Pen Confidence

In college I was working towards my dream job and got an interview at my number one place on the list. I knew my resume was good, I had the perfect speech planned but I still had butterflies in my stomach. David surprised me and got me a leather portfolio and a Cross ballpoint. I was so excited, I felt like a real professional and going into that interview I held my head high and rocked it. I was told how I’d make a great member of the team and could start monday. 

From that day forward I have always used that pen in every meeting and interview I’ve attended. I don’t bring my Cross ballpoint because I think it brings me luck I bring it because it reminds me I am loved and that I can do what I set my mind to. 

Setting my best foot forward could have taken many forms but having a portfolio and a professional pen set the tone for my professional career. I have gotten many comments on my cross pen. Through the years I have added to my pen collection and continued to get comments on how nice, charming or fancy they are. I guess all of this to say, if you want to make a good impression have a portfolio and a nice pen. If nothing else they will remember you for being the most professional of all the interviewees.

Do you have a favorite shirt, lucky socks or pen that just gives you that little boost of confidence? I’d love to hear your advice for others and any fun stories you have.  

What Your Pen Says About You

Who are you?

A: The Professional – A pen is meant to be used for writing, they use them for professional correspondence. The pen and ink needs to be neutral and demand respect. These pens are making policies and laws and need to be faxed or scanned.

B: The Creative – A pen is meant to be used for writing, if they are writing it is with what makes them happy. The pen and ink can look like whatever the owner wants it to. The pen speaks of the owners’ personality and sense of freedom.

C: The Stylist – A pen is meant for writing, it needs to show the world the owners thoughtfulness and efficiency. They go looking for pens that match something they own or buy a pen and then buy matching accessories. It’s a hobby but everyone has one.

D: The Boss – A pen is meant for writing, they buy whatever pen they want and whatever ink they want But the pen and ink must match. These are busy people, but they are creative busy people. So to take one more thing off their mind they make the pens and ink match. They never have to wonder what ink is in their pen because it will be the color of the pen. It is effective and mindfully mindless.

Do you associate yourself more as a

A. Professional

B. Creative

C. Stylist

D. Boss

Let me know in the comments. Remember to be nice, this is just for fun.

What is your why?

I grew up in an era of waiting at the mailbox for a handwritten birthday card. My grandparents wrote letters just because and I wrote back. I have a box (a big box) of handwritten letters, cards and notes saved from over the years. They weren’t always special in content but someone took the time to write me a letter and that was special.

I remember growing up seeing my grandmother and mothers’ beautiful cursive. Their print was immaculate. I couldn’t figure out why my handwriting was trash! I finally sat down and watched my mom write a letter. It took forever……… I thought it was because she was writing this long heartfelt letter….but it was just a recipe for my grandma to try and reminding her we were coming over next weekend. When I asked my mom what took so long writing it she said ” what good would it be for me to write something if no one can read it?”

You think I would have learned my lesson then but nope. I still got told to rewrite and rewrite assignments because my teachers couldn’t read it. My teachers were always reminding me that our school had a computer lab and that they would be happy to get me a time slot. My bad handwriting continued through all of grade school, college and into work. I still don’t have great handwriting but it’s legible now.

My Why

I finally decided to work on my handwriting not because I worried no one could read it but because I had terrible anxiety and needed a hobby. David suggested working on my handwriting because he couldn’t read the grocery list. He knew that journaling and writing was supposed to help people with anxiety. My husband was right.

I started handlettering, bullet journaling and learning to draw. I still have anxiety but now I have a way to destress and to feel like I have control over something.

What is your why? What brought you to writing? To investing in the little things that make it not just a quick note but a little piece of you on paper. These are stories I’d love to hear. Please let me know your why in the comments down below.

Cross Bailey Light Review

I was purusing the internet for a new cheap fountain pen and ended up on Amazon. (Surprise, Surprise) I was looking for something under $30 to help round out my Lamy Safari dominated collection. I am newer to the fountain pen hobby or should I say lifestyle. I don’t have very many fountain pens and want to try a variety to find the pen love of my life.

I saw the Cross Bailey Light and thought “oh, that looks cute. I wonder how much that is?” Friends, this pen is under $30. Whoop, Whoop.

The new Cross Bailey Light is just what it says ‘light’. I was surprised at how nice it feels in my hand when I’ve become used to a slightly heavier fountain pen style. The site states that “Bailey Light is the first of its kind in the Cross collection. Crafted to our exacting standards, the design shares the statement-making appeal and quality performance of the original Cross Bailey metal pen, but it weighs less in glossy resin”.

Pros:

The Cross Bailey Light comes in a variety of colors, nib sizes and three different pen tips. The variety of colors offered at this moment are coral, teal, blue, white, gray, and black.The pen is also offered in extra fine, fine and medium steel nib; as well as a rollerball and ballpoint. The pen comes shipped in a nice box with a cartridge of black ink, already inside the pen. The site does offer converters for a similar price to converters of other brands.

The Cross Bailey Light is nice pen to look at and write with. I got the coral version with a medium steel nib. The body is an all coral resin with a few bands of silver trim and silver clip. The cap does come off one handed, which comes in handy ( lol) . The pen also has a nice click when the cap is put back on. The Cross Bailey light when posted and unposted are very similar in length to my Lamy Safari. It does have a thinner body but that is to be expected with a pen this light.

I have a tendency to hold my pens too tight and write with them for too long. This pen sits in my hand nicely and doesn’t tire my hand out. I’ve also kept it uncapped the entire time I’ve been writing this review ( 1.5 ish hours) and it hasn’t dried out at all.

Cons:

To be honest I didn’t realize I was an ink snob until I tried writing with this pen. The ink included was so watery and a diluted looking black. I haven’t had a chance to get the converter yet, so I emptied out the black ink cartridge and immediately filled it with Lamy Vibrant Pink. Ooooffff, it looks so good; I love when an ink and pen match. But again that is a problem with the ink, not the pen.

There is no ink viewing. You write with it until it stops and then you have to unscrew it to see if it’s empty. It’s a silly thing and I know that the pen would likely have cost a little more or maybe not looked as nice with a viewing window but I wanted to mention it.

Writing Sample:

 

   

Conclusion:

Overall, this is fine for the money; I don’t regret buying it. I would buy this pen for a friend or loved one who wants something that makes a mild statement of sophistication. This is the type of pen that can be taken anywhere and used often. I’m not afraid of scuffing it and it’s an easy way to bring a friend into the fountain pen world.

If you are into fountain pens and want to grab a pen and throw it in your bag or car this will do just fine for you. However, if you are into collecting and have been eyeing a pen of a similar price, I’d probably tell you to get the other one.

At the time of writing this review the Cross Bailey Light can be found on Amazon for a price very similar to other fountain pens depending on fit and finish. 

Disclaimer: I purchased this pen with my own funds and no one has paid me for my review. Everything in here is just my thoughts on how much I enjoyed or didn’t enjoy the pen.

My newest Obsession (Ink)

I can’t even express how much I love getting new inks. I am like a kid on christmas everytime I get a new ink. I love love love new pens but they are a bit more expensive than inks and variety is the spice of life.

While David will try any ink he prefers a good black, grey or blue. He will use reds, oranges and green but if you asked him what his pens were inked up with he’d say one or two pens and 90 percent of the time it’s a neutral color. Personally I love to have all of my pens inked if possible. I don’t have as many as some people so it is easier for me to keep them maintained. I love having the broadest nib and the shimmer-iest, glitter-iest, multi-colored inks. I get heart eyes seeing the full dynamic of what an ink can do.

As a Handlettering artist I tend to use different inks and styles throughout my work. So depending on the project; it is so much easier to have five pens inked with different colors or even the same color but in different pens.

My true trick of the trade is to use a glass dip pen and to switch colors immediately either causing them to have a beautiful bleed and blend as well as super easy cleanup. I have also seen many artists sketch entire pieces with just one ink and it will look to be at least three different colors. Now I know many beautiful fountain pens can have multiple colors and be multifaceted. But what is the cost of that one pen to my inks?

So here’s your assignment, look at your pens, pick your favorite one and see how many inks you could have bought instead. If you want to add the pen name and ink brands in the comments we would be so pleased.

What kind of pen are you?

Not another personality quiz…. yep; I love these. Are you sleek and stylish? Are you quiet and reserved? Are you into switching things up?

Here we go.

Number one:

A. You are reliable

B. You are easily distracted

C. You are the life of the party

D. You don’t want to be here

Number two:

A. That project that’s due tomorrow, it’s in your basket.

B. When was that due?

C. Hey, Do you want to work on a project together?

D. It’s done, can I leave now?

Number three:

A: You can use my pen. Put it back when your done.

B: Oh, thanks for giving this back, I forgot I gave it to you

C: oh yeah, I love this pen. Do you want to try it?

D: Yes, I have a pen. No, you can’t use it

Number four:

A. You take it everywhere and everyone thinks it’s super nice

B. Everyone knows it’s yours because you leave it lying around and then look for it later.

C. You have a drawer for them and give them as gifts

D. People comment on your pen and you say something along the lines of you don’t want other peoples’ germs.

If you answered mostly:

A. You are probably a Lamy 2000 or a Pilot Vanishing Point

B. You are probably a Kaweco Sport or Platinum Preppy

C. You are probably a Twisbi Eco or a Lamy Safari

D. You are probably a Montblanc 149 or Visconti HomoSapien

Let me know in the comments if we got it right, if you own one or have it on your wishlist. If we were way off and you’d never use that pen say so. I can’t wait to find out your results.

Power of the Written Word

People say a picture is worth a thousand words. Those people are not wrong but what is a world without words. How would we have known the depth of Juliets’ love for Romeo if William Shakespeare hadn’t wrote it? Would we have known of the vast and beautiful culture of the Hobbits if Mister Tolkien himself hadn’t written it? “Why the caged bird sings” is the answer Maya Angelou gave us to a question we didn’t know we should be asking and I’m so glad she did.

In the anatomy of a hen the beak is used for eating and to create a pecking order. A pen is a tool used to write, draw and express oneself. Throughout the centuries those who could write and read where considered above the rest. Therefore creating a pecking order. The difference between the rich and the poor, the difference between the free and the oppressed.

When I think of the atrocities that have occured over the centuries I know that there was a photo that turned the tide of a people, There is a video that shakes a nation. After those photos and videos have been seen what is done? People are told go out and protest, call your congressman, write your senator. When you see photos of protesters you also see their signs.Words are one of our most powerful tools to fight back evil and injustice. 

When I see Pen and Hen I think of all the good that can come from the written word. Here’s my question for you my readers, What was the most meaningful thing you’ve written?

What you wrote doesn’t have to be something that changed the world, just something meaningful to you or who you wrote it to.  

Why Aren’t You Creating?

I looked at my art supplies: pens, paints, iPad and plain old pencil. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be creative and relax but I was getting stressed trying to find something to create.

Here’s a few tips and tricks to get you out of the slump and into a creative groove.

1. Get a notebook: write down any inspirational quote or idea that comes to mind. I am creating what is known as a “Commonplace Book”. I thought it was just a notebook full of lovely quotes and thoughts. But David showed me that what I was doing has been done since the 17th century.

I write down quotes from books, tv shows, Bible verses and even comments on my instagram feed. Everyday people just like me have said things that touch my heart or makes me think. I always write down who said it, whether it’s an author, song lyric, poet or instagram handle. It is such a time saver to just grab my notebook (Commonplace Book) and start writing. It doesn’t matter what with but fountain pen makes it feel so smooth and personal.

2. The same as having a Commonplace Book; have a folder whether physical or digital to hold images that move and inspire you. I tend to have my inspiration sorted by medium. I use labels such as watercolor, lettering or physical. I know lots of artists tend sort their folders by subject like: nature, city or people. I like to narrow myself down to one theme before I start looking. If I don’t I just go down a rabbit hole and spent an hour looking at what I could instead of doing it. So pick a subject or medium and get creating.

3. Set a timer – otherwise known as the Pomodoro technique. The human body isn’t meant to work for long periods of time, it needs to move, to rest and to reset. You know the expression, “sleep on it” which essentially means walk away and try again with fresh eyes. The Pomodoro technique is setting a timer for 25-ish minutes, getting everything you possibly can done in that time and then taking a break.

The break is usually 5-10 minutes. You should use the break to get a drink, go to the bathroom or take a quick walk around the house. It’s highly recommended not to look at your phone or TV. People tend to get sucked in and have a harder time restarting because their mind is on something else. Setting a timer may not work for everyone, it might make you feel more anxious or worried. If it creates anxiety don’t do it. If you want to start with just 5-10 minute blocks go for it. I love seeing how much work I can get done in a specific set of time.

4. Try creating in a new environment – take your sketchbook to the park, take your laptop to the backyard picnic table, use that travel set of paints and brushes and travel to the beach or look in the mirror. Sometimes you just need a change of pace to open your mind to new ideas.

5. Listen to music – any kind of music. Write down the lyrics, paint the scene, draw how it makes you feel. Music is such an integral part of our society and ourselves. Music is what creates a mood and allows us to share a piece of us with the world.

Let me know down below if these techniques have worked for you. If these techniques are new to you, try one and see how it goes. As always if you have any to share please do. Happy Creating.

Storage and Daily Carrier:

Storage:

Today we are talking about storage. Where do you keep all of your supplies? Do you have a special place for them? Do they all hang out on your desk? Are any of your pens in a single pen case? What do you do with your daily carrier? How do you have your supplies and pens sorted?

In my office I have a craft cart next to my desk. All of my art and craft books are in the top basket of the craft cart. I keep my sketchbooks and paper in the top basket as well. In the second basket I keep pens, inks and all my other writing utensils in a cute little sectioned holder. In the third basket I keep extra paper, notebooks, scrap pieces and work in progress pieces. I love having them all in an easy to reach place. I love being able to see what I have right on hand and grab it quick.

Some of the notebooks you will find include, Rhodia dot and blank pads, Tomoe River travel journals, Moleskein and Clairfontaine. The spare scraps of paper are printer paper and watercolor paper.

My fountain pen collection includes Lamy Safaris’, a white Twisbi Eco and a Conklin omni-flex. Non fountain pens include Pentel felt tip, Cedar Chalk Markers, Micron Archival, Tombow fudenuske and dual brushes. I keep each brand of pen in a separate holder section; except the Twisbi Eco. My Twisbi Eco is kept in a single pen slip case because I borrowed it from David and he says I scuffed it. I have since buffed it and put it in a safe place where it won’t get scuffed any more, aka not my purse.

David keeps his pens all in a cup together on his desk. Some of the pens are in individual pen slip cases. David keeps all of his inks on his desk. He has a small two drawer file case under his desk with his notebooks and spencerian workbooks.

Daily Carrier:

What is a daily carrier you might wonder. A daily Carrier is exactly what it sounds like, a pen you take with you and use daily. I don’t have a daily carrier… one reason being because of Covid-19; where we are at home staying safe and healthy. Having a daily carrier seemed silly for me since I would match my pens with my outfit. A great thing about having multiple colors of Lamys’ is that it makes it easy to grab one and go because I know they will all write the same.

Davids’ daily carrier also changed but that was because he would use a pen until the ink was out, clean it and then ink up a new pen. He has many different styles of pen but he seems to save the really nice pens for home.

Do you save your really nice pens for home? Do you take them out in a case or just put the pen in your pocket and go? I’d love to know your storage setup and your daily carrier. Tell me all about it in the comments below.

Work, School or Art?

What do you use your pen for the most? Do you use it for schoolwork, for office work or for art? I ask this question because if you are having a problem with your ink, paper or pen you need to look at what you are using it for.

When working whether for school or at the office, I tend to color code subjects to better organize myself. This means having multiple pens and colors. I have lots of Lamy Safari pens so I tend to use those most. Because my pens are all the same brand I unwittingly created a science experiment. I have found that Lamys’ can take almost any ink and work great. On occasion when I get nib creep, I look at the ink and nib combo to see if it’s something I can change quickly or if the pen needs a good cleaning.

Work

To negate the worry of a mess, I tend to use a medium nib on thicker paper. I can use a medium nib because I tend to write slowly and have time to let it dry when I am working at the office. Because there is a tendency to sign lots of documents, it is to my benefit to make a bold stroke. A bold stroke is easily seen in a fax or an email.

School

If I have to take notes and am going through paper quickly I tend to use a fine nib with a thin ink. Thin ink in a fine nib tends to dry very quickly which works perfectly for school work. I have also found that thin inks are more permanent than the thicker shimmer inks in my experience. I also love a good permanent ink for school because I can highlight over it. You’d think with my awesome color coding skills I wouldn’t need to highlight but alas tis true. I use a pretty neutral colored ink for note taking and leave color coding to the highlighter. I use neutral inks because they are more permanent. It would also hurt my eyes to stare at a page full of vibrant pink ink, even though I love it.

Art

Ink and pen needs will vary wildly based on the type of art you are creating. Being a Handletter I adore using my bold nib with a shimmer and sparkle ink. A bold nib really allows the ink to “shine”. Both a good sparkle ink and lettering requires a slow, smooth hand. This type of art allows the ink plenty of time to dry and when making a custom piece flow beautifully on heavy paper. No one wants feathering ink on a custom piece, no one.

I sometimes dabble in floral drawings and these tend to be in a much finer nib with darker inks. The ink doesn’t need to be as thin because I have time to let it dry but it does need to be bold. Other artists need one ink that has lots of color variation. They will spread their ink purposefully for the type of art that they are creating. You can see a totally monocromatic scene of all blue but with a good ink you will also see a ton of variation in that one blue. The ink brings an entirely new depth to a piece.

What do you use your pens for most? What is your favorite pen and ink combo? I’d love to know in the comments below.