Handy Dandy Slash Pockets

Index PocketWhile I was putting my planner together, I came across a few comments in about slash pockets. One idea from our great primate leader, dougj, really stuck out, about using slash pockets to store blank templates for easy access. For some reason, I really liked this idea and wanted to implement it in my own planner. But I never bought any. While I loved the idea of slash pockets, two things kept me from buying them. The major reason was that they weren't available at the office supply stores I visited. But almost as important was they seemed expensive for such a simple thing. Then I thought to myself, I'm already using DIY Planner pages, making my own tabbed dividers, and doing this whole thing how I want it. Why not just D-I-Y the slash pockets too?

Holding Onto Your Books: DIY Book Leash

I was talking to a friend last week and she casually mentioned that she purchased a new type of bookmark. Normal everyday, run-of-the-mill bookmark apparently are no longer any good for her reading habits. They were weak, got lost easily and never stayed in their place when she put her paperbacks in a bag. Now, I’ve seen new types of bookmarks on the market that claim they can stay in place. Bookmarks you can hang over a corner and those you hang into books like a paperclip; but I've never gotten them to stay. Instead they've slipped off more often and always got lost at the bottom of my backpack.

What makes this new type of bookmark so great? It’s called a Book Bungee and she got it from Levenger. The Book Bungee looks like a normal everyday bookmark but it comes with a strap that you wrap around the outside of the book and over the bookmark so not only does it keep your place but it also protects the pages from getting torn or bent. When I saw this ingenious new idea, I thought about how similar it was to other book closures I have used in the past to keep my art books closed. Being the big Do It Yourselfer and crafty person, I figured out how to create my own Book Leash. In fact, I’m going to share with you how to make two different versions in this article.

John Norris: The Fobster

It's always a pleasure to hear from the mad genius of planners who hides under the pseudonym of John Norris. When I first heard of his idea a couple of weeks ago, I was rather skeptical about the latest creature to emerge from his laboratory, but the more I think about it, the more I think he's onto something....

The FobsterFor those of you on the go, a Hipster for your keychain. Keep those thoughts organized and close at hand. It's Spring, lighten your load.

Yet another planner? No... it's smaller.

The Fobster provides the basics of what you might need for short day trips. It allows one to stay organized on those quick jaunts. Attached to your keychain, you won't forget it.

Can a piece of paper a bit bigger than a Fortune Cookie be of much help? Are you kidding? How many tiny scraps of paper do you accumulate already? This puts them all in one place, with additional content and features. Never be at loss for a bit of paper again.

Mead RingDex: Instant Hipster PDA For Two Bucks

Our guest poster today, Garry Ray, is a former technology editor for PC Week (now eWeek), and has written for a score of publications including Computerworld, PC Computing and The Washington Post. He currently works in the computer security field, and has a latent attraction to office supplies.

One ironic thing I've been noticing is that us GTD and Hipster PDA newbies spend an awful lot of time cruising office supply stores and web sites looking for hacks and improvements to our new organized and efficient analog tools.

So it was no surprise that one of my "Next Actions, context @Shopping" last week was "Get binder rings, Office Depot." I wanted to go upscale from the Hipster's elemental index cards plus binder-clip deck, to the niftier ring-bound version, and if luck was with me, to spot whatever else seemed cool from the posts and the huge Flickr montage of Hipster PDA photos.

After finally locating a box of 20 assorted binder rings in Office Depot's "Staples & Paper Clips" aisle ($2.99, and I needed only one of the 20 rings), I ambled over to the index cards section of the store. And there was precisely what you might expect: the standard 500-packs of white cards and colored cards; 100 packs; boxy archival files; and the rest. Stuff that really doesn't add to Hipster creativity.

Then I spotted two rummaged boxes of something I'd never seen anywhere before: bundles of shrink-wrapped index cards with the ring binders already attached. Huh? What's this?

Mead RingDex

It turns out to be the Mead RingDex, the closest thing I've ever seen to a ready-made and instant Hipster PDA.

Bookbinding Wrap Up

By now you've spend the past three weeks learning how to make single signature books and perhaps have tried your hand at the more intermediate book. Now that you have learned to create two different styles of books on your own, you're probably wondering where to go from here. Well, I’m here to tell you that there are 2 ways to uncover more advanced bookbinding techniques.

Your first stop should be to visit a bookstore to peruse the shelves of books on binding and crafting journals. A quick search on amazon shows over more than 30 or more books displaying instructions on building and crafting different types of books. From japanese stab bound books to crafting leather wrapped tomes. Look at the end of this article for more suggestions on good books to begin your search. However, if finding that reading instructions out of a book seems confusing to you, or you are not quite sure which of the various tomes of instruction seems right to you, I recommend bugging a friendly employee at the art store and see whether or not someone in your community is hosting a bookbinding class or seminar. More often than not, one employee or two just may know of a store in your area that caters to classes on bookbinding techniques.

D*I*Y Planner Widget Kit 0.6 (for 2.0)

A 5.5x8.5 templating kit for Draw 2.0. Contains a series of graphical widgets that can be copied and pasted to create your own D*I*Y Planner -style templates. Version 0.6 now contains more widgets, is updated for OOo2, and has a series of annotations.

Usage advice: 

See the linked page for more information.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview)

D*I*Y Planner Widget Kit 0.6 (for 2.0)

D*I*Y Planner Widget Kit (Sample)A little early Christmas gift for those budding template designers among you: a brand new version of the D*I*Y Planner Widget Kit for 2.0, stogged tight with graphical elements you can use to create your own forms.

The kit now includes:

  • Better standardisation of widgets, lines and fills to match the forthcoming D*I*Y Planner 3.0 kits.
  • Plenty of annotations and tips to help explain things, ensure consistency, and give a little peek into my process. (These are located to the sides of the pages, so you may have to zoom out.)
  • Several new widgets to round out the set.
  • A sample monthly calendar page that you can use to create your own months.
  • A sample weekly calendar (8 boxes on 1 page) so you can design your own weeks.
  • A sample page with various components laid out so you have something to start tweaking.
  • Colours that match the D*I*Y Planner standard colours (or should I say tones).
  • A new file format (OpenDocument) to take advantage of Suite 2.0, which of course is a free download. No guarantees are given for backward compatibility to the 1.x series, but since the new version of Draw is significantly better, I highly suggest getting 2.0 anyway.
  • The Blue Highway fonts (regular and bold), which should be installed prior to opening this file for the first time. Tips, Tutorials and Guides

OpenOffice.orgJust a quick little post here, so I can get back to working on the new version of the Widget Kit, being created in the recently-released Draw 2.0.

One of my most well-thumbed tech books of recent years has been the 1.0 Resource Kit, by Solveig Haugland and Floyd Jones. Till I bought this book, I wasn't aware of the true power of the free suite. I've been a strong proponent of both the suite and the book every since, and in fact it's been one of the only tech books I find myself advocating on a regular basis.

OOo 2.0 Resource KitI've been eagerly awaiting the new 2.0 Resource Kit (due this spring?), but in the meantime I've been quite happy to learn that Ms. Haugland has a blog devoted to OOo tips, tricks and ideas, and this week has been concerned primarily with OOo Draw. If you're interested in making your own templates for your planner, or --heck-- you want to learn a fairly powerful desktop publishing application that costs you nothing, this is a great place to start.

You might also be interested in the wonderful user guide and how-tos available at the OOo Documentation Project: there's plenty of material there for both beginners and advanced users. Once you're feeling a little confident with Draw, feel free to jump into the Design Your Own D*I*Y Planner Templates section.

Okay, back to work....

Template Design 101: Getting Started

So you have this great idea for a template, and you've looked around in vain for a similiar one. Despite a few polite suggestions and heated requests to various designers, they're booked solid and don't have the time to make it. So what can you do?

Well, make it yourself! You'll find that it isn't really that difficult. All you need is an idea, a little brainstorming session, and some software you either already have, or can find for free.

If you have the urge to make a template, you're not alone. One of the questions I generally find in my mailbox at least once a week is, "What's the best way to go about making a form?" That's usually followed by further questions about the suitability of, Illustrator, Word, InDesign, Scribus, Inkscape, and so on. So I decided to jot down a few rough notes about the best way to create your own template. This is going to be a bit vague, and I'm not going to dwell on certain applications; this little article is only meant to give you the bare basics.