Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thrift Store Journal from Pierre Belvedere

A couple years ago, I shared with you a calligraphy set that I found at a garage sale.  Today, I'm sharing a notebook that I picked up at a thrift store.  Actually, my mom found it there for me and, knowing my obsession with love for notebooks and all things stationery, brought it home in case I was interested.  Well, obviously, I was interested.  A quick glance at the notebook told me that it was something a bit out of the ordinary.  Now, I just needed to see if I could find out more about it and I'd be ready to share it with all of you here.

Luckily, the notebook was labelled with its name ("Pierre Belvedere - Made in Italy") on the bottom of the back cover, which made it easy for me to find the company's website.  Pierre Belvedere is a Canadian company, based in Montreal, that produces and distributes both stationery products as well as toys and games.  I was glad to discover that my new notebook was from a Canadian company, and I was also able to easily find my notebook on their website: It's an Arabesque Notebook, which comes in their large size and in a number of colours, including the nice teal colour that I have.  Check out Pierre Belvedere's page of journals for information about the Arabesque Notebook and others.

Now, after all of that detective work, what is this Pierre Belvedere journal actually like?  To start with, it's fairly large (at least, larger than I'm used to using), at 6.75" x 9.5".  The cover is thick, with a slightly padded feel, a smooth texture, and a fine line of stitching around the edge, which I rather like the look of.  It is sturdy and relatively stiff, but does have some flexibility.  The arabesque pattern, which is lightly textured and printed in a darker shade of the background colour, is decorative but not too busy.  I usually prefer plain notebooks but this pattern is still unobtrusive enough that I really don't mind it.

Inside, the notebook contains a narrow ribbon bookmark in a silvery grey colour that is not particularly remarkable.  The endpapers are lightly patterned with a symbol that resembles a folded envelope - sure to appeal to stationery fans!  It's a really subtle pattern that doesn't call attention to itself.  Still, I always love it when the endpapers in a notebook are patterned or coloured in some way, so I thought it added a nice touch.  The notebook - when new - contains 320 pages.

The endpaper pattern - can you see the tiny envelopes?

One unusual thing about this notebook - all of the pages are perforated for easy removal.  That kind of thing in a bound notebook like this (particularly one that is being marketed as a journal, which presumably you'd want to be fairly permanent) always seems simply wrong to me (or maybe I'm just weird).  However, in this case, it actually turned out to be a good thing: the previous owner of this notebook removed approximately the first half of the pages (and the front endpaper as well).  If the perforations hadn't been in place, likely the previous owner would have simply thrown this notebook away when he or she was tired of using it and it would never have ended up at the thrift store or, ultimately, in my hands.  As it as, I now have a new-to-me notebook that, although it is not in pristine condition, still has quite a few unused pages in it.

The torn out pages and endpaper at the front of the notebook.

The pages are ruled with grey lines and a thicker line that marks the left margin.  The lines are spaced 0.8cm apart, with a top margin of 2.4cm and a bottom margin of 2.0cm - overall a fairly spacious ruling if you ask me.  It would probably be best suited to wider-nibbed pens and people with larger handwriting.  The lines run right to the edge of the page.  The paper is white, with a smooth texture, and I don't know the weight.

Now, on to the most important question!  How well does this paper perform with different types of pens?

Answer: very well indeed!

I was very pleasantly surprised to find that this paper performed very well with all of my pens.  Of all the pens I used, only the Pilot Petit1 fountain pen and the Uni-ball Vision rollerball (both of which are very wet writers and bleed and feather on just about everything) showed even the slightest, almost unnoticeable, amount of feathering.  For all pens, bleed through was almost non-existent, and show through was largely negligible.  Only the Sharpie marker showed any substantial show through and even it didn't bleed through all that much.  Although I don't use many fountain pens or inks (yet), based on my results here, I would suggest Pierre Belvedere if you're looking for a notebook with paper that can cope with them.  This paper performed way better than I thought it would.

Overall, I was impressed with the writing quality of this Pierre Belvedere journal and the overall quality of its construction.  Mine was second-hand, and despite the torn-out pages and a couple tiny scuffs on the back cover, it was still in very good shape.  If you don't mind the perforated pages and wide lines, I would not hesitate to recommend this journal.  I have not encountered any mentions of the Pierre Belvedere brand on other blogs, but I think it deserves wider recognition.  These notebooks are likely not widely available outside of Canada, but at least some appear to be available on Amazon.  As for me, I'm happy with my thrift store find and I'll be keeping my eye out for other products from Pierre Belvedere in the future!


  1. a boyfriend who quickly became an ex gave me the Organic Large Notebook in purple last Christmas because he actually paid attention in seeing i loved the color purple. When we broke up I was going to purge anything he gave me but i just couldnt shake this lovely high quality journal. I havent rebought it but I think i will hit up ebay as these are lovely. A great find!!!

    1. These really are great journals, and at least your boyfriend had good taste in stationery!


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