Notebook Review: Rosetta Notes

Notebook Review: Rosetta Notes

Rosetta Notes are touted plainly on the back of each pocket notebook as “Fountain pen friendly paper” so I was eager to test them out and see if they lived up to their claims. The pocket notebooks are also in the favored 3.5×5.5″ size and are milled, manufactured and printed in Michigan. The paper mill of note in Michigan is, of course, French Paper.

Rosetta Notes Back Cover

The final feather in their cap is that the books are available with plain (with orange or chocolate covers), lined (with turquoise or black cover) or dot grid paper (with wine cover) and can be purchased in 3-packs for $7.99. A mixed pack is also available with one book each.

Rosetta Notes paper

Inside each book is French Paper 70lb/105gsm Smart White ultra-smooth, bright white paper. It’s pH neutral and acid-free. Each book contains 24 sheets/48 pages. The covers are 100lb/260gsm cover weight in an assortment of colors, made from recycled paper. The covers are printed front and back with a compass rose on the front and branding information on the back in metallic ink. The books are staple-bound with two staples along the spine and the corners are rounded. On close inspection, the corner rounding was definitely done on a corner rounder after assembly as they are not consistent. For the price point and the purpose these notebooks serve, I’m willing to overlook some of the finishing issues. They are pocket notebooks with paper covers and high quality paper. For me, that’s the biggest and most important feature.

Rosetta Notes dot grid comparison

I assumed most folks would be most interested in the dot grid book so I thought I’d compare the dot printing in the Rosetta Notes (top) with the printing in other pocket notebooks currently available. In the middle is the Word. notebook in dot grid and on the bottom is the new Blackwing Clutch in dot grid. All three are 5mm spacing. This photo shows the size and color differences of the paper and dots.

Rosetta Notes pen tests

The line spacing on lined paper is 6mm so you can see I write pretty small. The photo above is actually larger than actual size so you can see there’s a little bleeding with more watery inks like deAtramentis.

Rosetta Notes bleed test

But when I turn the page over, there is NO show through or bleed through. So, I decided to push it a little further.

Rosetta Notes writing pen tests

I got out some more artsy tools like a brush pen and some felt tip pens, just to see how the paper would hold up.

Rosetta Notes lined bleed tests

There is a little show through with the big brush pens but really… minimal. When compared with the results that is often found with most pocket notebooks, this is really something. And these Rosetta Notes are much cheaper. So, if you’re looking for (1) dot grid, (2) fountain pen friendlier and (3) cheaper options for your pocket notebooks, its definitely worth checking out Rosetta Notes.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by iPenStore for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Books For The Desk Set: Home Decor

I haven’t done a home decor book review yet but I do have quite the pile of books. I love home decor books and they often have great inspiration for revamping your office, home office or studio/work area. Not to mention that we paper enthusiasts tend to book enthusiasts too so maybe some of these books might be of interest to you, just on principle.

Nomad by Sibella Court
A Global Approach to Interior Style
I purchased The Life of a Bowerbird by Sibella Court for my “other mother” last year and I bought Nomad with every intention of giving it to her as well but it was so lovely I had a hard time parting with it. While this sort of bohemian aesthetic isn’t normally to my taste, this book is so beautiful, I couldn’t resist its allure. There is something about its subtlety, design and honesty that while it wasn’t specifically my taste spoke to me about finding or following my own loves with the same passion and enthusiasm that Court follows hers. I do admit to appreciating the more colorful chapter in Mexico best.

HomemakersHomemakers by Brit Morin of Brit+Co
A Domestic Handbook for the Digital Generation
I wasn’t familiar with Brit+Co until last year when someone at work mentioned it by which time I felt a little late to the party. Homemakers, however, makes me feel like I can get a feel for the web site and its content without having to navigate through years of online content, including a mess of ads, millennial pop culture (like Brit+Co makes their own planners, did you know that?). First, the book suggests that its time to reclaim the term “homemaker” for the 21st century. Okay, everyone else is taking back other words, why not?

Homemakers is divided into sections based on the part of the home it is related to: Kitchen, Living Room, Bedroom, Bathroom. There is also Workspace, Gym and “Back Porch” section. The Back Porch is a catchall for some really weird stuff, I’m surprised there’s not an old washer and a broken down Big Wheel

The book has color-coding along the edge to make finding a specific section fast. While there are some interesting tidbits in each section, the book is by no means comprehensive in any category and the “notes” page after various articles seem like a waste of space. Poor page layout? I would have preferred more content instead.

I appreciate that in the Workspace section included references to things like 3D printers, CNC mills and laser cutters but they also dismissed learning to sew as not necessary to be a DIY rockstar. If you can run a Kitchenaid mixer and a laser cutter, you can handle the intracacies of regular sewing machine. Yeah for supporting modern makers but don’t ditch “your grandma’s craft skills”. Sheesh.

Homemakers is a colorful book with lots of references to modern life, apps and online companions like Netflix to make it feel current but there is a boat load of editing that could have been done. There are places where the writing is just weird. “Food process Doritos and use them as chicken skin”? Do they mean use Doritos as breading on chicken? Where was your editor? It just tried to be too many things and not enough of any one thing. Be a cookbook or a maker book or crafts book instead it was kind of crap at all of them. But it had really pretty pictures.

Design Sponge at HomeDesign Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney
By contrast to Homemakers, Design Sponge at Home brings much of the sneak peeks, DIY projects, Before & Afters and DIY basics to the printed page with flying colors. Even though this book was published several years ago, much of the content is still fresh and, in some cases, even more relevant today. With even more interest in small houses, DIY, upcycling and doing more with less, the book feels just as accessible as ever. Maybe some of the paint colors are a little dated or the prints on the bedspreads seems a little 2010, but otherwise, the content all seems sensible and applicable. Many of the Sneak Peeks are folks living in small apartments in New York and figuring out how to make do with little space and little money. These spaces are less about “decorating” and more about creating expressive, livable spaces.

There are also great “before & after” projects in the back that give me hope and courage to tackle some of the many projects I have on my to-do list.

A Colorful HomeA Colorful Home by Susan Hable
Create Lively Palettes for Every Room

How could I resist a book about creating colorful rooms by the co-founder of Hable Construction? There were even pull quote recommendations on the back of the book from Grace Bonney (of Design Sponge, see above) and Andy Spade (yes, the significant other of Kate Spade!) Interspersed throughout the book–which is divided into colors: rose, treetops, arrowhead, citrus, thorn, pool and salt –are photos of dyed swatches of fabric, close-ups of watercolors, details of plants, textural elements and interior photos. This is not a decorating book in a traditional sense. Its a book of inspiration. Like Nomad, it sets a mood  through color rather than place. A Colorful Home establishes a more eclectic aesthetic, mixing classic and modern pieces held together by color where Nomad uses place to develop a color palette and aesthetic based on a locale. The two books actually work together quite well together. If you get your hands on both books, I highly recommend getting both of them if you are looking for visual eye candy.

Product Review: ArtSnacks July 2017 Subscription Box

Product Review: ArtSnacks July 2017 Subscription Box

Review by Tina Koyama

If I had to choose two of my favorite types of sketching materials, I’d have to say brush pens and colored pencils. You can imagine my thrill when I opened the July ArtSnacks box and found a Pentel Duopoint Flex Double-Ended Brush Pen and two Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle colored pencils! In addition, I got a Derwent HB Graphic Drawing Pencil and a Derwent 2-in-1 Eraser/Sharpener. A bonus was a 15 percent discount coupon to Artist & Craftsman Supply (online or in store). A&C is one of very few remaining brick-and-mortar art supply stores in Seattle, so I’m happy to take my coupon over there to shop (Ed note: There’s also an A&C in KC and one of my favorites as well!). My box also contained a red-hot Atomic FireBall and a much-loved ArtSnacks sticker.

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Ink Review: DeAtramentis Pearlescent Inks

There’s only one way to truly show off shimmer/sparkle/pearlescent inks and that’s with video. I apologize for the 25-minute long video but its not my fault that deAtramentis decided to release 40 colors in their new line of Pearlescent inks. There’s ten different colors of ink on four different sparkle/pearlescent bases. The ten colors are whisky brown, amber yellow, camellia, magenta red, heliogreen, brilliant violet, cyan blue, indian blue, columbia blue, and velvet black. Each color has been released with a gold pearlescent, silver pearlescent, copper pearlescent and bronze pearlescent base. So far.

I didn’t have all 40 of the deAtramentis samples, only about 26 of them but that’s still a serious sampling that will give you a good idea of what these inks colors look like across the bases. I was missing a lot of the copper and bronze versions unfortunately which are the most unique aspects of the deAtramentis line.

deArtramentis Pearlescent inks

The best way to compare these colors is to show them side-by-side with Diamine Shimmer and J. Herbin 1670 colors.  I was missing a few of the Diamine Shimmer ink samples as well but again, I feel like I was able to get a pretty close comparison to the inks I had from deAtramentis.  I’m amazed at how many sparkle inks are on the market now.

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Link Love: Aurora Duo Carts & Pencil Lady Panic! Better have a G&T.

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Fashionable Friday: Summer Lovin’

Fashionable Friday: Summer Lovin'

Summer makes me crave lemonade, turquoise blues and leafy palm greens whether I am land-locked or on the coast. Hope you are someplace enjoying a sunny beach, a cocktail and a sea breeze!

  • Lemons Print A3 $21 (via Watersounds on Etsy)
  • Robert Oster Bondi Blue Fountain Pen Ink (50ml bottle) $18 (via Federalist Pens)
  • Beach Time! in Sand VersaNotes Notecard $2 each (via Sapori)
  • Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB Pencil A dozen for $13.00 (via Fresh Stock Japan)
  • Aurora 88 Fountain Pen in Yellow with a Fine Flex Nib – Limited Edition $650 (via Anderson Pens)
  • Palm Notebooks Limited Edition Beach Series Pack of 3 $9.99 (via Word. Notebooks)
  • Cricket Notebooks £8 for a set of three (via BackPocket)
  • Life A5 Notebook Ruled €15.95 (€13.18 Outside EU) (via Fontoplumo)
  • TWSBI Diamond 580AL Turquoise Fountain Pen – Stub 1.1 mm Nib $67.50 (via JetPens)
  • Taccia Spectrum Fountain Pen in Ocean Blue $127.20 (via Anderson Pens)
  • L’Artiste by Spring Step Livvy $99.99 (via Zappos)
  • Enamel Chicken Pin $10 (via BoyGirlParty on Etsy)
  • Embossing Label Maker £15.95 (via The Stationer)
  • TWSBI Eco Turquoise Fountain pen $39.99USD Available in August (via Appelboom)

Recommended summer listening: The English Beat AKA The Beat: The perfect poolside, umbrella-in-your-cocktail, lime-in-your-beer, sand-in-your-flip-flops, chlorine-in-your-hair tunes. Any first wave ska or reggae will do in a pinch. Apply coconut scented sunscreen liberally.

Pencil Review: Pencil Subscriptions June 2017

Pencil Review: Pencil Subscriptions June 2017

June was the month for quarterly pencil subscriptions. All three of the major quarterly pencil subscriptions arrived within a couple weeks of each other. The C.W. Pencils Pencil Box #2: Japan Box, the Baron Fig Archer Prismatic and the Palomino Blackwing Editions #73 Lake Tahoe edition all arrived in June 2017. On the surface, they are all pencil subscriptions and the all ship quarterly but beyond that, I feel they all do very different things.

Of course, if you are a pencil enthusiast, you may find yourself subscribing to more than one of these subscriptions – or all three.

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