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January 18, 2012

Fabrica Pocket-in-a-Pocket Notepad Review

I really love the creative design of the Fabrica Pocket-in-a-Pocket notepads by Yukihiro Kaneuchi of Japan. They have several unique features derived from the fashion industry that makes them both fun and memorable.

These notepads are pocket-size in a very literal sense: not only are they shaped like a pocket, they are sized to fit perfectly inside a classic men’s shirt pocket. They also are a great fit for the back pocket on a pair of jeans. Women’s fashion tends to have a greater number of variables, but I’m guessing the Pocket-in-a-Pocket notebook would also fit into some women’s pockets too. The size of the notepad is about 4” x 4.5” and it is less than 0.25” thick so you can check to see if it’ll fit your own favorite pockets.

The white paper inside the Pocket-in-a-Pocket notepad is quite interesting. Each of the notepads in the set of 3 has a unique page texture that imitates the textures of weaves found in fabric. I’m no fashion expert so pardon my descriptions – one notepad’s paper has a herringbone texture, another has a check pattern and the third has a diagonal texture that looks like gabardine to me. Even though the paper has texture, it is subtle and I felt that it did not interfere with my writing. It’s really hard to show the texture in a photo, but if you click on the photo above, enlarge it and then squint you might be able to make out the checkered pattern inside the aqua blue notebook.

(Writing Test - Front)


(Writing Test - Back)

From this writing test, it’s fairly obvious that this is not the notebook to use with fountain pens unless you only plan on using one side of the page. A fair amount of the fountain pen ink bled through the paper. It works well with both ballpoint and gel pens and the texture of the paper does not interfere with their performance. The texture of the paper makes me think it would be interesting to try some pencil sketches in these.

The Fabrica Pocket-in-a-Pocket notepads come in a set of 3, with one set featuring the Cool colors shown in the photo above, and the other set featuring Warm colors. It has a flexible cardboard cover with a subtle embossed Fabrica logo, is top stitch-bound and has 52 pages. What a great gift for the man in your life!

Have you tried any of Fabrica’s innovative products? If so, what is your favorite?



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January 04, 2012

The Highlights of 2011

It never ceases to amaze me just how fast a year flies by, and it was a busy year for us here at Writer’s Bloc!

One year ago the new Clairefontaine catalog appeared online and left us greatly anticipating the arrival of many new products from Exaclair France. Rhodia brought us R by Rhodia, a new line of notepads with premium satin finish Clairefontaine ivory paper. The ever popular Webnotebooks arrived with blank and dot grid paper and Rhodia pad holders came in four new formats. Habana Journals switched over from white to 85g ivory paper and the Habana limited edition artist collection came to us with cover designs by Keith Haring, Matisse and Picasso. Clairefontaine limited edition notebooks arrived with Courants d’Arts, Ladies Who Love Life, Catitudes and Les Cakes de Bertrand cover designs.

(Clairefontaine A4 Size 4-Ring Binder)

We chose to special order a few things from Exaclair France to round out the selection in our store. Clairefontaine A4 size 4-ring binders complement perfectly our selection of Clairefontaine loose sheets. Our French ruled collection expanded to include the A4 size Clairefontaine Pupitre Top Staple Bound Notepad and the Clairing notebook. We even got some pretty stationary sets featuring handbags or violets from the Ladies Who Love Life and Les Cakes de Bertrand collections.

What new things will Clairefontaine bring us in 2012? Take a look at their 2012 catalog (coming soon) and let us know if you have any special requests!

We love the flexibility that disc bound notebooks provide so were happy to welcome the Myndology family of notebooks and journals including their eco-friendly Bare series. We also special ordered from France four A4 size notebooks from the Clairefontaine Clairing notebook collection.

(TWSBI Diamond 540 Fountain Pen)

The stagnant economy and the sky-high price of gold seems to have had its effect on the world of fountain pens. The cost of luxurious fountain pens with beautiful gold nibs has become out of reach for many of us and steel nibbed fountain pens have grown in popularity. We are excited about the arrival of two great steel nib demonstrator fountain pens to our store: the TWSBI Diamond 540 and Pilot Prera. The TWSBI Diamond 540 is a large pen with features often found only in pens many times its price such as its piston filling mechanism and fabulous ink capacity! Interestingly this pen can completely be disassembled for cleaning or repairs. The Pilot Prera demonstrator is a classy fountain pen with a wonderful Japanese nib. The fine nib size is great for tiny handwriting or detailed drawing and is about equivalent to a European-made extra-fine nib. LAMY released its special edition Safari in Aqua Blue and an Al-Star in Ruby Red.

(Pilot Vanishing Point Retractable Fountain Pen in Yellow)

If you still prefer the feel of a gold nib against the page, one option for a reasonably priced pen is the Pilot Vanishing Point retractable fountain pen. The size of the nib is kept relatively small to enable it to retract into the pen barrel so the amount of gold required is less than other larger gold nibs. Another new reasonably priced fountain pen with a gold nib is Pilot’s Custom 74 demonstrator in clear, blue or black smoke.

(Caran d'Ache Fountain Pen Ink - Storm)

New fountain pen inks that showed up on our doorstep included Pilot’s Iroshizuku series inspired by the beauty of nature and Platinum’s Mix Free inks for making your own custom colors. Noodler’s Ink continues to expand their already extensive selection of ink and we added the Black Swan, Bernanke fast-drying and V-mail series of inks. We love smooth flowing Caran d'Ache fountain pen ink and their rich, dark Carbon black and deep purple Storm and were happy to add these to our ink line-up. We also welcomed the interesting bottle design of Omas fountain pen ink and their popular dark blue ink color.

(Fabrica Bookband in Green)

If you love paper and pens no doubt you also have a few pen and pencil cases lying around and we are no exception. We expanded our selection of Aston genuine leather pen cases and added some fun pencil cases like the Fabrica Bookband, PlePle Wrap and Vintage PDX canvas pencil case.

We especially want to take this opportunity to thank our loyal customers – we appreciate you a lot! Please continue to interact with us by Facebook, Twitter or email and feel free to let us know what new pens, pencils and paper you’d like us to add in 2012. Without all of you, this past year would not have been possible.

‎Now that 2011 has come to an end, what is your most memorable moment of the past year?

(One of my memorable moments from 2011 - a trip to the Oregon coast)



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