Tag Archives: Moleskine

A perfect synergy

Like pretty much everyone on Earth, I love Moleskine notebooks. They are beautifully crafted yet solid enough to survive the punishments of travel. Then they also come with a history that sets them apart from other stationers: the illustrious writers who made their name, and the company that was brought back to life after the original makers went bust.

As you may remember, I also love The Little Prince. So imagine how my heart and wallet was open to this:

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Nice work, marketing team!

Inside it is mostly the usual Moleskine day-to-page diary that I can’t seem to function without, but there are some sweet little touches here and there. The back cover has a favourite quote from the book, the paper insert features another, as well as passport details for our small royal. Not forgetting the ‘Adhesifs en Edition Limitee’. The eternal child in all of us couldn’t fail to be excited by these limited edition stickers:

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When I was a child, I remember my mother taking time out of the busy pre-Christmas schedule – usually on a Sunday, it would probably be raining – to copy out the birthdays and important anniversaries from the old diary to the new. I might sometimes sigh over her shoulder at the months and months I had to wait until my birthday, but I loved the ritual of marking the year’s important events. One of those essential yet time-consuming life admin tasks that can fill you with a nerdish glee as they progress.

I haven’t filled out this one yet, but I am very much looking forward to doing so, as well as to seeing what the year held within its pages has to bring.

For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides.
For others they are no more than little lights in the sky.

Pour les uns, qui voyagent, les etoiles sont des guides.
Pour d’autres elles ne sont rien que de petites lumieres.

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Life notebook hack

Although lucky enough at the moment to have a few different projects on the go, at times it can feel like something is bound to slip. The human memory being what it is, there is surely only so much that can be blamed on outsourcing it to the cloud.  As a forgetful kind of girl, with my love of all things Moleskine well documented, I believe I am quite easy to buy for when present-giving time rolls around, as a new notebook will always be gratefully received and enthusiastically used.

That said, my latest notebook has gone slightly rogue, with paperclips, post-it notes and even a rubber band being used to try to highlight sections that I must try to remember to return to.  As a writer’s tool, it has become far too scrappy to be effective and has – if I am being honest – begun to drive me crazy.  About to start a new one and armed with this post as inspiration, I decided to get hacking.

Here is my new notebook, with its lovely leather cover:

There are few things more appealing than a new notebook as far as I am concerned, so be warned, if you are of the same opinion, the next photograph could leave you feeling a little giddy:

Lovely.  The friend who gave me the notebook was worried that they had picked up square-ruled paper by mistake, but this has turned out to be very fortuitous, as it made what is about to follow much easier.

First, I removed the cover:

Then I split the notebook into sections.  I reckoned I needed five with the number of things I am now working on:

Then I got my new craft knife ready.  I suppose I should also have used some kind of mat, but in the absence of one, an old copy of expat magazine Metropolis worked pretty well:

For a stationery addict like myself, working two days a week in an Aeon department store has been dangerous.  They sell everything and it is all pretty wonderful.

The next stage of the hack was to make some pencil markers:

The very eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that I messed it up a bit first time around and had to re-do.  No problem though, it was easily amended.  Then began the fiddliest, the messiest and yet – as with so much in life – the most satisfying part, cutting the paper.  It was best to do about 5-6 pages at a time and to keep lining them up as I went, as the ruled lines didn’t always match up through the book.

Here is what I ended up with:

Very pretty, I am sure you will agree.  If the rainy season is about to begin where you are too, you could do worse on an evening cooped up indoors, with a pot of tea on the go and something soothing to listen to, than to do the same.

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Pen, paper and ink

Continuing on a theme from Monday’s post, here are some lovely things to write on and with:

Yes, that is indeed a fur Moleskine holder.  It is available here where, should you purchase one, your rediscovered love of the German language will encourage you to refer to it as a Ledereinband Notizbuch.

I found the fur-lined cover via my new favourite site ‘Skine Cover, which encourages acts of customisation or vandalism (depending on your outlook) such as this:

Beautiful, if highlighting a spectacular amount of time spend procrastinating, rather than filling the notebook with whatever it is the artist is allegedly ‘working’ on.  I know that trick well! 

From Skine Cover it took me but a short while to find Molecover, a company based in San Francisco which produces leather Moleskine covers.  I really don’t think I am going to be able to leave for Japan without this one coming with me:

Gorgeous.

In response to Monday’s broken pen lament, I was advised to check out The Writing Desk, which I did, although doing so has only added to my woes.  Now also appearing on my wish list are this pen case, for the avoidance of future catastrophes:

And I think my life will be a touch emptier without their pen of the week, the fabulously named Sailor Professional Gear Mosaic:

Look at that baby.  I bet it swirls and curls like a Ferrari Testarossa!  Naturally it would need to be filled with the finest ink, available here from Noodler’s Ink.  The only difficulty will be in deciding between Heart of Darkness, Dragon’s Napalm and the X Feather…

Photos ‘borrowed’ from websites mentioned

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Mein Füllfederhalter ist kaput!

Disaster struck ten minutes hate this weekend when – not one! – but two of my fountain pens broke.  I can understand your thinking, this is the digital age, why would a blogger care about a pen being out of action?  Use another one, I can hear you shouting, get a biro, (wo)man the fuck up, Julia!

The truth of it is, that I can’t go back.  Forced to write with a fountain pen from a tender age because it was believed it would make my handwriting nicer, I tried to flaunt such bourgeois notions at university by using horrible and inevitably chewed-up old bics.  Tried, but I am afraid they don’t cut it with me.  I have employed the argument that I can write quicker with ink, as the nib glides across the paper more smoothly than a ball-point which cuts in, so my hand can keep up with my thoughts and I can get it down before whatever it was melts off into the ether.  Similarly, writing cheques (another soon-to-be-archaic experience) or letters, or birthday cards, or never-to-be completed ‘to do’ lists, all benefit incalculably from the use of what the Germans so charmingly call ein Füllfederhalter.

At school, I went through a – thankfully short, owing to its unmistakable air of pomposity – phase of using a fountain pen refillable from a bottle of ink.  Fingers would be permanently stained, pristine white shirts dappled with stray spots, a supply of blotting paper (always luminous pink – why?) could never be too far away.  With the old Parkers you could flick the ink, if you were so inclined, by hitting the right angle to unleash a flurry of black dots, marching across your friend’s textbook and earning you both a few deducted marks for your sham Pollock artistry.  I can’t image today’s schoolchildren being allowed access to something so fun and so messy, which is a shame, not least for standards in handwriting.

So while the broken utensils are off at the mender and I reluctantly make do with a scabby ball point from a long-forgotten conference, I leave you with this quote from Idler, Tom Hodgkinson:

Go backwards in all things.  Wear tailor-made suits, use a fountain pen, walk through the park instead of taking public transport, keep a copy of Byron with you, go to art galleries at lunchtime, enjoy an afternoon pint in the pub, sneak in a cinema visit during the working day.  You must transform yourself in your mind from put-upon wage slave to modern anthropologist.  Detach yourself.  And force yourself to leave work punctually.

Some of those are harder to achieve than others.  I would suggest that the fountain pen is a good place to start.

Hideously out-of-focus shot (in thumbnail anyway) of a corner of a desk, by Julia.  Also featuring alongside the two broken fountain pens: my Moleskine, glasses, jewellery box and a Mallorcan fan dating from the Seventies. The usual writerly detritus

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