Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: Whitelines Link A5 Notebook - Lined & Squared

Whitelines have become more popular and many fountain pen users are extra curious about these notebooks. The famous question of course - is it fountain pen friendly? Whitelines Link notebooks are best of both worlds - notebooks, and technology-capable notebooks to boot. How's that? Let's check them out!
WL242 Whitelines Link Wire A5_Lined
ABOUT

Paper from Sweden
Weight: 80 g
Size: A5
Color: Grey
Ruling: 8 mm Lined/ 5mm x 5mm Squared
Sheet Count: 80
Price: $11.50

APPEARANCE

These two Whitelines Link demo pads are spiral bound size A5 notebooks. I won't describe the covers too much as these particular notebooks are demo notebooks. The retail versions are much prettier - clean, white notebooks with Whitelines Link written on the front. The notebook is thin and flat. Inside, each page is perforated for easy removal. At the corner of each page is a little signature for the Whitelines app to detect where to capture. The lines/squared ruling is white on the light grey page. There are three tiny, very adorable markers at the bottom of the page - Evernote, DropBox, and an email icon, indicating the options you have available to you after you capture your page with the app.
Whitelines Link Ruled/Squared
PERFORMANCE & FEEL

The entire notebook does not feel particularly heavy duty. It's a decent, lightweight notebook that is easy to keep in your work bag to tote around. The cover is not heavy duty either so it can get dog eared with rough use. The pages turn easily on the spirals, and the pages tear out easily.

The paper is smooth but not the glossy nor coated type of smooth. It has a very slight texture to it (paper texture, that is) which provides some writing feedback. Ballpoints, pencils, and gel pens write effortlessly and without issue on this paper. Smooth, fibers don't catch on the tip, ink doesn't bleed.
Whitelines Link Writing Sample
When Kaylee sent me the notebooks, she did tell me I would be really impressed by the paper. I was unsure because I was thinking "but for fountain pens...?" So there was nothing else to do but try out a bunch of fountain pens and various nib sizes. Good thing I have like, 15 pens inked. Most importantly, in my humble opinion, is there was no feathering. Even where the ink was heavy and bled through, it still did not feather on the page. Fine to medium nibs with normal ink flow did not show through nor bleed through. Show through or bleed through was evident with medium to broader nibs with wet ink.
Whitelines Link Writing Samples
Whitelines Link Back of Page
Again, I do not expect that fountain pen friendly paper will never have bleed or show through; but I do expect it not to feather, and it didn't.
Whitelines Link Fountain Pen Ink Close Up
While the nibs do not glide smoothly across the paper, they don't drag either. It's a decent, tactile writing experience. I wouldn't do calligraphy on this paper (not that I can do calligraphy anyway), but for taking notes or doing work, it's perfectly acceptable and quite nice in fact.

HOW IT WORKS
Whitelines Link
After writing whatever you want to write on your page, you open up your Whitelines app on your iOS device, and using the four little markers in the corners of each page, you place your device over the page so that those little markers are on the screen. As soon as the app focuses, it will automatically capture the image and take you to the next option. What is truly amazing is how it removes the background (the grey part of the page) and leaves only your writing, and even the vivid colour of the fountain pen ink, as in this case. You can then email it or save it to your DropBox/Evernote app or whatever you wish.
Whitelines Link Scan 2
Whitelines Link Scan
The Whitelines app is only available for iOS on iTunes. The app itself has mixed reviews but I'm not here to review the app. I'm here to review the notebook!

PROS
  • Fountain pen friendly
  • Affordable
  • Gadget-compatible
  • Very easy on the eyes
  • Perforated pages
  • Two sizes to pick from - A4 & A5
  • Portable scanner
  • Just like all other Whitelines, when you copy, scan, or fax, the white lines disappear
CONS

The app needs work. That's not the notebook itself, but it certainly affects the useability of the entire function of the notebook. Mine crashed several times while I was trying to capture images of the pages I wrote on for this review. I use an iPod Touch with the latest iOS.

OVERALL

These are really cool notebooks. I often have taken notes on various pieces of paper or in a notebook and then needed a digital copy of it, so I've taken a picture of it (a terrible picture, mind you) and have sent it to the necessary people. These nifty notebooks perfectly that care of that need. I LOVE that they're fountain pen friendly. What a relief! They're affordable, creative, and useful. Especially for those of us who love our gadgets, and our pens as well.

A4 notebooks are also available with 80 sheets, should you prefer larger pages.

Whitelines provided these Whitelines Link notebooks to me free of charge for the purposes of this review. All opinions here are 100% wholeheartedly my own, I swear. On the paper. I was not compensated monetarily for this review!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Tyco the Ragdoll is Upside Down, as usual.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: Pilot Juice 0.5mm Apple Green & 0.38mm Apricot Orange Gel Pens

Courtesy of our newest sponsor, the newest gel pen to be released by Pilot comes for review from JStationery. Thanks guys! The gel pen in question is the adorable, aptly named Pilot Juice.This is a 0.5 mm Pilot Juice in apple green. The 0.38 mm is a Pilot Juice in apricot orange.
Pilot Juice Gel Pens
APPEARANCE

The Pilot Juice is just about my dream gel ink pen body. At first glance, it just looks like a regular gel pen. From afar, it's not unlike the Zebra Sarasa or Pilot G2, with a few different features on it, a slightly different shape. But up close, I heart it. The apple green is a lime green to yellow green blend. The apricot orange is...well...apricot orange. I love both colours. The whole body is slightly torpedo shaped. The grip, top of the clip, the knocker, and the ink is all colour-matched. The barrel is clear plastic so you can see your ink supply (a feature I love). The clip is spring loaded and is a matte plastic, aside from the adorable part that is apple
green and says Pilot Juice in cute writing.
Pilot Juice Cilps
There is also a little hole at the top of the clip so you can hang the pen from a lanyard or attach it to your notebook. Coolness. The grip is quite long and has little circles for added texture. It's not squishy but is rubbery for comfortable grip. The pen is very pretty - cheery and cute. I really like it.
Pilot Juice & Pilot Hi-Tec-C
WRITING

Both tips write instantly - no scribbling required to get them flowing, which is nice. I often find needlepoint-type gel pens require scribbling to get the ink flowing, whereas these conical-shaped tips often flow immediately. Both tips are quite fine and the 0.38mm apricot orange is slightly scratchy on paper. Both sizes are true sizes. Good and accurate!
Pilot Juice Lines
While I really, really like these pens because they're just adorable and comfortable to hold and write with, I am disappointed that the apple green and apricot orange are too light. These two particular colours are so light, they are hardly legible. I imagine the black, brown, etc, will be much more legible.
Pilot Juice Writing Sample
VERY FAST drying time. Low wetness. Water resistance - colour will bleed a little but will remain legible.
Compared to the Pilot Coleto's apple green and apricot orange, they're far lighter. I prefer the Coleto's colours for day-to-day writing as it is more legible. I have no problem using the Juice colours for decorating my planner and highlighting things and such, however I cannot use these two particular colours for things I must read easily. It's hard to see.
Pilot Juice Color Comparison
PROS

The Pilot Juice has special ink that is both waterproof and fade resistant. Hallelujah! That was the one thing my beloved Hi-Tec-Cs was missing! They were not waterproof! Alas, the Juice has swooped in and saved the day.
Pilot Juice Water Resistance
An awesome thing about these already cool pens is they come in THIRTY colours. WOW. Thank you Pilot for not skimping on the colours!! Just like the gorgeous assortment of Pilot Hi-Tec-Cs, the Juices are too. Apricot orange, baby pink, coffee brown, grape, dark red... lovely. I would love to have them all.

They are available in 0.5 mm and 0.38 mm, to satisfy everyone.

CONS

These two colours are hard to read because the ink colours are so light. But that's all. And there are a bajillion other colours to pick from if you want to take notes with these, or write letters.

OVERALL

I think the Pilot Juice pens are great - great shape, comfort, design, and price. I would steer clear of these two colours if you intend to use these for writing exclusively. If you intend to decorate your snail mail or homework or anything else that does not require you to read the writing, these pens (and light colours) will be great and lots of fun. Otherwise, your poor eyeballs will be straining to read the writing. You should pick a darker colour if you want to try one, just to be sure. Then you can venture into the lighter colours!

Don't forget you can get free standard shipping on US orders for any dollar amount, it doesn't have to be over $20! Of course, if you spend $20, you get free shipping anyway. Check out this post for the coupon code!

JStationery - $1.60

These Pilot Juice gel pens were sent for review by Jstationery free of charge for the purpose of this review. I was not compensated monetarily. All opinions here are my own, wholehearted, honest opinions!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mailbox Goodies - Goldspot, JetPens, Resor Shop & Stuff!

I acquired a few goods from Goldspot Pens this week because of...well. Just because. Do I need a reason? I took advantage of the President's Day promotion!
Goldspot Pens
Visconti Turquoise, a Pilot Parallel 6.0 mm, and a $10 gift card. Which will lead to a purchase that will be well over $10, naturally.
Goldspot Pens
Many-a-Sailor!
This pile of colourful goodies is from JetPens! I used up my sample of Ancient Copper and, if you follow me on Instagra/Flickr, you'll know how obsessed I am with it, so I had to replace it.
JetPens
Turns out I bought one converter too many. Guess I'll need another Lamy. TOO BAD THEY MADE ANOTHER YELLOW! BLAST LAMY. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS INKY, MAKE A PURPLE!
This here is a Midori Kraft Notebook refill for my Midori Traveler's Notebook. I have a thing for kraft paper. I don't know why.
Resor Shop Midori Kraft Refill
I have no life. This is what I do on the weekend with a lot of coupons. And clearance hunting eyeballs. And dragging around a very shamed husband.
Michaels Goodies
That's correct. Those are duck stickers. And the Elmer's tape is totally washi tape that was on clearance. For like $4.
And my mailbox received some stickers! And now GetGlue lets you pick your stickers, which is surprisingly tough because I had too many to pick from. It'll take awhile to get the ones I want. Why do they only let me pick 20? Le sigh. I'd pay a few bucks to get them all.
GetGlue
GetGlue

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Reads - February 24. 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Why I'm Obsessed With Acrylic Fountain Pens.

I'm still obsessed with this pen. Because when light hits this pen's body, it shimmers beautifully. And I stare at it and think "must take a picture to capture this!" and then it does it again. And again. I need more colours!!

Acrylic Fountain Pen by Ken Cavers
LOOK AT IT! And please disregard all the dust on the desk... gross. Didn't notice that till now.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Whiskers & Paws: February 2013 Edition

Tyco On Cat Tree
Tyco loves this tree. He looks hilarious from the side.
Tyco On Tree
Sigh. So shameful. But he looks so happy.
Tyco Flapjack
The infamous Tyco "Flapjack".
Ellie Eats Clean Sheets
I changed the sheets and made the bed so nicely. Then this crazy thing grabs my pillow and tries to drag it around.
Ellie On Pillow
She sleeps like a little person - using my pillow as hers.
Peaches
Little nugget.
Peaches
Looks a bit crazed here.
Peaches in Blanket
Love the little tucked paws.
Bengal Snuggles
SNUGGLES.
Koa in the Bathroom
He likes to sit here and make noise, in hopes of someone petting him.
Koa At Counter First
He is always at the counter when we're in the kitchen, sitting on the bar stool.
Koa At Counter
Something has caught his attention.
Koa At Counter
FOCUS.
Koa At Counter
DINNER PLATE PUPILS.
Koa At Counter
Don't move.
Koa At Counter
Inching in.
Koa At Counter Last
And he moves in for the kill: the string of my hoody.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Ken Cavers Green Swirl Acrylic Cigar Fountain Pen - Fine

After seeing Julie's (Okami) green swirl bamboo fountain pen with matching pen rest, handmade in Winnipeg, Manitoba, by Dr. Ken Cavers, I couldn't help myself. I had to have one. I requested a cigar style fountain pen in the same green swirl acrylic material, with a matching pen rest! I also picked a two-tone fine nib and opted for no clip (after going back and forth - clip, no clip. Poor Ken.).
Ken Cavers Green Swirl Cigar
My in-laws came to visit in December so they brought the pen with them for me from Winnipeg. First impressions: this pen is big and beautiful. I could hardly wait to get it inked up, but I had to be polite and not run away from our guests to hide out and sniff ink.

ABOUT

Brand: Ken Cavers
Model: Cigar
Body Material: Green swirl acrylic
Trim: Two-tone steel
Origins: Made in Canada (in Winnipeg, my hometown!)
Length (capped): 6.0"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 5.5"
Length (posted): N/A
Nib type: JoWo Fine
Nib material: Steel
Weight: 26 g/1.0 oz
Barrel design: Round, Cigar
Fill type: Cartridge/Converter & can be converted to eyedropper
Price: Starts at $105

PACKAGING

My pen arrived safely wrapped and protected in foamy soft stuff, though it was opened by my father-in-law (who inquisitively had to investigate what was so interesting about this pen). Therefore, no packaging to speak of, but arrived without incident or damage and that's all that really matters to me.

APPEARANCE

Ken Cavers Green Swirl Cigar
I said this pen is a big pen and I wasn't kidding. It gives my Pelikan M1005 demonstrator a run for its money, but it does not carry the same crazy weight the M1005 does. In fact, I was surprised by its weight. I really expected it to be heavy but that goes to show what I know about acrylic. It's light and balanced beautifully. The pen does not post (like most other cigar style fountain pens) but posting is not required at all, given its size. I flip-flopped back and forth between a pen that could post or not and in the end, I'm glad I selected a non-poster. I have gotten into the habit of holding the cap in my left hand while writing.
Ken Cavers Green Swirl Cigar Comparison to Others
Top to bottom: Ken Cavers Cigar fountain pen, Pelikan M1005 Demonstrator, TWSBI Diamond 540 Demonstrator, Pilot/Namiki Vanishing Point, Lamy Studio.
I can't even describe the beauty of this acrylic. I wish I could transport you into my eyeballs to see it with your own eyes (in a manner of speaking). Pictures hardly do this justice, so you'll just have to trust me on this. It has so much depth and shimmer, especially when light hits the body. This is also my first acrylic fountain pen and I'm quite delighted by the feel of it in hand. Not at all slippery, despite the smoothness of the material.
Ken Cavers Green Swirl Cigar
Dark Side of the Moon.
Ken Cavers Green Swirl Cigar
The grip section is smooth and flares right before the nib, and begins just below the threads. It is smooth and comfortable. The acrylic does not really get slippery while I'm writing so a textured grip is not necessary.

While this does not fall in the category of appearance, it's part of the pen. The pen does have a residual acrylic smell which you can really only notice when you sniff inside the barrel or cap. I guess most people don't get a new pen and immediately sniff it, but I do. AND I LOVE IT. I love the smell. Every single time I use this pen, I sniff it. And while I'm writing and holding the cap in my left hand, I sniff the cap. So... I might be insane. 
Ken Cavers Green Swirl Cigar Disassembled
What can I say about the pen rest? It's perfectly cute, it holds the pen in place on my desk and has a permanent position next to my computer. Did I mention it's cute?

NIB & PERFORMANCE

The nib is quite large when considered on its own, but its size is appropriate when considering the size of the pen. It is a two-toned nib. The gold color really helps to bring out the warmth of the acrylic swirls. It is a simple nib with a few little swirls. I actually think it's quite attractive without any writing on it, though I think at some point Dr. Goretex will have to start stamping his nibs (in which case I will have to buy another pen).
Ken Cavers Green Swirl Cigar Uncapped
Pretty.
Ken Cavers Green Swirl Cigar
Nice looking nib!
I really could present this review as just pen porn. But I guess I'll add a few details. Finally, the next day, I got a chance to ink up! I picked Private Reserve Ebony Blue for this special occasion. I didn't even wash the feed beforehand or anything (something I have gotten into the habit of doing for new fountain pens). The nib gave absolutely no trouble to write - no hard starts, no skips, no scratchiness that needed to be smoothed out with some writing.
Ken Cavers Green Swirl Cigar
At this point, you might be thinking, um these are all the same picture. NO. Look at the pattern of the acrylic! This is why it's le awesome.
I absolutely love writing with this pen. I find myself very often picking this pen over some of my other, more expensive pens (I won't tell you which ones because I'd feel like I was cheating on them). But when I was thinking of having a nice, smooth fine nib, this pen came through and became exactly that. It's an absolute pleasure to write with, extremely comfortable, not too heavy nor too light, and it makes all my inks look awesome. It was adjusted by Ken and he did a far better job than I ever could have.
Ken Cavers Green Swirl Cigar Writing Sample
Ken Cavers Cigar Fountain Pen Writing Sample
IN HAND

Despite the large size of this pen, its weight allows it to be very comfortable and easy to hold. I have what I would consider normal-sized female hands. They're not terribly large but not teeny, so I am able to hold this pen. I would suggest if you have small hands to steer away from such a large pen.

I'm new to acrylic but I really enjoy writing with acrylic pens now. The acrylic seems to warm up in my grip and fuses with the very depths of my soul and it is AMAZING. 


PROS

Everything. All of it.

CONS

NONE. Seriously. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this pen or its maker. I love. Every. Single. Detail. 

OVERALL

Overall, the pen and pen rest are adorable, perfect, very clean, and very well made. I say adorable with reference to the pen rest anyway. I'm very impressed and absolutely thrilled with how wonderful the entire package is. The colour is gorgeous and the nib is perfectly tuned. It's a good, crisp fine, but still allows good flow. This pen has become a fast favourite and remains in my regular rotation now. ... I may need another one. Or two.

Stay tuned for another post including pictures of this pen being made! For more pen porn, check out Ken's gorgeous pictures of this pen on his blog!

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.gourmetpens.com.