Tag Archives: lined

Denik Notebook Review & Giveaway

Today I’m finally doing a long overdue review of a Denik notebook. I’d first noticed this brand quite a while ago, due to their colorful point of purchase display, which I saw first at a booth at either the BookExpo convention or the NY NOW Gift Show at the Javits Center, or perhaps in a store in Brooklyn, I forget which. But wherever it was, the display was hard to miss due to the broad array of vibrant cover designs. I was thrilled to receive a free sample to review from Denik.

The Denik brand is all about creativity and activism. Their ever changing assortment of designs come from artists of all types. A portion of the proceeds from each notebook purchased goes to either the artist who designed the cover or to building schools around the world. Learn more here.

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The sample I received is one of their softcover notebooks, with a cover design by Katrina Houskeeper. The size is 5.25 x 8.25″, with 75 sheets/150 pages. It comes shrink-wrapped, and underneath, has an attractive grey-shaded cover with gold-stamped “Crazy Ideas” logo. The cover material is a soft feel to it and is said to be water resistant. The design continues on the inside front and back covers, which I love.

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The notebook is perfect-bound, so it does not lie flat– but I got this sample a while ago and Denik has since changed their construction to smyth-sewn and describe their softcovers as “lay-flat” so they have addressed that issue– yay! (They still say the page count is 150, which I’m trying to figure out, since I thought sewn signature notebooks always had page counts in multiples of 4. Maybe they glue in one extra page??)

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Inside, there is lined paper, which feels pretty average to the touch, not overly smooth, but gives a really nice gliding feel with most pens. Show-through is about average, and bleed-through slightly better than average. Some fountain pens feather a bit. Unlined paper is also available, and they also offer leather bound sketchbooks, and spiral bound notebooks and sketchbooks.

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At $11.95, the softcover notebook is maybe a teensy bit on the high end of reasonably priced, but I think that is OK given that it is made in the USA and benefits good causes. If you love collecting notebooks with colorful, unique covers, you’ll want to give these a try. You can find them at many retailers, or order online at the Denik webstore, or you can enter the giveaway for some prizes provided by Denik! We are giving away 5 Notebooks, one each to 5 different winners!

For this giveaway, the entry rules are a little different, so please read the instructions below carefully. I have just launched a Notebook Stories account on Instagram, so this will be my first Instagram giveaway!
To enter:

  • Follow @shopdenik on Instragram
  • Follow @notebook.stories on Instagram (make sure you have the “.” in there, as “@notebookstories” without the “.” is someone else!)
  • Tag a friend in the comments on my Instagram post about Denik. You can better your chances of winning by tagging more of your friends. Please keep it to one tag per comment.
  • You can also enter by posting a comment on this blog post with your Instagram account name, but you must be following @shopdenik and @notebook.stories in order to be eligible to win.
  • The deadline to enter is Friday October 20, 2017
  • You must be in the US to enter.

Winners will be announced within two weeks after the end of the entry period. Thanks and good luck everyone!

 

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Waverley Scottish Plaid Notebooks

Something new and different! Spotted at Kinokuniya bookstore in NYC:

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I haven’t seen these for sale anywhere else, but they’re made by a UK company: Waverley Books. Two sizes are available. Here’s the full product description from their site:

The Waverley Scotland Tartan Cloth Commonplace Notebooks Anderson has 176 pages (left side blank, right side ruled), acid-free, threadsewn, 80 gsm cream shade pages, are bound in genuine Scottish tartan cloth over board, with round cornered cover and bookblock corners, stained edges and a matching elastic enclosure.

Each volume has a ribbon-marker and an expandable inner note holder made of cardboard and cloth, and removable booklet with background notes, with a Clan Map of Scotland, and with an individual bookmark, giving detail on the specific tartan used for the binding.

The tartan cloth is supplied by and produced with the authority of Kinloch Anderson Scotland, holders of Royal Warrants of Appointment as Tailors and Kiltmakers to HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales.

Trimmed page size: 90 × 140 mm

Hardback, 176 pp.

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The pocket size notebooks are available on Amazon for $14.95.

The Composition Book Reimagined: “comp”

You may remember Michael Bierut’s stack of composition books that he’s used for many years– one of my favorite notebook stories ever.

Now, Aron Fay, a colleague of Bierut’s at Pentagram, has a Kickstarter project going for an upscale, redesigned version of the composition book, using higher end materials and construction. While part of me thinks the original composition book is a classic that shouldn’t be messed with, I have to say “comp” sounds really nice! Lined and unlined versions will be available, with 120 gsm paper.

Check out the Kickstarter page here. It’s worth it just for the gallery of composition books throughout history!

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Review and Giveaway: Coloring Notebook

I’m sure no one has failed to notice the adult coloring book trend that’s exploded over the last few years. Bookstores are jam-packed with them. Many have gorgeous , elaborate designs, but that’s all there is to them: pages to color. For those of us who are always carrying a notebook or journal anyway, the Coloring Notebook provides a way to combine coloring pages with notes and journal entries, all in one package. Let’s take a look at the free sample the makers sent me:

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From the outside, it’s very much in line with other Moleskine-type notebooks on the market, with a few variations: a black cover with elastic closure, back pocket, and a ribbon marker in yellow, which matches the head and tail bands. The back pocket is all paper– no cloth gussets– and feels a little flimsy. The cover has a smoother texture than a Moleskine, and overhangs the page edges by quite a bit. It comes only in the 5.8 x 8.2″ size.

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Inside, coloring pages alternate with free-form space for writing or drawing. Lined, blank and dot-grid versions are available. I tested the lined version.

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There are single page and double page coloring designs, but the coloring pages are always back to back with the lined pages. The lines are not noticeable when you’re coloring due to the dense patterns of the coloring designs. When you’re writing on the lined pages, the coloring designs to show through a bit.

The overall issue of show-through and bleed-through will vary depending on the materials you use. I colored a page with markers and watercolor paints. There was some show- and bleed-through with the markers. The paper buckled a bit with watercolors but was better once dry. At 100 gsm, the paper is not especially heavy-weight, so I wouldn’t really recommend it for watercolors, but markers or colored pencils should work fairly well as long as you have reasonable expectations about the show-through. The images below show the front and back of a colored-in page before I tested writing on the back:

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I didn’t test all of my usual pens, but you can see some bleed-through from the Super Sharpie below. Any showthrough from the other pens is camouflaged by the coloring.

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Technically, this notebook doesn’t offer any more writing space than most actual coloring books– they all tend to have pages that are blank on the back, or maybe have abstract designs on the back, as they want you to be able to cut out and frame your colored pages. If I were creating a coloring notebook, I might add additional writing pages, as I think most notebook users might be likely to use up the blank space before they finished all the coloring pages, but others might disagree. Either way, it would make a nice gift for anyone who likes to color, and prefers the look of a traditional journal.

You can buy the Coloring Notebook for $19.95 at Amazon.

I will be giving away an unused Coloring Notebook to one lucky winner, who will be randomly selected from entries received in any or all of these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Coloring Notebook @coloring_ntbk @NotebookStories”, and follow @coloring_ntbk and @NotebookStories

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

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

The deadline for entry is Friday October 28, 2016 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.

Moleskine Monday: Two-Go Notebook

Moleskine has introduced a new product that will answer a frequent question I’ve gotten from readers: “Where can I get a notebook with plain pages on one side and lined on the other?”

The new “Two-Go” notebooks are an in-between size, 4.5 x 6.9″, with cloth covers, similar to the Voyageur. (Moleskine’s Pocket notebooks are 3.5 x 5.5″, and Large are 5 x 8.25″.)

I wondered about the paper holding up to both art and regular writing, but it has 144 pages of 100 GSM paper so show-through and bleed-through may not be as bad as with the regular classic notebooks, which are only 70 GSM. That said, it’s not up to the standard of the 120 GSM paper in the “sketch albums” or the 165 GSM paper in the hardcover sketchbooks.

Source: Two-Go Notebook – Moleskine ®

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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!

London Notebooks

I was in London a few months ago, and while the trip wasn’t my best notebook-spotting adventure, I did see a few interesting items.

At Foyle’s, the huge bookstore on Charing Cross Road, there is a nice selection of stationery tucked in shelves by the registers on the 2nd floor. I thought the Puggy’s Best notebook was rather cute, and I was really tempted to buy the composition book tote bag!

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At an airport shop, I was somewhat tempted by this Ted Baker notebook, but I didn’t like the pen loop on the spine, or the included pen itself. The pages inside were a mix of lined and squared pages, but the squares were very small– I think I’d find them a little distracting. Note the notch in all the pages for where the elastic closure sits.

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So those were the things I did NOT buy… but I did purchase a couple other notebooks on my trip, which I’ll review soon!

Review: Appointed Notebook

Appointed is a brand of notebooks and accessories that I’ve seen cropping up in a few stylish boutiques here and there in NYC. The company is based in Washington DC, and the products are made in the USA, with a minimalist aesthetic. Let’s take a look at the sample they sent me:

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This is the backbone of their product line– a 7.5 x 9.5″ wire-bound notebook. It’s not a typical size for wire-bound notebooks– it’s more the size of a composition book. The first impression is one of solid, understated quality– the wire is a darker bronze color, not overly shiny. The cover is a textured bookcloth over a plain white cardboard. It has a bit of flex to it but isn’t flimsy. The appointed name and logo are stamped on the front, and with the address and website on the back.

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The corners of the cover are tightly rounded, which I like, though it’s a bit odd that the pages inside have square corners. The covers are made to be slightly wider than the pages, but only slightly, so the squared page corners end up sticking out beyond the rounded cover.

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Inside the notebook, you get cool bright white paper. Every sheet is perforated, with grid lines on the front, and plain on the back. At the left edge, the grid lines end, leaving a blank space with a place to write the date. One thing that really impressed me about this notebook was how carefully aligned the grid is to the page– there are almost no partial squares cut off at the edges. Almost every page is perfectly lined up, and the few that miss are only by a hair. Most squared notebooks have much more variation so you see zigzaggy lines when you look at the page edges– on the Appointed notebook, they are sharp and straight. I love that kind of attention to detail! Lined and blank versions of the notebook are also available.

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The paper feels smooth and somewhat hard when you write on it. Fine gel ink pens work beautifully but wetter pens and fountain pens tend to feather out a bit. Show-through and bleed-through were about average.

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At $24 for a 75-sheet (150 pages) notebook, this is not super cheap, but it’s not way over-priced in comparison to other upscale notebooks. For a USA-made product with such attention to quality construction and attractive design, it doesn’t seem like a bad value. Look for them in higher end retailers near you!

10 Notebooks to Celebrate National Stationery Week

National Stationery Week is 25 April – 1 May 2016 in the UK, and the Independent features 10 top notebook picks to celebrate. My two favorites below!

Atlas & I Personalised Map Leather Journal:From £38, Not On The High Street

“Simply provide a postcode and place name which means something to you, and Atlas & I will use an antique map of the location to cover the notebook.”  Buy now

Nuuna London Illustration Notebook: £25, Amara

“These German-made notebooks are some of the most striking we’ve seen. The most recent collection features bold graphic prints and playful slogans, as well as this intricate cityscape illustration…. ” Buy now

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Source: 10 best notebooks | Arts & Books | Extras | The Independent

Notebook Addict of the Week: Mary

This week’s addict emailed me photos of her notebook collection:

Hi, my name is Mary and these are my notebooks:

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I guess you could say I’m addicted to them. I mean, everybody needs a notebook sometimes, right? If I didn’t have these, I wouldn’t have anyplace to write stuff down.

I wrote something in this one a while back, I think it was something about a septic tank so I tore out that page and threw it away when I didn’t need it any more.

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There’s nothing written in this one right now. There probably used to be, but I must have torn out those pages too. Or maybe I just bought it for my nephew to doodle in, I can’t remember.

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I keep my notebook collection in a special spot, nice and handy:

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I don’t remember where I bought them… or when… or why I picked these particular ones. I mean, they’re just notebooks… whatever!

Many thanks to Mary for sharing her addiction! So glad I could feature it on this special day… 🙂