Tag Archives: Staples Arc

DIY Circa Sketchbook Follow-Up

I posted back in October about creating a watercolor sketchbook in a discbound format, and thought ‘d show how it currently looks.

I’m still using clear plastic front and back covers as in my previous post, but in the interest of an even slimmer and more portable sketchbook, swapped out the pretty 3/4″ Spectra discs for the plain but smaller 1/2″ discs. I’ve added a matching black adhesive Leuctthurm1917 pen loop. The coversheet is from the now-defunct Office Depot Revolution brand notebooks.

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My DIY Discbound Sketchbook

Side view:

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Open layout:

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Another view:

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All in all, still very pleased with how it turned out, but now its even more purse-friendly!

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Dollar Tree Chopping Mats as Discbound Covers

In my explorations online, I’d heard that Dollar Tree cutting mats, sold in sets of 2 per package, could easily be cut down into discbound notebook covers. So once day I made a trip specifically to Dollar Tree to grab some, and recently had the chance to try it out. Here’s how the process went!

First of all, I had to find a good template. I used the clear covers from an Office Depot Foray Revolution notebook to trace my pattern onto the cutting mats. I was able to get both front and back pieces on one cutting mat, still leaving one leftover for future use. I penciled around the Foray cover, and cut them with a paper cutter, rounding the edges with a scrapbooking corner rounder I had.


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Once the pieces were ready, I matched up the new covers to the pre-punched Foray cover, and removed a punch head from the Levenger Circa punch for spacing reasons (easily done by unscrewing and sliding forward).

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A work-in-progress scene.

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Of that one cutting mat, I had enough plastic for front and back pieces AND two pagefinders.

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The covers on an actual dashboard.

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One of the custom cut pagefinders I used to hold sticky flags.

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Another view of the pagefinder.

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Final results are, I really like them as covers, but the plastic is very thin and somewhat flimsy/floppy. On a notebook without any tab dividers or other support, it can be little TOO thin compared to normal Staples Arc poly plastic covers.

(Planner shown in the pics above is the Pretty Pretty Planner.)

Using Post-It Flags in your DIY Planner

I liked my sticky flag holder in my junior Circa so much that I adapted it to my letter-size work notebook too.

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I used a letter-size Levenger top-tab divider and a gluestick to keep the post-it flags firmly attached.

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I love how the flags are exactly the size of the appointments section of my work planner page.

Which post-it flags you ask? These!

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I just love arranging them in ROYGBV order.

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Introducing … The Pretty Pretty 2015 Planner

As I become more involved in online planner groups on Facebook and Instagram, I’ve also become more inspired to try and find the perfect weekly planner layout. I was drawn to the whole planner ecosystems around the Erin Condren and Plum Paper planners. I like the weekly layouts, divided into day segments and with otherwise open boxes for people to write their own appts, reminders, etc. And who knew there are whole planner stickers and accessories designed to fit the boxes in these planners? Crazy, right?! But as I browsed through the planner sections of Etsy, I so wanted to try them! But … I like my discbound notebooks – the planners I linked to above are an unconventional size: too big for the traditional ‘Junior’ or 8.5 x 5.5″ sizes, and too small for Letter-sized notebooks. And they are THICK spiral-bound planners! While I’d seen pics from those who have cut off the spiral binding and punched them with Levenger punches, they’d still require some pretty big discs to carry the whole thing, which I don’t like to use as a general rule, 1″ is as big as I will go (and that took awhile!). But after browsing Etsy and comparing alternatives, there didn’t seem to be any substitute planner printables that I could find that had a similar feel.

So I made one.
I call it the Pretty Pretty 2015 Planner. Because it is pretty. Best of all, it’s free for download!
Just go here.

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Pretty Pretty Planner 2015

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Pretty Pretty Planner 2015

“Jen’s 2013 Daily Planner” – I Heart Organizing

I really love the entire look and concept of this discbound planner from Jen at I Heart Organizing – from the colors down to the sticky tab labels and accessories. Lucky for us, the planner printables are available from her Etsy shop!

MyHouseAndHome Blog’s Discbound Planner Setup

Was browsing through Pinterest when I found my way to MyHouseAndHome’s blog and her fantastic overview of her personal discbound planner. I really like the idea of creating tab dividers with cardstock, post-it flags, and washi tape – it’s ingenious! Definitely bookmarking for future reference.

A peek into my Circa Personal Planner

Well, since I shared my work notebook earlier this week, I thought I’d share my personal planner too. Ever since my “planner epiphany” about it being okay to have separate planners, I’ve been implementing a lot of ideas I’ve seen online and from planner groups I participate in. Whereas before, when using one notebook or the other, alternating between letter-size and junior-size, when I used one I always had this tiny bit of guilt for not using the other. And just had this block about the uses for two planners. But now that I’ve stopped trying to pigeonhole both work and personal planners into one notebook, both are getting used. And it’s working! It sounds so stupidly common sense you guys, but for me, it’s a whole new approach. So here’s a peek into what I have developed so far.

Here’s the planner “dashboard” I made. A “dashboard” is a page of plastic or thicker paper where sticky notes, stickers, or other reusable items are kept for use in the planner. Here I had a page-finder sized piece of purple plastic (leftover from an old Circa tab divider I cut down for something else) that I wound some washi tape around. For the sticky post-it flags, I found these (found for a killer deal, 2 for $8 at Office Depot, WOO!)

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and cut out the edges and stuck them to one of my plastic Martha Stewart Home Office by Avery tab dividers.

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The colors are just so darned PRETTY!

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But the flags started getting messed up by the cover pockets and sticking up funny. So I added a washi-taped cover (meaning I carefully removed the plastic cover from the wirebound notebook, bound the edges in washi tape, and punched it in my discbound punch) from a spiral-bound Martha Stewart Home Office by Avery notebook ($2 on clearance, love these sales!) as protection against getting caught in the pockets, and it serves as an extra semi-transparent dashboard surface too.

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The first tab is for miscellaneous notes, to-dos, blank paper. Anything I jot down. The grid refill shown is my own creation, with grids on one side, dots on the other. It’s available under the “DIY Planner Templates” page.

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The Agenda section consists of three planning calendars. First, a set of undated monthly calendars from a set called the Polka Dot Planner by SpringHomePrintables on Etsy. I don’t mind undated, I’m OK with writing in dates. The polka dots didn’t quite extend to the edge of my paper either (stupid printer!) but I’m okay with that too.

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Trying out the Polka Dot Planner from SpringHomePrintables on Etsy.

The pastel-colored boxes are really cute! It’s a little light for my taste text wise, but I’m liking it.

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Next, also from the same Polka Dot Planner set, an undated weekly agenda. I liked the dinner and fitness tracking. It’s almost too cute really. Not sure what I’ll use the tracking boxes (right-side page, lower left-corner) for yet, but something will come to me eventually.

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Finally, the third calendar is my Quarter-Per-Page template, for long-term planning (again, available under “DIY Planner Templates”.)

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Next section is called Money. Right now it’s just ruled paper I track my bills and finances on. If I find a good template I may add it here. Otherwise, nothing to see here so moving on to Lists, for lack of a better name. Here I’ll keep lists and reference items, pen ink samples, records of things I sell or ship, that kind of stuff. Basically my file cabinet.

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Finally, the last section I just call “create”. Here I’ll keep doodles, sketches, etc and have blank watercolor paper. Behind this slightly oversized watercolor paper (that’s why it’s in the very back) is a Martha Stewart discbound pocket divider.

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So that’s it! My planner so far. I am looking forward to seeing what else I can do with it.

A peek into my Work Circa

As is probably evident by reading this blog, I am a long-term fan of the discbound notebook system, especially the Levenger Circa notebooks. I didn’t discover them in time to use them in grad school (sadly, because how perfect would these be for college!?) but I have been using them as my primary note-taking system in the workplace since 2006. I was ready for a change from the steno notebooks I’d been using as my “brain dump” notebook at work – you know, that place where all the todos, convos with the boss, voicemails, all that kind of stuff got documented. And since the beginning I’ve been using primarily the letter-size notebooks, with divider tabs to keep things organized. I’ve used various leather covers in the past, but particularly like the clear plastic covered notebooks, for two reasons. 1) you can customize the notebooks depending on your mood with scrapbook paper flysheets behind the clear plastic, and 2) the covers add no bulk, so the notebook folds over on itself easily and without causing the pages to fall out.

This week I finished creating a new cover for the latest iteration of work Circa, and thought it would be a good time for a quick walkthrough.

The cover I made out of SN@P! brand scrapbooking cards and embellishments from these two sets: the Everyday SN@P Pack and the Daily Grind SN@P! Pack. This is only a few of the cover cards and such, and the quotes are a little cheesy, but I like the combo. I originally affixed them with double-sided tape, but need to go back and use the Elmer’s because the tape is already coming up.  You can see the edges sticking up already.

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In the pic above, the notebook has 3/4″ Levenger Circa aluminum discs in “Caribbean” that really are a light purple. I already had to swap out the discs the same day though, the 3/4″ was feeling a little snug with some of my additions. So out comes the 1″ copper! Not quite as matchy-matchy as the “Caribbean”, but oh well.

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Of course, had to make divider labels to match! These are white Levenger divider tabs with Avery Labels #8167.

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So here are the sections as is so far. First, my Daily Notes section. Designed as my daily brain dump page, I track my time spent on projects/meetings, todos, phone calls, everything that happens during the day. The front has a section for appointments, todos and notes, and the back is a full page grid for overflow notes (the template here is available to download, click on the page link for “DIY Planner Templates” above). When the notebook gets too full, I pull out about a month or two of these pages and stick them in my work archive notebook, a plain poly plastic on 1″ that I keep on a shelf so I can refer to it often.

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Next is the Calendars section. The long-standing Year-On-2-Pages has been my mainstay for awhile here (also available under “DIY Planner Templates”). I have flags at the top for easy reference to year.

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I don’t usually use monthly calendars, as for work most stuff is kept electronically. But I like the look of this 2015 Planner from 505design on Etsy, so am debating whether I want to try them out long-term or not.

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There is also a weekly planning view, which is nice too. Don’t know if it will be redundant to my daily pages or not yet. So this is still in beta-testing.

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Next is the Meetings section. I had some old Levenger Circa Action Method refills I stuck in here, along with some extra ruled and dot grid pages.

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Projects doesn’t really have anything yet. I am using it more as a file place for specific items I working with. Reference is more anything I want to keep around in my notebook, so right now is pretty empty too except for some holiday leave calculations haha. In the very back of the notebook, I always have an “info” sheet about Levenger in case I get asked about it (silly I know), and a MS pocket divider. And some extra page finders.

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And that concludes the overview of my work Circa notebook!

Planner Epiphanies

Well, I’ve decided (haha, however long this decision may last this time around) to use my Junior Circa for personal use only, NO WORK. Work goes in the Letter size. And my big epiphany while I was sick at home pondering refill pages recently? IT’S OK TO NOT HAVE BOTH IN ONE NOTEBOOK. I have issues, I know 😀 But that’s been a huge block for me, trying to have both in one.

So when I was sitting browsing through the planner pages on Etsy, feeling too lazy and uninspired to make my own, saying “oh, cause THAT’S realistic” to the Hallmark channel movie, I found a lot of cute ones. It was a hard decision! I don’t need heavy-duty planning, so a generic weekly view would probably work. This is my leading contender so far, the 2015 Planner from “505design“. There’s also a weekly appointment style version here. I like the bright colors, cute but not way overdone visually like some of them. Now to figure out printing, my least favorite part of the process! Anyone else use this refill, or have any favorites they recommend?

Test printouts are shown below in my Levenger Circa Junior notebook with aluminum discs.

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Staples Arc Black Leather with Tab Closure – Part 2

Continuing my evaluation of the new Staples Arc black leather with tab closure cover I posted about a few days ago, but this time with my Levenger Circa Aluminum Discs in Cornflower.

The new Circa discs in action! And looking a lighter blue shade than they really are thanks to the morning sunlight.

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Levenger Circa Aluminum Discs in Cornflower

The full page spread using my Junior grid/dot template available on my templates page.

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Staples Arc Black Leather Cover with Closure and Levenger Circa Aluminum Discs in Cornflower

The notebook closed. Still not sure how I feel about it yet.

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Staples Arc Black Leather Cover with Closure and Levenger Circa Aluminum Discs in Cornflower