This post has been a long time coming! I’ve had it in the queue for a while, while other, seemingly more timely things, popped up, like Scriptus or Hallowe’en.

Mid-fall, I was still a bit unsure about what exactly my system would look like: this year had been a bit haphazard, especially with the two month trip in the middle. When we received our long-anticipated Hobonichi shipment, I was both excited and apprehensive: they’re here! And now decisions to be made. Hobonichi for this upcoming year? Cousin? Techo? And which cover? A cover at all? I waffled around aimlessly.

The long and short of it is:
- Hobonichi Techo Avec (with the clear A6 MD cover) as an everyday notebook
- Traveler’s Notebook Camel for structured daily life/work (inserts: Weekly Vertical, 013 Lightweight Paper, 002 Grid)
- Traveler’s Notebook Olive for personal stuff
- Midori 3-year Diary
- Superior Labor Pen and Wallet Case

The Jan-June yellow notebook on the left has the clear cover on it. Am looking forward to putting a few stickers on there!

The Avec versions of the Techo and Cousin are the same as the standard versions except with the year split up into two notebooks, so it’s slimmer.

I’m planning on using it as an everyday carry notebook, a catch-all for the random things that come in a day (grocery lists, reminders, doodling, ink testing, children scribbling, dates, quotes). Some of you may remember how much I loved my B6 slim notebook, which will be on sabbatical while I try out this new system.

The change is mostly because the Hobonichi has a page-a-day format. I’m thinking that having some structure will also help me look back to reference things if I need to, if I’m writing in my journal and trying to remember what happened that day, or trying to find that phone number I got from that person at book club. It will also mentally start a new day every morning as I look ahead at the minutiae of a to do list, which sometimes can be as small as water the plant upstairs. I’m also okay with having some blank pages or filling into another date as needed.

Previously, I had tried having an “open” insert in my Traveler’s Notebook, in place of my B6 slim. It was getting a bit tight in my TN, and it was hard to think about what to cut, but actually more to the point, it was a bit counter productive to have my catch-all notebook inside my TN, as it obligated me to bring my entire TN or go without. While walking the dog, or picking Caleb up from school, or a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up milk, I like having a small pocket notebook with me in case something occurs to me while I’m out. I’ve really loved the B6 size and format, so maybe it will end up coming back out, but I’m looking forward to the page-a-day format as well.

The Techo will basically be a back pocket notebook where anything that is important will get transferred out as needed.

For example, doctor’s appointments would get transferred into my Traveler’s Notebook weekly planner, ideas for blogs or projects would be re-written into my work insert, new contacts would be input into my phone or email.

Once I knew how I was going to use my Hobonichi Techo, everything else also fell in place.

The Traveler’s Notebook is easy to change, and thus I find myself tweaking and changing often, however, this is the set up that I’ve been using for a while.

My Traveler’s Notebook (camel) which will hold my weekly vertical, a shop insert, and my reading journal. My weekly vertical helps me plan out my week, and I like to see the trajectory of my day (morning plans, appointments, lunch, afternoon, after school activities, evening activities, etc.) as my days often look quite different. I also use this as a loose plan for shop stuff—planning for when I’m going to work on different blog posts, priorities, or things going on.

Because I carry my Camel TN around with me more, I typically use the very, very excellent Superior Labor Pen 2-Pen Holder that attaches with a brass clip. This is the natural that has had zero treatment or mink oil and has just darkened with time to almost the camel.

For the first time, I’m going to have a second Traveler’s Notebook in the mix: this will have my personal journal, inserts with projects that I’m still working on (for example, backfilling my travel journal from our Japan/HK trip) as well as an insert for Caleb. This one mostly stays at home unless I’m making a trip out to a cafe intentionally.

I also am continuing with my Midori 3 Year notebook. I am really enjoying this, especially as Caleb grows older and begins to say more interesting things. I’m wrapping up year two, so 2020 will be year three. Will I change to a Hobonichi 5 year after? I’m not sure. The formats are a bit different, and I will endeavour to do a blog post comparing the two.

However no matter the format you might end up choosing, I could not more highly recommend keeping some version of putting down a few lines a day. I keep track of everything from milestone events at the shop, small disasters, firsts, or of course, funny things that happen with the kids. Days can sometimes be a grind, and it can be a real joy to look back on those tiny moments or surprises, laughing at the anguish you felt when your dog stole your dessert or day you discovered a shocking library fine because your life partner borrowed a book with your card and then didn’t return the book for several weeks. Just remembering your days can be something that helps you keep some perspective.

My anticipated daily carry.

So that’s it. It feels like I’ve pared down, but that’s mostly because I now have two Traveler’s Notebooks that contain a lot of different purposes. I’m excited to enter into this new year. We have a lot of projects ahead for us in 2020, and as we’re still a relatively new business (we’ve just passed six years), each year is so significant and different for us. With Naomi potentially heading into preschool in the fall of 2020, it will be bringing some big changes for me personally and my time and day and routines, so we’ll have to see how it goes.

Here’s to all that’s ahead.


Currently reading: Once More with Feeling by Meira Cook
Currently drinking: water
Currently staring at: two Canada Post parcel bins filled with laundry
Currently contemplating: egg nog
Also contemplating: the urgency of getting my Christmas cards out
Latest heard from the mouths of babes:
Caleb: Where can I find a spider?
Mama: There are lots of spiders on our fire escape.
Caleb: But those are all normal spiders.
Mama: Yes.
Caleb: Where can I find a radioactive spider?
Mama: *Pauses* So one can bite you and you can turn into Spider-Man?
Caleb: *Pauses* Maybe.

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Jen Dy

Jen Dy said:

Hope you will have an update and share your latest analogue setup which I enjoy reading about!

Karen Jones Michaud

Karen Jones Michaud said:

What an exciting and interesting Website you have. I’ve been exploring it as I let my fountain pen clean in distilled water. Wish I lived nearby to visit your shop, in the meantime I know I can order online. Looking forward to receiving your newsletter.


Pat said:

Ohhh! So nice to see this.

I’m also in the process of rejigging my analog-digital organization system. I’m personally trying moving from a daily format to a weekly one, and using both a digital calendar and a bullet journal (for work).

Debating about a reading journal, because that might help prompt me to read more, but we’ll see :)

Caleb’s radio active spider hunt is such a sweet story :D


wonderpens said:

Thank you so much for reading!

It’s always a work in progress, as work or life changes and we re-evaluate what we need. Good luck with yours!

I have really enjoyed my reading journal. It has helped me think a little bit more about what I’m reading, which is nice because I sometimes finish a book and then even just a few weeks later, I have to wonder what exactly I read—-hah.


Emily said:

This is lovely. I’ve been trying to sort out the kind of analogue system I want to set up and this helped me categorize some of the things I need so thank you!


Charlotte said:

I’m positive I left a comment on this post, as I always enjoy reading them. The internet must have eaten it!

Seeing pictures of your TN makes me reconsider mine for planning, even though I quite like the simplicity of my Moleskine weekly. The leather of the TN ages so, so beautifully. I do wonder though, if you had issues with the size and writing surface in the beginning? Or did you just instantly take to it? I can’t seem to get past the not-laying-flat-thing.


Charlotte said:

I now I see them both. Feel free to delete! :)

Issam Mansour

Issam Mansour said:

Always interesting topics on your blog ( I’ve been reading your posts in reverse order).
I wonder if you can recommend some over-sized fountain pens – say, anywhere from $50 to $400.00 that you might have available.


Charlotte said:

I always love reading your posts on your analogue set up! I have struggled this entire year finding my analogue form and I’m so undecided going forward in 2020.
I have had great success with a Moleskine weekly before, but then I see pictures of TNs like yours and I want to pull out mine again. They age so beautifully! But there just something… the strings or the awkward writing surface or… I don’t know.

The only certain items in my 2020 setup for now are the Hobonichi A6 for a page day journaling and a 5 year diary for tiny things about the kids.

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