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uni style fit meister review

Yesterday I tested out the new multi-pens I ordered from StationeryArt.com a week ago which just arrived (shipped from Hong Kong).

I purchased the Uni Style Fit Meister 3 in 1 multi-pen and the 5 in 1 version. Both in pink (I’m surprised at myself too!) to match my A5 Finsbury.

When I unwrapped and picked up the 3-in-1 I remembered that I don’t like metallic pens – they don’t have a good grip and feels like they are forever slipping while you’re writing.

Luckily, although the 3 in 1 has a metallic barrel, the 5 in 1 has a plastic one. I had originally ordered the 3 in 1 to store my staple colours, (red, black and blue) whilst the 5 in 1 was for the fun colours together with the mechanical pencil.

However, if the metallic barrel keeps slipping in my grip, I may need to re-organise the colours and use the plastic one as my main instead.

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I sometimes handwrite the draft of my blog entries

When ordering the pens, I had accepted that the 5 in 1 would be too thick to fit in the pen holder in my Filofax; I had assumed I’d just clip the pen to the holder instead. However it would seem that the 3 in 1 is a bit too thick as well. I could get the pen in and out with a little force and I’ve heard that leather pen loops would loosen over time, but I’m afraid that I’d tear the stitching if I tried. So both pens are now clipped to my Filofax instead. Which isn’t too much of an issue for me.

I also had an issue with the ink refills. Don’t get me wrong, I love the variety of colours available and how smoothly it writes (except for the light blue one – that took a few try to get the ink flowing).

However, I’ve only written about one A4 page of text using the dark blue ink and already you could see a significant decrease in ink levels. I write a lot, and I have a feeling I could finish one refill within a couple of weeks (one week if I was writing my draft blog entries as well).

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I really prefer gel ink over ballpoint (who doesn’t?), but replacing refills frequently can get pricey.

Lastly, and this is not a deal breaker, but it does leave me scratching my head, is that the 3 in 1 doesn’t have a naturally “retracted” mode.

With the 5 in 1 you just half press any of the other colours that you’re not using and the pen you’re using will be retracted and you wouldn’t have to worry about the pen accidentally leaving marks on things when you’re carrying it.

With the 3 in 1 however, it doesn’t naturally allowed this. The pen doesn’t have any buttons, instead you twist the top half of the pen to select the colour you want. Normally when a cartridge is selected, there is a slight “click” to lock the cartridge in place. But there is no lock for retracted mode, you have to just half turn the top half of the pen until it is roughly between two colours (ie. so none of the cartridges are protruding from the barrel).

As there is no lock for “retracted mode”, there have been a few times when the cartridge has accidentally out twisted and I end up marking myself or my clothes. As I said, not a complete deal breaker but can be annoying.

Regardless of the number of “negatives” that I’ve pointed out I still love the number of ink colour choices and how the pens write. The pen nib doesn’t move around when I write, which is something I’ve found to happen with some multi-pens, and the pen barrels (both metal and plastic) are nicely made.

These pens are thicker than the Filofax pen loops (the leather ones anyway), so you’ll need to use the pen clips to attach them to the Filofax, but that’s not to much of a problem for me – all the pens I like have fairly thick barrels and won’t fit in the loop anyway.

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So there’s my review of the uni style fit multi-pens. When I’ve had a chance to use them more, I’ll come back with a follow-up review.

For now, please let me know your Filofax pens and leave a comment with a link to your Filofax-related blog posts!

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latest page

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It takes me so long to complete a page…

I took the photo using my iPhone, so please excuse the quality.

I have trouble writing irregularly but still neatly. I tried anyway and a temperamental brush helped too.

journal page - April 8, 2011

I also found these lovely scrapbook paper at a store just a few streets away – yay! – and I’ve been fighting my squeamishness at actually cutting the pretty paper for days before I finally got those pieces on the page.

Do you have trouble deconstructing existing pieces of art (even something as small as a piece of patterened paper) to incorporate into your own pages? I guess this has something to do with my insecurity, with believing that another person’s artwork was better than anything I could pull off.

But an art journal is a place me to explore techniques, to expand myself and my creativity. I should grit my teeth and let go (sounds contradictory?). But even though I can logically understand this argument, it is still a struggle for me to actually act on it, to believe in myself.

Have any of you watched Sucker Punch? It was only a “pretty movie” at best, but there was one line in it that stuck in my mind, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

That line relates to my struggles in a way; I am still trying to find out what I stand for, what I’m trying to get across. Am I creating pages to put down my own emotions and recording my own mental growth? Am I writing down words of wisdom for future generations to come? Or does it all just come down to my desire to create pretty pages to show off to the world at large?

My mind is unsure of the answer to these questions, or to what the question actually is; does it matter in the end? Or does it all relate back to what kind of person I am, what I stand for.

Perhaps the art journal is to help me figure this all out. If I let it.

convo book

Convo book, short for conversation book, may be something a lot of you already have, but may be calling it by a different name. (note: the more popular name for it would be “exchange diary”)

It is a diary of a sort, but you share it with another friend, or a group of friends. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say it’s like a predecessor of an e-group/yahoo group; you write a letter (or letters) and pass the book onto the next person in the group, and they pass it to the next person.

It was something that my friends and I have been doing since high school, with some books (groups) being more successful than others. It’s normally the books between small groups of people (e.g. 2-3 people) that are the most successful; it’s easier to keep track of the book, and people are more willing to open up in their entries.

(the kind of book I used with my friends; it was pre-printed with subject titles, such as “today’s news”, “weather”, “mood”)

In the past, the convo books between my friends and I are primarily journal-based; letters to each other about events we all went to. In some of the later books, we would include a random sketch, or a ticket stub.

We stopped writing once I left to work in Hong Kong – our convo books were commentary on shared experiences as opposed to letters on missed events.

Since I’ve returned to Australia, I had re-discovered my old stash of convo books. I showed them to my friend, and we had a good giggle over the high school dramas we recorded.

My friend thought we should try resuming the exercise and the next day we went out to kikki.k and bought some really cute notebooks.

It wasn’t until a few entries into my notebook that I realise I should do an art journal page in the convo book. I won’t be doing a spread for every entry, that would just take way too long, but the occasional page would be a nice touch.

So how many people have taken part in convo books, or exchange diaries, before? I don’t mean round robin journals, but books where you have an on-going conversation with another person.

If you haven’t, why don’t you try starting one. It could be with someone you’re already really good friends with, or with someone you would want to get to know better.

Post a comment with a link of some of the entries that you’ve created.

mistake/fixed? – grunge wings

Unfortunately I do not have the before/after photos for comparison, but below is a page that I’ve mucked up but managed to fix through sheer perseverance.

You may need to enlarge the above picture (click on it) to see what I’m talking about, but there are two rectangles on the page, one on the top left hand corner of the page and one on the bottom right. Those are the remains of ticket stubs (I can’t even remember for what) that I stuck on the page. I found out, first hand, the reason you do not use double-sided tape to stick things you are later going to paint over; they bubble.

Not only did it bubble, but they stuck to the other side of the page and peeled off. I suddenly had two gaping white holes in my page.

My solution? Brayer over it (this was during the time when I brayered over everything. However I was careful to leave details in the background (ie. the wings) to show through.

The black-over-white text helped complete the grunge-up look.

acrylic exercises

Last week I was poring through all of Tim Gagnon’s Youtube videos on painting in acrylic.

I tried to duplicate the technique in this video, although on a much smaller scale.

I didn’t proceed through to the final step – putting the highlights into the grass – for a few reasons. The perspective in this painting was slightly different from those in the video and the depth of the foreground in this painting is shallower; the highlighted grass would seem out of place.

I really had trouble drawing the trees. The trunks never looked right to me. I would have to practice sketching more trees to get the angles right.

I also found that paint has to be fairly fluid to do straight lines. My brush and paint was too dry and I ended up with feathery lines where the paint skipped over the page. I’m most likely to going to give this another go and see whether I get better results.

I didn’t really like the way the background was going on this page, so I decided to test out Tim Gagnon’s cloud painting technique.

Whereas in the previous exercise my brush was too dry, in this exercise my brush was too wet; there was too much paint. I couldn’t get the feathering that Tim was doing in the video. I was also too impatient, I didn’t wait long enough for the paint to dry when building the opaque sections of the cloud. Instead of layering paint, I ended up pushing the paint out, making the cloud way larger than planned.

Although neither page worked out the way I expected, I felt like I’ve accomplished something. I guess figuring out how some things don’t work is also a kind of achievement.

let me explain…

It all started with a friend’s spur-of-the-moment comment, “Let’s start a band…”

I admit that we are an impulsive bunch, and we’ve made many similar plans in the past that never saw fruition (eg. “Let’s all get a tattoo..”) But I believe it was those failed past ideas that made us more enthusiastic this time; so that we each took our turn to egging the others on when enthusiasm flagged. We chose our individual roles in the band based on our previous experience with a particular musical instrument. Then we went to a music store…

That is a electric bass guitar (or a ESP LTD F-104, to be exact) and it is so gorgeous. I’ve never played a bass before (my previous experience with music was either the piano or classical singing) but I figured it was easier to learn than guitar.

I did a lot of Googling and Wiki’ing prior to entering the music store, and did a lot more brand-specific research after that first visit (buying a bass advice #1: never buy on the first visit, no matter how much your impulse-buy-bug bites – trust me, it took a lot of will power not to take out my wallet that first visit).

It was a good thing I didn’t buy the first bass I saw (which was around $6,000 HKD/ $770 USD) because the one I ended up getting only cost $2,800 HKD/ $360 USD) and it was in the colour I wanted (buying a bass advice #2: appearance does matter; you’re less likely to practice if you cringe every time you look at the instrument).

So I’ve been busying practicing my bass, self-teaching from the myriads of Youtube videos and Google search results (I sometimes wonder what I did before Google/Yahoo! search engines were invented/programmed). Bass practice is not something that I could photograph and blog about unlike journal pages), so please excuse me if my blog entries become even more sporadic than before.

But that’s not all I’m busy with. I just received the following in the mail:

The Red Book: A Deliciously Unorthodox Approach to Igniting Your Divine Spark By Sera J. Beak
The Artist’s Way By Julia Cameron

Sera Beak’s “The Red Book” and Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way“, both spiritual books in their own ways. I ordered “The Red Book” after reading Samantha Kia’s review and I bought “The Artist’s Way” so I could actually do something with the morning pages I’ve done (and to hopefully inspire me to continue – I’ve kind of put that exercise down).

I haven’t started the two books yet – it’s kind of a torment to decide which one to start first and whether it’s possible to read both at the same time, and did I mention I’m currently reading Susan Pesznecker’s “Crafting Magick with Pen and Ink“?


Crafting Magick with Pen and Ink: Learn to Write Stories, Spells and Other Magickal Works By Susan Pesznecker

I have a feeling that these books are going to inspire many journal pages to come – once I figure out how to juggle everything at once.

journal spilling – the book

As mentioned in my first post, Diana Trout’s “Journal Spilling” was what started me on the road to art journaling. I did not read, nor buy the book; it was the book title that had me googling on what art journaling is.

Now finally, I’ve bought myself a copy and it arrived in the mail a week ago.

It is a very interesting book and offers some prompts and page ideas if you are stuck, however I am glad that I only bought the book now and not when I first started researching on art journaling.

This is because the book encourages messy pages, getting things down, and to hell with the critic. As I was more inspired by messy but pretty pages (eg. Samantha Kira), I don’t think I would have been in the mind frame to appreciate the message Journal Spilling was trying to get across.

One part of the book that I was very interested in were the instructions on making your own patterned paper. Scrapbooking is not a big thing here in Hong Kong – or at least I haven’t found it – so I don’t have the advantage of going to a stationery store and buying all those pretty pattered scrapbook paper. So I’d be interested in giving some of those paper dyeing techniques a go.

discovering morning pages

I’ve heard the words “morning pages” and “artist’s date” from a Yahoo!Group I was a part of , but I must admit that I haven’t really paid much attention to them before; I always assumed that “morning pages” meant finding time in the morning to do pages and “artist’s date” being a thing to do or a place to go to encourage creativity.

Although I wasn’t too far off the mark with the artist’s date, I didn’t realise “morning pages” wasn’t just a flippant phrase, but an activity which means quite a lot to many people.

I’m sure most people who visit this page already know what “morning pages” and “artist’s date” are, so I won’t bore you with the details. For those who are new to the idea, please feel free to visit Julia Cameron’s website, where she has generously uploaded pages from her book, “The Artist’s Way” that specifically describes what the two activities are.

Below is are the pages from my first attempt at doing morning pages (as I was using a Moleskine sketchbook, I counted a double page spread as one page). The first three pages were pre-background and I thought I would stop writing there. However I felt an urge to continue and boy was I glad I did.

It could have been because of the backgrounds that were already laid out, or that I was slower to relax because it was my first try, but I only begun to let go on my fourth page. My handwriting started getting larger and messier until I no longer cared that I couldn’t read what I’ve written – it was all about letting it out. It was quite fun.

Those pages were done after I got home from work. As the point of the pages were for me to unload, I believe I had more to write about after work than if I wrote after waking up refreshed from a good night’s sleep. By doing my pages after I get home, I would have left my stressful work day behind me and free to get on to some creative stuff.

I’ve read elsewhere that doing the pages at the end of the day doesn’t work for them as they end up recording the events of the day which leaves them exhausted. I personally feel that by writing about the day, I would be able to put things into perspective. But everyone is free to do as they will. As Julia Cameron says, there’s no wrong way of doing it.

I know we aren’t meant to re-read our morning pages, nor are we to share them (to avoid feeling the need to censor our pages), that’s why I kept the pictures small. But anyone else want to share their experiences with morning pages?

reading on creativity

I confess, I’ve been reading blog posts/online tips on creativity as opposed to doing anything creative.

Below are the blogs I’ve visited today:

Other links:

Oh actually I’m halfway through drawing another mandala (picture above). I was still a little bit irked over how uneven my previous attempt was. I’m not sure whether this one is finished yet; I feel there is more to be added, though I can’t figure out what yet. Will upload follow up post when it gets finished.