A little bit of everything…

Monthly Archives: April 2011

Have you ever seen something online and knew you had to have it? The first time I saw a Midori Traveler’s Notebook my heart skipped a beat. There is something very exotic and desirable about Japanese stationery, especially expensive unavailable Japanese stationery. I did a little poking around and couldn’t find any retailers stateside. I did find an abundance of photos to enjoy over on Flickr; there are even groups dedicated to the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. If I couldn’t have one, I’d live vicariously through people who could.

Fast forward a few years and things have changed. The Midori line is now available stateside. One online option is Mymaido.com where both the traditional size and the new passport size Traveler’s Notebooks are for sale. /swoon/ If you’ve never dropped by mymaido.com, I recommend making a visit. The company is great. The shipping is prompt (and free for orders over $25) and the customer service is sublime. Maido Stationery stores are located in California. Their About Us page sums up things quite well:

“Our company’s mission is to make our wide range of high-end stationery products available to customers in the US market. To this end, we largely carry items that are otherwise very difficult, if not impossible, to find outside of Japan. We only stock products adhering to our highest quality standards in mechanism, make, material, design, and technology.”

Andrew from Maido contacted me and asked if I might like to review some products. I jumped at the chance, literally bounced around for an embarrassing minute or two. When the first mystery package arrived, I didn’t know what to expect. Behold – The Midori Traveler’s Notebook in convenient Passport Size. How did he know??

Midori Passport Traveler's Notebook

The notebook is packaged very well. It arrived inside a plastic envelope, cardboard box, and a protective cotton slip case. There is a spare elastic which I’ve read can be used to hack the Midori to hold extra refills. I’m not sure whether or not I’ll be altering this beauty. The notebook cover is leather. One elastic band wraps around the middle and holds it shut while the other runs the length of the spine and holds the insert. There is a thin bookmark which locks into place by fitting into a notch in the leather at the bottom of the spine. Goodness this thing is beautiful.

Refill options

My first thought went to the refills. If I can find something on-hand or DIY it, I will. I grabbed a Moleskine cahier and a Doane Paper utility sized notebook from my notebook stash. No dice. These pocket notebooks run 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches.


The Midori passport refill size is 9cm (3.5 inches) by 12cm (4.7 inches). I do have one small notebook that will work. It’s not a standard one and I received it as a gift. (It’s the printed one on the right in the above photo). If you recognize it, please contact me so I can share the details on where to find them. Until I find a source for notebooks this size, I will be making my own. Refills won’t need to be perfect either – I can probably whip several together quickly because imperfections will be hidden by the gorgeous leather cover.

Midori paper

The notebook comes with a plain refill containing “80 perforated pages of blank paper.” This paper is rather thin. I grabbed a nice pile of black pens from my arsenal and made a test page in the back of the refill. There was minimal bleed-through but the show-through might be a deterrent for writing on both faces of the pages. I’ve been thinking I might use a pencil or a 0.4 gel pen.

Graph, lined, calendars and “Blank MD Paper” refill options are all available. The Blank MD refill states “Has an excellent writing surface with absolutely no bleeding or feathering at all. Comes with 64 pages.” I might have to give it a try. Thicker paper should stand up better to all of these pens and maybe even a fountain pen. It would be fun to test out.

midori and everything book

I haven’t decided what I’ll be using this beauty for yet. It seems like I should have a special purpose for it. I know the leather will only look better with more use so it may just become a daily holder of lists. For now I carry it around and pet it. My Uni-Ball Kuru Toga seems to like it too.

I want to thank Andrew from mymaido.com for sending this dream-come-true to me.

I hope you enjoyed this peak at the Midori Traveler’s Notebook. Take care and be well.

ADDENDUM: The amazing Carina of Crow & Canary fame let me know that the small notebook is a Scout Book. The size is 3.5 inches by 5 inches. I just retested it in the Midori cover and it looks fab!

Have you ever visited Comfortable Shoes Studio? Leslie Herger is an artist through and through. I’ve had the privilege of chatting with her on multiple occasions via Twitter. She’s amazing! I stalk her site and visit her Flickr photostream often.

Leslie’s one line bio is perfect. “I’m a bookbinder with a DayJob just trying to find my way to making art.” Her blog is a great window into her artistic adventures. She also runs an Artfire shop where she sells amazing handmade journals and notebooks along with original paintings. When she offered to send me a sample of her bookbinding work to enjoy, I couldn’t say no.

Comfortable Shoes Studio Jotters

Leslie generously sent me three jotters. They are a very convenient 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches. She uses old advertising posters for the covers. Each design is different and very graphic. You might end up with a letter or word or just abstract color. The three she sent me have a few letters but only one has a complete word on what I have positioned as the back cover. (I like the graphic nature of the mysterious letters over a complete word.)

Comfortable Shoes Studio Jotter

The paper inside varies to what she has on hand. My three contained a different paper in each, including Fox River 100% Recycled Ninja Speckled (ha ninja! I love it!), Environmental by Southworth, and Neenah Environment. The paper is 24lb and only one notebook had some printing on one side of the inner pages. Each notebook has between 40 to 60 pages. The jotters are stitched with a sewing machine with cotton thread. I can tell you, these are going to hold up to a lot of abuse.

Comfortable Shoes Studio Jotter

I’m not going to do a paper test because Leslie utilizes materials she has on hand and I’m sure they vary from batch to batch. From experience, 24lb paper should hold up well to even wet writers. Some fountain pen inks might want to feather a bit but I don’t predict having any problems.

Comfortable Shoes Studio Jotter

A lot of people love cahier style notebooks, pocket sized jotters are handy for notes, lists and random drawings. They fit comfortably in purses, bags, pockets, and glove compartments. I love making my own but not let’s face it, not everyone has time and energy. Instead of supporting big faceless companies, why not support handmade artists like Leslie? I just peaked and her shop is stocked full of great recycled jotters and other notebooks for great prices. Go take a peak!

I hope you enjoyed this review. Take care and be well.

Another Monday snuck up on me. I need to get better defenses against these beasts.

tree mosaic

I’ve become quite fond of snapping photos while Matt is driving us around. Above is a mosaic of some of my recent tree photos all taken with the iPhone from a moving vehicle.

Weeds should fear me.

Spring is finally kicking in around here. Yesterday the sun was shining and it was in the 70s. Iggy and I spent the afternoon outside. I pulled weeds while he supervised. I’m not sure which one of us was happier to be outside without wearing a winter sweater – probably Iggy.

I bought a wire topiary form a few summers ago at a flea market. I thought “I can make a topiary – It’ll be great!” Then it sat for far too long. Yesterday I repotted my ivy and finally started it on the form. I was shocked when I took my ivy plant down from the kitchen window sill. It was probably 5 feet long! I did my best to start it on its topiary journey. Once it fills in a bit, I might snap a photo and share.

It feels good to get things moving. I feel I’m in a bit of a rut lately. Most work days I have very little energy and motivation. But I have been reading. I’m on my 9th book of 2011 (2 were graphic novels). I’m going to try and make a conscious effort to draw more and write more blog posts. I hope you’re ready.

Take care and be well.