Paper

Mid-Week Mini: Baron Fig Strategist Note Cards

IMG_2524.jpg

The Baron Fig Strategist Note Cards are Baron Figs take on an index card. I have never really been an index card user. They remind me of university presentations and a set of notes that usually proved completely useless.

Anyhow, I decided to throw a set of these in with an order to see what they were like and if I would use them. On the whole I didn’t. I have a pocket notebook for dumping all the small bits of information I need or use. My daily task list goes in there, things I want to look at later on, order numbers etc. So the index card didn't seem to have a use case.

IMG_2523.jpg

But then NaNoWriMo came along and I needed somewhere to dump ideas. Small tidbits of information that I didn't want lost in a pocket notebook and weren’t complex or sufficient enough to throw into their own notebook. This was when I found a need for a note card.

 A few of my NaNoWriMo notes on cards

A few of my NaNoWriMo notes on cards

So the Baron Fig Strategist cards, have a typical Baron Fig-esq name. They are aspirational and a little lofty but essentially these are small note cards made from thick paper.

 My preferred way to use the Strategist note cards - thick felt tip style pen.

My preferred way to use the Strategist note cards - thick felt tip style pen.

The big difference with the Strategist note cards is they have the same dot grid ruling that you get with Baron Fig notebooks and I believe is not that common on an index card. The dot grid makes the note card more versatile, you can draw, or have some cool lettering...whatever it may be the dot grid opens up how you can use these note cards.

 That sweet dot grid.

That sweet dot grid.

The other nice little feature on these note cards is they come with rounded corners. This makes them look a little smarter and more considered but it also stops the corners getting beaten up and the note cards looking ragged.

You get 100 cards per pack of the Strategist note cards. They’re shrink wrapped which means when the pack is open, it’s open. I have been using a Field Notes band of rubber to keep the note cards together and stop me loosing them.

 Keeping all the note cards together has been a slight challenge, but nothing the Band of Rubber can’t fix.

Keeping all the note cards together has been a slight challenge, but nothing the Band of Rubber can’t fix.

Overall thoughts.

I haven’t used the Strategist note cards every day because I don’t have a need to. However for projects, shopping lists, notes to your husband/wife or kids...these are really cool. Printing the dot grid on both sides of the note card would be my only desired addition. I know this would lead to printing complications but it would mean both sides are uniform.

Mid-Week Mini: Bastet and Bee Notepads

Bastet and Bee sent me a couple of their notepads to play around with and review here on the blog. All thoughts expressed here are my own.

IMG_2494.jpg

Bastet and Bee produce notepads in unconventional designs with the aim of encouraging you to think differently.

They have a handful of designs available but I was drawn to the Stack and Play notepad. I really liked the playful designs but also the balance of colours. The grey and yellow are complimentary and aren’t too imposing.

The Play notepad I actually think is the more subdued of the two designs I have. I thought this option would be easier to use with the number of boxed off areas. It is less vibrant too.

IMG_2491.jpg

The Stack was my favourite of the two and the one I ended up using a lot more. The boxes were great for jotting down tasks that popped into my head or for taking random notes on calls.

IMG_2492.jpg

In terms of writing tools on these notepads they fared well. The paper quality isn’t too bad and could handle most of the pens I used with it. Some did feather a little, mostly the fountain pens. But markers help up well and didn’t bleed through onto the next page.

IMG_2495.jpg

I like what Bastet and Bee have created. The notepads come in a number of good designs and the colour scheme is really nice, but I am a fan of anything yellow.

 Glue binding along the left hand, long side of the notepad

Glue binding along the left hand, long side of the notepad

I’d like to thank Bastet and Bee for sending me their desk pads to review here on the blog.

Mid-Week Mini: Field Notes End Papers: Initial Thoughts.

IMG_1627.jpg

The latest Field Notes quarterly release,End Papers, was another example of Field Notes pushing the boundaries of what they do with a pocket notebook. It seems like once a year Field Notes try something different with the quarterly release and this time we get a new size and the recurrence of the signature binding.

IMG_1629.jpg

End Papers is a little taller than the Signature Field Notes but the same width as a normal standard Field Notes pocket notebook. This makes it a little odd in size. Let me explain what I mean.

Binding.

Signature binding feels too burdensome on a pocket notebook. With small notebooks I don’t like or think signature binding is needed. Staples are easier and makes the notebook easier to use. Pushing against signature binding to just be able to use it is not a challenge I really want.

IMG_1638.jpg

Size.

The size of this notebook feels strange. It feels too tall and slim and too bulky with the additional pages - 68 pages versus the 48 found in a standard Field Notes.

Ruling.

Their is a mixed page rulings within this release, left hand page is blank and the right ruled. This mixed ruling makes me want to write on the right hand side and then leave the left unused. I don’t think a mixed ruling works within a pocket notebook, it feels like a waste of pages. On an A5 sized notebook there could be an argument of why this is useful and how it could be used, but for me on a pocket notebook it doesn’t work.

IMG_1636.jpg

Switching to a little positivity within this release the design of the End Papers is classic and simple with dark covers and debossed logo on the cover.

IMG_1632.jpg

The marbled papers on the inside covers are pretty and I really liked seeing the process video that accompanied this release. The colours are a little muted, it would have been nice to have a little bit of colour. I like the combinations used on the Timber Green notebook the most.

IMG_1633.jpg

Overall thoughts.

The signature binding makes me think of Write notepads and the more Field Notes use this binding on their notebooks the less inclined I am to use them. On the Field Note Signature series of notebooks the binding doesn’t inhibit how you use the notebook because of its larger size. With End Papers I don’t think this binding style works.

IMG_1634.jpg

I like that Field Notes try different things but this release isn’t for me. The marbling process was obviously the main goal with this release but I think it could have been implemented in lots of different, cool and impactful ways.

Baron Fig Wander Dream Journal.

IMG_1094.jpg

Baron Fig sent me their new Wander Dream Journal to review here on the blog. All thoughts shared on this product are entirely my own.

The Wander Dream Journal is a brand new product to Baron Fig. As the name suggests its a dream journal with a specific page layout designed to encourage you to catch various aspects of your dreams. The thought that has gone into this journal is really nice and the style of this dream journal is different to anything we’ve seen from Baron Fig before.

IMG_1096.jpg

The overall notebook design.

The Wander Dream Journal looks like a Confidant. Its the same size as their Flagship product but this journal has a few interesting tweaks. The most obvious is the inclusion of an elastic closure, which I was a little surprised to see. The Wander Dream Journal seems a strange choice of debut for the elastic closure and I am not sure it really needs it. In most instances this journal will sit on your bedside table or where you rest your head. It is used for a specific purpose and therefore perhaps unlikely to contain bits of paper, but more often purely written notes. These are of course, all assumptions I am making and perhaps other people would find different ways to use this journal, but in relation to the elastic closure I think this may be welcome on other Confidants and perhaps no so important on the Wander Dream Journal.

IMG_1098.jpg

As this is the first time Baron Fig have included an elastic closure I was interested to see how well integrated it was. The good news is you can’t notice the fixing of the elastic on the reverse inside cover. The only thing I did notice is that the elastic does leave an imprint on the front of the Confidant as its material, but this is relatively small and due to the dark cover not overly noticeable.

IMG_1108.jpg

Back to the specific design of the Wander Dream Journal, the cover is a midnight blue with embossed silver stars and moon. The cover design is simple but works well with the intended use of the journal giving it a sleepy, dreamlike feel.

IMG_1100.jpg

There is a light blue bookmark with this journal which seems quite a bit longer than other bookmarks from Baron Figs Confidants! Lets hope this change trickles down to all Baron Fig Confidant notebooks.

IMG_1137.jpg

Inside the Wander Journal.

The page design is what really sets this journal apart from anything else Baron Fig have done. Each double page spread is dedicated to a dream and its through the prompts on the page that you can unwind, decipher or simply record. At the front of the journal is a double page explanatory page telling you how to use the notebook.

IMG_1102.jpg

The page bars.

All of the elements within this spread are explained clearly. Each double page has a page bar which sit on the outside edge of each page and guide you through tracking your dreams. There is space to track how the dream made you feel, the quality of your sleep, the period of time the dream took place, whether it was in colour or monotone, your viewpoint and finally there is a categorisation section where you can record if its recurring dream, a nightmare, fantasy etc.

IMG_1104.jpg

Having the page bars on the outside edge of each page makes it easy to find these common themes, or to search for something later on. Not only is the page bar an interesting and well-thought through guided experience, it’s also cleverly been considered from a use perspective. This information could have been shown in so many other formats, but positioning this where they have works so well and keeps this information relevant in the longer term.

I found the categories of the page bar also made me consider things I wouldn’t have thought about before. The colour versus monotone indicator is not a factor I would have thought about in relation to my dreams. To record these small nuggets of information and be prompted to think about them is useful. It’s simple but it captures relevant information.

IMG_1111.jpg

The journaling sections.

The rest of your double page spread is to record all the important information of your dream. The date and day it occurred has its own section at the top of the page.

IMG_1107.jpg

There is room for the details, the weird and wonderful aspects of everyones dreams. The left hand page is dedicated to what you remember from your dream and called Recall. Again a great header as its rare to remember all the details or for them to make sense. The header alone suggests that some of the information here may be illogical, nonsense even…the idea is to simply write it down.

Then there is the Visualize section. From the few dreams I have recorded (and remembered) there hasn’t been a whole lot of imagery that I can remember or that made sense to draw, but again this can sometimes be one of the only ways to remember a dream. Having blank space dedicated to this is a nice prompt.

Finally there is space for you to Interpret your dream. From my silly, but real example the interpretation of the dream is clear. Other dreams are harder to interpret but this is an important part of the journal purely because most people always wonder what their dreams meant.

Each section within the page has a different grid pattern dedicated to the section you’re completing. The Recall section has lines giving you the space to write. The Visualize section is blank giving you space to draw and the Recall section has dotted ruled lines. This isn’t the first time Baron Fig have a mixed up their grid rulings, (Show & Tell) but it really works nicely for the Wander Dream Journal.

IMG_1106.jpg

Overall thoughts.

This isn’t a journal for everyone and its not a journal you may use everyday but its really interesting. I have mine by my bed and when I wake up and I can recall a dreams I record it in the journal using the prompts to guide me. Spending the time to think about dreams can be deeply personal, strange and a little revealing perhaps but I imagine this could be a journal that over time becomes a valued notebook.

It’s great that the Wander Dream Journal is part of Baron Figs standard offering and not just a limited edition. This journal shows that Baron Fig can take a simple idea, or note taking routine, and guide users to improve upon a habit. I would love to see them take the Wander Dream Journal idea and apply this to other areas.

IMG_1105.jpg

A little bit more…

As this isn’t a journal that’s for the everyday…in many cases, I started to wonder how I could hack this journal. How could I take the insides and use this for alternative purposes. As it’s a full sized Confidant, 192 pages of dream recording is a lot. So here are some of the ideas I had…

  1. Story planning - the layout could be used to plan out scenes or ideas from a story and the prompts could be adapted to work in this manner.
  2. Mood tracker - again some of the side bar items can work to track your mood. Recalling, interpreting and in some instances visualising your moods could be part of a self-improvement idea that could be tracked over time.
  3. Memory log - you could use these pages to write down memories. The side bar could be adapted to work alongside this idea and you could include snippets, photos or cut outs in the Visualize area.