Notebook Review: Tangible Stationery Customized Forbes F24 Journal

Notebook Review: Tangible Stationery Customized Forbes F24 Journal

When the folks at Tangible Stationery Co, Ltd. approached me about reviewing their new line of  notebooks, I admit I was a little skeptical. At first glance, the A5 soft touch notebooks look quite a bit like many other notebooks on the market. Sure, they are available in the coveted dot grid so that certainly sweetened the pot. Then they offered to customise (with an “S” because they are Scottish) the cover with their very own foil stamping machine and add my initials, name or (because I begged) my blog name. So, I decided to give it a go.

Look at that! I’m feeling quite well-appointed indeed. (I waited to desecrate the cover with stickers until after I finished this review.) This is the Forbes Classic Notebook F24 dotted in blue (£10.79) with silver foil. I pushed the absolute limits with the number of characters they could do… so if you are wanting to get a customised cover, try to keep it a few characters shorter. You also run the risk of running under the elastic.

Inside the cover is some very entertaining text about notebook ownership and when you started and finished your book.

Here’s a close-up. You can also see the elastic pen loop in matching color, large enough to hold my Sailor ProGear Slim Sakura.

There is a matching satin ribbon bookmark (with finished ends, thank you very much!) and inside is soft white paper and a medium grey dot set at 5mm. At the top of each page is a space for the date.

In the back is the requisite gusseted pocket for loose ephemera.

And finally, what we’ve all been waiting for – the writing samples. Lo and behold, this paper withstands fountain pens gloriously. Now, I didn’t beat it up with super duper broad pens but it withstood fine and mediums and even som fine italics with a bit of flex. That was enough to satisfy me. I even hit it with a brush pen and then dropped the proverbial mic. Try that with THAT other notebook.

When I flipped it over to see the other side of the paper, I could see the brush marker and the dark 1.1mm Lamy writing on the other side but little of the other writing. It’s a paper miracle!!! Even the flex writing, there’s a bit of showthrough in a couple spots but nothing terrible.

Even when I really started to goof off, there’s no feathering or bad showthrough. And once there was writing on the paper, the dots faded into the background.

I even tried some colored pencil on the paper with good success making this a good notebook for work notes, quick thumbnails and doodles. I wouldn’t use it as a sketchbook per se but as a book for meeting notes, bullet journaling or day-to-day writing, I think it would be perfect.

The soft touch cover feels great and the personalization adds a lot to the notebook. If dots aren’t your thing, the Forbes is also available in lined and grid. My hopes are that they will one day also offer a blank notebook too. While dots are fun, I still love blank best. In the meantime, I will cherish this electric blue beauty.


DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge by Tangible Stationery Co. for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ink Review: Monteverde Ruby

Review by Laura Cameron

The final ink that I ordered as part of the Monteverdepalooza of the past few weeks is Ruby ($8 for 30ml bottle).

Monteverde Inks

Ruby is a bright, almost fire engine red, that leans a bit orange.

Monteverde Ruby

Monteverde Ruby

In heavy inkblots, Ruby sheens a greeny-yellow, but in regular applications it just shades really nicely.

Monteverde Ruby

Monteverde Ruby

It was interesting because I expected Ruby to be deep and dark, but I guess I was thinking more of a garnet. This red is bright red, more like ruby slippers.

Monteverde Ruby

I did have several reds to compare it to. As I said, it’s a really bright red with orange tones, so it picks up some of the similar shades as Sailor Shikiori Yodaki and isn’t too far off from Montblanc Corn Poppy Red. The others included in the photo are darker reds, with some leaning more towards brick.

Monteverde Ruby

Overall, it was a nice ink and a good one to try if you’re looking for red red red!


Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Pen Chalet for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Link Love: Brought to you by the Letter L

Link Love: Brought to you by the Letter L




Paper & Notebooks

Art Supplies & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

News: Kickstarter Follow-Up, Retro51 and Lamy


The Pen Addict RelayCon 2018 Kickstarter has just nine days left and has surpassed its funding goals. So much so that there is money in the budget to take me along on the trip to Toronto and New York as well as Atlanta so I am looking forward to meeting the Canadian contingency this fall!

Literally the day I posted the Kickstarter Round Up, Ensso launched their XS Pocket Fountain Pen Project. This is a tiny pocketable fountain pen that is the size of a Fisher Space Pen and reminiscent of the Kaweco Liliput. It’s faceted like the Kaweco Sport but smaller and priced right. The early backer prices start at $39. There’s still two weeks left to back this project.

Even with Matt from the Pen Habit’s video, the DeNobil Kickstarter is still struggling along at only 10% of their funding goal and less than two weeks left. The pens on offer are ebonite with a custom Bock nib. Is it the pen itself or the plethora of pen-related Kickstarter options currently available that are hurting DeNobil’s efforts to reach its goal right now?


Fahrney’s released their annual Retro51 Cherry Blossom edition designs in rollerball ($53), fountain pen ($89) and pencil ($59). The flowers are pretty but the Treasury Building in the center looks sort of slapped on and, in the description, it says there’s an eagle somewhere in the design which always makes me think of the eagle squaw in the intro to The Stephen Colbert show — just a little over the top.

Lamy Safari:

The Lamy Safari All Black (2018 Special Edition) has finally been revealed. How does it differ from the standard edition Safari umbra fountain pen (matt black)? It’s DEEP black matte plastic. Oh. Okay. All I’m going to say here AL-Star always and I’m sorry Team Safari got hosed this year.

Can I cheer you up by letting you know that it looks like the white Lamy Joy is back in circulation?

In Other News:

Finally, in the I-live-on-the-border-of-Kansas news, on Sunday, local police spent a good portion of their day chasing a naked man on an ATV down the interstate. As my husband said when he relayed this entertaining bit of Midwestern jackassery to me “Sun’s out, buns out.”

Eye Candy: Colorverse Reviews Coming Soon

Eye Candy: Colorverse Reviews Coming Soon

Don’t you worry! I haven’t forgotten about the rest of the Colorverse ink reviews I promised. In fact, I got even MORE to review for you. But, as you know, I had to pause for a moment and jet off to LA for the pen show. And I’ve been behind my not-so-well-appointed desk making new things for the upcoming Arkansas Pen Show which is just two and half weeks away!

So, hold tight! These reviews are coming! I promise! And so much more!

Big thanks to Vanness Pen Shop and Pen Chalet for keeping stocked to the gills in ink!

Ink Review: Robert Oster Spearmint

Review by Laura Cameron

So far, I haven’t met a Robert Oster ink that I didn’t like.  This is certainly the case with Spearmint, which I ordered recently to try.

Robert Oster Spearmint

Robert Oster Spearmint

Spearmint is a beautiful dark green. I was hoping that it would shade towards teal, but mostly I got a good forest green with some mint shades.

Robert Oster Spearmint

Robert Oster Spearmint

This ink wrote smoothly, but unfortunately it isn’t really water resistant.

Robert Oster Spearmint

While a lovely shade, I really didn’t get a sheen, even in the darkest applications.

Robert Oster Spearmint

I did load up my Kara’s Kustoms Fountain K with the ink and, even after sitting for a week, it still wrote quite well.

Robert Oster Spearmint

I ended up testing Spearmint while I was also reviewing Monteverde’s California Teal. The California Teal is definitely bluer than the Spearmint, but when I put Spearmint next to a greener ink like Papier Plume Ivy Green, I can see more evergreen forest green and blue tones.

Robert Oster Spearmint

Overall, I liked Spearmint as a deeper, darker green ink though there are definitely minty shades within.


Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.

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

LA Pen Show Recap

LA Pen Show Recap

Laura did her LA Pen Show recap earlier this week and provided the perspective of a first-time pen show attendee. Now its my turn to give my recap.

As Laura mentioned, we arrived in LA late on Thursday night and after some struggles trying to acquire an Uber, we switched to Lyft and managed to get a ride out of LAX and arrived at the hotel around 11pm. When we arrived a crew of familiar faces greeted us from The Tent so we quickly dropped our suitcases in our room and collected our roommate Jessica of BYOB and Vintage Pen Shop fame and returned downstairs for some snacks and refreshments. Laura got a crash course in pen show after hours.

For a full and colorful tale about the status of the hotel and it’s state of incomplete renovations, check out Ricky’s posts over on FPN. For the “YMCA” photo alone, its worth a look. And the volcano rice.

On Friday morning, I got to work. While I was planning to spend the whole show being just an attendee this time, when I arrived, I discovered that Brad wasn’t getting in until mid-afternoon on Friday so I agreed to lend a hand at the Vanness booth Friday until Brad arrived. Poor Laura would be left on her own Friday morning to experience her first day at a pen show on her own.

While Friday wasn’t super busy with attendees, I was able to help cover the Vanness tables and get things organized while Joey Feldman signed his signature show notebooks, everyone in the booth got a chance to eat a late breakfast in shifts and each of us made occasional runs around the show floor for various errands.

Once Brad arrived around 2pm, I handed him the proverbial baton in the form of the PayPal credit card reader and bolted for the main ballroom to check on Laura and Jessica and to do some shopping.

I bought a couple wonderful Esterbrooks from Jessica who is very bad for my wallet. I got a pastel blue purse pen and pencil set in a carrying case (with instruction sheet!) and a beautiful pink purse pen with pink jewels was well to add to my purse pen collection. The rainbow is growing!

My first stop was the Musubi table which was just inside the doors near the Vanness table. I wanted to buy one of their beautiful, handcrafted notebooks in San Fransisco last year but I couldn’t make a decision and thought I might order one online and still couldn’t make up my mind. Finally, in LA with Daryl describing each of the fabric patterns to me, I was able to settle on one though I wanted to buy several. I chose the Kiku-kikkou which is a chrysanthemum pattern on indigo fabric. Each of the notebooks is handmade by a craftsperson with a disability which is amazing. Daryl told stories about a seamstress who was employed who had lost the use of her legs and could no longer use an industrial sewing machine who now hand sews books at Musubi and another story of a blind person who could feel the grain direction of the fabric by touch who worked for them. It was mesmerizing. Each of the books comes in a beautiful box and is filled with 52gsm Tomoe River paper and includes a writing board and a signed card from the craftsperson who made the notebook. While some people might blanche at the price of the Musubi notebooks, I am inclined to compare the price of the notebooks to the price of many of the pens and inks I purchase and consider it comparatively. If I willingly spend hundreds on a pen, why would I skimp on the notebook?

I was lucky enough to find two more Sheaffer pens to add to my ever-growing Lady Skipsert collection. Both of them are from the later period — what I refer to as the “white dot” collection though I don’t think that’s the official term. Both of the pens feature the blunt ends of the Lady Sheaffers of the late-60s. The silver scalloped model featured a blue grip section and a 14K Triumph nib. I don’t know that the blue grip is standard but I’m not complaining. The Brushed Gold Plate model was a real surprise because when I removed the cap, I discovered a Sheaffer Stylist nib. I couldn’t throw my money at the vendor fast enough and run away with “my precious”. The Stylist nib is similar to the Parker 180 nib in that it can be flipped over and written on either side for a different writing experience. I think the nib is a little bent but I’m hoping my good friend Jeff at Powers Pen Company can give it a once over for me at the  Arkansas Pen Show and get it back to full working order as these are pretty uncommon and it writes incredibly fine it just chokes up a bit.

And disguised inside a plain black pen was one of my most treasured finds of the whole show. It is a glass nib pen that I purchased from Tom, AKA The Pen Man and Hong his co-vendor, who are mostly known for their exceptional collection of Pelikan pens. It is a Haro and it was essentially new-old-stock piston filler pen.

I think its glorious and writes like an extra fine. I’ll have a more in-depth review about it later if folks are interested in it.

I also got a SIG extra fine flexible nib from Franklin-Christoph to put on my Tibaldi Pocket 20 (which in my sleep-deprived haze I misidentified as a Pocket 45). Jim Rouse adjusted the nib perfectly for me which is, of course, why it is always so great to purchase a nib at a show. I wonder what Audrey slips into his Cokes that keeps him from killing people like me?

I picked up a couple bottles of ink because I need more ink like I need a hole in my head like an actual bottle of Lamy Vibrant Pink ($12 for 50ml bottle).

I can now say with a fair amount of certainty that there’s not that much difference between the cartridge color and the bottle color. While the ink, when wet, looks super sparkly from the bottle. When dry, they both look pretty similar. It’s especially true with the fine nibs.

I tested the bottle color on some different paper to see if it appeared brighter or more of the shimmer remained. The color did look lighter on the sketchbook paper and the sheen is more golden and less greenish but overall not hugely different. So, if you find yourself preferring cartridges or only able to acquire the Vibrant Pink cartridges, the color is consistent. Any variations are more likely a result of paper, nib size or flow rather than the actual ink. It’s also possible that the gold particles may not be distributed as evenly in the cartridges or may have settled in the cartridges so you may want to give them a little shimmy or roll.

I also purchased a couple more bottles of the Krishna inks. I’ll have a full review of this new collection of inks coming up. Clearly, I’m way behind on my ink reviews! And I got samples of Kobe #14 Maya Lapis, Kobe #12 Suma This Pink Hill and Robert Oster Black Violet.

I picked up a couple Nikko G nibs from Michael Sull. I usually use Zebra G nibs but I thought I’d try the Nikko G nibs as a change of pace.

I also grabbed one of the Nanuk notebooks to try something different. They are very simple stitch-bound notebooks with a light cream stock and card stock covers. I got the blank version with red stitching but they were available in grid or lined with red ruling or white stitching with blue ruling. I’ll have a full review soon as well.

Saturday I was able to attend a few of the seminar/classes which I seldom, if ever, get to do. Laura and I went to John Mottishaw’s class on pen tuning which was interesting. What came out of the session was that there are some little tweaks that can be tried “before you call the pen doctor” that are similar to things you might check before you take your computer to the repair shop — is there ink in it? is the nib and feed seated properly? has it been thoroughly cleaned? etc. And some tips to try if you are brave enough like micromesh and using your fingers and a good loupe to check that tines are aligned and no paper fibers are trapped.

A little while later, we attended Michael Sull’s class on Flourishing Your Capitals which was not traditional Spencerian lettering and was actually quite a bit of fun. I confess that I cannot actually confine myself to the rigors of traditional Spencerian Script. There’s too much whimsy in my lettering so getting to just play with embellishing the caps was just what I wanted.

I keep a notebook for every pen show year and 2018 is no different. Last year, I used a Baron Fig Confidant. This year, I grabbed a Midori off the shelf. Inside is all the pens and inks I test at the bar from friends, new and old, and the notes from the seminars I get to attend. I write with the pens that I buy at each show and annotate them. I also stick my luggage claim stickers and other ephemera into the book. Its messy and janky and weird and wonderful and by the end of the year, I totally love it.

Laura and I spent some quality time at the Classic Pens table testing out all the Nakaya nib options. The scribbles above are from the test page they let me keep from my tests. So hard to choose!

This page was from Saturday night sitting at the bar after dinner. Cary of Fountain Pen Day & Kenro fame brought out his Nakayas for us to play with as well and then wandered off so I had to do my best to spell and describe the pens. I also got to try out a lot of the new-to-us PenBBS and Ancient Charm shimmer inks which I dip tested with my glass pen and dip nibs. The Strait Pens table was selling bottles and small sample bottles but they were selling super fast and I was incredibly indecisive so I didn’t buy any.

Sunday was the only official public day and I helped out at the Vanness tables which meant I stood in one place for about ten hours straight because it was so crowded I pretty much couldn’t move. We sold as many bottles of ink as we could and tried not to melt in the sun, beating down from the windows behind us. We taped black tablecloths to the windows to try to stave off the heat and impending “con funk”. It also made us look like the “Before Dark” vampires that we are. Though, we all know, I’m more iZombie than vampire. (More hot sauce!) I still don’t tan worth a damn.

Powered entirely by donuts (thank you, Rebecca!) and cold Starbucks coffee, Team Vanness worked tirelessly to pack up the remaining stock plus Lisa’s purchases from various vendors and then we all bonked. I headed out for ramen in Japantown with Kasey (AKA Punkey). It was the one chance I had to see a bit of LA. The ramen was delicious and we had a good time. I hope I wasn’t too big a blob. The rest of the gang ate a quiet dinner nearby and crashed.

Monday, Laura and I hung out nearby the hotel and drank copious amounts of coffee until our flight which ended up being delayed. I’m not sure I can ever recall being quite so tired but most shows are super busy on Friday and Saturday and tend to slow down on Sunday, not the other way around.

This was my first trip to the LA Pen Show and while it probably wasn’t entirely reflective of how the show is usually run, from what I was told, it wasn’t entirely different either. The organizer could have been more communicative with the vendors about the state of the hotel and venue. Many vendors said the hotel had informed him that they were not fully up and running and that they could get his event into another hotel but he did not accept this option. Was this because he was too lazy? Any craft show, or other event would have made considerably more effort to relocate their event to better facilities or even just move the sleeping accommodations for the vendors. Or given them the option to stay elsewhere. Especially if the hotel is giving you that option… wouldn’t you want both your vendors and attendees to be happy so they come back?

I’m not saying that people didn’t have a good time because most everyone I spoke to enjoyed themselves. Pretty much, if you put pen people together and let them talk about pens, they end up having a good time anywhere. However, given their other options and knowing that people have limited time and resources, folks on the West Coast might not choose the LA Pen Show next year.