Monday, 19 February 2018

Artline Monday - Quick journalling

Sometimes journalling can feel like hard work.  It isn't always easy to think of things to write and it can become just one more task you have to complete instead of a way to reflect on and record your day.  Last year I came across a quick and easy method to record my feelings in my travellers notebook that I want to share with you today.  It is called My year in pixels and once you have created your layout journalling will only take you a couple of minutes each day.

Quick journalling with my Artline pens

The great thing about My year in pixels is that you can use it in any kind of journal or diary.  It is perfect for bullet journals, notebooks, TNs and planners so whatever system you use you can give it a go!  You can also start it at any time of year so you don't have to wait until January rolls around again.

Draw a grid 31 x 12 squares

The first thing you need to do is draw a rectangle, I have found grid or dotted paper is the easiest to use for this but if have plain paper you can measure it out with a ruler.  Make your rectangle so you have 31 boxes by 12, you can do this either vertically or horizontally it is up to you which way you prefer it.  I drew mine on dotted paper so I used a ruler to join all the dots together to give me a proper grid.  

Each small square or pixel in the grid represents one day, label the 12 squares with the months (so if you want to start journalling today start with February and label through to January) and the 31 squares with 1 through to 31.  If your boxes are quite small like mine you might want to just label every 5 days like I have done as it's hard to squish all the numbers in.  For the months that have less than 31 days in them cross out the extra boxes or use some skinny washi tape to cover them up.  You should then be left with 365 days to colour in.

Journalling key

The next step is to create the key for your pixels.  Choose six different colours and label them with sets of feelings.  You want the feelings represented by the same colour to be similar to each other so for example you shouldn't make happy and sad both the same colour otherwise when you look back at your journal you won't know if you had a good or bad day.  I have split my six colours into two sets of brilliant and happy feelings, two sets of okay and fair to middling feelings and two sets of sad and anxious feelings.  I think these sets cover all of my emotions so they work well for me.  If you usually have more happy and upbeat days than sad or upset days (yay!) then you will want more colours that represent positive feelings and less for the negative ones. 

When I used this system last year I coloured the squares in with pencil crayon but I found as time went on the crayons looked wishy-washy and I wrinkled the paper by colouring harder to make the colours brighter.  This year I am using my Artline200 fineliners as the nibs are nice and small for the boxes and the colours really standout on the pages.

You can decorate the blank spaces on your pages if you want to, I used some washi tape and stickers but you can paint, draw or doodle on them if you are more artistic than me!

My year in pixels

Now you have set up your yearly grid all you need to do is take some time each evening to reflect on your day and then choose a colour that most represents how you have been feeling.  Once you have decided use that colour to fill in the pixel for the day and you are done!  It takes up so much less time to journal this way but you still get a record of how your year has been.

So does this way of journalling appeal to you or do you prefer to write down how you have been feeling and what you have been up to each day?

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Artline Monday - Valentines Day memory keeping

I'm a big fan of Valentine's Day, it is nice to be spoiled and to spoil someone you love so I really enjoy the 14th February.  This year I am documenting the day in my bullet journal using my Artline pens and a few bits and pieces from my planning supplies.

Valentine's Day spread created with Artline pens

I started off by adding some strips of washi tape to my pages and then I used my pink Artline Stix brush marker to write "Valentine's Day" copying a font I found on Google.  I left myself space on the first page to write the date and a couple of quotes and doodles too using the brush marker and Artline 200 fineliners.

Some of my favourite love songs

Then I drew a box, using the grid markings on the paper as my guide, with a pink fineliner.  This space is for a list of some of my favourite love longs.  I'm a bit of a soppy romantic and I love singing along with these while I am home alone.  In fact I have the Moulin Rouge soundtrack playing at the moment and have just finished a rousing rendition of Come What May!

Valentine's to do list & films to watch

On the second page I have space to record memories of what made me smile that day and my to do list of things I need to sort out before Wednesday.  I also glued in a journalling card at the top of the page and used this to list some love themed films I could watch while my husband is at work during the day.  

The last section is for me to fill in the details of what we did to celebrate Valentine's Day.  I wrote the heading for this part with a pink Artline Supreme highlighter and then went over the top of it with a black finelinerThis is one of my favourite ways to create headings and titles in my bullet journal, it is so easy!

If you are interested in starting your own bullet journal check out my previous post for details on how to set one up or if you are already using the system please leave me a comment telling me how you are getting on with it.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, 5 February 2018

Artline Monday - Making Valentines Day cards

Yes!  We made it through January!  February always feels like a much nicer month as it is so short and we have Valentines Day slap bang in the middle of it!  It is a month for love and showing people you care so for today's post I am sharing some ideas about how to make your own Valentines card for that special someone.

Card making supplies

I brought a really pretty book of patterned card recently and a set of chalkboard sticker labels so I thought I would use these to make my cards along with a selection of Artline pens. 

Folding the cards

I removed pieces of card from the book and folded them in half to give me nice size greeting cards to work with.  I added a chalkboard sticker to the front of one of the cards and wrote on it with my chalk marker.

Artline chalk marker & chalkboard sticker

Using a chalk marker on a chalkboard sticker is a great idea if you are worried about making a mistake.  The chalk markers are more vibrant than using regular chalk and provide a better coverage too.  If you do make a mistake or just don't like how your message turns out the marker is easily removed with a slightly damp cloth.  Once it is dry you can try again until you are happy with it!

Artline calligraphy pen

For my next card I wrote a message on a journalling card using one of my Artline calligraphy pens.  Then I glued the journalling card onto the front of my Valentines Day card and added a couple of heart stickers to it as well.

Making one last card

I used another calligraphy pen for my last card and some milk and cookies stickers I have had in my craft supplies for a while now.  Because the stickers weren't very big I cut down the card to make it a bit smaller and then wrote "We go together like...." across the top.  

Here are how my cards turned out, I think they look quite sweet!  

Finished cards

Will you be sending or hoping to receive any Valentines cards this year?  

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Waverley Genuine Tartan Cloth Commonplace Notebooks

A couple of years ago I met the lovely people from Waverley Books during my visit to the Spring fair and they introduced me to their wonderful line of Tartan notebooks.  I was given a Caledonia cloth notebook to review and I was really impressed, you can read my post about it here.  Anyway Liz got in touch with me again to say they had added more tartans and sizes to their range and would I be interested in testing some out so I said "Yes please!" and here we are!

First of all let me tell you a little bit about commonplace notebooks in case you haven't heard of them before.  These books were made to be used for compiling your thoughts, ideas and information.  They were small enough to fit in your pocket or bag so they were at hand when you were struck by inspiration or simply remembered something you had to write down.  I can imagine a poet feeling compelled to jot down a verse while watching a glorious sunset or a scientist sketching herbs and flowers while recording their properties and uses during the 17th century. Okay, so I might be getting a bit carried away now, let's get back on track!

Waverley commonplace pocket notebook

All of the Waverley notebooks are made using genuine Kinloch Anderson tartan which is the company who supply tartan for kilts for the royal family!  How swish! There are currently over 40 different kinds of tartan available for these books so if you are Scottish or have some Scottish ancestry you might be able to find the right tartan for your clan!  If you are not associated with any clan then the tartans I am showing you today are perfect for you as they have been created by Kinloch Anderson and can be worn by anyone.

The notebooks come in large (£14.99), pocket (£9.99) and mini (£7.99) sizes and I have some of the pocket and mini ones to show you today.  

All of the pocket size notebooks have coordinating elastic closures and matching stained edges.  They also come with a bookmark telling you about the tartan used and an information booklet about Waverley Scotland, commonplace notebooks, tartan and a clan map of Scotland.  

One side blank and one side lined

Both the mini and pocket size books contain blank pages on the left and lined  pages on the right so you have space to draw, doodle and write.  The 80 gsm cream paper is smooth and very nice to write on.  I would definitely say it is fountain pen friendly too as I have used a few different inks in mine over the last 18 months and none of them have bled or feathered. 

The notebooks also come with a ribbon page marker and eight perforated pages at the back which can be removed easily without leaving you a messy edge behind.  I hate tearing a page out of a notebook if I need a piece of paper for something so I love this idea, it's fantastic!

Business card holder & expandable pocket

The mini and pocket books also have an expandable pocket at the back to hold anything you want to pop in there and a space for a business card, bank card or loyalty card as well which is super handy!

The mini notebooks are the exact same design as the pocket size books but a little smaller and come with an elasticated pen loop that matches the colour of the closure and a coordinating pen.

The history of commonplace notebooks inspired me to take these books outside to photograph them.  They feel like they belong among nature instead of sat on a desk so I took one or two with me any time I went on an adventure or somewhere new......

Castle Grey mini notebook

Romance pocket notebook

Black And White mini notebook

Thistle pocket notebook

Heather mini notebook

Rowanberry pocket notebook

Hunting mini notebook

Dress pocket notebook

And after all that time outside there's nothing better than coming home for a nice, warm cup of tea and shortbread while spending some time journalling in my Dress tartan notebook!

Which of these is your favourite book?  Are you suddenly feeling the urge to buy one and take a holiday under the "luxuriant skies" of Scotland or to study the works of Thomas Campbell and Robert Burns?  Please say it's not just me!

I would like to say thank you to Waverley Books for sending me all these gorgeous notebooks and if you want a sneak peek at the new tartans which will be released later in the year you can check them out here!

Bye for now!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Artline Monday - New hobbies for a new year?

Are you thinking about taking up a new hobby this year?  I love to learn new things and keep my mind active but I also enjoy doing something relaxing or creative too. For today's post I thought I would tell you about some of my hobbies and you could decide if you wanted to give any of them a go.

Hand lettering

Stix brush markers

Last August I went to the Pen Museum for World Calligraphy Day, I attended a couple of workshops and got to try some fun new activities.  By the end of the day I had been completely bitten by the lettering bug and started to practice different kinds of writing with all sorts of pens and nibs.  I am no where near perfect yet but my handwriting has improved over the past few months.  This year I thought I would try my hand at brush lettering using my Artline Stix brush markers.  The letter formations are practically the same as calligraphy but using the brush nibs is a different kind of skill so I will be working on that whenever I get the chance to.  

Slowly improving

Learning something new

Study tools

In my spare time I love to learn, at the moment I am interested in languages and reading some English literature classics.  I make notes in the margins and underline important information with my Supreme highlighters.  What can I say, I've always been a bit geeky!  

Rock painting

Preparing our rocks

I only heard about rock painting recently but it really is a lot of fun!  My girls love to join in with decorating and hiding their creations so we get to spend some time together designing the rocks and then we get lots of lovely fresh air and exercise when we all go out to hide them.  It's the best of both worlds for a hobby!  If you want some more information about this activity check out my previous posts here.


Colouring book and Artline fineliners

There's something so relaxing about colouring in!  I don't know if it's just a case of revisiting my childhood or the act of concentrating solely on the page with no other distractions that calms me but I always feel better after I have spent some time with my fineliners.  This hobby is very flexible, you can fit it in when you have a spare 10 minutes or you could dedicate a whole evening to colouring.  It's completely up to you.  It is such a great feeling when you finish a picture, especially when you are using a book for adults that has lots of tiny fiddly bits and complicated patterns!

So how do you like my hobbies?  What are your favourite things to do during your free time?

Friday, 26 January 2018

Planner Friday - January

My first Planner Friday post of 2018 is now up on the Trendy Twine blog, please pop over and say hi!

So how is the first month of the year treating you?  I have to admit January is probably my least favourite month but I wanted to start this new year on a positive note so I decided to look for the good and concentrate on things that make me happy.  I wanted to create a spread in my travellers notebook to highlight some things that I enjoy about January so I dug out my Annie's Paper Boutique stamps and got to work!

My January spread

The start of a new year always makes me feel like I have been given a blank slate, the past is over and done with and I have a whole new year full of possibilities to look forward too!  The Choose Happy set sums up this feeling perfectly so I used a couple of these stamps to remind me to keep trying to achieve my goals and to make each day a little better than the one before.  

I added a  mini calendar to the spread to keep track of whether I reached my move goal each day (so far so good!) and I am using the little tick stamp from the Check It Off set to mark off the days I complete my goal.  

Products used: Choose happy stamps
Not pictured: Mini calendar cards

Goals and memories

On the second page I used a cute snowflake stamp from the How's the weather? set because I love snow days when you can stay at home in the warm or go out and play if you are feeling brave!  I also used a coffee stamp from the Drinks & more set because there's nothing better than a nice hot drink to warm you on a cold day.

You can read the rest of my post here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 22 January 2018

Artline Moday - Valentine's Day rock painting

Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away and I thought it would be a great time to create some love themed rocks for me to hide around my home town.  I wanted to do something a little different this time so I ordered some white stones to use instead of the random ones my children have been collecting.  These have given me a nice, bright surface to work on.  

Artline calligraphy pen

I love my Artline calligraphy pens so I wanted to try and use them on the rocks, surprisingly they worked even better than I could have hoped for!

Using the Artline 853 OHP marker for details

I then added some extra decoration using the Artline 853 OHP markers and wrote my message on the back of the rock.

Message I'm adding to the back of my rocks

I hope the people who find my rocks will share a photo or two of them online with the tag #ARTLINEROCKS so I can see where they end up!

All you need is love!

All you need is love is one of my favourite Beatles songs and goes well with my Valentines theme.  The calligraphy pen I used to write the word love is water resistant and the 853 OHP pens are permanent markers so this rock can go out into the wild without a protective coat of varnish! 

Little love bug

I turned my next rock into this cute little love bug.  What's a love bug I hear you ask?  She's a ladybird with hearts instead of spots!  

With the finishing touches

I used the red calligraphy pen to colour her in and added details with some Artline supreme permanent markers and a white paint marker.  Isn't she sweet?

Love you to the moon and back

I love you to the moon and back is a popular quote but as this will probably be found by a stranger I left out the word I and just wrote "Love you to the moon and back".  Again I used an 853 OHP pen and a gold metallic marker to colour in the moon, I also used a blue permanent marker for the eye and added a white spot to the pupil with my paint marker.

Valentine's heart

This stone was almost heart shaped so I drew one in the middle and coloured it in with pink and black permanent markers.  I added some extra decoration with the white paint marker once the ink was dry.

You are my sunshine!

This is the last rock I decorated.  I drew part of the sun and coloured it in with my Artline stix drawing pens, then I coloured the sky in with a blue supreme permanent marker and wrote "You are my sunshine!" using the black 853 OHP marker.  

Finished set of rocks

Here are my finished rocks!  I am going to be hiding them round Birmingham over the next few weeks so they will be found in time for Valentines Day.  I really hope they brighten someone's day and maybe encourage other people to join in with painting and hiding rocks, it is such a fun hobby! 

Which is your favourite out of my designs?  I have to say I am tempted to keep the you are my sunshine one but I will set it free and see where it lands instead!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Artline Monday - Getting organised!

Did you set yourself a goal this year to be more organised?  Do you feel like some people have everything together and are perfectly prepared for any situation while you struggle to keep on top of things?  I thought for today's post I would share with you some ideas to help you achieve your organisational aspirations.

The first thing you need to know is that most "organised" people aren't naturally prepared with no effort.  They have developed a system which works for them and you can too.  Some people use a planner, a computer or mobile phone, a diary, a simple notebook or bullet journal to organise their lives, they could even use a combination of these things!  You might have to try a few different ways until you find what works for you but it is worth persevering.  I put everything into my planner but I also use the calendar on my iPad and phone too.  This is because they sync between the each other automatically and I can set reoccurring events and reminders without having to input them separately each week, month or year. 

Planning tools - my Filofax, Artline pen & iPad

I used to feel like I didn't have enough time to do everything I wanted to but once I started planning my days I found that I just needed to use my time more efficiently.  Time management is a skill you can learn.  If you think about your day from when you wake up through to when you go to bed you can see how much time you have to work with.  Make a list of what you need to do each day and estimate how long each activity takes you to complete.  Include things like eating, getting ready, travel time, hours at school or work, errands, studying and house work etc, how much time do you have left afterwards and what can you fit into these moments?  You might find you have a lot more time available than you previously thought. 
Planning ahead

Planning ahead is also really helpful for keeping on top of things.  I like to have an overview of the next month or two at least so I'm not surprised by anything later on.  As you can see I have notes and reminders in my planner for right up to the end of June at the moment and it is only the middle of January.  Looking this far into the future means I am prepared for these events as they crop up instead of feeling like I am trying to keep too many plates spinning at once or playing wack-a-mole with lots of things popping up and needing to be dealt with straight away.  I know what is coming and what I need to do in plenty of time which is a lot less stressful!

All this planning and organisation might feel a bit overwhelming to begin with but with some practice you will find it easier to do.  Once you have gotten into the habit it becomes second nature to make plans, follow them through and to manage your time effectively.  

If you find that paper planning is the thing that works for you then Artline has a whole range of pens, highlighters and stamps to help you stay organised throughout the year!  If you would like to read some more of my organisation hints and tips check out this previous Artline Monday post for some planning basics.