Dec 14, 2012

Solving The Insert Question

I feel a little bit dumb about this, but I just discovered the easiest way to make your own inserts for your filofax, and thus diminish the filofax-fails. (Yes, this will be yet another filofax post, so if this isn't your cuppa tea, we could see each other tomorrow? ^_^)

Picture found in Google
As you know, after I received my first filofax, I quickly experienced my first filofax-fail. The Page Per Day (PPD) inserts were too thick for them to fit comfortably in my planner and then fit any other section, then the dividers were coloured in a shade I didn't really like, and some of the inserts weren't really down my alley. But I love my filofax! So what to do? Well, if you love filofax, you probably have discovered the many wonderful videos on youtube about how to organize your filofax, and you'll realize that a lot of people do their own inserts. And children, some of the inserts people make are simply mindblowing! Some even offer them for free downloading for anyone wishing to use them. So if you are not all that creative, or just don't have the time, or plain have no idea how to figure out a layout for a type of insert (say a financial track insert, or a goal insert), you can go and check those out. You can even check those out to get you an initial idea and then improve and adjust to your own needs. No need to invent the sliced bread, so just take the slice and invent the sandwich.

Picture made entirely by Stormberry
So I started playing around a couple of sections and the inserts I would like for them. This way I came up with the List of 13 inserts, the Financial Track, Fuel Track, Project Follow Up, List, Adresses, Blogposts and I think something else, but I don't remember what that one was. Designing them was already a bit of a challenge as I used to track some of these in different systems - mostly Excel sheets - so how could I work that out in paper? Oh, it's not that simple, as in Excel sheets you can go eternally across rows and columns, and you can work certain elements in different sheets to then all of them converge in one. Well, on paper cells don't link so easily with each other.

Things as simple as selecting the type of design or decoration - if you want one - isn't easy either. At least it wasn't for me. In some of my inserts I'm trying out this peacock feather design, but I don't use it in all of them. Particularly in horizontally designed inserts (by this I mean, those where the page lays horizontally, with the largest side at bottom and top) applying the design is difficult due to the space it takes. I might try using a planetary symbol strip I once made for stationary, but we shall see about that some other time.

Picture pulled by Google from somewhere
Once you are over the whole designing part, it came the most difficult part: printing out the inserts. Are you struggling with this as well? It was positively Hell for me. For a while I struggled measuring carefully text boxes on word pages, fitting the design in them and then crossing my fingers when printing them out as normally the page and it's back wouldn't align. Cutting them also happened to be a challenge, until I've got myself a portable, simple, cheap paper cutter. These can be picked up at scrapbooking stores or any major paper stores, like Office Depot, Staples, Pirex, just to mention some. There are safe cutters, where you don't have to push down a machete-looking blade, and which is quite suitingly called "guillotine". I've actually bought mine at a grocery store for $18. Still, the number of pages wasted in trying to get it right is too big to even mention it. :-( So what was I supposed to do? How did others do it? Well, the solution was so simple it's amazing.

Picture made entirely by Stormberry
The other day I wanted to print out some info for the Surprise Trip, and fit it in my filofax for checking on the flight. So, I opened Word and did an experiment. First I set the paper size to the size of my filofax inserts (9,6 cm x 17,1 cm), which I did through the "Page Design" tab. Then I took some colored paper sheet and cut them in my cutter to size. A Letter Size sheet yields two pages of personal size filofax. I made sure to leave 1 cm margins on both side margins as I wanted to print the paper on both sides, and the ring part takes that much for the punching. I fed the cut pages to my printer (I use an EPSON Stylus TX-235W, which is similar to the SX-235W available in Europe). I had a little set back because I accidentally cut the pages a centimeter longer, but once I fixed that, all the pages came out perfectly. That was my Eureka! moment. I quickly pulled out some of my old insert designs, fitted them to the pages, and soon I was printing my own inserts! ^_^ 

Googled and pulled from philoFAXY
By discovering how to do it, I can now control many more of the features of my inserts: the paper quality, even size, if I want to change something about it, and also what goes printed on it and in which format. For instance, if I wish and have the patience, I would design the whole 2014 calendars in a way that gives me more room, includes moon cycles, all the holidays I observe, Mercury Retrograde marks and so on. Weekly calendars can be fitted for equal slots for all of the days. This way you could even scan your favorite planners fit them to size and then print them into your planners' size!

Pic Googled
From there on, I felt all creative and decided to fit some tabs. I had bought a pack of letter sized binder color-tabbed dividers. The pack had 12 dividers, so the tabs were small enough. Measuring carefully, I cut them all to size. Evidently not all the 12 tabs would fit in a smaller binder, but I solved that by making two rows of dividers. I also turned some up so that the tabs would be at the top of the pages. Those didn't work as well, as the tabs were taller than regular filofax tabs, and stuck out too much. For the side tabs I cut the tabs narrower, so that the tabs would stick out only 0,5 cm, but on the top tabs I didn't do the same, so I ended up trimming the tabs. That didn't work as nicely. So, now I plan to get another pack of dividers (I realized I need more than 9 sections!) and I'll redo the top tabs by cutting those dividers shorter. We shall see what comes from that.

By now I've decided to make a video in 2013 about my all set filofax, assuming my camera works well and I do well on the vid. ^_^ So don't worry, at least one of this filofax-entries is probably going to be fun for all... hopefully.


Steve Morton said...

You will find lots of diary inserts and templates to try out at the Philofaxy blog

Storm Bunny said...

I've checked some of them and they are wonderful! I actually check them before I design my own.

GothBarbie said...

This actually really helped me - sometimes I just don't think of the simple answer first! Thanks!!

Storm Bunny said...

Much welcome! ^_^ And yes, simple answers have the tendency of being elusive. I'm glad it helped you! ^_^