Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Homemade Christmas

It's a homemade Christmas this year!

Inspired by ahhh-design I had begun to design my own filofax inserts for next year - something that matched what I wanted and looked a little more 'me' than the impersonal business-y ones. I quickly realised that this close to Christmas (and with a bank account as empty as mine!) that I should be focusing my crafting energy on making gifts instead! I decided to make notebooks instead of planner inserts - I had lots of nice paper around the house and had recently come across very clear instructions for making bound notebooks.

They're A6 size with monthly calendars on the first dozen pages - the rest of the notebook is a mix of blank paper and lined paper with quotes and stamps on the pages. The covers are thick handmade paper with flowers/leaves mixed in - I don't remember when I got this paper but it's lovely.

Printing out pages.
printing pages

All sewn up! (I made five.)
sewn covers

Finally finished. (There was several days of glue drying in between.)
front of book
lewis carroll
other notes page
notes page

The boyfriend and I really are skint at the moment (last year of uni = half the student loans of previous years) so we made a lot of other gifts at home too. Plastic spoon + melted Dairy Milk = chocolate spoons! We wrapped them up in cellophane and put them in a cheap mug with a funsize bag of Maltesers and a few sachets of hot chocolate (or Starbucks Via for the coffee drinkers). Ta-da, one cheap but fun gift set.
chocolate spoons

I also dug out my bead box and made bracelets, earrings and a keyring for various relatives.

I also made a necklace for my aunt from a real peacock feather I picked up a while ago.
Photo on 2010-12-18 at 17.28

I got a candlemaking set years ago and never used it before so we made a couple of candles. To make them a little more gift-y we tied on Christmas charms.

Leftover scraps of card + holepunch + hemp string = gift tags!

….these are a few of my favourite things!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, 10 December 2010

My quest for the perfect notebook for uni placements

I'm a medical student and so obviously have a desk and bookcase stuffed to the brim with notes. I'm in my final of five years and so have had plenty of time to experiment with different methods. For the first two and a half years I was always in lecture theatres or the lab, so it was pretty easy; very wide spaced lecture notes in A4 loose-leaf paper, fill in the gaps whilst reading up on the topic afterwards. I was SORTED.

Then placements started! At first only half the time but for the last year and a half I've been on placement all the time apart from the odd lecture week here and there. It's taken me forever to find the right notebook. I started off with a teeny notebook I could fit in my pockets. That was scrapped when a (scary!) consultant told me it was pathetic and I couldn't hope to take decent notes in that. I flirted with my usual A4 looseleaf paper for a while but it was quite large and unwieldly. It was difficult to find somewhere out of the way to put it when I needed both hands as well. I had an A5 spiral bound notebook but it got too battered in my bag - the wire caught on everything. The hard-bound notebook I tried next was great for a couple of months but again, took a beating in my bag and looked horrendous before it was even half full.

Late last year, I found the answer. The Moleskine Large Cahier is a little narrower than A5 and has 80 pages of nice-feeling cream coloured ruled paper. It works perfectly; the fact that it's not too thick means I've filled it before it looks too battered. The pocket inside the back cover lets me tuck in scraps of paper and save them there until the book is full THEN tape or staple them in place - means I get a smooth writing surface while the book is still in use and everything is in the right place when I'm rereading at exam time. It's small enough to carry everywhere and big enough to be able to take decent notes. I've filled almost three so far this year (and by this year I mean since September… still running on an academic calendar here).

Finally, since all posts are useless without pictures:

favourite notebooks
uni notes
notes again
back pocket

How do you use bound notebooks?

P.S. stay tuned because I'm currently working on designing my own planner inserts, heavily influenced by the fabulous Amanda H over at ahhh design! Can't wait to show them off once I'm finished!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

First post!

Well isn't this exciting!

I've been reading a bunch of different blogs for a while and thought it would be fun to start one... so what will this be about? Notebooks and handbags most probably!

pocket butterfly filofax
The binder was a birthday gift from my parents last year.

On the first page is a quote from a Sylvia Plath poem, I thought it was pretty.

info tab
I rearranged the tabs so that the least used were at the start and end, and the most-moved about (diary section) is in the middle, meaning that I can open the rings without everything falling out. First is the Information section, which has all the international conversion stuff I couldn't bring myself to throw away, plus reminders for what usernames/passwords I've used where.

finance tab
In the Financial section I keep a running total of how much I've spent and on what... as a starving student it's good to know how much money I've got left so I don't accidentally spend the rent on Haribo.

year planner
At the start of the diary section is a year planner that I coloured in so I can see at a glance when I'm on placement, when are the holidays etc. I also write major deadlines in here. I haven't actually used it much, though; I don't think I'll get one for 2011.

Week on two pages. Orange is uni, green is life in general, blue is deadlines/to-do and pink is birthdays or events.
Current week (not shown) is marked with a black ruler, I also keep a single to-do page in there and move it each monday if it's not yet full.
week on 2 pages diary

wallet pocket
And the wallet pocket, which contains letters, a paid parking ticket and reinforcer-ring stickers.

I love this planner, it holds everything I need it to, and I got rid of (almost) everything I didn't use. After spending far too much time looking at Philofaxy, though, I have almost convinced myself that a pocket is too small and I should give a personal-sized planner a try. Maybe this Finsbury in Aqua...