Notebook Addict of the Week: Shaynie

Shaynie sent me a link to this post a while ago. In it, she asks, “Am I addicted?” and I think everyone would have to say yes!

Here’s all her blank notebooks:

And here’s all her filled notebooks:

Fantastic collection– what is unusual about it is that no two seem to be alike! Most notebook addicts tend to have duplicates, but Shaynie has gone for lots of colorful variety.

Thanks again for sharing your addiction!

Indian Government Official Gives Away Notebooks

I love coming across odd little stories about notebooks. This one taught me that a “lakh” is 100,000 in the Indian number system. I also had no idea that it was customary to celebrate politicians’ birthdays with extravagant gifts. It’s nice to see that someone turned that tradition into something that would benefit school children:

Minister of state for home Satej Patil’s initiative to accept only notebooks as his birthday gift makes for a welcome change from the extravagant birthday celebrations by politicians. Patil, who collected more than 5.5 lakh notebooks on his 39th birthday on April 12, plans to distribute them to the students of the schools run by the Zilla Parishad and the civic bodies in the district.

Since 2007 Patil instead of accepting garlands, flowers, installing posters or issuing advertisements, accepts only notebooks as his birthday gifts. So far 16.27 lakh notebooks have been given to 3.80 lakh students in 380 schools.

“Generally supporters install huge posters, issue advertisements in newspapers and gift garlands and flowers to politicians on their birthdays. It is just a waste of money. So, since 2007 every year I appeal my supporters to bring notebooks instead of garlands or other gifts. The initiative has received a good response,” Patil said.

via Pune minister to give away over 5 lakh notebooks – Mumbai – DNA.

Deafmessanger Now Available at LoveNotebooks!

Remember Deafmessanger? I reviewed one of these handmade notebooks from Prague a while back and loved it, but they were only sold at a few small shops in the US. Well now I am happy to report that my friends at LoveNotebooks are now distributing these beautiful journals, and sent me a sample to give away to a lucky reader:







Just gorgeous. I love the colors and all the found materials. It’s as if each journal is a scrapbook from the lives of characters in a novel that hasn’t been written yet, and you can imagine the story however you want.

From the description at LoveNotebooks:

Street smarts. That’s what Kucin, Czech artist, pastes, paints, stencils and stamps into each of his one-of-a-kind Deafmessanger journals. Based in Prague, Kucin makes his journals there by hand, tucking unexpected found objects in between the pages – recycled receipts, cancelled postcards, magazine pages, maps, photos and more. It’s these spontaneous bits of life that make the hand made journals unique works of art. Leafing through is like walking down a side street in the city. As marked on each Deafmessanger notebook they are not only made in Pargue they are made from Prague.

Deafmessanger’s graffiti inspired journals feature thick cardboard covers, scored and bent around pages that are bound with plastic combs. Elastic bands close the corners. Inside you will find a little pencil, page marker, random quotes and all sorts of tidbits. There is a nice balance of blank pages and decorated ones, enough to inspire your own collecting and soul searching.

Three sizes and various designs are available at LoveNotebooks. At $19.95-29.95, these will not be the cheapest journals you’ve ever bought, but for a unique and beautiful artwork, I think it’s a great value.

But if you want to win one for free, here’s how to enter the giveaway:

On Twitter, follow Notebook Stories and tweet something containing the words “Deafmessanger,” “@LoveNotebooks” and “@NotebookStories.

On Facebook, “like” the  Notebook Stories page and post something containing the word “Deafmessanger” on my wall.

On your blog, post something containing the word “Deafmessanger,” “LoveNotebooks” and “NotebookStories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday April 29 at 11:59PM, EST.

Winners will be posted on Facebook and Twitter. Good luck everyone!

Moleskine Monday: Pencils and Backpacks and Apps, Oh My!

The blogosphere has been buzzing for the last couple of weeks about all Moleskine’s new non-notebook items (not the underwear, though!) The Core77 article has lots of pictures but just focuses on the genesis of the designs without actually reviewing the products. Wired is skeptical. PSFK is enthusiastic. The Wall Street Journal deems the messenger bag “an instant classic.”

I’m really curious to see the bags in person– they look kind of nice, though I’m wondering what the quality of the leather (or PVC, or whatever) is like. I also think all this stuff is very aggressively priced– a set of two pencils and a sharpener for $8.95 seems like a lot, and the bags are well over $100.

As for the new Moleskine iPhone app, that, at least, is free. And it’s just as well, as I can’t say it really offers a lot of value. I tried it out and found the interface to be rather confusing and the app crashed a few times. It doesn’t offer anything that other note-taking apps don’t, except for the ability to use backgrounds matching Moleskine’s lined, blank, or squared papers, and a built-in Moleskine product catalog. I like the idea of having an electronic notebook that would preserve the simplicity and good design of the paper notebooks, but I’m not sure this app quite fits the bill.

How about you, what do you think of these new products?

Notebook Addict of the Week: Dalal Al-Mutawa

This week’s addict sent me a link to this photo of her collection.

Lots of Moleskines plus I think a couple of Cavallinis? And a plastic one resembling my “Le Zippe.”
I’d like to know more about the light blue one in the front row, I’ve never seen one like that before.
Thanks for sharing your addiction, Dalal!

Colin’s 1938 Notebook

A reader named Colin sent me photos of a fascinating notebook from his collection:

I thought you might like to see a notebook that dates back to 1938 when my parents rented a flat in Sliema, Malta. The rent was £3.10.0 per month [£3.50 in modern money] and the ink has survived amazingly well over all these years. I found it when going through my deceased Father’s papers.

It is about 4 x 6 1/2″ with 48 lined pages which are edged in blue. The black, glossy cover has a feint, fine, vertical grooving with a hint of a random watermark pattern when the light hits it at the right angle. The cover feels as if it could be damp proof.
There are no maker’s marks. The pages are held in place with a pair of staples that are rusting. No wonder I am into notebooks as I was born in 1938 !

It’s a neat little notebook, similar to today’s Moleskine Cahiers. I love the handwriting and the stamp! And it’s a wonderful treasure for Colin to have something like this to remember his parents by. Thanks again for sharing it, Colin!

Richard Serra’s Sketchbooks

A new exhibit just opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, “Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective.”
Serra is best known for massive sculptures made of steel, but drawing is still a key part of his work. Some of the works in the exhibit are large drawings on paper or cloth, but the show also includes sketchbooks:


Asked about the importance of drawing in relation to his much better known sculpting, Serra said he always carries a sketchbook and draws constantly.

“Your eye is a muscle, you have to keep it in shape and the more you draw, the more you see,” he said.

Also included at the show’s end are over 25 of the artist’s sketchbooks, with drawings he made while traveling in Egypt, Iceland, Peru and other places.

“The notebooks ground people’s perception of the work and it gives them an experience of who is this person who is making this work and what his interests might be,” Serra said, referring to himself. “What does this guy do when he is in the world, in his daily life?”

Read more at Sculptor Serra shows unsung drawings at NY museum | Reuters.

Moleskine Monday: What Do You Think of the Passions Journals?

Frequent commenter David wrote to me with some thoughts on the Moleskine Passions Journals:

When I first encountered the film, food, kitty and wine notebooks I thought, “‘Molie’s marketing people are nuts!” I found the design of the pages and data layouts way too rigid. Then I opened up the gardening journal. It’s quite different. This thing is cool; full of interesting information and a flexible layout that leaves you room to add tons of your own data, sketches, reflections, and organic ruminations. We are only now getting out from under the snow here in Boise so the Moleskine Passions Gardening Journal is almost empty but we’ll be filling it up over the seasons.

Hope others will be able to share their experiences with this journaling tool. I have not been able to locate any other sites where this notebook is being actively discussed, not even on gardening blogs.

I haven’t given this particular product line much coverage here, as I’m personally inclined to be in the “the design is too rigid” camp. But sometimes structure is a good thing, right? What do you think? I’d love to know which of these journals our readers have used and how they like them…

Notebook Addict of the Week: Brett

This week’s addict admits he is a notebook junkie:


I may have a problem.

My obsession with notebooks started early. My first love was a perforated Mead notebook (non-spiral). I was a budding cartoonist during elementary and middle school and the fact that I could cleanly remove my creations was a big deal.  Not to mention all the sketch books I’ve owned.

By the time I reached high school specificity crept in and my selections needed to meet certain criteria. Number one on the list was it had to be college ruled. The second condition being that it needed to be manufactured by Mead.  This is a preference that follows me to this day. The Five Star series was my favorite.

I fell in love with Mead brand Composition books during the summer after my junior year.  A 180 degree turn from my previous opinion. This was due to the wide-ruled, non-perforated pages.  I saw “Se7en” and realized their journaling potential. A little twisted admiration for a fictional serial killer, I know, but look at that penmanship.

Now, years later, I’ve managed to marry all of these preferences into a good working system of journaling, list-making and general note taking. The most recent addition to my writing family being the Field Notes brand notebooks.

Everyone in my sphere of influence knows my fervor for Field Notes.  I’ve made converts of my coworkers with County Fair editions; I gifted them Michigan and Indiana 3-packs respectively.  I dubbed us the “Tri-State Syndicate.” The geekiness is infectious….

Yep, that’s a disease we all suffer from!