Archive for ‘notebooks’

December 11, 2010

Faily scrawlin’

I’ve been pining after a flexible fountain pen nib for a while because it allows for more character in one’s handwriting. Basically, it means that I’d be able to do thin strokes and thick strokes at will, which would mean I’d have awesome looking handwriting. That’s the theory, anyway.

I was considering a vintage pen brand called Esterbrook, which has wonderfully flexy nibs but — and here’s where I start to wrestle with myself — I don’t actually like how the pens look. (Click the link above to see pictures.) Some people like them. I can see why; it’s just not my sense of aesthetic.

A couple of weeks ago, it was a moot dilemma because I was (and am) terribly broke and a cheapie Esterbrook was out of my price range.

But then Valerie (kind, wonderful, albeit rather bratty Valerie), bought me an Esterbrook SJ in cherry red, with a 1555 firm medium nib and a 9048 flexible fine nib:

I missed out on the elusive 9128 extra fine, extra flexible nib but I have heard tell that it is not all that fine nor that flexible. And a 9048 suits me just dandy. It’s my first Esterbrook so I have nothing to compare it with save for my other pens — an exercise which, I suspect, is not so much apples and oranges but more like apples and alien ants from outer space.

I’ve been playing with a pretend-flexible nib while waiting for my Estie to arrive. It’s a cheap dip pen I bought for Valerie aaages ago, and now I’m claiming it till I get sick of it. The nib is fairly springy but not as flexible as an actual-flexible-nib, I think. But I’ve been able to play around, which makes me rather happy. And ink-stained. I cannot play with inks without getting it all over my fingers, which you can see on the photos, lol.

See my scribbles! (And be kind — I’ve never worked with a flex nib before. My lines are all wonky.) These are all done with J Herbin’s 1670 ink on a Rhodia Dot Pad No. 16. Bonus points if you can get the references in the first two. Many bonus points. And virtual cookies.


I did a few others but how many pictures of rather bad ‘calligraphy’ can one handle, really.

December 2, 2010

The notebooks; they take over my room

I have an insatiable fascination with notebooks. I love them more than word can wield the matter. One of my favourite online shopping sites of all time is Inscriber, and Notemaker, its sibling notebook and paper site, is a close second. I spend a lot of time browsing and, on occasion, a good portion of my income on wonderful bits of wonderful stationery. If you ever find yourself buying Moleskines, Clairefontaine notebooks or Rhodia pads at Borders (still rather giddy that Borders stocks Clairefontaine and Rhodia), do consider Notemaker — much cheaper by far. (No affiliation, etc., happy customer, etc., usual disclaimers, etc. Etc., for good measure.)

Unfortunately, my insistence upon exploring this love for notebooks (through purchasing all that take my fancy) far exceeds my ability to actually use them all properly.

I know that most people manage to use their notebooks quite regularly. I used to, till I realised that typing let me get my thoughts out more quickly than writing. I still carry a notebook (or three) around in case I do need to scribble, so my notebooks don’t go unused per se; they’re just not as well-loved as they used to be. Which is a shame, because I’m really very fond of them.

This is my notebook collection. It is, in my head, very small — and in comparison to quite a few other people’s collection, it is. (I’d flit over to the posts over at Moleskinerie if you want to see serious notebook love.)

The spiral notebooks are just cheap lined notebooks I picked up at Big W and Officeworks for uni notes. I replaced the covers myself — you can see how they look in this post (warning: I was a bit sleepy and high and not very coherent when that post was written, lol!). They are far from interesting in content, for they have law school scribbles and law bored me to tears.

Above the spiral notebooks is an A5 jotter pad made out of junk paper, which is my general scribbly pad. It has boring things like ‘dentist appointment 2.00 Saturday’, annotated with things like ‘????’ because I’ve forgotten to note precisely which Saturday it is.

The tiny little notebooks stacked on top of the jotter pad are Moleskine cahiers, which come in packs of three. I don’t use them half as much as I used to because my fountain pens hate them (the ink goes everywhere) but I always found them an awesome size for general notetaking if I didn’t have my jotter pad on me. I also like the simplicity of them — they’re so terribly appealing, even though I hate their lack of paper quality control.

Right underneath the spiral notebooks is my first and only Clairefontaine, which won’t be the only one for long, I fear. It has the best paper in my collection, save for the brighty whiteness:

It’s not that glaringly white, just glaring in comparison to the kikki.K and Moleskine pages. At the moment, it has very little written in it, because it’s my scribbly book for fiction pieces and my inspiration is sadly running rather low. One day, it’ll be filled. Until then, I’m trying not to buy any more Clairefontaine notebooks. HA.

The books under the Clairefontaine are all from kikki.K — the seasonal release of A5 blank notebooks.  kikki.K’s A5 notebooks have fountain pen-friendly paper in a gorgeous shade of yellowed cream, and they were my go-to books before Borders made it easy to get Clairefontaine and Rhodia. It reminds me of Moleskine paper (which is sadly not very nice to my fountain pens), which is my favourite paper of all time. (Note to Clairefontaine: please make your creams more creamy. Kthnx.) This is how they look inside:

And at the very bottom of the pile is my favoured thesis notebook: the Rhodia Dot Pad (No. 16). I love Rhodia — more than Moleskine, truthfully, although I really do love the simplicity of the Moleskine aesthetic. Rhodia has amazing paper, though, and the Dot Pad is really fun. The paper seems to demand word cloud-like notes rather than great walls of script, so my notes end up turning out like this:

I find it quite useful for getting the gist of my ideas out there, since I think in keywords and generalities rather than in specifics. Every time I walk into Borders now, I’m tempted to get another Rhodia No. 16, though I haven’t quite caved yet, because this one isn’t quite done.

I stopped typing for a moment after having said that, because I was thinking to myself, ‘nice; say “haven’t yet bought another Rhodia 16” to escape confessing that you have bought another Rhodia.’

Because I have.

But not, as I say, another Rhodia No. 16. No, no.

I feel like I need a trumpet fanfare before showing this MONSTER OF A RHODIA PAD:


It’s so big. It’s Rhodia No. 38 and is an A3 pad of dot-paper. My biggest notebooks up until now were A5, so you can imagine that this is WHOA CRAZY HUGE in my head. It’s probably quite normal to students who do giant sketchy things.

I don’t even think my writing will be visible on this paper.


I have never-ending paper.

Never-ending paper is really rather important to me. During my Honours year, I found it really difficult to keep all my thoughts to paper, and ended up scribbling on my bedroom wall, instead. It felt better than giant butcher paper.

I do think, though, that’d it be nice to be able to keep my notes without having to erase them from my wall. HENCE THE MONSTER PAD.

I love it so.

And, by the by, has anyone seen the Mutant Dolls at Chatswood Westfield? I also love them, because they always make me stop and take a second look — a second look of the ‘what on earth is that oh it’s a mutant doll I geddit cute’ variety, which is more than most shopping centre stalls get from me, really. And I sort of want one. But not really, because they creep me out. I’ve been trying to load the website to see if they’re as creepy as I recall, but I can’t load it, so I’ve decided that yes, they’re as creepy as I recall. It’ll be this way unless someone convinces me otherwise.

November 22, 2010

Sugar highs and giveaways

I love my iPod Touch. I really do. (In fact, I’m typing on it now.) It’s like an iPhone but without the pesky tendency to ring and make me talk to people.

The thing is, I inevitably end up using it right before bed to answer some very insistent but rather unimportant questions, like ‘Can you floss too much?’ (answer: yes, if you do it incorrectly) and ‘what is incorrect flossing technique?’ (answer: sawing back and forth instead of gently moving the floss up and down). And then I start to worry that I’ve been flossing vigorously and inaccurately all my life and have endangered the well-being of my teeth forever, which is not exactly the sort of thing that helps put one to sleep.

Other times, I play games. I’m particularly partial to Plants vs Zombies and The Creeps, which are tower defence games: strategic games in which you have to, by one means or another, protect your base from incoming enemies. More often than not, you have to build ‘towers’, weapons that attack the enemies as they make their way to your base (which more than likely has piles of awesome things, like cake and gold and your main source of life). If you like strategy games and you haven’t yet tried PvZ (no, seriously? You haven’t?) or The Creeps, these are definitely worth a shot. They’re mindless enough for you to think, ‘I’ll only play one level’ — which is precisely the right amount of mindless that makes you play about five levels on top of the three or four ‘just one more…’ moments.

OH. I was going to do an outfit post but, alas, I’m not wearing anything of interest. Have a strangely baffling photo. On the left is what I am wearing in my head, except I actually have a torso and arms and a head and things. I think I took this photo to show off my Chanel-inspired two-tone stockings and never really got around to sharing it. (Or maybe I did, on a different medium.) The skirt is by BCBG Max Azria and the shoes are suede Tony Bianco ‘Palais’. The stockings are divine, and that’s all I can tell you, unfortunately. I’m rather fond of the Chanel originals but I am the Jack the Ripper of stockings and I would tear a hole in them as soon as I took them out of the packet.

such discrepancies...

On the right is what I usually look like after coming home from uni/an outing: I get half-changed because I’m too lazy to actually get properly undressed. So on go the trackies under my skirt/dress and I’m ready to go until bedtime. The blouse is from Alannah Hill and the trackies are decades old from the children’s pyjama section in Target. I have OPI’s Suzi Says Feng Shui on my nails, which made more sense with my outfit, I promise you! My bedsocks are wonderful and were bought at an impulse almost-midnight run at Kmart. (I do those scarily often. There’s something strangely appealing about a 24/7 Kmart, but I do pity the poor people who work those hours.)

By the by, I am rather sleepy and cramming handfuls of fairy floss into my mouth and typing on my iPod, so I don’t know what I’m saying or if it’s very interesting.

Other people do drunk!posts; I do sugar-high-and-sleepy!posts.

Have a picture!

This is a little exercise book I used during uni in my third year. I took the covers out of the binding, covered them and decorated them with the things I had lying around my room, and then slipped the spirals back through. I used:

  • brown bow from an Alannah Hill something-or-other;
  • wooden buttons
  • vintage measuring tape
  • small black buttons from a work blouse
  • brass charms from a bracelet found at St Vincent’s
  • brass chain from some jewellery supplier
  • vintage music score, Chopin’s Prelude in D Flat
  • torn map
  • vintage dictionary definitions
  • Creative Memories scrapbooking card.

Hell, have some more pictures to make up for my pretty rubbish post (click to enlarge):

Heyyyy. That collage looked far less cramped when I was doing it. And one of the pictures has been repeated. How annoying. Never mind. It is 11.40pm and I am sleepy and I am out of fairy floss. I may redo this at a later date. I will.

Aaaaactually. Just got hit by a wave of brilliance. (FAIRY FLOSS IS GOOD FOR YOU, I TOLD YOU SO.)

My blog’s first monthy-versary is coming up in about ten days. What say I do a little giveaway? Yes? No? Ghastly idea or downright brilliant?

I was thinking of whipping up one of these books (probably a little Moleskine cahier to slip into your bag) and maybe a few little non-handmade somethings just to spruce the package up a bit. I don’t have very many regular readers or commenters which might make the whole thing a little lame — but I have racked up quite a few hits, so I suspect there are more readers than I imagine ^^.

Okay. How will we do this? It’ll be the usual ‘comment on a post and I will draw a random entry from a strange object’ affair; I will contact the winner and post it out ASAP.


What about you leave me a comment with your opinion on the giveaway: good idea, or downright terrible. Your comments will help me decide on whether or not to do a giveaway and, if I do end up trying my hand at this giveaway affair, your comment will earn you one entry. I will do a follow-up post a few days after this one, with pictures of the giveaway stash

Short, sensical version:

1. Should I do a giveaway? Post an answer in the comments!

2. I will whip up a book and post photos of it (and other giveaway goodies) in a few days time, depending on the response to the giveaway idea.

3. Anyone who commented on this particular post gets one entry, provided that they enter the official giveaway. I will also set up another post to officially announce the giveaway, and any comments on that post will earn one entry. There will be a maximum two entries per person — one entry gained from this post; and one entry gained from the second ‘official’ one. Multiple comments on the same post will not count as multiple entries.

Does that make sense? I certainly hope so. See you all at a more reasonable time!