News,The Ampad Gold Fibre Retro Writing Pad, and the Papermate Precision…


And, we’re back! At least for a while… As you guys know, I took a bit of a sabbatical, and also let the domain die. This was partially due to some disinterest on my part, but also because I didn’t want to pay the $20 per year domain name and mapping fee from WordPress. So, I purchased the domain of from my own  webhost and plan on using it instead. So, as I said, we’re back!

Up for review today is the Gold Fibre Retro Writing Pad from Ampad. This 5 x 8 pad is spiral bound at the top and contains 80 pages of perforated, 20 lb., medium ruled, ivory vintage paper. The design harkens back to the steno pads from several decades ago, and to be honest, it’s actually very aesthetically pleasing. The brown vinyl-coated cover is much sturdier than that of regular notebooks, and feels like it would hold up to much more stress.

As for the quality of the paper, it’s decent. The 20 lb. is not quite heavy enough for my liking, since all of my fountain pens either bled through or feathered. It also didn’t handle the rollerball I had with me very well. However, it’s excellent for gel pens, ballpoints, and pencils. The gel pens were especially smooth on this paper, seeming to roll ink onto the paper of their own volition with no scratchiness at all.

Next up, we have the Papermate Precision 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil. This pencil is interesting in that it’s “Precision engineered to enhance writing quality”, and I must admit that it somewhat lives up to its claim.

This pencil features a grey and white color scheme with a comfortable rubber grip. The 4mm metal sleeve gives you extra room in order to draw templates or trace around the edges of a stencil easily. The round body flattens out toward the plunger end, and I must admit, it’s also very pleasing to the eye. Easy on the hands, easy on the eyes… What’s not to like?


Staples (postscript) 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil


Today, we have an affordable mechanical pencil option from Staples. At $5.49, they would make a great pencil to just have around for those times when you just need to jot down a quick note. And to be honest, even though they’re cheap, they work pretty well…

The (postscript) mechanical pencil features a slight non-slip grip on the entire barrel, a metal tip (that retract all the way into the plastic barrel, thereby lessening the chance of unintentional pokes or stabs), a decent latex eraser which erases well but leaves behind faint graphite marks, and smooth lead. As I mentioned, it’s actually a good mechanical pencil for the price and I could easily recommend them as a quick note jotter.

Sanford Sharpie Caribbean Colors – Stingray, Surf, Flamingo, Lime Daiquiri, and Coconut


Sanford Sharpie Caribbean Colors – Stingray, Surf, Flamingo, Lime Daiquiri, and Coconut

Some more random Sharpie colors! Saw these at OfficeMax the other day, and since I had $20 of free stuff to pick out (thanks to their new rewards program) I grabbed these up. I am kind of curious, is Sharpie going to continue coming out with these seasonally, or are these just two batches that they decided to randomly add to their line?

I must admit, that I love a couple of the colors in this set… While you can’t see it very well in the photos, the Surf color is a very vibrant blue, and the Coconut is a creamy light brown (not really coconut colored, per se, but still a beautiful color none-the-less). The Flamingo is a little off in my opinion. It looks more orange than pink, but YMMV. The Lime Daiquiri was very bright. At first, it looked almost neon, but then it calmed down after it dried on the paper. Another beautiful set of colors from Sanford Sharpie!

Koh-I-Noor Progresso Woodless Colored Pencils


Koh-I-Noor Progresso Woodless Colored Pencils

I know, I know… This wasn’t on my list of things that I said I was going to review, but I actually have this huge backlog of stuff that I never got around to, so… Yeah… Anyhoo, before you we have the Koh-I-Noor  Hardtmuth  Progresso Woodless Colored Pencils. Woodless you say? Yes, tell me more…

 The Progresso Woodless Pencils feature a graphite core which is coated in what I’m assuming is paint, which represents the pencil color. These came packaged in a nice little carton of twenty-four, and I grabbed them at Michael’s a while back with one of my 40% off coupons.

As I mentioned before, when you sharpen these, there truly is no wood residue… Period… In fact, I usually even save the sharpenings to use as blender/shader (applied by taking a pinch in between my fingers and carefully rubbing into the area I’m working on) since it’s pure color, other than the slight coat of paint which easily goes away after you’re finished blending. I actually enjoy using these, although the slick paint can be a little slippery if your hands sweat at all.

Now, a little bit of info about the following pictures. I only took a picture of one pencil (my favorite color, btw, and one of the best pencils in the bunch) in order to show the label and the texture of the graphite tip. Also attached are photos of my ink/lead catalog that I just started in order to keep track of the different colors of ink, lead, and other mediums I’ve experienced. The numbers beside the color names refer to the number stamped on the corresponding pencil by Koh-I-Noor…

“Chinese Still Life” – Five Minute Doodle while waiting for my lunch… 🙂

Brush Pens, Brush Pens Everywhere…


One of my random purchase from JetPens, I decided to pick up a few brush pens… Why? I can’t write in an Oriental language, so they are useless in that regard. I can’t really draw with them (although many people do), just not my style. So why did I buy them you ask?

I was curious…

Yup, simple as that. I was curious as to how different they were from regular pens, why they came in so many different colors and styles. Some say curiosity killed the cat, but I consider curiosity an asset at times, and I’m glad to say that I learned about brush pens and the fact that I’m worthless when using one… 😛

So, here we have several examples of brush pens… We have a Akashiya Corporation ThinLine Watercolor Brush Pen in Chitosemidori (Pine Tree Green) which has and artificial “hair” brush and watercolor dye-based ink. Next, we have two Kuretake brand brush pens, one which features an actual hair brush in green and another that is “hard tipped” (brush fibers do not seperate) in blue.The last is a Pilot Double Sided Brush Pen, which features to “hard-tipped’ (these are more like porous point pens) brushes in black and gray.

L to R: Akashiya, Kuretake (green), Kuretake (blue), and Pilot (black)...

As I mentioned, I have absolutely no experience or any foreknowledge about the use and quality of brush pens, so this is really just an informative post rather than a formal review. Below is a photo of the paper I scribbled on with each of the brush pens I currently have…As you can see, each brush is capable of several different line widths, although the “hard-tipped” were much more steady and predictable in their line widths and the amount of ink put to page. I will openly admit that I favor the “hard-tipped” (I’ve actually added the Pilot to my daily carry pens). While the Chitosemidori ThinLine truly is a beautiful olive color (not really pine tree green in my opinion), it’s very hard to do anything with such a fine brush as it tends to ben and splay around rather than retaining any firmness. The green Kuretake thended to do the same. Still, my curiosity is now sated, and I don’t really have any desire to purchase any more brush pens, unless they happen to be the Pilot double-sided, which I have come to like…

Zebra Sarasa Clip 0.4mm Gel Pens

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Pen #26. (Technically four, but just one…)
Zebra Sarasa Clip 0.4mm Gel Pens –
Tea Brown, Viridian Green, Cobal Blue, and Gray

Since I’ve always been a fan of the Zebra Sarasa product line (they’re actually still my favorites), when I saw that JetPens had the Sarasa Clips in several new colors for 2009, I figured I oughta at least give them a try. So, I ordered the four new colors that came in the 0.4mm size. As with all the other Zebra products I’ve purchased in the past (less the Jimnie Gel), I think I’m going to be pretty happy with these. I will be the first to admit that the tea brown is my favorite color in this batch (with the cobalt blue being second). I mean, how often do you see a brown pen, much less a 0.4mm gel pen? I’m not all that happy with the gray, it writes way too lightly (and actually has stopped writing altogether all of a sudden). All of the pens (with the exception of the gray) write very smoothly and truly live up the 0.4mm Extra-Fine label. Truly another excellent product from Zebra, and a great buy from as well!

5 out of 5 stars!

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