Items from Enigma Stationery

Enigma is a place I’d heard mentioned many times on the Pen Addict Podcast but I hadn’t looked over their wares. I was searching for info on a particular notebook and clicked on a link for Enigma because they carried it. While the notebook wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, I took a few minutes to scan their products.

I was intrigued by the pens companies had made from Enigma’s custom material blanks. And then I saw the nib holders.

One thing revealed while swatching my ink collection over the past few months is that my nib holders weren’t adding anything to the use of my various dip nibs. Does the nib holder need to be special? No, it’s not a requirement, but having something that’s not the ordinary plastic or wooden stick can help make the experience more fun.

What did I want? I didn’t know but, as luck would have it, Enigma Stationery provided an answer.

This Enigma-made material is called Satisrefraction Violet and the holder was shaped by River City Pen Company. It’s comfortable to hold and use. More than that, it’s quite something to look at. This is how it pops with some sunlight (a rare commodity in my area lately).

That’s something to elevate your writing time. The holder works with the Kakimori brass and steel nibs that have been popular in the last year or two. It also works with one of my favorite old nibs — the Esterbrook Oval Point.

Paired with some Diamine ink and neat little Kokuyo soft ring notebook (also at Enigma), it’s a satisfying package.

Included with my order was a nice note from the folks at Enigma.

The dog stationery is going to make a perfect gift for someone. The dog stationery is going to make a perfect gift for someone.

Enigma also has a wide range of Japanese stationery items, many of which fall into the incredibly cute category like sticky notes with koalas. They have a cool selection of stickers, some of which I covered here. There’s plenty of pens, ink, paper, accessories, and much more. I recommend giving them a look.

29 March 2024

What’s What 3/21/24

Can we simultaneously fly and sail? Planner problems probed.

Inked Right Now

  • Pilot Decimo with Monteverde California Teal

  • Pilot Custom 74 with Pilot Sepia

  • Pilot Custom K500SS with Sailor Studio 460

  • Pilot Custom 845 with Iroshizuku Tsutsuji

  • Sailor King of Pen with Sailor Blue Black

Gone from last time: Sheaffer No Nonsense and Parker 61.

4 to 1 in favor of the Pilots, but this Sailor holds its own against anyone.

I did end up changing out Herbin Vert Empire for Sailor 460 in the Custom K500SS. I think 460 is flowing better than Vert Empire had been.

The Custom 74 and Sepia ink are two items I had not used in a while. They make a nice combination. This pen has a cursive italic grind from Custom Nib Studio. It works well for my normal print handwriting but really shines when used for, you guessed it, cursive. I almost never write in cursive. It takes a pen with a special nib to coax my hand in that direction. Perhaps I’ll display some cursive written with this nib next week.

The Decimo because, well, Decimo. I get antsy if I go more than a few weeks without one. California Teal is an old favorite ink. It doesn’t show off that much in writing with the Decimo’s fine nib, but if you make a larger swatch or scribble the lighter green elements start to come out. A broad or stub nib makes this ink sing.

The King of Pen got inked for a few reasons.

  1. The currently inked lineup lacked blue ink.

  2. I spotted Sailor Blue Black in the drawer and thought it had been a while since last using it.

  3. Blue Black wasn’t included when I swatched my Sailor inks several weeks ago.

  4. It’s an incredible writer.

#4 is all the justification one would need to use the KoP. The rest just makes me feel good, like I wrote a well-considered paper for school. ;-)

Now that the KoP is inked, I can think of another good reason to keep it going a while. I have 5 other Sailor inks that are only in cartridges and lack representation in the swatchbook. When Blue Black runs out, we’ll just pop in a different color cartridge. The KoP’s broad nib goes through ink at a good clip so I don’t think any one color will last for too long if it gets regular use. What will provide the regular use case? Reading Emerson’s journals is always sure to get me copying over passages so I’ll start there. To be continued….

Working On

A few weeks ago, I threw up my hands at the number of different lines and colors used to write items in my planner. Despite using a symbol system to denote various types of tasks and points, the mix of pen, pencil, marker, and whatever else was handy make it difficult to read because there’s no consistency. I didn’t always mind the chaos but the more things I need to use my planner for the more it needs that missing consistency so I can easily find what I need when I need it.

I attempted using only 2 pens for the planner — a Pilot G-Tec C4 in black and Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38 in orange. Both smooth writers with fine lines. Black ink for the routine stuff and orange ink for anything that needs highlighting or action taken.

The color coding worked well but I have some logistical hangups. Switching back and forth between the two pens is fine at home but using the planner at work is often a more rushed and crowded situation. Having multiple pens open and keeping track of them within whatever else is going on hasn’t been convenient.

Also, how do I carry the pens? I wasn’t going to have them on my person because my daily work carry already has a primary pen (fountain pen or rollerball), a pencil, and a Sharpie. That means the planner pens must stay with the planner but keeping them securely attached was tricky. They could sit clipped inside the large diameter spiral binding but I don’t trust them to stay there. I have a few elasticized fabric bands with pen loops meant to go on A5 notebooks but they’re not a clean fit because the planner is bigger than A5. I thought about pen loops that clip on or stick on to notebook covers but didn’t see a way they could neatly attach without getting in the way of something.

If two pens aren’t the answer, could I get what I need out of one pen? That would mean using a multipen. I’ve never been much of a multipen user. I like their functionality but the designs and feel in hand often miss the mark some way. I spent a few days researching popular multipen models to see what the best options were for my needs.

I landed on the Pilot Hi-Tec C Coleto. I trust Pilot products to work. The refills use the same ink as the capped Hi-Tec pens, which I generally like. There are also a wide range of body options depending on how many refills you want to have in the pen. And, not for nothing, they’re cheap. I got 2 bodies and 4 refills in 0.5 size for about $13 from JetPens.

The Coleto bits should be here next week. I excited to try them out and see if one pen can (mostly) solve the problems I’ve encountered using two pens for my planner. More to come.

Do you have a favored multipen for a situation like mine? What is it and why do you like it?

21 March 2024

Been A Rough Week? Have Some Stickers

In relative terms, work has been a lot lately. There’s always a mix of rough and smooth, but it’s more about the feeling of having much less control than one would like in the overall situation. It hasn’t felt useful to make plans for the workweek because it’s all going to get thrown in a blender no matter what. Instead of paying dividends on unknown future problems, what else can we do with our time?

Stickers, that’s what.

I received an order from Enigma Stationery, part of which was the stickers above. I presume you can see a theme among them. They connect with my sense of humor but they also represent what I’ve been feeling lately. I went to put them in my sticker album and ended up going through several pages, rearranging things along the way. After an hour or so I wasn’t thinking about work. If you’ve had a rough week maybe this can give your mind a break.

Sticker album from Calliope PaperieSticker album from Calliope Paperie

Draplin Design Co.Draplin Design Co.

Yup, sure is fine.Yup, sure is fine.


Stationery Store DayStationery Store Day

Stationery Store Day & Calliope PaperieStationery Store Day & Calliope Paperie


Also pensAlso pens


And the new batch from Enigma found a kindred soul…

Howdy friends!Howdy friends!

15 March 2024

What’s What 3/8/24

Inked Right Now

  • Pilot Custom 845 with Iroshizuku Tsutsuji

  • Sheaffer No Nonsense with Robert Oster Bondi Blue

  • Pilot Custom K500SS with J. Herbin Vert Empire

  • Parker 61 with Callifolio Herue Dorée

Gone from last week: Aurora Ipsilon and Sheaffer Tuckaway.

Coming onboard: Sheaffer No Nonsense and Pilot Custom K500SS.

My experience with Sheaffer is limited compared to some other brands. Not for lack of options given their long history and range of models, but because they weren’t the pens I knew, saw, or chose when first developing in the hobby. If my mom’s old pen had been a Sheaffer Imperial instead of a Parker 45 then the situation would be flipped. All of that to say I kind of wish I’d had a No Nonsense long ago. It’s a great pen. Classic looks, dependable writer, durable, affordable, lots of colors and finishes to collect if so inclined, the list goes on. It’s a pen that can’t help but make me happy when I use it. The more recent snap cap versions don’t have the same appeal to me as the original screw caps, but maybe that owes to my bent for vintage pens.

The K500SS is the oldest Pilot I have and had sat idle for quite a while. I don’t know if Vert Empire was the best ink choice. The pen may benefit from something wetter and more saturated. I’m thinking of swapping it out for Sailor 460.

Thinking About

The No Nonsense and K500SS turned out to have similar styles to the 845 and 61, respectively, already in the pen tray. It wasn’t a conscious choice, nor did I notice the similarities until putting them all side by side for the photos. Whether or not others see the same things I do between them, it was an interesting thing to notice and makes one wonder about all the patterns we make or follow without thinking.

New & Exciting

While I continue the regular practice of browsing may pen retailers online, I haven’t bought any pens this year. What I have bought are more stationery items. Stickers, washi, postcards, clips, tools, some pocket notebooks, etc. The recent order I had from Baum-kuchen had items that fit the above idea. I have some more things incoming from amanpan/shop and Enigma Stationery. I’m also due for trips to Paper Mouse and Calliope.

Some things I got just because I like the design rather than having a particular purpose in mind for them, but I do want to use stationery more in the sense of writing to others. There’s a point where there needs to be some volume going out instead of it all coming in. Be it a letter, a quick note, a card, a small pack of fun items, I want to share more of what makes me happy about stationery with others. Maybe it makes them happy too.

8 March 2024