Friday, 30 March 2012

All Quiet on the Western Front

Apologies for the dearth of posts recently. Life went a bit crazy and now I will be away for a week (with no internet access).
When I come back, I promise to do posts on:
  • new dividers for the Aston (after you all voted so nicely!)
  • review of the Holborn (yes, I was enabled...)
  • review of some of my new writing paper (at last)
Hope all of you are having fun!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Poor Ms Aston – I had to intervene…

You see, there were just too many comments on how “stuffed”, “fat”, “round” she was. I know, and you all know that this is how a filofax is meant to be, but, she was starting to get a complex.
“It’s not my fault all the cards make me seem over-filled,” she cried. “I didn’t design that back pocket to be fiddly so that it’s easier to get a note out than to fish around in it for change…”

She has a point.

The reason her rings looked like they were on a “hair-trigger” was partly because the lack of spaces for cards and the design of the card-holder ending up with 4 thicknesses of card right in the middle (not to mention an inability to move on the rings). The zipped pocket is fiddly and I have ended up putting more change in it as it was too hard to get the coins out quickly and easier to break another note.

“So move back to one of us!!” came the voice of the Baroques, from the depths of the desk drawers. “You know you want to…!”

In time, I know I will. I’m still finding having a home-filofax and an everyday-filofax a bit tricky (the home filofax is currently carrying all sorts of things I like to file but don’t need to carry – like lists of things I’ve written about in letters to people, so I don’t repeat myself). I know that at some point I will move back into one of the Baroques (and then I’ll also know where everything is!), but for now, I love my Aston. But she’s getting a weight-complex!

Consequently, I decided to move things around a bit. The cards that are in the card-holder are ones I need to carry, but hardly ever need to look at (car insurance, donor card, some store cards for places that I don’t go to often but if I would be annoyed if I went there and had left the cards behind!). They could move to the zipped pocket if I could move the coins out.
When I flirted with the mini as a wallet, I made a coin-purse from an old freebie I had lying around and an eyelet-punch. Would that fit on the rings of the pocket??


Coin-purse ressurected from the mini-Baroque
So, coins have moved to the coin purse and the store cards, other cards and stamps etc have moved to the zipped pocket (out of the card-holder and one top-opening envelope). As a consequence, Ms Aston is a bit slimmer (honest!!). I could punch another zip-lock envelope and she would be slimmer still but I like that I can use the coin-purse hack.

She is thinner!! Honest!!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Review of the Personal Finchley in Imperial Purple

I don’t understand myself sometimes. I truly don’t. I have four fabulous personal sized filofaxes – a Portland, two Baroques and a Cavendish – more than enough to satisfy a need for colour changes/expansion (into the Cavendish)/contraction (into any of the others). I am also working pretty happily out of my pocket Aston at the moment (but thank heaven for 19mm rings!). So why did I feel the need to buy a personal Finchley in purple?

Oh, because it was on sale at City Organiser and with the extra discount it came in at about £38, that’s why.

So, what’s it like?

The leather is pebbled but it feels very dry and parched. I have two other Finchleys (both A5) and they each feel different from this one – the red one doesn’t feel as dry and is a bit softer and the green one feels as if it has a slightly waxy finish (hard wax, a bit like someone has put a really, really thin coat of candle wax on it). The purple one just feels dry. The cover is fairly soft when you get away from the edges but still very dry. It is leather inside and out and has contrast stitching in cream (which I don’t really like. In the Aston, the contrast stitching is in a paler version of the leather and doesn’t stand out so much. In my red and green A5 Finchleys, the stitching is the same colour as the leather).

Purple Finchley with contrast stitching

It doesn’t lie flat out of the box, even with the pages evenly divided between the two halves. It probably would with training.

Poor flattability
On the inside left there are six credit card slots with a full height pocket behind. The lower two card lots have a turned edge; the others are cut-edge. The lining of the pocket is fabric.

Inside left: credit card slots (turned edge and cut edge); pocket behind
On the inside right, there is a zipped pocket which has a mesh outer. There’s also a leather pen-loop.

Mesh pocket with zip. Lack of flattability leading to the need for a weight on the corner!
The contents are cotton cream throughout – cotton cream week on two pages, 5 cotton cream to do sheets, 6 cotton cream lined pages, 6 plain cotton cream pages, and cotton cream address sheets. All of the printing is in a medium brown ink. The dividers also have brown type and are in a different font from usual. The today marker is also in brown.

Dividers with bown ink and a differernt font

Brown Today marker

Well, that’s my quite factual review… here’s the bummer:

I really don’t like it and it’s going back.

Those of you who know me/follow the blog will realise from that, quite how much I don’t like it! I have a large number of filofaxes that I don’t know if I will use, but I haven’t even come close to wanting to get rid of them. The only one I have ever sold is the extra Cavendish I ended up with before Christmas. All the rest are being kept ‘in case’. (‘in case’ of what I don’t know. Just ‘in case’!)

Why don’t I like it? Hmm. It’s a number of things. I don’t like the colour for a start. It is a lovely purple in many ways, but between it being a teensy bit too dark and the contrast cream stitching, it leaves me with an ‘uh’ feeling rather than one of joy. I struggle to choose which (fabulously bright) Baroque to use, with the Cavendish being a bit dark and brooding at times (but he is a Tardis, so I forgive him for it)… the Aston is a gorgous colour and has a nice feel to the leather. The purple Finchley would never get picked out of the drawer when I fancy a change from the binder I’m using. Even though I know £38 is a bargain, it’s not a bargain if I don’t like it.

Other reasons?

Well, I don’t like the feel of the leather. It feels like it needs a good facial to be honest and maybe some soaking in leather cream would help but it feels parchment-y.
I don’t like the cut leather credit card slots – they look cheap (and, yes, I got it cheap, but it should have been expensive!).
I don’t like the mesh pocket (and yes, I knew it was mesh before I got it and the mesh doesn’t bother me on the A5, but it does bother me now on this one).
The popper is really stiff (and yes, I realise that sounds like a real grasping-at-straws kind of excuse but it’s already bugged me. A lot.).

All in all, the binder does absolutely nothing for me. When I read Caribbean Princess’ post about how she couldn’t move out of the Malden and into her purple Finchley, I didn’t get it as I had hankered after a purple A5 Finchley for long enough. I get it now though. If I was still using a Baroque for my every day filofax, nothing would persuade me to move out of it and into the purple Finchley. I can see myself moving from the Aston back to the Baroques or the Cavendish (or the Portland), but not into this one.

So, back it goes.

Has anyone else been in the same boat and thought they would really like a filofax and then found it incredibly disappointing?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Help me choose the card for my dividers...

I couple of weeks ago, I ran a poll about which card to use in my Aston for new dividers. The poll indicated I should use the Dreamcatcher designs... but which ones?

To help me choose, I am running a new poll. There are three pictures underneath, with the card I like (including the other, non-Dreamcatcher card) and the Aston (to help with colour matching). Each card has a number (1-17). Please vote for your favourite five colours/designs in the poll (five because that's how many dividers I have in the Aston...). They can be any five numbers - if you prefer some of the Dreamcatcher and some of the non-Dreamcatcher, that's fine!

The top five will (probably) be the ones I make my dividers from (although I do exert the right not to have a combination that looks daft!)

Thank you!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

What have I got in my pocketses?*

*Title inspired by conversations with my friend Gerard!

I thought I would do a compare and contrast post on my three pocket filofaxes: Aston, Cavendish and Portland. Only one of them is in use, the Aston, but I know I find it interesting to see other models, especially when browsing eBay (when there just aren’t enough pictures usually!).

Overall size/look
Here’s a picture of them all together. Although they are all supposed to be pocket sized, the Aston looks bigger (and not just because it is stuffed!). The other two are sleeker-looking.

Clockwise from top left: Cavendish, Aston, Portland

Looking at the reverse, you can see that the Cavendish, like it’s big brother, has an external zipped pocket. The Cavendish is the only one to have a full exterior pocket that would be useful for keeping paper money in.

Clockwise from top left: Cavendish, Aston, Portland

The leather on the Aston is pebbled and it has the seams and contrast stitching, making it perhaps a bit fussy-looking. It is however a fabulous colour! It’s called Orchid, but I would have said mauve as I would have known what that colour was (I have a lot of orchids and none of them are this colour!). It has a matte/silk finish rather than a shiny finish. The leather is soft, but not as soft as my Portlands. If you own a Finchley, it’s quite similar to that, except a little less ‘spongy’-feeling. Most of the interior is leather, except lining the pockets.

The Cavendish has smooth leather, with much more of a shine to it. The stitching is black, not contrast. Again, most of the interior is leather, except for lining the pockets.The leather is firmer than either of my Portlands – it’s probably the stiffest leather on any of my filofaxes.

The Portland is butter-soft and the leather is easy to grip – it seems to have a higher friction than other leathers. It’s hard to describe – it almost sticks to your skin (in a nice way!!). It is leather and fabric inside. It’s fairly floppy, but that might be age-related.

As you can see from the following pictures, the Portland wins hands down on this! The Aston is somewhere in the middle and the Cavendish is hopeless. The Portland, even unloaded, lies as flat as a pancake. The Aston was given some ‘training’ a while back but is still pretty reluctant to lie flat. The Cavendish… well. What can I say? It seems to open naturally to about 45 degrees and even with persuasion won’t lie flat.

Aston trying to convince me it lies flat...

Cavendish convincing no-one it can lie flat!

Portland - flat as a pancake!

Interior pockets and features
The Aston has 4 credit card slots on the interior left hand side, with a full-length pocket behind (that’s my half-marathon training plan poking out!). I found the pocket too stiff (with my cards in) to get paper money in and out easily (hence the zip-lock bag hack).

The inside right has a zipped pocket which is fabric lined. It can be a little fiddly to get coins out, but is okay.

Zipped pocket in the Aston
The Cavendish has the most pockets of all of them. On the inside left, there is the same set-up as the Aston, although the edges of the credit card slots are better finished in the Cavendish. The pocket behind is leather and fabric, like the Aston. On the inside right, there is another full-height pocket. There is also an exterior pocket that runs the full width of the filofax and an external zipped pocket. The full-width pocket is quite useful but the zipped pocket is pretty fiddly to get things out of, I find.

Cavendish, credit cards and full-height pocket

Cavendish, full-height pocket on the right

Full-width exterior pocket

The Portland has a gusseted pocket on the inside left, which makes a) holding a reasonable number of coins and b) getting coins in and out, an absolute breeze. I wish all filofaxes came with a gusseted pocket. On the inside right there are four credit card slots – again very well edged and curved, rather than straight. This, along with the softer leather make accessing the cards easier. Behind the card slot is a full-height pocket.

Gusseted pocket

Curved credit card slots

Ring size
This is the deal-breaker for me. If the Portland had 19mm rings, it would win hands down. But, it, like the Cavendish, has 15mm rings. I like to carry lots of stuff in my day-to-day filofaxes, which makes both the Portland and the Cavendish more likely than not to stay in a drawer, at least for the time being. You can see from the early pictures how stuffed my Aston is. I couldn’t carry so much with either of the other two, and although the Cavendish would be a zip-lock pocket down as I could put paper money in the external full-width pocket, I would still find them too small, which is a shame.

So why would the Portland win over the Cavendish? After all, the Cavendish has more pockets… it’s the feel of it. That butter-softness and complete flattability wins me over. I just wish it had 19mm rings! Since the Aston is both a delicately pretty colour and has 19mm rings, that's what I'm using.

I hope my reviews of the three pocket filofaxes have been helpful.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Envelope insert hacks for the filofax

[I promised pictures and here they are.]

I bought some top-opening envelopes for the pocket filofax but they weren't quite right (especially as they needed re-punching to let them move on the rings!) and so I have done two hacks: one using the packaging the envelopes came in and the other using cheap zip-lock bags.

First up: cheap hack to have a very thin ‘envelope’ to reinstate guinea fowl card and picture of me and DH. This was made from the packaging that the top-opening envelope came in, with the top (where the sticky fold-over flap is) sliced off and holes punched in it. This packaging went through the rapesco hole punch without assistance!

I love the guinea fowl - I'm so pleased to have them back in the filofax!

Next: zip-lock bags. This is a picture to show how the ones I bought (125mm x 90mm) have the zip-lock bit sticking out beyond the dividers. I like this because it means the rest of the pages and dividers in my filofax aren’t sticking up because of the zip-lock bag.
The zip-lock bags do not go through the hole punch without assistance!!
I needed to put a slip of paper inside the bag and to wrap the area to be punched in another bit of paper. I wrecked a bag finding this out! But since they worked out at 40p each, I don’t really mind.

The zip-lock bit sits outside the area of the pages and dividers and so everything still lies flat

What have I used the zip-lock bags for? Well, I have vouchers in one and paper money in the other.

Vouchers in zip-lock to left; stamps in top-opening to right

Money in another zip-lock

I find the top-opening envelopes from Filofax a little difficult to get into quickly and in the queue in a shop was getting flustered trying to access the vouchers easily so I have put them in the zip-lock bag instead. I find the pocket behind the card-slots equally difficult to access quickly so I have paper money in the other zip-lock. I still use a top-opening envelope for stamps (I’m never in a rush to get them) and my training schedule for my half-marathon is now tucked behind the card-slots (I don’t need to access it in a hurry, but sometimes I do need to check what hellish item is on the day’s schedule!)

Does anyone else use any hacks like these?

[p.s. - don't forget to vote on which card to use for new dividers... see the post here for details]

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Choices, choices...

I can't leave the filofax alone for more than a minute it would seem... I know I have already made dividers for the Aston, and they are perfectly nice and good, but I wanted something a bit prettier!
I have bought two lots of card: I ordered some floral/patterned card before I realised that pocket-size dividers can easily be made from 6x6” scrapbooking card/paper which opened up a huge new load of potential card to use… and so ordered some more.
So, dear readers, I want your help deciding which to use…
The floral (280 gsm):
(picture from the eBay listing)

The scrapbooking card (200 gsm):
(picture from the eBay listing)
Please vote in the poll in the sidebar?

As for other things…

I have learned that:
1. the wrappers that the top-opening envelopes and credit-card holder each came in go through the hole punch easily and are super-thin and great for a cheap top-opening envelope (I just cut the flap off)

2. the zip-lock envelopes do not go through the hole punch easily, but if you put a sheet of paper inside the envelope and also wrap another sheet of paper around it before putting it through the hole punch, it punches through mostly okay

3. 125x90 mm zip-lock bags are the perfect size for a pocket filofax – the zip-lock bit sits outside the outer edge of the paper and so doesn’t make the pages stick up! (I bought 10 for £3.99 on eBay – mightily cheaper than “proper” ones!)

I now have two zip-lock envelopes in the filofax – one for vouchers/stamps and one for paper money (as I find the bit behind the card holder difficult to get money out of) and one filofax top-opening envelope. I’ll be putting the guinea fowl back in the front, in the cellophane envelope. Pictures this weekend.