New kind of notebook

Along with art supplies, art papers, pens….. I’m a sucker for notebooks.

Found a new one today, called Sorta.

I have used various bound plain paper journals for my daily writing and collecting.  I think I’ve mentioned before my journal is more accurately described as a Commonplace Book.    It is both a daily diary of events and a record of what has interested me that day. For the past year, I’ve mainly been using the large Moleskine.  But with all the things I add and glue in, it becomes overstuffed.

Recently I’ve used the same system I’ve been using for my sketchbooks.  I repurposed a beautiful leather book cover made by Oberon that I’ve had for about 20 years.   I use the same system of beading elastic to hold folded pages.  When I fill a signature, I remove it.  Once I have a group of signatures collected, I will bind them in a simple way into a book to store on my shelf to which I can refer as needed.  So far, I’ve not collected enough signatures in either the sketchbooks or the written journal.

I’ve added heavy cardboard in the sleeves that would normally be for a notebook cover.  This gives it extra support for writing.

At least 30 years ago I bought a notebook cover almost exactly like the Sorta design, but larger as it holds 8.5×11 inch paper. It is called a springback folder. It was made by National (model number 96-377)  Searching on that, I now find it is called a thesis cover.
At one point, I thought to use it as a watercolor book but it’s rather heavy and is a bit unwieldy to use for painting on location/in the field.

I briefly tried the Arc system from Staples (similar to the circa system) but didn’t like it and returned it.  I didn’t like punching holes in paper.  It makes it difficult to store once removed from the primary notebook.  Same for 3 ring binders, except one can get these in larger sizes and they are inexpensive.

I found on Lifehacker a new kind of notebook that lets me add or remove pages but without punching holes. This has potential.

One of the comments to the Lifehacker article linked to springback binders available from Leuchtturm.  But they are for roughly 8.5×11 inch paper.   That’s too large.

The Sorta books are 8.5 by 6.25 inches.  So, I could fold or cut my own paper to fit.  Folded paper could later be bound in a book, as mentioned about with the Oberon.  From the website, the company is just one guy, so he’s a bit behind in filling orders since the book got mentioned on Lifehacker!

Argh!  It has watercolor paper!  Still,  think I could tear my own for it.   For $4.50, one can have 12 sheets of 140 pound cold press paper.

About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
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8 Responses to New kind of notebook

  1. miatagrrl says:

    Kate! You are such a geek after my own heart! I saw this Sorta notebook too, and if I weren’t already fully devoted to my “Stefano,” I think I would be seriously tempted to give it a try. I’ll be eager to see yours!

  2. miatagrrl says:

    P.S. Around 30 years ago, I, too, used a spring-back binder — to hold my poems when I gave poetry readings as a grad student in creative writing. Whoa, that was a different lifetime. 😉

  3. Rosemary Nelson says:

    You always inspire me-and what a fun treat to discover that I have apparently been keeping a “Commonplace” journal for years…seems like now that it has a name it deserves something better than the old 3-ring binder from college-or even the Word documents on the computer!
    Thank you for your blogs and for your art-and especially for sharing with us.

  4. Pingback: Sorta review | Red Harp Arts

  5. LOU says:


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