Notebooks & Stationery

Review: Piccadilly Notebook Graph


When I came across the Picadilly Essential Graph Notebook I was looking for an alternative to the Moleskine notebook. I like graph paper in my notebooks, and that is what this one is.

My notebook is the medium size, which is my preferred size. My notebook has a hard cover much like the Moleskine cover. It takes the wear of being in a bag well.

It has the features of a Moleskin notebook; elastic to hold it closed and pocket in the back. The elastic is comparable to the Moleskine. I believe the pocket is well made and will hold up as well as a Moleskine's.

So far I have used Pilot G2 pens with this notebook and Waterman fountain pen ink (Brown), and they take the ink well. I see shadows on the reverse side of the pages when I write on the back, but the ink does not bleed through. Based on the use of the pens I have used I have seen comparable paper to the Moleskine in quality.

I would definitely purchase this again. I have been happy with it, and feel that it is a great value when compared to the Moleskine.

Pros:

  • Slightly less expensive
  • Easier to find, as it is usually available where Moleskine notebooks are.
  • Paper works well with Gel pens and fountain pens.
  • Cover is heavy duty.



I give it a rating of 10 out of 10.  


Review: M by Staples™ Arc System Desktop Punch


No review of the Arc notebook system is complete without looking at the punch. I still find the notebooks to be a very good value, but unless you want to be tied to Staples for buying paper you will want one of these. I noticed that this punch tends to be less expensive than other brands of punches of comparable quality. I have been able to punch the advertised 8 sheets of paper as well as thinker materials including thin cardboard. The only problem I found is that the two arms can lock down, but the lock doesn't always stay locked. Overall I really like the punch and I have not been disappointed with it.













Review: M by Staples™ Arc Customizable Poly Notebooks


For a long time I have heard about disc bound notebooks. Circa, Rollabind, and Myndology were the brands I have heard about. I was impressed by the number of people who seemed to love disc bound notebooks, planners, and journals. I found these systems to be either expensive or hard to find. I found the M by Staples Arc Customizable Notebook to be both easy to find and in a price range I could afford.
I purchased the 6-3/8”x8-3/4” notebook with a vinyl cover. My cover is plain blue. I also purchased graph paper and a set of 5 dividers. The discs are 3/4” in diameter, and black.
I use this notebook to track my projects and goals as well as recording writing ideas. I enjoy the ability of the notebook to fold around, like a spiral bound notebook. I like the firmness of the notebook. The paper that is provided with the system I feel is good quality. The vinyl the covers are made from is thick. The dividers are holding up well, and the discs are doing well. Accessories for the system are priced reasonably.
I have been using Pilot G2 pens, and some ballpoint pens with this notebook. The pens I have used have not bled through. I do not see shadows on the back of the pages. I am impressed with the quality of the paper Staples created for these notebooks.
I have four notebooks from various manufactures they are all Moleskin style. Notebooks, except for this one. It has become my favorite notebook.
Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Good quality
  • Punch for the system is affordable
  • Easy to find
  • Lots of accessories

Cons:

  • Bound to buying paper from Staples, or punching your own.

I rate this a 10 out of 10.

Review: Markings by C.R. Gibson - Large Journal with Graph Paper


When I came across Markings by C.R. Gibson I was looking for an alternative to the Moleskine notebook. I like graph paper in my notebooks, and that is what this one is. I believe the graph paper to be rare, or no longer produced as I have not been able to find reference to it on the C.R. Gibson website.

My notebook has a black bonded leather cover in the large size. The bonded leather cover has some overhang, which may protect the pages, but it is defiantly not as nice looking as a Moleskine of the same size. There is also a stitch going around the edge of the notebook. The cover takes the wear of being in a backpack with cords, iPad, pocket knives, and stuff well.

It has the features of a Moleskin notebook; elastic to hold it closed and pocket in the back. The elastic is looser than I would like, but it still holds the book together. I believe the pocket is well made, if more utilitarian looking than most rear Moleskin pockets.

So far I have used Pilot G2 pens with this notebook, and they take the ink well. I see shadows on the reverse side of the pages when I write on the back, but the ink does not bleed through. Based on the use of the pens I have used I have seen comparable paper to the Moleskine in quality.

I do not believe I would purchase another one of these, but I am not disappointed in its quality to much. If the elastic were just a little tighter I think this could be a serious contender for future purchases.

Pros:

  • Slightly less expensive
  • Easier to find, as it is available in more locations (Target, Staples, etc.).
  • Paper works well with Gel pens.
  • Cover is heavy duty.

Cons:

  • Lacks a certain amount of style when put next to a Moleskine.
  • Elastic is looser than what I would expect.



I give it a rating of 6 out of 10.  


Notes Page

Simple, lined notes page for 3.75 X 6.75 size planner (Filofax or similar.)

Thumbnail: 
notes thumbnail.JPG
Usage advice: 

Cut paper to size before printing; you should be able to get (3) 3.75 x 6.75 sheets from a single letter sized page. Use duplex printing option (unclick autorotate and center) or print duplex manually.

Paper size: 
Other
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Adobe (for PDF) Microsoft Word or OpenOffice to Edit
Language: 
English

Weekly Planner Bookmark

This is a weekly planner that doubles as a bookmark for a journal or notebook. I carry a notebook around to keep track of ideas, thought processes, and other things I do at work. This bookmark planner allows me to keep track of my current page and provides a place to jot down To Do items or meeting reminders. The included PDF is much higher quality than the thumbnail.

Thumbnail: 
thumbnail.png
Usage advice: 

It's made to be printed on a letter sized sheet and folded into three equal sections. It has space to write To Do items or whatever else for each day of the work week (Monday-Friday). It can be re-folded and used 3 or 6 times depending on whether you print it front and back. It fits nicely in a 5 1/2 x 8 notebook.

Paper size: 
Letter
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Any PDF Reader
Language: 
English

Review: Quo Vadis Habana Notebook

Earlier this year the fine folks at Exaclair, Inc. (distributors of Quo Vadis, Rhodia, and Clairfontaine notebook lines) sent me out a little goodie box. In this box, was a Quo Vadis Habana notebook. For the past few months I’ve been using this journal to chronicle my tarot degree homework. As you can see from the image, I even customized the Habana with a sticker a friend made for me. Now, it’s time to share my thoughts on the notebook with you all.

I received a Large Habana notebook and it measures 6 1/4 x 9 1/4". It’s about an inch longer and wider than the large Moleskine. For me, this doesn’t pose a problem but for people who are comfortable and familiar with the smaller size, it may take some getting used to. A paper band touting the features of the notebook sits wrapped around the notebook. I quickly removed this band before snapping any photos, guess I was too eager to break in the new toy. A pamphlet sits inside the book cover that talks about Quo Vadis and Clairfontaine's commitment to helping our natural resources by making greener paper processes and products. Click the link to read the rest of my review.

Introducing DIYPlanner Quick Tips

ScribeThere's plenty of little things we think of here that aren't meaty enough for a full article, but that might help the odd reader and perhaps instigate a little discussion. To that end, we'd like to introduce a new feature here on DIYPlanner: Quick Tips. These will be posted several times a week, and will run the gamut from pens and notebooks to creative techniques to digital productivity. (Hey, we analog luddites do occasionally use computers, too, or else you wouldn't be reading these words.) So, our first official Quick Tip:

Like the freedom of writing on an unlined page, but your words start tipping to an angle the further down the page you write? Take a tip from old-style blank writing pads. These generally come with a lined page you could slip under your current page, and there would be just enough hint of lines to keep your writing even and on track. If you don’t have such a lined page for your paper or journal, use Ygor’s dynamic templates to generate lined note pages with the line spacing and thickness that works best for you.

Do you have a quick tip? Email it to diyplanner -@AT@- gmail dot com!

The Bare Necessities: A Q&A with Jason Kinziger

Jason KinzigerSomething a little different for DIYPlanner today. There are a lot of people out there who make products we love, or who have dedicated themselves to subjects that continue to intrigue us. We're going to start to interview some of these people, learn what makes them tick, and perhaps get an inside look at the industry that makes us more productive, or more creative, or that simply disposes of all our disposable income.

In writing my review of the "Bare" line of notebooks, I became fascinated by Myndology's unique approach to design. I managed to snag one very busy Jason Kinziger, the owner of this small company, to discuss the creation of this series.

Tell me, what was the inspiration for the Bare line?

I made this product as much for me as I did for our customers. I felt the current paper and notebook market has become overloaded with glossy and saccharine products. I honestly have a hard time walking into a big box store without feeling a little nauseous, there is just so much cheap paper and plastic.