when a5 isn’t enough

Back in December I signed up to try a sample of some paper that’s definitely out of my normal size range from Week 9 of the Rhodia Paper Project: Free Samples of BIG Rhodia Paper!

I like A5 for most of my everyday writing and recording needs, but sometimes I need more space. This paper is huge – the No. 38 Rhodia pad is 16½” x 12½” (A3+420X 318). It’s the 80 g acid-free, pH neutral paper I know and love because it likes fountain pens as much as I do. It is available not only in a 5mm grid, but also as a 5mm dot, with the subtle violet line (or dot) that makes me happy. I immediately fell in love and purchased a dot grid No. 38 pad of my own (available at European Paper and other fine shops).


I use it mostly for long-range planning. While I like my weekly planner for daily planning, I prefer to see more at once when I’m in project planning mode. It’s particularly valuable for me to be able to see an entire quarter at a glance and still have room to write.

So with this wonderful paper, I made my own. It’s visible. I don’t have to use super tiny fine tipped pens to write in it. While the paper is delightful for all my pens, I plan to find a frame (probably similar this one) to put the current quarter in so I can write with whiteboard markers and make changes without worrying a kitten will run off with my post-it note.


#rhodiapaperproject weeks 5, 6, and 7

What is the #rhodiapaperproject? The wonderful people at Exaclair/Rhodia are doing a paper project, it’s a chance to sample various papers without investing in an entire notebook! I subscribed to weeks 5, 6, and 7. A month ago, I wrote about week 4. First, though, I apologize for the tablet photos with terrible lighting. It’s mid-December, I’m impatient for the solstice and longer days.

Week 5 samples included a sheet of lined Rhodia paper in sizes N° 8, (3 x 8″), N° 10 (2 x 3″), N° 16 (6 x 8″), N° 19 (8 x 12″). Why did I request this sample if I could use a ruler and cut out the shapes myself?


It’s one thing for me to cut a rectangle out of a sheet of paper but that paper takes an entirely different view when it is lined. Yes, I know the standard spacing and could even cut up a sheet of Rhodia lined paper, but this is the way. I’m not going to discuss the paper. It’s lovely Rhodia with the beautiful violet lines we all know and love. I’m going to focus on the various sizes and how I could see using them.

The Rhodia Pad, N° 8, surprised me. I see it as useful for grocery lists or for when I brain dump tasks en mass. By folding in half, to 3×4, it interacts well with many of my existing systems. A quick vertical fold can make an easy 2 column list. While not a perfect fit, I believe it works with my A5 filofax flex, which has sadly been discontinued. This pad is also available as a 5/5 grid and with a black cover.

While I love many things tiny, I just can’t figure out when I’d use the Rhodia Pad, N° 10. It’s just too small and with just 7 lines, they’re more a hindrance than a help. This pad is also available in a 5/5 grid, but I’m not really sure how this would fit into my needs.

Yes, the size of the N° 16 Rhodia Pad is in my sweet spot, at least for paper size. One thing this project helped me clarify is which sizes are “L+M”, lined, with a margin. I’m very picky about all the rulings on my page and I find the margin rule for this sizes makes me happy that there are two other options, a 5/5 grid and “O” a blank sheet.

Finally, we are at the largest size sent for this trial, Rhodia Pad, N° 19. At this larger paper size, I find that a margin is not as intrusive, but I wish it hadn’t increased proportionally with the size of the page. When I need a paper this size, this is definitely a pad I would turn to. It is also available in the 5/5 grid and the “O” blank sheet.

Week 6 samples highlighted three different rulings of Clairefontaine bright white, 90g papers, all at the same 6×8″ size. If you follow me on instagram, you know that my current daily notebook is séyès (French) ruled. My MIL picked up this notebook for me when she was in France a few years ago, and for some reason while I was aware of this rule, this is the first time I’ve used it, and I fell in love. I don’t quite use it quite properly, but more on that in a future post. I was curious how a different brand prints it up and jumped at the chance to see the differences.

The two papers are very very similar and I like that all the lines after the red margin, are the same violet, my other cahier has the primary ruling in a bold violet and the secondary lines as a light weight teal. Now as for the other two sheets, a lined and a lined with margin … I like both. The margin is unobtrusive on the front of the sheet (I tend to use the backs differently than the front) and I like that the header is minimal. While I’m currently in love with séyès rule, I definitely see benefits to all three of these rulings.

Week 7 samples are from the Meeting books. They are available in two sizes, Compact 6½ x 8¼” and Large 9×11¾”, each with 80 pre-printed micro-perforated lined sheets that include space for Date + Notes + Action. The Classic Rhodia Meeting Book has orange or black coated and waterproof card covers and 80g paper and the Rhodia Meeting Book 90 has a black polypro cover and 90g paper.

rhodiapaperproject-week7-cNow, honestly, if there wasn’t a little label on the bottom of the two sheets specifying which was the 80g and which the 90g, I can’t easily tell the difference by look. I love the very faint light grey narrow rule and while I am not a fan of orange (E loves the colour, the Brooklyn kitchen featured orange cabinetry!) this is a very easy-on-the eye shade. One thing I do wish was changed was that on the reverse of the sheet, the Action area was on the left-side of the page so that I could easily fold it over for review or even to be able to tear it off to take away.


This was a fun way to be able to discover the different styles, sizes, and types of Rhodia and Clairefointaine papers. I hope I’ve helped bring some insight into some of the different products. Please let me know if you’ve found it helpful. Thank you Exaclair for creating the project!

#rhodiapaperproject week 4

The wonderful people at Exaclair/Rhodia Drive are doing a paper project, it’s a chance to sample various papers without investing in an entire notebook! I subscribed to week 4 and on Monday received my samples, a sheet of my favourite paper and an index card that is now my absolute favourite (it’s now on my wishlist despite my index card stash). I’ll surprise you, it’s true, I love this paper in all its pastel shades.

So what’s interesting about this test and why I jumped at it is that I’ve been using Clairefontaine paper for a long time. I bought this 120 sheet multi-subject grid notebook in 1996 for $3.36 from Pearl Paint in East Meadow, NY.

My question: had the paper changed? Did I still love it?

No fear! It is definitely the same lovely paper I remember. There are improvements in printing the grid lines over the past 18 years, the line is sharper and I think very slightly finer. The ink is still the same beautiful violet blue line that I find very refreshing on the eye.

I didn’t spend much time testing this paper as I know it and quickly reaffirmed my love of it. Something I had never done before was to test it with various pens. While I haven’t performed an extensive test, I was delighted to find how it behaved with fountain pens and super fine pens, I spent most of my time writing in pencil for my maths class. As I had no fear and wanted to fully test the sheet, I even took a Sharpie to it. I love the smoothness and I love this paper. I think that after I work through my waiting lineup of notebooks I will return to this favourite for my daily work logs.


Now 3×5 index cards are something I have an inexplicable love affair with. Maybe it comes back to my wanting library check out cards in the back of all my books when I was seven, I don’t know. This is the size I like for a wide variety of things and almost always have several near at hand. A few years ago the 99¢ store had a bunch of cards in stock and they were different from what I could normally find at that price. The ruling is portrait, they’re a decent stock, and they were 2 for 99¢ so of course I stocked up. I love grid paper even more, though haven’t found a grid-card I like. The grid ones I have are only printed on one side and the card stock is rough, encourages bleed through, and definitely cannot stand up to a day of abuse. These index cards are now my new favourites. Though it will be quite some time before I can justify buying new cards!

What’s delightful about these? They have the same happy grid on both sides as my favorite notebook and can take any writing instrument I grabbed (including a big ol’ sharpie), without bleeding through. The paper is smooth and can stand up to some time in my back pocket. While they’re a bit fancy for my meal planning and grocery list, I would be delighted to use them for daily planning cards.

Thank you Exaclair for offering this #rhodiapaperproject!