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)!

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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?

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.

Bloc Rhodia No. 11 Graph Paper Pad

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Bloc Rhodia No. 11 Graph Paper Pad

So, imagine my surprise the other day, while I was on vacation, when I visited the Target in North Myrtle Beach and found that they stocked several Rhodia products! Needless to say, I quickly grabbed up one or two of each product that they carried (two No. 11 graph pads, one reverse pad, and one a5 stapled lined notebook) and walked out of the store one very happy blogger. The one up for review today is the Bloc No. 11 Top Staplebound Graph Paper Pad, which I also used in the review Tuesday. The notebook itself is a7, which is 2.9″ x 4.1″ (7.4 x 10.5 cm), but the paper, which is perforated, is actually 2-3/4″ x 3-1/2″ (6.985 x 8.89 mm) with 3/16″ (4.7625 mm) square grid graph (which is listed as 5 x 5 mm on the pad itself).

Titled “The French Orange Notebooks with a cult following”, the Rhodia notebook line was actually at first a sideline product, but eventually gained notoriety for its high quality paper and high standards of excellence. Each Rhodia pad features a card cover, which is “perfectly waterproof and flexible” and is scored to fold back over the back (see the photo in the photo gallery below). The paper itself is superfine 80g white vellum with a smooth satin finish printed with violet lines, and it stands up very, very well to fountain pens with almost no showthrough and absolutely no bleedthrough! Did I mention that there were 80 pages and that they’re micro-perforated?

I must admit that I was impressed with this little notebook. I used almost every fountain pen/ink combination I had on hand with it, and not a single one had a bit of bleedthrough and there was very little showthrough (I could’ve easily written on the backside with no interference from the ink on the front). The only “pens” this paper had any trouble with was, of course, the ultra fine point and regular Sharpie markers (but this is nothing new). I can definitely say that once my two pads (I got one orange and one black) run out that I will purchase more online, or perhaps even in my local Target!

Daycraft “Make My Day” 2011 Diary

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Daycraft “Make My Day” 2011 Diary

So, for my first review coming back from finals week, I bring you a product straight from the shores of distant Hong Kong. Ok, so it really only took it a couple days to get here, compared to the months that it once took to get anything from the “Far East”, so I’m not going to complain. This review, as well as all the other Daycraft products seen in coming weeks, were provided to me by the gracious Mr. Foreal Lee, Retail and Marketing Manager at Tai Shing Diary Limited, the parent company of Daycraft.

So, a little bit of information about Daycraft. Their website states that Tai Shing Diary was founded in 1988 and that over the years they have won a well-deserved reputation for getting things right. These Chinese-produced diaries focus on quality as well as usability. Each year, two new “collections” of diaries are produced, one for the corporate consumer, and another for the mass consumers. They also attempt to make sure that all the information in their diaries (more on that later) is accurate and up-to-date at the time of printing. Last but not least, their “Goal is to bring you even more innovative, practical and attractive diary and planner products. At Daycraft, we make your day.”

So, from Daycraft, we have their “Make My Day” diary. This beautiful, fine cloth-covered, black diary has a ton of features inside just waiting to be explored! According to the information that Mr. Lee sent me, the paper included is 70gsm cream woodfree paper (which, I found out, is paper based on chemical pulp, which has had most of the lignin removed and separated from the cellulose fibers). While this paper doesn’t really feel like 70 gsm, the truth is apparent in the bleedthrough tests where only the sharpies, rollerballs, and a bit of the fountain pens bleed through the page. So, for the record, while the pages are smooth, I would stick to pencils, ballpoints, and gel pens for use in these diaries.

Now, for what’s actually on the pages. One of the most interesting things I noticed about this diary was the fact that the “personal information” was placed at the back of the book, rather than the front. The first printed page in the book is actually a small four-year calendar showing 2010-2013. The next spread lists major international holidays for a host of countries (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China (3 different regions), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, UK, and the US). Directly following that are page after page of “international guides” for each of the mentioned countries, which include pertinent information such as currency, phone networks, VAT, electricity supply, etc. Also at the end of this section is a world time chart, which allows you to easily calculate the current time anywhere in the world. The next section in this information-filled diary is the IDD codes, which contains all the telephone dialing codes as well as some specific area codes for each country. Next come the conversion tables, everything you’ll need to convert from standard measure to metric. Finally, we once again reach the planner section.

First off, we have a monthly planner for 2011. There are two months on each page, which doesn’t leave you with much space to write in, but you can fill in pertinent future appointments. One of the interesting things about this diary was the placement of a “cover page” on each month. THese are all artistic in design and in some way spell out “Make my Day”. The adjoining page is ruled and features a small monthly calendar (assumedly to be used to write down important dates to remember for that particular month). The actual planner itself is a week-spread planner, featuring the first three days of the week on the first page and the other four on the second page (Saturday and Sunday are half-coulmns). Each day has the date, followed by any holidays, followed by ruled lines to write down your life. Also, in the upper right hand corner of each page is another mini calendar of the current month.

Toward the end of the diary, we hit another yearly planner, termed a “Forward Planner” for 2010. Two months on each page again leave you with not much space to write in. Following the “Forward Planner” is a cash flow table, an address book, and finally, the personal memoranda (personal information) section. The last several pages of the book are detachable memos (3 perforated memos per page), which I used to do my ink test.

All in all, this is a beautiful little book from Daycraft, and while I was disappointed in the way the paper handled liquid inks, it’s still a functional planner that I would easily recommend to anyone looking to plot out their life.

Note: I am not an employee nor and I am in any way affiliated with Daycraft or Tai Shing Diary. This review and my opinions of this product is in no way affected by the fact that this item was a free sample from Daycraft.

Leuchtturm1917 White Pocket Notebook, Dot-Ruled – Guest Blogger

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Well, where to start? Ya’ll have a new blogger today…. My Sweetheart said I could have a notebook if I were to help him out by telling him what I thought of it and writing about it for him. But he didn’t give me just any old notebook to write about, he gave me a beautiful, white, pocket-sized Leuchtturm1917. I can already tell that a couple of you are jealous of this privilege (hehe)…

However, I am nervous in stating my opinion since, (1) I’ve never blogged before, (2) this is the nicest notebook I’ve ever had (since the Piccadilly he got me for Christmas), so I have nothing to compare it to, and (3) I’ve heard through a very reliable source that there are a lot of people visiting Pens’n’Paper, and I don’t want to make the numbers go down… So ya’ll bear with me and forgive this amateur blogger if I mess up… I’ll just tell you what I see.

The notebook, of course, is small and light. It’s compactness seems to make it easy to carry around without it taking up any room and quickly pull out to jot down notes. The hard cover is perfect to put in a purse (or pocket) without the worry of it being bent into a crescent shape (thus leaving a crease in your paper). A clear, bright white in color, it looks defined and neat (although as far as I know it comes in a variety of colors ranging from blue, green, black, and red). The elastic closure is to me the best part since I don’t like my pages to curl up or dog ear.

The inside holds all kinds of interesting things, such as numbered pages, a table of contents where you can write in the page number and name the topic for easy access to your last note, dotted pages (a new one for me) to make my writing look neater, and a silky white ribbon to mark where you left off last. The ink-proof pages though, like My Sweetheart said, were, um… Not so good. It’s fine if you let the ink dry for a couple of minutes but that would indeed imply that the pages are not ink proof and that they are like any other notebook paper (however I won’t say much about that since all I used was a Signo Gelstick)… All in all a very neat little book!

Just an afternote (from Chris): Our guest reviewer today was the wonderful young lady who I’ve been courting for the past seven months whose name happens to be Sarah… She was very kind to review this notebook, and hopefully (if people say enough nice things about her review and give her some encouragement – comments and friendly critique welcome below) we might be able to get her back to do some more for us. She claims that she doesn’t know enough about this kind of stuff to write for Pens’n’Paper, but I think she did a pretty good job for her first time!

Note: Neither Sarah nor I are employees or and 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.

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