I have been very blessed and fortunate to have been exposed to so many brilliant people and stories in my life. Every day I learn something new or re-discover something I had forgotten. Through all those little adventures my moleskine has been the keeper of my memories and feelings. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a journal I had written that was in really bad shape. The notebook had seen its share of water spills, wall tosses, under the car seat discoveries, etc. I decided that I wanted to protect the moleskine from these everyday trials. So I discovered Ink Leaf Leather Co. They were featured on The Art of Manliness blog, which I am a fan of, and I placed my order.
Ink leaf Leather is, I think, presently not taking orders as they are updating the business model to be more in line with demand but not sacrifice quality. I do want to take a moment to say that they are awesome for owning the issue and then addressing it. I ordered my Moleskine cover and then patiently waited, and waited. The cover took longer than expected to arrive and Inkleaf replied to every single one of my emails. I visited the site after having the cover for a while because I considered ordering another as a gift. I got to the site and it was an open letter to all stating they were re-vamping to better serve customers and to maintain quality (hand-made). Instead of made as ordered, they would make and have a stock in order to expedite requests. They acknowledged the delivery time issues from the massive amounts of business they received after being featured on the Art Of Manliness blog and owned the problem and are working on it. That is legit. I wish most businesses would be up front like them.
The quality of the materials is undeniable and the attention to detail is second to none. I am really enjoying the cover and I like that it is heavy enough to keep the cover closed, but not intrusive to not allow me to open it flat. I enjoy the Moleskine and agree with many of the comments regarding ink being noticeable through the pages. I personally think you have three options there, write in the sketch pad (which I have done) and sacrifice pages (less in sketchbook b/c they are thicker), learn not the death grip your pen and write lighter…try a smoother ink or deal with it. I use the following two pens that are available everywhere and I am not depressed if I lose one: Pilot G2 05 (07 is fine but to thick a line for me) and the Uni-ball Signo Micro 207, both are available anywhere pens are sold. These two pens provide the most consistent flow of ink and allow me to write lightly and still have it be legible. The ink will smudge if you close the Moleskine too fast and do not allow a few seconds for drying. A few smudges are worth it for me rather than feeling the indentations of the words.
There are other journals out there. Just find something you like and get writing. I like the classic look and feel of the Moleskine. Many reviews favor the cover of the Rhodia and the paper quality is mixed bag of results. Some say Moleskine some say Rhodia, others say alter the pen and both are fine. If you have an extra Rhodia, more than happy to write all over it and tell you what I think, but the classic look of the Moleskine and the sense of nostalgia I get when the pages start looking older and that pale paper full or ideas just make me smile every time.