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The Amazing Power of One Book July

Now if you haven't heard of One Book July, it was an idea started by RhomanysRealm and friends. Watch her video on youtube to find out more about it, but basically the idea is to go back to the simplicity of planning and what it's purpose is... keeping you organised.  One book, one pen, one month.  


I absolutely LOVE this idea.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love the creative part of planning, but I don't even decorate my day to day planner.  I save that for my memory planner.  I've only ever used one book to plan, and occasionally using an extra notebooks to plan out specific projects, like my Big Picture Classes class for example.  My one book is a Cakedori, which is that fab pink cover you see in the photos!

I have always had everything in the one book.  This is absolutely fanstastic and here's why:

I always KNOW where everything is, which is the basis of organisation.

plus, it fits in my purse ;)


HOWEVER... telling a creative planner girl that she should just use one book and one pen, is like telling a scrapbooker that she should just put her photos in a regular photo album with names and dates and be done with it!  Ack!!

That isn't a lot of fun, in all honesty, I think that would be torture for me!! BUT, there is something to say for stripping it all down to the basics, the bare bones.  this allows you to discover what you miss.  

And what you miss is what you love.  

It gets rid of all the have to's and the should's and reveals your favourite bits.  I think that taking part in something like one book july is a wonderful challenge and it is extended not only to planners but art journalers, journalers, etc.

What would happen if you had to use just one book?  

Think you'd have trouble sticking to just one book? I have a blog post dedicated to keeping things to a minimum in the planner world. Before you BUY ALL the THINGS!  It will help you see what you really need and love in your planning. Check it out! 

4 things you NEED to do before you Buy all the Things.

Happy Planning... in one book ;)

Find Planner Peace with Jewels by Trish


Today, Trish from Jewels by Trish is here to talk about her planner story and how she found planner peace.  Hopefully, her story will help you find your perfect system.

I’m not a professional planner; in fact, planning effectively is something I’ve struggled with before…

Does this sound all too familiar?

It’s been one of those wretched days in which you are surprised that the sky hasn’t fallen yet. You pick the kids up from school, and apparently, their day has been…hmmm…overwhelming too. Everyone needs ice cream! You are in line at Dairy Queen when your cell phone rings. You mindlessly answer it, thinking you wish you could chunk it out the window instead, and it’s the dentist office. “Mrs. Robinson, this is Amy at Dr. Ortho’s office calling to reschedule Timmy’s appointment you missed this afternoon.”

Palm splat! It took forever to get in to see Dr. Ortho and now, because of the serious slacking in your planning (or memory) skills, it will take another forever to reschedule.

How on earth did June Cleaver make this look so easy? 

You’ve tried writing everything down on the calendar in the kitchen. But you often forget to write things on it. And you have a gazillion to-do lists on sticky notes with uncompleted tasks lying all around the house. Not to mention, you are constantly shifting appointments because you can’t ever remember what’s on the home calendar-when you do remember to use it- and frequently double-book things.

So you started using the calendar on your phone. That worked great for appointments and important events, but you still had those pesky uncompleted to-do lists everywhere. Besides, it was just too hard to type everything on that little phone keyboard. 

Then you got smart and bought a day planner. One of the big ones:  with lots of space to write EVERYTHING down. Yay! But…that didn’t work either. You ended up over extended; still forgetting things, because honestly, you weren’t hauling that thing in the car!  It’s enormous! 

Don’t panic; it’s going to be okay. Take deep breathes, sweets. Here is what I did… 


I bought a small Color Crush planner from webster’s pages. Initially, I wanted to doodle on it and put cutsie stickers on each page, but honestly, I don’t have time for that. So I use colorful pens instead. I just love me a colorful pen!

I use an Excel spreadsheet to contain the big picture. Inside the spreadsheet, I have listed every thing I want to accomplish. I have listed business goals, online courses I am taking, and every day things such as re-painting the front door, for example. If the task is huge, like cleaning out the master bedroom closet, then I have the task broken down into baby steps. 

 I use Goggle calendar online in tandem with this spreadsheet. I use the online calendar to insert all appointments or time sensitive events. The online calendar syncs automatically to your cell phone app, so you can consult it anytime. Anywhere.

 And here’s how I put them both together.

I sit down every Sunday evening and plan my week. The first thing I do is write down all time-sensitive appointments/events for the week in one color of ink. Next, I consult my spreadsheet to see what additional tasks I’d like, or need, to complete for the week. I write these down in a DIFFERENT color of ink. 


You can see, in the picture above, purple and orange tasks written for each day. The “purple” tasks are all the non-flexible appointments or events I have for the day, and the “orange” tasks are the flexible tasks for each day. So for this particular week, my son had a football camp every day, and I had various things I was working on. The non-flexible/purple tasks are listed first, then, since I still had remaining space in the little square, I saw that I could schedule something else.

 The space in my square is uber important!

If I can’t fit anything else inside the square, then that day is full. Done. Over. Nothing else can be scheduled. Nothing. Because I have found that in the past, I over extended myself, and always felt frustrated; nothing was getting done. We have to live in the real world, and the reality for me is that little square of time. If I write down too much, then I will not be able to complete all the tasks.


Once I have planned my week, I put it away. I don’t pull it out again until Monday morning. Every Monday morning I sit down with my planner, pull up my Internet browser, and search for inspirational quotes. I take about five minutes to read through them and pick one that resonates with me. I write down that quote in a third, and different, color of ink at the top of my planner. 

And I’m ready to roll! 

I dive into each day’s list after reading my motivational message; starting your day with positive thoughts will have a profound effect on your productivity.

Now you’re ready to roll and find something that works for you. There is a sure-fire system out there for you. Try mine. If it doesn’t work, then don’t be afraid to throw away that idea and start again. The key is to find a system that fits your personal style.

Put any questions you have in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to help you out. Also, my friend Cara here has a great course on finding your perfect planner, so you may be inclined to check that out.   

It’s been fun hanging out on Cara’s blog today! Don’t forget to leave questions, thoughts, or tips in the comments section below. I hope to connect with you soon.



More about Trish
Hi, I’m Trish! I love making unique jewels crafted by hand, my hands, in my home studio. My other passions are reading a good book {for hours}, playing tennis, making puzzles, baking, and hanging out with my family. I also love my dogs {I have 2 rescues} and my green cheek conure. 

My company was built on the philosophy that…”A girl should be two things…Classy & Fabulous!” ~Coco Chanel

I specialize in Handcrafted Jewelry using gemstonesfleur de lis componentscrystals, and pearls. I have a love for silver and anything shiny. You can also find yoga/spiritual jewelry and children’s jewelry in my boutique. I believe in creating quality jewelry that can last a lifetime without the heavy price tag. Indulging in beautiful things should not cause guilt. YOU are worthy of feeling special and beautiful and my endeavor is to help you do just that.

Find Trish at and as @jewelsbytrish on Periscope, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.


How to make your Styled Photos shine with 5 tips from the fabulous Nancy Gaines

First up is Nancy from Domesticraft...
you've seen her here lots of times before in our planner challenges here and here and also last summer when I did my no Scrapbooking Police blog series.  Here she is again to help you with styling your photographs.



Hi! I thought this was going to be an easy post for me to write, but not so much!  Taking the photos is easy for me, but I wanted to write this post so it would be easy for you too!  Or at least easier.  So I went and visited Etsy.  And Pinterest.  And that's why this blog post is late!  Sorry Cara, but I know you understand the rabbit hole that I fell into. 


I came away with some very clear tips on what I think a lot of bloggers and shop owners are doing wrong.  I hate saying wrong, how about . . . just not knowing or in a lot of cases, from what other creatives tell me, they don't think they can do it because it's too hard!  It's not their thing or it's a chore or the one I hate the most: they compare their photos to other ladies photos!  The Martha Stewart and Better Homes and Garden Photos and they give up, thinking their photos will never look that good.  They are probably right, but I think you could do a whole lot better than you think you can with these few tips I am going to share.  Here we go!



Lighting.  The BIGGEST problem I saw was CRAP lighting.  The most optimal lighting is natural lighting and of course you already knew that!  (Take a look at Cara's photos.  She has got this down pat!)  So that's the best case lighting.  What about if you don't have good lighting, or it's an overcast or a gloomy winter day?  What if you can't afford special lighting equipment or set-ups?  I am going to call you on that "boo-hoo, it's too hard, I can't do it crap talk"!



I live in a tiny 660 sq. ft. apartment which has totally horrible lighting.  Even with all the blinds open my apartment just is not well lit.  It is a bottom unit apartment that is half subterranean cave with low ceilings.  Totally didn't know what I was going to do. So I experimented, a LOT!



Oh, first before I go any further, let me tell you that all of my photos are taken with my cell phone.  I have a Samsung Galaxy5.  I also ONLY use the Instagram App to both TAKE and EDIT my photos.  That's it.  No fancy DSLR, no special lighting equipment and no Photoshop or Illustrator software.  So I know that it's possible to take good photos WITHOUT all the bells and whistles.  



Here are a few of my GO-TOs.  


1.  Daylight CFL (compact fluorescent) lightbulbs.  They are literally the difference between night and day for my photos.  I just buy mine at the supermarket, they come in a two pack for about $7.00 and last forever.  I've actually installed them in every socket in my home.  I am so much happier in my little cave now and so is the hubs!  The other part to brightening up your photos is to literally brighten them up in the editing step.  8 out of 10 times my shots will need brightening up, unless I'm outside.  This is the only edit I do.  (There are a ton of fun things you can do to photos with the Instagram App, I just haven't found the time to play with them yet.)



2.  Don't overthink a shot.  Usually when I do this, it comes out looking stilted and rather boring.  Have fun with it!  Get down to eye level, shoot it from overhead, tilt your camera in all kinds of ways . . . EXPERIMENT!  Have fun, lighten up, don't be so fussy!  It's not like the old days where the film cost was so precious.  Now you can take a gazillion shots FOR FREE!  (That still makes me so happy!)  


And you know you're going to get some shots that you hate, (a lot of those) and some will make you laugh cause you thought you were being all clever and artistic and the shot really sucks and you know it! :)  And then there are the photos that make you say to yourself, "Oh, wow . . . that's not bad", those are the ones that make me smile to myself and that's how I know it's a keeper.  


Not very scientific, huh?  You know why?  Because it's not ROCKET SCIENCE!  Quit making it harder than it is!  (Sorry for yelling!)



3.  Look at photos that you love the look of, you know . . . the feel, the branding.  Go to Pinterest or Instagram and look up styled photography or styled photo shoot.  You'll find lots of tips and tricks there as well.  Mind you, this is research, don't get lost down the rabbit hole like I do! :)  


Get to know what you like, what feels like you.  Make up a Pinterest board just for this.  Find your style.  Only put photos on this board that truly speak to you and make you smile.  No, I kinda like thats. None.  Just the ones that make you say, YES!



4.  Gather some props that go with your style.  Shop your home first, cause most likely it's filled with little things that you already love, right?  When shopping for props, totally hit the thrift shops and garage sales and the clearance racks wherever you go.  Be selective and remember your style.  Don't just buy it because it's cheap.  Slowly build up a carefully curated collection of props that make you smile when you look at them.  Your building your brand.



5.  My last tip is for making the text and graphic overlays for your photographs.  Again, I go simple.  My top 2 apps are Rhonnadesigns and Abeautifulmess.  I also like Canva for my laptop.  My biggest tip here again, is EXPERIMENT!  Study Pinterest and Instagram again!  And online or physical magazines are perfect examples to check out!  Have Fun!



Thanks for inviting me to be a guest on your lovely blog, Cara!  You are truly an inspiration and I always learn something when I study your photos.  Yep, Cara . . . I study your photos, it's the only way I can keep up with your cuteness!  


If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below and Cara and I will gladly try to answer them!





Insta-Styled Stock Photography

Beautifully Affordable

Nancy Gaines is a Small Product & Prop Stylist. She is getting ready to launch her new shop featuring her amazing Insta-Styled Stock & Custom Photography for Creatives.  Coming July 20!! Pop over to to find out more about Nancy and while you are there don't forget to sign up for her abso-cute-ly gorgeous banner tutorial and pattern.  Follow her cuteness on Instagram and Pinterest.

Christmas in July - make sure you send your cards this year!


Hello if you are coming from Melissa's post at and welcome :D 

We are just coming out of a heat wave here in Europe and since I grew up in Canada and I have freckles and fair skin, my body does not like the heat!  Actually, I react really badly to hight temps. Once it goes over 28°C (82°F) I get cranky. Anything over 35°C (95°F), and I can't function.  Last week it was 38 (100).  Europe really doesn't do central air. I was a mess!  So, I got thinking of winter and glorious snow and of course Christmas :D  

So, maybe you don't react like I do to the heat, and maybe summer is your favourite time of year, or maybe you are in the southern hemispere and Christmas is in the summertime for you.  Whatever your situation and where ever you are it's kind of fun to think of Christmas now, right?  I mean it's such a magical time, the twinkling lights and the jingle bells really are magical.  

Why not bring a little of that magic to your July?  

What could that mean?  

*You could scrapbook some photos from Christmas past.  
*You could buy a few gifts... I often buy gifts before returning home to Canada each summer so that I can save on overseas shipping.
*You could bake some cookies now and freeze them.You could take your family Christmas card photo now while everyone is home and not so busy.
*What about homemade gifts?  If you start now, you'll be sure to be finished by Christmas ;)

click here for a Christmas in July checklist it kinda sorta makes me giddy ;)
This list will give you a head start so that come December, it's all easy sailing and you can just sit back and enjoy the season.

Check out these adorable ornaments by Patience Brewster.  Wouldn't they make fantastic gifts.  I especially love 'Dancer'. Look at her cute pointe shoes!!


But, what I really want to urge you to do is to start your Christmas cards.  
Raise your hand if you sent out cards last year.  Leave it up if it was stress free project.  Leave it up if those cards got tho friends and family on time.  Leave it up if they turned out the way you wanted them to look.  Still have your hand up?  Awesome, you are free to go!  The rest of you listen up! 

So what about those Christmas cards?  What if it wasn't such a big rush right before that looming 'guaranteed delivery by Christmas' cut off date?  I'm not saying do them all now, but why not start slowly hacking away at them?  Below, I've compiled a list of all the things that need to get done before sending them out.  Who is to say you can't do some of this in July?  Sending Christmas cards is a HUGE task.  Make it easy on yourself come Christmas time so that you can enjoy the season more.

Feel free to print off this checklist so you can have it with you.

Christmas card checklist

The second step is to find the design that you like. Well it just so happens that I have 3 designs that are included in a Christmas in July bundle sale that starts tomorrow!  Here are the 3 designs.  

Cara cover image

If you grab this bundle now, that's one step already checked off!  But, my cards aren't the only things you get in the bundle.  There are 14 other awesome Christmas products to get you ready for the holidays, NOW! :D  There is a large variety of different classes, patterns, scrapbooking products, calendars and more!


More details here

Next up in the Christmas in July blog hop is Alison from So go on over there, leave her a comment and continue along the blog hop to increase your chances to win :D

Merry Christmas ;)


Giveaway is now closed, the winner is IRMA! Thanks for playing :D


How would you like to win one of the bundles? Just leave me comment below telling me the part you find the most stressful about preparing for the holidays.  A winner will be chosen at random from all the comments left on participating blogs' posts. Comments will close at 9:00 PM EST on July 10th. That's today, so don't wait!!


The Fringe Hours giveaway



The giveaway is now over :D  More details at the bottom of this post.  If you didn't win, you can now get your copy at Target :D

I don't do book reviews as a general rule here.  Even though I do read a lot of books, that's just not what this blog is about.  However I recently read a book... no scratch that! I devoured the book!  And I feel like it's one of those books that you tell everyone about, you buy as gifts for people and you just want everyone to read.  It does tie into to this blog's theme however, as one of it's main theme's is to find more time to do the things that fill you up.  And for most of you that's either scrapbooking, planning or some other form of paper crafting!  Am I right?! :D


When I first heard of the Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner, I thought to myself, 'If I was ever to write a book this is the one I would have written.'  I'm very often asked how do I do it all and where I find the time.  And my answer is always in two parts.  First, I don't do it all, and second, what I do get done, I do in the 'in betweens.'   However, once I actually read the book, I quickly realised that she did such an outstanding job of saying what was in my head and then continuing on to expand on that and say so much more than I ever could!!  And in a much more eloquant way.


So even though I've been living my life similar to what she says in her book, pretty much since Jacques (who will be 14 this month) was born, I still found little tidbits and inspiration all through out the book.  It's genius!  Since my friend Sarah has passed her copy onto me, I was planning on reading it and then passing it on, so someone else could benefit from it as well.  Then, I started reading and taking notes. I always write in books, but this one even has space for note taking. And I even went back and added bookmarks with washi tape to my absolute favourite parts, and well... in short I want to keep it :D  I did buy a copy for both my sister and sister-in-law and I'm waiting on the French translation so I can get one for each of my sisters-in-law here in Europe.  But, I'm also going to purchase one more copy and give it away here on the blog.  I really feel that every woman, whether you are a mother or not, work outside the home or not, yound or old you really should read this book.  The bossy, oldest sister in me wants to tell you in my bossiest voice to READ THIS BOOK!!  If you've read it already, please spread the word!


The WINNER is:  Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 11.11.41 AMYAY!!!

Theresa, email me your mailing address at [email protected] and I'll get your book out to you. 

To all the rest of you, please read the book!!  Yes, the bossy big sister is telling you what to do :D

I really enjoyed reading all of your comments.  I actually got quite giddy, as a lot of these projects and activities I would love to do as well!  However, I did get some overwhelm mixed in there too, which is complete normal, I guess. There's a lot I want to do, there's a lot we all want to do.  I believe we have the time to do what's most important, we just need to make it a priority and fit it in. I think I'll to go back and read over some parts of the book again :D

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below telling me what you wish you had more time for.  That's it!  If you are new here, welcome!  And, please sign up to my email list if you haven't already.  There is a sign up box at the bottom of this post :D

I'll choose a winner Tuesday July 7 at midnight Pacific.