Buhay Pocket TN

One of the things I like doing is supporting local artisans, and Crafts and Papeteries is exactly that. I found them on a local buy and sell group, and they were advertising TNs of various designs and colors. The red leather, of course, caught my eye and before long I was ordering myself a Buhay Traveler’s Notebook in pocket size.

Buhay means “life” or “alive” in the Filipino tongue, and I thought it was quite appropriate. My planners are my life basically! It was a custom order which means basically that they did not have a ready-made stock of the specific size and configuration I wanted. It took a while to get to me, but I thought it was definitely worth the wait. I also wanted to mention that the owner Glenda was quite kind and accommodating, and in fact had to do a repeat of my TN because the first one did not pass her quality standards. I really appreciated that a lot! I knew that when I get my TN it would be perfect, and it is!

And here she is! My Buhay is a red leather (of course!), and this particular leather is extremely soft and flexible. It is also quite textured, and feels very nice to the touch. I actually find myself unconsciously petting it! It came with two silver charms, one on the closing band and says “Live Life” and another on the elastic bookmark with one side saying “Life is a gift” and the other with a beautiful tree. I felt like these were nice touches, and I’m happy that it came in silver since I prefer that over gold.

Here’s what the inside looks like. It comes with four inner strings which means it can take 4 inserts. Actually Glenda says it can hold up to 6 inserts, but I haven’t tried that myself yet. There are four card slots on the front cover, and full-length pockets on both sides. It also has a pen loop, which can take regular sized pens.

Of course I wanted to field test it, and the best way to do that is to use it as my wallet TN. Here I set it up with my Chrisella09 fabric wallet insert and a Word. notebook, plus all my cards, cash, and paraphernalia that usually comes in my wallet.

They all fit perfectly! With all the cards, coins, and papers and stuff, it seems like the width is perfect. The cards did give some structure to the very floppy leather, but you can see that it still hugs the inserts.

Here’s a nice view of the rump. Doesn’t it look gorgeous?

 

Here’s a video flipthrough of the Buhay TN as wallet. This TN is very reasonably priced at Php800. I’m quite happy and satisfied with my order, and I am definitely going to get more from them!

Check out other Crafts and Papeteries products through their Facebook page.

 

 

My Chic Sparrow Pocket TN Collection

Among the various options for traveler’s notebooks, the pocket size is really the one that seems to fit well with me. One of my favorite TN brands is Chic Sparrow, and at the moment, I have five pocket TNs of various leathers and configurations.

Here’s a quick review of each of these pocket TNs:

First the classics:

Outlander Jitney Red – This is possibly my most flexible Chic Sparrow. The leather simply bends without resistance, and molds quite attractively around the inserts. It’s not really any sort of red honestly, but it remains one of my favorites because of the suppleness. It marks quite easily too.

Odyssey Penelope – I got this from a second chance sale. As far as I know, Odysseys are basically Mr. Darcy leather that has been pre-distressed. The one I got is a very dark brown, quite stiff, and very distressed. I’m thinking of rolling it a bit more to soften up the leather, since I am no longer worried about damaging the leather since it’s already distressed.

Mr. Darcy Amaretto – As I have been looking for a nice, brightly hued red TN for a while, I did not hesitate to get this one when it released even though Mr. Darcy leathers are often stiff. I’m not too concerned that it will show scuffs and marks, but I would love this to be a bit more flexible. I would have gotten the Pemberly Poppy which is basically the same shade of red, but I thought I’d like to try this one first. Amaretto is possibly my favorite TN right now.

Then the deluxes:

Creme Brulee – Creme leathers are very luscious and tactile, and this one is very enjoyable to hold and caress. The pockets make it a bit chunky, but it doesn’t detract from the softness of the leather.

Pemberly Tenerife Sea – I also got this one from a second chance sale, and I am glad to get a bright colored one. Tenerife Sea is very hard to capture on camera, since it can range anywhere from blue, teal, and green. Pemberly leathers are also quite flexible, and this one is also quite pebbly.

I’ve been trying out a new filming setup, and I thought I’d test it out with a showcase of my Chic Sparrow pocket TN collection.

 

 

Chicsparrow Deluxe Creme Brulee Pocket TN

One of the items on my TN wishlist has been the Chicsparrow Deluxe Creme Brulee, ever since I received my Pocket Classic Outlander. I really enjoyed the leather and workmanship and I knew I wanted a deluxe (a TN with pockets). The creme leather has been a staple recommendation in many TN groups, and I knew I wanted to own one. Back in November I was able to snag a discount during Black Friday, and after a long period of waiting (44 days exactly) it is finally in my hands!

The TN came wrapped in a dust bag made of this incredible suede-like cloth. It’s lovely! I’m definitely using this bag a lot!

And here she is, all set up to be my TN wallet. The Creme Brulee color is a right golden brown, and my particular piece came with interesting markings and striations on the front cover, almost like she has veins. The leather is quite stiff and thick, but I expect it will soften up with time and use.

The back shows the distinctive Chicsparrow branding.

Check out the view of the entire leather!

Here’s a quick video I made of a flipthrough of my TN wallet.

 

For those who are unable to view videos, here are some photos of the flip through.

In the front pockets I store most of my cards, identification, credit, and membership/rewards cards. I also use the back full-length pocket for this purpose, because I really have way too many cards that I bring everyday.

The first insert is a cloth insert made by @chrisella09 on Instagram. The left side are more card pockets, and the right is a zipper pocket where I store my cash.

The second insert is Ray Blake’s Daily Log Book insert, which I purchased from him as a printed book (instead of printable, because I didn’t want to have to cut my own this time). I use this as a sort of one-line daily journal. It’ll be interesting to look back at it when the year is done.

The last insert is a Field Notes Snowblind Edition, which I use as a catch-all notebook. At the back of this book I have attached a Leuchtturm pen loop to hold my very portable Pilot Birdie ballpoint pen.


At the very end of the TN is a secretarial pocket, where I put my doctor’s prescriptions, receipts, coupons, and random loose paper. There is also a built-in pen loop which is currently unused since one of my inserts has its own pen loop.

Overall I am super pleased with the Chicsparrow Deluxe Creme. The leather is lovely, smells great, and is not too heavy. The workmanship is of course quite excellent. The only thing that’s really difficult about ordering from Chicsparrow is the length of time it takes to arrive in the Philippines, but I do think it is worth it.

 

Jaquie Ang Hobonichi Weeks Cover and Pocket TN

One (well, two) of my biggest splurges this year is a pair of custom pieces made by a local leather artisan called Jaquie Ang. After ogling her Instagram account for a while, I bit the bullet and got myself a matched Hobonichi Weeks cover and a pocket sized TN in her denim gray leather. As they were both customized according to my specifications, it took about six weeks to finish but I’m happy to have gotten it before Christmas. Let me show you the jewels of my collection.

The denim gray leather is extremely supple and pliable, just the way I like it. It’s also the type of leather that marks very easily; in fact, it arrived having scratches already and it’s beautiful! Let’s take a closer look at each one.


The one I really wanted to get was the Weeks cover. While I do like the red cover that I previously had, it was obviously bigger and wider than the Weeks. The one I requested fit the Weeks like a glove, and I specified that I wanted to have the cover in cover included in the fit. It didn’t come with an external closure because I wanted the option of it being just a sleeve. I made my own elastic closure in case I want to travel with the Weeks kept shut.


The insides were kept very simple, with two full length pockets on both sides and a small secretarial pocket on the front. The back pocket is the one that anchors the Weeks (cover on cover included), while the front full pocket holds my stickers and the tiny secretarial pocket holds my Hobonichi stencil. The design isn’t really groundbreaking, but it suits my purposes very well.

I also requested a built-in pen loop on the back cover, and specified the size of pens I wanted it to fit. The pen loop is sturdy, and does in fact fit the fattest pens I normally use (Coletos and the Hobonichi pen).


Since I was already ordering a custom piece, I decided to get myself a matching pocket TN to serve as my wallet. It uses the same incredibly supple denim gray leather, and this one did come with an external elastic (though I did change it to red when I set both up).


The interior is again made to my specifications. There are full length pockets on both sides, like the Weeks cover. The additional pockets are two credit card pockets in front and a large secretarial pocket in the back. Actually I didn’t order the full length pocket at the back, but Jaquie put it in for free for structural integrity because the leather as I mentioned is really pliable. 

The TN has six internal elastics because oftentimes I like to stuff my TNs, and because of that the spine came reinforced. At the moment I using only two of the elastics but I like having the extras for future need.

Overall I’m very very happy with these two. They did not come cheap, but I feel like I got my money’s worth on both if these pieces. Did I mention they smell wonderful? If you are interested in checking out Jaquie’s other work, you could find her on both Instagram and Facebook, just search for Jaquie Ang. 

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.

hoboafter3months2

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.

macatasetup4

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 post shared by Becoming Sleek (@becomingsleek) on

 

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

 

TN Setup: July 2016

As I have mentioned in my last EDC post, I have moved back into the Foxyfix Wanderlust in Espresso. I have decided to streamline my carry and only bring along the most active of my pocket inserts. Let me show you how my TN is currently set up.

tnsetupjuly2016-1

As you can see from the photos, the TN has gotten a lot more dings and indentations in the leather. It’s starting to show use and character! Here’s a view of the top of the TN, where my tabs and bookmarks are shown.

tnsetupjuly2016-2

When first opened, the Foxyfix vinyl dashboard is revealed. In the front part I have a scrap piece of decorated cardstock as well as my car maintenance booklet whose front cover fits just right in the dashboard.

tnsetupjuly2016-3

Inside the dashboard, after the car maintenance booklet, is my first insert. This Word. notebook serves as my current Book of Lists, and holds stuff like wishlists, addresses, package tracker, quotes, and things like that.

tnsetupjuly2016-4

The back of the vinyl dashboard is yet another piece of scrap cardstock. The next insert is an Alunsina lined insert which serves as a record of my hobby expenses. I used a pink paperclip to denote my current place in this book.

tnsetupjuly2016-5

The next insert is my blog planner, which is a small unlined Moleskine cahier notebook. I’m still continuing in my current format, which I find to be really how I like planning my blog.

tnsetupjuly2016-6

The last insert is an Alunsina graph insert which is my current journal insert. I’m nearly to the end of this book, and I’m already considering what my next one will be.

tnsetupjuly2016-7

And¬†here is the very back of the TN. I’ve started decorating the journal insert since I’m about to finish it, and I really like how this vintage-y sticker looks against the bright blue of the insert.

tnsetupjuly2016-8

At this point I’m very happy with my current setup. This will probably change as soon as I feel uncomfortable with one part of it or another, but at the moment this is what works for me.

 

EDC TN: June 2016

My Purse

I’m a little disappointed that I will not be able to show you anything different here. There is a new setup in the works for my purse, but certain things¬†haven’t arrived yet so I am actually still using the same setup as I have for the last two months (SLC TN Wallet + Hobonichi Weeks).

My Work Bag

I really enjoyed using the Foxyfix Wanderlust in Espresso so I continued using it. I also wanted to see how an undyed leather develops its patina, so I fielded the PocketJot Natural to hold the rest of my active inserts. I have not wanted to change my pen case in a long time, so I continue to use my purple Nabel pencase.

edcjun2016-1

My Work Desk

I went back to using my Midori¬†Blue limited edition, because honestly I like it better than the black one. It also matches the colors of my company, which gives me a certain satisfaction since I’m using this as my work notebook.

 

Jot Misfits

Around the same time that I ordered the Chicsparrow Outlander, Jot had a massive Misfits sale at their Etsy store. I like Jot TNs a lot and I got two previously. It was not hard to imagine that I fell headfirst into that sale.

What are Misfits? They are basically Jot traveler’s notebooks that did not make it one way or another through Jot owner Cori’s exacting standards. They were sold at a steep discount because of that. I found myself getting four (yes, four!). The first two are PocketJots, TNs that are pocket sized. The first one is called Natural, because of the undyed state of the leather. I don’t have many undyed leather TNs and I wanted to see how the patina will develop over use.

jotmisfits01

The PocketJot Natural came with black elastics, and the inside of the cover is also left undyed and has a nice suede feel to it. The leather itself is very pliable and soft, and retains marks quite easily.

jotmisfits02

The second PocketJot I got is in Premium Brown. This is a new leather type that Cori started offering, and I thought it was the perfect time to try them out. This chocolate brown leather is a bit stiffer than the Natural, but still quite pliable. You can also see just how easily this leather retains marks, with only a few weeks of use. Such a character it will develop!

jotmisfits03

The Premium Brown also came with black elastics (4 inner elastics for this and Natural), and the inside of the leather also has that suede feel. There are some identifying marks on the inside, and as I understand this came from the original leather that this piece was cut from. I’m really enjoying this feature; it makes my TN rather unique!

jotmisfits04

Cori had several sizes of Misfits available, and I was not able to resist this cute little guy. It’s called SweetBabyJot (micro size) in Coffee Bean. This is my second TN of this size (the first was a Zenkraft), and I loved the color striations of this one. It helped that the leather was named Coffee Bean!

jotmisfits05

It came with black elastics (2 inner). The inside of the cover is quite intriguing. The texture is rough, and there are several shades of brown, black, and white on there. The leather is on the pliable side.

jotmisfits06

The last of my purchase is this intriguing little thing. It is called MiniJot (passport size) in Sidekick Prototype, and it is rather unique. It is generally black, with a dark red inner color that runs across the spine to the other side. I could not resist getting this because red and black is my favorite color combination.

jotmisfits07

Check out the design on the spine. I think it’s quite cool!

jotmisfits08

This leather is pliable as well, and has a suede-y inside. It is cut in a manner that allows it to have 4 inner elastics but can hold 8 inserts quite comfortably.

jotmisfits09

Really, it looks like it can hold even more, maybe up to 10 inserts without overhang. Quite an interesting little piece! Cori mentioned in her listing that this was supposed to be a prototype design for someone else that did not succeed, and lucky for me she put it up for sale anyway!

jotmisfits10

At the moment I think she has no more Misfits on sale, but she assures that she will have another Misfit sale around the same time. Do watch out for it! Check out Jot’s current offerings here.

 

Elias Paper Pocket Inserts

One of the things I enjoy making are my own pocket inserts. I’ve recently discovered the Elias Paper, available at Everything Calligraphy in loose sheets. Actually Elias makes inserts, but only in standard and passport sizes, so I am happy that I am able to buy loose sheets to make my own pocket sized inserts. This paper is quite amazing! It is about as thick as standard copy paper, but it is versatile in what sort of media it can take. Elias paper is known to be very friendly to fountain pens, which is really the main reason I wanted Elias paper inserts.

eliaspaperinserts1

I use a variety of cardstock as my cover. This particular insert has been my journal for about a month, after which I switched over to another of my DIY Elias paper pocket inserts.

eliaspaperinserts2eliaspaperinserts3

Here is how the paper performs with different pens/pencil. I used a variety of nib sizes of fountain pens as well, and practically none of them bled through the other side, and there is also barely any showthrough either.

eliaspaperinserts4 eliaspaperinserts5

I like using this paper for my brush calligraphy practice.

eliaspaperinserts6

I also tried using watercolor on Elias paper, and it also behaved quite nicely. In fact, the watercolor dries pretty quickly on this paper. I used a Simbalion watercolor set with a water brush.

Suffice to say, I am quite in love with Elias paper, and I am happy I got quite a bit of sheets left to make me journal inserts for the rest of the year or so. I’m also happy that I can easily get more from Everything Calligraphy, although it would be nice to also buy ready-made inserts.

 

EDC TN: March 2016

There’s only one change I made from my February EDC, and that is switching out my Speckled Fawns Rustic Kodiak to two non-chunky TNs.

edcmar2016-1

These two are the Red Macata TN by CN Papercrafts and a red PocketJot by Jot respectively. Between them they hold my 8 active pocket inserts and an A6 photo album that serves as a repository for stickers and washi samplers. The reason I changed the setup is because I figured I only needed to bring one home all the time (the PocketJot) while the other can stay in the office most of the time. In the interest of my shoulders’ health, I wanted to lighten my load as much as possible and this is what I came up with.

I’m foreseeing a larger change come the April EDC report, as I’m feeling a bit of a need of change. Stay tuned for that post!