DIY Field Notes size traveler’s notebook leather cover (mahogany-red)

My interest in inks and fountain pens and everything about them I do is very closely related to another passion I have which are all sorts of notebooks, sketchbooks and travel journals. Few years ago I have purchased my first traveler’s notebook (or rather leather cover) from well know and recently very popular Japanese’s company – Midori. To many people Midori is a ‘cult’ and almost a life style. It sounds crazy but I understand it perfectly, even if I am more pragmatic person. Initially I got a standard size brown cover and I loved everything about it. The way how leather feels in my hand, the handiness and the cool Indiana Jones like look. Quickly, I ordered another one, camel in passport size which I transformed into my wallet (I love it and still using it after 3 years)  and another  standard size  but in black. However there are two major issues with Midori I had. First is economic – genuine Midori leather covers are expensive. The quality is is great, but still you have to spend quite a bit to get one. The second problem I had was its uncommon size which binds you to Midori products (some people are fine with it). There are plenty of DIY inserts out there or templates available so you can print them out, which make it is relatively easy to customize your notebooks – fine. However, if you like to have particular size sketchbook  or actually few of them in one place to carry arouns and if you like to have them looking like Midori, then you have to find someone who could do one for you or do it yourself. And here is the thing, DIY leather notebook covers (so called –fauxdori) are relatively easy and fun to do yourself. The only thing you need is leather (already dyed or not), dye, sealant and bunch of elastic cords. I’ve done few in different sizes over last 1-2 years and I using them for different purposes (business diary/calendar, sketchbooks, wallet, pocket notebooks, etc) everyday.

Because over Easter I was working on one as a birthday gift to my relative, I thought I will share with you what I got. Here it is. The 3mm thick veg tanned cow hide leather cover in dark red and mahogany to fit up to 4-5 Filed Notes size notebooks in.  The leather is slightly distressed to  get rougher (with better grip) but less rigid and having more rustic look cover.






Monteverde inks


I have just finished reviewing 11 Monteverde fountain pen inks.  There are still two fluorescent inks remaining (orange and yellow), which are completely different in terms what they are from the rest and I will cover the separately soon.

Anyway, nine inks are now done, so if you miss any of these during last few weeks here they are: Blue-black, Burgundy, Blue, Red, Green, Purple, Turquoise, Black, Brown, and two special: Fluorescent Yellow and Fluorescent Orange.

All of them supposed to have so called 'Ink Treatment Formula (ITF)' added in, which accordingly to what  Monteverde claims should 1. Dramatically improves ink flow quality 2. Extends cap-off time 3. Lubricates and protects feed from clogging and corrosion and finally 4. Improves drying time on paper. I do not know if ITF is just a marketing slogan or not, however number of things are interesting about these inks and worth noting. First of all the overall ink flow is good across entire family. The writing experience is rather pleasant, and smooth. Nothing really to be considered. The only thing which I noticed and few other people have noticed too is that with the finer nibs Monteverde inks sometimes might feel a bit on the dry side, which can be related to watery consistency of all Monteverde inks.  However, despite of it's thin consistency, Monteverde inks are more or less well saturated and written text on various paper types is easy to read even with brighter colours like turquoise for instance. Moreover, all show decent degree of non-distracting shading, which makes written text look more attractive...I think. Nice shading was well pronounced when I wrote on smoother and better quality paper. On rougher and more absorbing types it may be less.

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TWSBI Vac mini with semi-flexible nib


I really like to experiment with some pens I have. I nave number of cheap pens from China like Jinhao or Picasso where I swapped original generic medium steel nibs with something which brings some new life to these pens and gives me a little bit more fun when I actually use them. For this purpose I am very often using inexpensive steel semi-flexible nibs offered by Kevin at Fountain Pen Revolution site (*). He offers larger #35 (no. 6) nibs which fits Noodler’s Ahab pens for instance which I will talk about soon, whereas smalle #5.5 size fits well  popular TWSBI Vac Mini pen. (For details please see my review).Continue reading