My very first travelers notebook planner was one that I won back in February 2017. Let me just say this up front, creative planning…..it’s a rabbit hole! Just a year earlier I was completely enamored with a disc-bound system and shared Why I Chose The Happy Planner. Then I won a travelers notebook and a whole new planner world was opened up to me. If you don’t know what they are, basically it’s a leather, faux or fabric cover that holds anywhere from 4-8 or more individual book inserts. They also come in a variety of sizes and colors.
There are no shortage of options when it comes to setting up the perfect paper planner. In this post, I’m going to talk about setting up a travelers notebook and how I plan to use it. My perfect paper planner actually started to come together back in April.
The month of April happens to be National Donate Life Month awareness where local, regional and even national activities are held to promote organ, eye and tissue donation. It’s also a time when those who were organ donors are celebrated for the lives they’ve saved through the gift of their donation.
This cause holds a special place in my heart because I lost my older brother due to cystic fibrosis back in 1998. Before he passed he had been accepted into the lung transplant program and was a candidate for a double lung transplant. So, raising awareness of organ donation and transplantation became a part of who I am today. One of the ways I raise awareness of this important cause is through the use of both green and blue colors.
While looking for the perfect planner setup for National Donate Life Month, I discovered, and ultimately ordered, my Foxy Fix Sugar Sour Apple No. 4 (personal size) notebook. It was the perfect green color to represent and raise awareness of organ donation and transplantation. I added the blue elastics because blue was my brothers’ favorite color and I chose my own meaningful quote (“Celebrate Life”) which was embossed on the cover with a butterfly on the spine. Being able to get a customized notebook cover truly created the perfect planner for me.
Further down in this post, you can learn more about why the butterfly represents lung transplantation and new life.
Tips to Creating Your Perfect Planner
- Decide first what you want to get out of your planner or what you intent to use it for. Not always are planners just for schedules and appointments. A lot of planners these days are memory keepers, trackers, art journals and more.
- Find a system that works for you. Whether it is a coil-bound, disc-bound, travelers notebook or hard cover book. The key is to find something that speaks to your heart.
- Find some way to personalize your new planner. Use lettering, vinyl or stickers to put your name or favorite quote on the first page or dashboard of the planner.
- Now the fun part -decorating. There are thousands upon thousands of options to personalize your planner. The quickest way to decorate is through a planner kit subscription. If you didn’t want to go that route, any local craft store or online store offers charms, stickers, washi, die cuts and so much more. If you’re crafty you can even make some or all of your own decorations.
- Don’t forget about a pretty pen! I love Pengems Pens because they fit so beautifully in your hands and are the perfect carry along size.
- Last step is to start assembling all your goodies into your perfect paper planner.
For die hard stationary addicts, like myself, there is no comparison or substitution for a good paper planner. Just feeling the paper between your fingers is pure bliss.
While searching for planner die cuts, I discovered Flora Joy Designs’ beautiful July kit featuring green, blue and purple butterflies. Since the month of June is a special month for me because I still celebrate my late brothers’ birthday (this year he would’ve been 51 years old!), it was one of those moments where your jaw drops and you hear angels sing. This pairing was meant to be because it just so happens the awareness color for cystic fibrosis is purple. It felt like this kit was made just for me and it was a perfect addition to my travelers notebook setup.
Of course, I couldn’t forget a pretty pen to write in my new planner with. I just love Pengems, no lie, my current collection consists of over 40 of their beautiful crystal pens. The one shown above is ‘Alaska’ in silver.
Now that I have all the elements for my perfect planner I just need to choose my TN inserts. My travelers notebook is a 4-string but I could expand it to 6 books, if I needed to. My favorite shop for TN inserts is The 1407 Planners. Their paper quality is amazing and they offer so many options from a monthly calendar to project planners.
Meaning of the Butterfly
Anyone who has been touched by organ donation and transplantation, especially lung transplant, knows that the butterfly is a symbol of lung transplant. Even though my brother didn’t make it to transplant, it has been said by some that butterflies also represent that a past loved one is with you.
It is said when lungs are newly transplanted and take their first breath, it looks like a butterfly opening its’ wings for flight.-Behind the Designs Blog
I can remember for the longest time, waiting and waiting…and waiting, for some sign that my brother was still ‘with’ me. I would see butterflies but I just didn’t ‘feel’ that was him. Then one day, out of the blue, I happened to notice this dragonfly (who was quite large) and kept flying around me. I thought, ‘geeze, why is it flying so close to me?!’ LOL Then in a moment of clarity, like a lightbulb when off, I realized it’s a sign.
I had to chuckle because I thought to myself, of course he wouldn’t be a feminine butterfly! Ever since, I’ve always had a dragonfly around me all the time -every year (in warmer weather, of course). Everywhere I go, I seem to see a dragonfly and it seems to fly near me in a way as if to say, “Hey, I’m here!” My daughter asked me why I get so excited about a dragonfly and so I told her my story. Now, every time she sees one, she says, “There’s your dragonfly Mom.”
Just this month, I hosted a going away party for my niece and while prepping the pool for the kids, I noticed a dragonfly in the water…and it wasn’t moving. You’d think my child was drowning….I immediately thought ‘Oh No!’ and I frantically swished the water towards me to try and get it. When that didn’t work, I grabbed the pool skimmer and scooped it up.
I stared at it for what seemed like forever and was beginning to think it was gone, then…it moved slightly. I was overjoyed (and wouldn’t admit at the time, but I think…I almost wanted to cry happy tears!). For the next 20 minutes or so, I let the dragonfly rest on the edge of the skimmer. Every now and then it would flit its’ wings to get the water off and clean its’ head.
I involved my niece in helping with the dragonfly and as it sat drying its’ wings, I told her about my dragonfly story. You see, my brother is her godfather. So, that day…my heart was full. It was as if the stars aligned perfectly and I think it made her feel really good that her uncle and godfather was there, that day, for her, even if just in spirit.
Then it must have felt better because it then flew off. I was a little sad to see it go. But, while it was resting, the dragonfly had no problem at all with me getting super close (all up in ‘his’ space, so to speak!) to get pictures of it. Not once did the dragonfly flinch. Later on, as I went back to getting the pool ready, I looked up and saw the dragonfly fly right past me –almost as if to say, ‘thank you’.
Sometimes, creativity comes to us in the most unexpected ways at the most unexpected times. And sometimes, it just aligns perfectly.
Now, every day I carry this new travelers notebook planner it’ll feel like I have my brother close to me and I will be raising awareness for an important cause. Join me on my creative planning journey, as I accessorize and decorate this planner.
Interested in some of the wonderful planner products I mentioned in this post (and that I actually use too!)? Below is a list where you can find some of my favorite planner products.
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