One of the more well-known non-local TN makers is Chicsparrow. Jennifer Harvey is the creator and head of her company, and her traveler’s notebooks are really quite well done. I had always wanted to try one but of course shipping is always the issue when ordering overseas. One day in March I saw that the rare Outlander leather in the color I wanted, Jitney Red, came in stock. I had also heard that this leather will be phased out soon, so I bit the bullet when I saw that particular color in stock. I wanted to get two to maximize shipping, but I could only get one at that time.
After around 20 days I finally received the notice from the post office that my Chicsparrow package had arrived, and I at once went to claim it. Luckily I did not need to pay any customs fees beyond the standard Php112 processing fee. And here she is!
Jitney Red isn’t quite as red as I had imagined it. It was really more of a dark brown with maybe red tones in certain lights. The Outlander leather is quite pliable as promised, very squishy, and smells wonderful. I immediately gave it one of my cute buttons for instant personalization, and I really like how it looks.
There is the Chicsparrow branding stamped at the back. Actually I had the option (for a fee, I think) to add embossing of my own choice at the front of the cover, 15 characters maximum, but I left it off in case I did not fall in love with the TN. I thought it would be easier to resell without the embossing. Anyway there was no need to worry, since I did immediately fall in love with it the moment I had it in my hands! It gave me confidence that I probably will add embossing for my next order.
I did add the optional stitching in white. The contrasting color looks really great with this leather. The stitching is very even and perfectly placed. The closing band originates from the spine, and both the outside and inside elastics are of this tan/brown shade. The Outlander leather is quite prone to retaining even the most minor of scratches. I got the very first one at the back when I first tried to play with the outside elastic, and it is quite visible from afar. It would probably bother some people, but I am of the camp that likes having marks like this.
The inside of the leather has a slight suede feel, and is of a lighter color than the outside. There are four inside elastics, and the TN can hold 4-6 pocket inserts. I am currently using this to hold some of my regularly used inserts.
Chicsparrow does not come cheap, and with the international shipping fee it really is quite the investment. The price goes up the bigger the size of the TN, of course, so I’m quite happy that I’ve found my calling in the pocket size. I am very happy with my purchase, and I am already planning to get another one in the Deluxe line (the one with pockets), something preferably very red.