Thursday, December 7, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide #3 - Stocking Stuffers, Secret Santa and Office Co-Worker Ideas

Holiday Gift Guide, Part 3

Stocking Stuffers, Secret Santa & Office Co-Worker Gifts

 


Some of the hardest gifts to buy are stocking stuffers, secret Santa party gifts and gifts for office co-workers. Even though you see your co-workers every day, you might not be sure what they want. You do want to put a smile on their face and give them something they'll enjoy. We put together this list of extremely popular pen related items based on sales this year. The list is organized by price range - under $10, $10 to $20, $20 to $50, $50 to $100 and $100 up to make it easy for you to stay within your budget.


Under $10

Sheaffer calligraphy set with 3 nibs....$5.99 Perfect for writing notes, holiday cards, or just practicing lettering. Three different nib sizes give you a variety of italic lettering styles.


Caran d'Ache Infinite series pens with licensed DC Comics Justice League super heroes. $7.99 each.


Sticky page markers by Duncan Shotton are fun for any reader. Choose Tokyo (with godzilla), New York City (with King Kong), Nessie (Loch Ness monster), Mars, or any of a dozen different designs for $5.97 a pack.


Pocket notebooks are a great low-cost gift idea for anyone who is a note-taker, list-maker or doodler. We carry a variety of pocket notebooks with plain, graph ruled, dot grid or lined pages. Rosetta Notes are made in Michigan with fountain pen friendly paper and are priced at $8.97 for a 3-pack.



 $10 to $20

Star Wars by Sheaffer - Journals, Pen pouches, Rollerball pens and Fountain pens in Darth Vader, Yoda and R2-D2 designs.


Metal Collection pens by Caran d'Ache. Everyone will appreciate the writing quality of  these pens from Switzerland. A wide variety of colors are available. We pack each pen in a Caran d'Ache cardboard sleeve for easy gift wrapping. $19.97 for ballpoint pen or 0.7 mm mechanical pencil. Also available in a matching fountain pen for $51.97.



Pilot Metropolitan fountain pens are our most popular starter fountain pen. And now they're available in three nib sizes - Fine, Medium and Stub for calligraphy. Priced at $14.97 in an assortment of colors.


Worther Shorty sketch pencils. The Shorty gets its name from its 4-1/4" length - short compared to a standard writing instrument, but long enough to comfortably fit in your hand. The rugged plastic barrel has a hexagon shape, and is 1/2" in diameter. The shape of the Shorty provides excellent grip and comfort, and the size and light weight is just right to eliminate hand fatigue. The lead is easily advanced or retracted with the push button spring clutch mechanism. Only $12.97 each.


Fisher Space Pens have been an extremely popular gift item since the 1960s. Fisher pens are known for their vibrant colors, innovative designs, and the famous Fisher pressurized ink refill. The Fisher refill, designed for use by NASA astronauts, will write in extreme temperatures, under water and even upside down!


http://www.ipenstore.com/sketchink/ 
Fountain pen ink in over 600 colors! Shown above is our newest series of fountain pen inks from Rohrer & Klingner of Germany, called sketchINK. It can be used with a fountain pen, brush, or dip pen and produces vivid colors. We have ink samples of every fountain pen ink we stock, so you can see the shading of all of our inks before you buy.


Do you have a resident nerd or geek in your office? Here's the perfect pen - a four-function Rosetta Quattro pen for $17.99. It has 3 ballpoint tips (black, blue and red) and a 0.5mm pencil tip. We buy these in bulk to save on packaging, but put a request in with your order and we'll include a gift box.

$20 to $50

Want to make a big impression? Buy someone a Ferrari! With the Ferrari licensed pens from Sheaffer, you can buy a Ferrari without breaking the bank. Prices start at $19.97.


The Conklin Minigraph brings big performance in a mini package. At 3.9" when capped, the Minigraph is small enough to fit discreetly in a front pocket or small bag compartment. When posted, the pen is 4.85", giving is a full size feel for an effortless grip and perfect balance. Turned from solid bars of acrylic resin and adorned with bright chrome accents. Only $39.97 for the fountain pen (in fine, medium or stub nibs), or $35.97 for the ballpoint pen.


Give the gift of organization with the Rhodia Goalbook! The Goalbook features 120 high grade Clairefontaine brushed vellum sheets (240 pages). This notebook works great as a planner or a bullet journal. The 240 pages include 224 numbered dot grid pages, 6 pages for a table of contents, an undated annual calendar, and and undated monthly calendar. $24.97 each. The Rhodia Goalbook just might be the ultimate journal planning tool.


Safari by Lamy is one of the best selling fountain pens in the world. It is at the top of the list of "best every-day fountain pens" by our entire staff. The Lamy Safari is fun and functional. The unique design features a flexible brass wire clip and comfort molded grip section. The Safari comes in a range of colors, and the fountain pen is available for only $29.60 each.


Tool pens by Monteverde come in a wide variety of colors and functions - ballpoint, pencil, rollerball and fountain pen. Tool pens are one of our biggest "last minute" gift pens. Prices start at $24.97.


$50 to $100

  http://www.ipenstore.com/retro-51-paws/ 
Our Paws pens have been a top seller for the past two years. Choose from the antique pewter dog paws pen (with customer dog bone clip), or the antique copper finish cat paws pen with a custom cat clip. With the purchase of every Paws pen, a donation is made to The Humane Society.


The Rosetta Magellan's design is inspired by classic pens of the 1920's and 1930's. The lustrous finish is crafted from Italian acrylic resins, and is available in 8 finishes. Equipped with a German-made JoWo #6 two-tone stainless steel nib for precise ink flow (available in your choice of Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, 1.1 mm or 1.5 mm Stub Italic points). $69.97 for the fountain pen. 


http://www.ipenstore.com/botanica-1/ 
Cross Botanica is styled with a rich, pearlescent ivory finish beneath a beautiful floral design. The series is inspired by the beautiful floral patterns used in henna designs. Botanica is available in a ballpoint, fountain pen or rollerball pen in a choice of three finishes. Prices start at $75.97.


 http://www.ipenstore.com/aston-leather-1/ 

Aston leather pen cases are one of the best gifts if you have a pen lover, but don't know what their pen preference is. Prices start at $11.97 for a single pen slip and run to $100 for a 40 pen collector's case. All leathers are the finest top grain leathers and finished in New York City.


$100 and Up

Pilot Vanishing Point fountain pens have a cleverly designed hood that covers the nib as it retracts, preventing drying or leaking. The nibs are solid 18k gold and are available in a variety of nib sizes. Prices start at $147.97 for the standard size Vanishing Point and $139.97 for the smaller version called Decimo.


Visconti looked for inspiration from one of the world's greatest artists, Rembrandt van Rijn. His painting technique, chiaroscuro, is echoed in the Rembrandt finishes. On close inspection, apparently solid colors reveal the chiaroscuro nuances, giving the illusion that each one is painted by hand.


http://www.ipenstore.com/sonnet-1/ 
The Parker Sonnet is a timeless, elegant design. Each Sonnet is hand assembled and checked for flawless quality and precision writing. Available in a wide range of finishes, the Sonnet is a work of beauty, emblematic of Parker craftsmanship.


The Duofold has been an emblem of Parker's heritage and a symbol of excellence since 1921. The Duofold offers an exceptional comfortable and luxurious writing experience. Each pen is brought together by hand to ensure the finest writing experience. The 18-carat gold nib is exquisitely emblazed with an iconic ace design and classic Goldsmith Hallmarks. 





 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Luxury Gift Pens

The iPenstore Gift List 2017, Part 2

Luxury Gift Pens - Classic Designs

 

In our second blog on our most popular gift pens, we're featuring classic styled luxury pen lines. In our experience, no gift makes a more lasting impression than the gift of a fine fountain pen. A fountain pen brings a connection to an earlier era. With that in mind, we selected classic brands and designs that reflect the cultured history of hand-written communication.


 Parker Duofold

 Parker Duofold

Parker Duofold is an emblem of Parker's heritage and a symbol of excellence since 1921. Each piece is brought together by hand to ensure the finest writing experience. 18-carat solid gold nibs are exquisitely emblazed with the iconic Parker Ace design and classic Goldsmith Hallmarks.



 Parker Sonnet

 Parker Sonnet

Parker Sonnet pens are still hand crafted and individually checked for flawless quality. Each pen is delicately assembled with 17 individual parts. The fountain pen nibs are designed to adapt to your writing experience. We carry the full range of Parker Sonnet - fountain pens, rollerball pens and ballpoint pens.



Visconti Rembrandt

Visconti Rembrandt

Visconti Rembrandt pens are crafted of a variegated Italian acrylic resin. Visconti looked for inspiration for this series from one of the world's greatest artists, Rembrandt van Rijn. His painting technique, Chiaroscuro, is echoed in the Rembrandt finishes. On close inspection, apparently solid colors reveal the chiaroscuro nuances, giving the illusion that each one is painted by hand. Made in Florence, Italy.



 Edison Collier

Edison Collier

The Edison Collier series is a classic cigar-shape fountain pen in beautiful acrylic resin finishes. Edision Collier is available in four finishes in your choice of six nib sizes and each pen is crafted, tested and shipped from the Edison workshop in Ohio.




 Edison Pearlette

Edison Pearlette

The Edison Pearlette series is a classic smaller size fountain pen in beautiful acrylic resin finishes. Edision Pearlette is available in six nib sizes and each pen is crafted, tested and shipped from the Edison workshop in Ohio.



 http://www.ipenstore.com/magellan-2/

Rosetta Magellan

Rosetta Magellan is our best selling luxury pen series. The classic 1930s style design is available in five different models, in eight beautiful acrylic resin finishes. Choose a fountain pen, Standard rollerball, Ink Cartridge rollerball, Fineliner, or Ballpoint pen.



 Classic Maki-e by Platinum

Platinum Maki-e

The Platinum Classic Maki-e collection features the artistry of Japan. Platinum created this series using a modern maki-e method where the base design is screen printed over black lacquer, then individually hand-painted and hand polished by a maki-e artist. 




 Aston Leather Pen Cases

Aston Leather

The Aston Leather collection comes from New York City's Greenwich Village, where Aston Leather is a world leading manufacturer of luxurious leather goods. Each Aston Leather pen case is made of top grain vegatable tanned leathers that will become more beautiful with age.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Rohrer & Klingner sketchINK®

Rohrer & Klingner sketchINK®

 

Meet the newest inks from Rohrer & Klingner. sketchINK® is an assortment of 10 fountain pen inks specially formulated for drawing and sketching. These inks are suitable for use in fountain pens, quill pens and brushes. The inks are extremely waterproof and lightfast.


Rohrer & Klingner uses the smallest pigments to enable an optimum ink flow, making sketchINK® perfect for drawing fine outlines. Shortly after, lines are dry and can be painted over. On the surface, sketchINK® can be painted with water to create brilliant highlights, making it the ideal companion for urban sketchers, designers, graphic artists and architects.



http://www.ipenstore.com/sketchink/


Since the ink is waterproof, it can happen that the fountain pen dries out, so it is recommended that the ink is not left in the pen too long. In the case that it does dry, Rohrer & Klingner has developed a fountain pen cleaner called "Reiniger."  


http://www.ipenstore.com/sketchink/
sketchINK with brush
Shown with brush - can also be used in fountain pens and dip pens.

Founded in 1892 in Leipzig, Germany, Rohrer & Klingner fountain pen inks are made following well established recipes using specially treated water, natural ingredients and brilliant colorants. The well-balanced composition makes for optimal ink flow.

 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The iPenstore Gift List 2017, Part 1

The 2017 gift giving season is upon us! Struggling to come up with the perfect gift? iPenstore is here to help! 

Pens, paper and ink are gifts that will bring joy to your loved ones long after they are opened. If you are searching for the perfect gift, we've got you covered! Check out the items below for the best selling and most popular gift ideas from iPenstore for 2017.

Retro 51 Tornado Rollerball pens, Dog and Cat Paws 

 Retro 51 Tornado Rollerball Pens - Dog Paws & Cat Paws

Retro 51 Tornado exclusive Vintage Metalsmith design for iPenstore, "Cat Paws and Dog Paws". For this design, the brass barrel has been acid etched to produce a distinctive paws pattern, then finished in an antique copper for the cat paws and antique pewter for dog paws. The custom-designed clip is in the shape of a cat with a long tail and a dog bone. To complete the design, a paw print has been added to the top of the cap of each pen. The pen is fitted with a smooth flowing rollerball refill that is retracted with its patented knurl twist-top. Gift boxed in Retro 51 gift tubes. $48 each, or $89 for the set.



Parker Jotter London Architecture Special Edition Ballpoint Pen 

 Parker Jotter London Architecture Ballpoint Pen

The Parker Jotter has been our best selling ballpoint pen every year since it was introduced in 1954. The newest special edition pen from Parker is available in 4 colors: Gothic Bronze, Postmodern Black, Red Classical, and Skyblue Modern. Each pen features laser etched chrome trim inspired by iconic London architecture. $23.97 each.


Rosetta Magellan Fountain Pen

 Rosetta Magellan

The Rosetta Magellan's design is inspired by classic pens of the 1920's and 1930's. The lustrous finish is crafted from Italian acrylic resins, and is available in 8 finishes. Equipped with a German-made JoWo #6 two-tone stainless steel nib for precise ink flow (available in your choice of Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, 1.1 mm or 1.5 mm Stub Italic points). Easily change nib size or ink color by adding an extra Rosetta quick change nib assembly. Converter (Schmidt K5) for use with bottled ink and standard international size ink cartridge included. $69.97 for the fountain pen. The Rosetta Magellan is also available in ballpoint for $39.97, or rollerball, fineliner fiber tip, and ink-cartridge rollerball for $49.97 each. Gift boxed.


Schneider Link-it Fineliner Pen Set


Schneider Link-It is a premium fineliner porous-point pen with a comfortable triangular-shaped rubberized barrel made of bio-based plastics. You can join two of the pens together to create a double-ended pen! The 0.4 mm needlepoint metal-clad plastic tip is exceptionally smooth and delivers smooth, vibrant, high precision writing - perfect for bullet journaling, drawing, or adding colorful details to your writing. $11.97 per set.

Check out a few other cool pen sets from Schneider:


Conklin Minigraph


The Conklin Minigraph brings big performance in a mini package. At 3.9" when capped, the Minigraph is small enough to fit discreetly in a front pocket or small bag compartment. When posted, the pen is 4.85", giving is a full size feel for an effortless grip and perfect balance. Turned from solid bars of acrylic resin and adorned with bright chrome accents. Only $39.97 for the fountain pen (in fine, medium or stub nibs), or $35.97 for the ballpoint pen.


Sheaffer Star Wars POP Pens, Journals, and Pouches



Sheaffer Star Wars
Choose from Darth Vader, Yoda, or R2-D2 in a POP fountain or rollerball pen, a carry-all pouch, or 160 page journal.

Next week - our best selling luxury pens.




Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Basic Guide to Cell Phone Photography for Pen Lovers

Hello! Let me first introduce myself. My name is Lindsay, and I am the photographer and social media team director at iPenstore. You will see my photos all over our social media, blogs, and our website. I may be the one you are chatting with on social media as well!

Pen lovers are very enthusiastic about sharing photos of their collection, no doubt about it, and this blog is just for you. I’m going to give you some super simple tips and tricks to help take your Tweets and ‘Grams to the next level using your cell phone's built in camera. You will be able to apply these skills to most of your phone pics, not just pens.  I have chosen to use a Cross Botanica fountain pen for the sample photos. With the exception of the photos of me holding my phone, all the sample pics here were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S8.


Let’s get started!

1. WAIT UNTIL MORNING!
We’ve all been there…. You get home from a long day at work and find a box from iPenstore at your doorstep. You may be tempted to rip into that package like a hungry honey badger and snap a pic of the treasure right in the box, but if you wait until morning your photo will be much more Instagram-worthy. Check out the side by side pics below. On the left you have the lonely pen just sitting in that cold box all by itself in a dimly lit room, surrounded by the remnants of the shipping packaging. On the right we’ve propped her up on her cap on some white wood, tilted the camera a few degrees, and put her next to a bright window. Much better.



2. CHOOSE A BACKDROP
For these photos I’ve used real white washed wood. Choose something that compliments the subject of the photo, and has an interesting texture.  Look around you and get creative! You might consider using floor tiles, pottery, glass, plates and serving dishes, scrapbooking paper, and things from nature.


3. IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
Before taking any shots, wipe down the pen (particularly the nib and clip) to remove finger prints and dust, a microfiber cloth works well for this. Dust and fingerprints are very time consuming to edit out of a photo with image editing software on a computer, and nearly impossible on your phone's editing program.



Try moving the phone close to the pen’s most beautiful features, and tap the screen right where you want the camera to focus. There’s no rule that says the entire pen has to be in the shot. I do not recommend using the camera’s digital zoom. Even with the most high tech phones, the digital zoom will greatly reduce your image quality. I suggest just moving the phone closer by hand, which is what I did with these shots:



4. COMPOSITION
Photo composition is how the shot is put together/arranged. There’s plenty of “rules” for composing shots, but we’re not too worried about them here. If you are really going for something special with your pics, you do want to look at your background and make sure there’s no ramen noodles or car keys in the shot that can distract the viewer from the pen. 
You also want to fill your frame as much as possible with the subject you’re photographing. A great way to fill your frame with the pen, and make the shot more interesting, is to rotate your phone ever so slightly so the top of your phone is pointing at 2 o’clock or 10 o’clock. This makes the pen go from corner to corner in your image. If you are going for a more mod look, straight up and down with evenly spaced props can be great. Play around and see what you like.



5. MOVE THE LIGHT AROUND      
Lighting is the single most important thing to understand when taking photos, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Now we’re really getting down to business here! As mentioned in tip #1, I suggest taking your pics next to a bright window in the morning sun whenever possible. Direct sunlight creates very harsh highs and lows, and deep shadows. If you could melt a green army man in the light coming in, you’ll definitely want to “filter” the light, and it’s super easy to do. You can try pinning up a thin white sheet, or a piece of white paper. Anything that the light can gently pass through can work. You can also purchase a collapsible light diffuser very inexpensively.
To help fill shadows you can “bounce” the light back at your subject. You can try anything reflective, such as aluminum foil slapped on a baking sheet pan. Silver will bounce cool tones, gold will bounce warmer tones. In the pic below I am using a large collapsible light reflector that zips over a diffuser.



6. TURN THE FLASH OFF
The flash can be a very helpful tool in low light situations, or with fast moving objects. The flash allows your camera’s shutter to fire faster, resulting in a clearer picture. However, pens don’t have little tiny legs to run away from you while you’re trying to take their picture, so I suggest just using Mother Nature’s natural light as much as you can, along with the light from lamps and fixtures around you. When used improperly, a flash can really mess up your image. It creates harsh shadows, bright spots, and muddies up the colors, as pictured below.



7. GO PRO
Have no fear! Manual mode on a cell phone is VERY easy to learn to use, and opens a whole new world of possibilities. Most likely your phone is in auto mode right now. Find “pro” or “manual” mode, as pictured here:



Locate your ISO. This is essentially how sensitive your camera’s image sensor is to available light. A higher number means more sensitivity to light, giving you a brighter picture. A lower number means less sensitivity. If your ISO is set at 200, and you go up to 400 you are making your image sensor twice as sensitive to the visible light. Go ahead and slide the bar around, and watch how the image brightens and darkens. There is a trade-off here though… The higher your ISO, the more “noise” will be in your image, which can make it look grainy. Most cameras perform pretty well at higher ISO levels, so you may not even notice a difference!



Now locate your shutter speed. This is how fast the camera’s shutter fires. The faster it goes, the less light is being let in, and vice versa. In the pic below you can see that it says 1/1000, this means the shutter is opening for 1/1000th of a second. Again, slide this bar left and right and see for yourself how this will change your shot. In normal lighting conditions, try setting your ISO at 400, and your shutter speed at 1/20 and play around with it from there.



8. ACCESSORIZE
A great prop can go a long way in a photo, but try not to overdue it and clutter the shot. Include your favorite ink or paper, and use it to hold the pen in juuuust the right position for you.
Pilot Iroshizuku Ink, Kosumosu

Have fun exploring your phone’s camera and editing software. Brightening your photo and adjusting the contrast after taking it can really bring your photos to life! Go ahead and shamelessly use those built in filters too. 😉

I hope you enjoyed this blog, and that you'll share it with your friends. I’d love to hear your comments and questions here, and on social media @ipenstore on Instagram Twitter and Facebook