Sometime towards the end of last year, I decided that I had outgrown my fauxdori, a Travelers Notebook from dokipaper on etsy. This notebook served me well, no question, but I lost the money clip that I had on the cover, and it left a really dark mark. I also wanted a pen loop, and I was tired of my notebooks overhanging the leather. Since I had definitely decided to move on, the question became, to size up or stay the course?
Staying the course meant, obviously, that I would continue to use the traditional traveler’s notebook sized inserts, which are an odd size, 4.33 x 8.25″, and that would be just fine, since I have the Midori Monthly Calendar insert, and the grid insert for my attempts at a bullet journal. While I love the Midori paper, I think it’s Tomoe River, I hate that the weeks start on Monday. Of course, there are inserts to buy on etsy, both printed and printable, but the May Designs notebooks caught my eye, and they’re 5 x 8. So, I decided to size up to Cahier size, which would give me room for Moleskine notebooks as well, at 5 x 8.25.
Then, what notebook? Chic Sparrow? Foxy Fix, Keelindori? I joined a bunch of Facebook groups, and lurked. Watched videos of flip throughs, and decided that Foxy Fix was the place for me. I made this decision probably in the first week of December. And, wouldn’t you know, the Foxy Fix store shut down for a month, to expand and update their business model. Great. Do I wait, or do I switch my plan? So, in the meantime, I bought a used Chic Sparrow, a Mr. Darcy that houses my hobonichi. Huh, I just scrolled back and realized that I had never taken a photo of it. Drat. Oh well – the Mr. Darcy leather is really stiff, and feels like butter. I immediately loved it, but I also scratched it, pretty significantly within five minutes. While it is really beautiful leather, I didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to carry one with me everyday. There’s a difference between leather becoming used and loved, and another with unsightly gouges in it. So, I started looking at other Chic Sparrow leathers, and investigating Chic Sparrow – and I guess, if you look deep enough into the rather obsessive planner community on Facebook, you’ll find scandal. Apparently the Chic Sparrow woman misappropriated someone else’s art. I read through all of the backlash, and I think it was probably an honest mistake. I probably would buy a Chic Sparrow from one of her orphan sales, because I love a good sale, but, I was put off by it enough that I switched back to wanting a scandal free Foxy. Foxy’s only “scandal” it seems is slow production and turn around time, and a store that’s only open for minutes a day.
What? The store is only open for a few minutes a day? The big difference between Foxy Fix and Chic Sparrow is that Foxy Fix allows for customization – stitching, different pockets, embossing, spine reinforcement, etc. Chic Sparrow does embossing, but stitching, pockets, the rest of it, are standard. So, Foxy Fix naturally takes longer to ship than a Chic Sparrow. Now that I have both, I really don’t see any difference in quality – its just a matter of how much control you want over your finished product. Foxy Fix also has an option for a “wide” version of each size. A compact version will hold about four notebooks, a wide, six or more. But, because of the customization, and the desire to keep turn around time to between 5-10 (although, I think they may have upped it to 10-20 days), Foxy Fix limits the number of customized orders, and when they hit their limit, they shut down. They do sometimes have notebook sets that are in stock – but you can’t customize them at all.
So, I twiddled my thumbs and waited for Foxy to get back online, I think it was the first week of January. Of course, as soon as they did, the site crashed, and they sold out within minutes. As an apology gesture I guess, they put up a sale of mystery misfits Foxy’s – notebooks that had small flaws, or they couldn’t sell for whatever reason. I managed to get in on the sale, and picked a cahier sized wide – and I figured, I’ll probably be happy with whatever I get as long as it’s not purple.
And then, I got a purple one. I really dislike purple. I’m good with a pinky violet, or magenta (although not in leather ), but straight up grape ape purple is not for me.
This was the first one:
I also didn’t want to go with the one strap on a wide, and as you can see this is just a single strap. And this is Foxy’s Moccasin leather – it’s sooo soooo soft, but it’s very very floppy, with almost no structure. A lot of people got Moccasin in the mystery sale, and I think it’s because they don’t sell them like this anymore – if you get a Moccasin notebook, it automatically comes with a reinforced spine – an extra piece of leather sewn up the back for more structure. Anyway, I sold this on Facebook in about five seconds for the price I bought it for, which was about 1/2 of what it normally costs since it was a mystery.
So, then I had to decide if I was going to deal with the store being only open at 11 a.m., until they sold out. I decided I had waited this long, I might as well continue to wait, and about a week after it initially opened, on 1/16, I managed to get into the store, and place my order for a wide Rowena, with side stitching and pockets, no embossing. I figured as long as it wasn’t personalized, if I hated it, I could always sell it.
Then, the next round of waiting took over. The turn around time was 5-10 business days. 1/16 was a holiday, so I decided to just chill, and when it came, it came. But, then I got a shipping notice on the 25th, and I was ecstatic – it’s coming, it’s coming! But, it wasn’t – not according to USPS – even though I had paid for two day shipping, it sat in preshipment for days. I kept refreshing my USPS shipping notice, checking my email for updates, etc., and I was making myself crazy. I felt torn about contact Foxy, because based on the FB page, I knew that everyone, everyday is like, where’s my Foxy, until I finally contacted Foxy Fix’s customer service. My experience with Foxy Fix was . . . internet age I guess. I emailed them on a Saturday, and by Monday afternoon, I still hadn’t gotten an answer. So, I posted on the FB page. Within seconds, I got a response that the customer service woman was checking on my order, and waiting for a text back from their shipping department. I figured, she’s waiting for a text, I’ll hear something in an hour or so, or whatever, and then nothing. So, I posted on FB again, and nothing. And then I emailed, and got a response back the same day. My order had been lost, they were remaking it and shipping it the same day, and as soon as she had a shipping confirmation number, she’d send it to me. She also gave me a 10 percent discount code for my next purchase. And, because I obviously hadn’t gotten my 2 day shipping, she refunding the entire shipping amount. Then, I got nothing, and I waited. Then, the next day, I got an email from shipping that my dashboard order had been cancelled because they were out of them, and again, I got another 10 percent discount code. But, I didn’t get any shipping notice, or status on the actual order. So, I emailed again, a bit huffy this time I think, and I got an email saying that the notebook had shipped out yesterday, and here’s your tracking number. By that time, the notebook had already arrived in Philadelphia, and it would be on my doorstep the next day. Yeah! So, it was a bummer that I missed out on the dashboard, but eh. And, here she is – Rowena, Foxy Fix’s No. 7 in wide:
I have to say, I took my good old time opening it – I was really worried I’d have that seem feeling of meh that I did when I opened the grape ape one. But, no, this one was totally perfect – meet Rowena:
Here she is next to my old, faithful faux dori. Rowena is a sturdy, thick leather, that has a wax coating, and a slight sheen to it. Every piece is different, and some are more shiny than others. I’d say mine is mildly shiny. Here’s the inside:
As you can see, it’s about 3x as thick as my original, it has secretarial pockets on both sides, and it is significantly wider than my original. You can’t see it too clearly, but the inside of the notebook does not quite feel like traditional leather, and there was some chatter on the Facebook group that maybe this wasn’t real leather. Believe me, it’s real leather – it smells like leather, it feels like leather – it feels like they just skinned it off the cow, frankly. And, apparently, the explanation is that the hide is actually much thicker, and it’s cut against the grain, in half, to make it thinner, and appropriate for making stuff like notebooks and other leather goods. This cutting against the grain is what causes that fabric like feel to the inside. I love it. And, I love the stitching on the reinforced spine.
Here are my May Design Books, that I’ve been waiting and waiting to use since the failed purple notebook:
Of course, after I bought them, and was excited to use them, I read on some forum somewhere that they’re not fountain pen friendly. So, I did a little experiment:
This is the backside of a written on calendar page. The fountain pen definitely has the most ghosting, but it doesn’t smear, and it doesn’t absorb right into the page making ink blobs or anything like that. I’m ok with a bit of ghosting – it’s just a calendar. And, I do love my fountain pen.
Since, I didn’t get my Foxy Fix dashboard, I made a few of my own. Instead of laminating, I used a 12 x 12 scrapbook page, and with my Fuse Tool, I traced around a May book, leaving about an 3/4′ between the pockets. So, my pockets are toploading, and I can switch out the paper.
And the other is just decorative, and it houses the notebooks I printed from AnniePlansPrintables on Etsy – there’s a Happy Mail Tracker, an Address Book, and an Online Purchase Tracker:
The only problem is – now that I have all of these little notebooks, what do I need my bullet journal for – each collection in my bullet journal now has it’s own notebook, and my to do lists are now in my May Designs Daily Planner book, that polka dot book above. I guess I’ll figure it out as I go, because I’m not taking it out – the notebook will totally deflate without the bullet journal.
Which brings me back around to the beginning -should I have resized? This notebook is really a doorstop. I love love love it, but it takes up most of my purse, and I really had all of the information I needed in less notebooks before.
I’ll continue to ponder this dilemma as I see how things work out. Back to the traditional size? Or sized up, but in a compact not a wide?
Why can’t I just enjoy what I have before I start thinking about what’s next?
Anyway, should you buy a Fox Fix? The product is awesome, really – but you’ll have to wait. And wait. First, there’s the struggle of hitting the website at exactly the right time. I’ve seen people on Facebook fail day after day after day. And, if you succeed, the turn around time is 10-20 days. So, between attempting to purchase and receiving your notebook, expect about a month. If you can wait, it’s worth it.
If you just can’t wait, and if you can get past the idea that Chic Sparrow copied someone’s drawing, and put it on a notebook, then buy a Chic Sparrow; she f’d up. I do really respect artist’s work, and copyrights, but I’m just kind of willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she f-d up, and wouldn’t do it again. Maybe I’m just rationalizing, because I think I probably would buy from her, since I really do love my Mr. Darcy, and would love to try a different leather from her. I don’t know. Her product is lovely, her business might just not be what you want it to be.
If you have any questions about any of this, I’d be happy to answer them! I love talking about my notebook!