Raise your hand if you binge watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo in January!
I'm not only raising mine, but waving it frantically in the air. I read the book a few years ago and it has been the only method of organisation that has really worked for me.
I didn't finish konmariing my house the first time around, and I didn't even start on my studio. But, I'm doing it now and we are going to do it together! So put on a cute swishy skirt and a white top (optional 😊) and hit play on the video. We are going to tackle this job together and make our crafty spaces Spark Joy!
Calendar Blocking, Time Blocking or Block Scheduling... Have you heard of it? It's all I've been hearing about this month! Since I found a way for it to work in a paper planner and I've been using it successfully since September, I'm excited to share my experience with you!
So what is it calendar blocking?
Basically, it's blocking out specific blocks of time for certain tasks for a specific amount of time. I do go more into detail in the video below if you haven't heard of it.
I first heard of this through Amy Landino, I immediately tried it out, colouring in blocks in my hourly planner, but I just couldn't get it to work for me. It took way too long, the colouring was messy because I was trying to go fast and it just wasn't sustainable.
Then I saw Jordan Page's video and there was this click in my brain. I needed to make some sort of recurring schedule and block out time for different themes in my day.
Grab a nice cup of tea and join me in this week's video as I walk you through how I use it and how you can adapt it to fit your planning:
I created a laminated folder listing all my routines and a check list help me with my calendar blocking. Here's my process video for that laminated folder:
If you are a mom with a schedule that changes at the drop of a hat or someone who works shifts or has some other sort of varied schedule, stay tuned because I have a video coming up for you to adapt this system to your life.
Traveler's Notebooks are so fun, pretty and functional, but if you aren't familiar with them and how they work, it can get a bit overwhelming. I've been using them for quite a while and I know my way around a TN and I'm sharing my favourite hacks with you!
Even if not you are not new to traveler's notebooks, I'm sure you'll learn something new in this week's video. I've got ten tips for you to get the most out of your TN, plus two bonus hacks! Run and grab your TN and a cup of tea and hit play.
So way back in June, I noticed that I had been getting slack with my planning. I was leaving it to the morning and that was getting me off track, and I was always getting a late start to my day.
So for July I started planning the evening before and tracking how often I succeeded. (If you want some ideas on how to habit track, click here). I didn't do it every day, only 15 (out of 20 'school nights'), but it still made a huge difference.
Now, I plan on Sundays and Wednesday nights and it's really helped me get more done.
Grab your planner and a cup of tea and click on the video below to see how I plan now. Going from long and short term goals, monthly planning, weekly down to my daily planning routine.
Happy New Year! I LOVE a fresh start and that’s why I love Mondays and the new year. I love a fresh new week, a blank slate, but the very first full week of a new year? Wow, it’s like my birthday!! I’m super excited this week to get this year started.
I’m using the gorgeous Bloom collection today to pretty up my January planner and that very first full week of this year. These stickers are so pretty and feminine, which is a great way for me to get motivated to work towards my goals. I have both the regular sticker tablet and the mini one, which is a fabulous way to always have the right size sticker on hand. No more thinking ‘I wish this sticker was just a bit smaller’.
What I really want to do is to put my first few goals for 2019 front and centre in my planner to keep them top of mind. I want to make sure that I’m reminded every day of what I want to accomplish this month. My three main goals for January are written in the notes section of my weekly spread with little check box banners with enough space to check off one per weekday.
I’ve also written each goal out at the front of this weekly insert so that I’ll see them often as I flip open my planner. My big goal gets the place of honour on the front cover and the other two are written just inside. I used the matching Bloom scrapbook papers to cover the insert and the inside front cover along with cards from the cut apart sheets.
A tip for when you are covering inserts: make sure that the book will open and close smoothly after you've added the paper. Close the book before sticking down paper completely on the outside. I'll stick the front cover, close the book, then stick the back. I'll even wait to cut the width of the paper until after it's stuck down so that I'm sure there's enough (the video below, shows how I do all of this). When adding paper to the inside leave a fraction of an inch near the binding to make opening and closing a cinch.
Since my first goal is a big one, I am also including an entire spread dedicated to it. I 'borrowed' some pages from a blank insert and stuck them in. I started a list of the steps I need to take to make progress on my goal, but I didn’t include the entire list because I don’t want to overwhelm myself. That would just backfire and I’d make no progress. This list is already long enough to get me started and once I get close to finishing it, I can add in new steps. I also added in 3 mini monthly calendar stickers to the bottom because I’d like to make some real progress towards this goal in January, February and March.
To help you prepare for 2019, it's a good idea to take a look back at 2018 and see how much you've accomplished. To be able to continue forward, you must know where you are. After all when you want your GPS or phone to tell you how to get somewhere, it has to know where you are, and it's the same for you on your journey towards your goals.
Before you start preparing to ring in the New Year, grab a drink and hit play, so that tonight, you won't only be celebrating 2019 but also all of your accomplishments from 2018.
On our way to Scotland last Spring, we stoped at Alnwick Castle where they filmed the part of the first Harry Potter movie where the children learned to fly. We also were able to take flying lessons! Since our children are all now able to fly, my husband and I thought this would be a great idea for our Christmas card photo this year.
Hello, my name is Cara and I’m a December Daily drop out.
I’ve tried, I really have.
I have a few albums where I’ve documented my December, but mostly, my albums sit half finished. I’ve tried to finish them in January and that did work… a bit. For two years now, I just haven’t been able to finish.
I want to do it! I LOVE the look of a pretty December album, but most importantly, I want to have all those wonderful December memories documented. There are so many wonderful things going on in this fabulous time of the year and it all seems to rush by in a split second, so documenting it has helped me not only savour it more in the moment, but also to relive it again as I document it and then again whenever I look back at the album.
However, it’sA LOT OF WORK.
Because there is a lot that goes on in December, it leaves little time for playing with stickers. In a perfect world I’d have prepared all the pages in November, but November is almost as jam packed with activities. That… and I’m a procrastinator ;)
So, the best alternative that I’ve found for me this year is to simplify, and here is what I’ve come up with. I’ve added an extra insert to my Dream TN (click HERE to find out more about that TN and the other inserts). This new insert is basically a fancy journal that magically takes away my December-Daily-dropout guilt and also takes away the pressure to make it perfect. Also without having to remember to take photos, editing, printing and sticking everyday, the process is quicker and so much less daunting. I can always use the photos I do take… or not. I love that there is no pressure or obligation.
Don’t think that it’s too late to start! There are still more than 5 days before Christmas, that’s a lot of memories you could record. So let’s get to it!
I'll use the same simple design for each of the 25 days. Some pages have 2 days in the 2 page spread. I know we will have more going on some days, so I left the 2 pages of the spread for that one day. Regardless, the design is similar. Use a design that suits you and feels easy for you.
I started with the big round numbers from the Carpe Diem Numbers Sticker Tablet, then I added a strip or two of Christmas washi, either a die cut (from the free printables, I’ll talk about those in a sec!) or a large sticker from the Carpe Diem Seasons Sticker Tablet. Then, I layered smaller stickers from all the Sticker Tablets. I also added a cluster either next to the number sticker or in another corner or both!
This design is quick for me to make, looks adorable and still leaves lots of room for writing, it’s simple and perfect for me this year!
I decorated the cover with patterned papers from Simple Stories along with some of the free printables…
Let’s just take a second here to talk about how stinkin’ awesome these printables are! Every month there is a set of cute printables that match that month’s page in the Seasons sticker tablet, you have A5, personal and TN options, plus you can resize before printing to fit your needs. Did I mention they are super cute, and FREE?! Amazing, right? There is also a bonus set this month for Christmas, You can find both of those sets HERE!
Ok, let’s get back to that cover! Washi and stickers from the tablets give the cover a finished, polished look.
I used some of the full page printables to fill some of the leftover pages. Simple and quick and that’s just what I’m looking for, creating this TN.
My printer messed up (or I set it wrong, more likely) and I had two that were printed on opposite sides of the same page, but one was upside down, so I used some washi to attach it to the top so that it could flip up, making it right side up!
If things get busy, and, come on it’s December, so being busy is pretty much a given! I’ll take notes either on my phone or on a sitcky note until I get a chance to write it in.And these ones from the Carpe Diem Bloom collection are sooo pretty and they actually stick!Don’t you hate it when you’ve bought pretty stickies only to have them fall out of your planner and get lost? Not with these Carpe Diem sticky notes!
I have a flip through of my December journal on my YouTube channel, so whether you are a December Daily dropout or not, hit play and join me here:
Are you already starting to get a bit overwhelmed with your Christmas preparations? It can be exhausting when there's so much to do and one, big, non-negotiable deadline.It can be tough on us women, so we have to make sure to take care of ourselves.
I've got an advent calendar that I made for myself last year and this year I put in little notes to myself with small, enjoyable things for me to do everyday, including reading with some tea, sipping a cup of eggnog or doing some yoga. Today's was watching the latest episode of Outlander!
There's still 2 weeks until Christmas, that's 14 little activities that you can do. What activities would be on your notes to yourself? Let me know in the comments below.
Another restful thing I like to do during the holidays is get crafty!! Throughout the rest of the year, I don't always get around to decorating my planner, but I'm making an effort to take the time this month. You can see this week's spread in the video below and you can follow along as I planned out the week in the video HERE. So take some time for yourself now, make yourself a cosy drink and hit play. It's only about 2 minutes long.
I've shown you the inside of my Christmas planner, and how I'm actually using it but I thought today, that I would actually show you what I'm doing to accomplish all the things that I do to prepare for Christmas on top of my regular daily tasks. It's a lot. We don't host a meal or even get a tree, but the list does include:
making 100 homemade Christmas cards
including a unique, creative family photo that I feel the need to outdo myself every year ;)
making my Nannie Jean's fruitcake
baking and decorating gingerbread wookiees with the children (not a typo)
baking mince pies and other Christmas treats
celebrating Saint Nicolas on Dec 6
attending the children's Saint Nicolas concert at the school
shopping for my family, large extended family, friends, and teachers
decorating a gingerbread house
going to the Wanter Gala concert, our children are in the orchestra
international travel (seems more glamorous than it is, you can drive 20 mins in any direction and be in another country, but we are going to Tenerife, a 4 hour flight from here)
packing for 8 people to go on said trip
PLUS this year I decided that adding 25 videos to my to-do list and doing Vlogmas on YouTube was a good idea (insert eye-roll emoji here). But, I've done it and I have somefantastic videos for you! There are plan with me's each week leading up to Christmas where I decorate my spread on the Saturday and then plan the week on the Sunday. I'm showing you Christmas products from Simple Stories, how to use those dreaded, but oh-so-cute puffy stickers in your planner and I share my 2019 planner line-up! I'm even going to go LIVE every Thursday, so make sure you are there for that 10am EST.
What I'm most excited for, is my Plan Your 2019 series. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until Christmas I have a short video with a tip to help you plan your year. There's a quick, do-able action step to help you move forward towards 2019. I've broken it all down for you, so that these steps are easy and quick and you can fit them into your busy holiday schedule, and you will be ready to hit the ground running when January 1 comes. Your goals won't know what hit them and you will be knocking those goals out of the park! Click herefor the playlist of the Plan Your 2019 episodes, it will be updated as each episode is posted. Subscribe here and click that notification bell next to the subscribe button, to make sure that you don't miss a thing. Grab your planner and hit play to get started:
If you need a little more help planning your Christmas this year then have a look at my Plan Your Christmas class at Big Picture Classes. You can even take it for FREE! Big Picture is giving away free month trial memberships with the code CARACHRISTMAS, hurry though, the code expires December 15, 2018.
Pop over there now, grab all the printables and meet me back here. I'll wait... (cue upbeat, jingly Christmas music)
Now, grab your to-do list for Christmas, the printables from my free class and a nice cup of coffee (bonus points if you splash in a bit of Bailey's) then hit play on this video and we'll get you organised for Christmas. I'm going to walk you through the first step of planning your Christmas. Let's go!