News…

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Yup, another news post… Luckily, it’s good news this time! ūüôā

As you guys have probably noticed, there haven’t been any posts for about a month now (shame on me, I know…). The reason behind this? The blog is moving… Yup, I think it’s time to try out another outlet for Pens’n’Paper. For the past couple years, it has been hosted on WordPress.com, but while the hosting was free, they posted their ads and put restrictions on what I could and couldn’t do with my blog… So, as of today, July 21, 2011, the Pens’n’Paper blog will be moving to a Joomla site on my own webhost! (http://www.daviswww.com/blog/)

Now, this blog isn’t going to disappear. I plan to leave it as a reference and include a link to it on the new Joomla site as well (since I can’t move the posts over to it).

So, as of now, the address http://www.pensnpaper.net links to this wordpress blog, but on Saturday, July 23, it will be directed to the new site. So, go ahead, feel free to visit it and check it out (although there’s not much there at the moment), since I’ll be working on it for the next couple days and hopefully will have the first post ready to go by Saturday! Thanks for reading guys, and for sticking with me through the transition!

S’more News…

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As all of you know, I’m currently taking a sabbatical from reviewing pens and paper (although, to be totally honest, I’m finding it harder to do than I thought, lol)… I just wanted to post real quickly that you need to update your bookmarks for this blog before May 19th! The address will change and go under my personal domain. The new address¬†of Pens’n’Paper will be: http://pens.daviswww.com¬†.

Also, I just wanted to mention that NotebookStories is currently giving away an X17 notebook on their blog! Go check out the review and enter to win!

Best Regards,
Chris

Personalized Pens

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Have you ever thought about using personalized pens as a marketing tool? I myself have thought about it in the past, but have never chosen to go that route, but it may be perfect for you! Custom pens offer a unique way to get your company’s name, or even your blog’s name, out to the consumer.

Quality Logo Products¬†is one company that offers custom branded pens, as well as many other products, for your marketing needs. They offer options that range from no-name brand pens¬†and Bic Clic¬†Stics¬†all the way up to customized Parker and Waterman fountain pens and rollerballs. If you’re looking for some products to get the word out about your brand or your blog, why not check out Quality Logo Products?

This post sponsored by Quality Logo Products. Pens’n’Paper¬†has been paid to post this article. Neither Pens’n’Paper nor Chris Davis have tested or reviewed any products from Quality Logo Products.

“Where, Oh Where, Has The Author Been? Why Did He Leave Us Here All Alone?”

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So, here I am, again, apologizing for not writing at all lately. Last week was my Spring Break from college, so I took advantage of the situation and cloistered myself from the internet world (and most of the outside world, although I did spend a good bit of time with my girl, since she and her family are out-of-town¬†for the next two weeks). For the last week and a half, I’ve been working on-and-off on several different leather projects. I got in a shipment of three different buckskins from one supplier and then a sample from another, as well as buying two pieces¬†of cowhide at a local flea market. So, I started making several different types of pouches and other items and soon found myself engrossed in it. I’m kind of glad actually, because, to be honest, I needed a little break from stationery. Everything was beginning to seem a bit monotonous, and while I hate not posting any content, I’m also glad I took a break for a bit. So, below is some photos of some of the stuff I’ve been working on as well as a link to my Zibbet¬†store where I’m selling some items. Look for regularly scheduled content here in the next couple days or so!

Leathercraft Slide show on Flickr
My Shop on Zibbet

My DIY Photography Lightbox

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As some of you know, I bought a new camera recently. My old Casio Exilim¬†that I had owned for 5-6 years was finally deciding to quit on me, so I started looking for a new point-and-shoot. “Why didn’t you get a DSLR?” Well, thanks for asking. It all comes down to cash and portability. Firstly, I couldn’t afford a decent DSLR, however, I could afford a decent/high range point-and-shoot. Secondly, I need something that’s portable and doesn’t require me to carry¬†it in its own case. I actually carry my point-and-shoot inside a “flash drive” case inside a pocket of my backpack.

So, I browsed around my local BestBuy¬†and found what looked to me like a decent deal. I grabbed myself a Sony Cyber-shot H55 for $179.99, and have been an extremely happy camper ever since. Featuring 14.1 megapixels, 10x optical zoom, a 3.0″ LCD screen, and a bunch of other features, this camera has been a blast to use, and one of the best investments I’ve made in a while.

That brings me to the¬†topic of my post. While I love taking pictures for my¬†blog¬†with my camera, the pictures just weren’t up to the quality standards I would’ve liked them to be. Plus, there was really only one good place to take¬†the pictures I needed, and that was at my work under a dual fluorescent lamp I have there. So, I decided to get a lightbox. I looked around online and found some cheap ones for anywhere from $40-100, but most of the reviews on them said to avoid them like the plague because they were cheap, Chinese-manufactured items that disintegrated quickly. I didn’t really like the sound of that, so I moved on to my second thought… I could make my own photography lightbox.

So, I looked up some instructions (here, for anyone who’s interested), went and purchased the materials, and began to construct my own DIY-Photographic Lightbox. Basically, it boils down to several pieces of foam-core presentation board, masking tape, a shop light, and two different flood lamp bulbs (45w¬†and 60w, which may be replaced by a bulb with a more “white” quality). So, I now have my own little photographic lightbox…

So, what do you think? Opinions, comments, questions?

New Project!

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No, I’m not quitting Pens’n’Paper, but I am working on a new project! I’m trying to setup and run a custom social network just for us stationary enthusiasts… Now, don’t shut me down before you continue reading a bit.

The Stationary Network was born from an idea of mine (currently being tested using Wall.fm’s social network software) to create a network of stationery bloggers, writers, retailers, and manufacturers who share information, reviews, photos, sneak peeks, deals, and other stationery information without relying on the social giants.

I thought about trying it out on Facebook, but didn’t want to be bogged down by the HUMONGOUS amount of “personal fluff” that is proffered along with the stationery goodness.

I thought about a Twitter group (using a hashtag, ie. #snw for Stationery Network), but knocked it down for the exact same reason.

So, I set up The Stationery Network (http://stationerynetwork.wall.fm) as a test to see whether a.) anyone would be interested, and b.) whether the idea would ultimately work.

So, feel free to mosey on over and check it out! As I mentioned, it’s currently in development/growth, so, we’ll see how it goes!

Resolution #2. Carrying Less Stuff

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As I mentioned earlier this week, one of my resolutions this year¬†is to reduce the amount of stuff that I carry around with me on a daily basis. This morning, I began the first step of that journey by emptying out my backpack of everything that was in it. Then, I went through everything that was in it and placed things in one of two piles, one for the things I wanted to carry around, and one for the things I wanted to leave. I put away the stuff I didn’t want to carry and turned back to my “carry” pile. Then, I looked at each item and said, “Do I use this on a daily basis, or will I use this today?” Things that got a no, got put away, while I began to pack the things that got a yes.

I must say that I’m rather proud of all the stuff I’m not carrying. While I’m sure I could cut down on a couple more things, the fact that I eliminated 3/4 of the extra weight I was carrying is a pretty decent gain for one day. However, this is a work in progress, and I plan on cutting down on more of the unnecessary things in my everyday life as I go along.

So what am I carrying with me now, you might ask. Well, in my humongous backpack, I am carrying my laptop and power cord, which is an absolute necessity, since my college books are all digital. I also have a mouse and mousepad which fit in the front pocket.

I reduced all my notebooks and my padfolio to a single 1″ binder which contains 25 sheets of college-ruled notebook paper, 5 sheets of graph paper, 3 [IN]Place document sleeves/folders (for storing class papers, each folder has room for 2 classes), and my pad of Doane Ruled Graph paper is in the back pocket. So, how did I come up with those numbers? Well, I have never, on any given day, used 25 whole pages of notebook paper, so carrying a 70 or more page notebook with me seems a little pointless (and I used to carry one for each class). I suppose the Doane pad is a little redundant (grids + lines) since I have notebook and graph paper already, but I love the grids and lines concept and in order to justify it, I use it often and the graph grid is much smaller. ūüėČ

Also in my bag is my Journal 21 planner (I plan on being more organized this year too), a Clairefontain staple-bound notebook (not normal carry, I plan on reviewing it here in the next day or so for a future post), a Rhodia Bloc No. 11 Graph Pad (for quick notes and small sketches), my iPod Nano and earbuds, and finally, my Nomadic Pen/Pencil pouch. The only other things in my bag now are my Excedrin (I have frequent migraines) and a tube of facial cream (eczema + rosacea = not good big red splotchy patches on face).

As for the pen pouch, I cut down a whole bunch on the number of pens that I carry. While I didn’t cut down as much as I did on other items, (pens are my addiction, ok? lol) I still put away a bunch of them. So, what made it into my “used frequently enough to carry list”? Well, we have the following:

Front Pocket: 4 Р0.38 Pilot G-2 Gel Pens (used to take notes for college, blue, black, red, and green used to differentiate/mark importance), Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Gel Multi-Pen (brown and green 0.5mm), Pentel Slicci Gel Multi-Pen (red 0.3mm, orange and blue-black 0.5mm), Pentel Twist-Erase XP (planner pencil), Platinum Preppy 03 with J. Herbin 1670 (used for love notes to my Sweetheart and occasional everyday writing), Pentel Handy-LineS Retractable Highlighter, Pentel Jolt 0.7mm Mech. Pencil (soon to be a gift to my Future-Father-In-Law), and a Pilot V Razor Point EF Porous Point Pen.

Rear Pocket:¬†Field Notes Brand Cedar Pencil, Black Fine Sharpie Pen, 03 and 04 Pentel Hybrid Technica (fine underlining/sketching), Note: The rest of these are “Pens-to-be-Reviewed: Pilot Plumix¬†Fountain Pen in Blue, Tul¬†Orange Gel Pen, Tul¬†Black Rollerball, Bag of pens from MaidoStationery¬†(Pilot VPen, Pentel¬†Tradio¬†Pulaman, Zebra Sarasa¬†0.5mm Pale Blue Gel, and a Pilot Petit1 Fountain Pen in Wine Red.

So, there you have it… Everything I am carrying with me today (sans laptop and power cord) will fit in a single picture on top of my desk. I got rid of a¬†bunch of notebooks, 30-40 pens, and a whole bunch of other random stuff that was just taking up space.¬†Not bad for my first day, huh? The real¬†question is, can I keep it up?

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