12 Days of Inkmas: Robert Oster Peppermint

12 Days of Inkmas: Robert Oster Peppermint

On the third day of Inkmas, this ink nerd couldn’t resist breaking out the holiday appropriate Robert Oster Peppermint ($17 for 50ml bottle)!

When I first started reviewing Robert Oster inks I worried about the tall skinny bottle being difficult to use as it got used up but I have one bottle that has gotten down to the bottom quarter (I have been sharing it among friends) and the mouth of the bottle is really wide enough to get most full-sized pens with a full-sized converter or a piston mechanism all the way to the bottom without too much trouble. You may need to rest your fingers on the lip of the bottle for stability so you may end up with inky fingers but we are used to the by now, right?

Now, about this holiday appropriate Peppermint ink! Who doesn’t love a little bit of peppermint at the holidays? Wouldn’t it be lovely if it was peppermint scented? Oster Peppermint captures the deep green hue with just a hint of blue undertone AND a reddish sheen. What could be more holiday than that? The ink has a good deal of shading too. As I dipped my testing pen, I was able to get a range of colors which demonstrated the array of shading possibilities from a fine nib which would skew darker to a wider pen which would show more shading variation.

In my swatch comparison, Oster Peppermint is very similar to Waterman Harmonious Green ($11.30 for 50ml), even the sheen is there. So, if you have a vintage pen you’d like to use a holiday-inspired ink, you could easily substitute Waterman. DeAtramentis Sandalwood (scented) ($13 for 35ml) might add a little Wise Men to your festivities. Private Reserve Spearmint ($11 for 66ml bottle) and Avacado (sic) seemed too dark to be festive but might be appropriate in a business setting.


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

12 Days of Inkmas: MontBlanc Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

12 Days of Inkmas: MontBlanc Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

On the second day of Inkmas, the true nerd brought to you:

An ink from the author of The Little Prince! Honestly, that is all I knew about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry which I’m sure makes me poorly educated about the author so I read his wikipedia page. So now I know that besides being the recipient of a limited edition MontBlanc ink, I also know that he was a pilot and a hero to the French. So, let’s talk about the ink.

The MontBlanc Anotine de Saint-Exupéry ink ($43) is in my favorite faceted 50ml square glass bottle.  It’s really a lovely,distinctive bottle.

The box mentioned that the color was “desert” but obviously the color is more reddish burgundy than brown which is what I would associate with a desert. To be honest, this is the color I wanted to see in the Shakespeare ink that was released by MontBlanc earlier this year.

The ink shows some nice shading and color variation and the rich burgundy, plummy color is lovely.

Compared with other inks in the same color family, Diamine Syrah ($14.95 for 80ml) and Callifolio Grenat are probably the closest in color. Syrah is slightly more red and Grenat is slightly more purple. Robert Oster Claret is not as vibrant. As you can see the Shakespeare Velvet Red is not really red at all but a red black.

In conclusion, the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is a very expensive ink in comparison to other options in the same color family but if you are looking for a good gift ink for someone who loves The Little Prince or who is a fan of little luxuries like a bottle of burgundy ink in a fancy bottle, then this might be the perfect holiday gift. If you’re on a budget though, you might consider one of the other inks above as an alternative and a copy of The Little Prince instead.


Link Love: The One with All the Planners




Paper & Notebooks:

Planners & Organizers:

Other Interesting Things:

Eye Candy: Karas Pen Co. Decograph 1703 Wintergreen Fountain Pen

Eye Candy: Karas Pen Co. Decograph 1703 Wintergreen Fountain Pen

The Karas Pen Co. 1703 Special Edition Decograph “Winter’s Tale” (starting at $165) in wintergreen is the most recent addition to the new line of thermoplastic-based fountain pens. This limited edition color is just in time for the holidays with its crisp, refreshing evergreen with a glittery frosty white streak shot through it beside a black trail.

The 1703 maintains all the same features of the original Decograph fountain pens.

The only change is the color which has been limited to a run of 60 which is laser etched below the threads after the “1703-XXX”.

Have you been naughty or nice?

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

12 days of Inkmas: Robert Oster Darkstar Blue

12 days of Inkmas: Robert Oster Darkstar Blue

Welcome to the first day of Inkmas! Its a tradition I started but have not been as good at keeping up as I had hoped so I am bringing it back this year. For me, its a great way to share some long overdue ink reviews and hopefully, for you its a chance for a stationery blog to do it’s best to feel a little bit seasonally appropriate.

So today, I start with a rare bird indeed though not a partridge. It’s Robert Oster DarkStar Blue (£9.99 per bottle). It’s a color made especially for DarkStar Collection in the UK known for their notebooks.

This color is a solid blue black ink. Unlike many of Robert Oster’s inks known for their sheening properties, DarkStar Blue is a classic blue black that is reserved. It does shade nicely with wider nibs to create some nice contrasts.  Overall, its a “nightsky” blue as stated in their description. One might even say “It came upon a midnight clear”?

Compared with other notable blue black inks in my collection, I would say that DarkStar Blue was closest to Parker Quink Blue Black and Kyo-No-Oto #5 Aonibi with Parker being ever so slightly more vivid and Kyo-no-oto being slightly more muted. Pricewise that seems about right too with Parker being a bit less expensive, Oster being the mid-range and Kyo-no-oto being the most expensive of the three. The Sheaffer was darker overall as was the Caran d’Ache.

If you are looking for an ink that is not in regular rotation and harder to acquire than most (whether for yourself or as a gift), then DarkStar Blue is definitely something to pick up. It’s also a good solid blue black if you like a good classic color. If you are looking for another super-sheeny Oster ink, then this is not for you. Parker Quink Blue Black actually has more sheen.


Ask The Desk: Manager’s Planner & Road Tripping Young Artist

Brandon asks:

Long time reader and I wanted your opinion on something. I am a full time student and I am about to start a job as a manager. Unfortunately, my organizational skills are nonexistent! Do you have a suggestion on a planner that can help me get on track?.

Brandon, I conferred with our resident organizational expert Laura, who is an executive assistant by day, to get you some tips for getting focused first. She recommended that, no matter what planner you end up choosing, to pick a day of the week and set aside some time to brain dump tasks, to-dos and any other issues you need to handle for the week. Whether that’s the last hour of the day on Friday, Sunday night or first thing Monday morning spend 30 minutes to an hour going over the tasks, to-do’s, emails, and meeting requests so you can prepare to lead your new team with specific assignments and tasks. Then if you have things pop up throughout the week that you are not sure when, who or how you need to handle them, just write them on sticky notes and put them in the front of your planner and then transfer them to a specific day or task list on your brain dump day. That way, you don’t have to make a decision about the task immediately but you have captured it so it’s not forgotten.

A lot of these tips are straight out of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I highly recommend either reading the book, listening to the audiobook or finding some of the videos of him presenting the content on YouTube. Merlin Mann created an edited version of Getting Things Done (GTD) which he called 43 Folders. It was a podcast and website which is now dormant but has some great content as well.

As for a planner, you may want to determine what you need to track. Especially if you are just starting in the position, you might want to use a make shift Bullet Journal system for the first couple weeks until you know exactly how much you will need to track. The most customizable option would be Agendio which allows you to choose the format, size and even which month you start the calendar on. If you want something more pre-formatted, Quo Vadis offers a whole range of planners in a range of sizes and they all use Clairefontaine paper (known for being fountain pen friendly).

And from our road-tripping family man:

Hello! My family preparing for a long road trip for Christmas, and we’re hoping to keep our young children occupied. My 5 year-old loves using my “fancy pens” and “fancy pencils”, and she loves drawing and writing. She’s requested a spiral notebook for the car ride so she has plenty to write on, and specifically for colored pencils, as she is bothered that her markers can bleed through the page and “put little dots on the page under it”. (I am SOOOOOO proud of her!) I heard you discussing Crayola products on The Pen Addict Gift Guide, and I’d love to get her some. Do you have any recommendations for which Crayola Colored Pencils might work well on a road trip, and maybe more importantly, for a sharpener that will work well with these pencils and has plenty of capacity to hold the shavings for use in the car?

Many thanks from the father of a budding writer and artist-


For starters, I’d recommend a sketchbook-grade spiral notebook for your budding artist. Maybe a Canson XL Mixed Media Pad would be a great option and would help eliminate the bleed through issues. These pads are often available at local craft shops as well which means you can use coupons! They are not particularly pricey to begin with and come in a variety of sizes as well. Any art supply shop or craft store can recommend a good wirebound sketchbook that will make your budding artist feel like a pro too.

With Crayola Colored Pencils, stick with the classics. The Premium variety have not been given the best reviews. They are just charging more money for mediocre product. Should you want to upgrade at some point, I’d move to Prismacolor in a couple years. They are not all that much more expensive if you shop around but they are pretty soft and the leads will break under heavy pressure. And I’d hold off on the Watercolor variety until your young artist is not in the car.

The Twistables got mixed reviews from my co-workers with kids. The points aren’t sharp — they are more crayon ends for coloring. There are also crayon versions as well as the colored pencil style Twistables, so if you go this route be sure you check the package so you know if you are getting the pencils vs. the crayons. The Twistable colored pencils can be sharpened with a lead pointer but, its a bit more finicky (the KUM 2-step sharpener is available with a lead pointer but that’s more of a “Dad, will you sharpen these for me?” sharpener). Also, if your kids get bored, they may twist the Twistable all the way out until they break (that’s a warning from a mom with two rambunctious boys). With less ornery kids Twistables can be a sharpener-free option if they are okay with a duller point.

As for sharpeners, I enlisted the help of the Erasable podcast Facebook group and they helped find a lot of good options. These are all still small, handheld sharpeners but with enough capacity to make it from one pit stop to another until you can empty them.

Options for large capacity sharpeners:

You may also want to bring along a Ziploc baggie if you need to empty shavings midway. An adult can dump shavings into the Ziploc and pass the sharpener back to the little artist for the remainder of the drive.