Hi Gang! We're excited to introduce you to our new blog series, where we invite some very special and talented guests to our blog! For our first edition, we asked Connie AKA @pepperconarts to put together a forest themed spread using some of our favourite products. Connie has come up with the most beautiful spread and has shared some of her tips and tricks along the way! We're so excited for you to read our first ever #guestblogger post!
Apart from Christmas, one of the most exciting things in December for me is starting on my journal and planner for the new year (if you are stationery & journal crazy like me, you would know what I mean!). All these months of looking on YouTube and reading reviews on various planner systems and researching layout inspirations on Instagram have finally come to an end, this is the real thing! And… then you open the book, begin flipping through the calendars and all the extra pages, contemplating where you should begin. And….. then you decide to start on your personal details because that’s a definite fact you cannot change! And….. then onto the December page starting on Christmas day. You may even add a Santa sticker on it, you then feel a sense of satisfaction flood through your body because you’ve just put the first sticker into this brand new book! What a promising beginning! You are on a roll now, starting to fill in all the key dates in December and putting together a last minute Christmas shopping list, maybe even a little getaway plan for the holiday season. You feel good about this and you think your journal this year will be so good, unlike the last one which was 60% empty and a total disaster! Then it comes January and you begin on the second phase of your journal set up. Maybe you will do a weekly or a daily page or maybe just on a special occasion. You are still a little unsure. You open the so-far untouched section of the book, a brand new clean shiny white page staring back at you. You admire the smoothness of the paper and the precision of the dots and lines printed on the page. You decided you might start it by ruling out the grid to set some goals for this week….oOOOO bad idea! You miscounted the grid and your pen smudges under the ruler. You have seen how Amanda did it so effortlessly on YouTube - surely it can’t be that difficult….
Okay, does this scenario sound familiar to you? This was exactly me three year ago. I was new to the whole journaling and planner scene and had no idea what to do and where to start. All I knew was that I wanted a book to plan and record my everyday life, what I do or eat in the day and everything else. I was confused by all the different systems available to me (I still am now, to be perfectly honest!) and nothing was quite right for my requirements.
So here I am, a little older, a little more experienced and a little wiser. I no longer follow any particular trend or worry about ruling grids out of place. I don’t have a fixed style in planning or journaling. but I like to focus more on my everyday needs and on my personal growth. I use multiple planners and journals for different purposes. But there is one common practice in all of them, I like to draw/paint and use tonnes of washi and stickers on my page, that is the more soothing and joyful part of the process.
Here are my top 5 journaling tips that might help you to find your way in this journaling matrix:
1. Have a clear purpose for each planner or journal. I personally found this to be an integral part of having a long-lasting relationship with the book. Your purpose could be broad or specific, catering to your needs. I have a planner specifically for my shop, an illustrated journal specifically for my daily journaling and a bedside gratitude journal for my reflections.
2. Choose a theme for the month or the week to provide a framework to build on. This could be purely visual, or it could be quite conceptual. A common theme helps to keep the momentum in your journal and helps your book be coherent. It also gives you a chance to look for something new as inspiration.
3. Don’t be afraid to explore different layouts to suit your needs. There are lots of resources online where amazing people generously share their creations. There is no right or wrong way in journaling. You can develop and find your own way as you go. I often reflect on my journal and challenge myself to try something new in the next month.
4. Develop a routine that is easily achievable. Allocate realistic time daily or weekly, so you don’t feel overly pressured by your journal or planner. I like to sit down to plan once a week, but I spend about 2 hours every night in my journal creating, designing and reflecting ☺.
5. Washi, stickers, stamps, paper and more washi!!!! Use different materials and be creative with it.
- Washi could be used to section out a page for a different focus. It can be used to collage as well as a pointer.
- Similar to washi, stamps can be used to section out the page, but I also like to use stamps to add patterns to the background or add them to headers to enrich the spread.
- Stickers are just the cutest addition to a page! I usually add stickers on last, to add accent to my spread.
- Using different types of paper can add different textures to the page. I enjoy vellum paper for the multi-layer effect and kraft paper for the earthy look, but you can also consider using cute memo sheets or letter sheets for the spread!
Sometimes, the layout of a particular book can inspire you to set up your journal in a different way. In this Archer and Olive Neapolitan Notebook, there are three types of paper (plain grid, kraft and black paper) divided into even sections throughout the book. I am not a bullet journal expert, but I have seen people use each section for weekly planning and some of my bujo friends used this book for project-based journaling, which are all great ideas! Like I mentioned earlier on, it is the best idea if you make your journal work for you. With this journal, I would like to continue to focus on planning and personal growth, so I have decided to use the different sections for different purposes for the month. The plain paper could be for weekly planning, the Kraft paper section would be for my Day journal where I set goals. The black paper section would be for my Night journal where I reflect on my day/week. I have chosen a forest theme for these spreads using the lovely Japanese washi and stickers. For each section, I tried a slightly different layout just for fun. You can be quite creative with how you present your spread! As you can see, I like to load the page full of washi and stickers! If you are not a drawer or painter, you can easily replace the drawings sections with print-outs or photos. I used the Acrylograph Pens for the headings just because I love the colours and they are very handy for writing or drawing on black or kraft paper. You can set up these spreads ahead of time or you can set them up as you go. Depending on your preference, you can fill the page up like mine or you can just go for a more elegant, minimalist style.
I hope you enjoyed this humble share of my own journaling journey. I am currently still experimenting with new stationeries and journaling materials every day and I am still yet to find my journal/planner peace! Maybe I will get there in 2021. Happy journaling everyone!
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