Yak Leather Pen Sleeve & Pen Case (with GIVEAWAY)

30 04 2018

The good people of the Pen Boutique Ltd. sent me a pen sleeve and a 12 pen case for review. I’ll start with the one I liked, the single pen sleeve in brown.

Fun fact, we can’t remember the last time the complex mowed the grass. I’ve got catnip growing in my backyard!

The leather is smooth and sturdy, with the Yak Leather logo stamped at the top. It’s been a perfect little holster for one of my currently inked clipless Vanishing Points. In spite of not having a secure closure at the top I’ve had no issue with my pen falling out. The stitching is neat and even. And the leather smells AMAZING. I wish there were some way for you to be able to smell this through the internet. It smells like Good Leather. Picture me, sitting at my desk, covertly sniffing this leather pen sleeve, because it’s so good I just want to keep smelling it.

I also kept smelling the catnip. It smelled like mint!

There’s not much else to say about the pen sleeve—it’s a straightforward product, made well. The sleeve, I’m keeping.

Then there’s this 12 pen case.

This could be yours someday, if you’re lucky. Or if you buy your own

The good: it’s also seemingly well made. You’ve got protective cushioning to the covers, two zippers with leather pulls. The leather is a pebbled texture, which I’m guessing will better hide any blemishes it may pick up. The zippers unzip far enough to almost get it to lay flat when open (perhaps with time the leather will relax to do this without needing help). The velvety divider in the middle is removable, presumably so you can use it to lay a pen out on, the better to look at.

Or the better to one day forget to put back in and lose. Hey, look, a size comparison!

Now for the perplexing and annoying. This case is an inconveniently large size to only be carrying 12 pens. I can easily fit 12 pens in a Nock Sinclair and only take up half the space. Maybe if all of your pens are those honking jumbo oversized novelty fountain pens–but even those don’t fit!

I will award points for being unusual, but minus all those points for practicality

The pen loops used here are not intuitive. At first I thought these were just excessively wide leather loops, and this case was only for people who like big, chunky fountain pens. It wasn’t until I saw a YouTube review of the case that I realized there were elastic loops underneath the inflexible leather loops to hold pens in place. But unless the pen you’re putting in comes to a point, you’ll have to use two hands to finagle reaching under the leather loops to hold up the elastic loop and slide the pen in.

It took more time than I feel it ought to putting 12 pens into individual loops

When the case only holds 12 pens, I presume it’s meant to be carried on the go. But this case is too large and cumbersome to properly put pens back into to be one I wanted in my everyday carry. But it might just be me, that’s why I’m giving it away!

You might love it! I might just be crazy!

The rules:

  1. Since I can only afford so much postage, I’m going to limit this giveaway to the U.S. only. Just leave one comment on this post any time between now and May 31st 2018 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time.
  2. One winner will be picked at random from the comments section of this post. Only one comment per person! Comments in excess of one shall be deleted. The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on. I will hand-number the entries because that’s still just how I roll. The Random Integer Generator at random.org will be used to pick the number of the winner.
  3. I’ll post the contest winner on June 1st 2018. Winner will have one week to email me. There’s a link to my email at the top of the right sidebar.

Yak Leather Single Pen Sleeve (Brown) at Pen Boutique

Yak Leather Premium Leather 12 Pen Case (Black) at Pen Boutique

(Pen Boutique provided this pen sleeve and pen case at no charge for reviewing purposes — opinions entirely my own)

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Pilot Vanishing Point Clipectomy

31 03 2018

I’ve done about 25 clipectomies now, so I suppose it’s past time to share my thoughts about the process for those others who may be interested in taking the clips off their Vanishing Points.

I save the clips like trophies. But in a good, sportsmanlike way, not a serial killery way

Step 1: Read Richard Binder’s guide. Read it many many times.

Step 2: Purchase supplies. This included K-D Tools 135 Sprk Plug Terminal Pliers from Amazon (I should get Amazon affiliate links going, shouldn’t I?), a rubber mallet from Home Depot (because leather and rubber are basically the same substance right), then one by one from Michael’s so I could use a coupon each time: G-S Hypo Cement, a heat gun (no, Michael’s Store employee, I do not mean a glue gun), and some chain nose pliers.

Thus begins the tribulations

Step 3: Attempt to follow the instructions. Embrace despair. Realize the instruction statement “some nozzles can be very stubborn” is a vast understatement. Some nozzles are possessed by demons of a most perverse nature, glued together by a bond as yet unaccounted for by mere physical forces. Hallucinate that progress is being made. The hallucinations will keep you from giving up.

The hardest part about a clipectomy is…every part. Literally every part. Especially whatever part you’re working on at the moment.

Step 4: After much suffering, the nose cone will come off. Or it won’t. Still waiting on my original matte black, my yellow, and a blue carbonesque for Alan to reach this step. I’m trying to get better at identifying some tell that will help me figure out which VPs will be easy to take apart and which ones will prove to have been fused together at an unbreakable molecular level. Nose cones that don’t seem seated as tightly, for instance. But I’m not always right. This is the primary reason I have yet to offer/advertise doing clipectomies for other people, because the amount of effort involved is a wild unknown. A tip: put something, like a bit of masking tape or a soft cloth, under the clip where it touches the body, unless you want the wiggling action of trying to get the nose cone off to cause the clip to rub off some of your matte black finish. Oops.

::laughing crying emoji here, and everywhere, segues to just crying emoji::

Step 5: So You Managed to Get the Nose Cone Off. Great! Lay down on the floor and contemplate existence, because there’s a too-good chance that took way too much effort to accomplish.

VICTORY

Step 6: Removing the little retaining clip. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to use any tool under the sun to pull this clip out. I have always had to knock the clip out (typically using a small nail turned upside down so the nail head is able to push down on the retaining clip, inserted from the small end of the nose cone, propped on a nib block, and hammered with a smallish metal hammer), except in one memorable instance where I had to file the little wingfeet off and knock it out the opposite way. That was a tremendous hassle.

This is the fun part

Step 7: The nose cone is free of clip. This is the home stretch. Sunshine and angels singing. Now to decide what color to paint. I like to pick colors that pop. I use either Testor’s enamel paint, or random assorted fingernail polish. Both have served me well.

So fun! So Fancy!

Step 8: Once the paint is dry, reassemble the pen as per Richard’s instructions. Don’t put TOO much glue on or you get a mess of glue oozing out when you reassemble. Oops again.

I’d like to say it gets easier. No, I’d like for it to just actually be easier and I can just say nothing

Step 9: You did it, enjoy! Or, if all this is too much for you, you can always buy one of the clipectomy VPs I’ve done for Crazy Alan’s Emporium. There will typically be a couple available per pen show. I’m glad I learned how to do this procedure, because it would be prohibitively expensive for me to have someone else taking the clips off all my Vanishing Points. And it has allowed me to make my Vanishing Points uniquely mine.

 

Warning: lacking clips, these Vanishing Points will roll away if given the opportunity. Pen rests, pen stands, sleeves, cases, etc. are recommended to keep them from escaping to the wild.





Hobonichi Essentials

1 03 2018

A quick rundown of the things that make up my daily Hobonichineeds. We’ve got two pencil boards (this year’s and last years) which I’ve started turning into dashboards including exercise plans (the calendar is a sticky note with calendar template that was in the dollar spot at Target), major monthly to-dos, and decorative stickers and washi scraps. At least one (typically more) washi tape cards. Book darts—these things are fantastically thin, don’t seem to make any marks on the even thinner Tomoe River paper, and help keep track of more spots in the Hobonichi beyond what my two bookmarks can; glad I bought these. Pentel Arts watercolor paints that I put in an Altoid minis tin—these aren’t the most high quality paints out there, but they get the job done and I’ve had no issues with them. Jetstream Multipen, use this guy all the time. Zig Memory System 2 way glue pen, when I want to glue things down rather than affix with washi. Pentel waterbrush, again nothing fancy, gets the job done. A clear-bodied Sailor HighAce Neo Beginner fountain pen, almost always inked with Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa iron gall ink, which fits perfectly in the pen loops of my Gfeller Casemaker leather Hobonichi cover (they’re rather thin loops; this pen fits best). FriXion pastel highlighter and a FriXion stamp. And a bunch of planner stickers in a Hobonichi folder by hatuca. All of these things here I use constantly as part of my daily journaling, recommend fully, and buy refills/restocks of whenever needed.





Kokuyo Systemic Refillable Notebook Cover – A6 – Khaki/Navy

1 02 2018

This will be a review of the cover only, because when I won this refillable cover with notebook at pen club last year, I realized that it would perfectly fit the Hobonichi Avec. I took the notebook out, put the Avec in, and somewhere in my possessions the Kokuyo is still chillin. It’s probably a great notebook. Who knows. Not me.

Yo dawg I heard you like notebooks so I put a notebook on your notebook so you can plan while you’re planning

The cover, however, I know is solid money. I’m not of the planner school of thought where you have a five-foot-thick stuffed planner whose two shapes are elastic-bound stepstool and, unleashed, barely usable rainbow. But I do like my planner and cover combo to bring some utility to the game—carry some essential sticker sheets, spare receipts, a washi tape card, etc. The Kokuyo Systemic cover brings that perfect amount of function and protection without adding too much bulk to the planner.

Cat stickers, passport, and meta-charm not included

The outside has a pocket front and back to easily hold sticker sheets, tickets, or other bits of paper you want easily accessible. And I guess you can tuck a pen in there, but I’m not wild about that concept, as I’m concerned about it deforming overtime. The elastic is sturdy, and the canvas cover has resisted dirt, grime, and other purse perils amazingly well. You can also clip a charm to the bookmark ribbon outside, if that’s your jam. The bookmark ribbon, since it’s knotted, isn’t going to be pulled out by any charm you put outside. As a bookmark, it’s simple, effective, and so far has yet to fray. And it’s easily replaceable if you want to customize.

So much artistic stuff and I did none of it. Except put the washi tape on the card. The ‘january’ is for tracing into my Hippo Noto once it arrives

The front and back of the cover’s inside has plastic flaps you insert the notebook into, with extra cutouts in those flaps to provide further pocket function. The front has a split halfway down that I’ve been tucking a month’s worth of receipts into. The back has a split halfway down plus a card slot on the bottom half. I’ve been using the card slot to hold one of my washi tape cards, with some artwork from a friend tucked up top. When I have cash money to spare I might also slip a bill back here for rainy day emergencies. I also keep a pencil board in among the pages of the Hobonichi, and one of those little folders slipped in the back. The elastic band does a perfect job of keeping everything contained.

If people are putting their full sized Hobonichis in these things, I don’t know how. Seems like it would be too big.

The Kokuyo Systemic refillable notebook cover is something I would have probably never come up with on my own to house my Hobonichi Avec, but now that I have it I don’t know how I got along without. My only suggestion would be more colorways, perhaps—it also comes in a Khaki/Brown, but that’s hardly a panoply of choice. There’s also semi B5 and A5 sized refillable covers, if you live your life with notebooks that big.

Kokuyo Systemic Refillable Notebook Cover – A6 – Khaki/Navy at JetPens





Pilot Falcon – Red – Rhodium Trim – Soft Extra Fine Nib

30 11 2017

Am I trying to accomplish feats of miniature, or am I just being lazy about making a written portion of the review?

For a pen I’ve kept quite regularly inked, I haven’t said much about the Pilot Falcon. I wasn’t looking for a Pilot Falcon when I bought it last year. Pretty sure I was helping Crazy Alan set up the tables at the Baltimore Washington International Pen show last year when I saw this bright red pen I hadn’t seen before and went, “What is this? What do you want for it? Put it on my tab.” I haven’t been much of a fine/extra fine fountain pen user of late—I want big bold nibs that really show off my inks. But I went for this soft extra fine anyway.

img_2435

Look at it! How could I not?

Fantastic, warm, firetruck red

I’m always a fan of the Pilot aesthetic. Solid, attractive colors with minimalist decoration, dependable pens that are well made. The clip is sturdy; the rhodium bands on the body, cap, and grip look sharp; and the decorative cap band gives it a subtle, unique flair. And the metal disk on top of the cap doubles as a mirror.

Admire my blue-ringed clip-on iPhone macro lens

This weird nib. Let’s talk about this weird nib. I was hoping the Pilot website would have some sleek explanation of how the curvature of the 14K gold nib exactly creates the physics required to produce a soft, semi flex writing experience, but no. So, to make one up, the angle of the metal creates a quantum tectonic microshear in the fabric of space, time, and human decency that makes for a nice, springy nib. There’s line variation to be had for you lucky ducks blessed with the ability to write all flexxily, but for the rest of us it’s just nice to write with.

And periodically attempt to make fancy flexxy writing with

What has made this pen so essential to my life is how well it pairs with my Hobonichi. The monthly spread pages have small boxes. Small boxes require small writing. Perfect for the soft extra fine nib. The Falcon is lightweight and comfortable, with threads that don’t get in the way of my grip style. My go-to ink choice has been Rohrer & Klingner Salix iron gall ink, but I might get in on this Scabiosa and Salix mixing I see the cool kids doing online.

I gaze at myself in my fountain pens until I become one of the cool kids. Is it working yet?

The only thing I’d like to see from the Falcon is Falcons in colors besides red and black. Dark purple? Turquoise/aqua/minty blue green? Warm cheesy yellow? Feel free to make any of these, Pilot. You know where to find me.





Shopping the Trenches of Purchases Past

31 10 2017

The pen world is fueled by chasing the new. Must have new ink. Must have new pen. Must have new notebook, new case, new stickers, new washi tape, anything out there so long as it’s new. Or at least new to you; vintage collecting isn’t exempt from the madness. It’s not a hedonic treadmill, it’s a hedonic runaway train barreling through my wallet and leaving scores of barely used, briefly effused-over products in my wake. I have so many things acquired that I haven’t even gotten around to reviewing yet—things that burned with the white-hot need of acquisition in the moment, the heady intoxication of having that thing, carrying it everywhere for a week, perhaps two, and then slowly the excitement fades, a pen is cleaned, tucked away in a storage case, forgotten for a while, because there is some new pen out there and I must buy it.

buy it all, buy it now

It’s exhausting. I’m exhausted. I have all these wonderful stationery objects which I’ve barely taken the proper time to appreciate. I haven’t taken the time to use them to create, because I’ve been so preoccupied with the never enough hamster wheel of consuming. I suggested to a friend that I was going to cut down on buying pens—“but you love pens!“—as if by not buying more pens, my whole vast collection would suddenly vanish. As if there isn’t a small shop worth of barely used products in my possession, ready to be organized and ‘shopped’ through with fresh eyes. I’ll still be going back through the things I love, I’ll still do reviews, but I’ve got to take a pause from chasing the new.

Let me show you an example born from this shift in mindset. I bought this pen, grouped with several others, back in…2016? Yes. 2016. It needed a new sac. I gleefully photographed it along with the rest of my newly bought DC Pen Show hoard, moved it to a holding tray, put the tray by my desk in the garage, and there it sat for a year, unthought of, untouched. I’m sure at the 2017 DC Pen Show I looked longingly at pens just like it, because the patterned red hard rubber (especially this wood grain swirl type) has always appealed to me, and yet intimidated me because it seemed like they were all so expensive (for someone with no idea what vintage models were what). This year at DC I picked up a wicked cheap lever filler fountain pen with a flex gold nib that also needed a new sac, which finally prompted me to acquire a proper selection of resacking tools and supplies. With supplies in hand, naturally I had to resac as many pens as I could, which included this guy.

spooktastic

It’s a fantastic little pen. No gold nib, but for a firm nib it’s satisfyingly smooth. And even more satisfying is the knowledge that I fixed the pen. There’s a deeper level of ownership knowing I brought it back to life. The smooth matte red hard rubber has faded to a more fall-appropriate reddish orange. The imprint, Wahl Eversharp, can barely be read, but it doesn’t matter. The pattern is gorgeous and the pen is great for every day use. It’s a new crown jewel in my regular fall line up.

the crown jewels need some….organization

I’m not going to stop buying new pens forever. But I’m not going to keep buying with reckless abandon. There’s going to be a lot more careful consideration before adding pens to an already great collection. More continuing to do my own repairs and modifications on pens I already own. Focus on enjoying what I have, and selling what I don’t enjoy to fund any future purchases.





Pelikan Edelstein 2017 Ink of the Year – Smoky Quartz

30 09 2017

My dudes, there has been an update to the WordPress app and now I can’t find the add caption button. Had to drag out my laptop to add this. If only I had some way of searching to access a world of knowledge that might tell me…..

Time to lay down some quick thoughts on Smoky Quartz before the dawn of spooktober, as this is a perfect ink color for the pumpkin spiced season.

Pumpkin spice scented ink, make it happen. Somebody. J Herbin, I’m looking at you

I wasn’t excited about this color when Pelikan first announced it, I will admit, but was willing to give it a shot if it came up at, say, the year’s Pelikan Hubs meetup. Well lo and behold:

I kicked Ina-ho out of one of my fall pens and replaced it with Smoky Quartz. A wise choice. I keep typing “smoky quarts” which is something entirely different, like artisinally woodsmoked small batch quantities of milk.  Perhaps not a wise choice

It’s got just enough shading when writing regularly to keep me delighted while still remaining a nice, professional, time-to-stomp-on-some-leaves-and-chug-spiced-wine brown. No real sheen to speak of, but I’m content to have nice shading. You got me, Pelikan.