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Planner Friday – Step-By-Step With the Froud Faery Oracle

planner friday postb

If the Shadowscapes Tarot is my favorite tarot deck, it’s still not my favorite divinatory oracle – that title is reserved for Brian Froud’s Oracle of the Faeries.  I’ve had this deck for well over a decade (and it’s starting to show its age) and done hundreds of readings with it, though I’ve always had the best luck using it to read for myself.  I use it primarily for my monthly five-card reading these days, as a way of asking “What do I need to know about the coming month?”

With the Summer Solstice coming up – a holiday that is connected to Faery for many Pagan traditions – it seemed a good time to feature my beloved deck in my planner.

Here, step by step, is how I decorate these days.

froud theme1

Step One

Usually when I’m doing stickers for myself, I don’t bother using my Silhouette machine unless I’m already cutting orders for the shop.  I print out all the stickers on one sheet (you can read more about how I do all that in this post from February) and then cut them with a regular paper trimmer.

I like to do my decorating on Sundays at Starbucks before a writing session, which means I have to take them with me.  This week I couldn’t find the little plastic envelope I normally stow them in so I made a quick envelope out of cardstock, which worked out well because I could then stuff all the backing papers into it and recycle the whole thing.  I also brought washi samples in a few colors I thought I might use.

On the left are my standard decorating tools:  a tiny tape runner, a gift card I cut in half (I use it to cut washi – nothing works better for a clean line), a small craft knife, and a Pitt artist pen in XS size.

froud theme2

Step Two

I dump out all my stickers and separate them into piles:  purely decorative, column headers, my self-care sidebar, and so forth.

froud theme3

Step Three

The first things I stick down are two strips of washi:  one separates the sidebar from the week, and the other the weekend from the weekdays.  I like to combine Saturday and Sunday into one section since I tend not to have a rigid schedule on the weekends.  Then, I put in the Weekend banner, followed by my “This Week” and “Next Week” stickers.  I only ever use one of the bottom-row checklists each week; the rest get covered up.  I add my self-care sidebar and Currently Reading box, and that leaves a checklist area on the left for to-dos that need to get done this week but not on a specific day.  I can refer back to it throughout the week and add items from that list to individual days as I have time to complete them.

froud theme5

Step Four

Next come the section headers.  As I’ve mentioned I used to use a Top 3 To Do box, then another for Projects and a third for Writing.  I’ve changed that up to let myself do more journaling so my days encompass both things I wanted to do and what I actually did that day.

For example, the to-do section will have a bullet journal-style list like

  • make grocery list
  • mail out Etsy orders
  • check job postings

But the Events section will say “Bought more freaking washi tape @ Michaels, had lunch with Talulah, watched Star Wars w/BFF and ate ice cream.”

On Wednesday I’m supposed to do the cat boxes and vacuum (in theory at least) so I made a special sticker for it.

froud theme4

Step Five

Where I put my Writing sticker depends on how much of the column is left blank after I decorate.  I used to put pretties all over every column but it made the whole spread so chaotic I eventually shifted to using mostly the bottom of the pages for decoration and the upper columns for writing.  I like to add one or two pretties to break it up a little, and on the weekends anything goes.

First I lay out all the pretties where I might want them, and slide and switch them around until I like their placement.  This time I even removed one of the headers and restuck it lower on the column to accommodate a pretty.

froud theme8

Step Six

Once I like where everything is, I stick it all down, then add the Writing headers, leaving two or three lines on each day to jot down what I worked on that day.

That’s it, aside from the actual writing down of the things!  I mostly make to-do lists day by day, but at this point I’d fill out the This Week checklist and start on Monday’s to-dos as well as write in upcoming events or time-specific appointments.  Often I’ll scribble down advance planning in pencil weeks ahead of time and then ink it in when it comes time to do up that week.

Happy Planning!

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And the Winner Is…


There’s so many. But the first that comes to mind is the scene where Dev meets Cora. He shows this kind gentle side of himself without any hesitation in response to her obvious distress. It is one of those moments that shows the truth of the goodness of his soul, as much as he would argue that fact.

Congratulations Tracy!  Please email me at diannesylvan at gmail dot com with your address and specifically to whom you’d like your book signed.

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Planner Friday: Mood Indigo

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Welcome back!  I’m hoping to get back on the weekly blogging wagon this month, so here’s my first effort.

Some weeks a theme just leaps fully formed into my brain.  Some weeks not so much, and I go through my tapes and stickers and try desperately to find inspiration.  It doesn’t always have to be clever, of course – sometimes just plain old pretty is enough.  This week, for example, went through about five themes before I settled on “blue.”  But not just any blue!  I wanted to start with gorgeous deep dark indigo which, unfortunately, never comes out right from my printer.  Oh well – it’s still nice to look at.

may 30 - june 5

As is often my custom, this week I tried something different – I swear, having a planner is basically just a neverending quest to figure out how the hell to use a planner.

Before, I had each day divided into my Top 3 to-dos for the day, then a section for Writing where I’d jot down what I got done that day.  Before that I also had a section for things I was working on like Etsy projects and the like, anything that wasn’t specifically writing.  After a couple of months using that system I realized it wasn’t really the best way to use the space; I never could seem to settle on whether to use the spaces to write things I needed to do or things I’d already done.

Basically I needed a space for journaling – just a few notes on what I did that day whether it was on the to-do list or not.  So last week, and again this week, I divided the page differently, into “Things to Do,” “Today’s Events,” and “Writing.”  The middle section is for journaling – that way if at the end of the week I think, “Wait, was it Tuesday or Wednesday I took the car in for inspection?”  I can actually look, even though originally that task was set for Wednesday.

I’ve been combining that with concepts from the Bullet Journal system – I’ll have more on that later, but the idea of using arrows and x’s to indicate if I got a thing done that day or moved it to the next day is ridiculously simple but incredibly useful.  My experiments with bullet journaling told me two things:  One, I loved the concepts involved; but two, I do not need a second planner.  So I started a sort of mutant bullet journal that’s more of a list book; it’s got both practical lists like “Stories for Met by Midnight” and fun lists like “Favorite Movie Quotes.”  So far it’s working really well, and as I said, I’ll have more on that later, with pictures.

indigo right

indigo left


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June 2016: State of the Author

It’s been six months (!?!) since I last did this post, so, seems a good time to update.

These Days I Am…

Rocking Out To:

Okay, this video made my day a billion times better in four minutes. The thing I love most about JT is that he doesn’t mind looking ridiculous – I mean, the man dressed up like a block of tofu on SNL and is famous for “Dick in a Box.” Singing with a banana is no big thang. Although the older dude dancing in the grocery aisle with the pricing gun gave me the best case of the giggles I’ve had all week. I can so imagine putting this song in an ecstatic dance mix just to get everyone grinning.

Wearing:   Pretty much what I always wear in warm weather:  jeans, a silly t-shirt (today it’s Deadpool advertising Chimichangas & Tacos), tennies, the usual jewelry.  I am considering trying to incorporate more leggings and tunics and the like into my wardrobe – I’m kind of bored with my current line of frumpwear and want to shake it up a little.  Still trying to figure out what kind of shoes I’d need (that I would be willing to put on).

Eating:  Well, I went vegan again on June 1, although I’ve been at a steady 85% for pretty much the whole year.  I’ve been feeling pretty hopeless and defeated for the last…well, half a decade, to be honest, though it’s been particularly bad this year; you know how it feels when it seems like everything in your life is just a mess.  Sometimes all you can do is pick one thing to focus on and go from there, and I asked myself, what one change could I make that would really make me feel better?  No-brainer, really.  Going back to a vegan life would benefit my mental health more than just about anything – cognitive dissonance is poisonous.  And over the months I’ve been sneakily edging that way, checking out new foods and new ways to make the transition easier.  Now felt like the time to actually do it.  I imagine I’ll be writing more on the subject over on my food blog, Stumbling Towards Ahimsa.

Drinking:  My blood volume in soy espresso Frappuccinos.



Watching:  Now that the regular season is over, it’ll be time to catch up on all the shows I never did manage to watch:  Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, Elementary, the last season of Doctor Who; and then the stuff I either haven’t had a chance to start (Jessica Jones, The Night Manager) or paused midway through when the season of my regular shows started (Hannibal).  I finally had to walk away from TVD and The Originals…a sad but liberating decision…and long before Sleepy Hollow made me want to punch it in the face I had already given up on its particular brand of asinine crack-addledness.  Meanwhile I’m excited that Zootopia will be out on DVD this coming Tuesday.

Making:  A book, as it happens.  I’ll be hard at work on Met by Midnight until probably ten minutes before it goes on sale.

Reading:  Oh, so many books.  In May I read I think six total, and I’m knee deep in several more:

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 5.01.39 PM

That’s a book on feminist critiques of animal exploitation, a book on life as a spinster, and the history of curry.  All that picture needs is an iced mocha, an angular sexy British guy, and my planner and it would be “everything you need to know about Sylvan in one Instagram.”

Cooking:  Most recently, a very tasty and easy Aloo Gobi (recipe on my food blog).

Playing:  Still hooked on Neko Atsume, I’m afraid.  My current obsession is putting out themed goodies for my cats – all toys in one color, things that look like food, things made of cardboard, and so forth.

Smelling:  At the moment, coffee, as I am sitting in Starbucks.  A while ago a woman walked by seriously exceeding her Personal Scent Zone – why is it that people who wear *nice* fragrances are never the ones who bathe in them?

Following@briankesinger on Instagram.  He’s a story artist for Disney, and draws those amazing “Lil’ Kylo” cartoons that pay homage to both Star Wars and Calvin & Hobbes.  If you haven’t seen them, where have you been?!?  But he also posts other awesome fan art as well as his original work.

Disliking:  Actually “disliking, needing, and wanting” all have the same answer this time, so:

Needing:  You know what the whole internet needs?  A global comment off-switch.  So when you go to YouTube, for example, and you’re scrolling down the list of “if you liked this you might like this” videos, you don’t accidentally see racist trolls or homophobic dickweasels or someone threatening a woman with rape because she liked the new Ghostbusters trailer.  I never, ever want to see the comments.  Ever.  I should be able to turn them off.  It’s not like the comments section sells anything, so why would it hurt a site to let you toggle them?  Imagine the internet with 50% less despair for humanity!

Wanting:  See above.  But also still wanting soft pretzels.

Pinning:  Lately I’ve been pinning a lot of Art Dolls – I was into making them for a while back in my early 20s, but got frustrated (meaning I wasn’t awesome at it from the second I started, so I gave up) and moved on to other media.  Actually polymer clay used to be my big thing, and I did some cool shit with it (see below), but the kind I liked to work with breaks so easily I got fed up with seeing stuff I’d labored over shattering if you looked at it funny.  I never really did get back into it, though I keep thinking I should, and every time I break some out to make a tiny thing for one of my shrines I find myself feeling kind of teary-eyed with nostalgia.  Maybe I’ll try it again soon.

I made both the cute lil' chef witch and the goddess plaque. At least the plaque is still in one piece.

I made both the cute lil’ chef witch and the goddess plaque. At least the plaque is still in one piece.

Admiring:  The notorious RBG.

Missing:  A sense of purpose and meaning.  And also Ambien.

Giggling at:  

The headline of this article on manatees.

Pigs love to play in the leaves, too.

How John Oliver describes countries:



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May Doodle Challenge from @ellolovey

Wow, May is over.  I don’t quite know what to do with that yet.

During the month I attempted another daily doodle challenge in my planner, this one by @ellolovey on Instagram.  I didn’t get the whole month done, but I managed over half of it, which is a vast improvement over April (notice I didn’t post anything about April – that’s because I got maybe two days done).  I really like her prompts, so I downloaded the June challenge as well.

doodles left

On this side we have:

1 – Original prompt was “Paradise,” but I went with “Beltane” instead.
2 – Royalty
3 – Wild (I opted for “Wilde”)
8 – Mom
9 – Aquarium
10 – Unusual Home
15 – Horned Animal
16 – Purple
17 – Boardwalk
22 – Sparkling (it’s hard to tell but the stars are colored in with glitter pen)
23 – Path
24 – Slow
29 – Something You Made
30 – Play
31 – Flying

doodles right

And on the sad, sparse right hand side:

4 – Galaxy
5 – Five
6 – A place you’ve visited
11 – Roadside
14 – Swim
26 – Triangular

Damn, I didn’t realize how dreadfully the color turned out in the pictures.  I remain, as ever, a crappy photographer.  *laugh*

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