Putting Pen to Paper: The A5 Organiser – Making It Pretty Inside

So my last post covered just how underwhelming the Kikki A5 organiser in its original format was. A lot has happened in the last 3 weeks, and between work and personal matters, crafting has not been a top priority. However, this weekend, the sun came out, my footy team won (go Dockers!), and I was in an all round better frame of mind to do something creative. So today, I’m going to bring you the bare bones of what I’ve done so far, and talk you through how I did it.

To get started, I gathered the following materials and tools:

  • Double sided scrapbooking paper
  • Laminating sheets (B5 size or larger)
  • Laminator
  • Paper trimmer
  • 6-Hole punch
  • 1-Hole punch
  • Corner rounder

New Inner Front

So here is a brief look at the new inside. To start, I took some double sided scrapbooking paper and cut them down to 16cm x 21.5cm as section dividers. I then cut additional strips at 22cm high, and 4cm, 5.5cm, 7cm, 8.5cm and 10cm wide for my flagging tabs. I laminated them all and cut off the excess laminated plastic on the edges before rounding them with a corner rounder. Word to the unwary – make sure the corner rounder is sharp. I ruined a sheet by using an old corner rounder (that has been chomping through magnetic sheets) which ended up making a partially squished partially torn dent rather than a clean cut.

The Open PU-462 6-hole punch I bought doesn’t come with a ruler attachment to line up paper edges and the visual OCD in me cringed at the thought of unevenly placed dividers. To get around this, I folded a piece of 16cm scrap down the middle of the long edge to mark its center. I placed each of the section dividers and flagging tabs behind the scrap sheet, aligning the bottom edge. As the scrap sheet had a clear center fold, it was easy to line up with the center marker on the punch. It worked so well that I laminated another 4cm x 21.5cm piece with a drawn center fold to use as my template for all future punching.

Ruler

For the flagging tabs, I took a sharp pair of scissors and snipped off a little triangle from edge of paper to tip of hole. This allows me to pull out and reposition tabs without having to open the rings, yet not have to worry about them falling out.  I made the mistake of using textured paper for everything, which means that the laminating bond wasn’t very strong. Therefore, once I finished cutting and punching, I ran each piece through the laminator again to make sure the edges were properly bonded.

For the photo sleeves, I used Heidi Swapp binder refills which come with 2 holes. Originally, I tried using the 6-hole punch but ruined a couple of pieces before realising that the punch doesn’t give enough even pressure to cut all the holes at once. So using the 16cm scrap, I aligned the 2 existing holes and punched the other 4 holes singly using a Carl single hole punch. Lastly, I took a leftover laminated piece and trimmed it to 1.5cm x 17cm piece to give the font a more finished look. As a side note, I was really hoping the Becky Higgins Project Life 6in x 8in photo sleeves would fit and I could do a monthly spread in the organiser. However, they are slightly (all of 1 cm!) too wide and will bend when the organiser is closed.

Inner Back Pockets

For the back, I knew that I will need some storage space for holding stickers to prettify pages. So I took a couple of Becky Higgins Project Life 6in x 8in envelope and trimmed off the edge that had the original 2 holes. I did this slightly to the left of the second sealed edge so that this smaller envelope would still have a sealed spine. I then punched the 6 holes in the envelope itself, again with the Carl single hole punch.

So far so good, the organiser is starting to look quite pretty (to me). There is a little bit of makers remorse – I don’t think I’ve got the flagging tab widths quite right for practicality’s sake – the 8.5cm and 10cm wide ones are pretty cumbersome. I’m currently thinking up interior pages that will replace those original Kikki ones. So once I finish them up, I’ll play around with the flagging tabs again. I’ll share that with you all as soon as I’m done.

Putting Pen to Paper: The A5 Organiser

When I finally decided to start this blog, I had to ask myself how I would meet all my commitments. I work full time 5 days a week, have a nuclear single child fur family, hold craft classes, need some me craft time and now blogging. So I decided to get an organiser. A physical one. There are those who love their smart phones and all manner of electronic organisers – that is not the way for me. I like seeing and touching pretty stationery.

20 years ago, one of my mom’s friends (the lovely Auntie Valerie) purchased me a personal size crocodile skin personal sized Filofax in cherry red. I recall it was £100 – a huge investment that a 16 year old girl could not afford, a long lasting gift still lovingly cherished.  20 years on, the colour is still luscious, rings in perfect order, but the clasp no longer works. Given my very long lasting history with the brand, I really wanted a nice new leather Filofax but in the bigger A5 size. However, recent reviews seem to point to the company having lost their quality mojo and when I went to their website, it seems their design team has been caught napping too.

Then it was like the fates were calling and the Kikki A5 organiser in black saffino leather went on sale. I read the words “30% off” , “limited stock” and “free shipping” and my credit card came out. While the organiser is no longer available for sale, I thought I’d do a bit of a review so that anyone interested in the Kikki organisers in other colours or sizes can have a bit of a better idea.

So this is the organiser compared to my 20 year old personal sized Filofax. As you can see, its much bigger. The leather has that beautiful signature cross-hatch pattern and feels quite thick in hand. The leather also seems to be padded underneath, something I’m not sure I like as it makes the overall organiser feel bulky.

Two Organisers

Below is a picture of the inner front view. The lining fabric is black and has a cute diamond print. On the front flap, there are 3 card pockets down the bottom. The top pocket housed a mini “Today” notepad that I promptly gave away as scrap as it was of sub-par quality that detracted from the overall look. There is a flap, a zipped section and a pocket. The flap certainly adds to the bulk, but makes sense for people who want to keep papers without the worry of them falling out the bottom. Personally I prefer my old Filofax which has an accordion style pocket instead. The rings of the binder themselves are flush and tight, in a lovely mid-tone gold. For me, huge drawback is that the fabric holding the binding rings was not glued down to the leather. It feels like the weight of all that paper is on the seam that attaches the fabric to the cover. Okay if it lives on a desk, not so good for toting around.

Inner cover

This is what is included: 3 sticker sheets, monthly spreads, meeting paper, to do paper and lots of notes paper. In fact there was so much note paper it felt that the designers were just plain lazy and couldn’t be bothered with designing weekly or daily sheets. There are 6 dividers in gloss card… shame that the stickers to label the dividers with are in semi-matte. The look together is passable, not wow wee.

Whats inside

This is the back inner with the included notepad. I’m getting rid of that notepad too. The binder has rings that open and close so if I wanted to hand a note to someone, I’d give them one of those numerous note papers that were already included. As an aside, I shifted the last divider all the way to the back so that the last few pages of the last section of note paper don’t crumple along the spine.

Back Inner Cover

Anyway, you can see that I am not overawed by the organiser. However, since its now a sunk cost (too expensive to ship back for a refund), after my initial guilt and chagrin from bad decision making, I’ve decided to get a bit crafty with it and hopefully come to love it a little more. I’ll document my organiser transformation over the coming weeks (or maybe months) in my Putting Pen to Paper series.