Astrobrights sells 89gm tactical paper by the ream [Amazon] for those of us with a pressing need for large amounts of stealthy milspec cellulose-lignin sheeting in standard workplace dimensions.
Designers Assia Quetin and Catherine Denoyelle created this ingenious sticky note desk accessory inspired by the beloved abstract artist Piet Mondrian. "Monde Riant" is €13.75 from PA Design.
Of course it reminds me of pastry chef Caitlin Freeman's wonderful Mondrian Cake below. (Recipe in Freeman's book Modern Art Desserts.)
Fashioned after real full-sized galvanized steel dumpsters, these miniature desktop Dumpsty's stand in at just 10 inches tall and 11 inches wide (which is big enough to hold magazines). The blank models come in a variety of body and lid colors and are ready to be customized (or not).
Priced at $195 each, they ain't cheap. But, wow, what a cool conversation piece.
Check out their Instagram for more inspiration.
It was a happy day when, several years ago, we retired our color inkjet printer and bought a laser printer. It doesn't make color prints, but we rarely need them. It's fast and best of all, 3rd-party toner cartridges are dirt cheap. Amazon sells a 2-pack of the TN450 compatible high yield toner cartridge for most Brother printers for $14, or $7 each. The genuine cartridges sell for $45 each. I've never has a problem with any of the knockoff cartridges. Read the rest
I've switched over to exclusively using tear-by-hand packing tape ($(removed) for a 50-foot roll on Amazon). No scissors or skin-abrading dispenser needed - just pull off what you need and tear across the tape. It's more expensive than ordinary packing tape, but I don't mind. A true wonder material of the modern age. Read the rest
From Herb Lester Associates, clever hotel notepads from fictional movie and television hotels! For £12.00, you get six pads:
• Bertram’s Hotel (At Bertram’s Hotel, Agatha Christie) • The Great Northern Hotel (Twin Peaks) • The Overlook Hotel (The Shining) • Royal Imperial Windsor Arms Hotel (National Lampoon’s European Vacation) • The Green Man Inn (The Wicker Man) • The Taft Hotel (The Graduate)
El Casco began as a firearm company in 1920. By the 1930s, business wasn't booming so they expanded into desk accessories, starting with an elegantly machined handheld stapler. They still make that model stapler, along with many others including this $265 chrome stapling plier. If chrome isn't to your liking, it's also available in 23 ct. gold plating. It takes standard staples. If you think this caliber of stapler would outshine your other desk accessories, perhaps you need to consider purchasing new desk accessories, such as El Casco's tape dispenser, sticky note holder, turtle bell, pencil pot, or paper punch.
I stopped using an inkjet printer a couple of years ago because I don't think the prints looked good and the cartridges needed replacing frequently. And I rarely needed color prints anyway. I bought the Brother HL-L2340DW Compact Laser Printer for $(removed) and have never regretted it. Wireless setup was a breeze. The prints are crisp. It also prints on both sides of a sheet of paper. Best of all, I buy toner cartridges that cost only $(removed) for a 2-pack, and each cartridge lasts for months. The DRM in the printer likes to tell you that a new 3rd party toner is low, but I just wait until the prints look bad then swap in a new a cartridge. Read the rest
Last week on a particularly hot summer day my 12-year-old daughter and her friend decided to avoid the outdoors and spent the afternoon coloring the pages of Fantastic Cities. Not wanting to interrupt their chatter and flow as they filled in the intricate lines of artist Steve McDonald’s amazing urbanscapes, I waited until after dinner, then spent an hour coloring my own page. Fantastic Cities is a beautiful book of detailed pen-and-ink drawings of cities from around the world, including London, Paris, Toronto, Tokyo, San Francisco, New York, Istanbul and many others. And including some slivers of real places mixed with imaginative cityscape mandalas. With books like this, coloring is as much fun for adults as it is for kids!
The colored pencils I used come from Tutti Frutti, with a box design inspired by Italian packaging. The set comes with 12 double-sided pencils with a total of 6 colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). I’m not sure why they repeat colors rather than give us 24 different shades, but the feel when pressing color to paper is wonderfully smooth and buttery. Unlike a jumbo box of Crayola crayons, Tutti Frutti doesn’t supply you with a pencil sharpener, so make sure you have your own (an automatic sharpener works best).
Fantastic Cities: A Coloring Book of Amazing Places Real and Imagined
by Steve McDonald
Chronicle Books 2015, 60 pages, 11.5 x 11.8 x 0.4 inches (paperback)
Tutti Frutti Pencils
by Princeton Architectural Press
12 double-sided pencils, 6 colors
The Uzi Tactical Defender Pen goes beyond the usual "if it's stabby and matte black, it's tactical" realm, adding in a DNA-Catcher (a snaggy bit), a hidden handcuff key, a glass-breaker, and a writes-upside-down-and-underwater cartridge. It's not even black.
Are you expecting the unexpected? Does expecting the unexpected make the unexpected expected? Either way, the Uzi Tactical Pen turns a mere pen into a life saving tool. The DNA Catcher on the crown of the pen is very sharp and can be used to deliver a very nasty jab to an attacker, causing extreme pain and giving you a sample of their DNA to use when you go to the police. Not expecting to get attacked? The crown also doubles as a glass breaker if you ever get trapped in your vehicle... If things get really bad, you can always rely on the hidden handcuff key inside the top of this pen. This badass writing utensil is made of high-grade aircraft aluminum and writes upside down or under water. If you can find a situation where you use all of this pen's features and live to tell the tale, we probably owe you some sort of prize.
On the surface, David Rees's How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical & Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths, & Civil Servants is just a protracted mockery of the mania for "authenticity" and "artisanship" -- poking fun at the pretense of snobbish reworking of everyday objects and tasks into extremely precise and expensive amusements for the bourgeoise (ultimate milkshakes, high-priced hand-roasted coffee beans, small cask liquor). John Hodgman's very funny and acerbic introduction certainly hints at that, and by the book's end, that's what Rees is getting up to, with chapters like "How to Sharpen a Pencil With Your Mind" and "Mastering Celebrity Impression Pencil Sharpening (CIPS)."
And yet. The first 100+ pages of this book are, for the most part, an incredibly detailed and often loving obsessive's guide to putting a really, really fine point on a pencil. Notionally this is the outcome of Rees's "Artisinal Pencil Sharpening" business in Beacon. But there's just a little bit too much detail in these sections to just be a parody. I'm left with the inescapable conclusion that Rees just fucking loves sharpening pencils. Really.
And like everyone who puts a lot of attention into something that we do without any conscious thought, Rees has, in fact, found something marvelously obsessive and fascinating at the heart of the everyday. As silly as it seems, there really is something deeply satisfying about a really sharp pencil.
It's this genuine obsession at the heart of the mockery that makes How to Sharpen Pencils more than a predictable, bitter indictment of "hipsters" and the world's delight in hand-crafted, attentive care in the everyday. Read the rest