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Archive | July, 2012

Embellished Paperblanks and Profiles

30 Jul

Embellished-Manuscripts from Paperblanks on

We are so pleased that Paperblanks profiled us on their blog! Check out their retailer profile on EPC here. And if you have any questions about us that weren’t answered in the profile, ask in the comments section of this blog post!

We adore carrying Paperblanks journals on our site as their books have the most durable binding method for high-quality journals; each signature is sewn rather than glued. The pages open nicely, and lie flat for ease of writing. No lost pages in these journals! See Paperblanks’ brand page on EPC here, and read their brand story on our blog here.

Planners So Cool Your Dog Won’t Eat It*

25 Jul

Moleskine Academic Planners 2012-2013 on

Moleskine Academic Planners 2012-2013 on

Monday Morning Review Round-up

23 Jul

Notebook/Planner Reviews

East, West, Everywhere: “Keep it Green” Alfabet Recycle Notebook
Rite in the Rain All-Weather Field Book
Muji Agenda Weekly Refill and dot-grid memo

Life Imitates Doodles: Exacompta Basic Pocket Portfolio

Ethereal Voices: Piccadilly Wir-o Journal

MsLogica: Daycraft Slab Notebook

Inkophile: Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks, Part 1 & Part 2

Stationery Review: Typo Blank/Ruled A5 Notebook

Pen/Pencil Reviews

On Fountain Pens: Faber-Castell: Basic Fountain Pen

Pentorium: Lamy Safari Fountain Pen Review

Dave’s Mechanical Pencils: Parafernalia Revolution Mechanical Pencil

Comfortable Shoes Studio: Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper
Reflect on 2 years of Drawing Practice

A Penchant for Paper: Zebra Jimnie Ballpoint



Connect the Dots with Rhodia dotPads [Poll]

17 Jul

Shop all Rhodia dotPads on

For other ideas on how to use dot paper, check out Bonnie Jean’s guest post here on our blog, The Joy of Dots.

How to Write a Letter to a New Penpal

16 Jul

I remember my first pen pal, her name was Christele and she was a French student in a small school outside of Paris.  We were paired up by our respective schools to write to each other – for us to improve our French and for them to improve their English.  It has been over 20 years.  Not only are we still friends, we still write each other letters.  We have never spoken on the phone, seen each other in person or written an email to each other.  Our friendship is purely handwritten.

See all Stationery on

I can remember my trepidation writing my first letter to her.  What paper should I use, what color ink, what would I say?! The thoughts overwhelmed me.  In the end, I decided on my favorite purple letter sheet with a matching envelope and my favorite fountain pen with dark eggplant ink.

Writing to someone you have never met is daunting.  What do you say?  How do you start and end the letter, and what do you ask?

First you must decide on the tone.  To this day, I tend to write like I speak, so my tone is fairly informal.  It works for me, so I stick with that.  I write like I am in a personal conversation; I ask questions and then answer them myself.  Nothing too personal, but just enough to get to know who I am.

Always start with an introduction – your name, where you’re from, and a little bit about yourself.  It is the jumping off point, a place where you can start building your friendship.  Then go into sharing with your new friend a few of your hobbies. For example, if you like reading, what are your favorite books and what are you currently reading? What kind of music or movies do you enjoy?  Remember to ask questions, too. Even though this is a letter, you are expecting a response – ask your new penpal what their hobbies are, what life is like in their town/city/country.

Consider also including a photo of yourself (if not in the first letter, then the second).  It is good to be able to put a face to a name!  As my friendship grew with Christele, we exchanged photos of us growing up, so I have a visual record of our friendship!  She even sent me a picture of her with her entire extended family!  I have sent her pictures of me on my most important days of my life.

My first letter to Christele led to hundreds of letters back and forth.  We talked about school, then university, then life as a young adult; we wrote through boyfriends and jobs, moves, hopes and dreams.  Now we talk about our children, our careers, our futures.  On my fridge I have a picture of her with her beautiful family, because through our letters, through that first written word, we became friends.  And it is a friendship that has crossed decades, language and an ocean.


Meet the Writer: Akhila Jagdish is a writer and editor in the process of starting her own editorial services company, The Crafted Word. She loves making lists, collecting journals, reading, drinking wine and cooking. 


All Things French in Honor of Bastille Day

13 Jul

All French Paper Items on

Tomorrow, July 14th, is Bastille Day! ‘Bastille Day’ is the English term for the French National Day (a.k.a. La Fête Nationale), which commemorates the anniversary of the 1789 French Revolution when the modern people rose up against the monarchy. Akin to Independence Day in the U.S., Bastille Day highlights the importance of the new government after the uprising. Celebrate the day with a plethora of the finest French paper goods!

1) Clairefontaine Large Vintage Notebooks (5.75 x 8.25) (Set of 2)

2) J. Herbin Calligraphy Ink

3) Sennelier Esquisse D1 Drawing Pad (9.5 x 13.5)

4) Sennelier Calligraphy Pad (8.25 x 11.25)

5) Rhodia 2012-13 Academic Large Weekly Planner (6.25 x 9.5)

6) G. Lalo Verge de France Correspondence Sets (3.75 x 6)

7) Quo Vadis University #28 (No. 2801) Academic Planner Refill (4 x 6)

8) Clairefontaine Classic Pocket Side Spiralbound Notebook (3.5 x 5.5)

Check out all Brands from France: Clairefontaine, G. Lalo, J. Herbin, Quo Vadis, Rhodia, Sennelier

How to Write With a Fountain Pen

12 Jul

How to Write with a Fountain Pen by Cole Imperi for EuropeanPaper.comIf you are looking for something new this school season (whether you are in school or not!) then you may want to look at a fountain pen. Fountain pens come in all kinds of makes and models, colors and styles and each produces a different ‘look.’

No matter what fountain pen you have; whether it’s a $2 drugstore find or a $1,000 special edition, it’s important to understand what the tool was designed for so you use it properly. It’s also useful to find other people who use fountain pens and ask them for their tips and advice. That said, here are my tips for how to write with fountain pens (and I’ve been writing with them since I was in grade school … and my collection of them is overflowing):

A Fountain Pen is Not a Ballpoint Pen

Image courtesy of Cole ImperiBallpoint pens require pressure in order for them to work. Pressing down and sliding the tip of the pen across the page produces an line of ink. It’s the pressure that turns the ‘ball’ that allows the ink to adhere to the paper. That said, a fountain pen does not work the same way. Now, that’s not to say you can’t hold and use a fountain pen the same way you do a ballpoint, but recognize they work in totally different ways. You can literally just rest a fountain pen on paper and glide it very gently across the page and you’ll get ink flow.

Relax Your Grip

Most of us grip our pens pretty tightly. When you use a fountain pen, don’t grip as hard as you normally would. Try writing with the pen mostly ‘resting’ in your hand. Allow the nib to slide across the page. There really is no need to press down and drag the nib to release ink (unless you are going for that effect or are using something like a flexible nibbed pen).

Just Getting Started? Write Smart.

If you are just getting used to a fountain pen, it’s best to start writing things when you have a little time. Scrawling out a shopping list on the dashboard of your car in front of the grocery store that’s about to close is not a very good time to start using a fountain pen. When you are just getting the feel for it, make sure you have some time on your hands—or at least enough time to write a little slower.

It’s also important to spend some of that initial time just holding the pen in different ways as you write. You will probably have a preference for how to hold it but only after you play around a little to find it!

Write Often

Now, I know I just said above that you should take time to write, but I mean especially at first. Once you get the feel for it—the feel of it in your hand and how to hold it—by all means open the floodgates! The more you write, the better you’ll get. You may even begin to notice changes in the appearance of your handwriting (for the better!).

Try Lots of Pens

One day, you may find yourself with a fountain pen collection. This is normal and happens to anyone that finds they enjoy the ‘experience’ of a fountain pen. The reason people who like fountain pens generally have at least two or three at a minimum is because each pen has its own personality. You’ll find that you prefer certain pens in certain seasons of the year, or for certain activities. Right now, I use my white LAMY Safari for general daily notes and list making. I use my vintage Prosperity Pens 14kt nibbed flex pen for letter writing and I keep a Kaweco Sport in my purse. In a month or two, I’ll bring out my Pilot Cavalier and my Sheaffer Agio (I love these pens in autumn and winter!). A fountain pen enhances the actual act of writing, and the more you write the more you’ll notice certain pens are ‘better’ at the time than others. Fountain pens are an expression of the mood you’re in.

Take Care of Your Pens

As you use fountain pens more and more, you’ll pick up your own habits. However, I’m going to say this and I may upset some true diehard fountain pen aficionados, but if the only thing you ever do is flush your pens regularly with water and let them thoroughly dry, you are set. I essentially treat my antique pens the same way I treat my new pens and I’ve never had a problem.

Do Your Homework

Whether you are buying a cheaper fountain pen or an expensive one, make sure you do your homework. Read about the pen, the company that makes it, and customer reviews. Search blogs for reviews on the pens you are interested in. A few minutes of research is time well-spent on a writing instrument you’ll treasure and use forever.

Do you have a fountain pen tip to share? If so, please add them in the comments!


Meet the WriterCole 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.


Editor’s Note: This is the fifth article in the How to Write series. Read the others here:

How to Write: Sympathy Notes

How to Write: Ideal Business Correspondence Notes

How to Write: Friendship / Appreciation Notes

How to Write: Thank You Notes

The Extravagant Tale of a Mere Pencil: Palomino & Blackwing

11 Jul

See all Palomino and Blackwing products on

Let us start out by saying that for the die-hard fans of the original Blackwing pencils reading this, it is not a fully comprehensive post of Blackwing, and we know that. The history, excitement, and controversy that surrounds Blackwing pencils is much too long to begin with. Which makes it that much more enticing to bring on our site! Over time we hope to do justice to the Blackwing story. Sooo (drumroll please … ), we’re thrilled to introduce Palomino products and their Blackwing Pencils (hard & soft lead) to’s audience!

Blackwing Origins

It all starts with Johann Eberhard Faber (b. 1822; d. 1879), a descendant of the famous Bavarian pencil manufacturing family, Faber. While he ultimately spent his career life in America and established the first lead pencil factory in New York, he kept close ties (and the same level of high quality pencils) with the Faber pencil factories back in Germany. Even though he did not personally see the launch of the Blackwing pencil, as it wasn’t created until the 1930′s, Johann Eberhard Faber’s family standard of pencils was upheld throughout the decades to produce the ‘best pencil ever made,’ as many have dubbed the Blackwing.

When it first launched in the 1930′s, the Blackwing 602 pencil took off in popularity and was celebrated by famous writers and artists such as John Steinbeck, Vladimir Nabokov, and Chuck Jones over the years. The Blackwing 602 became famous in its own right, not just due to the well-recognized names who boasted of the pencil, but for two design reasons: first, the unique lead that seamlessly glided across the page, and second, the now-iconic rectangular ferrule and eraser that could be replaced easily.

Ultimately, Eberhard Faber was bought by Faber-Castell USA in 1988; then in 1994, Faber-Castell was bought by Sanford Corp. (a division of Newell-Rubbermaid). The Blackwing had survived the turnovers, but was destined to eventually run out as the machine that made the clips for the eraser ferrule was broken for years and never fixed.

When the Blackwing eraser ferrule stock ran out in 1998, Sanford decided not to fix the original machine, and with that the Blackwing pencil’s time was over. Granted, it had built such a name for itself that when it ran out, collectors snatched up every last one and Blackwing pencils would sell on eBay for up to $40, creating an even larger reputation.

Palomino Picks up the Pieces

Palomino Blackwing Soft Graphite Pencils (12 ct.) on

Palomino Blackwing Soft Graphite Pencils 12 ct. on

At this point, Palomino, a division of California Cedar Products Company, “the world’s largest producer of wooden pencil slats,” according to their website, picked up the trademark. In 2010, Palomino CEO Charles Berolzheimer, a pencil maker with several generations in the business just like Eberhard Faber, used his unique supply relationships to re-introduce the Blackwing pencil.

However, the “Palomino Blackwing” was slightly modified (made best for artists with an even softer lead) and original Blackwing aficionados balked at the design changes. The power of the Blackwing community pushed Berolzheimer to stick to the trusted Blackwing formula. So in 2011, Palomino came out with the “Blackwing 602,” a homage to the original, best for devotees, writers, and everyday users, for its ability to hold a point.

Form & Function: Why Blackwing Pencils Kick … Butt

Whether you go for the soft or firm lead (or both), the Blackwing pencils from Palomino are guaranteed an instant classic in your daily arsenal.

Palomino Blackwing 602 Firm Graphite Pencils (12 ct.) on

Palomino Blackwing 602 Firm Graphite Pencils 12 ct. on

The Palomino Blackwing 602 Firm Graphite Pencil is finely crafted from cedar wood and finished with a thick metallic grey coating. It’s embossed with gold lettering on the sides, detailing “Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed.” Ideal for writers, the firm lead puts down an incredibly smooth line without having to be sharpened after each word. The original, unique rectangular black eraser even pops out so you can replace it after whittling it down after writing your masterpiece. Available in a box of 12 pencils, the Palomino Blackwing 602 Firm Graphite Pencil is the classic 602 you’ve been seeking.

Similar, but oh-so-subtly different, the Palomino Backwing Soft Graphite Pencil is also finely crafted from cedar wood, but finished with a thick metallic black coating (instead of grey). Embossed also with the gold lettering on the sides, this time simply reading “Palomino Blackwing.” Made with soft lead (instead of firm lead like the 602), it is best for illustrators and artists, but of course it can still be used by writers and everyday users. It also comes with a white rectangular eraser that pops out so you can replace it after whittling it down after drawing the day away. Available in a box of 12 pencils, the Palomino Blackwing Soft Graphite Pencil is the ultimate go-to for artists and creatives.

Whichever you prefer, we know you’ll fall in love. Check out all Palomino on here.

Moleskine and Macs: What Fits? Part 2

10 Jul

Moleskine Digital Device Covers on EuropeanPaper.comOne of our most popular blog posts - Moleskine Laptop Cases – What Fits - deals with matching the right-sized Moleskine Laptop Case with your preferred laptop, tablet, or other electronic device.

However, the majority of people searching to connect the two are Apple users. It makes sense – both communities are packed with creatives and professionals, the products are sleek and iconic, and once you start using an Apple or Moleskine product, you tend to pick them all up. Therefore, this post is dedicated to (most) every Apple product in tablet or laptop form and the correct corresponding Moleskine Laptop Case.


Moleskine Laptop Case - 10 inch on

Moleskine Laptop Case - 10 inch - on


What fits in a  10-inch Moleskine Laptop Case:

Moleskine 10-inch Laptop Case dimensions: 10.25 (H) x 7.75 (W) x 1.25 (D) inches

  • First generation iPad
    • 9.56 inches (H) x 7.47 (W) x 0.5 (D) inches
  • Second and third generation iPad
    • 9.50 inches (H) x 7.31 (W) x 0.35 (D) inches


Moleskine Laptop Case - 13 inch - on

Moleskine Laptop Case - 13 inch - on


What fits in a 13-inch Moleskine Laptop Case:

Moleskine 13-inch Laptop Case dimensions: 13.0 (H) x 9.0 (W) x 1.25 (D) inches

  • Original polycarbonate MacBook released in 2006
    • 12.78 (H) x 8.92 (W) x 1.08 (D) inches
  • Aluminum MacBook released in 2008
    • 12.78 (H) x 8.94 (W) x 0.94 (D) inches
  • MacBook Air 11″
    • 11.8 (H) x 7.56 (W) x 0.68 (D) inches


Moleskine Laptop Case - 15 inch - on

Moleskine Laptop Case - 15 inch - on


What fits in a 15-inch Moleskine Laptop Case:

Moleskine 15-inch Laptop Case dimensions: 14.5 (H) x 10.5 (W) x 1.57 (D) inches

  • Polycarbonate MacBook released in late 2009
    • 13.00 (H) x 9.12 (W) x 1.09 (D) inches
    • Same as the MacBook Air, this model is a bit of a tight squeeze in the 13-inch Moleskine Laptop Case, but perfect with the 15-inch.
  • MacBook Air 13″
    • 12.8 (H) x 8.94 (W) x 0.68 (D) inches
    • Technically the MacBook Air 13-inch model should pair with the Moleskine 13-inch Laptop Case, but we’ve found it to be a tight fit. Plus, if you want to put a journal, notepad, or pretty much anything else in with it, you’ve got to have a little wiggle room. Thus the MacBook Air 13″ is paired with Moleskine’s 15-inch Laptop Case instead.
  • MacBook Pro with Retina Display (third gen of the MacBook Pro)
    • 14.13 (H) x 9.73 (W) x 0.71 (D) inches

We didn’t include the dimensions for the Apple Powerbook lines as we assumed there’s a good chance no one uses them anymore. If you’ve got a different Apple product than the ones listed above, let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!

We’re also matching up the other Moleskine Digital Device Covers to their respective Apple iProducts in a future post. Don’t miss it! Subscribe to our blog or grab our RSS feed to stay in the loop.

Guest Post: The Joy of Dots

9 Jul

I have filled up thousands of pages of notebooks with what seems like every kind of paper.

 Image Courtesy of the artist and guest blogger, Bonnie Jean Woolger

 Most wilted under the weight and wear of all the pens and glues I put on them.  Many of the bindings stretched or fell apart or at least became misshapen.  I have been enamored with graph paper of all types but most lines simply want to be more prominent in the drawing than I want them to be.

Enter the Rhodia Dot paper. It loves my pens, smooth but slightly textured, the dots are ready to be a surface — a subtle ground to hold the drawing but not interfere with the story the image tells.

 Image Courtesy of the artist and guest blogger, Bonnie Jean Woolger

Just as quickly, the dots can be a starting place for a new drawing.  They can be used to create an open space, a surface that allows the first pencil marks to open up the space on the page to become its own new world.

Finally, in a drawing with curves and organic shapes, the dots become invisible to my creative eye and are a silent partner in the creative process.  In this world of dots on smooth slightly textured paper, the dots can vanish under the lines of my pen and become the structure of a drawing.

 Image Courtesy of the artist and guest blogger, Bonnie Jean Woolger

 Thank you Rhodia Dots.


Meet the Writer: Bonnie Jean Woolger lives in Decatur, Ga., with her three dogs, one kitty, and her partner. She fills every sketchbook that she can get and makes pens out of wood. By day she works in a university library digitizing books.


Our Moleskine #DailyArsenal

6 Jul

Moleskine Notebooks, Journals, Bags & More on

1) Moleskine 18-Month Pocket Hard Cover Weekly Planner (July 12 – Dec 13)

2) Moleskine Classic Pocket Ruled Notebook (3.5 x 5.5)

3) Moleskine Click Roller Pen

4) Moleskine Highlighter Pencil Set

5) Moleskine Cahier Pocket Ruled Notebook (set of 3) (3.5 x 5.5)

6) Moleskine Digital eReader Shell Case

7) Moleskine Messenger Bag

8) Moleskine Folio A4 Squared Notebook (12 x 8.5)

9) Moleskine Volant Pocket Plain Notebook (Set of 2) (3.5 x 5.5)

Or shop all Moleskine here to find your own #dailyarsenal.

Learn to Love Planner Shopping With 5 Guidelines to Choosing Your Ideal Planner

5 Jul

Nothing is better than the thrill of picking out a new planner.  What color, type, and brand should you get?  However, with so many planners to choose from, which one is right?  As exciting as it is, it can also get overwhelming, and you may just pick up the first one you see.  But that may not be the best idea.  If you take the time to pick out a good planner, you will relish using it.

Planners and Datebooks on

When picking out a planner, you should take several things into account beforehand.  What size do you want?  How about a planner for business or personal use?  What kind of design do you prefer, something classic, or something that reflects your personality?  How much money are you willing to spend?  Do you require special function areas – like a pouch, contacts, To Do list, or a notes section?  Do you want a refillable one?

So many options exist, so let us get started!


I generally start with the feature that is the most important to me – size.  You can get planners that can fit into the back pocket of your jeans, get tossed into a small purse or the size of a book!  How do you plan on using your planner?  Do you keep your life in your planner?  If so, something sturdy and relatively bigger would be easier to write all the details in.  Do you prefer to keep your planner at home?  I keep stamps, maps, stationery, pictures of my family and random musings in the pockets of my planner.  So I wanted something that I could toss into an everyday purse!  And on days when I want to streamline, I take index cards and write out my day so I can keep track of my life.


Ahhhh, design.  You can find planners with Hello Kitty designs to planners that are a solid black/brown/red.  Design reflects personality.  I personally chose a black planner but I have added my own personal touches to it, by adding pictures, and inspirational quotes on the inside. I can still be professional while maintaining my own personality!


Planners can cost from a simple $1 to leather, refillable planners that retail at $500.  How much money are you willing to spend is entirely dependent on your preferences.  You can find a moderately priced, sturdy planner for around $30.  Make sure it has everything you want and then shop around; there are some amazing planners out there for a steal!

Special Functions

What are the little extras you want?  Most planners come with the standard contacts/addresses area and perhaps a page or two for notes.  Do you want a pocket to stash business cards, notes, stamps, stationery?  Do you want a special projects page?  If those extra features matter to you, make sure you look at planners that have those first.


Another option is getting a refillable planner and just update the inside paper sections every year.  Those can be convenient and, if you invest in a good quality planner early on, can last you for years.  You can add pockets for business cards and envelopes for your everyday bric a brac, too.

At the end of the day, the planner that you pick is the one that speaks to you.  As long as it holds everything you need it to hold, you have picked the right one.


Meet the Writer: Akhila Jagdish is a writer and editor in the process of starting her own editorial services company, The Crafted Word. She loves making lists, collecting journals, reading, drinking wine and cooking.