Fountain Pen Favorites

It’s no secret I’m a stationary nerd. Okay, more like a stationary obsessive. While I did use Moleskine notebooks for a good ten years (and switch over to my Midori nearly a year ago), I was afraid to take the plunge to writing instructions which were more than two or three dollars a piece. I tend to lose things, especially pens, and didn’t see how the writing experience could get much better than the Pilot G2 or Pentel EnerGels I’d been using.

Then I came across a pair of blog posts talking about how awesome it is to use a fountain pen. And there were even some which didn’t cost an arm and a leg while still looking great and being lovely to write with.

So I gave in purchased two different highly-rated disposable varieties: the Pilot Varsity and Platinum Preppy.

I hated them. Like really, truly hated them. The Pilot just oozed out it’s ink onto the page. The Preppy, well, it about tore holes in my paper because it was so dang sharp. I tossed both and gave up.

I changed my mind, as I do. I follow too many folks in Instagram who are fountain pen-obsessed to not give it a try. I added a real pen to my Amazon WishList, a Pilot Metropolitan. Then, because he knows me very well, Matt purchased it for me for my birthday last year.

The Metropolitan is a metal-bodied pen, with a good heft and excellent ink flow. The medium tip is a bit thicker than I’d like for my daily writing as I tend to write very small in my journal, work notebook, and planner. But, for letters on finer paper, it can’t be beat. The ink just flows and the weight, though it may all be in my head, keeps my handwriting neater and more uniform.

I was hooked, but tried to remain content with my one excellent pen. Then, as a treat for receiving a raise at work, I bought myself a Lamy Safari in bright blue, fine nib. It’s my go-to pen for daily use. The lighter weight is only marginally more than an EnerGel and the ink flow quite good on both the cheap paper of my work notebook and the fine paper of my MTN inserts.

For my fellow stationary obsessives, have you taken the fountain pen plunge? If not, what’s stopping you? If so, what’s your favorite every day pen? Fancy pen? Any inks I should try, knowing I’ve only used cartridges made by my pen’s makers?

Letter Writing Setup

Letter writing should be easy – grab something to write on, something to write with, a stamp to mail it, and something to mail it in. Write the letter, shove it into the envelope, address it, stamp it, and mail it. But, of course, I make everything overly complicated. I’ve got this whole entire setup of stuff I used to create my letters. Here’s a quick peak into my setup which currently resides on our dinning room table (the joys of having my office next to Squirms’s bedroom).

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Below the box:

  • Bright pink divided filer: I keep paper that doesn’t go in the box including stamps, small envelopes, cards for pocket letters I’ve already cut out, stickers, and address labels.
  • Pad of scrapbook paper: I got this on one of those 50% coupons at Michaels (it’s this exact one). I use this to make my own envelopes (I use this folded envelope technique.) or cut it in half and use it as stationary. The paper is a bit thin but it survives the mail pretty well, as evidenced by the letter I had returned to me in one of the envelopes made out of it (for forgetting to write the city/state of the recipient heh). I bought the pad in January but still have a good third of it left.
  • Paper cutter: Another half-off deal from Michael’s (this one). I bought it after my friend made fun of me for still cutting everything by hand with an Exacto knife and metal ruler I’d previously used for cutting fabric. I love it so, so much. I’m only on my second blade ever, having had it for four or five years.

Then, in the box, leftover from greeting cards a few years back:

  • Two pairs of scissors: Normal ones (cheapos from Ikea) for cutting packages open or something like that. Small, tiny ones (think they came with the paper cutter, actually) for cutting intricate things like fussy cutting individual stickers.
  • Ziplock of various paper scraps
  • Flowered journal: I don’t use it for a journal – it starting falling apart after a single weekend of use – but as paper for letters. It’s got a super tiny, dark blue grid on each page.
  • Coloring-books style postcards of Indian-inspired patterns: A random Michael’s clearance purchase a few years back. I’ve sent one or two in letters as a a goodie to be completed by the receipient.
  • Letter in progress (that’s the stars paper)
  • Bunch of pens
  • Date stamp from the Smashbooks folks which I rarely use but still keep around
  • Stamps of an owl and a set of letters, plus a blank ink pad
  • Glue sticks – the normal Elmer’s acid free type
  • Lots of Smashbook packets of papers. These are for embellishments for pocket letters or to send as goodies to pen pals. I still have a Smashbook but I’m not keeping up with it that much so it made sense to keep these with my letter stuff versus scrapbook stuff which is up in my office.
  • Circle punch: Finally splurged (okay, it was like $8) and got one of these. I use it for pocket letters, mostly, but have plans to have it help me make my own stationary.
  • Washi tape: I’ve bought it at normal places like Michael’s or Target but also Ikea and the grocery store. The stuff is everywhere, much to my detriment. I’m rather addicted, especially as it’s “only” three or four dollars a roll.

So…fellow letter writers..what’s your setup look like?