Sunday, December 1, 2013

Giveaway Winner and Update

Life got crazy and I neglected to post who won the JetPens Giveaway, since JetPens took care of the drawing and shipping of the prize. 

The winner was Julie Driver from Georgia!   Congrats Julie!

JetPens has already shipped her prize to her, and she has probably been enjoying the winnings for a couple of weeks now.  Thanks to all who entered.

Now for a general update....I have been busy making weekly layouts and just started putting together my planner for next year.  After much debate, I am going with another DIY Moleskine planner.  I had considered buying a FiloFax or Kikki.K planner or even just going back to a predated Moleskine planner.  But I do enjoy making these layouts so I figured I will just keep it up.

I am also trying to design more on the computer and then print/paste into the planner so I think that will be something that gets used much more often next year.  If I have any good printables, maybe I will make them available to share.  I would love to get good enough to have an etsy shop, but really I would just like to see people use something I made because they love it as much as I do.

To leave you with a picture, I did dress up a composition book that I will use for taking notes at work.  I used washi tape sheets, washi tape rolls and some scrapbook paper for the inside divider.  I then used the antique finish modge podge to help it all stay together.  I wanted to make sure none of the tape would peel as I will use this every day.  If am lucky, this book might last through February.  I take A LOT of notes in my job.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

JetPens Giveaway for your DIY Planner!!

I was really excited to receive a couple of cute items from JetPens that I could review and then in turn to offer to one of you as part of a giveaway, sponsored by the fabulous JetPens!

The items JetPens sent to me are  the multi-color Maurman Loose Leaf Mini Sheets and the cute post-it like Kuretake Echizen Washi Adhesive Memo Notes.

I had a lot of different ideas on how I wanted to use these loose leaf sheets and I want to share two different ideas.  

First, I took seven individual sheets and lightly glued each of them together, using the Kuretake Craft Glue Pen.  Then I glued just the very edge of the loose leaf sheets to the page in my planner.  

This picture shows a good representation of the color of each note.  They are a muted blue, pink and yellow without being too pastel. 
This design hinges having a quality paper, due to the fact that I have to be able to fold the pages back and any bleed through would mar each subsequent day. With that criteria in mind, I wasn't disappointed. 

I didn't experience any bleed through with using everything from sharpie pens, Marvy LePens, Pilot Juice Pens, some scrap-booking pens and Uni-Ball Signos.  Since this planner is built on a Moleskine base, it is easy to compare the paper performance.  The Moleskine paper isn't even a match for the loose leaf paper, since these pens routinely show/bleed through. You can see on these folded back pages, nothing has really shown through and definitely didn't bleed through.  I think that fountain pen users would be happy with these if it wasn't an extremely wet ink, but I didn't test it on this layout.
You can also see the Washi Memo Note in action here.  It is definitely a more textured paper and not as smooth or slick as the loose leaf paper.  The sticky part on back is sufficient as well, I just held it down with some washi tape because I have about 50 rolls and I need use it!  Ink performed well on these and the pencil theme is perfect for all of us office supply fanatics.

I also hole punched down the side of the page in a few spots, to make it look like it was held on by the ties rather than the glue.  The ties are just a bit of washi tape folded on itself and tied in a simple knot. The knots have held fine all week, no extra glue was required.

The second way I used the loose leaf paper was truly as a loose leaf sheet.  I had some pockets that I glued into this week's layout and they were the perfect size to hold a few sheets.  I think for next year's planner I will incorporate one or two of these pockets into the planner design so I always have a few extra sheets at my disposal.  I find that there are quite a few times where I need to make a quick note to give to someone else or put in my pocket, and this way I won't hae to rip any pages out of the back of my planner.

I am excited to give you a chance to win both of the items I reviewed directly from JetPens.  All you have to do is visit the official entry page.  Keep in mind you must be a subscriber to the JetPens newsletter and if you aren't, you will have a chance to subscribe on the bottom right of the entry page.  And why wouldn't you want to be a subscriber?  JetPens is awesome and you will find supplies on there that you will absolutely have to have! 

The contest will close at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, November 5th and I'll announce the winner shortly after and your itemswill be sent to you directly from JetPens. 

Don't forget to enter for your chance to win!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Layout Updates

Here are a few more weeks of layouts!

This week, I used one of the cute stickers I bought at HMart (the little bird).  The cage was a dollar stamp from Michaels.

This photo features my DIY washi tape!  I painted on some regular old masking tape with pink acrylica paint and stamped the design on top of it.  I also bought a pack of those Martha Stewart labels, but I didn't have anything to really use them for, so I made some balloons.

I really like how this week turned out, but I would do it a bit differently in the future, since the page doesn't really lay flat.  The weekly section is a glued in time card on cream card stock.  I found this at a scrapbooking store and I bought a couple, thinking I might be able to make this work in my planner.  I think it was fairly successful!

Monday, September 30, 2013

So who won the notebook???

The random number generator selected comment........
So Anna Cooper, contact me by Sunday, October 6th to arrange delivery! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

DIY Arc Planner for Work

I feel like I have been a very organized person in most aspects of my life, including work.  However, when I took on a different role last year, I found that my style of organizing tasks and notes just wasn't cutting it.

Due to the nature of my job, I tend to write down a lot of notes.  These notes are separate from meeting notes, and are of a more day to day type nature.  For virtually all phone conversations and face to face discussions, I am taking notes, even if it is just the name of the person and a few words that summarize what was talked about.  From these discussions I often generate to-do list items.

In the past I was very successful organizing these tasks either with the weekly view on the uncalendar (which I previously reviewed) or even just a little notebook with a daily task list which I would transfer to a new page everyday. I could leave this on my desk and work directly from this list.  However, those items do not work well now that I am taking all of these notes, as that is what I am primarily using.  When I try and use two separate books, I either end up taking notes in the planner and there is not nearly enough room for that or I scribble the task in my notes where they easily get missed.

So I decided to use my Arc hole punch and rings to make a custom solution for this problem.  Here is what I needed with this planner:
  • Quality paper, with narrow lines (so no Arc branded paper)
  • Color
  • Small enough to fit between my keyboard when pushed forward and the edge of my desk, since I am also often using the computer on these calls to look things up and what not
  • Task list on each page, but without having to re-write it due to the number of tasks/projects
  • Space on the task list to keep things that need to be on my radar in front of my face everyday, as some items can take days or weeks to resolve
  • A spot to outline the daily priorities from the task list
  • Flexibility, because one day I may take three notes on a half a page and other days I may take five pages of notes. 
This story will read a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears....I couldn't get the planner to work out "just right".  I started with a simple, initial prototype as displayed in the first picture.  For the cover, I re-purposed some of the junky manilla folders that I had around since they were well past their prime. I really wanted this notebook to have a binding at the top of the page rather than the side, so that I didn't have to write across the rings.  It was challenging to line the punch up correctly with the paper due to the fact there was no marked line on the Arc punch for this size of paper or for a top of sheet punch.

The first prototype was just a regular letter sized sheet that was punched and bound using the standard Arc discs.  But it was too big to fit in front of the keyboard.  In an effort to go smaller, I bought a pack of notepads, tore out the pages and bound those. This ended up being a bit too small as you can see from the picture.

I didn't really like either of these initial prototypes due to page size and because the discs were too big.  I bought a heavier weight ream of paper and hat it custom cut at Staples and I bought discs from Levenger that were only 1/4" instead of the 1" discs from Staples.

I ended up cutting the paper down one inch from the side and top and with the smaller disc (which hold about 50 pages) it was the perfect size.  I also took the time to print the paper with various colors, line widths, borders, dot grid, margins/no margins etc.  This solved my color, quality and size problems.

To solve my task problems, I printed half sheets with plenty of room for tasks as well as keeping a separate area for daily priorities.  For items I need to keep on my radar, I just write on the back of the list or use a post it on the back.  This half sheet can be moved as I go from page to page and it keeps the list in front of me so I don't scribble tasks on the note pages.  The cover is another folder that I picked up from the Target One Spot section several months ago.

Here is a shot of the planner in action.  Notice the half sheet, moveable task list and the yellow dot grid paper.

I started using this planner at the beginning of September and so far it has worked out OK. There are still some design flaws, like some of the ruling is a bit too narrow and the line color and weight on some sheets is too dark.  The best pages are really the dot grid, I think I could just do an entire one of these with dot grid paper.

I would love to hear your ideas to make improve upon this design or any tips for better organization. also let me know if you have any questions!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Giveaway Time! Morning Glory Notebooks

Finally, time for me to share my Chicago, H Mart finds.  Inside of H Mart is a store called Fancy Pencil Land.  There are no links to the little store, but there are some reviews on Yelp.  I picked up these six Morning Glory brand notebooks.  They all ranged in price from 3.99 to 5.99. 
The main difference between all the notebooks were the covers.  The green one below is hardback, one had a poly cover and a couple were regular notebook weight covers.  Some the pages had some margins and some didn't.  All were color coded, except for the one that is like a sketchbook (see below).

I did a quick pen test, just to illustrate paper quality.  I picked a ton of pens, so hopefully there is an example for everyone.  Overall, the paper does very well.  Some minor show through with the more bold felt tip pens, but no real bleed-through. (By the way, nearly every pen on this test was purchased from JetPens so if you see something you like, visit them!

This notebook is somewhat unique because it is unlined and more of a newsprint paper.  I think it is meant to be a sketchbook. 

 Now for the best part, a giveaway!  I think this notebook is meant for lefties, now I am not 100% sure of that--but it makes sense based on the spiral being removed from the side.  I am not a left handed and although this notebook is cool, I feel like I should give it a good home somewhere else.  Now that being said, you do not have to be a lefty to win.  All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog.  The contest will be open until 11:59pm on Sunday, September 29, 2013.  After that I will do a random number generator to pick a winner.  I'll ship it to you anywhere, so no need to be in the US to win. 

I'll announce the winner on Monday, September 30, 2013.  Then you have until Sunday, October 6th to email me at schoolsupplydance AT gmail, to give me your email address.  So be sure to check back if you comment. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September Layouts

I wanted to share the last two week's worth of layouts.  I posted this first picture when it was just a blank page, but I wanted to share what it looked like when I was done with it.  I clearly need more to do, so that my weeks are more decorated!

There are several things I like about this week....first being the chevron washi tape.  I think it is adorable.  Second, I love the little post it note that is half graph paper half notebook paper.  I wish I had full size sheets in a notebook with that layout--it would make for a great DIY planner background.  I am also really having fun with this weekly layout.  I need to mess around with it a bit more to try and find a way to make the weekend larger and the weekdays smaller.  I rarely have stuff to do during the week except for work and I have a completely different work planner system.

Just as a side note, every pen I used on these layouts were from JetPens and are a mix of Sakura Gelly Rolls and Marvy LePens.

Stay tuned, as I will have a giveaway posted tomorrow and my post will cover all the cute stuff I bought in Chicago!   I also have one more giveaway waiting in the wings from one of my favorite keep an eye out for that.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New planners, stickers and a giveaway!!

This past weekend we took a trip to Chicago.  The trip was all about retail therapy and I wanted to visit a store a co-worker told me about.  In Niles, IL there is a store called H Mart, which is a Korean grocery store.  To be honest, I had never heard of this store, but this gal from work shared that there was a great stationery section, so I knew I had to go check it out.

I was not disapointed.  This little tiny shop inside the larger H Mart store was stocked to the ceiling with all sorts of stuff.  From headbands to sticker to Hello Kitty and posters of bands--this place had it all.  But most importantly they had pencils and notebooks. My wallet is quite a bit lighter after this visit and my stock of notebooks s much larger!

I will post more notebook pictures later this week, but here is just a taste of what I purchased.

These stickers are super cute and there were a lot to choose from.  Plus the ones on the left are a bit raised/puffy.  For the flags, I think those of you who use a Filo Fax type planner would like these because they are hole punched for a binder.

I also picked up a small undated planner.  I bought it solely because I liked the cover, that was the total selling point for me.  However, when I opened it up and saw how great the pages are, I was even happier with the purchase.  Each page is decorated and is colorful.  It has the monthly and weekly layout design I favor as well as a lot of space in the back for notes.  To be honest, I will probably never use this planner, as I can't see breaking away from my DIY planner right now, but I just had to have it.

I also want to share one more thing.  Most of the notebooks that I picked up are very similar, but one is not like the others.  Therefore, I have decided to give it away!  I am excited to do a giveaway post and I plan to post it later this week when I post the notebook pictures.  Keep watching this space! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Planner Deco!

Work has been super busy this last 10 days or so, which is unfortunate because it infringing on my down time!  This is especially poor timing since I am finding tons of random things to use when decorating my weeks in my planner.  

I took a quick picture of a few things.  I am most excited about the sticky notes I found in the dollar section of Target.  These would be the book that looks like a composition book with triangles on it and the weather themed pack.  I think the rabbit paperclips are cute as well, but those came from a little shop in Iowa City.  I obviously won't need to use all of those on my planner, so the office may find some rabbit paperclips floating around!

Monday, September 2, 2013

DIY Planner Layouts: Now with DIY Washi-Tape.

I have a few more pages of layouts.  This will bring my layouts to current and even show a blank layout for this week.

I glued in a sheet that I printed from then stuck in a piece of scrap paper from a previous project.  I did some minimal decorating with a stamp and a small doodle.

I tried something completely new this week.  I painted the right side of the page with hot pink acrylic paint.  I did glue two pages together to ensure the page would be sturdy enough to handle the paint since this is a Moleskine and it doesn't always behave well. The paint worked amazingly well.  I was actually surprised.  I used a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen and it wrote just fine over the acrylic paint.  The top border is a fabric sticker, cut to size.  I did have to go over the word "August" about 5 times for it to show up well enough.  On the paint, the pens tended to bleed.  The pen that worked the best was fine point sharpies and the Sakura.

Due to my current love of all types of mint green, I wanted to just keep this week super simple.  I only used mint green-ish inks and black ink.  Specifically black Sharpie pen, Copic Multiliner in turquoise, and the Uni-ball Signo Angelic pen in green.  I also tried a different layout on this week. This is new to the planner, I haven't used this layout before and I like it a lot.
I also want to point out this washi tape....I made it!  I bought a roll of green masking tape and using a rubber stamp and Staz-On black ink pad, I created my own custom tape.  I just used the stamp all willy-nilly.  I wasn't trying to keep the pattern perfect, just pretty.  Has anyone else made their own washi-tape?  If so, I'd love to hear about what ink works the best for you.  Staz-On ink seemed to work the best out of what I had.

This is the mostly finished and undecorated layout for this week.  Again, this is a totally new layout.  The majority of the tape is some cheap stuff I found in a dollar bin at Walgreens.  It isn't paper tape it is more slick than regular washi tape. 

Since I usually only have a few layouts worked out ahead of time, one of the main things I find lacking is the ability to plan several months ahead.  I have no idea why I just don't add calendars since I am the one making this thing....but I never have.  So again, like for summer I put in a few printables from Ahh-Design for planning out the upcoming fall and winter.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Uglee pen

Like many of you I bet, this is my favorite time of year.  I love to go and check out all the new school supplies.  I look at all of the big box retailers of course, but I also consistently check out the college book store for the University of Iowa.  Iowa Book tends to carry some non-traditional items and they also have a good selection of  Clairefontaine items.

This pen is my most recent addition.  The UgLeePen is definitely a much different type of pen then what I tend to use as it has a 1.4mm tip.  I tend to favor the extremely fine point pens versus this type, although I do appreciate a wide point from time to time, if the ink flow is good.  For example, I had a real love for the old Zebra Tapali retractable pen.  (I couldn't find a great link for it, so this link is just meh.) 

I do a lot of writing/note taking for my job and with journaling, so I thought the comfort grip looked promising.  In the second picture here, notice the little shiny specks?  That is a glitter of sorts, so obviously I had to buy it because I'll buy anything if it comes with glitter.

One thing I will say about the grip is that it is really really squishy.  Now as you read this and think oh, so she means it is pretty squishy....go ahead and times that by about 50 and then you may be approaching the true squishy level of this pen. 
Ooooh Sparkles....

Overall, the pen wrote very nicely.  I thought it performed better than an average ballpoint pen, it certainly was smoother.  It might skip a tiny bit on occasion (see the "S" in sometimes) but overall it gives a consistent performance and the ink flows rather well.  I can see myself using this as my go to pen when I want to write with a wide tip or feel like I am experience some sort of hand fatigue due to too much writing. 

I would definitely recommend this pen for those who write a lot and don't mind a wide tip pen.  I think it is a very nice pen for the price.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mint green!!

For the past year or so I have been in love with all things mint green/seafoam. I've wanted to paint my bathroom this color, my pedicures are often this color and I'm constantly looking for mint green clothes.  

So it is no surprise that I have a bazillion mint green pens. The lamy is filled with Diamine Soft Mint Green ink, so don't let the lime green barrel fool you. 

Interestingly, the ranges of ink color are very broad. And some range from more of an emerald to light limeish, rather than a true mint. 

My favorites are the Pilot Juice and both sharpies. After I took this picture I found about six more pens that fit this color range. Clearly, I'm mint green crazy. 

The journal is from Urban Outfitters. It is a beautiful color and a very nice, soft leather.  The paper is heavier than moleskine for sure. I haven't done a pen test, but I don't anticipate too many problems.  I know some will love the pen/pencil loop. I won't utilize it, but it does add to the aesthetics of the journal.  I picked it up in a store, but it is still available on the website.  I kind of want to buy another one because I love this one so much. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Must Buy!

I have discovered a product I absolutely have to have for designing my DIY planner. 

DIY English alphabet number sentence rolling rubber stamp vol.2

I found this over at  According to the description, this stamp can be used to make your own phrases and it includes numbers and some punctuation.  I can easily think of at least 50 ways to use this. I think it is interesting that it say this is volume 2, I wonder what vol. 1 was or if it ever existed?

The only thing I don't love about it, is the fact the font is Times New Roman.  If anyone knows of any similar products, please share the link!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Layouts through August!

I am nearly caught up for the year!  These layouts should take us to almost current.  Then I will just try and post one update per week.

One additional note, I had a comment that the pictures are too small.  Since I am loading these from my phone, I can't seem to adjust them, but I am easily able to use ctrl+scroll on my mouse and make these more than large enough to see more details.  If anyone else is having problems, let me know.

On to the layouts....

I love this layout, there is so much space, but I just really don't have too much going on and I lack the time to properly doodle journal my activities. 

This layout is kind of unique.  I honestly can't remember where I found it.  But it does feature one of the mint green pens I have.  I am in love with mint green right now and would use nothing but mint green if it wouldn't be so boring.  Maybe I need to do one week where everything is in mint green and the various shades of that!

This layout comes from an excel sheet I made several years ago.  I made a friend a planner for Christmas with all different weekly layouts, so I just glued this in.  The yellow and white paper I taped in came from an old Kate Spade notepad I had hanging around.
Same with this layout, a glued in sheet from that same planner.
This week just features some tape and stickers!!

Another glued in sheet from that planner.  The strip of little designs around my to-do list are tiny hippos and not really tape a tape at all. It is the Plus Deco Rush Decoration Pen from Sadly, it is no longer available. 

Overall, this next week is my favorite so far! The dotted paper is a page I tore out of my smash journal.  I know a ton of people love them, but I wasn't able to make it work for me, so I have been cannibalizing pages form it here and there.  So glued the page in and used two different washi tapes down the side to fill in the gap space and I bit more tape on the top and right side, just for something different.  I used stamps for the days of the week and a sticker for the word August.  Obviously, this is per-decoration, but I wanted to show the page in the empty form.  The currently reading sticker is on a label from some Martha Stewart labels I got at Staples on clearance.

In general, I feel like I almost have more fun designing and creating the layouts than I do decorating them each week.  I have been thinking about taking a blank book and just doing a whole self-made, undated, one of kind, DIY planner for 2014.  If I do that, I might try and sell it on etsy or somewhere like that.  There is no way the money would make up for the time and supplies I put into it, but I love the idea of someone using something I have made.

It would definitely be a giant project and very eclectic, so we will see.  Maybe it wouldn't take as long as I imagine it would.  I'm also worried that by the time I am done making it I wouldn't be able to part with it!  Has anyone else hand designed and sold a completely DIY planner?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

More DIY Planner Layouts

Ready for more planner page layouts!  

This first page is not designed by me, it is a printed page from Ahhh Design, so I want to be sure to give credit where credit is due.  Obviously nothing too exciting was happening this week, but I just wanted to illustrate how I use glued in things.
Part of this is an Ahh-Design layout as well.  But the ledger type paper is glued in on top of the Ahh Design page and the little brown squares are cut up stickers that I just wrote the date in on.
This is the facing page.... I really am only sharing this because I LOVE the lettering for "currently reading."
More Washi Tape
I've shown this basic layout before, but the green striped tape is new to this design.
For this week, I found one of those, print all types of paper sites and I think this was a layout for comics or something.  So I just drew some lines on it and glued it in.  Normally I put the weekly layout part on the left, but I switched it this week and put my "notes" page on the left.

Since I do a weekly layout, I have not monthly calendars in the front of the planner.  I could do that, I just don't like taking the time to do 12 months of that.  Plus, I don't think I would really use it.  But this summer I had a lot of stuff coming up each weekend, so I glued in some print outs to help me plan for summer.  These are print outs from Ahhh Design.