Saturday, December 20, 2014

#RhodiaPaperProject Week 1 samples

Included in Rhodia Drive's first week of samples were paper from three same sized notebooks (all 5 3/4 x 7 1/4) and all graph paper. All three samples handled fountain pen ink superbly with only a minimal amount of shadowing on any of them and no bleedthrough at all. Feathering itself was only minimal, with Noodler's Baystate Blue showing the most (I chose Baystate Blue for two reason; 1. it's my favorite color of ink, 2. it is notorious for feathering, shadowing, and bleeding through. I thought it would be a perfect test of the samples abilities to handle ink).

1. Rhodia Ice, White/Grey/Graph 80g (first choice of week 1)

Rhodia Ice front
Rhodia Ice back

  • Nice, smooth writing
  • Not much feathering

2. Clairfontaine Classic, White/Blue/Graph 90g

Clairfontaine Classic front
Clairfontaine Classic back

  • Smooth writing
  • Quite a bit more feathering, especially with Baystate Blue

3. Rhodia 80th, Ivory/Grey/Graph 90g

Rhodia 80th front
Rhodia 80th back

  • Smooth, but almost feels like writing on soap (I know...weird, but the only way I could describe it)
  • Colors look best on the ivory when compared to the others
  • Zero feathering
Comparing the three papers, it is a toss up between the two Rhodias. All three handle ink like a champ and I would purchase a full notebook of any of them, but the Clairfontaine in this test feathers the most. I'm not sure if the writing feel of the Rhodia 80th (that bar of soap feel) would bother me over time or not. It seemed to be most noticeable with the TWSBI 540 than any others. 

Pens and Inks:
  1. Noodler's Baystate Blue in TWSBI 540 fine nib
  2. Diamine Pumpkin in Kaweco Sport Ice fine nib
  3. J. Herbin Poussiere de Luna in TWSBI Classic extra fine nib
  4. Retro 51 Tornado rollerball
"If there is a story you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~ Toni Morrison

Friday, December 19, 2014

Rhodia Drive's #RhodiaPaperProject

Over the last couple of months, I have been fortunate enough to receive samples of a number of different papers through Rhodia Drive's "Rhodia Paper Project." Users can request the current weeks samplings of three different papers to try out and review. While I have been lucky enough to receive all eight weeks so far, I have been extremely busy and have not been able to put up any reviews. Over the Christmas break I am going to work at rectifying this oversight.

To be upfront, I do not do many reviews and know that there are plenty of bloggers out there that post quality reviews of everything from paper, pens, inks, and pencils. I thought that I would try to do something a little different and am going to post pictures of writing samples on each one of the papers. I have pulled four of my favorite quotes about books and writings, and have used the same quotes and inks (for the most part...had a couple of pens run out and wanted something different) for each. I will post front and back pictures of each so that you can get an idea as to the feathering/shading on each one of the samples, as well as a few of my personal comments.

As comparison, I have also pulled a sample of Moleskine and a sample of a Franklin-Christoph journal so that you can see how things stack up. In this post, I will start with those two samples to give you an idea of how they will run.

First up, the every present Moleskine journal:

Moleskine Cahier front
Moleskine Cahier back
As you can see, the Moleskine paper does not handle inks very well. There is a bit of feathering, especially with the Noodler's Baystate Blue, and every ink bled through the paper, making the back of the page unusable. While I know this is not news to anyone out there, I did want to include it for reference.

Next, the Franklin-Christoph journal:

Franklin-Christoph front

Franklin-Christoph back
This paper handles ink quite a bit better than the Moleskine, with absolutely no shadowing or bleedthrough at all on the back side. There is a fair amount of feathering with almost all of the inks, however, and the paper is think. REALLY thick, but the writing experience is just fine.

The pens and ink combinations used on these samples is relatively the same throughout most of the reviews, but I will post any differences when they show up. Above you will see:

Noodler's Baystate Blue in a TWSBI Diamond 540 with fine nib (my favorite pen/ink combo);
J. Herbin Poussiere de Luna in a TWSBI Classic with extra fine nib (Franklin-Christoph);
Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Guri in a 1956 Parker 51 aerometric with fine nib (Moleskine);
Noodler's Nikita in a Retro 51 Tornado fountain pen with medium nib; and 
Retro 51 Tornado rollerball with a Schmidt ink cartridge.

Week 1's paper reviews will be up soon, but until then you can check out Rhodia Drive's blog for each weeks paper project reviews and samples.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Guest Book Blog

I have been remiss in not posting this website by a fellow teacher here at HMS. Ms. Anderson is an ELA teacher here at the school, and has been updating her book blog for some time. If you are looking for new book reviews, I invite you to check out her posts at: Girl of 1000 Words. She has been participating in the 40 Book Challenge by Donalyn Miller that I posted to all of the staff at HMS, and she'll definitely beat me by a long margin.

Enjoy the read, and hopefully you'll find a good book or two to add to your reading list.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

TGIO! Thank Goodness It's Over (this post is a long one)

It's December 2nd, and the pens and clacking keyboards are finally silent. We have started going through and finding our success stories and those "almost" stories, but the takeaway of everything is that the students had a great time.

My success story is that I finally finished NaNoWriMo after a two year dry spell! My story is not done, but the competition is and I feel relieved that I was able to make it. Another proud moment on my side is that throughout the entire month of November, there was only one day that I did not write. That, in and of itself, is a huge accomplishment on my part. I may not have met my specific word count for the day, but the perseverance and continual work helped me reach that goal.

Looking back on everything, it surprises me that I was actually able to finish. There was a lot going on in November. I just found time where I could.

I started by prepping for NaNoWriMo, getting all the gear and supplies that I would need to write 50,000 words.
What's not pictured here is my Nock Co. Hightower which eventually replaced the homemade pen case. Not all the pens made it through November as well, but pictured from left to right are:
  1. Zebra Sarasa Clip
  2. Monteverde One Touch Stylus
  3. TWSBI Classic EF nib (J. Herbin Poussire de Luna)
  4. Kaweco Sport (Diamine Pumpkin)
  5. TWSBI 540 F nib (Noodler's Baystate Blue)
  6. Uni Style-Fit multi pen
  7. TWSBI mini 1.1 mm stub (Sailor Jentle)

Most of these were constant companions, minus the laptop that was too bulky to carry around everywhere.

The first distraction was the beach. We had a family gathering in Port Aransas (to make up for a rather disasterous trip to South Padre last June...). It was relaxing, but not always conducive to putting pen to paper (six adults and fours kids ranging from 6 years down to around 18 months, all staying in the same condo, made things a bit distracting at times).

 I ran out a notebook and a pen while there (the Moleskine Hobbit notebook and the Kaweco Sport with Diamine Pumpkin), and cracked open a new Franklin-Cristoph notebook and uncapped my TWSBI 540. Noodler's Baystate Blue has a love/hate relationship with pens owners, but for me, it is my favorite color. There is just nothing else like it.

Of course time had to be taken off for family things. There was the beach, nature all around, and my daughters favorite, dolphin watching.


There were a lot more dolphins than these three, they're just
hard to catch on camera.

Cute kid!

Work always gets in the way of writing, but that is the nature of it all. Thanksgiving rolled around, and as usual there were more distractions (but good ones for sure).

Writing by the light of a fire pit was something new for me. Smores and hot dogs were the order each night we were there.

Once again it was a family affair (only this time with my side of the family). Six adults and only two kids made it a touch easier to write over those five days, but the scenery caused the distraction this time.

Sunset over the Hill Country
Not everything went off without a hitch though. There were a couple of casualties during the frantic month of writing, and unfortunately, both of them were TWSBIs. I notice at the beach that my favorite pen -- the TWSBI 540 -- was beginning to develop some cracks in the cap. I wasn't really surprised as many have had the same issue, but when your favorite pen starts to show its age, you can get a little sad. The pen still works beautifully and will continue to be used on an almost daily basis until the unthinkable happens, or I get a replacement 580 (maybe a 580 USA model? Merry Christmas?).

The second was my fault completely. My TWSBI Classic developed a crack in the feed, most likely from over tightening. Eventually, it failed completely. To TWSBIs credit, their customer service is impeccable and there is a replacement part already on its way. 

50,000 words in the bag and the story is only about halfway done. Even considering the hiccups, I would definitely say this was a successful NaNoWriMo, and a great November.

Happy Holidays everyone, and may your stockings be full of pens and pencils this Christmas!