I’ve been meaning to write up this review for ages! Hallmark released a series of notebooks and covers in the spirit of Traveler’s Notebooks and I wanted to try them out and see how they performed. I purchased several different packs of the notebooks because I loved the cover designs and they even had a set of planner style books. I also got one of their gold faux-leather covers as well. I was not able to find the cover listed on the web site but I found a similar cover in chambray fabric (blue or tangerine) for $24.99. Each cover includes one, lined notebook. The cover I purchased may still be available in your local Hallmark Gold Crown Store.
The notebook cover is faux leather in a soft gold with coordinating elastic closure and elastic pen loop. The covers are actually stitched over board so unlike most Traveler’s Notebooks, they are stiff and supportive, not floppy.
Inside, there are two business card/credit card-sized slot pockets and a larger slot for ephemera. There are two elastics for notebooks. Both the front and back covers have vertical slots to tuck additional pages into your cover. On the back cover, there is an extra secretary pocket.
Notebooks were available in two sizes: A6 (105x148mm) and the larger B6 size (125x176mm) that fits in the cover shown above. When I realized that the smaller books were A6, I snapped up a couple packs since I knew those would fit into other covers I already owned. The kraft colored covers contain kraft paper inside. The other sets have white paper inside. Each set contains three notebooks: one lined, one dot grid and one blank — even the kraft set.
The B6 sized notebooks are $11.99 for a 3-pack. Each notebook has 40 pages. The A6 notebooks are $9.99 per 3-pack and each book has 75 pages.
The A6 kraft set had copper foil on the covers and each cover had a different design. I also got a B6 set in kraft that had copper foil and a different design on each cover.
While I knew black pen would show up well, I was excited to try the kraft books out with white gel pen. The gel pen showed up great. The smudging was entirely user error — lefty stuck her arm in still-wet ink. I think other pastel or metallic gel pens will also look great. I think these books will be great for collage, doodling, colored pencil and markers.
The set of Organizational Notebooks are available in the B6 size and come with one To Do, one Daily and one Goals book. Inside, the pages are pre-printed with light grey markings. The Goals book offers space for four goals per week, four weeks per page. The Daily book has AM and PM on the lefthand side, a To Do list on the right and the bottom third reserved for notes. The To Do list book is broken into four sections on each page: errands, phone calls, emails and groceries. My instinct is that you would not need to use all three books together but chooses which book best suits your needs at any particular point in time and use that as needed. If you keep your schedule digitally, maybe you just need the Weekly Goals and the To Do lists? If you utilize the Daily Schedule which has the To Do list on it, you might not need the separate To Do List? The three notebooks present a very different way to organize tasks.
Of course, none of this is relevant unless the paper is good. And lo and behold… it is! The lined and blank is my favorite, of course. The lined has a space at the top of each page for the date which is handy and the blank is excellent for someone like me who prefers to be freeform and all-over-the-place. The dot grid dots are super close together and a bit larger than necessary. I think its a 2mm grid and the dots are BIG. However, I have used the dot grid first because I am a midwestern, middle class human who uses the thing I like least first to “get it over with” and they don’t bother me as much as I thought they would. But if they were have the size, I would be SO much happier. Honestly, its my only gripe.
Because, would you look at that? That’s the back of the pen test paper. Not the least bit of bleed or show through. That paper is top-freakin’ shelf. Color me impressed.
And here’s the thing that makes me happiest. I am sticking the smaller A6 books in my new Hobonichi cover because its November and I can’t use my new Hobo planner yet but I can use my cover. This fine Hallmark paper and these fun little books with paper WAY better than some other books which shall not be mentioned is making it possible to bide my time until January.
I’ve used the books to track my travels and daily activities. We even stamped heavy, alcohol-based, ink stamps in NY at the flagship Muji store when Brad and Myke and I were traveling. The stamps didn’t feather on the paper but there was a little show through on the back. Not too shabby!
Full Disclosure: I purchased all the notebooks and cover reviewed here with my own money but I do work for Hallmark Cards, Inc. No one asked me to write a review about these products and all opinions are my own. Please see our About Us page for more info.