Notebook Addict of the Week: LizAnne

This week’s addict emailed me some great photos of her collection, with her own notebook story going along with them:

I’ve been following your blog for a little over six months now. I was so tickled to find a community of notebook lovers just like me.
I think I’m a great candidate for Addict of the Week! I’ve been waiting until the Christmas holiday to send you pictures of my collection, as I only had half of my collection with me here in San Francisco where I live now. The rest of my journals were in my parents’ house in Tulsa, OK where I grew up. I recently returned from the holidays with them, and I flew the rest of my collection back with me! It’s really neat to see all the books together.
The first photo I’ve attached is all my journals in order of use. (Aside from the top row which are “miscellaneous use” notebooks –  my story notebook, a journal my mom wrote to me as a baby, two ballet-only journals, my teddy bear journal full of quotes, my black spiral sketchbook full of cartoons, my pink current five year journal on top of the one I received as a Christmas gift, my “Keep Calm and Carry On” journal from my best friend that I used as a wedding planner last year, and finally a blank journal my dad gave me for Christmas.)
When I was six, my Dad bought me the yellow “My First Diary” on a random trip to the mall. Little did we know how much I would love writing in a diary! I started that diary on 8/23/1990 and have not stopped since!
The second and third photos are from my first diary. I wasn’t writing very much when I started journal keeping so I drew pictures and sometimes would fill in sentences my mom would write in for me.



I went through a brief phase where I named my diary as seen in the fourth picture. I read and was greatly inspired by “Zlata’s Diary” written by a young girl in Sarajevo.

At the beginning of my journal keeping I would happen upon journal after journal I just HAD to have. I would then lose interest in finishing the journal I was writing in. Somewhere in the blue and orange sun journal I decided that I would never buy a journal until I’d finished the one I was currently using. This has been a lovely ritual for me. It heightens the sense of anticipation in purchasing a new journal. I love to spend minutes on end opening and holding each potential new journal. And that moment I walk out of the store holding my new journal; it’s magical!

I have been interested in collecting quotes for quite a while, in each new journal I write one that seems extra relevant to my current life on the first page. The fifth picture I’ve attached is my current journal’s quote.
Last but not least, I’ve attached a journal entry from July 2013. You can see I’ve been plotting my campaign for Notebook Addict of the Week for months now!
Thanks so much for your wonderful blog! Here’s to a happy New Year full of notebooks!

A couple more photos of the collection:


It’s a great assortment, and I love the stories about the childhood roots of her love for notebooks. Thanks for sharing your addiction, LizAnne!

Jamie Bissonnette’s Notebooks

These are some pretty well-used kitchen notebooks, belonging to Boston chef Jamie Bissonnette. They look like they’ve done some hard time in a hot kitchen!

Read more at The Kitchen Spy: A Look Inside Jamie Bissonnette’s South End Pad | Boston Magazine.

Notebook Sightings

Some of the notebooks I’ve spotted on recent shopping trips, first these “Carnets de Poche” at a gift shop in Bethesda, MD. They’re a bit large to really fit in your poche, perhaps, but rather cute nonetheless, with a nice mix of papers inside:

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I was quite intrigued by these Mead planners I saw at Staples. They have an attractive Moleskine-ish look to them on the outside, but with a bit more design and branding to it. Inside, the pages offer a couple different planner layouts, either a notebook with some monthly calendar pages, or a 2 day per page planner. I love that they’ve used the Moleskine format and styling, though I find the inner pages to be a bit much with all that orange and grey. And I think these pocket-size planners were $15.95 each, which seemed a bit pricy, though not any worse than Moleskine. (The price is lower on their website, so perhaps what I saw was a mistake. $12.99-13.99 seems more in line.) These “At a Glance” planners have been around forever, or at least it seems that way, but they always used to look kind of cheesy and downmarket, so I guess someone at Mead decided to redesign them in line with current notebook trends. (The old-style flimsy-covered ones with a wire-o binding are still around too. Perhaps someone will re-introduce them as a retro-hip notebook style one of these days!)

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At Lee’s Art Supply in Manhattan, I spotted these nice cahier-style Fabriano EcoQua notebooks, in a colorful 4-pack:

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Lee’s also had a range of notebooks made with translucent vellum paper, including this pocket sized one:

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How about you? Have you spotted any new, unique or unusual notebooks lately?

Questions from Readers

Once again, I’m rounding up some questions from various readers who are in search of their perfect notebook. Help them if you can by leaving a comment!
From Landon: I really like the filofax pocket cover you showed a couple of years ago. I have been looking for something exactly like that for a long time. Do you know anyone who makes them similar to the one you have pictured?

I think he means this one below (details in this post), and I wish I did know where you could buy one like it today! I haven’t seen anything even close in years. Filofax made an extra-slim notebook a few years ago, but the leather wasn’t as nice, and they no longer seem to produce it.

From Diana: Looking for an old steno notebook with Gregg shorthand symbols on it

Not sure about this, eBay might be the best source. None of the current steno notebooks I’ve seen seem to include a reference chart of symbols.

From Jane: I was wondering if you happen to know of a cheaper alternative to an Xtra Small Moleskine.
Grandluxe and Leuchtturm both make extra small notebooks. Leuchtturm’s seem to have the same $9.95 suggested retail price as Moleskine. The Grandluxe Monologue notebook prices vary on Amazon– sometimes more, sometimes slightly less. They are harder to find in stores in the US. Coincidentally, a reader named Todd recently wrote to me with some tips on finding smaller notebooks, recommending this EDC Forum thread, which led him to the Scully Planner. It’s not cheap, but it’s refillable.
From Sarah: I’m looking for an A5 notebook with blank or dotted pages that are numbered. I know the Leuchtturm pages are numbered, but I’m wondering if they work with Micron Pigma pens (my preferred pen). I’ve seen various reviews. I want a notebook I can use with the Micron pen and not worry about drying times or using both sides of the paper. Any idea if Leuchtturm would work? Or an alternative?
I haven’t tested a Leuchtturm recently, and when I reviewed one a few years ago, I only tested a Pigma brush pen. The notebook I reviewed had a lot of show-through, but I’d heard they upgraded the paper since then. Maybe other Leuchtturm  users can chime in here?
From Edward: A few years ago I bought a simple black notebook. I am about to fill mine up, and can’t recall where I purchased it. I have been searching the internet, which is how I found your site, and was hoping you might have an idea of where it is from.
Description: Hard Smooth Cover
Color: Black
Paper: Unruled, Very White, and the paper is high quality & thick
Cover Size: 8 1/2″ x5 5/8″
Page size: Roughly, 8 1/4″ x5″
 I think the most unique thing about this notebook is that it came with a single page of glossy, lined paper, which can be inserted behind a page in the notebook, as a guide for writing clean, straight lines.
The only notebook I can think of that comes with an extra sheet of paper like that is the Emilio Braga notebook I bought in Portugal, reviewed here. I feel like I’ve seen others that had it, but I can’t remember where!
From Drew: I was looking to get a recommendation for a notebook. I’m hoping for something with a significant number of pages, rather large, ruled or gridded, with either a spiral spine or a spine that allows the book to stay open on a given page. I was thinking about getting an XL Rollbahn notebook (10.25 x 8; 180 pages). Do you have any ideas?
This is another tricky one, as most of the notebooks I can think of are smaller and thicker, or larger but with fewer pages, or they are sketchbooks with unlined pages. Maybe some of Miquelrius’s notebooks would fit the bill, though? They have an academic notebook with 250 sheets, among other MR Evolution notebooks that all seem to have over 200 sheets. The Doane Paper Large Idea Journal is also worth checking out– it’s only got 100 sheets, but it feels very substantial and has a nice wire-o binding. I use one at the office and love it!
From Alex: I have a question about a seemingly hard to find sketchbook. As an architect and furniture designer, I am looking for a dot grid sketchbook with heavy weight paper that will prevent showthrough. I use the Leuchtturm large size (5.75” x 8.25”; 80 gsm) but my ink drawings show through so I have to skip every other page for the drawings to be legible. It’s also too small for large drawings. I am considering the Leuchtturm master size which has a dot grid and 100 gsm paper. I am not sure if that is heavy enough. Do you know of a large format (bigger is better) sketchbook with dot grid paper in the 125-150 gsm range?
The only thing I can think of to recommend are Rhodia pads and webnotebooks, as they have dot grid options and the paper is usually good for showthrough. You can’t always judge by gsm alone, as other factors about the paper can affect showthrough and bleedthrough.
Thanks for all your emails and sorry I can’t always answer them. Let’s hope our readers can help!

Moleskine Monday: Nomi Chi’s Sketchbook

Nomi Chi is an illustrator and tattoo artist in Vancouver. Here’s the outside of a Moleskine sketchbook she filled while traveling over the past year:

And here’s just one of the amazing pages from inside:

See more at Nomi Chi: Sketchbook update II: The moleskine edition..

Notebook Addict of the Week (again): Shaynie

This week’s addict is another repeat. Shaynie was featured here back in April 2011, but she’s recently emailed me these up to date photos of her current collection:

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Shaynie says “I think I have around 40, currently, and this is from over a decade of journaling. Here is a post I did about it:
That is quite a stack! And her blog about journaling is great, there are some inspiring ideas that anyone can make use of.

Thanks for sharing your addiction again, Shaynie!

Makr Sketchbook

This is very ingenious– finally someone figured out a way to add a pen loop to a notebook without actually adding anything!


Perhaps having to un-do 2 elastics would get tiresome after a while, but I still think it’s clever!

For sale at Westerlind: Makr – Sketchbook.

UPDATE: Looks like it’s not available at Westerlind anymore but you can get one here.

Show Lifehacker Your Paper Notebook

Lifehacker recently asked readers to do some show and tell with their notebooks:

“Sometimes, there’s just no substitute for the flexibility that paper notebooks offer. Maybe that’s just how you keep notes or maybe your paper notebook is a holding place on the way to digital storage. Either way, we’d like to see your favorite paper notebook and whatever tips and tricks you use to make it better.”

The comments and photos attached show off a wide variety of notebooks and uses:

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See more at Show Us Your Paper Notebook.

A Tiny Pocket Sketchbook

I love these tiny little sketchbook pages, made by Juan Casini, a graphic designer and illustrator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

He describes these as “Drawings and compositions with recicled materials and letraset typefaces, made during trips and vacations.”

See more at Pocket Sketchbook. He’s also got some more great sketchbook art at Sauce Sketchbook, an example shown below:


Martin Luther King Jr.’s Blue Spiral Notebook

Since today is the Martin Luther King holiday, it crossed my mind to wonder if I could find any photos of notebooks he used… and sure enough, I did! And it’s quite wonderful.

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As described on the King Center’s website:

“Contained in this notebook is a draft of Dr. King’s statement to Judge James E. Webb following his arrest during the Rich’s Magnolia Tea Room Sit-In. There is also an outline of a letter to female students who were arrested during the sit-in. On other pages a child practices handwriting.”

See the original image and other documents in the digital archive of the King Center at Blue Spiral Notebook | The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.