Tag Archives: planners

Technique Tuesday—Part Two of the Planner


Yesterday, I wrote about how I’m trying to be a planner. One thing I do with my planner is keep “memories.” As I’ve said before, I have scrapbooked, and I still enjoy making the large 12 by 12 layout and playing with paper and embellishments and photos and words. But I’ve scaled down, too, to putting images in my planner instead of the larger scrapbook. Here is one thing I do.

After I make my basic edits in Lightroom, I save them in sizes that I can post to emails or to Facebook or to use in blog entries. (I use the For Email—Hard Drive setting in the Export menu of Lightroom). Then I have fun.

Now, I’m all about easy. There are templates and such in the Lightroom Print module to create photo film strips and collages, but you can’t beat the ease of the online app at www.befunky.com. It is seriously “easy as pie.” First, I select the images I want to play with and upload them to BeFunky.

Then I choose the Collage Maker option. image

From that point, I select the kind of collage I want—a Facebook cover (I haven’t done that yet) or a grid or some other option. Then I choose the autofill option, let the app plug in the photos, and rearrange them if I want to by dragging and dropping into place.


Then I save the completed image to my folder with the originals, and, Viola!, I am done. I can print out the image on my printer or just hold on it. The app also allows you share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Tumblr.

I used some images from Sunday’s Trunk or Treat at my church to create a couple of quick collages to put in my planner:

Trunk or Treat

Trunk or Treat 2

BeFunky is free, as are many photo editing apps online, but there is also a premium version that gives the user more options. I opted for the premium version, and I am glad I did. It is worth the $25.00 annually for more options and more ways to “express” myself with the images.

Starting the Week—Planning the Days of My Life


Are you a planner and super organized and know exactly how each day will go?

I am NOT a planner or an organizer; I tend to be more “big picture” and “spontaneous” when it comes to planning. I tend to think of things in terms of routines and practices rather than schedules and to-do lists. Sometimes, I wish I were more organized and scheduled and planned, but things are as they are, right? Maybe it’s just that I’m more flexible and adaptive.

I have been experimenting with different ways to plan or design my days. Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher, but I love planners and office supplies and pens and fancy paper clips (and not so fancy ones, too). I have a collection of colored pens and markers. I even have a box of 64 Crayola crayons! I print off planner stickers.

I have FOUR planners: one is for the “everyday” things; one is to track my daily Bible study and to keep prayer requests; a third one tracks my blog entries, and the fourth one is work-related to keep my class schedule and related meetings and tasks. untitled

When I started getting serious about planners and calendars, I found out that there are more ways to skin the planner cat than one. There’s “Right Brain Planning” (Teresa Robinson is the guru), Fauxbonici planning (based on the Japanese system of Hobonici planniing); bullet journaling, and “creative” planning. There are systems that invite you to set your goals for the day, week, month, year, five years, ten years, and life; there are systems that include appointment calendars and to-do lists. There are systems that use codes and symbols and colors. . . . And there are art-journal inspired planners (or unPlanners as one group calls them).

Is it any wonder that I am a bit overwhelmed now with planning and trying to get my life organized?

I have to admit, though, that I am caught up with the Happy Planner system produced by Me and My Big Ideas (MAMBI). here’s the story: I was a scrapbooker (and still am, though not as much as I used to be); I want to keep memories in some kind of way, whether through journaling or through scrapbooking or something else. However, now that my children are own their own, I do less scrapbook pages. I discovered, though that the Happy Planner is a convenient way to keep memories and do some planning and scheduling. It is becoming my way of keeping a record of life. I sometimes include photographs that are meaningful to that day. I punch holes in invitations that I want to keep, birth announcements, quote cards that I find, things like that. And you know what? I have a kind of scrapbook. I can look back and see what was important to me on a particular day or during a particular week or month. I can see what the important events were, like the days of Hurricane Matthew that created havoc for South Carolina’s coast or the church’s homecoming services and family reunions and my son’s band competitions. I can write ahead and put in future events—an upcoming bridal shower for my son’s fiancee, for instance, and keep track of the choir anthems that I need to learn.untitled-3

The main thing I’m learning about planning is that merely writing an event or a task down does not get it done. I list “photography” as one of my daily activities. (It’s almost noon and I haven’t picked up the camera yet! And I listed going for a walk as one of my activities for today, and I’m still in my pajamas. Nor have I yet practiced the anthem for Sunday morning, and we have choir rehearsal tomorrow night.untitled-5

I am using these planners, though, and someone in the future will have “fun” figuring out how I am through these little snippets of my days and weeks and months and years.

The Book of Days: An Art Journal Approach to Planning and Documenting Life


I think it’s because I am a teacher and learned a long time ago that I needed to “plan.” I have to admit, though, that linear planning and step-by-step planning is not easy for me. I know what I need to do to accomplish a task, whether it’s writing a lesson plan for myself or for the substitute, or making a grocery list or organizing my “to-do” list for the day. But somehow, I get stuck. It doesn’t always work to my advantage. Yet, I know I need some kind of way to keep up with those things as well as to keep up with appointments and other events. There are times when I call my planners my “brain.”


I turned into a scrapbooker some seven or eight years ago. Since my boys are grown, I have not kept up with it, and in fact, I have to admit that I have not scrapbooked a layout for a couple of years I miss being creative that way. But one kind of project I’ve tried off and on is the “Book of Days,” a kind of informal scrapbook of snips and snaps and bits and bobs of everyday. Then I sort of dropped out of that project; life got in the way.

This year, I have returned to the idea of the book of days, but I also discovered a different way of planning and recording day-to-day life: art journals and creative planners. First, I discovered the “No Excuses Art” website and the daily approach to art journaling. I thought, “I can do that.” The idea is to take ten minutes or so a day and create a daily entry, using some sort of day planner. I bought an inexpensive week-at-a-glance planner from WalMart and jumped right in. Each day, I do these things: choose a color of the day and a word to describe my mood or feeling or motivation, and draw the weather. Once I get these ideas down, then I bring out the paints, either watercolor or acrylic, and I add color to the day. If there are any “events” or “marching orders,” I write those in, too. That’s the absolute minimum. It’s not much, bur it’s a little bit of art.


Another way I am using my planner is to keep my word of the year/month and the theme for the month in the forefront. My word this year is “abide.” I am still feeling my way around that word, and my word for January is “emerge.” The theme of the Documented Life Project for January is “Going Out on a Limb: Trying Something New,” and this art-journal approach to planning is certainly something new for me.


I’ve added things to my planner, too, such as envelopes to hold ephemera of all sorts, including feathers that I may find while walking outside, photographs I want to hold on to, things I’ve cut out from magazines, postcards—you name it, it goes in an envelope. I taped these envelopes into the planner with washi tape. I add tip-in pages taped to the edge of the page. I may print out a photobooth strip of photographs that I’ve taken that week and tape it as a tip in. I’ve also added additional pages for notes, drawings, doodles, and other attempts at “art.” It’s only January, and already my planner is thick and bulky, and I love it.


Now, the question is: is this making planning any easier? Not really. I think I will always resist the linear aspect of planning. However, this approach to keeping a planner is a little like keeping a diary of day-to-day activities. At some point, I can go back to my book of days and see what I’ve done, where I’ve been, and what was important to me at the time. When I return to more formal scrapbooking, I will have some kind of “record” that I can use to find material for the scrapbook layouts.


In a way, the book of days becomes a kind of scrapbook on its own. There are many scrappers who believe that everything should be acid-free and archival quality. For this project, I am not at all concerned about those things. I don’t anticipate this project “lasting” for very long, historically speaking. And if it does last, I’ll let my posterity worry about conserving it! This project is solely for me. And for now, I am enjoying it.


  • some kind of day planner (I’m using the PlanAhead planner with the really big print!)
  • watercolor and/or acrylic paints
  • colored pencils
  • markers
  • journaling pens
  • glue sticks (I like the giant sized Elmer’s Craft Glue stick)
  • images, photographs, words cut from magazines, old books, newspapers, etc.
  • ephemera (ticket stubs, receipts, napkins, the sleeve from a disposal coffee cup from the coffee shop, etc.)
  • photographs
  • scotch tape
  • envelopes
  • tags
  • tabs to mark pages
  • scrapbook patterned paper and card stock
  • embellishments of all sorts
  • stamps and stamp pads
  • washi tape
  • stickers

Some useful websites and other resources:

No Excuses Art Journalingwww.noexcusesart.com This was the first art journal planner I saw. I bought the book No Excuses Art Journaling for my Kindle, and I have been using it as a source for ideas for my book of days. Gina offers a class, but it is pricey at $97.00, but her videos are interesting, and she demonstrates a lot of techniques. I am not sure I would buy the class again (although I believe that I have benefited from it greatly). Some of the classes and websites listed below have similar content for MUCH less or for free.

The Documented Life Projecthttp://www.arttothe5th.com/journal/2015/11/25/documented-life-project-2016-are-you-ready In order to take advantage of this resource, you have to buy the class, but it is very reasonable ($12.00 for the year). You get fifty-two weekly prompts, plus free downloads for materials to use, admission to a private Facebook group for inspiration, and access to the Art to the 5th resources. That’s pretty cheap, compared to some other classes I’ve signed up for!

The Right-Brain Planner– http://www.rightbrainplanner.com/ Teresa’s materials are for sale only, but she does have a Facebook group that you can join for inspiration and ideas. She posts frequently on her blog so that you can see how she plans. I have subscribed to her monthly pages (about $8.00 for the booklet of materials), and I get some really good ideas from her.

The Reset Girl– http://christytomlinson.typepad.com/christy_tomlinson_worksho/the-creative-planner-online-class.html Again, this is another online class, but it’s also fairly reasonable in price at $34.95. You get access to tons of videos of instructors who suggest and teach a variety of techniques as well as a list of resources to get supplies or to make your own. The only drawback to the classes and videos offered is that they are tied to a particular style and size of planner. However, I am finding that, as is the case in most things, you can adapt to use your own materials and re-create some of them using what you have without buying more stuff.

Pinterest: Don’t we all love Pinterest! Actually, I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. I look at what others have created, and let the ugly comparison bug get me. But there are numerous boards for creative planners. Just do a search for creative planners or art journal planners or some other variation, and you will have more inspiration that you can stand!

http://www.heathergreenwooddesigns.com/2015/05/my-mixed-media-art-worship-faith.html–I have only skimmed this page, which I found through Pinterest. I’m going to take another, closer look and maybe incorporate some of these ideas into my “book of days” as well. It is a Faith planner of sorts with sections for Bible study, prayers, sermon notes, and the like.

https://www.pinterest.com/mambipins/the-happy-plannertm/ I think this is another board I will have to check out.

Levenger– http://www.levenger.com/ I love the Arc notebook system, and I use their products for my school stuff. I even bought TWO of the special hole punchers so that I have one at home and one at school. You can add pages, rearrange pages, and insert “stuff” as needed. You can order from the Levenger website, or you can buy the materials from Staples (that’s where I get mine). Sometimes, as I work on my planner, I wish I had begun with the Arc system, and I may have to go to that if my planner does not hold up to use. (See how stuffed it is?)