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Fountain Pen Network LE 2011. Which one should I get?

19 Jun

As many of you are aware, FPN is doing a run of Limited Edition Pens for 2011. The options are a Stipula Passaporto, Stipula Modello T, or Stipula Etruria. (You can see pictures and get more info on the pens by Clicking Here.)

I want one. As a matter of fact, I will buy one. I just can’t decide which one to buy! The Etruria is out of the question. I just cannot afford it right now, but I like both the Passaporto and the Modello T. Actually, I like the Passaporto more than the Modello T, but I’d really like to have that Titanium Semi-Flex nib!

Which one should I get? Modello T or Passaporto?



5 Jan

It’s 2011. I can hardly believe that 2010 has come and gone already.

2010 has a year of change for my beloved hobby, all things fountain pen.

In 2010, my review archive morphed into a full-fledged blog. In some ways, that change was thrust upon me. My archive was hosted on LiveJournal, but in June I moved it. LiveJournal made some changes to their format that killed the functionality of the site (unless you wanted to pay for a membership that is). I ended up with far less control of my archive and far FAR more invasive ads. After much research, I settle on WordPress. In June, my new site launched. With the increased functionality came an increase in reviews, and with the increase in reviews came an increase in my readership. And, with that, what started as a place for me to store and easily access my reviews turned into a blog. I now received requests for reviews and samples from manufacturers and retailers. I review those things in addition to my own FP related items. From June to December of 2010, my site has received a total of 34,000 hits. I can hardly believe it. It’s really been a fantastic journey. I’d like to thank each and everyone of you for your visits and your support.

My blog is not the only aspect of my hobby that changed in 2010. My accumulation of ink has nearly trebled in the last year. I now have around 80 bottles of ink and well over 50 ink samples. I’m still reviewing as I go. At present, I have a backlog of about 30 ink reviews that are waiting to be scanned and posted here on The Dizzy Pen.

While my ink accumulation increased, my pen accumulation decreased. In 2010, I sold off and gave away quite a few pens. I got my core selection down to about 14 pens plus a handful of Platinum Preppies, Noodler’s pens, and various other “cheapos”. Although I still plan to make changes, I’m quite happy with my pens.

Perhaps the biggest change for me has been my office. I consider my office a part of my hobby. It is not only the place I do all my schoolwork, but it is also the place I use and play with my pens and inks, write my reviews, scan them in, and post them online. In 2010, I moved to another part of the state and into a smaller place with a smaller office space. It took a few months, but I think I’ve finally gotten it where I want it.


I have a writing desk set up in front of the window so that I can look out at the forest behind my home. Of course, my pens are on that desk. The ones in the wooden holders are inked (there are far too many inked right now). My uninked pens are actually in the bottom drawer of my inbox (shown on the right side of the desk). Underneath that desk is the paper shredder and my manual typewriter.

The computer desk is against the wall to the left of my writing desk. Above the computer desk are my ink shelves. My ink bottles are in the two purple boxes. My ink samples are in the top basket, and my empty Nalgene bottles, syringes, pipettes, etc are in the bottom basket. If you look very closely, you can see my newest addition, a 16 ounce bottle of Noodler’s Navy. How awesome is that?!

Of course, no office is complete without a printer. My Canon Pixma MX 870 sits between my two desks. It is a fantastic all-in-one printer. The scanner is particularly good. If you are in the market for an all-in-one, I highly recommend this printer.

Not shown in this picture are my bookcases. They are on the wall to the right of my writing desk. My office doubles as my husband’s closet and the ironing room. Obviously, I’ve left those out as well.

I’m excited to see what 2011 will bring. I’m sure there will be new inks and new pens. Some of my accumulation will probably be re-homed. At some point I’ll be moving again, so my office will change. But, most of all, I’m excited to see what will happen with The Dizzy Pen. I can promise many more reviews and giveaways, but, as for the rest, we’ll just have to wait and see…

My Writing Arsenal *Updated*

9 Dec

In February I put up a blog post about my arsenal. That is the list of the items in my accumulation that I could not live without. Needless to say, my opinions have changed with my collection. In addition, as I get deeper and deeper into my school work, my needs have changed tremendously. So, it’s time for a bit of an update (OK, more than a bit of an update. This is a long post. You’ve been forewarned!)

Pens:  Pilot VP, Pilot Custom 823, Pilot Prera, TWSBI Diamond 530, Edison Glenmont

Until I started this posted I had not realized just how much I use and rely on my Pilot pens. I would have never described myself as a Pilot fan, but I guess this makes me one doesn’t it?

The VP remains the perfect note-taking pen. The click/retractable nib mechanism makes it perfectly suited for jotting down quick notes in a meeting or when on the go.

I purchased the 823 (review forthcoming) specifically for use in drafting my long papers, articles, and chapters. It is really perfect for that task. It holds over 2ml of ink when I use my Visconti Inkpot (review forthcoming) to fill it. The Broad nib is juicy and smooth which makes writing fun while also forcing me to slow down.

My little Brown Prera (review forthcoming) is my editing, grading, and marginalia pen. It’s super fine and smooth nib makes it perfectly fit for that purpose. It’s also a comfortable little pen.

The TWSBI was also purchased with long writing sessions in mind. Boy is it a winner! I love that thing. I use it most everyday.

My Glenmont remains a favorite especially for letter writing, but then I designed it myself, so why wouldn’t it be?

The Stipula Vedo and Levenger Plumpster have fallen off the list. I still like them quite a bit, but as my workload has changed so have my writing instrument needs. The Vedo’s nib is a bit too sharp for long writing sessions and the Plumpster lacks the ink capacity I need for lots and lots of writing.

Inks: Noodler’s Navy, Noodler’s #41 Brown, J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune

Noodler’s Navy has become my workhorse ink. It’s near-bulletproof, so I don’t have to fear for my writing’s longevity. It’s an unassuming and relatively nondescript dark blue, so it’s not at all distracting. It’s extremely well-behaved no matter what I throw at it. To me, this is the definition of workhorse. I’m seriously considering ordering a 16 ounce bottle of the stuff… maybe I should make that 32 ounces just to be on the safe side?

Noodler’s #41 Brown is a great dark brown. It’s very well-behaved and bulletproof to boot. I’m entering a phase in my writing where I need to know that it will survive the odd spill (I’ve got a story behind this, but that is for another time).#41 accomplished this goal while still being nice to look at.

I love purple inks, so it’s only right that one be on this list. Poussiere de Lune is just the ticket. I have a lot of purple inks, but this is one of my favorites. It also has a good measure of water resistance. That is a must.

Visconti Blue has fallen off the list, but I still believe it belongs in every ink collection. It is the perfect medium dark blue to me. It is exceedingly well-behaved, and it is vibrant enough to set you part from the crowd while still maintaining its professional air. The only problem for me is that it offers absolutely no water resistance. It this point, water resistance is non-negotiable.

MB Violet has fallen off this list as well. I still love it and it still holds all the sentimental value it did before, but I just don’t use it as much as I used to.

Journals: I still haven’t found “the one.” I do still use and quite like my Exacompta Basics sketchbook, but I’m not sure it is the one. I’ve tried and loved the Rhodia Webnotebook, but I haven’t had it and used it long enough to know if it is really “the one.” After I finish the Exacompta, the Webbie is going to become my dedicated journal. We’ll see what happens.

Stationery: American Stationery Business Monarch and Crane’s 90gsm Pearl White

I still use the Business Monarch as much as I did.  I’ve also developed a fondness for the Crane’s paper. Lately, I’ve been using it almost exclusively. My pens and inks love both these papers, and the papers certainly look the part.

Paper for everyday use: HP LaserJet 24lbs.

I simply cannot say enough good things about this paper. All of my pens and inks love it. It is smooth and it resists feathering and bleed through. At $9.99 per ream of 500 sheets it is quite affordable. The local big box office supply stores often run 2 for 1 specials on it, so that’s 1000 sheets for $10. That’s some of the better rates I’ve seen for good quality consistent paper. I go through a lot of this paper, and it does not break the bank. This is always a good thing when it comes to the student budget.

Staple’s Bagasse has fallen off the list. It has become a bit inconsistent, and I’m no longer a fan of its thin crispy feel and lined rule. It also bleeds like crazy.

Planner: This category is presently in flux. I had been using and loving a Quo Vadis Septanote, but I thought I’d do better with a pocket planner. This academic year I’ve switched to the Quo Vadis University. It is quite similar to the Septanote, but it’s pocket-sized. So far so good, but I still need a desk planner I love. I’m trying out the Quo Vadis Principal, but I’m not sure I like it.

Misc.: Circa Desk Punch, Rollabind discs, Large Staples Rolla Notebook

When I made my first arsenal post I speculated that the Circa punch would become a staple. Well, it has in a big big way. I was able to get one of the older versions for $30 from the Levenger Ebay Outlet. That plus Rollabind discs also from Ebay had me all set to punch and organize. Covers were and are, to some extent, an issue. Levenger covers are expensive, so I went on a search for cheap cover options.

While at Staples I noticed a Rolla Notebook. It is, of course, disc bound with a stiff yet padded black faux leather cover. It fits 8.5×11 paper, so it seemed perfect. I got it home, and I tried it out. The paper sucks SUCKS, so I recycled it and refilled the Notebook with my beloved HP LaserJet paper. PERFECTION!!!


So there you have it. These are the writing products I cannot live without. How about you? What are you using and loving these days?

Swabs of 7 new Pelikan Edelstein inks

4 Oct

Brian of The Goulet Pen Company sent over a swab strip of the new Pelikan Edelstein colors, so I figured I might as well scan it and put it up for all to see.

I can’t say I’m very impressed by the new Pelikan offerings. Of them all I think Jade is the only one I’d consider buying. The colors just seem so average… too average to be sold at $20 a pop.

A review of Edelstein Sapphire is forthcoming. I’m testing it out now. All I’ll say is that it seems disturbingly similar to Quink Washable Blue.

What do you think? Would you pay $20 for these?

Rhodia Webnotebook 3.0 Review and GIVEAWAY!

31 Aug

If you’ve been a part of the fountain pen community for any length of time you’ve no doubt heard of or seen Rhodia products. For that matter you’ve probably heard of Exaclair and two mysterious ladies, Karen Doherty and Stephanie (BiffyBeans). They are those rare sorts of folks who make sure that the products they distribute live up to user expectations/requirements.

Anything we (the fountain pen community) clamor for we get (within reason). We want J. Herbin ink in 100 ml bottles? SHAZZAM! They appear. We want a fountain pen friendly bound high quality journal? Karen and co. wave their magic wands and VOILA! We have the Rhodia Webnotebook (affectionately dubbed the Webbie). Then we, in our ever demanding fashion, whine for Webnotebooks that lay flatter, have 90 grams paper (worldwide), and are sans the Rhodia logo on every page and KABOOM! Enter Version 3.0 of the Webnotebook!

Version 3.0 is just about everything we have been asking for. The paper is fantastic. The quality of the construction is noteworthy. The appearance screams class and refinement. The current iteration of the Webnotebook is truly perfect for the fountain pen user. And guess what? If you don’t like the ivory paper of the Rhodia Webnotebook there is always its sister from another mister, the Quo Vadis Habana. <–Exaclair strikes again!

From all the gushing, I assume you’ve realized that I quite simple ADORE Rhodia Webnotebooks! But, gushing aside, let me get down to the nitty gritty of it all. Below you will find a scan of the handwritten review for the Webbie 3.0 .

Here are the basics:

  • It comes with 96 pages of 90gsm Ivory paper that is smooth and very resistant to bleeding and feathering. There is a little show through, but not enough to fuss over.
  • You can have your Webbie 3.0 with lined pages or blank pages, with a black or an orange cover, and in a large and small size.
  • The journal is very well constructed. It comes with an elastic closure, bookmark and rear pocket for convenience.
  • It costs anywhere from $18 to $22, which puts it in line with the Moleskine, but this has much MUCH better paper.

(Click to enlarge and sharpen the photos)

The full review

Writing samples

Front Cover


Lay Flat

Back Pocket


I received the above journal as a sample for review, but when Exaclair sent the sample they sent two, so I’d have one to giveaway to my readers. Sooooooo, don’t just take my word for how great these notebooks are, try one for yourself!

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Click here and fill out the form
  2. You must enter by 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, September 7, 2010.
  3. The winner will be chosen by
  4. I’ll let you know who’s the lucky winner on Wednesday, September 8.

I received these two Webbies as samples from Exaclair. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.

I Made a Pen Stand!

3 Aug

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I like woodworking. I mean REALLY like woodworking. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the space or the tools to do it since I move away from home several years ago.

Well, a couple finicky vintage pens changed all that. They only like to be stored nib up. If stored on their sides they spit ink. So, I needed to find a way to safely store them nib up: enter the pen stand.

I knocked this together with very little:

2’x2″x1″ piece of red oak
1 piece of 3/8″ oak dowel
1 3/8″ drill bit
1 3/4″ drill bit
Wood glue
Nails (optional)
Sand Paper

The result:

Pen Stand


Beware Online Ink Swatches (via An Inkophile’s Blog)

14 Jul

Margana at An Inkophile’s Blog is one of my very favorite bloggers. She always tells it like it is, and her most recent post is no exception.

We can all get a little obsessed about finding/doing something perfect, but perfection is out of our reach. Humans are fallible and our machines are even more so.

It simply is not possible to create a perfect computerized image of any color sample. The way the human eye sees color only confirms this. Our vision, lighting, alertness, and so on all affect the way we see a color. The line width, wetness, flexibility, paper type and so on affect the way ink looks on the page. And then there’s the fact that many of us (and this is especially true of men) suffer from some degree of color-blindness! Not to mention the inability of computerized images to capture the vibrancy, depth and so on of any given color. There are too many variables of which only a small fraction can be controlled.

So, even if we could get an ink color to “look perfectly accurate” on the screen it is still more likely than not to vary greatly from the color we see when we put ink to paper.

We all see color differently image quality aside. This is why one person might see J. Herbin 1670 ink as red-orange while another sees it as blood red while yet another see it as a true red. Just look at any three ink reviews and you’ll see everyone describe the color differently.

The best we can do is approximate a color. Anyone looking at an online sample as perfect is setting themselves up for disappointment, and anyone claiming to have a perfect scan is setting themselves up to field complaints about how people feel they were misled.

As Margana says, you really do have to see an ink on the page in order to know whether or not it is the one for you. Please take a carefully look at what she says. She’s right on the money so far as I’m concerned.

The subject of online ink swatches and color representation has come up several times this past week. Some of us have learned the hard way that anything we see on a monitor is as likely to be inaccurate as not. Frustrating but so is buying an ink that disappoints. Even the so-called color adjustment aids are no guarantee. A respected inky friend reminded me just yesterday how true this is. Since the specific ink in question was developed with her … Read More

via An Inkophile’s Blog

I Just Purchased a Manual Typewriter!

29 Jun

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Someone posted a question on FPN about manual typewriters and whether anyone owned one. This immediately peaked my interest. I love all things old and writing related, so why not? It’s a writing instrument right?

After about half a second of thought I decided I absolutely had to have one. I ran it past hubby; he showed no objections. So, off to the antique stores I went. After three hours of searching and a couple hours of wiping, scrubbing, and oiling here’s what I got:

This is a 1950 Royal Quiet De Luxe manual typewriter!



It was in exceptional condition, and it is in perfect working order. I’ve already been typing away on it.

Anyway, this is just a sneak peak. There will be a typecast review of it in a few weeks!


Tips For Buying From A Pen Board (via An Inkophile’s Blog)

23 Jun

This is sounds advice, and a highly recommended read. Just like Inkophile, I was recently burned in a message board pen deal. Like her the seller agreed to pay for the nib to be fixed, but it was more of a hassle than I bargained for.

Read. Digest. Integrate.


This truly is a long post. Not interested in reading the details? If I were you I might not either so key points are listed below for those who prefer CliffsNotes to the full story. No offense taken if that works for you. Key Points: Don’t let the pressure (competition) best your common sense. Message board participation does not make a reliable seller. Read the fine print as well as between the lines. Ask questions and pay close attention to how … Read More

via An Inkophile’s Blog

The Fountain Pen Network is back + new features!

11 Jun

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You can now reach FPN without seeing the scary bright red Google warning. The FPN Admin Team has posted a topic saying the Malware Problem is Fixed.

Not only is FPN back up and running, but there are a few new features to the site as well!

Now you can share an interesting topic with new share buttons! They appear at the bottom of the page just above the fast reply box.

New Feature

Next to your controls you now have a box that shows how many messages you have the lets you preview them!

Messanger and search

The search feature has been changed so that it is now more streamlined. You can now choose where you want to search in the search bar. Once you have searched you’ll find that the advanced search page and the search results pages look a lot better!


Also take a look at your profile page. It also has a new look!

A giant thanks to the FPN staff for FPN getting back up and running once more.

Have you noticed anymore changes? If so, do let us know about them!

ETA: I just noticed another change! You can now preview topics before you open them! All you have to do is hover over the post title. To the left a faint button appears that looks like a page with a green arrow pointing upward. Click that and a bubble will pop up with a preview of the post! F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S. 😀


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