Giveaway #3: Fontoplumo Exclusive Kaweco Coral Fountain Pen & Matching Rickshaw Sleeve

Fontoplumo giveaway

Our good friends in the Netherlands, Fontoplumo have offered a very special giveaway for our anniversary. They are giving away one Fontoplumo ExclusiveKaweco Sport Coral Guilloche fountain pen (winner can choose silver or gold trim and nib of their choice, as long as it’s still in stock) and a Rickshaw XS 3 pen sleeve cozy Coral for Kaweco Sport size pens.

This giveaway is open to our readers worldwide.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and tell me what was your first Kaweco pen. If you don’t have one yet, what would be the first one you are planning to buy. 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 Satuday, June 6, 2020. 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 is handled by Fontoplumo and is open to all readers. Any shipping questions will need to be directed through giveaway sponsor. Our sponsors have been kind enough to give away product and cover the cost of shipping, so please be patient and kind. Thanks.


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

Top Ten Desk Accessories

Top Ten Desk Accessories

I feel as if I’m going to end up saying “This was the hardest list to do” for every single one of the Top Ten lists. In the case of desk accessories, the difficulty was in picking items that are available (in other words, not picking all vintage finds) and picking across the diverse array of “desk accessories”. I could do ten cases, ten staplers, ten rulers, ten erasers and then pause and ask myself, “Do those count as desk accessories?” So, bear with me… these are my favorite non-writing tools in that they are the most frequently used.

  1. Raymay Clam Pencase: The Raymay Clam Pencase has rocketed to the top of my EDC list. Even in my current work-at-home situation, the Clam Pencase is perfect for moving my non-fountain pen tools around the house in a way that is tidy and completely usable. It doesn’t require a large footprint on any work surface and makes it easy to find the various pencils, brush pens, markers, etc that I use regularly and take with me from room-to-room. ($12.50 from JetPens)
  2. Dudek Modern Goods Groove: The Dudek Modern Goods Groove sits in pride of place on my desk and holds my favorite pens and some paper (usually loose, Col-o-ring seconds) or a notepad (Rebel notepad). This beautiful solid wood block has nine holes to hold various writing tools and a slot for a pocket notebook, notecards, scratch paper or even business cards. It’s a minimalist desk statement. While Dudek is not currently is production, it’s possible to sign up to be on the Batch List for the next production run. ($59 from Dudek Modern Goods)
  3. Steel Ruler with cork back: If you want a ruler that will last a lifetime, upgrade to a draftsman quality metal ruler. I think an 18″ is a good all-around size for most purposes but having a shorter 12″ or longer 24″ is nice too. These rulers have cork on the underside that raise the ruler above the paper so if you are drawing lines with a marker, technical pen (like a Sakura Pigma Micron) or even a fountain pen, the ink doesn’t seep under the ruler. The metal edge can be wiped with a rag if ink collects on the edge and the cork on the bottom can help keep the ruler from sliding when drawing or cutting. (Starting at $3.36 from Dick Blick)
  4. Pilot Foam Eraser: Between me and Tina, we have reviewed a ridiculous number of erasers and the one that has risen to the top as the best all-around eraser for me is the Pilot Foam Eraser. Other Japanese foam erasers are up to the task as well but these foam erasers have replaced the white plastic erasers as best in class. ($1.65 from JetPens)
  5. Lead Pointer, Penco: I use this lead pointer with any mechanical pencil over 1.0mm up to 2.0mm. It’s small and portable and very inexpensive. It holds (this Kitaboshi 2mm Lead Pointer for $2.50 is comparable from JetPens)
  6. Binder Clips, specifically vintage Esterbrook cord clips: I favor the vintage Esterbrook cord clips but any binder clips are fine. I tried not to put vintage stuff in this list because originally the list had a whale tape dispenser and a vintage Pilot silver stapler too so count yourselves lucky. I couldn’t resist the yellow Esterbrook cord clips which I found accidentally and I use to hold my notebook pages flat, mark my spot in notebooks, hold backgrounds up for photos and so much more. (variety of binder clips starting at $1.70 from JetPens)
  7. Letter Opener: I know this little letter opener looks like the most ridiculous thing but I keep one by the front door so I can quickly slice open all the junk mail, bills, etc and sort what can go into the recycling and what needs to be shredded and then what I actually need to deal with. When I do get a real letter from someone, I don’t want to damage any artwork on the envelope or fun postage and the easy slice action means I don’t accidentally tear anything. Sure, there are those fancy sword-style letter openers but since this is an actual blade, it slices cleanly. I have had two or three floating around the house for years and the blades are still sharp enough to do an adequate job with my daily mail. (a 3-pack is available for $4.29 from Amazon)
  8. Allex S-165F Office Scissors with Fluorine Coating: I have tried to convince my husband that these Allex scissors with the flourine coating are better at resisting sticky residue than the other scissors floating around the office but he is not convinced. Eventually, I will wear him down when he is having to scrape tape goo off the other scissors, I will have my day of scissors reckoning. Until then, take my word for it. These scissors look good, cut well and don’t get sticky. If you do a lot of collage work, cutting tape for packing or just don’t want to accumulate sticky goo on your scissors, these are a good investment. ($18.50 from JetPens)
  9. Bone Folder: A bone folder is something that looks a little arcane but trust me, once you’ve creased paper with a bone folder, you will not look back. Especially if you find yourself folding more than a few sheets of paper. If you’ve ever ended up with a sore thumb nail from repeatedly creasing paper, you needed a bone folder. If you were curious, most bone folders are not made out of real bone anymore. Some are made from Teflon and other materials. This one is actually made from horn and was purchased in Arkansas several years ago. If you’re curious about how to use a bone folder, CreativeBug has a demo video on YouTube on the basics of using one. (Horn folder for $13.40, Teflon folder for $11.90, Plastic Folder for $4.22 and a genuine bone folder for $6.79 from Amazon)
  10. Craft knife (technically, Fiskars Softgrip Craft Knife): The last item on my list pairs with the steel ruler and is used on a regular basis. Mr. Well-Appointed Desk prefers the retractable box cutter but I like the precision of an X-Acto blade and the Fiskars molded grip handle. As you can tell from the image above, my blade holder has seen some miles. I have stopped buying X-acto brand blades and have switched to Excel which seem to be better quality. The 100-pack of #11 blades are $26.06 at Dick Blick and should last most folks a couple years. Be sure to find a coffee can or other container to be a receptacle for used blades. Cut a slit in the lid just big enough to slide the used blades into the “used blades” container and label the container as such. Do not throw used blades into the trash. Safety tip!  (available for $7.81 from Amazon or most craft supply shops)

Honorable Mention:

Galen Leather 3-Pen and 40-Pen cases. I couldn’t decide if these actually qualified as “desk accessories” and since I’d already included the Raymay Clam Pencase, I didn’t want to flood a top ten list with three cases. That said, the Galen Leather 40-pen case is my go-to storage case for the majority of my pens when I travel to pen shows. It also fits perfectly on my bookshelf so it’s out of the way and discreet. The 3-pen case is (or probably more specifically pre-pandemic was) my go-to everyday carry fountain pen case. Since I am working at home now, my fountain pens spend more time on my desk than in a case so it’s not as necessary to have a carrying case for a chosen few. But maybe someday we will all be wandering free again… (leather zippered cases starting at $39 from Galen Leather and Vanness Pens)


DISCLAIMER: The item 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.

Giveaway #2: Benu Fountain Pen & Colorverse Ink PLUS Noodlers Triple Tail & Ink

Our good friends at Luxury Brands, the distributors in the US for so many of our favorite stationery brands like Colorverse, Platinum, Noodlers, Benu and many more have kindly sent us some great goodies to help celebrate our 10th anniversary.

Luxury Brands Giveaway Package #1: Colorverse Ink Set Anita and Arabella and Benu Tattoo Fountain Pen in Green with Medium Nib

We have TWO packages to giveaway. The first pacakge is the Benu Tattoo Fountain Pen in Green with Medium nib and Colorverse Ink Arabella and Anita (the bottles shown in the photo above are from my stash, winner will receive brand new, unopened box).

The Benu Tattoo Pen is carved with tattoo style artwork like stars, roses, skulls, and more. It’s a very unique looking pen and the Colorverse Arabella should be a pretty close match to the green on the pen.

Luxury Brands Giveaway Package #2 is the new Noodlers Triple Tail fountain pen plus two bottles of Noodlers ink (Cactus Fruit and Green Cactus) plus a small bottle of Coloverse Permanent Black and a Nebula Note notebook.

I haven’t gotten to try the Triple Tail yet but Susan just wrote a review over on the Pen Addict.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and tell me which package you would like to win… AND WHY. 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 Friday, June 5, 2020. 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 for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Top Ten Notebooks

Top Ten Notebooks

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.

This list is not in any particular order.

  1. Rhodia: From their signature orange staplebound notepads to their “webbie” hardcover notebooks, fountain pen enthusiasts and stationery aficionados alike praise the quality of the smooth paper in Rhodia’s line of products. It’s available in grid, lined, blank and even dot grid in a myriad of sizes that will baffle the mind. I recommend either a traditional letter/A4 size or half-letter/A5 sized top-bound legal pad for starters. They are reasonably priced and will not feel like something precious. I continue to use Rhodia for testing pens and ink here on The Well-Appointed Desk for consistency sake as we have been using it for the better part of a decade. ($2-$25.95 on JetPens)
  2. Leuchtturm1917: The Leuchtturm1917 has become known as the step-up from a Moleskine notebook and the favored notebook among the bullet journaling crowd. The paper quality is better than Moleskine but may not withstand all fountain pens. If you are using a variety of pens and looking for something just a bit better, than the Leuchtturm brand is a solid option and is available in as many colors, sizes and configurations as you could possibly need. ($12.95-$27.95 on JetPens)
  3. Baron Fig Confidant: The Baron Fig Confidant is a more polished notebook. Baron Fig, as a company, is smaller than Rhodia or Leuchtturm1917 so they have been adding options and products to their brand slowly but they are creating a uniquely modern, American aesthetic and voice to the stationery landscape. While the Confidant is only available in three sizes, seven colors and dot grid, lined or blank, there is probably a Confidant that will appeal to you. Baron Fig also offers their softcover cahier line called the Vanguard as well as guided journals for specific interests. (Available directly from Baron Fig or from your favorite online retailer)
  4. Field Notes: I can’t talk about notebooks without talking about the tiny (behemoth) elephant in the room and that would be Field Notes. Field Notes reshaped the way people purchased notebooks over the last decade. They made them more than just a place to write a list, a story or a phone number. They made them collectible, covetable and something people obsessed about. We can discuss at length whether the paper quality is worthy of fountain pens (mostly, its not) and how often people use the excessive quantity of Field Notes they purchase with the Editions Subscriptions (usually none of them because they might be worth something someday!) but the bottom line is that Field Notes revitalized the appeal of the tangible notebook and if that doesn’t make it worth considering these pocket notebooks, I don’t know what is. Okay fine. Field Notes has become the verbal shortcut for a size of notebook (3.5″x5.5″ size) when talking about any other notebook. “Well, it’s Field Notes-sized,” one pen enthusiast says to another when describing the latest notebook discovery. “Fits Field Notes and other similarly sized books” states an Etsy page offering custom leather notebook covers. So there, that’s the other reason I put Field Notes on this list. A whole industry of copycat notebooks have since cropped up (for better or worse) as well as products to support the Field Notes craze. (Subscriptions via Field Notes but past limited editions can be found at Wonder Fair)
  5. Traveler’s Notebook: The appeal of the Traveler’s Notebook (while originally released under the Midori brand and now under the The Traveler’s Company) spawned its own revolution and accompanying fanfare. This is as much about the notebook’s container, a simple piece of leather held closed with an elastic through a hole punched into the leather and the cords of elastic looped through to catch loose notebooks suspended inside, as it was about the actual paper notebooks inside. Thankfully, the original system released from Midori offered good quality paper that kept people using the notebooks long enough to catch the attention of the internet and social media. Once people realized they could either make their own covers or put their own notebooks inside covers, a whole new world was born. Traveler’s Company continues to release notebooks, calendar planners and special editions that keep the product and brand fresh but the whole concept of having one cover and just swapping out the notebook inside became the impetus for a new generation ready for more environmentally friendly options. (starter kits $41-46.50 on JetPens)
  6. Nanami Seven Seas/Tomoe River: For fountain pen fans, this is the big leagues. Tomoe River paper like being invited into the secret society with passwords and handshakes. This whisper-thin paper that buckles and has massive show through might be a mystery to a newbie until someone shows you that ink with all the sheen and then it’s like “Oh, I get it now! I see why you suffer with waffle-y see through paper because look at that color!!!! I feel like I’ve been seeing the world in shades of grey until now!” That said, it takes eons to dry when you dump buckets of ink onto the page or live in the soupy humidity of the South. Notebooks have massive page counts and are pricey. But this is next-level pen experience stuff. (available from Nanami Paper or Dromgoole’s)
  7. Midori MD Notebook: 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. ($9.25-$16.50 on JetPens)
  8. 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)
  9. Musubi: I can’t talk about notebooks without talking about Musubi. What they are doing at Musubi Atelier is elevating bookmaking to the artform it deserves to be while also providing a lifeline to people in parts of the world who need work and providing them with a dignified means to feed their families. Musubi notebooks are aspirational notebooks worthy of wanting made with the most exquisite fabrics and bookbinding techniques, filled with unique papers and tucked into stunning cases that truly feel like a gift. I have treated myself to one and you deserve one at some point in your life too. (purchase directly from musu.bi)
  10. 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 inventoring 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)

 

Giveaway #1: Pen Chalet Gift Card

Our first giveaway is a goodie! In honor of our 10th anniversary, our good friends at Pen Chalet are giving away one $50 gift card to help us celebrate. This gift certificate is good wherever Pen Chalet ships (which is most countries). Check their web site or email Pen Chalet if you leave in Bora Bora or somewhere else particularly remote to verify if  you are unsure if they ship to your region before entering the drawing.

penchalet gift card
This is not a real gift card. The real one will have a secret code on it to activate it. This is just an enticing image to get you excited to enter the giveaway.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and tell me where in the world you’d like to take your pens when we can finally travel freely again. 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, June 4, 2020. 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. We will forward your email address to Pen Chalet and gift card will be sent digitally. Capiche?

Ten Years of The Well-Appointed Desk

Ten Years of The Well-Appointed Desk

I started this blog over ten years ago. It’s as big a surprise to you as it is to me. Ten years!

Many of you have probably heard the story of the inception of this blog, but I’ll retell it anyway just in case.

In the dark days of the internet, I had a personal blog (back in the day when everyone had a personal blog like LiveJournal or Blogger) that I had been peppering with my opinions on various office supplies. I had even written a review or two for Pencil Revolution and befriended Brad Dowdy who had started his own blog all about pens. Then I went to a presentation by a woman who started a blog all about decorating her Berlin apartment all in turquoise called The House of Turquoise. She said if she could make a blog all about all-things-turquoise that the internet was big enough to have corners for all kinds of super-specific interests. So, I went back to my desk and launched my own super-specific blog on Tumblr and named it The Well-Appointed Desk. After a couple years, I focused less on desk accessories and office set-ups and I started writing a lot more reviews. At that point, I officially moved the site to WordPress and the rest, as they say, is history.

Over the last ten years, I’ve learned so much and met so many amazing people. Pens and the pen community have changed my life in so many ways.

First, I need to thank the ladies who help keep this site running: Laura, Tina and Jesi are an integral part of the everyday functioning of this site and I couldn’t do this without them.

Then I need to thank the sponsors who have helped keep this site running financially. I’ve always debated whether or not to discuss the costs of running the site. A couple years ago, our service provider required that we upgrade our hosting because our traffic was breaking the current server. So, our costs increased. We also require some additional services to protect us from the onslaught of spam that result from being one of the top search results. So, thank you to everyone, presently and in the past who has advertised on the blog or provided review products because you have helped make ALL this possible.

I also need to thank all the bloggers and vloggers in the pen community who have supported us, become our friends, allies and drinking buddies.

And finally, to all the readers of the blog today and in the future. Your comments here on the site, in the mail and in person at pen shows and meet-ups around the world have meant so much to all of us. We have been so happy that our insights, experiences and opinions have helped you in one way or another.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, we will be featuring two weeks chock full of Top Ten lists and giveaways that will blow your mind. Huge thanks again to all our sponsors for generously donating gifts for these giveaways. Please, if you can, support the sponsors. They are the reason we can continue to do this.

Now… on to the celebration!

Eye Candy: Lamy Safari Candy Fountain Pen Collection (and Giveaway)

Eye Candy: Lamy Safari Candy Fountain Pen Collection (and Giveaway)

The Lamy Safari Candy Collection ($29.60 for fountain pens) is their 2020 special edition collection. There are three new colors in this collection and what is unique to these pens compared to the regular line of Safari fountain pens is that the whole pen is colored to match the body including the clip: the Mango is a matte finish with the clip painted to match the grip, cap and barrel. The same color matching applies to the Violet and the Aquamarine pens as well.

Lamy Safari Candy Collection

The matte finish is not very common in the regular line, or at least it hasn’t been but Lamy has been making more and more of the Safaris in the matte finish. And up until now, the only all one color Safari has been the all-black model. Lamy does continue to mix it up. The Petrol Safari ($49.95) is a mix of black clip and matte finish body so never say never.

Lamy Safari Candy Collection

We have the fountain pen models here but there is also a rollerball ($20) and ballpoint ($16) version available.

Lamy Safari Candy Collection

I don’t have all the previous special releases of the Safaris or AL-Stars but I think the new Candy Collection colors fit right in with the other bright colors that have been released over the years. No teasing, I have a lot of lime green models and more AL-Stars than Safaris presently.

Lamy Safari Candy Collection

I thought you might want to see my wonky rainbow without all those distracting candies. Besides, I ate them.

Lamy nib comparison

The Lamy Safari Candy Collection we received had an array of nib sizes: EF, F and M. Above is a sample of what the writing looks like at each of those nibs sizes and a few non-fountain pens for reference if you don’t have a lot of experience with Lamy nibs. (That’s Rhodia paper, FYI.)

The Giveaway

So…now for the best part. We have not just THREE but FOUR of these amazing Lamy Safari Candy Collection fountain pens to give away. Big thanks to Goldspot Pens for providing these wonderful pens for us.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite candy is. ALSO, tell me which Safari Candy you’d like too (I’ll do my best to match winners with pens but if everyone picks the same one we’re gonna have to play Rock, Paper, Scissors to fight it out.) 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 Wednesday, June 3, 2020. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Thursday. Winners 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 Goldspot Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.