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Writing with Whitelines

21 Mar

We’ve been jazzed behind the scenes for a month now in anticipation of introducing our newest brand on EuropeanPaper.com, Whitelines!! When we asked YOU which brands you wanted to see added on EPC, you spoke so loudly for Whitelines (well over 50% of the votes), it was a no-brainer to welcome them into the family here at EuropeanPaper.com. Everyone at Whitelines is simply a joy and we’ve learned so much about Whitelines, we’ve just got to share!

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Whitelines was founded in January 2006 by three friends with one ambition: “to make a contribution to a better world, no matter how small.”

A closer look at the innovative Whitelines paper.

Whitelines is incredibly innovative with their take on writing paper. Their concept is quite simple, yet effective across writing, sketching, doodling, etc. Whitelines posits that dark lines distract, and quite frankly, Whitelines don’t. Pen markings are dark and become jumbled with the traditional dark lines of ordinary paper.  Whitelines’ paper is slightly toned, meaning that not only is there no visual interference between the lines and the pen markings, strong light also doesn’t gleam in your eyes when it gets reflected off the paper as what happens with ordinary paper.

Easy on the eyes, Whitelines has one more trick up its sleeve: When you photocopy, scan, or fax Whitelines paper all you see on the copy is your crisp, clear handwriting or drawing. Once again, no distractions.

Whitelines Side Spiralbound A5 Notebook (5.8 x 8.25)

Whitelines was perhaps the first paper company in the world to mark their products with a Carbon Footprint label, which soon became a Zero Carbon Footprint label. Whitelines uses MultiCopy paper produced in an integrated mill in southern Sweden where all carbon dioxide is reused during the production process. Not only that, but Whitelines is located close to the mill to reduce transport, and the paper is guaranteed chlorine and acid-free.

As Whitelines is an incredibly well-rounded eco paper company – and unique, to say the least – we now offer several Whitelines products on EPC! Check out Whitelines’ sweet and simple Perfect Bound A5 and A4 Notebooks; Soft Cover Spiral Bound A5 and A4 Notebooks; and their Hard Cover Wire Bound A5, and A4 Notebooks! Each is available in black or white covers, and ruled or graphed page styling.

Keep an eye on the blog for more coming on Whitelines! It may be an interview, a contest or giveaway, or perhaps some new products! And as always, let us know if you have any questions.

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Take Charge of Your To-Do Lists

15 Mar

Are you a chronic compiler of sticky notes? Is your wallet stuffed with small scraps of paper? Do scrawl-covered napkins flutter around in your car? If that sounds like you, you might just be a to-do list hoarder.

To-do lists are good. Usually. They help us remember the innumerable tasks we have to tackle for work, home, committees, kids, and more. But if managing – or finding – your to-do lists takes over actually completing the tasks, your lists aren’t helping. Unless you organize or consolidate your responsibilities into a more streamlined system, you’re not being as efficient as you could be.

Here, based on personality types, are a handful of the best ways to organize to-do lists from various aspects of your life – and the products to facilitate your newfound sense of organization.

Moleskine Volant Pocket Ruled Notebook (Set of 2) (3.5 x 5.5)

Moleskine Volant Pocket Ruled Notebook (Set of 2) (3.5 x 5.5)

Separatist

If you strive to keep your professional life separate from your personal life, institute a system that encourages that separation. To help you compartmentalize your various roles and responsibilities, pick up a set of Moleskine Volant notebooks. Dedicate one to work and one to life, and clearly label the two notebooks so that you’re not tempted to grab whichever is closer.

Minimalist

Rhodia Spiralbound Square Reverse Book (8.25 x 8.25)

Rhodia Spiralbound Square Reverse Book (8.25 x 8.25)

Not everyone can achieve it, but if your goal is simplicity, consolidate all your to-do lists into one single notebook. The trick is to create a habit of always carrying that one notebook with you since everything will be housed together. A side spiral Rhodia will help you keep all your lists in one place. With a sturdy cover and side binding, a Rhodia can be taken in and out of your bag, tossed in your car, and lugged on an airplane and still keep your to-dos together.

Moleskine Classic Large Ruled Notebook (5 x 8.25)

Moleskine Classic Large Ruled Notebook (5 x 8.25)

Traditionalist

Those who love the Moleskine tradition may balk at the idea of replacing their do-it-all notebook for a different system. With a simple hack, convert your Moleskine into a to-do list organizer. Use your favorite size notebook, and divide it into sections for each task area, like work, life, home, goals, and so on. Tabs can be made from almost anything. For example, fold a small sticky tab in half, write the title on the edge, and tape it into place, or cut up expired gift cards for durable tabulating.

Clairefontaine Classic Extra Large Side Spiralbound Notebook (8.5 x 11)

Clairefontaine X Large Side Spiral Notebook (8.5 x 11)

Goal-Getter

For those with many goals, many tasks, and many to-dos, a large notebook is a must. The Clairefontaine Classic Extra Large Spiralbound Notepad is 8.5- by 11-inches, which gives you enough space to outline all your tasks and related notes. Plus, since the pages are perforated, you can tear them out to file as needed.

Multi-Tasking Mom

For the busy mom on the go, the Exacompta Exafolio Executive will keep all your lists organized in one place. Six file compartments accompany a notebook, which allows you to keep like items – errands, grocery lists, kid-related to-dos, and so on – together.

Whichever product you choose to manage your to-do lists, the ACME Sing Sing 4-Function Pen is the perfect complement to keep your organization streamlined. Instead of cramming multiple implements in your bag or notebook, this one piece has a stylus for your PDA, a pencil, a pen, and a highlighter for convenient note-jotting.

Whatever your personality, there’s a product that can help you organize that never-ending flow of to-dos. Now, if only there was a product to complete those to-dos for you!

The Language of Stamps + Free Printable

13 Mar

The Victorians, at least the well-to-do variety, sure did have a lot of time to pay attention to details. They devised the use of Personal Calling Cards, the selection of flowers to send a certain message, and lots and lots of rules about etiquette. Even today, we are discovering (and reviving) Victorian traditions. For letter writing and mail enthusiasts, there is one in particular that has gotten notice in the last few years: The Language of Stamps.

A few special stamps of EPC 🙂

Just as it was a Victorian tradition to select flowers based upon a message you’d like to send (the red rose equating to true love still exists today), there was a tradition of affixing a postage stamp to a letter in a certain way. Upside down, tilted left or tilted right, the direction and placement of the stamp said much more than ‘postage paid.’

Perhaps the most interesting part of the language of stamps is that there were no distinct rules. An upside down stamp might have meant one thing in the southern U.S., another in the northern U.S., and another in the UK. For all intents and purposes, the language of stamps was restricted to particular groups or regions. Even then, there is evidence that individuals and couples had their own private codes they used just between themselves.

Today, this tradition has made a resurgence (albeit a small one) with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Men and women writing to spouses serving overseas flip stamps upside down or in another direction to signify things like “I miss you” and “I love you.” The ‘codes’ in these letters are generally just between the letter writer and the recipient and there is by no means a true system out there today.

There is also a section of the US population that are avid letter writers who see value in reviving traditions like these. Major newspapers and popular websites have covered this very topic in recent years which has helped to draw more interest (and participation).

Communicating an additional message with a stamp is all about details. Not only is the letter writer taking time to write a letter, put pen to paper, fold it up, put it in an envelope and mail it, but they are going the extra mile in selecting the way the stamp is adhered to the envelope.

And, in case you ever wondered, if you place your stamp somewhere other than the upper right hand corner of your envelope, it will still get delivered. (However, if you do choose to place the stamp elsewhere on the front of the envelope, the letter might be slightly delayed due to the postage machines not able to scan it normally and therefore it will have to be handled manually.) In fact, this is the reason the original process of the recipient paying for the postage of a letter changed to the sender paying the postage. Senders would affix a stamp a certain way or put some other code on the exterior of the envelope or letter, and many times the recipient would get the message and decline paying postage on the note. Needless to say, word spread and the system was abused to the point that it was changed to where the sender pays the postage.


To encourage you to partake in the Language of Stamps tradition, attached to this article is an editable letterhead document you can download and print! Click the following link for a letterhead made specially for you to download and use –> EPC-Stationery-Hot-Air-Balloon-Editable

It is a PDF and features a hot air balloon in the bottom right hand corner. This particular image was lithographed in the Victorian era and is a rather appropriate subject for the sending of ‘air mail,’ no? After you download the letterhead, open it up in Adobe Acrobat (free) and click where the text appears. You can enter your own name or details for truly personal stationery. It prints two sheets to a standard sheet of 8.5” x 11” paper. Just cut right down the middle.

Interested in more reading? Here is a selection of articles and posts on the Language of Stamps you might be interested in:

From Love to Longing to Protest, It’s All in the Tilt of the Postage [New York Times article from 2005]

Blog post with lots of vintage ‘language of stamps’ postcards [by Rio Wang]

The Language of Stamps [post by Letter Writer’s Alliance]

The Language of Stamps [article on Philatelic Database]

How to Take Efficient – & Effective – Meeting Notes

19 Jan

Meetings take up a huge amount of our work schedules. While it sometimes seems like meetings are held only for the sake of meetings, the reality is that meetings are meant to keep projects on track. However, if the meeting participants aren’t capturing the salient points and important tasks during the meeting, all that time is wasted. Meetings are only as valuable as the action that comes out of them. To make sure you’re maximizing meeting time, focus on developing an effective note-taking system. Bonus: Taking notes keeps you from zoning out during long sessions.

To begin, choose a notebook that encourages clean note taking. A large, ruled, spiral-bound book like the Rhodia Meeting Bookallows for the most efficient note taking. Plus, the pages are easy to tear out in case an unprepared colleague needs a sheet for his own notes.

Click the image to shop notebooks on EPC.

It’s important to develop a consistent note-taking system that works for you. You don’t have to use an “official” method like, for instance, Cornell Notes, but it’s worth experimenting with different styles. Regardless, there are several steps you should take to make your meeting notes effective and efficient.

First, always notate the meeting specifics. Jot the date, start and end times, and attendees at the top of your page. This is especially important for a big project where questions can arise about who is responsible for – or who dropped the ball on – specific tasks.

Next, remember that it isn’t necessary to write down everything said during the meeting. Capture the significant points of each discussion and any supporting details. If tasks are delegated – especially to you! – capture the assignment, the due date, and the names of anyone else involved. Be sure that these tasks stand out on your page by marking them with a box or star or highlighting that line.

To speed up your note taking, abbreviate! Abbreviations are only useful if you remember what they actually mean, so until you’re accustomed to abbreviating your meeting notes, create a list of abbreviations you plan to use frequently. Here are a few common abbreviations to get your list started:

  • re = regarding
  • w/o = without
  • incl = including

Finally, the real test of effectiveness is what you do with your notes after the meeting. Meetings aren’t productive by themselves; the productivity comes from the action taken after the meeting. Meeting notes should be processed as soon as possible after the meeting so that crucial information isn’t lost. Type your notes and file them with the handwritten copy. Transfer all project timelines and tasks to your day planner. Enter any follow-up meetings into your planner or send out meeting requests for check-ins immediately after in order to keep everyone on schedule.

Rhodia “Fab 5” Giveaway Winners

19 Dec

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway(s) and spread the word! We’ve got loads more giveaways, articles, tips & tricks, etc. on the way, so check back frequently. To keep in the loop, follow us on Twitterlike us on Facebook, subscribe to our RSS feed, and/or sign up for our weekly newsletter.

If you have any ideas or feedback, definitely let us know in a comment on this blog, or you can email us at info@europeanpaper.com!

Rhodia “Fab 5” Giveaway #5 [Closed]

16 Dec

This is the last day to enter for a chance to win a Rhodia Notepad! Today is Giveaway #5 for a Rhodia No. 19 Notepad.

Today’s Giveaway:  Rhodia Top Staplebound No. 19 Notepad (8.25 x 12.5) – Black Cover; dotPad. **This is the only No. 19 Notepad we have with dot page styling so it’s extra special!**

Like all Rhodia Notebooks and Notepads, the Rhodia Classic Staplebound Notepads are known for their 80 g extra white acid-free and ink-friendly vellum paper, all micro-perforated for easy removal. Rhodia’s Staplebound Notepads have reinforced staples at the top, a scored front cover that neatly folds back, and a stiff back cover allows for easy writing or sketching on-the-go. The famous orange cover dates back to the 1930s – it was a standard hue for cardstock at the time and remains unchanged to this day. Over time, Rhodia has become the most popular pad in France.

To enter: Comment on this blog post!

Bonus entry: Tweet “Today Only! Rhodia No. 19 dotPad Giveaway on @EuroPaper #RhodiaHappyDance http://wp.me/p1PnL4-dJ”

Giveaway Details:

    • At 9 a.m. (MST) each morning  next week (Mon-Fri) we’ll announce the giveaway for the day.
    • All you have to do is comment on each day’s blog post to be entered!
    • You can enter each day one time (that’s 5 chances total over the week to win a Rhodia Notepad).
    • We’ll randomly choose a different winner per day (5 winners total) and publish their names on Monday, December 19.
Check out our original post from last Friday for the full giveaway line-up by clicking here.
(These giveaways are only open to those in the U.S.)

Rhodia “Fab 5” Giveaway #4 [Closed]

15 Dec

Getting down to the wire! Second to last day to enter for a chance to win a Rhodia Notepad! Today is Giveaway #4 for another Rhodia No. 18 Notepad. We will be having one Rhodia giveaway each day this week, so check back to enter each day!

Today’s Giveaway:  Rhodia Top Staplebound No. 18 Notepad (8.25 x 11.75 in.) – Orange Cover; Blank Pages.

Rhodia Pads are a favorite with architects, designers and scientists. The pads are staple-bound, made of 80 g acid-free pH neutral paper, are micro-perforated on top for easy and clean tearing. The stiff back cover provides the support required, and the staples do not appear on back. Each pad contains 80 sheets.

To enter: Comment on this blog post!

Giveaway Details:

    • At 9 a.m. (MST) each morning  next week (Mon-Fri) we’ll announce the giveaway for the day.
    • All you have to do is comment on each day’s blog post to be entered!
    • You can enter each day one time (that’s 5 chances total over the week to win a Rhodia Notepad).
    • We’ll randomly choose a different winner per day (5 winners total) and publish their names on Monday, December 19.
Check out our original post from last Friday for the full giveaway line-up by clicking here.
(Sorry, but these giveaways are only open to those in the U.S.)

Rhodia “Fab 5” Giveaway #3 [Closed]

14 Dec

Today is Giveaway #3 for a Rhodia No. 18 Notepad. We will be having one Rhodia giveaway each day this week, so check back to enter each day!

Today’s Giveaway:  Rhodia Top Spiralbound No. 18 Notepad (8.25 x 11.75 in.) – Black Cover; Lined Pages.

The Rhodia Classic Top Spiralbound No. 18 Notepad (8.25 by 11.75 inches) has a double wire binding at the top that won’t snag or unwind, plus 80 g acid-free, pH neutral paper with a smooth, satin finish – very ink-friendly. All 80 sheets of this A4-sized notepad are micro-perforated at the top for easy and clean tearing, so you can jot down a note, share ideas, and keep your thoughts at hand.

To enter: Comment on this blog post!

Bonus entry: Tweet “Rhodia No. 18 Notepad Giveaway on @EuroPaper #RhodiaHappyDance http://wp.me/p1PnL4-dx”

  • Giveaway Details:
    • At 9 a.m. (MST) each morning  next week (Mon-Fri) we’ll announce the giveaway for the day.
    • All you have to do is comment on each day’s blog post to be entered!
    • You can enter each day one time (that’s 5 chances total over the week to win a Rhodia Notepad).
    • We’ll randomly choose a different winner per day (5 winners total) and publish their names on Monday, December 19.
Check out our original post from last Friday for the full giveaway line-up by clicking here.
(These giveaways are only open to those in the U.S.)

Rhodia “Fab 5” Giveaway #2 [Closed]

13 Dec

Today is Giveaway #2 for a Rhodia No. 16 Notepad. We will be having one Rhodia giveaway each day this week, so check back to enter each day!

Today’s Giveaway:  Rhodia Top Staplebound No. 16 Notepad (6 x 8.25 in.) – Orange Cover, Lined + Margin Pages.

This classic notepad, made in France, has a major cult following! The pads are staple-bound, made of 80 g acid-free pH neutral paper, are micro-perforated on top for easy and clean tearing. The stiff back cover provides the support required, and the staples do not appear on back.

To enter: Comment on this blog post … that’s it!!

  • Giveaway Details:
    • At 9 a.m. (MST) each morning  next week (Mon-Fri) we’ll announce the giveaway for the day.
    • All you have to do is comment on each day’s blog post to be entered!
    • You can enter each day one time (that’s 5 chances total over the week to win a Rhodia Notepad).
    • We’ll randomly choose a different winner per day (5 winners total) and publish their names on Monday, December 19.
Check out our original post from last Friday for the full giveaway line-up by clicking here.
(These giveaways are only open to those in the U.S.)

Rhodia “Fab 5” Giveaway #1 [Closed]

12 Dec

Let’s get this Rhodia party started! Today is Giveaway #1 for a Rhodia No. 12 Notepad. We will be having one Rhodia giveaway each day this week, so check back to enter each day!

Today’s Giveaway: Rhodia Top Staplebound No. 12 Notepad (3.375 x 4.75) – Orange Cover, Lined Pages.

This classic notepad, made in France, has a major cult following! The pads are staple-bound, made of 80 g acid-free pH neutral paper, are micro-perforated on top for easy and clean tearing. The stiff back cover provides the support required, and the staples do not appear on back.

To enter: Comment on this blog post … that’s it!!

  • Giveaway Details:
    • At 9 a.m. (MST) each morning  next week (Mon-Fri) we’ll announce the giveaway for the day.
    • All you have to do is comment on each day’s blog post to be entered!
    • You can enter each day one time (that’s 5 chances total over the week to win a Rhodia Notepad).
    • We’ll randomly choose a different winner per day (5 winners total) and publish their names on Monday, December 19.
Check out our original post from last Friday for the full giveaway line-up by clicking here.
(Sorry, but these giveaways are only open to those in the U.S.)

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