Both Sides

On a not too distant Pen Addict podcast Brad mentioned that he was surprised that a recent poll that he did was so one-sided. He asked if people wrote on both sides of a page. Much of the discussion was about journals, although I don’t remember if the poll was journal-specific. Brad was surprised that both sides was an overwhelming choice. (Myke thought the wording slanted the results.) But in any event, I was surprised by Brad’s surprise. Then I thought about my notebook usage. To jump to the end, I use both sides for economical and storage reasons but will use only one side if there’s a reason not to use both sides.

Both Sides – A Long-Ingrained Habit

Long ago, when I started in corporate America I would fill every sheet on both sides and paste printouts into the pages. They were my reference books and stacked in my office (or cubicle). At that time I was good at remembering when things happened and quickly finding the right place among the stack of notebooks. My goal was to reduce the number of notebooks I needed to store, so I wrote on both sides. The economics was just a bonus.

Over time, computer records overtook paper for anything other than temporary or personal notes. For the most part, these work notes had a limited lifespan for reference (usually measured in hours, or days at most), and anything long-term would be in a computer file related to the project. I would still use every available space on the notebook. My goal here was to save money. I was using Doane Flap Jotters (steno-sized and styled notebook) rather than the notebooks in the supply closet. Plus, the paper was resistant to show-through, especially with my thin nibs, so there was no downside to using two sides.

Article Drafts – The Exception

I do handwritten drafts of all Fountain Pen Quest articles before typing them up. It was about a year ago that I stopped using both sides of the page for these write-ups. In many situations, the ink, pen, and paper combo would often result in significant show-through. Since I need to read what I write to transcribe it into a post, the show-through can often slow me down when I have to adjust the light or viewing angle to figure out what I wrote. I tend to use inexpensive notebooks (currently a sub-$1 composition book) for these article drafts. Limiting my annoyance is worth more than the fifty cents that using both sides would save me. I don’t see the point of buying better notebooks since they’ll ultimately end up in the garbage. Besides, other than show-through, these notebooks handle fountain pens rather well. Even using only one side, it’s still more economical. If pen and ink happen to align and reduce show-through then I will use both sides of the page.

A photo showing an article draft where I had to use both sides of a page.
The draft of this article, showing the rare occasion I only write in one sid

Journal – Wall of Words

I use a Seven Seas Writer as my journal. These have thin Tomoe River paper, but it does a good job resisting show-through if it isn’t held up to the light. A dark piece of paper under the page I’m writing on also reduces show-through. Show-through can still be a problem in some room lighting situations, but it’s minor. I rarely re-read my journal entries, and never with the pressure of having to accurately transcribe the page.

I continue to use both sides of the page when writing in my journal.I have to admit that I enjoy seeing a wall of words across both pages when I open my journal. That’s the primary reason I do it, not the economics.

Pocket Notebooks

For pocket notebooks, which I use for quick notes, I use both sides of the page. But unlike the other notebooks, I have a lot of blank space on the page. Show-through isn’t a problem since there’s very little to show through. I typically move to the next page when I have a new thought, reminder, or list to write down.

Since I’m in the both sides camp, with a few exceptions, I was surprised by Brad’s surprise. I’m used to not being in sync with stationery and pen trends, but using both sides just seems like the logical, default choice.

Notebook Review: Life Stationery Noble Note

photo of the Life Noble Note coverI haven’t done many paper reviews, and it’s nearly three years since I’ve done a notebook specific article. So, it’s either about time, or I have so little experience it’s a waste of time to read it. You’ve been warned.

I’ve liked Life Stationery notebooks and paper since I first used them years ago. If I remember correctly, I came across it at Nanami Paper when buying a Seven Seas Writer. I’ve always had a hard time finding Life stationery from U.S. retailers. While it is more available these days, there are so many Life Stationery products that there’s little product consistency between retailers. Even before COVID, it was always a crapshoot that Life notebooks and paper would be in stock. So when the Andersons mention on their podcast that Life notebooks were back in stock, I went to their site to take a look.

I ended up ordering some stationery (paper & envelopes) along with a couple notebooks. The Noble Note wire-bound notebook was included in that order.

The bright colors caught my eye. For the Noble line of notebooks, plain paper covers are brown, lined paper covers are blue, and graph (aka section) paper is orange. Once the cover caught my eye, the size pulled me in. It was listed as 3 X 5 but, they are actually 3.15″ X 5″. That extra 0.15″ is used by the wire binding. The useable area is 3 X 5. I also like wire-bound notebooks for many uses. They take up less space, but at the expense of making it harder to write on the left side (I’m right-handed.)

Graph ruling is my least favorite type of paper. I find the grid distracting, and it can often interfere with fountain pen ink. Despite that, I picked it in this case because I liked the orange cover best, plus the description and photos indicated the grid was very light. I was not going to use this notebook for extensive writing, so there wasn’t much risk. Between the wire binding, the graph ruling, and the thin paper, I expected to only write on one side of each sheet.

The notebooks have 40 sheets. (Currently, the text on the Anderson Pens listing says 30 pages.) The cover is thick paper, with the Life brand embossed, and a printed decorative border. The specs, product number, and some Japanese text are also on the cover. The metal wire rings are black. Overall, I like the look. The notebook has held up well while traveling in my computer bag.

I really like the 85gsm ivory-colored paper, both in its look and the way it performs. (Some retailers call this cream-colored.) The coating makes it nice and smooth, although not as slick as Rhodia paper. To me, it feels similar to Tomoe River paper and has a similar dry time.

I only had bleed through with a Sharpie. This was total bleed through, with ink soaking through to the next page. The thickest fountain pen I used, with a Sailor Zoom nib, didn’t bleed through at all. Dry time was as expected, which means not fast. I do have to be careful about turning the page. If this was a larger notebook, I’d keep a piece of blotter paper in the notebook. But because this is just for checklists, I don’t bother. I just wait before turning a page.

photo showing bleed-through

Since the paper is thin, there is significant show-through (ghosting). Between this and the grid ruling, I only write on one side of the page. This was as expected.

How I’m Using the Life Noble Note 3 X 5 Notebook

I’ve been using the notebook to keep some checklists. The checklists are either ones that I’ll want to work through multiple times or will take me several days (or weeks) to work through.

Examples include:
* Posts that I still need to write for my newer pen arrivals.
* Movie series that I’m working through in order. For these, I may watch the movies again in the future, so I use the grid boxes to check off when I watched that title. I use the next column for future viewings. I may be optimistic in thinking I’ll be able to find the notebook in the coming years.
* Checklist for a current project where I also need to take short notes. (No photo for this one as the info is confidential). This makes it easier for me to find the checklist and notes as I work on the project over a few days. This is a case where I do use the facing page for notes even though there’s costing. I used a thin Japanese extra-fine nib.

Wrapping Up.

I liked the Life Noble Note so much that I bought two more of the notebooks with graph ruling and another one with blank pages. The wire binding makes them useful to me, as I often like to have the notebook right next to the keyboard. Wirebound notebooks let me fold them over and have my note right against the keyboard. In this case, it also makes an already small notebook take even less desk space.

At $6 each, they aren’t the cheapest option. But, the Noble Notes are durable and have a high-quality fountain pen friendly paper.

A big two thumbs up.

Gallery

Paper & Notebook Declutter #3

Entries are closed. Recipients have been notified.

This will be the third (and last for now) notebook decluttering. This will work as follows (paper is heavy, so delivery within the United States only).

I’ve filled a medium flat rate box with pads and paper as shown below. The recipient agrees to pay $30 via PayPal send money to friends (or Square Cash if you don’t have PayPal). This covers postage and a little for gas and time but exceeds the cost of the notebooks.

If you want the box of paper/notebooks for $30 then:

  1. Leave a comment below. Use a valid email address in the comment (it is not shown and will not be shared) so that I can contact you for shipping information. Leave the comment before noon Eastern U.S. time on Monday, March 12th. One request (comment) per person, please. Leave the comment in the email field on the comment, not in the comment itself.
  2. The comments will be numbered and I’ll pick a recipient using a random number generator. I’ll contact the recipient via email and they’ll have 2 days to contact me with their shipping address.
  3. I’ll send out the package when I’m near the post office so it could be a couple of days. I’ll email when the package is on the way.
  4. After successful receipt of the notebooks please pay me $30 via PayPal send money to friends (or other agreed method).

The box contains the following notebooks/pads.

Contents of Paper Declutterr #3

This one is heavy on Doane Paper which used grid & lines as ruling. (I reviewed Doane Paper here) The white paper on the bottom left is Tomoe River, there’s also several packs of writing paper. G. Lalo is shown but I think thee’s some Crown Mill below it. There’s also some Levenger Circa and Staples Arc paper and accessories. Some loose paper may have a couple sheets missing that were used and some of the notebooks may have writing (like pen testing) on a couple of pages.

Just to try and anticipate questions:

  • Please don’t ask about specific notebooks, I’ve already sealed the box and don’t remember anything not mentioned above.
  • Payment before shipping is frowned upon (although I appreciate the offer). This way if anything happens during shipment I don’t have to worry about a refund. If the package doesn’t arrive or is not as described just let me know and don’t pay. There won’t be any replacement for loss or damage.
  • If I’m late picking the recipient and you sneak a comment in after noon it will still be included. Any comment made before I pick the winner (and close off comments) will be valid.

Notebook & Paper Declutter #2

Entries are closed. Recipients have been notified.

My ink decluttering went well and I think the ink went to people who can use and appreciate it. Now it’s time to do the same with paper. This will work as follows (paper is heavy, so delivery within the United States only).

I’ve filled a large flat rate box with pads and paper as shown below. The recipient agrees to pay $40 via PayPal send money to friends (or Square Cash if you don’t have PayPal). This covers postage and a little for gas and time but exceeds the cost of the notebooks. (Some of the notebooks are large so a large flat rate box was required, so there’s more paper in this one.)

If you want the box of paper/notebooks for $40 then:

  1. Leave a comment below. Use a valid email address in the comment (it is not shown and will not be shared) so that I can contact you for shipping information. Leave the comment before noon Eastern U.S. time on Monday, March 12th. One request (comment) per person, please. Leave the comment in the email field on the comment, not in the comment itself.
  2. The comments will be numbered and I’ll pick a recipient using a random number generator. I’ll contact the recipient via email and they’ll have 2 days to contact me with their shipping address.
  3. I’ll send out the package when I’m near the post office so it could be a couple of days. I’ll email when the package is on the way.
  4. After successful receipt of the notebooks please pay me $40 via PayPal send money to friends (or other agreed method).

The box contains the following notebooks/pads.

Contents of the box for Ink Decluttering #2

This one is has a lot of Rhodia. There’s some Rhodia #16 A5 Dotpads. That red notebook is Moleskine as are the three notebooks under it. Some Exacompta index cards are missing and some notebooks may missing (or have writing on) a page or two.

Just to try and anticipate questions:

  • Please don’t ask about specific notebooks, I’ve already sealed the box and don’t remember anything not mentioned above.
  • Payment before shipping is frowned upon (although I appreciate the offer). This way ff anything happens during shipment I don’t have to worry about a refund. If the package doesn’t arrive or is not as described just let me know and don’t pay. There won’t be any replacement for loss or damage.
  • If I’m late picking the recipient and you sneak a comment in after noon it will still be included. Any comment made before I pick the winner (and close off comments) will be valid.
  • I have more notebooks to declutter. Since the recipient is random you can ask for multiple boxes, but there’s no discount. The boxes are already chock full and sealed.

Notebook & Paper Declutter #1

Entries are closed. Recipients have been notified.

My ink decluttering went well and I think the ink went to people who can use and appreciate it. Now it’s time to do the same with paper. This will work as follows (paper is heavy, so delivery within the United States only).

I’ve filled a medium flat rate box with pads and paper as shown below. The recipient agrees to pay $30 via PayPal send money to friends (or Square Cash if you don’t have PayPal). This covers postage and a little for gas and time but exceeds the cost of the notebooks.

If you want the box of paper/notebooks for $30 then:

  1. Leave a comment below. Use a valid email address in the comment (it is not shown and will not be shared) so that I can contact you for shipping information. Leave the comment before noon Eastern U.S. time on Monday, March 12th. One request (comment) per person, please. Leave the comment in the email field on the comment, not in the comment itself.
  2. The comments will be numbered and I’ll pick a recipient using a random number generator. I’ll contact the recipient via email and they’ll have 2 days to contact me with their shipping address.
  3. I’ll send out the package when I’m near the post office so it could be a couple of days. I’ll email when the package is on the way.
  4. After successful receipt of the notebooks please pay me $30 via PayPal send money to friends (or other agreed method).
Contents of Notebook Declutter Box 1

The box contains the following notebooks/pads.

This one is heavy on Doane Paper which used grid & lines as ruling. (I reviewed Doane Paper here) The other will vary. The white paper on the bottom left is Tomoe River, there’s also two packs of G.Lalo writing paper. Some loose paper may have a couple sheets missing that were used and some of the notebooks may have writing (like pen testing) on a couple of pages.

Just to try and anticipate questions:

  • Please don’t ask about specific notebooks, I’ve already sealed the box and don’t remember anything not mentioned above.
  • Payment before shipping is frowned upon (although I appreciate the offer). This way if anything happens during shipment I don’t have to worry about a refund. If the package doesn’t arrive or is not as described just let me know and don’t pay. There won’t be any replacement for loss or damage.
  • If I’m late picking the recipient and you sneak a comment in after noon it will still be included. Any comment made before I pick the winner (and close off comments) will be valid.
  • I have more notebooks to declutter. Since the recipient is random you can ask for multiple boxes, but there’s no discount. The boxes are already chock full and sealed.