Author Archives: Pam

About Pam

39 year old mother/step mother to 5 kids, trying to be domestic and creative while living in a mostly overly technological world.

How I combine Bullet Journaling and Hobonichi

How I combine Bullet Journaling and Hobonichi

For the past 2 years I have been a pretty strict bullet journaler, and through the 2 years of adhering to this planner/journaling system, I have changed and grown. I have struggled with a lot of things — from starting, to getting things done, to balancing art/journal/planning/tracking, becoming MORE than a list, comparison with other journals, trying to fit into pre-planned/others’ styles, and to throwing it all out and finding my OWN style.

Things really changed once I discovered the rich and varied Bullet Journal and Planner communities. Suddenly a whole new world of getting things done opened up and I realized I was not the ONLY woman out there who had a love (and sometimes love/hate) relationship with planners and journals, stationary, pens, and all sorts of paper and writing. But it also came with the anxiety associated with the comparison between what I was doing (more of a traditional bullet journal or BuJo) and what was popular.

It was quite a struggle for me to come to love MY way of planning — I don’t use a lot of stickers, I don’t use much wash tape, and I’m not the most artistically talented person out there — and I had a really hard time with comparing what I was doing and what I found useful with what seemed to the the “right” way to bullet journal. I had started with the very VERY basic Bullet Journal system, in a small pocket sized Moleskine. I wasn’t worried about the pen I used, I didn’t have any sort of washi (I hadn’t even HEARD of it yet), and I wasn’t concerned with trackers or any sort of special types of collections, it was a daily or weekly list of tasks, ideas, I used whatever pen I happened to have at the time…

There are a LOT of beautiful examples of Bullet Journals out there…but the problem is that I don’t want to try to be someone I am not. I am not Boho Berry or Kim Alvarez, I am just me. I am plain. I like doodles, I don’t really buy stickers, I barely use washi… and I am my own brand of bullet journaler.

January 1 I moved from my Moleskine pocket/personal sized book into a Hobonichi Techo Cousin (size A5). I had to really rethink how I would bullet journal in this new, more structured format. It had been YEARS since I used a structured planner system, and it was a bit of question how to adapt a bullet journal to a dated book system.

One day per page. Had weather, time tracker, moon phase, and day length

One day per page. Had weather, time tracker, moon phase, and day length

When I used my Moleskine it was pretty free form. There was only a date because I wrote one in. If there wasn’t anything going on it didn’t matter if I skipped a day. But with a Hobonichi Techo the date was front and centre. I was already set up for a regular monthly, weekly and daily view… with no opportunity to skip days…

IMG_0529IMG_0530IMG_0532Finding a way to be FLEXIBLE in this sort of system was a challenge.

To begin, I decided to use the calendar pages to track not only the different holidays, but also the “collections” that I have tracked on daily pages, and various interesting tracking such as incoming and outgoing mail.

The 6 month calendar system allows me to track 10 different habits or various interesting IMG_0528things I want to track. For January I was tracking my Irish and French lessons (failed miserably), my journaling or art journaling, meditation or spiritual practice, reading 20 mins a day, learning/courses, calligraphy practice, participation in daily challenges, my mood,  and my fertility tracker. This part of the Hobonichi can be used to track different things every month…

The weekly view I used to track the day light hours and my work week. I also blocked out the various different activities that my family had during the week.


For January, i used this view to track only the day and night, my work , and the activities of the family for the week, but I decided that in February I would use the week view to be my bullet journal, to track weather and sunlight and various tasks needed to be done.

The last view is the daily view.

IMG_0532The Hobonichi Techo Cousin has one paige per day for daily tracking. For January I tried to detail my daily routine, but I realized that my life wasn’t that interesting (hahaha) and so I moved the time tracker to the weekly view and concentrated on using the daily pages as more of a diary, collections, art journalling, or writing drills,

Also, as the Hobonichi is hard to take with me, I have stared to carry the Midori Traveller’s Notebook that i won from Soul Paper ( my local Paperie)

IMG_0535This is what I use to track weather and what I am doing. I used it at work to take the 5 minute breaks from staring at the screen that I need to make sure that my eyes are healthy and I don’t get headaches.

I have decided to try to track what does and does not work for me, and to change things at the end of months if they need to change. At the end of January I decided to focus the bullet journalling from the daily pages to the weekly view, and focus on diarizing the daily pages rather than making them part of the “process”. My MTN remains a doodle journal, and a source of relaxation/ stress release and creativity, which the Hobonichi remains the main tracking and journalling system.

I know that as the months go on I will find more of what works and doesn’t work for me in these systems. I really hope that I can find a way to make things work..


Review – Monthly Subscription Boxes

Review – Monthly Subscription Boxes

Lately I have been drooling over the lovely “planner hauls” and unboxing videos and periscopes from everyone I follow on YouTube and Instagram, and I thought…

Why can’t I order a few things myself? I could totally write about what works and does not work for ME?

So… I decided to do this.

To be fair I started these experiments in August — I was on Instagram and I came across 2 different planner girl monthly boxes that had recently started shipping their boxes to Canada. Not knowing what to ask, or what to look for when signing up for these companies, I just jumped in head first and ordered both of them that first day in August.


So far my experiences with these sorts of subscription boxes has been less than stellar. I have placed orders for several types of subscription boxes and had no problem with most of them… but the planner/stationary subscription boxes have ALWAYS been a fail for me.

Package/kit #1: Paper Junkies

My first experience with the planner subscription “boxes” was with Paper Junkies. I had come across them on Instagram and at the time they were offering a planner box/kit (although looking at the website now I don’t see that as an offering at this time) and they had just started offering to ship to Canada. I checked online to see if anyone had complaints, if they had been reviewed by other people, how their customer service was… etc, and everything seemed to check out fine so I placed an order and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

a month passed and although I had received notification that my order had been processed, I had not received any shipping notification or tracking numbers. So I contacted the company and had been told that the owner had had some health difficulties that had caused some delays, but that things were still being processed. I appreciated that they had communicated with me that there was a reason, and that I was still to get what I ordered… so I waited some more.

And waited.

And waited.

And finally at the end of September I received a tracking number for the package that I was expecting. But every single time I checked the tracking number there was no information,  instead the USPS website always stated that the package was in Pre-Shipping, that they had been notified electronically to expect a package but that they hadn’t actually received the package so it was untraceable. I still had hope that there was a package coming.

Eventually I got tired of being patient and I emailed the company again. Within a few hours I was told that there was an issue with the shipping and that another package was to be sent out. I was assured that this had happened to a bunch of packages, and that they had worked the issue out with the USPS and that everything had been handled.

So I waited.

But nothing ever came. So I contacted the owner AGAIN to state that i had STILL not received a valid notification of shipment. The owner once more stated that she had sent the package, but that if I wanted I could get a refund. I asked her how she wanted to go about doing the refund and she asked for my PayPal. I thought that was odd, but I sent it to her, and waited.

And waited.

Finally a few friends suggested that this person was NOT going to give me a refund and that it was well past time that I contact Visa about this issue. Two and a half months after I placed my order I hadn’t received any product AND I had not been able to get a refund, so I had to contest the charges (which thankfully Visa was quite able to do without any issues).

Because I never received any product, I have to give this box/kit a ZERO out of FIVE

Box #2: The Planner Addict Box

The same day that I ordered from the Paper Junkies shop, I also placed an order from The Planner Addict Box. Unlike the Paper Junkies order, the Planner Addict Box was a recurring subscription service. Since I only wanted ONE month to try (with the idea that when I find something I actually LIKE I’ll subscribe as an ongoing customer) I chose the option of “gift” rather than subscribe. I had done this with  several subscription boxes that I ordered for my kids (we have tried 4 non-planner type subscriptions and have had absolutely ZERO issues with any OTHER Crate Joy subscriptions) as a way to ensure that I wasn’t automatically charged for additional months, as a way to just TRY a box.

And just like the first one, I waited and waited and waited. From the first week of AUGUST, until mid-September I waited before contacting the customer service department. Unlike the Paper Junkies customer service, I waited 3 days to get any sort of answer from the Planner Addict, and then it was to say that they didn’t have any record of my order. I provided them with a screenshot of my subscription with their Crate Joy, as well as the date and transaction number for the Visa payment made to them. They could not find my order at ALL for over a week, and continually emailed me asking what I was searching for, not reading what I was sending them!! It was extremely frustrating.

After a week of back and forth, it was finally discovered that my order had just not been fulfilled for the September 1st subscription box, so they stated they would just send me the October 1st box instead.

So I waited and waited and WAITED…

October 12th I emailed asking why I hadn’t received a tracking number. October 13th I received a response stating that my address was coming back undeliverable… because for some reason they had tried to send it to my address but with the country code as USA instead of Canada. I informed them that this was the error, and I didn’t hear anything back… but 2 weeks later (October 27) I received the box — including planner stickers, a gem pen in black, some pretty paper clips, and chip board stickers. All very pretty things, but things I wouldn’t generally use in my journalling or bullet journalling.

Planner Addict Box – 3 out of 5

I am glad that I didn’t sign up for an ongoing subscription, simply because the type of things that were in the box were not the sort of thing I will really use in my planning system. I might RAK some of them later, but the quality and variety were excellent.  On the other hand, I found the interactions with their customer service to be unfriendly and unhelpful, and for that reason I wouldn’t order from them again. 

Box #3: Maker Monthly Box

This is the third try with this type of box system, the more stationary based Maker Monthly. Maker Monthly is touted as “Designer Notebooks and Creative Supplies Delivered monthly” and has come highly recommended by other bullet journal people I have followed, as well as reviews I have read.

Once more I had chosen “send as a gift” for the reason that generally this option, through the Crate Joy system, ensures that you don’t keep getting charged. In this case it doesn’t really work that way, since no matter what I chose my account lists my subscription as “month to month” instead of “gift”, and in order to stop from being charged additional months (which I don’t want until I actually get to SEE and REVIEW said product) I had to log into my account and suspend a month.

Just like the other 2 boxes, when I received my shipping notification, the tracking number only showed that there had been an electronic notification to the USPS to expect a package, and never moved onto actual delivery.

This time, though, I didn’t wait more than 2 weeks before emailing the company regarding the issue. Within a day I received an email stating that yes, they verified that I did order and everything on my end (payment details, address) was correct, but for some reason even though they had sent a notification to me AND the USPS that something was to be sent, a package had never been created and it wasn’t coming. He was very apologetic though, and stated that he would send one out to me immediately, and that I would get notification when it was shipped (expedited shipping) to me…

So far, haven’t received any notification (but my idea of IMMEDIATELY and someone else’s are likely different, especially for this time of the year) but I am willing to give them a week before I contact them again asking if it will still be sent, because I don’t want to have to deal with Visa again.

Maker Monthly: so far disappointed by lack of delivery

While I have been impressed with the various offerings that I have seen from the Maker Monthly subscription box, i’m fairly disappointed that I seem to have missed out on a pretty cool box this past month  (and potentially another $40 Canadian) and that even though there was some offer to fix the mistake, there was no timeline given either so I am still left wondering WHEN or even IF anything will even come…

But if it does I will definitely be reviewing anything that comes…




Preparing for a new bullet journal

Preparing for a new bullet journal

As luck would have it, my current bullet journal book is coming to an end just as the calendar year ends.

Maybe it is serendipity. Maybe it’s just luck. Either way, as the calendar and the sunlight tick down, so does the available space in my current journal. I currently have 5 pages left in the pocket sized Moleskine  that I have been using for my bullet journal, which is roughly 2 more weeks (will take me up to December 20th, and the book I want to move into (Hobonichi Techo Cousin) doesn’t have weeklies until December 28th, and the dailies don’t start until Jan 1…

Evolution of my journal - current layout

Evolution of my journal – current layout in my pocket (A6) sized Moleskine Grid

Hobonichi Techo Cousin

Hobonichi Techo Cousin A5 

If I leave things the way they are going, I will have a week of time (and the BUSIEST week of my year) where I won’t have a planning book. If I start a new book for only a week before I move into the Hobonichi, it might be wasted. I could choose to use multiple books, but I’m not sure if I can keep up with all that…

So I am faced with trying to decide what it is that I am going to do for my next bullet journal and/or planning system for the new year. Right now, i’m pretty undecided as to how I am going to do this, and if I am going to stick with ONLY bullet journalling, or if I am going to try to maintain multiple systems.

Planning has been a part of my life for… well, MOST of my life.

I have always had a strong need to write things down. I have always kept lists and schedules and planners. I have also kept journals most of my life. I’ve always kept my schedules/planners separate from my journals; journals were always very private and involved thoughts and feelings, whereas my planners and schedules just involved what I needed to get done and the events that I needed to remember that I’ve scheduled.

Starting in January 2015 I have decided to try using a modified bullet journal/journaling system in a Hobonichi Techo Cousin. Considering my last bullet journal was a personal (about A6)/pocket sized Moleskine, this A5 size (twice as big) will offer me a lot more space. As well, not having a way to index or catalog collections will be somewhat hard to adjust to.


I have considered having both a home system and a portable system. Right now I have both the passport and regular size Midori Traveler’s Notebooks, which I have been using as my journal for the past month. While I like having a separate journal from my daily logs and tasks, a place a bit more private, I would like being able to detail SOME of the thoughts and feelings that come from my days. I am considering moving to a 3 book system – 1 schedule, 1 journal, 1 bullet journal. The schedule would be contained in my Hobonichi, the journal would be in both the Hobonichi (events, details, logging) and the Midori Traveler’s notebook (regular), and the bullet journal could be kept in the Passport sized Midori…IMG_3624

I love having so many choices in my writing, planning, journalling life… although it can be a little overwhelming to have so many things to keep up with…

What sort of system do you like to use? Do you use a combination book (journalling and planning/scheduling and art in one) or separate books for different things???

Hey there big world

Hey there big world
Hey there big world

Welcome back!

I’m still struggling to find my “voice” in all of this. It has been a very long time for me (3 or 4 years) since I was an active blogger, and I am still trying to get into writing and posting pictures and sharing more of what I do and who I am with the world. Since I don’t really SELL anything, and I’m not exactly an EXPERT on anything, I sometimes feel like I don’t have anything really relevant to say to anyone on the internets. But, I have a domain name and time (now that my youngest is getting older and likes to play by herself a bit more) so I figured, why the heck not?

Years ago almost all of my writing and creative works were online — I was an avid online Diarist. I wrote compulsively on sites such as Open Diary (now defunct) and then I branched off into my own websites and blogs.

But life got in the way.

First I had G (now 15)… and then I had P (now 12)… and then I went through a divorce from their father which took a lot of my “oomph” and self-confidence and left me feeling wordless. I took a few confidence bombs in my career, and for a bit there it just didn’t seem like I was going in the direction that I wanted to go.

And then I decided to turn things around.

I bought a condo on my own. I started applying to courses to try and get back into a field of study that was more interesting to me. I started dating again. I took my kids on our first (and so far ONLY) vacation to DisneyWorld. I moved in and got married to my current husband, and we blended our families. And then I had S (now 3)…

There has been a period of time since S was born where things reverted a bit to the “not so great” side of things. I got pretty sick with infection in my breast quite soon (7 days) after she was born and so our family had a rough start for the first 3 months while I recovered my strength. When she was 6 months my father passed away from complications of lung/bone cancer and diabetes which further depressed me. And off and on I have continued to struggle with panic attacks, anxiety and depression.

I felt that maybe, just maybe reaching out and writing about my life MIGHT help me now like it did way back in the day when I wrote out how I felt. Little by little I started to reach out to other people who were like me — people who journaled and created and wrote, who loved pens and ink and books and making a bloody mess doing it all. And I started to see that there were others out there who loved the things I loved and shared the things they shared, and were ACCEPTED for who they were.

So… I thought I would try blogging so I could share MORE about myself than just a picture snapshot of my journals. I thought I would create an online space for the things I love and that I realize that OTHER people love too…

So, without further ado…

Hi there! I’m Pam and I am a pen nerd and paper geek. I am a wife. I am a mother and a step mother. I work full time outside my home doing something that I like, but which doesn’t spark much passion in me. I love to create, but I’m a bit “eh” about cleaning up the mess afterwards. I have over 100 blank books, and always the desire to get more. Every time I see new pens — from the cheap ballpoints to expensive fountain pens — I itch to buy them and test them out. I love lists and pictures and writing and colour. I quilt, sew, embroider, and have been known to knit and crochet on occasion.

I am Canadian, and I hate snow (laugh). I am Pagan, but I am very quiet in my beliefs. I love to learn about different view points and religions, traditions and languages, but I hate being asked about my own (so other than me saying it here, I may not mention it often). I am of Irish/Scottish/German descent. I am actively learning Gaelige (Irish) and French. I have been doing Irish Céilí dancing for 6 years now.

I love coffee, and wine. I prefer red wine to white wine, but I will drink either if the mood strikes me. I love dark chocolate.

I spend my days working on MS Excel documents. I have 2 bachelor degrees — Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Commerce in Production/Operations Management — and I am seeking a way to get into a Masters of Commerce program (preferably in Project Management) so that I might someday move out of Administrative work. I love solving problems and analyzing data, but I am not terribly interested in doing the data entry part of it all…

So… that’s a bit about me… maybe someday I will learn a bit about you…

my Bullet Journal Journey

my Bullet Journal Journey

I have always had a weird fascination with books, most especially blank journal/notebooks. From my earliest memories I have always had various types of notes and notebooks, schedules, and planners… If I see a book that appeals to me, I buy it.


My giant stack of blank journals and notebooks!

Over the years I have collected  and tried many different types of notebooks and journalling “systems”… from online applications, phone apps,  to calendars, daily planners and just sticky note lists.

Many of the methods I tried would work initially, but most ultimately fell by the wayside to be replaced by the next thing that I thought might help. The only thing that seemed consistent is that I kept LISTS, and notebooks, and notes, and snipets… and THINGS…

Enter the BULLET JOURNALsystem.

Now, I expect that this isn’t for everyone, very few things really ARE, but it is simple, flexible… and best of all, it allows me to use up a few of my hoarded NOTEBOOKS!! And since the essence of bullet journaling is that you basically only need a book and a pen, I was MORE THAN READY…

So… I started SIMPLE… I grabbed one of my favourite pocket sized grid Moleskine notebooks (since i had 10 of them just sitting around) and set up my key and my index (very simple, nothing at all fancy)… and started on my journey:


Originally all I did was keep a list of tasks and items I needed to remember for the week.

Originally all I did was keep a list of tasks and items I needed to remember for the week.

It wasn’t very sophisticated. All I did was write down the time frame and then create check boxes (tasks) and circles (appointments/activities) for the week ahead. I would review the list every night, check the things I had accomplished, add anything new that had come up, and cross out anything that I no longer felt was important. Sunday’s I would migrate (or take unaccomplished tasks from the previous week and write them onto the new week’s list) and set up for the week ahead.

I used this very simple list system without any changes for a year…

So, what changed?

After a year of doing the same thing I really wanted to incorporate more creative/art journaling into my daily writing. I didn’t feel anything lacking in my bullet journal, per se, but I did really want to explore all the other creative journaling/writing/planning that I saw on YouTube. Really… have you SEEN what some of these women can do with a PLANNER? The washi tapes and fancy planner stickers and gorgeous hand lettering???

I explored all the planner type YouTubers, and although I loved the way that they decorated… there was just something about it that was not MY STYLE. I loved watching them decorate their pretty Erin Condrens and Kikki.Ks, but I couldn’t imagine myself doing it for myself. While I loved washi tape in my journals and art journals, it wasn’t something I found easy to incorporate into my time management/planning. I wasn’t really too into the “cutsy” type planner stickers that everyone seemed to be buying and selling, even when I loved the colour and patterns that everyone found so easy to put together.

And through an accidental click, I came across a video on YouTube regarding how that person had incorporated the bullet journal system into her life, all the touches she had done to the base system to make it hers. It wasn’t too fancy — a different way to frame the lists, adding a tracker for her expenses — but it got me thinking; if one other person had been thinking about this in a whole different light, maybe OTHERS were as well. So I started searching in earnest through YouTube and through websites, and eventually I came back across Bullet and Tiny Ray of Sunshine and her August #BulletJournalChallenge.

That led me back to Instagram (which I had been a part of, but had stopped posting because I couldn’t figure out I way to connect to other people) and participation in the challenge. This in turn led me to review and try new things in my journal:

As I explore, I find new things I want to try. And the great thing about it is that since I create it how I want, I can change the layout easily as I go — if I need more space I can go with a 1 page per day (or even 2 pages per day), I can journal things I try. I can add or subtract things that don’t work.

This is a work in progress — something I want to share as I go along. In later posts I will explain my tests and review them, and point to new ideas and things I love. I’ll review pens I love, and other crafty things and how I can and do use them in my whimsical life…


Welcome (here we try again)

Welcome (here we try again)

I have to admit that I have missed blogging.

From 1998 to 2007 I was a prolific online journaler… although 99% of that happened on a now defunct site called OpenDiary. Off an on before and after that I had dabbled creating websites and blogging on my own. There was always just this need to WRITE.

I’ve had this domain for years, I just wasn’t sure what to do with it. But as I have moved more into art journaling and bullet journaling and just exploring all the things I love, I find that I want to have a place to expand on all the things that I find interesting.

So, more about me:

My name is Pamela. I am 41, married, have 3 biological and 2 step-children that I am raising. I live in Saskatchewan, Canada.

I love cats, notebooks in all forms, all pens and fountain pens, art supplies, art journaling. I am an avid bullet journaller. I spend hours a day practicing handwriting forms. I am studying Irish Gaelige and French. I love graphs and charts and tracking formats. And I want to write about all the things that interest me.