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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Art of the Day: Oliver Jeffries

stluis-3 charlotte-2

Oliver Jeffers sketchbook illustrations for the United Airlines in-flight magazine. It looks like they were drawn a pocket-sized Moleskine Cahier using waxy colored pencils and some white ink or gel pens. Gorgeous!

I made a bunch of maps for the United Airlines inflight magazine. They are all geographically accurate.

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Visit Oliver Jeffers site to see all the images from the collection and admire his other work as well. Check out the sketchbook section to see some amazing collages and messy, well-loved sketchbooks.

(shoutout to The Cramped for the tip)

Thinking About The Pen Habit

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For those of you who follow The Pen Habit, you may have already heard about his announcement to cease recording his pen review videos and the subsequent follow-up about amending his format and explain in more detail his reasoning. Matt’s comments rang loudly for me about the amount of time he spends preparing and recording his reviews, not to mention the amount of money he has spent on pens.

Matt’s decision came on the heels on  Brad’s recent announcement to cease publishing his weekly Ink Links.

All of this led me to think about what I do and why I do it. How much time (and money) is too much to spend on a hobby? Its made me wonder if I should reconsider how much time I spend doing this blog versus actually living and reading and writing?

I have not made any decisions one way or the other because I like what I do. However, every week I do struggle to stay on top of all my reviews as well as working my full-time job and all those daily tasks that often get overlooked to squeeze in one more blog post, photo shoot, photo editing session or some other blog-related project.

I love this community. I love pens and inks and paper and all the other things to make a beautiful place to work. So bear with me while I get over my own growing pains.

From The Archives: Sharpie Pen

Sharpie Pen writing sample

I can’t believe its taken me so long to warm up to the Sharpie Pen. As a Marvy Le Pen loyalist, I just couldn’t see what the big deal was about the Sharpie Pen. It’s similar in overall design; a fiber-tip pen with a slightly wider barrel than Le Pen and not available in nearly the array of colors. However, what Sharpie brings to the table with the Sharpie Pen in that’s its fairly water resistant and widely available for purchase. If what you want is a good quality fiber-tipped pen in black, you can’t really go wrong with the Sharpie Pen.

The tip is generically labeled as “fine” and I was able to compare it to an assortment of other fiber-tipped pens. I would say the Sharpie Pen is comparable to the Le Pen which is also unlabelled and an 03 Sakura Pigma Micron. Like most fiber-tipped pens, the point will blunt over time so I’ve had to make a “best guess” since all my pens are in various states of use.

Sharpie Pen

The simple shape of the pen and the clean graphics are all plusses for me. I’d prefer a nicer clip than the molded plastic provided but overall, its a good pen for the price and can be purchased at any drugstore, stationery shop or big box store. Other ink colors are available and the Sharpie Pen is non-toxic, archival and fade resistant as well.  All-in-all, definitely one of my go-to tools.

Link Love: Color Inside the Lines

Link Love Link MascotEvery week I scour the dozens of pen and paper blogs and hundreds of posts to bring you (what I think is) the best posts in the digita pendom. I hope you enjoy them too!

Link of the Week:

Pantone Color Test

Can you align the hues into a perfect transition? I scored a 12. Post in the comments if you beat my score! (I forgot who sent me this link, so sorry! via Inkdependence)

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Other Stuff:

Review: Monologue Journals and Sketchbooks

Monologue journals

The folks at GrandLuxe sent me a whole heaping pile of their new Monologue journals. I received four A6 (5.5″x3.5″) sized books and three A5 (approx. 8.25″x5.5″).

Monologue journals

Even from the edges, you can see there are slight variations in each book to suit lots of personal preferences. The red A6-sized has pages that are  undersized to accommodate a golf-sized pencil tucked in under the edge for the cover with an elastic to hold it securely. The bottom two books have elastic loops to hold a writing tool. The orange book in the middle is a flip-top reporter-style sketchbook. The books and the top of the pile and the bottom are from the “platinum” line that include matching metallic edging on the pages.

Monologue journals

The books fall into two paper categories, the standard weight writing paper  (80 gsm acid-free) and the heavier sketchbook paper (140 gsm Italian high quality acid free). The black Monologue Basics sketchbook and the orange reporter-style Monologue sketh pad both feature the plain heavyweight sketchbook paper. The sketchbook paper is treated with a vegetable gel for long-lasting stability. All the other books have the lighter-weight, lined writing paper and additional paper treatment is labelled.

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Uppercase #23: Calligraphy Issue

Uppercase Issue 23 Calligraphy Cover

If you are not familiar with Uppercase magazine, it is a beautiful publication printed on heavyweight uncoated paper with amazing design in each issue. Its an independent publication out of Canada created by Janine Vangool. Each magazine is themed and features independent artists, illustrators, and craftspeople making beautiful things all over the world. Every aspect of the publication is beautifully designed and the only advertising is in the back of the magazine in a “marketplace” section.

Issue 23 is themed around calligraphy and lettering. The cover is a beautifully lettered grocery list on the back of an envelope. So charming! $18 CAD/$16 USD

Previously, Issue 17 might be of interest to readers of The Well-Appointed Desk. The theme of the issue is stationery and back issues are still available. $18 CAD/$16 USD

Subscriptions are also available starting at $80 CAD/$72 USD.

Also, the blog and the mailing list are full of inspiring, interesting paper-y related goodness. Just this week, the blog featured re-purposed fountain pen ink bottles etched with inspiring messages.

My copy of Issue 23 is in the post, I’ll share some photos when it arrives.

Fashionable Friday: Rainy Day

Fashionable Friday Rainy Day

This week’s Fashionable Friday is inspired by the super-rainy week we’ve been having here in Kansas City. Portland last week was unusually sunny and hot when I wanted to experience that chilly Pacific coast weather so this is definitely my idealized rainy day kit.

Any well-appointed portal desk should definitely include a good umbrella and a travel Thermos. A well-stocked office doesn’t stop at pens and ink.

  • St. Tropez Leather Tote $199 (via Levenger) (Also available in an assortment of canvas colors called the Bloomsbury, loaded with a selection of supplies $69.
  • J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Gray $26 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Red Leather Oporto Journal 8×5.5″ $20 (via Gallery Leather)
  • Coffee Books Rain T-shirt $32.99 (via Screend)
  • Matte Black Grey Grid Notebook, 4×6 $9.95 (via Productive Luddite)
  • Wörther Shorty Mechanical Pencil with 3.5mm lead €8,50 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Sailor Fountain Pen Jentle Ink Tokiwa-matsu (Pine – Green) $20 (via Jet Pens)
  • MontBlanc Meisterstuck 90th Year Anniversary Special Edition Permanent Grey Ink Bottle $19 (via Pen Boutique)
  • Rainkist automatic hunter Green compact umbrella $9.99 (via eBags)
  • Lamy Safari in Red $29.60 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Heritage Plaid Beverage Bottle 16 oz $29.95 (via Thermos)
  • Vintage Plaid Pencil Case $5.99 (via BlueQ)

Happy splashy, rainy day!

(Outfit inspiration via Pinterest)

Review: Clairefontaine ME Notebooks

ME Journal from Quo Vadis

The new Clairefontaine ME (Multimedia Enhanced) Notebooks are a combination of the Quo Vadis Habana notebooks in size and performance with the addition of a companion iPhone, iPad And Android app and QR codes on each page of the notebook to link multimedia content to the notes you take.

ME Journal from Quo Vadis inside cover

The most unfortunate part of this book is the horse-y type and the lame logo. It just kills me to see such beautiful paper and a well-crafted notebook saddled with ugly design. Luckily, these pages can be razored out once I get the hang of this app. (Hey, Clairefontaine! I’d happily redesign these pages and the logo for you. Call me.)

Moleskine worked with Evernote to create a notebook to archive your paper notes which is different from what Clairefontaine is doing. The ME Journal is designed to link additional content to your notes; be it audio, video, links or still photos. I could see this being useful in meetings where whiteboards are used and need to be referenced later. Linking photos of the whiteboards to paper notes would be hugely helpful.

ME Journal from Quo Vadis writing sample

The advantage of the ME Journal is the awesome Clairefontaine smooth, ivory paper at 85 gsm. Except for the over-sized QR code, the paper is the same fabulous quality as all the other Quo Vadis and Clairefontaine products. This paper loves fountain pens and almost any other tool you throw at it. The QR code is an added bonus for when you might want to link other content like sound, video, web link or photo.

ME Journal from Quo Vadis hot pink cover

Underneath the paper wrap is a debossed logo of the less-than-attractive “ME” logo. It can easily be covered with a sticker of your own choosing.

ME Journal + app

I test drove the combination of the ME notebook plus app while in Portland this weekend. I tend to build lists of books to look for whenever I go to a bookstore and Powell’s City of Books in downtown Portland is a full city block worth of books. I was definitely going to need a big list and capture books I might want to purchase at a later date. I was able to combine images of book covers I found with notes in the book. I have been taking pics of book covers to remind myself for ages but being able to catalog it with the specific location where I found it will make it even more useful in the future.

I do think I need to put a note next to the QR code if I make a digital note so that I remember to cross reference. Once the QR is used or scanned, it cannot be used for additional content. So, just one piece of media per page.

ME app screenshot

The view from within the app shows a library of captured items. Clicking on each item will reveal more details including the date captured and play the sound or video. Its fairly straight forward to use. The only stumble is the “return” key in the keyboard is actually the “submit” to complete a text entry or tag on an image, video or sound clip. Once I figured that out, everything was pretty straight forward.

By the end of the weekend, I had covered the front of the notebook with stickers to hide the ugly embossed logo and I had ripped out the front pages with the instructions as well. In the end, I find this to be a very useful notebook and found several occasions to link written text to digital content via the app. I don’t shoot a lot of video or sound but was intrigued about capturing ambiance from my travels with the app to augment my written experiences.

The ME series is the same price as the standard Quo Vadis notebooks so the choice is yours. I find that the added benefit of the QR codes outweigh some of the aesthetic issues and you can still use the app at any point (or not at all) in filling your book.

ME Journals are available in large (6.25 x 9.25 ”) and pocket (4 x 6.375”) sizes in three colors: red, black or raspberry pink. Check your favorite online retailer to purchase (most of my sponsors are currently stocking the ME Journals).

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