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  1. Hi Penfolk, I am going to attempt a review of two different journals that. I found today while searching for ones that would fit into my Oberon Design leather journal covers. Bear with me, it's the first real review I have written and I will probably miss something important. First up is a hardcover journal, very similar in look to the Strathmore sketchbook that comes with the large journal. The overall dimensions are a tad smaller, perhaps .25 inches in both length and width. (I don't know how to insert photos as I go along, so they will all appear at the end.) It's called the Essential Journal, and is a Punctuate/ Barnes and Noble product. Inside the paper is a fairly bright white tending toward grey rather than yellow. It has 224 pages. It is substantial paper, much like the sketchbook but much smoother. I have photos of the outside, and a test page with the inked pens that happened to be on my desk. The paper has a bit of tooth to it, not quite as smooth as Rhodia et al. But it is great for FPs in that it is very non-absorbent,the lines are incredibly clear with no feathering and no ghosting or bleed through to the back. A great paper for broad and stub nibs. As you can see the lines do not go all the way to the edge of the paper, that might bother some people. It also has a ribbon marker, but no elastic band to hold it shut. I think it's an excellent journal for the money, it cost $5.95. Next up is the Essential Notebook made by Picadilly. It is almost identical in size, shape, paper and cover to a hardcover Moleskine. The paper is much less substantial than that of the first journal, and as you can see from the picture the ink spreads out a lot more. If you take a magnifying glass to it you might see feathering, but it isn't really noticeable to me (it might be to others, I'm inexperienced.) This one would be better for fine or medium nibs, and probably drier inks as well. The paper shades yellow just like the Moleskine paper, and there is some ghosting but no bleed through. It has a back pocket just like the Moleskine, a ribbon marker, an elastic band. and an impressed "P" on the back cover. Again a very good value for $5.98. As you can see they both for into my large and Moleskine sized Oberon journal covers. The Picadilly notebook was a bit of a tighter fit, but I think that is due to the hard rather than soft cover. The size is fine otherwise. Well that's it! I hope it's helpful. Apologies for the not-great iPad photos. Drat! I had two more photos I wanted to attach but I have maxed out my photo allowance. I'll go delete some stuff.
  2. Welcome to Miz Black Crow's first formal Writing Stuff ReviewTM! Today we're going to look at Luscious Leather's Handmade Leather Journal Cover. Disclosures: I am not financially, familialy, or socially related to the designer; the item was a gift from a family member at my request. First off: this cover comes in many, many sizes, and the shop will custom make them to your size. That makes them incredibly versatile. My own version is designed for composition books. If you're not a fan of any one thing about this item, check the rest of her items; she lists 70 different journal covers on her Etsy site. As you can see from the advertising photo, the journal is supposed to be a nice dark brown, with a lighter brown band and D-ring closures. The item I actually received has a cover that's a little lighter, and a band that's almost the same color as the journal cover. The D-rings on my piece are also brass, not black. Since Aixa makes everything by hand, and to-order, pieces are varied, and thus unique. Your mileage can, and should, vary. First, I have to mention the smell. It smells amazing. That crazy lovely leather smell? It's got it, two months after I received it. I had doubts that the two D rings could hold the journal closed, but they have enough friction with the closure band that it's absolutely secure. The piece is about 3 notebook-widths wide: The edge on the left is closed, and holds the notebook securely; the piece on the right is open-ended, to accomodate slight variances in the size of the notebook's cover. If I'm writing in my lap rather than a desk, I can tuck the extra flap behind the last page of the notebook, and occasionally I use it as a bookmark when I close the book. Notebooks sit securely, and even when held upside-down it takes some purposeful shaking to cause it to fall out. That being said, when you fill one notebook and need to insert another, it's simple if not 1,000% smooth. Note: My photo-jitsu is not strong enough to color correct these to the accurate colors; the red ribbon is a little darker, for example. Photo intended for layout purposes. Silly iPhone. You'll see two of my own additions here. There are two spaces where the closure band--the strip of leather that gets fed through the D-rings--come through the backing. I've put both of them to use. The one on the left, which sits just to the right of the spine of the notebook, has been embellished with a strip of ribbon I tied on, that serves as a bookmark. The loop on the right has been pulled forward and is serving as a pen holder. (You can see my Parker Metropolitan tucked inside in the photo). The pen sits just past the end of the notebook, and doesn't inhibit closure, particularly with smaller pens. The leather surface IS prone to scuffing and scratching, so you have to be relatively careful what you put in your bag alongside it. I have yet to oil it, but I suspect a little TLC with the leather will go a tremendously long way to preserving the piece for what I suspect will be a long time to come. Good for: Carrying, cradling, sniffing, journaling, offices, carrying whatever type of journal you love. Bad for: Vegans. The Bottom Line: For a handmade, effective, gorgeous-smelling, durable, leather journal cover, look no further. At $70 (Comp book size / 11/2014), it's also relatively affordable for this type of cover. I look forward to many, many years of loving this item. Strongly recommend!

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