Tag Archives: spiral bound

Custom Notebooks at Ito-Ya

Fancy a visit to the paper concierge?

“Attention paper sophisticates: Ito-Ya, the legendary 111-year old Japanese stationery mecca will make your dreams come true.
On the fourth level of their newly renovated 12-story emporium in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district, a counter called “Note Couture” is dedicated to creating the perfect writing pad, on the spot.For about $9 per 60-page notebook, you can mix-and-match ruled, lined, and blank pages in various hues; debate the spectrum of notebook cover choices; and obsess over the right spiral binding color.”

Source: A 100-year-old Japanese stationery store lets customers design the perfect, custom notebook — Quartz


Notebook Addict of the Week: Mary

This week’s addict emailed me photos of her notebook collection:

Hi, my name is Mary and these are my notebooks:


I guess you could say I’m addicted to them. I mean, everybody needs a notebook sometimes, right? If I didn’t have these, I wouldn’t have anyplace to write stuff down.

I wrote something in this one a while back, I think it was something about a septic tank so I tore out that page and threw it away when I didn’t need it any more.


There’s nothing written in this one right now. There probably used to be, but I must have torn out those pages too. Or maybe I just bought it for my nephew to doodle in, I can’t remember.


I keep my notebook collection in a special spot, nice and handy:


I don’t remember where I bought them… or when… or why I picked these particular ones. I mean, they’re just notebooks… whatever!

Many thanks to Mary for sharing her addiction! So glad I could feature it on this special day… 🙂

Bob Dylan’s Secret Notebooks

“For years, Bob Dylan scholars have whispered about a tiny notebook, seen by only a few, in which the master labored over the lyrics to his classic 1975 album “Blood on the Tracks.” Rolling Stone once called it “the Maltese Falcon of Dylanology” for its promise as an interpretive key.

But that notebook, it turns out, is part of a trinity. Sitting in climate-controlled storage in a museum here are two more “Blood on the Tracks” notebooks — unknown to anyone outside of Mr. Dylan’s closest circle — whose pages of microscopic script reveal even more about how Mr. Dylan wrote some of his most famous songs.”

Read more at Bob Dylan’s Secret Archive – The New York Times

Questions from Readers

Here’s some questions from readers that have come in over the last few months. Some of them are stumpers, for me at least, but I hope some other sharp-eyed readers will be able to answer!

From Chris:

Do you by any chance know what type of notebook/journal Bradley Cooper is using in the movie ‘Burnt’?

I haven’t seen the movie, so I hope someone else can chime in!

From Ernie:

Do you know of a spiral notebook that uses yellow pages like a legal pad does? I’m looking for a spiral notebook but the pages yellow like legal pad instead of white.

This may depend on whether you want top-opening or side-opening. There are definitely spiral bound legal pads that open top to bottom, like this one. I also found this side-opening notebook that is only 6×9″ but the pages are yellow with legal ruling on one side and squared on the other.

From Fuzzy:

I’m trying to find a sketch journal that has both lined and blank paper, lined paper on one side and blank on the other. I’m not looking for the journal where the page is blank at the top and lined at the bottom.

The Dialogue notebooks I reviewed have this feature. I also found this though I’m not sure what the quality would be like. The ArtTrails Nature Notebook sounds like an interesting option, as it contains alternating pages of recycled lined paper and unlined watercolor paper.

From Jenn:

I’m experimenting with fore-edge painting.  Acrylic paint sits on the outside of the page where I want it, so when I bend the pages the image can show, but it flakes after too many openings and when you separate stuck together pages.  Oil and wax bases stain the inner paper.  So far, water bases are either not opaque enough or stain the paper.  Of course, the type of paper is also an issue.  The pages of a watercolor pad would be too thick, but too thin paper would soak through to the next page, the finish on the paper is an issue, etc.  So maybe a fake gild edge that I can paint then shut the book and wipe off would be the answer.  This would need to be a plain blank book.  Everything online is expensive and/or has leather.  It would also have to be cheap enough to experiment with and throw away if it doesn’t work.  If it really does, I’d buy more.  Do you have any ideas of cheap, plain, fake gilt edge notebooks?

I have not seen anything particularly cheap with gilded edges. The Object Series notebook I reviewed is $16 with gilded edges but it does have a leather cover and might not be suitable for painting on.

From Frances:
I do lots and lots of note-taking and have been using 3×5 cards (cheap ones) since I have filled up entire shoe boxes with my notes (separated in small cheap envelopes with the content indicated on the outside). Using so many, I can’t justify those nice cards from Levenger at 10 cents a piece! But, the Oxford/EssLT card packs in stores here (middle of nowhere New Mexico) are so rough I can’t hardly stand to use them. Back when I was still working, I used the Levenger circa junior size paper/notebooks and some smaller sizes, but have not been buying those lately due to budget constraints. Have you found a ‘system’ that includes nicer paper AND is economical AND with refillable pages?
I haven’t tried the Staples Arc system notebooks, but they are said to be pretty comparable to Levenger yet lower priced. I wish I knew of a brand of index cards made from nice paper, but I don’t!
From Doug:
I have used the following sketchbook for a while, and generally like them… the Hand Book . I live in Canada however, and sometimes this can make it harder to find. Anyhow, I use it for art, sketches, etc. I like the buff colour (not pure white), and I like the slight tooth it has. Do you have any recommendations for similar style notebook style sketchbooks that are good for artists?

Check out the Art Alternatives Sketch & Draw sketchbooks I reviewed, or the Hahnemuhle travel journal. These both have very similar paper to the HandBook.

From Richard:
Years back I bought a 7 x 10 notebook from a company called writers block. The paper was lightweight and had a dot grid. The book weighed only four oz.   It fit well alongside my iPad I’ve been searching high and low for something similar.
I am guessing you mean the Writersblok notebooks from Kikkerland. They have changed their offerings in the last few years, but their recent Writersblok notebooks are quite nice. The larger ones are the size of an iPad Mini. If you want something closer to the size of a regular iPad, the Extra Large size Moleskine Cahier might be a good fit. But neither of these options comes with dot grid paper. If you want dotted paper, Leuchtturm might have some options for you, particularly the medium or large softcovers.
From Dmitri:
I was planning to buy a Moleskine Hardcover, Plain, 5×8.25 notebook, but had heard the pages were very thin, which is something I am trying to avoid because I am planning to use pens, paints, glue, etc. in my journal. What I’m really looking for is a plain notebook around the size of 5×8.25 with pages thick enough for me to freely use whatever media I would like and sturdy enough so it can withstand thick pages and last a good amount of time.
You could try the Moleskine “Art Plus” Sketchbook in that size, as it has heavier pages than the regular “Classic” plain notebook, though they may still be not quite heavy enough for some kinds of pens and markers. HandBook Artist Journal would also be a good option, as they come in portrait and landscape versions in 5 x 8.25, as well as pocket and square formats. If you need something even sturdier, Stillman and Birn has lots of options for different papers and sizes and bindings. You can find a guide to their paper types here.

From Brent:

I have been looking for some notebooks I used to get at Target that I just loved.  They weer about 3×5 or maybe slightly larger and had a cardboard cover, were spiral bound (which was big enough to carry a pen in …. the main reason I liked them), and some had an elastic closure (the second reason I really liked them).  I used to get them all the time about 10 years ago, but have been unable to find them recently.  Are you familiar with these and if so, do you know where I might be able to purchase them?

I don’t have the opportunity to shop at Target very often so I’m not sure what these might have been. Hopefully one of our other readers might have an idea!

Thanks as always to our readers for sending in questions, and helping answer questions!

Alice Rivaz’s Notebook

Another beautiful notebook page, with writing in French. This belonged to Alice Rivaz, a Swiss author. The notebook is part of an archive of her papers, which includes other notebooks as well (you have to click around a bit to find a few links to other images).

Found via Google Image search.


Robert Smith’s Notebooks

Robert Smith is a journalist who works on NPR’s Planet Money. I love this photo of his notebooks!

Here’s part of his story on how they ended up this way:

“I started to put photos on the front of my notebooks because I kept losing track of which one I was using. I would just pick up the closest pad, and the next thing I knew I had 7 different notebooks going. It was crazy. So I started to snip photos out of magazines and review copies of books, and glue them on the front.I guess I grew sort of fond of each notebook. You know, you carry them around all day and they become symbolic of certain stories. My hurricane Katrina notebook has a fire breathing monster on it. The notebook I used during a difficult week I spent as a host has a falling tree on it…”

Read more at » Here’s what NPR ‘Planet Money’ journalist Robert Smith does with his old notebooks JIMROMENESKO.COM. Photo by @ryankailath

Italian Notebook

I love this image of what seems to be an old diary written in Italian.


Found at the link below– I’m not sure how the text and image relate, even after a translation to English!
Via Taccuino di prigionia (17) | Brotture.

Camille Bryen’s Notebook

I wasn’t familiar with the artist Camille Bryen, but here’s a nice image of one of his notebooks:

From an auction listing a few years ago for a lot of 4 notebooks.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Sarah S.

This week’s addict posted a photo of her notebook stash on Twitter:
sarah s notebook addict

This collection has so much color and pattern and texture– no two are alike! Gorgeous!

Thanks for sharing your addiction, Sarah!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Nancy Hanst

This week’s addict came to me via a tip from a reader (Thanks Raymond!), and I was delighted to see this story:
Nancy Hanst has kept a food diary since 1962. I love Nancy’s stacks of little spiral-bound notebooks, and her consistency in keeping them for over 50 years!


From Nancy’s article:

So, here I am in the early days of 2015, riffling the pages in a little spiral-bound notebook marked “2014 MENU & BUDGET,” the second most recent in a series of 53 such notebooks.

You see, I keep a foodie diary of what Jim and I eat, usually for supper, and have been doing it since 1962, a few months after we married. There’s a drawerful of colorful pads, missing only 2002, one of the winters we spent away from home (if found, please return), each starting (usually with sauerkraut) on Jan. 1 and ending (with something festive) on Dec. 31, with guests named and exceptional dishes starred and double-starred. In the back of every tablet is perhaps the most interesting data — the food budget for the year. When I remember to do so, there also are mentions of unusual snowfalls, rainfalls, rainbows, wildflowers spotted, temperatures, the arrival of phoebes, the departure of juncos etc. etc.; also canning dates and how many jars of what are put up; the record of trips and vacations; then major events such as hospital stays and the night the wild cherry tree fell and took the balcony with it.

When this lifelong project started, I’d never cooked day-by-day and had tried my hand at only a few party dishes. I’d lived at home, my mother was a fine cook and I had other things to do. On the other hand, Jim Hanst, whom I had just married, was a pretty darn good cook. So, from the start, there was both a mentor and a competitor in the kitchen.

I got interested in cooking right away and liked jotting down what I was learning. I also thought a diary would be a help in remembering what to eat at the same time next year. I didn’t know yet that I’d never be interested in repeating, that I’d always want to be trying something else. Different methods, strange dishes, new ingredients. Then there was the matter of cooking for guests. I wouldn’t want to repeat myself, would I? So, they got included in the report. And as long as I had a little, spiral-bound pad handy, it was a good place to make occasional notes about the weather or our travels or health. Keeping a food budget in back was a logical final step.

My dear, departed friend, Marilyn McDevitt Rubin, liked to look through and comment on these little books. Then, she’d say, “Nancy, when you offer your Christmas ornaments to the Smithsonian, you have to give them these notebooks, too.”

Read more (including some of her recipes) at Nancy Hanst has kept a food diary since 1962 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. There are more notebook photos too!