Kickstarter: HMM Rule One

HMM Rule One

Have you seen this Kickstarter project? This is a multi-functional tool made from black anodized aluminum that includes a pen, a ruler and an optional strap or touch stylus. The whole object is a teardrop wedge shape that can be used as a bookmark. The pen closes with a magnet and can accept any refill comparable to the Mitsubishi UNI like Pilot, Lamy, Uni-ball, Signo, Pentel, EnerGel and more. Backing options to receive a HMM Rule One start at $45. There’s only two weeks left to back this project and they have not reached their goal yet.

UPDATE: I tried to embed the video here but it didn’t work so I’ve added a photo instead. Sorry!)

Ask The Desk: ID Protection Stamps

Ask The Desk Header

Sandy asks:

Think this is good idea?

I assume the question regards any sort of blotting stamp for security purposes. Folks seem to like these as an alternative to paper shredders as they are smaller, quieter and portable for obscuring personal information on printed material. While shredding makes sense for a lot of papers, sometimes you just want to throw those credit card offers in the trash and the only incriminating information is your address. A quick stamp, stamp, stamp might be enough to make it possible to throw the papers in the recycle bin.

The general term to describe these stamps is ID protection stamps or ID Guard stamps. I definitely think that the Max Korkoro model, with the rolling stamp and ability to refill the ink easily makes a good option. The price for any ID protection stamp seems to be about $10 which seems reasonable.

The only thing I don’t know looking at the photos and description is whether the ink is water resistant when dry. That would be the winning feature. If its water-soluble, then someone might be able to wash the ink off reveal your address or account numbers.

So I suppose I ought to order one and put it to the test, huh?

Link Love: Official Mascot and more catch-up

Link Love Link MascotFirst, I’d like you to all admire my new and fully customized Link mascot thanks to my pal and co-worker Adan who, clearly, is a fabulous illustrator. I think I need Link on a t-shirt!

Now, on to the links:







Kickstarter: Tiletto


By now, I’m sure you’ve probably already heard about the Tiletto. Tiletto is a Kickstarter project that’s a multi-function letter opener made from titanium, of course. It can also be used as a bottle opener (my favorite additional feature), hex wrench, straight edge, pry bar, box opener, and the list goes on. Its durable, functional and pretty elegant looking. You can get in on the ground floor for $30. The project has just eleven days left.

Wired’s “Pro Tip”: Alvin Brass Bullet Sharpener

Wired Pro-Tip article

In this month’s issue of Wired magazine, there is a brief little article about the Alvin Brass Bullet pencil sharpener ($6.17 from our local art supply store, Creative Coldsnow). This dandy little brass, knurled sharpener features the all-important KUM blade. Simple, classic and 100% effective. Glad to see even the tech geeks see the value in a classic manual tool.

Link Love of Epic Proportions!

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)




Writing & Letter-Writing:

Paper & Notebooks:

10 Tools I Can’t Live Without


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the tools I use everyday, my absolute must-haves. While I love having an assortment of gel pens, fountain pens and a bevvy of different notebooks, I realized that there are a few tools I use everyday, without fail. I also have some tools very specific to my job that might not be of interest to readers but I thought I’d share the everyday go-to tools, in no particular order.

  1. Hobonichi Planner ¥2,500 for the planner, covers start at ¥1,500
  2. 3×5 blank index cards $1.49/100 cards
  3. Field Notes $9.95/3-pack (or comparable pocket-sized notebook. I always have one on me)
  4. Kaweco Sports Fountain Pen $23.50
  5. Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser $1.25 THE eraser by which all other erasers are measured.
  6. Marvy LePen $1.15 (could potentially substitute a standard Sharpie marker here though I’m more likely to use the LePen everyday than a Sharpie)
  7. Palomino Blackwing 602 $19.95/dozen
  8. Tombow Mono Adhesive Permanent $7.29, refills $11.99/3-pack (I know this seems odd but it’s excellent for sealing envelopes and a much tidier way to attach scraps to my planner or notebook)
  9. Evernote FREE (I am now storing all sorts of text bits, digital detritus, links and blog starters here. I can access the content on all my digital devices)
  10. Alfred FREE (Until you’ve used the Alfred App, you don’t know what you’re missing. I hate working on someone else’s computer that doesn’t have Alfred installed. It’s free, go try it)

What are the tools you can’t live without?

Review: Beans Cut Mini Scissors

Raymay beanscut

While in San Francisco, I picked up the Raymay BeansCut mini scissors. It is a teeny tiny pair of snippers and a side slit for opening envelopes. Its extreme portability and fine jelly green color made it something I really wanted to try. At $6.50, it seemed like a reasonable investment, one way or another.

Raymay BeansCut

I wanted to compare it to my usual letter opener and you can clearly see that the BeansCut is considerably more portable. The flipside is that the scissors are so tiny  (compared to a dirty pair of 4″ scissors I keep on my desk) that they are only usable for snipping threads, trimming washi tape and possibly opening taped packages. Alternately, as a knitter, its a perfect tool to snip yarn and its small size made it easy to fit in my knitting kit.

When I tested the slicer on the side for opening envelopes, it worked well on plain paper envelopes like bills and air mail envelopes, but if the envelope was even slightly heavier like a wedding invitation it really didn’t work very well. I ended up using the scissors to open heavier paper envelopes and the slicer for lightweight papers.

The Raymay BeansCut is available in four colors from JetPens for $6.50. I bought mine at the Maido shop in SF in Union Square.

The Paperclip and WWII


Johan Vaaler, a Norwegian inventor, is credited with inventing the paperclip. It was patented in the US as were several other variations but it wasn’t until the English company GEM streamlined the design to the double oval we know today and an American, William Middlebrook, of Waterbury, Connecticut, patented a machine for making paper clips of the Gem design in 1899. The design for the GEM paperclip was never patented.

During WWII, Norwegians were prohibited from wearing any insignia on their clothing with the king’s likeness so they wore paperclips in their lapels as a symbol of resistance to the Nazi occupation.

Alternately, after WWII, the Americans started a project called Operation Paperclip to recruit former-Nazi scientists to work in the US after the war.

Oh, little paper clip, what an intersting life you lead!

Link Love: Notebooks, Scanners and Places to Go


Places to Visit:



long point sharpener




Video: Staplers and Glass Pen

My husband stumbled across this video of  staplers found in Japan by this colorful Brit from The Grand Illusions web site, a site that sells toys, illusions and other novelty items.

I dug through his videos in search of other tidbits that might be interesting to readers and also found his glass pen demo. He comments that washing the tip with a little soapy water helps to make the ink adhere much better. Good tip!

My Daily Carry for the Week of Aug 18

Daily Carry for the week of Aug 18

I haven’t done a daily carry post for awhile so I thought I’d give you all a peek into my bag, its a Letter Writers Alliance member pencil case, in case you were curious. I have a few of my favorite pins stuck to it as well. Paper geek pride!

I’ll go from left to right:

The various and sundry bits at the bottom from the left:

  • Vintage letter opener
  • Lefty Pencil Sharpener
  • Pocket Swiss Army Knife
  • Wireless USB controller for my Wacom tablet
  • a couple spare SD cards
  • a USB flash drive (8GB)
  • my name chop I got in Stanley Market in Hong Kong

Its probably way more than I need but I like to be prepared and have options. I don’t have my own office at work so I tote a lot more with me each day than most people. How many tools do you carry with you each day?

Link Love: Write It, Erase It, Stick It

The Cake Eraser (via DovBee on Instagram)

The Cake Eraser (via DovBee on Instagram)

Paper & Notebooks:

Pens and Inks:

Pantone swatches matched to the world (via Laughing Squid -- Thanks, Annie!)

Pantone swatches matched to the world (via Laughing Squid — Thanks, Annie!)


Coccocoino paste from Italy (via Patrick Ng on Instagram)

Coccocoino paste from Italy (via Patrick Ng on Instagram)


Created with a Copic Sketch Marker (via 26Symbols)

Created with a Copic Sketch Marker (via 26Symbols)


My Favorite Dymo: The M-6

My favorite labeller

I collect Dymo tape labellers with the same enthusiasm that I collect other desk accessories. I have a whole plastic bin full of tape labellers, mostly Dymo brand though occasionally I’ll stumble across a store brand or off-brand. They all take the same 3/8″ labels though some will also accept the harder-to-find 1/4″ label tapes.

My favorite of them all is a Dymo M-6 which came with two different removeable type discs: one in the classic blocky letters and one in a lowercase script. Did I mention the labeller is green? Why yes it is one of the items on the “if the house is burning down and the family is safe, I’d grab” list.

The M-6 in hand

A close up of Dymo lettering disks

I’ve seen other discs that can be used with this Dymo on the internet but have yet to find any I could purchase. Yet another collection to grow!

Dymo tape collection

I also have a label tape collection. My favorite is the wood grain which is running dangerously low and the cloth tape for labelling clothes on top. I want to get some of the metal tape to use with my larger industrial Dymo.

Solutions for Whiteboard Clean-Up


Does you whiteboard eraser work poorly and leave you with ghosted writing from your previous notes, meeting or brainstorm? I know ours sure did until one of my clever co-workers grabbed a baby wipe in an effort to clean off the whiteboard. Lo and behold, the whiteboard was completely spotless and looked brand new. We use unscented baby wipes with moisturizers, to my co-worker’s point, “When I have to wipe off as many whiteboards, as often as I do, I want my hands moisturized.”


Our only tip is to wait a couple minutes for the board to dry a little but we have a theory that the moisturizers and whatnot in the wipes actually make the board easier to write on rather over water on a paper towel.

Link Love: Inky Minky Meinie Mo

Love Objects via Behind The Curtain

Loved Objects (via Behind The Curtain)

Pens and Pencils:




(via East...West...Everywhere)

(via East…West…Everywhere)

Review: Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener

Classroom Friendly Sharpener

The nice folks over at Classroom Friendly Supplies sent me one of their desktop pencil sharpeners to review — in green, of course! It is a perfectly vintage shade of green too.

Classroom Friendly Sharpener

This sharpener has a clamp to attach to the table so there is no drilling necessary to keep it from moving. The only issue I had with the table top mount is that it mounted so that it was positioned sideways on the table instead of having the crank and the pencil parallel to the table like I am accustomed to with the older table mount sharpeners. But it worked fine in this position, especially since my table is oval.

Classroom Friendly Sharpener

The case is metal with a clear plastic drawer to catch shavings. The handle is silver with a plastic grip. On the pencil side of the sharpener, there are two black squares at the top on a silver segment that can be pulled out to support the pencil as you are sharpening. It took me awhile to work through how the design worked. With the silver section pulled out, squeeze the black squares to insert and clamp the pencil in place. Then sharpen. As I sharpened, the silver section slowly moved in a bit until it stopped. This prevented the pencil from being over-sharpened. Then I squeezed the black plastic squares again to release the clamp on the pencil and remove it. The silver section can then be contracted back into the green body by releasing the center silver bar and pushing the section in.

the tip and the chew marks

I did not think that the sharpener was noticeably quieter than other table-mounted sharpeners but it is pretty easy to use and much quieter than an electrical pencil sharpener. It gives pencils a wickedly sharp point but it does leave a little chew mark on the pencils from the clamp.

Super Pointy

It makes a fabulously long, sharp point. Wow! (Disregard the little stray wood bit, I didn’t wipe it clean before photographing it.)

General Layout Pencil super-sharp!

What got me really excited was when I sharpened my General’s Layout pencil which has a wider diameter lead than a traditional graphite pencil sharpened to a ridiculously long length and it was still strong enough to use.

point comparison

To compare, I sharpened the red pencil (Palomino Golden Bear HB #2) with my old Apsco Giant desktop sharpener (the classic) and the other three pencils (a round black pencils stolen from Geeks Who Drink trivia night, the General’s Layout pencil and another Palomino Golden Bear HB #2 with the Classroom Friendly sharpener.

Classroom Friendly Sharpener writing samples

The pencils I sharpened wrote so well. Good quality pencils and cheap giveaway pencils sharpened equally well with the Classroom Friendly sharpener. I even wrote with the Apsco sharpened for comparison and it is noticeably blunter. Since its a clamp mount, it does not damage tables or desks but can still be placed wherever is most convenient and removed when not needed. No longer does your sharpener have to live in the basement!

I like how the Classroom Friendly sharpener so much that I feel obliged to overlook the chomp marks on my pencils. For most of my pencils, the nicks are not a big deal but I think I’ll keep using my Palomino Long Point sharpener for my higher-end pencils like the Blackwings.

The Classroom Friendly sharpener is available in four classic colors (groovy green, cool blue, firehouse red and midnight black) for $24.99 each. Prices are discounted if you make a bulk purchase.

(The Classroom Friendly sharpener was sent to me for review but my opinions are my own and unbiased.)

Link Love: Paper, Ink and Pencil Shavings

Lamy 2000 with custom 0.2mm nib grind by Mike Masuyama by Brad Dowdy (AKA The Pen Addict)

Lamy 2000 with custom 0.2mm nib grind by Mike Masuyama by Brad Dowdy (AKA The Pen Addict)


Pens and ink:


Pelikan M800 and Apica Notebook: Daily Arsenal by Jose Noyola

Pelikan M800 and Apica Notebook: Daily Arsenal by Jose Noyola


Video: BEGIN Japanology

I forgot to include a link to these videos in yesterday’s Link Love but this is more of a Friday waste-a-few-minutes-on-the-company’s-dime activities anyway. Tipping my hat to Brad at Pen Addict for posting these videos. If you’re a fan of shows like “How Things Are Made” AND you like pens and stationery, especially from Japan, you’ll like these a lot. For more information and detailed descriptions of the episodes, check out the NHK World TV web site.

So grab a doughnut and a fresh cup of coffee. Bonus points if you decide to play Name-That-Tool as the camera scan across products.

Happy Friday!

Coming Soon: New Postal-themed Rubber Stamps

Just wanted to let you know that I’ve got new stamp designs coming to the shop in the next week or so. The designs are postally-themed like the ones shown here plus a couple other new designs. These are all original designs based on the looks of vintage air mail  envelopes and postage.

Some will be available with the classic wood handle and other in the smaller, more compact wood block style.  I like the handle-style because they fit on my vintage stamp carousel but I also like the wood blocks as they are more portable. Let me know if you’all have a preference.

Link Love: Eraser Day and His Bradness Goes to a Pen Show

Happy (belated) Eraser Day from Present + Correct.

Happy (belated) Eraser Day from Present + Correct.

For me, the big news this week was The Pen Addict’s trip to the Atlanta Pen Show so if you read nothing else, check out both of his recaps from the show.

Pens and Pencils


Misc. goodies

Instagram Loves Office Supplies

I have been following lots of office supply geeks and letter writers, artists and designers and I just thought I’d share some of my favorite Instagram photos from the last few weeks.


Clockwise from top right: Uppercase’s Crafting Supplies, Pencil drawing of Sug-ums by Eabaddeley, Caran D’ache candy colored mechanical pencils found at Greer Chicago by DovBee and Vintage Airmail Envelopes by Scoutshonorco


Clockwise from top right: Canadian protractor ruler by Rad + Hungry, Paper Delivery by IvanR, Notemaker J. Herbin ink bottles, and Pencil Pal Pencils from LetterLoves(I sent them to her)


Clockwise from top right: Vitagum erasers captured at Hammerpress by HelloBF, Portuguese wax crayons from Rad + Hungry, Office work space by Pugly Pixel and New-to-her Smith-Corona typewriter from Adamihasegawa

Today’s a Good Pen Day!

good pen day photo

Look what just arrived in the post today! New tools from JetPens to be reviewed this weekend. In the mix is the Ohto Ceramic Pencutter recommended by Donovan at the Letter Writers Alliance, two Pilot Juice 0.5 gel pens in leaf green and blue black, a Uniball Signo DX 0.38 in Pantone-Color-of-the-Year Jade and a Kokuyo Kadokeshi Stick lime green twistable mini plastic eraser.

Hope you had a good pen day too!