I have a giant back log of reading/writing/drawing to do ಥ_ಥ

Comments are broken/gone...

I updated this CMS and the commenting system broke—thank you to the few of you that were commenting on/off! If you want to contact me, there is always masto/email, even for quick notes/thoughts (no need to be formal). One day I'll find a private-leaning commenting system...

Moving

I'm doing an intra-Toronto move at the end of this year, then an out-of-province move next summer. I'm going to be pre-occupied with sorting, packing, and house hunting. This is also why LLH's store is down for a while.

Judgment / Lost Judgment

I just finished playing Judgment yesterday and started on Lost Judgment! It's interesting to play a main character in a Yakuza-adjacent series who actually has brain cells.

Stationery and fountain pen stuff

Hoping to drop by Scriptus for the first/last time on October 30 2022. I signed up my first/last Toronto's Pelikan Hub on November 18. I heard from the hubmaster that over 80 people signed up for the Toronto event. Pelikan is a fountain pen brand that I have a good handful of, but my heart lives with their vintage pens—such great nibs. I'm not sure what to do at these pen events? Strangers galore. I'm both very social and anti-social at the same time—also paranoid about COVID still!

Other happenings

What weird things can I hit up in Toronto while I'm still here?! I should probably go to Niagara falls? I can feel the clock ticking down to the end of my time here.

  • October 8: Casual sketching on UoT St. George campus
  • November 12: Mysterious Gem Expo then casual sketching in the Distillery district. I don't know much about gems but am curious to know what's up at these events (sort of for research / expanding my knowledge)

Sep 30: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation & Orange Shirt Day

  • Keynote by Brenda Wastasecoot through University of Toronto
  • Learn, listen, and figure out how you personally want to take action on reconciliation
  • Donate to and/or support first nations and indigenous folks and causes

Range and taste

Thinking too deeply about OC EDC

I like to believe that I'm a person with a wide range of tastes. Or at least a person who can accept when things aren't necessarily for me, but great for others. Some days, I enjoy a look that's minimal stealth, cozy/patterned/rugged/utilitarian, highly accessorized architectural baggy, or straight up child-like. I like to experiment and not be limited. I'm trying to venture more into super patterned looks, but I'm probably the most timid about that. There's so much to try, but I also admire people who are super consistent with their look. I probably own too much stuff because of my inability to settle down.

I'm interested in fashion, but wouldn't consider myself fashion-forward, but rather, just informed, and appreciative of fashion as another form of self-expression. It's interesting how even a single item can turn a whole outfit from uncoordinated to coordinated, casual to formal, and vice versa!

Been thinking a lot about my own every day carry (EDC). If I'm just going out nearby or a quick trip, I may just bring a credit card and my phone. I switch my bag depending on what I'm going to do outside or what I have to carry. I have a wallet that is very nice and small! Most of my favourite wardrobe items and accessories have earned their fav status because of their acceptable sized pockets.

The current Here We Are mains (Jake, Austin, Sabina) all derived their accessories/fashion sense from me. That's may seem obvious, given I am their creator, and I'm just making up their EDC based on what I know of them, but I also own a lot of their stuff (or variations of).

Photo of an open notebook with drawings of Here We Are characters' everyday carry. This spread includes Jake and Austin.

Jake carries a lot and is quite organized about it even with a compact carry. He's a bag in bag in bag kinda guy. He's ready for a variety of scenarios—like limiting theft attempts. He has a lot of great stationery. Things that seem off-style are usually from his mom.

Austin doesn't carry a bag unless he's going to school. His EDC is more utilitarian, rugged, sporty, and leathery. Not shown here, but he packs differently for field work or camping. Ultralight packing-mode Austin is a different beast.

Photo of an open notebook with drawings of Here We Are characters' everyday carry. This spread includes Sabina and Fake.

Sabina's bag is dual purpose groceries and EDC, so it's more of a big black hole. Things get lost and found in it. Not much internal organization. There are fun found objects, trinkets, tokens, and artefacts in her bag—like a miniature treasure museum.

Fake mainly carries a bag for work. He's has a different look as a professional, which is in contrast with his more laid back/casual look on a regular day. He tends to be running all over the city and eats out a lot, thus, has gotten into carrying his own cutlery and beverage holders.


I've been enjoying Yoseka Stationery's Casually Catching Up videos where they just talk about whatever happenings in their stationery store—it's like stationery free talk. They're so charming! I wonder if I'll be able to visit before I leave for the west.

2023 planners are dropping! I might try Take a Note's Record system next year. It looks so well designed and flexible—RANGE! Also shooting myself in the foot with all these different sized notebooks (A5, A5 slim, A6, B6...etc).

Took a brief jaunt into leathercrafting. Anything to distract me from my inevitable future where I must draw brick buildings for HWA hahaha.

Photo of several natural vegetable tanned leather goods on a surface of a white chair

Because of my pending move and my uncertainty about whether this would be something that I'd enjoy, I tried to keep my supplies at minimum. That meant I chose the Path of Pain™ (aka EXTRA manual labour) instead of buying tools—I had some tools from bookbinding. Was that smart? Probably not, but since when I have been smart and efficient about anything I make ~gestures at comics life~? Never.

Wallet / card case

I started with a wallet kit from SpringBokCraftCo! This was nice because I got some simple supplies (needle and thread) and everything was pre-punched and cut. I was amazed at the strength of saddlestitch and mystery (probably polyester?) thread. This is NOT my preferred style of wallet but rather just an exercise in seeing what hand stitching would be like. This wallet is currently stuffed with old cards in attempt to stretch it out so that it's more usable...someday...

Photo of a multi-card slot vegetable tanned natural leather wallet

Fail A6 cover

Aesthetic: chaos

The next thing I did was a chaotic A6 book cover, but then it was a bit of a fail because I think the scrap leather that I bought years ago wasn't full grain, but rather, "genuine" leather, which in analogy, is like the particle board of leather. The back fibres were weird and loose and probably glued on. It was also way too soft of temper! And I measured the spine wrong and it's too long. I hand measured and punched these (painfully) with a lightweight awl I have from bookbinding. It wasn't strong enough HAHA. Then handstitched with leftover thread from wallet kit above.

Eventually I grabbed some metallic Sta markers and drew whatever came to mind first.

photo collage of a gray leather A6 notebook cover with a drawing of a possum on it done with golden metallic marker. Sandwiched inside are some zines, Poss Boss and Shrimp Goss.

But it matches so well with my latest genius zines...POSS BOSS and SHRIMP GOSS (with Powerswithin). Could this be, unnecessarily elaborate zine storage?


I decided to get some scrap 2-3oz natural veg tan leather, which to me felt seemed like an appropriate and affordable blank canvas.

Watercolour tool wrap

Aesthetic: planner minimalist

I've been thinking about doing more plein art sketching around the city before I move away. I did a bunch of research—I learned a lot about the synthetic vs natural fibre debate. There's really no winning. Invested in Escoda travel brushes (synthetic) after becoming sad over how many of my current brushes' bristles were getting stuck in my painting/paints after my last (non-plein air) painting (below).

Photo of a negative watercolour painting of pomegranates and leaves

I edited the wrap design as I made it. One side holds the travel watercolour palette tin/case, the other side holds pens/whatever else.

Photo collage of a watercolour tool wrap, made out of natural vegetable tanned leather

I like the flexibility of using the flaps tucked in/not, and folding the wrap inwards/outwards, and the simple inclusion of a "T" end on the strap to hold it in place (or remove it). If I were to do this again, I wouldn't have made the center fold's hole as big as I did, because pens can fall through, hahahaha. The stitching holes I made with an un-threaded sewing machine (manually cranking the needle/foot forward) and then hand sewn with leftover thread from the wallet kit above.

A6 cover

Aesthetic: leather patina appreciation

It was time to attempt A6 cover again. Holes manually punched (why?) with a not thick-enough awl. By this time I ran out of thread (from the wallet kit above) so I gave waxed linen thread a try. It works OK for now, but definitely not as simple to "end" the thread cause you can't just burn them down in the same way. To save myself the pain of doing a full length of stitches, I only did a few to keep the flap in place, and tied them off on the inside of the cover. These are not my best stitches. Leaving some space in the flap also means I can thread an elastic through that space and eventually create a closure if I want to.

Photo collage of an A6 notebook cover made out of natural vegetable tanned leather, with bee wax melted on the surface to give it some texture

To finish it off I melted bees wax onto the top surface to stiffen it a bit and give it a bit of age/patina effect. The scrap leather already had a lot of marks on it, so this helps it blend in a bit more.

Laced pouch

Aesthetic: unearthed from the ground

After doing the projects above, I had a long narrow strip of leather left and I wondered what I could do with it. I wanted to know how the surface of this particular leather would take stamps, so I dragged out every linocut stamp I had ever made and went to town with a pigment ink stamp pad. It was a big failure! No ink really stayed and it just looked stained now. OH WELL, this is all about experimentation right? You can faintly see Kuchipatchi...a secret...

Photo collage of a leather pouch with lacing and flap closure, made out of natural vegetable tanned leather

I'm not sure what possessed me to do a design with leather lacing, but it's here. It was painful. The lacing is made from the same leather and it was so much effort to try to thread floppy ends through manually cut slits. I also eyeballed and made the design on the fly, so I'm impressed that it's all holding up with just laces tucked and wrapped way. This one also has bees wax melted on top and probably needs to be reconditioned after being blasted with a hairdryer.


Verdict

Cool. Leather is very interesting, versatile, and powerful material. I like not needing to worry as much about finishing or closing frayed edges and seams as you do with regular fabric sewing. It's an interesting craft! Leather is also very hard to photograph well...

I learned a lot through researching and want to share a few links to non-amazon Canadian (!) suppliers or DIY kit-makers, if anyone ever wanted them—I haven't tried all of these places!


Today's music post: แค่เธอ/Why Don't you Stay by Jeff Satur, which I have been obsessed with since finishing KinnPorsche the series!!! There's also an English version.

Origami-inspired pen case to go with Traveler's Notebook

Making a fountain pen case to go with my traveler's notebook

As per previous post, I have been thinking about my Traveler's Notebook a lot. This time it's about storage! I wanted things to matchy match!

Much cardstock was cut up while trying to figure out if I wanted to make an insert for a pen loop. I looked at a lot of pen cases and pen loops online! I finally settled on making something up on my own, that sat outside of the TN, to match the tallest and fattest pen I might ever carry (Opus 88 Omar).

At first I was going to make a smaller pen wrap, but then the scrap fabrics that I had were fat quarters, so I wanted to maximize the size and not cut things down unless I really needed to. In close second place was a square sized face towel that someone gifted to me...but I ended up using the fat quarters!

First I cut the 2 fabrics into squares, and then sewed them together. These are probably a decade old, but luckily very well matched! I chose the patchy fabric mosaic pattern to be the outward-facing surface, and matryoshka pattern to be the inside.

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Then I folded the left/right corners towards the middle, then folded the bottom edge towards the upper-centre. Then I made a few small/X shaped stitches to keep things held together. The top flap is meant to be loose/tucked in, and the flap jutting out on the right side is also intention. I wasn't sure where I was going with this (I didn't make a pattern or have anything specific in mind) but I kind of liked the wabisabi folded look. Vaguely origami and furoshiki-inspired! I wanted it to be slimmer than my TN when laid on top. Can also use the TN elastic to hold it in place on top.

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Inside of the cloth are removable fountain pen (or whatever pen what has a clip) inserts. These were made with left over HWA cover stock again. Can make the loops as small or as large as you want, for whatever size pen you have. The loops are also made out of card stock, and threaded through slits of the backing card stock—a lesson learned from Cross Structure Binding HWA! It's pretty secure and doesn't slip easily. You can also make different inserts for different situations.

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I tried stuffing both inserts (back to back) into the pen case and it also works, just gets a big chunky! Otherwise you can also put inserts into any pencil case, if you're the kind of person who doesn't want your fountain pens to be touching each other. I'm not really that kind of person, haha, but I also haven't gone outside to write much since pandemic started.

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Or clip the pens directly onto the fabric. Have a pen sticking out for quick access. Or dunk all your stuff inside without inserts.

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Anyways, I think it's a fun match with my TN. Both have browny tones, inserts, customization, and versatility. It also looks like a stealth handkerchief that's poorly folded. Or a fancy pen burrito. I had fun making it up as I went along!

Laughing because the inside insert I made is very neutral tone, and the TN was more chill. Now with this bright warm cloth case, the vibe is completely different, and it matches matches the risograph cover notebooks more. Whoops!

I also stamped the interior notebook and the back cover with the new(ish) cling stamps I made, and an Aranzi Aronzo Rakuda-chan one.

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Traveler's notebook inserts and others

Making endless inserts and accessories for my Traveler's Notebook (TN) but not actually taking it outside anywhere.

I'm back again with more Traveler's notebook (TN) mods. Maybe this is what it's like to work on a car in the garage but never drive it.

As seen in a previous post, I had this green painted cardboard thing, but the texture of the dried paint was extremely unpleasant to my hands, so I got rid of it. The 021 Connecting Rubber Bands were a bit bulky in the middle of the notebooks (if carrying 2).

After staring at my many notebook covers, I decided to make one for the TN, to sleeve in 2 TN-sized notebooks on either flap. As always, I'm using left over cardstock originally for HWA covers HAHA. The ginkgo ecoprint papers are from StudioPetaBooks, and washi tape is my very last pieces from a design by Wai. The fit of the DIY paper cover over the regular sized TN notebooks is VERY snug but otherwise this works pretty well.

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I put a little notch in the top/bottom centre of the paper cover for the single built-in elastic band of the TN cover to fit through.

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This design means that I don't have the holder for fountain pens anymore. Something to figure out later...

Fun fact: I wrote draft 1 of 4⭐Town 4⭐Real in two TN sized notebooks! White Midori MD paper is a treat and shows off FP ink shading so well.


On the opposite spectrum of aesthetics, I was also looking for more ways to repurpose my old risograph print. I previously made strange paper weave art with some of it and it now hangs on my wall.

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This time I used them to make 4 notebook covers for 2 paper stocks: Kobeha Graphilo and Cosmo Air Light. I painted over parts with Platinum carbon black ink. Then I used 3-hole pamphlet stitch using leftover threads from HWA book binding. It felt nice to maximize what leftovers I had.

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I also cut a bunch of the risograph into smaller bits to make business cards for the recent TCAF. Also thanks to everyone who got books through TCAF's digital marketplace; we're preparing books now. The last of what we have is up at the webstore (open until August 31, 2022).

I am very behind on my paper tasting posts, but I have done a lot of tasting!