Category: Paper Alert

Review: Rhodia/Rhodiarama Webnotebooks

Review: Rhodia/Rhodiarama Webnotebooks

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The first Rhodia product I ever tried was their winter white notepads. I thought it was pretty elegant, and the paper was excellent. I’ve been curious about their notebooks ever since, but they’re always out of stock (at least it always is here in the South). Good thing Everything Calligraphy now offers these notebooks. So are these really as nice as people say they are?

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In a word, yes. These are very good, premium notebooks. They’re relatively expensive, but I believe it has a good reason for being pricey. I tried out the plain Rhodia Webnotebooks (photo above) and the more colorful Rhodiarama Webnotebooks, and there’s just so much to like about them.

The first thing you’ll notice is how beautiful these notebooks are. They’re very different from handmade leather notebooks, of which no two creations are the same. These look like they’re churned out of machines to make them look precisely the same, and there’s a beauty to that too, as much as there’s something beautiful about unique, handmade journals. I love the stamped Rhodia logo, and the quality of the cover is pretty excellent. I like the brushed steel look of the journal on the right, but the classic black journal really hits the spot. It has a soft, velvety feel, almost like high quality silicon. It’s very classy, very well put-together.

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The more colorful Rhodiarama Webnotebooks are made of the same material and they’re also ridiculously perfect-looking.

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I have a soft spot for happy colors, and I find the colors of Rhodiarama to be quite eyecatching. When you open up the notebooks, it’s even prettier.

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A nice splash of happy colors! Also, psychedelic zebra. ^_^

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All Webnotebooks have a pouch at the back for little slips of paper and whatnot. Pretty useful, though I personally don’t really use the interior pockets of any journal so it doesn’t add to the bulk when I close it.

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The spine is neatly bound. Again, ridiculously perfect-looking. I find the bookmark a bit on the short side, I wish they made it just a little longer.

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The notebook also lays flat quite easily. The smaller Webnotebooks don’t lay flat as easily, but that’re pretty much expected because of the size. These bigger notebooks are easier to write on because it takes little effort to make them lie flat as you write.

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Aside from the aesthetics of these notebooks, the important thing is how they hold up to writing tests.

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The paper they used in Webnotebooks doesn’t seem to be the same with the ones they used with the notepad. These have a different look and feel to it. According to the specifications of the notebooks, it has 96 sheets (192 pages) of ivory-colored brushed vellum paper at 90gsm. It’s thinner than how I remember the pad paper that I tried before. First impression was that the paper did not feel heavy or too thick.

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The grey-colored dots of the dot grid notebook aren’t too intrusive to writing or drawing. The lined pages look pretty nice too.

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I like that the space between lines isn’t too wide, and that the lines are light grey in color. Not too obvious, just right for a nice-looking journal. Writing on the paper gives some sort of feedback. It’s not glossy or smooth, you feel the texture of the paper as you’re writing. I find it pleasant. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample:

Even if it’s textured, it shows off sheen and shading. It doesn’t feather and has no bleed through and minimal show through at the back. It seems the paper is most pleasant to use with wet writers and wider nibs. Brush pens can feel a bit rough on the paper. It absorbs ink a bit too fast, making it feel like there’s some drag as you write.

Overall, pretty good! Expensive, but good quality notebook. I would recommend it for journal writing, things that you really want to keep over a long period of time. Not exactly suitable for watercolor and whatnot, but really great for regular writing, especially if used with fountain pens.

Rhodia and Rhodiarama Webnotebooks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Disclaimer: As I mentioned before, I am not affiliated with Everything Calligraphy. This is NOT a paid blog post and I DON’T do paid reviews.

Review: Contrail Street Journal

Review: Contrail Street Journal

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I saw these cute little journals on my way to a mini pen meet last Sunday at Glorietta, when I dropped by Powerbooks at Greenbelt. They’re kinda hard to miss because the covers are just so pretty! I wasn’t familiar with the brand, so discreetly printed at the back of the cover, but the paper seemed nice so I bought three. A quick search on Google showed that Contrail is made by Itoya, a Japanese stationery company. I’ve had such good experience with Japanese stationery that I was pretty sure I’d like this one too, and I was right.

I just love the design of their covers. Really. I love the colors that they used, and the patterns. These are very tastefully designed covers. I also like that the binding is neatly stitched with white thread. It looks very cleanly done.

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I’m not sure what you call these lines. They’re grids but rectangular instead of square, and they spacing is pretty tight. I imagine it could be designed specifically for Japanese characters? I’m not sure. I’m not too crazy about the guide lines, but they don’t bother me much. I like that the lines are light brown, you can just ignore them completely when you write.

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The paper is pretty good. It’s not smooth, it definitely has texture to it, but there’s very little feathering using my fine to broad nib. Some feathering can be noticeable with my 1.5 mm stub, though. Here are a few close ups:

The texture is beautiful. It’s not going to show off sheen, but it will show off some shading. It’s hard to explain why but sometimes I miss enjoying texture on paper because oftentimes when the paper has some texture to it, fountain pens bleed all over the place. It’s pretty rare to find paper that allows you to enjoy texture while you write without excessive bleeding and feathering.

The paper handles brush pens very well. It distributes the ink smoothly, and allows the pen to glide on the paper without difficulties.

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There’s a bit of ghosting at the back, though I would not consider it bothersome. There’s also a bit of bleedthrough where I wrote with my 1.5mm nib. It could be because I used a very wet ink (J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor). It’s not so bad either, in my opinion.

The size is about 3.25 x 5.75 inches. It’s pretty small and can comfortably fit in your backpocket or your bag. I heard they’re also available in National Bookstore, at P149 per piece. These are great for everyday writing and small brush calligraphy projects. I’m so happy we have Itoya here in the Philippines now. What a great time to be a stationery fan!

Comparison: Elias and Tomoe River Loose Sheets

Comparison: Elias and Tomoe River Loose Sheets

EverythingCalligraphy sent over a few loose sheets of Elias and Tomoe River Papers for me to compare. These two are my favorite types of paper, and I was really happy to compare them side by side. I must admit it’s quite difficult to do that, though, because they’re quite different. To the uninitiated, paper is paper is paper. To the true pen and paper fans, it doesn’t matter if you have the best writing implement in the world. If you write on poor quality paper, it just grates on the nerves. Writing on good paper is such a pleasurable, tactile experience that I enjoy so thoroughly that it takes me a long time to pick a notebook, and only a few make it to my “staples”. These two are at the top rung.

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I tested the paper samples with different pens and inks. Here are a few close up shots of the writing samples.

For Elias’ 90gsm loose sheets

Elias paper is so easy to like. It’s smooth and creamy and makes your pen’s nib just glide on the paper. Even scratchy nibs feel smoother on it, and I’ve yet to see a pen and ink combo that will make it bleed through or feather. Here are some writing samples below.

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Continue reading “Comparison: Elias and Tomoe River Loose Sheets”

Review: Elias Traveler’s Notebook Insert

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I think many people have been waiting for Elias to come out with these inserts for a while. I’m so happy that they finally made these. Traveler’s notebook inserts aren’t very easy to come by in bookstores. They’re not always readily available, so it’s always good to find online stores that sell them. I bought a set of three inserts from Everything Calligraphy last week, and I couldn’t be happier.

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Here’s to give you an idea how thick the insert is. These are 40 pages of 90gsm, acid-free, ivory-colored, fountain pen-friendly paper. I suggest you buy the pack of 3, since it’s a little bit cheaper. I like the cover of the inserts. It’s easy to slip into a traveler’s notebook because the cover is sufficiently thick. I also like the color which is a very dark blue. I wish they would offer options, though, like craft or white. I like that the cover is plain and there’s a simple “ELIAS” logo at the back. Plain covers can be decorated with stickers, stamps, and other stuff.

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Note to self…buy white chalk-based stamp pads. ^_^

The paper and cover are stapled together. It’s nice enough for daily use. As usual, the paper is excellent. I can’t quite describe how pleasurable writing on it is, except to say that it’s creamy. It makes your nibs feel smoother.

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The word “February” was written with a brush pen, and it works great with those too. It’s smooth and shows off the gradients with the strokes. It works fabulously with fountain pen inks, and I’m glad that one can enjoy the same paper quality as with those in their bigger journals.

Here are a few writing samples below.

It also takes my Pilot Parallel pen without issues. The paper stays smooth even when I scrape at it with some very fast writing, like what I did below. There’s no feathering or bleed through either.

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Here is an example of Pilot Parallel pen over watercolor. It’s pretty neat. 🙂

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Overall, I love the quality of the paper and I think the price is really good. I’m glad we journal junkies have more options now, especially for the regular TN size.

Elias travelers notebook inserts are now available at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Smells Like Sundays TN-Sized Notebooks

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Saying that I love notebooks is an understatement. I have a lot of notebooks in different shapes and sizes in my office, library, bedroom, bag…you get the idea. I have three different journals at any given time, plus notebooks for other things. I would almost never be caught outside the house without carrying one with me because, well, it just makes sense for me. That being said, premium paper is muy expensivo. Paper lovers are willing to pay this price, though, but being able to find affordable, good paper is always a treat. I wrote a few days ago about how I discovered Smells Like Sundays. I think they sell other stuff too, like coloring books for adults, etc. Their TN-sized notebooks are pretty nice and is priced under P100 each.

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It’s pretty slim, slimmer than Midori TN inserts and the paper is thinner. I didn’t get to count how many pages there are. It’s unbranded and unmarked. It got a little confusing to find the front page until you open it, so I stamped the front of the notebooks that I don’t put inside my TN.

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The craft cover is pretty nice, though they also have black and white covers. These normally come in a set of five different sized journals and two craft pens, but they were nice enough to sell me individual inserts for my travelers notebook. That size is pretty hard to find in bookstores. They’re not as common as A6 an A5 sizes. You can imagine how happy I was to find one journal in a gift pack of 5 that fits my TN perfectly.

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The notebook is very neatly stitch-bound with a thin strip of thread. I tore out pages from my first notebook and the binding didn’t budge at all.

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I use it as my notebook for Sunday sermon notes and daily devotions. It’s not paper that will show off sheen and shading. The pages are too absorbent. They absorb ink as soon as it’s on the surface, but it does show a bit of the ink’s properties. Here are a few close ups of writing samples:

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The paper has some texture to it. I miss that kind of paper. Since I started using fountain pens, I always use fountain pen friendly paper that almost always feel the same. This feels like the old kind of paper that I used to enjoy. It’s pulpy, has a more natural feel to the finish, you can feel the texture of the pages as you write. A closer look shows that it almost feathers, but it doesn’t. Not in a noticeable way, at least. I used a Pelikan M600 with a medium nib that writes more like a BB and a Parker 51 with a medium nib. You can still see the reddish shading of the Syoro, but it’s not so pronounced.

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Here’s the back of the pages. If you look closely, wet writers will produce a bit of bleed through. Little pins of ink that aren’t very noticeable. I can live with that. I think that this quality is really great for the price.

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I hesitate to use expensive paper for things like grocery lists, to-do lists, and such. I would never think of using my precious Tomoe River paper for something other than journal entries and art. That’s why I bought a lot of this, so I can write on nice paper without thinking  ohmygoodnesswhywhywhy while jotting down everyday notes.

This notebook and other sizes are available in craft, black, and white covers at Smells Like Sundays.