Quo Vadis Habana Pocket Notebook

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During the summer, I won a Quo Vadis Habana Pocket notebook from Exaclair, the American distributer for some great French stationery supplies including some of my favourite papers like Rhodia, Clairefontaine, G. Lalo, and Quo Vadis.

A Quo Vadis blogger noted that this notebook had been mentioned a mystery novel, So Close the Hand of Death by J.T. Ellison. While product placement is common in movies, it seems it happens more and more in novels too. I listened to the audiobook of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes while travelling this summer and a Moleskin notebook showed up in it. I am not sure what I think of this trend. In one way it adds realism to the characters and setting, but it also seems like another way advertising is creeping into every area of our lives when we can’t even avoid brand names in books.

To get back to this particular notebook, it is a fairly small (4 x 6.38 inches or 10.16 x 16.21 cm), ruled notebook with a black “leather-like” cover, an elastic band closure, and a built-in ribbon bookmark. Although the notebook is made in the USA, the paper is French. I reviewed this creamy lined paper before in my blog post on Rhodia and Habana paper samples. The size of this notebook is not one I would normally choose for myself as it is a bit small for a journal but a bit fancy for just jotting down notes. It would fit well into a pocket or bag though and I like the expandable pocket in the back cover.

20171005_172038 At 162 grams it is lightweight too.

20171005_172250 Note the nicely rounded corners.

If this notebook were a person, it would be slim and elegant, taking note of others while revealing very little about themselves. You would always wonder, is this person just discreet or are they involved in espionage?

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Visual Journals

As I have written about before, I keep a daily journal. I have also experimented with visual or art journaling. I say experimented because I have tried a couple of different forms. One is to include doodles and ephemera to my regular daily journal. I like doing this, especially on trips, but I do find that you need a loosely bound journal in order to accommodate a lot of additional stuff being glued or taped in. My other type is more like an art journal. I have a sketchbook where I like to do creative play like drawing, painting, and collage. I save one page each month to somehow illustrate and record the noteworthy things that happened in that month. This is a fun exercise in reflection that I probably wouldn’t otherwise do and I find it is a quicker way to look up when something happened than flipping through all of my unindexed journals. I don’t usually share these pages with anyone but here are a few from the past to give you an idea of what I mean.

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I enjoy looking at blogs for inspiration but sometimes it is nice to just flip through a real book. I recently discovered Jen Morris’ blog and found that she was combining two of my favourite things, a discussion about journaling and a giveaway! She reviewed an intriguing book by Helen Lehndorf called Write to the Centre. Because it is published in New Zealand, the shipping rates are a bit high for Canada but she is providing an opportunity to win a copy through her blog. http://www.jenmorriscreative.com/writetothecentregiveaway/

If a visual journal was a person, I am pretty sure it would be a woman. She values creativity and knows it is not just best for herself, but everyone around her, if she makes time to nurture that aspect of herself.

Travel Journals

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Right now I am away on holiday in Oaxaca, Mexico so I prepared a couple of blogs ahead of time so I could keep up with my weekly schedule. My mind has been on packing lists and one thing I was sure to bring along was a journal. I like having a separate journal for special journeys and for this trip I am trying something different. I love the idea of scrap-booking but never get around to actually doing  it after I get back from a vacation. I still haven’t completed the one I started for our first trip to the Yukon in 2005. I have been back there three times since and still haven’t finished that scrapbook.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA For the last trip I took (to Iceland about six months ago) I attempted making an altered book based on my trip journal, but there again I have only managed to do a few pages.

So this time I am going to try more of a smash book approach. Last year I participated in a workshop at Whitemud Crossing library led by a woman volunteering for Edmonton ReUse Centre. We took old calendars, made covers for them and folded the pages for what she suggested would make good greeting card organizers. I don’t really have a need for a greeting card organizer but I saw some journaling potential. I am going to use the blank pages for writing my daily journal and then glue in maps, pamphlets, and other ephemera into the fold out pages. If I don’t end up collecting much of that  (unlikely as I have a packrat’s eye for that type of thing) I’ll just print some photos when I get home and fill the journal up that way. I tried putting some gesso and paint on a couple of the printed pages but I don’t like the look so will find other ways to cover up distracting elements of the design. I am looking forward to seeing how this works out.

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If this journal was a person it would be a wearing a Tilley hat and funky upcycled jewelry.

Coming next week: Clairefontaine multi-subject notebook

Journals

From writing to-do lists to keeping a journal, I still use pens and paper every day. There is something about handwriting that activates the brain in a different way than typing. 

In particular, I find that keeping a journal helps me pay attention to my life. My first journaling attempts were in a little diary with a gold lock when I was still in elementary school. I didn’t have much to say and even less staying power.

I tried again in my teens after being given a journal with a cool denim cover. While it is somewhat painful to go back inside my teenage mind, I do like that I stuck in some ephemera like a Wardair menu from a special trip to visit my grandparents. Ah, the days of glamorous air travel! I still like illustrating my journal with little extras I pick up during the day.  

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My next foray into journaling started in the early 2000s when I was trying to figure out the “what next” in my life after being at home raising my young daughters. At first I only wrote when I had time or felt I needed to work something out but after awhile the habit had become ingrained as a daily practice.

Over the years I have used many of types of journals and pens. I even tried an online journaling site, Penzu, which I still occasionally use. I like trying out new products and want to share my impressions about journaling and the tools I use. Although I love good quality, my budget means that I will focus on lower cost items. I hope you enjoy coming on this blogging journey with me!

Coming next week: Noodler’s Ahab Flex Nib Fountain Pen