Customizing Your Flex Binders

When you have multiple notebooks and binders that are the same color, you run the risk of mixing them up.

I have done that many a time with my flex binders. So the way I have differentiated them is by putting different patterned duct tape on the covers.

So far the only two I need to tell apart are my two black ones. And the way I’ve done that is by putting a sheet of pink zebra print duct tape on one and blue/purple/gray camo duct tape horizontally across the other.

I’ve also customized my Mead Shopping OrganizHer notebook (aka the Mini Flex). Because they only come in two colors, pink and purple, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to change the cover. AND I FINALLY CAME UP WITH SOMETHING!!! Autumn is my favorite season and I’ve wanted to give my mini flex a fall makeover.

Ideally, I would have liked a solid vinyl placemat, but the only ones I’ve found are woven ones. I got a placemat from the dollar store. I measured it, cut it, hemmed it so it wouldn’t fray, and attached it to the pink cover with Velcro ® dots.

Mini Flex Cover

I also had another Flex product to play with. It’s not a binder, but more of a folder. It has the same rings that the binders have, but it doesn’t fold back. Anyways! Before I cut a regular flex binder down, I experimented with this folder. I cut it down so that it would fit paper from those small legal pads. It’s slightly smaller than the mini flex.

Mini Flex Small Legal Pad (1)

Mini Flex Small Legal Pad (2)

I probably won’t use this one, and will gift it to a friend who loves the color orange.

My friend, Melanie, was thinking about taking a flex binder as a travel notebooks (okay, okay, I was trying to convince her), but she wanted something more compact. So, this naturally gets into my subconscious and a few hours after she left my house, I was thinking “What if she bought her own mini flex and just cut it down?”

LIGHTBULB!!!!

My white flex has a damaged cover (which is why I only paid $1.97 for on clearance!), so I cut it do to mini flex size first, and then cut it skinnier to fit those magnetic refrigerator note pads.

Mini Flex Fridge Notepad (1)

Mini Flex Fridge Notepad (2)

I send the pictures to her, and she loves it! So I’ll be making one for her to take on her upcoming trip.

© Cori Large 13 Sept 2015

Blogging for Books Review: The Art of Whiskey by Noah Rothbaum

*This is a sponsored post.*

*This book review is done for Blogging for Books*

Art of American Whiskey

This book is not what I expected. When I picked it out, I failed to read the subtitle: A Visual History of the Nation’s Most Storied Spirit, through 100 Iconic Labels.

It literally was an art book about whiskey labels. There are a few cocktail recipes.

You can tell from the writing that the author is very passionate about the subject matter.

Just because this book was not what I expected doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. I do recommend this book for those who like to read about the history of alcohol. It would make a nice coffee table book where the artwork can be pursued at leisure.

© Cori Large 13 September 2015

A Letter to My High School Self

Hey You!

This letter isn’t about the major stuff, but the little things. You need to experience the big stuff without my interference.

Keep writing! And reading! All the quiet time after homework, use it to read and write more. Trust me, if you get out of the habit, it’s hard to get back into it. Even while you’re working on your college degrees, make time to write.

Oh! And all those times you wanted to go write in a coffee shop, GO DO IT! Just do it!

A litter bit of money advice: borrow the books from the library. The library is free! I know those Barnes and Noble 15-20% off coupons we get each week are awesome, but that’s also money you don’t need to spend. I’m divided on the notebook situation. I’d like to say don’t bother, but we know how much we both love notebooks.

Oh! Another reading point. You know how we like researching and learning as much as possible? Don’t lose that either. July 15, 2015, you’ll meet a student that will remind you of how you are now. Wow, these pronouns are screwing me up!

I know it seems like everything I’ve put in this letter isn’t important. Trust me, sweetie, this is the important stuff.

See you in the mirror in 12 years!

Day-Timer Portable Malibu set up w/ Video!

For September, it being Back to School time and all, I decided to move back into a more formal planner.

Through one of the Facebook planner groups, I bought a personal size Day-Timer Malibu in Rose Gold.

Rose Gold Personal (4)

The color sold it for me. I’m on a copper and bright blue kick right now. I took all the guts out of my Raika and put them into the RG. Both planners have the same 3-3, 6 ring format.

How it is set up:

Front:

A cash sleeve pocket, a zipper pouch, and card slots hold post its and coupons.

Rings:

<1> shopping and general to do lists

<2> categorized to do lists

<3> blog posting chart

<4> book notes

<5> knitting project notes

<6> CBC posting notes

Calendar: WO2P (week on 2 page) inserts; no monthlies’

Project: exercise tracker

Information: random stuff

Back:

1 large pocket, designed to hold a notepad. I store spare note paper back there. There are 2 smaller pockets that I don’t put anything in.

There are two black, plastic fly leafs (front and back), that protect my inserts.

2 pen loops

Closure system is a magnetic strap with a buckle accent.

Here’s the YouTube video link: http://youtu.be/u9XO8BX5jL4

© Cori Large September 2, 2015

Book Review & Notes: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying By Marie Kondo

IMG_2014Short review: I read this book in a weekend. It inspired me to clean out my closet, but I haven’t tackled my dresser yet. I recommend it, but it does get a little strange (in my opinion) towards the end.

© Cori Large September 10, 2015

Book Notes:

[AN: all notes are taken verbatim from the book. I claim not rights to them]

Pg. 1: Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go.
Pg. 16: If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mindset.
Pg. 19: The work involved can be broadly divided into two kinds: deciding whether or not to dispose of something and deciding where to put it.
Pg. 22: Storage experts are hoarders.
Pg. 23: Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.
Pg. 36: It is crucial to discard before you think about where to put something.
Pg. 41: Take each object and ask “Does this spark joy?” If yes, keep it; if no, toss it.
Pg. 48: Don’t let your family see what’s here…It’s extremely stressful for parents to see what their children discard.
Pg. 52: To quietly work away at disposing of your own excess is actually the best way of dealing with a family that doesn’t tidy.
Pg. 61: When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life…By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order.
Pg. 65: The recommended order for tidying is Clothing, Books, Papers, Misc., and then Sentimental.
Pg. 70: If sweatpants are your everyday attire, you’ll end up looking like you belong in them, which is not very attractive. What you wear in the house does impact your self-image.
Pg. 88: if you have A LOT of books <a small library’s worth>, divide them into four broad categories: General (pleasure reading), Practical (Reference, Cookbooks), Visual (photography & art), and Magazines.
Pg. 94: Realizing that what I really wanted to keep was not the book but certain information or specific words it contained, I decided that if I kept only what was necessary, I should be able to party with the rest…My idea was to copy sentences that inspired me into a notebook.
Pg. 95: The moment you first encounter a particular book is the right time to read it.
Pg. 106: Misc. items should be sorted into these categories: CDs/DVDs, skin care products, makeup, accessories, valuables (passports, credit cards), electrical equipment and appliances, household equipment (stationary, sewing kits, etc.), household supplies (cleaners & medicines), kitchen goods and food supplies, and other (spare change and figurines). If you have a hobby, make anything associated with that into a subcategory.
Pg. 114: Regarding sentimental items: Mementos are reminders of a time when these items gave us joy. The thought of disposing of them sparks the fear that we’ll lose those precious memories along with them.
Truly precious memories will never vanish even if you discard the objects associated with them…no matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.
Pg. 118: The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.
Pg. 124: As you reduce your belongings through the process of tidying, you will come to a point where you suddenly know how much is just right for you.
Pg. 133: I have yet to see a house that lacked sufficient storage. The real problem is that we have far more than we need or want.
Pg. 168: By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t inspire joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.
Pg. 175: At their core, the things we really like to do do not change over time.
Pg. 177: Tidying is a way of taking stock that shows us what we really like.
Pg. 182: The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.
Pg. 202: If you can say without a doubt, “I really like this!” no matter what anyone else says, and if you like yourself for having it, then ignore what other people think.
Pg. 204: Pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life.

Comparing Sizes: Franklin Covey vs. DayTimer

Franklin Covey and DayTimer are the two big planner brands in the United States. Lucky for those of us who use them, their sizes and ring format are pretty compatible.

However, each company uses its own terminology. This is led to confusion by not only myself but other members of the planner world when we’re trying to compare planners.

Here is a list of the size and insert measurements each company uses:

Franklin Covey Measurement DayTimer
Monarch 8.5 inches x 11 inches Folio
Classic 5.5 inches x 8.5 inches Desk
Compact 4.25 inches x 6.75 inches No comparable size
No comparable size 3.75 inches x 6.75 inches Portable
Pocket 3.5 inches x 6 inches No comparable size

What I can add from the information in the above chart is that if you have a Compact or Portfolio size planner, if the ring format matches you should still be able to use the insert from the FC Compact & Pocket and the DayTimer Portable.

Here are some links for more information:

Franklin Covey: http://franklinplanner.fcorgp.com/store/buy/Ring-bound/cat1640004/

DayTimer: http://www.daytimer.com.au/en/au/3206/guide-to-day-timer-sizes

Folio

DayTimer Avalon, Folio size

FC Day1One Classic (4)

Franklin Covey Day1One, Classic size

Portable

DayTimer Malibu, Portable size

FC compact

Franklin Covey, Compact size

Pocket

DayTimer PlannerAhead, Pocket size

The Lost Filofaxes, part 2

So there was a silver lining to the end of the Lost Filofaxes story. A few days later, my MIL comes in from doing more sorting in the Bonus Room and hands me:

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It may not be her original Filofax, but it was still cool. It isn’t a full planner, but she used it as a notepad.

My husband remembers it always sitting on a table by the front door when he was a boy.

It is now part of my planner/refillable notebook collection. It has the 6 ring, 3-3 format, which matches my Raika and DayTimer Rose Gold planners. This is nice because it will allow me flexibility between the three of them.

There is another part that I only found out a couple of weeks ago. But some background or reminders first: MIL stopped using her Filofax when they came to American for several reasons: (1) she didn’t think she could get inserts over her for it and (2) planners were falling out of fashion.

Okay, new part of the story: She found a barely used Franklin Covey 365 Classic size planner at her local thrift shop for $1.99!!! What a fantastic find! And because she now knows a couple of planner users (me and my mom), she’s been re-corrupted!

I sent her some blank dated calendar inserts I wasn’t using for August through December, so she’ll be able to get back into planning.

© Cori Large August 25, 2015

5 Lessons from the first 5 business years

This is a piece I’ve been meaning to write for awhile. No excuses. Just haven’t done it, until now. And a word of warning, this is a long one.

Background: I have an AA degree in Accounting, and a Bachelor’s degree in General Business Administration, focusing in Management and Accounting. I had only just begun to consider starting up Crafts by Cori when I took Cost Accounting 1. This class laid the foundation for me to be able to accurately calculate my costs, down to the penny accurate.

That was the Spring of 2010. It has now been five years, and I’m reflecting on how things have been. There are five lessons/tips I’ve either learned the hard way or just figured out on my own:

  1. Know basic accounting.

This might sound like common sense, but I have a friend who also has her own business and she doesn’t keep track of anything. She claims she’ll figure it all out come Tax Time.

This is not a smart move in my opinion, because of the opportunity for documents and receipts to get lost. When my mom had her side business up and running, she used a very simple way of keeping track of her costs:

Start Up Funds

Less Product Costs

Less Shipping

Add Revenue/Payment

Profit/Loss

She essentially kept a running total. I use this method now, despite my accounting background and OCD desires to map everything out. Each year, I start with how much money I have for the business and add/subtract income/expenses when necessary. If you have Quicken Books or any bookkeeping software, it can generate reports for you at the end of the year.

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  1. Purchasing product/raw materials.

When I first started my business in 2010, I was very conservative in my buying raw materials to make my product with. Then from 2011-2013, I seemed to go on a spending spree that didn’t spill over into 2014 because I was in an apartment where space was limited.

I have enough raw materials to make product for a couple of years before I need to restock. So now I’m doing the smart thing, and working through my stash.

So what’s the point of this section?

Beware the shopaholic tendencies and be smart about shopping for material. I’m also going to bring up my friend again. She is a self-admitted shopaholic who has more than enough supplies and materials to keep her creative mind busy for the next five years—at least! So if you know yourself and you also have shopaholic tendencies, my advice is only shop where there are really good sales and/or you have coupons. Then lock up the cards and sign up of websites until it’s time to order more.

Yarn Stash (2)

Yarn Stash (1)

Yarn Stash (4)

Yarn Stash (5)

Yarn Stash (3)

  1. FIFO method of production.

This section piggybacks off Section 2. I shared that I have enough material to keep me busy for some time, and I’ll be employing the FIFO (First In, First Out) inventory system. Meaning I will be using whatever I bought first and work my way up through all my raw materials.

This is also a good method for keeping your supplies in check and hopefully note become a hoarder. I haven’t bought any yarn, except for a custom order, since November 2014. How do I know what’s to be used first? I got into the habit years ago of writing on the yarn labels the date on which I bought the yarn and how much I paid for it.

  1. Running Inventory & Cost List

My costs list also doubles as a quick inventory list, but I do have a separate inventory that is more in-depth.

CBC inventory excel example

My inventory lists items as individuals. For example, if I have 12 of a certain color of knitted dishcloth, on the cost sheet they are listed by color and brand with their cost, but on the inventory sheet I list Brand, Color, Type of Product, Material Cost, and Price per Item—for each one—12 times total.

I keep an inventory sheet for each year. When an item is bought I highlight it in yellow. It also helps me calculate the beginning and end of year inventory value for tax purposes.

  1. Customer Problems

If you choose to do custom orders, I hope your customer issues will be none or kept to a minimum. I recommend you write out an estimate for your customer, so you both will have an idea of the costs and what the desired final measurements are to be. Once all that is agreed upon, get a signature! I had a customer who was of the opinion that the final measurements for her order were not correct. Luckily, I had the Customer Order Contract she signed, where it had the desired measurement on it. When I re-measured the item and assured her it was the size she asked for, she paid and left with the item, although she still seemed to think I was in the wrong.

There’s a lot more to that story, but my point is: remember to be professional and have the signed paperwork to back you up. There are people in the world that will try to take advantage of you because you’re a small business and think you won’t fight them.

So these are the lessons I’ve learned in the five years I’ve been in business. Well, these are the big things. There are lots of little things I’ve learned from doing craft shows. The links below are for my business’s blog page/website and its Facebook page:

Crafts by Cori blog/website: https://craftsbycori.wordpress.com/

Crafts by Cori Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crafts-by-Cori/163136173711522

© Cori Large May 18-21, 2015

Cash Envelope Wallet

For my birthday, I received a cash envelope wallet, designed to go along with the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps.

Mine came from Thrifty Zippers, a store of ETSY.com.

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(This is how big it is compared to my hand.)

The pattern I got was Cherry Blossom. It has 6 zippered pouches, 4 card slots, and 2 cash size pockets in the front and back. It closes with a hook and loop strap.

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My cash envelope categories are:

*Grocery

*House

*Gifts (includes birthday and other holidays, not Christmas)

*Car

*Christmas

*Pool/Grounds

I really like my wallet. I’m thankful that my grandma bought it for me.

© Cori Large June 27, 2015