Tag Archives: Journal

Denik Notebook Review & Giveaway

Today I’m finally doing a long overdue review of a Denik notebook. I’d first noticed this brand quite a while ago, due to their colorful point of purchase display, which I saw first at a booth at either the BookExpo convention or the NY NOW Gift Show at the Javits Center, or perhaps in a store in Brooklyn, I forget which. But wherever it was, the display was hard to miss due to the broad array of vibrant cover designs. I was thrilled to receive a free sample to review from Denik.

The Denik brand is all about creativity and activism. Their ever changing assortment of designs come from artists of all types. A portion of the proceeds from each notebook purchased goes to either the artist who designed the cover or to building schools around the world. Learn more here.

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The sample I received is one of their softcover notebooks, with a cover design by Katrina Houskeeper. The size is 5.25 x 8.25″, with 75 sheets/150 pages. It comes shrink-wrapped, and underneath, has an attractive grey-shaded cover with gold-stamped “Crazy Ideas” logo. The cover material is a soft feel to it and is said to be water resistant. The design continues on the inside front and back covers, which I love.

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The notebook is perfect-bound, so it does not lie flat– but I got this sample a while ago and Denik has since changed their construction to smyth-sewn and describe their softcovers as “lay-flat” so they have addressed that issue– yay! (They still say the page count is 150, which I’m trying to figure out, since I thought sewn signature notebooks always had page counts in multiples of 4. Maybe they glue in one extra page??)

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Inside, there is lined paper, which feels pretty average to the touch, not overly smooth, but gives a really nice gliding feel with most pens. Show-through is about average, and bleed-through slightly better than average. Some fountain pens feather a bit. Unlined paper is also available, and they also offer leather bound sketchbooks, and spiral bound notebooks and sketchbooks.

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At $11.95, the softcover notebook is maybe a teensy bit on the high end of reasonably priced, but I think that is OK given that it is made in the USA and benefits good causes. If you love collecting notebooks with colorful, unique covers, you’ll want to give these a try. You can find them at many retailers, or order online at the Denik webstore, or you can enter the giveaway for some prizes provided by Denik! We are giving away 5 Notebooks, one each to 5 different winners!

For this giveaway, the entry rules are a little different, so please read the instructions below carefully. I have just launched a Notebook Stories account on Instagram, so this will be my first Instagram giveaway!
To enter:

  • Follow @shopdenik on Instragram
  • Follow @notebook.stories on Instagram (make sure you have the “.” in there, as “@notebookstories” without the “.” is someone else!)
  • Tag a friend in the comments on my Instagram post about Denik. You can better your chances of winning by tagging more of your friends. Please keep it to one tag per comment.
  • You can also enter by posting a comment on this blog post with your Instagram account name, but you must be following @shopdenik and @notebook.stories in order to be eligible to win.
  • The deadline to enter is Friday October 20, 2017
  • You must be in the US to enter.

Winners will be announced within two weeks after the end of the entry period. Thanks and good luck everyone!

 

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Queen Victoria’s Urdu Notebook

You may have heard about the movie Victoria and Abdul, which stars Judi Dench as Queen Victoria, and Ali Fazal as a young Indian servant named Abdul Karim, whom she became close to. He taught her to speak and write in Urdu, which she practiced in notebooks such as the one below.

Karim kept his own diary, and his journals were used as a source for the story told in the movie.

Source: Queen Victoria’s rare notebook when she learned Urdu under the tutelage of Abdul Karim goes on display | The Indian Express

Smelly Notebooks

Is smell ever a factor in your notebook usage? I’ve tested a few notebooks over the years that had distinctive odors, sometimes pleasant, sometimes not. When I reviewed the Rendr Sketchbook, one of the first things I noticed about it was a strong chemical smell, although it faded after unwrapping. One Moleskine I bought on eBay had a wonderful smell, as though it had been stored in a drawer with cedar or some sort of scented candles or potpourri (I’m not necessarily fond of scented candles or potpourri, but it was a nice woodsy, herbal smell, not super perfume-y).

Usually Moleskines just have a sort of inky smell, not at all unpleasant, but the one I just started using, another eBay purchase of older stock, has a gross odor, kind of barfy-smelling. It’s the first time I’ve ever experienced this, and I’ve used dozens of Moleskines over 15+ years. It’s still noticeable several days after unwrapping the notebook and using it, so I tried swabbing some eucalyptus oil on the inside front and back covers– that helped somewhat, but the yucky smell is still there. I also pulled a couple of leaves off my patchouli plant and stuck them in the back pocket, that that’s not solving the problem either. It reminds me of an old TV commercial from the 1980s, for some sort of room deodorizer spray. The ad criticized the competition for merely adding perfume rather than neutralizing odors: a little girl whines “Ewww, now it smells like fish and roses!” Well, now my notebook smells like eucalyptus and patchouli and vomit.

I keep riffling through the pages in hopes that it will air out and today, I put it in a bag with some candles to see if the smell will improve but what if it doesn’t? Can I bear to get rid of it?? Or will I just be wrinkling my nose for the next few months while trying to finish this notebook as quickly as possible? Oh, the drama… what would you do??

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The Captains Log Kickstarter, Ending Soon!

I lost track of the news about this Kickstarter project in my email inbox, but it’s ending very soon, at Thu, July 20 2017 8:26 AM EDT. They only need about $1500 more in pledges as of this writing. It looks like a cool concept and a quality execution, with formatted pages that provide inspiration and structure for outlining your goals, helping to break down the tasks to get you there, and tracking your progress. The design has a classic look– from the photo below, I first thought the colors were blue and red, but they are brown and black. I love the anchor logo!

You can see more details at the Captain’s Log Kickstarter page.

 

The Cape Horn Notebook, Made with Recycled Sails

Here’s something a bit different, a notebook that incorporates recycled sails and sailing rope:

“With the look, feel, and design of a traditional black notebook, the Cape Horn notebook reimagines used sails from the world’s most epic sailing expeditions as the ultimate storytelling tool.

The notebooks, which contain fragments of a sails that have traveled all the way to the southernmost tip of South America, aim to inject the dynamism of life at sea into everyday life.

Designed and created by Chilean designer Antonia Undurraga, herself an avid sailor, the notebooks merge two diverse industries – sailing and paper goods – into one product.”

Buy the Cape Horn notebook at Amazon.

The Cape Horn Notebook website has some interesting photos of the manufacturing process, much of which seems to be done by hand.

Source: Recycled Sails Get New Life With The New The Cape Horn Notebook – Crossroads Today

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Jason Tselentis’ Notebooks

In an article at Howdesign.com , Jason Tselentis writes about the best new notebooks for designers and creatives and how to choose a notebook — but I like this photo of some old ones he’s already been using:

“For the work I do and the vast amount of notes I take, a lined notebook is my tool of choice. My brand of choice? That’s the funny thing, I don’t have one.

Some designers and illustrators are loyal to a specific brand. I’ve met those who love Field Notes. Others swear by Moleskine. Even Michael Bierut came clean about his notebook of choice: the 10 × 7⅛ inch National Blank Book Company composition book. But I’m neither a loyalist nor a purist, and one look at my notebook collection proves it.”

Read more at: New Year, New Notes: The Best Notebooks for Designers & Creatives – HOW Design

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Dreamday Pattern Journals: Review and Giveaway

Dreamday Pattern Journals, from Laurence King Publishing, are another coloring book/journal hybrid, similar to the Coloring Notebook I reviewed a few months ago. Six designs are available, incorporating pages of beautiful patterns backed by blank pages inside a flexibound journal. The range of themes will please any designer or art history buff– from Mid-Century Modern/Scandinavian, to Renaissance Florence. The samples I received are Japanese and Moroccan designs, and Heraldic and Art Deco are also available.

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The 6 1/2 x 9″ journals come shrinkwrapped, with a belly-band that shows some of the designs within. When you remove the belly-band, the cover is free of any branding. Even the barcode sticker is easily removable. The cover is a wrapped flexible material, with a contrasting color printed on the spine.

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The texture of the cover slightly detracts from the intricacy of the pattern if you’re looking at it up close, but that is a minor quibble– overall the cover design is beautiful. The patterned endpapers inside are a nice touch too.

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The first page provides a space to write your contact details, and the rest of the interior 108 pages is the patterned pages and blank pages. The signatures are stitched but the glue on the spine makes it difficult to open totally flat.

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I wondered if the pattern pages would be usable for note-writing– some notebooks that have faint patterns on the pages can be written over without too much visual confusion, but in this case, I think it would be really distracting. The pattern pages are really for coloring and doodling. The paper is of good quality, though, and I found that most of my test pens and markers did not bleed or show through. This means you should be able to truly use the blank pages for writing and drawing and free-form doodling.

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You can buy these on Amazon or in bookshops and art/stationery/gift stores, and at $14.95 they are a decent value and a nice gift. And I have three extra samples that I’ll give away, one each to three lucky winners selected from entries received in these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Dreamday Pattern Journal @LaurenceKingPub @NotebookStories”, and follow @LaurenceKingPub and @NotebookStories

On Facebook, “like” the Laurence King page and the Notebook Stories page and post something containing the words “Dreamday Pattern Journal” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Dreamday Pattern Journal” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday February 10, 2017 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.

Joburg Journals

This is a very cool notebook story. In Johannesburg, South Africa, a photographer started a community project at a shelter for former street kids. He gave them disposable cameras, taught them about photography and exhibited their work. In order to make the project sustainable and help the kids earn some income, they set up an online shop selling logowear and products featuring the kids’ photography, including these notebooks:
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Check it out at: iwasshot in joburg 🙂 – Journals

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New Year, New Journal

Happy 2017! Have you started a new notebook for the new year? I haven’t, but below are a few of my favorites from a recent article about journals. I particularly like that patchwork suede!

See more at 18 Best Notebooks for Journaling and Writing – The Muse

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Chefs’ Notebooks Photographed by Jeff Scott

More notebooks from chefs!

“Fine-art photographer Jeff Scott won the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award in the Photography category for Notes From a Kitchen: A Journey Inside Culinary Obsession….

The book doesn’t contain any recipes, but instead aims to reveal the creative process for some of the top, young chefs in America. Shot documentary-style, Scott’s photos show the chefs at work and away from the kitchen as well as their personal notebooks where menus are planned and recipes created.”

Read more at: Jeff Scott Wins James Beard Award for Photography | PDNPulse

The books are available at Amazon.

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