Tag Archives: scrapbook

Bradford Morrow’s Boorum & Pease Ledger

An excellent article at LitHub by Bradford Morrow, author of the just-published Prague Sonata, among other books. Really interesting look at a writer’s process and why he prefers physical note-taking to digital methods. Big thanks to reader Raymond for sending me the tip!

“My memory is good, but capricious at times. My scraps of paper get misplaced or wind up in the laundry. I don’t want to figure out dictation software. And my thumbs are hopeless, which is only part of the reason I hate texting. In an era of smart phones, palm-sized digital cameras, and featherweight laptops—also known as “notebooks”—the very idea of lugging around a heavy, folio-sized, hardcover Boorum & Pease record-ruled 9-300-R ledger or oversized black spiral-bound artist sketchbook, would seem at once masochistic and medieval. Yet, these behemoths, straight out of some Dickensian accountant’s office or landscape architect’s atelier, have served as my notebooks of choice for well over 20 years.”

Read more (and see lots more notebook images) at: Why Digital Note-Taking Will Never Replace the Physical Journal | Literary Hub


Lauren Redniss and Her Sketchbooks

I love this image of the author/illustrator Lauren Redniss with some of the notebooks, sketchbooks and scrapbooks she used in the making of her book Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future.

“Ms. Redniss, who teaches at Parsons School of Design, walked a reporter through her bookmaking process, picking up materials laid out on an ornately carved table. She began by binding a blank book of approximately the same dimensions as the eventual published project, then pasting in bits of text and drawings taken from sketchbooks or made from photographs, playing with different arrangements.

She also drew from a personal archive of images clipped from newspapers and magazines and pasted into notebooks that she has kept for years.”

I wish I could flip through some of those sketchbooks, but I guess I’ll have to settle for the book:

Read more at: For the Author Lauren Redniss, No Such Thing as Bad Weather – The New York Times

Printing Photos for Notebooks

A few years ago, I bought a Polaroid Pogo printer. It uses Zink paper– 2×3″ sheets with peel and stick backing, so the prints are perfect for sticking in notebooks. Unfortunately, the Pogo printer was not compatible with all digital cameras, and used a version of Bluetooth that didn’t work with iPhones at the time (unless you did an elaborate workaround by jailbreaking the phone). So though I managed to connect the printer to my Macbook, it didn’t seem all that worth the trouble, and the printer ended up gathering a lot of dust in a corner somewhere.

But now I am tempted to buy one of the newer Polaroid products that have replaced it! The Polaroid Zip Mobile Printer is the latest offering. It is the same handy, pocketable size (but even lighter weight), and now it works with iPhones and Android devices.

  • Prints Directly from Your Mobile Phone or Tablet via Bluetooth or NFC Technology
  • Works With PREMIUN Zink zero papers – ZINK Paper Means No Ink. No Hassles
  • 2×3″ Photos Are Full-Color & Smudge-Proof, and Feature Peel-Back, Sticky Paper
  • Your Purchase Includes a FREE Download of Polaroid ZIP App for iOS & Android
  • Measures a Compact 2.9 Inches x 4.7 Inches x 0.9 Inches; Weighs Just 6.6 Ounces

Polaroid also offers some neat little all-in-one cameras that print the photos instantly:
Polaroid Snap:

Polaroid Z2300:

Unlike the Snap, which seems to just spit out a print whenever you take a photo like the classic Polaroid cameras, the Z2300 gives you the option to review and edit your photos a bit on an LCD screen before printing them, so you don’t waste paper. Either of these cameras is probably more suited to “fun” use than serious photography. The 2×3″ prints sometimes look great, especially with bright colors, but they can be hit or miss. If you are looking for a retro, Instagram-y look to your prints, you’ll love it– just don’t expect super high quality.

The Fuji Instax Mini is another instant-print camera. I don’t believe the Instax prints have a sticker backing, but they’d still look nice pasted in a notebook.

I love pasted photos as a way of brightening up my notebook pages and saving memories in a more visual way. While I could theoretically go through photos from my camera or iPhone and print them out from my computer, I find that I rarely do. The instant gratification aspect of these cameras might help add some spontaneity to scrapbooking and jazz up your journaling!

Brice Marden’s Notebooks

I’d love to take a look through these:


On a page of his 1964–67 journal, underneath a small cutout of Manet’s 1862 painting of Victorine Meurent, Brice Marden wrote, “Cézanne tried to kill painting by denying forms for the sake of painting. He seems to have come closest to painting painting out … I think a painter should paint to end painting for himself and some others. With this in mind and man in mind it seems inevitable that painting will go on.”

Now two of Marden’s journals have been exquisitely printed by the New York–based publishing imprint Karma, in whose gallery space the drawings, the journals, and a monochrome painting—Portrait (1964–65)—are on display….

Throughout the notebooks, intensity of method combines with a mix of quotidian marginalia and endless detail of a life engaged with social and street activity. Addresses and lists creep across the pages; one scrap of paper has Richard Serra’s phone number on it; Carl Andre’s is on another. There are newspaper clippings; business cards; pulpy glamour photos; a vehicle removal ticket from the City of New York Police Department; ticket stubs from concerts such as Wilson Pickett at Village Theatre on October 7, 1967, and Johnny Cash at Carnegie Hall on October 23, 1968. The ticket stubs stand in, almost, as color swatches or samples for his paintings. On another page of his notebooks, Marden has repeatedly written—like a child practicing a cursive signature—the name Zurbarán, with a single word standing tall among the four attempts: “ART.”

Source: “Paint to End Painting”: A Look at Brice Marden’s Notebooks

You can buy the facsimile journals here.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Bubbe Wisdom

This week’s addict, the blogger at Bubbe Wisdom, is actually a recovered notebook addict now… which makes me a little sad, I must confess.

She says:

“See that pile of notebooks? They represent twenty plus years of collecting inspirational ideas on paper. Each notebook represents a category: stitching, contemporary quilts, weaving, baskets, fashion, fine artists, Judaica, Instructions, interiors, people and the list goes on and on and on and the paper piles up and up and up, until today.

My notebooks have become obsolete. Replaced by my Pinterest Boards.

Emptied, paper recycled, notebooks dropped off at GoodWill.”

See more at : Purging – Bubbe Wisdom Bubbe Wisdom

Notebook Addict of the Week (Again): Wandeka

Wandeka is an artist and writer, originally from Jamaica and now living in Louisiana. I featured her about a year and a half ago when I found her blog post about wanting to join a stationery addict support group. She has since found some support here at Notebook Stories, but it hasn’t cured her notebook addiction! Now she’s even started her own notebook blog, Notebook Obsession, where she shares pages from her over 100 notebooks used for line drawings, watercolor sketches or writing notes and drafts for stories and much more.

She also talks about how she uses her various journals, notebooks and sketchbooks and flips through some of their pages in this video:

You can follow Wandeka’s work at all these sites:

Main website: www.wandekagayle.com

Blog discussing notebooks: www.notebookobsession.blogspot.com

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/wandekagayleart

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wandekagayleart

Thanks for sharing your addiction, Wandeka!

Midori Spiral Ring Notebooks

Midori’s Traveler’s Notebooks are so widely popular, they seem to be almost the only Midori products you ever hear about. But they also make this lovely line of spiral notebooks named after animals (and an insect). From the descriptions at the Miscellaneous online store:

Midori Spiral Ring Notebook is a series of notebooks with a beautiful kraft paper cover with the spiral “woven” into the kraft paper cover, available in five types: Camel, Polar Bear, Kangaroo, Bee and Elephant

The Elephant edition of Midori Spiral Ring Notebook has 20 thick grey carton sheets. Beautiful for scrapbooking your last trip, or just to write something down.

The Bee edition of Midori Spiral Ring Notebook has 12 kraft envelopes with window. Just as a bee collects nectar from flowers before they store it in their hive, you can now store all small items of rememberance in these envelopes.

The Kangaroo edition of Midori Spiral Ring Notebook has 32 sheets with “pouches”. These pockets will provide you with lots of room for “fast administration”; store your receipts month-by-month, the business cards of your favorites spots you collected during your last trip by city and/or neighborhood or simply just store small desktop items like paperclips/stamps/bands and other paraphernalia.

The Camel edition of Midori Spiral Ring Notebook has 80 kraft paper sheets. Beautiful for scrapbooking your last trip, or just to write something down.

The Polar Bear edition has 100 snowwhite sheets. White, crisp and fresh pages at your disposal to pen down your Nobel prize-winning thoughts, to do lists, or just some doodle drawing whilst chatting on VOIP.

Each design is available in these sizes:

A5 Spiral Ring Notebook measures 218 x 130mm
A6 Spiral Ring Notebook measures 154 x   95mm
B6 Spiral Ring Notebook measures 130 x 193mm
B7 Spiral Ring Notebook measures   90 x 130mm

You can buy some of the designs/sizes at Amazon.

Review: Hobonichi Techo Planner 2014

Here’s an exciting item to be my first review of 2014:


I’d heard about the Hobonichi Planner on a few other notebook sites, so I was very happy when their US marketing person contacted me to offer a sample for review. 2014 is the first year they’ve done an English-translated version of this planner, which has been popular in Japan for years. From their press release, here’s a bit of background:

In the West, Shigesato Itoi is best known as the writer behind EarthBound, a famous—and famously weird—videogame. In Japan, the copywriter is better known for his online magazine, Hobonichi, and a line of Hobonichi products as charming and unique as the game series itself. Amid each new collection of designer belly-warmers and +LOVE t-shirts and art books is their flagship product, a 400-page daily planner with quotes from Itoi’s long-running column (as well as Hobonichi’s most fascinating interviews) on each page, a precise, grid-based design, and carefully chosen materials.

During the year, the Hobonichi Planner is a repository for to-do lists, stray ideas, ticket stubs, and photos. But just as much work goes into making sure the planner outlasts its final page—the slogan, “Uncover Your Story,” is based on Shigesato Itoi’s hope that each planner will help tell you the story of your year well after you’ve lived it.

More than 10 editions later, each planner launch is an event in Japan, where Hobonichi Planner lovers line up outside stationary stores to buy the latest edition and browse the new designer covers. After a pilot launch in 2013, the 2014 planner is Hobonichi’s first worldwide release. It’s not just a productivity aid—it’s a companion.

First impressions: what an elegant package. It’s about 4 1/4 x 6″ (shown below next to a pocket Piccadilly notebook for comparison), with precise edges and tightly rounded corners. I’ve never seen such a small rounding diameter on a notebook corner before, and I really like it! The cover is a bit stiffer than that of a softcover Moleskine, and has the Japanese characters for techo and a nice little three-key logo. The spine says Hobo and the year.



Inside, you get grey endpapers, and then the beginning of the book lays out a year-to-a-page calendars for 2014 adn 2015, then a 2-months-per-page view, then a month-on-2-pages view for a handy look at the year ahead, plus a couple of months into 2015 for advance planning. Then you have the main section, with a day-per-page layout for the whole year. A “techo” is a Japanese planner that is meant to be used as a sort of combination diary/sketchbook/scrapbook, not just a calendar, so the page layout is not constrained with a strict schedule– you get a nice squared area, with the date and moon phase and holiday indicators at the top, a quote and small monthly calendar on the bottom, and a line at the left edge with a 12 in the middle, I guess in case you do want to divide the page into hours. The outer page edge has the months numbered almost like a thumb index to help you find your place faster. In the back, you get some free-form dot-grid pages, and helpful info such as the typical clothing size conversions, dialing codes and international holidays, plus the fun bonus of illustrated pages about Japanese Sake, sushi, and drinking tea around the world. At the very end, the last page gives you space to write your name and contact details.


I love the design and how much care has gone into it. All the little details make it special– I almost hesitate to describe them all here, because it was such a pleasure to discover them as I paged through the planner. The red ink used on Sundays was a particularly fun surprise. The quotes are from the Hobonichi online magazine, so many of them are from Japanese sources that most of us in the US won’t be familiar with. I was glad they weren’t from all the usual suspects on the usual topics– here, there are insights on design and style, and random funny stories. You can never be quite sure what will be next.

Writing in the techo is a rather luscious experience–  the book opens nice and flat, and the paper is smooth and fine.  My favorite fine point gel ink and fountain pens went on smoothly and flawlessly. But the downside of the fine paper is its thinness. Showthrough is more than average, and wetter pens can bleed through.


For some reason, I imagine the show-through bothering me less than in might in other notebooks– the whole concept of filling the pages with jottings and sketches and having the two sides blend into each other a bit is rather appealing. Check out the Hobonichi Love Tumblr site to see some of the ways people fill and decorate their planners, inside and out.

Speaking of outside decorations, that seems to be a major sideline for these planners. As is, it’s merely an insert for many users, and the online store offers a plethora of covers, which in many cases add the elastic closures, pockets and ribbon markers than the basic planner itself lacks. Numerous as their options were, I didn’t see any I liked better than this 3rd party offering (available here):

The price of the Hobonichi Planner is 2500 yen, which comes to just under $24.00 at current exchange rates. A Moleskine page-per-day diary is about $22.00, so when you consider the higher quality and fun features of the Hobonichi, I think it’s a great value. If there was any downside to this planner for me, it would be that it’s not my favorite dimensions– I love the 3.5 x 5.5″ size for my notebooks, so this is a bit larger than ideal, though I admit the extra page space is nice. But other than that, I really love this planner. Now I have to decide how to work it into my daily notebook routine, and fill it in a way that does it justice!

Dan Eldon’s Journals

The beautiful notebooks above only hint at the amazing work inside them… but they also come with a sad story. Dan Eldon was a young photojournalist who was killed by an angry mob in Somalia in 1993, along with 3 of his colleagues.

“Dan left behind seventeen bound leather journals filled with drawings, writings and photographs which constructed vivid collages of the world he saw. These journals chronicle a child’s journey into manhood, visual editorials on society, and homages to strangers and loved ones. Dan’s images represent his enduring belief that every individual has a creative spark within that can transform their environment for the better. “

These are a few of the interior pages:

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 6.09.22 PM

Over 200 pages from Dan’s journals are featured in this book: The Journey is the Destination: The Journals of Dan Eldon.

You can also see more at Dan Eldon » Select Journal Pages. The website is a beautiful tribute to an amazingly talented and brave young man who died far too young.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Aurelia

This week’s addict emailed me from France to show off this lovely annotated photograph of part of her colorful collection:

I wanted to send you my notebooks, but not all my collections “only” the one I use for the moment !
1. ideas book
2. Craft projects
3. What to see/to do/to buy when I’ll travel in the USA
4. Passwords book
5. Blog ideas
6. Wedding inspirations
7. Citation book
8. Scrapbooking projects
9. Job projects
10. Art Photography Projects
11. Project life diary
12. Project life
13. Notebook
14. Baby n°1 diary
15. Baby n°2 diary
16. Diary
sans titre-8406 copy


I was curious about #14 and 15– nice colors, and I liked the chunky shape. Aurelia tells me they are from a collection called Quo Vadis Memoriae, which unfortunately don’t seem to be part of the US product line, but are available in Europe and the UK.
Thanks/Merci for sharing your addiction, Aurelia!