Plum Paper Designs Planner Review

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Plum Paper Planner. Say that five times fast.

Or don't. I just want to let you know if you are a planner type person, you need to check out Plum Paper Designs planners. They are sold from PlumPaperDesigns on Etsy.

Last year I posted here about my May Designs planner. It scored major bonus points because, well, dinosaurs. It had dinosaurs all over it, which pretty much won me over from the start. (P.S Can I just squee for a moment about Jurassic World coming out on MY BIRTHDAY this year?!)

It was small which I loved for fitting in my purse, and it mostly got the job done.

Except I started running out of space. As the year went on, and things continued to be added in, the 'small' factor I once thought was a good thing turned out to really not be. It was also completely paper. It had no plastic covering, and I did say, even last year, that no cover was a negative due to the nature of being a mom of three young children and how easily and fast thing go from clean to gross.

I looked high and low for another dino option, but they just weren't out there. Besides I figured I probably needed to go with function over form. Which, after lots of research, led me to... *drum roll*

Plum Paper Designs planners

So there aren't any dinosaurs, but the first thing that caught my eye was that it did in fact come with a plastic cover over the front and the back printed covers

I opted for this pretty gold honeycomb design. It didn't have any overlays I could choose from aside from a monogram which I'm not super into, so I figured I'll eventually get someone I know who owns a Cricut to cut me a sticker to put in my own overlay... sort of like this, except I'm thinking a bee

First things first, I'm the realest. What? Iggy Azalea get out of my head!!!

OK, first things first, they give you a 2015 quick look overview which is really nice and also colorful which gets bonus points

Then to select your month, it has these really pretty, sturdy monthly tabs

Go to your select month and the first page is a notes page. This is so great for me and my never ending to-do lists, there is also one at the end of the month

Flip the page, and you'll have your whole month at a glance. I love that there is a place for birthdays, events, and even more notes to the left

Flip again, and you have your first week of the month. It has a small month so you can see which day falls on which day of the week, a weekly checklist as well as more notes. Hooray notes!

But my favorite part is definitely this...
Oh yes. You can have it custom made to add in each family member, plus any category you choose. I chose to leave mine blank but they could be for meal planning, exercise schedules, or even Girl Scout activities (if you're a troop leader. Which I am. I know, I can't believe it either)

Now of all the things I may write about, cleaning will likely never be one of them, that's because I totally suck at it. I was excited though to add this monthly cleaning chart in to the end of each month to maybe help me keep up
No one hold their breath

The thing I liked the most about Plum Paper planners were how much you could really customize it to fit your needs. I chose the family planner, which allowed for all of our names to go in the separate sections on the side of each week, but they also have regular planners, teacher planners, student planners, wedding, fitness, and meal planners.

They also have additional add-ons, like the monthly cleaning schedule, that you can purchase for just a few dollars more, or the sections I'm about to show ya

Do you sell 31? Stella & Dot? Do Passion Parties? If so, you may want to try out the "direct marketing" section to add to my planner. The tab is blank, so you can write in anything you desire.

Even if you aren't in direct sales, this section could also be useful if you have an Etsy store or something similar. Plum Paper has a custom listing you can order, and while I haven't asked them directly, I'm thinking it would be pretty easy to hand pick which sheets you would want under your blank tab to more accurately organize your business

The first pages are your monthly overviews, giving you a place to write your monthly goals, to-dos, incentives given and won, parties scheduled, etc.

The next 3 pages are your party planning lists. For someone whose whole business is based on parties you would need to add in additional part planning pages. They are just $1 each. You could also just photocopy the pages I suppose, but it would be so much nicer to have them all the same color and in the same place  instead of loosely flying around

Here's a To Do list, and Monthly Tasks list. Always helpful for staying on track and keeping up with meeting goals for your business

This was something I had not thought of at all, but saw how useful it really could be. I have a friend who travels pretty far for her parties, and something like this would be so helpful in keeping track of her mileage and keeping her expenses accurate

Which then leads up to the Income & Expenses pages. For my business, for example, I have a lot of trial sized bottles, stickers I buy to label them, books that I hand out or people buy, so this will be a lot nicer than having to make one of my own and keeps it all together with everything else

There is also a large section for contacts. Leads, Hostesses, and Consultants, depending on which types you need. They all come standard with this add-on though.

Then there is a page for passwords. Also, helpful, and apparently I didn't find it necessary to take pictures of these sections?

Then there are the Monthly Expense sections. This can help you reconcile your accounts each month and stay on top of everything for when tax time comes calling and also show you which months were most profitable

The next add-on I purchased was the "Blog" section

It has a few of the same features that the direct marketing add-on has, like a monthly overview

Income & Expenses. Depending on which type of blog you write, this could be helpful. Generally I just blog about what we're doing, so I can't really expense anything, but  you could put in domain hosting expenses and things like that

I have a notebook which is full of ideas. I definitely would be writing down more than just these to pages worth, but it would be good to put in some solid ideas that you'd like to save for a later date, maybe a time when you're busy or having writer's block

I do look at my "stats" mostly because they are posted right next to the title of each blog post when I go to write/edit one, but if your blog was looking to become a more steady and serious business, this would be very helpful information to have to give to advertisers and collaborators


I don't have anything that I would need to put in here... at least not yet? Thus far with my little google ads, I have made $1 and something cents over the last year, but for someone who did reviews of products, or got together with other bloggers or companies to do giveaways, this would be very helpful

An annual planner. This would be great for writing down post ideas you knew you wanted to do seasonally, like a Valentine's Day or Christmas gift giving guide, or it would also be helpful for certain things you needed to do throughout the year, like renewing your hosting, scheduling with someone to help update your blog design, etc.

Then at the very end of the planner, you have you general contacts area, a list of all the US holidays

2016 year at-a-glance, and a folder (it's front and back) to hold things, papers, receipts, whatever you need to keep with you

Plum Paper Design planners offer quite a few other options as well. Everything from a Home Planning section and Monthly Bill Tracker, to adding in photos or extra contacts and check-list sheets, or even a Baby section to record doctor visits, feeding and changing times, and a growth tracker. There is a page limit, so you can't add everything in, but if you really needed it all, you could have two. One for your personal scheduling and home life, and then one for your business side.

And last but not least... the price.

This planner was a bit expensive, at $54.75 shipped. So it did cost more than my May Designs planner did, about $35 more, but the difference is huge. I really wish I had taken a side by side comparison shot to show how much more the Plum Paper Designs planner holds than the May Designs planner.

It also isn't always necessarily that price, as I added in two sections, and the monthly cleaning sheets. Without those the whole planner would have been $43.75, plus I know they offer codes sometimes as well.

Mine did take a couple of week to come in, so if you're still wondering how you're going to keep 2015 organized you should definitely check these planners out and order soon. Here's to a more organized 2015!

**I am not in any way affiliated with Plum Paper Designs. I  just bought their planner and really love it, and wanted to share :)

Small Playroom Update

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where am I? How did I get here?

Summer is going AWESOME. But things got a lot a bit overwhelming, so I checked out last week. I've basically been doing super boring stuff around here anyway, like sorting broken crayons and mowing the grass, so there wasn't much to report anyway.

Today I wanted to post a few updated pictures of the playroom since the last time you saw it it looked like this and this.

Not a whole lot has changed, but I am hoping that is not the case for long!

We trekked to Ikea and picked up a few things, and a couple I am still waiting on to be delivered.

First, and most importantly for me, we finally got some more chairs for our play table that fit. That means I can now sit with them when we are working on things, and there is room for all three of them without them being on top of each other on the bench. We also got a sweet light to hang over their work space.

We also picked up this shoe organizer. I honestly am not very hopeful that it will keep the shoes *that* organized, but if it could at least hide the chaos I am happy. Also, that space behind the door is really tiny, so it's slender design works great. I plan to put a mirror over it and make it an entry type space for us since that is typically the door we use.

Here is the current toy organization situation. I am planning on moving one of those cubes into Owen's room, and I have two bookcases I ordered from Ikea that will flank either side of the remaining cube. I also plan to paint them, just not sure on color yet.

This space I plan on turning into the kids' drop area. Where they put their backpacks and school papers, etc. If you look on top of the shoe organizer a few photos up, you will see multicolored dog butts. Those are hooks I bought in preparation of that. We thought they were funny.

The dress up clothes will be moving to this corner. Pile-o-babies anyone? I plan on moving the kitchen outside and replacing it with a smaller one. The reason, is that I have been inspired by our outdoor playhouse building experience, and want to build them one indoors, too. Right above this space. Then underneath will be the pretend market/cafe space.

Here's sort of the bigger picture of that

So on my list:
Paint walls with black chalkboard paint (because I'm masochistic like that)
Repaint peeling trim
Paint light fixture hanging above play table... thinking yellow?
Build and paint bookshelves
Paint cube organizer
Create "drop" space for kids (not sure on all those details yet, but I have some ideas)
Find mirror for over the shoe organizer
Build and paint indoor playhouse
Make "Market" banner and "counters"
Find shelf to fit food and accessories
Build smaller kitchen
Find or sew fun pillows for papasan chairs
Find new rug for in front of door

And one last super quick update since we are talking about playhouses, we got a roof on the playhouse!

We built the whole thing ourselves, but the roof had a lot of angles and "bird mouth cuts" and we are just not in the least bit experienced enough for all of that, so we hired someone. I know, such cheaters. But we felt like it was worth it to give them a shady place to play up there. I will hopefully be painting that bad boy soon too, so more to come!

DIY Ombre Curtains

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Edit: I realized that I did not add in my inspiration photo!!

I saw these super cute Ombre curtains from Anthropologie on Pinterest, they reminded me of the ocean, which is sort of the theme I'm going for in this bathroom... so anyway, here's the inspiration and DIY side-by-side comparison:

So, a professional blogger I will likely never be, but here we are finally with a kid's bathroom update, and a semi-tutorial on how to make your very own DIY Ombre Curtains!

I say "semi-tutorial" because I literally winged this entire thing. There are no tutorials, that I can find, as to how to dye 10 ft. curtains. Napkins, sure. Shirts, yep I can find those, too. But no super long curtains.

I've also never dyed anything in my life, so it was a learning experience all around. If anything, you can likely pick up some great "what not-to-do's" from this. So on that positive note, let's get the party started!

First I had to figure out how this whole rig-up was going to work. I can tell you this: DO THIS OUTSIDE. I have seen people doing similar projects in their bathtubs and maybe with much smaller pieces of fabric that would work, but just trust me here, use your garage rafters, or a tree, or a fence, something.

I decided on my garage rafters mostly because it was raining and I needed to accomplish this during nap time (about 2 hrs. I know, so lucky he's a good napper!) But otherwise, I would have popped off the end caps on my cheap-o adjustable curtain rod, threaded a rope through it, and rigged a pulley system over a tree branch. If you do this project, I really, really think that is the best way to go. But anywhoozle, instead of pulling my curtain up, I moved the dye bath down...

First I started with the curtain solidly hung in the rafters, and got it to the right height using whatever I could find that would work. The first was this plastic shelf from wally world. You may want to do your entire curtain. If so, then just start with it all in the dye and go up from there. Just be prepared to get messy.
My sweet husband came out to lend his muscles and lift the giant tub of hot blue water.

I used Aquamarine and Navy dyes. More on how much I used in a minute.

You're also going to need salt. About 2 cups worth. So make sure you've got a big thing of Morton's on hand.

Then I filled the plastic tub with really hot water. We actually have an old washer/dryer hook-up in our garage, so I have hot water coming out of that hose, but otherwise I would fill in my bathtub, then add a pot of boiling water.

Once I had the water level up to where I needed it on the curtain I added the salt. Now, I should have taken the curtain out to mix all of this, but I was lazy. That water was HOT, and that curtain was HEAVY, so I took the path of least resistance. Just remember that whether you mix it with or without the fabric in the water, get the fabric wet first. It will help it take in the color and it will pull the color up some and give it that fun watery edge look that ombre dyed patterns have.

In goes the dye, I started with aquamarine and used about 2/3 of the bottle

I didn't take a picture, but I found half of an old flag pole and used that to mix it all around. Any stick will do, even a branch in your yard, a paint mixing stick, etc.

This is a terrible picture (it was raining and making the lighting situation a little complicated) but I wanted to show that once I let the curtain soak for two minutes, my husband lifted the tub and I switched out the plastic shelves for something a bit lower. In this case, it was my kid's picnic table with scrap wood. Once moved down, I added the rest of the aquamarine dye, plus about 2/3 of a second aquamarine bottle and mixed

I let the next level set for 5 minutes, then we moved it down to these buckets and I added the first of my navy dye. I added about half the bottle, but I wish I'd added a little less so it didn't go quite so dark. This level set for 8 minutes

Then after 8 minutes, it went down to the floor and I added the rest of the navy dye

Here is my whole timeline

I basically just tacked an extra 3 minutes on to the soak time per level. I don't know if this is right, it's just what I did. And I soaked each level for the time labeled on it. As in, it soaked for 2 minutes, we moved it down, then I timed it for 5. When we moved it down after that, I timed it for 8, etc. So the entire piece took 41 minutes.

And once we were down to the ground, I just started pulling the plastic tote out and away from the curtain to keep the next section of fabric out of the dye bath. It definitely did drip on the concrete though, so again, this would be so much easier outside.

And back to my pulley over a high tree branch idea, the rinsing would be so much easier that way, too. I laid this out (in the rain) and I propped the top up on another plastic bin to keep the dye away from the white fabric. But if it were on a bar pulled up, then I could have just started the hose from the top and rinsed downward insuring I didn't get any of the darker dye on the lighter part

I rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed. I put it in that bin with soap (leaving the white part out) and soaped and soaped and then rinsed and rinsed. All in the rain, and all to try and make sure that the top stayed nice and white. But I still really wanted to put it in the washing machine since the top got all dingy being dragged around...

I thought by rinsing and washing that it would prevent it from bleeding, but it didn't...

Fortunately though, it didn't bleed too much, and I'm just going to pretend it's supposed to look that way

If you look closely you can see where the dye didn't all take evenly.

You don't see it when the curtain is hanging really, but again, if I could have hung it straight up and down outside and let it sit for a while longer, maybe 20 minutes making the dye set for a full hour before starting the rinsing, that might have helped. Or maybe I should have added more salt? Maybe both?

Here is a picture of them in natural light

You see the splotches more but it's more the angle and the light coming in from behind. It was still raining this morning and that bathroom is impossible to photograph, so this was the best I could get.

So from start to finish this is how my project went:

You will need
1.Curtains or fabric of choice (You can find the $35 set I used from Ikea here)
2.Rit dye in the colors of your choice. I used almost 2 full bottles of aquamarine and one full bottle of navy. You can find the navy here: Rit Dye Liquid Fabric Dye, 8-Ounce, Navy Blue the aquamarine is on amazon, too but it's like $9 and you can get it at Walmart for less than $4 so that's up to you!
3.Morton's Salt
4.A Bucket or large plastic tote or anything else that will fit your fabric and that you don't mind pouring dye into
5.HOT water
6.A mixing stick
7.A way to suspend your fabric
8.Straight pins to mark your levels if you wish for them to be really precise (I just guesstimated)
9.A hose or other way to rinse, rinse, RINSE that fabric

To dye the curtains:
1.Fill tub with HOT water and soak curtain to desired height
2.Pour in about 2 cups of salt, mix
3.Pour in lighter color dye, mix. I used about 2/3 bottle
4.Soak for 2 minutes
5.Move to next level and pour in remaining bottle plus another 2/3 bottle of same color, mix
6.Soak 5 minutes
7.Move to next level. Pour in darker color dye, mix. I used about 1/2 bottle, but wished I'd gone a little lighter and maybe just done 1/4 of the bottle
8.Soak 8 minutes.
9.Move to next level. Pour in remaining bottle of darker dye, mix
10.Soak 11 minutes.
11.Move to next level (no more dye though)
12.Soak 15 minutes
13.Remove and rinse like crazy
14.Wash, hang to dry
15.Iron if you wish
16.Hang, and Enjoy!

Obviously, this can be done a million different ways. But maybe this will at least help get you started!

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