Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stationery? What's that?

When I first started my journey into the world of writing letters, I was faced with two obvious questions - what to write with, and what to write on.  The writing instrument would definitely have to be one of my newly purchased fountain pens.  I'm a left-handed writer, and was always told that I could never use fountain pens.  I believed it until I saw a YouTube video from a left-handed writer using a fountain pen.  That was in July, and I haven't looked back since.  I protect my small collection of eyedropper Preppys and the few pens I have managed to purchase like they're my first born child.

But... the question of what to write on still haunts me.  I am on a somewhat restricted budget (I have decided to finally buy a new car in 2012... I will not spend another winter in a car without heat), so the economic factor is an issue when it comes to finding something awesome to write on.  And with fountain pens, you really have to keep the pens and ink in mind when you buy stationery.  You don't want to be halfway through your epic description of the crazy woman who was changing her clothes while driving down the highway at 80 miles an hour only to find the back of the page is littered with a mirror image of the words you just put down.  You also probably don't want the ink to have feathered more than a Charlie's Angel haircut, either.

I have only really begun to look for an economic way to procure a small collection of stationery.  Currently, I am using a ream of 28lb bright laser photo paper I bought at Staples.  I have yet to find an ink that it didn't like, even with my Noodler's Ahab pen at full flex.  I'm sure there is one out there, but my preferred method of consuming ink is in the form of sample vials from Goulet Pen Company, so if it's there, I bet I'll find it.  (Tangent  alert!  The De Atrementis inks are gorge, and I must has them all)

I found a PDF of a narrow width template for printing lines on paper for yourself somewhere on the FPN, and have exclusively used that to print and use for my primary writing paper.  This has served it's purpose, but I am getting bored of looking at nothing but white and black lines.  During my searches for stationery last night on Etsy and various places I could find, I saw a common theme with printed stationery - a border around the entire page in various colors.

 Ding ding!  A little light bulb went off above my head.  I dug around in one of my desk drawers to find a ruler and a mechanical pencil.  It took a minute to find the pencil, and to be honest, I was surprised I even still had one in the house.  Once I found the amazing world of nibs and ink, I haven't looked back.  Anyway, I decided to give my idea a shot and try to create my own stationery.

With the ruler, I measured out an even border on each side of the page.  If I ever do this again, I'll be sure to modify the line template to remove the margin, as well as skipping the whole 3-hole punch deal.  I keep all my current active writings in a 3-ring binder with me at all times, and I was just using the paper that I had on hand.  After I decided on the right border size, I would then outline it in colored pencil and begin the fun part of coloring it in.

Coloring in the border was the hard part of the entire process.  I'm very much OCD about staying in the lines, as well as making sure I have an even color across the page.  Completing an entire page of the border, on front and back, took me about 20-25 minutes.  If I focused on it, I'm sure I could knock one out in about 10 minutes.  But, I have a desk that is full of flashy technology and a phone that likes to give me access to Angry Birds... so I am easily distracted.  What was I talking about?  Oh, right.  That lady was in front of me on the highway, and I swear she must have changed her blouse four times before settling on one of them.  She started putting her makeup on as well, but I got off the highway before it caused an accident.

Here is the final result - the page on the left is in a very dark green (my favorite color!), and the one on the right is a mahogany reddish color.  Upon finishing these, I could see spots where my hand or fingers had picked up pigment from the borders and had spread it across the pages.  It's not a lot, but there are hints of each border color throughout the page.  I really really like the way they turned out, and can't wait to use them for something cool.  My pen-pals better watch out, you might be receiving some of these pages soon!  I have even thought of how to apply the same idea to envelopes, so that I can make envelopes to match the pages inside.

Of course, now is the time I start looking for other ideas on what to add to my homemade stationery collection.  I will eventually be buying some descent quality high class stationery (or even low class, really ugly, or just down right hilariously bad stationery), but for now, this will suit me just fine.  Perhaps I should get a custom embosser with my name on it or something.  The absolute next thing on the list will be getting a small collection of stickers and stamps to use to further decorate the pages/envelopes I fill with words.  I've always preferred the handmade look to printed or manufactured items, so this is perfect for my tastes.

Before I go back to coloring and watching a rather horrible movie on Netflix, I'd like to thank The Missive Maven for her very generous welcome on Twitter.  I am both excited and honored to be a part of the letter writing community!






6 comments:

  1. Welcome! I must admit, my eyes glaze over a bit when the noodlers start talking- I write with anything! But, if it's paper you would like to experiment with, I think I may be able to help.
    -b

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm always open to suggestions!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cool idea! I tried to make some stationery for someone as a christmas gift, and it didn't turn out so well. haha

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awww, shucks, thanks for the shout-out! I hope a lot of folks have stopped by your new blog.

    Great idea with border coloring. Your paper looks fab. There are a lot of free printable stationery designs out there, too - I confess I don't know much about it because I don't generally print my own stationery, but a lot of the templates are indeed for 8.5x11 paper. Sometimes there are good links on other letter-writing blogs. If you want some more designs for the paper you already have, that may be a good option.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've been very happy with Clairefontaine papers for plain-paper letter writing. I got mine from Writer's Bloc in Montreal, as loose leaf, and they were even kind enough to include a thank-you gift in the package!

    http://www.shopwritersbloc.com/clairefontaine.html

    I've also had a lot of fun creating my own stationery. I used to use a photocopier and photos or drawings I liked, but these days I get more sophisticated and make the image in Photoshop. It looks great on ruled paper, graph paper, ledger paper, even Astrobrights!

    Good luck with the fun of finding your favorites!

    ReplyDelete