Starting the Lunar New Year with a first daily carry

Being of Chinese descent, I always celebrate New Year’s day twice in quick succession. The first New Year is, of course, the one most people know of, which occurs on Jan 1. The second new year, usually occurring within 2 months from Jan 1, is the Lunar New Year. Old Chinese traditions follow the lunar calendar which places the turn of the year during the beckoning of spring. This year, the Lunar New Year falls on Feb 8 and both the 8th and the 9th are public holidays in Singapore.

HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR, all of you out there who celebrate it!

If you’re into Chinese zodiacs and all that, this year is ushered in by the Monkey. There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and Monkey is the 9th animal. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the Monkey has not predicted anything related to fountain pens for me this year, so it’s up to me to set my own resolutions!

Adjusting to my own lifestyle

To be perfectly honest, I have had very few chances to use fountain pens on a daily basis over the past couple of years. Most of my chances of writing, if any at all, are when I write in my laboratory notebook provided by the company (it’s a requirement), which has horrible paper for fountain pens. During meetings, I write the minutes on my laptop directly as it is admittedly much more convenient when multiple edits need to be made from all that discussion. When I get home, I do other stuff and so my pens don’t get used much. I need to make a conscious effort to remind myself to use them. It’s not that they are not pleasant – I love them all – it’s just my lifestyle that is limiting.

So for 2016, I would like to set a couple of simple fountain pen resolutions to remind myself to make my fountain pen collection worthwhile:

  1. STOP buying all those fountain pens! I need to use the ones I have already, they need much more love!
  2. If I really can’t stand the itch and need to buy new pens, get those exquisite Japanese designs that I’ve always wanted and upgrade my collection!
  3. START using my fountain pens! I also have a huge collection of ink waiting to be used, let’s play mix-and-match!

These are very simple resolutions, but I really need them as I hate to see all my fountain pens lying around unused. Such a pity! I’m starting TODAY on point #3, and this ensures that tomorrow I go back to work with some nice pens and exciting colours.

The First Daily Carry of 2016


On the eve of the Lunar New Year, I had all my inked pens cleaned out (some had pretty stubborn ink residues in them due to my lousy care for them) and dried, ready to be selected for my first daily carry of the year. It’s a difficult choice indeed! I finally decided on my Sailor Lecoule in medium-fine nib and smoke black design, the Monteverde Artista Crystal with a medium nib and pink body, and a vintage Sailor 21 pocket pen which is classic black with gold trims and has a fine nib.

I chose these pens to have a variety of nib widths and wetness. The Monteverde is the wettest of all and ink flows generally. Such a pen would be good for writing on not so smooth paper, which some of the notebooks in the office have. The Sailor Lecoule has a medium-fine, which is great for note-taking and general use. These two pens have screw caps, which delays a little when using them as I need to unscrew the caps before writing, so I added on the vintage Sailor, a long-short pen with a cap that closes by friction, for good measure and for speedier writing.

Now comes another difficult part – choosing the inks!

The vintage Sailor pen doesn’t leave me with much of a choice as I only have the Sailor nano black ink cartridges (a pack of 12 – awesome!), which are probably the only ones that can fit into the short body. The pocket pen isn’t long enough to hold a converter!

For the Monteverde and the Sailor Lecoule, I had to make the difficult ink choices. I decided to go for a red in the Monteverde so that it suits the pink demonstrator body, and I chose Rohrer & Klingner Morinda (which I talked about here) which is a nice earthy red, great for note-taking when you need a different colour which looks serious enough, to mark out different points. It helps that the generous flow of ink imparted by the Monteverde feed makes the Morinda come out a little stronger and more saturated.

For the Sailor Lecoule, I decided to go for a cool colour tone, as warm has already been taken care of. To contrast from the earthy warm Morinda, I decided to choose a cheerful sky blue, and finally decided to use Iroshizuku Kon-peki (reviewed here). It is bright enough to contrast well from black and dark red, but not so bright that it becomes unsuitable for daily use at work.


I guess I’ve made the perfect choices!

Ready to be carried

In addition to my lack of use of fountain pens, I have a couple of pen cases that haven’t been much used at all. What a mean owner I am! I pulled out my Franklin Christoph Penvelope 6 case (reviewed here) which I really love, but haven’t been giving enough love to. The 3 pens fit very well into the case. The other 3 spaces will be left for 2 rollerballs and a mechanical pencil which are all in my office. Hey, don’t yell at me about the rollerballs, they are the only pens besides the cheap ballpoint pens in the office that write decently on the paper that is available there!


If I remember, I’ll post a photos of the full case of pens when I get to work tomorrow.

Did you change your daily carry to usher in the new year? Share about your daily carry in the comments below!


7 Responses

  1. miatagrrl 10 February 2016 / 12:18 PM

    For the past couple of years, I’ve made the commitment to buy only fountain pens with unique nibs — no more buying pens just because they’re pretty. I only broke this rule once in two years (a few Pilot Metropolitans in the new retro colors 😉 Who could resist!)!


    • Maybelline T. 14 February 2016 / 10:14 PM

      Of course, even I can’t resist pretty and colourful fountain pens myself. 😉

  2. Ridz 10 February 2016 / 6:12 AM

    One thing i’m trying to do to make ‘pen collecting’ more meaningful is to buy a pen as a form of commemoration of important life/work milestones. I’m hoping that cuts down on the purchases with the added benefit that there will be a story behind every pen.

    • Maybelline T. 14 February 2016 / 10:13 PM

      That is something nice but for me, it would mean buying a pen only every few years. I couldn’t wait that long! 🙂

  3. Shubhrand 10 February 2016 / 12:08 AM

    I know what you mean about using the pens that I have! So since November 2015 I resolved to slow down on pen buying and focus on using the existing set of pens much, much more. That required two things, first and increase in the number of notebooks with better quality of paper from 1 to 2… One for my office notes and the other as my daily journal where I would rant and rage about my day… This ranting and raging would be done as many times as I needed to… This has worked very well… So far. I’m using my fountain opens more, I’m switching inks more so that helps me figure out what combinations work better and allows me to experiment… I’m also targeting my purchases better… Hopefully by the end of 2016 I would have used my pens better, my inks more and bought fewer but more thought through pens… Best of luck for the New Year!

    • Maybelline T. 10 February 2016 / 12:21 AM

      Happy new year to you and thanks for sharing your thoughtr, Shubhrand! Interesting that we have similar resolutions. Our poor pens really need to be used more! 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts!