Leuchtturm1917 Details make all the difference.
Tips

5 Reasons To Use A Leuchtturm1917 Notebook

Leuchtturm1917 Details make all the difference.

Notebooks are all the same... aren't they? Well, details make all the difference.

Leuchtturm1917 hit the nail on the head with their motto. The details do make all the difference, especially when you’re choosing which notebook to make part of your everyday life. It’s something that will be your partner for a good amount of time, which is why these 5 small tweaks and additions in these Leuchtturm books make them a good candidate.

1. Colours

When it comes to choosing a colour, the Germans have made this a most difficult decision. They have a number of bright, vivid colours that makes it hard to choose just one. My personal favourite is the Berry, looks delicious enough to eat! I did have to give in and get my other close favourites – Emerald and Anthracite Grey.

It also really helps to keep my notes organised, I know which one to take to work, which one I use at home and, most importantly, where to I keep my doodles 🙂

2. Numbered Pages

It’s surprising to look at another notebook after using a Leuchtturm for so long, you realise that many notebooks these days don’t bother with page numbers. It seems like such an incredibly obvious and useful feature you wonder how you could go back to living without them.

3. Indexing

Hand in hand with the numbered pages comes the master key to all of the knowledge within… the index page. Located in the first few pages of the book it lets you note down specific page numbers and a heading, very handy to help look things up in your own books.

Personally it’s helpful to track down certain pages where I have written down some important information or something I need fairly quick access to like a favourite recipe or long boring (but important) processes at work I need to remember.

4. Twin Bookmarks

At first you might think one bookmark ribbon is plenty useful iteself, I wouldn’t disagree with you, but now throw in a second and I find myself using it just as much as the other.

Leuchtturm even went to the trouble of colouring the second marker with a striped pattern to not only look pretty but has the practical function of differentiating between them.

5. Paper

There’s nothing more important in a notebook than the paper. This is the meat of the book, the reason you got it in the first place to store your valuable thoughts and ideas. The Leuchtturm notebook paper works a real treat with my loadout. Not much ghosting or feathering with my largest everyday pen which is a Broad Italic Franklin Christoph.

Diamine Earl Grey Review - Leuchtturm
Diamine Earl Grey

Those are some of the top reasons why I love my Leuchtturm1917 notebooks. If you’re unsure about which notebook you’d like to go for then we’ve put two favourites head to head – Leuchtturm vs Rhodiarama.

Just remember to keep writing and don’t let your notes sit idle. The most important part to enjoy is the time spent creating them 🙂

the best of shimmer
Tips

Tips: our top 6 tips for shimmer inks

the best of shimmer

This post has been in the works for some time now… Last year was a great year for all inks glittery. We had the arrival of the new Diamine Shimmer ink range which was simply amazing. How often do sequels in life surprise and exceed expectations?

With our cupboards brimming with sparkling ink it’s about time to start writing with some of the stuff. But, before we can get stuck in, let’s talk some quick tips to help bring those pens up to scratch and flowing smoothly to get the best of shimmer. 

Here are our top 6 tips for shimmer inks to help you make them truly shine & shimmer 🙂

1. Shake it till you wake it

the best of shimmer

Shake the bottle well before inking. Make sure that the silver/gold particles are not sitting at the bottom of the ink bottle.

It’s important to mention that turning pen in hand couple of times before and during writing (to re-distribute the shimmer again) will do wonders and is very eye pleasing too.

2. Cleaning is the key

the best of shimmer

Flush the pens regularly (every 2 weeks or so). We do stock cleaning solutions by Diamine / J Herbin which are not essential, but they do help with the flow of stubborn pens. If you would like to read more about cleaning, click to see our blog here.

3. Go broad

the best of shimmer

Use wetter/broader nibs (it will work with Fine nibs too, the shimmer may be a little less apparent or only show under certain angle/light).

I would highly recommend to dedicate a pen to shimmer inks –  TWSBI Eco comes to mind first….

It is a demonstrator pen which shows off shimmering ink beautifully. You can also disassemble it for a thorough clean.

4. There is paper and then there is paper

Emerald of Chivor on Tomoe River Paper

I have seen shimmer even on copy paper, but if you really want to embrace the shimmer use good paper : Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Tomoe River… If you see a photo with crazy amount of shimmer & often sheen the chances are it was Tomoe River – inks really shine on this one 🙂 <3

5. Cheat

Help the flow by pushing some ink through. Push or turn the filling mechanism to get some more ink on the nib and feed (careful, have some tissue paper ready just in case, but you will get a hang of it very quickly). I know that someone might say – well, it’s just not on, but trust me…pens do suffer from ink starvation and this is just too easy 🙂

6. Floss

the best of shimmer

The final piece of advice – this is another cheat/hack which I use a lot (I tend to over-clean pens :))

If you have some DVDs around with security tags, cut them open. Inside will be 2/3 pieces of very thin metal called shim. You can use the shim to ‘floss’ the cut in the nib. Flossing will greatly improve the flow (which may get jammed with paper fibers or shimmer particles).

Shimmering inks do require a little extra effort but they are so worth it 🙂

If you have any other tips/questions please leave them in the comments. We love talking about shimmer 😉

tips for choosing the right envelope
Tips

Tips: 5 Top Tips To Choose The Right Envelope

our tips for choosing the right envelope

Based on many years of experience, watching people make the same mistake and order the wrong envelope, we have put together this simple yet handy guide to help you choose the right envelope.

1. Choose your envelope size first

If we had a penny every person who had designed their card before finding the envelope…

It’s a basic fact that envelopes come in a lot of sizes, but it’s also the case that it’s diminishing returns the more unusual the size. So when you choose your envelope size, go for a standard envelope size and you will find an incredible choice of colours, finishes and designs. Go for something a bit unusual and you may end up with just white. If you’re lucky.

2. Check the exact size

You need to take account of two sizes. One is the envelope size (which we quote on all products). The second is the size of what you are putting into it.

To get your insert into the envelope you will need a bit of room. Not much, but enough to fit it in. We suggest a 5mm difference. Even 10mm is fine. It might sound a lot but 10mm will give you just a 5mm gap on either side, and if you measure it out, it’s not much. But that small gap will let you slip something into the envelope rather than spending 10 minutes forcing the card into the envelope only to see the envelope tear anyway.

There is a slight complication to this rule. It assumes that you are just putting a ‘normal’ card into the envelope. In the unusual scenario where you have something a bit bulkier, then you need to allow a bit more. Ultimately there is no rule here so you will only know by getting a sample and trying it yourself. Click here to visit our sample request page.

3. Get the right flap

This one comes down to personal choice. And availability! The choices are diamond or wallet.

Diamond – this is where the flap is pointed and meets in the middle. It is the classic envelope style and so has a more traditional feel.

Wallet – this is a straight flap, a simpler and more ‘contemporary’ design.

diamond flap envelope
Diamond flap envelope
wallet flap envelope
Wallet flap envelope

The problem is that some envelopes come with diamond flaps and some with wallet flaps. You might not have a choice – try and factor that into your decision process.

4. Choose your paper

Not all paper is alike! It naturally follows that a heavier paper feels, and is, nicer. Thinner papers will feel…well, a bit cheaper. As a rule of thumb, paper will vary from 80gsm to 120gsm. 80gsm will be ok, but a bit thin. 120gsm will feel like good quality paper. In between, 100gsm is a good quality paper that will be good for all occasions.

What you need to take into account also is the finish – the two you will most likely encounter are wove and laid. Wove is a smooth finish. Laid paper has a slight grain or texture to it. Wove paper has that slight ‘contemporary’ feel whilst laid paper has a more ‘traditional’ feel.

You might also take lined envelopes into consideration. Without going into too much detail, these are envelopes with an inner tissue paper lining which gives a little extra security and a little extra quality feel. Ideal for special invites.

lined envelopes
Lined envelopes

5. Don't leave it until the last minute!

We offer a huge range of envelopes – over a 1,000 at the last count in fact. With that much choice we will only carried a limited range in stock and the rest are special order. That means we will import them specially or you, sometimes from a factory in Switzerland even. But that means there will be a longer lead time on those items, usually about a week extra.

So please check the lead times and allow enough time for delivery to avoid disappointment!

our 6 tips for looking after your fountain pen
Tips

Tips: Our Top 6 Suggestions For Looking After Your Fountain Pen

Our 6 tips for looking after your fountain pen

There has been a big rise in the demand for fountain pens in recent years. As anyone who has bought and used a fountain will know, they are fantastic writing instruments that can improve your handwriting, and will give you plenty of pleasure and enjoyment as you discover new pens and inks. However, unlike many everyday pens a fountain pen will require a little extra care so here is our guide to looking after your fountain pen, to keep it in the best condition.

We have asked Mishka to give her top tips to looking after your pen, to ensure it remains in tip-top condition

1. Keep Writing!

Our top tip number one - keep writing to keep your fountain pen clean
By using your pen you will stop the ink drying up

The best way to keep a pen in good condition is actually to use it. Leaving a pen unused means the ink can, and will, dry out. Avoid this by keeping the ink flowing by writing. And of course, by writing you will be using it which is also a good thing.

There is no set time-limit on this. Different pens and inks will dry out at different times and it can also depend on the conditions. However most pens will be fine if used every few days, maybe even just once a week. Beyond that you may find the ink starts to dry out.

2. Cap it!

Out top tip number two - make sure you keep it capped
It's got a cap, so use it!

It is highly likely that your fountain pen will have a cap – very few have retractable nibs. The cap is there for two main reasons. Firstly it protects the nib from getting damaged, and secondly it helps stop the pen from drying out very quickly. Make use of the cap and keep the pen capped at all times when not writing. Again, how long you can leave a pen uncapped will depend on so many factors so th best advice is to cap it whenever you can remember to.

3. Flush A Dry Pen

Our top tip number three - flush the pen to keep it clean
A simple flush under the tap will work wonders

Sometimes looking after your fountain pen can require a bit more work. If your pen has dried up then you may be able to get it going again with a bit of encouragement – maybe even just moistening the nib with some ink or even water will be enough.

If the pen refuses to write then you just need to flush the pen out, and this will solve almost all dried-pen issues. This is done by removing the cartridge or converter and running cold or lukewarm water through the pen until the water runs clear from the nib. Dry with a paper towel (kitchen roll, but not loo paper which can shed fibres). Repeat if ink still flows.

4. Flush A Pen Between Inks

Part of the pleasure of using a fountain pen is being able to discover new inks. Changing from one colour of ink to another can pose obvious problems (there is a changeover period), but inks are not always the same and it is best to avoid mixing different inks. For this reason we would recommend a quick flush of the pen before starting with a new ink.

It is also a good idea to clean the converter if you are using one. Note that you shouldn’t use hot water for this as it may damage the feed which has some very fine parts to it.

5. Clean A Pen

Our top tip number five - use a dedicated cleaning solution

There is never any harm in giving your pen a good clean, especially if you are switching inks. Flushing it (see above) is fine, but you can also use a dedicated cleaning solution for this purpose. There are plenty available, and we sell a very good one from J. Herbin. Just rinse the pen as described above, and then fill a converter with a small amount of cleaning solution and write with this until the pen writes clear. We also sell cleaning solution in cartridge form, so just insert one into the pen and write until clear.

Stubborn pens may need a bit more work, so you can always soak the front part in a small amount of cleaning solution for a few minutes and it should work its magic.

6. Store It Right

Our top tip number size - make sure you store pens vertically
Use a pen pot to store your pens upright

Even the most dedicated pen-user will find that they might not use a pen for a while. Avoid making it worse by storing your pens correctly, so that if you do need to flush them they will clean easily. Always store a pen horizontally, or if you do store it vertically make sure it is nib-up (so that ink doesn’t gather in the nib and feed). Store them in a dry place as well, as this will help avoid problems.

Of course, if you can clean the pen before you store it then so much the better – a clean pen can be inked and ready to go in no time. That said, not all of us know we won’t use a pen until its too late and the pen has dried up. Just go back over these tips and that dried up old fountain pen should spring back into life.

dot paper notebooks
Tips

Tips: 3 Reasons To Switch To Dot Paper

Have you ever wondered what the fuss about dot paper is about? As a dot paper convert of many years I thought I would share my feelings on dot paper and give my top 3 reasons to switch to dot paper. You should at least give this new-fangled paper style a go. You never know, it may even win you over and leave you wondering how you ever coped with lined or grid paper.

What is dot paper anyway?

First up, a quick explanation for anyone wondering what dot paper even is. If you imagine a sheet of paper with horizontal and vertical lines, and at the point each line crosses another you place a fine mark, or dot. Remove all the lines once you’re done and what you’re left with is a series of regular dots. In almost all cases this will be a dot every 5mm, forming a grid.

Dot paper

Top dot reason number 1 – It’s the best of all worlds

Have you ever wanted your cake and eaten it? Faced with a choice do you ever long to take both? Or all three? Dot paper is just that – it’s three papers rolled up in one.

I’ll assume that everyone know what lined or ruled paper is, and those regular horizontal lines are. Ideal for regular and repetitive writing, but just a bit annoying when you want to draw, or make a table, or stick something in your book.

dot paper is the best all all worlds

Grid paper is a bit more unusual but involves regular horizontal and vertical lines. I like grid paper but it makes for a lot of ink on the paper before you even started writing. The final result can be quite heavy and just too busy for my liking.

Plain paper is ideal for drawing or sketching, but with handwriting like mine you don’t want to be let loose on plain paper! My writing needs some guidance to keep it neat and tidy.

So faced with the need for a notebook that lets me write, create structures and draw I use dot paper. It really is the best of all three combined. The dots give enough of a framework to write neatly. They also allow me to make easy tables, and yet if I want to sketch something out they seem to fade into the background.

Top dot reason number 2 – It’s innovative

Maybe I shouldn’t be swayed by fanciful things like fashion and design, but there is a part of my mind that does like to seek out something new, something different. Not accepting the status-quo led us to paper and pens and notebooks in the first place, so dot paper is just one little step further in the advancement, and it’s a good one. So switch to dot because…well, just because it is there and (sort of) new and will make you feel like progress is happening. There is a reason why you will find all the top manufacturers including dot paper in their line up.

dot paper innovative stationery

Top dot reason number 3 – It’s Bullet Journal friendly

Without getting bogged down in what Bullet Journaling is (see the official website here), I am keen on adapting elements of keeping a Bullet Journal to suit your own needs and style. You can read my explanation on this here on a previous post. The point being that dot paper is ideal because it lends itself so well to keeping a Bullet Journal. From using the dots to create boxes for to-do lists, through to adding tables and charts and logs, the flexible nature of dot paper is perfect. That’s why the official Bullet Journal uses dot paper.

dot paper for bullet journaling

Conclusion

dot paper flowchart

Ultimately it comes down to finding the right paper for what you need and what you like, but I switched over some years back and have never gone back. From Rhodia to Leuchtturm I have been through many dot paper journals and look forward to many more yet. Try one if you haven’t and see for yourself.

Ideas

Staff Picks

A new feature

This is a new feature, and the idea is to let you what stationery we like to use. It’s no surprise that we use our own stationery. We are surrounded by it all day, everyday. Imagine the stationery equivalent of being allowed into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Well it’s sort of like that. A bit. Anyway, new stationery comes in to us here on a pretty regular basis – we usually see something new each week. Some of it is OK, some of it is actually quite disappointing, but some of it is actually very much in the category of ‘ooh, I could use one of those….’. Well it is pretty sad that we all find items that we like personally for some reason, but don’t share it with everyone. After all, deciding on whether an item is good to buy is hard enough on a website (even one as good as ours….) so any additional words might just help. It may even make you realise that it isn’t the right item for you.

The idea is to flag each item on the website with a ‘staff pick’ badge, together with a little summary of who has picked it and why. If you want to find out more then simply head on over the this blog and a more extensive write-up will leave you in no doubt about why we have chosen that particular item. Hopefully we will see everyone give an insight into something every month.

First up will be myself – I will post the first Staff Pick next week.