My Hobonichi planner

I remember the day I learnt to read… I was at home, enjoying a super cute children’s book called “El Patito Dinki”. Suddently, that non-sense symbols became clear, adopting the shapes of letters I recognized, making words I could understand and letting me to read a sentence… I was astonished… “It is impossible, I don’t know how to read yet, but I am reading…” My eyes got full of tears of happiness, but I wasn’t so sure if it was just a trick of my wild imagination, so I went to ask my mum if that letters meant what I thought… My mum said yes, and, after few seconds, she called me: “Come here again! You can read!”, “No mum, I can not read yet!!!”, “Yes, you can! Sit here and read that book from the beginning”.

It took me a lot of effort, but I read that whole story while my mum was washing the dishes… I felt sooooo happy that I didn’t want to stop reading. But guess what… I didn’t run to read another book, I run to get my notebooks and try to read what I wrote before. The thing is that I learn to write before I learn to read. I knew the alphabet and I could copy the letters. So, if my mum spelled a word to me, I could write it. That way I wrote lots of notes to myself, knowing I will be able to read them in the future. It was so fun to read my own messages from the past, things like “Someday I will grow up and do anything I want” or “I want to go to Japan” or “I wish to have a brazalete with water, glitter and plastic fishes inside”. My point is, that was the time, when I was only 4 years old, when I discover the magic of journaling.

I am keeping a diary (even I did not wrote everyday) since I was 6 years old. The first diary I had was so cute, made in Taiwan, with a really beautiful illustration of a girl with a hat and a pretty dress, talking on the phone in a red telephone box. When I moved to Japan 12 years ago I destroyed all my diaries, as I was too afraid they get lost and everybody discovers my secrets XD but I kept journaling a little bit on my schedule books. Many times it was just a sentence, sometimes I also draw something. Other times I glued there some tickets, photos or labels as a memento…

But as life sometimes is not that easy and you have days you really could use some selfconfidence, I decided to do the same as I used to do when I was little: write messages to myself to read in the future. I also wanted to improve drawing and wanted to draw something everyday. So, I started to look for a planner that could help me to do all of that, with enought space to write all my work and ToDo list. This is how I decided to start using the amazing planner called Hobonichi Techo.

I am a Hobonichi Techo user since 2015. It is an amazing Japanese planner. It is made with Tomoe River paper, one of my 2 favourite types of paper, that is very thin and light, but perfect for fountain pens and even watercolours!!! To write on that paper feels so good you don’t want to stop.

Hobonichi has several sizes and planner types. So far I used the original size (A6) and the Cousin (A5). I am currently using again A6. It also has a crazy amount of covers. There is always a cover perfect for everyone.

My Hobonichi original size

My Hobonichi cousin size

What I like the best about Hobonichi, besides the type of paper, is that the paper has a grid (yeaaaah!!!) and also you have a page for everyday. You have a year view, a monthly view, a weekly view and a page for everyday!!! That way you have plenty of space for your ToDo list, plans, work ideas, remembers, journaling and drawing. It is perfect for everything related to my work and personal appointments. My work doesn’t follow a regular schedule and I work in many different locations every week, so I am extremly careful about not making mistakes. I need to have everything very tied and organized. My Hobonichi helps me with that. I don’t know a better planner that this one for my personal needs.

And, thanks to Hobonichi, I met my best friend, April Wu. It is a crazy story of trust and true friendship that started on the internet. We had met in person first time 2 years ago, and since then so many other times, in Japan and Taiwan. April is an amazing and responsible person, so talented artist and very, very warm. If you check her blog or her Instagram account @penguinscreative you will fall in love with her journaling style and her gorgeous watercolours paintings.

One of April’s Hobonichi master pieces…

Our friendship story was something Hobonichi company didn’t want to miss, and they interview us last January, while April was visiting Japan. Hobonichi headquarters in Tokyo are AMAZING. The office has a very warm atmosphere that really invites you to work with a very good attitude. We both liked it very much, like we didn’t want to leave the place, ha, ha, ha!!!

All the furtinure is made of wood, giving the office a very warm feeling
There are lots of inspirational books and items. Everything they need to keep creative and work running.
We even met the fugu!!! (blowfish) You can follow his adventures on the Live Cam

We both felt so honored to be interviewed for such an important company, with fans all around the world. The staff that works there are very nice and awesome people. It was, for sure, an experience we both will remember our whole life…

Don’t miss our interview titled “We made friends all around the world thanks to the Hobonichi Techo”, where we talk about our passion for Hobonichi and how we met each other…

Traveler’s Notebook Olive edition (limited)

Hi, everyone!

This post is about the Traveler’s Notebook Olive Edition. It is a limited edition and it is sold out at the moment, but Traveler’s Company said some more and on their way ^_________^

(photo from Traveler’s Notebook website)

Green is my favourite colour, and olive green is the colour of adventure… I have been wishing (and asking XD) so long that Traveler’s Notebook makes some green covers. Here you are!!! It can not be more perfect!

Some people was expecting something more green, others expected something more dark… but the truth is that the shade of olive changes completely depending on the light. As my best friend April says, it has “50 shades of green”. She made a perfect review of the olive edition, so there is no point for me to write anything else. Please, check out her amazing review and photos on her blog here.

Personally, I am totally in love with this edition. I really enjoy all the different shades of the cover and the touch of the leather. I plan to use it when I go hiking, while my Blue edition will be more for city use. There is nothing more pleasant for me than sit down on the mountains (or in a mountain hut if it’s raining) and write or draw on a notebook… forget about your phone for a while and get lost on the pages… feel the kiss of the pen on the paper and transform your heart into words…

In case you missed my live videos on Facebook, I want to share them with all of you. I hope you enjoy them!

1. Arriving at Traveler’s Factory in Nakameguro

2. Waiting for the store to open

3. 20 minuts to open!!!

4. Buying the first Olive Edition sold at TFA

5. Shop atmosphere

6. And, finally, unboxing!!! (Sorry for the wrong position of the video, I have no idea how to fix it…)

Traveler's Notebook olive edition unboxing

Posted by Esther Molina on Friday, March 24, 2017

Traveler’s Notebook

Since 2015 I became a passionate user of Traveler’s Notebook. Probably you already know about these amazing notebooks. But, please, allow me to explain a little bit about them, as they don’t only have an awesome design, they also have solved all my problems about travel journaling.

Traveler’s Company makes the Traveler’s Notebook and other stationery items like brass products, kraft envelopes, spiral ring notebooks… it is a brand from the Japanese company Designphil.

The Traveler’s Notebook consists in two parts: the leather cover and the refill inserts. The leather cover is made in Thailand. It is available in black, brown and camel as a regular product. There were/are some limited editions in blue and olive green.

(photo link from Traveler’s Notebook website)
(Not available, out of stock as it was released in 2015. Photo link from Traveler’s Notebook website)
(Released in March 2017. Photo link from Traveler’s Notebook website)

You can find the notebooks in 2 sizes: regular (H220×W120×D10mm) and passport (H134×W98×D10mm)

(Photo link from Traveler’s Notebook website)

The regular size is my favourite, as it is 1/3 of an A4 and it is perfect for traveling pamphlets, airplane tickets, etc… It is a size that really invites you to write without intimidating. With that unsual shape you can archieve really interesting and practical layouts. Also, it is very comfortable to carry it with you everywhere.

The inserts are made in Japan with one of the two best papers in the whole world (well, at least, that is what I feel XD). It is a paper called MD, made by Midori company (also another brand from Designphil). Why do I assure it is one of the best papers in the world? Because its performance. You can write VERY smoothly with a fountain pen and the ink doesn’t bleed through. You can event paint sketches with watercolours and the paint doesn’t bleed through either!!!. The paper is strong and light at the same time. When you hear and touch the paper it feels like heaven.

And, wait to know about this: the inserts are replaceable. You can keep reusing the covers. They will become your sidekick and share many trips and memories with you. Forever!!! They will age beautifuly because of the high quality leather, while the inserts can be replaced any time you want. It is the simplest and quickest system in the world: using an elastic. That way you can carry several inserts with you all the time, replace them, remove them, add them and do anything you want.

As a stationery lover (I belong to a stationeryholics group XD) I had always the problem of finding notebooks with lovely covers but I didn’t like the inner pages. I am not just talking about the quality of the paper, it was also about blank paper, ruled paper (that I don’t use because I don’t like it, it cuts all my creativity flow), grid paper (my favourite)… everybody has different preferences. And it is very difficult to find a notebook that has a cover you love with the right type of paper inside. It never happend to me, as, for example, Moleskine has a very cool design but the regular editions have a poor performance with watercolours. Then, researching and researching, I started to use Traveler’s Notebook and all my problems were solved. I can do my journaling with a fountain pen in grid paper, allowing me to use watercolours without bleeding. FANTASTIC!

There are many, many, many types of inserts. There is also a blank insert with the other best paper in the whole world: Tomoe River. It is extremely thin paper, know also as Bible paper. It performs majestically with fountain pens and watercolours. Wonderful, thin and strong. There are inserts in several colour papers, kraft brown paper, black paper, sketch paper (be carefull, this one is not good for watercolours but perfect for pencil, colour pencils, markers, copics…), wax paper…

There are also available several types of diary inserts. With dates, free dates, montly, weekly…

Can a notebook be more awesome?

The design of the notebook can be customize. You can add charms, stickers, stamps, masking tapefolders… it is a non ending list of items from Traveler’s Notebooks. All of them with the traveling theme and a retro design that had touch the heart of many of us around the world in these 10 years that the company is making us to fly high and dream.

Thank you so much for your amazing work, Traveler’s Company…

DIY: Tiny, cheap and high quality watercolours set

Hello everybody! How are you? ^_____^

I can’t wait to share with all of you my DIY tiny, cheap and high quality watercolours set that I made. I was looking for something very small, to be able to carry it everywhere, everyday. I found some sets, super tiny, but quite expensive. So, I decided to give it a thought and I came out with an idea that I hope it can help many of you. So, let’s get started! (^______^) Yeaaah!

1. First, I look for a container the size I wanted. I though that a box of mints or something like that will have the perfect size. In Japan, candy packaging has a style that did not help me this time, so I went to the 100 yen store and I bought this tin.

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The box measures 10*6*1.2cm

 

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I will use the lid as a palette ^____^

2. I needed containers for each color. I love tube watercolours and I already had them at home, so I looked for a type of container that could hold them. I found that the top part of the “buttons for cover” were perfect. They sell them in several sizes, so I got the most convenient for me.

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Be sure you buy stainless steel buttons or other materials that will not get rusty.

 

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We only need the top part of the buttons, so I separated them.

3. I glued the tops of the buttons to the tin. I recommend to use SuperGlue.

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4. I wait for the glue to dry and then I filled the little containers with tube watercolours. I love Holbein watercolours ^___^

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5. I got a waterbrush from Kuretake. It is a brush that contains water on it’s body, so you can carry water with you easily. There are different brands and types. I found this wonderful post about waterbrushes that can help you decide which is better for you.

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And that’s all, once the watercolours are completely dried, you are ready to go and have fun with your portable set everywhere, anytime!!! ^_____^

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Photo by Jessica Soto.

I hope this idea will be helpful. Please, feel free to ask me anything ^________^. See you soon!!!

Hugs,

Esther

Moleskine notebooks

For some time I’m constantly finding doodles and illustrations, from famous (and not yet famous) artists, drawn in Moleskine notebooks.

The final result is really beautiful. Personally I love that material because I think it’s very intimate. When using a notebook it seems that we are creating illustrations just for ourselves, without any pressure or worries. In my case, sometimes it’s still a little difficult to give full freedom to my pencil without any rational instruction from my brain. This is why I thought that a Moleskine will help me to lose the fear of drawing.

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