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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.

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The winner is:

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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

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

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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

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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.

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