Tag Archives: simple

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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Out of the Can Thinking

I've been watching some old episodes of Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home on Hulu. I grew up watching Julia Child on PBS. PBS being one of the few channels that came in and was approved for me to watch. I credit a lot of my enjoyment of cooking to both my Mom and ravenously watching Julia Child's shows.

One of the things I notice as I watch J&J:CaH is that Julia rambles on quite a bit about how Americans are afraid of their food and how the diet industry is winning out over taste. Secretly, I could watch these shows over and over again.

Julia has a good lesson for us, and it applies to art. We can't let the industry win in dictating what we want and how we want it. Child's recipes for successful tasty dishes included fresh and basic ingredients combined in ways to create layers of food, she poo-poo'd using canned foods and already made stuff. She stated over and over, "It's not hard, the recipe is a guideline!" Art and art journaling are no different. We should be demanding the basic ingredients and supplies we need to make our art and not canned supplies. After all it's not hard to customize and create your own stuff if you only

Dede and Eveline are a prime example of taking a recipe and making it their own and taking it to entirely new heights. Dede put out a challenge to Eve that she make Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas without using his voluminous list of supplies. Eve took up the challenge as did Dede. their results are nothing short of spectacular. Out of the can thinking at it's finest.

The art and craft industry responds to demands, but as it's a big slow and lumbering machine full of people all trying to get the NEXT BIG IDEA and thus the next big paycheck. The lumbering machine hears about art journaling, tries to figure out what it is, there are big IMPORTANT meetings in board rooms to try and figure it out, there are more meetings in board rooms, and hapless cogs in the machine are sent off to investigate ART JOURNALING. They know nothing about it, they watch a few youtube videos, read a few blogs, and maybe a few of the more intrepid cogs join AJNing. They take some notes, maybe even dabble in a little art journaling and finally something like the Smash Book is born.

Now, thousands of people will be introduced to Art Journaling via the SmashBook. It might even be a decent product, but it's not what I consider a true art journal. It's an interesting concept and an interesting way to finally grab hold of a potential market. Hey, it's even got it's own special glue stick, color coordinated tabs, and a hundred other things to buy to go with it. ARGH!!!

Go simple, buy yourself a sketchbook, a cheap one, a few markers, maybe a cheap set of acrylics or watercolors, and start splashing shit around on the page. Try stuff, watch some videos on youtube get a few recipes but for goodness sake don't be afraid to only use it as a guideline.


Review: Quo Vadis Bookmark

This week’s review is a little different. I’m reviewing, drum roll please, a bookmark. Wait, don’t go away. I promise, it’s a special book mark, so special in fact that it’s simplicity made me over look it when I opened my box of goodies from Exaclair.


The Quo Vadis bookmark is a 5x 1.75 inch piece of cardstock coated in plastic with a brown and tan elastic loop attached. Non-descript and utilitarian in appearance as some of the best ideas are. The brown and tan is not pretty, a nice black elastic loop should be something they consider on their next run.

Simply you hold your place with the bookmark and loop the elastic around your journal to hold it shut. Ridiculously easy and remarkably efficient.



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You know how I said my miquelrius notebook was going to fall apart before I was finished with it? Way back here? Well it is, and I’m not even half finished. This bookmark holds it together, with ease. It also holds all the stuff that I’ve stuffed it within it. Nothing falls out. The elastic is remarkably secure, adapts to a variety of journal sizes and is cheap. You can get one here on GouletPens.com* for $1.50. I’ll be ordering a bunch with my next order. Brian even did a little video on them here.

Seriously, if you are ordering ink or paper, add one of these little wonders to your cart, you’ll thank me later.

Read another review of them here.

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