This is one of the books that have truly made an impact on my life. The lessons and biblical principles on forgiveness and unconditional love (among others), shaped my life in such a way that helped me in my relationships. I have watched the series on video too. Wonderful, life-changing message.
Last Saturday, my husband and I ventured out of the South to brave the (infamous) EDSA traffic and attend a Calligraphy Spot meet. I’ve been an admin for this wonderful FB group for a while, but I have not been able to attend any of the meets until last Saturday. We made quite a happy mess at La Creperie Shangri La, spreading out our papers, writing implements, watercolors, and other fun art stuff over their tables, in between delicious bites of crepes, salads, and pasta.
It was a wonderful experience, hanging out with people who so obviously have fallen in love with the written word and all the different kinds of art forms that celebrate it. I conducted an informal sit-down class about Baybayin (oftentimes incorrectly referred to as Alibata), a pre-colonial way of writing from the Philippines. It was an interesting experience, teaching the basic principles, but the group was eager to learn, and so they were Baybayin-literate by the end of it. The basic principle is quite easy to learn. Recognizing the characters will come with time and practice.
What’s more interesting for me was how each person’s creativity shone through in any kind of calligraphy they do. After teaching them how to read and write in Baybayin, we each applied it through writing using our own styles and preferred tools. We used brush pens, quills, parallel pens, automatic pens, brush pens, watercolor brushes, and more.
After the class, we puttered around and talked about art. Some were doing watercolor paintings, sharing artworks to take home afterwards. I enjoyed looked at other people’s output. I especially enjoyed looking through one of the members’ visual journals. It’s an A6-sized Hobonichi that contains little drawings and paintings and small notes of what went on each day, including what meals he ate. It was so cute, and each page seems so alive and vibrant.
I’m usually quite shy in social situations, but in any meet that involves a common love for art and art tools (such as calligraphy meets, pen meets, artambays), I feel quite at home. You’re not pressured to be anybody you’re not. You can be as socially awkward as you are, nobody minds. The common love for artistic expression is like a supersized welcome mat that invites you in and makes you want to stay.
I’m hoping to join the next Calligraphy Spot meet, and I’m especially looking forward to a meet in the South area soon. 🙂
I’ve always been curious about Kindle, Kobo, and other e-readers, though not enough to actually try any of them. I figured that I could read ebooks anyway on my tablet if I wanted to, and I didn’t really like ebooks that much. I liked the feel of real books, the smell of real paper. I loved making notes on borders and highlighting with different colored inks. It’s a bit difficult to lug my books around, though. So for the first time in years, I actually seriously considered getting an eReader. My husband bought me one as an early anniversary gift a couple of weeks ago, and I must say, I am enjoying it a lot. Nobody’s more surprised than I am. I opted for a Kobo Glo HD rather than a Kindle as I was originally planning.
As a super-duper late adopter, I’m surprised at how different the reading experience is on an eBook reader compared with my tablet. I can read for hours without suffering from a headache after because of the screen’s glare. It’s still no substitute for paper, of course, but it’s the closest approximation to an actual page that I have ever seen. I was like a kid, delighted that when the sales lady showed me the unit, I thought the Welcome screen she was showing me was printed on paper. Ooooh, so this is what e-ink looks like.
There’s not much option for sharing on social media, but I guess that’s part of the charm. It’s an electronic device that’s designed to mimic the analog experience as much as possible. Sure you can import ebooks, make annotations, review your annotations, make dog-ears (bookmarks) on pages, sort your books by collection, but it has limited sharing capabilities, only linking to Facebook. You can’t copy texts either, just like you can’t hold down and press “copy” on a page in an actual book. So it does connect to the internet, but it also doesn’t distract you with too much “connectedness”.
I love that it has Pocket integration. I can save articles in Pocket (which is something I already use via Chrome plugin and on my mobile phone) then manually sync my Kobo or schedule a sync at a certain time of the day so I can read the articles later. It’s quite fun. I’m re-reading some of my favorite books lately, and discovering new ones too. I haven’t been able to figure out how to convert the books I bought from Google Play Store through Caliber, but I’ll look into it soon. So fun. Much wow. ^_^
I knew I wanted one the moment I heard that Traveler’s Company is coming out with an olive green TN. I got this from Everything Calligraphy last month, and decided that I would use it as my calligraphy and watercolor journal.
The color is a little hard to photograph. It always comes across darker than it actually is in person. The color is a dusky green, more like the camo green in my opinion, rather than olive green. It’s a deep color that I think will become more interesting as it ages. In photographs, it looks more like black than green. In person, the color is a bit ambiguous, depending on the light. I’ll post more photos of it in the future as it develops a patina. I’m curious how the texture and color will change once I start applying leather balm on it (maybe next month). My brown TN became shinier and the brown color became deeper and richer.
I decided to keep it thin with only two inserts so that it won’t be so heavy. I use my brown TN as my primary journal anyway. I made those monkey fist charms and bookmarks with the elastic bands from an old TN repair kit that I haven’t used yet because I only used the dark-colored bands. I thought the bright colors popped pretty nicely against the color of the leather. If you want to know how to make your own monkey fist knots, this is the tutorial I used.
I made my own watercolor insert from 200gsm Canson paper. Here’s the cover I DIY’ed for my first insert.
I didn’t realize that it had a rough side and a smooth side, so some pages have the textured side on the left, some on the right. It’s alright, though, it can handle light washes on both sides, albeit with a lot of warping.
I enjoy bringing it around with me. It’s comfortable to hold and gosh, it’s so pretty in person. Next time I’ll try and find watercolor paper that’s textured on both sides, though. Overall, I’m pretty much in love with this TN. It’s a great addition to my EDC.
I made these coloring pages for my friend’s daughter who celebrated her 5th birthday this week. This little girl already shows an interest for art, and she has recently discovered the joy of watercolors. So I made these line drawings on watercolor paper for her to use. I think it’s a great way to encourage children to paint and get comfortable with the medium. It’s also a great way to spend time enjoying art with kids. I should make some for my nephews and nieces too.
Look at that little fishy. Isn’t that cute? ^_^
Here is something pen and ink fans will find truly interesting and delightful. I used to keep a software database of pens, but I haven’t been very good with keeping it updated, until I eventually just forgot about it. Here’s a truly analog way to document an analog hobby.
Everything Calligraphy came up with its very own pen and ink journal! It’s soft-bound and uses their own 90GSM ivory colored paper that’s fountain pen, brush pen, and pointed pen friendly. Hardcore, man.
The theme of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo is the thread that runs through the different sections of the notebook, from cover to cover. When I first held the journal in my hand, it really felt like something that you can keep as a “pen memoir”, and I felt sorry I wasn’t able to document the old pens that I had already sold, or the inks that I already used up.
There is a simple Elias logo on the binding, and the spine feels nice and tight. It’s bound securely, though it’s not going to lay flat by itself. It’s not difficult to write in or leaf through, though. The journal is bound by plain white, textured card paper, and there’s a translucent, waxy paper that wraps around it. I really like the illustration used in that decorative wrap. It’s printed neatly and is really like a slice of a story.
It also smells good. Mmmmm. Yum. The journal has several sections. I’ll show each section in this review.
The first section is the Pen Journal section. It has space for every kind of information useful in a pen. Like brand, model, nib size, rating systems, etc. The opposite page is dedicated entirely to writing samples, or (like what I did) a review of the pen. You can put anything! How you got the pen, its little back story, anything that helps you either catalog the pen’s specifications or document its history. You can even stick a printed photo of the pen, if you like. You can get as creative as you want, there’s space for it!
The next section is the Ink Journal. It has all the pertinent information you need to catalog your ink. From the cost, to the properties (shading, sheen drying time, flow), a portion for swabs and water resistance tests, and your comments. Here’s a photo of my first ink journal page, documenting one of my new favorite inks, Kyo Iro Moonlight of Higashiyama. It’s a straightforward way to catalog your ink collection. The paper being Elias paper, it shows off any shading and sheen so well. The paper also holds up very well to my water resistance test.
I had to chuckle a little at the next section, the Future Pen and Inks. It’s like a wishlist. You can note down pens and inks that caught your attention and would like to purchase in the future. This is a list you can really have fun ticking items off of.
The next section contains coloring sheets. Line drawings of scenes and excerpts from Noli and El Fili. It adds a really Pinoy flair to the entire thing. I like how the line drawings are made. They have a folk-artsy feel to them. The pages remind me of these traditional Japanese line drawings before anime became popular. There’s a story going on in each drawing and it really captured that overall theme of the journal. The person who drew them is Julz Riddle (a Filipino teacher and artist). Her Instagram account is @hulyariddle. Here are a couple of samples from the journal.
Those who are into practicing calligraphy will love the next section.
These pages with guide lines can help you achieve consistent strokes. Even if you only want to improve your handwriting by practicing writing in script, this can be really helpful.
The remaining pages are blank sheets, doodle pages. If you look at the back of every single journal I have, the last pages are basically doodle pages. Figure eights, “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”, baybayin scribbles, anything! A blank space to doodle and free the mind. How wonderful that there’s a space in this journal for doodling.
Overall, I don’t think I’ve come across a journal that’s exactly like this, and with a very Filipino flair. It’s really a great way to celebrate your fascination with pens and inks (and doodling!). I’m glad that Everything Calligraphy came up with something so special for pen fans like us, and I’m planning to fill up my journal soon. It would be a great way to keep record of each pen and ink color that I have. Maybe someday when it’s time to pass on my pens to my nephews and nieces, they can have this journal as a companion of sorts, to help them appreciate the pens not just as writing instruments but as little things that brought me joy at some point in my life.
The Elias Pen and Ink Journal is available at Everything Calligraphy.