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Noodler's Texas Pecan


I'm a big fan of this ink. It's a great brown ink that has no start-up problems and it feels great on the nib. I've been hearing from some people lately that Noodler's inks are prone to clogging and overs-saturation. I don't have that feeling about them at all. This ink, anyway, is pretty great.

It looks just like a pecan, to me. Not so much the nut itself, but the shell of a pecan. They're sort of striped with light and dark browns. They're also a little bit dull. They're not shiny, they're sort of matte. This ink is matte, too, and I don't find that in many inks. It's going to be a turn-off for some people, but I really like that kind of look.

Texas Pecan is one of the (relatively) few inks that I have a whole bottle of, so I thought I'd show it off. I think this ink only comes in the small 1oz bottle so, per volume, it's a lot more expensive than the regular Noodler's inks. It's exclusive to Dromgoole's in Houston, and you'll have to call them up to get some of this ink. They'll ship it, but they don't really do website sales. 

Another thing to notice with this ink is that it doesn't have the reds and other colors in it that you get in some browns. It's also dark enough to use for most purposes, though I don't know how people would feel about it in an office environment. I can tell you that it's perfectly readable. 

I think the pictures say it all for this ink. Want a brown ink? Get this one.

Here's the water test video. I can tell you this: I was really surprised.

Busy times at the Inkdependence house!

Hi folks,
If you're here looking for new content, then you're going to be a little disappointed. Things have been so busy around here that I haven't found time to do photography or video, and so I've had nothing to show you in a while. It's the end of the college semester and I'm as busy as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. There's grading to be done, exam writing to be done, frantic students to wrangle, and the soil place dropped off an "almost" surprise load of soil last week. I've been gardening up a storm (when it's not raining on me), and I hope to get some veggies out of my new raised bed later this summer. I don't really like veggies that much, but I like growing things, and fresh veggies makes the wife happy.

I'll be back soon (probably the end of the week) when things calm down a bit. 'Til then, enjoy some pictures of my nacent gardens.


I had a huge patch of lilies that had to be broken up, and now I have a ton of lilies. I hope they bloom this year, but I'm not sure they will. There are also some celosia, mums, a couple of juniper rugs, and a bush that explodes with pink flowers (but I can't make my mind spit out the name right now). There's now some Dusty Miller and a couple of peonies in there as well. 

Broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, strawberries, radishes, and tomatoes in this raised bed.

The garden is about 9' x 5' and 8" deep. That was a lot of wheelbarrows-full of soil.

I went to the Mebane Shrubbery Market and came home with all sorts of things. Then I went to Lowes and found some more...

Nibs & Nails


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Monteverde's Artista Crystal

Audrey first picked one of these up at the Triangle Pen Show last year, and she had to get one. She was also looking at the Pilot Prera, as they're a very similar style, but the price jump between the two pens ($36-$58) is pretty extreme and she went for the Artista. (Her pen is the pink one at the right.) I liked it so much that she got me one for Christmas this year.

These come in a variety of colors, so there's something there for everyone. Well, everyone who wants a demonstrator, anyway.

The Look

The Artista always comes as a demonstrator. The cap and the barrel are both entirely transparent, giving a good view of the nib and the converter/cartridge. As you'll see below, the section of this pen is all-metal. It looks flashy, but the eyedropper lovers out there aren't going to like it because you can't convert this pen to an eyedropper. (That's fine with me, though. I kinda hate eyedroppers.)

The plastic that these Artistas are made from is a heavy, stiff sort of plastic. It's not nearly as light as the plastic used on most of the other demonstrators that I've used. I'd compare it to the plastic TWSBI 540, but it has a sturdier feel to it. I've not heard anyone say that the Artista cracks, though, so perhaps it really is harder.

The barrel is smooth and the pen has a slight taper from the middle down to the end of the pen.

The nib is decorated with little swirly vine-like designs and an "Iridium Point" marking, and for the medium nib. It's a little crowded, but it's not a big nib, so it's not overwhelming. 

The sections are chromed, and it can be a little difficult to hold on to if you have sweaty fingers (or you've got lots of lotion on or whatever). It could have done with some texture on the section, but it's okay as-is and it looks really nice.

Branding on the pen is limited to an unobtrusive "Monteverde USA" engraved around the ring on the cap...

 ...and a small Monteverde symbol on the clip.

Excuse my dirty fingernail. I've been diggin in the garden today. Hooray Spring!

The feed on these pens is clear. I really like that. It's not all that noticeable once you fill it with a dark ink, but if you've got a bright ink in the pen, or you're cleaning it out, you really notice. It can be stained by some inks, but I really doubt that you'd notice since it spends most of its time in the section of the pen. 

 The pen posts very solidly, and you can use the pen with the cap posted or not. My hands are large, so I like the pen posted, but I can use it unposted without problems.
Here it is unposted. It fits well in the web of my hand. 

The Nib

This is a really nice nib. I've been using it a lot, and the medium nib is pretty fine. It's a very smooth nib, and I can always count on it to start-up when I start using it. That's actually a little more rare for me than for others, given that I will sometimes set a pen aside for several days at a time. This one is reliable.

It's a nail, though. It's not "special," but it's a good steel nib.

I just realized that I don't have pictures of a writing sample with this pen. For now, the couple of pictures below will have to do, I suppose. (I've actually had this same ink in my Artista ever since I got it.)

The Parts & Packaging

Here's a broken-down look at the pen. It's a cartridge converter pen, and it comes with both options in the box.

The converter is a pretty average converter, but it's perfectly functional. The action is smooth, and it holds enough ink to keep this medium-fine nib going for quite a while.

 The box comes inside a cardboard sleeve, and all of the Monteverde pens I've had have come in the same box.
 Inside the box is a satin-ish card to hold the pen. Underneath that card is a box with a couple of cartridges and a converter. Nothing super-fancy, but it's a perfectly serviceable box.

Here's how it compares, size-wise to some other common models of pen.

Get your own Artista Crystal from these, and many other, fine retailers. 

Anderson Pens: $36
Goulet Pens: $36
Jet Pens: $38 (A little more expensive, but free shipping.)

Wordless Wednesday: Nibs & Nails


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Find a Knox nib for it at

A Colibri Pen (Model = Mystery!)

So, today I'm showing a pen that I can't tell you much about. I know. It's weird. I didn't even know that Colibri made fountain pens, but apparently they do (or they did, anyway).

There's no model number on this pen, and I don't really know it's heritage. I found it at an estate auction last summer, and I bought it without seeing it. They said "Fountain pen in a fancy box!" and I jumped at it. I think I was bidding against one other person, and it was a lot of fun. If you've not been to an auction, then you should go to an auction. Bid on something. It's a rush!

Turns out that this pen was given to someone who bought a Cadillac. I guess they used to give you gifts when you bought fancy cars?

Anywho, here are a few pictures.

 It's a pretty unassuming pen. It's actually the only pen in my collection that has a gold-colored trim. As you can see, the cap is the largest part of this pen. It's also where the weight is, as the barrell is a pretty light (but not cheap-feeling) plastic.
 The clip is going to be polarizing. It's not my favorite, but some people like bold clips. The real problem with it, though, is that it's way too stiff. It's crazy-stiff.
 The "COLIBRI" stamped into the cap-band is pretty classy.
 These two pics show the pen posted. It's most comfortable to write with this way, for me. It's slightly too light, otherwise. The problem is that it's not all that good at posting. You've got to really cram the cap on there to make it stay. It will, though.

Ah, the nib. I actually really like this nib. It's very fine, and the look is a good one. The two-tone blends into the gold bit at the end of the section, and I like the simplicity of this design. Nothing crazy. Just a brand name and a two tone. Good stuff.

 I haven't been able to pull the nib or section on this pen, but I haven't really needed to. It's been easy to clean out.

It's a cartridge pen, but I think that a converter would probably fit in the barrell. I haven't tried it, though.

How does it write? Well, it writes well. Take a look at the review below to see an extended sample. It's one of my grading pens, because it's fine enough to write lots of notes in margins and it will keep your ink from bleeding through the paper.