Monday, January 25, 2016

Bullet Journal - The Pen Trials

As you, my fellow pen enthusiasts know, the quest for the perfect pen is never ending.

These are my latest collection. Here are the two packs I acquired this week. 

1. Bic Intensity Fine 

They are super fine tip, the colors are pretty. We'll see how long they last. I purchased two 5 packs from staples. You can get them here and here. They are also available on amazon here and here, but they are more expensive.

I really needed both packs to get the number of colors I wanted, and even then, I wish I had more.

I do really like the way they write. My days are crisp and clean, except for my mistakes, which are numerous, ha.

Here is an example of a page written with these pens. Don't mind the ghosting, I plan on choosing a different journal next time around. 

2. Foray Stylemark Fine .5mm pens

I picked these up at Officemax. They are also available on Amazon, but they are more expensive. 

Here is an example with these pens. Less ghosting, but not due to pens. There is just far less written on the opposite page. 

The colors are bold and pretty. They do feather a bit more than the Bic intensity. I really like both and have been using both sets in my bullet journal all week long. 

Tell me friends, what are your favorite pens to use in your journal? Have you found the perfect pen? Does it even exist, or are we all chasing unicorns? 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Make your handwritng into a font

Last night while I should have been sleeping, I was thinking about all the cool fonts I have installed over the years. Then I was thinking about how people have told me my handwriting looks super uniform (of course I can see room for improvement, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist). That led me to wonder, how do people make handwriting fonts? I jotted it down to explore this morning. 

Here is how you can do it!

This website turns your handwriting into a font. The best part, they do it for FREE! 

It's super easy, first you download and print this worksheet:

Make sure you print it in grayscale or black and white. It turns out much better. 

Then fill it out using a black medium felt tip pen. I used my handy dandy sharpie pen medium

Then scan your worksheet at 300-600dpi. I tried using my phone the first time and it was a disaster. I broke out the scanner and it worked beautifully. Here is my scan set at 300 dpi. When I tried to use the 600 setting, the image was too large. 

The bottom part is blank because they are special characters I didn't need. 

Once you have uploaded your scan, name your font and press the start button.

The program will come up with a preview of your font and a download button. 

Download the TTF or OTF file. I used TTF because it was a font file I recognized. I'm not computer handy enough to know the difference. 

Click on the downloaded file and a pop up box will appear. Press the 'install' button. Then you can open up word and search for it by name in your fonts. 

Now your font is ready to be shared! To send it to your friends, send them the TTF or OTF file in an email and they can install your font! Amazing! 

Here is an example of my font. 

I need to do the worksheet a couple more times to perfect it, but I'm pretty excited with how it turned out. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Bullet Journal

Recently I spent far too much time on Pintrest. I guess I'll come clean; this wasn't the first time. Haha. 

I am slightly obsessed with planners, planning, lists, and all things crazy organization. Listing helps alleviate my anxiety about upcoming events and life in general, so I do it often. The wonderful thing I discovered is called Bullet Journalling. Here is a link to the site that started it and how to get started. 

I was so inspired by the following, please take a look, I'm sure you will love them too! 

This morning I ran straight out to target to get started. I decided on Moleskine, since they make my favorite journals. The covers are soft and they offer blank, lined, dotted, and quad paper. I chose dotted. I normally would choose quad, but most of the planners I was inspired by were dotted, and I wanted to give something new a try this year. 

Here is the journal I chose. It's the 5.1"x8.2" soft cover. It has a rubber band to keep it closed and a book marker to keep your page. I love the paper moleskine chooses. It's thin enough to be reasonable, but thick enough to keep ink bleed to a minimum. This one has a pocket in the back to put loose papers or receipts. I think I'll put stickers in there, because who doesn't love stickers. I picked mine up at Target for about $20. 

What coloring and writing utensils do I like? That is a hard question because I love all kinds of different pens and pencils. I want to keep my planner consistent, so I'm going to bag all my writing utensils separate from the bulk of my collection.

I like these colored pencils for the few things I'll be coloring in, I'll show you some examples further down. I bought my set at Walmart, but they don't carry them anymore. Here is a listing on amazon for the ones I like, but you can use any basic set of colored pencils. I don't need that many colors, so right now I'm using a 12 pack. 

For writing and heading, There are a couple different products I like. 

I really like the Elk Tools Journaling Pens. I bought this set at Target for labelling my Christmas card envelopes this year. I love how they turned out. They have a .45mm tip and there are 8 colors. I only wish they had a larger color pack. 

I also like these Staedtler fineliner pens. They are my husband's favorite pens, and I like them for a felt tip. Last school supplies season, Target had a buy one get one half off, so I got the large color set for myself and my sister. 

The last pens I like are the Sharpie pens. I purchased my set at Target, but they are available at Walmart, Staples, and Amazon as well in various colors depending on your needs. I got both the fine and medium tips for different things. 

From thickest to thinnest: Sharpie pens med, Elk Tools Journaling Pens, Sharpie Fine and Staedtler Triplus Fineliner are about the same. 

I also plan on using some Washi tape for marking long term events in my calendar and decorating various pages. 

Now onto my pages... 

I don't think they are perfect, but that is the beauty of this system. If I don't like something this month or this week, I can do it different the following week or month. 

I started with an Index. This will be a work in progress, as I add pages, I will add to the index. I left two pages for this. I labelled them "I" instead of with a page number. 

Page number 1 begins my actual journal. I used this for my Key. I will add key items if I think of any extras later. 

Pages 2 and 3 are my 2016 Year in Review. I used these pages to document anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. This helps a lot with purchasing Birthday cards and long term planning. 

Pages 4 and 5 are for my January Calendar. I don't want to bog the days down, so they are just for major events. The heavier planning will go in the day to day. 

Page 6 is for my January Goals. Here is where I will write items I want to complete this month, but not on an exact day. There are also goals that are collective, like lose 3 lbs, etc. 

Page 7 is my habit tracker. This new year I am trying to form better habits like walking the dog every day without skipping, logging my food in myfitnesspal, and things of that nature. I log those here. I color in each box if I accomplished that task that day. I also added things like "crochet". I like to crochet, and it is also my business, so it will be interesting to look back at the end of the month at the number of days I crocheted. Here is where I used the colored pencils. 

Starting with page 8 are my daily plans and notes. These include appointments, to-dos, errands, and other notes. I didn't make these a designated size since each day has different demands. There are days I work on my thesis in the lab that I will have several pages of notes and others that are home chore days with just a few bullet points. I also put money I have spent that day in red and money earned in green to help me keep track of business earning and spending at a glance. I will probably create a separate page for this at some point. 


That is as far as I have made it today, but I'll post an update when I move forward with this fun new planning and journaling experience. 

I hope this will keep everything organized and in one place. I no longer will have a personal journal, crochet, school, thesis, and business. This year I'll keep it all in one place! 

Happy journaling and hooking friends! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Jimmy Beans Wool January Beanie Bag

I have been subscribing to Jimmy Beans Beanie Bag monthly for a few months now. With the start of the new year, I thought I would write posts about the contents each month. Maybe this will help some of you decide if this is something you are interested in participating in. 

Click here to check out the website. 

Contrary to the name, there is not enough yarn in the beanie bags to make a beanie. I don't think they are trying to be misleading, it's just confusing if you don't read the description. 

My first bag came with three 20 yard balls, but the last couple of months have been four 20 yard balls. 

Each month comes with a small bag. It's a good size to keep some crochet hooks and scissors. I use one for my pens and pencils as well. 

Here are some photos of this month's goodies... 

A cute winter themed bag, 9"x5" and zippered. 

Four 20 yard balls of yarn and their information card. The card includes the weight and information about each ball. The colors on the card are a beautiful array of blues, and mine are green. You won't always get colors that are featured on the information card. 

A pamphlet with a free knitting pattern on one side, and a free crochet pattern on the other. Great that they are thinking of both kinds of fiber artists! This pattern can be completed with the yarn included in the bag this month. 

Here is my version of the crochet pattern included this month. I had to reduce my hook size to have enough yarn to do the designated number of rows. I definitely need to block this. 

Here is a link to my project page on Ravelry with more information if you want it. 

My favorite yarn by far in this month's bag is this one. It's so soft and easy to work with. It slides across the hook without catching at all, and the finished product is lush and gorgeous. It is the darkest green one right before the fuzzy yarn in the above photo. 

A sample size of laundry soap. 

A pretty wooden shawl stick that I can't wait to use! 

Pattern here and yarn here for the shawl in this photo. 

The only sad part about this month's bag... There was a coupon for a free pattern on ravelry. The shop has some wonderful patterns you can check out here. Unfortunately for the crocheters out there, all the patterns offered are knit. I wish they had included a coupon code for a crochet pattern as well. 

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I will do my best to answer them.

Edit: the January Beanie Bag has a much nicer zipper than the previous months. I hope they are sticking with the new zipper, we will see on the next bag, and I'll let you know! 

Happy Hooking!