As a child I was a stationary addict – pens, pencils, paper, everything in between, I loved it all. Those tendencies have stuck around, but fabric addiction is stronger! However, lately I’ve been finding myself drawn to pens and paper again, and all because of sewing.
A few weeks ago, I was browsing one of the many sewing groups I’m a member of on Facebook looking for inspiration for my next make, when I came across a post from another member about how she tracks her patterns. She has a journal and in it she has listed all of the patterns she has, with a small cut out illustration of each, a note as to the designer, and some details about the type and amount of fabric needed for each. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Genius idea, and would be fantastic for someone like me who has about a million patterns spanning several categories – clothing, bags, other accessories, quilts blocks, crochet patterns, cross stitch charts….. You get the picture, right!? I just had to do it and I needed to come up with a great way of dealing with the variety, but I also want to keep notes on the things I make to look back on.
Pinterest called my name at this point… I started searching for things like craft journal ideas, creative journals, etc, but time and time again pins came up about bullet journals. I honestly had no idea what on earth this meant. The Bullet Journal was created by Ryder Carroll (Bulletjournal.com) and is labelled “the analog system for the digital age”. It is based around a principle of “Rapid Logging” – getting things down quickly in bullet format, to ensure that you utilise your journal to best effect. There is a defined structure and a method of organisation using symbols to denote whether something is an activity, event, idea or note, and whether it is complete, cancelled, scheduled or migrated (ie moved to another month/week’s to do list). I think I am a person who is quite organised so this appeals to me, although I really don’t feel the need to organise my entire life this way.
The original bullet journal concept, like all great ideas, has taken on a bit of a life of it’s own and is now used in a myriad of different ways. A look at Pinterest will show you thousands of pins with beautiful artistic spreads that undoubtedly took hours to achieve – this doesn’t strictly fit with the original somewhat minimalist principles but is a fantastic way for those with a creative streak to express themselves. And people use their journals to log so many different things – movie watch lists, mood trackers, spending, medical conditions, you name it’s there somewhere. Surely, I thought, there’s something here for me?
So I set about starting my first bullet journal inspired craft journal. I got myself a cute notebook on a trip to the zoo, bought some new pens and just went for it. From what I’d read, I knew that this was going to be a bit of a process of discovery for a few months at least and that I would have to figure out what I need and the format in which it works for me. Hurdle 1 to deal with – pen thieves! The Big One has just started primary school and is learning to write. He’s doing really well and in just half a term he’s come a long way, but he kept stealing my new pens. Cue me staying up late one night to make two new pencil cases (because obviously I can’t leave the little one out!) from the same pattern and going out to buy an extra set of pens to keep them away from mine 😂
These little pencil cases are technically make up bags…. It’s the Pixie Beauty Bag pattern by XOXO Lauren and I love it – it’s a really quick sew, doesn’t need a lot of fabric and is a perfect size and shape.
Hurdle 2 – I hated the way I set up for October. I started with only 2 weeks of October remaining so I didn’t’t set out to do much, just start getting into the habit of writing things down. So my first page (after my index, of course) was a kind of title page where I listed my goals for the remainder of the month, and started to keep a tally of my craft supply purchases. And then I thought I would simply log my creative activities in a kind of diary format, dated and using a little colour to highlight specific patterns. It is so messy!
So now I know what I definitely don’t want to do again….
November has now hit us, and I thought I would try organising all of this a bit better. So firstly I’ve set up a calendar view that I can add to as the month progresses. If I’m honest, I’m not sure if this is really going to work for me since i’m not planning my whole life here, just crafts, but I figured I would give it a shot. After that I have a page each dedicated to November Goals, Blog Ideas and Supply Purchases where I can list anything significant for the month.
I’ve decided to adopt a project based approach to entries rather than dating my work since the date really isn’t important and I figured it would be easier to index doing it my way. Now I just need to give it some time and see how it feels or if anything needs to be improved.
Thankfully, this is a kind of tester journal that I can mess up and play about with, and I plan to start 2018 afresh in a beautiful new notebook with my layout all worked out (nudge nudge, dear hubby, check my Amazon santa wish list 😀). I have my notebook picked out, I have ordered some stencils to help tidy up my presentation (since although I may have a creative streak I really cannot draw), and i’m eyeing up some swish new pens. The bullet journal aficionados have pet favourites for all these things so I thought I would give some of them a go. A few things I’ve already invested in are washi tape, some cute paper clips, and some Tombow brush pens.
Washi tape I love, and I plan to use it to mark the edges of index pages to ease of use and potentially for dividing sections of pages off. Paper clips are useful as book marks, but the Tombow pens I’m just not sure about at the moment. They are meant for drawing and can be used as watercolours if you apply a little water to the ink on the page. I was hoping that they would be good for some nice lettering but i’m not really getting it. Maybe I’m doing something wrong though! A lot of people who don’t draw go sticker mad in their journals, but I’m not sure this is my style. Maybe I’ll stick swatches of fabric I love in instead 😀
Looking ahead to 2018 I have decided on a few things, I think. May still change my mind in the next few months!
- An index, essential for all journals
- A two page year planner, divided by month to jot down important birthdays, craft fairs, deadlines etc
- An inventory of my clothing patterns noting type of pattern, designer and whether I’ve tried it
- An inventory of bag patterns, much the same as the clothing list
- An inventory of other patterns/recipes/other to encompass cross stitch, crochet, other sewing, cooking, whatever!
- An idea log – really just a spread to allow me to jot down brief bonkers ideas when they occur to me so that even if I don’t plan to do something with them immediately, I don’t forget them
I think one of the important things to remember about journals though, is that they are meant to help, not stress you out. So I’m going to try to be relaxed about it and enjoy the process and the organisation I’m hoping it will bring to me. And the stationary, got to love the stationary 😀 But if it ever feels like a chore, it’s out!
And now I’d best get back to ticking things off my November to do list and playing with my Tombow pens.
Love Mrs B x
PS – one of my goals for this month is to write 3 blogs posts, so this gives me a tick in one little box 😉