Link Love: Little Nuggets of Joy

Link Love: Little Nuggets of Joy

I won the Link Love lottery this week. All the regular content was present and accounted for–  pen, ink and paper reviews — but my little nuggets of joy were also present. Star Wars related? Check. Cats? Check. Beautiful typography and design? Check, check! Lisa Congdon craft pattern? BONUS! And.. my friend Marcos Roman created free downloadable digital wallpaper this month that you can download through the links below.

Link Love collage
Links to all this goodness is below!

What are your nuggets of joy? Cat or dog videos on Instagram or TikTok? The sound of the coffeemaker first thing in the morning? If I were not such a pessimist, these are the things I’d write down in a gratitude journal. Along with Baby Yoda macarons, stacks of new/old books and buckets of tea and coffee. Hope you can get a nugget or two of joy this week.




Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:


Safework Signs

Black Lives Matter:

Other Interesting Things:

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Fountain Pen Review: Traveler’s Company Fountain Pen in Factory Green (Fine Nib)

Fountain Pen Review: Traveler’s Company Fountain Pen in Factory Green (Fine Nib)

The Traveler’s Company, best known for their leather notebook covers, has released fountain pens using their brass bullet pen casing. The current fountain pen available is in the limited edition Factory Green color ($75) or brass ($71). In the past, they have sold ballpoint pens and pencils in the bullet style so this is the first time they’ve released fountain pens in this style.

Traveler's Company Fountain Pen

The Factory Green is matte coated over brass so the overall pen is fairly weighty. The clip is a simple bent aluminum clip that is silver tone. On the end is a loop should you want to hang the pen from a chain or ribbon.

Traveler's Company Fountain Pen

In white ink on the green body is the company branding. It’s clean and simple like so much of Traveler’s Company’s design.

Traveler's Company Fountain Pen

When the pen is opened, there is a long grip section in brass and a silvertone nib with “Traveler’s Company TR C” and the nib size debossed onto the nib.

Traveler's Company Fountain Pen

Above, the pen is shown open with an original Traveler’s Notebook for scale.

Traveler's Company Fountain Pen

Traveler's Company Fountain Pen

Traveler's Company Fountain Pen

One of the biggest plusses with the TC fountain pen is its pocketability. It snaps open and closed which makes it different from other pocket fountain pens. Most that I’ve used are twist closures so the snap open and close makes it great for a quick note.

One of the biggest downsides is the small space inside the pen means it can only use a cartridge or one of those tiny Kaweco cartridge converters (mini or squeeze). For a travel pen, cartridges are fine for me. If I’m using it at home syringe filling empty cartridges allows me to continue to use my bottled inks.

The nib on the pen is good quality steel. It’s a small nib but is proportionally scaled for the size and shape of the pen.

Traveler's Company Pen Comparison

The TR fountain is narrower than many fountain pens but, since this is a small pocket pen, I think the thinner, smaller dimensions are appropriate. If you prefer a wider pen, I recommend that you stick with the Kaweco Sport in Brass for a comparable weight and feel but a bigger pen.

Pictured above, left to right: Kaweco Sport, Kaweco Lilliput, Traveler’s Company Fountain Pen, Fisher Space Pen, Pokka Pen.

Traveler's Company Pen Comparison

When open, the Traveler’s Company fountain pen is the longest of the pocket pens. The grip section is also the longest with the least amount of hinderance.

Pen Weights

The TC fountain pen weighs 28gms with a cartridge when open (5.7″ / 145mm) or closed (4″ / 103mm). If used without the cap, its only 16gms and a mere 3.34″ (85mm) which is really too small to do much more than put a checkmark on your grocery list.

Costwise, the TC fountain pen is competitive with other brass fountain pens. It is more expensive than a lot of plastic pocket pens. It’s an investment… but it’s pretty, functional and I love the snap mechanism.

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

Fountain Pen Review: Scrikss 419

Review by Laura Cameron

A few weeks ago Galen Leather contacted us and asked if we’d be interested in reviewing some product. I immediately zeroed in on the Scrikss 419 Fountain Pen ($35).

Scrikss is a Turkish company and has been a manufacturer of fine writing instruments since 1964. I’m always game to try new fountain pens!

I ordered mine in the Mint Green color, though there are several other colorways available: Indigo, Blue, White, Black, Burgundy, Beige, and Poudra (light pink). All come with Medium nibs.

The body of the Scrikks 419 Fountain Pen is an acrylic resin. All of the hardware (nib, clip and cap ring) are made of stainless steel and plated in 23K gold. The pen is a piston filler, with a handy ink window to give you an idea of what ink is in there and how much is left.

I didn’t have any  light mint-colored inks so I settled for Robert Oster Spearmint. The pen filled easily, and was ready to write right away. The nib writes pretty well. It is firm, like steel nibs are, without a lot of bounce or feedback.

When I started to write this post and describe the experience I was struck by a few comparisons. The first is that the Scrikss reminds me a bit of the Pelikan M200. This is due to the piston ink filling system and the ink window. Obviously there are differences, but visually that’s what it reminded me of. I also tried to think about it in terms of other competitors in the price range. I primarily compared it to my Pilot Metropolitan and my TWSBI Eco.

L to R: Scrikss 419, Pelikan M200, Pilot Metropolitan, TWSBI Eco

In terms of length, the Scrikss comes in at 4 7/8″ and 12.5cm capped, and 4 5/8″ and 11.75cm uncapped. It is comparable in size to the Pelikan, and smaller than the Pilot Metro and the TWSBI Eco. In terms of weight, the Scrikss is quite a bit smaller, weighing in at 12g, even filled with ink!

Overall, I have to say that the Scrikss is a decent pen, though not overly memorable. It writes nicely, but doesn’t have anything super special to recommend it. As a new fountain pen connoisseur, I really loved the weight of the Pilot Metro and the feel in my hand, and TWSBI Ecos are fun because you can see everything that’s happening inside the pen. That said, if the aesthetics of the Scrikss appeal to you, this is a decent little pen.

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

Book Review (and Giveaway): Keep Going by Austin Kleon

Book Review (and Giveaway): Keep Going by Austin Kleon

I am a big fan of Austin Kleon and his books, blog and email newsletter. I have been following his career for several years. I find his approach to creativity — which is part writing, part collage, part drawing — to be very inspiring.

I know some people had a knee-jerk reaction to the title of his first book, Steal Like An Artist but I appreciated that it started the conversation about how to be creatively inspired without crossing the line into mimicry or copyright infringement. There’s also a lot of other good content in Steal Like an Artist so, if you haven’t read it, don’t get hung up on the title and give it a chance.

Since Steal Like An Artist, he’s published two more books in his series of creative inspiration books. The second book in the series is Show Your Work which delves into when, where and how to share your work. It’s a great follow-up to Steal Like An Artist. It focuses on using social media to keep yourself accountable and when its okay to step away.

Austin Kleon books

What I really want to discuss is Austin Kleon’s newest book Keep Going, which could not have been more poignantly titled for 2020 is he had tried. The subtitle is “10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad.”  How incredibly timely. He couldn’t have planned the book or title better for 2020 if he’d tried.

Even if you don’t decide to purchase the previous volumes of the series, Keep Going is a book I highly recommend for any creative thinkers who need some advice to, not ironically, keep going in 2020.

Keep Going by Austin Kleon

Just looking at the back of the book and the chapters sound incredibly relevant: “Everyday is Groundhog Day,”  “You Are Allowed to Change Your Mind,” “Demons Hate Fresh Air,” and “Plant Your Garden.” These chapters, in particular, stand out as poignant for anyone living through COVID-19, self-isolating, social distancing, distance learning, zoom meetings, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

Keep Going by Austin Kleon

Above is one of the pages inside Keep Going. There is advice here that we, as pen-and-paper fans, can certainly support like making lists and writing in a diary. Pandemic-me heartily supports taking naps.

Keep Going by Austin Kleon

There are lots of little thought provoking nuggets throughout Keep Going. Often, like with many self-help books, the book often tells things we all know deep down. Having the information organized succinctly in ways that help remind us (me, really) what is important and to slow down is so helpful though. I feel like I spend so much time going, going, going… I sometimes forget to ask why or what is the goal or do I like what it is I’m going towards. Kleon’s books always challenge me to consider not just if I’m making but why.

Keep Going by Austin Kleon

The section “Disconnect from the world…” is valid even in the age of COVID-19. Disconnecting from the world (and in our case, the internet, news, podcasts, etc) is something we need to do, just to regain our sanity and perspective. We have spent too much time these days circling the drain of news despair and clicking refresh on endlessly depressing statistics. Not that our art cannot reflect and react to our frustration and anger but in order to react, we have to step away and formulate our own opinions and perspectives.

These books can be read digitally, but being able to sit down with an analog book, a notebook to jot down passages that most resonate and a favorite beverage and be “disconnected from the world” for a little while really helps to get in-tune with the world — be it the birds in the trees, the texture of the table you where you are sitting, the sound of your own breathing or the cat or dog sitting near you.

If you can’t tell, I highly recommend Keep Going as a paper kick-in-the-pants to regain some creative equilibrium in a very uncertain time.

And, you’re in luck, I have an extra copy of Keep Going for one lucky reader.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and tell me what creative challenge/goal you’d like to tackle or overcome. 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, August 6,2020. All entries must be submitted at, 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: Items in this review include affiliate links. The Well-Appointed Desk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Please see the About page for more details.

Shop Update: Stickers!

Shop Update: Stickers!

On the subject of stickers, we have new stickers available in our shop.

Pen Flush Sticker

First, label those Pen Flush containers with our new Pen Flush stickers. Packs of 3 are available for $2.50!

Col-o-ring Sticker Pack

Next, we have our Col-o-ring Love Sticker Pack.We include free stickers with every order from our shop but many folks have asked for extra stickers. So, we are now offering sticker packs for anyone who wants more stickers. Get all 3 stickers for $2.50.

For both sticker sets, if ordered alone, the stickers will ship in a standard #10 business envelope for minimum shipping charges.

If you order Col-o-ring stickers with other items, there is no additional shipping and these stickers will be shipped in addition to freebie stickers already included with every order. If you order the Pen Flush Stickers with other items, there’s no additional shipping and you’ll also get freebie stickers in your order.

There’s no such thing as too many stickers, right?

Sticker Up Your Stationery Love

Sticker Up Your Stationery Love

Review by Tina Koyama

Back in the day when I frequented coffee shops, I was often impressed by laptops I would see that were completely encrusted with stickers. I have never been one to sticker up my hardware, not even my bumpers, but my sketchbooks and notebooks are another matter. Stillman & Birn sketchbooks, my everyday-carry, are a blank canvas waiting to be stickered, as are some Field Notes covers. And many of my favorite stickers have stationery themes – especially pencils!


In addition to “eclectic, unusual, and desirable stationery accessories, paper, and tools,” stationery purveyor Notegeist sells stickers featuring the shop’s personable ghosty mascots, Blackwing pencils and even stationery geekiness itself (emblazoned on an actual bumper sticker, no less).

Lead Fast

Lead Fast, a pencil and notebook review blog, offers a few unique pencil-related sticker designs, including one for the fictional Borrowdale Mining Company. It’s kind of an in-joke for pencil geeks. (I also own a Borrowdale Mining Company T-shirt.)

Ernest Theodore

Speaking of unique, Etsy shop Ernest Theodore offers hand-illustrated Field Notes, “hackwinged” pencils (Blackwing ferrules attached to vintage pencils), custom handmade desk organizers, pencil extenders hacked with Blackwing ferrules, and many other surprises. After my own less-than-satisfying experience using a Tsunago, I bought some Tsunago’d pencils from this shop because by then I had a much greater appreciation for how finicky that tool is (and I never wanted to use it again). In addition to all of that, stickers are a creative mashup of Wolverine, robots, Ghostbusters and more – all with a pencil twist.


Perhaps my favorite stationery-themed stickers come from another Etsy shop, Kamikokuen. Specializing in vintage Japanese pencils, this shop owner has also turned sticker designer lately, with new designs showing up regularly. I love the Star Wars-themed ones – R2 as a pencil! Look closely – pencils are hidden everywhere. Many stickers are limited editions, so if you see something you like, better grab ‘em.

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. (Other stickers shown in my photo are from Brand Name Pencils, Draplin Design Co., Two Rivers Trading and Random Thinks. These were purchased with the reviewers own money.) Please see the About page for more details.

tina-koyamaTina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

Ink Review: Vinta Inks Makopa

Ink Review: Vinta Inks Makopa

By Jessica Coles

Purple. Gold sheen. Ink. New. The combination of those words made it a sure buy for me. The only trouble I had was deciding to get a sample size or a full bottle. Vinta Inks just released a new group of colors (I will be reviewing the others soon) and the Makopa color beckoned me from first sight. I found it last week while I was haunting browsing the new inks on the Vanness website.

Makopa has not disappointed me.

As you can see below, this is a bold color. My first impression was of Diamine Magenta Flash, although that ink contains plenty of sparkle as well. Makopa has no sparkle, just sheen.

Diamine Magenta Flash ended up being slightly too pink in comparison. J. Herbin Cassis is probably the closest, but depending on the width of the nib, the base color is closer to Fuchsia.

Makopa sites right in-between pink and purple in a place that can only be magenta in my mind. It takes me back to Lisa Frank, puffy stickers, leg warmers, and unicorns. The sheen in this ink is not overpowering compared to many high sheen inks – instead, the bright gold of the sheen only shows occasionally while a toned down greenish gold dials down the brightness of the underlying magenta.

A writing sample, using a Pilot fine nib – one of the finer nibs I own. I wanted to see how the ink would perform in such small lines. I have had this pen inked up for several days and have never experienced hard starts or dryness. It writes like a non-sheening ink, flowing very well.

One characteristic of sheen inks that I hate is their tendency to smear. When I used Makopa on Tomoe River paper, I fully expected the smearing to be an issue. When I was writing normally, I was shocked that it never smeared. In fact, it also dried quickly – under 15 seconds. Only when I laid down a large amount of ink did it smear a bit.

Waterproof? No. Although you can definitely still see the writing. The bright pink stains everything around the writing – quite pleasant to me. Two drops on the left were simply dropped on the grid then blotted up. the two drops on the right were smeared around before blotting up.

I’m quite happy that I purchased an entire bottle of Makopa. I have a feeling this is going to be an ink that is hard to keep in stock. Sorry, Vannesses!

DISCLAIMER:  All items in this review were purchased by me. Except for the Col-o-ring which was provided to me by a wonderful person who pays me to write blogs by keeping me supplied with Col-o-rings and now Dippers as well. Please see the About page for more details.