• Tips: 5 Top Tips To Choose The Right Envelope

    our tips for choosing the right envelope

    Based on many years of experience, watching people make the same mistake and order the wrong envelope, we have put together this simple yet handy guide to help you choose the right envelope.

    1. Choose your envelope size first

    If we had a penny every person who had designed their card before finding the envelope...

    It's a basic fact that envelopes come in a lot of sizes, but it's also the case that it's diminishing returns the more unusual the size. So when you choose your envelope size, go for a standard envelope size and you will find an incredible choice of colours, finishes and designs. Go for something a bit unusual and you may end up with just white. If you're lucky.

    2. Check the exact size

    You need to take account of two sizes. One is the envelope size (which we quote on all products). The second is the size of what you are putting into it.

    To get your insert into the envelope you will need a bit of room. Not much, but enough to fit it in. We suggest a 5mm difference. Even 10mm is fine. It might sound a lot but 10mm will give you just a 5mm gap on either side, and if you measure it out, it's not much. But that small gap will let you slip something into the envelope rather than spending 10 minutes forcing the card into the envelope only to see the envelope tear anyway.

    There is a slight complication to this rule. It assumes that you are just putting a 'normal' card into the envelope. In the unusual scenario where you have something a bit bulkier, then you need to allow a bit more. Ultimately there is no rule here so you will only know by getting a sample and trying it yourself. Click here to visit our sample request page.

    3. Get the right flap

    This one comes down to personal choice. And availability! The choices are diamond or wallet.

    Diamond - this is where the flap is pointed and meets in the middle. It is the classic envelope style and so has a more traditional feel.

    Wallet - this is a straight flap, a simpler and more 'contemporary' design.

    diamond flap envelope
    Diamond flap envelope
    wallet flap envelope
    Wallet flap envelope

    The problem is that some envelopes come with diamond flaps and some with wallet flaps. You might not have a choice - try and factor that into your decision process.

    4. Choose your paper

    Not all paper is alike! It naturally follows that a heavier paper feels, and is, nicer. Thinner papers will feel...well, a bit cheaper. As a rule of thumb, paper will vary from 80gsm to 120gsm. 80gsm will be ok, but a bit thin. 120gsm will feel like good quality paper. In between, 100gsm is a good quality paper that will be good for all occasions.

    What you need to take into account also is the finish - the two you will most likely encounter are wove and laid. Wove is a smooth finish. Laid paper has a slight grain or texture to it. Wove paper has that slight 'contemporary' feel whilst laid paper has a more 'traditional' feel.

    You might also take lined envelopes into consideration. Without going into too much detail, these are envelopes with an inner tissue paper lining which gives a little extra security and a little extra quality feel. Ideal for special invites.

    lined envelopes
    Lined envelopes

    5. Don't leave it until the last minute!

    We offer a huge range of envelopes - over a 1,000 at the last count in fact. With that much choice we will only carried a limited range in stock and the rest are special order. That means we will import them specially or you, sometimes from a factory in Switzerland even. But that means there will be a longer lead time on those items, usually about a week extra.

    So please check the lead times and allow enough time for delivery to avoid disappointment!

  • Tips: Our Top 6 Suggestions For Looking After Your Fountain Pen

    Our 6 tips for looking after your fountain pen

    There has been a big rise in the demand for fountain pens in recent years. As anyone who has bought and used a fountain will know, they are fantastic writing instruments that can improve your handwriting, and will give you plenty of pleasure and enjoyment as you discover new pens and inks. However, unlike many everyday pens a fountain pen will require a little extra care so here is our guide to looking after your fountain pen, to keep it in the best condition.

    We have asked Mishka to give her top tips to looking after your pen, to ensure it remains in tip-top condition

    1. Keep Writing!

    Our top tip number one - keep writing to keep your fountain pen clean
    By using your pen you will stop the ink drying up

    The best way to keep a pen in good condition is actually to use it. Leaving a pen unused means the ink can, and will, dry out. Avoid this by keeping the ink flowing by writing. And of course, by writing you will be using it which is also a good thing.

    There is no set time-limit on this. Different pens and inks will dry out at different times and it can also depend on the conditions. However most pens will be fine if used every few days, maybe even just once a week. Beyond that you may find the ink starts to dry out.

    2. Cap it!

    Out top tip number two - make sure you keep it capped
    It's got a cap, so use it!

    It is highly likely that your fountain pen will have a cap - very few have retractable nibs. The cap is there for two main reasons. Firstly it protects the nib from getting damaged, and secondly it helps stop the pen from drying out very quickly. Make use of the cap and keep the pen capped at all times when not writing. Again, how long you can leave a pen uncapped will depend on so many factors so th best advice is to cap it whenever you can remember to.

    3. Flush A Dry Pen

    Our top tip number three - flush the pen to keep it clean
    A simple flush under the tap will work wonders

    Sometimes looking after your fountain pen can require a bit more work. If your pen has dried up then you may be able to get it going again with a bit of encouragement – maybe even just moistening the nib with some ink or even water will be enough.

    If the pen refuses to write then you just need to flush the pen out, and this will solve almost all dried-pen issues. This is done by removing the cartridge or converter and running cold or lukewarm water through the pen until the water runs clear from the nib. Dry with a paper towel (kitchen roll, but not loo paper which can shed fibres). Repeat if ink still flows.

    4. Flush A Pen Between Inks

    Part of the pleasure of using a fountain pen is being able to discover new inks. Changing from one colour of ink to another can pose obvious problems (there is a changeover period), but inks are not always the same and it is best to avoid mixing different inks. For this reason we would recommend a quick flush of the pen before starting with a new ink.

    It is also a good idea to clean the converter if you are using one. Note that you shouldn’t use hot water for this as it may damage the feed which has some very fine parts to it.

    5. Clean A Pen

    Our top tip number five - use a dedicated cleaning solution

    There is never any harm in giving your pen a good clean, especially if you are switching inks. Flushing it (see above) is fine, but you can also use a dedicated cleaning solution for this purpose. There are plenty available, and we sell a very good one from J. Herbin. Just rinse the pen as described above, and then fill a converter with a small amount of cleaning solution and write with this until the pen writes clear. We also sell cleaning solution in cartridge form, so just insert one into the pen and write until clear.

    Stubborn pens may need a bit more work, so you can always soak the front part in a small amount of cleaning solution for a few minutes and it should work its magic.

    6. Store It Right

    Our top tip number size - make sure you store pens vertically
    Use a pen pot to store your pens upright

    Even the most dedicated pen-user will find that they might not use a pen for a while. Avoid making it worse by storing your pens correctly, so that if you do need to flush them they will clean easily. Always store a pen horizontally, or if you do store it vertically make sure it is nib-up (so that ink doesn’t gather in the nib and feed). Store them in a dry place as well, as this will help avoid problems.

    Of course, if you can clean the pen before you store it then so much the better - a clean pen can be inked and ready to go in no time. That said, not all of us know we won't use a pen until its too late and the pen has dried up. Just go back over these tips and that dried up old fountain pen should spring back into life.

  • Tips: 3 Reasons To Switch To Dot Paper

    Have you ever wondered what the fuss about dot paper is about? As a dot paper convert of many years I thought I would share my feelings on dot paper and give my top 3 reasons to switch to dot paper. You should at least give this new-fangled paper style a go. You never know, it may even win you over and leave you wondering how you ever coped with lined or grid paper.

    What is dot paper anyway?

    First up, a quick explanation for anyone wondering what dot paper even is. If you imagine a sheet of paper with horizontal and vertical lines, and at the point each line crosses another you place a fine mark, or dot. Remove all the lines once you’re done and what you’re left with is a series of regular dots. In almost all cases this will be a dot every 5mm, forming a grid.

    Dot paper

    Top dot reason number 1 – It’s the best of all worlds

    Have you ever wanted your cake and eaten it? Faced with a choice do you ever long to take both? Or all three? Dot paper is just that – it’s three papers rolled up in one.

    I’ll assume that everyone know what lined or ruled paper is, and those regular horizontal lines are. Ideal for regular and repetitive writing, but just a bit annoying when you want to draw, or make a table, or stick something in your book.

    dot paper is the best all all worlds

    Grid paper is a bit more unusual but involves regular horizontal and vertical lines. I like grid paper but it makes for a lot of ink on the paper before you even started writing. The final result can be quite heavy and just too busy for my liking.

    Plain paper is ideal for drawing or sketching, but with handwriting like mine you don’t want to be let loose on plain paper! My writing needs some guidance to keep it neat and tidy.

    So faced with the need for a notebook that lets me write, create structures and draw I use dot paper. It really is the best of all three combined. The dots give enough of a framework to write neatly. They also allow me to make easy tables, and yet if I want to sketch something out they seem to fade into the background.

    Top dot reason number 2 – It’s innovative

    Maybe I shouldn’t be swayed by fanciful things like fashion and design, but there is a part of my mind that does like to seek out something new, something different. Not accepting the status-quo led us to paper and pens and notebooks in the first place, so dot paper is just one little step further in the advancement, and it’s a good one. So switch to dot because...well, just because it is there and (sort of) new and will make you feel like progress is happening. There is a reason why you will find all the top manufacturers including dot paper in their line up.

    dot paper innovative stationery

    Top dot reason number 3 – It’s Bullet Journal friendly

    Without getting bogged down in what Bullet Journaling is (see the official website here), I am keen on adapting elements of keeping a Bullet Journal to suit your own needs and style. You can read my explanation on this here on a previous post. The point being that dot paper is ideal because it lends itself so well to keeping a Bullet Journal. From using the dots to create boxes for to-do lists, through to adding tables and charts and logs, the flexible nature of dot paper is perfect. That’s why the official Bullet Journal uses dot paper.

    dot paper for bullet journaling


    dot paper flowchart

    Ultimately it comes down to finding the right paper for what you need and what you like, but I switched over some years back and have never gone back. From Rhodia to Leuchtturm I have been through many dot paper journals and look forward to many more yet. Try one if you haven’t and see for yourself.

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