Planning – All Washi Tape Challenge

Hi, everyone! Today, I’m going to try the All Washi Tape Challenge in my planner. There are a lot of planner videos going around where people set up the next week’s pages with only washi. I’ve seen some people use stickers or add in doodles, even though I think that kind of defeats the purpose of the challenge. So, other than writing down actual plans in my planner, I’m going to only use washi this week.

Washi tape started in Japan as a kind of tape made with rice paper. One side is sticky, but it’s reusable. The other six may be decorated, have a solid color, or even be clear. Since it is made of rice paper, you can also write on washi. These qualities make washi tape perfect for journaling, arts, and crafts. I bought some cheap washi online once that turned out to just be cheap tape with random decorations. It doesn’t even work well as tape, so be forewarned and read reviews before you buy washi online.

For this challenge, I don’t need many tools. I have my MAMBI Happy Planner, washi, my¬†favorite purple Pilot G-2 pen to write in my planner, scissors to cut shapes in the washi, and my Bat Ruler for cutting strips of washi.

First, I’m going to pick a theme. This way, I can pull out just the washi that I need and push the others to the side. I want to use up some of that crappy tape I mentioned earlier, so I pulled out the green horse tapes. Then, I pulled out greens and blues from the rest of the washi. Matching the theme like this just makes the planner look a bit more pulled together than using random patterns and colors. I’ve made that mistake before, and even though it’s not a huge deal, it is a daily reminder to pick themes in future planning endeavors.

Now that I have my washi picked out, I’m going to start blocking off boxes, just to add decoration. A lot of planners like to decorate entire boxes just for looks. Because I rely so heavily on the info in my planner to get me through my daily life, I try to add decorations as an accent instead. I decided to start with the horse tape since this is a good way to use a lot of tape. Some weeks have great quotes at the bottom of the page, it this week just has a flower. I didn’t want to cover up the pretty flower, so I just cut strips of tape to place around the flower. This tape can be repositioned like washi, but also comes off easily, so I’m going to layer this stuff. I took my pages out to make taping around the sides easier. (One of the many benefits of using the Big Happy Planner is being able to easily remove and insert pages!) I’m extending two of the middle lines out into the Notes section to divide that section up too.

The next thing I need to do is separate out specific events. I always mark the days that we have the kids overnight and any birthday parties, lunches , or events we have on the calendar. To indicate when we have the kids, I’m using a line of washi (purchased on clearance at Michaels) with a couple of points at the end. I thought the green and brown pattern had a kind of modern Western look that would blend well with the horses, while also pointing out the Kids Days. I cut out a smaller piece of washi (this came with the washi I used on the Kids Days line), folded it in half with the patterned sides touching, and cut a point. When I open up the tape, there is one point at each end. After snipping the washi in half, I have two points that fit perfectly on the end of the washi line to make a little bracket for Kids Days.

Using a similar method, I’m placing a banner on the weekend. The skinny washi (1/4 in, got a whole set for cheap on Amazon) bends well to form a banner string. Taking a piece of patterned washi and repeatedly cutting the ends into triangles gives me flags for my banner. I’ve seen this method on a few vlogs and thought it looked complicated, but three minutes after placing the banner string, my flags were on the page. Easy Peasy!

I tend to use the Notes area for habit tracking with stickers. Since this is a washi only week, I’m making my own checkboxes with washi. I could also write out everything, but I think the washi will look a little snazzier. I know that I want four trackers this week. I want at least one blank line between my trackers to make things look cleaner. Luckily, the horseshoe tape is spaced just far enough apart to allow me to use the top two areas of Notes for my trackers. Laying down the thin washi one light at a time, I use my BatRuler to cut apart the washi. My favorite purple pen is perfect for writing in the trackers’ names and the days of the week. Each time I do one of the things on the tracker, I’ll black out the day with a pen or sticker!

Typically, I don’t use any other borders and would add decorative stickers at this point. Since I’m sticking to washi, I think I’ll just add some line embellishments to make the most of this washi opportunity. Et voila! C’est si bon! The journal is now ready for me to write down appointments and whatnot. Normally, I’d already have a ton of things written down before I even started decorating. It worked out well that this particular week is the one I’m using for this challenge.

I hope you liked this post. Let me know in the comments what you think! Be sure to visit the links in this post for some great info and fun vlogs from people who are way more experienced at this than me ūüėĀ


Watercolors – Swatching Koi Water Colors

Until recently, I had only used Crayola watercolors. I mean, you know, they work, but not if you want to try to learn to do something other than paint a picture of a house and a tree for your mom. I have some watercolors that I got from an old job after they switched to digital mapping instead of handrawn maps. I tested a couple of colors and didn’t want to waste my fancy paints on another picture of my cat with hearts and stars in the background. When I saw Lhey and others online using watercolors in their journals, I thought, “This could be the way I use my fancy paints!” I didn’t want to start with them, though. So, I used a coupon at Michaels to buy a palette of Sakura Koi Water Colors (Pocket Field Sketch Box).

After over a month of journaling with watercolors, I’ve made some progress.

I like the crinkly paper in my journals, but I have problems recreating the effects I see on tutorials online. I have a hard time following directions, and all of the beginning watercolor tutorials say to swatch your colors and to use watercolor paper. I have some Canson Watercolor Paper (cold press, 4×6, 140 lb) left from a collage project that a group of my friends and I did as a birthday gift 10 years ago. It happens to be the perfect size to swatch the watercolor set. I gave it a try.

The results are so much better than I expected! The colors went on easier and were much easier to manipulate on this paper than random notebook paper. This must be why everyone working with watercolors has the same tips.

I also found a great series of watercolor how-tos from The Witty Gritty Paper Co. I did the first transparency exercise and was surprised at how well it looks. There should have been more of a difference between 1 & 2 and 3 & 4, but I still don’t think it came out looking too bad. I really have a problem with staying in the lines, both in art and in life. So, I clearly need to work on that (in art only!)

Well, that was my adventure in swatching my Koi watercolors. As you can see, I am still very much a watercolor Noob, but I hope to improve so that I can look back on this post in a couple of years and say, “Ah, the innocence of no experience and cheap materials. I remember those days of yore with much fondness.” (I may or may not have been watching a bunch of period pieces about Frankenstein and alienists lately.). Thanks for reading and starting this voyage with me!

Random Saturday‚Äôs – Journaling

Over the past couple of months, I’ve really gotten into journaling and planners. I found creative forms of bullet journaling on Pinterest a couple years back, but ended up really only tracking tv shows that I was watching.¬† That made me sad because I like to think that my life is made of more than work and tv (it’s not). I got into lettering last year, but didn’t make much time to really practice it right away. Sometime around last summer, I figured out how to practice lettering on my iPad so that I wouldn’t have to use paper. I tried to work on journaling as a way to practice lettering on paper, but it just took on much time. I want to do so many things, but have no time or energy!

That’s my big problem – everything takes time and energy…and money.

I’m sure most people feel this way, though. I started watching YouTube videos by Mommy Lhey on accident. She had a family, but also managed to do journaling, planning, watercolor painting, logging, and so much more. Plus, she seemed to be at least part Filipino. I never see people like me on tv or movies. So, imagine my surprise at finding this woman who worked on projects of interest to me and drew pictures of people who looked like me (and people of other ethnicities too)!

This opened a whole new world of creativity and organization to me. Blending so many interests of mine led me to join Facebook groups, find Etsy stores, talk to strangers at craft stores, and reignite a general feeling of ME-ness that has been missing for so long. Even before I got married, I was in a creative rut and couldn’t find anything that really excited me. After getting married and having the added pressure of craziness as a corporate peon, I though creativity was a thing of the past. It made me sad, which made me feel useless, which made me sad, which made me feel useless, and so on and so forth.

This week’s journal layout makes me happy! This week’s journal layout makes me happy!

In the past month, I’ve worked on lettering on my iPad and on paper, did some wine & painting events with good friends, started creative planning in a beautiful journal, and have already completed my first artistic journaling notebook. I also enrolled in a Skillcrush career blueprint that will hopefully help me make some money as a side hustle on art and web design/programming/anything while my day job helps keep this roof over my family’s head. I’m feeling better about myself and my life, and I hope my family has felt the effects too. It’s so nice to have a creative outlet again that helps relieve stress and connect me to other people in the world who have the same interests.


Random Saturdays – Selfies

Ah, The Selfie.¬† I hate pictures of myself, so I don’t take many of these.¬† Friends and family want to take them sometimes, so I take them.¬† I don’t have a selfie stick, even though my kids have had quite a few.¬† Ben, luckily, shares this sentiment with me.¬† That is probably why we’re so bad at taking selfies.¬† I have started trying to take selfies with my husband at certain events to try to remember that we do things together and even enjoy it from time to time.¬† It hasn’t been a very successful endeavor.

Here’s one that we took on vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Not so bad, right?¬† I mean, not the best, but I’m not a professional selfie taker/teenager.¬† My arms are short, so I’m very limited as to what I can get in the picture, but hey, our faces are 90% in the frame and we’re almost smiling.

Here’s one from when we went to see One Republic.

Hey!¬† We’re both smiling!¬† You can’t see our faces, but you can see our teeth and some terrible bright lights in the background.¬† It looked much better in person and this was the best out of three pictures.¬† Again, my tiny t-rex arms cropped out parts of our faces, but at least we’re smiling.

We went to see Imagine Dragons and had seats by the second stage.  I wanted to get a picture of us with the band right behind us.  So, I waited and waited and waited.  Finally, the moment came!

This was the third attempt.¬† The first attempt was just our faces in complete dark.¬† How did I manage that when there was so much light around?¬† Talent.¬† So, I said, “Okay, let’s try one last time,” and Ben said, “Okay, hurry, we’re in people’s way.”¬† You can see how well I perform under photographic pressure.

Finally, I said, okay, let’s try a regular picture with the band up front.¬† Ben rolled his eyes, but humored me, while also repeating his “We’re in people’s way” line.

Nailed it!¬† He looks like Jesus is coming down from the heavens to bestow a crown of light upon his head as he tells me that we’re in the way.¬† I am clearly not listening, and we’re both distracted by something in the complete opposite direction of the iPhone.

While some people take beautiful iPhone pics like this, I will probably keep my day job so that I can afford to go to more concerts where I get in people’s ways so that I can take bad selfies.


Random Saturdays – Lego’s New(ish) Desk

Ah Pinterest. ¬†The place where dreams and imaginations run wild while my actual butt sits in a chair. ¬†I do use Pinterest for inspiration for plenty of things that I actually do, but that hasn’t really been much in terms of home improvement projects. ¬†I’m always sick, working, trying to sleep, or otherwise busy. ¬†However, I am here to make an announcement.

I have completed my first furniture makeover project!

*and my mom slow claps* 

*and the crowd goes wild*

Lego had a decent desk, but it’s ugly as crud. ¬†It’s been through some incidents including candle wax, paint or nail polish of some sort, rogue screws, and who knows what else. ¬†I wanted to redo this desk for him for awhile and thought it would make a great birthday present. ¬†When his birthday came around, I was tied up in the middle of nowhere, watching three other teams play football while their parents yelled things like, “Hurt ‘im good!” until it was Lego’s and Minecraft’s turns to play. ¬†Then, Ben and I went to Lowe’s to get a few things and I saw some Oops ¬†Paint in colors that Lego would like. ¬†I decided that since I kinda had a window of time, I might as well redo the desk. ¬†So, I bought the paint. ¬†Researching the desk, I decided to use this plan on Pinterest with these points in mind. ¬†Before starting, these are the supplies I gathered:

Piece of crappy looking laminate furniture
150 – 220 grit sandpaper that my husband had sitting in a filing cabinet
Tack Cloths
2 cans of Rust Oleum 280715 American Accents Ultra Cover 2X Spray Paint, White Primer, 12-Ounce
6 in mini roller
Paint pan thingy (I just bought a kit – easy & cheap)
Mini foam paintbrushes for tight spots (I had some already in a drawer for another craft that I never did.)
Top Coat (My husband’s had good results with Minwax in the past, so I just got that.)
Plastic tarp, plastic bags, old fabric, or cardboard to lay under your work area
Respirator or face masks (I didn’t realize that I needed these until after I did the project and my nosehairs were covered in primer.)
Screwdriver, Xacto knife, and hammer (depending on what kinds of pieces you have on the desk)

Step 1 РTell your stepson to take everything off of his desk except for his computer if he wants a surprise from you the next time he sees you.  You may have to do this twice in order to get him to remove 75% of the stuff from his desk.
Step 2 РRemove all the crap off the desk when your stepson is gone.  Shove it all out of the way.  Shove any other furniture as far as you can get it from the ugly desk too.  Pick up all the crap on the floor around the desk and vacuum around your work area.  Remove any hardware or broken parts from the desk using a screwdriver or sledgehammer.  I ended up with lots of screws and hinges to donate to future projects, a door that will be turned into a shelf in another room, and some junk to throw in the trash.

Step 3 – Ask your husband to move the pallets he painted out of the way so you can get to the plastic sheets you use for painting. ¬†When he doesn’t do that, tear apart some large cardboard boxes from stuff he’s ordered and place it under your work area. ¬†This will assure that your husband finally gets your plastic wrap out for you to use.

Step 4 – Lightly sand the desk. ¬†When you find crud on it, use your handy dandy box cutter to¬†scrape that junk off the ugly desk. ¬†You may discover that large chunks of fake wood are missing from the desk as well. ¬†So, you’ll probably have to go downstairs and ask your husband where the wood filler is. ¬†If you’re lucky, he’ll know where it is off the top of his head. ¬†Now, you can go back upstairs and fill that fake wood with faker wood. ¬†(Follow the directions on the bottle, more or less.)
Untitled Step 5 – Use tack cloth to wipe down the desk. ¬†This is where you remember you were supposed to wipe down the desk with vinegar and water or something before you sanded it. ¬†You’ll also forget that you had that wood filling stuff that needed to dry before you did anything else to the desk, but that’s okay because it’s in an inconspicuous area and will be hidden behind another piece of furniture anyway. Untitled

Step 6 – Forget what the next step is and check Pinterest.

Step 7 – Now it’s time to open up some windows because you are about to prime your desk. ¬†Read the directions on the primer and follow them carefully. ¬†When you are done, make sure that the desk is left in a ventilated room while you go somewhere that will allow you to breathe for a few hours. ¬†This is when your husband will ask you if you need that plastic wrap stuff again. ¬†For the second time today, reply, “Not anymore, thank you.” ¬†Ask him if you have primer on your nose hairs so that he can make fun of you for not using any of his respirators or face masks that you didn’t realize he had. ¬†Wait a few hours for the primer to dry while half of your brain cells die. ¬†Go ahead and make an appointment with the respiratory therapist while you’re at it. ¬†You might not remember to do it later.

Step 8 – Ready to actual do some painting? ¬†Good. ¬†The weather probably isn’t right for painting anymore, randomly dropping 40 degrees, but once it warms up again, you can try. ¬†Pop open your can of paint and stir it up real good with a paint stick. ¬†The color will be completely different from the color on the paint can and you’ll understand why this was Oops Paint. ¬†Pour your wrong-color paint into your plastic paint thingy and get your paint roller ready for fun. ¬†Dip the roller in the paint and then roll it over the bumpy parts of the plastic thing. ¬†Roll paint the hell outta that desk. ¬†You will find it interesting how some parts of the desk are immediately covered with paint and other parts are not. ¬†Paint will get all over the cardboard on the floor, but none within the bottom 4 inches of the desk. ¬†You will keep finding places on the desk where you have forgotten to roller paint. Step 9 – When you’ve covered the desk in paint, go back over the smaller areas/missed spots with your sponge brush. ¬†Don’t ask me what the best method is. ¬†I approached this like a child with fingerpaints, just mushing color anywhere that my tiny arms would reach. ¬†You can go over paint drips if they’re still wet, but will otherwise need to wait to sand them down once they’re dry (unless you’re lazy like me.) Untitled

Step 10 – Let your paint dry. ¬†Mine only took about an hour, but I had to log on to work, so I couldn’t put the finish on it right away.

Step 11 – ¬†If you painted the desk correctly, then you pulled a muscle in your back or something and can only sit or lay for the rest of the next day. ¬†Make sure that water and ibuprofen are within arm’s reach.

Step 12 – When you are able to move again, go back upstairs and open up a window. ¬†Spray a coat of the top coat over the painted areas of the desk. ¬†It should dry in an hour or two. ¬†If your back spasmed while you did this, then you should just turn on the ceiling fan and leave the room. ¬†These cheap desks aren’t meant to last a lifetime anyway. ¬†Plus, your lack of skill and broken back will ensure that the desk has that coveted “rustic” look that so many bloggers envy.

Step 13 – At some point (48 hours to 6 weeks) the desk should dry. ¬†Dispose of the junk you used to halfway protect the carpet and try to move the desk back into place without pulling any muscles. ¬†Wait until the last possible minute to put anything on the desk, and then wait a day or two more, especially if the desk is for your beloved stepson. ¬†He’ll appreciate the time it took you to get distracted with work and laundry and dinner and work and more laundry and more work. ¬†Having no desk will make him feel like a Native American, able to live off the land armed with only centuries of ancient wisdom and an iPad.

That’s it! ¬†You’re done! ¬†You have successfully Pinterested an ugly fake wood desk into a rustic piece of furniture that your family will cherish for hours to come. ¬†Give yourself a pat on the back if you still have any upper body mobility!


Random Saturdays – Plotting Baby

I keep having ideas for posts right before I fall asleep or while I’m driving home from work. ¬†Those are not ideal times to write blog posts. ¬†I did find this gem online today and figured it would be a nice first post of 2016 until I can find time to write something longer. ¬†Happy New Year, everyone!

Plotting Baby

This baby is already plotting which crappy nursing home he’s going to send his mom to in a few decades.


Business As Usual

The user friendly web portal at work

The user friendly web portal at work


VCRs & DVD Players

Back in my dad, we called these stereos and Playstations.  Kids these days!

VCRs & DVD Players


Taken on 6/16/16 at 12:57 PM

Nothing but the best where I work. 



Random Saturdays – Amanda’s Birthday 2014

Amanda and I haven’t actually had a chance to celebrate ¬†our birthdays together this year. ¬†When we do, I’m sure we’ll make stupid jokes that I can record on this blog for posterity’s sake. ¬†Until then, here’s a peek at one of the birthday cards I sent her.

Artist's rendering of true events

Artist’s rendering of true events