right now | march 2014

March saw our family anticipating the arrival of Spring and my 50th birthday.

We were quite stunned when my Father-in-Law passed away suddenly, and way too early, at the age of 69 on March 18th. I want to share with you my memories of this amazing man we all called Papa and honor his memory, soon, but it is still quite unbearable for me to speak or think about him for long about without tears rolling down my cheeks.

One day.

march  |  3.30.14

sad. heartbroken. confused. grateful. loved.

on the to do list
taxes, taxes, taxes!

my guilty pleasure
online shopping

whipping post. costco. sharpie's.

dreaming about
warm, beautiful, sunny Spring days.

grateful for
family + friends.

Download your page template here
Here's the post where I share how I created my mini album.

right now 2014 archives
january february march april may june july august september october november december 

birthday countdown calendar

Tomorrow is the big 5-Oh for me and I wanted to share this birthday countdown calendar the girls created. All we have to do is remove the white tags and turn it over to reveal the next countdown number. About 10 tags fit on our nail, to which I've added a yellow enamel dot to the nail head. 

Birthday Countdown Calendar | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

The week before Spring Break, Victoria had a terribly painful case of strep throat. The worst case any of my three kids have ever had. Thankfully, she had moments of relief and in those moments, Victoria wanted something fun to do.

I have had the cupcake shape for some time and Gordon even drilled a hole in the top for a candle for me {probably a year go, but don't tell anyone} so that it would look like a real cupcake! Out came the paint bin and brushes.

She was a happy girl and Isabella painted the other side of the cupcake when she got home from school.

Birthday Countdown Calendar | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

Makes me happy my kiddos like crafty projects as much as I do!

gratitude journal | weeks 9 - 11

The journey to a grateful heart begins with a single thought.

Totally made that up just now, but it's true. Try it. Thinking good things about the smallest of things in our lives that we take for granted makes a big difference.

Week 9
I hunted down my old rotary date stamper and used it for the dates this week.

Week 10
I made a modified paper flower {tutorial here} and used a brad to keep it together.

Week 11
Office supply papers just make me happy. Must be because I loved finding stuff like that at Big K and would use them when I played store or bank as a pre-teen.

The shop stocks the Gratitude Journal from January - December, each month adding the next month's selection while still keeping the previous months available as well. It's really neat to see that customers are still purchasing the January - December journal, making me think that they have already been documenting their thankful thoughts and happened upon my Journal and decided to splurge a little bit on themselves. 

And I am thankful for that.

If you'd like to be featured here sharing your Gratitude Journal from my shop, e-mail me {click on the yellow envelope under my photo in the sidebar} so that we can choose a date that works for your schedule.

And be sure to check out Kate's post where she shares tips and suggestions for staying current with your journaling.

felt shamrock baker's twine headband

The Twinery has a great big, happy announcement over on the blog today and I'm happy to share that I'm still on the Design Team. In celebration of four really fun years, I want to share with you a felt shamrock headband made with the perfect shade of green baker's twine, Peapod.

#St. Patrick's Day #felt #shamrock #clover #diy #headband #hearts

You all know how much I adore The Twinery as a company, a product and as one of my very favorite crafting supplies. You can find more of my tutorials + projects using The Twinery baker's twine here on the blog and I sometimes post sneak peeks on Facebook and Instagram.

Now on to our project and just in time for St. Patrick's Day!

#tutorial #diy #shamrock #felt #headband

Our youngest daughter has moved on from the darling hair bows I wish she were still wearing and is now into headbands. We have our fair share of headbands that are past their prime, so I recycle them by pulling off outer wrapping and then recycle them by wrapping them with my favorite shade of baker's twine.

  1. I've found that glue dots are the best best for success with this project and suggest using several along the inside of the headband. Be sure to wait until you get to where you want to add a glue dot and then add it, not all at once...you risk the chance of handling the glue dot and it will lose its stickiness factor.
  2. To form the felt shamrock, trace a heart shape onto felt and cut four times. Fold the hearts in half and stack two of the folded heart shapes one on top of the other and hand stitch the pointed ends together. 
  3. Repeat for the other two felt heart shapes.
  4. Stitch the two sections together, working them so that they form a shamrock shape.
  5. Glue a bead in the middle to hide your messy stitching. Oh, maybe that's just my messy stitching, I'm sure yours will look lovely!
  6. Adhere to your baker's twine wrapped recycled headband and I guarantee your 8-year old daughter that is home with strep throat will be amazed at how you figure things out and will give you a great big hug and say, "Thank you, Mommy!" as best as her scratchy throat and high fever will allow her.

DESIGN NOTE  |  The wrapping of the baker's twine around the headband does take some time. The difficulty level is zero and it's the perfect thing to do during commercial breaks or in the school pick-up line, which is where I do quite a few things, don't you?

Don't want to wrap the whole headband? Take a look at another headband project I did!

guest blogger | kate ware

I'm happy to introduce a guest today, my friend Kate Ware

Although we've never met in person, I can send her a quick Facebook message or a longer e-mail and she's there. We've even spoken on the phone. She gets me. And she understands, just like in real-life friends do. She doesn't judge when I lapse in communicating often enough and she's always encouraging. So very encouraging and sweet and kind.

Today, Kate is sharing her Gratitude Journals with us, her perspective on the process and what has encouraged her to continue into her 3rd year of journaling her thankful thoughts. 

From Kate
I am grateful for Monika. 

Hi – My name is Kate, and I am so pleased that Monika has asked me to share my Gratitude Journal with you!  We have been {online} friends for a little over two years, but I have to be honest – it feels like we’ve been friends forever!  Monika is so creative, and so very supportive – not to mention a great mama and wife to her Mr.!  I am so blessed to call her friend.  I honestly can’t remember where I first discovered Monika . . . if it was her blog, her Etsy shop, or on Instagram (she was my first follower!).  I’m just grateful that I *did* find her, and that we’ve become friends. 

This is the third year I’ve used her Gratitude Journal, and I have purchased many of her other minis and prints, as well – you just can’t beat her great quality and excellent customer service!  The first year I ordered a Gratitude Journal (2012), it was very touch and go – I would do really well for a week or two, and then I would skip a month.  I think part of that was from going through some personal problems, and there were days that I just couldn’t seem to find anything to be grateful for.  I know, that sounds horrible and very, well, ungrateful!! But when you deal with depression and anxiety like I do, some days are just very dark.  Towards the end of 2012, I recall talking to Monika about this, and realizing it was okay to list something that was seemingly small and insignificant {to me}.  At that point I decided that that would be a resolution of mine for 2013.  I would find something to be grateful for every day. And you know what? I did. 

Journaling is such an individualistic project – there is literally no wrong way to do it!  Here are some things I’ve discovered that work for me:

1.   I keep my journal in my craft room, because I like to add bits and pieces to it – and if it’s downstairs, where I spend a lot of my time, then the bits and pieces migrate with it, and pretty soon it takes over the table.  LOL!  Last year, I started using an app for my IPhone called “Gratitude 365.”  It’s an easy way for me to keep track of my gratitudes, especially on vacation, because my phone is always with me.  I then take my phone upstairs about once a week and write my gratitudes in my journal.  Along with this, I have a reminder set on my iPhone for 9pm each evening that reminds me to list a gratitude if I haven’t already. 
2.   Don’t make it harder than it has to be.  Some days I get really verbose and wordy – other days, I can sum up my gratitude in two words – Take Out. 
3.   It’s easy to think of the obvious things – food on the table, a roof over our heads, clothes to wear . . . and these are important. But sometimes, the gratitude is found in the little things – like afternoon snacks with your kids, or snuggles with your puppies, even comfortable shoes.
4.   Monika’s journals are wonderfully made; however, as I said, I like to add bits and pieces.  Washi is one of my favorite things to add.  I also have used colored pencils, labels, die cuts, and ribbon (added to the tags) to name just a few.  The possibilities are endless to personalize your journal and make it yours.   

The amazing thing is, once you stop each day and look back, and find something to be grateful for, it makes it just that much easier the next day, and the next . . . and pretty soon, your whole outlook on life is brighter.  Whether you use an app on your phone, one of Monika’s journals, or even a little dollar store notebook it doesn’t matter – what matters is taking the time to find the good things in life, and taking a moment to reflect on them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the little trip through my approach to my gratitude journals – I would love to have you follow me on Instagram where I'm @mnkware where I post photos of my life, my puppies, and my crafts. 

My Thanks
I can't thank Kate enough for her insight and her tips. I especially love that she sets herself reminders on her phone to journal, if she hasn't already done so for that day and that she journals on her phone throughout the week and transfers all her thankful thoughts from phone to Gratitude Journal once a week.
Connect with Kate

49 lists | and the lists go on

In my last post, I went a little deeper into my purpose for creating 49 Lists.

49 Lists | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

I've participated in listing challenges before and found them highly entertaining and fulfilling creatively, so it should really come as no surprise that I'm enjoying the creation of this mini album immensely.

Keep It Simple

That's today's mantra...keep it simple. I have been jotting down bits and pieces of lists while I have a few moments each day for quite a while, mostly during my wait in the school pick-up line, but occasionally in a few stolen moments lounging in bed. 

I found the easiest way to keep them in one place was to house them in my planner as I have that with me most often and I don't misplace it like I might a bits and scraps of paper or the cute notebook or ten I have lying around.

49 Lists | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

Utilize Your Letter Stickers

I wanted to share with you how your everyday, have-them-in-every-color letter sticker can elevate a list topic and draw attention to what a specific topic or word or feeling or...

49 Lists | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

5 on the 5th | march 2014

We have been treated to some marvelously beautiful, sunny, warm days and have been taking advantage of them as one never knows when the weather will turn cold and dreary again. I'm not convinced that Spring is here to stay.

I'm changing up how I post my #5onthe5th photos this month, just to see if I like it. 

5 on the 5th | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

1 | Doing errands in town on this beautiful day!
I wouldn't normally take a photo of the inside of my purse, but I was doing a photo challenge and thought, "Why not?" I don't usually carry too much with me, but love that this bag has enough room for be to throw whatever I need in there. It's quickly become one of my favorites.

5 on the 5th | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

2 | Another day, another car pick-up line. Sunroof down on this 55* day running errands and I have a fun trip to town for dinner planned for the girls. When DaDa is away on business, the Wright Girls WILL have fun! I couldn't believe that 55* actually felt this deliciously warm.

5 on the 5th | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

3 | The first of many crowded, messy dressing rooms in my future. 
When the girls modeled their outfits for their DaDa, he told me later, "I'm not sure we're ready for outfits like that." Yes, I agree, but one every now and then is okay. I think we still want them both to stay our little girls.

5 on the 5th | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

4 | Zach and his buddies {in Charleston}. And how did the most handsome one end up in the back? {No offense to has nice friends that agreed to have a stranger take their photo so that Zach could satisfy his Mama's request for a #5onthe5th photo. Thanks, Zach's friends!}
Zach remembered to send along a photo, with one or two gentle reminders from his Mama. 

5 on the 5th | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

5 | Gordon is away on business:  he's crunching numbers while munching on a Moon Pie. 

5 on the 5th | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

I really enjoyed visiting the #5onthe5th hashtag on Instagram to see what everyday moments of your extraordinary lives you were documenting!

If you're new to the blog and want to know more about 5 on the 5th, read this blog post. If you post about your own #5onthe5th photos, leave a comment so I can drop by for a visit!

follow along on Instagram {monikawright_iloveitall} where I tag my photos with #5onthe5th
all photos made using my iPhone 5s

filofax friday | notepad tutorial

Remember the last time you were out running errands and you need to jot something down? 

Happens to me all the time, but usually it's while I'm in the school pick-up line or even at school and one of my Mom friends reminds me about something. And often, someone asks me about my shop and I need more room to write than I have on the back of a business card.
Filofax Friday | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com
For our Filofax Friday this month, I want to share with you a Notepad Tutorial. 

DIY Notepad Tutorial
Different Filofax planners have different configurations and numbers of pockets and locations of those pockets. In my Personal sized Finsbury, it seemed the only place I could make a notepad work was the long, vertical pocket on the inside front cover. And for that I needed a notepad gummed on the side.

No luck in finding one, so I decided to try my hand at making my own. Here's a sample in my most favorite of all planners, my yellow Finsbury.

Filofax Friday Notepad Tutorial | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

  1. Design your notepad in your favorite word processing program. I included my logo at the top with my name, shop website and blog address at the bottom right and used a dotted yellow border on three sides.
  2. Print as many sheets as you desire, trim to size and neatly stack them.
  3. Trim a piece of chipboard. You can be thrifty and recycle a cereal or pasta box for this.
  4. Gather your white craft glue and clips or clothespins.
  5. Slather your edge {either top or side} with glue and clip as close to the glued area as possible without actually clipping over the glued area.
  6. After your edge has dried, glue again. Or at least I did, just to be sure of good adhesion. Leave the clips or clothespins in place until your glue has dried for the second time.
  7. Place in your planner and admire how crafty and resourceful you are!

Filofax Friday Notepad Tutorial | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

And here's how the notepad looks in my Personal sized ochre Malden. I could have added it to the inside front cover pocket as I did with my Finsbury, but I didn't want to cover up all those other pockets and the zipper pocket. To me, the inside back cover seemed the most logical place for a notepad. 

For the Malden, I used a traditional top bound notepad and it works wonderfully. 

Filofax Friday Notepad Tutorial | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

Free Notepad Download
Download your Side Bound notepad template for the Filofax Personal sized planners here.
Download your Top Bound notepad template for the Filofax Personal sized planners here.
More Filofax page printables here.

To Filofax
Find me on Pinterest where I have a board called to filofax where I pin fun planner goodies, and here are more Filofax downloads.

month-in-review | february 2014

Oh, wow. A busy month with lots of basketball games and a Science Fair project.

Month-In-Review Mini Album Download | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

I'm so proud of my children, as most parents are. And we had a life lesson learned the hard way this month. Isabella's Parks + Rec basketball team was undefeated going into the Semi Final game and won it. They lost the Final game of the season, it being the only game they lost, which proved that undefeated does not mean you are always the winner. 

While Isabella was researching her Science Fair project topic, Victoria decided she would do some research of her own, writing her own project on Magnets, complete with hand drawn illustrations. She quite liked using the internet to gather information and when ger teacher asked her to present it to the class, she was very happy.

Yes, you read that right, Gordon bought yet another Scout {this time a TravelAll} and a new BMW. Total opposites of the car buying spectrum as one was not running at all when he purchased it and the other goes from 0 to 60mph in 5 seconds. This we know for a fact. It is fast and furious.

Feel free to design your own cover, or download the cover I'm using. I included 2013 for you as well.

49 lists | a mini album

In just a few weeks, I'll be turning 50.

While on the My Mind's Eye Design Team, I created a 49 Lists mini album repurposing the cover of a vintage book, adding in pages made with gorgeous MME papers, embellishments, journaling cards and other little found goodies. The idea was to journal throughout my 49th year so that when 50 rolled around, I had a snapshot of who I was during that year.

Here's Where It All Began
To celebrate the last year I'll ever have in my 40's, insert a very long sigh, I decided to share a bit of who I am, how I feel, what I think and what makes me, me, with my future generations. I doubt that my children will find this very interesting right now, but in years to come, I'm hoping that it will help them to understand who their Mommy was during her 49th year of life. 

I would love to know how my Mom felt at 49. And most certainly my Oma since she lived all the way in Germany.

My theme of 49 lists works out just perfectly for me. There are 52 weeks in a year which means I'll be reminded to create a list at least once a week. I've already journaled 5 list topics since my birthday in late March. Want to take a peek? This type page is a lovely way to hide a more private note.

My journaling card already had the numbers and all I had to do was add the places I've called home in my 49 years. It's hard for me to believe that I've lived 15 years in one place...longest streak ever for me.

After removing the book pages, I used a variety of Decorative Tapes to cover the spine area and add a few more strips to the back cover as well. See how I've utilized my tapes to signify the number 49 below?

And I just had to include a page from the original book I recycled. Using the library card from MME, I created a pocket and added a Decorative Brad. You can also find more library cards in my shop here.

One list at a time from now until my next birthday, which will be the big Five-Oh!

Rather than just trimming your paper to the exact size, add a variety of page styles to your mini album project. Knowing that I would be more apt to list each week if my album pages were already trimmed and semi-embellished, I created nearly all my pages at one time. I purposely left room in my album to add additional pages using the new collections as they are released.

I created a List Love Pinterest board a while back and added possible listing ideas as I found them. As I was trimming and creating my pages, I was so happy to find that many of the die cut titles and journaling spots were perfect jumping off points for my listing all on their own.

Here's one to show you how I've semi-embellished a page, inserted a note about a possible list topic and it's all ready for me to journal my thoughts.

By repurposing an old book cover and removing the pages inside, I've created a "new" book with colorful pages and embellishments using a variety of collections from My Mind's Eye.

Here's Where I Am Now
I've been journaling my lists in bits and pieces in my Filofax while I'm waiting in the school pick-up line or while Gordon watches his car shows...he likes it when I "watch" them with him but then gets distracted and doesn't realize I'm doing a bit of journaling while I watch. Hee hee.

Having my pages pre-cut, hole-punched and ready and waiting for me has been wonderful. For this set of lists, I just nabbed a few journaling cards and got to listing. By adding some baker's twine, chipboard die cuts and letter stickers I've upped the style factor and added a bit of my personality.

49 Lists | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

And of course, how could I do lists without the appearance of my new favorite friend, washi tape. By shopping my stash, I found some Thickers, letter stickers, a guest check and a library card to fit my mood.

In the top left list, notice that I used the name of the MME paper line, Lucky In Love, as my journaling jump off point. For the "10" list, I actually didn't add the Thickers until after the list was finished and had to add the zero sideways, but I love that I did it that way now.

For my favorite drinks, which I now realize I did not title {I'll go back and add that now} a retro guest check seemed perfect.

49 Lists | iloveitallwithmonikawright.com

I'll be posting the rest of my lists throughout the month as I count down my last days in my 40's and enter a new decade, sure to be full of adventures and memories and joy!

Find more charming mini books + journals.
Here's my List Love Pinterest board.
Download your tutorial with tips and suggestions here.
Find the library cards I used here.
Find book binder rings in numerous sizes here.