Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Meet My Middle-Aged Brain

This old graying mare just ain't what she used to be... Memory-wise. I've been exploring planners and notebooks to serve as a helper and brain dump. Lately I've been feeling very scattered for lack of a better phrase and am needing some help in the memory department.

Sunday night I was so stressed out that I didn't remember what I did on Friday. Still can't remember. Oh well, must not have been exciting. Not sure if this the fog of menopause,or what. I'm enlisting helpers.

Enter my Brain Dori. That's her new name. I ordered this Dori cover from The Foxy Fix on Etsy. It's the Bay leather with extra room. (Kinda like a latte with extra room for whipped cream...lol!) I love the soft leather and and the neutral color. I added on the stitching option as well as a monogram.

Getting this notebook ready has been an obsession with me. I made several inserts -- a month at a glance calendar

Daily task list

A folder for important papers with page markers (just in case)

A dashboard cover from a thank you card I received from my quilt guild (along with the button clip I made), and the other two sides of that dashboard

And a couple of gridded notebook inserts made from simple graph paper, card stock, and decorated.

One of which is a log book of books I've read. (I need to go through my kindle account and add books to the list)

I really like these two stickers I got from Sweet Kawaii Designs as freebies with my sticker order. Aren't they adorable?

The only thing I need to do is add my bill paying list for July, which I can print off and put in the pocket folder.

I'll have this to keep me on task and in order. Plus have some fun decorating it along the way. I also have my other two planners for some creative stuff. I need to exercise my creative juices.

Speaking of juices, I need to get some stuff in the crockpot. Got two pork butts to make carnitas. One for us, and the other is dinner for my friend. I'm paying her a visit tomorrow and brining dinner. Doing that and a bean salad recipe.

We are in the middle of a heatwave here. Temps in the upper 90s. No AC here, so I'll probably be spending time downstairs in the living room (relatively cooler), or at the library. I'll take my English paper piecing project with me, my headphones, and listen to a movie while I sew.

No big plans for the weekend. Hubby has a four day weekend. I'm sensing some major R&R.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


This has been a slow motion week. I've abandoned my "diet" for now. Things have been a bit discombobulated with me. I really have a ton of things to do, but just no motivation. Lately I've been doing some retail therapy, but I'll be honest -- it didn't work. I'm not depressed, but just distracted. Not a whole lot can grab my attention these days.

I know it's "just a phase" as mom used to say, but it's getting worse and worse. 

Hormones? Could be. I'm at that age when the change of life happens. Personally I think I've been at that age for over ten years if hot flashes are an indication. 

If I were to give myself advice, I'd say that "this too shall pass." I know that. I'd also say to write everything down and prioritize the list. Break each step into manageable pieces. Then focus a half hour each day on the steps, one at a time and revisit those steps again and again until they are done. If I have to, use a timer. 30 minutes is about all my attention span can handle right now on one task. 

Do I need a break? A change of venue? Not sure. This is just what's rolling around in my head lately.

As for the retail therapy, I've purchased several items. July will be declared a "no buy" month. Hubby has to pay off a layaway, and we need to pocket some bucks for our next trip east. Once you see my shopping list, you'll understand. I've been building my paper crafting collection from scratch. I've also ordered several things to house my collection, and I now have a good little corner to work on paper stuff. 

I purchased a Japanese Traveler's Notebook for me from Amazon. It came all the way from Japan! I'm going to re-gift it to hubby for his reloading/model-making shop. It holds 2-3 good sized inserts and it's more manly than girly. I have a more feminine one coming from Foxy Dori on Etsy. I can't wait until it arrives. I got the shipping notice today. 

Speaking of Etsy, I found several wonderful sticker shops. I've ordered twice from Stickeriffic. These are what I got. I'll be using them for journaling and my planner.

This was my order from Sweet Kawaii Designs. I'm still waiting for my other orders to come in. I love these two sticker vendors. They make really cute stuff!

Last night I attempted to fix my laptop. I'm still in the process of doing that. It's not working correctly and overheats, stalls, and is very slow. I pulled it apart, cleaned it, put it back together and I have three extra screws. And now my touchpad doesn't work. Just my luck! I'll be pulling it apart... Again. I may be purchasing a new one this week if it doesn't shape up. (Update: I fixed it and found homes for my leftover screws)

We have a heatwave going on out here. Temps should be in the 90s for a while. That's the umpteenth level of hell in Dante's Inferno for me. This gal does not do heat (see previous comments on hot flashes). On top of that we have no AC. Ugh. But I shall live. I always do. 

Hope your week is going well. Despite my challenges, it hasn't been too bad. Maybe I need to do some more retail therapy in the chocolate form... Like driving to See's for a big ole box of creams. (I'm a creams girl). Hmmmmm.... 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mid June UpdateI'm excited!

Oops! I noticed in my photos that I haven't posted the bookmark I made for the swap. Here it is. This was made with two improv blocks from my Gwen Marston class last year. It's those four blocks I made in class. I just sewed them together by twos (one set for front; the other for back) and ironed it on some very heavy interfacing (timtex?), trimmed with a pinking blade and sewed on a cute button. Easy peasy,

I've yet to receive anything from either of my swaps, but then that is not why I do that. Plus my swap partners could be anywhere in the world. For the bookmark swap I chose to do international folks.

Yesterday while sewing with the ladies at Ben Franklin, I checked out the clearance section (and the regular price section -- gulp!) and found some treasures for my journaling planner. I'm excited! I know more will get marked down in July, as they have a huge sidewalk sale. But for now, I'm enjoying what I've got.

Today I'll be up in the studio finishing the cleaning. I'm tired of saying I'm going to do it and then not doing it. I have some quilty projects I need to pick back up and finish. That plus I will need to get my desk area into shape. My goal is to have that done by tonight so I can go get another mini bookshelf for my closet and work on the desk area. Quite doable.

I just downloaded an audio book that will likely keep my attention and help while away the task at hand. Gregg Olsen's The Girl in the Woods. Takes place up here. should be interesting to visualie the setting.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Daily Task List

Today will find me in the studio to make some bookmarks for an exchange. I'm excited about this. I have no idea what I'll be doing, but I'm sure it will be fun! I'm thinking of doing a couple mixed media ones.Then accompanying it with some pre-made page markers.

Yesterday and the day before I got some time in to work on my Organization goals. I've been playing around in MS Word to create some task sheets. Yesterday I got them printed out on my printer and bound two sets of 20. I'll be fine for a while. I'll probably make a few more tablets of them. I love the clips I used to bind this. They are reusable. Got the clips and the thingy to attach them at the Japanese dollar store, Daiso. Love that place. They are my go-to spot for paper crafting and office supplies.

While playing around with the big binder planner for a couple of weeks, I found that it isn't working for me. Its too big and bulky. I pre-ordered a different one on Etsy that I think might work. It's much smaller, simpler, and portable. It's a personal-sized one versus the larger, almost full sheet size. I may have also ordered a real travelers notebook cover online for recording inspiration and ideas. Who knows, I may be translating that list over to the traveler's notebook... I just gotta try things out to figure out what works best for me.

I also got another fun planner in the mail on Monday, but that one will be used for art journaling. The layout and overall design lends well to that. This will help keep me in creative mode. I've noticed that I'm slipping in that department. And like everything, practice keeps up the creative juices.

I really need to clean off the cutting table in my studio. That way I can have my space all nice and neat. Might put that on the list for tomorrow. Bookmarks are high priority today, as the shipping deadline for the swap is the 19th. I'd much rather be earlier than later.

I went to a guild sew-in this weekend and got row 11 of 13 glued onto the papers, Just need to sew that up. Almost done with my English paper piecing project. I gotta start thinking about the quilting for that. While I have the thread purchased, I need to think about the design and method. I'm thinking I'll do it by machine, but not sure beyond that. I have time to ponder that.

My guild friend in the hopsital is doing well. Rumor has it she may be sprung in a few weeks. I hope and pray so. To go from death's door to now has been quite the journey. I admire her attitude. We converse by text every day in some form or another. Please keep her in your prayers. She still has a long way to go to be completely healed. I'm just blessed that we get keep her on this side of life. :)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Broken Promises

Yes, another round of broken proven promises. Lol! But I had good reason. First off, Spellbound, the Halloween collection by Cotton+Steel is the first holiday fabric I've ever liked for Halloween. Ever! I love the colorway, the cute whimsical prints, and the blenders. I'll be honest, the only thing I like about Halloween is the candy... But now this quilter must have a Halloween quilt!

Also pictured above were some one-yard cuts I purchased from a LQS that was having a $6 and $8/yard sale. I'd say that I was pretty restrained there. Dontcha think?

My messy desk

I've been slowly working on my studio. I say slowly. Yesterday I started on my paper crafting area. After a few cuss words and bruises, I am on my way to getting the area started. I just hope I can keep it organized. My challenge is the fact that if I see it, it exists. If I don't, then it's lost on me. I may be moving this to another area. Still thinking it out.

My space is limited. I'm blessed to have the space, but like I say, it is limited. This challenges the A-student I was in my interior design school space planning class. Mrs. Brown would be proud!

I'm also pulling the trigger on a piece I made last year. Making an effort to get it to its destination on time. There's nothing like the goddess of the last minute to get you going. I made this last year in my class with Jamie Fingal. What a fun class this was! It was very out of my usual realm, but in a fun way. This was made using fabric, felt, fabric paint, stencils, and beads. I made this with a group of Facebook friends in mind. I am part of a very small, very private group of bloggers who have met online many years ago and I wanted something to celebrate that friendship. We come from all walks of life. The one thing we all have in common is that we are coffee junkies. Hence, the inspiration for this project. I chose to hang this in an unconventional way because it will be displayed in an artist's studio abroad. Right now I'm waiting for my printed fabric label to dry before attaching it to the back. Then it will be lovingly packed and shipped to its secret location.

I signed for a bookmark exchange on Reddit Gifts. I need to work on that. My match is a young woman in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) who likes to bake and loves animals and airplanes. I need to brainstorm on what to do for her. When I get that done, I'll let you know what I sent.

It's a busy weekend ahead. I've got a guild meeting tonight, sewing days on Saturday and Sunday, as well as hubby's company picnic on Sunday. Lots to do.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My Planner -- A Peek Inside

I just wanted to give you a peek into how I customized my 365 Happy Planner. I picked a week without private info. This way you get a basic idea how I set up June.

With some full sheet label paper from Staples, my Epson printer and MS Word, I created some custom stickers to keep me on track. If you can manage tables in Word, you can do this!

The left side of the weekly planner has three custom stickers:

  • Steps-- so I can track my steps. It means much more if I write it down
  • Prayer List -- so often I get special prayer requests. This helps me to remember.
  • Packages-- let's face it, I shop a lot on the web. Hate strolling through stores. This will help me keep up with deliveries. 
In between the stickers, I decorated the page with this month's Washi tape theme. I liked the cute little designs on this tape. I got it from Daiso, our local Japanese dollar store. Next month will likely be red, white, and blue. Go figure! 

On the week part, I changed the three day parts to Jean, Bill, and Household. I don't lead that busy of a life to use all three day parts. I just need this to keep my household on track. You see the patchwork Washi tape. That helps me remember quilting meetings and activities. I bought several rolls of that tape because it was cheap and very, very, cute! 

I'm sure that next month's layout will change, as this is a work in progress. This will help me remember stuff and provide me with another creative outlet! 

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.