Friday, December 21, 2012

Last post of 2012

So, the holidays are upon us, and with it, the promise of a new, better year.

I just want to wish all of you the best for 2013, with the hope that the human race will improve itself and stop all the hate, envy, selfishness and greed.

Please spread the love, and not only during the holiday season, but also throughout the year, and the next.

All my best wishes,


Monday, December 17, 2012

My Planner's Cover

In previous entries, I mentioned that the plastic cover was one of the features I liked the most about my Mark's Planner.

I thought today I should show it to you in more detail.
As you can see in the following picture,

my planner

the planner is made up of a clear plastic cover, a paper sleeve (in lime green) and the book itself.

This is the plastic cover with its pockets

Plastic cover

This is the correct orientation of the cover. The zip pocket is the front cover, and the penloop on the back cover. But because I'd rather have the pocket on the back, I've simply turned it around. Now the penloop sits on the front, but low, so I've had to make it tighter by wrapping some washi tape around it.

Plastic cover
This is the paper sleeve

Paper sleeve
Considering that the sleeve is what decorates this planner, I have thought of designing another sleeve to use with it, IF I grow tired of this colour. But I don't think that will happen anytime soon, as I am currently in love with that lime green.

And this is the planner book.

Planner without its cover

Very simple and looks kinda tiny without its cover! (One thing I don't like about the design are the page markers' colours. One is brown, the other blue. I think they just look so plain and old-style for such a cool and fun planner.)

I remember how when I was using a Filofax, I would have it very full, keeping so many papers, cards, whatevers in the pockets. It would come to a point that it did weigh to carry it in my bag. Yet I just couldn't let go of all those bits of paper.
Ever since I switched, I feel I have been liberated from the need to carry so much crap inside it, which is also why this planner is more streamlined.
I still do carry some papers inside the pockets, but I try to keep it at a minimum. And if there is some important data I need, I write it down on the notes pages at the back, and then throw away the paper.

Those of you who carry a bound planner, did you also go through something similar? Do you carry anything imaginable in your planner, or do you try to keep it at a minimum?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


It's Wednesday today, which means that today's topic is 21Kittens, my brand of handmade notebooks.
I started this project about 3 years ago when I decided to learn how to bind notebooks using the coptic stitch for an Xmas present. Little did I know I would find it so enjoyable and become hooked!

I then went on to make notebooks for friends and family using not only the coptic stitch, but also long stitch and Japanese binding.

Tilde's Journal

But as life would have it, once I moved to London and started working, I found it rather difficult to make time for my project, let alone have any energy left to pursue my hobby!

Now that I have been working as a 'housewife' though, I have plenty of time to go on making more notebooks, so this autumn I reactivated my etsy store and have slowly been adding new items to it (although not as fast as I'd like; I am a cat after all and I get very easily distracted!)

Most of the work that I have done so far have been custom orders. I enjoy making them because of the challenge, not to mention the fun. Once a person tells me they want a specific book, ideas start popping into my head immediately. What sort of material to use, which sort of binding should it have, how the cover should look, etc.

Serch's sketchbook

But that can also be a trap. I tend to spend too much time thinking, and not doing. This is normally due to the fact that I can't always find the type of paper I have in mind.

For instance, a friend of mine has requested a dream journal. He's given me carte blanche on it, so I can decide size, pages, design, etc. The thing is, I already got the idea of how it should be as soon as he spoke the words 'Dream Journal'. The problem is finding the paper I have in mind, hence why I haven't started it yet. I am hoping I will come to a decision soon, as I want him to have it before the year's end.

Anyway, that was me rambling on again. I just wanted to give you guys an introduction to 21Kittens and let you know that it will be featured each Wednesday.

So yeah, I will post pictures and write an update here about the Dream Journal once it's done.

Ah, and before I forget, you can read older posts on my previous 21Kittens blog.
Take care,

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Planner so far...

As you already know I started using an 18 month planner by a Japanese brand called MARK'S in September. If you're just finding out about this, you can catch up here.

Seeing I was so excited with it when I received it and thinking that it would help with my previous Planner Fail, I thought it would be time for a little update.

The verdict?

I was right!
Although I not always update it on a daily basis, I can confidently say that I am not suffering from PF at the moment, and here are the reasons why:

1. The Layout: being able to see my whole week at a glance simply works for me. I like that the days are arranged as columns, for it gives order to my scribbles. The header space on top of each day highlights the important event of the day. And the space on the left is where I jot down stuff I need to remember, etc.

2. The Size: If you remove the plastic outer cover, the book is an A6. With the cover, it is slightly bigger than this (duh), but not overwhelming. So I can carry it with me everywhere I go, as it fits into my smallest purse.

3. The Cover: It's strange; I didn't think I would like a plastic cover, but I actually do. For this planner at least. Because I don't have to worry about putting it somewhere and getting the cover ruined, because I can stick little pieces of washi tape on it to use later on, because it's transparent and I can see the little notes stashed in the back. Yes, that is also one of the things I love the most about this little planner: the zippered pocket.

4. The Colour: this lime green just makes me happy every time I look at it!

I always thought that my Planner Fail was solely MY fault (at times I still do) and not the planner's.
Now I realise that the planner itself plays a huge part on it; having one I don't enjoy anymore is just going to make me more prone to abandon it.
I've read about other people going through Planner Fail and how some of them will insist on using the same book in the hope this will solve it. I have tried that in the past as well and it has almost never worked.
I think in my case I need to really like the planner, it's got to have something special to keep me going back to it even if it's just to keep it near me.

(I don't know if that last paragraph makes sense to you, I am finding it very hard to put my thoughts into words. For this I apologise.)

So yeah, I am still very happy with my lime green Mark's! :)

Friday, December 07, 2012

Field Notes

Those of you who follow me on flickr might have noticed I like taking pictures of my Field Notes notebooks. 
For those of you who have never owned or seen one in real life, here is my overview and humble opinion of them.

Since I don't want to go into much detail about where they're from and how they came to be, I will simply tell you that they are made in the USA and that you can visit their page here.

Used Field Notes

Each Field Notes memo book measures 8.9cm x 13.9cm (3-1/2" x 5-1/2"), which makes it perfect for carrying everywhere with you.
There are 48 pages, either lined, graph or plain. And they are sold in packs of three.
What sets them apart,for me at least, is their covers.

There are the plain ones, with a 'paperbag' brown cover with the text in black. I love customising these!
Plain Field Notes

There is the County Fair edition, with covers in blue, red and yellow, and the name of one of the 50 states on the bottom of the cover. Text printed in a sort of gold, yellow ink, and with fun facts about the selected state on the back cover.
County Fair field Notes

And then there are the seasonal Limited Editions. In my opinion, these are the best! For each season, the lovely folks at Field Notes HQ come up with a gorgeous design, not just for the cover, but also for the pages inside, and sometimes they even throw in a little goodie, like last autumn's Traveling Salesman edition that came with a cool FN Representative button.
Limited Edition Field Notes
But as the name says, they are LIMITED, so once they come out, you need to get them as soon as you can. (Or you'll be like me who missed this year's Summer edition).

The other thing FN does different is that they also offer subscriptions. Yes, you read right: you can subscribe and receive for a year all the Limited Editions that come out, plus the current one (if it's not sold out yet). I think you receive even more goodies, but I'm not sure as I'm too poor to subscribe just yet.

The other day, Laurie asked me about their paper quality. I personally can't stand low quality paper, therefore I am always on the lookout for the best papers I can find. Of course, for some stuff I don't need to have a Clairefontaine or a Paperblanks, but still I can't bring myself to use something like a Pukka Pad (I really can't stand those), or the generic ones you find everywhere. Moleskine cahiers are okay-ish, but tend to be a tad expensive for their quality.
That is where my Field Notes comes in.

Although their paper is not the best for fountain pen ink, as it will bleed in some cases, it is still pretty good. I have noticed that some inks will barely bleed or feather, such as the iro-shizuku or the J. Herbin Orange Indien, so I frequently use them on my Field Notes.
Field Notes Paper
Gel pens also work great, no matter what colour. I would say that if you're going to use a very wet pen, then you will experience more bleed-through.

I have also noticed that these little notebooks are also quite durable. Carrying them everywhere with me, I expect them to be able to take a beating or two, and come out victorious. Which they do!
I started using them in January this year. So far, I have used 6 already and have started my 7th just a few days ago. And every time I start a new one is simply glorious!

Have you used a Field Notes before? What do you think of them? Please do share your thoughts in the comments below!

Til next time,

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Welcome to the New Blog!

As you might have noticed, I've changed the design of my blog, as it was in dire need of a fresh make-over. But I've not only changed its looks; I have also decided to write more. As a matter of fact, I have even set up a 'schedule' of topics to help me decide what to talk about on my future posts.

The Schedule:
There will now be 3 weekly posts, each with a slightly different topic.

Mondays: will be dedicated to everything planner-related; how I'm using my planner, which planner I'm using, how it has helped or failed me, etc.

Wednesdays: will be 21Kittens Day. At the moment I have a separate blog for my handmade projects, but seeing how little I update it, I thought it would be best to sort of merge my two blogs into this one, thus making life easier for me. So yes, any post pertaining to a 21Kittens project will be featured on this day.

Fridays: on which I plan to write about all other stationery products I like/dislike. I have also thought of adding non-stationery topics, like when I wrote about my Lumia. It might serve as some sort of review for the product of the week.

On occasion, I might decide to write a post on the weekend, but I don't think that will be too often. I will already be busy trying to publish three posts per week, so we'll see.

So yeah, this is it. I am sorry if you tried to come to my blog the past week and couldn't find it, I had it closed while I was working on the design. 

To all my readers, thank you very much. Don't be shy and leave me your comments, after all, that is what blogs live off :)

take care,

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Your Opinion Matters!

Hello all readers.
I will be revamping my blog soon and wanted to ask you a very important question.

As you have noticed, the current layout is a transparent black band on top of a background image. I personally like this design very much, but it occurred to me that it might not be easy to read for some of you.

So I have set up a poll (on the right) for you to let me choose.

Should I keep the current layout or a similar one (transparent black band to show background underneath), or should I change it because it's not easy to read?

I really appreciate your opinion and comments, so I will leave the poll open until  Thursday 15th November (around midnight). I know many of you are busy, so once the poll is closed, I will still welcome any comments left in this post, in case you weren't able to vote. I will take my final decision during next weekend, and hopefully have my 'new' blog ready in two weeks' time. :)

And I will be blogging more often once I've redesigned my blog. I promise!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

New planner!

So finally September is here, which means I have also started using my new planner I wrote about on my previous post.
It is an 18 month planner by Japanese brand Mark's in a beautiful lime green colour!

Mark's 18 month planner

Inside, the layout is slightly similar to QuoVadis's Business planner which I tried a couple of years ago (and liked!), weekly view with the days arranged in vertical columns. The main difference lies in that both Saturday and Sunday have been given the same space as the other days, thus ending the 'weekend discrimination' many planners tend to defend.

This week!


It also includes a monthly view section, as well as a 2 page spread with a yearly view, great as a holiday planner.
Weekly planner by Mark's

In my case, I use these very little, but it's good to have them there anyway.

Now, what really makes this particular planner stand out are three things:
Paper quality:
Really smooth to the touch, thin and crisp white. And despite the thinness: FOUNTAIN PEN FRIENDLY!

Page layout and design:
The planner I have is an A6 and although they used a serif font for all the text, even though it is small, it is very easy to read. The spacing and the little use of other colours besides black, give it a very clean and uncluttered look.

The Cover:
This planner comes with a see-through plastic cover that also doubles as a zip pocket! It has slots for cards and other bits of paper and a penloop. 

Pocket on my Mark's

Back cover with pocket
And it is removable, so one of the first things I did was switch it around (the original layout has the pocket on the front cover), as I prefer having the pocket at the back. the only quibble with this is that the penloop now sits at the bottom of the front cover, so I have to keep my pen upside down.


I suppose it's a small price to pay. So far, I am quite happy with it, and actually using it more! Plus, the fact that it's small means I can bring it with me wherever I go.

Next time: my layout for this week's trip!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Planner fail or simple, undiluted laziness?

I am guessing most of you already know I stopped using my Filofax(es) this year, in favour of a very cute planner I got from a nice friend. This planner is between an A6 and an A5 regarding size, a bit on the thick side, and undated, so I get to fill in the days and dates in any colour or pen I fancy. But I think the most important feature is the fact that it's decorated with loads of super cute and funny cats!

Now, regarding my actual use of it, I would say it fluctuates, as it is directly related to the current state of my life at the moment. See, if I'm being socially active and working and travelling, my planner will be on fire!
Cat planner

But if I'm all work and no play, well, that makes me a very dull girl, and my planner as well. Without any time to fill out the pages properly, it will lay abandoned under piles of whatever crap I have lying around my bedside table.
cat planner

Lately that was being the case.

But now that I am once again jobless spending my days in the comfort of my not so comfortable sofa, I have noticed that I am still not giving it too much use. (Yeah, maybe the fact of not wanting to interact with the human race IRL plays a part in that!)

Cat planner

But that is not what I wanted to talk to you about.

A few weeks ago, the 18 month Moleskine planners came out (I used one last year and really enjoyed it), and I felt like getting a new one for this year. Unfortunately they don't come cheap. Then I received the weekly newsletter from my favourite online stationery supplier, announcing planners from a Japanese brand I had seen last year at Paperchase, but never got the chance to get one.

So I decided to give them a try and ordered me an A6, 18 month planner in lovely lime green!

It arrived last Saturday. It is very pretty. It has a plastic zip cover which can be used as a pocket.
Aaaaaaaannnnd I will tell you all about it on my next blogpost ;)
Cheeky, I know.

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Nokia Lumia 800

Just a couple of months ago I was finally able to get my hands on the phone I had been coveting ever since I saw it announced at last year's Nokia World event. The Nokia Lumia 800.
I must say I had really high expectations for this phone.
I was going to finally get rid of my Google Nexus One, which hadn't served me too well in those two years I used it; the signal was shite, my 3G was slow, taking self portraits was next to impossible due to where the shutter was located on the screen, and the quality of the speakers wasn't good.

So, once my contract was up, I quickly changed carriers and two weeks later I got myself a brand new, SIM-free Lumia800 in cyan.

Such a beautiful, smooth phone! 
But once I got home and tried to set it up, I encountered the first big issue:

The need of a Windows Live ID, an XBox Live ID and a Zune Live ID set up with UK as region.
Many of you know I lived in Spain before coming here, and even though I had all those 3 ID's, because their region was Spain, they would not work for my phone here. Mind you, I would be able to use the phone, just not purchase anything from the Marketplace, including games and music.
I even called the Xbox Live support team to figure out if there was a way for me to change the locale of my existing ID's, but to no avail. I think I could change the locale for one of them, but not the Zune one, so in the end, the easiest solution was to create new ID's with UK as the region.
what this basically means is that all the points and achievements I had unlocked with my Xbox Live are of no use to me here, and I have yet another email I will need to check periodically and remember its password for. 

That evening, before I had accepted the fact that I would need to create these new keys, I decided I would return the phone the next day and try to get a refund, or even an exchange for an Android.

So the next day, my bf and I went to the phones4u store in our neighbourhood to see what could be done. There, a very rude attendant told me they did not give refunds or do exchanges based simply on the fact that I didn't like the phone. Even though I had barely used it, and had carefully packaged it in its original box and everything. This frustrated me even more!
Luckily, my bf was also in need of a new phone, so he offered to keep the Lumia and get me the phone I wanted once I found it.

For that entire week I heard only praise coming from him about the phone. He was uttery in love with it! That weekend I caved in. We went back to the store (it was cheaper there than in any other store), where luckily there was another attendant, and got another Lumia, but this time, in black for him.

And so, after having spend almost all weekend getting my phone all setup, I decided to play with it.
I really did like it! I quickly got used to the interface, discovered how great the integration with all my social media was, loving the free radio mixes from Nokia, etc.
Everything, but the camera.
This phone sports a Carl Zeiss 8MP camera that has received a lot of praise from Nokia.
My verdict? It is crap!
Not only does my Google Nexus take better pictures with its 5MP camera, but its flash, focus and settings are way better!

Flash is weird as it makes the whole area around it darker than it  really is. Macro is utterly useless!

In a few forums where other users also had issues with their cameras, many suggested that an update was due with fixes for the camera, as well as other issues.
Well, since then, already two updates have come up, and I've got them on my phone. The camera? still the same crap.

I know this is a phone and not a Canon Dslr, but still! I am very much into my social media, and sharing pictures by uploading them on the go is a must for me. I enjoy doing it. The fact that this phone isn't delivering on that area is very frustrating.

Besides the camera issue I really do like this phone and enjoy the novelty of WP7.5 and am eagerly waiting for WP7.8.
But see that is another thing that has let me down. When Microsoft finally announced WP8 last month, they said that it was not compatible with the current WP7.5 phones out there. So basically, even though my phone hasn't been on the market for a year yet, is already starting to be obsolete. Yes, we will get 7.8 to keep us 'happy' but if we really want to try WP8, we will need to get a new device again.
And honestly, I don't think WP7.8 will fix the camera issues.
(There are more images on my Flickr)
I am considering getting another Android later on and try to sell or exchange the Nokia, but am still not sure. This phone does have things that bother me, but then it has tons of stuff that I like and love. I don't know if I could go back to using Android, it just looks so boring to me now, not to mention the actual devices aren't too exciting.

How about iPhone, you say? HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH, don't make me laugh!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Those handmade books...

My etsy store is active again!

I now have got the time to work on my handmade books, and get more ideas for other projects.
I am adding items as I finish making them, so it is slowly growing.

Those custom orders I normally work on aren't shown there, as I don't go through etsy to sell them, mostly because I know the people IRL.
One of those current projects is a British themed photo album. I will make sure to add pictures of it once I've finished it.

Please do visit or tell your friends about it.

Only now have I realised I should have written this post in my other blog, the 21Kittens' one. Oh well, what's done is done :P

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Field Notes love

Yellow Texas Field Notes
Oh dear, five months since i posted last in here. i think it is about time to revive this, don't you think?

One of my recent objects of desire are the Field Notes notebooks. They are very simple, even the paper is not the best, although the quality is still good, but I just find myself more and more attached to them lately.

Last year I asked a good friend of mine to bring me some Texas ones as he was travelling there. And only a week after I started using the first one, I bought the plain brown ones at a store, as well as placed an online order for the Limited Northerly edition.

Fast-forward to now, I have filled up my red Texan, and have moved into my yellow one (pictured above). I also modded a plain one for my recent trip to Japan, which I used inside my Midori Traveler's Passport Notebook.

To be brief (time is scarce atm), they are a very good and constant companion of mine!