Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: Moleskine Indigo Special Edition A4 Notebook

This is a review of the Moleskine Special Edition Indigo Journal. These journals were made for Indigo in Canada. It is very rare that things are made specially for Canada...
front resized
In the world of fountain pen friendly paper, Moleskines don’t rank very high and most people aren’t too impressed with them for that very reason. I was hesitant when I bought this notebook but, as mentioned, I got it at Indigo in Winnipeg and it was only $5. That’s right. $5. I would have been crazy not to buy it. It was on an awesome sale after Christmas. I decided to get it and try it out. Although I knew I would go insane with the sheer amount of paper there is in it...

Features:

- Hardcover
- Elastic closure
- Ruled format
- 8″ x 11″
- Expandable pocket on back cover
- Bookmark

The official Moleskine Seal of Learning is embossed on the front cover of the A4 notebooks collection: Vidi, scripsi, memoravi (Latin for "see, write, remember").
IMG_9330 Resized
Observations:

- I must say, I was surprised with how much I liked this notebook. First, it’s a really nice looking notebook. The solid cover is a rich red and with the embossed logo, it looks really cool.

- Even when I buy one, I always know I can’t use a Moleskine for fountain pens. BUT! Somehow this paper feels different. I can’t find any information on its weight but it feels heavier than regular Moleskine paper. I don’t know if it is, so it’s entirely possibly I could just be crazy. It’s not completely fountain pen friendly. My broader nibs and wet inky fountain pens did bleed through the paper. But if you observe the pictures, you can notice the finer nibs looked pretty slick and there was no bleeding with those. I guess not enough ink could soak through!
pens1 Resized
pens2 Resized
pens3 Resized
-  A fine point Sharpie did bleed through the paper but most people don’t write with Sharpies in notebooks like these! And if you do, no biggie. Just don’t use the next page. It’s a massive notebook anyway. You won’t miss a few pages. In fact, skipping pages that way may allow you to actually fill the notebook so you can get the high of starting a new one.
pens4 Resized
pens5 Resized
- It handles rollerball and gel ink pens well. No bleeding in my tests with these either!
pens6 Resized
pens7 Resized
- Most fountain pens wrote without much feathering of the ink. I did find that my J. Herbin inks feathered the most on this paper. This doesn’t mean J. Herbin inks aren’t awesome. They are. I really like them. It just happened to feather on this particular paper with the fountain pen I used. Maybe I should try a different nib size next time?

- Lays flat! I love journals that have this oh-so-desirable quality without me having to assault them and break their spines. I couldn’t imagine a large notebook that wouldn’t lay flat. It would drive me insane. But lo and behold, this one lays flat and because of the solid cover, it’s a cinch to write on either side of the paper. Notebooks with lots of paper benefit from a solid cover over a flexible cover. They’re just easier to write in.

- Accepts micro tip pens well. I had no problems with scratching and although the paper is not nearly as smooth as vellum 90g Rhodia paper, for example, but sometimes when you write with a micro tip pen you can just feel it dragging across and collecting fibers at the tip. Not the case with this paper, surprisingly!

- The large paper and slim ruling gives a lot of writing space. This could be good or bad. For those with ADD and need to have small journals to use up quickly - there is a LOT of writing surface in this notebook. It will last a loooong time and it may drive you bonkers. Especially if you write with micro tips on both sides of the paper.

Cons:

- Not amazingly fountain pen friendly, like Clairefontaine/Rhodia paper is, but it’s not too bad. Especially for $5...

- Allows feathering with certain inks. Tolerable though because this does not happen with all inks.

Overall:

I haven’t seen these at Indigo in awhile and I can’t find them online anymore so I don’t even know if they’re still available. If you can get your hands on one, I wouldn’t recommend against it because they’re quite nice. At full price, it’s a bit steep ($30 or so?). For that price you can get a stellar Rhodia or Clairefontaine or something.

I don’t have a whole lot to rant about for this notebook. Mostly because my discussion isn’t applicable because I haven’t seen them available in awhile. But the pictures are cool. You can gaze at the pictures and imagine how long it took me to write in it with all these pens. Can you imagine how awesome this book will look when it’s full of writing? Mmmm...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kittens Sleeping in Weird Positions

This post was inspired by Pet Meadow! I really don't know why kittens like to sleep in the most bizarre positions but alas, here is a small collection of just that: kittens sleeping in weird positions. This series of photos does provide evidence that the Bengals are the weirdest. With the exception of Tyco who, by nature, is peculiar.

IMG_9171 Resized
IMG_5159 Resized
IMG_0128 Resized
IMG_4725 Resized
IMG_4696 Resized
IMG_9025 Resized
IMG_4712 Resized
IMG_8990 Resized
IMG_4985 Resized
IMG_0529 Resized
IMG_4708 Resized
IMG_5068 Resized
IMG_5368 Resized
IMG_5387 Resized
IMG_4989 Resized
IMG_8281 Resized
IMG_8640 Resized
IMG_8776 Resized
IMG_3960 Resized
a5


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Smiling Tyco

I know non-cat lovers would say I'm crazy for pointing this out but I swear, Tyco is smiling happily in this picture...

1 23-37-06

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homesick?!

The last few days, I think it's really started to sink in that we packed up our lives and moved to Texas. From Winnipeg. Which is a huge change for us. All in all, I think I took it pretty well, especially with Angel and Cheebs passing away back-to-back of one another. Then moving a few days later... I have also really been missing my wonderful friends who have been great to me and who I am so lucky to have. I know that sounds so cliché, but it's true. They have seen me through good times and bad and have never failed to be supportive, encouraging and fantastic. I miss my brothers (yes, both) and my parents. I miss the familiarity of home (even though I was bored out of my skull with the city itself). All in all: I'm homesick.

I thought some fuzz-therapy was in order to help alleviate this feeling.

IMG_9110+Resized
IMG_9077+Resized
IMG_9003+Resized
IMG_9203+Resized

My cats are the best fuzz-therapy systems available. To me anyway.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review: Rhodia Webnotebook "Webbie" A6 Black

front+cover+with+orange+Resized
This is a review of the Rhodia Webnotebook A6 in Black - also known as the “Webbie”.

MMMM!!! More Rhodia!!! Does it get any better than this? No. Well, maybe if I could frolic in a giant room full of Rhodia Webbies, it would be better. Anyway, doing reviews on Rhodia products is a delight. It's really a cinch because it's easy to gush on when you love something!

Features

Hard-bound Italian leatherette cover
90 g ivory paper, acid-free & pH neutral
96 sheets - ruled, blank or dot grid
Ribbon marker
Elastic closure
Inner pocket for notes and cards
Elegant round corners

Styles: Orange, Black

Interior Page Rulings: Lined, Blank, Dot Grid

Okay. Let's start. First, I love Rhodia. I always have. Ever since I bought my first Rhodia Reverse Book at Target over a year ago, I fell in love. Note: in order to acquire this, we had to drive from Winnipeg to Grand Forks. Not a terribly long drive but it’s embarrassing to admit we drove for several hours just for a notebook. BUT NOT ANY NOTEBOOK! I cannot emphasize the quality of this stuff enough. When we finally moved to Texas, it totally opened up the doors for acquiring awesome notebooks, particularly Rhodia. I was really excited about moving for this very reason.
front+cover+Resized
Embossed Rhodia logo is super classy!
Again, fairly standard for most notebooks of this style to have a hard cover, an expandable pocket on the back cover, a page marker, and an elastic closure, as well as being available in a small and large size. On first glance, an inexperienced notebook-lover could mistake this for a Moleskine. And wow. What a mistake that would be.
IMG_8857+Resized
IMG_8850+Resized
Top to bottom: Rhodia Webnotebook A6 in black, Ecosystem Blank Journal medium in kiwi, Leuchtturm1917 medium notebook in lavender, Quo Vadis Habana in Raspberry large + Bright White 90g Paper.

The reasons I LOOOOVE the Rhodia Webnotebook (I suppose normal/non stationery freaks would call this section Pros):

- The material is all high quality, from the solid, smooth leatherette cover down to the incredible 90 g paper (archival quality, by the way). Every penny is worth it on these divine notebooks/notepads. You will not be disappointed. To me, the Rhodia Webbie is in the same league as the Quo Vadis Habana. Both will have you drooling. Publicly. Inappropriately.

- It is also available with the dot grid, a ruling that I absolutely love! As I mentioned in my review of the Leuchtturm 1917 medium notebook, dots are awesome for keeping your writing straight but still allowing you to look like you can awesomely write straight without obvious lines for guidance. They’re like a cross between graph paper and lined - best of both worlds for me. And still leaves enough blank page for sketching (sketching on lines looks funny, unless the lines contribute to it).

- Also available in a really nice, not-vile-to-look-at, rather pleasing orange for more pizzazz than black. To me, this orange is a signature orange. I don't know why other notebooks copy. They cannot compete - check out Pantone and Moleskine. This exact point was recently brought up on Rhodia Drive.

- The paper is known for being fountain pen-friendly. You won’t see any bleeding, even with the heaviest writing and broad nibs, nor with inky gel pens. The paper is so thick and smooth that not only is writing with ANY pen an absolute delight, and it won’t feather your inks either.
fps1+Resized
Note bleedthrough from Sharpie ultra fine point on bottom of left side page. No biggie.fp2+Resized
This page written on the back side of the previous page - no bleedthrough!!

- Despite being 96 pages, it keeps the notebook thin enough to be portable, but you can write on both sides! So you have ... *thinks*... (what’s 96 x 2??)... 192 pages of writing surface. ... I should double check that number but I'm too lazy.

- Just as the Quo Vadis Habana has rounded edges and paper, so does the Rhodia Webbie. It look elegant, and it also protects your paper from catching on your sleeve, for example, making your notebook look newer, longer.

- Brings out the beauty of the colors of your inks - fountain pen and gel inks pop and are vibrant and gorgeous. I love the way it looks. It'll really give you a reason to justify needing several shades of every color you already own. I swear. You'll be able to detect every difference. It's awesome.

- Very micro tip friendly. I have a few Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3 mm gel ink pens that are a nuisance to write with on other papers (i.e Leuchtturm 1917/Moleskines). I was really disappointed and frustrated because I had gotten a whack load of the 0.3 mm pens and I was wondering how on earth I was going to be able to use them. Along comes the sweet, sweet Webbie. The paper is so smooth, it pulls and draws the micro tips along and feels like it’s sucking the ink out of them, which gives me the smoothest, non-scratchy writing experience with micro tips (an unfortunate thing that can happen on “regular” paper).
inks1+Resized
pens4+Resized

Cons:

- The leatherette cover gets scuffs, marks and fingerprints easily. It looks really great new but if you’re obsessive like I am, you’ll notice right away when you get your first scuff. And you’ll dwell on it far longer than is healthy. I've had mine for a few months now and it still looks new but I'm pretty OCD about taking care of my notebooks. If you're careless, you might do some damage to it. But then if you're truly that careless, you should not be allowed to touch a Rhodia.

- Doesn’t lay flat. This generally drives me nuts. Fortunately, the pros outweigh the cons and I can easily look past this downside because of the great quality and wonderful experience writing in this notebook gives me. It sure makes it hard to take pictures of (I apologize for the blurry bits...I couldn't get it flat without my hands in the way and no one wants pictures of that).
lay+flat%21+Resized
- Pressing hard with a Sharpie marker gets the ink to bleed through but I was really squishing down on it. And the bleeding is not nearly as bad as what a lot of other papers do (even when they claim to be fountain pen friendly...*coughLeuchtturm1917cough*). Sidenote: I'm not against Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks, I rather like them. But they're not fountain pen friendly as they claim. Not for my style anyway.

Other Observations (not necessarily pros nor cons):

- The elastic closure is really snug. It left an imprint in the cover and because I’m OCD, I have to replace the elastic back onto the same spot every time I close it. It can’t be in a new spot. That would just be chaos.
IMG_8856+Resized
- Ink takes a smidge longer to dry on this paper than on “regular” (non spectacular fountain pen-friendly paper) but it’s totally worth it. Just be prepared to not smear your hands all over it until you know it's dry.

Price:

The Container Store - $12.99
JetPens - $14.50 each

Overall:

I can’t say enough good things about this notebook. Except that I can’t wait to get the bigger one. If you are looking for fountain pen paper specifically, or just want a cute and awesome notebook, this is a fantastic choice. You won't be disappointed by its quality and the experience of writing on divine paper.
IMG_8866+Resized
I had a helper for this review: Koa the Bengal.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Happy Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Black cats are half as likely to get adopted as other colored kitties in shelters. As a result, they end up spending several months longer in shelters than others - if they aren't euthanized. Save a black kitty!
IMG_2769
In loving memory of my one and only Angel

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fact: Bengal Cats Like Water

Koa is here with us today to verify the notion that Bengal cats are not, in fact, hydrophobic. He kept coming up to us with wet paws, wet tummy, wet face... at first I was worried he had somehow peed on himself...everywhere. It totally slipped my mind that he might just really like water. So, here he is, drinking water Bengal-style!



They really love this water fountain. They also enjoy "attacking" where the water spouts out!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Peaches the Pretzel

I love this picture because I have to wonder...how do cats even bend like that? She seems happy and unbroken, but still...
IMG_8616+Resized

Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: Uni-ball Signo RT (UM-138) 0.38 mm Gel Ink Pen

This is a review of the Uni-ball Signo RT (UM-138) 0.38 mm Gel Ink Pen in blue-black and lavender purple-black. Not surprisingly, these pens were also acquired from JetPens!
just+the+two
Features:

- Water-based pigment gel ink
- Steel point
- Rubber grip

The Body

The Uni-ball Signo RT (UM-138) line, like the DX UM-151 line, have a good-sized barrel for those who don’t like thin barrels that often accompany micro tips. It’s very comfortable to hold and didn’t strain my hand after extensive writing.

If you’ve read my review of the Uni-ball Signo DX (UM-151) 0.38 mm gel ink pen - essentially the non-retractable version of this one - you’ll know I was disappointed that the grip was so small. There’s a gap between the grip and the metal tip, leaving plastic barrel which is where my fingers are usually gripping!
capped
Top to bottom: Uni-ball Signo RT 0.38 mm in lavender purple-black and blue-black, Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38 mm in blue.
uncaped
Size comparison, uncapped and nibs out.

Hooray for this pen! The grip actually extends all the way to the metal, giving me the perfect grip. I usually prefer non retractable pens because for me, they are more comfortably weighted when the cap is on the back - a small amount of weight that obviously lacks in a retractable. But in this case, the grip overrides the weight when I have a lot of writing to do.

As for the nib and ink, because this pen is the same as the DX UM-151, only in the retractable form, I won’t blabber on about my impressions - they really didn’t change. The nib still feels solid, the ink is still a nice (dark) color.


From my review of the DX UM-151:

The Nib

Despite being a fairly thin tip at 0.38 mm, comparable to the 0.3mm Pilot Hi-Tec C, I didn’t have a problem with the writing. Ink flow was very smooth and, perhaps because I’m used to writing with fine nibs, I did not feel the nib was scratchy. I have a friend who tried it, and she commented it was a bit scratchy for her - but then she usually writes with 0.7 mm nibs and larger.

The nib is also well built. As usual, I performed my highly advanced scientific test of nib strength by violently tapping the nib on my notebook (in this case, I have stuck with my trusty Quo Vadis Habana). The nib held up well to my abuse and again, I suggest you don’t try my HASTONS (highly advanced scientific test of nib strength) at home. Unless you’re prepared to lose a pen or two. Even with heavy writing, the nib held up well. I did not have any problems with ink blobbing on the ends, which results in ink blobs - often a problem with cheaper pens. Personally, though I love the Pilot Hi-Tec C line, I think the 0.38 mm nib feels sturdier than Pilot’s 0.3 mm, or even the 0.4 mm nib.

The Ink

It’s hard to drool over thick, bold lines of ink when your nib is only 0.38 mm. But from the color of the ink through the barrel, it’s pretty nice. And the tiny little 0.38 mm lines left by the pen are pretty nice looking, too. The blue, blue-black, and bordeaux-black** that I tried out are all very nice but obviously are not brilliant, happy colors. They are quite professional looking though.

So far, the ink is lasting me quite awhile. The ink cartridge is quite wide and because the nib is so thin, it doesn’t use up ink very quickly. This is great for those of us who want a pen that lasts a long time. Not so great for those who have OCD and obsessively monitor their ink levels as they write with excitement so they can proudly use a pen from start to finish without their ADD taking over (not me).

**NOTE: in this review, I had the blue-black and the lavender purple-black.

Eco-Conscious?

Fortunately, these pens are refillable. However, like most refillable gel ink pens, the refills only come in select colors. Unless you’re really into black, blue, blue-black, and red, you’re out of luck. Hopefully Uni-ball will add some more colors to their available refills.

Price:

JetPens - $1.65
JetPens Refills - $1.35

Overall:

I really like the Uni-ball Signo DX line. It’s a great pen for anyone who is curious about the micro tip pen world but are hesitant to try a softer nib in fears of breaking it. The pen is really nice looking and the retractable with extended grip is even more comfortable than its non-retractable counterpart. Great for fine details in doodles and writing. I still can’t believe it’s only $1.65!

Please Share!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Creative Commons License
GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.gourmetpens.com.