Tag: travelers notebooks

Philippine Fauxdori 2016 Edition

Fauxdori Philippines 2016

Just in time for the holidays, I thought I’d round up this year’s crop of custom fauxdori and traveller’s notebook makers and sources. We’ve lost some from last year and gained some this year. I haven’t bought as many recently (I’ve been making my own- more on that later)-  so I have less personal experience. However, I still have a list of currently active makers.


Scribe Writing Essentials (Physical Store)

  • pens, papers, and all sorts of writing implements can be found here, including the original Traveler’s Notebook (ie., Midori) brand, as well as Color Crush planners, which also have a line of fauxdori. Scribe is a a physical store with branches in SM Megamall, Shangri-La Mall, Eastwood Mall, SM Aura, Glorietta 5, and SM Cebu. They’ve recently started accepting online orders though . They carry Midori and Color Crush inserts, though availability can vary.

CraftyLane PH (online)

  • a great source for Midori inserts, accessories, and covers. They tend to be a catch-all for Japanese stationery.

Belle du Jour (Quest Planners)

  • mass-market pleather travelers notebooks that come in Standard size. They also sell refills. You can find  them at National Book Store and Fully Booked branches. They’re quite affordable and great as beginner journals.


11_11 Handmade PH (online)

  • specializes in simple, elegant full-grain leather fauxdori in various sizes, though she can also customize with pockets, pen loops, and other simple configurations.

Sunday Leather Craft (online)

  • specializes in custom leather materials that include fauxdori in various sizes. They’re fantastic craftsmen, but good luck contacting them these days: they’re so much in demand right now that communication can be a little….iffy. Still, they make great notebooks, journal covers, and bags. They don’t sell inserts.

Leather.PH (Online)

  • premium leather artisans who work with beautiful imported Argentine full grain leather. They’re known for the quality of both work and materials. they can do custom sizes and designs, but also have the default Standard and A5. They’re a bit on the more expensive side of TN’s.

Mrs. P (Online)

  • a relatively new TN maker who specializes in dyed leather products, including fauxdori. I haven’t seen her work in person, but she seems to do great custom designs, such as incorporating purses and pockets into your standard notebook covers.

Craft and Papetries (Online)

  • more of a craft shop, but they also seem to do simple leather TN’s and Hobonichi covers.

Alunsina (Online and Physical @Common Room PH)

  • the famous makers of the Kislap, which comes in Cahier ( something slightly smaller than A5) and Passport size. The Kislap is extremely simple and the leather is thin, but their designs are attractive. They also make very nice fountain-pen-friendly inserts, though these have to be specially ordered and are rarely available at their pop-up stores or their physical shop in Common Room at Rockwell and Katipunan.

Airees Creates (Online and Physical @ the Common Room PH)

  • Airees makes interesting traveler’s notebooks out of abaca fibers. They’re lightweight, tough, sustainable, and vegan. She imprints them with her artwork, but has plain color editions as well. She also sells refills in various sizes, and they’re just as lovely as her notebooks covers are elegant and the paper is thick and smooth, appropriate for washes and ink.

Jaquie Ang

  • a leather artisan who makes incredible journals, bags, purses, and covers. I don’t know much about her, except that she works with imported leather, and is quite expensive (though I hear the quality is commensurably high)

Pick and Grab (Online)

  • though known more as leather tool dealers, they also make travelers notebooks.

Planners and Journals (Online)

  • creators of local ring binder type planners, Hobonichi planner covers, and leather traveler’s notebooks in bright prints and designs. They carry refills as well.

CN Paper Crafts (Online)

  • creators of the Macata, a PVC traveler’s notebook. It’s very simple- no pockets or pen loops. However, they’re one of your more affordable and durable options. Their covers come with refills.

The Crafty Chinita (Online)

  • makes clothbound trabeler’s notebooks (“Adoribles”) in colorful prints, mostly Standard sized.

Noted Journal PH (Online)

  • another creator of imitation leather traveler’s notebooks in two sizes- Standard and Passport. they also have a large selection of refills designs. They claim their paper is fountain-pen friendly, which I’ll have to test sometime!

Kuwero (Online)

  • currently fulfilling back orders, they specialize in interesting leather fauxdori using materials  such as carabao leather. Keep an eye out for them when they re-open (hopefully) in 2017.


Everything Calligraphy (Online)

  • like their name implies, they carry all sorts of calligraphy materials, as well as refills made from the famous Tomoe River journals and their own Elias-branded paper.

Pengrafik (Online)

  • -Sells Curnow journals, which are fountain-pen-friendly refills (either their own paper or Tomoe River) that come in Standard, Passport, or A5 size.

FolklorePH (Online)

  • Sells refills in a variety of sizes that are supposed to be fountain-pen friendly. They also sell dated refills, for those who want to plan for 2017! Oh, and they carry stickers, postcards, and other small stationery items.

Stationer Extraordinaire (Online)

  • sells the occasiaonl Midori as well as Standard-size Yumi refills, which have fountain-pen-friendly paper. they also carry c”curated” items, mostly Kaweco accessories at this time.

 Sketchnotes (Online)

  • hand-stitched notebooks in a variety of sizes, from Standard to Pocket and Cahier. They use thick paper, around 90 gsm or so, and it’s quite smooth. Some of their covers are handpainted and very attractive.

 Design Hatch (Online and in Scribe Writing Essentials)

  • A5 and A6 refills in lined, blank, and dotted pads. Also undated weekly planners. Fountain pen friendly.

SoulFlower’s Basic Leather Workshop

Unit 2H, 22 Malingap Street, Teacher’s Village, Diliman

Quezon City, Philippines

0977 805 2806

On January 21, 2016 I attended a workshop on Basic Leather craft from Soulflower. I’d heard of them through a Facebook group about (what else) Traveler’s Notebooks. They were recommended by one of the members, accompanied by a proud picture of one of her creations. I’d been slobbering for just such a workshop and instantly messaged her to get the details (Thanks, Jacqueline!).

I forgot to take pictures because I was so excited furing the workshop; many of these photos were taken by Pat, our facilitator.


They do jewelry design primarily; leather was a secondary add-on.

They do jewelry design primarily; leather was a secondary add-on.

Workspace at Soulflower in Quezon City, Teacher's Village.

Workspace at Soulflower in Quezon City, Teacher’s Village.

The workshop, held in their small workspace near the famous Maginhawa food street, included lunch at Rustic Mornings and a short tour of Marikina’s leather-goods stores for P4,000 ( at the time). It’s a good deal, because they provide the basic materials (scrap leather, buttons, fasteners, pounding board, some thread, rulers, mallet, etc.) and insider tips on how to get what you want out of the old-style Marikina shops.During my workshop we had an even better deal because there was only one other woman attending (hi, Elora!), and we got to hog our facilitator Pat! So: sulit na sulit!

The workshop space.

The workshop space.

The first three hours is spent learning how to make leather cuffs, cord holders, and a small purse. You learn how to fasten buttons, how to stitch leather by hand, how to cut leather, and how to measure it. It’s not difficult, and Pat, our facilitator, as very generous with the questions.  Pat had invited us to bring any patterns or examples of leather items that we wanted to make. Of course I showed her a TN, and she gave some tips on what skills to develop for making them. Sorry Pat, my cuts and stitching are still crooked- it’s not your fault!

Supplies for LEather Crafting.

Supplies for LEather Crafting.

Materials for the leather workshop.

Materials for the leather workshop.

Afterwards it’s on to lunch. Rustic Mornings is an excellent restaurant and something of an area legend and yes, you get to order what you want ( it’s not a boxed/fixed meal or anything like in other workshops).

The restaurant is a short drive away from two of the shops we visited, Nation (for leather and tools), Trans Asia Shoe and Upholstery Supply, Nation Leather Supply ( both owned by the same family), and Otto shoes, which has a large store for leather hides behind the shoes- who knew!?!

Of course you could always visit these stores yourself without taking the tour. That’s exactly what I did when I’d first heard about them in February. If you do that, though, you won’t get Pat’s thorough advice on the items you’ll need to get, or her “suki” relationship with the proprietors. Let’s just say that the customer service  in those shops is….old fashioned, too: Courteous and well-informed, but they expect the same from you—or else.  They mostly serve shoemakers and leather crafters who already know what they need, fast. Good luck on getting guidance if you’re a total newbie stuck on decisions!


Choosing leather hides at Otto. Photo by Pat.

We weren’t able to purchase leather at Nation at that time because they were very busy and we were running out of time, so we headed over to Otto Shoes. Apparently you have to buy leather by the whole hide- either that, or scraps by the kilo.

Rolled and ready to go!

Rolled and ready to go! Photo by Pat.

If you’re making small items such as pouches or purses, the kilo scraps will suffice. For larger items like notebooks and bags, expect to spend P1500 or more for a decent hide. I bought a couple- one large supple rich brown hide that I intend to turn into TN’s, and one patent purple hide  for book covers. I also bought lots of materials- probably more than I need. Oh well, it helps to be prepared, right?

By the way, when buying tools, don’t expect them to have have that shiny industrialized look of materials you’d find in department stores. They look a little, uh, aged. The variety/ amount  are far from exhaustive. You should still be able to find the basic stuff though. For the rest, I guess there’s Amazon?

Crafting tools from Trans Asia. Photo by Pat

One more tip: You can go on the Marikina tour with Pat for P350 if you skip the workshop and bring your own transport (and, sadly, no lunch at Rustic Mornings), but for repeat customers this is a great opportunity to restock on tools, get new ones, and still pester Pat for advice!

We finished at about 5 am back at the studio after braving the traffic in Katipunan. I enjoyed the workshop so much that I contacted Soulflower again to set up a workshop specifically for TN’s. There are some complex designs in my head that I can’t wait to get on the table. If that goes through, I’ll let you know how it goes!

The results!

The results!




Fauxdori Review: Shutterdori


I received two “Shutterdoris” from @Shuttercreations.ph last week: One A5 (Which I’d ordered and customized) and one Standard Wide for review purposes (thanks, guys!).  I had the A5 one almost immediately up and running. Ir’s pink. PIIIIIIIIINK. Shiny pink! Perfect for one of the projects I’m currently working on.

Shutterdoris Travelers Notebooks

Battle of the Pinks!

Yeah, despite my fixation on leather and earth tones, I am actually helpless when it comes to a) pink shades, or b) shiny things. With these two combined in a notebook cover… ugh, yes, I had to buy it.

They’ve got other colors on their account, but you’ll have to check their availability. I really like the Turquoise and brown and am hoping for a purple or black patent with pink elastics.

Despite their flaws ( and it has a few of them) I love my Shutterdoris. They’re very similar, with slight differences.


A5 Patent Wide for 6 inserts.

The A5 has rounded corners ( which I’d asked for), while the Standard has straight corners. It’s a purely aesthetic choice for me.

Both have the same configuration of elastics:


Three elastics per TN, but you can fit two inserts per elastic.

The vinyl (?) (pvc?) material of the A5 patent has a slick feel while the matte Standard is slightly grainy. Both are medium stiff firm enough to hold their shapes when empty. I’d say they’re around 1 or 1.5 mm thick. The cover seems to be two sheets of material stitched together. The stitching and trimming of the materials is not exactly straight, but it’s a tolerable variation for me. For others, perhaps a little too “off the mark.” This could be improved upon in later models.


stitching is slightly off, as is the trim..

Inside is a vibrant turquoise in matte.


The A5 is what I’d call bubble-gum colored. I want to call it my  ‘Gum’dori in fact. It tends to mark with scratches and gouges because it’s so smooth. It’s also a bit of a fingerprint magnet, and it has a very subtly horizontal grain to the material. It’s probably not the best choice for someone who dumps their books around like me; it’s something you have to baby and polish and probably get a cover or bag for.


Slight vertical grain and a few marks on the surface from light useage so far).


The matte  Standard has a slightly deeper, more magenta-ish, less bubblegum tint , which I prefer, actually. I also am growing into the matte texture and have come to prefer it over the Patent- maybe for my next purchase? It’s less prone to scratches and fingerprints, and I feel it’ll take folds a lot better.


The Standard Matte: slightly grainy surface and a deeper magenta color.

Both lack pockets and are extremely basic in nature, but I’m not hung up on that because they’re a) Lighter than leather, b) strong, and c) waterproof in a way that leather isn’t. They’re also just the right level of thickness/ floppiness for me. They’re also thinner, which is a nice change for someone who likes to carry a whole library in their bag.


Elastic tends to “bite” into the cover materials. Since the cover materials doesn’t take bends or folds like leather, it might wear down more easily.

There’s one possible area for improvement: the  closure elastic tends to dig into the cover material, which is a but soft. I’m afraid that it might eventually cause permanent marks or dents. Perhaps a small notch could be cut into the side so that the elastic could settle there? I’d classify that more as a nitpick though.

I’m pretty happy with my purchase and may consider more, since the price is reasonable (well under P1000 for the A5). The turnaround time from ordering to delivery was about one and a half weeks. Communication with Shuttercreations.ph was very easy and they answered within a day of my messages.

Oh, note that custom orders (like the A5) do not come with inserts, but the standard sizes do come with one each, I believe.


Pretty in pink. Damn, I should’ve reviewed this in February.



Traveler’s Notebook- Kuwero ‘Lakbay’

Kuwero Traveler's notebooks


It’s come to my attention that the size of this notebook is smaller than the Standard Midori size The notebook I have as “Standard;’ by Kuwero is 110 x 210 mm. From the Goulet Midori page,

Standard Midori dimensions are :
Leather Cover / (130mm x 218mm, 10mm deep)
Blank notebook (64 pages) / (110mm x 210mm)

So you see, the actual Kuwero notebook cover is only the size of a Standard refill. I think this is a serious oversight; the notebook cover ought to be slightly larger than the refills to accommodate several refills. I’ve reached out to Kuwero about this, but be aware that if you buy or make your own refills, they might not fit current Kuwero notebooks.


When I did my roundup of -then current Filipino fauxdori makers a couple of months ago, I mentioned that I wanted to get acquainted with Kuwero’s notebooks in the future. I guess they heard me, because they send over a review copy. Yay!


Lakbay Standard in Outback cow leather

This is their Lakbay, a new model coming out in February 2016. It’s strictly made to order, so expect a couple of weeks before you get yours. It features pockets, stitching, a a choice of leathers:

  • Red (red brown color, carabao leather, velvety texture)
  • Labrador (choco brown, carabao too with velvety texture)
  • Deep Sea (dark blue, cow leather,soft)
  • Midnight (black, cow leather, soft)
  • Woodland (brown with black marks, cow leather, smooth and glossy texture)
  • Outback (our toughest cow leather, perfectly tanned)

They also apparently do custom orders for different sizes,although most common sizes are covered: Standard, Passport, A6, and Wide. They told me they welcome challenges too- big words!

The unit  they sent me used the Outback cow leather. I love it. It’s all coppery and crinkly and it’s got variations in color from orangey tan to dark chocolate-brown. The texture is semi-rough, and it is also one of the firmer leathers I’ve seen. Smell is a tad bitter, as is most local leather I’ve experienced, but still definitely “leather.”

It holds four inserts easily.



The leather is quite firm and holds its place well.KUWERO TRAVELERS NOTEBOOK

Here it is without the inserts. You can see the rotating strap ( which is either a mistake or genius on their part) and eyelets. I believe the elastic is 1 mm.



Stitching could be neater, but this roughness and uneven-ness gives it a rustic, very homespun, homemade feeling. Paired with this leather, it looks okay- if that’s your taste. If you like more refined craftsmanship, it’s probably not for you.KUWERO TRAVELERS NOTEBOOK

Uneven trim and finish on the leather strap too; and with that “button” (what IS it). I’m worried about the strap eventually weakening and breaking apart, and it’ll be harder to repair than an elastic, but otherwise I like it because it’s firm and holds the four inserts just right. However, because it’s fitted exactly, you probably can’t stuff this particular TN.

Note that the edges are rather rough and sharp, and cut slightly unevenly on the strap.


Inserts: 2 fountain pen friendly cream inserts with colorful cardstock covers, and two kraft inserts.KUWERO14 KUWERO15

All in all i quite like this TN. I wish it were an A5, but I guess I could try learning how to use a Standard. Art journal, maybe? Anyway I like it enough to order a custom A5 one in the future

Here’s their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kuweronotebooks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kuwero_notebooks/

Aside from the Lakbay model, you can still order their ‘Orihinal” -no pockets-no stitching models. As mentioned earlier, the Lakbay is strictly made to order, while the Orihinal is readily available ( at least in those four sizes).

Travelers Notebooks- Inserts

traveler's notebook insert

My Tomoe River paper was just sitting in a corner so I decided to make some inserts for my two A5 Traveler’s Notebooks. In the Philippines, Tomoe River paper may be ordered from PenGrafik.com.

First I had to visit a paper shop two hours away. It was worth it though, they have the prettiest papers! I purchased about a ream of metallic cardstock in different colors. I love metallics because the coating makes it semi-water resistant, and I just love them, period!

travelers notebooks insert

So many papers!


After selecting my papers ( which came in huge sheets) I waited to have them cut into A4 pieces. i cut them in that size because I use A5 Travelers Notebooks, and A4 folded = A5.

travelers notebooks insert

A4 sheets of Midnight Blue metallic paper against Tomoe River sheets, which are slightly larger than A4.


My Tomoe River paper sheets are slightly larger than A4, so I have to trim a bit off the sides to make them fit.

travelers notebooks insert

Trimmed sheets using a rotary cutter.


I personally prefer rounded corners to my papers (so the edges don’t curl as easily), so I use a border trimmer (in this case the Kadumaru Pro).

travelers notebooks insert

Rounded corner

So now it’s time to make the actual booklets. Carefully ( this is the part where I always mess up) I fold the paper into the covers using a bone knife to flatten the spine. Then I stable bind the spine using my long stapler (it’s specifically for booklets.)

travelers notebooks insert

Folding into booklet form using a bone knife.

Trim some more (sigh).

More trimming since there is some overhang between the sheets and the cover

More trimming since there is some overhang between the sheets and the cover

Finally, they’re done! Not the neatest, but I hope to improve and speed up my process with practice. I’ve got lost of paper left to go!

traveler's notebook insert

All done!

traveler's notebook insert

Five inserts, many more to go.

This picture shows the metallic covers much better. I love them! Slightly more expensive than regular cardstock, but worth it!

traveler's notebook insert

Metallic covers! I love them so much. Can’t wait to decorate them with stickers.

Tomoe River paper scraps

Tomoe River scraps.

The only problem is, so much waste is generated. Sigh, I hate that! It’s why I use A5 in the first place. Oh well.

That’s my process. I hope to be making more sizes soon.






Review: Kraft Korner PH Expedition Travelers Notebook

Last December, while still in the grips of fauxdori frenzy, I came across Kraft Korner PH’s Travelers Notebook offerings when they post it on the Fauxdori Philippines Facebook group. I was intrigued by the design of their Expedition model, which took liberties with the original TN prototype and added a few “steampunky” embellishments that looked like something out of Indiana Jones (I know Indy isn’t steampunk, but it’s got that rough ’40’s archaeology vibe going for it).

Anyway, I promptly ordered one, but had to add my own modifications. KKPH was very accommodating and gave me a reasonable price, though they told me it was introductory and would change soon.

Anyway, here’s a cursory review and some pics to go along with them. I hope you’ll excuse the video quality as it is my first.

Here’s how it looks from the front: LEather is a waxy glossy maroonish-red. Reminds me of wallets and briefcases. They were offering a distressed brown leather in their earlier editions. i think i would’ve preferred that, although they DID tell me they were changing their leather. I told them to go ahead with my order. Now that it’s here, however, I’m afraid to take this leather around for fear it’ll scratch. I’m usually quite rough with my notebooks. Also, the leather at 2mm is a bit thin- this isn’t a problem for smaller notebooks, but something this bulky and large would probably benefit from a thicker, sturdier leather.

Travelers Notebook from Kraft Korner PH

The modified expedition model which I ordered.

Travelers Notebook from Kraft Korner PH

3/4 view.

I specifically asked them to size it for six inserts. They did a pretty good job, the measurement is more generous than I need.

Travelers Notebook from Kraft Korner PH

Stuffed six inserts, though the strings were initially too thin (my fault, I didn’t ask for larger strings). Eventually I restrung this with my own elastics.

Here’s what it looked like before I added inserts, in its ‘pure’ form.

Travelers Notebook from Kraft Korner PH

Interior folded out view

I mention this in the video, and I just can’t get over it- this enclosure strap with the buttons is just too wobbly and loose. It’s a great concept ( I asked for buttons instead of buckles, because leather buckle straps tend to tear over time) but it just …doesn’t….quite work the way it’s executed here. I think some reinforcement stitches to the strap, plus more buttons, would’ve helped.

Travelers Notebook from Kraft Korner PH

Exterior folded out view. You’ll notice that the enclosure strap (with the buttons) is only held to the cover by a two tiny stitches. This makes the strap wobbly and unpleasantly loose.

Kraft Korner Travelers Notebook

Loose Stitch nub! Inadequate for size of cover.

Kraft Korner Travelers Notebook

stitching and eyelet details. Stitching could be neater, but otherwise is fine.

I’m not sure I like this stitching on the edges of the strap itself. Maybe it’s a taste thing, but I also feel the stitches will eventually come loose. Would have preferred none at all. Maybe the stitches are reinforcing the strap? Either way, not my taste.

Kraft Korner PH Travelers Notebook

Button enclosure. Points deducted for the way it was finished. That pasted thread looks like something I sneezed. Sorry to be so crude.

Verdict: I paid about $US 30 for this, including all the modifications. At that price for a leather notebook it’s still way better value for some of the fauxdori I’ve bought. Plus, bonus points for an  eye-catching design. I still like it, despite my misgivings. Time will tell how it holds up to my rough daily use.

I’m going to keep an eye on Kraft Korner PH. If they fix some of these flaws, I’m sure their future TN’s and journals will be even more interesting.

Kraft Korner Travelers Notebook

Overall, it’s a nice notebook that’s worth the price when they make some improvements to the design and execution.

Sunday Leather Craft Traveler’s Notebook 2

Sunday LEather Craft Traveler's Notebook

See my first Sunday Leather Craft TN here.

Continuing from my previous post, I liked the Traveler’s Notebook that I’d commissioned from Sunday Leather Craft so much that I immediately ordered another one. The reasonable prices and great craftsmanship were just too good to pass up.

This time I ordered my TN with a light tan or beige color. I’d seen how some leathers darkened over time due to exposure to UV rays, skin oils, and air, etc., and I thought it would be interesting to have a cover that would change color over time.

I also asked for a pen pocket, as I’d seen on other TN’s, flap envelopes, as well as four string inserts

The results were great, with a couple of caveats:

Front view: I like that SLC uses a slightly thicker elastic for the enclosure. That puts it a step above a lot of TN makers out ere already. The leather is beige (or tan depending on the lighting), slightly glossy so it tends to show scratches and stains. I’m pretty rough on my stuff, so I’ll expect this to become scuffed pretty soon.

Sunday Leather Craft Travaler's Notebooks- front view

Sunday Leather Craft Travaler’s Notebooks- front view.

The notebook includes a pen case.

Sunday Leather Craft Travaler's Notebooks- foldout

Foldout view

The pen case adds to the bulk. When empty, it gives added protection to the inserts as a mini ‘trifold’. Unfortyunately when it’s full, the leather “hinge” that attaches it to the cover is too short, so you have to tuck it into the back cover. I might reconsider having a pen case on my third order (oh yes, I’m still plotting a third one!)

Sunday Leather Craft Travaler's Notebooks- pen case

Pen c ase as trifold cover

A view of the inserts from above. I’ve set this up as an ‘art’ journal, so it’s got my Curnow Tomoe River journal from PenGrafik, a couple of handmade inserts using blank cardstock, and a blank journal from SketchnotesPH.


Sunday LEather Craft stitching

White/ cream stitching is very neat!

Overall I’m quite happy. There were a couple of glue stains on the leather when I first received it- deducting points for that- but I guess it’s something I can overlook since they weren’t major flaws. The leather itself is semi stiff but will probably soften over time, particularly the corners. They’re already kind of bendy since they take the most punishment, I think. Don’t let that dissuade you it’s a great leather (I wish SLC would name their leathers like other makers do!) and great notebook ; for under US$30, it’s a steal.

Sunday LEather Craft Traveler's Notebook

Sunday LEather Craft Traveler’s Notebook


TN’S and Tabs

Sign of the Tines Traveler's notebook

TN’s are great if you’re an ADD- prone planner person with multiple projects!

TABS_1 FOR Traveler's Notebooks

Different sections for each project. Now tabbed!

They’re already divided into separate little notebooks, so you’d think it would be easy to find the exact notebook you’re looking for. However, you can save one or two seconds if you didn’t have to flip through every single notebook and hey, time is precious. That and I think some of the creative ways people use tabs is really cute.

Still on my Jakarta trip, I happened across these small Bantex divider tabs at a small stationery store in Pondok Indah Mall . The tabs are simply colored cardstock with clear adhesive plastic e on the bottom. They work well enough for my needs- not cute, but functional.

Tabs for Traveler's Notebooks

Bantex divider tabs

In this TN, my creative writing projects, each tab corresponds to a single project. Previous to owning a TN, I had to keep all projects in a single notebook and tried to use this Japanese method of marking page edges to differentiate each section, but it always got too chaotic for me. With this method, I keep each section separated and neatly marked.


Sunday Leather Craft- Travelers Notebook 1

A5 Travelers Notebook by Sunday LEather Craft

See my second Sunday Leather Craft TN here.

So as I said in a previous post, I had a few stumbling blocks before finding planner peace in the form of two traveler’s notebooks from Sunday Leather Craft.

Someone on the Fountain Pen Philippines Forums had mentioned that SLC made great pen cases. I hopped on to their Facebook site and saw that they also made notebook covers, and from there a TN is only a few elastics away! I contacted them and asked if they were amenable to creating something according to my specs, and they agreed. I sent them a sketch with dimensions for an A5 TN, asking for semi stiff leather (from the samples they showed me).

Let’s start with the first.

The results were fantastic. The leather is a matte dark chocolate brown with beige stitching, with sealing elastic in blue stripes. The leather itself smells …well, adequately leathery.

A5 Travelers Notebook by Sunday LEather Craft


A5 Travelers Notebook by Sunday LEather Craft

A5 Travelers Notebook by Sunday LEather Craft

I had requested side flaps to store random notes. next time I’ll ask for a cardhold to be integrated into the flaps, but these function quite well.

Front and back storage flaps

Front and back storage flaps

It’s medium-soft, supple enough to bend easily but firm enough to keep its shape when unfilled. The stitching is very neat- you can see they know their leatherwork.

A5 Travelers Notebook by Sunday LEather Craft

A5 Travelers Notebook by Sunday LEather Craft

It fit my Muji A5 notebooks perfectly.

A5 Travelers Notebook by Sunday LEather Craft

A5 Travelers Notebook by Sunday LEather Craft

I had to trim down some of the papers I got from the US when making my own inserts though, as their dimensions didn’t exactly line up with the A5 size. Darn it! The reason why I work exclusively with A5 notebooks, aside from them being the perfect compromise between space and portability for me, is that quite simply, I’m lazy! I hate going to the trouble of trimming paper and measuring, etc. But that’s a story for another time…Anyway, I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.  Hurrah for Filipino artisans (and TN’s that you don’t have to pay international shipping for)!

While I’m not very familiar with more famous fauxdori makers from abroad, I’d wager that SLC can match most of them in terms of skill, if not in variety of raw material. I hope SLC continue to make great TN’s and that I can do a more complete feature on them someday.

The Fauxdori Fix

Two Traveler's notebooks at Sign of the Tines

I’ve torn through about four or five bags now- brands known for their lightness AND durability. The problem? Too many notebooks (and art supplies!).

I like  to have a notebook for every purpose:  rough warm-up sketches, finished ink drawings, random ideas, daily schedules, creative writing ( which in and of itself is divided into several projects), a journal, and of course, notes for this blog.

Since I love working in coffee shops, I would need to take my many notebooks, pens, pencils, and sharpeners on the go.  Hence, the death of my beloved bags.

This was my daily carry:


Well, I’m through with losing so much money on bags! I searched for methods to consolidate my notebooks: ring binders, switching to softbound notebooks only, using that Japanese page-marking hack, etc. Nothing worked until I settled on the Traveler’s Notebook (TN).

These notebooks, pioneered by the Japanese brand Midori, are simple leather notebooks strung with several elastics inside. Midori sells special thin pamphlets of varying papers to slot into the elastics. In an original Midori, one can insert up to four -6 of these pamphlets. So now, instead of toting God knows how many books of varying sizes, you can carry several thing notebooks in a relatively manageable format.

Unfortunately, the Midori either comes in a vertically-oriented size or a passport size , neither of which doesn’t really suit my writing style. I enjoy the A5 format    (about 8 x 6 inches), which is slightly wider.

After reading about other creators manufacturing notebooks similar to the Midori (mostly small handmade shops, but also sometimes mass-produced in China), I purchased one of the China-made leather A5 ones from a local retailer/importer (@crafts_unltdph on Instagram). It was… satisfactory. The leather couldn’t match the Midori’s famed stiffness and the handwork didn’t quite match, but it served the purpose. I filled it with Muji A5 grid notebooks (I LOVE these!) and some other handmade refills that I stapled together.



I was happy…for awhile. Then I turned to Etsy and Facebook, curious to find out more about non-Midori TN’s (aka ‘fauxdori). The sheer variety of sizes, materials, and styles soon got me salivating for more than the basic Midori prototype. I wanted more features! More bling! More colors! More everything.

I commissioned a local leatherworker (who shall remain unnamed, unless you pm me) to create an A5 TN. The results were horrible, and I ended up having to restring the damn thing and name it Monstrobo for its hideousness. This almost turned me off Philippine TN’s completely, but I’m glad I persisted in locating other craftspeople.



I contacted Sunday Leather Craft on Facebook, to create my first local TN’s in a specific configuration: Side pockets, 4 inner elastics, and a brown supple leather with border stitching. The results were amazing, and I fell in love with their work.





I commissioned a second one, this one with slots for pens and in a different beige /naked leather color, inspired by ones I’d seen scanning the net. Still loved it. This one will be my art journal, and I’ve repurposed my PVC folder into a brushpen holder.







So now I own three fauxdori (and Monstrobo).

Have I solved the notebook problem? Almost, but not quite. Now I want even MORE fauxdori!