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Simple Stories Carpe Diem Planner 2016 | Review

Reported by Maria del Pinto

Simple Stories Carpe Diem Planner

All items discussed in this Simple Stories Carpe Diem review were purchased by the author. Some links in the article may be affiliate links that pay a commission to support the operation of this site when readers make a purchase. Thanks for supporting us!

The A5 planner world has a new player for 2016 with the introduction of the completely customizable Simple Stories Carpe Diem planner. The new A5 planner features a six ring metal binder with interior pockets.

The A5 size is new to the company, which previously produced their planners in a 6″x8″ three ring size that was the same as their SNAP album line. The new Simple Stories Carpe Diem A5 binder size is 8” w x 9.4” h, and it has a depth of 1.375” inches with six metal rings. The insert page size is 5.83 x 8.27 inches (around an A5 Size).

Back View of the Simple Stories Carpe Diem Planner Book Box

The Basic Simple Stories Carpe Diem Boxed Package Set cost is around $40. The planner comes with the following:

  • 12 Monthly Calendar Pages
  • 12 Monthly Tabbed Dividers (each with its own design or saying)
  • 72 Weekly Inserts
  • 1 Acetate Dashboard that has a really pretty silver Foiled Saying
  • 7 Assorted Cute Inserts

The Simple Stories Carpe Diem planner comes with monthly inserts that feature a month across two pages. This provides plenty of room for recording data – or decorating.

Simple Stories Carpe Diem Planner Month on 2 Pages

The Carpe Diem planner comes with a horizontal weekly spread, which may not appeal to those who prefer using a vertical weekly spread design.

Simple Stories Carpe Diem Planner Weekly Layout

While not included in the basic kit, Simple Stories does have daily inserts available for purchase via their website and other retailers. The daily pages are great for using as a journal.

All of the Carpe Diem planner pages are undated, so that you can get started at any time you want. I really like this feature because some months are busier than others, and I don’t have to feel so guilty if I leave blank pages with the undated version of planners.

Simple Stories offers a large selection of additional inserts for the Carpe Diem planner which are available via retailers and the Simple Stories website. These add-ons make it easy for the user to customize the planner to suit their own lifestyle, and they include:

The add-on selection on the website and at my local craft store was pretty impressive. They even have cute magnetic page clips available for purchase as part of the planner’s collection!

The Carpe Diem planner binder’s cover is made of split leather-like material that contrasts beautifully with the fun pokadot fabric interior. In the interior of the binder there are four pockets on the inside of the front cover, and then one pocket on the back that contains a really nice notepad.

Simple Stories Carpe Diem Planner Inside Pockets

The rings on my planner work perfectly and make it super easy to add and remove inserts in this book. The rings are about 1″ diameter.

Simple Stories Carpe Diem 1 inch Ring size

I have noticed that the rings on my planner are a bit fragile, however. I recommend that if you use this type of binder, definitely make sure to open the rings using the tab at the top and bottom of the spine as they are designed to be used. Do not pull the rings open because it will break the spring that makes them snap close.

This type of binder planner is great if you like the ability to customize your planner. I also like to only keep three months at a time in my planner so that it does not get too heavy. Having a binder system (versus a spiral bound) allows me to remove or add pages wherever I need to. I loved this planner so much that I purchased three different colors so I will be able to change out my planner covers to match my mood or shoes!

If you use a similar binder system, we would love to hear what you think are some of the pros and cons of using binder systems. Share in the comments below!

Review | 20 Ways to Draw a Butterfly by Trina Dalziel [video]

Reported by Maria del Pinto

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

20 Ways to Draw a Butterfly and 44 Other Things With Wings: A Sketchbook for Artists, Designers, and Doodlers” by Trina Dalziel is a straightforward book that shows a variety of different ways that an artist can draw a winged creature using simple ideas and shapes. 

20 Ways to Draw Butterfly Trina Daizel


Trina Dalziel guides the reader to use their basic doodling skills to create unique versions of the same object, a butterfly.This book is not a step-by-step drawing book, but instead more of a fun inspiration book.As you will see in the video, the author has shown how each person can have totally different perspective of the same object.She also points out in her introduction that one artist should not compare their work to another’s.The message of the book is that each one of us is unique, as is our perspective.

Each double page in “20 Ways to Draw A Butterfly” has twenty drawings of the subject matter.Each one is different; some are more complicated and some are very simple. The author has left room on each page for the reader to add their own version of the subject matter.

I am always on the lookout for good basic drawing books that will encourage my kids to create with their hands instead of just using their Wacom Intuos tablets to create. I want my children to know the joy of creating art with their own hands, as well as not always depending on digital media to create things. They only need a pencil and some paper to create these fun simple drawings.  This book does not just concentrate on butterflies, but also includes other things with wings including planes, bugs and birds. My daughter got a kick out of the winged shoe page. One of the neat things about this book is that each section has some blank page space for you to draw on.  So if you get the urge to sketch while reading, you don’t need to search for drawing paper. You can draw right on the page!

Drawing Inspired from book.
Drawing Inspired from “20 Ways to Draw A Butterfly.” Drawn by reviewer’s daughter.

I love books that inspire different ways of looking at things and this book really fits the bill.  My daughter and I are getting some fun ideas from this book and we just keep playing with the ideas and inspirations that the artists has shared on her pages in this book.

example of project inspired by book
“20 Ways to Draw a Butterfly” – example of project inspired by book

20 Ways to Draw a Butterfly and 44 Other Things With Wings: A Sketchbook for Artists, Designers, and Doodlers” is part of a series by Trina Dalziel that also includes the book “20 Ways to Draw a Jellyfish” and the upcoming book “Draw 500 Winged Things.”

What type of books inspire you?  Leave a comment below and share some of your favorite drawing books or inspirations.

Kids | Fashion Loom Rubber Band Loom Review

Reported by Maria del Pinto

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

The Fashion Loom Rubberband Accessories Loom

The Fashion Loom is a very easy-to-use kit for making the popular rubber band jewelry pieces, following in the wake of the craze created by the Rainbow Loom.

What makes the Fashion Loom different from other looms is that it comes apart, so that weavers can use it to create unique weaves. The parts snap together and allow the weaver to make single pattern and wide pattern rubber band bracelets.

The Fashion Loom kit includes everything you need to start weaving, and I was impressed with the quality of the rubber bands in this kit. They were pretty strong and did not snap easily which is a problem I’ve have had with trying some other kits with my daughter.

The kit includes:

  • A plastic adjustable loom
  • Over 600 colorful latex free rubber bands
  • An instruction sheet with several patterns
  • A crochet hook
  • S-clips
Fashion Rubberband Loom box contents.

This kit is so easy to use and you are truly limited only by your own imagination. Once again,  the loom itself is adjustable so you can do different weaves on it. The parts have snaps to make it easy to attach one to another.

rubberband loom parts

The Kit also includes some great step-by-step directions which are really easy to follow. I like that they are color photos which made it easier for my daughter to follow.

Fashion Rubberband Loom Sample of the Instructions

The patterns included in this kit are:

  • Split Rhombus Pattern
  • Triple Single Pattern
  • Rhombus Pattern
  • Single Pattern
  • Diamond Pattern

Below is a picture of the bracelet my daughter made using the single pattern.  It took her about 5 minutes to make.

rubberband bracelet - single weave pattern

The included patterns are a great start, and it is so easy to use the loom to follow patterns from some of the rubber band looming books that are available on Amazon like the book “Totally Awesome Rubberband Jewelry” by Colleen Dorsey.

Rubberband Jewelry by Colleen Dorsey

My daughter and I loved the versatility of the Fashion Loom and the excellent selection of rubber bands the kit provided us.  This was a great investment at under $10.

What are some of your kids’ favorite patterns to follow in making rubber band jewelry?