Tag Archives: spiral

David Bowie’s Notebooks

It’s hard to imagine a world without David Bowie… I can’t say I’d really thought of him in connection to notebooks at all, but I was happy to find this, from a 2014 review of a David Bowie exhibition in Berlin:

David Bowie, original lyrics for “Ziggy Stardust” (1972) (courtesy the David Bowie Archive, image © Victoria and Albert Museum)


“But the real treasure is the stash of original pages of his modest spiral notebooks. In them, he composed lyrics and how they might be put to music, performed, and turned into video, all simultaneously. His handwritten script changes not just over the years but from page to page. The writings are often surrounded by surreal drawings: night scenes of empty cities, colored in multiple impressionistic shades with markers. The drawings are beautiful — cinematic descriptions, like a director’s notes for a film.”

Read more at: David Bowie Is Everywhere

Review and Giveaway: Miquelrius DIY Collection

Here’s a fun gift idea for any notebook lover or crafty, creative person. Miquelrius has introduced a series of gift boxes each containing a notebook, a roll of washi tape, stencils, and assorted colored papers. Several different themes are available, with spiral or taped-binding notebooks. It’s a great way to kick-start an art journal that you can continue to embellish with other materials of your own choice.

miquelrius box1miquelrius box2

The notebook itself has multi-colored edges to the paper, and is perforated and hole-punched so it could go inside a binder. If I were using this kit myself, I’d prefer the version with a taped spine.

miquelrius box3miquelrius box4

There are even YouTube video tutorials to suggest ways to use the kits:

The suggested retail price is $19.99, which seems like a good value for this size notebook and the extras in the package.

The only place I’ve found to buy the DIY Collection online is the Miquelrius web store, but hopefully you’ll spot them in a store near you!

Many thanks to the folks at Miquelrius for providing this free sample, which I will be giving away to a lucky reader!

The winner will be chosen randomly from entries received in these ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Miquelrius DIY Collection @miquelrius_es @NotebookStories”, and follow @NotebookStories and @miquelrius_es

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Miquelrius page and post something containing the words “Miquelrius DIY Collection” on the Notebook Stories page.

On your blog, post something containing the words “Miquelrius DIY Collection” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday September 11, 2015 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.


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.

Grandluxe Notebooks Review and Big Giveaway!

My jaw dropped when I opened the box of samples sent to me by the folks at Grandluxe— it was huge and heavy and full of tons of notebooks! Let’s take a look at the wide variety of products Grandluxe so generously shared, many of which I had never seen in stores. (If you don’t see these stocked at your local retailers, you can order via Grandluxe’s online store.)

First we have these Monologue notebooks, which come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Take note, those who have asked about super-tiny notebooks!


Next we have the Platinum collection. They are the same standard format as the Monologue notebooks above, ruled paper with elastic closure, ribbon markers and inside pockets, but with the fun twist of a metallic look to the cover and page edges:


Next up, the Monologue Jotter, in two sizes. A ballpoint pen is included in its own loop within the cover. It’s nice that they do it this way, as it keeps the exterior looking nice and neat. On the small notebook, it means the pages are narrower within the cover. In the larger size, the pages have a notch cut out of them for the pen. I think this works better in the small size, as there is something weird about the page having that cut-out. The pages seem to be a mix of formats, either lined or a framed blank space.


The Deja Vu notebooks have a square-cornered design, with no elastic closure, ribbon or pocket. The cover is said to be “jersey soft fabric,” and it does have a similar look to an old weathered t-shirt, though I’d describe the feel as a bit more like velour. The pages are lined on one side, blank on the other, another feature that many people seem to look for.


The Ideology notebooks are spiral bound, but glued into a snap-close leatherette cover. Again pages are blank on one side, ruled on the other. I did a pen test on this one. The paper is nice and smooth, and bright white. Show through is a bit worse than average, as is bleed-through. The Super Sharpie even marked the following page a bit.



Then we have the Monologue Sketchpad. This is an unusual format, with a block of sketch paper on one side of the cover, rather than bound into the spine. The outside cover is a sort of nubuck texture with an attractive embossed design. The first page has the cloth tape wrapping around onto it, but the other pages are just glued in, so they can be easily removed. Perhaps a little too easily, as the one I tested my pens on came loose while I was taking photos. The pages can be opened quite flat until you get further towards the back of the sketchbook, when the binding makes it difficult to open all the way. The paper is said to be 140 GSM and suitable for charcoal, chalk, graphite, pencil, pastel, oil pastel, wax crayon, red chalk, acrylic, collage, oil, marker, spray, tempera. They didn’t mention ink pens or watercolors, so that’s what I tested! The paper has a bit of tooth so is not ideal for fine gel ink pens but worked well with everything else. Very good on show-through and bleed-through. Watercolors seemed fine too, and the page where I laid down a wet wash didn’t buckle too much.


Grandluxe is also getting into the game of city notebooks, similar to Moleskine’s. They are smaller and thinner than the Moleskine ones, and have a textured cover with the city name in metallic ink. It’s on the spine in metallic ink too, which is nice– the Moleskine City Notebooks have such a subtle stamped city name on the spine, you have to look really closely to see which city they’re for. Inside you get some maps and city info– less extensive maps than Moleskine, but they do add some narrative about top attractions and how to get around, which Moleskine doesn’t have. For the write-in section, there are useful pages such as a pre-departure checklist, which reminds you to have your mail diverted and leave extra keys with friends, etc, as well as a separate packing checklist. There are other pages for things like a listing of your traveller’s checks, which I don’t know how many people would actually use, expenses, recommended things to see, calendar pages, notes pages, address pages, and blank pages. There is a ribbon marker, back pocket and elastic closure. I personally prefer the format of the Moleskine books as they offer more ability to customize sections of pages, better maps, 3 ribbon markers and extras such as stickers and translucent overlays so you can write on maps without ruining them. But the Grandluxe offers some cities Moleskine doesn’t. (Moleskine seems to have discontinued producing most cities other than London, Paris, New York and Berlin, but I don’t think they ever offered Bangkok, Sydney, Shanghai or Singapore.)


The rest of the samples are other assorted notebook and sketchbook styles that I won’t go into detail on, except for one, which was my absolute favorite of this whole bunch. Knowing my tastes, you’d think my favorite would be a pocket-sized perfect-bound notebook or sketchbook with a black cover and blank or squared pages and no cover overhang, blah blah blah… but actually, it is none of those things!


Here’s my favorite: the A4 size Earth Care Recycled Note Folder. It has a partially covered wire-o binding. The outside cover is a green cardboard, not too heavy. The front cover has an extra fold, with a pocket on the inside. The paper is lined, with a box at the top for the date or subject. The paper is nice and smooth and feels great with gel ink pens. And though it feels quite thin and fine, it’s actually great on show-through and bleed-through, with barely a trace of anything but the dreaded Super Sharpie. For me, this will be the perfect notebook to use at work– I like having a big page for lists and notes from meetings, and it will be great to be able to tuck some extra pages in the front pocket. I’ll use the front flap to tuck around the pages I’ve already used and mark my current page. This will live on my desk and get a ton of everyday use as soon as I finish the large Doane Paper Idea Journal I’m currently using.


Now it’s time to give away some of these lovely samples, and with so many of them, it’s going to be a massive giveaway! A prize pack of at least 3 assorted notebooks each will go to 6 lucky winners randomly selected from entries received in any of the following ways:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “Grandluxe,” and “@NotebookStories”, and follow “@NotebookStories.”

On Facebook, “like” the Notebook Stories page and the Grandluxe page, and post something containing the words “Grandluxe” on the Notebook Stories wall.

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

The deadline for entry is Friday Feb. 7, 2014 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.


Notebook Addict of the Week (x3): Kara

This week’s addict has been featured twice before: Notebook Addict of the Week (again): Kara, and Notebook Addict of the Week: Kara. Her collection keeps growing and I love seeing more of it!

kara notebooks

“My boxes of composition & spiral notebooks, blank or filled. They’re so heavy they can barely be lifted. Ugh!”

Make sure you use proper lifting techniques with those heavy boxes! Notebook collections can be hazardous to your health!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Voron

Voron emailed me these photos of her notebooks. The close-up is of a Paperchase notebook. I detect a strong preference for colorful wire-bound notebooks, but there are a few plainer hardcovers snuck in there too!

Thanks for sharing your addiction, Voron!

Early 1980s “Comp” Pocket Memo Notebooks

Here’s a notebook that I liked so much, I had to buy three of them.


I still love the concept of these: the look of a composition book in a different size. I’ve always loved the black and white patterned covers of the traditional composition book, but I have not usually wanted to use something that size. They make pocket size notebooks that look like composition books, but it always drove me crazy that they kept the same squarish format rather than the 3 x 5″ rectangle I preferred. (That didn’t stop me from buying a few, and in at least one case, I trimmed the cover and pages down to the appropriate golden rectangle proportions!)

So whoever came up with these (the brand is only identified as “A.D.I. Inc.”)was brilliant: the black and white pattern and the space for writing your name, but in a lovely 3 x 5″ spiral notebook.

The pattern carries over to the back cover too, which shows nice attention to detail. And on the back cover, you notice an interesting discrepancy: two of these were made in Taiwan, but one was made in Korea. The only differences between the Korean notebook and the others are that it has a metal spiral, and a slightly different color paper. The Taiwanese notebooks have plastic spirals that are doubled back into the same hole at each end to keep them from unraveling.


As with my other 1980s notebooks, I filled these with some notes for junior high school class work (some of which seems to be in someone else’s handwriting) as well as random doodling, including a pretty good copy of a character from the Tintin books and a not-very-good sketch of the cover of my favorite B-52s album at the time.

At this age, I remember wanting to fill the pages of notebooks but feeling like I didn’t know what to write– I rarely kept an actual diary or a real sketchbook, I just fiddled around and scribbled things like these. In some ways, I wish I’d written more details about my life at that time, but nevertheless, I find these old notebooks a lot of fun to flip through.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Marla Viray

This week’s addict is a 21 year old “struggling journalist” who notes:

There is no such thing as too many notebooks, after all. =)

Here’s a few from her collection:


Read more at journals & notebooks « MarlaViray~ marvels, musings and meanderings.

Notebook Addict of the Week: Tom Lynch

This week, we have another sketchbook addict. Here’s some of his favorites:

And here’s some of the beautiful work he fills them with!

Read more at WENT SKETCHING: Studio Workhorse: The 4×6 Strathmore Sketch and WENT SKETCHING: Moleskines on the Road, and definitely follow his blog for lots of great posts on using various art materials.

Senator Bob Graham: Notebooks and a Novel

Senator Bob Graham’s notebooks are in the news again, as he’s published a thriller based on his experiences with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the inquiry into 9/11.

You are known to take notes and keep a very strict record of everything you do. Do you still do that?

When did you start doing that, and how easy is that?
My father was in the cattle business, and when he saw a sick cow or something, he’d write it down. So I did it from adolescence, but in a disorganized way. Then when I began running for governor in 1977, I was meeting a lot of people for the first time, and I wanted to get their name and address and something about what it was they were interested in, so from that necessity, I developed using these notebooks, and now they serve that purpose. That’s a daily log of what I do throughout the day, which helps me if there’s somebody that called, and I haven’t returned their call, I’ll have it noted in my book.

You must have a lot of those stacked up some place.
2,500. I keep the last two years of these notebooks at my office because I will frequently refer to those. Those that are older than that are at the University of Florida Library, I think the same place (former U.S. Sen.) George Smathers has his materials.

Read more here: Former Sen. Bob Graham: Afghanistan, Obama and 2,500 notebooks