Pencils are trendy.

pencil shop cw pencilToday in hot trends: the humble pencil! Here’s my evidence:

1. The hilarious/absurdist Artisan Pencil Sharpening skills of David Rees, who offers his service by-mail from his home in the Hudson Vally. Because… why? Who cares. It’s funny. (Here’s David Rees chatting with The New Yorker.)

2. An exhibit called “The Secret Life of the Pencil” opens in London this week featuring photographs of the writing implements of famous artists, writers, and designers. Dying to know how Dave Eggers sharpens his pencil? I wasn’t either, but I clicked on this link and read the story anyway.

3. A pretty young hipster lady in New York City has opened a store called C.W. Pencil Enterprise which sells (you guessed it!) pencils. She has a tattoo of a pencil on her forearm. Her store has been described as intoxicating and charming. Then there’s this: “Her store is the size of a juice box, with a checkered floor and jars of yellow button chrysanthemums sprinkled around. With its spanking newness and luminous blocks of color, the place looks like an Edward Hopper canvas.” It sounds terribly twee and yet despite my cynical whining I still really, really want to visit!

Pencil, I’m so glad you’re finally getting your moment in the limelight (after being No. 2 so long to the pen). (Ugh sorry, I seriously couldn’t help myself.)

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Speaking of plants, let’s drink some…

Drunken-Botanist-high-resI think plants are just on my mind this week, seeing as it’s early spring and all. I spotted my first crocuses today when I was at a meeting up in Wiscasset today and I gave a tiny shout. My co-worker thought I dropped my coffee, but I was really just excited about FINALLY seeing a little flora in Maine.

I’m rambling a bit, and it’s probably because I’ve had a few glasses of wine, and while that didn’t exactly inspire me to post about Amy Stewart’s very cool sounding book, it does seem fitting, right? As I type this, I’m sipping at my own glass of alcohol and contemplating the grapes that made it, and all the many fruits and leaves and grains that go into a truly fantastic cocktail. In The Drunken Botanist, Stewart chronicles the vast variety of plant life that has been transformed by our greedy hands into creative libations and delicious intoxications.

Oh, and because I can’t not mention this fact, it’s a beautiful book with truly awesome typography. I should probably buy it for my boyfriend, who could frequently be described as a drunken botanist (when he’s not busy being a “mad scientist”).

Learn more here.

Our lies are the same, but her fonts are better.

ohilieOver at Daily Dishonesty, graphic designer Lauren Nicole Hom documents some of the lies she tells herself. It’s funny, self-aware, wonderfully done, and hits VERY close to home. From the silly (“I have read the terms and conditions”) to the vaguely depressing (“I’m not hungry”), I identify with every single one. But somehow, every single lie is much nicer—more polished, less raw and confessional—when done in hand-drawn typography. This girl has skills!

liesliesAnd the truest lie of all…imoverit

Ira Glass on how to be successful in a creative field.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Ira Glass is a personal hero of mine. I am completely obsessed with This American Life, and as a writer, I strive constantly to imitate his interviewing style. I think he’s funny and engaging and so good at what he does—which is why it’s a complete surprise to hear him say that he “took longer than anybody [he’s] ever met” to create the kind of work he wanted to make. His advice for beginners (animated above by David Shiyang Liu) is exactly what I’ve been waiting to hear. I’ve been frustrated with my own work lately, feeling stagnant and as though I would never get to where I want to be. But Ira once felt that way too! I find this immensely comforting.

{Via the fantastic website Brainpickings}

Resolutions.

NYE2I have a lot of little resolutions (blog more, floss more, run a 5k, work on more projects I love, stress less, etc) but every year I have the same two big resolutions. Be braver. Be kinder. It’s a lot harder than it sounds.

Oh, and another resolution is to learn more about photography, photoshop, and typography. This is one of my early attempts to combine all three. I took this picture at Sebago Lake, created multiple layers for text in photoshop, blurred the background, and added fonts downloaded from fontsquirrel.com. I know I still have a LOT to learn, but my coworker/friend has agreed to teach me the basics of photoshop, so I have a little guidance. Here’s to the new year!