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Month: December 2023

My Pen Collection Stats – End of 2023

Posted in Fountain Pens

Another year, another overview of my collection. While I really enjoy the approach I used last year, I realize that such in-depth data visualization is not to everyone’s taste. And, while this is my blog and I can write/share what I like, I’d also like my readers to enjoy my posts.

So, this year, with the help of my non-data-hoarding husband, I’ve put together some stat highlights of my collection. I’ve included only on the fountain pens I currently own, so you will see a discrepancy between the numbers this year and the numbers from previous.

For anyone who needs, or wants, an accessible version of the graphics below, I put together a PDF of the graphics. I’ve also made sure that all of the data in the graphics is also in the text. Feel free to choose the method of reading this post that most appeals to you: text, graphics, or PDF.

25 Days of Dupes 2023 – Wrap-Up

Posted in Ink

Phew, that’s a wrap on another 25 Days of Dupes! I’ll have to come up with something special to do for next year since it will be the 5th anniversary. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Doubtless, these Inkvent inks will get released as full bottles next year as all the others have. Hopefully this series helped you decide which — if any — to get.

Differences and Lessons Learned

This year’s 25 Days of Dupes was significantly more work since I swatched the inks on an additional paper type and created YouTube shorts.

Let’s start with that first item. I chose bad paper for the swatches. The Kokuyo paper couldn’t quite handle the heavy ink application and feathered/bledthrough with multiple inks. On top of that, the grid on the Kokuyo paper and the dots on the Franklin-Christoph and Iroful paper were obstacles to editing the swatch photos to be true-to-life.

25 Days of Dupes 2023 – Week 4

Posted in Ink

Hello, welcome to the last week of 25 Days of Dupes 2023. Below you’ll find the inks for days 19-25. If you have a suggestion for a possible dupe for any of these inks, let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it to the wrap up post.

Some reminders:

  • I’m not attempting to dupe the special properties of the inks — sheen, shimmer, scent — only the base color.
  • You can click the images to view them larger.
  • I swatched each ink with a small (#2) paintbrush and wrote with a Zebra G dip nib.
  • Behind-the-scenes: I included more than just my final swatches for each ink. Preliminary swatches are on Iroful A5 dot grid paper. I’ve found that inks can look VERY different on this paper. I swatched the top matches on Franklin-Christoph sugar cane paper (from a leftover Firma-Flex notebook) and Kokuyo 5mm grid Sarasara loose-leaf paper.
  • While I try to edit the images so they look as close to real life as possible, I can’t guarantee that the color you see on your screen will be true to life. However, with all the dupes on the same page, you’ll see how the colors look in relation to each other, which is the main point of these posts.
  • I can’t fairly call any ink a perfect color match, as I’m not comparing them scientifically, I’m just using my eyes. Therefore, I won’t be going any further than calling an ink a “near-perfect color match.”
  • You can view all of the shorts I’ve created for shimmer inks on my Diamine Inkvent 2023 YouTube playlist.

Enjoy, and happy inking!

Year in Review – 2023 Pens

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Non-Fountain Pens

I’m proud of myself for sticking so well to my fountain pen purchase limit this year. I went over by two, although one was an impulse purchase that may be a catch-and-release. I also didn’t expect my Stanford Pen Studio commissions to be ready so quickly. I thought I’d be counting them toward next year’s total.

Unlike last year, I decided to add photos so you can see the pretties. Where possible, I’ve also linked to my dedicated blog posts. Now, enough chit-chat, this post will be long enough as it is. Onto the ranking!

My 2023 Top Tens

Posted in Fountain Pens

Once again, I’m sharing my current top pens. Last year’s approach to my top tens worked well, making me actually stick to lists of 10. I swear, this post gets harder every year. The nibs aren’t too hard, but the pens! It takes me more and more time to narrow down to ten, and then actually figure out the order.

Since I’m keeping to the same format as last year, I’ll compare my lists

But without further preamble, enjoy my top tens of 2023.

25 Days of Dupes 2023 – Week 3

Posted in Ink

Hello, welcome back to 25 Days of Dupes 2023. Below you’ll find the inks for days 12-18. If you have a suggestion for a possible dupe for any of these inks, let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it to the wrap up post.

Some reminders:

  • I’m not attempting to dupe the special properties of the inks — sheen, shimmer, scent — only the base color.
  • You can click the images to view them larger.
  • I swatched each ink with a small (#2) paintbrush and wrote with a Zebra G dip nib.
  • Behind-the-scenes: I included more than just my final swatches for each ink. Preliminary swatches are on Iroful A5 dot grid paper. I’ve found that inks can look VERY different on this paper. I swatched the top matches on Franklin-Christoph sugar cane paper (from a leftover Firma-Flex notebook) and Kokuyo 5mm grid Sarasara loose-leaf paper.
  • While I try to edit the images so they look as close to real life as possible, I can’t guarantee that the color you see on your screen will be true to life. However, with all the dupes on the same page, you’ll see how the colors look in relation to each other, which is the main point of these posts.
  • I can’t fairly call any ink a perfect color match, as I’m not comparing them scientifically, I’m just using my eyes. Therefore, I won’t be going any further than calling an ink a “near-perfect color match.”
  • You can view all of the shorts I’ve created for shimmer inks on my Diamine Inkvent 2023 YouTube playlist.

Enjoy, and happy inking!

Pen Porn: Stanford Pen Studio Sketched Fashion

Posted in Fountain Pens

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the high-quality pen porn. 😉

I don’t know where to start with the Sketched Fashion. This is my first pen from artist Val Myburgh, one of Stanford Pen Studio‘s artist collaborators. Like all but one of my Stanford Pen Studio purchases, this was a commissioned piece.

Before I dive into the pen porn, allow me to say that I refer to the art on this pen as “sketches” and various versions of that several times in this post. I don’t mean that the work is rough or unfinished. I’m referring to the linework style and the fact that there isn’t any color fill. Sketch seems like the best word to describe the style, and I want to make sure no one thinks I mean anything insulting.

Stanford Pen Studio Sketched Fashion

My 2023 Brand “Discoveries”

Posted in Fountain Pens

Before I dive into this post, I want to say I “discovered” these brands like Columbus “discovered” America. What I mean by “discoveries” is that I purchased from the below brands for the first time in 2023. That a brand is on this list doesn’t mean that I didn’t know it existed before 2023, although that’s true in a couple of cases. It means that the brand did not have any representation in my pen collection before 2023.

In an unsurprising reduction, I only purchased from seven new-to-me brands in 2023, down from the nine of 2022. It makes sense that with each year I’m in the pen world I will have less new-brand purchases, even more so when I buy less pens overall — more of that in a later post.

What is a surprise is that nearly half of them are mainstream brands. But, enough exposition, on with the plot! Per usual, let’s start with mainstream brands, then jump into the indie brands. FYI: The lists are in alphabetical order.

25 Days of Dupes 2023 – Week 2

Posted in Ink

Hello, welcome back to 25 Days of Dupes 2023. Below you’ll find the inks for days 5-11. If you have a suggestion for a possible dupe for any of these inks, let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it to the wrap up post.

Some reminders:

  • I’m not attempting to dupe the special properties of the inks — sheen, shimmer, scent — only the base color.
  • You can click the images to view them larger.
  • I swatched each ink with a small (#2) paintbrush and wrote with a Zebra G dip nib.
  • Behind-the-scenes: I included more than just my final swatches for each ink. Preliminary swatches are on Iroful A5 dot grid paper. I’ve found that inks can look VERY different on this paper. I swatched the top matches on Franklin-Christoph sugar cane paper (from a leftover Firma-Flex notebook) and Kokuyo 5mm grid Sarasara loose-leaf paper.
  • While I try to edit the images so they look as close to real life as possible, I can’t guarantee that the color you see on your screen will be true to life. However, with all the dupes on the same page, you’ll see how the colors look in relation to each other, which is the main point of these posts.
  • I can’t fairly call any ink a perfect color match, as I’m not comparing them scientifically, I’m just using my eyes. Therefore, I won’t be going any further than calling an ink a “near-perfect color match.”
  • You can view all of the shorts I’ve created for shimmer inks on my Diamine Inkvent 2023 YouTube playlist.

Enjoy, and happy inking!

Pen Porn: Stanford Pen Studio Ardently

Posted in Fountain Pens

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the high-quality pen porn. 😉

I wracked my brain for a while trying to figure out what to request for a Stanford Pen Studio pen painted by artist Hanna Farmer. That I wanted one, there was never any doubt. The intricate work she does is as amazing as it is beautiful.

When I finally decided on requesting a Pride & Prejudice themed pen, I couldn’t have dreamed of such a beautiful result.

SPS Ardently uncapped with the cap laying beside it

Plotter Alternatives, Part 0

Posted in Paper

Some New Information

No, this isn’t a mistake. Melz, a fantastic reader, submitted a comment with so much wonderful information, I asked their permission to post it as an addendum to my Plotter alternatives series. You can find even more information about “system techos” on Melz’s blog.

I have only slightly edited the content below to make it flow well (like adding headers). Where I have edited the text (as opposed to just rearranging something), I’ve placed it [in brackets]. Please don’t grant me credit for this knowledge, it comes from the fantastic brain of Melz.


While Plotter markets itself as a leather binder, it is completely categorized as a “system techo” (システム手帳) in Japan. If you throw that into your preferred search engine, you will start to see more relevant results in terms of matching binder sizes and refills.

25 Days of Dupes 2023 – Week 1

Posted in Ink

Hello, welcome to the first post of 25 Days of Dupes 2023. Below you’ll find the inks for days 1-4. If you have a suggestion for a possible dupe for any of these inks, let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it to the wrap up post.

Some info:

  • You can click the images to view them larger.
  • I swatched each ink with a small (#2) paintbrush and wrote with a Zebra G dip nib.
  • Behind-the-scenes: I included more than just my final swatches for each ink. Preliminary swatches are on Iroful A5 dot grid paper. I’ve found that inks can look VERY different on this paper. I swatched the top matches on Franklin-Christoph sugar cane paper (from a leftover Firma-Flex notebook) and Kokuyo 5mm grid Sarasara loose-leaf paper.
  • While I try to edit the images so they look as close to real life as possible, I can’t guarantee that the color you see on your screen will be true to life. However, with all the dupes on the same page, you’ll see how the colors look in relation to each other, which is the main point of these posts.
  • I can’t fairly call any ink a perfect color match, as I’m not comparing them scientifically, I’m just using my eyes. Therefore, I won’t be going any further than calling an ink a “near-perfect color match.”
  • Reminder: I’m not attempting to dupe the special properties of the inks — sheen, shimmer, scent — only the base color.

Enjoy, and happy inking!

Athena: Almost One Year

Posted in Cat

This post is a continuation of my series on Athena — her diagnosis, treatment, integration into the household, and life after FIP. If you haven’t already, I suggest taking a look at my previous posts on her. You can find them on her tag page.

We’re just over one years since Athena’s health saga started, and just shy of one year since her diagnostics. This time last year we were desperately trying to get her to eat and gain some weight. I’m planning a post for the one-year anniversary of her diagnosis — Christmas Eve — looking back on everything that has happened this past year.