• 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.


    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.


  • 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.




    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.


    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

    1 - Odyssey_KeyPhoto

    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

    1 Journeyman_KeyPhoto

    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.


    Mrs PQ

  • Which one?

    We get lots of questions about the differences in our new leather bags.  I thought it was time to discuss the design and features represented in our three carry bags.

    Messenger Bag

    When we set out to craft these bags one of our biggest litmus tests was the question:  Does this tie together old and new ideas? The messenger bag concept is a classic designed larger bag meant to sling over the back for the daily commute. This design holds lots of stuff and has pockets to keep everything in order.  We took that idea then added luxurious and organic materials to make something new, yet familiar.  We love the two large pockets for holding your cords, chargers, battery back ups or hard drives.  Along with a large laptop pocket designed to hold up to a 15 inch Macbook Pro retina. Finished off with a large leather flap that has a real cherry wood laser etched Pad & Quill mark to make quite a statement.


    The Satchel

    Think of the satchel as a slimmer version of the Messenger.  Same gorgeous materials in a more deft package. When we first made this design we had a more pronounced handle at the top and the flap did not go very far down, sort of brief case looking. We decided that was a bit too old school and we wanted something with a larger flap and more subtle handle at the top. A design somewhere between a satchel and soft sided bag.  We also wanted something that holds up to a 15 in MacBook Pro retina laptop as well as a journal or iPad. Add to that misc cords and chargers all bundled in a minimal designed carry bag. That is what we achieved in this leather bag and that is the Satchel by Pad & Quill.


    The Field Bag

    The Field Bag is like taking our Satchel, going portrait in the orientation and then adding a ridiculous amount of pockets. Did I mention many pockets?  This is my favorite bag for travel by far!  We wanted a bag that does not swing behind you as you move, but rather sits just behind your back. The vertical orientation allows for this quite nicely. Great for tight commutes on planes, trains and various other modes of transportation. This bag holds laptops, journals, cords, chargers, iPads, iPhones, and other items in a slim, yet ready to grown leather and canvas package.


    Ultimately your the one who has to decide which bag is right for you. Pad & Quill bags are not only designed to last but make a statement. Organic materials, unique hand made craftsmanship and subtle design combine to offer 3 very unique and beautiful bags for all the daily adventures you might encounter.  So go ahead and Carry On!


    Mr PQ


  • Beards, romance and our first interview together

    The holidays are upon us and Kari and I are very occupied between the new Pad & Quill product launches and 4 busy Quills. So I thought this post might be a good time to slow down and actually talk to each other while letting you in on the conversation. Our first ever published interview between each other.


    Thanks for joining me today Mrs PQ. As you know, I’m a big fan and always appreciative of your time to sit and actually talk to your husband.


     Kari- If talking via email counts.  I can see you in the reflection of my iMac Monitor, so this is  especially romantic.  Adding to the ambiance, Bear the faux fox (our dog), while laying under my desk, is gassing off his Pupperoni snacks and that tang is co-mingling with the bouquet of fast food remains being utilized to live-trap my new furry friends which have taken up residence under my filing cabinet.   Ew.


    Question 1

    A beard is a gift a man gives his face.  What is it like being married to a man with such a manly beard?  Especially around the holiday season?



    It’s the gift that keeps on giving, particularly if you’ve gnoshed on Sloppy Joe’s Mondo Burger for lunch.  It does give me an idea for a Christmas gift for you.  The Art of Manliness  has some wonderful beard maintenance tips in the event that rubbing your fingers through it vigorously ever fails to satisfy as a grooming technique.  


    Question 2

    When considering the caliber of husband that I am, what causes the most wonder?  Can you describe your feelings around this?


    Well initially, my answer was “how can so much power come in such a little package?” and then my next thought was, that just simply came out wrong.  My ADD kicked in when I read caliber, which instantly brought me to ordnance and munitions which compelled me to go completely Barbara Walters and wonder if Brian was a bullet what caliber would he be?  Brian being a strong personality but not one who’s overtly brash or loud strikes me as being a high impact, versatile round like a 9mm.  There are entrepreneurial men who present like a stick of dynamite, but that becomes boorish quite quickly.  A visionary husband that can unbridle his passions while reigning them in with patience and wisdom is a blessing indeed.    


    Question 3

    One of my favorite things about leading Pad & Quill is the jobs we create. When you think over the past 3 1/2 years, what is one of your favorite parts of being Mrs PQ?

    Back Camera The basement window that thousands of cases moved through.


    Since those early days in our basement this company has felt like an extension of our family.  I think of Will, our first employee, like a brother.  Having the ability for the kids to come to work with us, to help us build a company that provides for them and so many others is an exceptional gift.







    Question 4

    What’s your passion behind the orange lining in our new leather bags and Sleeves?

    Bags_Outdoor-321 copy

    Sweet potato pie!  Our orange reminds me of my favorite tuber.  Roast em, bake em, fry em and hide them in just about everything so the kids don’t know they are getting an extra dose of vitamin A.    I love me some yams.  The world loves yams too as they are a  popular dietary staple in Africa, the Americas,  the Caribbean and the South Pacific.  The world also loves clean water, so long as there is a well from which to draw it cleanly. Children generally love going to school, in particular when the ability to do so hangs in the balance.  And, families generally love to go to bed at night with a roof over their head, malaria shedding mosquito netting over their faces and the fear of a midnight machete attack allayed by relative peace in a region.  I love our orange because it reminds me of World Vision who actively promotes these good things for communities around the world.


    Question 5


    The PQ household has lots of holiday traditions including our celebration of the birth of Christ.  What is your favorite tradition that we do with the kids?


    I’m a gift giver at heart, so the holidays are downright nirvana for me.  I love seeing the kids faces light up when we’ve surprised them with an unexpected gift.  I love taking cookies to the neighbors and winter flowers to our adopted Grandma Maryann across the street.  And sledding! And making secret drops of food or presents to doorsteps of friends struggling this season.  Then there is wearing our Advent jammies while watching Christmas Story for the 87th time, and Christmas Eve service in all it’s regal candlelit splendor.  And the celebration of peace, hope and love.  Gatherings with friends and family, and the now infamous PQ holiday party, it’s all one great package of Holiday goodness.


    I'm a blessed guy, with exception to a few stray sentences (clearing throat).




    Anyway! From our family to yours, hoping you have a great holiday season and certain wax stamped gifts fall under your tree!


    Mr PQ


  • Frankenstein and Cream Puffs

    I’ve shipped so many iPad and iPhone cases in the last 72 hours my iPhone 5s no longer acknowledges my thumbprint.  Some artist might take a grenade for you.  Me? I’ll forfeit my IOS identity for you, now that’s undying devotion.


    I was talking to my son the other day, we were discussing Huck Finn and he was wondering how Huck knew the body discovered in the river wasn’t his father, as the body was espied floating “face up”.  I explained to him that fat is more buoyant then muscle and that women tend to have a bit more “buoyancy” in the chest region.  He, being a fifteen year-old boy probably knows that.


    Then he explained to me that the reason our family grace sung at Thanksgiving dinner sounded so awkward was due to too many individuals singing harmony.  Six distinct voices shouting, “hear me!”  “hear me!” thereby pulling the melody to pieces.  In singing as in life, where too many people are fighting for harmony, you generally get chaos.  As a young man, I hope he learns that.


    Spent our snowy Wednesday evening reading Frankenstein with our seventeen year old.   Learned that when you try to reanimate dead things you generally get a mess.  As an insightful young woman who has tried to resurrect her gold fish, she probably knows that.


    When the monster proceeds to bring death and chaos to Frankenstein’s home, we were assured some things buried are better left that way.  As a young woman, I hope she understands that.


    Finished “The Wednesday Wars” with the seventh grader.  He learned that cream puffs are delicious.  After finding and consuming one the size of his head, he certainly knows that.  At the close of the book when the precious commodity of friendship has been fully animated, upon ingesting the sweetness that “the quality of mercy is not strained” and savoring “The power of goodness and honesty and faithfulness”, as a family, I hope we can live that.


    Enjoying this holiday season, calloused thumbs and all,


    Mrs PQ

  • Juxtapositions, Contradictions and laundry.

    At Pad & Quill we are ramping up for the holiday season amidst the excitement of the new iPhone 5's and the much anticipated release of iPad Air. In a typical release cycle, Mr. PQ sketches out copy with our marketing department and shoots it to me for editorial review and revision. My apologies to my fellow grammar autocrats, there might be a few misses in the copy soon to be released. (There might also be a little coupon love for those who help me out, message us on Facebook with your insights.)

    The other part of the process is working with our amazing photographers to capture our products in a way that convinces our customers you have smell-a-vision. You can’t walk into a Pad & Quill brick and mortar store, but CT Ryan Photography get’s you pretty darn close. Yesterday we shot in a remarkable and historic section of downtown St. Paul. It was a perfectly crisp fall day, replete with a rain/snow mix. Being as I loathe having my picture taken, much less broadcast across social media, I reverted to my five year old Chrysanthemum and donned my favorite comfy sweater and cowboy boots. I announced to our photography team that my boots were my statement of contradiction, because you might shoot me in an urban setting with our soon to be released and incredibly hip bags, but I’m keeping my feet grounded in my country roots. Turns out the photogs loved my boots and booya, my little feet may make a global internet appearance.

    Which brings me back to web copy editing. I’m a little behind. There was laundry to be done and homework to be reviewed. So I folded laundry and quizzed the youngster in vocab words. Which brings me back to Mr. PQ, who would like to dress J. Hilburn but has more of a Woot.com budget. Which most likely explains why the man has 32 t-shirts. In all fairness, this is not uncommon for multi sport athletes and runners as we receive a t-shirt at every race and some are not so easily parted with, eg Ironman and marathons. However, 36 t-shirts. That is one for every day of the month and two on Sundays. I took the four most threadbare and threw them in the ragbag for the next time I need to polish my boots. The rest I sorted into piles of “suitable to wear in public”, “suitable to wear at Crossfit” and “quite frankly suitable only for tackling the honey do list”. There was also the community share shirts that are free game to whoever in the family grabs them first, and the ironic statements of humor donned for particularly brutal Crossfit WOD’s or festive days at the office. The other half are headed to Haiti and a small community to which the kids high school has partnered.

    And so the week begins, just days until iPad Air is in hand, I better get editing.

    Mrs PQ

  • iPad 5 Rumors and Teasers: Part IV

    Following close behind the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, the iPad 5 launches tomorrow! At Pad and Quill, we’ve been reading about it non-stop, trying to suss out what exactly the new iPad will contain. With this one being the last in a series of posts, we’ll explore new features of the iPad 5 until the tablet becomes public.

    Continue reading

  • iPad 5 Rumors and Teasers: Part I

    Following close behind the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, the iPad 5 rumored for release on October 22nd and Apple fans everywhere are counting down the days. At Pad and Quill, we've been reading about it non-stop trying to suss out what exactly the new iPad will contain. In a series of posts, we'll explore new features of the iPad 5 as the date gets closer and gets closer.

    Continue reading

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