The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2012-03-18

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lord Byron: On ink

The Seventeenth century poet Lord Byron once wrote: 

                                 SHE walks in beauty, like the night
                               Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
                                 And all that 's best of dark and bright
                         Meet in her aspect and her eyes:

Since there were no computers or retractable glitter gel pans at the time, he must have known a metric flapdoodle about fountain pens - And ink.   

Alas, there was no YouTube at the time; so no ink reviews from Lord Byron exist, but there is a quote:

"But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew, upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. "

Such a lovely thing, to write so poetically about the power of ink, and putting pen to paper.  He seemed to consider ink an extension of himself.

Made me want to break out my pens and drop some dew.

clairfontaine paper ink

The sample was written with a Pilot Parallel pen and the orange cartridge and a Lamy Safari ( with a converter )  using De Atramentis in Pigeon Blue.   I didn't achieve the poetic level of Lord Byron but he was right, it did make me think.  

clairfontaine back

The sample was written on Clairfontaine paper and the back looks great.  The paper took the ink well although a little drying time was invovled. 

 Once dry, the ink and paper took highlighter well.

clairfontaine paper ink

I tried the same on Filofax Inserts, adding a few more of my favorite pens.

ink samples

These inserts seem a bit heavier then date pages.  They have a smooth surface like (but not as good as) the Clairfontaine paper.   The pages took color similarly although the Clairfontaine paper seems a scoochy bit more vibrant.  That said, if I wasn't staring at both of them I would never notice.

ink samples back filofax paper

The real difference is the back side of the paper.

The flip side of the filofax page was a hot mess from the Pilot Parallel.  The pilot nib is 1.5 and larger then the Lamy (1.1) nib so that accounts for some of it but all the inks shadowed to one extent or another...  Even my beloved Signo 207s showed through a little.  I use the Signo pens everyday and I'm used (resigned) to it.  

The interesting thing is the Lamy shadows about the same as gel pens which makes the 1.1 Lamy nib a good option for Filofax Paper - Good to know.

Ink on Clairfontaine walks in beauty like the night but the same can't be said for Filofax paper; which is more akin to tromping on paper in combat boots - leaving a hot mess behind.

*Both the Pilot Parallel and Lamy Safari are smooth writers, the Pilot edging a bit better but this could be due to the larger nib size.  I've found with the Lamy,  ink formulation matters.  Ink with less body to it writes scratchier so if you find the Lamy nib scractchy it might not be the pen itself, but the ink.*


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pyrex scaping.... Again.

Still working on this (first attempts here and here) and really appreciate all the suggestions... I think I followed them.


Cleared some things and tuna cans added!

pyrex scaping

Moved some stuff so it isn't as cluttery.  I think anyway.

pyrex scaping 2

I moved the squiggle ware to an entirely different place

squiggle ware

What do you guys think about how they look here?  Oh and PS - Where should I put these teeny little Florida spoons...

Oh. And these too...

I found three of them but the big one was a hot mess so I didn't buy it.

I don't have room for them but couldn't resist!  Vintage aqua pyrex makes my heart beat faster...


Organ!zed: New uses for old things - Ice bucket

 I've gotten rid of a lot of things in the last few years; things I miss (like my crock pot) and others that I don't even know are gone.  When you don't have much storage or counter space you have to balance what you want and what you need.

 I still do slow cooking but I do it in the oven.  I think the food comes out better although it's not as easy and I wouldn't leave the house with my oven on...

I try to manage with items that are multipurpose; an example is my ice bucket.

I bought a very large, stainless steel ice bucket so between uses it could store my cooking utensils.  It's a prefect solution for me;  there's a place to store all my random spatulas, ladles, can openers, whisks...  all that awkwardly sized kitcheny clutter and for parties I use it for ice.

Because it's constantly in use I don't have to store an ice bucket which is good because I don't have the room and I don't need a drawer for the utensilage.

Also good because I don't have a free one.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Miss Finch's backside...

I emptied my Filofaxes on Monday to do a Ring Mechanism Comparison and figured I'd take Miss Finch out for spin, she looked so forlorn and unloved up there on the shelf.  


There are certain things I really like about Miss Finch.  What she lacks in ring size she makes up for in pockets,  slots, and general stashabliosity.   Her front has many varied cubbies.

front cover filofax

The biggest slot has my address book, I could transfer everything to a phone/address section but it's a small book and doesn't take much room.  The zipper pocket has random receipts, coupons and a perfume sample; Miss Finch is all about smelling pretty.  

The short credit card pockets are for things like Gift Cards, reinforcements for page tears (called Page Dots), and I hang my paper clips there.   

There is a second long pocket above the card slots that I tend not to use, if I stuff Ms. Finch too much she has to lay down to zip her jeans.

back cover finchley a5

I've read a few posts about Ms. Finch's backside (that just sounds wrong) and the people who don't use the lined pad seem to hate that big see-throughish pocket.    I don't use that pad either, a pad of paper in a binder full of paper seems kind of redundant to me but I love Ms. Finch's backside (... just wrong).   The large see throughish pocket is perfect for to-dos I need to tackle. 

filofax back pocket

I put letters, bills, inquires, prescriptions back there; things I need to tend to or  snail mail.  What needs to be done very soon I tag with an urgent sicker.

There is a long side slash pocket that I find really useful ( Mr. Malden doesn't have one).  It took me a long time to figure out what to do with it but once I did, what I thought of the design as a whole took a giant leap forward.

midori insert in back of filofax

This pocket can fit an entire Midori Traveler's Notebook but I usually just stick individual inserts back there.  As you can see they fit perfectly.

This insert is the Two Month Undated calendar and it's a great thing to have.  If' you're unsatisfied with regular calendar pages definitely give this a look-see.

Another insert suggestion is the Kraft Paper, I love it for general doodleage. 
*Photo from The Journal Shop

Design-wise the pockets would be (much) more useful if a few of them were gusseted, that said the more you stuff them the less room you have for regular ringed pages so it's a Catch-22. 

  I'd rather the rings be bigger ( I'd really rather this...)  But the pockets do make the A5 Finchly usable, even desirable, to me.

In closing, if you too have an A5 Finchley go tell her she's desirable and stick some perfume down her front, she'll like that.


Nutrisystem Breakfasts: There's an App for that.

I have a dentist appointment today and since I haven't had to take prescription pain killers in about a week I expect the go-ahead for actual food.  (I still take Aleve but not everyday).  

I'm not getting on the scale for a bit since I've been off my plan for six weeks and I'm just not going to torture myself.  All I can say size-wise is  there's good news and bad news; I'm not as big as my fat pants but just shy of feeling really comfortable in my jeggings.

Looking for something to start my day in a nice way, I had my favorite  Nutrisystem  breakfast; a protein shake and a doughnut.  

It's perfect for me.   I don't like eating in the morning and if I had my way, I'd drink coffee till about two in the afternoon and than think about eating something. 

 Problem is, I did have my way. When I wait so long I want an entire pizza - Which explains all the receipts for Pizza and  bigger pants.   

I  follow directions now so; breakfast. Check!

My second  favorite breakfast is the Ham and Cheese Omelet and if I'm willing to give up a couple o' few extras I have it like this:

I've found a few low calorie wraps and pita pockets and LOVE the omelets stuffed in a half (or whole depending...).  With this I have a Great Shake and I'm ready to meet the day.

If you're used to eating a lot - In terms of bulk, these may not seem  satisfying.  But here's the thing: They are.   

Combined the first breakfast has 20 g of protein and  I'm fuller, longer when I eat  protein.  The second breakfast has even more...

Since I've been on Nutrisystem, I've noticed it's not the quantity but the quality of the food that satisfies me; amazing.   I eat less food and feel full if the meal isn't composed of empty calories. 

Since empty calories used to be one of my Major Food Groups, I don't always know the  right thing to do; the ins and outs of the program, or where I am in my day (I always forget how much water I've had) so  I downloaded the Nutrisystem App.

I might forget my water, but I never forget my phone. Now I can log anything I want anytime I want.

If you want to lost weight and get healthy on Nutrisystem click 
HERE! or call 1-888-853-4689

Click on my favorite way to start the day for more information on how you can have success and donuts for breakfast.

*This post was sponsored  by Nutrisystem who is providing me with the food  and program materials in exchange for blogging. 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Loving felt...

I love felting.  It's easy; put some mostly wool thing in a pillowcase, tie it securely with a hair scruchie and dump it in a hot wash. Depending on the fiber it might take a few rides in the washing machine but what you get is so amazing, the minimal effort you put in will more then make up for it.

I learned to crochet entirely to felt something and I wanted to do it so bad it didn't matter that I'm allergic to wool.  

This is a hot coffee cup cozy I made a while back...

cup cozy

But it's so expensive to make things this way that I've taken to using thrifted sweaters.

project pocket from old sweater

This is a small project pocket I made from a freecycled sweater.  I'm scattered and kept losing the thread I needed, the button I picked out, and I really needed a place for pins.  They started turning up under me in bed.  

I looked around forever trying to find pin cushion project, there are tons, but I couldn't find anything I wanted to do and made a pocket instead.  

 Of course, after I made the pocket I found a proper pin cushion I immediately fell in love with.

pin cushion from old sweater

I just finished it.  The sweater came from freecycle and the little crystal dish was less then a dollar at thrift store.  The diameter is less then two inches and it's perfect for just a few pins.

If anyone is interested in the how-to's of these things, let me know.  I might try and post some directions.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Thank you so much, Paris!

My family went to Paris last week and had the best time.  They loved the city,  the Paris M├ętro (They were so impressed with how clean it is.), ate the best food they ever ate, and they told me everyone was so nice.  

Despite a mastery of French that is at best, mediocre; the Parisians all patiently tried to figure out what the heck they were talking about.

I wanted to post some of the pictures they brought back.  They saw a lot of classic art...

jj 619

And new!

jj 640

One museum had amazing furniture.

jj 636

I want this chair, by the way...

jj 635

They went to the Music Museum

jj 515

With many wonderful displays.

jj 499

The Science Museum was awesome. 

jj 509

And you can't go to Paris without visiting this.

jj 519

Look at the Eiffel tower, it's breath-taking!

jj 526

Je vous remercie beaucoup, la France pour prendre soin de ma famille!

Thank you, France for showing my family the best time ever, they can't wait to go back!


Ernest Hemingway: On Filofax

Ernest Hemingway once said “I'm not going to get into the ring with Tolstoy.”  

Everyone has their own Filofax issues but duking it out with them is pointless so I'm following Ernest's advice about staying out of the ring...

...But not out of the rings...

I noticed a lot of people are having ring issues with brand new binders.  Certain Filofaxes seem prone to this but you know...  I've never read any ring issue posts from people who bought old binders which seems odd because some of the old ones are really, really old. 

 I got out a new one (A5  Malden) and a couple o'few decades old one ( Personal Portand) to see if there were any differences.


I couldn't see a thing so I gutted those puppies.

And yes, it's all different starting with the bar logos.


I checked another old one I have to see if the logos varied by size, they don't.  The old logo is the Filofax script 'f', deeply embossed.

new bar

The new bars have Filofax written out and they look etched.

new rings bottom

The new bars are bolted on.

old rings bottom

There are no visible bolts one the old on, it looks more finished.  I suspect this is more expensive but it holds everything together better. If you look at the bottom of the rings, they're different too;  more finished looking in the older one and possibly reinforced, it's hard to tell.

Here they are together.  Unless you're really looking they look very similar although the old ones look like they might have been chrome plated.


Or a heavier gauge, something's different.  And since binders come full and then get stuffed to busting you might never notice.

old rings8

The old rings (above), after decades look perfectly round to me.  They are harder to open and close, look more solid and meet exactly.


It's all very symmetrical.

The new rings...


Are round(ish) and don't come together with the same precision.  That might be where all the ring problems come from.   I don't know if it's the overall design change or quality control but the whole mechanism doesn't have the same precision.

new rings 6

The bar, end tabs, and how they are put together is all different.  The new ones are flatter and bolted directly.

old rings 5

The old ones, rounder without visible bolts.  The entire mechanism is polished, even the ends.

new rings 2

The new one is polished in areas that are easily visible, so the ends suffered a bit.

new rings 3

As you can see by this picture the bolts are a not as effective at holding the whole shebang together. There is considerable lift and  I don't think Mr. Malden has a chance of seeing a ripe old age.

old rings 5

I can't figure out how they bolted the old ones on but it's very secure without the 'lift'

Bottom line is my new ones appear to be less well made, although they look very similar.  The changes seem to have suffered in the name of cost-cutting which is fine if it produces the same result.

Unfortunately, it doesn't.  I don't have an ultra-high-end Filofax like the $2300 Personal Alligator or the $700 Ostrich model; perhaps they retain the (costlier) older features.  In any case since I won't be dropping two thousand  dollars on a brand new one, I'll never know.  

But this definitively makes me likely to shop for a used Filofax should the spirit move me to buy another... And it will, that Filofax spirit is a hoarder.

I don't know if anyone examines their filofaxes with this kind of insane minutia, it's a bit compulsive, but if you do let me know if you've noticed anything like this.  


Party like it's 1999...

Today is Ventura's 5th birthday!  I told him not to overdo it but as you can see...

ventura, birthday

It's 8 in the morning and he's already partying like it's 1999....


Miche purse winner is...

Random.Org's pick for the  Miche bag and two shells is Lenore at Crazed Mind!  

Email me your address, honey!  You're going to love them... 

Many thanks to everyone who entered, I loved reading all your comments and to  Miche Bag for sponsoring this great giveaway!


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