A Request for the Community

(poster by Skylab Letterpress)

Pen friends,

I hate to ask for a favor and you are under NO(!!!!) obligation whatsoever –I totally understand that everyone has financial commitments and personal causes they support– but I thought I’d throw this out:

I’m getting up early and WALKING for 30th Annual AIDS Walk Kansas City 2018 next Saturday. I’ve walked many years in the past but have never mentioned it here nor asked the pen community to support me in my effort to raise funds. 

If you would like to make a pledge (even $5 will help), you can make one here. 

The goal is to raise money to help people in KC living with HIV/AIDS and raise awareness about HIV. All the money raised stays in our local community.

I promise I’ll wear my Rainbow Brite sneakers while I walk. I will be walking with many other Hallmarkers as a team and our goal, collectively is to raise $15, 000 and we are halfway there with nine days left to meet our goal.

Can you help? Thanks so much and I promise I will not bother you again.

Planner Review: Floral Weekly Planner from Ruff House Art.

Review by Laura Cameron

As an avid crafter, I love supporting local artists.  And who better to support than a local paperie and press shop?  When I received the Floral Weekly Planner from Ruff House Art ($18), I couldn’t have been more excited to support a local artisan and plan my week.

The Floral Weekly planner is an undated spiral bound planner, perfect for those who like to make lists.  The covers are letterpress printed with a lovely floral design (front cover) and the adorable Ruff House Art logo (back cover).  Inside are 54 undated weekly planning sheets.

Desk Calendar

Desk Calendar

The desk calendar is approximately 6.5″ tall by 12″ wide, and I find it’s the perfect size to keep on my desk at work to jot down notes, appointments, reminders, to-dos and the like.

On the first page, I used my Pilot fountain pen with a super fine nib and some Robert Oster Berry D’Arche ink.  As you can see there was a bit of show through on the paper, but the ink didn’t bleed all the way through, which I consider a win, especially since I don’t plan on using the back side of the pages unless I have extreme list overflow!

Desk Calendar

Desk Calendar

On the second week, I went ahead and experimented with more fountain pen ink (Pilot Metro Pop, F nib and Diamine Purple Dream ink) as well as some of my Ink Joy gel pens.  Again, the fountain pen ink had a bit of show through, but the Ink Joy gel pens were perfect for this paper. I think it would also be great for Retro 51 ballpoints or rollerballs.

Desk Calendar

Desk Calendar

I enjoy the fact that the planner is undated so I can create my own weeks, and that the bulleted lists don’t have time slots so I can write down everything from what to make for dinner to my top five tasks for the day all in one list.  My one minor complaint is that Saturday and Sunday are grouped together.  I realize this is an area of some debate, but I tend to load up on chores and freelance work on the weekends, so having two separate days to plan would be preferable.

That said, I haven’t stopped using this desk calendar since I got it and I foresee more of these in my future.

Desk Calendar

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 Ruff House Art for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Link Love: Oops!

I’m just back from Atlanta, so I’m catching up on other people’s stories from their trips to Atlanta and Notebook Stories’ cross-country journey as well.

Be sure to check out The Pen Addict Before The Pen Addict episode of Enough that Patrick dredged up and posted on The Cramped (link is down in Other Interesting Things). I think you can even play a round of TPABingo with it.

Been missing Art Supply Posse? I continue to try to include links about creativity and art supplies here and the new Make Do podcast might help fill the gap. But if you still crave more, check out the new Artsupia – Art Supplies in Action art supply online forum put together by Marcus Clearspring. He was a fan of the podcast and is now the creator of a new line of notebooks and truly creative soul.The forum has been in soft beta for a couple months and is ready for more users. So come over and request access and join us.




Notebooks & Paper:

Art Supplies & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

First Look: Banmi “Color Ink Gift Series” 12-Color Ink Set

Review by Laura Cameron

I’m not going to lie.  When Ana handed me the beautiful box of Banmi inks to swatch for a first look, I was sure I’d hit the jackpot.  Ban Mi inks are produced by a Chinese company and are the latest in gold dust inks that are becoming super popular.

Ban Mi Ink

Though you can purchase Banmi inks separately ($6.90 per 15mL bottle), the box set includes 12 inks ($60.90 via YesStyle). Banmi actually produces more than 12 colorways (ed. note: knitterspeak for “color combinations”), so each box is its own mini-adventure to see what you get, although I am informed that the Dragon colorway is included in every box.

Ban Mi Ink

The color palette includes quite a few bright standard shades of ink, all represented by animals on the front of the bottle. In Ana’s particular box, the only color family I felt like was missing was orange.  Otherwise we had a range of greens and blues, yellow, red, pinks and purples, and brown and black.

Ban Mi Ink

Ban Mi Ink

The gold dust ink is somewhat subtle and hard to capture for me.  When the bottles sit for any length of time, the dust accumulates so you know it is in there. But once you shake the bottle and use the ink the sparkle is so subtle it is super hard to see and photograph.  I found that most of my samples showed no sparkle, but then they dried and that sparkle was there when the light hit just right.  My camera (or really rather the photographer) just can’t do it justice.

Ban Mi Ink

Ban Mi Ink

Overall, this was a fun set to get a sneak peek into!

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.

Sketchbook Review: Clairefontaine Goldline Multi-Techniques A5

I’ve been testing the Clairefontaine Goldline Multi-technique A5 sketchbook for sometime now. It was something that was brought to my attention specifically after I bemoaned that Exacompta was no longer making a blank refill that contained excellent paper for sketching and drawing.

The book contains 140g/65lb smooth white paper and a classic “oil cloth” cover. The only branding is a sticker on the cover which looks fairly easy to remove.

The pages are inset so the edges are protected and the cover binding looks clean and well-made.

I did regular pen tests though the paper is a bit heavier than necessary to be used for a writing notebook. If you are combining sketching and drawing, you’ll find the paper is more than pleasant enough for writing.

For watercolor, it is definitely closer to hot press because it is a smooth finish but for street sketches, it did not buckle too much for as many pages as you get for the price.

For mixed tool use is where the paper really shines. This is a page of combination doodles with watercolor, fountain pen, and ink washes. The paper is smooth but not glassy which meant that I maintained control of my pen work and still got good values from ink and watercolor.

This last photo shows a little bit of the paper bowing. As you can see, its not too bad. The board covers will help to flatten the paper back out as well but for 65lb paper the warping is very minimal. I was also able to use both sides of the paper with little to no show through.

These sketchbooks retail for $18 which is on par with Stillman & Birn and other brands of this quality. They are not currently available in the US however. The Goldline is Clairefontaine’s fine art line which I’d love to see more brought to the US. I think this sketchbook would be a good first step. Fellow sketchers and artists, would you be interested in Clairefontaine USA importing these? I would!

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