Bush Smarts Field Journal

This is cute, and it comes in a nice little bag, but seems to just be a medium sized, cardboard cover, relatively thin notebook with a stitched binding… so doesn’t $45 seem really steep??

Tan Field Journal
Whenever you’re ready to write or sketch in the bush or the backyard, you won’t be without pencil and paper. Stash it in its Cuben® sack and you’ve got a windproof, waterproof and UV-resistant kit ready to record your greatest adventures<
5.75in × 4.25in $45


Field Journal Tan

Buy at Bush Smarts – Field Journal.

My Inventory of Spare Notebooks

As you might imagine, I have a lot of notebooks stashed in various places. I have boxes of them under beds and in cabinets and in drawers. They are at home and at the office. They are pretty much everywhere! Lots of them are old ones that I have used. Lots of them are new ones that I have not used. Because of this blog, I have a number of notebooks that I never intend to use, though I do try to give a lot of those away. But what about the ones that I do intend to use? I had kind of lost track of how many I had squirreled away, so I decided to get a handle on it. Hint: there are a lot!

I am rather anxious about running out of notebooks that meet my criteria for regular daily use. What if they just stop making ones I like? It could happen. And what about Moleskine’s decline in quality? I’ve been so dismayed at the way they make their notebooks now that I’ve been buying up older ones whenever I spot good ones. For a notebook to make the cut as a daily companion, it has to be approximately 3.5 x 5.5″ or smaller, with plain, dot grid or squared paper. It has to feel good to write in, and feel good to hold. I prefer that the cover be plain, but I’m open to variations as long as the overall aesthetics are pleasing. In addition to the “daily use” notebooks, I am also including the kinds of sketchbooks that I tend to use regularly for assorted drawing and painting, which have to be the same size, with sturdy plain paper. (I am not counting larger sketchbooks, which I do sometimes use, but much more rarely, so I don’t stock up on them much.) After going through my various piles, here’s my current inventory of notebooks with potential for daily use and regular sketching:

  • 20 squared hardcover Moleskines
  • 2 plain hardcover Moleskines
  • 15 Moleskine sketchbooks
  • 2 HandBook Artist Journals
  • 36 assorted other hardcover or softcover notebooks from other brands, including Piccadilly, Pen & Ink and others
  • 37 assorted staple-bound or stitched-spine cahier-style notebooks, from brands such as Moleskine, Field Notes, Doane Paper, Calepino, etc.

I was surprised that I only had 2 unused HandBooks left, as I had quite a few of those at one point. But the main thing that struck me after compiling this list is that I need to start using those cahiers more! I tried to use one for household notes like room measurements and furniture measurements at one point, thinking it would be helpful when shopping for some new furniture, but that project sort of fizzled out. I toy with the idea of using these small notebooks for single subjects or projects, or for drawing and doodling. They are lightweight and easy to carry, so I keep thinking I should be using them for listmaking, or for sketching when I don’t want to carry a daily notes notebook plus another hardcover sketchbook. I could even try carrying a few at a time bundled into a Traveler’s Notebook-style cover. I could be stretching out the lifespan of my nice old Moleskines if I used more of these cahiers.

Since I tend to use about 4-6 notebooks a year on average, including sketchbooks, the 75 non-cahier spares I currently have may only last about 12 years, or until I am about 57 years old. God forbid that I run out of good notebooks just a few years before I’m ready to retire!!! And I am very healthy (knock on wood) and have a family history of longevity, so I may need notebooks until I’m in my early to mid 90s. I can’t just say “oh, I’m sure I’ll have enough.” Proper planning is key. If my usage shifted to 2-3 full-size notebooks and 1 cahier a year, I’d be all set for about 30 years, til I’ll be 75. Assuming I keep blogging and paying attention to new notebooks that hit the market, I am likely to add some other acceptable notebooks to my collection during that time, so I may not have a shortfall until I’m even older. It still makes me a little nervous to imagine living out the final years of my life with only inferior notebooks to scribble in… and you always hear horror stories about people’s stuff being stolen when they’re in nursing homes… so I guess I will just have to keep collecting more spare notebooks to get me through!


Notebook Addict of the Week: John

This week’s addict is a writer who has challenged himself to write a million words this year, including typed on the computer and handwritten in notebooks. I think John is doing pretty well at reaching his goal, based on his website and these photos of his notebook collection:

DSCN0496DSCN0498DSCN0529On the Shelf

I’ve always written, since I was very young, it was a way for me to get the word in my head out of my head and somewhere else so I had space for more words to get in. My first notebooks were the old school essay books and Black’n’red when the milk round started paying because they lasted so long (the A5 and A6 books in the pictures are both more than twenty five years old). I was introduced to Moleskine by a friend in 2003 and began to understand that I wasn’t the only one out there who appreciated a good notebook, but for me, they need to have something in them, it’s like a glass, it’s function is to carry something, it wasn’t made to be empty. Over the years I’ve collected all manner of notebooks and my family bring me new notebooks from wherever they were at the time (I’m an easy buy at birthdays), from the metal and leather bound books from Italy to the gigantic diaries from Holland, and I never leave home without one, sometimes two with me.
I do a lot of typing these days, as my writing speed simply can’t compete with sixty words a minute without getting scrappy and i like things to be neat. But in recent times (especially with the million word challenge), I find that I can do my day job and hand write a thousand or so words a day to help in the challenge and also keep up with my handwriting skills. In the last twenty days, there’s been a good sixty pages filled in my current book (the Leuchtturm has been a favourite for some time, it appeals to my OCD on indexes and numbered pages), and at this rate I’ll be going through the other books soon.

There are lots more photos of John’s notebooks in this Flickr album. John’s description of all the photos is below:

The Image “On the shelf” comprises all the notebooks in order from left to right. Moleskine A4 lined, Rymans A4 pad, BlackNRed A4 decorated personally, Brepols Saturnus 2 pages to a day Diary, Brepols Saturnus day to a page diary, Brittanicus book in leather binding, Paperblanks quarto size notebook, Semicolon A5 book, WHSmiths own A5 book, then A5 notebook, then day to page A5 diary, BlackNRed A5 book, Rymans decorated A5 spiral book, Wild and Wolf A5 notebook, Asda A5 notebook, Moleskin Large day to page diary, Marvel A5 notebook, 3 x Moleskine, 3 x Guildhall, 2 x Leuchtturm notebooks, Metal backed book from Italy, Collins A6 day to page diary, Paperchase Gridded A6 notebook.

Across the Top left to right and top to bottom, 2 x Penshop end of line leather bound blank pads, 1 x BlackNRed A6 notebook, 1 x a6 bound recycled paper notebook, 1 x leather bound A6 book from Italy with Fleur De Lys cover.

The Image MGL comprises (Left to right) Both the Leuchtturm notebooks, all three Guildhall, and both Moleskine notebooks, those with discolourations are the ones that have been used up the most, I find the edges of the page become darker the more they get used.

Images 496 to 501 are the flat images of the notebooks from the first image.

502 and 503 are the Brittanicus notebook, a thick pad of paper with beautiful maps on the bookmark and the cover, very good for putting maps together on.

504 is the two pages to a day Brepols Saturnus diary, huge at 33 cms tall and with enough space in them for any amount of writing. Sadly not available in England 🙁 You have to go abroad for these.

505 is the insides of the SemiKolon book, the band on it snapped within days of getting it which was a real shame, but the paper inside is spectacular and comes in all different types within the same book.

506 is an end of line book from the pen shop, using leather bindings around aged looking paper, very atmospheric but I haven’t found a use for it yet.

507 to 517 are the Moleskin, Guildhall, and Leuchtturm notebooks, the Leuchtturm are the ones I presently use because the paper is of superior quality and the index appeals to my OCD…

518 and 519 are the string and leather bound recycled paper book, used as a journal for a character in a novel, the journal isn’t finished yet, even if the book is.

520 and 521 are a beautiful leather bound notebook my family brought me back from italy while they were on holiday, the paper is some of the best I’ve ever known, but the book isn’t mass produced and I’ve been unable to find another one since then.

522 to 525 are of a plain book with metal covers that was brought back at the same time as the leather book, very few pages and the paper is not good quality, but it is intriguing to write in.

526 to 530 are different images of the collection to give some idea of scale 🙂

Big thanks to John for sharing his addiction! You can read more from him at MillionWordMan.Blogspot.co.uk.

Orlando Ribeiro’s Field Notebooks

Gorgeous old notebooks! These belonged to a Portuguese historian and geographer named Orlando Ribeiro.


Read and see more at  Famous Sketchbooks: Orlando Ribeiro’s Field Notebooks | Endpaper: The Paperblanks Blog.

Moleskine Monday: More on City Notebooks

In a comment to my recent post about Moleskine City Notebooks, someone asked for more photos of what’s inside. Here’s a few, plus a shot of my collection:


moleskinecity1 moleskinecity2 moleskinecity3 moleskinecity4 moleskinecity5

School Supplies Around the World

An interesting article about the different types of school supplies typically used by students in various countries, including, of course, a few notebooks. In Norway, this “kladblok” is typical:

And here are some notebooks used in a French school:

Read more at School supplies used by students around the world.

Moleskine Monday: My Collection of City Notebooks

I’ve always been a fan of Moleskine’s City Notebooks. After noticing that they seemed to have scaled back their list of cities quite a bit (Moleskine Monday: Did the World Just Get Smaller?), I’ve been snapping up other cities wherever I can, often at good discounts off the original list price. Here’s my collection thus far, as well as some details about how they fit into my travel plans:

Have Visited Have Visited More Than Once Used Moleskine City Book Intend to Visit in Next 12 months
Amsterdam x
Boston x x x
Chicago x x
Dublin x
Florence x
Frankfurt x x
Hong Kong
Istanbul x x
Lisbon x x
London x x x x
Los Angeles x x
Montreal x x
NYC (home) x x  x
Paris x x x
Philadelphia x x
San Francisco x x
Toronto x x
Venice x
Wash DC x x x

As you can see, my desire for these notebooks is not entirely practical–I’d like to say I’m going to visit all of these cities in the next few years, but it’s not likely to happen. (There are a few cities on this list that I don’t have a strong desire to visit, but I love to travel and can’t think of too many places that I wouldn’t go to if I had the chance! Except maybe Russia, given recent events.) I’ll be lucky to hit maybe 3 or 4 more new cities beyond my plans to go to Paris and Amsterdam this fall.  I think the City Notebooks are most useful when you visit a place regularly and want to keep track of favorite shops, restaurants and destinations there. I used to visit London regularly for work, but was no longer doing so when I first bought my London notebook. Now I may be going there more often again, so I’m glad I’ll be able to use my notebook more to record everything I love about this wonderful city. Other than that, though I have family in the Boston and DC areas, I don’t use the notebooks when I visit there, mainly because I don’t spend much time in the city itself. Paris will be my next repeat visit with a City Notebook.

My strategy when using these is to keep them handy while planning the trip, and jot down ideas from newspaper and magazine articles, advice from friends, and top destinations from travel guides or websites. I have found myself planning itineraries and using the translucent sheets to map out where I plan to walk. I love being able to discreetly refer to a map in a little black book rather than being an obvious tourist flashing a guide book. I’ve found that the maps have most of the info I need, but they are a few years out of date– most old European cities probably don’t have too many changes in their street maps, but transit options may be slightly different.

I know City Notebooks also exist for Zurich, Moscow and St. Petersburg, but beyond that, I’m not sure if there are any others I’m missing in my collection. Does anyone know?

Notebook Addict of the Week: Emadam

This week, we have someone who is not just addicted to notebooks, but addicted to making notebooks!

“i follow your page for some years now and finally managed it to make some
photos of my notebook collection. well it´s just a part of my collection and
it´s a mixture of used and new notebooks but: they are all made by myself. 🙂

by now i have so many notebooks that i started a little shop to sell some of them.

i hope you like the photos!

greetings from germany,



Many of these beautiful notebooks are for sale in her Etsy shop. Thanks for sharing your addiction, Emadam!

Sketchbooks and Studios

An interesting look at assorted artists’ sketchbooks, from a website about studio visits with West Coast artists:

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 4.22.36 PM

“Now, when Nikki and I visit artists in their studios I find myself curious, even prying about what’s tucked away in the pages of their sketchbooks. Visiting someone’s studio is already permission to enter into a private space and an artist’s sketchbook feels like a room within a room, it’s where the secrets are, the strategies, failures, future schemes and sometimes self-reflection.”


Read and see more at Sketchbook Round-up | In The Make | Studio visits with West Coast artists.

Marie Curie’s Radioactive Notebook

Here’s a beautiful notebook that I’d rather not see up close:


“Marie Curie made some of the most significant contributions to science in the 20th century. And as most people already know, she did so at a great cost to her own health. What most people probably don’t know, however, is that the radiation levels she was exposed to were so powerful that her notebooks must now be kept in lead-lined boxes.

It’s true. And it’s not just Curie’s manuscripts that are too dangerous to touch, either. If you visit the Pierre and Marie Curie collection at the Bibliotheque Nationale in France, many of her personal possessions—from her furniture to her cookbooks—require protective clothing to be safely handled. You’ll also have to sign a liability waiver, just in case.”

Read more at Marie Curie’s century-old radioactive notebook still requires lead box.

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