Monday, January 21, 2013

To Do Lists

(Please excuse the lack of pics on today's post, but I was out of time. Hope you will still read it, though.)

Ah, those darned To Do Lists! They shrink, they grow, they morph into an unachievable mass! (Well, at least mine do.)
Sometimes a system that was once infallible, will stop working. Just like life, I guess.
When I used my Filofax, I had a separate section dedicated to my To Do lists. It was a glorious time for I was able to tick around 98% of the items listed in a timely fashion.
After a while though, I would forget to check that section, which resulted in many tasks not done. So I resorted to writing them on the day spaces of my diary section. This was probably the method that best worked, as I would see each day what had to be done.
But that also stopped working, or should I say, I slowly grew undisciplined that I stopped doing them, and eventually I even stopped writing them down.
For what seems to me an eternity I allowed myself to slack. I only pencilled in very important tasks, such as paying the rent and house bills. The other stuff I would just remember to do them - and DO them that moment, or as soon as I re-remembered them. It was chaos. The house started to get messier, I stopped planning my stationery projects, lost contact with online peeps.

I knew I had to tackle this, but wasn't sure how. So I took the 'one step at a time' approach. In my sidekick notebook, I would write down a couple of things or chores I had to do, and really work towards getting them done. Slowly, slowly, I started to feel more encouraged to do those tasks, and without even noticing, I'd be adding more items to the list.

Now I suddenly find myself wanting to prepare my list the day before. Yet I find myself undecided as to how to do this! Should I write them on my daily spaces inside my planner? Or inside my sidekick notebook?
The problem I see in both choices:
Planner: I might not check it daily, and thus not get things done.
Sidekick: the tiny OCD part in my brain doesn't allow me to use it for future stuff. Every day I start by writing the date and then listing what I have or want to do on the day. Not tomorrow, not next week. If I haven't done all the day's tasks, I write an X next to them, and they are added to my list on the next day.

But I think the main reason I don't prepare my list the day before is because I do not want to be overwhelmed by the stuff I need to do.

Huh? What do you know! I think I just answered my own question! I guess I'll just keep with my current system for a while.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Travelogue

This past Xmas my sister in law and her husband gave me a really cool present: a Travelogue.

It is a beautiful box set in cardboard containing 8 map pages on one side and a complete travel journal on the other.

The maps show the following world regions: Africa, Australasia, Eastern Eurasia, Europe, North America 1, North America 2, South America and Western Eurasia. The fun thing about these maps though, is that you can scratch the top layer off to reveal the countries you've visited in a particular region.
There is also a handy checklist printed on the left side of the box set to keep track of the regions visited.

The right side of this set contains the travel journal.

The first page contains 'My Details', to fill in with pertinent info about you.
The next section is called 'Planning', where you can write down your itineraries in handy, easy to read boxes and notes section.
You then find a checklist to ensure you don't forget anything important. There are three tickboxes for each item in this list, which means you can use it three times (and if you add more tickboxes by hand, you will be able to use it even more.) :)
After the checklist, there is a whole spread to plan your budgets.

Then comes the 'Diary' section, where you can write about your travels, paste mementos, photos, etc., and jot down your expenses. 
It also contains a handy contacts section for you to keep in touch with all the nice people you meet around the world, as well as keeping important addresses from back home. You might want to send them some postcards, right?

Speaking of postcards, at the end of this section, there is even a page for you to keep track whom you sent mail to! How cool is that?!

The last section is called 'Useful Information' and it contains just that: Unit conversions, and useful phrases in English, Spanish, French, Italian and German.

This is indeed a very unique travel journal and very intelligently put together. I really like how it's been designed, from the great Kraft card cover to the scratch maps, the layout of the pages and the choice of topics. It is simply gorgeous!
 Now if only I had tons of money to travel all over the world so I could start using it!

Have a lovely weekend,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kraft notebook refills for your Traveler's Notebook!

Yes, you read that right! Finally, there are Kraft paper refills available at the 21Kittens etsy store.
It took me a while to find the right paper to be able to make these, I have been wanting one for myself for a while now.

Even if you don't own a Midori Traveler's Notebook yet, you can still use this little fella, as it is, after all, a notebook. It is not bulky, it is not heavy, so you can carry it with you in your bag.
Here is a list of just a few ideas of what can use it for:
  • to write down lists
  • to remind yourself that tonight it's your turn to cook dinner
  • to write down your thoughts
  • to paint with crayons
  • to plan your next project
  • to keep all your decoration ideas in one place
  • to write down all the DIY stores you like visiting
  • to keep your Instax mini photos
  • to keep all those business cards you just can't part with
  • to keep a log of your gecko's (and other pets) health
  • to draw all those flowers you see on your walks
  • to keep track of your finances
  • to draw a treasure map for your kid's next birthday party
  • to write love letters you'll never send

Now you can't say you don't know what to use it for. And if you need even more ideas, just use your imagination (or ask me:) ).

Of course, before even starting to fold the pages, I had to test the quality of the paper.

As you can see in the picture above, I tried a few fountain pens, some gel pens, a pencil, two ballpens, and even a watercolour brush (Akashi-ya Sai).
On the next page I tried some normal watercolours applied with a waterbrush. Of course, this paper wasn't meant to take wet media, but still the effects were nice, although I wouldn't recommend trying very wet washes on it; the effect won't be as expected and the paper would buckle tremendously.
Nevertheless, the result was good: none of the pens and brushes I tried feathered nor bled through to the back. My only concern would be for the 2B pencil. Being the paper rather smooth, the graphite might smudge too much if a softer lead is used, but then again it is a matter of choice, one might want this.

Personally, I love how the blue ink from my Lamy Vista looks against that lovely Kraft brown, so I think the next refill I use in my Midori, will be one of these Kraft refills.

You can get yours here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Planner update on a snowy day

Tasks not done
I write this in my blog notebook on Sunday/Monday night; the clock marks 01:37 a.m.
I failed posting something last Friday as I had a slight case of 'hangover-itis'. But that is no excuse. When I redesigned this blog, I set out to write three times a week, no matter what. I was going to be organised and disciplined and get the post drafted by hand a few days in advance. Being at home, I do have the time to do this and even prepare the pictures that will go on each post.
I suppose Xmas Holidays is what happened. Seeing I would be away back home, everyone else busy with their lives, there was no point in writing about planners and notebooks. It was time to make the most of being with my friends, enjoying the beautiful weather and tasty cuisine.

I've been back for two weeks now and I'm still struggling to get back on track, not only with blogging, but also with updating my planner. No, it is not the common 'planner fail' case this time. It is just me, either being lazy, either forgetting about it.

Empty planner
Yes, next (this)week is looking empty on my planner, except for the moveable 'rent' sticker and a weekly appointment I pencilled in a while back.

And it's not that I'm totally free all week! I'm already meeting somebody tomorrow, a friend is back from his trip, and I have to do a few trips to the post office, not to mention other stuff I have to do.

Then why can't I shake off this lazyness and just write all those appointments down?
I suppose unconsciously, I want there to be other plans for me to write down. Plans like buying one-way tickets back home and starting new jobs and happier, warmer lives away from all this winter land.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

What's happening at 21Kittens?

Hello everyone!
Today I just wanted to share some news regarding my 21Kittens store,

You know those little notebooks with a brown kraft cover made by Moleskine known as Cahiers? Well, if you still haven't gotten one because:

a) you find them boring,
b) you just want to try one and not have to buy the set of three,
c) you don't have the time or will to decorate yours,
d) all of the above,

then look no further! There is currently a small selection of five pocket sized notebooks available in my store, each with a unique design. Two of them have lined pages, while the rest are blank.

These little notebooks make a great gift, or a wonderful pocket companion, as they are just the right size to be carried with you wherever you go.

If you are still not convinced and would like me to customise one to your liking, just drop me a line in my etsy store and I am sure we can come up with a few ideas together.

The other thing I wanted to share with you is that my lovely sketchbooks are now 40% off until the 1st of February.

Mountains by Night
Mountains by Day
Mountains by the Sea

These beautiful sketchbooks are one of a kind and have been carefully handpainted by me using acrylic paint. They also have an elastic closure to keep your drawings safe. The pages are made of Fabriano Ecological paper that is very high quality and takes most media really well.

So, do stop by the store, even if it's just to browse, and tell your friends about it as well.

Have a fantastic day,

Monday, January 07, 2013

First post of 2013

Happy 2013 everyone!!

Are you also as excited as me to be starting a new year? For me, this has always been a special occasion, as I see it as another chance to right my wrongs (and wrong my rights), to try new things, to come up with renewed purpose, but mostly to give myself another chance.

Of course, one of my favourite things is that it also means the start of a new planner/diary. But as you already know, I won't be cracking open a brand new planner for I am already using an 18 month planner that will (should) last me all the way til December 2013.

Nevertheless I am happy to see my page spread read January 2013. That alone is enough to give my planner an air of novelty.

Another thing I also enjoy setting up during the first days of January is a Master List with tasks to be done some time in the course of the year.

to all my online friends!!

For a couple of years I kept my Master List separate from my planner, mainly because I know I will check my sidekick notebook more often than my planner.

Master List 2013

So today being the first Monday of the year, I set it up and put it in my Midori, between my notebook and my blog notebook. That way I will have quick and easy access to it.
On a previous occasion I noticed my list wasn't working due to a very small detail: I didn't like how it looked, with all items written in the same black ink and an ugly green title. This, together with the fact that it would end up hidden by the other pages, caused me to stop going back to it, so I ended up not doing the items I had listed.

Failed list

I think it was after that failure that I stopped keeping a Master List last year. But this year it's gonna be different!

This year I will check it daily and get all those things done, as well as add new ones.
I feel that this year keeping a Master List is going to help me greatly to stay motivated and disciplined to tick one by one all those small tasks that make up the pavement to my goals and dreams for 2013.