Desk Set: Pastel + Storage

The Desk Set Header


I loved seeing these pastel bright desks full of great organizational and storage ideas. I particularly like the the pegboard is just propped up behind the desk instead of needing to be mounted to the wall making it a good solution for renters and space to hide cords. While originally designed for a kid’s room, it doesn’t look all that different from my desk, I have my own stash of ponies and dolls too!

Images from:
Petit & Small
Love Print Studio
Marie Mersier

For more desk inspiration, be sure to check out The Well-Appointed Desk Pinterest board.

Ask The Desk: Fountain Pen on Washi Tape?


Shana asks:

I recently got a fountain pen after having lost one many years ago. (A noodlers Konrad, go flex!) I’m using it often in my planner, which also has a lot of washi tape marking appointments. So far the few inks I’ve tested seem to not like washi tape as a surface to be written on. What inks work on washi tape?

Shana, I went to my planner-and-washi-tape experts, AKA my secret society of enablers, for some information. First thing I discovered is that washi is a word that gets used by a lot of tape sellers to describe a wide variety of paper tapes, some more papery than others and others more shiny. The original paper tape from Japan, MT stands for “masking tape” and actually, the term “washi” refers to a specific type of paper made in Japan. So technically, the tapes we use in our planners is paper tape or masking tape.

I asked my pals if they’d had any good experiences with tape and fountain pens and, with the differences in tape shininess, your results may vary from theirs. In field tests, all my secret society testers agreed that, while they could theoretically get some fountain pen and rollerball ink to adhere to washi tape, it tended to bead up and take way too long to dry to be useful. Most recommended that if you wanted to write on the tape itself, to use a permanent pen like Sharpie Extra Fine Permanent markers, Staedtler Lumocolor permanent markers, Stabilo Write4all permanent or American Crafts Slick Writers. The testers also suggested that ballpoint pens and gel pens do as well, but the gel pen needed a lot of drying time. One tester had some luck with 6B, 7B or 8B pencil but a pencil that soft may have the tendency to smear.

You may want to look for some plain paper stickers as an alternative to washi tape to use in your planner if you want to use them for appointment notations and write on them. Particularly Flex nibs will be a particular challenge since they lay down a lot of ink in regards to dry time as well. Quick drying inks might help like Private Reserve’s Fast-Dry line or Noodler’s Bernake series.

So, the short answer is no. Fountain pens and washi tape are not the best of friends. Best of luck in finding the perfect pairing.

Field Notes Paper Reveal

Field Notes Colors Edition Shenandoah

During a recent bout of caffeine-induced insomnia, I was on the French Paper Co. website, looking through their blog section, marvelling at all the beautifully designed screenprint posters and other designer-y goodness when I stumbled across an entry that would be of particular interest to the readers of The Well-Appointed Desk. I found a listing for the printing notes for the Field Notes Colors Edition: Shenandoah. While Field Notes describes the paper stocks used for their covers as “the Sweet Birch, the Chestnut Oak, and the Red Maple” on their web site, we now know that its actually French Paper Construction Green laminated to Construction Red, Pop-Tone Gumdrop Green laminated to Pop-Tone Lemon Drop and Pop-Tone Jellybean Green laminated to Construction Safety Orange.

And, of course, the classic Kraft cover Field Notes and the Dry Transfer Edition use French Paper Dur-O-Tone Packing Brown Wrap cover stock. Now you know the secrets too!

Fashionable Friday: Gong Hei Fat Choi

FF chinese new year

Officially, Lunar New Year this year falls on Monday, February 8 this year and is the year of the Monkey. I only know how to wish greetings in Cantonese, not Mandarin, so you can say it with me, “gung-hay-fat-choy”! At least in Hong Kong, you’ll sort of sound like you know what you’re saying. So, eat something that feels suitably festive (I recommend BBQ pork buns from your favorite Chinese restaurant), dress in red or gold and maybe try one or two of the customs most often practiced to bring in a prosperous and auspicious new lunar year on Wikipedia.

  • Chinese Zodiac Year of the Monkey Letterpress Art Print Junishi $5 (via Tag Team Tompkins on Etsy)
  • Filofax Original Personal Organizer in Pillar Box Red $94 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Nomadic PE-07 Pen Case – Red $15 (via JetPens)
  • J. Herbin Diamond Wax Seal $34.95AUD (via Notemaker)
  • Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen in Gold Zig Zag with Medium Nib $14.50 (via JetPens)
  • Caran D’Ache 849 Goldbar ballpoint with pencase (Special edition) € 36,90 tax incl. (via Fontoplumo)
  • Sailor Chalana Maroon Gold Stripe Fountain Pen with 18KT Gold EF Nib $239.95 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Diamine Shimmering Fountain Pen Ink in Red Lustre $20 (via JetPens)
  • Diamine Red Dragon in 30ml Mini Bottle $7.50 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Velos V Paper Clips in Gold Box of 75 $2 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Pilot Elabo Fountain Pen in Red with Soft Fine Nib $159 (via JetPens)
  • Lamy Pico Pocket Size Extendable Ballpoint Pen with 0.7 mm Medium Point in Red $34.50 (via JetPens)
  • Kate Spade Bows Gold Push Pins Set of 24 $42.94AUD (via Notemaker)
  • Platinum 3776 Kanazawa-haku Ascending Dragon $360 (via Anderson Pens)

Notebook Review: Word. Dot Grid and Declan Floral Edition

Word Notebooks: Dot Grid and Declan

I recently got a delightful little treat in my mailbox in the form of two new packs of Word. notebooks: a 3-pack of Word. dot grid books ($9.99) and a 3-pack of the new Declan Floral edition notebooks ($9.99).

The Declan Floral edition is a collaboration between Word. and Declan. Word makes the books and Declan designed the “Lang” floral print used for the covers. The floral print is taken from a retired design from Declan’s line of high-tech pocket squares that double as eyewear and digital device cleaning wipes. The Declan Floral edition features the classic 48-page Word. bullet system with lined pages and a circle/dot on the left-hand side of each page for list-making. The front cover includes tips for using the bullet system and the back cover has some tips for abbreviation.

Word Notebooks: Dot Grid and Declan writing samples

The paper in the Declan edition stood up to most of the pens I tried including an assortment of fine nib fountain pens without any show through and no bleeding. The only exception was the Platinum Preppy with Carbon Black ink and the Karas Kustoms INK with Waterman Tender Purple which had a little show through and a tiny bit of ghosting to the reverse of the paper. The printed lines on the Declan were also pleasingly light and thin which allowed me to use a wide variety of colors without interfering with readability.

Word Notebooks: Dot Grid and Declan writing samples

The Word. dot gid notebooks feature a light grey cover with the dot grid pattern printed in a slightly darker grey which is very subtle. The inside cover provides a place for contact information and the back cover has a 5″ ruler printed along the edge as well as the specifications of the paper and printing information. The books contains 48 pages of 5mm dot grid printed on Lynx Opaque Ultra Smooth White 60# acid-free paper which is 100% post-consumer recycled, in case you’re curious. Unfortunately, I found the dots in the Word. dot grid notebooks to be considerably darker and more distracting than the lines in the Declan notebook. I wish the dots were printed about 20% lighter or smaller and a little ligther.

Since the specifications about the paper were not included in the Declan edition, I can be sure if its excatly the same paper. I’m inclined to think it is, but for some reason, the ghosting on the dot grid bothers me more than on the Declan lined paper. Maybe its because I ended up preferring the lighter lines on the Declan so I just generally prefer it? Personal bias, clearly.

Word Notebooks: Dot Grid and Declan writing from reverse

Anyway, you be the judge. Does it look the same to you? I tested the same pens at the same time in the same colors. Maybe my eyes are just playing tricks on me. Either way, I think the results on the Word.notebook paper is considerably better than other pocket notebooks and I did test several fountain pens with better-than-expected results. The built-in bullet journal system is a bonus for a lot of people who have embraced the system. Even if you don’t bullet journal, if you use a pocket notebook for lists, then the Word.notebooks definitely provide a leg up over many of its competitors. And I partuclarly like the Declan floral design for being something unique, not overly feminine, but a nice aesthetic alternative to other cover designs.

Now I think I need to invest in the Tasting Notes. Did you hear the Freakonomics podcast episode called The Cheeseburger Diet? I feel like the Tasting Notes notebook was designed to be used for one’s own personal cheeseburger tasting mission. I’d have to do the full cheeseburger triumvirate though: cheeseburger, fries and a vanilla milkshake.

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

Link Love: Wow, that’s a lot of pens!




Paper & Notebooks:

Planners & Organizers:

Post & Letter Writing:

Other Interesting Things:

Planner Review: Studio Calico Hello Forever A5 Planner

Studio Calico Hello Forever A5 Planner

Last year, when I first started dabbling in planners, I downloaded the Marcy Penner’s Hello Forever printable inserts for my planner. Since then, Marcy Penner has started designing her Hello Forever planning products for Studio Calico including a line of A5 planners (8.25″ x 9.5″ x 1.375″).

While Studio Calico is most known as a company that create products for memory keeping and scrapbooking, over the last few years, they have started moving into the creative planning world with a planning subscription service and the Hello Forever line of planning products. What I love most about both of these products is that, even if you are not into the decorative planning stuff, the designs are clean and well-designed. I’ve been a subscriber to their planner kit for several months and its one of my favorites offering clean, simple planner add-ons like stickers, washi tape and rubber stamps. When I saw the planners, I couldn’t resist.

I purchased the Hello Forever Planner in Clear Sky blue ($54.99) with a decorative floral pattern on the inside. I think of it as my “Missouri Compromise” — business on the outside, party on the inside. The simple, grey vertical elastic closure kept the exterior of the planner clean and simple and unfussy. The floral design on the inside is bright and cheerful and my little secret.

The overall construction of the binder itself is very good. The material used on the exterior of the planner is a smooth faux leather and lightly padded. Inside is a screen-printed pattern on white fabric. There are three pockets on the inside front cover and a secretary pocket. On the back cover, there is a loop of grey elastic for a pen loop. I would have liked a slot or pocket in the back for a notepad but, for the price point, I’m not too upset.

The ring placement is standard A5 6-hole and the rings are very tight. This means that the binder can accept inserts from any other A5 planner system or can use printables and a standard 6-hole punch.

Studio Calico Hello Forever A5 Planner

The planner came with a complete set of undated inserts for the year, two clear decorative plastic dashboards, a black striped plastic movable bookmark, monthly tabs with pockets, half-sheet perforated to-do lists, two page protector sheets for holding photos, cards or paper ephemera, four pages of kiss-cut stickers, half-sheet perforated photo-a-day list sheets, month-on-two-pages undated calendar pages, undated week-on-two-pages weekly pages, monthly reflection pages, future planning pages, a year at a glance for 2016 and a perpetual planning booklet that can be tucked in the front pocket. There is also an additional sheet of sticker tabs tucked in the front pockets.

Studio Calico Hello Forever A5 Planner

The front acetate sheet has a floral design, the second dashboard acetate has the red fishnet pattern and then under that is a cover page that reads “Today is the day”.

Studio Calico Hello Forever A5 Planner

I can see the appeal for some of the photo-a-day perforated sheets but I’m not sure I’d have much use for these. I do like that they are perforated and can then be moved to a specific month in your planner.

Studio Calico Hello Forever A5 Planner

I love the clean, simple typography for the days of the week and the diagonal stripes on the moveable acetate bookmark. Striking design that could be embellished or kept clean and simple.

Studio Calico Hello Forever A5 Planner

The tabs are color coded and each one already has a pocket on the front of each month to hold receipts and other papers which is very handy.

Studio Calico Hello Forever A5 Planner

In the back are handy perforated half-sheet to-do lists like the photo-a-day sheets. I think these will be much more useful and include check boxes.  Perfect for grocery lists and other errands.

Studio Calico Hello Forever A5 Planner

And of course, the big question everyone had was how does the paper perform. And I was a little worried because this is such a make-or-break issue and I didn’t want to be disappointed. I was THRILLED to discover that the paper far exceeded my expectation. Our best guess is that its about 70lb smooth and there was no bleed or show through with any of the pens I tested. If Studio Calico keeps using this paper for all the refills they make for this planner series I will buy everything they make for it. The Platinum Carbon Black fountain pen ink didn’t even show through! That alone is a reason to try out this planner!

Studio Calico Hello Forever A5 Planner

This is the reverse of the paper and trust me when I say I did not manipulate this photo. No show through at all. I didn’t abuse it with a Sharpie marker or anything but the black Staedtler Triplus Fineliner had no issues with show through nor did my Franklin Christoph with Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses. with a Medium Stub. So, I did put it through a standard pen nerd’s everyday carry.

The A5 planner is also available in a greystone and melon with different interior accent colors.   If you’re looking for an alternative to the more business-y Filofax and Franklin Covey style planners but are finding the Carpe Diem and Color Crush planners a little “too much”, the Studio Calico Hello Forever might be the perfect balance between them. I hope that in the future Studio Calico will consider adding a smaller personal-sized version of this planner to their offerings since the size is the only thing holding me back from being madly, passionately in love with it. I’m not sure yet whether I can commit to carrying around a full A5-sized planner. But for the paper alone, I may try out carrying an A5 just to use the beautiful design and the fabulous paper. Studio Calico and Hello Forever really did make a beautiful planner and I’m looking forward to seeing how it wears over time.

Ink Review: Private Reserve Daphne Blue

Private Reserve Daphne Blue header

Private Reserve Daphne Blue ($11 for 66ml bottle or $1.25 for 2ml sample vial) is the most beautiful Mediterranean Sea blue. At first, I was worried that the color would be too light to work in a fine nib fountain pen but the color is deep and vivid enough that its actually extremely legible, even in a fine nib. And it shades beautifully too. I actually think this is a great color for fine nib pens if you’re looking for a color that is readable and you enjoy shading in your ink colors.

Private Reserve Daphne Blue

I test a lot of ink colors and many of them I enjoy using but, by the time I use up a pen’s worth, I’ve had my fill of that color. However, before I even finished writing my review, I was already placing an order for a full bottle of Daphne Blue. I seldom do that so that must be the highest sort of praise. I’m looking forward to putting this into Franklin-Christoph Pocket 66 eye dropper. Won’t that look stunning?

Private Reserve Daphne Blue Comparison

I pulled some swatches to compare to Daphne Blue. Lamy Turquoise and Noodler’s Turquoise Eel were both lighter turquoise while Diamine Aqua Lagoon, Kaweco Paradise Blue and Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku were progressively greener and darker than Daphne Blue. Clearly, I do love those turquoise blues and teals.

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.

Video: Life Hacks with Binder Clips

Kooky video full of life hacks using binder clips! Office supplies will save your life! Or at least make it more convenient.

(Huge shoutout out to DameEmma from my Secret Society of Enablers for pointing me to this video. Totally blew my mind.)

Ask The Desk: Good (and Pretty) Stationery


Cialina asked (me way back in October):

Hello! Holiday season is coming up and I’m looking for fountain pen-friendly stationery to gift to my friends. I’m looking for more than just blank writing tablets like Clairefontaine and more in line with Rifle Paper Co products. Any ideas? Thanks!

This is a question that frequently comes up. Folks are often looking for good quality stationery (emphasis on GOOD paper for fountain pens) but also pretty designs. While there are several good options that are plain paper like Clairefontaine, G. Lalo or Original Crown Mill, or even Rhodia Pads they are not very “fancy”. No flowers, dots, stripes, or embellishments that capture the sender’s joie de vivre. But the paper quality is excellent. I recommend having some on hand for second sheets, and for those occasions when you might not want to use floral, funky or Hello Kitty stationery. Goulet Pens and JetPens are good sources for these.

My first instinct is to go to the tried-and-true stationers like Crane (who also produces William Arthur and Vera Wang stationery), Kate Spade, other high-end producers of stationery goods.  I don’t have the budget to personally test out each and every brand but I was able to establish that Crane uses 100% cotton paper which is tree-free, obviously, and considered quite upscale. Cotton paper will be a bit more absorbent than cardstock notecards but overall, Crane has been making paper for handwritten correspondence for over a century. You can buy some of their pre-printed designs or have a monogram or custom design printed. Very posh indeed.

Rifle Paper Co. Monarch Writing Pad and Envelopes

Then, there are a few stationery shops that I basically have to hide my credit cards before entering because I will spend all my money. One of those places is Greer Chicago. The amazing proprietress and her staff stock such an assortment of paper goods as to make a grown woman weep with joy. Greer stocks lots of options for notecards and folded cards. Unfortunately, there are still not a lot of letter sheet stationery options on the market. Greer does offers the Rifle Paper Monarch Set with paper and matching envelopes for $29. Its listed as heavyweight paper and, while I cannot attest to the fountain pen friendliness, it is so beautiful, I’d be willing to take a chance on it.

Finally, here’s an assortment of some posh but not necessarily fountain pen friendly stationery options that I’ve found. Most of this is small batch printing, so the paper quality is probably much higher than most. It’s largely letterpress printed as well so they usually use fairly heavyweight stocks which will increase your odds of paper that will play well with fountain pens. Either way, they are super cute and non-seasonal and would be perfect to have a stack handy for dashing off your next letter or note.


  • Write_On Hello! Lucky Bird Stationery Kit $26.95 (via Paper Source)
  • Social Preparedness Kit TUBES WRITE-ON-ELOPES $18 (via Egg Press)
  • Violet Floral Set of 12 flat notes and envenlopes $18.70 (via Rifle Paper Co.)
  • WRITE ON notecards Set of 6 for $14 (via Hello Lucky)
  • STRING THEORY box set of 20 note cards and pattern-lined envelopes $8.25 (via Elum)

Fashionable Friday: The Little Black Bag


This week, I asked three of my friends to pick out their dream “little black bag” because every girl needs to have the perfect “little black bag” in her closet. I knew each friend would pick unique bags, and boy, did they! Then I filled their bags with just the right notebook, pen and accessories.

Lisa picked the Clare V Lou Crossbody Bag ($399) from Anthropologie in black leather and suede with a blue denim lining and that fabulous gold gold strap detail. Lisa is a free spirit, creative and fun so I made sure her accessories reflected her personality. Sure, the ink matches her bag but its sparkly! I added some of my favorite brand of lipstick in a totally wearble color and some of the best pencils and notebook (also shiny!) and some fun clips to keep it altogether.

  • TWSBI Eco black fountain pen €35 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Diamine Shimmering Fountain Pen Ink in Golden Sands $20 (via JetPens)
  • 1963 Portrait Pink Lipstick $22 (via Besame Cosmetics)
  • Leuchtturm Medium Plain Hardcover Notebook in Gold (Limitied Edition) $18.95 (via Amazon)
  • Palomino Blackwing Pencils $21.95 per dozen (via
  • Midori Strawberry D-Clips £5.99 (via The Journal Shop)

Angela chose the posh Gucci 1970 bag in black with gold tassel and accents to the tune of $2190 retail. Its off-season now so the best source for this bag is eBay. It was also available in other colors and was spotted on all the celebrity It Girls. I kept all her accessories as upscale and tasteful as the bag itself, except maybe the Daschund clips because everyone deserves to show they have a sense of whimsy.

  • Montegrappa Ducal Fountain in Black with Rosegold Trim, Fine Nib $350 see website for price info (via Anderson Pens)
  • Rifle Paper Co. Garance Dore “Oui” Plain Pocket Notebooks, Set of 2 (14x11cm) $18.95AU (via Notemaker)
  • Midori Dachshund D-Clips Paper Clips Mini Box of 12 $5.50 (via JetPens)
  • Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey $17 (via Sephora)
  • Sailor Fountain Pen Jentle Ink in Black $17 (via JetPens)

Jordan, like a true designer said “does it have to be ALL black,” chose the Kate Spade Cedar Street Mini Nora $198 $138. Its pops of cream and hot pink meant the accessories had to coordinate and I already knew Jordan loved Kaweco pens so I tossed in a Lilliput. Jordan is also a nail polish connoisseur so I knew she’d be amused with the new OPI Hello Kitty polish collection but pleased that the polish was suitably subtle in creme black.

  • Visconti Rembrandt Calligraphy Fountain Pen in Ivory $177 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Dot Grid Notebook in Berry in Dot Grid $19.50 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Karas Kustoms Fountain K Fountain Pen in Pink Aluminum $75 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Diamine Fountain Pen Ink 30 ml mini bottle in Hope Pink $7.50 (via JetPens)
  • Hello Kitty Never Have Too Mani Friends! Polish (via OPI)
  • Kaweco Liliput Eco Brass Wave Fountain Pen with Extra Fine Nib $86.50 (via JetPens)

Kickstarter: RelayCon Atlanta 2016

It’s happening again! Brad and Myke are getting the gang back together for a live recording of The Pen Addict podcast in Atlanta at the pen show in April and they are letting me tag along again. Help support our efforts to be the nerdiest of all pen nerds and get a cool notebook, and an opportunity to pause the video while we make ridiculous faces (over and over) by backing the Kickstarter, RelayCon Atlanta 2016. The gift that keeps on gif-ing!

Back the project for just $10 to get the video, $15 to get the notebook (and spare yourself the silly video), $25 for both. Go crazy and back at $50 and get 3 sets of notebooks and the video.

And if you’ll be in Atlanta this year for the show, come be a part of our live studio audience! How weird is it to say that?

Ink Review: Diamine Meadow

Diamine Meadow Ink

I was recently reminded about Diamine Meadow (available in 2ml samples for $1.25 and 80ml bottles for $14.95) 30ml bottles for $7.50 and from my Secret Society of Enablers (you know who you are!). I’m lucky I know so many people who share my love of green. I had a sample of it in my stash from a Goulet Pens Ink Drop so I finally pulled it out to give it a good going over to determine if this was an ink worthy of a full bottle purchase, seeing as I already own many bottles of yellow-green ink. I have to be choosy about how many more lime green inks enter my house for fear of mojito overload.

I filled my Lamy Safari with 1.1mm stub/calligraphy nib and set forth to give this ink a thorough testing.

First, I did my watercolor brush painted lettering, to see the range of color and was pleased with the range of color. Meadow varies from a deep almost kelly green to a light lime depending on how much ink is applied.

Then I started my writing tests. It seemed like the color was coming out much darker than most people had described it. I kept thinking that maybe I had some fugitive color from poor cleaning and the more I wrote the lighter the color became. Yep. Fugitive color.

Diamine Meadow Ink close-up

By the time I was halfway down the page, I am pretty confident I was getting the true color, consistent with both the color in the painted lettering and the swab. Its a bright, happy grassy green with lots of shading and it looks great in the wide 1.1mm nib. It does seem to dry a bit darker than when its wet … almost a little olive-y which is actually quite legible.

I was concerned about overall legibility so I switched out the 1.1mm nib to a F nib just to see for myself and the ink maintained both shading and legibility, at least with the European F nib. A Japanese F nib might lose some of the shading because it would be much finer but I think the color would stay dark enough to be usable unlike Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-Rin which I sometimes find too light in very fine nibs to be useful.

Diamine Meadow Ink comparison

Overall, I think Diamine Meadow strikes a nice balance between being a bright green and being a usable color. I love the hue of Chiku-Rin but there are instances where its just too light. Caran D’ache Delicate Green is kind of ridiculously expensive for how kelly green it is and Monblanc Daniel DeFoe is a little subdued, not to mention limited edition. So if you’re in the market for a good green ink, Diamine Meadow is a good candidate and a favorite among the green beans. I think its a keeper.

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.

Link Love: Pen Horoscopes & Faber-Castell Love

rp_link-ana1111111111111111-1-1-1.jpgPost of The Week: Pen Horoscopes (via That One Pen)

This is absolutely amusing but at present my horoscope options were not listed: either pencils case with dozens of pens and pencils OR micro-point felt-tip. What would my horoscope be?




Notebooks & Paper:

Planners & Organizers:

Post & Letter Writing:

Other Interesting Things:

(photo from Lauren Wells for the Cocktails with Kate Spade NY article. YES! Spiked hot cocoa recipes!)

Books For The Desk Set: Letter Writing & Epistolary Books for InCoWriMo/LetterMo

Paris LettersParis Letters book ($5.25 for Kindle, $11.87 for paperback) by Janice MacLeod

Paris Letters is a travelogue/memoir with a bit of self-help thrown in for good measure. The book was pulled together from the author’s personal journals, blog and letters to become this short book about her journey from a disappointed 30-something copywriter to an expat living in Paris. She was influenced to start journaling by Julia Margaret Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and her morning pages ritual which is something quite familiar to me so I was intrigued to see where this lead MacLeod. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive on Amazon so the people who appreciated her tale. She has gone on to create illustrated travel letters that can be purchased on Etsy as well as a web site with a blog and more content. I read the book over a week that I was down with a cold and it was a light read. I enjoyed seeing her illustrated letters sprinkled throughout. While there was some romance in the overall story, this was definitely not about letters as a means for making a romantic connection.

The Art of the Handwritten Note bookThe Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication ($11.99 for Kindle, $14.04 for hardback, used copies can be found for much less) by Margaret Shepherd

This is one of many good books to help set someone, maybe even yourself, back on the path of writing notes and letters by hand. If you are a regular reader of this blog you are probably someone who writes letters or has considered it as something you might want to do anyway as an opportunity to practice your penmanship, try out your new inks or have yet another excuse to use all those pens in your collection. This book lays out simple reasons why handwritten notes and letters remain relevant today and include some tips for what to say (and what not to say) in some of the more formal occasions like thank you notes, condolence cards and apologies. This is not at all a manners book and does not include lengthy ways to format wedding invitations but rather wordings to make things clear and non-confrontational when writing to a landlord or writing a Dear John letter. It also has tips for improving your handwriting as the author is a known calligrapher. Its a small book and written in a conversational tone that makes it easy to read and a good jumping off point and the quotes peppered throughout are a nice touch.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered bookSigned, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing ($11.99 for Kindle, $20.35 for hardback, used copies can be found for much less) by Nina Sankovitch

Signed,Sealed, Delivered was written by the author of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is full of essays about letters. There’s a whole essay about how letters were used to prosecute kidnappers and killers, or not. There’s another essay about a woman who wrote a thank you letter to Edison for electricity. It’s just a pleasing book of stories with letters at the heart of each story and how could we not appreciate that?

The Art of the Personal Letter: A Guide to Connecting Through the Written Word ($11.99 for Kindle, $10.39 for hardback, used copies can be found for much less) by Margaret Shepherd

The Art of The Personal Letter is also by Margaret Shepherd who wrote The Art of the Handwritten Note. The Art of the Personal Letter includes some elements mentioned in The Art of the Handwritten Note but the Personal Letter definitely delves deeper into letter-writhing specifically. If you are looking for something to help keep your creative juices flowing through InCoWriMo/LetterMo, I would recommend picking up The Art of the Personal Letter rather the Handwritten Note as more of the content will be relevant to you. Personal Letter still includes info on materials and pens and handwriting repair but then the remainder of the content focuses on longer form letters rather than notes or other types of correspondence. I figure by week 3 of InCoWriMo, ideas for writing letters to the future and letters to my congressmen might be great ideas.

Good Mail Day bookGood Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art ($9.99 for Kindle, $4.85 for paperback) by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler

I cannot believe I have not written about this book before! This is one of my favorite sources for inspiration in making mail art, decorated envelope and epistolary adventures. I highly recommend buying the paper edition, especially at the low, low prices currently listed on Amazon. The paperback edition of the book includes stickers and templates and is in full color. Such a fun and funky resource for creating mail art. And I’m not just saying that because I know the authors!

InCoWriMo Stationery Package Set: Bamboo Green

incowrimo kit-4

I swore to myself this year I would skip InCoWriMo/LetterMo because I can get so overwhelmed with too many letters and not enough time. However, everywhere I turn this year, all signs are pointing to a February full of letter-writing. I cannot diverge from the path, not when people are putting all these beautiful things on my doorstep making it impossible for me not to want to write lots of letters! To start, the folks are Goulet Pens have put together fabulous color coordinated Stationery Package Sets like the Bamboo Green Kit ($84.90, reduced from $100.90 retail). In this kit is Original Crown Mill Correspondence Set with 25 edged sheets and matching lined envelopes in lime green, a bottle of color coordinated Pilot Iroshiuku ink in Chiku-Rin and a Faber-Castell Loom fountain pen in Lime.

incowrimo kit-6

I’ve  always wanted to try a Faber-Castell fountain pen and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. The barrel of the pen is shiny, silver chrome with a brush solve grip section. The cap is lime green plastic embossed with the Faber-Castell logo and has a spring-loaded, silver clip. When I’ve seen pictures of this pen the cap always looks really bulbous. In person, its not nearly as noticeable. The cap is a little bit more rounded than the smooth cylindrical barrel of the pen but the cap is not onion-headed. Its much better looking in person. Is it possible for a pen to not be as photogenic as it is pretty in person?

The body of the pen is quite weighty. The whole pen with cap weighs in at 33gms, unposted its 27gms. Comparing it to other low-priced pens, you can see that the Faber-CAstell Loom is no lightweight. Surprisingly though, when I started writing with it, the pen itself is so well-balanced, I did not notice the weight though I did use the pen unposted so it was just a little weightier than a Lamy AL-Star.

Fountain Pen Weights

The Loom is 5.125″ (13cm) long capped, just 3/8″ (1cm) shorter than a Lamy Safari and the grip on the Loom is 3cm long to the Safari’s 3.5cm grip. So they are quite comparable in size but the Loom is a much weightier pen and the nib is much silkier out of the box (comparing F nib to F nib). Both also use snap caps and the Loom snap cap is very tight.

I got the F nib and I was kind of blown away with how smooth it wrote right out of the box. It wrote immediately upon filling and had no hard starts, even after I left it uncapped for 10 minutes.


The Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-Rin also performed quite well even in the fine nib of the Loom. everything was readable and I got good shading out of the nib. The Loom plus the Chiku-Rin is actually a good match-up I was quite pleased with my results! I did my writing tests on my standard Rhodia Blank writing pad just so my results were consistent with all my all ink and pen tests and I was really happy with how it all turned out.

I haven’t tested everything out on the Original Crown Mill stationery yet but the paper is a nice bright white with some lovely tooth to the stock and I will be sure to do a follow-up about how the stationery performs but I’m not expecting any issues. Original Crown Mill is known for its good quality paper and it looks beautiful! The paper and envelopes came in a sturdy metallic silver box too which seems posh and old world. I miss stationery that comes in a good box and this set delivers! Lined envelopes!

Several other stationery color sets are available as well in navy, fuchsia, royal blue and dark green in a range of prices and each include a fountain pen, matching ink and a Original Crown Mill Correspondence Set if lime green isn’t your thing.

incowrimo kit-2

And the folks at Goulet Pens wanted my InCoWriMo/LetterMo to be completely decked out and totally color coordinated so they included an edelweiss wax seal ($12) and handle ($16) and two matching green wax seal wax sticks ($6 each) too. I love that the was sticks are embossed with “Atelier Gargoyle”.

incowrimo kit-3

I was a bit nervous to try the seals out on an actual letter so I thought I might practice first in case I made a complete mess.

incowrimo kit-7

I’ve never learned how to seal a letter with a wax seal so I looked for some videos on YouTube to learn how to do it. I now know why Brian Goulet was playing with blow torches on the Q&A video this week. I didn’t have anything that extreme so I practiced melting the wax using a long grill lighter which worked great until I ran out of butane. The example above was my first try and I think it turned out pretty good on my desk scratch paper. (The dust in the seal was from my second attempt with a candle and I got candle wax all over my desk. It was not the wax stick’s fault. It was a total user error)

The best thing is the wax his actually quite flexible, its not at all brittle and I think it will hold up well to the rigors of the postal service, even in the cold temperatures of a Midwest winter. I can see why Goulet chose to stock this brand. The wax melted easily, it smelled pleasing and stayed supple. And I’m impressed with the level of detail in the seal design. Wow, I’m officially a convert to wax seals. This was super easy to do. I just wish I hadn’t run out of lighter fluid.

incowrimo kit-1

So, it looks like I’m all set for February! Are you? Will you be participating in InCoWriMo/LetterMo this year?

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.

Pen Review: Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pens

Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pens close-up

The Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pens, available in SB, MB and BB, were something I discovered in a very roundabout way. I was reading Lisa Condon’s blog again and she was talking about more of the tools she liked yo use. I started clicking on links and next thing I knew, voila! I had these in my cart. They are longer than a standard Micron pen, more like a paint brush length and a bit more expensive at $3.90 each but the ink is fade resistant, archival and waterproof and I think the tips are a superior quality to the standard Pigma brush line so I think the upcharge is worth it.

Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pen Tips

The tips of the pens are felt/foam/whatever-it-is and it is the springiest version of this material that I’ve ever experienced. Even with pressure, the points and edges spring back into shape quickly and easily. Making them fun to use and they keep their brush point shape. The point retention seems really good too though I’ve only used them for about a week so time will be the real determining factor here but so far, so good.

Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pens writing sample

These were so fun to draw with the range of line widths, even with the finest tip size was quite dramatic. The BB was big! If you like to work large or want to do something like calligraphic graffiti, this would be a great pen for it. Such fun. In my waterproof test, I had no issues with water but when I added the Sakura Koi Coloring Brush pens over the watered wet ink, I did get some running of the colors. I don’t know if this was a reaction from the ink in the Coloring Brush pens or the combination of the water, Professional Brush pen and Coloring Brush pens. That said, the Professional Brush pens were not affected by the water at all but did get some color travel with the other markers so you may want to do some experiments before using these pens on artwork just in case there are any other fugitive color reactions. My next experiments will probably be with actual watercolor paints and the Sakura Pigma Professional Brush pens. I think that would look great if the colors don’t bleed.

Overall, I love the Sakura Pigma Professional Brush pens and I look forward to seeing the longevity of the tips. So springy, I hope they last a long time!

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

Ink Review: Waterman Tender Purple

Waterman Tender Purple Ink

Well, hello Royal Purple! Waterman Tender Purple is a very regal violet purple indeed. Its bright, vivid and a perfect remedy for the bleak January days we’ve been facing here in the Midwest recently. I  tested this ink out in my Karas Kustom INK with a fine nib and was able to get some shading and color variation even in this thin line so the color is deep enough for your finest nibs and the color is rich enough to be legible as well. It dried quickly with the fine nib, even on the Rhodia stock so I was able to write with a good clip. Even the painted lettering in the header didn’t take too long to dry and that was applied with a watercolor brush.

Waterman Tender Purple Ink comparison

I included a few other purple/violet inks samples for color comparison but you can see that Waterman Tender Purple definitely has a unique hue. Pilot Iroshizuku Murasaki-Shikibu is a warmer purple, J. Herbin Violette Pensee is much lighter and  Noodler’s Purple Martin is much, much darker. These were the inks that were closest in my stash too. Everything else was either much redder, much darker or just not in the same family at all.

So, if you’re looking for a regal, bright, clean violet purple, Waterman Tender Purple is definitely a good candidate. I received this sample as part of the Goulet Pens Ink Drop subscription series some time ago but you can purchase a sample individually for $1.25 or a full 50ml bottle for $12.

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.

Fashionably (Late) Friday: Oh! You Pretty Things

Fashionable Friday: David Bowie

I remember my first David Bowie album — I got Hunky Dory as a trade with a friend of mine. I know I got the better end of that particular trade and I listened to that album endlessly and it blew my mind. Then in college, I went to work for a comic book store run by a man nicknamed “Ziggy” after his own personal childhood obsession with Ziggy Stardust and the Spider from Mars so needless to say, we were fast friends. So, when I heard that David Bowie had passed away, I was really moved. My husband and I have talked a lot about our favorite songs and the movies we liked (and didn’t like) and what an enormous impact Bowie had on pop culture in general, whether you liked him or not. It seemed only fitting that Bowie be commemorated, in the way I remember everything these days — through pens and ink. But this time, you get a playlist too. I hope you enjoy my fashionably late Fashionable Friday, my own ode to the late, great David Bowie. Starman… hope you are floating in the stars now.

  • Ziggy Stardust Print $26+ (via Angela Ferrera on Etsy)
  • Filofax “I’m Afraid of Americans” Original Personal Organizer $94 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Fountain K fountain pen in “Red Sails” $75+ (via Karas Kustoms)
  • Metaphys Locus “Thin White Duke” Ballpoint Pen $44 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Rhodia “Hallo Spaceboy” 3.5″ x 5.5″ Lined Webnotebook $15 (via JetPens)
  • Diamine Shimmering Fountain Pen Ink in “Ziggy Stardust” (Night Sky) $20 (via JetPens)
  • De Atramentis “Blue Jean” Fountain Pen Ink $12.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Jinhao X750 Fountain Pen with Medium Nib in “Starman” $9.90 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Palomino Blackwing Pencil in “Moonage Daydream” A dozen for $21.95 (via JetPens)
  • Penco 8 Colour “Changes” Crayon $5 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Koh-I-Noor “Kooks” Magic 3-in-1 Pencils Set of 12 $39.95AU (via Notemaker)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink in “Life on Mars” (Fuyu-gaki) $31.50 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Herschel 23.5L Little America Backpack in “Space Oddity” (via Notemaker)
  • TWSBI “Diamond Dogs” 580 AL fountain pen €69 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Uni Boxy Eraser in “Blackstar” $1.40 (via JetPens)
  • Omas “Ashes to Ashes” Gray Ink $15.50 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Retro 51 Tornado Rollerball “Loving The Alien” Terabyte Exclusive, Limited Edition $40 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Field Notes “Young Americans” County Fair Edition 3-Pack for $9.95 (via Field Notes)

If you are not familiar with Bowie (or if you are a fan and curious what my favorite tracks are) I’ve included a Spofity playlist. I tried to keep it to my top ten but there are just too many amazing tracks to choose from. The 70s alone!

Pencil Review: Pencil Factory Nashville Assortment Set of 6

Pencil Factory Nashville Pencil Set close-up

Ever since I saw The Pencil Factory Nashville Pencil Set, I’ve wanted to pick it up but I never did it. My husband, sweetheart that he is, bought them for me for Christmas this year. In the box is an assortment of six different pencils and a small scratchpad of paper. The paper pad seems like a filler but I appreciate that they tried to make it feel like a little “kit”. What I was interested in was the pencils!

Pencil Factory Nashville Pencil Set

The packaging and branding is top-notch and everything suggests that the pencils are actually manufactured in the US, in Nashville, TN which, as a former resident of the state, is a bonus.

Pencil Factory Nashville Pencil Set

All the pencils are painted with a warm ivory enamel and stamped in gold with the pencil name and the “THE PENCIL FACTORY”. The ferrules and/or caps are a soft gold, not as shiny as they look in photos which give them a more refined appearance in person. The erasers, where present, are a bright raspberry pink and are a pleasing contrast in color to the warm ivory paint. Aesthetically, these are lovely pencils and the paint is smooth in the hand.

Pencil Factory Nashville Pencil Set

Because of the variety of sizes of pencils, I had to get a little creative when I sharpened them.  The Sweetbriar was a standard width pencil and I could use my 2-step Palomino long point sharpener. The Bridge pencil, because it was so slender, I could use just the long point side of the 2-step sharpener and it sharpened beautifully. The Midtown, which is the hexagonal white wax pencil, was sharpened using my Prismacolor sharpener which is designed to sharpen softer leads. The jumbo-sized West End and Hester were sharpened using an old school wall-mount hand crank sharpener as it was the only thing I had with an opening large enough to accommodate these chubby, big-grip pencils. And finally, the carpenter pencil was ineffectually hand sharpened with an X-acto. Somewhere, I own a carpenter pencil sharpener but I could not find it.

Pencil Factory Nashville Pencil Set White Wax Pencil

The Midtown ended up being a pleasant surprise. I tested it on kraft paper and it was opaque enough to work just fine so this is a good pencil for marking on any stocks that are not white, I suspect. Fun with colored paper, for sure!

I was expecting something a bit chalky and hard but it turned out to be a surprisingly soft, waxy white crayon in pencil form. It was so soft, in fact, that I had to resharpen the tip to write the word “FUN” at the end of my sample as the tip had already gone soft as you can see in the word “lead”. The one thing I did notice is it is a very hexagonal pencil, so much so that it actually dug into my hands a bit. I guess a lot of manufacturers now soften those points giving most hex pencils a rounder, softer feel. The Midtown writes soft but feels a little sharp.

Pencil Factory Nashville Pencil Set Writing Sample

I tested the other pencils on standard Rhodia paper and started with the most traditional, the Sweetbriar. Normally, I don’t favor smooth round barrels as they tend to feel a little wide in my hand but overall the Sweetbriar wrote very smoothly. Then I picked up the Bridge pencil which is the same smooth barrel but in a much narrower width and I liked it much better. I don’t think I’ve ever really used bridge pencils much before nor do I know why they were designed more slender than standard pencils but I really like the size of the the Bridge and it has the same smooth lead as the Sweetbriar. Of the set, the Bridge is the pencil I set aside immediately as my favorite of the lot.

The West End and the Hester are both jumbo pencils. The West End is a smooth, round barrel and the Hester is a hexagonal barrel. I know there are a lot of folks who actually prefer the size of jumbo pencils in the hand but would rather they didn’t look like they were designed for children. If you fall into this camp, than the Pencil Factory jumbo pencils are made for you. Aesthetically, they are upscale and understated. They perform well too. Smooth, though I found the Hester to be softer than the West End even though all the graphite pencils are labelled No. 2. You’ll see I smudged around the Hester writing sample and how much darker the writing appears. Curious.

The Old Hickory is not your average carpenter pencil. It is a double-ended carpenter pencil with graphite on one end and red colored lead on the other. I love that the Pencil Factory created this unique carpenter pencil but I very seldom have need for this type of pencil. When actually marking wood, I have often just used a Prismacolor. Shhh, don’t tell. That said, its a clever design though the red lead is a little harder than I would have expected, especially after using the soft, white wax of the Midtown.

Pencil Factory Nashville Pencil Set Eraser Test

My last test was to see if the pink erasers were useful. They do an adequate job on everything except the red from the carpenter pencil thought I’m still inclined to recommend keeping a Mars Staedtler plastic eraser with you if you really want to erase something. Pink eraser are cute but not all that useful.

All in all, the Pencil Factory Nashville Pencil Set was a treat and I’m glad I got a chance to try these out. Keep in mind that if you purchase these, be prepared to figure out how to sharpen all the various widths. Otherwise, its a fun little set with fabulous design aesthetics.

I suspect I’ll be buying a dozen of the Bridge pencils soon. New obsession!

Link Love: InCoWriMo/LetterMo Is Coming!

rp_link-ana1111111111111111-1-1.jpgLooks like folks are getting geared up (ink and pens at the ready!) for February and Letter Writing Month this week as well as putting some black inks to the test and lots of notebooks. Planners are in full use and everyone is hard at work on their page-a-day challenges. Keep warm in the northern hemisphere and stay cool down south.




Paper & Notebooks:

Planners & Organizers:

Letter Writing:

Other Interesting Things:

Printables & Freebies:

Submit your own Link Love art: Would you like your artwork, lettering or illustration to be featured on an upcoming Link Love post? Send in your handwriting, drawing, photograph, or doodle. It can be your own interpretation of Link or anything else you think might relate to the weekly list of pen/pencil-centric blog links. Email your submission to me at chair @ Please include any information you’d like in the image credit (your name, Twitter handle, Instagram, blog, etc) and any information about inks, tools, paper, etc used in your creation.

Review: Van Hook & Co. A5 Fauxdori Traveler’s Notebook Leather Cover


I recently found Van Hook and Co. on Etsy and purchased a made-to-order dyed leather, stitched A5 wide cover fauxdori Traveler’s Notebook cover. The cost for the cover an $75 and took about ten days from the time I ordered it until it arrived.

The leather has a warm hue to it and is a heavyweight and firm, not floppy which I really like. There are two short, leather slash pockets in the front and back that add stability and weight to the covers as well. The stitching around the edges is even and bright white. The elastic is black and, by default, Van Hook included four elastics inside for books.

Also, there are two elastic loop along the righthand side for a pen. My Sharbo-X fits snugly in the loops and coordinates nicely with the cover but the loops aren’t wide enough to fit the Pilot Metropolitan without a bit of effort. A Sharpie Pen fits in the loops fine though not as pleasing to look at. If I were to order another cover from Van Hook, I might skip the pen loops just because I tend to carry a whole case of pens with me anyway.


I filled mine with the Moleskine large notebooks I reviewed earlier this week which fit perfectly. First, is the planner, then a cahier for my knitting project planning, then a Volant for sketching and notes. I have some other A5-ish notebooks on order that I may swap out along the way, but for now I wanted to see how these fit and how well the cover worked with the various thicknesses. So far, so good.


I never thought I would buy a larger fauxdori cover but I got a wild hair and I am so glad I have another size option in my ‘dori arsenal. I also absolutely love the unusual turquoise color. I cannot wait to see how the color will patina over time.

I will definitely be ordering another cover from Van Hook very soon. The craftsmanship and quality is excellent and I love how thick their leather is. I prefer the hardier leather as an alternative to the more traditional Midori floppy leather covers. I think a traditional, slim chartreuse leather stitched is next on my wish list!

Ask the Desk: EU EF Nibs vs. 0.5 mm gels, 3-Hole Personal Size & Planner Stamps


Renee asked:

I was interested in getting a pen that writes with a line similar to that of a .5 mm pen. I was considering a Kaweco sport given your enthusiastic reviews. Would a European extra fine do that?

The Kaweco might give a little bit wider stroke depending on the paper and/or ink combination than a 0.5mm gel or rollerball pen. Let’s do a little experiment!


I got a bunch of my favorite 0.5mm gel pens and pens I felt wrote comparably to 0.5 like a Sharpie Pen and the Staedtler Triplus Finalizer. Then I got out a bunch of European (and American) EF and F nibs and a few Japanese, just for comparison sake, and wrote their name and then drew a slow line using a ruler to try to get as close and exact idea of their line widths. I stand by my theory that the Kaweco EF and F are almost indistinguishable and about the same width as the Pilot Metropolitan M. I’d say those are a bit wider than the 0.5mm gel pens. The Pilot Metropolitan F, TWSBI EF and Monteverde EF were closer in width to the 0.5mm. For some reason, I did not have a Lamy EF in house.  The Lamy F was wider than even the Kaweco F or the Pilot Metropolitan M so if you’re looking at a fine line from Lamy, definitely aim for the EF. But if you are dabbling in the Japanese pens, you could go as broad as a M and still get a very fine line. Good luck on your fountain pen adventures!


Steve asks:

I have a small cache of 3.75″ x 6.75″ 3-hole ruled paper. The 3-ring binder has long since died. Any ideas on where I might find a new binder?

I was unable to find any 3-ring versions of a 3.75″ x 6.75″ binder. However, I was able to find 6-ring binders. The size is the same as the Filofax Personal-sized, DayTimer (portable), DayRunner (small). Mead even makes loose leaf notebooks in this size  for about $10. The paper might need to be punched with additional holes but the current popularity of the personal sized Filofax and similar planners means that 6-ring binders and refills will continue to be available for years to come. A copy shop might be able to punch the holes for you or you could purchase a hole punch and do it yourself.

Sarah asks:

Do you have any recommendations for planner stamps? I initially wanted to use the Pilot Frixion stamps because they are self-inking and erasable, but couldn’t find a complete set from any American retailers (except on Etsy and eBay, where I’d have to pay a huge mark-up). I bought this set last week and I’m pretty happy with it, but I wonder what other people are using.

This is a fun question, Sarah! Thanks for submitting it. I have found that I really like the clear cling planner stamps from either Hero Arts, Studio Calico or Studio L2E. Since they come on small flat sheets, they are easy to store and carry. You can even pick and choose from a variety of different planner sheet sets to build your perfect set for your planner. Most clear stamp sheets come on sheets ranging in size from about  4″ x 6″ and larger with lots of word and symbol stamps on each sheet.


  1. Studio Calico Stamp Set: Bullet By Hello Forever $15.99
  2. Hero Arts To Do List $15.99
  3. Hero Arts My Week $15.99
  4. Studio L2E Plan It Stamp Set $15

I keep a small acrylic block, similar to this set, in my pencil case and a small stamp pad for stamping. If you discover that you have specific stamps you use all the time, you can also just  adhere them onto something more permanently. Some are small enough to fit onto the end of  a bottle cap, old marker or dowel to make a more permanent stamp.

Happy stamping!

If you have a question for The Desk, use the “Ask The Desk” link at the top of the blog. Thanks!

Fashionable Friday: The Well-Appointed Desk Signature Green


I have several friends who share my love for all things green, particularly green of the lime hue. And we’ve been waxing poetic about it a lot this week. To the point that we’ve been looking at green keyboards and other desk accessories that suggest we may have lost our minds. But its gross and grey out and making my world look like a mojito makes me feel better. So, join me in my cocktail infused fantasy. Paint your world in your favorite hue. Maybe it’s tinted key lime too?

  • Filofax Saffiano Pear Compact Organizer $44 (via Goldspot Pens)
  • Lamy AL-star charged green fountain pen (special edition 2016) €26,90 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Pilot Metropolitan Pop Fountain Pen in Apple Green $15 (via Pen Chalet)
  • TWSBI Diamond 580AL Green was announced on their Facebook page yesterday with an enticing shipping date of Mid-February price TBD (via TWSBI)
  • You Are The Gin To My Tonic Print $20.53+ (via Old English Co Etsy)
  • Nomadic PE-17 Pen Case in Yellow Green $15 (via JetPens)
  • Etranger di Costarica A4 Zipper Case in Transparency Apple Green $5.75 (via JetPens)
  • Diamine Jade Green Ink in 80ml Bottle $14.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • J. Herbin Vert Olive (Olive Green) Fountain Pen Ink in 30 ml Bottle $12 (via JetPens)
  • Original Crown Mill Lime with Green border (10 sheets A5 / 10 envelopes C6) $24.95AU (via Notemaker)
  • Filofax A5 Notebook in Pear with Lined Paper (6.34 x 8.43) $18.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun Ink in 50ml Bottle $11.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Rhodia Rhodiarama Notebook (5.5″ x 8.25″) in Anise in Blank or Lined $30 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Clairefontaine 1951 Limited Edition Ruled Pocket Notebook in Assorted Colours $9.95AU (via Notemaker)
  • Original Crown Mill Bicolor A5 Correspondence Set – White/Bamboo $27.90 (via Goulet Pens)

Pen Review: Gelly Roll 64-Piece Gel Pen Set

gelly rolls

Hoo, boy! When I decide to go down the path I pretty much take the WHOLE ROAD. In the case of the Sakura Gelly Roll pens, I got the whole kit-and-caboodle! That’s right, I got the Sakura Gelly Roll 64-Color Set Box ($80). I mean, really? How was I supposed to pick just a handful?

The pens came in a translucent plastic box divided into five sections and the wrapper has a color key on the reverse that I could fill in see what each color looks like. Don’t you just want to dig your fingers into each of these compartments and pull out all the pens?!?! The box is a standard plastic art supply tackle box but did not add anything to the cost of the purchase of the all these pens and gave a nice way to keep them all organized. The 64-pen set works out to $1.25 per pen which is cheaper than buying the pens individually so the case is basically free. WIN!

gelly rolls

The 64-color set includes 17 classic/regular pens (in 0.3 mm and 0.4 mm), 14 metallic pens, 10 Moonlight pens, 13 Stardust pens, and 10 Shadow Pens (5 in gold shadow and 5 in silver shadow).

The Classic Gelly pens (0.3 mm and 0.4 mm) glide on in a gloss look and dry to an opaque matte finish. These are available in fine and medium point and include on opaque white which is probably one of the most popular options. The white is a great pen for adding in highlights on drawings, using as a “white out” pen or for writing on dark papers. The Gelly Roll Classics look like matte paint when dry which is part of their appeal.

The Metallic pens (0.4mm)  have a fine mica metallic sheen and are opaque making them great for dark stocks.  The colors included a range of jewel tones, gold, silver and copper plus a black metallic which reminded me of asphalt.

The Moonlight colors (listed as 0.5 mm but its seems much wider) are fluorescent and/or super opaque bright colors but take an age to dry and are a pretty wide point. Despite the slow dry times and wide tips, I find myself reaching for these over and over.

The Stardust pens (listed as 0.5 mm but its seems much wider), particularly the clear which is one of my favorite, are glitter with an archival ink base. The glitter may flake away but the colors will remain true. These also had a bit longer dry time but not as long as the Moonlight or Shadow pens.

The Shadow pens (0.7 mm) are the strangest of the bunch, in my opinion. These pens will halo with either silver or gold with a core of the ink color. They are very thick, viscous color and take some time to dry but would be fun for decorating envelopes or letters. They are definitely a bit too broad from general note-taking.

gelly rolls

I tried to photograph my samples from a couple angles to catch the light and show the tinkly effects of the various pens but I think I’ll end up having to put together a quick video just to show off the full effect at some point.

gelly rolls

gelly rolls

gelly rolls

Strangely, my favorite colors in the set ended up being the Moonlight Fluorescent Vermillion, the Stardust Sky Star, the Metallic Emerald (that was sort of a “duh”), the Stardust Clear glitter, the Classic medium orange, and the fine Classic Royal Blue. I pulled those out and added them to my daily pen case. I’m still trying to figure out the best ways to utilize the Shadow pens but I suspect envelope addressing will be their forte.

If you think you might ever want to go down the Gelly Roll Rabbit Hole, I think you’re going to have to buy the whole 64-pen box. You’re going to want ALL OF THE COLORS. I know I did and I’m glad I did. Yes, $80 is a lot of money but then I think how much I spend on one fountain pen and it all goes back into perspective.

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.

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