On Point! A Classroom Friendly Sharpener Review

WP_20151027_002See this guy? This guy has been around for a while. He’s seen it all and even though he’s old and busted, he gets the job done. He might not always meet specification, but he get’s it done. We are a homeschool family that uses pencils for a majority of our work. My kids are little, 5 and 6, so we still make LOTS of mistakes. I enjoy pencils recreationally and blog about how much I like them here, here, and here.

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WP_20151030_007Today I received a sharpener from the guys over at Classroom Friendly Supplies. They were nice enough to send the kids and me a brand new pencil sharpener to try and share with you what we think.

WP_20151030_008This sharpener is the center of excitement in my house right now because while my kids enjoy the thrill of that old Panasonic, it’s just not making the cut. It doesn’t sharpen evenly, sometimes it goes on forever, and the tray is broken. Pencil guts go everywhere! Like I tell my kids: analog is almost always better.

WP_20151030_009We opted for red. I have seen several blogs post reviews on the new purple color, which is actually really pretty, but red is just classic! It’s hot rod red! Paint some flames on it and it’ll look like it can drive right off your desk!

WP_20151030_010It arrived in two pieces. The assembly (and I use that term loosely) really isn’t complex. Just unwrap, stick the metal bar in the hold on the bottom of the sharpener and twist the wing nut until it clamps down on whatever surface you are mounting it to. If you still need help, they offer a pictorial:

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That’s IF you want to mount it. We did both. Personally I prefer a free standing sharpener. We travel a lot when we do school. One day we could be at the library, the kitchen table, or at grandpa’s house. To be honest, this sharpener is small enough to be portable. I’m going to put it in a Ziploc freezer bag and carry it in my purse. It’s really that simple.

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WP_20151030_011Mounted at my desk and ready to go!

WP_20151030_014First choice: Musgrave Bugle No 2.

WP_20151030_015A perfect point!!!!

I’ll admit I was very skeptical about this sharpener. I have had zero positive experiences with manual sharpeners. When I read that this sharpener produces a perfect point every time, my first thought was: PROVE IT.

WP_20151030_017Three more down and the exact same beautiful point! Easy handling, too. The sharpener just pulls the pencil in as it sharpens without any work from the operator. I even tried some of my husband’s old Crayola colored pencils from his middle school years and yet again, flawless point and an easy operation.

WP_20151030_018ZERO pencil shavings, which if you’re like me, you keep your pencil sharpener near or on your desk. I was concerned that after a few go’s there would be graphite, shavings, and debris all over my desk. Talk about “classroom friendly”! This sharpener is as friendly as it gets!

So, let’s see some kids in action!

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WP_20151030_019My six year old adores pencils. After showing him how to put the pencil in the sharpener and the proper way to place your hands, he was a pro! He now declares that he must sharpen all of his pencils. Today. Right now. And that we should throw away the Panasonic because “it’s sick”.

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WP_20151030_023Before we figured out that we needed to get the stool, this one just had to try out the new school goodie! She was just way too excited to try out the new sharpener! Even my 5 year old can use this and get the same results I did. And with a cheapie novelty pencil!

WP_20151030_025A perfect point! We decided to keep it free range and removed the mount. It works just as well. Since it sucks the pencil into itself, you don’t have to try to hold down the sharpener while pushing in the pencil.

My final conclusion is that whether you’re a homeschool parent of a few or a school teacher to many, this pencil sharpener is a necessity! It doesn’t matter how “cheap” or how top of the line that pencil is that needs to be sharpened, this sharpener will deliver the best point every time!

**This pencil sharpener was sent to me from Classroom Friendly Supplies for review purposes. These opinions are mine and I strongly urge you to head over to their site and discover how awesome this sharpener is for yourself!

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Planner Glam

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I had to buy a new planner today. My other one was NOT cutting it. I have so much on my plate that I needed bigger space. I still use my planner companion, but as for my main planner I had to get bigger space to write daily tasks and reminders.

WP_20151029_002The one I bought is a Mead weekly/monthly planner that runs from July to June. I prefer academic yearly planners to January start planners. It was REALLY hard to find an academic planner today, but Target had them hidden with the basic spirals and notebooks. Go figure. It’s wire bound and measures 8 3/4 x 11in and doesn’t have a lot of extras. Just a few “notes” pages in the back and that’s it. Another feature I was in search of.

WP_20151029_003This one is a basic tabbed planner. The calendar space is GIGANTIC and that is a feature I was searching for. I use the calendar pages a lot and really need a lot of space to separate and categorize tasks.

WP_20151029_004There is tons of space in the daily section. Plus, the lettering is in shimmery gold! The planner itself is really thin and when paired with my planner companion they are still thinner combined than my previous planner.

WP_20151029_005TOOLS: iPhone sticky notes, several planner stencils, Pilot FRIXION markers, Staedtler Tri Plus Fineliners, and Ticonderoga Renew pencils. I am attempting to stay as erasable as possible. Many of my appointments move around frequently and I don’t want to fill my planner with white out and scribbles. Not pictured is a Pilot Frixion clicker pen. I am using black, but will probably switch to pink and teal as I move on.

Here’s to hoping this planner is “the one”!

Enjoy and Happy Scribbing!

More Pencil-y Goodness!

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My pencils came in today! After last weeks orders, I decided to get just a few more pencils for myself and some for my husband. Plus, they (cwpencils.com) were having a 20% off sale on black pencils for Halloween. This week’s order came with more Musgrave 600 NEWS pencils, but a few newbies, too.

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nataraj_logoIndia’s most popular pencil! I ordered several Nataraj pecils, the 621 Ruby HB and the Platinum EXTRA DARK 2B. Both of which I am pleasantly surprised, to be honest. The extra dark platinum pencil is really soft, although it’s no darker than the other pencils I ordered. The 621 Ruby is nice. The wood of the pencil is reddish pink and the lead is crisp, yet it writes dark.

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My absolute favorite pencil is the J R Moon Co. “Big Dipper” pencil. J R Moon was one of the first founders and the company’s first president. He previously worked for Linton Pencil Co. and American Pencil Co. Moon Co was founded in 1961 and located in Lewisburg, Tennessee. I like this pencil because of it’s vintage look, and also because it’s a fat pencil. I enjoy writing with “beginner” pencils. The lead is decent enough and while it’s not super dark, it is smooth. I chose the eraser tipped Big Dipper because I personally prefer erasers on the end of my pencils.

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I also ordered several erasers. Two of the Koh-I-Noor small white erasers and a teal thermoplastic hexagonal eraser by the same brand. The picture on the website didn’t do this eraser justice. It looked really tiny, but when I opened it it’s actually quite large! The sharp edges are perfect for maneuvering into small spaces for maximum correction!

Enjoy and Happy Scribbing!

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits: by David Wong

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You want to know what really irritates me? Book reviews. You know what really, REALLY irritates me? Amazon book reviews. I bought my tree copy of Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits at a book store, but I bought the audio copy on Audible.com. The reviews made this book sound dreadful, boring, and rambling, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I feel bad for authors that write a decent series and then branch out and write a stand alone book. Like Ernest Cline (although Ready Player One wasn’t a series, people expected Armada to be a part of that universe…), J K Rowling (who writes as a man in her adult mysteries), or David Wong (who wrote John Dies at the End and the follow up novel This Book is Full of Spiders). This book is actually a good book and while you can tell Wong wrote it, it’s nothing like JDatE, which is a good thing. Really.

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He writes from a woman’s POV, and I admire authors that write from the perspective of the opposite gender and that do it well. Wally Lamb did an excellent job in She’s Come Undone. Wong really masters it in FVaFS. He’s also funny, creative, techy, off the wall in a way that only Wong can get away with, and his story flows smoothly even with heavy plot and dialogue. Some reviews claimed that the main character got lost in all of this, but I think that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Any self respecting nerd, geek, robot, person deserves to read  this book. Sit back, brew some coffee (you’ll get it if you read it…) and enjoy a book written for the senses. Think of it as a nerdy, watered down Bleeding Edge (by Pynchon).

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J. Herbin Poussiere De Lune (Moon Dust Purple)

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I ordered a sample of the J. Herbin “Moon Dust Purple” from JetPens when I placed my TWSBI Eco order. I really, REALLY like the Emerald of Chivor ink and wanted to try something else from the Herbin brand. It was super hard to decide which color I wanted. Greys are my preference right now and although there were some great reds, yellows, and greens, I wanted to tone it down a bit for the fall and winter season. I chose the purple 10ml bottle because purple is kind of close to grey, but funner!

IMG_1202I used my Nemosine Singularity Demonstrator (clear) to try out the ink. One, because I really love the Nemosine pens, and two, because it writes well and has a broad nib. The ink flows smoothly and it’s easy to write with. I don’t feel like it’s “gummy” or that I have to manipulate my pen in a certain way to see the true character of the ink.

IMG_1201It writes beautifully and when it dries it reminds me of several greys that I own. I enjoy a ink that is multifaceted and this one has a lot of facets! Some strokes are deep purple and some are lighter with pastel edges.

IMG_1200$4 per bottle is a decent price for more than a handful of pen fills. A bottle this size will easily last me more than half the year, which for $4 is economically cheaper than a bag of ballpoint pens!

TWSBI Eco 1.1mm Fountain Pen

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My JetPens order arrived yesterday just at Hurricane Patricia made landfall on the other side of Mexico. Perfect timing since I’m holed up in my casa for the next few days waiting out record rainfall and hoping we don’t just float away into the ocean.

IMG_1198For under thirty bucks, this really is a nice pen. My only complaint was that it was a bit scratchy, but that’s probably my fault. My dad ordered the exact same one and didn’t have any issues. It’s bigger than I thought, which, for me, is a good thing. I absolutely LOVE how big the reservoir is on this pen! Plus, it’s clear and you can see the ink really well. It makes the Emerald of Chivor THAT much better, as if that was even possible, right? It also fits snugly into my Hightower Bi-fold case by Nock Co.

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IMG_1196Aside from the price, the presentation was nice, too. Very minimal with lots (and I mean LOTS) of pictures. Chingos. It’s almost deliberate if you mess this pen up because you have extensive drawn out instructions available at every opening. Plus, you get tools, which reminded me of the broomstick servicing kit Hermione bought Harry in The Prisoner of Azkaban. The Broomstick Servicing Kit comes in a black leather case with silver lettering. It contained a large jar of Fleetwood’s High Finish Handle Police, a pair of silver Tail Twig Clippers, a brass clip on compass, and a Handbook of Do It Yourself Broomcare. Whereas the TWSBI case comes with a wrench, silicone grease, and the actual pen. Not to mention the excessive instructions.

IMG_1199Overall, the TWSBI exceeds my expectations. I didn’t really know what to expect aside from what I read on several other reviews. It’s user friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and affordable. It did leak a bit into the cap, but I don’t know if that’s because my nib size or if I tweaked the piston fill too much.

Enjoy and Happy Scribbing!

CW Pencil Enterprise Order Arrived TODAY!

Here’s what I ordered:

1x Blue 03 Pocket Notebooks – 3 Pack
4x Tot Jumbo Pencil – Red
2x News Pencil
2x Neon HB Pencil – Yellow
3x Harvest Pencil
2x Choo-Choo Jumbo #2 Pencil
4x Bugle Pencil
1x Big Bear Mini Jumbo Pencil

Here’s what I got:

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Once again, she went above and beyond in presentation! I love getting nicely packed packages!

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I cannot wait to use my new pencils!! Happy Scribbing and enjoy! ❤

Pencil Prep!

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This morning I was organizing my pencil can and pulled out a few and started writing and comparing– and I never realized just how much pencils differ from each other! (I’m basically a pencil n00b…) I’m also really, REALLY excited about my pencil package coming in today from CW Pencil Enterprise. I ordered myself some things that I can’t find locally and a notebook trio. I can’t wait!!

WP_20151023_002I took six pencils and compared them. How they feel, how they write, how they feel while they write. Even the eraser is different! There’s so much to be said about pencils!

WP_20151023_006So, I decided to compare them.

WP_20151023_003The Yoobi pencil was light in color and “waxy” in application. It’s a triangular pencil, so it’s pretty comfortable to write with.

Next I plucked a vintage Sanford Eagle and that one required a TON of pressure to produce even a faint line. It’s a standard 2B, but it was a pain to write with. Not my preference.

Then there’s the Write Bros USA Gold pencil that wrote dark and smooth. It required little work on my end. I enjoy dark, smooth pencils. The lead did wear down pretty fast, though, so that means more maintenance!

The Mitsubishi NanoDia is easily my favorite right now. It’s in my daily rotation. I even used it last night at book club to take notes. It writes dark, smooth, and creamy. Almost too smooth… I kept writing… and writing… and writing…

The Eberhard Faber American pencil was classic, easy and simple. It reminded me of math class.

Last, but not least, was a novelty pencil I bought years ago. It wrote pale, toothy, gritty and was difficult to manipulate on paper. It reminded me of how important a good pencil really is!

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Enjoy and Happy Scribbing!

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A Pencil Surprise!

I recently placed my first (of many more!) order with CW Pencil Enterprise. I ordered for myself, but I also placed a surprise order for my dad. He’s a pen and paper collector, so I ordered him the Public Supply notebook 3 pack and for nostalgia’s sake, I ordered him a vintage Mongol 2B. He was happy with his gifts, of course, but he was even more excited about the presentation. It was packaged so nice for just a simple pencil and a few notebooks. It really made an impact!

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My dad says,

Great stuff. Nice packaging
And a Mongol 2B !!
Thanks kid

What a classy shop! It’s so much fun to get things in the mail and to have them presented nicely is as exciting as the item itself! I highly recommend taking a cyber trip (or even visit her storefront IRL– she’s in New York!) and browsing through her awesome collection of pencils, paper, and pencil accessories!

Happy Scribbing!

Pen-handling in the Rain

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It’s storming outside for the next several days thanks to a hurristorm in the gulf somewhere by Mexico. That means I’m stuck inside with three kiddos and the internet. Today I decided to re-nib a Pelikan 120 since it had a fine nib and I’m just not into fine nibs as of yet.

WP_20151022_005Getting all my supplies together. All of my nibs were inherited from my dad and are about older than I am! (I’m 33, so that’s really saying something!) In fact, all of my vintage pens were a gift from my dad. He owns and uses several from “back in his day”, but eventually those will be mine, too. I own the majority of his collection. It’s pretty cool to use the same pens my dad used when he was a kid.

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WP_20151022_006I chose a flat italic stumpy looking nib. I love the way my handwriting looks in a medium nib, but an italic nib really sets it apart!

WP_20151022_008I’ve replaced it and now I’m getting ready to ink up with Private Reserve Grey Flannel. I think greys are perfect inks for rainy weather! Grey Flannel is really soft and when it dries there are light and dark grey highlights, depending how broad the line is written. It resembles morning rain clouds. ❤

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WP_20151022_011 (2) You’d never know how ugly it is outside with this pic, but I promise you it’s raining buckets! Enjoy and Happy Scribbing!

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