Clairefontaine multi-subject notebook


In November I won a medium sized Clairefontaine multi-subject notebook from Quo Vadis. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of it. From the outside, it looked like a basic coil bound student notebook but opening it up revealed a rainbow of tabbed graph paper, and what lovely paper it is. Satiny and opaque, my pens and pencils glided smoothly over the paper. Because of the smoothness there was some smudging with the fountain pen but no bleed through except for the Sharpie. With such lovely paper inside, I am surprised they haven’t done more to make the cover reflect the high quality.


I am still not exactly sure how I will use this notebook. There are twelve tabs with each tab made up of five papers so would work well for a year long project or if you are trying to keep notes on a variety of topics.

Clairefontaine is in the same family as the Habana and Rhodia paper I reviewed last month. It is a French company with very high environmental standards, both with how the trees are harvested and how they manufacture the paper.

If this notebook was a person, it would be a meticulous student with large glasses whose idea of cutting loose is to use coloured paper instead of white. Their backpack has a special pocket with neatly arranged pens, mechanical pencils, highlighters, and some novelty erasers. This student will go far!



Travel Journals


Right now I am away on holiday in Oaxaca, Mexico so I prepared a couple of blogs ahead of time so I could keep up with my weekly schedule. My mind has been on packing lists and one thing I was sure to bring along was a journal. I like having a separate journal for special journeys and for this trip I am trying something different. I love the idea of scrap-booking but never get around to actually doing  it after I get back from a vacation. I still haven’t completed the one I started for our first trip to the Yukon in 2005. I have been back there three times since and still haven’t finished that scrapbook.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA For the last trip I took (to Iceland about six months ago) I attempted making an altered book based on my trip journal, but there again I have only managed to do a few pages.

So this time I am going to try more of a smash book approach. Last year I participated in a workshop at Whitemud Crossing library led by a woman volunteering for Edmonton ReUse Centre. We took old calendars, made covers for them and folded the pages for what she suggested would make good greeting card organizers. I don’t really have a need for a greeting card organizer but I saw some journaling potential. I am going to use the blank pages for writing my daily journal and then glue in maps, pamphlets, and other ephemera into the fold out pages. If I don’t end up collecting much of that  (unlikely as I have a packrat’s eye for that type of thing) I’ll just print some photos when I get home and fill the journal up that way. I tried putting some gesso and paint on a couple of the printed pages but I don’t like the look so will find other ways to cover up distracting elements of the design. I am looking forward to seeing how this works out.


If this journal was a person it would be a wearing a Tilley hat and funky upcycled jewelry.

Coming next week: Clairefontaine multi-subject notebook

Handmade Paper Valentines


Many years ago, I took a course through the Edmonton Weavers’ Guild on paper-making. The link between weaving and paper-making may not be obvious but they are both made of fibre and involve creativity. I still have a large supply of paper that was made that day because as it is very porous, it is difficult to write on so really only has craft potential. I have mainly used it in card making.

I am glad I had the opportunity to try out making paper in a studio because unless you have a blender you don’t mind wrecking, sinks you don’t mind clogging, and lots of space, it is not a great activity to do at home. As well, the brightly coloured pages were made from pulp that was dyed with Procion dye which should always be used with caution.

As there is no point in keeping a stash of paper unless you are planning on using it, I decided to make some valentines. The designs of these ones were inspired by a delightful little book called I Love Stationery by Charlotte Rivers, featuring beautifully made stationery from all over the world. One great thing about handmade paper is that it is sturdy enough to hold up to sewing so I incorporated stitching in three of them. I hesitated in posting this blog before Valentine’s Day because some of my dear readers will be the lucky recipients of them but they won’t know which one is meant for them until February 14 so there will still be some surprise.


If these Valentines were people, they would be chubby cupids showering their love on the beloved recipients.

Coming up next week:  Travel Journals

Pilot FriXion Erasable pen


I discovered this pen in the supply cupboard at work and wondered what it meant by erasable.  As a kid, I had an eraser that was half pink and half blue. The pink end was to erase pencil and the blue half was supposed to erase pen. What really happened is that you basically sanded the ink off the page, leaving behind at best a smudge mark but usually a hole in your paper. We have come so far with the Pilot FriXion erasable pen.

This pen has an ink that is chemically formulated to “disappear” through the heat created by friction when you are rubbing with the rubbery nub on the end. The theory is great but in practice you can still faintly see the writing after erasing. Still, the result looks better than crossing out or covering up with wite-out. DSCF1759

I had to try a little experiment to see if the reverse was also true. If the ink disappears through the heat caused by friction, would it reappear if it was frozen? I put my notebook in the freezer and it seemed that the writing started to show up again, but only slightly.

Style-wise this pen looks great. I don’t know why more pen manufacturers don’t add a bit of design to their pens. As for writing with, it has a nice light feel with a soft grip section to hold. The ink is more of a very dark grey than a true black and writes smoothly with no bleed through to the reverse of the page. However, Pilot does not recommend writing on the back of page when using these pens, because the heat may transfer to the other side, causing unwanted erasing. That didn’t happen for me.

If this pen was a person, he would be charming but a bit mysterious with a stylized tattoo on his arm and wearing a snug tee shirt.

Coming next week:  Handmade Paper Valentines