Pencils you meet in the pub: Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil

Please forgive the AWFUL picture (it may have been taken at about 1am, after a few wines…) but I met a guy in the pub last night who had one of these:

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A Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil. It has a protective cap (which also serves as an extender when posted on the back of a short pencil), with clip, a changeable eraser and a built in sharpener.

It is a thing of beauty. He was given it as a gift and mentioned it was pricey, but that still didn’t prepare me for the £200 pricetag!! Even a pack of 5 refills is £36!

Here’s a much better picture (from Cultpens.com):

As you can imagine, a tipsy Tessa was quite excited to discover this, and it is something you’d treasure forever. Even so, i don’t think I’ll be getting one any time soon…

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Now… A Millionaire’s Pen that You can Afford to Carry: 1930s & 40s Parker Pen Ads

How cool are these old Parker adverts?!

A guy on eBay is selling loads of ads from old Life Magazines and I found a couple of Parker Pen ones that I thought would make good prints to put up in the house.  I’ve scanned them so I can share them with you.

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This first one; “Now… A Millionaire’s Pen That You Can Afford to Carry and Can’t Afford to Miss” is for the Parker Vacumatic fountain pen, from 1937.  The wording is all so brilliant; “It holds 102% yet is Slenderized for Restful Balance”. I especially love the picture of the “noted Millionaire’s pocket” with Parker Pens in it. Do open up the pictures and zoom in so that you can read it properly.

Parker Quink

This second one; “This is proves pen failures can be avoided!” is for Parker Quink, from 1944.  The selling point of this ink is that it contains “Solv-x… cleans your pen as it writes!”. Again, do zoom in and read it properly, there are some real gems in there – proper Mad Men stuff 🙂

This makes me wish advertising was still like this – they REALLY worked to sell it to you!

 

Huckleberry Woodchuck Bullet Pencil

I’m definitely not the first stationery blogger to talk about Huckleberry Woodchuck’s bullet pencils, but now that I have finally got my hands on one, I couldn’t not share it.

It came all wrapped up like a present, so extra brownie points from me already:

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And the message: “enjoy a small piece of US history” is lovely – and so true! This feels like a real gem. For those that don’t know, Huckleberry Woodchuck restores vintage bullet pencils. Bullet pencils – a bullet, hollowed out and repurposed as a holder for short pencils – were used as promotional giveaways in the US, I think often by farming companies.

The one I got is SO GOOD! I’m very pleased with my choice:
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The silver part is the pencil holder and the rest serves as cap.
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You then take off the cap and post it on the back, so you have a longer, more comfortable pencil to use.
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I always carry a pencil in my handbag, as I prefer to write appointments in my Hobonichi planner in pencil, and then go back and decorate in pen (on the rarity I have time). Anyway, my pencil always end up a. blunt and b. writing on everything else in my bag, so this is a great solution. Plus it takes up less room than a full-sized pencil.

The one I got is particularly special as it’s interactive. As it was described by Huckleberry Woodchuck:
“On the outer label it lists common problems along with a number that corresponds to a bible verse that is revealed when you twist the outer label. Really neat and perfect for your sunday school or sermons.”
I must say I’m not remotely religious, but this doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the messages it gives, and the fact that this is a really unique and quirky item!

Here are the problems it lists:

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So for example, it says:
When you are feeling lonely turn to no. 1
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You twist it so that No. 1 is showing and the message reads:
Lo, I am with you always. Matt. 28:20

Pretty cool, huh?

They are beautifully restored, with new erasers, and everyone’s favourite pencil – the Blackwing 602. And of course, every one is different – always a good thing. Check out the shop here. Plus mine came with a little spare pencil stub, which seems to be a Musgrave 100 (and actually, this was an introduction as I’d never heard of this company before).

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At present, Midori seem to be the only company making new bullet pencils, however, I know that there are a couple of companies looking to produce new (and improved?) versions. There’s currently this kickstarter by Metal Comb Works – which also has the option of a stylus on the end, and I have heard that Huckleberry Woodchuck is in the process of developing one too. Episode 10 of Erasable talks about bullet pencils this week too.

Strange that such a great things stopped being produced, but I for one am glad bullet pencils are back.

Sharpie Metallics

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As a “grown up”, I don’t have many reasons to buy metallic felt tips, but I actually needed something to write on black card with, and when I saw that Sharpie had metallic range, I though they could be just the thing! You can get a pack for a few pounds, so it’s not too much of a gamble.

The packaging is standard Sharpie packaging so nothing  exciting there. And actually, the caps of the pens really don’t do the colours justice. When I saw them, I felt worried that the colours weren’t going to be very metallic… However, when I cracked them open I soon realised that they were just what I was hoping for!

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Not the best photo, but hopefully you can see that they come out really well, strong colours with lots of pigment, and they write really well. They reminded me of the metallic pens (perhaps by Pilot?) I used to covet when  was a kid, except you used to have to shake those and then push the nib against the page to release the ink. The only problem with these, as you can see, is that the gold one has dried out, which is a shame, so I guess I’ll have to get in touch to tell Sharpie I got a dud!

The reason I’d got these was because I’d bought these gorgeous cards from Greenwich Letterpress (which I visited on my NYC stationery shop crawl), but didn’t have anything to write on them with.

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So now I’m able to jazz them up and use them!

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Kaweco Sport Skyline in Mint Review

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I don’t think I’ve really used a fountain pen since school. I’m not sure why, I’ve just never really felt like I HAD to get one. I think a lot of my stationery choices are design led, and to be honest, I think fountain pens often look quite dated and “luxury” and just not very me. That is until I saw reviews of this pen by The Well-Appointed Desk AND From The Pen Cup, and I had to order one!

I’m afraid I don’t know a huge amount about fountain pens, so I can’t give too much of a technical review, but here’s my attempt.

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I ordered it in a fine nib. I always go for as fine a pen as possible, but I didn’t want to go for extra fine as I know I’m a newbie and I feared it would be scratchy. I also chose not to have a clip, as I wouldn’t use it and I think it looks nicer without.

Firstly, it looks amazing. I love the 1930s design and it comes in my favourite colour, mint. So much of what I own is this colour (kitchen cupboards, bedroom blinds, bed quilt, bathroom walls, the mug on my desk right now… I could go on – in fact, in our house it’s called “Tessa colour”) so that alone makes it a winner in my book. But further than that the design is beautiful, simple, and classic (but not dated!). I especially love the typography on the packaging of the pen and cartridges. I think I especially like the pen box as it looks like it could be make-up packaging!

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Next, to using it. It feels good. I mean, I don’t have much to compare it to as yet… But I know that it’s smooth and I like it. The line comes out a little wider than I was expecting so perhaps I should have gone for extra fine. But I like that it makes me write carefully and neatly. I think I’m being overly aware of it at the moment so I have been holding the pen quite hard, so I’m hoping I’ll relax into it. I think it slows me down a little so it’s probably not a pen for every day use – more for special occasions like writing in greetings cards. It’s small, so great for carrying around, and incredibly light. In fact, so light that I prefer to use it with the cap posted on the end.

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I chose the blue-black Kaweko ink. It has grey and purple tones and I really like the colour. It didn’t bleed through the page, even though I gather ink often does in Moleskine notebooks, which I have been using. 

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For something so good looking, so well designed AND functional, it’s at a relatively low price point. I got it from Fontoplumo for €16.95 (and FYI if you check out The Well Appointed Desk review, there may just be a discount code on there). 

For a first go at fountain pens – I think I’ve chosen well. I look forward to showing this one off on my desk!P1040746

My last birthday present and a reason to visit Paris

This is my last birthday present I’ll be writing about – promise! (this year anyway…)

This time from my friend Annie who found a couple of items for me when she went to Paris. Apologies in advance for the photos – a thunderstorm rolled in just as I set up so the lighting is terrible!

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I’ve seen these pens “Color On You” pens from Korean brand LiveWork before, and although they look great (the different colours they come in are listed on the packaging above – not sure about the one called “mayonnaise” though…), I’ve never been that interested as they just seem like a normal ballpoint pen. However, after writing with it, I absolutely love it!P1040702
I assumed that a 0.7mm would be really thick but this has a pleasingly thin line and feels really nice to write with.

She also got me this card:P1040705
It’s by Papier Tigre, who I now am totally in love with… It’s a great geometric design – I’m not sure if it’s a French things but I noticed that Season Paper Collection also leave a blank space on the front of cards, to allow you to write “Happy Birthday” or ‘Congrats!” or whatever the occasion on them. Which is a nice idea.  I really like to logo on the envelope too.
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Papier Tigre have a shop in Paris. I have been to France probably at least 20 times but have somehow still never been to Paris!

This shop gives me even more reason to make it happen! Now, excuse me while I go and look at Eurostar tickets…