Tag Archives: Design

Customized Planner 2.0

About a year ago, I published an article about my first customized planner.  With the new year, I designed an updated version with a few improvements to the layout of the pages.  Originally I kept my monthly calendar and monthly goal sheets in the front of the planner, followed by a series of different logs (i.e. Health/Fitness, Home Maintenance, etc.).  After all of these various sections I listed my weekly goal sheets.  While I like the idea of keeping the monthly pages nicely organized together, I found that I didn’t utilize the monthly goals sheets after a couple of months. I never even looked at the home maintenance section, and the health/fitness section design wasn’t used as much either.  While in theory it sounded like a great layout, I found out in that practice that I needed to revamp the layout.

For this year’s  improved design, I’ve merged the various documents so that most everything flows throughout the year together.  For example, here’s how a standard month of documents flow:

  • Monthly Calendar (2 pages): When it comes to printing calendar pages, I use Dynamic Template v2.05 software designed by the folks over at DIY Planner.  It’s completely free to download.  In addition to printing monthly calendars this software is flexible, having settings that can be modified to print daily, weekly, and even yearly pages.  Simply select your paper size, choose the calendar type, and tweak the settings to come up with your own printable set of calendars that perfectly fit your planner and your lifestyle.
  • Monthly Goals:  A template I designed to help stay focused on health, creative, relationship, financial, and spiritual goals as well as ideas, notes, errands, projects, and home maintenance tasks all on one page.
  • Goal Refocus template:  While searching for various tools and templates, I came across the Goal Refocus template created by Daryl Furuyama who shares experiences in what works in life at WhiteHat BlackBox.  It’s a great template to track your progress on five goals over the course of a month on one page.  Since I created my planner at the beginning of the year, I’m finding this template is very useful in tracking how much progress I’m making when it comes to two of my health goals: taking vitamins daily and making exercise a priority.  As Daryl recommends, you fill in the circle completely if you made a lot of progress on the goal (for example a full 30 minute to hour workout) as compared to some progress (such as fitting in just 10 minutes of stretching when I’m super busy with other priorities).  The template is also great since there is space to jot down a quick note by each day and a full side of the page can be dedicated to brainstorming notes to help you stay focused on what’s important.
  • 4-5 Weekly Goal pages:  A template I designed to that is very similar to the monthly goals sheet.

Now I still have some sections that I keep separate in the back:

  • Project Meeting template: Another great template found via DIY Planner that was created from a user using their form widget software.  While you can tell that the original designer of the template created it mind for the office since there are spots to log the conference room and conference call information, I use for tracking meeting notes for my various projects outside of work.   I particularly liked this meeting template more than other ones I have seen since the layout makes a good use of space to track important details on just one page.  Some of the features include spots to keep track of the meeting agenda as well as a graph area for notes.  About the only drawback is that there wasn’t a spot to track follow-up items.  However, I find myself tracking the action items in the meeting notes section.
  • Ideas: basically alternating blank and lined pages for brainstorming on various ideas/projects
  • Web Design
  • Wish List
  • Prayers/Affirmations

In a future post, I’ll share the monthly and weekly goal templates I designed, but in the interim if you looking for templates for your planner, I highly recommend DIY Planner since they include a wide range templates created both their core team of designers as well as contributions from guest designers.  You can also use their free DIY Planner Widget Kit software to design your own templates.

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Customized Planner

Customized PlannerFor as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to design my own personal planner.  So last year, I started with a plain three-ring binder or as I liked to call it, my Five Dollar Planner.  I kept everything organized in various sections by removable sticky tab dividers, and by the end of the year, I fine tuned my planner organization system to the point where I was ready make my own customized planner.

When it came to creating this planner, I designed it completely from cover to back.  For the covers, I cut some leftover mat board scraps to be slightly bigger than the inner pages.  Then I used a wide variety of materials to decorate the covers from metallic paint to handmade paper.   Once everything was dry, I varnished the covers to provide durability and then as a final touch, I added metal corners.  After the covers were completely assembled, I designed the inner pages, which included:

  1. Monthly Calendar
  2. Monthly Goal Sheets
  3. Health & Fitness log
  4. Home Maintaince List
  5. Wish List
  6. Website Goals/Planning
  7. Ideas
  8. Daily/Weekly Goal Sheets
  9. Prayers/Affirmations

Some of the pages were designed completely from scratch and others were obtained from online resources.  While it might seem to be a daunting task to compile and create a customized planner, the majority of the work was completed over a weekend.  The covers were the most time consuming factor as it takes over a week to allow enough time to let each layer dry.  The end result has been a very productive tool, and probably my only complaint is that the 1″ black wire coil I selected to bind the planner might not be big enough over time as I paste collages and various resources inside the pages.

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New Web Design

New Site DesignA couple months ago we tried a magazine web design layout for the site, but found over time that the content just wasn’t as accessible.  So this past weekend, the site got a new look weekend along with an update to WordPress 2.7.  This new design is based on the original chronological format with some additional features including post icons.

The design has been reviewed in both Mozilla 3.0.6 and Internet Explorer 7.  However, please drop me a comment if you notice anything looking a little weird in your browser.  Please note the browser name and version to help assist in my research to resolve the issue.

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Blog Name Changing to "Surrealmuse Studios"

new designAfter some thought, I’ve decided to change the name of the site from “surrealmuse ponders life & art” to “Surrealmuse Studios”. The site content has expanded within the past year to contain videos as well as a calendar of local Tampa Bay arts events. Along with this blog name change, I decided to lighten up the design and change it up a bit. Let me know what you think, especially if you notice any errors in your particular browser. I use Firefox extensively, but there shouldn’t be problems with IE, Safari, or any Linux browsers.

The website will still continue to cover topics that will interest readers outside of Tampa. I’m currently working on an article about my art bag… That contains all of the tools to keep me creative while on the road. I will also be posting a article on how to make your own water and heat-resistant art-covered coasters. So stay tune for some new articles and art work along with our recently added coverage of the Tampa Bay art scene.

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Designing New Business Cards

Just finished creating new business cards to send off to the printers. While it’s cutting it short, in order, for them to arrive in time…this upcoming Friday to be exact for my upcoming group art exhibit “Art after Dark” at the Tampa Museum of Art…I placed the order with Overnight Prints that has all sorts of options for priority printing and shipping so I’m sure they’ll arrive just in time! The cards are designed with for full-color printing on both the front and back.

front sideThe front design of the card has all of the typical business card information against the background image of one of my paintings that I recently sold at Equinox, “Chaos Theory”. As for the back side of the card, it features one of Photoshop creations using an image taken from the painting entitled “A Liaison with Ink”. The website address is incorporated into the design along with two key phrases “become immortalize…commission a portrait” and “models wanted”. Each sends a different message to the viewer in hopes to spark a potential sale or inspiration for my next creation. back sideSo share your thoughts and let me know what you think. I always love to hear feedback on my designs.

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Happy New Year cards

Happy New Year CardsBetween going up to New York for business this month and twenty million other things, I knew I was going to be late with Christmas cards this year so I thought I’d sent out Happy New Year cards instead. However, at this rate, I’m still behind, but the cards are handmade using one of my portraits, Chaos Theory, so maybe they’ll be worth the wait.

For those of you interested in trying to make your own homemade cards, my method is quite simple. You just need the following supplies:

- a set of blank cards: I purchase mine from JoAnns in quantities of 50 at a time for only $10

- prints of your favorite photos: I order my online at Walgreens.com for only 19 cents a print and then pick them up at the store an hour later

- photo corners: While I’m at JoAnns, I also pick up black photo corners to easily attach the photos to the blank card so the receiver of the card can always frame the print if they really like it

- a really good quote or saying: go to google and simply type in the holiday along with the words “greeting” and “quote” to get a list of good greetings that you can print up or handwrite on the inside of the card

So basically, for a total of 40 cents per card, you can easily create a personalize card for less than retail without a lot of effort.

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