Il Papiro Marbleized Notebook Review

Il Papiro Marbleized Notebook

Il Papiro is an Italian company that has been producing hand decorated paper products since the 1970s.  While in Rome earlier this month I spotted their shop and the street and ventured inside.  The small shop was filled with beautiful books, stationery and rubber stamps.

Il Papiro Marbleized Notebook

The marbleized books immediately caught my eye.  

Il Papiro Marbleized Notebook

I picked one off of the shelf and the friendly saleswoman proceeded to show me the same book in a couple of sizes and in many different colors.

Il Papiro Marbleized Notebook

Because the books are marbleized by hand no two books are exactly the same.  

Il Papiro Marbleized Notebook

I selected a green book with 10cm x 15cm pages.  

Il Papiro Marbleized Notebook

The blank pages are of an excellent stationery-grade paper.  The paper is watermarked with “Il Papiro Firenze” and their logo.  

Il Papiro Marbleized Notebook

The paper holds fountain pen ink very well and you should have no problems writing on both sides of this paper.  

Il Papiro Marbleized Notebook

The paper provides pleasant feedback while still feeling smooth.

If you look closely you can see the stitching.
If you look closely you can see the stitching.

The book has a stitched binding and small signatures, though not as small as those seen in high-end Japanese notebooks.

Il Papiro Marbleized Notebook

The cover has a nice texture that is pleasant to the touch.  I really am enamored with this notebook. 

So what are the drawbacks? As I am sure you can guess, it’s the price.  My little notebook cost me 27€ (or about $30 USD at the time of this writing).  I will buy more of these in the future but as a fountain pen user these notebooks are a luxury and not a necessity. 

Il Papiro Marbleized Notebook

 

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LIFE Airmail Letter Set Stationery Review

LIFE Airmail Letter Set Stationery

The LIFE Airmail letter set (LIFE L1096 + E26) offers both retro styling and an affordable price.  I paid approximately $7 USD for the set which contains 10 “VIA AIR MAIL” envelopes and 50 sheets of onion skin paper.  Purchased individually the pad is $5 and the envelope is $2.

LIFE Airmail Letter Set Stationery

For those not familiar with onion skin paper, it is a durable but thin transparent paper that resembles, you guessed it, the skin of an onion.

LIFE Airmail Letter Set Stationery

I wouldn’t dare use a fountain pen on a standard tracing paper but this LIFE onion skin paper is of excellent quality.

LIFE Airmail Letter Set Stationery

 

There is some very minor feathering with all of the fountain pens and the Pilot Hi-Tec Point gel pen but it is not enough to bother me.

LIFE Airmail Letter Set Stationery

I experienced no bleed through as evidenced by this perfectly clean template I used for the writing sample.

LIFE Airmail Letter Set Stationery

The guide sheet is double sided to accommodate different writing styles.

LIFE Airmail Letter Set Stationery

Because this paper is transparent you aren’t likely going to want to write on both sides.

LIFE Airmail Letter Set Stationery

 

The envelopes are my favorite part of the set.

LIFE Airmail Letter Set Stationery

 

They look great.

LIFE Airmail Letter Set Stationery

The envelopes feature self adhesive and have a security pattern on the inside which reads “TOKYO LIFE”.

LIFE Airmail Letter Set Stationery

Like all other LIFE products I have come across, the Airmail letter set is well executed and of a high quality.   I would have liked to see a blotter page in the pad but that is a small gripe.

Field Notes Ambition Notebook Review

Field Notes Ambition

“Ambition” is the 25th release in the Field Notes Colors series of limited edition notebooks.

Field Notes Ambition

The three pack contains a datebook, ledger and memo book.

Field Notes Ambition

Let me say right off the bat that I do not have any use for a datebook or a ledger and I would have liked more memo books in any of the standard formats (dot grid, blank, lined, etc…).  That aside, I think this is one of the very best Colors editions.

Field Notes Ambition

I love the subdued covers with gold embossed logos, gold colored staples, and gold leaf gilded edges.  These books are nice.  Field Notes Ambition

The paper holds up to fountain pen ink quite well though thicker and juicer pens will bleed through.

Some bleed through and ghosting but not bad at all by Field Notes' standards.
Some bleed through and ghosting but not bad at all by Field Notes’ standards.

I hope the Field Notes decides to make the Ambition memo book part of their permanent line.  I would happily pay a premium for it over the standard memo book.

 

 

Rhodia Clic Bloc Mouse Pad / Notepad Review

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As I said earlier in my review of the Hermès Ostrich GM Notebook Cover, I love items that bridge my interests, and while the Rhodia Clic Bloc combines my love of pens with my love of technology it hasn’t exactly won me over.

The Clic Bloc is a notepad that doubles as a mouse pad and unfortunately serving double duty makes it both a bad notepad and a bad mouse pad.

The pad measures 7.5″ x 9″, contains 30 sheets and has a nonskid backing.  The Clic Bloc looks like a regular Rhodia notepad with an orange flip over cover, only the Clic Bloc does not have a cover, it is merely a color picture of a folded cover that even has a shadow line.

Rhodia Clic Bloc Mouse Pad / Note Pad

It is nice that they want this product to look like the other notepads in their line but to me it is a waste of space to print a fake folded cover on every page.  I also don’t like that “www. bloc-rhodia.com” is printed on the bottom.

Rhodia Clic Bloc Mouse Pad / Note Pad

The paper is the same 80g paper that Rhodia is famous for and of course it performs superbly with fountain pen ink.  No bleeding or feathering.

Rhodia Clic Bloc Mouse Pad / Note Pad

It should also be noted that the grid is only on one side of the paper, the opposite side is completely blank.  The pad is bound with glue on the bottom and left edges and tears off easily.  Because its glued on the left it isn’t going to work well for left handed people as the paper is not going to stay put when you brush against the pad.

As a mousepad, the nonskid backing is not as secure as a regular mousepad but it works well enough.

Rhodia Clic Bloc Mouse Pad / Note Pad
The backing of the Clic Bloc

I found no tracking issues using the pad but I found the edges of the pad to be uncomfortable to brush up against while moving the mouse around and this is ultimately what caused me to stop using it.  It’s just not comfortable.

Hermès Ostrich GM Notebook Agenda Cover Review

Hermès Ostrich GM Notebook Cover

I love items that crossover my interests and the Hermès Ostrich GM notebook/agenda cover is just such an item.  It combines my interest in stationery with my interest in fine leather craftsmanship.

Hermès Ostrich GM Notebook Cover

The agenda is Hermès’ GM size which stands for “Grand Modèle” and is their second smallest agenda.  The cover measures 9 cm wide x just over 13 cm long.

The cover is made out of a beautiful natural color ostrich skin (the pictures look much more orange). Ostrich is a bit of an obnoxious looking exotic leather but once you get past that it really is an excellent and long lasting skin.  Hermès puts blind stamps in all of their products which allows me to date this cover to 1997 and at 17 years old it doesn’t look too bad.

Hermès Ostrich GM Notebook Cover

The saddle stitch is done by hand and is of the highest quality.  The benefits of a saddle stitch is strength and repairability.  If a stitch becomes loose it can be easily repaired by an Hermès craftsman.

Hermès Ostrich GM Notebook Cover

Hermès uses very high quality stationery grade paper in every notebook and agenda that I have seen and this is no exception.  The GM size comes in a number formats to choose from.  There are two agenda styles as well as a blank notebook and a lined notebook.

Hermès Ostrich GM Notebook Cover

I normally prefer the lined version but they were out of it so I ended up with the blank version.  The paper is very thin with a gilded edge but it holds fountain pen ink like a champion. The only bleeding I saw was with the Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V10 which is a fat juicy 1.0mm roller ball.

Hermès Ostrich GM Notebook Cover

There is minimal ghosting which is impressive for a paper so thin.  The corners of the pages are perforated so that you can quickly jump to where you left off.  The binding is ring bound with a split in the middle that allows you to bend the notebook into the clips of the agenda cover.

Hermès Ostrich GM Notebook Cover

The blank and lined notebooks are $30 each and the agenda refills are $100+.  As for the agenda cover the last time I checked it was right around $1,000.  There is no denying that this is a luxury product; nobody needs a small notebook cover that is this expensive.

Hermès Ostrich GM Notebook Cover

You can find these notebooks second hand for around $100-$200 depending on condition but be warned that there are fakes; Hermès wont sell anything with sloppy workmanship so check for tight saddle stitching a clean Hermès imprint.  If you go used I recommend Japanese sellers as Japan has very strict laws on selling fakes.

Hermès Ostrich GM Notebook Cover

I recently had the cover serviced by the Hermès craftsman in San Francisco and it cost $125 to spruce it up which is something Hermès recommends every three years.

 

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook Review

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

2013 marked the 100th year that Kokuyo has produced western style notebooks and to celebrate they have released a limited edition notebook called the Century Edition which I picked up in the A5 format.  The notebook features 70 sheets of 100g paper with a 6mm rule.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

The look of this notebook is exceptional.  The black cover is textured to feel like cloth.  The combination of the black “cloth” with gold print and diagonal text block pattern (they also do a woven pattern text block version) creates a luxurious retro look.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

The the pastedown and  free endpaper is made from a single piece of thick red paper.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

The luxury ruled ivory “Kokuyo Ledger paper” is designed to be used with fountain pens and is ultra smooth.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

It handles fountain ink without any bleeding or showthrough.  The dry time is surprisingly fast (for a smooth paper).  This isn’t an absorbent paper but I have been using this notebook as a journal and upon review I am not seeing any of the usual smearing I see when compared to my Tomoe River and Rhodia journals.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

The Century Edition has tiny little signatures and the binding is so good that I cannot for the life of me find the stitching with the book open.  The binding lays quite flat on it’s own and improves with use.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook

I haven’t been wowed by Kokuyo products in the past but this is the finest notebook I have ever had the pleasure of owning.  The cost?  1,000 YEN (about $10 USD)!  It’s not expensive and it makes a Midori notebook look like a sloppy first attempt (okay that might be a bit of an exaggeration).  I highly recommend  the Kokuyo Century Edition notebook.  I know I will be buying more in the future.

Kokuyo Century Edition A5 Notebook