A Place to Buy Ink!

A Place to Buy Ink!

by Jessica Coles

Finding a local store that carries fountain pen supplies can be tough. Not many stores are expanding in this direction and many online stores do not have brick-and-mortar shops. So when I find a retailer carrying fountain pens and ink, I get very excited! (much to the embarrassment of my kids!)

I apologize for the small format of these photos. Somehow I had left my phone behind so I was using my husband’s phone while trying to not draw attention to me taking photos.

I have enjoyed shopping at Meininger’s Art Supply for several years now and have visited each of their three locations in Colorado (although one location closed recently due to an expanding college campus).

When I first walked into Meininger’s, the store was overwhelming – two stories of every kind of art supplies I could imagine. But one thing was quite underrepresented at the shop – fountain pens.


The notebook selection is amazing. Pencils, everywhere. Some of the older editions from these manufacturers have stuck around and you can often find some products that sold out quickly in the past. Notice in the photo to the left that our own Well-Appointed Desk has merch here already.


The display behind the counter shows off more expensive inks, recent limited editions, and Galen leather products.


A large wall display shows off the various pen refills – ballpoint, rollerball, and fountain pens. The glass counter displays show Lamy, Sailor, Retro 51, Kaweco, the list goes on.

But to my absolute delight, the ink selection is wonderful!


The selection includes ColorVerse, Organic Studios, Noodler’s, Krishna, Sailor, Lamy, Platinum, Pilot, Parker, Waterman, Diamine, Kyo-no-oto… I may be forgetting some!

Notebooks had been represented well before this expansion of pens and ink, but the store now carries plenty of Midori, Strathmore and Tomoe River paper! I found an entire wall dedicated to fountain pen friendly paper.

I have been told that the expansion of the fountain pen selection is due to the work of one woman – Patty. Although I have never met Patty, I am grateful. My corner of the world has been devoid of fountain pen supplies (well, not my house, but I’ve missed having a local supplier!).

If you are ever in the Denver area, make sure to drop into Meininger’s and tell them they have fans! Hopefully this is a trend we will see more of in the future.

Link Love: Some Links for my Friends

Link Love: Some Links for my Friends

Some weeks I realize that I earmark links for Link Love that I think will be interesting to specific people in my life. I’m sure you do this too… you have a friend or family member who loves something… like say soccer. So, anytime you find a blog post or newspaper article, maybe a book review or podcast episode, about soccer you forward it to that specific person (Madeline and Tasha, I’m looking at you!).

This week, Link Love has ended up being a lot of those links. There’s a link to a post about the colors inside golf balls (totally for Brad!), anything to do with Australia or space I save for Bob (nothing this week… sorry, Love!), the super juicy Pelikan review that Azizah posted I saved for Jesi, and “How to Tidy Up that Bind Off” is for all the filks in my Wednesday Night Knitty Committee.  For my colleagues at work, I saved the “How to Survive in Corporate Cultural.” I even found a link to the mannequin from the 1930s, Cynthia, who was featured on an episode of 99% Invisible recently. So, hey, Roman Mars, if you’re reading this, the Cynthia link is for you!

Sometimes, I just email or text the links to the people in my lives, but today, I decided to share some of these with you too. Maybe you’ll be interested in them too?

Then there are the links I think lots of people will enjoy like Inked Happiness’s “Worth the Paper…” piece and Gentleman Stationer’s Pen Show Prep and Philly Pen Show recap. For my artist-y friends, the “Pentel Touch & Sign Pen” review and “Sometime a Rollerball Beats a Fountain Pen” both take pen reviewing from a more creative/mixed media perspective. And of course, the “Letter from the Retro51 Team” will affect us all.

Do you forward links to friends and family? Do you think they see them as gifts?




Paper & Notebooks:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

Eye Candy: Franklin Christoph New Penvelope 3

Review by Laura Cameron

Some lovely friends sent me an even lovelier gift this holiday season: the new Franklin Christoph Penvelope 3 ($25) in Cranberry.

This natural wood fiber (NWF) 3-pen case is a perfect fit in my handbag and will hold 3-5 of my favorite pens. (if you don’t mind them touching!) The NWF makes the pen case vegan, but with the durability and feel of leather. The cloth insert is removable making it easy to get your pens in and out. Each slot will hold a pen up to .75″ thick and 6″ tall, so this geared towards smaller and medium size pens.

Dimensions when the case is closed: 6″ x 2.5″ x 1.”

From the Desk of Martin Luther King Jr.

From the Desk of Martin Luther King Jr.

As today is observed as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, I thought I’d look and see if I could find any photos about the tools that MLK, Jr used to write his speeches, sermons and correspondence.

King inspired the nation through his efforts during the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s and his empassioned words. Where did he compose these words?

I didn’t find any specific information on the topic of his desk and workspace but I did find photos of Dr. King in his office or at his desk. I love photos like this, no matter how staged they might be. They have little hints of the way he worked. There is no typewriter in any of the photos I found. Dr. King clearly hand wrote his notes, correspondence and speeches. Someone else (maybe Coretta?) might have typed them up later but this was not something he did.

What is evident from most photos of King’s office is that he liked to surround himself with books.

Martin Luther King Jr in his office

The photo above looks like it might have been taken at the same time as the last photo below. King is wearing the same shirt. One the desk is a goose-meck lamp, a glass paperweight egg, a bottle of ink and a refillable page-a-day calendar. In his hand is what appears to be a yellow pencil. Like any great thinker, his desk is buried in paper and books.

MLK in his office

The cantilevering pile of books on the shelf on the far left of the above photo make me itchy. They look like they will fall over at any minute. I wonder for what occasion he had gotten the large trophy?

I love that there is a photo of Coretta featured prominently on the shelf behind Dr. King. There appear to be two phones behind him.

Martin Luther King Jr in front of bookcase

Above King is captured in front of his bookcase. There is evidence of spiritual texts as well as history books.

Martin Luther & Coretta Scott King

Above, King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, appear behind his desk. In the forefront of the photo is the same egg shaped paperweight as previous photos as well as a desk pen stand, a refillable calendar and an ashtray. Behind the couple are filing cabinets and barrister bookcases with glass fronts. I wonder what the circumstances that led to this particular photo being taken. While I am certain Mrs. King was an active part of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s work, this photo feels staged. It does give a good idea of the items on King’s desk.

Every photo I’ve ever seen of Martin Luther King, Jr, he always looked so serene. His belief in non-violence seemed to show in his eyes.

While many Americans may look upon today’s “bank holiday” as a bonus 3-day weekend, it’s worth remembering at how MLK, Jr lived and worked. This day should inspire us to reflect on his words, his work and the legacy he left behind.

Pen Accessory Review: Mark’s Break Time Metal Pen Holder

Review by Tina Koyama

One day I was scrolling through new products on JetPens and spotted adorable beverage-themed metal pen loops from Mark’s called Break Time. “Coffee” was bound to go fast, so I was thrilled to get one before it sold out (which it did, almost immediately). The loop is springy metal.

I’ve used a Leuchtturm 1917 self-adhesive pen loop before, but I didn’t like that it couldn’t be reused. When I filled the journal, the pen loop remained attached to the book without a purpose. The Mark’s metal loop attracted me because its attachment mechanism is a clip that can be put on and pulled off easily.

Well, I thought it would be easy. As it turned out, the clip is a little too thin for a Leuchtturm hardcover, so I had to really force it on with quite a bit of muscle. When I removed it, the clip left a small scratch mark on the cover. It’s not an ideal fit if I want to reuse it regularly.

I then tried clipping it to a few other notebook covers, and it fits much better on a Field Notes, Col-o-Ring Oversize and Hobonichi.

As for writing instruments that will fit through the loop, a standard pencil is too loose and will slip through. Some gel pens with rubberized or textured grip areas are difficult to get into the loop, which is also textured. A smooth-barreled pen works best, like a Bic Clic or most fineliners. I started to put one of my Platinum 3776 fountain pens through the loop, but it resisted just enough that I wondered if the textured loop would scratch the barrel, so I stopped. I’m going to stick with Bic Clics or other less expensive pens.

My only regret is that I didn’t grab the beer mug loop before it went out of stock immediately, too. We all need to journal at the after-work bar as much as we do at the morning coffee shop.


Tina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more detail

Ink Review: Taccia Ukiyo-e Inks

Ink Review: Taccia Ukiyo-e Inks

By Jessica Coles

Taccia seems to be on the ball lately with new ink. Recently I did an overview of their Lip color line of inks, each based on classic shades of lipstick. Today I am showing the Ukiyo-e line of ink (I am told this translates to “picture of the floating world”); a collection of 8 inks inspired by traditional Japanese paintings.

The Ukiyo-e collection is divided into two groups: four Hokusai inks and four Sharaku inks. First we will look at the Hokusai group. These are each inspired by the artist Hokusai who created the 36 views of Mt. Fuji as woodblock prints in the 1800s in Japan.

Taccia Ukiyo-e Hokusai-Benitsuchi is the Red Soil of Mt Fuji. it is slightly redder than KWZ Meet Me in St. Louis 2019 – it shades dramatically from dark rust to a light reddish coffee inspired by Fine Wind, Clear Morning.

Taccia Ukiyo-e Houdai-Koiai is Dark Indigo ink and shows the image of the famous Great Wave Off Kanagawa with Mt. Fuji in the background. This is another dramatically shading ink from a bright cerulean to dark blue with a muted sheen.

Taccia Ukiyo-e Hokusai-Fukakihanada or Light Blue shades from a light sky blue to a medium blue, inspired by the woodblock print Kajikazawa.

The final ink in the Hokusai group is Taccia Ukiyo-e Hokusai Saibimidori (my personal favorite) or Rust Green. The shading on this ink is a medium teal to a forest green. It was inspired by the woodcut Barrier Town on the Sumida River.

The second group of inks in the Taccia Ukiyo-e line is the Sharaku set of four inks. These were inspired by Ukiyo-e style of woodcuts and paintings of Kabuki actors.

Taccia Ukiyo-e Sharaku-Akasakura or Red Cherry is close to Diamine Ancientt Copper with a bit more red.

Taccia Ukiyo-e Sharaku Natane or Rapeseed Yellow is bright yellow in both the swatch and in writing. Most inks that I have in this color range seem to show the green undertones in writing, but Natane stays yellow.

Taccia Ukiyo-e Sharaku-Koiame or Dark Yellow-Brown is another favorite of mine, shading from a pale peach to a dark brown-red-orange. The shading shows beautifully in writing where it shifts suddenly from light to dark.

Taccia Ukiyo-e Sharaku-Kurocha or Dark Brown is a medium chocolate brown.

I ony purchased one botttle of the Taccia Ukiyo-e inks (so far) so I only have this box to show. The artwork on each ink box is incredible, recreating the original woodcut which inspired the ink name and color.

The 40mL bottles in the Ukiyo-e line of inks is a nice change from small ink bottles. The box is so much larger than the bottle that at first, I felt like the bottle was quite small, but 40mL is a significant amount of ink.

I found these inks to be slightly dry but this didn’t bother me at all. It was hard to notice it much since I was staring at the shading the whole time. The Ukiyo-e inks are not waterproof and behaved very well on fountain pen frriendly paper.

The cut glass bottle is beautful, but not unusual. However, the shading on all of these inks make them stand out among the ever-growing numbers of ink available. Do watch out for color, though. The box and label of Sabimidori here doesn’t really show the true color of the ink. Not even the ink shows the true color of the ink (once dried at least)!



DISCLAIMER:  All of the materials used in this review were purchased by me. Please see the About page for more details.


Art Supply Party: Allex Scissors & Kokuyo Gloo

Art Supply Party: Allex Scissors & Kokuyo Gloo

Sometimes, I just need to play with scissors and glue. I recently upgraded both my scissors and my glue stick so I thought I’d share my results.

I had the matte black Allex S-165F Office Scissors with Fluorine Coating($18.50) in my cart on JetPens for eons and I finally decided to buy them. Their most notable feature is that glue and other sticky substances will not stick to the blades.  The insides of the holes for your fingers are lined with silicone for a softer grip. This makes it more comfortable for long collage sessions. Even Bob, whose hands are much bigger than mine, has commented that he likes using these scissors for day-to-day cutting in the studio.

Allex scissors and Kokuyo Gloo

So far I haven’t gotten a lot of glue or stickiness on the scissors but they are light, well-balanced and cut cleanly. The blades are sharp!

Allex scissors

The glue stick I purchased is the Kokuyo Gloo. I purchased the medium Gloo stick in disappearing blue ($4 per sick). I was enticed by the simple clean design on the outside of the tube. The Gloo sticks have a slightly wider end that makes it easier to stand them on one end. Everything about the Kokuyo GLoo stick in terms of performance is pretty consistent with a lot of other brands on the market. The square shape makes getting into corners a little easier.

Allex scissors and Kokuyo Gloo

The confusing part for me is that the glue end is the one with wider cap end which is different from almost every other brand I’ve used so I kept trying to pull the twist end off. “Turn the square end, pull the round end off.”

The smell of this Gloo stick is mild but a little sweet. It’s definitely not chemically or offensive but might not be suitable around small children who might eat glue because it smells pretty nice. Way better than Elmer’s glue.

So, if you’re itching to do a little creative paper cutting, these tools are a great start. I have been watching some of Lisa Congdon’s Creative Boot Camp – Six Exercises to Spark Artistic Discovery on Creativebug and it features a lot of collage and papercutting if you want to try collage but need a jumping off point.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.