I carry my Moleskine Pocket Sketchbook with me every day, and by the time I am done filling the notebook and move on to the next, I have usually stuffed it full with clippings, curled pages, photos and other detritus of life. The binding is swollen from all that extra bulk, and the book is usually starting to come loose at the binding. I needed a way to keep my notebooks in better shape for the 6 to 8 months that they travel with me, as I fill them up. I have tried various covers and ways to protect the binding and the book itself, but so far nothing has been a perfect fix for my problem.
I have experimented with making my own covers, but this new cover from Gfeller is the best solution that I have found. I will tell you up front that they are not cheap. I debated buying mine for several years because of the price, but I finally decided to spend the $75 and buy one, and I am very happy with the slip cover. I admit, I was somewhat surprised at how thick my Moleskine became when I put the case on, it adds a certain bulk that wasn’t apparent from the photos that I looked at online before buying. The English kip leather that they use for these cases is very durable and though each layer is very thin, by the time you add up the outer casing, and the inner lining, that adds 4 layers of leather to the thickness of the notebook when closed. My Moleskines are usually quite stuffed already, and so they can get very chunky.
The construction of the cover is very detailed, I searched in vain to find where the stitching begins or ends, there are no sharp edges or rough places, it has been carefully made, and very well designed. The inner flaps extend beyond the outer edges so that there is no bump to write over, and the slot cut into the leather so that the elastic strap can still be functional is perfect.
The leather was very pale and almost cream colored when I first received it, but over the past few weeks I have noticed it turning steadily darker to a middle caramel color right now, and according to Gfeller, it will continue to darken with more exposure to UV light, which certainly won’t be a problem in Florida! I also expect the soft leather to conform to the edges of the Moleskine, and take on a distinct character.
I like objects that wear well, and take on a unique patina with use, much like how a good pair of leather boots become comfortable and well worn with use, I expect to have this cover for many many years. Who knows what adventures it will be a companion on? A Moleskine wrapped in leather like this seems like just the thing that Indiana Jones would carry with him on his journeys. Its rugged and functional -which are the attributes that I respect most in the things that I enjoy owning. EJH
The Kaweco Brass Sport Pen, is the first of the sport line of pens that Kaweco makes, that I have been interested in. As a rule I don’t consider plastic or resin a durable enough material for a pen that I would keep bouncing around in my pocket for years and years. Brass on the other hand is a nearly perfect material, it is durable, and takes a patina over time. It is dense and heavy which helps with a pen this small. It is nearly perfect for what I wanted, which was a pen that I could put in my pocket every day and not have to think about. When I need a pen, it will be ready for me.
I have carried a wide variety of pens over the years, but the one area where they all seem to fall short is durability. They are either made of flimsy materials, or they are long and prone to get bent or otherwise messed up due to rough treatment. I am very happy with this pen, it seems to meet all of my requirements well.
I have had this pen for about a month now, and have used it several times a day, it has never failed to start up and though I will often pause with the pen uncapped for several minutes at a stretch, it has yet to dry up on me while I was pondering. I chose the EF nib with some hesitation as I have read that some of the finer Kaweco nibs have misaligned tines, but I have examined this one very closely and it is cut very straight and clean. I am not convinced that it is a true EF, I would consider it more of an F, but I am not worried about it, I am happy with the line weight.
I also bought the small bronze clip that is supposed to clip on the body of the pen, but it doesn’t seem to want to stay; it slides off very easily, so I just leave it at home. The only thing that I see as a potential issue is that this pen has a plastic insert inside the cap, this seems to be meant to quiet the sound of the threads as you screw it on, but I worry that over time those plastic threads may be pulled out by the brass ones on the body of the pen, only time will tell…
I saw an old red leather bound book in the .25 section of a local Book sellers’ rack. The published date was 1907, and the title: Little Rivers by Henry Van Dyke. It was in rough shape, the edges were torn, the cover was held on with a rubber band.
It was a small book, once bound in red leather, with gold gilt lettering. I thumbed the cover open, and found this inscription: “Essays on profitable idleness” That cinched it for me, and since $0.25 is not much to gamble on a good book; I bought it (along with a Latin reader, and one of Fredrick Nietzsche’s works.)
Henry van Dyke (1852-1933) was an American clergyman, (Presbyterian) Ambassador and Author. Though much of his writings are related to his work, this little gem is not. It tells of his fishing trips in Europe and in New-England, and Canada. With a few pieces of outdoor poetry thrown in for good measure. I made the point of reading outdoors, it reminded me of my childhood, and it inspired in me a lust of the wild.The english is a bit dated, but that is due to it’s age. But that can be a shining point. Van Dyke uses the language to bring the reader down to the stream where he is casting his rod. But this is not just a book about fishing; no, there are many tid-bits of wisdom woven though the narrative. I particularly like this one:
There is such a thing as taking ourselves too seriously, or at any rate, too anxiously. Half the secular unrest and dismal, profane sadness of modern society comes from the vain idea that every man is bound to be a critic of life, and to let no day pass without finding some fault with the general order of things, or projecting some plan for it’s improvement.
I have a thing for old books, something about the idea that this book went though 100 years of history is intriguing to me. I wonder who held it, how many people read it, what influence it had on the lives of it’s owner..
I would recomend it for the outdoors person, it is worth the read.
I have been using the Osprey Veer Resource bag since 2010 as my ‘walking bag’ whenever I go out for a walk, or a short bike ride. I keep it to pretty minimal contents; mostly my iPad, a few pens and my Moleskine. Thats pretty much it most of the time.
I bought the blue one in these pictures at REI in Portland back in 2010, I wanted something I could keep essentials in, and since I am a huge fan of Osprey Packs, I bought this without hesitation, and it really has served me well. I used it very regularly from 2010 till 2013, then I gave it away. After a few months of carrying my heavy Momentum 34 pack with me everywhere, I realized how much I missed having something small and easy to grab on my way out the door, so I went to buy another one, only to find that Osprey had discontinued them. I watched eBay like a hawk, and finally bought another one this year. (Red this time)
Other than two small irritations (more on that later) I am really in love with this bag, it has a great strap design so that it sits right on the small of the back when you are walking, and doesn’t interfere with your hands, or get in the way at all. Unlike a backpack which is hard to get into if you want something, you can just swing the veer around easily and access the contents on the move. It has a flap on the front that is secured with Velcro, and has a place for a few pens, and a small hidden pocket where I keep my Moleskine.
The main compartment has a protective flap over the zippers to help keep moisture out, which I think is a really thoughtful design idea. I keep my iPad in there, as well as a larger journal or some other project from time to time. I will often throw in a bluetooth keyboard if I am going to do any long-form writing.
On top is the best pocket on the bag, it is right where your hand naturally falls when you grab for the bag, and I use it to keep things I want instant access to. I keep a flashlight there, and headphones, a cliff-bar and a multi-tool most of the time. I know that this bag has a pretty strong following in the concealed carry community because of this pocket, it almost seems engineered for CC.
There is a place to put a water-bottle, and in my case; I keep a 18oz Hydrofask there most of the time.
The only 2 things I don’t like about the bag, are the poorly designed outside flap pocket, it has a very short zipper which restricts access, and seems like it would have been better if it were a vertical zipper instead. the smart-phone pocket on the strap is also too small. It barely fits an iPhone 5s, and I don’t think it would fit a 6 at all.
At this point (2 years after Osprey discontinued production) you are probably going to have a hard time finding one outside of eBay, but I still think its the best small walking bag ever made.
- Ipad & Case
- Glue Dot Runner
- Sennheiser PX100s
- Coghlans Trek I First Aid Kit
- Lamy Safari Yellow
- Lamy Al-Star Graphite
- Kum Pencut Scissors
- Kashi Granola Bar
- Osprey Veer Bag
- Staedtler Color Pencils
- Bluetooth Keyboard
The Winsor And Newton Bijou box is an exquisite objet d’art, I find pleasure in simply owning this little jewel of a watercolor set. It is made by a UK art supply company and is rather hard to obtain in the USA, so i had this one shipped from London many years ago. If comes with 8, colors of artist grade watercolors. (It is important to note that the pigments in the artist grade line -as opposed to the student grade paints, are vibrant and burst with color)
This is a simple object, it is an enameled metal box will space for 12, 1/2pans of watercolor paint, and a tiny, tiny brush. Thats it. It has no buttons, no lights, and takes no batteries. It’s design hasn’t really changed much in decades, (other than the lid which seems to have only 2 mixing areas now, as opposed to the 4 areas that mine has) the design is perfect as it is, there is no ned to change it. I love this little box.
There is a thumb ring that folds out on the bottom, so you can use it as a tiny little pallet, it has a lid that you mix your paint in, and a very small brush, (which I don’t use much since I use a waterbrush) this is good design and a mature object. There is no where else to go with this design, it is perfect, perfect, perfect.
I love to use it in conjunction with a watercolor Moleskine, and a waterbrush, this is the art trifecta. A perfect set for creativity and inspiration. This is one of those items that I would replace without question if it was ever lost or broken.
Into The Wild, by John Krakauer was a short read, it doesn’t take a lot of room on the shelf, but there are treasures within that belay it’s small size. A friend recommended the book to me about 4 years ago, and gave me a short synopsis of the story. I remember it well, because I had just finished reading: ‘Between A Rock And A Hard Place’ by Aron Ralston, and I was telling him about it.
He immediately told me that I would like ‘Into the Wild’. Now, I find it in the used section of a local favorite bookseller.It is not a glorification of a man who failed, it is not overly critical, nor is it unemotional. Rather, it is the oft questioning watcher, written by a man who never met his subject, but who somehow connects to Christopher McCandless.Told in muse, and memory, by those who knew him, and those who think that they did, stitched together by the ponderings of the author and quotations from Thoreau and others, it brings one down to the place where understanding why a well educated young man would up and abandon every vestige of society and live a vagabond existence in Alaska.
The debate that raged over McCandless demise is secondary to the passions that drove him, and the side story of his impact upon those he came into contact with along the way. I wonder what would have happened to him had he lived though his ‘Great Alaska Adventure’ and returned (as he apparently planned) to society. Would he be known – some ten+ years later as another wilderness wanderer turned writer? (Another Peter Jenkins perhaps.)
Unknown to me at the time of purchase/reading; a movie of the same title had been made. ‘Inspired by the true story’ is the tag line. I watched the movie, and though I enjoyed it, this is not a review of the film, but of the book. The Silver Screen takes liberties with the story-line. Weaving romance through it, as only Hollywood can do. But I hope that the movie doesn’t ruin the story. It is not a grand and great adventure, this is fundamentally a tragedy. This was an intelligent and caring young man, he went into the wilds of Alaska one day, and simply never came back.
I would have liked to meet Chris, I think he would have been interesting conversation, and though we would disagree about a great many things, I think in the end we would have been friends. I too feel the wanderlust urge from time to time, but like most, I seldom really venture far from the world. I keep close to electricity and internal combustion engines. Some days I wonder what kind of changes an adventure like the 2 year tramp that McCandless embarked on would yield in my life. I am far too comfortable in my 21st century existence. In that thought; I give a hearty hey-ho to Chris’s ideals and adventuresome spirit.
Read the book, and failing that: watch the movie, then read the book.The debate that raged over McCandless demise is secondary to the passions that drove him, and the side story of his impact upon those he came into contact with along the way.