Friday, October 31, 2014

Plan away!

Betsy's Planner
I have had fun this past week although it was a rocky start.  I always love this time of year with school supplies and new calendars and planners. I usually just browse the planners anymore, because I've never found one that would work for me for more than a few weeks. I've also tried to go digital and that doesn't quite work either. I'm a list maker and I just flat out like paper. Then I saw this video by Jennifer McGuire about an awesome planner. Hmmm, maybe I'd try a planner again. Then I checked it out and it was $50! Sure, maybe it would be worth it if it actually worked for me, but guess what? I don't have $50 extra in the budget. Yes, I was bummed at first until I decided to make my own but better! This is my working prototype. I want to make sure that I will use it and I want to make adjustments to make it even better for me.

I decided I wanted the pages to be 8.5" x 11 when the book was opened up, or 5.5" x 8.5" individual pages. That size would make for easy printing once I worked out the calendar template (yes I drew my own calendar, blog and project pages.) The divider pages and cover are just slightly larger. My planner, when closed, measures about 9" x 6.25" including the lamination edge and spiral binding.  I started with Lanaquarelle 140# Rough watercolor paper by Strathmore (it was in a sampler pad I have) about 12"x 9.5". I had a ball drawing, and used these official Zentangle® patterns: Paradox, Jetties, Squid, Diva Dance, Meer, Florz, Hollibaugh, Keeko, Static, and Yincut. Of course I had to add my own tangles Maryhill and Egg and i.

Before shading
After shading
Sure, I didn't have to shade, but who wouldn't want too? Check out the difference shading makes! Next I trimmed it down and cut it in half. I was a little hesitant to laminate it, but knew the cover would need additional protection if I really intended to use it. I was amazed how nice it looks and feels after the lamination. You can actually see and feel the texture thru the laminate. For the dividers I cut up some cool folders I got from the back to school sales. I'm considering drawing my next divider pages and laminating them too. Did I mention, when I'm ready for my next calendar, I can simply pull this one apart and reuse the covers (assuming they hold up well)? I can also rebind anything I want to keep either in a separate book or in my new calendar.

Making the original template of the different sections took a little time and some grid paper, but the printing was the biggest challenge for me.  I was cutting the pages in half remember, and needed to make sure they could be cut down the center not screwing up a column and then printing in the correct direction on the back side. I have quite a few trials that are now scratch paper for my craftroom! I'm always a little nervous when I punch the holes for my books. I really didn't want to mess up my cover handiwork! My Bind-it-All handled the thick paper including the laminate nicely.  And I did my part by slowing down enough to make sure I had the placement just right before punching.  I had some red O wire that I hadn't even opened yet and I thought it went nicely with my drawing.

Planner from the back

My planner looks good from the front and the back. When opened, it lies flat or you can turn the front half completely behind the page you are working on. I have the calendar section, my blog section (to keep track of ideas to completed projects, noting when the photos are taken to whether they've been edited, watermarked, the post written and scheduled etc. ) I have a section for things I want to learn or focus on, class ideas and contact information. This planner has pockets! Pockets for Zentangle tiles, stickers, ATC cards and just stuff. One improvement slated for the next version is to add pockets for Bijou tiles so he can come along too.

Calendar sample

Aside from the drawing, the most fun I've had is coloring the repositionable stickers. That was on Jennifer's original video. Initially I questioned if I really wanted to use my Copics for that and I decided why not? The colors are gorgeous and I can have lots of variety. I'm totally happy with that decision.
Pockets for ATCs

Pocket for tiles

I'm happy that I couldn't afford that new planner.  I think I've got something better and it's certainly personalized.  I've realized that making my own planner and drawing my own template is a lot like Zentangle and it's string. It's just one step at a time and why does my calendar need to be so grid like? I think that string will change as I progress! For now I just need to schedule myself lots of Zentangle and craftroom time. Piece of cake! Hmmm, maybe I should schedule cake too!

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome! I too love to browse the planners, but find that I end up spread too thin - I track my stuff in multiple places, and keeping all of them up to date is challenging. However, I still have a lot of my old ones, when I was actively using paper and pen for tracking, and looking at them is a trip down memory lane. Your version may have me ditching everything I'm using, to be replaced by something very similar. What a treasure!