My paper friends

Diamonds are okay, but as far as I’m concerned, a notebook is a girl’s best friend.

Looks French, feels French

Looks French, feels French

In fact, notebooks and memo pads are the only things I collect. I think my fixation is two-fold. First, a beautiful notebook satisfies a craving for good design in an inexpensive, practical way. In fact, you can carry them around with you, which is more than I can say for ceramic owls.

Second, opening a notebook to a fresh page at any given moment somehow feels like waking up each day to a new beginning. (Or rather, the way each morning would feel if my life were the Broadway musical it was meant to be. Singing before tooth-brushing, I always say.)

My favorite notebooks are invariably from Japan and France, and these lovelies are my current obsession. They’re made in Seattle by Laughing Elephant, but they look like something you could have picked up the last time you wandered around Paris. These have an unusual weight as well. I’ve never smoked, but they remind me of elegantly slim cigarettes. Not that I’ve been putting them in my mouth or anything.

All the designs are reminiscent of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements. The Nouveau-looking ones have flowing, organic lines of plants and a goddess-looking woman. Since the whole idea of Art Nouveau was to bring art into everyday life, a notebook seems like the perfection expression of an ideal to me.

And the Deco styles don’t just bring back the machine-age look of the 1920’s. When the movement emerged, the streamlined designs were meant to evoke geometric shapes from Aztec, Egypt and other ancient civilizations. Double the history, double the fun. Today, they look modern.

And hey, they’re just four bucks each. That’s art for the charming masses.

French notebooks, $3.95

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