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Author: Rachel

Even More Indie Makers

Posted in Fountain Pens

It’s time again to feature new-to-me indie pen makers. Approximately once a year, I post an update to my permanent reference post on Indie Pen Makers. I bookmark new makers on Instagram throughout the year and share them here. This is my third update so far. These update posts are meant to let new-to-me pen makers have their time in the spotlight, and allow you to know who is “new.”

Every time I publish a new post about indie makers, I update the reference page, adding new makers, and removing any who have left the field or no longer meet the qualifications listed below. Keep in mind, I have not purchased a pen from most of these makers, so consider this an informational list, not an endorsement.

Ink Battle: Colorverse and Colorverse

Posted in Ink

This ink battle is between Colorverse Monkeyhead Nebula and Colorverse Mystic Mountain. In the first battle, both inks are in pens with a medium Jowo nib. In the second, they are in a TWSBI 580 with a fine nib. Both battles are fought on white Rhodia Goalbook paper.

For this particular Ink Battle, I’m comparing two ink samples, trying to decide which to purchase. Monkeyhead Nebula and Mystic Mountain are both desaturated blues with rose gold shimmer.

Unfortunately, because I’m working from samples for both inks, the shimmer distribution is lacking. It’s nearly impossible to see the shimmer in the first battle, and difficult in the second. But, looking for silver linings, it means I can truly compare the ink colors.

You can find all of the ink battles posts on the tag page.

Stationery Ecosystem

Posted in Stationery

A few days ago, I finally got caught up on the Gourmet Pens Club podcast. And can I just say, if you haven’t listened to it yet, what are you doing? I don’t even like podcasts and I love the Gourmet Pens Club.

Anyway, the Paper Talk episode from 1/15/24 was especially entertaining with Azizah’s description of Candace’s collection as a solar system. The description sounds like it fits perfectly.

Pen Porn: Ryan Krusac Ashbain the Dragon

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 high-quality pen porn. 😉

I’ve wanted one of Ryan Krusac’s dragon pens for years. But, I kept holding off because I didn’t really want one of the ones where a dragon is fighting a knight. Then, at the 2022 DC Pen Show, I saw this design. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it until I’d already spent my show budget. I’d planned to get it at the 2023 Baltimore Pen Show, but Ryan wasn’t able to attend. Thankfully, he was at the 2023 DC Pen Show, so I could finally get my dragon pen. And the wait was 100% worth it.

Ryan Krusac Ashbain the Dragon

Ink Battle: Sailor and Sailor

Posted in Ink

No matter how much I try to sample or test an ink before buying it, sometimes that isn’t possible. Because of this, I have some inks that are incredibly similar in color. That’s where “ink battles” come in.

You can assume I have no problems with any ink that appears in an ink battle. I may decide, when using the inks side-by-side, that one performs better, but the point of the battle is to choose a favorite color. I use a pair of similar inks in pens with the same nib, then test them out to see which I like better.

Or, I may find out that, when used with the same nib, they’re sufficiently different to keep them both. Depending on how these “battles” turn out, I may tag some of the posts as ink dupes as well. You can find all of the ink battles posts on the tag page.

A Bock Mystery

Posted in Fountain Pens

Last week, I posted on Instagram, sharing an interesting situation. The Kawari-Nuri and Nashiji Nuri pen I own from Tamenuri Studio takes Bock #6 nibs. For this particular use of it, I decided to put the new cat-engraved nib from Shibui North into it.

Unfortunately, to my surprise, it didn’t fit! Both nibs are Bock #6, with no sign of damage to the housings. And there started the mystery I have found myself enmeshed in now. Why didn’t both nibs fit? And, when I tried a couple other nibs, why didn’t they fit?

Because I shared this on Instagram, I felt it was worth following up. And, the amount of feedback I received and the research I did means it needs more than an Instagram post to cover everything.

CAVEAT: I am not an expert on Bock nibs, nib housings, or even nibs in general. I’m only sharing information I gathered after posting about an issue I came across last week. I have done my best to not make any hard claims, as I really can’t say what’s going on here.

Time for a Break

Posted in Miscellaneous Information, and News

I finally made it through all of my end- and beginning-of-the-year posts. Phew!

I definitely made a mistake in pushing myself to get the Plotter Alternatives series out in late November. With all of the research they required, I was already a bit burnt out before I even got to the 25 Days of Dupes and annual posts.

Now, a month and a half later, I’m exhausted and looking forward to my yearly break.

I’m Sorry Shimmer Inks

Posted in Ink

“I don’t use shimmer ink… they really just don’t do anything for me.” Sound familiar? You’ve likely read that on my blog. Possibly more than once.

Over the years that I’ve been part of the fountain pen world, I’ve actively avoided shimmer ink. On the rare occasions where I actually bought a shimmer ink, I let the shimmer settle, using just the color, without the particulate.

My main reason for avoiding shimmer is the extra maintenance. I didn’t want to deal with clogging or the extra effort required to get the shimmer particles out of the feed and converter.

That all changed in February last year.

Pen Resolutions Tag 2024

Posted in Fountain Pens

I can’t believe this is my third year answering this tag. Per usual, I’m answering all of the questions this year and revisiting the resolutions I made last year to see how I did.

This idea was originally adapted from Theresa is Dead’s video: OH 2021… | BEAUTY RESOLUTIONS TAG video. The Beauty Resolutions Tag originated with Mel Thompson.

1. What is something you do regularly in your pen routine that you will try to stop?

Answer from 2023: Since remembering to add pen cleaning to my weekly to-do list would get me to clean my pens, I need to get better at doing that. When I remembered to write pen cleaning on my weekly task list, I did better. But, when I forgot, well… I forgot.

Answer for 2024: I’m pretty happy with my pen routine for now, especially after the changes I made in November. I think I need to come up with a new question for next year.

My Current Pen Wish List – Jan. 2024

Posted in Fountain Pens

With some of the purchasing decisions I’ve made over the past year (e.g. no more pretty ink sticks), I’ve decided to start from scratch with my wish list. But, before I jump in, allow me to at least mention what I crossed off of last year’s list.

I picked up an 18111 snowflake pen, the Gravitas Universe, and a Pens by Pasquale “ribbon” pen. Considering the number of pens I bought last year, it’s kind of sad that I didn’t clear more off my list.

2023 Goodreads Reading Challenge

Posted in Book Blogger

Another year gone means another reading challenge complete. As I’m sure you can imagine, 2023 had some highly-stressful times. As often happens when I’m stressed, I read a lot.

I finished 104 books in 2023. That’s high even for me. That averages to 2 books a week, or a book every 3.5 days. Of course, the average doesn’t tell the whole story. As I mentioned in last year’s post, I have periods of voracious reading, followed by periods of relative calm.

My numbers are also skewed by when I’m offered free, or drastically reduced, Kindle Unlimited subscriptions. I don’t know why Amazon keeps offering me 3 months for 99¢, but I’m not complaining.

Reviewing My 2023 Purchasing Habits

Posted in Fountain Pens

I can hardly believe I’m already writing this, but, happy new year! Welcome to 2024.

So, how did I do last year? Well, if you saw my stats or collection posts, you know I did alright — with fountain pens. I bought more non-fountain pens than I should have. Somehow, I got into my mind that my 36-pen max was just for fountain pens. I’d already changed my thinking to that by July. But, re-reading last year’s purchasing habits review, it’s clear that I intended to buy 36 total pens. Whoops.

What’s done is done, though. So, let’s take a look at how I did with the 36-fountain-pen max in mind.

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.