Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Well-Travelled Pen

The Saga of a Pen as It - but Not Its Owner - Travels the World

So here's the deal.

In 2011, the Fountain Pen Network put together a group buy for various limited-edition Stipula pens. There were three different models offered, in different configurations (materials, nib sizes, trim material, etc.).

As is so typical of me, I saw the Photoshop mockup of the Most Expensive One and said (everyone repeat after me), "Ooooh....Shiiiiiiny....." I then convinced myself I could afford it, had to have it, and ordered it. With an extra nib in a different size, in fact - Stipula pens have nibs that swap! Look! It's really an economical move - two pens for the price of - well, two or three - or four. Or even more, depending on price point.

So I shipped my money off and waited.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pens for Aid: Help the Philippines and Buy a Pen!

Leigh Reyes, the lovely and talented woman behind My Life as a Verb, is hosting a small pen auction to raise funds to assist our neighbors in the Philippines. Please drop by and bid lavishly! All proceeds go directly to the Philippine Red Cross, as outlined on Leigh's website.

Besides, we've contributed this lovely thing - bid it up for me, won't you?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

FPD 2013 Giveaway Winners!

What a fun experience this has been for me!

When I gave away a Jinhao X750 in February 2012, I had 20 entries. For this giveaway I've had more than eight times that many, with 162 entries from 17 different countries, including multiple entries from Brazil, Canada, Germany, Greece, the Philippines, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, as well as so many from my native United States! Thank you all so much for your interest in my blog and the giveaway!

And now for the news you've all been waiting for:

Tim from Huntington Beach, CA - Gold pen with the following ink samples: Noodler's Army Green • J. Herbin Lie de Thé • Pilot Namiki Blue • Noodler's North African Violet • Noodler's Nikita

Doug from Oakland, CA - Matte Black pen with Caran d'Ache Grand Canyon • Montegrappa Bordeaux • DeAtramentis Cucumber • Diamine Aqua Lagoon • DeAtramentis Elderberry

David from Waltham, MA - Holographic Black pen with Noodler's Bad Belted Kingfisher • Diamine Meadow • Diamine Ruby • Monteverde Purple • Waterman Havana Brown

Francesco from Pisa, Italy - Gold and Black check pen with Noodler's Whaleman's Sepia • Aurora Blue • Private Reserve Ebony Green • Noodler's Rattler Red Eel • Noodler's Purple Heart 

Amy from Los Angeles, CA - White pen with Diamine Soft Mint • DeAtramentis Rose • Sheaffer Brown • Waterman Red • Sheaffer Turquoise

Curious what those ink colors look like? I'd suggest you hop over to Goulet Pens' The Swab Shop and take a peek.

Many thanks go to the bloggers who gave me a mention (particularly Sandra, Azizah, and Julie), the many people who favorited and retweeted the entry link, and to all the entrants for their enthusiasm and the kind notes so many of you wrote. You made my week!

(Just for fun, the countries represented in the entries are: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the US.)

Happy Fountain Pen Day indeed!

Congratulations to the winners! I'll be in touch via email within the next day about the details!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Welcome to My Fountain Pen Day Giveaway!

Happy Fountain Pen Day! So glad you could join me!

In honor of the day, and because I love fountain pens and ink, and especially because I love all the crazy people like me who love fountain pens and ink (is that sentence run-on enough for you?)...

I'm hosting a little giveaway!

So here's what's up:

I have five lovely Jinhao X750 pens with medium nibs that I'd like to give away, one to each of five people. I have personally flushed, inked, write-tested, and then cleaned them, so they should be good to go as soon as they arrive at your house. (Other than the cleaning and testing, they are unused - I bought them for this purpose.)  They are: matte black, black with holographic sparkles, gold, cream, and gold and black check. Individual photos of the pens are also available here.

(click on photo to embiggen)

I also have gobs of ink samples, more than we'll probably ever, ever, ever work our way through - I've been an Ink Drop subscriber from the beginning (a founding member as it were!). I have my ink samples beautifully sorted, organized and stored as you see here:

So, to go with each pen, I will randomly select one sample from each of the five bags and include five random-color ink samples with each pen. (The five bags, in case you are curious, are labeled Pink/Purple/Orange, Blues, Greens, Browns and Reds.)

I like the Jinhaos, and featured one in a giveaway a while ago - here is a link to the Very Awful Video Review I did at the time. They are good basic pens, reliable and sturdy. In combination with some ink samples, this would be a great way to try a fountain pen without investing a ton of money, or it could be used as a bribe a lure a gift for someone you know who'd like to give fountain pens a try. The holidays are coming up, after all, and faster than any of us realize, I suspect.

Or just keep it as a gift to yourself!


One entry per person please.

PLEASE FILL OUT THE FORM - COMMENTS on this blog post WILL NOT COUNT AS AN ENTRY! Sorry to shout, but I'm hoping it'll make that more visible!

Please indicate whether you have a pen color preference - I will do my best to accommodate preferences for the winners, but no guarantees - I only have one of each color.

Entries will be accepted through November 10 at 9 pm Pacific Standard Time (GMT-8). Each entry will be given a number in order of entry, and a random selection will be made for the five winners - numbers in a hat if there are a few, random number generator if I get a bunch. Winners will be notified promptly by email, and a list of first names published on the blog as well.

Good luck, and thanks for playing!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat! FPD giveaway starts tomorrow!

Hope the ghosts and goblins are good to you today! Stay tuned - I have a giveaway starting tomorrow in honor of Fountain Pen Day, and I'd love to have you participate!

And it's a good thing that blog posts can be automated - we'll have well over a hundred kids coming to the door tonight, so I'm sure I'll be a little tired Friday morning...

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

MRI time!

No, I'm not ill or injured...The nice people over at PenPaperInkLetter have begun a rather ambitious project to corral all reviews relating to - well - pens, paper, and inks. Looks like they're off to a great start - I can't imagine the time involved!

They call it the Massive Review Index, or MRI for short.

Just thought I'd mention it was out there, in case you're looking for a little light reading! Enjoy! (And if I can get the time to get the camera out, I'll have another review or two for you myself soon!)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: Sugar Paper Journal

Joe and I spent a few days in Victoria, BC a week or so ago. During one of our walks about town, we walked by a shop that had this journal in the window, along with an assortment of other goods. As an aside, the shop was laid out interestingly; the goods (which ranged from greeting cards and journals to cell phone cases, tea and nail polish - a little something for everyone, I suppose) were laid out around the perimeter of the narrow shop, sorted by color in rainbow order from left to right. It was rather striking, actually.

At any rate, the journal caught my eye - and especially the note that says "Sugar Paper" below the word Journal on the label.

(click to embiggen photos)
And here I reveal my ignorance; once I got it home and opened it, I discovered that Sugar Paper is the name of the maker and has nothing to do with the content of the paper. No bagasse here, sorry to say. Sugar Paper is a company started by two graphic designers in 2003, who like to focus on letterpress work. I saw some cute things on their website - including some other notebooks, by the way.

The cover is textured heavy card stock, in black with gold polka dots; it also comes in raspberry and kraft with the gold polka dots. The paper is fairly heavy as well, and surprisingly smooth and well-behaved for a journal that isn't necessarily marketed to fountain pen people. It looks to be glued in. The journal is 6x8 inches and 75 pages, narrow ruled. Each page has a preprinted date field in the upper right corner, and the last line on each page is decorative, with an arrow motif. There is an elastic band to keep the journal closed, attached with rivets on the back; not the tidiest job I've ever seen on this one, but I think it'll hold.

Test writing here was done with a TWSBI Diamond 530 with a Pendleton stub with Diamine Monaco Red; a Visconti Homo Sapiens, XF Palladium nib, Diamine Majestic Blue; Levenger True Writer SeaGlass, F nib, with Private Reserve Midnight Blue; and a Sheaffer Balance Aspen, F nib with Sheaffer Washable Blue.

That Visconti is Joe's. Pretty sweet pen, eh? I've been trying to steal it from him since he got it. It is a very wet writer, which was my excuse for borrowing it; I wanted to see how it fared in my test writing. But I digress.

The paper has a fairly hard finish and I saw no evidence of spread or feathering at all.

As you can see, there is a bit of show-through, though not bad, and some bleedthrough with the Visconti and the Levenger, both of which are pretty wet writers. Not impossible to deal with; I've certainly seen worse.

All in all, for an impulse purchase I did pretty well. It's certainly stylish, and the paper quality is better than one often finds in things like this. I'm pretty pleased.

And just for fun, here is a shot taken out of our hotel window overlooking Victoria Harbour, with the moon and Venus in the evening sky.

Multiple mementos of a fun trip!