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August 31, 2011

Exacompta Paper Chart

Exacompta makes planners, journals, sketchbooks and index cards with a variety of high quality papers. Some of the paper is a little different than the usual Clairefontaine and Rhodia paper that many of you may be used to using. For example, some of their planners such as the popular Journal 21 and Space 24 weekly agenda contain a light green tinted paper. Other planners such as the Daily Pocket diary contain light-weight but sturdy ivory paper to help make them as compact as possible. The Basics Journal and Sketchbook both contain 100g paper that is 25% cotton with a laid finish. Exacompta Index Cards are made from a 205g stock in soft pastel colors and they work beautifully with a fountain pen! You can check out Exaclair's Exacompta paper chart to get some insight into the specific paper used in each product.

ProductWeightDescription
Forum Journals / Refills 64 gWhite paper, 365 daily undated, blank, graph, cloth bound
Club Journals / Refills64 gWhite paper, 365 daily undated, blank, graph
Pocket Journal55 gIvory, gold edged paper, ruled, cloth bound
Basics Journal100 gOff-white, gold edged paper, cloth bound
Basics Sketchbook100 gLaid finish, 25% cotton, off-white paper, blank, silver edged, cloth bound
Index Cards / Bristol Cards205 gGraph, subtle pastel colors - yellow, pink, green, blue
Visual Weekly Agenda90 gGreen-tinted paper
Space 24 Weekly Agenda   90 gGreen-tinted paper
Journal 21 Daily Agenda72 gGreen-tinted paper
Space 1755 gIvory Paper
Daily Pocket55 gIvory Paper


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August 24, 2011

Shades of Chocolate: Terre de Feu Ink Mixing

I’ve been wanting to mix brown ink to create different shades of chocolate and finally found some time to give it a try. I chose J. Herbin Terre De Feu because it seemed like a good medium brown color to get started with, but J. Herbin Lie de Thé or Café des Îles probably would have been good choices too-colors for future ink mixing for sure. This ink has a red tone it, so the name Terre de Feu or Land of Fire seems very fitting. For this experiment I used a ratio of five parts J. Herbin’s Terre De Feu ink and one part of another ink.

Terre de Feu plus Noodler’s Black ink produced a nice dark chocolate brown color with reddish undertones.

Terre de Feu and Noodler’s Shah’s Rose created a dark maroon color that I’d put in the “red wine” category as opposed to the chocolate category.

Adding Noodler’s Yellow to Terre de Feu made the best milk chocolate color in this bunch.

Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise and Terre de Feu made a brown-black that at first glance just looks black to me. It’s amazing how adding one part turquoise blue ink can create such a dark color. If I’m in the mood to write in brown-black ink in the future I’ll have to keep this one in mind.

Terre de Feu and J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage (green) also created a nice chocolate brown that has a bit more of a yellow undertone in it than the Terre de Feu plus black.

J. Herbin Violette Pensée and Terre de Feu mixed together made a dark maroon color that I would also categorize as “red wine”.

Terre de Feu and J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink (red) produced what I would call a burnt umber or red-brown color.

Interestingly, the character of Terre de Feu ink was such that it did not want to stay in the grooves of my glass pen and made the writing samples a bit difficult except for the combination with the 1670 Anniversary ink. No harmful explosions occurred as a result of mixing these particular colors of Noodler’s and J. Herbin fountain pen inks. Stay tuned for part two of this experiment using different ratios of ink colors.

What is your favorite brown fountain pen ink?



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August 17, 2011

Les Cakes de Bertrand Paris

Established in 1998, Les Cakes de Bertrand is a inspiring story of humble beginnings and unpredictable business ventures. Dietician and avid cook, Didier Bertrand, began selling his signature savory cakes in the Port Royal Food Market in Paris, France in 1997. Not long after that, Bertrand met French designer Adolphe Besnard and the two joined forces to create what is today Les Cakes de Bertrand. The two opened a cake shop in Paris selling Bertrand's savory cakes and chocolate bars. What set them apart? The packaging. Inspired by Besnard's grandmother's collection of old postcards, each creation was wrapped in eloquently designed packaging that would soon become the defining look of Les Cakes de Bertrand. Known for is modern design with a vintage flair, Les Cakes de Bertrand flourished.

(Clairefontaine Les Cakes de Bertrand Notebook - Eloise)

As the company began to grow Les Cakes de Bertrand entered into a new realm of retail, accessories! A delightful yet shocking surprise, Bertrand and Besnard ventured in to the fashion world. The signature Les Cakes de Bertrand designs were placed on handbags, wallets, pins, jewelry, soaps, perfumes, clothing, and handheld mirrors. Recently, Les Cakes de Bertrand partnered with the famed Clairefontaine to create a line of special limited edition products! Some of the notebooks and a correspondence set from the limited edition line can be found at Writer's Bloc.

Les Cakes de Bertrand no longer sells cakes, but now has several boutiques in France that showcase their beautiful accessories. Their boutiques in themselves are a masterpiece, perfectly furnished with unique furniture and trinkets that make the store warm and inviting. If I ever have the opportunity to visit France, a stop at Les Cakes de Bertrand is a must!

(Clairefontaine Les Cakes de Bertrand Paris Correspondence Set)

(Information gathered from: Les Cakes de Bertrand and Retro To Go)

August 10, 2011

Clairefontaine Courants d'Arts Limited Edition Notebooks

Clairefontaine Courants d'Arts collection of limited edition notebooks were created to honor three distinct styles of modern art: Cubism, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. Although the artwork on the covers is not attributed to any artists in particular, it is easy to see that it strongly reflects masterpieces from Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Roy Lichtenstein and Jackson Pollock. Being a fan of modern art I was immediately drawn to the Courants d'Arts notebooks, and a brief review of art history on Wikipedia.org enhanced my appreciation of these major influences in modern art.

(Clairefontaine Courants d'Arts Pop Art Notebook)

With its bold bright colors and graphics the Courants d'Arts Pop Art Notebook was the first one to catch my eye (maybe I’ve been seeing a few too many movies recently). Pop Art originated in Great Britain and the USA in the 1950’s and employs aspects of mass culture, such as advertising, comic books and mundane cultural objects. Roy Lichtenstein became well known for incorporating elements of comic book art into such popular works such as Whaam! (1963) and Drowning Girl (1963). My favorite bit of information about him from Wikipedia is this story about his work Look Mickey (1961): “This piece came from a challenge from one of his sons, who pointed to a Mickey Mouse comic book and said; ‘I bet you can't paint as good as that, eh, Dad?’ In the same year he produced six other works with recognizable characters from gum wrappers and cartoons.” Kids!

(Clairefontaine Courants d'Arts Abstract Expressionism Notebook)

Abstract Expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. Jackson Pollock is a well-known influential artist of this movement. He moved away from the tradition of painting on an easel and instead dripped and poured paint onto a canvas on the floor. This method made him feel as if he could literally be in the painting as he was working on it. Eventually Pollock discontinued using names as titles for his paintings and started numbering them instead. This way those viewing them would not have any preconceived ideas of what they were supposed to be looking for and could enjoy the artwork as pure painting.

(Clairefontaine Courants d'Arts Cubisme Notebook)

Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque who were living in Montmartre, Paris at the time. Wikipedia describes cubist artists this way: “they represented all the surfaces of depicted objects in a single picture plane, as if the objects had all their faces visible at the same time. This new kind of depiction revolutionized the way in which objects could be visualized in painting and art.” Cubism was particularly influential between 1907 and 1919 and was inspired by the boldness and simplicity of African, Micronesian and Native American art. Famous examples of cubist paintings include Pablo Picasso's Le guitariste (1910) and Violin and Candlestick (1910) by Georges Braque.

If you've had the opportunity to visit one of the many influential art galleries and museums around the world, no doubt you have seen abundant examples of these three influential styles of modern art. What is your favorite? What kind of artwork would you like to see featured on future Clairefontaine limited edition notebooks?

August 03, 2011

Dual-Purpose Planners With Room For Notes

Do you have the kind of life that involves both scheduling appointments and taking notes? You could carry around two books to accomplish this purpose, one planner and one notebook. Or, you could simplify your life and take along just one planner that has room for both planning and note taking!

If you prefer using daily planners with room for notes on each day of the week, you may like the Quo Vadis Notor with a small 8am – 7pm plan at the top of each page and a larger area underneath for notes. Exacompta’s Forum journal in the undated 365 format is quite similar with the biggest difference being that it is undated so that you can start your planning on any day of any year.

Quo Vadis Notor Daily Planner

Exacompta Forum Undated 365 Planner & Journal

Another daily desk diary that could possibly accommodate notes is Exacompta Journal 21. The planning schedule runs down almost the entire length of the left side of each page, but if your appointment notes are brief then you’ve got plenty of room for notes on the right side of each page. Interestingly, this planner has 72g paper in a soft green color.

Exacompta Journal 21 Daily Appointment Book

If you’d like to have a weekly planner with a space for notes each week, Exacompta Space 17 and the new 4x6 Rhodia WebPlanner are two pocket-size planners with this format. Both of these diaries have Monday through Saturday planning on the left page and Sunday’s plan on the bottom of the right page with a larger space above for notes. The Rhodia WebPlanner has white graph paper for notes, while Space 17 has ivory lined paper for notes.

Exacompta Space 17 Weekly Planner

Rhodia Weekly WebPlanner 4x6 size

Larger size weekly desk diaries with space for weekly notes include the new 6x9 Rhodia WebPlanner and Exacompta Space 24. Rhodia’s WebPlanner has Monday through Sunday plans on the left and almost a full page of graph paper for notes on the right. There are 3 small months on the bottom of the right page. Space 24 has Monday through Friday plans on the left page, Saturday and Sunday plans on the bottom of the right page and lined paper above for notes. The largest Quo Vadis planner with room for notes on the right page is Note 27 at 8 1/4” x 10 1/2”.

Rhodia Weekly WebPlanner 6x9 size

Exacompta Space 24 Weekly Desk Diary

Bob’s Your Uncle Do-Doodle Planner is undated and has room for Monday through Sunday plus “Someday” on the left page. On the right page there is a subtle olive green 1/4” x 1/4” dot grid for notes and doodles. Another Bob’s Your Uncle undated planner that takes an entirely different approach to note taking and scheduling is the Multitask! Planner. Besides sections for weekly and monthly planning, this diary also includes sections with 10 check list sheets, 10 graph paper sheets and 10 blank sheets for a total of 60 pages of potential note taking.

Bob's Your Uncle Do-Doodle Undated Weekly Planner

Bob's Your Uncle Multitask! Undated Planner

To see the full range of 2012 yearly planners and undated planners at Writer’s Bloc please visit our website!

Do you take notes in your planner? What is your favorite planner and format?

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