Tlacuache Notebooks in the Making

Tlacuache Notebooks are made in Mexico. On their Facebook page, they recently shared some photos of work in progress– pretty cool!

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And here’s some of the finished products:

I may need to take a trip to Mexico to check these out!

See more at Tlacuache Notebooks..

Moleskine Monday: A Dissection

Have you ever wondered what might happen if you tried to take apart a Moleskine? I have… and recently, I actually tried it!

I had just started using a recently purchased Moleskine. As with most of the Moleskines I’ve been seeing in stores recently, I was annoyed that this notebook had a larger than usual cover overhang, but I didn’t notice in the store that the overhang was actually asymmetrical. The front cover seemed to have been pulled further around the spine than the back cover, so the front cover overhang was larger, and the spine was not quite square. The binding seemed a bit tight in general, and the notebook didn’t open quite as flat as usual. Below are a couple of “before” photos:

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I know most people wouldn’t find these defects to be glaringly obvious, but they were grating on me more and more, and I actually wrote to Moleskine’s customer service about it (no response yet). The more I looked at the notebook, I wondered if I might be able to solve the problem by detaching the black outside cover from the inside front cover and re-gluing it. I picked at the inside front cover edges but they seemed very securely glued down. I thought about alternative ways of re-attaching the front cover– I’ve seen tutorials online where people slice the stiffer pages off of the inner page signatures in order to reload the notebook with different paper, but cutting the pages away from the inside cover wouldn’t have solved my problem, as I needed to reposition the inside cover itself. I also thought about cutting apart the inside cover, but worried it might sever the reinforcing tape that holds everything together, and weaken the whole binding. Glueing the two halves of the inside cover to each other might have helped, but then the notebook would open straight into the pages I’d already started writing on. I was pretty sure loosening the inside cover from the outer board was still the best option, if only I could figure out how to do it.  Knowing that some glues can be loosened by heat, I decided to try blasting the notebook with a hair dryer for a while to see if that would soften the glue– and it actually worked! At least, sort of.

As you’ll see from the photos, I was able to successfully loosen most of the cover, but there were places where the glue was tight enough that the inside cover started to tear. Though I worked at it slowly and carefully with repeated use of the hair dryer, by the time I’d detached the front cover, I couldn’t avoid a big gash in the inside front cover where I just couldn’t get it loose.

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At this point I was not too happy, as the inside front cover was all mangled and wrinkled and torn. But I was rather impressed at the resilience of the way the notebook was constructed! The next step was to re-glue the cover, repositioned so as to slightly loosen the spine and correct the uneven overhang. I spread wood glue, which was all I had, on the back of the inside cover, trying to avoid the hole. I was worried I’d end up having glue leak out and seal the whole inside front cover together, so I put some post-it notes in between and tried to make sure the glue was spread thinly and evenly. Then I carefully closed the cover, making sure everything was lined up right, and rubbed it to even out the glue and smooth any wrinkles. I wiped away any glue that came out at the edges. Then I left the notebook under some heavy books for about an hour, checking it a few times to make sure nothing was glued shut.

The result was better than expected– the cover is again attached securely and the mangled insides are pretty smoothed out. I tend to keep post-its in the inside front cover anyway, and they nicely camouflaged the mess I’d made. I may have slightly over-compensated on the cover positioning, as the overhang is now slightly less than it is on the back cover, but it’s more symmetrical than it was before, and overall, I am happy with the way I solved the problem. The notebook doesn’t seem weakened at all, and it opens flat, with the normal amount of give in the spine. If not for the tears, you’d never know anything had been done to it.

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Unfortunately, I forgot to document the whole process with pictures and only remembered to grab my phone for some panicked shots after I’d already started to apply the glue! I was reminded of similar notebook-doctoring I’d done as a kid– I’d get obsessed with changing something about a notebook, then start working on it and realize I’d made a mistake. Then I’d have a horrible, anxious feeling of dismay because I’d destroyed an adored notebook instead of leaving well enough alone. And back then, it might be a few weeks before I could save up my allowance and buy another notebook. This time, I had the same feelings of stress while doing the surgery, unsure of whether the patient would make it through, though I at least knew I had plenty of other notebooks and enough money to buy more. It was a relief that it all turned out okay, though. Dissecting a Moleskine was an interesting experience, but I hope not to have to repeat it!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Anke

This week’s addict is from Holland, and sent this picture of her collection, or rather, part of it:


“I’ve been a fan of your site for a long time and for an equally long time I’ve been wanting to send you a picture of my own collection. What was holding me back was a sense of fear to admit to myself how big the collection actually is. And that with that realisation would come a resolution to stop buying new ones. But then I figured … we all need a hobby, right?
The ones in the picture are all new. I have another collection of used notebooks, but not quite as large as this one.”

Great collection! I spy Rhodia, TeNeues, Oxford, Cambridge, Clairefontaine, Cavallini, Rite in the Rain, Moleskine and others I can’t identify. Thanks for sharing your addiction, Anke, and I hope you’re still letting yourself buy new ones!

Kevin Barry on the Keeping of Notebooks

This is from my latest favorite essay about keeping a notebook, by Irish writer Kevin Barry, author of City of Bohane:

Stationery stores are for me places of huge erotic frisson. I traipse grubbily around the aisles in my long coat and when I think nobody is looking, I have a surreptitious little sniff at a notebook. Touch and feel are important, yes, as is the grain of the paper and the ease with which the cover folds back to allow my scribbling, but smell is the clincher. I have more than once been caught in the act of determining, with practiced nostrils, a notebook’s aroma. I’ve found the best response, when caught, is to hold eye contact with my accuser, square my shoulders, and proceed proudly to the tills—because I am what I am.

And also, in fairness, if you sniff it, you own it.

Read more at Kevin Barry on the Keeping of Notebooks | Graywolf Press.

Artists’ Sketchbooks Online

This is my latest favorite website. If you click through, beware! You could easily lose hours and days browsing all the links here:

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Famous artists, not-famous artists, just tons of links to sketchbooks! What a great resource. See much, much more at LINKS to ARTISTS’ SKETCHBOOKS ONLINE.

Field Book to Sketchbook

Some cool usage of an engineer’s field book by artist Kim Zoph:


Kim’s comments on using it:

“The journal has a hard, bright yellow cover, which seems like it would withstand variations in the weather quite well. Indeed, it’s advertised as weatherproof and highly durable. The book has 80 pages, with paper of 50% cotton rag content. The white stock is gridded with thin blue and red lines.

I love the way the paper takes watercolor washes. It’s more firm, and the finish considerably more accepting than Moleskine paper, which is what I normally use for my quick sketches.

Although the Sokkia paper ripples a little, the wonderful crackling sound the pages make when you turn them more than compensates for the ripple effect.”


See more at Sokkia Engineer’s Field Book as a Sketchbook | Kim Zoph.

Moleskine Monday: New Passions Journal

Moleskine has really been expanding their range of themed “Passions” journals, each designed to help users keep track of various interests such as Restaurants, Books, Home Life, Cats, Beer, Chocolate, Coffee, Gardening, Wellness, and more. Now they are introducing the most passionate Passions volume yet: The Moleskine Passions Sex Journal!

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This is a family-friendly site so I can’t show a photo of the embossed cover illustrating various kama sutra positions, but I’m sure you get the idea.

Like other notebooks in the Passions series, the Sex Journal is divided into sections with helpful page templates. There’s one where you can dedicate a page spread to each of your sexual partners: a body outline can be marked or labeled with the included stickers to note piercings, tattoos, blemishes, and other physical details. There’s a section for phone numbers and contact details, dates of each encounter, as well as space to record each partner’s preferences, contraception used, lingerie or other fetish garments worn, number of orgasms, etc.

Additional sections cover the sexual aspects of culture: there are pages to note inspiring sex scenes in books and movies, and preferred musical playlists for seduction. There’s also space to record restaurants and bars that are good pick up spots, and log-in information for online dating sites. There’s a glossary of sexual slang in various languages, helpful for the pursuit of nomadic nookie. And of course there’s the expandable back pocket where you can tuck a condom.

As the Moleskine Passions web page states, “Moleskine aficionados are naturally inclined to live fully, enjoying pursuits fueled by curiosity and verve.” If the pursuit of potential partners doesn’t meet that description, I don’t know what does! I mean, let’s face it– Picasso and Hemingway and Chatwin weren’t just icons for their artistic and literary output, and it’s about time Moleskine released a product that gets at the REAL reason people are sitting in cafes trying to emulate them. Whether it’s a bedroom companion or tossed in your bag for globe-trotting booty calls, this Moleskine really is the ultimate little black book.

(See here for the perfect companion product.)


:) Happy April Fool’s Day!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Evan

Evan emailed me to fess up about his addiction:

I’m a notebook addict in the worst way-For the past few Christmases I’ve asked for journals for Christmas and received them, hopefully ensuring I won’t run out for awhile. I write everyday, mostly journal entries, but also notes, ideas, story outlines. I’ve found that actually writing them down, rather than typing in a computer, secures the thought, makes it more permanent (As well as the vague hope that one day I will be considered important enough for people to actually care what I’d thought).
My collection can be seen in the attached photo: The first two are my old journals in chronological order, with #19 being completed, while the much shorter stack is what I have awaiting me, with #20, currently active, on top. I love the sight of an unwritten in journal, it simply brims with possibility.
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Also, I have a pair of things that may interest you. The first is a website, the Diary Junction ( It’s an excellent resource for exploring old journals and diaries, and I’ve found it quite interesting. Second is a project called 1000 Journals, started a few years ago (I’m not sure if it is still ongoing). Here’s the site link:

I love it when people share their addiction with not only photos and commentary, but helpful suggestions of further ways to feed everyone else’s addiction! Thanks Evan!

Tintin’s Notebook

A while back, I posted about some notebooks that appear in the Tintin books. I also just caught a glimpse of one during the first few minutes of the Tintin movie! I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, and I’m hoping more notebooks will make an appearance. This one looks like a Moleskine reporter notebook.

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See this recent post for more reader suggestions about notebooks in movies.

Fifty Shades of Grey Writer’s Journal

Here’s one notebook I don’t think I need to own, a writer’s journal tie-in to the bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey books by E. L. James:

Fifty Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess: A Journal” is to be published May 1 and is a writer’s journal, seeded with quotes and inspiration from James’ trilogy. Some of the pages are salacious red.

Fifty Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess: A Journal” includes a foreword penned by James, excerpts from her novels, her writing playlist and illustrations.

Via E.L. James’ ‘Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess’: A writer’s journal –

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