Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Reads: April 23. 2017

Sunday Reads


Stuff I Looked At Elsewhere
Stuff I Apparently Did This Week

If you're doing any browsing and shopping, please do check out my sponsors in the side bar, because they help make all this possible. 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!
Thank you to everyone who supports my weirdness.
Patreon

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ink Shot Review: @RobertOsterInk Hippo Purple

Not too long ago, Krystle from Squishy-Ink contacted me to ask if I would be interested in helping out with her upcoming Kickstarter project. The Kickstarter is called Hippo Noto (a Hippo-sized Tomoe River notebook), with an accompanying custom-color: Robert Oster's Hippo Purple. The project had a background story that was so sweet, and the goodies were so delectable, I couldn't say no! Also I'm sort of an ink harlot... Here's a review of the rather unique Hippo Purple!
Ink Shot Review @RobertOsterInk Hippo Purple 2
Ink Shot Review @RobertOsterInk Hippo Purple 9
ABOUT
Ink Shot Review @RobertOsterInk Hippo Purple 5
Color: Purple-ish brown?
Bottle: 50 ml
Price: ~ $14.00USD (add-on to a pledge)
Where to buy: Kickstarter
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PROS
  • Easy to fill from bottle.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Shades really well, from a lighter dusky pink to a medium brown, with some dark sheen.
  • Easy to store bottles.
  • A really nice project to support!
  • Decent price, for a quality ink to boot!
  • An unusual, fun color with a great name. Hippo purple!!
  • Label on top has ink name and a swab of the color - makes finding the ink easy when they're all upright in a drawer.
  • A very special color: brown, purple, mahogany, pinkish, deep plum... what a blend!
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CONS
  • An unusual color - I can imagine this won't appeal to everyone. However, I'm not in that category. I like it.
OVERALL
Ink Shot Review @RobertOsterInk Hippo Purple 1
A fine drawing by The Professor himself.
I was not expecting this color, even though hippo was in the name! I thought it would be a bright, vibrant purple! As it turns out, this color is pretty much what a hippo looks like. I'm impressed with how well Robert Oster captured the color of a hippo - sort of a brown/purple/pink, depending on the saturation. How neat. Google hippos and take a look! This color is unusual, unique, and I can't say I've seen many other colors like it, if any. Leave it to Robert Oster to create the perfect hippo color! For a pretty decent price, you'll get a special ink and support a special project, and it's certainly a one-of-a-kind. Perfect for ink collectors, those who prefer more subtle, muted colors, and anyone else who just looooves ink!

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, April 19, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

April 19. 2017 - Wordless Wednesday 1
April 19. 2017 - Wordless Wednesday 2

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Review: Hippo Noto Tomoe River Notebook on @Kickstarter

Not too long ago, Krystle from Squishy-Ink contacted me to ask if I would be interested in helping out with her upcoming Kickstarter project. The Kickstarter is called Hippo Noto (a Hippo-sized Tomoe River notebook), with an accompanying custom ink color: Robert Oster's Hippo Purple. The ink review is coming up on Thursday, but here's an overview of the notebook!
Review Hippo Noto Tomoe River Notebook on @Kickstarter 1
Review Hippo Noto Tomoe River Notebook on @Kickstarter 29

Visit the Kickstarter page to snap up a notebook and ink!

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ABOUT

Size: Pocket A5 - slightly smaller than A5 at 131 mmx 208 mm
Color: Cream
Ruling: Dot grid, blank, ruled
Page Count: 500
Paper Weight: 68 gsm
Price: $33.00USD for one notebook
Where to buy: Kickstarter

APPEARANCE
Review Hippo Noto Tomoe River Notebook on @Kickstarter 2
I won't spend too much time on the little details as I have a prototype and there will be some minor changes to it. The covers and pages have rounded corners, the elastics and bookmarks match (or almost match, or complement) the covers. The three colors combinations currently available are black & blue , lavender & pink, and turquoise. What's your favorite?

Inside, the pages are flush with the notebook. There is no wasted space. It's just right down to the business of sexy, fountain pen friendly paper. Should you need it, there is an expandable pocket on the inside of the back cover.

PERFORMANCE & FEEL

I love the simple design of the notebook. Notebooks don't have to be complicated, and I actually find them somewhat intimidating to use when they are. I just crack them open, soil a page, then I don't have to worry about what genius things to put in it, because my genius already soiled it. 
Review Hippo Noto Tomoe River Notebook on @Kickstarter 3
Review Hippo Noto Tomoe River Notebook on @Kickstarter 7
68 gsm Tomoe River paper is just as fountain pen friendly as the one most of us know, the 52 gsm Tomoe River. If you dislike the lightweight, crinkly, prone-to-dog-ear-ness of the 52 gsm stuff, then the 68 is the perfect alternative. It still offers all the great fountain pen friendliness, without the crinkle, dog ears, and lightweight feeling. It's still lightweight, but it's not - no pun intended - paper thin. The color of this paper is pretty easy on the eyes - not super bright white and not so yellow that it really affects the appearance of your inks.
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I personally love the crinkle of 52 gsm Tomoe River, but I didn't find myself missing it with this notebook. It performed well, took ink like a pro - there is show through in the pictures as you can see, and some bleed through, but I was really ladling on the ink here. With normal writing, it's solid. The paper got a little warped and crinkled a little after drying, especially where I had used a lot of ink, but the elastic closure still held the notebook shut, and I didn't find the dried pages annoying to write on. I actually really love the tactile experience. 
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Everyone that loves Tomoe River loves it because it's so good with inks. Inks pop, shine, shade, and sheen like crazy. It brings out the shading, shows off the saturation, and the particles in inks sit on the page, giving it a second layer! Bleedthrough is visible below because of the intense saturation of the swabs on the other side. With regular use, it will not bleed. 
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PROS/FEATURES
  • Lie flat, thread-bound notebook - easy to open, write on all sides and parts of the pages, and it will lie flat without you having to wrestle with it.
  • 500 pages of cream Tomoe River paper - cream of the crop, as it were. This stuff is the bomb-diggity. I'm so sorry I said that.
  • Elastic closure - I found the cover stays closed without the closure but as the notebook fills up, especially if you are using wet media and the papers warp, the closure will be useful.
  • Two ribbon bookmarks - well shucks. Ribbons always look pretty.
  • Ships from the USA - perfect for those local.
  • Pocket A5 size - slightly smaller than traditional A5, but super convenient and portable. A5 is my favorite size but I'll happily take pocket A5.
  • Interior back pocket - I almost never use these in a notebook, but they are useful if you need to carry little bits of paper, or blotting sheets. 
  • Various ruling options: dot grid, blank, ruled. Dot grid is where it's at though.
  • Three great color options: I'm sorry, I can't even settle on just one. 
  • Adorable design on the front - who doesn't love an adorable hippo icon?
  • Fountain pen friendly paper
    • Shine, sheen, shimmer, shade!
    • Ink looks wonderful on Tomoe River paper, and the writing experience on such paper is exquisite. I don't really want to use much else.
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Review Hippo Noto Tomoe River Notebook on @Kickstarter 25
CONS
  • With regards to the Kickstarter, I really love the notebook. The downside is international shipping is pretty high, so you may want to consider stocking up or a group buy to make it a little less painful.
OVERALL

Aside from shipping, the notebook (and ink) is a great deal. The paper alone is worth it - 500 sheets of 68 gsm Tomoe River is delicious, and you get a cute notebook, and support a worthy project. Check out the stretch goals as there are so many extra good things going on. In my case, a notebook I truly love inspires me to use it, and I get all sorts of creative ideas when I'm scribbling in it. 

I received this item on loan for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion! This notebook will travel on to the next person and the on to another and another and another...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday Reads: April 16. 2017

Sunday Reads


Stuff I Looked At Elsewhere
Stuff I Apparently Did This Week

If you're doing any browsing and shopping, please do check out my sponsors in the side bar, because they help make all this possible. 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!
Thank you to everyone who supports my weirdness.
Patreon

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Review: Aurora 88 Matte Black Fountain Pen @KenroPens @AndersonPens

Taking a look at the Aurora 88 Matte Black fountain pen today! Thanks to Aurora, Anderson Pens, and Kenro Industries for making this review possible!
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ABOUT

Body material: Resin
Trim: Rose Gold
Cap: Screw on
Posts: Yes, friction
Nib material: 14 kt gold, rose gold plated
Filling system: Piston-filler
Length (capped): 135.9 mm/5.35"
Length (uncapped): 129.2 mm/5.08"
Length (posted): 155.0 mm/6.10"
Diameter (barrel): 12.2 - 13.9 mm/0.48" - 0.54"
Diameter (section): 10.5 - 11.8 mm/0.41" - 0.46"
Weight (all): 22 g
Weight (cap): 6 g
Weight (body): 16 g
Price: $495.00 USD
Where to buy: Anderson Pens
Anderson Pens Banner

PACKAGING

The Aurora 88 is presented in a large black clamshell box with an Aurora-branded outer cardboard box. The side of the outer box has the nib and pen details. The clamshell box has a leathery feeling to it and has the Aurora logo on top. The inside is a cream colored leather-like material. The removable bed holds the pen in place. There is a small plaque on the bed that says:
Pennino oro massiccio
14 kt
Solid gold nib
There is an Aurora booklet under the bed with company details/history, pen information, instructions for best use, filling ink, etc. If you are new to fountain pens, this is worth reading through. There's a lot of box for this pen.
Review Aurora 88 Matte Black Fountain Pen @KenroPens @AndersonPens 1
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APPEARANCE

This is a good looking pen that ticks all the right boxes for me. It is a regular sized pen with a cigar shape - a round body with smoothly rounded off ends. The finial is a black satin dome but it is unmarked. The clip is attached by a metal ring around the top of the cap. I love the shape of the clip! It's smooth, curvy, and ends in a teardrop. 
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There is a centerband located at the end of the cap. It is engraved with "Aurora" and has two thin black rings in it. It's a simple but attractive center band. There is also a thin metal band at the end of the piston-turning knob. The section is fairly long, tapering slightly towards the nib and ending in a flared ridge. There are resin threads at the back of the section, and a clear, double walled ink window. The ink window is not visible when the pen is capped, and the cap band connects smoothly with the barrel. 

The cap, section, and barrel are all black satin resin - black with a matte finish, that is. The clip, centerband, and all other trim is a polished rose gold. I love the warmth of the rose gold against the matte black resin. The pen appears well finished and well made. I observed an evenly-spaced, very small gap between the finial and cap ring but that's about it. Minor detail because it looks like it was intentional.

NIB & PERFORMANCE

This nib is a solid 14 kt gold nib with rose gold plating, and an ebonite feed. The nib has a single slit, a round breather hole, and is engraved with some flourishes, 14 K, 585, and Aurora. The stub nib has a wide tip with some deliciously ground tipping. The nib is medium wet - it has a consistent ink flow that is not too dry or too wet. With no pressure, the nib is mostly on the firm side but I can feel just a bit of softness to it. With regular writing (without pressure), the nib does not skip or hard start. With a little pressure, the feed can't really keep up as it's just not wet enough to handle the additional ink demand. Overall, all performance indicates a good nib, just on the dry side for heavy ink demands. At a normal writing speed and during long writing sessions, the nib and feed keep up. Fast writing is a little difficult because of the shape of the tipping - the nib must be properly aligned with the page. Reverse writing is not possible.
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The stub is a little wider than the Aurora Optima italic, and a little more dry. The line variation from the shape of the nib is very pleasant - wide downstrokes that show off inks well, and narrow cross strokes. I find this stub nib is best for adding some character to my handwriting. I also use it to practice calligraphy, particularly Foundational and Uncial. I love the way the stub nib gives nice, round but clean letters with some great ink shading. 
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Top to bottom: Aurora Optima (italic nib), Aurora 88 (stub nib)
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Top to bottom: Aurora Optima (italic nib), Aurora 88 (stub nib)
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Top to bottom: Aurora Optima (italic nib), Aurora 88 (stub nib)
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Top to bottom: Aurora Optima (italic nib), Aurora 88 (stub nib)
To me, nibs like this are way more exciting than a fine, medium, broad, but that's because I really enjoy line variation and I love the absurdly luxurious calligraphy practice. Don't judge. We are all weird. 

IN HAND

Have I mentioned I love this clip? It's a snug clip that can be lifted. The tear drop ball at the end is angled underneath so it can be slid on and off papers, pockets, and pouches. It's tight enough to hold the pen in place as well.

The piston-filling mechanism has an interesting design - a hollow piston that houses some extra ink. It's great if you run out of ink but requires some attention when you're cleaning.
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The shape of the section is comfortable and long enough to accommodate most grips. The threads are super smooth so will not bite your fingers. The flared ridge at the nib is somehow unnaturally hard and hurts my fingertips if I end up gripping it. The section is not slippery, even with longer writing sessions. 
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Unposted, the pen has a comfortable length and is on the light side. It feels well balanced. I think if you have larger hands, you'll have to post it to give it more length. The cap can be posted snugly by friction and it gives the pen a bit more weight and length, which feels right and more comfortable for me. I love that it isn't a super heavy metal body. It's lighter, and doesn't tire out my hand. 
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PROS & CONS

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OVERALL

Another beauty from Aurora. I'm a rose gold person - I know it's all in and trendy right now, but for me, it works. I love the black and rose gold theme and the shape of the pen is elegant and the trim is warm. I prefer the rounded ends of the 88 than the flat ends of the Optima. 

The stub is a great nib if you want something different. You could still use this as a daily writer because it's not so wide that it's silly. Great line variation, solid nib performance. The pen is on the light side, though. If you're unsure about the stub, there are other nib options. Stubs are my jam.




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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