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June 05, 2013

Quo Vadis Scholar #55 Academic Planner Review

Quo Vadis Scholar #55 Academic Planner is a weekly, desk-sized agenda designed for both teachers and students alike. It has an open format that makes it easy to track when your assignments and papers are due, and keeps test dates and other activities organized. It is an academic planner which means it starts with the month of August and ends with the month of July of the following year. It’s a welcome addition to Writer’s Bloc this season. What features make it a useful organizing tool?

The Quo Vadis Scholar begins with a page for personal information including such details as name, address, email and important medical information. Across from this page is one ruled page for notes. Then comes a 2-page Monday through Saturday Time Schedule with half hour increments starting at 8:00am and ending at 9:00pm (it assumes that you are taking Sundays off). It seems that it would be a good idea to fill this in with pencil since schedules tend to change over time. The lines from Noon to 2:00pm are printed with grey to help you keep track of when your lunch break might occur in relation to the rest of the day.

There are two annual planning pages that cover one school year – starting with July of one year to the end of June in the following year. Each month has one column with a box for priorities on the top, and small spaces beneath for each day of the month. These pages allow you to see a general outline of your yearly plans at a glance.

The Scholar has an “open format.” In other words, each day of the weekly plan is not broken down into hourly increments, rather, each day has a space with several lines for freestyle planning in whatever format you want. It has one week on two pages: the top of the left page starts with Monday and the bottom of the right page ends with Sunday. Underneath each weekday date is a small area for noting daily priorities. Other details included in the weekly plan are the month number, the week of the year number, the day of the year number, lunar cycles and holidays.

A set of world maps in grey tones follows the end of the weekly plans. Map pages include: North America, Canada, USA, South America, Australia & New Zealand, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Scholar includes a slim, removable address book that slides easily into one of the pockets of planner cover along with the planner (not included with the Spiral or Basic covers). This gives you the option to reuse the same address book the following year without having to recopy all of your notes

If you like to write with fountain pens the Scholar is a good choice since most versions of this planner contain 90g white Clairefontaine paper (except for the Basic and Equology covers which contain 89g recycled paper). Besides being super-smooth to write on, this paper reduces ink feathering and bleed through, is acid-free, pH neutral and is PEFC certified. For a list of other fountain pen friendly planners you can take a look at our list under the blog post “Fountain Pen Friendly Planners.”

The binding is sewn to keep pages from falling out and the lower corner of each page has a tear-off perforation you can use to help you find your place. The page size of this planner is approximately 6 1/4” x 9 3/8”. The Quo Vadis Scholar academic agenda can be purchased with a refillable cover that’s available in different colors and materials such as Texas Vinyl, Club, Soho, Equology and Nappa Leather. If you don’t want a refillable cover you can get the Scholar with a Noir Spiral cover or a Basic cover. (The equivalent Quo Vadis calendar year planner beginning with January and ending with December is the Hebdo #56.)

What’s your favorite academic planning diary and academic planner format?

May 22, 2013

Undated Planners featuring Choo Choo Diary Season V

Undated planners offer flexibility and features for a variety of planning needs. Need to begin your schedule of plans in a month other than January? Lost your planner in the middle of the year? Need to keep a schedule only intermittently? Are you a student? Love to doodle? Want to write in a super cute diary? An undated planner might be just what you need!

Jetoy Design and 7321 Story both make adorable storybook-like undated planners with a similar general format. Besides the yearly, monthly and weekly plans that the Choo Choo Diary and Le Petit Prince Planner include, Alice's Diary also includes a page for each daily plan. This post will focus on Jetoy’s Choo Choo Diary Season V since I am partial to the over-the-top cuteness of Choo Choo Cat and friends. The plethora of illustrations ranges from storybook to ridiculous to whimsical and they are sure to bring a smile to each day.

The Choo Choo undated planner starts out with a 2-page yearly plan from January through December with a small space for 31 days each month. It is designed to give you a general yearly overview of your future plans.

A couple of illustrated pages separates each month from another. There is no specific purpose for these pages other than to look cute and perhaps to help you keep each month separate.

Each month begins with a generic calendar page with 5-weeks of Sunday through Monday. Each day of the monthly calendar has a space in the upper left to write in the date. The upper right corner of these 2 pages has the numbers 1 to 12 where you can circle the number of “this month.”

Following the monthly plan there are 5 weeks of Monday to Sunday plus Memo weekly plans. The date can be written at the top beside each day of the week, and the month number can be circled using the numbers 1 to 12 printed in the upper right corner.

The Choo Choo Diary does not include a specific daily plan, however after the monthly and weekly schedulers it does have 160 wonderfully illustrated cat-themed pages for notes. There are too many different adorable pictures to mention so I’ll just give you four samples below.







This Choo Choo Diary includes a decorated 9.5” x 19.5” yearly planner poster that you could hang on the wall above your desk and numbered stickers that you can use as tabs in your planner where ever you choose. There is a page for personal information in the very back and the pink and gray endsheets are decorated with various fun loving cats.

There is no specific information on the paper inside this diary. I would venture to guess that it has a weight of maybe 80 or 90g. Ballpoint or gel pens would be ideal for use with the Choo Choo Diary. The binding is stitched to keep the pages from falling out and you can bend the flexible spine backwards to keep the planner open to a certain page. The cover is semi-flexible and has a clear plastic slip cover with a pen loop that can accommodate a decently sized pen.

Have you had the occasion to use an undated planner? What type of undated planner is your favorite? If you’d like to try one check out the undated planners over at Writer’s Bloc.

April 10, 2013

From This Day Forward: Wedding Guest Book

From This Day Forward: Wedding Guest Book is part of Compendium’s Live Inspired collection which is meant to inspire, motivate and celebrate the world we love and live in. The inspirational quotations contained in this wedding guest book are sure be part of what will make this book a cherished memory of a couple’s special day.

Instead of just being a registry book for wedding guest names and addresses, the layout of the From This Day Forward wedding guest book is meant to inspire guests to share meaningful advice on how to have a happy life together. As friends and family write on the lined white pages in this book they will read an inspirational quotation on the facing page. The inspirational pages are a understated light-taupe color and are adorned with elegant white botanical and floral designs.

Some of my favorite quotes from this book are “It’s not where you go or what you do in life, it’s who you have beside you” - unknown, and “I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

From This Day Forward is hard bound and is covered in a neutral light-taupe cloth with white and dark brown foil stamping. There is a matching ribbon book marker to assist in finding the right page. There are 80 pages – half are lined for guests to write on and the other half have quotations. Each wide-ruled page has 14 lines.

My favorite fountain pen to match this guest book would have to be the taupe colored Pelikan Classic M205.

My first choice for ink would be a dark taupe brown color of ink such as J. Herbin’s Cacao du Bresil.

If you would rather use a gel pen, then I would recommend the classy silver tone Pentel EnerGel Alloy RT Gel Pen that comes with a black ink cartridge. Your left-handed guests will not smear the EnerGel ink!

Are you planning on getting married this year? Congratulations and best wishes from all of us here at Writer’s Bloc!

July 04, 2012

New! Texas Covers for Quo Vadis Planners

New affordable and refillable Texas covers from Quo Vadis and Exacompta Prestige are available for both 2012/2013 academic planners and 2013 appointment books. These covers are available for at least 30 different planner formats, so we were excited to finally see them in person.

Texas covers are made from an incredibly soft, velvety suede-like material. They have a matte finish and are available in 5 lightly-marbled colors this year: vibrant shades of blue, red or bamboo green, muted violet purple and classic charcoal grey. The front of these covers has a matching decorative area that I would suspect is designed to mimic the appearance of a strap closure on a leather journal. The Texas cover is very flexible, compact and light-weight. Since it is refillable, inside both the front and back cover there are pockets that the cover of your planner refill can slide into.

Notably, Quo Vadis assures us that the vinyl material 'does not contain PVC - making them one of the few manufacturers to be fully in accord with California's Proposition 65 environmental regulations.'

The edges of the Texas covers are not saddle stitched like Quo Vadis’ Club and Soho covers. Rather, the edges of the Texas cover are embossed to look as if there is stitching. Since these covers are new this year, their durability has yet to be seen. We would guess that the Club and Soho covers are made to last longer, but those covers are also more expensive. With our present struggling economy, the Texas cover is a colorful new option that can save you a few dollars.

Do you like to use Quo Vadis or Exacompta date books with refillable covers? What’s your favorite cover and planner format?



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May 09, 2012

Compendium Family Interview Journals

Did you know Compendium makes a series of inspirational and interactive books that are intended to help us draw close to our families? Wow! Who would think that a company would actually care about the things we want to remember about our families. The things they said. The lessons we learned.

This book series is meant to serve as a collection of interview journals. We all know what a normal journal is but what really is an interview journal? Well, have you ever conducted an interview yourself? No doubt the purpose was to quench your growing curiosity and gather information you can both use and keep. Possibly even pass on. If you've been through this, you probably also found that at some point you run out of questions! What if you're still thirsting for more knowledge but you just don't know how to proceed? Well this is where these carefully thought-out journals come to save the day. They have the questions already printed and waiting for your answers. You ask the question on each page and write down the answer. It is that easy. Who better to learn about than our own family and its history? What better information to hold onto and guard as irreplaceable?

Each book is tailored and special from the others. Let's talk about grandpa's book first: Grandpa His Stories His Words. The cover has a fine texture to it like all of the books. The pages are a nice cream color and have a regal design that decorates each page. The questions cover topics ranging from favorite foods and pets to growing up and who his favorite president was. Ask about his parents and what they were like; if and when they immigrated to this country. We think of grandpa as a hero. Every hero has a journey that made them that way. Find out more about his journey.

My Grandma Her Stories Her Words, beautifully crafted in cream and wine red, gives us a chance to tap into grandma's wisdom. Ask her about her recipes (if she'll let you in on her food secrets) and how she got through the tough times in her life. Our grandmothers offer us so much comfort and joy along with great laughter. She'll no doubt have as much fun answering as you will listening. The cover is adorned with dainty light blue foliage for a nice feminine touch. Light blue would be great as an ink choice to complement the wine ink lines and white paper. I recommend using the Leuchtturm1917 self-adhesive pen loop in blue to hold your interview pen. This color matches perfectly!

Now on to mom's book, My Mom Her Stories Her Words. The cover is reminiscent of red lipstick we have often seen our mothers put on. The inside is decorated in baby blue/turquoise with varying embellishments from page to page. These pages are white with attractive blue lines. Now you can find out exactly how dad met mom and which of her parents' rules drove her crazy. Our moms taught us the most about life. Don't miss your chance to hear about hers. 

My Dad His Stories His Words is for Dad. His mind may be the hardest to penetrate sometimes. You would be amazed at what you can learn from your father. The book contains white pages that are adorned by jade green lines. Fathers are often the quiet ones of the bunch. This is a great way to really get his thoughts and opinions and see what experiences shaped who he is and possibly what he wanted for his children. 

The family interview journals are all the same size and look quite attractive next to each other on a bookcase. The pages are all very smooth and great quality. Just a bit larger than a photo, these books are not heavy or cumbersome but fit nicely into any bag or purse.

You will love the stories you hear and the things you possibly never knew.

If you are giving these books as gifts, I recommend getting cute, small matching pens and a self-adhesive pen loop. There aren't always colors that match the books exactly so try contrasting colors that pop and complement. I would also consider ink colors and how they will match or contrast the actual lines in the book. There was so much thought that went into creating these books. You can make them even better by perfecting and customizing your presentation with great ink and a great pen. For example, mom's book has a red cover that would contrast nicely with a nice purple pen loop (of course with a purple or red pen) and a surprise tangerine ink. Or dad's book would do well with a black pen loop and a regal sepia ink to keep the look simple and sharp. 

We really want to hear from you on this one. What do you think about using a family interview journal?

My Dad: His Story. His Words
My Mom: Her Story. Her Words
My Grandpa: His Stories. His Words
My Grandma: Her Stories. Her Words.



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March 14, 2012

White Paper Habana Journals vs. New Ivory Paper Habana Journals

It has already been about a year since the Quo Vadis Habana Journals containing ivory paper were introduced to us here in the USA. How do these new Habana journals compare to the original Habana journals with white paper? It seems that the original Quo Vadis quality has not been compromised and many writers are still very happy with the performance of the new Habana Journal.

Things that remain the same:

  • The cover design and materials
  • Elastic closure
  • Ribbon bookmark
  • Pocket inside the back cover
  • The sewn binding
  • Sizes
  • Number of sheets (80) in the large Habana
  • Small Habana is still narrow ruled
  • Lined and blank paper options
  • Paper is still acid-free, pH neutral
  • Paper is still made by Clairefontaine and has an exceptionally smooth satin finish

Things that have changed:

  • Paper color is now ivory instead of white
  • Paper weight in the large Habana is now 85g instead of 90g
  • Paper weight in the small Habana is now 85g instead of 64g
  • Number of sheets in the small Habana is now 80 instead of 96
  • Paper is narrow ruled the large Habana
  • Lines on the paper no longer go all the way to the edge
  • Lines are now dotted so they are more subtle
  • New for 2012 – black, blank paper Habana in A4 size (approx. 8.25” x 11.75”)

It’s nice to see that the small Habana got an upgrade to 85g paper! I really like the new dotted lines that don’t go all the way to the paper’s edge since they don’t dominate the page as much but are more of a subtle guideline. The narrow rules in the large Habana allow you to get a lot more writing onto each page. It’s exciting to have the option of a new large A4 size Habana Journal. Depending on the size of Habana Journal you use and the pen you like to write with, you might either see more or less writing that shows through to the other side of the page. Writers who love bright white paper are sad to see the change to ivory paper, but I personally like variety and like to have a mix of paper colors in my notebook and journal collection. Too bad we don’t have the option of choosing either white or ivory paper for our Habana Journals!

For those of you that prefer white paper, we still have a small selection of white paper Habana Journals left in stock. Get them while they last!

Do you use a Habana Journal? What do you think of the new Habana Journals with ivory paper? Would you use a Habana Journal in the new large A4 size?



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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?


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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.



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October 26, 2011

Write Now Journal by Compendium

(The “Write More Happiness Into The World” Write Now Journal by Compendium)

Compendium’s new Write Now Journals are a fun way to add inspiration to your journaling and notes. They come in seven different styles that feature modern typography and artwork along with inspirational quotes. I happen to own the “Write More Happiness Into The World” version of this journal so this blog post will focus mostly on that. Other versions of this journal have different designs and can be viewed at Compendium and Writer’s Bloc.

(Write More Happiness Into The World – front cover)

The Write Now “Write More Happiness Into The World” journal cover features a content little penguin, who normally could not fly, soaring through the sky in her own hot air balloon along with many other happy little birds. This design looks like something I might have doodled in my school notebooks on a sunny day. Other covers feature such things as rainbow watercolors, a blue monkey riding a bicycle with bananas in the basket and a retro typewriter.

The cover of the Write Now Journals is a flexible laminated cardboard with a little bit of a textured finish. Inside the front cover there is a space for writing your name, address, date, theme, or whatever you wish. This journal also has rounded corners and a total of 128 pages. It has glue-bound paper signatures, so it does not tend to want to open flat without closing. It measures 8" H X 5" W and is about 3/8” thick.

(Illustrated inspirational quotes)

One of the things I like the most about these journals is that every six pages or so there is an illustrated page with an inspirational quote. The reverse side of these pages in my journal is light blue with fluffy white clouds, but other versions of this journal will have different designs. The quote in the above scan is one of my favorites: “You, whose day it is, get out your rainbow colors and make it beautiful” – Traditional Nootka Song. I have to say though, my favorite quote of all is from the “Remember, Ideas Become Things” Write Now Journal, and it is: “Things are only impossible until they’re not” by Jean-Luc Picard.

(Writing test on soft green colored paper – front)

(Writing test – back)

Write Now Journals are made with FSC certified paper that is chlorine-free and they are printed with soy based ink. I’m not sure of the exact weight of this paper, but I’m guessing it is probably 90g. The color and designs on each page vary depending on which journal you get. “Write More Happiness Into The World” has paper in various colors: cream, soft green, soft blue-green, pale blue and bright yellow-green. There are birds and various dots, dashes and things decorating the edges of the pages. These journals are wide-ruled, and the rules are not stuffy and business-like, rather they consist of funky dots or rough hewn lines.

The paper seems to be good quality and handles a variety of writing instruments successfully. I was pleasantly surprised that this paper takes fountain pens quite well! I couldn’t see any feathering and there was only minimal bleed through or see through. Ink dries fairly quickly on this paper too. I would say most people would be happy writing on both sides of each page. You can check out the writing test I did in the above scans.

Do you like journals with colored paper, artwork and inspirational quotes? Or do you like yours plain? What is your favorite?



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October 12, 2011

Leuchtturm1917 Large 18 Month Weekly Planner Review

(Leuchtturm1917 Large 18 Monthly Weekly Planner)

The Leuchtturm1917 Large 18 Month Weekly Planner has a practical multipurpose design. The 2012 planner begins with September 1, 2011 and runs all the way through the end of February 2013. This allows it to be used as either an academic planner or a yearly planner. If you happen to lose your yearly planner before the year is over, the Leuchtturm1917 18 month planner steps in with plans starting in September to help you out. If you procrastinate and put off buying a 2013 planner until the new year has already begun, it gives you some breathing room until you can find a new planner.

Its basic design is similar to a lot of other black-cover notebooks. The black cover is lightly grained to give it a leather-like appearance and the only writing on the cover is a small “Leuchtturm1917” on the bottom of the back cover. It has rounded corners, is held closed with a black elastic and has a matching black ribbon book marker. Inside the front cover there is a place to write your name and address and a handy expandable pocket is found inside the back cover. The cream color of the end sheets matches the cream color of the paper. It is about 5.75” x 8.25” in size and about 0.5” thick. I appreciate the fact that the hard-cover is very slim to make this planner as compact as possible.

(Monthly Plan)

When you open this Leuchtturm1917 planner you discover that it has a stitched binding which helps it to open flat and keeps pages from falling out. The ink-proof, acid-free paper is cream colored and has gray printing. It is most likely 80g like the paper in many other Leuchtturm1917 notebooks.

The first printed information is three pages of yearly calendars: 2011, 2012 and 2013. These calendars list the week number for every week of each year. Following these calendars is a six page monthly plan that runs from September 2011 to February 2013. This monthly plan shows you the phases of the moon in case you need to know that information.

(International Holidays)

Next comes six pages listing three years worth of international holidays in close to 60 countries. This comes in handy if you are a business traveller or are planning a fun international vacation.

(Project Planner)

The Project Plan spans two pages and covers September 2011 to February 2013. It has 29 lines worth of projects to plan.

(Weekly Plan)

Each weekly plan is two pages, begins with Monday on the left and ends with Saturday/Sunday on the right. Each day gets a column of hourly planning from 07:00 to 22:00 hours with a space for notes at the bottom, except for Saturday and Sunday which are combined into one column on the right. Saturday has four unmarked lines for plans plus notes and Sunday has three lines plus notes. At the bottom of the notes space for each day are country codes indicating which days are holidays in which countries. The bottom right corner of each weekly plan has a calendar of the current month with the current week highlighted. The bottom right corner also includes the week number of the current week.

(Stickers for labeling front & spine and lined/graph template)

The back of the planner has 15 blank pages for taking notes. If you can’t write in a straight line there is a lined/graph template included that can be placed behind these pages as a guide while you’re writing. The Leuchtturm1917 website says that these pages are perforated so they can be removed, but honestly I cannot see any perforations here.

If you like to archive your planners, the Leuchtturm1917 18 month planner includes handy stickers for labeling the cover: three stickers for the front cover and three stickers for the spine.

(Writing test - front)

(Writing test - back)

The paper seems to perform quite well with a variety of writing instruments including fountain pens. Very little bleed through or feathering of ink, however, there is some show through since the paper is 80g. I personally find I can use both sides of the page without it bothering me, but if you are very particular it could be bothersome. I especially appreciate that ink dries reasonably quickly on this paper so I can write without a bunch of smearing (I’m a lefty).

If you like to have a pen holder, Leuchtturm1917 makes self-adhesive pen loops in 6 different colors that can easily be added to your planner.

Leuchtturm1917 makes a variety of quality notebooks and planners where “details make all the difference.” What’s your favorite Leuchtturm1917 product?



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October 05, 2011

Fountain Pen Friendly Planners

Many people consider paper to be fountain pen friendly if it has the ability to prevent the following three problems: ink feathering, ink bleed through and show through of your writing (so that you can clearly write on both sides of the page).

Quo Vadis, Exacompta and Rhodia planners all have very high quality paper, and I would have to say their planners with 90g paper are the most suited for use with your beloved fountain pen. I’ve compiled a list of which of these planners contain 90g paper:

Weekly Planners with white 90g paper:

Rhodia WebPlanner 6x9
Prenote #24 
President #16
Trinote #48
Minister #15 
Executive #14

Weekly Planners with colored 90g paper:

Space 24 – soft green paper
Visual – soft green paper
Note #27 – ivory paper
Minister #15 - cream paper for the Habana and Smooth covers (discontinued)

Monthly Planners with white 90g paper:

Monthly 4 #76
Visoplan #67

Academic Planners with white 90g paper:

Academic Minister #34
Septanote #49
Principal #31
Scholar #55

I must also mention that the Quo Vadis Exaplan #66 21-month planner has 85g white paper. This paper likely performs almost as well as the standard 90g Clairefontaine paper.

As as lefty over-writer, my own personal requirements for fountain pen friendly paper are a bit different. In addition to the three requirements mentioned in the first paragraph, the ink must also dry fairly quickly on the paper to avoid smearing or I end up not wanting to use it. I compensate for this partly by choosing ink that dries reasonably quickly, but I am willing to compromise somewhat on the bleed-through, feathering and show-through issues to speed up the ink drying time.  I do well with the ink-proof paper inside Leuchtturm1917 planners. I believe this paper is typically 80g, so there is more show-through compared to a 90g paper. This issue may bother you, however to my liking, ink seems to dry more quickly on Leuchtturm1917 paper than it does on Clairefontaine paper.

While they are still in stock many of these planners with a variety of different covers can be found at Writer’s Bloc. If you see something you want and we don’t have it please feel free to ask if we can special order it. Planner season is upon us (what happened to summer?) – get your fountain pen friendly planner now before they’re gone!

What’s your favorite fountain pen friendly planner?



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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 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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July 06, 2011

How to Choose Your Academic Planner

Here we are in the midst of the academic planner shopping season and you haven’t purchased your planner yet? Quo Vadis makes so many different styles of planners you might feel overwhelmed as to just where to start. These planners sell out quite quickly so you can't wait too long to decide - in fact the remaining supply is very limited. Making a choice is actually not as difficult as you may think.

Whereas Quo Vadis, Exacompta and Rhodia combined offer 22 different page formats for yearly planners, Quo Vadis academic planners come in only 8 different page formats (in the USA anyway). Seven of these are weekly planners: Minister, Septanote, Principal, Scholar, University, Student and Sapa X. Of these, we chose to sell our favorite at Writer’s Bloc: the Academic Minister. The only daily academic planner offered by Quo Vadis is the Textagenda which can be found at Writer’s Bloc as well.

Quo Vadis Academic Minister Weekly Planner

Quo Vadis Textagenda Daily Planner

Once you decide whether you want either a weekly or a daily planner, there are also many cover choices for these planners. If you want a refillable cover, Writer’s Bloc offers both Soya and Club covers which come in a variety of colors, are very durable and can be refilled year after year. The Soya and Club covers are both leather-like, the difference being that the Soya is smooth and the Club has a grained texture. Later, if you decide you want to switch to a yearly planner instead of academic, the yearly Minister fits inside the same cover as the Academic Minister, and the yearly Notor fits inside the same cover as the academic Textagenda.

Quo Vadis Textagenda Planner with smooth black Soya cover

Quo Vadis Textagenda Planner with grained texture black Club cover

If you’re like me and you love to have a different new cover on your planner each year, you may like either the Habana or Robert Le Heros covers. These bound, hard cover planners have a leather-like feel and a matching elastic closure. I love the funky floral covers by the Parisian graphic design agency Robert Le Heros. Textagendas are also available with a Basic hardboard cover made from 100% post consumer recycled paper.

Quo Vadis Academic Minister Planner with anise green Habana cover

Quo Vadis Academic Minister Planners with Robert Le Heros covers

Quo Vadis Textagenda Planner with a red Basic cover

If none of these planners suit your style, there are also undated planners that give you the freedom to start and stop your planning at anytime during the year. My favorites are Alice’s Diary by Art Deco 7321 and Bob’s Your Uncle 8-Days-A-Week Planner Journal.

If your top priority is finding a planner that is very fountain pen friendly, we would have to recommend the Quo Vadis Academic Minister with whatever cover design you choose. The Minister contains 90g white Clairefontaine paper that works great with fountain pens!

Do you use an academic planner? What is your favorite?


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May 25, 2011

Exacompta Club Leatherette Journal with Exacompta Basics Refill Review

I’ve used my Exacompta Club Leatherette Journal regularly for three years now and still have not grown tired of it.

These refillable journals are made with a leather-like, grained cover material that is sturdy and holds up well over time. I can’t even see any wear yet on my three-year-old cover. Since these covers are so durable it’s nice that they can be refilled over and over again.

The cover opens easily and the journal lays nice and flat. I love this! It is currently available in eight different colors, from a conservative black to an energizing orange. A color for every personality! I have an older bright green color that was originally named “bamboo”.

The edges of the cover are stitched and the Exacompta Basics refill fits easily into pockets inside the front and back covers. These pockets can get in the way of writing when using the first and last several pages of the journal. I solved this problem by making a cardboard cut-out that is twice the size of the page size (about 9” x 6 5/8” total). I fold the cardboard in half (4 1/2” x 6 5/8” folded) and slide half of it into the pocket so that it doesn’t slide around or fall out. The other half of the cardboard folds over the top of the pocket to provide a smooth writing surface until I use up enough pages that this is no longer an issue. Then I remove the cardboard until I need it again, which isn’t for quite awhile since there are 200 sheets of paper in this journal.

The Exacompta Basics refills have a stitched binding so that pages do not fall out and the refill will open flat. The paper inside is white, pH neutral, acid-free, 64g and has a smooth-satin finish.

When you take the Club Leatherette cover off the Exacompta Basics refill you'll find its cover is a brown, textured cardboard with a cloth spine. Old versions of the Basics refill had ribbon bookmarks, but the new versions do not. It’s still easy to find your place though since the bottom of each page has a perforated tear-off corner.

The front and back end sheets are glued to the Basics refill cover, so when inserting the refill into the Club cover I like to insert the cardboard cover as well as one page.

The Basics refill is available with three different paper options: blank, graph, and undated 365 so that you can use this journal as a planner. There are also Notor and Textagenda daily planners available with the same size Club Leatherette covers (Notor 2012 planners will be available soon,  Textagenda 2011/2012 academic planners are available now). Although blank paper is my favorite, in addition it would be nice to see Exacompta make a ruled Basics refill as well.

The size of the Exacompta Club Leatherette Journal is a handy 5” x 7”. The Basics refill is about 4 3/4” x 6 3/4”. The cover is flexible and in your hand it has a nice book-like feel.

Is this journal fountain pen friendly? I guess my answer would have to be mostly no. Most of my fountain pens bleed through and show through this paper. As a left-handed writer I really like this paper since I can have the nice smooth Clairefontaine finish that my fountain pen glides across, but it is more absorbent than regular 90g Clairefontaine paper so the ink dries quickly. This is crucial for me to prevent a smeary ink mess. If I want to use both sides of the page I need to stick to a fine nib and only use certain inks or use a gel or ballpoint pen. However, if you don’t mind using up your journal more quickly, you can just use one side of the page like I do sometimes. There are 200 sheets so for me it lasts quite awhile.

Do you use any Exacompta Club covers or Basics journals? Which are your favorites?



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February 02, 2011

Bob's Your Uncle Do-Doodle Planner Journal Review

Bob's Your Uncle is a Boston-based company run by a graphic designer and a former-shoes designer. Their creativity combined with a dash of humor and practicality creates products that are fun and functional.

The Do-Doodle Planner Journal has an undated format which means that you can begin using it at any time during any year and not lose any of its functionality. It can be neglected for a time and then you can pick up and begin planning right where you left off. It has 52 weekly planning pages on the left and a dot grid page for notes and doodles on the right. The planning pages include Monday through Sunday with an additional “Someday” column for writing future goals and plans. Each day of the week has space for writing the actual date, plus 12 time slots broken down into a.m., p.m. and evening. The weekdays and someday are printed in different colors to help you distinguish each day as well as for a bit of fun.

The semi-flexible hard cover is sturdy and made from laminated board with narrow multi-color stripes inside and outside. There is no title, but the back cover has a small Bob’s Your Uncle circular logo and some company information. It has a double wire spiral binding to help eliminate snags. The paper size is 7” x 9 1/2”, if you add in the spiral then the size of the planner is approximately 7 1/2” x 9 1/2”.

The heavy weight paper inside the Do-Doodle Planner is ivory color, with the days of the week printed in various colors and the dot grid pages are printed with subtle olive green dots. My favorite thing about the dot grid pages is that the grid pattern is approximately 1/4” x 1/4”. This is much more comfortable for my handwriting than the usual 5mm x 5mm grid pattern found in most dot grid notebooks. Bob’s Your Uncle also makes the Pretty Vacant Notebook, a dot grid notebook with a 5mm x 5mm pale olive green dot grid pattern.

How does this paper hold up to fountain pen ink? Pretty well I’m happy to report! Feathering is almost non-existent, see through is minimal, and there was only a little bit of bleed through. I could use both sides of the page. Not perfection, but overall it performs very well. 

What do you think of undated planners? Have you had the opportunity to use Bob’s Your Uncle notebooks, planners or notepads?


December 29, 2010

LEUCHTTURM1917 Dot Grid Medium Notebook Review

Leuchtturm is based in Germany and has been producing quality stationery products since 1917. This family-run company has the motto “details make all the difference.” Let’s see what details the LEUCHTTURM1917 medium dot grid notebook includes.

The first thing I noticed about this notebook that distinguishes it from many other similar notebooks is that the pages are numbered, 1 through 249. To make it easy to find your notes there 3 pages in the front with a blank table of contents that includes a column to jot down the page number and another column to make a note of the “topic”. This is a really handy feature to have if you need to refer to specific things in your notes in the future after you’ve forgotten where everything is.

The binding of the LEUCHTTURM1917 dot grid notebook is thread-bound, which means that it will open flat and the pages will not fall out. If you need to tear out a page, there are 8 perforated sheets in the back that can easily be removed.

The slim hard cover is made with a synthetic, very lightly textured material that comes in five colors: Lilac, Lime, Caramel, Pure White and Turquoise. The cover is plain except for a small embossed “LEUCHTTURM1917” on the bottom of the back cover. An elastic attached to the back cover wraps around the front cover to keep your journal closed. Inside the back cover there is an expandable pocket for keeping notes, receipts, programs etc. Inside the front cover is a space for writing your name and address.

The LEUCHTTURM1917 dot grid notebook includes some labels for the cover so that you can identify the contents of your notebook. There are three labels for the spine (approx. 3/8” x 7 1/2” each), two ruled labels and one blank label for the front cover (approx. 1 7/8” x 2 3/8” each). There is a matching ribbon bookmark to help you find your place. The size of the medium notebook is approximately 5 3/4” x 8 1/4” and it is about 3/4” thick.

The paper is ivory color with a light grey 5mm x 5mm dot grid pattern that doesn’t quite go to the edge of the page. It is acid-free, 80g and is called “ink-proof paper” that can be used with your fountain pen. I tested it with several fountain pens and found it has better quality paper than the LEUCHTTURM1917 notebooks of a few years ago, but it is not as good as Clairefontaine or Rhodia paper for use with fountain pens. There was a little bit of feathering, a little bit of bleed through, but mostly the problem was with show through on the back side of the page. 80g paper makes it possible to have 249 pages in a nice compact size, but it might be better to have fewer pages and thicker paper. I was able to use both sides of the page as long as I carefully selected the ink color and nib size that I used. This journal is probably not the best choice if you want to write on both sides of the page with a fountain pen. However, there are plenty of other features to like about the LEUCHTTURM1917 dot grid notebook!

What is your favorite LEUCHTTURM1917 stationery?

NOTE: Since this article was published, Leuchtturm has discontinued the turquoise cover on the dot grid notebook but is still making it with a black cover.


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!

August 25, 2010

Choosing Your Quo Vadis Planner Based on the Paper

Quo Vadis Planners come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and all of them contain high-quality paper with a pleasantly smooth writing surface. If you are particular about your paper, how do you know which one contains just the right paper for you?

If you’re looking for a planner that is as light-weight and compact as possible, easy to carry around and stash discreetly in a purse or pocket, 64g or 55g paper helps to reduce size and weight. One of my favorite small planners is the Exacompta Daily Pocket Diary.

If you are a fountain pen user, Quo Vadis recommends paper that is 85g or higher, although many prefer the 90g paper. As is typical of Quo Vadis planners, there is little to no feathering or bleed-through of fountain pen ink on this paper, and the weight of 85g or higher has the added advantage of preventing most ink see-through.

Although Quo Vadis manufactures all of their paper in an environmentally responsible fashion, if you’re the type that wants to stick to recycled products, then the Quo Vadis Basic or Equology lines of planners are for you. (More Quo Vadis Basic planners are expected to be in our shop soon.)

If you’re picky about paper color, Quo Vadis gives you the choice of extra white, white, ivory and even a pale green color of paper such as found in the super-popular daily planner Journal 21.

If you love graph paper, Rhodia Weekly Planners provide a grid area along with each week’s plans for drawing and taking notes.

Quo Vadis comes to the rescue and provides us with the following informative chart on the types of paper contained in Quo Vadis planners. (We left the Quo Vadis Notebooks on the end of this list for your reference.) Which Quo Vadis Planner is your favorite?

Quo Vadis Paper Chart

Edition Weight Color
Trinote 90g extra white
Minister 90g extra white
Academic Minister 90g extra white
Prenote 90g extra white
President 90g extra white
Principal® 90g extra white
Scholar 90g extra white
Septanote 90g extra white
Note 27 90g ivory
Monthly 4 90g extra white
Quarter 90g extra white
Executive 90g extra white
Visual 90g green tint
Space 24 90g green tint
Rhodia Weekly Notebook 6 x 9 90g extra white
Rhodia Weekly Notebook 6 x 9 Academic 90g extra white
Visoplan 90g extra white
President Equology 89g white
Minister Equology 89g white
Scholar Equology 89g white
Exaplan 85g extra white
Textagenda Equology 74g white
Sapa X Equology 74g white
Journal 21 72g green tint
Business 64g extra white
Sapa X 64g extra white
Sapa X Academic 64g extra white
Notor 64g extra white
Textagenda 64g extra white
IB Traveler 64g extra white
ABP1 64g extra white
Biweek 64g extra white
University 64g extra white
Student 64g extra white
Rhodia Weekly Notebook 4 x 6 64g extra white
Rhodia Weekly Notebook 4 x 6 Academic    64g extra white
Miniweek 55g ivory
Space 17 55g ivory
Daily Pocket 55g ivory
Notebooks    
Habana large ruled 90g extra white
Habana large blank 90g extra white
Habana pocket blank 90g extra white
Habana pocket ruled 64g extra white
Robert le heros large ruled 90g extra white
Robert le heros pocket ruled 64g extra white

August 04, 2010

Clairefontaine Paper Variations

Clairefontaine is well-known for making high quality paper in a large variety of sizes, styles and purposes. How do you go about deciding which kind of Clairefontaine paper is best to fit your needs? Here’s some handy information from the Exaclair website that can really help:

Clairefontaine Paper Chart

ProductWeightDescription
Notebooks90 gExtra white paper, except for spiral multi-subject which is a light pastel color. Ruled, ruled with margin, French ruled, graph, blank, staves (music notebook), staple bound, spiral, clothbound, hardcover
Pads90 gExtra white paper, staple bound, spiral
Triomphe Tablets90 gExtra white, blank, ruled
DCP Paper100 gBright white, blank
Graf it Sketch Pads90 gWhite
Spiral Drawing Pads120 gWhite, medium tooth surface
Spiral Sketch Pads90 gWhite, medium tooth surface
Spiral Watercolor Pads300 gWhite, cold pressed
Calligraphy Pad130 gIvory, simili Japon paper
"Fontaine" Watercolor300 g100% cotton rag, natural white, cold pressed
"Ingres" Pastel Pad130 gWhite - slight ivory tinge
Color - assorted, sand, almond, ochre, sooty black
Laid finish
Oil Pad240 gWhite - linen texture
Acrylic 360 gWhite, hot pressed
Pollen Stationery
210 g
120 g
22 colors
  All sheets and cards
  All envelopes

In addition to the difference in types of Clairefontaine paper, many people wonder how Rhodia paper compares to Clairefontaine paper. If you'd like to know the answer, the Rhodia Drive blog explains the difference between Rhodia and Clairefontaine Paper.

Cole at The Orchard gives us her take on the differences between Clairefontaine Digital Color Printing Paper, Ingres Pastel Pad, Graf it Sketchpad and the Kalligraphie Pad, as well as giving us a nice comparison of the Rhodia Webnotebook and the Quo Vadis Habana Journal.

What’s your favorite Clairefontaine paper?

July 14, 2010

Use Your Planner to Create More Time

At the end of the day do you ever wonder where the time went and wish you could have more time? Maybe you need to pay more attention to where your time is going. I heard an interesting suggestion that might help. Much as a dieter might have a food journal to keep track of the calories they eat each day, almost anyone could keep a time log for a few weeks to see where their time is going. A planner would be a handy tool to do this with.

Examining your time log may bring to light some areas for improvement. Are nonessential activities such as watching TV and surfing the internet sucking up too much of your time? Perhaps you could reduce or eliminate things that waste your time and focus your energy on things that are more essential.

Do you find that you are being interrupted repeatedly at a certain time of the day or by the same individuals? Perhaps you could schedule time when you avoid taking phone calls, sending texts, receiving and sending email, etc. Even choosing to do some work in a different location during these times when you often get interrupted may help.

Of course we all need a break and have some down time too. Not scheduling more activity than is possible during your day and keeping a time log may help you get the important things out of the way so that you can enjoy your time for rest & relaxation more fully.

June 23, 2010

Behance Action Journal & Dot Grid Journal

Behance’s new Action Journal and Dot Grid Journal are good choices for those concerned about the environment. Behance and New Leaf Paper collaborated to design these journals which not only inspire creativity and promote organization, they are also environmentally friendly.

For those of you that haven’t heard of New Leaf Paper, their mission is to be the leading national source for environmentally responsible, economically sound paper. The paper they provide for the Action Journal and Dot Grid Journal is 100% recycled and the materials used to create each notebook are cleaned up, de-inked and bleached with hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine. This paper is manufactured with electricity that is offset with Green-e® certified renewable energy certificates.

Behance is well known for pioneering the Action Method, a radical approach to productivity and project management. This method is demonstrated in the Action Journal. The front of each page is divided into 3 zones: one for capturing Action Steps, another for "backburner" ideas that may someday become actions, and a light grey dot grid matrix that provides a subtle guide for your handwriting and sketching. Behance has several Action Method products available in paper, online and iPhone formats to suit the needs of a variety of people.

So what are some of the features of Behance’s new Action Journal and Dot Grid Journal?

Each of these journals has a black suede-to-the-touch hard cover that is created using 100% sustainable materials and is blind-embossed with the title on the front cover…

..and blind-embossed with a small “Behance” and “New Leaf” on the bottom of the back cover.

The cover is held securely closed with a colorful elastic that matches the endsheets on the inside. Inside the back cover is a roomy pocket to hold notes, receipts, etc. Their size is an easy to carry 6” x 8”.

These journals have a stitched binding that allows them to nicely lay flat when open. Since each page is perforated about 1/4” from the margin, it is also easy to remove pages when necessary. The journals have one black ribbon marker to so that you can find your place.

The Dot Grid Journal and Action Journal both have 200 pages of 60 lb New Leaf paper that has a subtle texture to it. I personally think that this subtle texture makes this paper ideal for rollerball pens. The paper is off-white with a nice light grey dot grid pattern on it that is not too obtrusive when writing or drawing. The dots go right to the edge of the pages.

The paper is compatible with a number of writing instruments as shown by these samples:



The paper performed reasonably well with fountain pens, however there was some ink bleed-through and see-through depending on which ink and fountain pen I used. It seems best suited for fountain pens that don’t write too wet and ink that is not super saturated. I did not notice any feathering with the inks that I used.

As a bonus, these journals include two sheets of Action Stickers useful to capture Action Steps and a pamphlet on how to practice the Action Method. If you got a package of Action Stickers, you could transform pages in your Dot Grid Journal into pages like the ones from the Action Journal.

Do you have any secrets on how to use these types of office products to keep your life organized and productive? If so, please share your tips!

June 16, 2010

What is an Academic Planner?

“Academic Planner” is not just a sophisticated name for a fancy yearly planner. Academic Planners are made for teachers, professors, students and others who would like to make their plans according to the school year instead of the calendar year. Many of these planners begin with the month of July or August and end with the month of July in the following year. Quo Vadis makes some nice quality planners for this purpose including the Academic Minister weekly planner and the popular Textagenda daily planner. Both of these planners are available in a variety of colors and covers. The popular Rhodia Weekly Notebook is also available as an academic version for the 2010-2011 school year. All of these planners are now in stock at Writer's Bloc.

Undated planners can also be used for planning during a school year since they don’t confine you to beginning your plans in any particular month or year. These “freestyle” planners are great if you happen to lose your planner in the middle of the year and need another one to replace it. Some of our favorite undated planners are made by Bob’s Your Uncle, such as the 8-Days-A-Week planner journal and the Do-Doodle planner journal with room for notes and doodles.

May 19, 2010

A Spring Cleaning Find

As I was doing some spring cleaning and purging some of my old tax records I happened to find a 1998 Exacompta Space weekly pocket planner. I have no idea where this came from since at the time I didn’t think much about fountain pens and had no idea what Exacompta or Clairefontaine was. I think this must have been a gift from the generous employer with good taste I had at the time.

I used the Exacompta Space planner (equivalent to today’s Space 17 planner) to keep track of my tax deductible mileage since it was the perfect size to tuck in the pocket on my car door. It is interesting to note that some of the other vinyl/plastic planners I had used around the same time for the same purpose have become brittle and are cracked and falling apart. But not the Space planner. Its black cover looks like new (minus a couple of mystery stains) and is still soft and flexible! It’s nice to know that these covers are durable enough to be used year after year when you buy the refills. It is a good value and is easier on the environment than cheap plastic covered planners that don’t last.

I tested the Space planner’s paper with my fountain pens to see if the paper quality had changed, and found that it took fountain pen ink very well with only a little bleed through and no feathering. Since this paper is a light weight 55g the ink does show through on the other side of the page, but this paper also makes this planner very compact. This paper would best be used with any kind of pen with an extra fine nib. The same delightfully smooth ivory colored paper appears to be used in Exacompta pocket planners today.

It’s nice to know that Exacompta and Quo Vadis planners were, and still are, very good quality and stand up to the test of time!

March 10, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

All of you Johnny Depp fans out there must be thrilled at last week’s release of the film Alice in Wonderland! This new adventure film is an extension of the classic novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. The movie is directed by Tim Burton and stars Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Michael Sheen and Stephen Fry.

The original novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written in 1865 by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pen-name Lewis Carroll. The first version of the story was told by Charles Dodgson to 10 year old Alice Liddell and her sisters during a boat trip up the River Thames. The girls loved the story so much that Alice begged Dodgson to write it down and give it to her which he did over 2 years later. This 1864 version of the story was called Alice’s Adventures Under Ground and was illustrated by Dodgson himself. In 1865, an expanded version of the story was published with illustrations by John Tenniel and the title Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (often abbreviated to Alice in Wonderland). The novel instantly gained popularity and has been popular ever since!

Alice follows a white rabbit wearing a coat and looking at his watch down a rabbit hole to encounter peculiar creatures such as Bill the Lizard, a caterpillar, a grinning Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, a Dormouse, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and more. It is believed that the characters and the places in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland are based on real people and places in Charles Dodgson’s life.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland can be read online as part of the Gutenberg Project. As of March 2, 2010 this book took the number one spot in the top 100 EBooks on this website! If you are an Alice fan you can find some fun Art Deco 7321 Alice in Wonderland themed journals, planners, wallets and more at Writer’s Bloc. We also have a couple of notebooks with cover illustrations of tall Alice and Alice & the white rabbit. What is your favorite part of Alice’s adventure?

December 30, 2009

Bob's Your Uncle

"Eight days a week, I lo-o-o-ve you..."

A phrase first coined by The Beatles has been adopted by the fellow Brits of Bob's Your Uncle to create an awesome organizational system. The moment these new Bob's Your Uncle products arrived at our store I was in love!

Bob's Your Uncle is a Boston-based company run by a graphic designer and a former-shoes designer, their creativity combined with a dash of humor and practicality creates products that are fun and functional.

I am especially excited about the 8-Days-A-Week Planner Journal. Firstly, I love that it is undated, spiral-bound, and large enough for me to write everything I need to write. The layout of this planner is clean and colorful, and I find the half-hour increments to be perfect for planning my days (particularly when I have work, class, errands, and other events all in the same day). Bob's Your Uncle trademark "Someday" is the eighth day of the week, and I imagine that I will use this column to write everything from "Go to Ecuador" to "Wash my car." Finally, I appreciate that the paper is derived from responsibly managed forests (as are all their other paper products).

Try out this great new line of Bob's Your Uncle products and let us know what you think!

November 04, 2009

Art Deco 7321 Journal

Le Petit Prince Journal from Art Deco 7321

From the moment the Art Deco 7321 Journals arrived in our shop I knew I had to have one. The quality cloth bound covers and storybook themes of these journals remind me of books I loved as a child.

The My Roman Collection Journal that I picked out has 120 sheets of ivory color college ruled paper. I'm not sure exactly what weight this paper is, but it must be at least 90 or 100g. The lines do not go all the way to the paper's edge - there is about a 3/8" margin around the page so the journal paper has a nice solid color appearance on the edges when the journal is closed.

I found that this paper works quite well with fountain pens. I've tried using several fountain pens all with different inks and found that with most of the pens & ink I tried there is very little or no ink that bleeds through the paper. One of my very inky LAMY Safaris bleeds through the paper a little bit, and my J. Herbin Vert Pre and Noodler's Nightshade inks feather a little bit on this paper. Depending on the color of the ink and the width of the nib you can lightly see the writing through the paper, but I write on both sides of the pages without any problems and the writing is easy to read. The ink drying time is pretty fast on this paper, which is important for a lefty like me.

This paper also pairs very well with rollerball pens. I tested it with Pelikan Pelikano, Kaweco Sport and Pentel Tradio rollerball pens, all filled with black ink, and they all performed very very well. 

Another thing I like about the Art Deco 7321 Journals is the size. They are compact enough that you can easily carry them, but they are not so small that they are difficult to open. I like the feel of the cloth cover in my hand. The binding is a good quality stitched binding that you can even turn 360 degrees and not worry about pages falling out.

Art Deco 7321 Journals are a pleasure to use and make great gifts! They are available with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Dear Alice, My Roman Collection and Le Petit Prince covers.


October 21, 2009

Quo Vadis Meets Andy Warhol

I was enthralled by the designs of Quo Vadis planners available in Paris that are not available in the USA.  One that particularly caught my eye was a square-shaped academic planner covered by Andy Warhol's iconic portrait of Marilyn Munroe. The same planner with Andy Warhol's portrait of Chairman Mao was also available in both the square desk and rectangular pocket sizes.

These planners are splashed with pages of Andy Warhol art throughout the year.

The French version of a Quo Vadis academic planner includes nice color maps of Paris, France and the world.

One potential drawback of planners purchased in France is that the entire planner is in French. I happen to know the days of the week in French so this is not a problem for me.

One of the reasons I love Quo Vadis planners is that they contain super smooth Clairefontaine paper. The paper in this particular planner is 90g, which is ideal for using with fountain pens as there is very minimal see-through and bleed-through of fountain pen ink.

One feature of Quo Vadis planners that I appreciate more than I imagined I would is the tear-off corners. What an easy, quick way to navigate to your current weekly plan! I like the tear-off corners better than a ribbon marker.

Even though Quo Vadis Andy Warhol planners are not available in the USA, if you like square-shaped planners and notebooks like I do you can buy the distinctive square-shaped, English Quo Vadis Executive 2010 weekly planner with either a Soya Cover or a Club Cover. Shinzi Katoh also has an adorable square-shaped Cats of the Atlate undated planner which is suitable for either an academic or a calendar year of planning.

August 18, 2009

Rhodia Weekly Notebook

Rhodia Weekly Notebook
The Rhodia Weekly Notebook is a new addition to the line of Rhodia products available in the USA. Those of us that love Rhodia can now stay on top of things and keep organized while enjoying Rhodia's famous smooth grid paper!

I find the layout of this planner, especially in the 6x9 size, to be perfect for my weekly activities. The left side of the page allows for scheduling a full week of plans and appointments, and the right side of the page has a large grid area with 3 months at-a-glance on the bottom. This is just perfect for my needs since I attend one or two meetings every week where I need to take some notes. Now I can combine my scheduling and note taking into one convenient notebook.

The white acid-free paper has a 90g weight in the 6x9 desk size notebook (64g in the pocket size 4x6 notebook) and works quite well with the fountain pens I carry around in my purse. This paper minimizes any ink bleed through, feathering or ink see-through.

In addition to the nice quality of paper in Rhodia notebooks I just happen to love the color orange! The flexible, leather-like cover of the Rhodia Weekly Notebook is available in both orange and black. The front cover has an embossed Rhodia logo on it and there is also an elastic to keep your notebook securely closed.

Once in awhile I enjoy travelling overseas so I find the extra information included with the 6x9 Weekly Notebook to be very helpful. In addition to world maps there are international telephone codes, average temperatures and holidays I've often never heard of. These few pages really help make my travels run more smoothly.

For those that like a compact planner, the 4x6 Rhodia Weekly Notebook tucks away neatly in a purse or pocket. Writer's Bloc is happy to welcome the Weekly Notebook to the Rhodia family!

July 28, 2009

5

A teacher once told me, "Live for today, but look to where you want to be ten years from now." One of the prompts for my college entrance applications was, "Imagine you are 80 years old, surrounded by your family and friends and they ask you to talk about what you have accomplished so far in life. What would you like to tell them?"

Both of these questions have helped me put life in perspective, to treasure seemingly mundane moments and celebrate the big ones. However, my vision of what life will be like in ten years is blurry at best, much less sixty years. It is easier for me to ask myself, "where will I be five years from today?" This is the exact question that the book "5" created by Live-Inspired strives to help you answer.

"5" is an interactive "play"book (not workbook!). The pages are creative and colorful, and the prompts that you are asked to respond to are engaging. This book doesn't focus on the "I should do's" (like paying off my student loan), but encourages you to plan for the "I can't wait to do's!" (like teaching abroad!)

While "playing" through this book was not a life changing experience I enjoyed it. I really liked seeing my priorities, values, talents, successes and aspirations written down explicitly on paper. I also liked the inspirational quotes, life stories, and crazy ideas on every page.

I think this book would be a great present for a recent grad, a person starting on a new career path, or a new retiree. No matter where we are in life we're planning for what's ahead; this book is a fun reminder that it's never too early or too late to realize our goals.

5 Book by Live-Inspired

"When was the last time you did something for the first time?" --5

July 14, 2009

Rhodia Webnotebook

Rhodia Webnotebook
The much-anticipated Rhodia Webnotebook has finally arrived in our shop and we found there is a lot to like about this new notebook! Rhodia notepads are known worldwide for their bright orange covers and smooth grid paper, and the Rhodia Webnotebook now has some new features to offer.

First of all, the paper is not white and does not have the famous Rhodia grid. Rather, it is a pleasing soft ivory color with grey lines spaced a comfortable 7mm apart. The 90g paper found in both the small and medium size Webnotebooks is made by Clairefontaine so it is super-smooth and is a very good choice for fountain pen users. When we tested it with a handful of our fountain pens we found that our ink did not bleed through the paper and the ink see-through was limited enough that you could write on both sides of the page.

The Webnotebook has an Italian leatherette hard-cover that is soft to the touch. It has a nicely embossed Rhodia logo in the center of the front cover and a matching elastic closure attached to the back cover to keep it securely closed. Inside the cover we found that the endsheets of the notebook and the back pocket matched the cover color which is nice touch. We also like the rounded corners and the matching ribbon marker to help you find your place. If you are a fountain pen user like we are here at Writer's Bloc, the Rhodia Webnotebook might just become your new favorite!

June 23, 2009

Anne of Green Gables

Anne_Gr_Gables_main.jpg

The novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008! Having sold over 50 million copies and being translated into many different languages, this popular novel was followed by 7 sequels, 2 films, several television movies and plays.

The story takes place in the quiet setting of Avonlea, a farm town on Prince Edward Island. Brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert decide to adopt an orphan boy to help care for chores around the farm. Instead, they are surprised at the arrival of Anne Shirley, a red-haired girl with an abundance of imagination! Marilla and Matthew grow to love Anne and this series of novels follows her life as she grows up in Avonlea. Much of the story surrounds Anne's experiences at school as well as her adventures with her friends Diana, Jane and Ruby. Gilbert Blythe starts off as Anne's enemy and rival, but they eventually become friends and marry.

Having red hair myself, when I was a child I could relate to Anne's dislike of her pale skin, freckles and red hair. One of my fondest memories of this book is reading about the incident when Anne accidentally dies her hair green! I had wished I could dye my hair as well, but Anne's experience dissuaded me since at that time I definitely did not want green hair. Now I've learned to embrace the hair color and the rest of what comes with it.

Anne of Green Gables has inspired many travelers to visit this part of Canada and she is the theme of many tourist attractions there. If you are unable to travel to Cavendish, Prince Edward Island to visit the famous farmhouse, forest and other sites that the author drew inspiration from, you can enjoy these sights for yourself through the watercolor illustrations found in the Anne of Green Gables Diary from Writer's Bloc. This undated diary is sure to bring back fond memories of the misadventures of Anne Shirley.

November 11, 2008

Behance Action Runner

Behance Action Runner

This week I ran around with the Behance Action Runner in my purse. I used it to jot down ideas for art in the classroom, make a list of things I needed to do before I left for the beach, and then to organize my day of school. If the dot-grid in the back was fun and helpful for me, think of how useful this would be for somebody who is design oriented!

The lines are a good size because I can write one BIG thing to remember to do, or I can write smaller and jot down full ideas. I wrote small for the art project ideas and I sketched examples on the dot-grid in the back. It was better than blank paper because I could easily plan paper size and orientation.

The Behance Action Runner is like the PDA of the pen and paper world. It kept my goals clearly in mind and helped me to continue to accomplish them. Take a look at my action steps for one busy day in the picture below. I would highly recommend reading more about how the Action Method used in Behance Action Notebooks can simplify your project management and life!

My Action Runner

September 30, 2008

Scrapbook Style Travel Journal

Travel Journal

Now that summer is over, many of you are looking for ways to preserve and display the memories of vacations and fun times with family and friends. A great way to do this is by making a scrapbook style travel journal!

If you are looking for a lively journal full of color, then you might like the BBurn Memories Album, which is what we chose to use for the New York City album shown in these pictures. Mmmm... food is always one of the favorite memories from my travels! The pages of this album are embellished with cute cartoon characters and there are plenty of stickers to add to the fun. For those of you that can't get enough of stickers, Lamb-Lamb makes speech-balloon stickers to add thoughts to your pictures as well as nostalgic stickers that can elegantly frame a photo.

Personally, I do not like to damage my photos by gluing them into a scrapbook or journal, instead I prefer to use photo corners. The BBurn Memories Album comes with a set of photo corners, but they can be purchased separately if you are using a different album. For adding small cut-outs and delicate objects to your album you can't beat the Sakura Quickie Glue Pen which is designed just for this task.

For a more traditional and classy looking album, Clairefontaine's Travel Journal is available in both medium and large sizes. This journal alternates heavy-weight black pages for displaying photos and mementos with lined white pages for taking notes. Or, step outside the box and use Clairefontaine's Multi-Color Notebook to make a scrapbook style travel journal. This notebook's colorful pages are sure to make your photos pop!

Of course, a handfull of colorful Gelly Roll Pens for making notes and designs is an asset, especially when using dark colored paper. Do you have any tips on creating photo albums? If so, feel free to share your ideas with us.