Fashionable Friday: Baker’s Dozen

It’s the third annual Donut Day Fashionable Friday! Why? Because every Friday is a good day for donuts and every desk looks better with a donut and a cup of coffee on it, especially on Friday.

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. (Also thanks to my fine friends and co-workers for making awesome products worthy of sharing as well. There was a goodly smattering of “plugging the firm” in this week’s Fashionable Friday. So, feel free to support the folks who provide me with health insurance and a steady paycheck.)

Ask The Desk: Pen Questions & Sheening Inks

I must confess I don’t know how I got so behind on the Ask the Desk questions. Maybe I didn’t realize how many questions were out there! Here are just a few of the dozens of questions in the in-box right now. Please be patient as I try my best to get through them.

Phillip asks:

Soooo I’m mostly a Fountain Pen guy but there are times that I “need” other pens. So I’m looking for a recommendations or three for a non-FP. I like a minimal design and like larger diameter pens. Currently been using a uni-ball Signo .38 UMR-1 that Brad Dowdy recommended love the refill but pen is way to slender for my large hands. I’ve also used Retro 51 refill and liked it but not a huge fan of the pen design. I would like to spend less than $50 … what would you point me towards, I was leaning to maybe a Baron Fig Squire, been looking for a used one to try out no luck in finding one used, so unless you point me in another direction I might just order one of them.

Sometimes, finding the perfect pen is aligning the XY coordinates. Since the two refills you like are so different, it lead me way off on the X coordinate but the price point was way off on the Y coordinate. Without these differing points, I would have immediately said you probably want the BigiDesign TiArto but it’s price point is $85. The Ti Pocket Pro, which can be pre-ordered from their Kickstarter might be another option a little closer to your budget at $65 though.

Along the same theme, Daniel asked:

I love the write of the uniball jetstream fine pen. But lookwize its not really very impressive. Can you recommend a pen that writes similarly but looks more professional under 50 dollars?

One of the classiest looking pens is a Parker Jotter. It’s available in a lot of great metallic finishes like this Oxford Grey Pinstripe with Chrome trim. It sells for $18.50 and takes a standard Parker-style refill which gives you a lot of refill options though not specifically the Uni Jetstream.  However, with some creative workarounds, there is a D1 refill of the Jetstream available and clever Tofty on Shapeways makes a Parker adapter to a D1 ($5.20) so you could have a distinguished looking pen with no actual hacking involved. You just slip the refill into the adapter and put it into the pen. Voila! Classy and will write beautifully. This technique would work with any of the other Parker Jotters, pens that take Paker-style refills or any other pen that Tofty can modify to take the D1 adapter to meet your needs.

Mariah asks:

Can you recommend a good Lamy fountain pen for a left handed writer? Not worried about the price! Thank you so much for your time.

Depending on your writing grip, any Lamy might suit your left-handed writing just fine. If you are like myself and Laura, however, you may find that the molded grip of the Safari, AL-Star and Vistas to be a bit uncomfortable if you have an overhanded or side-angle writing style. If you grip like most right-handed writers and write with your hand below your writing line, than any Lamy fountain pen will probably be just fine.

And honestly, almost all the standard writing nibs are fine for left-handed writers. Don’t let anyone tell you you need a special left-handed nib! You don’t need a special fork to eat your salad or a special spoon to eat your ice cream any more than you need a special nib to write.

You may want to have a peek at some of the previous Ask the Desk posts where I covered the left-handed topic as well, which is forever close to my left-handed heart!

Pranay asks:

Which are the best ‘sheening’ inks?

While there is not one specific brand that makes only sheening inks, there are a several inks that you must have if you are looking for sheening inks. In the process of collecting information, I found MacchiatoMan’s post about Sheen vs. Shimmer which is a great reference point.

Right now, the big favorites are:

  • Robert Oster Fire & Ice: this is the king god Mo’ Fo’ of sheeny teal blues. It’s not very expensive at $16 through most online ink shops and it sheens in almost every pen from the EF-iest to the widest calligraphy nib. There are several other Oster colors with great sheening properties: Torquay,
  • Sailor Jentle inks have some good sheening colors. Sakura Mori, Irori, Oku-Yama, and Yama Budo are a few of my favorites. (Matt at the Pen Habit has a good review of Oku-Yama and Macchiato Man included a great image of (Correction: Pilot Iroshizuku Yama Budo and) Apricot on his post.)
  • Waterman actually has several sheening colors though they are seldom mentioned. Tender Purple, Harmonious Green and Inspired Blue come to mind.
  • It seems a bit unfair to mention it, but last year’s “must have” ink Lamy Dark Lilac sheen a ton. Unfortunately, its sold out and impossible to find now.
  • And it turns out some of the Caran d’Ache Chromatics sheen too!

There are certainly others that I haven’t mentioned and I am SURE I forgot something but I bet someone will remind me in the comments.


Link Love: Night Owl Edition




Paper & Notebooks:

Art & Supplies:

Other interesting things:


Sailor Jentle Four Seasons Inks

I officially have a really bad case of completionism (which apparently is not a word in the dictionary but should be!). After missing out on several of the colors in the original release of the Sailor Jentle Four Seasons set, I bought all the colors in the second release as soon as they were available and when it was announced that Sailor was re-releasing the original series, I bought them all, even the colors I already had — just in case the colors might have shifted or changed.

For the record, they have not.

I had a bottle of the ever-coveted Apricot, Yama-Dori, and Grenade and the new bottle colors are identical. Those are also three of the most popular colors so I am glad to report that if you missed out in the first batch, you can happily buy the re-release and bask in the sheen-y glory!

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Montegrappa Felicita Fountain Pen in Sugar Pink Dust

Montegrappa Felicita Fountain Pen in Sugar Pink Dust

The Montegrappa Felicitá (pronounced “fella-cheetah” which I learned thanks to the fine fellas at Kenro over drinks in Chicago) is a lovely new line of smaller scale, pearlescent fountain pens. The overall look of these pens is beautiful and somewhat understated from a brand known for doing some pretty elaborate designs. As a result, the price point on this pen is actually pretty reasonable with the average purchase price around $200US.

The Felicitá comes in four colors: Sugar Pink Dust, Jellybon Ocean, Caramel Gold, and Red Velvet. I decided to get the cotton candy pink-like Sugar Pink Dust. I mean really, how could I resist? I do keep calling it Pink Sugar though by accident.

The Jellybon Ocean reminds me of blue velvet and the Caramel Gold looks like sunlight sparkling off sand at the beach and the Red Velvet really does live up to its name so it was hard to choose a color. The fact that Montegrappa went out on a limb and made such a playful color as Sugar Pink Dust though made me compelled to get it.

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Desk News & Beyond

Desk News & Beyond

Shop Updates:

If you’ve been waiting to purchase a Col-o-ring, the wait is over! The shop is not only stocked with Col-o-ring books but we are adding other products back to the inventory as well including some choice stationery goodies like the Star Chart note cards. These cards are a joint-venture from Skylab Letterpress and The Well-Appointed Desk and feature multilingual “thank you” messages for all your galactic sending needs.

Edit: To our friends across the pond, Cult Pens has Col-o-rings available (and currently featured on their home page which make me flippin’ giddy!) so many of our UK and EU pals now have a source  for their inky needs! In Canada, Wonder Pens is stocking Col-o-rings and will gladly help our friends to the north. Down Under, Notemaker in Australia and Pen Classics in New Zealand should soon have Col-o-rings available. Col-o-rings are invading the world! Who would have ever guessed such a thing?

Blog Improvements:

Did you notice there’s been a bit of a facelift around here? Besides updating the looks of the design a bit, there’s also been improvements made in the background to help make searching the copious archive of posts a little bit easier.

The fonts have been updated to (hopefully) be more readable and the whole design is now more consistent across all platforms: desktop, tablet and mobile. I’m really pleased with the look ad I hope you will be too.

If you look up in the top menu bar, you’ll notice that as you scroll up and down, the menu bar at the top will stay visible. It has the search bar in the far right corner and hot links to the refill guide, guide sheets, ink reviews, pen reviews and a new separate category for fountain pen reviews!

You’ll also notice that there are now featured posts at the top of the blog. Above the fold, so to speak, special posts will be featured for a week or so. Giveaways, new products, hot reviews, pen shows or other notable stories will be featured there so they won’t be missed.

It was time to retire the old template as it broke every time there was an update to WordPress so hopefully this version will be able to grow with us.


DeAtramentis Pearlescent Inks:

While they may be a little late to the game, DeAtramentis has finally decided to try their hand at making a line of sparkle inks. They’ve divided their ink colors into Pearlescent Gold, Pearlescent Silver and Pearlescent Copper flake bases. Then they offer eight ink colors with each sparkle: Whisky Brown, Amber Yellow, Helio Green, Cyan Blue, Camellia Red, Brilliant Violet, Magenta Red, and Velvet Black.

YStudio Pens:

Finally, a retailer in the US is stocking YStudio fountain pens. Vanness Pens is carrying the YStudio Brassing fountain pens, ballpoint and mechanical pencil. I reviewed the portable fountain pen awhile back and I’m still enamored with it.

Ink Academy:

Ink Academy is a crowd-funded campaign to create an online calligraphy school. Master Penman and one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, Michael Sull will be the academic director of the school. There are also a host of other amazing calligraphers involved in the project including a former White House calligrapher. The project has about a week left to fund and a long way to go to meet its funding needs. Whether you have a desire to learn calligraphy yourself or just an appreciation for the art form, it’s definitely a project worth some consideration.

Pen World:  June Issue 2017

The June issue of Pen World magazine hits newsstands on Tuesdays. This issue features articles all about paper including my first published article in the magazine: an interview with Bullet Journal creator Ryder Carroll. There’s a sneak peek of the article below but to see the whole magazine, hop over the the Pen World web site and subscribe or visit your local book shop or newsstand an pick up a copy soon.

Fashionable Friday: I’ll See You Again… in 25 Years

Many people, myself included, never expected that Twin Peaks would be revived as was hinted in the cryptic final scene statement, “I’ll see you again in twenty five years.” But lo and behold, thanks to the new world of Starz, HBO, Hulu and Amazon video production, it’s become possible for shows like Twin Peaks to come back. So, for weirdo nerds like me, I can find out if a show like Twin Peaks which was so epic in its day can live up to its reputation or if trying to bring it back will somehow tarnish its glory when so many other shows have taken what Twin Peaks built on and gone further. Still, to see the Double R Diner, the old Packard Mill and that familiar landscape of Twin Peaks to the strains of Angelo Badalamenti’s hauntingly beautiful music.

  • Funko POP Television Twin Peaks Agent Cooper Action Figure $20.90 (via Amazon)
  • Diane Tape Recorder Lapel Pin $8 (via Secret Flair Club)
  • Great Northern Key Tag by Greenwich Letterpress $6.50 (via Little Otsu)
  • Pelikan Souverän M800 Fountain Pen Renaissance Special Edition € 490 (€ 404,96 Outside EU) (via Fontoplumo)
  • Butler Pen Pot in Walnut $38 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Zig Zag Chevron Black/Grey Washi Tape $2 per roll (via CuteTape)
  • Robert Oster “Double R Diner” Caffe Crema Ink (50ml Bottle) $16 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Black as Midnight on a Moonless Night Print $20 (via Lil Tuffy)
  • J. Herbin Café des Îles Ink (Island “Damn Fine” Coffee Brown) (30 ml Bottle) $11.25 (via JetPens)
  • Aurora Duo Cart Fountain Pen – Bordeaux with Gold Trim $180 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Deconstructed Sketchbooks with “Reclaimed Packard Sawmill Wood” cover $18 (via Sapori)
  • Pilot Prera “Wrapped in Plastic” Fountain Pen in Black $56 (via Pen Chalet)
  • Custom InkTober + Denik Spiral “Black Lodge” Sketchbook $18 (via ArtSnacks)

Thanks to my sponsors for providing some of the images I use for Fashionable Friday (my apologies for the creative liberties with the thematic names). 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.