I mentioned in my Hobonichi unboxing post that I had found a way to carry around my 2015 Hobonichi with me and still “use” it even though it hasn’t started yet. This is that way.
YellowPaperHouse (which I shall henceforth abbreviate as YPH) is a mother/daughter team that creates inserts for Midori-style notebooks and Filofaxes and sell them through Etsy. Everything is designed and made by them, so you are getting a totally original product. I found out about them I think from Instagram. Anyway, no affiliation, just to get that out of the way early on.
As of right now they offer 26 different styles of these notebooks, each one being available in 4 sizes (full size Midori, passport, cahier, and Field Notes/pocket) and many being customizable with a choice of 19 paper colors and 6 inside rulings. Whew! That is a lot of options for customization!
As the title of this review implies, the style that I purchased was one modeled after the Hobonichi format with white paper inside. I chose the Field Notes size because it easily fits inside of my original Hobonichi cover.
I’m sorry that all my photos are very blue - I think it’s because the paper is white and I was using early morning light. I would try to adjust it, but it winds up looking funky no matter what I do…
Most of the page is dominated by a grid that, upon measuring just now, contains 3 mm squares. At the top of each page is a place where you can fill in the date by coloring in the bubbles that match the day, month, and day of the week, as well as indicating moon phase if you are into that and the weather.
As you can see, I have been marking the date by coloring in the appropriate bubbles with a colored pencil.
I’m not one of those people who gets all artsy with their journaling - I primarily use a planner for actually planning my day and then capturing little things that happen throughout the day. I’m not saying that “scrapbook journaling” is bad, but it’s certainly not for me. This is how my pages usually look:
I’m also going to try out dividing the page vertically similar to the Hobonichi so that I have a place that’s divided up by the hour to write appointments and then a place to write little thoughts and musings. I’ll perhaps update on that later.
In case you were wondering how I’m fitting this into my Hobonichi cover, I just slip the back cover of the notebook into the long back pocket of the cover (the one that has the little “Hobonichi 2015” tag on it). I also have the Hobonichi itself only inserted into the from cover right now, so I don’t stretch out that backside of it. Perhaps a picture will explain it better:
Sometimes it can be tough to write on the side that opens onto the Hobonichi with this configuration, but in that case I just slide the notebook out and write and then slide it back in. It adds barely any bulk to the cover, so I’m really enjoying the setup this way.
Well, we are now at that stage where I have given some background, so now I can talk about what I like and dislike.
Things I like
- Having this available in an undated format is wonderful. I’ve gone through and filled in all the dates, but it could be particularly useful for someone who wants to log things that don’t happen on a daily basis.
- It’s a little thing, but I like that the header on top is mirrored across two pages. I also like the weather option and I keep thinking I should use the blank space next to that to jot down the high and low temps
- The corners are rounded. Another small thing, but so important
- The paper strikes the perfect balance between being fountain pen friendly (at least for F and not-too-wet M nibs) while still having fast dry times. I don’t think I’ve noticed any bleeding with either my pens or my highlighters
- There are so many options, so you can pretty much get exactly what you want and we all know how hard that is nowadays
- Other than the band that comes around it, there is no branding. I think this makes for a very clean looking notebook
- It’s an original product, and I really like that. I dated a graphic design major in undergrad and I know how much work they put into their designs so I try to honor that as much as I can
Things I dislike
- The cover is a bit flimsy. This isn’t really a big issue for me since I’m using it inside another cover and I know it’s designed to be that way, but it would definitely get worn fast if used just by itself
- I wish the grid ruling for this particular design was a bit bigger. I think if it was 4 mm then I could do one line per box (I think the Hobonichi is 3.7 mm but Tomoe River paper makes writing look finer too), whereas now I kind of have to take up two boxes in height per line of writing
And now something that falls into both categories for me: the price. The price changes depending on which size you get, so for the two notebooks I got it was $12. To me this was totally worth it because after paying a decent chunk of cash for the Hobonichi itself, what’s another $12 so I can start using it right now? And it was going to be a one-time purchase for me, at least for the foreseeable future. From that standpoint, the price was pretty good because it solved a problem quickly and neatly.
However, if you are a Midori style notebook user and you are going through a lot of notebooks, this is probably not the most efficient way to do it. Each of these books contains 38 days (there is no printing on the very front and very back pages, so 40 pages = 38 days), so if you wanted to use these for an entire year that would be 10 notebooks and run you $60, plus shipping. Whether it’s a good deal then is entirely up to you.
Overall, I think these are high quality, uniquely designed notebooks that are worth checking out if you use any of those four sizes of notebooks I mentioned earlier. While I don’t have plans to buy any more (because I’ll be starting my Hobonichi when these run out, eek!), I will definitely keep an eye on this shop and return to it in the future if I have a need they can fill.
I purchased this product with my own money and I am not being compensated in any way for this review. All opinions above are my own and you are free to disagree with them if you like.