Neatography (Sponsor)

Lindsey Hinkle believes in the timeless awesomeness of paper and the handwritten word. From those beliefs, Neatography was born.

Neatography offers stationery subscription services for paper enthusiasts. The contents of each mailing will be a surprise, and all goods are practical, unique in nature or design and of the utmost quality. Subscriptions are available on a monthly or quarterly schedule as well as a one-time purchase through the Shop. The Shop also carries a sampling of paper goods included in previous subscription packages. All items are purposefully chosen to inspire putting pen (or pencil) to paper.

Two packages are always available via subscription or through the shop. The Cards & Stamps package is for you snail mail lovers and contains 3 to 4 unique cards and various stylish postage stamps. The Paper Goods package contains a surprise offering from a collection of notepads, journals, calendars, greeting cards, labels, tags, sticky notes, and more.

Neatography hit its one year anniversary this month and to celebrate Lindsey is offering a 13% discount for all items in the Shop. Use the code PAPERVERSARY at checkout to receive the discount. Also, to celebrate the 13th curation of Paper Goods packages, Lindsey has a big giveaway going on the Neatography blog so head over and check it out!

My thanks to Neatography for sponsoring The Pen Addict this week.
Posted on October 27, 2014 and filed under Featured Sponsor.

Top 5 Pens - October 2014

Everything goes in cycles. At least that is what I tell myself regarding the pens, paper, and inks I use. It has been six months since my last update to my Top 5 Pens list, and in the past three months or so I have noticed a big change in my usage pattern. My fountain pen carry has dropped from up to 10 at a time to a rotating 3 max, and my gel, ballpoint, and drawing pen carry has gone way up.

There is one pen I am blaming this on: The Ti2 TechLiner. I'll never forget the first time Mike Bond showed me this pen. I didn't "get it" and was convinced I wouldn't like it. I've never been so wrong in my life. My Gonzodized Ti2 from Kickstarter arrived a couple of months ago and I've been hard pressed to leave home without it. And when I do forget it, I get upset. That's when you know a pen is a good one.

Notes on the rest of the list:

-- If someone has just found this blog and wants to dip their toes into the water of awesome pens I always recommend the Uni-ball Signo DX (UM-151), usually in the 0.38 mm tip size. That is a good reason to make it my #1 overall pen.

-- The TWSBI 580 is still the best bang-for-buck fountain pen going, and stays a solid #2 on the overall list. The Retro 51 Tornado also cracks the Top 5 overall once again. I use this pen more than I realize.

-- There isn't much new to be found in the Micro Tip Gel and In The Store lists. The top of those lists are solid with only a couple of tweaks towards the bottom.

-- I'm always juggling fountain pens, and that shows up in both the No-Brainers and Some-Brainers list. Don't look for those lists to settle down any time soon.

-- Same thing goes for the Fountain Pen Ink list. Blue black inks still are a priority but there has been some shuffling in the rankings. Also, is it fair to continue to list discontinued inks like Sailor Sky High?

-- Top 5 Roller Ball pens is a new addition. Also, is it rollerball or roller ball?

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions leave a comment or get in touch via Twitter or the Contact page.

Posted on October 27, 2014 and filed under Top 5.

Three Questions With Lindsay Nelson

The name Hobonichi has infiltrated the stationery lexicon in the US over the last couple of years, much of that thanks to Lindsay Nelson. Lindsay works for Hobonichi, providing the Japanese to English translations that have allowed the brand to expand outside of its homeland. My thanks to Lindsay for answering Three Questions.

1. What role do analog tools such as pens, pencils, and paper play in your day to day life?

I'm always blindly experimenting with my digital-analog balance. After reading about Getting Things Done, for example, I could tell it'd work well for me--but I had no clue whether I should use my iPhone or my paper planner. I'm fascinated by the idea of mastering a harmony between smart-phones and paper planners, so I'm still in the thick of trial-and-error to find it. Among other things, written to-do lists have totally trumped putting it in my phone; it's just not "real" enough when I type it in. My general rule is to outline long-term projects in Omnifocus and write each new daily agenda by hand in my daily planner. Budgets are also slipping through my fingers all the time, so I've been entertaining the thought of starting an old-fashioned ledger, for the same reason it feels more real spending cash than it does a credit card.

2. What are your favorite products you are currently using?

I'm going into my seventh year using the Hobonichi Techo, and I feel a real affinity with the product because it clicked from day one, although I've never, ever been a journaling person. I needed a planner for work, but I lived in Japan at the time, with a job that amounted to brainstorming ideas for projects I'd then have to manage myself. Muji notebooks are great, but I couldn't crawl out from creative slumps when I had a blank piece of paper plopped in front of me. Lined planners didn't feel free enough. The Hobonichi Techo gave me wide-open graph paper I could navigate around, but it was encircled it with a subtle structure that disappeared when I didn't need it.

Shigesato Itoi, who created the planner, said my favorite description of it--the page is a tatami room, and you can pick each area where you want to lay your futon, have your tea, watch TV, have friends over... I couldn't ever keep a diary because it was a chore to write out my day, but now, writing things out isn't a chore anymore. I experiment with pens, glue stuff in, jot down stream-of-consciousness notes, have friends write me silly messages, stuff like that. Paper and pens are fun for me again, and having a long row of old planners line my bookshelf is so neat, because I know these inane books will be precious fifty years from now. Gosh, I didn't mean for that to sound like an ad--I've just been using it since way before I began working with Hobonichi. 

My favorite black ink pens are the Sakura Pigma Micron sets because I've never had them smudge or bleed through paper, and they're just so handsome I could swoon. For colored pens, I love the Pentel Slicci, because they're sturdy, come in so many pretty colors, and most importantly, come in 0.4 size! That's my go-to size, because 0.1 or 0.2 is only comfortable when I'm writing in Japanese with its intricate characters, and 0.7 only works for writing in simpler English letters. So for someone who often writes in both languages, it's the perfect fit!

3. What creation or design of yours are you most proud of?

It's still a work in progress, but I'm most proud of the website I designed and created with the help of my husband before I began working for Hobonichi. It's a labor of love, but I haven't had any time to update it because I've been so busy with actual work. I'm actually hoping to use this site to track my progress with the digital-and-analog balancing experiments! (I'm also a big fat sucker for skeuomorphism.)

Posted on October 25, 2014 and filed under Three Questions.

Pen Chalet

My thanks to Pen Chalet for sponsoring the blog this week. Don't forget to check out these amazing deals exclusively for readers of The Pen Addict. There are some all-time classics in there!

Posted on October 24, 2014 .