What Goes Into A Micro Insert

Before we go into what goes into a micro insert, let me first be clear what a micro TN is. It’s a very small TN, and can accept inserts sized 2.75×4″ or roughly 7x10cm. I first encountered it with one of my favorite TN artisans, Zenkraft. In fact, I was able to snag one which is my beautiful Red Zebra. It came with an Apica CD-7 notebook, a brand that I have not yet seen locally. I decided to not use this insert because it’s practically one-of-a-kind. Instead, I was able to find another insert that is readily available in National Bookstore.


This insert is by Victoria’s Journals, and it is the Venzi Mini Croc and of course I chose the metallic red cover. It is case bound, has ruled cream paper, and has a whopping 192 pages. I sure will not be running out of writing space anytime soon!


So what do I put in this tiny portable book? In the first photo, which is the one first seen when you open the Mini Croc, I put a sticky note that contains my uncategorized to-buy list. It’s not really a must-buy list, more of a buy-when-I-can list. The next page I hand-drew the February calendar. Opposite that I put in my thoughts about January as a whole. This last bit is actually a new thing that I am trying, where I try to evaluate how I performed each month according to certain categories such as no spend, health, blogging, and some others.


There are other more targeted shopping lists inside this insert as well. Here we see a drugstore shopping list. The opposite is just some random, almost illegible writing.


Another hand-drawn calendar, this time I did not even bother with the grids because I was feeling lazy this day. Opposite this is a page for testing inks. By the by, this insert can handle fountain pens that are medium or finer. There’s quite a good amount of ghosting which might bother some people.


In February I had quite a time battling a few illnesses, and I decided to list the progress of my symptoms in this insert. This came in handy when I visited my doctor, as I was able to show him this list and he was quickly able to proceed from there.


I also like having my diabetes stats at hand, so I pasted a copy in this insert.


Lastly, there are some pages where I let my daughter write or draw things especially when she’s bored. Here she wrote me the start of a list of books that she wants me to buy.

What else goes in here? Mostly random notes, lyrics of some songs I am recently liking, and reminders of things to write or do with my other notebooks. This really is a catch-all notebook for me, and having so many pages in here keeps me from thinking too much about neatness.



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.


January 2016 in Hobonichi

For December, I had started planning in earnest in my Hobonichi 2016 A6, but the pages were divided into two days per page. For January, the true day-per-page planning began! I still followed my color coding and task-oriented planning style.

You can click on the images for a closer look at the planner entries.


In every two-page spread, there is a quote at the bottom of the page. One of the new things I did for January was to journal my thoughts about each quote. It was a chance for me to stay in practice for writing, as I do miss some days in my daily journal, and it was also a great way for me to use my fountain pens in this really nice Tomoe River paper.


Another thing I changed was the coffee tracker. Instead of stickers that I used back in December, I instead stamped this coffee mug on every page to help me track how many coffee cups I have drank on those days. I was afraid that the book would become too thick if I used the same stickers, which were on the thick side.


That didn’t stop me from using stickers, though. As a way to decorate my rather bland pages, I used a set of Korean transparent stickers (cat themed, of course!) on almost every page to break up the monotony. These stickers are super thin, and barely added to the bulk of the book. On this spread, I also used the extra unused space to test out some new stencils that I got.


And I did end up with a lot of extra unused space. Some days were not as busy as the others, and so I just let it be kept blank. At first I was very bothered by all the empty area, but eventually I got over it by thinking that I can use these spaces for future use such as practicing brush calligraphy, taking notes, list taking, or journaling.


I find that this system of planning really works for me. I have already continued with the same style in February, and I see no immediate changes that I will be implementing. I feel extremely happy that I have found a great way to use my Hobonichi continuously, and I look forward to the end of the year when I can look back and see a well-used and well-loved book.


By the way, I did add a new insert to my Zenkraft Rustic Roadie A6, which continues to be the home of the Hobonichi. I was able to acquire a Hobonichi-brand photo holder from a fellow local planner, and I am currently using this to hold stickers and odd bits and pieces. In the front pocket of the Zenkraft is one of the stencils I mentioned earlier.


Here are some of the stickers I have in the photo holder. Because it is A6, I can only fit the smaller of my sticker sheets. Some of my bigger sheets I am able to trim down to fit the pockets.

Zenkraft Red Zebra Micro Bifold

Zenkraft held a year-end sale which I faithfully stayed up for. There was one particular thing that I really wanted, which was shown in a preview. The competition was intense, but I’m very happy to have snagged that one thing I set out to buy. It is the Red Zebra Micro Bifold.


Red and black, how could I say no? The craftsmanship is superb as usual and the black striations in the leather is simply beautiful. The Micro is a new size that Zenkraft came out with, and this caters to inserts that are 2.75×4″ or roughly 7x10cm. My Red Zebra came with an Apica insert, which was quite a nice touch. The TN came protected in a cloth bag, and arrived around two weeks from date of shipping.


It is really tiny! This is my smallest TN thus far (not counting the Macata charm) and would work perfectly as my purse TN. It would not be very heavy given the size. The only possible problem I could see is the non-availability of ready-made inserts in this size, which really does not bother me too much given that I do make my own inserts.


Here it is beside its big brother, the Rustic Roadie A6. Overall I’m quite happy with my purchase. I just need to get my grail Zenkraft TN, and I think I should be set for a while.

EDC TN: January 2016

I’m starting a new blog category called EDC, which is the acronym for “Everyday Carry”. It’s a very popular topic that discusses things like knives, wallets, pens, and things that are usually found in trouser pockets. My twist is of course, the traveler’s notebook version of EDC. Mine will be divided into the three areas where my current in-use TNs are: my purse, my work bag, and my office desk. I wanted a way to track the TNs (and accessories) that make it to my current rotation, and I intend to have an EDC post towards the end of every month.

My Purse

My purse currently only carries one TN: the PnJ TN in pocket size. It holds my usual wallet inserts, plus a thin passport size insert for random note-taking. My pen that goes with this TN is a white Parker Jotter that is engraved with my name, which was given to me for christmas by a friend. I like how light this makes my purse, and I don’t feel any strain on my shoulders even with long periods of carry.


My Work Bag

My work bag is a gigantic purple bag by Beabi (the exact model is the Birmingham). In it I carry the following: my craft case which holds various pens, stickers, and other small stationery items; my Red Macata, which holds my current pocket inserts; my Zenkraft Rustic Roadie A6, which holds my A6 Hobonichi 2016; and my Gav and Sav Clock Sewdori, which holds my daily journal. These are really heavy, which makes me glad that I have my purple Beabi Birmingham to hold it together.


My Office Desk

Lastly, these two TNs are left on my office desk as they don’t really need to travel with me everywhere. I know that it’s stretching the EDC definition by a bit, but I’d like this to be a place to share my current TNs in rotation as well. On my desk are the Blue Midori which I use for work notes, and the Gav and Sav Hearts TN in A5 which holds my work log.


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!


Zenkraft Rustic Roadie A6 TN

And what do you know? Yet another traveler’s notebook has landed, and this is my very first foreign non-Midori TN! I’ve been stalking Zenkraft for quite some time now, and I’ve seen how hard it is to get into the work queue due to the immense popularity and quality of his TNs. Hardly any Zenkrafts get resold in the secondary markets because, well, who would want to let go of these beauties? I had been really, really lucky to have been able to snag one when someone was destashing and I got on the waitlist (they got reserved pretty fast!). The primary buyer backed out, and as I was the next in line, I snapped it up right away! Thankfully the seller was willing to ship to the Philippines, and so after a long anxious month of waiting, I finally have it in my grasp. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet my (like new) Zenkraft Rustic Roadie A6 traveler’s notebook.


And oh my goodness, isn’t he handsome? I was aware of the high quality of his work from all the positive reviews I’ve been reading, but nothing compares to experiencing this quality first-hand. This leather is smooth and decently thick, but strangely soft. I now understand what some people mean when they say a certain leather is squishy. That word describes this leather quite perfectly.


The outer elastic is nice, decently thick, and springy. Both the outer and interior elastics are the same color and matches the color of the actual TN. The stitching is actually black thread, and the rivets are gold. The TN comes with a thinner, lighter colored string (non-elastic) that serves as built-in (but removable) bookmarks. Only one had a charm, which is a cute little metal hand with “Handmade” stamped on it. I’m not sure if there should have been two charms, but I’m definitely not complaining!


Under sunlight the leather looks a lot lighter in color compared to indoors. This photo shows the Rustic Roadie in artificial light, and it looks quite dark.


The main reason I was interested in getting this was to be the cover for my new Hobonichi A6 (which I will talk about in another post). Here it is with the Hobonichi installed in the inner two elastics, leaving the outer two elastics free to receive maybe folders or zip pockets. The TN itself came with inner pockets. Here the front one is a full-length pocket with a small slit that can fit a narrow card like this washi sampler.


The back pocket is also full-length, but does not have a slit. I’m still quite not believing that I was able to get this one, and I’m completely in love. I’m hoping to be able to get another Zenkraft, maybe in the FN size, because why stop at one?