The first round of Gift Guides and year-end round-up posts are out this week. This is how I know its the holidays! There will probably be more in the coming weeks… it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Following yesterday’s Gift Guide, we thought we’d share some of our holiday wishes — some attainable, some not-so-attainable.
This wish list has my stationery lusts on it but I also have a few non-stationery things I’ve been wanting (like this amazing wool shop handbag and a Sphero BB-8 to keep my R2 company) as well as entirely intangible wishes as well (like more time, more calm and more bliss in the world). We can all dream, right?
Demylee X CWPE Women’s Pencil Sweater ($284) When Caroline and Co. showed me the sweater they had made for the holidays, I knew immediately that it would rocket to the top of my holiday wish list. I mean, I already have pencil socks so, of course, I need a sweater to match!
Frannerd Open yearly planner – YEAR TWO ($29.22) I need another planner like I need a hole in my head but I am such a fan of Fran Menses that I would love to have one of her new planners. She has done such great artwork and worked so hard to develop it that I would love to have one in my hands and experience it first hand.
Platinum 3776 Century Fountain Pen Kumpoo ($260 but out of stock)- It’s my color and I love my other Platinum 3776 (Chartres Blue). I couldn’t justify it when it came out, but I’ve used Ana’s and I have a serious case of pen lust.
Fringe Supply Company Field Bag, Waxed Canvas, Plum – Honestly I’m not sure what’s the most ridiculous part of my wanting this bag. It’s a knitting bag, and while I know it’s of amazing quality, I want to spend $75 on a bag to hold my knitting! And it happens to be sold out everywhere in the newest color (Plum) that I desperately want. And I’ve never actually held one in my hands so who knows if I’ll like it when I get it. See? Replace the word fountain pen with knitting and it’s the SAME THING.
What do I want for the holidays? Hmmm. That’s a question that can be interpreted many ways. If I were making a wish list for the day I win the lotto, these items would be on it:
Sailor King of Pen Red Urushi ($1,900) Of course, it must have a Naginata Fude de Mannen nib, which doesn’t exist as an option, but I’ll fly to Hiroshima and wait for them to make it for me.
A full subscription to the 500-color Felissimo colored pencil set (¥2,808 per month x 25 months = ¥70,200 or about US $622; volume discount available!) The website says: “A color for every happiness in the world.” Beat that!
Faber-Castell KarlBox Colours in Black ($2,850) Truth be told, I probably already own most of the contents of this box, so owning this collection in the KarlBox would be like the piano some people keep in their parlors without ever playing it. I promise to dust and polish it weekly.
Then there are the items on my wish list for before I win the lotto (which looks very much like my Amazon and Blick wish lists):
Stillman & Birn Nova Trio sketchbook (coming imminently to Blick.com) Stillman & Birn, my favorite sketchbook manufacturer, has conveniently bound all three colors of Nova-series toned papers (beige, gray, black) into one book.
This year we tried to tune our Gift Guide towards pen and stationery enthusiasts at various levels of the hobby: new-to-the-hobby, in-it-for-awhile and hardcore collectors. Each group may be hard to shop for and we hoped that our guide might make it easier for friends and family of enthusiasts a bit easier to shop for this holiday season.
We have recommendations for each group as well as some gifts suitable for anyone.
The “New-to-the-hobby” Fan
This is the pen and stationery fan that has just started, but can’t stop talking about it.
Ink Samples ($0.50 – $3.75 each) When a pen enthusiast gets started, the first thing they will discover is that ink is something they will want to seek out. Help them on their way by picking a few samples from the 100s available. Try picking a rainbow (ROYGBIV) or several colors from the same brand. Then grab a 2-pack of blunt tip syringes ($4.50) to make it easier to fill pens.
Col-o-Ring ($10) Once a newbie has some ink samples, they are going to need a way to catalog them and we, of course, recommend a Col-o-ring for cataloging inks.
Girologio 12-Pen Zippered Case in Brown ($45) Give your favorite, new pen collector a case to store their growing collection in. This case from Girologio is not particularly expensive and designed to hold smaller pens comfortably. Its good quality and looks great.
The “In-it-for-awhile” Fan
This fan has been collecting pens, pencils or stationery for awhile but may not have gotten into “high ticket” items quite yet.
Ink Sample Sets (prices vary, $12-$229) Even for an avid ink collector, an assortment of ink samples like the Random 5-ink Sampler Kit, will show the pen lover in your life that you know the best way to stuff a stocking.
Blackwing pencil pins (set of 3/$15) Are these adorable, or what? Anyone with even the tiniest interest in analog would be charmed by these.
Kokuyo Shellbro Pen Case ($16) I’m impressed by how much this case can contain. It’s practically a mini desk drawer. Fill it with a fistful of pens and pencils for a lucky recipient.
Field Notes Signature edition (2/$14.95) While most Field Notes Brand notebooks are for quick thoughts that need to be “remembered now,” the Signature edition with its slightly larger form factor encourages both sketching and writing at a more leisurely pace. The 70-pound paper is meaty enough for both. Perhaps a friend has mentioned the desire to start journaling or drawing but feels intimidated by a hardbound Rhodia or Stillman & Birn sketchbook? A Signature enables dabbling without pressure.
The Hardcore Collectors
This fans have it all, maybe they even buy-and-sell pens, pencils or make their own products. You know if your favorite person falls in this category. They are particularly challenging to shop for.
Col-o-Dex ($15) and scour Amazon, Goodwill, vintage stores or eBay for a Rolodex! This is the deluxe, desktop version of the Col-o-ring and just the thing for the pen collector ready to take their ink archive to the next level. Don’t forget a set of tabs ($5 per pack) for maximum organization.
Pineider Snorkel Filler ($15) This little gadget might not look like much to you but its newly on the market and is just the sort of gift for the person who has everything. It makes filling fountain pen converters easier and won’t break the bank.
Musubi Journal (shown in Ebi, SGD 135, approx. $99USD) The handmade journals from Musubi are some of the most luxurious, beautiful notebooks I’ve ever seen. They are made with Tomoe River paper and include a protective slipcase. But best of all, the notebooks are made by craftspeople who would not be able to work otherwise due to prejudice, abuse and physical limitations but Musubi employs them, trains them and provides a safe environment for them — qualities that embody the spirit of the holidays.
When all else fails, many of our favorite shops offer gift cards or gift certificates and stock a variety of brands of pens, papers and inks. If you wait until the last minute, this may be your best option.
A subscription to ArtSnacks or SketchBox. (Cost varies depending on duration and shipping location) If a sketcher, artist, art journaler, Hobonichi/Midori planner keeper or other user of a wide variety of art supplies is on your list, one of these subscription services will delight him or her with new products to try each month.
The quarterly Pencil Box subscription ($30, US shipping only, waiting list status) from CW Pencils is a great gift for pencil enthusiasts.
Birmingham Pen Company offers a monthly subscription called The Pen Parcel available in three tiers and can be purchased for one month, 3-months or 6-months pre-paid. Each tier includes five new inks as a sample or full bottle each month and would make a lovely gift.
Many of these books have been reviewed in past Books for the Desk Set posts but I thought I’d collect my favorite stationery-related recommendations here, just in time for the holidays.
The Secret Life of the Pencil: Great Creatives and Their Pencils by Alex Hammond. The Secret Life of the Pencil is a lovely picture book that accompanied an exhibition of photos of pencils owned by creative professionals. Accompanying each photograph is a caption from the owner about why this pencil means something to them. It’s a lovely homage to creative analog tools.
The Pencil Perfect: The Untold Story of a Cultural Icon by Caroline Weaver. Owner of the singular CW Pencil Enterprise, Caroline is uniquely qualified to publish a book about the history of pencils. This book is both entertaining and educational. It’s filled with pencil illustrations, of course to punctuate the text making it a pleasure to read.
Adventures in Stationery: A Journey Through Your Pencil Case by James Ward. This book was originally titled The Perfection of the Paperclip when released in the UK but was retitled and given a new cover for the US release. This book is full of historical accounts of all sorts of office supply staples like staplers, highlighters, the ballpoint pen and more. Trivial Pursuit for the stationery aficionado.
The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll. Ryder is responsible for introducing the world to Bullet Journaling and has just released a book with detailed information about the methodology and techniques behind this massive, worldwide phenomena. Reviews recommend the dead tree edition of this book over the ebook since the book is heavily illustrated and it makes sense — a book about analog note-taking is probably best read on paper.
Stationery Fever: From Paper Clips to Pencils and Everything In Between by John Z. Komurki, Angela Nicoletti, and Luca Bendandi. While Adventures in Stationery is a deep dive into the history of many office products, Stationery Fever offers a more pictorial, world-view of the current stationery products on offer and shops that sell them. While not every shop in the world is represented, a nice selection of shops are featured from across the globe.
The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax. Revenge of Analog covers a wide variety of analog interests from vinyl records and film cameras to Moleskine notebooks and Shinola watches but its one of the most interesting books I this year and it keeps percolating in my mind. If you have a loved one engrossed with fountain pens or any sort of analog interest, they may enjoy reading this book whether they agree or disagree with the writer. Sometimes disagreeing with a book can be as much fun as agreeing with it.
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.
Thanks to my sponsors for providing some of the images I used for this Gift Guide. Please consider making your holiday purchases from one of the shops that support this blog and let them know you heard about them from The Well-Appointed Desk. Thanks for your support and for supporting the shops that help keep it running.
As we get into the throes of the holiday season, I thought I’d let you know that our dearest Jesi took a crack at organizing our top navigation in preparation for future efforts. We’d like to make it easier for you, our beloved readers, to find Guide Sheets, Gift Guides, and maybe in the near future Our Top Picks in various categories.
Fan-favorite, Fashionable Friday is now accessible in the top navigation along with Link Love so you’ll have quick access to your favorite features.
We also made it easier to access the Pen Addict Bingo (its under the LINKS tab) so each week you’ll be ready to play along with each episode.
As always, you can reach us with your pressing stationery questions through the Ask The Desk link.
Faber-Castell Ambition OpArt White Sand Fountain pen €51.65 (via Appelboom)
Don’t forget that it is BLACK Friday and many shops are having sales today and all weekend so check out our Black Friday deals post or check each site and see if there are specials. Turn these great items into a White Christmas!
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.
It has been really challenging trying to round-up and make sense of all the Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday Deals in the pen world. I made an attempt. Hope this helps you find the best deals on the pens you wanted this holiday. Or wanted to give this holiday.
Get 10% off JetPens’ best-sellers and customer favorites — in black!
(Special Offer prices valid while supplies last, or until Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at Midnight Pacific Time.)
Wednesday -Friday (Nov. 21-23):all ink will be 10% off. Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 24-25): all remaining 2019 Planners will go on sale at 20% off Monday- Friday (Nov. 26-30): get a free small Leuchtturm notebook with any pen purchase over $35. Spend over $100 and receive a second bonus item.
For more details, visit the Vanness Pen Shop website.
Appelboom has a whole page of Black Friday special deals. Prices are valid all weekend but many items are single units so act fast. Many items are marked down as much as 60%.
Get 15% off with the coupon code BLACK15 through Nov. 23 plus these special offers — BOGO on 30ml Monteverde Inks, buy select Sailor pens include a free bottle of Sailor Jentle inks and more.
Save 20% on the entire selection of Karas Kustoms pens, accessories, and even the Club Coin when you use the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout.
Sale starts Wednesday, November 21st. There’s no limit on the coupon code, it’s free rein in the webshop. (Sale is valid on in-stock items only.)
Purchase select Sailor Pens and receive a free bottle of Sailor Jentle ink (while supplies last or until Monday, Nov. 26th 11:59pm EST). Pens available: 1911 Key Lime, 1911 Stormy Sea and Pro Gear Ocean and more.
Receive 30% off orders over $300 and 18% off orders under $300. Use the codes BF30 for 30% off and BF18 for 18% off. Sale ends Monday at midnight.
Fresh Stock Japan:
Fresh Stock Japan is offerings 10% OFF ALL ORDERS with the coupon code 10BF2018.
Orders over $50, get 15% OFF with the coupon code 15BF2018. And orders over $100, get 20% OFF
with the coupon code 20BF2018. Now through Monday.
Baron Fig is offering free US Priority shipping on all orders over $50 Friday – Monday with the code BLACKFRIDAY18.
Chic Sparrow‘s sale begins Friday, November 23rd at 05:00 AM Pacific Time and will continue through Monday, November 26th at Midnight. Use code Thanksgiving2018 at check out to save 30% on most products across the entire shop! Discounts apply to in-stock items only.
Get your holiday shopping list ready! Starting this Friday, November 23rd, 2018, everything in the ArtSnacks Shop will be 25% off and monthly subscriptions will be 12% off for new members.
Sign up for the newsletter ASAP and then check your email Friday at 8:00 AM EST for coupon codes to unlock holiday treats.
Ferris Wheel Press:
Get 20% off any color of the Brush Fountain Pen for CA$150 on Black Friday (Nov. 23rd, 2018) plus free shipping internationally. Use the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout to receive the discount.