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Link Love: Travel vs. Home

Trays of pens at the Dromgoole’s table

Sometimes the best part of travel is coming home. Traveling to Atlanta this past week for my first pen show in two was thrilling (FRIENDS!!!! Pretty ink! Pretty Pens!!!) and sometimes a little scary (Should I take my mask off? Should I hug my friends?) but coming home and having my cats genuinely miss me, to delight in the comfort of my own bed and share my adventures and goodies with Bob is an equally rewarding experience.

Ollie waiting for me to come home by sleeping on my pillows

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What’s a Pen Show Like in 2022?

This weekend was the Atlanta Pen Show, the first pen show I’ve attended in over two years. The last two years have been challenging for so many people that the thought of going to a pen show felt like a mixed blessing. There have still been concerns about the pandemic but the desire to see friends was really starting to outweigh common sense.

Once again, I helped at the Vanness Pens Shop table Kelli from Mountain of Ink.

Of course, the biggest moment of the weekend was getting to see Jesi again in person.

Jesi worked for Dromgoole’s for the weekend sharing her knowledge and passion for ink.

Some of our other favorite pen celebs were spotted throughout the show like Mike from Inkdependence, Audrey and Mandy from Franklin-Christoph, and Brad from Pen Addict. There were nib grinders, pen makers and many of our favorite pen shops in attendance too.

 

Like so many others, I spent some time getting custom nibs grinds done from some of the of the many nib grinders present at the show. Its so exciting to see that there are so many nib grinders to choose from these days. I got a nib ground by both Mike Bacas and Matthew Cheng. I look forward to sharing more of the nib work in a future post.

We were also excited to see that Anderillium Inks was at the show and had new inks and formulations to show us. We will have reviews of the inks in a couple weeks.

The best parts of pen shows are the evenings when we get to sit around and talk and drink a bit too much which we did every evening.  Oh, and of course, at least one trip to Waffle House next door.

In Atlanta, there was minimal mask wearing but if you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, no one would give you any guff about wearing it. As a vendor, I ended up without a mask more often than with one. Partly, this was because many people were having trouble hearing me over the general din of the show (we read lips a lot more than you would think) and also because it was ridiculously hot in the ballroom. On Friday morning, my mask was soaked with sweat by 10:30 making it beyond uncomfortable or useful to wear. I had the advantage of returning to KC and working from home for a couple days so I am not putting any co-workers at risk for my maskless weekend. But it was also refreshingly pre-pandemic to not only be at a pandemic but also not to have to wear a mask.

There were more online and brick-and-mortar pen shops present in Atlanta and considerably fewer vintage vendors this year. There were tons of indie pen makers as well as several of the “big guns” like Pilot, Yafa and Kenro.

So what can I tell you about the future of pen shows? The people have spoken and we want pen shows back. While the event was not attended to the same volume as it was in 2019, there were still plenty of people in attendance and many new pen collectors attended seeking their first pen so I think the hobby is continuing to grow.

All this is to say, that I will be attending more pen shows this year. Expect to see me next at the St. Louis show in June. Are you planning to attend any shows this year? If you were to attend, what would convince you to go (a specific product, classes, people)?

DIY Planners on Canva

Recently I received an email from Canva, a fee and subscription-based graphics application. I make heavy use of Canva in my day job, and I was interested to see that they were promoting their planning templates.

Canva has a free, although somewhat limited membership, to create graphics designs both on the web and as a mobile app. I use the free version to create simple graphics for my podcast (everything from Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest images, to YouTube thumbnails). The free program gives you the ability to adjust colors, fonts on a limited basis, upload and include your own photos and graphic elements. You can create simple animations, and there is some stock photography that you can use. The paid version includes many more options (tons of templates, additional stock photography and fonts, creation of color palettes, and more), but the free version is perfectly adequate for simple designs.

Which brings me to their planner templates. We’ve all found a million planners, but not QUITE the one we want. Or you just want to print out a simple calendar that you can update each month. Canva allows you to easily select your size (either through inputting a standard size like A4, or through the custom button where you indicate the dimensions you want). I just took a quick perusal through some of the weekly and monthly options available.

You can take any template and easily adjust colors and fonts to your own preferences, and if you have the hex code for the color you want, it’s easy enough to input that as well. Many of the templates are 8.5″ x 11″ US Letter size, but if you build yourself a custom sized graphic you can adapt the template to fit your size. (A paid account lets you automatically resize to different dimensions rather than recreating each time – a huge time-saver if you’re creating graphics for tons of different platforms at once). You can also share what you create with others and download in a variety of formats (mp4, jpg, png, etc.)

 

 

 

So if you’re looking for a new format for some planning pages, check out Canva and see if you can come up with something that’s perfect for you!

DISCLAIMER: I use Canva’s graphics application as a tool in my daily job. I received no compensation for this review and all opinions are my own. Please see the About page for more details.

Two Dip Nib Pens Enter…

Moonman Capped Green Swirl “Glass Nib” Dip Pen

The Moonman Capped Green Swirl Dip Pen ($16) is an acrylic barrel “glass nib” dip pen with a cap. I have a couple other pens of similar design that I’ve purchased on Ebay over the years. The Moonman version has a removable nib unit that will accommodate a Moonman fountain pen nib unit as well just like their N6 model.

The Moonman Dip Pen uses an acrylic nib. It’s not glass. There are some advantages to the acrylic nib dip pens — the tips always seem smoother on paper than glass nibs, they can often survive a tumble unscathed and are often much less expensive than true glass.

All that said, acrylic nib “glass pens” have a fatal flaw. The material is ever-so-slightly soft and is therefore prone to getting deformed due to heat, hand pressure or just manufacturing issues. This particular pen has some serious issue with flow and consistent flow. It would continually hard start, even in the middle of a sentence. If rotated, it would not write. It had ONE sweet spot. I cannot say that this issue would happen with every pen but it happened with this one. So as much as I’d like to praise this pen and talk about how wonderful it was — it wasn’t. It was frustrating, irritating and generally disappointing. I’ll probably pop a Moonman fountain pen nib unit into it and use it for ink testing that way but this “glass nib” is going in the trash.

Kemmy’s Labo Petal Corset EF Glass Dip Pen

For starters, as much as I fuss about overly fussy pen packaging, the Kemmy’s Labo Corset EF Glass Dip Pen ($48) is on the opposite end of the spectrum. This plain paper board box with grey foam inside is the saddest looking packaging I’ve seen. Particularly with glass pens which are often stored in their boxes for protection, this is the one case where I think slightly more aesthetic and durable materials should have been used in the packaging.

The pen comes with a glass dot pen rest. It’s not super useful as it is tiny and I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to best place the pen securely but its a nice add-on.

The model I purchased is not the most aesthetic looking pen, IMHO. It looks like a snake that just ate his meal, if I’m honest. It feel fine in the hand, particularly if you prefer larger pens in general. I wanted to see if this bulbous design would change my writing experience at all. Mostly, I don’t find myself reaching for it often because I think it’s kind of ugly.

On the upside Kemmy’s Labo offers their REAL GLASS dip pens in a variety of nib widths (EF, F, M, and B). Since i tend to prefer EF and F fountain pens, I thought the Kemmy’s Labo EF glass pen would give me the most similar results to my usual tools.

Of course, I didn’t consider the fact that EF nibs, particularly in a glass pen would be particularly scratchy, even on Rhodia paper. While if wrote at all angles and pretty consistently as long as their was still ink in the grooves, the writing experience was not particularly pleasant. Scratchy on Rhodia means the Kemmy’s Labo on more textured paper like Col-o-ring feels like I’m off-roading with a city bike. The tool is not accommodating the paper terrain.

Final Thoughts

I would not recommend the Moonman Capped Dip Nib Pen. I don’t know why these do not perform as well as other acrylic “glass nibs” but two-out-of-two disappointing results makes me very hesitant to recommend it, even for experimental purposes. With Kemmy’s Labo, I would recommend trying the F or broader in hopes of a slightly smoother writing experience. I like extra fine nibs and even I find the EF too sharp.

Jaclyn did a more in-depth review of several glass dip pens awhile back if you are looking for other options and opinions. Laura also reviewed the Moonman N6 and had a disappointing experience with the dip nib as well, though for slightly different reasons.

So, my bottom line, is that two dip pens enter and they both leave. I might occasionally use the Kemmy’s Labo but the Moonman nib is not staying at all.


DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Giveaway: Caran D’Ache 849 Claim Your Style Ballpoint Pen

Today we have a very special giveaway for you! You may remember that last April (where does time go?) I reviewed the Caran d’Ache 849 “Claim Your Style” Limited Edition and today we’re giving it away!

The limited edition “Claim Your Style” Caran d’Ache 849 ($40)  in vert comes in the same molded enamel clamshell case that most 849s ship in. It makes for an impressive presentation as a gift and the price point on an 849 is such that its a great gateway pen for friends, family and co-workers.

The “Claim Your Style” series features mixed colors on the barrel, knock and clip to create fresh modern statements on a classic pen barrel. The Vert model (the Vert colorway is currently sold out but there are several other options available) features an emerald green body, electric blue clip and metallic red knock.

By default, the Caran d’Ache 849 ballpoint pens ship with a medium blue Goliath refill. The Goliath refill is pretty much the same as a Parker-style refill with a perfectly flat end (no fins).

So let’s give this one away shall we?

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below telling us what your favorite ballpoint pen is! (Play along and type in something. It makes reading through entries more interesting for me, okay?) One entry per person.

If you have never entered a giveaway or commented on the site before, your comment must be manually approved by our highly-trained staff of monkeys before it will appear on the site. Our monkeys are underpaid and under-caffeinated so don’t stress if your comment does not appear right away. Give the monkeys some time.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Sunday, April 3. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. ONE winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 5 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US and APO/AFO only, sorry.

DISCLAIMER: All the items included in this post, as well as the giveaway item,  were provided free of charge by Gentleman Stationer Shop for the purpose of review and giveaway.

Link Love: Dueling Ink Ladies!

Oh yeah! It’s that time!! The Atlanta Pen Show is this weekend and it won’t just be me (and Lisa from Vanness Pen Shop) in Atlanta… Jesi will be there too! She is helping at the Dromgoole’s table for the show. But wait! There’s more! Kelli from Mountain of Ink will also be at the show and helping at the Vanness Pen Shop table! Dueling ink ladies! Get advice and recommendations from two of the most knowledgable ink ladies in the pen community this weekend!

I will just be standing around grinning under my mask at actually being at a pen show after two years. I hope to see some of you there. If you make it to the show, please come and say hello!

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:


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Ink Review: Dominant Industry Maple

I’ve always been drawn to strong rich ink colors, so when Ana handed me a bottle of Dominant Industry Maple No. 108 (25mL for $15) for review, I can’t say I was too upset.

Maple is an orange red, almost tomato-colored, much like the orangey-pinky-red leaves in the fall. While it appears as a darker red in heavier droplets, it ranges from red to orange in writing, and shades a bit. Maple is one of the Standard inks,  meaning it has no special finishes, just glorious color.

When I went through my ink stash to see what I had that might compare, I was a bit hard pressed to find something that was just right. Papier Plume’s special Heart of Gold Ink came close, but Maple has a touch more brown in it. Monteverde Ruby is close in the darker areas, but Maple is definitely lighter in color in writing samples. Sailor Shikiori Yodaki might be a good match, although it’s got a gold sheen to it so it’s not quite right. And Sweater is a bit more red, and definitely more saturated.

The ink went down beautifully and dried fairly quickly, even in those heavy ink drops. Overall I’d say this is a fun ink if you’re looking for a little of that fall color!


DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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