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Saturday morning started like so many other days – alarms, zoo maintenance, showers, and daily arsenal selection. But instead of embarking on an average day, Matt and I set off on a most excellent adventure. We ventured down to Chicago, Illinois to attend the 2011 Chicago Pen Show.

Despite being a pen fanatic since grade school, I didn’t start getting hooked on fountain pens until about 5 years ago. I had read blogs and heard about pen shows through others but never experienced one first hand. When Matt said we could go, I was ecstatic. An entire event centered around writing instruments? A room full of like-minded pen-loving compatriots? This was going to be fun.


When we arrived, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of pens on some of the tables. I was also happy to see many people exploring the aisles. The majority of pens were vintage fountain pens. It is one thing to see 2D photos on a computer screen and quite another to hold and appreciate vintage pens in person. The number of Parker pens was mind-boggling – both fountain pens and the Jotter design. One table had Jotters in every color of the rainbow. There was a little bit of something for everyone. I had hoped to find more modern “inexpensive” fountain pens, fountain pen inks and fountain pen friendly paper but I figure it varies show to show.

Chicago Pen Show 2011

Everyone I talked to was extremely nice and answered all my newbie questions without hesitation. Several people made great impressions on me with their willingness to answer my questions and kindness in assisting me make my final purchases. I thought this might make a nice blog post so I snapped quick photos and tucked each business card safely in my Midori Passport notebook.

carl seidl pensofdistinktion

Mr. Carl Seidl of Pens of Dist-INK-tion had a very impressive display of “RetroFit” pens. His website sums up it best “Because of lack of original components to repair the vintage pen, Carl’s creative mind designed the RetroFit Pen essentially converting a classic nonworking vintage fountain pen into a ballpoint pen with the vintage appeal.” His creations boggled my mind and really caught my eye. It was lovely to meet Mr. Carl Seidl.

frank tedesco

Mr. Frank Tedesco had an impressive array of vintage pens, including several eye-catching Esterbrooks. He is a man that knows his pens. I was grateful as he shared valuable fountain pen filling knowledge with me. I hope to put that to use soon and I also hope to see Mr. Frank Tedesco at a future pen show.

paul pen estates limited

This gentleman had an amazing accent and a marvelous array of fountain pens, but I failed to jot his name down on the card from his table. I believe his name is Paul and is with Pen Estates Limited out of East Sussex. (My sincerest apologies if I’ve mucked this one up.) He was knowledgeable and enlightened me on several of his displayed pens. It was a real pleasure to meet Paul.

James Partridge pear tree pens

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Mr. James Partridge of The Pear Tree Pen Company on Twitter but it was a real treat to meet him in person. He was one of the few to have modern pens (even some that I could afford) on display along with ink and fountain pen friendly paper. It was an impressive display of all the things I had hoped to find at the show. He endured my slow and arduous decision making process without any screaming or hiding. I was very impressed. He pointed out some new products like the redesigned Pelikano and an exquisite limited edition Sailor. I hope to see Mr. James Partridge at future pen shows but until then, I’ll continue to visit his online shop.

brian lisa anderson esterbrookesterbrooks

Brian and Lisa Anderson of Anderson Pens.net and Esterbrook.net allowed me to handle and compare several Esterbrooks. They had a huge display of pens and were extremely helpful. Look at those colors! I hadn’t seen several of these and was just mesmerized by the rainbow.

brad lee american wood pensamerican wood pensamerican wood pens tuscan sun

Mr. Brad Lee of American Wood Pens is a real artist. His creations using various woods and acrylics blew me away. I fell absolutely in love with the Rage Red, Violet and the Tuscan Sun acrylic. The colors are captivating and have a real depth to them. I encourage you to drop by his online store and browse. He does take custom orders so don’t hesitate to contact him. Our discussion wandered from pens to customer service and he made quite the impression on me. It’s refreshing to meet people who really care about their customers. Some day I hope to own one of these gorgeous pens but this time I walked away from his table with a bottle of fountain pen ink and a real respect for his craft.

The Chicago Pen Show 2011 was quite the adventure. I learned a great deal and am looking forward to attending more shows in the future. Thank you to everyone who shared their passion for pens with me, I hope we can chat again some day soon.

Take care and be well.

Finishing things give me such a great glowing feeling of accomplishment and success. I finished the baby blanket for my coworker Jonelle and her “in progress” baby boy.

finished baby blanket!

I gave it to her November 2nd. Wow that is awhile ago already. Here is a closer look of the stitches. I’m so pleased with how it turned out!

finished baby blanket

This month has been going so fast. Actually this entire year has flown by. In honor of November, many people take part in NaNoWriMo which stands for National Novel Writing Month. I knew this was not the year to try if I was going to successfully finish any of my current in progress projects. Since I have been trying to journal daily I thought a drawing or journaling NaNo was in order. NaNoJouMo, which stands for National Nonstop Journaling Month, was already in existence thanks to Dawn over at D’Blogala. She is providing prompts in case you get stuck on a day which I haven’t used yet but I am going to copy them all down and keep them in my arsenal.

Here are the results of my NaNoJouMo – Hope you like a few or some or all :D

Since I don’t have an November 1st, here are a couple of glimpses at the end of October.
journal doodle
journal doodle
journal doodle

November 2nd was a good day for crayons.

November 3rd wasn’t very eventful (top).
November 4th was much more enjoyable (bottom).
Nov 3 & Nov 4

November 5th was a good day to doodle a sleepy clock.
Nov 5

November 6th included “Hancock” which was a good movie – I was pleasantly surprised.
Nov 6

November 7th included a trip to Taco Bell where they said I was “Special” – or was it my taco?
Nov 7

November 8th culminated in my embarrassed realization that I often draw Iggy Pup’s coloring incorrectly (top).
November 9th was our first crock pot dinner of the season nom nom (bottom).
Nov 8 & Nov 9

Since the crochet baby blanket was finished, I needed to dive into my next yarn project. First I dove into my yarn stash and grabbed my favorite rusty orange and some other goodies.

Picking colors

I’m just doing vertical stripes of hdc (half double crochet). This scarf is coming together so quickly and will soon be sent to the awesomely talented Mia in New York!

let the scarf begin

Have you heard of Movember? Check out what Wikipedia has to say here. I made a few paper mustaches on Friday while at work. Don’t I look cheeky?

Happy Movember

There is also a “Hulk Hogan/Fu Manchu” and a “Charlie Chaplain” stored on the side of my work-mac just in case.

paper mustaches

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

I have started a Tumblr account. LINKAGE

I’m probably not doing it right. I’m using it as a place to keep track of things that capture my attention or inspire me or amuse me.

Maybe if you are a Tumblr user you could offer some pointers or if you like what I post, add me to your friends.

If you are new to the idea of Tumblr perhaps join me in a quest to do it all wrong and enjoy every minute of it! It is free so there is nothing to lose.

Take care and be well.

I’ve been a bad blogger again. Too long has passed in between posts and I regret to inform you that this post will be less than it should be. I wanted to sit down and type up the best post for you all but find myself feeling rather “blah” today.

Lamy Al-Star Graphite

I splurged on a Lamy Alstar via EBay. It has joined the ranks of my arsenal along with a bunch of the blue cartridges. I love this pen. I think. I mean I need to spend some serious time with it. My sporadic tendinitis makes it hard for me to judge new writing instruments some days. I’ll take another closer and more thoughtful look at it and write up a proper review in the future. Until the review, please enjoy the pen pr0n.

Lamy Medium Nib

It has a medium nib and is loaded with the Lamy blue ink. It did not come with a converter which I might rectify. At first I did not care for the Lamy blue ink but the more I look at it, the more I like it.

Esterbrook in Copper

Behold my very first Esterbrook. Isn’t it marvelous? I am so in love with the copper color. The sun really sets off the depth and rich tones. I cannot thank Mary enough for her generosity and kindness!

Journal Doodle

I haven’t done much art lately and it depresses me. This doodle may hold a clue as to why my creativity pools have run dry.

Sticky Note Doodle

Matt was on jury duty this past week only to discover Thursday that he wasn’t really on jury duty since he moved to a different county. We were only apart for a total of 3 hours but I didn’t know that when I doodled on this sticky note.

Journal Page

I am totally in love with Gemma Correll. She does amazing illustration art. I think her daily diary and “what i wore today” are tied for my favorite. I gave my hand at drawing my Saturday. Do you like it? I used my Staedtler Fineliners.



You may have noticed that I adore my pets. Sundays are tank cleaning days for Ripley. I promise he is a mouse – most people don’t believe it because of his texel (curly) coat and large size. I have so much fun filling his tank with goodies. The first tank shot is last Sunday’s arrangement followed by his setup for today.

Ripley likes cheerios

Ripley has a thing for Cheerios but then if you look at the tank picture from today, so does Toby. That’s his big kitty head stealing all of Ripley’s Cheerios. I guess if it is a treat for Ripley, it has to be a Toby treat too.

Pouty Face

I’m hoping that ending with a picture of Iggy Pup will make up for my absence. His pouty face destroys my defenses every time. Can you stand up to this face?

Take care and be well. ♥

Busy days have become commonplace.

I picked out yarn for a baby blanket I am making for my coworker. (It’s actually for the lil bun in her oven). It is Caron Simply Soft in “Soft Blue”. The yarn is so silky and I hope the perfect match for a lil baby boy.

I picked a stitch out of the awesome stitch book Matt got me for my birthday: The Harmony Guides: Basic Crochet Stitches. The “Single Crochet Cluster Stitch I” looked like it would be a good baby blanket stitch since it lacked holes for baby fingers to get snagged on.

Baby Blanket attempt 1

It didn’t look bad but I was having a rough time getting used to the pattern. I just wasn’t “feeling” this project so after a couple weeks, I gave up on it and frogged it after a discussion with my mum. Frogging is a depressing yet invigorating act for me… Unraveling progress into raw material was the right choice!

Baby Blanket - 2

I began again using the “Single Crochet Cluster Stitch II”. This pattern was much easier for me to follow and I got into the rhythm right away. I’m now looking forward to working on this blanket and don’t need to have the open book in front of me at all times to verify my stitches. Progress is a beautiful thing!

Baby Blanket closeup

I like the way this stitch looks, the texture and pattern is coming out so nicely! Do you like it for a baby boy blanket?

I feel like other than crochet, my art has slipped to the side again. I haven’t been journaling or blogging regularly.

On a positive note – I have acquired three new bottles of fountain pen ink. Sunday I had to get out my dip pen and nibs to give the colors a look-see. I ended up uncapping my black india ink and playing with my Speedball B-5 nib. The nibs n pens are from my father’s collection and they hold a special place in my heart because of that. I love thinking that my dad used to draw and create with these same tools.

Speedball B-5 Nib



Speedball “B” nibs are round and are not really made for calligraphy but I felt like writing with it. Does it look horrible? – I kinda like it. I want to pick up some calligraphy nibs for the dip pens and watch for a fountain pens with an italic or calligraphy nib. I think I’ll see what books I can find at the library that contain actual alphabets to practice. (I just hope I can find the time!)

Fountain Pen Ink Collection

I have a grand total of six bottles of fountain pen ink now. I suppose every collection has to start small. I am loving all the colors which is my favorite part. I spent all of August abiding my by “no unnecessary spending” vow. I did very well and rewarded myself with the purchase of a Lamy fountain pen off of eBay. :squeee:! I can’t have more bottles of ink than I have fountain pens, can I?


Speaking of my addictions, I saw a fancy new notebook at Walgreens. It is Oxford brand Stone Paper Note Book. It appears the crew over at DIYPlanner already knew about it and there is a post here. I didn’t buy it because of my spending cap but I did take some time touching the unusual smooth plastic-like-feel paper. Maybe if I finish off a few notebooks, I’ll splurge on it. I believe it was around $3.50 at my local store if you were curious.

Iggy Pup on my pillow

This morning Matt left very early so I got up much earlier than I had planned. I think it was 6:30am. Iggy Pup sleeps in bed with us and was snoring heavily when I got up. I couldn’t justify disturbing his sleep. I use his sleeping-in time to cuddle with my kitties and get things done around the house. (Yes he tends to sleep in a lot!) I figured that around 8am he would want to get up and start his day with a nice walk or at least a potty break. I walked into the bedroom to find the lil puppy prince on my pillow! How can I not adore this puppy with all my heart – look at that face!

Take care and be well.

This review is long overdue.

Pelikan Pelikano Junior

Tom at Goldspot Pens generously sent me a marvelous right-handed Pelikan Pelikano Junior in blue. I adore blue and this pen sure is a eye-catching vibrant true blue.

There have been a number of reviews of this pen done already. (Take peak at some of the others: Office Supply Geek, The Shade’s Mind, Good Pens, Another Word For Nerd, Unposted) Due the abundance of reviews, I will keep this short and sweet.

The pen is marketed as a starter fountain pen for the young pen lovers in our lives. But honestly, we are all big kids at heart, right? The pen has grips that make using the pen a cinch. I find my hand slides into the correct position so writing is not only comfortable, but natural and effortless. The length and balance is appropriate for any aged writer. I have small hands and find it to be a joy to use.

The medium nib is smooth and writing is a joy. I have yet to experience any hesitation in ink flow or skipping while writing. It is a lovely consistent fountain pen. The pen is loaded with the ink cartridge that came with the pen. The blue ink is nice and bright. Unfortunately, I find that the medium nib lays down enough ink to be troublesome on some paper. 20 lb printer paper, which seems to be the standard around these parts, suffers from occasional feathering and notable bleed-through.

My journal is Markings brand. The cream colored paper doesn’t feather much but bleed-through might be a problem for some. I suppose the ink might be the cause of these issues rather than the nib or pen itself. Once I get this cartridge emptied, I will try some Private Reserve ink. If the bleed-through/feathering issue resolves itself, I will be sure to post.

I didn’t receive a box or any labels to adorn my pen like the other reviewers but I love it all the same. I adore bringing this pen out and having people take a second look at it. “Yeah, you know you want one…” This is definitely a keeper!

Many thanks to Goldspot Pens for making this review possible.

Take care and be well.

I mentioned my favorite pants in a previous post. I only had a close up of the embroidery pattern in that post and thought I’d share a full shot. (yes, i am a big dork hehe)

THE pants

I can’t get over how comfortable these pants are. I wish I could have more pairs in different colors and wear them every day. Maybe Goodwill will have another pair when I drop in with my 10% off birthday coupon.

Saturday was a great day. My father, two nephews, Matt and I all ventured down to the Chicago Comic Con 2009.

Space Trooper!

Matt and I spent most of our time in the “Artist Alley”. Probably my favorite was meeting Jeffrey Brown. He did a great drawing in Matt’s Moleskine cahier and answered my gazillion questions. I hope to get a post up showing that awesome drawing and sharing some of the work that caught my eye.

After our day of comic goodness, I grabbed a pencil, eraser and pen out of my bag and came up with this creature.


I’m not sure if he is part duck and part “creature from the black lagoon” or “fish guy” like Matt called the scan file. Whatever he is, I like him. The stippling was inspired by Rich’s “Trinity Dots of Doom”. I haven’t stippled anything in the longest time. He’s inhabiting my 3×5 inch sketchbook.

mega bunny

Last is Mega Bunny. I drew him during our last trip to the laundry but just finished inking him last night. I like the line variation. Must be my new “thang”. He’s living in my 8.5×11 inch sketchbook.

I hope to push out another blog post sooner rather than later so keep your peepers peeled. Take care and be well. ♥