Back to School 2011!

Is it that time of year already? Didn’t summer vacation just start? As summer break quickly comes to a close, it is time for back-to-school shopping! Looking for unique school supplies that will set you apart from your classmates? Look no further! We have everything you need to start the school year on the right foot.

The Bare Necessities

No other demographic goes through spiral bound notebooks like students. Make each one count with this large Clairefontaine Wirebound Notebook. This notebook contains the famed 90g Clairefontaine paper in a standard USA paper size! The notebook is three hole punched and microperforated, making it easy to slip the entire notebook into a binder or tear out pages and add them to a binder. 

(Clairefontaine Notebook – three hole punched, perforated pages)

Too many classes? Limit the amount of notebooks in your backpack with multi-subject notebooks. Clairefontaine Twinbooks allow you to group two subjects in one notebook, keeping your classes organized and your backpack lighter than ever.

(Clairefontaine Twinbook)

Highlighter? Check! Pencil? Check! Ballpoint pen? Check! Felt tip pen? Check! Be prepared for any situation with the STAEDTLER Mobile Office. Everything you need to survive the school day in one package! These high quality, long lasting, and conveniently packaged writing instruments will come in handy anywhere from English class to art class. All four instruments are packaged in a nifty case that also turns into a stand, putting all your writing tools at arms reach.

(STAEDTLER Triplus Mobile Office)

Regardless of whether you are in Elementary School or College, #2 pencils are your saving grace. Be prepared for test taking and stand out with Rhodia Pencils. Be the center of pencil envy with these bright orange pencils, standard for test taking and a great accessory!

(Rhodia Pencils)

Stay Organized!

With so many assignments, projects, essays, tests, and due dates to keep track of, it can be easy to fall behind. Stay ahead of the game with the ultimate organizing tools! Keep your life in order and plan out each week down to the hour with the perfect Academic Planner. (Just make sure to squeeze in some fun time!) If you are super busy, want to be organized, but prefer less structure, try the Bob’s Your Uncle Multi-Task! Planner. This planner is undated and color coded, redefining the term "organized chaos."

(Bob’s Your Uncle Multi-Task! Planner)

If you’re like me, there is nothing more satisfying than making a "To-do" list and actually doing everything on the list. Checking each task off one by one as you complete them. Move your checklists from that scrap of paper to a bound checklist! The Behance Action Runner and Googims Time is Money Checklist are both stylish and fun ways to prioritize and get everything done!

(Behance Action Runner)

Tend to over pack? (So do I!) As a student, I found that the best organizing tool was a pencil pouch. Keep all of your writing utensils in one place and have a conveniently sized bag for things such as loose pieces of paper, USB drives, lip balm, and keys. Keep it at the top of your school bag and be ready to jot down study partners info, on-the-spot notes, phone numbers, etc. The Clairefontaine Basic Leather Pencil Pouch comes in several different colors and shapes!

(Clairefontaine Basics Leather Pencil Case)

Enjoy the rest of the summer and have a great school year!

What are your back-to-school must haves?

(Written by Karol)

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Noodler’s Baystate Blue Ink Alternatives

Many fountain pen users LOVE Noodler’s Baystate Blue ink for the unmatched intensity of its vibrant cobalt-blue color. Others find that this ink is just too high maintenance for their taste especially when it is not paired with just the right fountain pen. Would you like to find another kind of ink with the same intense blue color? Sorry, we haven’t found one yet that can quite compare to the beautiful intense blue of Baystate! Despite this we will attempt to provide a few suggestions as to some alternative blue inks to try.

Scanning ink samples into the computer and viewing them on any one of millions of monitors/mobile devices can’t possibly display ink colors with 100% accuracy, inks look different on different kinds of paper, and when it comes to color each person has their own opinion. The colors in these scans have not been retouched and the samples were all written on Clairefontaine French ruled paper. We will attempt to briefly describe how each ink differs from Baystate Blue as well as display the samples side by side so that you can compare.

Noodler’s Ink Baystate Blue:  The gold standard. Highly intense cobalt blue color.

J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir: This shade of blue is very similar to the shade of Baystate Blue and it has the same kind of “purple-ish” undertone, but it is definitely not as intense or bright as Baystate. It is a cool shade of royal blue. Of all the blue inks mentioned here, when you are looking at handwriting, it looks the closest (in our opinion) to Baystate Blue .

Noodler’s Ink Blue:  Not as bright as Baystate and it looks more turquoise when placed next to Baystate. This is a warmer shade of blue.

Noodler’s Eel Blue:  Looks almost exactly the same as Noodler’s Blue.

Noodler’s Ink Ottoman Azure:  Not as bright as Baystate and it looks more turquoise when placed to Baystate. This is a warmer shade of blue and is similar to Noodler’s Blue.

Noodler’s Ink La Couleur Royale:  Darker than Baystate, with somewhat more of a purple tint to it.

Aurora Blue: More muted and subdued than Baystate and the color of Aurora Blue is grayer when you see it in person.

We are sure there are other intense blue inks out there that we haven’t mentioned in this blog post that you can tell us about. What are your favorite Baystate Blue Ink alternatives?

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Karol’s Wish List

Working at Writer’s Bloc I get to see all of the wonderful merchandise that comes in and out of our store. New shipment day is always exciting, you never know what you’re going to get but it is exciting nonetheless. Every time I venture into one of our stock rooms I find something new; a new notebook, a new pen, or a new clever little doodad that would make my life so much easier (or way more interesting). After many trips into our stock rooms and many peeks at our new shipments, I have compiled a wish list. Things I will buy in the near future or things I wouldn’t mind receiving as a gift (hint hint). They are as follows:

LAMY AL Star Fountain Pen – Purple

The main reason for my attraction to this pen is the color. The beautiful deep striking purple combined with the silver steel nib makes for a very attractive pen. Another thing I love about this pen is that it is high quality for a reasonable price. I am not yet skilled enough in the the art of writing with a fountain pen to invest in a $100-$200 fountain pen. But at $36.50 I can get a high quality fountain pen that will last. Are you a lefty? The LAMY AL-Star pen in purple is also available with a left handed nib!

J. Herbin Glass Pen

Before working at Writer’s Bloc, I had no idea that glass pens even existed. I have had the privilege of testing the J. Herbin glass pen, and it is hands-down one of the niftiest pens I have ever used. The spiral tip acts as a reservoir for ink which allows you to write several sentences before having to re-dip your pen! J. Herbin Glass pens come in several different colors and designs that are sure to complement your most avid writer.

Quo Vadis Habana Journal

The Habana Journals have always been one of my favorites. They are simple, practical, and sophisticated. The paper quality is fantastic and the elastic closure and inside pocket are great features. This is just a classic notebook that can switch seamlessly from school to work. I have been mostly drawn towards the Taupe color which has been discontinued. However, the Habana Journal is also available in Black, Red, Anise Green and Raspberry with both blank or lined pages.

Bob’s Your Uncle Open Sesame Book

If you are like me, you have several different email accounts and dozens of logins and passwords for this and that. After a while you begin to forget the logins and passwords you don’t use on a daily basis. The Bob’s Your Uncle Open Sesame book is our saving grace! You’ll never have to set up multiple usernames and passwords for the same site because you forgot the one you already set up!  Keep all your login information in one place and in alphabetical order! This notebook is a convenient size for easy storage in an inconspicuous area and keeps all your logins safe and organized! 

Rhodia Webnotebook – Large, Lined 

We carry an array of high quality journals at Writer’s Bloc, but one of my new favorites is the Rhodia Webnotebook. This journal contains the acclaimed ivory colored 90g Rhodia paper. The one aspect of this journal that really draws me to it is the cover. The cover is extremely smooth and sturdy. The elastic closure and ribbon keeps the journal neat and organized. And if you are like me, you like to stick separate notes, lists, or keepsakes in your journal. The Rhodia Webnotebook comes with a pocket in the back for people like us!

What’s on your wish list?

(PS – Since writing this post I was very excited to receive the LAMY AL-Star as a graduation gift!! It pays to write wish lists!)

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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 Soho and Club covers which come in a variety of colors, are very durable and can be refilled year after year. The Soho 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 Soho 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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