Planners and Journals October Planner Kit (Insertless)

It’s been a while since I subscribed to a monthly planner kit, and the reason for that is more of my having too much stuff than I can use. I had stopped subscribing for nearly a year. What made me interested again was Planners and Journals releasing their “insertless” kits! Don’t mistake me though; PnJ makes really awesome inserts, but as of yet they do not make pocket size inserts for their kits. Insertless kits are the next best thing, and at Php100 less than the usual kit price it seemed pretty reasonable. Knowing PnJ’s quality, I did not hesitate to sign up for three months.

 

 

The first month that had the insertless option was October, and October’s theme is Tea Party. Score! I love tea themes, and the overall color scheme of this kit is just awesome. I immediately filmed an unboxing in my Instagram Stories (follow me!) even though the lighting wasn’t that great. I finally got the chance to take photos for a closer look at the items in the kit. Without further ado, here are everything I got in the October Tea Party Planner Kit!

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For some reason, I focused on a big-to-small sequence. The first things that caught my eye are the papers included. PnJ, if you recall from my previous kit shares, always includes two or three sheets of cardstock that they designed for the kit. This month’s papers are stunning! I am loving the pastel blue and green color scheme with accents of rose pink and blueberry purple. Delicious!

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I’m also very happy when I saw three sheets of matching planner stickers. These are lovely designs, and I can’t wait to stick them into my planner (and journals, actually!). What I really like about these stickers are the size profile – it fits perfectly in my Hobonichi Weeks as if it’s made for that!

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Next in the kit comes two sets of beautifully designed note paper, measuring 9×11.5cm. There are ten sheets for each of the two designs, and the paper feels pretty good as per PnJ’s standards. The only problem I am facing with these is that it’s too cute to use! I must fight the tendency to hoard!

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The kit also gave a set of six journaling cards in the same theme, and boy are they triggering my hoarding tendencies too!

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Next we have a gigantic cupcake made of thick acrylic (below right), and at first I had no clue what this thing was supposed to be. It was too big and heavy to mount on a paperclip. I figured it’s probably meant to be a sort of drink coaster. I also received a cute little handmade paperclip with a gold-and-pink bow, which is always a nice touch. Perhaps my only issue with the bow clip is that it feels a little out of theme.

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Lastly we have a set of cute little ephemera in the same theme. There’s a good variety of designs, but again there’s the idea that it’s too cute to use! My favorite here are the stacked cups, super cute!

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I am very happy to have subscribed with PnJ again. I feel that Php550 per month is a very reasonable price for what I am getting, even without inserts. Check out Planners and Journals’ Instagram account for more info if you want your own kits!

 

Cristina Gomes Burgundy Personal TN

One of the new TN makers I’ve been following in Instagram and Facebook groups is Cristina Gomes. She is from Portugal and makes the TNs herself. I fell in love with her Burgundy leather, and decided to get one in personal size, to serve as my wallet with my Hobonichi Weeks. There was a bit of a wait since she cuts and assembles the TN after each order, and of course there’s the standard shipping wait.

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The TN arrived and I had to find the time to come pick it up from the post office. I could barely stand knowing it’s here and I couldn’t pick it up! Finally I got it in my hands! The Burgundy is such a wonderful leather, deep dark red and almost brown really. It was stiff, especially with the pockets, but it feels like it will soften in time. It is also the kind of leather that keeps dings and marks, although it can be rubbed out slightly.

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I immediately set it up with my Weeks and I was relieved that it fit! I also blinged it out with some charms.

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There’s a look at the entire outside. As you can see the leather already has quite a lot of scratches. It came with black elastics as I had requested. Cristina’s logo is stamped unobtrusively on the back.

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The front has a series of seven card pockets, with a larger full-length pocket behind it. This is primarily what makes this side of the TN stiff, since there’s a lot of layers of leather here. The presence of the cards makes it even stiffer, but I’m not really bothered by that. The TN also has four inner elastics. I strung the Weeks on the back two, and the wallet/card insert on the frontmost. At the time that these photos are taken I did not yet have a personal sized wallet insert, so I made do with a pocket sized.

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The back of the TN featured a simple secretarial pocket, which is great for quick-access stuff such as cash. The pen loop is also attached here with the same stitching. The pen loop is very generous and can take really fat pens. Perhaps my only issue here is that the leather is a little bit too thick and some clips have difficulty gripping it. The Pilot Metropolitan as shown here luckily has a strong grip and manages well in the pen loop.

Overall I’m very pleased with the Cristina Gomes Burgundy Personal TN. It’s very well-made, reasonably priced, and the leather is beautiful! If you want to find out more about her other works, check out her Instagram.

 

Planning Dilemma: Hobonichi Weeks Vs Pocket Planning

I am honestly having a lot of trouble with my planning system right now, and not because it’s not working. It actually works! I find that I work best with a weekly view, with the days of the week on one side and a notes page on the opposite side. My dilemma is as follows: I am a huge fan of Hobonichi Weeks, and I’ve found a great planning system with its weekly views and the other features of the planner. In fact, I was able to spend about five months of continuous planning in it.

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On the other hand, I have recently discovered that I work just as well with the pocket size version of the Hobonichi Weeks. And by this I mean the weekly planner insert of CN Papercrafts works really well for me. As long as I have an accompanying bullet journal to help document my days, I can use with the smaller amount of space for my day to day planning needs.

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Now that the 2017 release of Hobonichi has come out, I am starting to again think that the Weeks is the planner for me. The moment I saw the Meow Meow Meow Weeks, I felt a really huge pull to get it (the cats were such a tease too!). To make things even harder for me (or easier, depends on how you look at it), there are several merchants who offer preorder service so I don’t really even have to mess with customs or post office. Perhaps the only disadvantage of this is the relatively steep price of the Weeks to begin with. It’s really quite the investment.

Image credits: 1101.com
Image credits: 1101.com

On the other hand again, I have a tremendous amount of pocket TNs that will remain unused. For the most part, I only have one in active use; maybe two at most, if I am feeling a lot of writing mojo. If I used the pocket size weekly planner insert as my main planner, then I would be able to really put into use my pocket TNs and it would justify the original purchase of them instead of just sitting pretty on the shelf. At least this way too, I don’t have to shell out a huge amount of money for planning for next year, since my current insert can handle 7 months already. If I really stretch, I could even use up my pocket insert stash and hand-draw the weekly layouts myself!

Pocket TNs, charms, and a lone fountain pen

A post shared by Becoming Sleek (@becomingsleek) on

 

I’m not really sure what I should do! What do you think?

 

StudioThree14 Charms

Being a member of Facebook groups can be fun and informative, and many really give you a feeling of belonging. There are downsides too, especially in the informative area: you are constantly bombarded with pretty things that you absolutely must have! Bad for your pockets, and bad for your peace of mind!

One of the things I fell for in this case from one of the TN groups are adorable charms by StudioThree14, particularly the mermaid charms. I had to get one for myself! Unfortunately when I visited the site, there were lots of other things that were just as cute and suddenly I found myself buying four! The nice thing about it though is that the items are very reasonably priced, so it didn’t feel so bad buying them. The shipping was just as nicely priced as well, and a happy bonus was that it shipped pretty fast! I got my international order in less than a week!

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Here are the four charms I ordered, and they came very attractively packaged in cute cardstock with bows, which were protected in brown paper bags. The charms all came with matching lobster clasps, so I was able to immediately put the charms into use. I also got a nice handwritten note (I always love these!) and three really cute paperclips as a freebie. Carla, the owner/maker, is really nice and lovely to talk with!

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Of course, the main point of this order is to get a mermaid charm and the one I chose is a pink ombre one. I thought it went well with my Licorice TN by Foxyfix.

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I also got a couple of filigree cat charms, because cats! Both cat charms were copper, and I thought this cheeky cat went well with my Camel TN.

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I didn’t know what to use the last two ones I got, which is a second filigree cat, and this other one which is a nice little tree bubble charm. I ended up putting them both into my Outlander Jitney Red TN.

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The charms range between $5 to $10, and there’s a huge range of choices. I think you can even request for a custom designed charm. The store also offers bookmarks and jewelry using similar charms. Do visit StudioThree14 and check out the beautiful charms!

 

Easy Pen Loop Substitute for Planners and Journals

Not all of planners or journals have their own built-in pen loops, and not all of the time we are willing to bring along a separate pen case. While there are available adhesive pen loops out there, it’s either hard to find, expensive, or does not entirely work with our chosen pens. Here is a quick and easy substitute for pen loops: binder clips!

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Binder clips are quite versatile, and come in different sizes and designs. What I do is to choose an appropriately sized binder clip that would match both my intended pen and the planner or journal that needs the pen loop. I would attach it somewhere in the upper third to halfway down the planner/journal, and not push it all the way in. I would then hook the pen’s clip into the exposed area of the binder clip, and there! Instant pen loop!

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The disadvantage to using binder clips as pen loops is that this won’t work for pens without clips. In this case, a proper elastic pen loop would really be necessary.

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The biggest advantage to binder clips as pen loop is the wide availability, and in addition it would be easy to swap out and change on a whim. Have you tried using binder clips to hold your pens?

 

Imajica Custom Tassel

I like putting planner charms on my traveler’s notebooks. When a tassel maker opened up custom orders, I immediately pounced and got in on the action. Before that, let me tell you about Imajica. Imajica is run by an awesome artist named Carissa, and she makes all sorts of cute planner accessories such as the aforementioned tassels, planner clips, dashboards, page flags, and other similar things. About two weeks ago, she opened up an experimental pre-order for custom tassels where she will work closely with the client to jointly create the tassel of their dreams. How could I resist that chance?

Carissa was very responsive and kept me updated on each step of the creation of my dream tassel. It was shortly finished and I was on bated breath for its arrival. It came in this really cute packaging.

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Inside was my tassel, and a matching planner clip. I had told Carissa that I wanted something that’s black and red as that’s my favorite color combination, and that it would somehow be gothic. She was excited to work on it because it was completely different from her usual tassel style (pastels, mermaids, that sort of thing). Let me tell you: I am absolutely floored when I saw this. It is beautiful, and looks so much better in person!

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I was actually taken aback by the sheer size of it. It was much larger than I had anticipated, and thought it would not look good with my pocket sized TN. To test it out, I brought out my black Midori TN and the tassel looked pretty good against the black leather.

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I really wanted it on a pocket TN though, so I immediately moved into my Foxyfix Wanderlust in Licorice. It still matched and look awesome against the textured black leather. It can be observed though that the tassel is in fact slightly longer than the length of the pocket TN but I didn’t really care. It was still beautiful!

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Here is a shot of the tassel, arrayed out. I really like all the different ribbons that Carissa was able to find for me, and every time I look through the tassel I seem to be finding something new. I love the touch of the beads and crystals, and the silver metal heart fit so well with the theme. I am simply smitten!

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She did a great job with the matching clip as well!

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What can I say, I am really in love with my custom tassel! It was awesome to work with Carissa, and I hope that she does continue to offer the custom tassel service. The second batch just closed, so watch her Instagram for the opening of more batches if you want to get your own. You’ll have to fight me for a slot, for I intend to get more!

 

Stamp Favorites: July 2016

I’m a big fan of stamps, and I use a lot of them for both planning and journaling. Let me show you what I’ve been using the most for this month.

1. Hero Arts Clearly Kelly Coffee and Donuts Rubber Stamp Set

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I’m a huge coffee addict, and it’s no surprise that I was drawn to this set. As you can see here, I only have the “coffee” half of the stamp set since that’s really what I’m after. I love how nice and small the images come out, and work well with even the small spaces of the Hobonichi Weeks. I use the coffee bean stamps for crafting too. I bought this from Bee Happy.

2. Bo Bunny Postale Clear Stamp Set

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This is a snail mailer’s dream stamp set! I love how there are so many variations of stamps here, and there’s even a couple of choices for postmarks. I also got this set from Bee Happy.

3. Vintage Stamp Rubber Cling Stamp Set

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Okay, I have to confess that I have forgotten what this stamp set is named, but I love how vintage the stamps are. I got this from a sale at Living Well at SM Aura, and I really wanted to get something else (the typography set!) but I only ended up with this one. I don’t really mind, as I’ve been using this a lot to decorate my snail mail and journals.

4. Mommy Lhey Best Year Yet 2016 Clear Stamps

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This should really be used at the start of the year on New Year spreads and similar stuff, but I really like the sentiments and they are mostly timeless. I use them to decorate my journals and I really like how the script looks on the page. I got this on preorder from @lionachinky at IG.

5. Uppercase Alphabet Rubber Stamps

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This is perhaps my most-used set this month. Any alphabet stamp set is really versatile, and can be used as highlights or titles in journals and snail mail. It’s a pretty neutral serif font that goes well with anything. Perhaps my only complaint about this set is that the actual stamp is situated somehow on the right of the holders. I bought this at Common Room.

What are your favorite stamp sets recently?

 

Cool Finds For My Planner

I’m a big fan of stationery, but it’s especially so if it’s stationery specifically meant for my planner. I found three things that go really well with my Hobonichi Weeks.

1.Tiny Stickers

The first is this pair of tiny stickers, which I got at Powerbooks for Php190 for the glittered stars and Php150 for the transparent circles. The glittered stars comes with two sheets while the transparent circles have three, but what’s really great is that both sets come with a plastic pocket that you can stick onto anything. I felt that these were really nice for marking dates on the monthly view, or for marking special events in the case of the glittered stars.

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Here is what the pocket looks like, and how one sheet of the transparent circles looks like. You can really see underneath the circles which is exactly how I wanted it! There are several other variations of these stickers available: there are hearts, squares, etc in various color combinations and even sizes.

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2. Cat Page Marker

I found this cute little cat page marker at a temporary bazaar at my workplace, for Php100. I suspect that might have been a bit overpriced, but I thought it was not too bad. It’s basically just a long copper chain with a cute cat charm at the end. I felt it looked really good with my SLC Weeks Cover.

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The other end of the chain has a pretty sturdy clip that’s supposed to anchor the page marker. As you can see the chain was actually quite longer than the Weeks, but I fastened the clip to the pocket underneath the Weeks to adjust for the extra length.

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3. Metal Stencil/Ruler/Bookmark

Lastly, I found this interesting looking stencil at National Bookstore. If I recall correctly it costed PHp85. It’s a clock themed stencil with a nice 8-bit one that comes in really handy even outside of telling time. There’s actually a ruler on the other side of this stencil, and the clock at the top also functions as a bookmark/clip. It’s quite a multitasker and I really like it!

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What are some of your interesting planner finds lately?

 

More Pilot Pens in Rotation

It is no secret that I love Pilot pens, both fountain and otherwise. It should not come as a surprise, therefore, that I got a few more Pilot pens that found themselves in my current rotation.

These pens are the following, pictured from top to bottom in the photo below: Pilot G-Tec-C Maica, Pilot Birdie Ballpoint, and Pilot Fineliner.

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The Pilot G-Tec-C Maica, as the name suggests, takes G-Tec-C refills and packages them in a slightly more interesting barrel. It is all plastic except for the part that unscrews and reveals the refill. The cap has no clip, but has a tiny protrusion to keep the pen from rolling off the table. I think this protrusion is meant to look like the handle of a teacup. The end of the cap also has some shiny material that makes it look like a gem, and the overall feel of the pen is something royal or princessy. It also comes in a good range of colors.

The Pilot Birdie Ballpoint is an all-metal pen and is really slim and tiny. I bought this mostly to fit in a Leuchtturm penloop, but it turns out that it actually writes pretty well. The tip is revealed by clicking on the knocker. The clip is quite serviceable.

Both the Maica and the Birdie Ballpoint are available at National Bookstore. The Birdie is only available in select branches, and you have to ask over the counter for it. Refills are also readily available for both pens.

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The Pilot Fineliner is one of the items that I got in a Maker Monthly box. It is a felt tip marker that has a certain amount of give, and you can actually achieve a sort of brush calligraphy with this pen because of that. The pen is made mostly of plastic, except for the clip. As far as I know, this pen is not available locally.

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All three pens write beautifully. As I mentioned earlier, I am a big fan of fine tipped pens, and both the Maica and the Birdie produce a tolerably fine line. I think the Maica comes in a narrower tip, but the 0.4 works pretty well for me. The G-Tec-C refill is excellent and rarely skips. The Birdie on the other hand has some starting issues, and can sometimes skip.

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The Fineliner produces a pretty pigmented black, and with my regular hand can even produce a relatively fine line. I like using this marker for writing addresses on snail mail, and for making small brush calligraphy.

 

Sunday Leather Craft Custom Hobonichi Weeks Cover

While I was quite content with my SLC TN Wallet, there was still the fact that I carried my planner (Hobonichi Weeks) separately. I still felt that my setup could be improved, and it was either I changed my planner into a pocket sized insert or get a cover for the Hobonichi Weeks that could also function as wallet. Hobonichi Weeks was working quite well for me for a few months now, and I was unwilling to change it while it was still working. That left finding the right cover that could work with my Weeks. Unfortunately none of the existing Weeks covers were made to also be a wallet, or I didn’t feel like they would work for me. There was only one solution I could see: commission one!

Sunday Leather Craft was of course my favored leather artisan, and I felt that they could make me the perfect Hobonichi Weeks cover that I desired. I sent them a rough design, and emphasized that it was to be the cover for my Weeks, and waited for them to perform their magic. And my custom Hobonichi Weeks cover is born!

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It is made of this luscious dark brown leather that looks almost black, and stitched with a lighter brown thread for contrast. The closing elastic is black. This is such a wonderfully professional looking package that went beyond my expectations!

And yes, one of my cats immediately made his/her mark on it. As I mentioned several times, I don’t actually mind this and I feel that those marks makes this piece really mine.

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The cover is pretty big, much bigger than I expected. I was afraid I would immediately hate it because of that, as I do prefer smaller packages! The whole thing is just one awesome cover that I can’t help but fall in love with it!

Let’s take a look inside!

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Card pockets galore!

One of the first requirements I had was that it needed to hold all the cards that I bring everyday. On the front flap there are four vertically-oriented card pockets and one ID pocket with a window. All the inside parts are made of a smooth brown leather that matches the interior of the dark brown cover.

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Right underneath the card pockets is a secretarial pocket where I keep my bills. This can also be used to hold boarding passes when traveling. Under that is a full-length pocket that is quite roomy, and I currently use this to hold my miscellaneous papers (medicine prescriptions, the odd receipt, bandaids, promo cards and discount vouchers).

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More card pockets!

Over on the back flap I have another seven card slots, now oriented horizontally, bringing my total to 11 card slots plus one ID pocket in my custom Hobonichi Weeks cover. By the by, each of these pockets is loose enough to hold two cards each. Under this row of card slots there is a full-length pocket which I slide in my Weeks. It fits perfectly!

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And here’s the most amazing part: under that is a gusseted full-length pocket that can hold anything from a small book or my cellphone or even the actual Weeks! I don’t use this pocket most of the time, especially when I’m perusing the planner on a desk, but when out and about this is a great secure place to carry my phone. I don’t actually need to bring my purse on short errands with this around!

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Here is the whole of the cover laid flat. Beautiful piece! I am in love!

This cover cannot be considered a traveler’s notebook, because the inner elastics are not present. I suppose I could have specified that feature to be added, but I specifically wanted this to be for my Weeks. Without the Weeks, this works quite well as a travel wallet. Perhaps the only thing I forgot to request is a penloop, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me. You could also point out that this does not have any way to store coins, but again it’s not really a deal-breaker since I don’t like carrying coins around anyway. In an emergency, the gusseted pocket can temporarily hold the coins. This is my most expensive SLC piece to date, and rightly so!

Kudos again to Sunday Leather Craft for a wonderful masterpiece!