Planner Review: Midori 2023 Pocket Diary B6- Clovers

Planner Review: Midori 2023 Pocket Diary B6- Clovers

With January almost over, it probably seems a little late to consider a planner. However, if you are ike me, you might have waited to make a decision or discovered that you needed something your current planner wasn’t delivering. This is where the Midori B6 Pocket Diary in Clover Design (currently on sale for $21) comes in.

I had been trying to do all my planning freeform in a B6 Stalogy notebook but I realized I had not built in any “future planning” for myself.  I don’t mean lofty 5-year goals or anything as grandiose as that. I mean I didn’t have those month-at-a-glance pages in my Stalogy unless I drew them all out myself. Color me lazy but I realized a small pocket diary/planner could be added into my notebook cover that would provide me with a place for those planning pages. Things like birthdays, holidays, trips and other events that are not happening today. My Stalogy is for tracking the daily to-do’s — go to post office, print outs for meeting today, etc. But the sort of bird’s eye view pages weren’t there. The “I have X weeks before this project is due and I’ll be out of town for these days so….” view that a monthly calendar or a week-on-a-page can provide.

So, I went searching for planner/diaries that were still available. Trust me when I say by the middle of January the pickin’s get pretty slim. I lucked out (pun intended) when I found the Midori B6 Pocket Diary.

First, it fits into my leather cover and is the same size as my Stalogy so I can corral both books together and flip back and forth between my daily page in the Stalogy and the weekly or monthly view in the Midori.

Utilizing the notes pages in the back of the planner for pen tests. The last few pages of the diary are Japanese subway maps which are fun to see but wont be too handy here in KC.

Second, the paper quality is excellent. I know the expectation with Midori is that the paper will be fountain pen friendly but because of the size and cute graphics, I thought the paper quality might have been skimped on. Nope. Lovely paper. The paper is slightly ivory colored and the right hand page on the weekly pages is lined with light grey lines that don’t bother me too much.

The paper works well with my finer nib fountain pens which are appropriate for the small spaces available to write notes. I’m not going to use a big fat nib to try to write holidays and birthdays in the boxes on the monthly calendar but the paper withstood the ink just the same, if I needed to.

Reverse side of the writing tests. There’s a tiny bit of show through but it’s minimal.

Third, the die cut tabs for the months is super convenient and makes flipping around to different months fast and efficient.

Finally, I am actually kind of charmed by the graphics. I bought the Clover designs because I like the color green but was worried that the graphics would be too busy of cutesy. After using the planner for a couple weeks, I actually like the designs. Each month has an animal featured. January is a pig, May is a deer. I am not sure what that means but I find the artwork cute and adds a bit more color to the largely green pages.

I would actually consider purchasing one of the other designs. The Birds design or the Vehicles design are particularly fun.

Should you decide to use the Midori Pocket Diary without a cover, it does ship with a plastic slipcover over the softcovers to provide durability. Overall, I think the Mirodi Pocket Diary is a good value with a lot of great features. If you miss out on ht remaining stock of 2023 editions, be sure to put a 2024 on your wish list.

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge for the purpose of review. Some items were purchased with funds from our amazing Patrons. You can help support this blog by joining our Patreon. Please see the About page for more details.

Product Review: Inky Converters Washi Tape Cards

Product Review: Inky Converters Washi Tape Cards

I have been hoarding the delightful little set of business card-sized Washi Cards from Inky Converters ($2.50 for one card, $10 for a pack of 5) since the St. Louis Pen Show. These cards are foil-printed plastic with a matte finish that are designed to wrap strips of washi tape around for travel or for sharing with friends. Unfortunately, the design printed on the cards are not currently available in her shop but there are a couple other designs that are all equally as cute.

The grid lines printed on the cards help to keep your tape wraps parallel which I didn’t realize I needed until I started applying tape to the cards.

I wrapped tape two to three times around the card to give myself a “week’s worth”. I color coordinated the tape on this card to all look nice together and will probably wrap up some other color coordinated cards as well. The cards are sized to fit into the business card pocket on the inside of a Hobonichi or other planner covers.

I have so much washi that I will definitely wrap a few cards up to send to friends in an effort to help pare down my stash. Also, being able to easily carry around a bit of washi will help me use it up… at least I hope it will.

Sometimes, in my pen adventures I find an item I didn’t know I needed until I had it. These Washi Cards are just that type of product. I didn’t know I needed it and now I don’t think I could live without them.

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge for the purpose of review. Some items were purchased with funds from our amazing Patrons. You can help support this blog by joining our Patreon. Please see the About page for more details.

Link Love: A Room of One’s Own Day

Link Love: A Room of One’s Own Day

Inspired by my post from last week, I added lots of celebratory days to my calendar. Today is A Room of One’s Own Day which is inspired with Virginia Woolf’s essay about being excluded from spaces considered “men’s domains”. Many women can relate to wanting to have a space for themselves, be it a room or just a comfy chair to read and just be left alone for a bit. Do you have a space for yourself? Can you carve out a little spot for your personal reflections, reading or working on your favorite hobby or craft?

This week’s inks are notably blue and since last week was Blue Monday, it seems pretty appropriate. And of course, here in the US, January can very much feel like a Black Hole.




Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:

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Pen Case Review: Kamio Japan Paco-Tray Pen Case – Peanuts in Navy

Not that Snoopy and Charlie Brown ever went away, but I feel like there’s something in the air (ETA I did the research – it’s the centennial!). The USPS introduced Charles M. Schulz Peanuts Stamps, and Field Notes did a special commemorative notebook issue to match. And the last time I perused Jet Pens, Kamio Japan had designed some special edition Paco-Tray Pen Cases celebrating the Peanuts gang as well!

I ordered the Navy Version ($24.00) featuring Snoopy and Woodchuck. The Paco-Tray pen case isn’t new (just the Peanuts editions are). It’s a sturdy zippered case featuring 3 handy compartments to store pens, pencils, and other stationery tools. And the best part is that it opens fully to lay flat and feature a stand up tray. The outside is a dark blue polyester canvas, and the insides is a BRIGHT pink fabric (likely also polyester) featuring bits and pieces of the characters with fun quote bubbles.

The case measures 7.5″/19cm long, and (when zipped) 2.25″/5.5cm wide and 2.5″/6.5cm tall. It’s pretty much the perfect size to throw in a purse or a backpack and have all your essentials corralled in a sturdy case. It says it can hold up to 19 pens, although my guess is that depends on how big the pens are, and whether or not you like your pens to touch.

To me, the most special thing about this handy case is the Peanuts theme. It takes me back to reading the Sunday comics in the LA Times growing up. Or maybe it’s that as a teenager in musical theater, I have fond memories of our 1992 production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (yikes, I feel old). Or maybe it’s that I just love a little Peanuts themed music.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Notebook Review: Moleskine Year of the Rabbit (Minju Kim)

Notebook Review: Moleskine Year of the Rabbit (Minju Kim)

Review by Tina Koyama

Although I haven’t been buying many Moleskine notebooks in recent years, every now and then a design will capture my heart, and I can’t resist. This year it was the Year of the Rabbit design by Minju Kim (I purchased mine at the Seattle Asian Art Museum’s gift shop; available on Amazon for $22.75).

The 3 ½-by-5 ½-inch hardcover notebook has 176 ruled pages. (It’s also available in the 5-by-8 ½-inch size.) The distinctive cover material is not Moleskine’s usual faux leather; it’s a linen-like fabric befitting fashion designer Kim. The red elastic band is an especially nice accent against the dark green and cream design. Even the Moleskine logo on the back cover, a fabric label, is a nice touch. The lovely, understated motif for Lunar New Year 2023 tickles this bunny lover.

According to Moleskine, award-winning Korean fashion designer Kim “is known for her unique imaginative style that combines bold silhouettes, feminine characteristics and an overarching sense of joy.” The Year of the Rabbit notebook is part of Moleskine’s Asian Collection 2023, which also features art by Japan’s Kosuke Tsumura and China’s Angel Chen. “Created to empower creative energy and celebrate the diversity of Asian traditions, each distinctive notebook design enriches the Moleskine mission to support creativity and inspire the ideas of the future.”

In addition to the usual attached ribbon bookmark and back cover pocket, the notebook comes with two sheets of themed stickers. According to the product description, a “lucky envelope” is also included but seems to be missing from mine. (Perhaps it comes with the large-size notebook only.)

Although I didn’t have high expectations, since Moleskine does change its paper occasionally, I scribbled with the usual test materials, just in case it was different. It performed the same as it has in a while: My juicy Sailor Naginata Fude de Mannen fountain pen with Platinum Carbon Black ink bled through, as did the Kuretake brush pen – no surprises there. All other pens and pencils did fine.

It’s a delightful little notebook that I will enjoy jotting notes in throughout the Year of the Rabbit. (Shown below is another rabbit that was purchased at the same museum gift shop. At last – rabbits are everywhere! Happy Lunar New Year from Weather Bunny!)

DISCLAIMER: The item in this review include affiliate links. The Well-Appointed Desk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Please see the About page for more details.

tina-koyamaTina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

DesignWorks Vegan Suede Folio in Blush Pink

DesignWorks Vegan Suede Folio in Blush Pink

The DesignWorks Vegan Suede Folio in Blush Pink ($25, also available in black) is a soft, suede-like notebook cover like the Traveler’s Notebook. It ships with a lined notebook refill with 48 pages and a gold-tone ballpoint pen. From the online description and photos, this looked like an awesome alternative for someone looking for a different TN-style notebook.

The elastic on the notebook cover is the same color as the cover.

The cover fabric is soft and flexible but there is some stabilizing material between the cover material and the lining to help give the cover more stability. It feels a little sturdier than a softcover notebook cover.

The branding tag is a translucent paper wrap around the back cover. It’s easy to remove and reveal the subtle gold foil logo on the back cover.

The gold tone pen that’s included is a standard 1.0mm ballpoint pen and the refill is similar to the Cross threaded refill. It’s a little shorter than the Cross style refill in the Ferris Wheel Press Scribe. As for the gold pen, I don’t know how easy it would be to swap out the refill but as an extra for this notebook cover, its charming.

Oh, the interior fabric!!! This is really what sold me on this cover. The interior includes a secretary pocket and a gorgeous burgundy fabric printed with stylized leopards. The back cover has a long slash-style pocket as well to help collect bit of ephemera.

Inside there are two possible elastics for enclosing notebooks, similarly to the Traveler’s Notebook.  The bonus is a matching elastic loop to hold a pen along the edge of the notebook.

Testing the Notebook:

The notebook cover is an ivory, parchment cardstock cover with gold foil lettering, the paper inside is a soft white with gold lines. It has sewn binding. The line spacing is about 7mm.

While I purchased the cover specifically to use with my vast collection of A5-slim sized  notebooks that I already own, I thought I’d go ahead and test the notebook that shipped with the cover.

Most standard style pens work fine on the paper included in the notebook cahier but wider fountain pen nibs did bleed and show through to the back side of the paper. Some of the liquid inks did show through a little bit but pencil, ballpoint and gel pens seem to be good on this paper. That said, I didn’t buy this cover for the notebook insert.

Compared to Traveler’s Notebook:

Standard Traveler’s Notebook on the left, Designworks notebook cover on the right.

When I completed the testing, I pulled out one of the many Traveler’s Notebook covers that I have to compare to the Designworks cover. I noticed that the Designworks cover was ever-so-slightly smaller than the standard TN. Oh no!

The notebook insert that shipped with the cover is sandwiched in the middle with standard A5-slim above and below it to show the size difference. You can also see that the standard A5-slim insert are flush with the edges of the cover.
The insert that shipped with the cover is on the left, a standard A5-slim insert is on the right.

So, I immediately tried to put a standard A5-Slim insert into the Designworks cover. The cover is the EXACT same size as the notebook refills. Unlike the notebook included with the Designworks cover. It is about a half an inch shorter and 1/4″ smaller in width. So, the actual A5-slim notebook inserts come right to the edge of the cover.

Depending on how many inserts that are added to the cover, how close the inserts are to the edge might not bother you. I wouldn’t try to put more that four inserts into the cover as they will start to hang over the edge.

I really wish Designworks would have made this cover large enough to accommodate A5-slim notebook inserts but I love the color and the lining and the cover is very reasonably priced. So, I would definitely buy this cover again, even knowing its a bit smaller than an average “regular” Traveler’s Notebook.

On the topic of the Scribe, it matches the pink cover almost exactly if you want to coordinate your stationery.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Vanness Pens Inc. for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Pen Review: Aechy Double-Headed Porous Pen & Curve Marker

Pen Review: Aechy Double-Headed Porous Pen & Curve Marker

You know how sometimes Amazon just has your number? I logged in a couple weeks ago and this funky little pen set was on my recommendations page. The set doesn’t have the sexiest name–  Aechy Double-Headed Porous Pen & Curve Marker ($13.99 at the time of this review)– but when noticed that one end was a rolling stamp and the other was a felt-tip pen, I couldn’t resist trying them out. Since I plan using a modified version of a bullet journal, every now and again, I like to embellish my pages with a little something extra and I thought this 8-pen set might be just the thing.

The larger capped end is the rolling stamp and the smaller cap covers the felt tip pen. The tip size on the felt tip pen is pretty comparably to a Marvy LePen, just in a slightly wider pen barrel.  Just the felt tip alone, for the price, is a decent value.

Of the eight different color markers, there are only five different rolling stamp designs: flowers, hearts, wavy lines, dot/dash and dotted line.

Because of the hard plastic used for the rolling stamp, the line can veer off suddenly. I would recommend rolling a bit slowly and maybe try following the line, grid of graph marks in your notebook.

Of the set, the yellow was really too light to use in even the brightest settings, especially on the sightly creamy colored MD Cotton paper I used for testing. I did try these out on toothier paper and the results were not as good. I think the stamp pens will work best on smoother paper stocks (i.e. Rhodia, Leuchtturm 1917, etc.). on the Midori MD Cotton, I didn’t have any issues with show through but YMMV.

The heart shape stamp pen, labelled “Love Line” on the pen barrel, was the hardest to get to roll evenly to show the whole design. Regardless of whether I rolled slowly or quickly, the hearts would skip or the centers would fill in. The dotted line and curved, wavy line worked the best. Since the dot/dash design is only on the super light-colored yellow marker, I won’t ever really get much use out of it. I wish the yellow marker had been one of the designs duplicated in another color — like the blue or purple.

Overall, for an essentially no-name product found randomly on Amazon, this pen set is fun. I certainly would prefer a set like this from one of the manufacturers I know like Pilot, Zebra, or Uni. I feel like then the quality and variety would be top-notch. But until that time that one of the Japanese pen behemoths decide to make a tool like this, we will have to settle for these markers. I will certainly be using the dotted line and curve line pens to add a bit of flourish to my daily pages.

DISCLAIMER: The item in this review include affiliate links. The Well-Appointed Desk is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Please see the About page for more details.