Announcing the Gladstone Bags

Family

  • The Yin/Yang of the PQ marriage

    As my declaration of need for an audio office evoked such a lively discussion in our “comments” section on Facebook, I determined a trek to the Apple Store was warranted.  I have conducted audio experiments in side-by-side comparisons of Bose, Dr. Dre Beats, and Apple standard issue headphones. Dr. Bose won in a landslide.  Noise cancelling will be deferred for now, but sound quality will not, I'm going for the other Doctor of headphones.

    As the Memorial weekend brought luxurious weather, it seemed fitting that a paddle on our local chain of lakes should preface a trip to the Uptown Apple Store.

    “I need to get a hat.”  Great, Hoigaards, our local, family-owned outdoor store is on the way.

    “I was thinking of the haberdashery.”

    I seriously doubt they sell bucket hats at the local haberdashery.

    It’s a Henry vs Humphrey style debate that plays out regularly in our house.

    He says, “I need shorts”.  I say, “Great REI is having a sale. “  He says, “I was thinking Banana Republic”

    We go for cocktails.    I say, “Hand me a long neck Bud Light with a vodka shot in the neck.”   He says, “Hendricks, straight, on the rocks”.

    He is “shaken, not stirred” while I am known to belt my favorite rendition of “Jose Cuervo” while getting dressed for the night.  (Truth be told, I favor Don Julio Reposado but that doesn’t rhyme as well)

    It’s Pad & Quill in a nutshell.  We hold our love of natural beauty and skilled craftsmanship in a 24 year relational weave of yin and yang, black and white, “little bit country/little bit rock and roll” tapestry and somehow by God’s grace it all works out.

    It’s like how our product line compliments and works together.  The Bella Fino for my iPhone 5, which I love for its simplicity and ruggedness, slips perfectly in my Field Bag pocket.  It’s almost like Mr. PQ planned it that way.

    It’s almost like he knew Father’s Day was coming up so we are showcasing two of our most beautiful iPad cases this week.  The Aria for iPad Air and the new Walden Case for iPad Air and iPad mini

    I’m going off the grid next week, which should allow Mr. PQ a rejoinder to my many musings.  I’ll return with a full report on iPhone 5s GPS, Gaia GPS, GoalZero solar chargers and how to get lost without being lost in the Superior National Forest.

    Kari

    Mrs PQ

  • Mrs. PQ needs Dr. Dre

    “Mom, I need help writing my turtle essay”.  “Mom, why don’t you write about me in your blog posts, I have good stories.”  “Mom, I need…blah, blah, blah, money, money, money.”  “Mom here are the 12 of the next 18 nights you will be preoccupied with attending my year-end concerts.”  “Mrs. PQ , I need you to re write the copy on our Etsy Store page.”

     

    I need a pair of headphones.  Not just the ubiquitous, white knobs that accompany every iPhone, iPad and iAnything Apple, but rather a large, glaringly red, pair of Dr. Dre’s Beats.  Apple, would you please accelerate your purchase of said company so I can become an in-office product tester.  Of course, Bose “noise cancelling” headphones would also do the trick, but I fear the house would burn down in a world muted to that degree.

     

    Rob Walker, @notrobwalker, Yahoo’s resident tech guru makes the case for me better then I could myself.  I’m going to paste the link here, but, you ADD folks who came here to buy your dad a Journeyman wallet or Aria for iPad Air should complete your purchase first. Then follow the link, or you’ll end up forgetting and then resorting to gifting another sleeve of “barely-range ready" golf balls you found end capped at the Stuffmart Fueling Station enroute to brunch.

     

    It’s not that I don’t love my family, and it’s not that I’m not more then happy to address their various needs and concerns, it’s just that every so often I need to bring work home with me, and writing blogs in the dead silence of O-dark thirty isn’t quite as feasible as it was in my youth.

     

    For the record, we got the turtle essay compiled, including the insertion of 20 ecologically minded words at various points.  I believe the kid didn’t quite grasp the point of the assignment as his first rendition included a string of 19 nouns with nary a verb or modifier to be found.  I assured the college kid that upon returning home, she would frequent these little vignettes as I’m certain conversations of Keats, Milton, Dunne and Steinbeck will produce a plethora of eye catching Google keywords.  I handed the credit card to the other kid, because, hey that’s why I work three jobs, and now I’m off to write Mr. PQ’s posts, somebody hand me Dr. Dre's Beats.

    Mrs PQ

  • The mother of all posts

    Last year I wrote a Mother’s Day post replete with not so subtle hints for gifts I may or may not be coveting for my outdoor adventures.  The kids gave me a plant; lovely, but not quite handy as a means of propelling oneself down a scenic river way.   If they want to “go green” this year, may I suggest trees?  Specifically, 11 laminates of butternut, basswood, black willow and alder...eh hem.

     

    They don’t read my blogs, so this year I might resort to more drastic measures.  Believe me, I am not beyond blackmail.  Thankfully, I hold particular sway this year over our best gift giver in our family, next to Mr. PQ of course.  The youngest kid will survey your gift suggestions, perhaps  a month in advance, he will then set a budget, work the appropriate hours, accounting for taxes and savings and then walk to Target to procure a gift for you.  He is such a sweetheart it really gives me pause as I print out “Harley Holmes Mom taught me on Career Day” stickers.  While Mr. Gift Giver is a total mom’s boy at home, out in public, I am persona non grata.  He handed me a list of what I could and could not say for Career Day last week.

     

    1. Use only your first name.  There are not enough Holmes in the school for adequate cover.
    2. Do not say you have a student at Metro Middle School
    3. You can say you have kids, but you can’t say you have sons
    4. Don’t worry about having kids in your class, if you can’t get into what you really want, they put you in the sessions that don’t have enough kids.
    5. I might, might end up in your room (see item above), act like you don’t know me.

     

    Career day went great, I followed my list to the letter, and utterly delighted when the kid came home and announced a girl in his class told him “Your mom was a great speaker.” How could this girl know?  “I knew it was your mom, you look just like her.”  We have an extremely shallow gene pool.  People have mistaken the oldest and youngest for twins.

     

    If my kids rally and buy me the paddle for Mother’s Day, I’ll likely hang it in our room, where I can admire it at night.  There are few things as gorgeous to me as well crafted wood.  The color nuances, the character brought about by an insect bore or a lightening strike, the subtleties.  In the event you don’t read your mom’s blog or Facebook page, and you know she’s a nature lover, I would highly recommend one of our Contega cases for iPad or one of our many iPhone cases that enclose and protect your phone in one of nature’s true beauties.

     

    Kari

    Mrs PQ

  • Freezer Burned

    Attention iTunes App developers, I need help, again.  As I continue my Pinterest inspired assault on our disorganized home, I delved into the freezer in search of an idea for Wednesday’s supper.  Having a few extra minutes, it seemed an opportune time to initiate and archeological type dig to the bottom, hoping the history of my purchases ceased somewhere in mid 2013.  Having passed into the third Costco layer, I discovered a beautifully shrink wrapped pork tenderloin.   As I’d already unearthed another package marked “beef for stew or other” I retired from my work and returned to the kitchen to commence thawing my discoveries in a sink of hot water.  (Hint: infinitely better then microwaving).  With a mid April snow falling softly by the windows, I consulted with Tyler Florence to discover a means of heating up the evening and the tenderloin.

    Tyler Florence Chimmichurri

    Chimmichurri warms you up just by saying the word repeatedly, all the more so if you salsa while repeating.  Some time mid-morning I went to check on the thawing status only to discover the product label attached to my pristine pink loins.  “Sell by 07/02/2011”.  2011?  How in the world is there something in my freezer that almost predates iPad 2?  Oh the humanity, if it’s pink is it still edible?  Not according to Mr. PQ, so the dogs will be dining on pork for the next several weeks and we got “other”  “Other” was a delicious Irish Stew, which we inexplicably ate standing huddled in the kitchen.

     

    I need an app akin to my clothing app idea that allows me to inventory my pantry and freezers, constructing a week of menus for breakfasts and dinners.  I’d like a shopping list and a QR code reader or UPC code reader that uploads the product data and adds it to my virtual pantry and refrigerator.  The app would have an alert when I am out of something or running low on an essential ingredient, say rice (which we eat at least twice a week).   I also need to be able to set preparation time, for the days I leave home at 7am and return at 6:30pm with an “emaciated” crew.  Above all else, I need a nuclear bomb type alarm that warns me a prior purchase is seeping slowly into the Mesozoic Era and she be branded extinct.

     

    I’d pay an enhancement fee if the app linked to the Chore-inator an intuitive app I discovered at iWorld that works amazingly well at distributing household responsibility.

     

    Realizing this request for life enhancing technology threatens my identity as Mrs. Quill, I’ll cut this post short enabling the youngster and I adequate time to snowshoe to school.

    Kari

  • Those words don't go together

    One of my early job requirements for Pad & Quill was to become familiar with Pinterest and like many of my technology adaptations, I began with a shudder, gave it a noble effort then abandoned it when I couldn’t recall my sign in information.  Then a friend of mine announced her engagement and suddenly Pinterest was the only proper means of communication with the female side of the bridal party.  So, I hunted down my sign in information and began once again perusing the form of social media that most certainly is the insurance asset should Martha Stewart find herself incarcerated again.  Thanks to Pinterest, I am now convinced that baking soda and vinegar are the solution to every domestic dilemma from dust mites to indigestion.

     

    Speaking of indigestion, Pinterest had me arranging my refrigerator in alphabetical order, with the helpful “m” admonition that any item rendered nondescript due to a colony of mold growth be discarded.  Was Christmas really 4 months ago?  By far my favorite letter to organize was “C” as in chocolate and cheese, the incontrovertible couple of comfort.  After dispatching the indistinguishable, I discovered I had an amiable array of cheeses, including both artisan and everyday staples.  Lacking an idea for dinner it seemed brilliant to melt them into a marvelous crock of mystery mac and cheese.

     

    Since I am now leading a Pinterest life, it was only reasonable to complete the trifecta and post an Instagram of said dish to Facebook.  In the process of compiling a pithy comment to accompany my post, I typed the word “artisanal” only to have one of those parallel universe-spelling encounters where you swear a word should be spelled one way but spell checker asininely insists you are wrong.  My culinary sense wanted to convey the buttery goodness of hand crafted cheeses, but my aging eyes could only see “art is anal”.  And as Mr. PQ pointed out in his “comment”, anal and dinner really shouldn’t be in the same sentence.  The dietitian in me wanted to point out that there is only about 31 feet of separation between the two (7 inches of esophagus, about 6 for the stomach, 25 feet for the small intestine, and 5 feet for the large intestine- for you non physiology types) but the writer in my was stuck on anal art.

     

    “Art is anal” seemed so crass when describing the cache of excellence the word evokes.  But that got me thinking, good art, art that can be appreciated for it’s beauty, creativity and inspiration probably is anal at some level.  It’s rare to achieve wonder without tedious attention to detail and craftsmanship.  We see this in every Traveler iPhone 5 case that is stitched with parachute thread, and every Midtown wallet that is meticulously cut from full grain leather.   We want our craftsmen to be ‘anal’ so that we can assure you, our customer, are receiving the pride of what we have to offer.

     

    And, in case you were wondering, the mystery mac was delicious!

  • Chef Florence, moody boys and craftsman

    We’ve had some moody menfolk in the Pad and Quill household of late, and what a span of moods it is.  I’m beginning to agree with the fifteen year old who contends that men do indeed have a monthly cycle.  Mr. PQ is simply thrilled to have booked reservations at both of Tyler Florence’s restaurants in the San Francisco area at the end of this month.  Mr. PQ’s man crush on Tyler is so pervasive I’m beginning to wonder if I should worry.  Forty years of learning have taught me to wield a paring knife reasonably well but Brian is never going to see this any time soon.

     

    At the other end of the spectrum sits the thirteen year old who had the audacity to get sulky on our recent holiday to the beaches of Florida.  Notwithstanding the fact that we had escaped a week of sub zero, snowy days, he also had 6 days away from school, days in which the most pressing decision was whether to swim in the pool or the ocean.  His angst centered on his inability to craft the sand castle he wanted and his consternation that his mom could sculpt a sea turtle that passerby’s stopped to photograph.  What he failed to recognize is that his mom has a lot more years of experience working with her hands and crafting things.  His angst afforded me a moment to encourage him in working hard and practicing the things he enjoys, while recognizing there will always be someone who is more craftier, more able, more intuitive, more intelligent then you, and that you do well to learn from them.

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    After this, we constructed quite the re-creation of the Battle of Bull Run with sand, seaweed and Little Green Army Men.

     

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    This all brings me to thinking about a new line of small leather goods we are in the process of designing.  Anyone can plug in a sewing machine and beat out a folding flap of leather that holds a few credit cards. However, when you want a piece of art that offers durability as well as beauty for your iPhone or back pocket, it comes in very handy to have those sewing machines operated by folks who have been stitching for decades.   So along with being grateful for amazing chef’s, and a holiday by the sea, I’m very grateful for the excellent team of craftsmen we have in the Pad and Quill family.

    Kari

    (Mrs PQ)

  • iPhone, Mrs PQ and Heart Attacks

    When you put the word “naked” and “Mrs PQ” in a post you generally get my attention. This occurred last week when I read Kari’s latest post.  Now of course, I thought this was going to be a bit more salacious and less about throwing Mr PQ under the bus. While I can handle these jabs by my lovely wife, I could not let this post go without some type of reasonable response.

     

    Let’s start with her bedroom differentiation. Not what your thinking. Yes, it is true I do like to listen to an App with white noise as I fall asleep. I find it soothing. She stated that she would prefer to open the window a crack and listen and/or feel the outdoors, free of technology. Yeah…she likes to feel the outdoors alright. Did she mention she cracks the window when it’s 20 BELOW ZERO?  I swear I’ve woken up with a layer of hardened frost on my blanket. She’s apparently trying to bring the “outdoors” into the “indoors”…in the middle of winter. I’ll take my App over these living conditions any day.

     

    Regarding my “over” enjoyment of my Pebble watch, I do find my Pebble quite handy and it has some awesome watch faces. What Mrs PQ is failing to mention is her forgetful, no, inability, no just out-and-out refusal to answer her iPhone. Our entire staff and our 4 young quills all know the only way to get ahold of her is by text, as she will rarely answer a call.  It’s even gotten to the point where our own children can mimic (in perfect intonation and cadence) her voice mail message. There is one sneaky way to get ahold of her by iPhone though…you time your call when she is driving in the car as she has no clue how to shut off her bluetooth handsfree setup.

     

    I believe this post almost serves as an intervention to Kari, from the kids, husband, and employee’s.  We would love if she occasionally answered her iPhone. Especially if, say, I was having a heart attack. I’m having visions of my last dying moments getting to listen to her very familiar voice mail.  Although that is not a bad way to go. ;)

     

    With all this said, I truly do appreciate that she is the old-school/Quill part of the Pad & Quill equation. I’m most certainly the more tech side. That means look for the future battle to carefully sneak a rumored iWatch on her wrist. We all figure once she tries it, she will be hooked and we’ll get ahold of her!

     

    Brian

    Mr PQ

  • iWatch, Mrs PQ and running naked

    In my quest to run a marathon in every state, and dare I dream, one on each continent, I am training for the Fargo Marathon in May.   While Fargo is not exactly an exotic locale, it is a flat course, and as marathons go, it’s an easier run.  As technology goes, it’s perfect timing for the advent of the iWatch, or so states Mr. PQ.

     

    At this point I offer a study in contrast.  When I turn in at night, I open the bedroom window, allowing a fresh breeze and the sounds of nature to permeate the room; perfect sleeping conditions.  Just as I’m drifting into a tranquil dream state, Mr. PQ will enter the bedroom, shut the window, turn on a fan and open an iPhone App that simulates nature sounds.  Apparently, he needs quiet and white noise to cover the pervasive harmony of our extra-urban neighborhood.  Now I grant, the occasional crack of a gunshot around 2 am can be a bit off putting, but how can you prefer a recording of corrugated tin being rattled to the sounds of an actual rainstorm?  Or prefer the recycled smell of our son’s sneakers (which always seem to find themselves on the floor by my side of the bed) to the hopeful aroma of a melting winter?

     

    Runners love their watches.  Garmin, Polar, Nike and other heart rate monitoring, pace detecting devices have been available for years.  Watches are as ubiquitous to runners as are sneakers and flashy nylon shorts.  But they are also relatively non invasive.   iMore.com and Macrumors.com offer some interesting speculation as to what the iWatch might be capable of doing in conjunction with iPhone 6.  Detecting heart attacks, monitoring glucose, chastising me when I don’t run up a hill fast enough.   “Drink more, run faster, your glucose is plummeting, slow down… “  make it stop!

     

    Runners have a term for going technology free, we call it running naked.  There is nothing so sublime as running naked and barefoot over the fresh dirt paths in spring.  Listening to symphony of nature, sensing the physiology of your body, shedding the weight of the day from your shoulders.

     

    Mr. PQ already sports a Pebble, pings redundantly with alerts from one end of the house to the other as his technology keeps him informed, and is eagerly awaiting the pending Keynote announcement.  I can mostly guarantee it will be Mr. Pad and not Mrs. Quill who will be presenting our review of this new technology.

     

    Check out our next post where Brian assures me he is preparing his response.

     

    Kari

    (Mrs PQ)

  • Surviving this winter

    Latest Entry from Mrs PQ

     

    Writing from the Pad and Quill headquarters, firmly ensconced in the frozen tundra.  I’m staring out a window smudged with dog nose prints and a half-hearted attempt by a kid to form gel window clings into the words “let is sn*w” I think the mutt ate the “O” out of pure frustration that winter is trying to kill him when he goes outside.

    IMG_0157

     

    We did get the dog park today before the latest rendition of Snowmaggedon hits.  I personally love winter, primarily because I have a full circus of tricks to make it move faster then it means to move.  For instance, on December 22nd we begin our journey back from the outer reaches of space, back towards our sun.  Thus, that is the first day of spring.  Pitchers and catchers reported for duty this week, therefore winter is officially over, a pox on your house groundhog.

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    The changes of spring are as imminent as a mustache appearing on the youngest boys lip.  At least I think that was a woodpecker I heard this morning and that is the explanation for the dark shadow on the kids lip.  It can’t be lack of cleanliness as he has recently discovered daily showers, hair product and dare I say, girrrrlllllsss.  Three teens in the house has compelled me to temporarily cease taking my allergy pills in exchange for the sublime bliss of a protractedly stuffed up nose; a pox on your house AXE.

     

    Being about four months into the remodel of Pad and Quill, we are feeling pretty good about our little company.  Good like slipping into a pair of jeans that fit just right after spending the day in a stuffy, wool school uniform.  Pad and Quill was starting to look and feel like every other kid on the block, and that’s simply not us.

     

    We’ve been listening to our customers as we go to our drafting boards and have some great products flowing through the design process.  Like daffodils popping their heads up through the snow, we have some pleasant surprises awaiting our customers, and incredibly, they don’t all revolve around the Apple IOS product line.  ☺

     

    But, more on that next week as we post the first installment of Mr. and Mrs. PQ debating the merits of the Pebble and the pending release of the iWatch. Hint: spring marathon training is definitely a time to run barefoot and naked, for the life of me I don’t get why Mr. PQ doesn’t understand that.

     

    Kari

    Mrs PQ

  • A grave breach of protocol

    I showed up to the PQ headquarters on the last day of 2013 with my Timbuktu bag and my Macbook conveniently slung into a repurposed, cotton bag.

     

    “You do know we own a bag and case company?” Quipped the mostly patient Brian.

     

    Yes, and the leather bags are shipped in these cotton bags, great for carrying my junk.

     

    At this point Brian rolled his eyes and noted two salient facts.  First, my $1300 Macbook Air probably shouldn’t be classified as junk and second, IT’S NOT EVEN ONE OF OUR BAGS.  I’d grabbed one of the many sample bags we tested this summer and it was emblazoned with some software company logo.  To Brian this stumble in protocol is roughly akin to wearing a New England Patriots 2012 World Champion t-shirt.  (To the NFL unaffiliated, the New England Patriots lost that game to my New York Giants and all those championship shirts that bear their name are adorning little kids in destitute corners of the world; the ultimate in re-purposing.)

     

    Once his eyeballs ceased their slot machine like spin, he painstakingly walked over to our inventory shelves and unwrapped a whiskey leather/green waxed canvas field bag and matching laptop sleeve and brought them to my desk.  He then took me through the exact “opening” experience our customers enjoy, meticulously attaching the shoulder strap and subsequently draping the bag over my shoulder.

     

    “Welcome to the Pad & Quill family.”

     

    What a family it is and what a year it’s been.  We’ve written about the months of brainstorming and designing, soul searching and rebuilding that we invested in bringing a new line of products to our customers.  We solidified our commitment to using our resources responsibly both in how we consume and how we use what we don’t need to help others.  We are quite thankful for our little company sending out a warm glow of productivity from the blindingly frozen north.

     

    Brian heads off to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, the Macworld convention in gorgeous San Francisco couldn’t come soon enough, and our design team has shifted back to their workshops in anticipation of crafting more fantastic products.

     

    Happy and Blessed New Year

     

    Kari

    (Mrs PQ)

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