Tag Archives: cahier

Review: Papier Tigre Notebook

Papier Tigre is a super-cool French brand of office supplies, including recycled notebooks that I’d seen online but never encountered in person, so I was very excited when NoteMaker in Australia gave me the opportunity to review a free sample.

The notebook I received has a lovely composition book look to it, but with a twist. The spine is taped, but the cover has a large mottled color pattern, as if a traditional composition book had been magnified and colorized. The notebook is smaller and in slightly different proportions than a composition book, measuring 15x21cm.

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The front cover has a box where you could write your name or the subject of the notebook. The back cover has a gold-stamped Papier Tigre logo.

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Inside, you get 3 signatures of paper, each in a different shade– light yellow lined pages, grey lined pages, and lighter grey plain pages. The cover and inside pages are made of 100% recycled paper, and you can see the colored fibers in the paper.

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The sewn signatures are glued into the spine so the notebook doesn’t quite open flat.

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The paper is pleasant to write on– not as smooth as some, but it has a nice softness to it. Based on the feel, I expected there to be a lot of bleed-through but there wasn’t– very slight bleed with a couple of pens, but the Super Sharpie bled much less than usual. Show-through was better than average. The paper reminded me of the Leonardo notebook I reviewed several years ago.

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The notebook I received is available at NoteMaker for a little over $15 USD. Other designs and sizes are also available.

If you are thinking you can’t afford the shipping to order from an Australia-based online retailer, think again: right now NoteMaker is offering Free shipping for International orders (delivery outside Australia) for any purchase over AUD$199. And if you think that sounds like a high minimum order, think again– it’s only about $150 USD at current exchange rates as of this writing, and they have so much drool-worthy merchandise– notebooks, pens, pencils, office accessories, bags– you will have a hard time spending any less!

Notebooks by Hebrew Type

Here’s a cool new line of handmade collectible notebooks, available a la carte or by subscription: Hebrew Type. They are part of a line of cards, prints and other items made by Enon Avital, inspired by the graphic design challenges of using the Hebrew alphabet.

“Hebrew Type Books are hand made from scratch; printed, cut, sewn, bound, packaged, and shipped by me. They are presented with a right-to-left opening, but are designed to be direction agnostic.

With a double-cloth cover and a durable hand-sewn binding, these books will last a long, long time.”

Cool designs, and I love the way they are presented. Makes me want to buy some watches too!



Check them out at : Notebooks by Hebrew Type

Moleskine Monday: Six-Packs at Costco

Tipster David B. sent me the photo below of Moleskines for sale at his local Costco:

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These are 6-packs of 10 x 7.5″ lined cahiers in assorted colors. At $19.99 for six, it’s a pretty good deal– the full retail price is normally $19.95 for a 3-pack of this “extra-large” size, though you can also find some decent discounts on Amazon.

Review: LatLon Notebooks

Here we have another Kickstarter project that I decided to support at a modest level. When I saw the design of the LatLon notebooks, I thought it was quite cool-looking, and an interesting concept. Each notebook has a letterpress printed cover featuring the contour lines of the elevation of an island or glacier or the surface of Mars. They include the coordinates of the location, therefore the LATitude and LONgitude of the brand name. It’s a simple idea, but very nicely executed, with the contour lines and slight color contrast of the printing making a beautiful design and a pleasing texture.

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Apart from the design, these are pretty standard in terms of format– 3.5 x 5.5″, staple-bound, very similar to Field Notes, Moleskine Cahier and various others, including the Furrow Books notebook I reviewed just recently. Blank or squared pages are available– I got the grid pages, where the lines are thicker than Moleskine’s– you can see the dot printing in the lines, making them seem less sharp.

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The paper is very smooth and feels great to write on– a similar feel to Moleskine paper. Performance is good with fine gel ink pens, but otherwise show-through is average to a bit worse than average with some pens. Bleed-through is a bit worse than average with fountain pens.

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I am happy I have these notebooks in my collection, but I don’t think I’ll be buying more. The design is gorgeous, but otherwise they are very basic and don’t offer anything extra beyond the competition, yet they are priced quite a bit higher– individual notebooks are $7, or you can get 3 for $15 or 6 for $30. (And I think even this is a sale price marked down from the original cost.) That does not include shipping from Iceland. As far as I know, LatLon’s online store is the only place to buy them.

Review: Furrow Books Notebook

Furrow Books was a Kickstarter project over a year ago, started by Aaron Zeller of the Zeller Writing Company. (They sell many popular brands of pens and notebooks, as well as other writing accessories, including their own handmade wooden items such as wax seal handles.) I decided to become a supporter at a modest level so I could try out one of their notebooks and received this “Founding Supporter” limited edition.

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This is not one of those projects that claims to reinvent the notebook. Furrow Books offers a basic staple-bound notebook with plain pages, in pocket and large sizes. The pocket size is your standard 3.5 x 5.5″ size, similar to Field Notes and Moleskine Cahiers, among others. So what are the points of differentiation?

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First of all, these are made in the USA. The design is understated and attractive, with plain front covers. Normally, they are white with a tan belly band, but the Founding Supporter version I received is an interesting dark green/light green combo.  (Only 1500 of these were made, and each is hand-numbered.) Instead of making you choose between lined, dotted, squared or plain pages, these notebooks only offer plain pages, but each comes with an insert card printed with lines on one side and a square grid on the other. You can slip it behind the page you’re using and see enough of the lines to use them as a guide.

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The paper is a very cool shade of white, so much so that my Signo pen with white ink looks rather yellowish on the page. The paper has visible fibers and is not rough, but not super-smooth either. Show-through and bleed-through are about average, with some feathering from fountain pens.

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At $9.99 for a 3-pack of pocket notebooks, these are priced in line with other comparable items, while offering the insert card as a nice little extra. There is nothing earth-shattering about these notebooks, but that is just fine with me. If you want a nice minimal design and a USA-made product, they’re a great option. It looks like the only retailer right now is Zeller Writing Company’s online store.

Review and Giveaway: Zettel Notebooks

I was quite excited when the maker of these new notebooks contacted me and offered a sample. They take the common format of a 3-pack of staple-bound pocket notebooks and add a flash of color and a touch of travelogue.

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Zettel Notebooks are made in Berlin, and each cover is a tribute to a part of the city. Artist and designer Martin Dixon created the cover art on his iPhone using the Brushes paining app. (He should really do tutorials on how to make the most of that app– I’ve tried using it on my iPhone and can’t begin to imagine how he achieved the beautiful effects in these images!) The notebooks I received are the launch edition of a planned series of sets, each featuring different covers.

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In many respects, these are just like Field Notes– 3.5 x 5.5″ format, stapled spine. The pack comes shrink-wrapped, with a card with some brand info as well as a bonus postcard included. Each set has one notebook with grid pages, one lined, and one blank. The Zettel covers are all smooth heavy paper, with full color printing on both sides.

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The inside front cover gives a little background on the cover image, and pinpoints the location on a map. The inside back cover has a space to put your contact details, and a handy metric ruler on the edge. They are made entirely from FSC-approved 100% recycled paper.

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The paper inside is a cool white, with grey lines or grid. The grid is noticeably smaller and darker than the Moleskine paper shown for comparison, but not so much so that it’s distracting. It has a soft, pleasant feel, not quite as smooth as Moleskine or Clairefontaine paper.

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All my usual pens worked quite well and there was no feathering with fountain pens. Show-through was somewhat better than average, but unfortunately several pens had slight bleed-through in spots. But if you’re using it with fine gel ink pens, you’d probably be quite satisfied.

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At this point, it looks like the Zettel website is the only source to buy these– they are €9.95 but that includes VAT, I think, so as a US customer it showed me a lower price of €8.36, with shipping of €5.60, which starts to make them a bit pricy, unfortunately.

I will be keeping the graph paper notebook I tested, but will give the other two away to one lucky winner, chosen randomly from entries received in these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Zettel Notebooks @zettelberlin @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @zettelberlin

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and post something containing the words “Zettel Notebooks” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Zettel Notebooks” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday August 7, 2015 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

Review and Giveaway: Guided Rewrite Notebooks

I’m always hoping to find new brands of American-made notebooks. I was not familiar with Guided Products or their ReWrite brand of notebooks until they contacted me and sent some samples for review, so it was a pleasant discovery!

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I received quite a selection of samples. ReWrite notebooks come in 3 sizes, with ruled, plain, squared, and dot-grid options. The small notebooks come in shrinkwrapped 4-packs, and the medium and large sizes are sold in 3 packs. All sizes are 48 pages.

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The notebooks are very simple– plain brown cardboard covers, with no branding except on the lower back cover. My first impression about the 3.5 x 5.5″ pocket size notebook was that it was actually a bit smaller than a Moleskine Cahier or Field Notes notebook– but this was an illusion, as they are actually the same size. (Shown below with a hardcover pocket Moleskine and a Field Notes for size comparison.)

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The main difference is that the spine here is squared off and the pages are glued in rather than sewed or stapled in a signature. This makes the spine of the notebook somewhat stiffer when you first open it.

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It can be opened pretty flat, but you have to force it a bit, and you may see the spine between the pages, especially at the front and back of the notebook. The pages are perforated throughout. Some people would no doubt prefer a sewn or stapled binding without perforations, but others will like being able to easily tear out pages.

The notebook is quite flexible. Though it is thicker than a standard Field Notes, and the cardboard cover is somewhat thicker than what Field Notes usually uses, it bends a bit more easily. Another difference I noticed is that the corners are rounded to a smaller diameter than Field Notes.

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The squared paper has somewhat larger squares than the Moleskine shown for comparison. The lines are brown, and somewhat thicker. You can also see the bright white color of the paper in comparison to the cream-colored Moleskine. The paper felt good to write on with my usual pens, and show-through was a little better than average. Bleed-through was about average for most pens, and a little bit worse than average with fountain pens. The paper is acid-free, and recycled.

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ReWrite notebooks are available at Amazon or directly from the Guided Products website, where quantity discounts are offered on larger orders. At $13.99 suggested retail price for a 4-pack of small notebooks, they are a great value for an American-made product of this quality. Their plain covers are a nice alternative to over-branding of certain other notebooks. And Guided Products offers custom-printed covers too, starting at only $4.41 each for a minimum of 100 small notebooks with one-color front cover art, with prices dropping for larger orders. And in the meantime, you can enter the giveaway for a chance at some of my extra samples! Each winner will get at least 2 packs of notebooks (not all will still be in shrinkwrap).

Four randomly chosen winners will be selected from entries received in any or all of these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “ReWrite @guidedproducts @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @guidedproducts.

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Guided Products page and post something containing the words “ReWrite” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “ReWrite” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday February 20, 2015 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

In Search of Notebooks: Paris and Amsterdam

I recently took a trip to Paris and Amsterdam. Searching for notebooks wasn’t the sole purpose of the trip, of course, but I did a better job than usual of preparing for the journey with some research on places to buy notebooks.

In Amsterdam, I had less time to devote to stationery shopping, as I’d never been there before and wanted to see all the sights. But I did make a point of visiting P. K. Akkerman, a stationery and pen shop I first heard of via this blog post. The shop has since moved from the location described in that post, and I didn’t get to see the ladies with the precise manicures and hairdos, but there was quite a nice selection of notebooks, and an even better display of amazing high-end pens.

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One of the other stationery shops I’d hoped to see in Amsterdam had also either moved or closed, so my other notebook spottings were all in newsstands or museum shops. At the Stedelijk museum, I saw a wonderful exhibition of the artist Marlene Dumas, and bought a lovely item that is part art book, part notebook, I guess– some of Dumas’ paintings are interspersed with blank pages in a small softcover booklet.

In Paris, I had more leads to follow and spent a good part of a day wandering around tracking them down. My favorite shop was Marie Tournelle, a small store that is just crammed with cute stationery and school supplies.

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The museum shop at the Centre Pompidou also has an amazing papeterie section. I loved visiting the Sennelier store– the selection of sketchbooks wasn’t all that dazzling, but the rest of the art supplies will blow your mind, and it’s wonderfully old-fashioned. I loved the color charts along the stairs.

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Papier + had some beautifully bound journals with rainbow pages– expensive, though.

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A store called Merci had a small stationery section with a few cool things– along with some great (expensive) clothes and shoes and selected home and garden items. And to top it all off, there was even an interesting notebook sitting right on the desk in the AirBnB apartment I stayed in in Paris. It looked like it was quite old, with numbered graph paper pages separated with thin sheets of tissue, as if it was meant to be a lab notebook where you’d make copies of each page.

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Here’s the stack of notebooks I brought home from my trip. Not a bad haul! I’ll do a more detailed review on the notebooks themselves soon.

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See my Flickr album for even more photos.

Alibabette Editions

I spotted this brand when I was in Paris– they have some very cute designs:

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See more at their website.

Review and Giveaway: Halaby Aero Flightbook Notebooks

Can you judge a  notebook by its cover? Perhaps! I was very excited to get these samples from Halaby Aero. The first time I saw these notebooks at Paper Presentation in NYC, I immediately thought they were cool. I have no day to day use for any of the airplane-related info on the covers, but I’d like to think that someday I will, as I’ve always wanted to learn to fly. I was interested to see on the company’s website that “The inspiration for FLIGHTBOOK comes from the 1956 edition of “The Observer’s Book of Aircraft” – a clear, concise book that was published as international commercial jet travel was developing.” I’ve collected the Observer’s series since I was a kid, and I have a couple of editions of the Aircraft book, if not the exact 1956 one. (The old Observer’s books were small jacketed hardcovers, very similar to the size of pocket notebook I like, and they are full of details and data and cool illustrations and photos on a variety of topics.)

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The first notebooks I received were the pocket size staple bound ones. They are similarly sized to Field Notes (shown below next to a pocket Moleskine for comparison.)

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The A4 size spiral bound notebook is a new addition to the product line, just introduced in August 2014. It’s a rather flexible and soft notebook, as the covers are made of the same stock as the pocket covers, as far as I can tell. I love the crisp design of the covers, especially the commercial aircraft on the back cover. Inside, the paper has nice sharp blue squares. There is nice attention to detail here, in having the brass staples match the metallic ink. The notebooks are available with red, black, and blue cardboard covers, with silver or gold metallic ink options for each. Same for the large spiral notebook– the spiral matches the silver or gold ink, which is a really nice touch. The printing and lines are all nicely aligned and square.

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As for function, these are pretty comparable to any other notebook with graph paper. The are quite similar to Field Notes, with paper that feels great to write on even with very fine point pens. Showthrough is about average. The paper feels a bit thirsty, and bleed-through is slightly worse than average. The paper is 50lb stock according to their website.

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A 2-pack of the 52-page 3.5 x 5.5″ notebooks is $10.99. Given that Field Notes are $9.95 for a 3-pack of 48 page notebooks, that is a bit of a price premium, but these are a bit more of a specialized, niche product due to the design. The A4 spiral notebook is $16.99– given that an A4 wire-bound Clairefontaine notebook is $7.50 and an A4 Rhodia wire-bound notebook is $9.00, this pricing does seem pretty high. But again, it’s hard to compare pricing to something produced in massive quantities like Clairefontaine or Rhodia. If you know anyone who is an air travel enthusiast, a Halaby Aero notebook makes a unique gift that is sure to be appreciated.

You can buy directly from Halaby Aero’s online store, or at select retailers. And you can take a shot at winning our giveaway of the large spiral notebook and one small stapled notebook. One random winner will be selected from entries received in the following ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “@halabyaero Flightbook @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @halabyaero.

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and post something containing the words “Halaby Aero Flightbook” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Halaby Aero Flightbook” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday September 5, 2014 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.