Friday, January 31, 2014

January Miscellany: Achievements, Highlighters, Writing

The first miscellany of 2014!  Fittingly, this is also my favourite miscellany in quite a while.  All of these posts are ones I really love, so you should definitely take the time to visit and read them.  Enjoy!
  • iHanna shares her reasons why you should write a list of achievements at the end of the year.  I wrote a list of my achievements for both 2012 and 2013, and it's part of the yearly review that I do at the end of December.  Making the list feels good, and helps me to see that even when I thought I wasn't getting much done, I really was doing things.
  • Millie shares the contents of her pencil case.  I love posts like these and I especially love how she describes the reason why each item is in her case and how she uses it.
  • Mary Ann Moss re-reads and reflects on her old journals.  This is an interesting post, especially since I've recently re-read some of my old journals and realized that most of them were either boring or very negative.  I've started to think more about keeping a journal for my future self, not just for the present.
  • Ana reviews the Stubby Pencil Studio pencil highlighters.  For some reason, I also love the idea of pencil highlighters (although sadly I haven't yet used any), and these ones look really neat.
  • If you're still figuring out your planner for 2014, you should check out iHanna's tutorials on how to make transparent calendar dividers (you know, the plastic part that says "today" or "now" on it and that you mark the current day/week/month in your planner with) and index tab dividers.  You could use these in your DIY planner or to customize a purchased ring-bound planner.  (And also check out this peek into Hanna's own DIY planner!)
  • I love Ingrid's collage video.  It's been around a while, but it's a great video if you like watching people create art.  I also like how she uses leftover sticker sheets in her collage and how she labels each item before she glues it down.  And I like the music.
  • Azizah reviews the Uni-ball Jetstream colour series 0.7mm ballpoint pens.  For me, the Jetstream is still the best ballpoint around.  And these ones come in lots of fun colours!
  • Finally, Marisa writes about how writing by hand can help us become better writers.  As a writer myself, I fully agree with this.  Whenever I am stuck in my writing, usually nothing works better than taking out a pen and a notebook and writing that way for a while.  (And as an aside, I've also read all but one of the books that she mentions at the end of her post, and I'd definitely recommend both A Scanner Darkly and The Giver if you like science fiction-y kinds of books.)

That's all for now!  Next month I'll be revisiting my 2014 DIY planner / Bullet Journal, so stay tuned for that.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reader Question: Ink for Drafting Pens

I recently received this email from a reader:
"I just uncovered my old Faber Castell TG1 drafting pens. This set of 4 pens was never used once.... I was told not to use the ink that is in this set under any circumstances because it will damage or at least create a nightmare for cleaning. Any advice as to what ink I should buy?"
I don't know much about drafting pens, so can you help him out with some ink suggestions?

Monday, January 27, 2014

From the Archives: Pens

I started A Penchant for Paper because I wanted to review pens.  I had always loved pens and stationery, but then in early 2009 I discovered The Pen Addict and a few other blogs.  At first, I thought these people were crazy (I mean, who reviews pens?), then I realized that I wanted to do it too (but of course, I'm probably a bit crazy myself...).  I originally considered naming this blog A Penchant for Pens, but I changed my mind because I thought A Penchant for Paper would embrace a wider variety of topics, such as notebooks and art journals.  I've written about different topics here over the years, but paper remains the focus and I've probably written more pen reviews than I have anything else.

Here are a few of my best pen reviews and posts:
  1. First Fountain Pen: Platinum Preppy (June 2010): It may have been the first, but it's still one of my favourite pens.  Give it a try if you're not yet sure about fountain pens.
  2. Lamy Safari Fountain Pen - Green Body + Fine Nib (August 2012): This was what I got when I decided to graduate from "disposable" fountain pens to the real thing.  Another favourite.
  3. Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38mm Green Black (May 2010): Although fountain pens are nice, fine-point gel pens like the Signo DX are part of why I started this blog.  The sub-0.5mm world isn't for everyone, but it suits my small handwriting.
  4. Nearly Three Years of Pen Reviews (April 2012): This was a couple years ago, but my process of writing pen reviews hasn't changed.
  5. Homemade Pencil/Pen Cases (August 2010): My mom made me these pen cases and I still use them every day.
  6. Pentel EnerGel Needle Tip 0.5mm Blue (June 2010): The EnerGel is another favourite pen, and the 0.5mm in this post was the version I started with.
  7. PaperMate InkJoy 700 RT 1.0mm (May 2012): Not exactly a joyous pen, but one of my more popular pen reviews.
  8. Worst Five Pens (July 2010): And here's five more pens that definitely weren't among my favourites.
  9. Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pen (July 2011): Similar to the Preppy, but mini and cute.  Sadly, the dark green is no longer available.
  10. Uni-ball Signo RT 0.38mm Lavender Black (November 2009): This one's like the Signo DX, but retractable.  And lavender black is awesome!

In July of this year, A Penchant for Paper will be five years old.  As part of the celebration, I'll be delving into this blog's archives and sharing with you some of the best posts from the past five years (with a focus on older posts that newer readers might not have seen).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ink Review: Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrün

Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrün (old golden green) was at the top of my list of fountain pen inks I wanted to try out.  I had seen a few reviews of this ink online, and the colour looked like it would be perfect for me.  And luckily, even with my high expectations of this ink, it did not disappoint.

Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrün in Rhodia dotPad.  None of the images in this post truly capture this ink's colour.

I would describe Alt-Goldgrün as an olive green, but it's a bit brighter and lighter than what I think of as the typical olive green.  And no matter what you call it, I absolutely love this colour.  Look at it closely under the right light and it almost seems to glow, making the "gold" in the name seem more appropriate.  From a distance, it's soft and muted, the sort of ink that I imagine an old manuscript being written in.  For me, Alt-Goldgrün is very near perfect - it's a warm green that's not too dark or too light and is muted rather than bright.  I would happily use this as my everyday ink colour instead of the more traditional black or blue.

Rohrer & Klinger Alt-Goldgrun in Paperblanks journal with lines from the poem "Things to Believe In" by Patricia Monaghan.

Even apart from the colour, this ink is wonderful.  The flow is great - writing is effortless and smooth with no skipping, but it's not a really juicy wet ink either.  There is some bleedthrough on cheaper papers, but it's not that bad, and an ink this nice really deserves good paper anyway, so who cares?  The shading is beautiful.  It's not really obvious with my Lamy F nib, but it's definitely there, shading from a light yellowish green to a deep olive.  I imagine that it would be amazing in a broad nib.

Scan of the writing sample for a more well-rounded impression of the ink's colour.  The scans always exaggerate the shading.

Overall, Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrün is a beautiful ink that I highly recommend.  I think that it may even have beat out Diamine Meadow as my new favourite fountain pen ink, and I will definitely be buying a full bottle of this ink in the future.  Alt-Goldgrün is not a traditional green colour, so give it a try even if you're not usually a fan of green inks.

Related reviews: Ed Jelley, Ink Nouveau, FPGeeks, Whatever, East West Everywhere, The Pen Addict, Inkyjournal, The Pen Habit, Nothing Spaces, The Five Cat PENagerie.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Shades of Lime

"Shades of" is back!  Partly because I love putting these posts together and partly because it will give me an opportunity to share some my other collections (stamps and buttons in this post, for example) - although pens and stationery will remain the focus.

Left to right: Uni Mitsubishi Pure Color-F Double-Sided Sign Pen in Yellow-Green, Lamy Safari Fountain Pen with 2012 Limited Edition Green Body, Staedtler Triplus Fineliner, Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight in Fluorescent Green, buttons, and clip.
Left to right: Kingston DataTraveller 2GB flash drive; Staedtler Textsurfer Classic Highlighter in Green (uncapped, because the cap was too blue to include); Platinum Preppy Highlighter in Green; Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38mm in Lime Green; Staples 1.0mm ballpoint pen; stamps from USA, Ireland, and Belgium.

Some of these greens may not be quite "lime" but I still love how they all look together.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Uni-ball Roller Micro 0.5mm

Every now and then, I think to myself, "Maybe I should stop writing pen reviews."  And then shortly after that, I discover a new pen.  One that I really, really like.  So I forget about that idea.  The Uni-ball Roller Micro is just such a pen.  I really, really like it.

The Uni-ball Roller Micro.  Hard to photograph so that it doesn't just look like a featureless black cylinder.

To start with, the Uni-ball Roller Micro has a very minimal design.  And for some unfathomable reason, I've been liking that kind of thing in pens lately.  The barrel and cap are matte black, the clip is metal.  Branding is almost nonexistent - if you look closely, you can make out "Sanford Uni-ball Micro" on the clip of the blue pen, and "EF [presumably to stand for 'extra-fine'] Uni-ball Micro" on the clip of the black pen (no idea why they're not the same).  There's no grip (a grip version is available, but I don't think it's as cool-looking as these), no visible ink supply, and ink colour is only indicated on the top of the cap - things that would sometimes bother me, but here those features would only spoil the minimalist look.  Another bonus: these pens are made of 80% recycled electronics.

There is actually is writing on those clips, if you look really closely.

Rollerball pens can be tricky for me.  Sometimes they're too wet.  Sometimes they skip and are difficult to get a consistent line with.  But the Uni-ball Roller Micro is just about perfect.  It writes smoothly and consistently but is not too wet.  (The writing quality actually reminds me of the Pentel EnerGel, which is a definite compliment as the EnerGel is one of my favourite pens EVER.)  The ink doesn't bleed through on most papers.  And the line is beautifully fine; 0.5mm is just about ideal for my handwriting.  (These pens are also available in 0.7mm, which is called "Fine" and not "Micro.")  The black ink is nice and black, and the blue... I love the blue: it's a deep navy-ish shade that really stands out.  And the ink is pigment-based (so it bonds with the paper and makes your documents more secure), archival quality, acid-free, and water-resistant.

The blue doesn't look anything like this.  It's actually a much deeper, more awesome colour.  My camera wanted to make it look boring and ordinary instead.

The only problem I can find with these pens is that they're not refillable, but other than that, I can't think of anything that I don't like about them.  These pens need more appreciation!  I can see them becoming a new favourite.  And you should give them a try as well.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January 2014 Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper

Welcome to the January 2014 edition of the Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper!  This month features a great selection of posts on pens, pencils, notebooks, and more.  Please take the time to visit the links and leave a comment or two.  Also feel free to share the carnival on social media or link to it on your blog.  Now let's get started...





Art Supplies

That's all for this edition of the Carnival!  Thanks for reading, and thanks to all of you who submitted your posts this month; you helped to make this Carnival a great one.  The next edition will be hosted by Seize the Dave on February 4.  You can submit your posts to future editions of the Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper using the submission form, and you can find past posts and future hosts on the Blog Carnival index page.
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