Category: Pen Accessory Review

Gav and Sav Pen Rolls and Journal Covers

I wasn’t able to go to the Manila Pen Show last Month because I had some schedule conflicts. I was pretty bummed out so imagine how delighted I was when one of my friends from the Fountain Pen Network Philippines sent me some stuff she got for me from the pen show. These items are from Gav and Sav. I love how these sets are really tailor-made for penthusiasts. I got three different sets (well, two actually, one’s for my husband) and my friend picked a color profile that she knew I absolutely loved–greens and browns.

I like that the fabric on the pen rolls are not too soft. This is great because it gives pens that extra protection while they’re in your bag. I’m currently using these two rolls. Aren’t they pretty? I love the fabric they used on these rolls, especially the one with the sketches of bugs and botanical illustrations.

I think they pick really nice fabric designs. The green and  brown wrap has this rigid outer cover, the shorter wrap doesn’t. I’ve always preferred using leather cases for my pens, but you need to be careful when using or making your own leather cases because it can sometimes cause discoloration on the metal parts of your pen. That’s not a problem with fabric pen rolls.

Here’s what it looks like inside. It can hold six pens, and the fabric’s texture is stiff enough so that you can easily slip the clip through the fabric.

I prefer the design of the pen roll below, though. This one houses 8 pens but it has no flap, so I can easily draw the pens if I need them. Just don’t put thin pens or those with a smooth lacquer finish because it can slip out. It’s best to store this wrap vertically in your bag just to make sure the pens don’t slip out. I know it’s less secure than the design above, but I still like how accessible the pens are.

There’s also a two-pen case, which I think is cute. It has another pocket at the back of the two slots where you can store a third pen or a ruler. There’s no divider in the third slot.

This one’s pretty cute:

It’s a pen kimono. You can fit a single pen in it. I close it this way…

I think that’s really cute.

Here are the notebook covers below. They fit A5 journals. I know pen and paper lovers will absolutely love this. I think that color-coordinated notebook covers and pen cases are awfully cute.

These are lovingly made and I really appreciate that the people behind Gav and Sav gave such effort to make these for the fountain pen community.

If you’re interested in getting these sets, check out their IG account: @gavandsav.

Handmade Leather Pen Holders

I’m always on the lookout for leatherworking workshops here in the south. It’s always somewhere in Quezon City, and I’ve never had the chance to join one because of how far the workshop venue usually are. So I was really excited when @beatnikmnl announced a basic leatherworking workshop at @commonroomph Alabang Town Center last October 14. I signed up right away.

I really enjoyed the workshop, and I did learn the  basic skills that I needed in order to complete the personal projects that I had in mind. I wanted to make my own pen cases that are specifically tailor-made for the kinds of pens that I use. I am a fan of bespoke pen cases, though it’s always a challenge to have something made that fits your pens like a glove unless I decide to send my pens to the person who’s making my cases. I thought that this would be a fun skill to learn. We took home some extra materials that we could use to make our own projects. I picked a square piece of dark brown, full-grain leather. After the workshop, I went home and made my first pen slip for my two Kaweco Liliput pens.

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I liked the pen slip that I made for my Kawecos, though I did modify this after a few days to make the pens easier to pull out. Today, I made another pen case for my other pocket pens; Kaweco Sport cappuccino and cognac, and a Sailor Progear Mini.

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Here’s what it looks like with the flap open. Beside it is the modified pen slip for my Kaweco Liliput pens, I carved a half-circle so that the pens are easier to pull out. The fit was just right, but since the pens were so slim, I needed some space for my fingers to grip on the edge and pull them out comfortably. The half-circle I carved was just right for that.

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It was a challenge to get the size of the flap right so that it fits through the loop, I wish I didn’t run out of leather so that I could have made the flap longer. I like the finished case, though.

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The pens fit perfectly and are easy to slip in and pull out. I think the fit will be much better after a few days, when the leather becomes more molded to the shape of the pens.

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I didn’t burnish the sides of the case too much, I like the finish to be a little raw and rustic-looking. For my next pen case project, I think I’ll pick a thicker/stiffer leather and try burnishing the edges.

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I attached my little Kaweco medallion from my old leather pen case as a finishing touch. I wanted to add decorative stitches to the flaps but I decided against it. There’s a lot of room for improvement,  but for a first attempt, I think I like it just fine.

I enjoyed BeatnikMNL’s workshop a lot because it gave me an insight on how much effort is involved in making handcrafted leather goods. From picking the kind of leather and threads, sourcing good supplies, making patterns, measuring out the seams and stitches, punching holes, stitching, etcetera, etcetera… A lot of time and skill is needed in order to produce a good piece. I need to develop the patience it takes to measure (and measure again) before I cut because I wasted a lot of leather due to taking shortcuts in measurements. It was really therapeutic, though. I felt so calm and serene as I worked with my hands.

I definitely have a deeper appreciation and respect for leathercrafters now, and I think that these artisans that hold workshops for people who want to learn how to make their own leather goods are investing wisely on educating others about handmade items. I’m definitely going to support local artisans this upcoming holiday season.

Review: Insignia Pen Pouches

So, the courier came knocking at our gate a few days ago with a package from Everything Calligraphy. After carefully unwrapping the bubble-wrapped Chocnuts (priorities!), I opened this really hip-looking pen case. First impression…that looks pretty nice. Sniff sniff. Don’t you just love the smell of leather?

Insignia Leather Pouches

I tried them on my Hobonichi cousin (slip it behind the hard cover of the planner) and a smaller Derwent sketchbook. Perfect.

Insignia Leather Pouches

I like both of them, but I really like the one without the flap more because I like pen slips that lets me just take out the pen quickly and without fuss. Both cases are a snug fit for either two slim pens or one medium-sized pen. Of course if you’re a fountain pen user, you probably would just use it for one pen because it doesn’t have compartments to keep the pens from jostling one another.

The flap-less version is called Orwell. I’m not concerned with pens falling off while in it because the texture of the interior leather prevents it from slipping out, and the fit is quite snug. I tried it with a single pen (Lamy Studio and my thinnest, Cross Century II) and it felt quite secure.

Insignia Leather Pouches

The model with the flap is called Faulkner, and it’s a little bit bulkier than the Orville because of the flap, but I guess some people would want more security for their pens. Especially if they don’t want anything to scratch the finials while the notebook is in their bag.

It’s made of genuine cowhide on the outside and pig skin on the inside. The interior of the pen cases feels softer and smoother than the leather outside. The elastic feels sturdy too. Here are a few photos of the details.

Insignia Leather Pouches

Insignia Leather Pouches        Insignia Leather Pouches

I think these are pretty handy especially if you want a pen case to always be with your notebook/planner. I think it’s essential for the care of your pens that you always use cases. I personally always carry at least one big pen case and pen slips for one or two pens.

These Insignia Orville and Faulkner pen pouches are now available at Everything Calligraphy.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a paid post. Read my About page for more information about this.

Custom Size TN from Sunday Leather Craft

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

I first came across Contrail notebooks earlier this year, while browsing around Powerbooks, Greenbelt. I found the covers of these pocket notebooks so vibrant and beautifully-designed. The size is also perfect for quick notes, lists, etcetera. I tried a few out to see if the paper is any good. It can stand up to medium nibs but works better with fine nibs. Brush pens are great, but parallel pens bleed through. Overall, something I’d like for just day to day notes. I never expected to like TNs. I resisted buying TNs for a while because I thought I would never adjust to anything that’s not A5 or bigger. Then I bought my first Traveler’s Notebook and the rest is history. I just love it, love everything about it. So when I came across Contrail notebooks, which are like smaller versions of the regular TN size, I thought hmmm, this would look great as a TN.  I messaged Toto of Sunday Leather Crafts and asked him to make one for me. I just gave him the size of the notebooks and the color of the leather that I prefer. A few weeks later…tada!

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

It’s super cute. I changed the elastics to the extra ones I bought for my Midori TN. The size is just right, it fits contrail pocket journals perfectly. It’s also great for when I don’t have space for my larger journals and I just want something small to bring along.

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

It’s just a little longer than this Pilot Custom Heritage 92. That should give you an idea how small it is. It’s not uncomfortably small for writing, but small enough to fit in your pocket.

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN You can fit in two Contrail notebooks if you want it to be slim and compact. But I prefer it on the chunky side so I fit in 4 inserts. You can actually fit in one more, probably, but that’s a bit too chunky for me. Here it is with four inserts. Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

I made my own tomoe-river inserts too, based on the dimensions of the Contrail inserts. It’s so much fun carrying it around for quick sketches and calligraphy practice.

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

I also love the name tag. 🙂 Such a nice, personal touch. They put it in as an extra tag, in addition to the blank one. Who doesn’t like options?

All in all, I am just really happy with this TN. Sunday Leather Craft does good custom leather work. Check them out!

Review: Parker Premier Monochrome Black (Medium)

Review: Parker Premier Monochrome Black (Medium)

Gosh darn that’s a long name. Anyway, I’ve been using the Parker Premier Monochrome Black (which I shall call Premier from this point on) since I got it last Tuesday. Since then I managed to use up a converter and a half of ink (yes, I wrote that much in a short period of time). This is, without a doubt, up there in my favorite pens list. I know I love all my pens a lot, but I do have a short list of favorites. Those pens that hardly make it out of rotation. I can tell this one will hold a top spot for a while. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I got this pen last Tuesday and I can hardly put it down. It’s just a pleasure to write with and to look at. Anybody who knows me well enough will say that I’m not a big fan of modern pens. Least of all modern Parkers. I think they’re devoid of imagination. A shadow of the glory days of a giant brand. When I first came across the Premier online (through Fountain Pen Network Philippines), I was intrigued. It looked nothing like the modern Parker pens that I’m used to seeing at National Bookstore. This one was sleek and eye-catching, in the same way that of all the Lamy pens in all the happy colors, I’m quite drawn to the Lamy 2000 and its decidedly modern design.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

The pen is metal coated with PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) which makes the surface very resistant to corrosion and abrasion. The barrel and the cap has a brushed metal finish, the texture is very pleasant. It does have an overall effect that looks like matte, but it’s more of a soft brushed metal finish that makes it pleasant to hold. It’s not slippery or uncomfortable in the hand, as some metal pens can sometimes be. My pet peeve is metal sections in pens, it makes it nearly impossible to write comfortably because the pen keeps on slipping. The Premier’s PVD coating ensures none of that annoying slippery feel.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

The texture kinda reminds me of Lamy 2000’s makrolon finish. Kinda.

Everything about this pen speaks of a well thought-out modern design. I think this design can be a great template for Parker’s modern pens. The lines are clean and the details are pretty good. The clip looks very different from traditional Parker arrow clips.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black         Parker Premier Monochrome Black

It’s angular, boxy, but gives the pen a very good modern look to it. Of course I’m still partial to vintage Parkers and their art deco clip, but this one has its own style and identity. It certainly beats modern arrow clips with thinly etched quivers.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

The overall effect is pretty nice, and the clip itself is functional– springy but firm. It feels sturdy enough. The cap snaps on, but it doesn’t make that hard snapping sound. It snaps to the section securely but is easy to put on and take off. It has an almost magnetic feel to it, like it glides and clicks easily in place.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

Both ends of the pen are flat, which lends more to that minimalist, modern feel. There’s nothing flashy about this pen. Nothing shiny and ostentatious. Even the finial is a simple black disc.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

The design is tied up by three rings on the top of the cap, cap band, and end of the barrel. I really like that the PARKER logo around the cap band was designed differently from other Parkers, vintage or modern.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I like the horizontal lines that run through the letters. It’s a nice little detail.  Continue reading “Review: Parker Premier Monochrome Black (Medium)”

Sunday Leather Craft’s Bespoke Pocket Knife and Pen Case

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I asked Toto of Sunday Leather Craft to make me a leather simple leather case so I can carry my pocket knife and fountain pen together. Since it’s nearly impossible to find a case that was meant for this purpose, the only way to go is bespoke.

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I like that the case is super simple. It uses a soft kind of leather, and the stitches go well with the color of my knife.

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The length is just right, and it does the job well enough. I just made a slight modification to the pen slot to make it easier to pull out.

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Since the pen is so slim, putting it in a roomier pouch will not hold it securely. I trimmed the top of the pen slot a bit to make it easy to pull out the pen. Not to mention that it shows off the Kaweco Liliput logo nicely. 🙂

Pentones Pen and Notebook Wrap

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Here’s something I got from the last pen meet I attended. It’s a Pentones pen and notebook wrap I got as a gift from one of the members of FPN-P.

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This really took me back to those days when I still used fabric wraps. There’s a certain appeal to slowing down, leisurely undoing the clasp of the wrap and unrolling the fabric to free up the pens. Pentone is a wrap that holds pens and a small notebook.

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This red wrap is made of twill and a soft cotton inner lining. There’s enough space for 6-8 pens and a pocket notebook, secured by two separate flaps.

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There are single-pen slots and a 2 or 3-pen slot for those pens that you don’t mind jostling against each other. The wrap is secured by two buttons that are adjustable in length in order to accommodate fatter notebooks.

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The wrap also has a quick draw slot which are slots that aren’t covered by flaps. I like this feature a lot. It allows you to draw out a pen if you need it for some quick jotting, without unbuttoning the clasp and unrolling the wrap. You can just pull out the pen and slip it in easily.

I often use large notebooks, but for those times when all I need to bring with me is a small notebook and a few pens, This is a great way to organize everything in one place. Of course, since it’s made of fabric, you’ll need to hand-wash it once in a while to keep it looking neat. 🙂

Overall, I like the thick fabric on it, I like the concept, and I like the quick draw slot.

I got this wrap as a gift (as mentioned earlier), but Pentone wraps are also available at Everything Calligraphy.

Sunday Leather Craft’s 2-Slot Leather Pen Slip

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Here’s something nice from Sunday Leather Craft. But before I go into that, a little back story. I thoroughly enjoy my single pen slips and I love that they make pens easily accessible while also safe while in a bag. I thought that it would be great to have a two-slot pen slip so that I can carry two pens at the same time in an easy to access pen slip. I couldn’t really find something I liked online. The next best thing–bespoke. Well, actually it’s the best solution because at least a leather goods maker can customize it to the measurements that you prefer.

This is the finished product. I think it’s pretty nice. It works like it should and can accommodate my fattest pens. I can easily draw the pens when I press on the sides a bit, while also keeping the pens in place and not letting them slip out easily when I’m not using them. No danger of falling out accidentally. The workmanship is wonderful and the stitching is clean and well-done. The leather they used is beautiful too, and I like how it looks a  bit distressed. I think this will age very well.

I love that there now a lot of Filipino entrepreneurs who make these wonderful pen accessories for reasonable prices. It makes bespoke leather items accessible for more people. This is my first item from Sunday Leather Craft and I must say, I’m pretty happy.

Elias Notebooks’ New Pen Cases

I’ve always believed that if you value something, you should make the effort to keep it safe. I value my pens as my companions in writing, so I make the extra effort to find suitable cases for them. I started off with pen wraps (and I still use them sometimes), then an assortment of leather cases.

Elias Notebooks recently released a single slot pen slip, and two- and three-slot leather pen cases. I got the single pen slip and two-pen case and I’ve been using these for several days now.

Olive Green and Maroon Suede Pen Cases from Elias Notebooks
Olive Green and Maroon Suede Pen Cases from Elias Notebooks

These colors (olive green and maroon in leather suede) were specially produced to celebrate the launching of the De Atramentis inks that they are distributing. I got the De Atramentis Olive Green and Van Dyck Brown inks so I’m really happy to have matching pen cases too (the maroon case can pass for a reddish brown or a dark purple).

Perhaps one of the challenges of finding pen cases for fountain pen newbies like me is the fact that these cases can be so expensive. Nothing wrong with expensive cases, of course, but it’s always good to have a more affordable option that also looks good. I’m glad that Elias isn’t ridiculously expensive at all (P300 for the 2-slot pen case, P400 for the 3-slot case and P150 for the slip). These prices are reasonable and very accessible even for pen newbies.

Olive Green and Maroon Leather Suede Cases
Olive Green and Maroon Leather Suede Cases

I like that the pen cases has dividers. It’s a challenge to find these in bookstores, the options are so limited. There is an overabundance of pencil cases, but finding a decent one with dividers in it is quite a challenge that FP-users who find great products eagerly share their finds through the Fountain Pen Network Philippines Facebook group and forum. The pen community is a pretty cool place to find information about accessories, pens, papers, etc. I actually heard about Elias through a pen friend in that community too.

Two Parker 51's with gold-filled caps
Two Parker 51’s with gold-filled caps

The two-slot pen case comfortably fits some moderately fat pens like Parker 51’s. I can also fit in what I would consider to  be larger pens (at least in my collection) like the Sheaffer Lifetime Senior, TWSBI Micarta, and Bexley Corona. It’s a snug fit, but it offers very little resistance when I pull the pens out. Leather is soft suede in texture, I can comfortably slip the clips without feeling that the clips are being over-extended. I love the olive green color of this case a lot. I also like that the suede looks soft and the interior is also soft enough not to scratch the pens.

Elias Notebooks' Logo
Elias Notebooks’ Logo

Of course, the logos are a nice touch for both cases. I like that for the two-slot pen case, the logo is on the flap where it’s visible. I love the novels Noli and El Fili. What a very suitable logo for fountain pen accessories. 🙂

Single pen slip
Single pen slip

As for the single pen slip…I wasn’t really sure if I would ever like using a slip. I’ve never carried just one pen, so I never bought one for myself. This is my first slip and I’m so happy I got it. It’s a complete “duh” moment when I realized that sometimes you really have no time to carefully unwrap a pen wrap, or unzip a pen case, or pull out a flap or whatever. Sometimes you need to whip out your pen in a jiffy–no fuss, no frills. A slip lets you do just that, while still protecting your pen efficiently.

Pen slip on a stack of journals
TWSBI Micarta in a pen slip on a stack of journals

Surprisingly, I’ve enjoyed this case the most these past few days. I also brought it along for short trips when I don’t think I will need all my other pens but I still want to bring one just in case. It’s very easy to use and the price is very budget-friendly. I already ordered a green slip, to match the two-slot pen case.

Pen cases on a stack of Elias Journals
Pen cases on a stack of Elias Journals

Overall, I think that the price is right for these pen cases. They’re very light and convenient to carry around, and I love the material used on both cases. I also like that they look simple and durable.

In these photos:
All notebooks are from Elias Notebooks
Two Parker 51’s with gold-filled caps
Parker 75 in sterling silver cisele
Bexley Corona
TWSBI Micarta
Pilot Capless
De Atramentis Van Dyck Brown and Olive Green (also from Elias)

Note: Prices of these cases are current as of today. They may change in the future.

This used to go “hisssss…”

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I got this 5-pen python leather case from a member of the Fountain Pen Network Philippines. I’ve been after this case since I saw another member post this in lambskin (which used to go “baaaaaa…”) several months back. I was told it was only sold by the manufacturer to a specific vendor in Rustan’s. So I combed several Rustan’s outlets for this, but I wasn’t able to find any in my area. So when this went up for sale, my hand went up too. Haha.

I like the design of this pen case because I don’t need to bother with zippers. It lets me access my pens easier, and it lays flat on the table. I took a lot of time picking the color for this case. I was waffling between this brown one or the grey and black one, which looks undoubtedly like the snake skin that it is. I don’t own leather things except for leather journals and pen cases, so I wasn’t very sure I’d like the exotic leather to look so close to how it looked like while it was still…you, know, alive and stuff.

I’m glad I picked the dark brown one, though. It looks very simple and doesn’t draw too much attention. The workmanship of this case is just amazing. The stitches are clean and sturdy, the cuts along the edges are also very meticulously done. This is definitely a well-made product that does not take away from the organic feel of the case. It doesn’t have that antiseptic, soulless feel to it.

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The pen came with a pretty cool bag, and a tag that explains the product best: “The leather used for this handmade product is naturally dyed and treated. As such, you can see the individual grain pattern and markings of the skin that makes each one unique. They come from the pelts of farmed animals that often exhibit a record of their natural life cycle such as tick bites, scratches and cuts which lend character to each finished product. The finest leather craftsmen make each one by hand that results in no two products being identical, after which – lotion specifically formulated for exotic leathers is applied by hand to clean, moisturize and protect the leather. We’re proud of each item we produce and are confident you’ll enjoy them for many years.”

They’re definitely right to be proud of the product. It’s really beautiful. Who knew python skin can be so soft and supple?

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The texture is incredible. It’s very different from my lambskin pen case (which I also love, and is made by this same manufacturer) in that its textures are amazing. This definitely looks like it will age well with proper care. From the feedback I got from people who used pen cases and wraps from this manufacturer, the cases don’t cause stains. Note that improperly cured leather can cause unsightly tarnishing on the metal and gold parts of your pens.

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I like that the pen slots are also generous without being too roomy. My biggest pen is the Sheaffer Lifetime Senior, which is bigger in girth than the Bexley Corona. It’s a comfortable fit.

I think it’s a wonderful pen case. I bought directly from the reseller, but I think this is also available in Rustans’ outlets. I’m trying to find out where and will update my post as soon as I get the information.