Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Planner Plunge (Long Post)

Well, I finally took a big plunge into the world of planners. I spent part of Wednesday afternoon customizing my new Happy Planner from Me and MY Big Idea's Create 365 line. I chose the black planner with the gold heart for two reasons: the simplicity of the cover and the brightly colored month divider pages.

While I won't go into nitpicky details, I will give you a highlight of how I customized my planner. I'm a utilitarian with an occasional outburst of flair. While I won't go all out and journal/decorate this thing to death, I do plan on using this mainly for three functions and try to keep it pretty:
  1. My appointments/meetings
  2. Hubby's appointments/meetings and work travel
  3. Household stuff (paying bills, milk deliveries, chores, other items)
I purchased the following from my local Hobby Lobby:

  • The Happy Planner
  • 6-month extension kit
  • Inspirational quote cards
  • 2 Skinny notepad sets 
  • 2 packs of folders (I should have purchased one pack)
  • Extender rings (not necessary, but nice if you want to keep past months in the book for reference). Technically I could take out 2016 and not need the extender rings. Then subtracting each month as it passes and adding on a new month to end. Makes sense?
  • Arc binder punch (* to be delivered from Amazon) This will be great for creating custom pages, like Bill Paying worksheets.

Look at those cute binder disks!

The basic planner is great! It has a laminated cover, easy to turn pages, heavy cardstock monthly tabs and the rings are like disks with a raised rim and a heart cut out of the center. They are really cute! The pages are big. Not quite letter sized (7" x 9.5"). Not too big, not too small. I think it's just right. 

Left: Dashboard page (part of the basic planner)
Right: Inspirational quote card and folder (both are add-ons)

The "guts" feature a monthly dashboard-like page ... 

Month at a glance (part of the basic planner)
Stickers (are an add-on)

... a month at a glance calendar ...

Week/day at a glance

... and a detailed week/day at a glance calendar. The week/day at a glance features a long skinny notes section printed on the left side and then the columns for each day of the week. There are three labeled sections for each individual day-- "morning",  "afternoon", and "evening". Me? I'll be breaking it down into "my calendar", "hubby's calendar", and "household stuff". I need to print some stickers to cover that or just write what I want on some washi tape. No big deal. There's tons of room for writing in stuff (unless you journal).

I transferred the basic planner to the extender rings first. That took quite some time peeling the pages off gently and re-inserting them into the new rings. I got lots and lots of practice. Nothing ripped, thank goodness. I'm sure there may be an easier way, but it just didn't look apparent to me. I do like the ease of adding and removing pages and can see where that hole punch is going to come in handy.

Inspirational quote card and folder (both are add-ons)

Thinking I was going to insert two packs of folders into the planner, I put them in only to realize that one pack is really enough. Just move the folders after that quarter's papers/bills are out of date. This will keep the planner from getting too bulky from too much stuff. Then in front of each folder, I chose a coordinating quote card. I admit, this is just a vanity thing. It doesn't really serve any other purpose other than eye candy. 

Since this planner starts in July 2015 and goes through December 2016 (18 months!), I purchased the extension pack. That way I could use it in June. (Squee!, that's just a few days away!). I'll keep the extra guts for page goofs or if there's a delay in getting the planner. 

I also made a little folder and a cover for my traveler's notebook. I'll still be using this in my purse.

For the folder I used card stock paper and washi tape. I cut the paper to 8.5"x 11" and used the leftover bit to make the pocket flap. No waste. I folded both pieces in half. stapled them together, and then finished the edges with washi tape. Easy Peasy. I think you can figure it out from the photos.

To make the cover, I cut another piece of decorative cardstock to 8.5" x 11". Then I centered it in a hot laminating pouch and ran it through my machine. At this point I decided not to trim it becuase I needed the extra length and width.

I used a ruler to measure the center of the cover and made a mark close to the edge. I knew that to be able to contain my inserts the hole has to be fairly close. Place your insert fold on that center line to make sure the holes clear the top and bottom edges -- I eyeballed it. Then I used my hole punch to make the holes (center top and bottom). to make the "fold" I placed the cover under my large square ruler and folded it UP over the ruler edge. I did this on each side of the hole set. Then I inserted the elastic. (I ended up being able to get two elastic bands through my center holes.) Just thread the handmade journals through the elastic and use more elastic to loop them together and you have your guts all situated.

To make the closure I measured the center height of the cover and punched a hole on just one side, inserted my elastic and charms. This way I can loop the elastic over the whole notebook to close it and keep the contents from falling out.

Here are the glamour shots for the notebook. I love it that this didn't break the bank. It was doable from stuff I had on hand.

I'm really hoping I stick with this and it helps me keep things straight. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Planner Playtime

This gal is beat! It's been a busy past couple of days. My friend is doing a bit better today. She was brought out of sedation yesterday. She had enough energy to ask her sister to get me to set up a meal brigade. I'm a huge, HUGE fan of It is a wonderful website where you can set up a calendar for meal schedules for someone in need. The site also has a potluck function. Both those aspects of the site are free of charge. They also offer a meal/task calendar for a nominal fee. It's worth checking out. I'm classifying this site as a "Cool Tool".

Since it was a holiday weekend and hubby is out of town, I chose the first two meal delivery days and got those cooked and delivered today. I figured it was too short of notice for others to do, so I grabbed those days. I just need to a bit of tidying up and I am done for the day!

Before all this happened yesterday I got a chance to play in my studio with the midori planner template I came up with after watching this video. And I ordered a cover from Amazon. You knew I would! Lol!

I started off making a month at a glance calendar, then a week at a glance for that corresponding month, followed up with a bill paying checklist, and a notes section. I made a booklet planner for each month.

Taking the directions from the video, I printed them out. Got them folded. Attached a card stock cover. Stapled the booklets together and ran a strip of cute Washi tape over the binding to hide the staples.

I also made some elastic connectors from small elastic "rope" to connect the planner booklets to each other (and ultimately to the cover).

So I have three blank beauties to decorate and fill in.  I need to edit my file a bit, but I have it down pat now. I can see how handy this will be.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Planning for the Future

Behind the scenes I've been obsessing over ways to get my life in order. I've started on physically organizing and tidying my home. I'm finding that when my physical house is in disorder, my mental house reflects that state as well.

I just finished the book THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP by Marie Kondo. I liked her perspective on how to "tidy up" the clutter and have one's house in order. She takes it from a zen point  of view, but I can see how the physical controls the mental. I'm living it.

You well know that I've been working diligently on reworking my studio. That is still in process. I've got several weeks of that work ahead. Part of it will be finding a new rhythm. I've already tackled the kitchen. I still have some fine-tuning to do, But I'm almost through there. Next up are books and shoes. Marie Kondo works her tidying magic by category (books, shoes, kitchen utensils) versus room. Makes sense. I'm incorporating a lot of her ideas to my work.

Thanks to a fellow Pinterest pinner, I'm now have a new obsession -- creating a custom planner to get me organized and on task. In the chaos of the month before last, I forgot to pay a couple of bills. They simply slipped out of my radar. Not good.

I think I've decided on the Midori-style Traveler's Notebook format. You can see my pins on Midori and Filofax planners here. A typical Midori is simply a leather cover with elastic straps to slip in your customized inserts. I found a wonderful video resource (above) that talked me through making templates on MS Word, and I'm in the process of making them now. And yes, I added a bill-paying checklist to my planner! I'm also going to try and make a heavily-interfaced fabric cover for mine since I have the materials on hand. I also found several good video tutorials for that. I'd really like one of those fancy leather covers, but I can wait for that. Maybe... I'll peek around Etsy and Amazon to see what is available.

Last, but certainly not least, I'm asking for prayer for our former guild president, who is battling a life-threatening infection. She just finished her term last month. She's a good friend of mine. One of my "rocks" and cheerleaders here in the Seattle area. She has a hubby, a young son, a lot of life ahead of her to live. She needs some major, major prayer. I would be very grateful if you could lift her up to the powers that be, pray for her family, and pray for her caregivers. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again

Miss me? I took off to TN/KY to visit family. It was family weekend at my brother's school. I also tacked on a visit to see my grand babies. Lots of memories made.

Buckets of background stuff going on. Will continue to work on getting my studio back in working order. I want to get started on making some planner templates.

I got some work done on my paper piecing project, but not enough to get a complete row done. Bummer. I want this done so I can quilt it. I also want to move in on my next project.

This week I need to get my kitchen back in order. Part of it got rearranged while I was gone. I got the bulk of that done, but still need to finish it up. I'm missing certain key items, so I gotta locate those.

Canning season starts soon. I took advantage of an ad I saw on my Facebook feed and bought an electric water bath canner/multi cooker. It arrived while I was gone. Our electric stove sucks (long story), so this will be a good addition to my other canning supplies. I'm toying with breaking it in this weekend by getting some crabs to boil. It was under $150. Still a lot of money, but a very useful item.  And with farmers market season, it will surely come in handy.

In an effort to get my life back in order, I started back to menu planning. I've got it posted on the fridge. Last night's dinner was awesome! I made an Asian chopped salad. Curly leaf lettuce, chicken breast meat, a minneola tangerine sectioned out, sliced walla walla spring onion, red bell pepper, 1/2 an English cucumber, sliced carrot, crushed ramen noodles, cashews, and that Litehouse sesame ginger dressing. It was more veggies than lettuce. Simply divine. Tonight is pasta with veggies. I'm debating on making it Alfredo style or al fresco style (grated Parmesan, olive oil, pasta seasoning). Tomorrow is a ham steak with green beans and baked yams (I like my yams nekkid). Thursday will be salmon, fingerling potatoes, and fresh asparagus with walla walla onion garnish. Trying to be healthy.

Not much else is going on. I'm still alive and kicking!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Great De-Stash of 2015

I shipped four boxes off to the post office today. Each were crammed full of fabric. About 30-40 pounds total? Two going to the Middle East, one each to TN and VA. Each location chosen for specific reasons. I'm eyeing some more stuff to go, but will deal with that later. By the way, this does not include the boxes full I'll be donating to my two guilds.

Many of my friends think I'm absolutely nuts for de-stashing. I'm like, that's okay... This works for me. It makes me feel like a rebel. Haha! Honestly, I was beginning to feel guilty about what I had versus what I could use. And for some odd reason I felt like a hoarder. I still feel like I have a lot of stuff, almost too much. Just feel wasteful and want to be more responsible with the blessings I've been given. 

I know de-stashing is not for everyone. I even likened it to one of the seven signs of the upcoming apocalypse to one friend. Lol! You gotta believe that! And those who've seen me shop in action can attest. This is a major paradigm shift in my thinking.

My sewing room is slowly shaping up. Once I get that conquered, I will hopefully be I n the mood to sew. My mojo has been severely lacking. I need to make some backs so I can sit down and quilt. I was going to send them out, but I'm now thinking of just biting the bullet and doing them myself. I don't know. I may change my mind. I've got lots of time to think.

I'm also trying to make some room for paper crafting. I blame a Pinterest pinner I follow for my latest paper obsession -- organization and planning. I'd like to set up the studio/room for office work and sewing. With my nieces and daughters leading busy lives, I think making them each a customized planner would be a blessing for them. Making one for me as well. 

My life has been very hectic since I've been down with the foot stuff and adding a member to our household. To be honest, I've let things go and don't feel like I have the control over things like I did before. And it just seems that a lot of physical "stuff" is in the way. Combine all that with a minor health issue, I don't want things to get worse. 

Clearing and purging of mind, body, and soul -- in the surroundings and myself is in order. 

I am so blessed by abundance. I am blessed to have choices. I want to be responsible with both.

Monday, May 4, 2015


Today was another day of de-stashing. I'm a woman on a mission to be more responsible with my fabric stash. This was somewhat what it looked like before.

Then I did this...

And this...

And this is my new stash.

Much more responsible. I could still cull about one or two more shelves, but I'm holding out on that for a while. Who knows? I may change my mind later this week. All is getting donated to meet certain needs.

I've also been talking to hubby about my plethora of machines. I'm toying with selling my two extra machines on Craig's List or packaging them up for a fundraiser donation. Who knows... Maybe some one may get a surprise in the mail. Lol!

Either way, I'm a firm believer in paying things forward. It always seems to put a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

My studio/sewing room is still notcompletely reorganized. Still have a ways to go. But I put a big huge dent in it today. And that makes me super happy!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Girly Stuff

Not much sewing going on these days. Life is a bit discombobulated right now. Trying to get back on track. Just not sure how.

I made a life-changing purchase this month. Now when I tell you what it was, you'll laugh. But I'm serious. Yes, really!

I love painted nails, but painted nails don't love me. I dabbled with some acrylics, but found the upkeep cost too much. My nails grow fast. I mean super fast. So I'd need fill-ins every ten days and new tips each month. Hello $100! Not! And let's not mention the havoc that sewing handwork does on the nails... And acrylics...

I found a LED light nail gel kit by my favorite makeup company from QVC (Mally) for @$70 plus shipping and handling. Hello gorgeous hands! I can control the application myself. (Nail salons scare me.) And I hear gel polish wears like iron! It came with enough stuff for over 100 manicures. Of course I ordered a few extra colors. After all, a girl needs choice. ;)

Last week I took off the acrylics I got, and yesterday morning I sat down to do my first gel manicure! I just opened the instruction booklet, laid the products out and went to town. About 45 minutes later I was ready for anything! No need to wait for stuff to dry... I went straight into action!

It always seemed that just after I paint my nails the old way, I'd have to pee or something. And then I'd wreck at least one nail. Lol! Murphy's Law. No worries with gel. When you're done it's done! I'm sure that it will take less time next time to do a mani. First, I won't do it after using my asthma inhaler and drinking coffee (hello shaking hands!). And now that I'm familiar with the process I can move much faster.

I love how shiny and colorful my nails are. I'm usually chipping by the end of day one, but not now. Not even at day two!

I know it's superficial, but for me that's life-changing. And this makes me one very happy girl!