One Book July 2017

One Book July 2017

Last year, I attempted (and mostly succeeded) in participating in the One Book July challenge. Most of the conversation about it occurs over on YouTube and was the brainchild of Carie Harling, MissVickieBee and Rhomany’s Realm (all video links).

If you have stalled out in your daily journaling, planning, drawing, writing or just felt like you need a bit of a kick start to get back to basics, the One Book July Challenge is a great chance to commit to a specific notebook or planning system and figure out if it works for you. Always wanted to try bullet journaling? Have a beautiful Filofax that’s been languishing in a cupboard? Have a Traveler’s Notebook cover and a stack of inserts you keep waiting for the perfect time to use? This is it.

In the US, we are looking towards a long holiday weekend this weekend giving many folks a bit of downtime to streamline and reflect. The weather predictions here in Kansas City are foreboding so working on my journal/planner/notebook is an optimal use of the upcoming few days.

stack of notebooks
The current notebook problem!

At the moment, I’m carrying both a new Roterfaden (I’ll have more information about this in an upcoming post, I promise!) and a Traveler’s Notebook plus a pocket-sized Traveler’s Notebook and my sketchbook which doesn’t necessarily travel (I have one at home and one at work). So, some streamlining is in order for sure.

I feel like the pocket notebook is exempt as its the “jot down a quick note” cover for when I carry nothing else. When I go out for dinner, groceries or shopping, I take my wallet, keys, phone and the pocket-sized TN. But am I kidding myself? Should I throw a few index cards in my wallet instead?

So, I’m going to try to pare down and focus. I’m also going to try to do a little 30 day drawing project in July from an old issue of Flow magazine. It’s from Issue 13, One Letter A Day to get back into the habit of drawing more regularly.

What are your plans?

One Book July Traveler's Notebook

(FYI: This is the Paper Geek Co Fauxdori cover)

News: Field Notes, Crayola & More

Field Notes 35 Campfire Colors Edition

Field Notes:

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Field Notes has released their summer Colors Editions, the 35th quarterly edition, Campfire Edition. If you don’t subscribe yet, there’s still time. I just want the patch! Hopefully, mine will arrive soon. I just got shipping update info that said the package left Chicago but it often travels to Milwaukee first before it gets routed to Kansas City which means with the holiday weekend, I won’t see it until sometime after the 4th. Boo.


Crayola Sally Hansen Nail Olish

Crayola and Sally Hansen created a line of nail polish inspired by your favorite crayon colors. There are twelve shades including the recently retired Dandelion yellow. They should be available on July 1.  (via AltPress)

I guess I’ll paint my nails while I wait for my Field Notes.


Our pals over a Karas Kustoms/Karas Pen Co. are taking a little summer vacation. Their shop will be closed from July 1st through July 9th. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still place orders on their online site and save few bucks in the process. From Friday, June 30th through July 10th, use the coupon code USA2017 to receive 15% off your entire purchase. That’s darn right patriotic of them, isn’t it? Orders will ship out when they return, sunburned with a little sand still in the shoes.

Link Love: Primsmatic Pencils & Too Much Pen Addict

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Product Review: Dee Charles Leather Pen Sleeve

Product Review: Dee Charles Leather Pen Sleeve

I’ve never owned a leather pen sleeve that wasn’t something that came with a pen purchase. So when I was offered the opportunity to try a “nice” pen sleeve from Dee Charles to carry my Aurora Optima, I leapt at the chance. The Dee Charles single pen sleeve in Midnight Gold ($19.80) is a thick black leather with a warm yellow-white stitching. It’s definitely not floppy leather!

The Aurora Optima is not a huge pen and it fits comfortably in the sleeve. If anything, I’d describe it as an average sized fountain pen. I image most regular fountain pens will fit the sleeve. Lengthwise, there is plenty more room. I suspect that if you had a particularly large pen, you may have issues.

By squeezing the sides, it was easy to slide the pen in and out of the sleeve but I had no concerns that once in the sleeve, my pen would come out unintentionally. The suede definitely is grippy enough inside to keep the pen from moving around.

I hope I don’t sound too ridiculous writing up a review of a pen sleeve but this is honestly my first experience with one and I was pleasantly surprised with how effective it was. It also made me feel a lot more comfortable about taking my most precious pens out and about in the world which I don’t often do because I didn’t have a good way to carry it that felt secure and protected from scratches.

I like that the leather is clean and simple and understated. Its not flashy and doesn’t say “there’s something expensive in here”. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced option to protect your pen investments but not looking to carry your whole collection, the Dee Charles single pen sleeve or the double pen sleeve ($25.50) might be an option for you.

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

Notebook Review: Paper-Oh Notebooks

Notebook Review: Paper-Oh Notebooks

Review by Tina Koyama

When I first visited Paper-Oh’s site, I was immediately struck by the beauty of its products. The notebook designs all have an elegant Japanese look – refined and understated, even when bold colors and elements are used. (Their promotional information does refer to Japanese gift-wrapping and paper-folding inspiration.) Although they’re just ephemeral softcover notebooks like so many others, they are about as different as any I’ve seen. Unlike stapled stacks of paper, they look like “real” books.

While poking around the site, picking out my favorite products, I found a video talking about their story, and then it all made sense. The designers see themselves as bookbinders – not notebook producers – and their love for the art of bookbinding shows. As a dabbler in book arts myself, I was intrigued by the spark of something different in Paper-Oh.

Although I wasn’t able to find out where the binding is done, the books are designed in Berlin and Vancouver and printed in China.

Paper-Oh (a division of Hartley & Marks) offers seven distinct lines of notebooks in various sizes, colors and binding styles. I chose an A6 Puro (suggested retail $8.95) in Fuchsia, A5 Cahier (two for $12.95) in the Circulo version in black on red, and an A5 Circulo ($12.95) in red on black, all with blank pages. All styles offer the option of blank or ruled, and the Cahier is available in graph, too. As someone who prefers unruled pages for both sketching and writing, I give bonus points to any notebook maker that offers blank as an option.

Before I describe the individual styles I tested, I’ll mention a couple of things about the collection in general. Books in all styles come with a multi-purpose flexi page marker that matches the book’s cover. Rather than an attached ribbon (that many hardbound journals come with), the multi-purpose marker is loose and can be used like a traditional bookmark. It has adhesive on one end with scoring, so it can also be attached permanently to a cover and folded over, allowing for flexibility in use.
You’ve all seen the small accordion-folded booklet that comes in the pocket of every Moleskine, telling of its Bruce Chatwin legacy, etc. Paper-Oh’s insert similarly tells of the company’s design philosophy – but instead of being conventionally accordion-folded, it is irreverently folded asymmetrically, as if tossed in casually to crease on its own. This little insert expressed an insouciance that delighted me no end.

Bonus: The site includes instructions for an origami pencil holder! (OK, so I’m easily amused.)

Read More

Ask The Desk: Platinum Carbon Ink & Student Pens

Jill asks:

Does the Preppy handle the Carbon ink? Are there others or only the desk pen that can handle Carbon ink?

Short answer: YES. I have put Platinum Carbon ink in the Preppy with no issues. You can even use the Platinum Carbon cartridges in the Preppy. Easy peasy!

I’ve also put Platinum Carbon and Platinum Pigment ink in Lamy Safaris. I am not Brad Dowdy and do not practice vigilant pen maintenance. I am slack beyond words about cleaning out many of my pens. Especially the ones that have Platinum ink in them because they tend to be daily carry tools for drawing and I don’t like to have them out of circulation for the cleaning, drying and refilling window. I even let Platinum Pigment Brown dry out in a Lamy Joy, just to see if I could clean it out. And I could. Took a bit of rinsing but because I could disassemble the whole pen ad nib unit it was not a big deal. So, I think you’re safe to go forth and torture that Preppy! Throw everything you’ve got at that $5 pen!

Samuele would like to find the best non-fountain pen for a student. His criteria is very specific:

1. not to expensive * (students are poor)
2. refillable with g2 standard ballpoint refill * (everybody love standards and disposable pens are a huge waste, standards also guaranteed fine size like 0.7 that are important if you do serious math with long apex and pedix etcetera)
3. it should be not to heavy, to reduce the fatigue *
4. a good comfortable design (like lamy) but that meet the comfort of the people who doesn’t write with in the good way (not like lamy safari or pelikan twist)
5. not too thick or too thin
6. a good grip possibly
7. happy color to contrast the grey of math (lamy safari rules here)

I have two recommendations for you, Samuele. Both of these are under $20 and are available in bright colors, accept Pilot G2 refills and are lightweight.

First up is the Lamy Tipo which is plastic with a rippled plastic grip. At $12.50 it’s a bargain priced pen and according to JetPens, it accepts around 100 different refills.

Next is the Pilot Metropolitan Rollerball. Bright colors? Check. Lightweight? Aluminum. Check! Pilot G2 refills? Check. Price? 13.50.

Link Love: Nibs & Erasers




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