Chic Sparrow Over Foxy Fix for the Win – the Rest of the 2019 Line Up

Not too big a stack right?  Very focused!

On top is my everyday carry.  It’s not even a journal really, it’s a date book, I guess a planner.  I shouldn’t treat planner like a dirty word, but I’ve been down that road of decorating rather than planning, and I’ve really decided that decorating is for memory keeping, and my carry around thing has to look at least semi-professional.  Oh, so what is it?  It’s a Hobonichi Weeks, housed in a Chic Sparrow Weeks cover in Golden Maverick leather.

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Fauxdori Fix Up

So, you may remember, I started the year off all moved into my Fauxdori planner from Dokkipaper.  I was all about minimalism – the craft paper inserts that came with the notebook cover, my own photos as decoration –



That was it.  That is, until I got sucked down the planner hole interweb.  Here’s the thing though, this planner community -I’m seeing a lot of decorating, but not any actual planning.  Part of that, I assume, is because the actual planning is private, and people don’t post photos of their daily agendas.  However, that’s not always the case – there are plenty of “before the pen” and “after the pen” shots – that’s the lingo, by the way.  And, yep, I’m one of those people, that if you post a photo of your planner filled out, I’m going to read what’s on the page – not because I care what you’re doing, or want to invade your privacy (that you’ve put out there anyway), but I’m just curious.  And, some of this planning is stuff like “take shower,” “make dinner” “plan tomorrow.”

Rather than be my totally judgmental self, I’ve just come to accept from my planner voyeurism that the word “planning” just has a different meaning these days.  Planning in a planner can mean anything from simply decorating (those plan with me videos all over youtube), to memory keeping, to list making, to actual planning in the traditional sense – goal setting, to do’s and a calendar/scheduler.

Anyway, I do like a little pretty, and I decided the old Fauxdori could use a makeover.  So, while Joe was sick last week, and I felt guilty just leaving him in the t.v. room by himself playing his video games, I signed up for Christy Tomlinson and the Reset Girl’s little workshop, The Creative Planner.  Of course, there are a gazillion free videos on youtube, but for the most part, they’re a mixed bag, and you don’t know if you’ve found a really organized, informative video or a babblefest until it’s too late.  So, for $35 I invested in hours worth of well edited, organized videos, got in depth reviews of every planner out there, and watched some really helpful tutorials on how to pimp my Fauxdori.


So, the first thing I did was ditch the calendar insert I was using, and I downloaded this one from Happy Digital Download.  The calendar that I ditched had a monthly view, a weekly view, and daily views.  Way too much.  I don’t enjoy writing the same things down over and over.  So, I was originally only going to go with the monthly view, but I really liked the weekly view that matched, so I bought that too, and created a separate insert for my weekly planning.

Printing out inserts online for the Midori sized notebook is kind of mystery, even after watching videos.  All you really need to do is open up the insert, print it, and trim it, allegedly.  But, if you print it out the way the PDF opens – in a landscape mode on 8 1/2 – 11 paper, you have to trim both sides of the insert – the top and the bottom.  I find that if I print on the 8 1/2 x 11 in portrait mode, and fold it in half, I only have to trim the top.  So, what I do is create a blank document in photoshop, open the PDF of the purchased insert in the program, which will open as PNG, move the PNG to the new page, and resize it to fit in portrait mode.  Then, I print them double sided, and fold them in half.  Before I trim, I find something I’m going to use as a cover – for these inserts, I used the perforated pretty paper that came in the last issue of Flow magazine, punch 3 holes in the spine with an awl, sew it up in pamphlet stitch, and then I take one of the original Midori brand inserts I have, line it up where I want to cut the insert, and with my quilting rotary cutter, I trim away the paper.  It takes more than one pass with the rotary cutter to trim the paper, so it’s important to keep your hand firmly on top of the notebooks, so that they don’t move around and you get a crooked cut.  But, this way, you’re only really trimming the top (or top and bottom if you need to center your cover).  Sometimes, because of the bulk created when the paper folds, you have to trim the side too, but that’s just a teensy bit.

After I made the new inserts, I switched out the felt business card holder you see above, and bought the plastic zipper/business card combo instead.  I  filled the zip with some stickers and some washi, and I have my little bit of pretty if I want it.

Then, I went totally planner cuckoo and made a dashboard!  The Amazon laminator is only $20, and can also be used to do that gold foiling that’s so popular these days.  So, I bought the laminator, and made this:


I cut the Flow magazine paper the same size as the insert covers.  I left space in the middle so that it could wrap around my other notebooks, and I sent it through the laminator.  Voila!


Here’s the flip side – because everyone needs a laminated sentencing guidelines matrix in their planner, right?  Well, I do.  Most people make a dashboard so they can see something pretty when they open their planner, or something inspirational, and because it’s laminated, they can put sticky notes and page flags and washi, and it can all be removable.  I honestly just wanted a laminated sentencing guidelines.  I can’t take the whole planner into the prison with me, but I can take that one laminated sheet.  And, if someone in court wants to see my guidelines, which happens all the time, the paper is protected, won’t fray, and isn’t attached to the rest of my planner, so whoever’s borrowing it won’t see my secret stuff.  You can see, sort of, I notched the laminate a bit where the elastic fits in.  You can’t see it very well in the photo, but for those of you who don’t know, fauxdori inserts are held into the notebook cover with elastic, and that makes it easy to use a notebook and replace it.  The traditional Midori brand Travelers Notebook has one elastic, like my fauxdori.  You can buy notebook covers with additional elastics, but I think, if you know how to put the notebooks in, the one elastic actually makes more sense, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.  The elastic has a bottom strand, and a top one.  You can’t put anything under the bottom strand, that will make your notebook buckle.  Rather, you slip the inserts in between the two strands of elastic, with one resting on the bottom, and the other one holding the inserts in place.

Next, I slipped in the plastic zip pouch:


This slips in under the top elastic band, on top of the dashboard. Next, I rehabbed the craft file, which I forgot to photograph separately.  You can see it above in the group photo – I laminated the outside of it with the cute cartoon girl going about her business, the inside stayed the same.  The only reason I laminated the outside was because the folder is kind of falling apart because I’ve shoved too much in it, and because I wanted to play with my new laminator.

Next, here are the inserts I made with the Flow paper and the digital downloads:


This is the back of one insert, the front of the other, and they are rubberbanded together through middle of their respective spines.

These two rubberbanded inserts slip under that main elastic, right on top of the craft folder I forgot to photograph.  The girl reading is my monthly insert:


And that’s about as crazy as I get with decoration.  Next set are again rubberbanded together, and slipped under that main band:


The first is my weekly view, and the second is a travel planner I made for our trip in two weeks.



Two stickers, that’s my decoration. And then finally, the bullet journal gets slipped in through the middle under the main elastic.


And here’s what it looks like all closed up:


It is kind of like magic how they all fit in there.  I’m almost done with that bullet journal, which is just really a gridded to do list, and the Midori brand, which I have on deck to replace it, is much thinner than this one that can with my Dokkipaper Dori, so it will all close even better.  For our trip to London, I’m going to take it out anyway and replace it with a blank journal.  I probably won’t take my calendars either.  I may put in another zip pouch for receipts and things, since the zip pouch came I a pack of three.  We’ll see.

So, that’s my latest planner set up.  Tomorrow, or soon, let’s just say that, I’ll talk about my new “memory planner,” how I’m using that, and why that would never ever replace my Dokkipaper Dori.

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Random Rambling Friday Wrap-Up

Is the month over?  It’s over – at least the work week, in oh, 3 1/2 hours.  Counting, definitely counting.  I was appointed to this case, and my, I am busy!

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had time for this and that’s, right!

So, in no particular order

  • Passover fun was had by all!


Ssshh!!!! I’ve already broken Passover . . . I just couldn’t take the matzah bloat anymore. I remember Moses, the desert, the boils and the locusts, I’m good. I got it, for six nights. Fini.

  • I may have made my last flipbook.  I think I’m over it.  I’m not sure.


So, as I mentioned, I was spacing out my swaps, not over committing, so it wasn’t flipbook overload.  I think I’m just over it.  I don’t know.  I’m over the washi tape, that’s for sure.  Whoever called it tape didn’t really know what tapes’ function is.  I found myself adding layers and layers of washi to get the washi below it to stick.  The pages were actually pretty securely put together with hinges, and glue, but then I decorated with washi – and the decorative washi wouldn’t stick.  Oy!  In any event, this was a flip I made for a Paris swap through Facebook.  I bought the printable graphics on Etsy, and with them, I made journal cards, shaker gatefold flaps (with the fuse tool) (you can see them clipped together in the above photo – when you take the paperclip off, underneath is a pocket with goodies), and a snow globe!   Crazy!  I finally used my holiday card, snow globe die –


I bought this die two years ago from Papertrey Ink, thinking I was going to make my own holiday cards, with Lemon and Olive in the snow globe.  That didn’t happen.  I don’t know why I thought Paris and snow globe, but it clicked, and I think it turned out cute.  I was in such a creating frenzy, though, I didn’t think to photograph the process until I was all done.  So, basically what you do is use the outline die to create a base.  Then, you cut the top of the shaker out of decorative paper, and sticky foam.  You then layer the base, your sprinkles, the foam, a clear circle vellum/plastic window, and then the top – voila! A shaker globe.  For whatever reason, my sprinkle stuff got caught in my sticky foam, so it doesn’t really really shake, what can you do.  Be more careful I guess.  But, I wasn’t about to rip it open and make another.  And for sprinkles – see that circle die?  It makes snowflakes, and confetti  – pretty cool!


Now that I’m thinking about it, and rambling along, I think that my “over it” feeling about flipbooks is that I’d rather make them for someone who I’m regularly corresponding with then a one-time swap with a passing stranger. I feel like this is something I’d want to make for a penpal after we’ve exchanged a few letters, and I was making something for someone I kind of ‘knew.”  Too bad I unceremoniously abandoned all of my penpals after my father died, and my Wendori was lost forever.

I did make one more, that I didn’t photograph, for a swap on swap-bot, and I enjoyed it more because it was an offshoot from another swap wherein the person had asked me to write back, and I felt like the “project” was more of an elaborate envelope than this humungous thing:


All said and done, between the cover, and the flaps, I decorated 10 pages, filled a bunch of pockets, and spent many nights after work assembling, fusing, die cutting and tweaking.  The ‘elaborate envelope” was like this, made from one sheet of 12 x 12 paper, with flaps made from simple, creative cutting.  This little, hour long project, was fun, and relaxing, and I can see more of these in the future.  The ten page, humungous flipmonster – not so much.

  • I investigated, and bought a new planner.  In my last post of last year, I mentioned that I had my MIL buy me a faux Midori Traveler’s notebook online from an Etsy seller, Dokkipaper, for Hanukkah. planner1I remain supremely happy with my present, the leather just keeps getting softer, and a bit more scuffed with loved.   But the calendar insert that I printed for myself is set to run out in June, and I have to decide where my planning is going next.  So, I fell down the crazy, deep internet whirlhole of planner communities.  At first, I was seduced by the Happy Planner, and joined a half dozen Happy Planner Facebook groups, without actually buying said planner.  After a few weeks of watching everyone sticker up their months, days and weeks, I decided that wasn’t for me.  I also became less transfixed with the Arc system of rings – it seemed hard to flip the paper, and heavy, really heavy.  So, I unjoined all of those groups, and joined Christy Tomlinson’s Planner Society FB group, because while almost everyone is subscribed to her Planner Kit Club, everyone is in a different planner.  I then became enamored with the Kikki K’s, the big ones, the A5 size.  Hmm, do I really want that big thing, I thought, and if I do, do I really want it for planning?  I mean, that’s a big thing to whip out in court and check a date.  So, I did some soul searching, and realized, yeah, I am supremely happy with my TN, why would I change?  I must be yearning for something else.  And, that something else, I concluded was more of a memory keeping journal, to help me along with my Project Life, and to be more of a daily journal/diary.  In my original post about my TN, I mentioned that one of my inserts was a “Morning Pages” booklet.  Er, that didn’t last long.  And, since I had pasted a copy of the sentencing guidelines (because everyone has that in their planner!) in the back of my calendar, I had started leaving it out on courtroom tables, and I became concerned that I might lose it a la the Wendori, and then my morning thoughts would be out there for everyone – what thoughts they were, I wasn’t exactly a daily journaler.  So, the solution, it seems is to have a planner, my TN with a new calendar insert, and a big thing I can keep at home, beside my t.v. chair, to update daily.

So, I wistfully looked at everyone’s pretty Kikki K’s, and could not bring myself to spend that much money ($90+ shipping) on a planner, even a pretty planner.  So, deciding to plan within my means, I begin investigating the Webster’s Pages Color Crush Planners, which right now are on super sale on Blitsy (with the Mother’s Day coupon code).  They’re similar to the Kikki K’s, but faux leather, and not quite a true A5 size.  But, there was just something about them that I didn’t like.  Well not just something, the guts of it – the inserts.  First, the calendars are dated, so I’d have already lost nearly half the year.  And second, it has a snap closure.  I want to punch holes into things and stick it in my memory planner, and I don’t want to be constrained by a snap.  So, while I had an A5 Color Crush planner in my basket on the Blitsy site, and post coupon, it was only $42.95 with shipping, I couldn’t hit the commit button.  Instead, I got sucked into the youtube planner channels, and after not careful, but “I want that” consideration, I decided to go with the Heidi Swapp Memory Planner.

There it was – right in it’s name – the memory planner.  Exactly what I was looking for.  A kind of planner, a kind of abbreviated scrapbook, a kind of journal.  That’s the right planner, I thought.  So, that’s the “I want it” part – the careful part – well, I threw careful to the wind.  The online reviews of the planner aren’t so good – that the holes all have to be repunched because they were punched too small, that the binder feels cheap, etc.  But, you get what you pay for, and after my 40% off coupon at Michael’s, and a free shipping code that Michael’s gave me after I left the planner sitting in the cart overnight (so smart of them! push me over the edge into purchasing with a shipping code!), it was only $20.  So, I reasoned, if the binder is crap (and all of the warning signs are there that it just might be), I can always put the inserts, which, along with the photo sleeve inserts are the reason I was buying the thing anyway, into another binder, like this one from Dokkipaper, a kind of faux Kikki K, faux Dokibook, which is also snapless.  ah, but you may say, how will you do that because Heidi Swapp’s isn’t really A5, and it has only 4 holes.  Solved that one – I’ve already seen someone on the Planner Society FB group punch the extra two holes, and put it in a traditional A5 planner, so I think I’ll be good.  So, for now, I’ll try out the cheap binder, and see how it goes – and I’ll let you know.

All of that rambling has left my exhausted, like poor little Olive after playing with her ball outside all day, and then scarfing down her dinner.


Definitely a hard life for the little Boston!

Have a great weekend!

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Bring on 2016! My Planner System is Ready to Go!


Hello my friends! It’s been awhile, I know, but I’ve just been prepping for back to back trials since the end of October.   Two ended up pleading, and one went to trial.   I have one more to go in January, and then it’ll be easy peasy sailing for awhile.

I’ve been a total knitting machine, finishing up the Stephen West KAL (uch – why???? gifted to my MIL), finishing up Water (gifted to my mother), a few other holiday gifts, and a sweater I started awhile back for me.  Joe broke is foot back in September, and we’ve really become sedentary t.v. junkies.  Hopefully, in January, he’ll be cleared for regular duty work (he’s on light duty now), and the treadmill, and we’ll be able to peel ourselves away from the time suck t.v.  I intended to do a few top ten end of the year posts – movies, t.v., etc., but I didn’t – so here are my Bests of the Year (I am totally off the cuff rambling – I had intended to just post about my new planner – and I’m totally flying stream of consciousness here)

  • Best Movie – Spotlight
  • Most Fun Movie – Star Wars the Force Awakens
  • Most Sentimental Comeback Movie – Creed
  • Best T.V. Show – Fargo
  • Best Farewell to a TV Show – Madmen – not the whole season but there were fine moments
  • Best Book – The Nightingale
  • Favorite Knitting Project – Earth
  • Favorite App – Flipboard

And that’s about all I can think of right now.  So, what about that planner?

Last year, I made my own Midori Traveler’s Notebook, a Wendori just for me.  I found a leather company online that kind of giggled about how little leather I wanted to order, followed a few tutorials, and viola!  I made my own inserts, and it was really the “vessel” for all of my penpaling.  And then – disaster struck – I lost it.  I’m a clumsy person, I break things, but it really isn’t my nature to actually lose things – and the few things I have lost, I haven’t lost forever.  For instance, I accidentally threw Joe’s high school ring in the ocean – and a year later, someone found it, and returned it to his parents who live at the beach.  I really really expected the planner to find it’s way back to me.  And, while I waited, I didn’t get a new planner, and I didn’t write any letters – because all of the letters I had to answer were in the Wendori, as well as all of my addresses.  True, I easily could have rebuilt my address book, and started with fresh letters, but again, I was convinced, any day, the planner, which contained my business cards, would be returned.

And it wasn’t.   And I stopped writing letters.  And, I didn’t get a new planner.

Until now.  I thought about making my own again, but I didn’t have anything to tell my mother-in-law to get me for Hanukkah, so I went shopping on Etsy, and found this really inexpensive fauxdori on Etsy from a Japanese seller – normally, I would just say no because of the postage, but the cover was on sale for $15, and it came with five premade booklet inserts, a craft file, a clip, and a bookmark.  So, the postage was more than made up for in the price and the extras.  And, I have to say – it’s awesome!  The leather is really soft,   It has a nice leather thing that holds my pen, and it also came with extra elastics.


The cover looks a little scratched up, but that’s because the leather is so soft!  It’s definitely developing character right out of the box.


So, right now, I have three inserts, and this felt card holder, that also came from Dokipaper.  Unlike my Wendori, in which I printed and bound all of the inserts myself,  the only insert I made this time is the calendar –

planner5The PDF for the calendar is from BohoCottage.  The blocks are a tad small, but the next page which I didn’t photograph is a week on two pages, and there’s a week on two page spread for each week of the month.   I could have gone for something a little boxier, with more room, but I wanted it to be pretty.  For the cover, I just took one of the stapled premade inserts that came with the leather cover apart, and sewed that cover onto the pages – which was nice, because I could trim the pages to the craft cover with confidence that they would be exactly the right size.

Next, I have a bullet journal.  As you can see, I’ve decorated the craft file folder (which also came with original package from Dokipaper) and taped a photo on the cover.  But, let’s be clear, Bullet Journaling is nothing more complicated than a day by day to do list.  That’s it.  With that said, it’s kind of amazing that I got sucked down the internet rabbit hole of bullet journaling – pinterest, youtube, Facebook.  Which then lead to down the path to planner creation, decoration, etc, looking at one Erin Condren, Happy Planner, whatever, after another.  At the end of it, I came to the conclusion that more decorating does not equate to more planning, and it’s more time consuming, and more work, to have stickers, sticky tabs, washi tape, whatnots, whatever than to just make a good ol’ list with whatever pen I have on hand.  I get that it’s fun to decorate your planner, but honestly, I can only decorate so many things – and I’ve committed myself (at least in my head), to get the Project Life going again next year.  Also, I can’t pull out a washi’d up planner in court.  I’m already regretting the stickered up craft folder, even though it does label what’s in the folder – ephemera for the newly reborn pocket scrap project.



So, here’s my bare bones bullet journal.  As you can see, I have dated to do lists.  When I complete a task, I check the box.  When I decide to move a task to another day, I draw an arrow through the box.  When an item sits, I leave the box blank, and at the end of the month I’ll decide whether they’re really still “to do” and then move then to the next month. or I’ll cross them off.  The page before this list is an index, the facing page, is a “collection” – a list that’s not a to do list – but has a theme.  So far, in my bullet journal, I have “Sentencings,” “Where are the Addi’s” to keep track of where my interchangeable knitting needles are, “Things to Sew in 2016,” “House Projects” and “Waiting on” which is an itemization of things I’m waiting on – things that are supposed to come in the mail, things people are supposed to hand in to me at work, things I’m waiting on in my cases, etc.  And that’s it.  Easy peasy.  If it’s a daily to do, it goes on a list, if it’s a random thought, idea, whatever, I create a collection.  The collections are logged in the index so I can easily find them, and that’s it.  Would I like it to look spiffier?  Maybe, I don’t know.  I really don’t think so.  I think this works, and that’s it.

And then I have my morning pages insert –


The morning pages booklet is just a lined booklet that came with the cover.  I really find the practice of free writing in the morning so helpful in so many ways.  Scattered thoughts find their way together.  I find myself remembering words that I don’t use when I speak, but always used when I wrote – words that remind me that choosing the right word is so much more rewarding that using the same lazy words over and over again – see, redundant popped into my head right away – such a better word than over and over.

So, that’s my system going into 2016.  Good luck with your own system, or no system, or whatever 2016 brings!

Happy New Year everyone!

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