Monday, September 12, 2016

Bullet Journal - Large or Small

In my last post, I shared the start of my bullet journal journey.
It was working quite well, so I decided to go ahead and order a Moleskine large dotted notebook from When it arrived, I was shocked at how small it was. My handwriting is not naturally small. This seemed like an impossibility.

I had also ordered an assortment of pens based on recommendations online, but that's another story.

Here they are - Moleskine at the top, current notebook (with weekly layout) at the bottom:
Once again, not wanting to "waste" that $20 notebook, I thought I'd first see if writing this tiny would actually work.
I measured the Moleskine pages and drew them out in the larger notebook. Also note that the dots in the Moleskine are only 5mm apart. For those not used to the metric system, that's about 3/8"!

Here's my attempt at entering my weekly layout in that tiny space. Not good, not good at all!

I figured that maybe I didn't have the right pen, so I tried out different options and decided that, if I had a finer pen, and with some practice, this may actually work.

Here's my first weekly layout in the Moleskine:

This is going to be a functional organizational tool, not a work of art. Although there are some stunning examples out there, that is not my priority.

This is an evolving process, so stay tuned for more posts on how it develops.
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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Bullet Journal - Yes or No

I posted this on my quilting blog a couple of weeks ago but thought this would be a better place.

You may have seen a lot of posts about Bullet Journals popping up all over social media (and even real media).
If you don't know what I'm talking about, just search Bullet Journal on Pinterest or #bulletjournal on Instagram. The official website is
It is basically an analog way to organize your life, plan, journal, and pretty much whatever else you would like to put in there. The idea is to have it all in one place and easy to find.

(I'm going to have to do several posts on this topic because, if you're attention span is as short as mine, I'm probably already losing you.)

Reasons I think this may work for me:
1. I already kind of do this. Just not in quite as organized a fashion. I have multiple notebooks for different things (see photo above) and, truth be told, most them are rarely looked at.
2. I'm a list person. I love lists. I love structure in my life.
3. I LOVE stationery. I know it's weird but I also know I'm not the only person who cannot resist a stationery store.

Soooo...I decided to give it a shot. I already knew that I wanted to tweak the original idea a little.
(I'm writing this post assuming you already know the principles of bullet journaling. If not, I suggest watching the video on their website first.)

Three days ago, I grabbed a cheap composition book and got going. It's not ideal but I wasn't about to spend $20+ on a journal/notebook and messing it up.

I'm going to start off by focusing mainly on the daily/weekly log. I like to see my whole week at a glance. Here's my messy first version:
See why I didn't want to start off in a pricey journal?

In my next post I'll share my small notebook vs. large notebook dilemma.
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fun Chalkboard Markers

I posted this on my quilty blog too, so if you read both, my apologies for boring you to death. :o)

Recently the folks at Chalkola contacted me about testing and reviewing their chalk markers.
Even though I'm not really a crafty person, these seemed like fun, so I agreed.
They sent me a set of regular markers, a set of jumbo window markers, and a packet of chalkboard labels.
Because I don't have young children, I was mostly drawn to the labels and the white chalkboard marker. Like a real chalkboard, but more permanent.

My first thought was "pantry"! There are 80 labels in a packet, so you can label a LOT of stuff with those. I tried it on two, mostly because I plan to replace my pantry storage with more attractive containers and didn't want to waste the labels.
I love the way it looks. I'm definitely motivated to go find new storage containers just so I can use the labels and the markers.
I noticed that they have a pack with only white markers and I may have to get me some of those.
Note that these markers really do only work on non-porous surfaces.

When we bought our house, we inherited black appliances which we haven't replaced yet, so I figured the black fridge was the perfect canvas to try the colored markers. More fun!
Maybe I can write a different little saying every morning...or just "Step away from the fridge, Fatty!".

I didn't quite know what to do with the jumbo markers although if you have small children or you're a teacher this could be a ton of fun. I applied my limited artistic talents to the sewing room window.
To test ease of cleanup, I left my scribbles on overnight. This morning the writing on the refrigerator just wiped off with a moist paper towel. I used Windex on the window and that came off easily too.
I did not test to see how easily this would wash out of clothes though.

A note: You need a little patience to get these going in the beginning, but once you're up and running, they are great. Be sure to follow the instructions on the back of the package.

All in all, these are great. I definitely think a couple of white ones are in my future.
I may also have to buy a white board so I can use the colored ones more.

Chalkola sent me a discount code just for my readers.
To get 20% OFF on - use code CHK20OFF “
And if you have Amazon Prime, FREE two day shipping.  Yay! I'm hopping on over there right now.

(Disclaimer: Even though I received free product for writing this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.)
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Friday, January 8, 2016

How to always have lemon juice on hand

If you're like me there is never a lemon in the house when a recipe calls for it.

Here's how I solved that problem.
1. Buy a pair of silicone ice cube trays. These make getting the frozen juice out SO much easier!

2.  Buy a bag of lemons from Costco. They were $7.49 for around 16 lemons. That's about $0.45 a lemon - cheaper than my grocery store, for sure. I actually think they're out of season right now and are even cheaper other times of the year.

3. Get juicing. My ice cube trays make cubes of about 2 tablespoons each. A lemon fills 2 cubes. Good to know for recipes.

4. Because the silicone trays are flexible, I put them on a cookie sheet and carefully slide them into the freezer.
5. When they're frozen, just pop them out and store them in a baggie (or other container) in the freezer, ready to be whipped out when needed in a recipe.
I also do this with limes.
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Friday, September 18, 2015

Guest Bedroom Update

Since my last post was about the guest bedroom, I thought I'd post a couple of other photos. I did halt that project in early June, just in time for my mom's visit, although I still have quite a bit to do as with most things around here.

Still need art above the bed. And could someone straighten that lamp please?


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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Slow Progress

I've been working on the guest bedroom and bathroom the last couple of weeks and feel like I'm getting there.

My biggest problem seems to be "completing" a room. I get to where it's OK and I kind of like it but it just never really feels "done".

I did come up with this little vignette which I'm semi happy with.
Guest Room
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Rye Bread Experiment - Part 1

My mom is coming for an extended visit in a couple of weeks and has some issues with wheat (and yeast) - not a gluten allergy per se, but something along those lines.
At home she has been able to find a 100% sourdough rye bread at her local store but, even though I haven't really searched too much, I have a feeling it's going to be a little harder to find here in Iowa.
So...I decided to have a go at baking my own.

I have to confess that this is not really "Part 1", since there were 3 or 4 failed attempts at making a starter before I actually got this thing to grow. Operator error - water too cold, room too cold.
When I finally decided to use a thermometer and a scale, things went a lot more smoothly. I used a combination of instructions (and some of my own ideas) for this. We'll see how that works out.

This morning, after a couple of weeks of trial and error, I finally have a starter that seems ready to go.
One last feeding this morning. Tonight I'll start the bread making process.

This is the starter before the feeding. There are two lines on the jar. The bottom line marks where it started at the last feeding and the top line how it doubled since then.
Rye Starter
After this morning's feeding we are at the bottom line again and will, hopefully, be at the top line by tonight. I have two starters going right now because I'm worried that I'll ruin one and have to start over.
Rye Starter
If you're interested in the whole process, there a tons of websites out there explaining it all. It's a, quite confusing, multi-step adventure but, even though I haven't actually gotten to the point of baking a loaf of bread successfully, I feel like I'm getting the hang of the starter part.
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