Sunday, 17 October 2010

What makes my heart sing: stationery

So, lovely friends of PB (and a warm welcome to all this week’s newbies), are you starting to get more of an idea of who Jane-the-person is, as opposed to Jane-the-mother? You now know I love all things French, words and languages. How about another thing that makes my heart sing? Well, it’s stationery. 
Ooh! My heart is singing!
What is stationery?

What does ‘stationery’ encompass? Well, according to my good friend, Mr Wikipedia, ‘Originally the term referred to all products sold by a stationer, whose book shop was on a fixed spot, usually near a university, and permanent, [as opposed to] ambulant [trading] by peddlers’. There’s your historical fact of the day. Nowadays, stationery refers to any writing materials such as pens, ink, paper, envelopes, cards, diaries, notebooks, stamps, sticky notes, stickers and tags.

Why do I love it?

So why do I have a fondness for such things? Well, from an early age, I was always encouraged to write thank you notes for presents received or kindness shown. It’s a practice I have continued throughout my life and one which we intend to teach the pixies. We think it really encourages you to appreciate the effort made and the thought put into choosing a present. And as I mentioned here and here, there’s nothing like the sweet satisfaction of receiving handwritten mail, is there?  
Ooh, yes, a love package, please!

Like all Australian school children, I started writing with a pencil. A bog-ordinary, standard Staedtler hexagonal version. Remember them? You had to choose between H, HB, 1B,  2B, 3B and so on, signifying their lead’s hardness. They used to create a hard ridge on your index finger if you gripped them too firmly (you could buy soft plastic sleeves to put over them to alleviate the pressure issue).
Hmm, I think I would have liked these beauties from Cox and Cox. Having named pencils would have really made me stand out from the crowd. Way back in 1980, I also lusted after (and still do – the pixies will benefit from my unsated desire eventually) the English Derwent pencils. Remember them? The children who had their little Derwent tins were most envied.

Ballpoint pens

In Grade Four I received my ‘pen licence’ which permitted me to use a stock standard Bic biro. Nothing fancy. I was given a Parker Jotter Premium ballpoint pen with my name engraved in cursive – it was the height of luxury in 1980 Hobart!  

I love engraved pens
Fountain pens

Then when I spent my exchange year in Germany in 1989, I was introduced to the joy of using a fountain pen. All school children I met used them instead of biros. 
Lamy sleekness
I bought a Lamy version (which used refill cartridges) and was given a Pelikan one (which used a bottle of ink), both German companies with long traditions. The Lamy is so easy to use and very clean to refill (no inky fingers result) but I find using the Pelikan ultimately more satisfying. The whole ritual of dipping the empty pen into the ink bottle and twirling the body to draw up the ink is absorbing. Oh, and the nib is much finer so you have more control when writing. But yes, you can get inky fingers.

But that’s where the trusty Germans provide a solution. Pelikan also produces nifty little soft-tipped pens, Super Pirat, which you use to erase mistakes with one end (and even to take the ink off your fingers and clothes!) and with the other, you rewrite the correction.

And if you end up with an ink stain, Pelikan’s website even has a solution. Talk about German efficiency!

And one day, just maybe, I might even own a gorgeous Mont Blanc fountain pen. That, my friends, would be stationery heaven for me.
Mont Blanc's famous Meisterstück fountain pen
Writing paper

I am a longstanding fan of Croxley Basildon Bond white paper for more formal letters – it’s strong and crisp.

For long letters, I adore using blue Croxley Onion Skin Finish paper. I enjoy the difference in texture and the way the ink glides easily across the page.

[Edited on 21 March 2012: Regrettably, Croxley has stopped making this fine paper. I'm looking for a replacement!]

I also have this cute little box of Kate Spade note cards I bought at Papier d’amour embossed with ‘the icing on the cake’ (for birthdays), ‘you read my mind’ (for thankyous), ‘a round of applause’ (for congratulations), ‘for no particular reason’ (just because) and ‘I heard you were under the weather’ (for get well) with matching coloured, lined envelopes. They’re a joy to use and good to have handy.

Wrapping paper 

I have my eye on this striking paper for Christmas presents from Cox and Cox. Isn’t it gorgeous? What about this Parisian map from Zetta Florence?

Address books

My all-time favourite is my pretty Liberty cloth-covered address book by British company Quadrille Publishing. It’s the perfect size to carry in my handbag and the blue ribbon ties so beautifully, it’s just a pleasure to use. Do check out their stationery catalogue – you’ll enjoy it!


I adore collecting blank greeting cards for my little stash which I keep in my pretty letter holder which I bought at Il Papiro.
I find Belle and Boo so whimsical and innocent, such a rarity on the market nowadays. Isn't it just darling? And Christopher Vine always comes up with the goods, as well.

Some day, I’d love to purchase some monogrammed cards. Ooh, that would be just lovely. How about these ones from Smythson of Bond Street? Hmm, they're rather pricey.
Oh, if only the $AUD could reach parity with the Pound Sterling (forget the $US)! Or closer to home, maybe Miss French Navy is worth a try. Upon a Fold and Paper Boat Press are also a good bet.


This purchase is an annual pleasure for me. Sure, I rely on using Microsoft Outlook like so many others but I can't carry my PC around with me! Now I’ve chanced upon the divine Notemaker store, I’m completely torn about which diary to buy for 2011. How to choose? There are these sensational Delfonics versions from Japan in all their tartan loveliness.
I find the pink and white quite fetching. Then the Germanophile in me lusts after the Dir geht ein Licht auf' (‘it dawns on me’) diary.
But the Francophile in me desires the ‘souvenir de chaque jour’ (‘everyday memories’).
Or how about this pretty one at Kikki K! Help me decide!

I revel in using my Australian, spiral-bound Studio Antic notebook – I use it daily to capture my blog ideas or my to-do lists. Isn’t it pretty? I also have my eye on these ones from Kikki K. They’re just so delightfully whimsical that writing in them would be a real pleasure.

Kikki K has 'love' covered with these sweeties.
The Francophile in me is also pleased with these ones from Cavallini and Co (hmm, I think I have a thing for that brand!).
Sticky notes

I am lusting after these Parisian ones Notemaker sells.
Or these ones from Zetta Florence.

So, are you sensing that I might just be the teensiest bit obsessed about my stationery?!


I crave these romantic ‘par avion’ ones from Cavallini and Co. Doesn’t it make you wistful for a bygone age, long before the internet’s immediacy, when your letter had to travel ‘par avion’ (‘by aeroplane’) to its destination?

Storage boxes

I really must have (are you sensing the urgency?) these pretty floral boxes from Cox and Cox. My welfare depends on it! Of course, Kikki K and Officeworks have smart alternatives closer to home for Australian readers.


Australian company Emerald + Ella has the sweetest cornucopia of tags you could ever hope to find like this one. Treat yourself and have a peek at them.

Oh, and I’m a huge fan of local company, Ruby Victoria Letterpress. Narelle is a delight to deal with and extremely talented. Here's one of her goodies.
Fellow Tasmanian, Ness, from Marley and Lockyer also makes the prettiest clay tags you'll ever see which are just perfect with Christmas coming up. Look at this one. Her blog is a delightful read as well.
So, there you have it, a sample of all the loveliness out there in stationery landThere are oodles more I could mention, like Japanese tape, stencils and wax seals. I’d love to hear of any other beautiful discoveries you have made. Please share! Oh, and I’m still on the hunt for a word for ‘stationery lover’!


  1. Oh Jane, I also adore beautiful paper, stamps, gift tags, pencils....all of it!
    I also have the fun Paris map....I had it framed and I must get a copy of the Belle and Boo paper boat know how we love boats over at my little blog. Happy Sunday x

  2. Jane, we have so much in common! I adore Paris and I adore stationery. Your selections here are all divine!

  3. oh yes! I absolutely love kikki k.

  4. Oh, ladies, I'm so pleased to have found others who share my passion - that's a first!

    Sarah, the print is on their website at but it costs £32 plus postage.

    It's $95 at

    You could always just buy the small card and get it framed.

    Glad you like it, Melinda. Any excuse for me to go online window shopping! J x

  5. Greetings Jane!
    What a lovely post, I adore all things stationary as well. When I was younger (who am I kidding, I stil do) I would dream of thick, creamy writing paper and romantic letter writing just like in the movies. I love the Paris map as well, what a fantastic idea for wrapping paper!

  6. I believe in thank you notes and I'm trying to teach my kids this too. I also love stationery and as a kid would browse the newsagent's shelves as though it were a lolly shop. Loved my Derwent 72s, I still have a good range of Staedtler pencils (actually a habit formed at uni - you need to sketch at design school!). Love Il Papiro (I went nuts when we were in Florence a few years ago). Oh I bought some beautiful blank cards and envelopes in Germany, they were actually from Prague. I decorated them with Japanese paper and gave them as wedding thank yous.

    I'm fussy about pens though - not in the fountain pen direction though - I prefer a fine felt tip, black.

    Miss Jane, we have quite a bit in common.

  7. Oh dear. Oh dear!! I am a complete stationary addict. The post made me drool over my key board

    As I read this lovely post I was ticking off my favorites and well too much of my stash was shown or mentioned. The trouble is I hoard it.

    I find it hard to use it it is soo pretty. I am trying to change that, you know every day is special don't wait for tomorrow, seize today kind of mantras. But still some habits are hard to break. I do tend to find it easier to use my pretty papers, ribbons and gift tags. The rest, well that is likely to fall from an overflowing cupboard and knock some poor unsuspecting guest on the head...

    Have a lovely week xox

  8. One of the perks of small business, i get to buy stationery wholesale, ahhh. I make my own stickers too, such fun!! Stationery just makes me happy. When i started looking at these images i thought, why do you have Lydia Holt's pencils, he he he, love Posie

  9. Swoon.... my obsession with stationery began in my boarding school years and is showing no sign of abating! I am another fountain pen fan and one day, some day I will have a Mont Blanc on my writing desk! Fingers and toes crossed!

  10. OMgoodness, what a fabulous post. I am going to spend my whole night investigating your links! Thanks! A-M xx

  11. Oooh I love stationery too! Nothing like new pencils and notepads. My son shares this love of mine too so I can indulge him then use it myself! :)

  12. So much lovely paper eye-candy here Jane. Thank You! P.S Love Belle and Boo ..reminds me of illustrations from some of my childhood books x

  13. What a great post Jane, you've won me over with my love of anything French.

  14. I love stationery too. Two of my favourites featured here - the Lamy pen (I haven't seen them since I was an exchange student in Germany but boy are they cool. Am so going to acquire one now that I remember they exist) and who can go past Kikki K? Love her stuff. Gorgeous post :)

  15. This is like porn to me. That's all I need to say. x

  16. I love stationery stores too. Right behind a book shop and just in front of the hardware store! Have a great week Jane x

  17. I love stationary too, oh and derwent pencils, I still have my worn out black wooden 72 box and they are all so short now : )
    I love the Paris themed bits you've chosen too I'm going there next may for the first time and I'm very excited!
    Oh by the way the doily tree is at princess park in battery point up the top of the hill.
    Hope you had a lovely weekend!

  18. What a beautiful selection of stationery! Our whole family has a fetish for gorgeous stationery too. I could spend hours in Kikki K and my kids are always spending their pocket money in Smiggle. I can't wait to investigate these other links-thanks for sharing them.

    Best wishes,

  19. Oh my! When I wrote this, I had absolutely no idea so many of you also covet stationery. I was wondering whether it was a bit of an indulgence but apparently not. I can't express how happy you've made me! I'll keep doing these posts, if you'd like.

    Emma, let's keep that Mont Blanc dream alive.

    MM, we should exchange 'exchange-student-in-Germany' stories! And go the Lamy. I now have a silver one. My white one became too grubby - the silver one is a classic.

    Oh, Sarah and Catherine, I would have envied your Derwent 72s at school! I have already spied them at Artery but will have to wait for the pixies to be old enough to appreciate them before purchasing. Sigh. I don't want to wait that long ☺.

    Oh, and thanks for the doily tip, Catherine - the pixies will love it.

    My pleasure, Natasha (and thanks for following PB). I have joined up on the Kikki K website and compiled a wishlist there. They're looking to open a shop in Hobart - I can't wait! J x

  20. Oh I too love everything paper...

    I truly believe its a girl thing...

    My hubby is oblivious to such mundane but lovely things...

  21. I do love stationery, all the bits and bobs. My oldest girl does do she has her own little nook to keep all of her Smiggle things, she has the bug. (lol) Have a good week. xo

  22. Hmm, you might be onto someting there with the gender aspect. I haven't found any males yet who share my passion! J x

  23. What a great post!

    I love stationery - thank goodness I have a friend who does too - we send each other note cards when we have something new to show off.

    I used to always have a blank journal book handy.

  24. Ooohh! Love stationery too! So many lovely things you've mentioned. I'm always snooping around cox & cox with my purse at the ready. Last year I spent a few months in Aus and came home laden {nay, brimming} with Kikki K! I've just ordered some japanese tape...and some more stamps...can't have enough stamps....and stickers....and ribbons.............
    Thanks for popping round to mine. x

  25. Some lovely stationery you've featured.. I collect rubber stamp sets for my girls, there are so many beautiful ones..Rachaelxx

  26. Thanks for stopping by, ladies. I can't believe how many stationery lovers there are out there! J x

  27. Yes, the best list! Loving the Union Jack stuff right now and thanks for showing my tags too. You are a asweetie.
    ness xx

  28. Hi! I'm a new follower of your blog from Barcelona, Spain. I also love Australia, stationery, butterflies, and many other things! Best regards from the other side of the world!

  29. My pleasure, Ness. Anything to share your talent. And hi Marta - it sounds like we have a lot in common! J x

  30. [Sent as an email to me]

    Hi there Jane - I just wrote a long comment on your blog, then lost it in the process of posting it. So let's try this instead!

    Thanks so much for being there tonight, when in desperation I googled "Can you still BUY Croxley Onionskin paper?!" Like you, it has been my stand-out favourite for years (and I suspect I am more of your mother's generation than yours ). The joy of letter-writing on it with a fine fountain pen just can't be described, can it? It used to almost MAKE me write page after page.....

    But years of emailing and facebooking have taken their toll, and it's been a long, long while since I've written real letters. Added to the fact of living in out-of-the-way countries where mail often failed to make it to its destination; at all!

    However, I was recently given some really glorious inks and a new pen...and now I so want to start writing to friends & family again., if only to give them the pleasure of finding something other than junk mail and the occasional bill in their letterbox. you know where we can find that glorious paper still? My favourite colour used to be green, but any colour would be wonderful now!

    Thanks again for a great blog,

    Blessings from over in Perth,

  31. Hi Sue Thanks so much for your gorgeous comment!

    I'm so pleased to have found a fellow fan. It's funny - then I wrote that post, I had the darnedest time trying to find a hyperlink I could add for an Australian stockist.

    Mine is blue and measures 25 cm x 20 cm.

    I haven't bought any for a year or so but will try my local Hobart newsagency. I'll let you know if they have it! I'm happy to post some to you.

    If you're a stationery fiend, I am restarting my 'Sublime stationery' series of posts this year. I love sharing my new finds!

  32. I'm so delighted to have stumbled across your delightful blog! I, too, enjoy pen and ink, fine stationery and beautiful gift wrap. My pen of choice is the Parker 75 - I have several now, but use that which I received on my birthday in 1970 the most regularly. Stationery? I still love Three Candlesticks by John Dickinson, and also enjoy Basildon Onion Skin for long, rambling missives that are posted to far away friends. Gift wrap: I collect full-repeat samples of hand-printed wallpaper.


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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