Archive for the ‘Paraphernalia’ Category


Review: Midori Traveler’s Notebook


Are you acquainted with the Midori Traveler’s Notebook? It’s a journal/calendar/notebook designed to follow you anywhere. Jet Pens introduced me to this brand that has since become a staple in my writing arsenal. The original black and brown leather covers are suitable for even the most conservative work environments, while the flashy, happy, colorful ones made by devotees invite a steady stream of journal entries. But there is more.

In case you aren’t familiar with Midori, there are lots of video tutorials about making covers and inserts (cahiers) and other clever additions to personalize your journal. One useful benefit is that the inserts can be limited to single subjects and archived for future reference.

Midori didn’t invent the cahier, but they did devise a means of connecting several together. What looks like a book is actually a number of inserts that can be removed or swapped for instant customization. Currently my Midori contains three inserts with pen and art related notes and swatches. In January, a calendar will get added. The elastic bands make it simple and easy to add or remove inserts as well as other additions like pockets and folders.

Pictured below is a single insert decked out with washi tape, Post-its, colorful tabs and some pen work. The uncoated and unmarked cardstock cover got along well with a brush pen and glue.

For brief notes, the Passport (90mm x 124mm) will do. For more extensive writing or for large handwriting, the Traveler’s size (110mm x 210mm) will provide room to roam. From minimalist to loaded to painterly, Midori works well for all sorts of uses.

Many of the modifications could be adapted for other journals and notebooks like composition books and Field Notes journals.

Midori paper is excellent with fountain pen ink and comes in a large assortment of styles from blank paper to calendars. It’s easy to see why it has a cult following and a variety of groups on Facebook.

A few DIY videos:

Not into DIY? Let an Etsy artisan do it for you.

Want to try Midori notebooks? Jet Pens has enough variety to get you started. There are plenty of inserts and other goodies available in the Traveler’s size. My favorite notebooks are the grid style #002 and the ultra thin paper #013. However, the Passport is more portable and fits nicely in the hand. I took an old passport cover and adapted it with Midori elastic bands to hold two inserts.

The Midori system is a tactile adventure as well as an excellent journal. Hard to knock it on any level.

The #013 insert contains Tomoe River paper and shows only a slight amount of buckling with watercolor. At 128 pages, this lightweight paper refill gets my vote for best value for money especially since it is excellent with fountain pen ink. Leigh encouraged me to buy one and I am so glad she did.

Stuff&Things Review: Midori Traveler’s Notebook (A Man’s Perspective) Bradley is a fountain pen user and has positive things to say about the paper as well as the format. He has made additional videos about the Midori TN including a modification that makes swapping out a journal very easy.


Update: öli ũclip magnetic paperclips


Recently some öli ũclip magnetic paperclips crossed my desk and got pressed into service. My initial impressions formed the basis for a review, but my opinion has changed enough to warrant an update.

Unfortunately, the colorful little clips don’t always stay in place. Unlike a traditional paperclip or a binder clip, these babies have too little tension to grasp paper securely. As long as my journal is closed tightly with a band around it, they keep pages together. Shake things up even a little and the clips wiggle free. The large one placed on the outside of a Midori Traveler’s Notebook literally took a nosedive for the pavement. It didn’t get damaged, but the papers went flying.

öli ũclips may well be the most attractive clip on the market, but for me they have turned into decorations rather than tools. Perhaps that is all they need to be.



Midori And The Book Of Lists


In yet another attempt to get more organized, an unused Midori Traveler’s Notebook got pressed into service this week. The paper is good with fountain pen ink so any writing instrument on my desk will work well except some of the Sharpie markers. (Do they work well on any paper?)

I named this journal Book of Lists since each entry is intended to be very brief and serve merely as a reminder of those things that require attention or future development. There are larger notebooks or Evernote for more detailed explorations. Limiting entries to a line or two will keep this book relevant and in play for a long time.

After I settled on the categories, I attached tabs to find each easily. Those got placed at the top to be out of the way when writing and so they would stay put when taking off the clip that keeps it all together. For now that’s an Oli clip, but it doesn’t stay in place. On the plus side, it comes off easily when there is something to add to a list.

Yeah, that’s a lot of junk on the cover, but I wanted it to stand out on my desk. The washi tape and post-its can be removed or realigned and the list of categories includes room for growth. The notes section at the bottom is for brief reminders of items to be added to the main lists. Should the cover become damaged or tattered, a new one can be fashioned from a variety of materials and glued to the existing one or added as a removable sleeve.

My fabric covered Midori with its three inserts is great, but sometimes a single one is all that is needed. It is slim enough to fit most anywhere and adds no weight to a tote or handbag. It will get battered by duty, but it can easily be replaced. For now, it’s a good solution to tracking of all those bits and pieces of life that require more free memory than I can allocate.

A number of companies make similar cahier notebooks including Rhodia, Moleskine, and Field Notes. The Midori TN is tall and narrow which suits lists especially well, but the others would be fine as well.


öli ũclip magnetic paperclips


öli ũclips are a popular accessory for Midori, Hobonichi and other journals. I purchased a few from Oliblock on Etsy who has them on discount Labor Day weekend. It’s a good time to buy if you want to add some eye-candy and organization to your reading and writing.

Here’s what I like. The colors are vibrant and the magnetic clips are secure. Placement is a little tricky as the magnetics like to grab each other. The vinyl is washable and durable. Since you are going to have these for a long time, pick colors and themes that will keep you happy.

Here’s what I didn’t like. The clips are thick so your journal will get a bit bulky even with the smallest style. Opening one is a two-handed maneuver but that is true with other clips. On the larger version, the logo is upside down and the image on the other side is unnecessary, unattractive and detracts from the colorful image. It says “LAURA LJUNG KVIST.” with the period just as I placed it. I think this is intended to be on the inside of the clip. However, when I make it so, the outline of the magnet is visible on the front. This is not a deal-breaker but something you should know.

As a final comment, I would prefer packaging that could be used for storage, but this is one of those “destroy it to open it” types. I might not use all five at one time and need a safe place to store them. At least the current package can go in the recycle bin.

The smaller clips suit journals well. The larger version might fit other uses in addition to holding sheets of paper together.

New öli ũclips get released often enough to make them a cute collectible along with being a functional tool. Not that any of us are collectors…


A Few Links For A Long Weekend


Here are some of the things that provided some much needed distraction this past week:



Pen Rolls, Wraps, Kimonos And Pouches


Anything made with fabric would be my preference for storing pens, especially something soft and silky. My first wrap came from and I’ve been hooked ever since. Check out this FPN thread for some beautiful examples.

Interested in an elegant wardrobe for your pens? Fahrney’s has several attractive wraps if those from Chan’s Handmade are a little too pricey. There are unadorned, simple wraps available from other retailers if that is your preference. Your pens might not know the difference, but the charm of unwrapping beautiful fabric to retrieve a favorite pen makes it worth finding just the right one or two or three or…


Putting Old Junk To Good Use


It took some trial and error, but several old cases and notebook covers are now fitted with new journals.  Some of the paper will take a light wash of watercolor so those notebooks will see double duty.

Leather Checkbook Cover

This leather checkbook cover must be at least thirty years old and hasn’t seen anything but the inside of a drawer for at least twenty of those years. Now it has a notebook all its own.

Passport Case

The passport case worked with a number of journals including those pictured from Rhodia, Exacompta and paper-oh though using Midori inserts transforms it into a Fauxdori. Midori bands hold the journals in place and keep it closed. The lock charm adds a whimsical touch as it floats across the equator.

Leather Diary Cover

This well-used notebook contained a diary from 1986 and a blank pad on the left. The leather still feels soft and inviting, but even more so now with a Rhodia pad and Canson art paper.

Shaver Case

This case was from my son’s first Braun shaver. I think concealing a journal is a much better use for it.

Travel Clock Case

This case is so tiny, it can fit anywhere. Discovering a similarly sized pad with paper that makes nice with fountain pen ink was a stoke of luck.

Not every journal needs a protective cover. Decorate a plain exterior with with washi tape (addiction warning), scrapbook paper, or decopatch. That will strengthen the cover as well as make it more attractive.

Whether it’s called recycling or re-purposing, matching old junk with fountain pen friendly paper creates new tools and makes each item useful again. No slackers in this lot now.

Platinum pens courtesy of Luxury Brands USA. Rhodia, Clairefontaine and Exacompta notebooks courtesy of Exaclair. Paper-oh courtesy of Fine folks all.


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