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Archive | February, 2012

Why Stationery is Important + Free Printable

29 Feb

Whether you write a quick note or a full-blown letter to a loved one or friend, any paper product will do. Truly. However, if you take the time to consider what you are writing on and with, you’ll see that you are creating an experience for the recipient. You are also creating an experience for yourself. The act of writing a letter was (and still should be) a way to connect with the recipient and to allow the recipient to connect with you. When you opt for stationery that has been customized, you are opting for a deeper experience.

Personal stationery became popular in the Victorian era and we still have remnants of this tradition today. It is most common in business situations; however, a revival of personal, customized stationery seems to be taking place, at least in the USA.

Stationery selection is really an art form. When you are writing a letter to someone, whether it be a thank you note or a letter for pleasure, one should select the stationery based upon the recipient and the purpose of your writing. The stationery should also be a reflection of who you are as well.

Choose your stationery in relation to the importance of your note. If you are sending an important letter; choose classic, important stationery. Traditionally, avoid using day-to-day paper (like notebook paper or computer paper) because it is everywhere, it is cheap and it is associated with other tasks, like homework and printing out reports and documents. You do not want your recipient to associate your special letter with homework or a work project!

Choose your stationery with the same amount of care you give to the words you put on the page.

To get you started, I’ve included a downloadable PDF of stationery you can customize! Click the following link for a letterhead made specially for you to download and use –> EPC-Stationery-Pomegranate-Editable

Free printable with a pomegranate from EuropeanPaper.com

Click to enlarge.

The image that appears on the upper right corner of the letterhead is a Grenadier Punica (aka Pomegranate) and was illustrated in the early 1800s. Fruits were a common addition to personal stationery and they would often appear in borders or as full-blown illustrations. The pomegranate represents fruitfulness and growth. This is a great choice for congratulatory letters or letters bearing good news.

The printable stationery set is customizable if you so choose. The file prints two sheets to one, 8.5” x 11” piece of paper. Fold it in half and cut it right down the middle. Each half-sheet folded in half fits perfectly into an A2 envelope.

To customize your stationery with your name and address, just open the PDF and click on the areas that have text. If you don’t want any text, just delete it and click save, then print. If you want to customize it with your name and contact information, simply click on the text and type what you want, save it and print it! The font and color of the font are already programmed in so it matches the image perfectly.

I’ll have another download for you in a few weeks. Let us know what you think of this resource and if you’d like more!

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Meet the Writer: Cole Imperi is a business owner and a proponent of the handwritten word. When not at Doth Brands, a Branding & Identity firm catering to the health, wellness & deathcare professions where Cole works as Owner and Creative Director, you might find her on her yoga mat teaching yoga or behind a laptop writing for Simplicity Embellished, a letter-writing and lifestyle blog.

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Live Your Life in Color: Paper and Color Theory

28 Feb

Leuchtturm Journals on EuropeanPaper.comHave you ever noticed how many restaurants use red? Next time you go out to eat, keep an eye out for how many establishments have red logos or signs, red-hued menus or table linens, and even red décor. It’s no coincidence: Psychologists have long recognized that red stimulates appetite.

Marketers and social scientists study colors and how they affect people across industries. The effects of each color have been studied and interpreted and are used as a common, subconscious way to sway a consumer. However, it’s not just for industry professionals; you can leverage the benefits of color theory, too!

Be Productive (or at least make others think you’re productive)

Choose blue. As you go about your workday, notice how many corporations use blue in their logos and on their websites. Most shades of blue convey trust and honesty. Light blue presents calm and focus, while darker shades of blue exude power – think of a navy suit. Consider painting your office your favorite shade of blue or, if you don’t get to choose your paint colors, add in blue accents with photos, desk accessories, or even a light blue journal (like the Leuchtturm1917 Pocket Ruled Journal).

Calm Those Shaky Nerves

Moleskine Volant Mini Ruled Notebook (Set of 2) (2.5 x 4) on EuropeanPaper.com

Moleskine Volant Mini Ruled Notebook (Set of 2)

Confrontations are part of business life. No one likes to deal with tense, stressful, or ugly meetings, but when you must, settle your nerves by taking minutes in a lavender Moleskine notebook. Lavender is known to be a calming color. You’ll help yourself feel a little more settled – and, who knows? It may rub off on your colleagues! And, since those Moleskine sets come with both lavender and purple, use the purple when you want to convey wisdom. Deeper purples, long considered royal colors, convey dignity, wealth, and success.

Snap Out of a Creative Funk

Whatever you do, skip brown! Brown has a reputation for being boring and just too practical. Instead, focus on bright cover colors. While a bright red could do the trick, your best bet might be a sunny yellow, which will help give you energy. To up your creative spark, take yellow Rite in Rain notebook outdoors to gather inspiration! (Read more about Rite in the Rain on our blog here.)

Convey Your Excitement

Demonstrate your enthusiasm for a new project or generate a little excitement with orange. Brighter orange shows a youthful, peppier optimism, while a darker-hued orange shows warmth. The Rhodia collection seems tailor-made for displaying bright, cheerful, excitement! Not an orange person? Consider a simple orange pencil from Rhodia instead of bigger splashes of the color.

Clairefontaine Basics Large Spiralbound Notebook With Pockets (6 x 8.25) on EuropeanPaper.com

Clairefontaine Basics Large Spiralbound Notebook with Pockets

Show Eco-Prowess

Convey to your colleagues that you are an all-natural, environmentally-conscious consumer with a green notebook. The color green evokes a down-to-earth vibe and symbolizes growth. However, green also is considered the color of envy and lack of experience – so choose a shade or hue that is found in nature, like muted tones, olive greens, or rich, leafy shades.

Control the Boardroom

In color theory, black is a neutral. Slick black is associated with power, elegance, and formality. Run meetings with a hardcover, black Moleskine to convey sophistication. Black also can be used to display a modern or traditional sensibility – so leverage black to enhance your natural style.

In the end, though, whether you select colors to help adjust your own mood or to subtly sway those around you, make sure you choose ones you like as well! If pink makes you happy, pick pink!

 

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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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Monday Morning Review Round-up

27 Feb

Ink Reviews

East West Everywhere: Caran d’Ache SaffronSailor Jentle Grenade

PenInkCillin: Noodler’s Polar Green

Does This Pen Make Me Look Fat?: Noodler’s Ottoman Rose

Notebook/Planner Reviews

Notebook Stories: PH Notebook

Life Imitates Doodles: New Tangle Pattern Malacca & Review of the Moleskine Volant Journal

Well Appointed Desk: Moleskine Peanuts Weekly Planner + Notes

Pen/Pencil Reviews

Lost Scribe: Midori Brass Ballpoint Pen

Grease Monkey Hands: Namiki Prera

Recording Thoughts: Cross Townsend

Pens & Paper: Parker Slimfold Pen

Well-Appointed Desk: Modern Budget Fountain PensThe Hunt Continues ..

FPGeeks: Lamy Safari Fountain Pen

Daydreamers Welcome: Zebra Sarasa Clip 0.3mm

Pencil Talk: Red and Blue pencils from Berol México, Caran d’Ache, and LinexMitsubishi NanoDia pencil

Blackwing: No Ordinary Pencil

Stamp Reviews

Your Postal Blog: Post Office Landing & Grand Canyon State

 

Friday Blogger Tuck-ins

24 Feb

1 –>  A bit of neat history this week from Annie at Scribbling Glue about zip codes: The Life and Times of Mr. Zip (a.k.a. Zone Improvement Plan).

2 –> Over at the Good Pens blog, Seth interviews the pen guys from Baltz Fine Writing.

3 –> Misty, a.k.a. The Pen Thief, made some great points regarding whether or not the Post Office should cut Saturday’s service. It is a must-read for all snail mailers, mail artists, and writers alike.

4 –> This is Colossal shared the Alphabet Typography (pictured below) created by Yale graduates Caspar Lam and YuJune Park. “Alphabet Topography is a physical examination of letterforms as it relates to usage frequency.”

See more of the project by clicking the image.

5 –> Laurie at Plannerisms gives some tips on how to create your own planner layout within a regular notebook.

6 –> FPGeeks went above and beyond at the 2012 LA Pen Show and photographed some lovely pens, plus they’ve got a couple of videos of the show you should check out too. Here is their Friday Recap, Saturday Recap, and Video Highlights.

7 –>  We thought you’d get a kick out of Mary Katrantzou‘s latest fashion show for Fall 2012 where she uses images of pencils, typewriters, circular telephone dials, and more. (Originally seen on Honestly WTF blog.)

Click the image to see more images on Honestly WTF's blog.

8 –> Blackwing wrote up a phenomenal post tracking the history of their Blackwing 602 pencil (h/t MLeddy at Orange Crate Art).


 

A Guide to Recycled Paper

23 Feb

There was a time when recycled paper came in two hues: washed-out gray and off-yellow. Now, recycled paper is available in a rainbow of colors, a range of materials, and even with custom printing options. But not all recycled paper is created equal!

Buying recycled paper reduces the amount of waste ending up in the landfill. It also saves energy – recycled paper uses much less energy to produce – and recycling causes less air and water pollution than manufacturing “virgin” paper. However, make sure you’re getting the biggest environmentally friendly bang for your buck. Keep in mind a few recycled paper definitions that will help you choose the most eco-friendly option whether you’re buying journals, stationery, or even office supplies!

Post-Consumer Waste vs. Pre-Consumer Waste

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recycled paper must be made from at least 30% post-consumer waste. That means that 30% has been used by a consumer, turned into a recycling program, and then reused to make new paper. Pre-consumer waste, on the other hand, uses scraps left over from the paper manufacturing process. While it’s good to use up that waste, it’s even better to eliminate it from the paper production process altogether, which means buying paper with the highest post-consumer waste content that you can find. For example, the Mudlark notecards boast 80% post-consumer waste, a very eco-friendly choice for writing that thank you note!

Recycled Content

You might find paper products labeled with a “recycled content” or “contains recycled content” claim. In these cases, the product has less than 30% post-consumer waste or contains only pre-consumer waste. While it’s great to buy products that use any amount of recycled content, these paper options are on the low end of the eco-friendly paper scale.

Chlorine Free

You might see a number of chlorine-related claims on paper products. The bottom line: The chlorine bleaching process produces tons of toxins that may disrupt our immune systems. If you’re looking for top-shelf eco-friendly paper products, you want to find the “100% chlorine free” claim, which means the virgin paper wasn’t bleached with chlorine at any point, or – even better – the “processed chlorine free” claim, which indicates that the recycled content wasn’t bleached with chlorine.

Acid Free

Acid-free paper production neutralizes the acids that occur in wood pulp to create longer-lasting paper that won’t yellow over time. The paper itself can last from 500 to 1,000 years, which has made it appealing to archivists and scrapbookers, but that long-lasting feature has made it a subject of numerous eco-debates. However, the process to make the paper is significantly more environmentally friendly than the process to produce standard paper. So don’t choose paper simply because it’s acid free; choose a paper that is environmentally responsible in some other way and is acid-free.

Tree-Free Fiber

A tree-free fiber claim on a paper product means that material was derived from a source other than trees. These tree-free options are usually a little more expensive but provide you with the most sustainable paper option. Tree-free fibers include animal poop, hemp, textile scraps, sugar cane husks, and more. Check out the Cherry Blossoms Large Lokta Journal or the Poo Poo Paper Elephant Silhouette Journal for tree-free fiber options.

Sustainable Certifications

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC) are both non-profit, non-governmental organizations that promote responsible forest management. Seals from these organizations indicate that paper has been approved in their certification processes. As is the case whenever multiple organizations provide the same function, there is significant debate over which certification is better; in North America, it seems the preference is for the FSC seal.

Finally, to score more eco-friendly points, look for recycled paper that is printed with soy-based ink. Traditional ink is petroleum-based, so soy is a gentler alternative.

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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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NEW Moleskine Passions Journals

22 Feb

The ever-popular Passions Journals from Moleskine have some new additions! They make it fun and easy to keep track of your favorite things in signature Moleskine style.

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The Moleskine Passions Chocolate Journal is for chocolate enthusiasts and professionals alike. Write all about the intricacies of chocolate and organize them in 4 themed sections and 4 blank tabbed sections; plus you can use the 202 adhesive labels to personalize the journal. Reference the map of cacao varieties and the glossary of chocolate making, then you still have room to catalog chocolate making, tasting notes, recipes, events, and shops.

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The Moleskine Passions Restaurant Journal is the perfect place to record all gourmet indulgences. The 240-page journal has space to chronicle restaurant, bar, and cafe notes, as well as chef’s tips and your wish list. Easily organize your passion with 5 themed sections, 5 blank tabbed sections, and 202 adhesive labels to personalize the journal.

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The Moleskine Passions Beer Journal is an indispensable companion for the casual beer drinker and the beer connoisseur. This 240-page (120 leave) journal not only has a glossary, pouring tips and glass types, it has tasting notes, a homebrewing log, space for your recipes, your cellar, and your favorite beer addresses. Easily organize your passion with 5 themed sections, 5 blank tabbed sections, and 202 adhesive labels to personalize the journal.

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The Moleskine Passions Home Life Journal is the ideal extension of your personal space. This 240-page journal has space to fully plan out changes in the home, organize related small or large jobs, and keep all your interior design inspiration in one place. Easily organize your passion with 6 themed sections, 6 blank tabbed sections, and 202 adhesive labels to personalize the journal.

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The Moleskine Passions Art Journal is your personal art gallery all in one. This 240-page (120 leave) journal has a leading exhibitions calendar, art history timeline, and space for jotting down your art inspirations and impressions. Easily organize your passion with 5 themed sections, 5 blank tabbed sections, and 202 adhesive labels to personalize the journal.

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We’ve got so many of the Moleskine Passions Journals to choose from now: Recipe, Wine, Book, Film, Music, Wellness, Baby, Dog, Cat, Gardening, Style, and Travel (beside the above 5). Do you own one of the previous Moleskine Passions Journals? Tell us your honest opinion if the Passions Journal works for you or not. We’d love to know!

 

Monday Morning Review Round-up

20 Feb

Ink Reviews

Gourmet Pens: De Atramentis Wine Series Scented Merlot Ink

Peninkcillin: Noodler’s Kung Te-Cheng ink review

Peaceable Writer: Writing Down the Ink: A Daily Blue

Seize the Dave: Rohrer and Klingner Scabiosa

Notebook/Planner Reviews

Stationery Review: Behance “Action Book”

Life Imitates Doodles: Bleedthrumanade in Moleskine & Review of the Moleskine Squared Notebook

Pen/Pencil Reviews

FPGeeks: Noodler’s Ahab Flex Fountain Pen

A Penchant for Paper: Stabilo Pen 68

East, West, Everywhere: Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto

From the Pen Cup: Fisher Space Pen

Lost Scribe: Smencil, the gourmet scented pencil

The Pen Thief: Zebra Makes a Fountain Pen

Quo Vadis Blog: Fisher Space Pen

Rhonda Eudaly: The Pentel Tradio Stylo Fountain Pen

Stationery Review: Crayola Twistables Crayons

Tiger Pens: Artline 204 FaxBlac 0.4mm Review

No Pen Intended: Schrade Tactical Fountain Pen / Rollerball Pen

Stamps

The Pen Thief: Danny Thomas

Letter Writers Alliance: Love Stamp Release

 

Friday Blogger Tuck-ins

17 Feb

1 –>  We’re still not sure what to think of this, but we had to share and ask your opinion on it. This story appeared on our Twitter feed and just begged to be clicked on: The world’s best pencil sharpener teaches his secrets … is this story for real?

2 –> Tiger Pens piqued our interest with their discovery of this pen/writing-inspired rest stop located in Iowa.

3 –> It is the week of love, so we’d be remiss to not mention several Valentine’s Day posts. The Pen Thief addresses the history of Valentine’s Day; Good Mail Day mentions a story about Valentine, Nebraska,; and Dana at Save Snail Mail reminds us the reality of love letters with her post on Virginia Woolf’s letters.

4 –> Laurie at Plannerisms brings up the conversation again regarding analog versus digital planning. Recording Thoughts also weighs in on analog versus digital for recall purposes.

5 –> The Peaceable Writer posted an incredibly well-done and thorough review of multiple blue inks and finally narrowed down the choices … but you’ll have to check out the post to find out all the details!

6 –> Misty at the Pen Thief is hosting a contest for people who have always wanted to make their own stamp! The deadline is March 1st, so you have some time, but check out her blog for the full details.

7 –>  Sheila at Does This Pen Make Me Look Fat is also hosting a random drawing for a Jinhao X750. Entries close at midnight on Saturday though so you’ll want to hurry!

8 –> The 365 Letters Blog did a great round-up of LOVE stamps, and informed us that on Valentine’s Day “fans of 19th century poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were given online access to a collection of 573 letters the two exchanged from 1845 to 1846.” Click through to read more.


 

The Birth of the Book Letter

16 Feb

Two of my favorite things on the planet are books and letters. About two years ago, I created a way to combine them—a Book Letter. It sounds simple enough, and it can be as elaborate or straightforward as you’d like to make it, but I promise it will be something treasured forever by the recipient of your choice.

What is a Book Letter?

I love writing letters and far prefer the long missive that goes on for some pages, like a long, in-depth conversation with someone you enjoy spending time with. Short notes have their place, of course, but long letters are definitely more of a treasure to hold onto and re-read. However, long letters take time and thought, and in this busy age of quick text messages and emails, it is quite rare for people to write extremely long letters, especially in one sitting.

The Birth of the Book Letter by Tamra Orr on EuropeanPaper.com

Enter the Book Letter. Basically, you take a small notebook (2 by 4 inches, or pocket-sized, which is 3.5 by 5.5 inches), dedicate it to one person, and start writing letters in it whenever you get a chance. They can be long or short, and once the book is filled up, it’s time to send it off to the lucky person. This is the first iteration of the Book Letter—simple, efficient, and practical.

If you’d like to develop a more complex Book Letter, give it some depth. Keep an eye out during your daily routine for items the recipient would like. Perhaps such items like a newspaper clipping of a review for a play they like; snippets of a friendship poem you came across online; a quote that reminded you of the person, some funny cartoons and other small paper “tuck-ins.” These can be glued into the small notebook, taped onto a page, or just tucked in.

Once you get the hang of it, each Book Letter will be easier and quicker to create. Start deciding ahead of time what else will go in your Book Letter other than just your handwritten letters. Keep a small collection of items to tuck in the next Book Letter, as well as some small notebooks whenever the feeling grabs you to start a new one.

My Book Letter Process

Personally, when I start a new Book Letter to someone, the first thing I do is decorate the inside page with the name of the person I am sending the letter to. I typically use calligraphy pens and stickers to do this and often add the date.

Next, I choose a theme for the book letter—anything from Victorian elegance or going “green” to highlighting a specific season or holiday.  (I use scrapbooking supplies for much of this.) Once I’ve chosen the theme, I go through the notebook, page by page, and add stickers and borders. If I was remotely artistic, I would add sketches and drawings. So if you are artistic, this is a great place to show off your talent.

Now it’s time to decide what “tuck ins” will go with this letter. Maybe it’s pictures of my kids opening their Christmas presents or watering the plants in the garden. Maybe it’s a newspaper article or a magazine column of interest. It might be a funny cartoon that made you laugh or a copy of a quote from a book that had an impact on you. Truly, there are no limits. Just choose something that reflects who you are and who you are writing to.

Finally, I start writing the letter itself, skipping around the tuck-ins and filling up the pages.  I write a few pages and then put the letter away for a day or two before adding more words. Eventually the Book Letter is ready—a true gift for whomever it is sent to.

Ready to try your own book letter? Start by choosing a small notebook. Some great examples include Apica’s CD-10, 11 and 15 Series, Moleskine’s Volant Notebooks, and Rhodia’s Pocket Unlimited Notebooks. These notebooks come in all sizes, with as few as 10-12 pages or as many as 150. They can be lined or unlined. What kind you choose is up to you, but remember that filling up much more than 30 pages or so can be challenging. I recommend starting small.

Book Letter Tips

Next, add stickers, pictures, drawings/illustrations, whatever you would like to decorate your pages. Finally, start writing. You might write two pages today, put it away for a week and then add a few more. I’ve been known to complete a book letter in one sitting—and take almost a month.

Remember that a book letter is like an art project – there is no right or wrong way to do it. There is simply YOUR way of doing it. It will reflect your thoughts and your time and there are few gifts as worthwhile as that.

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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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New Brands on the Horizon

15 Feb

We’re opening the doors wide and are looking into all kinds of new brands to bring onto EuropeanPaper.com. We want to know what YOU are dying to get your hands on. Choose one or more of the brands listed, or add another we haven’t thought of – all are welcome!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, EPC

14 Feb

Top:
Meadowbrook Farm Blog’s ”Manual is a Must
Dottie Angel’s “Have a Heart” How-To

Middle:
MyPipSqueak’s “I’m so in love with you journal”
EPC’s Moleskine Love Stack

Bottom:
Design Sponge’s “DIY Heart-Shaped Paper Clips”

Monday Morning Review Round-up

13 Feb

Notebook/Planner Reviews

Gourmet Pens: Miquelrius Red Soft Bound Journal

Plannerisms: Holborn Zip personal size Filofax

Stationery Review: Typo 2012 Calendars – 15cm X 15cm

Pen/Pencil Reviews

Peninkcillin: Cheap Nib Flossing Tool

From the Pen Cup: Zebra Surari 4-Color Emulsion Ink Multi Pen

Well-Appointed Desk: Zig Letter Pen Cocoiro & Uni Style Fit

Stationery Review: Papermate Kilometrico i-Colours

No Pen Intended: Zebra Arbez Piirto Ballpoint Pen

FPGeeks: Aurora 88 Large Fountain Pen

Pens, Paper, Whatever: Featured Pen – Waterman 42 Safety

Pocket Blonde: Kaweco Classic Sport Ballpoint Pen

Multi-Pen Dimensions: Muji Gel Ink Ballpoint Pen Hexagona