Notebook Addict of the Week: Ashly

Ashly emailed me this photo of her “evergrowing” collection:


I didn’t get any details about what brands these are or where they were bought, but some of them look like they are from Asia. I’d love to know more, it’s an interesting collection. Thanks for sharing your addiction, Ashly!

Review: Pelle Journal

I was contacted by the maker of the Pelle Journal a few months back and was very excited to have the opportunity to review one. It was compared to the Midori Passport Size Travelers Journal, but it’s handmade in California. Let’s take a look at what this journal has to offer.


First of all, you’ll notice the packaging. The journal arrived in a plastic wrapper, with a label noting the size and the type of paper contained within. After removing the plastic, there’s a nice paper envelope with a contrasting elastic tie. Inside that, there’s a cloth bag. This is a very well-protected notebook, and if you give one as a gift, you almost don’t need to wrap it!


Also inside the paper envelope is a note from the manufacturer with some info about the product, and a spare elastic.

Finally, the journal itself! It’s a lovely small size– described as 3×5, but actually the cover measures 5 1/4″ high by about 3 7/8″ wide and the inner notebooks are 3 7/16 x 4 15/16″.



I love the look of the red elastic against the black, but it’s nice that the spare black elastic is included as an option. The leather is really nice– very soft and supple and thick. It’s just a single layer of leather, cut precisely to size. There is no stitching on the edges. On the inside it has a suede-y feel but seems almost like cloth. If you look closely you can see there are layers in the leather so I assume this is “bonded leather” which can have varying degrees of real leather content. Whatever it is, it smells and feels quite nice, though the little fibers from the sueded inside might start to look a little ragged after a lot of use.


The cover has a very subtle Pelle logo on the front lower right corner, and the company web address and “Made in the USA” on the back lower left corner.

Inside the cover, you have 3 elastic bands to hold interchangeable journals, similar to the Midori notebooks and the Kolo Essex Travel Book I reviewed. The two outer elastics are actually one that loops around, thereby securing the inner elastic, which slots into a notch at the top and bottom of the spine. There is a little bead that attaches it to a thin bookmark– I’d rather the bead wasn’t there but it is at least pretty small and not too disruptive. One thing I really like is that the elastics are mostly kept inside the notebook, rather than looping all the way around the outside of the spine as on the Kolo Essex book.PelleJournal9PelleJournal12


The journal I was sent has one notebook inside, though it is designed to hold 3. I didn’t have a chance to test how it would bulk up with 3 inside– one disadvantage of the Pelle Journal is that the inner notebooks aren’t a standard size. There are other notebook holders out there that are designed to hold Moleskine Cahiers but also accommodate the identically sized Field Notes, Doane Paper, Writer’s Blok and other similar brands (which are all 3 1/2 x 5 1/2″). I’m sure there are other brands out there that come in a small enough size to fit in the Pelle cover, but I can’t think of any offhand. (Please comment if you know of any!)


The inner notebook itself is very nice. It’s a simple staple-bound notebook with a brown cover and plain paper. The first and last page inside are like endpapers, with a red box and the Pelle logo on the front page. The paper within is smooth and creamy and a pleasure to write on. All my pens performed well, with only very slight feathering with the Pilot Varsity fountain pen. My Lamy Safari fountain pen went on just fine, though, which is good, as one of Pelle’s selling points is that the notebooks are fountain pen friendly. The paper had about average show-through, but performed better than average in terms of bleed-through.


Pelle Journals are available at a limited number of retailers, listed here. Among them is, where the small journal I received retails for $29.99. Replacement notebooks are $6.99-8.00 for this size, depending on the type of paper. This seems like a fair price for a product handmade in the US, and is much cheaper than the comparable Midori notebook. If you want a good quality, pocketable notebook that you can refill, the Pelle Journal is well worth a try.

11 Notebooks at Design Bureau

A yummy selection!

Read more and find out where to buy at Design Bureau 11 Notebooks | Back to School Gear » Design Bureau.

Moleskine Monday: A Comparison vs. the Bound Custom Journal

An interesting side-by-side comparison of the Moleskine City notebook for Paris, vs. a Bound Custom Journal with Paris map pages. The writer admits he’s a bit biased as it’s on Bound’s own blog, but I think he did a very fair comparison of each notebook’s features.

I haven’t tried a Bound journal yet, but I love the idea of being able to customize the sections. If I was using one for a travel journal, I’d love to have map pages plus calendar pages for my trip dates– that is a definite plus over Moleskine. But I love the smaller size of the Moleskine– to me, even 4×6″ starts to feel a bit too large for a notebook I’m going to carry around while traveling. I also like the ribbon markers and tracing paper included in the Moleskine. Everyone’s preferences are different in these matters…

Read more at Bound Custom Journal v Moleskine City Notebook: Showdown in Paris.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Cheryl

This week’s addict is a fellow Brooklyn resident who works as an editor and blogs at Brooklyn Arden.
In a post about how she uses notebooks in her work life, she shares this photo of notebooks she’s used since 2001:

As an editor, she says she has “a long, long list of priorities to juggle and information to track. There was only one possible solution to contain all this: a notebook! And as soon as I got one, my work life got a hundred times more organized.”

Read more at Brooklyn Arden: The Editorial Life: My Working Notebooks.

Notebooks from South Korea

A friend of mine just recently came to visit, bearing gifts from South Korea. She knew just what I’d like! Notebooks and other stationery goodies:







I love the wacky use of the English language. And even though they aren’t notebooks, who can resist puffy sushi stickers!?!

Notebook Addict of the Week: WONDERRRGIRL

Here’s an addict I found while just surfing around the internet. Wonderrrgirl is a student from Singapore. She loves notebooks, and she takes beautiful notes in them!

Wonderrrgirl says:

This post is about notebooks. It’s half of the collection of all the notebooks that I’ve kept in my life (I’m really too lazy to drag everything out to show them here). I love buying notebooks and keeping them, sometimes using the entire book, sometimes writing on a page or two and then forget all about it. Sometimes just buying and not using it at all for years.

See more at I love notebooks « WONDERRRGIRL. Her note-taking style makes everything look so fun and interesting. Makes me want to go back to school!

“What catches your eye when buying a new notebook or journal?”

A reader named Steve asked this question in response to my Notebooks from Portugal post.

I have been “collecting” journals and notebooks for several years. I guess I’m first attracted to the cover and material first and then the pages. Then, after I’ve made the purchase, do I start to think about something useful for my notebooks rather than sitting pretty on a shelf (which isn’t a bad idea in of itself I guess).

What catches your eye when buying a new notebook or journal?

This is a great question, and I’m sure the answer is different for everyone.

For me, I think size is the first factor. I always gravitate towards notebooks that are in the 3×5″- 3.5×5.5″ size, with that height to width ratio that is equivalent to a golden rectangle. It’s just always been my favorite size and shape, and it’s an easy size to keep handy in a pocket or bag.

Next is color– I tend to be a minimalist, preferring dark solid colors for my notebooks, such as black, brown or charcoal grey, or sometimes a dark blue or green, or maybe a lighter but muted earth tone.

Then there’s texture– some notebooks just look like they’re made to be touched, especially ones with leather or suede covers. I’ve also seen some notebooks with cardboard covers that look almost flannel-like. I prefer soft, matte textures and don’t tend to like notebooks that look too hard and shiny.

Every once in a while I’m also attracted to a notebook with an interesting pattern or image on the cover, but they don’t tend to be the ones I just have to buy.

How about you? What catches your eye?

Well-Used Brunnen Kompagnon Notebook

I bookmarked a post from Bleistift several months ago because I just loved these images of a Brunnen Kompagnon notebook:


Read more about the author’s usage of the notebook and search to replace it at Brunnen Kompagnon – out with the old… » Bleistift.

From a Medical Illustrator’s Sketchbook

I just love this image:

See more at Sayaka Isowa’s website.

Found via Image of the Week: Pages from a medical illustrator’s sketchbook | Scope Blog.