Category Archives: Markings

Notebook Addict of the Week (Again): The JournalCEO

This week’s repeat addict was featured about a year ago with my first ever video submission. Now she’s back again with another great video documenting her growing journal collection and some of the life experiences that have been documented in those journals. See more at TheJournalCEO – YouTube.

Here’s what the JournalCEO has to say:

“I just reached 7.5 years of a journaling anniversary, and took out my collection today.

These are my used journals. I have more blank journals than I do used journals, but these used journals span 7 years… and quite a ways up my wall. Somehow I was expecting my stack to be taller after 7 years, but this is it. Maybe I’ll have to add in the blank journal collection one day too.

There are a few photos of it at:


I love all those densely filled and collaged pages! Both the video and the photo of the stack are impressive. Thanks for keeping us up to date on your growing addiction, JournalCEO!

Notebook Addict of the Week: D Murphy

This week’s addict contacted me by email to share this photo:

d murphy notebooks addict

I love this collection– the almost architectural way they’re stacked and shelved, the consistency of notebook types and date/subject labeling. And many of them have a nice worn in look– not totally beat up, but that slightly dingy and soft look that comes from frequent use. And the sheer massiveness of the collection! I think I counted 136 notebooks! I’d love to know more about what’s inside…

I’m guessing most of these (aside from the composition books) are Moleskines, but some also look like they could be Markings, Piccadilly or softcover Miquelrius notebooks. There are some two-packs in the still-wrapped pile at top left that I think could be Clairefontaine, or perhaps Fabriano.  It’s fun trying to detect the subtle differences in a collection like this! Thank you D Murphy for sharing your addiction!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Baron Schwartz

This week’s addict blogs at xaprb, where he’s done an in-depth comparison of various notebooks to find the brand that works best for him.

Here are the candidates:

And here are the criteria:

So what do I want?

  • The size. It needs to be large enough to write on easily, leaving readable margins, without wasting a high percentage of the paper. It needs to be small enough to slip into a bag or hold in a hand with several other things; it should be neither bulky nor so small that it gets lost and slides to the bottom and gets all crumpled by other things.
  • The proportions. Too tall and skinny is bad; too short and wide is bad. Something fairly standard is best, like the usual A* paper proportions.
  • The thickness and number of pages. Enough to last a while. Not so many that it’s heavy or bulky in a messenger bag; not so many that if I lose it, a giant chunk of my life and professional notes is gone. There’s always some risk, but it needs to be balanced.
  • The type of cover. Rigid, thick covers waste space and add weight, as well as being difficult to pack in a carry-on bag. Something springy and thin, but substantial enough to help with writing, is best.
  • The binding. I write on both sides of the paper, and it needs to fold open easily and flat, be very durable, and not force me to write awkwardly when I’m writing in the center margin of the left-hand page. It should also not curl awkwardly when I’m near the first or the last page.
  • The closure. I’m not a big fan of elastic closures; they get in the way more than they help.
  • The paper quality. As I said, I write on both sides. It needs to resist bleed-through and be smooth and strong.
  • The ruling. I like ruled notebooks, but can do all right with blank. If there’s ruling, it needs to be pretty narrow. Nothing wastes more paper and annoys me more than too-wide ruling. Any ruling also shouldn’t force or encourage me to leave too much of a margin.
  • The index, table of contents, helper charts, page numbers, and so on. Some of these things are wonderful in moderation; a table of contents and page numbers, for example, are a delight. I can quickly index a notebook after using it, and it becomes immensely more useful for reference. Do I need 12 pages of conversion tables and timezone maps? Not really.
  • The bookmarks or page markers. I prefer a silken ribbon for journals, but for notebooks I actually prefer none; my favorite is these magnetic owl page markers.
  • The design. This is the most subjective and intangible thing of all. The design needs to be professional, a little bit creative, and inspiring. It should make me feel like an artist as well as an engineer. If I may stereotype for a moment, the Germans perhaps err on the side of being too mechanical, the Swiss can sometimes feel as if everything is meant to be a coffee-table conversation piece, and the Americans can be deathly boring. I want something that makes me feel light and nimble, practical, yet … a craftsman, somehow.

Is that really so much to ask?

Read lots more and find out which notebook won at Ultimate notebook and journal face-off at Xaprb.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Renee

This week’s addict emailed me a photo of her collection and says

“Since I work all day at my computer doing medical transcription, I usually prefer to get away from the computer at the end of the day and do my creative writing longhand in various journals (for the first drafts, anyway). The journals in this photo are the ones I haven’t used yet… or, well, _most_ of the ones I haven’t used yet, since I’ve gotten a few more since this photo was taken. 🙂 “

journals small

I think I see Paperblanks, Markings, and Piccadilly. I like the consistent color palette of this collection– though there are reds and blues and greens and browns, the tones seem to fit into the same family. They look very nice together, complementing the couch perfectly!

Thanks for sharing your addiction, Renee!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Chelcee

This week’s addict is Chelcee, who emailed me these photos of her notebook collection, with lots of information about how she uses them.
(Please note the lime green numbers in the lower left hand corners of the photos.)

A little about me, my name is Chelcee. I’m 21 and I’d very much consider myself a notebook addict. I’m a writer. I’ve been writing since I was about 12 years old, though I didn’t start doing it very seriously until I was about 17. I write all kinds of things, poems, songs, screenplays, stories, but I don’t plan on being someone who never lets anyone see my work. I don’t see myself as a personal writer (not that there’s anything wrong with that. I would just like for people to see my stuff, on the big screen hopefully) I never throw anything away. I still have things I had written when I was 12. It seems wasteful to me to take months to fill up a notebook just to throw it away, you know?
So onto the pictures.
1 – This is my collection of stuff I have currently filled. I have binders because I have A LOT of loose leaf paper. As you may be able to see, I really like composition books. I find them very versatile and because they are usually wide ruled, they fill up faster, which more or may not be a good or bad thing. I like filling them up, it makes me feel accomplished so I see the positive side of it generally. But I just discovered Five-Star makes college rule composition books and I’m in love with them.
2 – This is my collection of things I’m currently working in. I’m always writing more than one thing at a time. I used to put everything into one notebook but that became very disorganized and I couldn’t stand that so now I try to separate everything into different notebooks if I can. And I actually just discover the idea of labeling my notebooks… Don’t ask me why that never occurred to me years ago because I have no idea.
3 – This is all my stuff I’m currently working in laid out. Right now I’m not a huge fan of those flip up memo books. I didn’t know that until I bought a bunch of them though. I’m going to keep using them to see if they’ll grow on me. Its a colorful spread… I like color.
4 – This is a Markings by C.R. Gibson notebook. I got it at Wal-Mart for about 5 dollars. For the longest time I didn’t touch it because Its the nicest notebook I’ve ever had and I wasn’t sure what to write in it. But I finally picked it up and I take it with me everywhere. Its pretty sturdy, I’d say. I’ll definitely be buy more, maybe not of the same brand.
5 – Five-Star makes these mini composition books which are very cute but I don’t recommend them for everyday writing. They’re very stubborn and never want to lay down at all. I have to hold it flat to write in it. So I just use it for when I get ideas. It looks like a TV guide on the inside basically. I put the title of whatever the idea is if I have one and a brief summary under that. Since that’s all I use it for I don’t mind that it never wants to open.
6 – Five -Star also makes these. They’re called Fat Lil’ Notebooks, I believe. I use these for random notes, schedules, to-do lists and things like that. It goes everywhere with me.
7 – These are some of my latest notebooks and composition books. I really like stickers. I can’t draw so I like to decorate with stickers. Its important in my process of breaking in my new notebooks.
8 – Right now I’m working on finding some kind of order with the things that I write in. Currently I use things like this, with no margins to write songs and poetry in because I generally don’t rewrite those so I don’t make notes on them. Things with margins are for stories and screenplays because I make a lot of notes on those. But then I realized a lot of the notebooks I want in the future don’t have margins… So I might have to rethink that or just create my own margins.
9 – This is my stash of unused notebooks. I hope to get to them very soon.
Its not a huge collection but I’m working on that. The only reason it isn’t bigger is because I’m too broke to buy more notebooks other than composition books. But I have plans. You should see my Amazon wishlist. Its dedicated to journals and its currently 115 items long and always growing. That also doesn’t count the list in my head for all the notebooks at Wal-Mart, Office Depot, and Staples, I want.

I can’t wait to see this collection in a few more years, I’m sure it will grow by leaps and bounds! Thanks so much for sharing your addiction, Chelcee!

Notebooks in Your Car

Do you keep a notebook in your car? If so, where do you keep it? If you buy a Volkswagen CC, you can have a special place for it in the small driver’s-side glove compartment, as shown in their brochure:

The notebook looks like the Markings notebooks you can find at Staples and Target. For a kind of upscale car, you’d think they might have picked a fancier brand! Though it could also be a Guildhall, which might be more likely if they shoot their promotional photos in Europe where the car is built. Either way, I suppose it has the look they were going for with the stitched edge and brown leather-look cover that coordinates well with the dash upholstery. Can anyone identify the pen?

Notebook Addict of the Week: Bisonlady

This week’s addict emailed me a link to her Flickr photo stream, which includes these photos (and more) of her very large collection of journals. Wow:



Here’s what she has to say about them:

From the attic to various places in my bedroom: paper as far as the eye can see… I’ve always had a thing for paper and notebooks and, really, any kind of office supplies. I always have one or two notebooks on me at any given time. In eighth grade I carried around an ten-notebooks-high tower on top of my trapper keeper, with a notebook for each subject at school and each subject of my interest at the time. If I could only take five things with me on a deserted island, I’d pick four notebooks and one good pen. Notebooks notebooks notebooks. They’re my crack.


See more photos, with comments, on Flickr. Thanks for sharing, Bisonlady!


Review: Mead Journal from WalMart

I picked up this Mead notebook after a tip from a reader, who had noticed that they were available only at Wal-Mart. Though Mead is obviously a major brand that is available everywhere, it would appear that Wal-Mart asked them to come up with an inexpensive Moleskine-ish notebook that they could offer as an exclusive. I don’t have a Wal-Mart near where I live, but I was able to stop in one on my travels and find one of these to review!


The first thing I noticed was that this notebook is very much like the Markings notebook from Target that I used a couple of years ago, due to the cover material and the stitching around the edges.



Once you take off the paper band, there is no branding at all on the exterior, but inside you’ll find a space to write your name, and the Mead company info on the inside front cover.



Otherwise, the features are pretty typical– ribbon marker, elastic closure, and a pocket in the back. It has the nicer reinforced fold, rather than the all-paper pocket you find on the Piccadilly and a few other notebook brands.


The Mead notebook opens pretty flat, though it was a bit stiff from being new. Though I’ve always suspected that the Markings notebooks and the Guildhall notebooks and now this Mead notebook might be identical other than their branding, this notebook definitely does not bend all the way back like the Guildhall does (see the review at Black Cover). Hopefully it won’t split from its covers after being used, as my Markings notebook did.


Another key difference that distinguishes this Mead notebook is the color of the lines within–they’re brown! The paper has a creamy color, and the brown lines make the page seem very warm compared to the cool grey lines found in the Moleskine shown behind in the 2nd photo below.



As for the paper, it’s fine– all my pens gave a nice, smooth writing experience without any feathering, though I would say there was a little more show-through than average. The paper is acid-free.



I paid $5.99 for this notebook and I’d say it’s a great value compared to other brands. Wal-Mart didn’t have much stock when I was there, so I don’t know if they offer squared or unlined versions or other sizes, but this size and style also came in a black cover. If you don’t mind buying yet another made-in-China product at Wal-Mart, this notebook is well worth a try.


black notebooks3black notebooks1black notebooks2

As for the other kind of Black Friday, if you can’t handle visiting stores today, do your holiday shopping online using these links and a small commission from your purchases will help support this site:

Notebook Stories Store — my collection of notebooks and other favorites available via Amazon

Amazon — everything else at Amazon

Blick Art Materials — a great selection of journals, sketchbooks and other art supplies, often at discounted prices. The offer FREE SHIPPING on orders totaling $200 or more– and below $200 it’s a flat rate of $6.95 regardless of the order size.

Thanks, and happy holidays!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Che Moleman

Che Moleman’s images often seem to pop up when I’m looking at Moleskine-tagged photos on Flickr. His collection goes beyond Moleskines, though, as you can see below and in other images in his photostream: