Back-to-school is such an exciting time. We make sure the pants are not high-waters, everyone gets a new pair of shoes, and we get to go shopping for pens, pencils, notebooks, and hand sanitizer. But, we also need to take a minute to acknowledge that it’s such a hard time for moms. The house is so quiet and clean and there isn’t anything to do but sit around and be sad until your kids come bounding home from school, ready to eat a snack the size of a meal. It’s just a really rough time and moms deserve some consolation goodies to fill up that quiet, clean hole her kids leave in the house all day.
When we get the boys’ supplies ready for back-to-school, we take an inventory of things we already have and then shop for the things that aren’t crossed off the list. Moms are exempt from this method, of course. It doesn’t matter if she actually “needs” pens, pencils, watercolors, nibs, or rulers. The house is now too quiet for tasks like inventories and, honestly, one pen is nothing like the other. Sometimes you need a short ruler or a long one or an antique brass ruler from England. (And, don’t even get me going on “textbooks.”) Mom will only acknowledge she has too many books and supplies when she does a no-spend February and spends the better part of March organizing her studio. But not in September! In September, we get to do a little back-to-school shopping, too.
Of course, I’m smiling (and dripping with sarcasm) as I write this. But, it sounds good, right? Yes, honey, I needed another fountain pen because…sniff…it’s just so hard that my babies are starting eighth and ninth grade. I need to journal about it a lot with a Kaweco Brass Sport Fountain Pen with an extra-fine nib.
Jeff is so used to books and supplies coming to the house that he doesn’t blink at a pile of boxes on the porch and I don’t even need to bother with excuses, but I can have that one at the ready.
In all seriousness, I found a lovely stationery & art shop in London, Choosing Keeping, and couldn’t resist ordering a few things from them. I also got a few antique goodies earlier this summer from my friend Julia of Ponder & Purchase. She’s become a dear friend (I can’t wait to visit her in person), but also the best kind of enabler. Through Choosing Keeping, I was introduced to the German-based Kaweco pens, pencils & accessories and now I’m smitten with their products. It’s been one lovely little art supply snowball that started when my Instagram friend Heather of Sweet Shady Lane sent me a picture of some blue and green sealing wax sticks.
I have actually wanted to get some sealing wax and a seal for a long time, but I never found colors of wax enticing enough to buy. Well, these were speaking my language, so I bought a couple of sealing wax sticks and a seal with a French ribbon motif from Choosing Keeping.
I also got a tin of Coccoina paste. It’s an almond-based glue that seriously smells like almond extract. I love that it comes in this sweet little tin with a brush. It’s supposed to be a great all-purpose glue for paper and mixed media.
I treated myself to this set of beautiful plant-based natural watercolors…
The color palette is just perfect for me and I love testing out new pigments and paints.
They have found a good home in a little cubby in my antique Reeves art box…
I was most excited about trying Woad watercolor. I read an article about dying yarns and fabrics with woad a few years ago and I was completely on board when I saw it was available as a paint!
And, the Kaweco pens and pencils… They are so delicious! I bought a brass pencil clutch and a white Sport Classic fountain pen. They are weighted so well and I love the way the ink flows out of the nib.
If you’re looking to get into fountain pens, you know, because you really need some comfort during this season, the Kaweco Classic Sport is a great model to start with. It’s nice, but not crazy expensive (less than $20.)
You can also get a converter cartridge (so you can use any kind of fountain pen ink) and nibs of different sizes. I tend to like extra-fine. I loved their products so much that I bought a .5 brass mechanical pencil and a brass Sport fountain pen.
I also love these paper scissors from Choosing Keeping. Aren’t they lovely? In all seriousness, I do feel like you can always use a good pair of scissors when you work with paper or fabric.
The brass protractor is from Ponder & Purchase as well as the wooden nib box.
And, I got a pan of natural indigo watercolor (I actually bought this a long time ago and it was on back-order, so I finally received it late last week)…
…and some genuine natural indigo pigment to try to make some of my own oil and watercolor paint. Because I need more hobbies and little pet projects.
And, of course, I got a brush. Because nothing cheers me up when I’m alone in a quiet, clean house like a paintbrush.
Actually, I thought the construction of this particular brush was fascinating and I just needed to see it in person! I had actually spotted one of these in a random photo and tried to find one (not really knowing what I was looking for.) I figured it was a Japanese brush, so I was searching phrases like Japanese brush, Japanese brush on tongs, and small brush tied between two sticks. Shockingly, I didn’t find this brush.
It is described as a Japanese printing and colour gradation brush, but I’m still not really sure what it’s used for and how it’s used! I’ll have to do a bit of research. It would make a good blending brush or mark-making brush. It also seems akin to a stencil brush.
I just know that it’s cool and I’m going to have a good time figuring it out.
I have loved school, art, and office supplies since I was a little girl and it is so fitting that I get to have a whole hoard of them as tools-of-the-trade.