Archive of ‘feature’ category

Fashionable Friday: Bespoke & Floral

Fashionable Friday" bespoke floral

Today I was inspired by the cool fall weather that’s rolled into Kansas City the last day or so which lead me to this beautiful photo of bespoke leather boots and a lovely floral dress by Julia Davila-Lampe on Flickr.

Book: Adventures in Stationery/The Perfection of The Paperclip

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 9.58.48 AM

Adventures in Stationery: A Journey Through Your Pencil Case by James Ward is a book I could not overlook — just for the cover design and the title alone! I’ve read the description of the book at least three times and I’m still not sure what the book will contain. I’m going to hang all my enthusiasm on the last sentence of the descriptio: “Combining telling details, peculiar facts, a love of humour, hubris and brimming with curious stories, this book will change the way you look at your desk forever.” I’m in. Now can I order an ebook from Amazon UK without any issues? Anyone know? If not, I guess I’ll have to order it and pay the international shipping.

The book is also available for pre-order in the US in digital or paper edition from Amazon.com and will be released in May 2015. Also, the title was changed for the US release to The Perfection of the Paperclip: Curious Tales of Invention, Accidental Genius, and Stationery Obsession. Really, why?

Review: Diamine Kelly Green Ink

Diamine Kelly Green

I’ve had this sample bottle of Diamine Kelly Green set aside on my desk for months with plans to be “my next ink review”. Since December. Well, here it is. Finally.

Diamine Kelly Green Ink Writing Sample

Diamine Kelly Green is a vivid, bright green with distinctly yellow undertones. For me, this means that in light strokes or fine nibbed pens, the color is in that “sweet spot” of lime, citrus-y green that I love so much. For someone else, it could mean a bright green that has gone decidedly off.

In my Noodler’s Ahab fountain pen with the flex nib, there was a lot of shading in the writing. Some might think too much shading as the top, lightest part of the strokes is a very light yellow-green while the down strokes are a clover green. It makes readability a bit iffy.

With a regular stiff nib, the ink is much lighter overall. More Kool-Aid Limeade green than a true Kelly green.

Diamine Kelly Green Ink Comparison

I quite like the color that results from using this ink with a fine or medium nib as it goes decidedly lime. However, if you are looking for a bold true green, this will not be the one for you.

Diamine Kelly Green is available by the bottle for $12.95 and samples are $1.25.

 

Review: Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe

Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe Ink

I confess I did not recognize the name Daniel DeFoe when this bottle of Mont Blanc’s Writers Series Daniel DeFoe ink arrived. All I knew was that it was a shade of green. So I did what any self-respecting blogger would do, I looked up Daniel DeFoe on Wikipedia. Turns out he was the gent who wrote Robinson Crusoe as well as being trader, writer, journalist, pamphleteer, and spy. So, someone I’d like to have had drinks with at some point. Now that I’m past the history lesson, let’s move on to the ink review!

Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe Ink

The bottle is a pleasing shape. Its classic plus it has Mont Blanc’s distintive logo mark on the cap. I think the label with the author’s signature printed to simulate the ink color is a little vague.

Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe Ink

As I said before, not knowing who Daniel DeFoe was when the bottle arrived, I only loosely assumed the ink might be green. The vagueness of the packaging did not clear much up so it wasn’t until I dipped my paint brush into the bottle and started making lines that I had any kind of inkling what was to appear.

The color is a deep, woodsy, leafy green. It is supposed to be reminiscent of Crusoe’s island but it also reminds me of the color of military fatigue greens but a little more luminance. It’s dark and bold on the paper but with a brightness.

The more I look at the Defoe ink on paper, the more enamored I become.

Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe Ink

When looking for comparisons, I found Noodler’s Burma Road Brown and Diamine Salamander but they are both browner, muddier colors than the Daniel DeFoe.

I have to confess that I’ve seen Mont Blanc as a company that concerns itself with making beautiful, but veery expensive things that might not always be practical. This ink, however, is changing my thinking. Its an entirely usable color with good flow and consistency. In my wide 1.1mm nibbed Monteverde Intima pen on Rhodia paper, it took a bit longer to dry than some inks I’ve used lately but dry time was comparable to a lot of the Pilot Iroshizuku inks I’ve used.

Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe is a limited edition ink available only for one year. A 35ml bottle sells for $19. I might have to order a spare.


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

Mont Blanc Daniel DeFoe Ink

Review: Private Reserve Naples Blue Ink

Private Reserve Naples Blue Ink Review

I chose my favorite color, Private Reserve Naples Blue, from the August International Shipping Ink Drop collection and decided to go ahead and do a full review. I don’t normally go in for bright blues but this color looked like the bluest oceans. I couldn’t pull my eyes from the swatch so I had to take it out for a spin.

I tested it with my dueling Pilot Preras, one fitted with a Plumix Penmanship M Italic Stub and one with the standard M nib. I wanted to see if shading was visible in both. The shading range was so diverse in my painted title that I was hopeful to get as wide a range in the pens.

Private Reserve Naples Blue Ink Review

What I noticed is that the ink appears more like a royal blue in dark pools but as it thins out in linework, it becomes more turquoise blue instead. This showed in the shading with the stub italic nib making for some interesting emphasis. I like it. Its a beautiful color.

The ink is a bit drier than other inks so it dried fast which was nice on the slick Rhodia paper, especially with the wider nib. I didn’t have any issues with the ink being too dry with the M nib but a needlepoint nib might run into some drying issues.

Private Reserve Naples Blue Ink Review

In my head, I thought the Naples Blue reminded me of Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku but side-by-side you can see how much greener the Ku-Jaku is. The Naples Blue even gets a slight red/purple cast around the edges of the swab so they are quite different. In the fine writing sample though, the Naples Blue is a lot more turquoise so you can see the possible comparison.

Overall, if you’re looking to hold on to summer a little longer, want to dream of the bluest oceans or just need a vivid blue ink, try Private Reserve Naples Blue. Samples are $1.25 and a full bottle is $11.

Fashionable Friday: Mirror Mirror On My Desk

mirror desks

Initially, I was going to do today’s Fashionable Friday around the West Elm Parsons Desk in the mirror finish but they are not making it anymore. West Elm still sells a mirror console table but its a bit shallow to be used as a desk. Instead, I found this elegant mirror-finish desk at Horchow. Its a bit more expensive than the Parson desk but its gorgeous so fate worked for me.

If you already have a desk, try accessorizing with tools that reflect light in silver, chrome, steel or brushed metallics.

Alternately, if you choose to decorate your office with a mirrored desk, then choose a lot of accessories that have different textures and materials to keep your space from feeling too cold or institutional. A plant or vase of flowers on the desk will add color and will pick up your spirits. And a soft, cozy, faux sheepskin rug under the desk or draped over your chair will add warmth.

Lexington Office Mirrored Desk $899 (via Horchow)

Fashionable Friday: shiny

  1. Ziggy Stardust Silver Metallic Leather Journal $36 (via Jenni Bick)
  2. Kaweco AL-Sport Fountain Pen, stainless steel, sale price $60 (via Pen Chalet)
  3. Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Ink Infinite Grey $38.50 (via Jet Pens)
  4. Monteverde Poquito Fountain Pen $27 (via Pen Chalet)
  5. Terrarium with air plants (via Flickr)
  6. KUM 1-hole long point hand sharpener $1.95 (via Pencils.com)
  7. Faber-Castell Grip Sparkle Pencils Metallic Silver Box of 12 for $18 (via Pen Boutique)
  8. Delta Steel Mini Plier Stapler $6.99 (via Amazon)
  9. TEJN Faux sheepskin rug $9.99 (via Ikea)

And last but not least, you might need a Poppin silver softcover document folio (thanks to Paper Pastries for reminding me of this bit of office glam!) $14.

Poppin Silver Document Folio

(Home decor inspiration images from Horchow, Lonny Magazine and Better Homes and Gardens were found on Pinterest.)

Review: Zebra Mildliner Pen in Mild Green

Zebra Mildliner Pen

Some days, I want to highlight text without blinding myself. This is only a problem that a connoisseur of pens would suffer. Who could solve this dilemma for me? The Japanese of course with the Zebra Mildliner brand of highlghters. Or would you call them lowlighters?

I added a “mild green” Mildliner ($1.50 each) in my cart with my last purchase to try it out but there 15 colors to choose from including a grey which seems perpetually sold out.

Zebra Mildliner Mild Green

Anyway, the Zebra Mildliners combine all the functionality of a standard highlighter like dual tip and the ability to highlight or underline printed text from books or printouts as well as over handwritten notes in a variety of different tools. The only issues I found highlighting over handwritten text was with my fountain pens. All those standard school tools like a Sakura Pigma Micron, Sharpie Pen or pencil did not smudge at all. Compared with a standard highlighter grabbed at random out of the nearest pen cup, the Mildliner had noticeably less smudging over handwritten notes. This would probably be equally beneficial with ink jet copies as well.

The simple logo and overall look of this pen is also a win for me. Its a nice looking highlighter. Just because a pen highlights does not mean it needs to look like a highway safety cone from the outside, no?

I will definitely be collecting more of these Mildliners. Maybe I should just purchase one of the 5-pack sets, like the Cool & Refined ($8.25)?

Review: Noodler’s Ahab Flexible Nib Fountain Pen

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

I have had the Noodler’s Ahab flexible fountain pen ($20) for a couple months and have tested it with Goulet Pen’s replacement nibs but hadn’t posted about the flex nib. As others have mentioned over the years, trying to use and learning to use a flexible nib pen is very different than how we use modern day pens, be they fountain or otherwise.

Over the years I’ve used a lot of different flexible nib tools. I have a few vintage pens that have some flex and I’ve used a lot of dip nib pens which are the least expensive and most flexible option in modern tools. Dip nibs are a little fiddly to use those because I frequently have to stop and dip and try to pick up my thoughts and my stroke where I left off. So there is a lot of appeal in getting the Noodler’s Ahab to work for me.

I got the Ahab in the Amazon Pearl finish but there are dozens of color options in the Ahab so there is bound to be one you like. The Amazon Pearl finish is a shimmer metallic forest green with some darker green threads in the color. Its really pretty.

The Ahab pen body feels likes plastic but is actually a celluloid derivative. This may explain a slightly acrid smell upon opening the pen. I noticed the smell most when removing the cap but it dissipated quickly.

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

The Noodler’s flex nib (found in the Creaper, the Ahab and the Konrad models) is split down the middle to give it its flex. By nudging the placement of the nib in the feed, its possible to adjust how much flex. However, the higher you place the nib in the feed (creating more flex) the more likely that the ink flow might become choked causing skipping or inconsistent ink flow.

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

In order to get the benefits of the flex nib, I needed to change my writing position from the left-handed overhand method I normally use to position where my hand is below the line I’m writing. Otherwise, the thicks-and-thins of the flexible nib are in the wrong places or non-existent entirely.

Using the piston filler, the Ahab will hold about 2ml of ink which is twice what the Creaper holds. Its possible to eyedropper fill the Ahab for even more ink capacity but I didn’t attempt that. I change my mind about ink color too frequently to want that much ink in one go. The piston filler is not a twist fill mechanism common to cartridge converters but rather a plunger mechanism to pump ink into the reservoir. It’s easy to use but might take a couple tries to get accustomed to the filling technique. This also means you must use bottled inks with this pen. No cartridges can be used.

Noodlers Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

While the pen felt light and a little plasticky in my hand, it looks like a more expensive material than some of the clear plastic pens in a similar price range.  Overall, I like what Noodler’s is doing with their line of flex nib pens and, for its small price, the Ahab is a good way to venture into flexible nibs. If you discover that flex nibs are not for you, Goulet Pen’s replacement nibs will fit in the Ahab and can turn the pen into a standard writer.


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.

July & August 2014 Ink Drop

Ink DRop Swatches

In an effort to get caught up on the Ink Drop subscriptions, I have done some quick swab swatches of the last two months worth.

July’s Ink Drop theme was an all-American Stars and Stripes so it was chock full of reds and blues which are also some of the most popular colors in inks so choosing just five samples must have been a challenge. The final selection was De Atramentis Atlantic Blue, Diamine Royal Blue, Diamine Presidential Blue, Diamine Poppy Red, and Sheaffer Skrip Red. Each bottle is $12.95 except the Sheaffer which is budget priced at $9.25. De Atramentis Atlantic Blue is a deep midnight blue. Diamine Poppy Red is a warm red, like farm tomatoes. Diamine Royal Blue is a bright vivid blue while the Presidential Blue is a bit darker and smokier but still a bright blue.

Since the August Ink Drop (“International Shipping”) also featured a couple shades of red and blue, it seemed like a good reason to show them altogether. The blues in the International Shipping set are much more vivid while the reds are deeper. The colors in the August set are: Private Reserve Naples Blue ($11), Diamine China Blue ($12.95), Montegrappa Bordeaux ($20), Noodler’s Mandalay Maroon ($12.50), and Noodler’s Burma Road Brown ($12.50). Mandalay Maroon is a dark, rich red while the Bordeaux takes after the wine for which is similarly named. My favorite of the lot was the Naples Blue which is a vivid ocean blue, the kind I imagine seeing from a bleached white Greek shore. The China Blue and previous Royal Blue are quite similar but the China Blue has more of a reddish cast. The final ink in the International Shipping set is the Burma Road Brown which is a cool green/brown. I’d be inclined to call it a green-black.

Ink Drop Swatches lined up

I still struggle a bit with the best way to swatch and sample my Ink Drop subscriptions. I tried using a dip nib, a glass pen, cotton swab swatches and painted swatches. No matter how I do it, there is a lot of clean-up and preparation. So, paint brush swabs for my swatch book are the fastest and at least give me an idea what the colors are for future sampling.

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


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

Ink 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.

Fashionable Friday: Match Your Tools to Your Polish

FF-PurplePolish

I’ve been joking around for a couple weeks about matching my inks to my nail polish colors and I thought it would make an amusing Fashionable Friday post. All my friends are dizzy over the reddish purple sparkle of polishes like Darling Diva Ringer and Cirque Coronation so I thought I might find some coordinating supplies.

Do you match your inks to your pen? Your pen to your notebook? All of the above to your outfit or nail polish?

Review: Kaweco Leather Pen Holder

Kaweco Cognac Leather 2-Pen Holder

I recently acquired the Kaweco Eco Leather Cognac Brown 2-pen case ($21). I was excited to finally have a case for my little favorite pens. The cognac brown leather seemed like a nice option to the classic leather 2-pen pouch ($20). It’s designed to hold two Kaweso Sport pens or pencils.

Kaweco Cognac Leather 2-Pen Holder

The case is a soft, warm brown leather. Its quite flexible and feels nice in my hand. The case seems to be designed to hold two pens without clips. I put my Art Sport which does not have a clip and my Skyline Mint which has a clip and it was a snug fit. I think I could squeeze two pens with clips into the case but it would likely stretch the leather or damage it over the long term.

Kaweco Cognac Leather 2-Pen Holder  Kaweco Cognac Leather 2-Pen Holder

You can see its a bit of a tight squeeze with one clip in the case.

Kaweco Cognac Leather 2-Pen Holder

If I insert one pen upside down the two pens fit better, even with one clip attached, so I think this will be my solution for the time being. I love having a clip on some of my Kaweco Sports and not on others so this will have to work.

Since the leather is soft and just a cut slit to access the pens (the stitching is only around the edges), the slit opening might tear or pull. I’m curious to see how the leather looks after I use it for a few weeks. If the color will change and if there is any wear to the slit opening.

I have enough Kaweco Sport pens that I might get the Kaweco Classic Leather 2-Pen Pouch just to compare them and I love the little gold Kaweco medallion included with the black molded leather case.


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.

Rite in the Rain #99 Mechanical Pencil

Rite in the Rain just launched its own line of super-durable mechanical pencils. The resin barrel holds sturdy, durable 1.1mm lead and capped with a gray rubber eraser.  The barrel can hold an extra 6 leads so you’ll always have graphite when you need it.  Each pencil ships with a couple extra erasers as well so you won’t run out. Additional leads in red or graphite are available for purchase.

The Rite in the Rain pencils look like Autopoint All-American jumbo pencils with custom branding which is a good fit with the Rite in the Rain brand. They are both classic and known for their quality so its a good fit. If you’d prefer this style pencil without he branding, you can order directly from Autopoint.

$10.95 each in black or yellow resin, red barrel ships with red lead.

Rite in the Rain 1.1mm mechanical pencil

Review: Pocketable Pens from Zebra, Pilot and Pentel

Zebra Mini Ballpoint Pentel Slicci Mini and Pilot Hi-Tec C Slim Knock

I was in the market for a few small pens to tuck into my wallet, purse, bag, etc. So I used the need as an opportunity to compare several different mini pen options from Jet Pens. The purpose of these pens is to be able to have a pen handy at all times. These are not necessarily the tools I would choose for long letter-writing sessions or for taking notes in a long meeting. I suspect they’ll be used to jot down a quick note, a pone number or email address, a grocery list or an ah-ha moment. Even for those “I just need to jot something down moments” I still want a pen that writes well and hopefully is appealing to use and look at.

I purchased three different mini pens: Pilot Hi-Tec C Slim Knock 0.4 in blue black ($3.30), Pentel Slicci Techo Mini Gel Ink Pen 0.3 mm black ink with lime green brushed aluminum body ($8.25) and Zebra SL-F1 Mini Ballpoint Pen 0.7 mm black ink with a “mint green” body (I put “mint green” in quotes because the color is much more turquoise edging to teal then mint) ($5).

The smallest is the Zebra SL-F1 Mini Ballpoint at 3.25″ when closed. To use, the cap section pulls away from the tip and grip to extend the pen to 4.25″ (about the same length as a Kaweco Sport with the cap on) like a telescope. This pen feels sturdy and solid like it could withstand tumbling around in the bottom of a bag or a pocket. The Zebra Mini Ballpoint was the only true ballpoint I purchased but it takes a standard D1 refill so I can swap out the ballpoint ink with a Sharbo X gel ink refill. I meant to order one when I placed my order but I accidentally ordered the wrong refill so its being reviewed as is but assume it will be rockin’ the same Sharbo gel refills I reviewed in my Sharbo X. There are eight different body colors to choose from and, since it takes a standard D1 refill, there are lots of options for the ink in both color and point size.

Zebra Mini Ballpoint vs. Kaweco Sport

Next up in size is the Pentel Slicci Techo at 4.5″. It uses a traditional retractable mechanism and features an aluminum barrel with a brushed finish. Generally speaking, I like the Slicci refills. They have a little more grip on the paper than Hi-Tec C ink and tend to need less priming if they’ve been unused for awhile. This particular model is only available in 0.3mm black ink but there are six body colors available.

The largest mini pen I purchased was the Pilot Hi-Tec C Slim Knock at 4.75″. It also features a rubberized grip area and felt like the widest barrel diameter of the three. This was the least expensive option and is available in both 0.3mm (only $3) and 0.4mm tip sizes ($3.30) and a large array of ink colors. Unfortunately, if you hope to refill this model, the only refills available are in red, blue or black.

Zebra Mini Ballpoint Pentel Slicci Mini and Pilot Hi-Tec C Slim Knock writing samples

Despite being the cheapest of the three, the Hi-Tec C Slim Knock is not my favorite pen in this review. Its not the smallest or most pocketable by far. And, for the same price (or cheaper), I could purchase a full-sized Hi-Tec C or Maica. It is the only option for a retractable Hi-Tec C.

The Pentel Slicci Techo has a durable aluminum barrel but its the priciest and very limited in refill options. But its lime green so it will definitely get a lot of use for me. The orange and navy body are also really appealing.

By far, the most flexible is the Zebra SL-F1. The D1 refills make it easy to refill anywhere, the color options for the body are broad enough to suit just about anyone and it has simple classic good looks. Not to mention a minimal $5 price tag.

If you’re looking for a small, pocketable fountain pen, check out my Kaweco Liliput review, the Monteverde Poquito or any of the Kaweco Sport reviews in my Fountain Pen Reviews page.

Tom Hanks’ Hanx Writer

photo+1

In the typewriter community, its fairly well-known fact that Tom Hanks is a collector. To extend his appreciation for typewriters to a wider audience, he put his name behind an iPad called HanxWriter. The app itself is free and gives you one typewriter and a clean sheet of paper. In-app purchases give access to other typewriters.

It looks like a nice little notetaker app or a place to start that great American novel I’ve been meaning to write. It even adds those modern conveniences like spell check, exporting to Evernote, email, etc. and copy-and-paste functionality, all while clickety-clicking like your favorite less-than-portable, portable typewriter.

(via TUAW)

Review: Letts of London Noteletts Notebook

 

Noteletts L6 Ruled cover

While visiting Daly’s Pen Shop in Milwaukee, I picked up a Letts of London Noteletts notebook. The Noteletts line is available three sizes, ruled or blank and in four different cover colors. I got the “L6″,  the medium size, which is 116mm x 172mm (approx. 4.5″x 6.75″) and features lined paper.

Noteletts L6 Ruled

The cover of the book is a black book cloth which collects cat hair and dust easily (pardon my dust!) but feels nice in my hand and gives the cover a bit more flex than other notebooks with  leatherette covers.

 

Noteletts L6 Ruled page spread

Inside the paper is a warm creamy ivory color with fine, light grey lines. There are 192 pages which is comparable to other books of a similar size. The line spacing is 0.25″ (6mm)  and the paper quality is above average. It feels thicker than the average notebook. I’d compare it to the paper weight in Paperblanks notebooks but the Noteletts has a bit more tooth to the paper. That might make it a little more absorbent but it also means those slippery gel inks have something to hold onto.

Noteletts L6 Ruled dated rules

At the top of each page is a place to write the date to keep your notes organized. The Noteletts branding is at the bottom of each page — a bit overkill but not too obtrusive.

Noteletts L6 Ruled Planner Pages

In the back is a 2-page monthly planner  spread. Its not necessarily enough room to be a full-fledged planner but would be a good spot to write key dates or birthdays. In the back of the book, there’s also a map with time zones, calling code info and weights and measures. I find it charmingly anachronistic to include this info in the age of smartphones but I appreciate it nonetheless. It makes me feel worldly and cosmopolitan to have this info at hand.

There is also the requisite expandable pocket in the back cover, vertical elastic closure and a ribbon bookmark with finished end. All welcome and well done.

Noteletts L6 Ruled writing sample

In writing tests, the paper is a bit heavier than the average but I knew it would not be as fountain pen-worthy as Clairfontaine/Rhodia. The paper would probably fare best with fine line pens of any variety but the show through was not terrible with the couple fountain pens I had on me today — both loaded with a blue ink, both fine European nibs.

Noteletts L6 Ruled reverse of writing

From the reverse, a little show through is visible and I suspect that a medium or broad nibbed fountain pen with black ink with definitely get more show through and probably dots of bleed through. Its not the most fountain pen friendly paper but its far from the worst. Dry time was  quite reasonable so it seems like a fair trade-off.

The price point for the Noteletts (MSRP is $13.50 for this size notebook), from the tony Letts of London, is up there with Moleskine but it carries a slightly different kind of cache. Letts of London has been making paper products since 1812 and focuses on planners (AKA diaries) and hangs its hat on its English-ness, where Moleskine prefers to tap into it Italian European-ness. I am inclined to be more of an Anglophile so if I had to pick one or the other, I’m inclined to choose the English Noteletts in part for its own heritage but also the cloth covers, better paper and lighter lines. I find the lined paper in Moleskine notebooks much too dark.

Our new sponsors Pen Boutique stock the Noteletts line as well as purchasing them directly.

Fashionable Friday: Icy Grey

gey-aqua

It’s so hot this week that the cool icy tones in this grey and pastel “librarian chic” outfit from Darling Stuff totally inspired me and made me look forward to a crisp fall day that calls for wool skirts and tights. And what fun office accessories I found to go with it!

Review: Lamy Accent Fountain Pen

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen & Packaging

Thanks to Fontoplumo for  sending me the Lamy Accent for review recently. I had not seen this Lamy before so it was a treat to get a “first peek” at it. Its an aluminum body with a soft sheen finish and the center grip section in a dark grey stained wood. The pen is so light in the hand that I would assume the wood is bamboo.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen box packaging

I’m not always inclined to talk about the packaging on a pen. There’s an expectation that the more expensive the pen, the better the packaging. As the Lamy Accent is in the lower mid-range fountain pen prices, I think its nice packaging. The box is a soft grey paper board with a window that peeks to a metal embossed logo that acts as the box lock. Once unfolded the pen rests on a flannel grey flocked  paperboard wedge. Its suitable for a gift and makes me feel like Lamy cared enough about the pen and the craftsmanship in making it to send it in in a pleasing package.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen packaging

In the other groove in the package was a standard Lamy blue cartridge which is now installed in the pen for testing purposes. The pen did not include a cartridge converter but one can be purchased for an additional 4,75€ (about $6.50).

When capped, the pen is 5.625″ long. Uncapped and unposted, the pen is 4.875″. The cap screws on to close.

The clip is a shiny silver chrome and is slightly hinged to make it easy to clip to a pocket or notebook. The only branding on the exterior of the pen is on the cap, in line with the clip hinge. It reads “LAMY” in grey-black print. The branding is also etched on the nib but that’s it. It makes for a very elegant and understated look.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen nib & grip section

I received the fine nib and it met all my standards for a Lamy nib. I installed the cartridge included with the pen immediately and started writing with no issues.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen posted

The cap easily posts on the end of the pen thanks to a small black notch on the rear of the pen. This creates a well-balanced tool at a sizable length of about 6.5″ . I found it quite comfortable to use posted which I don’t normally do (not even with Kaweco Sports. Seriously!).

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen writing sample

In writing, the only potential issue is that the wood grip section is not particularly grippy. I prefer Lamy pens without the molded grip area but the added plastic at the nib pushes the grip area back from the nib a bit more than most pens I’ve used. It you tend to grip your tools further from the tip or nib, this might be a great pen to try as its really designed for a higher grip. If you tend to grip lower with your fingers touching the nib, you may need to noodle a bit. I found that I rested my knuckle (at the writer’s bump on my middle finger) and my first finger on the black section above the nib and my thumb on the wood grip. It ended up being surprisigingly comfortable but took a couple tries to find the best way to hold this pen.

Lamy Accent Fountain Pen

One oddity was the way in which the pen disassembled. The aluminum section below the wood loosens the nib unit but the pen separates above the wood section. It felt like I was doing something wrong but it seemed to work and reassemble with no issues. It’s just feels a little odd.

Overall, I really like this pen. Its nicely sized and aesthetically beautiful in a modern way. The sort of classic good looks that will age well over time. Which reminds me, I’m really curious to see how this pen ages — if the wood darkens or the aluminum barrel gets any dings or scratches and how that affects its looks. Since I do not tend to swaddle my pens, give me a few months of rough use and I’ll post some photos to see if it changes at all.

The Lamy Accent in Aluminum/ Grey Wood is 65€ (about $86US) and available in EF, F, M, B and Italic 1.1mm. Don’t forget: If you enter the code WAD2014 you get a 10% discount on anything you order from Fontoplumo. This offer is good through the end of 2014.


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

Eraser Gift Packaging

Eraser package

Using wrapping paper and a couple card stock wedges to create the beveled edge, Oh Happy Day created a back-to-school package in the classic shape of a Pink Pearl eraser to fill with goodies. I think this is the perfect gift packaging for any gift for your favorite pen-and-paper geek.

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Frankie Magazine Daily Journal 2015

Frankie Diary 2015 cover

The Frankie Magazine Diary pre-order announcement is one of those tell-tale signs that the year is wrapping up and its time to start thinking about next year.

Frankie Diary 2015

This year the book has a light blue linen cover but the inside is filled with another year of lovely pages and inspiring patterns and design elements. The designs were created by illustrator Sara Hingle.

Frankie Diary 2015 inside spread

Inside are 164 pages that include weekly planning pages, monthly planning pages and perforated notes, gift tags, stickers and a pocket in the back for loose ephemera.

Frankie Diary 2015 monthly calendar view

The book measures 210mm x 148mm (approx. 8.25″ x 6″). Pre-order the book for $26.95AU. They tend to sell out quickly so plan accordingly.

Kickstarter: Word. Notebook’s Writer’s Block

The folks over at Word. Notebooks have launched a Kickstarter project for a metal desktop pen/notebook base called The Writer’s Block. It is a machined piece to hold your favorite pen or pencil and either two Word. notebooks (or your notebook brand of choice) or your smartphone. The bases are available in brass, black steel or stainless steel.

Word Notebooks Writer's Block

The overall footprint of the Writer’s Block is 1.5″Wx2″Dx1″H so it will not overwhelm your desk with clutter. Its simple and elegant enough, I could see this as a great way to store pocketbooks, phone and my daily carry pen on the console table by the front door.

Early birds can get a Writer’s Block for $35 if you hurry. After the Kickstarter campaign, prices will go up significantly ($55-84 for the various materials) so if this sort of desk organizer appeals to you, I recommend buying in now.

Fashionable Friday: Black & Gold

Fashionable Desk black & gold

Trends affect the stationery and pen world just as much as the fashion and home decor world. I’ve been seeing a lot of black and metallic gold so I thought I’d create a styleboard that features this stunning combination.

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