Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kate Spade Saturday Slim Notebook

These Kate Spade Saturday Notebooks were found in the clearance section of TJ Maxx a while back. After peeling off the layers of red stickers over it, I discovered that these China-made notebooks have an MSRP of 20 dollars but was put on sale at TJ-Maxx for 12 dollars...Well, no body bought it so it ended up being cleared out for 3 bucks a piece(After all, for 12-20 bucks, you can get leather-covered ones with three different refills and various accessories). 
 The notebook is sewn-bound, hence being able to opened completely flat. There is a fabric covered on outer spine, combined with the cardboard cover,  makes the notebook somewhat wear-proof.

The paper used is bright bleached white with neon-yellow (looks darker here due to sunset) grid that are not too noticeable but works well enough as guide line. The surface is slightly textured but overall quite smooth (not the slippery type) enough to write on. It's pretty fountain pen compatible, allowing some shading and never causes feathering or bleeding...Basically, it's the same type of paper as note card.
Given individual sheets are so thick, the notebook achieve the slim figure simply by having very few pages (24 sheets/48 pages). Since it's a bit of a hassle to carry a heavy (compared to the capacity) notebook with few pages, it's not handy as a note jotter to carry around. Instead, I use it for more permanent writing: Hand copying down pattern that I would knit over and over again (I have finished 5 of the same hat since summer!). It could work as a sketch book, even though the yellow grid kind of gets in the way. 

Overall: For 3 dollars, it still seems like a bit of a rip-off. (I could get a whole box of on-clearanced Pukka bagged tea at TJ Maxx!).

Friday, September 26, 2014

MonteVerde One Touch Tool Fountain Pen

 Monteverde One Touch Tool *, a fountain pen with several functions built-in, is the first of its kind that I have ever tried. My first impression was how streamlined the pen looks, the metal body (seems like brass) is spray painted silver and it's hexagonal through out with minimal obstruction. There four rulers integrated into the body: 1/100m (standard metric), 1/200m, 1/300m and one in English system.    
The two sides left are occupied by a level and a clip that's stiff but springy enough to be easily attach to shirt pocket. Just keep in mind that the pen is heavy, long (might not fit shirt pocket) and the nib will be facing down (leaking potential).

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Duoe Traveler's Notebooks - Regular and Passport Sized

 Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of M1dori Traveler's notebook (written that way so it won't mislead people on image search), many companies have come up with their own versions of the simplistic and refillable notebooks. Some are more original (with different sizing, design and types of leather used) while other are more like shameless clones. Duoe (Pronounced "Duo- E", a Chinese brand based in Guangzhou), belongs to the latter.

I bought these Traveler's Notebooks specifically as a M-brand substitute (there I said it), as I really wanted a journal in this style and I was too cheap to pay another 50 dollars after losing my first (on my way to school). Aside for the leather choices and three sizes, there are many styles available: standard, leather accessorized, simplistic and a "Vintage European" (which has a belt like wrap and comes with leather and a built-in bookmarks). The prices range from 60 to 120 RMB, which is 10-20 USD.

I picked a black Leather Accessorized for in largest size (22x12.5 cm, the same as the larger M-brand) and the a standard style reddish brown in passport size (14x10.5cm), the in-between is 18x10.5cm (which I didn't pick that up because it would be hard to buy refill for that in US).

Let's start with the Black - My first impression is that both the leather texture and color are very similar to those of M, soft to the touch but with a big of stiffness to hold the shape. Duoe is a tad softer (but it's in no way flabby) and the interior is feels more textured and fuzzy.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sunshine Yellow - Diamine Ink Review

Hello, my dear pen friends! Sorry for neglecting the blog for a whole four months...I was a little caught up in school, out-of-state internship and studying (more like procrastinating for) board exam (which I passed last week. I am now a certified genetic technologist!). Anyway, let me finish up some queued posts before diving into newer purchases (of course I have never stopped hauling stationery).
I think I need to dust the interior of my camera...Those dots are getting crazy.
Diamine Sunshine Yellow is a golden tangerine yellow that looks like liquid sun in the sample vial. The color is bright and workable as a writing ink (the words don't jump out of page but at least it's not like taking note with highlighter). You can put it in the other way that it's a bit too dark/used as highlighter, too light as a writing ink.
Consistency of Sunshine Yellow is a little on the watery side, at least there is some slip that writing was as smoothly as most other Diamine inks. Shading was wonderful on a Clairefontaine grid notebook and water-resistance is none-existent (a few drip and you will get a whole patch of yellow smear). Overall it seems interesting to try out but there is very little practicality (unless you do calligraphy with it using a flex nib).