Category: news

National Handwriting Day

Actual handwriting from Hallmark lettering artist Sarah Cole

Every year, National Handwriting Day sneaks up on me. Luckily, I have a whole bunch of writing samples from previous National Handwriting Days.

Hand written by Madeline Tompkins of TagTeam Tompkins

Hope you get to put pen or pencil to paper today and use your handwriting.

Handdrawn lettering by Hallmark designer/illustrator Lauren Tobaben

 

An Administration Remembered, Stationery-Style

(Photo credits: in order clockwise from top left: A reporter takes notes while President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom speak to the press in the Oval Office, March 3, 2009, Photo by Pete Souza;Pens to be used by President Barack Obama are set on the signing table with the bill prior to the signing of H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, July 22, 2014, Photo by Amanda Lucidon; The place-setting for attendees of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet meeting to discuss the economic recovery effort in the State Dining Room of the White House, June 8, 2009, Photo by Samantha Appleton; resident Barack Obama’s place is set at the table prior to the State Dinner for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan in the East Room of the White House, April 28, 2015, Photo by Chuck Kennedy. )

Over the years, I’ve frequently used photos of President Barack Obama writing as examples of an overwriting lefthander because of the tireless work of the staff photographer (usually Pete Souza) in the White House who has spent the last eight years photographing just about every time President Obama signed anything. And thankfully, the photos have been available for use by the press on the White House Flickr feed, now archived as the Obama White House feed.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite pen related photo over the years. I’ve spent much time trying to figure out exactly what pens are used for the signing of legislation (I’m assuming either Parker or Sheaffer) and admiring the occasional photos of the handlettered place cards for luncheons and state dinners.

And that photo at the top left of the reporter who still writes in shorthand?!? That was back in 2009 but still! Pretty cool. I always like to see how other people work and live especially in such a world in which they meet foreign leaders, visit other countries and still occasionally dig in dirt, go for burgers and play basketball and manage to do it all under a microscope and smile through it all. I don’t think I pull that off. But I guess if I got all those pens, I’d sure try.

(Photo credits: in order clockwise from top left: Close-up detail of President Obama’s signature on a bill, and a pen used for the signing, aboard Air Force One on a flight from Buckley Air Force Base, Denver, Col. to Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 17, 2009, Photo by Pete Souza; President Barack Obama signs a United States name plate at the conclusion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2014, Photo by Pete Souza; President Barack Obama writes a response to one of the ten letters he receives each day from the White House Correspondence office on Saturday, July 25, 2009, Photo By Pete Souza; A copy of the menu sits on a table following the Congressional Spouses Luncheon, May 20, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton).


These photos are official White House photographs and are made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Giveaway Winner: Write Your Own Adventure Planner 2017

write-your-own-adventure-2

Congratulations to the winner in the Write Your Own Adventure Giveaway. Our random number generator picked: Jenn Dee!

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-9-36-12-am

Good luck on all your adventures, Jenn, great and small. A wedding in Korea sounds like it will be a blast. And Korean stationery stores will be on your itinerary too, right?

I hope everyone gets a chance to adventure a little bit in 2017, whether its a walk through the pages of a favorite book, a walk around the block or a walk around the world.

Screwed By Passionfruit Ads

grinch

This is a story about the grinch (Jason Lynes, the owner and founder of Passionfruit Ads) that ruined ad hosting for me in 2016.

I’ve kept pretty quiet about this all year because I am not the kind of person who uses this blog to complain, throw people under the bus or generally be a bully, but I can’t keep quiet any longer because I am downright furious by someone who could not run his business with the least bit of professionalism. He hurt me and he has hurt many other bloggers including many folks here in the pen community, many who I recommended use the Passionfruit Ads service to manage their ad and sponsorships so in the end I feel partially responsible for other bloggers losing money to his trollish business practices. I mentioned it briefly in my year-end Cheers and Tears post but I decided that, with the deadline for the official closing of Passionfruit Ads having come and gone, I will finally speak out.

Passionfruit Ads offered a monthly subscription service to handle blog ad backend work, collecting funds from advertisers, providing statistics, a marketplace and other lovely services that made it a great service for bloggers and advertisers. Weekly, I would receive “payouts” from money collected from advertisers with a small percentage withheld for the service via PayPal. Easy peasy.

After using the service for several years, payments suddenly started to get a little haphazard in 2016, coming more monthly than weekly. Then they would list a projected payment date and would miss that. It started to get frustrating but its not my sole source of income and payments did eventually come so I didn’t sweat it. Too much.

Goodbye Passionfruit Screenshot

Then, in May, the screenshot above appeared without any fanfare, email announcement, tweets or other information. It seemed like things would be business as usual until December and I wanted to give the company the benefit of the doubt. Sure, he may be struggling and ready to move on but I didn’t realize things were dire. Little did I know, within a month or so, bad turned to worse.

passionfruit

This was also the same time almost all of my sponsors renew their ads. Payouts pretty much ceased completely. They sat in queue indefinitely for months. I sent email after email with no reply. May, then June than July passed and payouts never happened.

Passionfruit Ads contact info

By late summer, all lines of communication with Passionfruit Ads were removed from the site (the screenshot above shows all the info that used to appear at the bottom of the login pages on the Passionfruit Ads website when it still existed, all the accounts are now only visible via the Wayback Machine). Jason’s twitter account was closed, emails were no longer answered, his Instagram and Facebook accounts were closed as well. A private Facebook group was set up to help bloggers who were left struggling and to have a place to talk about what steps to take to try to get paid. In November, the whole Passionfruit Ads site was down. I had to frantically piece together the ads, email my sponsors and hosts the content directly on my site rather than through the javascript code I’d been using. Again, all without any notification from Passionfruit Ads. It was just gone — and way before Lynes had said it was going to be moved.

Fellow blogger, George Hahn, ended up posting a video on YouTube outing Jason Lyne and his seedy business practices which did, in the end, get him paid the money he was owed. Other bloggers have put together PayPal invoices and send daily reminders to Lyne in an effort to get paid. I know that has worked for one or two people. That is the tactic I’ve tried though it has not worked for me. I’m still waiting for my $450.

There’s been conversation amongst the bloggers who are still owed money about a class action lawsuit but, for most people only owed a couple hundred dollars, the legal fees would eat up what little money they’re owed. A couple hundred bucks is often a blogger’s operating expenses for a year for web hosting or the cost for a couple week’s groceries, but in the grand scheme of things, its chump change when you start talking legal fees and court costs.

So, anyway, I just thought I’d share one of the GIANT frustrations that has occupied both my time and my brain for the past six months — all for what might seem like a little (or a lot of) money, depending on your perspective. I don’t mean to be vindictive but sometimes its nice to know what goes on “behind the curtain”. I know not everyone wants to know how the blogging sausage gets made and in this case its probably best to become a blogging vegetarian. I certainly feel like I got put through the meat grinder this year.

Fountain Pen Day Giveaway Winners!

Happy Fountain Pen Day

Holy Cow! We had so many entries into the Fountain Pen Day giveaway it was mind boggling! I am so excited to be able to give away so many great prizes and so much interest and enthusiasm around Fountain Pen Day.  So much so that I drew an extra name and put together a bonus package of goodies including a JetPens mini fountain pen, a notebook and a few other goodies to help spread more Fountain Pen Day love so there are even more giveaway winners!

winners

Each winner was notified by email so congrats to everyone and have a great and fountain pen-tastic Fountain Pen Day!

Fountain Pen Day Giveaway!

fpd-give

In honor of Fountain Pen Day, I’ve been collecting goodies all year to give away. So here goes:

  1. Kaweco Sport ICE Black with a Fine Nib from direct from Kaweco (new in box).
  2. Delta Virtuosa with Medium Nib (recently tested and reviewed here on the blog. This is the pen I tested here. It will be cleaned, returned to the box and shipped with all its original packaging in good-as-new condition and will include some ink samples form my collection).
  3. $25 E-Gift Certificate for JetPens.
  4. Nock Co Fishing Vest enamel pin and sticker.
  5. Well-Appointed Desk rubber stamp assortment and “Sh*t to Do” notepad.
  6. Fountain Pen Day Swag Package including stickers, buttons, bookmarks and more collected from pen shows throughout the year (rare and limited edition goodies included).

TO ENTER: Please leave a comment and tell me what you are planning to do to celebrate Fountain Pen Day (FYI: It’s this Friday!)

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Thursday, November 3, 2016. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Friday (FPD!!!). Winners will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). I’ll pick the numbers in order, first number will get the Kaweco, second the Delta and so on…

Please include your REAL email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 14 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US and APO addresses only please this time since I’m shipping merchandise. Next time, I promise to open it up to all my international readers.

BIG THANKS: to Kaweco, JetPens, Nock Co, Fountain Pen Day, Pen Chalet and all my awesome sponsors who have provided samples, products and support all year. Send them some love!

Winners: Denik Notebook Giveaway

Denik Notebooks 2

Holy Cow (to quote my favorite Cubs announcer)! We have a lot of winners to announce in the Denik notebook giveaway. So here’s the list of lucky winners:

  • Marie E.
  • Brian N.
  • Brenda
  • Rose
  • Alan T.
  • Dave M.
  • KF
  • Nick VZ
  • Heidi
  • Vivian

You have each been contacted by email to get your mailing address. If I don’t hear from you within a week, I’ll have to draw new names. Okay? Time (and notebooks) don’t wait for slow pokes! Check your junk mail filters! Congrats to the winners and big thanks to Denik for their generosity!