2016 Pantone Color of the Year & Your Favorite Office Supplies

Rose Quartz & Serenity - Pantone Colors of the Year 2016

Rose Quartz & Serenity – Pantone Colors of the Year 2016

The Pantone color of the year for 2016 is actually a pairing of two colors: Rose Quartz and Serenity. The Pantone website explains the thought behind their selection for this year:

Joined together Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

Would you like to add these calm, relaxing colors to your stationery arsenal? Below are a few of our favorite choices of pens, ink and paper related items that are part of this color family.

The first pens that come to my mind when I think of Serenity and Rose Quartz are the Platinum Plaisir fountain pens in a pearlized soft pink and frosty blue. Also worth mentioning is the popular Aurora Style Aquamarine pale blue fountain pen.

It’s not common to find pastel shades of fountain pen ink, however there are a few inks out there that remind me of the 2016 Pantone colors. Noodler’s Periwinkle Eternal Ink is inspired by the color of the blue curve of a periwinkle snail’s shell and Noodler’s Ink Polar Blue makes me think of washed denim. J. Herbin’s Bouquet d’Antan is a soft, muted shade of light pink. If the thought of a tropical sea makes you feel relaxed, then try J. Herbin Bleu Azur fountain pen ink.

The PlePle Candy Wrap Pen and Pencil Case is a calming shade of blue.

Personalize your letters or other items by using a brass stamp and J. Herbin Rose colored Supple Sealing Wax.

Shades of blue and pink pastel paper can be found in Clairefontaine’s Multiple Subject Notebooks (small, medium or large) and Clairefontaine Loose Sheets of paper with Graph or French Rules. Exacompta also has pastel colored index cards that are super smooth and their grid lines make it so that any side of the card can be the top.

What are your favorite Rose Quartz and Serenity blue colored pens, paper and ink?

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Ten Fountain Pens to Buy For Your Girlfriend

Alright guys, let’s face it. Sometimes you are clueless as to what kind of gifts to buy for your girlfriend. Suppose you are passionate about writing with a fountain pen and you would like to introduce your girlfriend, wife or daughter to what the fuss is all about. Perhaps your girl is an artist, writer or a business professional and a fountain pen seems like a natural gift. Guys are often attracted to technical pens that are heavy, large and masculine in color and appearance. Women tend to like pens that are slender and lighter in weight with an attractive, stylish appearance. You may be thinking you need to buy a diamond-encrusted limited edition fountain pen (and by all means do it if you can afford it!), but a more modest investment is a good approach if you’re not sure if she’ll share your love of writing with a fountain pen. Take a look at our suggestions and maybe you’ll find something on this list that will appeal to your special friend. We’re listing these by price – from the least expensive to the most expensive.

1) Pilot Metropolitan Animal Fountain Pen

The Pilot Metropolitan’s medium nib is smooth, easy to write with and the pen comes complete with a gift box, ink cartridge and ink converter for use when you buy her a bottle of ink to go with it. A fabulous deal for the price! We particularly like the pearly White Tiger or Violet Leopard, but if animal prints aren’t your girlfriend’s style there are also other color options.

2) Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen

The Platinum Plaisir is low maintenance thanks to a special inner cap that keeps the ink from drying out in the nib. Its pearlized finish comes in a flashy bright lipstick Red as well as more demure Frosty Blue, Pink or Violet colors. For this pen, we favor the fine nib for someone new to fountain pens.

3) Set of Colorful Platinum Preppy Fountain Pens with a Pen Pouch

Women love color and many love to write with colorful ink! How fun it would be to receive a set of 7 colorful Preppy Fountain Pens each with their own matching ink color. To complete this gift it is a must to buy a pen pouch to store them all in. There are tons of pen pouches to choose from such as the PlePle Wrap Pen Case which happens to fit seven Preppy Pens perfectly!

LAMY AL-Star Fountain Pen Purple

LAMY AL-Star Fountain Pen Purple

4) LAMY Safari or AL-Star Fountain Pen

LAMY Safari & LAMY AL-Star fountain pens have the same basic design, but are made from different materials. The Safari comes in solid colors and is made of sturdy ABS plastic, and the AL-Star has a light-weight aluminum body with a matte metallic finish. Our favorite picks are the Purple AL-Star and the limited edition Pink LAMY Safari. Both are available in a variety of colors and a variety of nib sizes and are hugely popular with writers of all sorts. Writing with a LAMY is a fabulous way to be introduced to the world of fountain pens! It was what got me hooked 🙂

Platinum Cool Fountain Pen Crystal Rose

Platinum Cool Fountain Pen Crystal Rose

5) Platinum Cool Fountain Pen

The Platinum Cool Fountain Pen is a demonstrator pen, which means it has a clear body that allows you to see the inside of the pen and gives it a more “delicate” appearance. The clear Crystal Rose pink is very feminine, and if pink is not her thing then we suggest the clear Crystal Blue which is a serene sky blue color. The Platinum Cool Pens are packaged in a clear gift box and include an ink converter for using bottled ink.

6) Pilot Prera Demonstrator

This Pilot Prera fountain pen is a clear demonstrator pen with a pop of color on the end of the cap and the end of the body. If your girlfriend likes to write with colorful ink the clear body of the pen is a nice feature since it allows you to see the colorful ink inside the pen. When it is capped, the pen is very compact so it fits easily into a pocket or purse. Conveniently this pen comes with an ink converter so you can use bottled ink and is available with a variety of accent colors such as Light Green, Light Blue, Pink and more. The fine nib is a good choice for writers with small handwriting.

7) Aurora Style Fountain Pen

Aurora Style fountain pens have a sleek, modern appearance, perfect for writers that don’t like a lot of fussy frilly details. The Style Gemstone collection includes a beautiful pale Aquamarine Blue and a pale Amethyst Purple. For those drawn towards bright colors I really like the golden-yellow Mustard and the burgundy-red Paprika Style pens. There are also other more conservative color options like a soft White.

Pelikan Classic Special Edition M205 Fountain Pen - Aquamarine

Pelikan Classic Special Edition M205 Fountain Pen – Aquamarine

8) Pelikan Classic M205 or M200 Fountain Pen

The Pelikan Classic M205 or M200 Fountain Pen seems to be made for a woman’s hand. It is one of Pelikan’s smaller fountain pens so it is just the right size. It has a piston filling system which means it is meant to be used with bottled ink.

9) Delta Vintage Fountain Pen

The Delta Vintage Fountain Pen is hand-made from a mother of pearl acrylic resin that beautifully catches the light. This modern Italian-made pen comes in a gift box with an ink cartridge. The marbled Ruby Red or White pens are gorgeous!

Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen Violet

Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen Violet

10) Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen

Besides the fact that the Pilot Custom 74 is an awesome fountain pen to write with, we particularly love the inspiring color of the clear Violet Custom 74 pen. I really want to use this violet pen along with Pilot Iroshizuku Beautyberry ink! This is the only pen on our list with a 14K nib, so naturally this pen is a bit more of an investment, but it is not over-the-top expensive. It comes with all the goodies you need – a gift box, ink cartridge and an ink converter – and it is available in several other colors such as a cheerful orange or a sapphire blue.

Remember guys, usually only one ink cartridge is included with a new fountain pen (if it has a cartridge/converter filling system), so be sure to get an extra pack of ink cartridges or a bottle of ink and an ink converter (if necessary) when you buy your gift. If she loves writing with her new fountain pen she’ll be sure to appreciate the extra thoughtfulness on your part.

Now that we’ve got 10 fountain pens on our list we feel that the list could be expanded by many, many more. All of you women writers out there, what fountain pen do you wish your man would buy for you?

 

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Graduation Gifts 2013

The 2013 school year has almost come to a close for many happy, relieved and proud Graduates. What will you get your Grad to celebrate their accomplishments? We’re happy to share a few of our ideas.

1) The 5 Book

The 5 Book has got to be one of the ultimate gifts for any Graduate. As Grads enter college or the work force they face the challenge of setting goals and making many decisions. What can help? The 5 Book was designed to stimulate thinking and direct your Grad to goals they can use to map out the next five years of their life. Really, I think just about every one of us could use this book.

(Aurora Style Fountain Pen in the color Aquamarine)

2) A Classy Pen

A classy pen can last a lifetime and then be passed on to a future generation of Graduates. Even in a world full of technology a fantastic pen is a gift that is really appreciated. Chances are your Grad has not yet experienced the pleasure of writing with a fountain pen. The sleek modern design of the Aurora Style fountain pen was created with young professionals in mind. Fill it with some Aurora fountain pen cartridges in a deep black ink and impress a hipster!

(Delta Vintage Rollerball Pen in the color Deep Ocean)

If you feel that a fountain pen is a little too old-fashioned for your Grad, a quality rollerball pen that can be refilled with fountain pen ink is a good alternative. A classy rollerball pen works well when signing documents that produce multiple carbon copies. Pulling out a beautiful Delta Vintage rollerball pen for the signature that finalizes a deal is sure to impress! J. Herbin ink cartridges in the color Bleu Nuit would be a nice match.

3) Leather Pen Case

When you invest in the gift of a classy pen, a genuine leather pen case is the perfect accessory. It protects your pen from damage when it is carried in a purse or briefcase. Aston Leather has many fine leather pen cases to fit your Grad’s needs. The Aston single pen leather slip case is a simple, reasonably priced popular choice that comes in three choices of  color.

4)  Rhodia Meeting Book

The Rhodia Meeting Book can help keep a young professional entering the business world organized and on top of their project deadlines and goals. It’s more than just for work meetings though – the layout is based on a method of note taking designed by a professor at Cornell University. This note taking method can help any college student refresh their memory for mid-terms and finals.

(Moleskine Audio Cassette Journal)

5) A Unique Journal

This is an action packed, eventful time of a young person’s life. A unique journal is a great outlet for emotions and channeling creativity. The Moleskine Audio Cassette Journal celebrates the 50th anniversary of the audio cassette with a fun retro design..

6) Eurogames

Chances are your Grad could use some inexpensive R&R with their friends. Why not introduce them to a Eurogame and they can discover for themselves why these games are increasingly popular! Settlers of Catan is a great gateway to the world of Eurogames.

Do you have a Grad in your life? What gift ideas or special plans do you have in mind for them?

Want to win a $25.00 gift certificate to spend at Writer’s Bloc? See the comments below for details!

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Writer’s Bloc Top 10 Fountain Pens

What are the top ten fountain pens? Anyone that writes with a fountain pen could likely come up with a unique list of their own ten favorite pens. Our list of the top ten fountain pens was created by considering several different factors including our own employee favorites. These fountain pens, as well as others that we choose to make available in our shop, are all carefully selected based on their individual strengths. We decided to number the pens in our top 10 list based on their current price – from the most expensive to the least expensive. See if any of your favorites are listed here:

1) Aurora Optima Demonstrator Fountain Pen – Alan says that writing with this pen is like driving a high performance European sports car. The quality and materials are beautiful and it is a joy write with. He especially loves the character of the nib which he describes as solid and somewhat toothy allowing him feel the “road conditions” as he writes.  Alan also loves fountain pens with a clear body so that you can see all of the parts and inner workings of the pen. The hidden ink reservoir feature has bailed him out near the end of meetings when he is running out of ink.

2) Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen – This is another favorite of Alan’s. He is a fan of extra fine nibs and loves the performance of this Japanese fine nib. He likes pens that are not too heavy and for him it has the right balance in his hand and is the perfect writing weight. His favorite Custom 74 colors include Clear and Orange and he says Smoke is a good choice if you like a less clear and more solid looking pen.

3) LAMY 2000 Fountain Pen – Alex says one reason to love the LAMY 2000 is its sleek modern Bauhaus design with its hooded nib and interesting Makrolon body and cap. Superficial reasons aside, this is a great pen to write with!

4) Namiki Falcon Fountain Pen – The Namiki Falcon is outstanding for the reason that it comes equipped with a modern 14K semi-flex nib that gives a soft, flexible feel to your writing experience. It allows for variation of stroke width while you write or draw and really shines when it is paired with ink that has good shading. Alan says that with his Falcon the ink flow is absolutely superb!

5) Pelikan M200/M205 Classic Fountain Pen – This Pelikan fountain pen has a legendary piston filling system and at its price point it is a great first step into the world of piston fill fountain pens. It is consistently a best seller and Pelikan has been in the business of creating high quality fountain pens for many years. This particular pen has a steel nib, but you can upgrade to the Pelikan M400/M405 if you prefer a gold nib. Pelikan offers special limited edition colors of the M200/M205 such as this sophisticated taupe color!

6) Stipula Bon Voyage Fountain Pen – The Bon Voyage fountain pen was specifically created to be eyedropper fill and even comes with an eyedropper for easy filling. When capped it is a compact pocket size and if you happen to be nervous about carrying an eyedropper pen in your pocket you also have the option of using short standard universal ink cartridges. It can easily be converted to a rollerball pen by removing the fountain pen feed (just unscrew it from the barrel) and replacing it with a rollerball feed. This Stipula has some pretty cool features that you can’t find on just any fountain pen!

7) LAMY Safari Fountain Pen – If fountain pens were to have a popularity contest it is pretty likely that this guy would win. I would venture to say that a plethora of writers that regularly use fountain pens have at least one LAMY Safari in their pen case. It’s a favorite everyday writer and its price makes it accessible to students and professionals alike.

8) Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen – This is Cher’s favorite everyday “purse” fountain pen. She loves the special cap that prevents ink from drying out in the nib. The durable anodized aluminum body has a pearlized finish that comes in several fun colors such as sports car red and pale violet. As a left-handed writer she also appreciates that the grip is suitable for lefties and that the fine nib is the ideal size for her – the fine line of ink dries quickly and i
t is not too “pokey or scratchy” for her strange lefty writing position.

9) Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen – Great pen, great price. Need we say more? Makes a thoughtful inexpensive gift: it’s less than $20.00, the nib size is easy to write with even for beginners, it’s made from durable materials and it comes with a stylish Pilot gift box.

10) Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen – The lovable Preppy fountain pen is so inexpensive it is an easy introduction into the world of fountain pens. For a disposable fountain pen it offers amazing quality! It comes in seven colors and Platinum designed it so that it can be refilled or even converted to eyedropper fill.

That’s our top 10 list! What’s yours? What fountain pens would you put on your top 10 list? We’d love to hear about your favorites!

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Clearly, Demonstrator Fountain Pens are Cool!

Modern demonstrator fountain pens are clear, or partially clear writing instruments that allow you to see the inner workings of the pen. Originally, the purpose of these pens was for pen manufacturers or pen sellers to show-off the desirable mechanisms of the pen that were not normally visible from the outside. They were not meant to be sold to the public. Some old demonstrator pens were non-functioning and even had holes cut into the barrel. Eventually, clear plastics came to be used to create very limited numbers of these pens and they became sought after by collectors. Their popularity grew, and now they are commonly used by many as daily writing instruments.

There are many reasons writers are attracted to demonstrator fountain pens. It’s easy to monitor the level of your ink so you’ll know when you need to refill. If you like to use bright, colorful inks a demonstrator pen with a clear, colorless barrel really shows off your ink color. Mechanically minded engineer types like to see how all of the parts that make up the fountain pen function and it’s easier to diagnose pen problems and repair them. Others say that the transparency of these pens reminds them of a crystal.

(Aurora Optima Demonstrator with Red Auroloide Trim)

Some demonstrator fountain pens are very luxurious and are only produced as limited editions. One example is the Aurora Optima demonstrator fountain pen that is available as a limited edition of only 1936 pens, corresponding to the year in which the Optima was first introduced. Because this Optima is a clear demonstrator pen, if you look closely you might be able to spot Aurora’s hidden ink reservoir system that allows an extra page of writing when your normal ink supply runs out.

(Pilot Prera Demonstrator with Orange Trim)

If you like the handsome appearance of the Aurora Optima demonstrator but you aren’t able to splurge on such a pen, an attractive and more affordable alternative is the Pilot Prera demonstrator fountain pen. It also has a clear, colorless body with a colorful contrasting trim on the end of both the cap and the barrel. In addition to red, you can get the Prera with a variety of trim colors, and the Japanese stainless steel fine nib is great especially if you like to write with a very fine line.

(LAMY Vista Demonstrator Fountain Pen)

Since demonstrator fountain pens are clear, when they have a cartridge or converter filling system, the appearance of the converter matters. When we use the LAMY Vista, which is the demonstrator version of the popular Safari fountain pen, we like to think of the red top of its converter as the “heart” inside the pen.

(Platinum President Demonstrator with Gold Trim)

Platinum Pens thoughtfully designed the converter inside this President demonstrator fountain pen to match the color of the gold-plated trim.

(Pilot Custom 74 Demonstrator in Violet)

In addition to clear, colorless barrels, many demonstrator fountain pens are made with clear, colorful barrels and caps. I really like the pale violet color of this Pilot Custom 74 demonstrator fountain pen. It has an easy-to-use piston converter that fills with ink using just a few clicks of a button.

(TWSBI Vac 700 in Sapphire Blue)

The fact that the TWSBI Vac 700 is transparent allows you to see its cool vintage-style vac filling system in action! I love both the amber orange and sapphire blue versions of this demonstrator pen and it also comes in a mysterious smoke black.

(Platinum Preppy Fountain Pens)

Demonstrator fountain pens don’t have to be expensive. At the time of writing this post, the Platinum Preppy fountain pen allows you to give one a try for only $3.00! Other demonstrator pens that can currently be purchased for $25.00 or less include the Kaweco Sport Ice, Kaweco Sport Classic, Noodler’s Ink Ahab flex-nib pen and the Pilot Plumix student calligraphy pen.

We’ve only mentioned just a handful of the large variety of demonstrator fountain pens that are available today. What’s your favorite demonstrator fountain pen and why do you like to use it? Share your favorites with us!

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Aurora Fountain Pen Links

We love Aurora fountain pens! Here are some of our favorite Aurora links:

First, this is a great video on how Aurora pens are made.

Blogger Lady Dandelion takes a great snapshot of an Aurora Talentum in fire engine red.

Bleubug has some interesting information about a cool vintage Aurora 98 fountain pen with a piston filling knob that extends from and retracts into the barrel with a “click”.

Rhodia Drive "What’s Your Favorite Pen" has a nice photo of the bright & sunny yellow Aurora Ipsilon.

Of course, we have to mention the Aurora Pens Italy website, the mothership of all Aurora pens. See anything you like that we don’t have in our shop? Send us an email and perhaps we can special order it for you.

You’ll find a selection of our favorite Aurora fountain pens at Writer’s Bloc. What’s your favorite Aurora pen?

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Aurora Fountain Pen Hidden Reservoir System

Check out this detailed diagram (courtesy of Aurora Pens, Italy) revealing the structure of an Aurora Fountain Pen.

An interesting and unique feature of many fountain pens made by Aurora is referred to in this picture: the hidden reservoir system. (However, it seems the diagram above should be pointing to the piston to indicate the hidden reservoir.) Instead of having a flat bottom as most pistons do, the bottom of the Aurora piston has a small indented chamber that holds extra ink. When your ink seems to have run out, turning the piston counter-clockwise all the way down to the feed will push the ink contained in this small chamber into the feed of the fountain pen. Aurora’s handy hidden reservoir system gives you an extra page or so of writing before you have to refill!

Close-up of the feed on an Aurora fountain pen. There is a small “post” that sticks out.

A small reservoir hidden in the bottom of the piston contains extra ink.

Turn the piston counter-clockwise all the way down to the feed to force the extra ink into the feed.

The hidden ink reservoir is now empty, allowing you to write another page. A feature unique to Aurora fountain pens.

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Caring For Your Aurora Fountain Pen

Once you’ve invested in a fine quality writing instrument such as an Aurora fountain pen, one of the first questions many people ask is, “how should I take care of my fountain pen?” Aurora Pens recommends both “love and cleanliness.”

To clean your Aurora fountain pen, the manufacturer recommends using exclusively cold water, using water to fill and empty the pen and/or cartridge repeatedly, until the water rinses clean. To clean the outside of the pen you may simply use soap and water and then thoroughly dry the pen.

Aurora advises that to safely clean your fountain pens you should “absolutely avoid any use of alcohol, solvents or hot water which could ruin your pen and compromise its surfaces.” To eliminate any ink stains simply leave the pen in cold water, even for a few days if necessary.

If you should happen to damage your pen from an impact or fall, Aurora has experts that can repair your pen and return it to you as good as new.

As far as the “love” goes, we trust that you already know how to love your fountain pens! We love our fountain pens too! Depending on how you are going to use your pen, it can be helpful to have a nice pen case to store it in.

If you have any helpful tips on how to care for fountain pens we would love to hear your comments.

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Aurora Fountain Pens

Aurora Optima Fountain Pen

Aurora has been producing finely crafted fountain pens and luxury goods in Torino, Italy since 1919 and has become the most prestigious writing instrument manufacturer in Italy. Aurora was founded by a rich textile merchant who had long dreamed of creating this company and the first true Italian fountain pen. From the beginning, Aurora was known for producing some of the finest made in Italy products using high quality materials such as platinum, gold, silver, diamonds, emeralds and other precious stones.

Aurora’s style combines artistic tradition and Italian design in the production of their writing instruments. Much detailed and skilled hand-work goes into the manufacture of all of their own fountain pen parts including gold and steel nibs. Their line of pens ranges from the fabulous Diamond fountain pen, crowned by an exquisite diamond cabochon and one thousand nine hundred and nineteen "Fourc" certified De Beers diamonds to create the most exclusive, valuable writing instrument in the world, to reasonably priced school pens and everyday pens such as the Ipsilon and Style.

Aurora also manufactures elegant leather goods such as pen pouches, wallets, organizers, handbags and more. They have created a line of paper goods that are an identical reproduction of the paper used in the royal courts of Europe. Aurora wishes to continue to be an interpreter of good taste, technological innovation and all the style that has marked the history of Italian taste, customs and design.

Writer’s Bloc is happy to introduce Aurora Fountain Pens to the collection in our shop.

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