Special Edition Kyo No Oto Inks: Adzukiiro and Hisoku

Special Edition Kyo No Oto Inks: Adzukiiro and Hisoku

Kyo No Oto Adzukiiro Canada Kyo No Oto Hisoku We just received in two new beautiful special edition inks from Kyo No Oto in Japan. We heard rumblings about these colours for a while now - months! - and they've finally made their way across the ocean onto our shelves. I've long learned that my best strategy is to not spend too much time thinking about new and exciting things arriving, because when they arrive they're a complete surprise, and it's almost as though they've come early. (The only reason this works is because Jon is the one who organizes the shipments.) We currently have a very limited supply of these inks, as they're a special edition colour. This is a newish line of inks, the Kyo No Oto and Kyo Iro, so I'm not sure exactly how the supply will be. These inks are already flying off the shelves, as I think their reputation precedes their arrival. Kyo No Oto Adzukiiro Canada Kyo No Oto Adzukiiro Wonder Pens Toronto Canada The first is Adzukiiro, No. 6, which means red bean in Japanese. Red bean or red bean paste is often used in Japanese or Chinese desserts, and as I kid I often remember red bean soup coming at the end of a meal. It's a warm reddish maroon colour, a great ink for this season - not TOO cheerful, but still festive. The second is Hisoku, No. 7, which means something along the lines of the mysterious or secret colour - what a delight! Kyo No Oto Hisoku Canada Kyo No Oto Hisoku Toronto Canada Wonder Pens I thought for sure I would end up liking the Adzukiiro better - a rich, deep maroon in a wet pen (basically all of my pens) - but it turns out I really like the Hisoku. I'm not really a turquoise or teal ink person usually, but Hisoku is a dusky, smoky sort of sea glass colour, truly a mysterious colour. I know some people prefer white paper to cream, as it shows the colour of the ink in a truer way, but I think this ink is perfect for a textured, cream coloured paper for a letter. One of these would make a lovely Christmas gift for someone into fountain pens - it's new, so the recipient likely doesn't already have it, and a special edition, so something unique for this year. I suppose the problem is if you're reading the blog, you're probably the one into fountain pens, and the person who is supposed to be getting the fountain pen gift for you has no idea the blog exists, so the idea has no way to be planted into their heads. Oh, the conundrums of holiday gifting. Kyo No Oto Adzukiiro Kyo No Oto Hisoku Canada

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Actually, I think a bottle of ink is a really wonderful Christmas gift - it's something that will last a long time, but something that will be used. For someone who already has a few bottles of ink, every time they fill up from the one they've received from you, they'll remember you. I still fight with my hoarding tendencies from time to time - oh, what will happen if I ever use up this bottle of discontinued ink?? - but I do truly feel like everything should be cherished and used. I hope all of your Christmas shopping is going well. It's still fairly early in December, but Time Marches On - obviously the capitalization is to indicate that the hands of time are not joking around when it comes to the countdown to Christmas morning. We don't often get Caleb too many toys, but once a year for Christmas we like to get him something special. I had shown Jon this brilliant idea I had for Caleb's gift: a wooden doll house. You can even get an Asian doll family! I mean really, how often does that happen. Although now that I'm thinking about it, I don't know if I should be worried about how Asianness will be depicted on such dolls. In any case. Jon was a bit worried about the whole concept of a doll house - Caleb is sort of more of a trucks tearing over "obstacles" like a sleeping dog, or build a block tower and then crash into it as hard as possible, or drive your car into garbage cans in the warehouse kind of kid - so we put the idea on hold. However, later, while I was doing some work on my laptop, Caleb looked up and saw an advertisement for the dollhouse in a sidebar, and he got so excited I had to close the screen and distract him with some snacks. Sometimes (all the time?) Big Brother Internet Advertising is a bit scary, but sometimes it just ruins everything you try to do to help Santa out.     Currently reading: The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer Currently eating: grapes, although it's twice smelled like poutine in here from two different staff, and my strength is waning Currently writing: doodling on an A4 top-spiral dot pad, with a Parker Sonnet (Kyo No Oto Hisoku), Aurora Duofold (Kyo No Oto Adzukiiro), and a Lake Tahoe Blackwing Currently looking forward to: potentially poutine, but also the 16.2 Blackwings heading our way Latest heard from the mouth of babes (Caleb): "Are you a prince or a princess?" "I'm a firetruck."
December 09, 2017 — wonderpens
Classiky Sewing Box

Classiky Sewing Box

Classiky Sewing Box Toronto Canada We got these beautiful Classiky Sewing Boxes in from Japan in our last order from them, and I've been meaning to share a few more photos of the details and how the boxes work. This is one of their more elaborate wooden storage units, officially a sewing box, but perfect for storing other small items, like stationery or crafting. It has two upper storage compartments that open out to reveal a surprisingly large compartment underneath. Classiky Sewing Box Toronto Canada Classiky Sewing Box Toronto Canada Classiky Sewing Box Toronto Canada Classiky Sewing Box Toronto Canada Classiky Sewing Box Toronto Canada I love the details and craftsmanship of the wooden items from Classiky - everything is done with such high quality finishes, and the mechanisms operate so smoothly. This is one of those pieces that I can imagine finding in a vintage stop decades from now, or being passed down from a family member, and having some marks or wear and tear from being used, but still being a beautiful and beautifully working storage piece. I particularly love that larger items can be held underneath but still be accessible. I do have a medium Classiky First Aid Box, which I use to bring supplies back and forth to the cottage, but I love that the additional compartments make it easy to see and access everything without having to root around or unload. As you can imagine, Caleb loves the idea of all these different pockets and nooks, especially when given the opportunity to use the supplies inside. Classiky Sewing Box Toronto Canada Classiky Sewing Box Toronto Canada Classiky Sewing Box Toronto Canada Classiky Sewing Box Toronto Canada Classiky Sewing Box Toronto Canada

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In other news, we received part of our Hobonichi shipment in today! We're still waiting for the rest of it to arrive, hopefully tomorrow, but the team has already started shipping out pre-orders. All these new choices have me waffling back and forth between how I want to start January off next year. Things are bound to get a little crazier as we enter into the holidays, but as we get ready to welcome the new baby and send Caleb off to school (with an impossible number of forms and welcome picnics and tasks like picking up indoor shoes that I never really seemed to think were so onerous when I was a teacher...) - I'm hoping to simplify next year, as, I suppose, is the goal every year. I've been on a decluttering binge for the last few years, physically decluttering items from our home that we aren't using anymore, and I've been trying to be careful about new things that aren't consumables (paper, ink) that I bring into my desk and my life, so I want to make sure the things I select are really going to be part of helping me enjoy writing and all of the things that fill my days. Hobonichi Techo Cousin Weeks Toronto Canada  
September 21, 2017 — wonderpens
Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz Fountain Pen

Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz Fountain Pen

Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz Toronto Canada The Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz has arrived, and of course I'm in love. The earthy, slightly translucent dark brown is everything I could've dreamed of - a perfect workhorse match for my M400 Tortoiseshell that was last year's special edition from Pelikan, easily one of my favourite pens. It's been a good season of Pelikan releases for someone like me. Best of all, for a limited time, we're offering a free bottle of Smoky Quartz or any other Pelikan Edelstein ink with the purchase of the pen. To make use of this offer when shopping online, leave a note in the comments with your order indicating the colour of ink you'd like. Or of course, we'd love for you to come and visit us in the shop! Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz Toronto Canada Known for their reliability and steadfastness, Pelikan pens are ones that will serve you well for many years - it's part of the reason so many vintage Pelikan pens are still around today. The M200 is one of Pelikan's entry-level pens, with a steel nib, but still features Pelikan's famous piston filling mechanism, allowing you to hold ink in the barrel. It's perfect for this Smoky Quartz colour, as the pen is just slightly translucent - its darker colour allowing you to use it in more serious workplaces while still translucent enough for you to see how much ink is left in the barrel. Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz Toronto Canada Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz Toronto Canada Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz Toronto Canada                           Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz Toronto Canada The famous Pelikan/pelican beak clip. The pen itself is similarly sized to the M400 - it's on the smaller side of a standard sized pen. It's lightweight and perfect for my hand, but here's a picture of it in Jon's hand, and then next to the M400. Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz Pelikan Fountain Pens Toronto Canada Pelikan steel nibs are just ever so slightly bouncy - not the same as a gold nib, but a pleasant feeling. I got a medium nib on mine, and here's the writing sample with the matching Pelikan Smoky Quartz ink. Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz Writing Sample Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz So the newest pen in my collection! I'm a big fan of Pelikan pens, aesthetically as well as functionally - both because and despite their pens feature hteir well-known piston-filling systems. I do like cartridge-converter pens for their ease of cleaning, but really because of the more frequently occurring sense of satisfaction I get at writing a pen dry, and being able to fill it with a new ink. However, there's no denying such an elegant and flawless filling system like Pelikan's, that simply holds a substantial quantity of ink, and works again and again and again. There's also something a bit romantic about Pelikan pens - they've been around for so long with such a classic design, and perhaps especially so with this vintage brown colour, Pelikan pens give off an aura of old world writing. Even as Pelikan makes subtle upgrades and improvements to their designs over the years, the pens still hold a sort of nostalgia to them that makes me think of days long ago when everyone wrote with a fountain pen, days when a fountain pen was a precious gift and you held onto it through school and composition papers and writing letters. Pelikan M200 Smoky Quartz

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And in other news, we've got a sale table going on in the shop. Normally we have an IKEA cart with a few sale items, but with the fall, we've been cleaning and dusting and organizing.  Things will slowly trickle onto the website as well, so keep an eye on our Specials section of the website, but if you're in the neighbourhood tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday, please stop by and see what we have. There are some slightly damaged goods (like notebooks with corners that are dented from shipping) or pads of paper without their plastic packaging that we opened for photos for the website, as well as a few things we're overstocked on or maybe discontinuing. And maybe a few surprises! Who knows! (As of this point in time, literally no one!) This isn't going to be quite the same magnitude as our warehouse sale last summer, but this summer has been a busy one so we haven't managed to get our act together to hold another big sale like that. However, if you do stop by the shop, you might be able to grab a good deal or two.
September 14, 2017 — wonderpens
An Organizing System of Index Cards

An Organizing System of Index Cards

I've recently begun using index cards to organize my life. I've heard about people using index cards to help keep them organized, with great success, and I'm a bit of a pen and paper person myself, so I thought I would give it a try - at least to start with organizing a few different projects, like the blog. It's slowly spread to other areas of my life, and it turns out I really enjoy the process of writing on my cards, browsing through them and adding a detail here and there, weeding out cards that are done, or combining cards that might go together. I also really enjoying leaving messages on cards, propped up against laptops or inside the fridge, and not just because they're sometimes messages like "Hi, Jon, found this moldy tupperware can you clean it out? Yuck..." Life Stationery Index Card I'm using the smaller sized ones, as they're available in both the multi-coloured as well as the white ones (5 x 3). These are more than sufficient for the amount of information I need to hold, although occasionally I'll need to do a 1/2 + 2/2. There's also a larger B7 one. You can see all of the index cards we carry in the shop here. They're made by Life Stationery, so they're also fountain pen friendly. The cue cards are a great way to keep on going projects at the front of mind, especially with projects of different timelines and scale going on concurrently. There are often a lot of projects with big wait times between necessary steps, or projects that could happen soon or not so soon, depending on a lot of factors. It also helps to put future projects on cue cards, and when I have a moment or there's an extra pair of hands, to see if there are any steps we can take to prepare or get started on something. These tend to sit on the back burner for a while, but who knows when one of them may catch some attention. Superior Labor Portfolio Index Cards I don't organize them with colours too specifically, because I guess so much of my work and life meld together. If I have a large scale project (for example, like preparing for Scriptus, with lots of moving pieces), I might assign one colour to it, but I very loosely hold to the following: White is for blog ideas and social media projects. Along with more time sensitive blog posts, or ones that come up all of a sudden because a shipment has come in (although I will admit that these days I tend to run a bit behind and sometimes these shipments sell out before I can do a blog post on them...) I have a lot of very, very vague ideas floating around, and if I'm lacking inspiration, I might flip through them and write down a point or two or see if anything jumps out at me. I used to keep blog post ideas on a list in my notebook, but the advantage of having them on cue cards is that I can expand or add to an idea whenever I'd like. It also helps if I have something I'd like to mention on the blog, but it's not worth an entire post on its own - I can combine two cards together as I need to. Yellow is for books I'm reading, books I'd like to read, quotations that I like or might integrate into something else, thoughts on writing or journaling. Every once in a while I run a journaling workshop, and if I have some ideas for a topic, I put them here, which is nice because when I go to sit down to plan out my workshop, I have a few things to draw from. Green is for on-going projects at the shop that I'm involved in. It could be anything from research about bringing in a new category of supplies for the shop, preparations for our new introduction to fountain pens workshop, upcoming events, or behind the scenes stuff, like dimensions for new furniture. I also really like using them for recipes - anything longer than can fit on a cue card is most likely beyond my culinary capabilities, so usually I'm summing up something I've seen while subtracting any ingredients I'm sure I don't have, but am hoping will survive without. I tape them up inside my cupboards, and strangely enough they're organized accordingly: baking recipes next to the baking supplies, dinner ones next to the dinner plates, etc. I think I'm someone who really benefits from organizing things physically, like on the back of cupboard doors. Life Stationery Index Cards I keep my cue cards tied up with an elastic band, except for one that I keep in the book I'm reading as a bookmark for any interesting things to make note to search up later or quotes I'd like to remember, and the top one is usually a to-do list. To-do list is a bit vague, it's most just things I need to be thinking about immediately, or at the very least, should not be forgetting. It's nice to start a fresh one every once in a while, too. On this random to-do list, I wrote:
  • coconut chicken curry (plans for dinner)
  • post office (need to pick up package)
  • laundry
  • Pelikan M200 Cap (trying to see if I can order a replacement)
Uses for Index Cards When I have a free moment, I like to flip through them and see what should be a priority in the next afternoon or week or month. I often rely on my memory for these type of things, but my memory admittedly has huge gaps, and it's nice to put something on its own card and know it's in my pile. Unlike a notebook, where I typically write into it page by page, with some projects or ideas falling behind and eventually being forgotten, or I have many irrelevant notes and phone messages scattered throughout, I can weed out finished tasks or irrelevant cards and just keep what I think I need in my pile of cards. One of the biggest advantages about using a cue card is the possibility of re-writing it when it gets full, and at the same time taking out no longer necessary information or re-organizing it in a way that makes more sense. It's constantly evaluating and weeding out information that's outdated, used or changed. The process of this sort of refreshing of all the points of an idea or project also helps me reorganize things in my head. I can toss away the old card, and just have a clean idea of all the parts of a ongoing project, and the task of rewriting the card alone can be what I need to make the trajectory of my next steps clear, especially for projects that I'm dragging my feet on a bit. Other uses for index cards include:
  • taking or leaving information like a phone number or email address
  • leaving notes for people
  • currently inked pens - I cross off pens when they've run dry, and add new ones, and then when the card gets a bit scraggly, I start a fresh one
  • flash cards for studying
  • using washi tape to put them up on a wall to organize timelines or projects
  • lists (books to read, restaurants to try, things you're going to stop saying in front of your kids)
  • tracking things, like daily expenses or gym visits (HAHAHA)
  • making to-do lists for other people (my favourite)
I've heard of more complicated, clean systems of organization for students, or researchers, or people writing books. My system is much more loose and just sort of getting things down to sort out physically when I can - which is the main advantage of using cue cards, that I can shuffle them around and lay them all out on a table in front of me. I can seamlessly add more tasks or notes in between other steps, and take things out cleanly without cluttering up a page of notes. Currently Inked Cue Cards I find it extremely satisfying to flip through it and take action on a number of tasks in one afternoon, reducing my pile by any noticeable amount. Often these are relatively tiny tasks that I thought of while in bed or out, like adjusting inventory for a certain item, or renewing my library books online, but I'll take what I can get to feel more productive. I haven't made my way through enough index cards yet that I feel I'd like to keep - most often I'm recycling them after I'm done with them, as they're shopping lists or tasks that need to be done just the one time. Alas, my good ideas are few and far between. In any case, I haven't come up with a good storage system for them yet. I may just keep them in another elastic in my desk, as my index cards to keep are taking a long time to accumulate. Superior Labor Toronto Canada  
May 25, 2017 — wonderpens
The Superior Labor Leather Portfolios

The Superior Labor Leather Portfolios

Literally months and months in the making, our collaboration with Superior Labor has finally arrived! I've been hinting at it on Instagram, mostly because I just couldn't keep it in any longer. Exclusively available here at our shop is our newest leather offering from The Superior Labor in Japan: two leather portfolios, in A5 and A4. They're also available in the shop to take a look at in person. Superior Labor Leather Portfolio On the left is the A4 case, the bottom right is the A5 case, and the top right is the Superior Labor pen roll. We sent photos and illustrations and emails and descriptions and prototypes back and forth across oceans, and after another few months of production time, and an almost unbearable coincidence with Japan's Golden Week, where most operations are shut down for almost a week there, the portfolios are finally here! Superior Labor Leather Portfolio How this all started is that, for literally years, I've been looking for the right sort of leather case/portfolio/flat document holder to carry my laptop in and full sized papers in. I came across ones that were a bit too modern looking or old-fashioned, or had single button closures and flaps that I worried would get caught and folded back or curl up over time or in different weather, or that were too bulky or too thin, or had too many or two few pockets. Because a lot of our paper is A4 rather than letter (8.5 x 11), some of my choices were limited just by size preference, but I was looking for something I could have for years - timeless and classic and beautiful, while also being of extremely high quality - so I was willing to bide my time until just the right one came along. And then out of the blue, Superior Labor said in passing that if we ever had any ideas on something we wanted to collaborate on with them, we should just let them know and start a discussion. Oh, the stars aligning! Superior Labor Leather Portfolio As with everything made by Superior Labor, the Japanese workmanship is truly excellent: the zipper is extremely sturdy, and the stitching is precise and strong. I love the little details, like the extra leather stopper at the edge of the zipper, and the leather pulls on the zippers themselves. Superior Labor Leather Portfolio Both the A5 and A4 portfolio have an inner pocket to hold loose papers, envelopes, tickets, etc. Superior Labor Leather Portfolio Superior Labor Leather A5 Portfolio Superior Labor Leather Portfolio The A4 case is the perfect size to hold a 13" MacBook Pro, and I've been using it to bring my laptop back and forth to the cottage and on work adventures. The size is great because in addition to my laptop I can tuck in loose order sheets or a catalogue, whatever I'm working on at the time, along with a few pens and paper to take notes as needed. I wish I had had this when I was teaching, because this would be perfect for a few class sets of tests or essays to bring out with me. Alas, my marking days seem to be over, unless I start Caleb in on some Hooked on Phonics. Superior Labor Leather Portfolio I have been using the A5 case to hold a journal and a few letters or papers when I head out to cafes, as well as a pen or pencil in the front pocket. Either one of these of these are great to just tuck under my arm if I'm heading out just to a cafe, along with a book to read. Especially if I'm just heading to a cafe for an hour or two, rather than packing up a bag with lots of supplies and snacks and things, I can just take what I need in my hand. If I'm going to write letters, I can pack up an A5 pad, a few envelopes, my address book, the letters I'm responding to, and a booklet of stamps. I'll generally try to make sure I have a pen to write the letter with along with a pen that has permanent ink to address the envelope. Over the last few weeks as we've been heading back and forth to the cottage, I've been using it to keep my correspondence organized so no matter where I am I have a few letters I can respond to. I've been trying to select my oldest letters so I can make sure to get those replied to first, and also both letters that I know will be quick and easy, and letters that I'll take my time getting into. Both of these portfolios have also been convenient for me to keep things organized when I'm moving around and bringing lots of stuff with me. Superior Labor Leather Portfolio They're meant to hold their respective sizes, so the A5 portfolio is actually slightly larger to hold A5 sized notebooks, such as the Rhodia Webnotebook, Leuchtturm A5 notebooks, with room to spare for a little extra. Superior Labor Leather Portfolio Right now it's only available in the light brown leather, the same colour as the pen roll. We can take special orders for our next batch in specific colours (you can see all of the leather colours available in their pen rolls here), and if there's enough demand, we may consider carrying other colours in regular stock. If you're international, feel free to send us an email orders@wonderpens.ca for a shipping quote to your address. Of course with the nature of leather, each one may have ever so slightly different textures or markings, but I have found the leather Superior Labor sources to be very smooth and even. I can't wait to see how these will wear in with time. Superior Labor Leather Pen Roll What I love about this portfolio case, though, is that it's a collaboration with another small company and workshop, a family business a bit like ours. I love that the things we carry in our shop are things we love and that have a story to them, with real people. I love that I know that the design of these was so highly thought out to the tiniest detail - the placement of the inner and outer pockets, the colour of the cloth around the zipper, the logo in the corner - and that these portfolios have been stitched and constructed with integrity. There's nothing surplus or decorative to these cases, just enough for what's needed. The craftsmanship and workmanship of Superior Labor has always been incredible, and to have this collaboration in our shop is truly something special for us. That our shop continues to build relationships with and support other small businesses and studios from across the world is so important to us, and this, by far, is one of my favourite things we've ever brought into the shop. Superior Labor Leather Portfolio  
May 18, 2017 — wonderpens
New Old Sailor Jentle Inks

New Old Sailor Jentle Inks

Sailor Jentle Ink Writing Samples The new Sailor Jentle inks have arrived, and they're on our shelves now! We had to squeeze some inks together to make room - and what a delightful thought, overflowing ink shelves. It's always nice to get a new line of inks in, but this one in particular is nice as we're sometimes reminiscing and sometimes sharing with folks who have only heard of the inks but never tried them. I thought I would share a few photos of what these new old inks look like. Sailor Jentle Inks Sailor Jentle Peche Writing Sample Sailor Jentle Peche Sailor Jentle Peche Writing Sample Sailor Jentle Grenade Writing Sample Sailor Jentle Grenade Sailor Jentle Grenade Writing Sample Sailor Jentle Sky High Writing Sample Sailor Jentle Sky High Sailor Jentle Sky High Writing Sample For more shots of Sky High, you can take a look at the original announcement on the blog here, from just a few weeks ago. Sailor Jentle Epinard Writing Sample Sailor Jentle Epinard Sailor Jentle Epinard Writing Sample Sailor Jentle Ultramarine Writing Sample Sailor Jentle Ultramarine Writing Sample Sailor Jentle Apricot Writing Sample Sailor Jentle Apricot Sailor Jentle Apricot Writing Sample Most of these inks have some sheen to them, some more than others. The Apricot also has some good sheen to it, although it doesn't show in the photos - it has a sort of pinkish-yellow-orange sheen that I'm having a hard time catching on camera, but it's lovely in real life. As far as I know, production isn't going to be limited, and we have good stock for now. I haven't heard that Sailor will be stopping production, but because this is a North American exclusive, I don't know if it's something that's meant to join the production line indefinitely. I think probably because I have one or two bottles of each colour already, but also because I've finally come to the realization that I do, in fact, have enough ink to last me a lifetime, that I'm not too stressed out about the possibility of the inks disappearing again. I'm just enjoying the beautiful colours, and occasionally reminiscing about their role in my early fountain pen days. As we say in the shop, according to Charles Dickens, there's something very comfortable about having plenty of stationery, and I have reached that point and far, far beyond, so I guess I'm about as comfortable as I can be, for the rest of my life.

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In other news, it's been a nice end to the week. Friday was busy and productive, and now it's Saturday. Saturdays are always one of our busier days in the shop, and it's nice to know that there are still so many people out there interested in writing by hand, that it's not a dying process (yet), but also that there are so many familiar faces these days.

We had quite a few old Wonder Pens friends come in this week and over the past little bit, which was a real treat. With so many big shops getting bigger and small shops closing down, it's a rare and incredible thing to have built relationships with customers who have supported us for years now. While you never know what's going to happen tomorrow, I couldn't be more grateful to be a part of that today.

Following the blog post on Chicken, he's been very popular. Right in line with what I'd expect from him, immediately after telling everyone how catty he is, he's been very friendly and affectionate, lounging in front of them on his back, on top of the pen counter blocking all view of anything underneath. It's really something else, that even in being friendly he manages to embarrass me.

Just for the record, this is how he is most of the time: six feet away, with his back turned, and watching as though everything being done is entirely beneath him. And possibly ready to dart out the open door.

May 13, 2017 — wonderpens
Lamy Petrol Bottled Ink + Cartridges

Lamy Petrol Bottled Ink + Cartridges

For 2017, Lamy released a special edition Al-Star, the Pacific, with matching turquoise ink, and also a special edition Safari, the Petrol. The fountain pen is a dark teal colour, with a matte texture and matching black trim - and the ink is also a great match for the name and the pen. Like many Lamy releases, we received the pen first and were waiting anxiously for the ink to arrive. The ink bottles and cartridges have finally come in, and so I thought I would share a few photos of how the ink looks. I suppose what would've made sense is for me to put the Petrol ink into the Petrol pen, but, actually, what really happened is that Jon ordered in some Kaweco Ice Sports and I couldn't resist the Yellow version, especially as an eyedropper. Neon and an eyedropper?? And there was something sort of satisfying about pairing up the dark teal Petrol with the bright, translucent yellow-green-neon of the Sport. Lamy Petrol Bottled Ink The ink is a dark teal, and goes very well with the pen: dark and rich with a hint of that greenish teal. It's a bit more of a serious ink, so it's good for the workplace or anywhere you want need an ink that's almost black (but still has a hint of something more fun!). There is a bit of shading, which comes out more if you have a drier nib - if your nib is too wet, the line out of the pen is just dark throughout. These special edition inks are only around for a limited time, and the stock we have for the Petrol ink is all we're going to get. Every once in while a company will bring something from a special edition release into its standard line, but for the most part we anticipate that once it's gone, it's gone. The writing sample is a Kaweco Sport medium nib, on a page in a Hobonichi. Lamy Petrol Writing Sample Lamy Petrol Writing Sample The Lamy ink bottles also come with some blotting paper tissue, which you can tear off and use to wipe off your nib after you've filled your pen. I actually don't use it because I always seem to have a cloth lying around to wipe off excess ink, but I guess I should start - I would hate to have wasted a whole roll of blotter paper once my bottle is empty (I suppose this is a hypothetical that is decades in the future, or possibly in my imagination). Lamy Petrol Writing Sample My favourite part about the ink is that there's a bit of sheen in it! It's a dark teal with a reddish sheen, but just a bit of sheen. It's not the same level as the Lamy Dark Lilac's gold sheen - it's hard to see if you're not writing with a broad or very wet nib, so it's not an ink I would buy for the sheen if you don't really like the colour. It's sort of a trade-off, because with a drier nib you might get more shading, but with a wetter nib you'll get better sheen, and keep in mind that sheen will show best on super quality paper, such as Japanese papers or Rhodia/Clairefontaine. Lamy Petrol Ink Swab Lamy Petrol Writing Sample And as a side note I'm loving my Kaweco Ice Sport. I think I have a weakness for eyedropper pens, and of course I have a growing collection of Sports. I filled my Sport at the cottage, and I couldn't find my silicone grease, so I just filled it while crossing my fingers for the best. I've told this story a few times now, about a customer who had a white Kaweco Sport that he eyedroppered with no silicone grease and carried in his pocket with zero leaking or accidents. He would pull it out of his pants pocket and it would be totally fine. I, however, had what looked like might turn into leaking after a few precarious weekend trips into the forest, and traveling home to Toronto. Some ink starting to seep its way down past the threads - so I think you really do need silicone grease with a Kaweco Sport as an eyedropper. Kaweco Ice Sport fountain pen   Kaweco Ice Sport Yellow Toronto Canada Lamy Petrol Writing Sample

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In other news, our Introduction to Fountain Pens workshop has filled up fast! Our first session, Saturday, May 20th, filled up the same day, and so we've opened up another one for the next Saturday, May 27th, from 10:30 - 11:00 at the shop. You can call the shop (416 799 5935) or email us (orders@wonderpens.ca) to reserve a spot.

Who knew there were so many of you looking for a crash course in fountain pens! Actually, for some of you I suspect most of the material will be review, but it will be great to have you there in any case. I'm really looking forward to the first workshop.

May 04, 2017 — wonderpens
Pelikan Smoky Quartz Ink of the Year

Pelikan Smoky Quartz Ink of the Year

Pelikan Smoky Quartz Canada Pelikan has released an ink of the year, Smoky Quartz, and of course I was thrilled. Another brown ink to add to the collection! Just what I need! I suppose I am slightly worried that one day, like the wind, my tastes in ink will change and I will no longer like brown inks, but until that day comes, this is a beauty to add to my shelf. Pelikan offers its standard 4001 series (Brilliant Brown, Brilliant Black, etc.), and its luxury Edelstein line, named for gemstones. Interestingly enough, several of our calligraphy teachers have long asked us to carry the Pelikan 4001 fountain pen inks for dip pen work - being a bit drier gives more precision hairlines. The Edelstein inks are "extra soft ink," as indicated on the back of the box, meaning it's more lubricated and better flowing than its 4001 counterparts. Each of the inks in the Edelstein line is named for a gemstone - Jade, Onyx, Tanzanite  - including their Ink of the Year, which are special edition inks released yearly. This is the first Ink of the Year that we've carried, and it's a good one. We have a good supply of them now, but it's a special edition ink, so it won't be around as part of the regular line ongoing. The writing samples are done with my Pelikan M400 Brown Tortoiseshell Fine, and the ink swab was done with a cotton swab, both on Rhodia paper. Pelikan Smoky QuarPelikan Smoky Quartz Canada Ink SwabPelikan Smoky Quartz Canada Ink Swabtz Canada Pelikan Smoky Quartz Writing Sample Pelikan Smoky Quartz Writing Sample Canada Pelikan Smoky Quartz Ink Bottle Pelikan Smoky Quartz Ink Bottle It comes in the usual gorgeous Edelstein bottles, with the heavy glass base. I'm not usually one for matching ink colours to the colour of my pens, or for matching brands between inks and pens, but this is a perfect match for me - the Pelikan M400 Brown Tortoiseshell and this smoky brown ink. It might also be nice in a grey pen. The ink is smooth and well-behaved, as you might expect from Edelstein. It has a decent dry time, depending on your nib and paper of course, and it even performs well on cheaper papers. I suppose it's also an interesting stroke of luck for me personally that the first special edition pen after we picked up Pelikan was the M400 Brown Tortoiseshell, and then the first ink is the Smoky Quartz. It's like Pelikan was waiting for me all along. (Just kidding, no one is waiting for our tiny shop way out in Canada.) Pelikan Smoky Quartz Canada

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In other news, I think spring is officially here.

Despite my declaration of spring, today it's been snowing. I've reached the stage where my insisting it's spring has gotten slightly hostile, but I'm ready for sunshiney days and ice cream and people wondering if the shop air conditioning is really working or if it just makes that buzzing noise for show.

We've had some warm days and cool days this past week, but now that I've found them again, I'm wearing my Birkenstocks out and about and there's no going back. In fact, I'm now considering an additional pair, so I have some variation in my extremely limited wardrobe, variety being the spice of life and all, so you can tell I'm serious about this.

Every season it seems we're in need of new everything for Caleb, which is both fun and a bit painful. We did a bit of spring wardrobe shopping for Caleb and I picked a few things that I know he'll love - t-shirts with firetrucks and cars - but mostly I picked things that I couldn't resist, including tank-top pineapples with sunglasses and neon shorts.

I was never not-glad that I did, but on days like this, I'm particularly glad for something bright in the shop.

One day Caleb's going to be too big to fit under this desk, but until then I'll continue to watch, slightly horrified that there are spiders lurking under the top, and take pictures.

March 30, 2017 — wonderpens
Platinum Classic Iron Gall Inks

Platinum Classic Iron Gall Inks

I have been eagerly awaiting this line of inks, Platinum Classic Inks, to arrive to the shop: a line of earthy-coloured Japanese inks in beautiful packaging - how can I resist. I'm always on the lookout for brown inks, especially permanent ones, and this is line of iron gall inks - which are water resistant and become more so over time - has two beautiful ones, a Sepia Black, which is more of a grey brown, and a Khaki Black, which has hints of red/orange to it. Platinum Classic Inks Toronto Canada Wonder Pens Platinum Classic Inks Toronto Canada The inks are, from top to bottom: Platinum Sepia Black PLatinum Khaki Black Platinum Forest Black Platinum Citrus Black Platinum Lavender Black Platinum Cassia Black These inks all get darker with time - iron gall inks have elements that oxidize and darken - hence each ink ends with "black." I'm not sure if they're going to darken all the way to black, or stop at a certain point, but you should be prepared for some colour change from when they hit the page - this is actually my favourite characteristic of the inks! I love that it's a bit of a mystery and change on the page from what you put down. Platinum Classic Ink Sepia Black writing sample Wonder Pens Toronto Platinum Classic Sepia Black   Platinum Classic Khaki Black writing sample Wonder Pens Toronto Fountain Pens   Platinum Classic Forest Black Writing Sample Wonder Pens Toronto Fountain Pens   Platinum Citrus Black Writing Sample Toronto Fountain Pens   Platinum Classic Ink Lavender Black Writing Sample Wonder Pens Toronto Canada   Platinum Classic Ink Cassis Black The most noticeable darkening happens with the Citrus Black, it starts off a bright yellow and quickly darkens to an almost olive black green yellow. The yellow is readable, but still very light immediately after you put it down; after even just a few seconds, it darkens noticeably and is definitely readable - and after several hours or days even more so. Citrus-Black Platinum Classic Ink Toronto Canada "Classic Ink. It is a water-soluble ink made by blending ingredients derived from plants such as tea leaves wtih iron. It penetrates the paper and solidifies due to oxidation; therefore it is suitable for preserving the documents for an extended period of time as it is highly resistant to light and water. Due to such characteristic, the ink color that is bright when you start writing becomes gradually black as it gets oxidized, which lets you enjoy the progress of changes in color." TWSBI ECO Toronto Canada If you're in the shop, we've got tester ECOs with these inks in them for you to try out! This is something new for us, but we're planning on changing up the ECOs every month with a new selection of inks. Let us know how you're liking them, or if you'd like a certain selection or theme of inks for future months. If you're not local, your best bet will be to get samples. I'm loving these inks so far - the subtle colour changes, the permanence, the unusual colours all make it worth it to at least try these inks. I think my favourite has to be the Khaki Black, although the Citrus Black was a dark horse for me - I love an ink with so much shading and colour variation. Platinum Classic Ink Line Toronto Canada Old, historical formulas of iron gall inks were a bit aggressive and meant to be used with dip pens - the danger being corrosion of metal pen parts. Modern formulas, such as Rohrer and Klingner's Salix or these new Platinum inks, have a much gentler formula, and are generally safe for fountain pens - with the caveat that you're careful not to leave these inks in for long periods of time without use. Use caution and care, for example flushing out your pen thoroughly every once in a while, when using iron gall inks, but also remember that pens and inks are meant to be used.

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In other news, I found my sandals. You might recognize them from Instagram, if you are observant, or you may have noticed their absence if you are even more particularly observant. In any case, they went missing. I suspected Caleb of hiding them somewhere, which wouldn't be the first time, and I was even vaguely suspicious that he tossed them in the garbage, but I felt fairly confident that he is aware of the concept of garbage and in any case, he doesn't typically toss random things in (or at least not that I've noticed so far...). I kept telling everyone to keep an eye out for them, and everyone kept saying they would turn up. Jon ordered me an inexpensive pair of flip flops from Amazon to tide me over, but it turned out to be a disaster because he ordered me the cheapest pair which were shipping from somewhere in Asia, and it took two months to come in - the entire duration of which I kept pestering everyone to keep an eye out. I kept accusing him of forgetting and not having even ordered them, which is why it was taking so long, considering we have Amazon Prime, and he kept saying "no, no, they're coming, just wait." In any case the flip flops came in, and it still was not quite the same. For one thing, it was always slightly awkward to be flipping and flopping into the shop in the middle of winter. Birkenstocks, while admittedly still sandals, at least have an aura of mild seriousness, being brown and leathery, that turquoise flapping beach sandals do not. Eventually the conversation gradually shifted to a more chipper "well, now you can get a new pair!" which I took to mean no one was keeping an eye out any more. I was literally on the verge of ordering a new pair of Birkenstocks when we moved the couch in the apartment the other day, and along with finding an unpleasant assortment of various goods, including a very old clementine, we found my sandals.  
March 21, 2017 — wonderpens
New Classiky Washi Tape

New Classiky Washi Tape

Just a short hello! Hope you all had a great weekend. Our Classiky shipment came in a few weeks ago now, and it was nice to have some of our old favourites back in stock, especially the wooden boxes. The Desk Tools Box was backordered, but has just shipped, so if you were waiting for that specifically, they're on their way! New from Classiky are their craft grid washi tapes. These are super durable tapes that are great for wrapping or sealing up presents, as well as using them in your journaling and crafting. Classiky Washi tape grid Toronto Canada Classiky Washi tape grid Toronto Canada Classiky Washi tape grid Toronto Canada

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In other news, despite a recent snowfall, with the longer days and the sunshine out, the hope of spring is in the air. Caleb loves the snow, marching through it to make new paths and explore, with Super romping figure eights around him, but I'm more of a spring flower.

It's still cold out, but I'll take cold and sunshine over the grey any day. Here in Toronto, it was so warm that the we had the shop door open for most of Saturday, and it looks to be a warm week ahead.

With the spring ahead of us, we've got a lot of new releases coming up in March and April, and I can't wait for some of them. There are a few special editions that have been announced, like the Lamy Safari special edition and the Olive Traveler's Notebook, but we have a few new lines coming to the shop as well.

The warm weather will also mean a new crop of inks in, and I know some of you have been eagerly awaiting temperatures high enough to order ink without worry.

But best of all will be those clear and crisp walks with just a jacket or sweater, a trip to the cafe with just a book or a journal instead of damp mitts and scarves, and farmers markets and flowers everywhere. Soon enough!

Classiky Washi tape grid Toronto Canada  
February 19, 2017 — wonderpens