By Tori Linville for Gifts and Dec
A journal is one of the most personal items someone can own, and the trend of bullet journals skyrocketed in the past year, driving sales of traditional stationery supplies like writing instruments and notebooks, according to The NPD Group.
The bullet journal was deemed “the analogue system for the digital age” by creator Ryder Carroll, and has seen more than 2-million Instagram posts relating to the trend.
Last year alone, consumers spend almost $210-million on unruled spiral, composition, graphing and other kinds of notebooks – 18% more than the year before.
Writing instruments that are often seen being used for bullet journals saw growth in sales as well: colour markers saw a 17% increase, paint markers had a 9% increase, permanent markers saw a 6% increase, gel pens increased by 6% and porous pens increased by 5%.
“Today’s continuously evolving digital transition makes for challenging times in the office supplies industry, but there’s still plenty of opportunity for traditional products to spark interest and maintain relevance,” says Tia Frapolli, president of The NPD Group’s Office Supplies practice.
“As bullet journalling and its close relative hand lettering are the most recent trends to emerge, it’s clear that notebooks and writing instruments remain important to consumers’ lives in terms of creativity, self-expression, and productivity.”
By Akanksha Singh for Grok Nation
Imagine sending out an email to a friend, only to receive a digital handwritten note back. Handwriting correspondence, snapping a photo and sending it digitally is what I call “tech-friendly letter writing.”
Once upon a time, people sat at desks with inked fingertips and wrote letters with quills. Messengers delivered them on horseback. Such correspondence was so culturally essential that collections of letters from famous authors became a means of insight into their lives. Then came stamps. Then email. Tech-friendly letter writing combines the best of handwritten notes with the convenience of technology.
Plus you skip on stamps by taking a photo and sending it via email, text–faster and there’s some guarantee of receipt. But, that’s not to say I’m against “snail mail.” I’ve been writing letters since college. When I moved from Dubai to Montreal for university, I was lonely and homesick. I remember feeling elated when I sorted through my usual spam (pizza fliers, bills), and finding a letter in the mix. My roommate’s mother had sent it, along with an exam-season care package. It meant the world to me.
So, whenever I write someone a letter, I think of them looking through bills and fliers, and finding something that was actually intended for them, created with love and thought.
Before you knock the idea for being a waste of time, let me give you some background: I attempted tech-friendly letter writing after I read this article about a Jordanian bookshop owner who replies to text messages and Facebook posts with a picture of his handwritten response. Around the same time, I decided I wasn’t immune to the technology-induced dopamine reward loops just because I was aware of them, and that I was sick of being glued to my phone all day, being plugged into everything from my Apple Watch (FYI: we broke up) to my Messenger app.
We’re all aware that our connectedness has made us bad communicators, and that we’re too busy nowadays; tech-friendly letter writing is a good way to disconnect without losing connection.
Often, when I’m typing, I’ve noticed that I type as fast as –if not faster than– I think. Word vomit all the time. Handwriting, I’ve found, has been a great way to slow down, reflect on my day and just breathe. And not surprisingly, handwriting has several benefits for the brain, like increasing neural activity, helping us learn, and more. In addition, letter writing increases those benefits!
How to go about implementing it
- Pretty stationery + camera phone
I’m one of those people who indulges in stationery shopping at Kikki K whenever life gets too real. Pretty stationery does make the whole experience more enjoyable for you and the person receiving an emailed letter. Beautiful stationery options we love here, here, and here.
- Get over handwriting perfectionism
Since I was a child, I’ve always prided myself on having nice handwriting; the sort that people looked at and commented on for its prettiness, which I’d counter with, “Oh, that chicken scratch?” Truthfully, I’d learned calligraphy in school (the real sort, not the messy sort that’s trendy nowadays), and picked it back up when I learned Meghan Markle was a calligrapher (shameless girl crush; judge away). So when I started writing several letters a week and experiencing hand cramps, and produced genuinely messy handwriting, I did what most perfectionists do: I’d rewrite letters that were almost ready to go, minding my cursive and avoiding spelling mistakes best I could.
It. Was. Exhausting.
Eventually, the reality of it (time wasting, neuroticism) dawned on me, and I let myself have messy days. The whole point of this exercise was to be real, after all.
- Take the pressure off
When I initially committed to this, I overwhelmed myself with the need to do it all the time.. I eventually realized that I was taking the fun out of what was supposed to be a relaxing exercise, and I was stressing myself out. Which brings me to my next point…
- Accept that not everyone or every situation is deserving of a handwritten note
Set aside a time for correspondence, like the “old days.” I know there are certain people who are worth my time and the paper and ink it takes me to write a thoughtful note. I want to be thoughtful for said people.
- Commit for a significant period to see if it works for you
Like all habits, this will take some time to cultivate. In fact, it’ll likely take longer–texting is just so damned easy. Schedule an hour, half an hour, or even ten minutes per week and stick with it. When I started, I did it for a month, then it became three months, and now we’re going on four. (This is coming from someone who has issues committing to a favorite color, much less a favorite band or tv show, can I add?)
If the letters are long and personal —and sent to someone I really care about— I’ll spend money on postage and mail them off. If not, I’d have typically written the letter or note in my diary, so it will stay there. So, I definitely hang on to everything, sentimentalist that I am!
Friends writing back made this wholly worthwhile: I even reached out to a friend I’d lost touch with (life happens!), with a handwritten apology, and she called and we talked like no time had passed. The biggest benefit for me, personally, has been slowing down to reflect on my thoughts as I’m writing them. So, yeah–it takes longer than clacking out an email or a long text message. But that’s the point.
Source: SA Good News
If you have, or are considering engaging in an expensive hobby such as Mountain Biking, flying model aeroplanes, collecting coins or artwork, being aware of the risks you carry and having adequate cover in place is essential to avoid financial loss.
Elizabeth Mountjoy, Private Wealth Manager at FNB Insurance Brokers says the first thing you need to understand is the niche types of cover required for your specific hobby and identifying an underwriter who specialises in covering such risks.
This is to ascertain that the insured asset can be covered for its full replacement value, as soon as it is taken out of your home.
Mountjoy says correctly insuring expensive hobbies can prove to be quite complex, leaving room for error if you try and manage it yourself. Therefore, it is essential to consult an experienced broker who can help ensure that you have covered all possible risks.
For example, there is a lot that you can overlook when trying to insure an expensive MTB bicycle valued at R250 000.
She says for expensive assets of this nature, there are a number of considerations that should be taken into account, such as travel insurance as well as tools or replacement parts to restore and rebuild the bicycle should it be partially damaged.
“As a result, a broker can assist you in correctly valuing the asset to ensure that you are fully covered in the event of a peril,” says Mountjoy.
“Although art purchases, for instance, would have an invoice to indicate the value, it can be difficult for an individual to determine a replacement value for an item they have painstakingly built up for months,” she adds.
A further consideration which can easily be overlooked when insuring a hobby is to get liability cover. The easiest way of doing this is by joining an association or club which could potentially offer this cover at discounted premiums.
For instance, when flying model aeroplanes you need to have personal liability cover to protect yourself in the event that damage or injury is caused to a third party property or individual.
“Lastly, if you have a hobby that requires you to provide advice or you are trading or swapping in items of a particular hobby; it is wise to contact your broker and find out what liability cover they can provide you,” concludes Mountjoy.
Source: Martha Stewart
These elegant containers are perfect for jewelry, gift cards, and small items.
- Coloured card stock
- Bone folder
- Glue stick
- Heavy books
In a photo-editing program, create a 2-page document. On the first page, draw a picture box, and then import a box template, from a CD, centering it carefully on the page.
Draw a second picture box, and place it on the template where you want the letter to appear. Import letter from a CD, sizing it as desired.
Copy template and letter from first page, and paste onto second page in the same position.
Delete letter from first page; delete template from second page.
Print first page onto colored card stock. Flip card stock over, and print second page with letter on other side.
(For a white letter, draw a picture box on the second page larger than the template. Color in box, make the letter white, and print onto white card stock.)
Cut out along template’s outside edges.
Using a bone folder and a straightedge, score straight dotted lines. Score curved lines using a round plate as a guide. Fold along straight lines, and seal with a glue stick.
Let dry between heavy books. Fold along curved lines to close box.
Whimsical iron-on shapes turn basic T-shirts and totes into one-of-a-kind gifts.
- Photo-editing program
- Iron-on transfer paper
- Paper punches or decorative scissors
- T-shirts or tote bags
In a photo-editing program, import patterns.
Print onto iron-on transfer paper, following the manufacturer’s instructions. (For crisp printouts, use paper meant for dark fabric.)
Cut out shapes using paper punches or decorative-edge scissors.
Iron onto fabric, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Create a DVD full of memories for the favourite dad in your life.
- Blank DVDs
- DVD labels
- Digital images
- Card stock
Share memories of your Dad by creating your own DVDs and DVD labels on a computer. Simply take one of your favorite pictures, and print the image on a sticky label designed to fit a DVD – it’s a small touch that makes the gift extra special. When packaging the DVDs, place them all into individual envelopes, and then take your chosen photographic image and print it on card stock to make a one-of-a-kind cover.
Custom treats container
Take holiday photo cards to the next level: paste an image on a small container and fill it with your Dad’s favourite treats.
- Small box
- Red nontoxic acrylic paint
- Card stock
- Scalloping shears
- Craft glue
- Favourite snacks (such as sweets, biltong and nuts)
Coat a small box, outside and in, with red nontoxic acrylic paint; let dry. Trace the box top onto card stock.
Draw a circle about 1/2 inch larger around the traced circle; cut out with scalloping shears. Repeat to make a second circle.
Print or photocopy a photograph, adjusting the color, if desired. Trace the box top onto the picture; cut out. Use craft glue to affix the photo to one of the scalloped red circles; let dry.
Affix that circle to the top of the box and the other circle to the bottom using craft glue. Line bottom of the box with glassine.
Fill with your Dad’s favourite snacks.
Award-winning South African designers are taking on the world of online stationery with beautiful, locally illustrated designs.
Ink & Bash is a new Stellenbosch-based start-up that’s making it easy for anyone to design their own high-quality, one-of-a-kind event invitations. Their online store features a range of 65 invitations that allows people to insert their own event details into the designs. Invitations can then be e-mailed, sent via WhatsApp or printed for guests.
The Ink & Bash brand was incubated at Fanakalo, an award winning design team from Stellenbosch. They’ve long been known for their original, offbeat design work for wineries, craft spirits and beer both locally and abroad. They recently won a double Gold for their wine label work at the San Fransisco International Wine Competition and walked away with two golds at the fourth annual South African Wine Label Design Awards.
It was a simple problem that led to the creation of Ink & Bash: most people can’t afford to pay for a designer to craft an special invitation to their event, be it an save-the-date, kids birthday party or just a get together between friends. To solve this problem, Ink & Bash created 65 editable invitations for their website at R25 per design. If compared to the average cost of between R2 500 – R7 500 when using a designer, this is significant.
Customisable templates are a quick and easy way of creating stationery for special occasions, but the work that goes into the Ink & Bash templates is everything but instant. They’re thoughtfully created with a whole lot of love, and feature painstakingly hand-drawn illustrations. There are also plenty of themes to choose from, ensuring that there’s something for every kind of bash, from braais and kids birthday parties to kitchen teas and weddings.
“We saw the need for event stationery that is well-designed and different. An invite is the first thing guests see. It should say ‘this event is special and the party is going to be loads of fun’. Unfortunately the somewhat cheesy and cliched event stationery designs that are out there today aren’t making a great first impression. So with Ink & Bash we want to kick so-so, same old stationery to the curb,” says Frans De Villiers, one of the co-founders of Ink & Bash.
By Neil Shaw for DevonLive
Trainspotting, quilting and astrology are among the hobbies which are dying out, a study has found.
Researchers found working longer hours, having less disposable income and social media distractions mean fewer of us are able to take time out and enjoy traditional pastimes.
Stamp collecting, embroidery and building models also featured as interests which Brits aren’t so interested in any more.
The study found playing sports, travelling and gardening featured among the more popular hobbies.
The study also found three quarters agreed hobbies bring them and their partner closer together with half using it as something to talk about.
One quarter enjoy gardening and pruning the bushes with their loved ones, with one in 10 couples hiking and four in 10 going for nice walks together.
In fact, one in 10 are keen to take up a new interest with their significant other but worried it might be a bit on the unusual side. Nearly one quarter were willing to take up wife carrying and husband dragging as a hobby.
In a bid to offset boredom, one quarter would like to try pie eating as a hobby, with 9% willing to have a go at bog snorkelling and 6% keen to attempt extreme ironing.
Of other absurd activities, one in 10 would participate in egg tossing, with as many Brits willing to try gurning and 16% would give marbles a go.
One fifth of those polled get involved in different leisure pursuits to keep their mind sharp.
Eighteen per cent use their interests as a chance for a bit of “me-time”, with one in 20 treating it as a chance to make friends.
Despite a nation with keen interests, of the one quarter with no hobbies half of them wish they had an interest to call their own.
But a lack of time, interest and companions to kick-start it with means they aren’t spending any free time they have in a way they would like.
Nearly half of Brits reckoned they have less time now than they used to for leisurely activities and nearly a third agreed hobbies are becoming less commonplace.
However, the poll of 2 000 adults revealed some of the more unusual hobbies circulating the nation including candle making, origami and even collecting Aston Villa football programmes.
One Brit even invests their time in a spot of scripophily – the study and collection of stock and bond certificates.
The 20 least common hobbies:
5. Home brewing
10. Toy collecting
11. Model building
14. Stamp collecting
16. Coin collecting
Source: Simply Kierste
Create this lovely serving platter with meaning – use your children’s thumbprints to create the heart shapes on a serving platter you can use all the time!
You will need:
- A white serving platter – choose a size and shape suitable for the size of your family
- Glass paint or multi-surface paint that can be cured in the oven and be dishwasher safe
- A permanent marker
- A wet rag or damp paper towels
1. Decide how you want to lay out the fingerprints and text and place a tiny dot of paint where you want each fingerprint to go, so the spacing is as equal as possible.
2. Place a small amount of paint on a piece of foil or wax paper, carefully dip your child(ren)’s finger(s) in the paint, then make two prints to form a heart shape. If you mess up, all you have to do is use the wet rag or damp paper towels and wipe it of, then once it’s dry, you can start over again.
3. Use a permanent marker to write the names, date, and any other text you would like.
4. Follow the curing directions on the paint you used.
If you’re worried about it being 100% food safe, then either put your fingerprints around the edges instead of the middle, or laying something underneath the food you’re serving.
By Emma Featherstone for The Guardian
If you go down to the beach today, you may get a surprise: a smooth pebble painted with a colourful picture (cartoon characters and animals are common) or uplifting message.
Pebble painting, or “rocking”, is a craze that seems to have begun in the US with Megan Murphy’s The Kindness Rocks Project. She came up with the idea after collecting heart-shaped stones and pieces of sea-smoothed glass from the beach, seeing them as “rare treasures or signs and messages” from her deceased parents. “Finding them made me happy and I wanted to provide others with a similar experience.”
Now, a thriving international community of amateur artists decorates rocks before hiding them in public places.
The UK-based Facebook group Love on the Rocks has amassed more than 64,000 members since Vicki Poledoles Stansfield, from Essex, started it a year ago. “I suffer with anxiety and I was looking for a quiet hobby with no skills, that was free, and that I could do at 2am when my mind is racing,” she says.
Jacky Burns, who lives in Morecambe, is another enthusiast. She has some tips for first-timers: “Decorate a pebble using acrylic paint or permanent pens, then seal it against the weather (using clear nail polish or varnish) and write the name [of a dedicated Facebook group] on the back. Hide it in a safe place and wait for someone to find it and post on your group, then watch its journey.”
Some rocks have crossed continents, like the one found by Ian Hines in a south London park, which he later left in Morocco. Others spread a message.
Nikki Lunn, from Stockport, has planned a tribute for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack. With council permission, she is encouraging people to leave rocks painted with the symbolic worker bee and the hashtag #lovemcr in certain city spots on 22 May.
What is it about the movement that has captured people’s imagination? “People are looking to connect with one another,” says Murphy.
By Kristen Stephenson for Guinness World Records
Julian Martinez was told by his own art class that crafting a mural using just pencils was impossible – but he’s proved them wrong by creating the largest pencil drawn mural.
While no one seemed to have confidence in his abilities, the 24-year-old never failed to believe in himself.
It was this doubt that motivated the Colombian artist to spread his talent across 84.86 m² (913 ft² 61 in²) of wall to earni his Guinness World Records title.
Julian wasn’t always interested in art, so this ambition was quite the mission to take on.
The teacher had previously been studying agriculture production, but realised after several years he had a passion for the arts and sought out to become a tattoo artist.
Thus, he began a 48-day project titled La Realidad Absoluta, which translates to Absolute Reality.
The idea behind his image is show that although others may be different from one another, we can adjust the human perspective to see eye to eye.
Although Julian began the illustration alone, his students and others in the community of Roldanillo came out to help him finish the massive piece upon seeing his intense commitment.
After going through 1 200 pencils, and sketching despite blisters and intense heat, the team of artists now have a detailed canvas exemplifying their hard work.
Source: The Kreative Life
Find some big sturdy leaves, that are waxy and veiny because they work the best. Here is my step-by-step tutorial on how to make skeleton leaves.
You will need:
- Waxy leaves
- Large pot
- Water (12 cups)
- Super washing soda – also called sodium carbonate (2 cups)
- Metal tongs
- Shallow dish
- Food colouring of your choice
- Cooling rack
The amount of water and super washing soda will vary depending on the size and amount of leaves. I would suggest using one part super washing soda to six parts water.
In a well-ventilated room, mix water and super washing soda in pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add leaves. Allow the mixture to simmer for 2-3 hours. After the 2-3 hours, the water will look very murky.
Using the tongs, place the leaves in the colander and run under cool water. (My leaves were pretty tough, so I don’t know if adding all types of leaves to the colander will work or if you’d have to rinse them individually if they’re more fragile.)
Pour out the murky water and rinse out the pot. Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the leaves. It doesn’t have to be as much used before when simmering them. I added ½ cup bleach. Place the leaves into the bleach water and allow to soak for 20-30 minutes. This will remove as much color from the leaf as possible.
Now, this is where I did things a little differently. Instead of using the brush to remove the skin of the leaf, I placed the leaf flat on my hand and ran it under the sprayer on my kitchen sink. The skin started immediately coming off.
After about a minute under the water, the skin was completely removed. I’ll admit that some of the leaves tore a little, but I still kept them because it added a little character.
Mix water and food color in the shallow dish according to the tint you want. I used a blue and green mixture.
Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Remove from water and place on cooling rack. Allow to completely dry.
After mine dried, I painted a cheap frame and used a piece of scrapbook paper for the background.
Now that you know how easy making skeleton leaves at home is, what will you try next?