Koh-i-Noor Paris Blue Progresso Woodless Pencil

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Santa left an intriguing pencil crayon in my stocking called the Progresso woodless pencil by Koh-i-Noor. You may notice I called it a pencil crayon, not a coloured pencil because no matter what it says on the box, in the part of Canada I where I grew up this type of art supply is always called a pencil crayon and I am sticking with it.

The Progresso is all colour, no wood, and is a nice weight in the hand. Like all coloured leads, they are made of a mixture of pigment and binder but Progressos are also mixed with oils, not the wax or paraffin other pencil crayons are blended with. This makes for nice smooth marks with no waxy feel and you can use all of the 7.6 mm lead diameter to make fine or wide lines. The lead has a lacquer coating so the colour doesn’t rub off on your hands.

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I haven’t really got on the adult colouring book bandwagon but I have tried out a few kinds of pencil crayons I thought I would compare to the Progresso. I know many people who believe Prismacolors are best, so I borrowed a Prismacolor Premier pencil crayon from my sister in law. It is a darker shade than the Progresso and left a smooth, rich colour.

Some of my personal favourite pencil crayons are the now defunct Laurentians that were the classroom standard of my childhood. Like so many pen and pencil companies, they underwent a few corporate takeovers over the years and were discontinued around 2012. Like the Prismacolor, it has a nice thick core and it seemed the Laurentian Navy Blue was a closer match in colour to the Progresso Paris Blue.

I was quite disappointed with both the Faber-Castell and the Staples pencil crayon by Staedtler. I know the Staples one came from an inexpensive student pack but I was surprised Staedtler would put their name on such a low-quality product. Like most student-grade pencil crayons, the lead is quite hard, leading to less breakage but less colour too. Likewise, the Faber-Castell pencil crayon I assume is student grade and not very impressive. It only goes to show you cannot always judge by brand name. Both of these pencil crayons had cores (2 mm diameter) half the size of the Laurentian or Prismacolor (4 mm).

If the Koh-I-Noor Progresso woodless pencil were a person they might seem a bit oily and smooth but there is no pretense about them. This progressive, colourful person is great to spend some time with and although they have a Portuguese name, they are from the Czech Republic.

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Desk Accessories

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I gave myself a one week break after my year-long blogging streak but I’m back. This week I am going beyond just pens and paper to discuss some desk accessories. I was given a very cute tape dispenser for Christmas shaped like a black cat. Of course I immediately loved it, just like I loved our cat, Dill, when we saw him at the animal shelter. I wondered if I should use my gold paint pen to give it little fangs, like Dill has but decided against it. It is made of wood with a metal cutting blade and came with a floral patterned adhesive cello tape. The tape is nice but it would be even better if it had a cat pattern on it. Because of my broken wrist, I am becoming more aware of how many items need two hands to operate. As this is fairly lightweight, you do need to hold onto it while ripping off your piece of tape. Here is a tip if you only have one functional hand – you could use double-sided tape to attach the dispenser to your desk. Fortunately I am not so badly off that I can’t operate a tape dispenser. This one was purchased in Seattle but I am not sure where it was made although I suspect Asia.

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I wonder why animal-shaped accessories are just so appealing? A few years ago I was given penguin shaped paper clips, a natural gift choice for me as I love penguins. These are definitely Japanese as they are made by Midori of Tokyo. Midori makes high quality, well-designed stationery items like these paper clips and the eraser crumb cleaner I discussed in my eraser blog post (https://margretputspentopaper.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/erasers/). One thing I like about both the tape dispenser and the paper clips (and the crumb cleaner for that matter) is that they are functional as well as cute.

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Of course I can’t speculate on what these accessories would be if they were people because they are animals.