How To: Divide Notebook Sections Without Tabs

I had a very stationary/organizer rich Christmas for which I’m very thankful. It will take several posts for me to catch everyone up on all the awesomeness I received and have started using already. However, this is a quick, easy idea which hit me as I was getting ready for a nap.

Let me introduce you to my Magic Notebook.

theme

It’s an adorable lined and themed notebook that my fiance picked up for me from ThinkGeek (available here). Before you run off and buy this book, I do want to warn you that the binding on mine started failing the moment I opened it. I’m not sure if it’s a problem with all of them or if I just received a faulty one. That said, the awesome theme would be worth it if you can snag it on sale (or free using Geek Points).

A couple of days after Christmas as we were watching TableTop and wishing we had a place to record all of the games we wanted to buy and play, and I thought to myself, “Hey, Amber, you just got that nifty notebook.” I promptly began recording a list of games, appropriately titled “This List is Wil Wheaton’s Fault.” Shortly after, I migrated our list of movies to watch from Evernote, where it wasn’t being used and also created a Gift Ideas list.

But then, there was a problem: I needed a way to quickly find these lists. My first instinct was to add tabs, but I couldn’t decide which from my collection would look the best. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the tabs would ruin the theme anyway.

Here’s where the nap came in.

I laid down for a nap and I was thinking about my tabs and my new awesome Magic “ALL THE LISTS EVER” Notebook. I couldn’t decide which of my tabs I wanted to use. My biggest concern was none of the tabs I had would look right with the theme of the notebook… then I remembered a pin from Pinterest, showing how someone took a notebook and washi taped pages together for a smashbook. It hit me suddenly, if you didn’t do the same number of pages for each of them, but rather assigned a certain roll of washi to each list, you could tell your sections apart.

It was the best of both worlds, easy to find sections done in a way that it wouldn’t ruin the style of the notebook. After, all, the washi’d edges wouldn’t be seen from the front. Excited by the idea, I went back and washi’d my three lists. After that nap, of course. I didn’t perfectly get my washi lined up so that it would fold right in half, but it was “good enough”. Look at me conquering that perfectionism!

washi
If you take your time and were using a different notebook with even margins, you’d be able to get it perfectly lined up. Either way, the end result is the same:

sections
Easy to see and flip to sections… without tabs!

Run out and share the news my friends! This is a simple, yet glorious discovery!

pin
So what do you think you’ll use this miraculous discovery for? Have any notebooks that need sections?

Let’s Talk About Planners: Choosing a Planner – Bound Planners

One of my first entries on this blog was about how I was going to do my own DIY hPDA (hipster PDA) because I couldn’t find any planners that had everything I wanted and blah blah blah. The truth is… that endeavor fell on its face. Shortly after that I ordered a cute weekly planner from Buttoned.Up I didn’t use because the spaces were too small for me, then moved to a Franklin Covey I spent money on only to use it for three months and abandon.

In July, I tried to go back to digital planning. I downloaded apps. I built a system. It worked for less than two weeks. The biggest drawback for digital planning for me is that I work in a building with signal blockers installed for security purposes. It makes it impossible to update anything while at work. I simply couldn’t utilize it and gave up.

Then I found Facebook planner and Filofax groups and the possibilities became ENDLESS. There are possibly thousands of options out there: different brands, styles, sizes, and combinations. I’m well on my way to getting my planning in control and back on track, but there are plenty of people out there like me who are either new to planning or searching for the “perfect” system. It can be almost overwhelming at first. So I thought I’d try to help out by offering hints, tips, and suggestions on getting started and being successful with paper planning.

The goal of this series of entries will be to help you chose the planner that’s right for you and help you explore how to use a planner to get your life in control.

The first step, of course, will be to choose a planner. There are tons of different choices that go into picking a planner or planning system you want. First, we’ll need to identify whether a bound or unbound system will work best for you. Today’s entry will focus on bound planners: their pros and cons and a list of examples and where to buy them. Next week we’ll take a look at your unbound planner options.

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And Now I’m Back… From Outer Space!

You just walked in to find me here with this sad look upon my face.

Sorry. Random pseudo-Gloria Gaynor moment.

The point is, I’ve finally come back from my journey into the depths of space and time. No… not really. I wish I’d been in space or traveling through time or in general doing something more fantastic than what I’ve been doing. Not more amazing, per se, because the last few months year or so has been ah-may-zing in ways that I don’t think I can explain in a single post.

First, I started looking for a house in January. I looked… and looked… and looked. I bid… and bid… and bid. I lost… and lost… and lost. It was maddening. At one point, I got so stressed I actually broke down and cried. I’m not a crier. At all. At one point during the process of closing on my mortgage, I curled up in the floor of my mom’s den, and cried for reasons I couldn’t determine. I scared people. People were literally frightened for my sanity. I thought I had finally snapped and lost my mind.

Now that it’s past I have no idea why I was so stressed, but I was. Blogging… well… most things… got pushed aside. That is OVER. I have tons of things to share here and on Something Nerdy and I’m ready to do it!

But first, I want to introduce you to my home. You’ll be getting to know her fairly well from the before and after pictures. First, we didn’t get before pictures of everything. There are certain rooms of this house you can’t just get all the angles to see the full thing like the “master” bath. There’s about 24 sq. ft. of clear space there. Clearly designed by someone who sits down to do their business, because the vanity is in the way otherwise. Also… it’s… y’know… I’ll just let you see it.

Consider these a view of her in her roughest state.

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Some stats to put this in perspective:

  • # of houses looked at: 8
  • # of houses bid on: 4
  • # of houses lost: 3
  • # of months to close on the winner: 4
  • Living in your own home and getting to make it yours? PRICELESS

Since these were taken a lot has happened. We’ve moved in like… 75% of our stuff and started getting organized. The basement had a tiny water problem, so our contractor did the following: removed ALL the paneling and treated for mold… three times, sealed and painted the interior, replaced the exterior doors, cleaned the gutters, buried all of our drainage from the gutters and directed the water flow away from the house. We also discovered a TON of plumbing issues so… all of the wax rings and fixtures were replaced (save the kitchen which mysteriously wasn’t leaking), the intake plumbing for the water heater was replaced, exterior water faucets were replaced, etc, etc, etc. In addition to all of that, we’ve painted two rooms and started decorating.

Guess you can figure out what several of my posts will be about.

In addition to that I’ve created tons of printables and gotten a lot accomplished as far as organization goes. Hold on tight, everyone, I’ve got lots of material on the way!

How To: Clean Suede Boots

How To: Clean Suede Boots

A few weeks ago, I made the mistake of wearing my suede Sam & Libby boots out after it had rained. I’d been pretty careful with them, avoiding rain and snow and mud, up until this fateful day. My dogs excitedly greeted me after I let them out, jumping to say hello and not bothering in the least to wipe their feet first. To my horror my boots ended up looking like this:

before

Gorgeous, right? You definitely want to wear these with a pair of brightly colored skinny jeans and a cute cardigan. Or not. I temporarily despaired believing they were ruined and then I thought, “There has to be a way to clean them!” I was right. There is a surprisingly simple way you can clean your suede boots at home with very little expense.

Here’s What You Need:

supplies2      supplies1

  • Suede Cleaning Kit (or a soft brush that has no chemical residue. I’d personally use one I’d never used before)
  • Suede/Leather Water Protector
  • Soft Toothbrush*
  • NON-BLEACH All-Purpose Cleaner (409, Simply Green, Baking Soda & Vinegar mix, or similar)*
  • Paper towels or a cleaning rag*
*optional
How To:
  1. Stuffed and ready to go. (Shhh... ignore I've already cleaned the one on the left. I didn't take a picture of the first few steps!)

    Stuffed and ready to go. (Shhh… ignore I’ve already cleaned the one on the left. I didn’t take a picture of the first few steps!)

    Wait for the mud to dry. This seems almost counter-intuitive. It’s mud! Get it up as soon as possible! But suede is much easier to dry brush. It’s nearly impossible to wipe clean. Not to mention if you wipe it clean, you could press the mud deeper into the fabric, which will just cause problems later. 24 – 48 hours should be plenty of time.

  2. Stuff your boots. If your boots are floppy and don’t hold shape well (which is the case with most suede boots, I think), they’ll be easier to clean if you stuff them with newspaper, shopping bags, fabric scraps… whatever you have handy. After this, I actually started storing my boots stuffed as well, to help lower the wear and tear on the fabric.
  3. Lightly brush the mud off with your soft brush. It came off easier than I expected. In fact, it only took a couple of minutes for each shoe. Even the spots of dog drool (TMI?) were brushed off with no problem. If you have breathing problems or allergies, you may want to wear a mask while doing this, because it creates a fairly impressive dust cloud. Also, be prepared to sweep or vacuum after finishing this step. Dirt will fly everywhere.
    after1

    All brushed! Notice how the suede looks sort of picked out?

    A word of caution: don’t brush too hard. You can ruin the nap on your suede. This should take no more elbow grease than brushing something like flour off your jeans. Short quick strokes in multiple directions seem to work the best.

    At this point your boots should be clean, though the nap of the suede may look distressed as if it’s been picked out. This is where purchasing the suede cleaning kit is a good idea!

  4. Looks better than before, though admittedly not like brand new.

    Looks better than before, though admittedly not like brand new.

    Grab the thing that looks like a giant soft eraser out of the suede cleaning kit. It feels like soft rubber and it flakes off very easily. Take it and rub it over your boot. There doesn’t seem to be one right way to do it, though multiple directions (easiest to achieve with circular motions while rotating your boot), yields better results. This magical eraser restores your suede almost to brand new, causing the previously picked out nap to bunch up and soften again. It’s not a perfect fix as you can tell from my pictures, but it’s pretty darn close.

  5. Optional: use an old toothbrush and your NON-BLEACH all-purpose cleaner to clean the sole of your boot. You’ll want to apply the cleaner directly to the brush itself and scrub to avoid getting any part of your boot wet with cleaner. If your sole is thin and you’re worried you’ll get cleaner on the suede you could simply dry brush it as well, but it likely won’t get as shiny clean as if you use some sort of cleaner. Do yourself a favor and avoid bleach based cleaners just in case your sole is made from rubber. Chlorine can cause rubber to harden, crack, and crumble, and we’re here to save our boots, not ruin them! Once you’ve finished scrubbing use a paper towel or cleaning cloth to wipe the sole dry.
  6. Apply a water proofing agent. Wally World sells several in their shoe section with formulas specifically for leather and suede and some that are all-purpose. I picked up an all-purpose one with intent to use it on my Chucks, as well. Apply 1 – 3 thin coats, allowing a couple of minutes of drying time between each coat. Your boots should not feel wet at all after using the spray; the best description I can give is that they should feel “dusted” with cleaner. These sprays will help prevent stains in the future.
  7. Sit back and relax. That’s it. You’re done. Even as bad as my boots looked the entire process took me maybe 15 minutes in total.

    Left one all finished! Looks good compared to the right, huh?

    Left one’s all finished! Looks good compared to the right, huh?

A New Year, A New Blog, A New Printable

I’ve been blogging on and off for approximately 8 years now. I’ve blogged everything from my personal life to fan fiction to what it’s like to be white and nerdy, but until sometime last year, I’d never really been serious about it. Last year, a friend from my past (Jason of Big Bear’s Den) roped me into doing a podcast (Talk Nerdy 2 Me) and since then I’ve been blogging fairly steadily. I did hit a slump with my other blog, Something Nerdy This Way Comes, last year in October. To put it simply, I was distracted. There was something shiny (*cough* Pinterest *cough*), my creative ADD kicked in, and I had grand plans of running two blogs and crafting and working and… and…

And reality kicked in, so nothing came of it.

Until this year. I’ve finally put together my own little space on the interwebs (enigmalea.com), picked up blogging right where I left off, and decided to post my first entry here.

This blog is going to focus on content that just doesn’t quite fit in Something Nerdy This Way Comes. It will be the home to my crafts, DIY, organization tips, and perhaps even recipes. It’s my own little domestically blissful escape, where Pinterest projects come to life, and where I can get my Martha on. That doesn’t mean that there will be nothing nerdy in this blog; let’s face it, nerd is a way of life. My projects may be superhero themed or my cosplay creations may end up on both blogs, but I will strive to bring you unique content as often as possible.

Enough of that… on to why you’re really here: the free printable.

In my search for the perfect planner, I’ve discovered one thing: no one makes it. No one makes a planner that is going to be the size I want, has all the perfect pages for me, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. After much searching on the internet for pre-made planners/planner systems, I finally stumbled upon weekly.agenda by buttoned up. So far, it’s working pretty well for me. I’m not using every feature of the planner, but I’m coming close, and for me that’s pretty dang good. There are a LOT of things I love about this planner. The price is not one of them, even though I got mine during their Black Friday sale. Also, the size of the week is starting to frustrate me. Sometimes I want to be able to write larger than microscopic.

A couple of weeks after ordering my planner I stumbled upon D*I*Y Planner and the hipster PDA. For those of you late to this concept (like me), the hipster PDA is a stack of index cards with your plans, lists, and ideas bound together. It’s portable, inexpensive, and not constrictive. People love the hipster PDA. I was enamored with it… except for one thing. I can’t print onto 3×5 index cards with my printer, and printable index cards from Avery have a lot of waste – not to mention aren’t as inexpensive as their dollar store counterparts.

So, what’s a girl to do? Well, simple, I’ve decided I’m going to make my hipster PDA out of 4×6 cards and print directly on them. I’m going to take this year to develop my own templates and my own binding methods to come up with the perfect planner. Meanwhile, I’ll use my ridiculously expensive planner until I can’t use it any longer.

Which leads me to my first free printable. This is the main guts to any planner, journal, or diary – the weekly planning bit. I prefer the 2 page for 1 week layout which is my first offering. The printable is simple. It’s black and white, to keep printing inexpensive and to allow you to use colored index cards if you wish. It mimics a hand drawn look with typewriter lettering, but it was created completely in Photoshop. Designed with 0.5″ margin in portrait to give you multiple center binding options and still preserve the room to write. It is undated, designed so that you can circle the month and the date the week begins on. You can add dates to each day or leave it.

I can also see uses in this for journaling, scrapbooking, mixed media art… you name it!

Below you will find links for three file formats: Adobe Photoshop (.psd), PNG, and PDF. The PSD is for those of you who wish to get creative and add color, designs, or otherwise personalize it. I left it as a layered image. Feel free to do what you want with it. The PNG is for people who wish to use the aforementioned Avery (or other brand) index or postcards and need a flexible layout. Download the images and import them into your word printing layout. For those who want simplicity, you can download the PDF and use Adobe Reader to simply print directly on to your 4×6 index cards with no clipping, worries about customizing, or layout.

Alternatively, download the ZIP file that has all three options.

Enjoy!

2pageWeekthumb
ZIP: download
PDF: Mon – Wed, Thurs – Sun
PNG: Mon – Wed, Thurs – Sun
PSD: Mon – Wed, Thurs – Sun