Archive for November 24th, 2010

November 24, 2010

Squirrels and museum curators

I mentioned personal phases and fads in one of my older posts — in particular, my tendency to collect and hoard things. I’m not too terrible a hoarder. In my head, there are two types of ‘not that terrible’ hoarder*: squirrels and museum curators. Squirrels find a lot of things and save them for a cold winter’s day so that they don’t starve. Museum curators collect a lot of things and put them in glass cases and write little cards and pet them with their gaze.

(*Please note that I’m not discussing the hoarding that has been equated with a mental illness. I simply don’t want to call it ‘collecting’, because there’s collecting and then there’s my inexplicable desire to Have It All. I have no sense of moderation really.)

My sister and my mother are the former; little squirrels who insist on keeping everything they come across ‘just in case’. My sister’s bedroom is crammed full of shoe boxes filled with knick-knacks ‘that could be used for some art project’, and the downstairs room has five wardrobes because my mother doesn’t want to give them away. To be fair, we are using them, but I personally think we could downsize.

I’m a museum curator, which means that I collect a lot of things and fawn over them with a happy sense of accomplishment. And then I suddenly draw an arbitrary line between ‘things I need’ and ‘things I don’t’, and deem my collection complete.

This is my modest collection of nail polish, which pales in comparison to quite a few. They’ve all been carefully selected, though, to go with at least one particular outfit. Some of them only do go with just one outfit, actually.

At the moment, I can quite contentedly say that I need no more. That’s because the phase has passed.

…But, dear god, do I need notebooks.

I don’t, really.

But I want them. I only have a few, really, and I don’t need any more. One day I’ll devote a post to them; wonderful, glorious little pockets of fun that they are. I was going to post up a photo of them but I haven’t yet taken one I like. Watch this space!

Speaking of notebooks, I’ve started to put together a little one for my giveaway (sorry about the strangely bright pink background; I’ve just dumped it on an old filing cabinet I usually keep hidden away):

What do you think? I think it just needs a few more things to bring out the depth of the navy blue (Moleskine does such a lovely navy). The chiffon bow in the top right corner will also be at more of an angle.

What I’ve used so far:

  • A handwritten letter from 1954, to a ‘Mr Hubert A Kraus’ living in Canada;
  • A scrap of lace from the offcuts of my Year 12 formal gown;
  • A section of a print of a map of Paris;
  • A little wooden button
  • A tattered chiffon bow fashioned from a hairclip I used to wear in high school. The hairclip was a larger bow,  but I tore it apart to make something less structured and tidy.
  • A length of cream grosgrain ribbon with a stripe of satin down the middle.

I don’t want to make it too bulky in case things fall off/it becomes impossible to use, so it’s going to stay quite simple, I think. I don’t think it’s coming along too badly ^^.

This, by the by, is what I’m wearing as I tackle this little project:

 

It’s not the most exciting outfit in the universe, because I chose everything based on the fact that a) they were blue; b) they were easy to nap in. Such is life.

I’m wearing, as per usual, Alannah Hill. The cardigan is yesterday’s teal Flames to Dust, paired with yesterday’s cream Adorable Wafer Girl cami… okay, this is starting to sound worrying. I promise you that they’ve been washed; I was just too lazy to put them away and too lazy in the morning to go through my wardrobe, lol!

My skirt,thankfully, is different, and is the cream Sit Down, Shut Up! skirt. It has adorable polka dots in pale blue and a darker blue, and little silk blue buttons. Very fond of it. And the belt is a blue and cream Little Picket Fences, from the same season. It has quite a nice buckle:

 

My necklace is from Untamed Menagerie on Etsy and reads ‘We’re All Mad Here’ in cursive script. I love Alice in Wonderland (it was actually going to feature in my thesis) and couldn’t resist it. The picture is taken from her listing, because I can’t get a good shot myself that does the piece justice:

I also have the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’ necklace. Definitely recommend the seller — amazing service and really beautiful pieces.

And, to prove that I can’t pose like a normal person:

 

I’m not quite sure what I was doing here, but I’m positive that I was mocking Valerie, the camera-wielder. To do this pose, you have to put one hand up to your head, with your thumb touching your forehead, and wiggle the four fingers around while chanting ‘nyah, nyah’ or various immature taunts. It helps if you dance from foot to foot. Increases the absurdity.

The things you learn from this blog, huh.

November 24, 2010

Inky pleasures

I’m quite new to fountain pens, although my first foray into the world of nibs and flowing ink was when I was quite young (maybe seven at the oldest), wielding my uncle’s fountain pen to draw cockroaches in brown ink.

(For the record, I hate and always hated cockroaches. But I have a strange tendency to dwell on things that horrify me.  Like knives and blood. Most people avoid their phobias and fears; I stare at them with unconcealed horror and fascination. Go figure.)

I’ve always loved stationery, and a great deal of my high school life was spent hunting after the perfect ballpoint pen. I have tried every cheapie that Officeworks and Big W has to offer. I really have. I have also tried mid-range ballpoint pens from Parker, Waterman and that Spanish brand that Myer stocks that I can’t recall at the moment. The best, by the by, is the Parker Jotter by a long mile, unless you want a lightweight pen (Jotters are a bit hefty at times), and then it’s difficult to pass by  a Pilot BPS-GP with a fine point. The Pilot BPS-GP also has a removable metal pen-cap thingy that holds the pen together…

 

That Thing. And the most important thing about That Thing is that, with practice and a bit of patience, you can spin it off the body of your pen and make it spin around the table like a little silver top. Priceless hours of class entertainment, I assure you.

The thing about ballpoints is that a ballpoint pen is only as good as its refill. And once you’ve found your ideal refill (Parker ftw!), your mission has basically ended. (Though I haven’t tried Lamy, but I don’t like the shape of their pens.)

Not so with the fountain pen, which is a finicky little brat. The nib has to get along with the ink which has to get along with the paper, or else all you get is this blurry mess of once-legible writing. And nibs change, even in the same manufacturer (and in the same pen line), which makes every pen purchase a bit of an adventure.

I’ve found that my inks tend to agree best with my Parker Sonnet, which has a nib that’s wide enough to bring out the character in inks but isn’t so broad that my writing turns (too) illegible. (I have a photo of my pen on my About page, if you’re curious.)

 

My obsession with ink started with one particular colour: J Herbin’s ‘1670 edition anniversaire’, which is a glorious blood red ink commemorating 340 years of making ink and other awesome stationery. It was, of course, limited edition and I discovered it, of course, a few months after it had been released and snapped up by ink-lovers all over the globe.

And then one day, I saw it on Inscriber, which is (without a doubt) the best online stockist of awesome stationery. And it was sold out.

Story of my life.

(Not really, I just felt very sorry for myself because I’m a bit of a brat.)

But I asked them to notify me when the product was in stock (none too hopefully for, as I just mentioned, I was in the mood for feeling sorry for myself). A few days later, the email came.

A few seconds after that, I put an order through.

And in two days time, the most amazing bottle of ink appeared on my doorstep:

 

TA DAAAAA!

Isn’t it amazing? It is. Nicest bottle of ink I’ve ever seen. J Herbin usually has shorter, squat, no-fuss (though still rather attractive) bottles, which you can sort of see on top of my Penguin books on the left. (It’s the bottle with a purple moon on it. And the ink is delectable. You can sort of see it on my About page, too.) But this bottle is so very attractive, with its wax sealed cap and little wax seal badge proclaiming its name. Each seal is hand-done, I think (I know I read that… somewhere >.>) which just adds to its awesomeness.

AWESOME, YOU GUYS.

 

A translation, for those who can’t read my handwriting:

J Herbin 1670

EDITION ANNIVERSAIRE

Nommiest red evar.

OMG.

OMG, you guise.

This red pwns my favourite red nail polish.

It looks good even though I don’t have Inkophile’s handwriting.

Eeeee! Look at the shading!

Wow. This is pretty pigmented for J. Herbin.

Love love love wheeeee.

 

My favourite red nail polish, for the record, is OPI’s An Affair in Red Square. OPI’s Affair in Red Square is a deeper red cousin of OPI’s famed I’m Not Really a Waitress, and J. Herbin’s 1670 is darker still, with earthy brown undertones that make it look closer to blood than to the sparkling Christmas tones of An Affair in Red Square.

Here’s another shot:

THIS INK IS SO AWESOME.

SO AWESOME.

It’s the sort of colour that makes me want to write passionate letters to my lover right before I murder them and write confessional notes in their blood.

If I had that sort of tendency.

Which I don’t.

Sharp knives and blood fear, remember?

Maybe I’ll just write a murder mystery instead.

ANYWAY, away from sounding creepy and back to just sounding strange:

I mentioned ‘Inkophile’ in that scrawl. Inkophile, whose handwriting I covet terribly, has an amazing blog. The swatches of 1670 put mine to shame. Look and drool: Inkophile’s swatches of1670. This ink has character and Inkophile has the skillz to really bring it out. I want those skillz. So badly.

…I wish I had more use for a red, because red is a little bit difficult to read in long stints. I suspect I’ll use this bit of ink up first and then go to my usual dusty purple or nutty brown, unless I suddenly buy another brilliant colour.

Okay, outfit post coming up later tonight!