I love to make things. I used to make things regularly. I mean handicrafts. Making things with my hands, as opposed to make things digitally. There is nothing wrong with making things digitally. I love it too. But I do miss working with my hands, taking risks with every action/treatment I bestow upon my tangible materials. There is no “undo” and “redo”. What’s done is done. Usually there is room for improvisations to save a botched action which might improve the object-in-the-making, lifting it to an ever higher level, or it might permanently damage it beyond any salvation. I think this is a good exercise to toughen myself up. To accept that in the process of creation, waste is inherent. Or, to see it from a better point of view, they are not waste. They are part of the process – they have served their purpose and given their contribution.
One of my main resolutions for 2009 is to achieve and to maintain a good balance between digital and analog (analog as in non-digital, non-computer-generated). Yes, to go back to create things with my hands, from simple craft projects to concept-based art projects. I have to re-learn how to play fearlessly again, to take risks and derive joy from it all. I need to create more art. I’ve been starving myself of art making for too long. I can’t go on like that. So I have to make time for it.
But I can’t just abandon digital world – oh no. And I need it. I need it because I do love doing digital works as well. While the magic in crafting by hands is in “The Magic of Transformation”, the magic in digital work is in… hmmm.. from “The Magic of From Nothing to Something” – which is totally awesome and amazing too, if you ask me! I also need it for practical reasons: to pay my studio rents, my personal bills, my share of household bills; in short: to earn my own living – to earn my self-confidence and worth as an independent adult. So… what I aim to achieve in 2009 (and to maintain it forever!) is to combine both digital and analog in my various works. That doing digital does not exclude analog activities. Of course there will be projects that are entirely digital, or entirely analog. But from now on, I will readily consider the possibility of the combination, however little it might be.
To record my progress and to motivate me more, I created a new category in my blog here, entitled “manuFactor” – from Latin manu factus, literally, made by hand. My philosopher husband Timothy gave me this title back in 2004 when I was handcrafting a lot. Those of you who are interested in handicrafts may subscribe to this Category, just log in and edit your preferences :).
So I need to re-organize myself and it is only fitting that my first project is to make a set of daily planner to organize myself better in 2009. And it is a Hybrid project indeed: using both digital and analog techniques!
I made several as each planner is good for 112 days, roughly about 3.5 months. I decided not to bind them all together into a single thick planner as this way it is very portable. The covers are made from various Japanese Inkjet Washi papers (from Itoya), with the ‘Daily Do’ title made using my own Ztampf! elements. You can use thicker cardstock if you prefer. I like the washi as they are beautiful and light, yet durable. The binding is a simple stitch with linen book-binding thread that a friend gave me years ago. You can also use regular cotton or polyester thread for this.
The content pages are made from regular copy papers, printed with a template that I designed especially for this project. I keep it simple so I’ll have plenty of room to write my plans without any distractions. Each page has 6 sections for weekdays with faint grid background and a flap in either the left side of right side of the page for Sundays. There is a Date+Day Block on each weekday section. You can either a). rubber-stamp the Date and the Day in advance, or b). you can write them as you go – giving you a chance to not bother with days when you do/plan nothing, you can just jump over to the next day/s without leaving a blank section. When you rubber-stamp the Date and Day in advance, you have to keep in mind that the Sundays are on the flaps! This could be refreshing, breaking off from your linear routine – or, you might find it annoying and confusing. I don’t know yet. Right now I’m trying the option a. I made mistakes several times when stamping the dates – forgetting that the Sundays are on the flaps. I just stamped over with darker ink. We’ll see how I like having my Sundays not always between Saturday and Monday!
If you want to make one yourself, you can download the templates for ‘Daily Do Planner’ ( the content pages and the cover – minus the ‘Daily Do’ title) here. It’s for A4 size paper. You can customize them digitally (or manually) by adding your own title, etc. There are Inner Page and Outer Page. Print four of each on both side with full-bleed option enabled. Use the same template for each side (Inner Page with Inner Page, Outer Page with Outer Page). Score and fold the paper accordingly. Now unfold them and stack them all together. Alternate the pages by flipping them one for every two pages so one page has the flap on the left and the next one has the flap on the right. This is to avoid bumpy bulk built by the flaps if they are all kept on the same side. Place all of the Inner Pages on top of the Outer Pages, with the Cover on the bottom most. The cover should be slightly wider than the content pages. Fold them all together, optionally, press underneath thick, heavy books for a few hours (best left overnight) to flatten them.
Next is the binding. You will need a bookbinding awl or you can use any tool with a sharp point. Now lay open the planner and center the pages well within the cover. Hold the half part of the planner (the first half of the pages and the front cover) and bring it down, creating approx. 45º to the other half that is laid flat on your desk. Hold the center firmly, hold your bookbinding awl at 45º and drive it right in the fold (for the exact location, refer to the top right pic on the image above). Repeat the step to punch the second hole. Finally do the stitching! Start from the inside out, and knot the end in the inside to lock the stitch! You might want to press the planner again under heavy books to flatten it before using! Enjoy :).