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?

Daycraft Illusions Notebooks and a Giveaway…

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Daycraft Illusions Notebooks

Today, we have another set of notebooks to take a look at. These beautiful and interesting notebooks were provided by Mr. Foreal Lee of Daycraft in Honk Kong. He mentioned to me, after I had reviewed several of their other offerings, that the brand new Illusion series would be coming out in February, and asked whether or not I might like to give them a try. I gladly agreed, and here you have the review…

 The Illusions line consists of a small (more of a medium actually) and large notebook. The small notebook is 5.83″ wide x 8.27″ high (148 x 210 mm), while the large is 8.27″ wide x 11.69″ high (210 x 297 mm). Both notebooks contain 176 pages of 100 gsm white debossed linen paper which is narrow ruled (1/4″ or 6.5 mm) in the small notebook and wide ruled (11/32″ or 9 mm) in the large notebook. Both covers are laminated paper, printed with an illusory pattern. The small notebook has a wheel pattern which rotates when you defocus, while the large has a hidden heart on the cover.

The paper in these notebooks, I must admit, seems to be fantastic! It’s thick and I experienced very little bleedthrough or showthrough. Even the Sharpie, which normally bleeds through about anything, had a bit of trouble bleeding through this one! The lines interestingly end in alternating arrows, placing limits on the page. The only pen that experienced feathering was the Pilot Petit 1 in Wine Red, but even then, it wasn’t horribly bad.

Some other features include lay-flat binding, which actually seems to work very well, as well as a pocket in the back cover for notes. After taking a look and trying out these notebooks, I can highly recommend them to anyone who writes with a variety of different pens or fountain pens on a daily basis.

So,  I asked, and got permission to give away the large notebook. Since I haven’t had time to set up another Google form, for now just comment on this post and I’ll use Random.org to select the winner. Comment before Monday, March 7th @ 11:59 pm, and I’ll select and announce a winner on Tuesday, March 8th. One entry per person, and, unfortunately,  only open to people in the USA. Good luck folks! 🙂

Kikkerland Writersblok Medium/Small Notebooks

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Kikkerland Writersblok Small/Medium  Notebooks

Thanks to the kindness of Laura from Kikkerland, I still have these fine notebooks as well as some Leuchtturm notebooks to take a look at, so today I plan on discussing the Writersbloks as well as giving two sets of them away at the end of the post!

So, in essence we have a small and medium version of the same notebook up for review today. The small notebook is 5.5″ tall x 3.5″ wide, while the medium is 8.25″ tall x 5.25″ wide. The rule is relatively small, being approximately the equivalent of college rule notebook paper. The paper itself is actually pretty thin, especially for a notebook. While pencils, ballpoints, and certain gel pens do well on this paper (I personally used a Pilot Frixion point on one for months with no issue at all), rollerballs, porous points, Sharpies, and fountain pens however, bleed through very quickly and easily.

The notebook itself features a card cover and a single 40-page signature (equaling out to 80 pages of writing space, 160 front-and-back) which is sown together through the cover. It also features a pocket in the back cover in which to store notes or other small slips of paper. Included is a label for the front of the notebooks (where a label “space” has been provided in the form of a raised rectangle) and a small card proffering some information about Writersblok, including the fact that 2% of their profits from the Writersblok notebook line go to the support of literacy and creative writing programs.

So, my opinions… The notebooks themselves are very handy to use for quick note taking or for a pocket notebook (the small size) or in any other use where you’re looking more for functionality instead of quality. As I mentioned, they don’t stand up very well to pens that use a larger quantity of ink, but when used as a quick-jot notebook, bleedthrough and showthrough are probably not huge issues. All-in-all, an excellent notebook for someone who’s on the go or who wants a notebook they can use without fear of messing up.

Laura, the rep from Kikkerland, also mentioned that these notebooks were made by Kikkerland to be affordable. Priced in 3-packs at $4.00 for the small, $7.00 for the medium, and $10.00 for the large, I believe they have achieved this goal. Laura also mentioned that, ”

We also donate 2% of sales to literacy programs such as WRITEGIRL and 826NYC…as well we donate hundreds of notebooks to these organizations for students to practice writing. This info is on the belly-band that goes around the sets of 3. We make very little on the notebooks, we just wanted to make them for fun, and for cheap.”

Click here for Kikkerland’s Writersblok product page, which contains more information about the purpose of these notebooks, as well as the charities they support.

So now, I’m planning on giving away two sets of these. I have a set of purple/blue-ish purple small and medium (the purple small cover’s color is a bit off) and a set of the sky blue small and medium. I’m trying a new giveaway format, which is still done by random.org, but will use the Google form below. Just fill in the name you want to be known by, your e-mail, your color preference, and if you wish, any comments or questions. The giveaway will end on Friday, February 18th, at 11:59 PM EST, and the two winners will be selected and announced on Saturday, February 19th.

Click Here to be taken to the Google Docs Entry Form…

  • The usual rules apply:
    • 1.) One entry per person, please.
    • 2.) I can only afford to ship in the US at this time.
    • 3.) Contest will end Friday, February 18th at 11:59 PM EST
    • 4.) Two winners will be chosen at random from the entries receive using random.org’s random number generator and the winners will be posted on Saturday, February 19th. If a winner does not reply to my e-mail within a week, another winner will be selected.

Good Luck!

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

Kikkerland Writersblok Bamboo Small Notebooks (and Giveaway)

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Kikkerland Writersblok Bamboo Small Notebooks

So, today we have another stationery product from Kikkerland Design! Along with all the other goodies (which I still have yet to review many of them) that I received from Laura Kellner, the awesome marketing rep. at Kikkerland.

The Bamboo line of notebooks from Kikkerland feature 96 ruled, blank, or graph pages (8 of which are perforated) of 80 gsm Bamboo paper. These small 3.5″ x 5″ notebooks also feature bright, textured, waterproof covers in green, yellow, red, and black (stoplight colors, except for the black). Also, these notebooks feature a square binding which allows the notebook to open and lie relatively flat (a quality not often seen in such a small notebook). The ruling is very fine (approximately .25″), allowing you to make the most of each and every single page in this small notebook.

The paper held up decently well against most types of pens, although I didn’t have my Noodler’s ink to test on it at the time of review. The Pilot Precise V5 Rollerball bled through a little, but that may have been because I held the pen still too long (a bad habit I have with rollerballs). While  bleed-through was minimal, show-through is very evident, although, that’s something that I can overlook so long as it’s not horribly distracting.

One of the main things I like about these notebooks is the branding… While the company’s logo is embossed on the back, it is also printed in very small type at the bottom of each page (in a way that I don’t really find all that obtrusive, although YMMV…).

So, here’s the good news! We’re having another giveaway! I told you guys that I would make it up to you for not being as active during NaNoWriMo, and I’m true to my word… While the Green Ruled Notebook, Red Blank Notebook, and the Black in both have been snatched up, I still have the Yellow Ruled and Blank, Red Ruled, and Green Blank to giveaway (for a grand total of 4, lol). So here’s the deal. Comment on this post (per the following rules) and when I pick the winners, the notebooks will be chosen/passed out on a first e-mail, first serve basis. So, the first person will have 4 notebooks to choose from, the second will have 3, and so on, so forth, with each winner receiving one notebook. Now, for the legal rules and other jargon…

Giveaway Rules:

1. Leave one comment on this post anytime between now, and Thursday Night (November 18th) at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.  You are limited to one entry. If you know someone who might be interested, feel free to direct them here!

2. For this contest, I will pick one/or more winner(s) at random from the comments section of this post.  The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on.  The Random Integer Generator at random.org will be used to pick the number of the winner(s).

3. The contest winner(s) will be posted on Friday, November 19th.  The winner(s) will have one week to email me at the address posted in the “Contact Info…” section of the right sidebar. If a winner does not e-mail me within a week, I will post a new winner the next day…

4. As of this time, I cannot ship internationally, so this content is open to US residents only. I will pay shipping to anywhere in the United States…

Good Luck!

Note: I am not an employee nor and I am in any way affiliated with Kikkerland or Leuchtturm1917. This review is in no way affected by the fact that this item was a free sample from Kikkerland.

Leuchtturm1917 Large Soft Cover Ruled Notebook

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Leuchtturm1917 Large Soft Cover Ruled Notebook

Another day, another notebook… But wait! This is a new brand! Around the time that I got in contact with Karen from Exaclair, I also got in contact with Laura from Kikkerland. Kikkerland Design Inc. is an American branch of a company which also has a location in Holland. Located on Broadway in New York City, this company truly caught my attention. Their website “about us” sections states, “Since 1992, the folks at Kikkerland Design have traveled the world in search of original designs for things that can make life more enjoyable. Clever things to intrigue you. Smart things that make everyday tasks easier. And gentle things that make you feel happier when you use them.” In addition to novelty and useful items such as bookends, mouse pads, clocks, calendars, and doormats; Kikkerland also produces the Writersblok brand of notebooks and are now the North American distributor of the Leuchtturm1917 brand from Germany. When I contacted Laura, she said that she would be more than happy to send me some samples of their products, and when I received a box from their processing location in Dallas, I discovered (to my delight, and eventually to your delight) a huge amount of Kikkerland, Writersblok, and Leuchtturm1917 products for me to try, review, and perhaps even (ok, you know I will) pass on to others. I definitely recommend you visit their website, if not for their stationery products, then to just check out some of the cool, quirky items they offer for everyday living… One more thing that I noticed about Kikkerland is the fact that 2% of every Writersblok notebook sold goes to support local creative non-profits such as 826NYC and Publicolor.

I must admit, that when I took the (recyclable) polystyrene packaging off this notebook that I was impressed. The cover is a soft leather-like plastic material (Leuchtturm’s website wasn’t very descriptive about what material it is, perhaps vinyl?) which is glued to the cardstock cover of the notebook signatures. The only indicator of the brand is a small embossed Leuchtturm1917 logo on the bottom of the back cover. The notebook was well-bound and very flexible. If you’ve ever read other blogs and seen reviews of the Leuchtturm brand soft covers, you’ve probably seen photos of them rolling them up or folding them in half. While I didn’t do that, due to the fact that I may be giving it or some of the other products away (I like them to be in relatively new condition), I test it’s flexibility somewhat just to satisfy my curiosity. As I mentioned before, it is well bound and also (with a bit of persuasion at first) lies open flat, which is definitely a benefit for this left-handed blogger.

Along with each and every single Leuchtturm1917 notebook is included a small card with a thank you note from the manufacturer, a brief company/product history pamphlet, and a sheet of labels to help you archive your notebooks. Along with these labels, Leuchtturm also was thoughtful enough to include a page index in the front of their notebook, allowing you to keep track of what page you wrote a particular set of notes on. Yup, the pages are numbered… “You  mean I don’t have to go through and number them myself?” Nope… Each of the notebook’s 121 pages has a small pages number at the bottom right of the page.

So, let’s talk about the paper. When I first opened the notebook, the cream-colored, acid-free, ink-proof, 80 gsm paper definitely caught my attention. It’s extremely smooth. I could feel no tooth at all with my fingers and none of the pens that I tried on it seemed to scratch at all. The print on the page is in a light grey/brown (I actually couldn’t quite discern what color it was) blends well with the color of the paper, but it was an extreme pain to photograph and even scan. Each photo or scan that I took would not show the lines or type on the page (a great thing at times, but horrible when you’re trying to review a product). I eventually had to take partial photos at an angle to show the type on the page.

Now, how did the ink test go? Eh, not so well… I was slightly disappointed in the drying time of this paper. While the Habana I used yesterday seemed to suck any leftover ink into the page, drying almost instantly, the Leuchtturm let it lie on top, and it smudged if I accidentally brushed it or rand my finger over it. Since I’m left-handed, this is something that I look very closely at when I buy notebooks and pens, as it’s a major hassle to wash ink off my hand as well as to decipher smudged notes. The pencil, ballpoints, rollerballs, and ball-gels seemed to do fine, but all of the gel pens and fountain pens (my two favorites) that I tried smudged if I was not careful. Also, when I tried the highlighter on the 0.38mm Pilot G-2 (which lays down a minimal amount of ink) it smeared horribly, but that was due to the fact that the ink hadn’t dried. While not a total killer for me, the fact that the first pen I usually reach for is a gel or fountain pen, means I’ll have to put thought into using one of these frequently. Also, while these notebooks claim to be ink proof, the Noodler’s Bulletproof Lexington Grey that I tried on it feathered as well as bled through if I was not careful. Otherwise, it held up relatively well.

These notebooks feature 121 pages for notes, each labeled with “Datum/Date:” and a page number at the bottom, and 22 lines spaced 6 mm apart. The first page features a name and address line on cardstock and the next 3-4 pages are table of contents. Also featured is an elastic closure, inside back cover pocket for notes, a place mark, and the last 8 pages are perforated for easy removal (I used the last page in the book for my ink test, that way I didn’t damage any of the signatures).

So, for the final verdict: I truly enjoyed this notebook up until I hit the ink problem… But after I found that ballpoints, rollerballs, and pencils don’t have that problem, I reopened my mind to their use. The quality of the notebook is excellent, and it definitely is a deal in cost compared to a Moleskine. I didn’t really have much trouble with the Platinum Preppy Ink or the Parker Quink, so I could still see myself possibly carrying one of these in my jacket pocket for when I need to quickly jot something down (and since I write for my college paper, it’s a distinct possibility). Still, an excellent offering from Kikkerland…

Note: I am not an employee nor and I am in any way affiliated with Kikkerland or Leuchtturm1917. This review is in no way affected by the fact that this item was a free sample from Kikkerland.

Quo Vadis Notebook with Habana Cover

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Quo Vadis Notebook with Habana Cover

So today, we have another review of another notebook (I know, I’ve been straying away from pens lately, but, to be totally honest, I havent’ been able to afford many new ones, and none of the ones I have yet to review really pop out at me, so… Add to that the fact that I have so much stuff that I wish/need to review, and…) from the lovely Karen at Exaclair. She sent me such a wonderful batch of goodies, but as I mentioned in my last notebook post, I’m gonna try these out a little bit rather than just put them through their paces and then shelve them to move on to the next item.

So, where to begin? Well, we’ll start with the Habana cover. The Habana is a leather-like material. Soft and supple, with a grain similar to real leather, the Habana could easily fool the novice’s eye and even the eye of the leather-knowledgeable person (at least from a distance. My future father-in-law asked if it was leather before he felt it and inspected it up close). The embossing on the front and back of the cover was beautifully done and seemed to be deep enough that it would hold for a long time to come. I must admit that I was very impressed with the material and it’s feel, as well as how flexible it was.

Next, the most important part of the notebook… The paper. Each of Quo Vadis’ fine notebooks are filled with “Clairefontaine” paper. According to Execlair’s excellent website, Clairefontaine is “famous for its exceptionally white and ultra smooth notebook paper.” The paper is 90 gsm (grams per square meter), which is the equivalent of 24 lb. printing paper, has a perfect satin finish for smooth writing, is opaque (allowing you to write on both sides of the page, especially since the 90 gsm paper hold ink well and doesn’t bleed easily). The paper is also chlorine-free. Instead of bleaching the paper, as is common in some manufacturing methods,the mineral calcium carbonate is used to give the paper it’s “ultra-white and smooth finish”.

After trying out this paper, I must admit… I’m a believer. When I put pen (be it fountain pen, pencil, gel pen, rollerball, ballpoint, quill, anything…) to this paper, I think the doors of Heaven opened and the angelic choir began to sing… Ok, so I’m a little overdramatic. It was still one of the most pleasurable writing experiences I’ve ever had. Any instrument I used flowed over the paper easily, no snags, not catching, no nothing… None of the inks smeared (the paper was absorbent) as I drug my left hand over the page, nor did any of them bleed through. Even the Noodler’s Bulletproof Lexington Grey, which is notorious in my experience, did not bleed through at all. I truly was impressed by the quality of the Clairfontaine paper.

The Quo Vadis notebook also lays open flat (an excellent thing for a leftie) and has a bookmark, paper pocket on the back cover, and an elastic closure. The paper is also PEFC certified, so it’s made out of pulp and wood by-products from sustainably managed forests. This notebook, all in all, is an excellent example of the best that Execlair has to offer. Quality cover material + Quality  paper + Quality construction = Quality product.

Note: The highlighter did smear the Pilot G-2 0.38mm ink for some reason… I may not have let it dry enough though… Not sure. I may test this futher, later on.

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

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