A while back, I posted about contemplating whether I should splurge on a Midori Traveler’s Notebook. You see, I always have a notebook on me, if not two or more. So a nice leather-bound one sounded perfect to this stationery lover.
I ordered it, and got it in early June. But it wasn’t quite ready yet – I wanted to customise it a bit, make it mine. But now it’s finally ready and about to go on its first trip with me. You’ve seen me put goals every week of designing templates – well, let me give you a walk-through and show you some of my DIY inserts.
This is my Midori Traveler’s Notebook set-up:
I chose to go original, and bought a brown leather, regular size Midori Traveler’s Notebook. I ordered it from the Netherlands, though. It comes with a brown and an orange elastic band to hold it together. I really like the orange as it goes nicely with the reddish-brown of the leather.
You can smell from a distance, that this is genuine leather. As a girl who spent a lot of time polishing saddles and bridles in the tack shed, this smell really takes me back.
Midoris come in brown or black leather, regular size or passport size. The current Limited Edition is dark blue.
If you don’t like leather, or you want a cheaper version, look for “Fauxdori.” twobowlsoffish sell felt fauxdori on Etsy, but they also come with cardboard, fabric, faux leather covers or dyed leather. ChicSparrow offers a wide range of (dyed leather) fauxdoris and inserts.
I’d seen a few MTN’s around the internet, and one thing this whole MTN community seems to be big on is customization. There are charms and clasps and all sorts of stuff you can add to your Midori. Before I even bought mine I knew I wanted to add a little plate with my favourite quote to the elastic holding my MTN shut.
It took me a while to find one the right size, but then I came across this one by Quotefangirl on Etsy.
“Not all those who wander are lost”
means so much to me. Not just the sense of wandering because the journey is the destination, but also because it combines that sense of adventure with my favourite author and one of my favourite literary characters. After all, this was written by J.R.R. Tolkien, and is from Bilbo’s poem about Strider in The Lord of the Rings. Quotefangirl even drilled a second hole in it (it’s meant to be a nickel necklace pendant) so I could use it as a connector charm (that’s what they’re called, if you’re wondering).
Midori has come out with a new Limited Edition which is all about Pan Am and travel. The special edition leather covers are dark blue, but I’m not a fan of dyed leather. I do like retro designs and figured I might try and find the official Midori Pan Am pen loop. I am a travel journalist, after all, and to me the quote and the Pan Am logo say “Traveller.” I found the pen loop cheap on eBay – no way would I pay €18 for a tiny thing like that!
Once you open up my Midori, you’ll find a see-through zip-lock pouch. I’m always keeping hold of maps, travel cards and tickets, so on my travels, a pouch like this is essential. You see I already added things for my upcoming London trip. The Pan Am sticker (part of the Midori Limited Edition) was a freebie included by the retailer when I ordered the Midori. Each MTN has a piece of string attached to it, which is the bookmark. I added 2 small charms to mine: a C for Conny and a peace sign. Technically, I wanted a little compass, but I couldn’t find one anywhere.
Midori brand name notebook inserts might be made with great paper, but they’re also very expensive and the cover is Kraft paper. A bit of scrapbooking cardboard (I use 12″x12″ double-sided sheets) and plain xerox paper will do for me. Those above are the four notebooks inserts I designed for my personal use. From left: a travel journal, theatre/event review journal, grid paper journal, and a book review journal.
Using my page design software QuarkXpress, I made a few inserts based on what I’ll need my Midori for. One of the inserts is for Theatre / Event Reviews. On the left-hand page I note down the details like title, venue, date, time, type and my rating. Plus, there’s loads of room and the entire right-hand page for notes. The Book Review is similar, but obviously changed around a bit with avid readers in mind.
My biggest challenge so far was my Travel Journal. I wanted it to include everything I usually make notes of when I travel. So it features destination overviews to plan your trip, 2 months’ worth of Hobonichi-style Day-Per-Page journal, an expenses tracker, grid paper for notes and a few pages for addresses.
I’m very pleased with the result. I’ve made an 80-page grid paper notebook as well, for jotting down stuff on the road and expanding the journal a bit. The Travel Journal will be available to download soon!
Adding notebooks to a Midori is quite easy.
First you need to connect two notebooks with a rubber band. It’s easiest if you put them back to back and slide the rubber band over them until it settles in the central fold of either booklet.
Eac Midori comes equipped with an elastic band in the middle. Simply slide your connected notebooks under the cenrtre elastic. Add more the same way, if you want. Mine currently holds 3 notebooks of 80 pages and 1 of 100 pages, plus the zip pouch, and it’s a decent, chunky size. Obviously you’d get more notebooks in, the thinner you make them.
I can’t wait to take my Midori out on the road! I will post a proper review of the MTN once I’m back from London and had a chance to test it during normal working conditions.
For now, I’m busy thinking up more insert templates and getting my Etsy Shop ready – I’d been waiting for the scrapbook paper, which was finally delivered after the German postal strike was over.
And my friends already placed some orders. Including Elöd, my pianist friend, who asked whether I could make a notebook for music and notes. So I did. The left-hand page has staves on it, the right-hand page is grid note paper.
The only thing missing from my Midori Traveler’s Notebook at the moment, is a felt cardholder, which is still on its way from Hong Kong.
I really like the way the Midori sits in my hand when I carry it around. Reminds me a bit of my clutch bag, it’s about the same size. But what I like most is the interchangeability of the notebooks. Whatever your need, you’ll probably find an insert somewhere that fits for you. And if one is full, you simply exchange that booklet, not the entire thing. For example: my travel journal will fill up quickly, but the theatre review booklet might take a while. So I can leave the theatre one in the Midori and just add a new travel journal.
Let’s just hope this is as practical as it promises to be!