New year, fresh start

New Year Fresh Start | LifeOfProjects.jpg

I decided to start over this year with some new approaches and new tools…and maybe some new uses for old tools.

For one, I got a new planner. For those not initiated in to the #plannercommunity you may not understand the allure, but for those of us in the loop, planners are everything. There’s something about the fresh start of a new planner that is magical. It represents possibilities for the year. Opportunities to lay out plans for success. Moments that you haven’t experienced yet.

This was not a decision I made lightly. (However it is one that I made while feverish and heavily medicated so….) I’ve been bullet journaling for a little over 3 years now, and that method has served me well. I do like it. But it was starting to take over. I was spending more time bullet journaling, than doing some other things that I used to enjoy. And perhaps I needed the break from those other activities and crafts, but I’m missing them now, and the task of setting up each week and month was just overwhelming. I decided to switch to an Inkwell Press planner.

I’ve been eyeing IWP for awhile now, I love a vertical layout because I have a lot of meetings that span my day and the vertical columns mimic my google calendar and it just works in my brain. I know there are some people that hate vertical…but it’s what I need. I’m thankful that Inkwell has both a vertical and horizontal option. Please never stop making both, IWP. Please.

While sick with some kind of feverish illness I made the husband drive me 45 minutes to the nearest Office Max (IWP, while I like being able to get these planners same-day in brick and mortar stores….I really would have rather ordered this online) so I could pick one up on New Years Day because that’s when I finally decided to make the switch from the BuJo to the IWP.

I decided to use some stamps for the first week because I didn’t have the planner stickers I wanted to use, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out.


Now that we are a few weeks in, I really like the low-stress feeling of this planner. I don’t have to spend much time setting it up, and I’m not tracking every little thing. I need to let go of some of those obsessions and track less but do more. I want to get back to knitting and quilting more, so hopefully I’ll be posting about that soon.

I’d love to hear what planner you picked for the new year. Let me know in the comments!


Bullet Journal Weekly Review: October 6th


Weekly Review Oct 6 | Alifeofprojects.jpg

Good morning friends!

I’m so happy that it’s finally October!! I do wish it felt a little more like fall outside (it was 80 degrees this week) but at least it’s time to watch all my favorite halloween movies!!!

Here’s my monthly set up for October.

October Monthly | ALifeOfProjects.JPG

I decided to keep this mostly black, orange and gray. Overall for the month I did black, green, purple and orange but I think I want to leave the month in more traditional halloween colors. We’ll see though.

Then I set up my monthly trackers

October Trackers | ALifeOfProjects.JPG

I’m trying to get more practice time in for my violin. Last month it was terrible. But I’ve looked into getting a teacher so hopefully I can find one in the area and make some actual improvement!

Then, because halloween movies are the absolute best, I am watching a different one every day! So I made a tracker.

October Movies | ALifeOfProjects.JPG

Ok let’s be honest, I do not have the time to sit and watch a 2 hour movie every single day. What actually happens is I put it on when I’m getting ready for bed, and watch about 20 minutes of it. But it still gets me in the mood! Halloween is by far my favorite holiday.

And then here is a quick before and after of this week’s weekly spread. The week isn’t quite over but I’m doing pretty good at keeping it updated this week. I made a goal to be more disciplined about several things and regularly updating my blog AND my bujo are on the list.


October Weekly #1 | ALifeOfProjects.JPG


Finished Weekly | ALifeOfProjects.JPG

I still need to fill in today and whoops, prep blog on Thursday (ok…tbh it’s Thursday when I’m writing this) and then my CRWL list. Right now my W has just been halloween movies…haha.

Did you make an October spread that you love? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to check it out.

Mystery Quilt Review

I realized I need to post a larger variety of projects on here and now that I think I’ve gotten a good schedule down, hopefully I can add in some more content. The bullet journal posts will still come out on Friday, but you might find some other craftyness sprinkled in during the rest of the week. We’ll see what I can manage.

But enough with housekeeping. Let’s talk quilts!

Last year shortly after relocating to Iowa I joined the local quilt guild. It’s not a modern guild like the one I left behind (and dearly miss) in Virginia but it’s still a pretty fun group. At the start of the year the guild offered a Mystery Quilt pattern/challenge/quilt-a-long. Each month they gave out a new piece of the instructions. The first month it was how much fabric to buy, the second was what to cut, and so on (sew on, haha). It lasted for 8 months and in September we finally showed them off! I was really happy to have mine done and I enjoyed the pattern….well except for the flying geese maybe. 🙂

I’m not sure how many photos I have but let’s go through them.

Month 1: Buy your fabric

Mystery Quilt Fabrics| LifeOfProjects.png

I cheated with this. I already had 3 of these fabrics in my stash and knew they wanted to be a quilt, I just didn’t know what quilt. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to use them and see what they became!


Month 2: Cut the fabric

More Mystery Quilt Trimming | LifeOfProjects.png

And cut and cut and cut….and cut…..


Month 3: Flying Geese

Mystery Quilt Flying Geese| LifeOfProjects.png

This was my first ever experience with flying geese!!! Ohhhh the trimming. UGH.


Month 4: Square in Square

Mystery Quilt Square in Square| LifeOfProjects.png

These were really fun to make. I enjoyed these a lot more than the flying geese, but the trimming still sucked.


Month 5: Courthouse steps, kind of.

Mystery Quilt Courthouse Steps | LifeOfProjects.JPG

This one was easy. It seemed….too easy….and I was right.


Month 6: Destroy everything you’ve done and put it back together.

Mystery Quilt Cutting the Steps | LifeOfProjects.JPG

Yeah. I had to CUT APART MY COURTHOUSE STEPS. I was not pleased. I hyperventilated a little but I did get it done.


Month 7: Make some rows

Mystery Quilt Project Wall| LifeOfProjects.png

This month we could actually see what it was starting to look like. I thought I knew what it would be and tried to put it together on my design wall. I was wrong, but I like my idea!


Month 8: DONE!

Mystery Quilt Piecing | LifeOfProjects.JPG

Mystery Quilt Top | LifeOfProjects.JPG

At the September guild meeting we had a parade and showed off all the quilts. I think 11 or 12 people participated so it was fun to see the different fabrics people chose. Overall, I really enjoyed this challenge and I hope the guild does another similar one next year. It was the right pace for me and I got a really nice 72×72 quilt out of it!

Mystery Quilt and Backing | LifeOfProjects.JPG

If anyone knows if this block has a name, PLEASE TELL ME. I do really like the block and would love to know the name of it. Let me know in the comments!

Mystery Quilt Review | LifeOfProjects.jpg

Weekly Review: September 22

It’s Friday! Time to go over this week’s bullet journal spread and see how things went.

Bullet Journal Weekly | LifeOfProjects.jpg

I went with red, yellow and black for my back to school/primary color theme. Having my color and theme pre-selected for the entire month has really worked well for me. It relieves that decision fatigue every Sunday, in that I don’t have to think through new colors and create a whole new theme. However…this month I’m kind of ready for fall…specifically Halloween which is my absolute favorite holiday. I may have to throw in some orange next week and do a leaf theme for the lead-in into October.

But let’s look at this week.

Weekly Review | LifeOfProjects.JPG

I am mostly sticking with the same weekly spread. I like having enough space to write something in each hour of the day from 6am through 9pm which are my active hours in general. I also like having the weather there….I don’t really use it much but for some reason I like it. This week I also added a new tracker. It’s my RWL tracker.

RWL Tracker | LifeofProjects.JPG

I got the idea from a podcast I listen to…I want to say it was Feminist Killjoy’s, PhD but I could be wrong. Bad blogger. Check your sources.

At any rate, some podcast I listen to often does a quick RWL rundown of what they are Reading, Watching and Listening to. I thought it would be nice to track that in my weekly spread so I could go back and see what I was listening to or when I started reading a certain book.

I think I’m going to like this tracker and I may build it into other parts of my life like my blog. I’m always reading a book or two and listening to another.

Do you track your reading lists or listening lists? Let me know how you do it in the comments!

Weekly Review: September 15th

Bullet Journal Weekly Sept 15 | ALifeOfProjects.JPG

How is September half over already?? I’m so behind. I literally spent part of my weekend putting pictures in my old bujo that I retired in June. Not even kidding. Where did summer go?? If you’re life is anything like mine it has just flown by. Work has been keeping me extraordinarily busy but at least with my bullet journal I have it mostly organized. Let’s take a look at this week.

Bujo Review September 15 | LifeOfProject.JPG

For September I decided to do a “back to school” theme since I work in education. I almost did a fall theme because I do love fall SO much but then what would I do for November? I’m not big on drawing turkeys and pies given that I really don’t eat either…so I went with back to school. Now that I think about it I should have done a coffee theme. I might save that idea for February since I can’t stand the pink Valentines Day stuff…….

Here’s my September calendar so far. Note the un-filled books and lack of decorating so far. Haha!

Weekly Review September 15 | LifeOfProjects.JPG

I do like my theme so far. I went with primary colors because that just reminds me of elementary school and yellow pencils, school busses, red notebooks and blue binders. I’m going to try and do something a little different next week, maybe apples to continue the theme. And I have to get this September calendar filled in more before the month is over!!

Are you doing a September theme? Is it too early for fall themes? Let me know in the comments!


Before and After the Pen: Bullet Journal Edition


BuJo Before and After the Pen | LifeofProjects.jpg

Good morning friends!

I realize I neglected this blog for most of the month, but for good reason. I was on vacation for part of the month and then the rest of the month has been getting back into the swing of things at work since the semester just started.

I wanted to do a quick before and after “the pen” of my weekly bullet journal spread. I see a lot of “Before the pen” and #beforethepen things in the regular planner world, mainly on Instagram but technically for bullet journalists…”before” is a blank page. But I wanted to do my before shot a little differently. To me, the before is once I’ve done my week outline. Just the boxes and shape that I plan to…well…plan in! Haha. Planner humor. Sorry.


This is what I consider to be the bullet journal version of “Before”

Bujo Before The Pen | LifeOfProjects.JPG

Sure, I’ve got some labels in there and i probably could have finished labeling that one box that I use for weather, but there’s no decoration, no colors, no appointments, notes, etc.

Technically I don’t really consider this weekly spread done until the end of the week. I have a few trackers in there and with the “To do” list, I’m adding stuff throughout the week. But at this point while I’m setting up for the week, I do add color and all my meetings that I know of at the start of the week. Others will get added on as the week progresses.

Bujo After The Pen | LifeOfProjects.JPG

So I consider that to be a decent “after” shot. Notice I’ve not checked anything off the To Do list, I’ve not added much into Saturday or Sunday yet, but this is how the start of my week works. Maybe this is more “middle” than after….but I’ll go with it.

If I think about it, I’ll try and add in a final shot at the end of the week. Let’s see if I can add that to the “To Do” pile. 🙂


Do you do #beforethepen in your bullet journal? What do you consider “before”? Let me know in the comments!

Bullet Journal monthly review: July 2017

Hello friends!

July is wrapping up so I thought I would do a review of this month in my bullet journal. This was the first month I did a theme all the way throughout the month. For the most part I did like it for a few reasons. The first being that I didn’t have to go through the dilemma of picking new colors each week. Another plus to this method was I had something to draw in the blank spaces, so my pages looked a lot more full, which I enjoy. Then finally I just liked the overall look of the month being all in the same color scheme. It’s easy to flip through the pages and see that all of these things go together.

If I look at my monthly tracker, the month started off really well. I filled things out daily and didn’t miss too many of my daily habits. But then in the last week of the month I really fell off the rails. I wasn’t feeling well, I wasn’t managing my time well, and I just didn’t get things done.

July Trackers 2017 | Alifeofprojecst.JPG

I did several doodles this month rather than printing pictures to fill in blank spaces. I like this method but sometimes I didn’t manage to color the doodles in so it looks a little sad still. I will probably go back and still print a few pictures of the big events of the month.

July Doodles | Alifeofproject.JPG

I also realized I’m maybe trying to tackle too much in my daily habits. I think I am going to scale back for August, and once I am consistent with whatever I’ve chosen, then I can work on replacing some or adding in some additional habits. The big ones I have not done well will are my “No TV” goal, my violin practice goal and my “Finances” goal. I definitely want to work on finances for August so I’ll be keeping that one but I will probably let some others go.

July Bujo Trackers 2017 | Alifeofprojects.JPG

Overall, I really liked keeping the same theme and I think I’m going to scale back on some habits to have a better balance in my life for August. I’ve already picked the theme for August, and I will be switching to a new bullet journal as my current one is full, so watch for both of those posts!

Bullet Journal Monthly July 2017 | Alifeofprojects.jpg