Take Note: Notebooks!

We were in Los Angeles last week to revel in new grandmotherhood, and revel I did. Well, with a grandchild as lovely as mine wouldn’t you throw an impromptu rave too? Here’s Naomi reading “I Can Fly” with her reader/writer Mama.



I’ll stop with the Proud Nana stuff now, because this sweet tiny tyrant isn’t my topic tonight. I want to talk about my flat sweating panic my first day in LA when I reached into my purse for my travelling notebook, which, incidentally  I’d bought at a Papyrus shop in Glendale a few years ago. Son-of-a-bitch shit! No notebook.

You have to understand my pathetic dependence on notebooks. I’ve never been a reliable diarist because I’m too lazy to pour out my heart and soul into a cool journal at bedtime. And I’m not that interesting. And if I’m going to knuckle down and write, I figger I might as well save my efforts for true writing projects. Humble notebooks of every size, shape and price point save the scrambled record of my life, whether they’re used for To-Do lists, shopping lists, recipes copied from the internet (my printer sucks ass,) story ideas, cool website addresses, books I want to read, and doodles. A notebook sits on my coffee table next to my laptop. Another abides in my bag, always, especially when I travel. How else would I remember the name of that Peruvian restaurant, the email address of a cool new acquaintance or  the name of that stunning Malbec? I’d be SOL.

What ticked me off when I found myself notebookless in LA is that I’m a notebook junkie. Check out all these beauties, which I’ve accumulated over the years, mostly from the fab bookstore in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo, Kinokuniya Book Store. Here’s a Mondrian-like arrangement of the virgin notebooks that were waiting me at home in the ‘Ville.



So what did I do when I had a spare half hour when I got home? Well, I made some more notebooks. ( Truly, I know I might have a teeny addiction problem.) I don’t remember where I saw this cool idea, but I love it in so many ways: paper, thread, cheap, cheerful, fast. You cut some paper to size and run it through a sewing machine. I recommend you use a sewing machine needle made for sewing leather, but I didn’t have one and punted. Here are the funky yet practical results:



Left to right: I used a two subscription cards as covers and played around with satin stitching. In the middle, just some printer paper folded in half, stitched and stamped. Right, a notebook with a cloth cover. Man, I had fun, and I’m considering cutting up brown paper bags for my next notebook.

Except I don’t need one.




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4 responses to “Take Note: Notebooks!

  1. Let JOY be Unconfined!!! A tee-ninecy reader, some travels, some artful magic, notebooks, and MAGGIE’S BACK!

    Much missed and wished well and warm and happy, lo, for all these days.

    I’ve got a big shelf of those, as well, with writing even I cannot decipher any more, and names whose faces float away like clutched-at dreams of the morning.

    I’m just so glad to see you, and read you, and know you’re still purring along, turning out such lovely articles (in hand and in print).

    moire non,


    ps I just noticed that your blog knows me—my little patchwork symbol is still here.

  2. Charlotte

    Your addiction is notebooks. I understand it because it is reminiscent of my addiction to bags. Both can be ordinary or beautiful, bought or made, simple or complex…and both hold the “stuff” of our lives. Welcome back!

    • OMG, Tarby, I know so well about bags, They do hold the “stuff”, including notebooks and mascara and Aleve and many, many receipts. You could do some fancy dancy art installation about the contents of handbags.

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