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Review: Sula Jane and Earl Leather Writing Sheaf / Pen Wrap

Up for review today is a Sula Jane and Earl Leather Writing Sheaf / Pen Wrap.  I chose the fabulous color of “Cerise,” which is a lovely, subdued, hot pink color.  What I love about this color is that it is a rich, berry pink color — but it is not neon!

Here are some product details from sulajaneandearl.com:

HIGHLIGHTS:  A bold pen wrap for four writing instruments.
  • Lightly pebbled, all natural leather construction.
  • Hand drawn, cut and sewn.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Debossed “SJ&E” logo.
  • Four compartment interior pocket, 1.50″ w. per compartment
  • Approximately 6.25″ H X 10″ W, 12″ tuck-in strap.

The leather is very soft just like all the other SJ&E products I have reviewed.  The website shows a a high contrast between leather and stitching color, but the stitching is actually a similar color to the leather (just more neon), as shown in the photos below.  There are four slots for pens, and the pens fit snugly inside.  There is a little flap to protect the top portion of your pens.  Then you wrap it up and tie it by sliding the end of the strap through the loop you made when wrapping the strap around the whole sheaf.   I have found the best way to wrap the sheaf is in small sections — i.e. making a small section out of the side flap, then folding after each pen until it is fully wrapped.  Then to tie the wrap, you wrap the little strap around loosely, tuck the end of the strap through the loop, then pull to tighten.  If you make the strap too tight when you wrap it, you won’t be able to tuck it in the loop.

The wrap then stays together like a loose cylinder, which I suppose is best because then the pens still have their own space without being scrunched together.  This would be a great product for taking your pens along while traveling or even going to school.

The Sula Jane and Earl Leather Writing Sheaf / Pen Wrap retails on their website for $42.

Review: Sula Jane and Earl Calling Card Sleeve

I recently had a very fun “un-birthday” when I received a package of goodies from Sula Jane and Earl.  Kelly at SJ&E was so kind to send me a few different things, so it felt like my birthday, even though it wasn’t! To give each product it’s proper attention, I will break up the reviews instead of putting all the SJ&E products into one long post.

Sula Jane & Earl is a family owned business that hand crafts high-quality leather goods for pens, journals, and iPhones.  According to SJ&E’s website, they owners believe that “to be modern, you need to be a little old fashioned.”  People after my own heart…

Here is the lovely bag it all came in with the company’s logo:

The first product out was the Leather Calling Card Sleeve.  I received mine in Carnation, a light, baby pink color.  Kelly read my mind because I was hoping for this color!  If you are not a pink person, don’t worry, as there are many enticing colors from which to choose.

I have been keeping the sleeve in my purse with a small group of business cards in it.  It not only keeps the cards together, but that little flash of pink makes me happy every time I open my purse!   As with all the products I received, the leather is extremely soft and buttery feeling.  As you can see, the leather is “raw” on the inside.  While some leathers like this will flake off, the leather of this Calling Card Sleeve did not flake off onto my business cards.  It is stitched very well and seems quite sturdy.  It is debossed with the “SJ&E” logo.  Normally, I prefer monogramed items instead of those with company initials or logos, but the SJ&E logo is unobtrusive and actually an enhancement to the visual appeal of the product.  While it does hold enough cards for a night out, I decided to insert fewer cards than the case actually might hold to avoid stretching the leather.  It’s also perfect for slipping into a pocket so that I don’t have to keep opening my purse to hand someone a card during a business event.  Overall, I am really enjoying this case!

The case measures approximately 2.5″ H X 4.5″ W and can be washed/conditioned.  One sleeve retails for $19 and you can save a little cash by purchasing two sleeves at $32.

Westcott Scissors and Mouse Scissors

I am breaking a bit from the normal review items to review a few Westcott items sent to me by Shoplet.com.  Please don’t think I am straying from this blog’s purpose.  I will still continue to review the pens, inks, paper, etc. that are integral to this blog.  However, since these items were sent to me, I have an obligation to post a review.  (For anyone that is still waiting for your product to be reviewed, they are coming!)  Click on image thumbnails for full views.

First Item:  Westcott Titanium Bonded Non-Stick 8″ Straight Handle Scissors

The scissors look like scissors.  They have grey and yellow handles with silver colored blades.  The inside of the blades has a textured coating, which probably is the “non-stick” element.  The yellow part of the handles are a slightly softer rubber.  Despite the softer rubber, I find these scissors to be less comfortable than my cheaper no-name plastic handled scissors.  The blades kind-of stick to each other when you first open the scissors.  They cut fine, but nothing about it’s abilities blew my mind.  I haven’t cut tape with them, but apparently the blades won’t stick on tape or glue.  That could come in handy when packing things with tape.  Overall, they are well made and are very nice scissors.   They are $13.14 at Shoplet.com.

Second Item:  Westcott Scissors Mouse

I had high hopes for this item, but unfortunately I was disappointed.  This item looks like a computer mouse, but is really a scissors and you cut the paper by gliding the mouse across the paper.  The good thing is that it will not damage the surface under your paper because the blade is not exposed and the paper has to go in a little catch on the underside of the mouse before it can be cut.  This item also comes in a variety of nice colors, and a zebra pattern.  There is also a little rule on the front on the mouse so you can line up where you want to cut.  I thought that was a very handy feature.

I first tried this with an index card, but I had to use quite a bit of force to push the mouse all the way through the card and it bent the card while I was pushing it.  It is supposed to handle up to 20 pages at once, so I didn’t think one index card would have been a problem.  I then tried it on 2 pieces of paper together and it performed much better.  This item may be good for those with arthritic fingers who can’t use regular scissors, and some customer reviews on Shoplet.com say that it works great for coupons, scrapbooks, and gift-wrapping.  I will continue to give it a chance, although so far I prefer my regular scissors.  The Scissors Mouse retails for $10.75 at Shoplet.com.

Third Item:  Westcott Kids Scissors with Microban Protection

These are kids scissors for ages 4 and up with a blunt tip.   I didn’t try them because I don’t needs kids scissors, but I would imagine they work like the adult scissors reviewed above.  These scissors have Microban protection, which, according to the package, “contains an antimicrobial ingredient to prevent microorganisms from degrading the product.”

The best thing about these scissors that they sent me is the color — they are pink.  The worst thing about these is the Microban.  If you are into safe and healthy products for your kids, check out these two sites regarding using products with Mircroban:  SafeMama.com and The Daily Green.   If it were for me or my kid, I would look for something without Microban, as I don’t know what harmful effects it could have.

These scissors retail for $2.06 on Shoplet.com.

 pinkscissors

I have to say I am sorry I didn’t give better reviews to these products.   I do appreciate Westcott and Shoplet providing the products to me, but I have to be honest in my reviews.  I have reviewed these products with my honest opinion.  If you do purchase these products, I hope you enjoy them.

 

Giveaway winner!

Well, La Plume Etoile’s first giveaway is now over and the winner is….

Sandra Strait!

I numbered the comments, where #1 was the first comment posted and counted up from there.  I used the random number generator and comment #2 was picked, which was Sandra’s retweet.

Congrats Sandra and please email me with your addresss.  Thank you to all others who entered!

Daycraft Planners and Journals

Daycraft is a company whose products are designed in Hong Kong and made in China.  They make a WIDE variety of planners and journals in various styles and sizes.

The Covers: The covers are sturdy and well bound.  Planners and journals are available in both hard and soft covers, depending on the model you choose.

Size: Again, this varies from pocket-sized to “normal” journal size.

Paper: I’m not sure of the weight of the paper.  It is fairly thin, but not tissue-paper thin.  You can see writing on the other side of the paper, but there is not much bleed-through at all.   The pages are a very nice ivory color, smooth and fountain pen friendly.   The planners are dated and lined, while the journals are just lined.

Some notes on each product I tried: All the planners have some Chinese writing, maps and holidays, which don’t serve much use for users outside of China.  However, each planner does feature some extra blank pages for notes and each month begins with a full color page featuring and inspirational quotation (in English), which I thought was a really nice touch.

Signature Diary – Mini size in light pink (h83 x h125 mm): This is a great little planner to carry with you in a pocket, backpack or purse.  Of course, writing space is smaller because it is the mini size, but it’s lightweight and compact for transporting!   This planner also sports a harder cover for durability.  My sample was light pink, so how could I not love it?

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Executive Diary in Pink (w108 x h149mm): Another pink planner — love it!  This one has a hard cover and an elastic closer to hook on a metal button on the front cover.  This was probably my favorite planner as it was simple, chic, a good size with a nice amount of writing space.

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Chromatic Days in Blue (w106 x h150mm): This is a nice small and thin journal.  The edges of the pages are rainbow!  Its a nice journal with a soft cover.  Not my preference, but great if you like a soft cover!

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Feminique Journal in Purple (w107 x h152mm): This is a great little journal.  It is compact with a hard cover and good paper.  Because its size is smaller, you will use a lot of pages if you have a lot to say, but I use it for short happenings I need to write down.  It was supposed to have a scratch and sniff scent of lavender, but I could not smell it.

Cool Notebook with the Film Projector cover (w106 x h153mm): I haven’t used this one yet, but expect it will be just as good as the Feminique!

I can’t find the model of the grey planner with cool black plastic decoration, but that one is cool too!!

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Overall: A great line of planners and notebooks.  I would recommend these, espeicially if you want something different than all the standard planners available in the office supply stores.  I want the Vogue planner in white!

Daycraft also makes sketchbooks for you artists and doodlers out there!  Check out the entire Daycraft line at www.daycraft.com.hk.  As their website says, they “make your day.”

New year, new planner, new journal?

It’s just about time for another new year, which means the start of a new planner.  The last year I used Exacompta’s Space 24 and loved it.  It features Clairefontaine paper — the best paper in the world.  It was a joy to write with my glorious fountain pen inks on the smooth white paper.  However, I decided I needed more space in the time-slots.  So this year, I am trying Exacompta’s Journal 21.  There is more space to write per timeslot, but it is a daily format instead of a weekly format.  I am not used to the daily format, so we will see how it goes.

I love starting the new year with a new planner.  Its blank, smooth, bright white pages are waiting to be filled with wonderful plans for a whole year.  It’s really quite exciting. To prep for the new year, I like to write in birthdays and regularly occurring items.  I tear off the little bottom tabs of the pages before January 1st that I don’t need, and I make sure to use some pretty and bright inks for that extra oomph.  Currently I have used J. Herbin’s Rose Cyclamen, Vert Olive and Bleu Myosotis, along with Private Reserve’s DC Supershow Blue (blotter needed for this one!).

I am not starting a new journal yet, but some of you might be starting a new journal along with the new year.  I feel the same about new journals as I do with new planners; there is so much potential in thoughts and writings to fill the calm white pages.

Do you have any rituals that you do to begin a new planner or journal?  Do you feel the same sense of hope and excitement as I do when starting these new books?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

More posts to come in 2011.  I still have some in the backlog list and I will try to post more regularly this year.  Happy New Year and thanks for reading!

Writing makes you live longer

Today on The Dr. Oz Show, audience members participated in a quiz about longevity.  One of the questions was whether typing on a computer or writing is more beneficial to longevity.  The answer?  Writing!

Writing contributes to longevity because it gives your brain a workout, which keeps you sharp and helps prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Of course, fountain pens are perfect for this task!  Yay for writing!

Rohrer & Klingner Inks

The kind folks at Rohrer & Klinger Inks sent me their entire line of inks to try.  Thank you, Johannes!  Rather than doing a separate review for each ink, I thought I’d treat you to a lot of ink eye candy all at once!

The Bottle: The bottles are glass with a white plastic ribbed top.

The Color: The colors are bright, rich and saturated.  I’ll let you view the photos instead of describing each ink.  There are a few that I will highlight:  Morinea is one of my ideal shades of red – dark and blue based, but not too dark or burgundy; Heliannthus is a dark enough yellow to see on paper and could be good for highlighting purposes; Cassia is an ideal purple color and I love the blues of Konigslau and Blau Permanent (this one is permanent!); Verdigris is a dark teal type color – it reminds me of a teal color mixed with a charcoal grey; and Leipziger Schwarz is a very black black.

On Paper: All the swatches below were made with a glass dip pen, so I was putting a lot of ink on the paper at once.  As you can see, still no feathering and minimal bleeding on the notebook paper lines.  Even with the heavy use of the ink, there is minimal bleed through on the back of the paper sheets.  A triumph indeed!

Consistency: I currently have Cassis in a refilled Pilot Varsity and am not having any problems with it.  It’s flowing well and performing nicely.

Other Considerations: Something very cool about R&K inks is that all ink colors can be blended together to create your own combinations.  I have not tried this, but this is what R&K told me.  However, if you do blend the Sepia, be sure to wash the fountain pen after use.  Scabiosa and Salix are both iron gull nut ink and R&K says they are safe for fountain pens, but you will definitely need to wash the fountain pen after use.  From my learning of gull inks, the best choice may be to only use these with dip pens instead of loading them, as they have a higher tendency to clog pens.

Crystals could separate from the water component of the ink in airline shipment due to pressure, but I have been told this is not normal.

Overall: R&K produces a set of very lovely colors to enhance your collection.

Purchasing and Pricing: Learn more about R&K at http://www.rohrer-klingner.de.  You can buy bottles of R&K from your favorite retailers like Pendemonium and others.  Bottles retail for about $10-12.