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Category: Reviews

My First KiwiCo Experience

Posted in Reviews

Since I first watched one of Mark Rober’s glitter bomb videos, I’ve wished I could develop interesting things like that. However, with a background in arts, engineering is rather intimidating. When Mark first announced his engineering class, I desperately wanted to join, but wasn’t certain I’d be able to keep up.

But, then I started seeing ads for KiwiCo. It seemed like it would be a good way to dip my toes in engineering. Perhaps it would also give me the confidence to try Mark’s class. I took a while to make up my mind, but I finally took the plunge a few weeks ago and ordered the Eureka Crate.

A Stanford Wood Studio Commission

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

When I failed to check Stanford Wood Studio (SWS) off my 2021 wish list, I vowed to ensure I ordered from them in 2022. To that end, as I mentioned in my 2022 wish list post, I reserved a commission right at the beginning of January. But, before I dive into that, allow me to say that SWS was fabulous to work with. I believe I mostly, if not only, communicated with Di — she’s lovely. I appreciated the updates on my commission and her suggestions for making it better. And, once my pens arrived, I could — and can — see what fantastic work they — Di and Dave — do.

Flexible Nib Factory ZT5E Review

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

DISCLAIMER UPDATE (6/24/22): TWSBI and Narwhal have released a joint statement which I cover in my most recent TWSBIgate post. While not completely satisfied with TWSBI’s response to the situation, I no longer feel the need to dissuade people from purchasing their products.

DISCLAIMER (5/1/22): Since writing this post, TWSBI has been involved in some unsavory actions, and I am currently boycotting them. For more information, refer to the #twsbigate tag page.

In late February, I saw a post on Goulet Nation where someone was showing off a new nib. But this wasn’t any old nib, it was the Flexible Nib Factory ZT5E. Or, in English, a custom feed and housing to allow the use of a Zebra G dip nib in a TWSBI 580 series pen. Since Zebra G nibs are what first sparked my love of flex nibs, I immediately purchased a ZT5E.

Before I dive into the actual review, I want to make it clear that as far as manufacturing and production, I think the ZT5E is top-notch. My critique should be read with the awareness that this is a dip nib housed in a fountain pen. Flexible Nib Factory has provided a way to fit a square peg in a round hole, basically.

Nib Mini Reviews – BWIPS ’22 Haul

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

Before I dive in, I want to readdress my blog schedule. A few posts back, I mentioned that pen posts would be released on Fridays and non-pen posts would be released on Tuesdays. Well, I have so many things to write about now that that plan needs to change. Moving forward, short of some major problem, I’ll post every Friday, most likely about pens or pen-related topics. I may post up to 4 other times a week, with varying subjects.

OK, with that out of the way, I can jump into the nib reviews. I picked up 5 new nibs at BWIPS. I’m really enjoying testing out various nibs and nib grinds right now. It adds extra character to my writing and helps make older pens “new and exciting” again.

Pen Mini Reviews – BWIPS ’22 Haul

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

Well, I meant for this to go up on Tuesday, but I just didn’t get to it. You all seemed to enjoy my pen mini reviews of my DC Pen Show Haul, so I’m doing them again with my BWIPS 2022 haul. I hope you enjoy this one, too. FYI, I’m listing the pens in purchase order.

As usual, click on any image to view it larger.

all pens from my haul
A full rotation of pens in one haul.

The Fountain Pen Tag Round 2 – Nibs

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

DISCLAIMER UPDATE (6/24/22): TWSBI and Narwhal have released a joint statement which I cover in my most recent TWSBIgate post. While not completely satisfied with TWSBI’s response to the situation, I no longer feel the need to dissuade people from purchasing their products.

DISCLAIMER (5/1/22): Since writing this post, TWSBI has been involved in some unsavory actions, and I am currently boycotting them. For more information, refer to the #twsbigate tag page.

After the fun I had with The Fountain Pens Tag post, I decided to jump on the round 2 version that’s been going around. Except this time I’m just focusing on nibs.

This post is inspired by Heather Austin‘s video THE PALETTE TAG ROUND 2 | ALL ABOUT EYESHADOWS! In that video, she credits Samantha March and Allie Glines with coming up with the idea.

Customized Custom 74 Review

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

As I mentioned in my Elabo review, I got two pens from Penwing Stationery. This time, I’m reviewing the second, the Custom 74.

Again, I’m not reviewing the pen itself. I already know I love that. I’m focusing on the aftermarket customization work done on the pen. As with my Elabo review, I’m judging the work based on the price difference. In this case, a Custom 74 sells for $200 MSRP ($160 retail). The Penwing Stationery customized version has a $205.99 list price, but seems to be on perpetual sale for $165. So, I’m judging the work on a $5 difference.

Customized Elabo Review

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

Of course, just after telling you I was going to scale back on the blog posts, two pens arrived, so you’ll get 2 posts a week for a little longer so I can do my reviews. Plus I have two more pens on order, and there’s BWIPS in two weeks, so… yeah. Lots to write.

Anyway, a while back I came across a very interesting pen on Instagram from Penwing Stationery. At first, I thought it was a Japan or China exclusive. However, it turned out to be a customized Pilot Custom 74. I showed Jim, and we ended up ordering three different pens, including that first one I saw.

It took about a month to actually ship our order, but they they arrived in only 4 days. We eagerly unboxed our pens. Jim’s Pilot Custom 91 is good. Of my two (the Custom 74 and a Pilot Elabo — basically a Falcon) one was lovely, and one was a disappointment. I’ll be reviewing the latter today. Save the best for last, and all that.

Benu Talisman Wild Rose Review

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

When the Wild Rose was first announced, I didn’t plan to get it. I’m not big on pink, and, as I’m trying to limit my pen acquisitions this year, it seemed silly to get it “just because.”

However, when I found out the material includes rose petals and heart-shaped glitter, I decided to get it. I pre-ordered from Pen Chalet and requested either #19 or #69 if they got either one. I was lucky enough to get pen #69.

So, I have a holy grail of pens, a Valentine’s Day pen numbered 69. On top of that, it was, by sheer coincidence, my 214th pen. So I can’t get rid of it. Ever. Well, unless someone offers me an obscene amount of money for it. But, enough backstory, you’re here for a review.

Mr. Cypress – Pushing Boundaries

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

Welcome to 2022! Once again, my first post of the year is about pens. And there are several more this month.

Early in 2021, I commissioned a Día de Muertos pen from Mr. Cypress. I wrote a 3-part series about that experience (part 1 | part 2 | part 3). At the end of the year, I purchased a second pen from Mr. Cypress, which also has a skull-based design. This puts me in the unique position to compare the two.

Loft Pens: Building a Rainbow

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

I first saw Loft Pens in May of this year. They posted a neat stacked ombre pen. I instantly knew I wanted one, but I needed to figure out the color scheme.

It didn’t take me too long to decide I wanted a rainbow. But, since I was trying to pay off some pens, I didn’t reach out to them right away. However, permies.world didn’t waste any time. They posted the rainbow pen they’d commissioned, and it was very pretty. Unfortunately, my contrary nature meant I no longer wanted one like that because it had already been done. I luv ya, PW, really, I do, and your collection! But I digress. I petulantly removed the rainbow pen from my wishlist and didn’t give it much thought.

ARTUS Four Elements Air

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

My last ARTUS post. If you didn’t see my previous posts about the Water, Fire , and Earth, you may want to go back and take a look at them. This is the Air, the true “sister” pen to the Water, done by the same artist. Since I covered how I came to own the Earth and Air yesterday, I’m not going over it again. You can read the story in the Earth post. Note: You can view any of the images below a little larger — much larger if you’re on mobile — by clicking on them.

Photo showing the full pen.

Enjoy all of the delicious pen porn contained within this post. I take no responsibility for purchases resulting from them.

ARTUS Four Elements Earth

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my story about doing “something big” with relation to pens. Well, that something big was completing my ARTUS Four Elements set. I already shared the new pens there, and even took a week where my “rotation” was just the set. Like the Water and Fire, the two new ones, Earth and Air, are beautiful. Air will get its own post tomorrow. Today, I’m focusing on Earth. The leaves and swirls are beyond stunning. And the flowers are masterpieces in their own rights. Note: You can view the images a little larger — much larger if you’re on mobile — by clicking on them.

Photo showing the full pen.

Enjoy all of the delicious pen porn contained within this post. I take no responsibility for purchases resulting from them.

Den’s Pens: A Set of Crystals

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

As you know from my 2020 wish list post, I fell in love with Den’s PensBaetylus model the first time I saw it. I thought it would look amazing in the right colors to make it an “amethyst” crystal. I wasn’t wrong.

Dennis was kind enough to reach out to me after the wish list post to let me know that he can make custom blanks. So, I got to bypass the material search and jumped on his waitlist. He’s got a great order form that takes you through all the options, step-by-step.

Before I get very far into this post, I want to acknowledge how much I appreciate Dennis’s communicativeness. He kept me updated on the entire process and sent me photos along the way. I don’t mind if the process gets delayed or takes longer than expected, as long as I’m kept informed. So, major kudos there.

Encanto, New and Different

Posted in Reviews

Jim and I braved a theater to see Encanto last weekend. With the wide aisles (for the reclining seats) and people choosing not to sit next to each other, it wasn’t as bad as we’d feared.

The Short – Far From the Tree

The short had me smiling the moment it started. It was done in 2D (hand drawn) style. I say style because I’m assuming that, like South Park, it was all digital, but stylized to look hand drawn.

Regardless, it was beautiful, sweet, and the message was great. I think this is the first time that the message from the short so closely resembled the message from the main movie.

Onward, Frozen’s Brother

Posted in Reviews

While on the flight home from vacation, I finally got around to watching Onward. After the fiasco that was Soul, I’d been wary of watching Onward. However, I needn’t have worried.

Onward was fun. The adventure held a much nicer surface message than Soul: “you are enough” with a side of “there is more to you than you realize.” Ian, who feels like an outcast, learns just how much he’s capable of as the movie progresses. He also realizes just how much he already has.

ARTUS Four Elements Fire

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

Ah, another ARTUS pen. As I said in my 200th Pen post, I wanted my next pen purchase to be something special, and this certainly qualifies. Like its “brother pen,” it’s a magnificent work of art. The layers of paint give the flames a three-dimensional quality that tricks my eyes. Every time I look at it I find something new to look at. Note: You can view the images a little larger — much larger if you’re on mobile — by clicking on them.

ARTUS Four Elements Fire

Enjoy all of the delicious pen porn contained within this post. I take no responsibility for purchases resulting from them.

Cocoa Paper: Quality Custom Cover

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

I enjoy color. I know, it can be hard to tell. 😉 Unfortunately for me, my favorite notebooks don’t come with colorful covers. So, in June last year, I made a custom fabric cover. It turned out… alright. It was a bit too big, and the construction wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t too bad for a first try. I used some gorgeous fabrics, and that’s really the only reason I’ve kept it as long as I have.

Switching to a different notebook brand with my current notebook seemed like a good time to abandon that old cover. Unfortunately, while the Rhodia is more colorful than the Firma-Flex, it stains badly.

Back of Rhodia Goalbook showing staining
Look at all that ugly staining. The front and spine are just as bad.

So, I went looking for a new cover. I didn’t think it would be so difficult.