They may not quite make you want to “toss your Moleskine,” as the author of the original post says, but they will certainly make nice additions to your collection!
This week’s addict is @tummyy, who posted this image on Twitter with the comment “My collection of small notebooks is beginning to get out of hand??”
I don’t think it’s all that bad just yet, do you? I hope she collects more! I’m pretty sure I spy Moleskine, Muji, and Pen & Ink brand notebooks. Not sure about the others.
See original post on Twitter.
Here’s another interesting notebook that was born out of a Kickstarter campaign. I like the simple, rugged leather covers and the ability to replace the paper inside, though I’m not sure I’d like the way the pad inside is bound, as it doesn’t seem like it would open flat.
I’ve had my eye on Stamford notebooks for a while– in fact, probably since they first started producing them in October 2013! In following their brand on Facebook, I was always impressed at the huge variety of colors and materials offered for their covers, and the fact that they are made in the UK. It was great to get some samples to review– let’s take a look!
I received two pocket size notebooks, one in a blue lizard-embossed glossy paper cover, and one in tan linen cloth. They come nicely packaged in a paper sleeve that completely protects the notebook.
They have the usual paper band with the Stamford branding. Inside, there is also a removable card with a greeting from the company and their contact information. I was surprised that neither the band nor the card had specs such as the page count, size, and paper weight used in the notebook, as is typical with many other brands.
The usual ribbon marker and elastic closure are included, but there is no pocket in the back. The inside front cover has some brand info, but other than that the endpapers are just a plain grey. Compared to a pocket size Moleskine, the Stamford notebook is very slightly larger due to the cover overhang, but the page size is somewhat smaller. It’s also a bit thicker, with a bit of room in the binding at the spine. If I am counting correctly, the notebook has 176 pages– 11 signatures of 16 pages each. The notebook opens pretty flat, but there is a bit more glue in the spine so it feels a bit stiffer when you first bend it open.
The paper inside feels wonderfully smooth and creamy from the moment you first touch it– it reminded me of Clairefontaine paper in its cool, sleek feel. In my pen tests, it was lovely to write on, with average show-through, and better than average bleed-through. Fountain pens worked nicely, though drying time is a bit long, and the J. Herbin ink in my Lamy pen seemed to feather a wee bit. The Pilot Varsity fountain pen was flawless.
Stamford says their notebooks are hand-bound using traditional bookbinding methods (photos and videos of which they sometimes share via social media– pretty cool!), and they do seem to be made with above-average quality and good materials. The samples I received did have some slight imperfections, like the overhang being slightly wider on one side of the cover than the other, but the round corners were neatly tucked, which I always see as a sign of good workmanship. I really love the linen covered sample I received– it’s a cover material that I wish more people would use! (The only other examples of it I can think of are HandBook’s watercolor journals.)
My only problem with these notebooks is that I don’t like the wide cover overhang. But for those who aren’t bothered by that, these notebooks will be a treat. They can be ordered in so many colors and materials and sizes, with either ruled or plain paper. They even offer personalized embossing of your initials for £5 extra. The pocket size starts at £14.95 for most cover materials except for leather, which starts at a few pounds more. That pricing is comparable to many other brands– a bit more than Moleskines usually go for, though I’ve seen them for that much in airport shops. Given that Stamford notebooks are manufactured in the UK with good quality materials, I don’t think they are overpriced. Currently they are only available in UK shops and Stamford’s online store. Toronto, Tokyo and Paris shops are also soon to be added to the list, and I hope they’ll expand their distribution to the US!
In the meantime, I’ve got a lovely blue lizard notebook to give away to a lucky reader! The winner will be chosen randomly from entries received in these ways:
On your blog, post something containing the words “Stamford Notebooks” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.
The deadline for entry is Friday March 6, 2015 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.
What do you think of this new line of journals from Moleskine? The Chapters journals have a new binding style, section dividers that break each notebook into numbered chapters, and new sizes in a slimmer proportion than other Moleskine notebooks.
“Divided into chapters, the journals keep your daily lists, notes and ideas organized in style. Choose a size with different page layouts – ruled or dotted, detachable pages and checklists to keep track of your various tasks. The rich textured cover, available in 4 different colors and slim new size will fit perfectly in your hand, flexing to its curve. Tuck it into your pocket and whip it out as soon as that train of thought comes rushing in.”
I recently went to Book People, a great independent bookstore in Austin, Texas. They have a huge selection of gift items and stationery, including lots of notebooks from Moleskine, Leuchtturm, Miquelrius, Michael Roger, HandBook, Paperblanks, Rhodia, Field Notes and many more.
Here’s what I had to snag for myself, as I’d never seen these in a store before:
It’s not the most practical notebook, but I loved the design! A variety of map designs were available. Some were only on the front cover, but others had maps both front and back. The edges of the paper are rough-torn and seem like they’ve been dipped in something to artificially age them. The overall effect is quite attractive, though I’m a little worried that the binding won’t be very durable. There is no branding anywhere on the notebook, so I have no idea who makes them. BookPeople’s price label says “Worldbuyers Blank Books” but a Google search hasn’t turned anything up.
The other new discovery for me was some Field Notes-like 3-packs of notebooks in themes for Grumps and Introverts. A fun gift item for sure! They’re made by Archie McPhee.
“Some children shun their family business or become reluctant successors.
Not Ms Winnie Chan. In fact, her childhood dream was to join her family’s bookbinding business, Grandluxe.
“Growing up, my ambition was to be my dad’s secretary,” Ms Chan, who is in her 40s, tells SundayLife! with a laugh. Her father, Mr Percy Chan, 68, is chairman of Grandluxe.
Her dream even had an impact on her education. Her computing science project for the A levels was based on a study of Grandluxe’s payroll system and she opted to read economics at the University of California as it seemed most practical for when she returned to the company.
Her elder sister is a piano teacher and is not involved in the business.
Grandluxe is a traditional bookbinding business started in 1945 by her grandfather in a small shophouse at Mohamed Sultan Road.
Over the past 70 years, the business has grown from a tiny outfit producing hand- sewn paper stationery to a company that has five brands under its belt and manufactures paper and leather goods for companies in more than 30 countries worldwide.
Still, despite her bushy-tailed enthusiasm, the journey to become general manager was not a bed of roses for Ms Chan, who joined as a sales executive in 1994….”
Catching up on some old links I’ve saved, here’s a nice wrap-up of some books featuring the pages of artists’, designers’, and scientists’ notebooks, including the one below from Field Notes on Science & Nature:
“A typical notebook page detailing the thoughts and events of a day doing fieldwork at Olorgesailie, Kenya, with a personal note near the end of the page about the joy of being alone with rocks.” — Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Paleontologist, in the essay “Linking Researchers Across Generations”
This week’s addict emailed me some photos and the following story:
“I’ve loved notebooks since I was a little kid. But this year things got crazy with the super cheap back to school sales at Staples, Walmart, and the dollar stores. Even though a single notebook was as cheap as $0.50, I ended up spending around $80 to fill up the spare room in my cubicle at work with single subject and composition books. When I ran out of space the impulse thankfully melted away, and now I’m happily imagining all the wonderful things I’m going to use my (probably lifetime supply) of writing materials. I just filled one single subject book up this week, and opened another. The sheer volume of materials that I have motivate me to use them for jotting down stories, solving math problems, taking school notes, lists, work notes, and preparing for when the baby comes. Attached are pictures of my stash. I don’t know exactly how many I have unused, probably 160! O_o”
I love notebook collections with variety, but I think I love it even more when I see a collection that single-minded focuses on hoarding a favorite style of notebook, and this is sure one of those! Thanks for sharing your addiction, Bubba!