This year I wasn't very enthused with the covers that Hobonichi were offering. I was in the market for 2 covers, because in the first couple of years, I didn't buy a cover, thinking I'd make one myself. That never happened, so now I'm trying to catch up by buying one extra cover each year until all my diaries are covered (so to speak!). There were two covers in the shop that I quite liked, but I wasn't sure. (These were the Candy Plaid and the Floral Handkerchief, for any curious Hobo fans reading.) Then I realised that I didn't like the interior colours of either of them! They were beige and black respectively -- my two least favourite colours! I spend at least as much time looking at the inside of the cover as the outside, as it peeks out around the edges when the book lies open. I don't want to spend a whole year looking at a colour I don't like (sorry Hobo!). So I decided to seek my fortune elsewhere.
After extensive searching on Etsy I found a shop called Snow Journal Cover in China. The seller makes custom covers with your choice of design for the exterior, and a selection of 12 interior colours. I liked many of the cover designs, and the interior colours were pleasing. The bookmark ends could also be customised. When factoring in the postage and the inclusion of a cover-on-cover, the cost came out to be only slightly more for the customised Snow Journal covers. So I decided to go for it!
I placed my order for the covers on 28th August, knowing that custom orders take time to make. It turned out perfectly as they arrived one day before my Hobo order did! It wasn't deliberately timed, but it couldn't have worked out better. My order was packed very well, even with bubble wrap and cute wrapping paper tied up with string.
The two designs I chose were Fuji-San with Sakura in grey, and van Gogh's Almond Blossoms. I chose the option which includes a cover-on-cover for both (a clear plastic cover which goes over the cover proper to protect the fabric). I definitely insist on the extra protection as I leave my diary out on the coffee table most of the time: it's in danger of tea spills and sometimes the cat sits on it.
This cute postcard came with it. It says: "Sometimes when I'm with you, I forget myself." It will make a lovely pocket deco. This photo shows off the custom bookmark ends as well. They're exactly as I requested.
These covers have one less pocket (I think) than the Hobonichi brand covers, but there are still plenty, in my opinion.
The biggest problem I will have now is deciding which cover to put on my 2020 Hobo, and which to put on my old one! I still work with my older Hobos quite a bit though, as I like to go through and fill up the blank/spare pages with paintings, practice drawings, quotes, ideas for art projects, etc. Or sometimes I find old ephemera (brochures, movie tickets, restaurant business cards etc) that I can add to the relevant year.
In the end I decided to put the Almond Blossoms cover on my 2017 Hobo. This photo shows well how the interior of the cover is visible when you're working in it.
Even though it isn't full (yet!) my 2017 Hobo is still quite chonky!
Here it is with my current/2019 Hobonichi side by side for comparison. This is the plain pink cover matched with the Night Forest print cover-on-cover. The Hobonichi cover looks slightly bigger in this photo, but it's not -- I think it just looks like that because it's (even) thicker. And it's still very much a working item so please excuse the bulldog clips and ugly sticky notes! As you can see, the Hobonichi cover-on-cover has a matte finish, whereas the generic cover is shiny. This doesn't matter in everyday use, only when you're trying to take photos, ahem. It has a different, smoother feel, but I personally find it just as pleasant.
Here is a comparison shot of the interiors. The Snow Cover Journal is on top, and the Hobonichi cover underneath. You can see when looking at the corners that the generic cover-on-cover doesn't fit quite as closely to the cover itself. I'm not bothered by this, but others can always stick to the Hobonichi brand cover-on-cover if they prefer.
P.S. I did a course on colouring-in as therapy back in 2017. XD
I am absolutely thrilled with my covers from Snow Journal Cover. They're exactly what I wanted and will make my diary-writing experience more pleasurable all year long. I'll definitely keep them in mind for next year.