Review: Write Free, Attracting the Creative Life

Editor's note: Hey everyone, yes... I'm back. I took all of last month to get my mind and life back in order. My husband treated me to a wonderful weekend escape to the coast, I am a bit more secure in what my new job asks of me, and I'm growing accustomed to having one less furry beast running around in the house. Thank you all for the warm wishes and support during my "time" away from DIY Planner. While I didn't respond to every comment from my last post, I did read them all.

One of my 2008 goals is to continue to build on my creative and writing life. I want writing and art to seep from every aspect of my being and help me grow as a writer and artist in this world. However, occasionally the daily grind of errands, doctor's appointments, and laundry push back the available time I want to devote to this practice. Then I heard about Write Free, by Rebecca Lawton and Jordan E. Rosenfeld. The title immediately drew me in. Finally, a book proposing to help concretely build, maintain, and attract a fully functioning creative lifestyle.

Sewing tools kit

Set of templates, reference cards and blanks for seamstresses and hobbyists.
*Project tracker sheets,
*shopping list,
*SWAP (sewing with a plan) planner
*Sizing and machine setting charts
*several graph styles blank pages (for drafting, designing quilts etc)
*Reference charts (euro sizing, german terms),

Usage advice: 

Track, plan and organize your sewing projects

Paper size: 
Letter and A4
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF reader

Writing Love

Happy Valentine's and Single's Awareness Day everyone. I hope everyone's feeling the love in the air and in their hearts. If not for some particular person (hi kender!) then hopefully for your own personal self.

Love and writing go hand in hand. Writing helps to express the deepest feelings we bury deep in our heart. Writing love entries also help us remember the good things and feelings on the days when everything seems dark and wrong. You can write love letters to someone you love, letting them know how much you care and why. You can make lists of all the things you love about a person or being in love. You can answer thoughtful questions about the whole meaning and purpose of love. And don't forget the mass amounts of written love-based poetry out there!

Write about love. List all the moments, objects, songs, colors that you associate with love. Remember what it was like to be in love for the first time. You know, that moment that someone swept you off your feet unexpectedly and did something that made you blush and think twice. Write it down. Write love letters to those actors you have secret crushes on. Spread the love of the written word down on the paper.

Advice on Using a Paper Punch

Paper punches, both Circa and 3-ring, are insanely useful. They allow us to use our preferred paper in our planners. They allow us to make and keep articles of interest to our careers and hobbies. And they allow us to fulfill the spirit of DIY by customizing every aspect of our paper life by ourselves. Like any modern day device, however, using a paper punch requires a little bit of exploration and maintenance to get the most out of it.

The first thing you should do, when you get your punch is to look it over and read any manuals (if any). Get to know how your punch works. This includes removing any thing clamping the punch together, like the small red plastic bits that held my Levenger Circa punch together. Understand how the punch tray works and test this feature out. This is that plastic tray that is loosely held on the bottom of the punch that collects all the left-over holes and smurfs after you perforate your papers. Sometimes this tray sticks and can be a big pain to remove or put back on. You'll want to make sure you can get yours on and off when the tray fills up with those tiny scraps of paper.

A Renaissance Art Case Hack

As many of you have noticed from the chatter in our forums, Arthur and the crew at Renaissance Art have been busy. Last week they introduced a few new products to their line. A few of these products included introducing a whole new series of cases for the Moleskine Reporter notebook. These cases give landscape journal lovers the ability to indulge in Renaissance Art's line-up of quality, hand made and rugged looking cases. Arthur was kind enough to send me a prototype of one of the new cases. When I received it, I was impressed with the quality and the changes that were made. And then, the hack idea came to me...

In order to make this hack work, you'll need to get a Moleskine Reporter Cover Book Style (with either the side pocket or the 3x5 card holder) and a Circa PDA. The Circa PDA, just so happens to be big enough for you to slip your Circa PDA into the right side and still have enough room for cards on the left. It closes without a hitch. You can order one with a pen loop which gives you more flexibility in carrying your note-taking system around with you.

This hack was tested with the Reporter Cover Book Style that comes with a side pocket and iScribe's Circa PDA. My first thought was that a leather covered Circa PDA was going to be too big for the notebook, but as you can see in the images, it'll work just fine. Thanks goes to iScribe for testing out my hack and taking the picture for today's post.

Review: Doodling for Papercrafters

Part of the fun of owning a blank journal is the flexibility to use the blank page as a canvas for your ideas. You can choose to write or draw on the pages, sometimes at the same time. Most of the time, however, blank books go marked only with the printed word across the pages. Sometimes, rarely, do we ever think to decorate the pages with quick sketches of images our eyes have seen throughout the day. Even more rarely do we ever just practice the fine art of doodling around the entries with a basic pen.

Enter Doodling for Papercrafters, by Maelynn Cheung. Cheung has written a fun, creative, how-to guide to creating original, hand drawn embellishments to your paper arts. This fast paced and quirky book takes you on a crash course through the joys of doodling on paper. The book teaches you simple and complex ways to add some personalized art to your creative works. Learn simple techniques like making lines and squigglies to advanced flower and paisleys. Doodling for Papercrafters is heavily illustrated which helps to show the diversity of doodles artists have implemented in their own works.

ATCs: The Modern Day Calling Card

DIYPlanner Greetings CardsToday we're going to explore Artist Trading Cards or ATCs. I'll tell you what they are and how to make them; and then give you some ideas on how to use and share your cards with others that go beyond simple refrigerator display and collecting. I first discovered ATCs a few years ago when I was just getting into altered art and bookbinding. I found that quite a few people in the online art communities were making these cards to share and trade with others. I'm not sure when the first use of an ATC came about but the goal behind them is simple: help spread the love of art across the globe.

It's fun to make ATCs that express and exercise your creative side. An ATC is a tiny, one-of-a-kind, work of original art that you freely trade with another. They are always exchanged and never sold. Roughly the size of a standard baseball trading card: 2.5" x 3.5". Artists then abuse these mini-canvases by painting, decorating, or drawing their creativity all over them. They're then traded freely with partners or in a group swap and collected. They're a great way to promote your art and gain global exposure.

The Bookmark Book

The winter holidays are upon us. Last minute shoppers are out hunting for bargains at the stores and you need a few more items to make your holiday gift list complete. Instead of braving the stores this year, why not give them something different. Something handmade. Like a hand-bound journal, crafted lovingly by your own hand? No, I'm not suggesting that you create some large, artistic, leather tome. That would take quite a bit of time.

Let's think smaller and simpler. Something useful and easy to make. Something that combines the love of reading and writing into one. It's called the Bookmark Book and it squishes the idea of a book holder in with a slim and thin journal. The best part of this project is that you can assemble one of them in just under 5 minutes. Did I mention they make great stocking stuffers for readers and writers alike?

Using Cornell Notes to Write Stories

Editor's note: Sorry I've been gone for two weeks. Thanksgiving was a fun-filled all day event with my close friends. Lots of food, cheer and laughter. Last week I got really sick and it put me down for five days (still am fighting off some horrid cough). But the show must go on and here I am, hopefully back to fill your Thursday void.

I noticed something during NaNoWriMo this year. Many of my friends were planning, plotting and writing their novels long-hand. Many used Circa systems and index cards while a few used a system similar to Cornell notes. Looking at their notebooks fascinated me, as I'm often fascinated with how writer's come up with their ideas and plots for stories. I spent long bits of time looking through their notebooks and listening to them talk about how they'd use them to write out plot points (some of them in-depth), character sketches or locations, and then jot notes and images and suggestions down next to the various scribbles.

I thought it was a great way to plan a novel and started coming up with ideas on how one could modify Cornell Notes to plan stories or draft novels. This article quickly reviews the Cornell Note-taking system and then discusses ways you can modify and apply it for your creative writing endeavors.