Take-away from a stationery week

07-05-19 planners
The planner lineup, 7th May 2019 (it’s a dull and chilly day in Norfolk and this selection reflects that)

I promised a wrap-up at the end of stationery week. I have been pondering for a couple of days now what I am taking away from it and I think I have it straight in my head.

An excuse to shop

I think this type of week/day is most successful as a marketing drive and if I wasn’t on a strictly limited budget I would have used the opportunity to buy something special. On the other hand, there is a lot of fun to be had from looking at what is available even if you know you can’t buy it and I enjoyed my virtual window-shopping a lot. I limited it to just two purchases for Stationery Week – the set of colour co-ordinated fineliners because I thought I might like to colour-code, and a roll of washi tape which was just a general re-stock because I’ve almost run out. Use of the fineliners after my initial testing was minimal (although it outstripped use of the washi tape) but I can report that they are very nice pens and if you like colour-coding I would recommend trying to track some down. I won’t be using them myself, but I have plans for them.

Other people’s posts

Perhaps the best thing about National Stationery Week was seeing other people’s blogs and Instagram posts on the theme. I saw some things that were new to me through photos posted on social media and that’s exciting. There is a surprising amount going on in the stationery world nowadays and most of it is pretty, not to mention relatively affordable. I must admit if I look back ten or twenty years, I wouldn’t have foreseen that.

Setting up the Kikki K ring-planner

This was a very enjoyable exercise and it got my creative muscles moving a bit, but ultimately it frustrated me more than it inspired me. I found I was even less productive last week than I usually am, and that is saying a lot. However, it was beneficial because shining a light on the details of a planner set-up has given me the opportunity to think about what I feel comfortable with and where I might go from here.

Likes and dislikes in a planner system

  • The paper needs to play nicely with my fountain pen inks
  • I greatly prefer the week-to-view column layout of my Mark + Fold diaries
  • I love having a marker for the current week which the Mark + Fold diaries don’t have
  • I like to have both my tasks and my appointments for the day in the same place
  • I like to track my goals (like creative writing word count and step count) on my main diary page rather than a separate tracker
  • I don’t necessarily need a whole year of dated pages available all the time
  • I like underlining things and drawing in separators with red ink
  • I don’t colour-code
  • The Personal/Medium size ring-planner is both too small and too bulky for my taste
  • I like having a pen loop
  • I adore having notepaper in the binder and being able to flip to it from the diary section without having to worry about a separate notebook
  • I really like the touch of prettiness in the dividers I made

Alternative formats

As I have said previously,  I will continue to plan 2019 in my Mark + Fold diary because it works very well. The thing that hasn’t gelled for me this year is setting up a notebook to accompany it and I intend to pay some attention to that over the next few days.

Heading towards 2020* I want to combine planning and notes in one book. That means looking at some options that are outside my usual sphere – the bullet journals, notebooks with removable pages, or custom-build spiral-bound planners. Plenty there to keep me interested for the rest of this year, then.

Pens

Yep, it is still fountain pens for me, every day, all the way. Fountain pens and inks. Nothing beats the feeling of writing with a fountain pen on decent paper.


*2020 – When I left school, this was always in my mind as the year I would retire. How times change! Then again, I would not have foreseen the lovely family that came my way, and all the things I would do and I would certainly not have thought of myself being still so young at heart this far down the line. Giving up on the retirement idea is a small price to pay.


 

Ring planner experiment – filled pages

National Stationery Week Day 6

04-05-19 filled

Coming to the end of National Stationery Week and I’ve filled in this week in the Kikki K planner. This is generally how weekly horizontal pages have worked for me in the past. It’s a mix of forward planning of day-specific appointments/tasks together with reminders of things that happened on a particular day like letters received. I’ve popped the writing and fitness trackers up so you can see how I will be using them.

I still lean very strongly towards the use of a minimum number of colours and very little decoration. I may look out a celebratory sticker to pop in by the “Gaudi finished” note. The coloured gel pens are very pretty, but probably a step too far for my taste.

There are a couple of extra things in my set-up:

04-05-19 ruler

First there is a plastic Kikki K ruler/page marker so I can flip easily to the current week. This is just wrapped with co-ordinating washi tape which is a brilliant way to change up the look without having to invest in brand new page markers when you crave something different. Re-using our plastic is so grown-up isn’t it?

Behind this the cut-down To Do list has some tasks that I wanted to do during the week but that aren’t day-specific. In future weeks I will try to remember to put the things I want to focus on at the top of that list instead of halfway down as I did today!

Finally, you may see in the first photo some page flags peeping out from the card slots in the front cover. I’m not sure how much I would use them, but they are useful for appointments that are waiting to be confirmed and might change. Whether or not they stay in the planner will depend on whether or not they stick long-term to the backing card. If they turn out to be fussy, they will go back in a drawer and just be used when I am at my desk.

Tomorrow I will do a brief ‘How I feel’ now the planner is set up, and also a round-up of other stuff that has caught my eye this National Stationery Week.


 

 

Ring-planner experiment – the set-up

NATIONAL STATIONERY WEEK DAY 5

03-05-19 Top

Oooh, look, there’s some stuff in my Kikki K ring-planner!

This is mainly going to be a pictures post, but I will say that I ended up designing my own inserts because it turned out to be easier than trying to print the ones I found online. I have printed what I need for my initial experiment, then padded the sections out with blank notepaper to give me an idea of how much I am likely to have in them.

First up is the Notes section with existing notes at the front and spare notepaper behind. This is the only section that has anything written in yet. I have had this list of the planets for several years because I’m useless at remembering what order they come in.

03-05-19 notes

Goals – in here I have put a monthly tracker for my writing and another one for my fitness. I will just be writing numbers on these (words written and steps for each day probably).

03-05-19 writing03-05-19 fitness

Diary – I have gone for a week on 2 pages and each week will have a To Do sheet (cut down from the Kikki K Medium size) for tasks I particularly want or need to complete that week. If I feel like it, I can rotate border colours each month or each quarter.

03-05-19 diary

Tasks – This will hold my master tasks list or someday/maybe tasks. Unfortunately once these pretties are gone I will be moving on to the plain Kikki K stock.

03-05-19 Tasks

Inspiration – this section is empty at the moment which doesn’t mean I am uninspired. Or does it?

I’ll be back tomorrow to show you some of the diary pages filled in for the past week and planning for next week.


 

Ring planner experiments – the inserts

National Stationery Week Day 4

02-05-19 Dividers

Welcome to National Stationery Week Day 4 and my second post showing an experimental set-up of a Personal size ring-planner (previous post here). I have been concentrating on the nerdy part – testing various pens and papers to see what might or might not work and some of the results have surprised me.

First, though, I have made some dividers from heavy-weight scrap-booking paper with typed labels. I haven’t laminated the dividers and there are two reasons for that. Whilst I accept that lamination increases durability, it also adds bulk and it covers paper (a material that can be recycled) with plastic (a material that cannot). Previously when I’ve used Filofax and Kikki K systems I have not had any problem with paper dividers. Protection comes in the form of the clear plastic flyleaf from my Filofax Original which sits in front of the first divider and a decorated flyleaf from a Kikki K planner add-on set which lives at the back. I also use a bit of clear sticky tape to cover the label area, but that’s as far as I go.

(Photos of the ink tests are at the foot of this post; click on photos to go to full-size.)

In choosing which paper to print my experimental inserts onto, I have used the paper from Mark and Fold (120gsm, made in Aberdeenshire) as my benchmark. It’s what I have in my current diary and it’s a very hard act to follow with no bleedthrough from any of the pens tested and less showthrough visible to the naked eye than caught on camera.

I also used the following pens:

  • Parker 51 medium nib filled with Lamy Peridot ink – this pen writes much wetter than many of my fountain pens and there was bleedthrough on the majority of papers.
  • Waterman Hemisphere filled with Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight Blue ink – this is the combination I’ve been using extensively in my current diary.
  • Waterman Hemisphere filled with Herbin Poussiere de Lune ink – I find Herbin inks often bleed through paper.
  • Cross Century II  filled with Lamy Ruby ink.
  • Parker 51 fine nib filled with Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue ink.
  • Uni Emott pens in pale pink (colour 68), deep pink (colour 67), plum (colour 80), lilac (colour 34) and pale blue-grey (colour 81).

 

I tried these out on a selection of papers with my fountain pens and had the following results:-

  • Some random notepaper from The Works, gsm unknown – no bleedthrough, and less showthrough than many of the others I tested; stood up surprisingly well to the pen test. I just have a few sheets of this paper which I will use in the Notes section
  • Kikki K standard inserts which came with the ring-planner, gsm unknown – bleedthrough with Lamy Peridot ink in the medium-nib Parker 51 which is a gusher, showthrough with all the inks. I have a lot of To Do sheets and note sheets to use up (anyone who has bought a Kikki K planner knows they come with a lot of note sheets)
  • Filofax floral decorated inserts (the 2016 iteration) – some bleedthrough from the Parker/Lamy combination, showthrough minimal as it is disguised by the pattern. I just have a couple of To Do lists to use up
  • Basildon Bond Personal Writing Paper, possibly 90gsm, but not confirmed – no bleedthrough from any of the inks, showthrough was pretty much in line with Kikki K paper
  • Copier paper, 120gsm – just to prove the weight isn’t the only deciding factor, this has significant bleedthrough from the Parker/Lamy combination and a tiny amount from the Herbin Poussiere de Lune in the Waterman Hemisphere and from the Lamy Ruby in the Cross Century II, however there was almost no showthrough.
  • Copier paper, 90gsm – I would say worst performance overall with bleedthrough on Parker/Lamy, Waterman/Herbin and Waterman/Graf von Faber-Castell combinations, showthrough about on a par with the Kikki K inserts.
  • Coloured copier paper, 80gsm – I tried two colours with no bleedthrough on the blue paper and bleedthrough on the cream paper only using the Parker/Lamy combination, showthrough was negligible on the blue, more pronounced on the cream but still at an acceptable level.

 

Initially, I intend to print my diary inserts (week on two pages horizontal format from Philofaxy free printable) onto the cream 80gsm paper simply because I don’t intend to use the sheets long-term. When it comes to preparing for next year I would be tempted to buy an A4 pad of Rhodia paper which is well-behaved with fountain pen inks. I would also probably choose a paid-for printable from one of the many on Etsy over the free printable, just based on the fact that it really irritates me that the format I prefer doesn’t use capital letters for the names of the days and months.

This is a mega-post, but I want to mention one thing before I go – how much easier it is to print out your own inserts if your printer does duplex printing. My new-ish HP Envy printer is a big improvement in this regard.

Thank you if you have stuck with this through to the bitter end. Here is your reward – the dividers in the planner!

02-05-19 KK + Dividers

See you tomorrow when I should have photos of the filled planner.


Word of the Week – Stationery

29-04-19 Stationery
Yep, Tipp-Ex was employed in the production of this still-life!

Welcome to the United Kingdom’s National Stationery Week, incorporating World Stationery Day on Wednesday 1st May. I toyed with the idea of writing each of my three blog posts this week about stationery, but I decided to go with my usual topics today and on Wednesday. A Word of the Week can be stationery-themed anyway, and with a bit of luck and a bit more work, I might have a finished object to write about in my knitting post on Wednesday, so I don’t want to skip that.

My plan, therefore, is to write my usual blog posts and then some additional ones on a possible Filofax set-up because, much as I love using my Mark and Fold 2019 diary, I am at the point of wishing I was in a ringed Filofax again*.  Also, WH Smith have some extraordinarily pretty pen sets in and I nabbed one thinking it would be ideal for colour-coding in a bullet journal or Planner. I have two branches of WH Smith equidistant from my flat; in one the pens were displayed in a dark area at the very back of the shop; in the other, they were in a slightly more prominent position, but they were locked up and you had to summon assistance if you actually wanted to buy them! Clearly they are anticipating a lot of thefts which is not the way you want to think about stationery nerds. The really funny thing was they had a more limited display of the same pens on their upper floor with no locks at all, from which we can conclude that stationery nerds who pilfer do not climb stairs, which combination surely makes them a very special breed indeed.

I dug out my Tipp-Ex correction fluid whilst typing the definition sheet this morning and I had quite forgotten how well Tipp-Ex and typewriters go together. After years of using Tipp-Ex in notebooks, it just seems much more natural and ‘right’ using it to dab on paper held taut against a platen. Thank goodness it found another purpose after the demise (or do I mean the hibernation?) of the typewriter.

*  On the subject of my diary and ringed Filofaxes, the perfect answer would be to disassemble the Mark and Fold diary and house it in an A5 Filofax, but the lack of an A5 Filofax means that is on the back-burner at present.

Anyway, I hope this brief introduction to the world of stationery has entertained you on this Monday morning. Now, pick up a pen or a pencil and go!