Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig

Thanks to Baron Fig for making it possible for me to review their new Apprentice notebooks! They're cute and little.

Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
ABOUT
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
Size: 3.5 x 5.5 inches
Color: Off-White
Ruling: Dot (also available in ruled, blank)
Sheet Count: 48 Pages
Price: $9.00USD
Where to buy: Baron Fig

APPEARANCE
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
The Baron Fig three pack of Apprentice pocket notebooks arrived shrink wrapped with a purple sleeve around them. While I enjoyed the classy and tidy boxed packaging of the larger Confidant notebook, once I removed the notebook from the box, I never touched the box again. It's great for presentation and gifting, but adds, in my humble opinion, unnecessary cost to the notebook. The Apprentice being shrink wrapped is held together by a paper sleeve. Even better for me would be no plastic wrap at all, but this does the job. The downside is there is a lot that ends up in the garbage. Anyway, enough of my green cents.

Each Apprentice notebook is small and cute, matching the colour scheme of the larger Confidants. The front and back cover are a light, cloud grey. They are a little thicker than the paper inside, so they do offer some firmness and stability. The covers are flush with the paper inside, and are rounded off. So far, I like the appearance. What throws me off though is the stitching on the spine. It's stitched with a very cute, complementary marigold yellow thread. It looks nice against the grey.

The problem is it's not on the center of the spine - it's on the top of the notebook and moves towards the center as the stitching progresses. Inside the notebook, the stitches come through on the pages of the front half of the notebook, instead of breaking through the middle of the pages. There are double-stitched portions at the top and bottom that look messy. It irritates me that it's not in a straight line because it stands out so much. I hate when things are untidy, misaligned, and crowded, so this stitching irks me.
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
The paper is off-white and easy on the eyes. The dots are light grey - visible but not obsructive. They're usable but not in the way after you've written on the page.

Overall, the appearance appeals to me but the stitching could be tidied up.

PERFORMANCE & FEEL
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
The paper is normal - not glossy or coated, but just normal and smooth. I like how it feels to the touch.

I tested regular pens first. Ballpoints work just fine and also give the paper that nice crinkly texture I love when it's written on. In fact, almost everything worked great - ballpoints, fineliners, gel pens, and pencils. The issue I ran into was feathering on the page with wet inks, such as with the Stabilo Easy Original Rollerball pen. Otherwise, the paper dealt quite well, even with other inky things like the Sakura Gelly Roll pens.
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
Fountain pens are, as usual, a completely different ball game. The wettest of nibs resulted in ghosting, feathering, show through, and bleed through. Same goes for flex nibs. Even Japanese fine nibs feathered, although much less significantly than the wetter nibs. However, there is show through and bleed through across the board.
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
What is interesting is a brush pen with fountain pen ink gave minimal feathering and show through, and just a little bit of bleed through where I saturated the swab.
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
PROS
  • Fits passport sized Midori Traveler's Notebook Journal.
  • Small, portable, pocket-sized.
  • Cute colour scheme.
  • Pricing is on par with other pocket-sized notebooks.
  • A whole stack of these on your shelf will look really cool.
Review Baron Fig Apprentice Dot Notebooks @BaronFig
CONS  
  • Not fountain pen friendly.
  • Messy stitching.
OVERALL 

A notebook is meant to be used, in whatever way suits you. I really enjoy the Baron Fig because they look tidy (in that they're all the same, so it looks organized when you have a lot of them), I enjoy the dot grid paper, and it's small and portable. I would like to see some more fountain pen friendly paper and tidier stitching. I enjoy the concept of the notebooks and they are currently tucked into my Midori Traveler's Notebook Journal.

Do a gal a solid and if you fancy any of these and want any item of your own, use my affiliate links :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Ellie

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: @Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @LamyUSA

I admit I used to dislike the appearance of this pen. It did nothing for me. I didn't understand what was so appealing about it and I didn't care for it. I didn't want one. After about two years, all of a sudden and completely out of the blue, that changed. I was looking at it online and I had started to appreciate the minimalist design and sleek appearance. I have no idea what happened. I don't know what I didn't like about it before, and I don't know why I suddenly like it now. But here I am. Thanks to Massdrop for making this review possible!

Be sure to check out Massdrop for all sorts of amazing deals on all sorts of goods! Not only are there fountain pens, there are inks, knives, other hobby goodies, and you can also poll and vote for things you'd like to see on there.

ABOUT
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
Body Material: Stainless Steel
Trim: Stainless Steel.
Length (capped): 5.44"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 4.88"
Length (posted): 6.05"
Barrel Diameter: 0.52"
Section Diameter: 0.26" - 0.44"
Nib material: 14K Gold
Weight: 50 g
Fill type: Piston-filler.
Price: ~ $270.00USD
Where to buy: Amazon

PACKAGING
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
The packaging of the Lamy 2000 is pretty straight forward - just a firm cardboard box that opens to one side, revealing the pen in a cardboard nest. It comes with the pen guarantee, the warranty policy, a polishing cloth, and the usual pen booklet. I like the simple packaging, and it's either recyclable or relatively easy to store because of the shape.
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
APPEARANCE

The Lamy 2000 is Lamy's flagship fountain pen; this is with a modern matte stainless steel finish. The pen has a gorgeous finish and recognizable shape, with a round body that tapers towards the blunt ends. The cap clicks on, with tiny little nubs that stick out of the barrel, which the cap clicks on to. This is a love or hate thing - some love it, some hate them. I love them. I think they're cute and I like how they look and feel.
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
The piston-turning knob is flush with the body and it looks meticulous and tight; you can barely see the line. It looks clean and professional. There is no ink window (unlike with the Makrolon version), although the seamless appearance looks very sharp and sleek. Lamy is written in brushed writing on the top of the cap. The section is smooth steel, tapering towards the nib completely, with just an angled cut on the bottom by the nib where the pen fills with ink. It's a seamless appearance that, as I mentioned, never use to appeal to me for some reason, and then all of a sudden it did.
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
The clip is straight and industrial, with no bells and whistles on it. It matches the rest of the pen.

NIB & PERFORMANCE
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
The nib is a 14KT gold nib, only partially exposed from the section. There are no visible details on the nib, which adds to the very seamless, clean look of the pen. While I don't care for hooded and semi-hooded nibs, this medium nib was perfectly tuned out of the box and I have to give Lamy a thumbs-up for that. More expensive pens have needed work out of the box so I was happy to have this write immediately.
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
The medium is on the fine side, and wrote consistently and reliably during my writing tests. There were no hard starts or skips, even when I sat with the pen uncapped for awhile. It's not a particularly wet writer, but the ink flow is more than sufficient. There is some softness to the nib, so a little line variation is possible with pressure, but the feed doesn't keep up well with this. However, this offers a pleasant writing experience.

IN HAND
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel.
The Stainless Steel version of the Lamy 2000 is slightly thicker than the Makrolon. The section is also slightly smoother than that on the Makrolon, although I still don't find it slippery. The shape and weight combination may lead to fingers slipping on to the nib, especially in longer writing sessions. I prevented this by writing at a low angle.
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
Unposted, it's a heavy pen but it isn't too long, so it's usable and comfortable. I also like that the weight of the pen puts enough pressure on the nib to allow for steady ink flow and a smooth writing experience; as such, a death grip isn't needed! Posted, the pen is top heavy and not usable for me.
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
Review - Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel Fountain Pen - Medium @Massdrop @Lamy @LamyUSA
I like the clip - it's springy and fun to pop, but it's sturdy and thick as well.

The pen can be disassembled for maintenance - greasing the piston, a proper cleaning, etc.

PROS & CONS
OVERALL


I prefer the stainless steel version of the 2000 to the Makrolon
 version, although I miss the ink window. The steel is heavier, but with a properly tuned nib, it also makes it easier to write with as the weight of the pen sits on the nib and "writes itself". The medium nib writes reliably and consistently and did not disappoint my whatsoever in its performance. If the appearance appeals to you, the two main issues I could see someone having would be fingers slipping on to the nib (though I was able to get around this very easily), and the weight of the pen body itself. If the weight is an issue, you can always check out the Makrolon version.

Used in these writing samples:
Diamine Apple Glory (80 ml)
Diamine Apple Glory (30 ml)

I received this pen free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. Do a gal a solid and if you fancy any of these and want any item of your own, use my affiliate links :)

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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