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.

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.

Pencils from Pencils.com

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Up for a look today are several items I received in a sampler pack from Andy at Pencils.com. Pencils.com is the web store of the California Cedar Products Company, which produces well-known brands such as Palomino, Generals, and Kum. Thanks to Andy’s generosity, I have a Spangle “Mini Jumbo”, Forest Choice, Prospector HB, Golden Bear Triangular HB, Palomino HB, and a Palomino Blackwing to try out today!

First off, we have the very blue Spangle “Mini Jumbo”. It’s a beginner’s pencil, manufactured specifically for little hands with its thick body and lead. It is larger than the normal sized pencil sharpener (I had to sharpen it with a razor knife which happened to be laying beside me on my leather table), but after sharpening wrote very well (although it did smear a bit).

Secondly, we have the ForestChoice pencil. Made from FSC-certified Incense cedar with a natural finish, which sharpens beautifully and smells amazing (unless, of course, you’re allergic to real cedar like my mother-in-law-to-be, which sucks, lol), this pencil is sure to a favorite. The #2 HB lead writes amazing well, with very little smearing.

Next up, we have the Prospector, CalCedar’s cheapest pencil. At less than $.15 each ($.13 to be exact), these pencils offer excellent quality while not breaking your budget. These green coated pencils (which also come in green triangular form and a natural finish) sharpen well and write very smoothly, especially for a budget pencil.

Fourthly, we have the Golden Bear. CalCedar claims this pencil to be “equivalent to, perhaps, a Dixon Ticonderoga”, and I can definitely agree! With a beautiful orange finish with gold foil lettering, this triangular pencil really stands out in a crowd. While the sample I was sent is triangular, it’s also available in regular orange and regular blue forms.

Next, is the Palomino HB. Termed “the pencil that started it all” by CalCedar, this pencil is definitely a piece of work. With a glossy, lacquered, Incense cedar barrel surrounding a deliciously smooth graphite core, you can expect a beautiful, dark line with very little effort and a tip that stays sharp for longer than the average pencil.

Lastly, we have the crème de la crème, the recreation of a pencil long sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike, the Palomino Blackwing! Based on the original design of the Eberhard-Faber Blackwing 602, the Palomino Blackwing’s frictionless, buttery lead lays down a dost, smooth, dark line. The unique eraser ferrule and eraser allow you to extend it for longer use, and the matte black body with gold accents makes this an instant conversation piece. Want to add prestige to even the most mundane Post-it? Grab a Blackwing. Want to add class to a quick note to a friend? Grab a Blackwing. Got the picture yet? Get some Blackwings! They truly are beautiful pencils (albeit a little costly), but they are definitely worth the price!

Pencil Test Sheet

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

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.

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