Free Printable Monthly Blog Planner

Becoming more organised has changed my life. I am not kidding.

I used to be disorganised and this is still my natural inclination. Although a little bit of chaos makes me feel alive, I dislike the feeling of stuff spiralling out of control, forgetting things, losing things and never having enough time.

So I  have forced myself to become organised! Housework is divided up into certain jobs on certain days. Laundry is the same. I can’t do all of it on one day, there’s too much of it, so I wash specific things on different days of the week. By doing this I get through it all every week ( that’s the plan at least!) and I’ve found that it gives me more time to do other things.

Meal planning has also made a difference. I used to plan weekly or, sometimes, fortnightly, but I still found myself making the same stuff or scratching around trying to decide what to make, or making weird stuff because we didn’t have enough in to make anything normal. So I now have a monthly plan and I write out a shopping list at the beginning of the week. It’s saving so much faffing about it’s unreal.

So I’ve decided to take the same approach to blogging! I trawled the internet looking for pretty planning sheets. There are some unbelievably talented people out there! There are all kinds of beautiful things you can print out, with dozens of pages that you can put into a binder.

However, I did not want dozens of pages with stuff to write down affiliates (I dont actually know what that is!) and stuff to tick off every time I post an image on Pinterest or stick it on Twitter.

All I wanted was two A4 sheets (or 1 if I printed on both sides), with somewhere to write down themes and ideas, post ideas, and plan briefly for each week. Something I could fold in half and slip inside a notebook.

So I leapt, like a creaky, overweight hare, onto the band wagon! Here is my free printable monthly blog planner!

The first page has a box for writing in possible themes and other ideas for that particular month, then boxes for writing down ideas of possible posts, assuming that you want to write 2 posts a week. I’ve also added a little box for blog maintenance.

blogplan1

 

Page 2 has boxes for planning week by week, so post ideas can be taken from page 1 and transferred to specific weeks. The to do box for each week allows me to get ahead with actual tasks that need doing before a post can be written. So if I need to make something, or make a pinterest board, or take a load of extra photos, I can crack on with it and hopefully stay on top of things!

blogplan2

I also use a notebook for jotting stuff down but the planner provides a way of keeping it all organised.

If you would like a copy, you can download it here!

Free Printable Monthly Blog Planner

 

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10 Easy Autumn Crafts

Autumn is a great time for crafting! Dark evenings and colder weather alongside colourful leaves, acorns, conkers and pine cones make it the perfect time for making stuff tucked up at home before Christmas preparations start to take over.

Here are 10 easy autumn crafts you could do in an evening! One involves sewing, the rest do not. As long as there are trees near where you live, you will be able to make at least some of these things! The first three are ones I have made myself, the others I have rounded up from Pinterest.

1. Autumn Bunting

IMG_0752All you need are some scraps of fabric and some bias binding! Full instructions can be found here.

2. An Autumn WreathIMG_0751Another good project for using up scraps! Cut up strips of fabric and tie onto a wire ring. Full instructions here.

3. Fill Glass Jars and Vases with Pine Cones, Berries, Conkers…IMG_0858

I love stuff that’s free! I used a glass, a jam jar, a vase and a little glass dish, all of which I already had. While I was out and about, I gathered up conkers, acorns, pine cones and hawthorn berries. Do not be concerned, nature lovers, I left plenty for the birds! While having a rummage, I also found some pine cones from last Christmas, some dried orange slices and some cinnamon sticks. I chucked the stuff into the glass containers and voila!IMG_0814IMG_0811IMG_0815IMG_0816

Just as an aside, the vase with both orange and cinnamon smells like Coke!

4. Autumn Flowers in a Vase

Arrange autumn flowers in a vase. White or grey will show the colours off best.white vase with autumn flowers  http://www.decor4all.com/22-simple-fall-craft-ideas-diy-fall-decorations/17104/

If you don’t have a garden (or a garden but no autumn flowers in it!), supermarkets often sell bunches of flowers with an autumn theme.

Or you could collect leaves and berries and and arrange them in a vase.Fall Autumn: Crafty nature inspired decoration http://inspirationforhome.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/fall-autumn-crafty-nature-inspired.html

5. Autumn Flowers in a Pumpkinpumpkin with flower arrangement. Now i just need an easy way of scraping out the insides! http://www.decor4all.com/22-simple-fall-craft-ideas-diy-fall-decorations/17104/

The same as #4, just put your vase inside a pumpkin!

6. Leaves Dipped in Wax

Fall Decor Crafts-Easy Fall Leaf Art Projects http://www.familyholiday.net/fall-decor-crafts-easy-fall-leaf-art-projects

Gently melt beeswax in a Bain Marie/ double boiler/ bowl in a pan of hot water. Dip the leaves into the wax and hang them up. This prevents the leaves from curling up as they dry out.

7. Leaves in Framesframed leaves http://www.decor4all.com/22-simple-fall-craft-ideas-diy-fall-decorations/17104/

Preserve pretty leaves by displaying them in a frame. Use coloured paper behind them, calico or printed text.Fall Decor Crafts-Easy Fall Leaf Art Projects http://www.familyholiday.net/fall-decor-crafts-easy-fall-leaf-art-projects

If you have a lot of leaves and a lot of frames, you could make a whole wall of them! Fall Decor Crafts-Easy Fall Leaf Art Projectshttp://www.familyholiday.net/fall-decor-crafts-easy-fall-leaf-art-projects

8. Candles with Berries, Leaves and Acorns

Put berries, conkers, acorns and leaves either inside a jar with a candle or surround the jar with them. Just be careful that the leaves don’t catch fire! Candle with acorns and leaves round it http://www.familyholiday.net/fall-decor-crafts-easy-fall-leaf-art-projects

9. Decorate Jars with Leaves

Stick leaves to the outside of a jar. The instructions say to use Modge Podge but PVA glue would probably work just as well. Put a tea light inside and you have autumn candle holders!Autumn Lanterns, add some  twine around these

10. Paper Punched Leaves

Use paper punches to punch shapes from leaves. The shapes could be displayed in frames or used to make cards or collages. Craft Punched Leaves to create art for autumn

For more ideas for autumn crafts, I have a Pinterest board! http://uk.pinterest.com/arwilson7/autumn-crafts/

If you like to look at pictures of beautiful autumn trees, visit my other autumn themed board. http://uk.pinterest.com/arwilson7/autumn/

 

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Autumn Crafts For Children

Last Sunday afternoon Boy 1 had a birthday party to go to, so I took the opportunity to have some autumn crafty fun with the other boys. I nipped out to buy milk in the morning and on the way home I made a slight detour past a large sycamore tree to collect some leaves. After a lengthy chat with a friendly old man and a few minutes collecting, I had a bag of leaves and some sycamore seeds.

This is not an exhaustive list of crafty things you can do with leaves, but it was enough to keep my boys occupied on Sunday afternoon!

Leaf Printing in Play DoughIMG_0764

I put the leaves on the table with the sycamore seeds and some pine cones I collected last year, along with some play dough. (For a play dough recipe and lots of excellent ideas for play dough fun, visit The Imagination Tree.)

The boys pushed the leaves into the play dough so that an imprint of the leaf was left. IMG_0753 IMG_0755They also tried this with the sycamore seeds and the pine cones.IMG_0772IMG_0775 It kept them entertained for ages! Then they got the play dough tools out and Boy 4 tipped them out all over the floor. That kept Mummy busy for a while!

Leaf Rubbing

To make this a bit easier for the boys, I taped the leaf to the back of the paper so that it would move about less. IMG_0784It works best if the leaf is wrong side (ie bumpiest side) up. I had some crayons that didn’t have any paper on which was much easier than picking the paper off!IMG_0787

IMG_0792This was not as popular as the play dough thing. The play dough was still out and the boys chose to carry on playing with it. Boy 2 in particular was enjoying it so much he didn’t do a leaf rubbing at all!IMG_0795

On Fifth wizardry there ideas for creating a large artwork with children using leaf rubbings. There are also instructions for making crayon cakes to make things easier for little people.

If you have a laminator, the rubbings could be made into autumnal themed placemats.IMG_0793

Leaf People

To make these, we taped leaves to paper, stuck googly eyes and drew features on the leaf with a Sharpie. IMG_0798The boys were very excited about using these! Usually they are not allowed to as the ink is permanent, so bad news in the hands of little boys! However, I didn’t think ordinary pen would work on the leaves and thankfully Boy 4 was happy tipping play dough tools out everywhere at this point and was not interested in drawing on leaves, the sofa or anything else!

Once we’d given our leaves faces, we drew bodies.IMG_0804

IMG_0799IMG_0809The leaves started to curl a day or too afterwards, so I’d recommend using plenty of tape or pva glue.

What are your favourite autumn crafts for children?

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How to Make an Autumn Wreath

Hanging my autumn bunting up on the front of my house seems to have brought about a change in the weather. It is most definitely autumn now. Wet, cold and windy means warm socks, boots, coats and hot chocolate, not to mention looking at beautiful autumns, mostly in America, on Pinterest. Yay!

Autumn also means that my floral, summery wreath needs to go into storage upstairs to be replaced by an autumnal wreath.

I’ve seen lots of beautiful wreaths (I possibly spend too much time on Pinterest!), but I decided to make another ruffle rag wreath and to add pine cones and other natural autumnal stuff.

Here is How to Make an Autumn Wreath

After making the bunting, I had lots of little bits of fabric left over in beautiful autumn colours. I cut them into slightly shorter strips this time, about 10 cm long and 2 cm wide.

To make the ring, I cut a piece of garden wire long enough to bend into 3 circles 20 cm in diameter. I used electrical tape to hold it in four places.IMG_0738

I took one of my pile of strips and began tying them onto the wire ring at regular intervals.IMG_0739IMG_0740IMG_0741 Once I had tied them all on, I started with the second pile. I tied those on in the spaces. IMG_0742Then I started with the third pile, until I had used up all the strips and they were all close together with no spaces.
IMG_0743IMG_0744

Next I put 3 pine cones each onto a length of florists’ wire and tied some ribbon in a bow around each wire. IMG_0745Then I tied the wires together with some more ribbon.IMG_0746

Using the wire, I attached the pine cones and the ribbon to the bottom of the wreath.IMG_0749

Here is the finished wreath!IMG_0751

The shorter strips definitely worked better than longer ones.

I had planned to put lots of berries, pine cones and autumn leaves on the wreath, but I was very happy with how it looked without them!

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Autumn Bunting

Back in July I made some bunting to string up on the front of the house to celebrate the start of the summer holidays. I had planned to take to down the next day, then I decided to leave it up for a week, but I liked it so much I left it up for the whole of the summer holidays and September! I only took it down last week because it was looking tatty.

My poor house looked naked without it! I had already resolved to make some autumn bunting, so I was very happy to discover that Fabric Rehab were giving away an autumn themed bundle that weekend with orders over £30! I love free stuff, fabric and getting stuff in the post so I was one happy camper!

The stuff arrived and the free bundle was so beautiful I almost didn’t want to cut into it!

I used a template for the triangles which I had cut from a cereal packet.

The top edge was 20cm and the line down the middle was also 20cm. I joined the top edges to the end of the vertical line to make a triangle.

I drew a horizontal line 20 cm long, found the middle and drew a vertical line 20 cm long at right angles to the original line. Then I joined the ends of the top line to the end of the vertical line.

Having made my template, I cut 16 triangles from the fabric.IMG_0706

Next I sorted them out into an order that i thought looked nice. This was very easy as the fabrics had been chosen to compliment each other and whatever order I put them in they would have looked gorgeous!IMG_0717

Rummaging in a box of bits and bobs, I found 3 1/2 m of red bias binding. There are various ways of stringing up the flags but my preferred method is to use bias binding as I find it to be both easier and neater than using string or ricrac.

I gathered up my flags and set about sewing it up.

I folded the bias binding in half lengthways and sewed about 10 cm of it. Next I slipped the top of a triangle into the fold and and continued to sew along the bias binding so that the raw edge was contained inside the folded bias binding. Then I popped another triangle inside the folded bias binding and kept sewing until all the triangles where neatly held inside the folded bias binding.IMG_0722

Lastly I trimmed the threads and hung it up outside!IMG_0752

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