If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you’ll know that my house was broken into last October. Hoping to learn from my own mistakes and keep you, my fine readers, from making the same mistakes, I hosted a Safety Week. Well, clearly, I didn’t go far enough because on Friday, we were broken into again. This time, they only took the TV and the Wii but this is one more brush with loss that convinces me that WE MUST BE VIGILANT! So, let’s start off with a few links to some good advice to keep your home, office and digital world safe.
Make a Personal Property Inventory List While this may not sound like the most fun way to spend an evening, building an inventory list of all your major household items and valuables including serial numbers will help you when filing claims with the police or an insurance company after a break-in or natural disaster. I would recommend making a digital list and storing it in the cloud somewhere. I would also print out a copy and store it with your manuals, etc. Save receipts as well. The cop who took my call recommended taping or stapling the receipts inside the manual. (via About.com)
Make a digital back-up plan I’ll have more information about this from my IT/Mac Specialist brother-in-law in the coming week but this article is a good place to start. (from Macworld)
Removing personal data from the internet One way to protect yourself is to cancel unused internet accounts and remove data from the internet to help lessen the damage if your laptop or identity is hacked. This is similar to cleaning up your credit report by removing unused or cancelled credit cards. If you’re making plans to protect the sanctity of your home, office and computers, making sure your personal identity and credit is protected is the next logical step. (via How To Vanish and MSN Money)
If you have recently won a giveaway on The Well-Appointed Desk and have not received your prize (you know who you are), please email me with you shipping address at chair (at) wellappointeddesk.com (please remove the brackets and drop in that funky “a”). We seem to be having trouble connecting.
My email address is also under the "About" tab here on the blog. Thanks so much!
While out and about I stumbled across the Pentel Hybrid Technica 0.5 in black. Its a simple black gel pen in a clear hexagonal plastic case with a color coordinating silicone grip area. In other words, visually, its a very unassuming pen.
On paper though, the pen rolls smoothly and leaves a dark solid line that looks almost like a liquid ink. Its even, dark line did inspire me to want to doodle a bunch so this pen might help entertain me during long meetings.
The packaging labelled the pen as archival, acid-free and bleed-proof. I also discovered its pretty water resistant. So, its quite a useful little pen. Jet Pens stocks it in a candy-colored rainbow of six colors in 0.5 plus black (o.5 and 0.8), white and silver (both in 0.8). At just $2.20 each, its also a pen I wouldn’t mind leaving laying around so I think I might stock up on some of the other colors too.
The Copic Drawing Pen FO2 (0.2mm) is an interesting little tool. It is filled with waterproof india ink, though when tested I would say the ink is more water-resistant than waterproof, and is largely marketed as a tool for comic drawing or illustration. The pen is not refillable nor is there an ink window to be able to see how much ink you have left. But its basically a $5 fountain pen filled with almost “bulletproof” ink, so its a fairly decent value all things considered.
On my standard testing paper, Miquelrius medium flexible 300 grid paper book purchased from Barnes & Noble, the pen was not scratchy and performed pretty well. The steel nib did not have a ton of give but enough to vary line widths a little.
Overall, this wouldn’t necessarily be a pen that popped to mind if someone was asking me for recommendations for an inexpensive disposable fountain pen though I did find the line width to be much finer than Pilot Varsity and the water-resistant ink is a positive attribute for field work and envelopes.
Last week I picked up the Markings Blank Journal (10”x7.5”) from Target for a whopping $9.99. It boasts a black ribbon bookmark (sealed at the edge so it doesn’t fray, thankyouveddymuch), an accordion pocket in the back is a coordinating lemon yellow to match the front end papers and lightly lined, heavyweight paper stock printed with flowers in the corner. It has 252 pages which makes is a solid, dense book. The covers are printed paperboard and the spine is covered with black bookcloth. Pages appeared to be stitched and the book lays open flat.
The good news is that the paper performs flawlessly. My printer husband clocked it at at least 80lb of 100lb text weight and not one of my regular writing pens bled through to the back. Not even the Pilot Envelope Pen which is similar to a Sharpie for darkness and potential bleed-through.
This is the reverse side of the pen test page and you can almost see a little show-through of the envelope pen, but its very very faint.
For the price and quality, I highly recommend this notebook. The manufacturer is C.R. Gibson and if their other journals are of a similar quality, I will totally order some!
In preparation for the Olympics, Goulet Pens put together an Ink Drop sampler featuring the colors of the Olympic rings. Bright vivid colors from Pilot Iroshizuku, Noodler’s, Diamine, J. Herbin and de Atramentis are a nice festive flair for the Olympics. I particularly like the de Atramentis Gold which is not metallic but a good yellow ochre color.
While there are lots of elegant, distinguished letter openers in the world, but the trusty advertising letter opener made of plastic with a concealed blade is my favorite. I have two. This one came from an envelope company and I keep it at my desk. The other is a vintage opener that looks the same with advertising on it for a Florida Days Inn which I keep in my traveling pencil pouch. Do you use a letter opener?
Brad over at Pen Addict is always waxing enthusiastic about the Pigma Micron pens and I am always going on ad nauseum about the Marvy Le Pen so I decided it was high time these two pens went head-to-head. And to be fair, I threw a few other nylon tipped pens into the mix.
The big players in this category, that I could find, are:
Marvy Le Pen
Staedtler Mars (in my case, I have the “professional” model) Pen
I found strengths and weaknesses in all the models tested so, in the end, your favorite of this lot will depend on which characteristic is most important to you.
The Copic Multiliner and Sakura Pigma Micron are both basically waterproof which will be important if you are using these in multimedia art, addressing envelopes or work in the field. I also tested the Copic Multiliner SP which is the same quality ink and tip as the standard disposable Multiliners but it is refillable with replaceable nibs. This is a plus if you feel guilty throwing away whole pen bodies just because a pen ran out of ink or you wore the nib down. I just discovered that you can also get colored refills for the Copic Multiliner SP so there is no longer a limit to what they can do. The Copic Multiliner colors are available in five colors and four nib sizes in the color versions. The Mircons are available in nine colors and seven nib sizes.
The Sharpie Pen is also waterproof but I could only find it available in black though according to the Sharpie web site, the Sharpie Pen is available in ten colors. The Sharpie pen is available in fine and medium nibs and is available as a retractable pen.
The Staedtler Mars Professional pen is sold in a set of four widths and was designed as a cheaper (and most definitely tidier) solution for artists and designers to the Koh-i-noor Rapidograph and Staedtler Marsmatic technical pens. If you went to art school, you will remember the torture of trying to keep these working smoothly at 2 in the morning. Instead of filling the Mars Professional with liquid ink, each pen is a separate body and nylon tip that is then slipped into the aluminum pen body with silicone rubber grip area. The Staedtler Mars Pro had the darkest black of all the pens I tested but, of course, black is the only color available so it had better be good.
While I tend to favor the Marvy Le Pen simply because I think they have the best range of colors and a nice intense black BUT the LePen is not waterproof. Its not even water resistant so its not at all good for addressing envelopes or other places that might come into contact with water (rewriting Grandma’s favorite recipes, a field notebook or in mixed media art making or journaling). Also, the Le Pen tip does not last as long as some of the other brands and it only has one nib size.
So, if waterproof or water-resistant is a pressing need, I recommend the Micron or the Multiliner. They offer similar sizes and colors. If refillable is a preference, then the Multiliner SP or the Staedtler Professional Pen are great options. If cheap and colorful is a priority, then go with the Le Pen. For the widest varieties of widths, the Micron or Multiliners are best. And if you’re like me, you’ll have all of them.
Copic Multiliner SP is available in black and multiple nib sizes from JetPens starting at $9.20 for the barrel, nib and ink refill and individual refills are $2.30, nib replacements are $2.30 for one or $3.65 for two. Color refills for the Copic Multiliner SP color refills are available from Jerry’s Artorama for $1.99. I couldn’t find an online vendor selling the disposable Copic Multiliner Color Pens but I purchased mine at a local art supply store, Creative Coldsnow for about $3 each.
The Marvy LePen is available in all its colors from JetPens for $1.15 each.
The Sharpie Pen is available in many configurations from your local big box office supply store in individual, multi-packs and boxes of one dozen.
Paper Passion is a fragrance created by Geza Schoen, Gerhard Steidl, with Wallpaper* magazine designed to mimic and capture the scent of a freshly printed book. Designed to be a unisex scent, its the perfect gift for any booklover.
I have had this pen floating around in my collection for awhile. I’m always attracted to the Faber-Castell pens because they often have such wonderful colors available. On this trip, I decided to grab this deep blue gray color called Indianthrene Blue in the brush tip version. The brush tip is a shaped felt tip which looks a brush which gives a nice variety of line variation. Unfortunately, because of the material used to make the “brush” it frays and wears over time making it less precise. The PITT pens are water resistant which would make them good for labeling, kitchen use or addressing or decorating envelopes.
There are dozens of other colors available for the brush pen and PITT pens are also available in a nylon tip style in Extra Superfine (0.1mm), Superfine (0.4mm), Fine (0.6mm) & Medium (0.8mm) nibs and a variety of colors.
Winners Announced for the We Are What We Do Giveaway
I’m happy to announce the two winners of the We Are What We Do notebook and bookmark giveaway.
For our first winner, drum roll, please…..
And our second winner is….
Bridgett requested the large notebook and Alisia was not particular so I’ll be sending her the smaller notebook and bookmarks so everyone is happy. Thanks to everyone for entering our drawing and stay tuned for the giveaway!
Having a “well-appointed desk” goes beyond just having the right pen or paper at hand. I believe that it is also about having the right mindset and this includes a bit of office etiquette and professional strategies.
A great example of that is knowing how to make a good impression and that starts when you interview for a job. Take the time to write a thank you note.
I’ve seen it so many times in my career – a job is open, resumes are submitted and candidates are selected to interview. Then the interviewers go back to the day-to-day tasks of keeping their company or department running and the decision about which candidate to be offered the position is put on the backburner. Then, in the hectic-ness of the day, a small envelope appears on the desk. “Hmmm, I wonder what this is?” is the thought that springs to mind as the envelope is opened. Inside is a Thank You note with a few short lines thanking the recipient for the chance to interview and a word or two that brings back a conversation from the interview. “Oh, that’s right, I remember that candidate. And he/she was thoughtful enough to send a Thank You card. Maybe I should take another look at their resume?”
See how that works? It helps make you memorable and shows that this job is important enough to you to scrape ten minutes out of your day to write a note.
I believe that writing a thank you note is also important if you ask for a professional favor – a lunch meeting with a mentor to help you solve a problem – or anytime you ask someone to go above their normal duties for your benefit.
Just a little professional PSA for all our fine readers.
Capital Examination of the Declaration of Independence
I realize this particular article might have been more timely last week, I hadn’t realized until I had time to read it fully that it dealt specifically with the liberal use of capital letters in the Declaration of Independence, specifically the flourished “original” document with the signatures at the bottom including John Hancock’s enormous flourish.
In the end, the author’s case is that we should not lose cursive handwriting and the ability to write it and read it in this era moving ever more forcefully into the digital age.
As I have previously mentioned, after swearing that all ballpoint pens were the vilest of all writing tools and eating crow when introduced to the Uniball Jetstream 0.5 in Ash Green, I decided to test drive one of the Jetstream Multipens. This model is considered part of the F*Series (F for feminine but I think F* looks like a swear word and there is nothing about this pen that is all that feminine other than it is a fairly narrow body for a 3-tool multipen) and was purchased from our fine sponsors, JetPens for $11.50. The body of this pen is a smooth black plastic (called Luminous Black) with bits of metallic mica flakes in the plastic that gives it a sparkly, starry night look. Inside the pen are two Jetstream pens, one red and one black and both 0.5 and a mechanical pencil that is also 0.5. There is no eraser included with the pen. While I normally find on-pencil erasers inadequate, I thought I’d point it out.
The ink is super slick but the fine point and whatever hoodoo magic Uniball worked, the inks dry quickly, even for this messy overwriting lefty.
To be honest, I think the Uniball Jetsrteam perform best on cheap office papers, legal pads and copy paper. I think its also writes extrememly well with little showthrough on the thin paper in most Moleskines. Its the perfect budget tool for the office for this reason where you may not always get the option to choose high quality papers for notetaking.
We Are What We Do (and sometimes even what we give away)
The fine folks at We Are What We Do sent me some of their products to sample. They are a non-profit company whose goal is to fund school and community projects. They sent me a medium-sized Action Notebook, a large-sized Action Notebook, an Action Diary for the 2011/12 Academic Year (almost too late but nice to see the size, format and design) and a set of Action Bookmarks.
The Action Diary is a small pocket-sized book at just 4.125” x 5.875” with a perfect binding and a contrasting (this book had purple) satin ribbon bookmark with a sealed edge.
Inside the book is heavy white stock (my husband says its at least 80lb text but probably more like 100lb text weight). On the lefthand pages are actions in a usable note-taking space and on the righthand page is a week-at-a-glance calendar. In the back of the book is an Action Tracker where you can check off any action you may have undertaken from saying thanks to taking public transportation. Its inspiring without being too preachy.
In the ink tests, the heavyweight stock held up to all sorts of pens without even a smidgen of showthrough. Only a Sharpie (or in my case, a China-acquired Zebra version of a Sharpie) caused any bleed or showthrough.
From the reverse, only a few specks from the “Sharpie” showed through. Everything else didn’t leave even a visible mark.
The Action Bookmarks is a set of six paper bookmarks with spaces on the back to note comments and a rating on a book before “recycling” it to a friend.
The bookmarks have a die cut notch in the top to hold on to your page. They are inexpensive, colorful and clever. I may have to order several sets to give to all my bookworm friends for the holidays.
The Action Notebooks feature the same heavy-duty paperstock as the diary and “action items” in the form of section dividers. The lines on the paper are 6mm and, after each action item page, the lines change color to coordinate with the divider page. The large notebook is 9.75” x 6.875” and the medium notebook is 6.875” x 5” and each feature a contrasting ribbon bookmark as well.
I am going to give these fabulous notebooks away to a lucky reader (or two). Package one will be the large notebook, package two will be the smaller notebook and bookmarks. Leave a comment below and tell me which notebook you want and what action you plan to take to make your world a better place.
FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by midnight CST on Monday, July 9, 2012. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winners will be announced on Tuesday. Winners will be select by random number generator. Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money.
My lovely friend Diane from Tag Team Tompkins opened her Moleskine to share what it looks like to be halfway through for her. She uses a large Moleskine hardcover with lined pages. She uses an assortment of tools from office supply gel pens to artist’s brush pens and was keen to tell me that she did not mind when she got ink showthrough on the opposite side of the page. “It’s all part of the process,” she told me.
This page features notes about insect symbolism in Japan and a bit of her insect paper cuts taped into the book with washi tape.
Diane and her granddaughter tried out some new brush markers.
On this page, Diane’s grandson drew her portrait and gave her a sticker fortune which he proclaimed to be “very lucky.”
While traveling to Japan, Diane sketched and kept notes including details from a book she was reading.
Many thanks to Diane for sharing this intimate look at her words, pictures and ephemera!
Are you ready to share what your notebook looks like when it “halfway through”? Email me your submissions!