Icco Nico Washi Tapes: Calendar and To-Do

Icco Nico washi tape

Icco Nico Washi Tape. These just arrived from Japan: washi tapes for calendar and to-do lists made by icco nico, a small online stationery and accessory company in Nara-shi, Japan.

Icco nico is run by Mari Sakamoto. I found out about her and icco nico when I stumbled across a tweet a few months ago of washi tape she’d designed to make any notebook into a calendar. I use a bullet journal, and Field Notes memo books, so I loved this idea.

Icco nico’s initial calendar tapes were in Japanese only, so I waited for an English version. And here it is, from the icconico etsy shop. Happy Saturday to me.

I bought the vertical calendar set in English, which are the two washi tapes on the left and middle, and the roll of to-do tape on the right.

Icco Nico washi tape calendar and to-do

The to-do tape comes in two colorways, pencil and crayon. Pencil seems to have only one size: 3mm. Crayon has three sizes (3, 3.7 and 5mm), which weren’t all in stock when I ordered. Choosing between the smallest and largest sizes, I went for the largest: crayon in 5mm. This is the 5mm to-do tape in a Field Notes memo book.

Icco Nico washi tape to-do

The larger size to-do list lets you write longer items and add information like phone numbers or addresses, which I find helpful. It also would work well if you’re writing your list with a broad point. But the 3mm or 3.7mm would have let me cram more “to-do’s” per page.

On the other hand, I don’t really want long to-do lists. I kind of feel oppressed by to-do lists already. (Because my to-do lists only contain unpleasant things that I actually don’t want to do. Duh. That’s why I wrote them down instead of just doing them.)

Hey! Instead of listing things like “dentist appointment,” what if I sprinkle in some items that say, “you are awesome”? Or, “stop working, call a friend for coffee.” Then I’d love to-do lists. Genius. Until then, however, I’ll let these pretty crayon colors carry me through.

Icco Nico washi tape calendar and to-do

That’s a quick shot of the two sets in the Field Notes memo book, each page of which is only 5 ½ by 3 ½ inches.The pen is a Lamy Safari, for additional size reference. I’m actually going to use the two calendar tapes in my bullet journal, which is larger. One full month of the vertical calendar runs just over 7 inches, so it fits nicely on a single page of an A5 notebook or journal.

The calendar tapes have Saturday in blue and Sunday in red, a great touch. The tapes adhere well, with just the right amount of adhesive to let you stick and unstick a few times till you find the best spot.

Icco Nico washi tape calendar and to-do

I like both sets. Icco nico also makes some other organizational washi tapes, and I’m really glad I found it.


New Ink Day: Lamy Petrol

Lamy Petrol ink writing sample

I pounced on a bottle of Lamy Petrol ink, to make sure we had one for the Chicago Pen Show Ink Testing Station. And I really like it.

I put the ink in the Safari with a fine nib, and you can see the results. It’s a very dark green, with a blue tint. There’s a bit of shading. I’m thinking a Safari with a wider nib would show more shading, and maybe even lighten the color. On the other hand, using a wetter pen would darken it.

I don’t think Petrol is going to be a huge sheener. But the color is excellent, very dark and extremely legible. I don’t think it’s a “muddy” green, to borrow my friend Rick’s phrase. It’s a clear color, just dark. It’s going to be a great ink for work. It’s a “near black” ink.

I was filling pens for the Ink Testing Station, so I grabbed Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine and Pelikan 4001 Dark Green to compare. (I was in the “P”s.)

Lamy Petrol ink comparisons

Look how much darker Petrol is than Aquamarine or Dark Green there.

The ink Petrol reminded me of is Sailor Four Seasons Miruai.

Lamy Petrol and Sailor Miruai ink swab comparison

I love Miruai. But Lamy Petrol is darker, and it’s bluer, and cheaper, and I have to say that I like Petrol even more. I’m definitely picking up a second bottle.

I’ll have to see how easily Petrol cleans out of a pen, but I sure love how it looks. I know a few other people have gotten it recently, too. What does everyone else think?

Ink Snippet: KWZ Chicago Blue

KWZ Chicago Blue writing sample

KWZ Chicago Blue. As you may know, Fountain Pen Follies serves not only as chief cook and bottle washer here, but also as de facto head of the Department of Inky Mysteries for the Chicago Pen Show.

Our show is lucky enough to welcome two gorgeous limited edition inks from Papier Plume this year, namely Lake Michigan Summer and Ivy 108. But, because I always try to find excuses to intone this, “There is another.” That is Chicago Blue from KWZ Ink.

You may have heard that the Chicago Cubs baseball team winning the World Series this past November, after 108 years of futility? Well, we at the Pen Show made a solemn vow that if the Cubs won, we’d celebrate with a special ink for the show.

KWZ Chicago Blue for 2017 Chicago Pen Show

We wanted a blue that would be strong, bright and celebratory. That would write well and look great on paper, and do the city proud. It’s blue for the Cubs, and the Bears and the Fighting Illini, for the L’s Blue Line, and for the Chicago Blues. For the blue bikes we used to ride when we were kids, when Schwinn made the Sting-Ray right here.

KWZ Inks are made by Konrad Wojciech Żurawski and his wife Agnieszka Żurawska. I want to take a look behind the scenes at KWZ Ink at some point, but for now, just know that they handcrafted this ink themselves, from the initial recipe, to the mixing and making of the ink, to its bottling and shipping. They usually even swab each individual bottle label themselves. Since Chicago Blue has a printed label — which Agnieszka drew — there’s a hand-written note in every single bottle.

KWZ Chicago Blue for 2017 Chicago Pen Show

KWZ hit it out of the park with this ink. It shades, it sheens, it’s a beautiful color. It’s exclusive to the Chicago Pen Show, May 4-7, 2017. I know not all of my readers can go, but … you should! No, I know some people just can’t get here that weekend. Hopefully a friend is going and can snag you a bottle of Chicago Blue.

This Cracked Me Up

Sometimes you’re reading a book, and a sentence strikes you.

I was reading a mystery the other day by Josephine Tey called A Shilling for Candles. At one point, the head detective travels by boat to interview a witness. During the crossing, he’s reading hostile news stories and thinking about the complexities of the case. At journey’s end, preparing to disembark, he watches a sailor working.

Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer quote


The ink is Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer. Maybe I could make the wax seals on their ink bottles for a day or two, as a little break.

Papier Plume Ivy 108 and Lake Michigan Summer: Ink Giveaway Winners

Congratulations! Gerry G was selected as the winner of Papier Plume Ivy 108 and claudia barcellos was selected as the winner of Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer. Please contact me through the link on the blog with your name and address by April 25 to claim the prize. (Or let me know if you’re coming to the Chicago Pen Show, and can pick it up there. I will add some extra swag.)

Thanks to everyone who participated. The remaining bottles will be for sale at the Chicago Pen Show, May 4-7. Most importantly, Go Cubs.

Here’s the Ivy 108 list.

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And here is the Lake Michigan Summer list.

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KWZ Rotten Green: Ink Giveaway Winner

Congratulations, mjelson, because you were selected as the winner of KWZ Rotten Green. Yay! Please contact me through the link on the blog with your name and address by April 22 to claim the prize.

Thanks to everyone who participated. I hope you get to try Rotten Green at the pen show or otherwise.

Here’s the list below. If a name appears twice it’s because that person entered both on the blog and on Instagram.


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Papier Plume Ink Giveaway: Ivy 108 and Lake Michigan Summer

Papier Plume Ivy 108 and Lake Michigan Summer

As you know, Papier Plume has mixed up two small-batch inks to sell exclusively at the Chicago Pen Show in three weeks. These Chicago show inks are Ivy 108 and Lake Michigan Summer, and I think they both look great.

But it’s a very limited edition: Papier Plume has made only 60 bottles of each. Because so many people are interested, Papier Plume has graciously agreed to let me give away one bottle of each, right here. That way anyone who can’t get to the pen show has a chance to win one.

I’m sure everyone here joins me in thanking Papier Plume for this. Do stop by their table at the show: there will be a lot of great stuff there.

To enter to win Lake Michigan Summer or Ivy 108 here, please leave a comment about the inks down below. I’ll put you down in both draws unless you say that you only want one, but the first winner won’t be entered in the second drawing. I’ll draw in alphabetical order, with Ivy 108 first, then Lake Michigan Summer.

One entry per person please, but you should let your friends know. If they win, they’ll love you forever, and surely they’ll share the ink with you, too.

I will randomly select the two winners sometime on April 18, using a random number generator, and then post their names here on the blog. So be sure to check back then, because once announced, each winner must contact me with mailing address by April 25 to claim the prize.