Monday, February 27, 2012

Resor Shop Review: Midori Traveler's Notebook - Large, Brown

This is a review of the large Midori Traveler’s Notebook in brown sent for review by Diana at Resor Shop. Thank you Diana!
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Is this not the most awesome packaging you've ever seen?
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HAehAEhaehahe!
First, Diana sent this parcel out and it arrived in like, two days. I’m not even kidding. And it was regular parcel post. I’m like, how the heck did this get here so fast? So that was awesome point #1. Awesome point #2 is the super duper cool packaging! I have a thing for the cahier/kraft type paper and twine, which is exactly how this Midori arrived!! Check it out - is that not wicked? 
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In the package:
- Brown leather cover (2mm thick + vegetable-tanned)
- One extra rubber band
- One refillable notebook (blank)
- Cotton cloth case
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LE NOTEBOOK.

To note:
- Size W 4.5” x H 8.5”
- Made in Thailand & Japan (the back of the journal is printed with “Midori/Made in Thailand”.)
- 8.1 oz

First impressions:
- Nice, thick, medium-firm leather cover that will inevitably become softer and more supple over time
- Tidy packaging
- A clean appearance - no loose elastics or bits hanging out

The Traveler’s Notebook is a leather notebook cover with refills and inserts to customize the notebook to your heart’s content (or to some extent anyway). You can get various notebooks, pen holders, calendars, letter stickers, and more. 

The leather cover is handmade in Chiangmai, Thailand, and becomes distressed over time (not distressed like a cat going to the vet in a kennel), but with use, the nature of leather is to change color and become more supple. This will give your notebook a unique look the more you use it! So stuff it in your bag. Shove it in your pocket! It will only make it more awesome.

The inside notebook is held in place with a rubber band that is fastened to the notebook with a little clasp of tin, and the entire notebook can be held closed by the included band (although you can get replacement and more excitingly-colored bands). And sometimes it may need to be held closed, especially if you stuff it full with three refills!

The notebook does not lie flat because it’s quite thin and doesn’t have many pages, but it’s easy to bend back (and in fact, you should, because that’s what awesome travellers would do). Because the leather cover is somewhat supple, it’s not like writing on a clipboard but surprisingly, I don’t mind this very much. And if you have three refills in there, writing on the first refill will be quite firm anyway. And the second, too. Plus, the refills sit quite snugly under the elastics so it’s not going to flop around. I think you’ll be quite pleased with the overall experience you get when writing. It’s just so… nifty. I wish I could describe the feeling accurately. It’s not too heavy, not too light, it just feels so good in hand. So natural. 
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This notebook has a very fun feel to it. Somehow, it makes me feel like hopping on a train and going wherever the train takes me! (A terrible idea because I’d get hungry and the cats and Kevin would wonder where I’ve gone off to). Although I should also probably do this in the UK instead of the US. But if I could, that’s what it makes me feel like. And it’s a pretty neat feeling for a little notebook to be able to inspire such a thing. Maybe it’ll do something different for you, or maybe I’m just feeling particularly romantic towards this notebook - but I love it.

LE LEATHER.
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From different angles...
The leather is awesome - I love the colour! It’s a dark brown but very warm. When I first opened up the packaging, I was hit with a chemical smell - it smelled like solvent! It didn’t take me long to realize it was the leather that smelled this way. This didn’t really put me off at all, I could tell by the smell that it was remnants from the tanning. No biggie. That smell faded pretty quickly. At first, it was quite strong but really, it was mostly gone after three or four days, and after 1.5 weeks, the leather begun to smell like proper, delicious leather! Now, I hold the notebook up to my nostrils and inhale. I can’t get enough of it! I tried scuffing the cover with my nail and I was able to easily blend it back in with my thumb. I can see how over time, the cover will change, but only in the most cool way possible.

LE PAPER. 
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The paper is a very ever-so-slightly not white color (translation: it looks like some eggshell shade of white…?) - not apricot like the Rhodia Webbie, and not bright white or ivory like the Quo Vadis Habana. It’s smooth paper but is not slick and velvety. Rather, it has a small amount of tooth which provides a bit of feedback when writing with fountain pens. For a “traveler’s notebook”, I think this appropriate. If blank paper isn’t your thing, you can also get grid or lined paper. 

How does it play with fountain pens?
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Not bad, right?
When it comes to fountain pens/inks, I almost expect most paper to have some show through, and often bleed through as well. Therefore, I was not surprised when the Midori refill paper exhibited show through and where the ink saturated the page, bleed through. This generally does not bother me. The only reason this becomes a concern is that in this case (and unlike the Miquel Rius 300 page journal), the refills are not very cheap (~$6.00 - $6.50 for 64 pages). When each page costs almost 10 cents, you don’t really want to waste it. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but given the surface area of the paper, it’s not a whole lot of paper for 10 cents. 

I think the paper takes fountain pen ink decently. As you can see from the tests, I used a Rohrer & Klingner glass dip pen (because it’s a heck of a lot easier to clean than a fountain pen between each ink), and it puts down a pretty thick, wet line of ink - certainly more than fountain pens do (even a wet inky flex). The areas where the bleed through was the worst was where the dip pen was writing really inky. This is not unusual for most papers. However, even with regular writing, the ink feathered quite a bit and that can be quite irksome for fountain pen users. 
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Do a lot of travellers use fountain pens? Either way - here you can see the feathering and show through and some bleed through.
How does it play with gel ink/ball point pens?
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Despite the gel ink and liquid inks bleeding and showing through, I love the crinkly result!
There was quite a bit of show through and a little bit of bleed through with gel ink pens, for the most part. Ball points are often tolerated well by even cheap papers but it still shows through a little. The bleed through is not unexpected - I did color a bit on the pages and liquid ink pens definitely bled through with normal writing. I don’t mind terribly… it’s not as bad as with the fountain pen ink so, for the most part, I can write on both sides. If there’s a particular spot that has bled through significantly, I’ll just use some correction tape over it and keep going!

In summary, the paper is not outstanding. It does feel really nice and it looks good, but it’s not really fountain-pen friendly. It has a bit of feedback (which I really like lately), and even though there is some bleed through and some show through, I actually think this kind of adds to the character of the “traveler’s notebook” mystique. Some fine points/dry writers and inks that don’t normally feather could be used to write in here (notice the Pilot Vanishing Point and Pelikan M1005 did not feather).

Don’t think you have to be a traveler (or someone equally cool) to use any of these notebooks! Because of their leather cover, you don’t have to worry about bending the covers when you put them in your bag/purse to take with you wherever you may be headed. It’s tough and remember, using it will only help it achieve its unique distressed look! 

There are many ways to customize your Midori - with different refills, zipper cases, penholders, calendars, instant lettering, stickers, and so much more. Check out Resor Shop’s collection for great things you can get! I really want to get one of everything. Yes, you heard me correctly. … Possibly two of everything so I have back ups. 

Dislikes?
Refills are expensive. It would be nice if there were bulk pack purchase discounts or something. And more fun colored elastic bands. 

More Midori-madness you really should check out

More Resor Shop

Price
Resor Shop - $58.00 
         Refills - $6.00 
My Maido - $59.95 

Overall
Overall folks, I’ve only had this little gem for a short while, but I am having a blast with it. Something about it makes me want to pick it up and write and doodle and draw! The paper isn’t incredible, but it’s got “flavor” - that is, it’s not slick, it’s not coated, it feels like real paper for proper journaling like adventurers should use. It’s a journal that inspires me to explore my creativity and compels me to fill its pages! I have no qualms about stuffing it in my purse and toting it around. If I have free time during the day or I just feel like looking very intelligent and spiffy, I can pull my journal out and scribble stuff down. Come on… don’t you want to look spiffy too? This is rustic awesomeness. Yeah, it’s an expensive journal, but we’ve all spent more money on lesser things. If you’re looking to spoil yourself, this is a good pick! By the way… you can always make your own refills. It’s easy peasy.

Thank you again Resor Shop for providing this wonderful, inspirational notebook to this addict for review!

**I was provided one or more of these products for review, but all opinions are my own!

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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