Happy Galentine’s Day, Fountain Pen Friends

Today is devoted to two celebrations: a belated Galentine’s Day, plus Valentine’s Day.

And all involving pen stuff. Not because I’m a total loser. Not just because I’m a total loser. But also because it’s a blog about pen things.

What is Galentine’s Day? Only the most awesome holiday ever. Galentine’s Day started on a television show, Parks and Recreation, when Amy Poehler’s character decided the day before Valentine’s Day should be a day to celebrate female friendship, over brunch. Thus Galentine’s Day.

This should totally be a thing. So I’m going to be the change I want to see in the world: Happy Galentine’s Day.

Except, we need to add a few wrinkles. First, we’re a day late, because it’s me. Second, we’re on the internet, and I’m not a morning person, so that brunch thing isn’t happening. Just pour yourself a cup of coffee, or open a package of cookies or a bottle of wine. I toast you, virtually.

The biggest change is that our Galentine’s Day is open to all, whether a real gal or an honorary gal. If you’re a guy — and you are still reading — then hopefully you’re happy to be one of the gals. Make yourself at home. It’s my internet-only, fake-brunch, day-late, Galentine’s Day, and all are welcome.

I’m not going to shy away from gal-palling here. But I’m also going to assume that honorary gals will be interested, too, if only to see the other side.

Here are some pretty pens that seem fitting for this Galentine’s Day.

Pelikan M600 Pink and Pelikan M605 White Transparent

These are the Pelikan M600 Pink and the Pelikan M605 White Transparent, and they are the nicest Galentine’s pens ever.

But you know, gals do not just like pink things. In fact, some gals don’t like pink at all. And that is okay. Galentine’s Day is for all. Here’s a green pen I like.

Sheaffer PFM I green

And here are some pens that aren’t very colorful.

assorted fountain pens

Those pens are sober enough even for those guys who don’t qualify as honorary gals.

But you know what? I hate to say it, but, they aren’t really fun enough for our celebration. For today, let’s forget those. They can come back on, say, tax day. A guy day if ever there was one.

Instead, I will grab some fountain pens that are more fun and Galentine’s-appropriate.

assorted fountain pens

One of those is even black, and that one is also owned by a guy I know.

See! Galentine’s Day is all about celebrating your friends, and mine are pretty great.

Now, some might say that my friends have great taste. But that’s not for me to say. Because if I say that, it would be sort of complimenting myself, because of the implication that they also have great taste in friends (me). So I can’t really say that, and still be modest. Apparently. So I’ll just leave it to you gals and guys to say that. Right there, in the comments. Below. At the bottom there.

Okay, have we all left fawning compliments? Good work. So here are some other writing instruments that would work for this special day.

Lamy Safari pencil and ballpoint pen

These are the Lamy Safari Pink ballpoint and mechanical pencil. These live on the top of my desk, where my husband can use them. Because they are pink, if he walks away with them, I will track them down, and he’ll have to sheepishly return them to my desk.

This makes a happy contrast with, say, my phone charger.

And speaking of people who are your family but use that to walk off with your things, here’s a small sample of things found today in my daughters’ rooms.

Field Notes

Those are Galentine’s Day-appropriate Field Notes. You’ve been reading me long enough to know that they once were mine. No more. I now buy at least two packs of anything gal-like, for this reason.

I guess that makes every day a Galentine’s Day, and that’s a nice thing. But looking at that photo, I want to suggest, bitterly, that Jailentine’s Day might be more appropriate. That one on the right is fly.

Ah well. I will console myself.

Lamy Safaris

Those are some Safaris I have. I am pretty sure that Fred Astaire was thinking of these in Swing Time when he sang, “Some day, when I’m awfully low / When the world is cold / I will feel a glow just thinking of you / And the way you look tonight.”

And there’s a second verse. So here is a drawer of Al-Stars, too.

Lamy Al-Stars

This year’s Vibrant Pink will slot in there, too. Some day, when my pen arrives ….

Ah what a pretty picture. I am so glad we could share this Galentine’s Day in pens together.



Chicago Pen Show 2017 “Haul”

Chicago Pen Show 2017 purchases

We’re supposed to post our pen show pickups, so here are mine from last weekend’s Chicago Pen Show.

Seeing it all splayed out there is daunting. But magnificent. It takes a truck.

What did I buy? Two pens. One new, which is my first Franklin-Christoph. And one vintage, which is my second PFM I. Both pens are blue, which is my favorite color. I also bought five bottles of Papier Plume inks (my first). Three bottles of KWZ Chicago Blue. My first bottle of Robert Oster — Tranquility, recommended by blog readers. And a really cool notebook called the Zequenz roll up journal.

Zequenz roll up journal

In terms of gifts, Papier Plume threw in a stick of gold sealing wax, with which I intend to seal my many important proclamations, like “don’t put empty boxes back in the pantry.”

A friend gave me that empty Akkerman bottle. Someone else gave me a leather case (already in use). And I got a pin for a cool fountain pen blog, Of Quill Alchemy, from three amazingly talented students at the University of Chicago who run it.

The best present isn’t up there. It was finally meeting my dear friend Lou. We’ve known each other for years through fountain pens, but only via emails and letters, because we live so far away. Lou was in the area with his wife and brother for a family event, so they hung out with me on Thursday, the show’s first day.

That Thursday also happened to be my birthday. Now, of course turning 29 (once again) doesn’t phase me. I’ve gotten blasé about that, it happens so often. But finally meeting Lou and his family made for the best birthday ever.

pen wrap with opal

Lou made and gave me that gorgeous pen wrap. He knows me, however, so he handed it to me with the caution, “be careful.” The closure is opal. Which … okay, I’m fairly sure I’ll be googling “opal glue” before I turn 29 next year.

Inside, Lou stuck a few bookmarks, to remind me of some very important things. The last was, “remember to write me every once in a while.” He said that with a smile, because we’re both terrible at that. Not that it matters. Friends stay in each other’s hearts.

pen wrap interior

Along those lines, people in the US fountain pen community know that right after the pen show we unexpectedly lost Susan Wirth, a pen show mainstay and a great personality.

We always assume there will be a next time. But of course that’s not always true. So I’m going to try to remember to take more time for myself and other people. Rush around less, hang around more.

Pen of the Day: Sheaffer PFM Green with Caran d’Ache Idyllic Blue

Sheaffer PFM I fountain pen with Caran d'Ache Idyllic Blue ink

Sheaffer PFM I Green with medium nib. The PFM, once again, because we have gone out of the green and into the blue. At least in terms of ink. With apologies to Neil Young: hey hey, my my; a PFM should never die.

My first stab at a blue ink for the PFM is Caran d’Ache Idyllic Blue, which is a normal standard blue ink. This is what it looks like, more or less.

Caran d'Ache Idyllic Blue writing sample

Idyllic Blue is very close to Waterman Serenity Blue in color and behavior, but smoother feeling, I think, and I like it a tiny bit more. Not that I don’t love Serenity Blue. I probably just wanted a slight change.

No pen changes, though. Boring as that is, I know. I feel so set.

We’ve had a lot of really valuable discussion about the PFM’s inlaid nib. So here it is, in the dark of a late winter afternoon. I like the shape, I like the “R,” I like the “apostrophe S” that connects to the “R.” I certainly like blue ink drops. I like it all.

Sheaffer PFM I fountain pen nib closeup

Question I’m Pondering: Is It Impossible to Clean All the Ink from a Sheaffer PFM?

Sheaffer PFM ink residue in water

That is a photo of my Sheaffer PFM, soaking in water. See how the water is tinted green? That’s residue from Kaweco Palm Green soaking out of the feed, after I cleaned and flushed the pen. But that’s not what’s noteworthy.

The noteworthy part is that this photo was taken after five straight days of soaking. I cleaned and flushed the pen five days ago, then started continual cycles of occasional flushing and constant soaking. Every once in a while I’ll press a paper towel against the feed, to check if there’s still ink in there.

Sheaffer PFM ink residue

Yes, there is. So the pen is still soaking, on, as I write this, day six.

Kaweco Palm Green is an easy-to-clean ink, and what was in the sac flushed out easily. But there is still ink in the feed. The downside of the PFM’s Snorkel-tube filling system, clearly, is that normal pen cleaning doesn’t completely flush out the feed. So, this isn’t a pen for switching between different ink colors. Anyone considering a PFM should note that.

Since I bought this PFM, I’ve been using different green inks, for the unimaginative reason that it’s a green pen. But the PFM is a great everyday pen for me, and I want to keep it in my daily rotation. So I’m going to switch to a blue ink, my favorite color.

That will give me three pens in permanent rotation: a Parker 51, a Lamy Safari, and the PFM. I did briefly wonder: Am I still a hobbyist? Or just a plain old pen user? Then I remembered my pen with pink ink. Phew.

Pen of the Day: Sheaffer PFM Green with Kaweco Palm Green

Sheaffer PFM with Kaweco Palm Green ink

Sheaffer PFM Green with medium nib. I’m still rocking the holiday inks.

Here, it’s Kaweco Palm Green. In contrast to the more sophisticated Garnet Red ink that I filled last week, Kaweco Palm Green is an unabashedly kid-friendly color.

It’s the one your kindergarten-aged self would have pulled from the crayon box to color in the Christmas tree, on the construction-paper card you were making for mom.

Sheaffer PFM with Kaweco Palm Green ink

And it reminds me of gum drops.

miniature gingerbread house

Pen of the Day: Sheaffer PFM I in Green with Caran d’Ache Delicate Green

Sheaffer PFM I green

Sheaffer PFM I with medium nib. For my friend Jon, here’s my second PFM I, and first working one. It’s green, because, apparently all my pens now must be green. When I got this one, the nib wasn’t really writing well. It was a little misaligned, a little out of whack.

No worries. Because it’s a Sheaffer inlaid nib — which means, not like other nibs — and because I was going to the Ohio Pen Show, I took it to Ron Zorn. Ron did a little of this and a little of that (I was chatting), and boom, all fixed. He’s the Sheaffer master.

Sheaffer PFM I green

Probably it’s heretical, but I like the PFM I’s stainless-steel colored trim and plastic cap best of all the models. And the green. The PFM green is an unusual color. It’s not a forest green, but more a dark medium green. It usually looks lighter than in that photo.

Believe it or not, I don’t love the color green. And the PFM green isn’t conventionally attractive (to me). In fact it feels dated (to me). Paradoxically, that’s why this is my favorite. The blue, maroon and black PFMs are conventional colors, and more conventionally attractive. But the green is a little odd, and a little retro. It fits the pen.

So basically, I think the green PFM I is the coolest PFM, because it’s the most PFM.

And right now, it’s filled with my favorite green ink, Caran d’Ache Delicate Green. Which is really too pretty for this pen. But, hey, it’s almost the holiday season. It gets to dress up for a bit.

Sheaffer PFM I green with Caran d'Ache Delicate Green


Sheaffer PFM: A Pen For Me

Sheaffer PFM in water

So what’s been going on at the party palace that is Chez Fountain Pen Follies? Well, nothing that I want to share with the authorities, of course. But now that the Great Platinum Maki-e Contest is over, it’s quieter. We’re just hanging. And by “we,” I mean me and that pen up there.

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