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March 10, 2008

Monday morning musings…

Filed under: Morning Musings, stationary — jackie @ 9:03 am

Good morning readers.

One of the special projects that I am working on is a refillable sketch/note/date book. This one has a leather cover and inserts that you can switch out or replace when filled.

I recently became enamored with the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. These books are made in Japan and quite popular there. Like the Moleskine, they are gathering a bit of a cult following. I discovered them on Patrick Ng’s blog Scription, which is all about stationary and cool notebooks and is a visual treat. There is also a Flickr group for owners of the books.

Since they are so hard to get here in the states, I decided to make my own version of it.  The size is a little different. It’s slightly taller and wider. (The Traveler is approx. 8.58″x5.11″ in size) I sized my version so that I could make my own refills out of folded 8.5″ x11″ paper.  The folded cover size is 6″x 9″ and the refills are 8.5″x5.25″ after I trim off the feathering at the foredge. The cover is a nice soft leather that will wear very well. I still need to make a book mark and a pen holder.

My version of the Traveler's Notebook

This is the front inside side of the cover. The cover leather wasn’t stiff enough to stand on it’s own so I lined it with a sandwich of bristol board and wool felt. I added a business card pocket and a slash pocket for holding papers, tickets, etc. The inserts are held in with elastic cord that can be tightened with an attached cord lock. There is an elastic cord that holds the book together but I’m thinking of making a version with a strap and velcro closure.

This is the back side of the cover. Another card holder and slash pocket in contrasting colors. I’m thinking of making another with the back pocket a little different. Perhaps an envelope style pocket with a velcro closure. What’s cool about the wool felt is that it comes in an array of colors.

There are two inserts in this book. They are nested with each other but could go in seperately as there are two cords available. One insert is graph paper and the other is a soft flannel color recycled paper. I am planning on making an insert with some Stonehenge, which is my favorite sketching/art paper. I’m also thinking on making a calender and am working on what would be the best way that to utilize Daytimer plastic accessory pockets for further customization.

I really like the idea of a refillable book. The fact that you can put inserts in depending on what you’ll be doing that day is really cool. I’m thinking on calling my version of these books The Itinerant Artist’s/Journalist’s Notebook. What do you think?

If you have any suggestions or ideas to make them better I’d love to hear them.

I hope everyone has a great day.

• • •


  1. I love your book it is fantastic. All those useful pockets as well as the options with the inserted pages is a really good idea. I’d be interested to see the leather strap closure version as wonder if the softer leather cover would be damaged but elastic closure over time.

    Well done, I am so inspired by the books I see on your site, as a beginner it is a revelation as to what is possible.


    Comment by Billie — March 10, 2008 @ 10:25 am
  2. Amazing! Feel like owning one! I need to smell and touch it.

    Comment by Patrick Ng — March 10, 2008 @ 11:10 am
  3. Your books are fantastic !

    Comment by JaKo — March 10, 2008 @ 2:15 pm
  4. Great idea & as usual beautiful execution. I look forward to further refinments.

    Comment by Judy — March 10, 2008 @ 3:03 pm
  5. Now that’s terrific !!!

    I wonder if you could (please :-) put a picture on the blog that shows a little bit more detailed how you attached the actual ‘book blog’ (which is exchangable) to the leather cover. Thanks a lot !

    Great work, really.

    Comment by Uwe (amoxpixqui) — March 10, 2008 @ 3:51 pm
  6. Thanks everyone for your kind comments on my new book! I’m having fun with it. Everyone that has seen it loves it. :-)

    Uwe, I’d be happy to post additional photos of how the refill attaches to the cover.


    Comment by jackie — March 10, 2008 @ 5:33 pm
  7. This looks really nice. It seem to have it’s own interesting identity.

    Comment by Stephen — March 10, 2008 @ 10:15 pm
  8. This is a terrific idea and marvelous execution —

    Comment by Patricia — March 11, 2008 @ 12:59 am
  9. Thanks for sharing another cool book, Jackie. May I ask what kind of leather you use and where you buy it?

    Comment by Stephanie — March 11, 2008 @ 9:45 pm
  10. Wow, I so love this concept! I saw s.th. similar here (i.e. the concept of exchangeable inserts):
    I would also like to see a close up photo of the spine and the way, the inserts are attached to the back. Thanks for sharing a great idea :-)

    Comment by danyeela — March 12, 2008 @ 6:37 am
  11. You’ve been given a kind-heart-award! Please check out
    for more and enjoy :)

    Comment by bookarat — March 12, 2008 @ 7:28 am
  12. Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

    Astrid, thanks for the award! :)

    Danyeela, thanks for the link. That is an interesting way that they attach the inserts.

    Stephanie, I use whatever leather that I have on hand as I have built up a collection over the years. Some is upholstry leather, some is tooling leather and some is bookbinding leather. Cowhide is good for a smooth leather cover, sheepskin or goatskin are nice for texture. To be honest, I haven’t bought any recently but there are some good sources on Ebay that I have been looking at. The Leather Guy is one that has a great selection and reasonable prices.

    Hope this helps.


    Comment by jackie — March 12, 2008 @ 10:04 am
  13. fabulous book!

    Comment by Ricë — March 13, 2008 @ 10:16 am

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