Traveler’s Notebook Features: Border Stitching

The next traveler’s notebook feature we are focusing on is border stitching. This usually comes built in when a maker offers pockets with their TN. For example, this one from Speckled Fawns called Rustic Kodiak has lots of pockets and results in a nice border stitching that goes around the front and back covers as well as the spine.


We also have this one from Sunday Leather Craft that has the same type of border stitching. The thread used for the stitching would usually match the leather, although some makers would also offer stitching in a contrasting color.


Some makers offer standalone border stitching for an extra fee. This one from Chicsparrow has border stitching but as it is in their Classic line it does not come with pockets. The contrasting color (white) looks really great against the brown of the leather, and it is mostly for this aesthetic purpose that I prefer getting stitching for my TNs.



Traveler’s Notebook Features


Traveler’s Notebook Features: Pockets

One of the more interesting additions to a traveler’s notebook are pockets. It gives that little extra that will help us bring our random bits such as ephemera, stickers, sticky notes, and such. I currently have only three traveler’s notebooks with pockets.


The Sunday Leather Craft chunky TN has a full length pocket at the front, with a smaller slip pocket on top of it. At the back is what is called a secretarial pocket, and allows for quick slipping in of random bits of paper.


The Gav and Sav cat print TN has a full length pocket at the front, with three smaller pockets on top of it. At the back is a small upright pocket that is as good as a secretarial pocket in the ease of slipping in papers.


The Speckled Fawns Rustic Kodiak has full length pockets on both sides. In addition, it has two half-length pockets on top of the full length pocket on the back of the TN. It is the only one I have that also has a front pocket as seen below, and it is a full length pocket as well.


Pockets are really quite handy and convenient, and reduces the need for a separate folder insert or two. The only disadvantage to having pockets is that they do add bulk to the TN itself. It can really make things heavy especially for leather TNs, and TNs that are of the bigger sizes (standard, A5). Pockets are also sometimes quite important especially if you intend to use a TN as a wallet as well, since you will need places to slip in your cards and money. I don’t really have preference whether or not to have pockets on my TN; it really depends on the use and the need.

Traveler’s Notebook Features


Traveler’s Notebook Features: Reinforced Spine

Coming from the TNF: Inner Elastics post, we now come to another traveler’s notebook feature: the reinforced spine. This feature is usually present in TNs with a thick spine and/or many inside elastics.


I’m featuring here my two chunkiest TNs: the Speckled Fawns Rustic Kodiak with a 1.5″ spine and the Sunday Leather Craft with a 2″ spine. As you can see in the photo above, there’s a separate stitching going around the spine itself. The reason is that the spine itself is reinforced, usually by another strip of leather on the inside of the cover.

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Here’s a closer look at the Speckled Fawns Rustic Kodiak. There are four holes that the inside elastics are threaded through, which results to six elastics to hold the notebooks.

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And here’s for the Sunday Leather Craft chunky TN. Here there are six holes that the inner elastics are threaded through. It still results in six elastics for the notebooks, but the spacing of the holes make it more evenly distributed across the spine. If the notebooks are doubled up on each inside elastic, there’s space for all the extra notebooks given that this has a 2″ spine.


Here’s a closer look at the spines of the two TNs as seen from the top. Definitely the reinforced spine is correspondingly thicker than a regular spine, because there are two layers of leather. This is definitely needed for a chunky TN because it needs to have enough of a backbone to hold up the weight of six or more notebooks. If there is no extra reinforcements, you can expect that the top and bottom of the spine where the inner elastics are threaded will sag inwards.

Traveler’s Notebook Features


Traveler’s Notebook Features: Inside Elastic

Welcome to Traveler’s Notebook Features. Here I intend to show the basic options that traveler’s notebooks come in. For this installment, let’s take a look at the inside elastic.


There are several ways that the inside elastics are configured for different traveler’s notebooks. The earliest ones are similar to the one pictured above. This is the Midori-style inside elastic, where there is technically only one elastic to hold notebooks. The elastic is threaded through two holes on the top and bottom, and the holes are arranged in a vertical manner. The TN above is from Planners and Journals.


Another configuration is having those two holes arranged in a horizontal manner, such as the one pictured above. This allows for that same elastic to be threaded in such a way that there are now “two” elastics that can be used to hold notebooks. One of the caveats of this configuration is that the material should not be too soft. The arrangement of the elastic will cause humps to form on the spine near the holes if the material is not sturdy enough. The TN pictured above is from CN Papercrafts.


The two-elastic configuration can be further extended into a four-elastic one, using the same hole configuration. One can either take a very long elastic and string it twice through the holes, or take two elastics of the same length and thread them the same manner through the holes. The end result is four elastics that can be used to hold notebooks. The TN pictured above is by Jot.


The creation of more holes in the spine allows for even more varied inside elastic configurations, and end up with a greater number of elastics to hold notebooks. The caveat here of course is that the more holes you put in the spine, the stiffer the spine needs to be to hold all that tension. The TN pictured above by Speckled Fawns has a reinforced spine to be able to accommodate six elastics.

It really depends on how you are using your traveler’s notebook, to determine how many inside elastics you will need. Fortunately there are a lot of resources online to find examples of the specific TNs you are eyeing to see how they would look with the notebooks installed, so that you have a better idea of how it is going to look in use. Check out TN-specific Facebook groups for such photos!

Traveler’s Notebook Features



EDC TN: February 2016

There are of course still that urge to try something new, or to revisit something that one hasn’t used in a while. This results in differing EDCs, and here is what I used for most of February.

My Purse

From just a single TN last month, I’ve moved to a two-TN carry for my purse. I use my Gav and Sav Pocket TN in Cat Print as my wallet and my Zenkraft Red Zebra Micro TN as my portable notebook. To be honest, I suppose I could have used just the pocket TN and threw in a pocket notebook but I wanted to see if the micro TN is something that works for me. I paired the micro TN with a Pilot Petit fountain pen, in red of course, and it fits just right into the edge of the notebook.


My Work Bag

I had finally finished the last pages of my standard sized daily journal insert, and moved into a new insert but this time pocket sized. That allowed me to consolidate all of my currently used inserts into one pocket TN – the one I chose for this month is the Speckled Fawns Rustic Kodiak TN. I’m also still using the Hobonichi as my daily planner, but I decided to give the Zenkraft A6 cover a rest and got myself a Hobonichi brand cover from CraftyLane. I wasn’t sure I would like it, but so far it’s working for me. To keep the cover closed I used my Coleto pen, which I also got from CraftyLane. I will be sure to write about the Hobonichi cover and the Coleto pen in separate posts.


I also changed my craft case! I found that my biggest and fattest pen, the Lamy Al-Star Blue Green, does not fit comfortably in my old case and I really wanted to use this FP again. Luckily I was able to find a new pen case in National Bookstore that has bigger slots for pens. I stuffed everything in here and it seems to be working well for me. Again, I’ll write a separate post showing you all about this pen case.


My Office Desk

There is not really a lot of difference in the TNs I use in the office, except I switched out the blue Midori cover for the black. The black is newer, and I wanted to get a bit more use out of it.


Speckled Fawns Rustic Brown Kodiak 1.5″ FN Chunky

Another one of the foreign brands I was interested in is Speckled Fawns. The construction, feel, and overall tone of the Speckled Fawns traveler’s notebooks are similar to Zenkraft, but brings its own charm. It’s the kind of thing where you would recognize a Speckled Fawns TN anywhere.

I was able to snag one during a flash sale, and thanks to the generosity of Terri (maker of Speckled Fawns) I was able to receive this in just under a month. This is a Rustic Brown Kodiak FN 1.5″ Chunky. Quite a mouthful! It’s made of really thick, rugged, and stiff leather, and smells wonderfully leathery! The construction is very sturdy as I expected, and there is generous room to allow for overhangs.


A unique feature of this Kodiak is an outer pocket, and mine came with this interesting little indentation which is the natural edge of the raw leather that this piece came from. Quite a character it gives the TN! I decided this should be the front of my TN.


It has a 1.5″ reinforced spine, and has six interior elastics. I’ve inserted six FN sized inserts and it doesn’t even come close to filling it! And you can see the big allowance given on the edge so it’s impossible to get any overhang. In fact, there looks to be enough space to put in A6 inserts!


The inside front pocket (the one behind the outside pocket is a full-length side opening pocket.


The back pocket is the Speckled Fawns standard pocket configuration, where we have a full-length side opening pocket on the back, and two half-size pockets in front where you can presumably slot in some cards.


I wanted to look at the Kodiak and the Zenkraft Rustic Roadie side by side. Here’s a good shot of the spine, which really shows just how thick the 1.5″ spine is compared to the standard thickness of the Rustic Roadie.


And here it is looking from the top. I really think it’s possible to fit A6 inserts in the Kodiak (I haven’t tried it yet). Right now I’m quite pleased by how it is holding my six FN inserts.


Speckled Fawns is on Etsy, although right now there aren’t any listed. If you’d like your own Speckled Fawns TN, do check back frequently as these things go fast!