A little bit of everything…

Monthly Archives: April 2009

Monday was a productive day and I had a real nice selection of pens to choose from… not my entire arsenal but a great sampling.


Too many pens? NEVER!

I decided to give my Staples OptiFlow in blue a good workout.

House brands are not a sure thing. I am happy to report that Staples got it right with these. The pack of 6 pack includes 2 black and blue and one each in red and green. They are a 0.5mm rollerball with a slightly thicker than average barrel. The cap posts securely and makes a nice solid click sound when replaced.

Staples OptiFlow

Staples OptiFlow in blue, red, green & black 0.5mm

Staples OptiFlow

The blue ink is a true blue. The 0.5mm line is average for the size and can be seen next to the black UniBall Vision 0.7mm in the pics. I haven’t experienced any skipping or trouble writing with these pens yet and I don’t foresee any issues in the future.

Today’s Arsenal

Wednesdays are my days off and I like to try to do something fun. Today Matt and I went to the laundry. I decided to work on my pirates and socks combo idea. I am happy to share the results with you.

Pirate n Socks

I would have liked to have had a Sharpie or Mark-It with me. I think a thicker line would have been much nicer BUT I am going to keep working on this idea so stay tuned.

I also filled a page with some cute doodles of robots, shapes with faces, a flying bird, a monkey and other fun stuff. I drew these with my Uniball Vision 0.7mm and accented with a pink Pilot G2 mini and Papermate gel pens.

Doodles 20090429

Click to go to flickr - more sizes available.

Do you see my doodles getting looser and more free? I feel it when I grab my pen and place the tip to the paper. I no longer pre-criticize and censor. I just let it happen and work with it. I don’t tense up and think about messing up the shapes or ideas.

Lastly, I had to share this. Monday at work I found a piece of newsprint with a message for us all. It made me smile… life is short and we should try to have some fun every day.

Take care and be well.

Wakey Wakey Eggs n Bakey.

Have you ever gone to a breakfast buffet and eaten WAY too much meat? I think three bacon or sausage links is universal because you SHOULDN’T eat more than that. I probably did not learn my lesson though.

This lil doodle came out right before Matt swept me away to enjoy the brunch buffet at Charcoal Grill. numnomnom.


I know its not hilarious but it made you smile – didn’t it? I used a black Flair. It’s marker-like solid black line is perfect for quick doodles. The yellow yoke is Sharpie highlighter in non-fluorescent yellow. And yes that is white-out … I made a “oopsie” and fixed it quickly. I had a breakfast buffet to get to people!

It’s been raining for two straight days. The only plus side to spring rain is – FLOWERS!

One of my gardens featuring daffodils and hyacinths.

Matt and I ventured to a few stores for shopping. I was a very bad budgeted human and purchased the 20 Staedtler fineliner set with case. I’m sure you’ll be seeing those soon enough! Don’t expect new purchases as frequently in the weeks to come. I’m a thrifty gal and my budget is screaming at me for my splurges this month. But as everyone knows – treating yourself once in awhile is a good thing.

My major bargain purchase today was a dozen little Easter chicks. Aren’t they cute? Okay so they are strange but in a fun kind of “omgosh they are all staring at ME” way. Each box of six was marked $2.49 but I got them for 24 cents each! Yay for clearance! My army of lil artificial chicks is growing… fear them.

They're staring at me!

Did you notice the new header? No? Okay go scroll back to the top and take a gander. What do you think? I whipped it up with Gimp 2. If you can’t afford to purchase Photoshop, Gimp is an excellent alternative and its FREE! There are free brushes available from generous graphic folks and other compatible goodies. If you haven’t used a graphic program before, give Gimp a try. There are tutorials around the web to help you get your bearings and best of all, if you decide it isn’t for you, your budget won’t be crying.

I’ll leave you with two pictures of Iggy Pup.

Iggy Pup

Keep your head up - like this Mum.

Iggy Pup

Ya'll come back and visit again... pwease.

Take care and be well.

As some of you may know, my Friday left a lot to be desired.

I spent my time in school preparing myself for a career in art. In college, a professor told us that a slim percentage of us art majors would work in the field. I graduated with my BA in studio art and began my quest. I was laid off in 2004 from a job devoid of art and again a couple of years later from a job that was semi-art related. After finding a new job that would allow my artistic side to shine, I thought I could settle in and let things develop. I now find myself at an impasse. I will figure it all out but right now I feel that static energy deep in my gut that reminds me of the hard times I put behind me.

I drew up a quick card for my coworker Leslie yesterday. I used my Super Sharpie. I don’t often grab the jumbo sized but it felt like a good day to be armed with a super-sized permanent marker. Leslie enjoyed the card since things have been stressful and unpleasant recently in her world too. I included the caterpillar on the inside because the one on the doodle page from before got such a big reaction from her. :]
Card for Leslie006

My recent jump back into doodling must have knocked something lose because I keep coming up with different ideas for goofy-doodle-esque creatures. Nothing too heavy or involved, nothing serious or realistic. Here are two more that have fallen out of my Uniball Vision pens.


It’s liberating to feel I didn’t make any errors and no criticism is likely since these are silly doodle monsters that can be anything I want. I can be very hard on myself – a person’s worse critic is often themselves after all. But in doodle-mode I can set seriousness and troubled thoughts aside and just doodle myself happy again.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Take care and be well.

First off, if you love notebooks and are addicted like I am – then you will definitely want to swing over to Notebook Stories. Giveaways are great but be sure to poke around and check out the other great stuff too.

Uniball & Circa

Today's rock: compact circa planner/life aid and Uniball Visions.

Today was one of “those days” for me. Luckily it wasn’t pen related angst. Do you have any pens that are several years old but still hold their own? I grabbed my black Uniball Visions, fine and micro, and they never let me down despite being 5 years old or more.

Eye catching ends of caps, no?

I recall sitting in my high school class and asking a friend if I could see her pen. The end of the cap was so unique and eye catching. That week I went out and bought my first pack of Vision pens. I’ve used several up over the years. But I always keep one waiting in my arsenal for active duty.

The fine is a 0.7mm but writes a  heavier line to me. The micro weighs in at a 0.5mm and also seems slightly heavy to me but not too far from the average. I failed to capture any writing samples when the lighting was ample. Instead I snapped this shot which makes the cap ends look like eyeballs. Can you see a face? heheh (yuh – imma dork)

This totally reminds me of the Geico commercial's money stack with eyes.

After work I needed some stress relief. Iggy and I enjoyed a nice walk in the sun. Nothing clears my mind and relaxes me like a good walk. There are cases of people walking themselves out of depression, literally. I can see why walking is recommended by many therapists. I wonder if bubble blowing is ever endorsed.


Breaking News: Iggy Pup eats bubble. And likes it.

Since the sun decided to come out this evening, Iggy and I decided to enjoy it a little longer. I grabbed my bottle of bubbles and did my best to get the wind to cooperate. Iggy Pup taste tested the bubbles and didn’t seem to mind. The few that blew back at me were less than satisfactory to my palette. To each his/her own, right?

Take care and be well.


See I really do exist!

It’s challenging for me to balance out my life and unfortunately art often falls by the wayside. It depresses me when I do a mental tally of days since I last held a pencil or paintbrush and I can’t even recall. In efforts to rejoin the art world, I declared today a Doodle Day…

I grabbed my Pentel click eraser and my new Apex mechanical pencil and got to doodling this morning after a few games of Scramble.

Doodle Day

Click to go to flickr - more sizes and notes available.

Matt and I ran our errands, grabbed some lunch at OCB (Old Country Buffet) and I doodled at every possible moment.

Doodle Day

click to go to flickr joy

After a stop at my parents and quite a few rounds of Boggle, we came home and took Iggy Pup for a nice walk. The weather today was so nice compared to the rainy and cold of yesterday and Monday. Iggy and I went back out and I did some more doodling while he watched the yard and neighborhood. He also insisted on taste testing the dirt and dry leaves from last fall. mmm yum.

sketchbook, pentel eraser, apex pencil, pilot precise gel

Doodle Day

click to go to flickr.

Yeah I have a thing for monkeys who throw poop and robots and odd shapes with cute lil faces. I can’t help it…

The point of all this was to get something out – even if it won’t be framed or takes me less time to draw it than it does for me to cap the pen afterward. Don’t let yourself criticize your own doodles. I find I have to struggle to keep my inner critic quiet but once I place duct tape over her big mouth, I have a lot of fun. I encourage you to grab a pen or pencil and doodle something – anything. See if you don’t feel lighter after.

Take care and be well. Also – Happy Earth Day!

It’s been awhile … my apologies for not posting. The good news is I’ve added to my arsenal. More pens = happy!

First I need to show you my newest disposable fountain pen – the Itoya Blade. I opted for blue ink since I have a Pilot Varsity in Black.

Itoya Blade

The pen is slightly thinner and longer than the Varsity. I find it very comfortable to hold. The nib is much finer than the Varsity (US variety). The ink comes out smoothly and there is very little “noise” while writing. The blue is a great shade, not to light or dark. I really enjoy this pen!

Itoya Blade

Both the Varsity and Blade offer a inexpensive entry into the world of fountain pens. They sport visible ink supplies and smooth writing experiences. Varsity pens can be “hacked” and refilled with the fountain pen ink of your choice. Unfortunately every Itoya Blade hack attempt I have read about failed and resulted in the disposal of this disposable fountain pen. If anyone knows of a success in refilling one, please let me know.

Uniball Signo 207
The next addition to my arsenal is the pack of Uniball Signo 207s in 8 marvelous silky gel inks. I have been debating on this purchase for a LONG time. I broke out my black 207 0.7mm for work last week and fell in love with the silky gel ink. That did it – something so smooth and in pretty colors cannot be bad, right?

The pack includes Light Blue, Orange, Green, Pink, Purple, Red, Blue and Black. This picture below is off a bit but you get the gist of the colors. The pink is too neon for my liking. I just want a pink gel pen that I can write with without burning my retinas or straining myself into blindness. Any recommendations? Also, the pink seems to write a finer line that the other colors. Maybe its an illusion because the color is so much lighter. The purple is quite dark but rich, I’m pretty sure it will grow on me. The orange is yummy and I’m addicted to it – surprised?

Uniball Signo 207

I used to green on Friday. It was a deadline day but green just felt right. Maybe its my longing for my time in the garden and for leaves on the trees.

Uniball Signo 207Uniball Signo 207

Some of you may not be aware of the point difference between the Signo 207 in Med. (0.7mm) and Micro (0.5mm) so I did a side by side comparison.

I doodled a bit last night. This was the result… Doubt you’ll see these in the Louvre any time soon.

Good night all… Iggy Pup and I have some kitties to cuddle with and some sheep to count.
Iggy Pup
Take care and be well.

Iggy Reviews Pens Too

Iggy Pup at his workstation. HP laptop, Pilot Varsity Pens in turquoise, purple & black, lots and lots of blankets

Iggy and I had some time to just relax and surf the web yesterday. We took the chance to get our three Pilot Varsity fountain pens up and writing again. Both had sat unused for awhile and just needed a dip in good old fashioned water. Thanks to all the people who gave me hints – the purple was/is the fussiest.

Varsity pens are a great way to enjoy the fountain pen world without spending a lot of money or having a heart attack every time you misplace one. (My Levenger fountain pen from Matt is going to be kept safe and sound here at home so I never have to worry).

fountain pen

Click to go to Flickr for more fountain pen pics.

Finances are no fun these days. I can almost hear the chorus of “Amen”s from across the globe. My JetPens order is taking a back seat but I have my list. My list of “Going To Have” pens – and it is VERY exciting to me. I’m such a nerd – just the thought of getting my hands on new uber elite writing utensils gives me the squees. I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of advice and recommendations!

I worked on my crochet zig-zag ripple yellow and blue blanket today. No major progress so I didn’t snap a picture. I really didn’t do anything worth snapping a picture of this weekend. Unless you’d like to see the pile of sprouted maple seeds I pulled out of my gardens or an after shot of the fish bowls I cleaned or the toilet I made sparkle. (I loathe cleaning toilets, don’t you?)

I spent time with my family today and it was wonderful. My nephews are fifteen this year and it blows my mind how time flies. My journaling lately is filled with thoughts about time and aging. Writing with my Varsity last night made me realize that I would like to improve my penmanship. There is no time like the present. I know I need to practice being more loose and relaxed while I write – which will help my tendinitis dramatically I imagine. Does anyone have any tips or links to share?

All in all, this weekend was a good one. I look forward to picking up a pen or two or three and starting the week right tomorrow.

Take care and be well.

I have been guilty of filling up my cart at JetPens a gazillion billion times but never checking out… I chicken out. With so many uber options how can I be sure I picked the right ones?

This is a huge burden I am not ready to bear alone.

Now comes my plea – help me decide! Pretty please!

Let me know what you think I should order … be honest and if you could offer a little bit of a reason behind your suggestions, that would be even more spectacular!

edit: Okay a little guidance has been requested :]

I adore gel pens these days … liquid ink seems to be my gig. The frixion pens that PenAddict reviewed today looks fun. Bright sassy fun unconventional colors are a must… but I won’t say no to a blue-black or something a little different from the norm. See what I mean? I really do like too many pens! :}
Take care, be well and let the commenting begin!


Thank you so much for the input everyone~! I really appreciate the comments here and at Twitter!

My order plans are shaping up – But I’m still not certain.

My fountain pen envy (penvy) is roaring along. I love the look of the Lamy Vista and dream of stocking my arsenal with bottles of gorgeous inks. But I see that JetPens has the Varsity pens in fine point! I’ve seen the “hack” of refilling these ‘disposable’ fountain pens and I’m wondering if this is the route for my ever changing pen fascinations.

Dowdyism at PenAddict has lit a fire in me to try the Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 Gel Pens. I’m leaning towards the 0.38mm tip but am just overwhelmed with the variety of colors! OfficeSupplyGeek says blue-black, I like the lime green too. Does anyone know of a ink color chart for these? (It would be so much easier if I were rich and unrestricted! (or at least not budgeted)).

The recent buzz about the Frixion line has my spidey-sense tingling. I’m dying to try the Pilot FriXion Color-Pencil-Like Erasable Gel Ink Pen 0.7 mm. The purplish red (thanks to dowdyism) and the dark orange are in my cart. I would **love** to find the 24 pack under my pillow from the pen fairy some day but these two will have to do for now.

I have a set Uniball Jetstream in the 1.0mm (black, blue, red) and really love the ink flow. I’m debating on getting a new body or a refill. Will these refills work in my current bodies? I’m stuck on whether to buy a 0.5 or 0.7. Oy the agony of decisions!

The Uni-ball Signo RT UM-138 Gel Ink Pen 0.38 mm in Lavender Black is calling my name. I really want to try this body and the color just sounds fun. (Thanks to Nosferatuia!)

I am going to avoid any more Slicci’s since the physical shape of the pen doesn’t really mesh with my likes. I have a few blues in 0.4mm from Arathi and I find I pull them out every so often but not enough to warrant purchasing more just yet.

The Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto 3 Color Multi Pen is really an awesome item! (Thanks SarahHB1) … But once again the color choices are overwhelming. Here is another place where a color chart would help me out.

I’m still not sure about which fountain pen inks to consider. I also have a couple questions – please holla via Twitter or a comment if you can help me. Can Lamy fountain pens take only Lamy cartridges? How do I know what cartridge to buy to fit my Levenger fountain pen?

If you haven’t stopped by JetPens yet you are missing the virtual pen heaven I used to dream about!

Thank you so much for stopping by. Take care and be well.

Today began with an indecisive visit to my pen stash… What did today feel like? Fine point black ink? blue ink? medium point? Color? I grabbed a handful… actually selected one by one an entire handful of pens and set off to work.

Indecisive Pen Day
My selected stash included: Pilot G2 0.7 black, Bic Triumph 730R black, Uniball Jetstream blue, Pilot Precise V5 black, Pentel Energel Fine black, Sharpie Pen black, Uniball Signo 207 blue, Pilot Precise V5 retractable black and on top is a G2 in brown.

I wrote in my Markings journal last night with the brown G2. I like the brown ink on the cream pages. But it wasn’t right for work. I hesitated to make my selection until I had something to write. I finally grabbed the Sharpie pen in black.

There has been a lot of buzz about these pens. Sharpie in pen form that doesn’t bleed through paper is great. I find them reliable and good for art and writing. The barrel shape is quite narrow which doesn’t match my mood some days but when it does, these pens are reliable and never fail to write well.

I am pretty attentive to details and not long after uncapping the pen, I realized there were some significant dents in the barrel. I’m disappointed. This pen has been safely stored in a pen case at home or in my purse. Unless there are some mini-ninjas in my purse beating up my writing utensils, this damage happened during what I consider normal conditions.

Has anyone else run into this? I was contemplating buying the multi color set at Office Depot which includes black, blue, red, green, purple and orange. But now I am not so sure.

Work went by and Matt and I escaped to run errands. A trip to Office Max resulted in the purchase of…

One pack of Pilot G2 in the newly available 0.38mm tip. I had to try them… didn’t I? I was on a quest to find the Uniball Signo 207 needle point pens in orange but had no luck. I did find a retractable Tul gel pen in orange and a Tul ultra fine marker in orange at the registers. (open stock single pens – yay!) Yes I have an orange fetish these days… Can you blame me? Its cheery bright and legible otherwise it would probably be yellow calling my name all the time. I did pick up the big pack of Pilot G2 pens but put it down again. I have almost all the colors in there but the orange… I do want the orange one but so many repeats. Does anyone know of pen exchange program?

Another component of my daily arsenal was one of the tatoos that came with the egg dying kit we used yesterday. I put it on the back of my hand thinking maybe it would last through the afternoon. I can’t believe it survived through a shower and my neurotic hand washing today!

Just another little reminder that spring is here and flowers SHOULD start blooming one of these days.

Take care and be well.

Sunday was laundry day. I’m sure many of you have enjoyed the adventure of going to a public laundry. I packed up my Sharpie Ultra Fine marker & Sharpie pen, Prang Fine Line Markers, and my sketchbook and we set out. I managed to get three “doodles” done. Two were more sketch-like than I have done in the past. All of them play with activating negative space and color.

The sketchbook I brought is a 6 by 6 inch wire bound “Reflexions” that I purchased at Hobby Lobby. I do not care for how the paper takes the Prang Fine Line markers. I noticed quite a bit of feathering and bleeding of colors into one another. I had not run into that when I had used Bic permanent markers earlier. I also had no issue using watercolor washes in this sketchbook. Live and learn, right? In the future I will try some colored pencils and see how things look.

The Sharpie Ultra Fine is a great marker. I wish it were just a tad bit finer. I plan on doing a comparison of “Ultra Fine” markers one of these days. I found it difficult to get as fine of a line as I initially wanted and almost switched over to the Sharpie pen but resisted the urge. The Prang markers were inexpensive and I like the bold colors. One complaint I have is that the blue and purple are way too similar. I feel this ruined the first “doodle” of the day.

I love that the Prang set includes gray. Its a fast way to shade quick sketches and doodles. It also compliments the yellow and sky blue shown below.

I have a fascination with orange these days and love the bright and bold combination of red, yellow and orange. This was finished just before the dryers got done and laundry folding commenced.

Yesterday was another deadline day. I wasn’t sure what pen I was going to grab on my way out the door … Monday night I had considered my fushia Flair or my pink Sarasa. When the time came, I tossed my purple Magna Tank 0.5mm in my bag and headed to work.

These pens are made by Peachtree Playthings and bare the name INC. The set of blue, black, red, green and purple can be purchased at Wal-Mart. I have also found 2 packs of just the black and blue at the local dollar store.

The pens have a nice needle tip and substantial barrel. There is a nice grip area and the cap posts solidly. There is some drag when writing with these pens but it is not an unpleasant experience. The gel ink is smooth and the line is consistent. I haven’t run into any skipping or blobbing. This pen was a great choice for a deadline Tuesday.

The above photo shows writing samples for both the 0.5mm Magna Tank in purple and the Liquid Expresso in blue that I utilized yesterday. As I stated yesterday, for a medium liquid ink pen, the Expresso does a great job letting you write small in small places.

Today my arsenal included my Uniball Signo 207 again and EASTER EGG DYE!!! I know – egg dying is aimed at children younger than 29. Oh well :] Matt and I visited my parents for egg decorating and some Boggle.
We brought home 11 eggs … They may not look like much but our eggs are artistic and ma’velous. Most of the extra special ones are still at my parent’s. I think they sent us home with the ‘rejects’ lol.

Boggle is a serious game in my family. Everyone plays for keeps. Mom usually laughs because I dig my pen of choice out of my purse before we begin. Today it was the Signo 207 Micro in blue. I won a fair number of games so it must have been the right choice.

There, now we are all caught up :] Are you enjoying these “Daily Arsenal” posts? Want to share what pen you used today and why? Feel free to leave a comment.

Take care and be well.