Giveaway Winner: Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Pink Fountain Pen and Ballpoint Set


Congrats to the winner of the Pen Boutique Monteverde Intima Neon Pink Fountain Pen & Ballpoint Set! Sounds like Kelly Anne is going to have my kind of Valentine’s Day.

The Monteverde Intima Set is still available at a great price if you want to grab one for yourself or your sweetie! Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone and Kelly Anne, give BB and Buck and extra scratch on the chin for me.

Review: Wanderings Traveler’s Notebook

I received the Wanderings Notebook to review not long ago and wanted to give a good thorough field test before I wrote my review. It will look like most of the leather, Midori-like notebooks you’ve seen on Etsy and other sites and wonder “What’s the big deal?” And that’s part of the big deal. There’s no a big deal unlike Foxy Fix, Chic Sparrow, Buteo Bunker, ZenCraft, One Star Leather or any of the other more posh brands.The Wanderings Notebook doesn’t have a lot of bells-and-whistles. There’s no pockets, extra stitching, no “extra room”, no personal size, passport size, Moleskine size, pocket size, slim size, blah blah blah…. It doesn’t come with a bunch of different colored elastic options or charms or custom embossing. To be honest, a lot of those options cause me to seize up with too-many-decisions-to-make-before-I-can-place-my-order and then I never place an order. The only branding on the Wanderings Notebook is a literal brand on the cover of a compass rose.

Right now, the Wanderings Notebook is only available in dark chocolate brown leather in the original traveler’s size (closed it’s approx. 8.5″ x 4.75″  or 22.2×12.7cm). The elastic is brown. Henry Ford would approve.You can get it any color you want as long as you want it in brown.

I decided to do a bit of a side-by-side with a regular Midor Traveler’s Notebook. The only full-sized Midori I could find was the 2015 Blue Edition Midori Traveler’s Notebook. The Wanderings Notebook is a bit wider overall than the Midori. The added bit of leather on the Wanderings strap is a noticeably nice addition. Also, the stock Wanderings elastic is a bit wider than the standard Traveler’s Notebook elastic. From the top view, you can see that the leather textures are a little bit different. The Wanderings Notebook is a bit more rustic where the Blue Edition has a smoother texture.

The leather on the Wanderings looks a bit thicker overall but its still supple. Inside my Midori Traveler’s Notebook (it as still branded Midori in 2015) is one a refills of handmade sketchbook paper and a plastic sleeve or two.

The Wanderings Notebook uses brass toggles to finish the ends of the elastics. The Wanderings Notebook also does not include any bookmarks in its notebook unlike the Traveler’s Notebook though it would not be difficult to add your own if you wanted to customize your notebook.

From the side view, you can see that the Wanderings Notebook uses the  side hole to attach the elastic for the closure which many people prefer over the back knot that the Traveler’s Notebook uses. Also, the Wanderings Notebook has the same brass noodle-like bead on the side. I prefer it to the Midori disc which sticks out away from the book quite a bit.

I tested out an assortment of my currently inked fountain pens on the notebooks that came with the Wanderings Notebooks.

The Wanderings Notebook ships with three blank inserts with kraft covers and ivory paper. I was surprised to discover that the paper was actually quite good for fountain pens. Most of my fine and medium nibs did quite well.

I usually clip a multi-pen to my Traveler’s Notebook since it ends up getting tossed around a lot or going to meetings and I like having a pen and a pencil with me. I was pleased that gel ink and pencil worked well on the paper that shipped with the cover but was equally happy to see that the paper stood up to a lot of different media.

There’s a little bit of show through on the reverse of stock but not too bad.

In the end though, with a Traveler’s Notebook cover, the most important aspect is always the durability of the cover and how well it wears and feels in your hand. The universality of the size means that finding a replacement insert is not a big deal. I will often just cut down old sketchbooks to make refills in a pinch. So I think it was wise for Black Mountain to go with this size to start. I know a lot of people don’t like this size or prefer the Field Notes or Passport size better but I find that once you adapt to the Traveler’s classic size, you re won over to it for good.

One of the things I talked with the Black Mountain Company about was that their notebooks are made in China and that is how they are able to keep their costs down. We talked about it at length and I hope that he won’t mind me quoting him here:

When I selected my supplier in China it was one of my top priorities to partner with a company that I felt good about in terms of how they treat their people and how the product is made. They pay their people well, source raw materials ethically, and produce a truly high quality product. I’ll leave that last point up to your judgement as well, of course.

I’m not an “artisan” as it is so popular to be these days, but that was not my goal when I started Wanderings. I wanted to provide a truly quality product to people at a price that a normal person can afford, along with stellar customer service (my specialty and what I enjoy doing).

Our planet is a global civilization and I run a micro-global company. My products are designed in Canada, made in China, and sold around the world, and I like it that way.

As someone who also works with Chinese manufacturers regularly, I can relate to his situation and his passion. I also his appreciate his honesty. Having walked through Chinese factories myself and seen the pride and hard work with my own eyes, I know what it means to see what you have envisioned come to life in the hands of craftspeople on the other side of the globe. Anyway… back to the bottom line.

The Wanderings Notebook is just $26.99 and includes three blank refills to get you started. Unlike the Traveler’s Notebook, it does not come with the cotton dust bag and the fancy paperboard box and extra elastics to keep those costs down. You can use that savings to embellish and add to your notebook however you see fit. If you’ve never tried a leather notebook cover before, there’s no better way to try one and I feel good about recommending a company who is both honest and honorable.


Fashionable Friday: Hodge Podge

This week is a hodge podge of things I’m excited about right now.

One of my favorite local shops is Wonderfair. They made some postcards to send to politicians, just in time to keep up with InCoWriMo, and express your personal displeasure with political decision makers or anyone else. I like the one that just says “NO”. I feel that way about Mondays, moth holes in my sweaters and stale donuts too.

After a succession of misplacing my keys, my work badge and other items, I invested in the Tile. It is a bluetooth device tracking system that works with your cellphone (and everyone else’s) to help track your missing items. There are several different styles available now that can be attached through a loop, adhered with adhesive or slipped into a wallet or purse. Should an item go missing, you can use your cell phone to “call” the item and it will play a little tune so you can locate it in your home, under the couch or in the seat cushions. If you left it at a friend’s house, at work or in your car, your phone will show you on a map, where your item is. And, if the worst case scenario has occurred and your item was stolen, you might be able to see on a map, where your item is now. In my case, I can just figure out where in my house, where my badge is instead of spending 40 minutes every Monday morning turning my house upside down trying to find it only to discover I left it in the cup holder in the car.

One of my favorite European online retailers is now stocking KWZ inks! Fontoplumo now has all your favorite KWZ inks including the iron galls and the standard fountain pen inks available, starting at £9,95.

I am so nerdy I subscribe to the Star Wars weekly newsletter so I now know I can make Death Star chocolates for Valentine’s Day and that Kay Jewelers makes licensed Star Wars jewelry. Kay created an amazing replica of Jyn Erso’s kyber pendent but it was really pricey and completely sold out. They also make a fancy Rebel Alliance pendant with black manmade diamonds that says “Use the Force” on the reverse side. That’s my idea of Valentine’s Day jewelry!

While we are on the subject of Star Wars, Etsy creator Andrew Brozyna Design & Illustration has made some excellent enamel pins. His C3PO “We’re Doomed” is oddly appropriate presently. But I also like his “Fly Casual”. His lettering is fantastic. He also has some for the bookish crowd and fans of Gilmore Girls. How do you pick just one?

Then there’s the new Sailor 1911 in Fresca Blue. So, beautiful! It’s a North American exclusive available in a standard body or large body and can be pre-ordered at Anderson Pens right now.

I also learned about yarn bombing which is a sort of urban art/graffiti using knitting and crochet and other fiber art that is wrapped around trees, public art, telephone poles, fences, benches and other objects in the urban landscape to beautify, make a statement, amuse or surprise. Kristy Glass Knits has issued a Share The Love Yarn Bomb challenge on YouTube to all the knitters and crocheters out there for Valentine’s Day.

I’ve tried not to get too political here on the blog because I know that it can be divisive and this is a place to disagree about ink colors and nib widths not political rhetoric and ideology but there have been some things that have come up recently that make me roll my eyes back in my head. So bear with me on this one as I feel that this statement is important for so many women… still. I am pleased to see that this downloadable “Nevertheless, She Persisted” Print from Imaginarybeast is donating all the proceeds to The Black Youth Project, Planned Parenthood, and ACLU. I’ve had days I need to be reminded that I need to persist, don’t you?

Since CuteTape joined as a sponsor, I have been trying to figure out what to do with all my many, many rolls of washi tape so I now have a Pinterest board of Washi Tape Crafts. Go forth and washi tape the world!

I get so annoyed with X-Acto and the craft knives I use at work. The quality of the blades and blade holders are subpar. X-Acto, despite being the name most often associated with craft blades isnot very good. I’m thinking about trying out Olfa Craft knives and blades. I’ve heard really good things about them. I need a better quality knife and blade. I make a lot of paper mock-ups of greeting cards.

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.

Link Love: Green Ink & Burnout




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Review: Monteverde Intima Neon Pink 1.1mm Fountain Pen and Ballpoint Set

Monteverde Prima Fountain Pen and Rollerball

Do not adjust your monitor… the Monteverde Neon Pink Intima Fountain Pen and Ballpoint Set (Special Sale Price $52) are really this bright! I have previously reviewed the Neon Green version of the fountain pen and it was priced so that this deal is basically like getting the ballpoint for free. Also, while the neon green was bright, it was not nearly as eye-popping as the pink. Just saying. This color is definitely brighting my dreary February days!

Monteverde Prima Nib and tip

Fountain Pen tech specs:
Length: capped is 5.25″
Posted: 6.375″
Unposted: 4.675″

The fountain pen comes with a converter which is excellent for the inky-inclined but the pen does take standard European cartridges if you prefer. I forgot to weigh the pen but its plastic with metal hardware so it is pretty lightweight but well-balanced.

This was my first experience with the ballpoint design. Its a twist mechanism to reveal the pen tip. While I found the clip to be placed a bit low if I didn’t get the pen placed in my hand “just so” it would poke in my hand, I did find myself grabbing for it often to quickly dash off a quick note, add an item to a list or add a to-do on my calendar. Despite my little fuss about the clip, the slightly bulbous shape was pleasing in the hand and the color is cheerful and fun.

Monteverde Prima Size Comparison

I’ve included a visual size comparison of the Intima fountain pen with some commonly used pens above that you might be more familiar with to help place the Intima in your fountain pen cannon. Lengthwise, its about the same as the Pilot Metropolitan but widthwise, its more similar to a Lamy Safari or AL-Star. From a price standpoint, its definitely a step up from the pens shown but is not a +$100 fountain pen. It certainly looks a bit “fancier” than the other pens here though.

The material is shimmery and it will catch the light to show some interesting sparkly details. I tried to photograph it to show some of the details in my particular model below. The white is where it is catching the light.

Monteverde Prima Pink Shimmer close-up

Monteverde Prima Writing Sample

Ignore my written header! This is the Monteverde Intima Fountain Pen and Ballpoint Set.

The 1.1mm nib on the fountain pen performed fairly similarly to my previous experience with the neon green Intima but it wasn’t until I started using it that I remembered I’d had one in the past. My almost-8-years of pen reviewing is starting to affect my memory! I knew I have an Prima with a fine nib… anyway… clearly, my nib preferences remain consistent. I tend to like either razor fine or 1.1mm and get similar results. I did notice that the Monteverde nib was a little dry. It may be this particular nib or the nib/ink combination as I haven’t had a chance to try a different ink with this pen. I did test the pen in my right hand, to see if angling it differently would have better results. It did seem to flow a bit better so there may be a slight misalignment to the tines that 75%-90% of the world would not have noticed. It hasn’t affected the overall performance, its just not as wet as some other 1.1mm nib I’ve used. Alternately, you’ll notice I did NOT manage to smear any ink this time so I should probably not be complaining.

I swapped out the ballpoint refill with a Monteverde Ceramic Rollerball refill ($8 for two refills) that fits into pen since it accepts any standard Parker-style refills. Oh, that pink color! I did discover that the ballpoint had a little feedback in the refill — it jiggled around a little bit. So, I added an extra spring to the refill. I swiped one out of a retractable pen I had laying around and stacked it on top of the one that was in the pen. The two-spring stack added stability to the refill in the pen barrel so that it didn’t shimmy around anymore and gave me a much better writing experience. Voila!

I used one of the new Monteverde inks: Purple Mist which comes in a 30ml bottle ($8). I like the size of the bottle — its one of those nice in-between sizes, not so big that I feel like I’ll never use it all up but not so small that I feel like I bought another itty bitty precious sample. And at $8, its not a break-the-bank purchase either. Anyway, about the color… its a bit lighter wet than I had expected but it dries darker. So, if you decide to try it, definitely give it time to dry before making your final decision. The color is more of a reddish purple when wet and, as it dries, the violet blue becomes more apparent. Which is interesting. It shades and I feel like I noticed some sheen as I used it but maybe I was willing it to sheen. The jury is still out there. At $8 per bottle, it might be worth adding a bottle of the Purple Mist, or your favorite color on to your next order to try out one of Monteverde’s new colors. Let me know what you think.

Monteverde Purple Mist Ink

My conclusion is that if you are looking for a chance to get a little fancier than a Kaweco Sport or Lamy Safari but are not quite ready to go into the over-$100 fountain pens just yet, this Monteverde Set might be a nice gateway. If you love pink, it doesn’t get pinker than this either.

The good news is that Pen Boutique wants to spread the Valentine’s Day Neon Pink Monteverde Love to one lucky reader.

The Giveaway:

The winner of the giveaway will receive Monteverde Prima Neon Pink fountain pen and ballpoint set and can select one (1) bottle of the new 30ml Monteverde inks, compliments of Pen Boutique.

To enter:

Please leave one (1) message in the comment sending some love out into the world. Are you taking your mom out for Valentine’s Day? Doing something nice for your significant other? Serving food to Meal on Wheels? Leave your love in the comments to be entered to win. No love, no entry. Those are the rules. I can disqualify anyone who does not play by the rules.

The Fine Print:

All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Saturday, February 11, 2017. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Sunday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 10 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping is at the discretion of Pen Boutique. US residents only.

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

Ink Miser Inkwells

I’d been looking for a solution to getting to the bottom of those many bottles of Robert Oster Signature inks I’ve been acquiring lately. I’d considered purchasing some empty bottles from Vanness as one option but that’s a lot of bottles and I might do that for a few of my favorites like the Fire & Ice which I seem to be using on a regular basis. But I do like how compact the Oster bottles are to store so for most of the bottles, I think I will probably leave them as they are because I had the idea to try out the Ink Miser Inkwells. I thought maybe the intra-bottle inkwell ($5) might work but as you can see from the photo below, the intra-bottle design is too wide to fit into the Oster bottles. The standard Ink Miser freestanding design ($6) works just fine though.

I decant a bit of the ink from the Oster bottle into the Ink Miser and fill a pen, then return the remainder back into the bottle and rinse the Ink Miser clean. Easy peasy.

I do have some Noodler’s Ink bottles in which I can use the intra-bottle Ink Miser so it won’t go to waste.

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