Sunday, December 8, 2013

FILOFAX - I jumped in with both feet!!

LONG, PICTURE HEAVY POST.  Grab a cup of coffee and read on :D

I've been dabbling in crafty things, other than just scrapbooking lately.  I've had a brief encounter with Art Journaling, which I am still enjoying from time to time, but right now….I've fallen head over heels in love…..while scouring YouTube and Google for ideas to Art Journal, I stumbled upon a huge pool of Planner/Filofaxers.  A large community of creative men and women, who share their systems, decorating, freebies and ideas for any level of Planner/Filofaxer - from the users who utilize the planners as directed on the tin - for lists and appointment keeping, to the uber creative peeps out there who tape, sticker, stamp, post-it their Planners/Filofaxes into a functioning piece of art!!!

I have always had a love affair with paper planners.  The process of writing in appointments, birthdays and other bits and pieces to remember as always just felt right….

Enter the electronic age (well, you know what I mean right?)….Let me rephrase….enter my beloved iPad.  Make no mistake, the idea of being able to enter an appointment on the spot, on my iPhone and it appears like magic on my laptop and iPad is an organizational gift.  And this is how I have scheduled "my life" for the past year…all in the magic place where devices communicate to each other, and schedules are shared.

I had a little problem…once I entered the appointment/reminder on my iPhone/iPad….other than if I set a reminder, I never went into my calendar to see what was coming up, never mind the struggle to see your "day at a glance" in a way which made sense to my brain  (Side Note:  The OCD in me insisted that each sub category was color coded, so entering events in iCal was an EVENT in itself).

So, when I stumbled upon the world of super talented, well organized Planner/Filofax users, a great big spotlight went off in my head….I NEEDED to get my stuff on paper again.  Enter the Filofax….

Living in Dubai, the world is your oyster, but things like Filofax are like hens teeth to find.  After many hours of watching and reading reviews, I decided that I had to have an personal Aqua Malden.  I found one on the UK Amazon site, and had filled my basket with all the extra goodies I was after.  I was just about to hit the "BUY" button when I went on an impulse and Googled "Filofax in Dubai" and found that a popular stationery store, Magrudy's stocked Filofaxes. I called and was delighted to find out that they had 2 personal Malden's in stock, Ochre and Vintage Pink.  I decided the Ochre would suffice and convinced myself it was a far more practical color.

I am known to wait patiently for stationery and it would take at least a week before I got my package from the UK.

Within the hour, I had barged into Magrudy's, drooling at the mouth, eager get my hands on a Malden.

To my surprise, the Ochra Malden was suspiciously purple.  I am a purple lover, so my instinct was to grab it and dash for the check out….the curious in me needed to feel the Vintage Pink one too.

The Vintage Pink was so soft, lovely and….edible/huggable/tactile….but I knew that we would not be able to build a relationship on touch alone, so I left with this beauty:

Maddie, my persona Purple Malden.

These pictures are from after I had her about a week and had what I thought was settled on a setup.

Home made fly sheet using scrapbooking paper, alphabet stickers and a Project lift Card.  I used a zipper pocket from Paperchase with Frixion Markers.  Each color represents a different member of our family.

So I thought this was it.  I got inspiration from My Purpley Life for the layout of check boxes for To-Do's and Appointments, and a blank area for general reminders.

I customized a Project Life journaling card to use as a menu planner.  (More on this later in the post)

Side view

Top view, oh so stuffed :D

This is a cell-phone charm my husband picked up for me in Tokyo a couple of years ago.  It has my birthday on it, with I believe a Mt. Fuji character.  I printed and laminated a teeny "Keep Calm" label found on the internet, punched it and attached it to the string of the cell-phone charm.

A month on, my fatty Maddie needed to go on a diet, so I pulled out the markers, got a little ruthless with the inserts (I didn't need 5 sheets of every shade of note paper), etc, etc….

I also changed inserts.  I have ordered W2P SNL (Week on 2 pages, Sunday start, Notes left) from Piaric on Facebook.  I have read about and seen so many people using these inserts, I was sold!  Living in the Middle East means that our first working/school day is a Sunday, with Friday and Saturday being our weekend.  Did I mention the OCD???  I needed the first day of the week to be….the first day of the week!!  LOL

I ordered and received two stamp sets from Studio l2e, the Stamp-It and List-It sets.  I couldn't be happier with these stamps!!!  Go on and check them out!!

My Piaric 2014 inserts are safely tucked in an envelope, somewhere between the United States and the United Arab Emirates.  Until such time as they get here, I opted to make some crude inserts for December to see me through.

I stamp the "list" on the left side of both pages.  Being right handed, I struggled to write on the left page when the list was closer to the rings…it was just down right uncomfortable!!

Being a scrapper at heart, I couldn't leave the planner pages just plain white.  I try to keep it fairly simple, with just some Washi Tape and a sticker or two.

Curent week, looking a bit more streamlined.  The "Right Now" divider is a transparent thick plastic sheet which was the backing for a sticker sheet I purchased at some stage.  I cut it to size, punched the holes accordingly which I dove-tailed it so that I could pull it out and move it without opening the binder rings.  A bit of tape at the top and a label printed on my trust Brother P-Touch….job done!!

Next week.  We are heading home (South Africa) on the 18th for our first Christmas back home in 6 years, so all my busy-ness is happening the days leading to our flight.

I changed up my front fly leaf.  I used some leftover wrapping paper, cut slightly smaller than the personal page size, added a Keep Calm printout from the internet, laminated, punch and away you go!

I have fashioned an additional pen loop from Duct Tape and attached it to the fly sheet.  Although I don't need all the markers, I need at least 2 color pens :D

I found blah Month on Two Pages from a Japanese store, Daiso.  I have filled them in accordingly and used them to separate my months, and have used them as tabs for the different months.  The tabs were also nabbed from Daiso.

Top view of the tabs.

I went on a laminating frenzy and laminated the Project Life journaling card, which I punched and dove-tailed it so that I could pull it out and move it, without opening the ring binder.  Meals are on Post-It Notes.  I try to get meal requests from the family on a Saturday, write them down and place them on the week days accordingly.  I have a lot of repeat requests, so they all get stuck on the divider under my HOME section at the end of the week, and get reused if need be.

I struggle with meal plans, and if I don't meal plan, we tend to not meal, resulting in 2-minute noodles in a dash! (bad mommy).  Using this system allows me to draw from a bank of favorites should I be at a loss for a meal.

Current divider setup.

Behind the fly leaf, I have my menu planner, followed by a 2013 calendar then a 2014 calendar, which are both free printables I found on the internet.  After that is my weekly grocery/shopping list which is tabbed of with a Post-It transparent tab.  Last is a Filofax Year Planner for 2014.  I have not really utilized it as yet, other than to mark off the school holidays until the end of the academic year.

Month on 2 pages at the start of each month, followed by a Week on 2 pages for that month.

Random note paper for things that just need to be captured temporarily.  Everything from ideas for a potential family holiday in 2015 to notes for my daughter's birthday party in January.  I use the black Filofax ruler to keep the spot where the next blank page is for new notes.

I used my Brother P-Touch printer to print out new tab names for the ones I decided to change.  Under quotes, I have 4 different colors Filofax note paper, each for a different category of Quotes.  I used the Daiso tabs mentioned earlier for the month dividers to label each section, being Health & Fitness, Love, Random Stuff, Being Creative.  When I stumble on a quote I like, I jot it down in the relevant sub-section.

ME Tab
This is also a renamed tab.  This is subdivided into several sections.  
First is Health, which is again sub divided again into Exercise and Weight.  I like to keep a log of my exercise routines.
Next is Travel.  Although I do not travel frequently, I am using the power of positive juju to bring more travel into my life.  I have a freebie Travel Plans sheet printed from the  Philofaxy site.

Sub divided into 3 sections.  I have a home made pocket envelope for all my receipts, prior to capture in the relevant section.
Household comes first, where I keep track of all my household expenditures.
Me is next, where I keep track of my personal expenditure.
Matt & Amy is last.  These are my kids, aged 11 and 8.  I keep track of their pocket money.  Both are saving for something right now.  This is sort of like an old fashioned building society system.  I am the "bank" and we keep track of their earnings and expenditure.

Self explanatory…anything do do with home - meal plans, Honey-Do List, Christmas Planning (tis the Season!) and Birthday Party Planning.

Last one :D.  I found plastic personal size tabs from Daiso and nabbed them just in case.  I have only needed one so far.  Behind this tab is anything I need to keep handy for the kids.  Passwords for homework sites, homework schedule, Bus Roster and Academic Calendar.

I use Frixion pens in my planner in order to keep it neat, should there be any changes.  I alternate between black and blue for tasks, and the red one is if I need to draw attention to an item.  I wasn't going to use a color code system as I thought this would mean more admin, but as it turns out, for repeat events like my husbands work schedule (corporate pilot means he is in a different country every couple of days), children's after school activities and play-dates prove to be fairly easy to manage in a color code system.  I use Frixion Markers for this task.

Thank you so much for plodding through this very lengthy post.  If you came to find some inspiration for your own planner/Filofax, I hope this post was helpful!!

I will endeavor to post any updates on Maddie regularly, and if you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section…(that was a lot of comments :D)

Happy Organizing!!



  1. I love the idea of a kids section. I have been writing homework for the second grader on my pages. I make him track it in his agenda, of course, but I like to know when a heavy homework night is coming up.

    That said, next year when I add the first grader, I won't have room.

  2. Do you have a link to the monthly tabs? I can't find them :(

  3. I love this post! And your Filofax set up is brilliant!

  4. Do you archive your pages? I've found the Frixion pens will fade over time, so if archiving is important to you, be aware of this! I have several Filofaxes and my A5 purple Malden is my absolute favorite. Congrats on a great setup!

  5. This is the same story that happened to me. I started a Smash Book and was looking for downloads and You Tube Videos and wahala Filofax. I have ordered mine and should be in next week. I ordered the A5 flour Orange, will be and easy color to keep my eye on. I named her already clemintine. LOL. Love this blog keep up the good work.

  6. Can you please tell me how much is the price of that lovely Filofax with the inserts? Thank you in advance.

  7. Hi there Jo!

    I plan to buy a similar Filoflax planner for myself as well.. I read some negative reviews about the quality of the paper and the ring not holding up and stuff like that. Since it has been over few months you've been using the planner.. can you please let me know your experience so far??
    Also where exactly is the store located in Jumeirah..

    Thanks a lot!!


  8. beautiful pics!! great idea of return gift for a kids birthday party as i was planning one for my 6 year old daughter!!