Tag Archives: Traveler’s Notebook

Chic Sparrow Over Foxy Fix for the Win – the Rest of the 2019 Line Up

Not too big a stack right?  Very focused!

On top is my everyday carry.  It’s not even a journal really, it’s a date book, I guess a planner.  I shouldn’t treat planner like a dirty word, but I’ve been down that road of decorating rather than planning, and I’ve really decided that decorating is for memory keeping, and my carry around thing has to look at least semi-professional.  Oh, so what is it?  It’s a Hobonichi Weeks, housed in a Chic Sparrow Weeks cover in Golden Maverick leather.

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I Am Foxy Fixed!

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.

Of course, one always has to be my sentencing guidelines.  Very exciting, I know.

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?

Sigh.

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!

 

Random Rambling Friday Wrap-Up

Is the month over?  It’s over – at least the work week, in oh, 3 1/2 hours.  Counting, definitely counting.  I was appointed to this case, and my, I am busy!

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had time for this and that’s, right!

So, in no particular order

  • Passover fun was had by all!

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Ssshh!!!! I’ve already broken Passover . . . I just couldn’t take the matzah bloat anymore. I remember Moses, the desert, the boils and the locusts, I’m good. I got it, for six nights. Fini.

  • I may have made my last flipbook.  I think I’m over it.  I’m not sure.

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So, as I mentioned, I was spacing out my swaps, not over committing, so it wasn’t flipbook overload.  I think I’m just over it.  I don’t know.  I’m over the washi tape, that’s for sure.  Whoever called it tape didn’t really know what tapes’ function is.  I found myself adding layers and layers of washi to get the washi below it to stick.  The pages were actually pretty securely put together with hinges, and glue, but then I decorated with washi – and the decorative washi wouldn’t stick.  Oy!  In any event, this was a flip I made for a Paris swap through Facebook.  I bought the printable graphics on Etsy, and with them, I made journal cards, shaker gatefold flaps (with the fuse tool) (you can see them clipped together in the above photo – when you take the paperclip off, underneath is a pocket with goodies), and a snow globe!   Crazy!  I finally used my holiday card, snow globe die –

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I bought this die two years ago from Papertrey Ink, thinking I was going to make my own holiday cards, with Lemon and Olive in the snow globe.  That didn’t happen.  I don’t know why I thought Paris and snow globe, but it clicked, and I think it turned out cute.  I was in such a creating frenzy, though, I didn’t think to photograph the process until I was all done.  So, basically what you do is use the outline die to create a base.  Then, you cut the top of the shaker out of decorative paper, and sticky foam.  You then layer the base, your sprinkles, the foam, a clear circle vellum/plastic window, and then the top – voila! A shaker globe.  For whatever reason, my sprinkle stuff got caught in my sticky foam, so it doesn’t really really shake, what can you do.  Be more careful I guess.  But, I wasn’t about to rip it open and make another.  And for sprinkles – see that circle die?  It makes snowflakes, and confetti  – pretty cool!

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Now that I’m thinking about it, and rambling along, I think that my “over it” feeling about flipbooks is that I’d rather make them for someone who I’m regularly corresponding with then a one-time swap with a passing stranger. I feel like this is something I’d want to make for a penpal after we’ve exchanged a few letters, and I was making something for someone I kind of ‘knew.”  Too bad I unceremoniously abandoned all of my penpals after my father died, and my Wendori was lost forever.

I did make one more, that I didn’t photograph, for a swap on swap-bot, and I enjoyed it more because it was an offshoot from another swap wherein the person had asked me to write back, and I felt like the “project” was more of an elaborate envelope than this humungous thing:

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All said and done, between the cover, and the flaps, I decorated 10 pages, filled a bunch of pockets, and spent many nights after work assembling, fusing, die cutting and tweaking.  The ‘elaborate envelope” was like this, made from one sheet of 12 x 12 paper, with flaps made from simple, creative cutting.  This little, hour long project, was fun, and relaxing, and I can see more of these in the future.  The ten page, humungous flipmonster – not so much.

  • I investigated, and bought a new planner.  In my last post of last year, I mentioned that I had my MIL buy me a faux Midori Traveler’s notebook online from an Etsy seller, Dokkipaper, for Hanukkah. planner1I remain supremely happy with my present, the leather just keeps getting softer, and a bit more scuffed with loved.   But the calendar insert that I printed for myself is set to run out in June, and I have to decide where my planning is going next.  So, I fell down the crazy, deep internet whirlhole of planner communities.  At first, I was seduced by the Happy Planner, and joined a half dozen Happy Planner Facebook groups, without actually buying said planner.  After a few weeks of watching everyone sticker up their months, days and weeks, I decided that wasn’t for me.  I also became less transfixed with the Arc system of rings – it seemed hard to flip the paper, and heavy, really heavy.  So, I unjoined all of those groups, and joined Christy Tomlinson’s Planner Society FB group, because while almost everyone is subscribed to her Planner Kit Club, everyone is in a different planner.  I then became enamored with the Kikki K’s, the big ones, the A5 size.  Hmm, do I really want that big thing, I thought, and if I do, do I really want it for planning?  I mean, that’s a big thing to whip out in court and check a date.  So, I did some soul searching, and realized, yeah, I am supremely happy with my TN, why would I change?  I must be yearning for something else.  And, that something else, I concluded was more of a memory keeping journal, to help me along with my Project Life, and to be more of a daily journal/diary.  In my original post about my TN, I mentioned that one of my inserts was a “Morning Pages” booklet.  Er, that didn’t last long.  And, since I had pasted a copy of the sentencing guidelines (because everyone has that in their planner!) in the back of my calendar, I had started leaving it out on courtroom tables, and I became concerned that I might lose it a la the Wendori, and then my morning thoughts would be out there for everyone – what thoughts they were, I wasn’t exactly a daily journaler.  So, the solution, it seems is to have a planner, my TN with a new calendar insert, and a big thing I can keep at home, beside my t.v. chair, to update daily.

So, I wistfully looked at everyone’s pretty Kikki K’s, and could not bring myself to spend that much money ($90+ shipping) on a planner, even a pretty planner.  So, deciding to plan within my means, I begin investigating the Webster’s Pages Color Crush Planners, which right now are on super sale on Blitsy (with the Mother’s Day coupon code).  They’re similar to the Kikki K’s, but faux leather, and not quite a true A5 size.  But, there was just something about them that I didn’t like.  Well not just something, the guts of it – the inserts.  First, the calendars are dated, so I’d have already lost nearly half the year.  And second, it has a snap closure.  I want to punch holes into things and stick it in my memory planner, and I don’t want to be constrained by a snap.  So, while I had an A5 Color Crush planner in my basket on the Blitsy site, and post coupon, it was only $42.95 with shipping, I couldn’t hit the commit button.  Instead, I got sucked into the youtube planner channels, and after not careful, but “I want that” consideration, I decided to go with the Heidi Swapp Memory Planner.

There it was – right in it’s name – the memory planner.  Exactly what I was looking for.  A kind of planner, a kind of abbreviated scrapbook, a kind of journal.  That’s the right planner, I thought.  So, that’s the “I want it” part – the careful part – well, I threw careful to the wind.  The online reviews of the planner aren’t so good – that the holes all have to be repunched because they were punched too small, that the binder feels cheap, etc.  But, you get what you pay for, and after my 40% off coupon at Michael’s, and a free shipping code that Michael’s gave me after I left the planner sitting in the cart overnight (so smart of them! push me over the edge into purchasing with a shipping code!), it was only $20.  So, I reasoned, if the binder is crap (and all of the warning signs are there that it just might be), I can always put the inserts, which, along with the photo sleeve inserts are the reason I was buying the thing anyway, into another binder, like this one from Dokkipaper, a kind of faux Kikki K, faux Dokibook, which is also snapless.  ah, but you may say, how will you do that because Heidi Swapp’s isn’t really A5, and it has only 4 holes.  Solved that one – I’ve already seen someone on the Planner Society FB group punch the extra two holes, and put it in a traditional A5 planner, so I think I’ll be good.  So, for now, I’ll try out the cheap binder, and see how it goes – and I’ll let you know.

All of that rambling has left my exhausted, like poor little Olive after playing with her ball outside all day, and then scarfing down her dinner.

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Definitely a hard life for the little Boston!

Have a great weekend!

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