Pebble Stationery Co. Midnight Edition Notebook

In my last post, I was talking about my search for Tomoe River pocket notebooks. Another great option is from Pebble Stationery Co! They Kickstarted their first pocket notebooks in 2018 and have since expanded to A5 Cahiers and leather covers. Today, I’ll be reviewing the Midnight limited edition.

Specs:

  • 2-pack for $12.99
  • 52gsm white Tomoe River paper
  • 4mm dot grid
  • 80 pages
  • pocket size, 3.5” x 5.5”
  • covered stitched spine
  • 350gsm cardstock cover
  • black edged pages!

The Midnight is a very appealing notebook to me, because of its superior paper and the “stealthy” design. The cover is made of a thick cardstock with embedded sparkles in it, making it look like a starry night sky! Pebble Stationery Co. is printed in metallic black in the bottom right of the cover. The edges are covered in a matte black ink, further adding to the stealthiness. The binding is stitched with blue thread. The overall effect of the notebook is sleek and beautiful! It reminds me of the long-gone Field Notes Night Sky, which had foiled starry back covers. I love how the sparkle is subtle and most obvious under direct light. Compared to the Elemental Paper Electron I just reviewed, the cover is thinner and lighter but should still hold up.

There’s a thin belly band keeping the two notebooks together. Inside the cover is a place to write your name, contact information, dates, location, and content. The inside is a pleasing icy blue, matching the stitching. Inside the back cover is more information about the Midnight Edition. The notebook lays relatively flat once I press down on it but the cover springs up afterwards.

Inside is 80 pages of 52gsm Tomoe River paper! Because of its slimness, the Midnight packs in more paper than the average Field Notes. The ruling is 4mm dot grid, smaller than the 5mm that I’m used to. Because of this, my handwriting skewed smaller in this notebook than in a Field Notes or Story Supply Co. The dots themselves are light gray and inconspicuous. They’re much more subtle compared to the large Baron Fig dots and most comparable to the dots in Leuchtturm1917 notebooks.

There’s lot’s of shading and sheen as always in the 52gsm TR paper. I didn’t even try the gel pens this time, they would smear everywhere! Dry time is very long, from 30 seconds to a minute for fountain pens. I tried hard not to rub my hand across the paper this time. Show through was heavy. It’s still not the most practical paper in a pocket notebook. But if you want the best paper, Tomoe River is it.

Compared to the Electron, the Midnight feels a bit more fragile. I would be more careful with how I store this notebook. Before the pandemic, I carried notebooks in a zippered pocket in my backpack. The Midnight would do well there, but I’d be careful storing it in a pants pocket. Both of them are more expensive than the average Field Notes but that is because of the great paper. The Midnight only comes in a 2-pack which is a bit low but there’s almost enough paper inside for two more notebooks if they had the same page count as Field Notes! My other issue is that the company is situated in Australia so it took about two weeks for my notebooks to arrive but I was expecting delays anyways.

If you’re looking for a well-designed pocket notebook with quality Tomoe River, Pebble Stationery Co. has you covered! I love the unique elements like the black edges and the starry cover. The Midnight is a limited edition and will run out eventually so get it while you can. Pebble Stationery Co. also donates a pencil to a child in need for each notebook pack you buy, which is wonderful!

I bought this notebook with my own funds. I was not paid for this review.

Elemental Paper Electron Notebook Review

I’m always searching for pocket notebooks with quality paper. So far, I’ve tried Field Notes, Write Notepads, Story Supply Co, Fabriano, even a mini Leuchtturm1917. The stapled Write Notepads are my favorite because they’re slightly bigger, use bright white fountain pen friendly paper, and have beautiful designs. But I use mostly Tomoe River for my story notebooks. So I thought, why not try TR pocket notebooks? There aren’t many options out there, excluding plain inserts. I like my pocket notebooks to use sturdy covers and look pretty! Today, I’ll be reviewing the Elemental Paper Electron Notebook which has 96 pages of white 52gsm Tomoe River paper. 

Specs: 

  • 3-pack of notebooks for $16
  • 52gsm white Tomoe River paper
  • blue lines, with spaces in between
  • 96 pages
  • pocket size, 3.5” x 5.5”
  • sturdy leatherette cover
  • stitched binding

The Electron notebooks come in packs of three, with a sturdy slipcover to contain them. There’s interesting information about electrons on the back cover. The covers are made of a “leatherette” material, which is soft and supple in my hands. It’s a lovely navy blue cover with E-, the sign for electron, imprinted in the bottom right edge. On the back, is Elemental with a periodic table around the E. I love the design, especially the stitched binding that makes it lay more flat than staples would. 

I can bend the entire notebook, which is a good sign if you stuff yours in your backpack. I carried an Unobtanium pocket notebook in my bag for several months and it held up perfectly, except for some gouges on the cover. One issue with leatherette is that it can scratch easily. I don’t really care how dinged up mine get. It adds character and I usually put a big sticker on the front anyways. The cover also sticks up after opening it, but most pocket notebooks don’t.

Inside are matching navy blue endpapers with an electron shell diagram and blank periodic table where you can print your name. I like that the Electron has endpapers because it helps protect the thin Tomoe River inside. There’s 96 pages inside, two times more compared to the Field Notes’ 48.

The white 52gsm Tomoe River paper is a nice change from the usual porous Field Notes I use. The Electron has 6mm blue lines, which aren’t too distracting. There is also a dash subtracted from the line every 6mm, another quirky but visually interesting aspect. I really like how Elemental Paper plays with ruling, like using bright green reticle in the now sold out Uranium and the dashed lines in the Electron. Most notebooks use the same gray lines or dots but I like to see different rulings. 

There is plenty of shading and sheen, even in such a tiny space! However, the main issue with using TR paper in a pocket notebook shows up very quickly. I’m left-handed and it’s already a struggle to keep my ink from smearing in an A5 notebook. Here, it’s even worse because the page is so small! The Pilot Precise V5, Pilot Juice, and Papermate Inkjoy smeared  under my hand. The Papermate Inkjoy dried quickly but it has a bit of bleed through. I would only use fountain pens in this notebook.

Fountain pens take a long time to dry, from 30 seconds to a minute. This is annoying for a pocket notebook that you will be opening and shutting quickly. However, if you know what you’re getting into, TR is still the most fountain pen friendly paper ever. I’m just not sure if it’s right for me as a leftie. There’s also plenty of showthrough, which can be distracting but is normal for 52gsm TR paper. I still like it better than the paper in the Unobtanium, which sucked up fountain pen ink and feathered everywhere. 

Overall, I love the design and paper of the Electron. Despite it being harder to use without smearing, I will enjoy using this more with my fountain pen inks instead of sticking to ball points in Field Notes. There’s still 500+ Electrons left before they sell out at Elemental Paper’s website!

I bought this notebook with my own funds. I was not paid for this review.

Elemental Paper Uranium Notebook Review

The last time I reviewed a notebook from Elemental Paper, the Nitrogen, I loved the thoughtful design but was disappointed by the quality of the paper. Since then, Elemental started using Tomoe River paper, my favorite! I loved the Proton and sold out Iodine and was excited to see new notebooks. Today, I’ll be reviewing the Uranium. It has interesting qualities that make it stand out among other A5 Tomoe River notebooks. It uses a lime green reticle grid that glows under black light! I’ll dive into this notebook more in the upcoming paragraphs.

Specs:

  • 52gsm white Tomoe River paper
  • $18
  • bright green reticle grid (reticle means tiny crosses)
  • 352 pages
  • A5 size
  • gray linen cover
  • two bookmarks (one glows under black light)

The Uranium feels luxurious, with a gray cloth cover, green foil stamping on the spine, and the emission spectrum printed on the edges. It makes a great impression. It reminds me of the stylish design of my Baron Fig notebooks. Uranium comes in a sturdy slipcase that protected it from any damage in transit. The front shows the element from the periodic table while the back has more information on Uranium’s properties. The cloth feels nice to run my hand across. Of course, it is more susceptible to staining and dust than a plastic or paper cover. One negative for me is that the cloth is stretched unevenly across the notebook, which didn’t occur in my Iodine or Nitrogen. However, this might just be my notebook. Two bookmarks, one yellow and one green (it glows under backlight) extend from the cover. They are long enough to grasp easily, a positive compared to the stubby Baron Fig bookmark. The Uranium is a standard A5 size so it should fit into external covers.

The inside shows more thoughtful design! The endpapers are bright green and have a Bohr model one one side and a periodic table where you can fill in your name on the other. The back has a small logo and information about Elemental Paper. The Uranium lies completely flat, except for the first and last pages which are glued.

The paper is white 52gsm Tomoe River paper, which means it will handle any fountain pens you throw at it! I saw plenty of shading and sheen in Iroshizuko Kujaku. I see more sheen and shading on 52gsm than 68gsm, which is my usual go-to. I haven’t used 52gsm in a while, so I forgot how long it takes gel pens to dry on this paper. My Pilot Juice pen smeared all over! I don’t recommend using those. Papermate Inkjoy dried quickly but it actually bled through in spots. So did my rollerball Pilot Precise V5. So I’d stick to pencil, fast drying pens, or fountain pens on this paper.

I tried several different inks on this paper, and there was some clashing with the bright green reticle. Of course greens and blues blended in more while my Bungubox Sweet Love Pink looked a bit strange! However, I still love the idea of this colored grid and it doesn’t bother me too much. The reticle grid seems to be ink repellent but doesn’t stick out as badly as the large dots in a Baron Fig do.

The grid itself is a perfect size for me, large enough to guide my writing but not dominating the page. I compared the Uranium with my two Nanami Crossfield notebooks (the old edition had larger reticle crosses) and it was most similar to the old edition. The crosses on the new Crossfield are so small and dark that they look like dots. As a lover of the old edition, this is a great replacement for when I fill up that Crossfield.

One negative is that there’s a lot of show through. 52gsm white paper especially seems to have this effect. This is what turned me off from 52gsm in the first place. However, the ghosting becomes less prominent when you write on the backside, until it becomes less noticeable. If you hate show through, I’d recommend the 68gsm, but 52gsm is still great.

Overall, I love the Uranium notebook! It’s so delightfully nerdy that it makes me smile when I look at it. It’s also a good replacement for the old Crossfield if you loved a bigger reticle grid. This edition is selling fast, and there’s only 140 notebooks left! You can buy it on their website here. Sadly, this is one of the last notebooks Elemental Paper will be making, as they decided to close their business to focus on family. I’m very sad to hear that, and I wish the creators luck on their future ventures!

I bought this notebook with my own funds. I was not paid for this review. 

Black Lives Matter

Hi everyone. As I return from my hiatus, I just wanted to highlight the importance of Black Lives Matter. I know that I should’ve written this post earlier but I was worried about my words coming off wrong and I wasn’t quite ready to return to my blog.

Black lives matter. Even if the news cycle has died down after two months, systematic racism and police brutality still exist in the United States. I fully support the BLM movement and suggest that anybody who hasn’t already, should donate to relevant charities and look for educational resources. I’ve been doing a lot of reading over the summer and there’s so much more I need to learn.

The stationery and fountain pen community is so kind and welcoming and has been my refuge this entire hellish year! However, there’s still work to do to make it a safe space for everyone, including POC, LGBTQ and disabled folks. As I continue to participate in the stationery community, I would love to see more inclusivity. Here are some amazing Black creators and store owners I would like to highlight.

The Calligraphers of Color instagram account, created by Amanda Reid, has such talented artists highlighted in its posts. Chandra Greer owns the terrific stationery shop GREERChicago which has a great selection of boutique papers, pens and letter sets. Kalyn Johnson Chandler owns Effie’s Paper, a NYC store that has unique stationery and desk accessories. Dominique sells quality Midori inserts with Tomoe River paper at PaperPenguinCo. Alisa L. Brock of DramaMama Bookshop makes notebooks with incredible laser-cut designs and fountain pen friendly paper. She’s been going to the Baltimore and DC Pen Shows for several years now and I love buying a new notebook from her each time.

Thanks again for anyone who is reading.

GLP Creations The Author Notebook

I have quite a hoard of 68gsm Tomoe River notebooks! From the Hippo Noto to the Taroko Enigma to the Endless Works Recorder, there is now many notebooks that use this wonderful paper. GLP Creations’ Author notebook makes a niche through its availability on Amazon. It also is a slim A5 size, smaller than the regular A5. This makes it portable and light, especially with only 192 pages.

Specs:

  • 68gsm white Tomoe River paper
  • $27.99 on Amazon
  • 192 pages
  • comes in lined, dot grid, and blank
  • 5.3 in x 8.26 in, slimmer in width than regular A5
  • softcover

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My Author notebook has a teal, pebbly faux leather cover. It’s soft to the touch and flexible. With its flexibility, it should last in my bag. The notebooks come in teal, red, gray, black and brown, navy blue and green, with the option of blank, lined or dot grid. The ribbon is long, but it isn’t sealed off so it might unravel. There is an aqua elastic band that will keep it closed. I don’t find it to lay as flat as the Endless Works Recorder. Whenever I try to flatten it down, the front cover flips the book closed. There’s a logo on the backside. The back pocket is nice but doesn’t expand much. Comparing it to a Taroko Enigma, the Author is narrower but the same length.

The inside has a few pages of stiff cardstock where you can print your name and address and fill in a table of contents. I think it’s formatted well except that the headers are jet-black. I’d prefer for headers to be a light gray.

The inside has the same 68gsm Tomoe River I know and love. If you want to see a more in-depth review of the paper, read my Hippo Noto review. Fountain pens shine on it, showing shading and sheen. I like that the page numbers are a light gray, matching with the lining. However, the lines are dotted and thick, distracting to me. I’d prefer if they were much thinner, like the lines in Hippo Noto notebooks.

Overall, I enjoy the slim A5 size and flexible teal cover of this notebook! The paper inside is delightful of course. However, the lines are thick and the price is quite expensive for the number of pages you get. If you’re looking for a slim and portable Tomoe River notebook, I would recommend the Author!

I bought these notebooks with my own funds. I was not paid for this review. 

Fabriano Ecoqua Pocket Notebook Review

After being pleasantly surprised by the paper in the Fabriano Ecoqua Gluebound, I bought a 4 pack of pocket notebooks at my local Plaza Art. Write Notepads and Story Supply Co. are my favorites for pocket carry but I’m always searching for more options.

Specs: 

  • 4 pack, in “warm” and “cool” colors
  • 85gsm “Bioprima” ivory acid-free paper
  • $9.50-11.00
  • 32 sheets, 64 pages
  • 3.5″ x 5.5″, pocket size
  • 4mm dot grid
  • staplebound

The Fabriano Ecoqua Pocket Notebooks come in a set of four “warm” colors, red, orange, yellow and green. There is also a “cool” set available. They have a bellyband and a packet with more information about Fabriano. The cover is made of a thick textured paper that stands up to daily carry well. “Fabriano” and “Made in Italy” are printed in faint silver ink on the back. The paper corners are rounded off. Compared to the gluebound, I think these notebooks would hold up well in my bag. Two staples hold the notebook together. It could use another staple because it’s hard for this notebook to stay flat.

The paper is the same as the gluebound, ivory with light 4mm dots. The paper holds up well to pencil, gel pen, and fountain pen use. There is shading and a bit of sheen, and no feathering! Show through is minimal. The Inkjoy and Zebra Sarasa shows through more than my fountain pens. The pages are slightly textured, providing a pleasant tooth when writing. The second half of the notebook has perforations for tearing out pages. It tore out cleanly when I tried.

One issue I found was that the dry time for fountain pens was longer than I’d like. It took 10 seconds for the ink to dry. This is okay for larger notebooks but in pocket notebooks, I write quickly then close the book. Write Notepads also has a long dry time of 10 seconds but Story Supply Co. takes only 3 seconds! I also found it hard to make the Fabriano stay flat because of its two staples and thick paper. Finally, part of my notebook cover is discolored but that’s not too much of a problem, just annoying.

These notebooks are a great deal for the price! I love how they include four books instead of three, contain great paper, and come in fun colors. I recommend them if you want quality notebooks for a good price.

I bought these notebooks with my own funds. I was not paid for this review. 

 

Endless Works Recorder Notebook Review

I’m always on the search for new 68gsm Tomoe River notebooks. After I bought a Hippo Noto, I fell in love with this fountain pen friendly paper. Luckily, more brands always seem to be popping up! Today, I’ll be reviewing the Endless Works Recorder notebook.

Specs:

  • white 68gsm Tomoe River paper
  • $22.95
  • 96 sheets, 192 pages
  • 5.8″ x 8.25″, A5
  • 5mm dot grid, also lined and blank available
  • numbered pages, elastic closure, inner pocket, table of contents, 16 perforated pages

The Endless Works Recorder comes off as well-designed. I didn’t receive a cloth bag like some reviewers did, but it was packaged nicely and I got a sticker with my purchase. The cover is a red pebbly leatherette which seems sturdy enough to last in my bag. There is a dash and three dots on the bottom of the front cover, which is the logo for Endless. On the back is “Endless” in capital letters. The branding isn’t too obvious. Even better, the notebook has a sky blue elastic band to keep it closed. I wish more notebooks had this feature. There is a matching blue bookmark too. I like how slim and light the notebook is with only 192 pages, though it doesn’t come cheap.

The inside has a thoughtful dot design along with the dot dash logo. There’s a space to put your name. The table of contents is only two pages, but it should last long enough. I wish the headers weren’t such a dark color. The back pocket works perfectly well. The notebook also lays flat!

The Recorder notebook has the same 68gsm TR paper I enjoy so much. There is plenty of shading and sheen. The show-through is quite obvious but I get used to it as I use up a notebook. The dots are a bit dark for my taste, however, and the page numbers are also dark and obvious. I think the dots could be one row longer on the horizontal. I also noticed that the page numbers are placed unevenly as I flip through the book. That’s quite annoying to me. Kelli at Mountain of Ink pointed this out in her review.

I like this notebook, but it’s a little expensive for the number of pages inside. However, I’m happy to see any new brands that use 68gsm TR paper. Endless needs to fix some of the quality control and design issues and it will have an even better notebook. You can buy this notebook from several stores, including Endless, Pen Chalet, and Dromgoole’s.

I bought this notebook with my own funds. I was not paid for this review. 

 

 

 

Two Year Anniversary of Notebook Joy!

On March 28, 2018, I wrote my first blog post! I’ve been on and off writing my blog since then, taking breaks to focus on schoolwork. I’m so fortunate to have bloggers like Pen Addict and Well-Appointed Desk feature me in their links! I also tried to increase my presence on Instagram with my account @notebook_joy.

My most popular post was my Hippo Noto review I wrote back in 2018 with almost 2,500 views. I’m glad that I helped so many people learn more about these notebooks! Some of the initial concerns I had about the notebook weren’t such a big deal in the end. However, the binding is still a little flimsy. I actually backed the A5/B6 Hippo Noto Kickstarter but I still haven’t received a notebook yet. This time I’m prepared for the long wait!

I also received a lot of views on my Stationery Shopping in Japan series when I visited in 2018. It was such a great time and those posts still get consistent views. Now it will be easier for people visiting after me to find these stores.

My favorite part of blogging is that I can help people to make informed decisions when purchasing stationery. I also love to post about my favorite notebooks and inks. In the future, I hope to post more, improve my photography skills, use my Instagram consistently, and hold giveaways! I should have more time to work on my blog now that I’m home for at least several months.

For whoever is still reading this, thank you for looking at my blog! I hope that I’ve spread some joy through my posts.

Fabriano Ecoqua Gluebound Notebook Review

I bought the Fabriano Ecoqua Gluebound notebook at my school bookstore some time ago. I’ve seen the Fabriano brand in art stores before but not commonly elsewhere. So I picked it up, not realizing that it was gluebound! It’s not my favorite binding but I think the notebook will be useful for people who want to tear out notes or make lists. Here’s my review:

Specs: 

  • 85gsm “Bioprima” acid-free paper
  • $5.20-6.50, based on where you buy it
  • 90 sheets, 180 pages
  • 5.8″ x 8.25″, A5
  • 4mm dot grid
  • gluebound

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The Fabriano Gluebound is a slim A5 notebook with a textured paper cover. Mine is gray, but there are several bright colors to choose from. Fabriano is printed faintly on the front in silver ink and it looks classy. The corners aren’t rounded so they could get dinged up easily. Some of the paper sticks out from the edge. I don’t think the notebook would last long in my backpack with its thin, light construction. This is more of a desk pad to me.

Inside is a slim block of 85gsm paper. It’s cool to see the binding on the side. The notebook lays flat easily due to being gluebound. However, I’m not sure how sturdy the binding is. I’ve seen reviews where people say the pages tear out by themselves, but that hasn’t happened so far for me. The pages are easy to tear out and don’t leave any pieces behind.

Now, onto the paper! The dot grid is smaller, 4mm compared to the average 5mm. However, the dots are light and fade into the background easily. The paper has some texture to it, that my finer fountain pens catch on. However, I like some texture when I’m writing. It’s not as toothy as Baron Fig paper, but not as smooth as Tomoe River.

I was surprised by the quality of the paper! It shows some shading and even a bit of golden sheen in my sample of Taccia Momo. I didn’t see any feathering or spreading of ink. The paper is ivory but shows off the ink well. Pencils do well on the textured paper. However, I felt like my finer pens felt more scratchy. The showthrough isn’t bad either. The juicy Zebra Sarasa and Pentel Energel left more showthrough. I’d use both sides of the page. It took 10 seconds for fountain pen ink to dry. It’s a good budget option for fountain pens.

I’d suggest using this notebook for taking quick notes and making lists. Don’t use this as a journal or repository for important writing because the pages are meant to be torn out. I’ll use this for making lists of my homework and tasks to complete. They are also easy to find online or in art supply stores. There are several types of Fabriano Ecoqua notebooks, including in pocket-sized, staplebound and spiralbound versions. I bought a pack of Fabriano pocket notebooks so look for a review of those soon!

I bought this notebook with my own funds. I was not paid for this review. 

Musgrave Tennessee Red Pencil Review

I bought the Musgrave Tennessee Red pencils after hearing that Musgrave revamped their brand and added new pencils. I’ve mostly stuck to Blackwings and Japanese brands, so I haven’t tried many American pencils. There are only a few American pencil companies left, so it’s important to support them! Also, a dozen Tennessee Reds are only $9, compared to $25-28 for a dozen Blackwings. They are made of Tennessee red cedar instead of California cedar. Apparently, that’s what Musgrave pencils were made out of until the ’60s. Luckily, Musgrave found a new source of the wood!

However, there are quality control issues with the pencils, which I want to mention up front. In their blog post, Musgrave says that because they are new to working with this wood, some pencils will have off-centered lead or will be slightly warped. I’ll explain the issues I found with my pack later.

Specs:

  • $9 for a dozen
  • #2 core
  • natural finish with clear coat
  • sharp hex

My pencils came in a beautiful red slipcover, with the words Tennessee Red in vintage-looking letters. They are stunning! The pencils are natural but have a clear gloss over them. Tennessee Red reminds me of a hardwood floor, with a similar smell. They aren’t as fragrant as Blackwings but still smell delicious! There are interesting whorls and variations that make each pencil unique. One of my pencils looks like a black and white cookie, with one half a lighter color than the other! I love the vintage red imprint but I wish that it showed up more against the dark wood.

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They also have a very sharp hex, which means the edges are hard. It digs into my fingers. I wish that the edges were softer like Blackwings. I liked the combination of red with the golden ferrule and white eraser. Sadly, the eraser isn’t very usable, but most aren’t!

The hex is #2 but feels softer. It’s similar to Palamino HB. It’s smooth and dark on paper with some tooth. I tested it on Write Notepads and it was great. I didn’t feel any grit or scratchiness like I do with some pencils. It also has kept its point despite writing pages of notes. It’s a contender for my favorite lead, with the Blackwing 602 still holding first place.

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However, I had quality control problems with my pack of pencils. I’d say 3-4 of mine are off-center. Even worse, one of them was completely messed up. It looked like the two slats were misaligned. It looks impossible to write with. They are also hard to sharpen, especially in hand-held sharpeners. The wood is thick and dense. I used my brass Möbius and Ruppert sharpener which worked but it took some effort. Finally, the hex is much too sharp for me.

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I also was given two free pencils in a sleeve, a Musgrave 600 News and Musgrave Bugle. I loved the dark, smooth lead of the News, but I broke the tip instantly. It seems perfect for sketching! I didn’t like the Bugle, it was too light and scratchy. Both pencils felt lightweight without a ferrule and eraser.

I love the idea of the Tennessee Red pencils but I think better quality control needs to go into the next batch. At least Musgrave was honest and wrote a blog post explaining the issues. They also aren’t very expensive compared to Blackwings. If you’re okay with potentially getting off-center cores and love the beautiful red cedar, then I would purchase. I bought a pack for my mom and she loves them! Otherwise, I’d recommend waiting for the next generation of these pencils.

I bought this notebook with my own funds. I was not paid for this review.