19 September 2019

My custom Van der Spek order - by Anita

After writing my previous post, my custom standard Van der Spek arrived more quickly than expected and I am SO delighted with it! Petra kindly sent me some photos to include in this post.

The outside has a wonderfully pebbly texture in the red Janet Leather and I love the contrast with the smoother burgundy inside. It's funny how much I like the burgundy as I really wasn't sure at first when I received my leather samples.

Janet Leather red (108) with light grey ostrich stitching

Janet Leather burgundy, light grey ostrich stitching, 25mm silver rings, extra pen loop, big back pocket, no stiffener
Once I'd completed my order, I did consider asking if I could instead have matching stitching inside and out, instead of the contrasting light grey. I wasn't sure if it would work, but I am so glad that I didn't change as I am a little obsessed with it! Maybe that's a little strange, but the stitching is beautiful and the contrast works well with both colours in my opinion.

Before I got to the checkout, I had a good think about buying a zipper compartment, but I only really need a zipped pocket when I use my binder as my wallet, which isn't very often. Aha, I then remembered that I still have my trusty plastic pencil case that I hole punched (7 years old and still going strong).

The only thing that I didn't think about was that the thicker Janet Leather with the big back pocket means that it didn't initially lie flat, which was a surprise. However, in the short amount of time that I've been using it (since 15th August), it has already started to improve and squashing it down a little helps too.

I just removed the contents from my Ascot and plonked them straight in.

I haven't started to properly use the pockets yet, but this one at the back is perfect for holding my Hobonichi stencil.

I've never owned a personal sized binder with a big back pocket, but I really think that they should all have one as it's so handy for storing A4 paperwork.

Another consideration for when I was ordering was whether or not I wanted to move up to 30mm rings. In the end, I decided against it as I wasn't sure how heavy it would make the binder, and if I really need all that extra capacity. I'm glad that I went for 25mm as my binder holds a surprising amount more than my Ascot.

You can see here the difference in ring sizes:
25mm in standard size VdS
23mm in the Ascot

To check the difference in capacity between the two, I filled the Ascot up with paper and then moved this into the VdS. You can definitely see that there is room for quite a bit more in the VdS.

Another comparison that I did was to completely fill both, remove the contents and measure how high the inserts were: - the Ascot had 14mm vs. 27mm in the VdS!

The VdS is slightly larger and wider than the Ascot, but I'm very happy as between the larger ring size and big back pocket, it consequently holds so much more.

View from the top of VdS

View from bottom of the VdS (profile quite slim without the big back pocket)

As my overall plan was to get back again to owning one binder, I have now sold the Ascot and it's currently on its way to a wonderful new home in the US. Ironically, my work colleague then gave me back a mini Kensington that I gifted to her many years ago, so for a short while I was then back up to three binders. Whilst the mini Kensington is lovely, it is also on its way to a new home in the US.

I've never named any of my Filofaxes before, but as this binder is such a special one, I started to think about what I would call her. How to choose? Some of the names that I considered were Binky (Death's horse from Terry Pratchett's Discworld books), Valentina (Tereshkova, first woman in space) or Yuri (Gagarin, first person in space). However, none of them really stuck. And then a perfect name came to me whilst writing this post... My VdS is a real TARDIS as for its size, it's much bigger on the inside, like Doctor Who's time machine. I'm a bit of a Doctor Who fan, so I then remembered an episode that I loved called the Doctor's Wife (written by Neil Gaiman), where the TARDIS is placed in a human body and the woman's name is Idris. I also like the actor, Idris Elba, so we have a winner!

Finally, I'd like to say a huge thank you again to my friend that helped me raise the funds to buy Idris, and to everyone at Van der Spek for making me such a wonderful organiser.
Further Information.

Web Site: http://www.vdsshop.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/VDSleathergoods
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vanderspekorganiserfans/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vdsshop/


  1. The VDS is lovely. The contrast stitching is amazing. Really like the combination of leather that you requested. I am looking forward how this binder is going to evolved in the upcoming years. Thank you for this post.

    1. Thanks, Maria. I'm so happy with how it turned out.
      I'm looking forward to seeing how the Janet Leather ages & will write a follow up post about that in the future. It's definitely 'the one'.

  2. Anita, the VDS looks exquisite. I can smell the leather. Thank you for the detailed review.

    1. You're very welcome & yes, exquisite is a perfect way to describe it!

  3. Congrats on your vdS, Anita. Looks great!

    I use my custom Janet Leather A5 vdS every day at work and love it...it's my 5th custom vdS and all have been excellent.

    And working with Petra is a very pleasant experience.



    1. Thanks, Mark. I've owned many binders over the years & this is definitely the winner. I love the Janet Leather & very pleased that I decided to go with it. Glad to hear that you're loving your A5 & agree that Petra is lovely to deal with.

  4. Lovely planner Anita, thanks for the detailed post. I like your one planner policy...I have used the same organiser for a few years but still have a sizeable collection which I can't seem to part with.

    1. Thanks & you're very welcome. I absolutely understand why people use more than one, but one definitely just works best for me. I've also owned more in the past, but am happy that I'm back down to one again.