Italian Paper

Italian Paper by Natalie Parker

It happened again. I tried not to, but it did anyway.

In Italy I found myself buying rolled handmade paper in Venice and having to carry it around for the rest of the time. Onto a vaporetto (public boat), into the rental car, across Italy, across Florence on foot to our new apartment, to the train station, onto a regional train, onto a bus, to the hotel, on the airport shuttle, through check-in and security, one flight, one layover with a run through the airport, one longhaul flight, through customs, on the train home.

It’s a good thing I could keep it on my wrist — just treat me like a kid with a balloon. At least I didn’t leave it on the airport check-in counter like I did in Buenos Aires.

I told myself I wouldn’t do this. In Venice, I suggested that the clerk cut the sheet into a couple smaller pieces. She looked horrified. Look lady, I’m going to cut it up anyway. Nope, I couldn’t bring myself to insist, so it got rolled and around my wrist it went for the rest of the trip.

Italian Paper by Natalie Parker

I really should stick to buying cards because they’re compact! When we got to Florence, I bought some Florentine paper that had to be rolled because why not? I was already holding a roll anyway.

Do you have a weakness when shopping abroad?  I’d love to hear it!

Making Some Notecards

Notecards by Natalie Parker

I went paper shopping last year in Sydney.  I brought home lots of goodies.  I’ve used some of them but haven’t touched these cute envelopes.

Notecards by Natalie Parker

I picked them up at Kikki.K, a rad stationary store chain.

The thing is, since the envelopes are by themselves, I’ve never used them.  It’s been over a year.  I’ve been waiting for an excuse to use them but never think anything is cool enough or matches well enough to go with them.

Notecards by Natalie Parker

My stationary box is busting at the seams, so these have to get used.  I decided to make some matchy notecards so they’re ready next time I have to send a note.

I had this shimmery stock laying around.  It isn’t acid free so I can’t use it in my scrapbooks.  I’m psyched I found a use for it.  I glued some white stock to the other side to make the cards nice and hefty.

Notecards by Natalie Parker

I love how they turned out!  Hopefully I’ll actually use these very soon!

Notecards by Natalie Parker

Learning about Acid & Lignin

Acid free.  Lignin free.  Do you ever wonder what that means?  I do.

Maybe I’m just a paper dork.  Anyway, I’ve been studying paper in my spare time!  We all know we should be using acid free paper in scrapbooks.  What does that really mean and where does this acid come from?

Paper can be made from many things.  Cotton, linen, grass, straw, wood – lots of things.  Currency is very often made from cotton because it’s more durable.

In the 19th century, machines were invented to make wood pulp paper.  Mass producing wood pulp paper made paper much cheaper.  Previously paper was made by hand.  Most paper we use today is wood pulp.

What is lignin, exactly?  Lignin is a chemical compound in wood that binds wood fibers together.  Lignin can be removed during the paper making process, but mechanical wood pulp production usually leaves lignin in because it is cheaper.  High lignin papers turn yellow over time – think about mass market paperback books.

How does acid get into paper?  Mass produced wood pulp paper is bleached to make it white.  Acid residue is left in paper as a result of this process.  Acid residue causes brittleness.

So what is acid/lignin-free paper?  It’s not exactly acid or lignin “free.”  Acid free papers are made in a way that minimizes acid and lignin presence.  Sometimes acid free paper can contain an additive that changes the pH of the paper to minimize the effect of acid in the paper.

What about archival paper?  Archival paper is not the same as acid free.  Archival papers are made differently, are actually lignin free and contain alkalines that counter balance any acids that may still be present.

So there’s your paper lesson!  No, don’t freak out and think that the acid free paper you are using is now not good enough!  I’ll have some more thoughts very soon on the longevity of paper that you don’t want to miss!

Scrapbooking and My Wine Rack

wine rack and paper craftsScrapbooking and wine.  They don’t seem to go together, do they?  They seriously don’t, no liquids of any kind are allowed near my craft table.

After a dinner party a few weeks ago, I got to thinking how bottles of wine are like scrapbooking supplies.  Seriously, hear me out!

Mr. P and I went wine tasting last year and bought a slew of new bottles.  There was one bottle that sat on the rack for a while.  It wasn’t super special, but it was really interesting and I was waiting for just the right dinner party to open it.

Fast forward to the dinner party recently.  I decided, why not?  We should open the bottle.  I popped the cork, poured the glasses and . . . it just wasn’t good.  It either wasn’t as good as I remembered or sitting on the rack too long affected the taste.  It was undrinkable bad.

How does this relate to scrapbooking and paper crafts?  Holding onto supplies because you haven’t found a worthy use for them is problematic.  Wouldn’t it be better to use supplies while you still loved them?  There a danger if you hold onto something for too long that you’ll end up not liking it anymore.

For wine, nothing is worth saving that long unless it should be aged (this usually means it’s an expensive red*).  In scrapbook or paper crafting, it means the supply has to be really exceptional to save for a long period.  Really.  I mean like the papyrus I picked up in Egypt.

The conclusion??  Drink your wine and use your stash!  Don’t think you have a dinner party nice enough for the wine?  Open it on a Friday night to celebrate the end of the workweek.  Don’t think you have a layout important enough to use some new paper?  Embrace the fact that you have the time to be creative and allow yourself to use the nice stuff.

*This is my uneducated wine lesson here – wine is meant to be drank.  You can age some wine, but I don’t spend nearly enough money on wine to get things that should be aged.  Generally, you shouldn’t age whites (I found this out the hard way when I kept bottles of white a couple of years after my wedding).  Champagne or sparkling wine should be consumed within a year of purchase – it does not age and will degrade.

The World’s Oldest Paper

Roll of Papyrus

I now have a small supply of the world’s oldest paper:  papyrus.  Of course, the papyrus I have isn’t old itself but the method of making it originated five thousand years ago.

Buying painted papyrus is a must-do on any trip to Egypt.  Papyrus shops have walls covered with papyrus paintings and drawings at every size and price imaginable.  When we were planning our trip, I thought sure a painting would be nice but I really want some blank papyrus.

Once the husband and I picked out our papyrus painting in the shop, we went to pay for it.  I politely asked if they had any blank papyrus sheets I could buy.

They looked at me like I was nuts.  Why would any tourist want to buy blank papyrus?

In my head: You don’t understand.  I’m a paper crafter.  I love the painting, but I can’t be this close to special paper that I can’t get anywhere else without taking something home.  I have to have some.  What am I going to use it for?  Good question.  I have no idea.

They actually did ask what I was going to use it for as they tried to figure out how much to charge me for it.  I honestly have no idea.  I figure an idea will come to me eventually.  I got my papyrus and hopped out of the store pleased as punch.

What would you do with it?  I have a very large sheet and one small sheet.  It could be made into stationary.  I could use it in my scrapbook.  The surface is fairly fibrous because it’s made out of strips of the papyrus plant rather than pulp like most other papers.  As you may know, I can’t draw a straight line.  I would love to hear your ideas!