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Archive | August, 2012

How to Maintain Your Pen Collection

31 Aug

How to Maintain Your Pen Collection: Part of How to Write Series on you have invested anything into your collection of writing utensils, whether that investment takes the form of time or money, there are a few things you should be doing to properly care for your collection.

Keep a Pen Log

It’s important to know what you have, where you got it, how much you paid, and any other details you think are useful. It’s a simple enough task, you can use a notebook or create a spreadsheet. In most cases, the hobby begins with just one pen. Fast forward a few months and that one pen turns into many, many more.

At some point, you might want to sell or trade a fountain pen. Guess what you’ll be asked: “Where did you get it? How much did you pay? What year is it?” I have a pretty modest collection of less than 30 fountain pens and there are a few I just can’t recall where they came from or how much I paid. You see, I didn’t start out with this good habit like I should have. Another reason for keeping track of what you have is for insurance purposes. I also strongly recommend including photos. If you have very nice pens or pencils, this is especially important.

View All Pens & Pencils on

View All Pens on

Be Aware of Temperature, Chemicals and Handling

Any pen or pencil, no matter the age, is going to have sensitivity to something. Sure, your cheap disposable ballpoint will be better at handling a hot car than, say, your 1930 antique fountain pen, but every utensil will be affected to some degree by temperature, chemicals, and handling.


Extreme heat and extreme cold are great things to avoid. Heat causes things to expand, cold causes things to contract. Simple, right? It is simple, but easy to forget. Your fantastic antique pens might crack, leak, break, bulge or other horrible things after just an hour in a hot car. Room temperature or a little cooler is a great temperature for writing utensils. Even better than that is a consistent temperature. Avoid storing your pens in kitchens and bathrooms, three-season rooms and basements (unless they are dry 100% of the time).


Depending on your writing utensils and what cleaning needs to be done, you may find that the use of a chemical is in order to aid you in your quest. Need to flush out a pen? A mixture of ammonia and water should do the trick. Have a new plastic pen with smudging on the barrel? You might reach for a basic cleaner under your kitchen sink. Here’s the deal with this: be absolutely sure of what you’re doing before you do it. Many writing utensils are made of more than one material. Let’s take one of my antique celluloid pens; it has a celluloid body trimmed in what’s probably aluminum. I would not want ammonia to touch it because the ammonia will oxidize the aluminum super fast. If you are unsure what cleaning methods are best for your pen, your first step should be to check with the manufacturer. If that’s not possible, try one of the resources listed at the end of the post


It takes only one time of dropping a pen in just the right way to break it. Be cognizant of how you handle your pens (meaning: avoid multitasking to the nth degree and focus on what pen you have in your hand), and how you store your pens. I have a basic pen case that lets me store each pen separately and at a slight angle. Not all pens can or should be stored upright because of the mechanisms within the pen. Certain filling systems respond to this differently. Not all pens allow you to take them completely apart (mainly antique pens) and ink can harden inside causing clogs.

Use the Right Ink

Not all inks are created equal. It’s important to note that dip pen ink is not the same as fountain pen ink. Many a fountain pen has been clogged by ink formulated for another purpose. Before you purchase ink, make sure it says somewhere what writing utensil it’s meant for – dip pens, fountain pens, etc. Many times, manufacturers will list what inks work best with their pens. You can also find forums and blog posts online detailing what inks are best and which ones are not for your writing utensil. If you invest any amount of time or money into your pens, do the same with your ink purchases.

A hint of Cole Imperi's personal pen collection for

A hint of Cole Imperi's personal pen collection

Talk To and Learn from Others

This post details my most basic pen care approach, but there is so much more out there. There are specifics on how to care for nibs, filling mechanisms, barrels, caps, cartridges and so much more. What should always be your first step is to build a good foundation. Once you’ve got that established, as you use your pens, you’ll naturally move on to more ‘advanced’ topics and you may find yourself one day grinding your own nibs! The internet is ripe with pen forums and enthusiastic bloggers. Seek them out and don’t be afraid to ask them questions, including asking questions here!

Call the Doctor

If something seems to be really wrong with a pen or other writing utensil and you’ve never done a repair before, you may want to just ‘call the doctor’ and let them handle it. There are several reputable pen repair companies out there run by honest people that charge a fair price. Even if you are someone who likes to tinker, consider the value of a having a professional repair your investment.

RESOURCE: Fountain Pen Network FAQ: This is a fantastic link roundup of some really valuable information found on the Fountain Pen Network. If you are not already a member of this network, you should join! Membership is free and it will allow you to search the forum.


Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog. 


Editor’s Note: This article is part of the How to Write series. Read the others here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes

How to Write: Friendship / Appreciation Notes

How to Write: Thank You Notes

How to Write: With a Fountain Pen

How to Write: To a New Penpal

NEW Moleskine Messages Note Cards & Notebooks

29 Aug

NEW Moleskine Postal Messages : Note Cards & Notebooks : on

The Moleskine Messages Postal Notebooks and Note Cards are a brand new way to share your love of Moleskine! Pop them in the mail to your family, friends, and penpals. They’re available in 2 sizes, 2 formats, and 4 cover colors. Trust us, everyone loves a handwritten hello! Shop all Moleskine Messages here.


Moleskine Messages Note Card – Pocket & Large

Moleskine Messages Note Cards on


Moleskine Messages Notebook – Pocket & Large

Moleskine Messages Postal Notebooks on

Flash Sale! 40% Off Moleskine 18-Month Large Hard Cover Weekly Planner

27 Aug

Moleskine 18-Month Large Hard Cover Weekly Planner (July 12 - Dec 13) (5 x 8.25) on

Don’t hesitate! This flash sale is on for 2 days, and that’s only while supplies last! Grab the Moleskine 18-Month Large Hard Cover Weekly Planner (July 12 – Dec 13)  for 40% off when you use coupon code SAVE40 at checkout.

Staff Favorite: Moleskine Classic Rollerball Pen

24 Aug

Moleskine Classic Rollerball Pen on

Everyone in the office agrees that the Moleskine Classic Rollerball Pen is a must-have! As part of the Moleskine Writing Collection, it’s the quintessential accessory for every Moleskine fan. Easily refillable, available in a fine or medium tip, and with the ability to clip to the cover of your hard cover Moleskine notebook or planner, the Classic Rollerball Pen is our latest favorite!

Art History Lesson: Cavallini Japanese Woodblocks Calendar

23 Aug

Cavallini & Co., known for their high quality and exquisite craftsmanship, celebrates the work of renowned artists in their beautiful calendars. Two popular calendar designs feature inspired global artwork. These two calendars hail from very different points in history, but both honor a rich artistic tradition. The first I’ll dive into is Cavallini’s most popular calendar prints: Japanese Woodblocks. The second, coming in a separate post, is Cavallini’s Botanica print calendars.

Japanese Woodblock Art Origin

Cavallini 2013 Wall Calendar - Botanica on EuropeanPaper.comJapanese woodblock art, or moku hanga, was popularized in Japan in the 17th to 19th centuries. In style, Japanese woodblocks are similar to woodcut art that was popular in the West.  The technique involves an artist drawing an image or writing text on a piece of Japanese paper, washi, then gluing it to a wood block. Carvers then carved out sections of the drawing from the wood, and the final block was colored with colorful water-based inks, or black in the case of text. This was a very collaborative form of art since it involved several skilled artisans to complete each print.

Later, a movement of the moku hanga style emerged, called shin-hanga. The term shin-hanga was coined in 1915. This style brought back the traditional woodblock art. Shin-hanga really means “new prints.” In the early 1920s, shin-hanga style artwork was immensely popular in Western cultures because the romantic style conveyed an idyllic and serene picture of Japan. The images included peaceful landscapes and traditional wooden Japanese architecture.

Cavallini’s Japanese Woodblocks Artist

Born in 1883, Kawase Hasui was a Japanese artist who worked in the shin-hanga style. Over the course of his career, Hasui became one of the most notable artists of the shin-hanga movement. Hasui traveled throughout Japan often, and his work reflects the picturesque landscapes and rural scenes he encountered across Japan.

Sadly, many of Hasui’s early woodblock prints were destroyed in 1923 during a massive earthquake. Because few were reprinted, surviving works from his early career are now highly sought after by collectors.

In 1953, Hasui’s work was honored by the Japanese government. While they were going to honor Hasui as a National Living Treasure, the government decided, instead, to commission a special woodblock print. The print, the Snow at Zozoji Temple, was designated and honored as an Intangible Cultural Treasure. Finally, in 1956, Hasui received the honor of being named a National Living Treasure.

By his death in 1957, Hasui produced more than 600 prints. Cavallini’s Japanese Woodblocks Wall and Easel Calendars feature Hasui’s picturesque landscapes and rural scenes in the traditional woodblock art form.

Cavallini 2013 Easel Calendar - Japanese Woodblocks on


 Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at


Battle of the Best-Sellers: Moleskine & Rhodia

21 Aug

Best in Class: Moleskine & Rhodia Available at

The Moleskine Classic Large Ruled Notebook is known for being the quintessential little black notebook that you see everywhere. With 240 acid-free pages in its uber portable 5.25 x 8.25 inch size, use this notebook at home as a personal diary, at work to jot down notes and ideas throughout the day, and at school to keep track of new friends and schedules. Moleskine’s legendary hard cover notebook includes several features you’ve come to know and love: the ribbon placeholder, elastic closure, and rear expandable pocket. What do you use your Moleskine for?

Rhodia’s No. 18 Notepad is a versatile notepad ideal for taking long scores of notes, keeping track of your to-do lists, and generally keeping you organized. Known for its 80 gsm extra white, acid-free and ink-friendly vellum paper, you can use any type of pen or pencil on Rhodia’s #18 pad without worrying about bleedthrough. Plus, each page is micro-perforated for easy removal and all Rhodia’s Staplebound Notepads have reinforced staples at the top, a scored front cover that neatly folds back, and a stiff back cover allows for easy writing or sketching on-the-go. Why is Rhodia your favorite?

Which do you love more? Moleskine or Rhodia?

Monday Morning Review Round-up

20 Aug

Notebook/Planner Reviews

Life Imitates Doodles: Stillman & Birn’s Alpha Series Sketchbook & Stillman & Birn Gamma Series Sketchbook

Pen/Pencil Reviews

Pentorium: Edison Collier Review

A Penchant for Paper: Dixon No.2/HB (+ first thoughts on using a wooden pencil)

Dave’s Mechanical Pencil: The Social Slencil Mechanical Pencil

Notebooker Esq.: Visconti Homo Sapiens Fountain Pen

Ink Reviews

Palimpsest: Field’s Ink Green Rainbow Range (resurrected)


Have a Fab 2013 with Cavallini Calendars

18 Aug

Shop Cavallini 2013 Calendars on

It’s that time of year! Exquisite Cavallini Calendars have landed in our warehouse and we’re ready to start shipping them out to you! Whether you love to travel near or far, stay home and tend to your flowers and garden, or visit your local park for birdwatching, we’ve got a Cavallini 2013 Calendar print that is perfect for you.

On Sale! Moleskine Academic Planners

15 Aug

Moleskine Academic Planner Sale on - Limited Time Only

All Moleskine 18-Month Datebooks are dated from July 2012 to December 2013, but they come in two different sizes and either hard or soft covers, so you can choose the right one for you! Below are the available Moleskine planners on sale – use coupon code GENIUS at checkout to save 10% and enjoy.

Moleskine 18-Month Pocket Hard Cover Weekly Planner  (3.5 x 5.5)

Moleskine 18-Month Pocket Red Hard Cover Weekly Planner (3.5 x 5.5)

Moleskine 18-Month Large Hard Cover Weekly Planner (5 x 8.25)

Moleskine 18-Month Pocket Soft Cover Weekly Planner (3.5 x 5.5)

Moleskine 18-Month Large Soft Cover Weekly Planner  (5 x 8.25)

Shop all Moleskine 2012-2013 Academic Planners here, or check out Moleskine’s 2013 Planners here.

Book Lover’s Day + Staff Faves

9 Aug

Today is Book Lover’s Day! Let’s celebrate with a new book, an old classic, or perhaps even your own book in process. We’ve snagged a few people in the office for their favorite book title (below) and would love to hear what you’re reading, too! With just a few weeks left in the summer, and before all the holiday hullabaloo starts, enjoy a few moments to yourself with a good book for a great start to the rest of the year!



A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Mike, EPC’s Buyer: ”I love this book because it is a fun, easy read that has moments of great humor by the author.”


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Courtney, EPC’s Creative Director: “This book is super inspiring for anyone in the process of change. it takes you through a beautiful journey of enlightened resilience, connection to the soul and the allure of nature’s power.”



Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Sarah, EPC’s Finance Director: “I love the wacky characters, the witty writing, and, most of all, the lighthearted yet meaningful perspective that he brings. Tom Robbins can really knock your seriousness down a few notches and alter your outlook in a happy, iconoclastic way.”


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Leah, EPC’s Content Manager: “I’ve read this book almost every year for a decade, and each time I find something new hidden in Tolstoy’s writings. I love that he brought the simplest daily actions to such a heightened sense so as to truly appreciate that the small things matter.”


Have a perennial favorite you’d like to share? How about a fantastic book you’re reading now? Share them in the comments and spread the book love today!

Summer Haiku in a Moleskine Volant Giveaway Winner

8 Aug

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Summer Haiku in a Moleskine Volant Giveaway! See all the submitted haiku in the post’s comments here.

We wanted to celebrate the last bits of summer with a giveaway for a set of 2 Moleskine Large Plain Volant Notebooks in black! We’ve picked a random winner and that person is …

Summer Haiku in a Moleskine Volant Giveaway Winner on

Smooth Writing: Our Top Picks

8 Aug

Take the boring out of note-taking! Get your writing noticed with each of our top picks, and best of all, buy the pen or pencil and get 20% off their accessory.

Shop Moleskine Pens on

Shop Palomino Blackwing Pencils and Accessories on

Shop the Lamy Safari Fountain Pen on