Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review: @Exaclair G. Lalo Verge de France A5 Tablet - Blue

I have wanted to try G. Lalo stationery for a long time now, but I had so much stationery to use up, I could never justify it. Thank goodness for InCoWriMo, which was a great excuse to use up a chunk of my stationery. Now I need to restock. Perfect timing, because I have discovered this amazing stuff!
G. Lalo Verge de France - Writing Tablet
ABOUT

Size: 5.75" x 8.25" A5
Color: Blue
Ruling: Blank
Sheet Count: 50
Paper Weight: 100 gsm
Price: $11.50
Where to buy: European Paper

APPEARANCE

The G. Lalo Verge de France A5 tablet is, to put it simply, gorgeous. It is just a tablet, yes, but the cover is a pearlescent, metallic purple-blue. I can't even describe it properly, so you will have to look at the picture or close your eyes and imagine. The cover is just so pretty. The writing on it is gold embossed, and it's elegant and classy - I am keeping this cover when I run out of sheets. There is an oval cut hole into the cover that allows you to see the tablet inside. The sheets are glue bound at the top of the tablet, and it is very clean and tidy - no globs of glue and no ripped up/torn pages.

The pages themselves are also beautiful. In this case, the sheets are blue. The blue is what I think of as "little boy blue" - the color blue I imagine a little boy cat's color to be. Or a little boy's pajamas, whichever you prefer. I only have cats so that's what you get! You can see the lovely texture on the page. I'll get to that in a minute though.
G. Lalo Verge de France - Writing Tablet
PERFORMANCE & FEEL

The texture on the page is something that must be brought up because it is really nice. This texture is actually because of the nature of "Verge" paper.. According to G. Lalo:
Verge refers to the grid of parallel translucent lines ("vergeures") that was formed in handmade paper as the sheets were laid to dry (the origin of the term "laid finish.")"
When you run your fingers across this page, you can feel those lines - they're not sharp and edgy - but they give the impression of handmade paper. When you write on them, your pen doesn't catch and tear the paper, rather it gives feedback as you write over them, and makes the writing experience wonderful. The finish of the paper is fine laid. Normally with blank pages, I have a hard time keeping my lines straight (don't laugh) but the grids that are formed during the production process offers the perfect writing guide.
G. Lalo Verge de France - Writing Sample
Delectable describes this well.
How does this paper perform? First off, let me just say: don't waste this paper using gel pens or ballpoints, please. This stuff is made for fountain pens. It is very fountain pen friendly - there is no bleed through, no show through (under normal use - I saw none anyway), and no feathering.
G. Lalo Verge de France - Writing Sample
I always test papers using fine nibs as well as broad nibs, and wet flex nibs, in addition to a Pilot Parallel 6.0mm nib which is quite wide but not as wet as a flex nib. The paper handled all these pens easily.
G. Lalo Verge de France - Back of Page
Drying times were quite decent and on the fast side relative to other fountain pen friendly papers. The sheen on Sailor Sky High and Grenade ink was visible - not as obvious as it may be on lighter colored paper - but it's there! Woo hoo! Three shades of sheen below:
G. Lalo Verge de France - Sheen
Yummy sheen!
G. Lalo Verge de France - Sheen
A totally different look achieved with a very wet nib, but the same ink as the previous picture!
G. Lalo Verge de France - Sheen
A bit of a sheen on yet another gorgeous Sailor ink.
The only downside I can note is with wide nibs such as the Pilot Parallel 6.0mm, complete coverage is hard to achieve because of the textured paper. This can be avoided by writing slowly and carefully.
G. Lalo Verge de France - Pilot Parallel Sample
PROS
  • Matching envelopes also available.
  • Six colors of paper to choose from.
  • Elegant and sophisticated. 
  • High quality paper.
CONS  
  • Complete coverage is hard to achieve on textured paper when using wide nibs such as the Pilot Parallel 6.0mm nib.
OVERALL 

I am so thrilled I finally got to try this gorgeous stationery. I am totally hooked and this will absolutely become part of my stationery/pen pal correspondence rotation. Beautiful, elegant, affordable, obtainable, and wonderfully fountain pen friendly! Highly recommended! I must now pick up a tablet of every other color, of course. Good thing I write 30+ letters a month, isn't it?

This tablet was provided to me free of charge for reviewing purposes. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. All opinions remain 100% my own!  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mailbox Goodies: Pens and Paper

My hiatus is almost over! Thank goodness, it's so boring being on a pen and pen-related goods buying hiatus, seriously. However, you wonderful people have sent me fun things to keep me occupied, and it totally worked.

José sent me these fun goodies - Pilot FriXion clickers and a pack of Pilot ink cartridges, which are crazy gorgeous colors, by the way. Tyco loves these pens actually. He likes to bat them around before I take them away and scold him. Thank you José!
Pilot FriXions & Pilot Ink From Jose
Jenny sent me this fascinating assortment of paper, stickers, and associated stationery-addict items, while providing me with many great ideas of how I can reuse many household things to make more nifty stationery things. So cool! Thank you!

Jenny's ParcelJenny's Parcel
Jenny's Parcel
Pilot Pen hosts quite a few giveaways on Twitter and I won a pack of their Acroballs quite recently - here they are! I have used the ones from JetPens before and they're awesome, and I'm looking forward to trying out the ones with colored ink. Yummy.
Pilot Acroballs

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Reads - April 28. 2013

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: Nu Elite B5 PU Notebook - Pink

Thank you to Nuco for sending me the pretty Nu elite PU range notebook to review! Let's get down to business and check this baby out.
Nu Elite PU Range Appearance
ABOUT

Size: B5
Color: White
Ruling: Lined
Sheet Count:160
MSRP: £5.99
Where to buy: See Nuco
(also Office Works in Australia, UAE & Wal-Mart in Canada)

APPEARANCE

This notebook is pink, with a soft feel front and back cover. There is pink stitching around the edges of the covers, and a matching hot pink satin bookmark. The covers are quite firm but not completely rigid. "Nu: elite" is embossed on the cover - it looks very cool. The inside covers are also pink. There is a lot of pink! The pages are lined, with margins. The lines are greyish and easy on the eyes.
Nu Elite PU Range Ribbon
PERFORMANCE & FEEL

I was looking forward to testing out this notebook after my positive experience with the Nu: elite Polypropylene range notebook. I was surprised to find this particular range was quite different. Even though the paper has the same specifications - 100gsm - the paper is significantly less fountain pen friendly. The reason for this must be because the paper does not have the same coating as the Polypropylene range has. The paper does not feel as smooth to the touch, and the paper does not feel nearly as heavy. I really don't understand how this is 100gsm paper, it feels more like 80gsm to the touch (think Moleskine).

Fortunately, it performs better with fountain pens better than Moleskine paper does. With gel pens, there is no feathering, but with fountain pens, feathering was very random. It is not extreme, but it is enough that it can ruin something nice that you have written. Bleed through and show through is definitely an issue. Of course, the saddest thing for me is the gorgeous green sheen that can be seen on dried Sailor Grenade ink on fountain pen friendly paper is not seen at all on this paper.
Nu Elite PU Range Writing Sample
On the bright side, as with non coated paper, drying times are usually very fast. The paper is absorbent so ink gets sucked into the paper and dries almost instantly. Even wet pens and inks dried within seconds. This can be useful at times.
Nu Elite PU Range Writing Sample Scan
PROS
  • Available in A4, B5, A6, and A7 Jotter.
  • Notebook lies flat.
  • Aesthetically appealing.
  • Firm cover protects pages.
  • Paper has had woody lignins removed - paper will therefore not yellow and become brittle with age. (Whether this could be described as archival, I cannot say for certain because I have not tested it!) 
Nu Elite PU Range Blank
CONS  
  • Binding is weak and started to break near the front already. 
  • Not inexpensive, considering paper performance.
  • Not 100% fountain pen friendly.
    • Some feathering
    • bleed through
    • show through
    • no sheen
Nu Elite PU Range Binding
OVERALL 

I am disappointed by the paper's performance and the quality and construction of this book. After opening this notebook only a few times, the binding was already falling apart. I cannot imagine the binding will last the lifetime of the notebook. That combined with the fact that the paper is not fountain pen friendly is enough for me to not recommend this notebook. I would highly recommend you check out the Nu: elite Polypropylene notebook instead.

Check out Nu Notebooks on Facebook!
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This notebook was provided to me for review by Nuco International, free of charge. I was not compensated monetarily. All opinions you read here are 100% my own!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Whiskers & Paws: April 2013 Edition

Peaches and Koa
Bird watching.
Peaches and Koa
Sweet siblings enjoying themselves in the sun.
Koa and Ellie
These two... have the weirdest naps together.
Koa
I woke him up from his face plant.
Koa
Don't worry. Face plant resumed.
Ellie
Sometimes we get creeped on.
Peaches
>O.O<
Peaches
Like a lady!
Tyco
Hard at work, Sir Tyco.
Tyco in a box
Anybody want a ragdoll? I'm pretty sure he meets the weight requirements.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: Pilot 78G Green Fountain Pen - Broad Nib

The Pilot 78G is an inexpensive, lightweight fountain pen with a few nib options that is great for beginners but also enjoyable for experienced fountain pen users as well. Thank you to JStationery for sending this pen over for review!
Pilot 78G Writing Sample
ABOUT

Brand: Pilot
Model: 78G
Body Material: Plastic
Trim: Metal
Length (capped):  5.32"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 4.74"
Length (posted): 5.87"
Barrel Diameter: 0.45"
Section Diameter: 0.34"
Nib type: Japanese
Nib material: 22K gold plated steel
Weight: 13 g/0.5 oz
Barrel design: Round, torpedo
Fill type: Cartridge/Converter
Price: $10.50
Where to buy: Jstationery

PACKAGING

There is no packaging for the Pilot 78G. At this low price, I'm not surprised. I don't mind - I only have so much space for pen packaging.

APPEARANCE
Pilot 78G
The Pilot 78G is a simple fountain pen. This one is the green bodied version, complemented quite nicely by the gold metal trim and the gold on the nib. The gold cap bands around the base of the cap are painted on with only a small flaw in the work. The clip is actually metal though and is engraved with "Pilot". The ends of the pen are rounded. The cap is wider than the body of the pen and screws on to the body. From afar, this pen makes me think of a Namiki Falcon.
TWSBI Diamond 580 & Pilot 78G & Namiki Falcon
NIB & PERFORMANCE
Pilot 78G Nib
The nib is gold in colour because it is a 22K gold plated steel nib (yeah, for ~ $10!). It is engraved with Pilot Super Quality Japan, as well as the nib size. The nib on this particular Pilot 78G is a B for broad, although it is actually an italic nib! I was very surprised and pleased to see this.

I inked this pen with Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue, having just received a new bottle of it. The nib puts down a really nice, consistent, smooth line of ink. There is a small amount of feedback but to a level that I enjoy. I really like to hear the sound of the paper and sometimes I like to feel the paper, particularly with italic/stub nibs, usually because I use them for calligraphy-type writing and I tend to go slower when using them. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but it's just my personal preference.
Pilot 78G Writing Sample
I believe the width of the line is about 0.85mm (but I could be wrong). I did measure it using calipers but...you know... don't quote me on that. The ink flow does not skip, even with fast writing. It is a very pleasant pen to use. The nib performs very well. I am quite pleased, especially considering the price of the pen.

IN HAND
Pilot 78G Posted
To hold this pen capped, you'll be surprised at how light it is. Posted, its balance barely shifts but I find it quite comfortable to use. I do not like top heavy pens at all because they are difficult to use for extended writing sessions. I enjoy using light pens, especially those with consistent ink flow. The Pilot 78G is nice in hand. Plastic doesn't really have the yummy warmth that acrylic pens have, but it isn't uncomfortable in any way.
Pilot 78G Insides
PROS
  • Comes with an aerometric converter
  • Converter can be removed if you prefer Pilot ink cartridges.
  • Lightweight plastic pen.
  • A few body colours are available. 
  • Functional, sturdy clip.
  • Nib and feed section can be removed from the pen.
  • Plastic barrel looks like it can be converted to an eyedropper, if you are so inclined.
CONS
  • Barrel is easy to scratch.  
  • Not available in a rounded broad nib. 
  • Small ink capacity.
OVERALL

For the price of the Pilot 78G, you can't really go wrong. It is a nice, light, attractive pen that is available in several body colours and with interesting nibs. The broad italic writes really nicely and reminds me of the Pilot Plumix, although I feel it writes even nicer and is a nicer pen overall. I highly recommend this pen to new users and even to experienced users who are looking for a fun nib or a knockabout fountain pen, or just something new and different to add to your collection.

Enjoy some more Pilot 78G reviews
Pens...Paper...Inks...Whatever!
Ink of me Fondly

Pilot 78G Writing Sample
JStationery sent this Pilot78G for review but I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions you see here are 100% my own!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review: Nu Elite B5 Polypropylene Notebook - Pink

The Nu elite polypropylene notebook range of notebooks are quite nice! Thank you to Nuco for sending this notebook to me for review!
Nu - Elite Coiled Notebook Front of Notebook
ABOUT

Size: B5
Color: White
Ruling: Lined
Weight: 100 gsm
Sheet Count: 160
MSRP: £3.99
Where to buy: See Nuco
(also Office Works in Australia, UAE & Wal-Mart in Canada)

APPEARANCE

This notebook is B5 sized with a flexible polypropylene front and back cover in a fairly hot pink! It has a black double wire bound binding, and has "nu: elite" written on the front in black, in the upper corner. Inside, the lined pages are perforated. The lines seem to be greyish and are not too dark nor too light. They are also double hole punched near the center of the page. The front and back covers are larger than the pages inside but are loose on the coils, so they do move around.
Nu - Elite Coiled Notebook Blank Page
PERFORMANCE & FEEL

The Nu: elite polypropylene notebook very much surprised me in its performance. It's a cute notebook but I really wasn't expecting anything spectacular because I'd never heard of it before - I know - judging a book by its cover, right? Bad me. The paper is smooth to the touch and has a little bit of a coating, though not to the extent of being glossy. It is fairly heavy at 100 gsm so this was promising.
Nu - Elite Coiled Notebook Writing Sample
Pencils, ballpoints, rollerballs, and gel pens work just fine on this paper. But you don't care about that, do you? No. You want to know how it works with fountain pens, so let's get to that. In summary - the paper performs beautifully with fountain pens! The paper was tested using one of my wettest fountain pens: my wet noodle Waterman 52V with Sailor Jentle Grenade ink. Delicious results - no feathering, no bleed through, and very, very minimal show through. The other exciting part is the paper brings out the sheen in inks - as is very obvious with the Sailor Jentle Grenade here.
Nu Elite PP Range Scan
As it is a coated paper, drying times are slightly longer than with "regular" paper. With fine nibs and/or dry inks, you can expect a quick dry time of around 20 - 30 seconds. With wetter inks and nibs, dry time extends to up to a minute and can still smear beyond that, so be careful!

It is a lovely paper to use - the Pilot Parallel 6.0 mm is gorgeous on this paper - crisp and precise lines with no bleed through, even where the the ink pools. The writing experience is smooth and pleasant. I am quite impressed and very pleased. Ink colors are vivid and intense on the page.
Nu - Elite Coiled Notebook Writing Sample
Hooray! There's a sheen!
PROS
  • Bright and attractive notebook.  
  • Flexible cover.
  • Fountain pen friendly - no bleed through, no show through, no feathering.
  • Papers tear off with ease so notebook remains tidy.
  • Sturdy wire bound binding. 
  • Square page holes are loose enough that pages do not rip when being turned.  
  • Paper has had woody lignins removed - paper will therefore not yellow and become brittle with age. (Whether this could be described as archival, I cannot say for certain because I have not tested it!)
Nu - Elite Coiled Notebook Flexy Cover
CONS  
  • Wasted space beyond the margin.
  • Slow drying time with wet inks. 
  • Loose front and back covers - a downside to wire bound notebooks!
OVERALL 

I am very pleased to find a paper that performs so well with fountain pens, especially with so many pages in the notebook! I love that all the pages are perforated - great for writing letters to my pen pals. The build of the notebook is sturdy. Highly recommended. I wouldn't mind some more notebook cover colors though...!

This notebook was provided to me for review by Nuco International, free of charge. I was not compensated monetarily. All opinions you read here are 100% my own!

Wordless Wednesday

Angel on Cat Tree

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Kickstarter: KLINE. Layered Sketchbooks & Journals

I know you all love sketchbooks and journals! Here's another Kickstarter project I think is worth checking out: KLINE Layered Sketchbooks & Journals.


KLINE features layered paper - you can get translucent vellum, grid paper, watercolor sheets, or just alternating ruled and blank pages. There are cotton hardcovers, made with renewable materials. Bindings are durable, featuring both glue and ribbon reenforced page binding.




There are three different KLINE models in the lineup - the 1.x, the Slice, and the Core, each available as gridded, ruled, and blank. All models have a silk page marker, a vertical back pocket, and an elastic closure band. Overall, these look pretty awesome.

Pledges start at $25. Funding ends Sunday, June 2nd, 2013. If you're curious, check out the Kickstarter page for all the details about each model.

Review: Midori Traveler's Notebook STAR Edition - Passport Size @Misc_Store

While the US market is stuck waiting for the beautiful Midori Traveler's Notebook STAR edition to arrive (delayed until June), it is available at Misc Store from The Netherlands already - they do ship worldwide! Misc Store sent this absolutely awesome parcel over for me to review, so I want to thank them greatly for this opportunity. There's lots of images ahead, just so you know.
Midori Star Misc-Store Parcel

ABOUT

Leather cover made in Thailand
Refill made in Japan
Size: 3.75" x 5.25"
Color: Camel Brown
Midori Traveler's Notebook STAR Edition: €37,11
Where to buy: Misc Store
Midori Traveler's STAR edition stickers: €5,70
Midori Traveler's STAR edition refill: €8,18
Midori Travelers STAR edition masking tape: €5,70
Browse the entire STAR range
For its 5th year anniversary of the passport size TRAVELER'S notebook, Midori teamed up with a Hong Kong based ferry company, called  "STAR" ferry, Limited. Midori designed a whole stationery and accessory range to personalize your STAR EDITION notebook even more within the STAR ferry theme.
Midori Star TN Outside
PACKAGING

The Midori Traveler's STAR edition arrived quite nicely packaged, as all Midori Traveler's products usually do. The Traveler's notebook is packed in a cotton dust bag and carton box. I don't even want to recycle the carton box because it's pretty cool - it isn't sealed but all four flaps close down and are sealed with an elastic that match the elastic around the notebook. I am currently using it to store unused stickers that I want to keep organized. 
Midori Star TN Stickers
Along with the Midori STAR leather cover and refill, the pack comes with a spare elastic in maroon, a little history of the STAR ferry company, a route map of the ferry, and for those lucky enough to be near by, there is a ticket included for the ferry valid until December 31st, 2013.
Midori Star TN Ferry
APPEARANCE
Midori Star Notebook Front & Back
Midori Star TN & Midori Star Masking Tape
The Midori Traveler's STAR edition is a small leather cover journal. The color is a gorgeous, rich, warm caramel brown. Midori describes it as camel, but it is delectably caramel. The leather is really lovely - it has very smooth in terms of its visual texture. The journal is clean and very well put together, with nicely finished edges and interesting inside covers. The elastic band, attached through the back cover, is emerald green - a perfect contrast to the camel leather.
Midori Star Notebook Camel Cover Color
The refill's cover is a very attractive emerald green, matching the elastic band, and is decorated with STAR Ferry details in gold. I love it. Inside, the pages are unruled.
Midori Star TN Open
Midori Notebook Writing Sample Flat
Midori Star TN Refill
Midori Star TN on Box & With Pins

PERFORMANCE & FEEL
Midori STAR TN Outside
The leather cover is just a little stiff, providing just the right shape and rigidity to the notebook. It is wonderful to touch, with a great smooth surface. The back of the cover is embossed with details of the Midori STAR collaboration. It's looks really cool, and it means you'll never forget what this leather cover means and where it came from. Since it will last forever, you could even pass it on to someone, so having this embossed is a great detail.
Midori Star TN Hanging Outside

Midori Star TN Outside
The refill notebook has 48 pages and is beyond cool. It is capable of lying flat, with some spine breaking - something I have not yet done. The paper is quite decent as well - performs well with pencils, ballpoints, roller balls, and gel pens. More importantly, it performs well with fountain pens! Neither fine/dry nor wet/broad fountain pens bled through the pages of the notebook. There was some show through but that is quite normal. Even as far as show through goes, it was quite minimal. There was no feathering, even with the Pilot Parallel 6.0mm nib, nor with the Wahl-Eversharp Doric wet noodle flex nib. Lines were all crisp and precise, drying quickly. The best part? Sailor Jentle Grenade and Jentle Sky High, both which display a sheen on the right type of paper shows of its sheen on the STAR notebook refill. How awesome is that? 
Midori Star Notebook Refills Inside Pages
PROS
  • Midori Traveler's notebook is customizable and reusable.  
Midori Star TN With Envelope & 
Stickers

Midori Star TN With Rhodia And 
Pens
Midori STAR Traveler's Notebook With Pens
  •  Can be used as a day planner.
  • Leather cover embossed with details of collaboration.
Midori Star TN Passport & Midori TN
  • Stickers show Midori's vision of authentic and vintage sign designs - some are even replicas of STAR ferry ads. 
  • Masking tape measures 15mm x 15m - the coolest washi-type tape you'll ever have. 
Midori Masking Tape
  • Very polished and put together finish. 
  • Leather cover becomes distressed with use over time and will develop its own character and the color may change (though I doubt dramatically).
Midori TN & Midori Star TN
Bottom to top: Midori Traveler's Regular Edition, Midori STAR Traveler's Notebook.
CONS  
  • Size is incompatible with common pocket-sized notebooks (such as Field Notes).
  • Upon arrival, the leather smells pretty strongly of solvent - fades within a few days.
OVERALL 
Midori Star TN Outside
I could not recommend this gorgeous little leather cover enough. I adore my Traveler's Notebook (regular) and I already love this tiny, adorable passport-sized one just as much, if not more. The color is rich and warm and it's perfect for carrying around with me everywhere. Better than a Filofax in my purse, any day. It is a great quality cover, it's easy to use, and it's so much fun to customize to your own liking and tastes. Something about customizable leather journals makes me feel romantic and rustic at the same time. I feel like an adventurer, brave and awesome. I have no idea if I can take this great STAR edition to its full potential, but I am going to keep it with me at all times and fill it with whatever strikes my fancy. We'll see!

Plus, Misc Store got this to me in a week. That's pretty awesome, coming from The Netherlands. Browse the entire range of accessories for the STAR edition they carry here.  
Midori Star Notebook With Tape
These Midori Traveler's STAR edition products were sent for review by Misc Store free of charge. I was not compensated monetarily for this ravingly passionate review - all opinions you have read are 150% my own - I swear on Tyco's innocent life. 
Midori Star TN Masking Tape

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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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