I’ve always loved journals, planners, and pens but the past few years innovations (and rediscoveries) have uped my game. I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from others, so here I start to pass along the love. Or maybe I just want an excuse to go on about leather, stationary, and pens.
This is my daily journal set-up. It’s a traveler’s notebook with two inserts, three fountain pens, and a pen case that I love to look at (it is a loved gift <3) containing markers.
I’m obsessed with traveler’s notebooks–leather cut to a standard paper size and fitted with elastics onto which anything of said standard size can be strung. My daily journal is a B6 size. The leather is Chic Sparrow‘s classic Mockingbird dark bluejay. The color and texture is relaxing to me and helps me wind down as I journal before bed.
My daily journal consists of two inserts. A plain paper insert by PaperPenguin (pictured on left and top) and a Staology 365 notebook (pictured on right and bottom). The plain insert is strung on the first string, and the Staology on he second and fourth strings around its front and back covers. The sticker on the Staology is a reminder of balance (it is a captured cochlea!) from Liv Rainey-Smith. I use one page of the Staology per day. I color-map my hours and write about my day to remember things and decompress. In the plain paper insert I make statistics and charts about my time management because I’m a science dork, and also because it helps keep me accountable to myself and my impulse control is often, uh, limited. I also keep lists like of books read, shows watched, etc. over the year.
Shall we talk about pens? Yes? Pens?
I’ve been obsessed with fountain pens since back when they were impossible to find. Now they are easy to find which makes my monthly allowance hard to manage. These three I use daily in my journal. (Note: the links are all to Goulet Pens because I think they do the best job of listing technical specifications on the pens and inks, but you can purchase them in a wide variety of places–none of these are rare pens or inks.)
The Pilot Falcon (the black one with gold trim on the left) is a soft gold flex nib, extra-fine, and my top pick for price and quality on flex nibs. The ink capacity is small but it makes an incredible range of marks based on pressure, and is easy to control. It’s filled with archival, waterproof DeAtramentis Document Black ink (yes, it is labeled wrong in the picture) which allows me to color over the lines it makes with the water-based markers. I use the Falcon extensively for drawing too.
The TWISBI ECO (the clear one with the squared-off ends in the middle) is a 1.1 mm steel stub nib. I have used this $30 fountain pen every day since I got it like two years ago. Every. Day. It has a huge ink capacity, a reliable smooth nib, is fun and easy to disassemble and clean, and is perfect for headings. I always put shimmer ink in it cuz the fun! The stub nib lets me pretend I actually have beautiful calligraphic handwriting LOL.
The Pilot Custom-74 (the translucent purple one on the right) is among my favorite daily work-horse pens, and my favorite 14k nib pens for under $200. I have these in many colors, but the purple may be my favorite. I use this to write all my journal entries. It is smooth and light and fits my hand perfectly, and has a good ink capacity with the Con-70 converter. It matches perfectly with Iroshizuko Juro-jin ink.
The markers are Tombow watercolor markers. They blend well and are relatively inexpensive for art markers.
Lastly, I’m kind of a crap craftsman for beadwork, but I love arranging beads, and make my own bookmarks for my notebooks. I bead both ends of a strip of string/ribbon/elastic and loop it through the traveler notebook strings or string holes, nothing complicated. The result is pleasing and the book marks are fun to touch and play with. Yay!