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Discussion Forum > Loose-leaf vs bound book compromise -- Midori Traveler DIY

Booklets (letter or A4 size, folded in half), easily made at home, with an optional cover with optional elastic threads to hold the booklets in place. That's large enough for decent notes and not to get lost. The one in my purse has a cardboard cover for protection and stiffness. (I much prefer paper for note-taking.) Several booklets can go in a single cover.

Much less expensive than MoleSkine or Lecturne, with more flexibility.

Like bound books, the pages stay in order, and I can easily see an entire spread. Like spiral-bound, I can fold the pages back so they take less space when open.

Like loose-leaf, it's easy to add pages in the middle (if a section grows faster than expected). Just add a booklet. I can also spread them out, so I can see my todo list, habit diary, burndown charts for projects, and dated planning/log page at the same time.

(Stapling the corner of looseleaf, even half-size, requires page flipping rather than turning. It just doesn't feel smooth to me. Grit in the system.)

I prefer 4-6 sheets per booklet. That's enough for a page per day for a week, with a few for overflow, but not so many that I'm upset at the waste, If I don't like the layout, only a few sheets are wasted. They're small enough that I can carry several in one cover. (At home, I don't have use a cover. Just a stack, and a pen with a clip.)

It's easy to create and print forms. I like 31 numbers down the side of a grid for habit chains, and 1/4" dotted grid for most other things. Normal graph paper, if you can find it these days, works if the grid is light, and several websites will generate custom grids for printing.

Pre-printing more-detailed forms, such as time ladders or weekly todo lists, doesn't work for me. Once I create the template, I want something different, no matter how many times used the layout before committing. The exception is month grids: 31 numbers down the side, room to write topics in the first row, and room for a page title. Very useful for habit chains and burn-down charts. 1/4" dotted grids are also nice;


Hand-Sewing. Best results. I prefer lock-stitch with a sewing awl.
The holes easily go exactly in the fold. Thread takes no space, so they fold over nicely. Only a few minutes per booklet. Smile when I think of a fellow-crafter noticing. Grandma's old cotton thread broke after a few day's of use, so I'll try newish polyester (the most commonly sold these days) for the next batch.

Stapler. Fastest, especially after I found and marked the perfect setting on the long-arm stapler, but it's not quite as accurate as sewing. Doesn't fold over as nicely due to staple shape.

Machine-Sewing: Least favourite, even ignoring the time to set it up, and the extra machine maintenance. (Home machines sew paper just fine, but paper is dusty and dulls the needle.) The holes are so close together the paper might tear. I'm not good with the machine, but it seemed harder to keep a straight line, so there's more stress on the seam when I fold the pages over.
January 10, 2017 at 17:55 | Unregistered CommenterCricket
I did something like this with two Moleskine Volant books. I would just attach them with a rubber band and some scotch tape. Worked great whenever I needed to start a new notebook but wasn't done with the material in the older notebook.

If you use Field Notes notebooks, it feels even more like a Midori. The notebooks are thinner, and you can mix and match lined, graph, and blank. But personally I don't like that size -- too small for me.
January 11, 2017 at 0:03 | Registered CommenterSeraphim
I just bought a moleskein chapters notebook. Same shape and size as the Midori traveler calendar I was using. What I like is that it lays flat. I use the chapters, just a colored divider, for big projects.
January 11, 2017 at 3:36 | Unregistered CommenterErin
Cricket: can you show pics of your booklets?
January 13, 2017 at 15:21 | Unregistered CommenterPavel
When I was using a paper based system I bought Atoma notebooks. One can take out pages and put new ones in. Available in different sizes, colors and materials...
January 18, 2017 at 10:08 | Unregistered CommenterChristian G.
Pavel, they're not worth pictures. Just several sheets of blank paper, folded in half to make a booklet. The binding method varied a bit. These days, I carry some on a small clipboard around the house, and a cardboard folder in my purse.

The pages vary. I like a 1/4 inch dotted grid best for most pages. That's a bit smaller than college rule, and suits my handwriting. It's just enough guidance to keep my lines straight, both on the line, and when doing columns.

I took a class on bookbinding last weekend. We tried to learn two-needle Coptic. My book looks good if you don't know what to look for. My instructor's looked more like this:
January 23, 2017 at 21:44 | Registered CommenterCricket