Tag Archives: notes

Review: Shinola Small Notebook Paperback, Ruled

During my last visit to Artist & Craftsman I purchased a few Shinola notebooks on a whim. The small paperback notebooks are available in a variety of colors and are displayed in a neat spinning display made of dark stained wood and plexiglass. For the paperback books I snagged the orange color but they also have a nice pink, tan, navy, teal and black. They were out of the teal or I’d have gotten that*. Orange is a great color for a notebook because it can easily be found in a bag and in among crap laid out on a desk.Shinola Papercover

The notebooks are covered in a stiff cardstock that is sturdy, and the one I’m using has survived some seriously rough use. Yes, it has achieved and nice wabi sabi worn in look, which will offend some of new “brand new look” purists but, I love me the worn in look, and this is starting to get a good patina. The cover also has some nice embossing and debossing details. The name plate has a nice rounded rectangle embossed around it as well as a series of double lines at the top and bottom, which I think it could do without, but look okay. There is an embossing around the edges of the front cover. The back cover is adorned with simply, “Shinola Detroit.”Shinola Papercover

I’ve made my way through 3/4ths of the book and the spine is surviving well. The spine is not stitched rather it is perfect bound with embedded cords. While this is a sturdy sort of perfect binding, it won’t last forever. Eventually the rubbery glue they have used on the spine will give out, it might take 10 or 20 years, so if you use these for notes you want for posterity, because you know your thoughts are really THAT important, these might not be for you. So yes, perfect binding is generally the devil’s tool, but this is a good one, and has survived my rough use thus far. Also, for even more of a party foul, it won’t ever lay flat, nope don’t bother I tried. A final weirdness, these measure 5.5Hx3.75 inches, so you have to wedge them into your covers and they do NOT fit into a Fodderstack XL, again don’t bother I TRIED.Shinola Papercover

The paper is a delightful cream color with light grey lines. I love the color of the paper and the lines. the paper is smooth and lacks any sort of toothines that I like for graphite. I find the pages are prone to smudging when I use my usual B or 2B pencils on them. this is a great paper for HB or even *GASP* Wopex! Oh yes, this paper is DELIGHTFUL for the odd wopex pencil you have in your kit.Shinola Papercover

Anyway, you can ge a 2-pack of these 72 page lined notebooks for about $6.75 at Artist & Craftsman in Saugus, MA or you can go to the Shinola website, or a number of other sites.Shinola Papercover Shinola Papercover

Details:

  • Paperbacked
  • Perfect bound, NOT stitched
  • 72 lined cream colored pages
  • 60lb/90gsm acid free
  • 5.5×3.75 inches

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Review: Furrow Books Pocket Size Notebook

I signed onto the Kickstarter campaign for Furrow Books roughly 6 or so months ago.  I pledged for one of the founding member pocket sized notebooks. Its price was fair to help support the campaign.FurrowThe pocket sized notebooks are 3.5×5.5 inches in size and contain 48 pages. The pages are held to the cover by 3 silver staples. This is all pretty standard in the pocket sized notebook arena. The front cover is unadorned and is a nice dark shade of green. The back cover has some information about the company and the book. Because this was a limited edition of 1500, it sports a hand numbered 0044/1500. At the bottom of the back cover is the furrow books logo. The cover is made of stiff sturdy card. I really dig the logo free front cover.FurrowFurrowInside the covers are colored the original Kickstarter green* and they are blank. They don’t have a place to put your information but this is easily enough to be scrawling in with ink. The pages are blank. Furrow books schtick is that their pages are blank, but that they have a card with lines that you can stick behind them and use as a guide. The pages are just thin enough that you can see this guide well enough to, uh, guide your writing. In practice this works pretty well. I found shoving the card behind every page a tad annoying** but for specific reason which will likely not annoy anyone else (read the footnote for more info on this.) Using the notebook in my cover meant that the elastic pushed the card out of place. Outside the cover it worked pretty well.  I really liked the fact that once I was done there were no lines visible on my page and yet my writing was perfectly straight. Like lines? That’s covered. Like grids? That’s covered. The card is double sided to accommodate what you prefer.FurrowFurrow FurrowFurrowWhile using a pencil I found that my card got a little graphite transfer. This wasn’t an issue in use just a thing to make note of. It wouldn’t happen with fountain pens.FurrowAs someone who interchangeably uses fountain pens, pencils and cheap roller balls it’s important that I know what kind of utensil will work on my paper. I found that pencils worked the best on this paper, in fact they worked so well I found myself using little else. I did test out the Field Notes clic pen to good effect. I tested out a few of my fountain pen stash and the results were ok. I had a lot of show through  and a touch of bleed through. YMMV. I really liked it with pencil, and I would put it on par with some of my other favorite notebooks with pencils. Furrow FurrowOverall this is a pretty nice notebook with great paper that is made well here in the US. The aesthetics are significantly different than Field Notes and approach a classy simplicity in the choice of cover materials and treatments.  These notebooks would look good in an office, board meeting, or a meeting with nerdy professors. The branding is subtle and adult, sophisticated. Again,, comparing them to Field Notes, they lack the fun factor, but make up for it by being an adult notebook.

While I was a Kickstarter Supporter, I suggest that people keep an eye out for these notebooks and support them. MAde in the USA, quality construction (when compared to other notebooks of similar build) and a nice look. How can you go wrong?

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Reflection: Adaptability of the Traveler’s Notebook System

For the last several years I’ve been carrying some variation of a homemade Traveler’s Notebook system. I have gotten my system to perfection for me- one of my simple slim two pocket inserts, a BanditApple Carnet (BAC) peewee, and a Field Notes (FN). This system allowed me to jot down important information on a catch all page in the FN or if I needed more room to take up a whole page in the FN. The BAC allowed me to sketch on the train. The pocket hold receipts, stamps, and odds and ends. This worked perfectly for me for several years. It got me through my last hellish year at the old job and through my first year of GradSchool. But today I realized that it was a little inappropriate for me to carry my journal with me to my internship. It also didn’t work for my needs as an art therapist. It was simply put- too bulky and cumbersome.tale of travelersA couple of weeks ago I bought some Post it “Study” Grid notes and cut them down to fit onto the back cover of my planner- housed in a custom made Davis Leather Works simple notebook cover. This cover is traveler’s notebook style, but holds only a BAC peewee sized planner and a simple slim 2-pocket insert. The gridded post it notes saved my bacon as I was running around the senior center, jotting down  notes about supplies the program has, things the director needs, things my supervisor would like to see, what kind of art people like, and other assorted quick notes. While my planner worked well for the day, it’s not a long term solution.

I think that a pocket notebook like a moleskine would be too formal for the setting, and if I lost it would house far too much important information*. I’d like to stick to some sort of Field Notes or Word sized note book, something pocket sized between 48 and 64 pages. Ruling not important. But I’d like to be able to combine it with a pocket system that I can keep post its and index cards in. So basically, I’m looking to make a cover like my planner cover, that holds a pocket notebook and a pocket with a handful of notecards and a few post its cut to size. It has to fit into the back pocket of my khakis.

It feels a little strange to me that the system that I currently use isn’t appropriate for a new setting. I simply assumed it would be good for all settings, since it’s been “there for me” through so much and for so long.  It’s strange to think that I’m so attached to my notebook system that I feel a little lost (and admittedly sad) that I won’t have it with  me. Instead what I’ll have with me will be a new version of the system, something adapted to work with my new profession. Something slimmer and a little more sleek.

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Make Your Own Pocket Sized Notebook

Making your own pocket sized notebooks is ridiculously easy. Once your materials are gathered it really takes about 15 minutes to sew up 3 or 4 of these. If you've been buying Field Notes or Moleskine Cahiers you will save $9.99.

Here are the materials you'll need:

Awl/push pin
blunt needle with a large eye
thread- you can use Linen or Embrodery floss, or any thin sturdy thread made of a natural material
bee's wax, a block or candle
ruler
paper that you'd like inside cut to the size you'll need
cardstock for the cover

 

To figure out how wide to  cut the width of your pages and cover use this simple formula final (folded) width multiplied by 2 plus 1/4 inch So if I want my page to be 3.5 inches the formula works out as follows: 3.5×2+.25=7.25inches. You trim off the last .25 inch when the notebook is finished.