Hobonichi Plain Notebook

I’ve been using a regular-sized Traveler’s Notebook exclusively as my journal for the past few years. I like the size and portability, and I like having different inserts all in one place. I do miss having a bigger notebook, though. So I tried Hobonichi’s Plain Notebook (A5) and it did not disappoint.

The notebook itself is pretty plain-looking. It has a mustard yellow-colored cardboard cover. Minimalist in design, it only has some Japanese characters at the front and the word Hobonichi at the back.

It’s not too thick, only 10mm with 288 pages using Tomoe River paper. I was so glad to find out that you can easily slip it into a Hobonichi cover, it fits really nicely. I only have one hobo cover, a plain black one from the 2016 collection. That was when I decided that the hobo cousin really wasn’t for me. Actually, I realized that I don’t enjoy writing in planners at all. So I put the cover in storage until I bought this plain notebook last month.

You might feel the outlines of the pockets and their contents when you write on the left side of the notebook for the first few pages. Several pages in, it doesn’t bother me anymore.

I love how the notebook lies flat. The binding (stitched and glued to the cover) feels really sturdy and well-made. I was a bit worried at first because they had no blank pages. I don’t like grids or dots on paper because my writing is really small and I like to crowd my lines together to save space. Regular-sized grids are awkwardly-sized for my handwriting. It’s a good thing that this notebook has 3.7mm grids, though. It’s the perfect size for me. The lines of the grid are light-colored so they don’t look too obtrusive on the page. The notebook is divided into 4 sections of 72 pages each, and each section has a different colored grid (red, blue, green, and purple).

Here’s a close up of the grids. I like that they’re not too obvious on the page. At Y1296, I think the price is well worth it. You can purchase it from the Hobonichi website. I purchased mine from a local seller, Joan’s Journals. I’m not sure that I would want this to replace my regular TN inserts as my default go-to journal, I think I’m just going to keep both. One can’t have too many journals anyway, amirite?

The Far Pavilions

Last weekend’s journal entry is about The Far Pavilions. The book kind is a sweeping saga. It reminded me of Gone with the Wind. It felt like going on a long vacation, or watching a telenovela. It’s very engaging, and touches on how difficult it is to find true tolerance among people. I enjoyed this book. Will probably review this soon, when I find the time.

Book Diving – Classic Finds

Last weekend, my husband and I visited Booksale at SM Southmall and was pleasantly surprised that they were on sale. I usually skip the classics because I have a copy (or multiple copies) of most of them but I found the Jules Verne collection and the Charles Dickens Christmas Books in this really beautiful hard cover. They reminded me of how books used to look in my childhood. The fabric in the hard covers was intact for both books, so that’s a plus. But my favorite find of the day is the Old Curiosity Shop, which my husband plucked out of this discard box in the corner. It’s a shame that the fabric of the hard cover is a bit worn, but you can still see the gold leaf letters, and some pages were beautifully illustrated.

I really love old books. I like the paper they use, the stitched binding, even the typeface. I like that they can lay down flat on a table too. This reminds me of the first hard bound book my mom gave me, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The fabric on that book is now pretty much worn out, but the binding is still intact, it still lays down flat. It uses the same typeface as this book.

I think I’ll reread some of my favorite classics for the next few weeks. It’s the literary equivalent of eating comfort food. <3

Sneak Peek: Inks by Vinta, Collection 2

I received a few sample vials of Vinta’s second collection of inks last week. These are mostly pastels so they’re pretty interesting because I don’t really have similar inks in my collection. I haven’t really used them a lot because I just got them, but I did some swabs and writing samples using a glass pen. A few of them, I’ve tried with fountain pens. More on those when I write reviews about them later.

A general observation, many of these ink colors are very subtle. To coax out the uniqueness of their colors, it’s best to use wet-writing mediums, broads, stubs, or flexies. From my observation, those that can be used with fine and mediums are: Lucia, Maskara, Carnival, Armada, Piloncitos, Sirena and Kanlaon. Those that work better with wider and wetter nibs are Hanan, Perya, Julio, and Julia.

My favorites are Lucia, Maskara, and Julio. Sirena and Armada are close contenders. Two colors aren’t really pastel so they kinda broke the pattern; Piloncitos and Kanlaon. The shimmer on these two are just absolutely crazy. I’ll write individual reviews as time permits.

These should be available for preorder in a couple of weeks, according to Jillian of Inks by Vinta.

Hand Engraved Kaweco Liliput Brass

Last year (December 2018) I contacted master engraver, Jay Del Fierro, to ask if he can make custom engravings on a pen for me. I told him that I intended it to be a tribute pen to honor the memory of my mom who passed away a few years ago. His schedule was pretty much booked so he wanted to decline my request, but when he found out it’s a tribute pen for my mom, he graciously added me to his long list of projects. Fast forward to yesterday, when he shipped the pen over to our place all the way from Bicol.

I’m amazed at how much detail these roses have, and that they fit in such a tiny pen such as the Kaweco Liliput (the only brass pen I own). Everything is hand engraved, even the beautiful italic lettering.

I asked for a garden of roses because my mom loved those flowers, and because I have a particularly special memory of her that involved roses. The words “Lively Little Treasure” is the meaning of my name (Alva Pao-Pei). My name was the first thing that my mom gave me when I was born. She gave it a lot of thought and as soon as I’m old enough to understand, she taught me what it meant. Some of the clearest memories I have of my early childhood were of my mom taking my face in her hands, looking me in the eyes, and telling me that I’m her lively little treasure.

I wasn’t always very appreciative of my unique name. Being an extremely introverted child, I hated drawing any kind of attention to myself, and of course I hated having to explain to strangers what my name meant. I learned to love it as time went by, though. I learned to like explaining the meaning of my name to anyone who asked. After my mother passed away, I grew to treasure every evidence of thoughts that she had about me. Journal entries, letters, email messages…my name. These are all precious to me.

I waited 6 months before I got it back, but it’s really worth the wait. I love the work that Jay did on my pen. Now there’s no other Liliput quite like it. It’s as unique as my name. ­čÖé