08 November 2008

To Market to Market

Since the Container Store no longer carries A5 Filofaxes, I decided to try my local Stationer/Gift Shop, which used to have a really good selection, before resorting to placing an online order. Sadly, I found they've also cut down their selection. They have no A5 organizers, and just a few refills; notably, the A5 vertical week-per-2-pages (which I don't want), month-per-2-pages, addresses, and to-dos.

But I was able to get my Personal week-per-2-pages. I decided to get Cotton Cream for a change, since I also have some Cotton Cream to-dos. I think I'm going to like it! They also had Finchley organizers with complete Cotton Cream insides -- very luxurious! I think I'd like to go all-Cotton-Cream someday.

Other items of note:

- They still have the Kate Spade in both Personal and Pocket sizes for 2009. If you look back, you'll see I'm using Kate Spade for my 2008 diary, but I bought it during the year when it was marked down to $8. The full price for the Personal is $24 -- twice the price of even the Cotton Cream!

- This particular store has just as many Mini organizers and refills as Pocket! The Minis are usually hard to find.

- They have the small 6-ring Mead binders and filler paper. It's the same size as Personal Filofax, but thinner and cheaper. You can't get this size at the big chains like Staples anymore. Small shops like this one are more likely to have these specialty items, but they're more expensive. A Mead composition book is $4!

- New this year, the store now stocks Moleskine diaries. They've spread from Barnes and Noble to college bookstores, now to little gift shops in the 'burbs!

- Also new: Myndology notebooks and paper. These have the flat plastic rings like Levenger Circa. Another item I'm surprised to find in a plain old gift shop.

- I also saw a Cross journal (made by the Cross pen company) with a leather cover and built-in Cross mini pen. Pretty cool!

Gee, can you tell I love stationery stores?


  1. So what's the main difference with the cream? Just nicer paper than the standard Filo refill?

  2. Hi Anon -- The cotton cream paper is made from cotton instead of wood pulp fiber, so it's higher quality from the start. It's smoother than the standard paper, and a little thicker. Don't worry -- I'll report on my results as I start using it!

  3. I use the cotton cream paper exclusively in my Filofax. I like it a lot better than the standard paper. I use fountain pens a lot and there is very little if any bleed through with the cream paper, compared to lots of bleed through with the standard.

  4. Is this paper more expensive than the otherFilofax paper available? Is it avaliable in Australia?

  5. The cotton cream is a little more pricey but to me its' worth it. I order mine online from Filofax USA so I don't know about availability.

  6. I took a trip out to the stationery stores today too. Today was an American holiday (Veterans' Day) so my husband had the day off and took care of the kids while I went out and about in town looking for a day-per-page book for 2009. I decided I wanted an Albanian/ Italian day per page diary for 2009, like I have now for 2008. I like having the day per page book to bust into when I have a really busy day. And I like to carry it in my purse as a satellite when I don't need or want to carry my A5 Filo, to write down expenditures (if I can make myself), random things to remember, grocery lists, etc.

    What I really wanted was a diary that is in Albanian and English so I could learn the days and months. But after walking around for an hour and visiting 4 different stores, I started to believe people when they told me they just don't make them. So I decided to get another Italian multilingual one like I have this year. The pages are in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, and I think Portuguese. It's made in Italy and has maps in the back of Italy, Europe and the world.

    One of the most exciting features of my new diary is that in the back, after December 31 and before the address section, there is a chart over 4 pages, with the months as columns, 3 months per page, and the days numbered 1-31 down the left side of the page making a grid. For each month there is a column for money in (a black plus sign) and a column for money out (a red minus sign). So for each day of every month I can write in the daily total of money in and money spent. Then the next page is an "Annual Report," with monthly totals of money in and money out, with the year's totals for each at the bottom of the page. So I can see how much I spent vs. how much was earned, broken down by day, month and year. Hopefully this will inspire me to keep track of expenditures again, since I have been slacking on that so much lately.

    Other features of my new diary: Calling codes for Italy, international dialing codes for Europe and the US (very useful), chart of international holidays (but Albania is not on there), an excellent world time zones map, and annual calendars for 2009 and 2010 (although not the column-format planning calendars I like so much a la Moleskine). Each daily page has the saint for that day, the week number, the number of that day in the year (for example, June 5 is day 156 with 209 days left in the year, printed 156-209). I especially like the layout of the daily page. There are lines for the hours numbered 7-13, then 4 empty lines below that, and then an empty space. Then there are lines numbered 14-20 with 4 empty lines below that, and an empty space at the bottom of the page. Very convenient to write in lunch and evening plans. It is perfectly designed for how I will use the empty lines and spaces: things to do while the kids are taking their afternoon nap and after they go to bed in the evening. In the space at the bottom of the page are country abbreviations for countries that have a holiday on that day. US holidays are included so that is convenient for me. I will need to write in the Albanian holidays. And to make an excellent diary purchase even better, it only cost me $4. For a very good quality book!

    Today must have been "buy your 2009 diary day." Everyplace I went, there was a line of people getting their diaries too. So, we were all checking them out together, perusing the various sizes and formats, handing diaries to each other. It was pretty fun! In the stores here you don't go in and browse. There is a person standing at a desk near the entrance that blocks the rest of the store. You tell the person what you want and they bring it to you. I prefer to be able to browse, but when I know exactly what I want I don't mind interacting with the sales person about it. So they were bringing all of us the diaries they have in stock and we were all flipping through the pages, looking over each other's shoulders, asking questions. A fun planner experience!

  7. Laurie, I loved your post! It reminds me of my years in Egypt. The planners are about the same (but the Arabic planners start at the end--they write right to left and books are opposite to ours). And they use the Hejra calendar and years. But usually have corresponding Western dates.

    Thanks, and I hope you are having a wonderful time there.


  8. I’m taking the rest of the day off – I just solved the pen vs. pencil conundrum.

    I slipped my mechanical pencil into the pen loop on my Filo. Then someone called me away from my desk. I picked up my Filo, and – quite by accident – clipped my retractable Zebra pen to the (what do you call it? strap?) – to the piece of leather that closes the book. And it snapped shut!

    (I clipped it to the inside of the leather strap, so it doesn't dangle. It's snug inside the book.)

    I once heard Bill Maher refer to Bill Clinton as a “policy wonk.” Meaning: Clinton loves the nitty-gritty details of politics, fine print and all.

    I feel like a Filofax wonk.

    Words cannot express how happy I am at this moment.

  9. Pencil, pen or ballpen – that would be a good issue for a Friday discussion. I am always undecided : Using a pen looks best, but it is difficult to delete appointments. And the danger of leakage is always there. Using a pencil makes changes easier, but I don’t like the pale typeface. A ballpen seems to be a good compromise, but it shares the demerit of the other alternatives.

  10. Tur Tur's comment brings to mind the erasable pens. Has anyone tried them?

  11. I use pens that can be erased with an ink eraser. I have not found one that fits into my filofax yet though. Erasable rollerballs are less prone to leaking than erasable fountain pens, I think. The pens with the eraser on top I do not use, because I do not like the way they write.

  12. My question is very simple: how can I shio filofaxes from us to Europe. Because the range in US is much more better. Thomas

  13. How can I get filofaxes from the US in Europe. The range in Europe is much better. Thomas


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