« October 2011 | Main | December 2011 »

November 30, 2011

Exacompta Journal 21 Daily Calendar Review

Journal 21 by Exacompta Paris is a refillable daily planner made with delightfully smooth Clairefontaine paper. The format of Journal 21 is ideal for both advance planning or as a diary recording each day’s thoughts one day at a time. Each day has twenty-seven 6mm narrow ruled lines with time increments listed on the far left. The Clairefontaine paper inside Journal 21 is 72g and it is tinted a very soft green color with blue and grey/black print.

Journal 21 measures about 5 1/4” x 8 1/4” - similar in size to the large Rhodia Webnotebook but it’s thicker and a the pages are about 1/4” less wide. It has a stitched binding to keep it from falling apart and to help it to open flat. The bottom corner of each page is perforated and can be torn off after each day is completed so that you can easily find your place. If you buy Journal 21 with a Club or Soya cover it also comes with an elastic Quo Vadis bookmark which comes in handy to mark your place and keep your planner securely closed. An additional feature to help you navigate this planner is that the names of the months are printed in blue boxes that are visible on the page edges and they are staggered from top to bottom like tabs would be.

(Journal 21 with a blue Club cover)

Journal 21 comes with a few different durable and refillable cover options. There is the stitched, grained leatherette Club cover that comes in nine different colors (black, blue, cherry red, teal, saddle brown, bamboo, spring green, powder pink and lilac).

(Journal 21 with black Soya cover)

The Soya cover has six different color choices (black, red, saddle brown, jade, orange and lavender blue) and it is also saddle stitched, but this leather-like material has a smooth finish.

There is a Vinyl cover that comes in eight colors (black, navy blue, burgundy, brown, sapphire blue, red, fuchsia and apple green) and it has a smooth, matte finish. Of course, you can always make your own cover or just use the Journal 21 refill as it is with its plain, white cardboard cover.

Journal 21 begins with a title page followed by a page that records useful personal information including emergency contact info and where the planner can be returned to if it happens to get lost. There is a list of dates for US holidays during the current planner year and the following year, as well as major world holidays of the current year (covers 11 countries: Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland). There’s a page with a whole bunch of international telephone access codes and another page showing a map of the US with time zones.

Following all of that there is a semi-annual planner that spans 6 pages and covers a year and a half of plans – for the 2012 planner it includes July 2011 through December 2012.

Next comes a monthly plan that covers 16 months – for 2012 it covers November 2011 all the way through February of 2013. Each month shows the previous month and following month on the bottom of the page. Saturdays and Sundays are combined into one column on the right to save space.

The daily calendar has one day per page and covers 8am to 9pm plans broken down into half hour increments. The page on the left shows the current month with the current week in a bold font, and the right page displays the following month. Each day also shows which day number it is out of 365, and which week number of the year it is. The very top of the page lists the current date and day of the week.

The back of Journal 21 includes a yearly planner for the following year, in this case it is for 2013.

Lastly, there is a fourteen page alphabetical address, phone number and email section.

The paper performed pretty well with all types of pens including fountain pens (minus the Sharpie pen ink bleed-through). In order to prevent this diary from being too thick and heavy, the paper weight is 72g which does allow some of the ink to show through to the back side of the page, although I personally did not feel that it was overly bad. Journal 21’s soft green paper has the beautifully smooth finish that most Clairefontaine paper has which means that fountain pen ink does take a little while to dry. Take a look at the writing test and see what you think:

(Writing test – front)

(Writing test – back)

Journal 21 has a lot of great features to help you plan a successful year. Do you use Exacompta Journal 21? What’s your favorite daily planner?


Share

November 23, 2011

Myndology Bare Memo Pad Review

Myndology Bare notebooks were created with the welfare of the environment in mind. The folded 100lb laser-cut cardstock cover is made with 100% recycled paper and can be used repeatedly with Myndology paper refills. The cover colors reflect soothing colors of nature such as sand, pine and clay. The front cover has little laser-cut arrows pointing in random directions along with a Myndology logo in one corner. The back cover is plain.

Rather than being discarded when the notebook is used up, the 5/8” honey-colored plastic discs are meant to be reused over and over again with Bare paper refills. The discs, covers and paper of all Myndology notebooks are conveniently interchangeable. As we’ve mentioned in previous Myndology blog posts, the disc binding system makes it very easy to add, remove or reorganize your notebook pages.

Hydro-electric power is used to manufacture Myndology Bare paper in the USA. The cream colored paper is 70lb Text (104gsm), 100% recycled and is made using a chlorine-free production process.

One of my favorite things about this paper is that is works great with fountain pens! Whenever I think of writing with a fountain pen on recycled paper I usually think of the common problems of ink feathering and bleed through, but instead this paper is very good quality and it is a delight to write on! Minus the Sharpie pen, I experienced no ink bleed through and very little show through. Here are scans of my writing test:

The Myndology Bare Memo pad includes 60 sheets of recycled paper and is approximately 3” x 4” in size. It is also available in a larger 6.5” x 8.5” journal size. Blank paper refills are available for both sizes and college ruled refills are also available for the Bare Journal.

What are your favorite earth-friendly notebooks? 

Share

November 16, 2011

Dominion from Rio Grande Games

All you need to know to play this game is A B C. Simple as that. Dominion from Rio Grande Games is a simple card game that has the potential to get extremely complicated. There are 5 different types of cards: Treasure, Action, Victory, Attack and Curse. Using these cards, you create your own "dominion" (otherwise known as your deck). The object of the game is to utilize the resources allocated in your dominion to gain the most victory cards.

The game is laid out with 10 different sets of Kingdom cards, as well as Treasure cards (Copper, Silver, and Gold), Victory cards (Estate, Duchy, and Province) and Curse cards. Your Kingdom cards are those selected from your collection of cards to put into play. Kingdom cards can be purchased and played during your turn. Each game you play can be different depending on what cards you choose to lay out. One of the reasons this game is so great is that you never play the same game twice! Changing one Kingdom card can completely change the strategy and outcome of the game. Kingdom cards can be chosen at random or strategically.

So how do your ABC's come into play?  Each player starts off with 7 Coppers (worth 1 monies) and three Estates (worth 1 victory point). At each turn, each player must move through three phases: Action, Buy, and Clean. Each card has a different action and effect on your turn.

A: Action Phase. Play an action card. (Action cards are purchased from the selection of Kingdom cards.) Your turn will go according to what your action card specifies; your action card can give you more actions, give you more money, allow you to draw more cards etc. In some instances action cards can also be attack cards. Attack cards are used if you are feeling especially nasty and would like to take your opponents treasure cards, give them curse cards, remove cards from their hand etc (essentially "attacking" the other players). Because you do not have any action cards on your first move, your first play will start off at the buy stage.

B: Buy Phase. Using the collective treasure you have (some treasure will come from your deck and some may come from action cards), each player is given one buy, meaning he can purchase one thing from the Kingdom card selection or he can buy more money. If your action card gives you additional buys you may purchase more than one thing. No matter how much treasure you have, you can only purchase one card unless you action card says otherwise. (Each player always has one buy, if your action card says +2 Buys, you now have three buys).

C: Clean Phase. When you have completed your buy, all of your cards used on that turn go into your discard pile. This includes the cards you just purchased, the cards played, and the remaining cards in your hand. The discard pile can only be used when the pile you draw from is depleted. Discarding your cards completes your turn and you draw five more cards (essentially starting off with a brand new hand).

Easy right? Yes, however, when someone plays an action card that gives them more action, things can get complicated. +Actions are great when you have a plan. Action card after action card can be played if permitted. There is no limit to how many action cards you can play as long as you have cards to permit additional actions. One person can play all the action cards in their deck and accumulate 30 treasures - but their turn would have lasted half a century. However, if you can do this and have more action cards to play - DO IT, use everything on the table to your advantage.

Although the point of the game is to gain the most victory points, victory points are useless at the start of the game because they cannot be used. You do not want to fill your hand with cards you can't use. One mistake many people make is to buy as many victory cards as they can as soon as possible. However, with every draw you only get five cards, you are handicapped if you have a hand of 3 victory cards and 2 treasure or action cards in your hand. The trick is to accumulate enough treasure to buy the larger victory cards such as the Province, this ONE card is worth SIX victory points. So instead of having six Estate (worth 1 victory point) cards in your deck you simply have one Province card. Needless to say the Province card is highly coveted (and very expensive). Having few cards with high value is much preferred to having lots of cards of little value. Curse cards are negative points, they count against you at the end of the game. 1 curse card = -1 victory card.

The game ends when all of the Province cards are gone or when three sets of Kingdom cards are gone. When you notice the Kingdom cards are going fast or the Province cards are almost gone - now is the time to stock up on victory cards because the game is about to end. At this point, you want to buy any victory cards you can afford (however, at any point in the game, if you can afford to buy a Province - DO IT!). When the game ends, organize your deck, total your victory cards, subtract your curse cards, and declare a winner!

Expansion packs are also available. Expansion packs are great for re-vamping your pool of Kingdom cards or raising the stakes. The Prosperity expansion pack includes treasures that are worth up to 5 monies, called a Platinum card. Prosperity also includes the ever so coveted Colony card. This card is worth 10, yes, 10 victory points!

Grab your friends, change up the game, and rule your Dominion!



Share

November 09, 2011

Platinum Mix Free Fountain Pen Ink Mixing Kit

Platinum Mix Free Fountain Pen Ink Mixing Kit is the ideal solution for mixing inks safely and easily to create a multitude of colors with a minimal number of ink bottles. This series of ink created by Platinum removes all fear of unexpected, messy pen-clogging reactions that can occasionally result from  mixing different types of fountain pen ink together. These inks are specially formulated to be mixed together and to encourage personal expression through your own custom ink colors.

The kit includes 60ml bottles of nine different colors of ink: Sunny Yellow, Leaf Green, Earth Brown, Flame Red, Cyclamen Pink, Silky Purple, Aurora Blue, Aqua Blue and Smoke Black. It also includes a handy mixing kit containing one 50ml bottle of dilution liquid, one empty 50ml bottle for saving your custom ink and two 3ml dropper syringes.

There are simple instructions included on how to begin to create your custom ink colors.

This kit also comes with a color chart showing how a mixture of equal parts of two different colors of ink can create a new color. (I believe there are 36 different colors displayed here in addition to the 9 basic colors, but I could be wrong.) Adding the dilution liquid can lighten the color. Of course, you’re not limited to a 1:1 ratio while mixing – feel free to experiment with whatever ratio you want!

If an entire kit with 9 bottles and ink mixing accessories is too much to buy all at once, or if you’d like to try out just one color first, you can buy the individual bottles and the mixing accessories separately. You can also mix all sorts of custom ink colors by getting the four very basic ink colors of cyan, magenta, yellow and black - or as translated into Platinum Ink colors: Aqua Blue, Cyclamen Pink, Sunny Yellow and Smoke Black.

What interesting colors have you created with Platinum’s Mix Free Fountain Pen Ink Mixing Kit? Please share your colors and mixing ratios here!



Share

November 02, 2011

Myndology Sync Disc Bound Journal Review

Myndology’s disc binding system creatively allows their notebooks and journals to function like wirebound notebooks that have the added flexibility of a 3-ring binder. You can easily remove, reorganize and add pages and they are refillable.

Myndology Sync notebooks and journals feature brightly colored polypropylene covers and matching discs. These covers and discs are interchangeable with other Myndology notebooks and are very durable so they can be reused again and again with Myndology refills. The Sync cover is transparent with a tiny bit of texture which allows you to see through to the contents of the first and last page of your notebook.

(Myndology Sync Journal – inside the front cover)

The journal comes with a white heavy-weight page in the front that on one side is covered with silver print dots interspersed with the words “good thinking”.

(Myndology Sync Journal – inside the front cover page 2)

The other side of this page is silver print with white action words such as “write it”, “add to it”, “an idea”, “pull it out… put it back” etc. This page can be removed or you can leave it in the journal to add a decorative geometric dot appearance to the front cover.

(Close-up of the Sync Journal disc binding)

The cover and each page of the Sync Journal is punched with a T-shaped or mushroom-shaped punch to comfortably fit each of the discs. To remove pages from this disc-bound journal, you simply pull the page gently from the top towards you (do not pull from the side of the page out). To add pages to the journal, line up the page you want to add with the discs and gently push down where each disc is. It’s hard to describe it with words, so here is a link to a short video you can watch courtesy of Myndology.

The white paper inside the Myndology Sync Journal has lots of credentials beside the fact that it is made in the USA: 70lb text, 96brt, SFI Certified, FSC Certified, and elementally chlorine free. In case you are more familiar with metric paper weight, 70lb text translates into 104gsm. The paper is college ruled with margin, and the grey lines are spaced about 3/8” or 7mm apart. None of the lines go all the way to the edge of the page. There is a space at the top of each page for a date or running header and the lower right corner of each page says either “good thinking” or “Myndology”.

(Myndology Sync Journal college ruled paper)

Is the paper fountain pen friendly? Some ink bled through the paper and there was a slight bit of feathering, so take a look at the writing samples and decide for yourselves. (The paper in Myndology Bare notebooks and journals works very well with fountain pens – we’ll talk about that in a future post.)

(Myndology Sync Journal writing test – front)

(Myndology Sync Journal writing test – back)

Myndology created all of their disc bound notebooks to have interchangeable parts – covers, discs and paper – so that you can mix and match if you want. For example, I added a couple of reminders to this journal: one came from a Luna Note pad and the other came from a Bare Memo pad. The notes can easily be removed later when I’m done with these tasks.

(Sync Journal with pages from Luna Note pad and Bare Memo pad)

The Myndology Sync Journal comes with 60 sheets of paper and paper refills or folders+tabs can be purchased separately. Paper refills for the journal come with 60 sheets and are available in ruled, blank or graph formats. The journal page size is about 6.5” x 8.5” and the eight discs are about 5/8” in diameter. Myndology Sync notebooks also come in letter, index and note sizes.



Share

Hosting by Yahoo!