Organizing with Bullet Journals

I love making lists…that’s my happy place. When I first read about bullet journals this summer, I was immediately intrigued. They’re a little pricey, however, so I didn’t pursue that creative avenue. I may have already had a couple or twenty unfinished projects cluttering up my craft room. Then, when I found a pack of 6 Moleskine notebooks for less than $20 at Costco, I remembered the bullet journal concept.

It’s simple, really, and any notebook, composition book, or spiral would work. You can buy a journal already printed with a contents page and page numbers, but I’m pretty literate, so I was confident I could create my own from a blank notebook.  My middle schooler created one in math last year, in a grid-lined composition book. What a genius teacher…I didn’t realize that’s what a bullet journal is, but the method for notetaking and numbering the pages with a table of contents kept him organized all year, which is no easy task. Until he lost the whole notebook the week before school ended. But I’ve gone off on a tangent (see what I did there, with the math discussion?)Journal-Title-ChaosServedDa

“Throw kindness around like confetti” is one of my favorite phrases, so I used this sign from a Stampin’ Up! kit from last year, along with a few fun washi tapes, to embellish the front of one of the kraft journals. These are 7-1/2″ x 10″ journals, so can hold a lot of information. And lists.

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At the top of the first page, I wrote “Contents,” then “Page” and “Description.”  I also seized an opportunity to use a couple more tapes, and sketched a little cross-hatched strip between them. I plan to add to the doodling, down the side of the page, as the table of contents grows.

Next, I simply added a page number to the bottom corner of the page, and started making lists and notes.  As my demonstration teaching approaches, my hooligans are most worried about what we’ll be having for dinner each night.  They’ve been learning to cook this summer, so they can each be in charge of a weeknight meal (with my supervision, of course). We came up with a list of 20 meals they can make largely without my help.

I also made a list of 20 family favorite meals.  A big drawback to my cooking magazine, blog, and cookbook addictions is that we rarely have the same meal twice, unless it’s really outstanding. There are just so many recipes I want to try!  I’m planning to use this list of favorites throughout the fall when meal planning, and I’m vowing to give up looking for new recipes until demo teaching is complete! We’re also going to be stocking the freezer with meals, so once school starts, along with gymnastics, swimming, and soccer, weeknights will (hopefully) be a little less hectic.

I didn’t photograph every page, but I’ve also made my Christmas list, vacation planning, and DIY projects for the hubs. See…it’s a very useful book!

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I also embellished a black journal for demonstration teaching. I haven’t used it much yet, mostly just for jotting down questions for my host teacher. I anticipate that I’ll use it for deadlines for my culminating project, dates for school events, notes from my cohort class, and whatever else arises.

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These journals are really fun to create. I’ve embellished the pages with washi tape and doodling, as I really make them my own. I like the page numbers and table of contents, rather than just flipping through a notebook looking for something I wrote down months ago. It’s one more step accomplished in my back-to-school list, too.  Of course, that list is right where I put it…in a bullet journal!

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Creating Cards with Ombre Stamp Pads

Yippee!  I finally found some time to play with new Stampin’ Up! goodies!  I say new, but they’ve been sitting on my craft desk, taunting and tempting me, for about six weeks now. Hmmm, coincidentally since school ended for the summer and my hooligans began spending their days with me.  Anyway, I finally just decided to take a few minutes when I could, and I managed to create 3 cards using the new Ombre Stamp Pads.Ombre-Title-ChaosServedDail

I was super excited to see these pads in the 2016-17 Annual Catalog.  Years ago, the Kaleidoscope pads, which were multi-colored, were among my first purchases from Stampin’ Up!, and I loved them dearly.  These Ombre Pads are just decreasing (or increasing, if you’re a glass half full person) shades of Rich Razzleberry, Calypso Coral, and Bermuda Bay. The stamp set I used, Summer Sorbet, is especially designed to work well with the pads, so Princess Thundercloud and I couldn’t wait to try them out together. Our first experience was less than optimal, so I had to do a little research online at Stampin’ Up!

It turns out (this is a cautionary tale, so learn from my pain) that you tap the pad, then slightly move the stamp several times to fully cover it. When we oh-so-carefully (we didn’t want to blur the ink together, thinking of the multicolored Kaleidoscope pads) tapped straight up and down, it left lines uncovered by ink on our stamps. Once we relaxed a little (because the little pads inside the Ombre Pads are all the same shade, just varying intensity, so blurring the lines doesn’t matter), the stamps and pads worked beautifully together. IMHO, of course!Ombre-Hearts-ChaosServedDai

With this card, I also used the new Copper Embossing Powder…love the look!  The background is from the Serene Scenery paperstack, and the sentiment can be found in the Watercolor Words stamp set, which has become a favorite of mine.The tiny heart kind of shows the design on the other side of the woodgrain paper. The twine came from a dollar bin at some store where I spend way too much time.

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This Hooray card uses the same two stamp sets, Summer Sorbet and Watercolor Words, along with a card base from June’s Paper Pumpkin and that same twine.  The doily and washi tape are craft store finds that have also been lurking around my craft desk, wanting to be used.

Ombre-Snowcone-ChaosServedD  This Happy Birthday card is just so summery!  Too bad the temperature has been above 80 about 3 days here this summer.  Along with Summer Sorbet and Watercolor Words, I used the Timeless Textures stamp set, which has fabulously versatile stamps to create fun backgrounds, like the watercolor wash and drink rings. The sequins were also surplus from June’s Paper Pumpkin. The base is just a Whisper White notecard, which is a very affordable, convenient thing to have on hand!  I think a pack of 20 cards and envelopes is only $6.00.

So there you have it…the sum total of my card-creating for this entire summer!  These really took less than fifteen minutes each (and that includes the thinking time to decide on layouts and such).  I love the new Ombre Pads, now that I’m schooled on how to use them…check them out if you’re on my Stampin’ Up! site!


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Three Quick and Easy Summer Drinks

My hooligans are all away this week….two at sleepaway camp and one at Grandma Camp in Oklahoma.  That means I’ve had the week to do what I want, when I want.  The hubs and I have eaten out every night, watched “Bad Moms” (so inappropriate, but so hilarious), and been able to actually converse one on one in the evenings while walking the dog.  You know, rather than constantly reminding kids to skate/bike/skip on the right side of the street.  It’s been very pleasant. I’ve also had time to concoct a few beverages that may or may not contain alcohol…it’s up to you!  This week, mine do.

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This one I didn’t actually create…Pimm’s Lemonade is a specialty at the Napoleon House in New Orleans, and I just tweaked it a bit. I first served this to my cooking club back in February when I taught a class on Mardi Gras menus. It’s perfect for summer, though (who am I kidding…I love it anytime!).  The Pimm’s liqueur may be a little hard to find. My amazing husband stopped at a big liquor store in “the city” on his way home from work. It’s also pricey…around $25 per bottle, but that makes at least a couple of pitchers of deliciousness.  Here’s how to make a single serving; it can easily be doubled, tripled, or made for a pitcher.

Pimm’s Lemonade

  • 1-1/2 ounces of Pimm’s (3 Tablespoons)
  • about 1/2 cup lemonade
  • about 1/4 cup seltzer water (I use lemon seltzer)
  • Tall thin spear of cucumber

Pour the Pimm’s over a tall glass of ice, add lemonade to fill 3/4 of the way, then top off with seltzer.  Use the cucumber spear as a swizzle stick, or give it a quick stir to combine.

Drinks-Blackberry-ChaosServThis Blackberry-Amaretto Refresher is a stroke of genius, y’all. My kids love the Izze sparkling sodas (and they’re really pretty healthy for them), so we usually have a big variety pack on hand. I was making a blueberry pie with amaretto in it and thought how fabulous blackberry and amaretto are together, as well. When I realized there were a few blackberry sodas in the pack, I just had to try it. It is the bomb, I tell you. To make yourself one, just pour a blackberry Izze over ice and add a shot of amaretto. See…I told you it was genius. It pairs well with popcorn for dinner, if you’re wondering.

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Those other two drinks are really, really good, but this Lavender Limeade takes the cake for me.  Lime and lavender, on their own, are two of my favorite summer flavors, so I decided to combine them. I used some lavender syrup from Le Monin, but you can make your own following this post from last summer. It’s very easy to do. Like the Pimm’s Lemonade, this could easily be made as a pitcher of drinks. And I bet your friends would thank you!

Lavender Limeade

  • 8 oz lime seltzer water
  • 2 tablespoons lavender syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Pour the seltzer over ice, add the lavender syrup and lime juice, and stir!  Garnish with fresh lavender, if you’d like.

I accompanied the limeade with a baguette slathered with gorgonzola and a plateful of fresh figs, some of my favorite things!  You could easily make this a cocktail by adding a shot of vodka or rum.  Vodka would make a sort of lavender Moscow Mule, and rum would be a bit like a lavender mojito (minus the mint, but you could add that, as well!).

We’re finally getting a few days over 80 here in the Pacific Northwest, so I’m sure I’ll find lots of reasons to make all of these drinks as summer winds down in the next few weeks. I hope you will, as well!

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