Giveaway: Letter-Centric Rubber Stamps from The Well-Appointed Desk

Letter Enclosed Stamp

In honor of the start of A Month of Letters and InCoWriMo, I’d like to giveaway a set of rubber stamps to one lucky letter-writing reader.

Good Mail Rubber Stamp

The winner will receive one “Letter Enclosed” stamp and one “Good Mail” stamp. Winner can choose any of the “Good Mail” designs currently available. Stamps are available in handle or art block style as well (as inventory allows).

Good Mail Rubber Stamp #2

Just leave a comment below and let me know if this your first year participating in the February letter-writing activities.


Contest has ended.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Thursday, Feb 5, 2015. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Friday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your 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 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. US residents only this time. Sorry but shipping is ridiculous.

Ask The Desk: Multi-Pens

Ashley asked:
where do you order your multi pens from? and is there a brand that you like better/has more options. I am wanting to use it with my filofax and i noticed your post about your personal filofax and the multi pen you use.
All my multi-pens have come from Jet Pens. I particularly like the build-you-own options like the Uni Style Fit, the Pilot Hi-Tec C Coleto, the Zebra Prefill and the Pentel i+ series. Each multi-pen features the brand’s signature gel pen options as well as the option to add a mechanical pencil. The Uni Style Fit uses the same awesome inks that are found in the Signo line. Pilot Hi-Tec C Coleto pens use the Hi-Tec C line. Zebra uses the Sarasa inks. Pentel’s multi-pen is unique in that it allows you to use Sliccie refills, Energel or Vicuna refills and a mechanical pencil option.

Side-by-side Zebra Sarasa and UniBall Style Fit

 Each of these brands have pen bodies that start around $3 (and go up) and most hold at least three refills and some up to five refills. Most of these pen bodies are plastic though some have higher end pen bodies in metal.
For a more durable option, you might want to consider the Sharbo-X which has a full metal body and takes Zebra gel, emulsion ballpoint, standard ballpoint and mechanical pencil refills.
Sharbo X meets Kaweco Skyline Mint

Review: Midori Traveler’s Notebook: Regular Size

Midori Traveler's Notebook and InsertsFull size

I finally invested in a classic, full-size Midori Traveler’s Notebook. This seems to be the one that people love with unending passion so I decided it was time to take the plunge. I found a seller on Amazon that was selling the notebook at a reasonable price (approx. $40) and then I ordered an assortment of refills and accessories from Goulet Pens.

Also pictured above are the two notebook refills I got from Banditapple last year which will, of course, fit perfectly in the MTN.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Full size

One of the most pleasing things about Midori products is the packaging. It is lovingly packaged and feels like a gift while at the same time, being reusable and/or recyclable. The notebook comes in a plain paperboard box and the elastic can be reused on the notebook as a replacement if you prefer the neutral color or snap the original cord. Inside, the book comes in a cotton bag which can be used for storing the notebook or reused for some other purpose.

The initial package includes one blank notebook. That’s it.

For some folks, the sheer cost of the MTN, for what seems so simple and easy to replicate with a home leatherworking tool kit (and includes so few additional pieces in the initial purchase) might dissuade one from making the purchase. I considered making one myself but determined that in the grand time-versus-money debate, I had more space credits than time to mess around with trying to make my own.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Full size

Upon opening the package, I did not notice any excessive odors accept for the light smell of tanned leather.

The simplicity and understated beauty of the Traveler’s Notebook is hard to deny. And the long, narrow size is a lot more appealing than I had anticipated. I know a lot of folks like to add charms and other accoutrements to their MTN but I’m holding off until I am sure how much I’ll use it.

After embracing the ring-bound planner as my method for planning and organization this year, it took awhile for me to figure out how or why I would also use a MTN. This is hot on the heels of all those OTHER notebooks that are currently lying fallow.

Of course, I also wanted to know what all the hullaballoo was about and there is a lot of appeal in the ability to customize what types of writing surfaces I will carry contained in one “book”. So, I decided to use the MTN with just two notebooks to start with: one for knitting projects and planning of said knitting projects and the other for blog planning, ideas and notes.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Comparison

The photo above shows the whole collection of leather notebook covers I own. From left to right; Midori Traveler’s Notebook: Star Edition, Passport Size, Zenok Leatherworks Field Notes Sized, Pelle Journal Regular Size and finally, the Midori Traveler’s Notebook Full Size.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Comparison

The rivet (for lack of a better word) on the spine of the Midori notebooks is a metal disc that can stick up a little bit when trying to lay the notebook open flat but with some manuevering, it will lay on its side making it less noticeable. The Zenok spine is the least intrusive for sure but does add the extra piece of leather.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Full size

On the first pages of the Midori branded notebooks is a place to write a title, description, date or other info before the regular paper stock starts.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Full size InsertsFor the sheer purposes of research, I bought four different refill notebooks in order to do reviews of the paper stocks. I purchased the Kraft brown-014 (which is actually standard writing weight paper in a lovely krafty hue), grid, sketchbook and the “light” paper. The MTN standard refills (blank-003, lined-001, grid-002) have 32 sheets/ 64 pages but the light paper – 013 contains 64 sheet/ 128 pages. There’s a lot of good reviews about the light paper being especially fountain pen friendly so I look forward to trying it out. The sketch paper-012 has only 24 sheets/ 48 pages but is much heavier weight paper designed to accept watercolor as well as lots of inks. The sketch paper has perforated pages while the other books do not.

There were a few inserts I did not try as they were more planner-based like a page-a-day diary and weekly planners in a couple formats. But there is some appeal to have notes and planning contained in one book.

I added a zip pocket insert-008 and I made 6-pocket folder from a file folder using this video tutorial from PoketFullofVintage. Turns out the file folder tutorial works better with an A4-sized filer folder but I made mine works okay, just shorter pockets.

I’ll be doing follow-up reviews specifically about each of the paper types but the fact that there are so many choices is part of the appeal of the MTN. Also, there are lots of tutorials for making your own inserts as well as sources for printing inserts for specific tasks from sources like My Life All in One Place as well as sellers on Etsy.

Overall, I really like the size and shape and I like the weathering that the leather is getting in just the few weeks I’ve owned it. Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid but it is tasty, tasty, Kool-Aid.


Ask The Readers: Multi-format notebooks & Sailor Jentle Ink Substitutions


I have had a few “Ask The Desk” questions recently that I just don’t have any answers for. Maybe you can help?

Melissa asks:

I want to find a sketchbook that I can use to sketch and practice hand lettering, as well as logo design.  I will use pencil, as well as markers.  What I want to find is a sketchbook that has different alternating pages, such as gridded and plain blank.  That basic request seems hard to find.  I found Kline NYC/, but they are not taking orders at the moment.

I know I’ve seen some notebooks that alternate pages from blank to lined or grid but I can’t remember where I saw them.

Sharmon202 asks:

Any idea why they discontinued Sailor Jentle Sky High and other inks of that set? I got into this just as they did this. What is a possible equivalent to it?

I have no clue why Sailor decided to discontinue some of their most beloved ink colors. I know that times change and tastes change but somehow I never thought it would affect ink colors. That said, has anyone found a good replacement ink for: Grenade, Sky High, Epinard, Ultra Marine, Apricot, and Peche? Bottles of these inks can still be found on Amazon at shockingly inflated prices… $98 for a bottle of Sky High? Definitely time to find a good replacement.

Fashionable Friday: Marvel’s Agent Carter


Marvel’s Agent Carter is a TV show tailor-made (in a fabulous 40s suit with hat and gloves to match) for me. Its a comics-based superheroine set post-WWII in an OFFICE. The dialog is good, the action is excellent and the sets and costumes are fabulous. If you aren’t watching this, its really good, you should check it out.

  • Kaweco ART Sport Fountain Pen in Rosit $81 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Field Notes State Fair Edition: New York 3-pack for $9.99 (via Jet Pens)
  • OPI Big Apple Red Nail Polish (via OPI)
  • Exacompta Club Leatherette Refillable Journal in Blue $24.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Noodler’s Empire Red Bulletproof Ink $18.50(via Goulet Pens)
  • Noodler’s Libery’s Elysium Water Resistant Ink $12.50 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Mini MAGLITE LED 2-Cell AAA Flashlight $23.50 (via MagLite)
  • Keep Fighting 12×18 Print $20 (via Monkey Minion)
  • Palomino Blackwing Pearl Dozen for $19.95 (via
  • Caran d’Ache Ecridor Chevron Silver (Rhodium plated) Fountain Pen 175€ (via Fontoplumo)
  • Swiss Army Secretary Pocket Knife $23.50 (via Swiss Army)

Follow-up: It turns out Agent Carter wears lipstick from my favorite cosmetics company, Besamé Cosmetics out of California. She wears 1946 Red Velvet ($22).

Re-review: Kaweco Sport Guilloch 1935 Fountain Pen

Kaweco Guilloch 1935 F nib

Back in November, I saw the new Sport N Clip style clip from Kaweco and thought that it would be perfect with my well-loved Kaweco Sport Guilloch 1935 pen. I ordered the clip and, somehow, in between the time I ordered the clip and it arriving, I lost my Guilloch 1930 (see comments for explanation of naming incosistencies). I looked high and low thinking I might have left it in a pocket but after a month of searching I had to admit it was gone for good. Luckily, Fontoplumo still had the pen in stock and my darling husband worked with Frank to get me a replacement in time for Christmas.

Kaweco Guilloch 1935 F nib

What makes this pen particularly special is the geometric lines engraved into the plastic. Its a technique called guilloché that has been used for centuries to create decorative patterns into metal, wood and other materials. The way that the engraving was done on this pen is very reminiscent of art deco designs hence the “1935” name. The engraving is on the cap and on the back half of the barrel though with regular use, I wore most of the guilloché off the body of my previous pen. I was not gentle with the previous Guilloch 1930 though. It spent most of its life in my pocket or tossed in my purse so it held up well despite the abuse.

Kaweco Guilloch 1935 F nib

This one, though, I think will get a slightly nicer treatment. Maybe a nice carrying case this time?

The addition of the curved, retro clip only adds to the overall vintage look of this pen, I think.

Kaweco Guilloch 1935 F nib

Kaweco Guilloch 1935 F nib writing sample

Writing with the new Guilloch are consistent with the previous model. I got this one with the F nib rather than the EF nib because I don’t notice a huge difference between the two on the Kaweco line.

If you’ve got a soft spot for a truly vintage looking pen with all the modern conveniences of a cartridge-filler, this is a pen to add to your collection. The price is reasonable and the stocks are limited.

The Kaweco Sport Guilloch 1935 is still available through Fontoplumo for 22,95 € (about $26US).

PS: The Private Reserve Sherwood Forest ink cartridge I used was kindly sent to me by the fine folks at Lanier Pens.

Link Love: A Day Late and a Pen Pun Here

rp_link-ana11.jpgFountain Pens:




Notebooks & Paper:


LWA Book Club

368916Did you know there is now a Letter Writer’s Alliance book club? Its true! The group is over on Goodreads and Letter Writers Aliiance members and non-members alike are welcome to join. Starting January 27, 2015 (that’s actually yesterday) we will be reading 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and there will be a discussion live over Google on Sunday, April 12, 2015. I’ve been invited to be one of the panelists, along with Donovan and Kathy that will discuss the book on Google Hangouts live on Sunday, April 12 at 3pm Central Time.

84, Charing Cross Road is a short book of real life letters between the author, a New Yorker and a London bookseller over decades. With fewer than 100 pages its a quick read and if you feel you can’t commit to it, there is a film adaptation starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins that was made in the 80s as well if you want to supplement your reading.

In between your February flurry of letter writing, pick up this book and give it a read then join us in April to discuss it.

Review: Kaweco Sport in Dark Brown

Kaweco Sport in Brown

I’m hard pressed to call this a review since my love for the Kaweco Sport has already been fairly well documented but, I thought I’d share with you the latest edition of the Kaweco Sport Classic in dark brown (17,95€), which is a limited edition color. So far, I think Fontoplumo is the only place that has these in stock but, fear not, they ship fast and reliably!

Kaweco Sport in Brown with Medium Nib

Like all the other standard Sport Classic pens, the dark brown edition is plastic and is available with gold hardware only but, if there was ever a color meant to be accented with gold, it would be the deep, rich, chocolate brown of this edition of the Kaweco Sport. It reminds me of a gold, foil-wrapped chocolate heart… which makes me think, this edition of the Kaweco Sport would make a great Valentine’s Day gift.

Kaweco Sport in Brown

Compared with my black Kaweco Guilooch 1935, there is a visible color difference. The Kaweco Sport in Brown is also sporting (pun!) the classic clip where the Guilloch is decked out with the new Sport N Clip. I like the utilitarion look of the Kaweco Sport Classics with the clips for the most part. They just look “dressed” like a man with a tie on.

Kaweco Sport in Brown

I’ve had mixed feelings about the Kaweco Sport medium nib but this one worked particularly well for me. It has a crisp angle that felt almost mini-stub-like.

Fountain Pen Weights

To keep with the theme of this chocolate-y pen, I filled it with a Private Reserve Chocolate cartridge (kind regards to Lanier Pens for sending it to me) and it was a very good match. I think I’ll write some Valentine’s Day cards with this combination.

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.

Postage Frame Stamps from Anticipate Invitations

postage frame stamps

The release of the postage frame stamps from Anticipate Invitations have been burning up the Twitter feeds of many a letter writer this week. Six frame designs are available and each is available in four sizes to accommodate the most common US postage sizes. Prices for the stamps start at $14.30 and go up to $20.46 for the largest square size. Or a set of four can be purchased for $52.38.

I would love to assemble a mixed set of four stamps to make envelopes look like a mismatched gallery wall.

February is Letter Writing Month


Once again, its time for InCoWriMo (pronounced as “Ink-o-rye-mo”), International Correspondence Writing Month. The goal of the project is to write one letter, card, note, or postcard everyday for the entire month of February. Just 28 little bits of correspondence.


February is also known as LetterMo, as in A Month of Letters, a project started by author Mary Robinette Kowal several years ago but whose mantle has been taken up across the blogosphere, myself included. LetterMo gives you the leeway of not writing on Sunday since there’s no postal pick-up so the requirement to complete this challenge is just 24 pieces of written correspondence.

For me, February is my chance to get all caught up on my letter writing AND even send some new letters and cards. Are you planning to participate?

With a week to plan, be sure to stock up on some stationery, postcards, note cards, stamps and, of course, have all your favorite pens and inks at the ready. This is a great chance to use up some of that paper you have squirreled away and try out ALL those inks you’ve been hoarding.

Need something for your upcoming month of letters?

(image modified from a WPA poster from the 30s available at Free Vintage Posters)

Clutter & Objects Defined

The Happiness Project

Following my post about the organizing and de-cluttering book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, my darling friend Diane emailed me a considerably more useful list of potential clutter and object types.

Significant ObjectsSignificant-Objects-cover

First, from the NYT’s Joshua Glenn’s Significant Objects project, there is sorting our non-functional objects into five categories :

  • TOTEMS – are from the natural world, like rocks
  • IDOLS – are objects of contemplation, like Buddha figures
  • EVIDENCE – artifacts from a public event
  • TALISMANS – lucky objects
  • FOSSILS – things that bear mute witness to a vanished way of life

Then, from Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project, she defines Clutter Types as:

  • Nostalgic clutter – relics of an earlier life
  • Conservation clutter – things I imagine being useful but aren’t presently
  • Freebie clutter – gifts, hand-me-downs we don’t use
  • Crutch clutter – things I use but know I shouldn’t
  • Aspirational clutter – things I aspire to use but don’t
  • Buyer’s remorse clutter – enough said

My husband and I had fun assigning some of our favorite items to various categories. Mechanical typewriters are definitely Fossils and are also a little Conservation clutter and Aspirational clutter (even I realize that having more than a dozen typewriters in 2015 is a bit excessive). Bob says he collects a lot of Evidence objects from travels and adventures like receipts and ticket stubs. We did have a hard time coming up with anything we thought was Crutch clutter. How about you? What categories does your clutter fall into?

Having Diane introduce me to these books from their perspective on clutter has made me want to read both volumes. Have you read them?

Target Threshold Zip Pouch


This zippered pen and pencil case is another find from Target. It’s from their Threshold line and I found in with the office supplies and binders. The case is made from a heavy-duty canvas with a deep indigo color and casual dot pattern. It has one large zipper pocket for storing tools and then a smaller pocket on the front of the case for smaller trinkets.The inside is lined with a dark navy nylon and despite the rustic look, the zipper is nicely finished on the end. Its a really nice case for not much money.

The case measure about 6×9″ which makes it suitable for an A5 sized notebook or larger. It would probably fit most snugly over a letter-sized binder or notebook but the biggest notebook I could find was my Quo Vadis Habana and its covered the cover almost completely and the elastic was tight enough to be functional. This would be the perfect case for a conference or a day of meetings. It provides plenty of space to carry tools but stays secure to your notebook.


On the back of the case is a matching elastic running across the length of the case. I immediately realized that the case could be looped over the cover of a notebook.


The case comfortably held a dozen or more tools. It’s defintiely long enough to hold a freshly sharpened pencil (even a Blackwing with giant eraser ferrule!) as well as most other writing tools. I tucked an eraser and a small hand sharpener in the front pocket. I was hoping the front pocket would be long enough to store an iPhone but it was a bit too short. It would hold small cards like an ID or business cards though. I was able to stick my phone in the larger pocket with my pens though with no problem.

The case cost  $7.99 and is available for purchase on the Target web site.

Review: Lanier Classic Elite Fountain Pen

Lanier wood turned fountain pen box

The fine folks over at MassDrop sent me a Lanier Classic Elite fountain pen around Christmas but somehow, the package got lost in the mail. So Lanier had to actually make me a new pen. It arrived last week and I wasn’t entirely sure what I would be getting. When I unwrapped the plain white paperboard shipper box, I was quite surprised to find a beautiful wooden box inside. The box has a satiny red stain and a small divot carved into it to open it.

Lanier wood turned fountain pen

Nestled inside, on a grooved cut out, was the Lanier Classic Elite hand-turned wood fountain pen. The model I received is made from yellow box elder wood and has a smooth, glossy, almost marble-like finish.

The cap can be threaded onto the end of the pen for those who prefer to post their caps. Posted, the Lanier Classic Elite measures 6.5″ long. Unposted, its a pleasing 4.75″ long which is perfectly comfortable for my small hands. Closed and capped the pen is 5.375″.

I had anticipated that a wood pen with metal inner barrel and hardware would be really heavy but it was actually incredibly well-weighted and comfortable. The pen, posted and filled, weighs 34g. Unposted but filled with a standard cartridge converter, it weighs 20g.

Fountain Pen Weights

Lanier wood turned fountain pen

The Lanier Classic Elite is trimmed in a combination of 24K gold plating and gun metal. The clip is in the gunmetal and tight but springy and wide enough to fit on most notebook covers.

The nib is also plated in gold. The nib looks like a standard Schmidt nib in medium which is a very good quality nib. The nib is on the smaller side (same size as the nibs in Kaweco Sport line, 7mm wide at the widest point) but the size works with the overall dimensions of the pen.

Lanier Classic Elite writing sample

I filled the pen with Private Reserve Ultra Black Quick Dry ink using my Rhodia Uni Blank No. 18 pad. As soon as I inked up the pen, it was ready to go. There was little to no priming needed. The nib has a bit of softness to it which gives my writing some nice line variation. The ink is dark, dark, dark so I wasn’t able to see a lot of shading but the softness of the nib made it a pleasure to write with.

The grip is incredibly comfortable. So much so, that I sort of forgot to think about it while I was writing.

This is definitely a pen I can see myself using regularly. Its elegant with great details and excellent craftsmanship. I was pleasantly surprised with the whole pen experience and my first experience with a wood-turned pen.

Lanier Writing Sample

There are seven days left in the MassDrop campaign and the more people who commit to a purchase, the lower the price will be. Right now, each pen is $124.99 but prices could dip as low as $99.99 if at least 30 people commit to a purchase. This MassDrop is limited to 75 pens since each one is handcrafted.

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

Fashionable Friday: Kendi Everyday

Fashionable Friday: Kendi

Today’s Fashionable Friday was inspired by the casual-chic style of blogger Kendi Everday and this fab outfit in muted tones of blue, burgundy and bronze.

  • Kaweco Sport Classic fountain pen dark brown, limited availability 17,95 € (via Fontoplumo)
  • Pilot FriXion Ball 4 4-Color Gel Ink Multi Pen – 0.5 mm in Bordeaux $13.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Diamine Syrah Ink $12.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Uni Mitsubishi 9850 Pencil HB $1 (via Jet Pens)
  • Field Notes 80-Page Steno Book $9.95 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Apica Premium C.D. B5 Notebook 7 mm Rule $19.50 (via Jet Pens)
  • Retro Funky Glasses Necklace $10 (via ZARDENIA on Etsy)
  • De Atramentis Fog Grey Ink $12.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Navy Super Stacked Desk Accessories Set $55 (via Poppin)
  • Edison Pearlette Fountain Pen in Aztec Gold Flake $149 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Caran d’Ache Ultra Violet Ink $32 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Midori TRAVELER’S Notebook in Brown £40 (via The Journal Shop)
  • Midori BRASS Pencil in Brown £14.95 (via The Journal Shop)

(photo inspiration via Kendi Everyday)

Upcycled Soda Box Pencil Boxes

If you’re like me, sometimes you like to send pencils to pals. This tutorial and template to make a pencil box out of an old soda can box (or probably any large paperboard box like cereal, beer case, etc) will help keep those pencils safe in transit and look fab when they arrive.

Slight modifications to the PDF template could be made to accommodate pens, markers or other writing tools. Might even work as a storage box for double pointed knitting needles. So many options!

(via Creative Itch Boutique)

13 Things to Do With All Those Blank Notebooks

Over the holiday break I did a lot of tidying up around my home office/studio and one of the things I came across was the supply shop quantities of notebooks I have in my closet. Some I’ve taken out of the cellophane wrapper and tested for a review and then they languish in the cupboard. So I’m “saving” and some I might not have liked as much but they could still be useful.

Then I heard Myke talking about trying to use the notebooks he has and I started trying to come up with things I could do to put these notebooks to good use and simultaneously be more productive.

Here’s a list I compiled from various sources and my own crazy ideas for things to do with that pile of empty notebooks you might have laying around:

  1. Daily Journal
  2. Morning Pages/Free Writing/Brain Dump
  3. Lists (Bullet Journal)
  4. Mind Mapping
  5. Sketchnoting
  6. Practice your handwriting
  7. Test all those pens and inks
  8. Commonplace book
  9. Dream Journal
  10. Travel Journal
  11. Book (to-read or read) Journal
  12. Disassemble, cut or remove the pages to use as a notepad or hole punch and put into a binder
  13. Collage, art journal or sketch book

I’m sure I didn’t think of all the myriad of possibilities but I hope these ideas might inspire you to crack the cover on one of those notebooks you have squirreled away. Do you keep a notebook dedicated to a different subject or have a recommendation?

I found a lot of other people writing about this topic with the start of the new year. Lots of people are trying to commit to writing more, journaling or getting organized and nothing will get you there faster than just writing stuff down.

Link Love: Breadman and Penman

rp_link-ana1.jpgFountain Pens:




Paper & Notebooks:


Other things of interest:

Kikki-K 2015 Medium Time Planner in Mint

Kikki K in Mint

When I was trying to decide which planner I would use this year, the Kikki-K line was definitely in the running. When I saw the minty green medium Time Planner, I was all grabby hands. So, I ordered it. Of course, traveling from Australia during the holidays meant it took a bit longer to receive. So, in the meantime, I’ve really become attached to my Filofax Original in dark aqua. But I thought I’d unbox the Kikki-K in mint and give it a test drive anyway.

The cover closes with a wide, color-coordinated elastic that runs vertically down the book à la Moleskine. Its a thick dense elastic that seems like it should stand up to several years of wear.

Kikki K back cover

Can I wax poetic about the color first? It is a perfect match for an assortment of pens I own which absolutely warms my heart. The Sharbo-X is a perfect color match, as is the Pentel i+ multi-pen. For that reason alone, I should love this planner.

The Kikki-k web site claims that the Time Planners are leather but compared to the Filofax Original, it doesn’t feel like leather. There is a heavy texture on the exterior and the cover has a stiffener board sandwiched in between the two pieces of leather making it feel less like leather and more like PU.  But Kikki-k says its leather, so I’ll trust them but it doesn’t feel to me as much like leather and the thicker covers means it will take a little effort to train the covers to lay flat. The way that the binder is assembled also makes the cover feel puffy which could be a good thing but does not appeal to me.

Kikki K inside cover

Inside the front cover is a secretary pocket as well as an assortment of slot pockets. (Please disregard the white around the rings, it is the paper protector including in shipping). Kikki-K included some cards in the pockets with notes for best practices in opening and closing the rings and inspirational messages. The overall design of the paper products is really good. ITs all clean, simple and nicely designed. The paper goods have a classic yet modern look. Another reason why I should love this planner.

Kikki K tabs

The planner includes a full set of refills that feature a page for personal information, the full year as week on two pages plus a monthly calendar on two pages, a section for addresses, birthdays & anniversaries, shops & restaurants, to-do, and expenses. Each of the glossy navy blue tabs are labelled and each sections has clean, simple sheets as well. The tabs are cardstock and the filler pages are a lightweight paper. I did not do any pen tests but I suspect that anything more than a gel or ballpoint pen will probably have some bleed or show through.

There is also a removeable, translucent plastic “this week” bookmark. Again, really nicely designed. Its simple but it looks good.

Kikki K Week On Two Pages

On the week on two pages, Saturday and Sunday share the bottom slot and Sunday is highlighted in red. The individual slots for days have light grey dotted lines to keep your writing aligned.

Kikki K Gold Rings

The rings are gold which some people love and others don’t but more importantly for a planner, the rings align perfectly. There is no gapping,unlike when my Filofax arrived, so the paper can be flipped back and forth with no catching or snagging on a misaligned or gapping ring. The rings open and close with a firm click.

Kikki K vs Filofax Original rings

And the Kikki-K rings are a 0.5cm wider than the Filofax original. The Filofax rings are 2cm wide and the Kikki-K are 2.5cm. The Kikki-K rings are also slightly oval rather than perfectly round.

Kikki K with Pentel i+ pen

There is an elastic look on the right hand side of the binder to hold a pen. Its the same dense elastic used to close the cover. I put the Pentel i+ 3 multi-pen in the loop which is of average thickness for a pen and there was some wiggle room. This pen loop seems like it would be most useful with a 4-color multi-pen  like the Uni Style Fit. The Sharbo-X was a little too narrow and unless I caught the clip on the elastic, I would worry that it would fall out. And for most people, a right-side pen loop is perfect but I am so spoiled by the left-side pen loop on the Filofax Original that the loop on the right is annoying to me.

The back cover has one horizontal slot across the top to hold a notepad and one is included in the binder.

Kikki K filled with my stuff

My last test was to see if all the stuff that I’m currently carrying in my FIlofax Original would fit into the Kikki-K Medium. It all fit and it looked good contrasted with the minty green.

Kikki K filled

I did notice that if I did not loop the elastic around the binder when it was filled with real life stuff, it flapped. Now, this might lessen over time as its used but since this is only my third experience with a planner binder, I found it kind of annoying.

Overall, its super pretty. The fact that the planner ships with a full set of inserts makes this a great starter kit for anyone who wants to get into planners. That said, and it breaks my minty green heart to say it, this planner is not for me.


Review:Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

The Kaweco Zequenz notebook is a very different take on a notebook. Its actually two notebooks held together by a z-fold PU leatherette cover. One side is a light brown, the reverse is a dark brown. Around the middle is a wide dark brown elastic with a leatherette embossed logo that creates a pen loop section on the elastic.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Sorry for the slightly out of focus image but its the only shot I took that shows the elastic removed completely from the notebook. This is a plus for anyone who finds the attached elastics on Moleskine-style notebooks annoying. However, I’m concerned I’d misplace the elastic.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Here you can see the z-fold style cover that attaches the two different notebooks. One side is filled with lined paper and the other side with blank paper. The paper is the same shade of white in both books and the same weight, just one is lined and one is not.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

There are 60 sheets of paper in each book and the whole notebook is under one inch thick.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

The line spacing is a bit wider than I usually prefer at 7.5mm. I like 6-7mm but its a nice middle ground for the size of the notebook and general preferences. The ruling is a very fine line in grey so its not distracting and should not interfere with most ink colors or graphite darknesses.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Its a pretty small notebook overall, an A6 (148x105mm or 5.8″x4.1″) which makes it pretty portable, perfect for notes on the go, meetings, or travel journaling. Potentially, one side could be dedicated to work notes and one to home notes or two specific projects. There’s a lot to be intrigued about this notebook set-up.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

I’ve read other reviews (search Pennaquod for “Zequenz” to find all the other recent reviews) about this notebook and a lot of people seemed really disappointed in the ink handling — especially for a company know to sell a wide assortment of fountain pens with lots of nib sizes. So, for me, I went into the testing expecting the worst. As a result, I was pleasantly surprised. The paper is super smooth making it pleasing to write upon.

I started the tests with fountain pens and didn’t see any feathering or terrible bleeding but I did not put it to the limits. There was a little softness with some pen/ink combos but I made a point to test with either a Kaweco pen or Kaweco ink and the paper held up pretty well.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

From the reverse side, you can see a little show through and I suspect a darker ink would have shown some bleed through but overall my results were not as terrible as I had been expecting. The paper is definitely better than a Moleskine notebook and its a soft white instead of the yellowy ivory color so that’s something.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Where the paper really seemed to shine was in testing everyday gel and rollerball pens and pencils. Pencils were particularly nice on the super smooth paper. I can see where sketching on this paper would be quite pleasing.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Again, there’s a little show through on the reverse even with the non-fountain pens but not so bad that I wouldn’t use both sides of the paper.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

What I did notice was that my Sport Series pens did not fit into the pen loop very well, at least not securely enough for me. That was super annoying.

Kaweco Zequenz Notebook

Full-sized Kaweco pens like the Dia II and Student fit snugly but do fit into the loop. I suspect the Special series is too slender to fit the loop so the pen loop on the elastic has limited uses. I would probably just use a clip on the Sport series pens, and clip it to the elastic band.

Overall I’m intrigued with the Zequenz. I appreciate that Kaweco tried to do something different with their notebook but I feel like a few of the decisions made in production were iffy at best. I think I’d prefer the Zequenz to be a customizable system. At present, there’s just one option with the notebook and if you don’t like one or the other paper format, you might just walk away from the Zequenz altogether. I’d like to to be able to choose a real leather cover rather than PU and for the books be slip-in inserts. That way I could choose which two notebooks and/or replace one side or the other as needed. Then notebooks could be offered in plain, lined or grid, and maybe a heavier stock specifically for fountain pens. If the elastic either had no pen loop or I could choose between a small, medium or large loop, that would also be preferable. Am I just envisioning a z-fold cover version of a Midori Traveler’s Notebook? I might be.

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: TWSBI Diamond 580 in Christmas Green

TWSBI 580 in Christmas Green

I bought myself a little green Christmas present in the form of the TWSBI Diamond 580 in Christmas green color ($50). The body of the pen, where the ink reservoir is, is still transparent but the cap and piston end are a lovely green color. It’s not a kelly green which I thought it might be but rather has just a hint of blue making it very unique color — like tender blue spruce maybe. The color tickles me.

TWSBI 580 in Christmas Green

I’ve owned a Diamond 540 and the 580 is pretty much identical in size, shape and weight. Since I gave my 580 away awhile ago, I can’t do a side-by-side, but to the naked eye, there is no distinct design difference. I think they just improved the materials to eliminate the cracking issue in the early 540 line.

The 580 shipped in the same cardboard outer box and clear plastic inner box that my 540 and TWSBI Mini arrived in. I like the packaging. Its pleasing to look at without feeling too over-the-top.

TWSBI 580 in Christmas Green

I ordered the 580 with an F nib and it has ended up being smoother than my previous EF nibs. I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly it wrote and didn’t feel all that much broader than the EF.

TWSBI 580 in Christmas Green

TWSBI 580 in Christmas Green

The 580 in green is another fine product from TWSBI. If you’ve been considering adding a TWSBI to your collection, the 580 is a great option and is available in a lot of color configurations.

Fashionable Friday: What’s in Rachel’s Bag?


This week I thought I would use Rachel Goulet’s lovely #whatsinmybag photo as inspiration. I found many of the items she carries plus items inspired by her color sense and style. Enjoy and thanks to Rachel for being my inspiration!

  • The Lookout in Sky $20 (via NockCo)
  • Pennybridge Compact Organizer in Raspberry $61 (via Filofax)
  • Floral iPhone Case 4/4s and 5/5s $20 (Retro Love on Etsy)
  • Midori D-Clip Penguin Paper Clips – Box of 30 $7.25 (via Jet Pens)
  • Nylon Shopper in Turquoise $139 (via Dooney & Bourke)
  • Diamine Havasu Turquoise Ink $12.95 $10.95 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji (Azalea) Ink $28 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Arc Customizable Patent Leather Notebook System, Pink Quilted, Letter-sized $33 (via Staples)
  • Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen – Raden Stripe with Rhodium Trim $640 (via Goulet Pens)
  • Sailor Professional Gear 14K nib Fountain Pen in pink $156 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Kaweco Ice Sport Fountain Pens in Pink $27 (via Pen Chalet)

(image via Goulet Pens on Instagram account )

Post your own #whatinmybag picture on Instagram and tag me (@wellapptdesk) and maybe you’ll be my next featured Fashionable Friday!

The Tab Notebook

The Tab Notebook Set by SUCK UK

This week, on a random hunt on Amazon, I came across the Suck UK Tab Notebook Set. This is a set of four A5 notebooks, each with a diecut tab in four different positions. This set of books would be perfect in a A5-sized (Midori Traveler’s Notebook-style) leather cover. Might be worth searching Etsy for a good cover to go with these pretty books.

The Tab Notebook Set by SUCK UK

The covers are kraft card stock and each book is filled with 64 tinted pages with narrow spaced ruled lines. One book is filled with blue paper, one with pink, one with yellow and one with green.

I don’t know anything about the paper quality since I haven’t ordered a set…yet but I quite like the looks.

(The SUCK UK Tab Notebook 4-book set sells for  $15.)

The Tab Notebook Set by SUCK UK

Winner: Nock Co DotDash Notepad

NockCo DotDash Pocket Notebook

Just wanted to announce the winner of the Nock Co DotDash notebook….

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 8.19.23 AM

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 8.21.22 AM

Congrats, John! Your wish came true! I’ll be emailing you to arrange delivery. Thanks to everyone who entered and I will be forwarding the whole list of color recommendations on to Nock Co to convince them to cater to our whims!

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying UpIn the wake of the new year, I decided I might try to read up on how to get more organized. One of the first books to come into my field of vision was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Its a thin volume with a very repetitive set of instructions on how to best de-clutter and the order in which to tackle the task.

As I was reading it, there were some keen observations. I specifically liked thinking about her suggestion to “hold each item in your hands and ask yourself if it brings you joy”. While this is appealing in theory, the practical application is not. I read Tif Fusel’s review of this book and her husband’s response: “my leaf blower and lawn mower bring me no joy, i do not need to hold them in my hand to know that. shall i thank them, then get rid of them so we can slowly be buried under a pile of yard waste?” And this, is the crux of my issue with the whole book. There are lots of things that we keep in our homes that bring us no joy — snow shovels, for example — but that we need to keep for those moments that require their use. We might be required to dress in a certain way for work that may provide us with no joy but is required like a suit or uniform. Though I suppose from the book, we could glean that we should limit how much this un-joyful stuff should take up in our homes and our hearts.

However, we also keep many things in our homes that bring us no joy, that we hold onto out of obligation (“But grandma gave it to me for Christmas!”) and things we think we might need one day (I really want to learn to arrange flowers, needlepoint, whittle, play the harp, etc). These are the things that Ms. Kondo is trying to convince us to unburden ourselves of keeping.

There is a large focus in the book about weeding out excess clothing, books and papers that is at the core of many people’s personal clutter. She did not go into any detail about how to balance the clutter of work-at-home offices or anyone with a specific hobby that may occupy a good deal of space. She filed all of this in her “miscellany” category which I think is a bit short-sighted.

As a product blogger, much of my excess is in the form of piles of notebooks, pens, inks and other office supplies.  I have some ideas about how to remove a lot of the excess from my stash but it will require time and effort on my part which is why I haven’t tackled it yet. Sadly, for me, its not laziness but a limit to the amount of time I have to accomplish MANY tasks and a need to prioritze which gets done this week and what has to wait. I think that applies to many people as well. Whether its cleaning out a clothes closet or sorting through bank papers — how much time to we have to devote to these tasks rather than spending time with friends, family or a favorite book.

Ms. Kondo also talked repeatedly about removing bags upon bags of garbage. The environmentalist in me got itchy at the idea of all this stuff ending up in landfills. As I attempted to integrate some of her ideas into my own life, I made bags and boxes for charity and put my paper shredder to use so that most of the paper materials I got rid of could be recycled. I’ve already taken three bags to charity and four boxes to the second-hand bookshop and that’s just the tip of my efforts to get rid of excess.

In the end, the perspective that she provided about thinking through what we own and why we hold onto things was enlightening. And her parting message is that by clearing away the detritus — those unloved, ill-fitting, no-longer-interesting things from our lives — we leave room for new things and new experiences. This is that part that was appealing.

1 2 3 4 103