Traveler’s Notebook | Joy Unbounded!

I’ve always loved a good notebook. Especially back in the days when my writing was readable! These days  I use my computer and smartphone for diaries, lists and all the other stuff I’d like to forget remember. I do still hanker after a decent notebook, but finding just the right one is a challenge. A Traveller’s Notebook never entered my head as a viable proposition; they look bulky, cumbersome and surely they are heavy?

I have spent a lot of time watching process videos for scrapbooking/Project Life™ on YouTube, and frequently Traveller’s Notebooks pop up. I can’t remember how I found her but EssieRuthMakes has great YouTube videos, and it’s her I blame credit with me buying my first ever Traveller’s Notebook.

It arrived on Friday, 21 July 2017. The date deserves recognition.

my first traveller's notebook arrives

As usual my first port of call to buy anything is Amazon. This little beauty caught my eye;

  • real leather (but not too smelly – my calipers had lots of leather when I was young and I am not keen on the smell);
  • three book inserts;
  • a plastic insert – three credit card slots one side and a zip pouch on the other;
  • a sturdy cardboard insert with pockets both sides;
  • a bookmark with pen loop;
  • a matching pen.

If you’d like to see this notebook here it is on Amazon.

First Impressions

I love it. Surprisingly, it’s not heavy at all, although currently I have only two book inserts in it. How embarrassing is it that I had to watch YouTube videos to learn how to get everything in place? Oh, using two book inserts was easy enough to work out but I considered adding three, and then I got in a mess!

Now here’s an unusual recommendation for a product. It doesn’t slide. Except, it does slide when I want it to, on my desk for example. It doesn’t slide when I plonk it on my knee and wheel through to another room. Joy unbounded! Perhaps I wear non-slip trousers too, who knows, but the fact I don’t have to try and push one-handed means this traveller’s notebook gets five stars.

So, how am I going to use this traveller’s notebook? Me, who can’t do anything without first planning it out on the computer?!

Plan It Out On The Computer, Of Course!

Traveller's Notebook - planning the pages

I’ve worked out the basics, although there are wrinkles in my process. I have page templates created for both PaintShop Pro and Silhouette Studio. At 10.7cm x 20.7cm they are slightly smaller than the notebook page. I’ve done that because I can’t see myself managing to cut off excess with scissors easily!

I will plan my pages in PaintShop Pro first. This will give me the photo sizes I want to use, and also help me decide what to print for embellishments.

Here’s my first wrinkle. I intended to print my photos at home on photo paper, but have decided that’s not the best idea. Although I have both HP Photo Paper and an unbranded version, I like neither of them when it comes to cutting them to size.

Last year I discovered the FreePrints App and got ten free prints as a starter. (Their sister app Photobooks is where I print all my photobooks.) I fished them out and tried trimming some of the images to size and the result is much better. New plan: prepare my photos to print on 4 x 6 inches and use FreePrints each month; there’s 45 free prints I don’t currently use and the postage cost of £5.99 makes them affordable. It is nicer paper too, and leaves no rough edges when cut.

The Printing

I don’t necessarily want to use photo paper for everything in my traveller’s notebook. I think standard paper should work well enough for text, some patterened paper, word strips and other embellishments. I rummaged in my drawer to find my HP Matt Presentation Paper (120gsm) and tried it out.

All my images print well, and the paper is thin enough to stick in the notebook as expected. Then I discovered my second wrinkle and why I don’t use this paper very often. Unless I get the pressure just right the paper trimmer snags and rips the paper, and even when it does cut, it leaves stray fibrous edges. I don’t think it’s the fault of the paper but my inability to exert the right amount of pressure on the cutting blade. Cardstock seems to be more forgiving of my limited strength.

Traveller's Notebook - preparation

To test my theory I cut the paper with a ruler and craft knife and have lovely, smooth edges. However, sharp knives and me are not a combination I’d regularly want to see! When I want to use a full page design it will have to be the Silhouette Cameo to cut those pages too, and not just embellishments.

My First Traveller’s Notebook Pages

Traveller's Notebook First Pages

Can I say how utterly happy this makes me? Traveller’s Notebooks are the perfect size for me to mess about playing with paper. I can’t wait to make more! Of course, I will have to improve my method of throwing away paper scraps or I will spend all my time sweeping up.

This notebook has become an essential desk accessory – along with a good cup of tea and my Kindle.

traveller's notebook on my desk

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