Link Love: Take a Deep Breath

Link Love: Take a Deep Breath

Do you ever have one of those weeks that is so chock-a-block full of meetings, lectures and presentations that you do not remember what the outside world looks like? If not, let me be your cautionary tale. Go outside, feel the sun or rain on your face and the scent of unfiltered air, if only for a couple minutes. Take a few deep breaths, in with fresh air and ideas, breath out and release you stress and anxiety. The five minutes you spend breathing in some fresh air will make heading back in for that meeting or lecture better.

Pen Show/Event Recaps:

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:


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Let’s do the twist! Pelikan Twist old and new.

Chubby Checker has been crooning in my brain since the Pelikan Hub. Why? Because Endless Pens was generous enough to send our hub some “new old stock” of Pelikan Twist fountain pens from the 1980s. Since I was lucky enough to get one of them, I figured why not order the newer Pelikan Twist ($20) and do a little side by side comparison? Here goes nothin’!

The “old school” Twist and the “new Coke” Twist are quite different in aesthetics! The older Twist is brightly colored (it came in a variety of hues), whereas the new Twists tend to have slightly more muted colorways. But the really big difference is the pen body!

Whereas the older version is a round barrel and cap with a slightly tapered section, the new Twist is all angles. I have to say that on aesthetics, the new Twist wins for me. Despite its slightly less vibrant colors, those angles are so appealing! It also has a slightly reduced tapered section.

Both models are plastic barreled. In the case of the older Twist the pen comes in weighing a cool 10g; the newer pen weighs 21g coming in closer to a Lamy Safari or TWSBI Eco. Both pens feature snap caps that are postable. The older version has a clip; the newer version has an angled body to keep it from rolling away so they haven’t added a clip. They’re relatively close in length, with the newer TWSBI running about 1/4″ longer.

There is some difference in the nibs. Both are steel and marked with a single bird. The nib on the older version is slightly smaller than the newer one. The older nib is unmarked, whereas the newer nib is a medium (no options on it as far as I can tell).

Both take international cartridges. The older pen came with a long one, and the newer one came with two short ones.

So let’s get down to the details. Which one do I like better? Going into this, I was convinced that I was going to be a fan of the new Twist. As I said before the aesthetics made it much more appealing to me. It’s fun, it’s cool, it’s so different (reminds me a bit of the fun shapes of the BENU pens).

But the writing experience was definitely the deciding vote for me, and I just didn’t care for the newer Twist. In the older Twist I had assumed that the nib was a medium, but it was actually a crisp writer and wrote more like a western fine nib. Pelikan nibs are somewhat known for being wet writers, and this wasn’t at all. The smaller girth of the pen was super easy to hold in my hand with zero fatigue.

The newer Twist was simply harder for me. While I don’t hate the triangular grip as much as I hate the Lamy Safari’s angled grip, it just wasn’t comfortable in my hand. I think the pen might just be too big for me (do remember that I have super special tiny hands so it might be a me thing.) The thing I disliked the most was the nib. While it wrote softly with no friction, it was kind of all over the place. It felt much more like writing with a Pelikan medium firehose.

This was a superfun comparison, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be using that old Twist a lot!


DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided free of charge by Endless Pens. Please see the About page for more details.

Product Review (and Giveaway): Endless Companion Pen Pouches

Product Review (and Giveaway): Endless Companion Pen Pouches

Endless, known for its notebooks, has added a new line of leather pen cases called the Companion Pen Pouch. These full-grain leather cases are available in three sizes: 2-Pen, 3-Pen and 5-Pen that range in prices from $40 to $50 depending on size.

Shown here are the 2-pen and 3-pen pouches

The Companion pen pouches all ship in sturdy boxes. The largest, 5-pen size includes a pocket notebook that fits into the slot on one side of the case. All cases include elastic loops that have a pull tab that makes it possible to adjust how wide or narrow the loops are to accommodate a wide array of pens.

The zippers are metal and slide smoothly. The leather is smooth but will show scratches but can be rubbed out with your fingers or you can just let it get rough and worn with age.

The 2-Pen Companion

There are minor feature differences in each design. The 2-Pen Companion has no pockets on one side but there is an elastic loop in the spine area designed to hold one extra ink cartridge but I found that it would also hold my Traveler’s bullet pen that I use for ink testing.

Inside the 3-Pen Companion

The 3-pen Companion includes a secretary pocket with three business card slots. It also has the loop along the spine for a cartridge.

This close-up image above shows that I was able to put two very slender pens (sometimes the most difficult to keep in a pen case with elastics) as well as a big, chonky BENU Skull & Roses pen and they are all snug and safe.

The 5-Pen Companion

The largest case is the 5-Pen Companion and, being the largest, its easier to see how imperfections or scratches will show on the leather but its still lovely.

Once again, I made an effort to fill the case with pens that are of widely different widths. It took a few minutes to pull the elastic snug on all the pens so once you have it set up, you will want to remember which slot the skinny pens goes into versus where the wider pens are placed. So, for me, the Pilot Cavalier will always need to be on the outside and the Carolina Pen Co. (pale pink) will need to go closest to the spine. The 5-pen Companion also has the loop along the spine for a cartridge but could be used for a slim pencil or other tool as well.

The 5-pen Companion includes the small Storyboard cahier with dot grid and Endless’s Regalia paper.

The design of these cases are excellent, the materials and the functionality. They are a bit longer than what I need as my pens tend to be on the smallish side but I do think these cases will accommodate most pens in your collection. I think the Platinum Desk Pen was a bit too long for it but that’s on the outside edges of sizes.

So, now, its your turn. All three of these cases are up for giveaway. One case per winner, three winners chosen. Please read the “how to enter” below. If you don’t play by the rules, your entry will be disqualified. US only. (Giveaway for cases only. No pens or accessories are included.)


TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and indicate which style Pen Companion you like best. Play along and type in something. It makes reading through entries more interesting for me, okay? One entry per person. Winners will be randomly selected and we will be giving away all three styles (so there will be THREE winners).

If you have never entered a giveaway or commented on the site before, your comment must be manually approved by our highly-trained staff of monkeys before it will appear on the site. Our monkeys are underpaid and under-caffeinated so don’t stress if your comment does not appear right away. Give the monkeys some time.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on October 6, 2023. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual 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 5 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US and APO/AFO only, sorry.


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

Top Ten Notebooks

Top Ten Notebooks

This Top Ten list has been updated in Sept. 2023 and divided into a couple categories now to better differentiate between types of options.

There are hundreds of notebooks on the market and everyone has a preference on size and format but when people are just dipping their toe into the world of higher end stationery, there are really just a handful of products that get recommended over and over again. Partially, these are the products that are the most ubiquitous because they are available in the widest array of sizes and formats, solve a very specific problem or are the most exquisite.

  1. Stalogy Stalogy has moved to the top of my list as my favorite notebook. First and foremost, it’s available in both A5 and B6 sizes which are my favorite notebook configurations as well as in blank and the palest grid lines I’ve ever seen so there are printed grids but only just barely. The paper, which seems Tomoe-esque, has great color fidelity and is similar weight making large 360+ page notebooks the same thickness as a standard 100+ page notebook. For a daily journal or planner, it is my gold standard. (starting at $11.50 on Jet Pens)
  2. Midori MD (preferably MD Cotton but the regular and Light are excellent too, so technically this is 2, 3, and 4): Midori MD is probably my personal favorite everyday writing paper and it’s probably the least discussed in the pen community. There are three grades of MD paper and I think they are all awesome. There is MD (smoothest), MD Light (second favorite and a rival to Tomoe River IMHO) and (my personal favorite, it’s toothy) MD Cotton. Midori MD has minimal branding, comes with a plain cream cardstock cover, and available in lined, grid or blank. (starting at $6.75 on JetPens)
  3. Nakabayashi Yu-Sari I promised that the Yu-Sari was going to move into my top ten favorite notebooks and it has. It is an all-around good performer with minimal show through and bleed through. Its a thicker paper than the Tomoe River and Stalogy papers for those who want to use both sides of the paper without show through and it is extremely reasonably priced. (starting at $14.40, available at Gentleman Stationer)

Honorable Mentions:

Paperblanks: These notebooks have exquisite covers and some styles are now available with 100gsm or 120gsm paper (review here). The best way to guarantee that you get a Paperblanks notebook with the superios paper is to order directly from their web site. (starting at about $16 via Paperblanks)

Kokuyo Perpanep: This line of simple, grey notebooks is available in three paper types (previously reviewed here): textured Zarazara paper (lightly toothy), Sarasara (balanced smoothness) and Tsurutsuru (super slick, smooth paper). Each paper style is available in either 4mm dot grid, steno style or 5mm graph. The only size available is A5. The paper variety offers something for just about every writers preference but the choice of line rulings and no blank option or other sizes drops the Perpanep line into honorable mention territory. ($14.25 on JetPens)

Loose paper and/or available in bound notebooks from various makers:

  1. Tomoe River 68gsm
  2. Sanzen Tomoe River 52gsm
  3. Cosmo Air Light (discontinued)

All three of these papers are sold and rebound into notebooks by various companies and makers. The Sanzen Tomoe River is what is now available in the Hobonichi Techo planners. The 68gsm Tomoe River has some of the great color fidelity with slightly improved dry times over the 52gsm. Odyssey Notebooks uses the 68gsm Tomoe and Cosmo Air Light in their notebooks.

Cosmo Air Light can still be found from makers on Etsy but it will soon be a rare bird indeed. It’s powdery texture and unique color properties has made it a favorite at Desk HQ for some time.

Sketchbook, Drawing and Heavyweight Papers:

  1. Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook: While many won’t agree that a sketchbook is a notebook, I couldn’t complete a list of my favorite/most recommended/best notebooks without including the Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook which I probably recommend at least once a week. If not the Alpha, then one of the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks. The hardest part for many in picking out a sketchbook and specifically picking out a Stillman & Birn sketchbook is working through their complex naming system.  The Epsilon is the toothier of the two 150gsm sketchbook options. Even I have goofed on occasion and purchased the Alpha by mistake as it is described as being medium grain and cold press. It’s not quite as toothy as the Epsilon which I’ve discovered I like better. YMMV. That said, overall, I have not been disappointed by the overall quality of any of the S&B sketchbooks I’ve used. For day-to-day sketching I do not need the heavier 270gsm paper in their other sketchbooks. (available from JetPens and your local art supply stores)
  2. Col-o-ring: I know it appears self-serving to mention Col-o-ring here but when I look at the notebooks and paper products I use on a daily basis, the Col-o-ring, Col-o-dex  and Col-o-ring Oversize figure heavily into my rotation. I suppose I wouldn’t have made them if I wasn’t going to use them. While the Col-o-ring and Col-o-dex serve specific purposes of inventorying my ink collection, the Oversize is used for everything from comparing various inks to drawing and doodling to just writing notes and testing pens. When we originally made the Oversize, I wasn’t sure how much I would actually use it but it turns out it gets used as much or more than a lot of other notebooks in the house. Partially, it gets used because I’m so familiar with the paper so I know how pens and ink are going to behave but also because its a really convenient size. (available in our shop or through your favorite online retailer)

Previously in the Top 10:

  1. Rhodia ($2-$25.95 on JetPens)
  2. Leuchtturm1917 ($12.95-$27.95 on JetPens)
  3. Baron Fig Confidant (Available directly from Baron Fig or from your favorite online retailer)
  4. Field Notes (Subscriptions via Field Notes but past limited editions can be found at Wonder Fair)
  5. Traveler’s Notebook : Traveler’s Notebook was the first leather cover notebook option that allowed for a variety of smaller, cahier-style, staple-bound notebooks to be added. As such, TNs can have different paper depending on where or what refill notebook is added into the cover. The overall experience of the TN will be entirely based on which inserts you choose so trying different ones will be key to whether the TN is the best notebook for you.  (starter kits $41-46.50 on JetPens)
  6. Musubi : Musubi is more about the gorgeous binding and materials used to create the notebook. As Musubi has begun introducing different paper options, the specific papers will influence where the notebooks fall in my list. I love how beautiful and unique the notebooks are but the paper stock can make or break my overall experience. (purchase directly from musu.bi)

From our previous Top Ten list, the Rhodia and Luechtturm 1917 both represent some of the most accessible decent notebooks available. Over time, I’ve found the slick surface of the Rhodia and the oft-very-yellow paper color to be off-putting. If you can get one of their white papers (often called “Ice”), the experience is good, especially if you prefer top-bound pads. The Leuchtturm 1917 is the option for someone who is liess likely to reach for a fountain pen as their first-choice writing tool. The paper is better than Moelskine but the quality is not as good as it may have been in the past and this inconsistency is why its been bumped off the list. Both the Baron Fig and Field Notes are popular but for superior fountain pen experience, there are other, better options.


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

Link Love: SHITT (Should I Try This?)

Link Love: SHITT (Should I Try This?)

This week’s title is borrowed from Austin Kleon who wrote a short post about SHITT (Should I Try This?). He claims that SHITT is a close cousin to FOMO and describes it as a condition that may plague many of us — the inclination to see or hear about someone else’s method for accomplishing a task and then thinking to yourself “Should I try this?” I think every time we think we need to try a new type of fountain pen nib, journal-writing technique or planner layout (to name just a few) we are falling victim to the SHITT condundrum. What kind of SHITT have you gotten caught into recently?

Post(s) of the Week:

Pelikan Hub Recaps:

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

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Pelikan Hub Recap and GIVEAWAY

Last Friday, September 22, Ana and I attended the Pelikan Hub here in Kansas City.

If you’re not familiar with Pelikan Hubs, where have you been? Just kidding. The Pelikan Hubs are held in September and are basically a fun pen party “hosted” by Pelikan. Pelikan sends boxes of goodies out to different cities (each of which has a hubmaster or host) so that on the same Friday evening in September pen lovers worldwide can celebrate their love of fountain pens.

Pelikan Hub Kansas City 2023

And the Kansas City Hub didn’t disappoint. It was organized by our local pen club and hosted in Crown Center outside of Pen Place, our local fountain pen store. There was wine, cheese, a selection of desserts (including an oversized gummy bear in remembrance of the Chicago pen show gummy snake courtesy of our friend Andrew). There was a table where participants could bring items in search of loving homes. And there were prizes for a raffle!

But more than anything there was lots of good pen conversation with other pen people. New faces, old friends, pen friends visiting from out of town (Andrew Coon!), and just a great time.

The Gummy Bear of 2023
Ana, me and Andrew Coon!
Tony & Ana

One of the other fun things is the Endless Pens donated new/old stock of Pelikan Twists from the 1980s – enough that almost everyone took one home. I wondered how it compared to the new Twists so I ordered one and I’ll compare them in next week’s post.

But let’s get to the real reason you’re here: THE GIVEAWAY! One of the fun parts about the Pelikan Hubs is that Pelikan usually gives each registered attendee a bottle of the Pelikan Edelstein ink of the year. For 2023, that’s Rose Quartz. Sometimes they send extra paper or postcards, and sometimes the hubmaster or an affiliated pen shop donate other things for the goodie bags. And we had extra goodie bags so we’ve got one for one lucky reader!

You are entering the giveaway to win:

  • A bottle of the Pelikan Edelstein Rose Quartz
  • A pad of Pelikan Paper
  • A Pelikan Postcard
  • A set of fountain pen notecards

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and let us know what your favorite Pelikan is! If you don’t have one, which one would you buy if money were no object? Play along and type in something. It makes reading through entries more interesting for me, okay? One entry per person.

If you have never entered a giveaway or commented on the site before, your comment must be manually approved by our highly-trained staff of monkeys before it will appear on the site. Our monkeys are underpaid and under-caffeinated so don’t stress if your comment does not appear right away. Give the monkeys some time.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Thursday, September 28, 2022. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Friday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual 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 5 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US and APO/AFO only, sorry.


DISCLAIMER: The items included in this giveaway were provided to us free of charge by Pelikan and Pen Place. Please see the About page for more details.