Day 245 of Project 365: Hand-lettering.

I managed a little hand-lettering practice before bed tonight. Cristina Vanko’s “Hand-Lettering for Everyone” is great stuff, especially for the typography basics.

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  • Ink: Diamine Ancient Copper
  • Pen: Conklin All-American (1.1mm italic nib)
  • Paper: Bloc Rhodia No. 16

Writing from: my study in Portland. Listening to: the freight trains.

Day 157 of Project 365: New old pens.

My mom brought me a couple of old fountain pens that she found in her rummage sale and antique shop adventures in Chicago. One is a white Sheaffer with a medium steel nib in great condition, and the other I am still trying to identify. If it weren’t so hot I would take the time to photograph it properly. Maybe tomorrow when this heat wave will supposedly break. 


I’m thrilled with the white Sheaffer, which only required a bit of cleaning to bring it to working condition. It has an unfussy nib that starts true every time, making it a daily carry that I can easily pass along to someone who expresses an interest in fountain pens. 

The other pen is prettier but needs work. I haven’t done more than minor adjustments on a nib before, or replaced an ink sac, and this requires both. But it seems like a fun challenge! 

Writing from: the game room. Listening to: my finger pads on the tablet screen. 

Day 135 of Project 365: My shot.

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This nasty little cold is all-consuming so all I’ve got today is doodling of a line from the musical “Hamilton” that I have been enamored with since last October.

  • Inks: Noodler’s Apache Sunset & Diamine Ancient Copper
  • Pens: Conklin All-American (1.1mm italic nib) & Esterbrook Dollar Pen (broad nib)
  • Paper: Midori Traveler’s Notebook Refill 013 (Lightweight Paper)

Writing from: my study. Listening to: I bet you can guess.

Day 134 of Project 365: Four-list method. 


Time to refocus on my health, now that the parental visit is over and I managed to catch a cold.

I don’t do diets. Not being able to eat gluten is enough of a restriction for me, and I think that non-medically-mandated diets can encourage problematic relationships with food. I do, however, fully support reasonable guidelines for healthy eating. I first discovered Alton Brown’s four-list method about a year ago, and since then I have used Evernote to track my own progress with it. Today I decided to switch to a page in my Bullet Journal. I’m still fiddling with the layout but nothing beats pretty ink on nice paper.

Maybe the orange ink will encourage me to eat more carrots. I can’t believe I haven’t eaten a single carrot all week!

  • Ink: Noodler’s Apache Sunset
  • Pen: Conklin All-American, tortoiseshell, 1.1mm italic nib
  • Paper: Midori Traveler’s Notebook, regular size, with Tomoe River Paper Booklet (Taroko Design) from Red Pen Travelers

Writing from: my study. Listening to: snippets of recorded voices in FunkyPlaid’s study. I heard the word “libraries” …

Day 104 of Project 365: Hang on tightly, let go lightly.

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We all have those days. You know the kind. The emotional hits start and they keep on coming.  That’s when I turn to Jack’s mantra from “Croupier”, a favorite film of mine. And some pretty ink the color of well-loved blue jeans doesn’t hurt at all.

  • Ink: Private Reserve Midnight Blues
  • Pen: Pilot Vanishing Point LE (Medium)
  • Paper: Bloc Rhodia No. 16

Writing from: my makeshift study in the dining-room. Listening to: “Your Best American Girl” by Mitski.

Day 101 of Project 365: Trying to define yourself.

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We had a thought-provoking discussion with friends over dinner tonight. During a lull in the conversation, I glanced over at the server’s workstation and saw an Alan Watts quotation on it.

It reminded me of my favorite Alan Watts quotation, so I decided to practice printing a bit.

  • Ink: Noodler’s Apache Sunset
  • Pen: Pelikan Ruby Red M320 (Fine)
  • Paper: Bloc Rhodia No. 16

Writing from: my makeshift study in the dining-room. Listening to: Maxine, who has an appointment with the refrigerator doctor tomorrow. Her buzzing days are numbered!

Day 81 of Project 365: Two sunsets.

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I adore Noodler’s Apache Sunset. Orange ink isn’t usually my thing but today’s Goulet Pens blog post inspired me to compare how the ink performs in two different pens.

Because the Pilot VP medium nib doesn’t put as much ink on the page as the fine nib on the Pelikan M320 does, the shading is more subtle. I’m enjoying how deep the orange gets with the Pelikan, though. Plus the colors of the pen itself fit more with the “sunset” theme.

Writing from: my makeshift study in the dining-room. Listening to: Maxine the refrigerator buzz and chug.

Day 67 of Project 365: Noodler’s Apache Sunset.

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It was a long, dark time with only one bottle of ink, but I now have another one that brightens things up considerably: Noodler’s Apache Sunset. I’ve been interested in this ink for a while, and after seeing it perform in Brian Goulet’s review of his top seven shading inks I decided I’d shove myself out of my comfort zone enough to try an orange ink.

Apache Sunset does not disappoint. It has a crazy amount of shading, even with a fine nib, from pale gold to vermilion. And this is on a Rhodia No. 16 6 x 8 1⁄4″ Spiral Dot Grid notepad. Things get even wackier on Tomoe River paper, but that will have to wait for a proper ink review.

Writing from: a quiet room in Marin. Listening to: the rattle of a floor register. (Zen guards the heat greedily.)  

Day 34 of Project 365: Emerald.

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The day I feared has arrived: one of the three fountain pens I filled right before Day 20 ran out of ink. (This photo-a-day project is handy because now I know how much ink my Conklin All-American holds, in days, which is more useful to me than milliliters.)

Luckily for me, I married a man who stashes ink in other countries.

Kind friends gave us a bottle of J. Herbin’s Emerald of Chivor, one of their 1670 Anniversary inks renowned for its crazy sheen. I did my best with a Rhodia No. 16 6 x 8 1⁄4″ Spiral Dot Grid notepad, some amateurish calligraphy, and the camera on my phone, but you should see a master in action.

Not much cheers me up faster than writing with a nice pen filled with beautiful ink.

Writing from: a quiet home in Marin. Listening to: Zen “zip-lining” (what we call her tiny squeezebox snores).

Day 27 of Project 365: January.

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Today I missed a few opportunities for interesting photos: the view of Mount Tamalpais from my in-laws’ home, the all-but-deserted mall where FunkyPlaid and I got SIM cards for our phones, the tiny gopher nosing around the sunny back garden.

And now I feel like I am coming down with a cold, so I thought it would be a perfect time to crack open the Rhodia No. 16 6 x 8 1⁄4″ Spiral Dot Grid notepad that I won in a Rhodia Drive giveaway sometime last year. I’m using it to practice some lettering with my Conklin All-American. Rhodia paper loves fountain pen ink, and this snippet really shows off some of the remarkable shading of Diamine Ancient Copper.

Yep, that’s about all I have the energy for tonight. Now to sleep this proto-cold off …

Writing from: a quiet home in Marin. Listening to: vague sounds from a television somewhere else in the house.