currently four, any one of which will make you laugh, scratch your head, or give you an existential crisis. Pick one up today and experience the world through the eyes of Gary Larson, one of the greatest cartoonists to ever grace a newspaper.
3. Phrenology Head
If you had gone to the doctor during the turn of the century, chances are you would have seen one of these items in the office. A porcelain head which has a grid running along the skull, pointing to which parts of the brain activate which emotions, it was the height of science, and very fashionable to be educated in. Although the last hundred years or so have since proven brain science to be more complicated, there is something incredibly charming about this very accurate reproduction, which is currently selling for the very modest price of $66.00.
4. ”Brazil.’ ‘Brazil’ has nothing to do with the country. It’s actually named after a hokey 1930’s song of the same name, and in the film, represents a state of mind. Directed by Terry Gilliam, whose innovative animation techniques helped make Monty Python surreal, and whose live-action films have been entertaining and baffling audiences since the 80’s, (12 Monkeys, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen), ‘Brazil’ is both one of the greatest fantasy films ever made, as well as being a scathing satire on par with ‘Dr. Strangelove.’ A lowly bureaucrat named Sam Lowry works for an oppressive government and spends his days lost in elaborate fantasies where he is a winged super hero pursuing a mysterious woman. When he encounters this dream woman in real life, he begins to pursue her, regardless of whether or not the government thinks she’s a terrorist. This turns his world into a nightmare of paper work, government procedure, and paranoia. Brilliant, funny and thought provoking.
November 28, 2014
These are a few of MY favorite things
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been very good this year! Here are a few items in our Pen & Stationery department that I’ve had my eye on, so I’m hoping that Santa stops by my place this Christmas with all of these pretty things! If you need gifts ideas, these would also make great gifts for the special people in your life.
1. Kate Spade “Fancy Another?” Serving Tray
Isn’t it GORGEOUS?! I want to throw a holiday party just so I can serve fancy drinks on this beauty. This would be a great gift for the hostess in your life.
2. Voluspa Scented Candles
When you feel like lounging around, light one of these beautiful candles and infuse your home with a heavenly scent. These also make great hostess gifts!
3. Poppin Desk Accessories
I LOVE this collection of desk accessories! Play dress up with your desk to create a customized set of accessories in your favorite colors. Great gift for yourself or any stylish creative in your life!
November 15, 2014
Winter is Coming
As the weather starts to turn to fall and the days get colder, certain pieces of our wardrobes take more important roles in our closet. The most popular example is the scarf.
The scarf is a classic wardrobe piece originally designed to keep us warm and cozy in the cold winter air. It has lately become more of an accessory rather than a necessity. Scarves are something that enhance the look and add an extra touch of style to otherwise ordinary looking attire and make it look extraordinary! Not to mention they are extremely soft and comfy.
Here at Vroman’s we carry a nice selection of scarves perfect for the fall, winter, or year round. From cashmere to infinity scarves, we have a wide variety- from neutral ones to those that include a pop of color in your wardrobe!
We also have a great little book called “How to Tie a Scarf 33 Styles” for only $12.95! You can learn the different techniques of how to wear scarves and look your best. Impress your friends with unique ways of wearing your scarf!
Our Vroman’s model is modeling a gorgeous Gold Stud Scarf for only $17.95 and a Grey/Red Paris Hat $29.95 to accessories. The way this scarf has been tied is called The “Stockholm” Feature.
The next Scarf our model is wearing the Blue Happy Tartan Scarf for only $20.95, and a Rose Yarn Barrett for only $27.95. Our model is wearing a “Valencia” tie.
Lastly, our model is wearing a Black Lively Stripe Scarf for $27.95 and a very cute Black Popcorn Knit Pom hat for $29.95. This particular tie is called “The Kashmir”.
Did you enjoy the way Suzy’s scarves were tied? You can find these styles and more in ‘How To Tie a Scarf,’ which we sell here for only $12.95!
November 2, 2014
National Novel Writing Month
It’s officially November! I know there of some of you out there like me who are thinking not about the upcoming holidays, but about words, words, words- 50,000 of them, to be exact!
November is National Novel Writing Month, an annual novel writing project that unites writers all over the world from all levels and genres in a common goal- complete a work totaling 50k words during the 30 days of November. Why 50,000 words? “The length makes it a short novel (about the length of The Great Gatsby)… In short: “If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel, too.” It’s no easy feat, requiring an average of 1,500 words a day, but the satisfaction of finishing is worth the effort.
With NaNoWriMo (as it’s affectionately been nicknamed) here and demanding completion, everything that adds a bit of ease or fun is welcome indeed! Here’s this NaNoWriMer’s quick picks to make this month a creatively productive one.
Whether you’re typing your NaNoWriMo project or scribbling it into a notebook like this awesome Kate Spade one, make sure to keep your energy up with a snack or two, like the delectable John Kelly chocolates!
Seeking divine inspiration? How about writing your WriMo novel with a Lamy 2000? That’s the pen Neil Gaiman wrote American Gods with, which he refers to as his “novel writing pen.” He’s also used fountain pens by Waterman and Visconti, which we carry as well. Come down and try them out!
Maybe you need a little help or inspiration to keep going. We have shelves upon shelves of writing books packed with useful information and anecdotes, like Stephen King’s book on writing. Maybe a PaperBlank journal emblazoned with the words of a famous author (in their own handwriting, natch!).
A cup of tea can help you relax and let the ideas flow. Try an encouraging mug with your favorite blend as you sit and write in your equally encouraging, slogan’d notebook!
Breathe. It’s gonna be okay. All your big ideas are going to come together, and it’s going to be marvelous. I believe in you, and that journal does too!
However you’re getting the words down, and wherever you’re seeking divine inspiration, why not light a candle for it? The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild has a cheeky line of candles made in the saint-style candles of Catholic tradition. Light one of Virginia Woolf or William Shakespeare! They’re super neat, and if you’re like me, you’ll take help (or the idea of help) wherever you can.
Whatever the idea, however the method – dive in and get those words recorded! For those who are about to try, I salute you. 50,000 here we come!
…This counts towards my word count for the month, right?
October 31, 2014
Halloween Cards Through the Ages
In my mind, the two holidays with the strongest iconography are Christmas and Halloween. So naturally, both are great candidates for fun, colorful, and inventive greeting cards.
Of course, Christmas is the reigning king. It’s a holiday dedicated to the idea of giving gifts and being with family and loved ones, and therefore more suited for the exchange of greetings cards than Halloween, whose primary purpose is to frighten and prank. That being said, I have always loved Halloween cards. The images of black cats, witches, and all of my favorite monsters saying their annual ‘boo’ to me from the card racks at the local drug or grocery store makes me happy in a way that Christmas cards never do. Perhaps it’s because Halloween has always been a pressure free holiday; all you’re required to do is eat candy, wear a costume, and have a good time!
So I thought it would be fun to explore the art of the Halloween card, as it’s a topic that hasn’t been given as much consideration, if any, as Christmas Cards.
Due to the lack of information on this topic, I had to do most of my research on Pinterest, eBay, and various blogs that detail Halloween related things. Basically, most of what is below is observational mixed with a bit of the speculative. However, I found the process of studying the changing trends of cards fascinating, and hope that you will too.
I decided to start at the beginning of the 20th century. The first thing you’ll notice about the Halloween greeting cards of 100 years ago is just how beautifully illustrated they are! Although much of the iconography remains the same – witches, black cats, and ghosts – they are painted with lush colors and striking details that you’d never see today. There is a lot of whimsy to these cards too – unspecified goblins dance out of a pumpkin while an ethereal woman in red prays to the moon, a witch lights a pumpkin with her fingertip in the middle of a desolate meadow, and a clearly mortified pumpkin sits at a table in preparation for eating a slice of Pumpkin Pie.
Additionally, they paint a picture of Halloween traditions that today might come as a shock; although activities like bobbing for apples are at least familiar, other practices such as looking into a mirror in the hopes of seeing your future husband have as much to do with modern Halloween as Valentine’s Day.
As we move into the 1920’s, the art remains the same, but a new element begins to creep in; glamour. With the popularity of film, the emphasis on family and innocent love starts to give way to something more sleek and chilly; the women aren’t being terrorized so much as they coolly observe the morbid mayhem, if not taking part in it.
It’s interesting to note that the main connective thread for these two eras in Halloween cards is the presence of women; women being frightened, or participating in Halloween fun. Children are also a big part of both eras. But men are rarely seen, only in costume, or as observers. Halloween was a holiday for women and children, those whom society had deemed as given to believing in such things.
With the great depression came an end to the wild celebrations of the 1920’s. Although the care-free glamour of the 20’s era cards (mostly) vanished, it was replaced by lots of humor and puns. “Here’s hoping it’s The Cats Me-Ow!” reads one. It’s also interesting to see that the use of women and children seems to be waning, replaced with a more flat, cartoony sensibility in how the images are presented, as a way of keeping the holiday and its themes light, without using women and children as a means of expressing that.
The major change in the Halloween cards of the 1940’s is the use of color – they are mostly seen in hues of oranges and blacks. Were some of the other colors needed for the war effort? Around mid decade, the first images of the sheet clad ghost make an appearance. This is due to a children’s book and cartoon which had premiered at the beginning of the decade- Casper, the friendly ghost. Shockingly, prior to this, ghosts were not featured as prominently in Halloween cards as they were after the fact. However, they almost always appear in sheets; this probably dates back to theatrical traditions. But after Casper, this iconic image begins to shift from the spooky to the cute; the ghost in the sheet was now something to create humor, not horror.
The 1950’s cards show the complete immersion of the ‘cute’ effect. Some of this probably has to do with changing attitudes towards the supernatural. With a focus on science and the future, the 1950’s was an era in which the supernatural even took a backseat in horror films, replaced with man-made science experiments gone wrong. So naturally the greeting cards of this era reflect this by not making any attempt to scare – the goal is to laugh. We as a culture had made it to a place where there was no threat from witches, ghosts and black cats – culturally, it was almost as if we were laughing at the superstitions we had left behind with the pilgrims.
Before the 50’s came to a close, publisher James Warren and Journalist, collector and enthusiast, Forest J. Ackerman, published the first issue of a magazine called ‘Famous Monsters of Filmland’. It was the first written publication entirely dedicated to the subject of horror films, and featured pages and pages of glorious black and white photographs of Dracula, The Wolfman, and the always popular Frankenstein Monster. In fact, Famous Monsters of Filmland is personally responsible for the monster being called ‘Frankenstein’ in current lingo. Filled with easy to read articles and puns personally written by Forest J. Ackerman, the magazine served as an inspiration to a generation of artists, notably Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and Steven King (whose work was published for the first time in the pages of ‘FM’). But most important to this article, it helped create a rabid fanaticism for the old movie monster of the 30’s & 40’s, which was spurned on even further by the advent of television, where old horror films would regularly screen at night. It’s around this time cartoon renderings of your favorite movie monsters begin to appear on greeting cards. And not just Halloween – you could also have Frankenstein, Dracula, or even The Phantom of the Opera wishing you a happy birthday or Valentine’s Day! This helped our movie monsters take their rightful place as significant members of our folklore; although some might argue that it simultaneously took the bite out of characters who, just three decades before had scared the bejesus out of America.
And for the most part, Halloween cards have remained the same ever since, with perhaps the only change in the last three decades being photographs of cats and dogs in costume. But we won’t go into all that here.
At Vroman’s bookstore, of course, you can find an amazing array of Halloween greeting cards on sale through the end of October, featuring the witches, ghosts, cats, jack o’ lanterns and monsters that we’ve all come to know, and against all odds, love, like the crazy uncle of the family.
Thanks to the following resources and bloggers:
Ebay, Etsy, Pinterest
Robert Berry at RetroCrush
Timothy O’ Sullivan at Vintage Powder Room
Jessica Cangiago at Pinterest
October 24, 2014
2015 Leather Planners
If you’re still looking for your favorite weekly or monthly planner for 2015, here are a few options from some of our favorite brands.
For the professional who means business: Scully’s fine Leather Collections are manufactured utilizing the finest leathers available; no two skins are alike, so each product has a unique look. Scully’s planners are the perfect combination of organization and luxury.
For the professional who isn’t afraid of a pop of color: Filofax planners are functional and well-designed. They come in beautiful colors and different leather textures… my absolute favorite are the Malden planners in purple and ochre. Lucky for you, we have them in stock, softest leather you’ll ever feel!
For the fun, stylish and creative professional: Graphic Image is all about style and personality. These leather items come in every color of the rainbow and then some! Forget basic black, you can find just about anything, from beautiful British tan leather to exotic gold wash embossed python leather. BONUS! We didn’t limit our Graphic Image collection to just datebooks; we also have beautifully crafted business card holders, luggage tags and wallets… I’ll take one of each please!
With so many styles to choose from, we’re sure we can help just about anyone stay organized throughout 2015!
October 10, 2014
It’s Fall Y’all!
Even though the weather hasn’t gotten the memo, it is now officially fall. This not only means that Halloween and Thanksgiving are around the corner, but that from now until the end of the year I can have an infinite amount of Pumpkin flavored things. To help you get into the fall mindset, I’ve picked out a few items around Vroman’s Pen & Stationery Department that will get you inspired and might just make you want to rake a giant pile of leaves and jump into it.
Of course I have to start with something Pumpkin flavored. Tea Forte, a company based out of Massachusetts famous for their pyramid shaped tea bags, has released a few amazing autumn flavors. The one I am most excited about is the Pumpkin Spice Loose Leaf Tea Canister. With a flavor combination of pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, clove and black tea, a mug of this tea blend is sure to help you transition into fall (and if you’re like me, temporarily satisfy your craving for pumpkin!) If pumpkin spice is not your cup of tea, there is an Autumn Collection Tea Sampler that gives you the opportunity to try out 5 different flavors in your search for that perfect fall blend. Also an option is the Warming Spice Tea Brewing Kit that Tea Forte has put together to warm those cold autumn days (it’s going to get cold right?). The kit comes complete with 5 fall flavors, a stainless steel infuser, and a ceramic tumbler.
I have picked these next 2 items especially for those of you whose favorite part about fall is Halloween. The first is the Limited Edition Dracula Fountain Pen from ACME that was released to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Bram Stokers death. No fangs needed to enjoy this unique pen that comes with a gold plated steel fountain pen nib and is encased in a coffin that when opened plays Bach’s “Fugue in D Minor.” The set also includes a bottle of blood red ink and comes packaged in a replica of Stoker’s novel.
Mont Blanc also got into the spirit of Halloween and released the Limited Edition Alfred Hitchcock Fountain Pen in order to honor the famous director. Classic horror fans will go psycho for this pen with neat features like an 18K gold nib, a knife shaped clip and a vertigo inspiring pattern on the body.
Next on my list is the Year of Gratitude Kit from Compendium. With the holidays right around the corner, this fantastic little kit will help you get into the spirit of giving thanks. Now I know Thanksgiving isn’t for another couple of months, but this adorable box comes complete with everything you need to get a head start, including a guide to letter writing and enough notes to send one each week for a year. Pair it with one of our Marvy calligraphy pens and create beautiful, fall inspired thank you notes. Write one to your friends and family to let them know you appreciate them. Or write one to your barista for making that great cup of pumpkin flavored latte.
To inspire your next get together, I’ve picked out just a few fall themed paper stock choices from our blank stock wall. Whether you prefer fill-in invitations, or blank stock to run through your printer, there are plenty of lovely options to help get your guests in the mood for a harvest party. Pictured above are a few blank paper stocks from Odd Balls perfect for doing just that. Also featured in the photo above is a fill-in invitation from William Arthur that would be perfect for your next Thanksgiving feast. My favorite though has to be the fill-in invitation from Matrick and Eve with its fun burst of color and cute background pattern.
For those of you who are inspired by the chilling atmosphere of All Hallows Eve, or the natural beauty of autumn, I’ve picked out a few journals by Shinola to jot your thoughts down in. Shinola is a company that we’ve just started carrying based out of Detroit. These journals come in a variety of sizes and all materials used to make them are processed from the United States. Featured in the photograph are journals in the classic Halloween colors of orange and black. You are not, however, confined to these colors as Shinola offers a variety of awesome choices. Pair one of these journals with some of our fall colored Noodler’s Fountain Pens and J. Herbin Bottled Ink and create a fantastic fall inspired masterpiece.
So there you have it. Come by Vroman’s Pen and Stationery Department and get into the swing of fall with us. We look forward to seeing you!
September 24, 2014
Vroman’s Witchcraft and Wizardry
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is also now available with orignal cover art and with new cover art (on the left) designed by artist Kazu Kibuishi in order to celebrate the wizard’s 15th birthday!
We’re pleased to inform you that it’s that time again, where the air begins to feel cooler, leaves begin to change color, and many are going back to school. Even if you haven’t received your acceptance letter, we have just what you need to make you feel the magical spirit of Hogwarts.
Here, we offer in-house printing services (not to worry, these are not done by house elves) where you can choose from a wide variety of card stock, envelopes, and paper, including Crane & Co. and Vera Wang.
Already have some paper in mind? Just bring it in and we can help you print whatever you need, like these customized Harry Potter party invitations. Couple the invitations with our Lightning Bolt Seven-Year pen, some wax and a seal, and you’ll be on your way.
Not able to attend Transfiguration until you have the necessary supplies? We have just what you need, including this mahogany campaign desk, which comes with a bottle of ink and box of nibs.
Don’t forget to check out our other writing tools and accessories, like this pack of compact parchment paper, ideal for note sending (owl delivery service not included), glass ink well to pour your ink into, these Ex-Libris owl book plates to line your Potions book, and this quill feathered ballpoint pen.
Need to send a care package of supplies to a fellow witch or wizard instead? Check out our feather pen set which comes with an assortment of different sized nibs and a bottle of ink.
We also carry a large assortment of ink, including brands such as Noodler’s Ink and J.Herbin, which come in both bottle form and cartridges. Our selection features vibrant colors such as American Eel (don’t worry, that isn’t a Basilisk on the front label) and Rouge Caroubier.
So be sure to come in and take a look our selection. You may even feel as though you have been transported to one of the shops at Diagon Alley.
September 5, 2014
A word, or more, on Le Pens
August 30, 2014
Make Someone’s Day. Write Now.
In an effort to encourage more handwriting, here are three things you can do. Give your fingertips a break from your keyboard, take out a sheet of paper, a note card, whatever you have on hand, break-out your favorite pen, write something nice and make someone else feel good.
Send a thank you note to the last ten people who taught you something, gave you a piece of advice, did you a favor, or made your spiced chai latte just the way you like it!
Make some hand lettered stationery to fancy up someone’s creative space; everyone loves something personalized with their name. Add a personal note and encourage them to write as well!
Write an inspirational quote on a flat card with your favorite pen, a fun ink color and boom! The recipient now has an original print that they can display as wall art in their office or frame and place on a coffee table in their home.
There is nothing more “custom” or more unique than your own handwriting. Whatever you send has the potential to be a special and memorable package for the receiver simply because it has a little bit of you.
Need some tools? Below are a few of my favorite items from our very own department! Get to it… write, and make someone’s day.
August 26, 2014
Over the Top Fascinators and Hair Ornaments
A fascinator is a small decorative headpiece that fits on the head using a headband or a small comb. It usually features feathers, beads, or flowers. The headpieces became popular in the 1900’s for wearing at weddings without ruining your lovely hairstyle.
These days it can be worn for any occasion, be it a high tea, wedding, or 1920’s themed party! The purpose of a fascinator is hair decoration. The fascinator sits at an angle on the head, complementing the look of the hair. A cross between a hair accessory and a cocktail hat, a fascinator with a veil is also quite common.
Here at Vroman’s Pen and Stationery Department, we have an amazing collection of fascinators and hair ornaments. They are made by the fabulous Margaret Winter and her company, “Over the Top.” They are different, elegant, and exquisite. We carry a variety of styles and colors; you have a choice of fascinators with or without gorgeous feathers, in different colors, sizes and styles.
Not into feathers? Well not to worry or fear! We also have them with beautiful silk and other fabrics made into flowers. If you don’t like flowers, it’s okay – we carry a line of amazing fabric and crystals fascinators as well.
If you are getting married and want you bridesmaids to wear fascinators, we can special order the quantity you need. Of course this also goes for Bridal Showers, birthday parties, or film shoots!
Keep in mind this unique fascinator can be worn year round. If you’re going to dinner, a play, or just want to stand out in the crowd, we guarantee a well selected fascinator will make an fantastic conversation piece – and make a great impression!