Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Les Cakes de Bertrand Notebook by Clairefontaine

One of the notebooks I picked up at Writer's Bloc a few months back was this beautiful notebook celebrating a Paris tea room, Les Cakes de Bertrand. Today the shop focuses on jewelry and handbags, but the memory lives on.

Here is Clairefontaine's tribute to this wonderful little shop, as well as my personal favorite of all of the notebooks. I love the sepia-toned picture of the Eiffel Tower, and the heavy cover is slightly more green than you see in this picture. I also love rounded edges on journals and notebooks, so that feature made this a must have for me.

Fantastic paper is Clairefontaine's raison d'etre and this journal is no exception. 96 sheets of lined, bright white 90gsm paper that handles fountain pens with ease. No bleed through and the drying time of the ink was quite fast.

The back cover shows the Bertrand and Clairefontaine logos, very simple designs that are spare and elegant. Looking for a new notebook? Take a look at Les Cakes de Bertrand, and if M. Eiffel's masterpiece isn't your thinkg perhaps Sofie or Eloise will appeal to you.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Looks Familiar

Roaming through Art Brown's website I came across this, and thought it looked familiar. I have an Edison Huron bulb filler in Silver Marble, beautiful design if you're thinking of taking the plung.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown FP

The Sheaffer Craftsman, made after WWII and mostly popular in the 1950s, came in a lever fill model and this one, the Touchdown--an elongated metal tube that seems to vacuum the ink up into the barrel.

Sturdier that a regular plunger system, but a bit strange looking. When filling with ink, I can actually pump the plunger rather than pull it in one motions.

The Craftsman was an everyday-use fountain pen, made of plastic and measuring 5 1/16" capped. The plastic barrel and cap do retain marks, particularly teeth marks as well as dents from regular use, but this one was in fairly good shape and was brought back to life by The Southern Scribe. This pen, which is black with gold-filled clip and cap band, came with a #33 14kt nib, a fine point that is a bit on the wet side.

Definitely a great vintage pen, if you're thinking of purchasing one you might want to think about one that's not working and having it repaired.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Waterman Hemisphere Agnès B. Fountain Pen

A while back Vanity Fair ran a profile on the French fashion designer Agnès B., whose clothes run the gamut from "trad to rad" (take a look at Uma Thurman and John Travolta in the Pulp Fiction Twist competition, they're both wearing Agnès B.).

When Waterman relaunched their Hemisphere pen a year ago they introduced a special edition fountain pen and ballpoint that was commissioned from Agnès B. Who best to showcase a French pen company's classic design that a well-known and admired French fashion designer?

Several shops I visit often had this beauty in their lineup, including Goldspot Pens, and I definitely planned to add one to my collection but didn't put a deadline on it. The 2012 Philadelphia Pen Show seemed like the place to finally make the purchase, and I contacted Tom at Goldspot to see if he could bring one with him. Then came the snow, and my plans changed: no train ride to Philly, and a call to Goldspot to buy the pen over the phone.

(And many thanks to Tom at Goldspot Pens for the reduced price, a courtesy to bloggers/ reviewers and greatly appreciated.)

The pen arrived Saturday, and I've been happily playing with it while waiting for the snow to melt. I love the signature on the end of the barrel, which is in lower case in keeping with the corporate name.

According to the press release, the above sweeping lines are a point d’ironie, a humorous punctuation mark created by 19th century poet Alcanter de Brahm. The lines are shown against a deep black lacquered barrel with complementary blue roundels. The cap and trim offset the black of the barrel with their bright chrome plating.

Finally, this is one of the cutest nibs I've seen and used, reminding me of a Parker Latitude. It's what I'd call snub-nosed or squat, not the tapered, longer look of some of my Japanese pens or a few of my vintage fountain pens.

One thing I didn't think to ask about was a converter, so I had to make do with a MonteVerde that I had in stock. It's not bad, but I have to get one that's a better fit.

Finally, how does it write? It's a medium nib but the line isn't as wide as I would have thought. It's definitely wider than the fine points (Japanese and Western) that I use, but it's not as sloppy as my Faber-Castell Ambition medium (which verges on broad). What also caught my attention was how slim the pen feels in my hand, it's not heavy yet it looks like it might have a bit of weight to it. The cap feels very light, so you don't even notice it.

All together this is an elegant pen and a great way to re-launch the Waterman Hemisphere. Do take a look at Waterman Hemisphere pens if you're looking for the next great pen for your collection.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

6 Novelty Pens Presented by Tiger Pens Blog

TonyB at Tiger Pens Blog has this post about 6 novelty pens, which made me smile. A friend bought me the Brookstone Breeze Pen for Christmas. The Swiss Army Pen is amazing as well, kind of envy Tom at Goldspot Pens.

Seven Year Pen by Seltzer

When I first started seeing the Seven Year Pen at the National Stationery Show and a few shops, I did think it was a bit gimmicky--seven years of continuous writing with one ink refill sounded like a gag. So while I wasn't planning on buying one I was pleased when a blue one showed up in my latest Lost Crates shipment.

Seltzer is a New York design company that creates greeting cards, art prints, stationery, and other gift items. They use recycled materials in their products and keep an eye on how much waste they may be generating--the Seven Year Pen, while I can't tell if it's made out of recycled plastic, is made with a jumbo ink cartridge that fills more of the barrel's circumference, so you can write up to 1.7 meters a day for seven years. As you don't have to throw out the pen or the ink cartridge for a long time, this reduces waste (and saves you a few dollars as well).

It's an odd-looking pen, with the clip curving into the end of the barrel. I do like the rounded, curvy design, I just feel like trying to spin the circular piece at the curve of the clip. The pen has a swivel mechanism to bring the tip up and down, and I would say the line is in the medium width, possibly a 0.7mm but could be a 0.5mm. So if you like broader lines, this is for you.

What really got me interested was how smooth the cartridge tip feels when writing. The ink really does glide on the paper, and it's a very enjoyable feeling. I don't feel myself gripping the barrel as hard, pushing down for better ink flow. If you have a chance to test one out, I think you'll be pleased with the feel and look of this pen. Whether you want one for seven years (they are refillable, too) is another matter.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Terpsichore shawl

Terpsichore shawl by Pocket Blonde
Terpsichore shawl, a photo by Pocket Blonde on Flickr.

Finished last night, though I may go back and re-do the edging. But it's finally done, and I'm taking a knitting break to gear up for the Philly pen show.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cavallini Mini Flora & Fauna Journals

Cavallini & Co. is one of the premier gift and stationery companies in the US, founded in 1989 and based in California. The notebooks and calendars (and other items) use old images to create modern stationery that just seems like it came from someone's attic or a time capsule. One of my favorite notebooks is this, a popular slogan these days but originally from World War I.

I recently picked up Cavallini's Flora & Fauna mini journals, a set of three pocket notebooks measuring 4" by 5.5" and decorated with beautiful vintage images of birds, flowers, butterflies, deer, and what looks like written pages from an old ledger. The covers are made from a very thick, sturdy, and smooth paper stock that definitely feels like it won't wear out too fast or fray/tear while bumping along in my handbag next to my 20lbs of lifestyle necessities. And the colors are striking, rich but not gaudy.

The notebooks have 96 pages and you get one black, one line, and one graph on cream colored stock that feels like it's about 70gsm to 80gsm. I haven't tried writing yet, as I'm already using several other journals, but I would guess that these are in the Moleskine category: not especially fountain pen friendly, with a touch of shadow using gel ink pens. Definitely check these out, I found them in a small stationery store on the Upper West Side but Cavallini is also available at Barnes & Noble, Anthropoligie, Dick Blick, and other online and bricks and mortar shops.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Supply Room Giveaway

My Supply Room is having a giveaway, some BIC Accountant Pens that look really great. So go leave a comment and read through his blog as well.
Publish Post

Waterman Hemisphere Pens and a Guide

PenFountain has a great post on Waterman Hemisphere fountain pens, as well as linking to a guide they've put together on identifying Waterman pens.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lost Crates January 2012 @LostCrates

The January 2012 Lost Crates shipment arrived, and as always we've got an interesting selection of products.

Glad to see the notebook selection for this month is a Whitelines A5 black lined hardcover notebook.

Then we have a Seven Year Pen, able to write 1.7 meters a day (5 feet, 6.92 inches for imperially-inclined) for seven years.

A card duo from Dude and Chick (Elvis the satyr on the front card, the second shows a puzzle), very cute.

Finally, a bright blue luggage tag from Moleskine, an item I've been looking at for some time but hadn't thought I needed one.

If you have a Lost Crates subscription, I'd love to hear what you received. The pre-printed card they send announcing the gifts makes me think the boxes aren't as individually "curated" as LC claims.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

January 2012 Carnival @Goldspotpens

Goldspot Pens is hosting this month's Carnival, go over and take a look at the great posts. And the absolutely enticing photo of the Cross pen at the top of the post is easy on the eyes as well.

True Writer Golden Tortoise FP @Levenger

Levenger is always a great place to window shop, especially their Circa notebooks. Another category that's a favorite is their own brand of pens, in particular the True Writer series. Currently on of their most beautiful True Writer pens is on sale, the Golden Tortoise collection, and so I've added one (or two, actually) to my collection.

This is one of the best faux tortoise shell designs I've ever seen, it looks very much like an organic material rather than resin. The golden quality gives it a beautiful luster, as do the gold clip and band. And the jewels on the cap and barrel give the fountain pen a very nice tapered effect that does give the illusion of a slimmer pen.

There are three nib choices and I went with the fine. It's a broad fine point, more in the fine with a touch of medium to it, and writes very smoothly if a bit on the wet side (although I've learned my lesson on that score, I just had a nib re-ground and it's so dry I've been gently manipulating the tines to try and get more ink flow). I have to say I'm impressed by the True Writer converters, which are larger and hold a bit more ink than some of the others I use.

I've gotten to like the True Writer fountain pens (Kyoto will be reviewed next), so if you are thinking of getting one definitely look at the Golden Tortoise. It's beautiful, makes an impressive statement, and is on sale--what more inducement do you need?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Millimeter Milligram Notebooks

These are from a small accessories shop nearby that mostly carries jewelry and notecards, but near the front were these two journals from Millimeter Milligram of Korea.

The smaller gray is a 7 space notebook measuring 4.75 by 7 inches. Half the page is blank, the other half has 7 nicely-space (6mm) lines so you can write and draw on each page to your heart's content. The bright red lines really stand out on the cream colored paper, which is heavy (about 80gsm) and very smooth--a bit like vellum.

The larger brown notebook 5.75 by almost 8.25 inches, with a medium-weight cardboard stock for the cover and slightly thinner cream notepaper. Again, the bright green lines look great on the deep cream paper, an all around pleasing combination. I haven't tried either notebook yet, so I can't say how they will hold up against different inks. My guess is that they'll be okay, not necessarily in the Rhodia-great category but certainly not newsprint-flimsy either.

Where to buy? Online you can find MMMG products at Poketo, the overseas distributor for the US and Canada. I've also read Kinokuniya may stock these, so if you have a store near you they may carry some of the notebooks.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Carezza Triple Pen Sleeve from @Levenger

One of the nicest pen sleeves I've seen is this Carezza ("caress" in Italian) soft pen sleeve for three pens offered by Levenger. It's beautifully soft leather in either black or eggplant, and has an equally soft suede beige lining. Above from left to right are the Golden Tortoise and Kyoto True Writer fountain pens, along with a new pen from my brother that I'll be writing about soon.

I love soft pen sleeves and cases, for me the seem easier to handle although the leather seems to be more easily scratched and so wears faster. But I've had hard leather cases get scratched, and the mark seems to be scored into the leather it's so deep. So it's always difficult to decide which to go with, but the trio (there's another for two pens) is just the right number of pens for me and the deep purple eggplant color is beautiful.

The stitching in a contrasting lighter color gives a nice design element to the trio, while the suede lining gives a touch of padding that will keep the pens safe in case of jostling or being dropped a short distance.

We'll see how the trio holds up in my handbag, but so far the past three weeks haven't taken a toll on the leather. It's both beautiful and practical, a lovely melding of the two aesthetics.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Cloister

Some pictures from a trip to The Cloister last week, enjoy. Vacation is almost over, so I'm lining up posts for the new year.

A saint riding on a donkey.

This is interesting, these are reliquaries for the skulls of three female saints. They are beautiful although a tad grisly.

A very detailed statue of the Virgin Mary.

One of the lower rooms, filled with various noble tombs.

Out in the herb garden, looking at one of the towers.

The iconic image of the Cloister is this unicorn tapestry. Couldn't get a good picture from the front, too many people (like me, lol).

A side chamber with a magnificent vaulted ceiling.