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Something Very Scottish About Alwych All-Weather Notebooks

31 Jul

“I never travel without my notebook – I always, always take my little black Alwych notebook. And pens. And a map of wherever I’m going. And a torch.” – Michael Palin, travel writer and Monty Python comedian

While fascinating in their own right, Alwych Notebooks are but one chapter in a long and intriguing history of Scottish printers and stationers. On the off chance that you get as excited about history as we do, here’s the background. The company—then Nisbet MacNiven—began in 1770 and moved eight miles into downtown Edinburgh, Scotland in 1788 to expand its wholesale stationery. Almost 60 years later, a pair of Cameron brothers joined the business, changing the name to MacNiven and Cameron in 1845. By 1850, another, younger, Cameron brother invented the Waverley fountain pen nib—named for Sir Walter Scott’s popular novels—with a narrow waist and upturned point. This upturned point, which functioned almost as a ball point, was intended to improve writing smoothness and be less appealing to schoolboys who enjoyed re-purposing sharp-nibbed pens as darts. Whether it was effective at decreasing schoolhouse antics or not, the production of Waverley pens was outsourced until 1900, when MacNiven and Cameron bought their own manufacturing facility in Birmingham, England and set about making fountain pens.

Unfortunately, production of the popular nib and other pens began to falter and by the 1920s, the company began shifting back into paper stationery.  The classic Alwych Notebook likely appeared by the early 1930s, contemporaneous with the then-produced Greenback ledgers and Denbigh cash books. While production has changed hands a few more times, and the Birmingham factory closed in 1964, the Alwych All-Weather Notebook has remained the same for over 80 years, even down to the styling.

There’s something very Scottish about this notebook. It’s something about the practical, utilitarian quality, made to last despite the unexpected (or quite expected!) thundershower or soft but drenching smirr. Unfortunately for fountain pen lovers, it’s manufactured for slightly less wet inks. But somehow, that too meshes with this notebook’s persona. It’s meant to be carried along on birding expeditions, archaeological digs, backpacking in rural Romania and South Africa, and to jot down notes while surveying, fishing, gardening, or building high rises in the rain. While it perfectly accompanies a morning cuppa, it loves to be out and about. And what do you know, so do we!

Shop Alwych Notebooks »

Word. The Task Masters

24 Jul

You know the feeling: you suddenly look up and it’s July. August is around the corner and back to school is looming. Your to-do lists start lengthening with last-ditch summer fun and all the projects you really meant to have done by now; even worse, those to-do lists get stuffed into pockets, scribbled-across, updated sideways, and then you’re stuck at 4 p.m. on a Thursday, remembering only that you’re forgetting something. Something important. In other words, you’re ready to try another organizational system.

But nothing too clunky or convoluted.

Sound familiar? We’ve all been there, which is why European Paper Company is so very pleased to introduce Word. Notebooks to our collection of journals. Designed with both aesthetics and functionality in mind, Word. Notebooks set out to standardize an organizational system that streamlines your lists and scribbles and helps you to get things done.


The system itself is simple and embedded in the left hand margin of these pocket notebooks. A pair of unobtrusive concentric circles—a bulls-eye—marks each line. When you add a new task to your list, fill in the internal bullet point. If the task is important (are there other kinds?), trace a circle around the outer edge. When you begin the task, add a slash to denote the progress, and when you finish, simply ‘X’ that line, and you’re ready to begin the next item on your list. Nothing clunky, and nothing convoluted about it. The ¼” ruling is aptly suited for lists, but the ruling and the system are both a pale gray Hostmann-Steinberg ink which allows you to use or disregard these guides as you would like.

At 60#, the Lynx Opaque Ultra smooth white paper stock in Word. Notebooks is relatively hefty for a pocket notebook. This paper is smooth, relatively stiff for a pocket notebook, and has a light, appealing tooth to it. It’s great with pencils (graphite loves this paper!) as well as gels and ballpoint pens.

The duo-stapled covers are 120# Environment Desert Storm smooth paper which is 100% post-consumer recycled and, like the interior, acid-free and pH-neutral. These little Word. Notebooks were designed by California-based art director Evan Walker and made entirely in the U.S.A.

If you’re ready to give organization another go, we highly suggest these Word. Notebooks. Simple and simply effective, these slip so easily into your satchel or day bag that they’re immediately available whenever a new to-do arises.

SHOP Word. Notebooks here »

Made in the USA : Our Favorite American Stationery, Journals, & More

1 Jul

GET OUT!
FIELD NOTES | Chicago, Illinois
Enjoy America the beautiful under her spacious skies! Get outside and take your Field Notes with you to record your findings.
Shop Field Notes »

HANDMADE LETTERPRESSED STATIONERY
BROOKFIELD   |  New England
The beauty and the subtlety of the hand mixed
colors, the fine vellum finish of each card, and the supreme attention to detail with each hand printed design make these an American classic.
Shop Brookfield »

all-weather paper
COAST to rainy COAST
RITE IN THE RAIN  | Tacoma, Washington
Designed to address the needs of logging industry workers in the Pacific Northwest, the new paper technology soon became popular for outdoor professionals and enthusiasts around the United States.
Shop Rite in the Rain »

Antietam Red, Baystate blue, & many more…
PATRIOTIC INKS
NOODLER’S INK  |  Fayetteville, Georgia
One hundred percent made in the US, Noodler’s inks are very saturated, giving you a rich,
clean line as you write, and as an added bonus, there is less feathering and bleedthrough.
Shop Noodler’s Ink »

best selling
ACADEMIC PLANNERS
QUO VADIS  |  Hamburg, New York
With the aim to keep you organized, all Quo Vadis Planners have acid-free and pH neutral paper, plus tear-off corners to open directly to the week in progress.
Shop Quo Vadis Academic Planners »

WRITE LIKE AN ASTRONAUT
LAMY PENS  |  Wilton, Conneticut
Environmentally friendly, Fisher Pens were designed for space and are guaranteed to perform in temperatures from -30 to +250 degrees F, underwater, in zero gravity, in elevations up to 12,500 feet, and at any angle.
Shop Fisher Pens »

THE AMERICAN ARTIST’S CHOICE
STILLMAN & BIRN  | Fairfield, New Jersey
Offering both hardbound and spiralbound sketchbooks with archival-grade paper, Stillman & Birn sketchbooks are your platform for expression in either dry or wet media.
Shop Stillman & Birn »

ECO-FRIENDLY AMERICAN GOODNESS
Mudlark Papers | Bolingbrook, Illinois
Mudlark stationery is made with recycled materials and soy inks. The fun, happy designs of the boxed stationery are beautiful and inspiring, and great for everything! Thank yous, hellos, wish you were here, the list goes on. Enjoy the cards and then keep mementos in the beautiful box when they’re all gone.
Shop Mudlark Stationery »

Bike to Work Day 2013 : Which Journal Suits Your Bike?

23 Jun

Have you registered to Bike to Work on Wednesday? It’s a nationwide phenomenon! We’re hopping on our two wheels, which (oddly enough) correspond perfectly with our favorite notebooks. We’re so head over heels for Mission Bicycle Company in San Francisco that it would only be proper to set them up with the best journals and notebooks from around the world. Here are pairs we’re digging :

1. Rhodia » and the Bright White Bike »
2. Fabriano » and the Safety Orange Bike »
3. Leuchtturm » and the Celeste Bike »
4. Exacompta » and the Sky Blue Bike »
5. Moleskine » and the Chrome Bike »
6. Paperblanks » and the Brown Bike »

Customer & Staff Faves

19 Jun

Ever wonder what it’s like behind the scenes at European Paper? If you zoomed through our office and caught a quick glimpse of our work spaces, you’d find several of the above in each deskscape. We’re paper geeks for sure, but the best part is that our customers love the same products we do! These 8 brands are our most-loved top sellers. Try them and you’ll see why we get so excited to open a fresh notebook, sharpen a Blackwing, or post a new pen…

1. Blackwing Pencils »
2. Rhodia Notepads »
3. Rite in the Rain »
4. LAMY Pens »
5. Clipiola Italian Paper Clips »
6. Fisher Space Pens »
7. Leuchtturm Journals »
8. Evernote Smart Notebook » – And anything else from Moleskine »

GTD : 10 Reasons You Should Have A Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook

12 Jun

Moleskine fans, it’s time to celebrate – Evernote Smart Notebooks by Moleskine just arrived! We’re pretty psyched to carry the notebook revolution that connects your analog and digital worlds via your mobile device. The ultimate Getting Things Done application, Evernote 5 was recently selected as a 2013 Apple Design Award Winner, an honor of state of the art innovation. Here’s our staff’s top 10 reasons you should grab an Evernote Smart Notebook »

1. Take notes, write a novel, sketch your dreams – snap a photo – & launch them into space

Space being the internet- but nonetheless, it’s a breeze to upload your creations. You can keep all of your handmade creations from your Smart Notebook in your online Evernote account. Bin them, enhance them by combining other online resources, share with your network, and organize to a T. Sit back and watch your desktop and internet worlds collide.

2. It’s now available for iOS & Android phones with a 3 month subscription to Evernote Premium

Upon it’s first launch, Evernote’s Page Camera App was only available for iPhones and iPads, but now it has embraced the Android universe as well. Your Smart Notebook also comes with a 3 month trial of Evernote Premium with added features of the free version, like larger storage space, lock access, PDF and document search, note history, and much more.

3. Organize your thoughts

Smart Stickers are included with your notebook. They instantly tag your pages for your customized digital library. No matter how disorganized your Evernote Smart Notebook gets, you can always find peaceful organization in your online Evernote filing system.

4. Remember your faves from your everyday explorations

Next to connecting with your notebook, it also connects to your wild & interesting life! Browsing the book store or wine aisles and finding too many amazing options? Stumble upon treasures while traveling? Simply snap a shot and save them for the future. You can document the location, price, style, and anything else you’d like to record about your discoveries so you can find them in a jiffy!

5. Sync across all your digital devices

If you’re like us, you love fabulous paper. But next to your arsenal of desktop stationery, amazing pencils, and pens, you’ve also got a smart phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop, right? Not to worry, you can log in to your Evernote cloud from any device, any where, any time. It’s perfect for techies and busy schedules. Who has time for tech-syncing overload?

6. Jet-setters will love the trip planning features

Everything you need for your trip can go under the plans for your next vacation. From notes in your Evernote Smart Notebook of your dream itinerary, to online boarding passes, sketches of architectural marvels, reviews of exotic restaurants, maps, and more!

7. Collaborate with friends & colleagues

Wonderful for working long distance, in team environments, and on class projects. Share, comment, and note edits with the feedback from your colleagues. The “Evernote Lined” or “Evernote Squared” pages seamlessly transfer clear images of your notes and sketches to your team.

8. Bookmark your favorite web pages

Looking around EuropeanPaper.com on your smart phone and finding everything you’d like to have for your office? Save our (or any other website’s) pages to keep quick links to your favorite products.

9. Your dog won’t eat it*

While we’re not absolutely sure of every dog’s particular tastes, we like to prepare for the predicament of bad things happening to a good notebook. Give Fido a break and simply log on to your online Evernote account, everything you’ve recorded is safe and sound in your digital world. *The artistic blind debossed cover has such great inspiring energy and the eco paper inside has such great karma – we’re guessing your clairvoyant pup wouldn’t want to get their chew on.

10. Research like a pro

Collect everything you need for one topic – handwritten notes, plans, online articles, references, links and more into one file. Great for taking notes in classes or business meetings and combining your handwritten recollection in your Smart Notebook with an online extension for deadlines or important task dates, further online research, or highlighting specific items of interest.

Paperblanks Journals : The Great Gatsby Manuscript by F. Scott Fitzgerald

6 Jun

With a new brilliant film release of The Great Gatsby, we wanted to send a little nod to the literary genius of the 1920′s F. Scott Fitzgerald and his glowing journal from Paperblanks. Did you know that Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby after moving to France? With every eloquent quote and plush imagery on Gatsby’s pages,  we can imagine him floating in a daydream around the mysterious city – eyes wide open, imagination running wild.

 

This journal’s strong cover is gold embossed with the handwritten manuscript of The Great Gatsby, and bound by a magnetic wrapped panel with Fitzgerald’s signature. Next to all the beauty, it’s well-built with smooth vellum laid paper inside. It’s one journal that is so special it makes a memorable gift for graduates and Fitzgerald fans alike. Shop the Paperblanks Embellished Manuscript Journal »
If you’re feelin’ jazzy, go the extra mile and tuck a pair of movie tickets in the back pocket. Here’s a trailer to spark your interest :

 

2 is Better Than 1 with Clairefontaine 2-Subject Notebooks

29 May

2-in-1 with Clairefontaine's Twin Notebooks on EuropeanPaper.com

Monday Notebook, Pen, & Ink Review Round-up

13 May

Notebook/Planner Reviews

Gourmet Pens: Review: @Exaclair G. Lalo Verge de France A5 Tablet – Blue

EdJelley: Clairefontaine Classic Notebook – Handwritten Review

These Beautiful Pens: More Paper Love: Le Typographe Writing Pad & Journal

Ink of me Fondly: Rhodia No.11 Notepad

Notebook Stories: Review: Piccadilly Softcover Notebook

Pens, Paper, Inks, Whatever: Clairefontaine Back to Basics 1951

Rants of the Archer: Review: Unlimited Notebook by Rhodia

Pen/Pencil Reviews

Comfortable Shoes Studio: Review: Palomino Blackwing Pencils

Well Appointed Desk: Ticonderoga Sensematic Mechanical Pencil  and Vintage Parker 21 Review

Ink of me Fondly: Lamy Raspberry Al-Star with J. Herbin Rouge Opera

Pencil Revolution: Review of Palomino Blackwing 602

Built from Ink and Tea: The Grand TWSBI Review – Part 2. A Review of the TWSBI Diamond 530 Fountain Pen

EdJelley: Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen – Handwritten Review

Pentorium: TWSBI VAC 700: Unboxing, First Impressions, and Writing Test! (Video) and TWSBI VAC 700 Long-term Review

On Fountain Pens: Review: Platinum Pocket Pen – from the 1970s!

Ink Reviews

EdJelley: J. Herbin – Terre de Feu – Handwritten Review

Ink of me Fondly: Tchaikovsky – De Atramentis Ink Review

Inkdependence: De Atramentis Moss Green and Noodler’s Gruene Cactus Eel

Inked Up & Happy: Requested review: Iroshizuku´s Ku-Jaku

FPGeeks: Inkcyclopedia: Cross Blue

Built from Ink & Tea: Review of Noodler’s Nightshade Ink

PenInkCillin: Private Reserve Invincible Aqua Blue

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Have a review you’d like included in the round-up? Post the link and title in the comments and we’ll add it here! Note that our comments are moderated, so if it doesn’t show immediately we’ll get to it soon.

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11 Time-Saving Techniques for at Home or On-the-go

6 May

In this day and age, we all want a few shortcuts to make our lives easier – whether it’s chopping all the vegetables for the week on Sunday so we can just toss ingredients together to make healthy meals during the week, or packing our car with our workout gear so we can take that hot yoga class after work. Here are a few tips I use to create more time in my life:

  1. I keep a yoga journal and a One Line a Day journal by my bed with a pen. That way I can always get at LEAST one line written, even if I am feeling uninspired or sick. I know that I can always write at least ONE line. It removes the pressure of having to write more and the feelings of disappointment if I can’t.
  2. I prep my Thermos and tea bag and put it in my work tote the night before. All I have to do is grab my bag and head to the car! I get my hot water at the train station, but you can always set your coffee machine timer to start brewing your coffee or boiling the water in time for you to head out the door.
  3. I keep a change of clothes – a pair of yoga pants and a top – in my car along with my yoga mat.  If I happen to have the time to squeeze in a class, I can!
  4. I schedule a half hour in my afternoon to create and go through my To-Do list for work and for the stuff I have to do at home. I ensure that each task is manageable and if it is a long term goal, I break it down into smaller steps to achieve that goal. Right now, one of my long term goals is to write and illustrate a fairy tale for my daughter. My subtasks or steps include: buy notebook to scrawl out my ideas, search the web for fairy tales to read for inspiration, create the main character, create her best friend, etc. Checking off each step shows me I am coming closer and closer to my final goal.
  5. My best friend, an aspiring chef and food blogger, preps a week’s worth of food on Sundays so she can have healthy meals on the go during the week.  It saves her time and money being able to grab a healthy packed lunch instead of heading to the cafeteria for greasy unidentifiable meat. If a week’s worth of food sounds like a lot, try to make a few snacks for the week instead and build up from there.
  6. As I take the train to and from work, I use one of those hours to just meditate and have some Me Time; then I use the other hour to email myself lists of things I need to get done at home or at work.
  7. I have found that carving out time for myself, actually putting it into my calendar like an appointment ensures I stick to it. Would you blow off a doctor’s appointment that was scheduled? No, so don’t feel like you can or should blow off time for yourself. Carve out time for YOU, whether that is indulging in a bubble bath or just taking a nap.
  8. In my day planner - I use a traditional paper one – I keep track of everything: my work assignments, birthdays, meetings, yoga classes, etc. I find that having everything easily accessible allows me to get a good overview of my day or my week. That allows me to schedule my time appropriately. You can use a pad of paper and a pen or your smartphone, but make sure you carry your list of things to do with you so you can slowly take the steps towards fulfilling all the goals on it.
  9. After each outing with my daughter, I replenish her diaper bag with all the essentials so it is ready to go the next time we go out. I don’t have to run around at the last minute and make sure she has bottles or a change of clothes; I know everything is in there.
  10. Whenever I make homemade pesto, I make extra and freeze the unused portions in an empty ice tray.  I can easily pop one out and use it in soups or for a quick homemade pasta dish.
  11. Whenever I find nice candles, or a cute tea towel, or a good bottle of wine for a decent price, I immediately pick it up. Having these small gifts on hand takes the pressure off going to someone’s house empty-handed whether it’s for a birthday, house-warming or another event.

These are just a few of things that I do!  What time saving techniques do you have?

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Meet the Writer: Akhila Jagdish is a writer and a senior editor at The Crafted Word, an editorial services company. She loves making lists, collecting journals, reading, drinking wine and cooking. She is always looking for a good book, a new pen or a yoga class! 

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New Ultimate Organization Tool: Whitelines Organize Notebook

24 Apr

Whitelines Organize Notebooks on EuropeanPaper.com

Choosing the Right Paper Format to Match Your Style

18 Mar

Notebooks, journals, and loose sheets of paper can be bought blank, lined, dotted or gridded (also known as plain, ruled, dot grid, and squared). Some alternates such as diagonal grids are also available, plus variations within the options previously mentioned (wide-ruled or college-ruled lines, for example), but the main four paper styles/formats are the focus for today.

Choosing the Right Paper Format to Match Your Style: Written by Cole Imperi, posted on EuropeanPaper.com/Blog

With multiple formats to choose from, how do you know what you’ll like? Paper format can be strongly reflective of your personality, but the first place to start is to look at the things you most often write. From there, I can better guide you to a potential ‘perfect’ notebook match. 

I Make Lists

If you make lists, technically any type of paper styling will work for you but it depends on how you naturally make those lists to figure out what is best. If you tend to take a simple approach to lists—items listed all in a column that you cross off as you go—then lined is perfect for you. It will help keep your lists orderly.

If you like to (or tend to) doodle in the margins, or add in notes on the side, try blank paper. The big concern folks have with blank paper is that things can look sloppier without lines to guide you. I also think there’s something intimidating about a big blank page if you aren’t used to working with them. If you would describe yourself as creative, blank paper might be your go-to notebook type so you can really have fun with your list-making.

If you need the guidance that lines provide then lined or gridded paper will be your comfort zone. Be aware that it is possible to find some notebooks with lines on one side of the page and nothing on the other; and that might be the perfect compromise.

I Write Notes, Descriptions or Journal Entries

Lined will be your friend here. When you write blocks of text, lines are what help you keep things orderly and more importantly, aid in readability for when you go back to read what you wrote. The difficult part comes in finding the right lines. Meaning, how much spacing they have and how dark the actual line is.

You can find notebooks that have white lines, grey lines and sturdy dark black lines. You can find dotted lines and dashed lines too. If dark lines distract your eye away from what you’re writing, definitely aim for light grey lines or even reversed out white lines on grey paper. And on the flip-side, if you love structure, darker lines are ideal. The type of line you prefer is really just personal preference.

I Do a Lot of Scratch Work

If you keep multiple random pads of paper lying around, trying out just one graph notebook might be best for you going forward. If you find that you make little lists, write a few reminders, do a bit of arithmetic and doodle, you have a creative mind. The grid will help you organize your thoughts better because you will have more of a visual guideline to work with. You might start to notice yourself grouping things on a squared page rather than a blank (doodles in one corner, list in the other, notes and reminders in another, etc.).

I Doodle Constantly

As you can imagine, a blank notebook is the best option for sketching, casual doodling, and other art endeavors. The blank gives you the most space to draw with the least amount of restriction. You might find that lines or grids ‘restrict’ your doodles and drawings so just get rid of them.

I Don’t Know What I Want but I Know I Don’t Like What I Have

Try graph or dot paper. I am suggesting this because so many people never give these types of paper a try. Graph paper is typically associated with math and you can see why; the vertical and horizontal lines offer the maximum amount of ‘restriction’ on the page. But if you are coming from a lined or blank notebook camp, let this be an excuse to try something different.

Dots are great for writing out notes and descriptions because you have enough guidance to keep your text readable and without a slant. It also lets you create lists quickly and you can connect the dots to make actual check boxes. Dots also give you drawing or doodling space too but not as much ‘freedom’ as just a blank page which can scare some folks away.

I Have a Ton of Notebooks and I Use Them All

If you have a stack of notebooks, but none that are ever filled up, you might want to give one solitary dotted notebook a try. That is, if having so many unfinished notebooks bothers you. The reason you may have so many notebooks is because you are a ‘multitasker’ and none of your notebooks is a good ‘fits all’ solution. Dotted notebooks are a really good candidate for being an all-in-one solution.

Finally, no matter what camp you are in, pay attention to what and how you write. And if you’ve been writing with the same sort of notebook or paper type over the years, there might be something better out there for you.

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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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