Wednesday, October 25, 2017 0 comments

Artist's Loft Watercolor Dual Tip Markers: Labeling by Color Name

Since finding the Artist's Loft version of the bullet journal a few weeks ago, I've been excited to try new things. One of those things is venturing into the world of hand lettering. Now, before I go any further, please note: I AM JUST A BEGINNER. I started last night. I can't even get the thick and thin lines when I want them yet. I'm still experimenting to find just the right pen position, paper position, and pen pressure for me.

Still, I wanted to give this tip (pun not intended) for anyone else who opted for the cheaper Artist's Loft markers instead of Tombow. Before I get to the tip, maybe you're wondering why I chose to go with the Artist's Loft markers.

 For one thing, I'm just beginning and don't know if I'll persevere long enough to get the technique down perfectly. As such, I don't need the expensive markers. A basic set that has decent reviews from people who are far better at brush lettering than I can ever hope to be is good enough for me to start with. (And yes, there are some YouTube hand letterers who use these.)

For another thing, with a coupon, these markers came out to about $0.60 each in a pack of 12. That's just slightly more than I paid for markers from Dollar Tree, so the price seems more than fair.

Now let's get to the point of this blog post: how to label these markers.

I'm a detailed person. If I'm going to use these markers in my bullet journal, I'll likely be using a set color scheme each month or so. With that in mind, I really need to be able to grab the right marker the first time. A few of these were not the color I expected by the pen cap, so labeling was a must for me.

Since they have no color names that I could discover on a quick Google search, I decided to make them up myself. To do that, I did a basic lettering page and named them, based on what the color looked like to me. (Please refer back to my previous statements: I am a beginner. I just started last night.)

Then I used some of my lifetime-supply of sticker paper that I recently picked up at a yard sale ($1.50) to create labels with these color names. I just created a table in my word processing software. My columns were 1-1/4" wide, and my rows were 1/4" tall. The Times New Roman font worked perfectly in 11-point type.

Then I simply cut them out and applied them to the pens, right between the images of the pen tips.

If these decide to start coming off in the future, I'll just add a piece of clear tape over the top of them to hold them down.
Friday, October 20, 2017 0 comments

New Bullet Journal: Inside Front Cover and Contact Page

In case you didn't notice from my last post, I'm a little excited about my new bullet journal (Artist's Loft from Michaels). If I can wait, I don't plan to officially move into it until January. I have enough space in my current bullet journal to last me through the end of the year.

So, to alleviate my excitement a bit, I've been planning how to make it perfect. And I decided that some of the pages can be made a few months ahead without any harm. Two such pages are the inside front cover and the contact page.

Here is what I came up with for these pages that would normally go to waste:

I received this gorgeous card for my 40th birthday a few months ago, and I knew I wanted to use it where I could see it a lot. This was the perfect use!

I recently found this quote [shared on Facebook, but no author mentioned - I'd love to know who came up with it, if you happen to know] and I couldn't agree with it more. I also thought it was the perfect companion to the card image.

Just yesterday, I found a lifetime supply of A5-sized sticker paper at a yard sale for $1.50. I printed this onto one of those sheets.

Stay tuned for more pages to come. I have several pages on my list that can be done ahead of time.
Friday, October 13, 2017 0 comments

$5 Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal Alternative at Michaels

If you're a member of any bullet journaling Facebook groups, you've probably heard about this already. However, I only follow a few minimalist bullet journalists on Instagram, so I hadn't heard of it until I hopped on YouTube for something else (bullet-journal-related) a few days ago. So, in case you're like me and have been hiding under a rock, let me tell you some pretty exciting news:

Michaels has come out with a $5 alternative to the Leuchtturm1917!

Funny thing is, I was just at Michaels looking at their notebooks the day before I heard about it on YouTube. I didn't see them. So, I happened to be in the neighborhood the next day (honest!), and I went searching for them. Would you believe I had actually stood in front of the display the day before and didn't know what I was looking at? There was nothing to indicate what they were inside. They looked like all the other sketchbooks that Michaels carries, and they were actually below eye level on the end cap.

If your store doesn't have them yet, you can order it online. But trust me - our stores are always the last to get anything, so your store probably has it.

And here's the ironic thing about it all: I was doing research on journals because I was thinking about adding a fancy one (hello, Leuchtturm1917) to my Christmas list. At this price, I don't need to wait until Christmas. And I can go through two in a year (if needed) without putting a crimp in my spending money.

But a few burning questions remained: How does it compare to the Leuchtturm1917? Is the paper a lot cheaper? Will my pens bleed through the paper? Will the pages fall out? Will it lay flat as I work through it?

YouTube came to the rescue again. PlanningWithLove did research and discovered that it's made from the same paper quality as the Leuchtturm1917. Bonus: It's bright white instead of off-white. I much prefer bright white paper.

There is a very slight size difference, but it probably all evens out in the end. It's slightly bigger than the Leuchtturm1917 one way and slightly smaller the other way.

There are several colors to choose from, but I chose basic black for this first one. It goes with everything I own, so it made sense. If there was a yellow, I probably would have opted for that instead.

There are two ideal bullet journal insides to choose from: dot grid and graph. I prefer the added structure of the graph lines because it helps me to keep my writing straight, instead of angling upwards or downwards (a bad habit of mine). The lines (or dots) aren't an overpowering color, just enough to guide you without distracting the eye when you're looking at the completed page.

I'm not planning to start using my new journal until 2018, but I've started working on a plan for what works, what doesn't, and what I need to add to my next bullet journal. In preparation, I also decided to do a pen test page. I chose the last page in the journal, as some other bullet journalists recommend. This way, if something bleeds through, it's no big deal. You're not ruining a usable page. Here's that page so far:

A note about how long this will last me: My current journal (a graph composition book from Wal-Mart) has 200 pages. I've been doing six months in each of those before starting a new one, but there have always been a decent amount of empty pages leftover (just not enough for another six months). This has 49 more pages, so I may be able to get a whole year out of it. I'm a math geek, so here's how I figured this:

249 pages - 12 months (2 pgs/monthly spread) - 52 weeks (approx. 2 pgs/week), 12 months of check registers (approx. 2 pgs/month) - 12 monthly budget pages - 4 future log pages (for the entire year) = 168 pages used, with 81 pages left for collections

That sounds like it might work, but I'll see how full it is when June rolls around. As I said earlier, it won't break the bank to use two per year.

One thing I wasn't sure about was how to carry a pen around with the new journal. Then I saw a few hacks on Pinterest. The first one involved a binder clip along the side of the journal, mounted out just far enough for your pen's cap clip to fit through. Sorry I don't remember where I saw this one, but it's probably been around for awhile with several people re-blogging it.

The other idea involves angling the elastic closure across the front of the journal and hooking your pen onto that. I actually saw this on one of Ryder Carroll's YouTube Q&A's.

I'm trying to think of something nice to do with the first page after the index. I'm leaning toward adding in a beautiful cardfront that was given to me for my 40th birthday two months ago. That way, I can enjoy it all next year. If you bullet journal, I'd love to hear what YOU do with your first page.

P.S. If money isn't an issue some year, I'll probably buy an official bullet journal as a thank you to Ryder Carroll for developing the bullet journal system and offering all the information for free. You can find them here, if you'd like to show your gratitude that way, too.