You'll have to pardon the cell phone photos...my camera wasn't available.
I believe I've previously mentioned my fondness for HP Premium Choice 32 lb. LaserJet paper (ain't that a mouthful?) for fountain pen use. It is lusciously silky smooth, but less slickery than some other nice papers. Inks spread a teensy bit more than they do on Clairefontaine, but I like the way inks look on this paper, and they dry within a reasonable time frame, too.
It's pricey stuff at about $18 a ream. Ouch! But awhile back, Office Depot had a seriously discounted special: eight dollars a ream. I snatched up two reams immediately, to add to the half a ream I still had on hand. That's a lot of paper. I use it mostly for general writing, letters (heavy though it is), and sometimes in my Circa / Staples Arc notebooks...though at this point I've come to use Circa most for temporary work notes, and for that, I prefer to use scrap paper...seems a shame to waste anything nicer. As for journals, I prefer more permanent binding solutions, but I have no bookbinding skills of my own.
So...I took two notebook-sized stacks of the paper (96 sheets each) to a local copy shop and had them coil bound. They aren't fancy, but I'm still quite pleased with the results.
From the research I did, the total cost for covers and binding is typically between $3.50 and $6.00 depending on where you go, with office supply stores being predictably more affordable than Kinko's. This makes these notebooks a far cry from 50 cent composition books. However, if I compare the total cost to something like Clairefontaine, they aren't too bad, *and* you get to pick your paper (cream or white or whatever, weight, texture) and your ruling, or lack thereof. This first batch of two notebooks is blank, but I may print lines or dot grids next time around. I've used this site in the past, and find it very useful. My normal handwriting is on the bold side, so I prefer something close to the wide ruling in comp books (slightly smaller is nice, but not much): the ruled versions of most Moleskine clones feel very cramped. Incompetech templates let you choose your exact druthers--very cool.
I've just started using the first journal. There are a few quirks: unlike many fancy hardbound journals, the corners aren't rounded off, and of course it doesn't have the same sleek feel in the hand. But oh, that paper is nice, and I like having letter size pages on which to stretch out.
The label on the front cover is just something I slapped on there primarily to give me a visual clue as to which way is up...the plain black cover didn't give any indication. But you could decorate as you saw fit. ;)
Just another option out there for us lovers of ink and paper things!