News…

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Yup, another news post… Luckily, it’s good news this time! :)

As you guys have probably noticed, there haven’t been any posts for about a month now (shame on me, I know…). The reason behind this? The blog is moving… Yup, I think it’s time to try out another outlet for Pens’n’Paper. For the past couple years, it has been hosted on WordPress.com, but while the hosting was free, they posted their ads and put restrictions on what I could and couldn’t do with my blog… So, as of today, July 21, 2011, the Pens’n’Paper blog will be moving to a Joomla site on my own webhost! (http://www.daviswww.com/blog/)

Now, this blog isn’t going to disappear. I plan to leave it as a reference and include a link to it on the new Joomla site as well (since I can’t move the posts over to it).

So, as of now, the address http://www.pensnpaper.net links to this wordpress blog, but on Saturday, July 23, it will be directed to the new site. So, go ahead, feel free to visit it and check it out (although there’s not much there at the moment), since I’ll be working on it for the next couple days and hopefully will have the first post ready to go by Saturday! Thanks for reading guys, and for sticking with me through the transition!

Gartner Stone Papers Journals

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Today, we’re going to take a look at Gartner Studio’s Stone Papers Journals. These small books (4.75″ x 6.25″) feature an interesting feature… The paper inside is made of polypropylene coated limestone, and is waterproof and tear-resistant! So, are there any shortcomings to such an awesome idea as that? Yes, there are; but, perhaps the benefits outweigh the shortcomings?

One thing I noticed about this notebooks is that the paper is extremely smooth. There is absolutely no drag at all, either when you run your finger over it or actually write on it with any type of pen, and while it does have  little bit of a sheen, it’s still easy on the eyes. As you can see in the photos below, I tried a bunch of pens on it (almost every one I had with me at the time), and I can honestly say that there was no bleedthrough at all… My problem, however, lies in that fact that any type of liquid ink (rollerball, felt tip, fountain pen, and even Sharpie) just rolled onto the page, feathered, and spread. So, while it worked great for ballpoints and gel pens, liquid ink pens are out of the question.

Definitely an interesting offer from Gartner, and a must-have for anyone who is worried about the durability of their paper when they’re on the go (camping, hiking, hunting, outdoorsy people – this notebook is for you)!

News,The Ampad Gold Fibre Retro Writing Pad, and the Papermate Precision…

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And, we’re back! At least for a while… As you guys know, I took a bit of a sabbatical, and also let the domain pensnpaper.com die. This was partially due to some disinterest on my part, but also because I didn’t want to pay the $20 per year domain name and mapping fee from WordPress. So, I purchased the domain of http://www.pensnpaper.net/ from my own  webhost and plan on using it instead. So, as I said, we’re back!

Up for review today is the Gold Fibre Retro Writing Pad from Ampad. This 5 x 8 pad is spiral bound at the top and contains 80 pages of perforated, 20 lb., medium ruled, ivory vintage paper. The design harkens back to the steno pads from several decades ago, and to be honest, it’s actually very aesthetically pleasing. The brown vinyl-coated cover is much sturdier than that of regular notebooks, and feels like it would hold up to much more stress.

As for the quality of the paper, it’s decent. The 20 lb. is not quite heavy enough for my liking, since all of my fountain pens either bled through or feathered. It also didn’t handle the rollerball I had with me very well. However, it’s excellent for gel pens, ballpoints, and pencils. The gel pens were especially smooth on this paper, seeming to roll ink onto the paper of their own volition with no scratchiness at all.

Next up, we have the Papermate Precision 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil. This pencil is interesting in that it’s “Precision engineered to enhance writing quality”, and I must admit that it somewhat lives up to its claim.

This pencil features a grey and white color scheme with a comfortable rubber grip. The 4mm metal sleeve gives you extra room in order to draw templates or trace around the edges of a stencil easily. The round body flattens out toward the plunger end, and I must admit, it’s also very pleasing to the eye. Easy on the hands, easy on the eyes… What’s not to like?

S’more News…

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As all of you know, I’m currently taking a sabbatical from reviewing pens and paper (although, to be totally honest, I’m finding it harder to do than I thought, lol)… I just wanted to post real quickly that you need to update your bookmarks for this blog before May 19th! The address will change and go under my personal domain. The new address of Pens’n’Paper will be: http://pens.daviswww.com .

Also, I just wanted to mention that NotebookStories is currently giving away an X17 notebook on their blog! Go check out the review and enter to win!

Best Regards,
Chris

Midori Traveler’s Notebook from MyMaido.com

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Up for our last review for a while (my sabbatical begins as soon as this review is completed), is another awesome offering from MyMaido.com. As I mentioned in my last review, Andrew from MyMaido was awesome enough to send me some sample products, and I promised to finish them before I took my break.

The Midori Traveler’s Notebook is a revolutionary minimalistic notebook, created just for those on the go. The construction is simple. A rectangle of leather with several holes punched in it and an elastic band and book mark threaded through them and secured with a brass rivet contraption. The notebook simply slides in under the elastic band, which holds it securely.

With a price tag of $57.95, it’s easy to hesitate at checkout button, but it, thus far, seems to be worth it. The leather cover is creamy and smooth (which scratches easily, but the Midori insert says that it builds character as you go along), and the elastic band (an extra is provided, by the way) is tight. As for the notebook itself, I really couldn’t dig up too much information regarding it’s construction/paper weight/material. I do know that it has a soft texture and everything that I tried on it wrote well… While there was some show through, there was no bleedthrough, even when using my wettest fountain pens, so I can gladly say that the paper held up to my standards and I would gladly use it every day…

The main draw for this “notebook” (more a notebook cover to be honest; you’re paying for a square of leather and some hardware) is that it’s refillable. The refills are also available at MyMaido for $5.95 each (graph, ruled, and blank), and there are also calendar refills and sketchbooks refills available, although they cost more ($11.95-$13.95).

I definitely recommend that you check this fine notebook, as well as MyMaido, an awesome supplier, out soon! You can view the whole Midori Traveler’s Notebook Original Size line here. Many thanks go out again to Andrew, who graciously sent me this sample to try out.

Check out this link for another awesome review of the Midori Traveler’s Notebook.

Until next time…

Note: I am not an employee nor and I am in any way affiliated with MyMaido.com. This review is in no way affected by the fact that this item was a free sample from MyMaido.com.

Pilot Birdie Switch Combo Pen and Zebra Mini Ballpoint

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Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news… The good news is that I have some new stuff to review (Yay!). The bad news, is that I’ve decided to take a hiatus from Pens’n’Paper (Boo!)… I know, I can already hear the hissing and “buts” on people’s lips as I write this, but there are several valid reasons for my putting a pause on my blogging endeavours. Firstly, cost… In today’s economy, with me being a poor college student working a part-time job, I am already experiencing mental angst when paying out for a tank of gasoline. It’s been over a month since I’ve bought a pen or a notebook, because I simply look at the price and can’t justify purchasing it. I have over 300 barely used pens and 100 notebooks lying around in nice orderly boxes at house, and even my obsession for pens can’t overrule my super-thin wallet… Secondly, I’m short on time… Between, church, work, girlfriend, school, and the million other things I have to do, blogging just hasn’t been a priority lately, and for that I apologize. So, after I complete two more reviews, I will be taking a sabbatical. No, Pens’n’Paper won’t be shut down. I still plan on paying for the domain name and leaving it up as a resource, and perhaps even returning to it someday.

But anyhoo, enough of my pity partying, let’s get on to today’s review…

 Up for a look today are two tiny pens which were sent to me by the amazing Andrew from over at MyMaido.com. The Pilot Birdie Switch Combo and Zebra Mini Ballpoint both are extremely small and would easily slip into the pine of your favorite high-end notebook or clip onto the rings of your spiral wound.

The Pilot Birdie Switch Combo Pen is interesting in that it’s a self-contained multi-pen with a pencil on one end and a ballpoint pen on the other. In order to switch from pencil to pen or vice-versa, you simply remove the cap (similar to most old-fashioned mechanical pencils) and place it on the opposite end. The Birdie features a 0.5 mm mechanical pencil and a 0.5mm black ballpoint and also comes with a black refill for the ballpoint.

This combo pen/pencil is a decent offering from Pilot. The mechanical pencil is mechanically sound and the supplied lead is smooth. The ballpoint is a bit scratchy, but that’s something I’ve come to expect from fine-tipped ball points, so I won’t harp on it too much. My main qualm about this combo is the fact that there’s no eraser… Having a mechanical pencil is kind of pointless if there’s no eraser available, but I guess it was sacrificed due to size.

Next up, we have the Zebra Mini 0.5mm Ballpoint. This small pen features a clip retracting mechanism, so in order to retract the tip, you have to push down on the clip, releasing the spring. The ballpoint writes relatively smooth, again a little scratchy because of the fine point, and the sleek barrel is an attention-getter. This pen also came with a refill, so that when you run out of ink you can replace it and continue on.

Both of these pens feature stainless construction and are very small (see the picture where they are compared with a dime), and would not be out-of-place on any person’s notebook. Thanks again Andrew for the awesome opportunity to review these two items from MyMaido.com!

Staples (postscript) 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil

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Today, we have an affordable mechanical pencil option from Staples. At $5.49, they would make a great pencil to just have around for those times when you just need to jot down a quick note. And to be honest, even though they’re cheap, they work pretty well…

The (postscript) mechanical pencil features a slight non-slip grip on the entire barrel, a metal tip (that retract all the way into the plastic barrel, thereby lessening the chance of unintentional pokes or stabs), a decent latex eraser which erases well but leaves behind faint graphite marks, and smooth lead. As I mentioned, it’s actually a good mechanical pencil for the price and I could easily recommend them as a quick note jotter.

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