Posts Tagged 'Rhodia'

Quick and Dirty Pen Review – Noodler’s Flex

Oof, apologies for the lack of posts this week! I’m leaving my job and preparing for yet another big move. So there’s lots of reflection and a long to-do list on my part, but not a lot of blog-productivity.

Luckily, when my brain needs a break from job searching, I have the new Noodler’s flex nib fountain pen to play with. I bought this from Goulet Pens, and you can read Brian Goulet’s own review here. The unique thing about this pen isn’t a spectacular flex nib or beautiful design, but that’s it’s priced at $14.

Flex nibs for $14 just doesn’t happen, frankly. This is mainly because it’s incredibly difficult to mass-produce a flexible nib– it usually involves some hands-on work. Thanks, Capitalism, for leaving us with only vintage pens and expensive customizations as options for a flexible nib! And as far as I know, nobody’s quite sure how Noodler’s is producing these so cheaply. Brian’s hypothesis involves Oompa Loompas, and I’m just hoping that the secret is something like “patience and devotion to the craft” rather than, say, any exploitation here or overseas.

Although the flex factor isn’t drastic, this cute little nib definitely qualifies as a flex nib– as opposed to the nib on my Aurora Ipsilon, which most pen geeks would say “has some spring to it.” The difference is that when you’re writing regularly, the Noodler’s nib still responds to the slightest pressure change– whereas with the Ipsilon, you have to think about pressing down for flex.

Well heyyyy there. Hopefully you can see from my mediocre calligraphy skills that this flex is legit. In fact this is probably a great first pen for somebody wanting to get into calligraphy without the mess and supplies of a dip pen.

I tried to include three different writing styles so that you can see how this nib will work for varying handwriting. I saw the most shading on this third part, probably because I was writing faster and therefore the nib put down less ink on each letter. Compare this to the calligraphy, above, where I was writing more slowly and the ink color is fairly dark throughout. If you happen to write in all caps, a la The Pen Addict, you’ll get a bit of shading but will probably be annoyed by the responsive nib making lines widths inconsistent.

P.S. Credit goes to Rhodia No. 14 for the writing surface ;)

In the News: Cities, Notebook Love, and Presidential Proclamations

Technology (and the like)

» Scary fact: did you know the cell phone industry actually admits the health risks of cell phone radiation? Apparently this is not the stuff of conspiracy theorists anymore: Apple recommends holding your iPhone no closer than 5/8″ to your body, and BlackBerry recommends holding your phone a full inch away. Read more in Tom Philpott’s article: Is my smartphone making me dumb?

» Some “Tough Love” advice for having a better life: Americans need to stop multitasking while eating alone.

» The event already passed, but I really like the message behind Jimmy Kimmel’s National Unfriend Day. The idea is to restore meaning to the word ‘friend’ by cutting down on facebook friends who… well, aren’t actually your friends.

» The event already passed, but I really like Jimmy Kimmel’s “National Unfriend Day.” The idea is to cut down on facebook “friends” who… aren’t actually your friends. Heck, you can do this anytime and restore some meaning to the word ‘friend’.

» Read a good paperback recently? I like this down-to-earth ‘best books’ list from The Guardian (via The EarlyWord)

Pen | Paper | Ink | DIY

» Etsy, how I love thee. Check out their recommendations for keeping analog time in 2011 – nothing digital about it.

» Jonathan Safran Foer, I love you and your unmakeable book more than Etsy.

» I hate to bash NaNoWriMo so soon after writing a positive post about it, but I’m just so in agreement with this Salon.com article that I had to share.

» DIY Love: Social activists have long protested the consumerism of Black Friday by celebrating Buy Nothing Day instead, but I’m even MORE supportive of this new (more positive) approach: Make Something Day.

» Ooh, lovely burgundies, wines, and maroons:  Ink Mixing with J. Herbin’s Anniversary Ink (via Writer’s Bloc)

» Hooray, two of my favorite things: Notebooks and gardening!

» I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but Rhodia/Clairefontaine/Exaclair have some of the best customer service and genuine grassroots marketing. Ever.

Rurality | Urbanism

» Poor urbanites: apparently New Yorkers are the most stressed Americans since the economy collapsed – but not because they’re doing worse than other parts of the country (they’re not). It’s because the city doesn’t offer effective ways to deal with stress. (via Daily News)

» But! This whole city-stress phenomenon may not be unique to New York. A recent study showed that the overstimulated atmosphere cities had a negative impact on attention span, memory, and on mood in general. (via CNN)

» Somehow I find the idea of “Proclamations” adorably antiquated, but this one I can get behind: Obama declared November 19-25th “Farm-City Week”

» Whoa whoa whoa – Kentucky canceled a coal plant?

Miscellaneous Cultural Fun!

Blank Book Showdown: Habana v Rhodia

…but really, they’re from the same parent company, so think of it more as a “meeting of similar interests” than a showdown.

Rhodia “Webbie” Webnotebook

  • 5-1/2″ x 8-1/4″
  • 90g blank ivory Clairefontaine paper
  • Orange Italian leatherette hard cover with an embossed Rhodia logo
  • 96 sheets (192 pages total)
  • Inner pocket, elastic closure, rounded corners
  • Ordered mine from Goulet Pen Company for $18.75 (thanks Brian!)

Quo Vadis “Looking For A Nickname” Habana Notebook

  • 6-1/4″ x 9-1/4″
  • 90g blank extra-white Clairefontaine paper
  • “Leather-like” semi-flexible cover (anyone know material these covers are actually made of?) with discrete embossed logo
  • 80 sheets (160 pages total)
  • Inner pocket, elastic closure, rounded corners
  • Got mine as a free sample for review, but available for $18.75 from Goulet Pen Company

Compared: First Impressions

So, as you can see from the top image (and the macros above), the Rhodia’s embossed logo is front and center, while the Quo Vadis logo is more discretely placed in the lower right corner. Neither are obtrusive, and the Rhodia logo’s placement fits with the rest of their line of notebooks. The  Webbie looks and feels sturdier, which I suppose is the difference between a “leatherette” cover and the Habana’s “leather-like” cover. The webbie is also a bit fatter, as it contains 96 sheets instead of the Habana’s 80.

Snuggling Notebooks

Although they are both square notebooks with rounded corners, the Habana’s spine is more squared off, while the Webbie’s is more rounded.

Pardon my Shadow!

As far as size goes, these are both very, very portable notebooks. Neither of these sizes is going to fit in your pocket, but they’re both definitely “tuckable” –into bags, notebooks, whatever. What the Rhodia has in its small size, the Habana notebook has in slimness.

Compared: Delving Inside the Covers

Inside the Front Cover

Looks like similar construction to me...

So the Rhodia has sort of a monotone-thing going on, when it comes to color scheme. The elastic closure and the ribbon bookmark are both as orange as the cover, and the covers are orange on the inside as well. Depending on your perspective, this could be seen as minimalist chic, or as just way too orange. Compare this to the Quo Vadis’ color scheme: key lime cover, white inside the covers, and black bookmark. Which, again, could be chic or gaudy, depending on your perspective.

So keep in mind that I’ve been using the Quo Vadis as a journal for a while now, which is why it looks a little stuffed in the above picture. But this image might give you an idea of each notebook’s color scheme. As an artist and graphic designer, I honestly would never have picked ivory paper and orange covers, but between the two of us, the Webbie’s combination does seem a smidge classier than the Habana. (It’s a shame that the Habana comes in my least favorite notebook colors: raspberry, red, lime, and black. I was really hoping for the taupe version with blank paper…)

Back Pockets-- both equally handy!

One of the most significant differences, though, is the actual paper that you’ll be writing on. This is, after all, the reason that you buy a notebook in the first place, is it not? Although both these paper are listed as 90g, I find that the Habana’s paper seems a bit thinner. I think this is because the bright white color seems more transparent than the Webbie’s ivory paper, and the larger size makes the paper feel more, um, “floppy.” In any case, both papers perform superbly with fountain pens– and there have been enough tests on this already that I don’t really need to do another.

So, there are the varied hues of your new writing surfaces. Ivory and bright-white are very different to write on, and both have their pros and cons. If moleskine-lovers are having trouble transitioning, they may enjoy the Webbie’s ivory tint. Designers, comic book artists, and some illustrators may prefer the bright white of the Habana for more color pop.

The Big Difference, Though…

…is that I’m using one as a journal:

and one as a wine journal and a recipe book:

Emergency Posts! (Old Pen and Inks)

It’s a damn good thing I have a ton of old art stored on my computer, or else I’d have no time to provide any posts during exam week. So… here’s a study of a friend of mine from a few years ago, done on a Rhodia pad with a Cross fountain pen– in the meantime, wish me luck on exams!

The Roundup: Rhodia Drive Raffle Prize

StackOh boy. Through farmwork and thesis work, re-carpeting my parents’ home and moving myself into a new temporary home, I haven’t gotten a chance to sit down and upload some photos of my Rhodia raffle prize.

These were graciously sent by Karen Doherty of Exaclair, and I want to note how impressed I was at the way the raffle was handled. Not only did the Rhodia Drive blog feature my blog when announcing the first winner, but I received an email from Karen congratulating me and asking my “favorite colors” –which was confusing at first, until she explained that she was just hoping to tailor the notebooks to my liking, for ink colors and cover colors.

Well, gosh.

I really like the opportunities for personal connection that the world of blogging allows. Although it’s part of my firm belief to never confuse the digital world for face-to-face interactions, I must admit that there is a certain social etiquette in the blogging world (much more professional than the “dear-diary” of livejournal land) which opens up a door for cool opportunities– like this one!

So, a box arrived at my door a few days later, containing:

Basically, that’s a lot. I did the math, and the total retail value would be $174.25. I think knowing that makes me appreciate it even more, because it means that I won’t have to spend money on school supplies this year. Little blessings are especially nice when they come with pretty inks :)

I’m not going to do full reviews of anything right now, especially because I included the new inks in my recent ink comparison and because  so many of the notebooks are near-duplicates (all the Rhodia blocs, for example). But I will include a few initial thoughts, mainly–

What the heck am I supposed to do with this teeny tiny notebook?!

IMG_0051

I’m not sure this picture does this notebook justice in showing its size (I have small hands). Its about twice the size of a matchbook, 2″ x 3″. I also have English-major Carpal Tunnel syndrome, so writing in a cramped size is not an option. My male friends with larger hands just sort of laughed when they tried to hold it. Any suggestions?

My other initial reaction was: UH. Ironically, I received the exact same Exacompta sketchbook that I’m using as my personal journal right now.

IMG_0056

I’m nearing the end of my journal, and now I’m wondering whether to use this new one as a replacement or move to another notebook. It’s such a beautiful book, but I’ve always been the type to try new formats when I start a new journal. A gift, perhaps?


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