Fashionable Friday: It Was a Dark & Stormy Desk

Fashionable Friday: Dark & Stormy Night

I had such fun finding spooky, Halloween-y office goodies: from H.P. Lovecraf-tian Octo-mugs to owl paper clips, your desk can be full of things that will remind you you never know what might go bump in the night. Maybe these will inspire you to write your first ghost story?

(Sources listed below in no particular order):

  • De Atramentis Edgard Allen Poe Ink $12.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey $26 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Noodler’s Heart of Darkness Ink $19 with free pen (via Goulet Pens)
  • Monteverde Jewlria Fountain Pen in Black $56 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Field Note Pitch Black $9.95/3-pack (via Pen Chalet)
  • Evoke Baroque Picture Frame $19.99 (via Modcloth)
  • Ideas Take Flight Pushpin Set $14.99 (via Modcloth)
  • Think Outside the Box $39.99 (via Modcoth)
  • Ink Black Coffee Mug $19.99 (via Modcloth)
  • Autopoint Twinpoint Mechanical Pencil – 0.7 mm Black Lead + 0.9 mm Red Lead – Black Body (via Jet Pens)
  • P+G Obk Co-In Silicone Coin Case – Type B $6 (via Jet Pens)
  • Paper Mate Black Pearl Eraser $2.39/2-pack (via Amazon)
  • Kaweco Skyline Sport Grey Fountain Pen 16,95€ (via Fontoplumo)
  • ACCO® Regal Owl 1″ Paper Clips, Silver, Box Of 100 $2.49 (via Office Depot)

What’s the spookiest thing on your desk? Did I forget your favorite dark and stormy ink? There were so many to choose from!

Link Love: Touched by Tech

Link Love Link MascotPost of the Week:
Are you a pen person, the vocabulary version. (via Leigh Reyes)

Pens:

Inks:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Digital Tools:

Other Cool Stuff:

Ink Review: Rouge Opera

J. Herbin Rouge Opera Ink Review

These little shooters of J. Herbin ink are just so addictive! This is the Rouge Opera ($4.75 for 10ml bottle) which came highly recommended by a friend as a “good red”. I paired it with my Kaweco Student with an EF nib. What’s black and chrome and red all over? (HA!)

J. Herbin Rouge Opera Ink Review Writing Sample

In the swab and the brush lettering, the red looked a little pinky but when writing its a good clean red. It doesn’t lean too pink or burgundy. Even with my EF nib, I got some shading which is nice.

The J. Herbin Rouge Opera Ink is also available in a larger 30ml bottle ($12) and tin of 6- European short cartridges ($5.50). Tested in Rhodia No 18 Uni Blank pad with a Kaweco Student EF.


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.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen: Emerald Pearl M Nib

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Medium Writing Sample

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen

When the Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen ($52) arrived I could not wait to load it with “good ink.” I installed the stock blue cartridge that shipped with it on the counter at the post office and started doodling on the back of my junk mail. Who says pens aren’t an addiction?

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen

I got the Pearl Green version of the IM Premium, of course. No one is surprised about that. The pen shipped in a simple paperboard box with a faux velvet lining and ribbon wrap to hold the pen in place. Its not expensive packaging but its fitting for the price point.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Medium Nib

The pen was only available in the medium nib which I was a bit worried would be too wide for my taste but I was pleasantly surprised. The nib is beautifully etched with a classic Parker design and super smooth. Its a steel nib but felt good on the paper and caused no issues for this left-hander.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen

The look of the Parker IM Premium is inspired by the vintage Vacumatics, which if I’m honest is the WHOLE reason I got it. I have one vintage Vacumatic and I love the look and feel. I am easily swayed by anything that is retro- or vintage-inspired so it was a no-brainer for me to grab this pen.

Of course, its not the Vacumatic. Besides the nod to the Vacumatic with the etched lines on the aluminum barrel (which are horizontal not vertical), the lovely etched nib (which is pretty but not the same etching used on older Vacumatics) and the arrow shaped clip (still used even on the Parker 5th line), there is nothing about this pen that makes it truly inspired by the Vacumatic. It takes cartridges or a converter, its metal not plastic or resin or whatever material was used with Vacumatics, the nib is not 14K, there is no ink window… need I go on? I do appreciate that Parker recognizes that a lot of the modern appeal is from pen collectors like us so I want to support their efforts to trip down memory lane occasionally.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Medium Writing Sample

Now that I’ve said that, I really like the pen. The aluminum body is light in my hand (just 16 gms filled and capped) and the overall width of the pen is on the smaller side (about the same as a Sharpie marker fine point). I can hold it comfortably in my hand and write with it unposted. The cap will post but it makes the pen a little top heavy in my small hands. My husband took it for a spin and his big “monkey paws” found the pen a little too small for him.

  • Capped length: 5.5″
  • Uncapped length: 4.625″
  • Posted length: 6.125″

This was my first foray into modern Parker fountain pens and I’ve come away pleased. I don’t know why I thought they would be bad except that I often only see them in office supply big box stores which I associated with low cost/low quality. At the sub-$100 price point for a fountain pen, this is a really good option. The medium nib might be a breaking point for some folks but I like that it gave me an excuse to break out of my EF or F nib rut.

It’s been my daily carry fountain pen for a week now. I’m not thrilled with the blue ink cartridge included with it. When the pen has sat overnight, the ink comes out quite dark at first and then gets lighter and lighter until its sort of a washable blue/washed denim pale.  I need to swap out the ink so that I can experience this with an ink I actually like.

I should have purchased the Parker converter ($9.25) too but I forgot to check if one was included with the pen (only a cartridge is included with the pen).


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.

Review: Productive Luddite Notebooks Part 1

IMG_1440

The folks at Productive Luddite sent me a massive pile of notebooks to try and share with you. When I mean massive, I mean MASSIVE. The Freestyle Really Big Notebook is letter-sized and features 800 pages. So they are serious when they say “REALLY BIG”. The Matte Black Action notebook features ten different styles of paper in ONE BOOK. So, its a complicated task to review — its like reviewing a dozen notebooks.

I decided the only way to give each notebook its proper due is to split the review into two parts. First up is the New Daily Planner ($8.99) and the Matte Black Action Notebook($9.95).

IMG_1441

The New Daily Planner is an interpretation of the Chronodex-style daily planner. It’s a soft cover, perfect-bound, 6″x9″ with 104 bright white pages. The cover is a gloss black cardstock with bold white lettering.

IMG_1443

Inside, on the first two pages are places to include your personal information and instructions on using the clockwork-style planning system.

IMG_1447

The first few pages include monthly and yearly planning on a clock which I am not sure how useful that would be but the rest of the book is daily clockwork pages. Because of the perfect binding, the book does not lay flat easily but the soft cover means that its easy to fold the cover back if you prefer to work that way.

Productive Luddite New Daily Planner

I tested an assortment of pens in planning out my day. There is some bleeding with fountain pens on the paper but rollerballs, ballpoints, pencils and gel pens all performed well. The paper is thick enough that with non-fountain pens, there was no show through on the reverse side of the page.

Productive Luddite New Daily Planner

I use a lot of fine and exra fine nibbed fountain pens so you can see that the ink does spread. As cool as the planning calendar is, this notebook definitely requires a specific set of writing tools for best results. I think I’ll pair it long-term with one of my multi-color gel pens like the Zebra Prefill or Uni Style-Fit so I have lots of color options and no need to worry about bleed, show through or squishy-looking writing. I might assign specific colors to specific sorts of tasks: blue for work, green for blog, red for home, etc.

IMG_1454

The Matte Black Action notebook has a matte soft-touch coating on the cover. I believe my husband’s exact words (as a printer) was “matte aqueous soft touch coating on coated stock”. Thank you , Mister Specific. The bottom line is it gives the book a pleasing feel similar to the finish on the Field Notes Drink Local Colors Edition. Inside the book is 100 ivory-colored pages in ten different form factors including blank, lined, grid, dot grid, and many more.

IMG_1456

I tested the 8″x8″ sized notebook but the Matte Black Action Notebook is available in several other sizes if square is not your cup of tea.

IMG_1458

Toward the back of the book is journal and list-making pages with grey printing to demarcate the header area from the rest of the page.

IMG_1459

In the very front of the book is a page for personal information and pages to index or tag the pages in the book. This would be particularly helpful if you are using blank pages for sketching, list pages for to-dos and lined paper for writing — all for the same project. You can list the page tags in the front of the book to make it easy to find the various pages.

Productive Luddite Matte Black Sampler Notebook

All the pages have page numbers in the lower right hand corner unless you are a contrarian left-hander that flips the whole book upside down regularly to get the best writing angle (see above).

Productive Luddite Matte Black Sampler Notebook

I tested most of the various paper styles. What I found quite exciting is that the paper was quite fountain pen friendly. I had no issues with bleeding, feathering or show through with any of the pens I tested. The paper did seem like it was slightly heavier than the white stock in the New Daily Planner so maybe that little extra weight made it epically more fountain pen friendly?

Productive Luddite Matte Black Sampler Notebook

The paper styles, though, seemed to have inconsistent line weights. I found that the dot grid dots seemed overly large for my tiny writing. I mostly wanted to play connect-the-dots with these pages. The graph paper lines seemed much heavier and darker than the plain lined paper. I quite liked the color and thickness of the lined paper which is at the front of the book so when I got to the grid and dot grid I was a bit disappointed.

Productive Luddite Matte Black Sampler Notebook

Towards the back of the book was reverse grid  and dot grid paper (grey with white lines) which I much preferred to the lines on the regular grid and dot grid.

Productive Luddite Matte Black Sampler Notebook

The great thing about the Matte Black Action Notebook is that its a great introduction to all the various forms that Productive Luddite offers in their Everyday Carry Notebook line.  All the EDC line notebooks are available in ten different sizes ranging from 4×6 up to 7×10 in horizontal, vertical, square and some variations. There are definitely lots of options!

With one $9.95 purchase, you have the chance to try all the form factors and determine which is your favorite. If you’re inclined to use some grid, some lined, some lists and so forth the Matte Black Action notebook may be the right choice for you.


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.

Shop RESTOCK!

Well-Appointed Desk wood handle stamps

Finally! The rubber stamps in the Shop have been restocked. Lots of designs are now available in wood handled models as well as classic wood “art blocks”. Prices are the same so you get to choose!

There are just a few sets of vintage airmail envelopes left and packets of vintage stars so act fast. These items are vintage and will not be restocked. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

View the whole Desk Shop here. And thanks to everyone who was patient with me waiting for restocking and have so kindly supported the shop. You are all the best!

Well-Appointed Desk Shop stamps

Ink Review: J. Herbin Vert Réséda

J. Herbin Vert Réséda and Kaweco Skyline in Mint

Jet Pens recently started carrying the 10ml small bottles of J. Herbin ink and I’m absolutely mad for the little things. They are just the right size for my insatiable appetite for inks. I can fill pens several times with the quantity but it won’t stick aroud indefinitely like larger 30, 50 or bigger bottles. They remind me of bottles of nail polish — little colorful treats!

Sometimes an ink color was just meant to be paired with a pen. J. Herbin Vert Réséda is just such a color. Its a turquoise green-blue (not a blue-green) and it immediately made me think of the cool glacier mint color of the Kaweco Skyline in Mint. So, a pen/ink match was made. I bought the dainty 10ml bottle, slightly more than a sample but not the full commitment of a full 30ml bottle. I’m running out of place to store all my ink bottles anyway!

J. Herbin Vert Réséda

The color is a little bit lighter when wet then it is when its dry. So, at first, it seemed almost as light as the pen but it dries much darker and frankly, looks fantastic once dry. I did notice that in the fine nib of the Kaweco Skyline, the ink was a bit too light, even dry but when I dipped my vintage Parker Vacumatic with a slightly flexy 14K nib into the ink, I got a deeper color that I just loved.

The Vert Réséda is similar to De Atramentis Mint Turquoise but the Mint Turquoise is a bit more blue and darker. If you’re looking for a minty color that is good for finer nibbed pens, then I’d probably recommend the Min Turquoise over the Vert Réséda. Diamine Soft Mint swab is as light as the writing sample of the Vert Réséda with a fine nibbed pen so I suspect it would be too light for anything but a stub or calligraphy nib.

J. Herbin Vert Réséda

This is definitely an ink I’d recommend for nibs in the medium width and above for best results but if you’re looking for a light, bright turquoise green, it will even look pleasing in a finer nibbed pen.

($4.75 for the 10ml bottle, $12 for 30ml bottle)


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.

Fashionable Friday: In The Pink

Fashionable Friday: In The Pink

This week, I discovered I was carrying a pink clutch, filled with a pink-edged Miro notebook and a pink case on my old iPhone 4s. I was feeling “In The Pink”. Then I noticed that its October which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a predominance of pink ribbons and such around. So, I went with it. This week we can all feel PINK!

  • Render K in Anodized Pink $45 (via Karas Kustoms)
  • Miro 5×8″ Hardcover Notebook with Pink Edging $13.99 (via Franklin Mill)
  • Sailor Professional Gear Transparent Series Fountain Pens $156 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Leather Pocket Monthly Planner $15 (via Gallery Leather)
  • Leuchtturm Medium Notebook Bicolore Pink-Green A5 14,96 € (via Fontoplumo)
  • Kokuyo Kadokeshi 28-Corner Eraser – Small – Pack of 2 – Pink and White $2.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Pilot Prera Fountain Pen – Medium Nib – Yellow Body $49.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Lamy Turquoise (50ml) Ink $10.50 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Pink Pencil Charm on Silver Plated Chain Necklace $5.74 (via TheBeadyBangles on Etsy)
  • Audrey Hepburn “Happy Girls are the Prettiest Girls” Pink Pencils (via LifeisRosier on Etsy)
  • P+G Nuu Silicone Multi Pouch – Orange $12 (via Jet Pens)
  • Ring True Desk Phone in Yellow $59.99 (via Modcloth)
  • Diamine Hope Pink (80ml) Ink $12.95 (via Goulet Pens)

(Photo of Jessica Alba in her The Honest Copany office from Elle Decor)

Start As You Mean To Go On.

start as you mean to go on

Thanks to everyone who commented on the Pen Habit post. I never intended to scare anyone into thinking I might cease publication or anything. I just wanted to think out loud about the blog. I love doing this and I think I’ve been putting invisible pressure on myself to do more, more often and bigger. In reality, I think I have been my own worst enemy.

All the comments and messages on Twitter have been hugely uplifting and I am so grateful to have such kind loyal readers. I’ll say it over and over again, pen (and pencil) people are the best people in the world.

When I started the blog over four years ago on Tumblr I posted twice a day, five days a week. The content was less involved then than it is now but I have never really tried to taper the pace even though most posts take a lot longer to produce today. The Monologue Journals is a great example (a huge pile of notebooks in different paper weights, sizes and configurations required lots of photos, testing and a lot of specifics transposed into the post) compared with a “look at this beautiful office” post of four years ago.

As it stands right now, there are no plans to change the blog. There will continue to be Link Love posts almost-weekly*, Fashionable Friday, and From The Archives. I will continue to write ink, pen, pencil and notebook reviews as well as publish news, Kickstarter announcements and the occasional Art of The Day post or work space photos. There just might not be two posts everyday. Maybe just one. If I don’t post for a day or so, don’t worry. Sometimes, it gets a bit busy and sometimes or its just a slow news day (whether I’m responsible for the slowness or there just doesn’t seem to be much going on).

I’m always looking for new products, something different, something well-loved or just something beautiful. I hope I can keep bringing these finds to you in a thoughtful and timely manner.

If there’s anything you’d like to see more (or less), please leave a comment.

*It’s hard for me to keep Link Love on a specific day but I get one out every week or so, usually on Wednesday but I’m off this week. AGAIN.

From The Archives: Pilot Envelope Pen

Pilot Envelope Pen Writing Sample

from-the-archivesI have been using the Pilot Envelope Pen in both the Fine and Extra Fine models for many years. These are rolleball pens. I’d most likely compare them in feel to a Pilot Precise V5 but a little bit slippier. The ink is silky smooth but because of the ink, the tip can get a little gunky. So why suffer a gunky tip? Because these pens are fine line AND waterproof and not prone to feather like a Sharpie Marker. In my writing test, the water test portion was wet with a water brush and dried. Not even a smudge!

The ink does have a bit of an odor but no worse than an alcohol-based markers and there may be some show through or bleed through on some papers but for envelopes or file folders, its not a big deal.

These do use ink quickly so buy two at a time. Stock up now before holiday card season.

Pilot Envelope Pen

I like the extra fine better for addressing envelopes since its easier to write long addresses small and neat. The fine is quite a bit broader.

Each model is just $2 and there is also a broad version and available from Jet Pens.

Feeling a Little Royal

Everything in Kansas City, and in my office, is swathed in blue and all things Royals so I see no reason why I should not inflict this on everyone else.
Here goes:

First, I wanted to show you this wonderful video of retired Hallmarker, Shannon Manning, talking about designing the Kansas City Royals logo. I found the article with the video on Todd Radom’s blog about the development of the Royals logo.

Then I wanted to show you this wonderful chalk mural created by the lettering staff at Hallmark this week:

And then there’s been a slew of doodles and messages of support:

#thatneighborkid #beroyal #crowntocrown #sharehallmark #danielmiyaresdoodles

A photo posted by @think.make.share on

Nice stuff, huh?

(file under “Plugging The Firm”)

Link Love: Picture This

instagramlove

Great images this week from Instagram. From the top:

  1. Row 1, left to right: Chalk Lettering by Josh Scruggs, Fountain Pen Day Swag by Ivan Romero, Roterfaden by Ian Hedley.
  2. Row 2: Baseball score sheet by Tim WasemHot Air Balloon Bunny Print by Two Tone Press and Vintage Perpetual Desk Calendar by Lila Symons.
  3. Row 3: J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey by FPGeeks, “I won’t take the easy road” lettering by Lila Symons, and Air Mail Envelope Security Pattern by Donovan Beeson.

Pens & Ink:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Other cool stuff:

Ink Drop: So Long, Summer (September 2014)

Ink Drop: September 2014 So Long, Summer

Today was the perfect day to open this Ink Drop set. It was one of those Indian Summer days — warm and sunny but it would get a little chilly when the breeze would blow and the trees are starting to change. So, so long, summer. You’ll be dearly missed.

This month’s Ink Drop (I guess technically it’s last month’s Ink Drop) featured colors that hover between summer and fall. They are colors that are a little deeper than those bright sun-baked summer colors but not quite the jewel tones of late fall. Featured this month was Diamine Sepia ($12.95 for an 80ml bottle), Diamine Teal ($12.95 for an 80ml bottle), Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin ($22.40 for a 50ml bottle), Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Gaki ($28 for a 50ml bottle) and Private Reserve Daphne Blue ($11 for a 65ml bottle).

The color difference between the Mandarin and the Fuyu-Gaki was pretty slight in the swatches but it might be more noticeable when actually writing. At best, I think the Fuyu-Gaki is a little more reddish than the Mandarin which was a vibrant orange. It might help to know that Fuyu-Gaki translates to “Winter Persimmon.” I do think Fuyu-Gaki is reminiscent of the color of a persimmon.

The Diamine Sepia is a golden, fall leaf yellow gold. I would have named it something like “Golden Wheat ” or “Raw Umber”rather than Sepia which I always assume will be a more reddish brown or grey brown. That said, its a pleasingly autumnal color and I’ll be curious to actually ink it up in a pen. Maybe my Kaweco Art Sport would look good with this color ink?

Private Reserve Daphne Blue is quite similar to the Naples Blue from the August Ink Drop. The Daphne Blue is just slightly more turquoise in the swatch than the Naples Blue. Both look like fabulous vivid blues.

The Diamine Teal is a wonderful sort of teal blue-black. I may not love black inks but blue-blacks and green-black and purple-blacks are all well-received at The Desk. I’m looking forward to doing a full review of this ink and probably buying a full bottle.

Which of these colors would you like to see as a full writing sample first?

Ink Drop is a monthly ink sampling service from Goulet Pens. Subscriptions are $10 per month (add $5 for international subscription), pre-paid or ongoing, and include five different colors of ink and discounts on purchases of full bottles of ink in the Ink Drops.

Swabs are done with a watercolor paint brush on Kyokuto Word Cards.


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

Ink Review: MontBlanc Meisterstück 90 Years Permanent Grey

Mont Blanc Meisterstuck 90 Years Permanent Grey

I was having one of those weeks at work where all I really wanted was a pick-me-up. So, at lunch one day, I ventured across the street to the Pen Place and bought a bottle of the MontBlanc Meisterstück 90 years Permanent Grey ($22 for a 60ml glass bottle). I bought it sight unseen (no test swab or anything), spurred entirely by how much I like the Daniel DeFoe ink and I wanted something new, different and special. I don’t know much about MontBlanc and their heritage but I was inspired by the moment, so I bought a bottle of this ink.

Mont Blanc Meisterstuck 90 Years Permanent Grey

The ink swabbed almost black so I was a little concerned that in writing, it would appear to be black. I was pleasantly surprised when I started writing with it that the ink is a watery grey-black with cool undertones (leaning a little green). Because of its lighter coloring, there is some nice shading when writing. I suspect in a finer nib pen, some of the shading might be lost. I definitely recommend using this ink with a medium nib or wider to get the full benefit of its color quality.

I don’t normally look for or purchase black inks. There are so many color options with fountain pen ink that I can’t bring myself to buy plain ol’ black. But I really like grey so I make an exception for grey inks. There aren’t a lot in my ink library so the Meisterstück Permanent Grey is an excellent addition. It is also a fairly water resistant color so it would make a good option for signing documents or addressing envelopes or anything else that might be exposed to the elements. When wet, there was a little grey washing around the writing but it stayed pretty true, enough to withstand getting caught int he rain or spilling some coffee.

This ink was tested on a Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 18 pad with my Lamy Studio with a 1.1mm stub nib.

Winner: Knock Knock “Dress Your Desk” Giveaway

Knock Knock Notecards

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for the Knock Knock “Dress Your Desk” Essentials.

Congrats to our winner, Kristy!

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 11.42.16 AM

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 11.40.07 AM

I will contact you via email to make arrangements for delivery. Check your inbox.

For everyone else, remember that Knock Knock has two special offers available:

  1. Sign up for the Knock Knock newsletter and get 20% off a future order over $50.
  2. Get 20% off any order with the code DESK20. But hurry, this code is only good through 11/1/14.

And don’t forget about the Dress Your Desk Campaign:

Then submit photos of your desk to Knock Knock. If selected, your desk could be the “Featured Desk of the Week” on the Knock Knock blog and our social channels. To share with your photos, just tag Knock Knock on FB, Twitter, or Instagram and use hashtag #DressYourDesk for your chance to be the “Featured Desk of the Week”.

Go forth and Dress Your Desk!

Pen Cleaning

Pen cleaning

Every once in awhile I realize that I have every fountain pen in the house inked up and haven’t used most of them in months. This inevitably leads to maniacally cleaning every pen. All the cartridges come out and every pen is disassembled to its smallest possible pieces and dropped into water. I even syringe out a lot of the cartridges so that I can reuse them.

This photo is only part of the pens that got cleaned. Some of the nib units are still soaking since they were left filled until the ink dried. All my Kaweco pens were cleaned first and refilled so they are not pictured above. The Kawecos are probably better maintained than any of my other pens. My growing collection of Lamy and Monteverde pens were also pretty well maintained. The most neglected were the budget fountain pens bought early in my fountain pen collecting that got cleaned last.

In the process of cleaning, I realized that the Lamy Logo and Lamy Accent do not accept the Lamy Converter. It a good thing I cleaned out the stock Lamy cartridges that came with the pens so that I can fill them with bottled inks. Lamy ink colors are pretty limited.

How many pens do you keep inked at any one time? Are you fastidious about cleaning them or do you leave them until it gets this bad? Are there certain pens that get more “love” than others?

Art of the Day: Paper-Mate poster from 1956

Paper-Mate pen, Sioux boy with a sioux war bonnet made of pens instead of real eagle-feather. Beautifully printed in stone-lithography. Herbert Leupin was one of the leader of the Basel school and the hyperrealism style, also called "SachPlakat".

Paper-Mate pen, Sioux boy with a sioux war bonnet made of pens instead of real eagle-feather. Beautifully printed in stone-lithography. Herbert Leupin was one of the leader of the Basel school and the hyperrealism style, also called “SachPlakat”.

Original Vintage Posters keeps a fabulous assortment of vintage posters including vintage typewriter images and other vintage pens. Does your office need some art on the wall?

Review: Knock Knock “Dress Your Desk” Accessories (& Giveaway)

The fine folks over at Knock Knock sent me a few of their Dress Your Desk office essentials. I received two sets of Not-Your Average Index Cards, a Random Notes notepad,  a Whatever Lined Pad and a set of Honest Acronym File Folders.

KK-folders

I cannot tell you how much the Honest Acronym File Folders make me smile. The set comes with six different files folder ($9) with bold acronyms on the front in an array of bright colors. They are tabbed with a white area on the tab to write and inside the folder is a full lined “page” for adding additional notes to your file. The folders are super-thick cardstock with a gloss matte finish which means they’ll stand up to lots of abuse. I recommend writing on the tabs and inside with a ballpoint pen or alcohol-based marker like a Sharpie ultra fine marker. I plan on using some labels, typed on one of my vintage typewriters. I think that would look fab. I’ll be using the ASAP (As Slow As Possible) for bills and there’s a project at work destined for the WTF (What’s This For) file.

Knock Knock Index Cards

I received two sets of the Not-You-Average Index Cards ($6 per set), the “tabbed” index cards and the “indexed” index cards.

There are 60 cards in each set, tied together with a printed rubber band. Each set of cards came with three colors. The “tabbed” set is an assortment of of yellow, lime and green with 7mm line spacing and the “indexed” set is an assortment of red, pink and orange with 6mm line spacing. I didn’t notice that the index cards were different line spacing but if you have a preference it’s good to know. Both sets have die cut notches about a half an inch from the left edge that is wide enough to hold the rubber band  that’s included with each set.

The cards are a bit heavier weight than the average office supply store grade index cards. The printed border colors and lines are vivid and fun but not so bright or dark as to obscure most standard pen and ink colors. Where I work, we live and breath 3×5 cards and these will certainly beat the plain ol’ white cards I normally use.

IMG_1412 (1)

In writing tests, the index cards performed admirably. None of the fountain pens, rollerball or felt/fiber tip pens I used feathered or bled at all. and the inks did not show through or bleed through to the other side either meaning that both sides of the cards are truly usable.

Knock Knock Index Cards Writing Samples

Knock Knock Index Cards Writing Samples

Knock Knock Random Notes Pad

The Random Notes pad ($7) is a 6×9″ gummed pad printed with an assortment of areas to take notes, doodle or make lists all while looking like you’re paying attention in your next droll meeting. There’s 60 sheets in each pad so you’ll have plenty for every dull meeting.

Knock Knock Random Notes Pad Writing Sample

Overall, I was quite impressed with the entertainment value AND the paper quality of the pad. There’s a blank area, a dot grid space (4mm spacing), a gridded section (about 3.5mm grid) as well as a lined area (7mm spacing). At the top is space to add a date and time of the note-taking adventure.

Knock Knock Random Notes Pad Writing Sample

Using my TWSBI Mini with a dark blue-black ink, I got a little show through and a little bleeding in the darkly colored areas. There were a few dots of bleed through on the next sheet. Otherwise, for a novelty scratch pad, this is good paper.

Knock Knock Whatever Lined Pad

The Whatever Lined Pad ($7) is a classic pad styled like a legal pad with the folded paper binding at the top, perforated, lined and a creamy orange color with green and grey lines.

Knock Knock Whatever Lined Pad Writing Sample

The paper is definitely better quality than the average budget, legal pad. At the top is three ares for “Who(ever)”, “When(ever)” and ‘Where(ever)”. Along the left side is  a large, blank  for an additional list, check marks or cross-referencing. There’s a large margin at the bottom as well.  The line spacing is 6mm.

Knock Knock Whatever Lined Pad Reverse Side

I tried all my currently inked fountain pens with pleasing results. There was no feathering of any of the inks or pens that I used and only a little bit of show through, though I admit, I seldom use the reverse side of legal pad paper. Do you?

Overall, I loved all these products and I have to admit I was not expecting such a high level of quality in what I’d thought of as “novelty products”. Knock Knock really knocked it out of the park.

So, how can you get your own “Dress Your Desk” Essentials?

Dress Your Desk Campaign:

First, check out all the great Dress Your Desk Essential products.

Then submit photos of your desk to Knock Knock. If selected, your desk could be the “Featured Desk of the Week” on the Knock Knock blog and our social channels. To share with your photos, just tag Knock Knock on FB, Twitter, or Instagram and use hashtag #DressYourDesk for your chance to be the “Featured Desk of the Week”.

The Awesome Offer for Well-Appointed Desk Readers:

All readers can get 20% off at Knock Knock by using the code DESK20 on their next order. The code works one-time use per customer code and its only good through 11/1/14.

Also, if you sign-up for the Knock Knock newsletter, you can get 15% off orders over $50.

and finally, THE GIVEAWAY:

Knock Knock has kindly offered to give away a new set of these Dress Your Desk Essentials selecte by The Well-Appointed Desk. Winner will receive all the products reviewed here:

  • Tabbed Index Cards
  • Indexed Index Cards
  • Random Notes
  • Whatever Lined Pad
  • Honest Acronym File Folders

I’m trying out Rafflecopter this time around so leave a comment on the blog and tell me what your favorite “desk essential” is to be entered.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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

Commonplace Book Ideas

Throughout my life, I’ve made various efforts to keep a journal or diary of some sort. Sometimes, I was at a crossroads and needed a place to think through my plans, goals, needs and wants. Sometimes, I just wanted to be able to remember who I met and where I went. Today, so much of our lives is documented in someway digitally– Facebook, Instagram and Twitter catch bits of our thoughts, photos and memories– but I still yearn for something tangible.

I found 10 Commonplace Journal Ideas on Quinn Creative and love the ideas that were recommended to jump start a commonplace book. Quinn recommends documenting the weather; the foods you eat; the music, film and other media you consume; how much things cost; maps; quotes and ideas as well as looking back over previous years to see if your ideas or opinions or tastes have changed over time. This seems like such a simple way to keep track of a few moments in your life without committing to writing lengthy, soul-searching entries that might require carving out hours from each day to accomplish.

I’ve actually been employing some of the ideas mentioned in my Hobonichi this year but Quinn’s suggestions gave me a few more ideas to add to it.

The Commonplace Journal Ideas post lead me on a hunt for more information and other ideas about keeping a commonplace book and there are pages of search results on Google. Some focussed more on the more traditional use of a commonplace book which is seen to be a place for writers and poets to collect quotes and fragments of story ideas to be used later.

I found a post that talked more about a system to organize a commonplace book on yihogyun.com that seemed to integrate some of the same principles used in the Bullet Journal system (indexing, page numbering, etc).

If you have the passion and/or the time to write or draw or document at length, I would not discourage doing something bigger but, sadly, most everyone I know says they never have nearly enough time to do all the things they want to do. So, maybe a commonplace book is a good way to capture the flavor of each day without requiring an excessive amount of time?

Do you keep a commonplace book or something similar? What do you record in it?

Fashionable Friday: Go Royals!

Fashionable Friday: Go Royals

Kansas City is absolutely awash in all things Royals and blue the last few weeks on this epic run-up to the first World Series appearance in 29 years* so it seemed appropriate to wrap today’s Fashionable Friday is in a royal blue hue.

  • Kansas City Royals Light Blue 12” x 30” Premium Felt Pennant $9.95 (via Fan’s Edge)
  • Lamy Safari Fountain Pen in Blue, Medium Nib $29.60 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Nomadic PN-91 Top Open Pencil Case – Light Blue $15 (via Jet Pens)
  • Pilot Knight Fountain Pen in Silver $24 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Streaking Paper Notebook — for the winning streak! 7″x10″ $14.95 (via Productive Luddite)
  • Pelikan Souveran M605 Marine Blue Fountain Pen $297.50 (via Pen Boutique)
  • Word.Notebooks – Indigo 3-pack $9.95 (via Word.Notebooks)
  • Baseball Glove & Ball Erasers 12 sets $5.25 (via Oriental Trading Company)
  • Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB Premium Graphite Pencils $12.95 (via Pencils.com)
  • Diamine Royal Blue $12.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Kaweco Ink – Royal Blue $19 (via Jet Pens)
  • Kum Double-Hole Wedge Sharpener $2.35 (via Dick Blick)
  • Ceramic Baseball Mug $13.50 (via LaRose)
  • Thumbs Up Sticky $3.99 (via Knock Knock)

*As a Cubs fan, 29 years doesn’t seem like a long time to wait for a chance to go to the World Series but folks here are so genuinely joyous, its becoming contagious.

Winners: Monologue Notebooks

Monologue journals

There was a remarkably even distribution of entries in the Monologue Notebooks giveaway. About one-third of entries went to each giveaway collection though there were a couple people who didn’t specify a prize.

all the entry slips

I printed and cut out every entry and then tossed them into a bowl to do an good old fashioned drawing. So, without further ado…

prize 1

Winner Number 1 is Kristopher K.

prize 2

Winner Number 2 is Derek K.

prize 3

And winner Number 3 is Becca.

I’ll be contacting each winner via email to get shipping information. Thanks to everyone for entering and congratulations to all the winners!

Tomorrow is Social Media Blackout Day

SocialMediaBlackout_Banner_F

The good folks at KnockKnock are launching the Anti-Social Network Journal, and encouraging folks to participate in the Social Media Blackout Day tomorrow, Thurs. Oct. 16—a day to log off all those social networks.

SocialMediaBlackout_Profile_FIf you’d like to participate (or share on your social networks), show your support by changing your avatar/icon to the image attached and post a status of “Today is #SocialMediaBlackoutDay and I’m unplugging for 24 hours. Join me!” Their goal is to raise awareness on the impact social media has had on our lives and encourage people to log out and live in real life again, or at least for 24 hours.

Since my post yesterday, I think a little 24-hour detox from Instagram, Twitter, blogs and such is just the thing I need to recharge my batteries — and maybe get a few reviews done and a few letters written.

I’ll see you back here on Friday!

Shop Tour: Oblation Papers

While in Portland recently, I got a chance to visit Oblation Papers. When the staff realized that we were a letterpress printer (my husband), a lettering artist (my friend Madeline) and a stationery blogger (that would be me), we got a full behind-the-scenes tour. We also happened to be in the store on the day of their 25th anniversary so we got to share cupcakes and cheer too.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I took so many photos that I felt a gallery presentation was the only way to share these. (Hope that’s okay. There are more great “behind the scenes” photos on the Oblation blog if you can’t get enough.)

Oblation Papers is not just a retail stationery shop, its also a paper making facility and a letterpress print shop. There is also a magical closet of vintage typewriters that are repaired and cleaned and put out for sale.

Ron, one of the owners of the shop, happily toured us around showing us the paper making tools like the pulping and beating machines as well as the frames used to create handmade paper and shaped papers. Then we visited the mythical closet where I nudged everyone out of the way to stand, surrounded on four sides by shelves, in a room of vintage typewriters. Then we wandered into the print shop filled with Chandler & Price and Heidelberg Windmill presses and we met the delightful Jennie. She is one of the press operators who was such a good sport, she and her husband took our motley bunch out for beers after the tour.

I got a few last looks at the actual shop floor filled with lots of unique cards, both Oblation and other small indie brands, as well as a vintage Sheaffer case filled with vintage pens for sale and another case filled with newer pens and writing tools. Oblation also stocks wax seals and other goodies. Its an amazing place and the staff there were so kind and knowledgeable.

If you’re in Portland definitely stop by. OR check out their online store.

1 2 3 97