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Mommy Lhey February 2017 Little Bits Box Unboxing | Review

Mommylhey Little Bits Box

For those who love adding cute and colorful paper accents to their planners and traveler’s notebooks, the Mommy Lhey Designs “Little Bits Box” is a fun way to do it. I love planner supplies, but with my work and school schedule I don’t seem have time to go to very many stationary and planner shows. I have some favorite designers that I keep an eye out for, but otherwise I just don’t have time to do much searching for new products. When I heard that Mommy Lhey had a created a monthly subscription box which started in January, I jumped up and ordered it. I have purchased the “Little Bits Boxes” in the past when they were sold individually, however they sell out fast and I missed out on quite a few of them. Lhey Ralston is one of my favorite designers. She designs these adorable whimsical box sets that just make me smile every time I look or use bits and pieces from a “Little Bits” box.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box

The Mommylhey “Little Bits” Box works a little differently than some of the other subscription boxes that are available. You pay for the box a month in advance. So since I joined in January 2017, my first box was the February 2017 box, which I just got two weeks ago. She pays close attention to the items she includes in each box, and if something does not come up to her standards, the box may be delayed a little so she can get it resolved. Each monthly stationary subscription box includes a card from Mommy Lhey that has all the items in the box listed. For those who are visual people like me, I am going to list what came in the Little Bits planner supply box and add a picture of each item. The theme for the February 2017 Box is “Fresh Picked” and it contains a variety of stationary items. She personally designs the papers for each box and makes them two sided so you can choose which side you like best. Below are the items that were included in the February Fresh Picked Stationery box.

Mommylhey Little Bits Box Pattern Papers side A

There’s three sheets of  colorful patterned papers (with front and back designs on them) with the sweet “fresh picked” theme.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Pattern Papers Side B

The package of six journaling cards are very colorful and still small enough for me to use in my hobonichi planners.  These were in the same color family as the die cuts.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Journaling Cards

The Mommy Lhey die cuts are really well done and made of a thicker card stock than most.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Die Cuts & Ephemera

The box also contained a package of enamel dots, which is probably the only thing I was not excited about. I tend to not use them because they add too much dimension to my planner pages.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Enamel Dots

There was also this great package of  watermelon slice sticky notes!

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Sticky Note pad

The box also contained a package that held eight Sticker Sheets which is one of the largest amounts of stickers that I found a monthly subscription box to have without paying an extra fee for more stickers. Most boxes have two to four pages of sticker sheets. Below is a sampling of the stickers that came in the box:

Mommy Lhey Package of Eight Sheets of assorted stickers

Mommy Lhey Planner Stickers

Mommy Lhey Box Planner Stickers

This month, Mommy Lhey included a cute 2″x3″ stamp set that is the perfect size to use in my various planners ( an A5 Planner, Personal Planner, and some  Hobonichi planners). I am so glad that she used the fruits for tiny accent stamps and  had a little girl eating a watermelon for the larger stamp. I don’t think I would have had much use for a large fruit stamp. Since the stamp set is so small, these stamps also worked well in my micro traveler’s notebook. If you use them in a Hobonichi, just be careful what ink you use, though. Some inks really show through on the Tomoe River paper.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Stamp Set

She always includes a planner clip and charm in each box. For the February 2017 Little Bits box, she has included a cute little girl planner paper clip and an adorable cactus planner charm.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Planner Clip & Planner Charm

I’ve looked a long time for one stencil that works in both my A5 planner and my Hobonichi Weeks Planner. I really like this stencil because it is small enough to fit in my Hobonichi Weeks box and it has a great assortment of useful designs like squares, flags, arrows, circles, checkmarks and more. She manages to fit quite a bit of shapes into a small stencil. You can see that there is some slight excess plastic on the arrow cut out, so I just cut it with scissors and smoothed it out with a nail file so that it would work perfectly.

Mommy Lhey - Planner Stencil

There’s also a pom pom pen and a “MyPrima Glue Pen” by Prima Marketing. I love this glue pen. It fits right into my pencil bag and I can easily carry it around with me. It also works very well at adhering my paper items. My daughter loved the pom pom pen because it had a fun plaid design on it.

My Prima Glue Pen and a Pom Pom Pen

Of course, it would not be planner supply box if she did not include a roll of washi tape. This month’s washi tape has a strawberry theme.

Mommy Lhey Little Bits Box Washi Tape

I feel this monthly subscription box gives me a lot of value of the monthly fee of $24.99 (plus shipping).  I really enjoy all of Lhey Ralston’s designs and look forward each month to her new releases. You can see more of Lhey Ralston’s design on her instagram page @mommylhey or her Facebook page.

[Note: this is an unsponsored post. I am a paid Mommy Lhey subscriber.]

How To Sew Your Own Traveler’s Journal Cover

Traveler’s journals are hot right now, and they are perfect for creating mini scrapbooks while you are actually on your trip. But did you know that it is surprisingly easy to create your own cover that is themed to your trip? In only a few steps, you can learn how to sew your own traveler’s journal cover!

[Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links to Amazon.com that pay this site a commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase after clicking.]

How to sew your own traveler's journal cover

Since I was anticipating spending a few days in Paris as part of my trip to Creativeworld in Frankfurt, I decided to make myself a Paris themed journal to record this long-awaited trip. My traveler’s journal cover holds three Midori Traveler’s Notebook refills – just enough to have one for each day in Paris, and one for my time in Frankfurt at the show.

How To Sew Your Own Traveler's Journal Cover

You do not have to be an advanced skill sewist to learn how to sew your own traveler’s journal cover. There are no fancy techniques in this project. It’s about choosing the right materials and tools. If you can use an iron and an eyelet setter, and sew a straight line, you can make your own traveler’s journal cover for your next trip!

DIY Traveler’s Journal Supplies:

How To Sew Your Own Traveler’s Journal Cover:

1) To begin, cut your fabric and interfacing to sizes indicated in supply list.

I selected a Paris themed fabric for my journal, to fit my theme, and used the same fabric for the inside and outside of the journal. If you’d like to have different colors or patterns on the inside and outside of your journal, just cut each 10″ x 12″ fabric panel from different fabrics. This project is great for using up leftover fabric!

ByAnnie’s Soft & Stable, if you have never used it, is what is known as “headliner” fabric – an extremely thick sewable interfacing that is perfect for giving structure to projects like bags and totes. Using it adds a whole new level of professionalism to your sewing, and it makes a great shortcut to stiffen this traveler’s journal cover.

2) Following the package instructions, iron a piece of the Thermoweb Heat’n Bond Lite onto one side of each of the pieces of Soft & Stable. Center each of the pieces of Soft & Stable on top of the back side of a piece of the fabric with the Heat’n Bond side down, and iron to adhere.

3) You should now have two pieces of fabric with a piece of Soft & Stable adhered to the center of the back of them, with a half inch of fabric showing all around it.

4) Fold the corners of the seam allowance in diagonally and iron in place. Then fold over the sides and iron in place as well. (By folding the corners in first, this will leave you with nice clean mitred corners!)

5) After trimming it down slightly, iron the remaining sheet of Heat’n Bond Lite onto the back of one of the cover pieces. Then lay the other cover piece back to back with it, make sure they are correctly aligned, and iron to adhere them together with the Heat’n Bond.

6) Sew around the outside edge of the covers with a sewing machine, stitching approximately 1/8″ from the edge. If necessary, pin the two covers together to keep the edges aligned while sewing.

How to sew your own traveler's journal cover

Now you have the structure of a cover, but it needs attachments for the journal books. My finished cover looked like the photo above. It has two loops of elastic cord, anchored in different ways to hold the three journal books.

First, you need to create the eyelets that are the anchors of the whole cord system.

7) Using a tool like a CropADile or a leather punch, make two holes 5/32″ or slightly smaller that are centered 1/4″ in from the edge along the center fold of your traveler’s journal cover.

8) Place the 5/32″ two part eyelets in the holes and firmly set them using the Dritz 2 Part Eyelet Tool.

how to sew your own traveler's journal cover

9) Cut a piece of round elastic cord that is slightly more than twice the height of your traveler’s journal cover. Thread it snugly through the eyelet holes and knot it at the bottom of the outside of the cover’s spine. Snip off the excess cord and apply Dritz Fray Check to keep the ends from fraying.

how to sew your own traveler's journal cover

10) For the second cord, cut a piece of cord just slightly longer than the distance between the two eyelets. Fold the cord in half and holding both strands together, tie a half knot to create a loop. Trim the ends and apply Dritz Fray Check to secure them.

11) Thread the loop through the eyelet at the top of the traveler’s journal cover, leaving the knot on the outside of the cover. Pull the loop so that it lays underneath the elastic that is threaded through both eyelets. (See picture after #6 above for reference.)

how to sew your own traveler's journal cover

12) Open a journal book to the center staples and slide it under the loop that goes through both eyelets. Close the journal book, capturing the elastic in the center page. This book is now your center of the three journal books.

how to sew your own traveler's journal cover

13) Insert the center page of a journal book through each of the elastics on either side of the center journal book.

how to sew your own traveler's journal cover

14) To keep your journal closed, cut a piece of round elastic cord that fits snugly around the closed journal and tie it. snip the ends and treat with Dritz Fray Check to protect from fraying.

Your journal is complete! I chose three blank books for my journal, but there are lined, graph, and plenty other types of Midori journal books available. Mix and match to create space for writing and drawing, or whatever else you can imagine!

Once you know how to sew your own traveler’s journal cover, it is easy! You won’t be able to stop making them! I’m already planning my next one!

Test | Best Ink Pad for a Bullet Journal or Planner

2017 is coming fast – where did 2016 go? Like many people, the new year coming means I’ve been working on setting up a new planner. You’ll be reading about my new bullet journal blog planner soon, but before I could finish it I had a lot of stamping to do. So I decided to do a test to see what was the best ink pad for a bullet journal or planner!

[Some links in this article are advertiser courtesy links or affiliate links that pay a commission when product is purchased after clicking.]

black-ink-pads

In my search to find the best ink pad for my planner, I tested black inks in a wide range of types from Ranger and ColorBox:

Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black – Scrapbook.com, A Cherry On Top, Amazon.com

ColorBox Archival Dye Ink in Wicked Black – Scrapbook.com, Amazon.com

ColorBox Fluid Chalk in Blackbird – Amazon.com

Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Black Soot – Scrapbook.com, A Cherry On Top, Amazon.com

ColorBox Pigment in Black – Amazon.com

Since all of the tested inks were black, that eliminated differences in the stamping test results from different color tones.

I also decided to test my favorite watercolor palette, the Sakura Koi 24 color Field Sketch Set, since watercolors are another way to add color to a bullet journal and I’m doing some color coding of headers.

Sakura Watercolors

To test the inks to find the best ink pad for a bullet journal, I just turned the last page of my new blog planner into a sample page. My new planner is a Moleskine Hardcover Classic Extra Large Squared journal. I stamped the ink samples onto the page with the new Hero Arts Calendar Pieces stamp set that I’m using to create my blog planner’s calendar pages.

At the bottom of the ink test, I did a couple swatches of watercolor to see how it would perform on my journal’s paper. I also stamped the winning ink from the tests at the top of the page on one of the watercolor swatches to see how they would layer.

ink-pad-for-bullet-journal-test

From the front, all of the inks gave acceptable results. But what about the back? Bleed through to the reverse of the page is a big concern with stamping inks when you are using both sides of a text weight paper page.

ink-pad-for-bullet-journal-test-2

The results from the back of the page were much more definitive than from the front. The top ink on the page, Tim Holtz Distress, bled through the page much less than the other inks. When stamped on top of the watercolor at the bottom of the page, it was barely visible from the back of the page.

The page also stood up well to the light application of watercolor – from the reverse of the page you can see that some slight wrinkling is evident but not enough to make the paper unusable for writing on. The watercolor showed through the paper only as a slight shadow. Compared to the more definite markings of the stamped inks, this makes it a good option for color coding headings and other items.

Below, in actual use, the difference between the inks becomes very apparent. The month/year header is in a bright blue ColorBox pigment ink, which is my go to ink when I want nice juicy color. But on this paper, the bleed through is very distinct, making it not a good choice for this application.

The Sunday and Monday headings on the top right of the page are in black ColorBox Fluid Chalk. Again, this is one of my favorite inks for when I want a nice matte finish look – but in this application it gives terrible bleed through.

The Tuesday and Wednesday headings in the upper left, along with the numbers on the calendar grid, are in black Distress ink. The difference in bleed through is quite apparent – a shadow versus the distinct, readable marks of the other two inks. The back side of this page is not perfect where those inks were stamped, but it is most definitely usable.

ink-pad-for-bullet-journal

So the clear winner of best ink pad for a bullet journal or planner appears to be Tim Holtz Distress ink based on my tests in my Moleskine journal. The Moleskine’s pages are quite thin compared to many planner calendars, so the ink should perform even better in many of today’s most popular planners.

The Tim Holtz Distress inks have another feature (besides low bleed through) that makes them perfect for use in journals and planners: portability. The entire Distress palette of inks is available in 1.25″ square Mini ink pads [available ACOT, Scrapbook.com, Amazon], a very practical size for using with most planner stamps. And they can be re-inked with Distress re-inkers!

Some other inks are available in mini pads, but the Distress Minis have a secret weapon that makes them extra portable.  The affordable Distress Mini tin case [available ACOT, Scrapbook.com, Amazon] is available that securely carries a dozen of the Distress Minis – enough to keep you supplied for almost any planner project.

tim-holtz-distress-mini-storage-tin

I’m assembling myself a custom color palette in my Mini Distress Ink Storage tin that will work for the color coding that I am planning for my planner. To do this, I’ve started by purchasing two of the Distress Mini four packs: Kit #1 and Kit #14. The other four colors (black, red, purple, and probably another green) will be filled in individually, since the Distress Mini Ink Pads are now available open stock. With all of those colors, I will have a full rainbow color palette, plus black, brown and gray, for versatile planning!

tim-holtz-distress-mini-colors

What ink do you use in your planner? What do you like about it?