Notebook Addict of the Week: Carley

This week’s addict emailed me a wonderful essay on why she loves notebooks, and how writing in them inspires her creativity. Here’s some photos of some of her notebooks:


“I guess you could say that I’m a notebook addict. My current favourite are Paperblanks which I mainly use as Writing Notebooks and Journals. I’ve always loved buying beautiful stationery and notebooks for school or work, but it wasn’t until about a couple years ago that my obsession with notebooks really began to take root. I’ve always loved writing and a couple of years ago I made a New Year’s resolution to write regularly and write down my ideas as they came to me instead of letting them slip away, in the hope that I might finally find the courage to write that novel. And it’s the only resolution, with the exception to not biting my nails, that I’ve stuck to. A resolution that kinda became a compulsion. I buy notebooks all the time because I know that I’ll quickly fill them up, sometimes I’ll fill one in a few days, others in a few months. And let’s face it, you can never have too many notebooks. If anything, I don’t have enough.

I love notebooks, the crisp cool feel of the page, and that slight musky earthy scent. It’s that new book smell. I could breathe it in all day. Between the fresh, blank, crisp pages, and that new book smell lies the promise of something great; that new page is my territory, my blank canvas or unused putty to shape and mould as I like. It’s on these pages that I get to draft new worlds.

I like to be organised especially when it comes to my writing and my notebooks help me do this. I write down my ideas for stories or any piece of dialogue or description that comes into my head. It started as being a way to organise my thoughts, and take note of anything I would probably have forgotten later on. Now I have twenty one notebooks filled with ideas and the ideas are even colour coded by order of preference and divided so that the front contains story ideas, and the back has random snippets of dialogue, description, or research.

I love writing in notebooks because I love the way my hand flows across the smooth paper (something you could never experience with a computer). I love watching the way the thoughts in my head start to come alive on the page. Mostly I love that the more that I write up the idea, the more inspired I become. The story starts to shape itself. I love feeling inspired. It’s one of the best feelings in the world; that feeling that you can do something, and I get that feeling almost every day. It is amazing.

I have idea notebooks. I have notebooks for random stuff, quotes, writing, words of the day, weather, characters, future titles, current projects, poems, book reviews or thoughts, and poetry I like. The list goes on. Sadly, the oldest notebook I have only dates back to 2011.

I only attached the pics of my Idea Journals because I have so many notebooks buried in various drawers and on my shelves, and I don’t think I could fit them all into one pic.”

Pendleton Notebooks

I love the Pendleton designs on these! Very cute.


See more at Pendleton Notebooks Giveaway – BOOOOOOOM! – CREATE INSPIRE COMMUNITY ART DESIGN MUSIC FILM PHOTO PROJECTS. (Giveaway has ended, but you can buy at Chronicle’s website or on Amazon.)

Giveaway: Five 2015 Leuchtturm Planners!

Our friends at LoveNotebooks have an exciting giveaway offer for you: 2015 Leuchtturm Planners! At the LoveNotebooks blog, you can read their Top 10 Reasons to use a Leuchtturm Planner in 2015, the first 3 of which are below:


1. Quality. Their motto says it all, “details make all the difference”. Leuchtturm has designed their notebooks with careful consideration, from the strong cover that is easily cleaned, the thread bound binding to all of the little extras (think, a rainbow of colors, styles and stickers…yes, stickers).
2. Selection. Planners come in both daily and weekly formats and in 4 different layouts;

  • horizontal – week over two pages Monday – Wednesday on the left page, and Thursday – Sunday on the right page
  • vertical – week over two pages one vertical column for each weekday and one column for the weekend
  • verso – 7 days on the left page, full page for notes on the right page
  • daily – an entire page for each working day

2015 Leuchtturm planners, available in daily & weekly and 4 layouts; horizontal, verso, vertical and daily


3. Sizes. Leuchtturm offers three sizes (master, large and pocket) in both daily and weekly formats and all 4 of the layouts.

Read the other 7 reasons at the LoveNotebooks blog and in their online store. They had to unwrap a bunch of planners to take all those photos, and now they’re giving them away! The planners are unused and in like-new condition except that they don’t have the shrinkwrap.

More photos:

LT29705 LT29712 LT30114 LT30350 LT31401

LoveNotebooks will give away the planners to 5 randomly selected winners who enter in the following ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Leuchtturm 2015 planner @lovenotebooks @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @lovenotebooks.

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the LoveNotebooks page and post something containing the words “Leuchtturm 2015 planner” on the Notebook Stories page or the LoveNotebooks page.

Leave a comment on this LoveNotebooks blog post: Top 10 Reasons to use a Leuchtturm Planner in 2015.  [UPDATE 8/27, 6:30pm: the commenting seems to be broken on the LoveNotebooks blog right now, so please check back later and use the other entry methods in the meantime!]

The deadline for entry is Friday September 5, 2014 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner. Please allow a couple of weeks for me to check all the entries and determine the winners.

Review: Paper Republic Grand Voyageur

I reviewed a beautiful Paper Republic notebook over a year ago– that one was a small hardcover notebook with an elegant cover pattern. Now Paper Republic has branched off into something quite different, but also rather elegant: the Grand Voyageur travel notebook.

The style of this notebook is hardly unique– like the Midori Traveler’s Notebook and Pelle Journal, the Grand Voyageur is a leather cover with elastic bands that hold in smaller staple-bound or stitched notebooks, all held together with a horizontal elastic closure. The Grand Voyageur comes in a lovely gift box, and the minute you open it, you’ll notice the wonderful smell of real leather. I almost hate to review this notebook before using it for several months, because it’s made of the kind of rich, thick leather that should break in and soften and darken in color over time, developing a patina that no brand-new item can ever imitate.
The leather is Italian cow leather, vegetable-tanned without chemicals and hand -cut in Vienna, Austria.


The cover is designed to hold 2 notebooks, plus a passport and a pen, according to the packaging. There is no separate loop for a passport and pen, but there would be enough room within the cover to tuck them in along with the notebooks that are included.


The inner notebooks are a bit different in shape from the typical Field Notes or Moleskine Cahier format– these are about 4 x 5.5″, but standard 3.5 x 5.5″ notebooks would also fit. Shown below with a pocket Moleskine for size comparison.


The included Paper Republic notebooks were in two different colors, one with lined paper and one with plain. The paper is creamy and smooth and felt good to write on, with pretty typical show-through and bleed-through. Fountain pens feathered a bit.


Black and red covers are also available, as is a larger size. This pocket size costs 40 euros, and the large is 60 euros, so you’ll be making a bit of an investment, but the Grand Voyageur is a sturdy, refillable cover that you should be able to use for many years.

Bush Smarts Field Journal

This is cute, and it comes in a nice little bag, but seems to just be a medium sized, cardboard cover, relatively thin notebook with a stitched binding… so doesn’t $45 seem really steep??

Tan Field Journal
Whenever you’re ready to write or sketch in the bush or the backyard, you won’t be without pencil and paper. Stash it in its Cuben® sack and you’ve got a windproof, waterproof and UV-resistant kit ready to record your greatest adventures<
5.75in × 4.25in $45


Field Journal Tan

Buy at Bush Smarts – Field Journal.

My Inventory of Spare Notebooks

As you might imagine, I have a lot of notebooks stashed in various places. I have boxes of them under beds and in cabinets and in drawers. They are at home and at the office. They are pretty much everywhere! Lots of them are old ones that I have used. Lots of them are new ones that I have not used. Because of this blog, I have a number of notebooks that I never intend to use, though I do try to give a lot of those away. But what about the ones that I do intend to use? I had kind of lost track of how many I had squirreled away, so I decided to get a handle on it. Hint: there are a lot!

I am rather anxious about running out of notebooks that meet my criteria for regular daily use. What if they just stop making ones I like? It could happen. And what about Moleskine’s decline in quality? I’ve been so dismayed at the way they make their notebooks now that I’ve been buying up older ones whenever I spot good ones. For a notebook to make the cut as a daily companion, it has to be approximately 3.5 x 5.5″ or smaller, with plain, dot grid or squared paper. It has to feel good to write in, and feel good to hold. I prefer that the cover be plain, but I’m open to variations as long as the overall aesthetics are pleasing. In addition to the “daily use” notebooks, I am also including the kinds of sketchbooks that I tend to use regularly for assorted drawing and painting, which have to be the same size, with sturdy plain paper. (I am not counting larger sketchbooks, which I do sometimes use, but much more rarely, so I don’t stock up on them much.) After going through my various piles, here’s my current inventory of notebooks with potential for daily use and regular sketching:

  • 20 squared hardcover Moleskines
  • 2 plain hardcover Moleskines
  • 15 Moleskine sketchbooks
  • 2 HandBook Artist Journals
  • 36 assorted other hardcover or softcover notebooks from other brands, including Piccadilly, Pen & Ink and others
  • 37 assorted staple-bound or stitched-spine cahier-style notebooks, from brands such as Moleskine, Field Notes, Doane Paper, Calepino, etc.

I was surprised that I only had 2 unused HandBooks left, as I had quite a few of those at one point. But the main thing that struck me after compiling this list is that I need to start using those cahiers more! I tried to use one for household notes like room measurements and furniture measurements at one point, thinking it would be helpful when shopping for some new furniture, but that project sort of fizzled out. I toy with the idea of using these small notebooks for single subjects or projects, or for drawing and doodling. They are lightweight and easy to carry, so I keep thinking I should be using them for listmaking, or for sketching when I don’t want to carry a daily notes notebook plus another hardcover sketchbook. I could even try carrying a few at a time bundled into a Traveler’s Notebook-style cover. I could be stretching out the lifespan of my nice old Moleskines if I used more of these cahiers.

Since I tend to use about 4-6 notebooks a year on average, including sketchbooks, the 75 non-cahier spares I currently have may only last about 12 years, or until I am about 57 years old. God forbid that I run out of good notebooks just a few years before I’m ready to retire!!! And I am very healthy (knock on wood) and have a family history of longevity, so I may need notebooks until I’m in my early to mid 90s. I can’t just say “oh, I’m sure I’ll have enough.” Proper planning is key. If my usage shifted to 2-3 full-size notebooks and 1 cahier a year, I’d be all set for about 30 years, til I’ll be 75. Assuming I keep blogging and paying attention to new notebooks that hit the market, I am likely to add some other acceptable notebooks to my collection during that time, so I may not have a shortfall until I’m even older. It still makes me a little nervous to imagine living out the final years of my life with only inferior notebooks to scribble in… and you always hear horror stories about people’s stuff being stolen when they’re in nursing homes… so I guess I will just have to keep collecting more spare notebooks to get me through!


Notebook Addict of the Week: John

This week’s addict is a writer who has challenged himself to write a million words this year, including typed on the computer and handwritten in notebooks. I think John is doing pretty well at reaching his goal, based on his website and these photos of his notebook collection:

DSCN0496DSCN0498DSCN0529On the Shelf

I’ve always written, since I was very young, it was a way for me to get the word in my head out of my head and somewhere else so I had space for more words to get in. My first notebooks were the old school essay books and Black’n’red when the milk round started paying because they lasted so long (the A5 and A6 books in the pictures are both more than twenty five years old). I was introduced to Moleskine by a friend in 2003 and began to understand that I wasn’t the only one out there who appreciated a good notebook, but for me, they need to have something in them, it’s like a glass, it’s function is to carry something, it wasn’t made to be empty. Over the years I’ve collected all manner of notebooks and my family bring me new notebooks from wherever they were at the time (I’m an easy buy at birthdays), from the metal and leather bound books from Italy to the gigantic diaries from Holland, and I never leave home without one, sometimes two with me.
I do a lot of typing these days, as my writing speed simply can’t compete with sixty words a minute without getting scrappy and i like things to be neat. But in recent times (especially with the million word challenge), I find that I can do my day job and hand write a thousand or so words a day to help in the challenge and also keep up with my handwriting skills. In the last twenty days, there’s been a good sixty pages filled in my current book (the Leuchtturm has been a favourite for some time, it appeals to my OCD on indexes and numbered pages), and at this rate I’ll be going through the other books soon.

There are lots more photos of John’s notebooks in this Flickr album. John’s description of all the photos is below:

The Image “On the shelf” comprises all the notebooks in order from left to right. Moleskine A4 lined, Rymans A4 pad, BlackNRed A4 decorated personally, Brepols Saturnus 2 pages to a day Diary, Brepols Saturnus day to a page diary, Brittanicus book in leather binding, Paperblanks quarto size notebook, Semicolon A5 book, WHSmiths own A5 book, then A5 notebook, then day to page A5 diary, BlackNRed A5 book, Rymans decorated A5 spiral book, Wild and Wolf A5 notebook, Asda A5 notebook, Moleskin Large day to page diary, Marvel A5 notebook, 3 x Moleskine, 3 x Guildhall, 2 x Leuchtturm notebooks, Metal backed book from Italy, Collins A6 day to page diary, Paperchase Gridded A6 notebook.

Across the Top left to right and top to bottom, 2 x Penshop end of line leather bound blank pads, 1 x BlackNRed A6 notebook, 1 x a6 bound recycled paper notebook, 1 x leather bound A6 book from Italy with Fleur De Lys cover.

The Image MGL comprises (Left to right) Both the Leuchtturm notebooks, all three Guildhall, and both Moleskine notebooks, those with discolourations are the ones that have been used up the most, I find the edges of the page become darker the more they get used.

Images 496 to 501 are the flat images of the notebooks from the first image.

502 and 503 are the Brittanicus notebook, a thick pad of paper with beautiful maps on the bookmark and the cover, very good for putting maps together on.

504 is the two pages to a day Brepols Saturnus diary, huge at 33 cms tall and with enough space in them for any amount of writing. Sadly not available in England 🙁 You have to go abroad for these.

505 is the insides of the SemiKolon book, the band on it snapped within days of getting it which was a real shame, but the paper inside is spectacular and comes in all different types within the same book.

506 is an end of line book from the pen shop, using leather bindings around aged looking paper, very atmospheric but I haven’t found a use for it yet.

507 to 517 are the Moleskin, Guildhall, and Leuchtturm notebooks, the Leuchtturm are the ones I presently use because the paper is of superior quality and the index appeals to my OCD…

518 and 519 are the string and leather bound recycled paper book, used as a journal for a character in a novel, the journal isn’t finished yet, even if the book is.

520 and 521 are a beautiful leather bound notebook my family brought me back from italy while they were on holiday, the paper is some of the best I’ve ever known, but the book isn’t mass produced and I’ve been unable to find another one since then.

522 to 525 are of a plain book with metal covers that was brought back at the same time as the leather book, very few pages and the paper is not good quality, but it is intriguing to write in.

526 to 530 are different images of the collection to give some idea of scale 🙂


Big thanks to John for sharing his addiction! You can read more from him at

Orlando Ribeiro’s Field Notebooks

Gorgeous old notebooks! These belonged to a Portuguese historian and geographer named Orlando Ribeiro.


Read and see more at  Famous Sketchbooks: Orlando Ribeiro’s Field Notebooks | Endpaper: The Paperblanks Blog.

Moleskine Monday: More on City Notebooks

In a comment to my recent post about Moleskine City Notebooks, someone asked for more photos of what’s inside. Here’s a few, plus a shot of my collection:


moleskinecity1 moleskinecity2 moleskinecity3 moleskinecity4 moleskinecity5

School Supplies Around the World

An interesting article about the different types of school supplies typically used by students in various countries, including, of course, a few notebooks. In Norway, this “kladblok” is typical:

And here are some notebooks used in a French school:

Read more at School supplies used by students around the world.