Posts Tagged ‘Journal Reviews’

WalknTalk’s Tom Sawyer Journal in a rich brown leather.

WalknTalk journals are uniquely designed journals crafted in an old world style. They are handmade in the US with sumptuous high-quality leathers and eco-friendly paper. Their designs make a bold statement and are unexpected in the world of journals. If you are looking for a beautiful, unique journal, read on.

The edges of the pages extend beyond the cover forming a soft point.

I have had the opportunity to use WalknTalk’s Tom Sawyer journal for a while and this is what I have discovered. There are a few interesting features with the most obvious being the simple binding. Forty five sheets of unlined paper have been hole punched and sewn into a thick leather cover using a Roman Numeral stitch pattern. This yields ninety pages or 180 sides to write or draw on. When the journal is folded closed, the pages protrude from the cover into a soft point. While this makes it easy to find a page in the first half of the journal, it does leave the page edges susceptible to dirt and damage. It also makes it difficult to tuck into a pocket or bag as this edge tends to get hung up on things. This type of binding does not allow the journal to lie flat when opened unless you are on the center spread, and even then you will need to manipulate it a bit to convince it to flatten out.

The binding system does not allow the journal pages to lie flat when opened.

The center spread almost lays flat when opened.

I did find the paper lovely to write on and found it compatible will all but my most difficult pens. The paper is a thick, eco-friendly vellum, smooth for drawing and writing. It is Rainforest alliance approved (http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/) and meets the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard (SFI) (http://www.sfiprogram.org/). In my pen test, I found that all of my pens performed beautifully with minimal feathering and no bleed through with the exception of a Copic permanent marker, which bled through the back as expected.

The paper accepted all inks from the ballpoint, rollerball and fountain pens with ease. There was no feathering or bleedthrough. The Tombow watercolor marker performed beautifully, too, but the Copic permanent marker bled through and feathered as expected.

The only ink that bled through was from the Copic permanent marker, which was expected.

The leather used to make the journal is simply beautiful. It is thick, soft and fragrant. This is my favorite part of the journal. The two-toned, rustic stitching is a nice compliment to the design and seems to be very sturdy. There is a built in pen holder on the back cover of the journal is a nice touch, but I had trouble finding a pen or pencil to use with it because the diameter of the opening would only hold the thinnest pen I own, the Tombow 707 Zoom. Perhaps this would stretch out over time with use, but it is quite tight to begin with.

Two-toned stitching contrasts well with the rustic leather.

This is a very nice journal with beautiful materials and high-quality construction. Is it my dream journal? Almost, but with a few small changes this would be as functional as it is beautiful. WalknTalk also make other fine journals and pads, including the refillable Infinity Pads which are bound with a nickel-plated screw in the top of the journal which pivots to reveal the pages below. Please visit WalknTalk for more information. You can order WalknTalk journals directly from their site and at other fine retailers.

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CraftyKatePalmer recently reviewed the Fiorentina Amalfi Leather journal on Youtube. If you want a closer look at this beautiful journal, be sure to check it out.

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Head on over to Notebook Loves Pen blog for July’s Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper.

Check out the colorful notebooks at Notebook Stories and enter to win a Rubberband notebook. At Rants of the Archer, you discover what’s delicious about Daycraft’s Juicy Notebook. Explore a new Banditapple notebook at Whatever and more.

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The June Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper is in swing at Note Booker, Esq. There are some really great posts this month. Sme of my favorites are:

Beyond the Pen: Fountain Pen Ink as Watercolor Wash posted by guest blogger Jamie Williams Grossman who has a sketching blog called Hudson Valley Sketches. She shares her techniques for creating washes out of saturated fountain pen inks and shares a list of her favorite inks.

Unquestionably The Coolest Notebook I’ve Ever Seen posted by Note Booker, Esq. introduces us to an exotic looking notebook purchased at Flax. The cover is part leather, part canvas and is filled with beautiful paper with a deckle edge.

Links to Artists Who Put Pens to Good Use posted by Inkophile who shares some great links to artistic journals and illustrations created with fountain pen ink.

Inside: A Ukrainian Sketchbook posted by Notebook Loves Pen shows us the inside of Ukranian artist’s Anna sketchbooks.

The Book Surgeon posted at Moleskinerie shows us some amazing examples of book art. Using knives, tweezers and surgical tools, he carves one page at a time, without adding anything but just cutting away some pieces of out-of-date encyclopedias, medical journals, illustration books, or dictionaries.

There are many more great posts, so be sure go visit Note Booker, Esq today. Submit your blog articles for the next edition of Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found at the blog carnival index page, and you can read about the Carnival’s origins at Notebook Stories. Next month’s carnival will be hosted by Notebook Loves Pen.

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Two new Cahier planners have been introduced to the Moleskine line for 2012. Both planners feature the cardboard covers and thin profile we’ve come to expect on the Moleskine Cahier notebooks, but both planners offer a new planning format.

Moleskine's new Cahier Planners feature 1-week-per-page planning and four new earth-tone colors including mais, ginger, wheat and terracotta.

Moleskine Cahier Weekly Diary/Planner
One Week Per Page, 2 Weeks Per 2-Page Spread
Retails for around $7.00

Each Cahier Weekly planner features 1 week per page or 2 weeks per spread. This weekly planning format is in both the Cahier Weekly and the 3-Piece Cahier planners.

Available in 4 earth tone colors, mais, terracotta, wheat and ginger, Moleskine’s Weekly Diary/Planner features a planning format with one week per page or two-weeks-per 2-page spread. This is great for those of you who have minimal planning needs but would like to see a half of a month’s worth of planning in one 2-page spread. Slim Cahier styling and fewer pages result in planners that are ultra thin, measuring just 3/16″ thick. In addition to the planning pages, the Cahier Weekly planner includes 28 pages in the front of the planner with:

  • a personal data page
  • box style monthly calenders
  • 2012 and 2013 annual planning calenders
  • international holidays chart
  • travel planning and memos chart
  • time zone map
  • dialing codes
  • measures and conversions
  • international sizes

The rear of the planner has 11 ruled pages for notes or sketching.

Moleskine's new Three-Piece Cahier Planner.

Moleskine Cahier Three-Piece Diary Planner
Both Weekly and Daily Planners and a Memo Folder
Retails for around $15

For those of you who need more versatility in scheduling, check out Moleskine’s Three-Piece Daily/Planner. This planner set has both weekly and daily planners and a memo folder with an elastic strap to keep it all organized. Even though it contains three pieces, the entire set is surprisingly thin, measuring just 3/8″ thick, which is comparable to Moleskine’s pocket-sized, soft cover planner.

This planning set includes 3 pieces, a weekly planner, daily planner and a memo folder with an elastic strap.

Unlike the rest of Moleskine’s planning line, these planners are stripped down to the bare essentials so only the planning pages and a few ruled pages are included. There are no monthly calenders or travel charts. This results in a surprisingly thin profile even when all three pieces are together.

The 64-page weekly planner has the same planning format as the Cahier Weekly Planner, 2 weeks per-2-page spread and includes 9 ruled pages for notes in the back of the planner.

The daily planner has undated 1-page-per-day planning, enabling you to fill out the day and month you desire. Because there are only 64 pages, you won’t be able to use daily planning pages for the entire year, but for those days where you have a lot of scheduling or if you have a class schedule that repeats. Perforated pages allow you to remove the daily planning pages and insert them into the weekly planner for reference.

All three pieces store compactly and are held together with the elastic strap on the memo folder.

To order the new Moleskine Cahier Planners or other great Moleskine planners, visit my eBay store here: Moleskine Planners.

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It’s time for the May Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper over at Economy Pens. There are quite a few reviews on journals this month so be sure to check it out.

The June edition of the Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper will be hosted by Note Booker, Esq.  Use this submission form to get your entries in for the June Carnival.

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Ciak White Notebook

Ciak lined journals are now available in crisp white.

Ciak journals are now available in a crisp, cool white in both pocket and medium sizes. Acid-free materials and modern design offer a journal that is fun and casual. The cover has the look and feel of leather but is more durable and resistant to everyday abuse.

Each notebook is filled with eco-friendly, recycled, lined paper that is compatible with most pens, although the wettest fountain pens may feather or bleed. All 192 pages are acid-free to ensure years of use. Available at JournalingArts.com.

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It’s that time of month again for The April Carnival of Pen, Pencil, and Paper at Rants of the Archer.  Check it out for the latest reviews of pens and notebooks as well as The History of the Moleskine Notebook and its Role in Literature.

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The Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper is in full swing at Diane’s Pocketblonde blog. Be sure to check it out for this month’s best review on pens, pencils and paper.

For those of you who crave information on the latest journals be sure to check out these journal and planner reviews.

Why keep a journal? Well, Snarky’s Machine has a list of 10 reason’s why you’ll be cooler if you do.

Chris of Pens’nPaper reviews the 2011 Exacompta Prestige Journal 21 Daily Planner and includes lots of pictures of all the extras that come with this planner (for the picky at heart, it’s a treat!)

Zequenz Notebooks, which are as flexible as kittens but easier to write on, gets a great post at Journaling Arts.

Lauren, formerly of Pennington-on-Paper, has a new blog (unhalfbricking) and an introspective post on journaling that’s a lovely read.

Katie of Orange Circle Studio sent in this introduction to the new Edgewise Journals.

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Zequenz Notebooks are available in red and black in 3 sizes.

For those of you love notebooks, check out the newest design in notebooks, from Zequenz. These lovely little notebooks feature curves, and lots of them. The most unique feature is the curved spine, which allows you to open the book completely or 360 so front and back covers touch. A flexible binding allows you to shape the notebook into a curvaceous roll and rounded corners are curved more than most, adding an elegant look to the design.

The flexible, curved binding allows the journal to fold back onto istself.

Rather than including a bookmark that is attached, Zequenz notebook include a small magnetic bookmark that folds over a page (or several) and holds your place.  It is a clever design, but you may find that it is easily lost since the magnet is not that powerful. You may also want to keep it away from any electronic storage devices so it doesn’t damage your data.

Zequenz notebooks are available in:

  • Large – approximately 5¾” x 8¼”
    ruled & squared formats 200 pgs., plain 140 pgs.
  • Medium – approximately 5” x 7”
    ruled & squared formats 200 pgs., plain 140 pgs.
  • Small – approximately 4” x 5½”
    ruled & squared formats 200 pgs., plain 140 pgs.
  • Mini – approximately 3 ½” x 5 ½”
    ruled & squared formats 128 pgs., plain 85 pgs.

2 colors

  • Red and Black

3 Formats

  • Ruled – 70 gsm, lines 7.5 mm spacing in small journal, white paper
  • Squared – 70 gsm, 2.5mm squares
  • Plain – 100 gsm, white paper

The paper inside is white and very smooth. It reminds me a little of Clairefontaine paper, although not as bright or refined. The plain paper is heavier than the ruled paper and would work well for sketching with pens, pencils and markers and will even handle light washes of watercolor without complaint.

Pent test on the ruled paper yielded excellent results. There was no bleedthrough on the fountian or roll pens and the showthrough was minimal. The only ink that bled was the Sharpie permenent marker, which was expected.

The paper performed well with all of the pens I tested and had little showthrough. This test was done on the plain pages. The fountain pen sample smeared a little because I did not allow the ink to dry before writing additional lines.

Pen Test

I had good results with both the plain and ruled paper. The ruled paper performed very well with almost all of my favorite pens, including the fountain and rollerball pens. The only bleedthrough I experienced was using the permanent Sharpie markers, which was expected, but the real surprise was that the Pilot Precise Grip did not bleed through at all. There was some showthrough, but it was not enough to keep me from using the back side of the page.

The plain paper version has heavier paper, so there was even less showthough, but the Pilot Precise Grip had small areas of bleedthrough. I also experienced a little bit of feathering with my $2.00 ink cartridge from a big box office supply store. I can’t say whether the feathering was a result of the paper or ink, but since the rollerball ink had no feathering, I believe the feathering was due to ink quality, not a problem with the paper.

Paint and Marker Test on the Plain Paper

The water-based Tombow Dual Brush Pens performed as you would hope they would. Smooth lines and no showthrough or bleedthrough. The paper, while heavier than most plain paper notebooks, still suffered from some curl when exposed to watercolor paint, but the paint did not bleed through and the curl was minimal.

The paper in the plain Zequenz notebook held up well to watercolor and markers. The paper buckled a bit with the paint, but nothing surprising. There was no bleedthrough of the paints nor waterbased markers, even in the areas of heaviest coverage.

The unique binding enables this notebook to open flat, even when the journal is new.

The curved spine allows you to contort the journal and fold it back onto itself.


If you use fountain pens or other wet pens, you should consider trying a Zequenz notebook. The paper is smooth and bright and you may find that your pen and ink combination will give you satisfactory results.

Zequenz notebooks have more pages than other, similar sized notebooks and have a unique binding that opens flat and can be bent back on itself. If you write a lot, this can help you reduce your notebook consumption.

The curved binding is unique and gives this notebook a distinct personality. This enables it to open flat and be contorted into a variety of positions that are just not possible with other notebooks. If you fiddle with your journals, you may find this a satisfying trait.

A variety of Zequenz notebooks can be found at Amazon.com. Review copies provided to me by the nice folks at Zequenz.

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