I am SO EXCITED to share these pictures of the 100% finished Christmas Quilt. You know–the one that I started right after Elle was born? And in case you need a refresher, Elle was born in 2011. Ahem.
All those years ago, I joined a year-long virtual quilting bee with my cousin, sister, and 9 other gals. Each month one member would send out fabric to the others with directions on a block (or two) to make. It was a lot of fun and definitely helped build my confidence with sewing and experimenting.
This beast is 72″x84″ (6 x 7 big squares) and without sitting down and really thinking about it, I’m not sure now how many of the squares were made by the girls in the quilting bee and how many I completed. I’m guessing probably a quarter of the quilt squares were made by others.
It was so fun to receive the squares back in the mail and see everyone’s interpretation. I chose a square within a square theme and didn’t give very much direction other than wanting 12″ and 6″ squares. Most of the fabric is stuff I sent out and later purchased when I realized I needed more, but some of it is from the other participants.
I finished this quilt top when I was pregnant with Evie. And then it sat and sat and sat for years. Finally when I was 8 months pregnant with Cara, my dear sister helped me baste the quilt and I spent my lunch hour over the next month machine quilting. Part of the reason why it took me so long is I had to work up the courage to free motion quilt, something I had only done in tiny bits before. I was also using a variegated thread and that made me nervous. Thankfully the nature of the quilt back is incredibly forgiving as all the loops from the lightbulbs hide some of my less stellar quilting.
Overall, I’m very pleased and my only major oops was when I accidentally quilted my backing folded over on one of the corners and had to unpick all those stitches. It isn’t perfect, but it will be much loved.
Technically I finished binding the quilt a few weeks after Cara was born, and I didn’t stitch the label until August of this year. But I’m going to go ahead and count this thing as finished in 2015.
Over the years I’ve tried and failed at many different ways to get organized and to journal my life. I’ve always kept little notebooks with lists and I tried a planner last year, but I could never find a way to keep up that worked for me–or that I didn’t forget about in a few weeks.
About six months ago, I posted about my Big Fat To Do lists and several people mentioned Bullet Journaling in the comments. I looked up the Bullet Journal method and found myself incredibly overwhelmed. There were so many parts–and did I really need an index? I pushed the idea of bullet journaling into the back of my brain.
I started looking at Bullet Journals again and fell down the deep deep rabbit hole on the internet–blogs, YouTube, Instagram. These things are everywhere!
Five months later and I’m LOVING my Bullet Journal. This is the longest I’ve been able to keep up with a planner/journal and I don’t see the end anywhere near. I love that I can house all of my information in one little notebook–in the past I’ve kept a little journal with me at all times for lists (mostly blogging related) but kept separate to do lists. Now I have all my lists, including things I need to do, as well as an occasional diary of events all together.
Starting a Bullet Journal can be overwhelming, so I thought I’d share mine with you to see just how versatile this little gem can be.
Let’s back up first…
What is a Bullet Journal?!
According to the official Bullet Journal website, a Bullet Journal is an “analog system for the digital age.” In the most traditional sense, a bullet journal is a way to rapidly log events, to dos, and ideas. The example provided on the website shows a monthly list as well as daily tasks. The next component–where customization and personality really come through–is collections. Collections are essentially any kind of list you want to keep track of.
Because I’m mostly stay at home right now without a lot on my plate (snort), I really struggled with the best way to set up my bullet journal. Did I need a daily to do list? Would I even keep up with a daily to do? Did I need to see all of the days of the week listed out like a traditional planner? What is the difference between a Daily Spread and a Weekly Spread? I took some deep breaths and realized the following:
The best part about the Bullet Journal System is that customization is unlimited!
Turns out that with little modifications, I’ve been using the same set up since I started. I try to keep my set-ups simple–if you browse through bullet journals on Instagram, you’ll see that some get very artsy. Don’t get too bogged down in the aesthetics of the journal. Add a little bit here and there if you’re interested, but I always remind myself that my journal is for me.
How I set up my Bullet Journal
Ok ok, enough intro–now to the fun part to show you some of my Bullet Journal and how I’ve made this system work for me. You should be able to click on any of the images to enlarge.
The Annual Calendar is where I keep all of the main birthdays (mostly family) and important events for each month of the year. I reference this when making my individual calendars each month.
The monthly calendar is a quick snapshot of important appointments and dates like birthdays. I try to keep this spread simple which is why it only takes up one page. Yes I had to do some math to make sure my calendar fit the page. The first time I tried to make a calendar, I miscalculated and ended up with six days across instead of seven. Still trying to figure out what to do with that blank grid!
If our month starts looking busier, I will contemplate using a full two page spread for a calendar but for now this works.
(See above, right) My Brain Dump list is a quick list of all of the things that I would like to get done throughout the month. I don’t assign dates to these items and they generally don’t have strict deadlines. I add in future dates below the brain dump to remember things that don’t fit on my monthly calendar.
I’m still playing around with how to keep track of future appointments as this will start getting busier for us when Elle goes to Kindergarten in the fall. Some people have a “Future Log” but I haven’t had a huge need for this yet.
Last year I recorded all of our family meals on calendar print outs each month. Now I keep track of all of these in a list form each month. I use a sticky note on the page to plan for the upcoming week since our meals aren’t set in stone and tend to change quite frequently. Blue dots indicate eating dinner away from home or take-out.
I love the Daily/Habit Tracker idea that I first saw on BohoBerry. Some people use the tracker to log/create habits; I use mine to see how often I do something rather than a checklist of things I must do. I admit that sometimes I get behind in keeping track, so guess on some of the items, but it’s a fun snapshot (and I’m a sucker for color).
At the top of my weekly calendar, I list the events for the week. Below this I rapid log my to do list. These days I don’t have many strict deadlines, but once Elle is in Kindergarten I might have to amend my weekly spread to something that looks more like an actual planner with specific days outlined. We’ll see! For now, this very simple method works just fine for me and if I have empty space at the bottom I use this for quick journaling.
As per the Bullet Journal system, round bullets indicate an event and bullets indicate an action item. Once the action item is complete, I make an X. If I have to forward the task to the next week, I use an arrow.
In my various notebooks that I’ve had over the years, I’ve created all kinds of lists–the books that I’ve read/listened to each year, songs that I adore, blog posts to write, blog maintenance, things to pack for a trip. Sometimes these lists end up being blog posts–such as Musicals!
I didn’t want to include allllll of the lists I have in my notebook, but as an example, I have lists for my 2016 things, blog post ideas, Bloggiesta (blog maintenance), cleaning chart for deep cleaning days, craft projects in limbo, fitness goals/status, and more.
There are also a number of lists that I think about making–favorite family meals for a quick glance when I need inspiration, vacation/camping bucket list, things do with the girls around Dallas, household/honey-do list.
Below are some of my favorite go-to collections in my Bullet Journal.
I love seeing my progress–both in distance and in pace. Hopefully by the time I finish out this particular page I’ll be ready to move onto 10K training…as it’s one of my 2016 Things.
Reads of 2016
The columns: Pages | Paper, Audio, Ebook | Fiction, Nonfiction | Male, Female Author | Classic, Diverse, Graphic Novel, Library, Young Adult, Shelf (owned before 2016) | 1700, 1800, 1900, 2000, 2016 Publication (yes I took these pictures over a month ago!)
Currently/Because I Suck at Journaling
No really, I use the heading “Because I Suck at Journaling” most of the time and then rapidly log with bullet points things I want to remember (kind of like the short list on my daily log above). “Currently” is a list that I have periodically blogged here under the title “Right Now I Am…“.
Not including the “Currently” lists, I have journaled 11 times since I started this bullet journal. That’s 11 times more than I journaled last year! I find that keeping it really low key works for me.
Oh the Places We’ll Go
Slightly deceptive title as these are all of the states I’ve been to (did you see my debate about it on Instagram?). I’ve toyed with coloring starbursts in the parts of the states we’ve stayed, but who knows. I do need to include Alaska and Hawaii–I’ve been to both! How did I draw this? Printed off a map and traced it–so my New Jersey and Delaware are only as good as what I traced. Ha!
Good old fashioned plastic ruler for drawing lines
After I bought my Moleskin, I discovered that the Leuchtturm seems to be the preferred notebook, but I love my Moleskin and haven’t had any problems with it. I think the bonus to the Leuchtturm is that it has an index and numbered pages–neither of which I use at this point.
So, does this seem entirely insane? Or do you do something similar with your jouranling/planning? I’d love to hear what “Collections” you’d include if you were to start (or have started) a Bullet Journal.
Last October I made a really simple Boo sign that I ended up loving so much I planned to make a Joy sign for Christmas. But then I got to be ten months pregnant and was too tired to follow through. Instead of waiting an entire year to use up my supplies for a Joy sign, I decided that a Love sign was in order for Valentine’s.
The best part of this craft is that it can be done in 10 minutes here and there if you’re in the habit of stealing away time like I am. Or it can easily be completed in a portion of an afternoon.
Easy DIY Valentine’s Sign
Wood Plaque (I got mine at Hobby Lobby for $3 but any craft store sells them)
Mod Podge (I like matte–use outdoor if you’d like to hang your sign outside)
Paint brushes (I use foam for most of the project but also a small brush for fine detailing)
Glue to affix the letters (I use E6000 but hot glue will work)
1. Paint around the edges of the sign. Because the center is going to be covered with scrapbook paper, there is no need to paint the entire surface–just enough to cover any lapses in the scrapbook paper and sign. Not shown below, but paint your letters while you are waiting for the edges of the sign to dry. Note: It’s hard to tell from the completed picture, but I lightly painted the edges of each letter with red highlight by running the sides of a tiny stiff paintbrush around the edges. I like the antique look it gives the letters as well as makes the white stand out.
2. Trace the plaque onto the back of the scrapbook paper. Cut the scrapbook paper to fit. Sometimes it helps me to press creases into the scrapbook paper to get a good fit. Alternatively, you could use a razor to cut the paper without tracing first.
3. Cover the entire surface of the sign with Mod Podge and attach the scrapbook paper. Press out any bubbles. Apply a coat of Mod Podge to the scrapbook paper to give the paper a nice even sheen.
4. Glue the letters onto your sign and marvel at how damn easy this craft was (my four year old helped me make the Boo sign). Add a ribbon to hang or a picture hanger (I like command strips) to stick to your wall. Enjoy!
And so easy to customize this craft for different holidays and events. If you chose a word for the year, this would be a great decorative reminder of your word! Elle even got her own little sign with the letters of her name (though don’t ask to hear the story of what happened when we all sat down to paint and her sister painted all of her letters for her…).
The other day I decided to make a list of all of my current quilting works in progress. Ha!!!!! The amount of time that I spend in my sewing room comes and goes. Sometimes I’ll make the 15 minute drive home at lunch just to get an extra 20 minutes in the room without the girls. When the girls are home, I can usually entertain them with buttons or scrapbooking paper and scissors for a few minutes but then the draw of the sewing machine is much more interesting. And trying to sew with a 2 year old on your lap (that you’re already sharing with a 34w pregnancy) is not fun!
But, I continue to steal those moments here and there and find that eventually they add up to something substantive. I thought I’d share with you some of my current Works in Progress. I’m linking up with Lee from Freshly Pieced today (she makes gorgeous quilts and her blog is an inspiration). You should be able to enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on them.
Baby Billy Bobette’s Quilt
About two weeks ago I finally cut into the fabric for the baby’s quilt. I don’t hope to have it finished by the time she arrives in six weeks (six weeks!!!), but the progress is quick at least. I decided to use a herringbone type pattern using Half Square Triangles (inspired by this quilt). I had a layer cake of Bonnie and Camille’s Ruby that I forgot I had stashed and it turns out it’s perfect! Lots of red and pink and green and blue. And if you’re wondering Baby Billy Bobette does not have an official name yet. Poor baby!
Stitcher’s Garden Quilt
You might remember almost a year ago when I first posted about this Stitcher’s Garden Quilt. This month is supposed to be our last of a 14 month class. I’m sad that it will be over and I’ve done fairly well in keeping up with my outside of class homework. I’ve learned so many techniques with this class and it’s already given me confidence to try some new things with my machine rather than straight-line piecing. I’ve especially enjoyed the applique! The fabric I’ve used is mostly Kaffe Fassett and I adore those bright colors!
Sigh. This thing should have been finished years ago. Seriously. But! Last weekend my dear sweet sister helped me baste this monster (sandwich the quilt top, batting, and backing together) so that I can quilt it up. It’s 72″x84″ so quilting it will be a bear–plus I’d like to free motion quilt it and it scares me. I still have visions of cuddling under the quilt with the girls, though, while we read Christmas stories or watch movies. Maybe we’ll just do that in it’s current state? *insert crying laughing emoji*
Value Scrappy Quilt
So this quilt! YEARS ago I participated in a block swap–I purchased three different fabrics, cut them into squares and mailed them off to the coordinator. She received three fabrics from all the other participants and sent one square of each fabric to each participant. I think I ended up with 150 5″ squares? And as you can see from the below, the fabric is RANDOM.
After the fabric sitting and collecting dust, I decided that I would use it as an Leaders and Enders project–this means that when I’m sewing a current project, I’ll run these fabrics through my machine as I’m chain piecing. Because I’m never actively working on this quilt, it’s like a total bonus–eventually I’ll have enough of these little Half Square Triangles (remember those from the quilt above??) to have a scrappy picnic quilt.
So what’s the difference in the picture above and below? I decided to separate my blocks into Light and Dark values and sew them into the Half Square Triangles (HSTs). The fantastic thing about HSTs is that there are so many stinkin’ patterns you can create with these building blocks. Take a look on Pinterest for some ideas! Above and below are the same exact blocks but they are arranged in different patterns to get a completely different look. (I grabbed these blocks at random so they’re not matched up the way they would be for a completed project). I’m still not sure which route I want to take with this quilt…though I think I’m leaning towards the layout below. What do you think?
The Hexie Quilt
I tend to get hung up on projects when I’m stuck on how to finish them. In this case, I need to add a border around the hexie flowers to bring it up to size but I don’t know how to attach the hexies to the border. I REALLY don’t want to do any more handpiecing, so I do I sew them with the machine? And won’t that be a pain in the rear with all those hexies (I want to keep shape rather than cutting them in half to create a straight line). So, this baby is currently hanging in my crafting room closet. Sad.
Quilts for Elle and Evie
Two different tops with the same fabric but different patterns for Elle and Evie–these have been completed for a few months (as are the backs), but again…free motion quilting scares me and I’m not any better with straight line quilting. Womp womp. I really need a local guru to teach me the ways!!
Lizzie Kate Jingles Cross-Stitch
Now this…this is what I spend all my “free” time on–mostly because I can sit on my butt while watching The X-Files and work on it (we actually finished the final movie last night so we’re out of shows until January!!). This cross-stitch is my first time working with linen and I’m enjoying it…but I didn’t know how to measure the linen against the pattern and completely missed the mark. The pattern is supposed to be very long and narrow, but I’m currently trying to figure out how to cut the pattern in half so that I can work it side by side rather than straight down. I think I’ll actually like it better this way (it’ll be a big square-ish shape), but it does hurt my brain. I’m currently AT that halfway point, so I’m not sure I’ll finish it by Christmas. We’ll see.
So there you have it–all my current Works in Progress. Even if some of them are sitting and waiting on me to figure out how to proceed or some of them are long term or some of them are only worked on 10 minutes at a time.
It’s always a fun year when the Department 56 Villages (one for Halloween, one for Christmas) come out of storage. Because putting up and taking down the village takes so much work and now I have to worry about little hands wanting to help, it’s been three years since these pieces have come out of the boxes. The platform could use some sprucing up, but maybe I’ll worry about that in another three years. For […]
Welcome to the October edition of Pin it and Do it! I’m guessing that today’s links will be Autumny/Pumpkiny/Yummy goodness. What do you think? The past month has been busy busy–spending most evenings finishing up my cross-stitch (didn’t grab a picture!) or setting up the Halloween Village (hopefully pictures coming this week). I love this time of year! Boo Sign from Southern Revivals (My Pin) The original inspiration has a separate plaque for […]
Oh boy did I have big intentions for this Pin it and Do it! But as usual, time ran away from me and I feel like what I did manage to do was thrown together at the last minute (except the cross-stitch). I’m happy with the projects, though, and have pulled a number of pins over to Evernote (my new obsession) to try out over the next month before the October edition. I hope […]
It’s Fall!! Oh wait, it’s just the first day of September. But that means that Autumn starts in 21 days. The stores are already filled with Halloween decor and fall foliage. There’s just something about the changing of the seasons that is so exciting to me. I find it energizing and I can temporarily be fooled into thinking I can do all the things! All the crafts! All the baking! Just me? Nah…I […]
Once the girls started going to preschool, I started accumulating so much artwork. The packrat in me doesn’t have it in me to toss these gems, so I’ve been thinking and thinking about what I wanted to do with all the art. Mostly they just collect in paper grocery sacks (divided by each girl at least), but I finally took some time to implement the first of two ways I’ll tackle toddler/kiddo art […]
Hi, I’m Heather from Based on a True Story. For the past three years I was serving as a state coordinator for a quilting charity. I made a lot of quilts and at the same time managed to get out of the habit of quilting. How is that possible? I would have deadlines for big quilt presentations and I’d push through to get enough quilts. I’d take a few day off to recover … and […]