Tuesday 31 December 2013

Where did all the comments go?

Good old Blogger. You can always trust it to do almost everything very nearly right. It was happy to migrate my blog to the new domain www.mylifeallinoneplace.com but at the cost of losing a bucketload of comments. It's a known issue, it seems. Ah, well.

So if you notice that one of your comments isn't here any more, rest assured that it's not because I've disapproved or taken against you in some way, but simply because those lovely Google chaps - for all that they do marvellous work - have dropped a minor ball here.

In other news, the blog passed one million pageviews last week. In celebration, there will be quite a special giveaway very soon. In the meantime, I hope you all manage to use the remaining hours of 2013 in the best possible way. 

Monday 23 December 2013

How to saddle-stitch your booklets

I was asked to post on how I saddle-stitch the booklets I make for the Midori Traveler's Notebook, which I'm happy to do. These instructions will work for stitching pretty much any booklet and if you follow them closely you can't go wrong. I'll start by assuming you can assemble your pages and your cardstock cover, like so:

People will suggest that you use binder clips to keep the pages together and this is a good idea when you're starting out. If you're going to use them, clip either side of the spine, top and bottom, so you have four clips in use in all.

Using an awl, make a hole that goes through all the pages and the cover.

The best way to do this is the hold the booklet half closed and rest the spine along a folded-up newspaper. This works better than - say - a cutting mat, because it allows the point of the awl to penetrate further though the cover. This will prove important later on. Make two more holes each side of the central one, positioned like this:

Now, you can measure these out by eye, but the eye can be unreliable and inconsistent. When I make a stack of booklets, I like to see the stitching properly aligned, like this:

Whilst I am aware this might be seen as a little ... er ... fussy, I think it's worth the extra effort, and it turns out that it's not much extra effort at all. You could measure the hole positions each time, but that can get boring very quickly. Here's what I use:

Yes, it's a piece of string. It's as long as the booklets are tall (210mm for MTN booklets) and has evenly-spaced markings from a Sharpie marker. The ends have been dipped in PVA glue to stop them fraying. Each time I want to make holes, I lie this string inside the half-closed booklet along the central spine and make holes where the markings are. Easy.

Anyway, you should be now have 5 holes along the spine of your booklet. For ease of reference, I'm going to label them A to E, like this:

Turn the whole booklet over and the same holes can be seen to go right through the cover too:

Thread a tapestry needle with some strong thread. Some people use dental floss for this. I use beading thread in the 0.2mm thickness. I've never known it to break in use; it's quite hard to cut even with scissors unless they're razor sharp.

Thread your needle, and pass it through the central hole, hole C from the inside of the booklet to the outside:

Now put the needle through the hole above (hole B) from the outside through to the inside:

Next, the needle goes through the top hole (hole A) from inside to outside:

Now you go back though hole B from the outside:

Here comes the break in the pattern, because you miss out hole C and instead by pass it, going through hole D from the inside to the outside:

Then back the the pattern as you go through hole E from the outside:

Now come back through D from the inside:

And now finally, from the outside, come though hole C:

Your booklet is now fully stitched though every hole:

In a moment you are going to tie off the ends, but first take a closer look at hole C:

What you're looking for is one of the ends of the thread to emerge from the hole on either side of the big stitch the goes from B to D on the inside. If both threads are currently on one side of it, use the needle to slip one end under the stitch.

Now pull both ends tight and knot them together on top of the long stitch. Make a double knot and trim the ends close to the knot.

And that's it; you're done. If this is a Midori Traveler's Notebook booklet you're making, you can down use a ruler and rotary cutter to slice it down to 110mm wide.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Going round in circles

You may know Patrick Ng's gorgeous Chronodex planning tool or Kent From Oz's version, the Spiraldex. There are other derivatives, too. I've tried these circular planning tools and they don't work for me, but enough people swear by them that you should check them out and see if they work for you. Both Patrick and Kent have videos showing their systems in use.
From Patrick's free 2014 Chronodex set

The theory seems sound; if you use a conventional watch face, you'll be comfortable with the hours of 12, 3, 6 and 9 at the cardinal points, so a picture that represents appointments as though on a clock face ought to make sense intuitively. Except that for me it doesn't. I have to spend time looking at the tool to work out what it's telling me. Add in the fact that there are two 9 o'clocks each day and for me the visualisation really becomes too complex.

On the other hand, show me a conventional planner layout with times shown in a straight column and I can take in the information without having to decode it. I can write what I'm planning to do next to the time, without having to find somewhere to write it outside the circle. Since I write horizontally in one direction only, the vertical list of times makes this very easy.

I so want to be able to use Chronodex; I love the aesthetic, but I just can't make it (or the other derivatives) work for me. Maybe you can?

Thursday 12 December 2013

LimeTreeFruits Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Antonika Tillman who wins the 2014 planner set.

Raine will be in touch shortly and we both hope you enjoy your prize.

Saturday 7 December 2013

Personal change with your Filofax

Your Filofax can work harder for you. Yes it can. It is already busy helping you sort out your day-to-day life. It is your external memory. It gives you quick access to information you need, whenever you need it. But you’re in charge; you have to do all the work.

Maybe it’s time to ask your Filofax to take the strain and to help you out with a special project. If there’s a personal change you want to make, a habit you want to lose or develop, you already have in your hand or on your desk the key to achieving it.

Do you want to stick to a diet or exercise regime? Do you want to read more or cut down on TV or video games? How about getting in the habit of writing a journal every day? Whatever it is you want to change about your life, your habits or your behaviour, you can get your Filofax to be your very own coach and your personal cheerleader. Here are some ways you can set up your Filofax to make the dream come true.

Don’t break the chain 

This is Jerry Seinfeld’s method for developing a daily writing habit. Using a year-to-a-page calendar, put an X over each day that you work on your project:

Look at the calendar above. I’ve built up a chain of 15 days in a row when I’ve kept to my diet, or where I’ve written at least a page in my journal. Do I really want to break a 15-day chain by failing today?

Anchor your motivation

When you start out and commit to a change, you will usually have clear, strong reasons for doing so. Days or weeks later when you’re struggling with your commitment, those can become obscured.

You need to be continually reminded of your original motivation. So on a blank page, before you start working on your change, write yourself a question, such as, “Why do I want to exercise daily?” and then answer it. Make sure you capture all the reasons you can think of. You’ll end up with a page like this:

Make sure this is right at the front of your Filofax. You want to see this whenever you open it up. You can add to the list, too, if you discover additional motivations along the way.

Set up milestones 

Work out some sensible milestones on your journey: one, two, three, four weeks; two, three months and so on. Locate these dates in your diary and write them in now, adding check boxes, like this:

Write these in now, as far ahead as you want to look. Later, when you reach each milestone, tick the box with pride and if there is room in your diary, write a few words about how you feel in reaching the milestone.

A letter to yourself 

Write yourself a letter. Tell your future self why this change is important to you and how much you hope that you can make it work. Make it like a proper letter. Give it a date, a salutation and a signature. Seal it in an envelope and write on the front:

Now put the sealed envelope in the back pocket of your Filofax. When you get to the point of quitting, open the letter. Carefully read what your earlier self wrote. Remember the optimism, the determination, and use these memories to strengthen your resolve.

So get your Filofax working harder. What personal change do you want to instigate?

Tuesday 3 December 2013

LimeTreeFruits 2014 Planners Giveaway

It seems there's a thing called a Blog Hop. Who knew? And I've agreed to kick one off today, for the wonderful Raine of LimeTreeFruits. Never heard of her? I don't believe you. But just in case, here's a link to my interview with her in October.

She is launching her range of 2014 planners this month and I am one of the bloggers to get a sneak peak (lots of pictures below.) If you like the look of these, you can find out more and order here. But, you could be lucky and win a set in this giveaway competition. This giveaway is part of the LimeTreeFruits Pre-Order Planner Party (say it fast 5 times!). You can find out more here.

If you want to win a set of these luscious inserts to print at home, then please comment on this post within the next week. I'll draw a winner at random after 10 December. Good luck!

If you want further chances to win, you can follow this Blog Hop around the web. Dates and sites are listed below.

·  Dec. 3rd - My Life All in One Place (you're already here!)

·  Dec. 4th - Artsyville

·  Dec. 5th - Philofaxy

·  Dec. 6th - Jani Franck

·  Dec. 9th - Plannerisms

·  Dec. 10th - I Love It All

·  Dec. 12th - The MomWrites

Sunday 1 December 2013

Print your own index tabs for your notebook

Filofax users have always been able to organise their content into sections using index dividers. How would you like to be able to divide up and organise a bound notebook in a similar way?

Today's free download is a Word file that allows you to make and print your own index tabs.

Choose your own colours, sizes and section names. Print, cut out, fold each tab over and glue to a page on both sides.

Download the file here. There are sets of tabs in two different sizes. You can change the text as well as colours of both the text and the tabs.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Field Notes and Moleskine size undated diary to download and print

I was asked for one of these in a smaller size. So here is an undated diary compatible with Field Notes sized notebook covers.

You can download the Word version or the PDF version.

These files should be printed on A4 paper in booklet mode, assuming your printer supports it. If your printer doesn't support booklet mode, you can use the wonderful FinePrint app.

Then you can stitch or staple on a cover and cut the insert down to size. The finished booklet will measure 14cm x 9cm.

Although designed to fit into your system, these will work just as well as standalone diaries.

Saturday 9 November 2013

Mini wrap wallet giveaway winner

You may remember this giveaway from last weekend. The randomiser (young child, bowl, bits of paper - old school) selected:

Congratulations, Janis Bennett. Email me your postal address and I'll send you your wallet.

If I don't hear from Janis within a week, I'll redraw.

A Midori Homework or Study Planner - free download

Good study habits are useful to have. This booklet - whether inserted in your Midori Traveler's Notebook or carried standalone - will help you cultivate the habits and stay on top of your studies.

Each two-page spread allows you to detail your study or homework plans for a whole week. A booklet covers 23 weeks.

You can download this insert here.

What you'll download is a PDF file, in 'pre-shrunk' format. This is ready to print straight away, without any need to use booklet format on your printer. Just print this straight to A4, with duplex set to flip on the short edge (I'd recommend you print just one or two pages first to make sure your printer deals with this correctly and make adjustments as necessary.)

Once you've printed out the pages, you can bind them into a booklet and cut to size using these instructions

I'm aware that some of my readers like to roll their sleeves up and play  with the source Word file, so here it is.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Home made mini wrap wallets - Giveaway

A week or two ago, I made a video showing how you could make a mini wrap wallet out of leftover leather and elastic cord.

They take about five minutes to make. I've been left with a few oddments of leather since I made my first one, and I have a few now:

This is more than I have a need for on a day-to-day basis. I'm planning to give one away.

If you'd like to have one of these, please leave a comment below by the end of Friday 8 November, stating which one you'd like to own if you win. Choose A, B, C or D as shown in the key below. One lucky winner will be selected at random.

Print your own diary - Excel hack for international (non-English) users

I received an email from Pedro Peres that might be of interest to users of non-English versions of Excel. Here's what Pedro says:

As a big thanks for your great work i attach here an update to you wonderful xls version of DatesSourceFilo.xlsx (from http://mylifeallinoneplace.blogspot.pt/2012/01/download-your-free-page-per-day-2012-a4.html).
 As i am portuguese i was struggling to make it work with my language. When i open in excel it reads the Windows local region settings and the formulas do not work correctly.If my "Region And Language"
settings are set to Portugal the year is aaaa for "ano", the portuguese word for year.
 So I found an Italian solution that gets the current local in excel with defined names.
(from https://sites.google.com/site/e90e50fx/home/funzioni-excel-con-argomenti-costituiti-da-valori-di-testo-seconda-parte/excel-functions-with-text-value-arguments-second-part)
 e.g.: year_symbol is a name defined for =REPT(INDEX(GET.WORKSPACE(37);19);4)
 So now i think it works in every language, you must accept macros for defined names (it has no macros besides that).
 The only update it needs is the ordering column. In portuguese you dont have "st" , "nd", "rd" or "th". So i had it removed. In Portuguese we have "de" like "1 de Janeiro de 2014". I also have put the name of the week in the calendar.

I hope you like it and put it online to help the non english users.
 How to use it*:
1st - open "DatesSourceFilo2.xls"
2nd - go to Region and Language
3rd - change to a different language and see the excel updated 4th - open "Base diary 1 day per page2.docx"
5th - go to Region and Language
6th - change to a different language and see the word updated when you change the record  (next or previous)
 *works in office 2013 version and windows 7
 Best Regards
Obrigado a todos
 Pedro Peres from Portugal

Here are the links for Pedro's files: Base diary (2 PPD) in Word    Excel data source

Friday 25 October 2013

Download a free NaNoWriMo tracker printable

NaNoWriMo comes around every year. New and experienced writers undertake to produce a full novel in the thirty days of November. This requires a certain amount of planning. In collaboration with my friend, Rhomany, I have developed a NaNoWriMo tracker you can download in several formats and use to track your progress over the month.

You have a number of choices when it comes to format.

1. Four page A4 or Letter paper

Click to enlarge

This prints as four pages of A4 or Letter paper that you can print single- or double-sided and slip into a folder or punch and add to your binder.

Download A4 version as Word file or as PDF file

Download Letter version as Word file or as PDF file

2. Single sheet booklet - A5 or Half Letter

Inside view

Outside view

This version you can print onto A4 or Letter paper, double-sided (flip on the short edge) and fold in half. If you want to file this in an A5 Filofax, use this version and cut instead of folding, then punch and you're good.

Download A5 booklet as PDF file

Download Half Letter booklet as PDF file

3. Midori Traveler's Notebook

Inside view - outside is as A5 booklet version

You can use this version either as a single folded sheet to tuck into the back of an existing booklet, or you can use the source file to seed the pages into a mixed self-printed booklet. Print just like the A4 booklet, then cut down to the usual width of 110mm.

Download the booklet as PDF file

Download the Word source file

Make your own Mini Wrap wallet - video tutorial

Here's a great wallet you can make from scraps you have left over from making your notebook cover.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Interview with Raine Boyd: Tiny Creative Chefs

Something special today. You might know Raine as the woman behind limetreefruits.com. I love her work, in particular the beautiful printables that she passes on to the Filofax and planner community for free. When I learned that she was launching a new product combining cookery and crafts for kids, I signed up immediately. I asked her if I could interview her and help more people find out about it. (By the way, this isn't code for "She asked me to publicise her stuff for a kickback" - I really did approach her and asked if I could do this. And no kickbacks are involved, I just really want to help her succeed and for my readers to know about this cool product.) Read to the end for a discount code.

So here's the interview.

1. Who is Raine Boyd? Please seize the opportunity to use the third person unashamedly and let people see what you look like.

Raine Boyd is a reawakened artist + illustrator transforming humdrum day-to-day routines into enjoyable, fun, exciting and nurturing activities. Currently living in the Caribbean, over the weekends she has been sipping coconut water by the beach in search of the perfect “flat” wave to start surfing lessons with her cats. {the odds!}. During the week she has been making functional eye-candy art and releasing it to the world. You can find her musings, artwork and Filofax printable planners, calendars, desktop wallpapers, and all around helpful tools at limetreefruits.com.

2.  Tell me about Tiny Creative Chefs. What gave you the idea and how did you
develop it?

Since I was a kid I wanted to illustrate children’s books and children’s cookbooks because I grew up surrounded by them. The recipes in the cookbooks were all so easy and yummy to make (I always loved food too!) and the illustrations were the icing on the cake. About a year ago before TCC’s release I realized that I could really start illustrating recipes on my own. I didn’t need to wait for a special “something” to happen to get started. I illustrated the first recipe and even gave a sneak peak to my subscribers at that time. :) Then my husband and I decided to move out of the country and the project got delayed but never forgotten. :D I have a Filofax specifically for “Projects & Ideas”. In it I have specific tabs for each project where I break down each stage of development into sections (and more tabs!) where I write notes, questions, procedures and such. Since we decided to move out of the country I had to delay TCC’s release by A LOT! We moved into a temporary place before reaching the Caribbean and so I didn’t have my studio all set up and things were messy. I was not able to paint much but during that time I learnt a lot about all the technicalities of making a project like this come to life completely online and TCC’s designated section of my Filofax got filled quickly. The timing worked out perfectly at the end. As soon as we settled into the new place and my studio *ahem* dining area/studio was functional, I started illustrating and implementing it all. A few more months of intensive labor and love and Tiny Creative Chefs was released to the world! :)

3. What did cooking mean to you when you were growing up?

It mostly meant fun times with my mom. :D She wasn’t a big fan of cooking and during the week she would cook mostly on her own. So I knew it was “us girls” time for fun when she would ask me to grab one of my books and bring it to the kitchen. ;)

4. Is the chef character you? Is it based on someone in particular?

That’s an awesome question that I didn’t think about! :D The chef from the website itself came to me as I was sketching it. He appeared also on an earlier version of a printable menu planner and kept showing up again when I was drafting the main buttons and layouts. In the recipes, there is a character that shows up twice and she is such a doll! ♥ She is the same sweetheart that popped into my pages the very first time I attempted to illustrate a children’s book many years ago. I guess those little guys are insistent. They wanted to be heard and come to life. :)

5. Where do the recipes come from? How about some hints on what we can expect in the coming weeks?

All of them were recipes I used to make with my mom. Some of them I adapted and twisted over the years, others are exactly the same. I have such a sweet tooth and if it was up to me the recipes would all be desserts. :D I selected the recipes on my best behavior adding salty snacks and sweets into the mix! ;) 

6. What about art? When did you learn you could draw these fabulous creations? 

I had drawn/painted most of my life. You see, doodling is what kids do naturally, especially in a household with TWO fulltime artists! :D My parents were very good at supporting and encouraging me to polish those skills throughout my entire childhood and early teens. However they – unfortunately – excelled at incorporating and being a personification of the “starving artist” myth. In an effort to avoid that “curse” in my life {as I saw it at the time}, I took a break from art for almost 15 years. A little over a year ago, I finally allowed myself to explore and experiment with art again. And it has been A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! {of course, right? How wouldn’t it be? ;) } I have been working hard not only to perfect my skills but especially to overcome internal challenges and change my expectations of what an artist is supposed to be and how he/she is supposed to live a creative life. Today I am on a mission to clear out those old beliefs and step into a free and empowered Artist Life. Art can bring me abundance or not. It all depends on me. :)

7. How challenging is it to draw/paint specifically for kids? 

I LOVE illustrating for kids! It is my favorite style and it comes so naturally and fluent to me! That is probably because I spent most of my childhood devouring comics and children’s illustrated books. I could be dragged anywhere and everywhere without a complaint as long as I had my stash of comics handy. :D They worked like a babysitter for me. Sometimes I see stories as a comic strip. If I only could draw/paint as fast the events unfold in my mind. :)))

8. My nearly-11-year-old is planning to use one of the kits for a special night at his Scouts group. Some of the Scouts will work on making the food, while others make the decorations and prepare the table. I think they'll have a great time. How do you hope people will use the sets? 

My goal is the interaction between parents and children. It was such an important experience of my upbringing that I dearly want more families to experience moments like this away from the TV/computer; just having fun creating without concerns about the end product. The process is the fun and important part, you know? :)  
And I LOVE that idea of a huge group effort as well! TCC can definitely be used as a way to empower children to cater and host their own parties. As a group, they can cook and decorate the whole thing on their own! Such a blast!  
They can even create a guest-book and have friends and family sign it, taking pictures throughout the process and afterwards creating an album and adding stories of each recipe in it or even journaling about the party. SO many possibilities to work with those recipes and create lifelong memories! 

9. What are your plans to extend the project? Can we expect themed one-off packs for Halloween, Christmas and so on? Further seasons? A book? 

Ray you totally read my mind! I am definitely planning on creating seasonal and holiday themed ones, hopefully next year! And for future development….. My mind is always bubbling with ideas. I can’t spill all the beans just yet because most of them are in the very early stages and depend greatly on how this first round develops. :) 

10. How can people reading this get on board? 

Anyone that follows my blog knows I am a talker and I am always giving hints here and there about next steps and that I always make a huge splash when something new and exciting is about to happen. So definitely stay tuned to my blog! ;) For more info about Tiny Creative Chefs you can hop over to tinycreativechefs.com and get to know me better, my blog is limetreefruits.com.

I'm a fan of everything Raine does, and Tiny Creative Chefs is such a wonderful project. I hope you'll look into it further, sign up (use the code "mylifeallinoneplace"  in the shopping cart to get 30% off) and enjoy some quality kitchen time with your kids.

Saturday 19 October 2013

DIY Field Notes size kraft file

If you have a Field Notes size Midori-style notebook cover, you might like to make this insert which provides some nice pockets to hold receipts, index cards and other bits and pieces.

It's really easy to make one for yourself. All you need is:
  • A piece of A4 card
  • A pencil
  • A sharp knife 
  • A steel ruler
  • Glue
Follow these instructions a step at a time and you can't go wrong.

To begin with, place the card down in landscape orientation and draw a vertical line the divides it in the exact centre, then on line on either side of this, each around 2mm from the central line:

Next, draw further vertical lines as below:

The next line is horizontal:

Note how these measurements mirror those of the Field Notes books - 140mm x 90mm.

Next you'll need a couple of short horizontal lines - one each end - a couple of mm above the main horizontal line:

Now mark two diagonal lines at the bottom:

Using the steel ruler and the knife, cut where shown:

Your piece will now look like this:

Score along all the remaining pencil lines that remain, using the ruler and knife, but pressing lightly so as not to cut right through the card. Then fold the two side flaps in towards the centre:

Now apply some glue to the bottom part of these side flaps:

Finally, fold up the bottom flaps and hold in place for a minute or two while the glue sets:

You can use a corner cutter if you want rounded corners. Your kraft file is now ready to sit behind the booklet(s) in your notebook cover.


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