Tag: moleskine

Notebook Review: Seawhite Artist’s Travel Journal A5

Seawhite Travel Journal A5

After my positive experience with the Seawhite of Brighton Starter Sketchbook, I decided to take the Seawhite Artist’s Travel Journal out for a test drive. This is their best effort to replicate a better Moleskine Artist’s Sketchbook and they did it. First of all, its a true A5 size. Second, on Amazon, its priced at $12.50. Third, the paper is 130 gsm cartridge paper. And it has 128 pages.

While the Moleskine Artist’s Sketchbook claims to have heavier weight paper, it repels most liquid media making it entirely unusable for me since I like to add watercolor to my sketches. So… after quite liking the 140 gsm paper in the Starter Sketchbook, I was willing to accept a slightly lighter “cartridge paper” to have a light water-receptive paper for sketching at a reasonable price.

The Seawhite Artist’s Travel Journal cover is a slightly flexible hard cover like the Moleskines and the rounded corners too. Its not a stiff cover which makes it firm enough to support your writing or drawing but not overly stiff. I have other sketchbooks with stiff covers and square corners that could double as weapons. The Seawhite Artist’s Travel Journal also has a sewn binding and will lay flat with a little training.

Seawhite Travel Journal A5

The paper in the Artist’s Travel Journal is a warm white which is quite pleasant compared to the bright white of the Starter Sketchbook. I immediately went to it with pen and ink and watercolor and while the paper did waffle a little bit, it did not resist the paint nor did it pill. WIN.

Seawhite Travel Journal A5

I tested an assortment of fountain pens with good luck as well, though the paper did absorb the ink a bit more than Rhodia or other paper more specifically designed for writing. I didn’t have any issues with splining or feathering except with a rollerball and then only very minorly. Felt tip and fine tipped fountain pens behaved well on the paper making it a good book for art journaling, mixed media and dry sketching with light wash or ink.  Its definitely not watercolor paper but it can withstand a little bit of water and wet media. Enough to be a big step up from the Moleskine Sketchbook.

Seawhite Travel Journal A5

The Seawhite Artist’s Travel Journal includes a ribbon bookmark and a gusseted pocket in the back for scraps and momentos as well so all the details are still there. And there’s the vertical elastic. To the untrained eye, no one will know its not a Moleskine unless you tell them. And I would because this book is just better.

Seawhite Travel Journal A5

I did a second round of testing because I was feeling it… and with ink, watercolor and colored pencil, I was still thrilled with the overall performance of the paper. Yes, I got a little waffle after it dried but nothing terrible, all things considered. I slapped the elastic around the cover after everything was dry and hopefully that will help flatten things out over time.

Seawhite Travel Journal A5

And in my second round of pen tests, I added in more everyday pens like Fineliners, a Pilot G2, some gel pens and a Pilot Precise. I guess I was worried I was feeling too cocky about the sketchbook being good for me but maybe not right for someone else.

Now, I feel fairly confident that if you’re looking for something MORE than just writing paper — that you want more than a Leuchtturm 1917 or Rhodia Webbie because you want to sketch or do some pen and ink or markers or watercolor, the Seawhite Artist’s Travel Journal is a good option. Its not the top tier. Its the everyday sketcher. Its a notebook that  doesn’t make me feel like I’m messing up the “good notebook”. Its a “work” book. It good enough to get the bones of a sketch or idea down, capture my everyday adventures and get banged around in my bag. Does that make any kind of sense?

Hmmm… Moleskine gets into the Digital Pen Market

Moleskine has introduced its Smart Writing Set, a notebook and digitally-enabled pen that works in combination with an app that syncs with the Moleskine Notes app, Google Drive or Evernote. The notebook is designed with rounded pages to look more like the shape of a tablet. Maybe to visually differeniate it from the regular notebooks? It features 100 gsm paper and NCode encoded pages to help sync with the digital app.

The Pen+ features a tiny camera and internal memory to store digital data as well as an actual rollerball nib. The pen comes with a charging cord as well.

The initial Smart Writing Set is $199 with replacement notebooks selling for $29.95.

I know a lot of people like the idea of analog-meets-digital tools but this seems like a very pricey venture. What do you think?

Reconsidering Moleskine

moleskine covers

I’m fully prepared for backlash and vitriol from this post, but, over the years, Moleskine continues to be the measure used — for better or worse — for all other notebooks. First and foremost, Moleskine notebooks are available in a multitude of sizes, configurations and form factors. The overall aesthetics are streamlined and understated. While you might not love them, its hard to truly dislike them. If anything, they are plain. And they are ubiquitous. You can buy them almost anywhere: the airport, the bookstore, the coffeeshop or your favorite boutique.

What really spurred me was a recent comment that suggested that the paper stock used in the Moleskine Cahier, Volant and standard Moleskine Notebooks was different. Well, that gave me something worthy of investigation.

So, I bought one of each at the standard large size (5″x8.25″ or 13x21cm slightly smaller than A5), new, off-the-shelf from my local Barnes & Noble. I wanted to make sure I had recent editions and not ones that had been sitting on my shelves for months or years that may have been manufactured with different paper stock. I purchased all plain notebooks since I like to use guide sheets and Moleskine paper is very conducive to using your own guide sheets as the paper is not super thick. Of course, all the Moleskine notebooks are also available in other colored covers but I went with plain black. The Cahier I couldn’t find a black version so I went with grey as the next best option for neutral.

I also tested the week-on-two-pages planner for 2016, also with the soft cover, which I got through Jenni Bick. I was curious if the process of adding printing created any coating on the paper that might alter ink adhesion in any way so the planner is my monkey wrench in the testing process.

Of course, my expectations are not that the Moleskine notebooks are all of a sudden 100% fountain pen friendly or anything like that but there are many readers who don’t need all-day, everyday fountain pen friendly paper. And there are lots of other notebooks that we often rely on heavily that don’t support fountain pens the way we wish they would like the Baron Fig, Field Notes, or Word Notebooks.

As pen and pencil aficionados, we also love gels, rollerballs, ballpoints, pencils, felt tips, brushes and all sorts of other mark-making tools. And sometimes, we need something that is easy to find in the size that fits our favorite Fauxdori, Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter or whatever other carryall or pocket we need to stuff with paper.

Format No. of books Pages/book total pages cover material binding extras MSRP
Plain Softcover

1

192

192

leatherette perfect bound, stitched ribbon bookmark, gusset pocket

$19.95

Volant

2

96

192

plastic perfect bound, stitched sticker sheet, all pages are perforated

$13.95

Cahier

3

80

240

cardstock paperboard exposed stitching glued slit pocket, last 16 pages perforated in each book

$13.95

First things first… a spreadsheet of specs!

The first thing I noticed when I put together my spreadsheet is that the Cahier 3-set is a better price value, page-per-page, than the Volant or the soft cover notebook, sales or discounted pricing notwithstanding. Of course, the covers are not as durable but the Cahier sets include the perforated pages in the back and the pocket so there are still some “extras”. I just thought it was interesting to note.

My experience with the large, soft cover plain notebook is pretty much identical to the XL version. The paper behaved as well as I expected and I’m finding that the flexible cover is a good compromise between the classic hard cover Moleskine notebook and a floppy paper cover. The soft leatherette cover actually feels very nice in hand and allows the cover to be folded back or to lay flat as I need it. It also slims the book ever so slightly so its not quite as bulky overall. The soft cover notebook still includes the gusseted pocket in the back, ribbon bookmark and the vertical elastic like the classic hard cover version.

The covers on the Volant feel the most rugged of the three. They are more plasticky feeling than the leatherette quality of the soft cover which feel more supple and upscale. However, I do like that all the pages in the Volant are perforated as an option. If you are looking for a notebook that could be used for lists and leave-behind notes, the Volant offers the easiest flexibility.  There are no extras in the Volant — no ribbon bookmarks or pockets in the Volant so its a very stripped down and streamlined notebook. The writing sample on the Volant was absolutely consistent with the plain notebook. My husband voted the Volant his favorite.

The Cahier notebooks are lovely to look at with the exposed stitching and the kraft paper covers. However, the paper in the Cahier did seem to be more inclined to feather the fountain pen inks than in either the Volant or the soft cover or the planner. Even the J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor in my TWSBI EF behaved nicely in all but the Cahier. Now I don’t know if the Cahier paper behavior was a fluke but it even shadowed and bled to the reverse more than the other three. Maybe that’s part of why its a slightly better price value? You get what you pay for?

Finally, for comparison, I also tested the week-on-two-pages 2016 Weekly Planner (with the same soft cover as the plain notebook) to verify that, in printing, the paper quality didn’t change. I used all the same pens with the same inks as I did on the plain paper which I assume was not run through printing press and the results were consistent with the plain notebook and the Volant. The Cahier paper still seems to be a little more absorbent than any of the other papers but generally speaking the printing lines don’t seem to alter the quality of the paper. So if your preference is lined or graph paper, Moleskine notebooks will withstand the same scrutiny that the plain books do.

One of the things I really enjoy about the Moleskine paper is the warm white color and the smoothness of the stock. The warm white color is very inviting and easy on the eyes. I find it less intimidating than a stark, bright white sheet found in other notebooks.

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(Click on image to view full size)
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(Click on image to view full size)

For the writing tests, I left the full-sized images available to view so that you can get as up-close and personal with these photos as you’d like. As you can see, with most everyday, fine line pens the Moleskine paper performed pretty well. Even fine fountain pens were mostly well-behaved. I particularly like how felt tip pens pens behave on Moleskine paper like the Sharpie Pen and Staedtler Triples Fineliners. They sort of grip along and make lovely marks.

Because the Moleskine paper is very smooth, if you do prefer a very fine writing tool, you are unlikely to snag an 0.25mm on the tooth of the paper. Pencils also glide across the paper. Even the finest Pilot Hi-Tec C, Energel Needletip or (my current favorite) Platinum Carbon Pen, skates across the paper. Despite the issues with some fountain pens and fountain pen inks, many writing tools are a joy on Moleskine paper.

Since most of my daily writing and drawing work is done with a 0.5mm or smaller tool, the Moleskine paper is really quite adequate. And all of the plain paper performed the same. What I did notice was that heat or moisture from my hand could affect the paper. Its not heavyweight paper by any means but honestly, neither is Tomoe River. Sure, Tomoe doesn’t feather but its transparent and takes an age to dry so there are trade-off’s with any notebook or paper you may choose.

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Reverse of pages. (Click on image to view full size)

From the reverse of the pages, you can see some ghosting and show through on the top row which is the planner and the Cahier but not so much as to be distracting when written on the other side. With the plain paper notebooks, I tend to only use one side of the paper anyway. For the planner, I use mostly color coded gel pens for daily use so they don’t show through as much as the testing actually demonstrates. Generally speaking, the reverse of the pen tests were not as bad as I was expecting them to be. Of course, I didn’t try a lot of wide calligraphy fountain pens but even my brush pens behaved with some discretion.

So, in the end, the Cahier paper does seem to be a little thinner, and a little lower quality,  than the paper used in the Volant and standard notebooks. I’d be more inclined to recommend the Volant and the soft cover notebooks over the Cahier if you’re going to dip your toe back in the Moleskine pool.

Part of what spurred my interest in all this Moleskine business was when I started using my Moleskine XL for a daily sketchbook late last year. I’ve warmed back up to the possibilities of the Moleskine notebooks. I’ve carried the XL everyday, to and from work, doodled, written, stamped, scribbled, watercolored and basically treated it as the workhorse object it was designed to be treated. To no ill effects. For three months. I’m happy to keep drawing in it. In fact I look forward to continuing to fill the pages and THAT is why we have notebooks. This goes back to the whole reason I keep a notebook — so that I write and draw and make marks.

I think whatever notebook makes you want to make marks, write your story, save your memories, doodle, scrawl or write your grocery list, don’t feel guilty about it. If you love a Moleskine, use it. If you prefer an Italian embossed leather notebook purchased on the Bridge of Sighs, than use that. The best notebook is the one you have with you, no matter which one you choose.

Analog Products/Digital App Makers Round-up

I’ve noticed a lot of analog tool makers are also making apps. I thought I might take a look at a few of them and see if any of them might of use with or in combination with your favorite analog tools.

moleskine app icons

Moleskine:

Moleskine offers several apps at the moment, the latest being the Moleskine Timepage Calendar for iCloud, Google Calendar and more (iPhone and Apple Watch). Its a paid app that claims to be revolutionary. It looks like a clean, simple calendar app that is designed to integrate seamlessly with existing calendar tools like iCloud, Exchange and many others. It is a $4.99 paid app so I’ve just downloaded it to give it a try. I have been using Fantastical for years on my phone without complaints so I’m trying the Timepage as an experiment. The app has beautiful typography and a very simple design. The default view is the week-at-a-glance and if I swipe to the left I get a monthly calendar view with each of the days with activities highlighted with “heat circles” indicating activities from various calendars – i.e. work, personal, birthdays, holidays, etc. The method to build individual events in the app are a little different than other apps like the default Calendar app or Fantastical but I quickly figured it out. It is actually pretty elegant and uses a built-in weather app and a lot of natural language elements that make it feel very friendly. My work meetings are all scheduled through digital calendars and I don’t always get them moved to my paper planner so having an aesthetically appealing interface to view these makes having work meetings a little less painful. If you haven’t invested in a calendar app beyond the default app that ships with your iPhone, the Moleskine Timepage is actually a lot nicer than I thought it would be.

Moleskine also offers their digital Moleskine Journal app (free with in-app purchases for iPhone and iPad) and a Moleskine/Creative Cloud connected app to work the Moleskine and Adobe Creative Cloud notebook (iPhone only). The Moleskine/Creative Cloud Connected App has only one very lackluster review. The notebook was designed to work for Adobe creative products like the Evernote/Moleskine notebooks work with the Evernote app system though it appears most folks aren’t using the Adobe or reviewing the Adobe Creative Cloud version.

There’s a Moleskine Photo Books app for the iPad (free) to help build a photo book through their service. Again, there are very few reviews and I don’t know anyone who’s actually used Moleskine’s photo books as an option so I don’t know about the print quality. But if you’re feeling brave, please let us know if you like the app and the quality of the photos you receive.

Baron Fig app icons

Baron Fig:

Baron Fig has released two digital products to compliment its analog tools: Spark and Mosaic.

Spark ($0.99 + in-app purchases) is an iPhone and Apple Watch-enabled set of creativity prompts. The reviews look positive as quick flashes of ideas to help stir thinking and mindfulness. Think of it as your digital page-a-day calendar with better typography.

Mosaic ($1.99) is Baron Fig’s answer to a digital notebook. While I prefer to write my notes on paper, there are moments when I just don’t have a paper and pen with me but I do have my phone and the Mosaic app lets me capture those little tidbits so I can transpose them later. I do wish there was a way to export projects or share them but they are sort of trapped in the the Mosaic app. Its good for to-do lists and quick reminder notes though.

Exaclair App icons

Exaclair (AKA Clairefontaine, Rhodia, Quo Vadis):

LifeNoted (free + in-app upgrade $1.99 for full version) is a calendaring, journaling and to-do app all rolled up into one. You can add photos and videos as well plus tagging. While it looks like it keeps it all the appointments and to-dos together, I don’t find it to be the most aesthetically appealing app. But if you’re juggling professional, personal, home and family commitments, this might help balance it all. There’s more information available about the app at Life Noted.

ME Journal is the app interface for the Quo Vadis Habana ME (Multimedia Enhanced) Journal. The app is available for iPhone and iPad. I wrote a review last fall about my experience with the ME Journal.

Do you know of any other analog companies that are dipping their toes into the digital world? Or vice versa? Let me know if I missed anyone.I live in both the analog and digital worlds so I won’t say I don’t appreciate efforts to make my digital world as pleasing as my analog world but I do still have some reservations about it. How about you?

Endless Bag Quest

current bags

Its not just me, right? Besides perpetually questing for the perfect pen, ink, notebook, planner, pencil, ad nauseum, you also are on the perpetual hunt for the perfect bag too?

I have several bags that are pretty close but not perfect. There are occasions where I need something slightly smaller, slightly larger, slightly more rugged or slightly more dressy, etc. Gentlemen in the audience who have fewer requirements, I suspect, and more pockets (“I am only slightly jealous of the amount of pockets sewn into men’s clothing,” she’s says ironically) but I also hear men raise similar ranges of needs so I’m trying not to pigeonhole anyone. Is there a “perfect” bag or can we ever get to one or two perfect bags? One for work, one for travel and maybe one for weekend jaunts?

The bags I currently have in circulation are:

I work a corporate, 9-to-5 job and I feel I’ve reached a point where most backpacks look too academic to carry to work. However, I do carry a good deal of stuff with me so I need a decent-sized bag. I like being able to switch between some sort of handle for getting in and out of a car and then use a shoulder strap/cross body strap for the 0.25 mile walk from the parking lot to my desk. Really. It’s a big campus.

Stuff in my bag

Usual contents of daily bag are:

  • pen case (pictured is my favorite LWA member-only pen case)
  • notebook (not pictured, currently XL Moleskine soft cover book)
  • planner (pictured Filofax Personal Original in dark aqua)
  • travel mug/water bottle
  • knitting project (not shown: can be small sock project or whole dang sweater)
  • small cosmetics bag (vintage Girl Scout fabric purchased at Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago)
  • phone
  • ear buds
  • sunglasses
  • business cards (Pantone case)
  • wallet (Coach wristlet)

Moleskine MyCloud bags

I’ve considered one of the Moleskine MyCloud bags ( I know, its crazy talk but I like the subtle exterior and the bright interior colors). They look well-constructed as well. There are an assortment of internal pockets for devices, pens and accesories but I cant’ find many review online so I am having to scrounge information. I have space credits (AKA money in my PayPal account) right now so I’m considering the reporter ($139.95) or the tote ($159.95). I do agree that our bags are our mobile offices and our desks-on-the-go especially when travelling.

Do you have a favorite bag? Or are you, like me, still hunting for the perfect combination of good looks and functionality?

Art of the Day: Oliver Jeffries

stluis-3 charlotte-2

Oliver Jeffers sketchbook illustrations for the United Airlines in-flight magazine. It looks like they were drawn a pocket-sized Moleskine Cahier using waxy colored pencils and some white ink or gel pens. Gorgeous!

I made a bunch of maps for the United Airlines inflight magazine. They are all geographically accurate.

dc-2

Visit Oliver Jeffers site to see all the images from the collection and admire his other work as well. Check out the sketchbook section to see some amazing collages and messy, well-loved sketchbooks.

(shoutout to The Cramped for the tip)

Review: Pen & Ink Pocket Sketchbook

Pen & Ink Sketchbook cover I picked up the Art Alternatives Pen & Ink Sketch with medium weight paper in the pocket (3.5×5.5″) size. I chose the blank version though it is also available in graph and lined plus a heavyweight paper version. In the images on Jet Pens, the lines on the lined and graph looked much too dark for my liking. I’d rather use a blank book with a guide sheet. It’s described as medium weight (80gsm) paper, but it feels like the same weight, maybe a tiny bit heavier, than Moleskine’s standard paper.

Pen & Ink Sketchbook Pocket

From the outside, its pretty indistinguishable from a Moleskine pocket hardcover. It has a stiff leatherette cover, elastic closure and a ribbon bookmark. Upon opening the book, the paper is a soft white and there is a gusseted pocket in the back. If you like Moleskines but wish for a cheaper alternative, at first glance, this would make a great option at a mere $8.

Pen & Ink Sketchbook writing sample

Pen & Ink Sketchbook  reverse of writing sample

Comparing Moleskine to Pen & Ink Sketchbook

There’s a few things that actually make the Pen & Ink Sketchbook a better value than a standard Moleskine. First, the bookmark is sealed on the end so it shouldn’t fray. Also, the paper is slightly better quality than the Moleskine paper. Not epically better but, in a side-by-side comparison, there is less feathering and splining with the Pen & Ink paper than Moleskine (shown on the left). With everyday writing tools like rollerball, ballpoint, gel, pencil and fine-nibbed fountain pens, I found the paper totally acceptable. Yes there is a little showthrough but nothing that wouldn’t be expected at the paper weight and price point. The elastic closure also feels more durable. We’ll see how it performs overall but it feels like it will survive longer than a Moleskine elastic.

This is an everyday pocket notebook at a very reasonable price. It has 96 pages (192 sheets) which is comparable to three Field Notes for about the same price. So, if you prefer a hardcover pocket notebook with the classic good looks associated with a Moleskine, this is a good alternative. If you’re hoping for more substantial paper, you might consider the heavy weight paper version (145gsm) instead.


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

 

I Do These Things For You

Moleskine Art Plus Sketchbook

Moleskine recently unveiled their new Art Plus Sketch Album which explicitly called out the weight of the paper stock on new books is 120 gsm (80lb). Its a cardstock cover book available as a pocket or large “reporter style” though they show it used horizontally on the site, or a 7.5″ square size. Each book has 88 pages and retail prices are $7.95 for the pocket (A6-ish) , $13.95 for the large (A5-ish) and $19.95 for the 7.5″ (19cm) square.

I am willing to try one out so that you, my fine readers, do not have to blow your hard-earned cash if these are not a real improvement over the regular paper (terrible for anything but pencil) or the “sketchbook” stock which was water-resisting, manila card stock.  I ordered one and expect to have it for review in a week or so. If it is terrible paper that makes me shout profanities, there will be a bonfire and you’ll all be invited.

Moleskine Art Plus inside

Ask The Desk: Notebook Questions

Ask The Desk Header

Sandy asks:

Can you please explain what is meant by “volant” and “cahier” in regards to noyebook types?  Especially volant, I do not get why a notebook is called by these two names.  What am I looking for when I want one of these?

Moleskine Cahier

Cahier and Volant are terms Moleskine uses to describe two of their soft cover notebooks. The Volant is the perfect bound notebooks with a leatherette cover. The Cahier notebooks have a cardstock cover and are stitch or staple bound. Other companies have used similar terminology to describe their products as well though I would recommend reading the descriptions carefully as neither of these terms are official terminology.

Moleskine Volant


Nick asks:

Maybe you’ve seen the new Doane Paper 3-ring binder pouch. But it made me want to use 3-ring binders more. The problem with binders is that they don’t stack or sit nicely on a bookshelf.

Do you have any tips for binder storage?

Binders are paricularly challenging to store on shelves. I recommend starting with the smallest width binder to start with so that it is fairly full. When it becomes difficult to put more into it, upgrade to a larger width. That way the binders sit a little better on the shelf. A shelf full of 3″ binders with only a few pages in each don’t sit at all nicely.

If anyone has a better idea, let me know!


Melissa asked:

Can you show me a few choices for a budget notebook for fountain pen writing? I want something that’s thick enough not to bleed to the back, under about $15, A5 size, lined preferred (something like narrow ruled filler paper). Bonus points for purple cover, as that’s my favorite colour.

Poppin purple softcover notebook

Poppin is THE source for those with a color fetish. They offer their medium soft cover in their signature plummy purple. The notebook is $9. I tested the softcover notebook and there is a little show through with juicy pens like the Retro 51 and fountain pens but you can’t beat the price.

Scout Books Mega Book

The Scout Books Mega Books are 5×7″ with cardstock covers. While there are not any currently available with purple covers, the tough cardstock would give you a great surface to paint or collage your own ode to purple. Two books are sold in a set for $10. The paper is 70lb text weight so it can hold up to fountain pens but may have some show through with juicy pens.

Paperthinks

Paperthinks is another company I always think of for the color savvy. They stock not one but three different shades of purple to choose from.  Their large notebook is 12 x 17cm (4.7″x6.7″) with recycled leather covers and lined pages.  The regular large notebook has 256 ruled pages (£16) and the slim version has 144 pages (£10) so they are in your price ballpark. When tested, the paper showed a bit of showthrough but the overall quality of the books is good.

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Slightly higher than your price point is the Exacompta Club Leatherette Refillable Journal ($24.50) in lilac purple. Refills are $16.50 and available in lined as well as blank and grid. The paper is good quality 64g so it should handle most fountain pens, as well as any gel, rollerball, ballpoint or pencil you used.


And the last question of the week comes from Aziza:

Anyways, just based on some fun movie trivia, would you say the notebook in the series True Detective that Matthew McConaughey uses is an extra large Moleskine? Just curious of your opinion.

mcconaughey notebook in True Detective

I believe you are right. That looks like the A4 Moleskine Folio book. Its 8.5×12″ but I can’t tell if he’s using the sketchbook or plain paper version. I guess I’ll have to watch the series just for the notebooks!

Thanks for all the great questions!

Link Love: Instagrammatical & TWSBIs (made-up words!)

Image credits (clockwise from top left: Noyolajose, Mary Kate McDevitt, Tuesday Next [that's me!],  FPGeeks, Rad And Hungry, MyCoffeePot, Rad And Hungry,  Elltbr, and GouletPens)
Image credits (clockwise from top left: Noyolajose, Mary Kate McDevitt, Tuesday Next [that’s me!], FPGeeks, Rad And Hungry, MyCoffeePot, Rad And Hungry, Elltbr, and GouletPens)
Yeah for awesome Instagram friends! If you’re not following the folks in the photo collage above, I highly recommend them for wonderful office accoutrement photo yummies.

In other news:

Paper and Notebooks:

Pens and Ink:

Pencils:

For Valentine’s Day:

(via Creatively Curated)
Download the hi-rez file at  Creatively Curated

Video: Moleskine Hobbit Series

Feeling kind of Hobbitsy? Moleskine is re-releasing the Hobbit line of products in time for the release of the second film in the Hobbit series. So I guess its not so limited anymore, is it?

The covers are accented with debossed designs and metallic foils. Four versions are available in pocket sized including a Bordeaux Red cover and two black with red foil accents and black debossed designs and one black cover with red foil and gold foil. They are pretty but its still filled with mediocre paper stock. Sigh.

(via Moleskine)

Link Love: Instragramatics and more

linklove-instagram
Clockwise from top left: MrMikeDudek’s Kaweco AL Sport, trefste-metrese’s On-the-go penpal kit, klpeabody’s currently inked pens and Writetomeoften matched her nail polish to her ink (or vice versa).

I find office supplies inspiration everywhere. As I’ve posted before, Pinterest is a source of products, ideas and inspiration but I get just as much valuable information on Instagram and Twitter too. Yeah for other office supply lovers!

Pens and Pencils:

Paper:

Misc.:

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Eleanor Grosch Tour De France Desktop Wallpapers (via How About Orange)
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Again, clockwise from top left: IvanR365 and his pen case, Design_concussion finds the magic of Doane Paper, GreerChicago finds our kind of vending machine and Writetomeoften puts her Pelikan M100 through its paces
DIY Inkodye photo transfer pencil case (via Etsy Blog)
DIY Inkodye photo transfer pencil case (via Etsy Blog)

Moleskine Postal Notes and other new stuff

Moleskine Postal Notebook

On App.net yesterday, there were some conversations about the Moleskine Postal Notes so I thought I’d mention them here. I know Moleskine takes a lot of ribbing from the paper elite but they do make some beautiful albeit not-all-that-fountain-pen-friendly products.

Moleskine Postal Note Card

First, there are the postal notes. They are available as a note card or as a notebook. Both versions come in the small 3.5″ x 5.5″ size and the larger 4.5″  x 6.75″ size. The note card is a card stock cover with a one-page signature which is stitched into place with thread to coordinate with the cover and comes with an envelope for mailing. The postal notebook is an 8-page signature self-mailer. The covers have additional flaps that fold over the seal with a sticker making it look like an envelope. They have been available since 2012 in six deep tones– kraft, maize, light grey, terracotta, navy and red– but this year, they’ve introduced the postal notes in pastel hues as well. Prices range from $3.95 to $7.95.

Moleskine Pastel Postal Notebook

Moleskine Turntable Planner in use

In other Moleskine news, the new 2013-2014 “academic year” planners are now available. If you did not start a new planner in January and want to jump start your organization mid-year, the academic calendars are a great way to get started. They start on July 1 and go through 18 months. There is a new “turntable” design which is a more open format planning method. Dates are at the bottom of the page, at an angle, and the rest of the page is open allowing the user to use the spaces vertically or horizontally depending on the kind of week you might be having.

Moleskine Turntable Planner

The Turntable 18-month planner is available in the small (3.5″ x 5.5″) size and the large (4.5″x 6.75″) size as well in a rainbow of colors as well as special Star Wars and Peanuts editions. The planners are available through Notemaker and other fine online retailers.

Moleskine iPad Mini case

And finally, Moleskine is now selling covers to protect your iPhone, iPad and tablets which includes a volante-style reporter notebook on the left hand side of the case and a place to secure your digital device on the right. Prices start at $39.95 for a Kindle 2 case and go up to $89.95 for an iPad 3/4 case which is available in classic black or an array of cheery colors.

(shout out to our friends at Notemaker for the tip)

Ask The Desk: Moleskine Portfolio Book Alternatives

Ask The Desk Header

Yesterday, following Moleskine’s release of their new portfolio books, John from Pencil Revolution asked:

Anyone know of a portfolio type item that is not made by Moleskine?

This is the portfolio book in question. From the outside, it looks like a standard Moleskine notebook but on the inside its a divided pocket accordion book with an elastic closure. The 3.5″ x 5.5″ size sells for $13.95 and the 5.5″ x 8.5″ is $18.95.

Moleskine Portfolio Book

I did a little sleuthing and came up with a couple alternatives:

1. Pocket Accordion Organizer from The Container Store ($10.99): Printed on the side of this accordion pocket book is “I know I put it somewhere”. Inside is a multi-pocket accordion folder for notes and scraps and a notepad and pen. (4.125″ x 6.5″)

Container Store Folio Cover Container Store Folio

2. Knock Knock Crap Receiptables Personal Assistant Organizer from ModCloth ($13.99): This cheeky option includes a notepad printed with “Endless Crap” at the top, stickers for the tabbed accordion folder and comes with a ballpoint pen. (7.25″ x 4″)

KnockKnock Crap Folio

KnockKnock Crap Foilo Inside

3. Paperthinks Memo Pocket Notebooks ($14.95): This is my favorite choice. Its made from recycled leather, includes a notepad for lists and notes and an expandable divided pocket. Its available in 24 different colors including my favorite, lime green. (3.5″ x 6″)

Paperthinks Memo Notes

Paperthinks Memo Notes

Hope this helps and if anyone has any other options, please leave a note in the comments.

Link Love: Vintage Pens and Pen Addict Love

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 12.38.02 PM
(photo via Flickr, by Everyday Correspondence)

The big news this week is that Moleskine launched their IPO. Several of the links below are as a result of all the attention Moleskine is getting this week.

There is an assortment of goodies from Brad Dowdy over at Pen Addict including his Tools and Toys Guide to Fountain Pens which I’m willing to debate with him. There’s also a mix of new and vintage fountain pen reviews. Finishing up the Link Love this week are a couple ink reviews, some digital goodies and tips on writing a good thank you note. Enjoy!

Pens and Ink

Paper

Digital

(image from Casa Brutus, via Present + Correct)
(image from Casa Brutus, via Present + Correct)

Mickey Moleskines

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The big news this week in the world of notebooks is the new limited edition Mickey Mouse Moleskines. The notebooks are available in the pocket and large size. Each cover is debossed with classic drawings of the famous mouse. Inside, the end papers are filled with sketches and each notebook includes an instructive drawing guide so that you, too, can draw Mickey Mouse.

Even though the Moleskine paper isn’t great for fountain pens, the notebooks are well-built and classic and how can you not love classic Mickey? (FYI: Walt Disney started his mouse empire just a few blocks from where I work now. I can even walk past the building where it all started!)

(via Flavorwire)
(via Flavorwire)

MickeyMouse_08

These Moleskines are going to be popular and sell out fast so if you are interested, you might want to order one ASAP.

Our friends Down Under at Notemaker are currently carrying both the large notebook is plain and lined ($39.95 AU) and the pocket notebook in plain paper and lined ($29.95 AU). Remember, Well-Appointed Desk readers receive a 10% on purchases at Notemaker by entering the code “WELLAPPDESK12” at checkout. The Mickey Moleskines can also be purchased directly from Moleskine ($18.95 and $24 for pocket and large respectively) or from Jenni Bick (on sale for $17.06 and $21.60 for pocket and large respectively).

Moleskine Photo Albums

Moleskine Photo Books

Moleskine has paired up with Milk to introduce a line of photo books. You can upload your photos and have them printed into official Moleskine books with leatherette or linen covers, with or without a featured photo on the cover depending on which of the multitude of formats you choose. The prices start at $50 for a simple 20-page, medium (9.25″ x 7.4″) format photo book. Additional pages can be added for $1/per page. All books feature interior ivory acid-free paper.

Moleskine Photo Book Interior Spread 1

Other formats are available that include space for writing or typing text about the photos and memories with the Photo Books Plus series. These books contain 60 pages and would be a great way to create a very classy scrapbook or portfolio. Then there’s the Photo Album which is a large 9.25″ square book with 60 pages which would make a great wedding album. Photo Albums start at $130.

The Photo Books Plus and Photo Albums include linen slipcases and a digital version of your book to share and add video content.

Moleskine Photo Book Interior Spread 1

If you pre-order any of these formats now, there is a 25% discount on all the prices. If this is the kind of photo album you’ve been waiting for, act fast. The discount prices won’t be available for long.  Compared with how much we used to spend for photo prints and albums, even at full price, these books seem like a good value for cherished memories.

Link Love: This Should Keep You Busy For Awhile

Pens and Ink

penciltalk.org.scribbler.1
image via Pencil Talk

Pencils

Lettering sketch in pencil by Baileyamon (via Instagram)
Lettering sketch in pencil by Baileyamon (via Instagram)

Tools and Topics

@erikmarinovich has a huge pencil (via jessicahische on Instagram)
@erikmarinovich has a huge pencil (via jessicahische on Instagram)

Evernote + Moleskine Smart Notebooks

I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard about the recent union between Moleskine and Evernote but I thought I’d go ahead and include info here for those who might not have heard the news.

Moleskine announced an Evernote-specific “smart” notebook last week at the Evernote Trunk Conference. The book includes stickers that, when scanned or photographed and stored on Evernote, will automatically help to tag your page. The embossed covers are really pretty and the grids and/or lines on the page are actually dots to help correct the skew when taking digital snapshots of your pages though I’ll have to see it to believe it.

The 3.5×5.5″ size can be pre-ordered for $24.95 and the 5×8.25″ is $29.95.

More details can be found at Design Taxi.

UPDATE: Our sponsor, Notemaker in Australia will also be stocking the Evernote X Moleskine Smart Notebook. You can pre-order now for delivery the first week of October. Their prices are $29.95AUD for the pocket-sized and $39.95AUD for the larger size. Don’t forget to use the discount code WELLAPPDESK at checkout to receive a 10% discount.

Halfway Through (almost)

My lovely friend Diane from Tag Team Tompkins opened her Moleskine to share  what it looks like to be halfway through for her. She uses a large Moleskine hardcover with lined pages. She uses an assortment of tools from office supply gel pens to artist’s brush pens and was keen to tell me that she did not mind when she got ink showthrough on the opposite side of the page. “It’s all part of the process,” she told me.

This page features notes about insect symbolism in Japan and a bit of her insect paper cuts taped into the book with washi tape.

Diane and her granddaughter tried out some new brush markers.

On this page, Diane’s grandson drew her portrait and gave her a sticker fortune which he proclaimed to be “very lucky.”

While traveling to Japan, Diane sketched and kept notes including details from a book she was reading.

Many thanks to Diane for sharing this intimate look at her words, pictures and ephemera!

Are you ready to share what your notebook looks like when it “halfway through”? Email me your submissions!

Halfway Through

Moleskine did a lovely little post about being halfway through a yearly planner. I love to see what people’s planners and notebooks look like after they have been used with stickers, tabs, bits of paper and notes scattered throughout.

Do you have any photos of your planner or notebook in its current condition (half-full or almost totally full) that you would be willing to share here? If so, please drop me an email with your name, web URL and photo to chair (at) wellappointeddesk.com and I’ll do a feature in the upcoming weeks.

Currently available on the other side of the pond from Moleskine is the Postal Notebook. Its a paperboard folio enclosure, ready-to-mail, with eight plain pages bound inside. There are two sizes available: pocket and large for £4 and £5.50 respectively and each is available in six different color paperboard covers. What a wonderful way to capture a story, long letter or a travel missive and send back to friends.

Looks like these should become available in the US around Feb 1.

(via Moleskine)

The agony of choosing just the right planner/agenda for the New Year tend to put my teeth on edge. Then, I stumbled across the Moleskine comparison tool. Oh, finally!

First, you select what you are looking for, be it planner or something else, and then refine your search based on your size preference, format preference and even if you like a hardcover or softcover. In the case of my search for a new agenda for 2012, I was able to quickly narrow down the options to just four options. Then I hopped over to the online big box store and found exactly what I wanted on sale. Done and done.

The First Lost Crate

Close up of post marks

I received my first shipment from Lost Crates last week. I apologize for taking so long to post about it.

First, I have to that the simple corrugated box with stamps all over it definitely feels like a special package that has made its way across the world to me.

My first "crate"

Inside the crate

 Note inside crate

Inside the package is bundled in kraft brown tissue and held together with twine. As a designer, this packaging makes this kit worth every cent! (And I haven’t even seen what’s inside yet!)

Contents of crate

Inside were the products they selected for me based on their simple visual quiz. I received a highlighter in green made from recycled materials, a decorative roller ball pen with a floral pattern by Josh Davis on the casing, a Miquelrius zipper pouch (which is padded inside) with a pattern designed by Emil Kozak, a blank black Ecosystem notebook, and a set of two decorative notebooks from French Paper Pop Ink.

Field Notes Missouri

And then tucked underneath everything else was a Field Notes State Fair edition for Missouri. Sweet!

With the exception of the rollerball pen (which was quickly absconded by someone at work) everything in the box was something I would have purchased for myself so I feel fairly confident that the quiz is decently accurate or the folks at Lost Crates just have exceptionally good taste. And when I do a little math in my head, the value of the merchandise is at least equal to the subscription fee so it feels like a good value.

Now, I’m even more curious what goodies I will receive next month.