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September 29, 2010

Environmentally Friendly Writing Tools

When you live in a city like Portland you cannot help but be environmentally conscious. When I shop my eyes dart directly to products labeled "organic" "local" "sustainable" and of course, "post-consumer recycled." Naturally, we carry many eco-friendly products at Writer's Bloc, and to help those of you who love the environment as much as you love to write here is a quick overview of the environmentally sound products that we carry!

 

The inspiration for this blog was the new Bamboo Notebooks from WRITERSBLOK. Bamboo grows quickly and prolifically, therefore making it an easily sustainable resource. These notebooks are made from 100% sustainable bamboo pulp paper and moreover, 2% of all sales from WRITERSBLOK goes to literacy programs around the United States. A great notebook from a company that is both environmentally and socially conscious! 


 

Clairefontaine prides itself for being an environmentally conscious company. All Clairefontaine paper is produced using pulp from sustainable forests and using responsible energy sources. Their notebooks have been certified by the PEFC, an internationally recognized forest certification organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management. Visit www.pefc.org for more information.


 

Another company that is stepping up to the plate is Behance. The Behance Dot Grid Journal and Behance Action Journal are both filled with 60lb New Leaf Paper. New Leaf Paper is 100% recycled, processed chlorine free, and manufactured with renewable energy. According to their website over the last decade New Leaf products have saved over 3 million trees and 900 million gallons of water!


 

In their collection of planners, Quo Vadis has included the Quo Vadis Textagenda Academic Daily Planner which contains 100% post consumer recycled paper, In addition, all of the refillable planners and journals from Quo Vadis and Exacompta are inherently less wasteful as you can use the same cover multiple times.


 

There is some concern about feathering when using recycled paper; Noodler's Ink has addressed this problem with the Noodler's X-Feather Ink- a slow drying, limited penetration ink that prevents feathering on especially absorbent paper. 

Of course, fountain pens are environmentally sound as you can refill and use them for years to come. Platinum takes this a step further- the barrels of the Preppy Fountain Pens and Preppy Refillable Highlighters are made from recycled polycarbonate.

 


 

Similarly the Pentel Slicci Gel Pens are made from 87% recycled plastic. You can use these colorful pens on the Bob's Your Uncle Writer's Block ,made from recycled paper this is a colorful and responsible way to jot down notes.

 

The next time you wrap a gift for a friend consider using Rice Paper instead of conventional wrapping paper. This beautiful paper is actually harvested from the bark of the paper mulberry tree, which does not harm the health or growth of the tree. Moreover, rice paper is dyed naturally, eliminating the use of harsh chemicals.

 

Need an idea for a gift? Consider Eco Fluxx, a well-known game with an environmental twist, Eco Fluxx conveys the message that your all of your actions affect the environment for better or for worse.

September 22, 2010

Limited Edition Clairefontaine Covers

In addition to being filled with the best paper in the world, many of the notebooks and journals in our Clairefontaine collection boast beautiful cover art. Some of these illustrations and designs are created by well-respected artists, but unfortunately these are often limited editions-- meaning once they're gone they're gone for good. The following collections have since been discontinued, but we still have a limited supply in stock-- just a heads up so you can stock up before they're history.

 

The Clairefontaine "Mlle No" collection is designed by French artist Jessica Ollivaud, whose art evokes the whimsical and ethereal, but with a modern edge. This collection includes a Large Wirebound Notebook, a Medium Wirebound Notebook, and one secured with elastic. If you're looking for a unique gift there are also Memo Pads and Magnetic Journals featuring these beautiful illustrations

 

Robert Le Heros is a graphic design company that designs for prestigious companies worldwide. Their design for Quo Vadis is a contemporary twist on a floral design. The only products we still have in stock from this collection are the Large Journal and Small Journal!

 

This may sound corny, but I imagine that if dreams could be illustrated they would reflect the Clairefontaine GraficFlow collection. The abstract elements are composed in such a way that you see familiar things in something that doesn't really make sense. Give the Magnetic Journal as a gift, and keep the wirebound notebooks for yourself (available in Large and Medium).


September 15, 2010

Quo Vadis Habana Collection


 

The Habana has been a favorite cover style among Quo Vadis enthusiasts for years, and rightly so. The leather-like cover feels smooth and strong, and the sewn binding allows the planner or journal to lay flat without the risk of pages falling out. This year Quo Vadis released this great cover style in two new colors, Anise Green and Raspberry. If you've fallen in love with this great cover here is a clear-cut list of all the Quo Vadis products available with the Habana cover:

-The Quo Vadis Habana journals are available in Large and Small sizes and can be filled with blank or lined Clairefontaine paper.

-The Notor #21 is a small daily planner so you can prioritize you tasks for each day. For 2011 Quo Vadis has released a limited edition Robert Le Heros cover design in Raspberry.

-The Minister Desk Weekly is a large 2011 planner that has one week on two pages. This planner is perfect for penciling in appointments as each day is broken down into 30 minute increments.

On a similar note the Robert le Heros journals by Quo Vadis features a very similar style to the Hanaba cover. We have a small quantity of this limited collection in large and small-sized lined journals in stock, so get one while you still can!

If you're already a fan of the Habana collection, please tell us why! Or let us know which products you are excited to try.

September 08, 2010

Personalize Your Planner

Each day of your life is different from any other that has ever been lived, so why shouldn't your planner be as unique as you are? With the right tools there are endless possibilities for decorating the outside if your planner, and lots of fun ways to add some pizazz to the inside.

Sakura makes fantastic, fun gel pens that are used worldwide, but they also have special gel pens that can really make a project pop-- literally. The ink in the Sakura Gelly Roll Glaze Gel Pen and Sakura Souffle Gel Ink Pen actually dries slightly raised! You control the ink flow based on speed and pressure so you can create designs with awesome colors and textures! As a girl who is a big fan of shiny, sparkly things I also love the Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust Gel Pens and Sakura Gelly Roll Dark Stardust Gel Pens, the glitter is especially pretty against the darker ink colors.

Sakura also makes a very unique tool, the Sakura Quickie Glue Pen allows you to glue down your favorite sequins or cut-outs to your planner, or for sprinkling down some loose glitter. Equally creative is the Pentel Deco Petit, a decorative tape that allows you to create fun, fast borders and other embellishments.

If you would rather design with more traditional gel pens I would highly recommend the STAEDTLER Triplus Gel-liner Set. The ink in these pens is light-fast, waterproof, and indelible which means the design you create will last through the year and beyond. I also really like the Tombow Twin Highlighters, not only are these double-ended highlighters great for studying and planning, but you can alternate the broad and fine tips to do some impressive doodling.

For an extra-personal touch I love adding photos in my planner-- kind of doubles as a scrapbook! Photo Corners make doing this super easy, and they're also perfect for adding concert tickets or other keepsakes! Speech Balloon Scratch Stickers and Frame Stickers are fun ways to "narrate" your pictures, or to help highlight important events in your planner.



Now that you have this planner packed full of your plans, ideas, pictures, and artwork keep it all safe and secure with a Bicycle Clip or the Quo Vadis Elastic Bookmark!

Do you decorate your planner? Leave us a comment with your favorite tools and tricks!

September 01, 2010

Uni-ball Jetstream Color Ballpoint Pen Review

The Uni-ball Jetstream Color is an oil-based ballpoint pen made by the Mitsubishi Pencil Co. Ltd. Mitsubishi describes this pen this way: it requires only light pressure while writing, it writes fast, dries fast and is a smooth writer.

The Uni-ball Jetstream Color pen is 5 9/16” long, the diameter of the barrel is a bit more than 3/8” wide and it is a light-weight 0.3 oz. The body and clip are both made of plastic. The grip area and clip are an opaque off-white with a design of subtle, small off-white squares.

The top section is a transparent color that indicates the ink color of the pen. The ink colors include at least black, blue-black, light-blue, red, pink and orange. Last time I checked refills are not yet available for this pen.

This Jetstream model comes with a 0.5 mm fine tip.

So what is my experience with this pen? I have the orange color and find that it is just as Mitsubishi describes it. The fact that my pen writes so smoothly, is light-weight and only requires a light touch means it causes minimal writing fatigue. Since I am a lefty, I am especially pleased that it dries fast and I don’t smear the ink!!

The ink flow is good so my pen never skips, however, there are a few little “ink blobs” once in awhile as is typical of ballpoint pens. I got orange since it is one of my favorite colors, and found that the orange ink color is very similar to Pilot’s Hi-Tec-C orange ink color. Orange is not a very dark ink color, but it’s a happy color and works great for my purposes. I got it because the 0.5 mm fine tip makes it a great pen for making small notes in page margins. Take a look at the scanned writing sample on Myndology paper.

Every pen performs differently, even pens that are the exact same model, and my experience with the Uni-ball Jetstream Color has definitely been a good one. I’m planning on adding a few more colors to my daily arsenal of pens.

What do you think of Uni-ball Jetstream Color pens? What is your favorite Jetstream model of pen?


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