Notebook Review: Princeton Architectural Press Observer’s Notebook: Weather

I have obtained notebooks over the years for various reasons – interesting paper, a beautiful cover, an interesting size or shape, a great sale, review purposes, gifts. I need very little convincing to pick up a new notebook that catches my eye and I was enchanted when I came across a new line of notebooks from Princeton Architectural Press called the Observer’s Notebooks. 

Please excuse the stained cover – I’ve had this notebook for four years so far and it’s seen plenty of miles! 

This is the Weather notebook. Other notebooks in the line up include Trees, Astronomy, Birds, Butterflies, and Home.

I purchased this notebook back in 2017 from Amazon (Princeton Architectural Press Observer’s Notebook: Weather ($18.95)). It is a bit of a strange size – 7.25 inches by 9.25 inches. It’s a hard cover notebook but still slightly flexible. 

The paper ruling was what first caught my eye – the notebook is separated into several sections with each section using a different paper ruling. 

Overall there are 10 uniquely ruled paper sections throughout the notebook – the last four pages are a ruling for weather observations:

Sections are separated by card stock dividers, each divider a print that somehow relates to weather. 

While the illustrations delight me, the paper was a huge disappointment. Every fountain pen ink feathered terribly and bled through the page. Colors looked dull and even gel pens performed poorly although I did eventually find that Platinum Carbon Black worked well on the pages in an extra fine nib. 

So what do you do with a notebook like this? 

Crossword puzzles. 

I have a lifelong obsession with crossword puzzles. It started with helping my father with them when I was only old enough to read the clues to him. But seeing his answers helped me to figure out the way the answers worked. I would try to solve the puzzle then check the answers the following day to learn even more. Eventually the practice started to pay off and I got into the habit of keeping the finished puzzle alongside the answers. 

But a pile of old crosswords isn’t exactly something that keeps nicely long term. However, notebooks look great when used for storage.

The Observer notebook was a perfect for that collection of clipped crosswords with the answers kept in the back using a bit of glue. The hard cover is a welcome support for writing, the paper becomes a backdrop for doodling and I still get to enjoy the color prints between notebook sections. This notebook has been on my desk now for nearly four years and gets more use than many of my fountain pen friendly notebooks.

The lesson I learned throughout this process – I should think a bit bigger. There are plenty of gorgeous notebooks that are useless for fountain pens that still deserve love and attention. I’ve started trying to think of more uses for my unused notebooks – magazine photos or articles, art work from kids that doesn’t fit on the fridge, old birthday cards or recipes. 

I hope you can find further creative uses for some of the stationery products that might have been disappointing once they were used! 

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4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. What an ingenious idea! It almost makes me wish I still did crossword puzzles on paper instead of online. I’m also intrigued by the various section types in the notebook and curious about whether they are geared toward particularities of weather observation or just for funsies.

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