Sunday, June 26, 2011

Quick Cheap Pen Review

Tomorrow is my first day at my new (old) job. Needless to say I have continued to fantasize about how I am going to supply my new office and have been dying to make the rounds to every office supply store and website known to man. Unfortunately, a rowdy going away party and homework limited my shopping time this weekend.

Because I was short on time, I decided to visit Wal-Mart to get my pen fix! I picked up a package of pens by Papermate. I liked the clean white styling of the pens and I thought they might go well with the white supplies at Poppin. I also picked up a pack of Elementz markers made by inc. I really have no need for these, but I thought they could be useful when decorating my planner pages every week.

I decided to test these pens out in the notebook I received in the Germany Rad and Hungry kit. As a side note, I am so in love with Rad and Hungry! I have previously speculated on what different countries office supplies were like and it seems as though Rad and Hungry read my blog and decided to start a company to satisfy my curiosity! If you aren't yet signed up with Rad and Hungry, you should do it right now, or you are going to be the only kid on the playground without a notebook from Latvia and paperclips from all over the world.

Back to my review... the Der Brunnen Block notebook paper is 70gsm and reminds me of the writing tablets that you used to see everywhere, both in size and the weight of the paper. I'm not sure if you can tell in the pictures, but the grid lines on the paper are done in grey, rather than blue. I like this better than normal grid paper simply because of that fact.

The Papermate pen is a Silhouette Elite and is classified on the package as a medium pen at 1.0mm. It is really just your standard ballpoint pen. It wrote smoothly and didn't seem too goopy. There is nothing fancy about the pen, but nothing bad either. I can see filling an office supply closet with this type of pen if you wanted to get away from the stick pens or avoid gels.

Closer view of the ink shows a little bit of skipping, but I think it is because it is brand new. I don't think it would be a problem long term. The pen comes in blue and black.

The Elementz markers very metallic. The picture doesn't really do the colors justice. The package says they work well on light and dark paper. They are not listed as permanent markers, but they do say that they are fade resistant. These markers are labeled as fine tip. However, that clearly isn't the case, they are similar in size to regular sharpie, so they may not be best for very detailed crafts. I am sure I will get some use out of these pens, but they won't be something I use everyday.

Both the ballpoint and the markers showed through on the back of the paper. However, there was no bleed through on the markers. So if you are looking at them for crafting, I don't think it would be a problem.

Now that I have my pen fix in for the weekend, I have to start deciding what notebook and pens to take with me on my first day of work! I know I will be taking a lot of notes during my training and I want to ensure I have a trusty pen and a notebook that I won't mind using for awhile as i get up to speed in this new job. I am already planning on using my Uncalendar as my work "to-do" book (but I follow my own system, not the one at their website). I have all manner of bound books, office project notebooks, Rhodia pads etc. to choose from. But I would love to hear from you in the comments! What would be your must have supplies on your first day of work?

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm still here and back with a new review!

I have not posted in a very long time, I just got busy and my work was stressful. For awhile I didn't do much in the way of collecting pens and notebooks. My once monthly jet pen orders had even fallen by the wayside for a few months.

Recently I have restarted ordering from at least 1x per month and bought a subscription to I am also starting a new job in a week where I can fill my office with anything I want and I am super excited to place a large order from I think this new job is going to give me some more time for my hobbies because it will (hopefully!) be far less stressful.

So today I visited the local Blick store after work and bought a variety of pens and then came across some new journaling products. All of the products are made by SMASH. I bought a journal, some page markers, a stamp, quotes pad and tape (not pictured).

I didn't even open the plastic on the journal to see what kind of paper was in it at the store, but I knew I could use the stamps and quote pad in my planner if I wanted. I am not doing a complete DIY planner right now, but I am using a Moleskine planner and making and collages and doodles in it most weeks. So it is a combo scrapbook/journal/planner.

Back to the SMASH items. The journal had a a plastic envelope on the outside and then another plastic cover actually on the journal.


front cover without plastic and showing double ended pen/glue stickback cover

explanation page

first page

sample pages

stamp/page markers and quote pad and page samples

I haven't tested the paper to see how it takes different kinds of inks. Overall I get the sense that this journal is very versatile but probably not for journalers who just write. I can't see my self using it as a daily journal but more as an art project journal. The pages are quite varied and there are many many more designs than what I have shown. I could almost see myself using this as a DIY planner but the pages are very unstructured and might night suit me from a planner aspect. The pen that comes with it is cute because of the glue stick, but I do not see myself using the glue stick. I am a bit more particular when it comes to gluing stuff into my books. It sees like a run of the mill glue stick so I am not sure how well it will work.

I do love the stamper and quote book. The stamper is not self inking which is kind of nice because it gives me an excuse to buy ink pads! I like the fact that there is a date as well as phrases on the stamp. I think it could be really fun, but again I see myself using both the stamp and the quote book in my planner more so than in the SMASH journal.

Overall people who scrapbook, do a lot of collage type projects or art journals will probably like this line and they seem like fairly decent quality and since I bought it all for less than 20$ I think it is also at a great price!