Review: Rhodia/Rhodiarama Webnotebooks


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The first Rhodia product I ever tried was their winter white notepads. I thought it was pretty elegant, and the paper was excellent. I’ve been curious about their notebooks ever since, but they’re always out of stock (at least it always is here in the South). Good thing Everything Calligraphy now offers these notebooks. So are these really as nice as people say they are?

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In a word, yes. These are very good, premium notebooks. They’re relatively expensive, but I believe it has a good reason for being pricey. I tried out the plain Rhodia Webnotebooks (photo above) and the more colorful Rhodiarama Webnotebooks, and there’s just so much to like about them.

The first thing you’ll notice is how beautiful these notebooks are. They’re very different from handmade leather notebooks, of which no two creations are the same. These look like they’re churned out of machines to make them look precisely the same, and there’s a beauty to that too, as much as there’s something beautiful about unique, handmade journals. I love the stamped Rhodia logo, and the quality of the cover is pretty excellent. I like the brushed steel look of the journal on the right, but the classic black journal really hits the spot. It has a soft, velvety feel, almost like high quality silicon. It’s very classy, very well put-together.

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The more colorful Rhodiarama Webnotebooks are made of the same material and they’re also ridiculously perfect-looking.

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I have a soft spot for happy colors, and I find the colors of Rhodiarama to be quite eyecatching. When you open up the notebooks, it’s even prettier.

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A nice splash of happy colors! Also, psychedelic zebra. ^_^

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All Webnotebooks have a pouch at the back for little slips of paper and whatnot. Pretty useful, though I personally don’t really use the interior pockets of any journal so it doesn’t add to the bulk when I close it.

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The spine is neatly bound. Again, ridiculously perfect-looking. I find the bookmark a bit on the short side, I wish they made it just a little longer.

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The notebook also lays flat quite easily. The smaller Webnotebooks don’t lay flat as easily, but that’re pretty much expected because of the size. These bigger notebooks are easier to write on because it takes little effort to make them lie flat as you write.

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Aside from the aesthetics of these notebooks, the important thing is how they hold up to writing tests.

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The paper they used in Webnotebooks doesn’t seem to be the same with the ones they used with the notepad. These have a different look and feel to it. According to the specifications of the notebooks, it has 96 sheets (192 pages) of ivory-colored brushed vellum paper at 90gsm. It’s thinner than how I remember the pad paper that I tried before. First impression was that the paper did not feel heavy or too thick.

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The grey-colored dots of the dot grid notebook aren’t too intrusive to writing or drawing. The lined pages look pretty nice too.

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I like that the space between lines isn’t too wide, and that the lines are light grey in color. Not too obvious, just right for a nice-looking journal. Writing on the paper gives some sort of feedback. It’s not glossy or smooth, you feel the texture of the paper as you’re writing. I find it pleasant. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample:

Even if it’s textured, it shows off sheen and shading. It doesn’t feather and has no bleed through and minimal show through at the back. It seems the paper is most pleasant to use with wet writers and wider nibs. Brush pens can feel a bit rough on the paper. It absorbs ink a bit too fast, making it feel like there’s some drag as you write.

Overall, pretty good! Expensive, but good quality notebook. I would recommend it for journal writing, things that you really want to keep over a long period of time. Not exactly suitable for watercolor and whatnot, but really great for regular writing, especially if used with fountain pens.

Rhodia and Rhodiarama Webnotebooks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Disclaimer: As I mentioned before, I am not affiliated with Everything Calligraphy. This is NOT a paid blog post and I DON’T do paid reviews.

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Review: Contrail Street Journal


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I saw these cute little journals on my way to a mini pen meet last Sunday at Glorietta, when I dropped by Powerbooks at Greenbelt. They’re kinda hard to miss because the covers are just so pretty! I wasn’t familiar with the brand, so discreetly printed at the back of the cover, but the paper seemed nice so I bought three. A quick search on Google showed that Contrail is made by Itoya, a Japanese stationery company. I’ve had such good experience with Japanese stationery that I was pretty sure I’d like this one too, and I was right.

I just love the design of their covers. Really. I love the colors that they used, and the patterns. These are very tastefully designed covers. I also like that the binding is neatly stitched with white thread. It looks very cleanly done.

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I’m not sure what you call these lines. They’re grids but rectangular instead of square, and they spacing is pretty tight. I imagine it could be designed specifically for Japanese characters? I’m not sure. I’m not too crazy about the guide lines, but they don’t bother me much. I like that the lines are light brown, you can just ignore them completely when you write.

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The paper is pretty good. It’s not smooth, it definitely has texture to it, but there’s very little feathering using my fine to broad nib. Some feathering can be noticeable with my 1.5 mm stub, though. Here are a few close ups:

The texture is beautiful. It’s not going to show off sheen, but it will show off some shading. It’s hard to explain why but sometimes I miss enjoying texture on paper because oftentimes when the paper has some texture to it, fountain pens bleed all over the place. It’s pretty rare to find paper that allows you to enjoy texture while you write without excessive bleeding and feathering.

The paper handles brush pens very well. It distributes the ink smoothly, and allows the pen to glide on the paper without difficulties.

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There’s a bit of ghosting at the back, though I would not consider it bothersome. There’s also a bit of bleedthrough where I wrote with my 1.5mm nib. It could be because I used a very wet ink (J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor). It’s not so bad either, in my opinion.

The size is about 3.25 x 5.75 inches. It’s pretty small and can comfortably fit in your backpocket or your bag. I heard they’re also available in National Bookstore, at P149 per piece. These are great for everyday writing and small brush calligraphy projects. I’m so happy we have Itoya here in the Philippines now. What a great time to be a stationery fan!

Review: Smells Like Sundays TN-Sized Notebooks


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Saying that I love notebooks is an understatement. I have a lot of notebooks in different shapes and sizes in my office, library, bedroom, bag…you get the idea. I have three different journals at any given time, plus notebooks for other things. I would almost never be caught outside the house without carrying one with me because, well, it just makes sense for me. That being said, premium paper is muy expensivo. Paper lovers are willing to pay this price, though, but being able to find affordable, good paper is always a treat. I wrote a few days ago about how I discovered Smells Like Sundays. I think they sell other stuff too, like coloring books for adults, etc. Their TN-sized notebooks are pretty nice and is priced under P100 each.

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It’s pretty slim, slimmer than Midori TN inserts and the paper is thinner. I didn’t get to count how many pages there are. It’s unbranded and unmarked. It got a little confusing to find the front page until you open it, so I stamped the front of the notebooks that I don’t put inside my TN.

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The craft cover is pretty nice, though they also have black and white covers. These normally come in a set of five different sized journals and two craft pens, but they were nice enough to sell me individual inserts for my travelers notebook. That size is pretty hard to find in bookstores. They’re not as common as A6 an A5 sizes. You can imagine how happy I was to find one journal in a gift pack of 5 that fits my TN perfectly.

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The notebook is very neatly stitch-bound with a thin strip of thread. I tore out pages from my first notebook and the binding didn’t budge at all.

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I use it as my notebook for Sunday sermon notes and daily devotions. It’s not paper that will show off sheen and shading. The pages are too absorbent. They absorb ink as soon as it’s on the surface, but it does show a bit of the ink’s properties. Here are a few close ups of writing samples:

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The paper has some texture to it. I miss that kind of paper. Since I started using fountain pens, I always use fountain pen friendly paper that almost always feel the same. This feels like the old kind of paper that I used to enjoy. It’s pulpy, has a more natural feel to the finish, you can feel the texture of the pages as you write. A closer look shows that it almost feathers, but it doesn’t. Not in a noticeable way, at least. I used a Pelikan M600 with a medium nib that writes more like a BB and a Parker 51 with a medium nib. You can still see the reddish shading of the Syoro, but it’s not so pronounced.

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Here’s the back of the pages. If you look closely, wet writers will produce a bit of bleed through. Little pins of ink that aren’t very noticeable. I can live with that. I think that this quality is really great for the price.

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I hesitate to use expensive paper for things like grocery lists, to-do lists, and such. I would never think of using my precious Tomoe River paper for something other than journal entries and art. That’s why I bought a lot of this, so I can write on nice paper without thinking  ohmygoodnesswhywhywhy while jotting down everyday notes.

This notebook and other sizes are available in craft, black, and white covers at Smells Like Sundays.

Review: Alunsina Handbound Books – Small Leather Journal


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The journals come with this cute pouch.

I’ve always loved Alunsina journals. From the first time that I saw them through a friend on Facebook, I’ve only used their leather bound books for my journal. However, when I switched to fountain pens, I had to regretfully stop using them too because they’re not fountain pen-friendly. So when they announced last month that they have switched their paper to something more fountain pen-friendly, I knew I had to try it.

I heard that they were at the Makers’ Market at Zonta Alabang so I dropped by specifically for them and bought a Kislap traveler’s journal for my husband and a small journal for myself. I already ordered a Kislap for myself and a full-sized journal but I had them personalized with my name so it’s gonna be delivered to my place instead.

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I love all of the little details of this journal. From the color of the threads that they use, how they sew up their paper to the leather cover, the clasps and buckles that they add, even the way their paper doesn’t look machine cut. It looks very handmade and I love that look.

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I love that since all journals are handmade, no two journals are exactly alike. Each journal has individual characteristics and though they may make several journals of the same design, none will have that generic look. Each will be unique in its own way. The small leather journal that I chose is teal-colored, vegetable-tanned cowhide leather. I figured that since I ordered brown distressed leather for my Kislap and some combination of dark-colored leather for my full-sized journal, this small one could use a little color. 🙂  Continue reading