Tag Archives: Inky Goodness

Backpocket Journals from Curnow Bookbinding

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Field Notes notebooks for a long time now. Field Notes are those infamous 3.5″ x 5.5″ pocket-sized notebooks in fun editions and colors. But … Field Notes paper is NOTORIOUSLY crappy for fountain pens.

So I’ve been searching for a fountain pen friendly version of Field Notes, the same size, but with paper that doesn’t make me want to throw the notebook across the room. So in my research had heard about the legendary Tomoe River Paper, and wondered if they came in notebooks this size. Somehow I stumbled upon this fantastic review from Modern Stationer, and learned all about Curnow Bookbinding’s ‘Backpocket Journals’. They make “Tomoe River Paper Editions” with the much-acclaimed fountain-pen friendly paper.

To order, you FB message or email them, and then pay via PayPal. My order just arrived tonight, WOOHOO! The package was a simple plastic envelope with the little notebooks, a handwritten note, and a carbon copy of an invoice (the accountant in me had to go OMG HOW CUTE IS THAT!), just a bit.

First Impressions:

I was surprised to see they were a cream color. It didn’t even occur to me that they’d come in a cream, I just assumed white, so I didn’t think to ask. Given the choice, I would have picked white of course. But oh well, I didn’t specify! Lesson learned for my next order. I Facebook messaged Curnow Bookbinding, who were wonderfully nice and helpful. They said they had some white paper to experiment with, and in the future if I wanted to place a custom order with white paper to just let them know ahead of time (to make sure the white paper is in stock) and that’d be easy to switch out the paper at no extra charge. So yay, white paper next time!


Backpocket Journals from Curnow Bookbinding

The notebooks are hand-sewn and not stapled like Field Notes. Look at the cute thread colors!


Backpocket Journals from Curnow Bookbinding

The stitching is glued down in the middle of the notebooks.


Backpocket Journals

Size Comparisons with Field Notes:

The Backpocket Journals at 3.5 x 5.25″ are the same width as the Field Notes notebooks, but about a 1/4″ shorter. Field Notes are 3.5 x 5.5″. It’s not a huge difference, but they do look a little smaller when next to each other.


Backpocket Journals from Curnow Bookbinding vs Field Notes

The view from the top.


Backpocket Journals from Curnow Bookbinding vs Field Notes

The Backpocket Journals look a little skinnier in profile too – but remember how crazy thin Tomoe River Paper is – it’s practically like tracing paper! So it would take up less bulk in a notebook.


Backpocket Journals from Curnow Bookbinding vs Field Notes

The shorter, slender Field Notes alternative my fountain pens LOVE. It definitely feels and looks like a different kind of notebook.


Backpocket Journals from Curnow Bookbinding vs Field Notes

Paper Quality:

The pages only come blank so far, which is perfect for me as I’m not entirely sure what I want to do with them yet. And included is a handy ruled guide that shows up easily when placed underneath the pages to help with the whole ‘writing in a straight line’ thing (which I cannot seem to do to save my life. Seriously). So yay for that! I ordered two 3-packs, and only received the one ruled guide – I’m not sure if its one per order or just an oversight. Another question for later!

I immediately got out my pens and wrote on the first page with the vintage Conway Stewart flex inked with J. Herbin Stormy Grey ink. I definitely had to wait a few seconds to let it dry – the flex nib is so wet, it sat there on the surface for a good minute before drying (in my non-timed estimation, it seemed like a while anyways). So warning! Smearing might be an issue with you lefties or impatient folks. And this flex nib lays down a very wet line too – it dried a lot quicker with my Lamy Fines and Pilot Mediums. But the BEST PART – as with my one other experience with Tomoe River Paper – there is no bleeding, feathering, major showthrough – it handles the ink wonderfully. just what I wanted.


Backpocket Journals from Curnow Bookbinding

Now to add some extra ink tests!


Backpocket Journals from Curnow Bookbinding

And HOLY CANNOLI it shows the gold flakes and sheen AMAZINGLY well. I can’t stop tilting the notebook under the crappy yellow lighting in my kitchen hahaha.


Backpocket Journals from Curnow Bookbinding

All in all, I’m really excited to try these out. I’m not 100% thrilled they’re cream, but I can live with it and it’s certainly no deal-breaker. I highly recommend these notebooks. My next step is to figure out how to insert them into my new Midori-style cover!


Conway Stewart and J. Herbin Stormy Grey

Awhile back I received a sample of the much-talked about J. Herbin Stormy Grey ink from an Instagram friend, and was SUPER excited. But once I loaded it up into a couple of different fountain pens, I wasn’t able to see the legendary gold flakes. It was so disappointing, but I came to the conclusion I didn’t have a nib broad enough to really take advantage of the ink.

So I put it aside until I was ready to try another pen.

And then recently met up with close friends for dinner and geeked out about some pen stuff, and my friend offered to lend me her vintage flex fountain pen to play with a bit. She had bought it off of ebay awhile ago, and it wasn’t in stellar condition, but worked if I wanted to try it out. And I was like, HELLS YES. My friend couldn’t remember the type or name, but after some Googling it looks like it might be a Conway Stewart 75.

First I inked it up with Diamine Ancient Copper – not having ever used a vintage pen before, THAT was an experience! Trying to pull out that little lever, and fill up from a bottle … vintage pens are complicated!


Vintage Conway Stewart Flex Fountain Pen

Initially I thought the pen was kind of an ugly brown…. but it kinda grows on you. The Diamine Ancient Copper leaves some ink crud around the nib though, so I cleaned it out (another interesting experience!) and tried the infamous J. Herbin Stormy Grey sample.

AND OMG I SEE THE GOLD FLAKES NOW! Shown below on some Tomoe River Paper samples an awesome pen friend sent my way.

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J. Herbin Stormy Grey in Vintage Conway Stewart Flex Fountain Pen


J. Herbin Stormy Grey in Vintage Conway Stewart Flex Fountain Pen

I am in major love with this ink!


J. Herbin Stormy Grey in Vintage Conway Stewart Flex Fountain Pen

Then of course, had to pose the pen with some new desk accessories I got at Michaels today.


Levenger Circa Junior Notebook and Vintage Conway Stewart Flex Fountain Pen


Vintage Conway Stewart Flex Fountain Pen and a fake mini typewriter

Iroshizuku Tsutsuji vs Diamine Flamingo Pink

After winning Iroshizuku Tsutsuji recently in a giveaway put on by the amazing Goulet Pens, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to compare my two current favorite pink inks with gold sheen: the newly received Iroshizuku Tsutsuji vs Diamine Flamingo Pink.


Tsutsuji is a gorgeous bright fuschia pink with a killer gold sheen.



Flamingo Pink has a gold sheen too, but it’s much more subtle and less in-your-face than Tsutsuji. It can be hard to decide whether this color is more orangey coral, or more pink, and it depends a lot on the paper and lighting you are working with. But its a GORGEOUS color regardless, and has just the right amount of gold sheen.


Monday Matchup Giveaway Win!

Every week, Goulet Pens offers a #MondayMatchupGiveaway contest on Instagram, where users submit pics of their favorite pen/ink combos, and a winner is randomly chosen. Well, last week I won!! The prize of that week’s giveaway was the Lamy Joy calligraphy pen and a bottle of Iroshizuku Tsutsuji ink.


Initially I was more excited to get the ink, as I’d already had tons of experience with Lamy Safaris and even a Lamy 1.5 nib. But I actually really like the Lamy Joy. The pen feels like a different animal from the Safari entirely. The balance and feel of it just feels more … special. And what’s even better, not only did Goulet Pens ship the pen with a converter, but it came inked too!


Look at this glorious color!! It’s a bright pink fuschia with a amazing gold sheen.


The bottles really do look like perfume bottles.


I love that Goulet Pens always handwrites comments in every packing slip and labels the ink color used. After seeing Madigan’s gorgeous handwriting here, I definitely think I need to get a sample of Diamine Burgundy Rose.


All in all, I’m majorly excited to have won this weekly giveaway from Goulet Pens, thank you soooooo much for both offering this giveaway every week, and for randomly selecting me! I love this pen/ink combo.

Test Tube Racks = Ink Sample Storage

I’ve been looking for new ideas on how to store the fountain pen ink samples I order from Goulet Pens or Isellpens.com, as mine were currently all jumbled in a Really Useful Box plastic bin from Office Depot. Goulet started offering a Ink Sample Vial Holder for $15, and I was mighty tempted – here’s a pic from their website:

But I saw mention on fountain pen forums that there was a similar product offered via Amazon for much cheaper. So off I went, and soon found the Karter Scientific 15/17mm Plastic Test Tube Rack. There were several reviews from customers stating they used these racks exactly for fountain pen ink samples, and that they worked great. And they hold 50 vials vs the 40 Goulet’s holds. Best of all, they were CHEAP at $5.99. Reviews also indicated that it might be a cheaper quality and falls apart easily, but for the price I decided to risk it and see for myself. So I ordered two! (Thank you Amazon Prime!!)

Here’s how the rack looked unassembled:


Karter Scientific 15/17mm Test Tube Rack – Unassembled

There were no installation instructions included, but it wasn’t hard to figure out. Except one of the rows has smaller openings (for tapered test tubes) and I didn’t put them in the right order the first go around:


Karter Scientific 15/17mm Test Tube Rack – Upside Down

Here it is in the correct order:


Karter Scientific 15/17mm Test Tube Rack – Correctly Assembled This Time!


So, one of the things I’d read somewhere said that the rack also functioned as a pen stand of sorts. So of course, I had to test it out.


Fountain Pens in the Karter Scientific 15/17mm Test Tube Rack

The fattest pens I have are the Lamy Safaris, and it actually worked well as a holder as long as the test tube rack wasn’t moved around – once it was jostled, the Lamys tended to move around and change position (but they never fell out). So as long as it was on a desk or stable surface it would work fine actually.


Fountain Pens in Karter Scientific 15/17mm Test Tube Rack


OK, back to the ink sample vials. I took a pack of regular standard-size office mailing labels, and cut out a grid to make color labels for each vial – dabbing a splotch of color on each vial and taping the sticker to the top.


Ink Samples in the Karter Scientific 15/17mm Test Tube Rack

This turned out to be a time-consuming process!


Ink Samples in Karter Scientific 15/17mm Test Tube Rack

OF COURSE I would have one extra vial more than the first rack holds. That’s why I bought two! More room for more ink samples, BWAHAHAHA.


Ink Samples in Karter Scientific 15/17mm Test Tube Rack

A top-down view, just because!


Ink Samples in Karter Scientific 15/17mm Test Tube Rack

Then I figured, well since I have it all out, why not add ink splotch labels to my full bottles of ink too? So ended up with my entire collection having labels on them now.


Ah, the inky goodness.

All the regular ink bottles just get stored in you’ve got it, another plastic bin.


They really ARE ‘Really Useful Boxes’.

And that concludes this week’s ink sample adventures.

Embrace the Neon!


Embrace the yumminess that is the Lamy Safari Neon Yellow fountain pen. Resistance is futile.

Currently Inked Pens – 08/25/2017

Loving these new ink colors I posted about yesterday! And even more so the colors of the pens I filled – this combo makes me so happy, I just want to look at it all day.