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  • Making Time Stand Still

    Tim Cook and team Apple just released the advent of a revolution in time keeping and smart watch technology; so why is Pad & Quill, crafter of exemplary cases and bags for all things Apple, rambling on about making time stand still?  Simple, the battery life of the new Apple Watch is somewhere south of 24 hours and the watch needs to be recharged every night.

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    We believe even this simplest of acts should be a beautiful extension of the design and engineering prowess which is exemplified in the Apple Watch.  So, we drew inspiration from Brian’s grandfather, an Irish Canadian, World War I veteran and lifetime salesman for Firestone tires (which at the start would have been revolutionary, as the company founded in 1900 pioneered mass production of the pneumatic tire).  At one point, Grandpa Mac’s unflinching work ethic and exemplary customer service was awarded with a timeless, Elgin gold pocket watch.  Each night, He wound that watch and set it by his bedside.

    As we contemplated the life changing potential of the Apple Watch and coordinated Research Kit and Health Kit software, in addition to the complex process of metallurgy and horology represented in the final product, it compelled us to reflect on the expansion of time past and future.  As we look back, we see the virtues of dedication, respect for customers, craftsmen and service partners, and an unwavering commitment to excellence embodied in a great man’s watch, and as we look ahead, we see unlimited potential for those who dream and work and strive to bring change and beauty to the world around us.

    With these timeless thoughts in mind, we crafted The Luxury Pocket Stand for Apple Watch, The Luxury Travel KitTravel Pouch and The Roll Up Kit for Apple Watch.  A gorgeous celebration of ageless craftsmanship and appreciation for the beauty found in natural resources.

    Brian and Kari

    Mr and Mrs PQ

  • CES, Prop Bets and the Bella Vida Case

    Mr. PQ and I are headed to the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week.  (Disclaimer: For those savvy social media thugs thinking to burglarize our home while we are away, allow me to dissuade you with the knowledge that a very well-armed housekeeper is on the premises and frankly, you’d be disappointed as we don’t own jack: unless you include Mr. PQ’s invaluable beard grooming kit, which he will most likely take with him as he doesn’t travel anywhere without an impeccably groomed beard).

    Anyhoo.  Back to CES and Las Vegas.  I’ve not returned to Sin City and CES since our first traverse there in 2011.  Pad & Quill was a fledgling company with a few bookbindery cases for iPad and some paper napkin sketches of wallet styled cases for iPhones.   We walked 273 miles of convention center floor, barely surviving the epilepsy inducing lights and carcinogenic haboobs of second hand smoke.  As you can tell, the intensity of my desire to return is surpassed only by Mr. PQ’s enraptured knowledge of my Wild intent to hike a part of the Pacific Crest Trail, as we will be in the vicinity, sort of.

    Not being particularly interested in gambling, for the sake of gambling, the tables and slots hold little allure for either of us.  We might plug a few quarters into a Texas Hold  ‘em machine, while sipping comped drinks and watching NFL playoff games.  What truly intrigue me however, are prop bets.  For the uninitiated, a “prop” bet is a bet constructed as an ancillary to an event.  For instance, Superbowl prop bets might include:  In which quarter will Gisele Bündchen appear on the television camera, sipping Bollinger Blanc de Noir from a crystal flute in her right hand.  Or in which game minute will Jerry Jones come-over flop, in a Chris Christie like frenzy, down the center of his forehead?  And finally, if it is a Romo v Manning Superbowl, which team doctor will be better equipped to intervene with the Heimlich Maneuver, thus saving their team from Superbowl infamy.

    One prop bet I would certainly back is that folks are going to love our new self-propping Bella Vida for iPhone 6 Plus.  This American full grain leather wallet is a well- crafted masterpiece of functionality, replete with the beauty and aesthetic design you’ve come to expect from a Pad & Quill product.  Sadly, for us mere mortals who carry the iPhone 6, the Bella Vida is still in design production, and won’t be immediately available, so I will be stealing Mr. PQ’s iPhone 6 Plus at various times to post comparison pictures of the Bella Vida and various Vegas landmarks.   My contention that it is the small, thoughtful, supportive things that lend to a beautiful life.  Big, bold Vegas may prove me wrong,  but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    Kari

    (Mrs PQ)

  • Dickens, Whiskey and friends

    An old proverbial saying admonishes “do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly”.   I’m guessing ole King Solomon with all his wisdom, did not intend for that to apply to an evening out with Dennis.  Dennis is a rare gem of a man whose townhouse is a veritable reliquary of theatrical and literary lore.  Included among his bookshelves are first editions of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, and original correspondence between members of the Pickwick Club.  A Dickens aficionado, Dennis brought A Christmas Carol to theatres across the country and was thereby invited to an audience at Buckingham Palace to meet Her Majesty the Queen of England.  Additionally, he is a close, personal friend to Cedric Charles Dickens, the great, grandson to the great, literary giant.  Crazy, the people you acquaint with over curry and conversation in an inconsequential cove in the middle of pretty much nowhere.  Pressing into hour three of a four-hour dinner, Dennis pulled our Anna Kendrick look a like waitress aside and whispered in her ear.  Moments later, she appeared with four tumblers of 18 and 20 year old McClellan Scotch Whiskey and a glass of room temperature water.  Distributing the tumblers amongst the table, he broke into the following narrative:

    Several years ago, while savoring a post-production nightcap with Cedric Dickens, who had availed himself for a personal appearance to the audience of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Cedric broke out in critique.  “When it comes to drinking whiskey, you yanks have it all wrong, pouring it over ice or dumping cold water into it, allow me to show you how it is properly done.”

    I’m typing in a refined British accent now, so follow along…

    First, you hold glass to the light, observe the amber and caramel tones, swirl the scotch gently in your glass and relish the beauty of color and hue.  

    Next, raise the glass to your nose and allow the heady bouquet to infiltrate your nostrils, prepping your palate for the fete of taste upon which you are about to embark.

    Now, allow yourself one small sip, a mere aperitif, to acquaint yourself with the character of the blend.  While this spot resonates amongst your taste buds, we shall drop 2-3 drops of room temperature water into the glass and give it a brief whorl. Now, it is time to savor.

    Not being a scotch drinker myself, I was a bit dubitable to the process at first.  However, the artisan in me fully appreciated lingering over the complexity of the ritual.  Whiskeys have an amazing array of colors, textures and bouquets that I’d never paused to appreciate.  With that first sip, I was nonplussed; yes this is what scotch tastes like and why I don’t gravitate towards it as a beverage of choice.  However, my mind was veritably blown away upon the second sip as layer upon layer of flavor and character unfolded in my mouth; this from one room-temperature drop of water?  I came to understand a new concept in spirits that evening.  Dare I say, the spirit of whisky past: a suitable mixer for Coke.  The spirit of whiskey present: a beverage Mr. PQ enjoys with a fine cigar by the fire.  The spirit of whiskey future:  when placed in the proper context, when presented in the manner which centuries old tradition demands, when seen through the eyes of the craftsman, Whiskey can be a wholly beautiful thing.

    I look forward to many more meals with Dennis and his lovely wife Anne, and attending the plays he is currently producing:  the outrageously funny Triple Espresso, the wonderfully quirky That Wonder Boy and the debut of To Begin With based on Charles Dickens, “The Life of Our Lord”

    I trust you will be tempted to imbibe in one of the many whiskey leather offerings available in the Pad and Quill online holiday store.

    Kari

     

  • ACT like case making

    “Mom, you know that psych test I told you I failed?  Well guess what, I actually got an “A-“ on it.   Apparently her ADD can also have an effect on her perceived outcomes on tests.   This is the same kid who thinks she is “bad” at running track, but won a varsity letter in track and field her sophomore year, on a team that has won back to back “big” school state championships.  There is a position of being your own worse critic, and then there is the perception of a kid going to school in a wealthy, white suburb where she is surrounded by a student body that averages 26.3 on the ACT, with the top 400 students achieving a 29.  A respectable 21 on same exam can make a person feel “stupid”.  She doesn’t even factor in that her ADD is a 50 pound anchor around her neck when trying to perform on four hour tests that are comprised of filling in little ovals with a number 2 pencil.  In a competitive world it’s always good to accurately assess whom you are competing against.

    Design can feel the same way.   First, Apple presents to the public a mind blowing design that takes function integration to an art form.  Then 100’s of case producers hit the market with their version of a product in which you will encase your iPhone.

    10's of millions of iPhone 6 and 6 plus have been sold and I guarantee the percentage of those buyers who purchase a Pad and Quill case would be demoralizing on the face of it.  But at Pad & Quill we aren’t interested in grabbing market share by producing a cheap piece of silicon.  Our primary focus is to celebrate the craftsmen we employ by bringing to market a case that makes the ACT 29er’s pause, look, then try to replicate.  We mean to delight our customers with design and function that is rarely paralleled.  We strive to make our cases, sleeves and bags an organic extension of the paradigm shift usually associated with an Apple release.

    We believe our cases for iPhone 6 and 6 plus, in addition to our new line for the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 will do just that.

    Kari

    Mrs PQ

  • Sexy should not be in your resume

    We are currently hiring to fill various positions in the Pad & Quill workshops.  After reviewing a few hundred e-applications I have the following advice to offer young applicants:

    Dear Job Applicants,

    Please refrain from sending me cover emails that begin with "yo, I'd like this job", or "Hey, call me about this position" etc. Please create an email for yourself that includes your first and last name and not your social media "handle" or email such as "mr.sexypants.mpls@seriously?.com" and please, for the love of god, consult with a resume writer so that you don't include lines such as, "I was a line cook and stuff like that" under employment history.

    Regards,

    Mrs. PQ

    If your professional correspondence contains the word “sexy” in any capacity, you are probably not a candidate to purchase our new Valet Luxury Sleeve for MacBook.

    If you believe Zumbaz and your favorite 80’s concert t-shirt is perfectly acceptable attire for “casual Friday”, there’s a chance you will not fully appreciate the supple, full grain leather of the Oxford Luxury Case for iPad Air.

    If you still own and readily admit that you possess a “snakeskin” jacket, the hand-hammered copper rivets on our new Attache leather bag might be lost on you.

    If Boonehill wine is still your go to on a date night, there’s a chance you won’t be impressed by our parachute grade thread that stitches our Valet Luxury Sleeve together.

    Having blown past your 25th high school reunion, you might be impressed that our Attache, Oxford, and Valet luxury leather, executive collection will be with you at your 50th reunion; we know we are  (long live the Oxford Comma).

    Mrs. PQ

    Kari

  • The Attache Leather Bag and Oxford case for iPad Air

    Mr PQ, myself and the team have been waiting some time to reveal these two new products.  We are thrilled to announce our new full leather bag and iPad Air case. This is what we mean when we say Crafted, Pad & Quill. - Mrs.PQ(Kari)

    The Short Story

    The Attache Leather Bag:  You’ve aged to the realization that your taste buds and your liver deserve top shelf, savored in a glass. Your clothes are tailored to fit and you exude a quiet confidence when you enter a room. The Attache is the perfect companion to a busy professional who works hard and has earned an appreciation for the finer things of life.

    The Oxford:  Pulling out your iPad Air just became a new experience in tactile perfection. Whether it’s reading in the evening or getting some work done, on the desk this handmade case provides a minimalist iPad Air case approach that adds thick, smooth leather and soft suede. Prop it, hold it like a paperback, either way your going to love touching it. We won’t tell.

    The Full Tale

    The Leather: The Best.

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    When you consider our leather quality, begin by sorting a 100 hides of American grass-fed cattle. You might select 20 hides and now you are holding the best hides in the world, period. Those other 80 hides are split, chopped, pressed, stamped, dyed and shipped to some overseas 'genuine' leather factory. Our hides are shipped to San Pancho, Mexico where they are skillfully tanned, old world style, all the way through top to bottom. Next they are dyed to deep onyx black or dark chocolate brown. The depth and character of our leather would make even ole Bessie proud.

    The Craftsman: Qualified

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    When Alvaro at our factory receives the leather, it is inspected and then turned over to our craftsman where every hide is marked to designate portions for each specific piece of your bag. Forget the automated assembly line, we entrust the cutting to 3 or 4 seamstress who work by hand to prepare the panels for assembly. Your bag is then stitched together with parachute grade thread by one of our guys who have been sewing on average for 15-20 years. In San Pancho, the seamstress art is passed from father to son, generation after generation.

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    You doubt the quality? Just glance at the tag inside your bag; it’s signed by the craftsman. Quality so exquisite you might just add our expert to your Christmas letter list.

    Hardware: Unbreakable

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    About the worse thing we can think of is you, inadvertently clinging to a branch, feet dangling over the raging Colorado River, the strap from your bag forestalling your drop into the river. Second only to this, you make an epic leap through the closing doors of the subway, your bag trailing behind, grasped in hand by above mentioned strap. At either point I’m glad you didn’t settle for some inferior bag held together by cheap alloy metals that snap under stress. No, what you really want at those times is the unbreakable, ultra-durable, high copper content hardware we procure to construct and embellish your bag. Think of it this way, when you “belay on” do you want a carabiner or a paper clip?  Yep, we thought so too.

    Stitching: Strength

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    See scenario one and two above.   Now substitute parachutes thread for that spool of stuff you used to fly your bi-colored kite as a kid.  You never did find that kite, did you?  Your bag is going to hold together for life.

    Lining: Durable. 

    We went to the automotive industry to find a lining that was soft to the touch, but seriously rugged. This high strength soft cotton lining will endure.

    Pad & Quill Promise

    We back up every bag with 25 year leather warranty and a 30 day Money back Promise. Welcome to the family!

    Kari and the PQ Team

     

  • 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

  • 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

  • A tribute to Dad, A tribute to the Craftsman

    The Traveler case for iPhone 5/5S

    Our Dad, a veteran of World War II, carried a hand-stitched, leather coin pouch that he as likely picked up at his local Men’s Store as from a street vendor in Afghanistan, one of the many countries he lived in during his life.  He used this rugged pouch to carry a cache of coins that could be distributed to delight a six year-old son who had spotted a bubblegum dispenser or to purchase a cup of coffee for a friend in need of a listening ear and a shoulder of support.  That coin pouch exemplified a truism about Dad Holmes; he always had a little something set aside to give.  Over several decades that pouch was opened thousands of times, and yet when he passed, every stitch had remained in place, the leather, though worn, held true.

    When we embarked on the design process to bring a collection of leather wallets and a slim lined, but durable iPhone 5/5s case, we turned to Dad’s coin pouch for inspiration.  The three Pad & Quill litmus tests we focused on were: superior craftsmanship, beauty in design and evoking history and adventure.  These were all encapsulated in that one little coin pouch.

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    This slim-line iPhone 5/5s case is crafted by hand, from premium, full-grain leather.  It’s a curious blend of avant-garde and old fangled innovation, with French Piping, turned edges, parachute stitching and a clever slide pocket to hold your ID and credit cards.  No two cases are same due to natural leather and hand assembly. The Traveler slides with ease into your pocket, it’s designed to carry anywhere and to take everywhere.

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    Introducing the New Pad & Quill Wallets!

    The Midtown Wallet

    Wallets-513This micro wallet is a perfect compliment to our iPhone cases or leather bags.  Crafted with the same superior materials of full grain leather and parachute thread, this wallet holds numerous cards and cash while maintaining a low profile that slides easily into a back pocket or a suit coat.  We’ve removed the plastic ID shield, assuring that this wallet will become a talisman of your own legacy. Includes our signature cherry wood ampersand.

    The Odyssey Wallet

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    Destined to become a classic, this Pad & Quill travel wallet is a design team favorite.  Hand stitched, premium full grain leather, articulated into a billfold that will carry your Passport, cash, cards, tickets and other amenities, for your tempestuous as well as tame travels.   The Odyssey is particularly designed for international travel including a finely crafted pen from Japan you’ll require while passing through customs documents. Includes our signature cherry wood ampersand.

    The Journeyman Wallet

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    With names like The Traveler and the Midtown, Petula Clark would be pleased if we named our new bi-fold wallet The Downtown, but this creation is anything but carefree.  The Journeyman is intentionally designed with eye-catching beauty, which will wear like an old bomber jacket.  Crafted from full grain leather, hand stitched parachute thread and rigorous attention to detail, the versatility of this wallet will impress you and everyone you encounter when you slide it from your pocket.  Constructed with multiple card slots, cash holders and some nifty hidden compartments, this is a classic take everywhere wallet.  We even considered including a laminated Pad&Quill business card, because, yes, you will be asked about it that often. Includes our signature cherry wood ampersand

    Brian and Kari

  • Tech Savvy? Heck yeah.

    “You should plan to be at the Pad & Quill headquarters by 11 on Friday, we are filming so you need to look cute?  What?  Don’t I always look cute?  Here I thought Mr. PQ was a fan of flannels and jeans.  But I digress.  We are shooting some video footage as introduction to our new line of leather goods and iPhone cases, very exciting.   Now back to cute, here’s where I need help, comprehensive, someone raids my closet and takes me shopping help.  Help which assures me that 7 gray t-shirts and 3 pairs of jeans does not a wardrobe make.  Don’t get me wrong, I do own other clothes.  Mr. PQ is an amazing shopper, he buys me things.  He even buys me outfits.  I just don’t know what to do with the clothes on a day-to-day basis, and jeans and a t-shirt are seamless, especially when I can throw in my old leather kicks as an accessory.  Solid, until the filming of a video arises.  So, here is where my million-dollar idea kicks in.

     

    Attention app developers, I need help.  I want someone to write me an app that allows me to enter all of my clothes into a virtual closest, it needs a function where I can move the clothes to a dirty laundry bin so as to take them from “inventory” until I do a load of wash.  Then I want to enter what I am doing that day, e.g. bookkeeping, personal training, trail running, house cleaning, or date night with hubby.  I also want to be able to enter my mood, e.g. “a little crabby, it’s that time of the month” or “spring baby!”  Or “be at the warehouse at 11 and look cute and don’t be nervous” The app would compile that data and shoot me out a few possible options.  Like this on my Pintrest page.

     

    Retailers could make a fortune as they could post little ads to my app that would suggest things for me to buy, and give me coupon love that is oh so hard to turn down.  (An aside, Gap I love your clothes, but please stop showcasing new arrivals on models that weigh about 47 pounds.)

     

    This of course brings me to a few other techie devices I’d actually buy, hint to Apple, I’m a terrific product tester.

     

    Lifeprinter, a new kickstarter campaign, which looks so simply wonderful that we backed it.    The Star Wars shirt under the suit coat should sell you, if nothing else does.

     

    iBracelet with wireless headphones.  For those long runs when, inevitably the sounds of your own breathing is going to drive you nutty.  Hello Apple, product tester here!

     

    So, let it not be said that Mrs PQ doesn’t have just a little tech saavy.

    Kari

    Mrs PQ

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