Hand Lettering Ideas

Hand Lettering Ideas by Sam Granger

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed playing around with is hand lettering. I remember drawing bubble and block letters as a child and teenager, practising my cursive alphabet, and playing around with colouring letters. I think it was just a natural artistic interest I had, along with many others at the time (like obsessive knitting as a 12-year-old).

When I began my bullet journal back in 2016, I found myself drawn (no pun intended) to the hand lettering I saw many people doing. Could I do that? I thought I’d try, at least! Fast-forward a year and a half and I now own brush pens and calligraphy supplies. I’m by no means a professional and I never find the time to practice more than every so often, but it’s certainly a fun hobby and a nice way to make my bullet journal look a bit more how I want it to.

I decided to make a video sharing some of my favourite hand lettering styles and techniques. I go through adding shading, highlights, brush lettering, faux calligraphy, mixing fonts, and adding doodles.

While I do show you how I do each style, it’s not a proper tutorial, so please check out these links for more detailed instructions if you need them. Will Paterson has a good beginners tutorial on brush lettering. Kara from Boho Berry created a great faux calligraphy tutorial over on her channel.

So, in this video, I’ve used a selection of different pens and markers. For brush lettering, I used Zig Art & Graphic Twin markers, and one I got from a Chinese shop and I have no translation for (so, it’s a Chinese or Japanese style calligraphy brush pen). For regular lettering, I used my Artline200 0.4 black pen and my PaperMate InkJoy Gel 0.7 in black. I used the Uni POCSA White 0.7 pen for some highlights, and the Faber-Castell Precision Needle Point Correction Pen for others. I also used Zebra Midliners and a Staedtler Triplus Fineliner.

Hope you enjoy! x

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Minimalist Weekly Log

Minimal Weekly Log by Sam Granger

I have a new video up of my minimal weekly log. I like to have an overview area before my dailies each week, which usually contains things like tasks I want to complete during that week, appointments, and bills. This means I can see at a glance some of the most important things without having to constantly flip back to my monthly log.

Minimal Weekly Log by Sam Granger

As you can see here, I have a title at the top with the week’s date range, then below this is my overview section. Spaces for tasks, appointments, bills, and my work hours. Then below this is a little flourish to separate the overview from my dailies.

Usually, I create my dailies as I go, but for the purpose of the video, I wrote each day out. Doing it as I go just means I have more flexibility with daily log size. So, if I have a particularly quiet or busy day, I’m not wasting or running out of space respectively.

Check out the (very quick) video down below to see how it all came together.

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My DIY Wedding Binder Flip-Through

Wedding Binder Flip-Through by Sam Granger

Now that wedding planning is underway I figured I need a wedding binder or something to collect all the information in one spot. Plus they look nice, are great keepsakes, and I thought it would be fun to make one!

Below is a video flip-through of my binder so far. Obviously, I’ll add to it as we go along in the planning process.

The following is a list of resources I used in the making of the binder.

Leaves and flower graphics from Vecteezy.
Icons from Flat Icon.
Carats and Confetti
Sleepless DIY Bride
Gloria Joy
Botanical Paperworks
Almost Makes Perfect
Emergency kit: https://goo.gl/Tyz9hg | https://goo.gl/SFSxpu | https://goo.gl/254qT0 | https://goo.gl/ZMgPCS | https://goo.gl/tlz2wt

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6 Tips For Your First Wedding Dress Try-On

Today I went to try on wedding dresses for the first time ever.  I was a bit nervous and a lot excited! I had seen a dress on The Bridal Outlet website that I wanted to try on, so I booked an appointment and went in with my mum. As a plus-size woman, this part of wedding planning has always felt a bit daunting. I know the kinds of dresses I find most beautiful, and I want to feel and look beautiful on my wedding day, but I am not the most stoked with my current body size. I worried I wouldn’t fit into any of them, or that everything I liked would look awful, or that everything that fit would be hideous designs that people threw together to ‘hide’ a fat body. I wasn’t sure what to expect or how I would feel on the day, in my knickers and bra, rolls and cellulite everywhere, in front of a stranger.

First things first: the experience wasn’t horrible. I was looked after beautifully by Suzie at The Bridal Outlet. She made me feel comfortable from the very beginning. I never felt that, because I’m big, I was less important or not able to be as beautiful as a slimmer bride. Suzie was also a wedding dress designer previously, so not only did she bring her experience helping brides find dresses, she brought her designer eye and skills. She was able to explain different cuts and the purposes of certain details for drawing attention to particular areas, elongating the body, and not cutting the body in half. She was also amazing at suggesting alteration possibilities for the dresses I tried. I cannot recommend her enough! That’s not to say all bridal boutiques should have designers on staff, as an experienced consultant will be able to offer the kinds of suggestions that Suzie offered me.

As I tried on each dress, I began to form a more solid idea of what I want, what suits me, what bridal shopping is like generally, and so on. I’m mostly just so pleased I didn’t leave in a flood of self-loathing tears, which I was afraid might happen because I am definitely not as comfortable with my body as I would like to be. I can honestly say, though, that there were several moments, particularly as I tried on the last dress and popped a veil on, that I felt lovely and beautiful. I never thought I wanted to be a princess, really, but actually, I totally do! And that’s totally fine!

So, I thought I would share a few tips I’ve learned from this experience, in the hope that it will help any new brides out there prepare for their dress shopping experience.

1. You are beautiful.

You deserve this moment to experiment with gowns and see what you like. You are gorgeous and lovely just the way you are. I put on some pretty makeup, did my hair in a low bun (easy to maintain, off your neck for inevitable sweating as you change, and easy to undo to see what dresses look like hair out), and wore a cute outfit. If you feel comfortable and confident going in, it helps.

Also, prepare yourself for the reality that wedding dresses do not provide vanity sizing. Whatever your size, you will likely have to go up one or two sizes. I’m a New Zealand/Australia/UK street size 18 on top and 20 on the bottom, and the dresses that fit me best were size 20. Try not to focus on the size too much because it does not speak to your value and worth as a person.

2. Underneath it all.

Be comfortable in your underwear. I chose briefs that had some tummy control (I wore Lyric Light Control Full-Shape Brief) but were comfortable and didn’t make me feel like a sucked-in sausage. I wore a strapless bra and the fact it was black didn’t present much of a problem at all.

All of the wedding dresses I tried on were made with fabrics and layers that ‘hold you together’. Some had boning/corsetry also, which means that once altered to fit properly, could be worn braless. Really, our lumps and bumps aren’t too much of a problem. If you were trying on a lightweight sheath dress then maybe you would want to make sure your undies are on point, otherwise don’t stress too much. It will be ok!

3. Keep an open mind.

Be as open-minded as possible, even if you think you know what you want and what will suit you. It’s quite possible something will surprise you like it did me. I didn’t think I would like a strapless gown, but I did, cap sleeves were pretty and accentuated my waist, and keyhole backs are just lovely.

Try on dresses you think you won’t like, or that won’t look good. Try on different shapes, styles, colours, and fabrics. Let the consultant know what you like, but also that you are open to other suggestions. They will often have gowns that will suit your shape or the feel you’re going for, which you may not have thought of.

Try on dresses with components that you like, such as a particular neckline, even if you don’t like the skirt. This way you can piece together in your head what you like and don’t like. I didn’t think I wanted to even try a strapless gown, but I did and they were quite nice. Similarly, I didn’t think I’d want any ruching, but a few dresses I tried did have some and they weren’t so bad. In fact, my favourite of the bunch had a delicate ruched fine mesh overlay with lace underneath. It was a more subtle form of ruching but drew the eyes to particular points and accentuated my waist nicely. I also tried some little bolero jackets over the strapless gowns to see how they might look with sleeves. So, really, there are loads of possibilities, and it’s best to try as much as possible for your initial consultation. Now is the time to experiment!

Try accessories you thought you wouldn’t like, or be open to opting out of ones you thought you’d want. I thought I wouldn’t like a veil at all, but then I tried one on with the ruched dress mentioned above and it tied everything together so nicely. I felt lovely and delightful and all those things I was hoping I would feel as a bride trying to find The Dress. I don’t know if I will end up with a veil, but now that I know what one looks like, I’ll be much more open to trying them with other dresses.

4. Document and take notes.

Take photos! Take whole shots so you can get an idea of shapes and lengths (train, no train, etc.) and also take photos of details you like. Maybe the sleeves and neckline on one dress was lovely but the cut of the waist and skirt on another was best. This is also useful when you need to send all the photos to your sisters and best friends who couldn’t make it!

Likewise, take mental or written notes of particular details, which dresses you liked, and so on. This will help you start to filter out the stuff you like most and form a picture in your mind of what you are really looking for.

5. You’ll know.

You will probably know when something feels and looks good. This, in part, will be related to how well a dress fits you. Bear in mind that trying dresses off a rack rarely means a perfect fit. All the ones I tried would need altering in some way. Obviously, the closer a dress is to fitting well, the better you will probably feel, but forget that for the most part since anything can be altered. Even if a dress isn’t a perfect fit, you’ll still be able to get an idea of what makes you feel pretty and comfortable.

The last dress I tried on, with the veil and everything, was the first time in the process I thought I might cry. I just felt so good. My waist was so visible and my boobs looked great and I felt comfortable. That is what you want (the feeling good, you don’t have to cry!). The other dresses were nice or had good components, but the last one came together as a whole outfit really beautifully.

6. Take an audience.

The last piece of advice I have is to take at least one person with you whose opinion you trust. If you look like a potato in a sock, you want to be told! Perhaps not in those exact terms, but near enough! I took along my mum, and both sisters would have come but they were sick/had sick kids. There will always be room for each person’s own taste to affect their opinion, but it’s useful to have people whose input is reliable. My mum was able to point out aspects of dresses that just weren’t me at all, like sparkly silver beading. So not me! (But the good news is that sparkly silver beading can be removed and replaced with something much more my style.)

Here is a handy of infographic of these tips, perfectly pinnable, too! *wink*

6 tips for your first wedding dress try-on by Sam Granger

I hope that you have found these tips useful. I know they aren’t really anything new, but my own experience really demonstrated the importance of these, particularly during my first look at dresses. Good luck on your own hunt for The Dress!

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May 2017 Flip-Through

May 2017 Flip-Through by Sam Granger

It’s that time again, where I flip-through my bullet journal on camera and then spend two hours editing in pixelated areas over private information. Hahaha. Such is the nature of actually using something you do enjoy sharing publicly!

I received a comment the other week about possibly sharing some weekly setups on my channel, since I haven’t done any of those in a long while. I don’t typically share them anymore as videos, because they’re very similar week-to-week which would get boring to watch. I do usually share my weekly setups on my Instagram (@samjgranger), though, so if you want up-to-date peeks, check there.

Something else I mentioned in this video is the possibility of sharing wedding planning on my channel. We are starting to plan our wedding soon, so I’ve been making a binder for that. I was going to use a bullet journal for it, but I’ve found that I really need a system I can insert pages into anywhere and organise in a linear fashion.

Anyway, check out the video down below for an update on how my bullet journal is going. I can tell you, I am so in love with this, unlike my last bullet journal!

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May 2017 Setup

May Setup by Sam Granger

This month’s setup is slightly different to what I have been doing the last few months. While I have a regular monthly log style on the left page, I decided to extend it across the right page. I used the week separator lines to do this, as you can see in the photo below.

May Setup by Sam Granger

So, on the left page, I will put appointments and reminders, as usual. The right side is for bills and overflow. At the top on the right, I have a space for notes and tasks that are currently dateless.

I’m not sure I particularly like how it’s turned out, and later I did go over the week separators and days of the week in a pale apricot marker to add some variety.

My initial conception of this setup was to use the right side as a free flow area, with dateless tasks I know I need to get done, as well as bills. But it worked out that I put all the bills on the date lines, so I now feel like I have to be more structured that originally planned. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes!

Below, you will find the video of how it all came together. 🙂 xx

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Here are a bunch of free resources for your bullet journal. I have created some basic printables, as well as a handout which gives you basic measurements for setting up an A5 Leuchtturm 1917 notebook.

Note: The printables are 5x7inch size, which is a good fit for an A5 notebook. Print on sticker paper or regular paper, cut to size.

2017 Year Overview

Print out this 2017 Year Overview and pop it in your Bullet Journal for a quick and easy calendar view.

2017 Year Overiview by Sam Granger
2017 year overivew
30 Day Habit Tracker

This is a multi-month habit tracker. Simply print it out and write the name of the month to the left of “Tracker”, then list all the things you want to track on the left. If you like, you can put the day of the week initials above the dates.

30 Day Habit Tracker by Sam Granger
30 day habit tracker


31 Day Habit Tracker

This is a multi-month habit tracker. Simply print it out and write the name of the month to the left of “Tracker”, then list all the things you want to track on the left. If you like, you can put the day of the week initials above the dates.

31 Day Habit Tracker by Sam Granger
31 day habit tracker
Basic Bullet Journal Measurements

This PDF is a guide to basic A5 grid or dot grid notebook measurements. It covers a few different spreads, like creating a 6-month future log.

Basic Bullet Journal Measurements by Sam Granger
Basic Bullet Journal Measurements by Sam Granger
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Channel Update

Hello bullet journal lovers and others!

I’m currently sitting at my desk and I can see the most adorable, tiny wax-eye bird playing in my apple tree. I just had to mention it!

Anyway, the reason for this update is that I need to make some changes to my channel and I want to tell you about it. Don’t worry – the content will still be about bullet journaling. The change is my upload schedule.

With my graduate diploma rolling along and field practices coming up over the next six months, I feel my current schedule is taking time away from my studies. Therefore, I have decided to throw my weekly video schedule out the window and try something more flexible. Which is code for “I no longer have a schedule and will upload when I can.”

I feel a great sense of love and pride for my channel. I’ve worked really hard over the last year creating content that I love, and that I know other people enjoy (because they told me in comments and stuff). I adore the little community that’s build up around it. I love seeing familiar names in the comments, as well as on other social media. You are a truly great bunch of lovely, supportive people who I am so grateful have in my life.

There is a part of me that would love to do YouTube full-time, so I’ve made this decision reluctantly. I’ve known for a couple of months that I probably should do it because of how constantly busy I am. If I’m not planning, filming, editing or uploading a video, I’m reading through my course-work, or writing an assignment, or at my daycare centre volunteering, or working at my daycare centre, or helping family, or spending time with my fiance and our cats, or organising my life, or or or… You get the idea.

Like most people, there’s a lot going on and with my current commitments, I have to prioritise. As much as I’d love to put YouTube at the top, it’s not my primary source of income, it doesn’t have externally imposed deadlines, and the only impact it will have on my studies or work in early childhood education is negative (that is with my until-now upload schedule and while I have a lot going on with studies).

I’m serious about my graduate diploma and work as a teacher, so I want to give it as much as I can. The workload is basically a three-year degree squashed into just over a year, so it can be intense. I want to keep getting good grades and develop myself as a teacher over the next 8+ months.

So, while it’s not goodbye (I still have a video about using a bullet journal to help organise your studies that need to be edited), it’s see-you-less-frequently-on-YouTube.

Don’t forget you can keep up to date with personal and bullet journal happenings over on my Instagram, @samjgranger, and my channel’s FB page, Sam Granger.

Have a great day and I’ll see you soon! x

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