Elias Pen and Ink Journal


Here is something pen and ink fans will find truly interesting and delightful. I used to keep a software database of pens, but I haven’t been very good with keeping it updated, until I eventually just forgot about it. Here’s a truly analog way to document an analog hobby.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Everything Calligraphy came up with its very own pen and ink journal! It’s soft-bound and uses their own 90GSM ivory colored paper that’s fountain pen, brush pen, and pointed pen friendly. Hardcore, man.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The theme of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo is the thread that runs through the different sections of the notebook, from cover to cover. When I first held the journal in my hand, it really felt like something that you can keep as a “pen memoir”, and I felt sorry I wasn’t able to document the old pens that I had already sold, or the inks that I already used up.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

There is a simple Elias logo on the binding, and the spine feels nice and tight. It’s bound securely, though it’s not going to lay flat by itself. It’s not difficult to write in or leaf through, though. The journal is bound by plain white, textured card paper, and there’s a translucent, waxy paper that wraps around it. I really like the illustration used in that decorative wrap. It’s printed neatly and is really like a slice of a story.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

It also smells good. Mmmmm. Yum. The journal has several sections. I’ll show each section in this review.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The first section is the Pen Journal section. It has space for every kind of information useful in a pen. Like brand, model, nib size, rating systems, etc. The opposite page is dedicated entirely to writing samples, or (like what I did) a review of the pen. You can put anything! How you got the pen, its little back story, anything that helps you either catalog the pen’s specifications or document its history. You can even stick a printed photo of the pen, if you like. You can get as creative as you want, there’s space for it!

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The next section is the Ink Journal. It has all the pertinent information you need to catalog your ink. From the cost, to the properties (shading, sheen drying time, flow), a portion for swabs and water resistance tests, and your comments. Here’s a photo of my first ink journal page, documenting one of my new favorite inks, Kyo Iro Moonlight of Higashiyama. It’s a straightforward way to catalog your ink collection. The paper being Elias paper, it shows off any shading and sheen so well. The paper also holds up very well to my water resistance test.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

I had to chuckle a little at the next section, the Future Pen and Inks. It’s like a wishlist. You can note down pens and inks that caught your attention and would like to purchase in the future. This is a list you can really have fun ticking items off of.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The next section contains coloring sheets. Line drawings of scenes and excerpts from Noli and El Fili. It adds a really Pinoy flair to the entire thing. I like how the line drawings are made. They have a folk-artsy feel to them. The pages remind me of these traditional Japanese line drawings before anime became popular. There’s a story going on in each drawing and it really captured that overall theme of the journal. The person who drew them is Julz Riddle (a Filipino teacher and artist). Her Instagram account is @hulyariddle. Here are a couple of samples from the journal.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Those who are into practicing calligraphy will love the next section.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

These pages with guide lines can help you achieve consistent strokes. Even if you only want to improve your handwriting by practicing writing in script, this can be really helpful.

The remaining pages are blank sheets, doodle pages. If you look at the back of every single journal I have, the last pages are basically doodle pages. Figure eights, “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”, baybayin scribbles, anything! A blank space to doodle and free the mind. How wonderful that there’s a space in this journal for doodling.

Overall, I don’t think I’ve come across a journal that’s exactly like this, and with a very Filipino flair. It’s really a great way to celebrate your fascination with pens and inks (and doodling!). I’m glad that Everything Calligraphy came up with something so special for pen fans like us, and I’m planning to fill up my journal soon. It would be a great way to keep record of each pen and ink color that I have. Maybe someday when it’s time to pass on my pens to my nephews and nieces, they can have this journal as a companion of sorts, to help them appreciate the pens not just as writing instruments but as little things that brought me joy at some point in my life.

The Elias Pen and Ink Journal is available at Everything Calligraphy.

Comparison: Elias and Tomoe River Loose Sheets


EverythingCalligraphy sent over a few loose sheets of Elias and Tomoe River Papers for me to compare. These two are my favorite types of paper, and I was really happy to compare them side by side. I must admit it’s quite difficult to do that, though, because they’re quite different. To the uninitiated, paper is paper is paper. To the true pen and paper fans, it doesn’t matter if you have the best writing implement in the world. If you write on poor quality paper, it just grates on the nerves. Writing on good paper is such a pleasurable, tactile experience that I enjoy so thoroughly that it takes me a long time to pick a notebook, and only a few make it to my “staples”. These two are at the top rung.

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I tested the paper samples with different pens and inks. Here are a few close up shots of the writing samples.

For Elias’ 90gsm loose sheets

Elias paper is so easy to like. It’s smooth and creamy and makes your pen’s nib just glide on the paper. Even scratchy nibs feel smoother on it, and I’ve yet to see a pen and ink combo that will make it bleed through or feather. Here are some writing samples below.

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Review: Elias Traveler’s Notebook Insert


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I think many people have been waiting for Elias to come out with these inserts for a while. I’m so happy that they finally made these. Traveler’s notebook inserts aren’t very easy to come by in bookstores. They’re not always readily available, so it’s always good to find online stores that sell them. I bought a set of three inserts from Everything Calligraphy last week, and I couldn’t be happier.

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Here’s to give you an idea how thick the insert is. These are 40 pages of 90gsm, acid-free, ivory-colored, fountain pen-friendly paper. I suggest you buy the pack of 3, since it’s a little bit cheaper. I like the cover of the inserts. It’s easy to slip into a traveler’s notebook because the cover is sufficiently thick. I also like the color which is a very dark blue. I wish they would offer options, though, like craft or white. I like that the cover is plain and there’s a simple “ELIAS” logo at the back. Plain covers can be decorated with stickers, stamps, and other stuff.

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Note to self…buy white chalk-based stamp pads. ^_^

The paper and cover are stapled together. It’s nice enough for daily use. As usual, the paper is excellent. I can’t quite describe how pleasurable writing on it is, except to say that it’s creamy. It makes your nibs feel smoother.

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The word “February” was written with a brush pen, and it works great with those too. It’s smooth and shows off the gradients with the strokes. It works fabulously with fountain pen inks, and I’m glad that one can enjoy the same paper quality as with those in their bigger journals.

Here are a few writing samples below.

It also takes my Pilot Parallel pen without issues. The paper stays smooth even when I scrape at it with some very fast writing, like what I did below. There’s no feathering or bleed through either.

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Here is an example of Pilot Parallel pen over watercolor. It’s pretty neat. 🙂

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Overall, I love the quality of the paper and I think the price is really good. I’m glad we journal junkies have more options now, especially for the regular TN size.

Elias travelers notebook inserts are now available at Everything Calligraphy.

Diamine Purples and Blues Roundup


Blue and Purple ink samples from Elias Notebooks

Blue inks are a revelation to me. I’ve never considered myself a blue ballpoint pen user. In fact, I hardly carried blue pens before I got into fountain pens. When I discovered Diamine inks last year, I was surprised at the sheer number of variations of blue ink. I’m surprised to find out that I even have more blue inks than my favorite colors (brown and green). Here’s a roundup of the ink samples that I got from Elias Notebooks.

Blue and Purple ink samples from Elias Notebooks

My collection of bottled purple inks is pretty dismal. I was only able to try out different kinds of purple through the ink samples offered by Elias Notebooks. I think my favorites would be Bilberry and Amazing Amethyst (in that order). I love Bilberry because of its golden sheen and its blue-violet hue, but Amazing Amethyst is also a very pretty purple ink. I actually wrote a separate review for it, I’ll post that soon. I do have a large bottle of Bilberry and it’s pretty fascinating that the gold sheen shows up even when I use it with pens that have fine nibs. Damson is a dark berry-colored ink, a very serious purple that would be great for regular writing.

Diamine Purples and Blues are available at Elias Notebooks

I forgot to include Diamine Denim in the list, which is a shame because that’s my favorite blue, and it’s what I use for signing official documents in the office. I think a close second would be Prussian Blue. It’s an interesting shade of blue with a bit of grey. I made a mental note of purchasing a small bottle of Beau Blue, which will be great for highlighting or making little notes in books that I read. Definitely not very suitable for daily writing, but inks as light as this are good to use with xf or Japanese f nibs to annotate or underline pages with thin paper (like Bibles).

Diamine Ink Samples are available with Elias Notebooks

Watch out for individual reviews soon. 🙂

Used in this ink roundup:
Paper – lined large journal from Elias Notebooks
Ink samples from Elias Notebooks
Pens – Cross Century II (M), Lamy Studio (F)

Journal Tips and Writing Prompts for May


Everyday, I try to set aside a time to write in my journal. I discovered that if you are actively looking for time, you find a lot of it spread out even in busy days. I wrote in another blog entry that I often write at length about my meditations on the Bible for that day. I absolutely love it when I have long stretches of time to do this, and I always feel very refreshed afterwards.

Sometimes, I like to put pictures in my journals and write about the memories that go with the photos.

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I have six nephews and nieces, and I oftentimes have them in mind while I write. I want to think that I’ll pass on these journals to them when I’m gone and they will read about my thoughts on the world during my youth, and they’ll see photos of themselves and see how much they’re loved and cherished. I know everything is digital these days but there’s still something so great about seeing printed photos. Being able to hold them in your hand and see where time wore out some places, that’s something.

I prefer to use a glue stick to put photos in my journals, but you can also use washi tape. I wouldn’t recommend liquid glue because it deforms the paper too much. Adding printed photos to your journal is a visual reminder that, in my opinion, shouldn’t take away from how you recall the details through your words.

For those who need a few more writing prompts for their journal entries, how about these (and you can add photos too, if you want):

  1. Write an open letter for your future self.
  2. Write a happy memory you have of your mom.
  3. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  4. Describe the street where you grew up.
  5. Write an open letter to God.

Happy writing!

Reds in Rotation! And a few other things…


I’ve given up on carrying just 6 pens. I figured if I really wanted to just carry six pens, I should be able to do it haha. The thing is I have a lot of new green inks, and I MUST TRY ALL OF THEM AT ONCE! I know, I know, I have a problem. Sigh.

Anyway, back in rotation this week are two great writers. A marbled red Waterman Hemisphere and a Pilot 78G, both with medium nibs but both write very differently. I have gone without red inks for a few weeks so I guess it’s time to put away the pink and get back to my favorite shades of very dark red.

These past few weeks have been a bit overwhelming because I have new things to do at work, new reports to do, etcetera etcetera. My stress level is climbing and I realized that all the constant buzzing of social media isn’t helping me at all. So I decided to unplug unless I’m working. I forced myself to seek out the peace and quiet–extend my daily devotions, find time to write again, and read a few chapters whenever I can. It’s worked, so far. I stayed home as much as I can, I went out to celebrate my husband’s birthday month with him…but mostly, I just wanted to stay home, reflect and enjoy the quiet moments.

Monday na uli. 🙂

In this photo:
Waterman Hemisphere (Marbled Red, inked with Diamine Oxblood)
Pilot 78G, red (Inked with Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Budo)
Large dot grid journal by Elias Notebook
Maroon Single pen slip by Elias Notebook

Ink Swab: Diamine Wagner


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Yesterday, a couple of loose ink bottles were delivered to our house, and I was so excited to try this out since I saw the swatches and samples through my friend Lexie and other online reviewers. Diamine Wagner is being sold as part of Diamine’s Music Set. I was very interested in it because it’s got this golden green color that I find very beautiful. Since the bottles were delivered at night, I had to put off writing the review until there’s enough daylight to take proper photos. 🙂

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This is a very beautiful, interesting-looking ink color. It’s certainly a color that would make you look twice. In wider/broader nibs, it’s a rich golden olive green color, but in finer nibs it tends to be more of a yellow-green shade. I like using it in my medium, stub and CI nibs that are wet writers because it shows off the shading quite beautifully. The review in the photos was mostly written with a Bexley Corona and a 1.1mm Goulet nib, except in parts where I wrote with a Lamy Studio for comparison. The shading is a lot more expressive with the stub nib.

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Wagner is a unique green color, as far as my collection is concerned. I’ve never used anything like it before. It looks like a cross between Iroshizuku Ina-Ho and Diamine Safari. Perhaps it’s not a color that you would use for official writing (like work-related documents, forms, etc), but it’s saturated enough to use for daily writing. It’s not hard to read.

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It is a well-behaved ink, not prone to feathering and does not flow overly wet. It dries fast too, even with my 1.1mm stub (just a bit over 10 seconds on Elias Notebooks). The shading is very expressive! A dark olive green that’s rich and beautiful. Please note that shading depends on how wet a writer your pen is and of course the quality of your paper. I prefer to use Elias because it shows off the shading excellently. The ink doesn’t have any sheen, as far as I can tell. It’s not very water-resistant, though. At best, it leaves just an impression of what you wrote and most of it gets smeared off.

Here are a few close up photos of the writing sample:

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A comparison of a Lamy Studio (F) and a Bexley Corona (1.1mm stub)

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I have several pens inked with different green inks in my current EDC. Here’s a comparison of them.

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Sigh. These green inks are wonderful. 🙂

Overall, I think Diamine Wagner is da bomb. It’s a fascinating shade of golden green, and I’m very happy to add it to my EDC.

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What I used on this review:
Bexley Corona Blueberry Cream (1.1 mm stub from Goulet)
Lamy Studio Stainless Steel (Fine)
Elias Notebook (dot grid)

Leave me a comment with a valid email if you want more information on how to purchase inks and fountain pen friendly notebooks in the Philippines. I’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction. 🙂