Tag Archives: wire bound

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!

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.

John Dickerson’s Notebooks

The moderator of tonight’s Republican debate seems to use Field Notes, judging by this photo from today’s New York Times:

Source: John Dickerson, Molded by News Legends, Hones His Skills at CBS

Notebook Addict of the Week: Eryck Webb

This week’s addict is an illustrator graphic designer who has been keeping sketchbooks for years. Some of these go back to his college days. More recently, he fills about one sketchbook a year, and likes to decorate the covers. They look fantastic, inside and out!

Read more at: 2015 Sketchbook: Latest In A Long Tradition | Eryck Webb Graphics

Notebook Addict of the Week: Laura12345

This week’s addict has quite a boxful of notebooks and more. Looks like she might be selling them, though… CD cases $1.00, binders 50 cents, according to the caption on Flickr!

CD Jewel Cases, Notebooks, Binders

See more on Flickr.

Review: O’Bon Notebooks (and Pencils)

I was happy to receive this lovely batch of samples from the good people at O’Bon. They make colorful and eco-friendly pencils and paper products.

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The large feather-pattern notebook on the bottom is a looseleaf binder. Then there are two wire-O notebooks, and 4 packs of pencils.

Let’s take a closer look at the notebooks:

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I love the cover designs, particularly the peacock feathers. They offer a variety of other feather designs and they’re all gorgeous and very unlike other notebook covers available.

Inside, the notebooks have pretty standard lined paper, but there’s a little box for the date at the top, and the O’Bon logo at the bottom.

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In front of the first page, there’s some info about the company and how they make paper out of sugarcane.

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I tested all my usual pens and pencils with pretty good results. It’s not silky smooth paper, but it’s a pleasing shade of cool white and fine to write on. Show-through was about average.

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There’s not a whole lot else to say– these are pretty basic notebooks, but with prettier covers and eco-friendly paper.

As for the pencils, they are also attractive and eco-friendly, as they are made from recycled newspapers.  Again, the designs are very funky. Kids will love the set of colored pencils, each of which looks like a different animal.

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I like O’Bon’s philosophy, as expressed on their website:

Our belief continues to be that environmentally friendly products don’t have to come in boring designs or earthy green and brown tones.

As usual, I can’t keep all of these goodies for myself, so one lucky reader will be randomly selected to win some of these items. As usual, here’s how to enter:

On Twitter, follow Notebook Stories and tweet something containing the words “O’Bon” and “@NotebookStories.

On Facebook, “like” the  Notebook Stories page and post something containing the word “O’Bon” on my wall.

On your blog, post something containing the word “O’Bon” and “NotebookStories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday April 8 at 11:59PM, EST.

Winners will be posted on Facebook and Twitter. Good luck everyone!

Hybrid Home Notebooks at Super7

These look kind of funky:

I think I want the one with phrases to use in meetings, to remind me there’s more to life than leveraging my core competencies.

They’re only $4 each, here.
Via Hybrid Home Notebooks – Super7 Blog.

EcoJot Giveaway!

Sabrina at Slice of Lemon says “these notebooks = crack,” so she’s sharing them with 5 lucky winners!

Here’s the contest details:

In order to enter this contest, answer the following question in the comments section of this post [at Slice of Lemon, not here at Notebook Stories]:

What is your fondest childhood memory?

Answers can be something like, “The time I went fishing with my dad” or “When I punched Jimmy Smith in the face for smashing my sandwich at lunch,” or “Taking horseback riding lessons,” or “The time I made $10 from my lemonade stand.”
Answers can be as long or short as you want.

Only one entry per person is allowed, and all entries must be submitted no later than 9 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, Oct. 5, 2009.

Enter at her website: A Giveaway: The Greatest Notebooks on Earth, and I’m Not Really an Advocate of Crack. : sliceoflemon.com.

Notebooks in My Office

I have a few notebooks stashed in my desk drawer. These have traveled with me through 3 job changes, but I’ve only used any of them actively for brief periods.

The first one is this 4″ x 5 3/4″ Cahier de Toilex made in Japan by Maruman. It’s not my ideal size, but I love the tight double wire binding, and the cover has a simulated canvas texture. The brand info is actually a stuck-on label, not just printed on the cover. The paper inside is lined and quite smooth. I bought this beauty in San Francisco, I think, in the mid-1990s. I used about 1/4 of the pages for work-related jottings.

The next one is a bit of a mystery. This chunky, flexible notebook measures about 4 1/8″ x 5 3/4″. It’s similar to some Miquelrius notebooks I’ve seen, but there is no brand or country of origin marked anywhere on the notebook itself. The paper inside is unlined. I used about 12 pages of it for some sketches during a beach trip about 10 years ago, but never used it for work notes. I have no memory of where I bought it.

Here’s a notebook that could have some future re-use potential. The leather cover is actually a Coach passport holder– I love the feel of the leather and I’m thinking I may just convert it back to its original purpose. (When I bought this, I didn’t even have a passport.) Inside is a Clairfontaine notebook, a small staple-bound one with lined paper. I had to cut the covers slightly to make them slide into the passport holder, but the pages were a perfect fit! It’s actually a great little notebook– a few pages were torn out, and a few others have notes on them, but otherwise I don’t seem to have used this much at all. I don’t know why!

Finally, I have a very basic little looseleaf notebook, probably bought in an office supply store in mid-town Manhattan near where I used to work. I tried to use it as a sort of budget Filofax, adding a clear plastic pocket and some post-it notes mounted on the inside back pocket. I guess I gave up on using it and moved any paper in it to some other Filofax– all that’s left is a couple small notes, a few old business cards from 3 jobs ago, and a stamp.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with these– probably stick them back in my desk drawer for another few years!