Attention! Kickstarter Cerat Pencils Not a New Product

A few days ago I found this Kickstarter for Cerat pencils of Britain. I’ve seen the gem or jewel topped pencils around for ages, usually being sold on cheap import shops. So to see them on Kickstarter being sold as something new and of quality, well, I found that kind of funny.

Anyway, I’m not sure if the pencils are really a quality item or not, but that they are being hawked on Kickstarter as a new item is untrue.

Anyway, this is one of those Kickstarter beware campaigns. Oh you can find the same pencils on ebay and amazon for about the same cost. If you are going to buy them get them from Amazon or the ‘bay instead. Don’t encourage Kickstarter fakers.

From Cerat’s own kickstarter page it states:

Here are the approximate breakdowns:

– Around 10% will be taken as fees by Kickstarter and transaction fees.
– Production takes 45% due to the labor involved as these pencils are partially hand made.
– 15% will be reserved for materials cost including acrylic blocks for the crystals on each pencil.
– A maximum of around 25% will be going into Postage and Packaging of the pencils.
– Any remaining funds after the rewards have been completed and backers are satisfied will be invested into & by Cerat Creations for new projects in the future.

Let’s break this down: The fees are about right. The production costs may be correct. The crystals made of acrylic look to be molded on every other iteration of the pencil. Earlier in the Kickstarter they mention these being “carved” from acrylic blocks, I highly doubt that. Postage may be correct. However, the cost to back this project is about what these cost on eBay or Amazon.

Also a quote from their page:

The pencils are all in stock, we have plenty thanks to a batch production we undertook, there really are no risks present and we’re prepared to ship immediately. Of course all costs have been considered and reward prices set accordingly.

The only risk that we may encounter is the over-funding of this project, which isn’t a bad thing at all! In this case, we’ll send out as many as we can fulfill the rewards by December where our production will have begun by.

The pencils are in stock. I’m not sure what you’d be backing here? Shipping? Them opening up the packages and repacking them by color? Again, not sure.

Be sure to read some of the Amazon reviews of a VERy similar product that basically state that these are cheap. The rhinestones fall off before they even arrive.

Blackwing’s Volumes 725

Not too long ago the new Blackwing limited edition series called “Volumes” was announced. With this new series of limited edition pencils, a subscription service mimicking that of Field Notes was introduced. There are some obvious differences, which will be discussed later on, but for now, let’s just say, it’s not the same.725In the subscription you receive  a dozen of the quarterly limited edition pencils, a tubed “collector’s” pencil, and it’s all packaged in a nifty box with shredded paper, a sticker, and apparently, magic. This is a vastly different package than what you get if you order Volumes on it’s own. In that case your Volumes box is slipped into a pretty sleeve and placed into a manila bubble envelope. While the subscribers get ceremony, non-subscribers don’t.725The cost of a subscription is $99 and $12 for shipping, for a total of $111 for a year. Buying a single box of the Volumes will cost $24.95 plus $4 shipping for a total of $28.95. The sub cost per pencil is $2.31 or $2.13 if you count the extra 4 collector’s tubed pencils. Non subs pay $2.41 per pencil, less if you can buy them from a retailer that offers free shipping.*725I won’t go deep into my thoughts on the heavy handed marketing that is used with the Blackwings. I will say that I’m annoyed that I still have no idea how many of these sets were produced. That aspect of  Field Notes is something that I appreciate. It is completely transparent. The number produced of each edition is printed on the inside back cover. The Blackwing marketing is highly reminiscent of Moleskine marketing, which I could really write about for hours, but won’t. You can just go here and read the pinned post for more info.725Anyway, I decided to buy the first Volumes edition after seeing all the stellar pictures posted of it online. It is a really really pretty pencil. The starburst finish which starts as yellow at the tip, fades to red, and ends in black. The end is capped with the standard golden ferrule and filled with a standard black eraser. The paint is glossy and thick. It is glossy like the Pearl and the 602.**725Anyway, after the pictures I saw online, I guess I expected something, more? Ripping open a bubble mailer isn’t as sexy as opening a carefully packed box. Having spent nearly $30 on 12 pencils, it felt a bit cheap. I won’t describe the sleeve or the box itself, as you can find other blogs that go on about the beauty of the sleeve and box. The pencils themselves are very pretty. In use they are no different than a Blackwing Pearl, which I have to say is my favorite of all the Blackwings. The kicker to me in all of this is that if I were to peel away the fancy new paint job, all I’d have in my hand is a Pearl. A very expensive Pearl.*** Of course there are other less expensive Pearl replacements- the MB Nano Dia B is only $1 per pencil and sports a pearlized finish although with some funky diamond shapes printed in lame pastel colors****. There are other blogs that really search out for Blackwing replacement pencil, and though I enjoy them, I’m not one to spend a lot of time researching this topic. I’m pretty happy with my Musgrave Test Scoring 100 or General’s Cedar Pointe #1.725The fact is that with $30, I wish I’d picked up another box of Pearls, a few erasers, and maybe another sharpener instead of the 725.

Continue reading Blackwing’s Volumes 725

Opinion: Adult Coloring Books and Art Therapy

By now I suppose everyone has read about the “adult coloring revolution!!!”, from one of those click-bait shares on the book of face. Some of these articles suggest that the use of these coloring books is as effective as art therapy or IS art therapy. To make either of these two suggestions is incorrect and innocently ignorant of what art therapy is and isn’t.

I will start this out by stating that coloring is an effective tool in reducing agitation, easing anxiety, and helping someone to contain their emotions in the short term. It is often a tool used in hospitals and by art therapists to assist clients in the short term. It is not a long term solution and can be something someone uses to simply shut off their feelings, which as I previous wrote, can be useful when containing emotions. But art therapy (and regular old talk therapy)  teaches us how to understand our emotions and how to cope with them. Rather than just shut off the emotions, we use skills and tools to understand. That’s therapy- the teaching of skills, tools, and understanding. While coloring is but one tool to assist in containing emotions.

I have personally witnessed  and worked with a client who used coloring to contain agitation and anxiety. The client had early stage dementia and would often be confused as to time(as in what year/date/month) in the morning. This would cause a great deal of anxiety and the client be quite agitated and angry. Using crayons and a selection of coloring sheets gave a moment to calmly color. It decreased anxiety, focused attention, distracted from confusion, and in a short period of time the client was calmer, and in a significantly better mood. The coloring allowed the client to focus attention away from anxiety of being aware of disorientation. This didn’t help to orientate to time or place but allowed the client to be calmly distracted and contain emotions. The elevation in mood didn’t last either. The client would be calmer for about an hour. The coloring was a tool to assist in the moment of agitation.

The main difference in the coloring and art therapy was that the coloring allowed the client to become calmed while art therapy allowed for exploring anxiety, understanding it, and normalizing emotions. Through coloring she became comfortable with color, making color choices, and knowing that art felt better.

In my mind coloring books are a tool to helping people to explore art as therapy, but art therapy is a powerful tool for healing. There is potential for coloring books to be a gateway for art therapy. Perhaps if someone begins to color as a way to relax, they will look up a registered art therapist in their area. I certainly won’t slam coloring books as ineffective, but instead look at them as a tool that has been a staple in the art therapist’s toolbox for ages. Instead of hissing and booing at the new boom in popularity, art therapists should capitalize on this popularity, and attempt to garner more positive attention on ourselves. I encourage people to look up some of these adult coloring books but to also understand that they are a tool, but to further understand themselves they should seek out an art therapist. If one is not near them, seek out a therapist who is open to you using art in your sessions.

So go ahead, color away, but be aware that there are art therapists out there who can help. (Links go to amazon affiliate links of coloring books I think look interesting.) Continue reading Opinion: Adult Coloring Books and Art Therapy

Review: Ohto Sharp Pencil 2.0mm

The Ohto Sharp Pencil caught my eye when I stepped into Black Ink in Cambridge, MA. It’s bright yellow body is roughly the size of a Musgrave ChooChoo or My First Ticonderoga, but instead of being round, it’s hexagonal. The hex sides are rounded enough to be comfortable for long periods of writing. It’s short size fits perfectly in my hand. It’s mostly very comfortable. I’ll get to my personal issues at the end but over all, this lead holder is super comfortable.Sharp Pencil The wooden body is lightweight and around the same weight as a regular pencil. I cannot determine if it is made of cedar or not, my sniffer is in allergy hell. It dents easily so it is a softer wood. The denting issue is par for the course with wooden lead holders. Mine is bright chrome yellow, the same shade as the school bus I rode as a child. I love this shade of yellow on pencils. I just makes me happy. The lacquer is thick and glossy. The pencil is also available in black, natural, and green. Black Ink only had the natural and the classic yellow while I was there. I was able to find the other colors via Amazon.Sharp Pencil Sharp Pencil

The knock holds an eraser and delivers 1.5mm of lead with a soft click. The eraser is… Awful. It smears and gets dirty and is gross feeling. It is replaceable and slides out with ease. I’ll be picking up a Pearl to cut to fit. This brings me to my second gripe. When the pencil arrived the knock was loose and rattled around. It made using the lead holder annoying. Every stroke of the pencil caused it to rattle. The metal on metal noise drove me batshit. This was easily remedied with a thin piece of scotch tape. I cut a piece of satin scotch tape to 3mm in height and then wrapped it around the base of the knock, with one wrap. The tape stays hidden. This stops the knock from making the metal on metal rattle but it does still move about. I attempted the surgery with washi which was too thick. Another partial wrap of scotch tape would likely cease the movement altogether but cause the knock to be sluggish when depressed.Sharp Pencil Sharp Pencil

Another issue with this lead holder is that the mechanism does not hold the lead tightly enough to sharpen the lead in the holder with ease. So you either have to remove the whole lead or grip the knock and the body at the same time to stop the lead and clutch mechanism from rotating. The weird thing is, it doesn’t always do this. Sometimes, it sharpens just fine, and others it just catches and spins.

My final gripe with this lead holder is the clip. It is available without, and really, you should not get the clip. It sits too far down on the lead holder to be of use when clipping the pencil to a notebook, leaving a good inch and a half of overhang over the top of your notebook. Which leaves the knock vulnerable to being lost. The clip also pokes into the soft tender bit of my hand between my thumb and index finger. I found this quite irritating both in feel and to my skin, it left a red patch. Fortunately, even if you do buy the model with a clip, it is easily removed. The models without a clip are a few dollars cheaper.Sharp Pencil

Sharp Pencil
Stupid high clip.
Sharp Pencil
stupid high clip, next to the Twist BP, which sits super low.

Sharp Pencil Once the issue of the knock being noisy was taken care of and the clip was removed, I really liked this pencil for long form writing. The Ohto lead it arrives with is okay, but it will hold any 2mm lead. The comfort of this fat little lead holder is quite nice. It also travels quite well in a pocket. It is also relatively inexpensive when ordered via amazon. While it has a few glaring issues that could have been easily solved by Ohto, the worst being the weird clutch and the knock’s noisiness. This seems to be an Ohto thing… To not fix simple issues with their products. I’ve read a great deal of reviews of Ohto products to have one or two simple to fix issues make it through design and preproduction and land in the final product. It’s kinda sad, because they make a lot of really nice stuff that just, sort of, fails at being perfect.

Review: Kitaboshi Wooden Lead Holder with Clip

My first impression of the Kitaboshi wooden lead holder was that it was very pretty. The warm pinkish hue of the cedar matches Kitaboshi wood pencils perfectly. The chrome hardware goes with this wood perfectly. This lead holder is gorgeous in it’s simplicity.KitaboshiThe clutch holds the lead tightly and does not slip at all, no matter how much pressure I put on the lead. The knock deploys 2mm of lead with a satisfying click. The knock itself is a simple mushroom shape that wedges into the internal plastic mechanism. I really like the look of the knock and how it’s simplicity works with the overall design of the lead holder. The clip design is also simple but it works with the overall look of the pencil. It’s strong enough to hold the lead holder to a pocket notebook without excessive overhang. Kitaboshi Kitaboshi KitaboshiWhen I first received the lead holder where the nose met the wood there was a slight overhang where the wood was slightly larger than the nose. This slight overhang was barely .5mm, but it was just where my fingers rested as I wrote.  Because the wood is cedar and soft this soon wore down with regular use.Kitaboshi KitaboshiThe lead holder is almost exactly pencil sized. It is so similar to a regular wooden pencil in weight and feel that transitioning to it from a regular wooden pencil is no problem. It is well balanced and feels good in hand. Because the lead holder is just over 6 inches in length the clip doesn’t press into the soft bit of my hand, so that is a definite positive.KitaboshiThe only downside I can think of with this pencil is that because it is made of soft wood it dents rather easily. While the minor dings and dents that have appeared as I’ve used the pencil might drive some people nuts, I am not bothered by them. They aren’t as bad as the bite marks my Carl A5 makes as I sharpen regular pencils, and aren’t noticeable.KitaboshiOverall, if you are looking for a good lead holder to help you to transition from wood pencils to lead holders, this is a good option. I find it good looking and comfortable to use.

I picked up mine form Jetpens with my own cash money. Or well cash money I had deposited into Paypal, which I then used electronically to pay for the leadholder. Whatever, you know what I mean, I paid for this.

Continue reading Review: Kitaboshi Wooden Lead Holder with Clip

Review: Decomposition Book

I’ve been itching to test out one of these fancy notebooks for awhile. I’ve seen a lot of my classmates with them. They sport fun images on a raw tan cardboard cover, black cloth spine tape, and fun printing on the inside covers. The covers are nice and stiff, you are able to write in hand. Like most composition notebooks, they are stitched and have issues laying flat, but fold over on themselves with ease. The ruling inside is college size and a nice pale blue. They look really nice. They also boast being 100% recycled.decomp

That’s where my happiness with this notebook ends. It’s pretty, but its shoddy construction versus it’s price and Made in USA label has me looking for a Roaring Springs or Norcom composition notebooks. Certainly not as pretty, but better made and much easier on the wallet. First issue, the corners are really poorly rounded. This was the case on ALL the displayed notebooks. The top corner on  my notebook was almost right and the bottom was, well, half done. Second issue is that the cloth spine tape was delaminating from the book when I got it home. A date with a glue stick fixed this, but at $5 for a pocket notebook- it shouldn’t have this occurring. Third, the spine is not centered. At all. The stitching is at the top of the fold, meaning that when I get into the second half of the notebook I’m going to have issues. Production-wise this is a  50 cent notebook masquerading as premium. Sows ear and silk….decomp decompdecomp decomp

My final issue with this notebook is the paper. It is great with pencil, but I switch between pen and pencil. Some days, I just want to be able to use my fountain pen or liquid ink, and I simply can’t with this notebook. The narrowest of Japanese nibs bleed through like I was writing with a double broad German nib. Well behaved Diamine ink leaked through to the facing page like I was using Noodler’s Bay State Blue.decomp decomp

Like I wrote earlier, pencils did well on this paper. It is pretty toothy so pencils do seem to wear down quickly, but I found that all varieties of Wopex performed very very well, even my disliked Write Dudes/MegaBrands/USA Gold recycled denim monstrosity does really well in this notebook. Rollerballs also do well on this paper, from the Bic Crystal to Field Notes Clic.decomp decomp decomp

I’m so disappointed in this notebook that I’m not providing a link to Amazon, where you can find it if you want to buy a pretty notebook that will make you sad.

Basic details:

  • 6×4 inches- pocket sized
  • Composition notebook, Stitched construction
  • Card covers, printed with pretty designs
  • Designed in Brooklyn
  • Fabric taped spine

Review: J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Stormy Grey

I was planning on waiting a few more weeks before I got this review up here, but if you follow me on instagram you know I have Stormy Grey, and you know I’m in LOVE. This ink is in a single word, delightful. In other words it’s sedate, yet fun; a business suit with a gold lamé lining. In the pen it’s stunning as the gold flakes fall in and out of suspension. This ink is much more stunning than it’s red sibling, Rouge Hematite, another ink that I adore.  Stormy Grey is just that, the color of a dark sky right before the thunder starts.

stormy greyWhen compared to J. Herbin’s other grey ink, Gris Nuage, this is many shades darker, more of a charcoal grey than cloud grey. When it comes to loading it up in a brush pen for sketching, it can almost stand in the place of black. The great thing about the Herbin inks is that they can be layered. Once the initial layer dries, you can load up another layer and add to the depth of dark. It’s quite a nice, if unintentional feature of the ink. This ink won’t take the place of my Gris Nuage for sketching but will allow me to add another brush pen to my lineup. One thing with the brush pen is that the lovely gold flecks were significantly diminished.  They were visible but not as much as when this ink is loaded to a regular pen.stormy grey

This ink in my TWSBI 530 with a medium nib was amazing. It went onto the page with a sedate grey. Somber tones, then turn the page to a different light and it lit up as if it were gold foiled. It turned the most boring list of stuff for an assignment into magic. As nibs go, the TWSBI 530 M is boring, I can only imagine what this ink would be like in a vintage flex. The important piece here is that it turned what I wrote with a boring nib into something special.
stormy grey
The flow in the TWSBI is quite nice. It’s well lubricated and very well behaved. I was able to use my TWSBI M in a Field Notes with some bleed through but it wasn’t so bad as most inks with a medium on Field Notes paper. With a fine or extra fine nib this ink might just work perfectly in a Field Notes! Which is pretty amazing. I can’t wait to fill my TWSBI mini with this ink and see how it works in my FN.stormy grey

Some might call this hyperbole, but I think this might be the best journaling ink ever made. Consider writing a daily to do list, or grocery list with this ink, and feeling like you are on a treasure hunt while in the grocery store. stormy grey

It has been noted in various other locations that this is a super saturated ink and may stain your pen. I am not noticing any issues with my TWSBI, and I suspect that if you follow proper pen hygiene and clean it out regularly, that you’ll have no issues.  just don’t leave the ink in the pen for weeks without cleaning.  Also due to the flakes it could clog your pen. My TWSBI 530 has had flow issues in the past, but so far, not a single one with this ink. However, when I decide to switch inks, I will flush this pen better than I usually do.

Continue reading Review: J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Stormy Grey

Review: Best Pencil for Notes #1

I decided to do a competition  among my regular classroom pencils to see which I deem the most perfect note taking pencil.These are the pencils I reached for over and over again as I took notes in class. I have a pencil box with between 8 and 10 pencils, each sharpened in the Carl A5 aka “The Classroom Friendly Sharpener.” I try to use each until it is dull and then grab another from the box as I need it. I work my way through the pencils as I wear each down. Now my note taking style is of the capture then reflect method. I capture the basic ideas, and then reflect upon them later. Getting everything down is less important than capturing the interesting bits. Most of my professors load their powerpoints and sometimes notes to a class blackboard site. Anyway, after class, as I ride the train home, I will reflect upon the class and jot some information down on the opposite page or flesh out my notes. Mostly I do this so that I have a good basis for which to write my papers.

The 9 pencils currently in my pencil box are:

  • General’s Kimberly B
  • General’s Test Scoring 580
  • MitsuBishi Hi Uni HB
  • Dixon Ticonderoga Target Neon Blue HB Soft
  • USA GOLD “vintage” Megabrands label, metallics HB
  • Musgrave Test Scoring 100
  • Staedtler Noris HB
  • Staedtler Triplus HB (Regular Size)
  • Blick Studio 2Bclass pencils

Since I’m looking at this as a competition as to the best pencil for my note taking needs, it is important to note that I’m taking notes in a Staple’s College Ruled Composition book. This is the made in Brazil version with slightly smoother paper that is fountain pen friendly.

I do not consider erasers as I have a Sakura Foam in my pocket at all times.

I took a number of things into consideration. The first two considerations were availability and price. This took some of my favorites out of contention. For classroom note taking, I don’t want to have my Blackwings*. In availability, I rule out anything vintage, like my beloved ECOwriters. If I can’t easily get them in a store they don’t make the list. The USA Gold that I have listed, is no longer available. I kept it on the list for the sole reason that it has the same core as a regular USA Gold, so it basically represents the cheapest of the cheap. If I’m ruling out champions due to price, the General’s Test Scoring 580 at over $1 a pencil is a loser, as is the Hi Uni HB.

The next consideration was point retention. The leaders in this were the Ticonderoga, USA Gold, Noris, and Musgrave TS 100. The Blick Studio was a miserable failure and was kept in the pencil box only for it’s capabilities for drawing.** The Triplus has decent retention but wasn’t in the top  5.class pencils

The next to last consideration was darkness. Did I have to jab the pencil to the page to get a decent line? Or was I able to write lightly and get decent line integrity? The Musgrave TS 100, Triplus, Kimberly, and Noris were all fantastic in this regard.class pencils

The final consideration was aesthetic. The Noris, Triplus, Kimberly, and Ticonderoga all were winners here.class pencils

So based on these considerations entirely unscientific results are as follow

#1 Musgrave TS 100
#2 Staedtler Triplus
#3 Staedtler Noris HB
#4 General’s Kimberly B
#5 USA Goldclass pencils

The Musgrave TS 100 will never win a beauty contest, but there is something I really like about its thin silver paint, cheesy printed logo, and craptastic eraser. I finally got a few with flaking paint to, but the dark core with decent tip retention really means I reach for it over and over again. The Staedtler Triplus, has no eraser, but it’s school bus yellow paint, and dark core had me reaching for it over and over again for both quick and long term notes. It’s rounded triangular body was comfortable and easy to grip. The Noris’s black and yellow striped body with smart red cap just looks awesome. The fact that it’s dark and holds a point make it even better. The Kimberly in B allowed me to do some sketchnoting as well as regular notes. It’s smooth dark core was a winner every time. I even enjoy it’s cheap bras cap against the thin green paint. Nothing says American Made like a shitty paint job. Finally the USA gold brings up the tail end. When I had to write for long periods of time and I would not be able to grab something out of the box fast, I grabbed this. It’s point retention is great, and I’m able to scribble on my articles and notes for the entire train ride into school (lasting about an hour.) With a cap it’s a great pocket pencil.

I took out of consideration the Staedtler Norica Blue (canadian) version because it’s not readily available, though lately I ALWAYS have on in my Twist BP. I also removed the Tombow 8900 in HB and B because it’s not as readily available as the rest of the pencils. I considered adding the Staedtler Rally, but felt that Staedtler was already well represented. Added to this list should have been General’s Cedar Pointe #1, but they decided to cease production right after I bought my first 12-pack. The CP#1 is a great note taking pencil. Dark, good point retention, and the raw wood finish, oh baby…

Of course, I reserve the right to revisit this list with entirely new pencils for my summer classes and then my fall classes, and maybe just because.

Continue reading Review: Best Pencil for Notes #1

It’s Been Awhile

It’s been awhile since I wrote anything on here. I’ve been hard at work on papers and other class related things. I’ve not had time to write anything but papers. Though I’ve been sneaking a few words here and there on my novel for Nanowrimo Camp. I’ve written 7000 words on my novel since April 1st.coffee

For those of you who have been reading for awhile, you know that I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. I’ve been doing really well with my diet and exercise. I’ve lost about 25 pounds and I’ve been feeling a lot better, except for a few weeks ago where I just felt like crap. At first I thought I was getting a cold. But the feeling persisted for a week then 2. I did a little research and my blood sugar was good, really good. But my blood pressure was low. It turns out I was overdosed on my blood pressure medication, likely due to the weight loss and exercise. I’ve been tapered off the BP meds and I no longer feel drunk.

It really hard to try to think and to study when you feel kinda drunk all the time. Needless to say, it was weird and I’m glad I feel normal again. Or as normal as I can. 😛

I’ve got a bunch of new pencils to review once the semester is over. I’ve decided that each of the pencils that I review will get at least a week or so of continued use. I’ve got a rotation of pencils  in a pencil case that I sharpen and get ready for class and rotate through them. But the point is that each pencil reviewed will get some serious use before I review it. I’ll have a “first impression” sheet in my notebook, but then the rest of the review will be based on real use. You won’t see a full length pencil in my reviews, unless I shoot a pic of it first. More likely, you’ll see a half used and abused pencil.

Anyway, I’ve been learning a lot of good stuff and I have a paper mache clay recipe to share with you in the upcoming weeks. As well as a few things you can use in your art journal.

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NEXT! Using up pencils till i can’t sharpen them anymore! #Measuredlearning

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The inside of that bowl.

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New Tool/Review: INDXD

I have written about my indexing method for my pocket notebooks before. I had mentioned that I use a master index, but failed to show an image of the index.

To recap- at the start of every one of my pocket notebooks I create a 2-column index. Basically, I write the numbers 2-48 on the first page, with just enough room next to it to log the topic in a word or two. In my master index book, each book gets a single page. At the top is a brief description and dates of use. Under that the same index is repeated. At the bottom of the page I write down any loose inclusions- such as letters from friends, post it notes, and other odd items. These are always tucked into the back of the book.

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Generally, when I copy the index to the master book I will expand upon the topic on an as needed basis. Sometimes I’ll have written “novel” and I’ll change that to “NOV. Character Name” or “NOV. Scene.” This helps me find info quickly in the master book. Then I know to pull the green field notes from January 2015 and turn to page 25. It definitely helps me to find stuff faster.

I recently began using INDXD, a nifty little website where you create an account and log your notebooks. I was quite skeptical at first. I have been holding off on going digital with my index for awhile. Now that I’ve logged 21 books in my master index it’s getting to be confusing as to which book that novel idea or cord wrap design was in, so I find myself paging through the index searching, and searching. I considered creating an index on a spreadsheet where I logged a topic and then logged each page and book, but the idea was cludgy and seemed like a pain in the ass to set up, so I decided against it. And here is where I kind of just stopped thinking about it. I knew I wanted something as simple as my master notebook, but something more searchable. I considered getting a scanner and scanning each book into Evernote, but the idea of scanning 21 48-page notebooks (not counting the notebooks I’ve drawn and journaled in…) was painful, and who has the time. The idea for me isn’t to recreate my books digitally (though I’ve played with that in my zine, Evidence.) but to make them searchable digitally.INDXD INDXD

That is where INDXD comes in and works beautifully. The reason it works and works so well, is that it’s powerfully simple. You set up a “book” give it a title and dates of use, then log the topics and pages they are on. Also it’s ridiculously simple to use. It takes me between 5 and 10 minutes to log a book, depending on number of topics and how bad my handwriting was when I recorded it.INDXD

Once logged, you can search. Enter in one term and up pops the pages and BOOKS it lives in. Enter another term and the search is dialed down to those two terms. You can then pull the book and find what you need, fast.INDXD

I’ve tweeted at the creator, David Rea, and he says that both Android and Apple apps are in the future. Having INDXD on my phone or tablet would make this even more flexible and easy to use.

As someone who clings to her analog tools and resisted moving toward a digital system this powerful simple tool makes it easy.

A suggestion. I’d like to see the date entry method offer different layouts or more flexibility for entry. I use 20150325 for my date style; year, month, day with no spaces or interuptions. This isn’t an option when entering in chrome. Fortunately the date entry doesn’t work quite right in firefox (don’t fix this yet) so I’m able to enter in my dates the way I use them. On the topic/tag page it would be easier to read the large amounts of text on the screen a little easier if the lines alternated color- cream-tan-cream etc. This would also help on the search results page.
Honestly, this is a great tool and I’m looking forward to entering in all my books

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