Get Organized with Multiple Subject Notebooks

(Clairefontaine Twinbook)

There are times when a good multiple subject notebook is a real asset to keeping well organized. At one time I was simultaneously working on a bathroom remodel, ideas for a website project and collecting information for a trip. Lots of note taking was happening, especially while shopping for bathroom fixtures, paints, etc. To keep my notes organized I used a medium sized notebook with 4 different sections marked by different paper colors. Rather than having multiple little slips of paper with random notes being misplaced never to be found again, this notebook helped me to keep things together and organized.

(Rhodia Bloc No. 120 Rainbow Pad)

Multiple subject notebooks have a multitude of purposes – taking notes for simultaneous projects, jotting down recipes under different categories, recording passwords (yeah, I know they aren’t supposed to be on paper), keeping track of notes taken during regular meetings with different people, writing down addresses and phone numbers, or even for a to-do list book where goals are organized into subjects such as school, family, work and personal life.  In school you can use them to put notes on related subjects into one book or to divide textbook notes from lecture notes. Having a multiple subject notebook can cut down on weight and confusion. I’m sure you can think of many other ways you can use these notebooks to help you stay organized and have everything you need in one book.

(Clairefontaine Large Multiple Subject Notebook)

Some multiple subject notebooks simply use tabs to divide the notebook into different sections. The Clairefontaine Twinbook is a good example of this. The right edges of the pages are cut to create two tabs so that the notebook is divided into two sections. A more complex series of tabs are cut into the large Clairefontaine A-Z notebook with a tab for each letter of the alphabet. Another notebook with tabs is the Clairefontaine multiple subject notebook. The large size has four tabbed sections, medium size has twelve tabbed sections and the small pocket size has eight tabbed sections.

(Rhodia 4 Color Book)

Other multiple subject notebooks use multiple page colors to distinguish different sections. The pages in the Rhodia 4 Color Book each have a band of bold color on the right and left edges to break the notebook up into four clearly marked sections. Rhodia also has the top stapled rainbow notepad with four different pastel colors of graph paper. I think the king of notebooks with multiple page colors has to be the Clairefontaine multiple subject notebook. As I already mentioned above, not only does it have the sections divided by index tabs it also has them distinguished by different pastel colors!

(Clairefontaine A4 French ruled paper for binders)

You can get Clairefontaine binder paper in packs with four different pastel colors of either graph or French ruled paper for free style organizing in a binder. Exacompta graph index cards are not notebooks but they are worth mentioning because they come in packs of four pastel colors plus white to create index card organization. These would have been quite useful for me in high school for a particular English class where we were required to use index cards to jot down facts (and their source) that might be used for essays. Any index cards with facts that we decided not to use in the actual essay were discarded, but the facts we included in the essay were saved and then the index cards were organized in the order the facts appeared in the essay. It made creating footnotes much easier (not that I appreciated this much at the time).

(Clairefontaine Basics Notebook with Pockets)

If you need to have organized notes while at the same time collecting receipts, notes or other pieces of paper, there’s a Clairefontaine notebook with pocket dividers! The three dividers each have pockets on both sides and divy up the notebook’s 60 sheets into four sections of 15 sheets each.

Do you use multiple subject notebooks? What’s your favorite? What do you use them for?

(Exacompta Index Cards)


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Noodler’s Regular Black Ink

Noodler’s Ink has created a huge selection of affordable fountain pen ink in a wide variety of colors and with a variety of different characteristics. Their ink is made in the USA and is well-known for its quirky bottle labels depicting catfish, dragons, a Russian ruler, a famous scientist, white whales and more. I made my first purchase of Noodler’s Ink based entirely on its color – it was Nightshade which is a very dark purplish-brown color. If you’re thinking of trying out some Noodler’s Ink for the first time you may wonder where should you start?

Bullet-Proof Black is an extremely popular Noodler’s Ink that is used daily by many writers. It is a conservative color that is appropriate for the office, and its characteristics make it very versatile and useful for many situations. It is formulated to be what Noodler’s calls “bullet-proof”, which means it has qualities that make it impervious to water, bleach and light. When it is mixed with other inks it looses these qualities, so it is best used straight from the bottle.

Once this ink is permitted to dry upon cellulose paper it is pretty much waterproof. People here in Portland, Oregon like it because if you live here you can’t escape the rain. Even if you don’t live here, when you address an envelope to your friend in Portland, Oregon it had better be written in Noodler’s bullet-proof ink or it may never make it! Some artists use this ink along with watercolor paints. Depending on how long the ink has been allowed to dry, a slight bit of black may migrate into the watercolors. While this is not desirable to some artists, others really like the effect it creates.

Noodler’s Bullet-Proof Black is a saturated dark black color that is formulated to be resistant to feathering even on low-quality paper. It is pH neutral and safe for just about any fountain pen. If you try this ink and really like it, you can also buy it in large 4.5oz bottles. Do you use Noodler’s Bullet-Proof Black ink?


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What is a Fountain Pen Converter?

(Aurora push-in style piston fountain pen converter)

Those of you that are new to using fountain pens or want to purchase your very first fountain pen may have heard of fountain pen converters but might not know what they are. Do you need one? Should you get one?

Fountain pen converters are designed to be used with fountain pens that are usually filled with ink cartridges. They “convert” these fountain pens from using ink cartridges to using bottled ink instead. The converter has a small reservoir that contains the ink.

The converter can be removed from the fountain pen, so you can still use ink cartridges if you choose. I personally feel that using bottled ink is advantageous because it is cheaper, comes in a wider variety of colors and is easier on the environment (as opposed to throwing away multiple plastic ink cartridges when they become empty). However, ink cartridges are definitely more convenient when you’re on the road.

Push-in style fountain pen converters are pushed on to the nib section of the pen, the same way an ink cartridge would be pushed on to the pen. Screw-in style converters screw on to the nib section of the pen. A previous blog post of ours How to Install a LAMY Converter provides photos and a description of how to attach a push-in style converter to a LAMY Safari fountain pen

(A standard or universal piston converter compared to LAMY and Platinum piston converters)

Many converters are brand-specific, in other words, they are specially made to fit a particular brand or model of fountain pen. Other converters are standard, or universal, and fit the many fountain pens with a standard or universal cartridge filling system. It is often easiest to figure out what kind of converter you need at the time you purchase your fountain pen.

Fountain pen converters have several different types of filling systems including piston, button, and squeeze (aerometric) fill. If you’re having trouble filling your converter with ink you may have to try filling it 2 or 3 times before you get the air bubbles out and get a good fill. How to Fill a Fountain Pen With a Piston Converter provides an example of how to fill a fountain pen using a piston style converter. If you prefer video, LAMY has a video demonstrating how to insert and refill a LAMY fountain pen converter.

Converters, as well as your fountain pen, do need to be cleaned occasionally especially when changing the ink color or brand. Usually cool water is sufficient, but if that doesn’t do the trick try this home-made fountain pen cleaning solution.

Not all fountain pens have ink cartridge filling systems, so not all fountain pens will require a converter. Fountain pens that do not require converters have a piston, aerometric, button or other filling system of their own. What kind of filling system do you like on your fountain pen?

(Pilot Prera fountain pen with a Pilot push-in style piston converter)


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Best Sellers from Clairefontaine

New to Clairefontaine notepads and not sure where to start? Here is a list of our best selling Clairefontaine products that can help guide you to your perfect notebook!

Of the plethora of Clairefontaine notepads we carry at Writer’s Bloc, the #1 best seller is the large Clairefontaine wire-bound French ruled notebook. Even though French ruled paper is used daily by students in France and elsewhere, it is not widely available in the USA and many people have never heard of it. It has a unique line/grid system that can be used to format essays and practice handwriting and calligraphy. You can learn more about it here: What is French Ruled Paper? Clairefontaine French ruled paper can be found in both large and medium size wire-bound notebooks as well as in other styles of notebooks.

The Clairefontaine Multiple Subject medium size notebook is another one of our best sellers. In addition to sections of pages being defined by different colors of paper, tabs cut into the pages also help keep you and your work organized. The high quality graph paper is ideal for writing and drawing and is great for students, artists and anyone looking for a great organizing tool! Also available in large and small sizes.

If you are looking for a pocket-sized notebook try our best selling small staple-bound Clairefontaine notebook. These little gems are ideal for those who like to keep a notebook with them at all times since they are conveniently sized and will slip right into your pocket or purse. These notebooks also make for great party favors, throw them into goody bags or prize baskets and give your guests the gift of quality paper! Available individually or in a set of 10.

Another one of our best selling Clairefontaine notebooks is the classic Clairefontaine Basics cloth-bound large lined notebook. This notebook has a sewn binding so it opens flat, pages do not fall out, and there is no spiral wire to get in the way when you write! An added bonus is an elastic to keep the notebook securely closed. Available with Red, Black, Tan or Green covers.

What’s your favorite Clairefontaine notebook?


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Do I need a left-handed nib on my fountain pen if I’m a left-handed writer?

I am a left-handed writer and the first time I used a fountain pen I had no idea left-handed fountain pen nibs even existed. It didn’t occur to me that there would be any problem using just a regular nib and I didn’t notice any problems. Years later, I’m back to using fountain pens regularly and have discovered that there are a few nibs out there specially designed for lefties. Many ask the question: Is it really necessary to have one of these special nibs if you are left-handed?

Left-handed fountain pen nibs are generally more rounded on the tip with the idea of producing a smoother writing experience. This particularly applies to languages such as English that are written from left to right. When left-handed people such as myself write, the pen is often angled in such a way that the pointiest part of the pen, the nib, is being pushed along paper made of fibers that are not impervious to tearing and which offer some resistance. It’s like taking a sharp nail or a pin and pushing it along a piece of paper at a 45 degree angle with the pointy end facing the direction it is being pushed. Likely you’re going to end up piercing that piece of paper with your pin! In contrast, try taking that same pin and pulling it along that same piece of paper with the pointy end facing away from the direction it is being pulled. It feels smoother as you pull it and it is much less likely that you will pierce the paper. That would be more like the experience of a right-handed writer. So as you can see, pen nibs of all kinds have a huge influence on whether or not a lefty has a good or a bad writing experience.

I personally find that a good writing experience for a lefty does not stop at the kind of nib on the pen. It is extremely important to me that whatever ink I’m using dries quickly or else I’ll smear it all over the place. The type of paper I use is also important since this affects the drying time of the ink. In addition, if paper is of very poor quality or tears easily, I may find myself poking holes in the paper with my pen or pencil. Each writer needs to experiment with different combinations of pen, ink and paper before discovering what works best for them.

I own many fountain pens with a variety of nibs, and three of them happen to have left-handed nibs. I personally find that the left-handed fountain pen nibs aren’t necessarily any better or any worse than using a regular fountain pen nib. I’m not sure if you will have the same experience. I must say though, that I can’t go wrong with my left-handed Pelikano Junior fountain pen. I don’t always want to write with such a broad nib, but I appreciate its smoothness when I use it.

(Pelikan Pelikano fountain pen with a left-handed nib compared to a Pelikano with a regular nib. Note the modified grip and the rounded nib on the left-handed pen.)

For the left-handed writer that is new to fountain pens, I would suggest starting out with a nib that is middle-of-the-road, perhaps something like a LAMY Safari with a left-handed, fine or medium nib. You might find extra-fine nibs to be too sharp and “pokey” at first, and broad nibs may lay down so much ink that you are smearing your writing too much. Another pen that I felt was easy to write with from the first time I picked it up is the Platinum Preppy with a fine nib, or for a nicer version of this pen with the same nib, the Platinum Plaisir fountain pen. If you get a chance to purchase a fountain pen with a left-handed nib, it is worth giving it a try. The Pelikan Pelikano and Pelikano Junior are both readily available with left-handed nibs. The Pelikan Pelikanos also have a grip that is modified to fit a left-handed writer. I’ve also heard of some lefties sending in their expensive nibs to be customized by a nibmeister, but I’ve never felt the need to do this myself.

Are you a left-handed writer? What kind of pen or fountain pen do you like to write with? Do you own any fountain pens with left-handed nibs?


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