Timbuk2 Terracycle Mail Bag Messenger Bag

Timbuk2 Terracycle Mail Messenger

Ever wanted a bag made form old USPS mail bags? Well, now’s your chance. Timbuk2 has introduced the Terracycle messenger bag made from old canvas mail bags. Each bag is unique and this option will only be available for a limited time. They are available in small ($99) or the medium ($109) and in original white canvas or in an overdyed brown (seems more UPS than USPS, but who am I to judge?).

I REALLLLLLLLYYYYY want one.

Timbuk2 Terracycle Mail Messenger in brown

More Than Just Pens

Washi Tape from JetPens

Sometimes I forget there’s more to JetPens than just pens. I recently went on a hunt for some cool non-pen goodies on Jet Pens. First, Jet Pens is now stocking an assortment of washi tape. I got a roll of MT red cross tape  ($4) and a roll of Pine Book Nami Nami deco tape which has keys and locks printed on it and a wavy edge ($3.65).

MT is THE original brand of washi tape and the best quality by far. The printing on the tape is always very good and its stickier than some of the other brands. I do hope that Jet Pens continues to stock the MT tapes and offers a wider selection of prints and sizes in the future. Those $3 and $4 rolls are a great way to bump up to that free shipping and great for adding a little color to your workspace, notebooks and letters.

Kurochiku Japanese Pattern Eco-Bags Sugar Candy

I also decided to try out the Kurochiku Japanese Pattern Eco-Bag ($10). There were about a dozen different patterns to choose from but I chose the simplest which was navy blue with colored dots on it. The pattern is Konpeitou which translated to “Sugar Candy”. I guess the dots do look like little candies.

This is one of those reusable shopping bags that fold up into a small carrying case. The carrying case was pretty heavy duty with the same fabric as the bag with a padded lining. The actual bag is shaped like a traditional tote bag (a big rectangle) with straight straps and a wide gusseted bottom which will allow it to hold lots of books, groceries or other shopping goodies. The material is considerably heavier duty nylon than other reuasble bags I’ve had and the seams are all nicely finished. I can definitely see using this for a long time. It seems durable enough to stand up to a trip through the washing machine if it gets dirty.

I might have a little trouble refolding it properly to fit back into the carrying case but I’ll cram it back in for awhile. All in all, I’m quite impressed with the bag and can see why its $10 and not $1.99. It is made to look good and last.

Kurochiku Japanese Pattern Eco-Bags Sugar Candy

So, there’s more to Jet Pens than just pens. Happy shopping (and don’t forget to bring your own bag)!

Review: Nock Co Lookout 3-Pen Holster

Nock Co Lookout Pen Holster

I’ve always been a bit hesitant to invest in a holster-style pen case. Most of my pens retail for less than $50 so it seemed like overkill to invest in an expensive carrying case for my hacked Metropolitan or my TWSBI Mini. But thankfully, the Nock Co Kickstarter campaign put the Lookout Pen Holster in just the right price point for my assortment of loved-but-reasonably-priced pens. I selected the navy blue case with gray lining. Most of my pens are clear, silver, grey or black so the simple, classic color scheme seemed like the right choice. Besides, the initial offering from Nock Co did not include ANY green cases (hint, hint, Mr. Dowdy!).

Nock Co Lookout Pen Holster

The case feels slightly padded which makes me feel like my pens are getting even more protection and the flap tucks easily under the strap. There’s no snap or velcro to make opening and closing the case distracting in a classroom or meeting which is a big plus for me. Even with the padded feel and the three divided slots, this is still a svelte, compact case. Just enough room for your three “daily carry” pens/pencils — nothing more, nothing less.

Nock Co Lookout Pen Holster

My longest pen is the Lamy Studio but I think the clip placement has more to do with how high it sits in the case than the actual pen length. I think the green Karas Kustoms Render K looks especially nice against the grey and blue. I even tested the ginormous INK! fountain pen in the case and there’s plenty of room to spare both in height and in the width of the stitched pockets. The only pens that don’t fit quite so well are my tiny pocket pens like the Kaweco Sports and Monteverde Poquito. Maybe there will be a Little Lookout in the future?

I’m not sure what the pricing will be on the Lookout when the Nock Co store opens but I’d venture to say that $20 seems like a reasonable price for a well-made, made-in-USA pen holster case.

Review: Beans Cut Mini Scissors

Raymay beanscut

While in San Francisco, I picked up the Raymay BeansCut mini scissors. It is a teeny tiny pair of snippers and a side slit for opening envelopes. Its extreme portability and fine jelly green color made it something I really wanted to try. At $6.50, it seemed like a reasonable investment, one way or another.

Raymay BeansCut

I wanted to compare it to my usual letter opener and you can clearly see that the BeansCut is considerably more portable. The flipside is that the scissors are so tiny  (compared to a dirty pair of 4″ scissors I keep on my desk) that they are only usable for snipping threads, trimming washi tape and possibly opening taped packages. Alternately, as a knitter, its a perfect tool to snip yarn and its small size made it easy to fit in my knitting kit.

When I tested the slicer on the side for opening envelopes, it worked well on plain paper envelopes like bills and air mail envelopes, but if the envelope was even slightly heavier like a wedding invitation it really didn’t work very well. I ended up using the scissors to open heavier paper envelopes and the slicer for lightweight papers.

The Raymay BeansCut is available in four colors from JetPens for $6.50. I bought mine at the Maido shop in SF in Union Square.

Bag Lust: Po Campo’s Midway Weekend

Po Campo Midway Weekender

 

Po Campo is a bag company out of Chicago specializing in stylish bags for the active urban dweller and bike-centric woman. Their latest creation is the Midway Weekender. It’s designed to comfortably hold a change of clothes and miscellaneous personal  items. On the bottom portion is a zipper compartment for shoes or sweaty gym clothes. The straps on the side will accommodate a towel or rolled yoga mat. Can be carried by the handles or by the shoulder strap included.

I think its a great looking bag, good looking but truly functional. The bag starts shipping February 17th. A bit late for my travel needs but I’ll definitely be considering one of these in the future.

The bag measures 16″ wide x  13″ tall x  7.5″ deep. Large enough to tote a laptop as well as all those items needed on a trip or just going back and forth to the office. It’s available in black, brown and a blue-and-white stripe. Vegan materials. $99.

(via Po Campo)

Winter Session + Doane Paper = Lustworthy

WS + DP pouch

Doane Paper has once again created a limited edition team-up product, this time with Winter Session out of Denver. The team created a heavyweight waxed canvas pouch to fit into a 3-ring binder to go along with Doane’s 3-ring loose leaf paper. The pouch measures 11×7.5 and include an industrial zipper, heavy-duty grommets and an unstated leather tag. It’s simple, modern and enviably covetable. $45

WS + DP pouch

Make a Mark Stationery Box

Little Low Laser Etched Wood Pencil Box $48 (via Etsy)

Little Low Laser Etched Wood Pencil Box $48 (via Etsy)

Each beautifully laser-etched stationery box ($48) from Little Low on Etsy comes filled with a Marvy Le Pen (assorted colors), a wood-barreled calligraphy pen with nib, a Zebra #2 mechanical pencil and a roll of washi tape. The lid slides and inside is two compartments — one for writing tools and one for smaller bits. Be sure to check out their other products too. Hint, hint there are some great Valentine’s ideas in here.

Get Organized: Todoist Next

Todoist Next screenshots

Today, Todoist upgraded its platform with web-, mobile-, browser- and desktop-based versions of the app and an all-new, streamlined look. They are definitely setting themselves to compete with Wunderlist. The new version offers free collaboration and what appears to be extensive functionality, especially with the collaboration tools and could give Basecamp a run for its money for small teams.

The regular apps and web interface are free. The premium account ($29/yr) offers additional features including adding notes and file attachments, task search, color-coded labels, email or text task reminders, automatic backup and synchronization with iCal. I think the premium version will be the way to go since being able to add text, images and URLs to a task would make things so much simpler. The price per year is less than Wunderlist which is $49/yr for collaboration but Wunderlist allows notes and images in the free version but there’s no indication in a list or sub-list that a photo or note is associated with the item. So it works… sort of. I certainly don’t think I’ll miss the wood grain if I switch.

I waffle between loving the cross-platform convenience of digital to-do lists and missing its paper counterparts and physically crossing things off, adding details and saving the completed lists. Being able to add a task on my phone, then review it or deal with it when I’m parked in front of my computer has a lot of appeal though paper could do the same thing.

This app seems like its is the best of all possible to-do list apps, sleek, streamlined and upgradeable for a small fee. Would you or have you tried any of these digital to-do lists?

Review: Staedtler Triplus Mobile Office Set

Staedtler Triplus Blackbox Set

I must confess I am a sucker for a good packaged set so when I spied the limited edition Staedtler Triplus Mobile Office Set ($11.50 per set), I clicked “buy it now” before I knew what happened. I also love triangular shaped tools like the Faber-Castell Grip 2001 so again, “buy. it. now.”

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The set came in a black plastic carrying case and the pen (and pencil) clip clasp into the case. The cover clicks into place and can be folded back and clicked to itself to make the tools easy accessible. Inside, there are six tools: a ballpoint pen, a rollerball pen and a Fineliner all in black ink plus a blue Fineliner, a 0.5mm mechanical pencil and a fluorescent highlight in yellow.

Overall, the tools are quite long giving them the weight and balance of an art tool rather than a pocket pen. Capped, the pens are a little over 6.25″ long. Campared that to a Sakura Pigma Micron which is a mere 5.25″ long or a Marvy Le Pen which is 5.625″.

The blue and black Fineliners are 0.3mm felt tip and comparable to the feel of a Sakura Pigma Micron, Staedtler Pigment Liners, Sharpie Pens or Marvy LePens. I like the feeling of the tips. They seem more durable than a Sharpie Pen of a LePen which start to feel dull pretty quickly. I’m curious to try a few of the other colors available now. The only downside of the Fineliners is that they are not waterproof. They are a slightly water resistant though.

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Because all the tools are comparable in diameter to the average pencil, I was curious how the highlighter would work. Its a brush shaped tip to allow underlining with the tip and highlighting by angling the pen sideways. It works okay but not as easy to highlight as the chisel tipped versions of the classic Textsurfer. The color is fabulously highlighter yellow though.

The mechanical pencil was an odd delight. Overall, its a similar metallic asphalt gray as the Fineliners but with fine silver stripes running horizontally down the barrel. The tip area is a metal silver adding a little bit of weight to the “business end”. To keep its profile consistent with the other tools (and to keep the eraser clean) it retracts into the body. When fully twisted out, there is 0.75″ of easer which is considerably more than most mechanical pencils. The eraser is white so I’m going to assume that Staedtler had the forethought to use their legendary Mars Plastic eraser as it seems to erase quite well. The point end can also be retracted by pressing the advance halfway to make it easier to travel. The lead holds firmly so there’s no feedback or wiggle. When clicking to advance the leads, there’s is a little black bellows below the eraser cap that compresses. Its an oddly steampunk detail. The pencil separates at the bellows to add additional leads.

 

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Now, I have to talk about the tool I was less pleased by: the ballpoint and the rollerball.  The ballpoint preformed well. Its a medium point, black ink and had a soft-touch rubber finish which feels good in the hand. The tip and the end are both chrome metal and the cap is clear plastic so its a very nice looking pen. The bummer was that the cap was hard to replace on the ballpoint which is odd. I had my husband try out the ballpoint as he favors ballpoints and rollerballs. He found that he had to bear down on the ballpoint to get it to write which caused his fingers to slide up the barrel.

And last, the rollerball would not play nicely with my wonky left-handedness. It gapped, didn’t put down a consistent line and generally annoyed me. I’ve had such luck with rollerballs lately I forgot how infuriating rollerballs can be for me. In the hands of my right-handed spouse, it worked, but he found it gloppy and imprecise.

Overall, I loved the portability of the set and several of the tools are good quality. The triangular shape is comfortable and aesthetically appealing. I suspect that the case can be refilled with other tools in the Triplus line so it will not be left with an empty slot when I banish the rollerball and ballpoint.

 

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A smaller classic Tripus Mobile Office set with just four tools (ballpoint, pencil, highlighter and finerliner)  and a clear plastic carrying case is just $8.90.

(via Jet Pens)

Review: The Hightower from Nock Co.

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I was lucky enough to receive an early prototype sample of the Nock Co. Hightower case in the awesome Kickstarter edition peacock. The Hightower is one of the six products in the initial product assortment from Nock Co. which is currently available through their Kickstarter page only.

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There is no branding on the outside. Its a blank slate for you to add patches or keep it plain. I love that the Nock Co. branding is subtle inside and not emblazoned on the front.

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The Hightower is designed to hold three pens on the left hand side and a small notebook (might I recommend a Field Notes?) on the right. Though the right hand could also be used as a freestyle pen pocket. The interior of the teal case is navy blue and the trim is black. The flap keeps pens protected and keeps them from falling out.

I have never really used a slotted pen case before being more of a “throw every tool into a zipper bag” girl so it actually took me emailing Brad to figure out I needed to slide the clips over the slot to keep them in place. I kept losing my itty bitty Kawecos into the slot abyss. (Shakes head at self and says exasperatedly, “Idiot.”) Once that issue was addressed, I started playing with which notebooks I could fit into the pocket.

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I had a  Field Notes, a Miro Utility notebook and a Cambria Cove (discontinued Hallmark subsidiary catalog company) notebook in it over the course of the week. Then I stuck them all in. It was a little bulky but it worked. There’s not quote enough room for a pocket-sized hardcover notebook — it fits but its a little difficult to slide in and out and close with pens in it as well. This didn’t stop me from carrying it around most of the week with ONE pocket notebook and my iPhone stuck in the pocket though. That worked pretty well.

The bottom line is that this notebook/pen case is flexible, very well-constructed and easy to use. I kind of fell in love with it this week, not that I should be the least bit surprised with all the thought and care Brad and Jeffrey put into creating these products.

Now I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the line. There’s three weeks left in the Kickstarter and then they’ll start production with plans to deliver by January 2014.

(more details are available in my previous post, Nock Co. or their Kickstarter page. And their are some other reviews of the Nock Co. products listed on Link Love this week.)