Friday, June 7, 2013

Review and Giveaway: INDIARY "Expedition" Handmade Leather Notebook

Two weeks ago I received an email inquiry from INDIARY (, a new (to me) company that makes some of the most beautiful and affordable handmade notebooks out there.  Their representative wanted to know if I was interested in reviewing one of their notebooks.  Ummmm... Yes!  I am always up for a review of anything having to do with paper, pens, pencils, or notebooks.

So today I am reviewing the INDIARY "Expedition" notebook.  (Here's the direct link to the item's page on, which is evidently the distributor for all the notebooks in the INDIARY line.)  The notebook is handcrafted out of buffalo leather, with a string closure, wrap-around flap, and filled with 100 pages of handmade paper.  Yes, you read that right.  This entire notebook, down to the paper itself, is completely handmade.  It is a work of art.  And it is a feast for the senses, from the feel of the leather, to the texture of the paper, to the wonderful leather smell of the entire notebook.

The INDIARY logo stamped on the front flap of the notebook.

Did I mention the smell?  This is hardcore leather, folks.

Detail showing the edge of the notebook and the signatures of paper inside.

Closeup of the signatures -- each signature contains 10 sheets (folded to make 20 sheets in the signature), and the notebook contains 5 signatures for a total of 100 sheets.

 A closeup of the handmade paper inside the notebook.  This paper is soft and silky to the touch, and nearly every page has flower petals embedded in the paper for a really wonderful touch.

 Writing on the first page of the notebook.

 Testing the notebook out with some favorite writing instruments.

Closeup of writing samples

 Another closeup of more writing samples

I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about the handmade paper in this notebook.  Even though handmade paper is usually beautiful, it can be fantastically finicky to use.  It often bleeds like crazy and can be almost too delicate to write on.  As you can see from the above photos, however, even a fountain pen (the Lamy Safari with a medium nib) performed respectably on this paper.

Surprisingly little bleedthrough -- I've seen much more expensive papers with more bleedthrough than this!

 The only writing instrument that really did not play nice with the handmade paper was the Blackwing 602 pencil.  I daresay any pencil would work the same.  It probably helps that the Blackwing is typically on the soft side, so the writing (or drawing, if you're so inclined) is feasible.  But don't try to erase!!  You can see what happens in the photo above when I unthinkingly tried erasing.

So now I can hear you thinking (one of my many hidden talents) -- "Gee, this is all really beautiful, Randall, but I can't afford something like this."

Yes, you can.  This notebook is normally $39.90, which is a great deal for this kind of item.

But right now it's $25 (on sale as of this writing).  Can you say BARGAIN!?!?

If you have Amazon Prime, that's all you'll pay (unless you spring for faster shipping).  I don't know about you, but I for one have never seen this kind of handmade notebook for this price.  If you are in the market for a completely handmade notebook, I don't think you can do better than this one.


INDIARY supplied me with two of these notebooks -- one to try out, and one to give away.  So here's your chance.  You can win one of these beautiful notebooks.

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what you would use the notebook for.  In particular, I would love it if you would give me some insight on how to use the handmade paper of this notebook.  It's not your average paper, to be sure, so I know I can't really use it like ordinary paper in an ordinary notebook.  I'm thinking this kind of paper calls for something really artistic.  Please give me some ideas!  (If you don't have any ideas, just tell me how cool my blog is.)  IMPORTANT: To have an eligible entry, your comment MUST provide some way for me to contact you.  You probably know how this works!

2. The giveaway will be open until Saturday, June 15.  I will choose one commenter to be the winner.  The winner will be chosen in the usual way, by random number generator.  And then I will send the notebook out to the winner as soon as I can!

Good luck!

DISCLAIMER: This notebook was supplied for review by Anja and the fine folks at INDIARY.  I was not compensated monetarily for this review.  All opinions here are my own.


  1. It is a great book. I would probably just use it to document the places we have visited around north Dakota. Stick in photos, postmarks and anything else collected that fit in with these pages. One time I collected blades of grass, leaves and some sand. I can imagine in my head how it would look. Anyway great post/blog as always.

    1. Great ideas, Ria! Thanks for commenting and entering the giveaway!

  2. What an awesome book, Randall. I have made paper so know first-hand how finicky it can be to write on. If I am the lucky recipient of this beautiful book, I will use it as an art journal. By the way, your pencil collection is quite impressive! ~Penny~

    1. Thanks for the comment, Penny. I think I may use the notebook for some kind of art journal too. Now I want to experiment with the paper and see if it will take paint, or markers, or whatever.

  3. I imagine that I would try to illustrate classical scenes but I'm sure my hand doesn't compare to the workmanship of the notebook.

    If I should be so lucky to win please contact me at tokugowa at juno dot com.

    1. I kind of feel the same way -- a notebook so beautiful and one-of-a-kind needs something really special in it. But an empty, pristine notebook is kind of sad too. :)

  4. I'm no artist so I would use it as an inspirations journal for my poetry. Hopefully I would fill it up in my next trip to El Salvador as an inspirations/memories journal. I love Ria's idea of collecting "earthy souvenirs".

    I've been experimenting with envelope styles so thank you for that.


    1. Great idea! And you're welcome about the envelopes. :)

  5. I would use this kind of paper to stick photos and write short comments about them. Or I may do some collage. Thank you for the giveaway. hastacualquierdia(at)yahoo(dot)com(dot)ar

    1. Good idea -- I think this notebook would be very interesting just as a beautiful photo album.

  6. This is the type of journal I would use to track "my life with Kaylee" something great that will stand up and be worthy of being passed along down the road when full. Might have to have Spawn's Journal tooled into it.

    istillwrite1 (at) gmail (d0t) com

  7. When traveling to various temples in Japan you can get stamps and calligraphy from a monk at the different temples, all of whom have amazing calligraphy skills. You can buy an accordion-style book, called a Goshuin chou, but I think this would be a perfect use for this book and that's what I'd do with it.

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    Leather Art
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  9. Hello,

    I just bought a leather notebook by indiary and i'm wondering the origin of the leather. Specially if it contains chrome 6. I couldn't find any links to indiary. There are no adress on internet to ask questions directly. If any person have some informations, it would be great...



  10. thanks for such a nice blog about leather journals and handmade items