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Archive | January, 2012

Leuchtturm Love Letter Planner Winners!

31 Jan

Last week we started the contest “Submit Your Love Letter to Win a Leuchtturm Planner!” and we received some great entries! Below are the 4 winners of the Leuchtturm1917 Weekly Planners. Thanks to everyone who entered! Click here to read all the entries (in the comments).

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway(s) and spread the word! We’ve got loads more giveaways, articles, tips & tricks, etc. on the way, so check back frequently. To keep in the loop, follow us on Twitterlike us on Facebook, subscribe to our RSS feed, and/or sign up for our weekly newsletter.

If you have any ideas or feedback, definitely let us know in a comment on this blog, or you can email us at info@europeanpaper.com!

 

10 Letter Writing Tips

31 Jan

Writing a letter might seem like an art that no one follows anymore, like speaking Latin or doing the jitterbug (and where else can you find a comparison between those activities but here at EPC?), but there are many enthusiasts still out there. You’ll recognize us if you look closely. We sit in coffee shops with pens and paper in front of us instead of laptops. We walk into office supply stores and head over to the fountain pen ink refills instead of the printer ink refills.  We know how much an extra ounce costs, the price of an international stamp, and how much we can squeeze into a first class priority box before it explodes.

G. Lalo Verge de France Correspondence Sets on EuropeanPaper.com

G. Lalo Verge de France Correspondence Sets

Yes, I am one of them (and proud of it!), and I write hundreds of letters every year. My free time is spent with pen in hand talking with friends near and far. When I walk out to the mailbox every day, I know more than bills and advertisements are waiting for me.

Of course, to GET letters, you have to SEND letters. So, here are the 10 best letter writing tips I know, based on hundreds of letters written (and received) every year. These tips refer to both personal and professional correspondence.  The first six tips are must-do’s; the second four are options to consider.

  1. When you are going to write a letter, make sure you have enough time to do so. A rushed letter feels like a rushed letter, and typically, handwriting takes longer than you remember. If you aren’t sure you can find a free half hour or hour, combine your writing with other activities like watching a movie, waiting for the dryer to finish or sipping that morning cup of java.
  2. As you begin writing, refer to your last visit, conversation or letter with that person. Mention where you were, something that was said, or another statement that reconnects the two of you.
  3. Date the letter. I know that might not seem very important, but when the person reads the letter, re-reads it, and keeps it for ages, that date is very important. I recently dug through some old boxes and found all of the letters my mother wrote me while I was in college. She is no longer living, so these letters are truly precious to me. I organized them in the order she wrote them and put them in folders. The dates were essential.
  4. Write legibly. I know, I know. Duh, right? But you wouldn’t believe how many people have almost illegible handwriting. They either try to be fancy or they simply haven’t dusted off their penmanship skills in a long time.  If you have trouble with cursive, print. If that doesn’t work well, type. Make it easy on your reader.
  5. Ask the person questions.  A letter that just tells a person all about you-you-you and then says goodbye at the end is not much fun to read and often very difficult to respond to. Ask the person questions, such as: How is work? How are the children? Where have you traveled? What are you reading lately? They can be as simple or complex as you want to make them, but obviously keep your reader in mind regarding the type of personal questions you may ask. This will inspire the person to want to sit down and write back to you.
  6. Follow the simple rules of good writing. Always double-check that you spelled their name correctly and make sure you have the right address for the envelope. You aren’t being graded here, so you don’t need topic sentences and appropriate transitional phrases between paragraphs (yes, I used to be an English teacher!), but make sure you aren’t writing in such a manner that others can’t understand what you’re saying.

Those were the “must-do’s” of letter writing. Here are four more tips to consider implementing as you write more.

  1. Click the image to buy this product on EuropeanPaper.com

    Mudlark Eco Hayden Leigh Memento Boxed Note Cards

    Use attractive paper and cards for your letter. The European Paper Company carries many lovely options, including boxed notecards, a wide selection of eco stationery, and much more. Sure, lined notebook paper is nice, but it can be dull. A letter on fine stationery is often much appreciated, but if all you have is lined notebook paper dress it up a bit to make it special.

  2. Include fun little tuck-ins. Getting a letter is fun – getting a letter with surprises tucked inside it is even better. It can be photos, newspaper clippings, comics, bookmarks – whatever you want. These little extras can make letter writing even more enjoyable.
  3. Respond to letters quickly, but not TOO quickly. If your letter is in response to one sent to you, don’t let it sit around for more than two to four weeks before answering it. If too much time goes by, the person may forget what he wrote or think you have decided not to respond at all.  If I haven’t heard from someone in more than a month, I also send a quick postcard making sure all is well with them. On the flip side, it might sound crazy, but I wouldn’t recommend responding to someone the day or day after you get a letter. That might be so quick that it makes the receiver feel pressured.
  4. Finally, if all of this sounds wonderful but you’re stumped on who to write to, do some homework and check out organizations. If you don’t have family and friends that would be interested in writing letters, go to the The Letter Writer’s Alliance and The Letter Exchange online. They both offer wonderful connections to other crazy letter writers like me. EPC also lists web sites for letter writers to connect (check out the blogroll in the right column of this blog). Believe me—we are out there and waiting by our mailboxes. Write!

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 Meet the Writer: Tamra Orr is a full time writer and has written more than 300 books for readers of all ages. She is also mom to four and writes an average of 50 letters or more a month.

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Monday Morning Review Round-up

30 Jan

Ink Reviews

Seize the David: Rohrer & KlingnerVerdigris

East, West, Everywhere: Caran d’Ache Storm

Notebook/Planner Reviews

East, West, Everywhere: Mood Journal

Stationery Review: Clairefontaine “Life. Unplugged” – Duo A5

The Gear Locker: Rite in the Rain Notepads

Plannerisms: 2012 Moleskine Bakin weekly planner

No Pen Intended: Daycraft 2012 Signature Diary

Pen/Pencil Reviews

Does This Pen Write: Sharpie Stainless Steel Pen!

East, West, Everywhere: Pelikan M205 Duo Review

FPGeeks: Monteverde Invincia Stylus Fountain Pen – The Awesome Review

A Penchant for Paper: Pentel Superb and Wow Ballpoint Pens

Grease Monkey Hands: Namiki Sterling Dragon

Multi Pen Dimensions: Zebra SK – Sharbo + 1 2 Color 0.7 mm Ballpoint Multi Pen + 0.5 mm Pencil Black & Zebra B2A1 2 Color Multi Pen

No Pen Intended: Parker Reflex Fountain Pen & Palomino Blackwing Wooden Pencil – 602 Model

Economy Pens: Sharpie Pen – Stainless Steel

PenInkCillin: Jinhao X750 fountain pen review

Pocket Blonde: Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown FP & Waterman Hemisphere Agnes B Fountain Pen

Gourmet Pens: Pilot Precise BeGreen Liquid Ink Roller Ball Pen & Parker-Compatible Gel Ink Refills – Water Tests

Rhonda Eudaly: The Pelikan School Fountain Pen – Right Handed, Fine Point & The Monteverde One Touch Ballpoint Pen

Economy Pens: Alvin Draft-Tec Retrac .5

Stamps

Delphine: 2012 USPS Postage Rates for Wedding Invitations

LWA: U.S. Stamp Rate Increase and Stamp Releases

Pen Thief: Sojourner Truth

Piccadilly Post: The Wild Stamp Chase

Missive Maven: New U.S. Postage Rates

 

Friday Blogger Tuck-ins

27 Jan

1 –>  Julie [The-Gadgeteer] asks what format you use when starting a new journal – analog or digital – and she provides some great digital options for those not familiar with them

2 –> Reena Jana [on SmartPlanet] published a Q&A with Moleskine America President, Marco Beghin, and delves into the paper world and beyond.

3 –> How many journals/notebooks do you have actively going at once? Nifty [Notebook Stories] sums up Steve’s [Recording Thoughts] blog posts on the topic here.

4 –> Penned House has a great notebook hack post on how he turned a Moleskine into an iPhone case. Check it out here.

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 … This is completely random, but it’s cute, has a cat in it, and a ballpoint pen. … We got a little distracted.

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5 –>  Here are a couple neat posts on journaling this week. The first is from Journal Addict asking what your journal style is, which was discovered via a quick quiz on Journal Tips. Both great sites to follow for more on journaling.

6 –> David [Because I Really Felt It] posted a really cool Russian Doll Letter Version #2 that has us inspired to play with the idea. You can check out his Version #1 here.

7 –>  We’ve been seeing Sharpie projects pop up everywhere lately. For example: 6 Ways To Create DIY Sharpie Wallpaper on Babble.com; DIY Sharpie Tote on Sharpie’s Blog; Sharpie Snow Leopard Ottoman by LittlePinkMonster. And of course, you can always do a quick Sharpie search on Skineart.com for some inspiration.

8 –> We’ve also got a couple of contests going on right now – not to be missed! First up is our Moleskine Love Haiku Contest where you could win a Moleskine prize pack, and secondly, our Love Letters & Leuchtturm Planners Contest where you could be 1 of 4 winners to receive a Leuchtturm Weekly Planner!

Submit Your Love Letter to Win a Leuchtturm Planner! [Closed]

26 Jan

Submit a love letter in 10 words or less and you could win a Leuchtturm1917 Weekly Planner!

We have four Leuchtturm1917 Large Hard Cover 2012 Weekly Planner + Notes (5.75 x 8.25) to give away! We have one pink, one light blue, one green, and one black planner so be sure to let us know which color you’d prefer when you enter this contest.

Contest Details:

  • In the comments of this blog post, submit a love letter in under 10 words.
    • Include a valid email address when you post your comment, and which color planner you prefer.
  • Please keep the love letters PG.
  • The love letter must be of your own original work.
  • The deadline is noon on Monday, January 30th.
  • Four winners will be announced Tuesday, January 31st.
  • This contest is open only to U.S. residents.
  • Have fun!

 

Love Letters of Great Men

26 Jan

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we wanted to throw a little inspiration your way. Take a note from the great men and women heralded on these embellished Paperblanks journals, and create a love letter for the special one in your life today. Granted, all the quotes may not have to do with “love” directly, but that’s why they are here for “inspiration.”

Charles Dickens

Click the image to buy this journal on EuropeanPaper.com

Paperblanks Embellished Charles Dickens Manuscript Wrap

“Tis love that makes the world go round, my baby.”

“A loving heart is the truest wisdom.”

“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”

“Never close your lips to those whom you have already opened your heart.”

“I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Click the image to buy this journal on EuropeanPaper.com

Paperblanks Embellished Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby Manuscript Wrap

“If I knew words enough, I could write the longest love letter in the world and never get tired.”

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”

“I’m a romantic; a sentimental person thinks things will last, a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t.”

“I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be. I love her and it is the beginning of everything.”

“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.”

Charlotte Bronte

Click the image to buy this journal on EuropeanPaper.com

Paperblanks Embellished Charlotte Bronte Manuscript Wrap

“I have for the first time found what I can truly love–I have found you. You are my sympathy–my better self–my good angel–I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wrap my existence about you–and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.”

“I have little left in myself — I must have you. The world may laugh — may call me absurd, selfish — but it does not signify. My very soul demands you: it will be satisfied, or it will take deadly vengeance on its frame.”

Shakespeare

Click the image to buy this journal on EuropeanPaper.com

Paperblanks Embellished Shakespeare Manuscript Wrap

“They do not love that do not show their love. The course of true love never did run smooth. Love is a familiar. Love is a devil. There is no evil angel but Love.”

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.”

“Time is very slow for those who wait
Very fast for those who are scared
very long for those who lament
Very short for those who celebrate
But for those who love time is eternal”

Vincent Van Gogh

Click the image to buy this journal on EuropeanPaper.com

Paperblanks Embellished Vincent Van Gogh Manuscript Wrap

“Life has become very clear to me, and I am very glad that I love.  My life and my love are one.”

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”

“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

“Love is eternal — the aspect may change, but not the essence There is the same difference in a person before and after he is in love as there is in an unlighted lamp and one that is burning. The lamp was there and was a good lamp, but now it is shedding light too, and that is its real function. And love makes one calmer about many things, and that way, one is more fit for one’s work.”

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Paperblanks journals feature striking printed images on their durable, hard covers. Beautifully made, each high-quality journal is sewn rather than glued. The pages open nicely and lie flat for ease of writing … no lost pages in these journals. Instead, delight in a truly well-made object and let it remind you that the finest things in life are the ones that last.

Inspired to write a love letter? Check out all the stationery on EuropeanPaper.com from brands such as G. Lalo, Jan Petr Obr, Quotable Cards, and more!

 

Moleskine Haiku Contest! [Closed]

24 Jan

Write a Moleskine Haiku, email it to info@europeanpaper.com and you could win a Moleskine Gift Package!

The Moleskine gift package includes 1 Moleskine Classic Large Squared Notebook (Red), 1 Moleskine Volant Pocket Plain Notebook (set of 2 – red), and 1 Moleskine Passions Wine Journal!

Contest Details:

  • Email one haiku to info@europeanpaper.com … in English please ;)
  • The deadline is midnight on Thursday, February 2nd.
  • The winner will officially be announced Tuesday, February 7th (and will get a mention in our weekly newsletter)!
  • The haiku you submit must be in some way related to Moleskine.
  • It must be your own, original work.
  • This contest is open only to U.S. residents.
  • *By emailing us your haiku, you confirm it is your own work and give us permission to use it on our website or in any marketing material for the European Paper Company.
  • Have fun!

What is a haiku?

A haiku is a Japanese poem with a total of seventeen syllables, broken into three lines (traditionally of five, then seven, then five syllables). Haiku in English don’t always follow the strict syllable count, and they can be endlessly creative, so have fun with it! Read more about haiku on Wikipedia.

 

Monday Morning Review Round-up

23 Jan

Ink Reviews

Seize the David: Diamine Damson

Stationery Review: J Herbin Fountain Pen Ink – Eclate De Saphir

Pens, Paper, Ink … Whatever: DeAtramentis Black Edition Inks

Notebook/Planner Reviews

Gourmet Pens: Quo Vadis Small Blank Habana – Anise Green

Ms. Logica: Using My Filofax Flex

Rants of the Archer: The Northerly by Field Notes

Pen/Pencil Reviews

FPGeeks: Vintage Aurora 88 & TWSBI Diamond 540 Fountain Pen & Parker’s LE Duofold Senior Fountain Pens

A Penchant for Paper: Zebra Sarasa SE 07 Pink

Multi Pen Dimensions: Muji Wooden Hexagonal Ballpoint Pen

Rhonda Eudaly: Sharpie Stainless Steel Pen

Michael Rundle [Huff Post UK]: Wacom Inkling Review, Rejection, Inspiration And The Dream Of A Digital Moleskine

Economy Pens: Pentel EnerGel-X .7 Violet

Pocket Blonde: Seven Year Pen by Seltzer

Gourmet Pens: Uni-ball Signo Scents Gel Ink Pens

 

Friday Blogger Tuck-ins

20 Jan

1 –>  Laurie [Plannerisms] has a few lovely tips on how to use a monthly or weekly planner AND a daily planner at the same time.

2 –> Quo Vadis gives us a friendly reminder on New Year’s Resolutions and asks what yours are.

3 –> Misty [The Pen Thief] shared some great tidbits about Benjamin Franklin on his would-be birthday (which was Tuesday, Jan 17) that we had no clue about! Such as the fact that “he served as our nation’s first postmaster general in 1775!” Read her post for more neat information on Franklin. She also shared a neat post on the release of the Glacier National Park Stamp. If you are at all interested in stamps, you need to follow her blog for all the latest updates.

4 –> Andrea Joseph shared a lovely commissioned drawing of hers for a production of James and the Giant Peach that we are absolutely in love with! We remember that story from so many years ago .. and if you’ve never heard of Andrea before, you must check out her site for more incredible drawings & zines.

5 –> This is Colossal never fails in impressing us with their finds. First check out their post showcasing Molly Rausch‘s Beyond the Border postage stamp paintings; then see their Edible Gelatin Typography post by m-inspira; and last, but certainly not least, check out the beautiful post of Envelope Drawings by Mark Powell (one which is shown below).

Art by Mark Powell. Click the image to see more of his work on his website.

6 –> Troy [Penpalling Dad] wrote a very sincere post about why he penpals. Great inspiration to get started on penpalling, plus links to many penpal bloggers as well.

7 –>  We received a letter from Lucas [Lucas Writes] in response to our National Letter Writing Week shout-out, which was exciting! Thanks Lucas – you’ll get a response soon! Lucas also had a nice recap of his Letter Writing Week here.

8 –> We just had to include Margana [Inkophile] in today’s linky love, just for her headline: What Do Daleks, Goldfish And Rain Have In Common?

9 –> Millie [Ms. Logica] did a round-up of her 2012 Winter Pen Choices, which was curious as we had never considered different pens for different seasons. Do you swap out pens each season? If so, what do you base your decisions on? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section!


How to Take the Most Efficient (& Effective) Meeting Notes

19 Jan

Meetings take up a huge amount of our work schedules. While it sometimes seems like meetings are held only for the sake of meetings, the reality is that meetings are meant to keep projects on track. However, if the meeting participants aren’t capturing the salient points and important tasks during the meeting, all that time is wasted. Meetings are only as valuable as the action that comes out of them. To make sure you’re maximizing meeting time, focus on developing an effective note-taking system. Bonus: Taking notes keeps you from zoning out during long sessions.

To begin, choose a notebook that encourages clean note taking. A large, ruled, spiral-bound book like the Rhodia Meeting Book allows for the most efficient note taking. Plus, the pages are easy to tear out in case an unprepared colleague needs a sheet for his own notes.

How to Take Effective & Efficient Notes by Maggie Marton for EuropeanPaper.com

Click the image to shop notebooks on EPC.

It’s important to develop a consistent note-taking system that works for you. You don’t have to use an “official” method like, for instance, Cornell Notes, but it’s worth experimenting with different styles. Regardless, there are several steps you should take to make your meeting notes effective and efficient.

First, always notate the meeting specifics. Jot the date, start and end times, and attendees at the top of your page. This is especially important for a big project where questions can arise about who is responsible for – or who dropped the ball on – specific tasks.

Next, remember that it isn’t necessary to write down everything said during the meeting. Capture the significant points of each discussion and any supporting details. If tasks are delegated – especially to you! – capture the assignment, the due date, and the names of anyone else involved. Be sure that these tasks stand out on your page by marking them with a box or star or highlighting that line.

To speed up your note taking, abbreviate! Abbreviations are only useful if you remember what they actually mean, so until you’re accustomed to abbreviating your meeting notes, create a list of abbreviations you plan to use frequently. Here are a few common abbreviations to get your list started:

  • re = regarding
  • w/o = without
  • incl = including

Finally, the real test of effectiveness is what you do with your notes after the meeting. Meetings aren’t productive by themselves; the productivity comes from the action taken after the meeting. Meeting notes should be processed as soon as possible after the meeting so that crucial information isn’t lost. Type your notes and file them with the handwritten copy. Transfer all project timelines and tasks to your day planner. Enter any follow-up meetings into your planner or send out meeting requests for check-ins immediately after in order to keep everyone on schedule.

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 Meet the Writer:Maggie Marton is a freelance writer who lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband and their three darling dogs. View more of Maggie’s work at MaggieMarton.com

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Last Day to Enter for Rhodia Drive’s Journal Swap

18 Jan

Click the image to go to Rhodia Drive's blog.

Today is the last day you can sign up for a chance to participate in Rhodia Drive’s official journal swap!

“12 people will be chosen to participate and will each receive a large orange dotWebbie in which to create. You do not have to be an artist/writer to participate. This 1st swap will be open to US residents only.” The theme is “Favorite Things” and is open to interpretation.

Click through to Rhodia Drive’s blog for more details and to sign up via the embedded form. Good luck!

Choosing a Notebook: Top vs. Side Spiralbound

17 Jan

A Little Binding History

The spiralbound notebook is an object that everyone is familiar with, if only because it’s on school supply lists nearly everywhere. But it’s also quite popular in an office setting for the convenience of lying the spiralbound book flat, wrapping the pages 360-degrees around the book, and creating a professional look.

Spiral binding is also known as coil spring binding, which has existed since 1924. Back then, it was used primarily in office settings. Today, it is commonly used in schools and offices for reports, presentations, and other professional documents.

Spiral Binding Today

Coil binding machines use spring coils, also called spirals, which bind paper sheets together through a series of holes along the side of the paper. There are many options for coil binding machines, ranging from light-duty for home projects to heavy-duty for offices and manufacturers. The main options include the punch capacity (the number of sheets it can punch at one time), the binding capacity (the number of sheets it can bind at one time), and whether it is manual or electric.

Spiral binding is a three-step process: the pages are punched, the coil is inserted, then the ends of the metal or plastic coil are cut. While the light-duty punching systems are great for binding a school or work project at home, the heavier machines can punch and bind more sheets of paper at a time, allowing for faster production.

The amount of paper used is the main factor when selecting the type of material to bind your project. Some spiral binding coils are made from metal, whereas other types of coil binding are made from plastic. Metal coils are useful when you need extra durability or if you need to punch a large number of pages. Plastic coils may break easier than metal coils and this is something to keep in mind if you would like to start binding your own projects at home.  One benefit to the plastic springs is that you can get just about any color you need (i.e. they’re more than ideal for those who organize their projects or lifestyle via color).

Spiralbound Benefits

Many spiralbound notebooks today have a double wire binding to prevent snags plus perforated sheets for clean and easy tearing, so you won’t have little bits of paper falling out.  If you’re in the market for a new spiralbound, try these options:

The versatile notebook (top AND side spiralbound): The Rhodia Spiralbound Reverse Notepad can be used horizontally and vertically, making it an accessible choice for everyone. This one is a favorite with artists. It can also be used and flipped around when the table space you have to write on isn’t big enough to accommodate the horizontal version.

For the organized planner (side spiralbound): The Rhodia Spiralbound Meeting Book is the planner’s dream. This side spiralbound allows an all-in-one record of meeting discussions, decision and action items. You can review the meeting or event with one glance, having all of your plans and notes together on one page.

Color Coordinated (top spiralbound): Clairefontaine’s Classic Top Spiralbound Notepad blends the best of both colors per cover. Plus, it includes either lined or graph paper, so it’s perfect for in the classroom or in the office. It’s even great for playing paper and line games where you need the graphing boxes.

Editor’s Note: Like stapled notepads better? Check out Kelly’s article detailing Top vs. Side Staplebound Notepads.

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 Meet the Writer: Kelly McLendon is a freelance writer and journalist with a passion for paper products—particularly eco-friendly ones. Follow her articles on our blog to learn all about paper products.

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