Friday, March 13, 2015

Flexing My Noodle

This post was meant to be all about my first Noodler. My flexible nib. Okay, my second flexible, since my first is a dip. The dip nib was sweet. I wanted bigger. So what did I do? I bought a fountain pen with a flexible nib.

And here it is, ink and all. I was so proud and excited that I took it to bed and played around for about an hour. Its heft is solid enough to inspire confidence without producing hand fatigue mid-paragraph. Don't these two make a handsome pair?

It's fine on its own also.

Oh, I've got the sweetest pen! I've got the prettiest pen! I've got the nicest pen! That's what I tell everybody. Goodness! That sounds a lot like creepy Rhoda Penmark, doesn't it? And I quote, “Oh, I’ve got the sweetest mother! I’ve got the prettiest mother! I’ve got the nicest mother! That’s what I tell everybody.”  I don't have a Leroy though. I don't covet anyone's medal either, and I have never worn taps on my shoes, but I've got the prettiest Ahab Flex pen! It's also a disappointment.

So was filling my lovely pen. There's too much ink in the bottle. Who fills to the brim? Ever? This is not a before shot. It's after.

See? Now my lovely bottle is a mess. My nails are gross and disgusting. Soap and a nail brush couldn't touch it. My index finger nail looks like a toxic henna job gone bad. It took a lot of paper to clean up the overflow. I used a lot of different papers for practice too, but you can't tell by the results.

I wish I'd asked for personal testimonies before buying. I went for a fine nib. Enough said. Oh. Except for this: The nib isn't anywhere near as flexible as the dip pen's. You know I have to try again, so can you offer any advice before I buy another? Is Noodler's the best? A medium nib? Try another Ahab? 

The Fat Chick is off free ranging, so I hired an egg warmer. That's a whole other story, and yes, there are problems. The drawings on my drawing board end up matching the color of the sky. Aw, shucks. The backyard neighbor is barbecuing again. They barbecue more than anyone else. I don't need more gray in my day. But, hey! the sky shows blue and white just above my head.  There are faint rays of light shining from the west; you just have to squint.

You thought I was exaggerating, huh? 

Postcard after postcard . . . grays, and tints of gray.

Gray paper.

Ha! A great snack for a gray day. A floating can of sardines, with a  sea salt sprinkle and . . . Hey, ho! The sun is shining! Hallelujah! What light shines from yonder west? The mighty sun! Just in time for sunset. So. Sardines, sea salt, thick slices of onion so pungent they assault the sinuses.  A Pink Lady apple for dessert made an energizing lunch. It was almost as colorless on my tongue as it is on this page. And the sun sank. The sun will come out tomorrow! Just you wait and see.

All is not drab. Brighten the colors where you are! Dire need is the mother of making bright colorful envelopes. The lovely turquoise ink is from the same Varsity pen purchased several years ago. There has been zero evaporation.

The stamp on back says Hi! If you squint.

On a whim, I checked the live oak for galls. Dry galls. I think we've had rain for seven or nine days in a row now. The backyard squelches beneath my tread and sucks at my feet. My rubber boots are wonderful things to have. The front yard isn't as bad since it slopes, and the runoff goes goes right into the . . . You know all about galls, right? Does the little bore mean a new creature has emerged? Let us hope it does not emerge in this room. 

Is this gall ripe? Or should it turn black from the bottom up like the other one I picked? And, how am I to pulverize them in order to make them ink-making ingredients? There's so much to learn. Flexing my Noodle isn't all I'm up to these days. What?

There are posts missing. You know how you'll write one or two ahead of time, schedule a publish date, and forget about it? Well, the titles are there but the body and photos disappeared. An important one was about Anna's blog.  By now you should know that she has one, but I have to point you there no matter. Take a gander and see why for yourself. 

Tell her Limner sent you. Read on, and write on.


  1. I have ink stained fingers too. My ink wasn't filled enough and I kept dipping the pen too deep, hence the inky fingers. I ended up pouring some in the cap so I could see how far I needed to dip and that worked much better for me. I've been using my dip pen a bit more, though I'm still trying to find a suitable quill. I'm getting a little better at it, but it takes getting used to. Your gall is ready to go, the little wasp has flown its nursery. I have two galls and when I get some iron filings I'm going to make another attempt at ink. Hopefully this time I'll get the purple-black in I'm supposed to and not brown! Actually the brown wasn't too bad, it just thinned on me.

    1. I get the ink stained fingers clues that helped Sherlock Holmes solve cases, set the mood for novels about poets, writers, and illustrators. They are a dead giveaway. My nails are still black!

      I had to dip the barrel into the bottle and the plunger did all the filling, but the bottle was filled to the brim. I truly thought the plunger would suck it up without me making a mess. Since I have no pride to speak of I confess that I had to watch a YouTube demo after the thing didn't fill properly. Learn how first, make less mess?

      You will feel so skilled after you read my dipped pen letter. :) I went for learning how to get enough ink on the nib for at least four letters first. The rest will come later.

      You are so knowledgable! I learned about the wasp when I saw the first gall. I took one from a cedar tree in front of a restaurant a while back; not knowing what it was, I stored it in a jar. I wonder if cedar galls make good ink? Anyway, I Googled oak tree balls and learned about the wasps! I figured something had to have exited the bore since the shavings were pushed outward. Aren't I smart?

      Wow! I almost gave it away! My lips are sealed, but I know the color you're trying for! I'll tell you the rest in a future letter. Good luck, okay? I have to buy more ingredients before I try my hand at making ink. I'm quite taken by how well Jefferson's ink held up.