Posted in bullet journal, Bullet journaling, lifestyle, Planning and journaling, Setting goals and intentions

Monday Matters: A beginner’s guide to Vision boards and how to create one in your Bullet Journal

When I start to feel better after a period of depression and anxiety, I tend to have lots of ideas for how I want my life to be now and what I want for my future. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, stressed and potentially causing a hypomanic episode (due to having bipolar disorder), I like to spend time taking a step back, really thinking about what I want for myself and asking myself some big questions. After reflecting, I like to create a visual reminder in the form of a vision board. In today’s Monday Matters I thought I’d present a beginner’s guide to vision boards and show you how I design and create mine in my bullet journal so that you can make one too.

What is a vision board?

A vision board is a collage of images and words which represent your current wishes and goals. It is used as a reminder of what you hope to achieve and aims to provide motivation and inspiration. Vision boards can be paper based or digital. They can contain as many words and images as you want but I find they work best if they’re relatively simple as then you are only working towards a small number of goals. Whereas a digital vision board works best if it fits onto your computer screen, a paper based vision board can be any size of your choosing. I created a large A1 sized board for my business and have the images and words pasted onto a black piece of card which is inside a clip frame. The vision board is on the wall in my craft room and I love looking at it regularly. My personal vision boards are usually created in my bullet journal on a double page spread and contain words and images from magazines as well as printouts from online resources like Pinterest. Click here to see an example of one I created during lockdown.

Your vision board can have a particular theme e.g. health and wellbeing, your word of the year etc, or it can be more general and include personal and/or professional related goals. Whichever style you choose, you need to spend some time reflecting on what you want your life to be like now and what you hope your life to look like in the future.

Some key questions to ask yourself:

  • What is most important to me in my life right now? (e.g. happiness, good health, work-life balance etc)
  • What are my core values? (e.g. family, creativity, self confidence, education, happiness, growth, self awareness etc)
  • What did I used to do in the past that I would like to start doing again now? (e.g. have lots of fun, meet friends for coffee, go to the gym, spend quality time with family etc)
  • What experiences would I like to have in the future? (travel the world, start a family, learn to swim, attend an art course etc)
  • What are my current interests or hobbies? (e.g. sewing, bullet journalling, watercolour painting, hiking, getting fit, baking etc)
  • Do I currently spend plenty of time engaging in things I enjoy? (e.g. I don’t feel I dedicate enough time to having fun, I always make time for my hobbies and interests etc)
  • What bad habits do I want to break? (drinking too much alcohol, going to bed late, eating unhealthy snacks, too many takeaways, spending too much time on social media etc)
  • What good habits do I want to instill? (e.g. exercise for 30 minutes 5 times a week, drink more water, eat more fruit and vegetables, starting a gratitude practice, meditating each morning, read one self help book each month etc)
  • What little things do I want to put in place right now? (e.g. daily gratitude, healthy breakfast, in bed by 10.30pm etc)
  • What are my big dreams for the future? (e.g. to write a book, to be a minimalist, to own a 3 bedroom home, to move to Australia, to travel the world, to have a family etc)
  • What can I do now to help me work towards my dreams / goals?
  • How will I feel when I achieve my goals / dreams? (proud, happy, confident, calm, successful etc)

How do vision boards work?

Vision boards only work if you do! By this, I mean that choosing representational images and words to describe your desires, goals and dreams is not enough to achieve them. You also need to identify steps to take to work towards what you want and create habits which will help you (or break habits which are not helpful). A vision board provides a useful visual reminder and, when looked at on a daily basis, can be used as a prompt to spend time evaluating and reflecting on your progress towards your specific goals and wishes, looking at any obstacles that have come up and how you will remedy problems. It can also help to motivate you into action – especially if the images and words you have chosen are exactly what you desire and spark great attraction.

What I find useful is to accompany my vision board with a page of notes. I write down what each image represents and also record what I need to do or not do to work towards achieving my vision. I can then move on to identify the baby steps I need to take to have the best chance of achieving my goals. Reflecting on your progress regularly and setting new small goals is also really important if you vision board is to have the best chance of working.

Designing your vision board

The design of your vision board should suit you and your lifestyle. If you prefer to work digitally, you could create a vision board to display on the desktop of your computer or even create a vision board on Pinterest using attractive images and motivational sayings and quotes. If you like to get creative, you might do a cut and paste from your favourite magazines – try flicking through them and see what resonates with you. You can even cut out individual letters or words to put together to make motivational phrases (a bit like a ransom note but full of positivity instead!). Use pictures which sum up exactly what you want, for example an image of someone who is smiling can represent wanting to feel happier in life, a big house in the countryside can show that you would love to live in a more rural location, a passport and pictures of key locations in a Paris e.g. The Eiffel tower and a cruise boat on the River Seine, would be good to remind you that you really want to visit the capital of France.

I like to create a double page spread in my bullet journal as this is something I look at multiple times a day and use morning and night. You can read about the process of setting up my vision board below.

Creating a vision board in your bullet journal

Image selection I find the best way to create my vision board in my bullet journal is to use photographs which are available online. If you use images from magazines, they may be vastly different in size. If you search chosen key words online you can spend time looking through the different pictures and find one which is suitable for what you want and then resize it to fit (I make the width of my images around 4cm – 6cm). I placed the photos into a document on MS Publisher which was 4x6in and then printed the pages out on photo paper of the same size using my Canon printer.

After that, I cut them out using my small Fiskars guillotine and backed them on mid pink coloured paper to make them stand out. The backing of the photos was rather time consuming, especially as you really need to use double sided tape for photograph paper. The process could be speeded up using a roller tape but if you’re limited for time, you could just stick the images straight in to you BuJo. I left a tiny border of pink as I wanted the photos to take centre stage.

Motivational words Again, I create the words myself in a MS Publisher document rather than looking through magazines so I can play around with the sizing, font and specific word classes e.g. verb, adjective, noun etc. I also chose to print them on coloured paper so that they stood out from the white paper just like my photos. It’s up to you how you produce your words – you could create stickers, stamp them onto paper, cut them out and stick them in or hand letter them for example.

Playing around with placement Once you’ve got your images and words ready, it’s time to try out different placements until you’re happy with how they’re arranged. It’s a good idea to experiment with different layouts and then take a quick photo of your double page spread each time so you can always revert back to a previous arrangement. Once your happy you can paste everything in. You might choose to add some decorative elements to any spaces, for example, if you’re creating your vision board for the Springtime, you might add flowers, hearts in Spring colours, butterflies, motivational words etc. This could be in the form of stickers and ephemera like mine or, if you’re good at drawing, you could create something using spring coloured felt tip pens or coloured pencils.

My finished vision board in my bullet journal

Final words…

I hope today’s blog post has inspired you to create your own vision board as a motivational tool for working towards your goals and dreams. Remember that vision boards are a great way for clearly identifying what you want for yourself now and in the future but as well as creating this attractive and motivational tool, you also need to identify progressive steps going forward and also dedicate time to work on making your hopes a reality.

Do you currently use a vision board or is it something you would like to have a go at creating? What would be the most prominent image or idea on your board? Let me know in the comments below.

With love and best wishes,

Posted in Blogging, bullet journal, Bullet journaling, Planning and journaling, watercolour painting

Setting up my Bullet Journal for June: Butterflies theme

June is here and the weather is finally starting to warm up and give us blue skies and sunshine. As our gardens start to fill with flowers, we get more and more bees and butterflies visiting and the latter is the focus of my bullet journal this month. Again, I wanted to get my watercolour paints out, this time for a single focal image. I hope you like the results and that they inspire you to give a butterfly theme a go some time. The pages took me quite a while to produce, hence me being a little behind schedule sharing them but better late than never eh?!!

Front cover

One of my favourite butterflies is the peacock butterfly with its bright colours and its spectacular eye spots. I found a photograph online and printed it for reference and also did a black and white copy which I traced so as to get the butterfly looking symmetrical (yes, I cheated but I wanted the focus to be on the watercolour, not drawing!). I spent a while creating the perfect bluey colour and I’m definitely getting much better at colour mixing. The other colours were relatively easy to get right but the painting took a long while as I used tiny brushes for the details. I also used a Pigma Micron to do the stripy detailing along the top and a while gel pen for the spots. I was pleased with the results and the use of pale yellow paper at the top and bottom of the page has nicely hidden a problem I had with water dripping on the page which caused some of the Tombow ink from the calendar page to seep through (I may have cried a little when I messed up though!).

Watercolour peacock butterfly
Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

Calendar page

After spending a full afternoon on my front cover, I decided to keep the decoration on the calendar page quite simple. The line drawn butterflies were lightly sketched first to get the wing shapes and symmetry looking okay and then I inked them with a 0.3 Pigma Micron. I was surprised by how long it took me to draw them but then. drawing isn’t a strength of mine.

Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative
Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative
Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

Gratitude pages

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been doing these gratitude pages for a while now. At the moment, I’m struggling with negativity due to various medical complaints impacting on my mental health and this means that finding things to be grateful for becomes a little more difficult but all the more useful. Sitting down and coming up with two or three things each night, reminds me that there are some good things to be thankful for. I’ve filled in the first two days to give you an idea of the kinds of things I write.

The meadow washi tape with gold accents is a nice addition to the page and I also added lots of tiny punched paper butterflies around the title section. I used a multipurpose glue and a little pin head to apply it to the reverse – time consuming again but they look cute I think.

Photo Credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative
Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

Yoga Session Tracker

Another spread I’ve been doing for a while to record my daily yoga practice. I write down which YouTube yoga routine I’ve done so I can make sure I’m targeting different parts of the body and ensure that I’m not repeating sequences too often. I was keeping a yoga journal too but I seem to have got out of the habit of writing in there at the moment so this will do for now.

Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my spreads for this month. I’m also planning on setting up a mood diary but I will hopefully be sharing this in my next Monday Matters post on the 7th. I’m now going to spend half an hour checking out everyone else’s spreads for this month as I love looking at a variety of themes and layout styles – I may have to set a timer though as it’s easy to lose hours on blog posts, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube as I’m sure you’ll all be well aware!

Just one more thing before I go…

I just want to share this little graphic which popped onto my phone screen yesterday. Thank you so much to all of you who take the time to read my blog – I appreciate every single view, like and comment.

Posted in art, bullet journal, Bullet journaling, watercolour painting

Setting up my bullet journal for May: Floral theme

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all doing okay. For this month in my bullet journal, I took inspiration from our garden and decided to do a floral theme – I know it’s a popular / common theme but hopefully my take on it is a little bit different. There are so many stunningly delicate flowers popping out right now and quite a few of them in one of our beds have been a complete surprise because they’ve self seeded from next door’s hanging baskets that they had up last year (no idea how this has happened as their baskets are on the other side of a six foot fence). The result is some wonderfully thick clumps of viola and pansies in an array of gorgeous Spring colours. Not a bad display for a cost of £0.00! I hope you enjoy looking at my spreads for May and I wonder if they might prompt you to do a little watercolouring in your bullet journal sometime soon?

The front cover

Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

To enable me to include lots of different flowers and leaves, I decided to try out a watercolour wreath for my cover page. I used my Helix circle drawing tool to create the basic shape and then lightly sketched out the flowers and leaves. Most are based on real florals including cherry blossom (which is overhanging our garden from next doors tree), forget-me-not (which we often see on woodland walks) and the little patches of bedding plants, but I did use a little artistic license in places when it came to the leave shapes and colours. When I was happy with the basic design, I used a 003 Pigma Micron to ink them in. The ink is waterproof so it works great with watercolour.

I had great fun mixing different shades of watercolour and was glad of my three plastic mixing palettes. I used a size 0 brush for most of the larger areas and a teeny tiny 3/0 brush for the little berries and the thin stems. After everything was dry, I added some little dots of gold here and there to give the piece a bit of shimmer – it probably doesn’t show up well on the camera but IRL, it looks good! In the past, I’ve used watercolour paper to create a design to paint and then photocopied the finished piece but the colours are never the same on the printed image so I’m pleased I painted straight into my bullet journal.

The Monthly Calendar

Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

This is my usual calendar set up – it’s just the right size for noting appointments and events so I never see the need to change it. There are lots of different cute colour combos in the little violas and pansies so I decided to have a go a painting some of them. I spent hours doing the different florals, mixing the paint to get shades just like the real flowers and adding the little lines from the centre. There was lots of precision involved but I’m really pleased with how they turned out. The 160gsm paper means that the paint doesn’t bleed through but it’s not as smooth to work on as watercolour paper. My next BuJo has the same thickness of paper so I’ll definitely be doing some more painting in the future.

2 lines a day Gratitude Log

Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

I’ve really enjoyed filling in my gratitude log each evening for the last two months and it has become very much a part of my routine. This is the same set up as before with the addition of some watercolour behind the heading. I used the wet into wet technique so the previous and next page have gone a bit wrinkly but I’m pleased with how it turned out so I don’t mind too much!

For my daily entries, I include simple things such as the supermarket having my favourite sandwiches in stock for our picnic, paracetamol to ease my foot pain and a new yoga sequence on YouTube to try. There are so many benefits of practising gratitude, one of which is increased optimism so I highly recommend it.

Yoga session tracker

Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

I’ve been doing yoga for well over a year now. I started attending a class but it was quickly cancelled due to COVID-19 so I now do sequences from my favourite YouTube Channel Yoga with Lin and Leo. I miss the chance to have input from the teacher and I’m looking forward to the chance to interact with others in a class but I’ll definitely continue to use the channel to practise regularly at home. This line a day tracker allows me to record my sessions in brief and identify my rest days. Hopefully, some day soon, I’ll be able to write down some face-to-face classes!

May Memories

This is another spread I’ve been doing for a few months now. It’s a place to record anything of note that happened such as a wildlife spot, lunch with a friend, interesting purchases, places visited etc. I’ve left the décor minimal so I’ve got plenty of room to write. Before photographing, I wrote a memory from yesterday so that you can see what my entries look like.

Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

That’s all of my initial spreads for this month. As I’ve said before, I don’t draw up weekly plans anymore as I just end up wasting space if there’s not much going on that day or I end up filling days with to do lists of things that really don’t need to be done on a specific day.

Final words

I hope you’ve enjoyed having a sneak peek at my spreads for May even if I shared them a little later than planned. Don’t forget to let me know in the comments what theme you’ve chosen this time and if you’ve shared your pages on your blog, I will be sure to check them out. Hopefully next month I’ll find the time to get cracking a little earlier and the lighting will be more conducive to taking photos (the April showers have saved themselves up until the final week of April and have then continued on into the first week of May).

Happy bullet journalling,

Posted in art, bullet journal, Bullet journaling, Planning and journaling, watercolour painting

Setting up my Bullet Journal for April: April showers theme

Hi everyone, hope you are all well and enjoying the warmer weather. This month, I’ve gone for an April showers theme featuring umbrellas and raindrops. Again, I had fun practising my drawing skills for the brollies and I also decided to get out my watercolours for the cover page using my Winsor & Newton Cotman paints for the large umbrella and my watercolour pencils for the tiny raindrops. I hope you enjoy looking at my spreads.

Cover page

For my cover page, I kept it simple with a single umbrella which I sketched in pencil onto hot pressed (smooth) watercolour paper and then inked using a Pigma micron pen in 02. I then wet some Cadmium Red deep straight out of the tube and used it for the top of the umbrella, applying the paint with a size 6 brush. After that had dried, I added a tiny amount of black to the mixture to create a darker contrasting hue for the underneath of the umbrella. By letting the first colour dry thoroughly, I avoided any colour bleeds when applying the darker colour. After leaving the umbrella to dry overnight to avoid any smudging, I drew the raindrops with the Pigma pen and then coloured them in with a dark blue watercolour pencil before using a small damp paintbrush (in size 0) to activate the paint. I was really careful not to lean on any of the wet paint as I didn’t want any issues like those I had with the calendar page as you will see next! The image was then scanned into my computer, pasted into a MS Publisher document and the month added.

Monthly calendar

For my calendar, I wrote April on dot grid paper and then cut it out to stick in as the header. The calendar is my usual six dots x six dots grid drawn with a 0.3 Pigma pen. The umbrellas are hand-drawn and coloured in with my watercolour pencils and then wetted to activate the paint. The raindrops were also done in the same way. As you can see, there are a few smudges, one from some Tombow ink and the other from accidentally dripping water on a couple of the raindrops. I’ve tried to cover them over with my white gel pen but I’m still not happy with it!

Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

Another two double page Spring collage!

I enjoyed creating the other collages so much that I decided to do another one. Again, the photos are from Google Images. The paper backgrounds are from a paper pack I got from The Range and the hearts and flowers are cut with mini punches from Hobbycraft. Some stickers and ephemera completed the spreads nicely! The pages are such a joy to look at and I’m so pleased with how they turned out.

Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative
Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

Yoga session tracker

This is where I record the session I followed on YouTube or the e-book sequence I followed. I also write in my yoga journal but I find writing in here gives me an at a glance record so I can be sure to have focused on stretching different parts of my body throughout the month. Again, I got smudges of Tombow elsewhere – the joys of being a leftie!

Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

TBR and reading information spread

Again, I wanted to do a spread which shows the books I plan to read over the next couple of months. I also have an extra novel that I’m not going to get around to by the end of March too but I’d already done the spread so I shall read it in a few months time.

The benefits of reading fiction spider diagram was useful for reminding me about the benefits of reading for pleasure and also gave me the idea of writing this blog post. I’ve also done a bit of journalling about my reading and the books on my virtual TBR pile. I think it’s nice to include colour versions of the covers in my BuJo because, as I think I’ve said before, you don’t get to see them on the Paperwhite version of Kindle.

Photo credit: Laura Jones for Keeping It Creative

2 lines a day gratitude

A simple spread where I record at least three things a day for which I am grateful. I did this last month too and really enjoyed filling it in each evening.

That’s most of my spreads that I thought you might like to see this month. I have really got into using my bullet journal again now that my mental health has improved. I would love to know what theme you have chosen and, as usual, if you’ve shared your spreads on your blog, don’t forget to include a link so that other readers can have a nosey as well as me!

Happy bullet journalling!

Posted in bullet journal, Bullet journaling, creativity, gardening, Planning and journaling, productivity, TN journaling

Spring is coming! Pretty, practical and creative journal spreads you must try

Spring officially starts on Saturday 20th March but there are already so many signs that the season is on its way. It’s a pretty chilly 3 degrees here in Sunderland today (warm coat and scarf weather), but last weekend, the temperatures rose to highs of 13 and it felt like Summer had arrived (never mind Spring) when my husband and I took a coastal walk in the bright sunshine and under cloudless blue skies! The warmer conditions have meant that lots of things are starting to pop up in the garden including early flowerers such as daffodils and tulips. One of our regular hedgehog visitors has even been tempted out of hibernation which is pretty early in comparison to previous years. There might still be lots of worries with regard to Covid around at the moment, but I think its super important to celebrate the small stuff and remind ourselves that there’s still lots to be grateful for right now and plenty to look forward to in the not too distant future. With that in mind, today I’m sharing some practical and pretty journal spreads, for your BuJo or your TN inserts, that I’ve created this week and really encourage you to try.

Spring flowers collage spread

This bright and colourful collage spread was created using pictures printed from Google images following a search for early Spring blooming flowers. They depict shrubs and bulbs which we actually have in our garden but most of which are not yet out. I copied the text in the left hand corner of page one of the double spread from an article which I found on the Woodland Trust website as I thought it was particularly fitting for the theme. The stickers are some I had left over from the Blooming Lovely collection and I discovered I had matching washi tape in my stash too. Both of these pages make me feel happy every time I look at them and I revisit it most days.

A pretty quote page

This was a free printable from https://www.bluemountain.com/blog/ I’ve printed it twice and put one copy in my bullet journal and a slightly larger version on the wall in my craft room. I found the quote by typing ‘spring quotes and sayings’. There’s lots to choose from and as long as you’re just printing them for personal rather than commercial use, you can add them to any of your journals or a prominent place in your home!

Garden jobs for Spring

This spread is purely practical, although I did add a few cute stickers! My husband and I sat down and listed some garden jobs that we would like to get done this month as a useful reference to see what needs doing and to see how much we’ve achieved. There’s not much on it yet, but by the end of the month, I reckon the list will be much longer (hopefully with lots crossed off!).

Time spent in nature

I love to document days out which my husband and I enjoy and, even though we’re limited to the local area at the moment, due to lockdown, we still go out for a walk each day. Last weekend, as I said earlier, it was really warm so we headed to our local coast. It was really busy there but as we’d had lots of sunshine, the grass was dry enough to walk on and it was easy to keep socially distant from others. I took a screenshot of the temperature on my phone as we couldn’t believe how warm it was for the end of February!

Shoots and leaves

There’s lots starting to emerge in the garden and so I took my phone out there and snapped a few signs of growth. It’s exciting to see things popping up even if some of them are weeds! The photos aren’t wonderful as I wanted them to just be quick pics but it will be good to compare how things look now with how they look in a few month’s time.

Plant and flower factfiles

This is something I started doing as part of last year’s garden related spreads. Basically, it’s just info from the plastic card you get stuck in the pots when you buy a plant or details which are included on the seeds or bulbs packet. It’s handy to know the exact variety you have and what they will look like when they come into bloom. Also, doing a little sketch of them is quite relaxing and therapeutic too! I messed up the lettering on the page so have stuck a piece on I cut from a page at the back of my journal. IRL, you can’t see it as badly as you can at the bottom of the header as you can in the photo.

Final words…

I hope you are tempted to have a go at at least one of these spreads – I guarantee they will make you smile when you look back over them if you do. I would love it if you would take the time to add your thoughts or your own ideas in the comments below. And, as always, if you’ve created any Spring spreads and shared them online, leave the link and I’ll be sure to check them out.