Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Casual Skateboarding in my 40s - just learned!

Just learned how to skateboard! I've always wanted to learn, and was given a penny board as a child that was not easy to ride. I'm not in it for the tricks - I just want to ride around the neighborhood. It looks fun.

I did a bit of research and found out that I needed to go to an independent board shop, pick out a wide deck that is easy to stand on (I chose 8.75 inches, my husband chose 10 for his big feet). Then have them put on their biggest, softest wheels, cheapest ball-bearings (so they are not fast) and set the wheels tight so they don't revolve a ton when you spin them.



If I'm standing on a hill my board will not roll. That's how tight the wheels are set. It was very easy to learn on a board that doesn't go flying out from under you when you step on. It took a few hours and I was ready to start heading down some gentle hills.

The board shop where I got mine (Ground Floor Skateshop in Rockford, IL) had handpainted options for the rough upper bit (instead of just black). So pretty!

I'm still shocked at how easy it was to learn.

Word of caution: wear pads! I was sharing the wrist guards with my nephew and at some point neither of us was wearing them. That's when I fell. It was my 5th day of riding. I was going uphill and about to be at a complete stop when the board went out from under me backwards. I fell onto the cement and rolled onto the grass. I scratched my knees and palms, but the worst part was something I did to my left thumb.

2 weeks later it's still not totally up to snuff, but it's healing. Bone bruise? Who knows, but now I wear full pads - even if I look like a fool. It's totally worth the pain though. Skateboarding is so fun!!!

The dog loves that we're doing an activity that he can be involved in. He hates when we go biking.




My dog and husband. My nephew photo-bombing in the back.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Made my first Eyedropper Pen from a Platinum Preppy!

I converted the Preppy (which takes cartridges) into an eyedropper pen (you can fill the whole barrel with ink). Tons of people have done it and there are tutorials everywhere, so I decided to get in on the fun! Goulet Pens sells the O-rings that fit the preppy. Then you just need some silicone grease.

 Filled it with Noodler's Heart of Darkness.


I'm either writing about the pen or what the TV is saying, so don't read anything into my mumblings. 



It seems to write much wetter now and almost acts like a larger nib than it used to. Maybe it's the pressure of the ink coming out more easily. Writes smoother now too, prob a byproduct of the plethora of ink coming from the nib. Very enjoyable. 
My guest bathroom kitchen is now inkville. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pen Collection - A few of my Fountain Pens

First of all, props to iWoodArt on etsy for this gorgeous wooden pen holder. Totally in love!!
These are a few of my pens. From left to right:
Vintage Colibri, Lamy Safari Charcoal with black nib, handmade wooden ballpoint with Schmidt Easy Flow 9000 cartridge, Kaweco Skyline in mint, Pilot Metropolitan.
I always have to have one ballpoint around for clients that are scared when I hand them a fountain pen. :)

Here they are, with the addition of the Noodler's Ahab second to right and vintage Cross 10k gold plated ball point with Private Reserve cartridge.
Pilot Metroplitan is my favorite of this group. Very smooth nib, consistent writer. I wish the grip didn't have a lip on the bottom. Also it weighs a bit - 25g. That's about the heaviest pen I would want.

Kaweco is second (both this and the Metro are from JetPens). The Kaweco has a bit of feedback in the nib - I'm a fan of a more buttery nib, but the grip and weight of the pen are an absolute joy.

The Colibri nib needs tuning (I'm ordering micro mesh and mylar from Goulet Pens).

The Lamy Safari has a hideous grip that I just can't abide by. The triangular grip is not the problem. There is a shelf at the bottom of the grip that my forefinger jams into - very uncomfortable. I guess I really hold it near the nib. The only redeeming value of the Lamy Safari is the absolutely buttery nib - it's like glass. Oh, and the gorgeous black nib and perfect weight of the pen. If they made this with a round grip it would be my top writer.

The Noodler's Ahab seems to have limited application. The flex nib is great, but you really have to press down hard. It's not a relaxing experience, so I'd really rather use on of my very flexible nibs with oblique nib holder if I need line variation. The dipping makes for a less consistent experience - upstrokes can be murder, but once I figure the perfect combo of card stock and new nib I'll be in order. It's looking like the Blue Pumpkin is edging out the Brause 66, Zebra G and Nikko G (but I guess that's for a different post).


Small writing sample - the ink names are written in the sample. Far right is the Purple Platinum Preppy with proprietary ink cartridge. It's a really bright purple. I'm more fond of the Rohrer & Klingner Magenta right now that is in the Kaweco (I bought a converter for it at Goulet Pens).

Fountain Pen Ink Samples from Goulet Pens

Got some ink samples from Goulet Pens. Used a Platinum Preppy with no ink in it to try them all out.
The Diamine Red Dragon and the Rohrer & Klingner Magenta go beautifully together. The Magenta is my favorite from the lot; I had my eye on getting a warm plum/purple and it is perfect. The writing is just whatever is on TV in the background. 
So, I have pens inked with (from the top): 
Organics Nitrogen (bought a bottle at the Chicago Pen Show),
Diamine Kelly Green (which I have decided is too light for my taste, but does look good with the other colors here),
The blue/grey Platinum Preppy proprietary cartridge,
Rohrer & Klingner Magenta,
The Pilot Namiki Blue Cartridge that I bought for my Pilot Metropolitan,
And about 2/3 of the way down there is one line in the  Purple Platinum Preppy proprietary cartridge.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Noodler's Ahab Flex Nib Fountian Pen


My sister gave me a Noodler's Ahab for my birthday. It has a flex nib, although you have to push down quite hard to get the thicker line. If you're used to flex nibs for calligraphy it will feel tough, although there is never any issue on the upstroke like you have when you're using a calligraphy nib.

 Thought these trees would be fun for a Holiday card.
The Noodler's Heart of Darkness ink is a joy to use. Got the big bottle and it came with a free eye dropper pen. So that's fun. :)


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Embroidery Carpe Diem Toast!

Just got this brainstorm about a piece of toast having fun flying out of the toaster. Even though his life is short and he's about to be buttered up and devoured he's still enjoying himself. I need to be more like that piece of toast!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mixed Media Collages using Collage Couture Book

Got the Collage Couture book by Julie Nutting. Such a great find! Really fun projects and great ideas. I designed these - took inspiration from the book, but wanted to do a Circus theme. Wanted to make more, but only ended up with 2. Love them though. They were so fun to do.



Needlepoint Petite Blythe

Designed and needlepointed this. My Petite Blythe Marmalade was the model. :)

Pencil Drawing

My sister and her dog.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Calligraphy! Using a flexible nib to create word art. So fun.


I began learning calligraphy 3 weeks ago and am entertaining myself to no end with it! How fun! 

I took this $19 online course at Brit.co and started with the speedball oblique nib holder ($2) and some other random supplies. It was going okay, but I felt with better supplies it would be more fun. It is! 

After doing some research, including this wonderful blog by Lindsey Bugbee , I have now purchased an adjustable oblique nib holder from Ashley Bush on Etsy, a Zebra G Nib, Nikko G Nib and Black Kuretake Sumi ink from Paper Ink Arts, and a Maruman Mnemosyne paper pad from JetPens. 

Now my writing is buttery smooth with this glossy Sumi ink and perfectly angled nib holder with flexible nibs that are not too flexible (I'm talking to you, Brause Rose Nib!). In my experience if the nib is too flexible it doesn't hold ink well. With the Nikko and Zebra that I got the ink lasts a whole line long. Very relaxing. 


So, I highly recommend calligraphy for when you want to be creative, but drawing a picture that actually looks like what you're trying to draw seems too stressful. With word art you are just making pretty words and putting them together in creative ways. This has been a major stress reliever for me during tax season, the busiest time for my business.

Oh, and I made the white lettering with this Uni-ball pen - a dream to use.