News: All the Things

New Podcast:

There is a new pen community podcast called The BYOB Pen Club. Its a round table discussion of Pen Addict Slack regulars. If you are looking to have a virtual drink at the bar with some pen friends, this is the podcast for you. This is the closest approximation to pulling up a chair at any of the after hours events at a pen show I’ve experienced in a podcast. At least that’s how Episode O plays. Here’s hoping that future episodes keep the same casual camaraderie.

New App:

Austin Tooley developed an iphone pen/stationery blog aggregator called Nibbler. What a fine way to entertain yourself while waiting for the bus! There is a $1.99 in-app purchase option to “re-skin” the app or as a way to thank Austin for his efforts. Help support the pen community and the on-going efforts they make to keep it awesome.

New Field Notes Edition:

The Resolution Edition is the 10th anniversary edition of Field Notes. Spoiler Alert! The Resolution Edition includes a red, white and blue cover. The white cover is the Date Book and the red and blue are Checklist notebooks. There is also a 2018 calendar card that fits inside the books. The subscribers’ bonus is a reprint of the original Draplin Field Notes pack. The Checklist notebooks remind me a lot of the Word. Notebooks not that anyone invented the idea of a checklist or bullet list but its all coming full circle.

New Pen Releases:

Sailor Pro Gear Slim Purple Cosmos ($250) is a limited edition of only 800 available. It is a deep purple with metallic flecks with a 14k nib and sliver hardware. The pen is due to ship any day now. You can ask to be notified if there are any available at Anderson Pens but the remainder left may be slim. I ordered mine back in July.

The Parker Jotter Architecture Series takes its inspiration from London architecture. Each pen is etched with elements inspired from a particular  time period: classical (red), modern (blue), postmodern (black)  and gothic (bronze). Each pen comes in a gift box, making it giftable for both seasoned collectors or new collectors. MSRP $25/£19.

The Visconti Opera Master Fountain Pen Luna ($795) will be available in a limited edition “Goulet blue” resin with silver sparkles. This Goulet exclusive is limited to only 188 units and can include the magnetized MyPen System options – natural stones can replace the Visconti logo in the finial. The pen features the Visconti’s double reservoir power filler and a 23kt palladium nib in medium. It comes in a leather pen box with a glass ink bottle filled with Visconti Blue ink.

Retro 51 has two new Tornados available. They are yoga themes, one is the bamboo Hamsa ($45) and the other is the brightly colored, glow-in-the-dark Chakra ($45). The Retro 51 seasonal Popper was also released. It’s called “Winter Wonderland” ($37).  I really like the yoga releases and I think the illustrations on the holiday Popper are excellent this year.

Platinum is releasing the newest in their Nice 3776 line the 3776 Century Nice Fountain Pen in Lavande ($228). First, there was the Lilas in pink and now the more purply Lavande. If you like the more demonstrator style pens but still want a colorful barrel, this might be an option.

The new TWSBI Eco T fountain pen in blue (€ 35,00/€ 28,93 Outside EU) will be available soon. The Eco is a favorite piston-filling, entry level fountain pen. It’s reasonably priced and one of the only available with a piston-filling system instead of cartridge/converter. TWSBI continues to release new colors for their Ecos and ALs on an on-going basis.

Tag Team Review: Moo Softcover Journal

Tag Team Review: Moo Softcover Journal

Review by Ana Reinert and Laura Cameron:

Since both Laura and I have acquired several of the same products, we have decided to do some “tag team” reviews where we provide two points of view. Since our experience levels differ and our tastes differ, sometimes our opinions will be similar and sometimes they won’t. We hope you’ll enjoy these posts.


Oh, Moo, you did it. You made blank and grid and lined notebooks with that fabulous paper and the hint of colored paper sandwiched in the middle that we all begged for last year. You just made them as softcover journals ($6.99 for 64 pages) instead of the larger hardcover notebooks ($19.99 for 176 pages) that we all swooned over this time last year.

I had to doodle on the grey colored paper in the center section first. There are two signature in the center of each softcover notebook of the grey 135gsm Colorplan paper which is perfect for colored pencil, water-based markers and such. There’s no real reason to have the colored paper pages but I like them just the same. I do wish each Softcover Journal had different colored Colorplan paper in them but I can see why they didn’t — too many variables.

I, of course, tested the pastel pink blank notebook because I don’t like to be confined by lines. Some inks bled through a little bit but over all the performance is pretty solid.

The Munken Kristall paper is super smooth with very little tooth so I really liked pencil on it but I prefer harder lead grades so they appeared darker but did not smear. Darker lead grades would be extra smudgy, I suspect.

Hopefully, you can see the couple dots where the Pen BBS ink in the wider nib and the Oster Soda Pop Blue bled through.

The lined paper has very faint lines that do not run all the way to the edge of the page and include space at the bottom of the page for a page number or other marginalia.

The visible sewn binding is neat and clean and tightly done.

The only branding on the outside of the notebooks is a debossed Moo logomark on the back of the notebooks. Points to Moo for keeping it subtle.

The Moo Softcover Journal is 5.12″ (13cm) x 8.15″ (20.7cm) which is not a true A5 (14.8cm × 21cm) nor is it an American half sheet (5.5″ x 8.5″) so finding a suitable cover or carrying case for it may be a bit of a challenge. Height-wise, it will fit in an A5 Traveler’s Notebook or Roterfaden it will just be narrower than your other notebooks.


After Ana reviewed the MOO hard cover journal a while ago, I’ve been eager to try MOO notebooks. So when she offered me my choice of MOO’s soft-covered notebooks I eagerly selected one to test.

I chose the turquoise with a grey dot grid. For 2018, I’ve decided to carry an A5 Hobonichi Techo Cousin, and I found that the MOO notebook, while not quite A5 dimensions, fits neatly into the front of my Chic Sparrow cover as a companion to the Hobonichi.

So far I’ve been using the MOO notebook as a catch-all for everything from to-do and packing lists, to a place to jot down quotes, ideas for projects, test new pens, and more. The 100 gsm paper is nice and smooth and it handles fountain pens pretty well. There is definitely some ghosting, but the ink doesn’t appear to bleed through the page. I’ve tested a variety of fountain, ballpoint and rollerballs in the process and while ballpoint is the clear winner in terms of being able to use every page of the notebook, I think I’m okay with fountain pen ink as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed this notebook and feel like it’s a good, reasonably-priced solution for those for whom pocket notebooks are a bit too small or awkward, but without adding the heft larger bound or hard covered journals.

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

Giveaway: NockCo Seed A6 Cases

Giveaway: NockCo Seed A6 Cases

Last week I reviewed the NockCo Seed A6 Hobonichi cases. This week, I’d like to give two readers a chance to try them out for themselves so I am giving away one steel/silver dust and one iris/electric blue case (pictured above, Hobonichi and pens not included).

TO ENTER: Leave a comment and tell me what size or color combo you hope NockCo will offer next for their notebook cases. (Also, let me know if you’d prefer to get the steel or iris case!)

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Monday, November 20, 2017. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Tuesday. 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.

Link Love: More Pens, Less Cones.

Lucy is out of her cone!

Post of the Week:




Paper & Notebooks:

Other Interesting Things:

Review: Sheaffer Star Wars Rollerball Pen and Pencil Case

Review: Sheaffer Star Wars Rollerball Pen and Pencil Case

If you’ve ever encountered me at the airport or a pen show, you may have uncovered my other obsession besides pens… I’m a Star Wars nerd, so much so that my suitcase is R2-D2. So, when I got upset last year about the Cross Star Wars pens, it wasn’t an act. I can go off about them at a moment’s notice and I often do. You can ask my poor office mate. He has had to listen to me vent about them more times than he  care to count.  And I go on and on…

I believe that licensed products (that’s fancy talk for branded merchandise for a given franchise) is a good thing. There’s a lot of fans with a lot of money to spend and they want to spend it on good merchandise like the almost prop-quality time turners from Harry Potter, or the Montegrappa Game of Thrones pens. They look fabulous and to other fans, they know what they are. To non-fans, they just look cool.

And then there’s all the other licensed products out there. The stuff that just has “Gryffindor” printed on it and sells for $29 so your parents can buy you something at Christmas because they know you love Harry Potter. That’s kind of how I feel about the Sheaffer Star Wars products — with a caveat…

First… Can I point out the packaging says that Sheaffer is a “Pen & Art Supply Co”? This is new. I will leave the rest of the description of the company up to you, dear reader, to interpret how you wish.

I purchased my rollerball pen ($19.99) and pencil case ($14.99) at my local big box store for full retail price. I couldn’t bring myself to buy the full set of Darth Vader and Yoda pens or the fountain pen versions. The rollerball pen came with a standard black medium point which, for me, writes like a fire hose.

The pen barrel is plastic and screen printed with graphics so the longevity of the designs are iffy at best. The clip and end caps are metal but not very high quality so they are also likely to bend or chip. The grip section has a rubber coating which also has a shelf life. Though the pen does have a replaceable ink cartridge so you will be able to get more than one refill’s use out of it, this is definitely not meant to be a “forever” pen.

The cap does post and it doesn’t make it too heavy or too backward weighted. The pen, capped weighs 16gms.

Capped, its 5″. Uncapped, it’s just shy of 5″ and posted it’s 6.75″ long.

You can see that the rubber grip picks up dust, lint and hair and any moisture or oil will alter the coating over time.

Can you see why I don’t like rollerballs? It makes my handwriting look atrocious! The stock black cartridge is a dark matte black though so if that’s your cup of tea, you’ll be pleased. Me? It makes me write like a grade schooler tweaked out on too much Halloween candy.

As for the pencil case, there are two inner slit pockets to hold cards or help separate erasers, cartridges or other smaller items from your larger pens and tools. The overall exterior material is a lightweight nylon, lined with black nylon. It does not feel particularly heavy duty. The case measures 9.75″ x 5.25″ so its big enough to hold water brushes, unsharpened Blackwings, paint markers and other longer-than-usual tools.

There is branding inside and outside of the bag as well for both Disney and Star Wars on plasticky tags. Its a bit overkill since the logo is printed on the bag itself too. But No one asked me.

My last note is that while the graphics on the pen are crisp screen printed designs, the graphics on the bag are loose watercolor designs so the set does not really go together aesthetically. I feel the same way about the Darth Vader and Yoda designs too. The whole line feels very hodge podge. And to be honest, the pen should be closer to $10 and the pencil case closer to $8 really  though I suspect that the pricing was anticipation for big box markdowns.

Bob is going to field test the durability of the graphics on the pen by tumbling it in his pocket, bag and shop apron for a few weeks to see how long it survives in real world wear-and-tear in the print shop. I’ll post “after” photos in a few weeks.

DISCLAIMER: These items were purchased with my own money. Please see the About page for more details.

New Products: Inkello Letterpress

New Products: Inkello Letterpress

A couple weeks ago I got a chance to purchase a whole bunch of products from Inkello Letterpress in Lawrence, KS. And now I can share my finds with you. Christine M. Schneider is an illustrator and designer running creating beautiful paper goods in her print shop when she’s not illustrating children’s books and art directing a medical magazine. Truly multi-talented!

First up is the Matchbox Calendar ($8.50) which is slightly larger than regular business cards Its 3.75″ x 2.5″ with a flip cover like a matchbook, with silver metallic ink on the cover plus black and each page inside is  perforated. The booklet might stand up on your desk for a bit or each page could be perf-ed out and pinned up. It could be carried in your bag for quick reference or the thick cardstock pages could be pasted into a journal or notebook for reference. The letterpress calendars are classically typeset and the price is just right. I couldn’t pass it up.

Next was the the Rainbow Monogram Jotter ($6). It is 3-7/8″ tall x 2-1/2″ wide with 20 sheets of heavy cardstock paper (4 sheets in 5 colors: red, orange, yellow, lime and bright blue). The jotter comes with a small golf-sized pencil which I immediately misplaced. I purchased the jotter at a print show and the only monogram left was the letter “P” in the rainbow paper. I could have waited and ordered one with a more appropriate monogram but patience is not a strong suit. P is for Pen. P is for Pencil. P is for Patience of which I have none.

Inkello also offers the Monogram Jotter with plain white paper if you prefer something more subdued.

If you want plain paper, there is also the Gingham Notepad ($5.50) with string-and-button closure and a more traditional paper stock rather than cardstock. This notepad is a bit larger at 4.75″ x 3″ with 64 pages.

I put this paper to the test and it came out with flying colors. There was no show through or bleed through in my quick writing tests. Not bad for a pocket jot pad!

What got my super excited was the Inkello Weekly Planner ($20).  Its an undated weekly planner in a compact A5-ish (5.5″x8.5″) format. Unfortunately, its not yet listed in her shop.

The Planner has a Sunday start and features same size boxes for all seven days. At the bottom of the right hand page is a space for tasks for the week. That’s it. 52 weeks of efficient pages.

Then in the back are monthly calendars for 2018-2021 and a few pages for notes and that’s it. No excess bulk or things you don’t need. The covers are double weight card stock.

The info sheet on the back is lightly tipped on with (what we in the industry call) booger glue so it can be easily removed so you can a clean back cover. The only graphics on the back is the Inkello logo stamped in letterpress so you remember where you purchased the planner.

I used one of the notes pages for pen tests and had fairly good results. The paper is smooth with very little tooth. The only show through I got was with the brush pen and that was more a result of how heavy and dark it was rather than that the ink bled.

The last item I purchased was the “One-of-a-Kind Calendar” ($22). It is a Draw-Your-Own Hanging Calendar. At 9.5″ x 6.75″, it is perforated down the middle and made from 100% cotton paper.

One half of the calendar has a blank letterpress calendar on it and the other half is blank so that you can draw, paint, collage or doodle on it.

Being able to separate the artwork from the calendar portion would allow the artwork to be saved, mailed or framed later. This could be a great way to involve your kids in making art, or a way to have a calendar serve double duty — calendar now, mail art later?

The One-of-a-Kind Calendar is not yet listed on the Inkello web site but if you are interested in purchasing it, email their Contact page (listed on the bottom of their site) and let them know you were interested in it.

There are lots of other great products available at Inkello and I had a hard time not buying ALL her products. I hope you enjoy browsing as much as I did.


Review: Rickshaw Pen Sleeves

Review: Rickshaw Pen Sleeves

I had a total fan girl moment at the San Francisco Pen Show when I saw Mark Dwight of Rickshaw Bags walking the show floor. I wanted to run up to him and tell him how I’d followed his company since he first launched it in 2007 and I had a very early Moleskine notebook cover and several Zero messenger bags but I chickened out as I saw other people approach him. The moment had passed. I sighed. Sometimes, my shyness and general fear of making an idiot of myself gets in the way of telling people what an impact they make on my life.

I proceeded to berate myself all day for not being braver and going over to talk to Mark. Then on Sunday, fate worked in my favor and Mark came back to the show so I took a chance and worked up my courage to approach him. I told him what I had been too shy to say days before and he was kind, polite and as humble as you can imagine. And surprise! Like the rest of the pen community, he was generous too! He asked if I’d like to try out some of his new pen sleeves and give him some honest feedback. Mark pulled a Solo Pen Sleeve ($12) out of his giant messenger bag in the perfect shade of neon pink to match my Caran d’Ache 849 Fountain Pen.

The Solo Pen Sleeves are available in an array of colors, with matching plush lining. They are also available in a few different configurations like short, skinny, long and variations of these to fit some different pen styles. I’ve put several other pens into the regular sized Pen Sleeve with no issues, even if the sleeve was a bit long for it and then just pinched the bottom to get it out like a pen Go-Gurt. Since the sleeve is plush lined, even a snug fit isn’t worrisome so I’ve put slightly larger diameter pens in the sleeve as well even if they weren’t as perfect a color match. However, the 849 pretty much lives in the sleeve. It’s the perfect pocket companion for me.

A few weeks after the show, I received a lovely package in the mail with the WALDO Field Case Model 3($30) in the matching neon pink to test. This case has three pen pockets under the flap plus a larger pocket to hold a pocket notebook and business card sleeve. There are two other configurations of this case available where the front pocket stitching is rearranged to hold one pen and a business card sleeve or divided in half to allow pens and/or tools to be stored in the front pockets.

This particular case features the Cordura outer fabric which is pretty stiff. Over time, I am sure it will soften up but it will take some work to do so. Laura ordered the FPD WALDO Field Case ($30) which is made from polyester canvas which is a bit softer fabric and makes it a bit easier to form it to your pens, pocket, hand, etc.

My biggest issue with the WALDO case is the Velcro closure. I am often in meetings where the “RIP!” sound would be unwelcome and distracting. Even the sound of my obnoxious MacBookPro keyboard gets me the hairy eyeball. Hello, quiet-as-a-mouse paper and pen! So, being the person with the “RIP!” Velcro pen case is just not the way to go. I keep looking at the case trying to figure out how to re-engineer it. String-and-button closure? Snap? Just a real button? Anything but “RIP!” Velcro!!

(Side note: Totally amused to discover just how many pink fountain pens I actually own!)

Because inside of it are features I really like. The pen pockets are plush lined like the pen sleeve which I love. I also like being able to carry a few pens and a pocket notebook. I also like the plastic business card sleeve in the back pocket to hold cards, receipts and paper ephemera. It makes it easy to slide things into the pocket and then get it back out.

And finally, the included in the package was the Efficiency Supply Dots+Plus notebook ($5). It’s an interesting combination of reticle and dot grid. The pages are numbered and have arrows at the bottom. At the top is space for a date and a topic or title.

I tested an array of different pens to see how it handled fountain pen, rollerball, felt tip and other writing tools. The paper definitely soaked up fountain pen ink giving my line quality a mushy look.  Finer nibs and rollerball performed better and, of course, pencil was a champ.

From the reverse, there was definite bleed through with the wider fountain pens and a little show through with the others. But the form factor is very unique so if you are more inclined to carry rollerballs or mechanical pencils in your EDC, it might be worth grabbing a Dots+Plus in your next order from Rickshaw to try one out.

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