Etsy Haul – Planner Stickers

In case you’re not aware, Etsy is one of the Go To places for online planner sticker shopping. You will find so much one-of-a-kind art from artists all over the world. I tend to try to order from people in the U.S. only because I can’t afford the international shipping prices. I also like finding sticker stores in Texas. If you find a sticker artist that you like, try searching on social media to see if you can follow that artist for freebies and discounts. Their communities are like mini-fandoms and it’s fun to geek out with your fellow planners.

I ordered stickers from three stores for April, thinking I would do a post on them once all the stickers arrived. The last package arrived and I realized this was the last week in April. So, my planning failed me. Had I actually written this down in my planner, I might’ve noticed this beforehand. *sigh* At any rate, here are my stickers!

The first to arrive was from XOXO Prints. I follow this shop on Facebook. The artists and the other followers are friendly and fun. I always love the planner pages shared in the group and was excited to finally get my first order from this shop. The artwork is so beautiful and unique! My stickers arrived in a plain white mailer with a shop sticker on the back.

The pack of stickers inside was sealed well and had shop info in case I had any problems with the product. Even the shop stickers are super cute!

It was hard to choose just a few stickers. I settled on some astrology, springtime flowers, and the springtime penguin & coffee stickers. I also got a free set of Thank You stickers because I’m in the Facebook group. These are high quality stickers printed with vivid colors on thick sticker paper.

The second package was from WilaWalo Co. This is probably one of my favorite planner groups on Facebook! The folks in this group have humor similar to mine and are so funny and creative. I loved the packaging! Shiny and exciting! The inner packaging was a cute green paper bag with white polka dots (!!!) with store stickers. Their butts thanked me!

I’m a Gertie Gal, so I got some freebies with my order. This store also has a sticker card program so you can get discounts after a certain amount of orders. The stickers are so colorful and different. I forgot that this one was for April holidays, but I did remember in time to use these stickers to mark New Kids on the Block Day and National Penguin Day. Thank goodness!

My last package was from Nicole’s Plans. I don’t follow her on Facebook , but she posts in one of my planner groups. I ordered these stickers at the same time as the others and they came two weeks after my WilaWalo stickers, but the processing and shipping times were clearly stated on Etsy. Again, I should have written all of this down in my mo fo planner so that I could have planned better for this post. Blerg. The packaging on this was the most plain, but it was exciting to see my name in beautiful lettering on the envelope.

Finally, someone other than my mom recognizes what a rock star I am! The stickers inside were in a plastic bag that included a cute thank you note. I need to water the plants twice a week and I keep forgetting, so I really need these stickers. I thought it was clever to have a water colored watering can and the sticker size was perfect for my needs.

The best thing about buying stickers from these small stores is how grateful the sellers are for your business. I appreciate their work and they appreciate that. After working in corporate America for so long, it’s refreshing to deal with small businesses where the people are so amicable even though we may never meet in person.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. What did you think of these stickers? Are you going to check out any of these stores on Etsy?

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 😀

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!

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.