I have altered the sidebar. Pray I do not alter it further.

It’s funny how when people get involved with the whole planner-mania, they do exactly what I did:  BUY STUFF.  

Stickers! Stamps! Dashboards!  Wait, what the hell’s a dashboard? Washi tape! Clips! Bookmarks!  MORE WASHI TAPE!  SO MANY STICKERS! Pens!  OMG more pens!  No wait, I don’t like Erin Condren, let’s try a Filo!  No, a Happy Planner!  Wait, how about a Traveler’s Notebook?  I’M GOING TO NEED MORE STICKERS!

This is of course part of the fun.  Less fun is when you realize how much money you’ve spent on things you never actually use – but part of the process is discovering what you really need in a planner, versus what you want just because it’s pretty or fun.  We all have different planner needs and personalities.  

Most people use a mix of premade stickers, stamps, and so on.  Some people are crazy artistic and doodle or color all over their weekly spreads, or even turn them into art journals and collages.  Some people have tons of functional stickers and barely decorate at all.  It’s all “right,” and it’s all really fascinating to a person like myself who likes to figure out how people tick.

I’ve been through a number of planners in the last few years myself, starting with an Erin Condren, wandering through two sizes of Filofax, trying (and hating) a Traveler’s Notebook system (which is all the rage right now, along with Bullet Journaling), and finally settling for 2016 on a Plum Paper vertical.  Amazingly I stuck with it the whole year, though I did add a sort of modified Bullet Journal for list making and note taking.

Even within my Plum, however, my style and needs have evolved over the last twelve months.  The best example of this is my self-care sticker, which has become quite a different looking beast from its first incarnation.

Incarnation 1: Originally it was meant to be a sticker for every day, as you can see; tiny, cute, but still useful. The problem was it became evident within the first couple of weeks that I was already adding way too much bulk to my planner each week.  (I ended up removing months as I went for the first half of the year because the damn thing was just too thick; I’ve got other ideas on how to keep this year’s from running amok.)  So what if I tried a weekly sidebar?  My sidebar was kind of useless as it was, so:

Incarnation 2:  Still cute icons, but with a full on Baymax.  (I use the Baymax Index, as I call it, to track my mood so I can watch for cycle changes.)  I liked the graph but it was taking up too much space, so I tried boxes.

Incarnation 3: Again I felt like I was using up too much real estate for poor old Baymax, so I tried using my own little drawing of him and squishing him up a little.  I also added a check box for calling my mom every week, and for doing something nice for myself:

Incarnation 4: That was when I realized I was tired of the cute little icons and wanted something more like the sidebar trackers I sold in my Etsy shop.  So I created my own version of that.

Incarnation 5: I liked the format a lot, but it kind of clashed with a lot of the themes I was doing.  What if I tried making it match?

Incarnation 6: So, on the week I did my Peach Trees theme, I tried a sort of ombre-esque color palette, changed up the fonts, and pretty much loved the result.  I set up the file in Pixelmator where each tracker was its own group, and I could go into each and switch the background color and font without much ado.

It is, to be honest, a pain in the butt to switch it out every week, and some weeks I put more effort into it than others.  But the result pleases me so much I keep doing it.  I can always go with the old one in the rainbow colors, which I kept so I could use it when I needed a default, but I do want to create another couple of more generic versions so I can have something to just throw onto the sticker sheet when I don’t feel like screwing with it.

I can even stick a background image in and avoid dealing with the individual box colors entirely if I like.  This one, the starry sky, is one of my absolute favorites, but this week’s is giving it a run for its money just because of the simplicity and elegance of it:

I’ve also changed the headers I use on the daily columns – I started off with a “top three” box, a header for current projects, and one for writing, but over time I realized what I really needed was a straight up to do list, a diary-esque place to note the events of the day, and a place to jot down what I wanted to work on writing-wise and what I’d actually accomplished.  The addition of the shopping list (above) is recent, and I like it. 

I plan to alter the sidebar further in the next week or two, as my needs have again changed.  But this gives you an idea of how your own planner style can evolve (even if you’re not a crazy person with rudimentary Photoshopping skills like me); you don’t have to stick with what you bought the first week if it makes you crazy.  Often you can use what you have in a new way, alter it gently with washi or a white pen, and at least try out new things before you buy new products…although if you’re like most planner fiends, the products are such a huge part of the fun you have a Raskog or at least a shoebox full of your toys.  If you don’t yet…just give it time.  *laugh*  We’re all mad here.

 

Note:  Since people tend to ask, the process of making stickers for each week’s theme takes about two hours from start to finish.  I know the dimensions of the stickers I use by heart, so I can whip out new headers and such in minutes, but resizing images from the internet and then fitting everything on the Silhouette template page takes a while.  I don’t bother making a cut file for my own personal stuff, as that would add another hour at least plus the time it takes to fire up the Cameo and cut the stickers out; usually I use my paper trimmer and a craft knife.  It’s a meditative process to me, and the actual decoration usually happens at Starbucks on Sunday or Monday.  Some weeks I just don’t feel like it, so I slap on some tape and go with it.  If it’s not fun, I don’t do it.  

Note 2:  People also ask about “apply minty paste.”  A long time ago I came across this on Tumblr and thought it was both funny and unsettling and definitely more interesting than “brush your teeth”:

If you want to see how the sidebar, and the rest of my weekly stickers, all work together, have a gander at the Planner Things page.

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Planner Friday: Out With the Old…

I want to go into the things that have evolved in my planner this year, but that’s another post – today let’s just have a nice look at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.

For the last week of the year I just wanted something pretty and easy, so I took a watercolor texture I had and basically cut it into pieces, slapped some titles on it, and voila:

Since the Aurora Borealis is a bucket list item of mine I used one of my two related washi tapes as an accent.

The font, surprisingly, is called Northern Lights.  I got it in one of those big font bundles Creative Market often features.

Now, allow me to introduce you to the new hotness, my 2017 Plum Paper Planner:

She’s essentially the same planner as I used in 2016 – for the first time I used a single planner the entire year, which I think was at least partly because of how much fun I had decorating it every week.  So I stuck with a sure thing, the vertical lined column layout.  It gives me the structure of columns but without dictating what I put where, aside from the pretty much useless daily checklist box at the bottom.  (I usually just cover that up with pretties.) 

I designed the cover using this gorgeous watercolor background set and one of my favorite quotes, then ordered it through Erin Condren since they have a custom cover option.  Erin Condren covers fit Plum Paper planners in terms of the coil size, but note that they are a bit narrow, so my tabs stick out a bit.  The Marauder’s Map cover I got for 2016 is wide enough to cover the tabs.

(Don’t worry, I’m not getting rid of that cover – I adore it.  I just wanted something new for a while.  I’m still using the bookmark and the cool thing is I can switch out the covers whenever I like.  If you’re looking for a cover I highly recommend Stickebeans on Etsy – the quality of her merchandise is phenomenal especially given her awesome prices.)

Inside the new planner I started off by adding a bank of sticky notes inside the front cover and pasting in my Core Desired Feelings for the year which I mentioned in my last post.

I really like using the same font and watercolor botanicals I got for the new blog design.  Speaking of which, I took it a step further with this week’s New Year theme.

I found the watercolor graphics over on Creative Market by OctopusArtis, whose images are flat out gorgeous.  The download had a limited commercial license, but all I wanted it for was my blog and for personal printed stuff – I’m not going to sell the theme or anything like that, even though in my opinion it’s lovely.  I adore how the Dailies tracker sidebar came out.

In addition to the botanicals I added in some Pinterest-harvested images of things I want more of in my life this year – reading, writing, meditation, yadda yadda.  I like the sense of serenity and space the theme gives this week.  It certainly needed it, as did my blog, in my opinion.

I also included my list of Core Desired Feelings as a sort of invocation.  Overall I’m pleased as punch.

Whatever’s in store, I think 2017 is off to a rather fetching start.

 

 

 

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Planner Friday: True Colors

Well, so, November happened.

That’s all I have to say about that.

Last week I defaulted to a theme I already had made but hadn’t used, keeping with the unintentional monthlong monochrome metatheme:  Pink!

It’s known to a select few (and now all of you) that I hate pastels, and most of my life have detested pink, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve had to admit there are some shades I actually do love, preferably combined with black and covered with skulls.

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For this week, heading into the new month with absolutely zero holiday spirit (even less than usual, gee I wonder why), I decided to ask myself a deep question:  What can brown do for me?

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As usual, you won’t be seeing a lot of Santas and Christmas trees in my planner; to me Christmas is like that band Twenty-One Pilots – hugely popular in the mainstream, kind of ubiquitous, but tends to make me stabbity unless I’ve been drinking.  Thus I’m not sure what sort of themes I’ll be doing this month, though I’ll try to keep the Grinching to a minimum.

 

 

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Planner Friday: Everything is Normal…Yeah.

Well, Plum Paper got me for another year – I just ordered my 2017 planner, just like my 2016 only with fewer added sections.  I realized I’d rather create my own checklists and such than use premade ones, so I just got a bunch of note pages in the back.

I am, however, ordering a custom planner cover from Erin Condren; you’ll certainly see it when it gets here.  I’m rather in love with the design I came up with.

Since last week the last thing I felt like doing was posting about planners, here are two weeks’ worth of themes.  Last week was pretty simple, just another Autumn theme that was sort of “fallen leaves and books” based.

This week was all about purple.  I’ve done a purple theme before but I loved this one soooooo much.  I can tell I’ve done it right when I enjoy opening my planner and just looking at the pages, and writing in my to-do list is a pleasure rather than a chore.

I thought about doing something political, but decided that was the last thing I wanted to stare at all week.  Maybe later when it doesn’t sting quite so much.

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Planner Friday: Witchy Women (and one Sorcerer Supreme)

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Last week was vampires, this week of course is Witches – but I decided to stick with “realistic” depictions rather than, say, Harry Potter versions.  By realistic I suppose I mean actual humans who at least give lip service to the belief systems or practices of their real-world counterparts (Wiccan and otherwise).  None of them are what I’d call accurate, but I find something spiritually satisfying about each of them regardless.

(Click the pic for a larger view, as usual.)

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Along with the Witchy characters I included some of my favorite images of Witchery from the internet…and one Sorcerer Supreme, since I’m going to see him on Saturday and I am SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS MOVIE OMG I CAN’T EVEN.

As far as who’s who, we have:

Monday – Willow and Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Tuesday – Sally Owens from Practical Magic
Wednesday (top) – Gillian Owens from Practical Magic
Friday – Aunt Frances from Practical Magic
Weekend – The coven from The Craft.

The font, which is one of my recent favorites, is Spiders and Sparrows, available free on dafont.com.

Have a magical weekend!

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