Mid-Week Mini

Mid-Week Mini: Le Typograhe Porte-Mine Mechanical Pencil.

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One of my recent purchases after a trip to Amsterdam was the Le Typographe Porte-Mine mechanical pencil. I found this in Misc-Store and after spending a long time examining everything in the shop, I decided I needed to buy this pencil. I really liked the style but it was after testing the graphite out I had to buy it.

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Before I dig into the pencil I just wanted to share the kraft packaging. The pencil is protected by a concertina folded piece of card that holds it in place. What I really like is the embossed guide on the back which shows you all the elements of the pencil. There is no unnecessary text or information here, just a simple and beautiful design.

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The style of the Porte-Mine is beautiful. It has a cream coloured metal barrel which is comparable to the size and feel of a woodcase pencil.

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There is a cute golden bug imprinted near the top of the pencil too which is the only indication of any branding.

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To use the Porte-Mine you press down the knock of the pencil to allow the graphite to escape from the barrel. You can decide how much of the graphite you want to appear, the only thing to bear in mind if that you don’t let the graphite fall out of the barrel and shatter.

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The knock also unscrews from the top of the pencil to reveal a small sharpener. This is really useful having this incorporated into the pencil itself. It means you don’t have to find a sharpener that works with this mechanical pencil, or worry about carrying it around. Everything is in one place.

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Writing with the graphite is very nice. It’s not too dark, but rather a light grey colour. My plan is to use this pencil for sketching. I can extend more of the graphite if I need to shade a sketch, or use the nice point that the sharpener creates for the detail work.

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It was a nice surprise the find the Porte-Mine in Misc. I would not have come across this online and it was through testing the pencil out that really sold me on it. I love visiting brick and mortar stores, especially those that encourage touching and testing. They really do open things you to you and show you new and exciting tools you could be using.

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Mid-Week Mini: Blackwing 10,001 Review.

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One of the Blackwing limited edition releases from 2018 was the 10,001 pencil, which plays homage to creative ways to teaching and learning specifically linking back to Miyamoto Sensei puzzles.

The 10,001 saw Blackwing experiment with a few different aspects. Firstly the barrel is a different shape to the hexagonal barrel of the standard Blackwing pencils and the majority of the limited edition releases. The pentagonal shape of the 10,001 gives it five sides, rather than the standard six.

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The 10,001 has a firm graphite core, which is quite common among the limited edition releases. However, for this edition it links back to the puzzle element therefore the core had to be firm enough to hold a point. I have found the core nice to write with, the graphite is dark but its really smooth and enjoyable to use.

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The barrel on the 10,001 is stained red from “adzuki” beans which really gives a subtle colour finish. I really like the light pink tone and you get some of the wooden barrel grain showing through. It almost appears like a wood stain finish.

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The Blackwing branding is stamped in gold with kanji numerals for the edition number. To compliment the gold printing the ferrule is also gold and there is a black eraser giving it a classic finish.

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As with all Blackwing pencils they perform well, sharpen nicely and really give you a feeling of quality. They are currently sold out on the Blackwing site, but potentially still available, especially in singles, in brick and mortar stores.

Mid-Week Mini: Baron Fig Nomad Sticky Notes Review.

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The Nomad sticky notes are Baron Figs stylised version of the 3M yellow sticky note. Baron Fig took the sticky note and added their spin to it.

The Nomad’s a 3 inch by 3 inch in size and they come in a 3-pack which is really useful as you can dot these around in places you need them.

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They are the Baron Fig off-white colour with their dot grid print. A dot grid sticky note is not something I have seen anywhere else and really useful.

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The Nomad sticky notes also have rounded off corners, which means no bumped or curled edges and basically keeps the neat among us a little happier. The make-up of the Nomad sticky note is very similar to the Strategist note cards, only smaller and with a sticky backing.

The big issue I have with the Nomad sticky notes, is their stickiness. Try and stick a few to your desk, mine is wooden, and quickly they curl at the edges. Try and add these into a notebook and they often fall away from the page when you re-open it. For photography purposes I stuck this onto the wall of my office and you can see the beginnings of the curl.

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Sticky notes are always useful but unfortunately in my experience the Nomad falls down on the very premise of their existence. These would be great sticky notes if they were more sticky.

Mid-Week Mini: Baron Fig Strategist Note Cards

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The Baron Fig Strategist Note Cards are Baron Figs take on an index card. I have never really been an index card user. They remind me of university presentations and a set of notes that usually proved completely useless.

Anyhow, I decided to throw a set of these in with an order to see what they were like and if I would use them. On the whole I didn’t. I have a pocket notebook for dumping all the small bits of information I need or use. My daily task list goes in there, things I want to look at later on, order numbers etc. So the index card didn't seem to have a use case.

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But then NaNoWriMo came along and I needed somewhere to dump ideas. Small tidbits of information that I didn't want lost in a pocket notebook and weren’t complex or sufficient enough to throw into their own notebook. This was when I found a need for a note card.

A few of my NaNoWriMo notes on cards

A few of my NaNoWriMo notes on cards

So the Baron Fig Strategist cards, have a typical Baron Fig-esq name. They are aspirational and a little lofty but essentially these are small note cards made from thick paper.

My preferred way to use the Strategist note cards - thick felt tip style pen.

My preferred way to use the Strategist note cards - thick felt tip style pen.

The big difference with the Strategist note cards is they have the same dot grid ruling that you get with Baron Fig notebooks and I believe is not that common on an index card. The dot grid makes the note card more versatile, you can draw, or have some cool lettering...whatever it may be the dot grid opens up how you can use these note cards.

That sweet dot grid.

That sweet dot grid.

The other nice little feature on these note cards is they come with rounded corners. This makes them look a little smarter and more considered but it also stops the corners getting beaten up and the note cards looking ragged.

You get 100 cards per pack of the Strategist note cards. They’re shrink wrapped which means when the pack is open, it’s open. I have been using a Field Notes band of rubber to keep the note cards together and stop me loosing them.

Keeping all the note cards together has been a slight challenge, but nothing the Band of Rubber can’t fix.

Keeping all the note cards together has been a slight challenge, but nothing the Band of Rubber can’t fix.

Overall thoughts.

I haven’t used the Strategist note cards every day because I don’t have a need to. However for projects, shopping lists, notes to your husband/wife or kids...these are really cool. Printing the dot grid on both sides of the note card would be my only desired addition. I know this would lead to printing complications but it would mean both sides are uniform.