Friday, December 19, 2014


My fellow instigator Courtney alerted me to this great little L.A. based leather works company called, This is Ground. Which in turn prompted a little nudge for the Mr. to get me an early X-mas gift.  The Mod Illustrator (the illustrator has to do with the little detachable insert) designed by Artist Alvaro FREEGUMS Ilizarbe.

It is a some what soft leather along the lines of the Midori Traveler's Notebook that is a bit more structural due to a double layer being applied to each flap. So to clarify, every surface you see here is debossed so there is no raw leather showing. In order to do this two pieces of debossed leather were sewn together to create the front of the case, back, and the little detachable illustrator insert.

I bought the one that is made for the iPad mini to try with my A5 Hobonichi (
5.8' x 8.3'). I am happy to say it did fit, although a little tight. It butts up against the bottom edge due to the little leather segment they made at the top for a pen, but luckily it still zips up. That being said, when I tried A5 notebooks that had stiff covers like the cardboard ones from Muji, it was very tight.

Dimensions of ipad mini case:

  • Width: 7.5 in./19.05 cm
  • Depth: 1 in./2.54 cm
  • Length: 10.5 in./26.67 cm

I am debating on whether or not I will loosen that top pen stitch as it is not sewn all the way down, but at this point I don't know if that bottom edge will bother me enough to want to do it. The other thing is, this is just an all around lovely carrier. I can tuck away any journal inside that is within the iPad dimensions. So Moleskines and anything up to the A5 journal size will tuck away nicely.

In summary, it is a well made leather product. Fairly soft, yet structural leather with it's double layers. The design is unique and if you like tan... this is just plain beautiful. In general, as an add on to my previous post on alternatives to the Hobonichi, I would definitely look into iPad cases. 

Music of the Day:
Nicola Conte : Lotus Sun

Thursday, December 18, 2014

For the Note Takers

Ernest Hemingway Avid Note Taker (

Hi there, I've been down the writing rabbit hole as of late and came upon a few interesting articles I thought I would share. Both have to do with the art of note taking, so get your common place book and throw down some notes on the subject. Could help you or the student in your life ^_^.

The first one has to do with the benefits of hand writing versus note taking on a laptop which has become a common practice amongst the children of the digital age. The article title, 'Here's Why Writing Things Out By Hand Makes You Smarter', is an excellent article for you to use as proof behind the pudding. The article goes on to talk about a study a few psychologists did that investigated the topic of just how bad laptops were for note-taking vs. handwriting.

Bottom line is if you are in a robotic state busy taking down words verbatim, you aren't taking the time it takes while writing your notes to frame it, edit it for key words, or write down questions that are important for you. In other words your brain doesn't engage therefore your brain doesn't tell you it's important to remember. A lost opportunity if you ask me.

Being of the generation where I grew up writing notes, yet working in technology, I too must admit I fell into the digital only mode for a while. Mostly out of necessity... but I am happy to report the percentage of written vs. digital is more like 70/30 now. Yes, my love of journals has turn the tide for me. That being said I don't believe I'm being a luddite... I still use my icalander and Evernotes for things, but as storage containers. Retention as they say is much better accomplished by hand to page.

The other article is a short a sweet one about the actual act of note taking. As an aside did you know Ernest Hemingway was an avid note taker? Tons of images online if you want to take a gander. Any who the article, 'You've Probably Been Taking Notes Wrong Your Entire Life', simply states when note taking you should have a stimulus (cue or questions) and a response. Think flash cards, your notes now become interactive and no longer just summaries.

Music of the Day:
Bitter Sweet : Bittersweet Faith

New MTN Insert

Number three was all full and ready for retirement so it was time to crack open a new lined Midori insert and get to decorating it.  Color pencils, acrylic markers and a bit o' the washi served me well. Now on to some serious journaling ^_*.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Happy Friday #33 : Alternatives for Hobonichi Techo or Fauxbonichi

Since shipping is fairly pricey,  many wonder if the Hobonichi is a viable option and/or you're not sure if you would even like it. Or perhaps you can't find the cover you want, it's sold out, or you want your experience to be more personalized... I thought I would share some alternatives for either dressing up your current Hobo insert, creating a version of a fauxbonichi, or creating some sort of frankensteining concoction that will inspire you to create.

Although I can not say enough about the Tomoe River paper, it is really about developing a habit of drawing and/or writing everyday that had me at the get go. Something about having those dates and of course the added motivation of sharing in groups with like minded souls, really helped me kick it to the next level this year.

Now onto the dimensions of the Hobos that will help you make a decision on Frankensteining your own personal Hobo. 

Original Insert A6:  4.1' x 5.8'    Cover : 4.52' x 6.53'   

Cousin Insert A5:    5.8' x 8.3'    Cover : 6.29 x 8.97' 

Insert Options:

Nanami's Seven Seas A5 sized journal insert is made of tomoe river paper, however they only have a lined version at this time.

A second paper choice to the Tomoe River paper is the paper made by Midori. They make wonderful A5 and A6 options you can use in a plain or grided paper in a cream tone. They also have their own diary/calendar version. You can find both sizes at my favorite journal place Maido as well as Nanamipaper.

Miquel Ruis flexible journals are a decent option as well.  Also made in both the A5 and A6 sizes. The paper is grided, it does take water based supplies as well, but not too wet, it is an easier option to access as you can find it at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Here is also a post I made with tips on creating your own fauxbonichi.

Muji notebooks are in both sizes as well. It is made out of recycled paper and it is very smooth cream paper with a thin kraft paper cover. The paper does not take water color very well and will crinkle initially, but will dry fairly flat. Although, you may not want to use the back side as it may be slightly crinkled in back.

Cover Options for Cousin :

Barnes and Noble leather cover journals. I covered this in a previous post you can find here. Colors do vary though.

Seven Seas Gfeller Kip Cover. Review can be found here.

Cloth covers can be found in the Journal Shop.
Oberon refillable notebooks. I do not currently own one, but many have talked about how they love the interesting designs on the covers. There are many places that sell these online, but Jenni Bick Bookbinding seems to have a nice selection.

The Filofax Flex A5 Notebook. For the Filofax fans, many have found this particular cover at discount stores and use this as an option.

Cover Options for Original A6 : 

A faux leather option from Iconic found here and here. This one looks very affordable and fun to look at. 

A slightly more rugged option with leather & canvas. This can be found on the Rakuten website and also in the A5 Cousin size.

A purely canvas option, the A6 Kokyo Notebook Cover.

Beautiful fabric book covers from Ultrahard. This is larger than the original insert, but it is a bit smaller height wise than the original cover so this may be a toss up. (4.53 X 6.10) 

In general any A6 for the original or A5 for the cousin will do, but here are just some that I came across that may fit your Hobo needs. You can always customize your pages or go for a diary/planner that will have you journaling everyday.

Music of the Day:
Nouvelle Vague : Bande à Part Album

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Feeling Inspired

Some times all it takes to feel inspired is ...

Mon Carnet de Poche...

A favorite magazine...



Music of the Day:
Koop : I See A Different You

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mon Carnet de Poche

Alas, I did not leave my beloved Maido empty handed. While adoring the Midori displays and enjoying the general notebook nirvana, I had seen this journal hovering around. Beckoning me to buy it. I resisted the temptation as I had already too many journals, but as they say resistance is futile haha. Mon Carnet de Poche or My Pocket Notebook made it into my hands and I am in love!

It is no pocket notebook by any means though... it is a B5 (roughly 7' x 10') notebook. The notebook is fairly simple and vintage in appearance. It has a card stock cover, cloth along the spine, and the papers sit slightly out of the cover. Normally this would bother me, but some how in this journal it lends to it's vintage feel.

They do have cream colored ones as well, but the one I purchased has brown kraft like paper in three different styles. It has 112 sheet of the ruled, 64 grid, and 112 of the perforated plain.

112 Ruled Sheets 
64 Grid Sheets
112 Plain Perforated Sheets

So far the paper has taken acrylic ink, ink, acrylic paint, watercolor, and waxy color pencils like a rockstar with no bleed or much warping. I mean it curls a little as it dries, but I just rolled it in the opposite direction and it straighten out.

I decided to play around with my new December ArtSnacks toys in it as well which was nice. The drawing pencils were fairly standard, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the Prismacolor Premier 05 pen. It was very juicy and smooth. Much more palatable than microns I would have to say. 

Although I purchased my Cahier or notebook at Maido, online I found it at Jenni Bick Bookbinding. I haven't purchased from her, but please share if you do end up buying from her, on how your experience was. It seems she carries two sizes a small one B6 (roughly 5 X 7) for $10 and the B5 for $15.

Music of the Day:
From one of my Favorite Movies
Coco Avant Chanel : Chez Chanel

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Happy Friday Vlog #32 : A Touch of Paris

Hello here are some of the books I mentioned in my Vlog today and of course the little Fitbit I got to kick start my health program ^_^.

A little collage eye candy with the French theme.

Great illustrations from a Japanese illustrator based in Paris. Look up her story sometime. Very inspiring!

A fashion guide on how to attain 'Paris Chic' with some 
cute little illustrations to boot.

A great book to see all things Paris, from fashion sketches to urban.

Part of my endeavor to get back on track!

Music of the Day:
Comme Tourjours : Les Negresses Vertes

From the movie Addicted to Love with Mattew Brodrick and Meg Ryan.