Monday, August 25, 2014

Monologue Notebooks

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Monologue Notebooks, (their website is still under construction), with an inquiry asking if I would like to try out a few of their notebooks/sketchbooks. On Monday I received an email saying that they had been shipped and on Wednesday a large package arrived [that is really fast considering they were shipped from Singapore].

Imagine my amazement when I opened the package and found not one or two notebooks, but EIGHT (8) notebooks of various colors, sizes and formats.

Monologue is actually one of the brands of the Singaporean company, Grandluxe. Here is a little information about Grandluxe from their website:

     Our Story

A fine heritage & tradition in book binding spanning three generations has come to shape what Grandluxe is today. Growing from a family business that started out with hand stitched note books to having a strong presence in more than 30 countries, Grandluxe has many successful brand portfolios under its umbrella, including:

Monologue Logo Luxe Logo Paperluxe Logo
A series of lifestyle diaries, stationery and accessories
Exquisite diaries and leather collection
Chic, trendy stationery

Today, Grandluxe supplies to major wholesalers and retailers worldwide. It has production plants & facilities in Singapore, Malaysia and sales/marketing offices in the UK and USA, meeting the sophisticated customization needs of corporate clients all over the world.
However one thing remains the same as always – the use of good quality materials and quintessential craftsmanship, paying tribute to our rich heritage through this commitment.

  • Founded in 1945, 100% Singaporean owned
  • Creative design and graphic team with specialised software for diary data generating
  • World renowned printing & book binding machines such as Heidelberg, Solna Web, Kolbus, Sigloch, Muller Martini, Polar, Stahl, Hunkler & Ochsner.
  • Between 2007 to 2012, more than US$ 5 million were invested in plant and machinery with sophisticated, highly automated machines to enhance quality and productivity. 
  • FSC certified to produce paper products that promotes environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests
  • ISO9001 :2008 certified – Quality Management system 
  • Operations run on SAP Business Automation system

Monologue is what they call a "series of lifestyle diaries, stationery and accessories". I received three A5 notebooks: Ruled, Jotter and Platinum; three A5 notebooks: Ruled, Jotter and Platinum; one A7 Contrast Ruled; and one A8 Contrast Ruled.


All of the notebooks use 80 gsm/54 lb acid-free paper and the covers are PU, which is a poly synthetic leather used by many notebook manufacturers. The Platinum offers metallic covers and white paper; the Jotter cover has a suede finish, cream paper and pencil (the website says "mechanical" pencil, but it is not mechanical), the paper is lined for the first half of the notebook and blank with frames for the second half, because of the way the pencil holder is situated you sacrifice page width; the Ruled notebooks have cream paper and matching elastic band and ribbon; the Contrast Ruled notebooks have cream paper and an interesting contrasting horizontal elastic band and ribbon. All of the notebooks have ribbon markers and most (except the A8 size) have expandable pockets in the back. The Platinum and Ruled notebooks also have elastic pen holders.

These notebooks are really nice and are very well made, however, the true test for a fountain pen user is, of course, the paper.

As you can see, this paper is not the best medium for fountain pens. As nice as these notebooks are, I would recommend that other writing instruments be used.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Pen: Scriptorium Pens Bard

Somewhere in the neighborhood of four to five years ago, I made the online acquaintance (via Twitter) of Renee, aka @lady_tortoise aka @ScriptoriumPens. (You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Flickr) Back then Renee was wrapping up her first career and getting ready to retire. Our friendship was built upon a love of fountain pens and dogs. Below are some photos of her beautiful Australian Shepherds aka The Mud Puppies.

Fast forward to 2014, Renee and I lost touch. I am not on Twitter all that much anymore, but I do follow a number of blogs and I check into Twitter now and then.

I don't remember exactly where but I stumbled across Scriptorium Pens and began to explore the website. The more I read, the more I realized that this was my old friend, so I immediately got in touch and discovered that she has launched a second career as a pen maker.

One thing lead to another and the Bard featured here is the result. I simply loved the shape of this pen.

Scriptorium Pens offers twelve unique designs or you can work with her to create your own custom pen. You also have a wide range of materials to choose from. Renee will provide you the links to materials providers and you can go wild.

The material I chose is Maj'K Mists Color Shifting. I love the gorgeous iridescence of this material, however it makes this a difficult pen to photo.

I had this pen made as an eye dropper, although I can use a converter.

I chose a two-toned steel nib (gold is just outrageous right now) in Extra Fine.

Check that translucency.

So if you are looking for a custom pen, check out Renee's website, I don't think that you will be disappointed.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Featured Pen: Hakumin Urushi Negoro Kuro-Tamenuri

I have long been looking at the Negoro style fountain pens from Nakaya and debating the purchase of one of these beauties.

From Wikipedia: "Negoro lacquerwares were produced at the Negoro-ji temple complex in Izumi province. The red layers of lacquer on Negoro wares are intended to gradually wear away with use, revealing the black lacquer underneath. This effect has since been copied and emulated elsewhere."

The Negoro style is no longer limited to red over black, but used to describe a style which is also known as "Wabi-Sabi". From ""Wabi-Sabi" is the term used in Japanese for objects whose aesthetic value increases with use and wear. Taking this idea to its logical extreme, this pen honors the aging process even more by featuring "cracks" artfully engraved onto the surface of the cap, barrel, and gripping section. This process is particularly painstaking and time-consuming - production of these pens usually requires six months or more."

For me, the Nakaya presented two problems - first, the inner threads from the nib section to the barrel are metal which prevents filling the pen as an eyedropper and second, I am not crazy about the available colors: Negoro Shiro-tame, Negoro Nanohana-iro and Negoro Nuno kise Hon Kataji.

So, I contacted Ernest Shin of Hakumin Urushi to find out is he could make a Negoro in Kuro-Tamenuri. Kuro-Tamenuri is red under black where the red comes through. The base is (as with my other Hakumin Urushi pen) an Edison Pearl with an Edison 18kt italic nib. Just so you know this pen is comparably priced with the Nakaya and gave me exactly what I wished for in this style of pen. Thank you, Ernest! and thank you to Brian Grey for introducing the pen world to this wonderful artisan.


This was a very difficult pen to photograph and convey it's true beauty.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Carrnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper is now open

Welcome  to the May 2014 Edition of Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper. 

Pens and Markers

Hogyun Lee presents Testing Fountain Pen Dry-Out Times in Usage posted at Atramental Otaku.

Ed presents Nakaya Neo Standard Fountain Pen Review posted at

Sandra presents Review of the Copic Doodle Pack - Turquoise posted at LifeImitatesDoodles.

Azizah presents Review: Sailor 1911 Standard Clear Fountain Pen - Music Nib posted at Gourmet Pens.

Azizah presents Review: Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic Smoke & Ice - Broad Nib posted at Gourmet Pens.

Journals and Notebooks

Sandra presents Review of the Paperblanks Lindau Gospels Ultra Journal posted at LifeImitatesDoodles.

Sandra presents Review of the Paperblanks Maya Blue Ultra Journal posted at LifeImitatesDoodles.

Joe presents In Praise of the Original Field Notes posted at The Gentleman Stationer.


Lucy presents Life Drawing Dogs posted at Painting for an Expressive Living.

Holley Perry presents Click Chicks Photo Challenge: Handwriting | Destino posted at Destino.

Because of the issues with the Blog Carnival website and the compressed time to receive submissions, I went back through posts that I've read and picked a few that I thought were worthy of sharing. I hope that you agree and enjoy these.

Editor's Submissions

Scriptorium: Custom Handcrafted Fountain Pens from Renee at Scriptorium Pens.

Anyone for chocolate? A short review of Akkerman Hague Brown at A Fool With a Pen.

Don't Be Fooled By a Name from Margana at Inkophile.

J Herbin Inks and Vintage Pens from Gentian at Drawing with a Squirrel.

The Visconti Homo Sapiens Crystal Fountain Pen is now available! at FPGeeks. This pen is soooo gorgeous and I really want one sigh.

Lastly - this is not very recent but any calligraphy video from Leigh Reyes is worth viewing. You may find her at her blog: My Life is a Verb.

Thank you.We hope that you enjoyed your visit.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Calling all Pen, Pencil and Paper Bloggers - PLEASE READ

Pens Paper Inks...Whatever! is proud to be the host of the May Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper which is scheduled for this coming Tuesday, May 6.

However, we have run into a technical issue and need your assistance.

The Carnival website has been down for at least a week, possibly longer and I am not receiving submissions.

So I am asking that if you would like to participate in the May Carnival please email your submission to me at this special email address

Please include the following information:

  • Title of post:
  • Link to the post:
  • Name of your blog:
  • URL for your blog:
  • Your name:
  • Your email: 
  • Category of your post: i.e. notebooks, pens, paper, inks, other

Please submit your entry no later than 4 pm EDT on Sunday, May 4. Thank you for your understanding and participation.

Julie (O-kami)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Pen - Kaweco AL Sport - Stonewashed Black

Back in January when perusing the blogs that I follow (way too many) I came across a post at FPGeeks which caught my eye, so I proceeded to read it.

It seems that Kaweco, that wonderful producer of those pocket sized fountain pens was going to be introducing a new finish for their AL Sport - stonewashed.

I don't know why, but I am often attracted to products that have that "loved by use" look. The Japanese call it wabi-sabi: "Wabi-sabi is the quintessential Japanese aesthetic. It is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble". This is the same principal that my new Hakumin Irushi pen (which has not yet arrived) is based upon.
The Sport comes in a number of options: 
  • Classic which is entirely acrylic.Tyler Dahl has written a wonderful review of the Classic here. This pen is available in eight colors.
  • Ice which features a range of translucent colors. The body of the pen is clear translucent while the cap and nib section come in 6 translucent colors. Delectable Pens has done a nice review of this model.
  • Luxe which features brass plated parts and furniture. It is available only in black. Here is a great review at PencilCaseBlog
  • AL which is the all aluminum model. The stonewashed fits into this category although the Kaweco website breaks this down into two separate categories: AL Sport and AL Stonewashed. The AL Sport is available in 5 color options and the Stonewashed in 2.
  • ART - this is the pen to get if you want more color options. This pen is also acrylic but it is offered in 8 lovely acrylics if you want to get away from basic back or a solid color.  Ed Jelley reviews the ART model on his blog
  • AC - this model is a mix of aluminum and carbon fiber. It is available in four color options and happens to be the other modern Sport that I own. You can review my review here.
  • Skyline - this is a new model. From the Kaweco website: "The Kaweco Classic Sport series gets competition soon as Kaweco launches Kaweco Sport Skyline in May [2014]. Compared with the Classic Sport, which has a gold plated nib, imprint and logo cap, the Skyline comes with silver coloured characteristics. The Skyline series is available in three basic colours. Additional to the two trend colours 2014, mint and grey, the Skyline is available in classic black as well."

The Kaweco Sport comes in a very nice little presentation tin.

Kaweco Sport History - from the Kaweco website:

"The Kaweco Sport certainly resulted from a logical progression of the Kaweco product development. You can read the following information from old documents:

1908: In a catalogue for penholders there are the first Kaweco pocket fountain pens pictured.

1911 / 1912: In price lists (1911 for Germany and 1912 for France): A Kaweco Safety pen for ladies, officers and sport guys is advertised.

1913: The short Safety pens are offered with the headline "SPORT-SERIES"- safest closure in every situation.

1925: Now, the Kaweco Safety pens with the sport series for ladies are offered.

1934: A flyer shows the first Kaweco Sport set with safety pen no. 9 and the mechanical pencil no. 17 plus the matching leather pouch. You can thus conclude that at the beginning of the 30's the Kaweco Sport had become an own special product and been consistently merchandised.

Not just in specialist shops Kaweco became a bestseller as well as in B2B business. A lot of well-known companies used the Kaweco Sport as a promotional gift. Particularly in the years 1950 to 1970. Special editions were co-developed since 1965. For instance the Kaweco Sport Set in a wooden case with "Kaweco clock" at the leather pouch or together with a Stoffels handkerchief.

In 1972 the Sport was marketed with a pendant for the Olympic Games in Munich.

From 1980 until 1994 nobody thought of the Sport until h & m gutberlet gmbh revived it."

You can read about Kaweco's revival in this interview with Michael Gutberlet at

I really love the look and feel of this pen.  It is worn, without being worn (if that makes sense).

I ordered this pen with an F nib. My AC has an EF nib. Another great feature of the Kaweco is that the nib units simply screw out, so you can acquire nibs to your taste and easily replace them.

Above is the AL Stonewashed with the AC Sport and my vintage Sport.

Above and below: Top is the vintage Sport and bottom is the AL Stonewashed.

Here is my one complaint about the Kaweco - it only takes cartridges. I don't know why Kaweco can't produce these pens as piston fill, like my vintage Sport, which I will feature in the future.

However, there are a few of solutions: first you can buy the new Kaweco Sport Converter from several sources:

But be careful, this converter does not work on some early Sports. See the review on the JetPens product page.

Another option is to make your own squeeze converter (this is what I did with my AC). Here is a link to a description of this hack Kaweco Sport Bulb Filler Conversion. This description says that he chose not to seal the sac to the cartridge, I highly recommend it though. It is still a simple task to clean both.

 If you are more adventurous you can modify a standard converter. But be sure this converter will attached to the nib unit before you spend the time on it.

Or you can convert it to an eyedropper. However, this is only appropriate for the acrylic Sport.

Oops, forgot to mention that this pen is not yet available from US sellers. I acquired it from via Amazon.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I'm still here

Honestly, I have not dropped off the face of the earth. I have just been busy, busy, busy with work and to be honest, have been going through somewhat of a slump when it comes to putting pen to paper - or fingers to keyboard.

So, to all my readers...and all the penpals that I owe letters to, one of these days (I hope) the slump will end and my pen will again hit the paper (and my fingers the keyboard).

I do have a bit of upcoming excitement, soon I hope.  Last April I caved and ordered a custom pen from Ernest Shin of Hakumin Urushi. If you are not familiar with Ernest's work, check out his website and also the collaborations that he has done with Brian Gray of Edison Pens.

So, if that is not enough of a teaser I'm sure that you are wondering what kind of a pen did I get? I have one of Ernest's pens, Koboku Shiage, which I adore and is currently, if not always in my rotation. So I decided once again to use an Edison Pearl as the base.

I couple of years ago I fell in love with a pen that I saw on Flickr - then pen belongs to and the photo was taken by Lisa Miyako - you can see it here and here on her Flickr page.

So I knew that I wanted a pen in this Negoro style.

The following photos and explanation of Negoro is directly from John Mottishaw's website:

Nakaya Urushi pens are meant to age, with the underlying color becoming more apparent as the Urushi lacquer matures. "Wabi-Sabi" is the term used in Japanese for objects whose aesthetic value increases with use and wear. Taking this idea to its logical extreme, this pen honors the aging process even more by featuring "cracks" artfully engraved onto the surface of the cap, barrel, and gripping section. The Negoro weathering process is particularly painstaking and time-consuming - production of these pens usually requires six months or more.
Nakaya Piccolo Cigar
Nakaya Piccolo Cigar


Although the Nakaya is an amazing and lovely pen, I love my Piccolo in heke-tamenuri, but I have one gripe. They are c/c only and cannot be converted to eyedropper. This is because the threads where the nib section joins the body of the pen are metal. Because I am not a fan of c/c pens and prefer either piston, eyedropper or some other filling system, I called upon Ernest to provide me with my pen.

The color of the Nakaya above is shiro-tamenuri, I chose to have my pen done in kuro-tamenuri, which is black over scarlet. This color is not one that Nakaya offers in the negoro style, which is another reason that I chose to go with Ernest.

Photo taken by Phthalo from Fountain Pen Network

Lastly, I know your wondering, what about the nib.  I chose an 18kt gold BB stub nib. YUM!

So, I am still anxiously awaiting my pen. I am praying that it arrives before we head to the Chicago Pen Show in May.  If it does and you're able to attend the show, ask me to show it to you. Unfortunately I have just discovered that we are going to be unable to attend the Chicago Pen Show this year.

Hakumin Koboku Shiage
Hakumin Koboku Shiage
Hakumin Koboku Shiage