Moleskine Monday: Another One Comes to an End

Some nice-looking pages here: Another Moleskine Comes to an End.

See more posts about Moleskines at Serenastyle Blog, including this lovely overstuffed notebook:

I love how the pasted-in items have made it so chunky, yet the edges are still so tidy!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Brenda Susan

This week’s addict blogs at Walking Butterfly, where she shows off some of her journals:

She says:

“I have filled dozens of personal journals over the years. I kept diaries when I was in school and continued all through college, single life, and early marriage. Then when I was pregnant with my first child I bought a pretty blank book and really began to record my thoughts, prayers, complaints, inner conversations and questions.

I still have all those diaries, spiral notebooks and journals full of my scribbles. These are me. My stories of parenting, pastoring and finding out who I am. As a new mom I knew that the special moments were just that. Just moments. So I wrote word pictures of our life together. I described the dirty soap left behind in my boy’s bathroom, the leggos in the fridge and the stress of carpooling 5 junior high boys.

My great idea? Every once in a while I am going to randomly pick up a journal and open it without looking and then write about whatever is on that page….”

Read more at Walking Butterfly: My Brilliant Idea!

Gifts From a Reader: Rollbahn and Field Notes

I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers… well, maybe not really, but I do love it when exciting notebooks show up in my mailbox from people I’ve never met!

A reader named June sent me two lovely items– first, a special edition Field Notes:

This was the perfect gift, because as I’ve written here before, I kind of have some issues with Field Notes and all the verbiage they put on their notebooks. I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy any of their notebooks to test. But here’s one that not only came to me for free, but it’s in Russian [Oops, I stand corrected by a reader– it’s Mongolian]! I love the look of the text, and since I don’t speak the language, it saves me having to deal with the twee-ness of it in English.

rollbahn field notes18

rollbahn field notes1

The Field Notes is like the Mead Journal I reviewed recently in that it has brown lines instead of grey. The notebook overall is quite thin, with lightweight paper that is somewhat brighter white than Moleskine.

rollbahn field notes16

I was disappointed that it had so much showthrough with pens. Also, I found that my fountain pen feathered out more than on other papers– I was surprised, as from what I’ve read on other blogs, fountain pen afficionados seem to like this brand, so I guess I had high expectations for the paper. I did think it worked well with my light blue Pilot Precise V5, which sometimes looks too watery on smoother papers. The Field Notes paper is confirmed to be acid free by my trusty pH pen.

rollbahn field notes3

rollbahn field notes2

Then there’s this:

The Rollbahn notebook was also a perfect gift, because I’d been hearing about them for a while but they’re not easy (though not impossible) to find in stores, at least in NYC. I first read about Rollbahn here. I was intrigued enough to do some more online research, enough to discover that it seems to be a Japanese brand with quite a cult following.

So what’s all the fuss about? Well it is a rather unique notebook. First of all, it’s an adorable small size, very pocketable. (Other sizes are available.) I don’t love the cover overhang, but it’s made of a pretty sturdy cardboard, and hopefully wouldn’t get too bent up with use. The words on cover seem like Japanese-German nonsense, as you often see with English phrases on Japanese products.

rollbahn field notes5

rollbahn field notes8

rollbahn field notes7

rollbahn field notes6

All the pages are perforated, and at the end, there are yellow divider cards separating the pages from a very cool feature: clear plastic pockets! I immediately thought the pockets might be the perfect size for credit cards, and that the wire-o binding might leave enough room for the notebook to be used as a mini-wallet. Not quite, though– the plastic is a bit slippery and I’d be worried cards would fly out. It’s also not an ideal way to store money. The elastic band keeps everything together, but it looks a bit squeezed.

rollbahn field notes9

rollbahn field notes10

rollbahn field notes12

rollbahn field notes11

The paper feels great to write on, but again, showthrough performance wasn’t the best. The tone of the paper is rather creamy, more yellowy than Moleskine, shown at left for comparison. Again, it’s acid free.

rollbahn field notes13

rollbahn field notes14

This notebook cost 263 Yen, which is about $3.18 in dollars– not bad at all for a cute little notebook with some nice extra features.

A big thank you to June for sending me these great notebooks! (I’m hoping she’ll also someday send me a photo of her own collection– I’ll bet it’s a good one!)

Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper– Come Join the Fun!

I’ll be hosting the next Carnival of Pen, Pencil & Paper on Feb. 8th. The deadline for submitting posts is Sunday Feb. 6 at 5pm EST. We’ve

Future hosting spots are open, so if you have a pen, pencil, or paper-related blog and would like to be a host, please check out the Carnival info page and email me at nifty [at] notebookstories [dot] com if you’d like to sign up.


Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World’s Great Graphic Designers

Here’s a book that’s at the top of my wishlist: Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World’s Great Graphic Designers.

You can see more of the book in this article and slide show.

Morgan Library Exhibit: “The Diary”

Here’s an exhibit I plan on checking out in the near future: “The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives,” at the Morgan Library in New York.
The exhibit includes these lovely items:

A diary jointly kept by Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife, Sophia Peabody Hawthorne:

John Ruskin’s chess diary:

You can see more images in the slides shows in these reviews:

New York Times: Tales of Lives Richly Lived, but True?
DNA Info: New Midtown Exhibit Peeks at Private Diaries of Writers, Performers.

Moleskine Monday: Sketches by Chaosboy

I like this collection of faces, all done in a reporter-style Moleskine:

See more at chaosboy industry – Milan, Italy – Moleskine sketches collection.

Notebook Addict of the Week: A Paperback Writer

This week’s addict posts this photo of some colorful notebooks:

She says:

This is my current stack of new notebooks, as my in-use notebooks are all too grimy and worn-looking to make a decent photo.

Of course I think grimy, worn-looking notebooks make great photos and wish she’d shared them!

Read more at A Paperback Writer: Writing in Spirals.

Kompagnon Notebook with Pen Loop

For those who like pen loops, here’s a nice-looking German notebook sold by a British online retailer.

If I’m not mistaken, this is the same brand as one of the notebooks I bought in Istanbul (see yesterday’s post), which I really liked other than finding the paper a little less smooth than I usually prefer. At 12.8 x 9.5 cm, it’s a little less tall than a pocket Moleskine. It comes in lined, plain, squared and address book versions… unfortunately, at 9.20-10.20 GBP, it’s probably a little pricey to order from Europe. But keep an eye out on your travels!
See more at Kompagnon Notebook small | Paper, Pads & Notebooks | Writing | Office | Products.

Notebooks Bought in Istanbul

I previously posted some snapshots of notebook sightings during my travels around Istanbul, but now let’s get into the details of the 5 notebooks I actually purchased there.


Below is the first notebook I purchased, the Elastic Notebook/ Bloknot by Le Color. From doing a little online searching, this seems to be a Turkish brand, but I couldn’t find this exact notebook anywhere. I found it in a fairly nondescript office supply store.


It’s a pretty standard Moleskine-ish notebook with the usual elastic band, accordion pocket, ribbon marker and logo stamped on the back. But it feels a bit cheap and has that big cover overhang I don’t care for. I wasn’t hugely excited about it when I bought it, but it was the first interesting and unusual notebook I’d seen, so my standards weren’t that high!


One thing that is quite weird about this notebook is that the elastic closure is extremely tight– you can see below how short it is. I didn’t love the brown color. This notebook didn’t open 100% flat very easily, and though I found the paper nice and smooth, it was a bit thin.


The next notebook I bought was much nicer: a softcover squared notebook by Modena/ Fabio Ricci. There’s no indication of the country of origin on the packaging, and from the name, you’d think it might be Italian, but according to this website, it seems to be made in Turkey.


I quite liked this notebook– I’ve been on the verge of starting to use it daily. The cover has a nice vertical rib texture to it, and the notebook is sturdy but flexible. The paper inside is nice to write on. The only drawbacks were that it was a little harder to open completely flat than some other notebooks, and the pocket in the back was all paper (no cloth tape on the edges) and kind of flimsy. I’ve lost track of exactly how much it cost, but I think it was relatively cheap– this was also found in a run of the mill office supply store.

Then there’s the trio of notebooks I bought at Panter on Istiklal Caddesi, a high-end touristy shopping street. First, the Filou notebook by Brunnen.


They had a whole range of these in different sizes and I thought they were very cute. The red string closure is something I’ve only seen on inter-office envelopes, never notebooks. But after playing around with this a bit, I decided I didn’t like the loose strings flapping around when the notebook is open.


Below is another Brunnen notebook. This has a soft cover and a cloth-taped spine, with squared pages within. It’s an inexpensive, basic notebook, somewhat wider and slightly thicker than a Moleskine Volant. Due to the taped edge and glue binding, it really doesn’t open flat at all.


This one is my favorite of the Panter buys, the Brunnen Kompagnon reporter-style notebook. I have lost track of exactly how much it cost but I seem to remember that it was quite expensive, so much so that I had to grit my teeth and remind myself that I have a responsibility to my readers to purchase such things!

These were available in black and white, top-opening and side-opening, with various sizes and paper styles. Very similar to your basic Moleskine or Piccadilly, but with some important differences.


The pen loop on the side is a nice touch, and the notebook flips open 360 degrees. The sheets are all perforated for easy tear-out. It’s hard to see in these photos, but the cover boards of this notebook are quite thin compared to other notebooks, but they are still rigid.


The Kompagnon I bought has squared paper. It’s on the top in the photo below, with the yellow Brunnen under it, then the Fabio Ricci, then a Moleskine for comparison. Interesting variety in the paper tones and the line color and size of the squares. I don’t usually like reporter-style notebooks or care about pen loops, but I really liked the Kompagnon and contemplated adding it to my daily use candidates… until I tested the paper. I found it rather rough and not that pleasant to write on with my usual fine tip pens. I didn’t do full pen tests on all these notebooks but maybe someday I’ll do a follow-up post if I run out of other things to write about! (I did confirm that all the papers were acid-free.)


Below you can see some shots of these notebooks stacked up with a pocket Moleskine on top for size comparison:







All in all, I was pleased to find this nice a variety of notebooks in Turkey and wish I’d had time to explore even more stationery shops. But there were a few other interesting things to do there!