Author: Pao Alfonso

Nemosine Review Roundup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I just finished reviewing Nemosine Neutrino, Fission, and Singularity these past few days. Overall, my experience with Nemosine pens is pretty good. I like that they all have very simple designs, and that they have pretty color options for each model. In terms of look and feel, I think my favorite is the Neutrino. It’s slim, doesn’t post, and the weight is just right. Even if the body is metal, the size makes the weight just right for me.

The nib is pretty standard across all three, even though Neutrino has a #5 nib and the other two have #6 nibs. Here’s another look at the writing sample of different nibs:

IMG_4064

I enjoyed the broad nib most, and the 1.1mm nib next. The broad nibs that I tried wrote pretty well, as far as steel nibs go. They don’t require tuning or fiddling (at least not those that I tried), so these pens could be great for fountain pen newbies who just want something they can use without much fuss. I also noticed that the nibs are more reliable compared with similarly priced pens.

As far as entry level pens go, all these are pretty su-weet. If you’re looking to get a pen that looks good and won’t cost too much, any one of these would be a great option.

Click here to read the review on Nemosine Neutrino
Click here to read the review on Nemosine Fission
Click here to read the review on Nemosine Singularity

All these pens are available at Everything Calligraphy (obviously one of my favorite online shops).

Review: Nemosine Singularity

Review: Nemosine Singularity

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Nemosine Singularity is the first Nemosine pen that I heard about online. It seems to be quite popular  because it’s very affordable and there are choices of demonstrators, solid colors, and the fancier acrylic models. Everything Calligraphy sent these over for review and I must say I can understand the appeal these pens have.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The body is made of plastic, and it’s really light. It may make the pen feel cheap, since we often equate weight with build quality, which isn’t always the case with fountain pens. Like the Neutrino and Fission, Singularity has a very simple design. It’s quite likable, really. The trims are simple and minimalist, and there aren’t too many details in the design. If the Neutrino and Fission are all about smooth lines, Singularity has some edges to it.

It’s a pretty neat design. The way I see it, it’s much cheaper than a Lamy Safari, and with a more classic look and feel. Since it has no metal parts in the interior of the barrel, I believe one can also use it as an eyedropper.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I like the selection of their solid colors, especially these two (ivory and walnut). These are probably my favorite solid colors of Singularity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It has a nice boxy look to it, I think. The clip is alright, it’s usable. I like the faceted look and the fact that it’s a little wide or chunky. As simple as the pen’s design is, the clip is that one thing that catches the eye and gives it a solid look.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The section is smooth and comfortable. The size is proportional to the pen’s length, which makes it relatively short because it is a pretty small pen, but the section is okay. It’s sensible.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The demo colors of this pen are awfully cute. I don’t usually like colored demonstrators but the purple and aqua demos are pretty  nice.

IMG_4052It also comes with extra ink cartridges in the box, as well as a plastic converter.

Like the Fission model, this pen uses a #6 nib. I like the etchings on the nibs of these pens. They’re pretty intricate without being too gaudy. Like the other pens that I tried, the nib on this one worked right out of the box (don’t you just love it when that happens?) and is a smooth and wet writer.

For a budget pen, I noticed that the nib is very reliable. I actually enjoyed writing with it.

Here’s a video of the writing sample for this pen:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2lBbTAMqWQ]

I find that the broad nib on this pen is just a bit wider than the medium nib on a Lamy. It’s sufficiently wet and smooth, even without tuning. I suppose it can write better with a bit of adjustments.

Overall, it’s a pretty nice budget pen. It comes in plenty of pretty colors, it has an appealing minimalist design, it’s comfortable to use and the nib is pretty good out of the box. Some people may find it too light, some will like the weight just fine. It’s really a matter of preference. A pretty nice pen, overall.

The Nemosine Singularity is available at Everything Calligraphy.

Disclaimer: As I mentioned before, I am not affiliated with Everything Calligraphy. This is NOT a paid blog post and I DON’T do paid reviews.

Review: Nemosine Fission

Review: Nemosine Fission

Here’s another Nemosine pen that Everything Calligraphy sent for review–a Nemosine Fission. First impression, this pen is big.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It doesn’t look like it’s big in photos, and of course it depends on the size of your hand, but when I held it in mine, it’s pretty big for me. The pen has a metallic finish, and both ends are smooth. Like the other two Nemosine pens, this pen looks pretty simple. I like that it’s not over the top or too much of an attention drawer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The section of this pen is pretty nice. It’s long and comfortable to hold. It’s metallic which makes it a tad slippery, though. Just to give you an idea how long it is when posted, here’s a size comparison with a Lamy Studio:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I think that people with larger hands will appreciate this a lot because the pen feels substantially weighty, especially when posted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_4057The end of the barrel has a chrome band with threads. You can screw in the cap when you want to post it. Being a non-poster, I found the band a bit of an unwelcome interruption in the simple design of the barrel.

I guess if you post your pen, this is a welcome feature. It secures the cap at the end of the pen while you write. It does also mean that you’ll need to twist it off when you want to unpost the pen and cap it. I guess it’ll all boil down to personal preference. I could certainly do without it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It fills with a cartridge/converter and, like the other two Nemosine models, comes with a few extra cartridges of in ink in the box. The clip on this pen is different from the other two (which are plain) because it has an N on it. The clips are okay, they’re functional and sufficiently springy. Here are a few close ups of the pen’s details.

I kinda love the details on the nibs of Nemosine pens. 🙂 They’re pretty intricate. Like the Neutrino, this one writes very well out of the box. These steel-nibbed pens are stiff and smooth. I like the broad nib that I tried. They’re wet without being overly gushing. It’s just a tiny bit wider than Lamy’s Medium. Here is a video of the writing sample:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7dRvkP1aKU]

Overall, I like the simplicity of the design, and the way that it writes. It’s a tad too heavy for me, since I really like my pens lighter. Still, I think it’s a nice pen for its price point.

The Nemosine Fission is available at Everything Calligraphy.

Disclaimer: As I mentioned before, I am not affiliated with Everything Calligraphy. This is NOT a paid blog post and I DON’T do paid reviews.

Review: Nemosine Neutrino

Review: Nemosine Neutrino

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve heard a lot about Nemosine pens but I must admit they weren’t in my radar at all. I wasn’t very curious about them. Once in a while they would pop up in the forums and in posts on FPN-P’s Facebook group, but overall I didn’t really take notice of them. Everything Calligraphy sent me a few units to test out for this review, and I finally got to see what these pens look like in person.

My attention was immediately drawn to the Neutrinos. These torpedo-shaped pens are cute and tight in the hand. The form factor kinda reminds me of Pilot Metropolitans. Too bad I don’t have a unit anymore to compare it with, but I think they’re pretty close in size with each other. The pen also has a metallic body, which gives it some weight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
(Top) Black, (Bottom) Gunmetal

I bought the gunmetal colored pen because it’s the most striking, for me, among the other colors that I saw in person. I like that the color is a bit hard to describe. I wouldn’t really call it gunmetal grey because it’s more brownish in color than greyish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The red one looks pretty nice too. I like that the pen is pretty hefty even if it is small. This little torpedo sits very nicely in my hand. Here’s a size comparison with a capped Lamy Studio below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It is much shorter when uncapped. People with large hands might find it too small. I find it just the right size for me, though.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The section is smooth and metallic. Since it’s a small pen, the section is also proportionate to the size, but I like that they maximized the use of space. I think they made the section as long as they could, to make it more pleasant to hold while writing. It uses cartridges/converter, and comes with extra cartridges of ink. I’m glad that despite the size and the tapering ends, it still uses a standard converter. This pen has a simple profile, which is what I really love about it.

Here are a few details and close up shots of the writing sample:

Perhaps if I can change one thing about the design of this pen, I would make the chrome ring around the threads of the section much, much thinner. The design is already beautiful in its simplicity, the wide band kind of ruined it a little for me. Not exactly a deal breaker, though. The pen’s weight makes it comfortable in the hand without being too heavy that it’s tiring to use for long writing. The pen doesn’t post, though. If you’re particular about that, it’s something you might want to note. It doesn’t bother me, though, because I never post my pens.

The nib that I picked is a 1.1mm stub. I didn’t need to tune it, it wrote well right out of the box. I would put the flow at a moderate to wet. The nib of the Neutrino is much smaller than the Singularity and Fission. It’s really super cute. Here’s a video of a writing sample (sorry about the barking in the background, my dog’s an emotional wreck):

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dG6yNFzW-s]

Here is a comparison of the different nib widths, and a writing sample of a Lamy medium nib for reference.

IMG_4064

Overall, I really like this pen. I think it’s really cute. I like the color, the comfortable section, the weight, and the nib writes okay (you can make it even better with a little tuning). The price is also very decent. I think that it’s great value for money.

Nemosine Neutrinos can be purchased online at Everything Calligraphy.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Everything Calligraphy. This is NOT a paid blog post. I DON’T do paid reviews. I am, however, a very happy customer. ^_^

Slow by Choice

Slow by Choice

Every afternoon, before I turn my laptop on to get an early start on my tasks for my work in the evening, I make a full stop. Since I work at night, I guess you can call this time of the day my “early morning”. I value this time because it helps me get focused on the day (or night) ahead. I recently noticed how this block of time in the day feels like a happy kind of twilight zone. Things just slow down. I set my phone on do not disturb mode, lay out my pens, notebooks and Bible. I check to see if any of my pens need refilling and put away pens that need to be cleaned later. I make coffee and completely lose myself, locked up in my room for hours until I need to resurface and rejoin the world, so to speak. Recently my coffee habit has changed too, and it takes a lot longer to prepare, but it’s fascinating how I have grown to love the little rituals as much as I love the little things about my finicky writing habits.  Continue reading “Slow by Choice”

Review: Contrail Street Journal

Review: Contrail Street Journal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I saw these cute little journals on my way to a mini pen meet last Sunday at Glorietta, when I dropped by Powerbooks at Greenbelt. They’re kinda hard to miss because the covers are just so pretty! I wasn’t familiar with the brand, so discreetly printed at the back of the cover, but the paper seemed nice so I bought three. A quick search on Google showed that Contrail is made by Itoya, a Japanese stationery company. I’ve had such good experience with Japanese stationery that I was pretty sure I’d like this one too, and I was right.

I just love the design of their covers. Really. I love the colors that they used, and the patterns. These are very tastefully designed covers. I also like that the binding is neatly stitched with white thread. It looks very cleanly done.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m not sure what you call these lines. They’re grids but rectangular instead of square, and they spacing is pretty tight. I imagine it could be designed specifically for Japanese characters? I’m not sure. I’m not too crazy about the guide lines, but they don’t bother me much. I like that the lines are light brown, you can just ignore them completely when you write.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The paper is pretty good. It’s not smooth, it definitely has texture to it, but there’s very little feathering using my fine to broad nib. Some feathering can be noticeable with my 1.5 mm stub, though. Here are a few close ups:

The texture is beautiful. It’s not going to show off sheen, but it will show off some shading. It’s hard to explain why but sometimes I miss enjoying texture on paper because oftentimes when the paper has some texture to it, fountain pens bleed all over the place. It’s pretty rare to find paper that allows you to enjoy texture while you write without excessive bleeding and feathering.

The paper handles brush pens very well. It distributes the ink smoothly, and allows the pen to glide on the paper without difficulties.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s a bit of ghosting at the back, though I would not consider it bothersome. There’s also a bit of bleedthrough where I wrote with my 1.5mm nib. It could be because I used a very wet ink (J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor). It’s not so bad either, in my opinion.

The size is about 3.25 x 5.75 inches. It’s pretty small and can comfortably fit in your backpocket or your bag. I heard they’re also available in National Bookstore, at P149 per piece. These are great for everyday writing and small brush calligraphy projects. I’m so happy we have Itoya here in the Philippines now. What a great time to be a stationery fan!

Journal Art Catch-Up

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been so busy these past few days that I haven’t had time to update my blog. The little free time I have, I just spend with family , reading, writing, and the occasional update in IG or FB. For an introvert, I have a semi-bustling social media life, which sometimes I find strange, but other times I completely understand. While I’m very communicative (even quite chatty) in social media, I’m the exact opposite in person. Maybe it’s just a lot easier for me to communicate that way.

Anyway, even if it’s a seriously busy time at work, I find that it’s during these times when you really need to make a conscious effort to slow down. I find that doing this, breaking the monotony of work, in order to read the Bible, write my thoughts about it and a variety of other things, can spell the difference regarding how stressed out I will be during the day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also realized that doing a little bit of artwork whether it’s as simple as scrawling something on a page with your brush pen or little watercolor paintings in your journal, or using stamps and washi tapes to decorate your page can be so relaxing. Of course, I know many people prefer to just write on their journal instead of decorating it or painting on it. It’s all good. I just personally prefer to have a visual of the little things that happen in my life. Like picking an espresso machine (and justifying it to myself through in an entire page’s worth of journal entry).

IMG_3944Documenting the simple joys has become an exercise in looking for the bright spots of life. I used to be so paranoid about putting only my best drawings in my journal when I was younger, but I realized that life isn’t made up of perfect moments. Sometimes pages get scrunched up, torn in some places, stained with a bit of coffee splashes…in the grand scheme of things, it shouldn’t matter. After all, you don’t live for the perfect moments. So fill up that journal with your drawings, no matter how imperfect you think they are, or how it isn’t at par with what you expect from yourself. I think it would also be pretty cool to see how your style evolves and improves through the years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Velveteen Rabbit, one of my favorite books when I was a kid.

Back in my college years, there was never any color in my journals. I only used black ink and drew little creepy line art to match the perpetually sad poetry I used to write. Now my journals are filled with splashes of colors.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
That weekend I learned how to make Cafe Americano for my husband. 

These little watercolor paintings are so much fun to do. They’re a bit challenging because you need to include just the right amount of details with your brushwork to make it shine. I am also enjoying how great Tomoe River paper is for watercolor paintings (I use a Hobonichi for daily journals and planning, and made an insert for my traveler’s notebook as a supplement). The crinkling of the paper doesn’t bother me one bit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ah. These past weeks, I also discovered the joy that is a Palomino Blackwing pencil. A friend of mine sent it to me as a gift, and I’m going to write a review about it soon. It’s amazing how pencils aren’t all the same.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So there, these past few weeks have been pretty busy, but there are a lot of great moments too. I’m particularly excited with the range of paper, watercolor, brush pens, pencils, and other art stuff available locally. It’s an exciting time for art and stationery lovers in the Philippines. I can still remember when the options were very limited. Oh, how times are changing. 🙂

Write on!

Comparison: Elias and Tomoe River Loose Sheets

Comparison: Elias and Tomoe River Loose Sheets

EverythingCalligraphy sent over a few loose sheets of Elias and Tomoe River Papers for me to compare. These two are my favorite types of paper, and I was really happy to compare them side by side. I must admit it’s quite difficult to do that, though, because they’re quite different. To the uninitiated, paper is paper is paper. To the true pen and paper fans, it doesn’t matter if you have the best writing implement in the world. If you write on poor quality paper, it just grates on the nerves. Writing on good paper is such a pleasurable, tactile experience that I enjoy so thoroughly that it takes me a long time to pick a notebook, and only a few make it to my “staples”. These two are at the top rung.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I tested the paper samples with different pens and inks. Here are a few close up shots of the writing samples.

For Elias’ 90gsm loose sheets

Elias paper is so easy to like. It’s smooth and creamy and makes your pen’s nib just glide on the paper. Even scratchy nibs feel smoother on it, and I’ve yet to see a pen and ink combo that will make it bleed through or feather. Here are some writing samples below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Continue reading “Comparison: Elias and Tomoe River Loose Sheets”

Review: Parker Vacumatic Debutante

Review: Parker Vacumatic Debutante

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Before the crazy Monday shift starts, I decided to write a short review of this pen I acquired last week. It’s a Parker Vacumatic Debutante in azure blue and it’s been on my wishlist for as long as I’ve been collecting pens. I had a bit of hard time determining what kind of vacumatic this is because some parts of the pen don’t match the documentation available for it.

IMG_3830Based on the date code, this was made in the third quarter of 1941. This corresponds with the speedline plunger, double-jewel, and the blue diamond on the clip. However, the cap band was throwing me off. It was a little wider than the usual cap band for debutantes of its era, and it was also smooth, without the usual chevron design of Parker Debutantes. Luckily, there are people in the international FPN group that know way more about vintage Parker pens than I do. There are so many different variations of these pens, it can be so confusing sometimes. Apparently I got a debutante (not a sub-debutante, like I initially thought) that is off-catalog, which is uncommon. Azure blue is the more uncommon color of this small batch of debutantes for that year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
L-R Parker Vacumatic Major, Junior, Debutante

Here’s a comparison of the clips. Isn’t the clip cute? It’s short and so adorable. I like these old Parker clips and how the arrow shows art deco inspiration. In person, they’re very detailed and elegant. Modern clips just don’t compare with these.

Below is a size comparison with my other Parker pens (debutante is at the rightmost). Considering that none of these are oversized pens, it is really pretty small. It’s even smaller than the Parker 51 special’s pencil, and that’s already small in my hand. I cannot get over the squee-ness of this pen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here are a few close ups of the pen’s details. Look at that gorgeous blue diamond clip. As I mentioned in other Parker-related entries, this is the lifetime guarantee that Parker used to mark its products with until the regulations changed about these guarantees. The speedline filler was eventually replaced with plastic plungers because metals were used for the war effort.

My absolute favorite kind of Parker are the 51’s, but I love the celluloid rings of these vacs too. They are fascinating to look at. This is what I love about these kinds of pen. It’s virtually impossible to find two identical pens because each pen will have unique celluloid rings. I love the nib of Parker pens of this era. They are so sleek and the design really makes you feel like you’re writing with an arrow head. This pen writes so smooth. Like butter! Here’s a video of the writing sample.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs9JGhbyKjI]
The 14k gold nib is an absolute joy to write with. It’s like when I start writing, I don’t want to stop. It just glides on paper, and the ink it lays down is moderately wet. The nib is springy and wonderful.

Overall, I am so happy to add this to my collection. 🙂 Inner peace. For now.

Review: Elias Traveler’s Notebook Insert

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I think many people have been waiting for Elias to come out with these inserts for a while. I’m so happy that they finally made these. Traveler’s notebook inserts aren’t very easy to come by in bookstores. They’re not always readily available, so it’s always good to find online stores that sell them. I bought a set of three inserts from Everything Calligraphy last week, and I couldn’t be happier.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s to give you an idea how thick the insert is. These are 40 pages of 90gsm, acid-free, ivory-colored, fountain pen-friendly paper. I suggest you buy the pack of 3, since it’s a little bit cheaper. I like the cover of the inserts. It’s easy to slip into a traveler’s notebook because the cover is sufficiently thick. I also like the color which is a very dark blue. I wish they would offer options, though, like craft or white. I like that the cover is plain and there’s a simple “ELIAS” logo at the back. Plain covers can be decorated with stickers, stamps, and other stuff.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Note to self…buy white chalk-based stamp pads. ^_^

The paper and cover are stapled together. It’s nice enough for daily use. As usual, the paper is excellent. I can’t quite describe how pleasurable writing on it is, except to say that it’s creamy. It makes your nibs feel smoother.

IMG_3857

The word “February” was written with a brush pen, and it works great with those too. It’s smooth and shows off the gradients with the strokes. It works fabulously with fountain pen inks, and I’m glad that one can enjoy the same paper quality as with those in their bigger journals.

Here are a few writing samples below.

It also takes my Pilot Parallel pen without issues. The paper stays smooth even when I scrape at it with some very fast writing, like what I did below. There’s no feathering or bleed through either.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here is an example of Pilot Parallel pen over watercolor. It’s pretty neat. 🙂

IMG_3841

Overall, I love the quality of the paper and I think the price is really good. I’m glad we journal junkies have more options now, especially for the regular TN size.

Elias travelers notebook inserts are now available at Everything Calligraphy.