I think Life must be one of my favourite stationery brands of all time. I’m serious. I use Rhodia everyday for taking notes, and often for my ink reviews because it’s a really standard white paper most people have experienced, I love the Seyes Ruled paper on Clairefontaine, you know that I love G. Lalo paper, and the list goes on – but I think Life is just something else.
Life Stationery has been around since the 1940s in Japan, and they’ve been making notebooks for school children, professional workplaces, agendas, certificates, correspondence, official envelopes with Japanese templates on the front, calligraphy presentation paper, and all sorts of stuff. We mostly carry their notebooks and correspondence stationery, like their writing pads and envelopes, but Life has a huge range of stuff. It’s a major brand in Japan, but it’s only starting to become more well-known in North America, as it should be.
The paper is amazing for fountain pens, and the bindings are all super quality (mostly stitched, and sometimes bound on top of the stitching, rather than just stapled), but my favourite part is always the design. Notebook covers still keep that old style of Japanese school notebook design, or have a beautiful, vintage kind of look like on their Noble Note line, their bank paper is cover is clean and crisp. I could go on.
The thing about receiving Life orders is that they are master-Tetris packers, and they send their shipments in dozens of various-sized medium sized boxes that are all packed perfectly. I don’t know if that’s a Japanese thing, because most of the shipments we get direct from Japan are packed so well, with almost no packaging material at all, and no extra plastic for sure. We get shipments from the US that look pretty crazy (here is my favourite), but these boxes arrive all the way from Asia, and not a single corner is crunched in any way.
But all the medium sized boxes means I need to open box after box before I can get to see everything new. Our Life shipment arrived a few weeks ago, but it’s been a bit of time for us to count and organize and take photos of new stuff. It’s all finally up, and I thought I would go through some of the new stuff with you now.
I am so excited as well to carry this soft and thick plastic cover for the B5 + A5 size of these Noble Notebooks. You all know I love the look and feel of leather and how it wears over years of use, but we also get asked about a friendlier, non-leather option, and this is just that. It’s durable and has a soft inside, with a stitched border, a bit on the heavy side so it has some good weight to it. Of course I love the design on the front, just a subtle debasing of the same vintage design on all of the Noble Notes.
I’ve already got a B5 Cover in action – I’m using it as my daily journal in a B5 Plain notebook (if you’re curious, here’s the breakdown of the notebooks I’m using, so this has now replaced my just recently finished Quo Vadis Habana). I’m hoping to write and share more photos after I’ve used it for a bit longer.
Another one that’s been long requested – fountain pen friendly Index cards! We have them in two sizes, 5×3 and B7. I had to break open a pack to do some writing tests, and I wasn’t sure I was going to with the rest of the pack, but I think I may use it to do some recording of my personal ink collection.
Here’s the sample:
And a new notebook – an A4 graph paper notebook. We have a few larger ruled notebooks, but we’ve had a few customers asking about different rulings in different sizes. I know this is just one notebook, but we’re also hoping to expand as we go – and we’re also looking ahead to expanding our options for Clairefontaine notebooks in rulings, sizes and bindings. Stay tuned!
Just for fun, Jon let me order some of these envelopes. It’s part of the fun of ordering from a Japanese-only catalogue because I can never be 100% sure of what I’m going to get. I love the vintage style look of these envelopes – the kraft paper, the Japanese template, the slightly larger size. Despite InCoWriMo in full swing, I haven’t used any yet, but I think I’m going to see if I can send out some mail art with them.
It’s Family Day in Ontario, which is a statutory holiday to celebrate family, and also a break from the long slog between New Year’s and Easter. I think there are some things going on in Toronto just for Family Day, but we’re taking it easy because I think Caleb has contracted his first cold. He had a pretty stuffy nose once when I think he must have been around 5 months old, but nothing to write home about, so not sure if that really counts.
And to be honest, I’m not even sure if this time really counts as a cold – he’s kind of coughing and sneezing, and I thought he was a bit warm, but I keep taking his temperature and it’s fine. We bought another digital thermometer because the one we had, we got when Caleb was born, so who knows how reliable that battery is. Last night, he woke up a few times, I think because his nose is stuffy, but also potentially because his stuffy nose is so dry with our industrial heaters turned on high for our recent few -30 degree days.
Every once in a while Caleb gets into these fits, moaning and whining pathetically – it’s really something you have to see. I would try to videotape it, but it’s too pathetic. He grabs your legs and throws his head back and lets out this hoarse “uuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhh-uuuhhhhh—-uuuuhhhhhhhhHHHHHH” with his eyes closed and he kind of rocks back and forth dramatically while holding onto you and howling. There are no tears coming out, just the moaning. I told Jon that Caleb is getting this behaviour from him, and Jon just gave me his “look.”
All in all, though, we’re pretty thankful for Caleb’s overall good health, and the fact that he is indeed healthy enough to get a cold like this and manage it with some cuddling and extra naps. And a bit of whining.
Also, don’t forget that we’ve got a giveaway on Instagram, to celebrate Family Day! Representing our own WP family, we’ve got two full-size bottles of Iroshizuku (Shin-Kai + Yama-Budo), a mini Kon-Peki, and a pack of dog clips. It ends tomorrow, so don’t dilly-dally!