Thursday, August 18, 2011

Notebook Pockets - Do You Use Them?

It seems like every other notebook I own these days has one of those oh-so-handy pockets on the inside back cover.  At least, I assume they're handy, since I have never found much use for them.  In fact, on a few occasions I have even "lost" papers that I had thoughtfully put away in the pocket of a notebook for (supposedly) safe-keeping, only to forget where they were.  Still, notebook pockets do seem like such a useful thing; I would certainly like to use mine, yet I have no idea what for.

Do you use pockets in notebooks?  What do you put in your notebook pockets?  Or do you find notebook pockets simply to be useless additions to otherwise excellent notebooks?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Banditapple Carnet Notebook

The Banditapple Carnet is a simple notebook with a classy, understated appearance.  The notebooks come in 3 sizes: Peewee (9x14cm), Handy (11x21cm), and Tablet (13x21cm).  They are available in either plain or ruled, and in either black or red covers.  Mine is the ruled Peewee with a black cover, and I received it in a giveaway from Julie (O-kami) at Whatever (thanks, Julie!).  I urge you to check out her review if you want more information about these excellent notebooks.

Banditapple Carnet posing with Papermate Gel.
The Banditapple Carnet has a non-glossy cover made of sturdy cardstock with absolutely no markings on it anywhere, good if you prefer your notebooks to have more of a minimalist appearance.  Keep in mind, however, that the cover is not weather-resistant and would probably not stand up well to a great deal of wear and tear - despite its portable size, this might be a notebook that is better left at home or kept protected.  The corners are rounded for comfort when holding in your hand.

One thing that I really love about this notebook is that it is stitched rather than stapled, and the stitches are clearly visible on both the spine and in the centre of the pages.  I always appreciate being able to see the binding of a book in this way.  The pages lay flat when open, but due to the nature of the binding, this book will probably always need to be held open by hand, and will never lay completely flat when closed either.

Check out that stitching.
My Peewee Carnet contains 64 pages of 80g paper that is slightly off-white (my photos make the paper look more ivory than it really is).  The black lines are 6mm apart, with a 14mm margin at the top and a 9mm margin at the bottom.  The ruling is a bit wide for my handwriting, and I would have preferred a slightly more unobtrusive colour than black for the lines, but overall the ruling is fairly typical for this sort of notebook.  If you have larger handwriting, then you shouldn't have a problem with it.

Blank pages - ready to be written on.
The paper is slightly rough to the touch, and is great to write on.  Wetter, wider-nibbed pens may be a better choice for this paper; my fine-point gel pens felt rather scratchy while writing on it.  Drying times are fast, and no pen I tested showed any bleedthrough on this paper.  There was some slight showthrough, but it was scarcely noticeable.  Even the Sharpie marker didn't bleed through that badly.

Writing sample.  For some reason the front and back of the page appear to be slightly different colours in the photo.  This is not actually the case.
Overall, the Banditapple Carnet notebook is a great basic notebook.  If you're looking for a notebook with a simple appearance and nothing too fancy, and that also works well for all of your pens, then the Banditapple Carnet may be the answer.

Related reviews: Gourmet Pens, Notebook Stories, Whatever, Rants of the Archer, The Original Steven H, Bleistift.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Stamps & Ephemera from Letters & Journals

I'd like to share this lovely gift that I recently received in a newsletter-only giveaway from Jackie at Letters & Journals.  Not only does Jackie hold a monthly giveaway of stationery items on her blog (the August giveaway is on now, so head on over and put your name in!), but she also sends out a monthly newsletter in which she offers additional giveaways for newsletter subscribers.  Her blog and newsletter contain excellent posts and articles on stationery, journaling, mail art, and more, so they're well worth subscribing to even without the giveaways!

The item I received is a collection of used stamps and other assorted ephemera, from an old library card to old post cards, business cards, scraps from magazines, and theatre tickets.  The stamps are, I think, my favourite.  My parents used to collect stamps and still have a box full of stamps hidden away in their basement somewhere.  I think that I may have caught a bit of the stamp-collecting bug, since I love looking at stamps and I was thrilled to get these.  The used stamps are more interesting to me, since then I can wonder about the envelope that they were originally on, and what that envelope contained, and how many people have handled them before they came to me.  I'm sure these stamps could tell many tales of their journeys.

I also appreciate the plastic pouch from that the ephemera and stamps came in.  I've been looking for something like this to hold small paper items for collage, so I'm sure I'll be able to use it again.  Thanks very much, Jackie, if you're reading this!

Do you collect old stamps or other ephemera?  If so, what do you with them?  Do you put them in albums and store them away, or do you use them in art?  I'll probably eventually end up using much of this ephemera in collage of some form, but I haven't been keeping an art journal lately, so I'm not yet sure what exactly I'll do with it.  I'd love to hear any of your ideas!  What would you do with this collection of stamps and ephemera?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

More Lost and Found Pencils and Pens

Long-time readers may recall that last summer I wrote about the pencils and pencil stubs that I had found in the yards of three nearby schools.  Well, I've been picking up pencils again this year and once more I have ended up with a rather nice stash of worn down stubs and pencil fragments.  My stash this year is larger than last year's: 39 pencils and pencil fragments as compared to only 20 that I picked up last year.  The larger numbers this year are probably due to the find of about a dozen coloured pencils, many marked with the name "Lexy."  Clearly, some student lost the contents of his or her pencil case.  This year's collection is also augmented by two pens and a marker that I found.

Once again, I find myself pondering why pencil stubs are so much easier to find on the grounds of the middle school rather than those of the high school or elementary school.  Is this age group particularly careless of their writing instruments?  Most of the pencils that I can identify seem to be inexpensive varieties from Dixon and Staples, although I also found one from Faber-Castell and a couple (broken into pieces) of Staedtler Noricas.  The coloured pencils include Crayolas and one Laurentien.  And one of the pens is, of course, a Bic ballpoint.

Do you pick up pencils and pens that you find on the ground?  If so, where are the best places for looking?  Have you noticed any trends in the kinds of pens and pencils that you find?
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