Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebooks: Great Paper at a Budget Price

Clairefontaine Side Staple Notebooks - Great Paper, Budget Price
Clairefontaine Side Staple Notebooks – Great Paper, Budget Price

There are many things to love about Clairefontaine Side Staple Bound Notebooks. First and foremost is the paper. If you’ve never tried this paper you don’t know what you’re missing! In addition, the price of these staple bound notebooks is easy on the budget, so they are a great way to be introduced to some of the best paper in the world for writing.

Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebooks
Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebooks and Nova Orange Plaisir Fountain Pen

The thing that makes this Clairefontaine paper so great is the quality. It is 90g, bright white, and because it’s so ultra-smooth your pens will glide effortlessly across the page. If you enjoy writing with fountain pens you will discover that there is little to no ink that bleeds through the paper or feathers on the page.

Prices start at $2.15, and there’s even a large size notebook for only $3.30 (2017 prices), so this notebook is often chosen by teachers to introduce a class of students to the fine art of handwriting. In fact, these are the everyday notebooks used by students in France! The prices in our store are already discounted, and if you’re interested in purchasing 10 or more, there are some deeper discounts for this quantity on our website (contact us for ordering details if you need to place an order larger than our current inventory).

Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebooks
Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebook Paper and Ink

Clairefontaine is environmentally responsible, minimizing impact to the environment as they manufactures their own paper. The bright white paper is not bleached and the wood materials used come from forests independently certified by PEFC or FSC as sustainably managed.

Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebooks
Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebooks – Cover Closeup

Clairefontaine’s Side Staple Bound Notebooks are basically one thick signature of paper stapled at the spine with 2 or 3 staples. The covers are laminated to repel water and dirt and come in a variety of colors. As a left-handed writer I particularly appreciate that fact that there are no rings, wires, or discs to get in the way when I’m writing in these notebooks!

The number of sheets of paper varies from 24 to 48 depending on the size and style of notebook you get. In the USA, available sizes range from 3″ x 4.75″ to 8.25″ x 11.75″, and paper styles include ruled, ruled with margin, graph and French ruled.

Do you write with Clairefontaine paper? We highly recommend it!

Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebooks
Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebooks – Writing Test (Front)
Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebooks
Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebooks – Writing Test (Back)
Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebooks
Clairefontaine Staple Bound Notebooks
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Everyone Loves a LAMY Green Puppy!

It’s been a stormy winter, great for staying indoors and playing with fountain pen ink. With spring just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about the color green. I filled my Green Safari fountain pen with LAMY Green fountain pen ink to sketch a picture on a Clairefontaine sketchpad of a friend’s new puppy .

As a left-handed writer I appreciate that this green LAMY fountain pen ink dries quickly so I don’t smudge it very often. It’s safe to use in any fountain pen and easy to clean up so it’s great for beginners. I would describe this ink color to be a cool shade of medium green.

LAMY fountain pen ink bottles have an ingenious and practical design. There’s a small nib-sized basin in the bottom center of the bottle that collects ink so that you can fill a fountain pen even when the bottle is getting close to empty. There’s also a tiny roll of blotter tape that you can pull out of the bottom of the bottle that can be used to clean a nib after filling, or to blot your writing.

LAMY Fountain Pen Ink - Green
LAMY Green Fountain Pen Ink

The ink bottle is heavy and wide so it doesn’t tip over easily. LAMY green fountain pen ink is also available in the form of cartridge refills that fit LAMY fountain pens.

What green fountain pen inks will you choose for your fountain pen this spring?

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Clairefontaine Loose Leaf Paper Rules!

Clairefontaine Loose Leaf Paper Package
Clairefontaine Loose Leaf Paper Package

Just about everyone in the USA and Canada is familiar with the bulk packages of loose leaf paper for 3-ring binders that are purchased in late summer at the the beginning of every school year. Loose leaf paper is generally utilitarian: very cheap in quality and price and not meant for enjoying the pleasure of writing. If you’d like loose leaf paper that goes above and beyond common no-frills paper, the exceptional quality of Clairefontaine loose leaf paper will take you to a much higher level.

Clairefontaine Loose Leaf Paper - Ruled with Margin
Clairefontaine Loose Leaf Paper – Ruled with Margin

Clairefontaine is a French paper manufacturer that is famous for the fine quality of its products. Their loose leaf paper has a weight of 90 g so it is thicker than ordinary binder paper. The paper has an ultra-smooth finish that keeps your pen happily gliding across the page. Fountain pens write like a dream on this paper because there are very few, if any, problems with ink feathering, bleeding through or showing through the paper.

Clairefontaine Loose Leaf Paper - Pastel Graph
Clairefontaine Loose Leaf Paper – Pastel Graph

Clairefontaine standard loose leaf paper is bright white so you can really enjoy the full impact of any color of ink you choose to write with. It is also available in packs of pastel colors that can be useful for organization. The paper has pale violet lines and comes in these formats: ruled, French ruled, graph (5 mm x 5 mm grid) and blank.

Many of these loose sheets are metric A4 size which is approximately 8 1/4″ x 11 3/4″ compared to common 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper in the USA. They are meant to be held in 3-ring or 4-ring A4 size binders which can be rather hard to come by in the USA but they are regularly imported and sold at Writer’s Bloc.

The funky arrangement of holes punched in this paper allows it to fit inside American 3-ring binders, but the paper will stick out a little from the top and bottom of the binder. If you need to use an American standard size binder, this problem can be solved by taking the paper in to a local print shop or office supply store and having a little trimmed off the bottom and top of the pages.

Clairefontaine 4-Ring Binder for Loose Leaf A4 Size Paper
Clairefontaine 4-Ring Binder for Loose Leaf A4 Size Paper

Clairefontaine also has double sheets, which are A3 size pages folded in half to make a double A4 size sheet that’s connected at the spine. In French they are called “Copies Doubles Perforees” or in English “Double Sheets”.

Clairefontaine Double Sheets - French Ruled
Clairefontaine Double Sheets – French Ruled

Since Clairefontaine manufactures their own paper, they can guaranty consistent quality and they can control the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. Their paper is made from materials sourced from certified sustainable forests, is chlorine-free and is only printed with natural inks. Clairefontaine supplies most of their own energy and they are committed to waste reduction and recycling.

We love Clairefontaine loose leaf paper so much that we make a special effort to import it from France. It takes a few months of travel in a shipping container to get it to the USA but we feel it’s definitely worth the wait!

Clairefontaine 90g Paper Writing Test - Front
Clairefontaine 90g Paper Writing Test – Front
Clairefontaine 90g Paper Writing Test - Back
Clairefontaine 90g Paper Writing Test – Back
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Fountain Pen Ink Art: J. Herbin Rouge Hematite 1670 Anniversary Ink

J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink - Rouge Hematite
J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink – Rouge Hematite

It’s the end of another year and we’ve been reminiscing about special releases of new fountain pens and fountain pen inks over the past few years. Back in 2010, when J. Herbin released their first 1670 Anniversary Ink in the red Rouge Hematite color, we had no idea there would be more to come. In addition to the original 1670 Anniversary red ink, J. Herbin has created Caroube de ChypreEmerald of ChivorBleu Ocean, and Stormy Grey.

The J. Herbin Rouge Hematite 1670 Anniversary Ink is a vibrant, earthy, rich blood red color, reminiscent of the historic color of the J. Herbin logo and the red sealing wax used by royal courts. Using the right combination of paper and nib, you might even see a gold colored sheen in this ink.

We’ve created a homage to Rouge Hematite using that very ink. The drawing is on Clairefontaine 90g sketch paper and was made by using a Pelikano fountain pen with a left-handed nib, a dollar store paint brush and a Pentel Tradio Stylo Pen.

What would you like the next color of J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink to be?

J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink - Rouge Hematite
J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink – Rouge Hematite
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The New & Improved Quo Vadis Minister Planner

Quo Vadis Minister Planner - Black Soho Cover
Quo Vadis Minister Planner – Black Soho Cover

This year Quo Vadis is offering us a new and improved version of their Minister planner, available both in academic and calendar year formats. The Minister weekly appointment book was already an enduring favorite, so how was it improved?

Quo Vadis Minister - Monthly Planning Pages
Quo Vadis Minister Monthly Planning Pages and a Platinum Cool Fountain Pen

The most significant improvement to this planner is the addition of monthly planning pages, one page for each month of the year. Each of the 12 monthly planning pages includes 6 Monday-to-Sunday weeks, so there is plenty of room to jot down notes on days just before or following the end of each month. Each day has a record of what day number of the year it is as well as how many days in the year are left remaining. The phases of the moon as well as some common holidays are also mentioned on their corresponding days. The monthly calendar grid gives you about 7/8″ x 1-1/8″ of space per day.

Quo Vadis Minister Planner
Quo Vadis Minister Planner

The next thing I noticed is that the planner now has crisp grey and teal print instead of just grey print as is in my Minister from a previous year. The teal adds some subtle highlights without being too bright.

The Quo Vadis Minister maintains its high quality with smooth, extra-white 90g Clairefontaine paper. The outstanding paper is definitely a major highlight of this weekly planner. This paper makes it easy to write on both sides of the page since it minimizes any ink showing through or bleeding through to the opposite side of the page. Fountain pens write like a dream on this paper!

Quo Vadis Minister - Anno-Planning Pages
Quo Vadis Minister – Anno-Planning Pages

The contents of this planner have changed a little bit, especially in the beginning section, so if you’ve been using the Quo Vadis Minister to schedule past years you may notice a few differences. Immediately following the title page is a 2-page annual plan for the current year – the organization of your year at a single glance. On these anno-planning pages each month has one column for jotting down outstanding events throughout the year. Here’s an example of a couple of pages where you’ll notice the teal highlights – each Sunday and major holiday has been highlighted with a pale teal color. Phases of the moon also show up on these pages. Following the anno-planning pages are the 12 monthly planning pages (mentioned above) and then the weekly planning pages begin.

Quo Vadis Minister - Weekly Planning Pages
Quo Vadis Minister – Weekly Planning Pages

The weekly planning pages make up the bulk of the content in the Minister. One week is displayed on two pages, starting with Monday on the left through Friday and Saturday on the right page and Sunday at the bottom. Here’s a list of the details:

  • 8 am to 9pm schedule in 1/2 hour increments
  • Each day has a small box at the top for listing priorities
  • Day number of the year and days remaining is mentioned
  • Week number of the year in top right
  • Quarter number of the year in top right
  • 3-month calendar view also in top right
  • Current week is highlighted in the 3-month calendar
  • 3″ wide column on right page for phone numbers, email addresses, websites, expenses, notes and whatever else you want to record
  • Teal week number of the year tabs along the right side
  • Phases of the moon
  • Major holidays
  • Tear-off page corners
  • 12 months + 3 weeks of weekly appointment pages (December to December in the yearly planner, July to July in the Academic version)
Quo Vadis Minister - Weekly Planning Pages
Quo Vadis Minister – Weekly Planning Pages

The final section following the weekly planning pages in the calendar year version of the Minister begins with a new 2-page monthly plan for January of the following year (different in the Academic version). The features of this monthly plan are the same as the earlier monthly planner pages with the addition of a notes column on the right side of the right page. Then you’ve got another 2-page annual plan for the following year, world time zones and several maps, one lined notes page and a 3-year calendar on the very last page.

Quo Vadis Minister Planner
Quo Vadis Minister Planner

The Quo Vadis Minister Planner currently comes with an extra booklet that serves several functions. Page 1 is ruled for notes, pages 2 and 3 are for listing important anniversaries, etc throughout the year. After this there are 6 pages for recording names, addresses, websites and email addresses. There are 2 pages for writing down your passwords, 9 ruled pages for notes, 8 blank pages and 4 dot grid pages. A little bit of everything is in here! Additional address/memo booklets can be purchased separately from the planner.

Quo Vadis Minister - Password Pages in Notes Booklet
Quo Vadis Minister – Password Pages in Notes Booklet

The Minister has a sewn binding that enables you to open the book flat without the risk of pages falling out. It’s 6-1/4″ x 9-3/8″ in size (16 x 24 cm).

Texas, Club and Soho leatherette covers are available as well as Duo Leather covers. These covers can be refilled year after year without having to buy an extra cover every year.

To check out a writing test to see how well fountain pens and other writing instruments perform on this paper take a look at our review of the Monthly 4 Planner that contains the same type of 90g Clairefontaine paper. Scroll to the end of the post and you’ll find our tests.

Have you used Quo Vadis Planners? Which one is your favorite?

Quo Vadis Minister Planner with a Lilac Club Cover
Quo Vadis Minister Planner with a Lilac Club Cover & extra bookmark
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