I Do These Things For You

Moleskine Art Plus Sketchbook

Moleskine recently unveiled their new Art Plus Sketch Album which explicitly called out the weight of the paper stock on new books is 120 gsm (80lb). Its a cardstock cover book available as a pocket or large “reporter style” though they show it used horizontally on the site, or a 7.5″ square size. Each book has 88 pages and retail prices are $7.95 for the pocket (A6-ish) , $13.95 for the large (A5-ish) and $19.95 for the 7.5″ (19cm) square.

I am willing to try one out so that you, my fine readers, do not have to blow your hard-earned cash if these are not a real improvement over the regular paper (terrible for anything but pencil) or the “sketchbook” stock which was water-resisting, manila card stock.  I ordered one and expect to have it for review in a week or so. If it is terrible paper that makes me shout profanities, there will be a bonfire and you’ll all be invited.

Moleskine Art Plus inside

Ask The Desk: Notebook Questions

Ask The Desk Header

Sandy asks:

Can you please explain what is meant by “volant” and “cahier” in regards to noyebook types?  Especially volant, I do not get why a notebook is called by these two names.  What am I looking for when I want one of these?

Moleskine Cahier

Cahier and Volant are terms Moleskine uses to describe two of their soft cover notebooks. The Volant is the perfect bound notebooks with a leatherette cover. The Cahier notebooks have a cardstock cover and are stitch or staple bound. Other companies have used similar terminology to describe their products as well though I would recommend reading the descriptions carefully as neither of these terms are official terminology.

Moleskine Volant

Nick asks:

Maybe you’ve seen the new Doane Paper 3-ring binder pouch. But it made me want to use 3-ring binders more. The problem with binders is that they don’t stack or sit nicely on a bookshelf.

Do you have any tips for binder storage?

Binders are paricularly challenging to store on shelves. I recommend starting with the smallest width binder to start with so that it is fairly full. When it becomes difficult to put more into it, upgrade to a larger width. That way the binders sit a little better on the shelf. A shelf full of 3″ binders with only a few pages in each don’t sit at all nicely.

If anyone has a better idea, let me know!

Melissa asked:

Can you show me a few choices for a budget notebook for fountain pen writing? I want something that’s thick enough not to bleed to the back, under about $15, A5 size, lined preferred (something like narrow ruled filler paper). Bonus points for purple cover, as that’s my favorite colour.

Poppin purple softcover notebook

Poppin is THE source for those with a color fetish. They offer their medium soft cover in their signature plummy purple. The notebook is $9. I tested the softcover notebook and there is a little show through with juicy pens like the Retro 51 and fountain pens but you can’t beat the price.

Scout Books Mega Book

The Scout Books Mega Books are 5×7″ with cardstock covers. While there are not any currently available with purple covers, the tough cardstock would give you a great surface to paint or collage your own ode to purple. Two books are sold in a set for $10. The paper is 70lb text weight so it can hold up to fountain pens but may have some show through with juicy pens.


Paperthinks is another company I always think of for the color savvy. They stock not one but three different shades of purple to choose from.  Their large notebook is 12 x 17cm (4.7″x6.7″) with recycled leather covers and lined pages.  The regular large notebook has 256 ruled pages (£16) and the slim version has 144 pages (£10) so they are in your price ballpark. When tested, the paper showed a bit of showthrough but the overall quality of the books is good.


Slightly higher than your price point is the Exacompta Club Leatherette Refillable Journal ($24.50) in lilac purple. Refills are $16.50 and available in lined as well as blank and grid. The paper is good quality 64g so it should handle most fountain pens, as well as any gel, rollerball, ballpoint or pencil you used.

And the last question of the week comes from Aziza:

Anyways, just based on some fun movie trivia, would you say the notebook in the series True Detective that Matthew McConaughey uses is an extra large Moleskine? Just curious of your opinion.

mcconaughey notebook in True Detective

I believe you are right. That looks like the A4 Moleskine Folio book. Its 8.5×12″ but I can’t tell if he’s using the sketchbook or plain paper version. I guess I’ll have to watch the series just for the notebooks!

Thanks for all the great questions!

Link Love: Instagrammatical & TWSBIs (made-up words!)

Image credits (clockwise from top left: Noyolajose, Mary Kate McDevitt, Tuesday Next [that's me!],  FPGeeks, Rad And Hungry, MyCoffeePot, Rad And Hungry,  Elltbr, and GouletPens)

Image credits (clockwise from top left: Noyolajose, Mary Kate McDevitt, Tuesday Next [that’s me!], FPGeeks, Rad And Hungry, MyCoffeePot, Rad And Hungry, Elltbr, and GouletPens)

Yeah for awesome Instagram friends! If you’re not following the folks in the photo collage above, I highly recommend them for wonderful office accoutrement photo yummies.

In other news:

Paper and Notebooks:

Pens and Ink:


For Valentine’s Day:

(via Creatively Curated)

Download the hi-rez file at  Creatively Curated

Video: Moleskine Hobbit Series

Feeling kind of Hobbitsy? Moleskine is re-releasing the Hobbit line of products in time for the release of the second film in the Hobbit series. So I guess its not so limited anymore, is it?

The covers are accented with debossed designs and metallic foils. Four versions are available in pocket sized including a Bordeaux Red cover and two black with red foil accents and black debossed designs and one black cover with red foil and gold foil. They are pretty but its still filled with mediocre paper stock. Sigh.

(via Moleskine)

Link Love: Instragramatics and more


Clockwise from top left: MrMikeDudek’s Kaweco AL Sport, trefste-metrese’s On-the-go penpal kit, klpeabody’s currently inked pens and Writetomeoften matched her nail polish to her ink (or vice versa).

I find office supplies inspiration everywhere. As I’ve posted before, Pinterest is a source of products, ideas and inspiration but I get just as much valuable information on Instagram and Twitter too. Yeah for other office supply lovers!

Pens and Pencils:




Again, clockwise from top left: IvanR365 and his pen case, Design_concussion finds the magic of Doane Paper, GreerChicago finds our kind of vending machine and Writetomeoften puts her Pelikan M100 through its paces

DIY Inkodye photo transfer pencil case (via Etsy Blog)

DIY Inkodye photo transfer pencil case (via Etsy Blog)

Moleskine Postal Notes and other new stuff

Moleskine Postal Notebook

On App.net yesterday, there were some conversations about the Moleskine Postal Notes so I thought I’d mention them here. I know Moleskine takes a lot of ribbing from the paper elite but they do make some beautiful albeit not-all-that-fountain-pen-friendly products.

Moleskine Postal Note Card

First, there are the postal notes. They are available as a note card or as a notebook. Both versions come in the small 3.5″ x 5.5″ size and the larger 4.5″  x 6.75″ size. The note card is a card stock cover with a one-page signature which is stitched into place with thread to coordinate with the cover and comes with an envelope for mailing. The postal notebook is an 8-page signature self-mailer. The covers have additional flaps that fold over the seal with a sticker making it look like an envelope. They have been available since 2012 in six deep tones– kraft, maize, light grey, terracotta, navy and red– but this year, they’ve introduced the postal notes in pastel hues as well. Prices range from $3.95 to $7.95.

Moleskine Pastel Postal Notebook

Moleskine Turntable Planner in use

In other Moleskine news, the new 2013-2014 “academic year” planners are now available. If you did not start a new planner in January and want to jump start your organization mid-year, the academic calendars are a great way to get started. They start on July 1 and go through 18 months. There is a new “turntable” design which is a more open format planning method. Dates are at the bottom of the page, at an angle, and the rest of the page is open allowing the user to use the spaces vertically or horizontally depending on the kind of week you might be having.

Moleskine Turntable Planner

The Turntable 18-month planner is available in the small (3.5″ x 5.5″) size and the large (4.5″x 6.75″) size as well in a rainbow of colors as well as special Star Wars and Peanuts editions. The planners are available through Notemaker and other fine online retailers.

Moleskine iPad Mini case

And finally, Moleskine is now selling covers to protect your iPhone, iPad and tablets which includes a volante-style reporter notebook on the left hand side of the case and a place to secure your digital device on the right. Prices start at $39.95 for a Kindle 2 case and go up to $89.95 for an iPad 3/4 case which is available in classic black or an array of cheery colors.

(shout out to our friends at Notemaker for the tip)

Ask The Desk: Moleskine Portfolio Book Alternatives

Ask The Desk Header

Yesterday, following Moleskine’s release of their new portfolio books, John from Pencil Revolution asked:

Anyone know of a portfolio type item that is not made by Moleskine?

This is the portfolio book in question. From the outside, it looks like a standard Moleskine notebook but on the inside its a divided pocket accordion book with an elastic closure. The 3.5″ x 5.5″ size sells for $13.95 and the 5.5″ x 8.5″ is $18.95.

Moleskine Portfolio Book

I did a little sleuthing and came up with a couple alternatives:

1. Pocket Accordion Organizer from The Container Store ($10.99): Printed on the side of this accordion pocket book is “I know I put it somewhere”. Inside is a multi-pocket accordion folder for notes and scraps and a notepad and pen. (4.125″ x 6.5″)

Container Store Folio Cover Container Store Folio

2. Knock Knock Crap Receiptables Personal Assistant Organizer from ModCloth ($13.99): This cheeky option includes a notepad printed with “Endless Crap” at the top, stickers for the tabbed accordion folder and comes with a ballpoint pen. (7.25″ x 4″)

KnockKnock Crap Folio

KnockKnock Crap Foilo Inside

3. Paperthinks Memo Pocket Notebooks ($14.95): This is my favorite choice. Its made from recycled leather, includes a notepad for lists and notes and an expandable divided pocket. Its available in 24 different colors including my favorite, lime green. (3.5″ x 6″)

Paperthinks Memo Notes

Paperthinks Memo Notes

Hope this helps and if anyone has any other options, please leave a note in the comments.

Link Love: Vintage Pens and Pen Addict Love

The big news this week is that Moleskine launched their IPO. Several of the links below are as a result of all the attention Moleskine is getting this week.

There is an assortment of goodies from Brad Dowdy over at Pen Addict including his Tools and Toys Guide to Fountain Pens which I’m willing to debate with him. There’s also a mix of new and vintage fountain pen reviews. Finishing up the Link Love this week are a couple ink reviews, some digital goodies and tips on writing a good thank you note. Enjoy!

Pens and Ink



(image from Casa Brutus, via Present + Correct)

(image from Casa Brutus, via Present + Correct)

Mickey Moleskines


The big news this week in the world of notebooks is the new limited edition Mickey Mouse Moleskines. The notebooks are available in the pocket and large size. Each cover is debossed with classic drawings of the famous mouse. Inside, the end papers are filled with sketches and each notebook includes an instructive drawing guide so that you, too, can draw Mickey Mouse.

Even though the Moleskine paper isn’t great for fountain pens, the notebooks are well-built and classic and how can you not love classic Mickey? (FYI: Walt Disney started his mouse empire just a few blocks from where I work now. I can even walk past the building where it all started!)


These Moleskines are going to be popular and sell out fast so if you are interested, you might want to order one ASAP.

Our friends Down Under at Notemaker are currently carrying both the large notebook is plain and lined ($39.95 AU) and the pocket notebook in plain paper and lined ($29.95 AU). Remember, Well-Appointed Desk readers receive a 10% on purchases at Notemaker by entering the code “WELLAPPDESK12” at checkout. The Mickey Moleskines can also be purchased directly from Moleskine ($18.95 and $24 for pocket and large respectively) or from Jenni Bick (on sale for $17.06 and $21.60 for pocket and large respectively).

Moleskine Photo Albums

Moleskine Photo Books

Moleskine has paired up with Milk to introduce a line of photo books. You can upload your photos and have them printed into official Moleskine books with leatherette or linen covers, with or without a featured photo on the cover depending on which of the multitude of formats you choose. The prices start at $50 for a simple 20-page, medium (9.25″ x 7.4″) format photo book. Additional pages can be added for $1/per page. All books feature interior ivory acid-free paper.

Moleskine Photo Book Interior Spread 1

Other formats are available that include space for writing or typing text about the photos and memories with the Photo Books Plus series. These books contain 60 pages and would be a great way to create a very classy scrapbook or portfolio. Then there’s the Photo Album which is a large 9.25″ square book with 60 pages which would make a great wedding album. Photo Albums start at $130.

The Photo Books Plus and Photo Albums include linen slipcases and a digital version of your book to share and add video content.

Moleskine Photo Book Interior Spread 1

If you pre-order any of these formats now, there is a 25% discount on all the prices. If this is the kind of photo album you’ve been waiting for, act fast. The discount prices won’t be available for long.  Compared with how much we used to spend for photo prints and albums, even at full price, these books seem like a good value for cherished memories.

Link Love: This Should Keep You Busy For Awhile

Pens and Ink


image via Pencil Talk


Lettering sketch in pencil by Baileyamon (via Instagram)

Lettering sketch in pencil by Baileyamon (via Instagram)

Tools and Topics

@erikmarinovich has a huge pencil (via jessicahische on Instagram)

@erikmarinovich has a huge pencil (via jessicahische on Instagram)

End of the year diary buzz

myMoleskine gallery image

Planner photo by Sarah Hinrichs

I posted some halfway point images of notebooks and diaries earlier is year but this end-of-year image on the Moleskine myMoleskine gallery is a delight to see. This is a well-loved and fully-utilized planner.

Do you keep a daily paper record, be it notebook or planner or do you plan to do so in 2013? Send a photo of your well-loved book or planner and I’ll post them here.

Evernote + Moleskine Smart Notebooks

I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard about the recent union between Moleskine and Evernote but I thought I’d go ahead and include info here for those who might not have heard the news.

Moleskine announced an Evernote-specific “smart” notebook last week at the Evernote Trunk Conference. The book includes stickers that, when scanned or photographed and stored on Evernote, will automatically help to tag your page. The embossed covers are really pretty and the grids and/or lines on the page are actually dots to help correct the skew when taking digital snapshots of your pages though I’ll have to see it to believe it.

The 3.5×5.5″ size can be pre-ordered for $24.95 and the 5×8.25″ is $29.95.

More details can be found at Design Taxi.

UPDATE: Our sponsor, Notemaker in Australia will also be stocking the Evernote X Moleskine Smart Notebook. You can pre-order now for delivery the first week of October. Their prices are $29.95AUD for the pocket-sized and $39.95AUD for the larger size. Don’t forget to use the discount code WELLAPPDESK at checkout to receive a 10% discount.

Halfway Through (almost)

My lovely friend Diane from Tag Team Tompkins opened her Moleskine to share  what it looks like to be halfway through for her. She uses a large Moleskine hardcover with lined pages. She uses an assortment of tools from office supply gel pens to artist’s brush pens and was keen to tell me that she did not mind when she got ink showthrough on the opposite side of the page. “It’s all part of the process,” she told me.

This page features notes about insect symbolism in Japan and a bit of her insect paper cuts taped into the book with washi tape.

Diane and her granddaughter tried out some new brush markers.

On this page, Diane’s grandson drew her portrait and gave her a sticker fortune which he proclaimed to be “very lucky.”

While traveling to Japan, Diane sketched and kept notes including details from a book she was reading.

Many thanks to Diane for sharing this intimate look at her words, pictures and ephemera!

Are you ready to share what your notebook looks like when it “halfway through”? Email me your submissions!

Halfway Through

Moleskine did a lovely little post about being halfway through a yearly planner. I love to see what people’s planners and notebooks look like after they have been used with stickers, tabs, bits of paper and notes scattered throughout.

Do you have any photos of your planner or notebook in its current condition (half-full or almost totally full) that you would be willing to share here? If so, please drop me an email with your name, web URL and photo to chair (at) wellappointeddesk.com and I’ll do a feature in the upcoming weeks.

Currently available on the other side of the pond from Moleskine is the Postal Notebook. Its a paperboard folio enclosure, ready-to-mail, with eight plain pages bound inside. There are two sizes available: pocket and large for £4 and £5.50 respectively and each is available in six different color paperboard covers. What a wonderful way to capture a story, long letter or a travel missive and send back to friends.

Looks like these should become available in the US around Feb 1.

(via Moleskine)

The agony of choosing just the right planner/agenda for the New Year tend to put my teeth on edge. Then, I stumbled across the Moleskine comparison tool. Oh, finally!

First, you select what you are looking for, be it planner or something else, and then refine your search based on your size preference, format preference and even if you like a hardcover or softcover. In the case of my search for a new agenda for 2012, I was able to quickly narrow down the options to just four options. Then I hopped over to the online big box store and found exactly what I wanted on sale. Done and done.

The First Lost Crate

Close up of post marks

I received my first shipment from Lost Crates last week. I apologize for taking so long to post about it.

First, I have to that the simple corrugated box with stamps all over it definitely feels like a special package that has made its way across the world to me.

My first "crate"

Inside the crate

 Note inside crate

Inside the package is bundled in kraft brown tissue and held together with twine. As a designer, this packaging makes this kit worth every cent! (And I haven’t even seen what’s inside yet!)

Contents of crate

Inside were the products they selected for me based on their simple visual quiz. I received a highlighter in green made from recycled materials, a decorative roller ball pen with a floral pattern by Josh Davis on the casing, a Miquelrius zipper pouch (which is padded inside) with a pattern designed by Emil Kozak, a blank black Ecosystem notebook, and a set of two decorative notebooks from French Paper Pop Ink.

Field Notes Missouri

And then tucked underneath everything else was a Field Notes State Fair edition for Missouri. Sweet!

With the exception of the rollerball pen (which was quickly absconded by someone at work) everything in the box was something I would have purchased for myself so I feel fairly confident that the quiz is decently accurate or the folks at Lost Crates just have exceptionally good taste. And when I do a little math in my head, the value of the merchandise is at least equal to the subscription fee so it feels like a good value.

Now, I’m even more curious what goodies I will receive next month.

Its like a calling card for your luggage! Moleskine has introduced the Moleskine luggage tag that uses the same leatherette material used on their hardcover notebooks and inside is a space to include your personal information on the same cream stock as the notebook end papers. Ubiquitous elastic holds it closed and another elastic is used to attach to your bag. Luggage tags are available in bright easy-to-spot-on-the-turnstile pink, lime and blue as well as stoic black. Currently available in the Moleskine European and Asia shops and hopefully available in the US soon.

(via Moleskine ® English)

Another great post from Lost Crates blog.


A notebook and a pen can be a highly effective personal productivity system

Why pen and paper?

You may think about iPhones, Blackberries, or at least a computer, so you can remember and search and so on.  I tried using those, but they didn’t work well.  Pen and paper have unique characteristics that are suitable for just “getting things done”. 

  1. Infinite portability: you can take it anywhere,never run out of power,and never lose signal. 
  2. Intuitive:  It is just a tool, and never adds burdens to your brain. This is crucial when you are doing something creative. For me only something creative really excites me. Only those kinds of things can bring me real progress. 
  3. Limitation: You can’t put tons of information on a page in one second. You just write the most important notes most of the time, focusing on the most important words. So you will never face tons of information that easily overloads your brain.
  4. Distraction-free: When you plan anything on a computer, you have to face tons of distractions, IM messages, new emails, rss feed readers, twitter replies, Facebook updates, etc.

Picture via Waterflowon.com 

Holy Cow! Monsieur Notebook Review

Today, I got the chance to review a new series of notebooks from a UK-based company called Monsieur Notebook. These books are sized similarly to an A5 (regular 5.5×8.5”) and an A6 (pocket 4×6”) Moleskine but with real leather covers for just a few dollars more than a comparable sized Moleskine. The books are handmade in India and there’s a note on the inside of the wrap that states that the production of these books are “providing fair wages and sustainable jobs.” The fact that these have leather cover, in an of itself, make these books very appealing to me. I wonder about how Indians feel about making leather books,  I thought cows in India were considered holy. That fact aside, I need to see what’s between those covers!

The pocket sized book has a warm honey-colored cover and heavyweight drawing paper (96 pages of 140g which is about 60# cover to we Americans). The cover was tanned in a very natural way which creates some tonal variations. It looks very natural and very real. I actually quite like the look of the variations in the tanning. The black cover looks completely solid black.

The A5 is solid black leather covers with ruled paper stock (about 192 pages of 90g/24# ivory). Inside both books is a little chop to put your name and information surrounded by a classic Art Nouveau border. There is no pocket on the inside of the back cover like most notebooks these days. I haven’t gotten to use the book for an extended length of time so I can’t say if I’ll miss the pocket or not.

The sketchbook has sturdy cream pages and an orange ribbon bookmark. The ends of the bookmark are sealed lightly so it should keep it from fraying which is a nice addition.

The pages are stitched signatures which are then glued to the leather cover. It takes a little work to soften the spine so that the book will lay flat because the leather is stiff but I suspect that this book will “wear in” beautifully.

(please ignore the type above, sometimes my doodles don’t spell very well)

But the true test of any notebook is how it holds up to ink and other materials. I haven’t had a chance to test watercolor or other heavier art supplies to see if it can withstand those materials but the heavy stock seems less coated and toothier than the Moleskine sketchbooks which I loathe (sorry, Moleskine). With fountain pen ink, Hi-Tec-C and other assorted office pens, the Monsieur Sketch held up beautifully.

Even from the reverse side of the stock shows no real bleed-through.

The Monsieur Lined stock is much lighter weight than the Monsieur Sketch with medium gray narrow-spaced lines. I am super picky about lines on paper but the warm ivory color combined with the medium gray lines is not too vibrant or distracting. But, of course, how do they look when they are separating my poorly formed letterforms?

Well, lookie there! I see the words, not the lines. And there’s no bleeding of the beloved fountain pen ink. Sweet!

(Note: most pens and pencils used can be purchased at Jet Pens, of course.)

And from the back? The black liquid ink shows through just a bit but both are designed for other uses than writing and note-taking so I was pushing the limits with them.

And let’s not forget the subtle branding on the Monsieur notebooks is just a blind-debossed, monocle-wearing, mustache-enhanced Monsieur!

I am smitten with these books. I will not be gifting them to any of the vegans I know, but my meat-loving, leather-shoe-wearing husband has already requested one of the notebooks and then proceeded to take them both to work to show them off. When was the last time a non-office-supply junkie spouse stolen one of your notebooks and showed it off? That’s high praise indeed!