Fashionable Friday: Letter Writing Club

In preparation for tomorrow’s Letter Writing Club hosted by Wonder Fair at Decade Coffee Shop in Lawrence, Kansas, I thought I’d theme this week’s Fashionable Friday in the “postal way”. If you’ll be at the event, please say hello!

  • “Good Mail” Diamond Rubber Stamp $10 (via The Well-Appointed Desk Shop)
  • MT Patterns Washi Tape – Sharkskin Kaki (Persimmon) $3.50 per roll (via JetPens)
  • Air Mail Postcards (Set of 4) $4 (via
  • The Typewriter: A Graphic History of the Beloved Machine Book $45CAD ($36USD) (via Uppercase Magazine)
  • G. Lalo Verge de France A5 Tablet in White $12.50 (via Anderson Pens)
  • TerraCycle Upcycled Messenger Bag $59 (via Timbuk2)
  • Caran d’Ache Idyllic Blue Ink (50ml Bottle) $32 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever Stamps Sheet of 16 $7.84 (via or at your local Post Office)
  • Letter Writers Alliance Membership Starter Kit Gift Set $25 (via Letter Writers Alliance)
  • Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen in Merlot Red $159 (via Federalist Pens)
  • Caran d’Ache 849 fountain pen in Sapphire Blue €55 (€45.45 Outside EU) (via Fontoplumo)
  • Fresh Stock Bundle Box $49 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Waterman Perspective Omlum Fountain Pen, Medium Nib $94.50 (via Pen Chalet)
  • US Mailbag Dopp Kit by TerraCycle $19.95 (via

Ink Review: Sailor Jentle Sakura Mori

Ink Review: Sailor Jentle Sakura Mori

Review by Laura Cameron

Several weeks ago Ana  posted a photo of Sailor Jentle Four Seasons Inks and I quickly became smitten with the Sakura-Mori (Cherry Blossom).  I thought it was a beautiful peachy-pinky color and I wanted it for my new Cross Botannica (more about that one in an upcoming post).

Sailor Jentle Sakura Mori

The bottle of Sakura-Mori arrived about a week ago and I couldn’t wait to play with it.  I recently watched Azizah’s video (The Gourmet Pen) and I was eager to try out some of her techniques in sampling the ink.

Sailor Jentle Sakura Mori Col-o-ring Swatch

First I created a color swatch using my Col-o-ring book.  While the ink is very salmon-colored, I was interested to see just a bit of purple appear towards the top of the swatch, where I tried to make it the darkest.

Sailor Jentle Sakura Mori

When I moved on to creating some ink splotches, I was shocked to see that there were reds and purples, in addition to the pinks and oranges.  I really enjoyed seeing other ways the ink appeared in applications other than a fine nib in writing, where it only appeared in the light pink color.

Sailor Jentle Sakura Mori Close-Up

As I added text to the larger sample, I was really pleased with the way the ink performed. It wrote very smoothly, and flowed evenly onto the page.  I do note that it is not very water resistant, and all attempts, even those left overnight, were pretty affected by water. This would, however, make a beautiful pale pink wash if that was something you wanted.

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.

Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.

News: Letters, Lettering & Knitters

ArtSnacks Lettering Snacks

One of the most successful Collection Boxes that ArtSnacks ever did was the Lettering Collection. It sold out. Twice. So ArtSnacks has officially announced its quarterly Lettering Snacks subscription service. Each box will contain five to six full-sized supplies and a tutorial from Kristina Werner. Plans start at $89 per quarter with free shipping in the US. Assume these boxes will contain brush pens, ink, brushes and other tools specific to lettering and calligraphy.

Mr. Boddington’s Write to the White House

Mr. Boddington Letter to the White House Kit

Help your children develop civic pride and an interest in letter writing with this Write to the White House  letter writing kit ($25) from Mr. Boddington. The kit includes five sheets, five envelopes pre-addressed to the White House, stickers and a booklet with tips for writing to The President. The kit should be available for purchase August 1.

Kenro For You

Kenro is clearing out some of its sample pens and its discontinued models. Their clutter clearing is your treasure! They will, from time to time, be putting these items up on their new site Kenro for You. So, bookmark the page and check it out. This will be your opportunity to purchase that pen you may have actually tested at a pen show, seen photographed for the web site or seen at a trunk show.

Strickplaner 2018


Hey, Knitters! Have I got a planner for you. It’s the Strickplaner for 2018. The planner is designed with daily and weekly event planning AND project planning in mind and includes a pattern for a knitted cover. The end papers are illustrated by Julie Levesque of Symposi Press who makes great knitting themed planner stickers so your planner and stickers could match! Strickplaner will be available in August. It’s in English and German and just a ting bit smaller than A5. The web site has a detailed video with more details.

House Industries BookHouse Industries in San Fransisco

One of my favorite type designers, Andy Cruz from House Industries will be discussing creativity with none other than director extraordinaire J.J. Abrahms Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 7:30 PM at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco, CA as part of the City Arts and Lectures Series recorded live for Public Radio. If you’d like to be part of the audience for this event, you can purchase tickets here. Go for me. The lecture is hosted by Adam Savage. Yes, THAT Adam Savage. No doubt, there will be lots of talk of fast cars, explosions, pop culture, and entertainment.

Pen Review: Pilot Decimo Fine Fountain Pen

Pen Review: Pilot Decimo Fine Fountain Pen

Pilot Decimo Fountain Pen packaging

The Pilot Decimo Fine Fountain Pen ($139) is my first foray into the world of retractable fountain pens. The Pilot Vanishing Point or Capless is the best known of these pens but the Decimo is its smaller version. The barrel is slightly narrower and in general looks like it was designed with the “fairer sex” in mind as it comes in lighter, brighter colors. While I don’t mind the color options, I do get a little annoyed at the gender bias. I’m not inclined to want the carbon fiber looks but the fact that the range of colors available for the Decimo is considerably smaller than the Vanishing Point is a little bit annoying. But I’ll take the sky blue, pearl purple or burgundy any day over the black, black and more black options available for the Vanishing Point!

Pilot Decimo Fountain Pen

One of the hidden treasures of a Decimo or VP is that it comes with an 18K nib. Whether the nib is silver rhodium-plated like this one, black or gold, underneath the fancy paint job is a slightly springy nib. Its a little added bonus on top of getting a retractable fountain pen that is beautifully designed.

Pilot Decimo Fountain Pen nib close-up

Sometimes I have a little too much fun with the macro lens. Look at the detail of the nib on the Decimo! You can even see some of the ink droplets from the pen being tossed around in my bag and a stray cat hair. Yes, life at The Well-Appointed Desk isn’t all that glamorous sometimes.

The mechanism the controls the knock that exposes and retracts the nib also covers the opening where the nib retracts inside the pen so even though there was some ink on the nib, none leaked into my bag, pocket or anywhere else.

Part of why the clip is on the nib end is so that if you do clip the pen to your pocket it is nib-end up as a final precaution against any possibility of  the pen accidentally leaking on your pocket. Or if it was clipped to the front of a notebook, the nib again would be pointing up reducing any chance of leakage down the front of your papers, clothing or anywhere else.

Pilot Decimo Fountain Pen converter and nib unit

Since the nib unit is so unique, I thought I’d show the inner workings. This is the nib unit with the converter attached. The nib unit can easily be swapped out should you decide you want a different nib size in your pen or if you have more than one Decimo or VP (they are completely interchangeable).

Pilot Decimo Fountain Pen cartridge & case

The pen ships with the converter as well as a cartridge and a metal cartridge cap. It’s recommended to hang on to the cartridge cap if you intend to use cartridges as it protects the plastic from being punctured by the retract mechanism. Remember that Pilot cartridges are proprietary sizes so be sure to have the right size on hand.

Pilot Decimo Fountain Pen Writing Sample

The Decimo measures about 5.5″ (14cm). The length did not change with the nib exposed or closed as the button depressed the exact distance that the nib was exposed. The body weighs 25gms filled with the converter filled.

I was worried that the clip was really going to bother me, especially being left-handed but Pilot pens are so well-tuned they are quite forgiving of all the janky angles I tend to write at. After a couple of times using it, I found the “sweet spot” of holding it where I didn’t notice the clip and it didn’t get in the way.

I bought the pen because I wanted a good pen that would be good for using in meetings, on-the-go, and for those jot-it-down-quick moments that happen throughout the day. The Decimo has taken to living tucked in the front of my Traveler’s Notebook, on my desk and in the front pocket of my bag. I guess that pretty much makes it my everyday carry, doesn’t it?

If I were intending to sit down to write a long letter or journal entry, I would probably choose one of my other pens but for everything else, the Decimo is working out great. And I’m actually pretty glad I picked a bright color because I can find it easily.

I tested the Decimo on Rhodia Uni blank pad paper using my standard 7mm guide sheet underneath and deAtramentis Pigeon Blue ink (It was the only bottled ink I had at work and I was impatient to fill this and try it right away).

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.

Link Love: The Science of Pens

Link LovePost of the Week:




Paper & Notebooks:

Other Interesting Things:

Notebook Review: FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks

The FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks are the latest release from Say Nice Things. The FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks sell in a 3-pack which ship in a cardstock slipcase (£6.99) or you can purchase an individual book for £2.99.

FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks

The packaging for the 3-pack is the same kraft cardstock that the covers are made from and doubles as a great way to store and archive your books. I like packaging that has secondary use and/or is totally recyclable. This is both. When you open it, it feels like a little gift. If you store your unused and then filled FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks in the box, it feels sturdy enough to keep them safe and secure. But since the material is just kraft paper, its completely recyclable so if you choose to recycle it, that’s fine too. So whatever you decide to do with the box, its all good.

FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks

The size of the notebooks is a little larger than the average pocket notebook at 4 1/8″ x 5 3/4″ (10.5cm x 14.8cm). They are actually A6 size. It’s not a size I use much but they are noticeably wider than the average pocket notebook even without a ruler. Its kind of refreshing even though it doesn’t fit in my Story Supply Co. leather cover. Bummer.

Each set of three books feature kraft covers with one printed with either a teal, orange or purple stripe on the covers. The kraft covers are good and sturdy.

FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks

The thread-stitched binding coordinates with the printing on the cover.

FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks inside paper

What’s unique about the FlipFlop Pocket Notebook is that it combines both a lined notebook and a reticle grid into one book. Depending on which way you flip the book, by looking at the cover, the marking printed on the cover will show if you are on the reticle grid side or the lined side. The books contain 48 pages, 24 pages are lined, 24 pages are reticle. The paper is 90gsm in a soft, cream white.

FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks writing pen tests

The lines on the lined side are spaced at 5mm. For someone like me with pretty small handwriting and a tendency to use fine writing pens on the go, it didn’t present much issue. I went ahead and tested some wider pens, like a brush pen, some markers and various tools to simulate that “I grabbed whatever was handy” moments.

The lines don’t bleed all the way to the edge and the Say Nice Things smiley face logo is in the bottom corner of each page with a slightly larger margin there as well. I feel like I could use this space to number the pages or add some sort of indexing if I was more organized.

FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks bleed test

From the reverse side of the paper, you can just see the Platinum Brush Pen showing through a bit. In person, its a little bit more noticeable but the reverse side of the paper is still completely usable, even where the brush pen is.

FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks pen tests

I ran the same pen tests on the reticle grid side. I found that both the lines and the reticle grid marks were light enough to disappear with all but the lightest ink colors which I really appreciated.

FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks bleed test

Again, from the back of the paper, there was little evidence of show through.


  • Reticle grid
  • pretty good with fountain pens
  • 5mm lines
  • A6
  • nice Kraft covers
  • packaging doubles as storage
  • Made in the UK!


  • A6 might not work for everyone
  • Shipping outside the UK might be challenging (email customer service for shipping information)
  • Reticle/Lined combo might not be for everyone

Overall, I really like the FlipFlop Pocket Notebooks. For someone like me who tends to be a bit indecisive about whether I want to take a lined notebook, a grid or a blank notebook, the FlipFlop gives me the ability to not make a decision. There are very few options on the market with reticle grid so if that’s a format you’re looking for, this is a great candidate. A6 is also not often available which is slightly wider than the 3.5 x 5.5 pocket notebooks and a tiny bit taller. If you have a chance to try the FlipFlop, give it a try!

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

Store Profile: Wonder Fair in Lawrence, KS

Store Profile: Wonder Fair in Lawrence, KS

Just 25 miles west of Kansas City is the college town of Lawrence, Kansas. On the main drag of Massachusetts Street are all sorts of restaurants, bars, and shops. We drive over a couple times a year to visit. There’s a great ramen shop, guitar shop, yarn shop and there’s always new shops popping up. My favorite shop is called Wonder Fair. It’s filled with stationery, notebooks, pens, pencils, ink and art supplies from around the world and there’s an art gallery too.

Wonderfair signage

This is the amazing sign outside the store. Who wouldn’t want to set sail on a voyage at Wonder Fair?

Wonderfair Washi-ton display

On the main floor is paper goods. There are notebooks, stationery, cards, Traveler’s Notebooks, gifts, books, planners, calendars and the like. There is also some t-shirts in the front window and some tote bags and backpacks in the other window. In the back is the gallery area. There is a small display case with the “fancy pens” which is still a relatively small collection but includes Y Studio, Kaweco, Caran d’Ache, Platinum and Lamy.

Atop one of the displays is Mt. Washi-ton, a display of washi tape. How clever!

Wonderfair Field Notes

There is a copious display of both Field Notes and Baron Fig notebooks. I was able to pick up the new Baron Fig sticky notes from the great selection.

Wonderfair notebooks

Wonder Fair has such a great selection of notebooks like Rollbahn, Rhodia, Stalogy, Life, Midori, Write Notebooks, Mnemosyne and so many more. I had to resist buying anymore paper.

Wonderfair notebooks

Wonderfair ink refills

Upstairs are pens, pencils, markers, ink, refills and art supplies. It’s cubbies and containers of joy. It’s a snug little space but such fun and so colorful.

Wonderfair letter writing stationery

Back downstairs are the postal supplies including writing paper and envelopes as well as a wonderful selection of notecards, postcards and card sets.

Wonderfair haul

I picked up a few wonderful things because, really, how could I resist? I was super excited to get the Caran d’Ache Brut Rose ballpoint pen, another rainbow pencil, the Baron Fig Nomad StickyNotes, a set of Zebra Mildliners, a couple enamel pins and the Wonder Fair exclusive patch #1.


The reason I wanted to get this post up right away is because THIS SUNDAY, July 16 is the monthly meeting of the Wonder Fair Letter Writing Club. The Letter Writing Club meet at a nearby coffee shop called Decade from 2-4pm. I plan to attend this month so if you happen to be in the area and can make, I’d love to meet up.

I’d be happy to bring along some of my stock of letter writing stamps for folks to try out and any pens, paper or ink that people might like to try in person.

And of course, a big thank you to Meredith and Paul at Wonder Fair for being so nice to us and not kicking us out for overstaying our welcome on Saturday. We must have been there for hours!