A Renaissance Art Case Hack

As many of you have noticed from the chatter in our forums, Arthur and the crew at Renaissance Art have been busy. Last week they introduced a few new products to their line. A few of these products included introducing a whole new series of cases for the Moleskine Reporter notebook. These cases give landscape journal lovers the ability to indulge in Renaissance Art's line-up of quality, hand made and rugged looking cases. Arthur was kind enough to send me a prototype of one of the new cases. When I received it, I was impressed with the quality and the changes that were made. And then, the hack idea came to me...

In order to make this hack work, you'll need to get a Moleskine Reporter Cover Book Style (with either the side pocket or the 3x5 card holder) and a Circa PDA. The Circa PDA, just so happens to be big enough for you to slip your Circa PDA into the right side and still have enough room for cards on the left. It closes without a hitch. You can order one with a pen loop which gives you more flexibility in carrying your note-taking system around with you.

This hack was tested with the Reporter Cover Book Style that comes with a side pocket and iScribe's Circa PDA. My first thought was that a leather covered Circa PDA was going to be too big for the notebook, but as you can see in the images, it'll work just fine. Thanks goes to iScribe for testing out my hack and taking the picture for today's post.

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First - innowen & iScribe, thanks for getting this picture taken and for getting the word out to our fellow DIY'ers about the new products at RA!

I for one have always loved and admired the products from R.A. They are handcrafted and absolutely gorgeous!

I am pretty excited about the reporter style covers. I especially like the one that holds the 3X5 on the left so that you can see the whole card! I will be purchasing one with my tax refund! I currently use a reporter style notebook and then printed the month on a 3X5 card, so this cover would be perfect for my current set up. When I purchase the cover, I will have to also purchase Monthly Index Cards from RA! :)

Arthur - thank you for all of the wonderful products! Keep 'em coming!

Smiles, nay nay

Amazing---just when I am having a birthday!

Had.to.have.it! This is great. My birthday is once again rolling around. I used the deficit gifting plan--banking on getting birthday checks! HA!

"To fly, we must have resistance."

Must. have. this. Seriously,

Must. have. this.

Seriously, I had been thinking about getting a leather cover for my Circa PDA but I really just couldn't justify the cost. And frankly I already have a *lot* of Circa covers in varying sizes and styles. I recently fell in love with the Renaissance Art products and have been trying to decide what to buy for myself first. I think I may have found it. :-)

If I'm reading the review correctly, you tried it with the plastic covers first. Is that correct? My plastic covers are getting fairly dinged up in my bag and this would be a great answer. I like the idea of keeping the plastic covers since I can put a nice picture underneath.

Are those 3X5 cards on the left?

Thanks for this posting about this hack - I'm really excited!

yes to index cards


Yes, those are index cards (and a moleskine postcard) on the left. But not only are they index cards, they're Ren Art's index cards. They have rounded corners and are printed on a semi-glossy cardstock.

Thanks for liking the idea.


Do you like the clasp on this one?

I personally like snap style

I personally like snap style clasps. It's hard to see in this image but the clasp is just a leather slip with a hole that you push down firmly into a metal post that sits embedded in the cover. IMHO, it's almost as good as the snap clasp but has the potential to open if you stuff too much into it. But it seems that this new type is the way that Arthur's got his products moving to.

However, that said... I'm sure if you asked about the various clasping types, he'll make a product that fits what you like best. :)



thx for the info.

that is another great thing about Rev Art - they will tweek their products for you!

you are a mind reader!!!

Hi innowen...

I could not believe it when I saw the circa pda in that prototype I sent you. Someone emailed me about that very thing a few days ago and I thot it was a great idea. I am new to the circa world and did not know a circa pda existed. We are working on single size cases and modular cases for the 8.5X11 and classic sizes. After that email I thot to include the circa pda in the group. So I went and got the Levenger circa sample pack and will then be ordering a bunch of circa stuff to make up some different circa books and stuff.

It looks like the rings hang over the top a little. Is that a problem? Would it be better if everything was covered?

The one prototype I did not send you was the one with the 3X5 card holder and storage on the left side. We did not have one to send.

I would be curious to know if you did pack that thing out with all sorts of stuff, if the stud closure would come loose. I have tried it and found it to be sturdy but would like another opinion.

It can also be made with a snap or two very easily. They would just take the place of the stud holes.

Looks like that pen loop could be a tiny bit lower. Is that right or is it just the angle of the pic?

I made this identical version for the 3X4 rhodia pad with 2 snaps and have been using it for over a year. It is too short for 3X5 cards on the left side but perfect for credit card sized stuff. Works great with the Lamy Agenda pen.


Arthur, Great minds think


Great minds think alike! It's always fun to see what others come up with in using your products. :) I love Circa and so the fact that these new cases provide a bit more protection and style to the plastic and leather circa PDAs is great. Double the duty!

Let's see here, this folio was packed with about 4-5 index cards (the ones you sent) and the pen and a full PDA. I gave it to iScribe who's playing around with it so I will keep up on it and see how well those clasps hang in. I know for me, (as I said above) that i prefer snaps... call me old fashioned.

First off, the rings aren't an issue. iScribe says that they actually sit nicely flushed with the top of the leather. So she doesn't mind. I had her send me an image of the case closed and it seemed like it held just fine. If you ask me, I could go either way. I think as long as the paper in the PDA has room to roll around then it doesn't matter if the case hangs out over the top or covers it.

As far as the pen loop, we think it's placed just right. Her pen just makes it look higher because of its size. It can only go in so far. She's working on stretching out the leather so it can get pushed down farther.

Hope this helps, and thanks again for all the fun and innovated products!

Circa rings haning out the top

IMHO...I would not like to have the top completely covered as it would interfere with the page folding back or flipping up and trying to clear the leather cover. I also vote for the most secure cover closing. The stud has two position adjustments, I believe, that should accommodate expansion.

Just a good word for RA...I just received a "tweaked" version of the Moleskine cover for the Moleskine Cahier notebooks. I love thinner journals as I am more apt to carry them around and actually use them. So, Arthur scaled down the large Mo9leskine to fit the thinner profile of the Cahier and voila! Perfection! It is a dream to write in. Thanks for the attention to the way writer's live and the eccentricities we exhibit!

"To fly, we must have resistance."

R-A cover for Rhodia


Love the new covers & can't wait to see the solutions for Circa. Please, please, please consider making one large enough to hold the 1 or 1.5" rings.

Also, more info on a cover for Rhodia would be interesting. I have a fountain pen wielding friend who uses Rhodia exclusively at work. Would these be custom covers?



what size?

What size Rhodia do they use?

one inch and 1.5 inch will be included thanks to all the wonderful input people gave about what size circas they use.

Just got my Circa Sampler pack from levenger today and will be placing my large circa order with bunches of creative circa goodies.

You know, Levenger does a really great job with adding little extras in orders and the other printed material they give with an order. I could sure learn a lot from them.


What size Rhodia? answer


So glad to hear you'll be able to accomodate the large Circa rings!

She uses a small Rhodia at work. It subs for her personal small Moleskine. The back of the pad she gave me reads:
Bloc Rhodia No 11
Format 7.4 x 10.5 cm Size 2.9 x 4.1 in
5 x 5

Hope this helps.


Hey... I use that one too.

That is the smallest one they make. I think it is A7 size. I have been testing a cover I made for that one for over a year now. I carry it everywhere because I put my cards/id/receipts in it, scribbles go in the pad and it works great with the Lamy Agenda pen (attached inside)... even though it is only a bp :) Two snaps close the thing. It is a nice small and handy size.


Hey that was me! If you had

Hey that was me! If you had any idea how long I have been looking for a case like that.....it's been months. I had been waiting on an update from Arther when he got his cPDA.....I can't believe I missed this on the front page. Yeah, I definitely know where my next paycheck is going!

innowen the mind reader

without any prompting whatsoever innowen put the cPDA into that reporter thing after you and I had exchanged emails about it.
How did she know?

But... this evening I had a new idea about how to better include those rings into a case. I am not sure it will work yet but when I get my circa stuff...hopefully next week some time... the idea I have for it is one of the first things I will make.


awww shucks...

awww shucks... *blushes*

honestly, it just came to me. i figured... hey... it was big enough for a Reporter, why not stuff a cPDA into it. and honestly, the fact that it fit the circa leather case was icing on the cake. my first thought was that it'd only fit the plastic case one.

in any case, definitely go for one of arthur's cases. they're nummy.


Heh, you have to hurry up

Heh, you have to hurry up and report back Arthur! I am trying to resist the impulse to order the reporter cover and wait to see what else you have up your sleeve. :)

up my sleeve

Well... last nite I sketched up 4 cover designs for the cPDA. I did it all in my brand spankin new circa sampler pack. The thing is, I have no idea if they will even work because I do not have my cPDA yet. I did order one though and hope to have it before my 2 week road trip so I can make some stuff for it.

On the outlandish side I have thot of putting on the outside rear 3 bandalero looking pen loops or a pocket for pens and all that ubiquitous "stuff" although that will probably not happen.


Would it be possible to post

Would it be possible to post a picture with the cover closed so we can see how much the rings stick out? I really want to order this, but if there's a lot of the cPDA sticking out, I may wait and see what Arthur comes up with specifically for the cPDA.

Link to photo

Absolutely. Here is a photo of it with the cover closed. :-)

And another showing it in use.

~~Moleskines and a pint of room temperature Guinness are my drugs of choice.~~