Notebook Addict of the Week: Krystina

This week’s addict was brought to my attention via an email from a reader named Reema. Krystina wrote about her life-long habit of journaling at her website, Baraka Birth.

“I’ve been keeping a journal since 1991, when at age nine I was a gap-toothed kid tearing up the playground in New Delhi, India. That first book, a black plastic bound lockable book (the key long since lost, the lockable bit cut off), took me all the way through 8th grade. It chronicled not only those years as a little kid (“Dear Diary, Today we got a puppy!”) but also my first period, my first love, my first experiences of isolation and loneliness in middle school, the dreams I had of boys and movie stars whom I’d rank with drawings of hearts and lips….”

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Read more, and see more photos, at My Life in Journals.

Midori Spiral Ring Notebooks

Midori’s Traveler’s Notebooks are so widely popular, they seem to be almost the only Midori products you ever hear about. But they also make this lovely line of spiral notebooks named after animals (and an insect). From the descriptions at the Miscellaneous online store:

Midori Spiral Ring Notebook is a series of notebooks with a beautiful kraft paper cover with the spiral “woven” into the kraft paper cover, available in five types: Camel, Polar Bear, Kangaroo, Bee and Elephant

The Elephant edition of Midori Spiral Ring Notebook has 20 thick grey carton sheets. Beautiful for scrapbooking your last trip, or just to write something down.

The Bee edition of Midori Spiral Ring Notebook has 12 kraft envelopes with window. Just as a bee collects nectar from flowers before they store it in their hive, you can now store all small items of rememberance in these envelopes.

The Kangaroo edition of Midori Spiral Ring Notebook has 32 sheets with “pouches”. These pockets will provide you with lots of room for “fast administration”; store your receipts month-by-month, the business cards of your favorites spots you collected during your last trip by city and/or neighborhood or simply just store small desktop items like paperclips/stamps/bands and other paraphernalia.

The Camel edition of Midori Spiral Ring Notebook has 80 kraft paper sheets. Beautiful for scrapbooking your last trip, or just to write something down.

The Polar Bear edition has 100 snowwhite sheets. White, crisp and fresh pages at your disposal to pen down your Nobel prize-winning thoughts, to do lists, or just some doodle drawing whilst chatting on VOIP.

Each design is available in these sizes:

A5 Spiral Ring Notebook measures 218 x 130mm
A6 Spiral Ring Notebook measures 154 x   95mm
B6 Spiral Ring Notebook measures 130 x 193mm
B7 Spiral Ring Notebook measures   90 x 130mm

You can buy some of the designs/sizes at Amazon.

Papercup Design Journals

I jotted this brand down after seeing one of their products somewhere– I don’t remember where or when, or what I saw, but their website offers some lovely letterpress journals in various designs:

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See more at Papercup Design.

Review and Giveaway: Penroll

I tend not to review very many notebook-related accessories on this site. There are various pen-holders and notebook covers on the market but I am not usually interested in them, as I like to keep my notebooks pretty simple and unencumbered. But when I first spotted the Penroll, I was immediately attracted to it and contacted the maker for a sample. What made this item change my mind about accessorizing a notebook? Let’s take a look.


The Penroll is part notebook cover, but mainly a holder for pens, pencils or brushes, and an eraser. It is made of sturdy stitched canvas, with small metal clips at the sides that clasp onto your notebook. The design is very simple and un-fussy, with just a subtle tag with the Penroll name on it, and it doesn’t interfere with or damage the notebook– you can still use the elastic closure and back pocket.


The Penroll is made in sizes to fit typical Moleskine formats– small and large, and the large even comes in a landscape format too. Because the portrait format Penrolls don’t cover the full height of the notebook, they’ll also adapt to the slightly taller Leuchtturm, or any other brand with a similar width and thickness. The colors and texture of the canvas also look nice with HandBook Artist Journals, though their slightly thicker size makes for a snugger fit.


The Penroll adds significant bulk to your notebook, especially when it’s full of pens, but I actually like the thick and chunky feel of the whole bundle. That said, for me, this won’t be a cover that I’ll keep on a notebook I’m carrying in my bag 100% of the time. I see it more as a ready-to-go art kit that you can keep stocked with a few favorite pens and brushes, and then snap onto your sketchbook when you’re heading out for a drawing session. I think the Penroll really shines as an urban sketching tool– you can hold your notebook and spare drawing instruments in one hand, so you can easily switch between pens without having to rummage in a separate pen case. It won’t prevent your notebook from opening flat while held in your hand, though it might be a little awkward if you’re setting it on a flat surface.

This red one is a keeper for me– I know it will come in handy for sketching on some of my travels. The Penroll is definitely worth checking out if like to keep a variety of pens with your notebook, and makes a great gift for anyone who likes sketching out in the field, urban or otherwise. You can buy Penroll at their online store here as well as at a few retailers in Europe.

I will be giving away the large landscape Penroll in black and the large portrait Penroll in blue. I’ll randomly select the two winners from entries received in any of these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Penroll” and “@NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page  and post something containing the words “Penroll” on the Notebook Stories wall.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Penroll” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday December 12, 2014 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.

Moleskine Monday: Emily Weiss

Emily Weiss, the founder of the beauty website Into the Gloss, counts Moleskines among her favorite things:

“My most treasured possessions are my Moleskine notebooks, which I have gravitated away from using at the moment. But when I founded Into the Gloss in 2010, I used them all the time to sketch the site’s layouts and sections. I love having those memories in these books.”


Emily Weiss of Into the Gloss on Her Cultural Touchstones

Read more at Emily Weiss of Into the Gloss on Her Cultural Touchstones.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Sarah W.

This week’s addict emailed me to say

“I felt the need to share my notebooks after I stumbled across your website. For months, I was looking for websites that were centered around journaling. I love knowing that Im not the only one with this addiction.
The first photo is all of my finished journals so far. I do them in numerical order, but sometimes I veer off the path and im totally okay with that. I’m not horribly picky about the types of journals I buy. I have basic spiral notebooks and even a custom made one that my boyfriend bought me. That one is so beautiful that I have a hard time writing in it.”




I love all the variety in this collection. I also love it when people submit photos of neatly stacked journals a couple feet high!

Thanks for sharing your addiction, Sarah!

Stocking Stuffer Drawing Books

Here’s something on my holiday wishlist: Peter Jenny’s Learning to See series. They’re lovely little pocket-sized books with exercises for those learning to draw, or re-learning, or looking for inspiration. The perfect companion to throw in your bag with a small sketchbook and pencil or pen, and list price is only $12 each.

Notebooks by Mazzottibooks

Mazzotibooks is a bookbinding and letterpress studio in London. They make some unusual notebooks with wooden covers and sewn tape bindings. I thought this one was particularly beautiful:

At £55.00, it’s also particularly expensive! But if you want something handmade and special, it might fit the bill.


See more at Notebooks – mazzottibooks.

In Search of Notebooks: Paris and Amsterdam

I recently took a trip to Paris and Amsterdam. Searching for notebooks wasn’t the sole purpose of the trip, of course, but I did a better job than usual of preparing for the journey with some research on places to buy notebooks.

In Amsterdam, I had less time to devote to stationery shopping, as I’d never been there before and wanted to see all the sights. But I did make a point of visiting P. K. Akkerman, a stationery and pen shop I first heard of via this blog post. The shop has since moved from the location described in that post, and I didn’t get to see the ladies with the precise manicures and hairdos, but there was quite a nice selection of notebooks, and an even better display of amazing high-end pens.

One of the other stationery shops I’d hoped to see in Amsterdam had also either moved or closed, so my other notebook spottings were all in newsstands or museum shops. At the Stedelijk museum, I saw a wonderful exhibition of the artist Marlene Dumas, and bought a lovely item that is part art book, part notebook, I guess– some of Dumas’ paintings are interspersed with blank pages in a small softcover booklet.

In Paris, I had more leads to follow and spent a good part of a day wandering around tracking them down. My favorite shop was Marie Tournelle, a small store that is just crammed with cute stationery and school supplies.

The museum shop at the Centre Pompidou also has an amazing papeterie section. I loved visiting the Sennelier store– the selection of sketchbooks wasn’t all that dazzling, but the rest of the art supplies will blow your mind, and it’s wonderfully old-fashioned. I loved the color charts along the stairs.

Papier + had some beautifully bound journals with rainbow pages– expensive, though.

A store called Merci had a small stationery section with a few cool things– along with some great (expensive) clothes and shoes and selected home and garden items. And to top it all off, there was even an interesting notebook sitting right on the desk in the AirBnB apartment I stayed in in Paris. It looked like it was quite old, with numbered graph paper pages separated with thin sheets of tissue, as if it was meant to be a lab notebook where you’d make copies of each page.

Here’s the stack of notebooks I brought home from my trip. Not a bad haul! I’ll do a more detailed review on the notebooks themselves soon.

paris amsterdam notebooks1

See my Flickr album for even more photos.

Stolen in Seattle: A Hobonichi Techo

I feel this person’s pain, and hope someone is able to help! From a local Seattle blog:

“After a car break-in over the weekend, Aidan is just hoping to get one thing back:

Saturday night (last night) our mini cooper was broken into in the Skylark Cafe/Bar parking lot. … They took my messenger bag and my coat… [The bag had] a black journal/sketchbook in the bag that is incredibly important to me. It’s a yearly book and I’ve had one per year since I was sixteen (aka over ten years). I will pay to have it returned. The inside of the book has my name and contact number/email all over it….

We followed up with Aidan to ask for any further descriptive information:

My sketchbook is a Hobonichi Techo yearly planner sketchbook. It’s 4×6″ and it’s very fat. The journal itself is thin but mine is overstuffed with pasted movie tickets, receipts, photos, etc, so it barely closes. It’s black and has a big hero six sticker on the front, as well as a Ninja Turtle Michelangelo popsicle pin (though that might have fallen off). …

The journal resembles these photos: This and this. If you have any information, besides contacting police, you can reach Aidan at:”

Read the full report at West Seattle Crime Watch: Have you seen Aidan’s sketchbook?. See my Hobonichi Techo review here.



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