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  • 9 Stationery-Inspired Halloween Costumes

    Halloween's always a load of fun and a great excuse to play dress-up, especially if you're going to a costume party.

    So why not take the opportunity to flaunt your stationery geekery?

    There are any number of costumes you can buy or make that will show off your favorite pens, pencils, and paper. We'll show what a few people have done in years past, then we'll toss out a couple of ideas of our own.

    Now fire up your imaginations and let these costumes inspire you.

    Courtesy: Jade Brady, www.jadebradymakeup.blogspot.com Courtesy: Jade Brady

    UK make-up artist Jade Brady put together this simple, but terrifying costumer of the old pencil-up-the-nose joke gone wrong. See more of her SFX work at her blog.

     

    crayola costume

     

    Kid's felt Crayola costume going for £10 on eBay. There are other colors, too, including blue and green. Continue reading

  • Pens-Only Classrooms At University

    laptops in the classroomWith everyone back in school, I thought it might be a good time to revisit a topic that pops up in university classrooms every year: the banning of laptops.

    The Globe and Mail reported in August that it's becoming standard practice in Canadian universities to prohibit laptops from lecture halls. American universities are also getting on board with no-laptop policies, as the campus newspaper of the University of North Carolina explained earlier this year. In the UK and Europe, while banning laptops seems to be less widespread, it isn't entirely uncommon.

    Typically, it's not the universities, but specific professors who tell students at the beginning of the year that laptops are verboten and that classrooms are pens-only. Some even include it in the syllabi.

    Why? Continue reading

  • Pen and Ink Sketches From 17th Century Georgia

    If you keep a sketchbook, this might interest you.

    Georgia Today had an article recently about some pen-and-ink sketches by a 17th-century Italian missionary named Christophoro de Castelli.

    Apparently, he spent 22 years travelling in the country of Georgia, and kept a series of books in which he sketched landscapes and scenes of life in the Eurasian region.

    De Castelli's pen and ink sketches and notes fill seven volumes and those available online are worth perusing. (UC Berkeley has many of the same and a few additional sketches by De Castelli.) Continue reading

  • Artist Turns Rocks Into Doodlestones

    (Update: Bryan Payne's mother Barb just let us know that there is a DoodlestonesUK community on Facebook.)

    doodlestoneOK, this is a project that should go global. We're going to say right up front, we'd love to see this happening in the UK.

    What "this" do we mean?

    Doodlestones, a project created by a man in St. Louis, Missouri named Bryan Payne. He uses markers to draw faces and other features on small, flat stones, then hides them in places around town. Sometimes, he lays them flat in an unobtrusive spot, other times he uses Scotch mounting putty to attach them to surfaces.

    (Payne told us he uses Faber Castell India ink art pens: "I love them, but wear the nibs down pretty fast.")

    Upworthy.com has done an excellent profile of Payne and Doodlestones. From the article:

    Each stone comes from a river in his home state of Missouri. On each stone, he writes "#doodlestone," the date, and "finders keepers."

    He posts photos of the doodlestones on the project's Facebook page with small clues and geotags. People can use those clues to help hunt down the doodlestones. (You can see more photos of his doodlestones at Payne's Instagram account.) They can also create and leave their own.

    The Facebook page seems to have been started in early August and already has more than 3,000 likes. People are starting to post photos of their doodlestones, with hints about where they are hidden.

    Payne told Upworthy he started it to connect people in the St. Louis area, which has been troubled since the shooting of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson last year. He seems to be accomplishing that.

    It would be such a cool thing if a project like this would start in the UK. With so many wonderful and talented artists here, surely it would not be difficult.

    If anyone were to do it, you can be sure that you'd get as much notice from Tiger Pens Blog as we could give. Projects like this should be celebrated. If anyone makes an attempt, please let us know.

  • Pilot G2 + Potato Message = Money

    I thought this was a joke when I first heard it. Actually, I'm still not convinced that it isn't some big hoax.

    But it was on TV, so it has to be true, right?

    A man in Texas – it would have to be Texas, wouldn't it – has created a business out of writing on potatoes with a Pilot G2 and sending them to people.

    Alex Craig calls it "Potato Parcel" and he told a local news crew that his potato message business started out as a challenge from his girlfriend. Continue reading

  • Teachers Making Good Use Of Red Pens

    red inkThe color of ink that teachers use to mark papers occasionally stirs up a fuss in the UK as some schools move away from red pens.

    The idea is that red ink leaves a negative impression on students and alienates them from their teachers. There's some research to support that idea.

    But with school starting up again, I've been doing some more reading about ink colors and marking. And it seems that maybe red pens have a place in the classroom, after all. Continue reading

  • ARC Pen To Help Parkinson's Patients Write

    If you're someone who loves the feel and experience of writing by hand, could you imagine losing that ability?

    It happens to Parkinson's patients who develop bradykinesia, a symptom which slows movement and affects fine motor control. Writing becomes painful, leading to small, cramped handwriting, called micrographia.

    That's why a group of UK university students have developed a pen specially designed to ease the writing experience for those with Parkinson's disease. (About 127,000 people in the UK have Parkinson's and about two-thirds develop micrographia.)

    Continue reading

  • Jerry Seinfeld Is A Bic Pen Man

    A friend of mine sent this to me the other day. Its an interview with comedian Jerry Seinfeld from a couple of years ago about this writing process.

    It seems that he keeps it very simple when he's working on jokes: A yellow legal pad and a blue Bic Cristal.

    Continue reading

  • Bic Pen Ads Take Another Misstep

    bic adI feel bad for the people who have to make Bic pen ads.

    They just can't seem to get it right when it comes to women.

    Remember the "Bic For Her" campaign a few years ago? The French pen brand launched a version of the classic Cristal with pastel colors and a thinner barrel it said was supposed to fit a woman's hand.

    That did not go over well. Reviewers on Amazon savaged the Bic For Her with snarky comments and questions like, "Do you have any special pens for 'that time of the month?'" And the reaction to Bic's pen made news around the world, especially when the company was slow to respond.

    Now Bic pen ads have stepped in it again with a campaign in South Africa. Continue reading

  • Recommended: Lifehacker's Notebook Guide

    Here's a bit of pen-and-paper reading that deserves special mention.

    Trent Hamm has written a piece at Lifehacker on using a pocket notebook to simplify your life and increase your productivity, both personally and professionally.

    It's a couple of months old, but still an excellent guide, very thorough and methodical in its approach to making a notebook part of your everyday carry.

    He lists the benefits of carrying a notebook – never losing a name or phone number, keeping track of tasks, capturing ideas as you have them – as well as recommendations for how to organize your notes.

    I love some of the techniques he describes, such as using a dot or dash in front of a thought or piece of information to separate it from the ones before and after. Also, using double lines to mark where he finished "processing" his notebook the last time.

    Hamm also gets into the gear itself, recommending Field Notes notebooks and the Uniball Signo 207 Ultra Micro.

    That's where I go a different way.

    I've written before about my fondness for reporter's notebooks, and I haven't changed my mind.

    These notebooks are made specifically for people who take a lot of notes while on the move. They flip open, fit right into the palm of your hand, and have stiff cardboard backs to serve as a writing surface. And they're just the right size to fit into a pocket.

    They also tend to be cheaper than Field Notes notebooks and have more pages.

    Pens are just a matter of preference. But I'd recommended against carrying a micro point retractable pen in your pocket. They really sting when they poke you, and they will inevitably poke.

    But please, do go over and give Hamm's article a look. It's one of my favorite pen-and-paper reads so far this year.

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