Are you new to planning or scrapbooking? Or would you like to buy a gift for someone and you don’t know where to start?  I shall try to steer you in the right direction (we all have to start somewhere, right?).

What is Planning?

Planning is exactly what it sounds like – it’s the art of diarising your life. Most of us will have had a diary or “agenda” at school into which we plugged our timetable and then made notes about homework assignments, clubs and other activities.  At my school we were expected to get it signed each week by a parent (cue my poor mum having to sign about 10 weeks at once when I’d forgotten).

The technological age, with iPhones and other digital gadgets, meant that many of us used online or electronic diaries to keep track of our lives and that is a way of planning. However, for many, this causes frustration.  You can’t easily see your week ahead, nor can you colour code, decorate, or simply add to your week easily.

Planning in the sense used in “crafting” circles, and indeed on this website, is the art of taking a physical paper diary and using that to schedule your life. You could stop there, with your lists and appointments in your diary.  Or, you could take it further and make your diary into an expression of your self.  Decorate it, colour-code it, change its covers, remove pages, add extras, use the most beautiful of scripts for your lists, and add stamps, tapes, paints, pens, inks and stickers as code or for fun.  The possibilities are endless.

What is Journalling? 

There are two meanings: it can mean the art of the old-fashioned diary or it can also mean a type of planning.  The first meaning involves writing a story of your life in retrospect. That can include adding pictures, photos, stickers, writing and including items collected on your travels (ticket stubs, receipts, mementos etc) to bring your story to life. Again, people use pens, tapes, stamps and inks to create interest and colour.  It gets quite competitive!

Bullet Journalling (or BuJo for short) is an aft form all of its own.  Using codes and symbols, colours and flags, users of this method of journalist list their tasks and accomplishments in shorthand form.  Easy to start (all you need is paper and pen) and yet with so much scope to organise your life, BuJos can be beautiful in their simplicity.

What is scrapbooking?

Scrapbooking is the art of using photographs, paper, cardstock, ribbons, and other embellishments with glue and tape to create beautiful works of art, often incorporating photos or mementos of an event, person or experience.

I stock papers with which you can create beautiful scrapbooking themes and the washi tapes are used to create interest and colour. They can be layered (wider tapes underneath, with thinner on top), criss-crossed, and laid to create patterns of their own.

Where do I start?

Good question! If you want to start planning all you need is a planner (i.e. a diary) and a pen.  And that’s it, simple! Write out your tasks for the week ahead, add meetings, appointments, things of note, birthdays, holidays etc in the correct day or time slot and you’ve got it.

As for bullet journalling – check out this link for how to get started.

To scrapbook to get started you need some cardstock and decorative papers, a craft knife or scissors, a ruler, a cutting mat and some glue.These items can all be found in good stationers such as Hobby Craft or Rymans. If you like the craft, you can then gradually over time add tools, different embellishments etc to this as the need arises.

A kit is always quite a good option to try especially when first starting out. They don’t usually require a large outlay of cash but give you a taster to see if you like scrapbooking. A kit offers a selection of different papers and embellishments that are colour co-ordinated to make a page layout so you only have to provide the glue, tape and a photograph. We currently stock one starter kit for scrapbookers but hope to add more soon.

Which Planner is the best to start with?

Clearly I’m going to direct you to one that I sell! I really like the Happy Planner.  It’s not too expensive, the paper quality is good, there’s lots of space and it’s a favourite amongst decorators online so you’ll find lot of inspiration on Instagram.

For Bullet Journalling that may be too big so I would recommend something like a leather bound notebook. Leuchtturm or Moleskine do some great notebooks.

For scrapbooking it’s a good idea to decide which size you want to work in first. Scrapbook albums and the co-ordinating papers and cardstock come in different sizes – 12×12, 8×8 and 6×6 (these are all in inches!). You may want to work in the largest size (12×12) so that you can fit more photos onto a layout and leave yourself plenty of room for embellishments or journaling. On the other hand, you may feel daunted by the idea of having all that space to fill, in which case maybe 8×8 would be better for you. Paperchase has a great selection.

Next Steps (decorating etc)

However, why stop there?  Why not decorate your diary with some washi tape or some stickers? I use a combination of them both.  For me, the washi is purely decorative.  I usually choose a design which fits with the weather, the season, what I have planned that week or the pattern of the decorative stickers I’m using. Washi for me makes me smile and adds interest, another element to my planner spread.  I do know others who always use one pattern to depict, for example, a certain school subject or their days off work.  Particularly useful if you or your partner does shift work. Instagram is a great place to find inspiration for your planner spreads – mine can be found here @SuzyStickIt or check out amazing lettering at @llamaletters and @coldsnowinharvest .  Amazing planner spreads can be found @julies_plans and inspiration for using your Happy Planner is @meandmybigideas.

So, how do I buy some basics?

Suzy Stick It’s core products are washi and stickers.  I would start by buying a couple of washi rolls and a few sets of stickers and see how you get on.  Washi multi packs are a great place to start – some offer different designs and widths for you to play with, layer, and see if you like them, whilst others offer you two or three tapes the same width. ‘mt’ and ‘Masté’ are the most traditional tapes, made from paper they feel like masking tape.  They are also some of the least expensive tapes in store.

Once you know what you like (see each of the brand descriptions for and idea of the different qualities of tape) I would pick ones you either like the pattern of or that have a specific use, in your mind.  You may choose a “love”  tape to mark date night in your diary. Or you may pick the seaside one for holidays.  The choice is endless and your reasons for choosing are entirely your own.

As for stickers, Sticko are purely decorative whereas MAMBI‘s stickers are often themed and many are aimed at planners.

Which Pens and pencils are best?

We stock some great pens and pencils so take a look.  The pens are for your main planner or BuJo writing rather than decorative script.  For colourful letters try Staedtler Finepoints (they don’t bleed) or Sharpie Finepoints (for writing on stickers).

Which washi is best for beginners?

I would start with ones that have a generic pattern or are plain, so that you can use them again and again. Choose coordinating tapes that would work well together, and pick different widths to allow you to experiment with your preferences. the Instagram links above will give you some inspiration (my planner spreads always use washi from the store). Choose 4-5 (one wide, two thick and one/two thinner) to give you plenty to be getting on with.

Where can I get inspiration?

Facebook and Instagram are where I find the most wonderful ideas and support.  There are 100s of Facebook planner and scrapbooking groups of varying sizes with different rules, themes, feels etc.  Some are mainly US-based so the items they use may be harder to find in the UK (although I try to stock them here!) whilst others allow off-topic posts so may not be for you.  I would join a few and take it from there.

Finally, good luck! Do feel free to ask for advice by emailing suzy@suzystickit.com if you would like help.  If you email me I can offer gift coupons, suggestions, wrap and send purchases to your friends for you, and generally help you spend your money wisely!

All my love,