Shop Update: Restocks!

Well-Appointed Desk Shop stamps

Just wanted to let everyone know that stamps have been restocked in the shop. I’ve had a lot of requests to restock stamps so here they are!

Reminder that if you’re in the Kansas City area and want to avoid shipping charges, you can use the code “KCLOCALPICKUP”  (and use the “Ask The Desk” link above or include a note with your order) to arrange for pick-up. I work near Union Station downtown and can easily meet you for a pick-up.

Review: ALL The Erasable Pens (Pilot Frixion + Uni Fanthom)

Pilot Frixion Uni Fanthom Erasable Pens

Since delving into using a paper planner this year, one of the tools frequently mentioned in conjunction with a paper planner is the Pilot Frixion erasable pen. I’ve acquired a couple Pilot Frixion Color Markers and an 04 gel pen on my travels in Hong Kong but I didn’t really understand why someone might use one. In a standard notebook, I’m fine just crossing something out something. However, in the limited real estate of the week-on-two-pages format, having a meeting move from Monday morning to Tuesday afternoon to “no, let’s meet Tuesday morning” means that crossing out might not be the best solution. So, I’m starting to understand why folks are such loyalists to the Pilot Frixion gel pens.

Pilot offer the Frixion line in gel pen, “point” pens which seem more akin to a needlepoint rollerball like a Pilot V5 Precise or Morning Glory Mach 3, markers and even highlighters. I’m probably missing a variation but this covers a lot of pen needs. Pilot also offers Frixion colored pencils but erasable pencils are not as novel as a good erasable pen, IMHO.

Pilot Frixion Uni Fanthom

(Please ignore my misspelling of “erasable”. I do know how to spell it and I could have erased this but I didn’t notice the mistake until after I had already photographed the pages. Mea culpa.)

Pilot Frixion Gel 0.5

The Frixion erasable pens work because the heat caused by the friction of “erasing” makes the ink vanish. I received a letter this summer from a friend that was almost completely unreadable. It turns out it was written with a Frixion pen and must have either been left in the sun or out in a hot delivery truck that caused the writing to almost completely vanish. So, there’s the rub (pardon the pun). I would recommend keeping any writing done with Frixion pens to ephemeral data like calendar events and make sure that you don’t leave your calendar in a hot car.

I was worried that I might have to give up the convenience of a multi-pen if I switched to the Frixion gel pens for my planner but lo-and-behold, no. I can have my cake and erase it too with the Frixion 3-color Gel Ink Multi-Pen ($9.90).

I also noticed that Uni makes their own erasable pens called Fanthom, so I bought the 3-pack of 0.5mm with red, blue and black pens in the set ($10) to compare the quality. Both the Frixion 3-Color Gel Multi-Pen and the Uni Fanthom 3-pack use a conical rollerball-style pen tip. The Frixion pens feature a translucent rubbery “eraser” where the Uni Fanthom have a hard rubber cap that is supposed to be used to erase. The Fanthom caps just didn’t seem like an eraser to me but they worked.

Uni Fanthom Erasable Pens

The Uni Fanthom 0.5 pens had similar color in writing but erasing with the hard rubber cap left more residue and the black ink left a distinctly brownish haze on the paper. I can see why the Frixion pens are much more popular than the Fanthom.

Pilot Frixion Gel 0.38

I discovered that there are refills that will fit into the Frixion Multi-Pens that are available in a myriad of colors and some smaller tip sizes. So, I bought those too. While red, black and blue are good basic colors, the great thing about multi-pens is the array of ink colors available and I’m glad to see that the Frixion line is well-represented here.

Pilot Frixion 04 Point

I also tried out the Frixion 04 Point line available in a 5-pack ($18). When compared to the conical gel refills for the Frixion multi-pen, I liked the color intensity better with the Point pens. They more liquid ink left a slightly more contrasty color on paper which made the colors more legible, even in the lighter pink and orange colors.

Pilot Frixion Highlighter

I really liked the idea of erasable highlighters too so I grabbed a 3-pack of the Frixion Light Soft Color Highlighters, 3-pack for $4.95. Using the erasable highlighter over erasable ink leads to a completely erased page, so be warned. Using the erasable highlighters over standard gel ink (I used a Uni Style Fit Multi-Pen) left a smudgy mess. The highlighters might perform better with other types of pens for erasing so more testing is probably in order if you want to try these out. Using the erasable highlighters with text books, printouts or other documents would be a great option though. And the mild colors are bright but not blinding. I like the set a lot.

Pilot Frixion highighter smudge

Overall, I like using a specific ink color in my planner for specific activities (purple for work, green for personal, blue for general events and holidays… etc) and there are enough Pilot Frixion pen options to keep color-coding my planner while allowing for erasing as activities change, get cancelled or need to be moved.

Maybe one of our scientifically inclined cohorts will put the Frixion pens to the test? I’m thinking of Ms. Fountain Pen Physicist specifically who can put a more scientific spin to her test than I can.

Jeff over at The Pen Addict recently wrote his own write-up about the Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Series if you need more erasable pen impressions.

For more information and detailed information about all the myriad forms that Frixion pens are available in, check out Pilot Frixion Erasable Pens: A Comprehensive Guide on Jet Pens.


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.

Ink Review: J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey

J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey

It certainly took me long enough to write a review of this equally coveted and disdained ink. The new(-ish) J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey ($27) “stormed” onto the market last year with raves and jeers. It took me an age to finally acquire a bottle as every place was selling out of it faster than I could place an order. Then finally, I got on Jet Pens’ email notification list and snagged a bottle of my very own.

This is a “made for me” sort of ink. I love grey inks, anything with historical implications and, hey, sparkles are a bonus! Of course, there are some warnings and downsides with the gold fleck inclusions in this ink but c’mon, who doesn’t love a fancy gold sheen?

J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey

When first using this ink, be sure to shake the gold flecks off the bottom of the bottle as they tend to settle. I suspect that if you leave the ink in your pen for any length of time, you may want to roll or shake the pen to redistribute the gold as well.

The warning that comes with the ink says the ink will stain so if you have a rare, vintage or super collectible pen, you may not want to use this ink with it or leave Stormy Grey in the pen for any extended length of time.

Now that I’ve finished with the “Don’t try this at home, kids” PSA, I had no noticeable flow issues in my Lamy Studio with 1.1mm stub nib, The ink flowed nicely, the grey color is dark and legible and I could discern some gold sparkle as the ink was drying. The gold flecks were less noticeable once dry in standard writing but the ink does have nice shading which more than made up for it.

J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey

In large swatches, the gold flecks are quite noticeable so this ink would show its best form with a flex nib, music nib or other ink-drenched application. I actually quite liked drawing with it with my paint brush.

J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey

Compared with other grey inks in my library, Stormy Grey is a bit bluer and darker than my others. De Atramentis Silver Grey was probably closest in hue but not as dark and the Mont Blanc Meisterstück 90 year Permanent Grey is a little more greenish but about as dark.

Bottom line: J. Herbin Stormy Grey is an ink collector’s ink. If you need a good workhorse grey that is not going to clog your pen or cost as much as a decent dinner-for-two, then this is not the ink for you. But if you like having a bottle of something “a little different, a little special” then grab a bottle of this when you see it available.

Fashionable Friday: Swift Knitter

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I just ordered a Tom Bihn Swift tote ($90). Its a bag especially designed for knitters to tote projects. The fabric is smooth so it won’t pill the sweater you’re wearing. There are pockets to store notions and no pesky zipper to snag yarn. The Swift tote comes with a small Yarn Stuff Sack to keep a small knitting project stashed.

Its large enough to hold all my daily necessities as well so, of course, its time to find coordinating accessories for the Swift. Even if you’re not a knitter or crocheter, you might want to check out Tom Bihn bags. They are made in the US and a lot of thought and consideration go into making task oriented bags for all sorts of needs.

  • Pilot Vanishing Point in Tropical Purple $140 (via Pen Chalet)
  • JetPens Jet-Do Mascot Beanie Hat $8 (via Jet Pens)
  • Paperblanks Embellished Poe Tamerlane Manuscript Wrap Journal (7 x 9) $19.95 (via European Paper)
  • Clover Knitting Needle Tube Case in Purple $10.95 (via Love Knittingv)
  • Midori Clover D-Clips Box of 30 $7.25 (via Jet Pens)
  • 2015 Ardium Light Planner $21.95 (via Mochi Things)
  • Monteverde Intima Fountain Pen in Neon Green $52 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Private Reserve Arabian Rose Ink $11 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Jstory Frog Bookmark Tabs $4.30 (via Jet Pens)
  • Signature 4″ DPNs in 2.5mm Stiletto Points $47 (via Signature Needle Arts)
  • Colorful Glow-in-the-Dark Sprout Pen in purple $6.95 (via Mochi Things)
  • Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage Yarn in Grasshopper $22 per skein (via Jimmy Beans)

Review: Staedtler Rally #2 HB Pencil

Staedtler Rally Pencil

I found Staedtler Rally #2 HB pencils in dozen packs in the clearance section of my local Office Depot so I couldn’t resist picking up a few dozen. These hexagonal pencils feature clean white and navy stripes on alternating hex facets, they come pre-sharpened and have a silver ferrule and white eraser top. Even at $3.49 per dozen, these seem to be a good value.

The packaging indicates that these pencils are made in Thailand and distirbuted through Staedtler Canada.

The paint on the pencils are nice but there is a pesky bar code printed on the pencil below the pencil brand info which is super annoying. I hate bar codes on my pencils, especially if I purchased them in a box of a dozen or more. What is up with this? My box of granola bars don’t have bar code on each individually wrapped bar, why should my pencils?

Staedtler Rally Pencil

The bright white eraser tops made me hope beyond hope that the erasers were Staedtler Mars erasers. Wouldn’t that be fabulous? But, alas, no. Not even close.

Staedtler Rally Pencil

Though pre-sharpened, I tend to re-sharpen my pencils which give a smoother first experience. I find the pre-sharpened points a little rough. The Staedtler Rally is no different here. When writing with the pre-sharpened point, its a little scratchy but after a couple twists in my Dux Variabel sharpener, the writing experience in much improved.

In writing, I got a little feedback noise on the paper but very mild. For a middle-of-the-range pencil, its totally acceptable. I wish Staedtler hadn’t bothered with the eraser caps if they aren’t going to use their flagship eraser on these. The eraser is utter crap. The paint and graphics are printed better than a lot of American pencil brands these days so in terms of looks the Rally is a nice looking pencil despite the bar code.

I think listening to the Erasable Podcast has made me want to “grade” my pencils. So, I give the Staedtler Rally a C — its a good pencil with a crap eraser that can be purchased at your local big box store. If you pair it with a REAL Staedtler Mars plastic eraser, I’d bump it up to a B+.

 

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Ink Review: Kaweco Ruby Red

Kaweco Ruby Red Ink

Kaweco inks are not coveted, collectible inks, they are workhorse inks in standard, appealing colors. Ruby Red is no different.  Kaweco Ruby Red ink is a warm, slightly-pinky-hued red ink. I think it would be perfect for penning love notes, Valentines or scribing red-letter ideas. It performs well with no splining or feathering on most papers and it dries relatively quickly, even on premium Rhodia stock. The ink shades a bit that adds some character to the ink which is pleasant.

Kaweco Ruby Red Ink

I carried my TWSBI Mini loaded with Kaweco Ruby Red all week and it did not have any hard starts or issues with the ink performance. The color though is just not a favorite of mine. But to be fair, I don’t tend to lean towards red inks in general so its not anything about this particular red. I’m just not a “red ink girl.”

Kaweco Ruby Red Ink

Compared with other red inks in my library, Ruby Red is not as pinky as J. Herbin Rouge Opera which was recommended to me as a “great red” by a red ink lover.  Both Diamine Red Dragon and Noodler’s Rattler Red Eel are more of a true red-leaning-towards-orange than either the Kaweco Ruby Red or the J. Herbin Rouge Opera. In writing, I don’t think any of this inks would be misconstrued as pink rather than red so it would come down to a personal preference regarding ink costs and overall performance requirements. Noodler’s Rattler Red Eel is a lubricated ink which may have extended dry times but might perform better in EF nibs. J. Herbin standard ink like Rouge Opera tend to be a bit more watery than other ink brands. I think the closest competitor to the Kaweco Ruby Red would be the Diamine Red Dragon in terms of general dry times and ink performance and the Diamine is a bit deeper red that could look considerably darker in a fine line than the Ruby Red.

So… in the end, Ruby Red is a good option if you’re looking for a consistent performing red ink. (Kaweco Inks can be purchased from your favorite online retailer for about $15/bottle)


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

Review: Yoropen Z3

yoropen-1

This review for the Yoropen Z3 was a long time coming. When I heard about the Kickstarter project to create a new version of the Yoropen, that is designed to reduce hand strain and improve ergonomics, I was super excited to get one in my hand. When it arrived though, I had that “this is weird” reaction. I knew it was me being short-sighted so I wanted to let the experience simmer a little to get over my initial snobby reaction.

yoropen-6

It is a very USS Enterprise looking tool in metal with a grippy rubber grip and funky space capsule-with-a-tail cap. Its not a simple straight tube that I’m accustomed for pens to look.

yoropen-7

Even the refill had to be specifically designed to fit into the Yoropen with a sharp bend in the tube to accommodate the ergonomic angle of the tip-to-grip shape.

yoropen-5

The cap will post on the pen but the flyaway clip makes for a very awkward look and feel. One of the first things I noticed was how easily the grippy section picked up paper dust and lint. Its super squishy but the gritty paper dust was visually unpleasant to me. (The Grip is totally black… in the photos you can see a hazy fuzz which is paper dust.)

I let my husband take the pen for a test rive too and his first comment was “How do you get the cap off?” The cap fits very snuggly (VERY snuggly) on the pen and the cap must be put back onto the pen at a specific position as the clip rests along the grip section. The cap won’t fit on in any other way which is a little annoying. The end of the cap is also very pointy so I would not recommend using the heel of your hand to push the cap into place. Ouch.

The clip is loose enough to clip the pen to a binder or notebook cover though the grippy grip does create some friction when clipping the pen.

yoropen-3

As an AWKWARD (overhanded, hooked) left-handed writer, I had high hopes that the ambidextrous Yoropen with ergonomic grip would be a lefty dream. Of course, I didn’t read the instruction first so I found the grip a little peculiar. Do I hold the pen like this?

yoropen-2

Or like this? No. You RTFM, Ana.

yoropen-8

Ah… I needed to twist the grip section 180º to accommodate a left-hander.

yoropen-9

Ah, ha. Better.

Both in my writing tests and when my husband tried it, we both felt very lukewarm about the overall balance and feel. Its a very different writing experience that may take time to get used to. Like using a Wacom Tablet or computer mouse for the first time, the Yoropen approaches the experience of writing differently than other tools.

yoropen-4

My biggest stumbling block with the Yoropen is that I really don’t like writing with ballpoint. My handwriting looks atrocious. However, the ballpoint refill in the Yoropen performed exceptionally well for me with no stutters or smudges that I usually suffer from. So, if you like ballpoints, this is an interesting pen to add to your collection.

If you are suffering from any sorts of hand issues (arthritis or carpal tunnel), the Yoropen is definitely a tool you might want to try. The Yoropen is unusual and will be a conversation starter wherever you use it. Aesthetically, its space-age but its more Star Trek than Alien so its not scary, just unusual. (Bob says “More Wesley Crusher, less Worf.”)

I hope, in the future, Yoropen can create some gel or rollerball refills for the Yoropen because I’d like to try the pen again but the ballpoint ink just puts my teeth on edge.

The Yoropen Z3 starts at $64.99. Grip can be purchased in different colors, ballpoint refills start at $2.40 each.


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

More J. Herbin Mini Bottles

J. Herbin Mini Ink Bottles

I love the look and miniature size of the J. Herbin mini ink bottles which has lead me to purchase a few colors every time I place an order at Jet Pens. Its just enough ink to enjoy without having an excess. A lot of J. Herbin’s inks are light, bright and floral-y so a little bottle for letter writing or a special occasion is just right. And I’m not stuck with a vat of it if its not a favorite.

The latest four colors I picked up make a case on both sides of this. The Violette Pensee and the Larmes de Cassis are colors I think I could use. The bright, vivid color of the Violette Pensee will be a fun summer color and the Larmes de Cassis is a dusty, reddish purple that is a color I am always attracted to — a tertiary, complex hue. So, I feel like these were good investments. The Gris Nuage and Boutan d’Antan were a true waste of fund. Gris Nuage is so light when wet as to be practically invisible. Boutan d’Antan was not much better though both dry darker but it doesn’t help much if you can’t see what you’re writing. So, those two were ink fails as far as I’m concerned.

J. Herbin Mini Bottles are $4.75 each and all standard J.Herbin inks are available in the mini bottles so there are 30 colors to choose from.


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.

Fashionable Friday: Postally Yours

FF-PostallyYours

It all started with the “Yours Truly” dress covered with airmail envelopes. I bought mine at Donna’s Dress Shop here in Kansas City but there are online retailers that stock it as well.If it wasn’t 4ºF outside, I would have even considered modelling it so y’all will have to wait until the Atlanta Pen Show in April to see it up close and personal. But, it did inspire this week’s Fashionable Friday — in all its airmail glory. For tha last push to finish InCoWriMo and A Month of Letters with just one more day left!

  • Isobel dress, Yours Truly pattern in red £79 (via Emily & Fin)
  • Mailblok Blue Airmail Paper $8 (via Kikkerland)
  • Airmail Via Paper Plane Mug by Kim Vervuurt $15 (via Society6)
  • “Good Mail” Round Rubber Stamp 2014 $10 (via Well-Appointed Desk on Big Cartel)
  • Kaweco AL Sport fountain pen blue aluminum €59 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Airmail washi tape $4.90 (via April103 on Etsy)
  • AIRMAIL Washi Tape in Red and Blue Stripe Air Mail Pattern $2.25 (via Pretty Tape on Etsy)
  • Mark’s Flake Air Mail Stickers $7.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Wanderlust Airmail Flexi Journal by Troy Litten for Chronicle Books $9 (via Amazon)
  • Pilot Letter Pad for Fountain Pens – Horizontal Lined $14 (via Jet Pens)
  • Custom “Sealed By” Stamp $35 plus lifetime membership $5 (via Letter Writers Alliance)
  • Sheaffer Sentinel Signature Ballpoint Pen with geometric engraved design in chrome $15 (via Pen Chalet)

(Supplemental design elements from Graphics Fairy and Pugly Pixel.)

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Top 5: Pens Under $5

top5pens5

Unlike the lists that Brad at Pen Addict does where pens are sorted into rollerball, fountain, etc., I’m grouping my Top Five lists by price point. Obviously, prices may vary slightly depending on your location but this is based on average US dollar prices.

This list is in no particular order, just the five best under-$5 pens in my opinion. The pen equivalents of “gateway drugs”.

Platinume Preppy EF 0.2 fountain Pen

The Budget Fountain Pen: Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen in F or EF

If you want to get in to fountain pens but don’t know where to start or even if you’ll enjoy them, this is a good place to start. While they are not the prettiest pens at the prom, for $5 or less, you can at least try out what its like to write with a fountain pen. They are pretty reliable although they can be a little scratchy. Did you hear me? They can be a little scratchy! So don’t base all fountain pens on these because they are $5 not $50. Over $25, I get guarantee you a smooth writing experience with a fountain pen but start here. See if you like the light touch needed to write with a fountain pen using a $5 pen before advancing to something more expensive. And once you graduate to a more expensive tool, you can use the Preppy to learn how to nib tune.

$3.95 for F, $4.98 for EF (via Goulet Pens)

The Gel Pen: Uni-ball Signo UM-151 Gel Ink Pen (0.28, 0.38 or 0.5). The UM-138 RT in 0.38mm, the RT1 and the UM-100 capped line are all equally good)

This is the measure for all other gel ink pens. This category is very competitive so its tough to pick THE BEST but the reliability and smoothness of the Signo line sets the bar pretty high. Most of these pens are easy to disassemble and use the refill in other pens since they are largely Pilot G2 compatible-sized.

$1.65 – $2.50 depending on model (via Jet Pens)

Runners up: Zebra Sarasa Clip, Pilot G2, and Pilot Juice. These are all excellent gel ink pens available in an array of colors and tip sizes. Whether you prefer a bold black line or a dainty sakura cherry blossom pink hairline, any of these options have got you covered.

Pilot Precise V5 tip

The Rollerball: Pilot V5 Precise Rollerball This is the pen that introduced me to alternatives to a Bic Stic. Still a good option for a quick.

These retail for about $20/dozen or $10/5-pack. Available in seven colors, retractable or refills for retractable (looks like a G2 compatible refill but will verify). Since they are available in most US big box and office supply stores, this is a great gateway pen. Like the Pilot G-2, if you haven’t tried a pen not swiped from a pharmaceutical rep or your office supply cupboard, start here.

(Runner-up: The Morning Glory Mach 3 0.38mm. The Mach 3 is not as easy to find as a the Pilot V5 Precise but is as good or better and available in a wider variety of ink colors)

The Ballpoint: Uni-Ball Jetstream

Generally speaking, I avoid ballpoint pens. As a lefty, they smear, smudge and perform intermittently for me. So for me to recommend any ballpoint pen at all is fairly high praise. I recommend the Uni-Ball Jetstream to meet all your ball point pen needs. If you’re shopping in a office supply big box in the US, try the 0.7mm or smaller. If you’re willing to shop online, then I really like the 0.5mm available at Jet Pens in a variety of colors but my favorite is still the green grey model I bought in Hong Kong. Again, this is a pen that is widely available but I recommend the smaller tip sizes. The larger ones are often gloppy. The 0.5mm are really the sweet spot especially if you’re writing in a small book like a Field Notes or a planner.

Uni-Ball Jetstream pens are widely available in local shops and online in a variety of configurations starting at about $2.50.

Sharpie Pen

The Felt Tip: The Sharpie Pen.

Honestly, a year ago, I would never have said this. I really like the Sharpie Pen. I thought I was a tried-and-true supporter of the Marvy Le Pen for my felt tip pen needs but I’ve embraced the Sharpie Pen as an excellent option in this category. While not as diverse in color options as the Le Pen, the Sharpie Pen is readily available in most US big box and office supply stores making them a good option in a hurry. I had a couple experiences with the Sharpie pen where is bled and feathered but I think it might have been a Moleskine book to blame and not the pen. Since then, I have come to appreciate the versatility and availability of the Sharpie Pen. Its more water resistant than Le Pen and the tip does not degrade as quickly.

Individual pens are sold from about $2 each and are available in blister packs and boxes in larger quantities and color options.

Fashionable Friday: Use The Force

FF-use-the-force

In a strange twist down the internet rabbit hole this morning, I discovered that Dooney & Bourke makes specialized handbags and wallets for Disney Parks across the world. There is, of course, a healthy secondary market in selling particularly rare and unusual items like today’s inspiration, the Special Edition Star Wars Half Marathon Satchel from the race run January 16, 2015. Handbags, Star Wars and pens?!? This is a challenge I accept.

  • Star Wars Limited Edition notebook (via Moleskine)
  • Star Wars R2D2 Floating Pen $9.76 (via Amazon)
  • Lamy Safari Limited Edition Copper Orange €18,50-26,90(via Fontoplumo)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Ink in Fuyu-gaki $28 (via Jet Pens)
  • Fisher Space Pen Bullet Pen in Lime Green $23 (via JetPens)
  • Noodler’s Dark Matter Ink $12.50 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Field Notes Pitch Black Notebooks 3-Pack for $9.95 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Ceramic Stormtooper 3D mug with Lid $55.85 (via Etsy)
  • Star Wars Enamel Keychains $4.99 each (via Think Geek)
  • Star Wars Itty Bittys CHEWBACCA Plush $6.95 (via Hallmark)
  • Diamine Steel Blue Ink $12.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • DIY Death Star Globe (via Our Nerd Home)
  • Pilot Metallic Vanishing Point Fountain Pen in Mountain Blue $140 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Darth Vader Desk Tidy £19.99 (via Zaavi.com)

Link Love: Orange Inks & Traveler’s Notebooks

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Ask The Desk: DDC Factory Floor and Pen Cleaning

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Lori asks:

Two questions for you. First how often do DCC Factory Floor editions come out at Draplin’s site?

And when to you expect to get air mail rubber stamps back in stock?

From what I understand, the DDC Factory Floor Editions are intermittently available. Your best bet to keep track of these collectible Field Notes, keep an eye on the Draplin site and join the Field Nuts Facebook group to keep informed.

And to your second question, I am reproducing stamps today and should have them in the shop within ten days.

Dena asks:

Hello, I am new to fountain pens.  To even try to rank myself as novice would be laughable.  I purchased a Kaweco Classic Sport and fell in love with it, and now have a Pilot on the way.  My question is fountain pen care.  I’ve unsuccessfully searched your site but have not found a care/cleaning section.  Do you have a tutorial or is this something your could post on soon?  Very much enjoy your postings and it has become a daily stop for me!

I’m as surprised as you that I haven’t included any cleaning information. My system for cleaning is pretty simple. I use a plastic container (previously contained hot and sour soup from my favorite Chinese take-out restaurant) and water. I disassemble my pens and remove the cap and body so that I only wet the nib, feed and cartridge converter. I use the converter to suck water in through the nib and feed and then squeeze it out into the sink and repeat until the water looks pretty clear. I will also use a bulb syringe to help push water and dried ink out of the feed and nib if necessary. If the water doesn’t run clear, I will attempt to disassemble the nib from the feed and drop them in the water to soak.

If I was using a cartridge rather than a converter, I will use a syringe to flush out the cartridge so that it could be reused later.

Brian Goulet created a great cleaning video that can demonstrate cleaning techniques better than I can explain it:

Fashionable Sunday: RIP Rex Ray

FF-Rex-Ray

  • Field Notes Cherry Wood $9.95/3-pack (via Field Notes)
  • Edison Collier Fountain Pen in Persimmon Swirl $149 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Eco-Essential Pen from $50 (via Ishuja)
  • Rex Ray Deluxe Notecards $14.95 (via Chronicle Books)
  • Aqua Pebble Eraser $2 (via Poppin)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-gaki Ink (Vermilion Red Orange) $28 (via Jet Pens)
  • Streaking Paper Notebook $14.95 (via Productive Luddite)
  • Midori Brass Bullet Pencil $21 (via Jet Pens)
  • De Atramentis Black Edition: Deepwater Obsession – Black-Blue $12.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Palomino Graphite Drawing Pencils $11.95/dozen (via Pencils.com)
  • Rex Ray Mini Journal Set $14.95 (via Chronicle Books)
  • Kaweco Sport Skyline Fountain Pen in Mint €17,95 (via Fontoplumo)
  • Pink Paperclips $3 for 50 clips (via Poppin)

It took awhile to compile this post and its based on an artist whose work I love, Rex Ray. He passed away last week and I was very sad to hear he had passed.

rex-ray-collage

If you’re not familiar with his work, this is a wonderful video interview with Rex Ray and shows an array of his work and how he moved from being a graphic designer to a fine artist.

Your artwork, you vision and your passion will be missed, Mr. Ray.

Ink Review: Kaweco Summer Purple

Kaweco Summer Purple Ink

Kaweco Summer Purple is one of my absolute favorite ink colors. It’s a dark, muted, complex, plum-y purple. More eggplant purple really. When watered down, it reminds me of lilac blossoms. At full-strength, its a subtle, sophisticated purple-black. The closest color comparison I could make is the Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa. However, with the Kaweco Summer Purple, there’s no concern about the iron gall and potential damage to your pens.

Summer Purple doesn’t have a ton of shading but with wider nibs, you get a little color variation. You may decide this is a good thing or not. When writing notes and project planning, I’m less inclined to want a lot of shading as it can affect overall readability. But a little bit of shading can be nice. I think Summer Purple hits a pleasing balance between feeling too flat and being too shading-y for everyday use.

Kaweco Summer Purple is a color that is not too fussy but still adds a little pizazz to your writing. If you’re just dipping inky toes into colors beyond blue, black or blue-black, Summer Purple is a good option.

Kaweco Summer Purple Comparison

I think the closest comparable inks are Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa and Private Reserve Ebony Purple. J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune, Noodler’s Purple Heart and Diamine Grape are all a little bit more reddish purple — less violet, more true purples. If you like your purples with more red, than I recommend these instead.

Isn’t it amazing how much variation exists in ink colors? From subtle to shocking differences at every hue in the rainbow. This is why I love inks!


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

Ink Review: Kaweco Midnight Blue

Kaweco Midnight Blue ink

Kaweco Midnight Blue is one of the blue-blackiest blue-blacks I’ve ever used. At first glance, it appears to be nothing special since its a dark blue black with little-to-no pizazz. But on second glance, this is a workhorse ink. Its not the hot, new color or the “in” ink for 2015. Its a classic. It’s trend proof. Its a beautiful alternative to black ink or a plain blue. Its deep, dark and true to its purpose.

Even on Rhodia paper, Midnight Blue dries pretty quickly. The longer I used it, the more I warmed to this ink. Its like a good comfortable cardigan. It might not be the flashiest thing in your ink closet but I suspect you’ll find yourself coming back to it again and again because it works well and in lots of situations.

Kaweco Midnight Blue Ink Comparison

I used to think that Lamy Blue-Black was my go-to blue black but when I see it side-by-side with Kaweco Midnight Blue, I have to say I prefer the bluer hue of the Midnight Blue ink over Lamy’s more violet undertones.

Kaweco Blue Black is quickly moving into my favorite blue-black and, with its reasonable price (approx. $17.50 for a 30ml bottle), it might just stay there.

My only gripe is the funky label wrap on the bottle. No matter how many ways I try to remove the wrap sticker, I end up with unsightly label residue or weird bits. I keep ink bottles for a long time and I like to keep my favorites on display but the unslightly label shards mean the Kaweco inks are going to be kept out of sight until I find a good method for removing the labels. Which is kind of sad because I like the shape of the Kaweco bottles a good deal.


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

Well-Appointed Desks Must Have Music

This morning NPR announced the winner of the Tiny Desk Concert Contest based on their successful series of performances hosted at the desk of NPR All Song’s Considered host Bob Boilen.For the contest, musicians were asked to submit a video performing a song in front of a desk. Entries included:

desks dragged into nature, onto hilltops, into and around oceans, through offices and kitchens, classrooms and science labs.

What makes a desk a great workspace? Music. And how better to celebrate that than with a few Tiny Desk Concert performances including the winner of the Tiny Desk Concert Contest, Fantastic Negrito.

You may now dance at your desk.

Link Love: Inky Dinky Doo

rp_link-ana11.jpgFountain Pens:

Pens:

Inks:

Pencils:

Paper & Notebooks:

Kickstarter Projects:

Planning:

Other Interesting Stuff:

Review: Maruman Word Cards

Maruman Word Cards

It took me almost a year to fill up my first Word Cards ring with ink swatches. It was a Kyokuto brand Word Cards ring I purchased in San Francisco from Maido for about $3. I liked the Kyokuto cards well enough that I wanted to buy a new ring but could not find them available online anywhere. As a result, I decided to try out the Maruman Word Cards. The Maruman cards are a little larger than 4″x2″ so they are visibly larger in size than the Kyokuto cards and a bit pricier ($4.45) for 100 cards. They do have pleasing rounded corners and a toothier stock so the increase in price does not seem wholly unreasonable.

Word Cards

Maruman Word Cards

At first, I was worried that the Maruman cards were not going to be white enough to give a clear representation of the ink colors but it turned out not to be the case. The Maruman cards are a touch softer white than the Kyokuto cards but not so much as to alter the ink colors.

Maruman Word Cards comparison

The tooth of the paper definitely gives the ink someplace to settle into and potentially show off any tonal variations in the inks which I quite like. The larger sized cards give me more room for both swabs and potentially a little writing sample when the inks get filled into pens.

And the biggest plus for the Maruman Word Cards is that they have continued to be available on JetPens for several years so I should not have to change or upgrade my ink cataloging system again anytime soon.

All the Pencil-Related Things

Sometimes, the stars align and my in-box is full of tips related to one specific topic. This week, it seemed to be all things pencIl-related. So, I thought I’d share my finds.

marshmallow pencil

This darling little pencil twig topped with a big pink eraser “mashmallow”. Perfect for fireside doodles. $13.99 from Animi Causa.

pencil socks yarn kit by Yarn Enabler

Then I found this beautiful hand dyed yarn from Yarn Enabler on Etsy that will stripe as you knit to make these awesome pencil socks. Yellow pencil stitch markers are also available as part of the kit. Yarn kit with stitch markers are $30.69US.

pencil socks yarn kit by Yarn Enabler

Little Red Riding Children's book

And my last pencil-related find this week is a darling little children’s book called Little Red Writing by Joan Holub and illustrated by Melissa Sweet about “a brave, little red pencil finds her way through the many perils of writing a story, faces a ravenous pencil sharpener (the Wolf 3000).” $12.75 on Amazon.

Ink Review: Kaweco Palm Green

Kaweco Palm Green ink

Kaweco Palm Green is a vivid, “true green” ink. What is really unique about this green is that it has a reddish halo around the edges of the letters as the ink dries. This effect might not appeal to everyone but I think it gives this color a lot of dimension and interesting shading. The shading is more noticeable on the swab (that’s not a camera halo!) pictured below.

Kaweco Palm Green ink comparison

When compared with some of the other green inks in my stash, it definitely fills a gap. Palm Green is darker green than the Private Reserve Spearmint and more true green than the Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine. While the Diamine Ultra Green and PR Spearmint seem similar to the Kaweco Palm Green, they do not have the wonderful red halo.

I’m quite pleased with the color of the Kaweco Palm Green and look forward to using it regularly.


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

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