Hello Again....

After a lengthy hiatus, I am back. For those of you who have remained faithful and hopeful, my deepest gratitude goes out to you. I am getting ready to do a February Self-Care Challenge. If you are interested in joining in, click on the 'challenge' tab at the top and fill in the form. This will be the last time the challenge is free so take advantage of it! Stay tuned for more news on the challenge and some other projects I have in the works. Happy New Year everyone!

Bridge Pencils from CW Pencils

I love wood cased pencils. I much prefer them to mechanical pencils. There is something about how they feel in your hand and the act of sharpening them that is satisfying. I recently purchased a some bridge pencils from CW Pencil Enterprise online. 

The bridge pencils, as you can see are smaller than your standard pencil. They measure 6.25" long when new. They sharpen well, hold a sharp tip for a nice period of time and they erase cleanly. I had no problem sharpening them with the array of sharpeners I own.  The pencils are $1.60 each at CW Pencil. If you gravitate to the unusual or like tiny things try one out.  They are fun to use! CW Pencil shipped them carefully in a cardboard box with padding so they arrived intact. 

CW Pencil Enterprise has a LOT of pencils, sharpeners, erasers, notebooks and other writing accessories on their site as well. Their site is www.cwpencils.com. They have a blog as well that you can follow at http://cwpencils.com/blogs/news . Check them out. 

Boxed and shipped very thoughtfully

Boxed and shipped very thoughtfully

They sharpen easily with standard sharpeners 

They sharpen easily with standard sharpeners 

Size comparison

Size comparison

49 Facebook Groups for Planner/Pen/Washi/Sticker Addicts

I am a member of quite a few Facebook groups and it dawned on me that many folks out there who are interested in planning/journaling may not know about all of them. This by no means an exhaustive list as I had to draw the line somewhere (there are hundreds of groups). If your group was left out of this list just post a link in the comments section.

These are, for the most part, closed groups - which means you need to join them to see all the content. Some of the groups are shops and are not closed, you just need to 'like' them to follow them.  Facebook groups are an excellent way to find out about resources, tricks, trades, swaps, RAK's, and new products that are out there. If you are a cottage business on Etsy or some other site, FB groups can be an excellent way to advertise your business. Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and a look at the groups and see what you think. It is important to note that, with the exception of the first group (which is mine), the groups are listed in NO particular order.

1.   The first group is mine...it is all about inserts for traveler type notebooks.


2.   This next group - Travelers Notebook Forum -  is about all things traveler notebook, this is a huge group with lots of resources and connections.  


3.   This group is the Pacific Northwest Planners Group and is just that - a group for planners in the PNW.


4.   The Buy, Sell, Trade and In Search Of group is for doing those things with notebook covers, planner covers and binders. You will spend money on this group...I promise...it is dangerous to look.


5.   The Bullet Journal Junkies group is one of my favorite. This is a sweet, kind group that gives a lot of latitude about what you can post. The group is specific to bullet journaling but has an amazing wealth of knowledge about all kinds of things.


6.   Taroko Shop is the Facebook group for the Taroko Shop itself. Steve Chang sells planner related items and digital downloads. He has a nice line of Hobonichi covers. Check out the group then go shop in his store.


7.   The Stationary Supply Station group is pretty new and growing fast. This is an offshoot of the BST and ISO group and is for the supplies that feed the planner addictions we all have.


8.   The Marsia Bramucci Group is all about Marsia's fans and products. She has an Etsy shop. I am a customer of her's and currently have her calendars (monthly and weekly) in one of my covers. Her design aesthetic and customer service are amazing.


9.   This group is the Hobonichi Buy, Sell and Swap group if you are a Hobo user.


10.  The Tiny TN group is dedicated to the smaller size covers. This is a really fun group especially if you like to carry a field note, passport or smaller size cover or use your cover as a wallet. The resources and inspiration on this group is great. The owner of this group, Eileen Kim, is someone who I admire and follow. She has talent and ideas that keep the group fresh.


11.  Spiritual Journaling and Planning is a lovely group with a very peaceful vibe. If you want to tie your journaling in to some bigger perspective and deeper intent this is the place to go.


12.  Cheap Fountain Pen Thrills is just what the title says...all about fountain pens under twenty bucks.


13.  Need some art inspiration for your journaling activities? This group has ideas galore.


14.  Onica Hanby Studios group is about her art, products and for her fans. Onica is a PNW artist and does beautiful covers. She just opened a brand new online shop as well. 


15.  Lady Falcon TN group is for another amazing artist who creates custom leather covers from the Netherlands. I own one of her covers. She has a website and Etsy shop as well. 


16.  Organize Your Soul is another group that I own. The group is for subscribers of this blog and for those who participate in my blog challenges and activities. 


17.  Jonel Fish is a group for Jonel. She does custom covers as well - has a huge, passionate fan base. She has recently been on hiatus but is coming back and her fans are very happy about that.


18.  Tweetie Pie Planner Parade is a group for the dashboards by the same name. Her stuff is original and pretty cute.


19.  Hobo Eye Candy is a source for inspiration and all about the Hobo planners.


20.  Travelers Notebook for Healthy Living is a group that is pretty self explanatory. If you want to integrate a diet, exercise plan or create a healthier lifestyle using your planner this is the group to join.


21.  Growing Up Goddess is the group for the Etsy shop by the same name. I've bought Alexis's inserts and they are great. She has a HUGE selection. You can find links to her shop in the group.


22.  Midori Traveler's Notebook Resources is another huge group. This group is VERY specific to the Midori brand.


23.  My Foxy Fix is the fan group for the Foxy Fix brand leather cover. My very first cover was a Foxy and I still use it. She has branched out a bit. A link to her shop is on her group.


24.  Hobonichi, Midori and Kawaii Style is a fan group for these three things. You will find inspiration and ideas here.


25.  Fans of May Design group is for those who are mad about these little books. Oprah made them famous and they have grown by leaps and bounds. I have a few myself and like them in my large cover. The books aren't super fountain pen friendly but are nice.


26.  Stick to Planning group is for stickers and washi. I think the mantra here could be: you can never have enough....this is a fun group and people are always posting stuff I've never seen before.


27.  Zencraft Travelers Notes is a group by Yochanan Israel. He is an artist that makes covers that are almost portable desks. I lust after these beautiful creations...maybe one day I'll own one.  Links to buying his covers are posted in the group. His group, nicely, is not just for his creations but all things TN.


28.  The Bag and Accessories Eye Candy/BST group is for things related to planners, you can buy, sell, trade and just gawk at cool stuff for planner addicts.


29.  The MTN Journal Page is a group for journaling in your notebook and inspiration to do such....


30.  The PlannerCon group is all about the planning and info for a planner convention. Want to help out? This is a place to connect with planners of the convention and get more details about it. 


31.  Fitness Planner Buddies is another health related group for those integrating a healthy lifestyle in with planning.


32.  Hobonichi Users is exactly what it says...a group for those who use the Japanese planner book.


33.  Traveler's Notebook Art Journaling - again a pretty self explanatory name for creative types who want to put more art in to the journaling process.


34.  A5/US Half Size Traveler's Notebook group is for folks using the biggest cover for their planning/journaling needs. I like this size and find it very versatile but it can be cumbersome to lug around if you stuff your cover full.


35.  Traveler's Notebook Supply Swap is for members to swap stuff related to the TN world.


36.  Stuff your TN to the gills? This group - Stuffed TN - is for you.


37.  Bullet Journal in a Traveler's Notebook group is for BuJo fans who use TN's and not just a book or journal to bujo.


38.  The UK MTN Group is all about resources for those who use the Midori system and live in the UK.


39.  TN Swap and RAK is for swapping and RAK'ing (random acts of kindness) TN related stuff.


40.  Australians Love Traveler's Notebooks is a group for TN loving Aussies.


41.  Filofax Users is for those who love the iconic ring bound system that is a staple in the planner world.


42.  Filofax and Pens For Sale Site is a buy and sell group for filos and pens...


43.  Filofax, Kikki K, and Others Group is for ring bound fans looking for connection and inspiration.


44. Erin Condren Fans is a group for fans of the spiral bound planner system. 


45.  Erin Condren Sticker Junkies - if you are familiar with the ECP system, her weeks are broken down in to blocks on the page of a very specific size. A whole industry has arisen that caters to that size block and the ECP sticker rage was born...


46. JetPens fans of which I am one, has a group. JetPens provides sneek peeks of up coming products, does giveaways and contests and fans can connect with each other. If you like pens, pencils, office supplies, this group will connect you with your dealer.


47.  Next is the TN With Jen group. This is Jennifer Faber's group dedicated to her shop and services she offers start up businesses looking for advice and guidance in setting up their online shops. Check it out!


48.  Traveler Notebook Times is a group from the website of the same name.  I can confess that it was Steve including me in his weekly emails that helped my blog gain traction and get noticed. I am forever grateful to him for that. If you want to know what is going on in the world of TN's like his group, and subscribe to his blog. When I get his emails, I grab a cup of coffee, pull up my chair and dive in to the crazy wealth of resources in a concise, neat list.


49.  Last but not least is a new group of mine called The Planner Social Club. We are a bunch of people who love planning, planners, life, struggles, triumphs and this is a place to share anything with other like-minded planner addicts...being nice is the only requirement to join :-).


Recipe for a Happy Life

Many years ago, I wrote down my own 'rules' for a happy life. When I wrote these down, I tried to be as realistic as possible. I was looking through my old commonplace book the other day and found the original rules and thought I would share what I wrote with everyone. Here they are:

1.  Gratitude every day, whenever you think to say thank you - say it!

2.  Write every day in your book. Record the weather if you have nothing to say. Be consistent, it will become a habit and will ground you in rocky times. (Back then this referred to my commonplace book, now it's my TN)

3. Tell people you love that you love them. You never know when it will be the last time you get to.

4. Believe good things will happen. What you put out in the universe comes back to you.

5.  Be outside as often as you can. It's healing, connects you to the earth and to the bigger picture of the world around you.

6.  No processed food...no fast food...they are simply chemical shitstorms and don't nourish you.

7.  Only eat when you are hungry.

8.  Don't eat after 7pm, your body needs fasting/down time over night.

9.  Stop eating when you are full - that's easy lol.

10. Move every day. 

11. Share your knowledge and gifts with others. You weren't put on this earth to be an island but to connect with other souls.

12. Be kind, it's free and you don't know anyone else's struggle in life. It's easy to judge on appearances but those will fool you, just be nice.

13. Lastly, smile when you least feel like it. Only you can create your happiness.

Challenge Group

If you have subscribed to the Self-Care Challenge and are on Facebook, there is a group just for Challenge Participants to share. The group is closed and secret so this link is the only way you can navigate to the group. You can share epiphanies, pictures, questions, thoughts, and talk about challenges. I look forward to seeing you there!


Tomoe River Inserts from Taroko Shop

People are always asking what is the best paper for fountain pen usage in their Notebook. Hands down my choice is Tomoe River Paper. If you have never written or drawn on it, you are missing out.  I've only ever been able to experience it in my Hobonichi but now Taroko Shop is selling standard size inserts with Tomoe. The price is very reasonable as is shipping. The inserts were shipped in a protective sleeve between two sheets of hard plastic which protected them from bending. I also received a coupon, a personal note from the Shop (Steve) and two cool wire clips. The shop is currently sold out of these amazing inserts, but you can get them at Red Pen Travelers now (which is exciting for US customers especially). 

I typically use a A6 size TN so when I got these inserts I immediately chopped one down to size. The other one is going to my daughter. I've included some pictures below, including samples of pens I own on the paper - pictured from and back so you can see the excellent quality of the paper with zero bleed through.

One insert standard size, the other cut down to A6 size by me

One insert standard size, the other cut down to A6 size by me

Writing Samples

Writing Samples

Reverse side of samples in same order

Reverse side of samples in same order

If you want to try a great paper, very deceptively light weight, that holds ink superbly, I strongly urge you to try Taroko Shop Tomoe River Inserts.

These inserts were purchased by me for my own use and evaluation.