Moleskine Monday: gbSk’s Photostream

On Flickr, someone called gbsk has some amazingly over-stuffed Moleskines:

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Looks like a lot of colorful collaging going on inside! See more at Flickr: Search gbSk’s photostream.

Notebook Addict of the Week: MissElderberry

This week’s addict blogs at These Beautiful Pens, where she recently posted About journalling. She mailed me a link to her post, commenting

“I’ve been keeping  a  diary  for almost 20 years now…

(the journals pictured are]  just  the  filled  ones,  still need some preparation for the challenge  of making photos of the new and empty ones as well… there is a lot of them…)”

Here’s just one of the photos from her blog post:

I love the dramatic lighting, and it’s a nice selection of notebooks, too!  I think I spy a Clairefontaine, and there’s one by Tushita, a brand I’ve come across in stores at least once but haven’t reviewed yet.

Thanks for sharing your addiction, MissElderberry!

Moleskine Monday: Andrea Joseph’s Sketches

Andrea Joseph shows off some neat sketches in various colors of pen and pencil, all in a Moleskine sketchbook. Here’s one of my faves:


See more at andrea joseph’s sketchblog: four drawings, three places, one sketchbook.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Cynthia Iannaccone

This week’s addict is another find via the excellent Sharing Our Notebooks site. Cynthia is a writer, illustrator and art teacher who has been keeping sketchbooks for years and often looks back at the old ones to find inspiration for new work. Here’s some of her sketchbooks:



Read more about Cynthia and see what’s inside some of these sketchbooks at Sharing Our Notebooks: Cynthia Iannaccone: I Often Revisit Sketchbooks.

Quick Review: Notebooks from Kinokuniya

I’m always trying to keep up with reviewing various samples that notebook manufacturers send me, but sometimes that means I don’t get around to reviewing notebooks I’ve actually bought myself! These are two I purchased over a year ago at the Kinokuniya bookstore in Manhattan. The stationery section in the basement is pen and notebook heaven.

First, an adorable little notepad. Despite the French text on the cover, the notebook is Japanese, by Kyokuto. I love the double layer front cover, which consists of a clear plastic overlay with stripes in one direction, and then a lightweight paper cover underneath, with perpendicular stripes so you end up with a plaid effect. The size is perfectly pocketable (shown below next to a pocket size Moleskine for comparison.) Lined sheets inside with a box for the date. The paper is very smooth, so it feels great with my favorite fine point gel ink pen, but seemed a little slippery with fountain pens. Showthrough and bleed-through aren’t great.  But it’s super cute and a bargain at only $1.95!



Then there’s the “The” notebook by Pilot. A few years ago, I reviewed this notebook’s big brother, the “The II” notebook, which I purchased at a previous Kinokuniya visit. This one is smaller, but otherwise looks very similar, with a retro styled plastic cover and tabbed sections, as well as a narrow ribbon marker. I love the size, it is perfectly proportioned and fits nicely in my hand, and could easily be tucked into a pocket. The top of each page has a space for “theme” and date. Again, the notebook doesn’t open flat as easily as you’d think, despite the plastic flexi binding and stitched signatures. It just feels a bit resistant due to the way the spine is glued, I think. Again I haven’t done a full pen test, but the smooth cool white paper feels great with the Uniball and fountain pens, but the thinness makes it not ideal for showthrough and bleed-through. The plastic cover edges stick out more than I’d like, but otherwise it’s a very appealing notebook, and not too badly priced at $8.95.


I think they still stock these at Kinokuniya if you want to check them out for yourself.

Moleskine Monday: Marco Mazzoni

Some images of Moleskine sketchbooks from an interview with Marco Mazzoni at Hi Fructose, an art magazine. Amazing use of colored pencils…

What brand of sketchbook do you use?
In this moment I use a Moleskine. Is really perfect because I can crush pen or pencil on paper but I haven’t signs on the opposite page.

Read more at Inside the Sketchbook of Artist Marco Mazzoni | Hi-Fructose Magazine.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Vanessa

This week’s addict blogs at Mixed Martial Arts & Crafts, where she posted this photo of all the notebooks she is currently using for various purposes, including an idea capture journal, writing journal, and a page-a-day diary/logbook. She says she also has “a ton more that are all used and a few that are empty waiting to be cracked open.”


Read more at A Peek at My Notebook Collection for details on how she uses these various notebooks.

Tom Lipton’s Industrial Notebook

I recently came across a great post by Tom Lipton of Ox Tools, who designs and builds “special tools, instruments, and mechanical devices for the scientific, medical, product development, and metal working industries.” He has some great thoughts on why it’s important to keep a paper notebook, and the contents of his own notebooks are fascinating. Here’s some excerpts:

In the late eighties I started keeping an industrial notebook. I think the habit started when I was taking some math classes at the local community college and got rid of the standard school loose leaf binder. Later on the idea was further driven home when I was involved with several patent applications and the need for documentation of the projects and inventions I was working on. For me my personal notebooks are a place with no rules, where I can jot down a thought or explore an idea or simply keep track of something I’m working on. Even today with the fantastic electronic devices available to us I still find a need for the paper notebook format. One of the engineers I work with and I frequently discuss the difficulty of capturing all the different types of information that come into our possession and how we can organize them and keep track of the valuable bits. My industrial notebook is one just one part of my personal information storage and retrieval system.


We have quite a few electronic options available to us today, but I would argue that few have the simplicity, reliability and versatility of the lowly pen and paper. My version of the industrial notebook is just a simple continuum of thoughts and observations related to my current interests and projects that happens to end up on paper. The content of these notebooks cover every style of writing from notebook, logbook journal and diary to shopping lists for parts and materials. Officially each of these is a different type of note keeping with its own rules, format and content. I’m not much for the rules of the road with my note keeping. The things I put in notebooks are mainly for me, so whether someone else can follow what I’m up to is not as important as writing it down in the first place. Someone said, “The faintest pencil line is worth a thousand times more than the best memory.” Sometimes all I’m doing in my notebooks is talking to myself by asking questions in sketches and by the act of recording the dialog to paper for possible future use.

Read more (and see more photos) at Industrial Notebook

If you are interested in buying the kind of notebook he uses, it’s this:

National Brand Computation Notebook, 4 X 4 Quad, Brown, Green Paper, 11.75 x 9.25 Inches, 75 Sheets (43648).

Review and Giveaway: Victoria’s Journals

I had never heard of the brand Victoria’s Journals, so I was very happy to receive a huge assortment of them from the company, which is based in Hong Kong. Wow– lots of variety and some unusual designs. Let’s take a look! (To see larger versions of the thumbnails below, click through to see the original on Flickr.)

Here’s the whole collection:

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Big ones, small ones, elastic closures, magnetic closures, snap closures, colorful covers, plain covers. They really run the gamut! I’ve shown the various groupings below next to a pocket size Moleskine for size reference.

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I picked a couple favorites to review in more detail. First, a chunky pocket size notebook under the Copelle brand. You’ll also notice a similar black one in the photos above, in a larger size.

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I really like the size and shape and the uncovered cardboard cover. It’s reinforced with an extra layer so it’s quite sturdy. The binding is an unusual construction, designed so it opens flatter. There’s no inside pocket but you do have a ribbon marker, though it is glued into the back cover rather than into the spine of the notebook at the middle of the pages. This means it gets pulled out a bit whenever you open the back cover. The elastic closure on this notebook is also unique– it’s about an inch wide and seems very sturdy. Unfortunately it’s really awkward to use– not practical at all. I am seriously tempted to try to cut it off so I could actually use this notebook, as even tucking it around the back cover leaves an annoying bulge.


The pages inside have a dot grid, which does not go all the way to the edge of the page. The paper is nice and smooth and feels great with fine tip pens. I don’t know the paper weight but it feels more substantial than most, and my usual pen tests also bear that out– show-through was a little better than average, and bleed-through performance was great, with even the dreaded Super Sharpie not soaking through too much. I think fountain pen users will really like this paper. Another cool feature is that the last 8 pages of the notebook have blank, perforated pages, which are not only perforated at the gutter, but across the middle of the page.

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Very handy if you just want to give someone a phone number without wasting a whole page. Bottom line, I really love this notebook but I hope they redesign that big wide elastic!


Then we have this medium-size Venzi notebook.

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According to the paper band, this was made exclusively for the National Bookstore chain in the Philippines. This is very similar to a softcover Moleskine, but has lovely red-dyed edges and a matching red elastic. The cover has a nice feel, and the notebook is quite flexible. There is an expanding pocket in the back, but no ribbon marker. The paper inside is blank, in a creamy off-white. According to the label, it’s 70 GSM, and it feels a bit thin. The pen tests produced quite a lot of show-through, and the Accu-Liner and Super Sharpie bled through. The other thing I noticed about this notebook was an unusual smell, perhaps from the dye they use on the edges? I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, and I didn’t think it was a horrible odor, but it was pretty noticeable when I first opened the notebook. But otherwise, I quite liked the notebook as a nice basic softcover with a fun twist to the design. I’m not sure if the Venzi collection is available outside the Philippines but I would live to try more of them, as I am always looking for nice, basic Moleskine alternatives in my favorite 9×14 cm / 3.5 x 5.5″ size, and they have some intriguing options on their website, though they only seem to offer ruled pages.

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Of the other notebooks, the most appealing to me was a boxed one that is very similar to the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. A leather cover encloses 3 stitched notebooks, each meant to be used for a different purpose: Time has undated calendar pages, Work is lined, and Personal is blank. These titles are embossed into the covers of each cahier but so lightly that it’s very hard to see in the photos, or in person, for that matter. The notebook also comes with a page of stickers you can use to create tabbed pages.

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I also liked the look of the “Cahier d’Exercise” notebooks, which come in two sizes, though the stitched binding is a bit impractical as it prevents them from opening flat.

Victoria’s Journals are available in various retailers around the world (see their Where to Buy page). But of course I am also doing a big giveaway with these samples if you want a chance to try them for free!

I will select 4 lucky winners from entries received in the following ways:
On Twitter, tweet something containing  “Victoria’s Journals” and “@NotebookStories”, and follow  “@NotebookStories.

On Facebook, “like” the  Notebook Stories page , and post something containing the words “Victoria’s Journals” on the Notebook Stories wall.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Victoria’s Journals” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

On this post, comment about how much you want to try a Victoria’s Journal and what you’ll fill it with!

The deadline for entry is Friday September 6 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.

Tuli Kupferberg’s Notebooks

I liked the look of the notebooks in the image below, from a rare book dealer’s listing of the “Kupferberg and Topp Collection”:


The Kupferberg and Topp Collection reflects Tuli’s literary, musical, artistic, and political career, as well as Tuli and Sylvia’s publishing work with Birth Press and theatrical work with the Revolting Theater. The collection dates from the late 1930s to 2010.


If, like me, you’d never heard of Tuli Kupferberg, you can learn more about him here. Or you can just gaze at these notebooks and some of their contents at this link.