Link Love: Official Mascot and more catch-up

Link Love Link MascotFirst, I’d like you to all admire my new and fully customized Link mascot thanks to my pal and co-worker Adan who, clearly, is a fabulous illustrator. I think I need Link on a t-shirt!

Now, on to the links:







Review: Campus A4 Pad

Campus A4 Pad

Beneath the rather banal cover of the Kokuyo Campus Report Pad A4 ($4.10), hides some pretty amazing paper. When I first peeled back the flimsy cover, I was greeted by the undersheet and went “Hmmm, is this what I ordered?” After flipping past that, I realized that the paper was actually blissfully blank and a very lightweight. It reminded be a little of the Tomoe River paper found in my Hobonichi Planner. Do I have you attention now?

Campus A4 Pad

The undersheet is conveniently printed on both sides. One side is just lined, the other side is marked with a grid.

Campus A4 Pad

The paper is lightweight enough that you can easily see the lines or grid undersheet through the paper. The undersheet is more heavyweight than the paper so it feel like it will be durable enough for use through a full pad of paper, even with the possibilities of ink transfer.

Undersheets are one of the reasons I love blank paper. If the paper light enough, or your undersheet is dark enough, you can quickly have lined or grid paper to work from but then not be distracted by the lines once you’ve written on the paper. If you’re sketching, you can skip the undersheet altogether and you have a clear, blank of expanse to inspire you. With blank paper, you get the best of all worlds.

Campus A4 Pad
Now, how well does the paper perform in writing tests? Excellently, that’s how. I put it through its paces with gel, rollerball, pencil and fountain pens and not one bled or smeared. I didn’t track dry times but even with my smeary, left-handedness, I didn’t have any smudges. The only pen that led through was a Sharpie marker but I tried it just to see if it would.

Campus A4 Pad

From the reverse of the paper, you can see that there is quite a bit of show-through because the paper is so lightweight but nothing leaked through except the Sharpie, which I expect on all paper but cardboard boxes. I like this paper so much, I considered putting it in the queue as a regular pen testing notebook so I thought I better compare it to the current reigning champ, the Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank.

Rhodia Pad vs. Campus Pad

The Rhodia pad paper is on the left, the Campus pad is on the right. As you can see, the Rhodia paper is considerably brighter white. The Campus pad is a soft white. Which, for my purposes, rules the Campus out for ink testing since I like to be able to clearly see the colors without any color pollution as a result of the paper.

Rhodia Pad vs. Campus Pad

From the reverse, its easy to see that the Rhodia is a thicker stock so there is little show-through. I added the Sharpie marker just to have something bleed through so my camera had something to focus on.

If cost is an issue and you are looking for a lay-flat writing pad with easy, tear-away sheets AND is fountain pen-friendly, the Campus Report Pad is a great option. Its considerably cheaper than a Rhodia No. 18 pad and very similar size. For US folks, the A4 size is about an inch taller and a quarter inch narrower than “letter-sized” paper so fitting the sheets into a 3-ring binder or standard file folders might not work as well as the Rhodia No. 18 which perforates down to a standard letter-sized sheet.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Word Cards + Ink Drop = Ink Organization

Word Cards

I picked up this stack of Kyokuto Word Cards at Maido in San Francisco. They are small cards measuring just 1.5″ x 3.5″ (3.7 x 9 cm) and contain 100 sheets. I paid $2.75 for them. They are hole punched  at the narrow end and held together on a clamp ring making them perfect to store and collect ink sample swabs. Because the clamp ring is easy to open, ink samples can be rearranged by color or manufacturer on a whim.

I’ve started using them to have swab references of the Ink Drop colors I receive. I plan to go back and do all the previous color swabs so that I can get all OCD and mix and match them by color, which ones I’ve purchased and manufacturer at a whim.  The paper quality seems good, only one ink swab of the ten I tried showed any bleeding or feathering. Its bright white and my printer husband estimates the paper weight between 60 lb and 80 lb cardstock. Think of the card stock used for magazine blow-ins (those subscription cards that fall out the first time to open it) for a comparable weight. The cards are very smooth paper, there is little-to-no texture.

The nice thing about this set (or any of these mini-flash-cards-on-a-ring) is the ability to add more cards as needed. If they exceed the ring capacity, larger rings are available in most office supply stores or I can split the colors between multiple rings or divide them into smaller rings — all the reds, all the blues, all the blue-blacks, etc. I just love how easy it is to review, sort and be as anal about my ink collection as I want to be.

The closest product I could find online is the Maruman Mnemosyne Word Cards which measure 4.1 x 2.1″ (5.4 x 10.5 cm) with 100 sheets for $4.95. For more about the Maruman Mnemosyne Word Cards, check out the review on The Pen Addict. Have fun and nerd out with your new ink cards!

Word Cards Ink Drop

Review: G. Lalo’s Vergé de France Writing Pad

G. Lalo Writing Pad

For some time now, I’ve kept and ear and an eye open for good quality writing paper for letter writing. Stationery (not note cards) is getting harder and harder to find so I’m always on the look out for it. I’m familiar with the French line G. Lalo but had not tried out their paper until recently. It’s a textured paper with a classic laid finish which gives it some toothiness. I was concerned the toothiness would cause ink to bleed or skip but I should have expected that an upscale French paper would be as luxurious as it sounds.

G. Lalo Writing Pad

I’ve used  the G. Lalo Vergé de France pad for a couple weeks to write letters and found it easy to write on. The pad is a standard A5 size (5.75 x 8.25″) with a glue edge at the top to easily tear away sheets. Each pad had a cardstock cover with a metallic finish and gold embossed logo. It folds back easily. Each pad has 50 sheets.

The pad I purchased is listed as white but I found the stock to be a warm white/ivory color which is pleasingly warm but not so dark as to alter ink colors dramatically. The paper is blank but I use an undersheet with lines or grid under it to keep my lines neat and straight.

G. Lalo Writing Pad

The best thing about the paper is that not one single fountain pen I tried on it bled or splined or did anything untoward. This is THE paper for writing letters for sure. The paper is thick enough (100 gsm)  to use both the front and reverse of the stock too so its economical — relatively speaking.

I purchased my pad at Patrick & Co. Office Supply in San Francisco but can be purchased online through European Paper for $11.50/pad (if you purchase two or more, the price drops to $11) and they stock a range of colors including a lovely pistachio green. I might have to grab another pad. Matching envelopes are also available.

MINE! Sticky Notes

KnockKnock MINE sticky notes

Need to keep the snack-stealing, pencil-nabbing, cube-dwelling troglodytes from running away with your beloved office supplies or snacks? The KnockKnock MINE! sticky notes might do the trick. They are standard 3×3″ squares with removable adhesive and a place to clearly establish your ownership. $3.99 for a 100-sheet pad. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.

I have a CRAP sticky notes pad and, while they are not the stickiest sticky notes in the world, I always get comments on how fun they are.

Link Love: Boxing Day Edition

Fabulous video of a hand-writing automaton boy built over 240 years ago (via Letter Writers Alliance)

Paper & Notebooks:


Pen Pal Interview with Josh Scruggs (via Jet Pens Blog and 26symbols)

Pens and Ink:

Origami Santa


Link Love: Heart-Stealing Pens, Paper & Inks

Pen Buying Process

Pen Buying Process by Andrew Tan of Drewscape/Wibble Wibble


Notebooks & Paper:




Black Friday Purchases

Note: Some of the items mentioned below would not strictly be considered “office supplies” but I thought you might enjoy them. Please leave comments if you’d prefer less (or more) of this sort of post. Thanks!

I was in Chicago for Black Friday again this year. I decided the best course of action on such a nutball shopping day was to shop local. We definitely wanted to visit Pieritz again so we visited other shops in the Oak Park area as well. My husband discovered the fabulousness of HooDoo Headwear, a beautiful hat shop that opened in July. He bought three hats! And we both put the independent bookseller, The Book Table, on our radar after discovering a classic Chris Ware illustration of their storefront on their web site.

I visited with my pen pal Kimberly and her husband and we all had lunch at the Prairie Bread Kitchen. The cookies, coffee and tuna melt were all excellent.

Then we decided to trek into town and hit Challengers Comics and meet with the postal princess  and comic book super heroine Donovan. We also bought a load of new reading material.


At Pieritz I was able to purchase a new pad of Clairefontaine Triomphe paper ($5 at Pieritz, online from JetPens $9) and a pack of red labels ($4). At The Book Table, I bought a packet of Telegram Postcard from Girl of All Work ($6.75) and a copy of The Drunken Botanist ($16) which I highly recommend for the cocktail connoisseurs out there.


At Challengers, we bought an array of graphic novels including the Mind MGMT Volume 1, Mister X: Eviction and Batman: Death by Design. Oh, and I found a booklet of watercolor postcards by Jill Thompson (signed!).

What did you do with your Black Friday shopping day?

Link Love: Miscellany Loves Company


There were lots of hard-to-categorize bits of wonderfulness on the pen-blogospere this week including the epic link list from the Pen Addict Podcast Gift Guide Episode (#81) which is a link list onto itself.

Fabulous Miscellany:

Letter Writing and Post:




Pencil stylus by FiftyThree


Pardon my repeated turns to digital recently. As computers, cell phones and tablet devices are as much a part of our working life as pens, paper and staplers, I feel its worthwhile to include references occasionally.

Review: Poppin Jumbo Mobile Memos

Poppin Jumbo Mobile Memos

When Poppin suggested that they send me some of their Jumbo Mobile Memos in the hunt for the better-grade-of-sticky-note, I was thinking “jumbo” meant bigger than the standard 3×3″ square. You know, maybe 4×4″? Imagine my surprise when I got these.

Poppin Jumbo Mobile Memos

Here’ s picture with a regular, rather diminutive sticky note and the Jumbo Mobile Note. When Poppin said “Jumbo” they meant 8.5″x8.5″ JUMBO. Once my amusement at the monstrous size subsided, I wanted to try them out. How sticky are they (on the backing paper it say “I am super tacky”)? How well will they take ink? How awesome would they be for meeting brainstorms, notes on the office fridge and to really make a point?

Writing Sample

I was shocked at how well they took ink. For such a large piece of real estate, I wanted to try Sharpie Markers (or in my case, the discontinued but much-loved Crayola InkTank marker) and got from there. The wide felt-tip permanent marker wrote beautifully so I got out the pen arsenal and went to town, starting with a fountain pen with an italic nib. No problem. At this point, everything else seemed guaranteed to succeed and it did.

Writing Sample close-up

I tried a white gel pen, just to see, but the bright color overshadowed the opaque white gel pen. Otherwise, this paper works great!

Reverse side of Mobile Memo

Even the reverse side of the paper shows no ill effects. There’s a little show-through from the marker but that’s to be expected and not nearly as visible as I would have suspected.

Poppin Jumbo Mobile Memos

Sticky-wise, I hung these up on my chalkboard/memo board on Saturday afternoon and, as of Monday morning, they haven’t budged. The pink note was moved to a plastic surface and its still stuck. All-in-all, these are fun and effective. My supply closet will soon be chock-full of lime sticky notes, for sure!

A three-pack of assorted Jumbo Mobile Notes are $18, individual Jumbo Mobile Notes are $6 and available in yellow, orange, pink and lime. Mobile notes are also available in the more traditional 3×3″ size for $2 or packs of 10 for $12 in the same array of colors. Paper file flags that are 0.6×2″  are available in an assorted color pack of 15 pads with 5 different colors for $5.