Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Write Time Topics 5/31/11

Gee whiz, can you believe May has passed us by? Half of 2011 is almost gone!! Rachel and I will be back again tonight for another live Write Time broadcast at 9pm Eastern US time, so if you're able to join us, we'll be talking about:
Join us tonight in the chat if you have some time, otherwise we'll be posting the recorded broadcast on YouTube after the fact. Write On!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ink In Water Pictures

I have been intrigued with pictures of ink in water, I just think it's the most awesome looking effect. I've been playing around in my free time (ha!) with random inks in a champagne flute, and here's what I've done just as a first attempt. Cool, huh?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Diamine Crimson Color Change

One of the things that annoys me a little bit about some ink colors is that their names don't quite match up to the color of the ink. I can't complain too much though, because it was colors like Diamine Crimson that inspired me to start up the Swab Shop, which is now a very useful tool for comparing colors (even ones that do have names that make sense).

I'm not 100% sure when, but Diamine changed Crimson from what was once a very vibrant, hot pink to a darker red that now looks like what you'd expect from an ink named Crimson. The old color is on the left, new is on the right:

The reason I'm not sure when this change happened is because I was never given word from Diamine about an impending change. Diamine has 80 colors right now, and we have well over 350 inks in all to manage at GouletPens.com, so a change like this is something I didn't notice until a customer emailed and asked if I had 'old Crimson' or 'new Crimson'.

Now that we know we have 'new' Crimson, I can educate you all about it here on the blog. I want to thank the gentleman who emailed me, and emphasize how much I appreciate getting inquiries about product updates and changes from you all. You'd be amazed how often I find out about new products and changes from fans and customers before I find out 'officially' from the brands we represent.

Sometimes I hear false rumors and when I do, I can get them cleared up. Other times, changes like with Crimson just slip through the cracks and I need to get the word out about it. Either way, though, your grassroots support helps me to be a better blogger, better retailer, and provide better education to the writing community. Thanks everyone, keep those questions coming!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Using J. Herbin Blotter Paper

Link to YouTube for the vid and more viewing options.

Blotting paper is one of those tools that you'll likely never have heard about unless you're into fountain pens. For many beginners, blotting paper can be one of those tools that can change your writing life, opening up your world!

What is Blotting Paper?

Essentially, blotting paper is just absorbent paper that takes up the excess ink that your fountain pen lays down, so you can continue writing if you need to turn the page or handle what you just wrote with your hands. It saves you time so you don't have to wait until the ink dries on the page.

You can use blotting paper just with your hands, but it can be hard to keep from smearing. It's much easier to use a rocking blotter, like the J. Herbin one (there are others, this is just what I have on hand):

What is a Rocking Blotter?

The rocking blotter is simple, it holds the blotting paper and you just rock it back and forth over your wet writing, which soaks up the excess ink and allows you to then handle the paper without smearing ink.

The concept is straightforward, you have a rounded base with a plate on the back to hold the blotting paper onto it, and a handle with a threaded rod holds the plate onto the base. Like so:

Blotters are something that have been around for a really long time, and were a common tool for anyone writing, say, 150 years ago. But in today's world where most hand writing is done with ballpoint and rollerball pens, the concept of waiting for liquid ink to dry on a page is a foreign concept to new fountain pen users.

If you don't have a blotter, no big deal. Just allow some extra time for your ink to dry on the page and you'll be all set. But if you're writing something thoughtful and you don't want to break the flow of your writing, a blotter can help you to stay 'in the zone' and keep you going without having to wait for your ink to dry.

You don't have to use blotting paper in a rocker blotter, there are other uses for it. One thing I like to do is cut it to fit a small carry-around notebook I use, and when I'm writing something in the notebooks, I can just shut it and know that the ink won't go over to the other page. This works great in planners, too.

J. Herbin Blotting Paper

The J. Herbin blotting paper is good stuff, but there's other blotting paper out there. I have to be honest and say I'm not 100% sure what is the difference between one blotting paper over another. I've heard of people getting some from their local printers (if there is one local to you), but the Herbin stuff is made  and distributed specifically for fountain pen use.

It comes in both pink and white sheets, but there's no difference between the two other than color. Both colors are available in full sheets (7.5"x4.75") in packs of 10. These sheets can be cut down into 4 strips to fit the Herbin Rocking Blotter, giving you 40 sheets for your blotter. The pink ones are available in a pack of 10 pre-cut sheets to fit the Herbin rocking blotter (the same thing that comes already on the blotter), they're more expensive this way, but convenient.

How Long Does It Last?

This is going to depend on your use, so my answer is, until you change it ;) Seriously though, you can use the same piece of blotting paper over and over and over again, well beyond when the sheet becomes covered in ink spots. My rule is, I change it when it no longer absorbs ink, which is a while. Pretty much, a pack of blotting paper will last you until you lose it.

Hopefully, this has helped you educate you a bit on blotting paper. If you have any other questions or things to add, by all means, post in the comments! :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Rhodia Dot Webbies have landed!

Dot Webbies have finally arrived! It's been about 6 months since it was announced they would be made, and they are finally available. They're just like the other Rhodia Webnotebooks (version 3.0) like I mentioned in this post, but with a 5mm dot grid format like in the Rhodia dotpads (in this post). Very cool!

They have 90g off-white Clairefontaine paper like the other Webbies, with pale grey dots that are very subtle. It's a great format for providing guidance for your writing without taking away from it.

Dot Webbies are going to start to be available at retailers all over the US, if you'd like to get them from the Goulet's, you can find them here.

What do you think? Are you excited?

Beyond the Pen: Washi Tape

 This is the introductory post for our 5-post guest series 'Beyond the Pen'. This post is done by Jessica Varin, who originally came up with the idea for this series. Thanks Jess!- Brian Goulet

What is washi tape?

Washi tape is a type of semi-transparent, Japanese decorative tape. Okay, basically it's colored masking tape with printed designs.

What do I need to make my own washi tape?
  • fountain pen ink (less saturated colors work well)
  • white-ish masking tape
  • an overhead transparency or wax paper
  • q-tip or small watercolor brush
  • fountain pen (optional)
I'm ready, now what?

Tear off strips of tape and stick them to the overhead transparency or wax paper. Dip the q-tip or paintbrush in your fountain pen ink. Paint (or "paint") the tape to your desired saturation of color. Wait for it to dry. Use your fountain pen to draw designs on the tape.

Tape stuff and congratulate your crafty, crafty self. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beyond the Pen: 5-Part Guest Series on Creative Uses for Ink

There has been a drastic increase in the number of inks that have come on the scene in the last few years, and creative people are coming up with new ways to use these inks every day. There are talented artists out there who are pushing the envelope for the traditional use of fountain pen ink, and this series called "Beyond the Pen" will showcase 5 creative individuals who are using their ink in the true spirit of Ink Nouveau (new ink!).

We'll be highlighting these guests every Friday for the next 5 weeks. I hope this will help expand your thinking for traditional use of ink, and get you to see how awesome the people are that are involved in our little world :) We'll kick off the series tomorrow starting with Jessica, who is the one who brought this idea to me and is coordinating all our guests, thanks Jessica!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Write Time 5/24/11

We're back! We covered a bunch of stuff here, Noodler's Flex Pens, Lamy Aquamarine Safaris, Pelikan Blue-Black, Pilot Vanishing Point bodies, dot Webbies (coming very soon!), Diamine Crimson changes, and of course, other random topics ;) Thanks to everyone for giving us a warm welcoming back from our two week hiatus. It's great to be back!

We also announced our June Ink Drop theme: Blue Skies! We're excited about this month, lots of great colors we have underrepresented in the past ;)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We're back! Write Time Topics 5/24/11

After two weeks off, we're excited to be back for tonight's Write Time broadcast! Here's what we'll be covering tonight:
  • What life was like for us the last two weeks
  • Lamy Aquamarine Safaris (limited)
  • The discontinuing of Pelikan Blue-Black
  • Vanishing Point bodies
  • Noodler's Flex and Music pen latest updates
  • Dot Webbie updates 
  • Change in Diamine Crimson
  • Special guest series posts on Ink Nouveau
  • Dodging the bullet on Canada Post strike
We're excited to have you all back and to be back into our routine. We missed doing our last couple of broadcasts and we're glad to be back to 'normal', haha! Come join us live tonight at 9pm Eastern US time if you can, if not, we'll repost the recording tomorrow.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pelikan Blue-Black is discontinued?....really??

Yeah, I just got word that Pelikan Blue Black is discontinued in the United States, in all bottle sizes and cartridges. I didn't find out that it was discontinued until about 10 minutes ago when I went to order more. Seriously? Yeah. Sucks for us at GouletPens.com, because we're out of it.

I'm a little baffled as to why they would discontinue (in my opinion) their best color, yet continue to keep colors like Brilliant Green and Brilliant Red. I'm sure they have their reasons, but still, it's a mystery to me. So go out and find this ink wherever you can if you want it, because the only ink that exists is what's currently on retailer's shelves.

**5/22/11 update- this thread on FPN was started as a result of this announcement, and it seems the reason for the discontinuing of the ink in the US may be because there is a chemical in Blue-Black that is not in compliance with US TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) regulations. I have no idea what is in the ink or why all of a sudden it's not in compliance, but that is what at least one FPN member seems to have discovered from her investigation.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Beautiful Display of Sailor's New Inks

Gentian over at Drawing with a Squirrel is one of my favorite bloggers because she just has such a great way of showcasing the most beautiful characteristics of inks. I was very excited when I knew she was getting all 6 of the new Sailor inks, because I wanted to see what she could do with them! If you haven't seen her blog before, I definitely recommend you head over there and poke around. - Brian Goulet

Here's Gentian's blog post about the inks: Beautiful Spring Sailor Inks!

I've been anxious to try the new Sailor Ink colours and finally ordered samples from The Goulet Pen Company! It will be defficult deciding which bottles I want because I like them all!

The colours are reminiscent of Spring and very much like their names: Épinard (spinach), Grenade (pomegranate), Ultramarine (similar to an ultramarine violet), Apricot (a bright apricot orange) , Pêche (reminds me of white peaches or sakura blossoms) and Sky High ( a sky blue). These were all tested with a dip pen and brush. I shall work on some lettering with the colours to share soon!

Gentian has a lot of other great blog posts, here are some of my favorites:
Lettering (Black Swan in Australian Roses, Pilot Yama-budo)
Lettering (Sailor Rikyu Cha, Pilot Yu-yake)
J. Herbin 1670 ink
The Usual
Calligraphy (Pilot Tsuki-yo and Yama-budo)

Write Time Canceled Tonight 5/17/11

I'm sorry again everyone! We are canceling Write Time again tonight, but we will be back next week. We're shorthanded in the shop and I'm working overtime to stay on top of things, so Write Time has to wait. Here's what's going on though:
  • Lamy Aquamarine Safaris are here!
  • Noodler's Flex pens will be delayed (again) until the end of May, no specific date yet
  • Rachel and I have done a joint video on the Sailor (Sapporo) Professional Gear Slim and will post it soon
Okay, so it doesn't seem like we've been up to much here, but we've been working hard just to keep up with the daily stuff keeping gouletpens.com going. Once our help comes back next week, things will get back to normal and I'll be free to do blog posts and videos like you've known me to do :) Thanks everyone for hanging in there and being so patient with us!

Friday, May 13, 2011

New Habana Sleeves

I posted about the new Quo Vadis Habanas with the 85g paper the day I got them in (literally), see it here. But one thing that people started to notice is that on the sleeves of the Habanas, they said 90g instead of the (correct) 85g. I posted about that as well, here.

I contacted Quo Vadis to get an official explanation on this. It was simple...they had new sleeves coming, but they didn't want to wait to ship the much-anticipated journals just for the lack of new sleeves. So they put labels over the old sleeves and put them on the new journals, but there was an oversight of them still saying 90g. I just got my second shipment of new Habanas, and they now have the new sleeves, so I thought I'd share a comparison of the two. The journals themselves are exactly the same, it's just the sleeves that have changed (and you'll throw it out anyway!).

There are still journals out there with the 'old' retrofit sleeves on them, but don't be confused. As long as your paper is off-white, you have the new 85g Habana! We at GouletPens.com are going to sell off the first batch of Habanas with the old sleeves first, then go to the new sleeves as they come to us. If the sleeve matters to you, ask us (or whomever you are looking to sell you your Habana) if we have the new sleeve versions in.

Hopefully this post clears up the confusion, though I'm sure the old sleeves will still raise some questions until they're all gone.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Little Goulet Christmas Present!

It's official, Rachel and I have Goulet baby #2 on the way, with a due date of Christmas Day! Nowwww it makes sense why Rachel's been 'under the weather' for the last few weeks, huh? ;) We've known for a couple of weeks now, but we had Rachel's doctor's appointment earlier today and got to see the heartbeat and everything so we went public with the news :) I know, the ultrasound pic really just kind of stinks and you can't tell what the heck is going on, but trust me, there's a little Goulet in there!

This kind of explains why the blogging has been light this week, and will continue to be light for just a little bit. Rachel's had a lot of morning sickness this pregnancy, so I'm having to help her out a lot. On top of that, our full-time GPC helper is gone right now for two weeks, so I'm flying solo out in the shop. Please forgive my light blogging for the next couple of weeks, and forgive us if we aren't able to answer the phone right away if you call. I'm still staying on top of emails and putting all of my focus on keeping up with shipping out orders that come in to GPC, but I'm working long hours right now. I'm having to be a bit of a superdad, so I really appreciate your understanding :)

We're really excited about little Baby Goulet #2 on the way, and we're going to have a really exciting (to say the least!) Christmas season this year!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Write Time at 9 Cancelled Tonight 5/10/11

Rachel and I are going to have to cancel Write Time tonight, I'm sorry to say. We had a feeling we'd need to, because our full-time helper is gone for two weeks starting this week. I'm working harder than normal (if you can believe that) this week just to keep up, so blogging will be sparse for me during this time. Not only that, but Rachel is feeling under the weather, so I'm having to pull double-duty both at work and at home.

We're planning to be back for Write Time next week. We may have to push back next week's broadcast to Wednesday, we'll keep you up to date before it happens. Thanks everyone for being so flexible!

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Habanas are 85g, despite what they say!

It's a little confusing, but the new Quo Vadis Habanas that we've been told for 6 months will have 85g paper, have 90g listed on the sleeves:

It's an oversight....you see Quo Vadis wanted to get out the new Habanas as quickly as possible, but the new sleeves weren't ready yet. So they repurposed old sleeves from previous Habanas and put stickers over the name. You can faintly see my Habana sleeve was orginally made for the (now discontinued) Robert les Héros version Habana:

I got word today that this is just a temporary situation. The new sleeves have arrived and Habana orders currently being fulfilled to retailers will have the correct information on them. The 90g labeling is a temporary mistake, all of the new Habanas are in fact, 85g! Go here to see my review of the new Habanas.

***I've since gotten in pics of the new sleeves, and I posted about them here. Here's a preview pic comparing them. All of the new Habanas going out to retailers will have the new sleeves from here on out (5/13/11).

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May 2011 Ink Drop Reveal!

This month's Ink Drop is 'Goulet Favorites', which consists of five of my and Rachel's favorite inks. Granted, we have a lot of favorite inks, but these are ones we thought you would particularly enjoy. So here they are!

Did you enjoy this month's inks? If you selected your own 'favorites' month, which inks would you choose?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Write Time at 9: May 3, 2011

Link to YouTube for the vid.

Tonight we talked about:
  • Noodler's Flex pen timelines (probably at least 2 weeks from now)
  • New Habanas
  • Plumix eyedropper conversions
  • My (2) ink journals
  • Platinum Mix-Free ink update
Enjoy the recording! We'll be back next Tuesday at 9pm Eastern US time, so join us then :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Write Time Topics 5/3/11

We're back for another Write Time tonight, so if you're just hanging out at 9pm Eastern US time, come and hang with us live. Tonight we'll be talking about:
  • New 85g ivory paper Quo Vadis Habanas
  • Feed saturation pen filling
  • Pilot Plumix pens and eyedropper conversion
  • Noodler's flex pen arrival (soon!) and what that means for GPC
  • Write Time schedule over the next few weeks
Come and join us! We'll be here for you tonight, and this will possibly be the last time for the next couple of weeks as things will be getting crazy around here. We'll explain more tonight!

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