Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory

My friends. Buckle your seatbelts. I have here two absolutely breathtakingly stunning journal covers to share with you. Yes, two. Because Dave Mitchell, when I emailed him inquiring if I could review one of his beautiful pieces of work, was so unbelievably kind and sent me TWO so I could compare them. I was floored: these are gems. Mr. Mitchell: thank you so kindly for these lovely journal covers. I am so happy to own these!
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
I learned a lot about leathers - where they come from, the different types of leathers there are, how they are dyed, leather qualities, and more. Mitchell Leather has a tidy Leather 101. The leather used for these journal covers is Horween's Dublin. It is a full grain leather, aniline dyed, and purely vegetable tanned. Horween leathers are known for their pull-up, which is caused by the oils in the leather rising to the surface. This causes a lighter undertone colour to show through. Dublin also features a hard wax that will crackle over time, resulting in a beautifully aged patine and distressed look. See Mitchell Leather for more information on this delectable leather.

Horween Italian Brown Dublin Leather with Brown Stitch
Mitchell Leather Journal Covers - Dark Front & Back
There are two lovely things to note right away - one is the rich and warm colour of the leather, and second is the smell of the leather. It doesn't smell like strong solvents; instead, it smells like a delicious new leather item. I keep sniffing it.

The Standard Journal Cover is slightly larger than a Field Notes pocket notebook, and when empty, is quite thin. The leather is firm with just a little flexibility. The front cover has the classy Mitchell Leather logo stamped on it. The brown stitching goes all around the edge and complements the rich, deep brown leather well. The edges are rounded. When lying open and face down, the spine is lighter than the rest of the leather. This is a darker leather that shows a little less character than its lighter counterpart, the English tan Dublin. Inside, there are two straight and clean flaps covering most of each side, stitched neatly into place. It is simple, elegant, and tidy.
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
A thin Field Notes notebook can be tucked in via the front or back cover in each side, or if you prefer to have just one in here, you can tuck both the front and back over into both slots and have it open automatically as you open the leather cover.
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
The cover looks like it is floppy but it's actually quite firm, especially where it is doubled up on the leather. The great thing about such a firm cover is it provides a hard enough writing surface if you're on the go and want to write in your notebook (and don't have a surface to put your notebook down on). However, it's not so firm that it cannot be put into a pocket. It wouldn't be comfortable to sit on, but it can certainly be transported in a pocket.

The price of the Standard Journal Cover is $89.00USD, available in four leather colours, with or without a logo. 

Horween (Chestnut) English Tan Dublin with Brown Stitch
Mitchell Leather Journal Covers - Light Front & Back
Just like the Standard Journal Cover, this Deluxe Journal/Passport Wallet has a very unique, rich, warm colour, as well as a delicious leather smell that makes you want to continuously sniff it.
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
The Deluxe Journal/Passport Wallet Cover is also slightly larger than a Field Notes pocket notebook. It closes completely when empty. The leather is firm but has a fair amount of flexibility. The design of the Deluxe cover is the same as the Standard - the classy Mitchell Leather logo on the outside, brown stitching around the edges that complement the colour of the leather, and rounded edges. The spine is also lighter than the rest of the cover. This lighter leather cover was purposely cut from the neck of the cowhide where the fat wrinkles are most visible, showing off a lot of natural character. It has ripples of lightness that I find very appealing.
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
Inside, the left flap has two layers - a bottom layer that runs the full length of the cover, as well as a second layer of card slots that are individually stitched. The other side has another slot for your Field Notes (or passport) that matches the one on the other side.
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
It comfortably houses my Field Notes (which it arrived with), as well as a whole bunch of coupons (um..about 15 for ice cream), some cash, as well as three cards in each card slot. Even with a bunch of things in it, it closes comfortably.
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
The price of the Deluxe Journal/Passport Cover is $119.00USD, available in four leather colours, with or without a logo.

Do you travel? This is the perfect travel companion - it can tote your passport safely, and you can tuck along a few credit/debit cards, some cash, and a Field Notes notebook as well. Like its companion, it is also a firm cover, providing a hard enough writing surface so you don't need something else to write on.
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
Standard Cover: Horween Italian Brown Dublin Leather with Brown Stitch 
vs
Deluxe Cover: Horween (Chestnut) English Tan Dublin with Brown Stitch
Mitchell Leather Journal Covers - Front Covers
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
You can see the difference between the two leathers quite easily. The lighter leather looks much richer and variable as opposed to the darker leather which is more solid and simple. Both looks are attractive, it just depends which you're going for. I think the logos look particularly interesting when compared like this.
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
In hand, both journal covers are easy to hold and carry as you would expect, since they are pocket notebook covers. They look quite structured and because they are firm, they look particularly refined and polished.
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
The insides look very similar, with just the card slots on the deluxe cover making the difference. The card slots add very little thickness but a lot of functionality. I find them extremely useful.
Mitchell Leather Journal Covers Open
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
THINGS TO NOTE

There are marks next to the stitches left from the machine. They are very lightly worn into the leather in a way that gives it some character. It makes the journal covers look very new, like the owner hasn't broken it in yet. Which is true, in fact; when I first received them, I hadn't yet broken them in! As I stuck them in my bags and pulled them out repeatedly, they eventually got little scuffs and nicks on them, slowly blending the stitch marks into the leather. I don't dislike them. I am just pointing them out in case someone else doesn't like them.
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
Keep in mind, Mitchell Leather can custom cut many of their products such as these journal covers to suit the customer's preference for more character (such as with the deluxe journal wallet) or less character (such as with the standard journal cover).

If I were to pick, I would select a lighter leather, such as the (Chestnut) English Tan leather, or even more daringly, the gorgeous creamy cognac - even lighter, and likely with even more character. I can only imagine how it would develop a patina over time and how much more gorgeous it would become. Stunning. Darker leather will change less and perhaps that is something you're looking for, but for me, the creamy colours of the lighter leathers appeal to me and I love them.

For a size comparison, the Midori Traveler's Notebook STAR Edition is smaller than either the Standard or Deluxe Mitchell Leather covers because they are pocket notebook covers.
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
For a colour comparison, here are both journal covers with the Midori Traveler's Notebook STAR Edition, which has only developed a small amount of patina, so it is still close to its original colour.
Review: Mitchell Leather Horween Dublin Journal Covers - Standard & Deluxe @MitchellFactory
OVERALL

I think these are gorgeous journal covers. If I were to pick: I would select the deluxe cover in a light leather with a lot of character. Do I think it's worth the additional cost over something like the Midori Traveler's Notebook? Absolutely. Do they serve different purposes? It depends what you would use your Midori for, but since I don't use mine as a planner, this is easy for me. Yes. The leather is far superior and way nicer. It's gorgeous. I don't want an elastic to close it, I don't want trinkets or charms to change it. I think it's stunning and full of character as it is. These are wonderful, well-made journal covers, especially for we crazy Field Notes fans. Great gifts for yourself, for others, or for those Field Notes-obsessed people in your life who already have a Field Notes subscription and you don't know what to get them.

The four colours available in the Mitchell Leather shop are gorgeous: cognac, chestnut, Italian brown, and black. The nice thing about companies like this is you can always contact the makers directly to discuss something you may be interested in. I think I need this in cognac. ... Or maybe I should just skip the cover and go straight for a bag.
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I received these leather covers free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. There are no affiliate links in this review.

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