Thursday, 2 November 2017

Did BuJo Change My Life?

Hello Friends and Happy Thursday! It has been half an year when I started keeping BuJo. I think now it is about time to look back and evaluate how helpful and life changing it has been. Or has it? I will be 100% honest about any obstacles and breakthrough moments. 

In case you wonder how empty my calendar looks it is just because I tend to take BuJo pictures before filling the page.
Bullet Journaling became a happy place for many after the idea spread and developed into a trend we now know it. If you look at this video from the inventor Ryder Carroll, that explains the basic idea of BuJo, you might be surprised how simple the main idea is. Everyone can do it. In case you look after BuJo inspiration you will find BuJo spreads so amazingly beautiful that they are surely from the master class of art. For me decorating and drawing a beautiful BuJo page is for days when I have got extra energy. The past months have changed so rapidly, that my monthly spreads have included just basics to keep calendar and task lists organized. Today I watched again Ryder Carroll's video tutorial and became inspired by the idea's simplicity. If you choose to keep BuJo it is important to get the technical side working. Crafting a pretty monthly spread, tracker or project page is something you should enjoy making and be sure to have enough time. There should be no pressure to create drawings or calligraphy to BuJo, it is optional and an art form itself. People who share inspiration for BuJo have it for (main) hobby and are interested in the artistic side. It is like having a basic photo album versus scrapbook. A photo album does the job well. Beautifully curated scrapbook is art. I haven't focused on the artistic side in my BuJo, but sometimes it is nice to sit down and spend time drawing and planning. It is OK to enjoy decorating pages even though your drawing is not perfect and you lack some style. I tend to put too many stickers and colors when I get started...

What is basics then in keeping BuJo? 

I really suggest you watch the video I linked, because it explains the basic idea very well. Point is that you have a notebook. To that notebook you draw a calendar page and list of to dos. You can see one example of a monthly calendar on the first picture of this post. You don't have to draw a candle there or write November in a fancy way. Just list the days. Then to the next page you list to dos. Then to the next pages you mark the dates of the month and move some points under the date from your to do list to accomplish that day. This is similar to having a calendar. You go through what you have to do in that month and then book things to your calendar. Then you mark your task done or move it to another day. When the month is over you go through what tasks you got done, what needs to be moved to next month's to do list and what tasks you can remove completely.

When you have your monthly calendar page where all days are listed you can use it to mark very important events, deadlines and tasks. I also have a page with twelve boxes, one for every month. There I can mark special days so I know what will be coming on a monthly level. I might for example know that on January I have got one weekend booked and that I have to remember some special task to do on March. Then when I draw monthly spread I can move these directly to my calendar.

What is special about BuJo is the space you got for planning and modifying it according to your own need. In normal calendar you have months and days but you might not have enough space for notes and planning the future. When keeping BuJo you can have a whole page or two for just one day. There you can list to dos, mark events where you have to be in certain time and take notes about things you feel are important. For example I can list what tasks I need to do for my blog post (sew a block, take photos, write etc.), Then I can mark that I have to be on a meeting at 8:30 a.m. I can also list new blog ideas that come to my mind and evaluate them later. Then for example on Sunday I might not have any to dos or events. I might just list some ideas and I need just a small space from the notebook to do that.

Best part of BuJo is customization. On my monthly spread I can have a blogging calendar and tracker. Some keep lists on what has made them happy that month or color their moods into a picture. Wellness related customizations are also popular. It is handy to plan a project when you can choose to have a whole spread for planning a craft project, career goals or weekend trip.

What month is it again that we are living? I made this November BuJo spread one evening to be early when month changes. Next morning when I woke up I noticed that the Finnish name for the month was wrong, it says lokakuu (=October). Focus is the key of success, laugh.

What needs to be tracked?

I have mentioned trackers quite a few times now so a word about those. I was highly motivated when I started my BuJo and I thought trackers were an amazing invention. I still think tracking, meaning following your habits for example, is a great way to see how you are using time and how you would like to use it. I browsed many BuJo inspiration pages and found lots of things to track. After the first motivation boost went off I re-evaluated what are the key habits I need to track. Going to shower and washing dishes are not. I know how to take care of my personal hygiene and I know to wash dishes at the latest when I run out of clean plates and mugs. So I calmly left these two trackers out of the list :D

Jogging and workouts? Where are you?

Things I have found interesting and motivating to track can be divided into three categories.

1. Creative work: Keeping track about my blogging habits and blog related activities has been very important for me. It tells me how much time I use for this work and how the time spent is divided into different phases like making DIY and craft projects, taking photos and writing. If I would track just published blog posts it would not show the whole reality behind the post.

2. Personal development: In this category I have got two of my major projects: reading more and socializing/networking. Last summer I thought it might be good to focus on planning and making the future. I tried to visualize my dreams and how I want to spend my life. It is actually quite small things that make a change.

First thing. I wasn't pleased with was my reading habits. Or lack of these habits. I had become lazy reader and I felt it is not me who stares TV all nights. I needed change and started a reading project. A simple, yet very effective step, was to start tracking my reading. My goal was to read 100 pages per day and after that I got a mark to my reading tracker. In the October tracker you can see I have not marked all reading I have done. It has became a habit and I read a little everyday. I have finished many books during the summer and autumn season. I am also motivated to find new books to read. And you know what? Nowadays I don't watch TV at all. I find it boring and time consuming.

Reading was also part of personal development. Project that I started after the reading plan. I wanted to become a person who knows what is happening in the world. It is so easy to just focus on your own small circles. I decided to read more non fiction and current books. I also felt that even though I am mainly a DIY, crafts and home decor blogger it should not stop me from following social discussions more and re-tweeting articles that I find interesting. After all blogging is always personal and one's thoughts come up no matter how strictly you stay in the so called main focus. It shows in what I think is worth writing, taking photographs and crafting. It is about thoughts and values what kind of projects I make and what materials I use. For example I favor low cost projects with materials that are from thrift stores. DIY thought is also a philosophy of empowerment. How is not societal already? In the tracker I have also got this part socializing. I get a point when I take part in an event, course or hobby. I meet people everyday but I wanted to focus on going to new places, starting hobbies I had always wanted to start and learning new skills.

Listing thoughts and writing them into daily life has made a huge change in my life. Tracking helps to see if some part of life needs attention. If I haven't been socializing for some days I browse through news papers and social media for events and book something to my calendar.

3. Keeping Fit: Jogging, workout, 10/20/30 000 steps.
Seems like cold weathers have effected my workout routine. Ups, promised to be honest! Seems like I have done workout just 6 times during the six months. It might be good to evaluate if this tracker should be removed or if I should make project about this. It depends how important I think this is. If it is not important and I am never doing this, there is no need to keep it on my BuJo. In case I decide it is very important and something I have neglected in life then a proper project and and planning page might be the way. What comes to steps I found it very motivating from the beginning to count steps and track how active I have been. Tracker also gives a reason why some days there is less steps. Focusing on other areas like blogging or reading has taken the time and it is OK.

Power of Processing

So I have had three successful projects during these six months: a. reading more, b. socializing, learning new and being active and c. getting enough exercise. All projects have evolved from the original thought. One thing leads to another. Reading more inspired to start learning new skills. For me important part of BuJo has been processing. At first I wanted to keep my notebook clean and organized. I designed every page in advance and tried to avoid messy notes and sketches. I have always had a notebook for ideas and sketches. This autumn I began to draw ideas to BuJo. It makes pages that are not so beautiful but is necessary for the process. It is amazing how the messy sketch/idea becomes a plan, plan gets booked to calendar and becomes action and turns out a blog post, completed reading list or more active lifestyle.

I have noticed that when I skip this processing work my productivity goes low and I am less pleased with how the time has been spent. I might do less and feel busier. When all is on paper it is possible to calmly move from task and activity to another. Small notebook is easy to carry with, in case new ideas occur. It doesn't have to be harmonious. When you put an idea that has not yet fully formed to a paper it looks as messy as it is in your head. I have noticed though, that the moment I see idea on a paper I find out many solutions to make it better.

Currently my BuJo is:
-sketch book
-habit tracker
-goal setter
-space to plan and schedule blogging
-project planner

Here you can see how I have used BuJo to plan my quilting projects. It is actually a nice thought that all that has happened in my life is in one notebook, bigger and smaller events, reading lists, craft projects, DIY ideas and exercise notes. It was pleasing to look back this 6 month period to see how much has happened in life.

This has been the longest piece of writing I have done to my blog. I am not sure if anyone read it through here but if you did I hope it encouraged you to try bullet journaling. These are my own honest thoughts about keeping BuJo and how it has been effecting my life. It might be some other things that make a difference in your life. I think BuJo is a great tool to think, evaluate and plan life and future. It comes in a simple form of a notebook but sometimes solutions can be found that easily, just pen and paper to make a list of what has been in mind for a long time. 

Have a Wonderful Weekend!


Sunday, 29 October 2017

Wreath from Natural Materials

Wintertime began today and it was wonderful to get to sleep one hour more and still wake up quite early. Yesterday it started snowing properly. Frosty scenery is now turned into black and white. Before Christmas decor and preparations I decided to make one last minute Halloween / All Saint's Day DIY. It felt like I have all the time in the world before Halloween. Then last week I saw some countdowns to Halloween and found out that it is actually on next week's Tuesday. We Finns have traditionally celebrated All Saint's Day and Halloween is relatively new phenomenon. On All Saint's Day people light candles on the cemetery and prepare a more festive dinner. Now Halloween decor is becoming more common. Even though Halloween feels a bit over commercial with all it's accessorize I think it is nice way to brighten up long fall and winter season. I used to start decorating Christmas on September but now I feel no need to be so early because there is this Halloween and pumpkin season. Last week I tried my first ever pumpkin spice latte. Spotted it at the local cafeteria. New phenomenons come into our lives little by little. After this Halloween and All Saint's Day week it will be nice to think about Christmas decorations. I have noticed that November always goes so quickly and then on December it will be Christmas all month. 

I gathered the materials for this wreath on Friday before the thick layer of snow came. After the autumn storms it was easy to find branches from the ground. Best part in this wreath is that you can easily update it for winter season by removing the leaves and adding some baubles or fake snow.

Wreath from Nature

You will need:

Pine cones
Wire (brown/copper)
Hot glue gun + glue
Paper yarn
Golden sewing yarn

1. Take half of the branches and stretch them into a loop. Tie the loop with wire. Attach some more branches to the loop loosely with wire.
2. Let the pine cones open in warm room over night. Then attach the pine cones to the loop by hot glue gun. 
3. Twine open some colorful paper yarn and cut it to small leaves. Sew the leaves to a golden sewing yarn by hand. Decorate the wreath with the leaves. If you want to create a winter look you could use white paper yarn to the leaves.
4. Make a hook from wire and attach to the wreath. Hang the wreath to a door, window or wall. 

Lets enjoy the last days of October and autumn before November and first winter season DIY projects!


Friday, 20 October 2017

Quilting Tutorial: Bohemian October

I took my autumn pictures just in time this week. Today when I woke up there was little bit of snow on the ground and trees were white. Sunshine and pure white scenery have given so much energy for this day and coming weekend. Today's quilted pillow tutorial that has deeper blue and purple hues doesn't feel too wintry at all. This is the second pillow quilting tutorial in this month. I hope you like quilting and sewing. I am so enthusiastic about making pillows and other small quilting projects. Now that winter is really coming, or arrived already, cozy pillows and blankets are the best way to decorate at home. 

This technique to quilt a block is easy. I have put quite many pictures of the process because I believe pictures tell more than words when it comes to crafts. I have made more detailed instruction on how to make the back piece to my previous quilting tutorial, so now I will mainly focus on making this block. Two main things you should remember when quilting are the 0,75 cm sewing allowance and that always after sewing iron the seams open before moving to second step. More tutorials, tips and inspiration on my previous quilting posts. The most interesting part for this simple quilted pillow comes from the unusual shape and fun tassels that finish the bohemian look.

You will need:
Cotton fabric in four colors
Sewing thread
Embroidery yarn
Cotton fabric for batting
Back fabric
Woolen yarn for tassels

Quilting equipment:
Cutting mat
Rotary cutter
Sewing machine
Embroidery hoop

Step 1. Cut 4 cm stripes from all four fabrics. Cut first about 4 stripes from each one (you will need more but it is easier to work with less at a time).

Step 2. Sew stripes together. Remember to keep same order in all stripe groups.

Step 3. Now you can choose. I preferred to sew these groups together to get a longer string. It will save material because the next step is to cut triangles with 45 degree corner. However you will have extra seams visible on your blocks. If you want to avoid that don't attach groups together but use shorter strings.

Step 4. Cut triangles with 45 degree angle. Cutting mats vary, but I had angles ready drawn on my mat so it was easy to follow the line and cut.

Step 5. Now you have two kinds of triangles that make two kinds of blocks. Collect the blocks and sew together.

When you sew parts together look that the stripes meet each other.

Make more blocks to have all parts for the pillow.

Step 6. Now sew blocks together as shown on the pictures. First sew blocks together to make three lines.

Then sew lines together.

Step 7. All parts sewn together. Now it is time to do the batting. Put cotton fabric to the bottom, then batting and quilt on the top of all. Pin layers together.

Step 8. Sew layers together by hand before you start embroidering.

Embroider the layers together with beautiful decorative stitches. Use embroidery hoop to make the work easier.

Step 9. Cut off the extra batting and make the back piece. See tutorial from here!

When the back piece is ready cut off the extra corners.

Step 10. Make simple tassels from woolen yarn. Attach the tassels, hide the yarn end inside the tassel. Put a pillow inside the pillowcase. I sew a basic pillow with the same shape using all batting leftovers I have collected during the years of quilting.

This cute bohemian style pillow goes well with faux fur pillow and luxurious quilt I have bought from interior decor shop one year ago. 

Hope you find this tutorial both helpful and inspiring. If so, please share on social media and /or tell friends on a coffee table. All your comments here on my blog and on social media warm my heart <3 If you got something on your mind you would like me to write about do not hesitate to leave a comment!

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!  I am not saying winter weekend because I heard on instagram comments today that some have a summer, some enjoy autumn :D 


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

This is the place where I usually get lost

Yesterday I noticed how few pictures I have taken outdoors this year. During the winter season taking photographs is a bit more challenging. Camera works in minus temperatures (Celsius) but fingers don't. Smartphone is so smart it must feel that my fingers are freezing and shuts down. Yesterday I had great possibility to catch late autumn pictures in sunlight. I was surprised to notice that water had mildly frozen at the swamp parts. I had to skate through duckboards with my forest running shoes not to fell down. Autumn colors had mainly melt into brown and golden. After few rainy days green was dominant. 

I walked through a short marked path suitable for evening walk. When the path goes to the rocks I usually don't know where it continues (lose the marks). Now there were new signs, but yet there is some magic in that place because I got lost again. In this part of Finland people use to say that if you get lost you return home. I think main point is that you are not lost in a severe way and you are able to follow your own tracks back home. Also our homes are in the forest. On the rocks I now where I am on the mental map I have constructed to my head. The place is familiar, I just don't know where the path continues. I went to this place with my friend once and said this is the place where I usually get lost. We got both lost that time. Good thing is that if I cross the rocks I know there is a running path and I have to turn left. 

Sun was setting at the lost place. Even when going through the most stressful time periods in my life walk to the forest has put things in right scale. Forest exists with no time. Yesterday I thought my trip took two hours. Turned out I was there four hours. Mundane problems begin to feel what they are, mundane. Forest is like space. When I look up to the night sky I understand myself as a small part of the universe. Forest has the same impact when it inevitably changes the seasons and moves through the years. Some of the years are here for me to see, some in past and future are not. It is a calming thought.

Have a good week my friends!