Ink Swab: Montblanc Toffee Brown


Montblanc Toffee Brown

I’ve had this ink on my wishlist since 2014, but I didn’t really go to Montblanc boutiques to check if they had it. Yesterday my husband and I were walking from Greenbelt 1 to Glorietta and we passed by the Montblanc boutique on the ground floor. We wandered in and I ogled the gorgeous pens on display. My husband bought the ink bottle because, as usual, I was hemming and hawing about getting it for myself. As soon as we got home, I inked up one of my favorite pens with it, my Parker Vacumatic Golden Brown.

Montblanc Toffee Brown

My first impression before I tried the ink was that I loved the bottle. It’s so pretty, and functional too. That portion near the cap functions like a little pocket that catches ink so that your pen can suck it up even if there’s little ink left in the bottle. Sort of like its own ink miser. The bottle’s opening will fit large pens comfortably. The cap is, surprisingly, quite heavy for an ink bottle cap. It’s my first Montblanc ink, so I’m pretty excited to try it out.

Montblanc Toffee Brown

When I put the pen on paper, it was pure pleasure. The ink flowed moderately wet, and it made the nib glide on paper. When wet, it’s the color of espresso. Rich, dark brown, almost a bit reddish. When it dries, it shows off the most beautiful shading. In natural light, it almost looks like there’s a soft fire glowing inside the strokes. The gradation of colors range from a rich, very dark brown, to a reddish, golden brown. Like luscious toffee. Here are a few close up shots of the writing sample.

Montblanc Toffee Brown

Montblanc Toffee Brown

Montblanc Toffee Brown

Montblanc Toffee Brown

Montblanc Toffee Brown

Montblanc Toffee Brown

The closeup shots don’t do it justice at all. It looks really beautiful in person. I think the closest hue to this I’ve encountered so far is Pilot Iroshizuku Tsukushi, but Toffee Brown has a redder hue. Diamine Ochre is also a little similar, but that has a bit more yellow in it, I think. It’s not water proof or water resistant.

Overall, it’s a wonderful ink! I wrote a whole page in my journal with it right after testing it out and it looks so beautiful on a full page. Like parts of it are softly glowing. I would love to see this in a stub nib. I’ll make a new post about it once I try that out. I think I’ve found my favorite new brown ink.

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Sailor Morita Progear Mini


Sailor Morita Progear Mini (Broad)

The first Sailor pen that I bought was a clear candy, back in 2014 (if I recall correctly). I got another Sailor, a Sapporo Progear Slim last year, and I’m really happy about how the pens write perfectly out of the box. The nib wasn’t soft, but it wrote really smoothly. So I thought I’d get a Morita as well, because I love the color and I enjoy the Sailor pens that I bought so far.

Sailor Morita Progear Mini (Broad)

I was going to get a progear slim again, but I thought I’d try a progear mini this time, and I’m glad I did. This pen is super cute. It’s a little pocket pen that is just a teeny bit longer than a Kaweco Sport.

Sailor Morita Progear Mini (Broad)

When uncapped and posted, they are almost the same size as well, although the end of Sailor’s barrel has threads on it where you can securely screw the cap on. I’m glad they did it this way because it’s not comfortable to hold unposted, and having a place to thread the cap on means that I don’t need to worry about the cap scratching the barrel when I post it. It’s also pretty secure, your hand won’t push the cap off while you write.

Sailor Morita Progear Mini (Broad)

It is about 1.5 cm shorter than a progear slim, and the girth is the same. When capped, the girth is like that of a medium-sized pen, so it’s easy to hold while writing. The length of the section is a bit short (like the progear slim), but it’s the right proportion to the body. Since I hold my pens near the edge of the section anyway, the threads don’t really bother me a lot.

Sailor Morita Progear Mini (Broad)

I really like the color of this pen. It looks like Tiffany blue for me, but after reading about the pen online, it’s called robin’s egg blue. It was made especially for Mr. Morita, of the Morita Pen Shop in Osaka, Japan. The color is said to be based on the ceiling of a cathedral where Mozart performed. I like the combination of robin’s egg blue and rhodium trims.

Sailor Morita Progear Mini (Broad)

Because of the length of the pen, the proprietary Sailor converter doesn’t fit. It uses cartridges instead. I don’t mind it at all, though this might be a deal breaker for people who don’t have the time to refill empty cartridges using a syringe. Here’s a video of the writing sample:

Like I mentioned earlier, the pen just wrote perfectly out of the box. My Sapporo has a medium nib, though being a Japanese medium, it wrote more like a European fine. I chose a B nib this time because I like thicker lines. The Sailor Morita’s B nib writes like a European medium, which is perfect for me. I love it, it glides on paper and has the slightest feedback. It’s really a pleasure to use.

Here are a few more closeups of the different parts of the pen:  Continue reading

Travelers Notebook Olive


Traveler's Notebook Olive

I knew I wanted one the moment I heard that Traveler’s Company is coming out with an olive green TN. I got this from Everything Calligraphy last month, and decided that I would use it as my calligraphy and watercolor journal.

Traveler's Notebook Olive

The color is a little hard to photograph. It always comes across darker than it actually is in person. The color is a dusky green, more like the camo green in my opinion, rather than olive green. It’s a deep color that I think will become more interesting as it ages. In photographs, it looks more like black than green. In person, the color is a bit ambiguous, depending on the light. I’ll post more photos of it in the future as it develops a patina. I’m curious how the texture and color will change once I start applying leather balm on it (maybe next month). My brown TN became shinier and the brown color became deeper and richer.

Traveler's Notebook Olive

I decided to keep it thin with only two inserts so that it won’t be so heavy. I use my brown TN as my primary journal anyway. I made those monkey fist charms and bookmarks with the elastic bands from an old TN repair kit that I haven’t used yet because I only used the dark-colored bands. I thought the bright colors popped pretty nicely against the color of the leather. If you want to know how to make your own monkey fist knots, this is the tutorial I used.

I made my own watercolor insert from 200gsm Canson paper. Here’s the cover I DIY’ed for my first insert.

Traveler's Notebook Olive

I didn’t realize that it had a rough side and a smooth side, so some pages have the textured side on the left, some on the right. It’s alright, though, it can handle light washes on both sides, albeit with a lot of warping.

Travelers Notebook Olive

Traveler's Notebook Olive

I enjoy bringing it around with me. It’s comfortable to hold and gosh, it’s so pretty in person. Next time I’ll try and find watercolor paper that’s textured on both sides, though. Overall, I’m pretty much in love with this TN. It’s a great addition to my EDC.

Kaweco Sport Cognac


Ah, these little pocket pens. Sure, you end up inking them more frequently than full-sized pens but what the heck. They’re cute. I got this from Stationer Extraordinaire as a birthday gift to myself last September. I also ordered a bottle of Akkerman Hopjesbruin a few weeks after, without realizing that they’re the perfect pair in terms of color.

The package arrived earlier this week, it was carefully packed and included a really nice note. I always appreciate efforts like this, it adds a very personal touch to the service.

Kaweco Sport Cognac

The pen comes in a tin box, with a blue cartridge and 5 brown cartridges. It also included the clip.

Kaweco Sport Cognac

Since I also got the Akkerman ink on the same day, I decided to use that to try out the pen. Isn’t the pairing perfect? I think it is. 🙂 The ink flows really well with this pen, and it worked right out of the box. No baby bottom to smooth out this time, which is a relief.

Kaweco Sport Cognac

I loved the ink so much that I turned this pen into an eyedropper afterwards. I’m gonna have it in rotation for a while. 🙂 These pocket pens are just so cute. I’m gonna need another mini leather slip soon.

Kaweco Sport Cognac

Parker Premier Monochrome Black


That’s a mouthful.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I first saw this pen in person last year, during the first big pen meet that I attended in Makati. The owner is a nice young man, well put-together, with a warm smile and a gorgeous green Vacumatic tucked into his shirt pocket. I asked if I could see his Parker Premier (which he dubbed The Batman Pen), and he happily opened his pen case to let me hold it. Gosh. I recall thinking what a handsome pen! And I carefully handed it back to him.

Modern Parker pens don’t really get my motor going. I find them so lacking in character compared with vintage pens, making it painfully obvious that Parker today isn’t what it used to be. This pen, though, I really liked. It’s perhaps the only modern Parker pen that I liked a lot. So when this nice young man put up this very gently used pen for sale (at half the retail price in National Bookstore), I snapped it up.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I’ve been using it to write, write, write the entire afternoon and evening yesterday. I’ve been literally writing until way into the wee morning hours. It’s so hard to put this pen down. I’ll take better photos for my upcoming review. 🙂

*Screams silently…*


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I’ve had this pen in my wishlist for two years. I can still remember when I first saw it, it was during a pen meet with one of FPN-P’s nibmeisters, Mr. Pentangeli. It was also around that time when I was only discovering the beauty of vintage pens (especially parkers). It was pen love at first sight. 🙂 It’s a Parker Debutante. From what I understand, it’s a pretty uncommon pen. It’s not a sub-debutante but a debutante, and only a few pop up on the internet. Blue is a rare color for it, and it’s especially rare to find one in good condition.

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I am just to happy to add this little beauty in my collection. I cannot wait to review it. 🙂 It is sooo small. About an inch taller than a Liliput.

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L-R: Parker Vacumatic junior debutante (azure blue), junior (golden brown) , and major (azure blue).

It’s always a thrill to cross something out of your pen wishlist. 🙂 This one’s a keeper.

Sunday Leather Craft’s TN


I’ve been bitten by the TN bug. I’ve written about the Midori Travelers’ Notebook here and a comparison between that and Sunday Leather Craft’s TN here. I thought of leaving it at that but I felt like it would be great to take a closer look at Sunday Leather’s traveler’s notebook since I really liked it a lot.

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I’ve had a couple of pen cases made by Toto of Sunday Leather Craft, and I’ve been pretty happy with them so far. He does great work at very reasonable prices, and he’s not hard to collaborate with. Of course, he sometimes has a lot of clients lined up so you need to patiently wait your turn. He has always met the deadlines that he commits to, though. It’s always great to work with people who are easy to contact and who keep their word. It’s also great to support local artisans who use locally-sourced leather and other materials.

The leather used on the TN is soft but not extremely so. It holds its shape without the edges curling up or the covers flapping around. It has this raw feel to it, and I guess it will be especially appealing if you like your leather TN to look more rough and tumble than too well-put together.

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Here is the setup of the elastics inside the flap. That’s one continuous string that can hold one insert per string. Although if you want to maximize it and put in as much as you can, this can potentially hold 8 inserts or more. Unless the inserts are thin, though, I would find that uncomfortable to write on. That’s just me, though. I know a lot of people would enjoy a chunky TN.

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Here’s what three individual inserts looped into the elastics look like. Of course you can also change the elastic and pick a thinner one (or use Midori’s replacement elastics) because these are a little thick. The leather is soft enough so that it will wrap around nicely on multiple notebooks.

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The elastic that closes the TN is located along the spine. I think this is a good idea because of the softness of the leather. This way, the leather doesn’t bunch up when you’re pulling on the elastic or when it’s wrapped around the TN. Like any other TN, you can customize this with charms, beads and whatnots, but I prefer to keep it simple and unadorned because I don’t like having to shift the elastic around before I write just so I won’t feel the charm behind the notebooks.

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I noticed that Midori’s inserts make it a bit hard to lay the TN flat. I guess continued use will change that? Or buy inserts that already lay flat. It’s a minor inconvenience that I put up with.

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Overall, I like this TN. It has a nice, rustic look and feel to it. It doesn’t have that perfect, industrial, mass-produced vibe. It’s as individual as the person who will use it. I miss the bookmark that I got used to in Midori’s TN, although I’m guessing it’s easy to attach one if you really want to figure out how, what with all those holes already punched and set up in it. The price is incredibly friendly too. It’s one of the more affordable fauxdoris that I’ve found from local sellers. If you want something that looks fancier (like, with pockets in flaps, etc), or if you want a different size like A5, you can always specify what you need. That’s the beauty of bespoke leather notebooks. 🙂

Check out Sunday Leather Craft for more TNs and other leather goods.