May 31, 2012

Filofax Ascot A5 (Part 2- Setup)

Hello, my friends,

thank you for all your lovely comments on my first post about the Ascot, they confirmed how ageless this model is, still so popular and going through a style evolution with already well known Amazona and now also Osterley!

I'll just give you a short tour around it's interior so you can see it completely.

It has two pen loops and generous pockets on the left side at the front - for 5 credit cards, a bigger pocket where I keep my Bic, secretarial pocket and a full length zippered one as well. At the back it has a notepad pocket.

I knew what I would be using it for from the very beginning: it looked so serious yet so glamourous, so glossy yet so worn, and the perfect size for it to be my "studies" Filofax - I use it when I study for a current exam. 

It is therefore set up as folows:

( Diary, Notes, Texts, Documents and Info.)

I use a month on two pages diary to keep global track of important dates and tasks; I made it myself and have printed it on A4 paper without cutting it - I just folded the page, punched it and glued together the bottom side. Namely, I wanted to get pockets so I can put various papers and receipts (from library, for example) into a certain month's pocket.

I then also use Steve and Ray's excellent Enhanced TM week per view diary insert. I tried using it in my everyday Filo, but it didn't work because I got so used to the standard Filofax w2p and 4 sectors of daily space that anything else confused me too much.

For studying, however, this insert is priceless because you can state goals and subgoals and all the steps that are required to achieve them in a very visual manner:

The following sections are quite self explanatory, I think:

my Notes are mainly my reading notes on the ordinary ruled paper, along with my ideas about the research I plan to do.

Texts are the printouts of some of the online literature and the parts I want to read (and reread) more often.

Documents section keeps various forms, documents (or photocopies of them) and papers I'll need at some point and the Info section keeps a few of the address sheets with various contact info, web sites, literature I need, etc. 

Plus the handy notepad at the back.

There, it's really simple, isn't it? :)

May 23, 2012

My Favourite Pens in My Filofaxes

 A short while ago someone asked me about the pens I use in my Filofax - so here they come:

PICTURE 1: Pens I can't be without.

Let's go clockwise starting with the recognizable
- Bic Orange fine line (in Piccadilly),
- Uni Ball Jetstream in black (always in my current Filo),
- Filofax Mini Barley in black (in mini Balmoral),
- Online mini pen in black (in mini pink Baroque),
- Penac Chubby mechanical pencil,
- Parker Urban in black (always in my current Filo),
- Uni Ball Eye in blue,
- Maped 4 Colour pen (ALWAYS in my current Filo; I keep it in the rings and as it is chunky it stays there plus I really got used to the colours - therefore - no more Bic 2- or 4- colour and no Pilot Coleto for now), and
- a Betty Boop pen that my baby grabbed in a store which I only noticed at the counter - and was so proud of her for it! :)

Then there's PICTURE 2: Pens I love, but are mostly stay-at-home pens:

- Lamys in prune and pink,
- Pigma Micron 005,
- Schneider black and red - such a great shape!,
- Parker Jotter White and Emerald and
- Uni Ball Signo in blue and pink plus
-a Uni Ball Cricket in blue.

Need I say more about my favourites? I'm definitely a ballpoint pen person, gel-pens being close seconds as I think they improve my handwriting... and I definitely reccomend these as everyday pens:

I find Uni Ball pens absolutely a dream: they write smoothly, without bleed through on FF white paper, the inks are in beautiful hues, the barrels are a pleasure - and they are cute!

If you had to pick your top 3 Filofax everyday pens - which ones would you recommend? 

May 21, 2012

Pretty Little Things #4

My first thing in the morning, when still half asleep.

Reminds me of summer years ago, spent far away in the woods, in a nice little house; sunny days free to just read, draw and make long walks with my sister.

Such a bliss!

May 19, 2012

Filofax Ascot A5

I bought this A5 Ascot in black a year or so ago, it was love on the first sight. It is only logical, given my deep love for the Amazonas, and it looks like the Ascot and the Amazonas are really closely related (check a great comparison of them both at Aspire To Be's flickr page).

It's previous owner bought it sometime between 1996 and 1998 and has obviously loved it, too: it was worn from a glossy black to a light grey colour! Of course, even Nivea couldn't do such a trick, so I used a black shoe leather polish first to restore the colour; I was delighted to see that the grey parts have turned black again because it didn't look very promising at the beginning (I wish I had photographed it!).

So here it is in action now:

It is a very comfortable binder: buttery soft and smooth, with thick gloss, but still not much padded - unlike Amazona which tends to be rather bulky.

This is one of my "quiet binders" - always in use, but never really showed off. Until a couple of weeks ago a seller on eBay selling a personal Ascot gave a fabulous description of it. I really enjoyed  it and wanted to share it with you because I think it captures the spirit of the Ascot perfectly:

"Recall an age of elegance, of style, of open top Bentley touring roadsters, of biplanes, of Rolex watches, Art Deco, the Chrysler skyscraper, jazz, the Charleston, of luxury cruises on four-funnel liners, and of gentlemen's leather accessories.
The Filofax Ascot, Personal size, harks back to those days, with its rich, glossy, alligator print textured cover and contrasting smooth leather interior." 

I couldn't agree more!

May 16, 2012

2012 2DPP: It all started with Adrian Mole

AdrianRemember Adrian Mole? It was the first diary I ever read, I was about 8 then and I found it hilarious. And of course I have kept my very own secret diary more or less constantly ever since!
I loved using thick books that contained a year or even more of my entries, but their non-portability slowly turned me away from writing regularly.

But I'm not whole without it, really!

So after having started to use my Filofax, I figured the best way to make sure I'll keep a diary is to insert a few empty pages so I can put my thoughts down anywhere, anytime. 
It really has worked so far and after a test period I decided to make a journal a constant feature of my Filofax. It was there and then that I started to test various layouts (plain white paper; plain ruled paper; plain white paper with date printed on the top - day per page; Ray's fabulous TM day per page).

Nothing seemed to work though: either the pages were too empty, or too crowded, or the printed date was to small or too awkward, or it just wasn't looking good... (Or maybe it was just me being uninspired!)
So one morning I  printed out the oversized dates in my favourite font, cut them out and made them like stickers using double - sided scotch tape. I stuck two dates on each ruled page trying not to be too neat (artistic effects and stuff, haha).

As a result I basically have a clumsy lined 2DPP journal, but as it is less formal and more relaxed, I feel more drawn towards it and even began to write less conventionally since using it (well, but I definitely won't do a "wreck your journal" with this one, haha).

Hm, wondering which Filofax Adrian Mole would use as his diary?!

May 14, 2012

Pretty Little Things #3

The package that simply makes me smile.

May 11, 2012

BaROCK! (or: The Great Mini - Summer Edition)

I have been enchanted by the Filofax Baroque ever sinceI first saw it and read about it. It's amazing with all the embossing on the inside, isn't it? I wonder how this pattern is done onto leather, it reminds me of an enchanted forest. I wish my photographing abilities were better so I could capture it in all its complexity, but thankfully Doris; Amanda and Amber from the links above and below have done fabulous job, so definitely check their work!

I certainly agree with fellow philofaxers that Baroque is a line that should be kept and further developed. However, it is on verge of extinction now and, naturally, this is a call for me to preserve it, I guess! :)

Not long ago Doris wrote this amazing post and it turned me from a Baroque-admirer-from-a-far to a woman-on-a-mission.
Funnily enough, just a couple of days later an exactly the same mini in fuchsia pink appeared on eBay and I even didn't have much competition!

I have already shared with you my positive experience with using a mini as my wallet and I cannot imagine replacing it with an ordinary wallet ever again. So I thought such a Baroque would be a perfect summer edition of it, to replace the thick black Balmoral that will be my wallet for the darker months of the year.

Here it is:

Truly, the leather is equisitely soft and pliable (Malden cannot compare to it!), but I wish at least a part of the gorgeous embossing from the inside had spilled on the outside as well, I find it a bit plain.

The layout of the pockets is similar to the Malden, I hear (as I don't have a mini Malden), and it is cute, but not very practical for the coins, as other owners of it have stated, too: it is hard to get the coins out of the pocket, especially once you put your credit cards into the pockets. And I really got spoilt with the Balmoral which has a great pocket at the back, with popper closing that makes it a fabulous wallet!

I also miss the whole width pocket for bank notes that the Balmoral has, but hey, not a big deal, really.

To compensate for it, there is a notepad pocket on the back of the Baroque, which replaced all my to-do and expense sheets, so there are only cards in the plastic envelopes left in; I put a sticky notes pad in it instead to track my expenses and write my shopping lists - this way I can stick a shopping list on the cover of the Filofax when in store, which will come in handy.

So the final verdict is: if I had to choose between the Balmoral and the Baroque mini as a wallet, I'd definitely stay with the Balmoral. The Great Judge (my DH) was very clear about it when sticking his fingers into the coin pocket and searching for the coins in a hurry: "This is a disaster!" :)

However, the beautiful feminine looks of the binder are just irresistible, and the binder is a sheer pleasure to look at...  and I so honestly and wholeheartedly believe that Filofaxes aren't just about being practical!
So - this one will stay with me, definitely:)

May 7, 2012

Pretty Little Things #2

My little girl's first footsteps...

May 5, 2012

"A bright color to bring you back to life after a dismal winter"

A certain conversation over at Philofaxy last year got stuck in my mind ever since:

"Alexandra asks:
Say if you have 6 personals or whatever do you change them according to your mood?..."

And somewhere in the comments, Saffronia answers:

"I put my own little twist on that to justify owning 4 personal Filos.
One for each season will allow the upkeep of each organiser.
Teal Finchley for the spring, a bright color to bring you back to life after a dismal winter.
Gooseberry Domino for the summer, as it is easy to clean and quite lightweight.
A Green Epping for the fall. A little bit collegiate and great in contrast to the amber autumn skies.
An Almond Amazona to fit the very classic fashion of the crisp winter.
Itr just seems so fitting, no?"

Isn't she genius? 

And so I was left longing for a Personal Finchley in Teal. I did wait and search for it for long months and when I finally got one, it was mid Autumn. Couldn't be further away from the teal-time, could it! So I waited patiently, eager for the first smell of spring to come so I could activate it, it was so beautiful!

I did transfer all my stuff into it in March:


I tried to re-create the warm sweepings of spring, hence the new green leafy dividers and the pen that reminded me of the early morning sky.
And since I usually don't use the zippered pockets for anything practical, I figured the Finchley's mesh pocket at the back would be perfect for a flowery scented bag.
I picked sweet peas and I know, Finchley has a beautiful leather smell by itself alone, but having sweet peas wafting out of the pages and my handbag from time to time is so heart warming! 

I guess this would have been a perfect romance (Finchleys are amazing!) hadn't I  met someone else instead while waiting for the right time for our date (what a moral of the story!). And so, instead of a delightful, longingly awaited transfer, there was a lot of heartbreak when emptying out the Piccadilly.

This will not last and I just wanted to do it since it was planned for so long, I wouldn't forgive myself if I hadn't even tried and then later found myself longing for it in October again. But despite all its beauty, this lovely Finchley and I don't connect at all and I feel as if being forced into a relationship (gosh, hear how that sounds!). So while my Piccadilly is having a retreat and many facials, I struggle here. :)  

May 2, 2012

Filotecture and Constant Curiosity

(Warning: this is a post without a single picture!)

I mean, really. May has begun while my posts got stuck back in February. I really am dissatisfied with myself because I know I could've written a dozen of them at least, I have been experimenting around Filofaxes a lot all this time!

Yeah, well.

During this period of gathering input from various awesome Filofax - related blogs I checked with myself a lot.

Which models resonate with me the most?
How do I decide which ones are a must in my collection?
Why am I perfectly happy with the standard Wo2P diary?
Why don't I like cotton cream paper?
Which size works the best for me? 
How about materials?
How do I respond to their names?
How do I decide which pen to use in which binder?
Is there a perfect set-up for me?
And so on and on, those were just some of the questions and I didn't get all the exact answers, but it made me think.

And I realized a couple of things:
a) I have already found my favourite model (I loved all your comments on my post about Filofax Piccadilly - thank you!),
b) I don't care so much about the specifics of the inserts as long as they are helpful enough to organize me for my daily basics; I have also gotten really used to my 4 quadrants in classic Filofax Wo2P so anything else confuses me too much,
c) I love the ordinary white Filofax paper, its thinness and smoothness and the rustling sound the pages make when I turn them and
d) I definitely support the "one life - one Filofax" philosophy, but something is making me collect those binders.

So the total amounts to the conclusion that I probably won't come up with any revolutionary new organizational tools in my career of a Filofax user because their "architecture" is what matters to me the most.

As I have written once, I perceive a Filofax as a personal space and my challenge is in making that space really comfortable and personal. Whenever I yearn for a certain Filofax or decide to put a next one in use, it is driven by my desire to make it a visual and tactile pleasure.

I love the process of "taming" a new Filofax into something that starts to breathe the air of you and your surroundings, I love the moment it begins to resonate with you and mirror your individuality, the way it starts to behave with your use.
(In psychotherapy very often one of the indicators of the person changing is their need to rearrange and redecorate their house. It'd be interesting to see how much setting up your own Filofax helps/reflects your inner structure changing!) 

So I think this must be the explanation for my growing collection of Filofaxes (My family members: "But what do you need another one for??" / Me: "Need? Need??? It's so not about needing it!"): the beautiful binders are a great "blank canvas" for such experiments, each of them a lovely little house, waiting to be inhabited. And there comes my curiosity when I see a binder: how can I tame this one?!

So in the next posts I'll mostly share my experiments of bringing various Filofaxes to life - hopefully you'll enjoy them, too! :)

Pretty Little Things

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention. 

                                                                                                            John O'Donohue