Review: Red Pen Case (no brand)

One of my recent finds is this red pen case that I got from National Bookstore. Unfortunately it has no brand that I can see, but if I recall correctly it’s priced somewhere around Php150. It has a nylon-type material, and has a zipper that goes around on three of the four edges.

This means that the case itself opens up in a book-type way. It lays flat conveniently, and displays everything that it contains. It’s a very thin pen case, so it does not hold that much. For me though it has exactly the right amount of space for my everyday needs.

I also particularly like this pen case because it is of the correct size to hold my loose Hobonichi Weeks Supplementary notebook.

The case does not have many compartments. One of them is a full-length zipped mesh pocket on the left size of the case. It is roomy enough to hold a few sheets of stickers, two rolls of thin (~6mm) washi tape, and one thick washi sampler. It can hold additional pens but it might make the case too bulky to close.

On the right side of the case there are two nearly full-length slip pockets. The front pocket can hold around 5-7 pens depending on the thickness. For example here, I have five pens: the 2016 Hobonichi pen, a Raymay portable scissors, a Pilot Twin Marker, a gold Artline gel marker, and a Platinum Plaisir fountain pen. I can actually fit one more pen on the right of the Plaisir, but at the moment these are my pens on rotation.

At the back of the pen pocket I have space to put more stationery. I have a couple of journaling cards, a Hobonichi stencil, a packet of Japanese page flags, and three paperclips. As it is a full-length pocket it can actually hold longer pieces of paper, which is quite convenient.

The case when closed is just slightly wider and thicker than a Hobonichi Weeks with Cover on Cover. This makes it an ideal everyday case, and I am very happy to have found it!

 

Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pens + Blog Update

Let’s start with the important part: these wonderful pens!

Sakura Gelly Rolls are pretty much well known in the pen universe as good, nay, great, gel pens, and I’ve always wanted to try them out. After checking several places, I finally found a Sakura stand at SM Stationery (SM Makati). I helped myself to one of each type of Sakura Gelly Roll available. The best part? Each is just ~Php50 each!

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The pens are all in the same general slim, translucent barrels, with a round-ended cap and the distinctive Gelly Roll branding. The caps vary depending on the pen type. The ones I was able to try are (from top to bottom, above): Classic (in blue), Gold Shadow (in green), Metallic (in gold), and Stardust (in red). The Classic has a matte solid colored cap and nothing on the clip. The Gold Shadow has a sheeny solid cap with gold glittery stars on the clip. The Metallic has gold sparkles on a translucent cap and nothing on the clip. Finally, Stardust has a clear cap with silver sprinkles and a comet stamped on the clip. The butts of the pens also differ: the Classic and the Metallic have colored butts while the Gold Shadow and the Stardust have white/translucent butts.

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The pen tips are all pretty thick, I’d say at 1mm for all except the Classic which comes in 0.5mm. Normally I would shy away from such thick nibs but for such interesting gel pens I’m pretty okay with 1mm.

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How do they write? Pretty smoothly, and glides nicely especially on good quality paper such as the Rhodia lined pad above. The Gold Shadow and the Metallic have shiny sheeny ink, which would go nicely on things like greetings cards and gift tags. The Stardust has silver glitter in the ink and is super pretty as well! The Classic is a great generic gel pen that writes just as smoothly as the rest.

 

The sheen in the three non-Classic Gelly Rolls

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I fell immediately in love with the Metallic the most, and bought myself some extra colors to use in gift tags for the coming holidays. I’ve also seen a Sakura Gelly Roll stand in Scribe stores, so you can go buy yours there!

 

Blog Update

It’s been quite barren in my blog for a while, and this is due to several life things that got in the way. My rule has always been to deliver good quality posts, even if it takes some time, as opposed to delivering mediocre posts in a more regular posting schedule, which is what happened here. Right now, I think I’ve been finally been able to catch up with life and should now be able to resume my regular posting of stationery and planner goodness, so do watch out for that! As it is, I’d like to thank you all for sticking around and for your continuous support.

 

More Pilot Pens in Rotation

It is no secret that I love Pilot pens, both fountain and otherwise. It should not come as a surprise, therefore, that I got a few more Pilot pens that found themselves in my current rotation.

These pens are the following, pictured from top to bottom in the photo below: Pilot G-Tec-C Maica, Pilot Birdie Ballpoint, and Pilot Fineliner.

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The Pilot G-Tec-C Maica, as the name suggests, takes G-Tec-C refills and packages them in a slightly more interesting barrel. It is all plastic except for the part that unscrews and reveals the refill. The cap has no clip, but has a tiny protrusion to keep the pen from rolling off the table. I think this protrusion is meant to look like the handle of a teacup. The end of the cap also has some shiny material that makes it look like a gem, and the overall feel of the pen is something royal or princessy. It also comes in a good range of colors.

The Pilot Birdie Ballpoint is an all-metal pen and is really slim and tiny. I bought this mostly to fit in a Leuchtturm penloop, but it turns out that it actually writes pretty well. The tip is revealed by clicking on the knocker. The clip is quite serviceable.

Both the Maica and the Birdie Ballpoint are available at National Bookstore. The Birdie is only available in select branches, and you have to ask over the counter for it. Refills are also readily available for both pens.

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The Pilot Fineliner is one of the items that I got in a Maker Monthly box. It is a felt tip marker that has a certain amount of give, and you can actually achieve a sort of brush calligraphy with this pen because of that. The pen is made mostly of plastic, except for the clip. As far as I know, this pen is not available locally.

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All three pens write beautifully. As I mentioned earlier, I am a big fan of fine tipped pens, and both the Maica and the Birdie produce a tolerably fine line. I think the Maica comes in a narrower tip, but the 0.4 works pretty well for me. The G-Tec-C refill is excellent and rarely skips. The Birdie on the other hand has some starting issues, and can sometimes skip.

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The Fineliner produces a pretty pigmented black, and with my regular hand can even produce a relatively fine line. I like using this marker for writing addresses on snail mail, and for making small brush calligraphy.

 

What I Packed: Cebu 2016

My family went on a very delayed beach vacation to Mactan, Cebu last weekend, and as per my habit I take photos of what I took with me in the stationery department. While I had my Hobonichi Weeks and my TN Wallet as is expected, I also brought along my Chicsparrow Outlander with journal inserts as well as the Midori Mini. I felt that I wanted to journal while at the resort, and I wanted TNs that could stand the rigors of travel.

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My pencase contained only regular and brush pens, because I did not want to have to worry about fountain pens and flying. I brought along my cute little Crayola gel pens (which did not get used), a Sharpie (also unused), a Coleto (unused), two dual-ended markers, a brush pen, and a mechanical pencil. The rest of the case contained much of the same contents as in this post.

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I’m glad that I actually did get to journal during the three-day vacation, and even while waiting for our delayed flight. Having a journal is really quite handy and comforting!

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Tiny Stationery

Aside from my fascination with stationery, I am especially attracted to miniature or tiny stationery items. It’s not easy to find, but there are a few out there available that are quite functional.

 

 

For example, there are tiny binder clips, clothes pegs, even traveler’s notebooks and inserts, and scissors. Some are difficult to find or expensive, but the rest are easily available at bookstores. Another fun find is this set of Crayola brand mini gel markers.

 

Look what I found! Teeny tiny Crayola gel markers! Aren't they adorable??

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Why am I so taken with these miniature things? I just think they are adorable and the fact that they are functional really tickles my fancy. Have you any tiny stationery in your collection?

 

Review: Nemosine Singularity Clear Demonstrator

One of the newest fountain pen brands I was introduced to is Nemosine. I’m not entirely sure what type of company it is, but they do seem to manufacture really nice pens. I got the Singularity model, in the clear demonstrator variant. The first one I got was with an extra fine nib, from Pengrafik, and the second one with a medium nib is from Everything Calligraphy, both going for a very reasonable price of Php1000. That includes the pen, a pack of cartridges, and a converter, all packaged in a nice slim cardboard box.

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You might be asking why I got two of the same pen, and the reason being I enjoyed my first Singularity so much that I wanted to get another one. The nib writes super smoothly, and the converter seems quite serviceable. The pen itself looks very nice, with the clear barrel that lets me see the ink in the converter.

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The ink sloshing around in the barrel is really mesmerizing! I did have a previous experience with clear demonstrators, but that was the Platinum Preppy and there’s a lot of writing on the barrel even though you could see the inside. Here, the barrel is completely clear, with nothing obstructing the view. A nice light-colored ink would usually be preferred in this type of pen.

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The nibs themselves are quite beautiful! Each nib has a cool butterfly design etched on it, with N on top for Nemosine and the nib size at the bottom. These nibs are German made, and write smoothly out of the box.

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Here are some writing samples from both pens. The inks I used are Diamine Amazing Amethyst for the extra fine and Pilot Iroshizuku Yu-yake for the medium. The medium nib really shows off the shading of Yu-yake, while the extra fine actually produces quite a fine line even by Japanese standards. Both are a pleasure to write with.

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The cap has silver accents and clip, and rounds out the overall beautiful design of the pen. Here I have it on an Elias pen case.

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It’s pretty clear that I am a big fan of the Nemosine Singularity clear demonstrator, and I don’t regret at all having two. This model also comes in blue and purple demonstrators, as well as the solid colored non-demonstrator versions in several colors. I’m very happy that this is readily available locally, and replacement nibs and converters are available as well.

 

Review: Platinum Preppy

One of my first fountain pens is the Platinum Preppy. This is touted to be a good pen for fountain pen beginners, because it is rather cheap yet it works quite well. There are three nib sizes available, which are designated by numbers found on the barrel: 05 which is maybe a broad or medium, 03 which is medium to fine, and 02 which is the extra fine. It comes in an array of colors, and it comes with a cartridge with ink in a matching color as the pen. These are the three I bought at Scribe Writing Essentials. The 03 and 05 are both Php195, and the 02 costs Php275. Extra cartridges are also available.

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The Preppy is made mostly of lightweight plastic. The cap is a snap-on, with a springy feature at the end to keep the nib protected. The clip is serviceable enough. I have heard some reports that the plastic can be quite easily cracked, although mine seems to have avoided that fate. The Preppy is also usually the first to be suggested when one wants to try out the eyedropper FPs, since the barrel is made entirely of plastic and does not have holes.

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The nibs of the 03 and 05 are colored to match the barrel, while the 02 nibs are just left bare. For some time I could not really appreciate the Preppy when I only had the 03 and 05 at first. It felt like it was too leaky and wet for my taste; I was firmly on the fine/extra fine camp. I was ecstatic when the 02 finally became available, and it really writes such a fine line that it can work even with inferior paper. The 02 in particular is my Hobonichi mainstay, because it really works well with the paper and the ink dries fast.

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At some point, I started to appreciate the fatter nibs especially when I got a few ink samplers from Everything Calligraphy. Wider nibs actually show the ink’s shading properties a lot more than the fine and extra fine ones, and that was when I started to use the 03 and 05 more. I’m very happy with how all three of them write, and the price point is really hard to beat.

 

My Strangest Pen

We all have that one pen, the pen that onlookers would go, “what IS that?!”. For me, it turns out to be the Stabilo EasyOriginal, and it is this pen.

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As you can see, it looks really different from conventional pens. The idea behind the EasyOriginal is simply ergonomics. The pen is designed to fit the hand perfectly, lending to comfort of writing. There are two versions of this: the one for right-handed people (R) and the one for left-handed people (L).

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There are grooves in the right places to place the thumb and the index finger, and also a groove at the back to rest on the crook of the hand. I think the main idea of the EasyOriginal is a starter pen (or pencil) for kids, to teach them how to hold a writing instrument properly.

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The pen itself comes in four parts. The cap is a screw-on type that covers the pen tip securely. The grip section is rubberized, and has the indentations for the thumb and index finger as I mentioned earlier. The tail of the pen screws off to reveal the place where the pen refills go in. Yes, indeed, this pen is a refillable pen too! The pen refill itself is quite interesting, with a rollerball that feels very much like a felt-tip and writes smoothly like a gel pen.

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The resulting line looks like a 0.5 line, and is very smooth and cool on the eyes. The ink is quite pigmented, and has a tendency to show or even bleed through the other side of a lesser quality paper. I really like writing with this pen, and the ergonomic factor makes it really comfortable for long writing sessions.

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I actually got this pen in the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam during one of my business trips, and I got it simply because it looked very strange. I didn’t expect to like it this much! I had been sort of hoarding the ink and not using it much for fear of running out of refill without a way to get more, but happily enough I have seen EasyOriginals in National Bookstore recently. I’m hoping that eventually they’ll bring in refill packs as well.

 

Review: Pilot Coleto

One of my favorite pens recently is the Pilot Coleto multipen. It is called a multipen because it has the ability to carry more than one color of ink, or even carrying a pencil inside the same pen. There are several options for the Coleto barrel: how many “slots” it has, and the overall look of the barrel itself. Over the last few months I have accumulated a total of six Coleto barrels, although I only use at most two at a time. The two on the leftmost have three slots and the rest have four.

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The two leftmost barrels in the photos are my first two. They are plain, clear barrels with flat tops and a rubberized grip section. These are readily available in National Bookstore, which is how I first got into Pilot Coletos in the first place. At some point, though, I decided I wanted more colors in my Coletos, and I wanted something more fun than just plain barrels. I got my next two Coletos (middle two) separately, the one with the black flowers (from the Mary Quant collection) from DolcesOnline and the breakfast print one (from an older collection) from DavaoArts, and as you can see they are both printed with fun things. At some point I was taking my Coletos everywhere, including formal work situations, and I thought that I needed something more formal looking. This is when I decided to get the last two, from CraftyLane. The black one is just a plain N4 barrel, while the rightmost is a Coleto Lumio, which is probably the most premium Coleto barrel type available since it is made of metal rather than plastic.

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Taking a closer look at the tops of the Coletos, the caps are differently shaped depending on the model. This is where the inks are loaded, inserted into each of the slots where the springs are located. As you can see here, only the rightmost two barrels have inks in them.

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Looking now at the bottom of the barrels, you can see that there is a significant difference in the barrel thickness between the 3-slot ones and the 4-slot ones (not including the Lumio). This is of course because of the added slot. Interestingly enough, only the plain clear barrels have that rubberized grip. The Lumio is special in that its grip section is quite thinner than the other 4-slot barrels, which is one of the reasons why it’s premium.

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Here is a closer view of the tops of the barrels.

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The plain clear barrels go for around Php120 if I’m not mistaken. The Mary Quant barrel (black flowers print) was Php220, the breakfast barrel was Php180, the N4 black barrel was Php120, and the Lumio was Php580.

I really like Pilot Coleto, even though there have been some negative feedback online about how fast the ink runs out. I am personally not bothered by it, and I really like how fine the 0.3 tip writes. There are two other tip sizes available: 0.4 and 0.5. The most common colors (black, red, blue, green, purple, orange) are readily available at National Bookstore for Php43.50, so it’s not going to be hard finding refills. I think this will remain my mainstay non-fountain pen for the near future.

 

 

Pen Case Updated

My purple pen case was my notebooks’ constant companion for quite some time. There’s only one problem with it, which is that the pen loops can’t handle the fatter of my pens such as the Lamy Al-Star. That sent me on a quest to find a better pen case that also allowed me to hold the other necessary stationery items along with my pens. Lucky for me, I found the perfect case!

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This is a very boxy kind of pencase, and at first I wasn’t sure if it can hold all the stationery I wanted to include. I found this case at National Bookstore, and luckily enough the case I found is also purple. It’s from a brand called Nabel, which I’ve never heard of before. The case has two zippers running all around the top of the case, which lets it open up fully either way. There are no external pockets, even though it looks like there’s one near the brand’s label. There’s a carry strap at the bottom, which I don’t really use but I appreciate that it’s there.

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When fully opened, the top flips out like a book, and the spacious inside is revealed.

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The lid (left side) has some neat pockets. There’s a couple of smaller pockets in front, where I put in some page flags and a small pair of scissors. Behind that there is a full-length zip pocket, where I am able to stuff in the few sheets of stickers I really wanted to carry around.

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The actual “body” of the case is quite big. There are five pockets to slot pens in. There is also an elastic band running behind that, which now acts like another pocket when I slotted in a big PostIt pad. I can slip things like washi samplers at the back of the pad. There’s a lot of space here that can accommodate far more than 5 pens. I’ve stuffed it with as much as 9 fountain pens and there seemed to be space for more pens beyond that.

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While this pencase is bigger than my older one, I love that it can fit my Al-Star without any issues. Lately I’ve been carrying far too many fountain pens, and this case helps me keep them safe in my bag. I’m very pleased with this case!