Planners, Organizing and Projects Oh My!


I think I love planning as much as I love lists.  There’s something very gratifying about mapping out an event or project; breaking large ideas into smaller ones.  The problem I often run into though, is that I like to plan more than execute.  I’m working on reducing my planning and increasing my do-ing.  It will be a lifetime pursuit.

I have been in search of the perfect planner my whole life.  One that really acts like a personal assistant/coach/mom/best friend/mentor.  I know, I have unrealistic expectations!!  I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the “perfect” planner is the one you use.  On that note, I’ve been experimenting the last couple of months with a handmade planner – one that meets my particular needs.

What I want in a planner (at the moment)

1.  I want all the pertinent information for all aspects of my life in one place.
2.  need to be able to add and subtract pages so I opted for a system using binder rings.
3.  I want a size that can easily fit in my purse, but be large enough to see my handwriting.
4.  I want tabbed sections (Tabs help me to feel organized. Weird, I know!)
5.  I want pretty and I want paper!!!  I’m more inspired by pretty stuff and as much as I love the digital age, I’m not ready to give up paper and pen just yet.


My Planner Assembly

For the outside of the planner, I found a recipe binder in the dollar bin at Joann’s and recycled it for parts.  I cut the front and back sections off, covered them with pretty paper and punched holes for the binder rings.  For the inside sections, I used the tabbed dividers that came with the recipe binder and my label maker to make the 8 sections.  The sections are: Calendar, Daily, Personal, Projects, Project Life, Journal, WWMD Blog and Ideas.

Calendar:  This is the monthly calendar section.  I like to see a whole month at a time.  It helps me not to overbook and subsequently not overtire myself.  I designed the pages myself and use scrapbooking stickers and stamps to decorate.  I also keep a pouch full of my favorite pens and pencils for highlighting.0130a6ddf672ee5374052e04e801e931c6bf3ff99c

Daily:  This is where I break down each day’s events, appointments, todo’s and projects.  Ihave symbols that I assign to each item and I try to keep my daily stuff to half a sheet.  When I complete an item, I color in the symbol.

0137ce51548da482c75b31c72d4f63b38e0e31895c  Here’s a list of the symbols –>


Personal:  This is where I keep track of personal stuff.  (I’d show you a picture, but it’s personal :-))



Projects:  I’m constantly coming up with projects for all the areas of my life.  I wanted a place to corral those ideas, so I dedicate a page to each major area.  There’s “Home & Property”, “Backyard”, “Dogs”, “Craft Room”, “Friends” so far.  If something requires more than 3 steps, I consider it a project and it gets a page.


Project LifeI keep a weekly album of our life called Project Life.  The layout is the same every week, so I made a template of the layout and use it to jot down thoughts and ideas about our days.  Then at the end of the week, I’m able to refer to my notes, grab the pictures and ephemera and finish the week.  I record significant and not so significant events.  In all this album documents the ‘every day’ of our life.


Journal:  This is a section I thought I would use more, but it’s becoming a place holder for blank paper.  The nice thing about the binder ring setup is that I can subtract the sections that aren’t working for me.  It’s not that I don’t like journaling; I just prefer to journal in a journal.  I might replace this section with “Quotes”.

wwmd blog:  This section is devoted to this blog-While Walking My Dogs.  Being that I’m not terribly consistent with my blogging , I thought it would be a good idea to develop a scheduling/idea catcher section for my planner.  I have lots to share, I just need to be more organized about it.

Ideas:  And this is for anything I’ve left out.  It’s filled with blank paper with no lines, so I’m free to draw, sketch, write, whatever.  It’s the place for the hair-brained ideas that aren’t project-worthy yet, but I don’t want to forget.

01acc8fbd794bc6d5d9d6e03a535fe9a3781c43821As you can see my planner is quite thick, but it contains everything I need (at least for today).  As I said in the beginning, the perfect planner is the one you use and I’m using this and getting things done.

I’ve talked enough for today.  I’ll follow up with Organizing and Projects in a couple of days.

What have you found that works for you???

Until then,





“We like that you have ‘walk dogs’ in your planner.  Like you would forget to do that????  You wouldn’t forget would you???  Better keep putting it in your planner – just in case.”

Posted in Accountability, Education, Goals, Homemade, Lists, Organization, Repurposing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Birthday Mindy and Happy National Dog Day!

Happy 8th Birthday MindyHappy Birthday Mindy!

Mindy celebrates her 8th birthday today.  She’s been with us a little over a month and we couldn’t be happier.  She has settled in quite nicely with Woody and Ellie and to our family routines.  She’s a sweet, gentle girl and is often found snoozing at my feet. We’re so happy she came to stay.

Mindy loves…



  • breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • morning walks
  • cuddling
  • playing ball
  • meeting new friends

Mindy’s Birthday Present

For her birthday I decided to make her a dog bed (version 2.0, I like to call it).  I made the base out of a sturdy cotton canvas material, inserted a Velcro opening (for easy laundering) and stitched on a snuggly, fleece top.  When it was all finished, I placed it on the floor for her to inspect and curl up on and she promptly jumped onto Mike’s chair to take a nap.  Not the reaction I was expecting!  She’s come round though and I’ve caught her enjoying 40 winks on her new bed.


Woody and Ellie will be getting replacement beds soon.  The set I made them 2 years ago really didn’t have any way to be cleaned and when one of the beds was peed on, it was time to come up with another solution.  The new beds will be able to be washed and dried in the event of accidents or just dirt from daily use.

National Dog Day

According to National Dog Day Founder, Colleen Paige,

“National Dog Day (Also known as: International Dog Day & National Dog Appreciation Day) is celebrated August 26th annually and serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day – for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for a child who is disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage.”

There really isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t learn from my dogs.  They are such an integral part of our lives, make us laugh, demand our devotion, love and energy and their presence soothes our souls.  I really can’t imagine my life without a dog.

I’ll leave you with this (lengthy, but worth it) excerpt from the summation remarks of from George Graham Vest, a senator from the late 1800’s:

“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth, an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.”

How will you love and care for your dog today?




IMG_5277“Since we have a new sister (Mindy), she’ll be showing up here every now and then.  At the moment, we’re training her in the areas of cute pictures and cute remarks.  The pictures are turning out okay, but she’s got some work to do on the remarks.  We make this look easy, but it’s really quite difficult.”



Posted in Dogs, Homemade, sewing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

10 Things {} Blogs

I happen to think that blogs are just about the most wonderful thing on the internet.  Anyone can start one and you need very little to start:  a computer, an internet connection and an idea.  If you’re consistent, provide good content and interact with your readers you’ll get a following and then the possibilities are endless.  There are books and tutorials written about all the ins and outs of blogging.  There are annual conferences devoted to gathering bloggers from all over the world.  And speaking of global – blogging has a way of making our world much smaller.  I’ve had people reading my blog from countries I’ve never heard of.  I’m a bit over the moon with this blogging thing!

So with that in mind, here are ten blogs that I read everyday and wait with great anticipation for upcoming content.

EliseBlaha1.  Elise writes a personal and craft blog and shares her life and family with her readers.  She has a wonderful style and approach to projects and takes the best pictures.

Attic242.  Lucy lives in the north of England and is a prolific crocheter.  Her love of color rivals mine and her creativity is inspiring.  She is also an amazing photographer and the part of the world where she lives doesn’t disappoint with its beauty.

CraftSanity Looms3.  I’ve been following Jennifer since 2007.  She’s a journalist/crafter living in Michigan with her family.  She’s written several craft books, makes weaving looms and wears aprons every chance she gets.  She teaches crafts and journalism and has a podcast that is excellent.  I love her style and approach to crafts.

Ami4.  The blog is called Through the Eyes of A Quilter and the author is Ami Simms.  Ami is a passionate quilter, dog lover and just about the funniest blogger I know.  She often talks her dog, Scooter, into writing some of her blog posts and they’re always entertaining.

WildOlive5.  Mollie describes herself as a crafter and illustrator of cute things.  And she is right.  She designs embroidery patterns that are adorable and whimsical.  She puts faces on everything even coffee cups, globes, death stars and pickles.  It doesn’t get more adorable that a death star with a grin.

TheFrugalGirl6.  Kristen generously shares her frugal ideas and teaches people how to live on less (cheerfully).  She is a very talented writer and photographer and has demonstrated, quite effectively, how to live contently with less.  Oh, and her homemade yogurt recipe is the best!

BEMoreWithLess7.  Courtney writes about living a simple life that is full.  She is such an inspiration because she writes about what she knows and she is a huge encourager for other bloggers.

WendyKnits8.  Wendy is an amazing designer/knitter/author.  I’ve followed her for years and am constantly amazed with her designs and creativity.  And she is a super fast knitter that tackles the most complex patterns.  As a knitter, I can only hope to be as good as she is one day.

ClipNCuts9.  Vicky Papaioannou is a card maker/art journaler who lives in Greece with her family.  She regularly releases Youtube videos demonstrating her card making and art journaling.  She’s very creative and very down to earth.  And I just love her accent.  I could listen to her all day.

WilnaF10.  Wilna Furstenberg is a designer/photographer/artist/scrapbooker who is originally from South Africa.  She makes video tutorials of her scrapbook pages and she is another one of those bloggers that I could listen to all day.  I just love her accent and her voice.  Very soothing.  She designs and teaches art classes through 2Peas in a Bucket and through her own blog.  She’s an excellent teacher, amazing photographer and a lover of dogs.  I seem to be drawn to animal lovers.

These are only a drop in the bucket in terms of the number of blogs I follow, but they are some of my most favorites.  I encourage you to check them out or find others that inspire you and move you to create.  Believe me, there’s something for everyone out there!

I’d love to hear what blogs you like to follow.  Leave a comment and let me know.

Til the next time,



IMG_5183“Hey mama – just hanging out here while you finish reading your blogs.  Have you read any lately that show you how to make dog treats.  That would be nice.  Of course, I love your blog the best – mostly ’cause I’m in it a lot.”

Vicky Papaioannou
Vicky Papaioannou
Posted in 10 Things, Cards, Crochet, DeCluttering, Education, Homemade, Knitting, Paper Crafting, Scrapbooking, sewing, Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Project: UWYH


Jaimee Kaiser a.k.a. Just Jaimee

I don’t know about you, but I still feel like Summer days are radically different from any other day during the year.  I think it all goes back to being a kid and spending 9 months of the year in school then waking up one day and realizing that I didn’t have to go to school – for. three. months!  Now I really enjoyed school, but I also enjoyed the time freedom that came with summer.  No set schedules, vacations, swimming all day, staying up late, sleeping in late.  Even though I don’t have kids of my own and haven’t been on a “school” schedule in decades, I still feel the same way come June 1.

Jumpstart-June-BlueI was be-bopping around blogland the other day and found a blogger who is promoting an activity called “Jumpstart June“.  Basically, it’s to encourage people to identify and finish one project, maybe something that’s been put off”, by the end of June.  It’s a great idea and I’m a sucker for these types of mini goal setting.

Now you would think that I would launch into my “Jumpstart June” project at this point in the post.  Well, I’m not.  I did toss the idea around for a couple of days, but finally decided that I couldn’t pick just one project and besides I have many projects that I’m currently working on.  That all being said, the process of thinking about my projects and my supplies led me to another idea.

Project UWYHI am setting a goal for the Summer (June-August) to only use the supplies I currently own to finish my projects.  I’m calling it Project UWYH (Use What You Have).  It’s a weird, awkward title, but sometimes weird and awkward is just the prescription to help me remember to not just hop over to the craft/diy store to buy what I need.  With a little time and creativity, I’m going to hopefully be able to accomplish my goals with my current stash of supplies.  I will share my finished results as they happen.

So as we move into summer, what are your plans, diy or otherwise?




IMG_5113“Project: UWYH, huh?  Sounds like a noise Woody would make.  But I digress.  So will you be making anything for us?  Toys, treats, new beds?? Just some suggestions to add to your list.”

Posted in Accountability, Challenges and Contests, Goals, Homemade, Organization, Paper Crafting, Project Life, Recycling, Repurposing, Saving Money, Scrapbooking, sewing, Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Top Ten reasons why I love my iPhone

iphoneI’ve owned at iPhone 4s for almost a year and a half  and I have to say it was one of the best buying decisions I ever made.  Recently I found myself in a situation where I didn’t have my laptop for a day and I had plans to post several scrapbook layouts for National Scrapbook Day.  After a few minutes of kicking myself for not planning better, I had an epiphany.  I could use my iPhone for everything.  Camera for photos, check! WordPress App for blog post, check!  Social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) for sharing, check!  As I marveled at the awesomeness of this little genius, I thought about all the other reasons I love my iPhone.

Here are the top ten reasons.

10.  I can communicate quickly with my family and friends.  This comes in real handy when you’re at the store and you need to know which brand of deodorant to buy.

IMG_50179.  Instead of clipping coupons, I just download the apps for Joann’s and Michael’s and have a 40% off coupon with me always.

IMG_50198.  The Daily Carb App.  I need to keep track of my blood sugar readings and times when I take my insulin.  I can keep it all in one place with this app and export the information to excel if I need to send a weeks worth of numbers to my doctor.

7.  The camera.  I use my phone exclusively for all my photos.  It’s so convenient.

IMG_50186.  I can listen to any kind of music I want through the Spotify app.  And podcasts – well, all I have to do is download them and they’re available for listening while I walk the dogs, exercise or work on projects.  They’re a constant source of inspiration.

5. The HeyDay App.  Such a powerful tool for documenting the day. It’s a life saver when I’m behind with Project Life.

IMG_50204.  Using the Feedly app, I can read all my blogs on my phone.  I use the ‘save’ feature to bookmark those that I want to read with a larger screen.  It’s synced with my laptop.  I can also browse through Pinterest.

IMG_50213.  Instagram, Collect and Groovebook Apps.  All photo apps, but each a little different.  Instagram is a social photo site, Collect reminds me to capture a photo everyday and Groovebook takes photos from my phone and sends me a 4X6 photo book every month for $2.99.

2.  Video camera.  I am able to shoot video of my craft projects to use as tutorials and put them on this blog.

1. I can write and post blogs using the WordPress app and post and process items in my Etsy shop.

What do you love about your smartphone?






“I know you like your phone, but I hope you never replace us with an app.  I’m not sure what an app is, but I think it’s something I would growl at.”


Posted in Lists, National Scrapbooking Day, Organization, Pinterest, Project Life, Scrapbooking | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Otherwise known as…

I made four layouts for National Scrapbook Day and the final two were similar in technique and title, but with a couple differences.  One was titled “Otherwise known as ‘Ellie'” and the other “Otherwise known as ‘Woody'”.

I was inspired by a layout created by Wilna Furstenburg, a Garden Girl over at  She used a combination of acrylic paints and tacky glue to create a background, then pushed die-cut lettering into the paint and finished the layout with a photo and embellishments.  It was breathtaking and I just had to try.

Here are the layouts:


In both layouts, I first hand wrote my words and then cut them out of heavy watercolor paper with my Silhouette die cutting machine.  The weight and the type of paper was important because I was going to be pushing them into thick paint.  I chose 5 different colors for each layout, mixed the acrylic paint with white tacky glue and spread the colors horizontally.  I then needed to wait 24 hours to make sure the paint was completely dry.  I chose colors consistent with the photos and the dogs.

After the paint was dry, I used an exacto knife to cut away sections of the paint so I could tuck the photos behind.  Wilna did this on her layout and it was a lovely effect.


I trimmed the white paper to 10 1/2″ square and mounted each layout on a piece of coordinating patterned 12X12 paper.  I embellished with washi tape, banners, stickers, brads and wood veneer.

Here are some closeups:

IMG_4938 IMG_4937IMG_4936IMG_4945IMG_4946





I’ve wanted to do a layout about the various names I have for Woody and Ellie, but didn’t have a vision for it until I saw Wilna’s layout.  Thank you Wilna for such wonderful inspiration.







“Well, we can only say ‘It’s about time’.  You had us a bit worried there.  How about a treat to say you’re sorry?”

Posted in Challenges and Contests, Dogs, Homemade, National Scrapbooking Day, Paper Crafting, Scrapbooking | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

National Scrapbook Day | Layout #2 – Teddy

Big Picture Classes

20140503-154913.jpgLayout #2 is called “Teddy”.

I started with a 12X12 piece of textured brown cardstock.  Once again I used my Dylusion inks (white linen) to splatter diagonally across the page.  From there I searched for brown and red papers and embellishments along with my favorite paw-themed washi tape.  I outlined the papers and wrote my journaling with my black Zig writer.

The journaling says: My mom and I see Teddy when we visit Da in England.  Teddy is the most gentle dog with eyes and fur the color of Cadbury chocolate.  He is adorable wherever he goes and brings great joy to many.
Here are some close ups.

IMG_4926 IMG_4927










IMG_4902“I have to say I’m concerned now.  Are you EVER going to do a layout with us?”

Posted in Dogs, Homemade, Paper Crafting, Scrapbooking | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment