I Made My Own NoteBook (Part 1)

In 2011 I started keeping a small notebook with me. I included shopping lists, design plans, notes for learning, doodles and sketches in the notebook. These pocket-size notebooks were different than my planning notebooks, which I have written about in a post on transitioning from preformatted planners to a modified bullet journal style.

Moleskine Notebooks

Once I committed to using blank notebooks for planning, I discovered the Moleskine line of notebooks. The most traditional Moleskine notebooks are the 5×8 size books with 240 thinner pages. I noticed that these featured thicker, card stock sheets at the beginning and end of the book. I liked the thicker pages, and this led to me the art collection by Moleskine.

The pocket-size art collection sketchbook is 3.5×5.5 inches. It has 80 pages of 165 gsm (111 pound) acid-free paper. As with all Moleskine notebooks, a pocket is included, attached to the back cover. I’ve used these notebooks since 2017.

My collection of notes – I lost Volume 7 at IKEA

Advantages of a Small Notebook

The pocket size art collection notebook is great for several reasons …

  • The 165gsm pages accept all kinds of markers and pens.
  • The 165gsm pages absorb ink quickly, perfect for left-handers like me.
  • The 165gsm pages accommodate modifications such as adding envelopes and pockets.
  • The notebook easily fits in my back pocket.
  • 80 pages works well because if I lose it, I haven’t lost years of notes – only a few weeks.

The End of Moleskine?

As a member of the Barnes and Nobles loyalty program, I often received coupons on a regular basis. This stopped, however, about the same time the COVID-19 pandemic started. Though probably a coincidence, the loss of savings made me less likely to buy notebooks from Barnes and Nobles.

Also about the same time, the store stopped selling the pocket size version of the art collection notebooks. The larger sizes were (and still are) available, but not the size I needed.

The Return of Bookbinding

Several years ago – around 2005 – I read a short article on bookbinding and decided to explore it as a hobby. I completed a few book projects, including a collection of stories written by my daughter’s third-grade class, but mostly I created blank notebooks of various sizes. At the time I wasn’t keeping a notebook with me, so I lost interest in bookbinding.

Because of the lack of availability and increased cost of the art collection notebooks by Moleskine, I decided to start binding my own notebooks with similar features. Another nice feature of a book with fewer pages is that the process to create one goes faster than binding a 200-page book.

Over the next few posts I’ll be sharing how I create my notebooks. In addition to these posts, I’m also hoping to include videos of the process. Creating your own notebooks is not difficult, but does require some time and a few materials. Below is the first video in the series.

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