Chirped by Tina
My husband calls me a “rule-follower”. As if that’s a bad quality to have?? c(-; But when it comes to crafting, I definitely like to meander outside the lines and do my own thing. You might have noticed that tendency play out on my vision boards from the last two years. For the 2018 party, I took my cue from the picture of Cass’s inspiration board that came with her invitation – a pretty array of the sorts of things we might want to focus on for our own boards. She had drawn it out on a chalkboard, and it looked terrific. (She has beautiful penmanship!) The night of the party, I brought my own chalkboard and chalk pens so I could design a reusable board that would be easy to change from year to year.
I’m reasonably comfortable with my handwriting, and I like to draw my own embellishments to make my crafts more personal. I got to work with the oh-so-forgiving chalk pens. (They don’t smear, like regular chalk, but they wipe clean with a damp paper towel if you don’t like how something turned out.) Instead of penning the more specific goals that some folks were clipping out for their boards, I was drawn to what I now think of as mantras for the year: “Share Your Gifts”, “Create”, “Let it Go!” and so on. This year, when we wanted to update our boards for 2019, all my mantras still felt relevant. The only thing that had changed was the year. And I still really liked last year’s board, so I decided to go off road again and try something new.
I set out to make a To-Do Board. I wanted a list of definitive goals this time around, that I could remove as I accomplished them, or add to as new projects came up. Reusable, adaptable, and attractive, of course! My pieces of scrap paper with scribbled lists of projects* are helpful only until they are buried under a stack of papers, or piled up with other lists that aren’t quite finished because of some roadblock I’ve run into. And when I’m done with them? Trashed or burned, depending on my mood, with nothing to look back to if I want to pat myself on the back later for a job well done. So during one of my four o’clock in the morning wide-awake moments (when I’d had chocolate too late in the day), I came up with a plan… (By the way, I’m totally ok with crafty ideas swirling around in my head when I can’t sleep! At least I’m being productive!)
* For more tips on conquering your own mounting to-do list, check out our post: Five Little Pecks to Prod a Procrastinator!
Prepping the Board…
I’m guessing I’m not the only one with some pretty nasty looking cookie sheets in my kitchen. They’re still perfectly functional, but I tend to want to put tinfoil or parchment paper between them and whatever I’m cooking, for fear of adding a little rust to my ingredients… Might be time to upcycle them into something better! I splurged and bought a brand new one to replace the worst offender in my drawer, then took the rusty thing to the craft table for a makeover. First step: I used some leftover Kilz2 primer to seal in all that rusty yuck so it wouldn’t come back to haunt my project later on. It didn’t cover as well as I expected it to, so I actually applied three coats before calling it good enough. I only used two coats on the back – hopefully I won’t regret that later!
Next I plundered the leftover wall paint from our redecorating project a couple of years ago. Fortunately I had a professional advising me at the time (thanks, Cass!), so all our paint colors coordinate nicely with each other from room to room. No matter where I decide to hang my board, it’ll look like it was always meant to be there! (-; It took two coats, but I painted the primed cookie sheet the beautiful “Needlepoint Navy” color we’d used for accent walls in our foyer.
Pro Tip #1: My cookie sheet already had a hole on one rim. This would have been the perfect time to make a matching hole on the other side, for hanging purposes, but unfortunately I didn’t think of that until I’d already arranged the whole thing with my tags. Don’t be like me! Magnets tend to fall off when you start banging your board with a hammer! A big fat nail did the trick to puncture the metal with a hole big enough to thread some twine through. Put a scrap piece of wood under the rim before you start hammering, so you don’t bend the whole pan out of shape.
Pro Tip #2: Add some self-stick furniture felt pads at each corner of the back side to hold the board out away from the wall a little. That will allow room to store blank and completed tags throughout the year.
Prepping the Project Tags…
My idea was to have an assortment of “project tags” – the things I’d like to get done – on the front of my board. Once I complete one, I’ll move it to the back, where I will also store some blank tags for new priorities. At the end of the year, I’ll be able to turn the board over and admire all the work I’ve done! (And then maybe take a picture and paint over the old tags to make room for next year’s goals.)
I already had three sizes of popsicle sticks among my craft supplies. It made sense to put the biggest, most time-consuming projects on the biggest sticks, and the small and medium projects on their corresponding sizes. I wanted the tags to be pretty, so I painted them with the soft green, blue, and beige colors of our master bedroom and master bath. To start, I painted 15 tags with each color, though I went back and made more once I realized how many projects I wanted represented!
Pro-tip #3: if you’re using pre-colored popsicle sticks, as I was for the largest tags, take the time to prime them first! I found the turquoise and purple sticks in particular kept bleeding through the wall paint, requiring more and more coats.
Next I glued magnets on the back of each tag. This is a great opportunity to upcycle any old advertising magnets you might have lying around or stuck on your fridge! Cut them up and hot glue them in place – or buy rolls of magnetic strips at the craft store with peel and stick paper on one side. Magnets make your project tags easily repositionable as you figure out how you want to organize your board.
Organizing the Layout…
At this point I was ready to go to Cass’s Vision Board party and put my To-Do Board together. I brought paint markers that I’d picked up for a recent rock-painting party (more on that in a future post) to label each tag.
I broke my project lists into several parts. I really need to get my scrapbooking back on track, so one section was all about the highest priority albums that I’d like to finish this year. That includes a highlight album for 2018. For that one I made a big “2018 Album” tag, along with twelve smaller, itemized months. That way if I get January done, I can move that magnet to the back of the board and move on to February, to break the large goal up into more manageable pieces (micro goals from last year’s board!). Once I get the whole year completed, I can change out “2018 Album” for “2017 Album” – or whatever year I decide to work on next, and bring the individual months back to the front of the board.
Pro-Tip #4: If you’re not good at judging how much space a job description will take up, you can write it out first on a piece of scrap paper and then center a tag below it, in order to guide you when you actually commit it to the wood. Exclamation points, dot dot dots (…), or variously styled dates (2018 vs. ’18) can also help “correct” the centering if you’re feeling overly neurotic about it! (Who me? Neurotic?) See examples below! c(-;
I also have some organizing goals for 2019. These each got a big tag under the heading: “Declutter:..” I distinguished the heading from the individual To-Do tags with some corks I’d cut in half and turned into magnets. Some smaller tasks that will involve ordering photos or hunting down the perfect frame before they can be completed lined up under “Medium Projects”. A couple of little hurdles that I just haven’t been able to jump, that will really only involve making a couple of phone calls or using supplies I already have, like “re-pot orchid”, got their own smaller tags at the bottom of the board.
Last but not least, I wanted a weekly reminder of chores that I want to stay on top of, or progress towards larger goals that I’d like to chip away at. Not as mundane as doing the dishes or laundry necessarily, but I do have a bad habit of letting the bill pile go unattended for weeks at a time, since so many of them get paid automatically. This occasionally causes problems when one that actually requires a check gets lost in the shuffle. I made a “To Do” column and a “Done!” column, with “Pay Bills”, “100 emails”, and “30 min CR” to slide from one side to the other each week as I get them done. My inbox is out of control, so clearing 100 unread emails a week seems like a good start to taming it. “CR” is my craft room. If I work on it a minimum of 30 minutes a week, surely I can reclaim it in no time?! When I get those last two items all caught up, I can move them to the back, and maybe make a new weekly goal, like “Month of Photos” towards my “2018 Album”! Funny, it didn’t occur to me until this moment to put “Blog Post” as a weekly goal – guess that goes without saying!
After arranging this preliminary set of 2019 goals on my board with a few cork magnets to break things up a bit, the pièce de résistance was to add some decorative flourishes to the corners and blank spots with my paint pens. I like my setup enough to assume that it will work for me throughout the year, even as I switch out old projects for new ones, so I even added a few flowers in the middle between my scrapbooking and decluttering sections. I’m really pleased with how it turned out!
How It All Turned Out…
For now, my To-Do Board has found a home over my bill-paying desk in the kitchen. When I eventually reclaim my craft room I may relocate it, but until then it’s in a great spot to motivate me on a daily basis.
With one full week under my belt since I hung my To-Do Board, all three of my weekly reminders are nestled happily in the “Done!” column, and I re-potted the orchid! Been meaning to do that for months – just needed the impetus of a tiny little popsicle stick that could so quickly move to the back of the board… So far so good! I’m not bringing out any of the blanks until it looks a little less crowded. I’ve got time – it’s only February!
Let’s get crackin’ on those projects!
- Five Little Pecks to Prod a Procrastinator
- New Year – New Vision Board
- Vision Board Party 2019
- Creating a Vision Board
- Hosting a Vision Board Party
- Upcycled Wall Hangings: Crafting with Castoffs
Like this post? Save this pinnable image to a crafty Pinterest board to come back to later! Check out our pinning tutorial on how to do that from an iOS/Apple device at the end of our post: New Year – New Vision Board