A little bit of everything…

Category Archives: Circa/Rolla

I’ve been asked what I carry around in my daily bag or “purse” if you prefer that term.

what's in my bag

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

I carry WAY too many pens and markers. I’ve started using a make-up style pouch to hold them so I don’t have to unpack and refill my bag every time I search for THE one. The other pouch holds my Carmex lip balm, lip gloss, oil absorbent papers, nail file, contact drops, advil and other meds. My Circa/Rolla compact size planner is always with me. I’m getting myself back into the habit of writing everything down. Too many things nearly missed or late for my tastes. My journal is usually with me too. I like to doodle on the way to work. I’ve declared one glue stick for travel only so I never leave home without it. I try to keep clutter and receipts under control but you can see, there is usually some bits and pieces that manage to remain. The last thing I try to keep close at hand is my camera. Some days you will find a pack of colored pencils or a set of markers in my bag as well. Afterall, a girl always needs to be prepared.

Take care and be well.

I haven’t mentioned what I’ve been working with lately in terms of pens and related goodies. Of course I’m still browsing office supplies and finding resistance futile. Would you expect anything less from me?

What does a girl buy herself for a birthday present? I bet your answer is something like “It depends on the girl.” Well this girl bought herself a shiny new fountain pen to honor the big 3-0! It arrived early so don’t start singing to me yet… I’ll let you know when the party can begin. (wink)

If any of you are on Twitter and haven’t discovered the growing community of pen and paper addicts, I suggest you get on over there and create an account. (Follow me and say “Hi” too!) Well someone mentioned a sale at Swisher Pens and I just happened to see a really fancy schmancy fountain pen with a fine nib and converter originally marked $25 on sale for $9.99. My spidey sense tingled and I did the “I really don’t need another pen” squirm. But my birthday is quickly approaching and it is a great deal and I have bottles of ink that I need to use up and … well, you get the picture.

Introducing my newest love: the Rotring Lysium Core.

core vs bic

Lets start with the body design, shall we? I decided that a side-by-side with the most commonly found ballpoint might be the most useful for viewers. Here is the Core sitting next to a BIC ballpoint. The body is chunky but not much longer than the BIC.

The grip area is contoured and inset on one side but rounded and ridged on the other half. It’s difficult to explain but I think the pictures will help clarify. I was a bit worried since I had read a few reviews that wrote off the pen entirely because of this design feature. Luckily I find the pen comfortable and my writing style works well with the shape.

The pen is just plain attractive. The aluminum body has pink accents that say “Turn This Way,” “Write On System,” “Force Resource” and “Core.” They aren’t over powering and I had to squint to read them clearly. Its subtle and stylish- not distracting. The pen has one red ring where the two halves meet. There are also four inset windows for ink level visibility. Overall the aesthetics of this pen are very pleasing to me.

The stainless steel fine nib is marked “XS” and is advertised as fine and fine is exactly what it is. I love it. It is a smooth experience and lays down consistent line of ink. I have it loaded with a cartridge of Private Reserve “Supershow Blue.” It takes a little bit to get it writing if I keep the cap off for a short time but I think that could be ink related?

This writing sample is characteristic of all the jotting and marking I’ve done with it since Thursday morning. The nib is smooth and lays down an even line of ink without any skips or blobbing. It is a joy to write with.

The one feature of this pen which I’m uncertain about is the cap. Its large and funky and I love the design of it. The only problem is its weight. The cap clips solidly into place on both ends but it does throw the balance of the pen off a bit. I write with the cap off at work. I’m really not worried about misplacing the cap due to its size and I don’t leave the pen uncapped for long periods of time due to the start-up factor. It isn’t a deal breaker for me. I might get used to it or I may just not post the cap…

The clip is metal and stylish. I like how it looks clipped to my compact circa planner. Isn’t it schnazzy?

The last thing I wanted to show was the groovy internal workings of the pen. There are two small orange “tabs” that move with the insertion of the cartridges. The cartridge just slid in and I pressed it into place and the orange tabs moved toward the nib. Removing the cartridge causes them to move in the opposite direction. I like the feature even if I don’t fully understand its function. And anything orange is great, no?

I have a fountain pen cartridge question. The small plastic piece that is pushed into the cartridge when you load it is inside the cartridge. Can this small piece of plastic stop ink from flowing out of the cartridge?

My latest drawing WIP

Lastly I wanted to leave you with a “teaser” of sorts. This is a drawing I’m working on of trees. You’ll notice a couple of my other new arsenal additions: a Uniball Kuru Toga 0.5mm pencil and a Mega Recycled Newsprint pencil. Stay tuned for a closer look at these.


What better way to close this than with a shot of a Gaillardia flower from my garden. 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!

Today was a hard day… being behind because of Friday’s insanity plus leaving work for an appointment mid-day meant I had to be on the ball. I accomplished what I wanted to before leaving tonight.

Here is a glimpse of what I had in my arsenal today.

From Untitled Album

In this photo: my assortment of work-issued highlighters, tons of paperwork (lots of past issues for reference), my printed google spreadsheet to guide me through my battle, my circa/rolla compact planner, a Sanford Liquid Expresso in blue, a blue UniBall Signo 207 micro and a Bic permanent marker.

From Untitled Album

Someone on DIYPlanner posted about Post-It addictions. I have sticky notes coming out of my ears. But these have to be some of my favorites. I love using them at work since they are humorous. I picked them up on clearance at Office Max. Click to see a larger version and read some the options. I have a square and circle pad of busy multi colored ones from a friend and the traditional yellow (work-issued).

From Untitled Album

Today’s pens were premeditated. I wanted to bring the Liquid Expresso on Friday but couldn’t find it easily. I was prepared this morning. The 207 spawned from the review over at Mind Most Peculiar I almost bought a 2 pack of the pink 0.7mm version yesterday while perusing Office Depot but stayed strong and resisted.

The Liquid Expresso is easy to write with and the color is bold and powerful. I don’t have to press at all to leave a nice dark mark and that helps me thwart any wrist complications in my daily adventures. The Signo is equally reliable. I can count a fine but smooth line that doesn’t take any pressure to leave.

I mainly used the Signo 207 in my planner to record personal notes and reminders, my times in and out at work and stuff at the Vet’s office I wasn’t going to recall because of emotions running high.

From Untitled Album

I would say the Liquid express writes like an average bold gel pen tip or the Paper Mate Flair. Its definitely not a fine line but I like the control. I don’t feel that it is TOO wide or unruly. The lines on my Google spreadsheets are not very large and I can fit a lot of info into a small space when needed.

The Signo 207 Micro writes smaller than the average 0.5mm in my opinion. The smooth and non-scratchy gel ink and small tip has really boosted this pens popularity. I hope to try the 0.7mm someday soon.

Both pens offer visible ink supply. The Liquid Expresso sports a durable, porous plastic point. I can’t comment on durability because I hardly press down with it. If you use it the same you can expect it to hold up well. As stated earlier, the 207 is a gel pen and unlike the Expresso, it is retractable. This feature is nice for those of us who misplace caps. The Expresso cap does fit snugly on the end so no losses are likely. The 207 is refillable which is a nice “green” feature. Both pens are available in other colors and tip sizes.

That’s all for today’s arsenal. Tomorrow is deadline day… what will my future hold – fushia or pink? A nice bold, attention commanding line that demands respect? or a small fine micro line that boast control and that ‘in-charge’ attitude? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Take care and be well.

I peaked at the incoming links and it appears there is some interest in the BIC Triumph 730R.

I have one clipped to my Circa/Rolla Compact sized planner.

My Compact Circa Planner/Organizer/Life Aid

I did a little investigating and found this model was released in January (of 2009). Click on the photo to be taken to the BicNews page regarding the Triumph 730R.

Bic's News Release Regarding BIC Triumph 537R and BIC Triumph 70R (Click to be taken to the site).

I only first saw this pen at my local Target last month and scooped up a two pack for just under five dollars. This was definitely the first time I saw them – I would have noticed the attractive packaging right away. I was happy to see they were 0.5mm tips since that is my usual tip size of choice lately.

My first observations included the smooth tip and ink flow. There is little to no drag while writing which helps me keep my hand relaxed (less writing fatigue is great!). The barrel is comfortable and the pen cap holds tight to the end while writing. I hate when you can post the cap! I always fear losing them then. There is no grip but that doesn’t bother me. I don’t notice any slipping when I write. I immediately thought “This rivals the Pilot Precise V5.” The look of this pen is the much fancier in my opinion. The color and design makes it an eye-catching option for rollerball users. The nice thing is – you can still monitor your ink supply without it taking over the visual impact of the pen itself.

Since I mentioned my mental comparison to the Pilot Precise I thought these pictures would be helpful in seeing the similarities and differences.

Tip style and design are similar.

Writing with the pens is a similar experience. The BIC 0.5mm writes slightly heavier than the V5 but not as bold as the V7 on common 20lb paper.

The best selling point of this pen is it is REFILLABLE! The grip area unscrews from the pen body and cartridges are just swapped out. I think this is a great aspect to a wonderful pen that is sure to be part of my arsenal for years to come.

In conclusion – for the price, if you like Pilot Precise pens, or are looking for a new rollerball definitely give this one a chance to join your arsenal’s ranks.

Take care and be well.

When you wake up in the morning and start your day, do you grab a special pen or marker to accompany you?

Yuh I am **that** wierd!

I have discovered that I am not alone in my infatuation with all things pen and paper related. Many folks over at DIYPlanner share in the love of paper – notebooks, journals, planner pages, hardbound, spiral bound, disc bound, etc.etc.etc.

Now I have a new array of blogs added to my Google reader that cater to my pen addiction (and the paper thing too). These people love their pens and know how matching your writing utensil to your mood or gig can really make a difference. Check out the following to really get your nib dipped: OfficeSupplyGeek, The Pen Addict, Good Pens,
& Unposted

Would you like to hear a story? Of course you would, right?

When I was growing up, I often used my saved money to purchase pens and notebooks rather than other goodies. Candy is great but it doesn’t last a long time. A good pen – or a new notebook to jot ideas in – now that is an investment. I can remember my father taking me to the office supply store and supporting my desire to try all the different pens and markers. I had a complete set of sharpie highlighters by the time I was in high school. Every color in the regular and pocket size. I had sharpie markers coming out of my ears. My pen drawer? My pen drawer was overflowing and often attracted the attention of my mother. She never really understood but I think she liked the fact that it was a safe addiction.

Each person who values a good pen has certain aspects they require – smooth ink, effortless writing, thin or wide barrels, weights, lengths. Remember to keep this in mind as you explore the world of pen reviews. You may think a certain pen is the bee’s knees while another hates it with a passion and banishes it to the dreaded “loaner” line.

Now on to My Daily Arsenal.

Have you ever glanced around and seen someone using a pen or notebook and were to shy or embarrassed to ask about it? Lets say I have developed the odd hobby of exploring the internet looking at what other people are writing or drawing with and in. I also like seeing work spaces and office paraphernalia. This will be your chance to see what I am out in the world utilizing on a given day.

Let’s give this a go, shall we?

today's arsenal shot

Click to see notes on Flickr.

The BIC pen was a good choice today. I do a lot of quick writing at my job and gel ink really treats me the best. I have tendinitis in both wrists and I get writing fatigue quickly if I’m not careful. Gel ink is effortless when its done right. BIC has been a fall-back brand for me. I can always rely on their pens to last a long time and I rarely run into a dud.

The neon Magna Blast pens in pink, orange, green, blue and purple are my splash of sanity. Color is so important to me. I don’t have walls of my own to decorate (I have taken over the circuit breaker box though). I often mark things with neon when I don’t feel like highlighting. I mark dates of editorial copy I have used in different issues or the movie times as I enter them for the 6 cinemas we include in our publications. I’ll even drop a post-it note to a co worker in a bright color. Blue and Black are great and reliable but … lets face it. Color makes our days unique and really helps something pop in a see of paperwork.

The cutie whale deco stuff just sat on the sidelines and mocked me… I have ideas and I will get to them. Today was just not the day to do it… so stay tuned.

disaster zone?

Click to see notes on Flickr.

This disaster zone is to the left of my keyboard. I have my snacks because I never know when I can escape for lunch. I also had a kidney stone in 2004 so water is ALWAYS within arms reach. I even have been known to preach about the importance of staying well hydrated. Have you had all your cups of water today?

The compact sized circa/rollabind planner is my life. I have all my personal goodies in this book and have found I really cannot function efficiently or effectively without it. I plan on blogging more about it very soon and have some photos in my Flickr pool if you can’t wait. I have a BIC Triumph 730R clipped to the cover. I love having a pen right with it so I can punch in and out at work and record the times inside. This really has helped me keep a handle on my work schedule.

My Compact Circa Planner/Organizer/Life Aid

Click to see notes on Flickr.

There you have a peak into my arsenal from today. I will try to snap some writing samples next time if time will allow. Today was just busy-busy with the deadline tomorrow. Please feel free to leave your thoughts or just a random comment.

Be well and take care.

Here is a nice green mosaic in honor of the Irish holiday…
green mosaic
1. green wind…, 2. Green Lamp, 3. Apple, 4. Red Green and Bokeh, 5. Lorry,Malaysia, 6. acorn squash, 7. Want an ice-cream?, 8. Bubble View, 9. greens, 10. Shamrocks, 11. after more than a week , 12. Untitled, 13. Leaf Project – No.4, 14. 61468-green field, 15. After rain …, 16. snake, 17. Grün, 18. DSC_7382_DxO_ds1_rawAnd2more_LC, 19. Willow Coming Alive, 20. Green-orange, 21. Get to the Point., 22. Stool Sample, 23. Spike of Light, 24. Gift, 25. Starry-eyed

Green is such a beautiful color. Winter and its monotone gray color scheme can really depress me. I love seeing the small green sprouts of my garden struggling to return to life. The weather has been very spring like. Yesterday was in the sixties – it felt like heaven to me. There is that fresh and alive scent to the air and I can be outside without shivering or having my teeth chatter to the point of a headache.

Speaking of green, I wore my Hulk tshirt yesterday with my fuzzy green zip up hooded sweater. My friend Chris once told me it looked like a putting green but I still adore it. Matt wore the shamrock green tshirt I found on clearance a couple years ago. It never fit me right and it is from the men’s department. We were quite the couple.

Today is hopefully going to be a productive day.

I want to get organizer/planner life back in order. I’ll try to snap some pictures. I’m working on a “hold-all” for my paid bills and paperwork. Its a letter sized rolla/circa contraption. I need to punch some dividers I bought for a dollar at Target and get the rest of that paperwork sorted and punched. I have a feeling my shredder will be busy. My compact sized circa planner needs some tidying and I have newly acquired post-it tabs to incorporate. I need to create an compact sized archive and move some of the full pages.

I have several errands to run including a visit to my parents. I haven’t spent any time over there in the last weeks because of getting sick and being busy and all. I also have so many lil things I *should* do. Oh and I have a coupon for JoAnn fabrics I should use… 50% off is no laughing matter.

Matt and I are going to have a night out on the town so to speak. We are going to Milwaukee to see the Bucks game at the Bradley Center. I have never seen a live NBA game before and I can’t even remember the last time I was at the Bradley Center. We’ll be joining his friend and another couple for dinner and then the game. I hope we have lots of fun – we could both use it! Oh and don’t worry about Iggy Pup – we’re dropping him off at “Gramma & Grampa” G’s before we head out of town. (We call our parent’s Iggy’s grandparents… is that odd?)

I have so many ideas and projects I want to work on but so little free time. Last night we were at work until 9… after starting at 7:30am that was a LONG day that really took its toll. ::sigh:: Today is my day off though and that’s all that matters, right? :]

Take care, be well.

Why pay oodles of money for a dog sweater when you can make your own? :D

Iggy breaks my heart when he shivers so I knew I needed to create something to keep the lil pup warm this winter. I grabbed the Red Heart “earth & sky” yarn and a crochet hook. This was all done without a pattern… Not too shabby, eh?

First I whipped up the collar. I used the back loop method of creating a ribbed material. Next I worked the body leaving space for the arm holes. Sleeves were last. I finished it all of with a crab stitch.

Comments and criticism always welcome. He’s been happily wearing it during his outside adventures since early January.

Be well.

Notes page with grid


Feel free to download it and use it but remember it is mine and should be respected as such.

I am attempting to restart my creative side… this is the first page I have created in some time.

I utilized GIMP and CutePDF – both free options available online. My finances will not support loading my new laptop with expensive programs. I can still DIY with the best of them! :)

Keep you eyes open for additional forms and dabblings in digital creativity.

I am still crocheting and reading regularly – I think that has really kept my brain working on future projects.

My current set up for keeping myself organized and sane consists of

  • Calendar on the fridge: I keep track of due dates for library books, bills, pet meds, appointments, city recycle schedule, etc
  • Compact circa “Everything Book”: I strayed away from circa for awhile but I came running back. I glued in mini calendars for 2009 and have restarted my attempt to track everything in portable form. I track: bills, expenses, appointments, time totals for work, books to read, someday-maybes, projects, important phone numbers, etc

It isn’t complex and best of all… it is working – When I stick with it.

My at home organizing quest is in progress, albeit moving slowly because of balancing work and an outside life. (lets say work often takes all my stamina). Currently I am circa punching all my important papers and adding them to one set of covers. I have jumbo discs at hand if needed but right now am only on large ones. I want to invest in good quality covers and dividers at some point but right now it is just an attempt to tame the plethora of paper piles I have inadvertently accumulated over the past months.

Oh and I should mention – I have left my crochet comfort zone! I am attempting a full size blanket :D Stay tuned for pictures… its not very blanket-like yet but it is growing.

Be well.