That time I started a bullet journal

That time I started a bullet journal

A few days ago, I was talking to some friends about our Christmas highlights. I mentioned that I was really excited about one of my gifts… a bullet journal.

No one in the group seemed to know what I was talking about, so I went on to try to explain. It’s a blank journal. And you fill it in with whatever you want. And you get to use colorful markers. And practice your handwriting.

They looked at me perplexed. A few of them laughed out loud.

“Explain it again… You do WHAT?!?” was the general reaction.

I thought that maybe if I just gave them more detail, they would catch on to the greatness of this hobby that is the bullet journal. It’s for people who love to make lists… or just love to write on paper… you create your own calendar pages… and you “journal” but in bullet points, I tried to explain.

Instead of falling in love, they became increasingly convinced that I am nuts! So, I guess most people aren’t that excited about a bullet journal, and if that’s you, that’s OK. I get it.

I tried starting a bullet journal back in 2016. I even wrote a few blog posts about my excitement about it! I started following Instagram feeds and blogs devoted to bullet journaling. But the more I learned about it, the more convinced I became that there was no way I could do it!

Some days, I can barely find time to even write out my to-do list, not to mention, create a colorful page with neat handwriting and carefully framed boxes to record my thoughts. But as I approached the end of 2017, I decided I wanted to give it a try. There’s just something about creating a bullet journal that is so appealing to me!

As I mentioned before, I love pens. I love writing on paper. I love practicing my hand lettering. I love planners. I love doodling. This is a hobby that’s also an organizational tool that incorporates all of those things!

I gave my husband a link to the Leuchtturm 1917, which seems to be the bullet journal of choice for many people. The pages have squares like graph paper, which makes it so much easier to plot out what you want to write on each page. The pages also lie flat, and each page is numbered.

He also got me a creative lettering book and some nice pens.

So, I’ve been bullet journaling for a week now, and so far I love it. Also, so far, my kids have been on Christmas break, and I was off last week and had a lot more time than usual to sit around and write in my bullet journal. Honestly, if I can keep this thing going for two weeks, I’m going to be happy!

Just to give you a taste, here’s what kind of pages I’ve created so far.

Getting started is the hardest part because you don’t want to mess up the very first page in your beautiful new journal. I decided to start by creating a record of our Christmas gifts. Not that we need a record of our Christmas gifts. But it’s straight forward. It’s easy. It didn’t require a lot of thought.

That was fun, so I decided to make some other lists from 2017, just as a non-threatening way to get started with my journal.

I wrote down some significant memories from each month…

…a list of the books I read and my favorite podcasts…

…and I started a list of new foods I tried last year… I still need to complete this list…

I was still a little worried about getting into the meat of the journal, so I used a few pages to just write words…

It’s not perfect or beautiful, but I like to try to write in different “fonts.” 🙂

So, finally, I started the calendar portion of my journal…

First, I created a “future log” with one line for each day of the year. This is where you can write all of the important dates of the year, like holidays, birthdays and days off school. I love that my journal has two bookmarks so I can mark different pages. The pages in this journal also are numbered, making it easy to create a table of contents at the front with the page number references for what’s in the journal.

Next, I created my January habit tracker.

You can imagine how much I love filling in these little squares each time I complete one of my daily habits for the month!

And finally, I started working on my daily spreads.

The fun part about a bullet journal is that you can make all of your spreads look different. I’m still a little intimidated, so I just copied this spread format from someone on Pinterest, and I created a week’s worth of pages in this format.

It includes a “to do list,” a box I labeled “healthy,” which includes my weight, what type of exercise I did that day, how much water I drank and how many steps I took that day.

At the bottom is a box marked “gratitude.” This is the “bullet journal” portion of the book, where I jot down in bullet points the highlight of my day. I’ve been surprised how much I enjoy filling in this box!

So, that’s my bullet journal. At this point, you are either laughing, completely confused or convinced this is something you have to try! Whatever the case, I get it. I can’t even tell you I will be bullet journaling a week from now, but it’s been a great excuse to cuddle up under a warm blanket with some hot tea and write with my pretty pens. And that, my friends, is my idea of fun!

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Hey, I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever heard of bullet journaling? Have you tried it? Does it sound ridiculous? Or do you think it’s something you would enjoy? I would love to know!

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End of summer home decorating

End of summer home decorating

End of summer home decor

I’ve been writing about some serious topics the past few days, and I’ve loved interacting with many of you on Facebook, Bloglovin’ and through text. I guess I’m not the only one feeling the sadness of back to school, and I’ve also learned that many of my friends have been doing the happy dance now that they have a few minutes of peace and quiet each day!

Now it’s time to move onto something a little more light-hearted: home decorating.

I’ve mentioned a number of times here on my blog that I’ve really grown to love changing out my decor for the seasons. But the “back to school” time of year that we are in right now is the one “season” that has perplexed me in my decorating.

Let me explain.

I really look forward to rearranging my mantel and other decorations to match the mood at Christmas, spring and fall. It makes me feel like it helps me to savor the season. Around the end of May, I usually transition into summer mode by adding American flags and baseballs to my decorating.

I often forget to take photos, but here are a few shots of my July decor from last year:

Once July has passed and Independence Day is a memory, I can’t wait to move on. However, it’s too early to start decorating for fall. I want to hold onto the end-of-summer season just a bit longer.

This year, I was determined to decorate for August and September in some way, but couldn’t really every come up with a decorating theme. I can’t even express my level of happiness a few weeks ago when I found this sunflower wreath, which is exactly what I had in mind.

My decor is full of browns, greens and purples, so I was looking for something that wasn’t too bright. I also love how the texture and bow match the rustic feel that I’ve been trying to achieve with my decorating.

About a year and a half ago, I transferred some of the photos I’ve taken onto pieces of wood. I covered the photos in mod podge to create an effect that looks like a painting. For a while, I had a whole wall covered in photos, but then I had the idea for my husband to build these shelves to go over our coffee bar. I love that I can pull out one or two of my photos to match my current decorating mood.

This was the perfect time to use this sunflower photo, which is one of my favorites.

I still don’t have a lot of decor for this time of year. But I switched out my spring birdhouses for this globe and traded the spring flowers for a bouquet of prairie grass which I picked last year from behind our house.

You also know that I love changing the sayings on my chalkboards to match the seasons. I thought this was a good reminder for my kids as they go back to school.

Now, I can breathe a big sigh of relieve that my transitional end-of-summer, not-quite-fall decorating is done. 🙂

It’s the little things in life that make me happy!

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What about you? Do you enjoy decorating for the seasons? Do you change out your decor half as often as I do?

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Using freezer paper to paint a custom t-shirt

Using freezer paper to paint a custom t-shirt

How to use freezer paper to paint a custom T-shirt for the 100th day of school

One of the craft projects on my to-do list has been to paint a custom t-shirt using freezer paper for a stencil. I bought all of the supplies back in the summer, but I’ve been too intimidated to give it a try.

A few weeks ago, I got the motivation that I needed. My daughter’s first grade teacher sent home a note that the kids would soon be celebrating the 100th day of school. She suggested we send our kids to school in a shirt with 100 objects on it. They would have a fashion show to display their 100th day attire.

I searched Pinterest for ideas and found lots of cute ones, but I wanted to think of something original. I must have had Trolls dancing on my brain from how many times we have watched the movie on repeat since it was available to purchase on iTunes. (I seriously LOVE that movie!) All of those marching little Trolls gave me the idea to paint 100 footprints walking across her t-shirt.

Here’s how we used freezer paper to make an easy stencil. I used my Silhouette CAMEO to cut out my footprint design. However, if you don’t have a Silhouette, I’ve seen lots of ideas on Pinterest on how you can cut out your stencil using an Xacto knife.

Step 1. Download a footprint design from the Silhouette Design store.

Step 2. Cut your freezer paper to the same size as your cutting mat. Place the paper on the mat with the glossy side up. I decided to make my feet 1.5 inches long, and I cut out three rows of footprints on each piece of 12×12 freezer paper.

Step 3. Find a piece of cardboard. I unfolded a Cheerios box and it was the perfect size to fit inside my daughter’s Youth M t-shirt. You need to cover the cardboard in freezer paper with the glossy side of the paper facing up. I taped the edges with Washi tape.

Step 4. Arrange the footprints on the shirt with the glossy side down. You are going to iron the stencil to the t-shirt. It will adhere to the freezer paper that is on the inside of the t-shirt. Just remember that you want the two glossy sides facing each other.

Step 5. Paint! We used purple, blue and white paint on our footprints. The purple and white turned out great. The blue ended up looking periwinkle even after four coats, but it was still pretty. We were worried that our paint was going to seep underneath the stencil because my 7-year-old and I aren’t the neatest painters in the world. However, we were pleasantly surprised when we removed the freezer paper.

Step 6. Remove the freezer paper while the paint is still wet. It will pull right off.

Step 7. Once the paint has dried, place a piece of fabric or pillow case on the t-shirt, and iron. This will help set the paint.

We painted 50 footprints on each side of the shirt, so we repeated the process on the back side.

This was a really fun project, and I loved that we could do it together. I was surprised how well the freezer paper worked as a stencil. I can’t wait to try it again on another project! My other kids are already dreaming up other ideas for custom painted t-shirts! (And so am I!)

What do you think? Is this a project you would like to try? Leave me a comment and let me know!

By the way, if you want an easier way to read my blog, just enter your e-mail address in the box to the right. You will get new blog posts in your inbox!

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working on hand lettering

working on hand lettering

If you’ve been reading my blog for long, then you know I have a thing for chalkboards. I love writing new words and phrases on my chalkboards to decorate for the seasons. But I often would “cheat” on my handwriting by cutting out a stencil using my Silhouette and using that to create pretty letters.

Well, recently, I stumbled upon a blog that gave some great tips for improving your handwriting on a chalkboard. I’ve always loved to try to mimic different fonts in my handwriting, so I decided it was about time that I paid attention to an expert’s advice. Here are a couple of tips that I learned for becoming a better chalkboard artist.

  1. Sharpen your chalk.

Ugh. I didn’t think I would be able to do it. My worst nightmare is the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard. I couldn’t imagine sticking a piece of chalk in a pencil sharpener. I was so scared to do it. Guess what? It was absolutely not a big deal. It didn’t bother me one bit.

2. Write an outline of your word in your regular handwriting.

I had to do this a few times to get the word to fit the space in which I wanted it to go. That’s the great thing about chalk. Just wipe it off and start over until you like it.

3. Thicken your lines, only on the downstrokes.

4. Then, color in the lines. This gives your writing more of a “faux calligraphy” look.

5. I added the rest of the words in lower case block letters and did the same thing: Thicken the downstrokes and color it in. I also added some serifs to the words. It’s not perfect by any means, but I’m making progress!

I tried the same technique on another chalkboard, but I ran into trouble because my chalkboard paint is starting to peel off. To get around that problem, I dipped my chalk in water before writing with it. My lettering still needs a lot of work on this one, but I did like the effect the wet chalk gave to my writing.

It was much more difficult to get all of my letters uniform in size on this one. But, oh well! It’s a chalkboard, right?!

You might remember a few years ago that I decorated for Valentine’s Day for the first time ever. That was actually the first time I really decorated for any holiday other than Christmas! So, here are a few shots of the rest of my Valentine’s Day decor. It’s not up for long, but it makes me feel like spring is on the way!

I wrapped these oversized letters in yarn a few years ago. I love them with the milk glass dishes that my grandmother gave me.

I’m still crazy about this six panel window frame that I bought last year. I need a Valentine’s wreath to go on it, but I can’t find one that I like. (You might know how I feel about red!)

I did allow this tiny bit of red in the house. Plus, it was fun for my daughter to hang the hearts on our branches.

The snow globe is one little hold over from Christmas. And yes, the truck is red. I skipped completely over my winter decorating from last year.

And finally, this “love never fails” sign was my first ever painting project using my Silhouette! I’m ready to update this sign now that I know a little more about what I’m doing with the Silhouette and painting projects!

I’m going to keep working on my hand lettering skills so you will probably read more about that in the future. I actually found a 31-day challenge to improve my hand lettering that I’m planning to try. Let me know if you want to do it with me!

So, what about you? Does anyone else love chalkboards like I do?

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changing with the seasons

changing with the seasons

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When my husband and I first started dating, one of the things he liked most about me was my slightly tomboyish attitude. I didn’t mind to ride mountain bikes on a tough trail through the woods or ride a four wheeler through a muddy farm field. For the first five years of our marriage, I was very comfortable living in a house full of boys — my husband and then our two sons.

But something happened when I gave birth to our third child, a girl. We both joke that bringing a girl into the world unleashed my inner girly girl. Suddenly, I was dying to paint walls pink and purchase headbands with huge flowers. Even my own wardrobe changed to reflect my more feminine side.

Something similar seemed to happen when we moved a few years ago. For the first 14 years we owned a home, I never bothered to decorate for the seasons. Sure, we would put up a fake Christmas tree and unpack a few boxes of holiday decor in December. But the rest of the year, our home pretty much always looked the same.

I had a good friend who loved to decorate for every holiday. She would come to visit and ask about the lack of festivity inside my house. “How can anyone even LIVE like this?!” I’m sure she was thinking. “Who has time for such ridiculousness!” I KNOW I was thinking!

Then, we moved into our current home with its large stone fireplace and wood mantel. Suddenly, a flip switched, unleashing my inner home decorator.

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Sadly, I barely knew where to start when it came to bringing in what I had always referred to as “sit arounds.”

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But during the past 2.5 years that we’ve lived here, I’ve been growing more confident in my ability to decorate for the seasons. Not only do I change up our decor at Christmas, but at least the mantel gets a facelift for each season and even holidays like Valentine’s Day, Indepedence Day and Thanksgiving. I’ve found that celebrating holidays with a change of decor somehow makes the change of seasons feel richer to me. I look forward to what’s next and the opportunity to transform our living space to reflect what’s happening outdoors.

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Since I didn’t really have a decorating style before, I’ve been working on developing one. I love the whole rustic feel that’s trending right now, and I hope it stays popular for a while. We are so blessed to live near a prairie and all the lifestyle opportunities that brings, from going on walks to taking nature photos to just sitting outside and listening to the birds and frogs. I love bringing that feeling indoors through our decor.

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I have been wanting an old window for a while now, and I was so excited to find one at a market a few weeks ago.

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I’ve mentioned before that I also love, love, love the chalkboard trend. It gives me a chance to practice my hand lettering and change out my chalkboards with different sayings to reflect the mood of the season.

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I seem to have fallen in love with wood slices this summer, and I’ve also been using them like crazy in my decorating. I added these wood slice ornaments to the tree this year. I used my Sihouette to cut out a template for the words, and then painted them.

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I’ve always struggled with the cold weather half of the year, but honestly, I do love the change of seasons. Changing the decor inside my house is just one more way I’ve been enjoying the variety of what’s happening outside. Instead of dreading winter, decorating helps me embrace it!

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So, what about you? Do you like to decorate for different seasons? Do you have a decorating style? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

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when family comes around

when family comes around

So often in life I feel like an oddball. I have a weird sense of humor. I feel the need to be creative all. the. time. When I hear a favorite song from my past, I like to sing out. Like at the top of my lungs.

But there’s that one group of people that gathers around a few times of year that actually gets me. I don’t have to explain my jokes. I don’t have to explain why we might want to do a craft on Thanksgiving Day. Nope. They just jump right in and turn on the 70s music and sing out.

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When my kids were younger, I think they were actually a little intimidated by my side of the family. I’m the youngest of four children, which makes them the youngest of the 14 grandchildren on my side. Each of my siblings is highly creative.

My oldest sister sings and plays multiple instruments. My second sister is a professional clay artist, creating designs for a major polymer clay company. And my brother left his career in business to build motorcycles from scratch. Behind his huge motorcycle dude persona, he is a talented artist and loves painting ceramics with his two daughters. All of my nieces and nephews also are highly creative so when we get together it’s not unusual to cover the table in butcher block paper so everyone can draw, doodle or do creative lettering while we talk.

This Thanksgiving, I was relieved that when I suggested we paint rocks, I didn’t get one funny sideways glance. Nope. They were in. No complaints or objections or “let’s go watch football.”

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Of course, the only problem is they are all so creative that they make me suddenly feel like I have no artistic talent whatsoever!

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Here’s mine:

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Now that my kids are getting older, they appreciate my crazy family. They are starting to understand our shared weird sense of humor. And the need to sing out. It’s fun to watch our kids get in the mix and practice their own creativity. Our oldest son jumped in by creating a video of our silliness.

Thankfully, we can all laugh at ourselves!

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How about you? Does your family do anything unusual when you are together?

 

 

 

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