Archive of ‘feature’ category

Pen Addict Podcast 130: Stop Spending My Money – Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

For the second year running, Brad and Myke have kindly let me join them on The Pen Addict podcast to make my gift guide picks.

These are most of my picks. If you want to see the full list including all of Brad and Myke’s picks (and hear me ramble and one of my cats meow), check out Episode 130 of the Pen Addict Podcast.

What I did today and what’s in my bag

What's in my bag: iphone 6

Today didn’t really go according to plan. I had planned to spend all day working on the blog, prepping for the Thanksgiving week. However, a couple errands took us out of the house, which lead to the AT&T store, and we  finally upgraded our phones and VOILA! I am now the proud owner of a new iPhone 6. In gold, if you can believe it. Surprisingly, the gold color is quite pale and not nearly as bling-y as I thought it would be.

iphone 6 and Pentel i+ pen

I picked out a ridiculously girly, floral hardshell case for my new treasure, a Lenntek Sonix Inlay case with a Rifle Paper Co. floral design which just happens to match the new Pentel i+ 3 multi-pen I got. It all matched nicely with my EDC bag, a pink Coach leather clutch, my Pantone lime business card case and my Miro pocket notebook with pink edge painting.

iphone 6 and Pentel i+ pen

Lots of people have reviewed and re-reviewed the new iPhone 6 so I’ll spare you suffering any additional commentary. Suffice it to say, its not uncomfortably large, even with my munchkin hands, and its nice to have a bigger drive, faster service, better camera and better battery life. So its all good. And damned girly.

What’s on my Desk(top)?

apps on my desktop

Strangely, for a fan of all things paper-and-pen/cil, I’ve been thinking a lot about my digital tools recently. I’ve been fiddling with which music player is best for me, what task manager can get me off the panic precipice as well as all the other digital tools I need to stay organized and productive like text input, calendar management and getting all this stuff to synchronize together.

I can’t be the only one who worries about the best way to stay on top of everything, can I? The to-do lists, grocery lists, ideas for blog posts, things to read now, things to share, things to read later, work projects, events in my life and everything else?

A lot of this fussing has come as a result of upgrading to Yosemite (OS X 10.10). Many of my standby tools required upgrading and some fell by the wayside. Other issues had never been thoroughly dealt with in the past so I used the growing pains of Yosemite as my chance to re-evaluate my whole digital tool library.

The first aspect to my organization is that I work on Mac and Apple products exclusively. I have an iMac 27″ at work (behind a big SERIOUS firewall), a personal 13″ MacBook Pro, an iPad Mini (the original incarnation, no retina, no data) and an iPhone 4s (seriously needing to be updated). As a result of my office firewall and absence of wi-fi for my iPad at work, I need most of my tools to be accessible without installing an app or feature a browser-accessible interface.

Music Player:

Luckily, most music players and streaming music tools are now accessible via web interface so I’ve been able to test and play with Spotify, Rdio and Pandora. The first one I ever tried was Rdio and I’ve built a lot of playlists on it. I abandoned it when everyone went to Spotify and played with that for awhile and finally went to Pandora for the ability to say, “I like English Beat. Play stuff like that,” without having to build all the playlists myself. But in the end, there was just as much work involved in grooming Pandora to my tastes that I might as well have built my own playlist.

So, I’ve come full circle and gone back to Rdio. The web interface is vastly improved over the last few years and includes a free streaming option (with ads) as well as paid subscriptions that allows users to download content to a mobile device. If you don’t pay for the premium subscription, the only mobile option is a “radio” option. The radio option let’s you select a song and the app builds a playlist based on it. I think Spotify free works the same way.

Podcast App:

Overcast has become my go-to for podcast listening. For me, the web interface means I can tether myself to my desk at work and access my podcasts without using up my mobile phone data plan. Sure, I don’t get the benefits of some of the iPhone app features (like speeding up the podcast or skipping pausese) but I can easily bounce back and forth from my phone at home to the browser at work and stay current.

Task Manager:

I’ve tried to keep daily lists on paper using a modification of the Bullet Journal system which is fine for personal projects and home stuff but work projects needed a digital option that would allow me to copy and paste text and rearrange and update a lot. I tried both Todoist and Wunderlist and have bounced back and forth, depending on the types of projects I’ve been working on. This week, I decided I needed to embrace ONE and make it work. So I chose Wunderlist because the Todoist site locked up on me and I could not use the web interface. Wunderlist provides web interface through a browser and a mac desktop app as well as iPad and iPhone versions. In other words, I can have all my lists wherever I am. I can add sub-lists and images to each “task” which, in my case, is a card collection or individual card design. I can snap a pic of the sketch to store with the task item. I don’t know why I didn’t figure this system out ages ago. Now I wish I could copy multiple sub-tasks from one task to the other because every card I do has to pass through the same series of tasks. Sometimes there’s additional task but it would be so helpful.

Photo Editing and Management:

I was one of those suckers who bought Aperture as my go-to photo editing and cataloging. So, with Apple’s announcement that they’ll no longer be supporting the app, I had to switch to Adobe Lightroom CC. Its been a slow process. It took about 8 hours to migrate my Aperture library to Lightroom. I can see why it is the preferred application. Even after just an hour using it, I think my photos look better and the interface is intuitively Adobe.

If photos need more manipulation, I use Adobe Photoshop CC. The weekly Fashionable Friday is built entirely in Photoshop and I design logos, icons and the like in Illustrator CC.

Text Input:

I still use paper for most list-making and taking notes in meetings. I need some excuse to use up all those notebooks and inks I buy. When I have to write on the computer, either to prepare blog posts, work documentation or brain musings, I still have a gap.

I’ve heard lots of recommendations for DayOne as a place to dump ideas but I’m not sure how easy it is to access individual pieces and how much formatting it allows.

I’m taking recommendations now!

Calendar Management:

I still use iCal (or whatever Apple is calling it these days). I use Fanstastical on my iPhone which makes adding events on the go super easy. Wunderlist automatically adds tasks to a special calendar on iCal and provide alerts to keep me on task as well so that all my calendar activites sync. Sadly, my work calendar is the cheese that stand alone. My company uses Outlook and the calendar cannot be linked or synced to my iCal for whatever reason. So I have to manually add events. If anyone has a workaround for syncing Outlook to iCal let me know.

Other tools:

I use 1Password to keep all my passwords sorted. I use Suitcase Fusion to keep my massive font collection together. I build some of my photo collages with PicFrame (like the one at the top of this post). I live and die at the hands of Alfred who helps me find my apps, my files, helps me add, spell and even defines words for me in a pinch. I use Firefox almost exclusively for web browsing and have plugins for some of my favorite utilities like Pinterest, Evernote, Twitbin, 1Password and Wunderlist. Most of my email is now managed by Gmail.

Do you use any of these tools to keep organized? Have any recommendations for me?

Start As You Mean To Go On.

start as you mean to go on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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?

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?

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!

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.

Thinking About The Pen Habit

smoke_fire

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.

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.

Kickstarter: Whimsical Page Markers

Sticky Page Markers animated gif

If you’ve been around the paperazzi blogs recently, you may have seen someone mention the new Kickstarter project for these whimsical sticky page markers that feature cities like Tokyo, complete with Godzilla and New York with King Kong to Mars landscapes and rainbows and clouds. They are well designed and a fun way to brighten those science textbooks or business books you’ve been slogging through.

The project has met its initial goal and is now aiming for the stretch goal — a set of Nessie page markers. If the campaign reaches £50,000, any pledge over £10 will receive a set of Nessie page markers as well.

Nessie page markers

The Sticky Page Markers project is created by Duncan Shotton who also created the Rainbow Pencils and the Pinnochio-inspired push pins. He’s clever and all his designs have been extremely well-executed and beautifully designed. I really want the Hong Kong set and Nessie! There’s only seven days left so submit your pledge soon!

Rhodia 80th Anniversary Set

Rhodia 80th Anniversary Set

The Rhodia 80th Anniversary Limited Edition Set is finally available for purchase at $10 per set. The set includes a No. 80 sized tablet with a black cover and special Rhodia logo cover design and a black Rhodia pencil with matching pattern printed on it. the whole set comes in a special orange gift box.

Details:
Graph paper with faint grey grid
90 gsm, acid-free ivory paper
140 Pages (70 sheets)
6 x 8 ¼” (14.8 x 21 cm)

Rhodia 80th Anniversary Set

I don’t have any of the Rhodia paper in ivory with the grey grid so I might buy it for that though I’d hate to break up the perfect collector set. How about you?

(via European Paper)

LWA Fountain Pen Laboratory

LWA Fountain Pen Workshop

The Letter Writers Alliance is hosting a Fountain Pen Lab next Saturday in Chicago at the amazing Greer Stationery Shop. The lab is limited to 6 people and the lab fee includes a Kaweco sport demonstrator pen with a medium nib as well as all their experiences and knowledge about using fountain pens and improving penmanship.

Fountain Pen Laboratory
Saturday, Oct. 11th from 1-3pm
Location: Greer, 1657 N Wells St, Chicago, IL
Fee: $75

Go to the Letter Writers Alliance blog to register.

Kickstarter: Office Putty

I really like the idea of having office “toys”. When I was a manager, I would often cover conference room tables with Silly Putty eggs and jars full of Lego. I find it helps people forget they are in a big room feeling awkward. It can give people something to do with their hand besides check their phones for messages and I’d like to believe that doing something tactile can get you thinking more clearly.

So, I was intrigued by the idea of Office Putty. It’s targeted for the office — in a respectable tin in a pleasing blue color and in a good sized wad.

However, I think the $20US/$22CAD opening price point seems a bit steep for the product. Normally, Kickstarter prices are a bit lower than the final retail prices and this seems like a high price, even at retail.

I really want to support this project but it seems a bit too expensive for what it is. Is it just me? Is $20 for a big tin of putty resonable? Talk me into it.

Stationery Shop Map

Winner: Marvy LePen Pen Set

Full set of Le Pens

Thanks to Jet Pens for providing the 18-piece set of Marvy Le Pens to give away for the From The Archives: Mary Le Pen review.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 10.33.48 AM

The winner is:

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 11.16.30 AM

Congrats, Mary Ann! I’ll be contacting you by email to make arrangements for shipping. Thanks to everyone who left comments.

As for the color popularity: purples, orange and teal/oriental blues were very popular with readers. Shout-outs to grey and black as tried-and-true. There was even some love for the greens and the pinks. Marvy, your Le Pens are marvelous, every single color.

 

Out of Print Library Card Pouch

Library Card Pouch

The Out of Print Yellow Library Card Pouch was a little gem I spied on Amazon for $14.99. I stuck it on my wishlist as a reminder to order it later. Well, my darling husband spied it there and bought it for me.

It’s about 6×9″ in size, perfect as a carryall for pens, pencils, and related tools. Its made of bright yellow canvas, printed with blue library card lines and has a matching blue zipper.

Library Card Pouch filled

I tossed all my regular “daily carry” tools into with plenty of room to spare for some washi tape, glue stick and other items I might add for letter writing on the road. The canvas isn’t lined or heavyweight so its not as sturdy as my usual LWA member pouch. I love the look and the bright color but it isn’t sturdy enough to usurp the LWA pouch as my EDC. I might use the Library Card Pouch when traveling or to carry my knitting tools. Either way, I might pull out my embroidery tools and embellish it with some embroidered text. What book might it be and who else checked it out?

Book: Letters To My Future Self

Letters To My Future Self Cover

Letters to My Future Self ($14.95 MSRP) is a marvelously designed little book that contains self-sealing letters and prompts to write letters to yourself. The book was designed by Lea Redmond best know for the World’s Smallest Post Service Kit.

Letters To My Future Self Inner Page

The letters fold up and include designed stamps, labels and wonderful air mail patterns.

Letters To My Future Self Folded Envelope

On the back of each page is the prompt for the letter and a place to add the date your wrote it and the date it should be opened again.

Letters To My Future Self Unfolded Letter/Envelope

When you unfold the page, there is a full sheet of paper to write your letter to yourself. They remind me of Postalettes or the WWII V-Mail. I haven’t tried writing on the paper but it feels like a good quality 80lb text weight or so. This paper will probably withstand a fine-nibbed fountain pen or any good quality gel, rollerball, or ballpoint. Pencil would be good too.

Letters To My Future Self Sticker Sheet

In the back of the book are stickers for sealing the envelopes.

Letters To My Future Self Back Cover

The book includes a dozen letters to write and the hard cover string-bound spine gives a nice look to the whole package. There is also a Letters to My Baby book and several journals for grandchildren, neices and nephews all under the category of “Paper Time Capsule“.

I think the whole collection is incredibly well done and a great way to inspire me to write some goals and some “how I feel now” to refer to sometime later. If you’re not inclined to maintain  a full-fledged journal, this may be a great way to take a letter per week or, since there’s twelve, a letter per month, and get some words on paper.


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

Beyond The Halfway Point: Hobonichi Techo Planner 2014

When I got my Hobonichi Techo at the end of last year, I was dedicatedly using it. But somewhere around the end of May, I lost steam. I just sort of stopped using it. I don’t know if work got slow, or crazy or monotonous but I just stopped writing in it. And I had been using my Hobonichi for more than just meeting notes. I would write what we ate for dinner, if we watched a movie, what days I exercised and so on. So, there really wasn’t any reason to stop.

My Hobonichi Techo Planner 2014

A few months after I got my Hobonichi planner and cover, I decided I needed to personalize it. The cover was already a distinctly TARDIS blue so the solution seemed obvious. I found some artwork online, resized it in Photoshop. I printed it out, trimmed it to size and then slid the artwork underneath the plastic sleeves. No adhesives were used so the cover was not damaged in my customizing. If I ever feel like removing the TARDIS art, it would just mean removing the plastic covers and pulling the art out. Easy Peasy.

At the beginning of September I picked it back up. Luckily, the Hobonichi did not try to shame me for the missed months. I just opened to the current day and started writing again. Its still a great notebook. Its an easy size to use — not too big, not too small.  The paper is good for fountain pens though I find some inks take to long to dry and I end up closing the book too soon and smearing the ink on the facing page.

My Hobonichi Techo Planner 2014 top view

The plastic protective cover and the fabric cover have all protected the planner beautifully.

My Hobonichi Techo Planner 2014 side view

Even the pen loops show minimal wear even though they see the most abuse. My TWSBI Mini fits comfortably in the loops and the Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku coordinates nicely though I often jot notes with whatever colored pen or pencil I have in my hand at the moment.

My Hobonichi Techo Planner 2014 inside front cover

I haven’t collected too much detritus in the front pockets.

My Hobonichi Techo Planner 2014 inside

I’ve been inspired by Patrick Rhone’s mini doodles so I’ve been trying to add my own versions. I’ve also started dividing my pages vertically. Meetings or activities on the left and lists of to-do’s on the right.

My Hobonichi Techo Planner 2014 inside back cover

Someone brought back some classic Japanese planner stickers for me which I’ve tried to add to my planner here and there. I’m saving the fuzzy alpaca for a big knitting-related day.

My Hobonichi Techo Planner 2014 back cover

Yup, TARDIS on the back too. Though it looks like the back cover TARDIS sheet is slipping a little.

My Hobonichi is definitely bigger on the inside.

Fashionable Friday: Breakfast at Tiffany’s Inspired

Fashionable Friday: Breakfast at Tiffany's

I don’t know why but, this week, I got “Moon River” stuck in my head and it always reminds me of the film that made it famous, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. So, that is the inspiration for this week’s Fashionable Friday.

Audrey Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly is ingrained in my mind so clearly. The gorgeous dresses and the kooky eyelash eye mask. And, of course, I could not forget Cat, her faithful companion.

You will have to acquire you own coffee and sticky bun.

  • China Glaze For Audrey Polish $7.50 (via Ulta)
  • Pilot Prera in Soft Blue $49.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Filofax Classic Personal Organizer Personal $103.50 (via Pen Boutique)
  • Pelikan Souveran 320 Fountain Pen in Pearl $484 (via Pen Chalet)
  • J. Herbin Diabolo Menthe $10 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Pilot Stargazer Fountain Pen – Pearl White, 14k Fine $152 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Exacompta Club Leatherette Refillable Journal (via Jet Pens)
  • Baker’s Jar $24 (via Anthropologie)
  • Parisienne Pencil Case (via Anthropologie)
  • Feline Finery Necklace $14.99 (via Modcloth)

Review: Pelikan Edelstein Ruby Cartridges

Pelikan Edelstein Ruby tin

I’d been very interested in getting some of the Pelikan Edelstein ink cartridges. They come in a lovely tin and I like having a pack of cartridges at work so that, in a pinch, I can quickly refill a pen without making a big mess.  The tin means I could keep it in my daily kit so I have cartridges handy all the time. I bought the Ruby color from my local pen shop.

Pelikan Edelstein Ruby cartridges

What I didn’t realize is that the Pelikan Edelstein cartridges are European LONG cartridges. Most of my pens, that take standard European cartridges, are not big enough for the long cartridges. I finally found one pen that could accommodate the longer cartridges, my Kaweco Student.

Pelikan Edelstein Ruby ink

Inked and ready to go, I was finally able to test PE Ruby. Its a pinky-red color with some nice shading, even with the extra-fine nib in my Kaweco Student. Its a bit lighter color than I had expected.  A Google image search for “ruby gem” reveals that rubies are a bit pinky in color when light shines through them so the name is appropriate for the color. Just, in my head, I always thought of rubies as a darker red.

Edelstein inks are good quality and flow smoothly and feel lubricated which helps validate the steeper price point.

Pelikan Edelstein Ruby ink writing samples

When compared to other reds in my stash, it does fill a gap. Diamine Wild Strawberry is a bit more orangey, and Noodler’s Mandalay Maroon is darker and probably more what my head thought of as “ruby”.

Six LONG European-style cartridges are available in each tin for $7.95 from Goulet Pens since my local pen shop does not list them on their online shop. If you’re in KC though, stop by The Pen Place in Crown Center and pick them up in person.

Review: DeAtramentis Apple Blossom Ink

DeAtramentis Apple Blossom

DeAtramentis Apple Blossom ($12.95 for a 35ml bottle) is sort of an “in between” color. Its not quite red, pink, burgundy or purple. I would best describe is as a smoky red violet. Its a scented ink, its a slightly sweet, powdery smell that is supposed to be reminiscent of apple blossoms. It was most noticeable when I was filling my pen from the bottle and less so in the pen or on paper. Once dry on the paper, it was unnoticeable.

DeAtramentis Apple Blossom

I tested this ink with my Pilot Prera which has become my go-to pen for ink samples because I can switch on the nib, mid-test and see the ink in a fine nib and a italic nib as well. With the italic stub, there was more evidence of shading but the color didn’t shift dramatically due to the wider nib.

I tried to find a similar color in my collection but I came up with a pinkier-pink (Edelstein Turmaline) and a deeper, more burgundy color (Montegrappa Bourdeaux). So, that makes me feel like the Apple Blossom really is a unique color and does remind me of those pinky centers on white apple blossoms. I like it in the same way that I like the old Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses in that its a subtle, complex color.

Maire-Chantal Children’s Diary 2015

Marie Chantal Children's Diary 2015

Marie-Chantal is a London children’s clothing and gifts shops that was started in 2001 under the creative direction of Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece. For 2015, Marie-Chantal created a children’s diary designed to record the adventures and growth of your child, from first steps to sports activities and school days.

Marie Chantal Children's Diary 2015

Marie Chantal Children's Diary 2015

 

 

The Children’s Diary starts in September of 2014 and is filled with care and advice of children’s clothes and shoes as well as interesting places to visit with your children in London and NYC. The diary measures 21cm x 26.5cm (approx 8.25″ x10.5″), with gilt-edged pages. The diary is available in blue or ivory leather covers. Its beautiful, well-designed and very posh. It’s a very expensive however at $159 so this is a splurge for mom and dad or a keen gift friend or family. Every child should feel so royal.

Marie Chantal Children's Diary 2015

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