Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pentel School Essentials Pack

I recently received this Pentel School Essentials Pack from a giveaway at Tiger Pens Blog.  The pack contains the basic writing supplies that a student would need for heading back to school, although it would probably be best suited to students at the high school or university level.  As I also recently headed back (reluctantly) to university for my final semester, this was a timely and cheering gift to receive.

The Pentel School Essentials Pack contains (left to right in the photo below):
The clear plastic case that everything comes in is also intended to be used as a pencil case.  It might not hold up that well to a lot of abuse, and I think that most students would probably want to transfer the contents over into their regular pencil case.

As you can see, this pack does contain all the basics, and there aren't really any major items that seem to be missing. A set of extra pencil leads would have been a nice touch, as well as a red pen for correcting and editing, but I really have no complaints with the contents.

I'll probably be reviewing some of these items individually in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

And if you're interested, the Pentel School Essentials Pack is still available for sale from Tiger Pens.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Zebra Surari 0.7mm Violet

The Zebra Surari is another super-smooth ballpoint similar to the Uni-ball Jetstream and the Pentel Vicuna.  Unlike the Vicuna, the Surari does not suffer from the ink globbing syndrome, which definitely puts it ahead of the Vicuna and in serious competition with the more well-known Jetstream.

The Zebra Surari writes very smoothly for a ballpoint, approaching the smoothness of a gel pen.  Given that Zebra also produces the pen I consider to be one of the smoothest gel pens around, the 0.7mm Zebra Sarasa, this is perhaps not that surprising.  The Surari is also a 0.7mm, which I think is what I prefer for a ballpoint.  Ballpoint ink doesn't spread out as much, so a 0.7mm ballpoint is probably comparable to a 0.5mm gel pen.  And ballpoints less than 0.7mm, even ones as smooth as the Surari, can easily become scratchy and annoying.

The violet ink of my Surari is a bit pale for me, and it showed up even paler in the photo of the writing sample.  My camera doesn't do well with violets, so imagine the colours of both the ink and of the pen itself being richer, warmer shades (more violet than purple).  The violet ink was also not ideal for use with the violet lines of the Rhodia pad.  The pale ink really inhibits my enjoyment of this pen, so I definitely want to check out some of the darker colours in the future so that I can appreciate the full Surari experience!

Moving on to the body of the pen, the Zebra Surari is a rather typical retractable ballpoint.  Plunger, clip, and retracting mechanism are all completely typical.  Branding is minimal, limited to some unobtrusive gold paint on the clip that looks as though it will wear off easily over time.  The best feature is the grip, with is firm, long enough to cover all parts of my hand that touch the pen, and slightly tapered towards the end.  It is one of the better grips that I have seen in pens of this type.  Ink colour is indicated by the grip and by the plunger.  Again, colours in the photo appear more blue than they do in real life.

Overall, the Zebra Surari is an excellent choice for a ballpoint pen.  For most everyday writing, I'm still more likely to choose a gel pen, liquid ink pen, or even fountain pen over a ballpoint, but if you're a ballpoint person, then you should check out the Zebra Surari.

Related reviews: Gourmet Pens, The Pen Addict, OfficeSupplyGeek, Pen and Design, Notebook Loves Pen.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper

Here it is!  Welcome to the September Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper, and the first ever carnival at A Penchant for Paper!  Are you excited?  Then let's get into this month's selection of great posts on pens, pencils, paper, and more!

Editor's Picks
Julie (O-kami) mixes up some green inks in her review of Platinum Mix Free Ink at Whatever.
TonyB takes a look a great new pen that may give the Pilot G-2 some serious competition in Pen Review: Pentel EnerGel-X at Tiger Pens Blog.
Brian reviews yet another excellent notebook from Rhodia - the Rhodia Unlimited Notebook with Soft Touch Cover - at OfficeSupplyGeek.

Economy Pens presents a mixed review of the Uni Pin 01 - .24mm Black at Economy Pens.
lady dandelion checks out a new pen in lalex 1938 forme - a quick peek at a shiny, pearly bargain at lady dandelion.
Peaceable Writer presents a very informative post in A Bit About Platinum and Nakaya at Peaceable Writer.

Economy Pens takes a look at some Daycraft Notebooks at Economy Pens.
We have two reviews of BookJournals - handmade journals made from old books that are both unique and reasonably priced.  Julie (O-kami) presents BookJournals at Whatever, while JoniB presents BookJournals by Ex Libris Anonymous: A Review at Daydreamers Welcome.
Millie presents Product review: Monsieur notebook - a review of an attractive leather notebook with a whimsical touch - at Planet Millie.

Art Supplies
Alberto shares one of his latest sketching pencils which was manufactured half a century ago in Blast from the past: EagleTurquoise 3375 Drawing Lead Holder posted at Lung Sketching Scrolls.

Need to sharpen your pencil?  Check out the Kum Scribble and Kum Tip Top Pencil Sharpeners reviewed at Economy Pens.
If you're planning for 2012 already, check out Cheryl's look at Dual-Purpose Planners With Room For Notes at Writer's Bloc Blog.
If you're looking for a more unusual journal, you may want to try a bulking dummy (a mockup that gets made before a book is printed).  Sandra Strait won one and she discusses using it as a journal in Bulking Dummy Journal Page 1 & 2 at lifeimitatesdoodles.
Even if you don't think it's for you, you may want to give art journaling a try anyway.  Sophie_vf did, in Doing what I don't usually do, and kind of liking it at For love and idleness.

That's it!  Thanks for visiting the carnival, and stay tuned for the October edition coming up next month!

If you want more information about the carnival or if you're interested in becoming a future host, visit the carnival's page at Notebook Stories or the carnival home page.  Go here to submit a post to a future edition of the carnival.
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