Archive for the ‘Paper’ Category


Another DIY Notebook For Fountain Pens


Re-purposing binders and notebooks was covered recently, but a new idea has emerged in the last couple of days that deserves mentioning.

For some reason, pretty paper sneaks its way into my shopping cart whenever I hit one of the crafts stores or stationery shops. Recently, this very attractive pad of scrapbook paper managed to follow me home. I had no use for it at the time, but realized this morning that folding the sheets in half would make them fit perfectly into a checkbook cover. But would fountain pen ink work on the coated stock? Remarkably well to my surprise. The paper is textured which allowed some of the ink to appear to feather, but a smoother scrapbook paper might not. I wasn’t offended by it regardless. Even a Sharpie worked beautifully and there was no bleed-through whatsoever. So you can write on both sides of the paper and even over the printed designs. Does that not open all sorts of possibilities?

This is how I put it together. The package of Jodie Lee Designs Nature Garden Collection 6″ x 6″ Paper Stack contains 48 sheets and retails for $5.99. Sales and discounts can reduce that to much less. Since both sides are usable and they get folded to create four pages each, that’s 96 blank pages and 96 decorated pages on which to write. All it takes is a checkbook cover to protect it and a rubber band or 1-2mm elastic string to hold the pages in place. Make sure there is a little tension when the band is placed in the crease. If not, the paper will fall out too easily. A second band around the outside will hold it together and even secure a slender pen or pencil just inside the edge of the cover.

Another way this can be assembled is with vellum between the pages for a very fountain pen friendly paper and more room to write. The decorated pages will show through as a soft background to your musings. Torn edges might be especially nice and vellum does that very well.

Has your checkbook cover seen better days? Use washi tape to strengthen edges and cover worn areas. it’s all part of personalizing your notebook.

If you like the scrapbook paper idea, but are a Midori fan, the 12″ x 12″ pages can be cut to fit the Traveler’s version. The elastic band will hold the pages together without having to bind them together. Simply adding a few pages here and there inside a Midori would add a little color and interest.

For less than $5, I put together a new journal with some very pretty paper that works with wide nibs and fountain pen ink. I’d say today was a day well spent.





Putting Old Junk To Good Use


It took some trial and error, but several old cases and notebook covers are now fitted with new journals.  Some of the paper will take a light wash of watercolor so those notebooks will see double duty.

Leather Checkbook Cover

This leather checkbook cover must be at least thirty years old and hasn’t seen anything but the inside of a drawer for at least twenty of those years. Now it has a notebook all its own.

Passport Case

The passport case worked with a number of journals including those pictured from Rhodia, Exacompta and paper-oh though using Midori inserts transforms it into a Fauxdori. Midori bands hold the journals in place and keep it closed. The lock charm adds a whimsical touch as it floats across the equator.

Leather Diary Cover

This well-used notebook contained a diary from 1986 and a blank pad on the left. The leather still feels soft and inviting, but even more so now with a Rhodia pad and Canson art paper.

Shaver Case

This case was from my son’s first Braun shaver. I think concealing a journal is a much better use for it.

Travel Clock Case

This case is so tiny, it can fit anywhere. Discovering a similarly sized pad with paper that makes nice with fountain pen ink was a stoke of luck.

Not every journal needs a protective cover. Decorate a plain exterior with with washi tape (addiction warning), scrapbook paper, or decopatch. That will strengthen the cover as well as make it more attractive.

Whether it’s called recycling or re-purposing, matching old junk with fountain pen friendly paper creates new tools and makes each item useful again. No slackers in this lot now.

Platinum pens courtesy of Luxury Brands USA. Rhodia, Clairefontaine and Exacompta notebooks courtesy of Exaclair. Paper-oh courtesy of Fine folks all.


Where Did It Go?


Has half the year gone by already? Sheesh. Where did the days go? At least some if them went into research and testing more inks than I can count. A few of those results have been posted, but there are more to come.

Most recently I experimented with Platinum Pigment Inks from Luxury Brands USA and the results have been eye-opening. Lisa Vanness assured me the line is safe for my pens so I loaded Blue and Rose Red into a couple of Platinum pens. Happily, the inks turned out to be undaunted by even the Moleskine challenge. The only drawback so far is that the Blue in a wet nib can be slow to dry on some brands of paper though the Rose Red less so. Pen-ink-paper matching applies.

An amber Conklin Duragraph 1.1 Stub joined the herd a couple of months ago. It won’t get a separate review since the cracked ice model got its due in January. Suffice to say it’s a smooth, wet writer with a hint of feedback. It isn’t for everyone, but will suit those of us who enjoy a wide nib with tons of flow. Oh, yeah!

Early in the year and after reading many posts and watching dozens of videos about the best planners and how to utilize them, I concluded that using plain grid paper would be something different and interesting for 2015. So I began collecting a few products in the pursuit of paper bliss. Thanks to Jet Pens, paper-oh, and Exaclair, things got off to a good start. But then friends donated a few more and notebooks are still arriving. So the comprehensive review has gone on the back burner until all of the paper arrives. The test pens have been loaded for months and keeping fifteen of them happy has been quite the challenge. A few have complained which I find quite cheeky. That got sorted with the miscreants by a thorough cleaning and a return to the pen drawer. Hrumph!

One of these days, when the lighting conditions are just right, there are at least eight pages of ink tests on Moleskine paper that will get photographed. Not sure any text will be needed for the post since the results will speak for themselves.

Old notebook covers have been pressed into service with new paper notebooks that are ink friendly. That made me rethink tossing even the most shabby ones. With the right paper, re-purposing is easy. This is one virtue that is a bargain.

Over the next few months, the plan is to mix things up with ink and grid journal reviews along with other subjects pen-related. However, there might be a sprinkling of notes about my rescue dog, Macy, should she sit still long enough for a photo. If you want more of one than the other, do let me know and I will try to oblige.

Note that Rose Red leans more orange than the image. Some colors just do not want to be photographed correctly and this red is one of them.




A Paperchase Notebook Makes Some Inky Friends


When it works well with fountain pen ink, Paperchase is just right. When it doesn’t, it fares no worse than Moleskine and with less bleed-through. At the price point, it is a viable alternative and with many inks, it is a better paper for clean, clear writing.

For testing purposes, I purchased the Purple Metallic Notebook (7.5 x 5.75″). It has a textured softcover, rounded corners, and sewn binding that holds 128 pages/64 sheets. This is a no-frills cahier style notebook with only a small, discrete logo printed on the back. Count me a fan of its minimalist but colorful design.

The off-white paper has a smooth finish and pale gray lines, a good combination for fountain pen use. Line width and line color are identical to Moleskine while the paper is slightly less yellow. Half the inks tested produced clean lines and an unusual degree of shading. The other half experienced some uneven outlines though little feathering along the fibers that paper like Moleskine can produce. Bleed-through was evident with some inks, though for the most part only the occasional dot.

Worthy of note is that most inks dried slowly so lefties beware.

Show-through or ghosting depended on ink flow and was evident with all inks tested. Some inks produced too little to be offensive especially when paired with a fine nib. With thin paper, this is common and frankly I don’t mind the look of it. Wide, wet nibs deposited too much ink making the backs of pages less useful. Free-flowing inks may produce the same result. To demonstrate how unpredictable I found this problem, Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu and Iroshizuku tsuki-yo in Pelikan italics exhibited more show-through than Diamine Dark Brown in a Platinum #3776 Music Nib. Platinum Pigment Ink showed through the least even with a very wet broad nib. That does not hold true on Moleskine where the same pen and ink made a mess with both feathering and bleed-through.

Confusing? This is one of those situations where matching ink, pen and paper could make Paperchase work well for you. Or you can take a more relaxed perspective and just write with whatever is at hand. Most of my journaling will never get read so it doesn’t matter whether a page has marks from the other side that show through. As long as I am writing, all is well.

For convenience I often carry a green metallic Lamy EF loaded with Noodler’s Black. The duo performed perfectly in the Paperchase journal. The ink did not bleed through so both sides of the paper were usable and since black is highly visible even in low light conditions, I could write anywhere. Thus all of my off-site requirements were met. In addition, the Lamy barrel is a pleasing contrast to the purple notebook cover. Attractive tools do tend to trigger my creative urges and that is a significant plus.

Along with the notebook, I picked up a packet of three larger cahiers (8.5 x 5.75″), one blank, one lined and one printed with a pattern. I couldn’t resist the foldaway bag in the Secret Garden pattern and put it to work immediately. It travels in a diminutive carrying case with a clip that will make it a steady companion for shopping excursions or a carryall for my doodle kit and journals. I managed to stuff it with purchases from two shops plus my daily notebook and writing instruments. Not too shabby at all.

Despite the iffy performance with a few inks, I will continue to purchase Paperchase notebooks. The form suits me very well and the ease of buying it at a local store along with the reasonable price, makes it a worthwhile addition to my paper wardrobe.

All of the Paperchase items were purchased at Staples and are available in several patterns. The metallic notebook was $4 and the 3-pack of larger notebooks was $8. Even my frugal budget monitor cannot frown at those prices, and if he does, he will get laughed at to be sure.


J. Herbin Stormy Grey, A Simple Review


Any questions?

Oh, bottle courtesy of Karen Doherty at Exaclair, who thankfully insists on feeding my ink and paper addiction.


Links From Doctor Who To Fossils To Godzilla


Godzilla gets his due and other stuff from around the web…

Grandson of Secretariat, JD blows out his birthday candles!


Links From Physics To Bumblebees To New Inks


Vested interest in this lot with a link to my daughter’s Society6 store…

Talented Tessa on Society6. (20% discount and free shipping on select items over Memorial Day weekend.)


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