A little bit of everything…

Category Archives: DIY Planner

When you wake up in the morning and start your day, do you grab a special pen or marker to accompany you?

Yuh I am **that** wierd!

I have discovered that I am not alone in my infatuation with all things pen and paper related. Many folks over at DIYPlanner share in the love of paper – notebooks, journals, planner pages, hardbound, spiral bound, disc bound, etc.etc.etc.

Now I have a new array of blogs added to my Google reader that cater to my pen addiction (and the paper thing too). These people love their pens and know how matching your writing utensil to your mood or gig can really make a difference. Check out the following to really get your nib dipped: OfficeSupplyGeek, The Pen Addict, Good Pens,
& Unposted

Would you like to hear a story? Of course you would, right?

When I was growing up, I often used my saved money to purchase pens and notebooks rather than other goodies. Candy is great but it doesn’t last a long time. A good pen – or a new notebook to jot ideas in – now that is an investment. I can remember my father taking me to the office supply store and supporting my desire to try all the different pens and markers. I had a complete set of sharpie highlighters by the time I was in high school. Every color in the regular and pocket size. I had sharpie markers coming out of my ears. My pen drawer? My pen drawer was overflowing and often attracted the attention of my mother. She never really understood but I think she liked the fact that it was a safe addiction.

Each person who values a good pen has certain aspects they require – smooth ink, effortless writing, thin or wide barrels, weights, lengths. Remember to keep this in mind as you explore the world of pen reviews. You may think a certain pen is the bee’s knees while another hates it with a passion and banishes it to the dreaded “loaner” line.

Now on to My Daily Arsenal.

Have you ever glanced around and seen someone using a pen or notebook and were to shy or embarrassed to ask about it? Lets say I have developed the odd hobby of exploring the internet looking at what other people are writing or drawing with and in. I also like seeing work spaces and office paraphernalia. This will be your chance to see what I am out in the world utilizing on a given day.

Let’s give this a go, shall we?

today's arsenal shot

Click to see notes on Flickr.

The BIC pen was a good choice today. I do a lot of quick writing at my job and gel ink really treats me the best. I have tendinitis in both wrists and I get writing fatigue quickly if I’m not careful. Gel ink is effortless when its done right. BIC has been a fall-back brand for me. I can always rely on their pens to last a long time and I rarely run into a dud.

The neon Magna Blast pens in pink, orange, green, blue and purple are my splash of sanity. Color is so important to me. I don’t have walls of my own to decorate (I have taken over the circuit breaker box though). I often mark things with neon when I don’t feel like highlighting. I mark dates of editorial copy I have used in different issues or the movie times as I enter them for the 6 cinemas we include in our publications. I’ll even drop a post-it note to a co worker in a bright color. Blue and Black are great and reliable but … lets face it. Color makes our days unique and really helps something pop in a see of paperwork.

The cutie whale deco stuff just sat on the sidelines and mocked me… I have ideas and I will get to them. Today was just not the day to do it… so stay tuned.

disaster zone?

Click to see notes on Flickr.

This disaster zone is to the left of my keyboard. I have my snacks because I never know when I can escape for lunch. I also had a kidney stone in 2004 so water is ALWAYS within arms reach. I even have been known to preach about the importance of staying well hydrated. Have you had all your cups of water today?

The compact sized circa/rollabind planner is my life. I have all my personal goodies in this book and have found I really cannot function efficiently or effectively without it. I plan on blogging more about it very soon and have some photos in my Flickr pool if you can’t wait. I have a BIC Triumph 730R clipped to the cover. I love having a pen right with it so I can punch in and out at work and record the times inside. This really has helped me keep a handle on my work schedule.

My Compact Circa Planner/Organizer/Life Aid

Click to see notes on Flickr.

There you have a peak into my arsenal from today. I will try to snap some writing samples next time if time will allow. Today was just busy-busy with the deadline tomorrow. Please feel free to leave your thoughts or just a random comment.

Be well and take care.

Notes page with grid


Feel free to download it and use it but remember it is mine and should be respected as such.

I am attempting to restart my creative side… this is the first page I have created in some time.

I utilized GIMP and CutePDF – both free options available online. My finances will not support loading my new laptop with expensive programs. I can still DIY with the best of them! :)

Keep you eyes open for additional forms and dabblings in digital creativity.

I am still crocheting and reading regularly – I think that has really kept my brain working on future projects.

My current set up for keeping myself organized and sane consists of

  • Calendar on the fridge: I keep track of due dates for library books, bills, pet meds, appointments, city recycle schedule, etc
  • Compact circa “Everything Book”: I strayed away from circa for awhile but I came running back. I glued in mini calendars for 2009 and have restarted my attempt to track everything in portable form. I track: bills, expenses, appointments, time totals for work, books to read, someday-maybes, projects, important phone numbers, etc

It isn’t complex and best of all… it is working – When I stick with it.

My at home organizing quest is in progress, albeit moving slowly because of balancing work and an outside life. (lets say work often takes all my stamina). Currently I am circa punching all my important papers and adding them to one set of covers. I have jumbo discs at hand if needed but right now am only on large ones. I want to invest in good quality covers and dividers at some point but right now it is just an attempt to tame the plethora of paper piles I have inadvertently accumulated over the past months.

Oh and I should mention – I have left my crochet comfort zone! I am attempting a full size blanket :D Stay tuned for pictures… its not very blanket-like yet but it is growing.

Be well.

Wow… it has been a long time.  I hope to keep things more frequent – actually thats why I’m here. I’ve fallen out of my organization-productivity groove and I am desperate to find a new one (if not rediscover the old one). Are you curious? Continue reading

If you would like to make a link clickable at DIYPlanner.com or another website, you may need to use a tad bit of basic HTML.

 <a href=httpaddress>your words here</a>

 <a href=http://www.diyplanner.com>DIYPlanner</a> will look like this: DIYPlanner

Hope that helps!  :D

If you are anything like me… you find yourself out-and-about wishing you had brought a second notebook with you.  I love to sketch and draw – even for non-artistic purposes.  For example, I see something I would really love to create a DIY project for.  If I have my hPDA with me, I at least have something to jot down some quick notes.  But what happens when I want to record the visual aspects or start drawing up plans?  This ‘hack’ will hopefully solve that problem.


The only difference in construction from making a standard Circa/Rolla notebook is extending the back cover to accommodate the top discs for the “second” part.

I simply added just under a quarter of an inch to the top of the back cover. 

Smurfing (or Circa/Rolla punching) was quite simple.  I took one piece of my pre-punched paper and aligned it so the cover extend just a smidge past the bottom of the sheet. Then I punched the left side. 

Since I am addicted to “Junior” sized notebooks (5.5 by 8.5 inches), I cut my sketch paper to a width of just 5 inches.  This allows plenty of room to clear the side discs. 

I cut my cover to just over the standard “Junior” size.  I like my covers to protect the inside pages.  I may have to cut a bit more off of the top to ensure the top discs do not interfere with the closing.  But this is just a minor adjustment that can be made at the discretion of the user. 

And there you have it – a DIY Combo Notebook.


Currently I am working on something in an hPDA size using this same idea – some cards will be standard index cards and the other ‘notebook’ will be sketch paper. 

Another application of this same idea is in the works…  imagine a “DOCK” for your hPDA.  The same idea applies but the extension will be on the cover of my notebook.  Only the smurfs will be punched which will all the discs of my hPDA to “DOCK” on the top of my planner!  :D  Stay tuned…


This year I made a resolution to become more organized.  Reading Getting Things Done by David Allen helped guide me in the right direction.  I now try to utilize 3″ by 5″ index cards to stay on top of things.  My current planner/organizer/life is “classic” sized – 5.5″ by 8.5″.  Finding a way to display a few index cards from my hPDA will help me keep on track with GTD.  I created an Index Card Holder where the cards would remain visible.  (If visibility is not a concern, a variety of substitute materials would work perfectly). 

tut0  First you should gather your supplies. 
          *Plastic sheets (like an old report cover or a new report cover, transparency plastic, etc.)
          *Card-stock or heavy paper
          *Clear packing tape or any tape that you can stand looking at
          *Paper cutter (or add a ruler partner to your scissors)

Step 1.  Cut your piece of card stock or heavy paper to size.  Since my planner is 5.5″ by 8.5″, I used my paper cutter to trim my lavendar card stock to that size. 
Step 2.  Cut down your clear plastic sheets.  I decided that 3″ tall would allow a nice chunk of the index card to remain exposed and still support the card enough to keep it in the pocket.  Cut the width to be approximately half an inch shorter than the width of your card-stock.  My plastic ended up being 3″ by 5″.

Step 3.  Place a couple index cards on your card-stock.  Estimate how close you will need to go to the bottom edge and top edge.  I chose to make just two pockets since my purpose to keep the index cards visible.   Next place your clear plastic strips over your index cards to create the look of the pockets.  Play around until you are happy with the layout.  (I opted to keep the edge of my pocket far enough to avoid being punched.) 

Step 4.  I found it easiest to tape the bottom pocket’s bottom edge first.  Cut a piece of packaging tape 5″ long and tape the bottom of the clear plastic to the card-stock.  I put half the width of the tape onto the plastic sheet.  The other half adhered it to the very bottom of the card-stock and wrapped around to the backside. 

Step 5.  Now tape the bottom of the top pocket to the card-stock.  I just flipped the bottom pocket out of the way.  Now that everything is secure (yeah no more shifting!), tape the sides of the pockets in place.  I simply went around the edge of the card-stock to the backside to ensure it was nice & secure.
Step 6.  Punch your new index card holder to fit the planner of your choice.   (Circa/Rolla system showed).
Step 7.  Insert your new DIY Index Card Holder into your planner. TA DA you are done… and you DIY :D
There are several possible changes that could be made. 

  • Obviously, if you use a larger or smaller planner, the number of pockets you could create would vary. 
  • I made the pockets wide enough to fit two index cards with a little bit of an overlap.  You may only want to display one entire card at a time.
  • Clear plastic could have been used instead of the card-stock which would lead to more visibility.
  • Adding additional pockets to the reverse side would allow for even more index cards. 

Take this idea and run with it… Feel free to leave a comment with your results – I would love to see!

Click the image below to find out how to Circa/Rolla punch without splurging on the desk or portable punches!

DIY C/R Punching

Here is another simple DIY project.  It can be done with any punching system; I just happen to be in a huge Circa/Rolla fetish phase at this time. 

You will need:

  • A folder, preferably a plastic one
  • Scissors or paper cutter
  • Hole punch to fit your ‘system’



Work on a hard flat surface.  

Make sure the fold of the folder is visible.  You may want to reverse the fold and crease well to ensure a clear line.



Cut It


Cut the folder along the crease line. 

You should now have two equal parts (because equal halves would be redundant ;P).



Punch It
Punch the halves so the pockets will be on the inside of the cover.


Be a rebel and have the pockets on the outside of the cover.



Here are a couple pictures of my new letter size (8.5″ x 11″) Rolla notebook.  Rather than purchasing a letter sized Circa notebook, I decided this would full-fill my needs quite nicely.

my diy folder 2my diy folder 1