Review: Lanier Classic Elite Fountain Pen

Lanier wood turned fountain pen box

The fine folks over at MassDrop sent me a Lanier Classic Elite fountain pen around Christmas but somehow, the package got lost in the mail. So Lanier had to actually make me a new pen. It arrived last week and I wasn’t entirely sure what I would be getting. When I unwrapped the plain white paperboard shipper box, I was quite surprised to find a beautiful wooden box inside. The box has a satiny red stain and a small divot carved into it to open it.

Lanier wood turned fountain pen

Nestled inside, on a grooved cut out, was the Lanier Classic Elite hand-turned wood fountain pen. The model I received is made from yellow box elder wood and has a smooth, glossy, almost marble-like finish.

The cap can be threaded onto the end of the pen for those who prefer to post their caps. Posted, the Lanier Classic Elite measures 6.5″ long. Unposted, its a pleasing 4.75″ long which is perfectly comfortable for my small hands. Closed and capped the pen is 5.375″.

I had anticipated that a wood pen with metal inner barrel and hardware would be really heavy but it was actually incredibly well-weighted and comfortable. The pen, posted and filled, weighs 34g. Unposted but filled with a standard cartridge converter, it weighs 20g.

Fountain Pen Weights

Lanier wood turned fountain pen

The Lanier Classic Elite is trimmed in a combination of 24K gold plating and gun metal. The clip is in the gunmetal and tight but springy and wide enough to fit on most notebook covers.

The nib is also plated in gold. The nib looks like a standard Schmidt nib in medium which is a very good quality nib. The nib is on the smaller side (same size as the nibs in Kaweco Sport line, 7mm wide at the widest point) but the size works with the overall dimensions of the pen.

Lanier Classic Elite writing sample

I filled the pen with Private Reserve Ultra Black Quick Dry ink using my Rhodia Uni Blank No. 18 pad. As soon as I inked up the pen, it was ready to go. There was little to no priming needed. The nib has a bit of softness to it which gives my writing some nice line variation. The ink is dark, dark, dark so I wasn’t able to see a lot of shading but the softness of the nib made it a pleasure to write with.

The grip is incredibly comfortable. So much so, that I sort of forgot to think about it while I was writing.

This is definitely a pen I can see myself using regularly. Its elegant with great details and excellent craftsmanship. I was pleasantly surprised with the whole pen experience and my first experience with a wood-turned pen.

Lanier Writing Sample

There are seven days left in the MassDrop campaign and the more people who commit to a purchase, the lower the price will be. Right now, each pen is $124.99 but prices could dip as low as $99.99 if at least 30 people commit to a purchase. This MassDrop is limited to 75 pens since each one is handcrafted.

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

Fashionable Friday: Kendi Everyday

Fashionable Friday: Kendi

Today’s Fashionable Friday was inspired by the casual-chic style of blogger Kendi Everday and this fab outfit in muted tones of blue, burgundy and bronze.

  • Kaweco Sport Classic fountain pen dark brown, limited availability 17,95 € (via Fontoplumo)
  • Pilot FriXion Ball 4 4-Color Gel Ink Multi Pen – 0.5 mm in Bordeaux $13.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Diamine Syrah Ink $12.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Uni Mitsubishi 9850 Pencil HB $1 (via Jet Pens)
  • Field Notes 80-Page Steno Book $9.95 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Apica Premium C.D. B5 Notebook 7 mm Rule $19.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Retro Funky Glasses Necklace $10 (via ZARDENIA on Etsy)
  • De Atramentis Fog Grey Ink $12.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Navy Super Stacked Desk Accessories Set $55 (via Poppin)
  • Edison Pearlette Fountain Pen in Aztec Gold Flake $149 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Caran d’Ache Ultra Violet Ink $32 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Midori TRAVELER’S Notebook in Brown £40 (via The Journal Shop)
  • Midori BRASS Pencil in Brown £14.95 (via The Journal Shop)

(photo inspiration via Kendi Everyday)

Upcycled Soda Box Pencil Boxes

If you’re like me, sometimes you like to send pencils to pals. This tutorial and template to make a pencil box out of an old soda can box (or probably any large paperboard box like cereal, beer case, etc) will help keep those pencils safe in transit and look fab when they arrive.

Slight modifications to the PDF template could be made to accommodate pens, markers or other writing tools. Might even work as a storage box for double pointed knitting needles. So many options!

(via Creative Itch Boutique)

13 Things to Do With All Those Blank Notebooks

Over the holiday break I did a lot of tidying up around my home office/studio and one of the things I came across was the supply shop quantities of notebooks I have in my closet. Some I’ve taken out of the cellophane wrapper and tested for a review and then they languish in the cupboard. So I’m “saving” and some I might not have liked as much but they could still be useful.

Then I heard Myke talking about trying to use the notebooks he has and I started trying to come up with things I could do to put these notebooks to good use and simultaneously be more productive.

Here’s a list I compiled from various sources and my own crazy ideas for things to do with that pile of empty notebooks you might have laying around:

  1. Daily Journal
  2. Morning Pages/Free Writing/Brain Dump
  3. Lists (Bullet Journal)
  4. Mind Mapping
  5. Sketchnoting
  6. Practice your handwriting
  7. Test all those pens and inks
  8. Commonplace book
  9. Dream Journal
  10. Travel Journal
  11. Book (to-read or read) Journal
  12. Disassemble, cut or remove the pages to use as a notepad or hole punch and put into a binder
  13. Collage, art journal or sketch book

I’m sure I didn’t think of all the myriad of possibilities but I hope these ideas might inspire you to crack the cover on one of those notebooks you have squirreled away. Do you keep a notebook dedicated to a different subject or have a recommendation?

I found a lot of other people writing about this topic with the start of the new year. Lots of people are trying to commit to writing more, journaling or getting organized and nothing will get you there faster than just writing stuff down.

Link Love: Breadman and Penman

rp_link-ana1.jpgFountain Pens:

Inks:

Pens:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Planning:

Other things of interest:

Kikki-K 2015 Medium Time Planner in Mint

Kikki K in Mint

When I was trying to decide which planner I would use this year, the Kikki-K line was definitely in the running. When I saw the minty green medium Time Planner, I was all grabby hands. So, I ordered it. Of course, traveling from Australia during the holidays meant it took a bit longer to receive. So, in the meantime, I’ve really become attached to my Filofax Original in dark aqua. But I thought I’d unbox the Kikki-K in mint and give it a test drive anyway.

The cover closes with a wide, color-coordinated elastic that runs vertically down the book à la Moleskine. Its a thick dense elastic that seems like it should stand up to several years of wear.

Kikki K back cover

Can I wax poetic about the color first? It is a perfect match for an assortment of pens I own which absolutely warms my heart. The Sharbo-X is a perfect color match, as is the Pentel i+ multi-pen. For that reason alone, I should love this planner.

The Kikki-k web site claims that the Time Planners are leather but compared to the Filofax Original, it doesn’t feel like leather. There is a heavy texture on the exterior and the cover has a stiffener board sandwiched in between the two pieces of leather making it feel less like leather and more like PU.  But Kikki-k says its leather, so I’ll trust them but it doesn’t feel to me as much like leather and the thicker covers means it will take a little effort to train the covers to lay flat. The way that the binder is assembled also makes the cover feel puffy which could be a good thing but does not appeal to me.

Kikki K inside cover

Inside the front cover is a secretary pocket as well as an assortment of slot pockets. (Please disregard the white around the rings, it is the paper protector including in shipping). Kikki-K included some cards in the pockets with notes for best practices in opening and closing the rings and inspirational messages. The overall design of the paper products is really good. ITs all clean, simple and nicely designed. The paper goods have a classic yet modern look. Another reason why I should love this planner.

Kikki K tabs

The planner includes a full set of refills that feature a page for personal information, the full year as week on two pages plus a monthly calendar on two pages, a section for addresses, birthdays & anniversaries, shops & restaurants, to-do, and expenses. Each of the glossy navy blue tabs are labelled and each sections has clean, simple sheets as well. The tabs are cardstock and the filler pages are a lightweight paper. I did not do any pen tests but I suspect that anything more than a gel or ballpoint pen will probably have some bleed or show through.

There is also a removeable, translucent plastic “this week” bookmark. Again, really nicely designed. Its simple but it looks good.

Kikki K Week On Two Pages

On the week on two pages, Saturday and Sunday share the bottom slot and Sunday is highlighted in red. The individual slots for days have light grey dotted lines to keep your writing aligned.

Kikki K Gold Rings

The rings are gold which some people love and others don’t but more importantly for a planner, the rings align perfectly. There is no gapping,unlike when my Filofax arrived, so the paper can be flipped back and forth with no catching or snagging on a misaligned or gapping ring. The rings open and close with a firm click.

Kikki K vs Filofax Original rings

And the Kikki-K rings are a 0.5cm wider than the Filofax original. The Filofax rings are 2cm wide and the Kikki-K are 2.5cm. The Kikki-K rings are also slightly oval rather than perfectly round.

Kikki K with Pentel i+ pen

There is an elastic look on the right hand side of the binder to hold a pen. Its the same dense elastic used to close the cover. I put the Pentel i+ 3 multi-pen in the loop which is of average thickness for a pen and there was some wiggle room. This pen loop seems like it would be most useful with a 4-color multi-pen  like the Uni Style Fit. The Sharbo-X was a little too narrow and unless I caught the clip on the elastic, I would worry that it would fall out. And for most people, a right-side pen loop is perfect but I am so spoiled by the left-side pen loop on the Filofax Original that the loop on the right is annoying to me.

The back cover has one horizontal slot across the top to hold a notepad and one is included in the binder.

Kikki K filled with my stuff

My last test was to see if all the stuff that I’m currently carrying in my FIlofax Original would fit into the Kikki-K Medium. It all fit and it looked good contrasted with the minty green.

Kikki K filled

I did notice that if I did not loop the elastic around the binder when it was filled with real life stuff, it flapped. Now, this might lessen over time as its used but since this is only my third experience with a planner binder, I found it kind of annoying.

Overall, its super pretty. The fact that the planner ships with a full set of inserts makes this a great starter kit for anyone who wants to get into planners. That said, and it breaks my minty green heart to say it, this planner is not for me.

 

Review:Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

The Kaweco Zequenz notebook is a very different take on a notebook. Its actually two notebooks held together by a z-fold PU leatherette cover. One side is a light brown, the reverse is a dark brown. Around the middle is a wide dark brown elastic with a leatherette embossed logo that creates a pen loop section on the elastic.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Sorry for the slightly out of focus image but its the only shot I took that shows the elastic removed completely from the notebook. This is a plus for anyone who finds the attached elastics on Moleskine-style notebooks annoying. However, I’m concerned I’d misplace the elastic.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Here you can see the z-fold style cover that attaches the two different notebooks. One side is filled with lined paper and the other side with blank paper. The paper is the same shade of white in both books and the same weight, just one is lined and one is not.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

There are 60 sheets of paper in each book and the whole notebook is under one inch thick.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

The line spacing is a bit wider than I usually prefer at 7.5mm. I like 6-7mm but its a nice middle ground for the size of the notebook and general preferences. The ruling is a very fine line in grey so its not distracting and should not interfere with most ink colors or graphite darknesses.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Its a pretty small notebook overall, an A6 (148x105mm or 5.8″x4.1″) which makes it pretty portable, perfect for notes on the go, meetings, or travel journaling. Potentially, one side could be dedicated to work notes and one to home notes or two specific projects. There’s a lot to be intrigued about this notebook set-up.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

I’ve read other reviews (search Pennaquod for “Zequenz” to find all the other recent reviews) about this notebook and a lot of people seemed really disappointed in the ink handling — especially for a company know to sell a wide assortment of fountain pens with lots of nib sizes. So, for me, I went into the testing expecting the worst. As a result, I was pleasantly surprised. The paper is super smooth making it pleasing to write upon.

I started the tests with fountain pens and didn’t see any feathering or terrible bleeding but I did not put it to the limits. There was a little softness with some pen/ink combos but I made a point to test with either a Kaweco pen or Kaweco ink and the paper held up pretty well.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

From the reverse side, you can see a little show through and I suspect a darker ink would have shown some bleed through but overall my results were not as terrible as I had been expecting. The paper is definitely better than a Moleskine notebook and its a soft white instead of the yellowy ivory color so that’s something.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Where the paper really seemed to shine was in testing everyday gel and rollerball pens and pencils. Pencils were particularly nice on the super smooth paper. I can see where sketching on this paper would be quite pleasing.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Again, there’s a little show through on the reverse even with the non-fountain pens but not so bad that I wouldn’t use both sides of the paper.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

What I did notice was that my Sport Series pens did not fit into the pen loop very well, at least not securely enough for me. That was super annoying.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Full-sized Kaweco pens like the Dia II and Student fit snugly but do fit into the loop. I suspect the Special series is too slender to fit the loop so the pen loop on the elastic has limited uses. I would probably just use a clip on the Sport series pens, and clip it to the elastic band.

Overall I’m intrigued with the Zequenz. I appreciate that Kaweco tried to do something different with their notebook but I feel like a few of the decisions made in production were iffy at best. I think I’d prefer the Zequenz to be a customizable system. At present, there’s just one option with the notebook and if you don’t like one or the other paper format, you might just walk away from the Zequenz altogether. I’d like to to be able to choose a real leather cover rather than PU and for the books be slip-in inserts. That way I could choose which two notebooks and/or replace one side or the other as needed. Then notebooks could be offered in plain, lined or grid, and maybe a heavier stock specifically for fountain pens. If the elastic either had no pen loop or I could choose between a small, medium or large loop, that would also be preferable. Am I just envisioning a z-fold cover version of a Midori Traveler’s Notebook? I might be.


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.

Review: TWSBI Diamond 580 in Christmas Green

TWSBI 580 in Christmas Green

I bought myself a little green Christmas present in the form of the TWSBI Diamond 580 in Christmas green color ($50). The body of the pen, where the ink reservoir is, is still transparent but the cap and piston end are a lovely green color. It’s not a kelly green which I thought it might be but rather has just a hint of blue making it very unique color — like tender blue spruce maybe. The color tickles me.

TWSBI 580 in Christmas Green

I’ve owned a Diamond 540 and the 580 is pretty much identical in size, shape and weight. Since I gave my 580 away awhile ago, I can’t do a side-by-side, but to the naked eye, there is no distinct design difference. I think they just improved the materials to eliminate the cracking issue in the early 540 line.

The 580 shipped in the same cardboard outer box and clear plastic inner box that my 540 and TWSBI Mini arrived in. I like the packaging. Its pleasing to look at without feeling too over-the-top.

TWSBI 580 in Christmas Green

I ordered the 580 with an F nib and it has ended up being smoother than my previous EF nibs. I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly it wrote and didn’t feel all that much broader than the EF.

TWSBI 580 in Christmas Green

TWSBI 580 in Christmas Green

The 580 in green is another fine product from TWSBI. If you’ve been considering adding a TWSBI to your collection, the 580 is a great option and is available in a lot of color configurations.

Fashionable Friday: What’s in Rachel’s Bag?

FF-rachel

This week I thought I would use Rachel Goulet’s lovely #whatsinmybag photo as inspiration. I found many of the items she carries plus items inspired by her color sense and style. Enjoy and thanks to Rachel for being my inspiration!

  • The Lookout in Sky $20 (via NockCo)
  • Pennybridge Compact Organizer in Raspberry $61 (via Filofax)
  • Floral iPhone Case 4/4s and 5/5s $20 (Retro Love on Etsy)
  • Midori D-Clip Penguin Paper Clips – Box of 30 $7.25 (via Jet Pens)
  • Nylon Shopper in Turquoise $139 (via Dooney & Bourke)
  • Diamine Havasu Turquoise Ink $12.95 $10.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji (Azalea) Ink $28 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Arc Customizable Patent Leather Notebook System, Pink Quilted, Letter-sized $33 (via Staples)
  • Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen – Raden Stripe with Rhodium Trim $640 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Sailor Professional Gear 14K nib Fountain Pen in pink $156 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Kaweco Ice Sport Fountain Pens in Pink $27 (via Pen Chalet)

(image via Goulet Pens on Instagram account )

Post your own #whatinmybag picture on Instagram and tag me (@wellapptdesk) and maybe you’ll be my next featured Fashionable Friday!

The Tab Notebook

The Tab Notebook Set by SUCK UK

This week, on a random hunt on Amazon, I came across the Suck UK Tab Notebook Set. This is a set of four A5 notebooks, each with a diecut tab in four different positions. This set of books would be perfect in a A5-sized (Midori Traveler’s Notebook-style) leather cover. Might be worth searching Etsy for a good cover to go with these pretty books.

The Tab Notebook Set by SUCK UK

The covers are kraft card stock and each book is filled with 64 tinted pages with narrow spaced ruled lines. One book is filled with blue paper, one with pink, one with yellow and one with green.

I don’t know anything about the paper quality since I haven’t ordered a set…yet but I quite like the looks.

(The SUCK UK Tab Notebook 4-book set sells for  $15.)

The Tab Notebook Set by SUCK UK

Winner: Nock Co DotDash Notepad

NockCo DotDash Pocket Notebook

Just wanted to announce the winner of the Nock Co DotDash notebook….

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 8.19.23 AM

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 8.21.22 AM

Congrats, John! Your wish came true! I’ll be emailing you to arrange delivery. Thanks to everyone who entered and I will be forwarding the whole list of color recommendations on to Nock Co to convince them to cater to our whims!

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying UpIn the wake of the new year, I decided I might try to read up on how to get more organized. One of the first books to come into my field of vision was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Its a thin volume with a very repetitive set of instructions on how to best de-clutter and the order in which to tackle the task.

As I was reading it, there were some keen observations. I specifically liked thinking about her suggestion to “hold each item in your hands and ask yourself if it brings you joy”. While this is appealing in theory, the practical application is not. I read Tif Fusel’s review of this book and her husband’s response: “my leaf blower and lawn mower bring me no joy, i do not need to hold them in my hand to know that. shall i thank them, then get rid of them so we can slowly be buried under a pile of yard waste?” And this, is the crux of my issue with the whole book. There are lots of things that we keep in our homes that bring us no joy — snow shovels, for example — but that we need to keep for those moments that require their use. We might be required to dress in a certain way for work that may provide us with no joy but is required like a suit or uniform. Though I suppose from the book, we could glean that we should limit how much this un-joyful stuff should take up in our homes and our hearts.

However, we also keep many things in our homes that bring us no joy, that we hold onto out of obligation (“But grandma gave it to me for Christmas!”) and things we think we might need one day (I really want to learn to arrange flowers, needlepoint, whittle, play the harp, etc). These are the things that Ms. Kondo is trying to convince us to unburden ourselves of keeping.

There is a large focus in the book about weeding out excess clothing, books and papers that is at the core of many people’s personal clutter. She did not go into any detail about how to balance the clutter of work-at-home offices or anyone with a specific hobby that may occupy a good deal of space. She filed all of this in her “miscellany” category which I think is a bit short-sighted.

As a product blogger, much of my excess is in the form of piles of notebooks, pens, inks and other office supplies.  I have some ideas about how to remove a lot of the excess from my stash but it will require time and effort on my part which is why I haven’t tackled it yet. Sadly, for me, its not laziness but a limit to the amount of time I have to accomplish MANY tasks and a need to prioritze which gets done this week and what has to wait. I think that applies to many people as well. Whether its cleaning out a clothes closet or sorting through bank papers — how much time to we have to devote to these tasks rather than spending time with friends, family or a favorite book.

Ms. Kondo also talked repeatedly about removing bags upon bags of garbage. The environmentalist in me got itchy at the idea of all this stuff ending up in landfills. As I attempted to integrate some of her ideas into my own life, I made bags and boxes for charity and put my paper shredder to use so that most of the paper materials I got rid of could be recycled. I’ve already taken three bags to charity and four boxes to the second-hand bookshop and that’s just the tip of my efforts to get rid of excess.

In the end, the perspective that she provided about thinking through what we own and why we hold onto things was enlightening. And her parting message is that by clearing away the detritus — those unloved, ill-fitting, no-longer-interesting things from our lives — we leave room for new things and new experiences. This is that part that was appealing.

Link Love: Pens at the Ready for February

Link Love Link MascotThis week is International Letter Writing Week which is a perfect time to tackle those thank you notes and dust off your letter writing skills in preparation for February which is LetterMo/A Month of Letters and InCoWriMo. So, I thought I’d include a few inspirational posts in honor of this the lettery-ist time of the year.

Fountain Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Notebooks & Paper:

Other interesting stuff:

Review: Platinum Preppy 0.2 EF Fountain Pen

Platinume Preppy EF 0.2 fountain Pen

Whenever someone mentions a cursory curiosity in fountain pens, I recommend trying a Platinum Preppy. Personally, I find the nib to be fine enough on the Platinum Preppy not to scare away a new user accustomed to rollerballs, ballpoints and the occasional gel pen. And at $4, its the financial commitment equivalent of a venti mocha at Starbucks. But now, there’s another option: the Platinum Preppy 02 EF, an even finer version.

For me, the Preppy 02 is a good entry into the world of needle fine Japanese fountain pens. And its cost is a more like a venti peppermint mocha with an extra shot ($5). So, still… not a huge financial commitment.

Platinume Preppy EF 0.2 fountain Pen

With the introduction of the Preppy 02 EF, Platinum is re-branding the whole Preppy line. Instead of having tinted nibs to match the ink colors, all the Preppies will have silver tone nibs and the ink colors will be indicated by the design details on the pen. I preferred the aesthetic looks of the old Preppy design but I’m willing to overlook the aethetics for a $5 EF Japanese nib. Because, let’s be honest, Platinum decided to use the mass market disposable pen approach to the graphics on the new Preppy line. I’d rather the clear plastic show the inner workings than mucking up the whole pen with silvery printed graphics. But that’s just me.

Platinume Preppy EF 0.2 fountain Pen

If you’ve not tried the original Preppy, its a fully plastic pen with a Platinum fountain pen cartridge. Some people do modify these pens to be eyedropper pens though I don’t know if the new design will support this (I haven’t looked for holes in the plastic that would inhibit this use). Its a fairly lightweight pen with a cap that will post to give a bit more weight to the pen. The clip is also plastic but its pretty sturdy for being plastic and looks similar in construction to the original Preppy.

Platinume Preppy EF 0.2 fountain Pen

In writing tests, this pen performed exceptionally well. I used the stock cartridge that shipped with the pen and started writing. It is a tiny bit scratchy — not rough in writing but I could hear the sound of my writing on the paper as a “scritch, scritch” which I suspect is a result of how fine the nib is. But I really like it. I’m a little ashamed to like writing with a $5 pen so much when I have a cupboard full of much more expensive pens. But this is a good pen to try if you’re curious about an ultra-fine Japanese nib. It won’t be for everyone but at $5, its worth taking it for a test drive.

I purchased mine from Goulet Pens but other retailers are starting to stock the Preppy 02 EF so you have options. In the meantime, if you preferred the look of the original Preppy pens, go grab them now because all the Preppy line will be replaced with the silvery painted versions soon. I suspect the markers and highlighters will also get the updated look. Ugh.

Did you know…?

housekeeping

Just thought I’d provide a little housekeeping info here.

I recently updated by username on Instagram. If you’d like to follow me there you can find me @wellapptdesk. Be prepared for pens, paper, knitting and the occasional cocktail photo.

If you don’t already follow me on Twitter, you can also find me as @wellapptdesk.

There is a Facebook page for the Well-Appointed Desk though I’m not a frequent user of Facebook. I check in here about once a week and will reply to comments.

And finally, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions for the site, please use the Ask The Desk link at the top of the page. I reply back to almost all emails, unless you’re that Prince from Nigeria – I told you, man, its over between us!

(image borrowed from Envision The American Dream)

Show & Tell: Field Notes DDC Factory Floor Edition : “Simple Minded Silver Streak”

Field Notes DDC Factory Floor Silver Streak

This is my first DDC Factory Floor edition of Field Notes. These were released for the Draplin Design Pop-Up Store in Portland but a handful were made available on the Draplin website. I was able to score two 3-packs.

I’m feeling oddly collector-y about these. Usually when I buy two sets of Field Notes, I give one set to my husband and as soon as he saw these he was all grabby hands and I swatted him away.

Each of the three books has a different color cover: metallic silver, orange and a copper-y color made from combining the orange and silver inks. Inside is bright white 50# paper with orange grid ruling. All of this information I’ve had to cull from the internet because I can’t bring myself to break the shrinkwrap seal yet. For a more in-depth review, check out the Gentleman Stationer who had the decency to take these out of the wrappers.

Field Notes DDC Factory Floor Silver Streak backs

In retrospect, I think I should let these be opened and used in the manner they were designed to be used. Leaving them in shrinkwrap indefinitely is no way to live. I think in 2015, I hope to stop “collecting” and start using the Field Notes I’ve accumulated.

How about you? Collector or user?

Kickstarter: Code & Quill Notebooks

Kickstarter: Code & Quill Notebooks


Code & Quill Notebooks
are a new Kickstarter project that was designed to appeal to anyone who needs to combine note taking with sketches or more freeform content. The “indentation rule” is particularly unique in that it provides tick marks along the line to help with indentation often used in coding. I’ve seen this type of indentation in some Japanese notebooks as well to space kanji characters properly but it has not appeared in any western notebooks that I know of.

The Code & Quill notebooks are available in either softcover or hardcover editions. Both books are 5.5″ x 7.7″ (a little smaller than A5, AKA approx. US half-sheet). The softcover books feature 300gsm glossy covers and the hardcover books are covered with a textured PU material which is a leatherette coated with polyurethane for added durability. I like the stitched labels on the cover that give some subtle, unique branding to the books.

Inside, both versions feature 100gsm eggshell white paper with minimal grain. On the left hand side of each spread is a dot grid pattern and on the right hand side is “indentation rule,” both printed in light gray to provide a visible guideline but not so dark as to inhibit visibility. The paper has been tested with a fine nib Lamy AL-Star with Noodler’s Waterproof black, Noodler’s Heart of Darkness and Lamy black. The fountain pen test done thus far met the expectations of the creator.

The books were designed here in the US but the final production will be in China in order to meet demand and keep prices competitive. All production will be closely monitored by the US design team to meet their exacting standards.

The softcover edition is called the Traveller and a pledge for one notebook starts at $15. The hardcover edition is called Origin, and a pledge for one starts at $20.One of each is $30. US backers will receive free shipping but international backers will have to cover shipping.

The Kickstarter launch ends Feb. 5 so there’s still time to back this project if its of interest to you.

Kickstarter: Code & Quill Notebooks

Orla Kiely Make-Up Cases as Pen Cases

orla-kiely-pouches-1 orla-kiely-pouches-2

I picked up two cases at Target this week after seeing someone post on YouTube about using these for keeping their planner supplies. Ding! What a great idea! So on my next trip to Target, I went snooping through the cosmetics department and, lo and behold, there were several to choose from.

The small, black-and-green pencil-style case was $9.99 and the larger green case was $14.99. I’d heard these cases were so popular that people were buying them up and reselling on Ebay for twice the retail price so I was thrilled to find them still available at the “going price.” Both pouches are a waxed canvas material on the exterior with gold metal zippers and coordinating zipper pulls of stitched vinyl.

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The small pencil pouch zips all the way across and down the sides about halfway. The whole pouch is lined inside with coordinating nylon. It has a slit pocket inside which is not super handy but would be a good place to slide a pencil sharpener or a packet of leads. The main compartment is a large square shape  that holds a lot of tools.

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I think I stuffed it with over 20 pens, including several multi-pens, and there was still room to dig around in it. Unfortunately, the case is a bit short for a new woodcase pencil but machanical pencils fit fine.

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The larger case opens with double zippers and contains an attached, mesh zip pouch in the center. On either side, there are additional pockets. On one side there are three slash pockets and a zip pocket with mesh front on the other side. The inside is lined in navy nylon.

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All the interior seams are covered in nylon so there’s nothing unsightly inside or out. For the price, these are really lovely cases.

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I took the same 20+ pens and filled the center zip pouch. In the zip pocket, I put small items like erasers, washi tape and binder clips.

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In the slash pockets I was able to put a Kaweco AL-Sport, some washi sticker packs and a packet of pencil leads.

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This is what the large case looked like all zipped up. It closed easily and everything feels solid and secure. I suspect I’ll use this as a traveling case, maybe not for everyday use since its about the size of an A5 book when filled but for trips or a specific outing.

The smaller pencil case is overall more diminutive but with plenty of carryin capacity so it may become this year’s everyday pencil case. I’m a bit surprised with myself because I really thought the larger case would be an everyday case. They are both so lovely I’ll find a way to use them regularly. So, the lesson I learned from all this is that good office supplies can be found where you least expect it.

Winner: Word. Memorandum 2015

Word. Memorandum 2015

Time to draw the winner for the Word. Memorandum 2015 giveaway. Thanks to everyone who entered and shared some of their organizational goals for 2015. I love reading all the comments. I wish I had 100 of these to give to each and every one of you.

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That said, our giveaway winner is:

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Congrats, Joshua! I’ll be contacting you via email to arrange shipping!

Review: Nock Co DotDash Pocket Notebook (and Giveaway)

NockCo DotDash Pocket Notebook

The big news just before the holidays was the launch of the new NockCo DotDash Pocket Notebooks. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on these. Everything NockCo has done thus far has been excellent and I expected no less from these pocket notebooks.

NockCo DotDash Pocket Notebook

Inside the front cover is space to include personal information and notes. There’s also a message at the bottom that if the notebook is found, to contact NockCo directly. I’m not entirely sure what NockCo will do but if you include your name and contact info, they might be able to cross-reference with your order history and reunite you with your notebook. So best fill this in!

NockCo DotDash Pocket Notebook

A set of three books is just $9, each book opens at the top like a reporter pad and features white 50lb paper with the DotDash grid pattern in a light grey color. Each pad is 3.5″x5.5″ and includes 48 pages and bright yellow card stock covers.

The pads will fit easily into NockCo’s Maryapple and Hightower folios with easy access to your notes without removing the pad to write your notes.

NockCo DotDash Pocket Notebook

NockCo DotDash Pocket Notebook

On the inside of the back cover is the printing information. These are first editions, for what its worth.

NockCo DotDash Pocket Notebook

In writing tests, most of the pens I tried wrote well on the smooth stock. There was a little softening on the wider nibbed fountain pens but no true feathering or splining (you know, those shoots of ink caught by the fibers in the paper that often happen in Moleskines?)

NockCo DotDash Pocket Notebook

From the reverse, there’s some show through mostly with the fountain pen inks. In a flip pad though, the likelihood of writing on the reverse side of the paper is pretty slim. I sort of wish the pages were perforated to make it easier to remove pages.

NockCo DotDash Pocket Notebook

Overall, I really like these pads. I do hope that there are other colors offered for the covers in the future. The bright yellow is fun but other colors would be fun.

Now…

THE GIVEAWAY: I have an extra set of three DotDash notebooks available to giveaway. Leave a message in the comments and tell me what color covers you’d like to see next (or if you love the yellow ones) to be entered to win.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Tuesday, January 13, 2015. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Wednesday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. This giveaway is open to all readers.


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

 

Review: Super5 0.5mm Italic Stub Fountain Pen

super5 fountain pen in black

I recently purchased the new Super5 0.5mm stub nib fountain pen in black on a whim. I have some 0.6mm stub nibs pens from Nemosine and my beloved Esterbrook Falcon is about that width as well so I was looking forward to trying another pen with this diminutive stub. My handwriting is small and being left-handed, any stubs larger than a 1.1mm don’t always make proper contact with the paper for me or cause all my letters to fill in so finding that sweet spot in the stub category is pretty limited. And since the Super5 is just $27.95, how could I not give it a try?

super5 nib close-up

Super5 is a relatively new entry into the fountain pen, at least in the US. From the photos on Goulet Pens, the pens look kind of plastic-y but in reality, the pen feel surprisingly sturdy. ON the scale, filled and capped it weighs 24g and 19g uncapped. That’s right between a Lamy AL-Star (22g) and the Lamy Studio (28g) so its a pretty solid pen. It turns out the grip area is metal which gives it solid weighting to the tip. The body and cap are plastic but the clip is also metal. So overall, its not as low-budget as I might have expected.

The clip seems solid and the pen snaps closed tightly with a click. The overall shape is a long tapered bullet which in not unappealing but the plain black with a big logo on the side doesn’t make it my favorite pens to look at. Then again, a Pilot G-2 is a great writer and is an ugly pen. So, looks can be deceiving.

super5 writing sample

In writing, I had no issues with this pen at all. I loaded the blue ink cartridge that shipped with the pen (a standard European short cartridge in blue) and started writing. It wrote smoothly with the lightest of touch in all the wonky angles that this lefty uses.

I miswrote that its a 0.6… Super5 = 0.5mm, at least for now. It sort of reminds me of a medium sized nib without the iridium tip roundy-ness. I get a nice mix of thick and thin stokes rather than an overall roundness in a regular medium nib.

super5 writing close-up

If you’re looking for a new kind of nib at a reasonable price, this is not a pen to be overlooked. Its performance is excellent even if its overall aesthetics wouldn’t win a beauty contest.

Fashionable Friday: An Apple A Day

FF--Apple-a-Day

  • Kyokuto French Classic B5 Notebook in Pink $6 (via Jet Pens)
  • KUM 1-Hole Long Point Sharpener $1.95 (via Pencils.com)
  • Midori D-Clip Apple Paper Clips – Box of 30 $7.25 (via Jet Pens)
  • Fisher Space Pen in Red Cherry $20 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Apple Slice Sticky Note $4.95 $3.71 (via Mochi Things)
  • Faber-Castell GRIP 2001 Pencils $16.45 per dozen (via Pencils.com)
  • Kaweco Liliput Fountain Pen in Steel 79€ (via Fontoplumo)
  • Lamy AL-Star Blue-green Fountain Pen (2014 Special Edition) 26.90€ (via Fontoplumo)
  • Cotton Jersey Pen Case Dark Gray x Gray $10.50 (via Muji US)
  • Clairefontaine 1951 Collections Le Carnet in Red Coral $4.50 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Apica CD11 Notebook (A5 7 mm Rule) in Light Blue $1.75 (via Jet Pens)
  • Stipula Netto Calamo Ink in Dark Red $17.10 (via Pen Chalet)
  • De Atramentis Apple Blossom Ink $12.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • TWSBI Diamond 580 Fountain Pen – Green $50 (via Goulet Pens)

(Inspired by the Vintage Apple Print from Lilipinso 14.90€)

Pocket Notebooks for the Ladies

Most of the distinguished gentlemen of the pen blogging community talk about pocket notebooks and the ease of pulling them out of a shirt pocket or back jeans pocket. But what about us ladies who might not have the necessary pockets nor want to carry a book in our rear pockets? The whole idea makes me think, “Stop staring at my Field Notes, jerk!”

So, how do we ladies carry a handy, jot-a-quick-note notebook that does not mean having a bag or purse with us at all times?

After working on a small team of almost all women last year, I discovered the handy convenience of a wrist clutch. The women on my team varied in personal aesthetics but all unanimously embraced the wristlet in various forms.

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From memory, there was a BlueQ tyvek zip pouch with pretty graphics printed on it, two Coach wristlets (one in fabric and one in leather) and a Kate Spade wristlet in stripes. All the specific bags we carried have been discontinued but these images will give you an idea of the general look. The links are to the current offerings from each brand. The prices of these pouches ranged from $7 to about $100 though several were purchased on sale or at outlet stores so I think none of us paid full retail except me. The size was fairly consistent across all four bags — about 5.5″ x 7.5″ with of about 1.5″, give or take a half on inch. In these, we each had enough space to carry a small pocket notebook or a stack of 3×5 index cards along with our cell phones, ID and work badge, credit cards and cash for lunch. I think any lady could find some sort of wrist bag or clutch that suited their personal aesthetics from handmade Etsy designs to high-fashion designer styles.

The key is to find one large enough to hold your absolute essentials but not so large that it becomes a purse. I use my wristlet as my wallet and dump it into my purse/tote/backpack/bag at the end of the day. The wristlet is also handy for quick errands and shopping trips when I don’t want to haul around the whole mess that is my bag.

If your job or daily life requires more hands-free mobility, you might want to consider a small crosssbody bag instead. Its a similar idea to the wristlet but with a strap long enough to position the bag comfortably at your hip. No fanny packs or bumbags, okay? That is not a solution. With crossbody bags, there are as many looks, styles and materials to choose from as you could want from high brow to budget priced. On Etsy, there were over 14K search results for “crossbody bag” so there’s definitely something for everyone.

crossbody bags

I picked two to show the range, one from Kate Spade (over $200) and one from Mochi Things (about $20).

And what are the best pocket notebooks to carry in your new-found wristlet or bag? The same awesome notebooks the boys carry: Field Notes, Word.notebooks and Doane Paper Utility Notebooks, of course.

Link Love: Thank You Nots?

Link Love Link MascotPosts of the Week:

Two sides of the Thank You note debate, both from NPR. After sending many gifts to friends and family and hearing nothing, I think a thank you note, even on a postcard, to let the sender know that the gift was received is a good way to guarantee you will get another gift. No thank you note, no more gifts, at least from me.

Pens:

Fountain Pens:

Inks:

Pencils:

Notebooks & Paper:

Planners & Organizers:

Other Stuff:

Who ever said lefties can’t use a Pilot Parallel Pen? And his brush pen work is excellent!

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