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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Frequently Asked Questions about Disc Bound Notebooks

Myndology Luna Disc Bound Notebooks
Myndology Luna Disc Bound Notebooks

Disc bound notebooks have specially punched loose sheets of paper that are bound together by small circular discs. This binding system makes it easy to  customize, organize and re-organize your notebook without ruining your work or your notebook! Companies such as Myndology, Clairefontaine, Levenger, Staples, Atoma and Rollabind have their own versions of disc bound notebooks. We’d like to answer a few frequently asked questions about this style of notebook.

Is the paper interchangeable among the different brands of disc bound notebooks?

The answer is yes and no. The shape of the discs and shape of the hole punched in the paper of many brands of disc bound notebooks (such as Myndology, Clairefontaine, Staples Arc, Levenger Circa, Rollabind, Martha Steward and Atoma) is similar and therefore the paper can be used with different brands of discs. Mixing brands can make it a little bit more difficult to turn pages, so if this bothers you for best results stick to the same brand.

The “no” part of the answer is that paper sizes (and insert sizes) vary from brand to brand which might mean you don’t want to mix brands. For example, if you try to fit a metric A4 size piece of paper (approx 8.25″ x 11.75″) inside an American notebook that takes 8.5″ x 11″ paper, you’ll find that the A4 size paper is too tall so it sticks out the top/bottom of the American notebook. Some medium size American notebooks are 6.5″ x 8.5″, but a metric A5 medium size notebook is 6.5″ X 8.25″ and so on. However, it could be fine if you are using small sheets of paper inside a large size of notebook.

Myndology Sync Disc Bound Notebooks
Myndology Sync Disc Bound Notebooks

Are paper refills available?

Yes, most companies offer a variety of paper refills. One exception is Clairefontaine which, as of this date, has not yet made separate paper refills available for their disc bound notebooks.  A suggestion for Clairefontaine users: If you’re using a Clairefontaine Clairing Koverbook you can buy a cheaper card stock covered Clairefontaine Clairing notebook and use the paper inside that as a refill for your Koverbook. Myndology offers paper refills with college ruled, graph or plain paper.

Myndology Plain Paper Refill
Myndology Plain Paper Refill

Can I punch my own paper and make my own refills?

Yes, several companies offer hole punches so that you can make your own paper refills.

Does it matter what kind of paper I use for making my own refills?

Yes, paper quality and weight do make a difference. Good quality paper that is a heavier weight than your average 20 lb copy paper will give you best results in your disc bound notebook. Clairefontaine disc bound notebooks contain 90 g bright white paper that works beautifully with fountain pens.

Clairefontaine Clairing Notebook with French Ruled Paper
Clairefontaine Clairing Notebook with Fountain Pen Friendly French Ruled Paper

Can I use a punch to make my own covers?

Yes, many punches are strong enough to punch through card stock and even light weight plastic.

Can I buy accessories like dividers?

Yes, dividers and other accessories are commonly available. Myndology offers folders with pockets and 8 movable tabs for both medium and large size notebooks. Clairefontaine does not sell accessories separately, instead they include 2 book mark flaps with an integrated clear pockets to store documents, one adhesive label and 5 repositionable polypro dividers with their disc bound medium and large size Koverbooks.

Clairefontaine Clairing Koverbook Accessories
Clairefontaine Clairing Koverbook Accessories

Can I buy discs separately?

Many companies allow you to purchase discs separately so that you can make your own custom disc bound notebooks.  The discs are made from a variety of different materials and come in different colors. Clairefontaine does not make discs available separately, but Myndology does.

Myndology Disc Bound Notebooks with 5/8" Discs
Myndology Disc Bound Notebooks with 5/8″ Discs

Can I get different sizes of discs?

If you buy discs separately, you’ve got a bigger choice of disc size to choose from. We’ve seen discs that range in size anywhere from 3″ to 0.25″.

Of course, products change over time so some of the information in this blog post may change over time too. Do you have any tips you’d like to share about disc bound notebooks? Any questions? New discoveries? Ideas? Let us know!

Clairefontaine Clairing Notebooks with Graph Paper
Clairefontaine Clairing Notebooks with Graph Paper
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Clairefontaine Coloring Books for Grownups Review

Clairefontaine Coloring Book - Flowers
Clairefontaine Coloring Book – Flowers

If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to unwind, Clairefontaine Coloring Books for Grownups are just what you need! Each coloring book contains 36 pages (18 sheets) of drawings that are begging for your imagination and your favorite pens, colored pencils, paints, markers, crayons or ink.

The illustrations vary in the amount of detail and are printed in black ink on white paper. Some of the drawings have printed black backgrounds which provide a dramatic contrast to both bright and pastel colors. Other drawings have enough white space to add your own doodles if you are so inspired. Many of the drawings take several hours to be completely colored, so this book will give you plenty of relaxing coloring time.

Clairefontaine Coloring Book - page with a black background
Clairefontaine Coloring Book – detail of a page with a black background

The Clairefontaine art paper in these coloring books is a hefty 120g and has enough tooth to it that it works well with colored pencils and even wax crayons. To read more details about how a variety different media performs on this paper check out the Life Imitates Doodles blog. I used fountain pen ink, Staedtler triplus fine-tip markers and colored pencils in my own personal Clairefontaine Flowers coloring book. The paper handled all 3 of these things very well. The only bit of ink bleed through that I experienced with this paper was when I used my glass nib pen and liberally doused the paper with fountain pen ink.

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

The coloring book is approximately 8″ x 8″ square – very handy for carrying in a backpack, purse or tote. The cover is a heavy weight laminated card stock. The book is glue bound, so I needed to weigh it down a bit in order for it to stay open. The Clairefontaine coloring book for grownups is available in 3 themes: birds, mandalas and flowers.

Have you tried the Clairefontaine Coloring Book for Grownups yet? What’s your favorite art tool for coloring?

Clairefontaine Coloring Book - part of a detailed drawing
Clairefontaine Coloring Book – part of a detailed drawing
Clairefontaine Coloring Book - part of a drawing colored with Staedtler triplus fine-tip markers
Clairefontaine Coloring Book – part of a drawing colored with Staedtler triplus fine-tip markers
Clairefontaine Coloring Book - Leaves colored with pencil crayons
Clairefontaine Coloring Book – Leaves colored with pencil crayons
Clairefontaine Coloring Book - reverse of page colored with fountain pen ink
Clairefontaine Coloring Book – reverse of page colored with a generous amount of fountain pen ink
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Best Paper Tablets for Writing Letters with a Fountain Pen

R by Rhodia - Medium Size, Black Cover
R by Rhodia – Medium Size, Black Cover

Many of us that write with fountain pens still appreciate things like the value of good penmanship and how meaningful a handwritten letter can be. Since electronic communication has replaced much traditional correspondence that was previously written by hand, where does one still find a paper tablet worthy of a personal letter written with a fountain pen? In case you haven’t already discovered them, we want to introduce you to two paper tablets that will inspire you to put your fountain pen to paper and write a letter to a friend!

Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet
Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet

Clairefontaine paper is considered by many to be the best paper in the world for writing. Their affordable Triomphe Stationery Tablets contain exceptionally smooth velin veloute paper that will make your fountain pen glide across the page. The calcium carbonate in the 90g paper minimizes any fountain pen ink feathering, bleed through or show though that can be a problem with other papers. The paper is bright white which allows your ink colors to really stand out. Clairefontiane paper is acid-free and made from pulp and wood by-products from sustainably managed forests. Triomphe Tablets have a sturdy back cover to give support while writing and the glue binding allows sheets to be easily removed. Each Triomphe Table contains 50 sheets of paper and is available with blank or ruled paper, in 5.75″ x 8.25″ or 8.25″ x 11.75″ sizes. Matching Triomphe envelopes are also available.

Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet - Large, Blank Paper
Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet – Large, Blank Paper

The paper contained in R by Rhodia Premium Notepads is manufactured by Clairefontaine so you know it’s going to be top quality! It is also a super-smooth 90g that is fabulous when paired with fountain pens, but instead of bright white it is a soft ivory color. These notepads are stapled at the top and each sheet is microperforated so that it can be removed from the notepad with ease. R by Rhodia Notepads have cardboard inside the back cover for extra support and the front cover is scored so that it folds back neatly. Each notepad contains 70 sheets, comes with either blank or lined paper, orange or black cover, and is available in the following sizes: 3.38″ x 4.75″, 6″ x 8.25″, 8.25″ x 11.75″. For more in-depth information about R by Rhodia read our previous blog posts: Introducing R by Rhodia and R by Rhodia vs Original Rhodia Notepads.

R by Rhodia Notepad - Medium Size, Lined Paper
R by Rhodia Notepad – Medium Size, Lined Paper

Do you like to snail mail hand-written letters? What’s your favorite paper writing tablet?

R by Rhodia Notepad - Medium Size, Orange Cover
R by Rhodia Notepad – Medium Size, Orange Cover

 

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Best Paper Notebooks for Left-Handed Writers

If you are left-handed you know what I’m talking about – the binding style and type of paper in a notebook can really make a difference as to how comfortable and functional your notebook is. Here is a list of five of my favorites:

1) Stitch Bound Notebooks. I love writing in journals or notepads with stitched binding! Many of these notebooks are able to open nice and flat which is great for when you’re reaching over the inside margins of the pages to write on the page on the right. There’s no wire spiral or metal rings to get in the way of your reach. In addition, the stitching keeps the pages from falling out.

Journals with sewn binding that I like to use include the Exacompta Forum Journal, Quo Vadis Habana Journal and Rhodia Webnotebook.

Exacompta Forum Journals with a Club Cover
Exacompta Forum Journals with a Club Cover
Quo Vadis Habana Journal in Black
Quo Vadis Habana Journal in Black
Rhodia Webnotebook with an Orange Cover
Rhodia Webnotebook with an Orange Cover

2) Side Staple Notebooks. This type of notebook is functional for the same reasons as the stitch bound notebook. It may not be as classy, but it is usually less expensive and allows for comfortable writing. A few of examples include the Clairefontaine Crok Book Sketch Notebook, Clairefontaine Side Staple Notebooks and Rhodia Side Stapled Notebooks.

Clairefontaine Crok Book Sketch Notebook
Clairefontaine Crok Book Sketch Notebook
Rhodia A4 Side Stapled Notebook
Rhodia A4 Side Stapled Notebook

3) Top Staple or Top Wire Notebooks. Top staple or top wire notepads work pretty well for a lefty. The only awkwardness occurs when writing near the top of the page where the spiral or staples are. This is the only type of wirebound notebook that I prefer to use for writing. To try: Rhodia Top Staple Notepads, Rhodia Top Wire Notepads, Clairefontaine Top Staple Notepads and Clairefontaine Top Wire Notepads.

Rhodia Ice Top Staple Notepad & LAMY Al-Star Fountain Pen
Rhodia Ice Top Staple Notepad & LAMY Al-Star Fountain Pen
Clairefontaine A4 Top Wire Notepad
Clairefontaine A4 Top Wire Notepad

4) Glue Bound Notepads. Most glue binding provides a nice flat surface for writing without any obstacles to get in the way of your hand. Sometimes, glue bound notepads tend to want to snap shut or their pages break loose and fall out when they aren’t supposed to. Of course, these problems are annoying to both right-handed and left-handed writers. A couple of glue bound notepads with tear-off pages that I like are the Leuchtturm1917 A4 Academy Pad and the Clairefontaine Triomphe Writing Tablet.

Leuchtturm1917 A4 Academy Pad
Leuchtturm1917 A4 Academy Pad
Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet
Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet

5) Non-Smearing Paper. I’m not sure if there is such a thing as paper that completely prevents ink from smearing as I write, but I do know that depending on what writing instrument I’m using, some paper stops ink from smearing better than others. Sometimes I’ll choose what notebook to use depending on what I’m writing with that day. Leuchtturm1917 notebooks include a nice quality paper that works well for me when I’m using Pentel Energel pens (I’ve found that I can write with Energel pens even though I constantly smear the ink of most other gel pens) or fountain pens.

Leuchtturm1917 Journal in Pink
Leuchtturm1917 Journal in Pink

Are you a lefty? What kind of notebooks do you love to write in?

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