Paper

Mid-Week Mini: Sadler Jones Greetings Cards Review.

I find buying greetings cards hard. Most of the time the paper is average, the designs ok and the prices high. I tend to buy cards when I see them so that I have a small supply at home that I can dip into when I need it.

Some of my recent purchases.

Some of my recent purchases.

I came across Sadler Jones through Instagram, I forget exactly how, but I was attracted to the style of these cards. I have now bought two bulk orders over the past few months because the style and designs of their cards are so good. I wanted to share my thoughts and some photographs in todays post.

A personal favourite of mine.

A personal favourite of mine.

High Quality Paper.

I like to use fountain pens when I write my cards. Pen and ink looks nice and feels special, especially if the receiver is not a fountain pen user. However not all cards are fountain pen friendly, but Sadler Jones cards work perfectly. The paper is high quality stock that means you can use a lot of different writing tools. The envelopes seem to be pretty standard, white in general and yellow for Children’s cards.

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Fun designs.

Sadler Jones has a few different card themes on their site. Some of them are bold and bright, some have beautiful brush lettering and there are also some of the more cheeky kind (my personal favourites).

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Lovely gold foiling detail. 

Lovely gold foiling detail. 

Overall thoughts.

As I said at the start of todays post it’s tough to find high quality cards that tick the design box and are made with decent paper stock. Sadler Jones however are great and I’ve really liked the cards I’ve used. The prices are pretty standard and delivery is really quick. I wanted to share my experiences with Sadler Jones mainly because I have found it so hard to find good quality cards online that are recommended, so I felt compelled to share my experiences. I hope you find this useful.

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Baron Fig Clear Habit Journal Review.

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I pre-ordered the Baron Fig and James Clear collaboration Confidant notebook when it was announced at the end of 2018. It’s not a secret that I enjoy using Baron Fig notebooks and as a regular tracker of habits this was a really interesting release.

I have been using it since it landed on my door mat, sometime mid Jan. It was a shame that it didn't arrive in time for the new year, but the start of a new year isn’t the only time to review and start habits. As it’s now three months on I feel like I have some real insights and thoughts into this notebook that I wanted to share in today’s post.

The Clear Habit Journal Elements.

The Clear Habit Journal is a black cloth bound Confidant notebook in the new Baron Fig limited edition style. There is a copper coloured pyramid/triangle on the front cover that relates to the building of simple habits for big results.

There are two thick bookmarks one black and one copper. I always appreciate a notebook with a double bookmark because I am usually referencing different pages regularly. With the Clear Habit Journal it is especially useful. I have one bookmark on the page I am currently using and the second at the months habit tracker page.

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The final elements are an elastic closure and a back pocket and I have mixed feelings on both. The elastic closure especially is becoming more common the Baron Fig limited editions and it feels the most borrowed. I don’t feel like the Confidant needs the elastic, it closes well, is made from quality materials and the elastic closure just reminds me of the big brands.

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The Clear Habit Journal Special Elements.

As with other Baron Fig limited editions there are a few pages at the start of this notebook outlining each of the sections and giving guidance on how they are designed to work. All the sections of this journal are clearly highlighted by a black title page, which is easy to see when flicking through the notebook or when it’s closed.

There is an Index at the front of the notebook where you can note down important sections or log any key pages. The Confidant is a thick notebook so having an Index included could come in useful to mark down that brainwave you had on page 72.

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A design change we have seen with Baron Fig limited edition notebooks recently is the inclusion of information bars on the outer edges of the page. With the Clear Habit Journal this feature is present on the ‘One Line Per Day’ pages. The months are listed in this section allowing you to ring the month you are working on.

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I really like the inclusion of these pages in this notebook. Having read James Clear’s Atomic Habits I know this is something he advocates, but simply noting down one line of your day really can help you see what you have achieved. These pages aren't complicated, they aren't there to make you feel guilty, they’re manageable. One line of how your day has been, what you ate, what exercise you did, your mood...whatever you want.

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After this you have the bulk of the notebook. Numbered dot grid pro pages. The inclusion of additional + and - markers on the dot grid are the pro justification, but they’re actually really useful and such a simple addition. These appear on the outer edges of the grid and are designed to act as half or third of the page markers. This means you can very quickly create a table, split the page up to journal without having to waste time counting it all out.

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At the rear of the notebook you get the Habit Tracker pages. Bullet Journalers will be familiar with this concept but the idea is to write down a series of habits you want to stick to over a month long period. These are written on the left side of the page. At the top of the page you select your month and then there are numbers 1 through to 31, again to notify the day of the month. Every time you complete a habit you mark it off the list. If you don’t, obviously you leave it blank. There is the inclusion of a tally on the far right hand side so you can see how well you did over the course of the month. The pages are perforated so if you chose to remove your tracker and put this up somewhere, in your office, on the fridge, then you can. Personally I like to keep mine in my notebook.

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I have kept a habit tracker for some time now. Last year I used pages in my Jibun Techo, but I have also manually created spreads in notebooks. The Habit Tracking pages in this notebook are really simple and easy to use.

At the very back of the notebook there are again some guidance sheets should you wish to use them.

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Overall thoughts.

I really enjoy this journal. I enjoy Baron Fig products because of the quality and the good paper stock. With the last few Baron Fig limited editions there is a new theme or style to them, where they have a clear purpose and each one appears to be well considered, planned and always with the user in mind. The Wander Dream Journal was the first, and the most recent was Grow. They follow a similar pattern and I really like the joining of an idea with the simplicity of a notebook. They act as a guide and by not being too over bearing or forceful allow the person using the notebook to adapt it to their requirements.

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I hope the Clear Habit Journal will be a stock notebook from Baron Fig as I would seriously consider using this year after year as my main journal and planner. There are a lot of features in this notebook that fit alongside Bullet Journal ideas and spreads so I could see an appeal to Bullet Journalers. But despite that it’s a great notebook, with a simple style and objective that I think should remain a stock item.

Another Completed Sketchbook.

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I thought about the title of this post for some time. ’Another’ suggested I had completed quite a few sketchbooks, which I haven’t, as I am new to drawing. I have slowly worked my way through a small number with my latest being a blank Baron Fig pocket Confidant. It's the first time I’ve used this brand as a sketchbook.

The sketchbook.

The Baron Fig pocket Confidant made a pretty good sketchbook. I wanted to try a pocket size for its portability and also wanted something with a hard cover. I chose a Baron Fig Notebook as it's a notebook I use for other purposes and therefore one I am familiar with. I was hoping that the familiarity would make my drawing less pressured and more free.

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The pocket Confidant has a hard cover, I chose the darker Charcoal colour as I thought this would wear better. The hard cover meant that the notebook had some stability which I would need for sketching on the go. There are 192 pages of the standard Baron Fig paper with their signature yellow ribbon.

What I have learnt from this sketchbook.

As I am new to sketching it is not something that comes naturally to me. With each sketchbook I work through I am trying consciously to learn in the hope that I improve and that it becomes second nature.

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With this sketchbook I tried to experiment more than I had done in the past. I set out to use this sketchbook with a black ink pen, inspired by Patrick Vales Instagram posts. I wanted keep things simple and just sketch. I stuck to this for a while but after seeing artists sketchbooks online I introduced coloured pencils.

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Coloured pencils felt familiar, from childhood, and easy to use. There are a number of artists that I follow who use coloured pencils as their preferred tools. Like them I wanted to find a small palette that I could use, no matter the subject matter. By not worrying about replicating the colours in front of me and using my imagination, then perhaps my drawing would improve. I couldn’t find a flow with this but it’s something I want to keep coming back to.

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I spent some time using only graphite pencils to try and be fluid with my sketches. The loose style you can achieve with graphite has always been appealing and it was also an excuse to use the softer graphite pencils I have lying around. The only thing that ever really bothers me about graphite is the smudging and the marks left over time that start to blur your drawing.

I returned again to a black pen enjoying the feel of the pen tip on the page. There is something very satisfying about it. Using an ink pen makes me more decisive with my lines. The theory then being that this encourages me to learn from my mistakes, wrong proportions and poor imitations and want to make them better the next time.

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Due to the pocket size of this sketchbook detail wasn’t a luxury I had. Everything had to be simple. In this sketchbook I have drawn a lot of people and I am awful at drawing people. I enjoy watching people, noticing their expressions, the shape of their features and attempt, poorly, to replicate them. Plus there are always people to draw.

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Overall thoughts.

I am starting to understand that the key to my sketching journey is to change things up and to keep finding inspiring artists to learn from. Trying new tools and ideas will open me up to new techniques and styles.

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In this instance the pocket notebook was the perfect companion and the unofficial sketchbook nature helped a lot. My next sketchbook will be different again and hopefully will teach me different things. I feel confidant in saying that for a sketchbook that I carry around I want a simple set up. Sketchbook and black pen seems to work pretty well.

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Pebble Stationery Co. Pocket Notebook Review.

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Pebble Stationery Co. sent me a pack of their pocket notebooks to play with and review on the blog. All thoughts shared in this post are my own.

Notebook design.

The Pebble Stationery Co notebook is 3.5 x 5.5”, (think Field Notes in size). There are two notebooks in a pack with 52 GSM white, dot grid, tomoe river paper. To protect the thin contents the Pebble Notebook has a thick grey textured cover with an embossed, and a little large, bit of branding in the bottom right corner of the notebook.

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The inside cover is a fresh blue colour with space for personal information, should you wish to fill this in. I always like this feature in notebooks. Not only is there a fail safe if I misplace one, but it helps me keep track of my notebooks and their contents should I need to reference them in the future. On the inside back cover there is some information on Pebble Stationery Co.

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As the paper is the super dreamy tomoe river paper you get 80 pages in a very slim profile notebook. The dot grid is subtle with a small light grey dot. On the right hand edge there does appear to be one dot missing in the sequence. This could be a quirk specific to this print run but it did catch my eye.

And finally the corners of the notebook are rounded off nicely which helps with the wear of the notebook. There aren’t any damaged corners here.

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Paper performance.

Part of tomoe river papers charm is the fact that it handles fountain pens so well and is really thin. As expected the paper in the Pebble notebook takes ink well. The nib or rollerball glides over the page giving you a really nice writing experience.

Pencils and tomoe river paper aren’t a natural fit. They work fine but the enjoyment level is lower.

One small thing I found with the Pebble notebook is the ghosting is quite prominent. It feels more prevalent than other tomoe river notebooks I have used in the past. Inspired by Fran Meneses YouTube videos I recently started working my way through the Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and I have been tracking each album I’ve listened to, and if I liked it in my Pebble notebook. I have purposefully used different writing tools to test out the paper and the ghosting with everything other than a pencil was obvious.

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Overall thoughts.

It is nice to see more pocket notebook options available in the market. It has felt like there is a gap when it comes to high quality papers that work with fountain pens in a pocket notebook format so it’s great to see Pebble Notebooks solving that problem. The design and style is really simple and makes it feel like a classic notebook.

Thank you Pebble Stationery Co. for sending me these notebooks to use.

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