Ok, ok. That was mean of me.

I love my birthday present. I ordered it off Etsy, from a shop called Strawberry Notebook. I saw it on This Bug's Life, where Janet waxed lyrical about the service and the communication and the kindness of Diane, the shop owner. It's all true, Diane is lovely and she does keep you informed as to what and where she's up to, but it was the concept that got me. Because I thought with this in my bag then maybe, just maybe, with the right pair of shoes I could be just a little like a middle-aged (and slightly over weight) version of her....



No, not Amy..... her... River Song!


The product is called River Song's Journal. It's handmade in Florida by Diane, and based on the Midori Travelers Notebook elastic system, the system where you use elastic bands to keep a few notebooks together to organise your life. People use them as planners, or journals, some even use them as wallets, but I haven't tried to yet! I have moved into the system instead of my Filofax because I was feeling restricted by the page size in the personal and the ring system, while an A5 was too heavy to carry around.


Empty notebooks are available from various sellers on Etsy, but I got mine from a really lovely Etsy shop called Travelers Times. The booklets cost about £2.50 each for blank, squared or lined. Diary inserts are available, and there are so many little fiddling things you can do with them it's amazing. If you thought Filofax could be pimped, the possibilities are even better with a Midori or a Fauxdori. They seem to be especially popular with artistic types who need an easier and more free flowing way of being organised, or who use it as an illustrated journal.
I will do a set up post and probably a video in the next couple of weeks, but this post is about the shell.
The notebook leather is hand finished and hand tooled. The work that has gone into it is intriguing, with tooled leather channels forming the squares of the cover. The inside leather is of high quality and the whole notebook has a pleasant leathery smell. It's not shiny effect, although I think you can request a shinier leather. It's pleasantly smooth and pliable, with the empty leather happy to flop open. It lies open with the notebooks only if you actually have the notebooks on both sides, but that's what I'd expect of any notebook cover.



The elastics inside can be set up to suit you. I asked for 4 strings, because you can never have too many, right? and they are beautifully set up,  with only one knot fastening the 4. You can see how they look on the outside here. And the knot sits very quietly in the centre of a notebook, so no problem there.










The fastener is another length of elastic and this is my only complaint; the elastic is already stretching too much and letting the notebook fall open in my bag. I will replace it with a stronger piece of elastic when I find the black elastic I ordered a month ago, and when I do I'll add a word charm as well as my hanging charms.

The fastener comes from the centre of the spine, not the centre of the back as on some notebooks. I prefer that; there isn't a lump in the middle of the page when I write in my back book. These things matter, you know?



I have 5 notebooks in at the moment, but I could just rejiggle a bit and fit 6. There is no overhang, the leather is at least 2/3 of a cm wider than the notebooks, so no risk of my tabs getting bent in my bag. The size is really nice, not too wide, just comfortable to hold and use.

The shell came with a book mark, which just gets strung from one of the elastics at the top. Diane was sold out of the Weeping Angels, but I love my Tardis charm, so I'm happy. The string just slides between pages to record vital places.




 At the moment my pen is lacking a loop. I don't know whether to go for a Leuchterm pen loop and stick it on to either a plastic insert or to the leather, or to make my own after a tutorial on Youtube by Robyn Lott.


I'm happy with my system. I had a different Travelers notebook from the end of March so I've had a chance to wear in the planning system. And I will do a walk through in the next week or so. 

Diane is a really wonderful lady to deal with. She sent me the notebook and a couple of other things, and I will also be back to blog about the little cover I got; it is gorgeous and you will love it!

Comments

  1. Brilliant. That's just up your street with your love of River Song. I love the look of Midori Notebooks but I don't think I could use one, I love the flexibility of ring bound planners. The Weeping Angels are my favourite baddies so you'll have to get that charm when they come back in stock.

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    1. I think the Weeping Angels rock as a baddy. I mean, you'll never really meet a dalek in the street, but a weeping angel..... well, they're just hanging around any old graveyard, aren't they?

      And I know what you mean about ring binder flexibility, but I have enjoyed a touch of inflexibility as well. I'll post about the system I use and you'll understand what I mean.


      But I still have all my Filofaxes on a shelf waiting for me. Just in case.

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  2. What a nice notebook. I love the look of the leather cover. Your tardis charm is really cute! Happy belated birthday. :)

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    1. Thank you! It's such a treat to get it out in public. I haven't used it at school yet......

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  3. It is gorgeous!!! Totally there with the tardis vibe for the whole thing! Can you tie the knot for the elastic that hols the whole thing together so that it doesn't stretch? Perhaps it just needs to be a bit tighter. Not that I know you understand so please feel free to ignore that as I am sure you have checked that already! A great gift for yourself!!! xx

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    Replies
    1. I did try that, it's just the elastic is a lot like the elastic in my knickers; very lose and given to stretching too far. I have some thicker and stronger black elastic that I want to use. In my house. Somewhere. This could take a few years.

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  4. Wow thanks, that was a really helpful post! I didn't know about this system and have just been messing about trying to build myself a hodge-podge (dis)organizer that works with all my various creative projects - its a bit of a mess so I might give this a go instead! The shell is really cool too, what a great idea lol :) Looking forward to the set up post and video x

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    1. It's also a really easy DIY project, great for artistic types. You can buy a square of leather and the elastic for around £13 off ebay and then with a few carefully measured holes and some good stringing it's done. I like the fact it makes archiving easier, because you slip a booklet out and store it on the shelf.

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  5. that's the best notebook ever. x

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    1. Thank you. It does have a hint of the eternal about it, doesn't it? And Doctor Who just rocks x

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  6. Wow, what a beautiful cover!

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  7. Oh it's lovely! Good idea to sort your own present, or at least be very specific to make sure you get what you want. The Weeping Angels scare the pants off me at age 43, I'm sure I'd definitely have been behind the sofa if I'd been allowed to watch it as a kid! xx

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  8. What an amazing gift! I love the colour. It's such a beautiful handmade item, it looks so tactile. It's the kind of thing which will make you smile whenever you glimpse it inside your bag. Perfect.
    I think the Tardis charm is just right, the angels are way too creepy.
    Lisa x

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