2016 Pantone Color of the Year & Your Favorite Office Supplies

Rose Quartz & Serenity - Pantone Colors of the Year 2016
Rose Quartz & Serenity – Pantone Colors of the Year 2016

The Pantone color of the year for 2016 is actually a pairing of two colors: Rose Quartz and Serenity. The Pantone website explains the thought behind their selection for this year:

Joined together Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

Would you like to add these calm, relaxing colors to your stationery arsenal? Below are a few of our favorite choices of pens, ink and paper related items that are part of this color family.

Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen - Frosty Blue, Medium Nib
Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen – Frosty Blue, Medium Nib

The first pens that come to my mind when I think of Serenity and Rose Quartz are the Platinum Plaisir fountain pens in a pearlized soft pink and frosty blue. Also worth mentioning is the popular Aurora Style Aquamarine pale blue fountain pen.

Aurora Style Gemstone Collection Fountain Pen Aquamarine
Aurora Style Gemstone Collection Fountain Pen Aquamarine

It’s not common to find pastel shades of fountain pen ink, however there are a few inks out there that remind me of the 2016 Pantone colors. Noodler’s Periwinkle Eternal Ink is inspired by the color of the blue curve of a periwinkle snail’s shell and Noodler’s Ink Polar Blue makes me think of washed denim. J. Herbin’s Bouquet d’Antan is a soft, muted shade of light pink. If the thought of a tropical sea makes you feel relaxed, then try J. Herbin Bleu Azur fountain pen ink.

Noodler's Ink - Polar Blue
Noodler’s Ink – Polar Blue
Noodler's Periwinkle Fountain Pen Ink
Noodler’s Periwinkle Fountain Pen Ink
J. Herbin Bleu Azur Fountain Pen Ink
J. Herbin Bleu Azur Fountain Pen Ink
J. Herbin Bouquet d'Antan Fountain Pen Ink
J. Herbin Bouquet d’Antan Fountain Pen Ink

The PlePle Candy Wrap Pen and Pencil Case is a calming shade of blue.

PlePle Candy Wrap Pen Case Blue
PlePle Candy Wrap Pen Case Blue

Personalize your letters or other items by using a brass stamp and J. Herbin Rose colored Supple Sealing Wax.

J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax in Rose
J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax in Rose

Shades of blue and pink pastel paper can be found in Clairefontaine’s Multiple Subject Notebooks (small, medium or large) and Clairefontaine Loose Sheets of paper with Graph or French Rules. Exacompta also has pastel colored index cards that are super smooth and their grid lines make it so that any side of the card can be the top.

What are your favorite Rose Quartz and Serenity blue colored pens, paper and ink?

Clairefontaine Multiple Subject Notebook
Clairefontaine Multiple Subject Notebook
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Reflecting on 2015 and Welcoming 2016

Thank you very much everyone for a wonderful year!  We have plenty of things to be thankful for as we reflect on 2015. A couple of our favorite limited edition fountain pens were released: the Pelikan M205 in beautiful Amethyst and the copper orange LAMY Al-Star.

Pelikan Classic Special Edition M205 Fountain Pen - Amethyst
Pelikan Classic Special Edition M205 Fountain Pen – Amethyst

We were excited to see J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor 1670 Anniversary Ink, and the Secret Garden and Clairefontaine Coloring Books for grownups during 2015.

Clairefontaine Coloring Book - birch trees colored with fountain pen ink
Clairefontaine Coloring Book – birch trees colored with fountain pen ink

Avid readers were happy to receive the Leuchtturm 1917 Ex Libris Private Reading Journal to create written memories of novels and other books they’ve read.

Leuchtturm 1917 Ex Libris Private Reading Journal
Leuchtturm 1917 Ex Libris Private Reading Journal

We’ve been working on expanding the helpful information in our Beginner’s Guide to Fountain Pens – check it out if you haven’t done so already. Here are some of the most popular articles:

Our 5 most popular blog posts from 2015:

As we move along in 2016, we’re not sure what new and exciting pens and paper will appear in our online store or what new blog posts we will write. We do know that we will continue to offer discounted prices every day on a wide variety of paper notebooks, fountain pens, appointment books and Eurogames. Thanks again for a great year!

J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink - Emerald of Chivor
J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink – Emerald of Chivor
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Top 5 School Supplies For 2015

A new school year is right around the corner! My favorite memory of going back to school was getting all of the fresh, new stationery supplies needed to prepare for the upcoming year. I was particularly fond of any new art supplies such as pencils with a variety of graphite, paints and sketchbooks. Whether or not you feel it’s old-fashioned, using paper and pen to take handwritten notes has proven to help students learn more than if they type their notes on laptops so be sure to stock up on writing supplies for top school performance! Here are our top 5 stationery choices for back to school 2015:

Clairefontaine Twinbook
Clairefontaine Twinbook Two Subject Notebook

1) Clairefontaine Notebooks. Whatever your paper notebook needs are, Clairefontaine pretty much has you covered with their huge variety and high quality super-smooth paper. One of our favorites is the Clairefontaine Twinbook. The first 48 pages have a tab cut into them that divides the Twinbook into two sections for two subjects. Another favorite is the 3-hole punched Clairefontaine Wirebound Notebook, ruled with margin. This notebook has paper that is sized to fit 3-ring binders in the USA and includes a generous 90 sheets of paper (available soon).

Quo Vadis Minister Planner - Red Club Cover
Quo Vadis Minister Planner with a Red Club Cover

2) Quo Vadis Academic Planners. Back to school means a busy schedule and lots of exams and assignments to keep track of. Keep yourself or your student organized with a Quo Vadis Academic Planner that starts and ends with the months of the school year. For a super jam-packed schedule try the Quo Vadis Academic Minister or for something pocket-sized the Quo Vadis University Appointment Book.

Palomino Blackwing Pencils
Palomino Blackwing Pencils

3) Palomino Blackwing Pencils. Whether you’re in art class or geometry class a quality pencil is an essential tool. Palomino has got your needs covered with their retro variety of premium graphite wooden pencils.

Zebra Optex Highlighters
Zebra Optex Highlighters

4) Zebra Optex Highlighters. These Zebra Highlighters have a tip on each end: The thick end is perfect for highlighting words on a page while the thin end is great for underlining. Save space (and weight!) in your backpack with these dual purpose writing tools.

Aston Leather Pen & Pencil Pouches
Aston Leather Pen & Pencil Pouches

5) Aston Leather Pencil Pouch. Keep your writing instruments from getting lost in the black hole of your backpack with a rugged Aston Leather Pencil Pouch. Aston selects their leather from the best environmentally friendly American and European tanneries, and their leathers are scratch resistant, supple, and sturdy.

What would you like to add to our list of top 5 school supplies for 2015?

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5 Eco-Friendly Supplies for Back to School

1. Clairefontaine Notebooks

Clairefontaine has been making paper in France since 1858 and they are committed to controlling the environmental impact of their manufacturing process. They also happen to make notebooks in all sorts of formats that are great for school!

  • This paper is made from materials sourced from certified sustainable forests.
  • Clairefontaine recycles water, and when it leaves their paper mill this water is cleaner than when it arrived.
  • Their paper is chlorine-free.
  • Natural water-based vegetable oil pigment ink is used in printing.
  • Clairefontaine supplies 80% of their own energy needs.
  • They practice recycling and waste reduction.
Clairefontaine Notebooks
Clairefontaine Notebooks

2. Fountain Pen & Ink

Just how many disposable pens does one student use throughout their entire time spent in school? How about a multitude of students? It’s hard to even imagine the quantity of plastic pens tossed into the trash. Switch to a good fountain pen and you’ve got a pen that can last a lifetime! If you fill your fountain pen with bottled fountain pen ink, you’ll eliminate the need to throw away empty plastic ink cartridges refills. To use bottled ink you’ll want to be sure you have an ink converter or a piston-fill (or similar) fountain pen. Filling a fountain pen with bottled ink while you’re on the road or at school can be a little bit tricky, so I carry 2 fountain pens loaded with ink with me on those intense note-taking days.

LAMY Safari Fountain Pen & Ink
LAMY Safari Fountain Pen & Ink

3. Refillable Highlighters

Highlighters are another plastic writing tool that usually get tossed in the trash when they’re dried up. Take another step to help ease the strain on the environment by using refillable highlighters. There are many refillable highlighter options you’ve probably never thought of.

Staedtler Textsurfer Classic Highlighter
Staedtler Textsurfer Classic Highlighter

4. Book Darts

Book Darts are paper-thin metal line-markers that slide onto the page of a book and are used as place-finders for facts, quotes, key points and passages that you want to refer to later. They do not stain or damage paper and eliminate the need to highlight, underline, bend page corners or use paper clips or sticky notes. These light-weight metal darts can be reused over and over again for a lifetime. You don’t have to know all the answers, just where to find them!

Book Darts
Book Darts

5. Quo Vadis Academic Planner

What makes Quo Vadis academic planners different than other academic planners? They are full of earth-friendly Clairefontaine paper and most of them have covers that can be refilled every year with a new calendar insert. In addition, your fountain pen will write amazingly well on super-smooth 90g Clairefontaine paper. Academic planners are the must have tool to juggle a busy class schedule.

 

Quo Vadis Minister Academic Planner
Quo Vadis Minister Academic Planner

What environmentally friendly back to school supplies would you like to recommend?

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A Smart Summer Project For Kids: Learn to Write in Cursive

Most parents are aware that for various reasons many schools have dropped learning cursive handwriting from the student curriculum. In this digital age is it worth continuing the tradition of cursive handwriting? I’m sure there are many differing opinions. One simple reason that students may want to learn cursive is that studies show writing notes by hand aids in learning more so than does taking notes with a tablet or computer. Cursive writing enables you to take notes much more quickly than printing does. WickiHow adds this incentive: “In a recent study, The College Board found that, for the essay part of the SAT, the students who wrote in cursive scored slightly higher than those who used print. They attribute it to the speed and efficiency of cursive that allows for greater focus on the content of the tests.” With school vacations on the horizon, now would be a good time to plan on making learning cursive a fun summer project for your kids.

Pelikano Junior, Turquoise, Left-Handed Nib
Pelikano Junior, Turquoise, Left-Handed Nib

One motivation for learning cursive or just improving your handwriting skills in general is using a fountain pen. This old school writing instrument writes with a very light touch, and the reduced pressure results in less writing fatigue. Plus the variety of colorful inks out there can make your hand writing look better than ever! For introducing a child to fountain pens, I would recommend a pen with a grip that helps with proper finger placement and also a nib that is easy to write with such as a medium, A, or left-handed nib. Pelikano fountain pens have been used by students for decades and they are a great fountain pen to get started with. The Pelikano comes in two versions: the Pelikano Junior for the very young student and the Pelikano for any age of student (or adult for that matter). Both of these pens come in several choices of color and nib size and have carefully designed grips that show you how to hold the pen. Don’t forget to get some extra Pelikan ink cartridges to refill your fountain pens! To browse through a variety of starter fountain pens including the Pelikano, take a look at the Beginner Fountain Pens at Writer’s Bloc.

Pelikan Pelikano Fountain Pen, Red, Medium Nib
Pelikan Pelikano Fountain Pen, Red, Medium Nib

French ruled paper is another aid to learning cursive handwriting or to improve your hand writing. It has an 8mm x 8mm grid, with additional lighter horizontal lines spaced 2mm apart inside the grid. These lines can be used as writing guides to keep your upper and lower case cursive letters a consistent size. Even though French ruled paper is difficult to find in the United States, this paper is routinely used by students in France as well as in other countries. Clairefontaine has a pretty good selection of this paper and you can order French ruled paper online at Writer’s Bloc. To find out more about French rule paper, take a look at our blog post: What is French Ruled Paper? Here are a couple of examples of practicing calligraphy and French cursive hand writing on French rule paper:

Using French Ruled Paper To Practice Hand Writing
Using French Ruled Paper To Practice Hand Writing

Another good resource can be the internet. If you do a search for “cursive writing” (or something similar), you’ll find many websites and tools to help children and adults to learn cursive hand writing. Many websites have practice pages that can be printed out for students of all ages. A few years ago I wanted to learn French cursive writing and found the following guide to be very useful:

French Cursive Hand Writing
French Cursive Hand Writing

Learning cursive handwriting is something that requires patience and practice, but it can pay off with better grades in school! Isn’t that worth the effort?

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