The Bindery Blog

  • New Lowry Apple Watch Bands and a Nod to Legacy


    The historic warehouse that is home to the Pad & Quill World Headquarters sits on a bend of the Mississippi River. About a quarter mile upstream, the Mighty Miss is spanned by the Lowry Bridge. It is named after Mr. Thomas Lowry, an entrepreneurial transportation visionary. He owned the SOO Line Railroad and a network of public transit cable cars that wove through the city and beyond, expanding to land that was, as of then, undeveloped. Mr. PQ rode the cable cars to court Mrs. PQ, so essentially, without Mr. Lowry, there would be no Pad & Quill. Without the Mississippi River and the rails, there would have been limited expansion of the Midwest, as these were the chief means of transport for farm goods, flour and iron. They allowed local merchants to distribute their goods across the nation and around the world. Continue reading

  • Meet The Luxury Book Leather Wallet Case for the iPhone 6 Plus & 6s Plus

    The Luxury Book is our signature wood and leather wallet case for the iPhone 6 Plus & 6s Plus. Expert craftsmanship, luxurious materials, and functional design make this case as versatile as it is beautiful. With the combination of natural materials like sustainably sourced Baltic Birch wood and the highest quality American steer hides around, this case is designed to last for ages. Take a look! Continue reading
  • Chicken-n-Waffles, a Religious Experience


    In our various travels and culinary exploits, we've encountered food we call “nuclear.” It’s so good, it literally blows up any future happiness you might have dining on that food/beverage. I don’t normally like to compare things to drugs, but the best way to describe “nuclear” food is like cocaine. It gives you an indescribable high, only to crash, leaving every other food in that category utterly tasteless and blah. Continue reading

  • Should I get an iPad Pro For My Small Business?


    Maybe. There is a lot to consider when answering that question and we have broken it all down for you. Continue reading

  • Meet the Bella Fino Slim Leather Wallet Case for iPhone 6 & 6s


    Made for the iPhone 6 & 6s, the Bella Fino is a slim leather wallet case that has been thoughtfully designed for the minimalist with refined tastes. Meticulous attention to detail and luxurious high quality materials characterize this beautiful thin wallet case, adding only a mere .28 inches to the overall thickness of the iPhone itself. It also comes in the larger size for the iPhone 6 Plus & 6s Plus. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at its design.

    The Leather

    bella-fino-leather-iphone-6-caseWe take one single piece of the highest-grade, full-grain American steer leather around, and preserve its enticing character by utilizing only the best portions of the hides. This leaves us with a product that delights the senses, as you run your fingers across the rich and supple texture of the finished leather. All of this combines to add a new level of richness to the beautifully designed iPhone 6 & 6s.

    bella-fino-interior-leather-colors-iphone-6-caseThe interior leather is made from a very high grade top grain leather. Our color combinations honor the organic elements and principles with which our products our built, with 5 different choices. The Dark Chocolate Brown leather exterior with the smokey Slate Gray interior leather exudes a natural riverbed like ease. The Galloper Black leather exterior with the full-bodied Merlot interior speaks to a natural boldness. Or for a more understated look, pair the Galloper Black with the more subtle Slate Gray interior leather. Lastly, is the classic combo of tasty Whiskey leather exterior with a Deep Sea Blue, or Forest Green interior leather.

    Whatever color combo suits you, know that they all come from only the best pieces of leather. In fact this is the same leather we use for our line of bags and briefcases. Watch as your story begins to imprint on the leather of the Bella Fino, leading to a rich and unique patina, that only looks better with age.

    The Design

    Leather options for Bella Fino iPhone 6s wallet caseThe iPhone 6s & 6 features a stunningly thin form facto that truly is a marvel of design, we chose to honor this with a minimalist’s touch when making this fine leather iPhone case. All told, the Bella Fino adds only a mere 0.28” to the overall thickness of the iPhone. Softly curved angles accentuate the iPhone’s design, while leaving all the ports and cameras open and fully accessible. The camera is free to work unobstructed and use the flash without ever having to remove the phone from the case.

    Even though the design is slim, there's plenty of space to pack it full of all your wallet essentials while still staying "svelte." There are 5 interior pockets including 3 credit card pockets, 1 quick access transparent ID sleeve, and a hidden cash pocket. These pockets can hold up to 10 cards quite easily. The soft leather spine of the case is slightly thicker than the phone itself so that it can accommodate lots of cards without looking overly stuffed or bulky. No elastic band is needed to keep this case shut. Just like a quality wallet, the leather will mold to your cards over time and to your hip as well, keeping it slim and easy to slip in and out of your pocket.

    Bella Fino iPhone 6 Plus Slim Leather Wallet CaseWe pull this together with a very intricate French-hemmed seam, for a finished look that would make even an Italian tailor blush with envy. Our stitching is meant to last. You won’t see any frays here with marine grade, UV resistant, nylon stitching as used in parachute construction. It will not degrade over time from UV rays or moisture.

    The 3M Adhesive

    Adhesive for Bella Fino Leather iPhone Wallet CaseAs iPhones grow, and jeans get skinnier, many prefer a more minimalist approach. With this in mind, instead of our traditional wooden frame to hold the iPhone, we have worked with local Minnesota based 3M to develop a special clean release adhesive just for our cases. The adhesive pad can withstand upwards of 600 degrees without melting. The clean release adhesive leaves behind no residue when you remove your phone, and it is easily reattachable!

    When attached, your iPhone sits just inside the stitch line of the Bella Fino leather wallet case providing moderate shock absorbing drop protection, and a buffer against scrapes and bumps, without adding unnecessary bulkiness to the overall design.

    If you are a “power user” who often removes your phone from it’s case (say 3-4 times a week), then we recommend including a package of our spare 3M adhesive pads with your order. They ship for free, are easily replaceable, and each pad will last around a year for the average power user, and much longer for someone who only occasionally removes their phone.

    The Warranty

    Bella Fino Slim Leather Wallet Case for iPhone 6The Bella Fino comes with a 30-day money back promise. If you try the case out and if you don’t like it, just send it back to us, no questions asked, and we will issue a refund. We also back our leather products with a 25 year leather warranty that guarantees the stitching and quality of the leather for two and a half decades. It is a little ridiculous, but we stand by our products and take pride in the result.

    Is The Bella Fino For Me?

    The Bella Fino is for you if:

    • • You love leather cases, but have a hard time fitting bulky cases in your pocket.
    • • You miss the days of writing in a leather notebook
    • • Function is as important to you as appearance
    • • Quality is the end all in your buying decisions
    • • You support real craftsmanship
    • • You are organized, but not obsessively so
    • • What you buy fits your personality, rather than the other way around
    • • Your family knows you are the one with the good ideas


    Check out the Bella Fino Leather Wallet Case for the iPhone 6 & 6S and also for the iPhone 6 Plus & 6S Plus!

  • My Mom Can Beat Your Dad In Fantasy Football

    I don’t want to blog about menopause and how it is a soul sucking monster that reanimates every skeleton in your closet into a zombie apocalypse of brain gnoshing abattoirs, rendering you incapable of producing simple nouns, therefore I will take this opportunity to inform you of how I am crushing my Fantasy Football league. I reside alone in first place amongst my astonished co-workers who saw me merely as a part time personal trainer and a stay at home mom who surely knows little of the NFL.

    What they didn’t know is that deep from within my lair at Pad & Quill world headquarters, I have multi-tasked digesting hours of ESPN radio and fantasy football analysis on my iPhone. Couple this with a somewhat unhealthy obsession with the game, that took root in Denver, November of 1977, when Craig Morton lead a comeback victory over the dreaded Oakland Raiders, pushing the Broncos to our first AFC Championship and Superbowl trip versus the Dallas Cowboys. I’ve learned the ins and outs and thought I’d share a little bit about my strategy with you.

    My strategy:

    Listen: Having an iPhone 6, a MacBook, a Mac and countless hours of carpool, accounting etc, listening is easy. The league has evolved away from a running back dominant, to a pass and run dominant offense. I used this analysis to strategize the foundation of my draft plan.

    Strategize: I picked 12th of 12 in a snake draft in a league that awards PPC and PPR. I watched as my coworkers wrangled over running backs and proceeded to claim for my 12 and 13th picks, 2 receivers I knew would be heavy targets for their teams; Odell Beckham Jr. and Julian Edelman. Round 2: while my co workers were still elbowing around for running backs I took Andrew Luck and Steve Smith Sr. Round 3: the folks were starting to look for QBs and receivers. Having watched Denver’s D in the preseason, I drafted the Broncos defense/special teams and the Patriots kicker. In Round 4 I needed to look to running backs and tight ends, so again I looked at strength of offense and teams from which nobody had drafted. For the former I drafted Richard Rogers from the Packers, and for the latter, I chose the Atlanta running back who was hurt in week 1. I waved him immediately for Rashad Jennings. Needing to fill out my bench and roster in Round 5, I grabbed KC Chiefs Defense/ST and Rashad Jennings. Being a bit of a homer, I took Blair Walsh and Kyle Rudolph in the 6th Round. They have only started the week of New England’s bye. When Luck went down injured, I claimed Michael Vick, and he did not disappoint, leaving Luck on the bench until last Monday where, in spite of losing, Luck outperformed Brady in fantasy points. I am in first place, having defeated 4 of the next 5 places in 1-1 competition. The most savory, taking down my boss in week two, in spite of his 152 point showing. 156.7 points for me! :-)

    Have a Solid Team: Mr. PQ has become my assistant coach and Tim, our Fedex rep and longtime fantasy veteran has become my waiver/trade consultant.

    Be Mrs. PQ: One of my girlfriends in our league isn’t fairing so well, so as an early Christmas present to her, I’m going to negotiate trades for Edleman, Smith and Luck over the next couple weeks. I’ve had my 6 weeks of fun, now it’s time for someone else to have a chance!

    Not to mention Pad and Quill has me crazy busy starting yesterday in preparation for a great holiday season. So, I feel better knowing my team is in good hands.

  • Will the iPhone 6s’ “Live Photo” Change How I Take Pictures?

    Yes and No, but mostly Yes. Live photo is the underrated character actor of the iphone 6s feature line up. It’s a well thought out feature, that takes some adjusting to, but really is a lot of fun, and has the potential to enhance your most treasured memories. How so?

    Live Photo uses either the front or rear facing cameras to capture your pictures with an added 1.5 seconds of video leading up to the shot and after the shot too. This lends itself to a natural and authentic moment. You don’t really have to change much at all about the process of taking a picture. Just be aware that by the time you click the button 1.5 seconds has already been recorded and another 1.5 seconds will continue to be recorded. Also worth mentioning, there is no audio on or off option yet. So keep that in mind as you are yelling at the kids to look happy.

    Can I Share the iPhoto 6s Live Photo?

    Many people are wondering 'how do I share my iPhone 6S live photos?' Being a newcomer to iOS, sharing remains limited. Sharing from your phone is much like any other picture sharing endeavor. Tap share and you will see the bar of recent pictures to choose from. When you see it say “live” on the pic, you know that’s the complete picture and video, AKA Live Photo. Click off, and it's a normal picture to share. Click it back on, and you can share it. At this time, it only shares with other devices that have iOS 9, WatchOS, or El Capitan. That’s also where importing them to iPhoto gets tricky. You must be up to date on El Capitan, otherwise, the video and picture will divorce into separate and confusing files.

    Even more annoying is that social media sharing is limited, although sure to quickly improve. Facebook will see its integration later this year, but has much as said that they have no idea when Instagram will. Flickr says it will support it. Other third party apps, like Dropbox, Vine, and Pixlr are working on it.

    Each Live Photo, despite the video aspect is only the size of 2 high quality pictures. So it is bigger, but it won't demolish your storage space like Godzilla in Tokyo. What’s likely to be the bigger annoyance is dealing with how to share them while major platforms are figuring it out over the next year.

    Update: There is now an app on the app store that will transform your live photos into animated GIFs or a simple short video, which will then be saved to your camera roll. These saved animated GIFs can then be easily included in email, SMS, and on most social networks. The app is named Live GIF and is available on the app store for $1.99.

    Are Live Photos For Me?

    Parents are definitely the target market here, with Apple themselves, capitalizing on the warm fuzzy “Awww” of the little girl smiling while her curls bounce in their ads. And rightly so, as parents are likely to be especially enamored with catching the fleeting moments of their little ones. However, the human nature of the candid shot is something we can all have some fun with.

    Live Photo does requires a bit of a mental rewrite of what taking a picture means to you. We all know the drill when someone calls out for a group shot. Stand there awkwardly while everyone primps and poses. And then smile, and keep smiling for way too long for it to look natural. By the time the shutter finally clicks and files away the moment into photographic history, your smile looks like a half melted pile of M&Ms. All the fuss of gathering together, finding poses, and the inevitable jokes in between, are lost and compiled into the manicured snapped photo. With Live Photo, a little slice of that is preserved. Now, it’s not just the photo outcome that counts, it’s the whole process. So have fun. Maybe, just maybe, Live Photo will make pictures fun again.

  • Double Chins, Wandering Feet and the Year of the 6s Live Photo

    Autumn has come to us here in the great glowing north. As a local radio announcer has observed, “Fall comes to us here in the midwest”. Somehow, in Minnesota, in this “coming,” we have a unique ownership. Whereas every other state simply have leaves that change, we have a sense of foreboding.  As the fiery cloud of autumn rolls down our state, it is closely followed by the cold hand of winter, to which you eventually resign yourself, and understand that it is trying to kill you.

    We took our annual sojourn to the Apple Orchard, where Mr. PQ took every advantage of the iPhone 6s/6s Plus' "Live Photo" feature. I have to admit, the live context of the 12K megapixel photos captures a mama’s heart.  It also capture her double chin and stomach suck in just prior to every picture.  I now have a Pinterest board with 7000 pins depicting how to “get rid of a double chin.”  I like to pretend mine is from aging, but alas, the ole activity target on my Apple Watch tells a different story.

    For this reason, among many others, I am thrilled that our crack marketing team has decided to spare me any future “real” pictures by converting my visage to a comic character.  This is not the first time I’ve been able to hide behind a nom de plume, and I love it!

    I am also thrilled that Mr. PQ has assented to re-entering our triathlon lifestyle of yesteryear.  We’ve aged and sustained injuries since our Ironman days, but I think we could pull a sprint and an Oly next season.  Of course with the Ironman World Championship taking place this month, my soul is assured of going to where my feet ought not wander.

  • Apple, Purveyor of Fine Jewelry? Hermes says Yes.

    This week, Apple partnered with luxury brand Hermes, for three tremendously gorgeous, albeit absurdly expensive leather Apple Watches. Apple will be showcasing them in their stores. This is a move that they are very equipped for since their stores already exhibit a strong jewelry store vibe, with glass accents, and bright lighting that makes everything shimmer and seem worth the cost. This move confirms what many have already speculated about what the Apple Watch really is. The Apple Watch is fine jewelry. And really, that is what watches have always been about.

    Stop calling it a smart watch

    Some undiscerning press seem to be under the spell of purely technological comparisons of the Apple Watch; software specs, speed, battery life.  While those hold an undeniably important place in product evaluation, it is a bit of a red herring with the Apple Watch’s true nature. This is set forth pretty clearly in how Jony Ive himself talks about the Apple Watch. In an interview, when asked if he thought the Millennial market, a market that has never used watches, would jump on the product, he simply responded with a nonchalant shrug saying, “I don’t know,” and then went on to clarify that Apple’s only intent was to make a more personal product, since it is on your wrist. He made it clear that Apple is not out to compete with other watch makers, be they smart watches or not. He knows the iPhone is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else, and that technology is what the Apple Watch is really showcasing.

    This plays into a very interesting psychological aspect of how we all tick, as social psychologist Sam Gosling explains. He has extensively studied why people keep the objects they do around them or even on them, as with the Apple Watch. It falls into two categories: 1. conscious identity claims and 2. feeling regulators. Feeling regulators are the items around your house or office desk that make you feel good when you look at them throughout the day, maybe pictures of loved ones, souvenirs from a trip with awesome memories attached. They are soothing. Conscious identity claims are pieces that shout who we are to others, i.e. the sports team stuff, the artwork on walls, even tattoos. They are an integral part of expressing parts of ourselves, our identity. So when Jony Ive says that the wrist is a great place to put things, he knows that you are making his product an identity claim. It’s advertising, both for Apple, and for you as a high end consumer of a great product and the message it sends to be wearing it.

    Think Status, Not Tech

    Watches have often meandered in their long and strenuous history of development. Typically speaking they have always moved from starting out large and loud, to small and understated. The Swiss miniaturized watches into a pocket and after awhile, every respectable gentleman had the “conscious identity claim” of a pocket watch. Fast-forward a century or two, and watches fell out of general essential use in favor of the cell phone first, and then the smartphone.  But it didn’t disappear. The market for watches limped on, and even picked up some steam with celebrity endorsements (hello Airport Duty-Free shops). This is because the watch industry has always used incredible craftsmanship to forge their products and provide value. Maybe Casio cheapened things a bit, but not much. By and large that market is thriving. Watches continue to be a part of how identity is conveyed. Because it is jewelry.

    While the smartwatch industry finds its footing, Apple is going to sit back and capitalize on the great technology they already have, and more so on the status symbol that the Apple Watch is. With the interchangeable band system, now with some really cool leather bands for the Apple Watch, Apple is telling you to find something that fits your persona, that showcases who you are, but most importantly keeps them center stage.

  • A Book by Its Cover, an Ode to the eBook’s PR Problem

    The internet has been abuzz lately with news proclaiming the death of ebooks as an industry. Start with a little decline in sales, mix in a bit of predatory pricing, and garnish with the lack of evolution in the medium, and you have a recipe that seems to spell disaster for ebooks. Or does it?

    As with most matters on the internet, dissenting opinions abound. Indeed, the writing is on the wall, even while the future of literary consumption itself remains unwritten. So what is going on? Is this more than just a PR crisis for a burgeoning industry?

    A Book By Any Other Name…

    Growing up, a lot of us read voraciously. At any age, stepping into a used book store was to step into a world of possibilities. It’s a way to kill an afternoon in a socially accepted fanciful manner. There is much to be said for the experience of reading a paper book: the dog ears, the rumpled edges, the trusty weight, crinkled spines that crack as they are opened, the musty scent of the pages, the texture and taste they leave on your fingers. It is visceral, real, nostalgic, and you can trust it. But you have heard all this before, likely as part of the obituary of the eBook industry being espoused today. Is there really any place left for books in today’s tech age?

    The magic in the pure physicality of paper books is something that has been opined through the ages. Alonso of Aragon, noted that there were just about 4 good things that came with old age: old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old books to read. When your eyes graze the lines of the printed crafted prose, when you turn a page, you leave behind a wisp of emotion, a hint of yourself, an experience all your own. Then, when you finally finish the book and place it on your shelf it becomes a time capsule, a piece of you preserved in time. Years later that portal is still open for a reread. To do so is to become Marty McFly in his DeLorean, to take a trip with the Doctor in the TARDIS. You meet yourself again, your old self, liberating those wisps of memory from between the pressed pages. You can see yourself from afar, and reflect upon how far you have come. But is that unique to paper books?

    That is one side of the coin, from the perspective of the reader. What about the writer? Writers that have toiled with ink and pencil, still do, only they come out with a refined product that can be dispersed to audiences unimagined in times past. There is now a marketplace for independent writers to self-publish and break into a literary world that never existed before. They can write and self-publish their stories no matter the market potential, or the coldly calculated estimations of publishing companies. They have the freedom to write what they want, price it as they wish, and answer to nobody in the process, except their own creative demands. But does that just mean inundation?

    The Freedom To Unplug

    These days, to break away from a screen for a little while, to disconnect, and rest your eyes upon something that doesn’t glow, is a rarity. A book won’t pop up with Instagram notifications, calendar reminders, and mail inbox numbers. It won’t quietly beckon you to google a completely unrelated matter when there is a lull in thought. It just is what it is, paper and ink. No more, no less. That simplicity is refreshing to the soul, much the way a breath of fresh air and a campfire marshmallow is to weary city folk out in the woods for the weekend. But then the weekend ends. And they go back to the city and its comforts.

    This is the way of eBooks. As much as there is to be said about the feel of a book, there is something to be said for reading about a book online and, in less time than it takes to brew a cup of coffee, have it downloaded on your device ready to be consumed. There is a new-to-our-generation magic in browsing from your pillow open-source sites like and discovering a random literary work with the press of a button that may or may not change your life forever. It is liberating to carry your entire library in the palm of your hand as you travel, commute, and move about. But now we often face interruptions in our journey of escapism. We can easily be dragged into the material world with notifications and pings.

    The Fix: It's All About The Container

    There is one line from the article Craig Mod wrote that really sticks:

    “Containers matter. They shape stories and the experience of stories. Choose the right binding, cloth, trim size, texture of paper, margins and ink, and you will strengthen the bond between reader and text. Choose badly and the object becomes a wedge between reader and text.”

    That particular statement resonates as an answer to eBooks’ PR problem. As the future continues pouring in on us from all angles, like a leaky canoe in a downpour, technology keeps changing faster than we can keep up with, we don’t dare get attached anymore. We don’t dare fall in love with a smart phone or a particular device because in 6-8 months a new one will replace it. We live in a disposable culture of cold steel and glass where my phone looks exactly like your phone, swipe left for something new, everybody wants your attention with pushes and pokes and texts and tweets, while we’re all staring at the same retina display screen. No wonder people are feeling the craving to disconnect for a bit and enjoy the stability and mind space that paper books provide.

    Something Borrowed, Something Blue...

    What is most needed in this age of “what is new,” is a bit of “what is old.” By simply improving the vessel with which we consume our ebooks in, we can improve the overall reading experience. Numerous companies have caught on to this and are designing with these principals in mind. There are tablet/smartphone covers that look like books, covers that look like leather journals, and covers who fuse both modalities with the modern. And it is catching on.

    As phones get slimmer, so does the imprint they leave on us as we touch them. We are all enough acquainted with the hand wringing process of the post iPhone purchase case hunt. That’s why cases are largely moving away from being just a mere protective item, and into being a statement. Cases, when done right, turn a piece of cold, albeit brilliant, product design into a personal, warm, and visceral experience. And people are paying more and more for that experience. Sure, cheap cases will always have a place, but high quality materials, like leather, wood, and cloth are being sourced more and more in iPhone cases, iPad cases, and slowly in the Android case market as well. That's a trend that will continue growing regardless of phone size or shape.

    If you are, or once were, an avid eBook reader because of the convenience, but maybe you miss the feel of a book, or you just know something is off about reading an eBook, try finding a case that feels like home to you. Maybe it looks like a book or a journal. Maybe it doesn’t. But you will know when you find it. Put your phone into airplane mode when you can, and dive into that book, undiverted from the pull of the world. Then, you just may find that over time, even as phones and tablets change, your reading experience doesn’t.

    Remember, it’s all about the container.

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