Saturday, October 13, 2018

Bullet Journal

So a few months ago, I began feeling increasingly annoyed with myself for spending so much time on my phone.  I was especially annoyed at the fact that looking at my phone, going on social media, reading the news, was the first thing I did when I got up in the morning. So one day I vowed to find something else to do in that 30 or 60 or was it 90 minutes I was spending on my phone.

Enter the bullet journal.  Google this term, or "bujo" for short, and you will find a BAZILLION topics under this subject umbrella: what it is, how to do it, weekly spreads, calendars, doodles, themes, lists, etc...    I first heard about bullet journaling about a year ago and didn't really understand what it was or more so how in the heck to find the time to do it.   But with my new found morning time, which was a bit too early to be doing anything but sipping my coffee for a while, I realized this would be a good time to check out this journaling craze.


My first month or two was an epic fail while I tried to copy some of the most intense, complex spreads and designs. Thankfully about half way through the second month - after almost throwing in the towel - something clicked and I truly embraced the fact that my bujo doesn't have to look like or operate like anyone else's journal.  And that's kind of the point.  It should be something that works for the individual doing it!  A journal, that is a great tool to help me keep organized.  And as a bonus, is pleasant to view.

So during that second month, I realized, certain aspects of journal layouts weren't really working for me. It didn't work to do a whole month in a block, as many bullet journalers do.  It was better to have all my months in consecutive pages (like a traditional calendar), and then do weekly spreads which house my 'to do' lists, a week at a glance, and then housed a more in-depth week at a glance to drill down my to-do's and also serve as a place to keep a crude diary of the day's events.  In addition I added a couple of monthly trackers (exercise, vitamins, spending etc...), and a few lists pages (dinner ideas, gift ideas, xmas gift list etc...

It is a time investment to draw out your calendars, weekly spreads and trackers.  But after finding a system that works for me, I find myself actually yearning to get to my bullet journal in the morning. And it is a marvelous, enjoyable way to use up that time that i was previously staring at my phone!

My morning routine goes something like this: I usually will record things in my trackers, about 30-60 seconds.  Make a brief list in the previous day of my activities (the crude diary referenced earlier: "up at 5, hike at audubon, work 9-7 at ___, home dinner, tv and beads with j and j"), this takes about another 60 seconds.  Then I start plotting out the day.  I review what I accomplished in the previous day, and what I need to carry over to the current day (in the 'bujo' world they call this 'migrating'), and then I plan the rest of the day, finalizing my daily work to-do list and my personal to-do list, which takes about 5-10 minutes.

All in, my daily bullet journal activities take about 15 minutes or less.  So at that point I'll usually do one of a few things.  I have a couple of "daily doodle" pages in the bullet journal, so I can try out a few ideas or see if I can copy/emulate something I've seen in someone else's bujo!



Or I'll start working on an upcoming weekly spread:


Or I'll work on a theme idea for an upcoming month.  The theme I used for September was leaves, acorns, and mushrooms with a focus on pinks, soft oranges and browns with a pop of blue:


Pumpkins, spiders and bats for October, with a focus on orange, gray, and black with a pop of green:


I currently do not have a plan for a theme for November and December.  So in the coming mornings, I"ll spend some time doodling or playing with color palettes until I decide on a theme.



Have you heard of bullet journaling?  What do you think? Is it for you or does a traditional planner work just fine?

In the meanwhile, I'll leave you with some October themed earrings!  These little skull beads were on sale at Michael's last week so I snapped them up for my "Earrings of the Month" subscribers as a bonus pair of earrings for this month's delivery!



Wednesday, October 3, 2018

New England Bead Bop

Wow, nearly five months have passed since my last blog post.  I've been thinking about this blog a lot though.  Now that the daylight is shortening, and the weather has been slightly questionable of late, I have finally found time to get to it!

I have not been beading a ton, but I try to find a little time in each day (or so!) to work on a few projects, including, but not limited to these below!







In addition, last month was the New England Bead Bop.  This event was formerly called the New Hampshire Bead Bop, but this year it expanded to Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut too.



As a reminder, the gist of this event is: visit participating stores, partake in awesome Bead Bop sales, get your passport stamped, enter raffles to win fantastic beady baskets.

 Lucky for me, one of the stores is just a couple towns over from me, Beadles, in Chelmsford MA.  I didn't have time to hit but 3 out of the 10 stores this year, but I hit Beadles three times in September and their sales and free gifts were AMAZING! How cute was this little charm!?


Just to add to my bead buying spree, another local store, Art of Bead, in Leominster MA, was also having a spectacular sale.  And it seemed every time I hit Michael's, and dared to stroll down their bead aisles, they were also offering deep discounts.  So suffice it to say, I stocked up on beads this September!

I have also been working on the Bead-It-Forward project, assembling the squares and applying them to quilts and other crafted objects.  I hope to have some of these items on the BIF Etsy site soon.


Work is busy and sometimes a tad overwhelming.  But the view isn't so shabby a lot of the time!




In birding news, it was another banner summer of birds and wildlife in north central Massachusetts.

I was also blessed with a super huge treat of having a pair of robins nest in a bush outside one of our windows at home.  From laying the eggs (July 14) to the robins growing and fledging the nest (August 4) took a mere three weeks.  Nature is so amazing!  We were super lucky one morning, just before heading out for the day, to see the last of the juveniles actually leave the nest.





That's all for today, and here's to hoping in the next day or so I catch up on READING my favorite blogs! If you have made it this far, thanks for catching up with me!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Blogging from A-Z • Reflections

WOW! Where to begin!?

First I want to start, exactly where I ended on my final A-Z post, which is to say THANK YOU again to all the folks who visited and commented.  Over the weekend, I reread all the comments from April while I was putting everyone's 'names in a hat' for the earrings drawing I held. It was absolutely wonderful to hear from old friends and make new friends while I posted each day.  A huge shout out to Christine, of One Kiss Creations, and Birgit, of BB Creations, who commented on EVERY post!   There were many others who commented often, and some who commented a little, and some who commented once. Whether it was a little or a lot, every comment meant the world to me.  So THANK YOU AGAIN!



Now with that said, I must admit/confess, that I was absolutely terrible about responding to everyone's wonderful comments, checking out other A-Z Bloggers, and keeping up with my 'regular' blogs that I follow. My excuse? Well, my excuse is I'm generally bad at that anyway. But at the beginning of the month, the company I work for opened a fourth restaurant so I can report with confidence, I was extra busy!  I'm sure I logged enough photos at work in the first two weeks of April to do another A-Z with food & beverage as the subject, like I did back in 2016!


This year's A-Z was definitely one of my favorites.  Come to find out, I REALLY enjoy talking about birds and sharing photos and anecdotes from my sightings and observations.  And during the month of April and in this past week since its conclusion, many more fun birding moments occurred.  So naturally, this A-Z "Reflections" post will leave you with a few more photos and anecdotes!

During the opening of said restaurant, specifically on the day of the letter 'F', I was at work while guests for one our VIP soft openings were beginning to pour in.  It had snowed that day, because well, what else does it do on April 6 in New England!?  Anyway, the snow ended, and the sun was coming out and I glanced out into the parking lot and was floored to see a huge flock of cedar waxwings in a tree in the parking lot!





From afar, I watched them swooping down to the bushes below, which I realized were juniper bushes, and finally I said to one of my colleagues, "I'll be back in 10 minutes, I need to go see these beauties up close."  And I marched over to the other side of the parking lot and enjoyed a few minutes with them!







As I mentioned during the letter "M", I have been observing a great horned owl nest near my house.  These owlets have been growing SO fast and as of Saturday, one of them has fledged, and I"m sure the siblings aren't far behind.





AND in the last two weeks with spring migration barely getting started, I have already clocked THREE life birds! (As mentioned in the letter "I", "life birds", or "lifer" is a term birders use to describe a bird they've seen for the first time in their life!)

The blue-gray gnatcatcher:



The blue-headed vireo:



And my favorite lifer since last year's indigo bunting, is a bird I didn't even know I wanted to see, but took my breath away when I observed it last week, the norther parula! Isn't he a beaut!?  His song wasn't too shabby either!



Finally - it is time to announce the winner of the A-Z drawing.  I entered all the names into a tool on Random Name Picker and on line tool.  I entered a name for every time a person commented, so it is not surprising that with 26 entries, Birgit's name was drawn!  Congratulations Birgit! Birgit was also an A-Z participant.  She is a movie aficionado and a creator of handmade cards.  Go on over and check out her blog: BB Creations!


Monday, April 30, 2018

Blogging from A-Z • Z • Zonotrichia Alibicollias

When I was blogging about sparrows for the letter S, I omitted a certain species for a very important reason.  That reason is because the Latin name of this sparrow begins with Z!  Z is for  Zonotrichia Alibicollias also known as the white throated sparrow.



I am very fond of the white throated sparrow.  I love its striking stripes and the contrast of its white throat.


They are a curious little bird and don't seem to mind posing for a photo now and again! Sometimes they even pose themselves in a bush full of berries in front of a vibrant blue sky!



I cannot believe the A-Z challenge has come to a close.  THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE who stopped by and took a moment to read my posts and gander at my photos.  I haven't had a chance to respond to all the comments, but believe me when I say, it was very meaningful to me every time I received a comment.



May 7 is the date for the "A-Z Reflections" post, and that is when I plan to announce the winner of the drawing for the seven pairs of earrings.  And for the final pair, here is a design by Gwen Fisher, called Ginko Leaf.  These are a really fun cubic right angle weave design!  Thanks to all the folks who commented during the A-Z challenge.  This is the final post to comment to be entered in a drawing to win seven pairs of earrings!