It seems the doors of the Bibliotaphe Closet have been shut for about a month without much of an explanation from me. That’s what happens when you lose your keys, or in my case, a handle on a reading and writing schedule that worked quite effectively until I unexpectedly picked up a new obsession—pretty stationery, washi tape, mail art, snail mail, and penning letters.
After I agreed to an interview and feature on the Penpal of the Week website as well as having won a free three-month membership to the League of Extraordinary Penpals (LEP), a warm and active online community; I have quickly transformed from an occasional letter-writing penpal to approximately three correspondents to a fully engaged writer and snail mail addict who has unbelievably gained the interest of 50+ penpals within Canada, the U.S.A., and around the world.
Translation —> You will most likely find me in a paper craft store running for the bins that carry a myriad of pretty stationery sets, peony notecards and notebooks, a slew of rubber stamps, kawaii stickers, and an uncertain amount of decorative washi tape, sticky notes, and planner inserts.
I have gone so far as to:
create my own envelopes and postcards
renovate my study into a small craft room that now stores all my snail mail and mail art supplies
install hooks into the wall to display my washi tape
create my own midori planners and journals based on a number of YouTube instructional videos
buy my own digital shipping scale to weigh my mail packages by the gram
memorize postage rates by domestic, US, and international locations
bribe “Santa” for a Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen with a fine nib
visit my mailbox on a strict rotation of three hours to check for incoming deliveries
and carry my mail, blank stationery, and pens with me everywhere I go just in case I have time to pen a letter
That said, books and reading are still very much on my priority list. One does not usually forget their first love. But, as people grow, interests, too, tend to expand and develop (at least that’s what I tell myself since books have been left on the shelf).
With that in mind, I also hope to post stories about snail mail, mail art, and paper crafts on this blog. I may even have to consider revamping my blog’s site name, but I haven’t decided yet.
But, for starters, I encourage readers to set realistic reading goals for the year. This can be easily done through the HarperCollins of Canada 50 Book Pledge Program online, which acts as a database and personal tracker for a large reading community through a “To Be Read,” “Read,” and “Wish List” bookshelves.
As a preview, the first few books I look forward to reading and reviewing in 2015 are:
Alphabetique by Molly Peacock
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
Little White Lies by Katie Dale
The Jaguar’s Children by John Valliant
If I Fall, I Die by Michael Christie
Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar
While I suspected there would be time during the holidays to read, write, and even pen letters, there was instead a perpetual food binge and all forms of lively procrastination.
The New Year rolled itself in and just last week I celebrated my 40th—cough—birthday! (But, more on that in another post.)
Regardless, now that it’s 2015, I’m happy to reconsider some new personal goals and resolutions, as well as give The Bibliotaphe Closeta contextual renovation and a clean, fresh start.
Here’s to more reading—and writing in the New Year!
For stationery and kawaii enthusiasts, you’ll be glad to know that I made a wonderful discovery during my visit to Kingston, Ontario for the Thanksgiving long weekend holiday last week.
While visiting the artsy core of downtown Kingston, I accidentally came across an independently-owned stationery-and-kawaii-filled shop called, Midori. I would have passed right by it if I didn’t see the painted sign outside, which said stationery in elegant, cursive print. Thankfully, I noticed it enough to stop mid-step before heading toward the nearest Starbucks Coffee shop.
Once inside, I was transported into a wonderful, little room painted in pastels featuring a variety of kawaii products imported from China, Korea, and Japan that included stuffed, plush toys, jewellery, mugs, bento boxes, handbags, and loads of notebooks, paper stationery, postcards, and pens.
I chatted with Midori’s owner and proprietor, Tina Yan,who opened the store in October of last year (2013) and discovered that not only do we share the same birthday month, but that we’re equally enthusiastic about kawaii products!
Canadian-born with cultural roots from China, Tina, thought it was important to bring popular kawaii goods from Asian countries to provide Canadian customers with products solely created and distributed in South Asian countries—which suits me perfectly fine since I don’t see the possibility of travelling to South Asia any time soon. How else will I deal with my stationery and kawaii addiction?
While chatting with Tina about the possibility of featuring her and her shop on my blog, she was kind enough to allow me to take a number of photographs in her store while I searched for items that I might purchase. Here are some of the wonderful kawaii items I found in her shop:
I was so pleased with this little shop, I returned twice in one day and bought the following, cute products to use for my own, personal writing and snail mail:
These pretty 4″x5.5″ notebooks from the My Fairy Tale World: Flowers & BeautyGirlline created by languo is simply exquisite. I was drawn to the art cover designs, which features a different girl in each portrait. Inside, the paper is brown, blank, and consists of 24 pages.
My only regret about the design is that there is no Asian girl with black hair on a cover. Surely, a Beauty Girl would also come from Asia, right?
While I’m excited about my purchase, these notebooks seem far too pretty for me to use right away. I have yet to decide what to write in them! In the meantime, they will sit at my desk on display.
After testing a number of pens in stock at Midori,I decided on buying the light blue, gel-ink pen with the bear cap, 0.38mm fine point, with “love dolls every day” printed on its casing; the Fihfio floral print, gel-ink pen with a cap that says, “Your happy story;” and my favourite of the three, the BCO black, ink gel pen with the sad ghost cap, 0.4mm fine point. It runs quite smoothly with a dark imprint and is the current pen I use to write all my snail mail letters.
These London photograph postcards came in a set of 18. The photographs are not only lovely renditions of London’s famous city, but the paper itself is slightly glossy with an embossed texture, which give them a far more realistic feel than other glossed postcards and reprints.
For 18 postcards of good photographs for the low price of $3.50 CAD per set, you simply can’t lose, which is why when I return I’ll be buying a few more packages!
The “Got a Mail” pink agenda is not only blank, but provides the user with both a monthly and weekly date format. While the user must fill in dates for himself/herself, numbers are listed at the top margin to provide for accuracy and a little help.
At the back of the agenda is a number of blank pages for notes and includes a few cards and stickers for decoration.
The front cover also allows the user to change its design with the cards included.
I can’t wait to start using this agenda/diary in the new year.
While this notebook does not match the My Fairy Tale World series, I could not resist the adorable Cooky character with her squinted, smiling eyes and huge red hood.
She reminds me of an Asian version of the Little Red Riding Hood character. Just look at her sitting in her suitcase!
I snatched this notebook at the recommendation of Tina who also thinks Cooky is adorable.
The paper inside is white, lined, and contains 46 pages.
Because its titled, “Travel Story,” I plan on saving this little notebook for my travels.
After leaving Kingston, Ontario, I visited the Pacific Mall in Markham, a mall that specializes in Asian-imported goods and products. It was the first time I visited in over 10 years and was ecstatic to find a few more kawaii goodies.
This is what I brought home:
The Pucca wallet is bright red in colour, which symbolizes good fortune and happiness in Chinese culture. The Kanji symbol means love. It also comes with a removable coin purse with Kanji print, five cardholders, one identification holder, and a long pocket for cash.
At first I thought these cute kawaii strips were washi tape, but when I inquired about them I was told that the strips are meant for paper crafts like the creation of small origami stars.
Because I’m attracted to small figurines, paper crafts, and kawaii, I quickly bought four packages. While I won’t use every strip to make paper stars, I do plan on adding a little glue at the back to decorate a few of my snail mail envelopes.
Because I’m partial to cute bunnies, my favourite one is the one with the Molang bunny.
This little kawaii doll drew me right in with her bright, curly, green hair. Instead of attaching her to my mobile phone, I put her on my key ring instead. I’ve named her Kiyoko, which means child of happy generations in Japanese. I trust we’ll be very happy together for “generations” to come.
Aside for the cute kawaii bottle, this Pocket Bunny Sleek Mist helps to control the breakout of oily skin. Instead of powder to mattefy skin, this spritz can be used any time of the day. It smells good, too!
The Tony Moly Strawberry Lipgloss line is light and sheer and its price point high most likely because of its marketable packaging.
I really couldn’t care less about the actual lipgloss (though I had my eye on the deep pink and coral colours), but I absolutely adore the lipgloss strawberry doll caps.
It comes in coral, pink, light, pink, and a nude cream.
I pucker up every time I look at these!
The trip was well worth it with a number of unexpected kawaii finds. I hope to be able to travel again next month and pick up some more stationery and kawaii goodies. Which ones would you buy?
Do you like kawaii? What do you like most about it?
Of all the items featured above, which one(s) do you like the most?
What’s your favourite kawaii item that you own?
Where do you find or shop for your kawaii items? (Feel free to share links to websites.)
If you were a kawaii character, what character would you be?
Books and nooks. Writing and reading between the pages.