Ask The Desk: 2017 is Coming! Planning Emergencies!


Heather is looking for a very specific planner replacement:

I’m looking for a new academic planner 16/17 (or second best choice would be kraft paper notebooks with lines and grids / dots) for the one I’ve just finished using from Paperchase. I’ve been looking and looking and not having much luck. I bought a really lovely, inexpensive monthly planner – it has a month on two pages (grid layout), followed by approx 40 lined pages and 40 grid pages, all kraft paper with black and white ink so lovely on the eyes. Its great to write on (gel pens, biros, not fountain pens) and is perfect for my needs as a TA. Paperchase have released one like this for this coming year and I can’t find another supplier that does them in the same size. The notebook is 190mm wide and 245mm high, and has a sewn edge binding. Short of making one myself (wouldn’t even know where to start on that route!), can you advise where I might find something of comparable size and paper? I’m ok with setting it all out by hand, but I’d prefer to buy one ready made. Maybe a blank date one? Its the size that I need most, followed by the kraft paper element.

Heather, I have to admit you’ve left me a bit stumped. I can’t say that I’ve seen a kraft colored planner before your letter. On my search, the only options I found for kraft paper planners was a vendor on Etsy called Letter C Design who makes small planner booklets in kraft paper. I don’t think that’s at all what you were looking for. If anyone else has seen anything in the wild, please leave information in the comments.

Cole asks:

I’m wondering if you can help me find a thin gridded (dot or cube) notebook that could fit inside the pocket of my Leuchtturm 1917 medium? Something similar to the address book that comes with the planner? I LOVE my “official” Bullet Journal, but I’ve noticed there are a few things that I will want to migrate from Journal to Journal, WITHOUT having to recopy it into a new journal. My best example would be my room x room floor plans with paint/color samples. I like to have my floor layouts and color samples with me so if I’m antiquing, garage sale-ing, etc I can quickly reference them to see if I’m buying something that won’t go in my house. I’m now carrying my Bullet Journal everywhere, so I’d love to have it in there, but I don’t want to have to recopy the floor plans every few months. Is there a small “travelers” type notebook that would nicely fit in the pocket that could be transferred from journal to journal?

An A6 (approx. 4×6″), B6 (approx. 5×7″), Field Notes or Passport sized book would fit easily into the back pocket of the Leuchtturm1917 A5. In A5 or B6 sized, I recommend the Life Pistachio or Vermillion notebooks. They have good quality paper, available in grid and are about $4 each. The Pistachio have green lines and the Vermillion have, you guessed it, red lines. Of course, Field Notes are readily available from many shops and the Pitch Black edition is dot grid. Passport sized Traveler’s Notebooks would also work but are quite petite.

Chris needs helps:

I’m eagerly awaiting an A5 Roterfaden, and need a week on two pages insert for the remainder of 2016. Yes, I could just use my existing Midori TN calendar, but I’d like to find something A5 that is already bound and printed. No luck searching Etsy and the Midori version is sold out on Baum Kuchen. Ideas?

I spent weeks looking for a solution for Chris and came up empty handed. Traveler’s Notebook calendars in the classic TN size are in abundance as are the Field Notes/Passport sizes but A5 versions are as rare as Snorlax these days. Unless you are willing to go the print-your-own route, there just aren’t options for A5 calendar booklets to fit custom covers like the Roterfaden or leather Traveler’s Notebooks.

My best suggestion at this point is to finish the year with the standard Traveler’s Notebook calendar and then move to a 2017 A5 planner calendar. The other option is to embrace the DIY option and print out the large cahier format from Ray Blake’s My Life All in One Place printables page.

If anyone knows a good alternative for Chris, please leave a note in the comments.

Ellie seeks:

I’m starting to look for my 2017 daily planner. I’ve used Moleskine at first, but the paper quality kept getting worse every year. I then switched to Paperblanks, their daily option was a bit small for me but their Fabriano paper was quite good. After they changed their paper supplier last year I’m once again in need of new options. I’m looking for an A4 or A5 daily diary with a minimalistic, Moleskine-like page layout. Hobonichi is too expensive and Leuchtturm is not an option, the paper is beautiful but the ghosting is so bad I only write on one side of my Leuchtturm journal. I need sturdy pages since I tend to ask a lot to my journals, draw, write with wet inks, glue scraps of paper on it etc. I’ve seen Fabriano Ecoqua makes beautiful planners, and they would be easy to purchase here in Europe, but I can’t find any feedback online and I don’t want to buy blind. is the paper the same quality as the Ecoqua pads? What about the binding? I’m hoping some of your readers have tried the Ecoqua planner or know of any other options. Thanks for reading!


fabriano 2016-2017 planner

Has anyone seen the Fabriano Ecoqua planners in person yet? I haven’t but I am just as curious about how they will stack up.  I found the Ecoqua 16-month ($22.50), the 2017 weekly planner ($12.50) and the 2017 Daily Diary ($12.75 and $17.75, depending on size). The paper on these books looks quite thin as you can see the numbers printed on the reverse in the photos so I suspect they went for thinner paper for portability over thicker paper for legibility. Sigh.

Amanda wants to know:

Who offers the thickest paper stock (hopefully smooth) for 2017 diary refills for Kikki.K and Filofax Personal, Pocket and A5 planners? Thank you!

So far, the best pre-printed planner pages are either Kikki-K or the new Filofax Illustrated refills are the thickest stock. I also had some personal sized refills purchased at Michael’s from their Recollections line that used some great paper. If you happen upon this collection and are using the personal-sized planners, I can definitely recommend grabbing a few packets if they are still stocked at your local store.

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17 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I have a zillion bookmarks that may be able to help a couple of these folks out. I’ll come back with some links in a little bit.

    (eee, planner excitement on the Monday!)

  2. For Chris: Jstory has weekly planners in A5. It’s their medium size. I really like them. Paper is thick though not the absolute best for fountain pens. has them (though they have mislabeled the sizes). You can see them on I bought one at a shop in Toronto.

  3. Hey, thanks for the suggestions! I discovered Hobonichi since then, and I am loving that! Using the Cousin Avec, (which doesn’t currently have a weekly spread so I drew one in – the 2017 WILL have it). That plus a soft Leuchturmm for my collections is working pretty well. And LOVE the Roterfaden.

  4. I have a suggestion specifically for Heather lower down in this comment.

    Unfortunately, my day is looking to be kind of busy, so I’ll won’t have time to look up more stuff until the end of the day. I thought I’d share some quick stuff now and if folks want further info or interaction, I’m more than happy to share what I know and do some ink tests if it’s something I have in my drawers.

    Three of my favorite places to shop for planners are:

    Based in US, fastest shipping usually arrives in 3-5 days

    Fallin Design
    Based in South Korea, usually arrives in 7-10 days

    Based in Singapore.
    It’s kind of an Amazon clone, except that they aggregate your items from the all of the vendors and ship your package all at once.

    Order arrival time varies – you need to be aware of the timing on the listing “usually ships within 24 hours”, “usually ships within 7-14 days” & several others that I just kind of ignore. If you have a mixed order, then it’ll ship according to the product with the longest shipping lead time. Note, most of their Stationery (it’s located under the “Lifestyle” section) falls into the 7-14 days category.

    These three stores have quite a bit of overlap and the pricing may be different at each site – and YesStyle may have the same planner in several of its stores with different brand names & prices. I tend to shop between them to check who has the best price and then make my purchase based on weighing price + shipping, shipping speed and how quickly I need the item.

    For Heather, my brain leaped immediately to the Dot and Dash Monthly Planner Version 2.

    It’s almost what she described except it’s an exact B5 (176cm x 250cm).

    It’s pretty fountain pen friendly but doesn’t like Sharpies or Brush Pens. I posted an ink test page to Instagram and mirrored the reverse side so it’s easier to match up the words.

    I got my Dot and Dash from Fallin Design.


    I have purchased a handful of planners and would be happy to do ink tests on the ones you want to know about. Livework, Ardium, 7321, After The Rain are the brands I can think of off the top of my head, but the brand names kind of shift around between the vendors.

    If you’re feeling adventurous, I can also suggest a few stores on that have done well by me and a couple to avoid. I have an embarrassingly enormous wishlist at Ali, but if it’s planner, I’ve likely scrolled past it in my virtual shopping trips.

    I can also point you to some very lovely little fountain pens for about $2-3 each.

      1. Thanks Ana,

        When I was composing my comment, I didn’t realize I was writing a novel. I can be a bit, um, enthusiastic about planners.

        And speaking of understatement … “a handful of planners” yeah, sure. Uh huh. Just a handful. I can stop any time I want to.

    1. Apparently my brain decided to sort things out while I slept and I awoke to the headdesk realization that Heather is not in the US, and my next best guess is the UK.

      I went back to my links cos I knew I’d saved a couple of online shops in Great Britain for “just in case”.

      I will apologize if I’m telling you folks something you already know.

      I took a look at the three shops in my files and it seems they carry a good deal of what my favorites do. And even some I haven’t seen yet (check out the Editor Journal at Sticker Stack. I might have teared up at that one.

      The Journal Shop

      Sticker Stack

      Fox & Star

      I’m thinking of sending MochiThings a link to some things out of these shops and see if they’d be able to do a special order.

      1. Thank you so much for all those fab links! Yes I am based in the U.K. but I shall still enjoy the overseas site anyway (stationery eye candy!). Sorry for taking a while to reply back here – I work in a school and this term has been very chaotic and full on. If I find a match for my search I will update again. But I must say thank you to everyone who has posted info on this site. Very much appreciated.
        Best wishes

  5. CHRIS: I just got my MARK’s 2017 planner and I love it. Here’s a link to them on Amazon :

    It has a month on two pages and week on two pages, appointment style calendar. They start in Sept. 2016, so you’re covered. I would get the more expensive prime/Amazon shipped one because otherwise it will take forever shipping from Japan. One caveat is, though the paper feels amazing, it is pretty thin. I would imagine it is similar to what I’ve heard about the Leuchtturm notebooks. Thin but reasonably fountain-pen friendly. Show through is definitely a thing, so if that’s a deal breaker, don’t get this.

  6. It’s been a while since I’ve started to look for the new paper planner. Couple of weeks ago I was tweeted by I was impressed by the fact that this paper planner links directly to the digital calendar which is very important for me as I use both in my everyday life. These guys made the product innovative with the augmented reality and slice crop technologies. I’ll definitely buy one for myself to try this new approach in planning.

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