Thursday, 31 July 2014

Stretching My Loop (aka 50 Shades of Malden)

Well it is time again to practise what I preach.
Hot off the press and in my hot little hand is a hot ticket item I have been in hot pursuit for a long time.
My Pocket Ochre Malden.
Proudly holding my Malden up at work for all to see!

It is a sensual experience holding your Malden in your bare hands.
It’s leathery aroma titillates the olfactory senses and the feel of its skin is silky and comforting.
But there was one small problem.
My ultra-favourite writing instrument – the Coleto HI-TEC-C gel pen (with 4 refills) was too wide for the rather snug single pen loop the Maldens are notorious for.
Decisions, decisions, decisions!
Could I do without my beloved and faithful pen?
The answer was simple.

I seemed to recall a wonderful YouTube video about stretching stubborn Filofax Loops.
It was remarkable and very helpful…..
…Oh yeah, …it was also one of mine! <he blushes>
So I eagerly rewatched the said video and entered that scary journey along with thousands of you in getting the loop bigger and wider to accommodate my enormous Coleto.
I was rather hesitant at first as I did not want to wreck the beautiful brown leather of the Malden.
But desperation is the Father of Adversity (or something to that effect) and I began the delicate manoeuvre.
First step was to select an instrument that was smooth and rounded and slightly thicker and longer than the pen I was aiming to use.
My standard grey Sharpie fit the bill.
Firmly wedging Jumbo up my loop (while the Coleto looks on)!

I soaked the loop in water and slowly covered the sharpie with plain old Nivea hand cream.
Shove, Twist, Push, Reposition, Twist again, Uh, Uh, UH!!!!!
In it went.
Taught and. . . . . . seemingly stuck.
I loosened the leather again with more water.
It seemed to help.
In it went again, right up to the cap.
I decided to leave it overnight.
I didn’t sleep too well.
Upon the dawn, I reached over to see if it was still OK.
(Yes!!!!! I sleep with the Filofax next to me!!! Doesn’t everybody???)
Everything was fine.
Now to have a bit of a tug at my Sharpie.
I struggled a bit but eventually succeeded in removing the marker which came out with a tiny ‘pop’.
I tried to insert the Coleto.
My poor old loop firmly packed and stretching!

It could only go half way in.
That afternoon I repeated the process but with a thicker instrument: Water soak, Nivea, Shove, Shove, Shove.
Another restless night.
Next day – I removed my Jumbo Marker – it has a bigger girth than Sharpie.
It came out much easier and I quickly slipped my Coleto into the loop.
I sighed and was now a satisfied man.
My Malden loop was big enough to do the job.
In fact, the Jumbo stretched it ever so slightly more than the Coleto needed.
Not to worry, it will slowly and naturally shrink over time and with regular usage.
Age does that sort of thing.
Stretch finally completed by the thick Jumbo marker -

The old lubricating the loop trick worked once again.
I had broken in that sucker and my set-up was now complete.
Pen and binder – seemingly one.
And after all that hullabaloo,
The push, poke, pry, push, pull, push and pull
I gazed lovingly over at my antiqued leather friend . . .

and lit a cigarette.
My original YouTube video on loop stretching

The reference to smoking in the above text was purely for theatrical effect. Kent from OZ does not smoke or endorse cigarette products in any form. Smoking is dangerous for your health and besides, you could accidentally set your Filofax on fire - now THAT would be a travesty!


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Jekyll and Hydewriting

Sometimes I feel like I am two different people!.

The ordered, together, concise person with neat writing . . . . . . 

And Fred - the demon scribbler with chicken-scratch penmanship.

I have been oh so careful for so so long to keep my Filofaxes so neat and tidy, ordered and presented in tear-shedding beauty.

But now, today

I choose FRED!


I am getting too old to keep up the pressure.
I am going through a Mid-Filo Crisis! (or is that Filopause?!?)

My binders have changed immensely over the last couple of years and I am too busy to keep up with the charade.
I love it - I'ts my passion . . . .but
it creates so much pressure and is exhausting.

So, today, I am going to revert to my Hydewriting.
- that quick and efficient and scratchy scribble that comes out of my pen lightning fast to get my rapid thoughts down on paper.
The writing I can do to make quick notes and write lists.
The 'doctor's scrawl' that I can do on any surface and in an weather.
The quick script that gets the job done.
Smaller, faster and flowing!

To be honest,
Only I really really see the majority of what I write..
It's nobody else's business.
The 'Cursive Police' do not really exist!
And to be blunt - no-one cares how I write.

What is more important is that I need to use my journals and Filofaxes for me.
I shouldn't write in them to try to impress people - and from today I will not.

Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with neat and impressive handwriting
It is praiseworthy, admirable and nice to view.
But it really isn't me.
The relaxed me.
And, if I'm really honest, my scratchy writing is still reasonably neat and readable - that's ALL I need.

So enough of the Prim and Proper Pressure-inducing Pompous Penmanship.

I've taken off my shoes, loosened the necktie sitting cross-legged on the back deck with my FIlofax on my lap . . . . . and am now relaxed in the words I want to write.

Who cares if it is not perfect?

They are simply mine!


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

And they call it FILO-LOVE ♩♪♫♬

(sung to "Puppy Love" by Donny Osmond)

And they called it Filo-lo-o-ove
Oh, I guess they'll never know
How a leather planner feels
And why I love it so

You can mock my Filo-lo-o-ove
It’s old fashioned you surmise
But your iPhone aint so go-oo-od
when your battery ups and dies!

I write each night and care for you
My friends say I’m insane
I hope and I pray that there won’t be a day
When I leave you out in the rain!!!!

Somebody help me, help me, help me please
If you give me just a sec
How can I tell my other half?
I’ve just bought a Van der Spe-e-ek! 

Tag . . . your it!

I may be weird
but I sat at my desk today
and for the first time
had a good look at the zipper tag of my
vintage leather A5 black Durham zippered Filofax!

and you know?

I kinda love it!


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Over-holing - (insert scream here)!

Is it just me?

Am I secretly OCD?

I was in a rush today and was quickly printing my weekly work schedule in colour and then grabbed my hole punch to put it into my A5 planner ready for a busy week.

I lined up the page.
Eye-balled the position so it was even on both sides.
Quickly punched the paper.
Put back the punch and opened the rings.
The holes did not match!
I had left the punch in Pocket-sized ring space!
No time to reprint the pages!
Grabbed the punch
Yanked it back to A5 hole spaces.
Punched in the right holes.
Flung the paper into my binder.
Walked off muttering.

Spent the best part of the day staring at the redundant holes.
It irritates me.
It shouldn't.
But it does.

Spent the rest of the day deliberating on whether to reprint the page and re-punch.
It just doesn't look right.
Realistically, the page works just as well.
....but it will stare at me for the rest of the week.

Decisions, decisions.

First World problem.



UPDATE: It's Friday and I suffered through the week with the redundant holes still there. I made it! Honestly, I just had to overcome my irritation. High-Five for me! But next week I will DOUBLE CHECK before I punch. Lesson learned. And, (if you excuse the wordplay) it was better than redoing the (w)hole thing again!

You've Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two!?!

What have I done? Moved into a pocket size Success leather planner (while waiting for my Pocket Ochre Malden to arrive from the US). It took 10 hours of deliberating and chopping and changing over the weekend. I am exhausted! I am using the elcheapo J Burrows A6 inserts from Officeworks as the FF pocket inserts are just too tiny for me. I had to rethink almost EVERYTHING I wanted in a planner and am absolutely stuffed! Almost traumatised . . .but actually liking what evolved. Don't fear, I have not forsaken the A5s yet (yeah gods I am not that crazy!) but am trialling this for a month. The feel and lightness of the Pocket size is what I am most attracted to at the moment. Stayed tuned to this channel!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Modifying And Decorating A5 Filofax Inserts With Just A Laser Printer

After a year of experimentation I have found that I can now accurately print directly on my WO2P A5 pages after a lot of trial and error. 

My current setup just after printing
I have some B&W Victoriana/Steampunk designs on the pages for a small amount of decoration and some ants to divide the notes and weekend (i alternate with keys). 

This is a typical week using the setup.
I also print my daily schedule on the left (with checklist boxes and times 6.00AM-8.00PM) and TODO check-boxes on the right side. It is working well and I print around three to four weeks ahead.
My Bullet Journal method is a bit hybrid but I only use it for what I need - I dont practice 100% BuJo as it really cant work well in the FIlofax pages. I also carry a Pocket notebook with me for more detailed notes and reminders which saves me carrying the A5 everywhere.

and a closer look at the day check-boxes and schedule lists
I use a fairly cheap brother laser printer with a hand-feed slot. I have 4 different templates for the bottom graphics and section lines (for variety) but leave the rest essentially the same. 

I printed very tiny times on the right side to help me write appointments in some sort of visual timeline

One of my reasons for printing the pages this way was that, although I don't mind using washi tape and stickers, it all gets a bit fiddly and time-consuming for me. This way I can just insert the Filofax pages and its all done in about a minute. I like the decoration aspects, but am OK to have the same ones in the Black & White format as I need my entries to be the focus of the page rather than the pretty things I used to do (Not that there is anything wrong with page decorating - I admire them a lot - just cant spare the time to do it an more)

For interest sake - I incorporate my own hybrid version of Bullet Journaling on these pages and write my TODO lists from the bottom upwards - works for me!

Here is a link to one of my videos on YouTube which shows how I set up the page for printing - It works for all size pafes and Filofaxes: