Project: Planner Peace and Why I Don’t Believe

1.28.16 Calendar

Ok, I’m calling bullshit on “Planner Peace”.

There. I said it. Planner peace is bullshit.

Planner peace, in theory, and in my understanding, is having one planner that is perfect and does all the planner things you need it to do. It tracks your water intake, your meeting schedules, your kid’s soccer practice, your boss’s nieces birthday party. It keeps your grocery list, your dry cleaning receipt, and your tax information. All the things! All in one place!!

It sounds great, right? Your life is finally organized. You just need this ONE thing. This ONE system will solve all your problems.

But let’s be honest, that isn’t going to happen for most of us.

Or at least in my opinion, that’s not happening. At least not for me.

My problem with planner peace is that it makes me feel like I’m not doing it right. I’ve got two planners. And a system on my computer. And then the calendar on my phone. Planner peace makes me feel like this is wrong. But what if I’m not wrong? What if planner peace is wrong? After all, entropy is natural, right??

At any rate, I don’t want planner peace. If you do, that’s fine, I’m happy for you. But for me…I like planner FUN. I like trying new planners, themes, layouts, stickers, etc. It’s FUN. Why should I give that fun up just for one system?

Right now I’ve got 3 main organizational tools. Ok 4. Let’s be honest.

Paper-planner-wise, I use the Bullet Journal system for my daily planner. This goes with me everywhere. It’s a basic notebook, no stickers, not super-exciting. However I DO sometimes doodle and journal in it. I use it mainly for my daily schedule, to-do list, and habit tracking. Here’s a sample day:

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I also keep a long-term calendar and other long-term planning things in it…like my upcoming half-marathon schedule.

1.28.16 BuJo

Then, for mostly personal tasks, and for just keeping my week overview organized, I use a more traditional, super sticker’d, planner.

1.28.16 Lilly Planner.jpg

For me, this planner lacks the detail and minutiae of what my daily life needs. However I love it, I love the stickers, and every Sunday it makes me sit down and review the week ahead. The Bu Jo does NOT make me sit my happy ass down and figure out my upcoming week. I mean it could…but….I like this one better. Plus I’d run through like a notebook a month if I did weekly planning and To-Do lists AND meeting notes all in one place.

Then, I also use two computer systems. I use google calendar for super-long-term things…like if I by tickets to Elton John and the concert is 6 months away. It goes in the google calendar then later it gets transferred to my weekly and then to my daily paper planners.

Then for shopping lists, lists of movies to rent, and my work-related notes, I use Evernote. For more about Evernote, feel free to check out my other blog here. (#shamelessplug #idontwanttorewriteitsoohwell) The nice thing about Evernote is that it syncs to the cloud and I can access it from my phone, computer, or sister’s boyfriend’s uncle’s computer if I have to. Realistically, I could run everything out of Evernote, but the paper planner and the super-fun stickers make me pay more attention to my schedule than Evernote does. Not gonna lie.

So some of you might say that I have NOT achieved planner peace. I won’t necessarily disagree, but I’m also not actively seeking it. I’m perfectly fine with the system I have, but I’ll also be ok if I decide to change it in the future. In fact, I KNOW it will change rather soon and I look forward to it. I have requested (and bought and then exchanged for cash) a Kikki-K planner from my mother for my birthday. So eventually…either around my birthday or maybe next year, I’ll be switching to a vertical layout. No idea how I’ll like that but I think it will be fun to experiment.

What are your thoughts on planner peace? Do you think you’ve achieved it? Did you think you achieved it and were then proven wrong?

Project Planner Peace| Lifeofprojects

Pipsticks Subscription Review – Welcome Box

Have you all heard of Pipsticks?? It’s a monthly sticker subscription service curated by Maureen, the Head Honcho. She created the company after spending tons of cash on stickers for her kids. Pipsticks offers several different levels of membership, for both adults and kids! (Also I’d like to just inform you that I was not asked to review this box, Maureen doesn’t know I’m reviewing this unless for some reason she follows me on instagram, the box I’m reviewing was paid for with my money from my pocket, of my own volition.)

I’ve had my eye on Pipsticks for awhile, I think I came across it on someone’s instagram…I honestly can’t remember. But the thought of monthly stickers mailed to my door makes the 80’s kid in me squeal with excitement! I finally caved and signed up on New Years Eve. According to their website, orders/subscriptions placed before the 1st of the month would arrive to your mailbox by the 15th. And turns out, that was true! I got my order last week!!

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Here’s what was inside:

1.12.16 Pipsticks Review 3

All told there are 20 different sheets of stickers of varying quality and number per sheet, a pre-stamped post card, and a cardstock 5X7ish frameable print/quote. There was also a welcome letter that makes me think this is the special welcome pack and not the January Monthly. (Instagram stalking further confirms this thought) Personally I don’t mind that this is different than the monthly that everyone got. I would be willing to bet that having a pre-arranged “welcome kit” ready to go, allows Pipsticks to ship as fast as they do for new customers. Pretty smart thinking in my opinion.

Rather than going over every single sticker in detail, I decided to pick my top 5 favorites to share with you. So here goes.

#5 – Korean Stickers

1.12.16 Pipsticks Review 8.jpg

I love Korean stickers!! Now I could be wrong, but I’m 99% sure these are pulled from sticker packs by a Korean company (or two) I’ve seen on Amazon. It may be a few different companies but I recognized the branding on one. Either way, these are super fun and they are sheets I didn’t have. Now, some of you might be put-off by getting sheets from existing sticker packs but to me, that’s the whole point. Pipsticks never claimed to have originally created stickers or anything like that. Most subscription boxes are curated from existing companies. And I also like that I can get variety without having to buy a pack of identical sheets. Since I had seen this company/brand before but love the stickers anyway, this set gets the bottom of the top ranking.

#4 – Opaque Graphics

1.12.16 Pipsticks Review 6.jpg

Hello, what’s this? I’ve never seen a sticker like this before. And honestly I’m only 70% sure it is a sticker because I didn’t fiddle with the back of it enough to confirm that. I HATE accidentally peeling off backing because it NEVER GOES BACK HOW IT WAS. At any rate, this one is kind of an opaque sticker (I think) with some super-fun graphics. It has almost an eggshell finish so I can’t decide if I can write on it or not. It’s too big to be used in my planner but I think it would make a fun addition to some penpal letters!

#3 – Around the World

1.12.16 Pipsticks Review 4.jpg

These are some really adorable die-cut stickers with different cultures represented. I can’t decide if these will be planner-stickers or penpal-stickers. If can find some flags from around the world I could make a fun international planner spread…hmm…

#2 – Matte Writeable Stickers

1.12.16 Pipsticks Review 2.jpg

HOW AWESOME ARE THESE?!?! They are a plain paper matte sticker that you can write on, or color with colored pencils, or just keep as nice black and whites! I want to know where these came from and BUY THEM ALL.

#1 – Qubies!

1.12.16 Pipsticks Review 5.jpg

So I have no idea what these are actually called but I’m calling them Qubies because they look like little cube people…or the Qubes plush figures. I don’t know what characters these are supposed to be…the top one kind of looks like Dr. Who to me but these are just too cute for words!!!

Overall, I loved this welcome box from Pipsticks. The print was awesome and will go on my desk at work. I’ve already sent off the post-card to a friend who collects them, and I just love the stickers. I’ve read a few reviews that say it’s not worth it for the price, but if you consider how much it would cost (both time and money) to buy all these packages and split them up with friends so you came out with the same stickers…yeah for me it’s worth it. Also I think the kid packs would make AWESOME gifts for my nieces and nephew….I might get them a 3 month subscription, crown myself “Best Aunt Ever” and call it good…

Have you tried Pipsticks? Any other subscriptions for crafters? Do you want me to share my February pack when it comes?? Let me know!

Pipsticks Review |


Project Planner: January Layout

It’s also “Project start blogging regularly” time. I had to take the last 6 months or so off. We had some family illnesses to deal with. My dad is thankfully ok, but I did lose another family member to cancer, sadly. It’s been rough but I’m so thankful my dad’s cancer is gone. It was really just luck that we caught it when we did.

In other news, I completed my PhD so that was taking up a lot of my writing time and efforts. I’ve got a few weeks before I start my new job, so I’m using this time to get organized, plan my year, and get some personal things in order.

As you may have noticed, last year I developed a full-blown planner obsession. I’ve always been a planner…I can’t remember a time that I didn’t have a planner (except for pre-high school, but ever since then). I used to use a Day Runner yearly planner…the plastic-y kind that you could slip photos in to the covers of…that was my high school go-to. I still have some of them somewhere…so hilarious to re-read. When I taught high school, I had more of a lesson planner than a daily planner but I MISSED my regular planner. I felt like post-college I should be all grown up and adult without a net.

Then, going back to grad school I got a new planner (YAY) and I also carried a second “To-Do” notebook for lists and meeting notes (I was basically bullet journaling before I knew what it was).

Around the last year of my PhD program I found Passion Planners thanks to DomesticatedAcademic…and then I found the #plannercommunity on Instagram. And that’s when the addiction started.

Excuses to hoard stickers again…WHAT???

1.5.16 Sticker Hoarding

I even went through my closets and found my sticker collection from middle school. Not gonna lie. I had planner stickers then.

These days I’m using my Lilly Pulitzer 18 month agenda for my personal planning and a bullet journal style notebook for my work and daily to-do listing. I love my Lilly Planner so much. It makes the 8th grader in me so happy…however I would feel really silly taking something like this in to a business meeting:


1.5.16 Lilly Planner

But that being said, since this is more of my personal daily planner, and my personal blogging site, we’re going to go with it. Plus, it’s really helping me stay on track with things I want to get done. I do include work-related events in it, but not specifics.

With the monthly view, I can track bills, birthdays, and events. I find that writing it down on paper really helps me remember what I’ve got coming up. Sure, it’s in my google calendar, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s committed to memory and I’ll actually do or remember the event. It forces me to sit down, look at my google calendar, and see what is coming up. The decorating is really kind of a motivator for me to sit down with a planner. I think that if it was just plain and I was just writing down what is in my google calendar, I would quit after awhile. But the different colors and stickers really do make me want to take the time to be organized about my schedule.

Here’s part of this month’s layout:

January Monthly | LifeofProjects

As you can see, I added my blogging schedule to this month. Hopefully this will keep me on track and I can blog more often.

What do you do to stay on track? Do you use a paper planner? An online system? I’d love to hear about it.

Next time I’m going to go over some of my Bullet Journal pages. Stay tuned!

Project January Planner | LifeofProjects

Project: Life

 This is my dad. My best friend. I’m a daddy’s girl through and through. I had my first tool box when I was just 3 years old. And not one of those cheap plastic ones with fake tools. No. I had a legitimate little metal box and a little apron with real (albeit tiny) screw drivers and a measuring tape and my own carpenters pencils. The good kind that don’t roll. 

Years were spent following dad around the shop, sometimes around job sites (mainly our own house as he built it from the basement up). I used to sit in the basement (His workshop and office of the construction company) and pretend I was the salesperson at the hardware store. I would sell him his own tools back. 

I also followed dad to his job as a professor at a local university. He would take me to his office (seen below) and let me “grade papers”. (Write on extra pieces of paper with a red crayon) Eventually deciding to pursue my PhD and become a professor one day, just like dad. I’m currently just a dissertation away from my doctorate. Thanks, in part, to his inspiration. 

Now that dad has retired from both academia and his construction company he spends time gardening, hiking and running 5k’s. He started running at the age of 70. I’m so proud of him. Who else can say their dad does that?? Not many people. In 2014 he placed 2nd in his age group in the Knoxville 5K. He’s seriously amazing. 


My dad is incredible. If you’ve met him you know this. He’s the smartest person I know. He can talk for hours about Plato, pasta sauce, and about welding. He’s also the kindest and most understanding person in the world. He’s always been there for me. He’s always been one of my biggest cheerleaders and he’s taught me so many important life lessons. 

He is my hero. 
On April 26 we found out that dad has cancer. My whole entire world was turned on its side. I still don’t think it’s fully registered. Partially because I refuse to accept this. My dad is too strong. He is too healthy. 

He. Will. Be. Fine. 

His cancer is possibly treatable with surgery. He will be having surgery on May 28th. And hopefully that will be the end of it. 

I am willing it to be the end of it. 

I have told some people but not everyone. I haven’t really found the words. I still don’t have them. But this will be a part of my life and it’s taking time away from things like blogging. So I thought I would try and talk about it here. Because it’s life. And these life things happen whether we are expecting them or not, wether we are prepared or not. We have to adjust. I don’t know how much I will talk about this on the blog but given that it might be referenced while dad recovers because my husband and I will be taking on the gardening for dad, I thought I would explain things. 

I’m trying to adjust. 

I hope this is just a minor adjustment for dad and that he can get back to his garden and his races soon. I’m staying positive and optimistic. We have a wonderful surgeon and there is a 50% chance that this kind of cancer can be totally cured with surgery. 

I’m keeping my eye on that 50%. 

So, blog-friends and real friends who read this…that’s what is going on in my life right now. Thank you to everyone who has been checking in on me and asking if I’m ok and how dad is. It helps. It really does. Just knowing someone else outside of our family cares and is thinking of us is very comforting. 

Much love, 


Project: Spool Storage

Project Spool Storage | A Life Of Projects

So I’ve been meaning to get around to this project for awhile. At first I delegated the majority of the task to the husband but…alas…6 months later and somehow he still hadn’t gotten around to it.

Here’s the patient:

I found this old bottle crate in the in-laws attic and carted it home with me, not yet sure of it’s purpose, sometime last September. It was in need of a great amount of cleaning and had several super-safe rusty nails in it that needed to be removed.

If you don’t have an outdoor space or basement/garage to work on thrift store or flea market finds, I highly recommend the “Old towel method” which is what I used along with some of my favorite tools.

Reformed Perfectionist Tip: A lady should never be without her well-equipped tool box and a ridiculous amount of elbow grease.

Let me tell you, that thing was dirty. I’ll spare you the pictures of the grimy rags.

But finally, it was as clean as I could get it.

Ta da!!

So I decided to solve a problem with this lovely new antique treasure. The problem of the runaway spools.

Some in the drawer…

Some hanging out in tackle boxes…(PS, tackle boxes make great spool storage)

And some just wandered in to bags and other assorted places. I never knew what colors I had, how much I had left, so I always ended up at Jo-Ann’s buying new thread at random. (If I ever buy black thread again, smack me. I’ve got like 7 spools)

But now, with my newly cleaned crate…

Problem solved!!! This hangs just above and beside my sewing table. Easy access and now I can see what I’ve got and what I need to buy. Next goal: Find a magnetic organizer for the bobbins!

What do you think? How do you organize your spools?? I love looking at all the possibilities for storage and display!

A Life of Projects

Project: Don’t ever try and hand-quilt a t-shirt quilt

Also known as “Make an easier quilt”.

Project: Don't Hand Quilt a T-shirt Quilt | A Life Of Projects

Yeah. So I had this wonderful idea sometime last year. Like…last summer probably. Or maybe before. Quite frankly I’m too scared to check the timestamp on the photo because I think I started this project over a year ago. Maybe a year and a half.

But it was a really good idea. I swear.

I wanted to make a quilt.

But not just any quilt. I want a quilt that is hand quilted by myself, my grandmother, and my mom.

And sure, there are several quilts floating around that have each of our work in them. But nothing that is just the three of us. And quite frankly nothing that has a significant amount of work on my part in any of them. Lezbehonest…I was a kid and getting me to do anything actually helpful was almost impossible.

So…I’ve realized that a quilt with all of our work in it….is something I want. Something that would be very special and meaningful to me.

Quilting has been a large part of our family. I’ve seen quilts my great-grandmother hand pieced and hand quilted, quilts embroidered by my mom and aunts, and as a child I spent many hours playing underneath that huge living-room-sized quilt frame. My grandfather had my grandmother make a quilt especially for me to remember him by. So quilts hold a lot of meaning for me, but it’s not something I’ve ever had a very active part in assisting with.

So it’s time to step up, right??

And at the time…having only really quilted for random spurts in my teens….I thought HEY I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS WITHOUT THINKING IT THROUGH. And then I thought “I’m poor”. And then I thought “I have a t-shirt hoarding problem”.

And the t-shirt quilt project was born.

Let that sink in.

I decided. To hand-quilt. A t-shirt quilt. WITHOUT INSTRUCTIONS. (Or basting, or interfacing…)


So grandma and mom and I cut my beloved running shirts apart, picked fabrics, and without looking up how to sew jersey knit to rigid quilt cotton…pieced this sucker together.

Project: Don't Hand Quilt a T-shirt Quilt | A Life Of Projects

Look at that concentration…”I’m so totally ready to tackle this” I thought to myself…

And it’s sat in a corner in my house for longer than I care to admit.

However, I’ve found a solution. It’s a 2-part’er.

  • Part 1: Beg someone with a long-arm to just put some lines in this beast and call it done.
  • Part 2: Start new quilt that is smaller, well thought through, and not t-shirt.

Thankfully, I’ve found a friend who is just getting in to quilting on her mid-arm…and is willing to do it for a nice barter-style deal…and I’ve managed to piece together a new quilt top to a much smaller quilt.

However I’ve learned a lot from this….year long experience. I’ve learned that I really do want something made by all of us. I’ve learned a lot about quilting and I know it’s something I want to continue doing, in a way to keep the heritage going. I know that hand-quilting is a big challenge and I have so much respect for all the people I watched do it as I was growing up. I’ve learned that interfacing is super-important (haha). I’ve learned that some quilts are just too big for your first time out of the gate. And I’ve learned that it’s ok to change direction in a project and admit (somewhat) defeat.

I will hand quilt! I will have a quilt with my mom and grandma! And I will never, ever, ever try to hand quilt a t-shirt quilt again.

Project: Don't Hand Quilt a T-shirt Quilt | A Life Of Projects


Former Perfectionist Tip: If the going gets tough – Long arm it and start something less horrible.

A Life of Projects

What projects have you had to let go of or re-route? Have you made a t-shirt quilt? Have you hand-quilted a whole quilt? Share your stories down below!