Archive for Give us Your Feedback

Would you be interested in a little more… coloR?

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The Rhodia R series of premium tablets boast super smooth off-white 90g paper and a ”Soft Touch” coated cover. Have you tried them yet? Do you like them? Would you be more inclined to buy them if you had a few more options on cover color? Which colors offered, (you can see them all here) would you like to see most?

As much as I love purple, I’m really digging that red.

Back to School?

Group of Exaclair products

A lot of children in our area are going back to school today. Since I don’t have kids, I only know this from seeing everyone’s “First Day of School” pictures on Facebook and Instagram. Seems odd for them to be starting in August, I don’t remember ever going back to school at any other time than after Labor Day weekend.

This got me thinking about one of the things I enjoyed most about going back to school- shopping for new school supplies. Three ring binders, loose leaf paper, pencils, pencil cases, pink erasers, Trapper Keepers and EraserMate pens.

I was artist in residence for a day this past spring at a local private school (Pre k through 8th grades) and the older kids all carried iPads. No paper, no pencils. All of their school work was done on the iPad.

This left me wondering what types of school supplies, if any, are still being used in schools across the US or abroad.

Throwback Thursday: Favorite Vintage Pens

Parker 51 Fountain Pen

I love a lot of things vintage for their classic design. Classic, as in that sweet combination of simple, practical and durable.

When I first started writing with fountain pens, I wanted nothing more than to exclusively use vintage, but it never seemed to work out for me. One after another I’d buy a vintage piece (typically  on the cheap) that would work for a while then ultimately, a seal or sac would break, the nib would bend or get scratchy, or the ink would stop flowing properly. I began to see vintage pens as fragile creatures and became reluctant to invest in their restoration. As much as I love vintage, there was a part of me that didn’t like knowing that a favorite tool would be difficult to repair or replace and so I began to favor more modern designs like Lamy’s Safari, Pelikan’s M200 and the Sailor Sapporo – though I can’t tell you how many times I’ve poured over the offerings on sites like Vacumania, longing for a silver celluloid Parker Vacumatic, or a fully functional Parker 51. (Mine has a cracked front section and needs a new seal/sac) 

Do you have a favorite vintage pen? If you take a picture of it and send to to me at stephanie@rhodiadrive.com I’ll include it on our Favorite Pen Fan Photo Page.

 

More Dots?

dot Webbie page

We know that you love our dots, but how could we make you love them more? I myself would like to see Rhodia spiral bound dot notebooks. Are you familiar with the Exacompta index cards? I would love to see dot versions of these as well. (Exacompta, Rhodia, J. Herbin and Quo Vadis, are all brands under the Clairefontaine parent company umbrella. Decopatch and Brause too.)

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Optical Character Recognition and Colored Inks

Herbin Inks

Optical character recognition, (OCR) is the mechanical/electronic conversion of scanned or photographed images of typewritten or printed text into machine-encoded/computer-readable text. It is widely used as a form of data entry from some sort of original paper data source, whether passport documents, invoices, bank statement, receipts, business card, mail, or any number of printed records. It is a common method of digitizing printed texts so that they can be electronically edited, searched, stored more compactly, displayed on-line, and used in machine processes such as machine translation, text-to-speech, key data extraction and text mining. (Per wiki)

If you are using an OCR app to digitize your handwritten notes, have you taken notice whether there are any issues when using colored inks? What about colored inks on white versus ivory or yellow paper? Do you have any favorite OCR apps or software that you’d like to recommend?

Does Writing Things Down Make You Smarter?

cropped-M1000-Blog-Header

A recent post on mypenneedsink.com about writing things down caught my eye. I asked the writer if I could have permission to use the first paragraph of his post to share with all of you on Rhodia Drive. I thought his ideas might spark some good conversation and insights from the group, on whether is notebook system, and writing things down vs. typing on a keyboard has additional benefits besides the pleasure of writing.   As our conversation progressed, I asked him if he would like to write about the topic on Rhodia Drive.  I am delighted to introduce Bob, from My Pen Needs Ink. Visit him there for other pens, paper and ink adventures.

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Hello from a guest poster you may not recognize, though I hope to change that in the future.  I’m Bob and I blog over at www.mypenneedsink.com about pens, paper, writing accessories and life experiences of a pen enthusiast.  I was honored to be asked by Karen to guest post here on Rhodia Drive about my use of project notebooks.  I hope to hear from you and get the opportunity to share experiences.

I think writing things down makes me smarter. OK, maybe not really smarter but at least a better retainer of information.  I have always had a To Do list personality but I get more benefit from penning thoughts than just writing tasks down and crossing them off later. I seem to retain knowledge better when I record my thoughts with ink on paper.  I have recently converted to a journal or notebook for each of the variety of projects that keep me busy.  The board of my home owners association, my daughter’s wedding, longer term home improvement projects and the like. These usually require meetings or visits outside my home or office whether it’s over lunch with my daughter or at the home center for that next piece of lumber.  I just grab the appropriate project notebook, my favorite pen and I’m ready.

One could successfully argue that the safety of paper notebooks is risky due to loss or damage but I would call it a wash since electronic media can crash, get damaged and get lost as well.

My preferred format is the side staple bound notebook with fountain pen friendly paper. The side staple format lays flat in my briefcase and stacks easily on the desk. Each notebook has a label on the front and the back courtesy of the little plastic tape label makers you can get at any of the office supply stores. Labeling front and back helps with quick retrievals when fumbling around in my briefcase.

All my entries start with a date and after that it’s free form.  It could be a contact phone number, a window treatment measurement, a drawing, a price quote or any type of information that is hard fro me to keep track of in the different formats of the electronic project management software/apps.

I’m not building space shuttles but for me juggling right at my capacity of what I want to do and what I need to do these notebooks work great for me.

What do you think? Have you found writing things down help build your knowledge base?

Doodle Pads: What is your surface preference?

Photo: Kaweco Pencil, Rhodia R Pad and Clairefontaine Graf-It Pad

I am the type of person who will literally doodle on anything and everything because mark making is a necessary part of my human existence. When offered a preference, I’ll take a paper with a slight tooth like the Clairefontaine Graf-It tablet shown above because I find it pleasant to use with just about any type of writing or drawing implement.

Do you have a preference for the paper you like to doodle on?

 

Requested: Fountain Pen Friendly Sticky Notes

Post It Notes

Dear Rhodia, I am an avid user of your paper at work and home. I am in need of fountain pen friendly Post-It type notes. Have you ever considered making sticky notes with your paper? I really need it as some of my pens do not play well with Post-It note paper. Please make blank sticky notes in several sizes..PLEASE. – Maria

Are fountain pen friendly sticky notes something you would buy? 

Should there be a No. 17 Rhodia pad?

Rhodia Pads

Recent customer comment/question: “I love the notepads you make and the quality that they are crafted with. However, I cant find a size that I need. The no. 18 is too big and the no. 16 is too small for my application.’

This isn’t the first time we’ve had a request for something between the No. 16 & 18. Several people have mentioned the B5 format which is roughly 7″ x 10″. What do you think? Is this a crucial omission from the Rhodia lineup? In what way would a notebook this size better serve your needs? 

The Bloc Rhodia (top stapled) notepads originate in France which utilizes the widespread international ISO 216 standard. (A4, A5, etc.)

  • The No. 16: A5 5.8″ x 8.3″
  • The No. 18: A4 8.3″ x 11.7″
  • The No. 19: A4 Détaché 8.3″ x 12.5″ (In case you were wondering. the #19 has sheets that when detached, are fully A4 in size.)

The ISO 216 B series is less common in office use, and is used for a variety of special situations. B5 (6.93″ × 9.84″) is a relatively common choice for books.

North American paper sizes include:

  • Letter 8.5″ × 11″
  • Legal 8.5″ × 14″
  • Junior Legal 8.0″ × 5.0″

Question for today: How Important is Color in Your Life?

Purple Rhodiarama

  • Does the color of an item influence your decision making processes when purchasing items for daily use?
  • Have you ever allowed the color of an item inspire you make an impulse purchase?
  • What do you think about Rhodia offering products in colors other than their classic black and orange?
  • What is your favorite color?

Proposed Paper Comparison Project

clairefontaine

Some during August-September I will be organizing a project to compare the different Clairefontaine, Rhodia, Quo Vadis and G. Lalo paper surfaces and how they interact with different writing instruments and inks.

We will collect the comments of as many people as possible on their experience with an individual product paper–how it feels to the touch, how their pen (pencil or other writing instrument) moves across the surface and interacts with it; basically–what is their experience, and what they like (or don’t like) about it.

The summary of the comments can be a good reference not only for people getting started with journals and notepads, but also for expert practitioners to exchange experiences with each other.

The products I am thinking of including for this comparison are:  classic Clairefontaine notebook paper; Clairefontaine Triomphe pads, R by Rhodia pads, classic Rhodia notepads, Rhodia Ice, Rhodia Webbies, Quo Vadis Habanas, G. Lalo Verge de France pads, and G. Lalo correspondence cards.

People can test each sheet with their favorite writing instruments (fountain pens, rollerballs, pencils, etc.)  and contribute feedback via an online form.  We will publish the results on both Quo Vadis Blog and Rhodia Drive  either in December 2014 or January 2015.

Each person would be limited to three or four different sheets per month (that I can send in a first class letter), but can sign up each month for other papers to sample and add their thoughts.

What do you think?  Are there specific questions we should ask?  Are there any other product papers you would like to try?  Your input at this stage is very much appreciated and welcome.  As always, thank you for your thoughtful suggestions, help and support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which do you prefer: Violet Blue or Grey Ruling? Please vote.

Rhodia Ruling

One thing I noticed instantly about the new Rhodia Ice Anniversary tablets is that the ruling isn’t violet blue. It’s gray.

Several years ago, Rhodia ruling was light violet blue. In an effort for the printing inks to become more environmentally friendly, the formulas were altered. These changes resulted in the ink becoming a slightly darker blue and we’ve heard from several of you that you don’t much care for the darker ink, specifically in our graph ruled products.

I started noticing the gray ink in the dotPads. The original black covered dotPads had violet dots & the later orange covered dotPads have gray dots. We are now seeing the gray ink again in the Ice products. Is this indicative of a permanent switch? We don’t yet know. The Exaclair folks are in communication with France about this and as soon as we know, you’ll know.

Something I noticed about the blue versus grey inks is that the paper with the blue ink takes on a pinkish hue (which makes the white seem whiter) while the paper with the gray ruling seems slightly less white.

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In the meantime, we’d LOVE to know which you prefer so we can tell France about which our customers prefer. The newer (darker) blue? or gray?

Summertime Travel Necessities

Rhodia Pencils Case R Pad

For many, summer = travel. Trips to the beach, kids at summer camp, the cabin at the lake, camping in the mountains or perhaps a drive through the desert.

Regardless of where you are spending your time, I know that many of you would never leave home without first packing a few essential tools for the inevitable creative urges that free time can inspire. Will you share your favorites? Is it a notepad,  journal or sketchbook? A few favorite fountain pens or a handful of colored pencils? How about a travel sized watercolor paint box?

Scheduling: What works for you?

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How do you keep track of your schedule? Do you use a paper product like one of our Quo Vadis planners, or do you prefer an app or software based calendar that can be synced across all of your electronic devices?

While I like being able to check my calendar through my smartphone, the reminders I set aren’t a strong enough visual cue to reenforce the things I need to accomplish. I’m thinking about copying my schedule to a large wall planner in my kitchen. Is redundancy something that works for you?

Have you ever tried black paper?

Clairefontaine black paper

We recently received an e-mail from a Rhodia fan requesting black paper with light grey dots. Is this something you would be interested in? I know I would. I’ve been using black paper for years… 

Once I fell in love with black paper (mostly for art making) I became obsessed with finding the most opaque media to use in combination with it. White gel pens are good, as are grease pencils, (aka China Markers) some colored pencils, gouache watercolor paint, acrylic paint, and one of my favorites, the highly pigmented Neocolor artist crayons by Caran D’Ache. 

I’ve tried a lot of different kinds of black paper and most of what I’ve used would fall under the category of art papers. (Colored papers are a particular favorite for pastel artists.)  Most common are construction type papers which are thin, tear easily and not always fade resistant, smooth card stock type papers, and the laid (textured) papers typically used with pastel.

If you can’t find a black papered notebook or one that you like, you can make your own book using loose sheets of your favorite black art paper. Another option would be to apply black gesso (an acrylic based paint primer) to your favorite white papered sketchbooks – a time consuming, expensive & messy process that creates a pretty amazing surface to work on.

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Check out the Rhodia Journal Swap

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In Your Bag

Will you show us yours? Send us a photo of Rhodia in your bag to: stephanie at rhodiadrive.com so I can add it to the page.  ... Read on »

Rhodia Customization Module

Visit our customization module at Exaclair.com

Grab Your Camera and Show us Where You Buy Your Rhodia!

Target? Dick Blick? Borders? Art Brown? We want you to show us where you buy your Rhodia... The next time you are out and about,  snap us a picture of where you buy your Rhodia products so we can assemble an online gallery of local retailers. To... Read on »

Favorite Pens

Will you show us yours? Send us a photo of your favorite pen: stephanie@rhodiadrive.com so I can add it to the page. ... Read on »

David Allen of GTD on Rhodia

David Allen is a productivity consultant who is best known as the creator of the time management method known as “Getting Things Done”. David comments on the Rhodia Meeting Book: “I love this Rhodia pad. First, the paper stands... Read on »

Chef Hosea Rosenberg on Rhodia

Season 5 (Bravo Network) Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg, originally from Taos, New Mexico, was always good at math. After graduating 3rd in his class at Taos High School, he moved to Boulder, CO to study at the University of Colorado. His dream... Read on »

Download the Life Noted App

Life Noted App

Visit the App Store on your iOS 7 device to download Life Noted

Would you like to be a guest blogger on Rhodia Drive?

If so, contact me via e-mail at stephanie at rhodiadrive dot com with your proposed subject matter. We are looking for posts ranging in length from 100-500 words. Photos to accompany the article are a welcome bonus. If you have been reading... Read on »

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Clairefontaine Basics - Life. Unplugged

InkNouveau.com Clairefontaine vs. Rhodia

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Testing a vintage Mabie Swan fountain pen with a lot of flex - on a Rhodia Pad

Click here to read the story behind this video.


About

Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.