Constellation & Co. Sketchbooks

On a recent visit to the McNally Jackson bookstore in NYC, I noticed these very cool letterpress notebooks featuring various constellations on the cover:

Covers are letterpress printed on 100% recycled chipboard with Japanese washi tape detail on the bound edge. Interior pages are cream colored and unlined.

Size: 5.25″ x 3.5″
Pages: 120


I love the design, and the inside is full of creamy unlined paper. I would have bought one, but I choked a bit at the $20 price. But I guess that’s what a hand-made in the US notebook is going to cost you these days! And they’d make a great gift for anyone who’s into astronomy.

If you aren’t in NYC, you can buy them on Etsy.

See more at Constellation Sketchbooks — Constellation & Co..

Notebook Addict of the Week: Ana

This week’s addict blogs at The Well Appointed Desk, and emailed me this “confessional” about her love for notebooks:

I think I go beyond a notebook story into a full-blown confessional. I am an equal-opportunity notebook luster. From the lowly marble-covered composition notebook to the gilt-edged beauties, I love them all and each will eventually be filled for a different purpose. A small cahier (like the Field Notes) is just the thing for pocket or glovebox for grocery lists or to jot down the title of the next must-have book. A thick austere-covered notebooks like a Moleskine is the perfect place for all those bits of paper I collect to be pasted down and annotated with comments. A notebook with lines or decorated pages are just the thing for meeting notes to spice up those blah-de-blah to-do lists. Handbound journals are for future travels or fits of verbal creativity, sketchbooks for doodles, sketching and calligraphy practice and utilitarian scratchpads for those emergencies when any flat surface will do and a sheet might be torn off and handed to someone on a mission!

Just thought I would come clean. I too am a notebook junkie. You should see the pile of already used notebooks!


That’s definitely a well-appointed notebook collection!
Thanks for sharing your addiction, Ana!

“Mon Vieux Cahier”

I was very pleased to come across this passage in a book I was reading for my French class: Quartier Perdu, by Patrick Modiano. It’s about a man who returns to Paris after an absence of many years and how he revisits the memories he’d left behind there.

…j’ai tendu le bras vers la table de nuit en direction de mon vieux cahier. Je l’ai posé près de l’oreiller. Je n’avais pas vraiment envie de le consulter. Couverture verte, bords usés, spirales, triangle dans le coin gauche, au sommet duquel était écrit «Clairefontaine». Un simple cahier d’écolier que j’avais acheté un jour dans une papeterie de l’avenue de Wagram et sur lequel j’avais noté des adresses, des numéros de téléphone, quelquefois des rendez-vous: l’un des seuls vestiges de ma vie antérieure a Paris…

My translation:

I stretched my arm towards the night table in the direction of my old notebook. I put it near the pillow. I didn’t really want to look at it. Green cover, worn edges, spiralbound, triangle in the left corner, at the top of which was written “Clairefontaine.” A simple student’s notebook that I’d bought one day in a stationery store on Wagram Avenue and in which I’d noted addresses, telephone numbers, sometimes meetings: one of the only vestiges of my previous life in Paris…

He goes on to say that he could just tear up the notebook, though it would hardly be worthwhile since it’s so old that none of the telephone numbers would be valid anymore, but folded inside the notebook, he finds a letter from an old friend… and from there a mysterious and melancholy story unfolds.

I loved that the notebook was described so vividly, and the way it was a link to a whole other life for the character.

Dry Goods, Brooklyn, NY

I went to a great store on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn recently. It’s called Dry Goods, and the merchandise is a really neat mix– all the stuff I’d want to sell if I opened a store myself, including a variety of old-style perfume and toiletries with beautiful labels, household goods, books, and clothing… but most importantly, beautiful art supplies, vintage-looking office supplies, fountain pens and inks, washi tape, and assorted notebooks and sketchbooks. And they’re all beautifully displayed in wood and glass shelves and drawers that look like they’re from an old-fashioned pharmacy.
Here’s the front window display that first caught my eye:

And their business card:

Be sure to check it out if you’re in town!

A Birding Sketchbook

I love these gorgeous watercolor sketchbook pages from Catherine’s Costa Rica sketchbook:

See more at birdspot » A few more sketchbook pages...

Moleskine Monday: Decorated Cahiers

Tips for decorating a plain Moleskine cahier notebook with a cheery floral pattern:

Read more at fellowfellow – DIY Watercolour Notebooks.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Allie

This week’s addict emailed me a few months ago about her love for notebooks:

Hello there. I’m Allie, fourteen years old, and completely in love with your blog. Honestly, I didn’t know that there were so many brands that I was not familiar with!

I’m a self confessed notebook junkie, owning over 80 notebooks, not including my school notebooks and fillers. I use them for practicing my lettering, my calligraphy, for my stories, for jotting down my thoughts and dreams . . . practically everything that could be documented.

I discovered my little penchant for writing when I was in first grade; I was around seven years old. I had this little Hello Kitty spiraled notebook that they sold for less than fifty pesos (less than a dollar). I wrote down there my dreams, my daily to-do lists, the things that happened to me that day. I remember using to stick very insignificant things there, like a chocolate wrapper from my ex-crush and a note from my teacher saying that I did a good job.

After a while, that got filled, and I started saving up money to buy another notebook. And then another, and then another. And then I started using spare notebooks from my school, which I didn’t appreciate much since they were spiraled, had the school logo, and the fact that I’m left handed.

But notebooks will be notebooks. As my dad says, “It’s not in the kind or brand of notebook that makes you a writer. It’s what you write in it.”


When I was going through my emails from readers, I thought her name seemed familiar, and then I realized it was because she won one of my recent giveaways! So I know she already has at least one more notebook beyond what’s in these photos:

That is a lot of notebooks, especially for someone who is only 14 years old! Thanks for sharing your notebook addiction, Allie!

Tips from Readers

David Bogie shared a couple of great tips: first, this interesting notebook, used to record games of Go. I remember trying to play Go with my dad sometimes when I was a kid, or more frequently, Gomoku, which is much simpler. I certainly never got to the level of having to record my games, but perhaps this notebook would have inspired me!


David also sent me a tip about a book called A Soldier’s Sketchbook, which looks wonderful:

A Soldier’s Sketchbook, an illustrated memoir from a World War II soldier, is drawn from the letters, sketches, snapshots, and mementos of Pvt. Joseph Farris, who left his home of Danbury, Connecticut, and set off to war aboard the U.S.S. General Gordon in October 1944, bound for France as part of Company M, 398th Infantry. Farris wrote more than 800 letters home, and he hewed his artistic talents with sketches and paintings along the way. He also secretly copied officers’ notes and, once back home after the war, collected clippings and battlefield accounts, which form a sobering counterpoint to his reassurances to his parents that everything is “swell.”


Paul Evans shared a link to Harry Truman’s 1947 diary. You can see the actual pages and transcriptions on the website of the Truman Library:

January 7:

A terrific day. After the usual go around, discussion of the budget and other things, a swim seemed to be in order.

Mr. Byrnes called at 5 P.M. and said he’d like to see me. He came to the executive office and told me that there had been a leak on his resignation, effective Jan. 10th. I had expected to hold a press conference at 4:00 P.M. Jan. 10th and announce the resignation of Mr[.] Byrnes as Sec[retary] of State. About 5 P.M. Mr. B[yrnes] called me and asked if he could see me. I was getting ready for a swim but of course I see any Cabinet Officer at any time. He came to the exec[utive] office all out of breath and told me that the N. Y. Times had obtained the information of his resignation and that he was morally certain that the information had leaked at the White House. Well only my Secretarial Staff knew of it-and they had known since April 19, 1946! Mr. Byrnes finally got round to suggesting that the release should be made at once. Well I called in Charlie Ross and Bill Hassett and we cooked up the release and it was made.
I had indicated to Gen[eral] Marshall that the release would not be made until Jan[.] 10th. But Gen[eral] Marshall is a real man and I’m sure he’ll understand just as I do. Byrnes was very happy at the Diplomatic Reception at 9 P.M. although he was late.


Curtis at Stanley James Press sent me a link to a very cool video:

We got 200 people bookbinding by hand in the summer this year, they all made notebooks in less than 20 minutes, and we made a short film documenting the process – it’s here:


Alex sent a link to this very clever sketchbook hack, which is just brilliant for anyone who likes to do watercolor sketches on the go:

As always, many thanks for all the interesting tips and suggestions!

“I Like Notebooks and I Cannot Lie”

I agree! These are from a post at Design Crush:

See more at Design Crush » I Like Notebooks and I Cannot Lie.

Mapbook Notebooks

Maps and notebooks, always a great combination!

design: Contexture Design
manufacture: Made in Canada
materials: 100% recycled paper; reclaimed map cover. Staple-bound.
dimensions: 5.25″ wide x 8″ tall; contains 48 pages

Price: $15.00
Available from: Branch

See more at Mapbook — ACCESSORIES — Better Living Through Design.