Tag Archives: unlined

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!

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… 🙂

Review and Giveaway: Writersblok Double Spiral Notebooks

When our friends at Kikkerland shared these samples of their latest new product, I had to clap my hands– finally a notebook that really DOES do something new! I’ve seen other notebooks that can open from the back or the front, but I have never seen a notebook with both top and side openings in one. Designed by Constantin Boym, the Writersblok Double Spiral notebooks offer some interesting features and embellishments that you don’t see everyday.

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The first notebook has wire-o bindings on both sides. When you open it from one side, you get ruled pages, and the other side is blank. The covers are made of a nice heavy matte black board with snazzy metallic corners.  A Writersblok logo is stamped on one side– whether you consider it the front cover or the back cover is up to you. The pages have rounded corners on all sides. The page count on the notebook says 140, but by my count each side seems to have 70 sheets/140 pages, so you’re getting a total of 280 pages/ 140 sheets.

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The second notebook has a slim top-opening notebook and then a side-opening notebook on the back. It makes for a bit of a challenge in slipping the paper band off without tearing it– the wrapper is bound into the spiral on one side and has to be nudged out from between the pages on the other, as you can’t open the notebook until the band is loosened. The top-opening pad is lined paper, and the side-opening part is squared.

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The paper inside the notebooks is smooth and cool white. Show-through and bleed-through are about average, maybe a little bit more bleed-through than average from a couple of my usual pens.

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The double thickness of the combined notebooks makes for a pleasingly chunky package, but when you hold them in your hand, it becomes hard to avoid the wire spirals. After a while, it might get annoying to have them digging into your palm. (Shown below with a pocket size Moleskine for size comparison.)

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My only other complaint about these notebooks is that the wire-o binding starts on the wrong side– normally, a wire-o binding connects from hole to hole at the back of the notebook, allowing the pages to turn freely from the front. In this case, that part is at the front of the notebook so you have to jiggle the whole wire around to get it out of the way if you want the pages to open flat. Both notebooks have this problem on both sides– I don’t know if it’s just an accidental defect, or if the two-sided design makes it a manufacturing necessity, but it really lessens the usability of the notebook.

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So while I love the innovation and creativity and design of these notebooks, the practicality of them may be somewhat limited. I hope Kikkerland will make some other single-sided notebooks with the same styling– the black covers and metal corners really do look great and I would absolutely love to have an 8.5 x 11″ squared notebook in this design to use as my desktop notebook at work, where I always like to have something that I can open flat and flip the pages around to the back.

Look for these at your local stationery store, or you can buy direct from Kikkerland’s online store. (Other Kikkerland Writersblok notebooks are available on Amazon, so these will probably be there soon too.)

I’ll be giving away the double side-opening notebook to one lucky winner, selected at random from entries received by these methods:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Writersblok @kikkerland @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @kikkerland

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

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

The deadline for entry is Friday March 25 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.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Chaospoe

This week’s addict is a Moleskine hoarder… or at least was back in 2007 when this photo was posted to Flickr:

A very consistent collection! Bonus points for the cool typewriter.

 

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.