Favourite Things of 2016
As we wind down the year, I'm gathering some of my thoughts and reflections into another post coming soon, but first I thought I would share some of my favourite things from this year - and there have been a lot. I'm sure you can guess what at least some of them are - there have been some big new releases, but also some quiet new treats that I've been raving about since we've got them.
The fall seasonal edition of Field Notes, Lunacy, is a real favourite of mine, right up there with last year's Two Rivers Edition, and I really had to stop myself from grabbing an extra three pack, as I still have a number of empty Field Notes waiting to be used. I'm trying to be a bit less precious about stuff, including (especially?) limited or special edition items. They're here to be used! New to us, but not new in the world at large, and now a favourite of mine is the Toile Imperiale correspondence paper from G. Lalo. When we first got them in, I had a pad of each of the different types (Pur Coton, Velin de France, etc.), but I think the Toile Imperiale paper has stood out as my favourite - the texture and the way the ink looks on the page. It's proven to be a favourite of mine for letter writing. The writing sample below of the Lamy Dark Lilac is on the Toile Imperiale paper.
This year Lamy released a Dark Lilac ink to match its Safari, and it's simply gorgeous: a dark, satin purple with a gold sheen. I'm not normally a big purple person, but this one is stunning, and to boot, it writes really nicely out of a pen, with great flow and sort of has a great feel in every pen I've put it in - smooth, but still tactile. We no longer have any bottles or cartridges, but Lamy is set to release another Safari and Al-Star, with matching inks, next year, and I can't wait - both are going to be great. I think my favourite ink of the year, though, has to be J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre. Brown and gold, my favourite combination. (If not this, than maybe Sailor Rikyu-Cha...)
We now have the original 12 Shimmertastic inks, and just before winter hit, we also got in a very, very, ridiculously small quantity of Diamine Shimmertastic inks, and I'm told I need to give those a chance as they have some beautiful gold/brown ones, so I have Golden Sands, Brandy Dazzle and Caramel Sparkle all on my list to try out next year. My three favourite new pens of the year:
- TWSBI ECO in Lime Green
- our Wonder Pens Exclusive Franklin-Christoph Model 20 in the translucent grey, and its little brother the Pocket 20 (more coming mid-February), and
- of course, the Pelikan M400 Brown Tortoiseshell
The ECO was one of my first serious forays into the world of stub nibs, as in the first one I've fully owned and not just messed around with in the shop, and I'm loving it. Caleb also dropped this from quite a height (he was standing on top of a storage unit, writing at a desk top that's for a standing adult), and the nib got a bit bent. After some intensive work by yours truly, it now writes incredibly wet, bordering on too wet, as it's also a very wide nib, but now it's one of those things where you just have to write really quickly and no one's the wiser. The F-C Model 20 has been inked up since I've gotten it. I love the shape and colour of the pen (we picked it!), but I also just love the idea of partnering up with another family business and supporting an independent pen maker who is making such high quality and beautiful pens. Because it has a slip cap that pulls right off, it's my go-to for signing packing slips when I need to get up and down to check inventory or to pull things aside to make sure it's ready to go, but it's also got that mix of vintage and reliable modern that keeps it in my pen roll all the time for when I want to settle down into a long letter or journal entry.
And of course, the Pelikan M400 Brown Tortoiseshell. It's the brown tortoiseshell lines of the barrel in gold and brown and translucent black, and the piston filler and the perfect size for my hands and the serendipitous timing of this special edition release for our shop. This pen is a classic, and being a special edition, I just couldn't pass up having it in the shop, and in my pen roll. But of course there's more! Also on my personal favourites list are Classiky's three drawer box, which is perfect for all of the things that are small enough to get lost in a regular drawer, and their stickers, and Midori's 10th Anniversary Camel Traveler's Notebook + mini notebooks, and Santa washi tape, and Sailor's new inks including Chu-Shu and Rikyu-Cha, Stalogy notebooks, and my Parker Duofold in Ivory... the list goes on. I've never done one of these year-end tabulations, and it's a bit incredible to look back over a year and see all of the new products released or that we've brought into the shop. I've been trying to slow down a bit on accumulating new pens and inks because I really want to love and cherish and use the ones that I have, but it's a bit tricky when these huge boxes of beautiful and shiny new things literally arrives on your doorstep, and you have to open it and count it and test it out to make sure they're all perfect. I told Jon that next year my new year's resolution was to only have six pens inked up at once, and he looked at me like he wasn't sure if he was supposed to laugh or if I was being serious. So I guess this isn't as much a countdown as it is a few things that came into the shop this year that I really enjoyed, enough that I hope to enjoy them for many more years to come.
I started the list with a few things in my head, and I had to stop because there were too many things once I started really thinking about it and going back through the archives and seeing everything I wrote about. Some of the things I feel like I've had for years since they've been in such use, or else maybe time has just been playing tricks on me, and it seems like so much has happened since we brought in that line or that pen or that ink. I'm sure I've forgotten or missed a few, and really some of these ones here I had to double check to make sure we really got them in this year, and not the year before, but I hope you enjoy a bit of a look back over 2016. And of course there's more to come! In fact, we just got a package in the shop this week, and I can't wait to share all about it.