Dollar Tree Haul – April 2018

Christina (one of my best friends) and I are talking about starting a YouTube channel about our various creative endeavors. I considered saving this post for a YouTube video, but I’m not sure when that will happen and I really want to use this stuff! I have already posted once this week, but I’m writing more often than posting and would like to share more current journaling and unboxing posts with you in case anyone reading this wants to look for the things I talk about in my posts. Waiting a month later means you’re less likely to find whatever pens or stickers or special deals I mention. So, I’m going to post every other day until I’m caught up, so to speak.

The rule with stores is that whatever you have in the stores closest to you is probably not as good as the stuff further from you. I’m always disappointed at the two Dollar Tree stores closest to me when I go there looking for specific items. So, I waited until I was visiting Christina to go to one of her Dollar Trees. I was not disappointed! The following Tuesday, I went to the Dollar Tree by where I work and it was even better! I think that I basically proved my hypothesis to be true via strict scientific testing. Or not. Either way, I got some really great stuff that I want to try!

Jot Gel Pens (6) in orange, yellow, green, purple, pink, and blue, .8 mm – 10/10 for pretty colors, 1/10 for smooth writing, 5/5 for grip, 5/10 for likeliness of use since these colors are hard to find in pens, but they’re difficult to use.

Promarx Gel Roller EFX Pens (4) in blue, purple, orange, and pink, 1 mm – 10/10 for pretty colors, 7/10 for smooth writing, 5/5 for grip, 9/10 for likeliness of use because I want to only use these pens now, but I may feel that most documents are not deserving of their beauty and then the ink will dry out and I will cry.

Zebra Ballpoint Pens (5) in black, 1 mm – 1/10 for pretty colors, 10/10 for smooth writing, 3/10 for grip, 8/10 for likeliness of use because I don’t want to use these to write all day, but they will travel well since they are small and do not have caps to lose.

Inc ClipClicks Ball Point Pens (8) in teal, blue, purple, black, pink, red, orange, green – 7/10 for pretty colors, 4/10 for smooth writing, 7/10 for grip, 9/10 for likeliness of use because they travel well and have nice colors, but the plastic feels week and like they will break if pressed too hard.

Jot Felt Tip Markers (4) in orange, pink, blue,and green, .4 mm – 5/10 for pretty colors, 10/10 for smooth writing, 7/10 for grip, 7/10 for likeliness of use since I like them, but I think the lids will be lost and the ink will dry out quickly.

Jot Double-Sided Markers (8) in blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, red, brown, and black, Broadline and Fineline (no measurements) – 2/10 for pretty colors, 1/10 for smooth writing, 7/10 for grip, 2/10 for likeliness of use because they will be fine for lettering practice until they dry up or fall apart. The orange one fell apart on it’s 3rd use. ☹️

Jot Dry Erase Markers (4) in yellow, orange, purple, and pink, Pointed Tip (no measurements) These were for the white board wall calendars, so I tested out writing and erasing. I don’t know if they will be any harder to erase after a month on the board, but they came off easily with just water and a rag this time. The colors are very pigmented, it the tips aren’t as fine as I’d hoped they’d be. At least I got a yellow and orange out of it, though!

I also got a round mirror for the bathroom for helping with makeup, a pretty composition book for collecting and storing mini-watercolor art, planner stickers, sticky note flags, and a lettering practice book.

Man, this post took way longer to write than I anticipated, it it was a lot of fun. I have some other haul posts coming up, so let me know if the written haul blogs are entertaining or if you think they’d be better on video. Let me know what kind of stationery gems you have at the Dollar Trees near you!

Planning – Extra Planner Pages

Last December, I bought my MAMBI planner at 50% off at Michaels. My daughter helped me pick it out and I had no idea how useful this planner would actually be! The reason it was so cheap is that it actually is an 18-month calendar and six of those months were almost finished. So, when I first set up my planner, I just moved the past months to the back, thinking that I would use stickers to repurpose those pages and dividers for the first five months of 2019.

Since then, I’ve read about how other people in the planning community use these spare pages. I thought it might be better to just use these pages as memory/sticker pages. This way, I can devote a whole page to various events and projects this year as well as keeping stickers handy so that I don’t have to pull out all of my stickers just to mark a last minute event on my calendar. If that doesn’t work, I can always change it up again. That’s the beauty of the MAMBI planners!

The first project page I want is for gardening and my other outdoor projects. July is the only month I had tried to convert for 2019, so it already has some date stickers on the page. I’m going to cover this up with scrapbooking paper. I found this great flower pattern in my Candy Retro paper pad that I got on clearance at Michaels.

I’ll use my Fiskarspaper cutter to trim it and then will glue it down with stick glue over the calendar pages. I’m not quite the professional or experienced craftsperson that I would like to be, so I don’t know the best way to measure and cut these papers. I placed the paper wrong-side up on each planner page and marked where I need to cut in pencil. Then I used the paper cutter to do that. It’s not super fancy, but it works.

Now, I just glue everything to the calendar pages. I just use a glue stick on the paper and the calendar pages, lay down the flower paper, press down with my hands, and then use a bone folder to flatten it out a bit more. Easy peasy!

I’m going to use one side to document things I do in the front yard, and the other side to document what I do in the backyard. I took the opportunity to practice my lettering 🙂  Eventually, I’ll make another tab so that I’ll know that this is not my July area of the planner, but I just wanted to get the pages started for now.

I’m adding two planter thingies from the plants I bought for the front yard and hope to add pics later.  I also like the sidebar for notes so I can record dates and other info if I want. Overall, I think these pages look pretty good and will be great memory pages for my outdoor projects this year.

Thanks for reading this post! Let me know what you think about Dr. Frankensteining extra planner pages. Have you ever done planner scrapbooking before?

Planning – Week of 3.12.18

This was a busy week. The kids were out for Spring Break. Our wedding anniversary was that week. One of my best friends was in town and I did not have time to see her. My husband’s friends planned a three-family potluck dinner. I had some work phone calls to make when I wasn’t working…This is why I need both a planner and a creative outlet!

I gathered all my planning materials at the kitchen table and was ready to go! Since that week was so busy, I had already written some stuff down that needed to be worked around too. I also realized that week that I hadn’t used any of my stamps in awhile, so I wanted to incorporate those that week. I tried some ink from the dollar section at Target, but it was junk. You’ll notice that my stamps were cut apart. That’s because I didn’t know that these types of stamps should be stored on a piece of plastic. Also, the junk ink wasn’t working well. So, I thought it was because I couldn’t position the stamps properly and it would help if I cut the stamps while keeping them on the plastic. It was a mess. I went back, watched some videos and read some blogs about stamps and ink, and have graduated to a level 1.5 on the 10-point scale of stamps.  Then, I found some small Hampton Art dye ink on clearance at Michaels that were decent. They were shades of purple, so this week had alot of purple in the theme. Yay!

First thing’s first – washi! I had some cute crappy purple plastic tape that I used up that week too. That crappy tape went on as the big dividers.

Because I wanted lots of room for writing that week, I didn’t put skinny washi all over the page, just around the outsides of the calendar. Actually, it’s skinny tape I got in a planner kit from the dollar section at Target. I cut out strips that were about the length of the pages and then laid them down on the paper. There was a tiny bit of sparkle that I’m not sure you can see over the glare of the crappy tape.

I also added some adhesive decoration tape. Pay day was marked and I wanted a runner of workout tape at the bottom of Mon – Wed. I put the workout tape down on a very uneven surface, so I just did a double row to make it look a bit better. I’m probably not going to actually work out on those days, but I want to do some cleaning inside and some gardening outside. That definitely counts as a workout!

Next, I added Mommy Lhey stamps using my Hampton Art dye ink. This was the best that I had ever gotten the stamps to look. Fourteenth time’s a charm! If you ever try these types of stamps, don’t cut them apart. The images of the stamps are on one side of the plastic. So, after you use the stamp, you can replace it. Then, the next time you use your stamps, you can easily see which stamp is which. You will also need an acrylic block of some sort. You can get them at the dollar store if you are lucky. If not, Michaels sells them for less than $10 for basic blocks and you can use coupons on them. The stamps peel off a piece of plastic and then stick to the acrylic block. Then, you pat the ink pad onto the stamp. Once it’s all inked up (which can be difficult to tell for lighter ink shades) you just stick the inked side of the stamp where you want it on the page. The acetate blocks make it easy to see exactly where you’re stamping. My stamps were from Mommy Lhey’s December 2017 kit and the little girl and little coffee cup are my favorites. They are also the stamps with which I have had the most difficulty. So, I was pleased at how they turned out this week. Since this week was so busy, I was able to use one stamp on each day.

To finish things, I had to add stickers, but I was pretty sparse. I did go a little crazy on the anniversary, but I love my husband! I added a sticky note with some washi to give me a space where I could write my habit trackers. I knew we were going out of town at some point and maybe doing a small road trip so that my in-laws could show our kids where they went to college.

Finally, the pre-ink journal is ready for use! Do you folks like this minimalist approach to my already minimalist style? I’d love to read your thoughts below 😀

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!