Pens I LOVE To Use

I have not purchased a pen in quite a while. My definition of Quite a While in real calendars probably means about 3 months. I consumed many, and even composed, a lot of good Top 5 and Tier 1 type pen series posts but when I step back from admittedly my newest pen always making that list I end up with 3 pens that I truly love writing with. Here they are in no particular order.

Faber-Castell Ondoro Smoked Oak

Capped on stand

I think it’s the wood body that does it for me on this one. The shape looks like it would be uncomfortable but it’s not. When I close my eyes I still know what pen I have in my hand. I refill this pen more than any other pen I own, partly because I use it a lot and secondly it lays down a lot of broad nib ink.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age

Homo Sapien

There is something about putting hand lotion, or the suggested cold crème, on the body of a pen that really makes it personal. If some of you don’t know cold crème is the magic formula for keeping the body of this pen black. The material this one is made from is lava from the Etna volcano. It’s a very unique feel and combined with the excellent nib performance this one makes my list.

Pelikan M1000

M1000 Inventory Shot

I like big bodied pens and big nibs and this one rarely leaves my rotation. I think it’s like an old fixed up car. Though this pen is not old by vintage standards, I have had a lot of work done to it before it reached its current state of adoration. It’s a sweet writer and I love to see the big extension on that #8.

All of these make my Top 5, Tier 1 and best writing nibs list. It doesn’t really matter what I’m writing, the ink color or even the paper I just enjoy using these pens. Maybe the name of this post should be The three pens I would want on a deserted island.

Do you have a pen you just really LOVE to use?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Friends of Type Postcards Review


I’ve been on a postcards kick lately as my inventory of stationery has dwindled and my discretionary income has been mostly allocated to the Christmas season. In the past I would pick up a batch of vintage Florida postcards from eBay or a few antique shops I’ve been in sell them as well. Usually the linen stock is good for the ink and pen options I choose. A postcard send I like is when I meet someone new I will ask them where they are from or even where they live currently if they are visiting from out of state. I go over to eBay and invariably there will be a vintage postcard from that city or town. I order it and in a couple of weeks I get a call from my new acquaintance about how much they enjoyed the postcard. A bit more expensive than the required $.36 stamp but generally a bargain to put a smile on somebody’s face. Plus if it’s a business or networking connection, they will remember you.

Besides the slight difference in postage I find my message is different sometimes too with postcards. My words are a little more guarded since the audience is potentially wide open. It also makes getting a card or two off quickly easier when I may not have the time for a longer letter. I still think it beats an email for the personal touch.


Listening to a recent Pen Addict podcast I heard about this batch of postcards sold as a set from Friends of Type. Friends of Type is a group of designers that got together, I believe on a casual basis, and in their spare time they doodle these works of art using creative typefaces. They blog over at .

Some of the cards are fun phrases, others are sentimental and some are just a single word. A really great variety that I find myself thumbing through frequently to think about how to tie in a complimenting thought or story to send to someone I’ve been thinking about for one reason or another.



The paper stock they chose is fountain pen friendly which is nice. I think it’s coated with something so expect, and plan, for a little bit of an extended dry time with wet writers. I usually compose it and then just leave it on my desk to dry instead of taking it direct to the post box.

The cards come in an attractive storage box that has since become home to a few other miscellaneous post cards I had waiting to be used. The Friends of Type team organized them into categories which saves you a little time picking one out.

  • Salutations
  • Optimism
  • Audio / Visual
  • Affections
  • Strong Language
  • Correspondence
  • Introspection
  • Encouragement
  • Destination
  • Just For Fun


The strong language editions I could have done without but the work is still beautiful, I’m just probably an overly conservative crotchety old man. I’ll give these away to the first interested party that responds (they have been spoken for).


With 100 cards under $20, fountain pen friendly stock, famous designers and an excuse to exercise your brain to match your quips with theirs. What’s not to love ?

Get you a set at the Friends of Type store or from Amazon here

So are you a postcard sender?

Remember: Write something nice……

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Shinola Notebook Journal Review

Cover Shot2My product review today is not from a pen or stationery company. It’s a product from a company I just wanted to buy from and support. I love what Shinola is doing for the Detroit community and the economy as a whole. I first become interested in the company and their products through another hobby of mine, watches. After their watches came some really cool bicycles and I think they have expanded even more now. Wanting to support their growth and ambition, even in a small way, I purchased one of their journals. A green 5 x 8.

Shinola Medium Hard Linen Journal

    • Forest Pine (also available in other colors)
    • 192 Ruled Pages (also available in grid and plain)
    • 60 lb / 90 GSM Acide Free Paper
    • Black elastic closure band and black page marker ribbon
    • 8.25″ x 5.25″
    • $17.95


The user experience with their website, order fulfillment and shipping speed were all top shelf. My journal came quickly and packaged well. The clear shrink wrap is a good protector and it’s well executed with a nice marketing wrap inside the shrink wrap. Popular today is the user experience and companies trying to connect with their customers on a personal level by sharing and bringing you in on their story. I may not be part of the family yet but I feel good about supporting them


The cover is a warm, dark, almost evergreen in color. The texture is more fabric than smooth vinyl or leather, with a grippy feel and a classy look. Drawing no real attention at the board meeting or on the soccer field.

Plain CoverFront With Shrink WrapBack with shrink WrapBranding is attractive without being obtrusive on the bottom of the back cover. The front cover is completely blank.

Brandong on back coverStandard for this genre of notebooks is the manila pocket on the inside back cover. I have never been a user of them but this one looks typical.

Inside Made in Michigan CardBINDING

The binding is unique. Ok maybe the actual binding is not unique but how the spine of the notebook behaves is unusual to me, in a good way. I have lamented in many posts that a notebook that doesn’t lay flat is a deal breaker for me. I have renegotiated that deal a little bit but not in a way I ever expected to. Barring a lot of brute force the Shinola spine does not waver from perfectly vertical when you’re in the beginning pages of the notebook. The pages lay flat on their respective side of the notebook with the left side (the backs) being at a slight angle due to the vertical spine. After unsuccessfully trying to make the notebook go traditional flat for me I was annoyed for a moment that the writing experience would be unpleasant but I gave it a try and learned it’s perfectly fine. About a quarter of the way through the notebook I am seeing a slight tilt to the spine and moving to the center of the notebook I see the more traditional laying flay behavior. Writing on the back (left side) of the pages is different but the slight downward angle of the paper for this rightie didn’t distract from my writing at all.

I’m not sure if all of this was part of the design process but it was a new experience for me and I certainly wouldn’t shy away from another Shinola because of it, it’s just different.

SpineOpen Book


The paper Shinola chose is good quality. The lined format is a pleasant beige with grey lines printed front and back with a slightly larger header at the top of each page and a tiny blank footer at the bottom. Lines go full bleed all the way across the pages, front and back, and meet in the middle through the binding. Line spacing is ¼” or about 6.5 mm. Fine with me.

With my fine nib fountain pens and all the rollerball / ballpoints I could throw at it the paper performed very well. The paper has excellent drying times but with the bigger nibs the feathering and show through was more than I like. One could argue that ¼” line spacing is a little tight for broad nibs anyway. You can still get away with using one side of the paper if you like the fatties laying down rivers of ink. Again, fine nibs and rollerball / ballpoints were a wonderful experience and dry quickly if you’re a multi pager at one sitting.

You have to look close for any ghosting with fine nibs and gel inks.

Show ThroughSome spread and feathering with the broad nibs

Broad Nib WritingBleed and show through with the fatties

Bleed Through BroadCONCLUSION

I love the Shinola brand and the company. My dream is to own one of their bicycles but for now my Shinola notebook is serving me well as a daily life events diary. After about a month it still looks like new and after I fill this one up I strongly suspect there will be another one in my future.

Check out what Shinola is doing, even if you don’t buy anything or you’re happy with your current notebook, their story and their passion is inspiring.

Remember: Write something nice……

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