Plan With Me – Weekly Planner Layout

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Planner Spread Final

When I started planning, I spent several weeks sortof at a loss for how to decorate it. I saw all these gorgeous spreads on Instagram and in Facebook groups, but never seemed to be able to recreate them in my own planner. I started out just sortof putting down stickers that I liked, without much regard for how they went together, but the effect was kindof sparse and disorganized.

Bad Planner Spread 1

I tried to fix that by using functional stickers for each day, and then ended up top-heavy and boring.

Bad Planner Spread 2

Then I realized, if I wanted to recreate one of the pretty spreads I saw on Instagram, I should just recreate a spread I saw on Instagram. In scrapbooking and card making I often work from sketches–black and white diagrams of potential layouts–when I need inspiration. There don’t seem to be a lot of planner sketches out there, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use an existing spread as a sketch.

I decided to CASE Heather Kell’s planner for the week of February 20-26. And there it was. #PlannerPeace.

Planner Peace

I thought maybe I’d do this for about a month until I got the hang of it. But honestly, after that one spread it just clicked for me, and I’ve really been enjoying the process ever since. I look forward to my planning days now, and have to restrain myself from working weeks into the future.

So I thought I could help some other planner newbies by sharing my process for this coming week. I took pictures of each element as I added it, and will include some of my thought processes as I planned along. Here we go!

Finished Planner Spread

Step 1: The Theme.

It’s probably obvious, but I start each week by choosing a color scheme or theme. Several of the Mambi sticker books contain color-coordinated sheets that you can use as kits (Color Story, Rainbow, the one that’s just called Stickers with 1050 pieces, and Seasonal). So usually I start there and then flip through my other books for stickers that match my chosen theme. I have a lot of sticker books, so I use Post-it flags to mark stickers that might work.

This week I started with the first 4 pages of the Color Story pack, and coordinated them with stickers from the several other packs. I’m gearing up for kindof a rough week–flying home to visit my grandfather who has not been doing well–so I wanted this spread to be full of bright colors and positive affirmations.

Step 2: The Weekend.

Plan With Me Step 2

I always start with the bottom right corner of the spread. Like most people, my weekends aren’s as busy as the rest of the week, so I can burn 2 blocks (or more) on a quote or decoration. This “Think Happy Thoughts” sticker was perfect, but being on a white background I felt like it needed something extra. Enter washi tape. Washi is a perfect accent and space filler, and as you will see, I use it a lot. Still, I felt like this corner was lacking something with just a stark, square border.

Planner Corner

Fiskars Scallop Blade Cutting Washi Tape

 

My rotary cutter has an optional scallop blade, so I used that to put a decorative edge on my tape. It’s super easy to cut washi tape, because you just stick it down to the cutter and it peels right up when you’re done.

 

 

 

Step 3: Major Events.

Once I was happy with my corner, I moved to Tuesday, which is the day of my flight home. I got my flight info sticker from the Watercolor pack. Since most of that day will be spent it the air and I don’t need a lot of space for other plans, I decided to put a packing list right on the day. The list banner came from the Color Story pages; I just cut off whatever tag was at the top and used a packing list sticker from the flight page. A little washi tape brought in some extra color and filled some of the awkward space above the banner.

Plan With Me Step 3

Finally, my daughter (who is staying home with my husband) has a playdate on Tuesday that I don’t want them to forget. So I added a reminder for myself to remind them :) These little blocks from the productivity pack are narrower than the columns in the Classic planner, so again I used some washi to fill the space. The finishing touches were the little heart and the “Today Can Be Great” sticker–a joke to myself considering a day spent on an airplane with a toddler is pretty much the opposite of great.

Step 4: Fill

From Tuesday I moved to Monday. The day before a trip is typically full of last minute errands and lots of running around, so I wanted to leave a lot of space for notes. The Get it Done block is from Color Story, and the little Busy Day flag is from Productivity. I used the leftover washi from my corner to add some interest since the day was pretty stark otherwise.

Plan With Me In Process

I don’t really have any set plans from Wednesday on. The “Let Your Faith be Bigger Than Your Fear” from the Quotes stack jumped out at me, and it fits the color scheme of the page pretty well. I usually put a full block in the middle of Thursday or Friday, and I picked Thursday this week so it wouldn’t obstruct the corner of my washi boarder. Lining one side of a quote block with super-skinny glitter washi is one of my favorite ways to highlight something on a page, so I did that here.

The “Remember This” sticker went on Wednesday because I assume I’ll be seeing my grandfather that day. And I used a 2-day “Family Time” banner for Thursday and Friday, seeing as how I’ll obviously be spending time with my family for most of the week. Both of those stickers also came from the Quotes pack.

Plan With Me Side Bar

Back to the Color Story pages, I grabbed a couple background stickers. The blue dots made a nice contrasting background for the pink Plans block, so I put those at the top of my weekend. The Shine Bright sticker helped pull some of the yellow elements onto that side of the spread.

The stripes were one background block that I cut in half lengthwise to use as layering elements. It seems like “Life is so good” is a good thing to remember, so I put it below the “Remember This” sticker. Then “Family Time” needed some more interest, so I put the other half of the sticker above it. It’s not long enough to cover two columns, so I used the “Good Vibes Only” dot to fill the space.

Then the bottom of Thursday and Friday was looking pretty lonely, and I figured I’d probably need a bulleted list at some point in the second half of the week, so I stuck one down there.

Step 5: Sidebar

Happy Planner Sidebar

I use the notes section to put reminders and to-do items that don’t have a due date assigned to them. Usually I put a quote or decoration at the bottom of the sidebar, but since I have a large sticker at the bottom of Monday and the quote I wanted to use is wider than the sidebar, I placed it in the middle. A few weeks ago I also started incorporating a “Goals” box somewhere in each spread, which has really helped me focus on one or two things each week. This week it fit perfectly in the bottom corner below my quote.

Step 6: Bullets and Icons

To finish, I place little bullet and icon stickers in all the empty spaces. It gives me more space to jot down little notes throughout the week, and helps balance the white space. This week I decided on a whim to use some of the little flag bullets to make a banner at the top of Friday. Sometimes the little unplanned elements that I end up liking the most.

Planner Spread Final

So there you have it. That’s how I plan. I hope that walking you through my thought processes helped inspire your own spreads! If you case this one, Tag me on Instagram (@inklingsnyarns) so I can see!

 

Supplies:


Missing You Card

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Galaxy Card

Missing You Watercolor Card

If you watch my Instagram, you’ve noticed that I’ve been doing a lot of coloring lately. That’s all thanks to the Daily Marker 30 Day Coloring Challenge. I love this challenge for forcing me to sit down and practice my coloring every day. (Yes I know that sounds crazy.) When you bounce between crafts the way I do, it’s easy for some of your oldest, truest ones to get back-burnered. So it’s nice to have this excuse to focus on one particular hobby for an extended period of time, and I like to use it to expand into areas I’m either unfamiliar with or don’t have much of a knack for.

I’ve been coloring with Copics for so long that the watercolor trend has really thrown me for a loop. So my goal this month has been to focus more on watercolors, and to stop expecting my Zig markers to blend the way Copics do. So last week I broke out some paints and decided to try painting a galaxy. There are approximately 285,000 video tutorials on youtube for how to do this, and every last one of them makes it seem really easy.Watercolor Galaxy

I don’t know if I’d call it easy. What I ended up with felt kindof like an ugly mess at first, but I’m learning that that’s just a step that all watercolor goes through. Eventually as it dried it started to look passably similar to what I’d had in mind. I used Crayola watercolor paints, and sprayed it with an old bottle of Glimmer Mist. Eventually I added white puff paint for more noticeable stars. (I have a lot of money invested in a lot of different coloring mediums; I’m going cheap on this one until I feel a little more comfortable with it.)

Watercolor Galaxy Closeup

 

Now, the unspoken portion of the coloring challenge is the actual using of the things you color. Check the #thedailymarker30day hashtag on Instagram and pretty much everyone’s posting beautiful finished cards featuring their coloring. Not me. Most days its all I can do to find the time to color. Trying to figure out a background and embellishments too is generally beyond my current capabilities. But this little galaxy was already perfectly sized for a card back, and it was pretty enough that it didn’t require a whole lot of embellishment, and I needed a card to send to my grandfather…so it all just came together.

Galaxy Card

I call my grandfather Moredad, and my kids call him Much Moredad (get it?).

watercolor galaxy card

He’s 95, and he lives on the other side of the country, and he’s amazing. He’s also been sick, so I wanted to send him a card to let him know that we’re missing him and thinking about him. So the sentiment’s kindof obvious, right? I printed it (the font is Janda Swirlygirl) on Neenah and cut it out with the Lawn Fawn Puffy Clouds border die. Then I added a little bit of clear Spica pen to emphasize the “Much More,” and mounted it all onto some shimmery black cardstock.

Missing You Card Sentiment

Easy peasy! I just need a few more cards to come together this quickly for me and maybe I’ll really get back into the swing of things with this daily crafting.

 

Supplies:


Evie’s Cinderella Shaker Card

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Cinderella Card Detail

Okay. I made this card in September of 2015, and never got around to writing about it. But I still love it, so here you go.

Cinderella Shaker Card

It’s possible that the horrible lighting and hideous wood-paneled walls at the house we used to live in played a role in why I blogged so little…but anyway.

At the time, the stamp and die were (relatively) new releases, but yeah. They are both still available, and I think they’ve withstood the test of time :) The Little Princesses set is from Darcie’s Heart and Home. Look how cute they are! My niece’s 2nd birthday party was a Cinderella theme, so this was an easy choice for her card.

Darcie's Cinderella Stamp

When Simon Says Stamp released the Happy Birthday during their Stamptember release that year, I had to have it. It’s so pretty! And perfect for shaker cards. Generally when I buy stamps and dies I don’t have much of an idea of how I’ll use them. I just get what I like. But with this one I had a vision of the card immediately. It came together just how I imagined it would. Cinderella is colored with Copics, with hints of clear Wink of Stella, and the shaker is filled with Martha Stewart Crafts glitter.

Simon Says Stamp Happy Birthday Die

Although it took me a year and a half to write about it, I actually did get this baby in the mail in time for my little Evel’s birthday. Never sent her a 3rd birthday card, though…

Cinderella Card Detail

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Happily Planning

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Happy Planner Cover

Back in January I impulse-bought a Happy Planner, and it’s kinda changed my life.

Happy Planner Cover

This is unexpected. For years, I didn’t really “get” the whole planner trend. In fact I was a little annoyed that some of my favorite scrapbooking companies were pivoting more toward planner accessories. I can store my appointments in my phone, aren’t paper planners obsolete? I barely have time in the day to finish my to-do list, who on earth has time to decorate one?

Happy Planner Spread Pink and Green

But here’s the thing. Apparently decorating a planner is exactly the thing I need to motivate myself to USE a planner. As a Disorganized Person, I have attempted all manner of methods to make myself better, and none of them have worked. The closest I ever came was about a year ago when I did a short stint with a bullet journal. I thought the minimalism and versatility would work for me. I managed to stick with it for about 6 months, but it was a slog. I never kept up with indexing, so flipping through to find stuff got to be a chore; having to draw my own calendar layout was not fun for me; and I never found a method of future planning that worked for me.

So when my crafty friend/enabler Sara–who used to share my anti-planner opinion–revealed to me she was newly obsessed, it didn’t take long for her to convince me to try it. I literally went out that night and bought a Happy Planner.

Obviously, not a lot of research went into this decision. They were on sale for $10 at Michaels. I picked a pretty one, and I got really lucky because I love it.  I think the thing that makes most people hesitate about the Happy Planner is the disc binding, but I have not had any problems with it, and so far any cons are far outweighed by pros. I loooove that I can add or remove pages or snap in cute little accessories, and I love even more that I don’t have to lug around a massive binder. The discs make Happy Planner as slim and portable as a notebook, but as versatile as a Trapper Keeper. It’s the best of both worlds.

Frixion Erasable Pens

Now I’m one of those crazy awesome people who buys special pens and a million stickers, and is considering getting additional planners for…other stuff? Yes, it’s only been 3 months, but I can already tell this thing is going to be with me for the long haul. Since I started using it, I haven’t missed a single appointment, due date, or deadline. I’m no longer constantly worried that there’s something I’m forgetting to do. I’ve even gotten better at keeping up with my laundry.

Happy Planner St. Patrick's Day Spread

All because of a glorified sticker book :)

My Bernina 790

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Bernina 790

If you know me (or follow me on Instagram) you’ve no doubt seen/heard all about this by now. This beautiful piece of machinery joined our family last March. Technically, it was my 5th anniversary gift from Jesse. But being responsible adults, we put off the actual purchase until…we had a 4 year old and a 14 month old in a small, run-down rental house while our new home was a month and counting past scheduled completion.

In my defense, we got a great deal. Also I was at that point in the throes of stay-at-home-motherhood where you feel your identity slipping away (there is no Christy. There is only Allie and Theo’s mom) and to be honest, sewing felt like a lifeline. It had been so long since I’d been able to dedicate any time or space to crafting that I was feeling a little desperate for something “mine.” So when the great deal presented itself I couldn’t really resist, and Jesse agreed that the time was right.

Christy's Sewing Room

So what was so great about this deal? Well, for one price, I got my Bernina 790, Bernina’s embroidery digitizing software (DesignerPlus V7), and a Babylock Evolution serger/coverstitch machine. I’ll write more about the software and the Evolution in future posts, because they are just as exciting. But this post is about my 790.

Allie Sews on Bernina 790

So why Bernina, and why the 790? My first machine was a Babylock Grace, which I still consider the perfect starter machine. I have grand plans of teaching my kids to sew on this machine, although Allie is already showing signs that she’ll skip right to the big one. My second machine was a Bernina 440, which had been my Aunt Claudia’s. That is the machine that made me a Bernina loyalist for life. It was so heavy and precise, and I felt like everything I made on it came out perfectly. The only downside of that machine was that the embroidery features were all computer-based, and the user interface was clunky enough that it discouraged me from working with it. I eventually realized that if I wanted to do more embroidery, I was going to need a machine with more on-board versatility.

So I started looking at the high-end Berninas. Originally, when Jesse said “pick out your dream machine” I gravitated toward the top-of-the-line 880. But when I started comparing the 8 Series and 7 Series machines, I realized that the 790 had all of my “must have” features, plus a handful of my “would love to have” features.

Bernina 790 in Craft Room

Really, the only features the 880 had over the 790 were in the category of “that’s kindof cool, but when would I really use it?” The only practical difference between the 790 and the 880 as far as I’m concerned is the extra 2 inches of throat space on the 880. Honestly though I’ve never quilted anything bigger than crib size; and only in the last week have I seriously started to think about getting a hoop larger than the 6×10 oval. So I suppose at some point in the distant future I could justify a larger machine, but by that point I think I’d be looking at long arm quilters or multi-needle embroidery machines. (Jesse, if you’re reading this, calm down. I’m not actually going to buy a long arm quilter…probably.)

I did also look at comparable Babylock machines, but pretty quickly decided that I preferred the Bernina. This comes down mostly to personal preference, but I do feel like the stitch quality on the Bernina is better. More tangibly, I love the large bobbins on the 7 Series machines, and prefer the side-loading bobbin so that I don’t have to remove my work when the bobbin does run out. I also felt like a lot of the extra features on the Babylock machines were overkill or unnecessary.

Bernina 790 in action

Almost a year in, I know I made the right decision. My machine sings for me. It’s so simple to use that it doesn’t feel like overkill for simple projects, but it’s also strong enough to sew through a heavy quilt, or leather, or multiple layers of denim with zero trouble. I love it, and I want everyone to have one so we can all sew and be happy together.

Machine Applique Trivet

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Dresden Applique OESD

Dresden Applique Trivet

I made this pretty trivet to give to a friend of ours for Christmas. Fran works with Jesse, and she and her husband have become good friends of the family. A couple of months ago they came over and we made pierogi and borscht together, so the eastern-european flair of this design reminded me of her.

OESD Dresden Applique Christmas

I have watched youtube videos about machine appliqué for years…since well before I had a machine even remotely capable of doing the job. I had never tried it, though, until a few weeks ago. This particular project was actually offered as one of the free monthly classes that came with the purchase of my sewing machine. Normally I treat these as technique classes, and I don’t always finish the projects that we start. But I really liked this design, and I also made a New Year’s Resolution (a little early) to finish every project I start this year.

Dresden Applique Closeup

The design is Dresden Appliqué from OESD. There are 10 different designs, which you can buy as a set or individually. Each one is a 5.5 inch square with a different background pattern and 3 matching “flower petals.” I purchased designs 7 and 8, and used my Bernina Software 7 to combine them so that the flower petal patterns alternated and the backgrounds all matched. So I ended up with 2 separate files (petal designs 7/8/7 and 8/7/8), and stitched each out twice. The final block with binding is about 12 inches square.

Christmas Trivet - Dresden Applique

I quilted it with Insul-Bright so that it could be used as a trivet, and used my 71 foot to do the binding. I’m still a novice at this method of binding, and am definitely going to need more practice at it, but overall I was happy with the result.