A Peek at the Pen Cup: The “I Am So Normal” Edition

pen cup with fountain pens

Oh yeah, look at this pen cup. I only have five fountain pens going, and it’s good.

Nothing intentional: I haven’t been using the pens much lately. That’s because my recent work has been mostly on the computer, and I am not good at writing letters, so lately I’ve been cleaning out pens and putting them away.

I have to say, with five pens, I feel so normal.

The most recently inked is my Pelikan M605 White Transparent, because the temperature is nicely frosty here, and this pen feels wintery. It’s inked with Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall, an absolutely wonderful ink in my opinion. Pen and ink make a perfect pair, and I keep coming back to ths combination. This makes me wish I had something to write.

All my other pens have been inked up for a while. But I managed to put together a suitably Christmassy trio.

pelikan lamy fountain pens

Such a happy sight. Malibu Barbie Christmas.

The green pen is my Pelikan M205 Olivine, filled with Pelikan Edelstein Olivine — another great combination. I do have to clean this one out, because it’s been inked since I got it.

The pink pen is my Lamy Al-Star Vibrant Pink. It’s still loaded with a cartridge of Lamy Blue, mainly to keep cleaning out the feed after my Vibrant Pink ink disaster. But Lamy Blue is actually a very nice ink with this pen’s extra-fine nib, and I always like a blue ink, so this is a good combination, too.

The two pens that have been inked and re-inked the longest are what have turned into my core users. One is my long-serving Lamy Safari Charcoal with fine nib and black ink (currently Taccia Kuro). The other is a pen I bought this year and haven’t taken out of rotation since: a Sailor Professional Gear Earth with extra-fine nib, inked with Papier Plume Da Blue ink. I use these two all the time, the Safari because I can take it anywhere without worry, and the Sailor because its amazing extra-fine nib writes tiny scribbles with perfect smoothness.

I’ve actually been very busy, but it just doesn’t involve much writing with pens and ink. And frankly that’s been kind of … restful. Fountain pens and inks aren’t a job for me, just things that add a dash of delight and interest to the everyday. And that’s enough. So if pens and inks aren’t centered in my life, right now, that works. My pens and inks are easy-going; they will wait their turn.

I guess I’m using them when I can. In fact, I had to move this out of the way to take the pen cup photo.

field notes lamy safari cookbook

I was using the Safari to take notes there, because I’ve finally found the time to get into something that I’ve always wanted to do: serious bread-making. (Because people always ask: not with a bread machine, but just flour, yeast, water and salt, worked by hand and set on the counter to rise over the course of the day before being shaped by hand, and then popped onto an improvised hearth in the oven.)

So I’ve been up to my elbows in different kinds of flour, and experiments with different pre-ferments. (This cuts down on my texting a lot, too.) But I am trying to refine my technique, which means I’ve been making a lot of loaves of a basic hearth bread, tweaking a few things here or there, learning inputs and outputs, and writing them down. It’s very absorbing for me, and it’s really delicious. Also I’ve become more popular with the family. Winter’s a good time to heat up the kitchen and make food for people.

Today I’ve been hovering over my brand new sourdough starter like it’s a new baby, searching for life and activity. I should know better, though. If it’s really like a baby, that sourdough won’t start bubbling and fussing until I try to take a shower, or start a movie, or go out to dinner. And as it grows, it’s going to do the opposite of what I want. As it should! So, grow big, little sourdough, and grow free, and grow as and how you will. In the meantime, I’ll just leave this here: I’m going to go walk the dog now, then I’m going to start a movie….

A Peek at the Pen Cup: Mean, Green, Certainly Not Lean

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Look at that: absolute chaos has descended on Fountain Pen Follies.

And. So. Much. Green.

It’s probably obvious just looking at that: these last two months have been insanely busy in real life, leaving no time for writing with pens. At the same time, I’ve been inundated with pens and ink. I’ve got a bunch of new inks, including some nice samples, and also a few new pens, to try out. Then I wanted to ink up testers for my Pelikan Hub. Then there’s the new Sailor 1911L in Key Lime. Everything has piled up. I’ve got close to 30 pens there, crammed in like commuters on an L train at rush hour.

That Sailor 1911L in Key Lime is the pen I notice most in that crowd. In the first photo, it’s the green pen near the top right corner. What makes that photo unusual is something that you might not notice: there was sun outside. See how nice and gleaming the Sailor looks in the sun?

Here’s an extreme closeup.

Sailor 1911L Key Lime in sun

Pizzazz.

In the sun, the pearlized material of the Key Lime really comes through. On the one I’m using, there are wavy shimmers, for a moire effect.

Here’s another shot, in which you can see the very subtle shimmers on the pen body:

Sailor 1911L Key Lime with comparison pens

Still in the sun, the Key Lime there is between the Pelikan Stockholm and the Lamy Al-Star Charged Green. That’s closer to what the Key Lime usually looks like. But it’s a smidge yellower in real life, which just doesn’t come through in photos.

I want to do a post on the many looks of the Key Lime, because it’s such a cool color, but also so different, and so hard to get a fix on. It’s fascinating.

What you can’t see is that inside all those pens is a lot of green ink. Too much green ink. I feel like I should be decorating for Christmas. Except, of course, it is only October. And in October we celebrate the biggest holiday season of all. The start of NHL hockey.

I’m sure we all feel “too much” at times. Right now, those crammed pen cups are nagging me, like a pile of laundry you haven’t folded for a week. So this Peek at the Pen Cup was the “no mas” edition. I’m going to spend some time cleaning out the pens I can do without, and getting back on track with the others.

A Peek at the Pen Cup: New Year, New Me Edition

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You know how some people love New Year’s resolutions? Yeah, not me. But you know how some people love pen-cleaning? Okay, also not me. But, you know how some people are procrastinators, and they will do anything to avoid a disagreeable task? Me!

So over the last few days I’ve avoided cleaning off my desk by cleaning out my two pen cups instead. Instead of the long, hard slog that desk-cleaning would entail, I’ve chosen to redo my roster of inked pens. Fun.

“New Year, New Me.” Or, at least, New Year, new pens and inks. Plus, I’m down to one pen cup now. Wow.

pens in pen cup

I know, all this excellence and accomplishment is probably intimidating. But I did keep some holdover pens. And not even out of laziness, but out of “I still like these.”

Here’s what has stayed inked: Lamy Safari with Pelikan Brilliant Black (as always); Pelikan M710 Toledo with Papier Plume Pecan; Pelikan M200 with Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall; Pelikan M600 with KWZ Warsaw Dreaming; Parker 75 with Waterman blue; and Parker 75 with Waterman blue black.

Also in there are two Parker Jotter ballpoints. I like them, and they give me something to hand to those people who look at my desk, look at my pens, and desperately ask, “Is there anything I can use to sign this form?” (Those people are relatives, which is why I cater to their whims. Occasionally they feed me.)

For the new pen, I decide to do another ink from Ink Dips, an occasional series where I randomly pick an ink sample from a bag of leftovers. Fun.

So I stick my hand in a bag of leftover ink samples, close my eyes and pull out … Caran d’Ache Ultra Violet. The first Ink Dip of 2018. Ta da.

Now, here’s the thing: I very much like Caran d’Ache inks, but that one is a purple sort of color. I am an honorable person. But this is the first Ink Dip of 2018, and I don’t think purple is a nice thing to do to people (at least, not to me). Especially early in the year, before I’ve had enough coffee. So I cheat, and pick again.

And this time, I pull out … Callifolio Violet. Also purple.

2018 is trying to kill me, and it’s only Day Two.

I say a word, which happens to be a swear word, and I pick again. This time it’s Callifolio Inti. That one is golden yellow, not purple, and looks very nice. Though if this were Russian Roulette I’d already be doubly dead. Not fun.

But I am an honorable person, and don’t have many pens inked, so I find three Pelikans, enough for all these inks, even the purples. I tell myself, “I can do this. The Pelikans will pull me through.”

But can I do this? Two purples in a row?

I don’t know that I can. At least, not without resorting to huffing.

So I go back in the ink area and spend another half hour searching through many other ink samples, to find a special ink. The one I have in mind is ink that’s no longer made, that people seem to love, but I’ve never tried. My friend sent me a small sample of this ink, just so I could try it.

And I put it somewhere really safe. “Somewhere safe” means “I have no idea where.” Duh. But, finally I find it. I pick a beautiful Pelikan for this special ink, too.

Pelikan M620 Stockholm and Montblanc Racing Green swabs

Montblanc Racing Green, finally. In my Pelikan M620 Stockholm.

I’m up to four new pens. Also, I’m not huffing yet. So, a modestly successful New Year, so far.

A Peek at the Pen Cup: Dazed and Distracted Edition

pen cup with fountain pens

You know what I like? I like the reflection of the window in the cap medallion of that Lamy Safari.

My pen cup is reasonably full again, but it’s mostly full with pens I’ve already talked about. Pens of the past. I really haven’t had the time or the oomph to think about new things. My brain is just overstuffed. We’ve had two big family birthdays in the past week, while work has been crushing. Then there’s been baseball to watch.

At first nervously, then merrily. The Cubs did the nearly unbelievable, winning the pennant for the first time in 71 years. Thus ending the failure and futility that has been Cubs fandom for longer than my lifetime. It’s like when you come out of a movie theater into the blinding sun: everything looks nice and bright, but you do have to reorient.

pen cup with fountain pens

So about pens, I can’t really say I’ve spent too much time thinking about them.

Looking at the pen cup, there are a lot of Lamy Safaris and Pelikans, and a few Kawecos. All good. But I’m going to have to clean out some of these pens of the past and try some different pens and inks. Once baseball releases its hold on my brain.

Maybe that will happen during the Ohio Pen Show. Or when the new Pelikan M405 Stresemann comes in — that intrigues me.

If only they had a Pelikan M605 Stressedwoman — now that would be my pen. It would be hot pink, or maybe orange, and it would come with a giant coffee mug.

Problem Solving, With the Very Large Array

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There are good problems to have, of course, and having too many fountain pens inked is probably one of them. I’ve been looking at a lot of new-to-me inks, so I can’t complain if that requires a lot of pens. And in there is one awesome Platinum pen I’m going to be giving away. But I still had the small issue of where to put all those pens.

Last time I confronted this, I went for a temporary solution: I ejected a rollerball from the pen cup, and moved the fountain pens around like puzzle pieces until they all fit. Not ideal, but a workable quick fix. “You go, girl.”

However, one new ink led to another, and another led to a third, and so on. Before you could say “J. Herbin,” I was over-penned once again. This time, there were no more squeezes possible, and nothing to do but add another pen cup to the lineup. And not a pretty one, either. “Le sigh.”

But it’s all in how you look at things, right?  So I shall look at my pen cuppage not as excess, but as a small tribute to the Very Large Array, which uses 27 movable radio telescopes to explore the universe.

And I mean, even the number 27 is inspiring.  When I think how many pens would fit into 27 pen cups….

“You go, girl!”

A Peek at the Pen Cup: This Week the Pen Cup Runneth Over

pen cup

It is pure chaos right now at Fountain Pen Follies. That cup is so full of pens I was sure I couldn’t fit even one more.

But I needed to, because, unable to bear the suspense any longer, I opened the world’s best ink bottle and filled a Pelikan with Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue.

So imagine one more Pelikan, jammed into the last empty spot, right in front.

pens in pen cup

This pen cup is now filled wall-to-wall.

What’s taking up all the room? There’s a rollerball. Also the Parker 51 and the charcoal Lamy Safari that are my everyday pens. Every other pen in there is for an ink review or other ink post that I’m working on. Except the pen that’s in there for a pen review I’m working on.

A bunch of Pelikans. A bunch of Lamy Safaris and a Vista. An Edison. Two Montblancs. A Platinum. All fantastic. Except, this is so overstuffed. I need to go on a pen diet. Or start cranking out content faster.

Or I suppose I could just move the rollerball….

A Peek at the Pen Cups

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My pen cup runneth over.  Both of them. And they show what’s going on here for the next week or two.

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I’ve got four Kaweco Sports inked right now.  Three of them contain inks I’m going to be reviewing, or might be reviewing or really thought I’d already have finished reviewing.  Those pens are blue, clear and purple, respectively.

The other is my new AL-Sport.  Which is new.  I am not sure I expressed that clearly enough.  I meant, new!  Well, actually, newest.  Newest!

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Does that photo up above look sufficiently dark and mysterious?  Good.  There are two pens there that I think are going to be pens of the week this very week, so I don’t want to give away too much now.  I hope it’s just like Pretty Little Liars here, in terms of suspense.  So you can tune in tomorrow, when I reveal “A.”

A Pen Case Just for Kaweco Sports

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What is that interesting bit of red and black up there? It’s the coolest leather pen case/pen cup. Michael at MY63 Leather made it just to fit four Kaweco Sports.

Kaweco Sports are mini-pens, smaller than normal when capped, and then normal size when you post them to write with.  But because they are shorter capped, when you put them in a regular pen case or pen cup, they tend to get a little lost in there.

So Michael decided to make a cup or case that fits Kaweco Sports exactly.

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A Peek at the Pen Cup: Deluxe Edition

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Look at this gorgeous thing. This is my new pen cup, courtesy of the wonderful and talented Michael of MY63 Leather case fame.

Michael’s handmade leather work is amazing, and he’s branched out from his marvelous pen cases to other beautiful items like leather notebook covers.  I had casually mentioned a pen cup to him, and look what he made.  It is just stunning.

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