Penemuel talks about pens, and sometimes writing. But mostly pens.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Filofax Purple Pocket Malden

I know - it's horribly long since I posted, and I'm not even posting about pens now! Sorry...

I'd been wanting a pocket planner with a certain feature for some time now - ever since I discovered that a certain European leather goods company made them: a full-sized pocket across the back of the planner, sort of like a wallet pocket, where I could put larger slips of paper without having to punch them, or fold them up to stick in a pocket.

I was even going to bite the bullet and pay the "inexpensive" $125 (based on the Euro to Dollars conversion on the date I looked) and get one -- until I learned that even in the custom-made version, the biggest ring size (the only ring size) was 16mm.

I have a planner with 16mm rings - my zippered Filofax Pocket Pennybridge. It holds my seasonal dividers when I'm not using them. And even THOSE fill it too much...

16mm rings are just WAY too small. (Heck, 19mm rings are too small, too, but they work a heck of a lot better, and if I cut down on the number of washi sample cards I carry around, the planner doesn't bulge too badly. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Obviously, that one company was out - the ready-made version and the customized version both cost way too much for something I can't comfortably use on a daily basis. Other leather companies made a similar product, but one of the ones I hear the best things about didn't even list the specs for the rings. To be honest, that put me off faster than the $200+ price tag. (Yeah, your leather may be really nice, but I'm not tacking on an extra $100 just for the name. Remember, we're talking Filofax Pocket size here - just slightly bigger than A6...)

So, I figured I was out of luck; I'd just continue using my Saffiano-styled Springboard (Raspberry outside/lime inside, which REALLY doesn't fit Fall/Winter...) and give up on the thought of easily carrying larger pieces of paper around in it.

And then I discovered that the Pocket Malden has one of those wallet-styled pockets. I don't know why I wasn't aware of this - maybe because the style of the Malden's closure isn't my favourite so I kind of glossed over descriptions. Not sure. Anyway - there was a purple version (not Raspberry, but real purple!), but it was sold out on both the US and UK Filofax sites. I lucked out, though, and found a seller on Amazon Marketplace selling one for less than either of those would be, with free shipping. After losing my chance at a real purple Pocket Saffiano (the reason I ended up with the Springboard instead) at anything remotely resembling sensible prices, I jumped at the chance. I wasn't going to let another purple planner get away and end up seeing listings of them going for $450 again...

And I've discovered, I really like the Malden - other than that closure. Pointy button strap over squared base strap just bugs me - I'm not sure why. Eh. Picky. The 19mm rings and full back pocket MORE than make up for one little personal taste quibble. The leather is soft and supple, and the planner EASILY lies open, unlike a certain Finsbury I could mention... And all of my calendar, week-on-two-pages for a month at a time, notes, and tracking info fit, along with some washi sample cards, sticky notes, and alcohol prep wipes to clean permanent marker off my laminated dividers. I'm not entirely sure I'm going to switch back to the Springboard in Summer at this point!

It sure is a pretty purple. Maybe I'll get used to that pointy-over-square closure...

The little zip pocket is pretty small, but very useful! The slip pockets now hold sticky tabs, some washi sample cards, and pretty Sakura paper clips.


Inside back - the notepad slit has a 6-pocket wallet insert full of washi samples stuck into it, and my Sumikko Gurashi sticky tabs are currently on the edge of the vertical pocket. They may be moved or have to sit it out, because they're kind of bulky.

And finally, the reason for this whole adventure! Look at all that spaaaaaaace!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Staedtler Mars Professional drawing pens - discontinued?

A number of years ago, I bought this set of pens at Office Depot, and then I didn't draw anything for a while and they got put away in a drawer.

I've been getting back into drawing and pulled a lot of supplies out of their storage and discovered that these are still working, but the very fine point is starting to dry up, so I went online to see where I could order replacements from, only to find out that the model has been discontinued and the refills are no longer available.

I don't really understand this, as it's a very nice pen and the ability to switch out point sizes without the mess of technical pen inks or nibs or worrying about the ink drying up inside those tiny points is very convenient! The pen itself is light but sturdy feeling, though I'm not sure if it actually is metal over plastic, or just very metal-looking plastic over black plastic (it does seem to be a thin layer of aluminum from the noise it makes when I tap my nails on it), with a nice harder rubber grip. The cap screws on and seems to give a nice seal, but is a little awkward to post because it feels like it doesn't completely fit on the back of the pen. However, the rubber grip has a bump to keep the pen from rolling, so posting isn't completely necessary.

And then there's the ink 'cartridge' - it slides into the barrel from the grip end. There are slots in the cartridge and bumps inside the pen body that make sure it's in correctly, and the point size is indicated on the end of the cartridge that shows in the opening at the end of the barrel. To remove the cartridge to switch point sizes, you push it from that end (where there's an indentation that lets you have access to it), then take the protective cap off the new cartridge to put on the one you took out, so that it doesn't dry out. (There are only three caps in the set and four cartridges, so it appears you are intended to keep one in the pen at all times. Of course, there are also only three cartridge slots and four different sized cartridges, so there really isn't anywhere else to keep it.)

The four sizes of points are 0.25, 0.35. 0.5 and 0.7, and according to the manual it is a "high-tech tip encased in metal sleeve for optimal protection and stability". It seems to be very much like a Sigma Micron pen tip. The ink is light-fast, waterproof, archiveable, and forgery-proof according to the manual, and it draws a nice black line (though the ink in my Faber-Castell Pitt pens I have seems to be a tiny bit darker - perhaps it's just less shiny in my Hobonichi Techo. I haven't tested it on other paper, and don't want to use up too much ink doing tests...)

So here's a great little professional drawing pen set that I think I'll have to throw away when I finish it, unless someone knows where I can find refills.

Anyone have any suggestions or know more about the set and its future?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Organics Studio - Edgar Allan Poe Raven Ink

I really want to love this ink. It's perfect for writing fic for the show I'm writing fic for right now. It's a lovely red colour. It has everything going for it, except I think I must have a bad batch.

When I fill a fresh pen with it, it works wonderfully. It writes smoothly, it has a rich colour, it has shading... But if I let that pen sit for a day - sometimes even if I let it sit for an hour or so, it seems to start drying up in the nib. After that I might be able to get it to write again, but it's scratchy and dry and the colour is just not the same, and I end up having to clean the whole pen and refill to get it to behave again.

And the pen (a Lamy Vista) I left at home while we were away on vacation ended up with the ink semi-congealed in the converter...

I haven't noted any SITB (stuff/slime/sh*t in the bottle), but there must be pigment settling, or something. Others who have used the same ink seem to have no trouble with it, so I do suspect it's just a bad batch, but it's very disappointing because I wanted to love this ink so much.

This was what it looked like trying to restart after the pen sat for a few days.

This is the Lamy Vista mentioned above... (Regarding the first picture, it stayed like that no matter how long I held it upright. It did wash out easily, though, so it wasn't solid.)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Organics Studio's Edgar Allan Poe ink

Okay, we're just going to ignore the RIDICULOUSLY long time that I neglected this blog and move on...

I'm a fan of the FOX TV show The Following, which is about the FBI trying to track down a serial killer who has built a cult of followers and based his 'religion' on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. So when I stumbled across a review of Organics Studio Edgar Allan Poe "Raven Red" ink on another pen blog, I had to get it.

First, it's an ink made in Maryland, named after Poe. Second, it's a darker red, closer to a blood red shade. Perfect for using to write fanfic about The Following.

I bought the ink from and it arrived safe & sound (and quickly) yesterday. I haven't had a chance to really use the ink yet, but tested it with a glass pen (not the best for checking certain properties such as shading, drying time, etc. because it doesn't really give you a consistent ink flow) for colour.

I like it. A lot. I can't wait to empty out a cartridge for my Kaweco Sport Ice (my most often used writing pen because it's easy to carry in a pocket with a notebook) so I can ink it up with Raven Red and give it a try!

The photos below are not the best, since I took them with my iPhone in the kitchen. I've tried to correct them some in Photoshop, but this is a terrible monitor. Accuracy is iffy at best...

The bottle is a rather plain plastic bottle with a small (and somewhat blurry) label, not the fancy one shown on

I am not affiliated with the creator of the ink or the store I purchased it from. This was not sent to me to review, I bought it myself.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNoWriMo Ate My Brain!

It's November, which means it's National Novel Writing Month, commonly called NaNoWriMo. Head over to for more information, but basically it's a 'competition' for people to try to write a 50,000 (plus) word novel in 30 days.

This is the first time I'm trying it, because it's the first time I've really had a coherent story that would potentially be that long and wasn't something I'd already written (you're supposed to start a NEW work of fiction on November 1st, not rewrite or continue something you've already done.)

I'm invoking the Luddite Clause and hand writing my novel, in a notebook, with a fountain pen. Yep, I'm not only trying this for the first time, I'm going old school! I'm up to 12,474 words so far, and have filled more than half of a small (5.5" x 3.5") hard-backed Piccadilly notebook (square ruled, which is MUCH better than lined for my tiny writing) and figure I'm going to be using at least one more. Luckily I stocked up before Borders closed...

I'm also using my Lamy Vista with Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun ink. It's particularly fitting for the novel I'm working on, which has to do with Shadows and shades of grey... (I'd bought a bottle of this lovely blue-shaded grey ink, thinking that I'd never use the whole thing. Except that I've used a full Lamy converter's worth every day since I started this. The level of ink in my bottle is actually starting to lower!)

The picture is the notebook I've been writing in - I started at the back because I'm a leftie...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just a quick word about Pilot Petit 1/2/3 inks

I worked my way through the katakana (yikes - I'm rusty!) on the Japanese Pilot site's Petit 1 page and am kind of sad about the limited number of colours the ink cartridges are now available in. No more violet, no more dark green, no more turquoise (takoizu), brown, wine red...

The only colours listed now are:
Baby Pink
Apricot Orange
Apple Green
Clear Blue

Guess it's a good thing I have that ink syringe kit!
I have no affiliation with Pilot - I just love their pens.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I found them!

After years of unsuccessfully searching for those old, cheap, used-to-be-sold-in-grocery-stores Sheaffer pens, I finally found some on eBay. Still haven't managed to locate a transparent purple one, but clear, transparent blue, green, red, & black aren't bad! (Lamy Vista included for size comparison)

I used these all through high school and into college, to write letters to my friends, to write stories, sometimes even to draw with. I knew nothing about fountain pen maintenance at that time, and just stuck in a new cartridge whenever the old one ran out. I'd also switch colours all the time, and some of my notebooks have the most interesting gradation of colours as things went from, say, emerald green to lavender, or turquoise to red. (Brown to turquoise was pretty unattractive...) Ahh, nostalgia...