Friday, 30 November 2012

Diary-style Phone Case

I'm hoping to upgrade my mobile phone within the next week or so, with the Galaxy Note 2 being my first choice if I can squeeze a good deal out of the seller.

Please note that I do not own this video.
This sort of phone case appears to be the perfect companion to any purse/binder set up; giving you extra storage for your cards and protecting your phone at the same time. However, I am concerned by the, "The leather scratches very easily." line. It isn't made clear whether the leather itself scratches, or if it scratches your phone. Not something I like to be left in the dark about when spending £50+ on  phone case.

If I were to go for a compact Pennybridge in the future, I think that this behemoth of a phone would fit nicely inside its inner pockets and receive better protection than the Zenus can offer.

Just another reason to keep looking for one :p

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Purse problems solved?

I've decided. Well...decided-ish.

I think a Pennybridge might make a perfect purse for me. I've been playing with the pocket and portable versions in my local stationers. Their sirens call was almost irresistible! I think the only reason I left empty handed was my inability to choose between the two sizes.

Decisions, decisions...

I've mentioned my current purse predicament in a previous post and the situation has bothered me ever since. I've managed to force all my cards into the working slots, but the issues of her cumbersome size and gradual deterioration are ever present.

The Pennybridge series is gorgeous with an odd combination of compact and spacious design; the Tardis of the filofax world. Just look at those card slots!

And that zip pocket!

If anyone out there has, or has owned, a Pennybridge in either personal or compact size, I would love to hear about your experiences.

Hopefully it will help me choose between them.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Making a Personal sized page

As this is my first tutorial on making bespoke inserts for your filofax I'm going to go over the basics and try to be as detailed, and as straight forward, as I can.

Platform: Mac

Software: InDesign CS5.5

Step 1: Page Size
Before we do anything we need to know what size page we are going to be working with, so start by choosing the organiser you want to use and find the right paper size for it using the official filofax size guide, shown below.

Official filofax paper sizes.
I'm going to be making a page for my Personal sizes filofax, so it needs to be 95mm (9.5cm) wide by 171mm (17.1cm) high. If you're using the US site the measurements are given in inches; due to the nature of the imperial measuring system, the sizes are not 100% correct. I recommend using millimetres and centimetres as a more accurate alternative.

Be sure to set your orientation to portrait, if you're following along.

Step 2: Margins
The margins of the page will help up make sure that our content is correctly placed on the page. This means that we shouldn't lose any content in the centre margin where the rings live or come uncomfortably close to the outer edges of the page, though it does appear that filofax likes to run its lines right to the edge on its note paper.

Feel free to measure your own existing pages for spacing. For now I'm going to use my own readings from a filofax address page.

Remember to 'break the link' between the measurements.

As this is for a right hand page, the left margin needs to be bigger. If we were to make a left hand page, the left and right measurements would have to be swapped.

Step 3: Bleed
Adding a bleed to our page allows us to add features, designs or colour, that extend right to the very edge of the page by letting it print beyond it for us to cut off later. 3mm should be enough for us to work with and not waste too much ink or paper. You can ignore the Slug.

Leave that slug to its lettuce!

Step 4: Click OK!
Give that friendly looking OK button a slap, we're ready to make our page!

You should be left with something that looks a bit like this...

Black = page. Purple = margin box. Red = bleed.
That's how to make a personal sized page in InDesign!

I will show you how to print this later on this week because this post is already far too long :)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Collins card holders

I was able to make my way into an alternative town to my regular selection today, meaning I could rifle through the shelves of different stationery shops!

Stationery Plus, whose shop is far better than their website, is a lovely little stationery shop that does not sell any filofax products! While I initially considered this a bad business move, the proprietor explained to me that they choose Collins over filofax because they are far cheaper and popular amongst the book binders/writers their customer base is mainly made of.

I had a play with some of the articles on display (you can always judge the quality of a binder when they choose to lock the pens up instead) and I must say that I wasn't that impressed. The leather feels cheap and the rings are odd shapes, they did however have a pleasant  amount of pockets and hidey-holes for all your stickers and cards.

While I wouldn't be disappointed if I were to receive one of these, I would probably keep going back to the slightly higher priced luxury of my filofax.

That said, WH Smiths has an incredible sale on Pocket Maldens; £15!... I want one :(

Back to the point of this post; cheapo card holders, 18 for £3.23.

The packaging is very filofax-ish, as you can see.

The angled edges and semi-punched holes are a noticeable difference to the higher priced alternative.

While they do fit inside a personal, they are ever so slightly wider than the norm & the holes are a bit in the snug side.

The messy aftermath of forcing the pockets onto the rings. It reminds me of breaking in new inserts for A2 presentation binders. Difficult and dangerous if rushed.

I can not recommended these pockets for your presentation or favourite binder. They're difficult, flimsy, have an oddly toxic smell to them and aren't exactly business card size as the fit is exceptionally snug. They do serve a purpose however, and are more affordable than the super brand alternative. If, like me, you've maybe spent a little too much on filofax accessories recently, this may be an addition for you.

I plan on keeping receipts in mine.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Festive feelings

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, unless your a vegetarian like me and you're hoping to stumble across a particularly juicy looking butter nut squash to stuff!

It’s officially one whole month until the big day. All your carefully laid plans come together, families are gathering around the western world, and the presents you have so lovingly wrapped are torn open with all the care of a honey badger on his third espresso!

I’m… almost done. Almost. I do love the process of planning and purchasing presents for other people. What is the point in working for money, if you can’t spend it on the ones you love?

I’ve already wrapped up a little bit of filofax love for someone, and dropped a not-so-subtle hint to my younger sister about the magenta flex I ogled previously this week. She did ask what I wanted! I didn’t sneak up and stick an advert to her forehead.

Speaking of filofax love, I’m exceptionally grateful to Philofaxy for featuring several of my posts this week on their “Web Finds - 24th November 2012”. My hit counter has never looked the same was since!

As an extra bit of love, and as it’s the end of the week, I’m including a photo of this weeks diary entries. Feel free to recoil in horror at the scrawl that is my handwriting. Don’t worry, next week is the first week with my newly implemented notes page, so hopefully it wont look so much like the leavings of a pigeon coop!
Do you like my festive addition to the background?

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Magenta temptation

Is it bad that I've been eyeing the A5 filofax flex in magenta? They're 30% off at a local stationers, and I'm exceptionally tempted! Purely for the portable & protected note/sketch book aspects, I don't think I need another calendar right now. I just think it would make a perfect creative space (and hidey-hole for slim-line gadgets). My exceptionally fabulous boyfriend kindly going shopping with me today. While he is my voice of reason, his powers of persuasion are sometimes not strong enough. There was an unloved, and slightly damaged, A5 Domino in lavender giving me the eye last week for a mere £17.50. If that calls to me again, what do I do if he can't keep me away from it, and I fall completely for the flex!? It really has begun D: Due to bad weather, we didn't venture out into the dangerous world of temptation. You are safe for another day Domino!

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Mystery Binder of Batiste

Those of you who live in the UK might be familiar with the new adverts for the Batiste brand of dry shampoo. Personally, I've been well acquainted with the brand since my too-lazy-to-get-up-early-enough-to-wash-my-hair student days.

I noticed a cheeky inclusion of a mystery binder about 13 seconds in...

We get it; she's young, she's sassy, she's the target audience of filofax's new 'fashionable' range of binders and they don't care who knows it.

I'm not sure whether this binder was specially made for the ad, or whether it's available to the public. Either way, it's cute, and I'm sure it would go down really well with the female members of the filofax community.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Weirdo Wednesday's late night shuffle

Yesterday was an exceptionally weird day.

I witnessed a women publicly harass a Barista in my local Caffe Nero over something about her son and the Barista having a bad break up, and her taking a disliking to the gory aftermath being broadcast all over facebook. I didn’t catch all the details as I had a hot Americano in my hand, but no matter what it was, she was more than wrong to bring a petty internet squabble into the Barista’s place of work.

The young girl handled herself exceptionally well, explaining calmly to the woman that she was on CCTV and that she was more than happy to get her manager if she so wished. An excellent piece of customer service if you ask me; it’s not all about keeping up that smile, it’s about knowing what to do when confronted by a potentially dangerous individual. You have to keep yourself, and your regular customers, safe.

Mini lesson in customer service aside, I and Percy had a bit of a shuffle round last night. It was definitely a bad move lugging 2013 around whilst there’s still so much of 2012 to enjoy… and if the Mayans are right, I won’t need it anyway! I've also added a finances section from the retro set I previously cannibalised, moved my addresses and added much needed note pages to the remainder of my calendar.

As you can see the new arrangement flows a lot nicer, though the notes tab is a bit hidden by the bottom of the address list.

Despite the ninja notes tab, this new set up creates a clear division between my planner and creative section.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Punching in!

I gave into my urge to expand my small collection of filofax paraphernalia, ordering a Portable Personal Punch for my Portland (my, I do like alliteration today!) late Sunday night from an Amazon seller.

I was exceptionally pleased to receive it in the post this morning, well before the predicted delivery date and it only cost me just over half the RRP!

If nothing else good comes of my exploits in the world of organisers, I have at least learnt how to shop around and think a bit before clicking that buy button.

Technically it's enabling, but in a good way!

Designer deliberations

If I have failed to mention previously, I am a trained graphic designer. Sadly, my skills are somewhat wasted in my current job; even though I’ve also been trained as a visual merchandiser, I don’t have many opportunities to exercise my creative muscles in 6,000 square feet.

However! As every creative individual knows, one must find opportunity, seek its problem, and discover a solution.

Problem: A lack of creative outlet in my current state of employment.

Solution: Transform, what I normally consider a hobby, into an opportunity to use my design powers for good, e.g. helping you create simple and/or stunning inserts and pages for your organisers.

I can’t help but notice that the box standard inserts for a virgin filofax prioritises function over form. In their context as organisation tools, this is perfectly fine. It provides a blank canvas on which you are free to create the mural of your life. That is, as long as you’ve got enough paper…

Which brings me to...

Problem #1: Filofax inserts are (excuse my French) damn expensive!

If you were to compare the potential creative space and price of a sheet of everyday photocopier paper, to a blank filofax insert (depending on the size of the paper) you would pay almost 400% more, for a quarter of the stock. The only differences being a small amount of branding and holes. Every time we buy pre-made inserts, we also pay for the space where paper used to be. Hurts a little bit, doesn’t it?

Despite this, there is nothing wrong with buying pre-made pages! I must admit, as a self confessed stationary addict, I enjoy rummaging around the shelves in shops, mentally listing all the great things I could do with the little packs of paper. I find great pleasure in it. My bank however, does not.

Problem #2: Function over form isn’t always the way to go.

Yes, it does ensure that their inserts technically appeal to everyone, and it has been said that the best design is the one which goes unnoticed, buy why must the sets on offer be so… normal? Why can’t we buy advent calendars? Moon charts? Season tabs to divide our year by instead of months? Even a mini cook book wouldn’t go amiss!

The filofax community, whilst appearing to be predominantly left brained, has a secret underbelly of right brained creatives just waiting to be set free! Look at any filofax video and you’ll find proof.

Within the next few weeks I intend to create tutorials so that you can have the satisfaction of saying, “I made this!” Whilst proudly flaunting your A5 Holborn at the next Philofaxy meet up, as well as  PDF inserts for anyone who would wish to use them; and for those without access to InDesign.

If I continue to be disciplined with the regularity of my posts, I may even take requests!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A Peek at Percy the Personal Portland

Try saying that three times fast!

As I’ve mentioned previously, myself and Percy have a strange relationship at the moment. His set up is bulky and in desperate need of refinement. As you’ll see form the following images, I have quite a few tabs, most of which lack true definition but I feel obliged to include whilst finding my filofax feet. I’m already considering adding to the collection with a finances tab!

Despite the apparent short comings of my current set up, we’re working well together. He looks after all my important day to day information, and I remember to keep him safely by my side in case I need him. Owning a filofax is a bit like owning a handbag-dog, isn’t it? Except it’s easier to write in a filofax than on a tiny dog.

Hopefully you’ll find the same enjoyment in perusing through the next few images that I do in using him :)

Front cover.
Back cover.
Sturdy, yet flexible, popper.
Quite a chunk! Luckily the tabs aren't effected by the closing mechanism.
Even with pens I'm able to close him easily.
I'm lucky enough to have two rulers for my Portland. As you can see here, one serves partially to highlight how much extra paper I carry around! Surely I don't need to have 2013 in there already?
Font interior. He sits wonderfully flat, no matter what surface I put him on. the interior zipped pocket is brilliant for keeping accessories to my graphics tablet safe & together.
Back interior. Six card pockets and a large flap provides plenty of storage space for important information, like my ID and receipts for work.
My tabs don't exactly 'flow' in a way I've seen others execute so effortlessly. However, it's surprisingly easy to navigate in a hurry.
Here you can see my A-Z contact tabs more clearly. In contrast to the rest of my filofax, these are pathetically skinny.
The money shot.

If you're lucky enough to stumble across one of these, I highly recommend picking it up! the leather is butter soft, ages well, and has enough flexibility to cater to those who like to over feed their planners.

However, I think mine may have to go on a diet soon...

Monday, 19 November 2012

A tale of planner fail

We have all experienced it in some shape or form; attempting to cram too much into our days, using more tabs than a guitar enthusiast website, and generally asking far too much of our planning companions. Planner fail is something we all contend with at some point… unless your name is Martha Stewart.

Currently, I am having a few difficulties with the battle for successful life organisation; mainly caused by a lack of funds and a severe need of expensive hole punches in several sizes. But I digress…

While I have only recently broken into the world of the filofax, I have not gone my whole life without a planner. For many of my school years I was surgically bound to a student planner, forced upon us to remove any excuse for forgetting home work or PE kits. I remember one in particular had a collage of school photographs on the cover, one of which was a student diving into the swimming pool (which is now a car park). You can imagine how the student felt as the image was used without both her, and her parent’s permission!

These student planners, as primitive as they were, helped me remember what I was supposed to be doing with myself at a very chaotic point in my life (don’t ever let them tell you your school years are the best of your life!). But they were messy, small, impossible to customise and exceptionally prone to the not-so-perfect binding giving out on you all together! By the end of a school year many of us were left with something that resembled a collection of dated postcards more than a diary.

Before these there was ‘the green planner’. I’m not sure if I still have the green planner lurking about somewhere in the depths of my bedroom, but I remember it vividly in all its translucent green plasticity; and how I never wrote more than my name in it.

I assume this is the most common form of planner fail; purchasing a new diary, full of hope and dreams of all the wonderful things you will do together, yet never writing more than “This belongs to…” neatly on the inside cover. I’ve suffered this with more than one sketchbook/diary/notebook over the years only achieving some form of order with ugly A4 wire bound notepads during my years at university. Over a year after graduation and I’m still attempting to work through some of these!.. and resist adding to their numbers.

I’m curious as to how other people overcome the Bambi days of their first proper planner.

How does one find purpose or meaning amongst those thinly ruled pages?

My god that last sentence was pretentious!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

My first filofax

While I can not say that this is my only filofax, a fact that pains my bank balance greatly,  it is definitely my first!

I can’t quite remember how I got into the situation of asking my dad if he knew where I’d get a planner, but I was more than happy to accept the unused and empty one he had stashed away in his desk.

Purchased in a local charity shop, the early history of this Personal Portland are a complete mystery to me. It had no discernible markings or evidence of the personalisation that is popular amongst filo-aficionados. Nor did it come with anyone’s old notes, only two Portable sized rulers. I would have loved to find it myself, packed to the brim with old papers and scrawling. Though it is a bit like peering through someone’s letterbox, looking through a planner without the owner’s permission or knowledge.

Despite appearing, at first glance, to be a skinny and lifeless thing it has more than developed a personality during the short weeks it’s been in use. Now packed with a somewhat messy week on two pages calendar from Paperchase and notes, projects and goals cannibalised from an unbranded binder, it looks a lot more healthy. A sensation akin to giving a supermodel a proper meal; you may seem pretty when you’re thin and narrow, but without inner substance, you are no help to anyone.

I’m still not 100% sure of this filo’s purpose, or whether I actually need to define one. I feel like this filofax should be the binder all my other binders answer to. A franken-mish-mash of all other planners I might own. Somewhere for immediate, on the spot notes, day to day planning and finance tracking, jotting down my work schedule and grumbling over, and a constant addition to my handbag.

Some people have one page dedicated to being the ‘dashbord’ of their life. Apparently I need a whole planner!

I  fully intended to add photographs to this post, but the charger to my camera has decided to relocate itself; so that’ll have to wait for another day.

Keep it in your diary ;p

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Hello! Bonjour! Guten Tag!

As with every potentially great blog there is the obligatory opening post. A little bit awkward, a little bit unsure, but full of hope for something that can bring enjoyment to all those who happen upon it.

Welcome to filofaximile! My name is Emma and I hope to bring to you, within future posts, a little insight onto my interpretation of the filofax and binder organisation world. I stumbled upon Philofaxy a matter of days ago, after I obtained an old Personal Portland form my father, and was curious to how I could use this new (to me) device to my advantage.

Coming from a design background and having a perpetual passion for stationary that comes with such territory, I've found it to be a constructive outlet for my addiction, and a brilliant asset for organising my creative life around my day job. If only I had discovered the delights of binders in my university days; my purse would have been lighter, but I would have been a damn sight more organised!

I wish us both luck in the coming weeks. Hopefully I'll remember to keep posting (thanks to my trusty Portland) and you'll develop/keep an interest in my writing :)

As the great Mr. Miyagi used to say, "Fax-on, fax-off!"