Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lemmings. (Lemmings? Read on.)

This chapter of the ongoing Notebook Dilemma is brought to you by this lovely little notebook.

(As always, all photos are clickable to enlarge)

And here's the story.

For a while, I've been lemming the Midori Traveler's notebook. 'Cuz, you know, I need more notebooks. (Doesn't everyone?)

My hesitancy in jumping off of that little cliff was that the Midoris are nonstandard sizes - in all of my wanderings around the Web I could not find anyone else who made an insert that would fit nicely in a Midori. Other than Midori. My hope was to have a notebook that could be an everyday carry, and I am always hesitant to adopt something that has a limited supply chain if I intend to use it often.

Enter this little beauty by Zenok Leather. Frankly, I'm not sure how I found this, other than perhaps on one of my perambulations through the Etsy website. It's fairly close in execution to the Midori, with a few obvious differences. One of the big selling points for me was the fact that it holds a 3.5x5.5-inch notebook - and there are several manufacturers out there who make notebooks in that size. Hooray!

Plus, it's made by one of my neighbors to the north in Vancouver, BC. It's always good to support your neighbors.

I'm sorry to say that I didn't think to do an unbox for you; I hadn't initially contemplated reviewing the notebook cover, only the inserts I bought to play with. My recollection is that the packaging was simple; I believe it came in a standard shipping box, wrapped in tissue inside a Ziploc-type bag. It came with extra elastics, and just looking at it, it seems like it would be easy to replace the elastic with whatever one you chose to pick up. They are simply cut to size and knotted into place.

The cover is obviously handmade, and initially I was somewhat taken aback because I hadn't realized it would be as pale as it is - but it's grown on me quickly, and is already starting to show some of the signs of use and wear that a well-loved leather item will. The maker does offer several color combinations as well. The chop on the front is the shop's name, and I understand one can have it monogrammed instead if desired.

Photo courtesy of Zenok Leather. Used with permission.

What do I like about this? Elastics to hold up to four notebooks or cahiers. The leather tab on the elastic closure that can double as a pen loop. The leather tab on the spine, which doesn't stick out as far as the metal bead Midori uses. The two-tone leather. The multiple color choices. 

This little guy has been riding around in my purse with me for a few weeks now, happily serving as a secure place to jot down a few notes, hold receipts and business cards, and whatever else I may need. No Midori lemming any more!

This just goes to show you don't have to stick to the big makers for products that will serve you well.

Coming soon - the review and comparison of the various notebooks and cahiers I purchased to serve as the innards. No lemmings were harmed in the making of this blog post. Despite the previous use of the word "innards."


  1. Just an FYI - the Banditapple Carnet - Handy size will fit in the Midori Travelers notebook and may be found at Goulet Pens

  2. BTW - this is a very pretty notebook and a wonderful review - thanks.

  3. Neat-o!! There are indeed soo many 3.5"x5.5" notebooks out there! Very pretty cover. I'd sure love to pet it hehe.

  4. I have been looking at these for months (etsy) I am a big user of Field Notes. they have become my fav. I have tried LOTS of these things and I keep coming back to them

    I do own a Midori and like it as well. I bought some A6 paper and make my own inserts.

  5. I just got mine a few days ago. I can use either Moleskine cahiers or Field Notes inside, as well as some Midori products.

    It beats the Midori Traveler's Notebook for convenience and price.

  6. How has yours held up over the years?

    1. Very well! It rides around in my (big, messy) purse every day and still looks good - it's acquired a nice patina - and it's in good shape as well.