The Rhodia Webbie for Long-Range Planning (by Hand!)

Back before the days of advanced task management apps, I rocked a Franklin Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People planner. It had everything. Insert pages for contact information (before we kept that all in our phones), daily layouts for schedules and to-do items, and a section in the back for values planning and writing out my personal mission statement.

Task tracking for me is significantly easier on a device, since I can see what I have to do (and check it off) from just about anywhere. But hashing out the bigger picture life stuff doesn’t seem to quite fit in OmniFocus or 2Do.

So for long-range planning and goal setting, I’ve gone back to paper.

I now have as many dedicated-use notebooks as I have to-do apps—a liability transferred to merely a different medium—but a notebook just for “the 30,000-foot view” has been helpful. Here’s what I’ve been using—the black Rhodia Webbie:




As you can see, it looks much like the hardcover, 5″ x 8.25″ Moleskine. But the Webbie (a.k.a., Webnotebook) is better, not least because it’s got 90 gsm Clairefontaine “brushed vellum paper,” which seems to be made for fountain pens. (Moleskine, by contrast, is not fountain pen-friendly.)

Much like its counterpart, the Webbie has a hard and smooth leatherette cover. I’m not in love with the cover, but I’ve grown accustomed to it and it is fine. The notebook is bound shut with an elastic wrap-around strap. This offers a nice way to store a pen with the notebook, in fact.




There’s an expandable back pocket, so you can keep papers, receipts, photos, etc. with the Webbie.




An 8.5” x 11” piece of paper, folded in half, just barely fits inside the notebook, though its edges come out a bit. No matter—this is not a notebook with U.S. dimensions! It’s A5, which is as tall as the Moleskine, but wider, which I find more natural for extended writing.

It does remarkably well with a fountain pen. The smooth paper feels wonderful, and provides no feathering or bleeding of ink. For that matter, there’s hardly any show-through.






My one complaint about the Webbie (besides the fact that my text editor keeps wanting to auto-correct it to Rhoda Debbie) is that the ribbon marker feels too short. It just barely extends out of the notebook, about an inch or less.

Other than that, the Webbie is as good an all-purpose notebook as I’ve written in. And it’s working great for me to replace the role those 7 Habits planning pages once played. There’s plenty of room on a page to do some serious writing, note-taking, brainstorming, or drawing, but the size still makes it portable enough to go anywhere. In terms of specs, look, feel, and quality, the LEUCHTTURM1917 notebook is quite similar, though the Webbie is a bit slimmer and has slightly fewer pages.

With 192 pages of paper (96 sheets), the Webbie ought to last its users for at least a couple months before they need a new one.

You can find the Webbie here or here.



Thanks to the kind folks at Rhodia for the notebook for review, provided without any expectation as to the content of my write-up.

The (Leather) Gospel, According to John

I’ve had hit-or-miss success in 2016 with Bible memorization. It’s entirely possible I’m being too hard on myself, but I also know I struggle to consistently work at the parts of the Bible I’m trying to memorize this year.

A tool won’t necessarily make me a better memorizer, but thinking it could help, I sprang for the Saddleback Leather Gospel of John Bible portion. You readers of this blog know I like good leather. You know I like pocket notebooks. And of course I like pocket notebooks with leather covers. So why not have a portable Scripture portion covered in leather?

This has actually been a desideratum of mine for some time, so I was really excited to see that Saddleback Leather has just released a set of three books of the Bible (John, Proverbs, and Revelation), each stitched into a leather cover. These are not inserts that can be exchanged–they are permanently stitched to their covers.

Lemme show you.


0_Two Balms
Lip Balm, Life Balm


The book is passport size (think 3.5″ x 5″ Baron Fig Apprentice rather than 3.5″ x 5.5″ Field Notes or Word. Notebooks). This means it’s a great front pocket fit.


1_Pocket View


Here it is, front and back:


Words of the Word on the Rock
Words of the Word on a Rock


3_Back on Rock
Rock on, You Rock on the Rock


Here’s a look at how the uber-tough paper is stitched into the leather:


4_Inside Stitching


5_Outside Stitching


That paper, by the way, is “YUPO synthetic paper: 100% recyclable, waterproof, tree-free, durable, and easily wipes clean.”


7_Inside Stitching Up Close


Bible production is notoriously challenging, and I’m quite sure this piece was no exception. A bummer is that there is virtually no margin to the pages. The font is small, but the lack of white space is the larger issue:


8_Full Page Text


This especially becomes a problem as some pages don’t lay 100% flat:


Crammed margins
Crammed margins


The leather is full grain and wonderful, as with all of Saddleback’s stuff. It smells good, of course. It will last forever. The paper looks just as tough, too. I don’t quite feel like trying to rip it to see if it’s truly tear-free, but it’s the kind of paper you could take on a camping trip and not have to worry.

Surprisingly, given the excellent workmanship on Saddleback products, the leather stitching was a little crooked, even though it’s machine-stitched:


6_Outside Stitching Up Close


6a_Stitching Not Straight


The insides are the NET Bible, which I appreciate as a translation for its rich footnotes. Those are not included here, which is inevitable, since the font is already small to get John to fit in.

There are 30 pages (15 sheets), including–oddly–five blank pages at the end, which means that one less sheet could have been used. (Maybe these are for notes?)

Back to why I got this thing–to memorize. The NET Bible does not lend itself well to memorization. Consider John 1:1-5 in the 1984 NIV:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Here it is in the NET Bible:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.

I dislike the translation of the generic Greek ανθρωπος as “man” in the 1984 NIV. “Humanity” or “humankind” is better in 2016–even the NET footnote cedes this option, but the text alone just gives you “mankind.” And though the footnote in fuller NET editions explains “the Word was fully God” well, NET has other such turns of phrase that make the version less than ideal for memorization.

There are also no paragraphs in this text. This means the 71-verse John 6 is a single paragraph in the Saddleback Leather Gospel of John. There is a single blank line between chapters, but especially with those five blank pages at the end, could not paragraph separations for greater readability have been employed?

One more minor production quibble: the cover text (“The Book of John”) is ever so slightly left of center, and the branding on the back is a little off-center. These are not really noticeable (like the stitching is), and maybe it’s just that I’ve come to expect near perfection from Saddleback!

I still, however, think it is absolutely awesome that Saddleback is making these things, so even though the NET Bible here isn’t quite the pocket-sized, leather-covered panacea I was seeking for Bible memorization (I know: I have issues), I would still buy this again, even if only to support the effort and have it to keep with me.

I imagine the production of these little books will only improve in time–if you’re going to get one, maybe give it a couple months and see if the next few production runs iron out the quality and layout issues.

(Personally, I’d love to see an easier-to-memorize version available in the future, too, like the NIV or NRSV.)

Saddleback’s site is here, with many wonderful leather things. You can also check out my review of their pen/sunglasses case as well as their leather Bible Cover.

Here is the Gospel of John via Saddleback, as well as a larger set of three books of the Bible, similarly bound.



This was not a review sample–I paid for it, but was fortunate to have received a handsome discount code (as a newsletter subscriber) for the item.

The Near-Perfect Driftwood Leather Field Notes Cover (Popov Leather)

Now that your Field Notes: Sweet Tooth Edition have arrived (and they do not disappoint!), what are you going to put them in? Your pocket, of course. But unless you’re wearing chaps, you can’t put your notebook into your pocket and into leather at the same time.

Well, actually you can. And there’s hardly a better way to do it than with Popov Leather’s perfectly constructed and reasonably priced Leather Field Notes Cover. Popov has a wide array of leather covers (here). In this post I review the Driftwood leather cover with pockets ($49). You can protect your pocket notebooks, make them smell good, have pockets in your pockets, and avoid chaps–all with one piece of gear.

The packaging, if I may quote Kendrick Lamar, is A1:


0_In Wrapping


It looks great out of the wrapper–there’s even a personalization option:


1_Front Cover


The only lack I could perceive in this top-notch piece of EDC gear is a place to easily keep a pen. (And maybe, too, a way to keep the notebook shut, but it stays flat and closed on its own just fine.)

I made a slight modification to mine so I could have a pen with it at all times:


2_Fron Cover w Pen and Band


Inside on the left are two card slots for credit cards, cash, business cards, driver’s license, and so on:


3_Left Inside Pocket


When you order, you can select the color of thread–the blue pops, but not too much. It looks great.

And if you haven’t gathered already from the images above, the stitching is flawless (and done by hand):


5_Stitching Close-up


6_Stitching Close-up 2


7_Stitching Close-up 3


It was from the Popov Leather site, in fact, that I learned the mechanics of why hand-stitching lasts longer than machine-stitching.

You can easily fit two 3.5″ x 5.5″ notebooks:


4_Two Notebooks


Already the leather is softening and getting a distinctive look. What kind of leather, you ask? Horween’s Chromexcel, of course. And have I mentioned how detailed the Popov Leather site is? Lots of makers are using Horween, but why? Popov tells you.

I’ve got two use cases for this notebook cover that have worked really well.

Setup the First: Into the left slot goes the notebook I use for weekly meal menus and handwritten recipes or food prep notes. The right slot holds the notebook I use for shopping lists. (I know… that’s getting a little specialized on the Field Notes.) But then I can keep grocery store receipts in the card pockets and have everything in one place, which helps not just with long-range menu planning, but also budget tracking.

Setup the Second: Daily note-taking with more catch-all pocket notebooks. Card pockets for little notes and other scraps of paper.

So this one is a winner. A Popov Tweet suggests a pen loop may be in the works for future editions, but Field Notes covers with loops are the rarer breed anyway. Bonus: you get a free Field Notes notebook inserted into the cover.

The look, feel, smell, and craftsmanship of the Driftwood Leather Field Notes Cover are about as good as it gets. Check it out here.



Thanks to Popov Leather for sending the Driftwood cover for the purposes of the review. Their kindness in sending the sample did not keep me from an honest and objective assessment in my review. I also cross-posted this review at the new Words on the Goods.

Saddleback’s Leather Bible Cover: The One You’ve Been Waiting For (If It Fits)

Finding classy and well-made Bible covers is surprisingly difficult, even on Amazon. Christian Book Distributors fares a little better. But you still have to wade through some, uh, options.


But what if she wants the eagle cover?
But what if she wants the eagle cover?


NFL Bible Cover
One way to solve the long sermon vs. game-starting-at-1 rivalry



Like a roaring... leopard?
Like a roaring… leopard?


Plain canvas would be just fine. Full grain leather? Even better.




That’s the Leather Bible Cover from Saddleback Leather Company. No, not that Saddleback. This one.

Saddleback’s cover comes in four color options: Tobacco, Dark Coffee Brown, Black, and Chestnut (pictured above).

Here are a few more images, to introduce you:




Open Empty


The Bible slides right in:


Inside Left


Bible Open


That’s the UBS5 Greek New Testament, which, as you can see, is a little short for the cover, but otherwise is a great fit.

A closer look reveals consummate stitching:


Stitching Close-up


Back Right Close-up


The closure mechanism is easy to get used to, and even allows you to slide a pencil or pen inside:


Closure Close-up


The Chestnut color is deep and rich. The leather is sturdy! So much so when it first arrived that I didn’t believe it would soften over time, but it has. It lays flat with no issue, as a result. You just have to make sure you handle the Bible cover (and enclosed Bible) rather than build a shrine to it on your shelf-of-leather. (Uh, no, I don’t have one of those.)

It looks, feels, and smells delicious. No complaints at all on the appearance, construction, design, and feel of the thing. Top-notch.

Let’s talk about fit.

A dictum of reviewing is that you review a book (or piece of gear) on its own merits, in accordance with its aim. It would be unfair, for example, to lambast a print book for not being as keyword searchable as its electronic counterpart. Print never claims to give you search results with a single click. (Not YET.)

So, to be fair, the cover’s product page says:

Buy this cover AND THEN go buy a Bible to fit

And it gives you the dimensions of the (opened) cover: 12 ½” W x 9 ½” H.

However, I think it’s fair to ask: how many people buy a leather Bible cover before buying a Bible? Usually you realize that a certain Bible has become your mainstay: through 52-week sermon series on Romans (chapters 1 and 2), through holidays and family reunions, through major life events, through years of semi-failed reading plans… and then you go get a cover worthy of the Bible.

Saddleback currently offers just this size, so you’re limited in your options. This cover is nowhere near big enough to work for the kind of Bible many folks would want to put into a leather cover: a Study Bible.

However, user reviews indicate this beautiful cover is good for slimline Bibles (ESV, NIV, NKJV). And the product page is clear along these lines, so you just have to be sure you know what you’re getting.

The Greek New Testament above is the best fit I found among my Bibles. I was disappointed that my not-that-big Greek-English New Testament didn’t fit:


Bible too big
Bible too big


Before I laid eyes on the cover, I had dreams of my Septuagint fitting in, but…


No Fit_LXX


Even the portable paperback edition of N.T. Wright’s Kingdom translation didn’t go in:


No Fit_NTW


I got really excited that my since-discontinued TNIV Bible (which I’m pretty sure is “slimline”) would be the last Bible I’d put in the cover:


No Fit_TNIV1


But it was not to be:


No Fit_TNIV2


In fact, this was a real downside to the cover–this Bible and a small hardbound notebook both got bent in my efforts to wedge them in. I didn’t push too hard, but you really have to be sure your Bible is small enough for this thing to work. Again–the product page is clear here, but one might wish not to have so many misses in matching beloved Bible to beautiful cover.

This Greek-English edition of the Apostolic Fathers is a nice fit:




And don’t forget about books! That’s actually another good option, if maybe a little superfluous:


Fit_Devotions on HB


I wish I had more to contribute to what needs to be a running list somewhere on the Saddleback Website of “Bibles that fit this cover.” My Greek New Testament has a happy home now–and smells really good. I hope Saddleback will consider expanding its sizing options.

In the meantime, if the fit is right, it’s hard to imagine a nicer cover. Saddleback uses the best leather, and their workmanship is excellent. People who buy from them tend to buy more than one item over the course of a lifetime.

Saddleback’s site is here, with a ton of products that will make you want to “go leather or go home” (I hope I’m not giving anyone any Bible cover phrasing ideas). You can also check out my review of their pen/sunglasses case. The Leather Bible Cover (reasonable retail price of $49) is here.



Many thanks to the awesome people at Saddleback Leather for sending the Bible cover review! I’m really grateful they sent it, and I would have been embarrassed had anybody seen me rip into the UPS package the way I did when it arrived… though that did not influence the objectivity of the review.

Review: UE Boom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (owned by Logitech) makes a great-sounding, sleek-lookin’ Bluetooth speaker: the UE Boom 2, now in its second generation.


The Look


The cylindrical shape and design are very cool:


2_Standing Up Volume Buttons


The speaker is meant to be used standing up, but you can also lay it on its side without it rolling away:


3_On Side


The UE Boom 2 comes in a box that looks like one of those little bank deposit tubes from days gone by:


1_In the Box


Those volume buttons are HUGE, especially compared to the smaller power on/off and Bluetooth buttons. But it’s a good look. Besides that, you can control the sound just from the volume buttons on the side of your connected device. (Pressing both speaker buttons at the same time will have the speaker tell you what percentage of battery life remains.)


The Sound


The Boom 2 has great sound, even with flat EQ. The bass is nice and clear. At a price point of just under $200, you’d expect decent sound, and this speaker does not disappoint in that regard. I didn’t measure decibels, but it can fill a whole floor of a house with music, despite its being barely taller than seven inches. Podcasts and NPR both sound great on the Boom.

The battery lasts for ages (officially rated at 15 hours), and the speaker turns itself off after a period of inactivity–which you know because a cool, little drum riff sound indicates that the speaker is powering down. Nice touch!

One down side is that the speaker won’t play when the battery is depleted, even when it’s plugged in and first charging. I found this counter-intuitive and frustrating–in other words, if you use the battery long enough, you won’t be able to listen and charge at the same time, at least not right away.

It seems also to be a design flaw that the charger port is on the bottom of the speaker. The cord protrudes such that you have to flip the speaker upside-down to keep it upright when it’s charging. This doesn’t, from what I could tell, affect the sound, however. Once you do charge it, it’s back to full power in just a couple hours.


The Use


The UE Boom 2 is waterproof (not just water-resistant). UE claims it “can be immersed in water up to 1m for up to 30 minutes.” I was not about to try this, but I do regularly–with no worries–have the speaker playing on the window sill just above the kitchen sink, while I do dishes. You don’t want to shower with this thing, but you probably could and be okay! (Disclaimer: Words on the Word is in no way responsible if you try and it goes badly for you.)


Initial pairing between speaker and Bluetooth-enabled device (phone, tablet, computer) is a breeze.


4_Connecting via Bluetooth


The tech specs for the Boom 2 say the mobile range (for maintaining the Bluetooth connection between speaker and device) is 100 feet. That was not even close to my experience–even on one floor of a house with no shut doors, at 50 feet I would occasionally notice the stream starting to cut out.

If you forget your phone is connected to the speakers and you walk out of range, there is an auto-stop feature so that you don’t lose your place in the album you’re listening too. I found this really handy.

The Bluetooth connection gets a little dicier if you’ve connected more than two devices to the speaker (i.e., ever). For the most part, though, the Bluetooth pairing process works well.



There is an accompanying UE Boom app–it’s simple, but it greatly enhances the user experience.

You can see a speaker battery life icon on your phone, right next to your phone battery percentage indicator.

And you can use the app to power off (and on!) the speaker. This wowed me. The app also has EQ settings you can adjust.


Battery life indicator, and other options via the app
Battery life indicator, and other options via the app


You can use this bad boy as a speaker phone, though trying to use Siri or place phone calls in conjunction with the speaker is pretty frustrating, unless you happen to be right next to the speaker.

Perhaps the coolest feature is that you can “Double Up” to link two UE Boom speakers to each other via Bluetooth.


6_Double Up


This is beyond cool, and I set it up (with little effort required) the second I figured out you could do it–I listened in (loud) surround sound.


7_Boom 1 and 2


Where to Get It


The UE Boom 2 is maybe a little pricey, and it’s not without its downsides, but all in all you get your dollar’s worth. Especially impressive are the Boom’s high portability, accompanying app, general ease of use, and good sound quality.

You can find the UE Boom 2 at Amazon, or at the Ultimate Ears site.



Thanks to the good folks at UE/Logitech for sending me the Boom 2 (and, previously, Boom 1) for the purposes of the review. Their kindness in sending the samples did not, as you can probably tell, keep me from honest and objective assessment in my review.

Fountain Pen Review: Kaweco STUDENT Fountain Pen Vintage Blue (Extra Fine)

Ah, Kaweco: The German writing implement company is almost a century older than I am, yet I just learned of them this last year. Now in addition to my review of their SKETCH UP pencil, I bring you a review of the Kaweco STUDENT Fountain Pen. The color of the pen is Vintage Blue; the nib is Extra Fine.


The STUDENT Fountain Pen’s Construction


The STUDENT Fountain Pen feels just about perfect in the hand–ballpoint pen writers will find it to be of suitable length. It’s sturdy but not heavy.

And it looks great:


Cap On


Here it is with the cap off:


Cap Off


It can fit just fine into a pants pocket, though you may not want it bumping up against your keys. (I prefer a case for my fountain pens.) You will notice in the image above that there is a built-in clip. The vintage blue color and silver clip make it look really good in a front shirt pocket–and it will stay there, too.


Writing with the Pen


Kaweco STUDENT Pen


I’m still new to the world of fountain pens, but I do know that even flow in fountain pens is not a given. With the STUDENT pen it’s all smooth sailing. This particular pen ships with royal blue ink, which looks fantastic. It’s easy–even for fountain pen neophytes–to buy and pop in ink cartridge refills.

As to using this pen posted or unposted (i.e., with the cap on or off), I suspect the intention is to use it however you prefer. The downside to keeping the cap off, of course, is that you might lose it! With the STUDENT fountain pen, long periods of writing might call for keeping it unposted, so as to slightly reduce its weight.

Finally, I passed the pen over to a fellow fountain pen user for this thoughts:

Nice, even ink flow. The pen is amply sized. I have medium to large hands and found that when the cap was posted the feel was hefty but comfortable and well-weighted. A smaller hand could use the pen unposted. I liked the rich blue of the barrel. Not gaudy, but also not muted.


EF Nib with Cap


You can check out Kaweco’s STUDENT fountain pen line here. (This pen is Item #10000781, and came with a nice tin gift box.) And if you are so inclined you can order the STUDENT pen via JetPens or Most Wanted Pens.



Many thanks to the fine folks at Kaweco for the pen for review! Check them out here.

Review: HEX Century Icon Folio for iPad Air 2

Last month I reviewed an iPad Air 2 case from KAVAJ and said:

As with iPad Mini cases, there are a lot on the market–so many that one could easily get lost in the three-hour rabbit hole of trying to find just the right one.

I’m not sure I have found just the right one for the iPad Air 2. There are a couple that are close–I’ll share about those in due course.

One of the cases that is close to being just right is the Century Icon Folio for iPad Air 2, from HEX Products.


What I Like About the Icon Folio


It’s not all leather, but the external material is primarily waxed canvas of high quality. The casing around the iPad itself is hard rubber. The HEX case strikes a neat balance of professional, classy, and casual.






The cut-outs for volume buttons, headphone jack, and camera are 100% A++.


Hole Cut-Outs


It’s a slim case, which makes it a good one for pulling in and out of a satchel a lot. It doesn’t add any bulk to the iPad.

You’ll have seen in the images above the elastic strap–you can use this to secure the bi-fold case, so that it doesn’t inadvertently open in your bag. The strap is thick and has the perfect amount of tension.

A key feature of the folio is the inside compartment where you can put three cards, cash, and a few notes, as you like:


Left Inside Card Slots


You can squeeze enough in here that you could take literally just this case and its contents to your favorite working spot (if you didn’t need an external keyboard).




What I Don’t Like About the Icon Folio


Just two minor critiques to offer:

1. There’s no mechanism whereby you can make the case stand or prop up. In other words, the front of the case doesn’t fold as other cases do, for when you want to sit your device on a table and watch something or use an external keyboard with it.

2. After only a little use, part of the (faux?) leather strip on the side was starting to separate from the hard rubber. Nothing major, but one does hope this doesn’t worsen with time, especially given that this is not an off-brand, $20 option.


Bonus Feature, and Where to Get It


Bonus feature: though I haven’t seen HEX advertise it anywhere for this case, it does have a sleep/wake feature, so that when you close the case with the iPad on, it puts the screen to sleep automatically to save battery. This functions as it should consistently.

You can learn more about the HEX case at their Website here. And it’s available on Amazon here.



The kind folks at HEX provided me the case for the review, without expectation as to my review’s content.

The Word from Words on the Word on Word. Pocket Notebooks

Here, in one page, is my assessment of the Dot Grid pocket notebooks from Word. Notebooks:


Review IN SUM


Here are a few more notes I took before summarizing, if you want some more details:


Review Text Notes 1


Review Text Notes 2


Here are the hyperlinks:

Word. Notebooks // Word. Dot Grid


And now… images follow–click or tap to enlarge. (All the images above are of text written in Word. notebooks themselves.)




1_In wrapper


2_Back wrapper


3_Back inside cover


4_Inside dot grid


5_Front cover



Thanks to the friendly folks at Word. Notebooks for the review samples, given to me with no expectation as to the content of my review.

This Blog’s First Handwritten Review (Inkleaf Field Notes Covers)

I wasn’t kidding about trying to write by hand more in 2016. To that end, I bring you my first handwritten review. Below I evaluate another Field Notes leather cover, this one the Slim Cover from Inkleaf.

And because my handwriting doesn’t hyperlink, after the images of my written review, I add the hyperlinks… and lots of pictures.


Review Text 1


Review Text 2


Review Text 3


Review Text 4



Inkleaf’s Story // The Field Notes Slim Cover // Inkleaf’s home page


Images Follow–click or tap to enlarge:


0_Leather Cover in Bag


1_Front Cover Closed


2_Front Cover Open


3_Open on Table


4_Inkleaf in Action


5_Inside Elastic


6_Inside Elastic 2


7_Side View


If You Want to Cover Your Field Notes in Leather… (ColsenKeane)

In my quest to write by hand more regularly, I’ve learned two things:

  1. There are LOTS of companies that make 3.5″x5.5″ pocket notebooks, not least of which is Field Notes.
  2. Not content to let those little notebooks exist unadorned, a number of folks have created leather covers.

One such company is ColsenKeane, a creator of custom leather goods. Their founder, Scott Hofert, believes in manufacturing high-quality goods that will last for a long time:

In our modern society, it’s next to impossible to find long-haul products. Passion-infused items crafted with fanatical detail. At ColsenKeane, we believe our leather pieces are creating form, function AND narrative.

I’m grateful to ColsenKeane for sending me a Field Notes Cover so I can bring you this review. The color is “Brown Crazy Horse.”


* * * * * * *


You can tell these folks take delight in their work, a trait I appreciate. Here is what the packaging looked like:


Packaging Wrapped


Packaging Unwrapped


It was so well presented, I almost didn’t want to open it, but I ripped into it quickly enough.


1_Front Cover Unwrapped


2_Look Inside


It came with two Field Notes inserts. This is one of the salient features of this leather cover–it’s specifically intended for two notebooks.


3_with Field Notes Inserts


Just because you can insert two notebooks doesn’t mean you have to. This is one of those how full do you like your wallet? questions. Avid notebook users will probably have more than one memo book, each for a different purpose. So I like the decision to set up the cover to be able to accommodate two notebooks.

There is an option for three-letter monogramming:




The elastic place marker is not something I would have known I’d appreciate, but I do:


5_Ready to Write


Everything is held together by elastic. The leather, of course, will last for ages–the elastic may not. So far I’ve had no issues with mine, but ColsenKeane does sell replacement elastic (or you can get your own), if need be. Elastic and leather feel like a funny combination, but ColsenKeane has done a nice job of putting everything together.

Let me show you in pictures–you basically just slide the open notebook into one of the elastic pieces, and it fits pretty securely.


8_Elastic 2


9_Elastic to hold book


The elastic closure to keep the notebook closed is probably not utterly essential, but it has a good job to do, especially if you’re putting the notebook cover in your pocket.


6_Strap Closure


7_Front Cover Wrapped


The leather cover works great for other non-Field Notes notebooks, too, especially if they’re 3.5″x5.5″:


10_Word Inside Cover


The little Baron Fig Apprentice notebooks are 5 inches (not 5.5) high, so they’re a little looser, but they actually work pretty well in this cover, too:


11_Two Confidants


Or you could mix and match:


12_With Apprentice and Field Notes


There is no pen holder, per se, but it’s easy enough to clip a pen to the cover.

ColsenKeane’s Field Notes cover is really well constructed. Two thumbs up for that. Of course, you don’t need a leather cover for your pocket notebooks. Pocket notebooks do just fine in your pocket without leather covering them.

But the Field Notes cover looks really cool and smells and feels good, so I’ll keep using it, as long into 2016 (and beyond?) as my analogue kick continues. It is an awesome piece of workmanship, and enhances the writing experience, giving me another Pavlovian motivation to be on paper more and at the screen less.

More info about the leather cover is here.



Many thanks to the fine folks at Colsen Keane for the notebook cover for review! Learn more about the company here.