Sunday, November 30, 2008

Re-Purposed Van Gogh Watercolor Travel Kit

Re-filled Van Gogh Watercolor Palette

Several years ago, when I decided I wanted to try painting with watercolors, I bought the Van Gogh Travel Kit shown above. I always loved the design of the kit because it's small and I could hold it easily with my thumb through the middle hole while I painted. I later learned that there was a big difference in quality and performance between student and artist grade watercolor paints. Since these were student grade, I soon lost interest in this kit and started buying artist grade tube paints and filling them into the palette shown below.

I started to feel like I was using too many colors and also wasn't thrilled with the design of the larger palette. I couldn't easily hold it as I painted and so I removed all of the original Van Gogh paints from the above box and re-filled it with my favorite Holbein, Daniel Smith and Schmincke watercolors. I am much happier now.

You can find similar sets on Blick.com

My watercolor palette.

Review: Canson Heavyweight Universal Sketch Pad - Cheap and Fountain Pen Friendly

112908 A 044

I have been using these books for years. I have them in several sizes, but I like the portability of the 8x5 the best.

I've used a variety of media in these books: pencil, colored pencil, oil pastel, watercolor paint, gel pens, water soluble crayons, many different types of markers and now.....fountain pen ink.

I would have never guessed. Had these books all this time but never tried it. Never even thought about it. No tested fountain pen inks bled, feathered or spread. Nibs appear to write true to size. I guess maybe I dismissed the possibility of using these books as anything but a sketchpad because I see them as disposable. The 8x5 costs less than $4 at Blick.

112908 A 039

The surface is smooth, but not silky. After all, it is a sketchbook, and the surface does have a slight bit of feedback to it but it isn't unpleasant to write on.

From Dick Blick's website

"This heavy 65 lb (96 gsm) weight, acid-free paper is well suited for pencil, charcoal, pen, and light wash. It's manufactured from French made Crobart paper to near drawing quality standards.

All 100-sheet pads are bound on the long side with a double wire. The 30-sheet pad is bound on the short side with a double wire. All pads contain micro perforated true size sheets"


PS - this paper is kind of thin for watercolor paint. Light washes come out ok, but the paper will buckle.

You can buy these from the Blick link above, but I've seen them for sale on most every major online art retailer, as well as in Blick's store, Michael's, and other art/hobby retailers.

Review: G. Lalo Verge Writing Tablets

G. Lalo Verge Writing Paper

While I might currently own a plethora of journals, I didn't really own any "good" writing paper. With a fountain pen almost constantly at my fingertips, I wanted to find a paper that would be smooth writing and friendly towards fountain pen ink.

G. Lalo Verge paper is made at the 400-year-old Papierfabriek Schut in the Netherlands.

From the Exaclair Website (US Importer of G. Lalo Products)

"Once upon a time, the paper Verge was made by hand in huge vats. Today, we make the same paper according to traditional methods but with modern techniques.

Verge paper has the look and feel of handmade paper. It even has the grid of parallel translucent lines (“vergeures”) made as the paper was laid to dry. These grids are very helpful as guides for handwriting."


G. Lalo Verge Writing Paper

This 27lb tablet bound laid paper from G. Lalo comes in 11 colors: Apricot, Blue, Ivory, Lavender, Pistachio, Rose, Champagne, Turquoise, Grey, Yellow, and White.

50 sheets per pad and is available in 2 sizes: 4 3/4 x 8 5/8 and 8 1/4 x 11 3/4. (The larger size is shown here) Matching envelopes are available for both paper sizes.

The paper is very smooth, and all of my different fountain pens wrote true to size. As the paper has a laid finish, writing on the back of the paper feels slightly different than the front, but it's still a smooth writing experience.

There was no feathering or bleeding with any of the tested fountain pen inks.

Prices online at The Vickery are as follows:

Medium Tablets 50 sheets $7.00
Medium Envelopes 25 lined envelopes $6.00
Large Tablets 50 sheets $12.00
Large Envelopes 20 lined envelopes $8.00

Really good paper that seems to be reasonably priced for my needs.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Review: Myndology Disc Bound Notebooks

Myndology Disc Bound

Myndology Disc Bound journals and notepads, shown with available refills.

This is my first time experiencing a disc bound book. The paper is punched in such a way that allows you to remove pages from the book and re-position them wherever you like. Since all their disc bound products are punched with the same spacing, it will allow you to add the smaller memo pages to the larger books. It's a fantastic idea.

The video below shows how the disc system works.



Myndology Disc Bound


"Bare. Just the essentials. Recycled paper. Soy ink. Clean energy. Acid-free. The new environmentally friendly line of disc-bounds. Free your mind. Jot down your notes. Feel good about doing your part. Cleaner earth. Clearer thoughts."


The Bare paper did not bleed or feather with any tested fountain pen inks. It's very smooth (not shiny) and a joy to write on. Tested fountain pen nibs wrote true to size on the paper in both journals.

I "love" the rounded corners. Rounded corners are much more comfortable when you reach the end of a page.

I am quite fond of the college ruling on this page. (6mm line width) I love the margins at the top and side of the page. Great for making notes after the fact. Side margin allows me to use those little Post-It flags without sticking them over top of what I've written. Top right hand corner of the page has a line for the date or whatever info you wish to put there.

As I was testing these, I found that it was easiest to write on them with the cover folded back. Even with the flexible cover, I found them extremely comfortable to write on an non-flat surface, like my knee. Could easily write on it on either side.

Open the book on a flat surface, and it's difficult to write on the left side because your hand runs into the discs. No problem, just fold the cover back. The discs are rounded and when you reach the edge of the page, your hand smoothly runs over the discs. (Assuming the book has at least as much paper in it that it came with)

6.5" x 8.5", 60 college-ruled sheets.
Disc size: 5/8 inch

Single: $9.50

"Be good to the planet. It's been good to you. Re-use your Bare notebooks Save money. Save the earth."

Refill pricing:

Bare Journal Ruled: $6.00
Bare Journal Sketch/Blank: $6.00
Bare Memo Blank: $3.00

Myndology Disc Bound

No bleeding with this little guy, but the paper surface felt different, scratchy, not smooth like the lined paper in the journal. At this moment, I am unsure if the plain paper in the memo book is the same as the plain paper in the journal.

3" x 4", 60 blank sheets.
Disc size: 5/8 inch

Single: $5.00

Myndology Disc Bound

This is the regular Myndology journal and note pad. The paper is white rather than cream in the Bare journal. (I like the cream better.)

Myndology Disc Bound

"Notebook page full? Need a to-do? A note? A page marker? Don't lose it. Snap one of these into any of the Disc Bounds for quick and easy reference. Or use it by itself. Vocabulary study. Memorization. Doodling. E-mail addresses. Versatile. For big thinkers."

2" x 3", 50 un-ruled white sheets.
Disc size: 3/4 inch

Single: $2.50

"Keep a journal. Take notes in a meeting. Write down what's important. Make your list. Not too big and not too small. Fits in your briefcase. Never say "I should have written that down." Write it. Save it. Have it. That's smart."

6.5" x 8.5", 72 white college-ruled sheets.
Disc size: 5/8 inch

Single: $7.00

"Be good to the planet. Keep it Green. Don't throw away your used Myndology notebooks. Refill them with our paper refills. It saves you money. It's simple. It's good thinking."

Refill Pricing:

Note: $1.50
Index: $2.25
Journal Ruled: $4.00
Journal Graph: $4.00
Journal Blank: $4.00
Letter Ruled: $4.75
Letter Graph: $4.75
Letter Blank: $4.75

Myndology Disc Bound

There was some minimal bleeding (but no feathering) on the white paper. I only had the lined to test, but it also comes in plain & graph. Paper reminds me of Apica, but not as shiny. The paper in the small note pad did not bleed or feather at all.

I found that the discs in both journals allowed slightly less freedom of movement than in a spiral bound book as you open or close the book or turn a page. Not a big deal, but just wanted to make note of it.

Myndology Disc Bound

"Where are your products made?

All of our products are made in the USA, with a few items (like the standard Disc Bound Covers and discs) imported from Belgium. However, 100% of the paper is manufactured in the USA and 100% of the assembly is done in the USA."


Myndology Disc Bound

In closing, I am fairly well excited about this product. While I regularly keep a hard back bound journal, I am always in the middle of several smaller "project" books and I think this concept will be fantastic to use in that way. The ability to move pages around, remove what you no longer need and refill them is fantastic.

I preferred the Bare Journal out of the two because it was more friendly to fountain pen inks, I prefer cream paper, and I like the muted earth tones.

Visit the Myndology Site

Read a great review on the Myndology products here on Strikethru

Circa, Rollabind, and even Myndology paper compatibility

12/20 Update: I have almost filled my Bare with a project I am working on, and last Saturday I gave it a workout being handed back and forth between 2 people to review and rearrange the material. The Bare cover got a little more beat up than I expected. (And we were only working on it for 2 hours...) So much so, that I was wishing that Myndology would sell the plastic covers that I could use in combination with the Bare paper. (Their typical white paper isn't as fountain pen friendly as the Bare.)

Inserting a few refill pages and notes from the smaller note pads, I seemed to quickly push the Bare to it's disc bound limits. I went back to the site hoping to find larger discs for sale, but no such luck. I'm hoping they explore this avenue in the future because I don't want to start another book, I want to keep this project all in one book....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Review: Ring Bound Myndology... Flash!!! Ah-Ahhhhh

112308 039

I got these little ring bound note pads (for lack of a better description) from Myndology and for the life of me, I couldn't really figure out what to do with them, or how I would use them.

112308 042

So as usual, I jump into testing the paper, (more of a thicker card stock) with fountain pen inks. Everything passed with flying colors. No feathering/bleeding/show through.

Still thinking of how to use them, I head back over to the Myndology website and read this:

From the Myndology Website: "The Myndology ring bound system is an all new way to look at organization. From Jotting down notes or ideas to a well organized flashcard set, the ring bound system lets you organize it your way. Reorganizing is as simple as opening and closing the metal ring."

Um, ok. It's still not really clicking in my head. Flash cards?

And then I find this video that shows one way of using them:



And then under the Myndology History on their website, it all starts to come together:

The Myndology Company was born in mom and dad's garage. Literally.

I came back to my hometown in Wisconsin after living and teaching English in Japan for a few years. While I was in Japan, I noticed that my students used ring bound flashcards. Eventually, I found myself becoming addicted to the ring bound cards as I tried to learn Japanese. How on earth did I ever use those standard flashcards — without a ring to hold them together? They never stay in order and always get mixed up.

Back in the US I forgot all about those ring bound cards...until one day. My friend was studying for law school and had a huge shoebox full of study-cards. Almost in slow motion, I saw her cat jump on the bed, knock the box over and spill the cards all over the floor. Total disaster. That's when I remembered the ring bound cards from Japan.

So I decided to start my own business. At first, the company was called Mindbinders, and we began selling our ring bound study-cards at UW-Madison. I think the bookstore was a little nervous the product wouldn't sell, but they were a huge hit.


Ok. NOW I get it, and what an ingenious product! I then went back and tried writing on them with a huge Sharpie marker which worked, though there was a little bleed through. (As Sharpies are inclined to do.)

Buy them Here. They come in 4 different sizes, all with white paper, though the 2x3" also comes in a Neon option. (Shown above.) They range in price from $1.39 to $3.19 each, and multi-pack options are available within a single size.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Review: Grande Multi Colored Ciak Journal

Grande Red Ciak Journal

Small, medium and large Ciak journals, shown with small and large Moleskines for a size comparison.

I received 3 sample Ciaks directly from Italy to review; a small ivory lined, a medium plain ivory, and a large multi-colored.

Ciak journals are handmade in Florence, Italy, under what seems to be the parent company of inTempo (so that makes them related to Mood & Cartesio) another site specifically dedicated to Ciak is found here

Ciak Specs:

Piccolo (small 9x13cm)

Ivory Lined: 110gr, gray ruling, 96 Sheets
Multi-Color: 90gr, gray ruling, 128 Sheets
Plain White: 110gr, 96 Sheets

Medio (medium 12x17cm)

Travel Journal: ivory paper, 110gm, gray ruling, 120 sheets
Layout: right page lined, left page blank

Ivory Lined Specs: 110gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Multi-Color: 90gr, gray ruling, 144 Sheets
Ivory Squared: 110gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Plain White: 110gr, 120 Sheets

Grande (large 15x21cm)

Ivory Lined Specs: 110gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Multi-Color: 90gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Plain White: 110gr, 120 Sheets

You will notice that there are no specs for the ivory unlined version, but I assure you, they do exist. To the best of my knowledge in speaking with the US importer, (http://www.fiorentinaltd.com/) the plain ivory Ciak is not being sold/imported in the US. That's not to say that they couldn't possibly be special ordered, or that you couldn't maybe find them on Ebay.

The Journal Shop IS selling the plain cream versions in the UK.

Grande Red Ciak Journal

Size comparison of the large Quo Vadis Habana, large Ciak, and a large Moleskine.

The large Ciak is almost identical in size to the Rhodia ePure and the large Pen & Ink Sketchbook.

Grande Red Ciak Journal

This large Ciak has all of the same features of the small yellow Ciak that I reviewed here, such as the recycled leather cover with rounded edges, horizontal elastic closure that fits nicely into a notched groove in the cover that can act as a pen holder, and a ribbon bookmark.

Grande Red Ciak Journal

Small Ciak logo on the cover.

Grande Red Ciak Journal

Orange was the first color paper in this journal with multi colored pages, and so it was the color I used to test my various fountain pens and inks.

7mm ruling in this large version.

No feathering, no spreading, no bleeding or see through with any of the inks tested. I did a small test of every color with the .07 CI and the Midnight Blues ink, which tends to be my most problematic combination. No problems with any color paper in the book.

I suppose that maybe you can see the Midnight Blues a little from the reverse of the page, but it's a super saturated ink written with a wide nib. I'm really quite picky and don't see it as a problem.

Grande Red Ciak Journal
The paper is smooth, but has the slightest feedback. (In a good way)

It's smoother, and a little shinier (maybe because of the printing process?) than the small yellow lined Ciak.

Ink takes a few moments to dry, you might want to use a blotter.

Signatures are securely stitched with 5 stitches.

Grande Red Ciak Journal

Like all Ciaks, the spine is an issue if you prefer your books to lie flat. Ciaks do not lie flat.

Grande Red Ciak Journal

If you press them down, they will open flat to some degree, but in this large version, I think you will always end up writing in/out of a hump.

Writing on my leg as I often do, the size/proportions of this book are of such that if I try and write on the left hand side of the page, the right hand pages start flopping over at me.

Grande Red Ciak Journal

I tried working the book back and forth at different points of the spine, and I eventually got it to somewhat open flat. I can only assume that the cover & binding will eventually loosen up. If you have filled a large Ciak, leave me a comment and let me know how it fared over time.

In conclusion, between the size of this book and the difficult cover, it really won't work for me. I'm also not sure I'd really care to write on colored pages. I'd want to skip all around as the mood would strike me, and the book would end up being all out of order. But maybe that would be a cool project to try out....

Where to find them in the US?

Kate's Paperie has ivory lined, small & medium, but colors are limited to orange & red.

Sam Flax has ivory lined Ciaks in all colors.

In the UK, The Journal Shop carries all things Ciak.

I'm pretty sure you can find the multi-colored Ciaks at Borders and Barnes & Noble.

Stay tuned for the last review in this trio - the medium unlined ivory Blue Ciak. So far, the small was too small, and the large too large. Will the medium finally prove to be just right? Will it fit comfortably on my knee in the old easy chair? And if it does...will I like the paper?

See a previous review of the Ciak on the Black Cover Blog

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Review: Sennelier Art Notes : The smoothest FP friendly paper I have ever written on. Seriously!

Sennelier Artnotes

I'm going to make this one quick & dirty.

From the Savoir Faire catalog: "...unique little note pads that come in three different colors and four unusual sizes. Perfect for a purse or a desktop. The Ivory color has 128 unlined pages and the other two colors have 128 lined pages...Weight: Varied"

It's French. The flexible cover (front & back) feels like leather.

This is a 6x6 spiral notepad that HANDS DOWN is the smoothest paper I have ever written on with a fountain pen. Smoother than Rhodia or Clairefontaine, which tends to have a bit of "grab" to the paper that I can't really describe, and don't really like. It's very similar to Apica, but Apica will occasionally bleed.

This paper DID NOT feather, bleed, spread, or have any show through whatsoever. It is a shiny surface like Rhodia, and ink does take a few moments to dry. The ruling is 6mm.

Buy them here at Wet Paint Art the 6x6" pad is $9 and they are currently on sale.

From the Wet Paint Art Website: "An exciting collection of little Sennelier pads that come in three different colors & four unusual sizes. Green & brown covered pads are lined, ivory are blank."

Sennelier Artnotes

(Sorry for the poor image quality. I'm having to take pictures inside by a window...doing the best I can...)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mandala for Self Motivation and Exploration

Self Motivation Mandala

This was my first time putting brush to paper in a long time. It was a series of concentric circles, one color blending into the next. I looked at it, and felt like something was missing. I sat down at some ridiculous time of day, maybe 1 am? And started working on this mandala - at the center, always at the center.

The meditation of creating this mandala was quite powerful and all these positive words and thoughts came to me as I was finishing up, so I felt compelled to include them as part of the piece.

Review: Yellow Ciak Piccolo Journal

Ciak Piccolo

Ciak, which I have been incorrectly pronouncing as Sigh-Ack, (it's
Chack) has been a tough nut for me to crack. Pictured here, is a 9x13cm small (Piccolo) ivory lined Ciak on top of a small Pocket Moleskine.

I received 3 sample Ciaks directly from Italy to review; a small ivory lined, a medium plain ivory, and a large multi-colored.

For the record, the cream/ivory is the same to the best of my knowledge.

Ciak journals are handmade in Florence, Italy, under what seems to be the parent company of inTempo (so that makes them related to Mood & Cartesio) another site specifically dedicated to Ciak is found here

These are the specs I have been able to uncover:

Piccolo (small 9x13cm)

Ivory Lined: 110gr, gray ruling, 96 Sheets
Multi-Color: 90gr, gray ruling, 128 Sheets
Plain White: 110gr, 96 Sheets

Medio (medium 12x17cm)

Travel Journal: ivory paper, 110gm, gray ruling, 120 sheets
Layout: right page lined, left page blank

Ivory Lined Specs: 110gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Multi-Color: 90gr, gray ruling, 144 Sheets
Ivory Squared: 110gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Plain White: 110gr, 120 Sheets

Grande (large 15x21cm)

Ivory Lined Specs: 110gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Multi-Color: 90gr, gray ruling, 120 Sheets
Plain White: 110gr, 120 Sheets

You will notice that there are no specs for the ivory unlined version, but I assure you, they do exist. To the best of my knowledge in speaking with the US importer, (http://www.fiorentinaltd.com/) the plain ivory Ciak is not being sold/imported in the US. That's not to say that they couldn't possibly be special ordered, or that you couldn't maybe find them on Ebay.

The Journal Shop IS selling the plain cream versions in the UK.


Ciak Piccolo

The Ciak cover is recycled leather, rounded on the corners, and is secured by a horizontal elastic band that stays put in a little notched groove in the cover. The horizontal design allows you to secure a pen to the journal. Love that!

This journal has a ribbon bookmark, which sadly is not finished on the ends, and this poor guy frayed pretty quickly when I foolishly pulled on a loose string.

Ciak Piccolo

Inside the front cover there is a small indicator of the manufacturer, and on the opposing page, a few lines to perhaps write down your name and contact information.

Ciak Piccolo

The pages are called ivory, and to me, are a light cream. Very easy on the eyes. Ruling is light gray, and are 6mm in width. The page corners are squared.

The signatures are stitched, but in this small Ciak, take note of the position of the stitches. The bottom stitch should be lower than it is. More on that in a minute.

The book opens flat, but doesn't exactly lie flat on a flat surface due to the construction of the spine.

I primarily write on my knee, in an easy chair, or out on the porch. I am less concerned about a book that lies flat, than one that opens flat, but I can understand how that might be an issue for some people. All three sizes of the Ciaks were the same in this respect.

Ciak Piccolo

Showing the way the book opens flat, but is slightly hindered from laying flat due to the spine construction.

Ciak Piccolo

This is my problem with the stitching in this book. When one or both of the stitches are not properly positioned, the pages can lift up when turned from the bottom. This book only has two large stitches, where the other two Ciaks have more stitching and feel much more secure than this small version.

Ciak Piccolo

This is a smooth mid-weight paper with a slight tooth. (in a good way) It is not shiny.

With all fountain pens/inks tested, there was minimal feathering & very little bleed through. Of the markers tested, the Sharpies & Lumocolor bled, but that's been the case with everything I've tested them on.

Ciak Piccolo

Reverse of the page.

Ciak Piccolo

It even took a light watercolor wash with limited buckling.

In conclusion; I really like the Ciak design. There's something special about it that I just can't put my finger on. Maybe because it's hand made? I know that it feels very good in my hands, and as I hold it, it brings images to mind of sitting in an outdoor cafe somewhere in Europe, tea and pastry on the table, jotting down my plans for the day.

Of the three Ciaks, I probably liked this one the least only because I find it to be too small. I prefer a mid sized book, closer in size to a large Moleskine.

Where to find them in the US?

Kate's Paperie has ivory lined, small & medium, but colors are limited to orange & red.

Sam Flax has ivory lined Ciaks in all colors.

In the UK, The Journal Shop carries all things Ciak.

I'm pretty sure you can find the multi-colored Ciaks at Borders and Barnes & Noble.

I have also seen books that look like Ciak, like this lime green one and I wonder if they are made by Ciak because the specs are pretty much identical.

See a previous review of the Ciak on the Black Cover Blog

Stay tuned for reviews on the other two Ciak journals.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Review: Destination Unknown Travel Journals

destination : unknown travel journal

destination : unknown travel journal on top of a large Moleskine for size comparison.

destination : unknown travel journal

Pam Bauer makes all of the destination : unknown travel journals by hand in her workshop at her home in Massachusetts. Each journal is made by hand, and as such no two are exactly the same.

From the destinition : unknown website:

" I created destination:unknown journals after searching unsuccessfully for a travel journal to take on a summer trip to Europe. I looked in every bookstore, gift and stationery shop in the area. Although there were many journals to choose from, none were really suited for travel. Travelers need to be able to write while on the move, collect souvenirs, keep track of important information, and do it all without adding to the burden of luggage, so a travel journal has to be more than just paper inside two covers.

I realized the only way to get the travel journal I want would be to make my own, and so I did. The very first destination:unknown journal came with me to Europe, and worked out perfectly. When other travelers expressed interest in obtaining journals for their upcoming trips, I knew I couldn't keep them just for myself.

What sets these journals apart is the combination of style with only the most useful, travel-friendly features. They offer travelers the flexibility to chronicle their journeys in their own individual way. Whether it's descriptive writing, recordkeeping, sketching, or jotting quick notes, it's all possible. And saving souvenirs along the way enhances the special written memories of a trip."


destination : unknown travel journal

This is the 5x7 travel journal. 3 5/8" x 5 1/8" pocket versions are also available.

15 different specialty papers (which feel more like fabric) "are selected to motivate and enthuse you to dream, plan, set out on and especially write about your journeys."

"Made of sturdy binders' board, the covers withstand the wear-and-tear of travel."

"Wire binding allows for easy writing anywhere. The journals can lie flat, or the covers can flip all the way around so the journals can be held in one hand to write when a table is not available."

A snug elastic strap keeps the journal closed while in a day pack or purse.

destination : unknown travel journal

Pam also creates matching Luggage Tags to compliment the travel journals.

destination : unknown travel journal

Inside the front cover, "A clear pocket at the front of the journal is perfect for holding something you may want to find easily or often, such as a hotel address, an itinerary, or a photo of someone you miss at home."

destination : unknown travel journal

The paper in the journal is a 24# stock. "One hundred pages of lined paper for recording travel memories, plus extra pages of grid paper for recordkeeping and blank paper for sketching and jotting quick notes."

destination : unknown travel journal

In testing the lined paper, (which is very smooth) I found that it didn't cooperate with fountain pen inks very well. The inks spread (but didn't feather) and bled through to the other side.

But wait! Good news awaits...

destination : unknown travel journal

"To save small mementos collected during a trip, destination:unknown travel journals include glassine pockets - ideal for keeping receipts, ticket stubs, business cards, etc that are collected while traveling."

Three such envelopes are included, and are a nice touch.

destination : unknown travel journal

Testing the graph paper with fountain pen inks - no feathering, no spreading, no bleed through. The paper is smooth and has a bit of feedback. (Keeps your buttery nibs from sliding willy-nilly all over the paper.)

destination : unknown travel journal

Testing the blank paper resulted in the same findings as the graph paper. No feathering, spreading or bleeding. Smooth with slight feedback.

And here's the thing - if you fountain pen aficionados would like to order one of the journals and have it filled with only graph & plain papers, Pam will be happy to do that. Simply let her know when you place your order.

destination : unknown travel journal

A pocket at the back of the book allows for stashing additional trip ephemera.

destination : unknown travel journal

I am a sucker for well made, well designed, artisan crafted goods. This book is a beautiful example of someone filling a niche with a well though out and well executed product. I applaud Pam's efforts and recommend her product.

With the holidays coming up, this would make an outstanding gift for someone that loves to travel.

The large journals are $50
Pocket journals are $40
Luggage tags are $5

destinition : unknown

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Review: Xonex Ru Notebook

Sailor 1911 on a Xonex Ru

Xonex Ru. 4 1/8" x 5 3/4" 128 acid free pages.

Moleskine, Pelikan & Xonex Ru

Ru's under a small Moleskine for size comparison.

Lamy Safari and Xonex Ru

From the Xonex Pens Website

"Covered with "Made in the USA" latex infused paper, our very durable journals can really take a "beating". Perfect size with hidden inside pouch and elastic closure. 128 blank acid-free pages. 6 assorted colors. Rust, Berry, Lavender, Ocean, Avocado and Charcoal."

Xonex Ru

Elastic band is thin, loosely fitted and feels to me like it might easily stretch out and become unusable.

Corner of both the book and the paper is squared. I prefer rounded corners, as squared edges tend to get beat up when pulling a book in and out of a purse or backpack.

Xonex Ru

Huge back pocket. Maybe that's why the elastic is loosely fitted.

Xonex Ru

The books are made in China, but covered with a US made latex infused paper.

Xonex Ru

Ru's lie completely flat. Signatures sewn with three stitches. Off-white paper.

Xonex Ru

Fountain pen test. Tested inks did not fare well. All feathered to some degree- some pretty badly. Noodler's Bulletproof black came out as the best. All inks bled through the paper to at least some degree. Wider nibbed pens feathered the worst. Other thinner nibs did better, but still would push though the occasional blood dot.

Me personally? It's a really smooth paper that's a joy to write on, but unless I was using the Noodler's BP ink in my fountain pens, I'd use the book with other media.

Xonex Ru

Click to see larger version.

Xonex Ru

In conclusion, the Ru has some pretty nice, smooth paper that seems like it would work wonderfully with non-permanent markers, (Like Pitt pens or Stabilo markers) I just can't recommend it for use with a wide range of fountain pen inks.

I like the size of the book for doodling purposes, but the latex infused paper cover seems to get "shiny" quickly and I'm not sure how well it would hold up over time. Elastic band is flimsy and seems like it could get easily pulled off in a crowded purse.

Xonex Pens Website

A previous review of the Xonex Ru can be found Here.

I'm having a hard time finding them online, though they are available from this Ebay Seller.
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