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June 30, 2010

Shades of Red – Ink Mixing With J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink

I’m really not quite sure what I expected with this ink mixing experiment, but then that’s what experiments are for, aren’t they? The 1670 Anniversary red ink is one of J. Herbin’s most saturated ink colors, so adding just a touch of another ink color made almost no difference in some mixes, but other mixes offered a more dramatic change. I’m not sure how much you’ll notice in this scan, but anyway here it goes. I used 5 parts 1670 Anniversary red ink and one part of another color of J. Herbin ink.

1670 Anniversary ink mixed with Bleu Pervenche made a red-black looking ink with a purplish undertone.

I didn’t notice much of a change to the 1670 Anniversary color when I added Rose Cyclamen to it, however, I can see a tinge of magenta when there is shading.

Bouton D’or also did not change the color of the 1670 Anniversary ink much. If anything, it may have warmed up the color an eensy bit.

1670 Anniversary plus Perle Noire creates a conservative black-red color with noticeable red in the shading.

1670 Anniversary with bright green (created from 5 parts Bouton’Dor and 1 part Bleu Pervenche – similar to Vert Pré) makes dark red.

Adding Violette Pensée to 1670 Anniversary ink also creates dark red, but this dark red is more of a maroon color. This was my favorite new color from the experiment.

What are your favorite red fountain pen ink colors?

June 23, 2010

Behance Action Journal & Dot Grid Journal

Behance’s new Action Journal and Dot Grid Journal are good choices for those concerned about the environment. Behance and New Leaf Paper collaborated to design these journals which not only inspire creativity and promote organization, they are also environmentally friendly.

For those of you that haven’t heard of New Leaf Paper, their mission is to be the leading national source for environmentally responsible, economically sound paper. The paper they provide for the Action Journal and Dot Grid Journal is 100% recycled and the materials used to create each notebook are cleaned up, de-inked and bleached with hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine. This paper is manufactured with electricity that is offset with Green-e® certified renewable energy certificates.

Behance is well known for pioneering the Action Method, a radical approach to productivity and project management. This method is demonstrated in the Action Journal. The front of each page is divided into 3 zones: one for capturing Action Steps, another for "backburner" ideas that may someday become actions, and a light grey dot grid matrix that provides a subtle guide for your handwriting and sketching. Behance has several Action Method products available in paper, online and iPhone formats to suit the needs of a variety of people.

So what are some of the features of Behance’s new Action Journal and Dot Grid Journal?

Each of these journals has a black suede-to-the-touch hard cover that is created using 100% sustainable materials and is blind-embossed with the title on the front cover…

..and blind-embossed with a small “Behance” and “New Leaf” on the bottom of the back cover.

The cover is held securely closed with a colorful elastic that matches the endsheets on the inside. Inside the back cover is a roomy pocket to hold notes, receipts, etc. Their size is an easy to carry 6” x 8”.

These journals have a stitched binding that allows them to nicely lay flat when open. Since each page is perforated about 1/4” from the margin, it is also easy to remove pages when necessary. The journals have one black ribbon marker to so that you can find your place.

The Dot Grid Journal and Action Journal both have 200 pages of 60 lb New Leaf paper that has a subtle texture to it. I personally think that this subtle texture makes this paper ideal for rollerball pens. The paper is off-white with a nice light grey dot grid pattern on it that is not too obtrusive when writing or drawing. The dots go right to the edge of the pages.

The paper is compatible with a number of writing instruments as shown by these samples:



The paper performed reasonably well with fountain pens, however there was some ink bleed-through and see-through depending on which ink and fountain pen I used. It seems best suited for fountain pens that don’t write too wet and ink that is not super saturated. I did not notice any feathering with the inks that I used.

As a bonus, these journals include two sheets of Action Stickers useful to capture Action Steps and a pamphlet on how to practice the Action Method. If you got a package of Action Stickers, you could transform pages in your Dot Grid Journal into pages like the ones from the Action Journal.

Do you have any secrets on how to use these types of office products to keep your life organized and productive? If so, please share your tips!

June 16, 2010

What is an Academic Planner?

“Academic Planner” is not just a sophisticated name for a fancy yearly planner. Academic Planners are made for teachers, professors, students and others who would like to make their plans according to the school year instead of the calendar year. Many of these planners begin with the month of July or August and end with the month of July in the following year. Quo Vadis makes some nice quality planners for this purpose including the Academic Minister weekly planner and the popular Textagenda daily planner. Both of these planners are available in a variety of colors and covers. The popular Rhodia Weekly Notebook is also available as an academic version for the 2010-2011 school year. All of these planners are now in stock at Writer's Bloc.

Undated planners can also be used for planning during a school year since they don’t confine you to beginning your plans in any particular month or year. These “freestyle” planners are great if you happen to lose your planner in the middle of the year and need another one to replace it. Some of our favorite undated planners are made by Bob’s Your Uncle, such as the 8-Days-A-Week planner journal and the Do-Doodle planner journal with room for notes and doodles.

June 09, 2010

Great Games for Travelling

Summer is almost here and so is the peak travel season. One of my favorite vacations is driving to the Oregon coast and renting a beach house that we share with friends. We usually bring several games to play that add to the conversation and enjoyment of our relaxing weekend. Our friends also bring games so we have the chance to play something new.

Games can be a fun way to help you pass the time while travelling on a plane or train. Once you arrive at your destination they can be played on a picnic table by the lake, on a blanket by the campfire, or if it happens to rain, inside your tent or hotel room. Here are a few suggestions for games you might like to play this summer.

Carcassonne Travel Edition by Rio Grande Games is a down-sized, easy to carry version of the original game Carcassonne. The scoring track is cleverly printed on a cloth sack which is also used to carry all of the game pieces. This award winning game is not to difficult to learn and is enjoyed by a wide variety of personalities.

Cards are a classic travel game due to their size and the ability to play them in small places. For a fun, new twist on cards Fluxx by Looney Labs is a fast moving game with ever-changing rules. Fluxx games are usually short, lasting anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Fluxx comes in 3 variations – Family Fluxx, Eco Fluxx and the original Fluxx.

Another popular card game that we once observed being played on a train is Bohnanza from Rio Grande Games. This game is all about planting, trading, and selling beans to earn as much gold as possible to win the game. Your bartering skills will be put to the test!

For something a little more three-dimensional but still compact, Treehouse  by Looney Labs is a game of abstract strategy with a simple objective that can become challenging very quickly. This game with its colorful pyramids has over 200 variations of how to play so far, and new ways to play can be created on your own.

What games will you be playing on your summer vacation?

June 02, 2010

What is the Pelikan Super Pirat Ink Eradicator?

Pelikan makes a great tool for fountain pen users called the Super Pirat ink eradicator. This is not an erasable pen, rather, it is a correction pen. The Super Pirat ink eradicator pen is designed with students in mind since it can be used to correct mistakes when you are writing with a fountain pen filled with washable or erasable blue ink. Let me demonstrate…

I’m writing with my LAMY Safari filled with a LAMY blue ink cartridge and I make a mistake!

The white end of the Pelikan Super Pirat ink eradicator neutralizes the blue color of the fountain pen ink and makes it seem invisible. This neutralizing effect continues long after the Super Pirat pen dries on the page so you cannot use blue fountain pen ink to make your correction.

Conveniently, the Super Pirat’s other end has a blue ink pen that is unaffected by the ink neutralizer so it can be used to write in your correction. The Super Pirat’s blue pen is not meant to be used for taking notes, it is only to be used for making corrections.

There are several kinds of readily available, erasable blue fountain pen inks including: LAMY Blue, Pelikan Royal Blue, Aurora Blue, J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis and many many more. Pelikan even makes ink eradicators for pink and purple Pelikan inks, but we have never seen these in the USA. What kind of erasable blue ink do you use?


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