Usually I would just share my top bullet journal theme ideas and my final layout in a blog post for the month, but since I am behind on my journal and participating in blogmas I figured I would show you today how I actually go about planning my bullet journal step-by-step. Because of how busy my life typically is these days, I want to keep my December bujo fairly minimal. However, I still want to have fun with it.
My journal is still a work in progress, but I figure it’s still worth showing. It’s not fair that all most of us only get to see is the finish product when so much work actually goes into the things most of the time. It can feel daunting to try and start, so hopefully this post demystifies the process.
For finished pictures of my bujo, follow my Instagram @theinkysaga. I will also try to share finished pictures here at some point during the month.
Step 1. Pick a Theme
Now this month, theme is less important to me than spread layout. I am not even sure if you could call what I decided to go with a theme. Essentially I wanted to draw pine cones, berries, and leafage; so I would call it a Christmas aesthetic? Wreath contents?
I took inspiration from __ on YouTube, but I made the specific wreath design my own.
Step 2. Find Layout Templates
This step was a challenge. I wanted something that would help me increase my productivity on personal projects each week and also be good for my work and housekeeping schedules and organization. I also did not want to spend too much time at the start of each week designing the weekly spreads, so I knew I wanted to use a dutch door of some kind.
Dutch doors are pages that are cut so that they are not full pages in your journal. Instead they work with the immediate next page to conceal and reveal content as desired. They are a lot of fun and I would like to use them more in the coming year. For this month’s bujo. I decided to use it rather simply for weekly spreads with the habit tracker, month-at-a-glance corner calendar, and a focus reminder square.
I learned about this layout from Boho Berry’s recent post on the Allistar Method, which is about…
Other than the weeklys, I just had a blog post planner page and a language studies tracker, which was another experiment for me. I know I want to prioritize relearning French over the next few months, so I want to quantify my learning in a way. I Googled “language learning trackers” and ended up on Pinterest, which is how I found a few different spreads.
Welcome back to The Inky Saga! It has been a hot minute since I posted on the blog, but I do not feel like going into any explanations today. I will save that for Friday. To start building up some blogging momentum this week ahead of October, I decided to end September with week’s worth of daily blog posts. Today specifically I decided to share the finalists on my list of October bujo theme ideas.
September started off strong, but I ultimately stopped keeping up with this month’s bullet journal after some loss of inspiration regarding the weekly spreads in particular. I have been working a lot, and thus do not have a lot of time left for personal projects. My bullet journal has generally been a place for me to record progress on my personal projects not related to work. As result, I had long columns for each day with nothing much to record. It’s disheartening to see such bare pages!
My priority this October is come up with new weekly spreads that suit my new life schedule. But before I can do any of that, I need to pick my October bujo theme! Since I wanted to start blogging again with a bang, here is a list of my top 5 October bujo theme ideas for the coming month. Enjoy!
If you would like to further investigate the sources of any of the images I share in this post, look for the watermarks either inserted by the creator or myself in a plum text color. WordPress will not let me hyperlink each individual image to its direct source because of how I formatted the images, but if you hover over the image you can see the creator’s social handle. Most creators can be found on Instagram.
I think there was only one image I could not source beyond WeHeartIt.com, but saw several variations of the same graphic. Let me know if anything was misattributed!
October BuJo Theme Ideas
Theme #1 Autumn Leaves
If I lived in a part of the country where autumn is better reflected in nature during September, I may have already utilized this theme for my September bujo. However in Texas, it still feels very like much like summer until autumn is technically well under way. There are so many amazing art styles I’ve seen execute the theme of autumnal leaves. Here are just a few that I think would make for a lovely October bujo theme.
Theme #2 Magic
A lot of people execute Harry Potter themes in September, because that is when Hogwarts is back in session. However, I never feel September is very magical. I did decide to bookmark some of these themes to revisit come October. While I loved Harry Potter as a child, I am not as obsessed as I once was with the world. I feel like I do not have a lot of originality to offer when it comes to this theme.
A magic could be informed by Halloween classics like Halloweentown or Hocus Pocus, which feature witches and broomsticks and potions galore. You could also take more general inspiration from other books or movies that feature those iconic depictions of witchcraft (e.g. cauldons, black cats, pointy hats).
Theme #3 Pumpkins
Pumpkins are one of the first things that came to my mind when I thought of October bujo themes. Funnily enough, they are one of the first things I ever I remember ever learning to draw with precision as a child. It would be so much fun to make such a simple subject and render it in forms as varied as this squash takes in real life. Here are some of the pieces that would inspire my own October bujo spread.
October BuJo Theme Pumpkin
October BuJo Theme Pumpkin Mood Tracker
October BuJo Theme Pumpkin Weekly Spread
Theme #4 Coffee
I found some coffee/tea bujo themes earlier this year and decided to bookmark them for the season in which it is most pleasing to drink them. There’s nothing more pleasant than being able to cosy up in the evening to read or write with a nice hot chai latte or mocha by my side. If not for October, I could see myself executing this theme in November for NaNoWriMo!
October BuJo Theme Coffee
October BuJo Theme Coffee Weekly Spread
October BuJo Theme Coffee Weekly Spread
Theme #5 Fairy Tales
The theme of fairy tales may seem pretty close to magic, but there’s a subtle differentiation in my mind. When I think of fairy tales I think of woods, woodland creatures, and monsters. It’s more folksy. Environment plays a bigger role in my mind, whereas magic in general is more associated with mystical items. Grimm’s fairy tales may provide some inspiration, but I was also thinking about The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. The book has some amazing illustrations that could be fun to adapt into bujo spreads.
I could not find anything in my basic cursory searches on Instagram or Pinterest that emulate what I would like to go for. There are plenty of Alice in Wonderland or Disney-themed bujo themes I can find, but those do not appeal to me. Most likely I will need to pursue this theme when I have more time to plan it!
Final Thoughts on My October BuJo Theme
If you have already picked your October bujo theme, please feel free to share it in the comments down below! Usually I know which theme I will pick by the end of writing these posts. My final decision will probably come this weekend. I hate saving it for the last minute, but I have a few more things on my agenda before October. Nevertheless, it was really fun being able to talk bujo themes and share some amazing bujo artist work today!
For April I decided to make a Howl’s Moving Castle spread! It took me over a week to pull this one together, between narrowing down my idea and pre-planning my spread. I was fairly certain I wanted to do a Studio Ghibli movie theme this month, but I felt myself gravitating towards the movies with which I was already most familiar. Then Howl’s Moving Castle won out over Spirited Away.
There were a few spreads I was able to find that had done a similar theme (@jannplansthings and My Sister’s Journal (Apr 2018)), but I wasn’t able to find a complete month’s worth of spread ideas I liked, so I had to come up with a lot on my own. It was fun and I’m really pleased with my creative choices and the final result.
I decided to keep this month’s spread really simple. I didn’t set space for goals or a brain dump. I kept it down to the bare essentials: monthly log, stats, and blog post planner. I also decided to do all my weekly spreads in advance so I’ll be sharing them in today’s post!
Why Howl’s Moving Castle?
When I was thinking about spring bullet journal themes, Howl’s Moving Castle probably entered the running when I was looking up umbrellas. Turnip Head turns out to a really sweet and considerate character in the movie and when I think of him, I think of him with an umbrella in his hand.
The more I thought about Howl’s Moving Castle, the more I realized it really is a spring-time movie. We don’t really celebrate May Day in the U.S., to the best of my knowledge, but it’s a holiday that celebrates spring and an opening event in the book that brings Howl and Sophie together. Flowers are in bloom and present throughout the movie, whether they be in the hat shop or in nature.
I could have saved this theme for May, but I’ve had a different theme in mind for that month for a couple of months now. Plus, May in Texas definitely feels like more like summer than spring…
The April Spread
The title page of the moving castle came from two very similar designs I discovered in my planning stage, one a painting and the other line art. I loved the look of both, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit to using color yet. So I decided I would lean into the inked version and add color later if I felt like it.
I tried out a new monthly log layout that I discovered from Boho Berry. I don’t know how much use I’ll make out of it, but I do think it might help me visualize my days a little better by breaking the Personal column of past spreads into AM & PM columns. I also like the last column where I can take notes that best help me picture the work I do in April. To tie in the theme, I decided to draw in Sophie and Sullivan’s dog from the movie scene where they are watching a young Howl swallow a shooting star that fell to Earth.
The last two-page spread before I get into weekly spreads I decided to dedicate to blog stats and open space for blog post planning. I separated the stats from the bigger space with Turnip Head’s scarecrow arms. Other than that detail, I wanted to have a lot of space for any notes I wanted to take during April. I had way more space than I needed for brain dumps last month, and I knew I’d have a lot less time this month for creative personal projects.
I don’t want to talk too much about each week’s specific layout, because I did all five for the month in advance! This is why this post ended up coming much later than I had hoped. (Sorry this post was published incomplete this week!)
I had the visual imagery in mind before I knew the specific layouts I would use, but I felt it very intuitive to apply everything I wanted and keep the weeks all unique in design and format. Below you can see the weekly spreads that incorporate Sophie’shat shop (Week 1), Calcifer with a frying pan over him (Week 2), the doors with Howl’s portals (Week 3), the field with shooting stars landing on Earth (Week 4), and Sullivan’s magic ball and dog (Week 5).
The spreads for Week 1 and Week 3 were finished on Saturday! I couldn’t find any pre-existing bujo spread ideas to go off, so I developed them entirely on my own by just referencing movie stills. I’m rather pleased with the final products for all the fretting I did over them!
I can’t wait to jump into this April spread! It’s my favorite of the year so far, and it’s especially special because it’s my first in my new Scribbles That Matter bullet journal!
Next on the blog will be my monthly wrap up, which I started last weekend. My March flip-through will likely be in a video format, shared on YouTube and/or Instagram. I do hope to launch my YouTube channel in April, but I do not expect to be very consistent with it. I’m far more interested in being consistent with the blog, which takes enough of my time as it is ^_^
Okay, so this has been one of my personally most anticipated blog posts to write for the past few weeks! I loved sharing my bullet journal theme ideas for March in February so that anyone who was also pre-planning might be inspired by an idea they may not have come across yet. So in a similar vein, today I am sharing the ideas I’ve been mulling over for April. It’s never too early!
Below are the theme ideas for April that have me super excited and inspired. If you want to skip my thoughts and just see the visuals, scroll to the bottom to see my embedded spring bujo ideas. board, which you can click to follow on Pinterest or simply browse from inside this post!
Idea 1. Planters / Succulents
It’s not the most original idea, if I’m being honest, but I’ve recently seen some absolutely stunning designs that are less cutesy or evocative of desert or a southwestern style. I like how the succulent look in planters against brick and other industrial or Scandinavian architecture. They’re almost less the focus and more an accent on an interior design theme, which I think is really cool.
I don’t consider this theme a front-runner at all for me, but I did want to bookmark it for the future and share the idea to anyone looking for theme ideas because it is a major one with many examples to reference.
Idea 2. April Showers: Umbrellas, Rain Boots & Puddles
I mentioned in February that I felt like I couldn’t do a rainy weather-inspired theme because I already did clouds for January. However, I started seeing some themes that focused on umbrellas and rain puddles, which I thought were really cute and fun. I feel like the umbrella would also be really timely, because I just watched The Umbrella Academy on Netflix and it is a new favorite!
Idea 3. Hot Air Balloons
A theme that had been on my radar for a long time is hot air balloons. I had first thought it would be more of a summertime theme in my mind, but I feel like April/May are months where escape is on the mind. I think it’s a mental hold-over from being a student, as April in college is typically a super busy month in which final projects are in full motion.
I don’t feel any urgency to use this theme, and because it seems like a simpler theme to execute I may save it for a month where I have less time to prepare a monthly spread.
Idea 4. Studio Ghibli Movies
After thinking about hot air balloons, Howl’s Moving Castle came to mind. Then I wondered if there were any Studio Ghibli bujo themes out there, because I had never seen any in my discovery journeys through Instagram or Pinterest. Boy was I in for a treat, because I found more than a few! This blog post in particular gave me a bunch of screenshots to compile for this theme.
I must say, I’m leaning really heavily towards this theme at the moment! I think it would be a lot of fun to make to April a Studio Ghibli-themed month as a whole. I’m thinking a movie marathon, an Instagram challenge of some sort, themed blog posts…
Idea 5. Coffee/Tea Love
My final idea for this month is hot beverages, specifically coffee but perhaps also tea. Going back to that college mindset, I always drank a lot more coffee around the end of each semester to keep going as I got busier. It’s also been so unusually cold this year where I live, that I find myself reaching for a decaf coffee or black tea more often than usual because the atmosphere just feels so right.
It’ll probably be hot by time April comes around, but I bet it will still be rainy. Who doesn’t like curling up with a hot cupa somethin’ by the window on a rainy day to be productive?
In February I decided to start using Pinterest to direct more traffic towards my blog. I did a proper post on it earlier this week, but for now I just want to say that it has been an awesome place to find and bookmark pin ideas that I want to be able to return to later.
I used to just get all my ideas on Instagram, but Pinterest pulls content from there as well so you get a little more on Pinterest. One downside is if you want to get more information on a pin you find on Pinterest, it can be harder to track down the main source than it is on Instagram. But, truthfully, I see myself continuing to use both!
My point is if you’d like to get a first look at my theme idea posts, you can follow my Pinterest board which I’ve created specifically for spring bullet journal ideas which I’ve inserted below! I will likely use it until June when I’ll start a summer-themed board, but I also have a more general bujo inspiration board that you can check out as well.
I hope you enjoyed this post! I know I’ve been sayin’ it for two months now, but I truly plan to start doing more blog posts about bullet journalling, especially now that I feel like I have more to offer since I’ve been doing it for going-on three months. I also just bought a Scribbles That Matter journal so I feel more inspired to level up my designer game.
If you have any specific requests, be sure to let me know in the comments so I make sure they are covered in my upcoming blog series. As it currently is, I plan to share reasons for starting a bujo, how to start a bujo, and more general bujo spread ideas not necessarily related to theme.