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Learning Log, July 2023

Pacific Northwest Pen Show

I attended my first fountain pen show, the inaugural PNW Pen Show! My husband and I took the train down from Seattle to Portland to geek out in a ballroom with a bunch of other stationery nerds. It was so thrilling to share this hobby with folks from all different backgrounds and phases of life; that community connection is something I find myself craving, particularly in this remote work era.

A red, sparkly fountain pen with gold trip on the cap and clip. There is a circular ink window that looks like a port hole on a ship.
So sparkly, so pretty

The one drawback of the show for me was that the website teased “classes and activities”, which were in fact never added to the site (it still says these are coming soon). When we showed up, the person who signed us in pointed out the trade show floor, and that was about it. Silly me assumed they never got around to organizing workshops, but apparently there were some activities!! I should’ve asked.

Ink swatches of Yama budo, a pinkish purple. Storied Blue, a desaturated, warm blue. Haha and Nekoyanagi, two multishaded blueish-purple inks. Ainezu, a dark blue-grey with maroon sheening. And Akasakura, a dark, warm red.
Inks I acquired at the show, in my Hobonichi Day-Free notebook

Right now my favorite combo is the Taccia Ainezu ink I acquired at the show, in a Pilot Vanishing Point Decimo. I must admit I was a bit skeptical about a retractable fountain pen, but the Decimo is such a joy to use.

Arts & crafts

A fabric pen pouch featuring a strawberry pattern on the flap and a bright green strap that it tucks into.

I made two attempts at a small, summery pen pouch and was successful on the second go. I think this pattern would be easily adaptable for other formats, so watch this space.

I also started working on a matching zippered marker pouch. I have some cream, red, lime green, and strawberry fabric squares pieced together in a pseudo-random checkerboard pattern. Next up is to fuse on the batting and start putting the structure of the pouch together.

Me working through urban sketch palettes for city scapes and parks, using a combination of markers, colored pencils, and crayon pastels

Not much sketching/drawing this month outside of my journal, but I did work out a palette (sort of) for urban sketching.

Taking breaks with Pandan

I really struggle with self-care during the workday, particularly with taking breaks throughout the day.

I asked in work chat about a Pomodoro app that will prompt you if you haven’t started a work sprint timer, and someone suggested Pandan. This app keeps track of how long you’ve been active on your computer, and can (optionally) nudge you after every x minutes. I chose to receive a HUD notification—front and center on my screen—every 45 minutes. Taking breaks is still a work in progress, but I’m much more aware of my behaviors now.

Aside: Sindre’s list of apps is #goals.


I read 7 books in July. My favorite was “VenCo” by Cherie Dimaline, a perfect witchy novel if you’re into that sort of thing.

Work, Productivity, & Creativity

Journaling & Stationery

Other Interesting Articles


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