Swabbing Inks with Cotton Swabs

I thought I’d make a little demo video about how I make a swatch with a cotton swab in a pinch. It’s not my favorite method to use to swatch because I sometimes find that I get cotton particles in my ink swatch. It is a good option though if you don’t have a lot of time or the circumstances don’t allow getting out a water cup, paintbrush and rags for a bigger swatching session.

I also find that using cotton swabs is a great method for swatching metallic inks because once you get metallic flake in your wash water, everything that touches it after that point has metallic dust on it. This comment pre-empts an upcoming post about ALL the metallic inks so be prepared.

If you have any questions or would like to see more videos let me know.

Fashionable Friday: What’s Cookin’?

With it being graduation season, Father’s Day and kids heading off to college and their first apartments, I thought it might be fun to well-appoint the kitchen this week. I’ve included my absolute go-to cookbook, The Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook. Even if you’re an experienced cook, this is a great reference for those staple recipes or the young cook or baker in your life. From exactly how long to cook vegetables to standard recipes for gravy, soups, and salad dressings, this book has all the basics without having to scroll endlessly through the internet. I told my pals I was including it and they all admitted to having it and dog-earing certain recipes. “Did you know it has how to carve a turkey in it?” a certain regular contributor to this very blog sagely told me yesterday. I’m putting an Inkaren Memo Clip on THAT page.

The Lamy Logo Multicolor Ballpoint pen take standard D1 refills like its more expensive cousin, the 2000 multipen, but for a fraction of the cost. It’s also stainless steel which means its kitchen-friendly material. In the kitchen, a good ballpoint or gel pen to annotate recipe cards is essential. I also strongly recommend having a pencil, a mechanical pencil or multi-function pen/pencil makes it easy to have a sharp point handy at all times. The Zebra Sharbo-X is a great candidate here in that it is customizable with three components and features a metal body. I always keep my Sharbo filled with a mechanical pencil, a gel pen and a needlepoint ballpoint for writing on waxy paper surfaces like magazines and filling out forms. Zebra refills are top notch and will accept standard D1 in a pinch.

If you want to keep a fountain pen in the kitchen, I’d recommend a Pilot Vanishing Point or a Decimo. This is a place where you will most likely be writing notes, recipes, grocery lists and other short items rather than longer writing. Not having to cap and uncap it would speed up use and the extra fine nibs of the Pilot line would be beneficial on the somewhat lesser quality papers you could find yourself writing upon.

The classic Rifle Paper recipe box is the perfect size to fill your family’s favorite recipes, new and old. Exacompta Index Cards which are very fountain pen-friendly will fit perfectly into the recipe box and is a great option to continue to add recipes to the box or you can purchase additional recipe cards from Rifle.

Finally, don’t stop with just that one dishtowel from Easy, Tiger. I pretty own all of them now. Really. I’m not just saying that because I want them to like me. But they do work in my same zip code.

  • Zebra Sharbo X LT3 Multi Pen Body Component in Silver $32.50 (via JetPens)
  • EDK Pen, starting at $60 (via Karas Pen Co.)
  • Inkaren Memo Clips Box of 30 $5.50 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • L’Artisan Pastellier Callifolio Bleu Equinoxe 5 Fountain Pen Ink (40 ml Bottle) $12 (via JetPens)
  • Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook, 16th Edition $20.07 Hardcover, Ringbound (via Amazon)
  • Polka Dot Recipe Box & Card Set (include 12 letterpress printed dividers and 24 spoon recipe cards) $34 (via Rifle Paper Co.)
  • Boys to the Yard Dishtowel $15 (via Easy Tiger)
  • Triangle Colored Pencil Set $14.95 (via Sapori)
  • Latte Bowls (set of four) in Tourmaline $24 (via Anthropologie)
  • Newgate Wall Clock – Brixton $108 Special Price (via West Elm)
  • Lamy Logo Multicolor Ballpoint Pen $32 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Pilot Vanishing Point Decimo Fountain Pen in Burgundy, Fine Nib $140 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Four-Colour Ballpoint Pen by Hightide £11.50 (via The Stationer)
  • Wooden Utensils Fork Spoon Knife (Set of 20) $3.50 per set (via CuteTape)
  • Exacompta Record Index Cards in Graph (4″ x 6″) 100 Cards, $14.95 per pack (via JetPens)

Thanks to my sponsors for providing some of the images I use for Fashionable Friday. Please consider making your next purchase from one of the shops that support this blog and let them know you heard about them here. Thanks for your support and for supporting the shops that help keep it running.

There’s some discount codes to be used this week so don’t forget to check some of those out… The Stationer is having a sale right now and Pen Chalet has an extra coupon code that expires today in the header bar… look up!

News: Sponsors, Notebooks & Keyboard

New Sponsors:

I’m touched that so many new sponsors have joined the ranks here at The Well-Appointed Desk in the last couple weeks. Please welcome The Stationer, Sapori and Say Nice Things.

You may recognize The Stationer as the retail business of All Things Stationery. The Stationer is currently hosting a sale so you may want to pop over and check out the deals.

Sapori is an independent stationery shop specializing in a product called VersaNotes. VersaNotes are colorful notecards that can be customized with stickers for specific occasions. Sapori also stocks  range of other products including sketchbooks & journals, gift wrap and an awesome Orla Kiely line.

Say Nice Things has just launched a new line of pocket notebooks called the FlipFlop pocket notebooks. The pages are lined on one side and dot grid on the other so depending on how you “flip” it, the pages will be left hand side or the right. Hence, FlipFlop!

Thanks to all my sponsors, new and returning. Without their support, and in return your support, this blog would have a lot harder time staying afloat. Server space, postage, computers, camera equipment, as well as the actual products I review, are supported in part by the sponsors They continue to support the blog because you, the readers, continue to support them!

House Industries Linen Notebooks:

House Industries has introduced two, linen-covered notebooks featuring their font-based pattern designs on the covers. Inside the specs remain decent though lacking in a few notable details like paper weight.  Notebooks retail for $20 and are available for sale on their web site.

  • 160 pages
  • Dot-grid (copper cover) or graph paper (indigo cover)
  • 7.25″ × 9.25″ (185 × 235 mm)
  • “Motivational artist statement on the back page in case you forgot why you bought it”

Penna: Retro Bluetooth Keyboard:

There is an Indiegogo pre-order (from the previous Kickstarter campaign) for the Penna/NEWTRO retro-styled typewriter bluetooth keyboard. The funding for the original Kickstarter went so well that they moved additional pre-order sales to Indiegogo to allow additional early sales to continue. If you have a typewriter fetish or are looking for a good bluetooth ketboard with long battery life that features a strong mechanical typing feeling, this may be a good option. The aesthetics alone might be worth it and the keyboard is available in four colors including pastel pink, retro mint green, black and white and a wood grain. That sure beats “space grey”.

The Penna/NEWTRO works with Windows/Android/iOS and can be paired with up to five devices, battery lasts for up to six months and runs on AA batteries, and will be available in five European language layouts to start. Then there’s the macro bar that can be programmed to store frequently used keys or phrases and accessed by pressing down on the bar like a return on a typewriter or modernize it with some regularly used boilerplate copy.

It is still possible to place an order for a keyboard for shipment estimated in September starting at $119 (33% off future retail pricing) for the standard colors without a case. With the traveling case, the price starts at $159 (30% off). The wood finish starts at $319 with pouch as a pre-order which is a 47%  savings off the retail price.

I’m seriously considering ordering one…


Review: Blackwing Notebooks

Review: Blackwing Notebooks

This spring, Blackwing added two additional notebook options to its line-up. Previously the only notebook they offered was their flagship Slate notebook ($22.95). Now joining The Slate is the Clutch pocket-sized notebooks ($14.95) selling in packs of three and the larger Summit notebook ($21.95). All three notebooks share the same 100gsm paper and all three are available in dot grid, ruled and plain paper.

However, each notebook has slightly different design elements. Theoretically, it make some sense to have simpler design elements in a pocket notebook than in a larger notebook but the inconsistencies seem a little strange. The Slate has an elastic band running horizontally around an exposed spine that holds a Blackwing 602. This design feature is unique to the Slate only and not on the larger Summit. Obviously, it wouldn’t work on the Clutch because a full-sized pencil would be too long but it might have worked on the Summit. Also, the Slate has a pocket in the back for loose paper where the Summit does not. The Summit is the most traditional “black book” but it features a flexible leatherette cover with a traditional binding rather than a more traditional hardcover like the Slate. The Clutch has a slightly more flexible, paper-wrapped, leatherette cover. They all appear to look similar and since the chances are good that most people will only be carrying or using one notebook at a time the differences won’t be glaring. Transitioning from a larger to a smaller notebook, or vice versa, might make these differences more apparent.

To make the aesthetic difference more clear, here’s a breakdown of the details:

Individual notebook details:

Clutch Notebooks:

  • Set of 3
  • 5.5×3.5″
  • 48 pages in each
  • 100gsm, natural white
  • 5mm dot grid (grey dots) (also available in lined and plain)
  • Sewn, flat binding
  • Flexible, paperboard cover

Slate Notebook:

  • 5×8.25″
  • Leatherette cover with exposed, sewn binding, hardcover
  • 100gsm paper, natural white
  • 160 pages
  • 5mm dot grid, grey dots (also available in lined and plain)
  • elastic on spine with Blackwing 602 pencil
  • black satin ribbon bookmark with finished end
  • gusseted pocket in back of notebook
  • notebook log on front flyleaf, notetaking ideas on back flyleaf
  • vertical elastic closure

Summit Notebook:

  • 7.5×10″
  • 160 pages
  • 6mm ruled, fine grey lines (also available in dot grid and plain)
  • flexible leatherette cover (heavier than Clucth covers, rounded finished corners)
  • standard covered spine
  • black satin ribbon bookmark with finished end
  • 100gsm paper, natural white
  • notebook log on front flyleaf

Technically, the only issue I had was, that for paper designed for pencils, the grey dots and lines are a bit dark. I found the printed grey a bit intrusive with all but the darkest graphite. This is why I tend to prefer plain paper best. Trying to find the perfect shade for lines or grid or graph is so challenging.

The paper, however, is very good. The 100gsm paper worked well with almost every tool I used.

I was pleased to discover the paper worked well with more than just the pencils that Palomino Blackwing  is so well known for.  The 100gsm paper works well with fine and medium fountain pens, gel pens, felt tips and quite a few brush pens and, of course, all sorts of pencils.

On the reverse of the paper, the fountain pens didn’t get any bleed through and very little show through either. I got a tiny bit of spreading on the KWZ Raspberry ink that may have been more a result of overall humidity in the air than the ink or the paper. Overall, I had decent ink performance – far better than I anticipated.

Even with brush pens, I had good results. The dots also did not seem to resist ink the way that the Baron Fig paper sometimes does.

I decided to take “the Ladies” (that would be the Lady Sheaffers) out for a spin on the paper as well since there is a full range of nib sizes and quite a few different ink colors as well. I even have pencils! So I glammed up the Clutch with a little Lady Sheaffer Skripsert action.

Some of my pencils have non-repro blue lead and some have regular  HB lead. All the pens have Sheaffer cartridge ink in them at the moment as I’m emptying cartridges to eventually  have cartridges to fill with ink.

Even from the back, there’s little evidence of show through and no bleed here either. Impressed? Me too. Enjoying a little close-up view of my Lady Sheaffers? Me too!

So, despite my fussiness about the product line quirkiness, the paper is awesome. I found the dot grid to be a little dark but not more so than Rhodia which is still the darkest. And the dots don’t resist ink like Baron Fig sometimes does. So, if you’re looking for a new or different notebook to try, the Blackwing options really are contenders. They have the full range of sizes and unless there’s a key feature that makes or breaks your notebook experience (i.e. must have a pocket in a larger than A5 size) than these notebooks really have a lot to offer.

THE GIVEAWAY: So… what’s in this for you? How about three (3) chances to win your own Blackwing notebook. I’d like to giveaway one (1) 3-pack of Clutch dot grid, one (1) Slate dot grid and one (1) Summit lined notebook.

THE RULES: In the comments, tell me which notebook (the Clutch, the Slate or the Summit) you would like and why. One entry per person. Play by the rules. Thanks.

THE FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Monday, June 12, 2017. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Tuesday. 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 10 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US residents only please.

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

Link Love: Gel Pens, Love & Pride




Paper & Notebooks:

Other Interesting Things:

Product Review: ArtSnacks June 2017 Subscription Box

Product Review: ArtSnacks June 2017 Subscription Box

Review by Tina Koyama

What a fun assortment I got for June with my ArtSnacks subscription! Here’s what was in my box: a mini sketchbook (an ArtSnacks + Denik collaboration); a Zig Painty FX permanent paint marker; two General’s MultiPastel Chalk Pencils; and three Tombow Dual Brush Pens. I also got an ArtSnacks sticker and a piece of Cry Baby bubblegum. (I don’t chew gum, but it made my box smell deliciously fruity!) I’m guessing that other subscribers may have gotten different colors of pens and pencils, but I was particularly tickled by the bright, summery palette I received.

The product that delighted me the most is the mini sketchbook, which is a bit bigger than a credit card. The colorful cover, designed by Kansas City artist Marcos Román, shows a fanciful pattern of pencils and an ArtSnacks-inspired pretzeled pencil. The front and back flyleaves also include whimsical art featuring the pretzeled pencil.

A collaboration among ArtSnacks, Denik and Román, the sketchbook is exclusive for subscribers. I probably wouldn’t use anything but pencil or ballpoint on the paper inside, which is quite thin, but I don’t care. It’s just an adorable sketchbook that my pencil-loving friends are already envying. Bonus: the cover and flyleaf artwork can be downloaded for use as smartphone or desktop wallpaper.

Read More

Dudek Modern Goods “The Lady” Display

Dudek Modern Goods “The Lady”  Display

When a vintage fountain pen collection goes supernova, it requires its own epic display. Leave it to Mike Dudek of Dudek Modern Goods to deliver the kind of display that makes me hum the opening to 2001: A Space Odyssey every time I put my pens away. I started collecting Lady Sheaffer Skripserts about a year ago and the collection exploded this year. Mike kindly masterminded the perfect way to keep my collection in check and displayed perfectly.

Mike modified his Display stand to fit the Lady Sheaffer Skripserts and it holds a ton of them too! The display holds a total of 22 pens (or pencils).

The initial plan was to use the block in reverse and have the pens currently in use in the solid part facing forward. I, however, have been keeping the pen and pencil sets in the open sections as there is a perfectly drilled hole at the bottom to rest the pencil tip into. I have four pen and pencil sets now so its almost filled in the “front” with matched sets!

I also have both of the leaf designs now – one in black and one in white – which occupy the last two slots in the “front”. A keen eye might notice that one of the pen and pencil sets is from the later “white dot” Lady Sheaffer line and not the original Skripsert line. It still has the netting etched design and opens to reveal a powder blue grip section and “fingernail” nib so its still a Lady Sheaffer in my book! The other “cheat” is my Sheaffer Imperial that I bought early on. It has a beautiful inset nib in 14K gold and a gold barrel so its still a pretty chic edition. It can stay until the Ladies run him out.

I have a couple pens away for nib tuning and one that seems to permanently live in my Story Supply Co. notebook cover in my bag (yes, it’s just a travelin’ Lady!) so I only have a few slots left. I can’t believe how quickly this collection grew!

If you are building a special pen collection you want to display, definitely drop Mike a line about making a custom display for you. I know he’s made several different pieces for folks over the years.

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