10 Graduation Gifts Under $30

Years of hard work have finally paid off for many students this time of year – graduation has arrived! What will you get as a gift for your favorite graduate? We’ve complied a list of 10 gift ideas that are all $30 and less.

1) The 5 Book. This is an excellent interactive playbook that inspires your grad to think about where they will be 5 years from today. The 5 Book asks thoughtful questions about plans, dreams, and priorities and to help them map out the best years of their life– the next 5.

2) Academic Planner. Keeping on top of a hectic college schedule can be quite a challenge! An academic planner comes to the rescue with a calendar that begins with the start of the school year. For a detailed weekly plan, we’d recommend the Quo Vadis Minister. For something pocket-size try the Quo Vadis University Planner. You can find these and other planners in our Academic Planners section (back in stock soon!).

3) LAMY Safari Fountain Pen. The Safari fountain pen is popular in countries all over the world. It’s easy to use, durable and fun! This pen is a great way to introduce your student to the world of fountain pens, or if your grad is already a fan of writing instruments, the Safari will become a treasured part of their collection. It comes in several colors and nib sizes to suit just about any writer.

4) Meeting Book. Whether or not your grad is headed to college or the office, the Cornell notes format of a meeting book makes it a valuable tool. The layout is designed for organized and efficient note taking during meetings or school classes. Both Rhodia and Moleskine make excellent meeting notebooks.

5) Pen Case. Whether it’s just one precious writing instrument that needs a little protection or a plethora of writing instruments that need to be corralled, there’s a pen case out there that’s just right for your graduate. The Aston Leather Single Pen Slip Case is an economical option for an individual pen, their rugged Pencil Pouch holds about a dozen pens and pencils.

Aston Leather Pen & Pencil Pouches

Aston Leather Pen & Pencil Pouches

6) Book Darts. These paper-thin metal line-markers are the perfect tool to mark things worth rereading, to note key points as you read them and to help you go back to ideas worth studying. Book Darts can be reused over and over again for a lifetime!

7) Leuchtturm 1917 Ex Libris Private Reading Journal. Is your grad a book worm? This bound Private Reading Journal is a classy way to create written memories of novels and other books they’ve read.

8) Platinum Preppy Highlighters – Set of 5. Studying at college can mean some of your new best friends are highlighters. Preppy Highlighters are refillable with Platinum highlighting ink cartridges so these pens can outlast many other kinds of highlighters.

9) STAEDTLER triplus fineliners – Set of 20 in a Wrap Case. This fun roll-up case is filled with a bunch of colorful superfine felt tip pens. The case is available in either Black or Pink. A great gift for creative students!

10) Coloring Book for Grown-Ups. College and work life both have their daily stresses. Doodling in a coloring book for grown-ups is a great way to unwind at the end of a hectic day. Clairefontaine has bird, flower or nature themed coloring books, or try the Secret Garden Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book that’s inspired by the plants and wildlife found in rural Scotland.

What will you buy for your new graduate this year?

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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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Quo Vadis Scholar #55 Academic Planner Review

Quo Vadis Scholar #55 Academic Planner is a weekly, desk-sized agenda designed for both teachers and students alike. It has an open format that makes it easy to track when your assignments and papers are due, and keeps test dates and other activities organized. It is an academic planner which means it starts with the month of August and ends with the month of July of the following year. It’s a welcome addition to Writer’s Bloc this season. What features make it a useful organizing tool?

The Quo Vadis Scholar begins with a page for personal information including such details as name, address, email and important medical information. Across from this page is one ruled page for notes. Then comes a 2-page Monday through Saturday Time Schedule with half hour increments starting at 8:00am and ending at 9:00pm (it assumes that you are taking Sundays off). It seems that it would be a good idea to fill this in with pencil since schedules tend to change over time. The lines from Noon to 2:00pm are printed with grey to help you keep track of when your lunch break might occur in relation to the rest of the day.

There are two annual planning pages that cover one school year – starting with July of one year to the end of June in the following year. Each month has one column with a box for priorities on the top, and small spaces beneath for each day of the month. These pages allow you to see a general outline of your yearly plans at a glance.

The Scholar has an “open format.” In other words, each day of the weekly plan is not broken down into hourly increments, rather, each day has a space with several lines for freestyle planning in whatever format you want. It has one week on two pages: the top of the left page starts with Monday and the bottom of the right page ends with Sunday. Underneath each weekday date is a small area for noting daily priorities. Other details included in the weekly plan are the month number, the week of the year number, the day of the year number, lunar cycles and holidays.

A set of world maps in grey tones follows the end of the weekly plans. Map pages include: North America, Canada, USA, South America, Australia & New Zealand, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Scholar includes a small address book section.

If you like to write with fountain pens the Scholar is a good choice since most versions of this planner contain 90g white Clairefontaine paper (except for the Basic and Equology covers which contain 89g recycled paper). Besides being super-smooth to write on, this paper reduces ink feathering and bleed through, is acid-free, pH neutral and is PEFC certified. For a list of other fountain pen friendly planners you can take a look at our list under the blog post “Fountain Pen Friendly Planners.”

The binding is sewn to keep pages from falling out and the lower corner of each page has a tear-off perforation you can use to help you find your place. The page size of this planner is approximately 6 1/4” x 9 3/8”. The Quo Vadis Scholar academic agenda can be purchased with a refillable cover that’s available in different colors and materials such as Texas Vinyl, Club, Soho and Equology. If you don’t want a refillable cover you can get the Scholar with a Python or Noir Spiral cover. (The equivalent Quo Vadis calendar year planner beginning with January and ending with December is the Hebdo #56.)

What’s your favorite academic planning diary and academic planner format?

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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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What is an Academic Planner?

“Academic Planner” is not just a sophisticated name for a fancy yearly planner. Academic Planners are made for teachers, professors, students and others who would like to make their plans according to the school year instead of the calendar year. Many of these planners begin with the month of July or August and end with the month of July in the following year. Quo Vadis makes a variety of quality planners for this purpose including the Academic Minister weekly planner, University pocket-size date book, Scholar weekly planner, Monthly 4 18-month calendar and the popular Textagenda daily planner. All of these planners are available in a variety of colors and covers.

Undated planners can also be used for planning during a school year since they don’t confine you to beginning your plans in any particular month or year. These “freestyle” planners are great if you happen to lose your planner in the middle of the year and need another one to replace it. Some of our favorite undated planners are made by Bob’s Your Uncle, such as the 8-Days-A-Week planner journal and the 8-Days-A-Week Mini planner journal.

What’s your favorite school year planner?

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