Snap Judgments: Miquelrius Mini Notepads

Now here’s something I didn’t know I needed until I received one in an iPenBox Subscription Box. I’ve received two of these Miquelrius Mini Notepads — one blank, the other graph ruled — and I’ve had them long enough to share what I think of them.

Miquelrius is a Spanish stationery company that I was unfamiliar with until now. These Mini Notepads are a collaboration with Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, a Spanish fashion designer. Each notepad measures 2.7in x 4.3in (7cm x 11cm).

The covers certainly are colorful.

While not my aesthetic cup of tea, the covers are so bright they’re easy to find on my desk or in my messenger bag.

The front cover is made of cardstock. The back cover is even thicker, almost as thick as chipboard without actually being chipboard. The back is plenty sturdy enough to support the pages of the pad when holding it in your hand, so these notepads are well-suited for taking notes on the go.

There’s an elastic band on the back cover for holding the notepad closed. The band is attached to the cover with grommets. In a very nice touch, the notepad comes with a loose sheet of paper sandwiched between the last page and the back cover, to keep the grommets from marring the back pages. This is the kind of attention to detail I like very much.

The outsides of these notepads are very pretty, but we all know it’s what’s on the inside that really counts to us fountain pen aficionados. I’m happy to report that the paper inside is fountain pen friendly indeed.

Each Mini Notepad contains 90 sheets of 70gsm paper that’s glue bound to the outer cover. The glue binding is nice and secure, but individual pages are easily and cleanly removed with a strong pull.

These notepads are available in blank and 5mm graph versions.

I tested the paper with the fountain pen and ink combinations I use the most, along with a few other kinds of pens for variety’s sake. I’m not a pencil user so I can’t comment on this paper’s performance with graphite.

The paper is not as smooth as Clairefontaine or Tomoe River, but it’s pleasant to write on and doesn’t feel cheap. I’d say its tooth is comparable to HP LaserJet paper.

There was no feathering with fountain pen ink except for a tiny bit of spiderwebbing when using Pilot Blue Black. (This was a surprise, since Pilot Blue Black is a rockstar on nearly every paper.) Regardless, the feathering is so minimal you almost need a loupe to see it, and for an everyday note-jotting pad, it’s not enough to bother me, especially when other inks performed so flawlessly.



I saw a little bit of ghosting but no bleedthrough with fountain pen inks. Gel ink, the Retro 51 rollerball, and the Sharpies had some bleedthrough, with the Sharpies being the worst. No surprises there.

These Miquelrius Mini Notepads are well-made pads that look and feel like quality items while performing wonderfully with fountain pens. They’ve become my go-to notepads for quick notes and lists. At $2.49 per pad, they aren’t cheap, but the price is comparable with offerings from Apica and Mnemosyne. Perhaps the only downside is availability; I’ve only been able to find these for sale at iPenStore.com. I certainly hope they keep sending me more in future subscription boxes!

These notepads were sent to me in a subscription box that I paid for with my own funds. My opinions on this blog are always my own. Please see my review ethics statement for more details.

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Snap Judgments: Nock Co DotDash Note Cards

Sometimes, I like to dash off a quick note that doesn’t require a full sized greeting card or a sheet of paper. Often, I like to use a fountain pen when dashing said note. Mostly, I just want some fountain pen friendly index cards.

Enter the Nock Co DotDash Note Card.

After reading positive review after positive review on pen blogs far and wide, I summoned a few packs of the “Standard” and “Petite” cards to give them a try. Now I’m going to share my findings with you.

The Standard cards are the typical 3x5in index card size while the Petite cards are 2×3.5in business card size.

I like the size of the Petite cards more than I thought I would. They’re rather cute, and they’re perfect for short TO-DO and shopping lists.

Both varieties of cards are printed on both sides with Nock Co’s unique “DotDash” ruling pattern: an alternating series of dots and lines that form a 4.25mm grid. The Standard cards are available with the ruling printed in different colors (the ones I have are Dusty Blue) while the Petite cards are only available in Purple. Regardless of color, the grid lines are subdued and don’t overwhelm the writing being put on the card.

The paper is bright white 80lb cover stock. It’s smoother and heavier than cheap no-name index cards. That’s a good thing because these Nock Co cards cost quite a few pretty pennies.

According to Nock Co, “[T]hese note cards can handle almost any pen and ink you throw at it. Yes, even fountain pens.”

Let’s put that to the test.

I took a bunch of pens and wrote on a Nock Co card.

writing sample on Nock Co note card (original size)

Then I took the same pens and wrote on a cheap no-name index card.

writing sample on cheap no-name index card (original size)

Look closer.

Nock Co note card (original size)
cheap no-name index card (original size)

Look even closer.

Nock Co note card (original size)
cheap no-name index card (original size)

Writing on a cheap index card with a fountain pen is a tragic experience. You know it. I know it. The ink feathers like crazy. Nibs seem to catch. It’s enough to make the Lamy Vista throw up its tines and say, “Mein Gott!”

Unfortunately, I wasn’t much thrilled when using my fountain pens on the Nock Co cards either. While the nibs wrote smoothly, I saw a lot more feathering than I expected, and I just didn’t like the “feel” of my pens as I wrote on the cards.

Conventional wisdom holds that finer nibs lead to better results on uncooperative paper, but most of my pens are the Japanese kind of fine, and if I’m seeing feathering with those, then I wonder just how much fountain pen handling these Nock Co cards are really up for. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by Tomoe River and Traveler’s Notebook paper and my standards are impossibly high.

That being said, there was no show-through or bleed-through after my fountain pen test. And my trusty Pilot G2 and Uni-ball Signo gel pens write beautifully on these note cards. I also really dig the DotDash ruling — the 4.25mm grid is perfect for my writing style.

Here’s how the Nock Co Standard cards price out against some other brands of index cards.

The Nock Co cards cost nearly twice as much per card as the next most expensive brand, Exacompta. For that premium, you’ll get decent paper that’s mostly fountain pen friendly, a really nice set of grid markings, and a product that’s made in the USA. Whether that’s worth it will be up to you to decide.

Obviously, I did not conduct an exhaustive test of every pen/nib/ink/Nock card combination on Earth, but with the fountain pens and inks I use most often, the Nock Co cards fall short of my lofty standards.

These note cards were purchased with my own funds. My opinions on this blog are always my own. Please see my review ethics statement for more details.

Hidden In Plain Sight

Yesterday, I was wandering downtown when I stumbled across a bookbinding shop tucked partway down a side street. I had no idea this shop existed despite living here for over a decade. Clearly I need to explore more.

While the shop is focused on binding, repairs, and restorations, they had a tiny selection of handmade journals that included this adorable little gem. Look how it makes an A6 Hobonichi look big!

The notebook is covered in soft black leather, the kind of leather that makes you want to hold it in your hand because it feels so nice.

Check out the colors and pattern on the endpapers.

The binding is section sewn and the pages measure an enormous 2″ x 3″ (5.1cm x 7.6cm). The paper is fairly thick and has a little bit of tooth.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if the paper is fountain pen friendly. I haven’t done any test scribbling — this li’l book deserves to be used for something special!