Planning – Week of 4.9.18

This week, I was inspired by Mommy Lhey to do a spread with stickers and stamps. Mostly, I though it would be a good opportunity to use my colored pencils. I also thought it’d be nice to try a non-washi spread. I don’t have much in the way of stamps, but we’ll see what we can do.

I have the stamps that came with my Mommy Lhey November kit, some Hampton Art ink and Recollections acrylic blocks that I got on sale at Michaels, and my collection of stickers.

I started off with the girl. I don’t know if it’s the ink or my lack of skills, but she always comes out a bit muddled. Lhey uses baby wipes to clean off her stamps after each use, so I decided to try that. I’ve seen other planners who don’t clean off their stamps, but the idea of storing dirty stamps makes me want to pull out all of my hair.

The lighter inks seemed to have dried out because I couldn’t get decent lines from them with my little coffee cup. The soda cup in darker ink looked better, but the lines were too thick. I’ll get these stamps figured out one day!

After stamps, it was time for stickers! I used a sticky note, a cut-out from a magazine, and a card from a set of motivational quotes that Christina gave me to make a little weekend collage. At the top is a quote from a set of travel stickers – “How beautiful it is to do nothing and then rest afterwards.” That is how I like my weekends, but it rarely happens.

I used some clear stickers just to add a bit of pop in the layout. Since I need so much space to record my daily health stats and To Dos, I added stickers to designate some notes areas. After filling in some plans, I decided to skip coloring in the stamps. I know from experience that when the stamp lines are jacked, the coloring looks messed up too. So, I’m stopping with the spread as it is now.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any suggestions about stamps because I really need help on that 😀

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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 😀

Gardening – March 2018

We’ve lived in this house for a few years and have been working hard on different home projects. The lady that sold us the house was retired and made it her daily job to take care of the house. The house was immaculate when we moved in, but we are a young family and not a couple of retired ladies. Keeping the inside of this house clean is more than I can handle, much less the outside. Each spring, I try to work on the yard, but the Texas heat eventually wins and I’m stuck inside with heat exhaustion and migraines.

This year, I am determined to get more done!

I’m watching YouTube videos to get inspired and am relying on indoor and outdoor housework as my workout plan. For my first attempt, I worked on replanting some plants for my stepmom. The plants didn’t do well after replanting and my mom told me that one plant was being overwatered and another had too much sun. Doh!

We have a sickly rose bush in the yard, so I tried to trim it up so that the plant wouldn’t have to waste valuable nutrients on the dead parts.

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There are only two trees in our backyard, but they drop a ton of leaves and giant acorns the size of tangerines. The acorn tree shed its leaves last fall, but the other tree didn’t drop its leaves until February. The poor things are confused by Texas weather. Is it going to be 20 degrees or 80 degrees today? Both, of course! There’s a garden area in the corner of the backyard that doesn’t get enough sunlight for most plants, so I’m turning that into a composting area, fueled primarily with leaves. I just have to get the leaves to that spot. So, I spent $50 on a Black and Decker leaf blower/vacuum/mulcher, but I won’t be using the blower much. I managed to put the tool together by myself! So proud! I used it and was surprised at how easy that was. I filled a bag up with mulched leaves, dumped them into the mulching area, and transplanted some lost worms from where the leaves used to be to the mulching area. Then, our lawn guy came and removed the leaves from one of our planters, along with the plants inside it, while blowing some leaves away from the composting area. I don’t think my husband communicated my gardening projects to the lawn guys. :/

The rest of my backyard is basically a wreck.  I need to work on the backyard and the shed to get it all organized and looking nice so that it will all be easier to maintain once the initial grunt work is complete.

Out front, we had a huge planter that fell apart when the plant roots busted through the bricks. So, we got rid of that last year and I replaced it with some flourishing indoor plants. It was cute until it froze and I didn’t protect the plants from the cold 😦 This year, I’m trying to get some new plants going there, starting with lavender, Jasmine vines, and succulents. We’ll see how that goes.

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I normally buy sickly succulents because I’m somewhat good at reviving them.  However, I wanted to just shove this plant into the ground, so I had to pay full price on this one – $5.  I liked that it was already growing so many new buds, though.  Hopefully, that means we will have adorable succulents filling up the planter this year!

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I just love Asian Jasmine Vines!  It’s pretty and will grow without much effort anywhere.  It’s my favorite kind of ground cover for any area where I’m not going to walk.

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I pulled off some of the lower buds of the succulent and just planted them into the soil.  I could’ve started them inside where I know they will grow roots quickly, but I wanted to see if the lazy way would work so that I would know for future reference.

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I found where my husband keeps the hedge trimmer, so I trimmed the hedge at our neighborhood entrance. I wanted to do this in the winter, but didn’t. I figured that doing this at the beginning of spring would at least be better than waiting for summer. My husband always talks about needing to trim them, and I always tell him to do it during the winter when the plant isn’t growing as quickly. So, I compromised on my own advice and his procrastination and blammo! Ugly hedges! I think it’ll fill out nicely as spring continues and the trimmings should keep the weeds that grow under the hedge down to a minimum.

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We also have some hedges and plants near the front door that need work.  Now that I know how to use th hedge trimmer, I’m going to tackle the bushes out front. I love their shapes and colors and want them to be happy and healthy plants.

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I trimmed the biggest flowering plant by our door in February and it has been growing like crazy. Seeing this plant in full bloom always makes me happy – one of the only things I like about the scorching heat in Texas!

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There are also plants on the side of the house that I haven’t even thought about yet. I’m jealous of the vines that our neighbors have growing on that side of their house. Maybe they’ll let me use some to graft onto our house???

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I am so thankful to the previous owner for her hard work on the beautiful plants around this house. I’m hoping to keep that tradition going.  To end this post, here’s a pic of Pad Kee lounging on one of my laptops while I work.

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Planning – Week of 3.5.18

Normally, I like to sit down to work on my planner on Sunday. I was not doing well last Sunday, so I made time on Monday instead. My son’s birthday party was on Saturday, and after all that work and being around all those people, I needed a couple of days to recuperate. That kinda inspired this week’s theme in that I wanted bold colors to rev up the energy. After gathering my supplies, I decided to use some of that cheap tape so I can get rid of it. I have no idea what the tape says! I’m matching it with reddish washi that I got in a pack from Daiso. This time, I will use stickers! I also try to cut out interesting patterns and cute images from magazines to use in my planner and art journal. Finally, I left my scissors in the closet (where I store my crafting supplies), so I went to the office and stole back my mini scrapbooking tools from my husband. (He was using them to help our youngest son with a model car they were building last fall. Maybe they can finish it this Spring Break?)

I started outlining the boxes with the “Marsha Orso” tape that always makes me hungry for orzo. Since I was trying to get rid of this stuff, outlining boxes was the best way to use up the most tape. Like washi, this tape was fairly translucent, so lining up the tape along the existing lines was easy. I had tried using this tape on other things before, which is how I discovered that it was junk. That meant that I used up one roll quickly, though! Then, I started on the second roll of tape, which was bumpy on the roll and made the tape bumpy when I tried to lay it flat on paper too. Why don’t I just throw it away? Because I’m Asian + I grew up poor. Throwing away this tape would just be too boojie for me.

17 hours later, I finally got that devil tape on the pages. I used more Masha tape to divide the week up by non-kid Days, kid days, and the weekend, but there was still tape left! Evil does not die easily.

As much as I hated that evil Masha tape, I loved this week’s washi! It had a pattern with boxes that made it perfect for my activity trackers. You may have noticed that I don’t have a food or workout tracker. Those are delicate issues for me. Eating too little or working out too much make me very sick. Instead, I decided to use cleaning trackers because cleaning this house is a workout. It also alleviates guilt for me when I have to choose between doing something for myself (working out) and doing something for everyone (cleaning the house). I decided to try to put myself on a cleaning schedule to combine the two. Having a clean house means less stress for me too, even if I don’t actually remember what it feels like to live in a clean house at this point. A gal can dream! Anyway, the plan is working well so far, so I’m trying to keep up that habit.

I didn’t spread out the trackers this week the way I did last week because I wanted to use stickers this week. Also, this week had a quote instead of a picture, so I left room to decorate around the quote. This was a good one too, a good reminder about what’s really important between the stress of last week and the craziness of this week.

My method for going through stickers is admittedly weird. I organize them all by sticker size and go through each page to see if I want to add any to the spread. I can’t figure out a better way to do it. I just get confused and stressed when I try to spread them out any other way.

I actually used some die cuts and magazine clippings on this spread too. So I did some snipping to and fit the images into the spread before gluing them down to the pages. I used Glue Dots this time because I’m in a hurry. I prefer adhesive tape, but am out of that. Glue sticks work just fine if you have the time, but I didn’t.

While going through my stickers, I found some new Recollections stickers that I forgot about getting at Michaels in clearance for $1.19. I’m going to use them more for end of the day notes. I love them because they were cheap and very relevant to my life! The week before drained me physically and emotionally. So, I tried to include a lot of happiness and joyful sayings this week. I need all the help I can get to keep up my energy and my peace of mind!

Here is the pre-ink version on this week’s planner! Let me know what you think!

Unboxing – Kira Kira Crate

For Valentines Day, my husband bought a subscription to Kira Kira Crate for me. Kira Kira boxes have Asian hygiene and beauty products. I normally avoid these things because I’m allergic to everything, but my Asian mom always allowed me to use uncool Asian hygiene and beauty products when I was growing up because she said it would be okay on my sensitive skin. This was not what the girls at school or in Teen magazine used, so I resented my mom for this. Now, all the fashion magazines are always writing about the latest trends in Asian beauty products. That can only mean that I’m finally cool again right?!

Here is the adorable box that I will probably keep for storing craft and art supplies.

It always surprises me when companies put so much thought and artistry into shipping boxes. My husband buys a lot of computer and car parts online and they come in the ugliest boxes. He never knows what’s in them until he opens them up, which I think is terrible marketing. Kira Kira knows where it’s at; they even love you!

The pamphlet is adorable! It has info on everything in the box and reminds you to tag yourself in photos online using the products for a chance to win a free box. (Sweet!) I love the article on the lip palette. I’m definitely going to use this art in my journals. Bonus surprise!

Items in this month’s box:

  • Oil in Moisture Hand Jelly – This is cassis and berry blossom scented and the writing is in Korean. So, guess I’ll be learning Korean. The moisturizer is very light, absorbs quickly, and has a slightly floral/slightly fruity scent. Love this!
  • Mini bath ball – Cutest bath bomb ever! The bath bomb had a plastic outer shell that looks like the stuff that comes on detergent pods. I’m guessing this means that the wrapper will dissolve in water. (Edit:  It did not dissolve in water.) There are also adorable little strawberries on it, which makes me think this smells like strawberries. Other than the image that tells me eating these will make little boys cry, I don’t understand any of the writing on this product. I might let my daughter use this because she loves bath bombs, but has eczema like me. So, normal bath bombs irritate her skin. (Edit: I did let her use it, but the bath bomb was so tiny that it barely did anything, which was good because of her eczema.)
  • Art Collection Tokyo lip gloss palette – I’m guessing that’s the name, anyway. This is actually made in China, haha! The four shades of red appear to just tint your lips various hues of pink. The colors all go well with Asian skin tones, so that’s cool.
  • Sakura Soap & Towel – Score! The soap is shaped and scented like a Sakura flower and the little hand towel is adorable! This would be a great gift for someone. I’m keeping it for myself, though!
  • Pure Smile Hello Kitty Essence Mask – Oh my god! First off, Hello Kitty. Secondly, this one is infused with sake. I’m expecting miracles from this.  (Edit:  I used this in bed one night after my husband fell asleep and I was wide awake.  It worked well and moisturized my skin without irritation.  It would have also worked well if a burglar had broken into our bedroom at the time.  Do not look at anyone while wearing this mask without working that person first.  It’s scary!)
  • Kocostar Slice Mask Sheet Cucumber – I have never seen anything like this before! They’re preserved cucumbers infused with moisturizer to place on “problem spots”. Sounds good to me. Now, where can I find a full body-sized cucumber?  (Edit:  Still haven’t used these, but I did see them at Target for $5 or $6.)

I’m so excited to try these products! I thought about doing a review after I tried them, but my motivation will probably be replaced by life distractions by then. I don’t want to work tonight. I just want to pamper myself with these products!

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 plannervideosgoingaround 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 fewvlogs 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 😁

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’s – 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.