Clairefontaine Cover Designs

It seems Clairefontaine is now printing notebooks with a new cover design that reminds me of computer graphics in the movie The Matrix. After picking up these notebooks in Paris and wondering whether or not this was an preview of what was to come in the USA, Writer’s Bloc noticed a handful of one size of Clairefontaine notebooks coming in with similar cover designs. Perhaps the future line of laminated Clairefontaine covers will incorporate this style of design. We’ll have to wait and see…

Clairefontaine Paris also sells notepads with colorful and durable translucent plastic covers. I grabbed a few of these notebooks in the 6 3/4" x 8 3/4" size with French ruled paper. These covers seem like they would be especially durable and resistant to creasing, great for a notebook with contents that you plan to save. In the future perhaps we’ll see this line of Clairefontaine notebooks in the USA too. We’ll be watching for them!

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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.

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The Gardens of the Alhambra

I found that The Gardens of The Alhambra by Queen Games is the perfect game to play at the end of the day when I want to unwind and relax. It is not too intense or competitive and you can engage in pleasant conversation during the game without feeling like you are distracting yourself or the other players. The rules are not too complicated and can be learned in about 10 minutes. This is a good, simple game to play with family and friends and you can enjoy it even if you are not a "board game geek".

During the game players put down tiles on a board to create a visually soothing and beautiful garden complete with winding paths and four different colors of trees. Since lime green happens to be my favorite color, I particularly liked the overall light bright green color of The Gardens of the Alhambra game pieces.

The idea of the game is to lay down tiles to maximize your points and minimize the points of your fellow players. Each player is represented by one of four different kinds of trees – orange, lemon, lavender or palm. If you can plant more of your own trees than other players trees around the highest point markers this is of great advantage, but you don’t want too many of your own trees since tree variety also multiplies the number of points found on the markers. The player with the most points when the garden is finished wins the game.

Good for 2-4 players, 10 years old and up (this game would also be suitable for younger players if they know basic multiplication and math skills or are playing with someone else who does). Playing time is about 45 minutes to one hour. If you like games that involve tile placement you might also enjoy playing Carcassonne by Rio Grande Games or Metro by Queen Games.

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We’ve Got the Blues – Gift Ideas

Blue is a color that can be exciting, calming, sophisticated, and bright. Because of this it is loved by many, including some of us at Writer’s Bloc! Here are a few gift ideas for the blue enthusiasts in your life:

Quo Vadis Habana Journal – The long anticipated blue Habana journal is finally here!

Live Inspired Reporter Style Notebook – The Why Not? notebook is filled with illuminating quotes that inspire both ideas and actions.

Pentel Slicci Pen – With 6 different shades ranging from Blue Black to Baby Blue their favorite hue of blue is bound to be in this collection of extra fine gel pens.

Pelikan Souveran M405 Blue – This high-quality fountain pen will absolutely make your favorite writer’s day!

Platinum President Fountain Pen – The long-lasting and luxurious Platinum President in vibrant blue is especially treasured by those with small handwriting and those who love fine nib pens. 

LAMY Safari – This well-loved line of fountain pens combines economy with a smooth writing experience.

LAMY Al-Star Fountain Pen – The same smooth writing experience as the LAMY Safari in a snazzy metallic body.

Noodler’s Bad Blue Heron Ink – This brand new ink from Noodler’s is "bulletproof" and designed to resist the tools of the forger!

Noodler’s Periwinkle Eternal Ink – This stunning ink is inspired by the color of the blue curve of a Periwinkle Snail’s shell.

Happy shopping!

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