Tag: travelers notebook

Travelers Notebook Olive

Traveler's Notebook Olive

I knew I wanted one the moment I heard that Traveler’s Company is coming out with an olive green TN. I got this from Everything Calligraphy last month, and decided that I would use it as my calligraphy and watercolor journal.

Traveler's Notebook Olive

The color is a little hard to photograph. It always comes across darker than it actually is in person. The color is a dusky green, more like the camo green in my opinion, rather than olive green. It’s a deep color that I think will become more interesting as it ages. In photographs, it looks more like black than green. In person, the color is a bit ambiguous, depending on the light. I’ll post more photos of it in the future as it develops a patina. I’m curious how the texture and color will change once I start applying leather balm on it (maybe next month). My brown TN became shinier and the brown color became deeper and richer.

Traveler's Notebook Olive

I decided to keep it thin with only two inserts so that it won’t be so heavy. I use my brown TN as my primary journal anyway. I made those monkey fist charms and bookmarks with the elastic bands from an old TN repair kit that I haven’t used yet because I only used the dark-colored bands. I thought the bright colors popped pretty nicely against the color of the leather. If you want to know how to make your own monkey fist knots, this is the tutorial I used.

I made my own watercolor insert from 200gsm Canson paper. Here’s the cover I DIY’ed for my first insert.

Traveler's Notebook Olive

I didn’t realize that it had a rough side and a smooth side, so some pages have the textured side on the left, some on the right. It’s alright, though, it can handle light washes on both sides, albeit with a lot of warping.

Travelers Notebook Olive

Traveler's Notebook Olive

I enjoy bringing it around with me. It’s comfortable to hold and gosh, it’s so pretty in person. Next time I’ll try and find watercolor paper that’s textured on both sides, though. Overall, I’m pretty much in love with this TN. It’s a great addition to my EDC.

Family Dinner

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A few days ago my husband and I joined his side of the family for dinner. We had family from the US on vacation, and it was a dinner to celebrate birthdays and the despedida. Traffic going to Megamall was abysmal. I haven’t been to that part of Manila in a while, so I was completely floored to see how EDSA was just a carpet of red tail lights slowly inching forward. It was horrible, and I was so relieved we got to Megamall around 7:45 PM. Dad’s was full, which was a little surprising given it’s a Tuesday night. It wasn’t so bad, though, the food was good and the service was polite and punctual. Dinner with family was also good, it’s nice to see the cousins complete and just enjoying each other’s company.

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We stayed until closing time, and it was pretty sad to see the cousins lingering around each other because goodbyes suck. 🙁 Despedidas are bittersweet that way. Eating soothes the difficulty of parting, sending family members off with best wishes and happy memories.

Here’s looking forward to the next family gatherings.

A Party and a Departure

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Yesterday was the Christmas party for our bible study at Las Pinas City Jail. It was an incredible feeling, to walk into the corridor and stand in the middle of it, realizing how much we’ve grown from about 12 members to 60. We can’t fit into the corridor anymore so many of them set up chairs inside their cells instead. We couldn’t really play our usual Christmas games anymore because there’s a lot of them and I didn’t want to cause any undue commotion that will put them in trouble with the new warden (a very nice and gracious young lady). They requested if they can group themselves into 6 and make their own Christmas presentations.

I was so touched by the preparations they’ve made for us. From the hand-calligraphed sign on the whiteboard to preparing the sound system and all of their group presentations. The effort they’ve made is precious to us.

All the song and dance numbers were great! I especially loved that song one of the groups sang, Ako’y Binago Niya. The song was about repentance and hope, and how God can really change people. Everybody sang it, like an anthem, and it was such a profound experience for me to observe them singing together and with many of them crying quietly because they’ve made the song their own.

We distributed the prizes and our little tokens to them, and as usual I separated some items for a sick inmate. She had been sick since the first day that I joined the ministry, and some of the other inmates always made it a point to tell me if she needed anything. I couldn’t visit her inside her cell and she was too sick to visit us, but we always sent our love and made sure she heard about Jesus too. Last Monday, as I was handing the gifts that I had packed specially for her, the inmates quietly told me that she had died. Her colon cancer had taken its toll and she was taken away.

I just stood there for a moment, feeling like I could not catch my breath. It was astonishing, how my heart ached so much for her. One would think that she had died alone in jail, but though her family had all but forgotten her, she was surrounded with friends who ministered to her needs until the very end.

These moments with inmates, I treasure them in my heart. They’re golden. With the death of one of the inmates, I think God gave me a very real glimpse of His love and how very precious every single soul is to Him. I grieve for my lost sister in Christ, but I understand how it’s the end of a long and painful journey for her. Now she’s truly free.

Review: Yumi Travelers Notebook Inserts

Yumi TN Inserts

When I first saw photos of Yumi travelers notebook inserts on Instagram I was curious because I liked the way the covers looked. The slate-colored insert (blanks) were especially cute, it looked like brushed steel. I’m very pleasantly surprised to get a couple of these as a birthday present–a blank insert and a weekly insert.

My first impression was that the packaging looked really classy. I appreciate the effort made on it, because everything looked well put together. Also, how cute is that logo? The cover is not overly stiff, but it’s sturdy enough to keep it straight while bound by the elastics of my TN.

Yumi TN Inserts

The fly leaf looks nice. I usually just skip this if it’s blank, but having this on the first page means I can write something about the journal or put a quote there, or (like I usually do) write the dates of the first and last entries. Again, I appreciate the very obvious attention to detail, really nice.

The inserts have 62 pages of ivory-colored, acid-free, 85gsm paper. It’s 4.37″ x 8.25″, or the size of your regular TN. I love that I receive the blank insert because I prefer writing on blank pages rather than grid, dotted, or lined.

Yumi TN Inserts

The paper is very smooth, I was initially worried that it would be like Rhodia pad papers which is sometimes difficult to write on if you have fine or dry-writing nibs. This one took ink very well. It’s really smooth but there’s no problem laying down ink on it. It can take very light washes, but there’s a bit of warping. It is superb for line drawings, though.

The paper is thin so it doesn’t bulk up your TN too much, and it feels nice to the touch. Almost a bit silky. It brings out the shading and sheen of fountain pen inks quite well without dulling the color. In fact it keeps the color of the ink vibrant. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

Yumi TN Inserts

Yumi TN Inserts

Yumi TN Inserts

It makes for some very expressive shading. I like how the colors just pop out of the page, it really complements the beauty of the inks.

Their weekly planner has 7 days on one page and grid page on the right. I think it’s perfect for people like me who are very inconsistent with planning. One would probably need to use more than one insert for the year, though.

Yumi TN Inserts

There is some show through at the back of the page, although it’s not very obvious. It’s not very bothersome.

Yumi TN Inserts

Overall, it’s a really nice TN insert. I think it’s very pretty, and thoughtfully done. I’m adding this to my Paper Collection page. I really love it when I discover new TNs that have great paper. Regular sized TN inserts aren’t usually available in bookstores like National Bookstore, so they’re relatively harder to find.

Yumi inserts are available at Stationer Extraordinaire.

Food for the Soul

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These past few days have been a flurry of food painting in my journal. Not because all I do is eat, haha, but because I’m fascinated with the colors, textures, and the suggestion of taste of food illustrations. There’s a lot of color and details involved, which means there’s a lot of layering needed. It’s not easy on Tomoe River paper because it’s so smooth. It’s much easier on Khadi paper because of all that interesting texture.

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It’s been an adventure for me so far. Food illustrations have always been out of my comfort zone, but I guess the more you try it, the closer it inches towards that zone. I think that it’s important to accept your mistakes as part of the process too, to grow and learn what looks good to you at the same time to constantly educate your eyes. I guess it’s important that we be forgiving of our pace, because we all start somewhere.

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It’s so interesting to discover how to denote proportions and even how to show viscosity. It’s really been quite a fun journey so far. 🙂 I must say that these Escoda Reserva brushes are so wonderful. They hold lots of water, is easy to control even in really small paintings like this one below. It’s a bit hard to illustrate texture and small details in a constrained space, but it’s a lot more fun if you have brushes that hold water and can also hold a point for painting the details. That’s really a lot of fun to do.

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Also, that’s a homage to the three cheese grilled cheese sandwich at L’usine. The grilled cheese sandwich equivalent of a soulmate. 🙂 Yum. Hope y’all have a good week! I’m off to a good start. 🙂

Manila Chinatown Pages

I was thinking of what to do for my birthday week and I decided to do something my husband and I haven’t done before. Before we moved to the south, we loved going to Chinatown on photowalks. What we didn’t really explore too much was the local food scene. So as part of my birthday celebration, we checked in to a hotel and spent the weekend just walking around Chinatown, tasting different things from different stalls and restaurants. It was quite fun, actually. I remember back in college, the first time we ever went to Chinatown, we really just wanted to find somewhere we can eat a proper serving of siomai and a good bowl of mami. So we went there with the intention to get lost in unfamiliar streets and hopefully be home before dark. Both of us loved humble, simple food, especially street food. When we got older, and especially when we moved to the south, we just kind of lost touch with our street food-eating ways.

Here are a few pages from my journal about the weekend.

Chinatown Journal Entries

Chinatown Journal Entries

Chinatown Journal Entries

Chinatown Journal Entries

Chinatown Journal Entries

Manila Chinatown’s food scene is quite fascinating. I think I’ve never tasted siomai and dumplings as good as the ones I ate here. There’s always a flurry of people everywhere, and restaurants are always busy. The flow of people in food establishments is quite hectic. You don’t go there for the ambiance, but really for the quality of food. It’s no-frills, humble, simple, Chinese food. It’s a place where noodles are hand-pulled and made fresh daily. Dumpling wrappers are handmade, too. I took some photos which I’ll upload in GastroPop soon, maybe when I get back home next week. The vibe of Chinatown is like the polar opposite of the south, where things are quite slow and laid back, and malls make spaces for people to stay and sit for a while. In Chinatown, not many people stay and linger to read or write even in cafes. There’s always a flurry of movement. Tables are vacated as soon as you finish eating to accommodate other diners.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable weekend. Lots of memories were relived, and many new ones were made. Looking forward to this coming week, as we close my birthday month. ^_^

Custom Size TN from Sunday Leather Craft

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

I first came across Contrail notebooks earlier this year, while browsing around Powerbooks, Greenbelt. I found the covers of these pocket notebooks so vibrant and beautifully-designed. The size is also perfect for quick notes, lists, etcetera. I tried a few out to see if the paper is any good. It can stand up to medium nibs but works better with fine nibs. Brush pens are great, but parallel pens bleed through. Overall, something I’d like for just day to day notes. I never expected to like TNs. I resisted buying TNs for a while because I thought I would never adjust to anything that’s not A5 or bigger. Then I bought my first Traveler’s Notebook and the rest is history. I just love it, love everything about it. So when I came across Contrail notebooks, which are like smaller versions of the regular TN size, I thought hmmm, this would look great as a TN.  I messaged Toto of Sunday Leather Crafts and asked him to make one for me. I just gave him the size of the notebooks and the color of the leather that I prefer. A few weeks later…tada!

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

It’s super cute. I changed the elastics to the extra ones I bought for my Midori TN. The size is just right, it fits contrail pocket journals perfectly. It’s also great for when I don’t have space for my larger journals and I just want something small to bring along.

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

It’s just a little longer than this Pilot Custom Heritage 92. That should give you an idea how small it is. It’s not uncomfortably small for writing, but small enough to fit in your pocket.

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN You can fit in two Contrail notebooks if you want it to be slim and compact. But I prefer it on the chunky side so I fit in 4 inserts. You can actually fit in one more, probably, but that’s a bit too chunky for me. Here it is with four inserts. Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

I made my own tomoe-river inserts too, based on the dimensions of the Contrail inserts. It’s so much fun carrying it around for quick sketches and calligraphy practice.

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

I also love the name tag. 🙂 Such a nice, personal touch. They put it in as an extra tag, in addition to the blank one. Who doesn’t like options?

All in all, I am just really happy with this TN. Sunday Leather Craft does good custom leather work. Check them out!

Coffee Infographic in My Journal –because, why not?

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I was up late last Friday for work, and I could not wind down to sleep, so I thought I’d pick up my pens and draw something that I would enjoy making. The details are really small, I used a small watercolor brush for them. I didn’t have a fine pen inked (I don’t think I have a pen with a fine nib, actually) so I had to use the closest to it, which was a Pilot Custom Heritage 92 with a medium nib. A wet, Japanese medium.

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Here’s a better look at the whole thing. By the time I finished it, I was ready to sleep. 🙂 As always, writing, drawing, and making little watercolor paintings on Tomoe River paper is such a pleasure. The finished work always feels great to the touch. I liked the play of Iroshizuku Shin Ryoku’s green with the different shades of brown.The TWSBI Micarta is inked with Diamine Ochre, which I think is the perfect ink to pair with a coffee-colored theme. It’s dark brown with notes of red and crazy beautiful shading.

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The think I really love best about using fountain pens whether in drawings or regular writing is that the letters look as if they’re part of the painting. Paired with great paper, it makes the letters look like they were painted on because of the shading and line variations. You can’t get that much drama in lines with ballpoint pens or rollerballs. There’s a lot of character in lines that are made by fountain pens. The overall effect is just so beautiful.

Below are a few close ups of the descriptions of each kind of espresso-based coffee. Overall, a very relaxing journal entry to write. 🙂

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Tomoe River is da bomb. If you need inserts for your traveler’s notebooks, check out Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Elias Traveler’s Notebook Insert

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I think many people have been waiting for Elias to come out with these inserts for a while. I’m so happy that they finally made these. Traveler’s notebook inserts aren’t very easy to come by in bookstores. They’re not always readily available, so it’s always good to find online stores that sell them. I bought a set of three inserts from Everything Calligraphy last week, and I couldn’t be happier.

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Here’s to give you an idea how thick the insert is. These are 40 pages of 90gsm, acid-free, ivory-colored, fountain pen-friendly paper. I suggest you buy the pack of 3, since it’s a little bit cheaper. I like the cover of the inserts. It’s easy to slip into a traveler’s notebook because the cover is sufficiently thick. I also like the color which is a very dark blue. I wish they would offer options, though, like craft or white. I like that the cover is plain and there’s a simple “ELIAS” logo at the back. Plain covers can be decorated with stickers, stamps, and other stuff.

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Note to self…buy white chalk-based stamp pads. ^_^

The paper and cover are stapled together. It’s nice enough for daily use. As usual, the paper is excellent. I can’t quite describe how pleasurable writing on it is, except to say that it’s creamy. It makes your nibs feel smoother.

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The word “February” was written with a brush pen, and it works great with those too. It’s smooth and shows off the gradients with the strokes. It works fabulously with fountain pen inks, and I’m glad that one can enjoy the same paper quality as with those in their bigger journals.

Here are a few writing samples below.

It also takes my Pilot Parallel pen without issues. The paper stays smooth even when I scrape at it with some very fast writing, like what I did below. There’s no feathering or bleed through either.

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Here is an example of Pilot Parallel pen over watercolor. It’s pretty neat. 🙂

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Overall, I love the quality of the paper and I think the price is really good. I’m glad we journal junkies have more options now, especially for the regular TN size.

Elias travelers notebook inserts are now available at Everything Calligraphy.

Sunday Leather Craft’s TN

Sunday Leather Craft’s TN

I’ve been bitten by the TN bug. I’ve written about the Midori Travelers’ Notebook here and a comparison between that and Sunday Leather Craft’s TN here. I thought of leaving it at that but I felt like it would be great to take a closer look at Sunday Leather’s traveler’s notebook since I really liked it a lot.

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I’ve had a couple of pen cases made by Toto of Sunday Leather Craft, and I’ve been pretty happy with them so far. He does great work at very reasonable prices, and he’s not hard to collaborate with. Of course, he sometimes has a lot of clients lined up so you need to patiently wait your turn. He has always met the deadlines that he commits to, though. It’s always great to work with people who are easy to contact and who keep their word. It’s also great to support local artisans who use locally-sourced leather and other materials.

The leather used on the TN is soft but not extremely so. It holds its shape without the edges curling up or the covers flapping around. It has this raw feel to it, and I guess it will be especially appealing if you like your leather TN to look more rough and tumble than too well-put together.

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Here is the setup of the elastics inside the flap. That’s one continuous string that can hold one insert per string. Although if you want to maximize it and put in as much as you can, this can potentially hold 8 inserts or more. Unless the inserts are thin, though, I would find that uncomfortable to write on. That’s just me, though. I know a lot of people would enjoy a chunky TN.

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Here’s what three individual inserts looped into the elastics look like. Of course you can also change the elastic and pick a thinner one (or use Midori’s replacement elastics) because these are a little thick. The leather is soft enough so that it will wrap around nicely on multiple notebooks.

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The elastic that closes the TN is located along the spine. I think this is a good idea because of the softness of the leather. This way, the leather doesn’t bunch up when you’re pulling on the elastic or when it’s wrapped around the TN. Like any other TN, you can customize this with charms, beads and whatnots, but I prefer to keep it simple and unadorned because I don’t like having to shift the elastic around before I write just so I won’t feel the charm behind the notebooks.

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I noticed that Midori’s inserts make it a bit hard to lay the TN flat. I guess continued use will change that? Or buy inserts that already lay flat. It’s a minor inconvenience that I put up with.

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Overall, I like this TN. It has a nice, rustic look and feel to it. It doesn’t have that perfect, industrial, mass-produced vibe. It’s as individual as the person who will use it. I miss the bookmark that I got used to in Midori’s TN, although I’m guessing it’s easy to attach one if you really want to figure out how, what with all those holes already punched and set up in it. The price is incredibly friendly too. It’s one of the more affordable fauxdoris that I’ve found from local sellers. If you want something that looks fancier (like, with pockets in flaps, etc), or if you want a different size like A5, you can always specify what you need. That’s the beauty of bespoke leather notebooks. 🙂

Check out Sunday Leather Craft for more TNs and other leather goods.