Friday, February 13, 2015

Time for Some Paper and Journal Love

So after all that talk about all the e-products I've been using lately, I thought it was time to share the paper love. This is a perfect month to do that because not only does Valentine's Day fall in this month, but it is also International Correspondence Writing Month AND A Month of Letters. Both of these cool sites challenge you to write one letter every day during the month of February! I won't even try to participate in the challenges, because I simply do not have the time with all the reading and writing I'm already doing for school, but I love the idea that there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of personal letters being floated around the planet this month to cheer their recipients.

I do plan to participate in my own, little way. I have already mailed out my stack of Valentines to a few people and I picked up these note cards at my local Dollar Tree this month. They are each a package of 8 note cards for a dollar. I love the designs as much as if I'd spent six or eight dollars on them, which is easily what note cards from gift stores can cost. I always like to have note cards on hand. Usually, there is not nearly enough room for all I want to say, but I often add paper to continue my conversation with my recipient.

While I like note cards, I do wish I could find, with greater ease, a better selection of sheets of paper stationary for letter writing. I have found some on Amazon, but haven't purchased any yet, because while the designs I found there are cute, I would like some more elegant designs. I suppose I could do something with images via PicMonkey or something like that and make my own. I suppose people do more of that these days. But I do miss the selection of designs when I was in my twenties and Minneapolis had the amazing stationary and gift store Uptown called "Polka Dots and Moonbeams." Later, the store changed hands and moved around the corner and across the street into a larger space near the Uptown Theater. They changed their name to "A Fine Romance." No matter what they called it, that store was a dream. I was a poor thing back then, but I always managed to come out with a small stack of cards: black and white photos, romantic illustrations. These found their way onto the wall in my bedroom and I faithfully took them down and back up as I moved around from apartment to apartment in those early, young adult years.

Speaking of photos, I recently found this wonderful tutorial on YouTube explaining how to design your own cover using PicMonkey for a custom planner that you can order via

But Nicole, you say, you just wrote about how you are not using a paper planner right now, but instead are using your Google calendar, Ultimate To-Do List, and Evernote for your planning! Yes, dear reader, that is true, but I have kept a paper journal since I was a child (with more regularity upon entering college) and imagine I will write until the day I head for my heavenly home.

 The whole experience of journaling is one that I love in each of its phases. I love picking out a journal that will be with me for a number of months. I love the writing process, filling in all that space with words and pictures, sometimes taped in, sometimes drawn. And I like thinking about what I want for my next journal as I get closer to the end of the present journal. What did I like about this journal and why? Do I want the same thing? Do I want something different? I've used smaller journals and larger journals. I've tried using loose-leaf paper and a three ring binder (I didn't really care for that). I've used bound journals, journals with fabric covers, and plain three-subject notebooks. Some of those covers remained plain, other times I have covered them with images I liked and then protected it with clear, Contact Paper.

This time, I am trying something NEW by purchasing a planner to use as my journal! I LOVE calendars and not only do I always write the date for each entry I make (of course), but I like to keep track of the weather when I remember to. So, when I saw that Personal-Planner not only lets you choose the type of layout for your weeks (boxes? rows? ruled? grid? blank? - it's your choice!), they also have the option for little weather modules on your days and a little module you can select for recording your workouts. There are a LOT of cool design choices. It was so fun to build!

The only thing I am kind of concerned about is if I will have enough space for my writing. To try to alleviate that problem, I chose to have all three optional back sections of the planner to just have plain, ruled paper. They have many things you can choose to have back there including things like maps and even coloring pages. But I knew that if I wanted this "planner" to serve as my journal for a year, I would need a bunch of space for those days when I have more to say/think about.

I am having to wait 3 weeks for my journal to arrive, as Personal-Planer is not in the U.S. and I can hardly wait! Thankfully, I still have some pages left in my current journal and I was also able to start the month of my planner in the month of my choosing, so I chose March. I'll be sure to share when it arrives!

Another of the of the joys of journaling and letter-writing is the tactile experience. Elsie from A Beautiful Mess blog just put out this video about hand-lettering. I don't know that I necessarily learned anything new from this video, but it is fun and she does discuss a few types of pens that you can try to achieve different effects.

Well, I think I've waxed poetic long enough on my love for paper. I am writing this today from the St. Paul Public Library in downtown St. Paul. It is a big, beautiful building with lots of wonderful, old rooms. But the parking meter will be running out soon, so I better head home and figure out dinner.

Have a fun Valentine's Day this weekend, friends. Whether your day is full of romance or friendship, fill it with love. We can never have too much of that! :)

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