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July 29, 2008

Credit Card Wallets are so handy!

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Employee Favorites - The Credit Card Wallet

If you're like me, you hate to carry around a burdensome large handbag with a huge wallet that weighs a ton. Instead, I love the light-weight, streamlined convenience of the credit card wallet. This tiny 2 3/4" x 4" wallet has clear pocket pages that hold 12 of my credit cards, membership & club cards, driver's license and gift cards.  I've been using the Lamb-Lamb Jungle Credit Card Wallet for over a year and a half now, and as you can tell from the picture, it still looks as cute as ever. However, with daily use the elastic closure has become loose and the plastic card pockets are beginning to tear. This is not a problem because with such reasonable prices and several adorable designs I am happy to start using this new Dreamer Card Wallet by Jetoy.

July 22, 2008

Left-Handed Fountain Pen Use - Part 1

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Without any personal input from other Lefties, I decided to slowly ease in to the world of fountain pens by first trying out the Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen. After all, this pen is very inexpensive so what would I have to lose?

After several weeks of use around the house on random types of paper I only had one ink smearing incident. This is better than what I had hoped for! I found this pen easy to use and it provided a consistent flow of ink in a smooth, fine line. The biggest drawback for me is that none of the Preppy ink cartridges come in the colors that I love. This problem can be easily solved by using an ink converter and bottled ink instead of cartridges. Before obtaining these things I first wanted to do a "test drive" to see if it is worth it, which I think it is.

(Just a side note - although Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen ink is not waterproof, it is water resistant. Don't get any of this ink on your clothing because it is very difficult, if not impossible to get the stain out!)

As a left-handed writer I am quite satisfied with my first fountain pen experience. Consequently, I now have in my possession a fun, new, special edition lime green LAMY Safari Fountain Pen. Another report will follow shortly with the test results.

 

July 15, 2008

Crash Course in Fountain Pen Cartridges

When I first got my pink Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen I was very nervous about putting the cartridge in. I didn't want to push it so hard that it ruined the pen, but I also wanted to make sure it was attached securely so the ink wouldn't leak and ruin my purse. After getting some feedback I realized that I wasn't alone in my fears, so I decided to share what I've learned about fountain pen cartridges to help others calm their fears about putting their pens together.

First of all, the tension that you feel when pushing the cartridge into the pen comes from the stopping device at the top of the cartridge, meant to keep ink in prior to assembly. In the Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen Cartridges this is a small metal ball, in standard cartridges (like J. Herbin Universal) it is a tiny glass ball, and in LAMY cartridges it's just a thin layer of plastic. When you push the cartridge in you are not only attaching it to the pen, you are pushing the stopper device in and starting the ink flow.

The way to put cartridges in is fairly simple: slowly and gently while ensuring a firm attachment. Put it in straight on and start pushing gently. When you feel the tension from the release of the stopping device it should be just about in, and a tiny extra push to secure it won't hurt.

Once the cartridge is attached to the pen it takes a little while for the ink to flow through the feed to the nib. Allow your pen to sit for awhile before you try to write with it. If the ink doesn't seem to be getting to the nib, let the pen rest with the cap on and the nib pointing downwards. If you're still having trouble getting it to write you can run cool water over the nib or pull the cartridge out and put a couple of drops of ink on the nib to encourage the ink to flow.

July 08, 2008

Staedtler Aquarell Pencils & Clairefontaine Sketch Pad

Ever since I heard about Staedtler's Ergosoft Aquarell Coloured Pencils I have been wanting to give them a try. These pencils have watercolor lead for dry and wet blending, providing a wide range of creative possibilities when coloring, drawing or watercoloring with water and brush. I'm not an artist, but this sounded like fun! Even though Clairefontaine makes watercolor pads, I decided to pair the pencils up with a Clairefontaine Sketch Pad because the paper has a smoother finish. For my first experiment I doodled a picture of my cat, Mulder. Here is what the picture looked like before using a wet paintbrush:

Here is what the picture looked like after using a wet paintbrush:

This was created simply by making a pencil sketch first, and then applying a small wet paintbrush. As soon as the colors got wet they seemed to "melt" and became brighter and more intense. Different color shades could easily be blended. The paper did wrinkle a bit, so the heavier weight watercolor paper might have been better, but I felt the smoother sketch pad paper might be easier for making fine pencil lines. This was a fun project and I'm looking forward to trying some different techniques. Which picture looks better? I'll let you decide....

If any of you have artwork created by Staedtler Aquarell pencils you would like to share, please email it to us at info@shopwritersbloc.com. We'll share our favorites in a future blog post!

 


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