Friday, 25 May 2012

story of the lost moleskine/ random act of kindness

I have been writing a lot about my Filofax obsession as of late, so I had a look through my pre-Filo notes to see what I've been neglecting.

I've had this story saved in my "to write about" folder for a very long time know. Ten months if you look at the time stamp of the article in question.

At the time I was really moved by how a stranger went to all this effort to return a moleskine they found on the side of the road; I don't think many people realise just how important a journal or even a notebook is to its owner.

And then today when leaving the office for lunch, I realised that at some point during the day, the Uni Style-Fit multi-pen had fallen out of it's holder in my Filofax. I had gotten really attached to the pen and I could only hope that I had dropped the pen while I was in the office, and not out in the street. It was raining drop bears today and I didn't look forward to swimming through the streets looking for my pen.

However when I got back to my desk after lunch, I found that someone had nicely picked up my pen and have left it back on my desk. There wasn't even a note to say who left it.
Although losing a pen in the office is different from losing a moleskine on the side of the road, what I felt was nice was that someone actually recognise the pen as being mine and returned it to me.

When was the last time that you have received a Random Act of Kindness?

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

in search of the perfect diary insert - Philofaxy DIY diary inserts

So the vertical W2P Filofax diary insert didn't work, the Outlook print-out had no personality, what else could I do?

What else could any Filofax-loving-obsessive-compulsive person do? Visit Philofaxy to look for answers of course!

Is it neccessary for me to explain to people what Philofaxy is? Is it possible that there any Filofax fans out there, who've stumbled upon my humble blog, and don't know about Philofaxy?

Shame on you. You have no idea what you're missing...

Anyway...
A quick search on Philofaxy resulted in my downloading and slightly tweaking their Time Management Week Per View diary insert (version 2).
I swapped the left and right pages around - which took more work that you'd think!
It's messy, but I like it.

On the right page I have plenty of room to write my appointments and the left page allows me to write tasks that must be done on a given day. These are mainly shopping lists or home-related tasks. All my work-related stuff are filed behind GTD action tabs.

I especially like the "Coming Up" section on the bottom of the left page; I have a tendency of looking only at what's on this week's page and this "coming up" section allows me to remind myself of any upcoming events in the following week that I need to keep track of.

It seems that for now I can relax in my search for the perfect diary insert. After fiddling with the printer setting and mail merge settings for what seem like an age, I managed to print out a year's worth of pages. Time will tell how these inserts will fare.

To what extent have you gone to find your perfect insert, and what are you currently using?

Thursday, 17 May 2012

in search of the perfect diary insert - outlook printed diary inserts

So, outlook printed diary inserts...

I was having issues with my vertical W2P and decided to try having Outlook print out my diary inserts for me.

Not liking how the appointment layout results in many empty gaps and lack of non-working hour space, I choose the "Weekly Agenda Style" in Outlook 2010.

I used them in conjunction with my vertical W2P just to see how they compared side by side.





Good points
  1. There's no "empty gap" issue that you get with appointment based layout
  2. Since I'm printing directly from my work outlook account, I don't need to copy my work appointments again
  3. Outlook would organise and list the appointment by time for me.
But I didn't like them.

I don't know why.
It could be because I got used to the appointment-based layout.
With the outlook pages I can't see, visually, the length of meetings I need to attend or the amount of time I have in between meetings.

I also don't like how lifeless the page looks; there's no emphasis placed on particular appointments by a slightly larger font or the last minute meeting denoted by cramped handwriting squished between two neatly written meetings. It's so sterile.

The Outlook pages didn't even last two weeks (and that's only because I printed out two weeks to try out)

So back to the drawing board it is...

(Next entry will be on one of the free diary insert templates available from Philofaxy)

Thursday, 10 May 2012

in search of the perfect diary insert - making the W2P vertical work

I wanted to write about this a little while back, but I never actually gotten around to it...

I'm not sure whether every A5 Filofax comes with the same type of diary inserts, but my Finsbury came with vertical week on two pages inserts.
I never liked this type of insert because I never feel like I have enough room to write my appointments.

The appointment format is good for work or school where the bulk of their appointments are during the day, but I use my Outlook calendar for work and there's not enough room for night-time "social" events.

However, since the inserts were included for free, I decided to give it a go.

As you can see, I did try, I even re-wrote some of my work appointments into the Filofax (otherwise I'd end up with a lot of blank spaces, another thing I don't like about appointment format inserts).

I was using the Finsbury as my personal and work Filofax (yes, past tense, I have since bought another Filo, but we'll talk about that another time) and as expected, the format works for my work appointment, but I barely have room to write my dinner plans and the space left for Saturday and Sunday is ridiculous.

In trying to increase the amount of "time" represented, I tried ruling a line down the middle of each day, to have an "AM" half and a "PM" half. This was disastrous, as now I have even less space to write my appointment in. So I quickly scrapped that idea.

But now I still have a diary insert with big swarthe of empty spaces with most of my appointments crammed into the bottom of each page, not to mention my having to copy my Outlook work appointments into my Filofax.

Then it hit me, why not have Outlook print out my diary pages...

(I'll be starting a series of articles related to diary inserts, so watch this space!)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

drop spinning - making my own yarn

Yes, I have another hobby. I like my crafting hobbies as much as I like my organisation/stationery. (*gasp*)
My first turkish spindle weighs 86g!
I don't even remember why I was even googling hand spinning, I guess it was just one of those things that had been on my mind for as long as I remembered - in the event of the end of the world, wouldn't you want some sort of skill set that would make you useful in a post-apocalyptic world?

There's a few documents online that provide instructions on how to spin yarn with a drop spindle:

Then there are the Youtube videos:

  • Spinning Yarn on a Drop Spindle - Tutorial


  • How to Spin Yarn with a Drop Spindle


  • Drafting Wool for Spinning - Tutorial by Megan LaCore


  • How to spin Hi and Lo Whorl styles on a Drop Spindle


I was wondering whether I wanted a hi-whorl or low-whorl spindle, when I saw the Turkish Spindle.

  • Spinning on a Turkish Spindle


They are just so much more "elegant" than the usual drop spindles. And when you've finished spinning, you can just remove the arms of the spindle and you'll have a ready made ball of yarn. No need to use a ball winder like you do with a normal bottom/top whorl spindle.

  • Turkish Spindle Winding




I pretty much got hooked after I saw how effortlessly people were spinning with a drop spindle. And I also started looking online at the fibres available, and the colours were just so beautiful!

There's quite a lot of places that sell drop spindles, so stay away from ebay, most of them are ugly and of poor quality (not all, but most). The last thing you'd want when starting out is to use an unbalanced spindle that wobbles. Spinning is about the process, and having an ugly wobbly spindle isn't going to make you want to spin.

I've been recommended Woolery, though I personally bought from Viking Santa on etsy (that's the spindle at the start of this entry, unfortunately the spindle was too big and was more useful for plying) and Spun Out (an Australian online store that operates not far from where I live. A tad expensive, but since I could physically pick up my order and save on shipping, it costs around the same as if I was purchasing from the US or the UK).
This is my yarn after my face-to-face lesson
My current spindle is a Jenkins Turkish Delight made of Bolivian Rosewood (the whorl) and Maple (the shaft) weighing at 26g.

After watching all those videos and reading all those websites (plus more that I haven't linked here), I decided that I should still try out a face-to-face class. 

I went to one organised by Spun Out. For people who really want to try their hand at spinning your own yarn, I highly recommend that you get hands-on lessons. It beats spending hours watching low-res videos trying to work out which hand does what. Look at the difference in the yarn between the first picture in this entry and the one just above. I wouldn't even have realised that my first spindle (the Viking Santa one) was too heavy until I showed it to Emma (the woman running Spun Out). Of course it would still have worked, but I would be more likely to break my yarn - frustration ensures.

Anyway, that's my introduction into hand spinning. I'll be spinning in front of the TV now - that sounds so strange - most likely watching Lost Girl.
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