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  1. For many of us, our appreciation of fountain pens goes hand-in-hand with our affection for journals, notebooks and sketchbooks. No newsflash there. Quick back-story (well, not-so-quick...): Last autumn, when I posted a query, seeking a really fine replacement for a functional but damaged Junior Legal Pad Portfolio, fellow FPN member Octo very kindly directed me to Oberon Design -- a source for bench-crafted leather goods. I landed on the handsome Tree of Life pattern, and placed an order. For anyone wondering, I can attest, it's an exemplary bit of craftsmanship, tooled with a keen eye to meticulous detailing, and well constructed from heavyweight materials. As a reporter, any time I haul it out during an interview it draws enthusiastic comments from others. I own one of their journals, in the handsome Bold Celtic design. Except it's a bit small for my writing style, which involves a lot of side notes and digressions. After some research I decided on Oberon's Sketchbook (9-1/8 x 11-5/8). Except unlike the Portfolio models, Oberon's Journals and Sketchbooks (both of which include a leather cord-and-pewter button closure) haven't been equipped with a pen loop. But after inquiring whether such an option could be made available, I heard from Amy of the Santa Rosa, California-based company's customer service department. Such an add-on was in the works. Now, Oberon is offering that option. For an additional $5, the made-to-order Journals and Sketchbooks can be fitted with a sewn-in pen loop. Having researched add-on loops such as the peel-and-stick Leuchtturm pen loops or the very appealing Quiver pen holders -- both of which I admire -- I'd say that Oberon's optional add-on is a functional and moderately priced supplement to an admittedly pricey piece of leather goods, An investment I happily endorse, with no prompting other than as a satisfied paying customer. (PS: My son, a budding artist, took one look at my Celtic pattern Journal and fell in love with it. He's inheriting it next month, for his 21st birthday. It's nice to be able to bestow -- and share word of -- heirloom-quality goods that are still made in America.)

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