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My DIY Planner

If you are one of my Facebook friends, you may have seen me mention that I recently made my own planner. I have tried many types of organization techniques (true confessions: I tend to get caught in organization when I should actually be DOING something. I am aware of it & I’m working on it! lol). I have tried the home management binder and while I like the idea of it, I never did have a good place for it. I have so little kitchen counter space that if I tried to use it for meal planning, I had no room to actually work in my kitchen. In my current space, it became impractical for day to day use, though I do keep it updated to use as a general family all-in-one-place info-station.

I was one of those types that spent the first days of a new college semester transferring all the assignments from each class syllabus, color coded by class subject, into my daily planner. I felt better if I could see all of the work in one place – I could see at a glance and plan ahead if I had a particularly busy week. Is that a control thing…? (don’t answer that)

Well, as I thought about staying home, focusing more on managing my household better while incorporating an at-home job, I started to dream about an all inclusive planner. Sure, the planners at the stores are pretty, but they rarely have all the features I want. As I googled “DIY Planner” I found all kinds of goodies. There are free templates of all kinds, some good forms & tools to make your own planner available on Etsy & so I made some purchases and got to work in Microsoft Publisher. Here’s what I used:

  • A grocery list, weekly student planner page, expense tracker, & horizontal filler page from Crown Bindery on Etsy. I purchased some other pages from her, but those are the ones I used. If you visit her store, she also has some accessories to make the outside of your planner and tabs.
  • I found the type of monthly calendar I wanted at It spreads across 2 pages.
  • The 2012 Motivated Moms Half-Size Chore Planner with Scheduled Bible Reading from the Motivated Moms Website.

So here’s where it gets a little “techy.” I took the .pdfs into Photoshop and cropped the two page spreads into single pages and saved them as high resolution .jpgs. I then opened a booklet template in Microsoft Publisher and placed in the document (does this classify as an illness?) I made two sections – a calendar section you are used to seeing in store-bought planners (the month overview with the weeks following for greater detail) and a home management section with an expense tracker and horizontal filler page to start each month, followed by each week’s Motivated Moms Cleaning Schedule facing a grocery list page (because you know how you are going about cleaning each room and you say to yourself, “AH! I need to pick this up next time I go to the store!” and then you never remember what this is when the time comes…?)

When everything was in it’s place, I wrote it all to a .pdf again and uploaded the very large document to From the website I was able to choose black & white, double sided printing, request they cut it in half and coil bind it after adding a black plastic back and clear front. I was pretty impressed with their speed and the quality of the paper (but then again I’m used to interacting with the least expensive, basic copy paper). I uploaded it late in the evening and it was ready the next morning! I grabbed some tabs and color coded the calendar-y part with pink and the home management part in green. I thought about merging both sections, but I worried that it would make using the calendar part a bit of a pain. In the end, everything’s in one place in a practical size that I can take with me anywhere!

So there you have it! Would you ever consider making your own planner? What would you include? What tools do you use to organize your family? I can’t wait to hear!

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I should never have cleaned…

Generously enough, the little man has passed on his head cold to me. And boy, is it fun! (not) After taking the day off from all things sewing (except for a few rows of knitting) on Saturday, my type-A personality forced me into the sewing room Sunday afternoon to finish the buttons/buttonholes on lil T’s Woody costume. Then I put it all together to snap a few pre-wearing photos.

I couldn’t be more excited! On the boots front, we tried to get him to try them on, but he acted as though we were attempting to murder him. So, as I’ve heard from other moms to do, I just set them out near his room for him to “discover” on his own. Everything’s always better we think it’s our own idea, right? So last night he found his Woody hat and then determined that (of course) he had to have some boots! He went and grabbed them and asked us to help him put them on and then walked around the house with them on for quite a while. Here are some pictures I snapped on my iPhone (hence, they’re a little fuzzy):


He even greeted me with them on when I came out of the bathroom from my shower this morning. haha. So I’m hoping that means he’ll be okay with wearing them on the 31st. Thanks to Mary for lending us your well-loved boots.

After I finished his costume, I got a wild hair to clean up my sewing room and inventory my projects (which I should not have done while sick – I’m paying for it today!). I even created these cute little project sheets with this thought in mind…A list is not “editable” enough for me. If you mark on it or try to rearrange items on your list, it gets ugly and you have to write a new one (ok, maybe it’s just me). With the sheets, I can take them down, rearrange them, get rid of a project or two along the way or *gasp* add to the list while still keeping it pretty. So – I filled out these forms for each project, punched a hole in the top, placed them in an order somewhat relating to how I’d like to finish them and ran a book ring through them. I hung it on the pole that comes up from my industrial sewing machine table and then had another thought. “Gosh, I could not buy anything for a year!” Stay with me here, I know this is drastic but I’ve seen many Self Stitch September participants carry on after the month ended with the same thought. So here’s what I’d like to do:

  • Buy no more sewing projects until I finish what I have.
  • Reward said non-purchasing of sewing projects with small, achievable knitting projects so long as I finish as I go and do not stash up on yarn. See, people I know who go on successful diets give themselves “no-rules weekends” or treats for successes so I feel this might be the key to keep me on the wagon, so to say.

We’ll see how it goes. I’m not going to forecast this going perfectly, but my main goal is to destash, finally finish some projects I’ve intended to do for a long time, and clear out some space for that inspiration I’m looking for (see my home page for explanation). See you soon!