Midori TNs, Field Notes, and more notebook crazyness

I honestly didn't know how to start this post. I guess my creative writing side has gone on vacation. Makes sense as I'm doing more than one thing at a time right now.
Anyhow, I am writing it as I promised the MTN Facebook community that I would let them know what that recent voting I had asked them to do was all about.

It is about my notebook setup, and how I got confused between using, or trying to, different formats at the same time.

Normally this was my setup:
- Mark’s Tokyo Edge Week in columns planner (Sept ’12 – Dec ’13)
- Field Notes to carry everywhere, for notes, sketches, doodling with friends whilst sharing some beers, finances, planning, thinking, designing, lists, to do’s, etc. You get the idea.
- My Sidekick, I would change it as soon as it was filled, and depending on the mood I was, it could either be a bound notebook or any of my Midoris.

It was going well, and then I just stopped using my Sidekick. I think this happened when I was using my large Midori for the third or fourth time, and stopped carrying it because it was too large, and leaned more towards my Field Notes.

Then, I decided to try the Passport instead. But between that and the FN, plus the fact that I wasn't writing much, I just couldn't stay constant.

At least my planner was working well!

So last week I decided to sit down and really think why my system wasn't working and came up with the following, which I have transcribed from my FN to share with you.

Reasons for my confusion about my sidekick/notebook situation:
  • I  want to use the Midori
  • I love Field Notes
  • I miss a larger format for sketching
  • Don’t want to carry too many books
  • Want to keep all info in one place, chronologically
Thought Process:

Field Notes
I can continue using FN, and get a leather cover for them; the one I've been coveting from Zenok.

I love this bunch!

I really love them, but the large isn’t very portable, which leaves the Passport size.
If I stick with Midori, this could be a great time to use the new Limited Edition.

I will have to make some inserts for myself.
I can start using it as soon as this FN is full (5 sheets left!)

+ Save money as I would postpone buying the leather cover for the FN
+ Make inserts any way I want them
+ Share with the group on Facebook
+ I get to use a brand new Midori :D

- Passport size can be too small at times
- Would have to stop using FN
- Many inserts can create more confusion
- Would have to cut FN so they can fit (done this in the past and I don’t like it)

The next day I had
More doubts:
I have many non FN or TN’s just waiting to be used, such as:
1.       My first A6 Rhodia Webbie:
used since Jan ’10 to write about stationery and handmade requests, but hasn’t really worked out.

2.       My second A6 Webbie:
With dot grid, the paper is more yellow than the previous and I don’t like it as much. Currently designated as Blog Design and Code book. Very few pages used.

3.       Midori Spiral Ring notebook:
Bought in Japan, with absolutely gorgeous blank paper. Slightly taller than the Rhodias, about the size of Leuchtturm1917.

4.       My lime green Leuchtturm1917:
With dot grid, off white pages. Quality is good, although not as good as Rhodia. Currently being used as watercolouring notebook.

5.       Spiralbound basic Clairefontaine:
Larger than Leuchtturm1917. Has pocket pages in between for mementos. As expected from CF, the paper is awesome, but maybe too white? Never used.

6.       Spiralbound A6 with cover:
Present from a friend who got it as a company gift, so it has the company’s logo on the pages. These are lined, off white and seem good quality. Really nice construction, with an elastic band.

7.       Clairefontaine A6 stapled:
96 lined pages, high quality. FN size, but thicker. Lines are too contrasting.

8.       MUJI A6 stitchbound, black:
72 pages, lined, off white. Beautiful paper. Started/bought to record notes from recent job training (no longer needed, only a few pages used).

9.       MUJI A6 ringbound, black:
Great paper, light lines. Book a bit too thin?

10.   Paperchase A6 beige + kraft:
Lots of pages, fun format, as two thirds are cream/off white, and the other third, which is placed in the middle of the two, is kraft paper. Bought recently for sketching Proxy’s stories.

11.   A5 Rhodia black:
Hard cover, lined pages. Usual Rhodia high quality paper.

12.   Japanese bound journal with fabric cover in black with contrasting Chinese characters in matte gold:
Beautiful. Smaller than an A5. Pages are cream. Was a birthday present from DH many years ago. Never used.
After much thought, I managed to come up with three semifinalists from the above list:

Dotgrid Rhodia Webbie A6, Midori Spiralbound and MUJI A6 Stitchbound.

From that I eliminated the Midori, I think I want to use it later on for something more special.
That left me with the Rhodia and the Muji. 

Since I liked both choices equally, I decided to ask the group to help me decide, by voting blindly for options A or I.

After two days, I knew which one was going to be the winner...

But, I won't tell you just yet. Which one do you think won? and why? please comment with your answer.
The one with the correct answer will get a prize. In case there's more than one, I will select the winner using a randomizer.

For all those who voted, thank you very much for taking part in this even without knowing what it was for!

Field Notes

Those of you who follow me on flickr might have noticed I like taking pictures of my Field Notes notebooks. 
For those of you who have never owned or seen one in real life, here is my overview and humble opinion of them.

Since I don't want to go into much detail about where they're from and how they came to be, I will simply tell you that they are made in the USA and that you can visit their page here.

Used Field Notes

Each Field Notes memo book measures 8.9cm x 13.9cm (3-1/2" x 5-1/2"), which makes it perfect for carrying everywhere with you.
There are 48 pages, either lined, graph or plain. And they are sold in packs of three.
What sets them apart,for me at least, is their covers.

There are the plain ones, with a 'paperbag' brown cover with the text in black. I love customising these!
Plain Field Notes

There is the County Fair edition, with covers in blue, red and yellow, and the name of one of the 50 states on the bottom of the cover. Text printed in a sort of gold, yellow ink, and with fun facts about the selected state on the back cover.
County Fair field Notes

And then there are the seasonal Limited Editions. In my opinion, these are the best! For each season, the lovely folks at Field Notes HQ come up with a gorgeous design, not just for the cover, but also for the pages inside, and sometimes they even throw in a little goodie, like last autumn's Traveling Salesman edition that came with a cool FN Representative button.
Limited Edition Field Notes
But as the name says, they are LIMITED, so once they come out, you need to get them as soon as you can. (Or you'll be like me who missed this year's Summer edition).

The other thing FN does different is that they also offer subscriptions. Yes, you read right: you can subscribe and receive for a year all the Limited Editions that come out, plus the current one (if it's not sold out yet). I think you receive even more goodies, but I'm not sure as I'm too poor to subscribe just yet.

The other day, Laurie asked me about their paper quality. I personally can't stand low quality paper, therefore I am always on the lookout for the best papers I can find. Of course, for some stuff I don't need to have a Clairefontaine or a Paperblanks, but still I can't bring myself to use something like a Pukka Pad (I really can't stand those), or the generic ones you find everywhere. Moleskine cahiers are okay-ish, but tend to be a tad expensive for their quality.
That is where my Field Notes comes in.

Although their paper is not the best for fountain pen ink, as it will bleed in some cases, it is still pretty good. I have noticed that some inks will barely bleed or feather, such as the iro-shizuku or the J. Herbin Orange Indien, so I frequently use them on my Field Notes.
Field Notes Paper
Gel pens also work great, no matter what colour. I would say that if you're going to use a very wet pen, then you will experience more bleed-through.

I have also noticed that these little notebooks are also quite durable. Carrying them everywhere with me, I expect them to be able to take a beating or two, and come out victorious. Which they do!
I started using them in January this year. So far, I have used 6 already and have started my 7th just a few days ago. And every time I start a new one is simply glorious!

Have you used a Field Notes before? What do you think of them? Please do share your thoughts in the comments below!

Til next time,