Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Ikea Collage

When we started looking at apartments before we moved to America we realised that our apartment would be a lot smaller than what we were used to and that much of our furniture would be too big and chunky to fit, not to mention it wasn't very moving friendly furniture... So heavy!

Because of this we decided to sell it all and start fresh when we arrived. We want furniture that is more compact and easy to move so it seems like Ikea is going to be a good option. For a bit of fun last night I pulled apart the Ikea catalogue and put together a collage of things I would like. Obviously we won't be getting it all, we will be starting out with just the essentials but it's fun to dream!

I also think that by putting all the items that I want in one place I will be able to reference it quickly if we get the chance to add more items as the years go on. It was also great to put together a "look" and I am feeling a bit bolder about choosing some unusual colours ( fushia and emerald green) to add some fun to our new apartment. I know that if I hadn't put this together I never would have been brave enough to add emerald green to the mix.

Now I can't wait to actually find somewhere to live and set up our new furniture!

Do you collage? What sort of things do you make collages of? Let me know in the comments below.


Strengthening Sticky Notes

I love using sticky notes to mark pages in my planner for quick reference. I have them all hanging out from the top of my planner but I noticed they were starting to get a bit ratty looking. I sold my laminator before leaving Australia as it wouldn't work over here in the USA so laminating was out plus I still wanted the tags to function as sticky notes!

The top two sets are from Daiso in Australia. The bottom two sets are from Japan.

The solution seemed simple and has probably been shared before but here is my take on using sticky tape to strengthen planner flags. I used the Scotch Satin Finish GiftWrap Tape as this doesn't have that over the top shiny finish regular sticky tape does. It's quite a soft finish and I found it didn't take away from the flags.

I started by removing all of the old flags and replacing them with new flags so that they looked neat and tidy. There's no reason though that you couldn't use your existing flags if you don't want to replace them.

I stretched out the tape and placed the flag, sticky side down, on top of the tape. Be careful to make sure that the sticky part of your flag is hanging off of the sticky tape... If you cover it with the tape it wont be sticky!

Make sure the sticky part isn't covered by tape!

Then gently lift up the flag and tape and fold the tape back over on itself, as close to the edge of the flag as possible. I covered as much of the front of the flag as possible, not just the part that would poke out from the page.

I cut the tape from the rest of the roll and with a finger carefully smoothed out any air bubbles from between the flag and tape.

Then carefully cut the excess tape from around the flag. I left a little overhang the whole way around to make sure the tape stays sealed together.

On some of the flags that I don't reposition I left the excess tape at the bottom to help the flags stay put in my planner!

I then stuck all the flags back into my planner.

From now on I will do this each time I stick a flag in so that I don't have to waste them by replacing them when they get worn down. I love seeing their little faces peeking out!

What shape are your favourite flags/sticky notes? Where is your favourite place to shop for sticky notes? Let me know in the comments below.


Sticker Hoarding

Last night I wrote in my planner about a trip to the San Francisco Asian Art Museum and I suddenly remembered I had some Koi and Gold Fish stickers that I had bought in Japan about four years ago. I pulled them out and realised I had never used them, not even one sticker! I quickly set about to remedy that but when I woke up this morning I was still thinking about the unused stickers.

Stickers from Japan, four years ago, used for the first time!

I had a quick flick through my sticker collection in the back of my pencil case and it was confirmed. I am a sticker hoarder. There were numerous sheets from the first time I visited Japan that were barely used and many more had joined the collection since then.

Stickers hiding at the back of my Smiggle pencil case.

My current sticker collection.

It's not that I don't ever use stickers, I certainly do! But I will often debate if what I want to stick them on is "worthy" and often I come to the conclusion that it is not. So many times the sticker sheet in question is returned to the pencil case unused. 

Hello Kitty stickers given to me by a student.

I realised it was a bit like having a good set of crockery. It takes up space in the back of the cupboard and rarely comes out. We weigh up every opportunity to use it. Is this occasion special enough? Is there a risk of it being broken? We are lucky if the good dinner set comes out once a year.

Kikki K stickers. The ones on the left are felt.

I've come to the conclusion that there is no point in a good dinner set. Every meal should be a special occasion and we shouldn't deny ourselves the opportunity to admire something so beautiful everyday. The same goes with the stickers!

Stickers from Japan.

A resolution has been set! I am going to take more opportunities to use, and to actually enjoy my stickers. There is no point in waiting for the "perfect project", it may never come! Perhaps in actively using them I can overcome the guilt I feel when I admire a sticker sheet and think, better not, it will only join the pile and not be used.

My favourite stickers from my first trip to Japan.

What stationery items do you hoard? What stops you from using it? Let me know in the comments below.


Monday, 27 October 2014

Improving My Handwriting

Like a lot of people I don't love my handwriting. A lot of the time it looks like an 11 year old child's writing (not true, many of the 10 and 11 year olds I taught had better handwriting than me). But I'm working on improving it, and like most things in life it's going to take a lot of practice!

When I take my time my everyday handwriting can be legible, but if it's not in my planner or not likely to be read by someone else it can be mistaken for chicken scratchings. What I really want my handwriting to look like is the elegant script of my Nan and Great Nan. Obviously when they were educated the style that was popular at the time was far more cursive. There were elegant loops and joins and it was just all round more beautiful!

After watching a fantastic video on hand lettering by Made by Marzipan I decided to set about teaching myself a new style of hand lettering, and I'm hoping the skills I learn will filter down to my everyday handwriting!

Whilst watching a Lynda.com course on Typography I saw Bickham Script Pro and it was love at first sight! I knew this was what I wanted my writing to resemble. I downloaded the glyph pdf from Adobe and set about trying to recreate the strokes in my own hand. Ideally I would have liked to start by printing the pdf and tracing the letters to get a better feel of the strokes but having no printer that was not an option. Instead I grabbed a line card and a blank piece of paper and set about recreating it the best I could.

Using a ballpoint pen leaves a lot to be desired so I have since ordered the Yasumoto Calligraphy Chisel Tip Markers from Amazon (3pk $6.33) after they were recommended by a lovely member of a Facebook planner group. I'll be sure to post another example as soon as they arrive.

The practice is a slow process but quite enjoyable, as you can see from my first attempt I'm very much lacking consistency in my letter formations. I'm hoping though that this will improve as I figure out how to construct the strokes correctly. It will never exactly resemble Bickham Script, but that would defeat the purpose of handwriting, wouldn't it?

Have you ever tried to improve your handwriting using a computer based font? What font did you choose? Let me know in the comments below.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Planner Love

After a month or so of admiring planners on Pinterest I decided to dive in and give it a go! It's not just about being organised it's a hobby too; all about decorating, altering and customising. And as with many crafts there is also a helpful and friendly online community.

Being an absolute Kikki K fanatic getting a planner from them was a no brainer. I opted for the a5 leather personal planner in Lilac. The videos Kikki K made about personalising were inspiring and I have been working on personalising mine ever since!

I've added a couple of charms to the pen holder from when we lived in Japan, most notably Rilakkuma on Mt Fuji. I use my planner for keeping track of important dates, to do lists and as my personal journal. 

I'm using a range of stationery items to decorate such as stickers, Washi tape and coloured pens. I'm also trying to teach myself hand lettering and trying to improve my handwriting style.

I've also really been enjoying making my own inserts. It's time consuming but rewarding once you see it in the planner.

It's really fuelled a love of stationery. This is my temporary desk set up. I can't wait to set up my desk when we move into our own place!

First Essie Nail Polish

I bought my first Essie nail polish yesterday and I am in love! It was opaque in one coat though I put two on and the colour is pretty much my new favourite colour! It's wearing really well so far but I'm not too worried as it was so quick to apply touch ups won't be such a pain! The colour is mod square.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Foxes and Halloween

When we first found out that we might be moving to the United States I immediately set about searching for craft stores in the San Francisco area. One of the stores I found was Paper Source and as I looked through their website I fell in love with their fox range that they brought out for this autumn. I loved all the pieces in this range but especially the fox apron, it was so cute and feminine! I also have quite a love of both aprons and foxes. I Pinned it and several times over the past few weeks I went back to admire the pin.

(Image property of Paper Source, found here: http://www.papersource.com/item/Paper-Source-Fox-Apron/3303_019/519299.html)

One night after we arrived we went and had amazing burgers at Roam on Fillmore street, which we then discovered was right next door to Paper Source! I was so excited, the store was closed for the night though and the fox range was no longer in the window display so when we went back to our apartment I went back to my pin to have another look... And it was sold out! I was so sad, I had seriously been considering getting it shipped to Australia before we left but decided I would wait, only to discover it was gone. 

Today we went back to that street for lunch. Actually we went back to Roam because the burgers were so amazing! After lunch we went in and they had one apron left on display and they let me buy it! I was so excited and I can't wait to wear it when I cook!

Paper Source was seriously impressive. They had such a great range of products and the store was set up beautifully. While I was in there they were using a new paper cutting machine that can cut, draw and score using designs on your computer. I'm certainly adding that to my wish list!

After Paper Source we headed over to Daiso, probably my favourite Japanese shop. I bought some really cute Halloween washi tape. Halloween isn't really celebrated in Australia, not to the extent it is here in the United States, but I intend to fully embrace it! I bought the Washi to use in my Kikki K planner but I'm sure I'll find some other uses for it too!

The design on the tape is very long so it isn't quite all pictured here, but it is equally as cute as the bit above :)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Pink sparkly nails

I painted my nails last night. I used a pink OPI base coat called Altar Ego and a glitter Revlon top coat called Heavenly. 

The top coat doesn't photograph well but is a really pretty white glitter with a pink/green/blue/yellow sparkle. The glitter pieces are tiny squares and hexagons. 

Also very excited as now that I'm in America I easily found a nail enamel drying spray!

San Francisco

Years have passed and so much has happened. This week I've started my new life in San Fracisco. I'll be blogging about my daily life and any adventures I have here!

First day of sightseeing around San Francisco. We went on the Big Bus hop on hop off tour which was great. It was a very busy tour though, there looked to be other buses with more open top seats available. Big Bus offers a recorded tour of the city in 7 languages and goes to all the main tourist locations.