Pimp My Planner: New Month Edition


I’m such a wicked lil’ planner monkey! Week before last, I didn’t take any pics of my planner because, well, I barely even opened it.  I was *that* depressed.  I’m doing better now, give or take a debilitating mood swing, but last week I was in the middle of switching over to a whole new system:  the Cocoa Daisy Day Planner.

Cocoa Daisy offers a couple of size options, and you can just order the pages themselves or the whole kit which includes lots of fun goodies.  I’m going to try and do a picture post on the stuff in the next box when it’s all new and shiny, but suffice it to say, it’s an embarrassment of riches.

I’ve become somewhat addicted to monthly boxes of things. When I found out there were such things as monthly planner boxes I nearly squeed myself.  I’ve tried out three, and CD is definitely my favorite, because it’s not just a mess of stickers and paper clips – they make their own monthly, weekly, and daily inserts, and you get all of them every month, with a different theme each time.  And while there’s no way I’ll need all of that every month, much of it is undated, so I can save the daily pages for a time when I’m busy enough to need to-do lists and trackers every day.  Right now I’m a weekly girl.

Thus, at present my Filofax boasts a wild melange of Cocoa Daisy inserts, my own dividers, printed artwork, and dividers I made from various decorative papers.  It’s a thematic mess, and I love it.  It’s got that Bipolar Bohemian I Swear I’m Not Girly But Yes, That’s Pink, Shut Up kind of vibe I like. I also remade several of my homemade list pages.

Only problem is, the new Erin Condren planners for 2016 just came out, and they’ve got all these options, and while I’m not really interested in getting one this year (I really prefer having rings and being able to personalize *all* the pages without having to make the planner ten times thicker), I realized I miss the vertical weekly layout.  *sigh*  So I’m making one, and I think I’ll alternate it and the CD weeklies this month to see what suits me better.

Yes, we’re all like this.  If you’re looking for a lucrative craft niche I suggest planner supplies.

cd divider august

(Above) The August divider from Cocoa Daisy.  I’m not all that into the whole scooters-and-macarons thing (seriously, does anyone actually eat those, or do they just serve as decoration because they’re every color? I don’t even know what they’re supposed to taste like, at least not since I realized they’re not the same as what I grew up on.)

august mo2p

Still using my own monthly pages, since they’re already printed out.  So far this month’s is pretty bare – but I did start marking Full and New Moons.  The dark pink dots are supposedly Patreon posts.  Some of the stickers came from the Cocoa Daisy kit.

cd grid pgs august

See? Macarons.  I love that CD gives you a lot of grid paper – there’s something so comforting about it, especially when I’m trying to make my lettering look nice.  The right hand page is the back of the next spread.

cd weekly august

All the weekly and daily pages in the kit are undated, so if you like the design for that month, you can save your unused pages to use later.  They also offer a free printable of a monthly spread that coordinates with each kit, and those are also undated; really the only thing that comes with a date is the divider, which has a full month calendar on the back.  Since the weekly pages are so wide open, if I don’t switch to my other idea, I’m going to have to draw in to-do lists and such.  Not that that’s a problem.  I like having freedom to gild the lily if I like.


I made a new card for my Farm Sanctuary Pig, Rosa.  I thought she needed gussying up.

get st done august

My Filo’s back end – where the curse words live, apparently.  I started carrying bits of washi tape wrapped around laminated cardstock in the business card holder, and I converted a regular three-hole binder page protector to a six-hole, which now holds this inspiring bit of printable art.

ravenclaw div

Lastly, I was having a Harry Potter jones last week (It was Harry’s 35th birthday, don’t you know), and I was poking around Etsy looking at themed dividers.  I found a set that had each of the House crests, but honestly, there’s only one I’m interested in, so I decided to make my own.  I printed out the Ravenclaw crest on cardstock and then ran it through my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the divider itself.  It was black and white, so I colored it in with Prismacolors and inked the edges with Distress Ink.  Voila!


Cocoa Daisy Day Planner Kit
Planner dots and some stickers from The Reset Girl
Webster’s Pages Strawberry Fields sticker words
Thin washi in various colors by Recollections (It’s on a traditional tape dispenser, which tickled me.)
EK Success Sticko Rainbow Swirl stickers (on Rosa’s picture)
Mind Wave washi hot air balloons from Mautio on Etsy
Heidi Swapp Definitions stickers
Bo Bunny Clearly Calendar stamps (birthday cake stamp – they don’t make these any more, but you can probably find them on Ebay)
Doodle Printable Planner stickers (the to-do list on a clipboard) from ARTiculate Prints on Etsy
Get Shit Done printable planner page, size A5, from PlansofHeart on Etsy

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What I Read in July

This year I’ve been reading way more than I have in the recent past, and I’ve broadened my selection in the hopes of finding inspiration.  Here are the books I read this month:

Swinging on the Garden Gate

Swinging on the Garden Gate: a Spiritual Memoir
by Elizabeth J. Andrew

I really enjoyed this one – it’s pretty much what it says on the tin, and tells the story of the author’s spiritual life.  Her writing style is lush and poetic, which of course I love.  She’s also written books on how to write your own spiritual memoir (one of which I already had and didn’t realize it was the same woman).

Lost Msg of Jesus

The Lost Message of Jesus
by Steve Chalke & Alan Mann

The Christian friend I’ve mentioned before loaned me this recently after reading my Nosce te Ipsum posts; she wanted to share a way of looking at Jesus that, for her, answered a lot of the same questions I had asked.  It was a really engaging read – its premise is that you have to look at the historical world of 1st century Palestine to really get the nuances of what JC was saying.  I really liked his interpretations; the only complaint I had is that there are no historical references given, just the author saying “Back in that era…”  His description of the time and place made perfect sense, but I would have liked sources to go back to.  I get that it’s not a historical work, it’s a guy saying “Y’all, slow down, I think you might be missing something,” but if you’re going to make statements about how things were, and that’s the pivot point of your argument, you gotta back it up.


Ravensbrück: Live and Death in Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women
by Sara Helm

God, this book.  It took sooooooo long to read, not just because it’s about 768 pages long, but because as you might expect it’s not the most cheerful of subjects.  If the above book skipped the historical documentation, Helm has it in spades; she spoke to survivors, hunted down what few documents remain on the camp, and spent years gathering what pathetically little information there is on a place most people don’t even know existed yet murdered at least 30,000 women. Ravensbrück had an amazingly diverse population, and the internal politics are almost as fascinating as the society the women managed to eke out in spite of the constant threat of death.  Because of the camp’s location, the Iron Curtain obscured its existence, so not a lot survived; but the author finds the handful of still-living freed prisoners, transcripts of the postwar trials, and documents hidden and saved by the forced-labor secretaries to paint an intimate and thorough portrait of life behind that fence.  It was disturbing, of course, but also really moving: in the midst of the greatest horrors humankind could create for itself, there were small acts of defiance, heroism, and compassion that remind you what we’re capable of, even in our darkest days.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

I keep saying I don’t like YA, but the evidence to the contrary is piling up.  I picked this one up at Half Price as an afterthought, and ended up devouring it in four hours one night.  Creepy and atmospheric, it tells the story of a young man (Jacob Portman) whose grandfather told him stories of strange and monstrous creatures at the “orphan’s home” he was sent to during WWII. Years later, Jacob finds out those stories were true, and that monsters really do exist…but so do those peculiar children in the pictures his grandfather had.  Time travel, shape-shifting, firestarting, invisibility – this book has just about everything, including romance, but it all fits together beautifully.  In fact, the discussions of the hollowgast – the evil monsters determined to murder all the gifted children – creeped me out so badly I was checking around corners and listening for weird noises all that night.  I have the sequel, Hollow City, on its way to me right now.

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We All Like Free Stuff, Right?


Just a quickie:

I’ve compiled a page listing all the free things I’ve posted here – printables, graphics, that sort of thing.  Some of them are really old and kind of embarrassing to look at now that I have a little more Pixelmator experience, but they’re all there.  You’re welcome to do whatever you like with what you find there, as long as it’s for personal use only.  If you’d like to link to one of them on your own blog or what-have-you, please give credit to Dianne Sylvan and provide a link to this website.

Meanwhile, on the subject of free things, if you’re suffering from Shadow World withdrawal (and who isn’t, really) don’t forget the Extras page – you can read (or re-read) short stories and funny stuff that fleshes out the world a bit absolutely free.

Screen Shot 2012-07-15 at 2.04.35 PM

If you’re relatively new here or just didn’t know they were there, do check them out – I love my little bits.  Go hunting with David and Miranda; see an extra scene with our dearly departed Sophie; read the story of how Deven and Jonathan met.  Queen of Shadows told in LOLCats! The rules for Shadow World vampires! And let’s not forget the several-story arc about David and Deven, also known as These Two Idiots Are Going to Screw Everything Up In About 70 Years and Here’s Why.

(There’s actually one more story in that arc that I never did finish, but it’s really really good, so I might have to go back to it.  I know it’s been a while since I posted a new Extra, but never fear, more are coming.)


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Book Lover’s Freebie

I made these for myself earlier this week and thought, “Hey, other people might like them.”

They’re bookmarks with space for notes – you can keep track of when you started a book, where you got it, what you enjoy about it, and how you’d rate it.  I know I often forget if I’ve finished a book or even opened it before, especially if I didn’t get very far the first time.  I wanted a spot where I could indicate how I felt about a book as I was going along, or anything about it that jumped out at me, like a great scene or quote.  I haven’t decided whether I want to paste them into a journal-type thing, or leave them in the books as a reference for next time.

Either way, I thought some folks might find them useful, so, click on the image to download a pdf of a bunch of them that you can print on paper or cardstock and cut out:


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Troubleshooting Your Goals (w/free printable)

That title sure does sound life-coachy, doesn’t it?

Trust me, I’m nobody’s coach. I’m not a role model, not a leader.  I’ve been those things and I wasn’t very good at them.  I’m a woman who screws up utterly on a regular basis and has more issues than Reader’s Digest.  What I do well, however, is turn those issues into something other people can use – my misadventures become something of a crack-addled GPS for people’s lives.

In 500 yards, turn left on Bipolar Blvd. Take the feeder road onto Existential Crisis Tollway. Head north toward Poisonous Envy, Texas.  Bypass Commitment Crossing.

Perhaps it’s foolish to try and think my way out of a depressive cycle, but the last med I tried made me horribly ill, and in begging my shrink to just let me stay on Wellbutrin by itself until our next appointment, I left a large part of my brain undefended.  But I’m so tired…so very tired…of trying new meds, going into the whole routine all over again.  Side effects, worsening, then letting up; hope building, sometimes even convincing me this particular cocktail will be viable for a while…until it isn’t anymore, and here we are again.  This, you see, is what kills us: not the depths of despair we find and are unable to dig out of.  What kills us is having to do it over and over and over again with no real assurance it will ever be any different.

I’ve been on this same bipolarcoaster since 2004 when, after my brother killed himself, A single gunshot two hundred miles away from me managed to blow holes in my entire life.  I’m still dealing with the fallout from that.

At any rate, as I was pondering a long list of questions whose answers have eluded me, I thought to myself, “I could make this prettier, and maybe other people could make it useful too.”

So, here we are – a single sheet download to help you think about any of those long-term goals you were hella excited about in January but have lost your zeal for now in July.  Consider the questions on this sheet and ask yourself, can any of them be rephrased or reframed to make them resonate more with your spirit?  So much of self-discovery is in the wording.

Take this and download it, print it, make copies, share them – just don’t get money for them and we’re square..  I hope if nothing else my design sense can help somebody  out there get her shit together.

What’s Holding Me Back

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