Jul 312014

Today, I was making A5 month to view calendars for both myself and my hubby’s planners ready for next year.   For an easy way of creating them already dated, I have 2 software programmes that are purely for generating calendars of all different types and styles., both are customisable on colours, fonts and images though both are a little limited as you can only use pre-defined templates, but there are quite a few to choose from.

For today’s project, I used Simply Calenders [yes, that’s how they’re spelling it].  I created a plain one with no images but used custom colours in greens.  I printed this off “as is” for my hubby as he’s a plain kind of guy, but for mine, I opened the PDF file in Photoshop and added little embellishments to each page and then as I was going along, I changed the colour of some months too.  I then made a simple 2 column lined page for “Tasks” and “Notes” to go on the reverse of the calendar pages.



Here’s a screenshot of Simply Calenders software used for this project.


Click for larger view


The other programme I use is Easy Calendar Maker


Jul 282014

My idea was to make a forest scene that looked a bit hot and steamy, probably due to the hot weather we’ve had here recently!   I always like to start a scene by creating the foreground.

So, my foreground is a standard terrain increased to 512 resolution.  I reset the terrain in the editor, then used the raise tool to build up the ground, and then inverted the tool to create a shallow stream bed.  I used a terrain brush from the standard ones that ship with Vue.



Next, I added a 2D Plane and used “Trent” from Water Pack 2, and raised it to give a depth of around 6 inches to the stream.  I then duplicated both the terrain and plane and moved them back behind the first ones.  I wanted the stream central to the scene so I didn’t need to move the camera, other than to raise it slightly.



I used one of my grass and soil materials from my personal stash and added 4 ecosystem layers.

  • The grass layer is Long Grass from Grasses – Plants library set to dynamic population, 100% density and decay near foreign objects set to the default.   I also wanted to give the appearance of a meandering stream so I pained in a little curve of grass over the middle part to make it look like it veered off and then came back again in a little loop.
  • The tree layer uses Scots Pine trees set to 79% density but I painted these on for accuracy.
  • The Flowers layer is again painted on, just dotting them around the foreground.  I used Lars Braad Andersen’s Cornflowers (free).  Although the forest isn’t the usual habitat for them, I just felt like adding blue flowers to the scene and they fitted.
  • The stones layer was painted onto the streambed using the ecopainter.  These are just standard Stones that come with Vue.



Keeping the banks of the stream clear with the ecosytem settings, I loaded a few Scots Pine trees into the scene and placed them at intervals along the bank, tilting a few of them for added interest.

pine trees


In the near foreground I loaded 2 trees that I made in The Plant Factory.  I also placed a few larger rocks and a broken branch in the water, added a few bracken plants and a bent over bare tree (again made in TPF).  Finally, I loaded a fawn and placed it at the edge of the water as if taking a drink.



I placed another terrain behind the 2 at the front, stretching it across the width of the scene.  I lowered the height then tilted it slightly toward the camera and populated it with low-poly pine trees.

background trees


The Atmosphere

Finally, the atmosphere.  I used one that I saved from a scene I did years ago that I find useful for misty forest scenes.  I just tweak it to suit whatever I’m working on.  It’s a Volumetric atmo with GR.











Finally postworked with a little levels adjustment and colour enhancement.



Jul 282014

Vue, TPF and Photoshop


Jul 222014

I’ve had an old poster lying around for ages.  The cheap frame that it was in got broken and I just never got around to getting a new one.  Today, I decided to put it to good use and cut it down to A4 size.  It’s now the flyleaf in my A4 Filofax Identity.

I was about to take a photo to show peeps when my desktop wallpaper scrolled to one of my unicorn ones.  A serendipitous moment indeed 🙂

unicorn dragon flyleaf

Jul 102014

I am in a [large] number of groups on Facebook all dedicated to ring bound planners. I frequently see posts in these groups asking

  • What should I get – A5 or Personal
  • Should I get a Finsbury or a Malden
  • Pink, purple or aqua
  • What should I have on my tabs
  • Should I use DO2P or DO1P or WO2P
  • How should I set up my planner
  • What pen should I use

…the list goes on.

Not wanting to offend anyone but really, all these choices should be yours and yours alone.   You know what your lifestyle is, your work requirements, your home life and planning.  How you set up your planner should be based on that.   You know what colours you like, what your budget is, whether you like the smell and feel of leather [ 🙂 ] and so on.

I do agree though that size can be an issue and if you’re new to planners you may benefit from seeing or hearing how others cope with the various sizes available.  Again, use this information as a guide not an instruction.  Do you have a job where you’re constantly arranging meetings?  Then you may need at least DO1P or even DO2P, but then how much other information do you need to write down on a daily basis?  Think about this and then you can make your decision based on your needs and preferences.

I would say that owning multiple planners is a current trend but then, back in 1993 when I acquired my first – an unbranded French “Agenda” that was a free gift with an order of cosmetics, I liked the idea of how it worked.  It also dispelled my visions of 80’s Yuppies as it was a pocket size, though taller and slimmer than i.e. the Filofax brand – and it had a pretty floral cover!


It wasn’t long before I had a personal sized Filofax as well.  I stayed with these for about 10 years or so, then got itchy fingers and found some lovely new planners.  I had a Franklin Covey Compact size, Day Timers Desk and Portable size.   Then I used to watch on Ebay for bargains and I did bag a few.    My current collection exceeds 20 but who’s counting?

There’s nothing wrong with having lots if you’re wired that way.  I’m like that with a lot of things.  I’ll buy something and like it so I’ll buy another 🙂   My husband would probably suggest that I have half of all china and tableware that was ever made in Stoke on Trent!  As long as you don’t break the bank, it’s pretty harmless fun.

But back to the main topic.  What I would suggest to those who are just discovering the world of Filofax and other planners is if you really can’t decide what you need to suit your requirements – buy a cheap one in the size you think you may need.  If that’s not for you, then you won’t be so much out of pocket as if you’d bought a brand new, top of the range one.  The same goes for inserts.  There are plenty of free printables around for you to download and print your own, and if that sounds too complicated, then get some blank inserts, get out your ruler and pen and create your own – just to try it out.   If your trials work – and give them a decent amount of time to try them – then all is good.  Go out and buy a new planner in your favourite style and colour and you don’t have to be influenced by what’s currently “trending”.  Then you can buy the right refills, you know, the ones that work for YOU.  Set up the tabbed sections to make your planner work for you and your shedule, your home and your family.  If you feel you may have too much information to fit into one planner then by all means use two [or more].  If your trial didn’t work out, no big deal.  Just get a different size, again, paying as little as possible and give that a go.  Eventually,you’ll find what fits in with what you want.  I’m not saying you’ll get what is termed as “planner peace” but you’ll have the right size planner, the right type of calendar, a good choice of other pages that are all geared towards you.

After all, a planner is a tool first and foremost, and we all need the right tools for the job.

Jul 102014

I bought this purse almost 30 years ago.  It’s nothing special.  Patchwork leather.  I think it cost me around £1.50, but I do remember that I bought it off a stall in Cannock market that was run by two snooty, miserable women.  I almost didn’t buy it because of their attitude.  Still, I did.

The thing is, it works perfectly for me.  The layout is just right.  The paper money slot is on the left side and that’s the hand I use for money (as I do most things except for writing extraordinarily).  Then, after about 15 years, it had really seen better days, so off I went in search of another.  Of course, by then, the style had been changed, altered, discontinued etc., so I couldn’t find one exactly the same so I bought the nearest, most similar one I could find.    When I got home, I moved everything into the new one.  I think it lasted about a week before I moved everything back.

This same scenario has gone on since then.  I decide that it really does need replacing.  I’ll then go on a new purse hunt, eventually finding something similar.  I get home.  I move everything into the new one.  Then, just like the first incident about 12 years ago, it never lasts more than a week before I’m moving everything back into the old one again.  At one point, I had around 8 or 9 purses sitting redundant in a drawer that could have the tag “Used once only” on them.  About a year ago I got rid of all but one of them.

Anyway, now it really has got to the point where I can, in all honesty, no longer use my “perfect” purse, even though my money is secure. The clasp is still tight, the popper stud still works fine.   No matter how much leather balm I feed it, it will never be the same again.  It’s just that it truly is worn out.  The edging is totally threadbare.  Inside the leather itself is worn down to the skin in places.  I’m really sad 🙁

My-Old-Purse My-Old-Purse-2


The little pink splodge of nail varnish has been there since 1989

My-Old-Purse-2a My-Old-Purse-4 My-Old-Purse-5

My search of the local markets has again been fruitless, so I searched Ebay for the brand “Je T’adore” of which there were a lot of results.  Of course, the exact same one as mine was nowhere to be found, so yet again, I’ve bought the nearest match.  It’ll be here in a couple of days as I’ve just had the despatch notice.  Then I’ll move everything from the old one into it.  Now, when I’ve done that, should I do as I have done in the past and put my old one in a drawer or should I be brave and bin it?

My-New-Purse My-New-Purse-4 My-New-Purse-3

HMMMMMMMMMMM.  Yep, I think I’ll put it in my drawer….just in case 😀

EDIT: August 2015.  Guess what?  Yep.  I’m back using my faithful old tatty one again 😉