Eye Candy: Karas Pen Co. Decograph 1703 Wintergreen Fountain Pen

Eye Candy: Karas Pen Co. Decograph 1703 Wintergreen Fountain Pen

The Karas Pen Co. 1703 Special Edition Decograph “Winter’s Tale” (starting at $165) in wintergreen is the most recent addition to the new line of thermoplastic-based fountain pens. This limited edition color is just in time for the holidays with its crisp, refreshing evergreen with a glittery frosty white streak shot through it beside a black trail.

The 1703 maintains all the same features of the original Decograph fountain pens.

The only change is the color which has been limited to a run of 60 which is laser etched below the threads after the “1703-XXX”.

Have you been naughty or nice?

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

12 days of Inkmas: Robert Oster Darkstar Blue

12 days of Inkmas: Robert Oster Darkstar Blue

Welcome to the first day of Inkmas! Its a tradition I started but have not been as good at keeping up as I had hoped so I am bringing it back this year. For me, its a great way to share some long overdue ink reviews and hopefully, for you its a chance for a stationery blog to do it’s best to feel a little bit seasonally appropriate.

So today, I start with a rare bird indeed though not a partridge. It’s Robert Oster DarkStar Blue (£9.99 per bottle). It’s a color made especially for DarkStar Collection in the UK known for their notebooks.

This color is a solid blue black ink. Unlike many of Robert Oster’s inks known for their sheening properties, DarkStar Blue is a classic blue black that is reserved. It does shade nicely with wider nibs to create some nice contrasts.  Overall, its a “nightsky” blue as stated in their description. One might even say “It came upon a midnight clear”?

Compared with other notable blue black inks in my collection, I would say that DarkStar Blue was closest to Parker Quink Blue Black and Kyo-No-Oto #5 Aonibi with Parker being ever so slightly more vivid and Kyo-no-oto being slightly more muted. Pricewise that seems about right too with Parker being a bit less expensive, Oster being the mid-range and Kyo-no-oto being the most expensive of the three. The Sheaffer was darker overall as was the Caran d’Ache.

If you are looking for an ink that is not in regular rotation and harder to acquire than most (whether for yourself or as a gift), then DarkStar Blue is definitely something to pick up. It’s also a good solid blue black if you like a good classic color. If you are looking for another super-sheeny Oster ink, then this is not for you. Parker Quink Blue Black actually has more sheen.

Ask The Desk: Manager’s Planner & Road Tripping Young Artist

Brandon asks:

Long time reader and I wanted your opinion on something. I am a full time student and I am about to start a job as a manager. Unfortunately, my organizational skills are nonexistent! Do you have a suggestion on a planner that can help me get on track?.

Brandon, I conferred with our resident organizational expert Laura, who is an executive assistant by day, to get you some tips for getting focused first. She recommended that, no matter what planner you end up choosing, to pick a day of the week and set aside some time to brain dump tasks, to-dos and any other issues you need to handle for the week. Whether that’s the last hour of the day on Friday, Sunday night or first thing Monday morning spend 30 minutes to an hour going over the tasks, to-do’s, emails, and meeting requests so you can prepare to lead your new team with specific assignments and tasks. Then if you have things pop up throughout the week that you are not sure when, who or how you need to handle them, just write them on sticky notes and put them in the front of your planner and then transfer them to a specific day or task list on your brain dump day. That way, you don’t have to make a decision about the task immediately but you have captured it so it’s not forgotten.

A lot of these tips are straight out of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I highly recommend either reading the book, listening to the audiobook or finding some of the videos of him presenting the content on YouTube. Merlin Mann created an edited version of Getting Things Done (GTD) which he called 43 Folders. It was a podcast and website which is now dormant but has some great content as well.

As for a planner, you may want to determine what you need to track. Especially if you are just starting in the position, you might want to use a make shift Bullet Journal system for the first couple weeks until you know exactly how much you will need to track. The most customizable option would be Agendio which allows you to choose the format, size and even which month you start the calendar on. If you want something more pre-formatted, Quo Vadis offers a whole range of planners in a range of sizes and they all use Clairefontaine paper (known for being fountain pen friendly).

And from our road-tripping family man:

Hello! My family preparing for a long road trip for Christmas, and we’re hoping to keep our young children occupied. My 5 year-old loves using my “fancy pens” and “fancy pencils”, and she loves drawing and writing. She’s requested a spiral notebook for the car ride so she has plenty to write on, and specifically for colored pencils, as she is bothered that her markers can bleed through the page and “put little dots on the page under it”. (I am SOOOOOO proud of her!) I heard you discussing Crayola products on The Pen Addict Gift Guide, and I’d love to get her some. Do you have any recommendations for which Crayola Colored Pencils might work well on a road trip, and maybe more importantly, for a sharpener that will work well with these pencils and has plenty of capacity to hold the shavings for use in the car?

Many thanks from the father of a budding writer and artist-


For starters, I’d recommend a sketchbook-grade spiral notebook for your budding artist. Maybe a Canson XL Mixed Media Pad would be a great option and would help eliminate the bleed through issues. These pads are often available at local craft shops as well which means you can use coupons! They are not particularly pricey to begin with and come in a variety of sizes as well. Any art supply shop or craft store can recommend a good wirebound sketchbook that will make your budding artist feel like a pro too.

With Crayola Colored Pencils, stick with the classics. The Premium variety have not been given the best reviews. They are just charging more money for mediocre product. Should you want to upgrade at some point, I’d move to Prismacolor in a couple years. They are not all that much more expensive if you shop around but they are pretty soft and the leads will break under heavy pressure. And I’d hold off on the Watercolor variety until your young artist is not in the car.

The Twistables got mixed reviews from my co-workers with kids. The points aren’t sharp — they are more crayon ends for coloring. There are also crayon versions as well as the colored pencil style Twistables, so if you go this route be sure you check the package so you know if you are getting the pencils vs. the crayons. The Twistable colored pencils can be sharpened with a lead pointer but, its a bit more finicky (the KUM 2-step sharpener is available with a lead pointer but that’s more of a “Dad, will you sharpen these for me?” sharpener). Also, if your kids get bored, they may twist the Twistable all the way out until they break (that’s a warning from a mom with two rambunctious boys). With less ornery kids Twistables can be a sharpener-free option if they are okay with a duller point.

As for sharpeners, I enlisted the help of the Erasable podcast Facebook group and they helped find a lot of good options. These are all still small, handheld sharpeners but with enough capacity to make it from one pit stop to another until you can empty them.

Options for large capacity sharpeners:

You may also want to bring along a Ziploc baggie if you need to empty shavings midway. An adult can dump shavings into the Ziploc and pass the sharpener back to the little artist for the remainder of the drive.

News: Letterboxes, Kickstarters & Karas

News: Letterboxes, Kickstarters & Karas

Galen Leather:

Galen Leather has added new products new products to its line-up of already stellar leather goods including a wooden letter box which should probably be added to all our Christmas lists. Tell Santa you’ve been very good this year!

Karas Pen Co:

Karas is blowing out their Barstock inventory. Remaining Barstock inventory is $30 for Render K and $45 for Fountain K models. Many copper pen models are also on sale. They are also starting their holiday sale. Use the coupon code HAPPYHOLIDAYS from 12/1/17 thru 1/8/18 to receive 15% off your entire purchase (already reduced sale items will receive additional discounts). And finally, their are still a few of the limited edition holiday Decograph 1703 Wintergreen models available.


There is a new Kickstarter project that was brought to my attention: The Hexagonal Ruler. There are four versions available in two finishes creating a perfectly pocketable tool for drafting a new design or laying out the perfect bullet journal page. Backing for one Hexagonal Ruler starts at about $14US and a full set of four is about $65US. Shipping will be about $5US per set.

The BigiDesign Team is at it again. This time, they have refined and adapted the TI Arto into the Ti Arto EDC :The Ultimate Refill Friendly Everyday Carry Pen. They’ve made the TiArto EDC to be adjustable in length as well as using the clutch fitting method to hold the refill making it possible to hold a potential 750+ possible refills. They’ve improved the grip, weight and overall design as well as how the pen holds refills. Back this project for $69 with three possible finishes available.

Notebook Review and Giveaway: Octaevo Notebooks

Review by Laura Cameron

When I dug into the samples for The Desk to review, I was delighted to find a set of Octaevo notebooks. The Travel Notes Gold Pack ($19.00) is a set of three passport sized notebooks.


The covers are linen, and printed with stamps of Mediterranean cities. The blue notebook is the Travel Notes No. 1, Barcelona, filled with blank pages; the yellow is the Travel Notes No. 2, Alexandria, and is filled with ruled pages; and the orange is the Travel Notes No. 3, Athens, and is filled with dot grid pages. All books have 52 white 90gsm pages.


All of the books feature a contact page inside the front cover, which should aid in returning the book to you if ever it should be lost. The inside back cover includes a bit of information about Octaevo, as well as specifications of the notebook and a handy ruler along the edge.



I enjoyed these notebooks. The linen covers have a nice tactile feel and the notebooks feel sturdy. The paper is nice and quite smooth. I tested a variety of fountain pen inks, along with my gel pens and fine liners and even when adding some color or emphasis I saw only a bit of ghosting and no bleed through. I think these would be great notebooks for recording notes on your travels, or just to live with your every day carry for lists or bits and pieces of things you want to record. The set of three notebooks is reasonably priced and would make a nice gift to yourself or others.



That said, we have a giveaway for you! The giveaway includes:


To enter to win,

TO ENTER: Please visit Milligram (who generously sent us these materials for review) and leave a comment letting us know what Octaveo products catch your eye!

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Tuesday, December 12. 2017. 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 actual 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 – just email you if you win. If winner does not respond within 7 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US residents and APO/FPO only please (The kind folks from Milligram shipped them all the way over from Australia, don’t make us ship them back over there, okay?).

Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.

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

Link Love: Droids & Holiday Decor




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