Future Planner Addicts Of America.

I took this picture in August of 2006. I captioned it back then as “These are all of the calendars/planners I’ve already bought this year. I think I have a problem.”

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You think Kim of 2006? THINK? 8 months into the year and you already bought SIX DIFFERENT CALENDARS/PLANNERS? YES. YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY.

(I haven’t done this in 3 years since I’ve been using the bullet journal system, FYI.)

And it wasn’t just calendars or planners. I was addicted to journals too because I liked to write things and there was never enough room in the calendars/planners. I remember my dad really losing his temper with me once over my compulsion with journals.

“YOU BOUGHT ANOTHER BLANK NOTEBOOK? BUT YOU HAVE THIRTY WITH JUST THE FIRST FEW PAGES USED IN EACH OF THEM!”

“…What’s your point, Dad? I’m not understanding the problem.”

Well…it looks like my daughter inherited the Planner/Journal Addict gene.

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But watching her exhibit the same tendencies has been enlightening because it turns out the constant need for journal/calendars is simply a manifestation of an INATE URGE TO PLAN. It’s not just a compulsion to buy the planners/journals. No! The purchases are the side effect of the compulsive desire to plan because I’m seeing it come out in my daughter and IT IS AMAZING.

She has to know all of the details of upcoming arrangements. SO SHE CAN PLAN ACCORDINGLY.

There is nothing that thrills her more than to have thought of something someone else did NOT think of and be able to ride in on her horse and save the day. When we went to Tennessee for a race I realized I forgot tall socks but SHE HAD BROUGHT EXTRAS. Of course she had.

Is it a week-long engineering camp? What are the rules about pencils because that one camp didn’t provide pencils and she was SO GLAD to have some of her own in her bag.

Will there be outside time? She needs to pack sunscreen if there will be, she does NOT want to get sunburned.

She also wants to be ready in case YOU forget something. Did you bring enough snacks? She brought plenty if you didn’t.

And the lists she makes!

We’re going to Colorado in 10 days and she’s been quizzing me constantly on various plans so she can update her list of Things To Pack.

On that list? 12 shirts. TWELVE. For a week-long trip.

“Nikki. There’s a washer and dryer. I plan on doing laundry while we’re gone because you’re the only one who has enough close to last the whole trip.”

“What if the washer breaks?”

Good point, kid.

She also has a page in a journal drawn out mapping out her and her brother’s plans for the summers. I have the EXACT PAGE in my bullet journal, but she thinks I might need backup.

I mean, my Dad was a planner and list-maker and I became one too so I don’t know why this is so surprised but OH MY GOD, SHE IS ONE OF US. WE MUST WELCOME HER INTO THE FOLD AND PROHIBIT HER FROM EVER ENTERING STAPLES WITH A CREDIT CARD.

Now. She still can’t remember to hang her wet towel up after a shower. And she “forgets” to brush her teeth daily. BUT MY GOD, she will remind me 14 times between now and our trip that I need to bring my reusable grocery bags with me since Colorado charges .10/bag if you have to use plastic at the store.

I’m Going To Staples Today!

I am so excited because I’m going to Staples today!

(What?)

BUT SERIOUSLY! STAPLES!

(WHAT?!?!)

I don’t go to office supply stores (Staples being the one on my end of town) often because I buy stuff I just don’t need. Like pretty notepads. Or new pens. Or card stock and stationary. Or notebooks. I don’t need any of that stuff. I have my solid winner favorite pens (Pentel EnerGel Liquid Gel Ink Metal Tip 7.0mm Retractable) and even though I kept buying new ones for years after I decided on those, I never found anything that really even came close. They even have multiple color packs – Target actually carries my FAVORITE color pack with the pink and aqua and orange – so I have no need to really ever buy another pen again. And I use only moleskin notebooks now as my notebook AND my daily planner so I have no need to even peruse those aisle.

YET STILL! I would buy some anyway if I wasn’t disciplined.

Some people go to AA to help them give up drinking, I use a twelve step program to keep me from buy new pens and journals.

(If I could think of a reason to buy a blank journal? I would. I MISS THEM SO BAD.)

IMG_5853BUT we need things today! I actually need some standard blue/black pens. I’m hoping Staples has just those colors and that I don’t have to buy the red/green with them. I have too many red and greens now! But the blue/black get used the most so I’m down to one of each color.

ONE! ONLY ONE? That’s blasphemy! The “fun” colors I have multiple of because when they’re on sale I buy more. (Full Disclosure: Since Staples doesn’t sell them I’m afraid they don’t make them any more and that as soon as Target’s stock is gone they’ll be gone forever and I’ll never have those colors again and then I’ll need therapy.)

I also need binder clips. Well, I really only need one binder clip but you can’t really buy just one. And binder clips are SO CUTE nowadays so I’m super excited to see what there is to offer. And I need a stapler. Why don’t I have a stapler? I’ve been using paperclips to hold paper together and that’s unnecessary. I WANT A STAPLER.

And finally? The reason I’m finally making the trip? Donnie asked for something. IT IS ALL HIS FAULT. He is my enabler. He needs some compressed air. And because of that I get to open up the “Staples” page in my bullet journal and buy the things listed on that page. I won’t let myself buy ANYTHING ELSE.

UNLESS!

Unless the washi tape is on sale. That stuff is so stupid-expensive that if it’s on sale I can’t help but stock up. Like I do with bread!

And yes – washi tape is as important as bread. Maybe moreso since I don’t eat bread.

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Can you make casual trips to an official supply store and not come out having spent $100 on pens you don’t need? What’s your office supply store weakness? Do you dream about office supplies? No? Just me then? Okay.

The Art Of Faking Being An Artist

I use that title in jest, a little bit. I feel very proud of my zendoodles and when/if people call them art? I take it.  But I also know as the person who is doing the art, that they are really nothing more than circles and lines and…well…that feels a little silly referring to that as “art.”

But! Either way! I wanted to do a “How To” since someone asked recently, and this seemed like a witty title!

(I’m fairly certain in all of the books of blogging out there, none of them would recommend spending the first 50 words of the entry explaining the title of the entry.)

The basics: My zendoodle tools. I use my moleskin bullet journal with dotted paper (which they don’t make in hardcover yet which MAKES ME CRAZY).  My moleskine has nice thick paper and rarely does the ink bleed through to the next page.  As you’ll see below there are a few bleed-throughs on the next page but I do a LOT of coloring, so that’s not bad considering. I used to put cardstock under the pages, but now i’m just too lazy. And my pens? (As you’ll see in the picture, which you can click to see bigger.) Pentel EnterGel Metal Tip 0.7 (NOT Needle Tip, they don’t color as smooth and they cut holes in the paper.)  Target has a nice color pack with pink and aqua, but Staples has the basic Red/Blue/Green/Black. Then you can buy purple separately, for some reason. So! Those are my tools! Now, let’s get started.

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Let me preface by saying this: There are some amazing things called “Zentangles” out there. But – from what I understand – Zentangle has some specific definition or requirements for use of the word. I really haven’t dug too far into it, because I like “zendoodle” better, but I’m just saying, I have NO idea if anything I do falls under the category “zentangle” but it DOES fall under the “zendoodle” category so…I’m calling it that.

But if you look up either word on Pinterest, you’ll see a lot of detail and precision you won’t see in my zendoodles. And that’s why I feel like mine are proof ANYONE can do it. None of my lines are perfectly straight or perfectly curved. I still haven’t figured out how to draw a circle correctly, and I’m constantly coloring over mistakes.

Now, zendoodling isn’t for everyone, but I firmly believe anyone can do it. If you ever liked to doodle in class or absentmindedly on the phone, then you should give this a try. And if you want to? Here are a few things I’ve learned.

The first and foremost is? Find inspiration. As I mentioned before, I have a Zendoodle Board on Pinterest where I pin examples of things that either A) inspire me or B) use lines/symbols/patterns I think I can learn.  I do not have an artist eye. I can’t just start from scratch. I love those “Paint and Drink” classes because they tell you exactly what to do. I need to have guidance. Once I have something to get me started, I’m good to go, but I can’t just look at a blank page and start drawing without any sort of pattern or idea in my mind as inspiration. I guess you can say I have the skill, but not the eye? I always feel like I like I can look at something and say, “That looks good.” (Especially with web design.) But I can’t necessarily make something that looks good from scratch without anything to guide me.

Second, but just as important? Work with what you know.  If you can draw flowers? Stick with flowers. If you can do complicated patters? Great. But if you are like me and can’t even draw a straight line or connect a circle in an actual smooth round pattern? That’s okay too.  One of my favorite parts of this zendoodle below? Is just the line pattern. I’ve been thinking about doing an entire page in that because – come on – how easy is that?

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It may take awhile to figure out what you can and can not do. I really like this one pattern I see a lot. I don’t know what to call it, but you see it a lot on mandalas and henna flowers. It’s the petal shape in the top right flower on this zendoodle.  It’s a simple shape, yet every time I try, I can’t make the left and the right side match. I have the same problem with hearts. I just can’t make something that is like a mirror reflection, and if you’re trying to repeat that pattern around a circle? And can’t even get one of the petals to line up right? It goes downhill fast.

I still try periodically, because it would be a nice shape to add to my limited wheelhouse, but I’ve kinda given up for now.

So, spend some time figuring out what you can do relatively easily. Some things don’t have to be perfect (my circles always suck) to work on a zendoodle, others kinda do. I kinda finally have a good stash of patterns and lines I can do relatively easily that don’t have to be perfect, so I use those same ones over and over again.

Now, like I mentioned, none of my zendoodles represent any sort of precision. I use dotted grid paper but I hardly ever use it to guide me. I’ve tried a few times, but I just have shaky hands (I blame 12 years of smoking) and a lot of impatience so I just roll with the constant imperfections. Because, when I stand back and look at the entire page when I’m done? I always love it. So…Tip #1? Don’t miss the forest for the trees.

3 close-ups and 1 full view proving how the imperfections fade in the end.

3 close-ups and 1 full view proving how the imperfections fade in the end.

 

I just finished that zendoodle above in yesterday’s car pool line. I love it, but MAN, I screwed up a million times. Because I was trying to repeat a pattern (swirls) and then connect those patterns with some sort of repeating loop, I really wanted there to be precision, but I gave up on that after the first swirl looked completely different from the second swirl. So, even though my bumps around a circle were supposed to be the same all the way around, they never were. Even though I wanted to have the same size circle or the same number of lines, it never worked out. I just am not precise enough, but when you stand back and look at the whole thing? It doesn’t matter.

Another thing is – there are no unfixable mistakes. IMG_5379

In reality? There are just no mistakes. But sometimes a line just really goes where you didn’t want it to go, and you want to undo it. This square here represents a lot of colored-in areas I didn’t intend to color in, but after messing things up, I just filled in over top and worked with the new, more solid patters. Small mistakes are easily colored in. But, sometimes there are BIG mistakes. Like the fact that I suddenly kept seeing glasses and a nose on that square above. I didn’t intend for it to be glasses and a nose, but that’s what I saw. So I tried to add doodles around it distracting it from that appearance.

Of course, I still look at at that square and see: Glasses and a Nose. But, I continued with the whole page and when I finished? There were too many other cool things going on over the page to really see the Glasses and the Nose any more. So, big mistakes often shrink in appearance.

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So, I think those are some good tips to get you started. I have pages and pages of abandoned doodles in the bullet journals on my shelf. I’m just now confident enough that I force myself to finish a page as close as possible before I call it “done”. That doesn’t necessarily mean I fill it, but it means I work until it feels complete. This bullet journal volume that I’m working on now? Has four complete zendoodles in it already. That’s the most of any volume I think to date. I’m really getting the hang of it and really enjoying it as a daily therapy session.

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Have you started doodling? Can I see yours now that I’ve shown you mine?

Bullet Journals: The Bare Essentials

UPDATE: I’ve moved all of my bullet journaling talk to BulletJournalJoy.com if you want to stop by and obsess with me over there.

A few people recently asked me…I’m thinking about starting bullet journaling, but what are the minimum requirements?

I probably make bullet journals look INSANE with my bag of pens and my customized folio and my washi tape and stickers. But y’all? You don’t need ANY of that.

All you need is a blank journal and a writing utensil.

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I don’t suggest you start with a Moleskine as that journal right there is $18 a pop. I did my first month+ with a $5 journal from Target just to A) Make sure I liked it and B) Get the hang of the basic system.

Once you have your journal and your writing utensil? Watch this video.

Then get going! Just use that video as a guideline. Other than the checkboxes and the index, I don’t use hardly any of his recommendations. When I watch the video now I laugh because he would probably HATE MY BULLET JOURNALS. But that’s the nice thing about this system, you can modify as you go. I fill up a Moleskine every 3’ish months so I get a clean slate to apply any new or different methods.

But seriously. That’s all you need to get started. Don’t be intimidated by my obnoxious personalization of the method nor my compulsion to cover EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD WITH SOMETHING PRETTY AND COLORFUL! Your bullet journal can be just as wonderful sans washi tape and zen doodles. I promise you.

(If you want more information, here is my huge bullet journal writeup that gives you way more details than you could possibly want and/or need.)

Bullet Journal Hack #4,765,222

How many times am I going to say, “Oh! Here’s something new I’m doing with my bullet journal!” I don’t know…maybe never? I’ve been using this method of organization for over a year now and I’m still modifying/improving it regularly.

It didn’t take long for me to decide that my bullet journal was an EXCELLENT place to store/document my children’s art work or school work. I think I started doing that with my second volume? The problem is, sometimes it’s just too big to put in the Moleskine. I’ve trimmed before, or folded over, but most of the things I think I’d like to save forever? Just don’t get put in because they’re on a standard size piece of paper and there’s really no way – without cutting – to put a standard size sheet of paper in my bullet journal.

A perfect example? This card Nikki made Donnie for his birthday.

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How fantastic is that? IT IS TOTALLY FANTASTIC. And before my bullet journal it would probably get thrown into the pile/box/folder of “Kid’s Art” and never seen again. But now! It can be stored in my bullet journal!

“But, Kim…How are you going to do that? IT IS TOO BIG!”

I know! But look at this genius idea that I had!

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BAM! I folded it up and stuck it in that tiny envelope! BOOM!

I know…I KNOW…I AM A GENIUS. You don’t need to tell me.

And y’all – I’ve learned over the last year that you can stick a lot of extra paper/tape in a Moleskine and that elastic strap will still hold it together. Now, since I have this folio for mine it doesn’t matter…but I’m not concerned about the pages become too thick. I’m more concerned about getting a big huge ego because I AM A DAMN GENIUS.

Carry on with your day, now. You’re welcome.