A Closer Look at the Black Beauty Creme B6 Traveler’s Notebook Cover

The Creme line from Chic Sparrow is their thickest leather. It’s a soft and pliable, supple full-grain leather with a decent amount of structure so it’s not floppy. It feels so nice and sturdy in your hands. It also smells wonderful. I’m not advertising for them. I simply love this leather, and a few others, and so much so that I think I might have an addiction, and it’s not a good one either because they are expensive. I started out with one leather cover back in 2017, a Mr. Darcy Lemon Drop B6, and from then on, it’s been one notebook cover after another. I’m at the point where I have no use for them. I’m simply collecting them now. I guess if it makes me happy, it can’t be a bad thing, right?

Gastaldi Cascade Folio A5

I’ve never been a fan of the color green for notebook covers, but lately it’s been a color I’m drawn too. My first purchase of a green cover was the Glas Folio B6 from the Express line. I thought I was good with that one, but then the Gastaldi from the Artist line captured my heart. There is something about this green that’s just so magnetic. The color is between a fern and forest green. I’d say maybe a sap green. There’s a bit of yellow and brown to it.

This Gastaldi is a Cascade Folio in the A5 size.

Here’s Gastaldi compared to Glas. Glas is a muted lime green.

Currently, I have a Stalogy A5 notebook in the Gastaldi and a Stalogy B6 in the Glas. Both of these notebook covers were purchased from Chic Sparrow. The Stalogy notebooks were purchased from Amazon.

Unboxing Video: Black Beauty Creme and Dark Brown Scout

I ordered quite a few notebooks from Chic Sparrow late December and earlier this month. I’m a little backed up on unboxings but I’m getting there. This unboxing is of the Black Beauty Creme in the B6 size and the Dark Brown Scout in the narrow size. The Creme leather is their thickest leather. It is full-grain (the best leather out there) and soft to the touch. Some Cremes are pebbly, but none of mine are. I have five Cremes and all are very smooth except for the Chocolate, which is slightly pebbly, but still soft to the touch. The Scout is what Chic Sparrow called Maverick previously. I have a Golden Maverick in the Classic style and in the standard size. Classic just means stitching is optional. I went with optional with the Golden Maverick back then because I didn’t want the pockets. Now, I love the pockets! The Scout has pockets made from the Creme leather. I also have a similar style of leather to the Maverick and Scout but by Foxy Fix. The one by Foxy Fix is called Le Voyageur. It’s a dark brown (lighter than the Scout) color in the wide size. Maverick, Scout, and Le Voyageur are all from Asian Buffalo hide. Leather thickness is very similar to Creme.

Emma B6 Traveler’s Notebook

If you haven’t seen my video, I did an unboxing of this leather. It’s an Austen Emma B6 Heritage by Chic Sparrow. I ordered this leather notebook cover during the December 2021 sale. This leather patina’s pretty quickly. I’ve had it for about a month and it’s already darker than when I received it. It will continue to patina so I’ll revisit later this year to see how it’s changed.

I’m using this one to hold my affirmations. I go through these phases where I question doing art, but I keep returning to art because it relaxes and keeps me creative. It helps me stay focus on my goals (writing/publishing) and my family. It’s strange that way how art has that much control. Here’s my first page of my affirmations. I’m going to pull a card once a month to do a layout and some journaling.

Northern Lights Paintings Using Gouache

I tried my hands at using gouache and I’m liking it. I like how smooth it goes on and that it dries matte. What I’m not comfortable with (yet?) is that it takes getting used to. There were a couple times I wanted to give up because what I was trying to achieve just wasn’t happening, or so I thought. Somehow, the paintings turned out okay. Gouache tests my patience. I think one of these days I will definitely just destroy an unfinished piece.

These are the paintings I made using gouache. They were for birthday cards for family.

Here are close-ups.

I typically try to practice a smaller version before attempting on larger pieces to get the hang of things. I decided to record my process to share how I do it. Since I’m new to gouache, I wanted to also share a swatching of the gouache I used. It’s the Art Philosophy brand. I chose this brand because I heard a lot of good stuff about their gouache and it wasn’t expensive. I may one day try Holbein, Winsor & Newton, and other higher ends.

Steamboat Springs Weekend Trip

Last weekend, our oldest daughter was celebrating her two-year anniversary with her boyfriend in Steamboat Springs and we needed to get some Christmas photos for the year so we decided to join them up there. They had gone up before we did and stayed in a B&B. We stayed at a La Quinta about five minutes from them.

The drive to Steamboat was about four hours. There was a bit of snow as we approached the Eisenhower Tunnel.

Down the other side of the tunnel is steep and curvy. I’ve been down this road many times but each time, I’m always so nervous.

When we got closer to Steamboat, it snowed.

A few minutes before reaching Steamboat, the snow stopped and disappeared.

Where we stayed.

The view from the back window of our hotel room.

We didn’t have time to do too many things. Our one full day there, we had breakfast with our daughter and her boyfriend, and took photos. Then, they went their way, and we went ours. Husband, our youngest daughter, and I went to a hot springs which husband and I loved, but daughter didn’t so much. The sulfur was too strong for her. The sulfur started to burn my eyes eventually so we left. We had lunch and then went to watch Eternals at a really small theater (it’s really small compared to the AMC near our home, but not nearly as small as the one in Craig when I went with our daughters some years ago). Daughter and I liked Eternals. Husband thought it was too long.

It was a nice little getaway to a small ski town. Everyone was friendly and the view was beautiful and peaceful.

Candlelight: A Haunted Evening

A week and a half ago (can you believe we’re already in week two of November?), during the week of Halloween, husband, our youngest daughter, and I went to a strings performance called Candlelight: A Haunted Evening. They played spooky songs as well as some classics like The Adam’s Family theme song and Ghost Busters theme song. They even played the famous tune from the movie Psycho. It was a great evening.

The event took place at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. We were allowed to go a little early and tour the museum before the performance started. Our daughter has been to the museum before for a choir performance so she was really happy to see that we were going there again. This was my first time there as well as husband’s. It was really awesome to see these retired military airplanes.

The candlelight setup was very intimate and really enjoyable. I was surprised our daughter enjoyed it as much as we did.

For Halloween, husband and I dressed up as bumble bees and handed out treats. Our oldest daughter worked so didn’t get to enjoy this year’s Halloween. Our youngest was the mad hatter. She went trick-or-treating with her friend for about an hour or so. They came back and chilled out and played some video games. We had a really nice Halloween this year. Last year, because of COVID, we didn’t do anything.

Hope you all had a great Halloween. I had wanted to post sooner but I was just super busy with home life and health-life. I’m behind on my reading as well. I hope the authors I’m reading for can be patient with me. Speaking of reading, I’m not sure what’s going on with Goodreads, but they put two books under currently reading list, so now I show having four books I’m currently reading. I have no idea why those two extra books are there because they were not even under my “to read” list. They suddenly just popped up under my currently reading list. The first time this happened (with just one book), I deleted the book and didn’t think anything of it. But now, it was obvious. I only realized it because I had a couple of friends/followers “liked” those books which triggered me to take a closer look. Really strange.

Preparing Notebook for 2022

Around this time of the year, I prep my writing notebook for 2022. I use a Hobonichi Techo and normally buy directly from the 1101 store (Japan). However, the cost of shipping has gone way up. It was $20 the years before, but now it’s $80. I didn’t think it was worth it, so I ordered the notebook from Jetpens and the cover from Etsy. Last year, I didn’t like any covers from the 1101 store, so I ordered from Etsy as well. This year were a couple of covers I liked, but it wasn’t worth the shipping cost.

I ordered the cover from an Etsy shop called, XIAMUhandmade. I also wanted to try out their watercolor notebooks so ordered one of those. When I received the shipment, they included a mini watercolor notebook, stickers, and a couple of washi tapes. That was so sweet. I was so happy to get these little extra goodies.

I’m awaiting the cover-on-cover from another Etsy seller (Jetpens was sold out). Once I have all the pieces, I’ll share my setup.

How do you keep organized in your writing, journaling, life goals tracking, etc?

Le Stallion Notebooks

Left to right: Henson (Desert Brown), Garanno (Cocoa Brown), and Ariegois (Ashgray Black)

These notebooks are honestly beautiful. I love that they have a table of contents and numbered pages. As a writer, these two features are what’s most important to me in a notebook, but the soft and pliable faux leather, metallic charm, and burgundy brown edging of these Le Stallion Notebooks add a little excitement each time I grab for them. I haven’t written in them yet, but they are on the table next to me and I’m always finding myself running my hands over them and flipping through the empty lined pages.

It’s crazy how important looks is…but I would know that as an avid reader and writer. I’m often drawn to pretty looking book covers, and admit, I’d choose a good looking book cover over one that is mediocre. However, this isn’t to say I would never read a book that didn’t have a nice cover. Blurbs are important too and I mostly go by blurbs after gushing over the covers. I think I treat notebooks the same. Looks matter, but what’s most important is what’s inside, and as mentioned earlier, the table and contents and numbered pages sold me.

I rarely use the back pocket but I’m always in favor of it because there may be times when I’ll need a place to tuck scratches of short scenes or maybe even a list of name of characters I know I’ll forget if I don’t jot them down. I often use sticky tabs in my notebooks and have kept them in the back pocket.

It’s hard to capture the true color of the edging but it gives the notebooks a clean look.

There are four colors available: Ariegeois (Ashgray Black), Garanno (Cocoa Brown), Henson (Desert Brown), and Galloway (Khaki Cream) [not shown]. These notebooks are available for $19.95 each on Le Stallion’s website.

To watch my unboxing video of three of these notebooks, click here >> Unboxing Le Stallion A5 Notebooks.