Traveler’s Notebook: A blank world of possibility

You may have heard the term “Traveler’s Notebook” or journal and wondered what it’s all about. About eighteen months ago I did a post (here) about my delight of the rise of these little notebooks and their fancy covers. Today I want to explore a beautiful one from Prima Marketing and explain not only several of the possibilities, but how I intend to use this particular one.

note: affiliate links are used in this post. Thank you in advance for your support of Camp Scrap and my blog!

What the heck is it? Small notebooks that can be bound (usually with elastic) in a traditionally leather cover designed to be very portable hence the name. The notebooks come in several sizes meant to coordinate with different sized covers. The one I use and show in this post is “standard” size which is about 4 1/4 x 8 1/4.  Continue reading “Traveler’s Notebook: A blank world of possibility”

make a plan: mini travel planner

Welcome to the start of Camp Scrap week #2! For more details about what this blog event is all about click here. Note – affiliate links are used in this post. Thank you in advance should you choose to use them – they help support this blog and events like Camp Scrap!

Today I’m inspired by some new Lawn Fawn products including their new vacation planning stamps which they’ve generously donated for a give-away today.  What I love about this stamp set is how many ways I can already see for utilizing them.

I see using them in my calendar (planner), but I also see using them in mini-books, in my scrapbook, on pocket pages, and even on a card. For today I wanted to create a tiny “planner” of sorts for next year’s Hawaii trip. Like any project my process went like this:

  • How much information do I have?
  • How much space will I need?
  • Is this a long term/permanent project or short term/disposable project?

Small since this will be a stay at a time share and relaxing beach trip, short term it isn’t a forever heirloom project – but possibly utilize parts in a bigger/post trip project. Knowing this I got out some manila tags and got to work. Here is a link to my YouTube video sharing how I’m putting this book together.

I am so happy with how this turned out – and I’ve already filled in the details I have as well as made myself notes for things I need to arrange/set up down the road.

Lawn Fawn planner stamps, Lawn Fawn aloha and palm tree dies are the stars of today’s post. I also used archival ink in black (a must!), colored my dies with some favorite Lawn Fawn ink colors including guava and jalapeno.  All of those links lead to – a site that always has the Lawn Fawn goodies I need and wraps everything so beautifully! You can also find them at all the best shops (my LSS carries them now -yay!) including other online shops like – here’s a link to them for the planner stamps. 

In my experience planning for a good vacation is best done in small amounts of time, as far in advance as you know the trip will happen. I personally use trip planning as a reward – I love it! Having a cute spot to record details and “don’t forget…” helps too. So often we’ll see a good place to eat or visit on TV or talking with a friend and we’d forget if not for some kind of planner.

Not into vacations or planning? Today’s project could also inspire you to create a mini book! Notice how I used various bits of paper, die cuts, even a few letter stickers in addition to black ink and the stamps. This could be a “tag book” with photos and journaling instead of a mini trip planner.

When it comes to trip planning – honestly I have almost as much fun with this part as I do being on the trip. Researching hotels, finding delicious food, getting great seats to a sold out show… it’s the most fun kind of planning edging out planning a vacation scrapbook after ever so slightly. You know I think I could be happy just planning, taking, and scrapbooking travels if only that was a full time job!

Here are 3 tips for happy travels:

  1. Start EASY. Sure you’ll land at noon, but if you won’t be at the hotel until 2-3pm at best… maybe don’t cram in an afternoon tour and feel stressed out on arrival “will we make it?!” far better to relax with the plans and “wait and see” what time you actually are ready to rock.
  2. Have a plan B and C. Sometimes someone gets sick, there is a thunder storm, or you just don’t feel like eating at the place you’d planned. Know and have some backup options! From Disney World to NYC I can’t tell you how many times my “backups” saved the sanity and meltdowns of someone in my family. Oh the stories I could tell you… perhaps I’ll start a “plan B” vacation scrapbook album.
  3. Enjoy whatever you do. It won’t ever be perfect whether you’ve got a hotel room that has a ‘charming’ whirring sound of the elevator motors or someone gets sick and has to lay low… the trip doesn’t have to be a bust. Find the fun, enjoy the travel time and adventure – and don’t forget to scrapbook it when you return!

Give-away time! Lawn Fawn sent me two of these planner stamp sets. What’s a crafter to do? SHARE of course!! I’ll be including some manila tags and a few surprise goodies that I think are just perfect for vacation planning along with this stamp set. How to win it? For your chance to win leave a comment here and a winner will be drawn at random and announced on the July 16th round-up post.

Make a Plan: Write it down

Welcome to day 1 of Camp Scrap! For more details about this special blog event, prizes, community, and more check out the FAQ page here

Where does any creative project big or small begin? With a plan, of course! Each Monday during Camp Scrap I will be focusing on some element of planning, and share some ideas and a give away. Today writing inspires me, as it took hours and many pages of writing to make camp Scrap happen!

Last year recovery from an injury meant that for several months I couldn’t use my right (writing) hand at all, and use of it came back oh so slowly and terribly painfully as well. It was during this time as I either dictated to one of my daughters or struggled to make legible scribbles with my left hand that I realized how much I love to write, and how crucial it is for me to be able to do what I do. Here are five reasons why I write:

1. Ideas for the future
As a crafter, often my ideas come to me at the worst possible times. I don’t always have time to make things “right now” whether it is a new technique concept, a scrapbooking story that came to me, or I’m inspired by something I saw and want to try my hand at. Having a notebook to write these ideas means I am very rarely without fresh ideas when I do have time to make, and I have my own well of inspiration when time is available to create.

2. The small steps to get you to the big goals
From creating a vacation scrapbook to trying to pull off a big event (or Camp Scrap here on my blog!) simply wanting to do it, or saying you will isn’t going to get action going. And whether you’re staring down a huge pile of photos or a super messy craft stash – where to begin? If you write down the small steps, the seemingly easy quick things you could do to reach those goals suddenly it got a whole lot easier. Plus I admit – I do so love to check things off a list. You don’t need to know all the steps and you can always add things, but formulating a list of things you want or need to do or include can develop into a heck of a good plan a lot more than simply saying “I want to…”

3. Brain dump for better sleep
Almost every night before bed I write in my “to do” notebook, and that also stays by my bed and well usually within arm’s reach wherever I am. When I am particularly fired up I also keep a blank notebook nearby so that I can sketch project concepts, vacation dreams, work out problems, doodle, or whatever else needs out of my head in order for my brain to peacefully head off to sleep. Sleep is such a vital key to my health and happiness, and writing offers me a stress/anxiety release so I can fully enjoy my slumber.

4. Think through the logistics
Around these parts I’m known as the logistics girl. From what time we need to leave to make it to a function on time to how to best fill a day on vacation and much more that is one of my specialties. While in part a natural gift, it is one I nurture and practice tremendously often with pages considering questions, making note of possible issues, even just running through various options and approaches to a project or problem. I used to sketch all of my projects and scrapbook pages before making them but over time and doing so many hundreds of those, now most projects I can “see” a sketch/plan in my head. When I have a particularly difficult project or something I haven’t ever made before working out the logistics via sketch is the first thing I do.

5. Better use of my time
Often I can see patterns emerge in my lists, or things like “well there’s a birthday in 2 weeks but I also need to get soap and I noticed we are out of counter cleaner so perhaps Target is a good idea…” and make a batch of needs vs every 3 days discovering whoops! My lack of planning has led to an unstoppable chain of scrambling all the time. The same goes for my crafting assignments and for fun stuff – by pausing and taking time to write, it helps me better create time for, well, creating.

My challenge to you: Write down 1 creative project you’d like to do this month. It could be anything from “finally make that fairy garden” to “catch 2017 up in my project life scrapbook” to “make that canvas I keep thinking about” or anything in between. Perhaps you want to set up a batch of all occasion greeting cards or learn a new craft. No answer is wrong here – just write it down, and then see what you need to do to make it a reality.

Throughout this article you may have noticed the absolutely beautiful pens in my photos. These are all sold by a company called PenGems – and they have become my absolute favorite writing pen. From to-do lists to wild brainstorms to doodles while I am on the phone I adore these beautiful pens. What could be better? They’ve sent me a trio of bright and beautiful pens  to share with one of you.

They also shared with me this exclusive discount code:

we created a discount code that you may use on your site, which is CRAFTWITHMAY, the code is for 15% off and does not expire

So if you’re looking for beautiful pens that make writing even the most odious of chores down fun, looking for a unique gift, or just want a bit more sparkle in your life I strongly recommend PenGems. Their pens have been lifting my spirits and helping me set goals and see projects through for about a year now and I am so excited to share this trio of pens (shown here) with one of you.

To be entered for a chance to win leave a comment on this post sharing one creative project you want to dig into – it could be soon or a pipe dream. Nothing too big or small! This give-away will remain open until July 1, 2017. On July 2, 2017 watch for a “winners” post here on my blog where the randomly drawn winner will be listed. For more details about how Camp Scrap works or other ways you can win prizes please see the Camp Scrap FAQ page. 

HUGE thank you to PenGems for sponsoring this give-away and supporting Camp Scrap! Theirs was one of the first names I wrote down once I knew I wanted to “make a plan” on Mondays during this event and I am so grateful they supported my vision and are offering everyone a discount code, and one of you lovely readers a chance to win a trio of pens. Good luck – and have a great Monday!

Travel picks: top 6 products

As I prepare for summer adventures (and way beyond!) as well as ways to document travels in the moment I thought I’d pause to take a few minutes to share some of my favorites, as well as a few tips.

  1. There’s no such thing as too detailed of travel planning! From considering where you’ll find restrooms to what a time change will do to you energy wise, knowing where there is good food options to having all your reservation numbers in one place – well it’s always good to be prepared!
  2. When it comes to taking documenting supplies along, pack light. REALLY light. You’ll  never use everything you bring, and you can always add more decoration at home.
  3. For planning in advance, I prefer a binder system for flexibility. However if simply jotting notes down and for minimum space, a small notebook rocks! If using a traveler’s notebook setup, I like to bring 1 notebook that has all my notes, and one that has an empty book for documenting my travels.

These are my top three tips for you, as I enter my 20th (yep, really!) year of documenting my travels.

Sometimes I take my travel notes and turn them into formal scrapbooks, and sometimes I add a few photos to the notebook and/or use the notebook to reference much later when I am scrapbooking a specific event or trip. Speaking of trips – I’ve got six products I love and will share with you here. Note that these products are widely available, but I’ll be linking to and using affiliate links. Thank you in advance should you choose to support this blog and use the links!

Working clockwise from the top left:

This has my full attention right now – I love traveler’s notebooks and this cover seems not only beautiful but useful too. Yep, the New Prima traveler’s notebook cover is high on my need list! Webster’s Pages also makes a number of great covers that I like for multiple little notebooks.

Lawn Fawn vacation planner stamps are brand new, and wow these are going to be great! Stay tuned for a post featuring them very soon.

I swore I wouldn’t buy anything… but I had to! This Say Cheese Binder from Simple Stories is so great – it’s pictured in photos above and I’ll be explaining how I’m using the system to be a photo + planner combo for a distant future trip. I love the 6×8 size, and their binders are most excellent for scrapbooking!

If you’re looking for a good travel stamp set for your scrapbook – check out these PinkFresh vacation stamps. Loving all the options.

My usual “everything must fit in here” limit for travel is this Webster’s Pages folio. I’ve talked about it before – it is a great zippered pouch with spots for everything from stickers to pens, and you can fit some washi or other small items in too.

When it comes to pens – if I want to be sure the words I’m writing last, I use Sakura Micron pens. The ink is smooth, they’re easy to write with, and I have been using them for as long as I can remember.

Well that wraps up my travel post (pouch mentioned is shown above) – for today at least. I have several in-depth posts coming up, as I love sharing ideas! For me travel is wonderful in and of itself, but documenting details both in the moment and preserving ephemera and stories + photos later with a scrapbook? Priceless!

If you’d like to see more of my vacation scrapbooking that category of blog post can be found here. You can also see my “hurry up and finish” scrapbook “project Hawaii” series here. Vacation scrapbooking will always be close to my heart, as I love preserving adventures in so many different ways. Do you ever journal or document your trips? What is your favorite format? I’m playing with a lot of different approaches these days and I’ll be sure to share here.

Make a plan Monday: what’s working and what isn’t

I have yet to find one way/style/guru of productivity and planning that suits me, and I’ve decided that is totally OK. We each function and have slightly different needs, so looking at, testing, and picking bits and pieces that work well for us is a fine way to go about it. I also know that this is a constantly changing process – we all have to keep evolving and ‘leveling up’. Happiness and productivity takes work – but it’s worth it!  Today I want to share a few things that work well for me.

Once a week looking ahead 3-5 weeks, and marking any upcoming things I can take care of in advance easily/along with things needing to be done right now. For example if I’m in need of gifts for a birthday, baby, or other occasion and am already heading to Target to stock the pantry and get more toothpaste and shampoo – I can go ahead and grab those items and save a trip. Or if I’m making a card I will make an extra with birthday or thank you on it if I’m running low. Nothing crazy – just taking care of things in batches and saving a bit of time. And if I see something I can do ASAP to save chaos later – all the better.

Tidy up every day. I am a fan of the concept “put it away as you go” because it really does save time. I can’t do that 100% of the time but I’ve made a daily effort. From the studio to the kitchen – I’ve gotten in the habit of making sure before I can shower/get in pajamas/be done for the day… there aren’t any messes. Leaving the studio tidy (if not totally clean) each day helps me start the next day better. The studio is a new habit for me – and I tell you it’s really helped.

Pick up the scrapbook, put down the phone. I don’t do a lot with social media as it is (a habit that helps in and of itself!), but the last few weeks if I pick up to check something email to Instagram I instead set it down and work on a pocket page card or start a scrapbook page. I’m not completing anything or setting a goal here – I’m just taking 5-10minutes and working on my memory keeping vs killing time on my phone.

These are just three things that stand out to me as being helpful in my overall mood and productivity. The #1 thing I’m now working on is how to switch gears during the day. For example if I have a chunk of errands to do but also want to film a video but also want to clear my email, etc… if I have to switch focuses a lot in a day I tend to really drop in productivity. Now ideally I’d be able to have “errand day”, “film videos day” and so forth… but real life doesn’t work that way! So going into June that will be my focus. Any tips?

What are you doing well with or what are you working on? I’d love to hear!