Cristina Gomes Burgundy Personal TN

One of the new TN makers I’ve been following in Instagram and Facebook groups is Cristina Gomes. She is from Portugal and makes the TNs herself. I fell in love with her Burgundy leather, and decided to get one in personal size, to serve as my wallet with my Hobonichi Weeks. There was a bit of a wait since she cuts and assembles the TN after each order, and of course there’s the standard shipping wait.

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The TN arrived and I had to find the time to come pick it up from the post office. I could barely stand knowing it’s here and I couldn’t pick it up! Finally I got it in my hands! The Burgundy is such a wonderful leather, deep dark red and almost brown really. It was stiff, especially with the pockets, but it feels like it will soften in time. It is also the kind of leather that keeps dings and marks, although it can be rubbed out slightly.

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I immediately set it up with my Weeks and I was relieved that it fit! I also blinged it out with some charms.

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There’s a look at the entire outside. As you can see the leather already has quite a lot of scratches. It came with black elastics as I had requested. Cristina’s logo is stamped unobtrusively on the back.

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The front has a series of seven card pockets, with a larger full-length pocket behind it. This is primarily what makes this side of the TN stiff, since there’s a lot of layers of leather here. The presence of the cards makes it even stiffer, but I’m not really bothered by that. The TN also has four inner elastics. I strung the Weeks on the back two, and the wallet/card insert on the frontmost. At the time that these photos are taken I did not yet have a personal sized wallet insert, so I made do with a pocket sized.

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The back of the TN featured a simple secretarial pocket, which is great for quick-access stuff such as cash. The pen loop is also attached here with the same stitching. The pen loop is very generous and can take really fat pens. Perhaps my only issue here is that the leather is a little bit too thick and some clips have difficulty gripping it. The Pilot Metropolitan as shown here luckily has a strong grip and manages well in the pen loop.

Overall I’m very pleased with the Cristina Gomes Burgundy Personal TN. It’s very well-made, reasonably priced, and the leather is beautiful! If you want to find out more about her other works, check out her Instagram.

 

Planning Dilemma: Hobonichi Weeks Vs Pocket Planning

I am honestly having a lot of trouble with my planning system right now, and not because it’s not working. It actually works! I find that I work best with a weekly view, with the days of the week on one side and a notes page on the opposite side. My dilemma is as follows: I am a huge fan of Hobonichi Weeks, and I’ve found a great planning system with its weekly views and the other features of the planner. In fact, I was able to spend about five months of continuous planning in it.

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On the other hand, I have recently discovered that I work just as well with the pocket size version of the Hobonichi Weeks. And by this I mean the weekly planner insert of CN Papercrafts works really well for me. As long as I have an accompanying bullet journal to help document my days, I can use with the smaller amount of space for my day to day planning needs.

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Now that the 2017 release of Hobonichi has come out, I am starting to again think that the Weeks is the planner for me. The moment I saw the Meow Meow Meow Weeks, I felt a really huge pull to get it (the cats were such a tease too!). To make things even harder for me (or easier, depends on how you look at it), there are several merchants who offer preorder service so I don’t really even have to mess with customs or post office. Perhaps the only disadvantage of this is the relatively steep price of the Weeks to begin with. It’s really quite the investment.

Image credits: 1101.com
Image credits: 1101.com

On the other hand again, I have a tremendous amount of pocket TNs that will remain unused. For the most part, I only have one in active use; maybe two at most, if I am feeling a lot of writing mojo. If I used the pocket size weekly planner insert as my main planner, then I would be able to really put into use my pocket TNs and it would justify the original purchase of them instead of just sitting pretty on the shelf. At least this way too, I don’t have to shell out a huge amount of money for planning for next year, since my current insert can handle 7 months already. If I really stretch, I could even use up my pocket insert stash and hand-draw the weekly layouts myself!

Pocket TNs, charms, and a lone fountain pen

A photo posted by Becoming Sleek (@becomingsleek) on

 

I’m not really sure what I should do! What do you think?

 

Gutsy Artdori A6 TNs

When I heard that Airees of Aireescreates was coming out with a new collection, I was immediately intrigued. When it was revealed that for the first time, she was going to be offering the A6 size, I knew that I had to get one. If you don’t remember, Airees released a previous collection entitled Musings in Color and I got myself the Words TN, which remains in my collection as a revered holder of journal inserts.

Gutsy, the new collection, has a crinkled effect but still uses the same leather-strong abaca paper formula. Read more about this collection here. For now, let me show you what I got!

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Does it surprise you to discover that I got the red one? I actually got two A6 TNs from the Gutsy line: the Rojo (red) and the Camello (camel). You can really see the crinkled paper but let me assure you that this does not at all give the feeling of fragility. The material feels like it can take a lot of abuse!

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The Rojo A6 comes with cream stitching and red elastics. I might switch out the red outer elastic for a black one later on for better contrast.

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It comes with pockets made of the same material, in a full-length style on both sides.

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It also comes with two A6 inserts. These inserts are pretty awesome! They have 120gsm weight paper inside with 32 pages, enclosed with special handmade covers with interesting plant ephemera embedded in it. These two inserts fill up the TN nicely.

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Here is the Rojo Artdori beside my pocket-size Chicsparrow Outlander. They have roughly the same height, but the Artdori is a bit wider.

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The Camello has much of the same features. It comes with cream stitching and brown elastics, and also two A6 inserts.

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Overall I’m really quite pleased with these two. I can’t wait to start using them! They seem really perfect for art journaling or artistic uses, and the pockets are a great way to hold various journaling stuff.

The Gutsy Collection is available at Airees’ online store and I think she has also started stocking at Common Room. The A6 costs Php450 while the Standard size costs Php550, although I got mine for slightly less because I was able to catch the preorder period in early August. Artdoris are perfect for those who prefer non-animal derived products, and those who, like me, enjoy supporting local makers.

 

Setup of TN Wallet (September 2016)

I’m really enjoying using my Dark Brown Macata as a TN Wallet. I’ve moved in and have been using it for the past two weeks and so far it’s been going great! Here’s how I set it up.

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The wallet part of the TN wallet is mostly the same as the one in my Blue Passport Macata. I’m going straight to the planner part.

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My first insert is the weekly insert by CN Papercrafts. I decorated the front with alpha stickers and a cute little sticker by @kraftrina.

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Right inside the planner I stuck a sheet of decorative paper and a motivational sticker on the front page. On the back of the cover I stuck a pocket from the Tiny Stickers that I found before, with a sheet of glitter stars in it. In front of it I stuck on a sticky note with my shopping list.

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The bulk of the insert is of course the weekly planner, with the days of the week on one side situated horizontally, and grid paper on the opposite side. This is basically how the Hobonichi Weeks is laid out, so it’s not a huge adjustment to move here for me. The only thing the insert was missing was a monthly view, which was easily remedied with a simple print out of a calendar that I searched online. I tipped it in at the start of the month with some washi.

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The back of the weekly planner holds my favorite Post Its, and another pocket that holds a small sheet of marker stickers. This is also where I installed a penloop substitute that holds my go-to pen of the moment (Pilot Prera).

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The second insert is the 100gsm cream unlined insert by CN Papercrafts, and I assigned this to be my Bullet Journal. This is actually something new for me, and I am still trying to get used to it. Prior to moving to this TN Wallet, I had incorporated some sort of bullet journaling into my Hobonichi Weeks since I did have a lot of space in the grid area opposite the weekly layout. Since I am using a much reduced size, I needed to transfer the short-hand journaling to another form, and this is how I chose to try it.

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I decorated the inside of the cover again with some nice decorative paper and another motivational sticker, and below that I have a sticky note with my current bullet journal bullet code. I started on the first page right away, and I find that I mostly use it to log events that happen that are not in my standard routine.

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The back of the journal is currently blank except for another pocket that holds another small sheet of stickers, this time of cute little colorful flags.

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Which brings us to the end of the TN Wallet. To summarize, I have my wallet inserts and two notebooks inside this TN Wallet, and it brings me to a nice, compact, chunky package that I can chuck into my purse easily.

I filmed a flip through of my TN Wallet, and it shows a bit more of the wallet inserts here in case you want to see it in detail.

 

Will I be staying with this setup? I sure hope so! I really do like the pocket size a lot, and I’m quite happy to be back to this size even though I really liked Hobonichi Weeks.

 

The Sunday Currently #26

It’s been such a busy month for me, and it reflects on the blog through lessened posts. I hope I can ramp it back up to my usual three posts per week, but I can’t guarantee it. Aside from an increased workload, I have also rescued another kitten and this one is already problematic from the start. I hope it survives; I’ve already fallen in love with it.

Reading

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As it’s been a busy month, I was only able to read these two books by Cyan Abad-Jugo: Letters from Crispin and Yaya Maya and the White King. I stumbled upon them in National Bookstore and I was intrigued. My instincts were correct, and they turned out to be really good books. Meant for kids around 10 years old, these are short stories centered around kids the same age that deal with family, growing up, and other similar matters. They also feature interesting facets of Philippine culture (history and lore) that are the core of the stories. Written in English, these are perfect for giving as gifts to foreign friends as well as anyone with reading-age kids. I can’t wait to read the other two books in the set!

Watching

No movies this month, but we did get to continue watching Jessica Jones. We’re now up to the 8th episode I think, and the story is really getting along now. I also just saw the trailer for the new Netflix series, Luke Cage, and I’m excited! Luke is a regular in the Jessica Jones series, and I like him there, so I’m looking forward to seeing him in the lead.

Playing

I have officially quit playing Spellstone for now, primarily because it’s such a RAM hog. It was eating up about 70% of my RAM and it was becoming ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the game and it’s really an excellent card game, but my current phone cannot play it anymore.

With its removal I was able to get quite a bit of new mobile games. Of course there’s the ubiquitous Pokemon Go, which is not really all that great on my phone either because my GPS sucks. I also finally bought Monument Valley; it’s been on my wishlist for a long time. It’s a brilliant minimalist puzzle game that makes use of perspective and M.C. Escher type environments and it’s really quite engaging. Unfortunately it’s very short, only 10 levels, but I think it’s well worth it. I will probably buy the sequel as well. Lastly, for quick brainless fun I also installed Disney Emoji Blitz which is just a match-3 game but I got it since it’s Disney and it’s full of cute emoji and it’s free to play.

Feeling

I’m feeling quite confused recently. As you have seen I switched to my Dark Brown Macata as my main planner/wallet, from being in the Hobonichi Weeks for about five months. I really enjoy the pocket size, and it’s great since my main TN collection is in that size; not to mention I’m really enjoying the new system of a weekly planner and bullet journal. The new Hobonichi release for 2017 just came out September 1, and I am very tempted to get the pink cat Weeks as well as a few accessories, but that means that I’ll be again not be using the pocket size. It’s a dilemma!

 

Unboxing the Dark Brown Macata by CN Papercrafts

One of the first local makers of traveler’s notebooks that I’ve tried is CN Papercrafts, and their Macata still remains one of my favorite brands. It’s been interesting to watch just how much they have grown in the year since I first got my first Macata, and I am happy to announce a blog collaboration with them! Nissan, a planner-passionate like me, and her supportive boyfriend Christian, set up their own two-person company to sell their handmade traveler’s notebooks and inserts. They specialize in good quality faux leather notebooks and inserts that are affordable. Shopping is now made easy with the launch of their new online store at CNPapercrafts.com, do check them out!

I have the honor to try out any product in their lineup, and I chose the Dark Brown in pocket size as that is something I haven’t tried yet. The notebook came wrapped in bubble packaging, and I have to say that I really like how neat and professional this looks! They have also updated their logo and business card, and I appreciate the little touch about the watercolor.

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This is what the notebook looks like, unwrapped. Dark Brown Macata has interesting striations that suggest texture, and I could feel it when running my fingers across the surface. It is quite different from the other Macata notebooks that I have, which are smooth-surfaced. This one came with matching dark brown elastics, a small strip of dark brown faux leather for the closure, gold eyelets, and charms with gold hardware. Overall, it looks quite professional and classy.

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Check out this beautiful piece of material. I still can’t believe it isn’t leather! The closing elastic originates from the spine as is standard. I love that my notebook’s corners are rounded! The faux leather is quite a bit more pliable than my other Macata notebooks, and seems to hug the inserts better.

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The inside is some sort of felt-like material that reminds me of the linings of bags. It feels nice to the touch! The eyelets are installed expertly and securely. This notebook comes double-stringed, which ends up giving me four inner elastics to string my inserts on. The Macata holds four inserts quite comfortably without overhang, and looks like it may have room for up to six.

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My notebook came with four inserts. Each have kraft covers and branded with the CN Papercrafts logo at the back. I like this so I can remember which maker made the inserts I am currently using.

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Three of my inserts are a 70gsm white unlined insert (top), a 100gsm cream unlined insert (middle), and a 100gsm white dotted insert (bottom). Each are staple-bound and have 32 pages each and have square corners.

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The fourth insert is a weekly insert with 100gsm white paper, also staple-bound and has 32 pages. This is the insert I’m really excited about, as it has the same format as my Weeks! The week is on the left side and the right is a grid area for notes. This and the dotted insert are CN Papercrafts’ own design, which is why they have their name printed discreetly at the bottom right corner.

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My Dark Brown Macata also came with this cute little charm with a gold wing and a cream tassel. It goes really well with my notebook and gives personality to an otherwise very serious book.

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The notebook stands up by itself when fully loaded. It’s a compact package that holds quite a lot!

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I’m setting up this Dark Brown Macata to be my main planner and wallet for the next few weeks to give it the full trial, and I’ll be posting about the setup. Watch this space as I #WriteBeautifully with my Macata!

All items in the Macata package were sent free of charge as part of the collaboration.

 

Loridori Pocket TN

It has come to my attention that I have not yet talked about this very nice traveler’s notebook that I have had for some time now. Let me present to you the Loridori!

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The Loridori is a handmade leather traveler’s notebook by Lorraine of @calligraphyspot. I had gotten this particular pocket TN in a raffle in one of the Calligraphy groups.

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The leather is thick and on the rather stiff side, much like a Midori leather. In fact, I would consider this TN the closest one I have to a Midori TN. The surface of the leather is a bit suede-like, and feels very luxurious. It also has that incredible leather scent! It also came with that beautiful little charm.

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The inside of the leather is rough, and the TN is stringed in the same manner as a Midori (single strand). The TN itself is not cut too large, and I expect it can hold maybe 3 inserts.

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At the moment I use the Loridori to hold my traveling journal (which I will show in another post!). It’s still a work in progress, but its travels have been completed. I feel like the Loridori really matches the insert.

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It’s a very classy pocket TN and will definitely remain in my collection!

 

 

StudioThree14 Charms

Being a member of Facebook groups can be fun and informative, and many really give you a feeling of belonging. There are downsides too, especially in the informative area: you are constantly bombarded with pretty things that you absolutely must have! Bad for your pockets, and bad for your peace of mind!

One of the things I fell for in this case from one of the TN groups are adorable charms by StudioThree14, particularly the mermaid charms. I had to get one for myself! Unfortunately when I visited the site, there were lots of other things that were just as cute and suddenly I found myself buying four! The nice thing about it though is that the items are very reasonably priced, so it didn’t feel so bad buying them. The shipping was just as nicely priced as well, and a happy bonus was that it shipped pretty fast! I got my international order in less than a week!

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Here are the four charms I ordered, and they came very attractively packaged in cute cardstock with bows, which were protected in brown paper bags. The charms all came with matching lobster clasps, so I was able to immediately put the charms into use. I also got a nice handwritten note (I always love these!) and three really cute paperclips as a freebie. Carla, the owner/maker, is really nice and lovely to talk with!

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Of course, the main point of this order is to get a mermaid charm and the one I chose is a pink ombre one. I thought it went well with my Licorice TN by Foxyfix.

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I also got a couple of filigree cat charms, because cats! Both cat charms were copper, and I thought this cheeky cat went well with my Camel TN.

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I didn’t know what to use the last two ones I got, which is a second filigree cat, and this other one which is a nice little tree bubble charm. I ended up putting them both into my Outlander Jitney Red TN.

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The charms range between $5 to $10, and there’s a huge range of choices. I think you can even request for a custom designed charm. The store also offers bookmarks and jewelry using similar charms. Do visit StudioThree14 and check out the beautiful charms!

 

Easy Pen Loop Substitute for Planners and Journals

Not all of planners or journals have their own built-in pen loops, and not all of the time we are willing to bring along a separate pen case. While there are available adhesive pen loops out there, it’s either hard to find, expensive, or does not entirely work with our chosen pens. Here is a quick and easy substitute for pen loops: binder clips!

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Binder clips are quite versatile, and come in different sizes and designs. What I do is to choose an appropriately sized binder clip that would match both my intended pen and the planner or journal that needs the pen loop. I would attach it somewhere in the upper third to halfway down the planner/journal, and not push it all the way in. I would then hook the pen’s clip into the exposed area of the binder clip, and there! Instant pen loop!

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The disadvantage to using binder clips as pen loops is that this won’t work for pens without clips. In this case, a proper elastic pen loop would really be necessary.

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The biggest advantage to binder clips as pen loop is the wide availability, and in addition it would be easy to swap out and change on a whim. Have you tried using binder clips to hold your pens?

 

Imajica Custom Tassel

I like putting planner charms on my traveler’s notebooks. When a tassel maker opened up custom orders, I immediately pounced and got in on the action. Before that, let me tell you about Imajica. Imajica is run by an awesome artist named Carissa, and she makes all sorts of cute planner accessories such as the aforementioned tassels, planner clips, dashboards, page flags, and other similar things. About two weeks ago, she opened up an experimental pre-order for custom tassels where she will work closely with the client to jointly create the tassel of their dreams. How could I resist that chance?

Carissa was very responsive and kept me updated on each step of the creation of my dream tassel. It was shortly finished and I was on bated breath for its arrival. It came in this really cute packaging.

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Inside was my tassel, and a matching planner clip. I had told Carissa that I wanted something that’s black and red as that’s my favorite color combination, and that it would somehow be gothic. She was excited to work on it because it was completely different from her usual tassel style (pastels, mermaids, that sort of thing). Let me tell you: I am absolutely floored when I saw this. It is beautiful, and looks so much better in person!

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I was actually taken aback by the sheer size of it. It was much larger than I had anticipated, and thought it would not look good with my pocket sized TN. To test it out, I brought out my black Midori TN and the tassel looked pretty good against the black leather.

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I really wanted it on a pocket TN though, so I immediately moved into my Foxyfix Wanderlust in Licorice. It still matched and look awesome against the textured black leather. It can be observed though that the tassel is in fact slightly longer than the length of the pocket TN but I didn’t really care. It was still beautiful!

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Here is a shot of the tassel, arrayed out. I really like all the different ribbons that Carissa was able to find for me, and every time I look through the tassel I seem to be finding something new. I love the touch of the beads and crystals, and the silver metal heart fit so well with the theme. I am simply smitten!

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She did a great job with the matching clip as well!

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What can I say, I am really in love with my custom tassel! It was awesome to work with Carissa, and I hope that she does continue to offer the custom tassel service. The second batch just closed, so watch her Instagram for the opening of more batches if you want to get your own. You’ll have to fight me for a slot, for I intend to get more!