Product Review: Art Snacks May 2017 Subscription Box

Product Review: Art Snacks May 2017 Subscription Box

The May ArtSnacks subscription box was my turn to review a box since Tina is traveling the Italian countryside. This box was probably a bit more to my taste than hers anyway so it probably all worked out. Acrylic paint isn’t exactly urban sketch-friendly.

This month featured a tube of Liquitex heavy body acrylic paint in Muted Pink. I fell in love with the limited edition inks that Liquitex did last year in the muted colors so I can see why they decided to try the formula with their acrylic paints.

I’m more inclined to mix colors with paints and I like fluid acrylics better than heavy body, especially for everyday use but I can see the appeal. And it’s pretty easy to thin these heavy body paints down with water or mediums into a thinner glaze for more mileage. Besides, the tube fits into the classic ArtSnacks box a lot easier than a Liquitex liquid acrylic bottle. I got the color Muted Pink which is very “dried blood” color or if you are more inclined “brick red”.

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News & Follow-Up

In Sad News:

Susan Wirth’s obituary can be found in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Janesville Press-Gazette.

I am continuing to receive photos and stories for the book I’m putting together. If you’d like to contribute, please email me. Details in the previous post.

In Other Sad News:

Dan Smith’s pen case was stolen in Chicago. There is information regarding the serial numbers and individual items in the Instagram photos and link below. If you see any of the pens listed for sale on eBay or any of the online boards, please notify Dan.

PLEASE HELP! On Thursday, May 4th, approximately $40,000 worth of fountain pens were stolen out of my vehicle in Chicago near the Adler Planetarium. A list of easily identifiable pens with serial numbers is provided below with more details, images, and the entire list of items stolen provided at my website. If you happen to come across any of these items, please let me know. There will be a reward for information leading to the recovery of any of my pens. I would greatly appreciate it if you could share this information with others. 1. Franklin-Christoph Penvelope 13 in Boot Brown 2. Markiaro 44 pen leather briefcase 3. Aurora 12 pen, black clam-shell case 4.Aurora 85th Anniversary, medium nib (don't recall serial number) 5. Montblanc Hemingway Writers Edition, oblique broad nib 6. Montblanc Charles Dickens Writers Edition, medium nib 7. Classic Pens LB5 Tensui (blue) w/ chrome trim, medium nib, Serial Number: #00/50 8. Sailor King of Pen ebonite, King Eagle nib 9. Nakaya Long Piccolo, medium (had custom lettering on barrel) 10. Nakaya Naka-ai, XXF 11. Nakaya NeoStandard medium Color: Araishu (orange), gold trim 12. Visconti Homo Sapiens Corsani 90th Anniversary, broad nib, Serial Number: #49/90 13. Pelikan M1005 Demo, 3B two-tone nib 14. Pelikan Silver Screen, EF nib, Serial Number: #260/420 15. Aurora 88 Nebulosa, Serial Number: #626/888 16. Aurora 88 Sigaro, Serial Number: #341/888 17. Aurora 88 Sole, Serial Number: #170/888 18. Aurora Optima Green Auroloid, fine flex nib(!), gold trim 19. Aurora Optima Monviso, medium nib, Serial Number: #48/360 20. Montegrappa Ducale Grande, stub nib, Serial Number: #76/888

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In Good News:

I’ll end with some good news because we need something uplifting this week, don’t we?

Col-o-ring Ink Testing books are being used by folks all over the world in new and exciting ways. Leigh Reyes is dipping the ends of the cards in her ink bottles for a great look and a quick way to sample her inks.

Col-o-rings are back in stock in my Big Cartel shop as well as being stocked in many of your favorite locations like:

and coming soon to:

So, folks overseas will finally have some options to get Col-o-rings outside the US! More European and US vendors are coming on board soon too so stay tuned!

Col-o-rings will also be available at the D.C. and San Francisco Pen Shows for sure, more details to follow as the shows get closer.

In Memory of Susan Wirth

(Image from the Long Island Pen Show Web Site, circa 2009)

On Monday afternoon, the pen community received devastating news that Susan Wirth, the Godmother of Pen Shows, Queen of Ink, and someone I like to think of as a friend, passed away.

My “word of the day” today was “moxie” and it couldn’t be a more appropriate word to remember Susan because she had it in spades. Courage, nerve, pep and know-how… that’s how the word moxie is defined and it’s exactly how I would describe Susan Wirth. She had a wealth of knowledge about fountain pens that she was willing to share and fearless courage and energy that put people half her age to shame.

She held court on Sunday in Chicago with all the verve and passion that we all remember her having so I am glad to know that she did not suffer long and that her last days were happy, doing what she loved, surrounded by people that “got her” and sharing her knowledge and passions.

According to announcements on the Pen Addict Announcements, there will be a family service in Milwaukee next week. An obituary will published on Sunday in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

There will be a pen show memorial at the DC pen show in August this year. More details will become available as the event comes closer.

I’d like to collect images, stories or anecdotes to put together a book to share in DC. If you have photos or a story you’d like to contribute, please email them to me at I’d be most grateful.

Link Love: A Very Inky Week

Col-o-Ring News!




Paper & Notebooks:

Other Interesting Things:

Link artwork by Chris Grine, illustrator of the web comic Wicked Crispy AND Time Shifters which is due to be released May 30, 2017 by Scholastic! Go, Chris! Now go order a copy!

Giveaway Winner: Baron Fig Confidant Metamorphosis

Congrats to:

our winner of the Baron Fig Confidant Metamorphosis! I’ve contacted Mark via email so he can get started on his commonplace book in his new Metamporphosis this week, should he so choose.

I got home from Chicago last night so timely posts should resume tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy this photo of me with Matt from The Pen Habit and Brad from Pen Addict. The one moment the three of us actually stood still all weekend during the pen show. We worked our butts off but we had a great time, sold lots of ink, pens and pen cases and met lots of great people and probably ate and drank a bit too much. More soon!

My First Fountain Pen(s)

Review by Laura Cameron

I’m new around here, but I have a confession to make: I might be addicted to pens.

From left to right: Retro 51 Tornado Rollerball in Pink, Twinkle and Fountain Pen, Pilot Metropolitan Pops in Turquoise and Lime and TWSBI Eco in Lime.

I’ve been around pen enthusiasts for years. My father can always be found with a pen in his shirt pocket and, more often than not, it’s a fountain pen with a fine nib and peacock blue ink.  When I moved to Kansas City almost a decade ago, Ana and I met through other shared interests (knitting and tea), but it wasn’t long before I was a regular reader of the Well-Appointed Desk.

Almost two years ago now, I had a taste of my first gateway drug: a Retro 51 Tornado Rollerball. It was pink and I was in love. It wrote so smoothly, and I loved the weight of the metal pen in my hand. It wasn’t long before another Retro came to live in my house. This time it was the Retro Tornado Limited Edition Twinkle.  I saw it and I had to have one.

It took a little longer for me to move onto the “hard stuff.” I’m a left-hander and all I remembered from trying fountain pens as a kid was that I smeared the ink all over my hands and I thought fountain pens were fussy.  

But in late 2016, while listening to the Pen Addict and idly browsing Pen Chalet, I found a deal that was too good to pass up. I ordered a Lamy Safari in Dark Lilac and a box of the Dark Lilac Ink to match. 

And I hated it. I feel bad even saying that, but it just wasn’t a good match for me. I really disliked the angled (molded) grip the most, but I also didn’t how lightweight it felt. I used it halfheartedly for a few weeks and then sold it to what I hope was its forever home.

I mulled my options over. And then I went back to my favorite dealer and ordered something I hoped I would truly love: a Retro Tornado Medium Nib in Black Cherry. It arrived and I took a few weeks to load it with ink, afraid that I’d be let down once again. I don’t even think I told Ana I was experimenting with pens and inks. Eventually, I loaded it with a black cartridge and played a little bit. The feel was SO much better. I really wanted the weight of a metal pen in my hand, and a smooth grip really pleased me. The medium nib let the ink flow beautifully.

Then I saw several reviews of Robert Oster’s Fire & Ice and I wanted that particular ink so badly. I had to wait until it was back in stock, but finally it was mine. And it was a perfect match. I’ve been trying other pens lately, contemplating additional purchases, but I still go back to the Tornado most of the time. I just can’t beat the “high” of the right pen and ink.

A few weeks ago Ana generously lent me a few other pens to try out. One was a Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop Turquoise with a fine nib. I immediately gravitated towards this one because it was more of what I liked: a metal body that had some weight to it, a round smooth grip, and a nib that let ink flow smoothly. Another confession: within a few days of testing Ana’s out, I had ordered a green one for myself.

The second pen I had been jonesing for was a TWSBI Eco. This one was obviously a little different in terms of materials and style than what I knew I liked, but I was fascinated by the clear model where you could just twist it to load the ink. I dithered about purchasing one until Ana offered me hers to try.  At first I wasn’t sure about it. The TWSBI is a bigger pen than either the Retro or the Pilot, and of course it’s a plastic body.  But I used it for a few days and it grew on me so I expect one to come live with me soon. Ana’s TWSBI Eco has a fine nib and that was probably the least pleasant nib I tested. I found it to feel kind of scratchy on paper, so I’m looking forward to trying one with a medium nib to see if that feels better.

The final pen that I wanted to play with was a freebie that I received from Goldspot with my first order. It was a Jinhao 599A Orange Demonstrator pen. It didn’t have any of my preferred options (it’s plastic, it has an angled [molded] grip, etc.) but I eagerly inked it up with a sample ink and wanted to test it.  However, I was really disappointed because it leaked everywhere. I think the seal between the feed and the barrel was defective because I kept ending up with ink blobs on my page every time I pulled it out. Since it was a freebie I have to admit I chucked it.

I’ve enjoyed a lot of things about this new addiction of mine. First of all, there are some really lovely pen people who have a lot of knowledge and are generous about sharing that knowledge. I have added quite a few blogs and Instagram feeds to my daily routine, and I’ve also found some great stores to work with. All of the pens that I’ve spoken about above are available for less than $50, which I consider to be a reasonable starting fee. The Pilot Metropolitan is a steal at under $15 (via Jetpens) and looks and feels fun to boot. I’ve really enjoyed learning about what features I like the most and I’ve also enjoyed spending the time with analog tools. I spend so much of my day typing, that it’s nice to get back to writing with nice pens and ink. I’ve also noticed my writing style change. In the last several years I’ve developed a very heavy hand. I grip my pen fairly hard, and I tend to press down hard on paper when writing. I don’t know that I was aware I was doing it, except now I’m lighter and easier with a fountain pen, I am happier with the results.

So, I guess the only question is what’s my next pen?

(Editors Note: Today is Laura’s birthday and her first post here on The Well-Appointed Desk so please leave her lots of nice comments and a birthday wish or two, okay?)

Laura Cameron 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.

Fashionable Friday: May the Fourth Be With You

In honor of May The Fourth Be With You (AKA Star Wars Day) and a tribute to Carrie Fisher, I thought I’d do Fashionable Friday early this week and focus on my favorite theme: Star Wars. Pens inspired by C3P0 and Dark Vader, pencil cases designed to look like my favorite droid R2-D2 and some accessories that are rebel-centric. Of course, you can always embrace your Dark Side, I’ve heard they have cookies.

  • Star Wars enamel pin – Fly Casual Han Solo Quote $10 (via RatherKeen on Etsy)
  • Star Wars enamel pin – We’re Doomed C-3PO Quote $10 (via RatherKeen on Etsy)
  • The Princess Diarist (via Amazon)
  • L’Artisan Pastellier Callifolio Heure Dorée Ink (40 ml Bottle) $12 (via JetPens)
  • Star Wars Episode 7 Funko Pop – Rey $6.38 (via Amazon)
  • Kaweco Special Brass fountain pen € 95
    (€78,51 Outside EU) (via Fontoplumo)
  • PIUMA Minimal Fountain Pen in Black Aluminum $79 (via Ensso)
  • Inkaren Corner Ring Bound Notebook in Black unlined (also available in lined with dark green cover and grid with gray cover) $16 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Loungefly x Star Wars R2-D2 Faux Leather Pencil Bag $18 (via Loungefly)
  • BB-8 necklace $17.97 (via Etsy)
  • itty bittys Star Wars Admiral Ackbar $6.95 (via
  • MT Big Black Dot & Stripe Washi Tape $3.50 per roll (via CuteTape)
  • Star Wars Rebel Alliance Luggage Tag $9.95 (via
  • Sailor Pro Gear Fountain Pen – Imperial Black, Broad Nib $472 (via Anderson Pens)