dotted paper

Got a notebook from Goulet with dotted Tomoé River paper. I’ve never used that before. Thought perhaps it would be good for practicing/improving my handwriting. After all … that was one of the basic ideas I had when all this fountain pen stuff started. I just wanted to get a decent handwriting for ‘daily use’ — I had [have] no plans on starting Spencerian script.

Tonight I tried my new, dotted notebook for the first time. Wrote a quote I read somewhere long time ago. It probably saved my life at the time.

This is written with my fine nibbed Waterman Hemisphere with Visconti blue ink. Can’t say I liked the experience. The dots are too pronounced for my taste. I think they should have been more sublte.

This, new Waterman pen quickly became a favourite! It’s my best writing exprience after the Sonnet! It’s smooth, not overly wet. It just works — never skips a stroke, and that was right out of the box. Its full name is Waterman Hemisphere, Blue Obsession 🙂

it’s a bit like photography

This whole fountain pen business reminds me at times about the DSLR camera: paper, pen, ink … ISO, aperture, shutter speed. You can’t change one without changing the others. Almost.

When I started out, I found out about Clairefontaine paper and thought it was heavenly. After a while a pen pal in Germany sent me a few sheets of Tomoé River paper, and there was no going back. It’s so thin! It’s like the type of paper they use in bibles and such. Still, no bleeding through, minimal ghosting, extremely smooth. It brings out the colours and the shading of the ink in a beautiful way. I got totally hooked on this type of paper. Started buying notebooks from Goulet Pens in Virginia, US and also from Nanami Paper in California. The latter sells a thicker notebook, close to 500 pages, called Seven Seas.

Up until now, they’ve only sold it in A5 format, but the other day I was in there looking for something else when I found this:
A new, smaller format! It’s 176 x 110 millimetres, which supposedly corresponds to the format B6. I bought one right away and it arrived today. This will suit my needs in many ways — the A5 I basically only use for “Morning Pages”. This will be great for daily scribblings and much cheaper in the long run, than the small notebooks I’ve been buying. This was $12 US.  Here’s another picture to get a sense of proportions …

The other day I was thinking of how I used to be so totally sold on Clairefontaine in the beginning. Brought out a notebook and tried to write with one of my Pilot Metropolitan pens. They are trusty pens that usually will handle whatever you throw at them. If my memory serves me right, I think it was inked with Waterman. I didn’t find it comfortable at all! Changed to another Metropolitan, but with a different ink — Sailor Jentle Souten. Somewhat better! Then I tried my Pelikan, which was inked with Quink … terrible! Then it struck me; back then, when I was using Clairefontaine the most, I only had Lamy pens … nothing else. So, I grabbed my yellow Lamy and wrote in the little Clairefontaine book. It was every bit as wonderful as it used to be. Hence, the comparison with photography … it all must come together: ink, pen and paper.

Free trade!

In an earlier post I wrote about the hassle when you live in Canada, and want to buy something online, from the US. When I wrote that post, I’d placed a small “test post” with a stationery store in Virginia; GouletPens.com. The stuff I’d ordered — envelopes and a few notebooks — arrived in the mail. No additional costs, such as taxes or customs fees. Fine! I did it again … ordered a few more notebooks. This store carry a kind of notebooks, made from Tomoe River paper, that are particular to them, i.e. you can’t get ahold of them elsewhere. This is a very special kind of paper, and I’m a little in love with it. It’s extremely thin, but no matter how wet pen you write with, there’s no bleeding or anything else. It also, somehow, brings out the colour of the ink, beautifully, I think. It’s not a real contender to my favourite paper Clairefontaine, but sometimes it comes in handy with a thinner book.

Now, they arrived yesterday — same thing, no extra fees.

This made me curious about the rules, so I’ve finally found out how it is … why I had to pay so much when I bought the iPhone wallet from TwelveSouth. I was really interested, because this store has some pretty awesome stuff 🙂

Turns out you can buy $20 worth of stuff from the US, without paying any extra, but if you live in the US, you could buy stuff from there for $800 (!) without paying. President Obama signed a new law recently, bur our law isn’t revised since 1985. Twenty dollars!!! Imagine that … in today’s day and age you don’t get much for that amount. One notebook and 25 envelopes 🙂

Either way, now I know, so if I want more of those notebooks, I’ll have to buy them three at the time or pay customs. I don’t know how much that would turn out, but I’m sure there are ways to find out.

In most cases, this is no big deal, since most of the stuff you might want, can be purchased on Amazon Canada. This wasn’t the case with those Clairefontaine envelopes and, of course, the notebook (it’s their own Goulet brand).