I’ve been posting less frequently here lately, due to some time constraints, but I’m still always searching for interesting notebooks! If you are hungry for notebook eye candy in between blog posts, please make sure you also follow me on Pinterest. Lots of beautiful notebook pages and other good stuff.
… so little time! I’m way behind on my notebook reviews but here’s a sneak peek at some of what’s in the pipeline!
Dreamday Pattern Journals
Stillman & Birn Softcover Sketchbooks
(sold in Stop & Shop and Giant supermarkets)
(from Mexico, not sure if they are sold anywhere in the US right now but I got mine here)
Iconic Essay notebook
Black & Red A6 hardcover journal
Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on these soon! Stay tuned for reviews and some giveaways too!
More notebooks from chefs!
“Fine-art photographer Jeff Scott won the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award in the Photography category for Notes From a Kitchen: A Journey Inside Culinary Obsession….
The book doesn’t contain any recipes, but instead aims to reveal the creative process for some of the top, young chefs in America. Shot documentary-style, Scott’s photos show the chefs at work and away from the kitchen as well as their personal notebooks where menus are planned and recipes created.”
The books are available at Amazon.
Something new and different! Spotted at Kinokuniya bookstore in NYC:
I haven’t seen these for sale anywhere else, but they’re made by a UK company: Waverley Books. Two sizes are available. Here’s the full product description from their site:
The Waverley Scotland Tartan Cloth Commonplace Notebooks Anderson has 176 pages (left side blank, right side ruled), acid-free, threadsewn, 80 gsm cream shade pages, are bound in genuine Scottish tartan cloth over board, with round cornered cover and bookblock corners, stained edges and a matching elastic enclosure.
Each volume has a ribbon-marker and an expandable inner note holder made of cardboard and cloth, and removable booklet with background notes, with a Clan Map of Scotland, and with an individual bookmark, giving detail on the specific tartan used for the binding.
The tartan cloth is supplied by and produced with the authority of Kinloch Anderson Scotland, holders of Royal Warrants of Appointment as Tailors and Kiltmakers to HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales.
Trimmed page size: 90 × 140 mm
Hardback, 176 pp.
The pocket size notebooks are available on Amazon for $14.95.
Here’s another Kickstarter from the maker of the Penroll, which I reviewed a while back. The Flipclip also allows you to keep pens and pencils tidily attached to your notebook, in a clever hinged clip that opens so your notebook can still lie flat on a desk. Check it out soon, as the Kickstarter deadline for funding is Nov. 21, 2016.
You may remember Michael Bierut’s stack of composition books that he’s used for many years– one of my favorite notebook stories ever.
Now, Aron Fay, a colleague of Bierut’s at Pentagram, has a Kickstarter project going for an upscale, redesigned version of the composition book, using higher end materials and construction. While part of me thinks the original composition book is a classic that shouldn’t be messed with, I have to say “comp” sounds really nice! Lined and unlined versions will be available, with 120 gsm paper.
Check out the Kickstarter page here. It’s worth it just for the gallery of composition books throughout history!
One of my other obsessions besides notebooks is art supplies. I have way too many, and I don’t use them as often as I should, but I still treat myself to new ones once in a while. And I have to say, my latest purchase is a perfect notebook companion!
I’d seen this particular Winsor & Newton watercolor box before, but kept thinking I didn’t need it– and I really don’t need it. I already have 3 other Winsor & Newton travel-size watercolor kits (including ones similar to this and this), plus another small box that I filled myself with empty pans and loaded with gouache. (That actually didn’t work out all that well, gouache works better out of the tube.) I also prefer metal paint boxes to plastic ones, as they seem more durable.
This new set has their Cotman colors, which are considered student grade, so somewhat lesser quality than the set of artist-grade Winsor & Newton paints I treated myself to a couple of years ago (the black tin seen in the photo above, and opened in the photos below. I don’t think it’s available any more, but Schmincke has a very similar set in a metal box, as does Sennelier.). But it has whole pans, which is very rare for these little sets, and it has slightly different colors than some of my other sets. When it popped up as being a pretty low price on Amazon one day (under $25, which it still is as of this writing), I decided to just go for it. What can I say, I’m weak.
The nice thing is that I can swap out the full size pans for half-pans if I want to fit in twice as many colors. (Even though I usually think less is more when it comes to paints– something like this would be total overkill, in my opinion.)
A new book called The Revenge of Analog has a more detailed version of the Moleskine origin story with a twist I’d never heard before:
During the summer of 1995, [Moleskine’s now-VP of Brand Equity and Communications Maria] Sebregondi was sailing off the coast of Tunisia on the yacht of her friend Fabio Rosciglione. He consulted with the distribution company Modo & Modo, owned by another friend, Francesco Franceschi, which distributed design items and T-shirts around Italy. One night over dinner, under a sky bursting with stars, Franceschi started to talk about what kind of products Modo & Modo could manufacture on its own, rather than importing the designs of others.
The conversation shifted to a question about who would buy those goods, and then to the changing nature of the world, which had just emerged from the Cold War into the heady dawn of globalization. International travel was not only less restricted but more accessible, thanks to low-cost airlines. Technology, including inexpensive cellular phones, websites and email, allowed independent thinkers to become entrepreneurs and pursue their dreams unbound by geography. Speaking late into the night, the three realized that a new global creative class was emerging, driven by curiosity and passion. Sebregondi proposed that Modo & Modo create a toolkit for this individual, whom she labelled a “Contemporary Nomad.”
Back in Italy, Sebregondi thought about what this nomad’s kit would hold. There would be a great bag, a versatile T-shirt, the perfect pen and maybe a utility knife. At the time, she was reading the book The Songlines by British travel writer Bruce Chatwin, an embodiment of her prototypical consumer. In one of the book’s essays, Chatwin wrote about his preferred notebooks, which he bought in a particular stationery shop in Paris. “In France, these notebooks are known as carnets moleskines,” Chatwin wrote, “‘moleskine,’ in this case, being its black oilcloth binding.” The last time he returned to Paris, Chatwin discovered, to his great horror, that the family firm in Tours that had made his beloved notebooks was now out of business and the carnets moleskines were no more.
Any version of this story always went straight to the notebook– I don’t remember ever hearing about this nomad kit full of other stuff, in which the notebook would just be one item among many. But of course that works well with Moleskine’s more recent expansion into making pens, bags, wallets and smartphone cases, etc. I’m sure T-shirts and knives are next!
Read more at Take note — how Moleskine succeeded in a digital age and buy the book: