Like many “planner girls” I used to see a photo or video featuring a beautiful Filofax Malden and swoon. I’ve went through three personal sized ring binders. The first was a simple brown Day Runner Harmony. The second was a Valentine’s Day gift, a Filofax Saffiano in Raspberry. The third purchase was that lovely hunk of supple plum-colored leather, the unicorn they call the Malden… Yes, this planner was beautiful. It had all of the pockets I wanted in a planner, a long strap, large rings, and felt like heaven. Yeah, she was beautiful; but she didn’t mean a thing to me. (Death Cab For Cutie)
So what happened? A realization. I had spent over a year working my my system, figuring out what I wanted to track, and where to keep what. I spent hours and hours researching different setups, finding printables, printing, punching, cutting, wasting time. I continued to change my system over and over. I thought if I could just find the perfect inserts, one day I could achieve planner peace, a nirvana I thought was a myth. I had spent so much time in my ring-bound binders that I knew what sections I wanted. The what, why, and where. All that was left was to find the how. How could I fit all of this into a ring-bound binder?
I quickly realized that no matter how much I cut out of the planner my rings would be overly stuffed. In rings I would need to continuously remove things from my book. I have many interests, hobbies, and loves. I dump my entire brain, heart, and bits of my soul into this little book that follows me around everywhere I go. I didn’t like the restriction of rings. Then it happened, I decided to make my own fabric “fauxdori” in a smaller size.
For those of you who do not know, a Traveler’s Notebook is essentially a pretty piece of leather with some holes punched in it and elastic threaded through so you can slide notebooks in. It is very easy and extremely customizable. The traditional Midori Traveler’s Notebook (now just Traveler’s Notebook) is made by Traveler’s Company. They can be purchased easily in the US online at Amazon and The Goulet Pen Co. You can also find a comprehensive guide to these notebooks on JetPens.
Rewind: in July 2015, I saw a genuine standard size Midori Traveler’s Notebook in a Facebook group for sale, $25. (Amazing I know!!) I tried to use this before my Malden, I really did. However, I did not like the size. It was simply too large for me. The pages were intimidating, though very pleasant to write on. I loved the simplicity of the Traveler’s Notebook. I stumbled upon some pocket Moleskine notebooks on sale at a local art supply store and purchased them. (Little did I know they would be horrible for fountain pens…) I drew up a quick pattern, cut my materials, and spent all of five minutes sewing. I threw the notebooks in and fell head over heels.
I transferred over my lists and other more permanent, long term things from my Filofax. I modified some of my personal card and pouch inserts to fit my new TN. Then for Christmas I got this lovely cover from Leather Planner Plus on Etsy. I made myself a dashboard, folder, and some book marks. I absolutely LOVE the simplicity of the system. I like that I can purchase cheap notebooks instead of having to print, cut, and make my own. I still create my own for my monthly books but the rest of my inserts are pre-made booklets. There is no limit to how much I can stuff in this baby. The best inserts I’ve found that work well with my fountain pen are by Fabriano and can be found at Hobby Lobby (yay 40% off!) or on Amazon.
This little notebook follows me around and holds everything from crochet notes to my journal. It was also my wallet, but I felt uncomfortable having everything in something so easily snaggable. Stay tuned for a detailed view of my setup! For now my Malden is resting quietly in my bottom drawer awaiting a new owner to come and take her home. Here’s to a well-organized 2016. Write on!