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! :)


  1. Lovely, well-written post! It sort of mirrors where I am right now. I haven't changed my set-up at all in the last few months, except for moving the accessories around a bit, precisely because IT WORKS FOR ME!

    It hasn't stopped me from getting more filos, but it's more of a visual and tactile experience, rather than re-arranging the contents.

    There is some wisdom in "if it aint's broke, don't fix it", isn't there?

    Happy to see you posting again, keep 'em coming!


  2. Doris, thank you, it's so rewarding to receive such a lovely comment! :)
    Exactly as you say: not fixing the unbroken, focusing on sensory dimensions of the Filofaxes - and still getting more of them! :)

    Any news on your potential Amazonas? :)


  3. Hi again! I've actually gotten a mini and pocket already, thanks to you! (: The black personal is in storage from the seller so that won't be till mid-may he says. The downside of living in Manila filo-wise is having to wait for many agonizing weeks to get my fix. But their arrival is so worth it!

    1. Hi Doris!
      Hm, I'd almost feel as an enabler... weren't you the one who enabled me A LOT recently, hehe (hint: Baroquism!)...
      And I so understand the frustration of buying Filofaxes from the opposite parts of the world - Ljubljana is years away, too, I sometimes have to wait up to 3 weeks, not to mention the postage and possibly also the customs... and scarce offer in the stores here (3 - 8 binders per store - makes me want to cry!).
      Well, the good news is: mid-May is just around the corner! :)
      Doris, let me know when you fell like making a guest blog-post on your Amazonas (or anything else as well!) - I'd love to feature you! :)

  4. The fun I think is in enabling each other. It's better to buy knowing what you're getting, especially because we live so far away from Filofax retailers. I thank you and your blog for that. (I had to google Ljubljana, such an interesting country Slovenia.) And please blog about the Baroque when you get it (:

    I would love to guest post! Thanks for the offer! I'll let you know when an interesting topic comes to mind.

  5. Doris, you must be right: the enabling and sharing the joy with the binders once you receive them is definitely a beautiful part of the day! Thanks to you, too! :)

    And regarding your guest-post: I'm awaiting eagerly! :)

  6. Vanjilla, I really enjoy reading your blog and am glad you are back. This post in particular resonates with me. I too have quite a collection of Filofaxes which I am even ashamed of due to the sheer quantity. However I feel like I have been on a quest to find the perfect filo which I now wonder if it exists although the red Topaz is pretty close. I am glad you have found your filo nirvana.

    As to the inserts, like you I am very happy with the filofax branded diaries and paper although I know most filo fans dislike it at lot. I also love the smoothness and thinness of the FF paper and I particularly love the crinkly noise it makes when it is written on. It reminds me of the noise the 100 + year old paper makes when you watch shows like "who do you think you are". Delicate and archived yet life has been permanently etched into it.

    The cotton cream W2P is my preferred layout with its notes at the top of the week but when you use coloured ink/pens it seems to wash out the vibrancy of the colours on the page. This year I have started using the 2PPD from FF France and it really is fab even for my quiet life.

    I have way too many filos to subscribe to the 'one filo one life' mantra but for most of my filo years (which dates back to 1986) I have only had one in use. Like you this was due to not being able to buy them and when they were available being at prohibitive prices. The internet has now rectified that 20 year glitch resulting in my substantial collection.

    I have found that despite the hype of some models I cannot get on with them and wonder what everyone is raving about. The Baroques are by far one of my favourites and I have them in all sizes, don’t know why but I do.

    I also find that filos which I take a distinct dislike to when they are first launched often end up being favourites, can’t explain why that is. Weight is a big factor for me. I weighed all my personal filos empty and was surprised at the results. I now carry the lightest with me and the heavier ones stay at home.

    Sorry this is so long.

  7. @Saffy:
    thank you! :) I so understand the Filo-quantity-shame, it happens to me every time I open my bag/drawer/ put away a pile of magazines/ baby's toys - and find a Filofax in there! :)
    Red Topaz is amazing, I bought one for my sister and almost couldn't part with it! Which size do you use?
    You put it so beautifully about the FF paper... I also agree, the cream paper does mute the colurs of the ink... is the 2PPD from France different from the standard one? I only know Sweden and Germany have some specialties in inserts...
    Saffy, I constantly wish I was there when the FF got big, please, fill my hungry soul: which filos do you have, which one do you mostly use????? :)
    Ahh, and the Baroques... :)
    Exactly, it happens to me, too: firstly I dislike them, and then at the end of their time I suddenly decide I couldn't live without them and I hunt them all around the globe! Ahhh. :)

    THANK YOU for your great comment!

  8. @Vanjilla, My first filo was a maroon Winchester (I think) I then used a cute little navy pocket size with 4 rings when they first came out but it showed wear very quickly and I stopped using it. I have no idea what model it was because I was unaware of such things back then.

    I have the red Topaz in both personal (from EBay) and pocket size (great German train robbery for only 9.00 Euros, it is just so cute). I think I like its lack of stiffness yet classic styling. I also like that the patterned leather is on the inside too. Most of the higher end filo’s have the plain leather on the inside like the Amazona and cardboard stiffening but that just makes them rigid and heavy. I try and use the personal Topaz everyday as my GTD with the 2PPD which is just fab ( ).

    I have way too many filo’s to list but I do have designated purposes for some like the Jade Finchley (personal) which is my 'mother to daughter, words of wisdom' filo. It is a work in progress and when the time comes for her to leave home I will give it to her as a ‘mother knows best’ reference guide. It is her choice if she uses it or not but out of my collection she chose the green personal because green has always been (one of my) favourite colours . To be honest, I am not a huge Finchley fan, don’t know why but it is a nice binder for its purpose. I also have a travel filo, at the moment it is the damson Adelphi because of the handy wallet pocket in the front but it is subject to change. My ‘master’ filo is the beautiful Pearl Panama which was my everyday filo for a while but I decided it was too nice to be bashed about in my handbag day after day so it now stays at home.

    I was using a pink Classic as my daily 'Log Book' from Jan – March this year and amazingly it did start to lay flat but needed constant reminding. I then swapped my log book into my Ruby Deco (which is DIVINE) because it was showing signs of wear and damage after only 3 months of constant use in my handbag and I don’t go out that much. The Deco was one of the binders I did not like when I received it and it stayed stashed away for about a year. When I finally got it out and started using it I could not believe how lovely it really was and wondered why I had ignored it for so long. The upsetting thing with the Deco is its delicacy. It would probably be my every day, never to be swapped over for year’s binder if it wasn’t for its tendency to be easily nicked and scratched. It now has pinkish marks where the leather has worn on the corners and edges and where leather is missing from a small gash.

    In April I started using a raspberry Chameleon which was another ‘hidden’ binder and one I HATED but now don’t mind. After growing to like the Chameleon, I then became obsessed and had to have the spring green colour too, crazy, I know, but I tracked one down! The Chameleon is the lightest (empty weight) of all my leather personal filo's and again I like that it does not have the stiffening cardboard. Perhaps that is the clincher, I prefer the squishier leather binders?

    You are right, “Ahh, the Baroques”, they are in a class of their own. I used the teal coloured one daily last year for my log book and gave the pink one to my daughter. I was hoping to use the pink one for my log book this year but she refused to give it back. I might have to swap it when she is not looking. ;-)

    I have been thinking I might start using a pocket in my handbag because the personals are so heavy. I could of course use one of my slimlines but for variety I think a pocket would be nice.

    I would love to see a photo of your ‘filo family’ and envy your green Piccadilly. That is the colour filofax I have been wanting for years now, I wish they would bring out more greens.

    Hope you don’t mind, another way too long response 

  9. Dear Saffy, thank you! I loved reading your response and I have re-read it so many times in these two days! It's so lovely I'd just paste it as a post of its own, really!

    I so agree about the Topaz, I, too, took advantage of the German Sale and bought the red one for my sister (why oh why didn't I get one for myself??) and the personal size one in blue for myself. That one then "chose" (=constantly played with) my daughter so I now use it for exactly the same reason you use your Jade Finchley for: a book for my daughter (a book of wisdom, you put it so nicely!).
    I loved it when I heard you write one, too, may I ask how have you set it up? Or do you just use it as a notebook? I still need to find a good way on how to organise it...

    I'd love to see a pearl Panama in person one day, I hear it has beautiful sparkly finish?

    And the Deco - I was admiring it for years and have always found it just too classy for me, but it is unbelievable that it gets scratched so easily - so many people have complained about that!

    Haha, I completely understand you about the Chameleon: I still HATE mine in raspberry, but am suspiciously and for no known reason starting to stare at the leftovers of the green and aqua ones... or is it truly just a collector's disease? :)

    Good luck with the Baroque swap, comments here on my blog alone tell me this is going to be a huge fight! If I had one, I'd probably insure it by now, seeing how many people out there are on the quest for it!:)

    The pocket size? My filofax-itch lately! Out of practicality, curiosity and because there are so many of them so beautiful! And not to mention all of the lovey enablers out there, haha!

    Uh, my filo family photo! :) I plan to do one, but I think I'm still in the process of admitting first I have a problem. When I settle with the fact, the photo will be published, I promise! :)

    I know, the Piccadilly is just so nice, I think every Filofax owner should be entitled to have one, I really miss those vibrant colour in newer binders!... And I still regret losing an amazing blue one months ago in the last seconds on eBay - it shortened my life for a year at least!

    So - what is your current filofax-itch going on? ;)

  10. Vanjill, thank you for your lovely response. Apologies again for such long comments. I will try and make them shorter.

    For the Jade Finchley mother to daughter filo I bought the dividers with plastic tabs which have removable inserts in case I change my mind. They are currently:

    Cleaning - tips on getting stains out, spot carpet cleaning and I printed your nivea advice for leather from your blog dated 17th November 2011, hope you don't mind but I did reference your blog so she knows it is not from me.
    Recipes - favourites and quick recipes thinking of down the track when/if she becomes a poor Uni student or just moves out of home and wants a quick meal after arriving home for work. Nothing too elaborate.
    Journal - this is about me. My favourite objects e.g. Filofax, jewellery, handbags, etc, film, song, colour, etc. A little insight into me which later she might think, "ah, that’s where I get that from".
    Notes - I jot down things that I want to write about in the various parts of the Filo.
    WOW's - Words of Wisdom, thoughts or sayings my late mother would say that I used to think were nonsense but now realise they really are WOW's.
    IMPO - In My Personal Opinion - kind of speaks for itself but it is also my views on things from dealing with people to trying to cut out all the hype of a product and buy the best quality you can afford over quantity and that expensive does not always mean better.

    Much of it she will learn herself but when you first move out of home it is nice to have some guide.

    The Pearl Panama reminds me of the pearl coloured nail polish. In the light it throws a lovely pearlescent sheen.

    I thought the Deco was too Posh more me too but I now love it. It is so upsetting that such an expensive filo is so delicate.

    Oh, the Chameleon. I know what you mean. I have hated that range since it first came out and I particularly disliked the Aqua but am now thinking it will match my colour theme, perhaps? AAArrrrggghhh...... It is a filo disease. I do like that it is the lightest leather binder I own.

    I used to use a pocket size for years but am now back in the personal. It is purely the weight factor for me. My handbag is just too heavy with a personal.

    Can’t wait for the filo family shot.

    I know what you mean about having your life shortened. Those last few seconds can be very stressful and the disappointment when you have lost it in the last seconds.

    My current filo-itch would be the purple Malden. I love the colour, I know I will like the layout because it is like the Baroque but it is still rather masculine looking. Also, heaven knows why but I am now looking at the Aqua Chameleon. I am hoping I will continue to dislike it.

  11. Oh, so sorry, I did think the above comment was shorter.

  12. saffy,
    thank you so much, it was a pleasure to read!

    You gave me new great ideas about my mother-to-daughter Filo and have intrigued me even more about the Panama!

    I can totally relate to the personal size weight issue - mine gets thick and heavy as a telephone book!

    And guess what? It's exactly Aqua Chameleon that has me staring into lately, hating it and getting ready to purchase it, just like you said: heaven knows why! What is this???
    I love the Purple Malden colour, too, and similarly just find it too masculine, I think I'd be happier with an Adelphi in Damson!...

    Filo disease, no doubt. Does it ever get any better? :)