Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I have always wanted to write something for Halloween but didn’t know for sure what to blog about. For an Addams Family fan and an aspiring mortician like I am, it should be a comfortable topic, but I'm still left scrounging for ideas. I don’t have happy childhood trick or treat memories to write, or incredible Halloween parties to rave about. I have never even put on a Halloween costume or carved a pumpkin. But a Halloween post must be written and so here is one.

Before proceeding to read the rest, a warning should be made that this is an incredibly 'orange' post, but definitely has nothing to do with Halloween except that it is filled with a lot of 'orange' stuff. The idea for this post came to me after I received my first Rhodia notepad, and while I was waiting to get my Caran d'Ache Saffron ink from Singapore to ink two of my orange looking pens, a laque copper NOS Parker Rialto with a medium nib, and a copper Esterbrook SJ fitted with a 1551 firm medium nib.

Now let's get the reviews done. :)

Rhodia No. 14

I got this staple-bound Rhodia notepad No. 14 as part of Exaclair's Bastille Day giveaway in July. I was surprised and happy to find other Exaclair products in the package, apart from the two bottles of J. Herbin inks they promised to send. When I took the notepad out of the envelope, it wasn't exactly love at first sight for me. Because of its orange covers. :) I preferred the Clairefontaine spiral-bound notebooks and Quo Vadis Habana that went in the package. I tried the Rhodia when the Saffron ink arrived, and I instantly fell in love with it.

For my Halloween post, I thought I'd draw bats on my Rhodia pad. Seen here
with two of my Tomica toys. I got orange toys, too! :)

The No. 14 notepad measures 4.3 × 6.7 inches, and has 80 sheets of 80gsm high-grade vellum paper. The paper on Rhodia pads is very smooth, and it's a pleasure to write on it. The one I got is the lined version, and it is perfectly resistant to ink feathering and bleed, the two common problems faced by fountain pen users. The pages are microperforated so it's easy to tear a page off as needed. Rhodia notepads' covers have an almost water resistant, shiny, smooth paper/board material. I had difficulty drawing the bats using an ultrafine retractable Sharpie - the ink erases itself! :) I'd like to guess that the ink from my Sharpie pen simply dries up on the paper's surface instead of being absorbed by the paper. The front cover is scored on the exact places where they will be creased due to repeated use. The back cover has a thicker chipboard aside from the orange cover, and this gives excellent support when writing.

Writing on the Rhodia notepad is an experience. The smoothness of the paper is overwhelming. Below are writing samples of my inked pens, most of which come with medium nibs letting off wet and wide strokes.

It will always be a joy to write on Rhodia notepads. And to claim my full ownership of this little gem of a notebok, I wrote this on its first page, using an orange-colored ink.

Pens: Esterbrook and Parker

Again, this is an orange-themed post, so here are two copper-colored pens from my collection.

Pen No. 1: Esterbrook SJ with a firm medium 1551 nib.

Esterbrook pens are a fascination not only to me, but for a lot of other fountain pen enthusiasts. My Estie (that's their nickname) is a transitional pen and a double jewel demi (SJ). According to the site, the double jewel models came out around 1948 and were produced in vast quantities, with many showing up in the wild with perfectly pliable sacs and in perfect writing condition.

My copper Estie is from fellow Pinoy FP collector Cindy Trinidad. It has a firm medium nib, that I love but which has a remarkable scratch that almost broke my heart until I realized I must align the pen at a certain angle to comfortably write and get rid of the scratch. It writes very well in that angle, and it's among my favorite writers now. :)

Pen No. 2: Laque copper Parker Rialto with a 23k gold plated medium nib.

How do I call this pen? I got it from an office supply store in San Pablo for a price way, way below its current worth. This pen, together with a matte navy Rialto and silver Place Vendome 88 were in the glass shelves of that store since it opened business in the late 90s. I've always seen the pens but never tried them, but once when I was already into FP collecting, I asked the irritated sales clerk if I could try them, and she let me hold the pens for a while. The laque copper Rialto with the 23k gold-plated nib won my heart, but not my purse. Every weekend after that, whenever I have the chance, I'll pass by the store and look at the pens. Until that one Sunday when the store manager asked me if I'd like to buy the pens. She said she's seen me a couple of times looking at the pens, and since they've been sitting there gathering dust for the longest time, the store will give me a discounted price. Oh, boy. That afternoon, I went home with an NOS Parker Rialto.

It took me months to use the pen because I waited for any orange-colored ink to fill it with. When that opportunity came, oh, wow. The pen's medium nib is just so smooth, it's like writing with the softest butter in the world! The barrel's laque finish is excellent, and its 23k gold plated trim doesn't look cheap to me, contrary to what some people say. And though some frown at the Rialto for being a 'spruced up' Vector, I cannot find anything bad to say about this pen, except for its snap-on closure which like the Vector may wear off with time and use.

This pen is a dream come true for me. Not only it is a valuable addition to my collection, it is also a great reminder that, after all, dreams do come true.

Caran d'Ache Saffron Ink

The first time I saw bottles of Caran d'Ache inks was during my second pen meet last March. Leigh Reyes brought a couple of bottles of CdA inks and some of the pens I tried had Caribbean Sea and Saffron in them. I lusted over them since then and when C! Magazine EIC Carl Cunanan went to Aesthetic Bay last month, he kindly bought a bottle of Saffron for me, sent the bottle through our Makati office, in a black Borders bag filled with copies of their swank and hip and cool magazines. :)

Another dream come true for me: Caran d'Ache Saffron. Orange ink!!!

CdA Saffron is a beautiful orange ink. It's a happy orange color, and yet doesn't hurt the eyes when a page written with it is read. The tints of bright yellow, orange and red of the ink really looks like dried saffron stigmas dissolving in hot water. CdA Saffron reminds me of summer sunsets, of flames in my father's furnace at home and of ripe, glossy clementines.

This ink has an excellent flow, and I didn't have any problem with all four pens I tried using it. It dries fast and doesn't stain the converters of my Lamy Joy pens. On the Rhodia notepad, there was no feathering and bleed through at all. CdA Saffron is part of Caran d'Ache's nine-color Colors of the Earth line of products. CdA inks comes only in bottles, no cartridges, and a bottle contains 30ml of ink.

Here is a writing sample of CdA Saffron using all the nib sizes on my Lamy Joy set. Paper is Kokuyo loose leaf, very fountain pen friendly, very sturdy paper. (Click on the image for a larger view.)

And so ends my orange reviews. I didn't like orange before, never liked bright colors. But notebooks and inks and pens changed all that. Thanks to Rhodia, Esterbrook, Parker and Caran d'Ache, I see orange differently now. :)


  1. Nice color for the season! Orange is always nifty because every time I see it come out of my pen it surprises me a bit. :D

  2. Nice pens, nice ink, and fantastic handwriting -- clean and crisp

  3. @bleubug, CdA Saffron surprised me. :) Didn't really like orange before until I remembered my that I got orange socks for my mobile phone and orange dinner plates. :) LOL! The socks - so it's easy to locate my phone. The plates - so it brings more cheer to dining. :)

    @Caloy, thank you for the compliments. Coming from you, it's very overwhelming! :)

  4. Just discovered your blog today through carnival of pen paper, etc. You have such thorough reviews and beautiful handwriting. I tried to add you to my google reader, but it wasn't taking your URL when I tried to copy and paste. I don't understand why. But, I will find a way to keep up with your blog. :)

  5. I found your blog today through Carnival of Pen, Paper, etc. You have created so many excellent reviews of pens and paper, plus your beautiful handwriting is a treat to read. I tried to add your blog to my google reader by copying and pasting your URL but it wouldn't take it for some reason. I will try to keep up with Rants of the Archer some way. :)

  6. Love the bats ^__^ Also I've been thinking about the Caran D'ache Saffron ink! I love the way the colour looks in your post! Lovely writing as well. Thanks for reviewing this.