Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The CNS Advent Calendar

The Creative Night Shift proudly presents 24 steps to bohemian Finnish Christmas starting from 1.12. There will be new post every day at 7 a.m. local time (GMT+2). There are plenty of DIY and craft projects coming (16) plus some baking ideas and lifestyle. Because it is about Christmas spirit and because this is the Creative Night Shift -blog, projects are low cost. I won't list any pricey gift shopping ideas to this calendar. This blog will stay as a place for those who want to concentrate making and feeling Christmas. 

In many projects materials can be found from thrift stores and one's own cupboards. We will use wallpaper left overs, driftwood and water balloons. Basic cardboard paper goes to many forms. Techniques used are from paper cutting to quilting and painting. Also I have payed attention that projects are relatively simple and won't take days to make. Some you can make in an hour some might take a day or two. I have included many Christmas crafts that are traditional here in Finland. The most traditional crafts seem to make the most modern decor. 

A blog advent calendar has long been my dream. This year it was the time to challenge myself. I love Christmas and all small crafts that belong to this season. Sweet gingerbreads, Christmas radio, cosy  winter days, apartment buildings decorated with various colorful fairylights, old glittery glass ornaments, paper crafts and hyacinths make the Christmas look, sound and smell like it should on my opinion. Great thing about Christmas is that some parts of it you can store in a box and take that box from storage and bring in all the memories in a form of decor and Christmas tree ornaments. I remember when I have made or bought the ornaments. I can recall how me and my friend visited the Christmas department at high school years: Decorations were quite expensive and we bought one or two glass baubles per year. I can also remember how I found a hand painted Santa figurine from a thrift store bag full of plastic baubles. Electric Christmas chandeliers have always belonged to Christmas since childhood and when the first ones appear to window sills it begins to feel that the best season is coming.

To embrace this atmosphere I have created this advent calendar. I really hope it inspires to make small Christmas projects and spreads good Christmas spirit. You can follow the calendar from this blog thecreativenightshift.blogspot.com, from instagram: sannu_cns and twitter: sannufromthecns.  On social media I will use hashtag #thecnsadventcalendar and you can use it too to share your projects and Christmas preparations.

After ten nights it will start! the Creative Night Shift Advent Calendar! Until that lets enjoy these last days of November :)


Thursday, 2 November 2017

Did BuJo Change My Life?

Hello Friends and Happy Thursday! It has been half an year when I started keeping BuJo. I think now it is about time to look back and evaluate how helpful and life changing it has been. Or has it? I will be 100% honest about any obstacles and breakthrough moments. 

In case you wonder how empty my calendar looks it is just because I tend to take BuJo pictures before filling the page.
Bullet Journaling became a happy place for many after the idea spread and developed into a trend we now know it. If you look at this video from the inventor Ryder Carroll, that explains the basic idea of BuJo, you might be surprised how simple the main idea is. Everyone can do it. In case you look after BuJo inspiration you will find BuJo spreads so amazingly beautiful that they are surely from the master class of art. For me decorating and drawing a beautiful BuJo page is for days when I have got extra energy. The past months have changed so rapidly, that my monthly spreads have included just basics to keep calendar and task lists organized. Today I watched again Ryder Carroll's video tutorial and became inspired by the idea's simplicity. If you choose to keep BuJo it is important to get the technical side working. Crafting a pretty monthly spread, tracker or project page is something you should enjoy making and be sure to have enough time. There should be no pressure to create drawings or calligraphy to BuJo, it is optional and an art form itself. People who share inspiration for BuJo have it for (main) hobby and are interested in the artistic side. It is like having a basic photo album versus scrapbook. A photo album does the job well. Beautifully curated scrapbook is art. I haven't focused on the artistic side in my BuJo, but sometimes it is nice to sit down and spend time drawing and planning. It is OK to enjoy decorating pages even though your drawing is not perfect and you lack some style. I tend to put too many stickers and colors when I get started...

What is basics then in keeping BuJo? 

I really suggest you watch the video I linked, because it explains the basic idea very well. Point is that you have a notebook. To that notebook you draw a calendar page and list of to dos. You can see one example of a monthly calendar on the first picture of this post. You don't have to draw a candle there or write November in a fancy way. Just list the days. Then to the next page you list to dos. Then to the next pages you mark the dates of the month and move some points under the date from your to do list to accomplish that day. This is similar to having a calendar. You go through what you have to do in that month and then book things to your calendar. Then you mark your task done or move it to another day. When the month is over you go through what tasks you got done, what needs to be moved to next month's to do list and what tasks you can remove completely.

When you have your monthly calendar page where all days are listed you can use it to mark very important events, deadlines and tasks. I also have a page with twelve boxes, one for every month. There I can mark special days so I know what will be coming on a monthly level. I might for example know that on January I have got one weekend booked and that I have to remember some special task to do on March. Then when I draw monthly spread I can move these directly to my calendar.

What is special about BuJo is the space you got for planning and modifying it according to your own need. In normal calendar you have months and days but you might not have enough space for notes and planning the future. When keeping BuJo you can have a whole page or two for just one day. There you can list to dos, mark events where you have to be in certain time and take notes about things you feel are important. For example I can list what tasks I need to do for my blog post (sew a block, take photos, write etc.), Then I can mark that I have to be on a meeting at 8:30 a.m. I can also list new blog ideas that come to my mind and evaluate them later. Then for example on Sunday I might not have any to dos or events. I might just list some ideas and I need just a small space from the notebook to do that.

Best part of BuJo is customization. On my monthly spread I can have a blogging calendar and tracker. Some keep lists on what has made them happy that month or color their moods into a picture. Wellness related customizations are also popular. It is handy to plan a project when you can choose to have a whole spread for planning a craft project, career goals or weekend trip.

What month is it again that we are living? I made this November BuJo spread one evening to be early when month changes. Next morning when I woke up I noticed that the Finnish name for the month was wrong, it says lokakuu (=October). Focus is the key of success, laugh.

What needs to be tracked?

I have mentioned trackers quite a few times now so a word about those. I was highly motivated when I started my BuJo and I thought trackers were an amazing invention. I still think tracking, meaning following your habits for example, is a great way to see how you are using time and how you would like to use it. I browsed many BuJo inspiration pages and found lots of things to track. After the first motivation boost went off I re-evaluated what are the key habits I need to track. Going to shower and washing dishes are not. I know how to take care of my personal hygiene and I know to wash dishes at the latest when I run out of clean plates and mugs. So I calmly left these two trackers out of the list :D

Jogging and workouts? Where are you?

Things I have found interesting and motivating to track can be divided into three categories.

1. Creative work: Keeping track about my blogging habits and blog related activities has been very important for me. It tells me how much time I use for this work and how the time spent is divided into different phases like making DIY and craft projects, taking photos and writing. If I would track just published blog posts it would not show the whole reality behind the post.

2. Personal development: In this category I have got two of my major projects: reading more and socializing/networking. Last summer I thought it might be good to focus on planning and making the future. I tried to visualize my dreams and how I want to spend my life. It is actually quite small things that make a change.

First thing. I wasn't pleased with was my reading habits. Or lack of these habits. I had become lazy reader and I felt it is not me who stares TV all nights. I needed change and started a reading project. A simple, yet very effective step, was to start tracking my reading. My goal was to read 100 pages per day and after that I got a mark to my reading tracker. In the October tracker you can see I have not marked all reading I have done. It has became a habit and I read a little everyday. I have finished many books during the summer and autumn season. I am also motivated to find new books to read. And you know what? Nowadays I don't watch TV at all. I find it boring and time consuming.

Reading was also part of personal development. Project that I started after the reading plan. I wanted to become a person who knows what is happening in the world. It is so easy to just focus on your own small circles. I decided to read more non fiction and current books. I also felt that even though I am mainly a DIY, crafts and home decor blogger it should not stop me from following social discussions more and re-tweeting articles that I find interesting. After all blogging is always personal and one's thoughts come up no matter how strictly you stay in the so called main focus. It shows in what I think is worth writing, taking photographs and crafting. It is about thoughts and values what kind of projects I make and what materials I use. For example I favor low cost projects with materials that are from thrift stores. DIY thought is also a philosophy of empowerment. How is not societal already? In the tracker I have also got this part socializing. I get a point when I take part in an event, course or hobby. I meet people everyday but I wanted to focus on going to new places, starting hobbies I had always wanted to start and learning new skills.

Listing thoughts and writing them into daily life has made a huge change in my life. Tracking helps to see if some part of life needs attention. If I haven't been socializing for some days I browse through news papers and social media for events and book something to my calendar.

3. Keeping Fit: Jogging, workout, 10/20/30 000 steps.
Seems like cold weathers have effected my workout routine. Ups, promised to be honest! Seems like I have done workout just 6 times during the six months. It might be good to evaluate if this tracker should be removed or if I should make project about this. It depends how important I think this is. If it is not important and I am never doing this, there is no need to keep it on my BuJo. In case I decide it is very important and something I have neglected in life then a proper project and and planning page might be the way. What comes to steps I found it very motivating from the beginning to count steps and track how active I have been. Tracker also gives a reason why some days there is less steps. Focusing on other areas like blogging or reading has taken the time and it is OK.

Power of Processing

So I have had three successful projects during these six months: a. reading more, b. socializing, learning new and being active and c. getting enough exercise. All projects have evolved from the original thought. One thing leads to another. Reading more inspired to start learning new skills. For me important part of BuJo has been processing. At first I wanted to keep my notebook clean and organized. I designed every page in advance and tried to avoid messy notes and sketches. I have always had a notebook for ideas and sketches. This autumn I began to draw ideas to BuJo. It makes pages that are not so beautiful but is necessary for the process. It is amazing how the messy sketch/idea becomes a plan, plan gets booked to calendar and becomes action and turns out a blog post, completed reading list or more active lifestyle.

I have noticed that when I skip this processing work my productivity goes low and I am less pleased with how the time has been spent. I might do less and feel busier. When all is on paper it is possible to calmly move from task and activity to another. Small notebook is easy to carry with, in case new ideas occur. It doesn't have to be harmonious. When you put an idea that has not yet fully formed to a paper it looks as messy as it is in your head. I have noticed though, that the moment I see idea on a paper I find out many solutions to make it better.

Currently my BuJo is:
-sketch book
-habit tracker
-goal setter
-space to plan and schedule blogging
-project planner

Here you can see how I have used BuJo to plan my quilting projects. It is actually a nice thought that all that has happened in my life is in one notebook, bigger and smaller events, reading lists, craft projects, DIY ideas and exercise notes. It was pleasing to look back this 6 month period to see how much has happened in life.

This has been the longest piece of writing I have done to my blog. I am not sure if anyone read it through here but if you did I hope it encouraged you to try bullet journaling. These are my own honest thoughts about keeping BuJo and how it has been effecting my life. It might be some other things that make a difference in your life. I think BuJo is a great tool to think, evaluate and plan life and future. It comes in a simple form of a notebook but sometimes solutions can be found that easily, just pen and paper to make a list of what has been in mind for a long time. 

Have a Wonderful Weekend!