Decorate your Erin Condren or Happy Planner for Easter with these free printable planner stickers featuring adorable watercolour dogs.… [read more]
It’s raining. I’m cold. I’m a bit cranky. A good book, a cup of hot tea and a warm dog for my lap is everything I want right now.
When I was a kid, I’d spend hours curled into one of those old wicker hanging chairs on our deck. No matter the season, that’s where you’d find me, snuggled up with a book (and a blanket, if it was freezing.) I was a voracious reader devouring stories as fast as the library would lend me more.
Somewhere along the line, life got busy. I grew up and got preoccupied. While my love of a good story never waned, my commitment to finding the time explore new books, pick ones to read and actually sit down to read them withered. After all, Netflix has like 10 000 ways to spend an afternoon, I have a busy job and an even busier side hustle, two active dogs who want to go on adventures and just a lot going on, in general.
I want to read MORE in 2018 and I want to read more books about dogs.
For the new year, I’ve treated myself to a few special things to make reading as cozy and inviting as possible. I’ve filled my Amazon wishlist with books I’d like to check out and I’ve designed these OMG really super adorable reading stickers (I might be biased though?) so I can schedule the time in my planner. (And I like you guys, so they’re available as a free download at the end of the post!).
To help keep me on track, I’m considering joining in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. The prompts are super open to interpretation and there aren’t a MILLION of them like some reading challenges. (Fact: if your reading challenge has 112 prompts, I’mma fail real hard at completing it.) So if you’re looking for a gentle, easy, attainable reading challenge, this is the one. And if like me, you love a book with a dog in it, I’ve got some suggestions.
I’m having a bit of trouble getting into the Holiday spirit this year.
There’s a lot of reasons why and I’m not going to bore you with them because they mostly sound like I’m whining. Since I’m struggling to find my holly jolly attitude and acting a little more like the Grinch than I care for, I’ve been going out of my way to do things I know will make me feel festive.
Now that Remembrance Day and American Thanksgiving have passed and been celebrated in their own right, I have no problem going FULL CHRISTMAS in my home and in my planner.
I haven’t had this much fun designing a free printable sticker set in a long time. The clip art, which was purchased from NaliaArt and Pipz Design on Etsy paired with the Christmas Watercolor set and the Winter Watercolor set from Design Bundles, is PERFECT. I’m a little in awe of how so many different artist’s work came together so easily. Some sets take hours or days until I’m happy with them. These watercolor dog stickers are my own personal Christmas miracle because the whole set only took a couple hours to make.
I’m going to use the boxes in my planner, but I think I’ll take a couple of the larger die cut stickers and make them into planner clips.
Stay tuned for a quick and easy video tutorial coming soon. I love having custom planner clips, but I’m also a little lazy, so I like them to be AS EASY as possible.
New to printing your own planner stickers? Here’s what you need:
- A colour printer – mine is a Canon PIXMA because I love how vibrant the colours come out.
- Full Page Printable Labels like these Avery Shipping Labels
- A Silhouette Craft Cutter, a tool like a Gyrocut or good ol’ fashioned scissors
Simply print on label paper and cut out! Can’t wait until label paper arrives? No problem! You can print these on regular copy paper and paste them into your planner with a glue stick.
Download your free printable watercolor Christmas stickers now
by clicking on the image below and saving the file.
How do you get in the Christmas spirit? Do you have any tips for me??
The rainy season is like really, really long in Vancouver.
It’s most of the year. It’s 3 months and 6 months ago and now and sometimes, it feels like the rainy season is always. When the weather is dreary it is so easy to chill on the couch, snuggle a dog and watch everything Netflix has to offer. If you’re me and Kolchak, there are considerable snack foods involved in our “Netflix and Dogs” agenda.
We’ve both taken on a shape vaguely reminiscent of a potato. No joke. We’re in great shape, as long as you acknowledge that round is a shape.
TL;DR: We’ve gotten lazy and soft. This needs to change, so we’ve joined Sarcastic Dog for their annual Healthy Dog, Healthy You Challenge
Basically, Alison is challenging us to kick our butts into high gear and walk with our dogs at least 15 – 20 minutes a day. Now, Koly, Fe and I are apartment dwellers, so we’re already achieving this, so my goal will be to do one healthy activity every day on top of our daily walks. We’ll be drawing inspiration from our old K9 Kamp activities like Fetch It Yourself, Tug With Me, Jumpin’ Around or Catch Me If You Can. Maggie over at Oh My Dog! signed up for a 5K at the end of the month (but like, she’s a show-off and an overachiever. Don’t put me down for the cardio!) You can find all the details on the Healthy Dog, Healthy You Challenge, sign up for the emails, join the Facebook group and more here. There’s daily challenges, prizes and ideas on ways you can help fundraise for pets in need.
To help keep myself ON TRACK (’cause let’s face it, I can be a slacker), I’ve created some free printable planner stickers.
This set has this week’s challenges, daily trackers for the number of minutes, total miles walked, snack stickers, meal planning stickers, other reminders and more. Click on the image below to download your free PDF. Print it on full page sticker paper (We like the Avery Labels from Amazon <- Affiliate link), then cut them out with scissors or a GyroCut.
How do you like to get active with your dog? Hit us up with ideas in the comments! We need all the help we can get!
I’m home from BlogPaws and I had the MOST amazing time.
Due to scheduling conflicts, I’ve missed the last two years and I always forget how incredible it is. The chance to connect with brands I love in person is invaluable. The time spent with friends I talk to every single day, but only see once in a blue moon is priceless. The speakers I met will continue to help influence the content you see here and improve this blog long after the conference is over. This year was made even more special by the chance to be a part of the BlogPaws Ambassador Team. I’ve always known a lot went into making this magical week possible, but this small peek behind the curtain was eyeopening. It’s so much more than I imagined.
My mind is still reeling from soaking up all that awesome, but I have some promises to keep.
This first is sticker related. At BlogPaws, Maggie from Oh My Dog! and I gave away blog planner stickers. The worlds CUTEST blog planner stickers, if I do say so myself!
We wanted to spread the message that a kick ass blog planner can change your blog (or your business). The first step to improving your social media stats is to understand them.
There are a few blog and social media stats we track every single month here at Kol’s Notes:
- UMV (or Unique Monthly Visitors) or how many people visited your site
- Pageviews or how many pages those people looked at
- Bounce Rate or how many people left after looking at only one page
- Time on Site or how many seconds/minutes the average visitor spent on your site
- Facebook Fans/Reach
- Instagram Fans
- Twitter Fans/Retweets
- Pinterest Fans/Repins
Tracking my blog & social media stats lets me know when something is working – or when it’s not. It let’s me track if promotional strategies are helping me achieve my goals and it helps me set new targets to grow our reach.
So to help you remember to track your stats, we have some free printable tracking stickers!
I’ve got the social media tracking set below and you can click here to visit Oh My Dog and download the blog stat tracking set.
What blog & social media stats are you tracking?
A few weeks ago, we celebrated Felix’s TENTH Gotcha Day with our family.
I can hardly believe that it’s been more than 10 years since we brought this happy little fluff ball into our home. Felix is the dog that changed me from a 20-something who enjoyed a good party, wanted to travel everywhere and who was never home into the quieter, more focused super questionable grown up I am now. He was the dog that made me want to be a better pet owner and the one who inspired this blog (which is ironically named Kol’s Notes. I know. I know.)
I had plans to decorate my Best Life Pets planner pages with some super cute stickers that I made JUST to celebrate Fe’s Gotcha Day.
They’re so cute right? Who wouldn’t want to use those? Um, apparently this girl. I sat down with a glass of wine to chronicle all the things I’ve loved about Fe’s last 10 years with us and this happened. Word vomit.
You guyyyyyyys! I totally forgot to share last week’s #BestLifePets memory planner page with you! While y’all were celebrating your doggy Valentines I was celebrating all things #TeamFe and his TENTH Gotcha Day. I started by writing out his Gotcha Day story and all my FAVOURITE things about him and it got a little out of hand. I love all the journaling on this week’s page, all the memories it captures and how easy it was to say so much about my sweet fluffy boy. I didn’t even have space to use the Gotcha Day/Birthday stickers I made!
Apparently, I had a lot to say. I mean, can you blame me? Fe is the most precious. ever. I think using the different colour pens and mixing up the “font” make it a little more interesting than if it was just PLAIN, but I really wish I had used the stickers. (Aside: can you call it a font when it’s hand written? Is there a word for that? Yeesh. I call myself a writer. For shame.)
Need ideas of ways to celebrate your dog’s Birthday or Gotcha Day in your memory planner? I’ve got you covered.
- The Top 5 or 10 things you love about your dog
- Things that have changed or improved over the years
- Peronality traits and quirks that make your dog unique
- A list of your dog’s favourite things (Pro tip: and then make sure to do all those things for their big day!
- Their Birthday or gotcha Day story and how you got them
- A picture of your dog when you brought them home and one of them now
- Your birthday celebration action plan
Seeing all these things I love about my sweet Felix, I can’t even be mad at myself for totally spacing on the stickers.
Besides, the good news is, even if *I* blew it? You can can still totally download these and use them for YOUR dog’s birthday or Gotcha Day spread. (And Kol has a birthday! Maybe I’ll be smarter when his big day roll around in June!)
Does your dog have a Birthday or Gotcha Day coming up? Download our free printable dog birthday stickers!
Major kudos to the talented artists and designer who sell their work on Etsy AND let lazy, untalented folks like myself coast by on their mad skills. Puppy Birthday Clip Art used in this set was purchased from Pretty Grafik on Etsy and the backgrounds purchased from Jessica Sawyer Designs on Etsy<- affiliate links. That paw print you see on the small boxes is Kol’s ACTUAL paw print, so he wants all the credit for that.
How do you celebrate your dog’s Birthday or Gotcha Day?
Wanna tell me their home coming story? I would LOVE to hear how you all got your pups.
Busy right now? Save this sucker for later when you’ve got time to plan in peace – Pin it!
Holla to my planner peeps! How is your Pet Planner going?
Has everyone opened the book and written something in it? I’m hearing whispers from the interweb that some of you are worried that your handwriting isn’t good enough or that you’ll make a mistake and wreck the whole darn book or that you have the wrong pens or something.
YOU GUYS, NEWSFLASH:
Your dog doesn’t give a damn what your hand writing looks like.
This book is meant to help you capture all the best things about sharing your life with your pets, to help you make your relationships with those adorable four-legs even better and to create something that you can flip back through and smile. Your hand writing is good enough. Dollar store pens get the job done. You’ve got this. So, please, PLEASE don’t be afraid to get started.
In January, a lot of my spreads featured special bonding activities with my dogs.
We explored ways to may our walks more engaging and enriching for the dogs. I made sure I set time aside to play and to put my electronics away and focus on spending time with the muppets. I planned fun ways to make my relationship with my pets stronger.
In February, I want to focus on good habit building for those things that are a little less fun.
I love my pets. I do! I take pretty darn good care of them, but there are things that a lot of pet owners aren’t as diligent about as they could be. Those moments, when you look at your dog (let’s call him Felix) and you’re like “Holy geeze, you look like a vagrant, when is the last time someone groomed you?!” I mean, he’s clean and healthy, but he needs a hair cut, someone has to brush out his belly all the flipping time, and no matter what I do, his darn nails keep growing. Dogs need a crap load of upkeep!
However, I know life is going to happen. Habit building never goes perfectly. (I mean seriously, how many of us are SO OVER our New Years Resolutions to work out more. UGH.) That’s why I love love love Post It planning for good habits. I pop little Post It Flags onto the page with my daily reminders. They’re SUPER easy to peel up and reschedule if life gets in the way. No guilt. No pen on the page accusing me of failure as a good dog owner. It’s such an easy way to plan to do your best, but not beat yourself up if you’re not 100% perfect, right off the bat. (Confession: The post it’s that they sell designed to fit in planners are crazy expensive, so I’m using dollar store post its and trimming them down with scissors. I’m too cheap.)
I’m still planning to include the fun bonding and relationship building stuff in our weekly layouts, but planning my best life with pets is more than just fun and games, it’s the tedious stuff too.
For those who are following along with our weekly prompts, here are February’s spread themes:
Week two will mark 10 years, TEN, that Felix has been with our family.
I feel like I love him more every day, so we’ll be focusing on capturing Gotcha Day memories, while our lovely partner in planning, the brilliant Maggie from Oh My Dog! tackles the pretty pink glamness that is Valentine’s Day. We’ve got a couple of crazy adorable free printable sticker sets coming – one for dog lovers and one for cat lovers, so don’t forget to check back later this week to snag your copy.
I’m still totally loving the Pet Photography Challenge hosted by Kama from Chi Pets.
If you’re looking for inspiration on what photos to take each week and use in your memory planner, I totally recommend this challenge. Not just because the weekly prompts keep me from overthinking it, but because I am learning SO MUCH and this group is so helpful. I really feel like I’ve improved a ton in just a month. I am CRAZY excited over this week’s bokeh challenge because I have never been able to figure this one out and kind of chalked it up to witchcraft, but Kama and Iryna make it sound so simple. You can take part by joining the Pet Photogrpahy Challenge facebook group.
So, tell me, how is YOUR Best Life Pets Planner going? What do you love? Are you struggling with anything? What habits do you want to work on with your pets?
This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we will earn a small commission that we use to keep this site running and to keep ourselves rolling in craft supplies and crazy grain-free flours.
You guys, you guys make me so darn happy.
Like crazy happy. I tell you I’m a giant planner nerd and so many of you jump right in! The number of people who have sent me messages and tagged me in photos of their new pet planner. It makes my paper-crafting nerd heart sing. (Not sure what I’m talking about? Kick back to last week’s post and check out our new #BestLifePets Planner Project.) As a THANK YOU for jumping right in, I created these uber-adborable (IMHO) printable stickers, but before I share them with you, just a couple announcements:
First and foremost, I am FILLED WITH EXCITEMENT to announce that the lovely and talented Maggie from OhMyDog! will be joining us on this Best Life Pet Planner adventure as an official co-host.
From the moment she was here last summer and saw the planner on my side table, she has been the biggest source of encouragement and excitement. I can’t honestly say this project would have gotten off the group without her. I can’t tell you how very excited I am that she has agreed to share her take on this project with all of us. We’ll be doing things slightly different along the way to show just how easy it is to make this project your own.
Next, a few of you have expressed some hesitation to really get INTO your planners.
Write in them with pens. Cover ’em with stamps and stickers. Get messy! I know, a blank new planner is FULL of possibility and it can be SUPER intimidating, so to help get your creative juices flowing, we’ve created some prompts – use ’em, don’t use ’em. Do your thing, but if you’re stuck? Here’s a place to start:
This week, I’m focusing on all the things I LOVE about my dogs. Sure, I’ll be filling in appointments and reminders, but I’ll also be jamming up all my “blank space” with my favourite things that make Kol and Fe uniquely THEM. What makes your dog special? How are they different from every other dog you’ve met?
I find journalling can be a little overwhelming to the eye, especially in a Happy Planner and if you do a lot of it. I like to use decorative sticker sets to break up the page and isolate specific memories to neat little boxes. I made this set a few months ago using clip art from PrettyGrafikDesign on Etsy. I’ve been saving it for a special occasion and I think you guys making me feel all warm and fuzzy is exactly a perfect reason!
The start of this week’s spread – all about Kolchak and the things I adore him for!
You can download the Bright Puppies sticker set for free by clicking on the image below!
You can either print it on sticker paper (get it on Amazon) or on regular paper and use a glue stick to paste them into your book 🙂
So, how is your Pet Planner shaping up this week?
Don’t forget to share your pictures using the hashtag #BestLifePets
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I am straight up ready to close the door on the dumpster fire that was 2016.
I know. I know. For a lot of people, this was a good year. (
show offs.) Friends got married. Babies were born. There were totally good moments, but for me? 2016 was not a productive year, personally or as a blogger, so I’m setting it on fire and walking away. 2017 is going to be a better year.
The good years don’t come by accident though. If you want your best life, you gotta plan for it.
Push for what you want. Appreciate what you have. Remember why you’re doing it all. Which is why I am crazy excited to announce my pet project for 2017. (See what I did there? Huh? HUH? “Pet” project that is actually about pets?? #DadJokes4Life)
My 2017 Best Life Pet Planner:
Part day planner. Part Memory Book. Completely Awesome.
My goal is to create a week by week planner that not only pushes me to work on developing my relationship with my pets, but to work on improving training, grooming, pet-related cleaning and that captures my very favourite parts of living with pets along the way. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy, I’d love for you to join us. Don’t worry. You don’t have to be artistic or creative (though you totally can be!) I’ll be sharing cheats and tips along the way. You can customize your own plan for the week or follow along and duplicate mine (or one of the other amazing bloggers who I hope will be joining in!)
Before we start? A confession:
I have never once, in the history of challenges, completed a year long challenge. But, I’m an adultier adult than I used to be and sometimes, I actually catch myself acting like a real adult. I think I’m kind of, maybe, sort of ready to tackle a grown up challenge, but I’m also giving myself space to fail along the way. For example, I meant to post this announcement two weeks ago. If we’re being honest? Without the help and urging of the amazing Maggie from OhMyDog!, this project may never have come to life.
We’re all busy people. There’s no guilt here if you miss a week or fall off the planning wagon. It’s totally fine if you don’t discover this challenge until March. Or if you’re super excited to finish January, but the Feb gets busy and you drop the ball. Start where you are. Come back when you can. Embrace what you love. Leave what you don’t. The key to making this challenge work is only doing the parts that speak to you.
If you love photos, make your book super pet photo heavy.
Love to journal? Write down all your favourite pet memories.
Need a challenge? Set weekly or monthly goals for yourself and plan how to achieve.
Or, be like me, unfocused, totally scattered and with the plan changing on a whim.
There are NO rules.
Are you ready to jump in? Here’s what you need:
- A day planner
I’m using the Happy Planner system which I bought at Micheals. (They’re on sale right now!) You can also get them online from Me and My Big Ideas. I snagged a 2017 Seasonal Planner box set because I liked that it already was partially decorated for holidays, but literally any of their planners will work. The original size is perfect because I think the mini would be too small to really record much. The large would totally work though! (As a bonus the boxes in the BIG perfectly match to the Poloroid Zip photo printer size and you can print extra pages at full size and not have to trim them.)
Don’t feel like you have to use a Happy Planner though! You can absolutely do this in ANY day planner, even an affordable one from the dollar store – if you’re into bullet journalling, it can even be done that way.
- A set of pens you love
I’m currently girl crushing HARD on the PaperMate Inkjoy Gel Pens (affiliate link) NOT the ballpoints, which I bought first, by accident. *insert annoyed face here* Other fan faves include the erasable Frixion pens or, seriously, whatever you can pick up on your local office store’s discount rack 😉
Totally Optional Supplies you MIGHT want along the way:
Full page labels (or plain paper and a glue stick) – If you miss a week a long the way, we’ll be sharing printable, non time critical pages you can print and use to cover your missed weeks. Like I said, no guilt here! I’m gonna miss week, you’re going to miss a week, we’re not going to beat ourselves up about it. Deal?
Avery 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 Labels – These are the absolute perfect size to sticker over the monthly calendar boxes in an Original size HP. We’ll also be sharing a printable set of pet holiday stickers perfectly formatted for this label.
Discbound Punch (or whatever punch works with your system) – We’ll be sharing some fun add on printables throughout the year. You can TOTALLY do this on the cheap using a standard single hole punch, but I am lazy at heart and I just bought the punch. For the HP discbound system, I chose a travel sized Levenger punch over the HP branded one.
Stickers, Washi Tape and other Decorations – Y’all planners are cool right now, which as a planner nerd is a sentence I actually never thought I would get to say, and that means there are SO MANY cool products on the market to help personalize them. I’m low key obsessed with Washi Tape, but I know someone who has never met a sticker she didn’t “need”. You do you with this one. You can take it over the top with decor or stick to paper and pen. I ain’t judgin’.
Since I didn’t post this sucker a few weeks ago, today’s post is a 2 for 1:
I’m jumping in and getting started with my first monthly and weekly spreads:
Our 2017 Intro Page:
Our January Page Opener:
I’m a huge advocate for rotation diets, whether your dog is kibble or raw fed, so I’ll use the “eating” section to track what proteins we’re on.
I’m totally accepting pet-centric podcast and radio show suggestions for the “Listening” section.
I’m leaving “celebrating” blanks for now because I want to go back at the end of the month and fill in our biggest achievement or win for January.
I’ll keep adding goals as I figure out what they are.
Doodle tip: I’m the worst at drawing. I googled “dog doodles”, pulled the page out of my planner and laid it right on my computer screen then traced this gem. I highly recommend this short cut.
Our first weekly spread:
This week features:
- Our TOP FIVE Favourite Dog Tricks – (Thank you Maggie for suggesting this!) January is Train Your Dog Month, so I loved the idea of identifying what my dogs love to do best and then choosing a new trick to learn. I’ve split the top row of boxes, so I can choose 5 tricks for Koly and 5 for Fe, since they don’t generally love the same tasks.
- Our city recently changed when you renew your licenses, so I have a BIG reminder to make sure I do that. I should probably figure out how much I owe and who I send it to and like, make sure I know where both the boys actual tags are. (Don’t judge me, if you know all of these things offhand, you might be a witch.)
- I’ve left spaces for a few photos – I’m joining Kama from ChiPets for her newly created Pet Photography Challenge and I’ll be printing and pasting the photos in this book. (I really, really want a mini portable photo printer, so I’m putting it out to the universe and hoping one finds it’s way to me, lol).
This week’s prompt is:
- I’ve left a space to record something I’m grateful for this week. It will probably be that my dogs keep me from becoming a total slug on the couch. I’m fairly sure I’d be a hermit if they didn’t make me go out a few times a day.
- #TBT – Because Instagram isn’t the only place to throwback. I’ll use this space to record a favourite memory or paste in an old photo.
- Challenges – I’d like to push myself out of my routine and my comfort zone this year. It’s so easy to go for the same walk every day, but there is huge mental and emotional value for letting your dog sniff out a new walk route. We’re going to explore more.
- 2017 Goals – OK, so I’m not really a resolutions lady. I feel like they’re made to be broken and I’d like to stay the same snarky, irreverent jerk you’ve all come to know, but Kol and Fe on the other hand, THEY HAVE SOME THINGS TO WORK ON. *sigh* OK, whatever. I could work on somethings too. Mainly more doing, less planning.
- Plan downtime – I’ve been off work for a week and one thing I noticed was that every time I sat down the laptop or tossed my phone aside, a dog climbed into my lap. If you’re wondering if this has triggered a huge guilt ridden shame spiral deep in my soul, the answer is OF COURSE. It’s all very “cats in the cradle”. I’m making time to unplug and just hang out with my dogs.
- Blank space – The best moments in life tend to happen in the small spaces where nothing was planned. I’m saving these spaces for impromptu adventures, the little moments that make up a life (like how the way Fe sighs as he snuggles up to me in bed and it brings total peace to my soul or the way Kol smothers me with love after a snack he loves.) I know something will come up this week that I love about these little monsters, so I want to leave myself the freedom to record them.
I have an overwhelming urge to break out into 525 600 Minutes, a la Rent style.
I am super excited about this project and I hope you’re excited to join me on this journey. Make it your own and I really, really hope you’ll share it with us. Tag @kolsnotes in your posts on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, use the #BestLifePets hashtag or even post it on our wall or drop us an email. We can’t wait to see what you all do.
♫ How do you measure a year in the life? How about loooooooooveeeeeeeeeee. Measure in Love. ♫