New from Paperblanks, The Nova Stella Collection of Journals

Three journals from the Paperblanks Nova Stella Collection

Three Journals from the Paperblanks Nova Stella Collection.

Paperblanks continues to unearth amazing book bindings from museums, libraries and private collections around the world. Stars have captured our imagination since the dawn of time, so much so that we reach for the stars when we try to imagine what was impossible before. The cover design for the new Paperblanks Nova Stella Collection was taken from the 1789 binding of Missale Sacri Ordinis by the Italian publisher Octavio Puccinelli. The brocaded design in gold manages to be intricate and sparse at the same time by leaving ample space around the center star design, allowing it to shine. These journals are the perfect reminder to stay focused on our own guiding star of inspiration and are a beautiful companion for the exploration of our own galaxies of ideas. The Nova Stella collection is available in three cover designs, Nox, a dark brown background; Solis, a golden yellow background and Astra, a midnight blue background. The Series is offered in Paperblanks full range of five sizes and in both blank and lined paper. Clearly Paperblanks has high hopes for this collection and they should, the Nova Stella journals  have us all starry eyed!

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Monday, November 7th, 2016 Journaling, Paperblanks, Product reviews, Products Comments Off on New from Paperblanks, The Nova Stella Collection of Journals

Students’ notebooks

Notebooks for students go beyond just taking notes in class (although of course they are great for that too).

Students are in a very creative time in their lives, and notebooks are perfect for capturing that creativity on the go and preserving it for years to come.

My college roommate’s boyfriend carried a hardcover sketchbook with him wherever he went. I was fascinated by it, and loved to flip through the pages. In his book he sketched something reflecting where he went that day, what he was doing and especially people he was with. It was like a visual journal capturing each day. Today it must bring back amazing memories of his college years.

When I was in college I took copious notes in class, partly to stay focused during lecture but mostly because I am a visual learner. I remembered much more material from reading my notes than I ever would have remembered just from listening to the lecture. I’m so visual that during exams I would recall information by visualizing the page in my notes, even which side of the page it was written on, and that would trigger the memory of the correct answer. Despite being a visual learner I don’t have a true photographic memory, unfortunately. That would be very useful!  Because I relied on my notes for learning, I was never without a notebook. When I could afford it I treated myself to a cool notebook with good paper to make the daily task of note-taking pleasurable.

Styles and types of notebooks abound, but it’s worth investing in good notebooks to write notes in, especially in graduate school. Your notes need to last for several years, and will be a record of your research and progress toward your degree.  Make sure you use a notebook that’s up to the task at hand. A couple of examples:

Your research notes are precious, and must be kept in archival books. Leuchtturm notebooks are especially great for science lab notes and research because of the numbered pages, index and archival quality paper.

Students of geology, ecology, archaeology and others whose research and coursework takes them outside depend on an all-weather notebook to capture field notes in any condition. Rite In The Rain notebooks are the gold standard of outdoor notebooks and can handle outdoor use no matter what the weather.

Of course the goal for any student is graduation and life beyond school. Notebooks are a great place to plot your future. Mind maps and timelines are best drawn in notebooks to give you an idea of what needs to be done to help you reach your goals. The open pages give you the freedom to explore and imagine your options, and record them for future reference and further re-working.

Every student should keep a notebook with your list of graduation requirements (including mandatory classes, credits, projects etc.). Each time you complete a class or other requirement, check it off your list and record the grade or result. I found this was especially important when I was in graduate school. At the beginning of my studies, my advisors and I agreed on what my requirements were for graduation. Because I did a multi-departmental degree, it was up to me to keep track of what all of my advisors had agreed on. At the beginning of my final semester when one of my advisors tried to demand I do additional coursework that would have added another semester of classes, I was able to bring out my list of agreed-upon requirements and make my case that I could graduate when they were completed. Good thing I had kept that list or I might still be doing “one more suggested class!”

Notebooks are essential tools for students when taking notes and planning for graduation and your life beyond. They are also a source of creative expression and a way of recording this unique time of your life.

Best of luck to all you students out there on your progress toward graduation and your professional life beyond!

Post by guest blogger and fellow notebook aficionado Laurie from


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Monday, July 25th, 2011 organization and time management, Products, Thoughts, Writing Comments Off on Students’ notebooks

A new book celebrates architects inspired sketches

What is it about architects? I just love the way they way they draw and the way they write, and they have some of the best notebooks. I’ve posted a few on my own site, such as this fabulous one by Lebbeus Woods:

Now a UK publisher has released a new book about architects’ sketchbooks, reviewed at The Independent.

Eighty five architects from around the world have rifled through their studio drawers and thrown open their Moleskine notepads to share some of these early sketches and doodles for a new book. Architects’ Sketchbooks provides a fascinating insight into “the blood, sweat and pencil lead that go into designing the world we live in,” says Will Jones, who spent 18 months compiling the volume. “Architects have all of this wonderful work that never gets seen. All of a sudden you see this big new tower appear in the London skyline, but you don’t see the work that goes into it. Perhaps 10 years before it ever gets built there’s something on paper.”

These are no meticulous technical diagrams on squared paper or detailed blueprints, though. “That could be a little bit heavy,” says Jones. “We wanted to look at the inspiration behind the architects’ work – how they initially put pen to paper. Some of the work is very detailed. Some of it is the first mark on paper, just scribbles. You think, ‘how can they ever turn that into a building?’ But that’s what these guys do.”

I’m no architect myself, but these are inspiring!

Post by Guest Blogger Nifty. You can find out more about Nifty and her passion for Notebooks at

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Saturday, March 19th, 2011 Products Comments Off on A new book celebrates architects inspired sketches

What is So Great about Smythe Sewn?

When you peruse Love Notebooks you will have discovered that smythe-sewn is a word we throw around a lot and you may wonder what the heck does it mean and do I really need it.

Smythe Sewn

Smythe Sewn

Books that are smythe sewn are library quality and are constructed to last. Smythe sewn books are durable and made to be handled a lot and open flat. Smythe sewn refers to the centuries old book binding technique. First sheets are folded into signatures, that depending on size and thickness of the sheet can be anywhere from 4 to 32 pages.  A stack of signatures will result  in a book block. Top and bottom as well as right side of the book block will be cut to create pages. Each signature is then sewn through holes on the center line and to the other signatures of the book block with a single thread. The result is a stitched book block which is then stitched or glued into the hard or soft cover binding via end papers.

This process was done by hand until American inventor David McConnel Smythe invented a machine to sew the signatures together in 1879. Nowadays the stitched together text block is often glued on the spine to keep the thread in place and sometimes further reinforced by gluing a piece of fabric over thread on the spine. Head bands and foot bands made of decorative ribbon are sometimes glued to the top and bottom of the pages to further beautify the binding and hide stitching and glue. Paperblanks are a good example of a smythe sewn journal with decorative head and foot bands. Smythe sewn is the standard if you are looking for durability; Hymn books, coffee table books and text books are often smythe sewn for that very reason.

Perfect binding, which is the primary technique for books that are glued and not sewn is not as durable and in our opinion far from perfect for a journal, that you intend to revisit over time or a notebook that you handle and write in a lot. In perfect binding the stack of signatures is cut at the spine roughed up to increase the glue-ing surface and then glued into a cardboard cover.  A glued book by its very nature has a certain rigidity to it which makes it strong but not necessarily durable. Its rigidity and inability to lay flat work against the glued book over time. A smythe sewn journal is less rigid an gives a little when it needs to. Its ability to lay flat invites less abuse and we believe is an essential feature for most writers. As the famous quote says if you do not bend you break.

If you would like to learn more about how a smythe sewn book is bound by hand we recommend this extensive online tutorial from the university of Indiana.

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Saturday, October 23rd, 2010 Products Comments Off on What is So Great about Smythe Sewn?



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