REVIEW: Pilot Iroshizuku Mini Boxed Set


I love Pilot Iroshizuku. The brand writes amazingly well for me and I’m fond of nearly all the colors. Big love, for sure.

This Pilot Iroshizuku Mini Boxed Set came to me courtesy of Goulet Pens. They made me promise to give my honest opinion in exchange.

I had mixed feelings about reviewing this item – I knew I would love at least two of the inks (I already did), but would I love the packaging? You know, probably not – it was most likely just a throwaway. How wrong I was.

Let’s dive in . . .

Removing the thick white paper/cardboard protective sleeve reveals a hard plastic hinged case. The case has a satin finish, beveled edges, and is very sturdy and well-constructed. I’m immediately impressed.

Even though Goulet Pens sent the Boxed Set as a freebie, I still got a sucker pop. Score!

Flipping the lid reveals the three 15ml Pilot Iroshizuku Inks – Kon-peki, Yama-budo, and Tsukushi.

And, again, I’m impressed with the box design and padding. The bottom custom-cut hard foam holds the ink securely in place and the padding on top adds extra protection for the thick glass Pilot Iroshizuku bottles.

A wonderful variety of colors.

The case is wonderful, but what about the inks?

Kon-peki is a beautiful beautiful bright blue. It was one the first inks I reviewed and then I did a fun comparison of it and Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuyu-kusa.

Yama-budo is a delicious grape purple ink. I use it regularly and compared it to Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses in this review. It’s become a favorite.

Almost two years ago, I reviewed Tsukushi. I loved the performance, but not the brown color. I swabbed it earlier this year and didn’t think it was so bad, after all. Keep an eye on my Instagram feed this week, I plan to try it again – third time’s the charm?

This Boxed Set would make an amazing and thoughtful gift for any fountain pen user. If you’re considering this for yourself, it would definitely protect your bottles while traveling.

Are you concerned that 15ml won’t be enough ink? If you’ve found your perfect dream ink, 15ml will never be enough. If you’re like me and change inks as often as you change your nail polish, it could be plenty. 15ml should give you enough ink for at least eight fills – depending on your pen/converter.

Let’s talk money for a moment. This set sells for $32 at Goulet Pens. They don’t sell the 15ml bottles individually, but I’ve seen those on other sites for $14 each. Easy math.

Full-size (50ml) bottles of Pilot Iroshizuku sell for $28 each at Goulet Pens. That amounts to $.56 per ml. For the 45ml of ink we’re getting in this set, we’re paying $.71 per ml – and we’re getting three different inks – and we’re getting the fancy case.

You’ll decide for yourself, of course, but I think this is a good value for the set and the money.

Everything Pilot Iroshizuku is high-quality and this set is no exception. If you love (or want to try) the colors or are looking for the perfect gift, this set is for you.

I paid nothing for this set from Goulet Pens and the opinions are all mine, always.

Where I’ve Been

I’ve been missing from here (still active on Instagram) for a little over a month – an amazing, incredible, life-changing month.  You see, more than twenty years ago I stopped having contact with my family of origin. I’ve managed to piece together a pretty awesome group of people who I’m proud to call family. There’s Mr. Pentulant and his amazing stick-together-no-matter-what family who welcomed me 100% into their fold. There’s an unbelievable friend who always made me feel like family – and even let me borrow his from time to time. And when my perfect son met and married his perfect girl, I felt that I had a whole family. I was good to go, chugging right along, happy, fulfilled, and living a pretty blessed life.

Last month, I heard from my sister. We started out slowly, but that didn’t last long. Pretty quickly, we were sending messages at the speed of light – learning about each other and (re)discovering all that we have in common.

We made plans to meet at the end of September in Portland, but then changed those plans and met in New York last week. We wandered through museums, saw a couple of musicals, had Starbucks, and sat around in our stretchy pants while I kicked her butt at Boggle.

There were some awkward silences. Some, “I wonder if she likes me,” on both sides (she does, I do!), but overall, we nailed it.

I’m going to Florida soon for her birthday. I’ll meet her husband, her daughter, her son, her puppies, and maybe even a friend or two. Oh, and she says she’s been practicing Boggle. (I’ll still win.)

It is astounding – how extraordinarily changed my life is.

I’ll get back to doing what I do here – posting inks swabs and pen reviews. I just need a moment to catch my breath and take it all in.


It’s a busy season – at work and life. I’ve fallen way behind on my blog reading – looks like Feedly is telling me that I have 289 unread posts.

Let’s catch up today, shall we?


  • Ed Jelley wrote about affordable fountain pens for beginners. It’s a good list.
  • From the Pen Cup told us about the very slick Lamy Studio.
  • My Coffee Pot reviewed a couple of Parkers – a ballpoint and rollerball. Beautiful pens.
  • Gourmet Pens showed off the Lamy Joy Calligraphy Set. Annnnd..this. I need it. Need.
  • The Pen Addict demonstrated the Edison Menlo Pump Filler. He loves it. I don’t think it’s the pen for me.





The Purl Bug is moving! When Mr. Pentulant moved to NY, he did it in just one (little) car. And when we moved to California, we only had the clothes on our back for awhile (what a story that is!). I’m craving minimalism lately.

That’s it – have a great week, everyone!


REVIEW: Sharpie Liquid Highlighters


Something a little different for today. I picked up a pack of eight Sharpie Liquid Highlighters a couple of weeks ago and decided to have a little fun with them . . .


These chisel tip highlighters make it easy to either highlight or underline text.

Below: The yellow looked a little funky right out of the package. The color went down super-wet and looked almost dirty (like the tip seen in this picture). It did soak through the paper a bit more than the other colors, but it dried to the bright yellow one would expect. The next time I used the marker, it was still looking like this, but it was no longer a super soaker.  😉


Because of the shape of the ends of the markers, you could hang these from a cord around your neck. You know, if you wanted to. Sharpie suggests that these can be attached to binders, planners, and bags.


My pack of eight contains the following colors:  red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and raspberry.  (I later learned that what I am calling raspberry is actually called berry by Sharpie – so close.)

The caps snap on with a solid click and can be posted with confidence. The clip is solid with a bit of flexibility.


I tested each marker with a gel pen and pencil.




These Sharpies are odor-free and the clear body lets the user see when ink is running low. All of them performed well with no smearing. I waited less than five minutes for the gel pen to dry before going at it with the marker.

But – highlighting text isn’t all these fun Sharpies can do . . . IMG_4237.JPGBottom Line:  I like them! The red is my least favorite color because it’s the least transparent of them all. All of the other colors seem like exactly what I want in a highlighter.

Hope you’re all having a good week!

ARTICLE: Budgeting for Fountain Pens

With January comes resolutions. Lose weight, travel more, and spend less are some of the most popular resolutions out there.

All of this has me thinking about how I find money for my fountain pen habit hobby.


Budget. I’ve budgeted a small amount of money to spend on whatever I want each month. I usually choose to spend it on my pen hobby. Sometimes, I’ll buy a few ink samples and save the rest for a larger purchase. Fountain Pen Physicist talks about this in a video.

Save your pennies – literally. Loose change can accumulate quickly. Even if it accumulates slowly, it still accumulates – usually without any discomfort.

Prioritize. I have to prioritize. There are certain things that I know I’m going to want each year. If two pens are released at the same time and one of them is the new Lamy Safari, that’s the one I’m getting.

Focus on affordability. There are so many affordable options available for fountain pen lovers. Good options. I used to believe that a pen had to be expensive to be high-quality. I was wrong. It’s possible (easy!) to put together an amazing collection of affordable pens, ink, and paper.

Watch for sales. Discounts on pens aren’t nearly as frequent or as deep as discounts at Old Navy, but they are out there. Keep an eye on your favorite retailers, read blogs. Don’t forget to compare prices at Amazon; I’ve found some great deals there.

Give up something else. Take the bus, make your own coffee, stop buying so many clothes. Seriously, how much washi tape does one girl need?

eBay. Research reputable sellers, dive in, get a deal.

Sell something you don’t love. I recently sold a 2015 Hobonichi Planner that I knew I wouldn’t use. While I didn’t recoup all that I’d spent on it, I ended up with enough to get a couple of small things that I will use.

Focus on smaller parts of the hobby. Practice handwriting. Sample inks. Try new paper. These parts of the hobby are less expensive than buying a fancy new pen and can be just as rewarding – especially in the long-term.

Make friends. Choose one of the online communities dedicated to Fountain Pens, become a regular, and make friends. Friends (and yet-to-be friends) often trade ink and paper samples.

How do you afford your hobby habit? Do you budget? Play it fast and loose?

REVIEW: 2015 Hobonichi Planner


At the end of last year, Mr. Pentulant came home from a business trip with a number of prezzies for me from the Kinokuniya store in Seattle. One of those gifts was this 2015  Hobonichi Planner.

I asked on Instagram and was told that this edition is the Weeks Planner. Apparently, it’s not available on the Hobonichi English website – just the full Japanese version.


I was immediately taken with the look and feel of the book. Like other Hobonich Planners, this one is filled with Tomoe River Paper. The cover is somewhat flexible (but not bendy) and the look is slim. There are two ribbon bookmarks. An elastic band would have been helpful.

This planner is too small for me to use as a daily planner, but it’s perfect perfect as a financial planning calendar.


The first set of pages are monthly grids. Keep track of payday, scribble daily spending amounts. Goals and accomplishments could easily go at the bottom of the pages.


The “meat” of the book consists of dates on the left-facing page and a lightly printed grid on the right. So far, I’m using the left side to keep track of future expenses and I’m using the right side for motivational words to stay on track with spending. The right side could also be used for food planning, lists, weekly goals, etc.

IMG_1343 Near the end of the book are a bunch of grid pages. I’ve not started using these pages yet, but could imagine using them for monthly summaries, keeping track of other goals, and of course – lists (always lists).

Bottom Line:  While we’re not that far into 2015, I like the way this is planner is shaping up!

Which planner(s) did you end up with? And, tell me, how many planners are you actively using?

Oh oh oh . . . don’t forget to enter my Stateside Notebook Giveaway! It’s a nice little notebook filled with Tomoe River Paper.

INK SWAB: 6/365 – Platinum Mix-Free Sunny Yellow

* YELLOW PLATINUM MIX-FREE 006Sunny Yellow from the Platinum Mix-Free line is a cheerful orangey yellow ink. I’ve used some of the inks in this line and they have all been well-behaved.

In case you didn’t know, all of the inks in the Mix-Free line can be mixed together to create other shades and colors. Here’s a link to all of the Mix-Free items that Goulet Pens carries. I didn’t know this item existed until just now.

And! In my ongoing quest to get this new website completed sometime before the end of time, I’ve updated my Wish List. I use this list to keep track of the items that have caught my eye.

Annnd! I’m giving away a pretty notebook filled with Tomoe River Paper.  Enter today.

Finally (I know, I know – so chatty), Have you seen Reverenced Writing?


INK SWAB: 3/365 – Private Reserve Black Magic Blue



Day three of ink swabs makes me feel like this is really happening.  Only 362 days to go!

Private Reserve’s Black Magic Blue is an ink I’ve reviewed in the past. Spoiler: I love it. The name doesn’t exactly match the color as I see a bunch of purple in both the swab above and the samples in the review.

It’s been awhile since I’ve inked a pen with this ink and seeing it again here is making me hunger (thirst?) for it a bit.

Oh, hey, I’m making progress on getting the new site filled in. There’s a fresh About Me page. Check it out.


Hobonichi For Sale

I’ve decided that the Hobonichi Cousin format just won’t work for me and I’m selling the 2015 planner and the cover as a set.
You can get details about the book and the cover at the Hobonichi website – here and here.
Original packaging not available. In perfect new condition. Completely unused (though I may have scribbled with the included pen once or twice).
Non-smoking home, but we do have dogs. w00f!
$55 including shipping to US addresses 
I realize these aren’t the best photos – please see the Hobonichi website for better photos and complete details regarding size.

I can be reached at christine (at) christinewitt (dot) com. Though I generally welcome the opportunity to wheel and deal, I am firm on pricing.

I’ll be back later this week with a very special inky giveaway!