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So I was in Staples the other day and found a huge display of Arc customizable notebooks. Check out the US webpage; they have a much better web ad than the Canadian Staples site.

I was intrigued by the colors and quality of the notebooks. And I was blown away by the price: the most expensive is $21.99 Cdn, an 8.5 x 11″ leather notebook. The system works on a disc system, much like Circa by Levenger, but at a lower price point.

I chose a blue leather notebook, sized 5.5 x 8.5, known as the “Junior” size.

blue arc notebook

Each notebook comes with 60 sheets of ruled paper. The Junior size notebooks are $14.99.

2first page

I think the Canadian stock must be from the same source as the US because the insert advertises Calendar, To Do and Project Planning pages which are not available in Canada. At least not yet. And the UK page is a real treat; they have a lot of different items from the US stock. Check out this brown woven fabric notebook; I love it! I guess I have to find a UK friend who is willing to purchase it for me; I spoke to Staples Canada customer service and there is no way I can order from the UK site to a Canadian address. 😦

3last page pen loop

Here we have the back of the notebook with a pen loop. The loop is leather not elastic.

4back cover

The back of the notebook.

5staples arc notebook haul

All the supplies I bought with my notebook. This is the really great thing about this system – all the accessories are inexpensive. I think everything in the picture cost less than $30 (and the notebook was half of that so there you go). See the complete Canadian range here.

6dividers and pockets

Starting from the top left I bought a package of poly zip pockets. There are two per package. Great ziploc kind of pouch for carrying stuff in your notebook. Next on the top right is a package of poly tab dividers. There are 5 in each package, in bright colours. You can also buy these in all black. And finally a package of poly pocket dividers, which also come in a pack of two. The super neat thing about these pocket dividers is they have pockets on both sides, so you get two pockets for each divider. First time I have seen a pocket insert like this.

7large disks

This is a set of expansion discs or rings, in the 1.5 inch size (the notebook came with 1 inch discs). I thought this would be perfect to hold my extra supplies, and it works perfectly. These are just under $2 each so you can make your own notebooks/journals very easily.

8paper

On the left is a package of ruled graph paper, and narrow ruled lined paper on the right.

9task pads and flags

The tasks pads (shown above on the left) are neat in that they lie flat against your page but also have a lip at the top so you can easily flip to them when you open the notebook. I use them for To Do lists. And the page flags are great when you need a flag at your fingertips.

arc punch

But this clever machine makes the Arc system so fun and interesting to work with. This is a Desktop Punch, with an 8 sheet capacity, for making your own inserts for the Arc notebooks. The silver guides on the bottom allow you to choose the size of notebook you are punching for, and you simply slide your sheet in and press the handle down, much like any other hole punch. There is a drawer in the bottom that catches all the punched material. It is very easy to remove and empty.

I had an interesting experience with the punch. I didn’t buy it the same day as I bought all the other stuff pictured above, simply because I didn’t like the price in the store: $39.99. I thought that was too much for the ability to make my own inserts. But then I went home and looked at the range online. And the punch was advertised for $25. I phoned Staples customer service and they confirmed the price. So I ordered it online. I mentioned the discrepancy between the store and the online price, and the mistake was fixed a couple of weeks later. I am so happy with the punch, and even more so that I got it for such a great price!

arc closeup

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10stickers from michaels

I couldn’t resist showing you the stickers I bought at Michael’s (right next door to Staples) during the same shopping trip. I love anything by K&Company.

11tea stuff from michaels

I also love anything to do with tea and I struck gold this trip with tea items. Obviously Mary Engelbreit loves tea as much as I do!

But back to the Arc notebooks. If you are looking for an inexpensive notebook that is super customizable and usable look no further. And you can always drool on the Levenger site and purchase items that will fit your Arc discs.

The best blog I have found so far for all things Arc is http://arcit.blogspot.co.uk/. I found Amanda’s tips, tricks and round up of youtube videos invaluable to me as I was setting up my own
Arc. And her printouts are fantastic, especially for those inserts that are not available in Canada.

Now prepare to drool: http://www.levenger.com/ Wonderful site for notebooks but also any kind of leather good you can think of. I’m currently loving the Tahoe Circa Jacket which was also recently featured on arcit.blogspot.co.uk.

I will share photos of my Arc once it is put together. I thought this post was log enough already!