PENS & JOURNALS
www.GouletPens.Com and the Pilot Metropolitan Pen
Some gifts just always make sense and if well-chosen, like a great, classic fountain pen, offer many years of gift enjoyment. A great pen is simply: the perfect gift for almost any age and men or women. Match a great pen up with the friendly expertise of a par excellence pen supplier, such as Brian Goulet’s www.GouletPen.com and you’re in for a real treat.
As a writer/author, my love of great pens is no secret. As a hand-written journal keeper, nothing beats a great fountain pen for ease of use and sheer pleasure in the craft of writing itself. When I first realized I preferred fountain pens, I just bought cheap (but not so cheap: they run out every other month and you have to throw them away) disposable fountain pens called the Varsity (also a Pilot pen). Then I got curious and began to investigate the world of fountains pens, guided by Brian Goulet’s amazing YouTube video pen blog. Herein is everything you need to know about fountain pens. In short, what I didn’t know about fountain pens is a lot. Like watches, people collect special edition of fountain pens. You begin to know which companies you might prefer and which pen style, heft and grip suits you best. Then there’s choosing nib size (Fine, Extra Fine, Medium) and appreciating that a Medium nib in a Pilot might be as fine as a Fine nib in a Lamy. Then there’s all sorts of inks. So many pens, so little time. Plus a $15 pen might suit you as much as a $1000 pen or you might like them all and everything in-between. This is a fascinating world.
As I am somewhat of a newbie, and just recently started working with Goulet, they suggested an amazing, affordable pen by Pilot called the Metropolitan. Mine’s a Purple Pop Metropolitan. It came with an easy-refillable cartridge and I also purchased a bottle of gorgeous purple Noodler ink (Goulet is a 'fountain' of great ink choices and information too!) $15.00 http://www.gouletpens.com/pilot-metropolitan-fountain-pen-retro-pop-purple-fine/p/PN91434
What’s also neat about Goulet Pens in this holiday season is that their pens come beautifully and creatively wrapped and topped off with a sweet treat (I will leave that as a surprise). Just receiving a pen from Goulet is an experience. Opening the package, and using the pen is the second half the experience.
My purple Pilot Metropolitan is a dream to write with. I ordered a bottle of Noodler Ink in Violet and simply enjoying the perfect writing instrument, as it glides across pages in my Moleskin and large journal that I try and write in daily.
If you want to give someone the perfect holiday gift, whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Father or Mother’s Day or their birthday check out www.Gouletpens.com.
Spend some time on the site, ask questions (their customer service is incredible) and begin your pen adventure. Goulet also has a huge selection of roller ball pen, highlighters and other writing instruments, as well as ink, paper, sealing wax kits and pen parts.
The Best Journals, A Collection of Writing Tablet Finds From BetterBaking.com
These are the companies we heartily endorse. Each makes an exclusive, unique product, expressive of their founders. Each company is quick to respond and share information on the product – a pleasure to find efficiency, warmth, and response on the net at all times! Their product lines are very, very different from each other and you will enjoy getting acquainted with the various journals and each company. Some companies offer companion products (like portfolios, wallets, bookmarks and more - so comb through each site). Within each line, there are choices as to size (you will also find larger journals are called artist’s pad or sketch pads or extra large journals), finishes, tied or not tied, refillable journals versus leather covers for new journals or blank books you insert, mostly blank paper (AND paper choices) and sometimes, some companies (reluctantly) offer lined paper. I use smaller journals to take with me to my café writing days, or the park. I have tiny journals to record my to-do lists for the car and medium size ones to record thoughts, poems, and ideas for recipes.I suggest you start with two journals –one for home, and one to take with you, while traveling or café hopping.
Where do you find the prettiest, most ecologically minded paper products on the planet? Check out www.Ecojot.com. We first discovered these Canadian jumbo notepads, journals and notecards at Chapters bookstores and then just had to find out more. This is a quietly iconic company that designs planet-friendly paper products but whimsical art. The only drawback is once you fill up an EcoJot notebook or journal, it's hard to throw away. Everything they do is frameable art. Nothing beats writing and nothing beats an aesthetic, quality, quaint and charming writing tablet to do it on.
BB Readers get 5% Discount - (email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details)
These journals definitely say days-of-yore, Renaissance Fair, olden times. They are rife with a vibe of days gone past but wholly contemporary in their design.
Renaissance-Art is one of the few to offer lined paper (but pretty, lined paper and they also offer refills), feature bound journals, with leather self-ties, and use hefty, distressed leather.
Their smaller journal also comes with an optional lovely fabric bag to keep the journal from wear. These are keepers and great for journal or travel writing and would appeal to men or women and any age.
The leather is the first thing you notice about Renaissance products -it is soft but wears like a trooper - meaning you can tote this journal to and fro, from home to cafe, and it still looks gorgeous. It comes with refill paper or some of their journals can be used a covers around a more standard notebook, if you prefer. The workmanship is unrivaled, the design is perfect but they will 'tweak' your order or customize as you wish. I recently sent in a blank journal book I like to use and they created a custom cover (with neat inner pockets for storage), as well as a set of tarot cards for which they made a custom leather case. There is a unique energy that comes from both the concept and workmanship of Renaissance-Art Journals. Recently they also launched several leather tote bags and handbags. A Renaissance journal is an immediate heirloom as well as the perfect gift for birthdays, or milestone occasions (a new writer setting out, a college grad embarking on ‘real life’
More than journals, Renaissance-Art offers Moleskin covers, (both small and larger Moleskin size), I pad covers or anything custom you need. All you do is contact them, mail in the item you need a cover for (a special notepad/journal, or products from Piccadilly, Moleskin or Field Notes Brand, or Gallery Leather) and they will quickly create a perfectly fitting custom leather cover and mail it back within a week or so. (Tell them BB sent you and see about a 5% discount). You can also opt for a cross-body leather messenger bag, lap-top bag or cover and leather cover for your favourite sketchbook.
What could be cooler than Field Notes? Gorgeous paper stock, jaunty (some of the editions are collector's items) colours and versions of their classic, and a variety of paper (lined, grid, blank) to choose from. This is a younger person's Moleskine or a cooler older hipster!http://fieldnotesbrand.com/shop/
In Ink Leaf Leather's own words: Many companies have policies. Policies implies a standardization and hence depersonalization in how a company relates with their customers. We decided to forego policies altogether and have resolved instead to express a simple commitment to do good by people. We want you to enjoy the products you purchase from us. We want them to last and be cherished. In short, we want you to be happy. Steff (my wife) and I (Jazeps) are just two people. We are Inkleaf Leather. There are no layers to go through to get your questions answered or concerns addressed.
Everything in our store is made by hand. It’s hand tooled, hand dyed, hand stitched and hand finished. We know what we create intimately. If you have any questions or concerns, we want you to be able to bring them to us directly so we can help. That’s our commitment to you. We will make the best products we can and endeavor to treat you as we would want to be treated. It's always nice to hear the words, or 'voice' of a company's founder and originator.
But just look at this amazing, buttery, soft leather journal cover made for a Moleskine (in this case). You would think it would be easy to find a leather cover for the iconic Moleskine but we had to look far and wide and then behold! We came across this artisan shop called InkLeaf Leather. The design is generous, the notebook fits like a hand in a glove and the beautiful leather is not only a joy to behold and handle, but there is added heft to write on and your notebook can travel here and there and stay intact. This is a legacy gift - buy one for yourself and one for a friend, for a writer, a grad, or a dream weaver.http://www.inkleafleather.com/
This brother-sister operated artisinal company out of Santa Rosa, California makes stunning leather journals and sketchpads with a definite Celtic sense to them. Oberon’s designers have created a line of journals that befit their sense that ‘observations and reflections’ are valuable and deserve a quality book to preserve these things. I reviewed their dark lavender and black large journal. It is a beautiful cover of a Celtic motif that houses a hardback, blank page book. It has a self-tie and matching Celtic design, silver filigree button you wrap the tie around. The paper is beautiful, pure white, thick, and smooth – an exceptionally fine writing surface. These are beautiful for men or women but gals will particularly like their floral design and the lilac hues or greens. Oberon journals are at once serviceable and artistic - they are ample and comfortable to write in but wholly beautiful to behold. Their diverse offerings, and attention to detail with their product (and their customers) will astonish you. What we liked best about these journals is that they are pretty well unrivaled in quality and manufacture - pretty well perfection. They create their own hard writing surface, open almost flat, almost have an 'aura' about them, and almost 'invite' you to write your most personal to most creative, artistic thoughts. The company also offers a fine line of companion products from wallets and fine bookmarks to many other unusual but items of similar upscale quality.
Some of the best journals to be found. Why? Best paper stock to begin with, incredible cover designs, innovative products, and the easiest journals to write on (open them and they stay open, together with hard covers do make your writing as neat and stable, and as enjoyable as possible). Time with a Piccadilly Journal is an oasis.
Pilot Pens Interview and Famed Varsity Fountain Pens
Some of the best journals and writing papers from a 'green' company that also gives back to kids.http://www.ecojot.com/
Gorgeous agendas, recipe journals and personal journals in buttery soft leathers of all colours from the renown www.GalleryLeather.com
Kiki James’ contemporary Italian leather is the foundation of many of their fine journals. Visit their site for all the choices in finishes, sizes and colours. Meanwhile, in their own words, a description of their main leather options. I use their Classic Wrap Journal in Large –it is perfect for my novels in the making, new recipes, or recording dreams. It comes lined or not lined. This is 'the gift' for anyone -the very wrapping of each KikiJames journal is a ceremony in and of itself. It is almost a message from another era.
Moleskines nifty little notepads that are both historical and au courrant all at once. The notebook of generations and artists and great thinkers since Hemmingway, Picasso, and Chatwin. There is the basic pocket-size book of 192 lined pages but a whole line or small, medium and large notebooks, with extra compartments, grids, or plain paper or lined. They invite journaling, odd notations, music (just check out the music one for aspiring composers). All are imported from Italy. Each Moleskine has a rigid, oilcloth bound 'moleskine' cover, and the acid free paper pages are thread bound. They also have an elastic closure and an expandable inner note holder made of cardboard and oilcloth and a removable card with the moleskine history. There are many websites that celebrate Moleskines but one of the best is at http://www.jonlee.ca/review-moleskine-notebook/ http://www.renaissance-art.com/
Renessaince Art Leather is another great journal-leather company we adore and endorse. They have recently launched two sizes and two models of leather Moleskine covers to add even more flair to your classic Moleskine and help make it just a bit more creative and indivualistic. See more about Renaissance in our Journals section but do check out these Moleskine related products. http://www.renaissance-art.com/Prod217/Product.aspx http://www.renaissance-art.com/Prod131/Product.aspx http://www.renaissance-art.com/Prod134/Product.aspx http://www.renaissance-art.com/Prod131/Product.aspx http://www.renaissance-art.com/catg103/category.aspx
Once you get into Moleskines, you will invest in a couple, as per your needs. I have a bedside Moleskine Journal, a purse/on the go one, and one for each writing project I am working on. Nothing beats the hardcover, flat opened pages. City Moleskines are the newest offerings but the agendas, both daily, and monthly, are classic favorites. Even the paper is amazing and makes the worse handwriting or cheapest pen look wonderful.
Founder Ted Gilmer is a craftsman and designer who offer photos, kayaks; sleights, luggage and canoes, and yes, leather and wood bound journals. These journals convey a feeling of the frontier West and an era of American history when the most valuable things were made by hand. Gilmer’s books are made in Northern Michigan, using scrap wood of sustainable growth forest products. If you enjoy cream colored, parchment paper to write on, tucked inside the softest, tufted, thick leather you ever saw, tied with soft cords of matching leather, these are for you. It was the first journal to arrive and we are still totally smitten with their craftsmanship, unique design, and quality. No wonder corporations order scads of them for their retreat weekends.
When you visit Aspinal of London’s site, a creation of Iain Burton your immediate thought is that they must be purveyors of fine writing products to Buckingham Palace for the last century. Surprise - the company is only a few years old and yet, it is undisputedly the most elegant offerings of leather bound English saddle leather journals as well as fine Italian books. Aspinal (as most journal companies) monograms their items if you ask. But what will strike you are the range and the quality – there is no size, leather finish, color, or format lacking. The items arrive, boxed like jewellery from Tiffany’s, tucked in tissue and swathed in grosgrain ribbon. Each Aspinal item is an experience in old school 'bookbinding'. You will find yourself simply touching the book spines and finishes for a long while before you ever manage to write your first entry. They are breath taking. Of particular note is the special recipe book, which is leather and Italian marble parchment finish. Inside the pages are neatly indexed in recipe categories. I put my own favorite recipes for my family, by hand, in this book – something akin to how recipes were recorded years ago and nice to return to. Based in England, you can also reach Aspinal via their toll free USA number 1-888-325-3302 (fellow Canadians can visit their site or email email@example.com)
Nick Nick Daffinson, owner of Rogue Journal divides his journals into two types: Permanently Bound Keepsake Journals and their Refillable collection. Any Rogue Journal is in fact, a keepsake. I ordered a leather covered, hardback large journal, which covered a companion book of blank pages. The deep, cognac hued leather journal has a beautiful self-tie, that features a silver filigree pendant on the end. This journal is hefty (tons of beautiful, textured paper inside) and I like the solid writing surface the hardback book offers. This feels a bit like Romeo and Juliet meets Merlin in tone. There is a palatable sense of romance and magic in this particular journal and you will feel as if you have owned it forever. Of course the embossed leather with a discreet but lovely heart on the front jacket doesn’t hurt. My journal from RogueJournals.com (how can you not be drawn to a name like that?) is a unique quality and design that stands out in that it is extra thick, the cover fits as snug as a glove and once open, it is almost a flat writing surface. Nick Daffinson confirms that each journal is a one-of-a-kind (my heart one is for sure but you can ask for another one and they will probably oblige). This journal, for all its magical detail is also tough as nails and looks great –despite being toted here and there and opened, and re-opened, written in and suffered a splatter of Chai tea.
Brass Heart Bookends from Made in American
What is more gorgeous than solid brass bookend hearts? With the renewed interest in reading, seems only logical that bookends, as aesthetic as the books they hold in place, would be in demand. These are treasures - they are utilitarian and inspiring in a glance.