It’s Hamtaro Time ♪ ♫ | May Bullet Journal

Hello, and welcome back to The Inky Saga! Wow, it’s been a minute since I posted. April was extremely busy between work events, Red Cross work, job applications, and even interviews! I’m very glad I did all my weekly spreads ahead of time, because it likely wouldn’t have happened during the month. My free-time was spent walking my dog, watching new series/movies, and READING! Yes, I’ve finally been reading again! I just finished my marathon of The Illuminae Files with Obsidio this weekend.

In April I had an interview almost every weekday for the last two weeks. After obtaining the first job for which I interviewed, a seasonal position, I decided to put in my two weeks’ notice at my current job. I was ecstatic to have a good reason to leave, because I was starting to get emotionally drained. Nevertheless, I’m still applying and interviewing at the moment, hoping to find something more steady that would be able to support me more fully.

Anyway, I managed to start working on my May bujo spread during my free-time last week. It was a major stress-reliever as I waited to hear back on my interviews and pass the time between my morning and afternoon shifts. Bear in mind, I haven’t completed all my weekly spreads yet! But today I will show you what I have mostly done.

Why Hamtaro

For the longest time, I had a different theme in mind for May. Since I’ve been in the mood for murder mysteries all year, I was aiming to create something original based around that theme. However, my job search activities picked up this spring and I barely had time to do anything more ambitious for myself. So that theme has been tabled for the time being.

In April (or was it March?) I was asked to fill in at another school and I met a kid who liked to like draw anime characters for the counselors. I’ve come to realize we’re all dorky artists somehow! For me he did a really cute Hamtaro!

I discovered Hamtaro around the time I got my second gameboy, the advanced SP pictured on the left. My brother and I shared two Hamtaro games, Ham-Ham Heartbreak and Ham-Hams Unite! I have been playing these games about once every year for the past 3 or so years, generally around finals while I was in grad school for stress relief. So, essentially, this theme idea came to my mind at the perfect time.

I knew I wanted another simple theme for the month and something that would still be fun to draw. It was just a matter of looking up iconic imagery from the show (available on YouTube) and the games I already have then deciding on the practical  layouts I knew from experience would work for me.

Sneak Peak into My BuJo

This is the first month where I’ve decided to play around with color! I worked my city’s annual kids festival in April in the art village and one of the crafts was this amazing map of the United States that the visitors could add as much or as little color as they wished. Most of my time was spent coloring with the Sharpies we provided that day, in between helping the kids with their crafts obviously. ^_^

It occurred to me that I actually owned a color set of Sharpies, which I purchased while I was still working on my undergraduate degree. After testing them on my Pen Test page to make sure the ink wouldn’t bleed through, I decided to use color to bring the ham hams to life! They worked better than I thought they would, the colors showing up beautifully on the page. They also dried so fast, so I didn’t have any problems with the color smearing (unlike the pens I use)!

All that being said, I only have my title page, my monthly log, a two-page habit & media consumption tracker (not pictured), before I jump into my weekly spreads. I only did the first three weeks, but I know what I’m doing for the last two weeks. For those spreads, you can watch my Instagram @theinkysaga. I’m aiming to become more active on there as I continue along my bujo journey.

It’s a little off topic, but I have been thinking more and more about how I could provide the layouts I design for anyone who wants to use my monthly spread alongside me. It’s definitely a long-term goal and one I hope to achieve in the next year or so. I see all my “original” monthly spreads as first drafts, so one day I would like return to these spreads and revise/recreate them digitally.

Materials I Use*

*I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a qualifying purchase through any of the links above, I may make a small commission at no extra expense from you.

endnote

In other news, I have another blog post scheduled for later this week! I also would like to share a job search update once I’m more confident in my position and my short-term living plans, as I’m thinking I will need to move at some point in June. I’ll need to start looking at apartments in my area if I get a job I want here and if not, well, I may be relocating. Regardless of this uncertainty, I do plan to blog more consistently now that I won’t have to wake up before dawn for less than two measly hours of work.

Thank you for reading!
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March Bullet Journal Spread

As you may recall, last month I shared my ideas for my March bujo spread. I was torn between a few ideas, some more ambitious than others. Ultimately I decided to pick a simpler theme for this month as I knew how little time I would want to spend fiddling around with my design this month. So I chose mushrooms!

I consider this month a real turning point for me as it is the first in which I had do the bulk of the design work on my own. For January and February, I had people and existing spreads to look towards for how to set-up my journal. This time around I went into this spread with ideas of what I wanted and with my theme in mind but not fully formed until it was on the page.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I like my title page this month! It’s the last thing I did to complete my March spread because I was putting it off. I had a few ideas for how this might go and I’m really pleased that I was able to whip this out fairly quickly. I was actually Skyping my writing buddy at the time!

As I mentioned in my February BuJo Flip-Through, I knew I wanted my monthly log to sit beside a space where I could work out my blog posts for the month. Last month I had a brain dump area that I ended up doing a lot of blog post brainstorming in, so I knew wanted a focused space to develop blog post ideas in March.

I also decided to add a stats sections to this page as I am starting to be more mindful of what I can learn from stats about blog content and promotion that works to grow my space. I included WordPress, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, even though my main focus this month is Pinterest.

I also decided to add a faux post-it where I could list ideas that are outside the scope of this month. I don’t anticipate having many of these ideas, but this space could be useful towards the end of the month when I’m thinking about April and what I would like to accomplish then.

Next up is my monthly goals page. I knew I wanted to dedicate a whole page to my goals this March because I realized that my bigger goals often have multiple layers of work that go into them, which I want to honor. Sometimes things don’t work out entirely the way you plan, so this month I wanted to be able to break down my goals so I knew what my action plans were.

I didn’t include them yet, but my goals are to start a newsletter, design some digital printables for the blog, and to work on my writing portfolio. All of these goals involve creating stuff, so I will use the page below to organize my thoughts on each item. I will also use the progress bars to track how many days I spend working towards those goals.

The last two pages I’m sharing today lead into my first three days of March. I didn’t go into these pages with much of a plan. I intended to do more with the mushroom theme here, but at a loss for ideas I floundered. I ended up adding a potential TBR list of books currently on my radar at the moment. Then I added a space for more brain dump essentially. I labeled it “to-do,” and I figure I’ll use it throughout the month as projects become more fully formed.

I decided to include a close up of my first quote design! I never saw the practicality of dedicating space and time to fancy lettering for the sake of a quote, but since I had the space I decided to just go for it. I’m actually really happy with how it turned out.

I love the motto of “do something today that your future self will thank you for.” I feel like it’s been the lesson I’ve needed to learn for the past few years. I’ve had much of the same hopes and dreams since I was 20, and I wish I had done more work towards those goals earlier so I’d be ahead of where I am today.

I figure this is as good a time as any make a small announcement. I ordered a Scribbles That Matter A5 pro dotted bullet journal this weekend! It’s my plan to move into that journal for April and use it for the rest of the year. I held off on purchasing a proper notebook because I wanted to be sure that I would last, and my bujo project for 2019 has been one of the things that have made me most proud and happy this year.

If you’ve been thinking about starting a bujo, I’m planning on doing more tutorial/advice posts this month about planning spreads and organizing elements you might want to include based on your lifestyle and needs.

Thank you for reading!
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February BuJo Flip-Through

At the beginning of February, I envisioned my flip-through as being one of my first videos for my YouTube channel. As it turned it out, I didn’t end up making the time to develop my YouTube strategy in February. But I still want to show off my bullet journal in the hopes it inspires anyone out there to give it a try for themselves!

A part of me is nervous to share this flip-through, but I’m nervous for the same reason that I am so motivated to share it. I feel like it can be intimidating to start bullet journalling, even if it’s something that seems like it would fit perfectly into your life as creative person, blogger, or even just a student juggling multiple classes.

A bullet journal is supposed to help you organize and track the things in life that matter to you. Sometimes you start the month with a beautiful bujo spread and then find you scarcely used it. Whether that be because you got caught up in the parts of your life that do not factor into your bujo or because you simply fall behind on it and don’t know how to catch up.

The important thing is to stay positive and keep tweaking. I still see a light at the end of the tunnel where my bujo is my holy grail for productivity. I’m still working out what spreads work, things that I should be including, and how to make a better use of space. It’s okay!

⟡  February Flip-Through  

So I still love the first four pages of my bullet journal. I love the simple, clean look of the monthly calendar with the theme introduction. I also really love having the monthly log with the dates listed down the middle. I’m going to keep that for next month.

One thing I definitely decided to change was the placement of these two pages. I discovered that it would be much more helpful if I had my monthly log beside a page where I’m brainstorming and planning out blog content I’m excited about creating, since my monthly log is a place where I bookmark days for blog posts.

I had a lot of exciting ideas this month and quickly found I needed a lot more space for my brain dump! I barely used it in January, which is why I ended up having the hanging lightbulbs dangling in this area. But in March I really need to have more space for my content notes and ideas! I possibly even need multiple areas in future to spread out by topic (e.g. blog posts, products, projects).

I think my inclusion of my monthly goals and growth tracker was a really cute snapshot of the month’s priorities and growth. However, I do have ideas for how to expand my March goals section so that I can better track my progress and all the tasks that fall under my individual goals.

Once again, I still really love this page that shows the books I read plus a writing graph to track my writing progress, but I barely used them. Writing wasn’t a big focus of month. I didn’t think it would be, so why did I include it? Because it fit and looked cute!

THE WEEKLYS

Now onto my weekly spreads. I really thought I would like my first week’s spread, but I ultimately felt like it took me a lot of time (those dots!) and I didn’t like how FULL it became. I wish there had been more negative space. One thing I am proud of is my use of the side bars.

Week Two was by far my favorite. I was a little skeptical of how it would work for me, but I love the way it turned out. I feel like I have a much better sense of the week at a glance and I’m not even bothered by the empty space here. I’ll be repeating this format a lot more in the future.

Weeks Three and Four were created on the same day! I actually made a mistake and started working on Week Three a page ahead of where it should’ve been in my notebook! I didn’t want to waste the space, so I rearranged the numbers (dates) and quickly whipped up another weekly spread to use for Week Three (February 18-24th) instead.

It was actually inspired by a really cute cartoonish layout design I found on Instagram (@amizaomar). I just couldn’t figure out how to work in my lightbulb theme into the box so I just ended up trudging along, ignoring the next page. It wasn’t the most productive week. It was actually my birthday week and the one following my decision to spring for the Premium WordPress account, but I didn’t do a whole lot so there was nothing much to record.

Week Four’s layout is actually one I really like inspired by @kaixjane on Instagram. I used a version of it in January with my cloud theme. It took over an hour to do with the clouds, so I wanted to go really minimal on it this month. Again, the theme didn’t really factor into the layout.

I really like that this spread allows for a lot of unconfined space. It takes pressure off of needing to fill the space ahead of time and allows me to add whatever notes I see fit as the week progresses.

If you’re wondering where my March bujo is, don’t worry! I haven’t forgotten it. I just decided this post was long enough to stand on its own. My March bujo spread is coming later today! In that post I will share my March spread and the design rationale behind it. I went with the mushroom theme and it’s the first month in which I feel like I came into my own as a bujo planner.

Thank you for reading!
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March BuJo Theme Ideas

As soon as I started my February bullet journal spread, I was already thinking about next month’s spread. While I knew I was looking for a very simple theme for February, it was inevitable that I would come across more complex and exciting themes than I was currently ready to try out. After discovering so many new bujo artists and more styles of layout than I knew could exist, I starting making a note of my favorites.

Rather than keep my folder to myself, I decided to start sharing what I’ve discovered and learned from primarily Instagram on my blog!

So today I’m sharing the themes I’m contemplating for the month of March, just to get a head start in planning. I started a little late in February and regret not planning ahead for the month so that I could have more flexibility and fun with the layout.

March Theme Ideas

When I think of March, I think of spring time. I think of rain, flowers in bloom, babies bunnies and chicks, Easter, pastel colors. Yuck. Spring is my least favorite time of year. I like rain, but I already did a cloud theme for my January spread.

So it has been a little bit of challenge to think of how to become excited for March. After scrolling through loads of bujo content on Instagram, I found a few themes that I thought would work. I also had some ideas organically based on my life and interests at the moment. I made a theme cloud.

Feathers | I like the idea of feathers because it fits into the spring theme when I think of newborn chicks. I could see myself taking it in a few different directions. I could go the peacock route and really have fun with the feather design and color. I would also go with a more Native American-inspired aesthetic, with dream catchers and other accessories.

Mushrooms / Woodlands | When I think of rain that generally comes with spring showers, I also think of mushrooms. I live in a wooded area that is prone to mushroom sprouts, so that could be a central feature to my March theme that I would enjoy creating. My dad taught me how to draw mushrooms when I was little, so there’s a sentimental aspect to the mushroom design as well. To round it out so I’m not just drawing mushrooms, I figured I could expand it to a woodland theme as well, with grass, wildflowers, and animals if I’m feeling ambitious.

City Hall | I actually had this idea on my own! I drive through city hall every day on my way to work and have appreciated how well kept it is. It was decorated during the holidays, but also looks really nice without lights and decor. I could see myself having fun doing street lamps, benches, industrial flower pots, street signs, and old-fashioned store fronts. It would be an ambitious task because I would have to do a lot of the spread layout design on my own. This theme gives me some Wes Anderson vibes.

Weird Magic | Somewhat associated with my ideas for the feather and mushroom themes is this idea of incorporating weird magic of crystals, moons, black cats, crows, etc. There’s an artist on Instagram (Celine @ enemesis_4) whose work has been some of my favorite in terms of her use of color and illustrations.

Murder Mystery | This is another theme I thought of as I just finished reading The Vanishing Stair, and feel like I have generally always read Agatha Christie on rainy spring days. It would be a really fun challenge to design my own murder mystery spread, but it may be a bit ambitious to complete in just one month. Maybe I’ll save this idea for May…

The theme I will select for March will really depend on how much time I feel I will have to prepare for it and what materials I have at my disposal, because some of my more ambitious ideas would be sad to complete without the requisite color. I think if I feel like going for something more simple, I will just end up doing the feathers or mushroom theme.

Let me know which of these themes are your favorite and if you are a bullet journalist what your theme ideas for March are!

Thank you for reading!
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Base Image of Featured Image: Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash