Tag Archives: stationery

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?


teNeues Famous Faces, Che Large notebook

5 Oct

(click to enlarge and sharpen the photos)

Appearance / Design

From the moment I saw this journal in the teNeues catalog I knew I had to have it. The cover art was awesome! However, once I received it, I was put off by all the text on the back cover and end papers. I prefer my journals to be relatively clear of that sort of thing. This is an otherwise fairly attractive journal. There is a sturday elastic closure and back pocket.

There is also a Bookmark with the teNeues name written down it several times. I’m also not a fan of that. The spine of this journal is more like the spine of a novel.

There is a small picture of the cover art followed by “Famous Faces” and “teNeues.” There is a very sturdy pen loop on the edge. As you can see from the photos, it easily accommodates a Lamy Vista.


This book is roughly 6 1/4″ by 8 5/8″ and roughly 5/8″ thick. It’s an overall appealing size. This journal’s sturdy binding is not unlike a hardcover book. The cover is that same sort of coated slick film over stiff backer board you would find with a hardcover book. Though it’s all very durable, it’s not what I normally look for in a journal. Still, there is something about it that I quite like.

Probably one of my favorite things about this journal is that it lays flat! Gotta love that.


Now for the moment of truth… surprisingly enough this paper is fairly fountain pen friendly. According to the folks at teNeues, the paper is 100g Taiwanese Creamy Woodfree paper. It is not recycled or specially certified like you’d find with Rhodia, Clairefontaine, etc.  The pages are off-white with faint gray ruling. As you can see, the ruling is rather wide at 10mm. Unfortunately, this is the only ruling available. It is far too wide in my opinion. I much prefer ruling of about 6mm. You’d be able to get more words on the page that way.

Many of the inks I tried took to the paper well. Feathering was a bit of an issue with the wetter nibs as you can see above, though I did not have any problems with bleed through. You can write on both sides of the page with very minimal show through.

Cost and Conclusion, (8.5/10, B+)

I asked the folks at teNeues about the availability of the Famous Faces collection and here is the response, “The run is not limited for the moment and we will continue to reprint these journals probably for the next two years. We will also add four more journals (two small, two large) to the line in the next year.”

The journal will run you an affordable $12.95 at the teNeues website. With that kind of price, it is hard not to be tempted. However, if the folks at teNeues want to break into the fine writing (fountain pen oriented) market they need to make a few changes: Firstly and more importantly, they have to use paper that is consisent in quality and resistant to feathering, bleed through, and show through. Secondly, they need to offer options for page formats from a narrower ruling to a grid or dot ruling to offering blank pages. Third, they need to streamline their journals. Less is more when it come to fine writing stationery. Fountain pen users on the whole, do not want journals that are covered with branding, writing, histories of the company, etc. In general, we’d prefer to have that sort of information available to us on the company website or removable packaging materials of one kind or another.

Nevertheless, this is a decent journal at a low price. If you are ok with some minimal feathering and if you like funky cover art the teNeues Famous Faces collection might be up your alley.

This journal was sent to me for review by the good folks at teNeues. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.

4×4 Yellow Ruled Post-it Note pad

19 Feb

Originally uploaded by Dizzypen

Since I’m avoiding doing my work and since someone posted a topic on FPN about being unable to find Fountain Pen Friendly Post-It Notes I thought I’d post a quick and dirty review of these.

I love post-it notes and use them pretty much everyday. On my desk I always have one of these 4×4 Yellow Ruled Post-it Note pads.

I’m not sure about every other type of Post-It and I’m not sure about quality control on these, but the ones I’ve used are exceptionally FP friendly. In fact, the paper out performs many other cheap papers I’ve tried despite the fact that it is lightly coated.

There is no feathering or bleed through.
Drying time is a bit extended (probably because of the coating).
The lines do not absorb ink as you can see in the photo.

HTH and No Affil.

Paperchase Flexi Notebook, A6 “Lisa Floral”

16 Oct

PC Flexi Cover

Up for review today is a Paperchase journal. This is the lined A6 (roughly 5×6.5) Flexi Notebook. I use this little guy as my daily journal. I’ve been using it yearly everyday since August.

First Impressions

Well, I went to Borders looking for an interesting journal that I could use for my everyday journaling. My Borders has a particularly large selection of Paperchase products, but not much else. I picked this one because it was on sale not because I was drawn to it.


The cover is an attractive cloth cover. There are lots of different covers and sizes available. This one is a floral pattern, but there are some with geometric shapes, polka dots, birds, etc. For those interested in something more simple, there is also a black cover and I think a couple other solid color variants.

Construction / Dimensions

PC Flexi Height

As stated the journal is A6 so it’s about 5 x 6.5. It is a thick little notebook at about 7/8" thick. This journal is very well made. The spine of this journal is rounded. The signatures are sown and glued. The end papers are a very sturdy cardstock in a coordinating color (navy blue for mine). The cover is flexible which might be an issue for some. It’s annoying at times, but generally not too big a problem. The cover is also well attached. This journal has a very solid and tight feel to it. Now there are a few issues. The biggest issue for me is that this journal does not lay flat EVER. You have to hold it down which can be a pain in the butt. The other issue has to do with the corners. This journal’s corners are at 90° angles. Thus, they are prone to getting beat up and bent up with wear. Also, since the cover is cloth, there is a strong possibility that the fabric will rip at the corners. Mine is already showing some rubbing at the corners. Now, this is not a big issue for me because my journal usually stays by my bed. But, if you carry yours around you might want to keep this in mind.

PC Flexi Open

PC Flexi Spine

Paper Quality

PC Flexi Close Up

I have an email out to Paperchase for information about the weight, composition, and place of manufacture for the paper. Once I have a response I will update this review. What I can say now is that the paper is VERY fountain pen friendly. This is by far the best aspect of this journal. I haven’t had any issues with feathering, bleeding, or even show through. Amazon says this is 100g paper and i can believe it. This paper is pretty thick. It easily takes every my wettest nibs with no problems at all. (The notable exception to this is ND Polar Blue, but that is to be expected. I haven’t met a paper yet that can hold that one.) The paper is smooth, but not as smooth as something like Clairefontaine. My nibs perform flawlessly on this paper. No noticeable drag or tooth. This journal is lined although I did see an unlined version in a smaller size. The rule is pretty wide at 5/16 inches. The lines are a light grey. I don’t normally like lines, but these are not intrusive.

PC Flexi Inks


Paperchase is a UK based company. They retail these journals through Borders. The retail cost is $12.99, but I was able to get this journal on sale for $6. Considering the fact that this is an imported product, this price seems pretty fair though I’d advocate getting it on sale rather than paying full price.

Conclusion (8/10, B/B+)

I really like this journal. The paper is excellent. I’ve run many of my inks through it without problems. Even still, I’m not sure I’ll buy one of these again. The fact that the journal does not lay flat is a PIA. If you can get over that you’d probably love this journal.

PC Flexi Length

No Affil.

American Stationery Business Favorite Monarch Box

2 Oct

This is American Stationery’s Business Favorite Monarch. I ordered this sample sheet about a month ago when I was looking for inexpensive high quality stationery. American Stationery allows you to order free samples of all their paper products so that’s what I did. Of them all, I decided to order this one. I was able to order 100 plain sheets for $9.95 plus shipping. I’ve used it for several letters and am pleased with the result.

It handles all of my inks well except for overly wet writers (which this pen was before I adjusted it). This pen I’m using is the wettest writer I own and I am having no feathering or bleed through. Even Noodler’s Polar Blue (notorious for feathering) is held at bay. All of my pens write true to line width on this paper, so there is no perceptible spreading. All in all I am quite pleased.

Here are pictures of the back of the page. The first is held up to the window so you can get a sense of the opacity of the paper. The second is a picture of the back of the page sitting on the table. Although it is not evident in the picture, there is some show through since the paper is not particularly dense, but there is no bleed through at all. If you wanted to write on the back of the page you’d be perfectly able to do so.

As to texture of the paper, it is relatively smooth with just a bit of tooth/texture to it. It is pleasant to write on. The nib glides across the page with just a hint of feedback. One does not feel as though the nib can get away from you writing on this paper, but I wouldn’t say there was drag.

Review written with a Stipula Vedo filled with Diamine Steel Blue.

No Affil.

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