Notebook Review: Catherine Pooler Canvo Journal

Review by Laura Cameron

Last month I had the chance to attend the Association for Creative Industries’ Creativation conference. Creativation is an industry trade show geared towards creative businesses and includes everything from knitting and needle arts, to cardmaking, stamping, scrapbooking and other papercrafts, to sewing, macrame, craft supply organizing and more! I spent some time in the Catherine Pooler Designs booth (primarily stamping arts) and fell in love with their Doodle Garden Canvo Bullet Journal ($24.95).

While I don’t keep a bullet journal, I was impressed by the beautiful thick paper designed for stamping and water-based markers. The durable plastic covers, spiral binding, and numbered dot-grid pages appealed to my list making senses, and that beautiful paper seemed perfect for fountain pen inks!

The journal gets right down to business with a first page where you can fill out your name and dates, and then there is a lovely doodle design that you can color or just use for inspiration. Then we jump right into the numbered pages (150 in the whole book)

As I said, I don’t really  bullet journal, but this notebook seems like it could fit a variety of needs – build your own calendar, keep track of your ever growing to do list, record your daily musings or doodles, track goals or anything your heart desires.

I wasn’t able to find a specs on the paper, but I can say that the paper is gorgeously thick, and seems perfect for fountain pen ink. I didn’t notice any sheening, but there’s ZERO ghosting. None. At all.


That makes my Type A heart burst! (I really hate ghosting but often just live with it.) I don’t have any stamps (yet!) but I do plan to acquire some and test them out in here. And I think I may have found my newest pen show journal for testing all the pens and swabbing all the inks!

DISCLAIMER: The journal included in this review was purchased with my own money for the purpose of this review.


Pen Review: Lamy 2000 Multipen

Pen Review: Lamy 2000 Multipen

It will probably come as a surprise to discover that, up until recently, I did not own any model of Lamy 2000. While I own many different models of Lamy fountain pens, including the Lamy Scala with a gold nib, I don’t own any of Lamy’s rollerball or ballpoint pens. So, I decided to break with tradition and purchase the Lamy 2000 (in the less common but still striking) multipen (€75).

Lamy 2000 Multipen

The Lamy 2000 multipen is available in the sleek macrolon material which is tactile and warm in the hand with brushed steel accents. There is an almost-invisible seam where the refills are inserted. It’s actually easier to see the seam in the photo above than it is to see it in person. This invisible seam maintains the smooth, clean lines of the fountain pen.

Lamy 2000 Multipen

Around the cap, just below the clip are demarcations of color, indicating the various refill colors: red, blue and green. The clip itself is the indication for black. The pen works by weight. Turn the pen so that the color you desire is facing upwards (towards you), then click the button on the top and that refill will be dispensed. Press the button again to retract the refill.

It’s really quite ingenious.

Lamy 2000 Multipen

When the pen ships, it comes with Lamy’s M21 ballpoint refills. These refills are actually standard D1 refills which means its easy to swap out the refills for any D1 refills that meet your preference. I simply swapped out the same colors for Zebra Gel Refills in 0.4mm size so that the colors would align.

What could be better than a classic pen with the perfect refills? That’s what I thought too.

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

LA Pen Show Recap (with Road Trip Round-Up)

LA Pen Show Recap (with Road Trip Round-Up)

When I was trying to decide how to best organize this post, I debated planning it and titling it “A Pen Show in 3 Parts.” The first part being the drive to LA, the pen show itself and then the drive home. I drove from Kansas City to Little Rock where I met up with Lisa Vanness. We loaded up the van with a metric ton of ink and then we drove to LA. We took three days to get out to LA, stopping at the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo and then at the Route 66 Museum in Oklahoma.

On the road to LA: desserts and museum stop

We made dessert a priority. As it should be.

On the Road to LA: Southwestern Skylines and Cadillac Ranch

We got to enjoy some beautiful southwestern sunsets and sunrises. Unfortunately, LA weather was not on our side. The last two hours of our drive was in a torrential downpour and Angelenos are not accustomed to driving in rain so there were a lot of accidents on the highway that slowed our progress.

LA Pen Show Friends

Once we arrived though, we were greeted by happy faces of friends from near and far. Evelyn (AKA Schmevelyn) was waiting for us in the lobby when we arriver and went with us for lunch at Tender Greens across the street. After some nourishment, we were ready to unpack the van for the Friday flurry. We only had two of the three tables for Vanness Pens for Friday and Saturday as these were Trader Days for the LA Pen Show. Per the rules of the LA Pen Show, anyone who pays for a Trader Pass is allowed half a table for trading on Friday and Saturday. So, that allowed Joe, Me, Davina and Lisa two tables – half a table each. Then on Sunday, we are allowed our full allotment of three table which Lisa had purchased for the one public day. It’s pretty convoluted and the only pen show I know of that’s run this way.

It also means that there are considerably fewer people who purchase the Trader Passes which are $65 each. The passes for Sunday are only $8 per person.

Pens of the LA Pen Show

For me, it means I get a little bit of time to walk around on Friday and Saturday after we are set up. Though not all vendors are set up and nor do they have all their merchandise out, I do get to see a bit and maybe even make a purchase or two.

Joey Feldman's Custom Cover Notbeooks

As has become tradition with the LA Show, Vanness Pen Shop create a special Tomoe River notebook (by Curnow)  with artwork created especially for it by the venerable Joey Feldman. This year was the addition of pen rolls and cases with the same artwork by Joey for Vanness by Rickshaw Bagworks. Unfortunately, only sample protoype pen rolls and cases were ready in time for the LA Show so Baltimore Pen Show attendees will be the beneficiaries of these amazing designs as they will be made available for the Baltimore Show.

Lisa Vanness and Sule

The photo above were my two closest companions over the weekend: Ms. Lisa Vanness and Sule, a pen repairman who was sitting behind us. He shared his tangerines, dried dates and sudoku puzzles with me. He also told me he will turn 90 in March. He is one of the reasons I love pen shows. I meet the most fascinating, amazing people with wonderful stories and kind hearts. He said I looked just like Carol Burnett when he saw her perform in 1952.

Crowds on Sunday at the LA Pen Show

Then, Sunday happened. And it was the madness and mayhem we expected. And then some. The public attendees were asked to line up outside (outdoors) by the swimming pool so that they could see in the ballroom windows into the show while waiting in line to pay their entry fee and winding their way through what the vendors coined the mouse trap as there was one corner of the ballroom that was a dead end where the Edison table was located. The guys at Yafa said people would talk with them and say “See you later!” and they would reply “See you in a few minutes!” because they knew the mouse trap ended and attendees would have to come back the same way they came in.

That said, there are a lot of things about the LA show I wish were different. The aisles were too narrow. Having the show open to the public for one day is not enough. The show should be open the the public on at least Saturday AND Sunday. I think there should be some option for non-traders to buy three-day passes if they want them. Many people feel that the show organizer does what he does because he wants to make the most money possible. I cannot figure out how letting more people into the show more days wouldn’t allow that to happen? Let Thursday and Friday be Traders Days and Saturday and Sunday be Public Days. And for all that is holy, move the show back upstairs to the larger space. Many attendees said they would not come back if it was as cramped as it was this year.

People don’t need to go to pen shows. They can shop online with YouTube videos as their instructors. I hope the organizer (who, as rumored, only wants to make money) understands he is going to lose money if he does not listen to the outpouring of dissent.

So, after a frustrating Sunday, we speed packed the van with the help of Joe, Evelyn and Kasey and headed to Victorville for the night so that we could avoid LA traffic in the morning.

Lisa Vanness & Davina Darling at Oatman, AZ

Monday afternoon we stopped in Oatman, AZ to visit with the donkeys that roam the streets. We bought donkey treat and snuck a few bites of apple to them too which made them happy to have something in their diet besides kibble. Davina was a real pro with the animals since she grew up a farm. Then we took a long, winding back road from Oatman to Kingman, AZ and ate a classic 50s diner.

The rest of our trip was a blur of the worst kind of weather. Sleet? Check. Fog? Check. And then endless snow and even icy road conditions. This weather-pocalypse put us behind schedule by a day as we only made it as far as Gallup, NM on Monday as I-40 was down to a single lane by 6pm and I was the only person in the van brave enough to drive in the snowy conditions. On Tuesday, our windshield wiper fluid tubes became completely frozen so every 30-45 minutes we had to pull over and spritz the windshield with water manually in order to wipe the road grime off the windshield. At one particularly slick off-ramp, we slid right through the intersection. The ABS brakes did their best to slow us down but they were no match for un-shoveled roadways. Luckily, it was a desolate off-ramp and we came to no harm. Needless to say, we were extra cautious on further stops.

We made it to Oklahoma City on Tuesday night with about five hours left to Little Rock but there was ice and rain between OKC and Little Rock and we were not willing to risk life and ink to go further.

Wednesday morning we set off for Little Rock and got back to the shop a little after lunch time. With the help of Mike Vanness and Barrett, we unloaded the van cargo and got merchandise added back into inventory and took a deep sigh of relief.

After a delicious pizza dinner and an early night, I got up on Wednesday morning and headed back to Kansas City as fast as my little Mini Cooper could carry me. With 20000hz podcast as my co-pilot and copious amounts of Starbucks Doubleshot and a bag of Honey Sriracha Combos, I made it home in good time.

My Home Team: Lucy of Totality, cat of awesome and Bob's Welcome Home note

Oh, what a happy sight greeted me. Col-o-rings collated and counted, Lucy happy to see me and a Welcome Home note on Col-o-ring paper from my sweetie (written with his Hinze pen with Diamine Matador).

As with all pen shows, I love seeing friends old and new. I love getting a chance to look at pens and ink and paper and I love getting a chance to help people find the perfect ink, pen or notebook at the show. I look forward to the next show. I hope it won’t be as stressful for attendees and the weather will be more cooperative.

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.

Notebook Review: Maruman Postcard Sketch Book

Review by Tina Koyama

I’ve been aware of Maruman sketchbooks for a while, but I hadn’t tried one, mainly because most formats are too large for my sketching lifestyle. The Zuan series, however, includes a postcard size (about 4-by-6 inches) that seems ideal for urban and travel sketching, so I picked up a pad (50 sheets for $6).

Unlike most sketchbooks, this one has a glued binding that enables easy removal of individual pages. That feature invites using the sheets as actual postcards and sharing them by mail.

Given that the paper weight is 126.5 gsm (less than 50 lbs.), I assumed that the stock is intended for dry media. First I scribble-tested a few pencils and a fine-point Copic Multiliner to see what the surface looks like. It has a coarse, regular tooth that gives pencil lines an interesting texture. I didn’t care for using the multiliner on that strong tooth, though, and I didn’t even try a fountain pen (that sort of texture with a fountain pen sets my teeth on edge).

Next, I thought I’d try a watercolor pencil sketch, thinking that the paper could probably handle a light wash. It did – and quite nicely. In fact, after drying completely, the slight buckle where I activated the garlic’s shadow flattened completely.

Then I tried some water-soluble markers – Caran d’Ache Fibralo and Art Alternatives Fine Liners – blended with a little water, and a permanent-ink Faber-Castell Pitt Big Brush Artist Pen. All worked beautifully, yielding crisp colors with no bleed-through. The paper’s surface, however, pilled a bit where I added more color to the already wet surface.

Again, the paper showed no buckling afterwards. Encouraged by that, I decided to splash some watercolor onto it. Honestly, I didn’t think it could handle the relatively wet wash I threw down.

To my surprise, after drying completely, the remaining buckle was insignificant for 50 lb. paper. The sizing is probably not ideal for showing off vibrant watercolor hues, but for sending a sketched postcard greeting while traveling, it performs much better than I expected.

When I was done with that page, I tore it out, and it came out easily and cleanly. The rest of the sheets, however, remain firmly attached to the glued binding, so it can be used as a conventional sketchbook, too.

The Maruman Postcard Sketch Book is a handy little book to carry along with favorite sketch materials and a book of stamps. I would be thrilled to receive a sketched postcard. . . maybe I’ll send one!

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.

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


Link Love: A Day Late but Not a Dollar Short

Link Love: A Day Late but Not a Dollar Short

Due to weather delays, this is an extremely lengthy Link Love. But I’m home safe and the cats are very happy about that. Some of the highlights are: Draplin Love, actual pencil reviews this week, LA Pen Show recaps, and, oh yeah, the 2019 Pen Addict Live Kickstarter went live. Plus SOOOOO much more. Enjoy!




Notebooks & Paper:

Letter Writing & Postal Topics:

Art & Creativity:

Penmanship & Calligraphy:

Other Interesting Things:

Ink Review: Sailor Studio 462

Ink Review: Sailor Studio 462

By Jessica Coles

Lately, Sailor has been flooding the ink scene with new ink choices.  This has been quite a delight to ink collectors although it is also a curse to completionist collectors who just need to have each color.  Sailor Studio inks are available in a standard line of 100 separate inks.  Although each ink is closely related to two or three others, the characteristics of each are wonderfully unique.

Sailor Studio 462 is another of the chameleon inks that I love to find.  The color shifts dramatically based on the details of your writing environment and set up – the nib size, the paper, the lighting and angle of that light.

From the online presentation of 462, I believed that the color would be a dusty teal that leaned slightly towards green. I hoped that it would be dark enough to read in normal writing!

I found my Sailor Studio ink supplier on eBay – one who ships from Japan with free shipping but the shipping time is rather long.  It can take over a month at times.  In my opinion, it is well worth the wait.

For swatch comparisons (all on Col-O-Ring cards), I had to pull colors from the teal section of my cards all the way through forest greens; I still didn’t find an exact match!  When it pools on paper, the ink shows green, blue and purple; as these individual colors combine, various grays, teals, and blurples show up.  This makes a beautiful ink but makes it impossible to describe. The closest I can get in my collection is a dusty version of ColorVerse Pale Blue Dot.

The swatch above (on Birmingham Pen Company Tomoe River notebook paper) has been left as untouched as possible in order to show the color seen during writing.  The various combinations of green, blue, and purple are easy to see here.

The words above have been lightened up slightly to show some of the shading in the writing. At times, the ink color seems to change halfway through a letter. Sailor Studio inks (all that I have used so far) do not feather or bleed (on Tomoe, HP 32 lb or Clairefontaine paper) and the writing does not feel particularly wet or dry. Overall, these are all great inks to write with! I have yet to find one that I would even hesitate to recommend.

If you have tried any other Sailor Studio inks, please let us know in the comments!

DISCLAIMER: The items in this review were all purchased by myself.  Please see the About page for more details.


Link Love: After Dark Edition

Sorry that this week’s Link Love will be so late. Due to the Petra winter storm, I will not be back into Kansas City until Thursday. It’s been an 11-day epic road trip (to Little Rock and then all the way to LA and then back to Little Rock and then back home) and Link Love is the one task I needed to postpone.

I’ll be driving from Little Rock to Kansas City on Thursday morning. I am writing this on my phone, on the road, somewhere between Oklahoma City and Little Rock.

I’ll follow it up with an LA Pen show recap.

So, rather than start my laundry, I am thinking of you, dear readers. I do care.