Category Archives: Piccadilly

Moleskine Monday: My Collection

I haven’t done many Moleskine Monday posts lately… and it’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my stash of spare Moleskines. For those who haven’t read other posts where I’ve talked about how I feel about the Moleskine brand, here’s an abbreviated version:

Late 1990s/early 2000’s— not too long after Modo e Modo introduces them, I start seeing Moleskines in stores, and receive a pocket Sketchbook as a gift. It re-awakens my slightly dormant notebook fetish and I start using them for occasional notes and drawings. But I’m not totally obsessed because I’m still really into Palm Pilots. During this period I think I once bought 2 sketchbooks while on a 3-week business trip, and it made me feel like a crazy hoarder.

Mid-late 2000’s— the softcover Moleskines are introduced and for some reason, I fall head over heels in love with the pocket size squared softcover. It’s the first notebook I’ve truly filled from cover to cover. I start this blog and allow myself to wallow in full-on notebook adoration. (Palm Pilots are over, the iPhone isn’t as exciting, and I turn back to notebooks to satisfy my life-long need to fondle something small and rectangular.) My love affair with the softcover fades, but I am using and buying lots of hardcover Moleskines and other similar notebooks such as Piccadilly, HandBook Artist Journal, and the many others I’ve written about here. The Moleskine brand has exploded. They’re everywhere. They’ve become a bit of a cliché, perhaps, but I still love them. I settle into a habit of simultaneously using a pocket squared or plain notebook for daily list-making and journaling, and a pocket sketchbook for drawing and watercolors. (My other routine notebook is a small Moleskine cahier or Field Notes that I use for my French class.) At some point during this period, they stop putting the Modo e Modo name on them, and start using only “Moleskine” in all their branding. They also change their US distributor from Kikkerland, who used to be mentioned on the packaging, to Chronicle, who is not. At this time, I maybe stockpile half a dozen Moleskines, a few Piccadillies, and a couple of HandBook Artist Journals.

Early 2010’s— Moleskine’s rapid growth seems to have led to declines in quality and changes in how they’re made. They are introducing new products at a dizzying pace and focusing more on bags and wallets than notebooks. There’s too much cover overhang, they’re less refined, the paper is thinner– they’re just not as nice. But there still isn’t any other brand that quite meets all my preferences for daily notebooks. When I buy Moleskines in a store, it’s only after inspecting them very carefully to see if they are good ones. Sometimes I find older stock from batches that were better made. I would guess that at this point, I might have hit about 20 unused Moleskines stashed for future use.

Mid- 2010’s— I can’t find good Moleskines in stores anymore.  I have to send in quality complaints about a couple of notebooks ordered online– the company sends replacements, but they aren’t much better. I’ve had it. In February 2014, I post Moleskine Monday: I May Never Buy a New Moleskine Again. But I also turn to the internet and start searching for older stock that still has the Modo e Modo name on it, and once in a while, I hit the jackpot, especially on eBay. I quickly realize that I can only buy Moleskines if I see a photo of the actual notebook, not a standard product shot which may be out of date. Whenever I see the older-looking belly-bands (someday I’ll do a post on how their design has evolved over the years), I snap them up if I can get them for a less-than-outrageous price. I start building up my stash of spares, which by August 2014 includes 37 assorted Moleskines that I would potentially use as everyday notebooks/sketchbooks. After a while, it’s grown quite large and I start trying to track my inventory in a spreadsheet, but I don’t do a great job keeping it up to date. Last time I updated the spreadsheet, the total count was 132. I decide to cut back a bit on my eBay browsing, as I’m running out of room to store all my notebooks!

Now— below are some photos of my stash, which is stored in shoe boxes, some under-bed plastic boxes, and in piles on shelves. Whenever I look at some of the really nice old ones with their perfect corners, I get all pissed off all over again, knowing that somebody once figured out how to make the perfect notebook and then they turned it into crap!

 

I also had a whole drawer-full in my office, until I started working from home. I’m counting just my actual Moleskine branded notebooks for the purposes of today’s post, though I also have a bunch of similar non-Moleskine notebooks earmarked for potential daily usage someday (as opposed to things that are fun to have in my collection, but not planned to be used). Here’s the count:

56 pocket sketchbooks. (I go through about 3-4 a year.)

55 pocket squared (I go through about 3-4 a year.)

12 pocket plain

30 pocket ruled (I normally don’t like ruled notebooks but on a couple of occasions I bought large lots of mixed paper styles. Since they are old ones with good paper and good overall quality, I’m willing to use one occasionally just to stretch out the lifespan of my inventory.)

Other pocket size: 1 storyboard, 1 music, 1 info book, 1 plain softcover, 1 address, 2 Japanese album, 2 ruled reporter, 1 squared reporter

Large size: 1 Voyageur, 1 large sketchbook, 1 large squared

I have not counted any “cahier” or Volant thin notebooks, as I have a few of those mixed in with various Field Notes and other similar stapled or stitched-spine notebooks. But the quantity is very small, just a few I’ve been given.

A few of the sketchbook, squared and plain ones are more recent models that I will use as a last resort. The info book is all crooked and defective, and I’m not quite sure why I’m even keeping it. But the count ends up at over 166 Moleskines, over 150 of which I am likely to potentially use on a day to day basis. (I haven’t counted the sketchbook and squared notebooks I am using now, or any of the dozens I’ve already filled.)

So… I know I’m a little crazy. My partner, who has to live with notebooks constantly arriving in the mail and taking up way too much of our limited space, definitely thinks I’m a little crazy (but also knows there are far worse vices). But the question remains, is it enough? 56 sketchbooks divided by 3 a year is a little less than 19 years, and I’ll only be about 67 years old at that point. The squared ones, if extended with the plain and ruled notebooks, will last up to 32 years, when I’ll be 81. I can probably ease off buying any more of those (unless I spot any really good cheap ones!) but I think I’m allowed to buy some more sketchbooks. Yay!

 

Notebook Addict of the Week: Amanda

This week’s addict emailed me the photo below and says:

“In the interest of going through and minimizing clutter, I’ve put myself on a one year notebook buying moratorium. I won’t be parting with any of them, but won’t be adding anymore either. I use them for a variety of things- lists, journals, reminders, and just have some as unknowns and enjoy all of their disparate and aesthetic qualities.”

Go a whole year without buying a notebook!?! Well, if one must, a large, colorful collection like this one is a good consolation!

Thanks for sharing your addiction, Amanda!

Cheap Notebooks at Barnes & Noble

Spotted at a B&N: bargain priced Piccadilly notebooks (medium size only) and a prompted journal/sketchbook, obviously modeled on Wreck This Journal. These were in the bargain book section, along with some other low-priced sketchbooks and journals, separate from the stationery/art supply/full-priced journal section of the store.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Toby

This week’s addict tweeted a photo of his collection with the note

“so, this is what I had in arm’s reach today; decided to spread it out and see. 🙂 “

I love this collection! There’s a little of everything– Rhodia, Doane Paper, Whitelines, Federal Supply Service military notebooks, Furrow Books (a Kickstarter project), Piccadilly, Apica and probably quite a few more that I can’t quite identify.

Thanks for sharing your addiction, Toby!

Moleskine Monday: Start-Ups Love Them

Just spotted this article: Why Startups Love Moleskines – The New Yorker, which notes that “the popularity of Moleskine notebooks seems to defy the widespread worship of technological innovations coming out of Silicon Valley.” Ok, that is a trend that has been talked about a lot, and I’ll actually read the rest of the article later, but what struck me was this image that accompanies it on the New Yorker website:

 

It is a very nice-looking notebook, but I can’t help wondering if it is really a Moleskine! In my experience, Moleskine brand notebooks never have that larger margin at the top before the lines begin– the lines are evenly spaced over the whole page, and sometimes cut very close to the top edge of the paper. The lines also look a bit darker than usual for a Moleskine, but that seems to vary in some of their print runs. This could maybe be a Piccadilly, but they don’t usually have that extra space either. Maybe some other Mole-clone brand?

Notebook Addict of the Week: JournalJoy

This week’s addict emailed me some lovely photos of an extensive collection!

image_1 image_2 image

In her own words:

I have been writing since I was 13 years old and have had passion for journals ever since. A good notebook inspires me and tickles my creativity, makes me wanna express myself on it’s crisp untouched pages. It’s always there, nudging me to explore life and to dig a little deeper.
I mostly use Leuchtturm 1917, along with Moleskine, Ogami, Rustico and many more.
About a year ago I started a YouTube channel called Journaljoy, https://www.youtube.com/user/journaljoy
where I mostly do notebook reviews and comparisons, like this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztpPojlHXpI

I am looking forward to watching some of those videos so I can see this collection in even more detail! Thanks for sharing your addiction, Journaljoy!

Moleskine Monday: Notebook Nostalgia

I absolutely loved this blog post– one man’s tale of developing the habit of writing in old diaries and journals, including original small-m moleskines, their modern brand name replacements, and the Boots Scribbling Diaries I mentioned in this post. Quoted at length, but please do check out the rest of the original blog post, by Jonathan Le Tocq, a pastor and politician in Guernsey.

 

“Truth is, I am rather old fashioned; I like pen and ink, pencil and paper, hand and manuscript. I love scribbling my scatty thoughts, doodling my deliberations, and what’s more I love my Moleskine.

Now for you ignorami out there a Moleskine is a little black note-book. I first started using them when I was a student in Paris in the 1980s. They weren’t called Moleskines then, or at least the ones I used were not. I used to buy mine from Gibert Jeune (still our favourite French papeterie [stationers] always worth a family visit – the five of us can happily while away a whole afternoon in Gibert Jeune near Place St Michel, Paris… OK we know we’re weird, but hey, at least we’re happy!)

I started journalling back in 1978 when I was just 13. I used a diary back then, the big Boot’s Scribbling Diary – another classic stationery objet trouvé – which I inherited a liking to from my grandmother who used them up until her death aged 97 in 1975. I say she “used them” whilst actually towards the end of her life at least she simply possessed these diaries out of habit really, keeping them by her bed; the only entries in the last few years being various family members’ birthdays.

They were a comfort to her nonetheless, and an enigma to a young boy – these large navy blue books kept near her bed. So when she graduated I ended up inheriting the remaining tomes, all virtually unused. I was still at primary school when she died and being very close to her emotionally (she lived with us) to begin with I kept these Scribbling Diaries (1970-75) on a bookshelf in my room as a quasi-shrine to her memory. Then one day I found myself getting one down from the shelf and actually scribbling on one of the pages; then making a to-do list the next day on a subsequent blank page, followed later by writing some thoughts on another. Before long I was using it most days to either record something that happened, note a reminder, work out some sums for Maths at school, sketch some ideas, etc. Soon I was taking it to school, using it as a jotter, and it generally became part of my life.

On reaching teenhood I decided to purchase a fresh new Boots Scribbling Diary of my own and this is how my journalling journey began. The following year I bought a different sized Boots Diary, a bit more up market, smaller (A5 size I think, as opposed to the A4 or foolscap Scribbling Diary version) but thicker and page-a-day which meant there was plenty more room to jot a lot when I had the urge.

I didn’t actually know it was called journalling then, I just enjoyed writing things down when I thought about them. It didn’t really matter that it was a diary (though sometimes the dates had a relevance) since my first jotted journallings were in my Gran’s diaries from previous years (so the days and dates did not match up) I just used the spaces as a simple means to distinguish one entry or thought from the next. When I bought my own diary for that particular year though I tried to follow the days and dates in order.

Sometimes the scribblings of one day required 3 or 4 pages, other times there were no scribblings for a few days. This meant that there was quite often a waste of paper and the diary was heavy and cumbersome to carry around. So when I discovered the moleskine back in the 80s as a student in Paris I immediately forsook purchasing diaries, which now seemed impractical and started using these little black books. This style of notebook had been around in Europe for a century or so and was popular with artists and authors such as Hemingway, Matisse and Van Gogh.

In my student days you could pick them relatively cheaply and loads of my compatriots at the Sorbonne used them. Back then there were several firms which made notebooks in this style. The common features were:

  • a hard waterproof vinyl cover (hence moleskine… I think!) which was normally black
  • an elastic strap-band which held the book closed
  • rounded edges
  • an envelope pocket at the inside back cover useful for storing bits in
  • a ribbon page-marker
  • blank, lined or squared paper (I tended to prefer squared because you could use it effectively and neatly any way up)

Some of my original moleskine notebooks also had a snazzy decorative internal cover as seen in the picture of Van Gogh’s notebook above, but some were just plain cream coloured like the ones available today. During my time in Paris I would carry a moleskine around with me everywhere and go through one or two of these notebooks a month on average.

Trouble was, on returning to live in London, I couldn’t find a moleskine anywhere! I later discovered that they’d ceased production. It is only in recent years that an Italian company (calling itself Moleskine) with French connections has happily revived them. So for a while I confess that I transferred my allegiance to Filofax, and at other times I just used any old notebook I could find. Times were hard.

Now I can happily say that I am re-united with Moleskine in its latest incarnation. It’s a tad on the expensive side, but bearing in mind that the design is classic and is therefore not copyright there are a few cheaper manifestations coming on the market. I saw one called the Picadilly when I was in the USA recently, half the price of the Moleskine. When my current batch runs out I may well look to try out the Picadilly variety!”

I wish he’d posted more photos of those original 1980s moleskines and the Boots diaries!

Read more at Tempus Fugit & My Moleskine® | In the unlikely event….

Notebook Addict of the Week: Rene

This week’s addict calls himself a “hoarder!” Yet he also has a generous spirit in his addiction: “I typically give most of these away, especially the Moleskines, to students as they want to write in what I’m writing in. I do journaling with them also so we kinda compete.”

From top left:

A three pack of pocket notebooks from Target in box

1 Moleskine pocket notebook

1 Rhodia Notebook, staple bound

2 Clairfontaine 1951 notebooks, a black and blue

1 Fabriano sketch notebook

2 Large Rhodia notebooks, staple bound, black and yellow lined

1 Scout Notebook with “Squishy” from Monsters University on its cover

1 3-pack of Doane Utility notebooks-black

Moleskines (1 japanese album, small notebook unlined, cahier kraft, 2 packs of large notebooks, all lined, in black and blue, below that are Kraft unlined medium sized, 2 3-packs of Kraft an unlined and lined X-Large, which they don’t make anymore apparently. A Lego Moleskine with Jango Fett attached, 1 White lined notebook hardbound, one Black unlined hardbound).

3 Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks, hardboound

3 different sized Apica notebooks

3 unnamed notebooks given to me by my wife for christmas. Have to do some research into these.

2 Cottonwood sketch books (Top one has a Think Geek monkey sticker)

1 red Piccadilly soft cover journal

1 sketch book with robot sticker

1 Staples brand notebook (given to me as a gift)

1 package of blank books by Lakeshore, staple bound and 2 hardcovers ( I used these for gifts to my nieces and nephews).

 

See the original post at Rene’s blog. Thank you for sharing your addiction (and your notebooks) Rene!

Softcover and Single-Signature Notebooks from My Collection

On my “to-do” list for this blog has been a comparison of various notebooks in similar styles. I thought I’d do a post about softcover notebooks, and one about single-signature notebooks, similar to Field Notes and Moleskine Cahiers. So I went rooting around in my collection to find various examples of these styles, but the results were a bit daunting:

softcover and cahier1

Not only did I find a rather large number of notebooks, I discovered that there’s kind of grey area between these two styles, so I ended up arranging them in a sort of continuum of variations, from thicker softcover notebooks, through thinner squared-spine ones, to the thinnest single-signature ones with stitched or stapled bindings.

From left, we have the “The II” notebook bought at Kinokuniya, red Piccadilly notebook, softcover Piccadilly notebook, white Conceptum notebook from Germany, Zequenz notebook, Leonardo pocket journal from Papyrus, Fabio Ricci notebook bought in Turkey, Soundless Soliloquy notebook from Etsy, a notebook bought in a museum shop in Portugal, Book Factory pocket notebook, Rendr sketchbook, Canson XL sketchbook, Daler Rowney Ivory sketchbook, Pocket Dept notebook, Rhodia Unlimited notebook, yellow graph paper notebook with green cloth spine from Turkey, Federal Supply Memorandum book, Moleskine Volant, Rite in the Rain waterproof notebook, Clairefontaine notebook from the early 1990s, slipcased German notebook and pencil from Carmen, another old Clairefontaine notebook, a more recent Clairefontaine notebook, Moleskine Cahier, Banditapple Carnet, Miro journals, fluorescent Field Notes given to me by a reader, white notebook from Deyrolle in Paris, Kikkerland Writersblok notebook, Moleskine Cahier decorated by me with stamps, Noted graph paper notebook from Target, Filou notebook bought in Turkey, Northern Central Co. Memorandum book from the late ’70s/early ’80s, Ink Journal, polkadot notebook from Portugal, black school quaderno from Vickerey, white promotional notebook from brandbook.de, (at this point the order gets scrambled in some of the later photos) black Doane Paper Utility Notebook, pale green Bound Custom Journal Memo, HitList notebook, OrangeArt Tattersall notebook, Artescrita 4-pack from Portugal, boxed Calepino notebooks, Word. notebook, Halaby Aero Flightbook, and Hahnemuhle Travel Booklets. Whew! I thought I had also included one other little graph paper stapled notebook that I bought in Portugal, but I can’t spot it in the photos– maybe it’s buried under there somewhere!

softcover and cahier2softcover and cahier3softcover and cahier4softcover and cahier5softcover and cahier6softcover and cahier7softcover and cahier8softcover and cahier9

 

And of course this isn’t even all the softcover notebooks in my collection. It’s also worth noting that of all these notebooks, the only ones that have actually been used even partially (other than pen tests for reviews) are the two old black/grey Clairefontaine notebooks and the Northern Central Memorandum book. I have other Moleskine Volant and Kikkerland Writersblok notebooks that I have used, but they weren’t the ones in these photos. I will probably use some of the graph paper and plain paper notebooks in the future. I ended up feeling like it was impossible to compare and contrast the features of so many different notebooks, but almost all of them have been photographed and described in more detail in other posts on this site already.

What’s your favorite softcover notebook?

Notebook Addict of the Week (Again): Shane

This week we have another repeat addict. Shane’s collection has grown since he was an addict of the week in February 2011. Here’s an update on his collection:

Found these Peanuts journals over time online. They were originally put out in the late 90’s when I purchased the Charlie Brown edition. These are so hard to find and the next journal I start will be the Pigpen (my favorite out of all of them) and I will plow through all of them in a row, even Peppermint Patty since the seller accidentally sent me that one and I had no idea they even put one out for her.

photo 1

I love me a superhero journal with a retro theme. Constantly searching for them.

photo 3

A few more Super-journals.

photo 2

Some Disney themed journals/notebooks. The Disney Store does an excellent job of putting out several journals throughout the year and they quickly go on clearance making room for new batches, and then I make my move!
The Charlie Brown shirt design is a favorite, simple and to the point. I have yet to experience writing in a Moleskine, but my Star Wars themed notebook is waiting its turn, and I wanted a plain red journal and Picadilly provided one at a great price at Barnes and Noble.

photo 4

I love that he collects so many journals within particular themes– that takes true dedication! Thanks for sharing your addiction again, Shane!