Avery Mini Binder and Accessories


Hello! On a beautiful fall Sunday I am putting a new system together to keep track of my work tasks. In my August 14 post I talked about enlisting a notebook to help me keep track of work tasks. And it has worked somewhat but not perfectly. I find I have tasks that have many stages to them, if that makes sense, and I need to know what stage each task has achieved. So I found myself thinking of a binder system, like my ARC notebooks or my William Hannah notebook, so that I could organize the pages and move things around as needed. Currently I cannot find my ARC notebooks (still buried in a box somewhere) and my William Hannah notebook is not going out of the house. I am obsessed with keeping it pristine and beautiful for my personal journaling. So I resigned myself to the hunt for my ARC notebooks. But before I could find them I came across an Avery Mini Binder in green, with some accessories, that I purchased at WalMart a few weeks ago and forgot about. And I think it will work perfectly!!

I had heard about these mini binders first from the Pen Pixie on YouTube but only saw them in real life recently. I can’t remember the exact price I paid but you can find them on Amazon, Staples and WalMart.


I bought the green binder; on Staples’ website it is “chartreuse”. It is 1″ thick, with 1″ rings, of which there are 3. It measures 5.5″ x 8.5″. I’ve seen black, white, blue and purple binders on the Staples site.


One of the great features of these binders is how flat they lay when open. Very comfortable to write on either side of the paper, despite the rings.


Lots of accessories with these binders. I bought, from right, Sheet Protectors, Filler Paper, Insertable Dividers and Binder Pockets. On Amazon there are A-Z dividers and calendar pages available as well. This system could give Filofax a run for their money as a planner system! Speaking of Filofax, these pages do not fit into my current planner, my Finsbury. But I could not check them in my Franklin Covey planner, as it is still packed away.


Helpful printing instructions are included with the tabbed dividers. I just wrote on mine but it’s nice that they included these.


I think this will work better for my needs, as I can organize my notes and keep my tasks separate. Right now they are all jumbled together. So I will spend the next couple of hours going through my faithful notebook and transferring tasks and notes to this new binder. I must go put the kettle on. Happy planning!

Grateful for the Wonder


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This weekend we moved into our new, permanent home. And our things have been delivered from their storage. So many boxes! I have a small mountain of them in my new office. I am beyond excited to unpack and say hello to notebooks, inks, books and desk friends that I haven’t seen since April. It seems like a lifetime ago that I packed up my office in Calgary. And in some ways it is.

Moving to Halifax has been amazing and terrible at the same time. Any of you who have made a great move, or indeed pulled off any great change, will know what I mean. We are so happy here and know deep within that this is where we need to be, spiritually, physically and mentally. But the process of “getting back to normal” has been a minefield of emotion. My job has been wonderful but frustrating in that it demands so much of my time; there is so much that needs to be done the only solution I can find is to work lots of evenings and weekends. The process of buying and furnishing a home has been daunting and time consuming. All of that takes away from “me” time, where I find myself unable to keep up with my previous schedule on this blog. I lose time for journaling and reading too, which makes me sad and fractious. To add to this my back conditions (scoliosis and sciatica) have been acting up ALOT of late. I am without my usual network of chiropractors and massage therapists but I’m slowly building a new team. I am blessed with a wonderful husband, family and friends who have helped enormously on this journey. You know who you are and I sincerely thank you.

The great lesson of this move and my life for the last few months has been to be grateful for the wonder. I am aware of the magical more than ever before. Positive forces are at work in my life that I acknowledge and honour. This next chapter will be the best yet. And I intend to share as much as possible here, with you.

So end my musings for another Sunday. I am sorry for my absence and I am working on that. I hope to resume normal operations on this blog before the end of this month. I’ve said that before but I feel better able to accomplish it now, with my old familiars jumping out of every box I open.



Bookblock Original Journal Giveaway Winner



I have the results of the Journal Giveaway! This giveaway generated the most comments to date! Thank you so much for the support and love shown to this blog, even during this difficult time for me. I wasn’t sure what to expect with my current much-reduced posting schedule. I’m honoured by you, my phenomenally supportive community, and am thrilled to be giving back in this small way. Thank you!!

Thirty-one people commented on the blog post, within the timeframe set by the rules of the giveaway. Each unique userid received one entry. I entered the list into the Random List Generator at random.org and below are screenshots of the results after I pressed Go! The list was so long I had to do two screenshots! In the second one you can see the date and time stamp.

Top Screenshot 2016-08-28 at 9

Bottom Screenshot 2016-08-28 at 9

And as you can see the winner is:

Sharon Goemaere

Congratulations Sharon Goemaere! You have until Sunday, Septmber 4, 2016 to contact me with your mailing details, using the Contact Me button at the top of the page, next to the About button. If I don’t hear from you by midnight on Sunday, September 4, 2016 I will pick another winner and announce it on Monday, September 5, 2016.

Thanks again to everyone who entered and watch this space for more giveaways! Happy journaling!

Journal Giveaway Almost Here!


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I just wanted to remind everyone that I’m giving away a custom inlovewithjournals journal this weekend. I realize now I got the dates wrong in my original post; this Saturday is August 27 and the contest closes at midnight Atlantic Standard Time on that day. I will announce the winner the following day, Sunday, August 28. Read all about it in this post.

Thanks to everyone who has already entered. And for those who haven’t please do! Best of luck!

A New Colour for my Jinhao 159s


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I really enjoy writing with my Jinhao 159 pens. I first wrote about them in May 2015, and then it was chosen as my Pen of the Month for November 2015. I popped it into my beloved Franklin Christoph notebook and then included it as part of the prize for my 500 Subscriber Giveaway. I have had it continuously inked since the day it arrived from China through an eBay purchase. I often use it in pen tests for new notebooks. It’s a thick pen but I love writing with it. It’s inexpensive but always writes immediately, right out of the box or after a long sit in my pen case. I even bought a second one for myself as a backup!

For the longest time the only place I could find them was eBay. And then Goulet Pens started carrying them. Both of mine were black. I sort of liked the other colours on the Goulet Pens website but never ordered one. I guess I thought two in basic black were enough.

Well that all changed when I saw a PURPLE one on eBay!! And yes it’s just as gorgeous as it sounds.

three capped

The picture is not picking up the true purplishness; it looks more pink than it actually is. But still beautiful! I keep waiting for Goulet Pens or other retailers to carry it but so far I have not seen it. If you want to purchase one let me know in the comments and I will track down the seller I bought it from.

nib closeup

A closer look at the glorious nib. It looks like a hair is stuck to the end but it’s not; I tried removing it but just ended up with purple ink all over my fingers.

I’ve read elsewhere how some folks are disappointed with the Jinhao 159s, how they have to replace the nib, or the converter they come with is crappy. I must say I’ve never had a problem. They write instantly and never skip (so far so good and I’ve been using them for over a year now). And even though I said in my May 2015 review that I wouldn’t recommend it for long writing sessions due to the weight, I guess I’ve become accustomed to it because I can write long letters and long journal entries with it, with no problems.

And speaking of writing, I inked it up with Waterman Tender Purple (of course) and wrote in my journal.


I think my limit for this pen is three. I think. Until the next groovy colour comes out🙂

Happy journal writing everyone!


Back to Basics and a Look Book


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Hello my friends! This week I was reminded of some basic truths about being organized and focused: write stuff down. As I’ve mentioned my new job is challenging; there are a lot more things to keep track of and I have at least three times the amount of email to wade through. I tried using the Task feature in Outlook but I found that when I got super busy I ignored it. Then I tried creating an Excel spreadsheet but found the same thing: when busy I felt I didn’t have time to type up the task. And too often I was missing critical things in my email. So I grabbed one of my journals (the alphabet notebook discussed in this post) and on the bus on the way to work did a brain dump of all the things I could think of that needed to be done in the office. I didn’t stop until the bottom of page 2. And once I was done it felt great! So much lighter. And throughout the work day I could focus on one thing on the list at a time. I highlighted the ones that needed to be done right away. And marking them off as they were completed was awesome! Such a simple concept but so powerful. We have blank books at work for notes and such but I thought using one of my own would make me more invested and it seems to be working. Hurray!

Another area where I needed focus and organization was picking out furniture for our new house. We sold or gave away most of our furniture before the move. Seems pretty straightforward but we have a limited budget and I wanted to make sure we spent the money wisely. So we started looking at furniture in different places: Pier 1, Wicker Emporium, Structube, Bombay Company. I took pictures of pieces that appealed to us. I made notes of what we agreed upon, what we loved, hated, were indifferent to. I had lots of photos on my phone and wanted to transfer them to a notebook where I could make notes. So I created what I call a Look Book.

furniture idea book 2

I chose one of the Bookblock Original notebooks (blank pages) and got my LG Pocket Photo Printer out. Remember that gadget? It still works great. I love how small but clear the pictures are. Perfect for my journal. In the picture above I’ve created a simple index on the left and pasted my pictures on the right. I can then put model numbers and dimensions next to the photo, as well as where we found it and how much it was. A great way to compare prices and the photos really jog the memory.

furniture idea book 1

Here you can see in closer detail the notes I’ve made about a certain piece. After viewing the piece in person I would look it up on the internet for the specifications, as well as any other pieces available in that line. I like furniture that matches!

I used a black Staples OPtiFlow pen.

furniture idea book 3

Here’s a bunch of photos from another store, ready to place in my Look Book. I even printed a couple of photos of the cats, which will go in my regular journal. Love that little pocket printer!

You don’t have to start a separate journal for a project such as this; I could have added these pages to my regular daily journal. But I wanted to keep these separate because I don’t know how long it will take us to a) find all the furniture we need and b) agree on what to purchase! It’s also a nice keepsake of one of the many house projects David and I will undertake together. How wonderful to be able to look back on the process a year from now, or 10 years from now.

Update: we went shopping in yet another furniture store yesterday (Ashley Furniture) and bought furniture for the TV room, kitchen and dining room. Because we had already done some research I think it was easier for us to pick a style we liked and to know that the price we paid was a fair one. Of course we had to order everything so having the Look Book will help us greatly as we continue the search for furniture and accessories for other rooms, so we can keep the general style consistent throughout each room.

Just one more great use for your journal!

A Journal Giveaway


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On July 3 I reviewed these custom notebooks made for me by Bookblock Original. I’ve been using one of them and I must say the paper is great and I love writing in them. Because of moving I have more copies than originally planned so I wanted to give one of them away to one of you!

Up for grabs is one of the black notebooks, with a black elastic and “inlovewithjournals” written in white on the front.


Image from Bookblock Original.

It will look like the one in the picture above, except it will be blank pages. Rules are below. Please note: as I now live in the Atlantic Standard Time Zone, that will be the time zone that dictates when the contest closes.

The rules to enter are as follows:

  1. You must be 18 years of age or have parental permission to enter.
  2. Be a subscriber to this blog.
  3. Leave a comment on this post.
  4. One entry per username.

The giveaway is open internationally. It runs from today, Sunday, July 31, 2016, to midnight Atlantic Standard Time on Saturday, August 28, 2016. I will use random.org to choose the winner. I will announce the winner on Sunday, August 29, 2016, on this blog. The notebook the winner will receive is from BookBlock Original. The winner will have until Sunday, September 4, 2016 to contact me with their mailing details, using the Contact Me button at the top of the page, next to the About button. If I don’t hear from the winner by midnight on Sunday, September 4, 2016 I will pick another winner and announce it on Monday, September 5, 2016.

Please contact me with any questions. If you find you can’t comment on this post send me an email using the Contact Me button and I will investigate.

Good luck everyone! Thanks so much for your continued support!


My Waterman Family



In June I saw a review of the Waterman Kultur on YouTube by Jennifer of Best Fountain Pen. She was so enthusiastic about it I had to check Amazon and sure enough it was available in Canada too. So I picked up two: the blue and the red.

kultur horiz

I have a Waterman pen already; you might remember my vintage Waterman Junior. But as a vintage pen it’s delicate and I always worry when I use it. I wanted a Waterman I could use every day and throw into my bag. And I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. So when I saw this beauty and Jennifer’s excellent review I knew I had to have one. Or two.

waterman nib

The nib is advertised as a fine but it writes more like a medium. Very smooth writer right out of the packaging. These pens do not come wit a converter but the cartridge supplied with the pen has a bigger ink capacity than any converter anyway. These are demonstrator pens, meaning most of the pen is transparent so you can see the inner workings. The section is especially fascinating as the ink comes in. The plastic body makes it light in the hand, perfect for long writing sessions. The cap is a pull and snap cap so no threads on the fingers. There is a tiny step down on the section but I didn’t find it bothering me as I wrote. I’m very happy with this pen.

I haven’t opened the red one yet; I recently bought some Waterman Audacious Red and once I have an empty cartridge when the blue one runs out I will fill it with the red. Audacious Red is the last colour of Waterman ink that I needed to complete the set. Love it! Love them all!

blue and red and pens

Audacious Red and Serenity Blue.

purple and turquoise

Tender Purple and Inspired Blue. You can tell I use these two the most. I have a bottle of Inspired Blue at my desk at work too!

black blue green brown

Intense Black, Mysterious Blue, Harmonious Green and Absolute Brown. Great inks for your pens. Amazon still has a few of these pens at great prices. I understand Waterman has discontinued the model which is a shame. If you have a chance to check out the Kultur, do so!

Making my A5 Finsbury Work


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Hello everyone. Two weeks have gone by again with no post from me. My work is taking up so much more of my time than before the big move. And last week was an emotional rollercoaster; we found a home we loved, put an offer on it, negotiated back and forth and ultimately walked away from it. We are bruised but determined to continue the search. We were out again today looking at property and I was hopeful I could find a quiet hour or two to write this. And here I am.

Anyone who has read this blog for awhile knows I like to change planners. I don’t think I’ve been able to complete a full calendar year in one planner ever. And I’ve had to change mine out again as my life gets increasingly more complicated and I have more things to keep track of.

In December of last year I moved into my Hobonichi. I loved it and I still love it. The paper is amazing and it’s a great size and weight for my bag. But I found myself putting in loads of post-its and running out of room for my lists. My life has been one never-ending list since April. I think as soon as I landed in Halifax I found myself thinking about my A5 Finsbury to help organize my hectic life.

Then came the hunt for inserts. It’s the middle of the year so I thought undated would be my only option. I went to ebay and found some great undated inserts. But ebay is not instant and I am an impatient girl. I remembered the vast sea of free inserts available on Philofaxy and headed over there. And found exactly what I was looking for.

Philofaxy is a website devoted to all things Filofax. It is a terrific resource if you are trying to determine what kind of Filofax is right for you, or to buy/sell your Filofaxes, or to find a meetup in your area, or to find inserts. Steve and Ray have made inserts available to the community which is great, and you can customize them to your own needs. Over the years and many different planners I know that I need a month on two pages as well as a weekly view. I can function without a daily page as long as I have a lot of space to write lists. So under the A5 2016 inserts I downloaded the Month on Two Pages with Notes, as well as the Week on Two Pages Enhanced TM (5 line version). It took a few tries to print them out correctly but that is down to me and not to the excellent instructions that accompany the inserts.

Actually I should back up a bit. Before I printed them I added dates I wanted to remember on the monthly pages (like birthdays and anniversaries) and a detailed to-do list on the first week I printed. That’s the great thing about printing your own inserts; you can add the stuff you want to see before you hit print. And you can’t beat the price!

week with pen

Here’s a picture of the week on two pages. I kept the pictures for this post deliberately fuzzy because it is my life and it is personal. View them on Philofaxy for better detail. The paper I used to print them is standard copier paper but takes fountain pen ink well, as well as gel ink. So I can use a variety of pens.

month on two pages

Here is the month on two pages.

week on left

I have said before that this layout works really well for me. I like being able to see my week at a glance.

tasks on right

This is a definite improvement on just a lined page. Although some weeks I just start my task list on Monday and keep going.

I’ve been using this system for June and July and I feel much more on top of things. We’ll see how long it lasts. I’m hoping it will last until the end of the year at least. To be honest the size and weight are not ideal. It’s always a struggle between lots of space to write and an ungainly size and weight. Wish me luck.🙂

Custom Notebooks from Bookblock Original


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Hello everyone! Apologies for the two weeks between blog posts; it’s been a busy couple of weeks. But I really wanted to share this post with you today. I’m really excited about the product so couldn’t wait to share it with you, after it finally reached me (due to moving, sigh).

Imagine being able to take any photo or piece of artwork and turn it into a journal cover! That’s what the folks at Bookblock in the UK do. They’ve been offering custom notebooks to brands and agencies since 2013. They recently added a new offering, Bookblock Original, which allows individuals to create a completely unique, one off notebook on their website, with full bleed digitally printed covers. And they have created custom notebooks for this website!!


For about the same price as a Moleskine anyone can order a notebook with any artwork digitally printed onto the covers. The notebooks are printed in the UK on recycled paper. And the price includes shipping: $26 US or thereabouts. You can add your own photos or artwork plus graphic details such as stickers or speech bubbles. You can choose the colour of the elastic and the colour of the background (spine and edges). You can choose the type of paper: Ruled, Plain or Dot Grid on 90gsm ivory, or Sketch on 140gsm Cartridge.

Back in February of this year the folks at Bookblock contacted me, to see if I would be interested in reviewing one of their notebooks. I agreed and the process began. We discussed artwork and ended up with them designing something around my blog name. I really love the finished product.


Image Bookblock sent me during the customization process.

It took awhile for the books to reach me. A LONG while. As I’ve mentioned here before we had some major problems with our mail forwarding. And the customer service at Bookblock were really fantastic about it. The three books shown above were sent to my previous address as we were starting the move process. And when I still hadn’t seen them by the end of May Phoebe at Bookblock sent me two more. So generous of them and I really appreciate it. In a crazy twist, BOTH packages arrived at my new address on the same day! Strange how the postal system works sometimes.


First let me say the notebooks are gorgeous. The soft-touch, vegan leather covers are smooth and lovely to touch. They have collaborated with a bookbinder in the UK to create the hand-crafted notebooks in small batches. And the quality shows.


Image from Bookblock. You don’t often see a white elastic and I quite like it!

The binding is excellent; the book lays flat out of the box. I received two lined and three blank.

lay flat

There are several different kinds of custom notebooks you can choose from on the website: Monsieur Notebook, Moleskine, Castelli, GF Smith, and of course the Bookblock brand. The digitally printed notebooks look to be exclusively Monsieur Notebook (sound familiar? Check out my review of their notebooks here); all of my journals are Monsieur Notebook.


Each notebook has a place for your details, but no index.


The Moleskine A5 is slightly smaller than this notebook, which comes in at almost 6″ x 8″. Both notebooks are 0.6 mm ruling. The Moleskine has a pocket in the back cover; these notebooks do not. (It is a feature you can add with a custom order.) Both notebooks have an elastic and a ribbon but of course you can add your own combination with Bookblock, which I think is super cool. Blue and Green, Green and Pink, or Orange and Orange, it’s up to you. They actually have a long list of add-ons: in addition to the pocket you can add a custom presentation box (always an elegant touch), pen loop, belly band, and printed inserts. You could also have a full colour logo, foiled or debossed logo. These customizations are not all available for the one off notebooks.

comparison covers

Now my poor photography looks even poorer against the beautiful images from Bookblock! But you can see in this photo the Bookblock notebook is slightly wider than the Moleskine.

comparison spines

The ribbon on my much-loved Hobbit Moleskine is definitely fraying, compared to the brand new ribbon on the Bookblock notebook. Time will tell if this ribbon will remain so pristine.

comparison pages

No notebook review would be complete without the ink test!

pen test

The paper is 90 gsm as mentioned previously, and it takes fountain pen ink relatively well. You’ll notice I smeared the ink on purpose to test the drying time and it is about 4 seconds. The Waterman Kultur pen didn’t show feathering but the other fountain pens definitely did.

waterman no bleed

The blue ink above is Waterman Serenity Blue in a Waterman Kultur. I was very impressed with the performance on this paper. The gel ink of the Pilot Coleto was perfect but then again it’s always perfect! And actually every other writing instrument (gels and highliter and pencil) looked flawless on this paper.

twsbi bleed through

I was surprised at the feathering with the TWSBI and the Visconti, inked with Waterman Absolute Brown and Paradise Pen Vineyard Burgundy respectively. It’s not terrible but definitely noticeable.

jinhao bleed through

Arguably the Jinhao is the wost for feathering, and understandable I guess because it has the wettest nib of the three pens. Again it’s a Waterman ink: Inspired Blue.


A bit of show through but not the worst I’ve seen, that’s for sure. 

writing sample

Undeterred by feathering I wrote three pages with my Waterman Kultur (review coming) and I think the writing looks great. Really enjoyed the writing experience; paper is smooth and the Kultur sailed over it. The messy bit at the very top of this page was created by me, trying to get one of my pens to start writing.

I was disappointed that the fountain pen ink had such varied results in terms of feathering. I also would have liked an index. As a notebook collector I have a number of A5 journal covers, it being my size of choice. It’s too bad that these notebooks are an inch too wide to fit in a standard A5 cover.

note from phoebe

Having said all that, I do not hesitate in recommending this company. They did provide me with free notebooks but that did not sway this review. My words and thoughts are my own. They wanted honest feedback and I have given it. I like how individualized these notebooks can be and I do not think the price is too high, considering it includes shipping. The customization possibilities are vast and if there is something you want but can’t figure out on the website their customer service team is excellent. And the books are excellent quality that take fountain pen ink reasonably well.

If you want one custom notebook or one thousand, check out bookblock.com and bookblock.com/original.