Thursday, December 31, 2015

papertrey ink moments inked 2016 planner review

Well, here we are at the end of another year together, friends.  I tell you, nothing happened the way that it was supposed to in this last month, but there were many blessings, nonetheless.  And as we ready ourselves to propel forward into 2016, I've got a look at some tools from Papertrey Ink to help you get organized.  Oh, and I made a video for this blog post, which is a challenge I have been putting off for months.  But I've done it!

The reason for the video was to give you a glance into the Moments Inked 2016 Planner System from PTI.  It is worth the look, I promise you, so please take a few minutes and watch--but keep in mind that it's the first video I've ever done in my entire life, and I was in the middle of a cold so please be kind.

This year, the planners are coming in two formats--a spiral bound and binder edition.  While I had been planning to primarily use the binder, I'm actually quite taken with the spiral version as well.  It's much thinner than last year's book, as they've taken out the daily pages, and what's left after you remove those is a perfectly sized and manageable planner.  The silver metal coil is a big improvement, too, and with the cover I chose (there are several covers to pick from), it looks so light and airy (but the metal coil actually feels a whole lot sturdier than the plastic one from last year).  I really love it!

The video gives you an overview of the inside--it's almost exactly the same as it's predecessor, and I find nothing wrong with that.  There are monthly and weekly pages, along with a few lined pages at the end of the month for extra notes.  It's compatible with all of 2015's dies and stamps sets, as well, so there's no need to buy a whole new set of products.

When Nichole told us they were coming out with a binder version, I couldn't wait for it.  I've been shopping for a binder planner for months but because I'm somewhat indecisive when it comes to them and the market is saturated, it's hard to choose.  I also don't need, nor do I want 10 different planners, so I just kind of gave up on them until I heard about PTI's.

I'm happy I waited because I love this!  They offer a few color choices (Natural Tan, Ebony, Stone Gray), and I chose the White for it's clean, crisp appearance.  It looks and makes me feel very professional--which is sort of a weighty thing to say about a planner, but I think you know what I mean.  My favorite thing about a binder planner is the ability to tuck everything into it, close it up, and take it anywhere.  Whether anywhere is the kitchen, the grocery store, or on vacation, it's just convenient.

So, what's inside of this thing?  Well, again, it's very similar to last year's setup, without the daily pages.  It's important to note that the content is exactly the same for the binder and spiral versions, so whatever your preference is in format, you won't miss out.

You can set yourself a few goals at the beginning of the year.  Whether you're a fan of resolutions or not, a little goal setting is good for you, I feel!

Begin each month with an inspiring quote...One of my favorite attributes from last year so I'm happy these are back.

See the entire month at-a-glance...

And the week, too...This year, the days aren't broken down into sections anymore, and I'm happy with that change, as well, since most of our appointments are happening in the earlier part of the day rather than the latter.  I always ran out of room to write in 2015!

Keep track of important contacts in the back of the book, and there are pages for important dates at the front.  I used both of these tools quite a bit in my 2015 planner, which means they'll be easy to fill in for 2016!

One of the best things of all are these notepads!  I am a list maker--all day long, I make lists--and I'm pretty sure there isn't a monthly planner out there that has enough room for all of the random and necessary things I jot down on a daily basis.  That's why I love these list pads so much!  They are incredibly convenient, they're unlined and unadorned with design, and they slide right into the back cover of the binder.  The 3.25" x 6.5" sheets of linen paper are the perfect size for grocery lists and daily tasks.  So, yes, I will truly need a lot of them!

And lastly, do you see the little white Post-it notes?!  PTI has those now, too--and they even come in a larger, 3" x 6" size--so perfect for lists!  No more icky neon green Post-its clashing with my PTI colors!  Though I'm a fan of fluorescents through and through, I just can't do them in these already colorful planners.

As a completely vain aside, the white binder, with its gold details, pairs so well with my new Boden bag (a Christmas present to myself) and a couple of my favorite notebooks.  2016 is looking good already!

Still want to see more of the Moments Inked Planner System?  Check out the following posts by Nichole and the MI gals for their takes on it!

Sign up for the Moments Inked Newsletter here and fresh ideas for using the MI Planner System will magically appear in your inbox every Monday!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

25 days of gift wrap :: expect the unexpected

This month, I'm borrowing a few of my Gossamer Blue projects for the kick off of my first 25 Days of Gift Wrapping series.  If you come around here often enough, you might be aware that I love wrapping gifts!  From wrapped packages to decorated bags--and the gift tags that go with them--I adore it all.  So with the holiday wrapping season in full swing, I got a wild hare--a really wild hare--to share 25 days of different wraps with you.  I'll make the disclaimer right now that I won't be blogging every single day until Christmas (you see I'm already 3 days late!).  Yet I will be posting festive packages every couple of days with a tip or technique, and after playing catchup on Instagram later today, I'll be sharing a wrap every day over there.

My first theme is to expect the unexpected.  I created these packages with the December kits from Gossamer Blue.  Since they released all the Christmas-related kits last month, I challenged myself to use nontraditional color schemes and wrap my gifts with products that were not intended for Christmas.  Shall we see how they turned out?

*In addition to the GB December kits, I also used a few easy-to-find embellishments like tulle and twine, bottle brush trees, and miniature deer (all found at craft stores like Michael's and Joann).  And if you're wondering about the backdrop for my photos this month, I tore pages out of a wintry Boden catalog; I was feeling like I needed to change up the simple white background and I must tell you, I'm so glad I did!

This teeny gift is my favorite of today's bunch.  I wrapped my gift in gold-dotted paper from Paper Source and then embellished with 4 simple elements.  From the beginning, I knew I'd be using the gold sequin star for one of the gifts and when I paired it with the faded red floral 'treasures' card, it was instantly festive!  By adding the red crochet thread and tiny sisal tree, it's most definitely a sweet gift to slip into a stocking.

Pink, yellow, and teal green are not your mother's Christmas colors (at least they never would have been my mother's!).  However, when you mix them with gold, another bottle brush tree, and the mini plastic deer (that I spray-painted gold), it sure looks Christmasy to me.  Oh, and using the word JOY always works!

I layered the floral tag on a colorful Life Pages card, which I then adhered to a black and gold treat bag--those bags are awesome and so saturated in color!  I put a handful of red tinsel (from Walmart) inside the bag, which gives the package a festive pop.  And then there's the tassel!  I've been going tassel-mad lately so I was all heart-eyes to see these by Maggie Holmes in the Bits & Pieces kit.  I guess this means I have to step up my tassel-game with some glittered and painted wood beads!

If you're going to give a food treat, why not use food-safe packaging, like this Starbucks bag I used to wrap up some chocolates.  The bag already has a holiday design and I glammed it up a bit with glitter stickers from the Themed LP kit.  I tied on a couple different trims and another little tree and the rest is all GB!

The 'CHEERS!' LP card is bright and happy (and I love to pair red and yellow together) and 'CHEER' is one of my favorite Christmas words, so while it's intended purpose may have been to celebrate the New Year or a means of congratulations, it makes a fantastic holiday tag, too.  I always like to layer a few small pieces with a larger piece so I combined skinny flag tags by Basic Grey (adding glitter and foil tape to their tops), with die cut leaves (the glitter leaf is from a November 2014 GB kit).

If we imagine this was a present a day for the first 3 days of December, I'm all caught up with 25 Days of Gift Wrapping--until tomorrow :)  And do get your GB kits now if you haven't already--you can do so many different things with them and DO NOT miss the Gallery this month.  If you ever need inspiration, I'm telling you, you'll find it in there!

Monday, November 16, 2015

moments inked :: random acts of kindness

November always gives us a gentle nudge to be kinder, more grateful, and more thoughtful of what someone else might be experiencing...Friday the 13th was World Kindness Day; the 26th is Thanksgiving.  I've been recording 3 things I'm grateful for each day in my Papertrey Ink Moments Inked planner and now I'm motivated to take it a step further by paying it forward.  I have a lot to share today; a few RAKs, a little bit of packaging, what the diligent practice of mindfully being thankful every day has done for me, and even a fun way to upcycle those inspiring quote pages at the beginning of each month in the MI planner.  Read on!

I've tried to spend a little time each night preparing for the next day.  I like the way the pages in the MI planner are laid out and I've tried to use them as a guide for my daily tasks as much as I can.  Admittedly, I am not habitual about this, and sometimes, life throws curves at me, and my moments of reflection and preparation must be nixed in favor of a hectic workload, time with family, or much-needed sleep.  But the one part of the page that I am habitual about (and will even go back several days later to fill in) is the gratitude section.  I've heard from several sources that taking the time to write down 3 things you are grateful for each day makes a significantly positive impact on your life.  

So I've been trying it out.  When I received my planner in February, I noted that I would be using these pages every day and tracking my progress.  I will be honest and tell you that I was big-time slacking through July.  And it showed in my mood, motivation, and health.  How do I know?  Because I've been really good about keeping up with this portion (especially the Be Grateful part) since August and there's been a huge improvement.  I won't go into all the specifics, but I'm feeling better, more positive, and it has put a lot of things in perspective.  There were things I wasn't seeing--or didn't want to see--and things I wasn't doing, and I was spending a lot of time focusing on subjects that just weren't important.  When I started to use the page as a lifestyle guide, positive changes began to occur.  Thinking ahead about meal planning instead of ordering takeout because I was working until 6 and then had no clue what to have for dinner meant more of a variety and better nutrition for my family (and a lot less guilt for me).  It also meant dropping 15 pounds!  Looking ahead to the major tasks of the next day meant less time running around unhinged because I was no longer dropping the ball and forgetting important due dates and appointments.

(I won't make this sound like all you have to do is write a few things down in your journal and major life changes will fall into your lap, because that's not what happens.  This system doesn't work unless you do.  It does take mindful effort and thought, but the results are worth it.)

Another thing I've been thinking and making mental notes about is being kinder.  There is always someone worse off than you.  When you're having a bad day and nothing is going right and everyone is demanding your time, it's difficult to remember (or even care) that someone is battling a terminal disease, has just lost a loved one, or is living in a war-torn country far, far away from your own little world, and these issues you're facing today are minute in comparison to that.  This isn't a lecture--I, too, am guilty of forgetting the plights of others--it's simply a reminder.  When I started paying attention to the many reasons I had to be thankful instead of the few reasons I had to be angry and spiteful, my mindset changed and, soon after, so did my outlook on life.

That being said, the second part of this post is about paying it forward.  There are beautiful quotes at the beginning of each month in the MI planner and they are great reminders of these same feelings I've been having lately.  Let's show kindness instead of anger, love instead of hate, encouragement instead of spite.  You can show kindness in small ways--just being polite and saying thank you when someone holds the door for you is kindness in a small way.  Then when it's your turn, hold the door for someone else.  Doesn't it make you feel good when a complete stranger pays you a compliment or says hello with a smile?  Try doing the same for another person.  Small gestures, yet they mean so much and don't cost a thing.

Then again, sometimes it's nice to spend a few dollars on a friend who's going through a rough time.  A random act of kindness is a nice way to show you care.  With just a few supplies and framed MI quotes, I made meaningful gifts to pass on to friends.

The first gift is a 'just because you're my friend' present and is truly random.  I trimmed and framed July's quote about rising each morning and responding with love and kindness.  Next, I decorated a small muslin bag with some tassels and an Aqua Mist felt bow (made from the dies in the Beaded Holiday kit as seen in this post).  I made a small tag with the Divided die and stamped RAK on it.  You can find the RAK stamp in the Planner Banners stamp set.  I packed up some winter face balm (that I bought solely because of the gorgeous tin!) and together, they make a thoughtful, inexpensive gift for a dear friend.

The second set of gifties I put together was inspired by April's quote, and is random in the fact that the recipient will not be expecting it.  A friend of my mother-in-law is going through a difficult time and she is one of the kindest souls on earth.  The outlook embodied in this quote is so fitting for her, because I know that despite her current hardship, she is not feeling sorry for herself.  In her situation, I'm not sure I would be able to exhibit the same strength.  She is incredibly thoughtful and I'm hoping my small gesture will let her know that she, in turn, is thought of often.

I used the tiniest of tiny heart stamps to decorate a plain white bag, big enough to hold a gift card.  I stamped the heart repeatedly on the bag with Melon Berry ink and then added a few embellishments--tassels again, some gold trims, Melon Berry twill ribbon, and 2 banner die cuts.

I used the RAK stamp again here; the bitty heart is from the same set, Planner Banners.

You don't have to spend a lot of money or time to be a good friend or to work toward a positive lifestyle change.  Baby steps and small efforts are enough to get the ball rolling, but it does take commitment and a willingness to try.  Is it hard?  Sometimes, yes.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely!

Papertrey Ink Supplies used:
Moments Inked 2015 Memory Planner (planner and quotes)
Ink:   Melon Berry
Felt:  Aqua Mist

Thursday, November 5, 2015

gossamer blue :: november :: zebra wrap

Hello again!  I'm back today with another wrapped present using the Gossamer Blue November kits.  Gus went to a birthday party for a schoolmate recently and I needed to come up with some kid-friendly packaging.  Zebras anyone?

I happened to have just found the blue striped fabric remnant at the store last month and as I sorted through the Amy Tangerine die cuts from the Main Add-on kit, I came across the blue zebra.  It could not have been a more perfect find!  Because the patterns are bold, I went with a lot of white space and small pops of other colors.  The aqua is subtle and analogous to the darker blue, while the orange is warm and bright and compliments them both.

Since this gift is for a 5 year old, I didn't want it to be complicated to unwrap so I used plain white wrapping paper and just a small strip of the fabric with a length of silvery twine.  The card/tag is adhered to the front of the box with a couple glue dots.

Just because I was wrapping for a boy doesn't mean it has to be boring, though, right?  Simple embellishments like the H for his name, a cork tag, and those color pops will appeal to him, and to Gus, from whom I took a couple of my cues.  I had the orange tassel on my desk and he kept stopping by to admire and touch it so I thought, why not?  It happened to match the 'start here' Life Pages card and was the prompt I needed after the initial zebra theme was in my head.

His October birthday puts Gus in Transitional Kindergarten instead of regular Kindergarten in the state of California so all of his classmates have birthdays between September and December.  That makes for lots of birthday parties in a short amount of time, and lots of wrapping for this Mama!  (Luckily, that's my specialty :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

gossamer blue :: november :: sticker bags

Happy November!  It's a new month which means new kits from Gossamer Blue!  You can see the new kits in their shop and the gallery is open, too, so you can peruse the Design Team's gorgeous work with them.  This month, I've gone gift wrap crazy!  You'll notice this if you take a peek at the gallery; the only projects you'll see from me are pretty packaging techniques.  Gift wrapping plays a pretty big role at this time of year so I used that as an excuse to prepare various presents for friends, teachers, and family (and the occasional empty box!) with all sorts of different wrappings.

This has got to be the simplest wrap I've ever done, but I have to tell you that I love the way it turned out.  In the Main Add-on kit was a sheet of clear stickers from Amy Tangerine.  I will admit that while I always love the designs of clear stickers such as these, they are not my favorite things to work with.  They work great as photo overlays, but since I rarely use photos in my work, that use generally doesn't apply to me.  Using them on paper or card stock is great, but they're super-sticky (and clear) so if you have to re-position, you risk paper transfer which is quite visible.  So clear stickers aren't a product I've ever used too much.  Until now.

Now that I've discovered this technique, I will use them all the time!  I decided to try them out as a decoration for a muslin bag.  And it worked!  Because they're super-sticky and incredibly thin, they appear to be almost one with the bag.  If you have to re-position, the bags don't rip.  Yes, tiny fibers may still stick to the back of your stickers, but they aren't noticeable like a swatch of paper would be.  They're more malleable than their thicker paper counterparts so they bend with the bags and they do not fall off.

I love this so much!  It's such a quick option for hectic schedules and last minute gifts.  Run a bone folder over them a few times for a stronger hold and to iron out any wrinkles.

For the crafty bag below, I added a couple extra elements like the scissor die cut and the pink puffy clothespin sticker adhered to a white tag.  A bright yellow tassel completes the look.  Quite possibly, I've used tassels on all of my wraps so far this month!  I made the tassel from embroidery floss but the other embellishments are also from Amy Tangerine.

The muslin bags I used are 5" x 7" but this adornment will work with any size since the stickers also come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Another handmade tassel mixed with pieces from the GB kits to accent this pretty floral bag.  The minty alpha can be found in the Main kit while the polka dot washi is in the Main Add-on.  If you haven't ordered your November kits yet, do it soon!  Better yet, become a subscriber; they get first dibs on all the add-ons!

Again, be sure to check out the DT Gallery for loads of inspiration.  I noticed that a lot of the gals made pretty packaging samples so if you're a gift wrap fiend like me, you're in for a real treat!  I have a LOT of wrapping coming your way this month, so stay tuned...Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 2, 2015

gossamer blue october reveal :: pretty packages

We've made it to autumn!  That's officially become my favorite season, in part due to the change in the weather (well, not where I live, but I think cooler weather might on the horizon) and because there are a lot of fun things to be packed into this season--Gus's birthday, Halloween, pumpkins, Thanksgiving, and the overall sense of togetherness.  Since it's my favorite season, I couldn't be more excited to approach my latest Gossamer Blue projects with fall in mind.

The GB October kits are filled to the brim with autumn-themed elements and I had the best time working with them.  It seems like these kits just keep getting better and better!  I did an awful lot in the colors you see here--deep purple, turquoise, dark wood, and gold.  There were other colors represented in the kit, as well, but the purple in particular stood out.  I'm actually not usually a big fan of purple, though I've always loved this shade.

The first thing I think of when it comes to fall is giving.  I'm sure it's due to all the obvious reasons--Thanksgiving, gift giving, a general feeling of wanting to extend yourself to make someone else happy.  My projects this month centered around that concept.  I made a lot of tags, some cards, and then wrapped up some cute little packages, too.

Purple and gold are so pretty together; while my favorite color to pair with gold is blush pink because it's soft and sweet, I think this purple hue with gold is elegant and sophisticated (I am neither of those things, mind you!).

You'll probably notice me using a lot of mini cupcake liners on projects this month; they're simply the best things since doilies and I'm hooked.  Plus, I happened to find them in this deep purple so how could I NOT use them?  It's such a quick and perfect little package topper to layer one with a handful of die cuts (acorns and a glittered circle, in this case).  With a washi covered mini clothespin, and a few elements from my stash, my wrap was complete.

The second gift features a pale pink cupcake liner nested with another die cut, this fantastic wood and paper arrow, and a brad.  I used a few of my own products here, too.  Lace and seam binding are always within reach and you can't go wrong with leaves during the autumn months.

The October kits featured products from Pink Paislee, Simple Stories, My Mind's Eye, and Dear Lizzy.  You can check out the GB shop where you can purchase any of the kits (hurry--they sell out fast!), or check out the DT Gallery--I'm always blown away looking around there--my teammates are truly creative wonders!

Later this month, I'll be sharing a look into my tag-making process on the GB blog.  In the meantime, you can see some extra tags in the gallery, and I'll be posting more about those right here in a couple of days.  Happy fall, friends!