Friday, September 30, 2016

Whiskers & Paws: September 2016 Edition

Whiskers & Paws September 2016 Edition (1)
Whiskers & Paws September 2016 Edition (2)
Once again, in an Amazon box.
Whiskers & Paws September 2016 Edition (3)
Conveniently stacked.
Whiskers & Paws September 2016 Edition (4)
Whiskers & Paws September 2016 Edition (5)
What's down there?
Whiskers & Paws September 2016 Edition (6)
Whiskers & Paws September 2016 Edition (7)
Whiskers & Paws September 2016 Edition (8)
Oh hai.
Whiskers & Paws September 2016 Edition (9)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva

Thank you to Lucrin Geneva for sending this case over for review!
Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 8
Leather Color: Tan
Leather Type: Granulated
Thread: Unbleached
Size closed: 8 x 17 x 2.5 cm / 5.15" x 6.7" x 1.0"
Price: $116.00 USD
Where to buy: Lucrin

PACKAGING

This 4 Pen Zippered case is presented in a light brown, soft cloth bag. It has Lucrin Geneva printed on the front in dark brown, with a matching drawstring. I like the pouch - you can store your case in this dust bag, or you can use it to tote miscellaneous small items.
Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 1
APPEARANCE

This leather pouch is very attractive. It is small and slim - I was expecting something taller and wider, considering it is a four pen case. The leather is tan, but it is a warm brown, to my eye. I like the color a lot! It has rounded edges and a wide spine. The edges are stitched with unbleached thread. The shape is nice. Not complicated or fancy, but well done. You can also select a matching color, turquoise, orange, or navy blue. The zipper is silver with a matching zipper pull. The back of the case has Lucrin at the bottom - it looks debossed with silver filling.
Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 2Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 3
The full grain leather keeps the original grain. It looks granulated, like tiny pebbles, so it has more character than the smooth leather option. The tan color and the grain is very classy and elegant.
Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 4
The case is hard, so when it is opened, the firm covers can open it and lie flat without flopping around. The inside is lined with a short, super soft velvet in a brown that matches the rest of the case. The right side of the case has four loops right next to each other. Each loop is leather, with a black elastic portion to allow it to stretch.
Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 5
The case is simple but it is quite pretty. It looks well made, and the color is warm and beautiful. There seems to be good attention to detail - the leather is cut straight, the threading is straight, and there is no glue leaking out anywhere.

PERFORMANCE & FEEL

This case is elegantly presented, so I'm not surprised that it feels so nice. The leather is a little rough because of the grainy texture. The covers and spine are firm so although the leather over it is a bit squishy to the touch, the case itself is firm to hold.

The zipper is a Meras, from Italy. I find it a little difficult to zip up once it has been opened completely - I have to pull the zip taut for it to catch. It works, and it's not broken, but it feels a little rough to open and close. The velvety material inside feels delicate and soft to the touch. It looks like the inside of a very expensive pen case, which it is!
Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 12
The case can zip open completely by pulling the zip all the way home. Of course, as mentioned, doing so makes it harder to close. Anyway. Back to that velvet - it's very nice and soft, and fibers do not come off it and get stuck to your pens. It's also soft material for your pens to rest against.
Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 6Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 7
The four loops are very close together. It is one piece of leather with matching stitching to the rest of the case. The elastic portion is on the underside of the loop so you won't really see it unless you have a pen filling the loop. The loops are well made, but I think they could use a bit of distance between them. The elastic allows loops to accommodate pens more easily. Once pens are in place, they are snug and will not rattle around and unless they're very slim, they will not slip out.
Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 11
The loops are smaller than I would like, but that's because I have quite a few large pens. The quality and slimness of the case (ie. not bulky) has me putting some of my favorite pens in here. The case offers very decent protection, so this carries: two Namiki Yukaris, and two Montblanc Meisterstück 146 pens. I don't see any scratching on the barrels. The limiting factor for pen size is around the case - the center bands on the Montblancs stop at the loops.
Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 13

PROS
  • Beautiful, elegant case.
  • Compact, not bulky.
  • Your choice of leather colors, thread colors, and leather type.
  • Soft interior.
  • Elastics in loops make it easier to slide pens in and out.
  • Firm covers protect pens well.
  • Can be personalized.
  • Great gift idea.
  • Great for carrying normal sized pens - not oversized.
Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 9
CONS
  • Expensive.
  • Loops are close together so even if you have a pen that fits, it's snug.
  • Zip is hard to close if it has been opened up all the way.
  • Leather is thin and looks a little plasticky - it's missing the color and character variation, but it does look very polished and elegant. It depends on what kind of leather you like. I like leather that develops character with use.
OVERALL

Review Lucrin Geneva Case 4 Zipped Pens @LucrinGeneva 10
I'm still searching for the perfect pen case. This is a classy, elegant, polished case. I like that it offers solid protection but is not too bulky. The loops are a little too small and close together to make it fast and easy to use for me. Best if you have smaller, thinner pens, without large features on them - so they can slide into the loops.


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I received this item 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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

September 28. 2016 - Wordless Wednesday (1)
September 28. 2016 - Wordless Wednesday (2)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ink Shot Review: Graf Von Faber-Castell Violet Blue @AppelboomLaren

On a visit to Appelboom a few weeks ago, I snagged a bottle of this beautiful ink! The funny thing is, at first, I thought it was boring.
Ink Shot Review Graf Von Faber-Castell Violet Blue @AppelboomLaren 1
Ink Shot Review Graf Von Faber-Castell Violet Blue @AppelboomLaren 2
Ink Shot Review Graf Von Faber-Castell Violet Blue @AppelboomLaren 8
ABOUT
Ink Shot Review Graf Von Faber-Castell Violet Blue @AppelboomLaren 4
Color: Purple
Bottle: 75 ml
Price: €25,00 (with VAT)
Where to buy: Appelboom
Appleboom Banner
Discount code: FRIEND for 10% off your purchases (excluding Montblanc)
Ink Shot Review Graf Von Faber-Castell Violet Blue @AppelboomLaren 3
Ink Shot Review Graf Von Faber-Castell Violet Blue @AppelboomLaren 5
Ink Shot Review Graf Von Faber-Castell Violet Blue @AppelboomLaren 6
Ink Shot Review Graf Von Faber-Castell Violet Blue @AppelboomLaren 7
PROS
  • Gorgeous bottle.
  • A lot of ink!
  • Has some water resistance.
  • Pretty color.
  • Shades well.
  • Pretty well behaved.
  • It's not just another violet - it's quite special. I don't have any other violets that look like this.
Ink Shot Review Graf Von Faber-Castell Violet Blue @AppelboomLaren 9
CONS
  • Well, not much. I guess you either like it or you don't.
OVERALL

What a beautiful color - it is not just a plain purple. With the right nibs, you can see the hints and undertones of blue. It's so pretty and it looks so great in wide, wet nibs. Not to mention the gorgeous bottle and how well behaved this is. Yummy.



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I received this item 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.

Some of these links are affiliate links, which provides me with a small commission but does not add any extra cost to your purchase. Some links are just referral links, but there is no obligation to purchase through any of these links. Your purchases through my links help support this blog and allows me to fulfill review requests. Either way, I appreciate your readership and your support so much, so thank you!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Reads: September 25. 2016

Sunday Reads


Stuff I Looked At Elsewhere
Pen Stuff From Around The Web
Stuff I Apparently Did This Week

Please check out my sponsors, because they help make all this possible - I've selected some glittery items I have my eye on at each! 
Thank you to everyone who supports my weirdness.

Patreon
Some of these links are affiliate links, which provides me with a small commission but does not add any extra cost to your purchase. Some links are just referral links, but there is no obligation to purchase through any of these links. Your purchases through my links help support this blog and allows me to fulfill review requests. Either way, I appreciate your readership and your support so much, so thank you!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook

Thank you to Darkstar for sending these for review and feedback!
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 16
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 22

ABOUT

Size: A5
Color: Light cream
Ruling: Dot Grid 5mm
Paper Weight: 100 gsm
Sheet Count: 50 & 100
Price: £6.99 and £13.99
Where to buy: Darkstar

PACKAGING

No packaging, which is generally ok. Both notebooks arrived a bit beat up via the mail. The MK3 had a pretty dinged up corner, which bent almost all the pages in that bottom corner. However, I can live with the dings if it means less waste.

APPEARANCE
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 1
Both notebooks look the same. The Original A5 has a thin kraft front and back cover, and the MK3 has a thicker, more firm cover. Both notebooks have a black canvas binding that is glued in place. The front cover has "Darkstar" and the star logo on the bottom right hand corner. The back cover says Made in the UK, Darkstar Collection, and a bar code. The light cream pages inside sit flush with the corners, both of which have pointed corners. The paper has a bit of visible texture to it - it looks a little toothy. The 5 mm dot grid is light grey - easy to see but not obstructive.
These are simple notebooks with almost blank covers, which are very inviting to doodle on, decorate, and/or plaster with stickers.
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 24
PERFORMANCE & FEEL

Before getting to the paper, I'll point out one or two things. Both notebooks lie flat, without having to crack the spine. This makes it easier to write from end to end, and make use of all the paper. I really like this.

The kraft covers on the original A5 are very thin and got torn very early in its life with me. I reported this to Darkstar, along with others, and now the improved MK3 has a thicker, more durable cover. They are not rigid, but they add a bit of structure to the notebooks. They do not tear easily.
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 26
The glue bound pages in the original A5 notebook fell out very easily, especially where the pages got turned a lot. The MK3 has improved this - so far, no pages have fallen out. There was also an issue with the black canvas binding separating from the cover of the MK3, but Darkstar has since figured out this issue and fixed it.
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 28
Both notebooks are my favorite size - A5. The original A5 with the thinner covers and fewer pages, are more convenient to carry and are quite portable. The MK3 is twice as thick, with 100 instead of 50 pages, and slightly thicker covers. It is still a portable size. Both are useful and handy. In hand, I like how both notebooks feel.
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 27
On to paper performance! The paper is toothy to the touch, so don't expect something super smooth and coated. It is a pleasure to use pencils, especially softer leads. Leads smudge well - great for sketching and drawing. Broad, soft leads are such a joy to use - hand lettering with Palomino pencils is a treat! Hand lettering with pencils almost makes it look like I have some skill and know what I'm doing. If you enjoy pencils, they pair up well with this paper.
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 5
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 6
Gel highlighters and regular highlighters are well tolerated. Very wet highlighters can show through but with normal use, should not bleed through. Gel pens, rollerballs, ballpoints, and marker pens all work well. It feels fairly toothy, so you will definitely notice if you use finer/dry writers. Markers - Sharpie/Staedtler - can bleed through, it just depends how wet they are.
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 3
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 4
The paper is quite fountain pen friendly! Particles in inks like Diamine's Shimmering Inks/J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Inks show up really well. Inks with sheen pop nicely, and the shades of colors are visible. It is pleasant paper to write on, as the slight tooth offers a tactile experience and some feedback I really like.

Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 9
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 10
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 7
Drying times are decent - not super long because the paper is not slick and coated. Of course, the wetter the nib, the longer the drying times can be. Overall, the relatively average drying times make this notebook great for daily use.
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 12
Nibs with sharp edges - such as italic nibs - must be properly aligned so the edges don't get caught in the tooth of the paper. I tested the paper extensively, using extra-fine to triple broad, super wet nibs. I used brush pens/brush markers, dip pens with dip pen inks, folded nibs, technical pens, and then even more nibs - calligraphy nibs, stubs, etc. No feathering, almost no bleed through. It's really tolerant and quite fountain pen friendly.
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 13
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 15
If you like super smooth paper, this is not the right paper for you. If you enjoy using a variety of writing instruments and want fountain pen friendly paper, this is for you!

PROS
  • Simple design that works.
  • The company listens to feedback to improve their notebooks.
  • Fountain pen friendly paper:
    • No feathering
    • Very minimal bleed through (with excessive ink application)
    • Shading, particles, sheen - all visible!
  • Covers are blank canvasses for decorating and personalizing.
  • Notebooks lie flat.
  • Portable, convenient size.
  • Dot grid is not visually obstructive.
  • Great for writing, drawing, journaling, doodling, sketching, lettering, and more.
  • Great for flex pens and calligraphy practice.
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 11
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 17
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 18
CONS  
  • Stock varies, so they're not always available. 
  • As the reported issues are fixed, I don't have much to complain about.
OVERALL 
Review Darkstar Collections A5 Notebook Original & A5 MK3 Notebook 23
Great for creative folks! A cute, convenient, competitively priced notebook that is pretty much a blank canvas for creating! The paper is very fountain pen friendly and also plays well with many other writing instruments.


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I received this item 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.

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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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