Galen Leather Goods – 3 Pocket Notebook Holder and 2 Pen Holder

26 09 2016

I cannot resist leather goods. I could easily go full vegetarian, but I just can’t give up my leather stationery products. I’m sorry animal friends. I hope you lived a good life.

And dreamed of one day holding notebooks

And dreamed of one day holding notebooks

So when Galen Leather Goods emailed me as well about trying their leather stuffs, I couldn’t type yes fast enough. The pictures on their website looked good, and I couldn’t wait to see them in person. Just to mix it up, I opted for brightly colored options—a yellow Traveler’s style pocket notebook cover with leather 2 pen holder, and a purple Pocket Moleskine Journal cover. Today I’ll be reviewing the former.

Shiny and new

Shiny and new

The packaging is on point, with excellent design and a box so sturdy I can’t bear to part with it. I don’t know the intricacies of international shipping (Galen Leather Goods hail from Turkey), but it’s nice to know the product has protection for the journey. It also came with a little evil eye charm and neatly printed instructions for such things as leather care. I’ve spoken extensively with my evil eye charm and it has an express understanding to especially ward off writer’s block and dried up ink.

I will miss how this made my notebook holder look like a googly-eyed monster

I will miss how this made my notebook holder look like a googly-eyed monster

Let’s get out of the way what didn’t work for me: the pen holder. It’s a terrific pen holder, but being integrated into the elastic band holding the book shut on such a small notebook holder, it was too bulky of an attachment. While I had it on, I rarely used the notebooks inside the holder—as long as it was shut, everything was fine, but opened up there was nowhere for the thing to effectively go. I love the brass charm it came with, but I did have some worry that the edges needed to be more rounded off lest they do any damage to the leather. When I took off the pen holder, I ended up taking the charm off as well and replaced them both with a simple coin I had lying around—enough to weigh the elastic down when I take it off, but nothing that will get in the way. Now I use this thing all the time. The notebook did come with a good measure of spare green elastic band, so I think the option to take the pen holder off was intended and not just my nefarious doing.

Notebook 1: NC Field Notes (full of my opinions of places I've eaten); notebook 2: Tomoe River scratch paper Fountain Pen Day notebook; notebook 3: rotates, currently the Field Notes Two Rivers cover I filled with Tomoe River Paper

Notebook 1: NC Field Notes (full of my opinions of places I’ve eaten); notebook 2: Tomoe River Fountain Pen Day notebook used for scratch paper; notebook 3: rotates, currently the Field Notes Two Rivers cover I filled with Tomoe River Paper

The dyed leather is wonderfully vibrant and consistent. It feels like it’s gotten better, perhaps softer over time? It’s molding to my life, and I’ve been trucking it around for a few months now. I doubt I would have chosen green as the color to go with yellow, but I’ve come to like it. The size is perfect, safely enclosing three pocket notebooks without being any bigger than needed.

?

Exactly perfect

The edges are all burnished, a bit rugged in spots but altogether I love this little notebook holder. Three is a perfect number of notebooks for both daily life and adventures, and I like being able to easily swap them out as needed.

Perfect for adventure

Perfect for adventure

I am still looking for a way to incorporate the pen holder into my life (a necklace? attached to velcro? It’s currently on its own little loop of elastic but I don’t know the right notebook to wrap it around to integrate into my routines). But this notebook holder with its beautiful and reliable leather has become a must-carry in my EDC.

 

Get one of your own at Galen Leather Goods

And here’s the pen holder, if I haven’t dissuaded you from it

 

(Galen Leather Goods provided this product at no charge for reviewing purposes–opinions entirely my own)





Gfeller Casemakers Leather Cover / Clairefontaine My.essential Notebook

28 08 2016

First, you get the fancy pens. Then, you get the special inks to put in the fancy pens, followed by the nice paper for writing on with the fancy pens filled with special inks. The pens get carrying cases. Now, we are entering the stage of the illness addiction insanity hobby where the nice paper gets a spiffy carrying vehicle too. A step up from whatever cardboard claptrap it came factory-clad in. No material better answers that call than leather.

A wild notebook appears


I was fortunate enough to be one of two winners of the giveaway of a Gfeller Casemakers leather notebook cover and a new Clairefontaine My.essential notebook. I’ve given the products a couple months in the rotation, and now it’s time to pass judgment. Let’s start with the leather cover:

When computer screens are able to broadcast tactile sensations I will add the feel of this leather to my review for you all to enjoy


The leather is soft. Luscious, luxurious, rub it on your face soft. I have a pair of Italian leather gloves that are softer, but not by much. The light color worries me–will I stain it? Will I ruin it irrevocably in some unforeseen manner? But this concern is not unique to this case; I would feel the same about any light-colored leather. The notebook cover is well-made with smart details–the flaps that the notebook covers tuck into come much further in than I’ve seen on any other notebook cover, to avoid creating a bulge line under the page, and there is a cut out in the back flap to allow use of the elastic band attached to the notebook. It integrates well. The quality is solid. I’m thinking of getting a Gfeller notebook cover for my Hobonichi, I’m liking this cover so much.

Would I like this as much with no notebook cover? Probably not. I like my medium to large notebooks with a bit of sturdiness to them


On to the My.essential notebook, which the Clairefontaine people told me is a new product that will be available later this year (or possibly already, the email was a few months ago). I’m kind of surprised that this didn’t exist already in the Clairefontaine and/or Rhodia line-up: a paginated notebook with a table of contents, headers on each page, filled with high quality Clairefontaine 90gsm paper. It really feels like this should have already been around. It’s a wonderfully usable format.

Here is what cream colored paper looks like at sunrise, in case you were wondering


In design, the My.essential notebook is very similar to my beloved Leuchtturm 1917. The My.essential is a soft cover with camel-colored leatherlike cardboard pattern, quarter pockets in front and back, and dark brown elastic band and ribbon. It really has everything essential to a good notebook, unless you prefer hardcover. But that’s what the leather notebook cover is for! I have no complaints against this notebook, and hope they’ll be releasing editions besides just lined. Maybe include a 2nd bookmark for bullet journaling? There’s not a whole lot to say; it’s a darn good notebook with fountain pen friendly paper. That’s a Clairefontaine product for you.

 

Various Gfeller Casemakers Leather Covers

The giveaway & fan profile of Steve Derricott at Rhodia Drive

 

(The notebook and cover were won by me in a giveaway, thus I received them for free. Opinions entirely my own)