Six Essential Back to School Supplies for 2013

Back to school is an especially exciting time for pen, pencil and paper geeks. All of those fresh school supplies in your backpack and new writing instruments in your pencil case are almost reason enough to go back to school! Here at Writer’s Bloc we are especially fond of these things and have a few suggestions for your back to school arsenal.

1) Notebooks

Need a lot of new notebooks? Check out our quantity discounts to see if there are any of your favorite Clairefontaine or Rhodia notebooks such as this set of 10 medium size lined Clairefontaine side-staple notebooks. Don’t see the notebook you’re looking for? Email us and we’ll give you a quantity discount quote. We’ve carefully planned our quantity discounts to give you the best value on both shipping and notebook price.

2) Academic Planner

Keep yourself organized with an academic planner that is specially designed to keep track of your schedule throughout the school year. The Quo Vadis Academic Minister includes 13 months of plans that run from July of one year through July of the following year. Its 8 am to 9 pm weekly schedule spread over two pages gives lots of room for tracking a detailed action-packed schedule. For something quite similar, only pocket-size, take a look at the Quo Vadis University Pocket Planner.

Staedtler Textsurfer Classic Highlighters

Staedtler Textsurfer Classic Highlighters

3) Highlighters

No school year would be complete without lots of highlighters for studying. The Staedtler Textsurfer Classic Highlighter is one of my favorites since it stands up to heavy use, can be used with inkjet printouts and can be re-inked with the Textsurfer Classic refill station. For something completely different try a Staedtler Textsurfer Gel highlighter. It has a soft wax lead that glides over paper effortlessly and will never bleed through, even on the thinnest paper.

Le Petit Prince Pencil Case by 7321 Story

Le Petit Prince Pencil Case by 7321 Story

4) Pen & Pencil Case

Corral your pens, pencils and highlighters with a flat-bottom pencil case that will sit upright on your desk. 7321 Story’s fabric Le Petit Prince Pencil Case is decorated with whimsical illustrations from the storybook by Antoine de Saint Exupery. If soft sheepskin leather is more your style the Clairefontaine Basics Square pencil case holds a good quantity of your favorite writing instruments.

Myndology Disc Bound Index Cards

Myndology Disc Bound Index Cards

5) Index Cards

Index cards are a useful tool for studying, collecting quotations, making flash cards and more. Keep your index cards in order and re-order them anytime you like with Myndology’s disc bound index cards. Exacompta index cards have grid lines so they can be used in whatever direction you want to turn them, can be color coded since they come in a pack with a variety of colors and as a bonus work well with fountain pens.  Myndology and Exacompta index cards are lined on both sides to make the most of each card.

Palomino Blackwing Pencils

Palomino Blackwing Pencils

6) Pencils & Art Supplies

Need to erase mistakes? Planning on taking a drawing and sketching class? Palomino Blackwing Pencils constantly get rave reviews from artists who prefer a soft, dark line! They are also available with a firmer lead for both writing and drawing as the Blackwing 602 pencil. Pair these pencils with a Clairefontaine Graf it sketch pad and you’ll be all set for class.

These are some of our favorite paper and writing related tools for back to school 2013. What are some of your favorites?

 

 

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How to Flush a Fountain Pen using a Monteverde Mini Converter

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The Monteverde Mini Converter is a handy little tool to have around when you want to flush out a fountain pen with water to clean it. The supplies you will need are: a glass of cool or room temperature water, a fountain pen or rollerball pen that uses standard international ink cartridge refills (the Mini Converter is compatible with most of these type of pens) and the Monteverde Mini Ink Converter.

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Attach the Mini Converter to the feed of the pen and push the black plunger down.

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Immerse the nib or tip of the pen in the water and pull the black plunger on the Mini Converter up to draw water into the converter. Push the black plunger down to expel the water back into the glass.

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Repeat the above step several times, drawing water into and then pushing it out of the converter. Replace the water with clean water as many times as it takes for the water to remain clear as you draw water in and out of the converter.

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When the water is all clear you’re done with the cleaning.

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Push the black plunger on the Mini Converter down to expel the water. Remove the converter from the pen and dry off the pen feed and nib with a soft cloth. Let the pen dry overnight if you wish. Attach a new ink cartridge to the feed of the pen, wait awhile for the ink to seep into the feed and you’re ready to write – easy!

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4 Summertime Activities for Kids

Summer is here and kids are celebrating! It’s time for a break from school and the weather is great for playing outdoors. Busy parents everywhere are wondering how to keep their kids occupied during the summer break. We have a few suggestions that might help.

My Artwork Journal by Compendium Kids

My Artwork Journal by Compendium Kids

1) Art Projects

The number of possibilities when it comes to art projects is just about endless! Bring out the inner artist in your child and create a treasured keepsake at the same time with the My Artwork Journal from the Compendium Kids collection. No more wondering what to draw – each spread in this journal has a suggested theme to inspire your child to create a picture.

Staedtler aquarell

STAEDTLER ergosoft aquarell watercolor pencils are a fun medium to experiment with. You can draw with them just like pencil crayons and then use a wet paint brush to blend and wash the colors to make a watercolor painting. When you’re creating art using a wet paint brush you’ll need a heavy-weight paper to prevent buckling. Clairefontaine’s watercolor pads have the ultimate paper to pair with the aquarell pencils.

My Writing Journal by Compendium Kids

My Writing Journal by Compendium Kids

2) Writing Projects

For the young writer, the Compendium Kids collection includes My Writing Journal. Suggested topics such as “I can write about someone who lives in our neighborhood” or “I can write about my grandparents” encourage your child to write about how they see the world. It’s super fun to read these stories again years later!

Now would be a great opportunity to introduce a child who enjoys writing to the world of fountain pens and high quality paper. Many authors step away from the world of technology and write some of their best work using an old-fashioned fountain pen and paper.

A good choice for a first fountain pen for a young writer is the Pelikano Junior. It has an ergonomic grip that guides proper finger placement and the rounded medium-broad nib is easy to write with. The Platinum Preppy disposable fountain pen is very inexpensive, comes in two nib sizes and seven colors and is another good choice for a beginner fountain pen. Don’t forget to buy some ink cartridges too!

Clairefontaine medium size ruled notebook

Clairefontaine medium size ruled notebook

Clairefontaine is the ultimate paper for writing with fountain pens since it has a super smooth finish and handles fountain pen ink very well. Try browsing through the clearance Clairefontaine on our website for deals on notebooks that can be used for kids. Or try out either of the low-priced large or medium size side-stapled and ruled with margin Clairefontaine notebooks.

Calligraphy & French Cursive Handwriting

Calligraphy & French Cursive Handwriting

3) Penmanship Projects

Besides writing poetry or stories, a fountain pen and nice paper can be used to learn or practice French cursive handwriting or calligraphy. If you’re wondering what French cursive is, you can take a look on Google images to see many samples and learning guides. Since cursive handwriting is not included in the curriculum of many schools this is something that students may want to learn at home. To find inspiration and learning guides for calligraphy Google images provides a huge variety of designs!

To learn French cursive handwriting or calligraphy it can be helpful to use French-ruled paper since it has grid lines that are quite useful for cursive writing practice. Clairefontaine paper comes from France and has several notebooks with French-ruled paper such as their inexpensive medium-size staplebound notebook. Our blog post “What is French-Ruled Paper?” will help you better understand what is special about this paper.

Pelikan Pelikano Fountain Pen

Pelikan Pelikano Fountain Pen

A couple of good beginner fountain pens to use for learning French cursive handwriting are the Pelikan Pelikano with a fine nib or the disposable Platinum Preppy with a fine nib.

Pilot Plumix Calligraphy Pen

Pilot Plumix Calligraphy Pen

When choosing a beginner calligraphy pen keep in mind that the smaller nibs are easier to write with but are best suited for smaller writing. For regular size handwriting the Pilot Plumix calligraphy pen is a great choice.

Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pens

Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pens

Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pens come with four different sizes of nibs ranging from 1.5mm to 6.0mm and can be purchased individually or as a set. Once again, don’t forget to buy some ink cartridges or you’ll soon be running out of ink!

Wooly Bully

4) Games

If a child has brothers and sisters or maybe a few neighborhood friends to play with, good old-fashioned board games and card games are a fun social activity. We have discovered from our own experience that if kids like video games chances are very good they will also love board games and card games! All you have to know is how to count to play a crazy action packed game of Halli Galli. For kids around 6 or 7 years old a story telling game like Once Upon A Time, or a tile-laying game like Wooly Bully will be fun. For kids 8 and older, try the beautifully illustrated story telling game Dixit, the zany rule-changing card game Fluxx, or Turbo Taxi a fast-paced puzzle game. Teenagers that are sci-fan fans will like Race For The Galaxy, other teens will enjoy Shear Panic the strategy game with Wallace & Gromit-like sheep, or the ever-popular Settlers of Catan. If your children haven’t tried playing Eurogames yet, get them one and they may end up being the most popular kids in the neighborhood this summer!

What are your kids doing this summer? We would love to hear about their favorite games, art, pen and paper projects!

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