Notebook Addict of the Week: Julia

This week’s addict likes notebooks so much, she started her own blog to celebrate them! It’s called For the Love of Notebooks. She writes:

What is really the appeal with a notebook?
For me, I think it’s about a deep desire to fill those pages with words and (preferably) grand thoughts and ideas.
And of course… The sound. That sound thin paper makes when you have written on them, especially with a ballpoint pen, and flip through them. It is the sound of accomplishment I guess, that you have managed to fill those pages with something. I prefer thin paper because of that beautiful sound. I don’t mind show-through at all.

There’s just so many possibilities when you pick up a new notebook. What will happen in this journal? What will I write about here? Currently I have a journal and seven other notebooks that I use for different purposes. It’s also satisfying to see a stack of filled notebooks, not just because of the accomplishment you have done, but also the memories and feelings attached to each of the books.


Here’s a few from her collection:

You can see lots more in her posts My Journals and Currently Using, among others.
Thanks for sharing your addiction, Julia!

Dan Eldon’s Journals

The beautiful notebooks above only hint at the amazing work inside them… but they also come with a sad story. Dan Eldon was a young photojournalist who was killed by an angry mob in Somalia in 1993, along with 3 of his colleagues.

“Dan left behind seventeen bound leather journals filled with drawings, writings and photographs which constructed vivid collages of the world he saw. These journals chronicle a child’s journey into manhood, visual editorials on society, and homages to strangers and loved ones. Dan’s images represent his enduring belief that every individual has a creative spark within that can transform their environment for the better. “

These are a few of the interior pages:

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Over 200 pages from Dan’s journals are featured in this book: The Journey is the Destination: The Journals of Dan Eldon.

You can also see more at Dan Eldon » Select Journal Pages. The website is a beautiful tribute to an amazingly talented and brave young man who died far too young.

A Subject for a Notebook: Birthing Class!

One of my old posts that gets the most responses is 10 Uses for Spare Notebooks. I’m not sure why, but I guess a lot of people struggle to come up with ideas for what to write in notebooks, to the point that they actually search online for solutions to this problem and end up at my website. But there are a lot of other people out there who have no problem coming up with new and interesting things to write about in notebooks, sometimes devoting a single notebook to a very specific subject or project.
Here’s one such use– Austin Kleon’s birthing class notebook:

“I was cleaning my office and found the notebook I kept when my wife and I went to birthing classes. It’s one of those notebooks that puts me right back in the room where I filled it. (BTW: You forget 99.9% of this stuff when you’re in the room.)”





Read more at Birthing class notebook. I actually think this is a great idea for a notebook, as any documentation of a child’s birth and development is fun for the child to see later, and this looks like a great combination of scrapbook and sketch-noting.

How about you? What’s the oddest or most specific single subject you’ve ever devoted a notebook to?

Notebook Addict of the Week: The Knitorialist

I stumbled across this wonderful collection while searching for info about Edward Weston’s daybooks. I never did find a photo of those, but I’m so glad I found the Knitorialist! She says:

I started [keeping diaries] at 40. Whatever diaries I kept before that time were regularly disposed of, thinking they contained secret thoughts I didn’t want anyone else to know. I realize now there were no real secrets in those books, just private thoughts that in retrospect weren’t of interest to anyone but me. My books are divided into three categories: early spiral bound notebooks with masked versions of the truth, current journals with stark truths, and so-called “workbooks” which contain fodder and junk and can occasionally be mined for a nugget or two. Whatever. There are a lot of notebooks.

I love notebook collections with lots of variety, but pictures like these appeal to me even more. Years and years of consistency, all lined up. And from what’s she’s written above, there must be quite a few more where these came from!

Read more at The Knitorialist: burning desire.

Notebooks Spottings

Here’s a few notebooks spotted in assorted advertisements and articles:

From the New York Times obituary of theater critic Stanley Kauffman:



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From the Wall Street Journal magazine, designer Marc Newson’s sketchbooks, among other favorite things.

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Also from the Wall Street Journal magazine, a Moleskine seems to be a favorite tool of Nike executive Mark Parker:notebooks spotted1notebooks spotted2

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From a New Yorker article by Ken Auletta, about the editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger:notebooks spotted..1



From the “Work Diary” of retail consultant Stefani Greenfield, in Bazaar:

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This one’s from the New York Times magazine, a notebook in a Tumi ad:notebooks spotted7

Review: Paperblanks Notebook

A commenter recently asked why I don’t talk more about Paperblanks notebooks on this site:

I love your reviews! I’m curious about something. The few times “Paper blanks” notebooks are mentioned by other contributors or commenters on your site they have nothing but praise and great things to say. But what I’d really like to know is what you think of them. Is there a reason why you never review them? I’d like to know if they’re too over-rated by all the other people who mention them.

I haven’t been avoiding reviewing Paperblanks for any particular reason. The company has never contacted me or sent samples, and though I’ve admired some of their notebooks in stores, I haven’t been inclined to buy them because the ones I’ve seen almost always have lined pages rather than the squared or blank ones I prefer. And some of their cover designs, while attractive, are just not the look I prefer for my own notebooks. But not long ago, I did find this particular Paperblanks notebook which appealed to me enough to buy it.

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It’s from a collection called “Old Leather,” and I love the way it mimics a nicely distressed leather, perhaps an old suitcase with reinforced corners. The outside is totally smooth, but there is a slight debossing of the corner stitching detail. The cover is quite thin and slightly flexible, without too much of an overhang. The corners are rounded to a slightly larger diameter than the pocket size Moleskine shown below for comparison.

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The endpapers inside are a slightly metallic bronze color. There is info about the notebook on the inside back cover, but other than that, and a small logo in the inside front cover, the notebook is free of branding once you remove the sticker on the outside. It comes off easily without leaving any residue. Given the nice brown leather color scheme, I was surprised they put a red ribbon market and black elastic closure on this notebook. I would have kept it all brown to blend in. But here’s a neat touch– the elastic closure is attached underneath the back pocket, so it doesn’t show at all on the back cover. I wish more notebook brands would imitate this feature, as I often leave my elastics tucked out of the way around the back cover anyway.

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The notebook has a slightly rounded spine, and opens quite flat. The creamy white paper within has a slight pattern on it– not really a texture, more like a watermark. The paper is very smooth and feels great with fine gel ink pens. It performed quite well with all my other pens too, including fountain pens. (The ink cartridge that came with my Lamy Safari ran out just as I tried to test it, so I switched to a refillable cartridge containing a J. Herbin ink for the first time.) The paper feels quite thin and fine, so I was surprised when I flipped the page over– showthrough is about average, which was better than I expected, and it’s actually quite good on bleed-through.

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I paid $11.95 for this notebook, and I am very pleased with it, as the quality, value and features add up to a great package. It definitely goes in the “use someday” pile. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this style is part of the current Paperblanks line-up, but they do have some other designs that are the same size and unlined that I’ll be keeping an eye out for.

A Notebook for Veterans Day

With thanks to those who have served in our armed forces…

(I’ve lost track of where I found this photo– if anyone knows who it should be credited to, let me know!)

Notebook Addict of the Week: Claudia Rohling

This week’s addict is an illustrator whose biography reveals this intriguing detail:

“My father ran an office supply and printing company. The endless possibilities of pens, papers, paints and inks captivated my imagination for as long as I can remember.”

When asked to post a few random things about herself on her blog, #4 was this:
“I save all my old sketchbooks. ”


I’ll be there are even more where those came from!

Read more at Rohling Studios: May 2007.

Grant Wood’s Long-Lost Sketchbook

This is the only sketchbook known to have belonged to Grant Wood, the artist best known for his painting “American Gothic.” It dates back to 1929. It was supposed to have been auctioned last summer and was expected to go for $40,000-$60,000. The auction was canceled when a museum in Davenport, Iowa said the sketchbook had been stolen from their collection 47 years ago.


Read more:
Grant Wood’s Sketchbook to be Offered at Auction – Artwire Press Release from

Paperiaarre Gilt Notebooks

Beautifully bound journals with metallic gold decoration on cloth covers– these seem a bit glam yet very simple at the same time. Handcrafted by Paperiaarre in Finland.

Via Minimalist Gilt Notebooks @ Lushlee.

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