Small Format Bullet Journal: Trial & Error

Small-format bullet journaling –

I've been bullet journaling for nearly three years, and over that time I've toyed with straying from the format, I've experimented with different layouts, and I've tried different kinds of notebooks.

Over the summer, my friend emailed me a link to a Kickstarter that combined two of my loves: notebooks and organizers. I backed the project immediately. I'd always used a medium-size notebook for my bujo, and hadn't considered ​using an infinitely more portable tiny notebook for the job. Nothing like a fancy/functional case to make me consider something new, eh?

Something else the campaign got me to consider was whether it might be helpful to keep a separate notebook for each of the major projects I work on. The PocketDoJo organizer is designed to hold three notebooks, see, and as it happens there are three major kinds of things I do: my work, client work, and advocacy work.


I was super excited when my PocketDoJo arrived, both because new notebooks are super exciting, and also because the organizer solves the problem I always have with pens. Pens are never attached to my notebook, which means I never quite have one on hand when I need it.

I set up each of the notebooks and got down to it.


You can see in the image above that the notebooks (now sold by the company formed after the Kickstarter ended: Efficiency Supply)​ are designed well for bullet journaling – no need to make your own checkboxes.

But there's something about the notebook design that, though totally functional, doesn't appeal to me. It's possible I've become a design snob while I wasn't paying attention. ​And also? There's simply no reason to keep a separate notebook for each project I do, because my bullet journal is mostly a notebook full of to-do lists.

Small-format bullet journaling with PocketDojo and Field Notes –

Though I intended to finish each of my three ​new notebooks before abandoning that system, I bailed after only a few weeks.

But two great things came out of this experiment:

  1. I do love the PocketDojo case. I always have my pen handy (even my fountain pen!), and the case can hold other things if I need it to, like additional pens, or business cards.
  2. I don't feel like I've sacrificed anything by using a small notebook instead of a much larger (heavier) one, so it's easier than ever to have my bullet journal with me at all times.
Small-format bullet journaling with PocketDojo and Field Notes –

Having discovered that size doesn't really matter, I've bitten the bullet (see what I did there?) and signed up for the Field Notes quarterly subscription. Their notebooks are exactly the right size for the PocketDojo, their design appeals to the snob that seems to have spawned inside me, and the stories behind their limited editions are awesome (I'm in love with the lunacy notebooks they made this fall – watch the video!).

Do you keep a bullet journal? What size notebook do you use? Do you find that bigger is better, or that smaller gets the job done just fine? Any tips for maximizing the small approach?​


(Here's what it looked like when I looked up from the bench where I took the photos of the notebooks for this post. I love Granville Island so much.)

Granville Island, Vancouver. Small-format bullet journaling with PocketDojo and Field Notes –

Small-format bullet journaling with PocketDojo and Field Notes –

Participatory Performance Art?

My ongoing attempts to address the challenges of running a totally made-up kind of business doing totally made-up kind of work finally (some of you may heave a sigh of finally) have me considering that it’s quite possible my work is more an ongoing effort in participatory performance art than it is like any other kind of definable business that involves making products and selling them.

This is much of why I’m so excited about Patreon – OMG to make a living and continue doing this weird/awesome work? Yes, please.

I explain it better in the video above.

I can’t believe it took me so long to uncouple myself from the rules of capital-B business so I could finally see things clearly enough to maybe have them succeed. Holy crap!

I’d love it if you’d become a patron. Like literally and truly and deeply love it. Your patronage will enable me to continue forcing myself to see my work as a totally nontraditional artsy business, which is what makes it what it is.

And in doing that, it’ll enable me to make way more work, and I think you’ll enjoy that very much.

(I’ve just learned about a couple of very cool things that will enable some amazeballs spontaneous, interactive fun for patrons – so stay tuned for more to be added to the rewards!)

Don’t be shy if you have questions about Patreon and how it works. Ask away!

Are you a Cohen or a Dylan?

When you create, do you work quick & dirty or slow and deliberate?

I love this piece about Leonard Cohen (painstakingly slow writer of songs) and Bob Dylan (fast writer).

I’m certainly more a Dylan than a Cohen. If I can’t nail something down quickly, I’m far more likely to drop it than to spend years (or even months) getting it right.

When I started thinking about why I work this way, I recalled that I often say I do my best work when I’m angry.

This is true, but there are variations on the anger that drives me to create things. Often, I’m most motivated by a crushing disappointment that quickly turns into anger over something or another that was done poorly – so I do it better.

But though I often create great work out of anger or frustration, I also create great work out of a kind of hysterical mania. Instead of being driven by an overwhelming negativity, I’ll be driven by an overwhelming need to make something that simply has to exist in the world right this very moment. Though not an angry experience by any stretch, the urgency of it is not unlike the urgency I feel when anger pushes me to lash out.

In any case, I am certainly not a broody creator. I don’t strive for anything I make to be perfect, which is why, I think, I’m far more inclined toward quick-and-dirty. If I overthink anything at all, it’s extremely likely it’ll end up terrible.

I’d never thought about the relationship between my speed of work and the emotions that drive me to make it. I’m glad I came across this piece that led me to the connection.

So, what about you? Are you more a Cohen or a Dylan?

Source: Some People Are Cohens, Some People Are Dylans | Submitted For Your Perusal

A Day of Tapestry Weaving

Tapestry weaving -

This past weekend was the fifth annual Knit City yarn festival here in Vancouver. It’s an incredibly fun weekend every year, and people come from far and wide to buy yarn, take classes, and relish in our collective crafty love. I spoke at the kick-off of the very first one, and every year people come up to me and tell me about their crochet adventures. This year included! It’s awesome.

I picked up a couple of skeins of gorgeous SweetGeorgia yarn and a hefty skein of self-striping Caterpillargreen yarn that I’ve already cast on. I caught up with some friends from Toronto I’d love to be able to see more of, and reconnected with local friends I haven’t seen in ages because of the super intense summer and fall I’ve had.

And I took a class.

A full-day class.

On tapestry weaving.

You might recall I’ve dabbled with tapestry weaving before. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing, so I thought a class might help fill in some blanks, and indicate the places where I was totally wrong in the way I assumed it’s supposed to be done.

Janna Maria Vallee taught the class, and I loved every minute of it. We got to take home our looms, and I intend to finish my garish sampler (I obsessed a bit too much about the four colours I’d use, and chose wrong!), and see what mood will strike when it’s time to make another.

Tapestry weaving class -

Janna Maria Vallee teaches tapestry weaving at Knit City –

Tapestry weaving class -

Tapestry weaving class -

Tapestry weaving class -

Do you weave? What’s your favourite project you’ve made? What’s your favourite resource for learning?


Improvement Over Time

We’re hosting Rosh Hashanah dinner at our place this year, to celebrate the Jewish New Year. I’m so excited about it. It’s such a fun time to have family over to a house filled with food and cheer. And though Greg is the cook in our family, I’m excited to do some cooking myself, too, this time around. I’ve already made dessert, and I’ll be making a noodle kugel and challah.

It had been a few months since I’d last made any challah, so last weekend I put a loaf in the oven to get back into the swing of it before I make the special round challahs for Rosh Hashanah (at this one time of year, you make them round to symbolize the circle of time and life).

Facebook reminded me last week that it was a year ago that I made challah for the first time. It awoke in me a desire to make it more and more so I could figure out my own favourite recipe (and learn how to make it pretty). Eventually, I not only mastered the six-stranded braid, but I settled on my own favourite recipe, tweaked and nudged from many I experimented with.

Looking back at those original loafs, it’s very cool to see the result of the time and effort I put in. It’s a slow process to make a loaf of bread like this – it takes pretty much all day, though much of the time is spent waiting. I loved doing it over and over again, until I got my bread to be just right – sweet and dense and perfect with some salt on it.

Here’s the recipe I use, if you want to try your hand at it, too!

Braided challah dough –

Homemade challah (with recipe!) -

$20 Online Classes at Craftsy this Weekend!


Craftsy classes are just $20 this weekend, which is a pretty incredible deal. Every class involves hours of video instruction, downloads, and teachers who answer your questions. (My crochet classes are included in the sale, of course!)

The sale ends Sunday, so now’s a great chance to stock up for the chilly months!


How to Sell a Book

Found in a bookstore: THE way to sell a book.

I had a few minutes to pop into a bookstore yesterday, just for fun. I always read as many staff-recommendation cards as I can when I’m in a bookstore – do you?

This one grabbed my eye, and I did indeed flip to page 50. Which made me laugh out loud. Thus convinced that Lydia Davis and I belong together, I bought a copy of the book.

I’m so glad I stopped into that shop! I do, indeed, think that Lydia Davis and I belong together, yet I’m confident I’d not have picked up her work had it not been for this card.

Live Webinar Friday: Women of the World

Kim Werker invite

Join me this Friday when I appear as the first guest on Michelle Ward’s new free monthly series Women of the World!

It’ll be webinar format, and if you aren’t able to make it during the live broadcast at 1:30pm Pacific / 4:30pm Eastern, no worries because you’ll be sent the recording within about an hour of us finishing up.

If you aren’t familiar with Michelle’s work, she’s a career coach who helps women achieve their dreams in business. She’s a fellow New Yorker and adoptive mom, and though those things have nothing to do with what we’ll discuss, they sure do make me love even more than I already would for her kindness, good smarts, and sparkling disposition.

We’ll be discussing fun in creativity, both at work and in our personal time. I’m sure there will be some good Mighty Ugly in there, too.

Because this is a new series, I love the thrill of not knowing exactly what to expect. If you love some serious spontaneity, I think you’ll be happy! And here’s what I know: We’re going to go deep, and we’re going to be specific. We will not wave our arms around for a while and chat about fluffy bullshit and expect you to think you learned something. Oh no. We’re going to talk about specific things you can do to explore the role of fun in your creative and business experiences, and we’re going to help you up the fun factor without sacrificing the good work you do.

Go on over to the Women of the World page to sign up! It’s free, you guys. Totally free.

Summer Holiday in Panorama

This summer has been bananas! My to-do list is so long and varied that I have no idea where to start, so I’m kind of just shooting blindly in all directions, hoping random bits of progress allow me to get things under control.

One huge category of to-dos: blog posts. I have so much to write about! So I’m gonna bootstrap into it by sharing a bunch of panoramic photos I took on our two-week camping trip last month. That’s a start, right?

We started out at French Beach, on Vancouver Island, with a bunch of families we camp with every summer. Then we continued on with two other families to explore the Olympic Peninsula for ten days. It was the perfect combination of exploration, adventure, and relaxation. So very much fun!

Olympic Peninsula road trip

Hobuck Beach sunset panorama

Hobuck Beach

Cape Flattery Panorama

Cape Flattery

Ruby Beach, Washington, panorama

Ruby Beach

Lake Quinault, Washington

Lake Quinault

Hood Canal panorama

Hood Canal, near Dosewallips State Park

Mt. Walker panorama

View from Mt. Walker

Mt. Walker panorama

View from Mt. Walker

Port Townsend panorama

Port Townsend, Washington

Soon I’ll share more about the trip, including the new obsession I developed with learning how to carve spoons!