Fashionable Friday: Colors of the Season

Fashionable Friday colors-of-autumn
Inspired by the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and the last fleeting glimpses of the fall foliage, I thought I’d focus this week’s Fashionable Friday on the colors of Autumn. Gold, orange, russets and browns that make me excited for pumpkin pie and hot cocoa.

  • Conklin Duragraph Fountain Pen – Amber  $44 (via Goulet Pens)
  • J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Fountain Pen Ink – 50 ml Bottle – Rouge Hematite $27 (via Jet Pens)
  • Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen Dark Brown Special Edition £19.99 (via Cult Pens)
  • Gold Dots Washi Tape by Masté £2.30 (via Fox & Star Stationery)
  • Gold Ideas Gilded Journal £11.99 (via Fox & Star Stationery)
  • Aurora Style Fountain Pens in Paprika $60 (via Pen Chalet)
  • RETRAKT in Copper $95 (via Karas Kustoms)
  • Fancy Fronds Wall Decor Set $14.99 (via ModCloth)
  • Rhodia N°12 Pad (via Rhodia)
  • Noodler’s Habanero (3oz) $12.50 (via Goulet Pens)
  • The Display $65 (via Clicky Post)
  • Leuchtturm1917 Pocket Hard Cover Ruled Notebook (3.5 x 6) $12.30 (via European Papers)
  • Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils $2.90 per dozen (via Dick Blick)
  • Mobius & Ruppert Brass Pencil Sharpeners $4.46 (via Dick Blick)
  • Midori Brass Template Bookmark Alphabet $18 (via JetPens)
  • Midori Brass Bullet Pencil Holder – Gold $21 (via Jet Pens)

Kickstarter: Spark Notebook

Just launched today is the Spark Notebook Kickstarter project. The idea behind this notebook is to provide one place for all your planning, ideas and projects in a sophisticated package. The book seems to embody a desire to help get you organized and focused on your project and goals above everything else. And in a really clean, appealing package in the process.

Between the simple black covers are 200 pages that feature:

  • Yearly Goals & Mission pages
  • Yearly Theme page
  • Monthly Overview (6 months)
  • Monthly Goals (one for each month)
  • 30 Day Challenge (one for each month)
  • Weekly Inspiration
  • Weekly Goals to prioritze goals
  • Weekly Overview
  • Project Planner
  • Meeting Notes
  • Lined pages for notes
  • 20-Blank, perforated pages
  • Two-page markers
  • Date-free calendars

Spark Notebook page view

The books are 5.75×8.25″ (145 x 210 mm) in size, comparable to a standard Moleskine Large notebook or a Leuchtturm1917 large notebook. The paper inside is 70# white, enough to keep most pens from showing through or bleeding to the reverse side.

Anyone who backs the project will receive access to downloadable PDFs of the page layouts to start using the moment the funding campaign ends, so you can start using the system right away.

For a  $25 pledge, you can reserve one notebook. Its a little pricier than the average lined or grid notebook but a lot of additional content is provided within the covers. A pledge of $79 will get you four notebooks to stockpile or share with co-workers, family or friends and reduces the per unit price to be quite competitive with the average Moleskine or Leuchtturm1917 notebook.

Spark Notebook Info

I was just thinking it was time to pull all my note taking and project management between two covers. Maybe this is THE solution for me.

Will you back this project?

Link Love: All Caught Up

Link Love Link MascotPosts of the Week:
I just received my Field Notes Colors Edition: Ambition and was looking forward to writing and photographing my own review until I saw these two. So, kudos to Josh and Andy for setting the bar REALLY high for reviewing the latest edition.

Pens:

Inks and Refills:

Notebooks and Paper:

Other cool stuff:

Book Review: Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

While I’ve been under the weather, I’ve been catching up on my back log of reading, including Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing by Liz Williams. Its a pretty book with short pieces about the history of letter writing as well as common references, quotes, books and movies where letters feature prominently and other tidbits about our favorite paper missives.

“Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.” – Lord Byron

This book is definitely for the letter enthusiast though it will not probing new information on the subject. As a gift to a young person, it might spur them to start writing but does not necessarily provide compelling analysis or deep investigation about the topic. Kind Regards is written in short blubs, often less than a page, which makes it easy to thumb through or read an entry or two over coffee in the morning.

Williams clearly loves the written word and provides enough interesting facts to inspire me to tackle that pile of incoming correspondence again. If you’re looking for a little something to nudge you back on to your letter-writing path, then Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter-Writing might be the ticket.

Ask The Desk: Pocket Telephone Books

rp_askthedesk_hdr2.png

Looking for 2 7/8  x 4 1/8 pocket address book [ little black book]
Where can I get some ??
Sincerely, Howard

At-A-Glance Pocket Telephone Address Book

The closest I could find is from Mead or At-A-Glance. The At-A-Glance Pocket Telephone Address Book pages measure 2 1/8″ x 3 1/4″ and retail for $4.09 each. There is a larger At-A-Glance Small Designer Telephone/Address Book that’s page size measures 2 3/4″ x 4 1/4″ and retails for $8.69 each. This book also has tabbed pages with alphabetical tabs for quick look-up.

The Mead Telephone/Address book has pages that measure 2 3/8″ x 3 1/4″ and retail for $2.19 each. Mead also has a slightly larger 3×4″ version of the Mead Telephone Address Book which might be closer to your specifications for $2.49 each.

You might also check with your local office supply store or big box retailer to see if they stock these products. Best of luck on your search.

Mead Telelphone Address Book

Link Love: Better Late Than Never

Link Love Link MascotSorry for the delay in this week’s Link Love. I came down with a nasty cold this week and missed a couple of prime blogging days as a result. I hope to get all caught up as soon as the NyQuil hangover wears off.

This week’s pen reviews run the gamut from office supply cabinet staples, ballpoints and some higher end fountain pens so there’s something for every price point.  Enjoy!

Pens:

Inks:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Other Interesting Stuff:

Diamine 150th Anniversary Ink Collection

Diamine 150 years ink

In honor of the 150th anniversary of Diamine, eight new ink colors have been announced. The 1864 “Anniversary Collection” features new, triangular-shaped 40ml bottles. All the inks will be available for individual purchase and this collection will not be a limited release. For a full listing of the colors and written samples, check out this post from The Good Captain on the FPGeeks forum. I’m particularly keen on the Regency Blue, Blue-Black, Safari and Silver Fox.

Hopefully theses inks will start shipping in time for holiday stocking stuffing.

Diamine 150th Anniversary Ink Bottles

(via FP Geeks)

Ka-Week-O! Review: 14K Gold BB Nib

Kaweco 14K Gold BB Nib

Have you heard about the new 14K gold nibs available from Kaweco? Ooh la la! I got the chance to try out the BB, double broad nib. By eye, it looked like a stub nib, wide and flat but when I put it to paper, it created a wide soft line. Not hard edged at all.

Kaweco 14K Gold BB Nib

The ink just poured out of this nib. It really was quite wet and super smooth. There’s a little bit of a spring to the nib but as you can see from the writing sample, it doesn’t actually flex. I suspect it has as more to do with the overall broadness of the nib than how flexible the gold nib is. I’ve never used a BB nib before. It was a lot of fun but with my small writing, it might be a bit too much nib for me.

Kaweco nib size sampler

As I was testing all these Kaweco pens this week, I was able to compare the line widths of all the various Kaweco nibs I had on hand. I have almost the full gamut available (just missing a B and the calligraphy nibs). I’ve often commented that there is very little difference that I can see between the Kaweco steel EF and F nibs and, from the sampler page, I think that stands true. It also makes it abundantly clear how much wider and darker the BB 14K nib is.

The BB nib I received is a full unit, not just the nib so, out of the box, its designed to fit onto the higher-end Kaweco fountain pens like the AL-Sport, Luxe Sport, Special, Allrounder, Elegance, Student or the Dia2. It could probably be wiggled out of the housing to fit into a standard Sport but since its a nib that will retail for around $100, is it really something you’ll add to your $25 Sport?

The 14K nib is available in the full range of sizes: EF, F, M, B and BB. There is a two-tone version available in M only.

Overall its a gorgeous nib and speaks to Kaweco’s commitment to advancing their pen line, staying true to its historical roots and listening to the numerous requests of its loyal users. And that makes me very happy.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Kaweco for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Field Notes: Ambition (Winter Colors Edition is OUT!)

Field Notes Ambition cover

Field Notes is not resting on its laurels. The Winter 2014/15 Colors Edition “Ambition” is certainly an ambitious edition. The three books are stunning in rich autumny tones with gold embossed logo lettering on the cover and gold foil edges. Each notebook serves a different function: the olive cover features ledger lines (the same as what was featured in the Traveling Salesman edition – one of my favorite editions), and the wine-colored cover covers a book of graph paper, and the chocolate colored cover hides 56 pages of weekly planner pages. Get a jump start on 2015!

The paper inside each book is Cougar Opaque 50# Natural White text weight vellum and, of course, there are matching gold tone staples biding the books together.

Field Notes Ambition gold edges

No better time to start a Colors subscription ($97 for a year of quarterly offers plus a 3-pack of the classic Kraft editions) than with this edition. Or purchase individual sets for $9.95 per set.

Field Notes Ambition inside lines

I don’t have mine in  hand yet but I cannot wait for this edition and I’ll definitely have to order additional sets. It would make a good stocking stuffer too.

Ka-Week-O! Review: Kaweco Skyline Rollerball in Grey

Kaweco Sport Skyline Grey Rollerball hack

With pens, I tend to choose silver and grey as my go-to colors since there are seldom options in green. With the new Skyline series for the Kaweco Sport line, I went straight for the Mint color. I did not pass GO, I did not collect $200 – or a grey pen.

Most people are excited about the Skyline series because they feature silver-toned nibs and chrome silver hardware instead of the traditional Sport series’ gold-toned nib and hardware. So when the Skyline series was released, lots of folks were just pleased to purchase the black or grey Skyline model with silver hardware.

Its only now that I see the appeal of the neutral grey color of the Skyline series. In an effort to expand my horizons, this time, I’m test-driving the rollerball version.

Unfortunately, the Kaweco refill was not the least bit left-handed friendly – at least not on the Rhodia paper I use for most of my testing. The Skyline rollerball refill is probably about a 0.7mm in black and I smudged for the word “go.”

So, it was time for a hack. I found a Uni-Ball Sign RT 0.38 refill which looked to be the right length in the point section but the barrel was a little too long. I used scissors to trim the end and then put the spring on the tip and loaded it back into the Skyline body. Voila!

No smudges and a great new pen!

Kaweco Sport Skyline Grey Rollerball hack


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Kaweco for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Winners: Productive Luddite Giveaway

Productive Luddite Freestyle Really Big Notebook

There were six winners in the Productive Luddite giveaway. (Sorry for the delay in drawing winners this week. I came down with a hella cold this week and  was out of commission for two whole days. The last thing I remember it was Monday!)

The first three will get their choice of color of the Really Big Freestyle Notebook and the last three will get a Matte Black Star-Studded Sampler Notebook.

And the winners of the Really Big Freestyle Notebooks are:

  • Becca
  • ArtPen
  • Laura

IMG_1454

The winners of the Matte Black Star-Studded Sampler are:

  • Stephen S.
  • Linsey S.
  • Dottie D.

You’ll each be contacted via email to confirm your shipping address.

Ka-Week-o! Review: Kaweco Skyline Clutch Pencil 3.2mm in Mint

Kaweco Clutch Pencil 3.2mm Mint

Everyone knows how much I love my Kaweco Skyline Fountain Pen in Mint so you can imagine how tickled I was to see the 3.2mm clutch pencil in the same gorgeous mint color. I’ve got a matched set!

Kaweco Clutch Pencil 3.2mm Mint

This is my first experience with a large diameter graphite pencil and it was a pleasant surprise. I was worried that the point would wear down too quickly but it stayed sharp through a page or more of writing. I will definitely need to look into a graphite point sharpener because this pencil will definitely be getting a lot of use.

The wide lead was smooth and easy-to-use. I think it will be great for writing and sketching.

Kaweco Clutch Pencil 3.2mm Mint

These two beauties snuggle up beautifully together in my leather soft case. Now I’m thinking all my Kaweco pens need pencil pals.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Kaweco for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ka-Week-O! Review: Kaweco AL-Sport RAW

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW

The Kaweco AL-Sport in Raw is the same size and shape as the other Sport models but with a raw aluminum body with a high gloss finish. Its gorgeous in the hand.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW & Aluminum Liliput

When compared with the brushed aluminum finish on Liliput, its obvious how much more polished the RAW AL-Sport is. Shiny!

The RAW finish will show scratches and patina with wear and pair beautifully with a leather notebook like a Midori Traveler so that they could age together.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW M nib

This is my second medium nib on a Kaweco. I had a little trouble with the nib on this one out of the box. I removed it from the pen and rinsed it completely and that fixed the problem completely. I suspect that, with the aluminum finish, there may have been a bit more oil or some other lubricant on the pen that may have transferred to the nib so I definitely recommend rinsing this nib before inking it up for the first time.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW writing sample

Once I got it going, this is another lovely medium nib. Its a bit stiffer than the medium nib on the Dia2 even though they are both steel nibs with an iridium tip. I definitely think that Kaweco medium nibs are not as broad as a comparable Lamy medium. Kaweco medium nibs are not as fine as Japanese nibs but not as broad as some other European medium nibs.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW writing sample

The AL-Sport is definitely a more durable option compared with the plastic Sport models. If you’re looking for an Everyday Carry pen, you can’t get a better option than the AL-Sport.

If fountain pens aren’t your thing, the AL-Sport RAW is also available in rollerball version with a cap as well. Click models are available in pencil, ballpoint and the touch model with twist and clip.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Kaweco for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Kickstarter: Karas Kustoms/Dudek Kube (Sorry I am feeling the K-Love Today)

Okay, its actually the Karas Kustoms/Dudek Cube but c’mon! You want to spell it with a K, don’t you? I do! Spelling issue aside, the rumored collaboration between those machined-tooled maniacs at Karas Kustoms and the “King of the Cube”, Mr. Mike Dudek is finally live on Kickstarter.

The Cube is an aluminum machined Cube, with Delrin inserts to protect your delicate writing instruments while simultaneously looking hardcore. Hurry, the low-low price of $65 per Cube is an early bird special so if you’ve been waiting on pins and needles for this project, back it now.

Ka-week-o! Review: Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen M Nib

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

I know Kaweco is pronounced “ca-vek-oh” but I thought it would be fun to play on the habit I have of saying “ca-week-oh” and start the first ever Kaweco Week – KA-WEEK-O!

To get the week started, I thought I’d show you a fountain pen I’ve always wanted to try: the Dia 2. Its got such beautifully classic looks. Kaweco hasn’t changed the physical look of this pen since it was introduced in the 1930s. It has the streamlined details inspired by the era, like the soft curve of the chromed brass clip, etched with the Kaweco script logo and decorative feather lines.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

At each end of the pen is the classic is Kaweco logo mark inlaid in chromed metal on the plastic. There is knurling at the ends of the pen which gives it a little grippy area and a functional but elegant look.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

There are some simple chrome rings around the base of the cap and on the ends of the pen which echo the look of all the streamlined designs from the 20s and 30s.

There is a simple stamped logo name on the cap, on the reverse side from the clip that simply states “KawecoDia Germany”.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

The nib is etched with the same decorative lines and text found on the Sport line and the nib is the same size. The nibs are not interchangeable from the Dia to a Sport, however.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

I’m a little ashamed to admit it but this is the first time I’ve used a medium nib on a Kaweco despite several people recommending it to me. The nib is buttery smooth and writes very well. There’s a little spring to the steel nib. It gives the writing experience a pleasing quality overall.

The Dia is a bit heavier than my usual go-to pens at 19gms unposted but, for me, is perfectly weighted for writing. Posted and filled the pen weighs 28gms. The Kaweco Student is 27gms capped but most of the weight feels like its in the chrome grip area to me, making it feel a little off balance when writing.

Kaweco Dia2 comparison

From top to bottom: Kaweco Student, Kaweco Dia2 and vintage Estrbrook

The Dia2 is just a hair longer than the Kaweco Student model and a little bit bigger overall than a vintage Esterbrook. I used to think a Pelikan M200 would be my dream pen but I’ve changed my mind. The Dia2 is my dream pen.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Levenger for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Guide Sheets Updated: Graph Paper Added!

guide sheets screen shot

Several requests have been made to add graph paper to the official Well-Appointed Desk Guide Sheets. Ask and you shall receive! I’ve included 5mm and 10mm graph paper in US letter, A5 and Field Notes (pocket notebook) sizes. I hope to add A4 in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you need graph paper in A4, check out PrintFreeGraphPaper.com.

But if ordinary graph paper is not enough for you, I found PrintablePaper.net for all the graph paper (logarithmic, isometric, hexagon, octagon and pentagon to name a few) you could want plus music paper, shooting targets, cross stitch, calligraphy and polar grid and so much more. You’re welcome.

Review: Levenger Circa Leather Pro Folio Notebook in Black

 Circa Pro Folio

Honestly, the Levenger Circa Pro Folio is the most posh thing I think I’ve ever owned. Its a letter-sized, black leather folio with a Circa notebook inside. I’ve always been intrigued with the Circa system. It seems to be a great way to have flexibility with a notebook – add, rearrange or remove pages easily without the inconvenience of a 3-ring binder. The Pro Folio takes this to a whole new level.

 Circa Pro Folio Presentation Box

I’m not inclined to go into a lot of detail about packaging but the box that the Pro Folio came in deserves notice. It felt like a box worthy of the product inside. The Pro Folio came in a heavyweight, glossy bronze box with an fabric elastic closure and subtle “Levenger” embossed on the box – prestigious without being fussy.

 Circa Pro Folio in box

Inside, the leather Pro Folio was wrapped in a felt cloth to protect it. The wrap was tastefully stamped with the Levenger logo.It reminds me of how high-end handbag manufacturers provide a felt bag for storing purses when not in use. Very elegant.

 Circa Pro Folio

By the time I had completely unwrapped it, it felt like my birthday. Inside was this beautiful, black leather folio. The Pro Folio is made of a soft-to-the-touch leather but has a sturdy material stitched inside to keep the covers rigid. It would be easy to use this folio on your lap in a lecture or meeting, if necessary. The leather along the spine is supple and the folio easily opens flat. I suspect the cover could fold back on itself but I can’t bring myself to mar the leather spine trying it.

 Circa Pro Folio detail

 Circa Pro Folio

Inside the front cover are two pockets for business cards and a larger slot for loose papers. The back cover has a full-length slot for holding the Circa notebook in place. The folio came with a standard Circa notebook with black rings and a clear, frosted plastic cover. The Circa notebook has 0.5″ rings and contains 60 sheets of 90 gsm soft white paper. The paper is lightly lined in a pale grey with a wide left margin left blank and spaces at the top for date and topic headers.

The folio will accommodate up to 1.5″ rings and 200 sheets of paper so there’s definitely room to grow with this folio.

 Circa Pro Folio Paper

I was so grateful to discover that such an extraordinary leather folio contained equally stunning paper. It took ink beautifully. Since Levenger does sell fountain pens I would have been surprised if their paper didn’t behave well with fountain pens. However, I was delighted with how well it behaved. The lines were light enough to accommodate even the lightest ink colors and pencil without obscuring legibility while keeping all the fountain pen lines crisp.

 Circa Pro Folio Writing Samples

I had the tiniest bit of show through with the Mont Blanc Meisterstück 90 Years Permanent Grey ink in my 1.1mm fountain pen but all the medium and fine nibs didn’t have a hint of show through which means this paper really can be used on both sides.

The Levenger Circa Pro Folio retails for $109-$129 depending on size.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Levenger for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Fashionable Friday: Inspired by Moonrise Kingdom

Fashionable Friday: Moonrise Kingdom

I was feeling in the mood for a fantastical camping trip rooted entirely in my mind so, of course, Wes Anderson’s delicacy Moonrise Kingdom popped to mind. I shall travel from my desk with records playing on the turntable and cocoa at the ready.

  • Anchor the Call Tin Mug $12.99 (Modcloth)
  • Girl Scouts Vintage Badge Flexi Journal $8.49 (via Amazon)
  • Zebra Fullst Mechanical Pencil – 0.5 mm – Plaid Black $3.30 (via Jet Pens)
  • Color Block Tangerine Notebook $8.95/3-pack (via Scout Books)
  • Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen in Green $25 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case – Book Style – Brown $17.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Retro 51 Tornado Touch Ballpoint Pen + Stylus – Lincoln Copper $27 (via Jet Pens)
  • Noodler’s Apache Sunset (3oz) $12.50 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Noodler’s Army Green (3oz) $12.50 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Paper Mate Black Pearl Erasers, Oval, Pack Of 2 for $2.39 (via Office Depot)
  • General Pencil Cedar Pointe Dozen for $17.80 (via Amazon)
  • DUX 3-Way Adjustable Brass Pencil Sharpener w/ 3 Replacement Blades and leather case $23.15 (via Pencil Things)
  • Great Outdoors Assorted Card Set Boxed set of 4 designs / 2 of each $16 (via Scout’s Honor Paper)
  • Moonrise Kingdom record-player brooch $7.66 (via Memories Warehouse on Etsy)

Happy Fountain Pen Day!

Fountain Pen Day Poster

There are so many sales and events going around the internet today that I’d be surprised if anyone has time to actually use their fountain pens. That said, my good friend Chris sent me this fountain penned greeting for the day.

Post your own fountain penned greeting and post it on Instagram. Tag your photo with  #fountainpenday and tag me in the post with @tuesday_next if you want. Can’t wait to see all the fountain pen goodness.

Happy Fountain Pen Day

What’s on my Desk(top)?

apps on my desktop

Strangely, for a fan of all things paper-and-pen/cil, I’ve been thinking a lot about my digital tools recently. I’ve been fiddling with which music player is best for me, what task manager can get me off the panic precipice as well as all the other digital tools I need to stay organized and productive like text input, calendar management and getting all this stuff to synchronize together.

I can’t be the only one who worries about the best way to stay on top of everything, can I? The to-do lists, grocery lists, ideas for blog posts, things to read now, things to share, things to read later, work projects, events in my life and everything else?

A lot of this fussing has come as a result of upgrading to Yosemite (OS X 10.10). Many of my standby tools required upgrading and some fell by the wayside. Other issues had never been thoroughly dealt with in the past so I used the growing pains of Yosemite as my chance to re-evaluate my whole digital tool library.

The first aspect to my organization is that I work on Mac and Apple products exclusively. I have an iMac 27″ at work (behind a big SERIOUS firewall), a personal 13″ MacBook Pro, an iPad Mini (the original incarnation, no retina, no data) and an iPhone 4s (seriously needing to be updated). As a result of my office firewall and absence of wi-fi for my iPad at work, I need most of my tools to be accessible without installing an app or feature a browser-accessible interface.

Music Player:

Luckily, most music players and streaming music tools are now accessible via web interface so I’ve been able to test and play with Spotify, Rdio and Pandora. The first one I ever tried was Rdio and I’ve built a lot of playlists on it. I abandoned it when everyone went to Spotify and played with that for awhile and finally went to Pandora for the ability to say, “I like English Beat. Play stuff like that,” without having to build all the playlists myself. But in the end, there was just as much work involved in grooming Pandora to my tastes that I might as well have built my own playlist.

So, I’ve come full circle and gone back to Rdio. The web interface is vastly improved over the last few years and includes a free streaming option (with ads) as well as paid subscriptions that allows users to download content to a mobile device. If you don’t pay for the premium subscription, the only mobile option is a “radio” option. The radio option let’s you select a song and the app builds a playlist based on it. I think Spotify free works the same way.

Podcast App:

Overcast has become my go-to for podcast listening. For me, the web interface means I can tether myself to my desk at work and access my podcasts without using up my mobile phone data plan. Sure, I don’t get the benefits of some of the iPhone app features (like speeding up the podcast or skipping pausese) but I can easily bounce back and forth from my phone at home to the browser at work and stay current.

Task Manager:

I’ve tried to keep daily lists on paper using a modification of the Bullet Journal system which is fine for personal projects and home stuff but work projects needed a digital option that would allow me to copy and paste text and rearrange and update a lot. I tried both Todoist and Wunderlist and have bounced back and forth, depending on the types of projects I’ve been working on. This week, I decided I needed to embrace ONE and make it work. So I chose Wunderlist because the Todoist site locked up on me and I could not use the web interface. Wunderlist provides web interface through a browser and a mac desktop app as well as iPad and iPhone versions. In other words, I can have all my lists wherever I am. I can add sub-lists and images to each “task” which, in my case, is a card collection or individual card design. I can snap a pic of the sketch to store with the task item. I don’t know why I didn’t figure this system out ages ago. Now I wish I could copy multiple sub-tasks from one task to the other because every card I do has to pass through the same series of tasks. Sometimes there’s additional task but it would be so helpful.

Photo Editing and Management:

I was one of those suckers who bought Aperture as my go-to photo editing and cataloging. So, with Apple’s announcement that they’ll no longer be supporting the app, I had to switch to Adobe Lightroom CC. Its been a slow process. It took about 8 hours to migrate my Aperture library to Lightroom. I can see why it is the preferred application. Even after just an hour using it, I think my photos look better and the interface is intuitively Adobe.

If photos need more manipulation, I use Adobe Photoshop CC. The weekly Fashionable Friday is built entirely in Photoshop and I design logos, icons and the like in Illustrator CC.

Text Input:

I still use paper for most list-making and taking notes in meetings. I need some excuse to use up all those notebooks and inks I buy. When I have to write on the computer, either to prepare blog posts, work documentation or brain musings, I still have a gap.

I’ve heard lots of recommendations for DayOne as a place to dump ideas but I’m not sure how easy it is to access individual pieces and how much formatting it allows.

I’m taking recommendations now!

Calendar Management:

I still use iCal (or whatever Apple is calling it these days). I use Fanstastical on my iPhone which makes adding events on the go super easy. Wunderlist automatically adds tasks to a special calendar on iCal and provide alerts to keep me on task as well so that all my calendar activites sync. Sadly, my work calendar is the cheese that stand alone. My company uses Outlook and the calendar cannot be linked or synced to my iCal for whatever reason. So I have to manually add events. If anyone has a workaround for syncing Outlook to iCal let me know.

Other tools:

I use 1Password to keep all my passwords sorted. I use Suitcase Fusion to keep my massive font collection together. I build some of my photo collages with PicFrame (like the one at the top of this post). I live and die at the hands of Alfred who helps me find my apps, my files, helps me add, spell and even defines words for me in a pinch. I use Firefox almost exclusively for web browsing and have plugins for some of my favorite utilities like Pinterest, Evernote, Twitbin, 1Password and Wunderlist. Most of my email is now managed by Gmail.

Do you use any of these tools to keep organized? Have any recommendations for me?

Link Love: Pen-demonium

Link Love Link MascotThis week is full of pen reviews, particular fountain pens which is so fitting since tomorrow is Fountain Pen Day. So if you don’t have a fountain pen yet, check out all these reviews and maybe you’ll find your new favorite.

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Review: Productive Luddite Notebooks Part 2 (and Giveaway)

Productive Luddite Notebooks

This is part two of the Productive Luddite notebook reviews. If you didn’t get a chance to read Part One, check it out.

Productive Luddite Blog Paper

The first up is the Blog Paper notebook ($14.95). Its another soft cover book with 108 pages between the 7×10″ glossy black covers. (I completely forgot to photograph the cover so I’m using the promotional image. You can see the spine in the stacked photo and the glossy stock like the New Daily Planner reviewed in Part One). Inside is bright white paper with tinted areas to plan a blog or a post or just employ the various sections for your next project.

Productive Luddite Blog Paper

The pages are laid out to emulate a traditional blog page with a header at the top, a notes section for writing, a sidebar area, a footer and a section for tags for your post. The layout allows for other kinds of note-taking too beyond blog posts or blog planning as each section allows for various content — the sidebar for to-dos, the center section for project, class or meeting notes and the header can just be for date and subject.

Productive Luddite Blog Paper writing sample

I find the form factor very interesting but, sadly, the books are glue-bound so it does not lay as flat as I’d like it. I’m more inclined to work on the left-hand facing pages as a result which makes me feel even like a weird lefty. Oh well.

The paper is good with most pens. Rollerballs, ballpoints, gel pens and pencils all worked great and fountain pens did not feather but there was a little show through on the reverse of the stock with wider nibs.

Productive Luddite Freestyle Really Big Notebook

The Freestyle Really Big Notebook $29.95 (and available in ten different colored covers) is an extra large notebook boasting over 800 pages of space for your biggest projects. The book is 7×10″ and as thick as a New York City phone book (when NYC still had phone books). The paper is the same bright white as the Blog Paper notebook but the only printing on the pages is a small grey page number in the lower corner of each page. With no lines to mar the paper, you can easily use a guide sheet or two behind your page to turn each page into lined, grid or whatever your whim.

2-freestyle-really-big-notebook-02-index

In the front of the book is an index to help organize and locate your idea in the massive book.

Productive Luddite Really Big Notebook  writing sample

I found the paper particularly receptive to whatever tool I threw at it, even some juicy brush pens with minimum show through. Colors stay true and there’s enough heft to the paper to tackle some light washes, colored pencils and other art-making tools.

Productive Luddite Really Big Notebook  writing sample

There was a little feathering around the edges of my Lamy Studio 1.1mm writing with the Mont Blanc Meisterstuck Permanent Grey but overall, with finer tipped tools, the writing was really good and would make this paper a good candidate for writing or drawing.

Because of the size of this book, there can be some awkward writing angles if you’re working at the very front of the book or the very back but there are some compromises if you need 800 pages in your notebook.

With the soft covers, I don’t know how well this book will hold up after you fill all 800 pages, the spine and covers might show some serious wear. If you finish a whole Freestyle Really Big Notebook, I want to see pictures!

Productive Luddite Really Big Notebook reverse writing sample

Overall, I think Productive Luddite is doing some really unique things with their products and the prices are really good.

Giveaway:
Productive Luddite is kindly allowing me to give away three Freestyle Really Big Notebooks and three Matte Black Star-Studded Samplers. Six winners in all. Winner’s of the Really Big Notebook can pick the color of the color. Just “like” Productive Luddite on Facebook to be entered to win and then add your entry via the Rafflecopter widget below. Contest eligibility limited to US Continental addresses.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Productive Luddite for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ink Review: J. Herbin Poussière de Lune

J. Herbin Poussière de Lune

 

If you’d told me five years ago that I would like purple inks, I would have scoffed. The older, wiser me nods agreeably. “Indeed, there are some purple inks I do quite like.” J. Herbin’s Poussière de Lune (Moon Dust Purple) is one such purple. This is another ink I purchased in the little 10ml shooter bottle ($4.75 each) which is just such fun. Any day now, I think I’ll own the whole spectrum of J. Herbin inks just because I can purchase them all in these little snack-sized bottles.

Poussière de Lune is an eggplant-y purple black. The photos show a bit more luminance and a touch more red than it appears in person.  When I first touched the ink to paper, I was immediately struck with the complexity of the color and it reminded me of the original formula of Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses. When I compared the inks though, Poussière de Lune is actually closer in color to Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa without the iron gall. This might be a plus for some people who want the color of Scabiosa but are worried about damaging their pens with an iron gall ink.

J. Herbin Poussière de Lune

The color does dry a flat, matte color but I think that’s to be expected with any inks that aren’t in the J. Herbin 1670 line with the metallic flakes in them.

Overall, I like the performance of J. Herbin inks. They are wet enough for my fine nib pens and have a good amount of shading. Poussière de Lune is no exception and may actually be one of my favorite J. Herbin inks thus far.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Fountain Pen Day: Nov. 7

Fountain Pen Day is Friday, November 7th 2014. The first Friday in November is a day to celebrate, promote and share the love of fountain pens with the world. Celebrate in your own way by writing with your fountain pens. If you don’t own one, November 7th is the perfect day to go out and buy or order your first pen. For more information about Fountain Pen Day and to find retailers and resources participating in Fountain Pen Day, visit FountainPenDay.org.

There will be lots of ways to celebrate the upcoming Fountain Pen Day including giveaways, sales and goodies. Check with all your favorite retailers and bloggers for more details. Here’s what I know so far:

Any orders placed to the Well-Appointed Desk Shop will include free Fountain Pen Day swag until I run out.

There are still five days left to order an official Fountain Pen Day t-shirt from Cotton Bureau ($28 for charcoal, $27 for red shirt — available in men’s and women’s sizing).

Pen Chalet is sponsoring a bevvy of coupons and discounts and an epic giveaway in honor of Fountain Pen Day. There will be a special coupon on Fountain Pen Day for use on ALL items. Check back on their site on Friday, November 7th, 2014 for the coupon code and then place your order. There will be special discounts on select items. Enter your email in the “Special Offers” at the top of their page or enter the giveaway to the right to receive notification of the Fountain Pen Day Deals. There will be freebies in each order while supplies last.

And then there’s the epic giveaways! Pen Chalet is giving away about $1000 in prizes including the following(enter to win here):

  • Platinum President Fountain Pen ($275 retail value) Blue w/ gold trim, Broad nib
    Sailor Reglus Fountain Pen ($140 retail value) Marine Blue w/ chrome trim, Medium nib
  • Sheaffer Prelude Fountain Pen ($100 retail value) Brushed Chrome w/ 22K Gold Plated Trim, Medium nib
  • Field Notes Cherry Wood Notebook ($9.95 retail value) Cherry wood w/ graph paper
  • Clairefontaine 1951 Blue Notebook ($4.50 retail value)
  • Pelikan 205 Fountain Pen ($195 retail value) Black w/ chrome trim, Medium nib
  • Taccia Covenant Fountain Pen ($129 retail value) Jet Black w/ gold trim, Medium nib
  • Lamy Safari Fountain Pen ($37 retail value) Charcoal, Medium nib
    Rhodia Ice No. 16 Notebook ($5.50 retail value)
  • J Herbin Vert Empire Fountain Pen Ink ($10 retail value)

Are there any other events, giveaways or special deals for Fountain Pen Day? Leave a note in the comments and happy penning!

Faber-Castell Neon Pink Pencil Set

Faber Castell Neon Pink Pencil Set

The last time I was in my local pen shop, The Pen Place, I saw this box set of Faber-Castell Grip pens in neon pink sitting on a high shelf. I made the clerks pull the box down for me and I insisted on taking them home. The box set included three neon pink triangular-shaped Grip pencils with laser foil dots along the body, a pink fold-out sharpener and a matching pink fold out wedge eraser. I paid $30 for the set which was probably more than I should have but the Faber-Castell Grip pencils are some of my favorite pencils ever so I had to try this version.

I did find a two-pencil set on Amazon in pink and black for about $15 with the sharpener and eraser. I also found a set that looked more purple-y than pink but did include the three pencils for about the same price on Amazon as well.

Faber Castell Neon Pink Pencil Set

In my testing of this version of the Grip pencils, I realized that I much prefer an eraserless pencil. Sorry, Palomino Blackwings! I love the look of those wedge erasers but I find myself reaching for the pencils without the eraser caps more than the ones with the erasers.

Faber Castell Neon Pink Pencil Set writing sample

The pencils aren’t labelled with the hardness but I’d guess these were a HB or #2. Because the dots on the grip area of theses pencils are actually hot foil, they are slightly debossed compared to the raised rubber dots on the standard grey Grip 2001 pencils. This makes them a little less comfortable out of the box. I do like the triangular shape a lot and I have a feeling that, with use, the grip area will feel a little smoother and I’ll notice the foil debossed areas a little less. That said, I’m more inclined to stock up on the classic 2001 pencils with the grippy rubber dots, even though they melt in the heat. The pink pencils can be my “extreme weather” 2001s.

The sharpener worked well and created a short but sharp point. The blade was not labelled but since Faber-Castell is a German company, I wouldn’t be surprised if the blade was from KUM. I didn’t test to see if I could swap it out or not but there was a screw holding the blade in place so I hold out hope that it can be replaced when needed. The closing mechanism covers the sharpener hole so that shavings and graphite chips are less likely to coat the inside of my bag. It won’t hold a ton of shavings but its suitable for on-the-go sharpening needs.

The eraser is a great wedge shape that folds into the plastic carrier to keep it from picking up dirt and lint. The wedge shape also gives it a sharp edge that’s easy to use on a single word or line of writing. I’m sure it will blunt over time but this is definitely one of the most pleasing travel eraser configurations I’ve come across. It works pretty well. The Staedtler Mars Plastic still outperformed it but it is more the adequate for most purposes and the shape and plastic travel cover help make it an eraser that will get a lot of use in my collection.

This unique neon set makes me smile everytime I pick them up.  I love Faber-Castell Grip pencils so I’m glad I bought this. I’d recommend seeking out the less expensive sets which are probably a better value though.

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