7 Thoughtful Gifts You Can Make Tonight

Are you stuck for a gift for someone special on your list this Christmas?

How about a planner?


Now, don't worry if they aren't even a planner girl, planners don't always need to be used just for planning!

Do you know someone who is getting married? Pregnant? Just had a baby?
What about someone who is moving? Renovating? Or going on vacation?
Maybe there is a teen on your list that just started High School. Or one who is in their last year of school.


Here are 7 different gift ideas using a planner that you can create quickly:

  1. Wedding planner or memory keeper
  2. Pregnancy journal
  3. Baby's first year
  4. Home improvement planner
  5. Moving planner and memory keeper
  6. Vacation planner and memory keeper
  7. High School memory keeper


Follow these 4 simple steps to make a gift planner tonight:

1. Your first step is to decide who is going to recieve the planner, and then decide what the purpose of the planner will be. You can chose from the list above or come up with your own ideas. Now, here comes the fun bit of this lesson! Let's go shopping for a planner! 

2. Decide on the types of pages that you will include in the planner. Do they need a calendar? Pages with spots for journalling? Pocket pages to add memorbilia and photos? Once you know what to add you can buy some or print some from the internet.

3. Time to doll up that planner and personalise it! Depending on the theme you've chosen, there are lots of things that you can add and decorate, including dividers, journaling and photos, lists of prompts, section topics, and ideas that, once the planner is in their hands, they can use to complete the planner.

4. This is my favourite step! Add lots of little fun goodies to make the planner extra special. Some ideas are: a package of sticky notes, a little bundle of stickers, washi, a pretty pen and planner clips. Use your imaginiation or add your favourite planner goodies.

That's it! Now, you've got a fantastic personalised gift for that hard-to-shop-for person on your list. If you want more help, more theme ideas for other people on your shopping list, pop on over HERE.  I've a got a new class at Big Picture Classes, called the Gift of Organisation, with lots more ideas and themes for using planners as gifts as well videos, handouts and instructions to help you create your planner.

Happy Planning!!


My Secret to Achieving Anything You Want and a Freebie for You!

I often get compliments and questions about my brush lettering. I'm not a pro by any stretch of the imagination. There a lot of very talented ladies out there that can do magic with their writing. I do, however, feel like I am finally happy with my progress. It took a long time to get here, and a lot of practice.

I learned pretty much everything I know from Olivia from Random Olive


She has a fantastic Brush Letter Practice Guide that I practiced over and over, watching her on IG and periscope, practicing the tips she shared. 

Now, I am far from being an expert like Olivia. However, it simply comes down to learning the how-to, then PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE, as with anything that you want to improve. And I've gotten to the point where I've practiced enough that I am generally happy with what I'm creating. My kids love for me to write their names and their friends' names in my 'special writing'. Or course, I am still making mistakes and there is always room for improvement. With Olivia's help, though, I am proud of what I can do now.

Olivia has generously created an exclusive free printable traceable practice page for you with one of my very own quotes!


Pop your name and email in the boxes below to get your very own copy to practice with.

 Print off as many as you like and practice practice, practice. Please tag me @caravincens and Olivia @randomolive on IG so we can see what you've done with it. 

These pratice sheets not only helped me improve my brush lettering, but having the letters to follow gave me confidence. I was able to nail the lettering a lot eaier than if I was winging it on a blank sheet of paper.


After practicing with Olivia's sheets, I was able to tackle the blank page. I then scanned it, shrunk it down and made a dashboard from it :D


What will you do will you do with yours?

Your Planning Made Easy with my 40% off Black Friday Sale

To many Americans the arrival of Thanksgiving means that Christmas is not far behind and it’s time to start preparing, NOW!  Things are getting real, people! Everyone is starting to get plan (read: panic!). 

Now, as a Canadian, I must say ‘Silly Americans, Thanksgiving was in October!!’  ;)


All joking aside, Christians around the world are starting to get ready for the holidays! It’s so much fun! but there is soooo much to do. 

Since it's Black Friday, I’m going to help you with your Christmas planning with a big fat sale!! 40% off to be exact!

I’ve got happy little hand drawn printable stickers to help decorate your planner. Three different sets. They will spruce up your pages, sprinkled in amongst the tasks and to-do’s, cheering you on and invoking the Christmas spirit.



There are also 3 designs of printable Christmas cards. I’ve done most of the work for you, you just print, sign and you are good to go! I’ve made it so easy for you!

Cara cover image-2

While you are there, don't forget the printable gift tags!

But, to make it a no brainer for you, I’m having a 40% off sale. Simply pop over to my Etsy shop and use the code: black40 and then have fun!

Happy Planning!!

My Dirty Little Christmas Secret

Let me tell you a secret.

I used to hate Christmas.

I really did.

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Long ago, I used to love it. I used to anticipate it every year and actually annoyed people with how jolly and excited I got. I had jingle bells everywhere, on my keys, on my coat, and I sang carols off-key where ever I went.

Then, I had my own family, and I wanted to do everything and make it sooo much fun for my children. I wanted to do ALL the traditions. I wanted to deck the halls, go skating, trim the tree, stuff the stockings, make my own decorations, do December Daily, make homemade gifts and bake every cookie possible! PHEW!

For so many years, I over loaded my plate and I ended up dreading all the things I needed to do.

My to-do list my was enemy.

Then, I tried to scale back, but I ended up omitting so many wonderful tradtitions. I did only the bare minimum and my house wasn't even decorated because it was all just so overwhelming and I was a grumpy Grinch! I was Mary Steenburgen in One Magic Christmas.

Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 17.19.05

Eventually, I did try to make an effort for my children, to make it wonderful for them. However, they ended up doing rushed crafts with a stressed out mama, or being plunked down in front of a Christmas movie, pleading with me come watch with them. Instead, I'd answer,  ‘no, Mama’s too busy, sweetie!' I'd over compensate with too many toys that they never did play with. I know they could feel my stress and resentment towards the holiday and that’s not what Christmas should be like.

Have you been there, done that, and bought the reindeer antlers?


Stressful Decembers suck! Let's make it Merry and Bright again! If other women can learn from my experience, I'd love to help them ENJOY the Christmas season instead of simply surviving it. I want everyone to really celebrate the season, instead of only concentrating on getting it all done on time.

So over the last few years, I’ve changed things up, I’ve devised a system that is working for me. I’m deciding what is a priority, and what can be simplified, if not eliminated.

I'm that girl who annoys everyone with how much she loves Christmas again!


I made my to-do list, my friend. You know the fun friend who wears jingle bells at Christmas time, sneaks Bailey's into your coffees when your husbands aren't looking and not onlycomes over to help you wrap but brings treats and a fun holiday movie, too.

I re-discovered my joyful, childlike love of Christmas!

If you have struggled with getting everything done for Chirstmas, or even ended up like me, dreading it all, I'd love to help! I’ve put everything I've learned into a class for you, called Plan Your Christmas, so that you don’t have to take the long way round. You can simply plan a wonderful holiday season. 

In the class, you will learn:

•Ideas for putting the magic back in Christmas

•How to make a doable list, and how to check it twice

•How to plan each day, so that it is calm and joyous

•How to look at your Christmas tasks, activities, and obligations with excitement and joy instead of resentment and dread 

•Steps for achieving the mindset that Christmas doesn't have to be all have-tos and obligations

• Why it truly is important to decorate your Christmas planner

•How to decide what really matters to you and yours, to make Christmas merry and bright

•How to keep the "grinchy" feelings at bay as we get closer to the big day

•Tips and tricks to make sure next year will be even better

Come on over and have a look! If you have a Big Picture Classes Membership, then you canget started right away. If you don't ahve a membership already, you can start your free trial. It'll be long enough for you to finish my class!


See you there

Happy Planning


Plan your Planner Decorating! It's what we do!

I follow a formula each time I decorate my planner. Not having to reinvent the wheel every week makes it a lot easier on myself. Using different products makes sure that the result is different each and every time.

I walk you through my formula and decorating process in this video:

Feel free to copy my formula to make decorating easier for you, or simply use it as inspriation to create your own formula.



A Simple Insert or Booklet Tutorial for You

Let's make a fantastic little booklet that you can use to corral print outs, in a cute and organised way.

Have you ever printed off planner pages, or a document or even a workbook for an online class, only to have the loose pages stay in a pile on top of your desk? They eventually pile up so high, along with other printouts, that they slide off onto the floor into a massive mixed-up mess? Or maybe you hole punch them and put them into an ugly office supply store binder. A binder that you found in the back of your husband's office shelf. It has a coffee stain and the corners are ripped and curling back to show the cardboard inside. This binder not only makes your otherwise super-cute work area look nasty, but it's so bulky and takes up too much room and keeps getting in the way.


I've got a great solution for you to be able to print off those planners or workbooks and keep them neat and small. It's portable and can slip easily into your traveller's notebook.

I'm going to be using my printable Commit30 file as an example, but it works with any print out. It's no secret that I adore the versatility of the Commit30 and the fact that it comes in a printable version makes it perfect for this TN loving, lefty, planner girl.

To get your own printable Commit30 PDF so you can play along, you can head to this webpage. Jenny, from Commit30 is giving away PDFs for the Oct-Dec pages, you simply need to share it out! If you are looking for the 2017 printable planner you can find that here, it's only $5 so it's a no brainer!

This video will walk you through my process and below I've written the steps out for you:

 If you are more of a step by ste person, you can follow this simple process:

1. Once you have the file that you want to print, the only other thing you need is Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download here for free. Then, you can open your PDF there. 

2. In Acrobat Reader, select FILE and PRINT to get the following window:

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3. If you are not printing the entire file then you will want to add the range of pages under 'Pages to Print' and then click on 'Booklet' under 'Page Sizing & Handling'. Please pay attention to any pages that should end up facing each other. Left side pages should be even numbered pages in your new booklet. You can double check this on the bottom right with the miniture image of your booklet.

4. Under 'Page Sizing & Handling', the default settings should show 'Booklet subset' as 'both sides', 'Binding' as 'Left' and 'Orientation' as 'Portrait'.  If not change these.

5. Also under 'Page Sizing & Handling' the 'sheet's from' blanks will tell you how many sheets of paper to add to you printer if you want to use a different (thicker) paper than the ordinary printer paper. 

6. Hit Print :D

7. Trim a piece of patterned paper to the size of your sheets and line up the pages so that the first page of your file ends up facing the inner side of your patterned paper.


8. Fold the centre page in half, this will automatically give you the centre of the page so you won't have to measure. It will also give you a stitching guide that you can follow with your sewing machine needle, as long as the light on your machine is bright enough to see it. If not, trace it lightly with a pencil.


9. Stitch the pages together and trim threads. An all purpose or 'jean' machine needle work best when you are sewing through a big stack of thicker paper. You can also sign up for my free class here, if you haven't already, to learn different binding options, if you don't sew or don't have a sewing machine. 


10. Fold all the pages towards the centre, one or two at a time, alternating from the front to the back to get a nice evenly folded booklet.

11. Using a paper trimmer (or scissors) trim off any page edges that are sticking out. 


12. Round your corners if you that's your thing

And that's it!!

Enjoy your book and HAPPY PLANNING!



You can WIN some planner goodies!!

Come help me celebrate reaching 3000K on Instagram!


Yay, I completely adore Instagram and I love that I can reach so many people over there as well because it's my absolute favourite place on the web :D

Are you following me on Instagram? My instagram feed is for you! I love to share things that have helped me, things that have made me smile and have inspired me and projects that I've made.


So what does that mean for you? 

It means that you get tips, tricks, inspiration and pretty pictures everyday from me in your IG feed to help pass the time while you wait at the dentist's office (trying not think about what's coming next), in the carpool line or when your toddler finally takes a nap and you flop into your favourite chair with your phone and a cup of tea.

You can get help with your planner; decorating, setting goals, planning... when I post pix like these:




You could win these planner goodies!


So pop on over to my instagram account and find this giveaway photo for more details on how to win!!

Prize includes:
1 Cakedori from Cake Paperie
1 Take Along Memory Keeper from yours truly The Hooting Pirate
'Vintage' Planner Society goodies, including charms, stickers, paper and sticky notes.

How to feel CALM, not stressed, no matter how busy you are.

I want to talk a bit about planning, but it may not be what you are expecting. ;)

I think that a lot of people pride themselves in being busy. Being able to list off all the things we need to do, or a long list of things that we were able to cross off on any given day is like earning some kind of busy badge or medal of honour.

But, I want to you to think about adding some white space to your day, today.

Not only in the design of your page, but actually in your schedule. If you are anything like me, you are forever trying to fit in just one more task or one more errand before an appointment or pick up time for your kids. I usually end up late, or stressed that I’m going to be late, and both of those make me cranky! What a way to greet my children right? :P

When I take the time to add in white space, a mid morning cuppa, leaving the house with lots of time to walk to the bus, or get the errands done, I’m a much calmer person.

We tend to overestimate what we can get done in a day. So I am challenging to try and not jam pack your day with a million tasks and obligations. Give yourself some breathing room. Work it into your design. Leave literal white space on your planner page, which can, not only be white spots that are left blank, but also stickers or die cuts or anything else on your page that makes you smile.

On my page for yesterday, I left space around each of my plans and added some die cuts from my Hip Kit Club kits.  I love the ‘a million tiny things’ sticker.
This little guy packs a punch and has quite a few jobs on this page, and his friend 'Life is now’ lends a helping hand.

First, it’s pointing out all the small tasks that I need to get done today, my task list.

But also, paired with the large giraffe, it’s a hint to me to look at those little everyday moments as more than just things to cross off of my list.

Those little things are what make up life.

For me, it’s not so much the birthdays and vacations, but being with my family and shaping my children and myself with this daily activities. I love my memories of the children stealing food as I cook it, and playfully batting away their hands with my spoon, or an older child explaining life to a younger one. Or even just being able to give my mind some white space as I do the dishes or the laundry, monotonous tasks that allow my mind to wander and dream.

This quote also reminds me to watch out for these tiny little things. Keep my eyes and ears open for those moments so that I can stash those away in my memories to pull out later when the children are fighting…again.

I hope you have a wonderful day, filled with white space!



Have you ever KISSED your mailman?

Well, that's exactly what I want to do everytime he brings me my Hip Kit club box of goodies ;)  


It's all I can do to stand still long enough to sign his electronic thingy and then I half skip, half walk up the driveway, tearing open the box as I go.

I'm so excited to share with you that I'll be on the Hip Kit Design team for another 6 month term :D


I'll be using their fantastic kits in my planner and continuing to, not only share ideas on using their awesome products in your planners, but also I do a weekly periscope with tutorials using the kits.

These are the fantastic ladies that make up the team that I am so proud to be a part of:

DT Announcement Blog


My September kits are on their way and I CANNOT wait. Watch out Mr. Postman ;)

Pl-card-collage sept

A Clean Slate to Plan

Ah a new school year, so fresh with so much potential. Just like new school supplies, clean notebooks and shiny pens, the school year smells new, hopeful, like a fresh start!

I’ve always loved back to school, it may only be my obsessive love for stationary ;) But I think there’s more to it.

I love the excuse to wipe everything clean and just start fresh.

I love the potential of that big blank space. Ideas and inspiration always come to me!

Now, of course, there’s no rule that says that you can only start over when the school calendar turns over, or at the beginning of the new year. These are just the traditional ‘fresh start’ times.

I encourage you to start afresh when ever you feel like you need it.

When things get stagnant or when you get a sparkly shiny idea that eats away at your every thought until you put into action. If it happens to be January 1 or the first day of school, that’s awesome but don’t let the date keep you from acting on what's motivating you. Let March 2nd, July 17th, any date, your birthday, tomorrow, today, RIGHT NOW be your start afresh day!!

I love the quote sticker from the Dear Lizzy pack in the August Embellishment kit from the hip Kit Club.


So of course I added that to my September spread, it was first thing I picked to add along with other goodies from my kits.

So, what is stopping you from STARTING TODAY? 


Is it fear?

Maybe you are waiting until the time is right? 

The time is right now! Make a plan and jump to it! 

If you don't know what you want to 'start today' consider taking my 'Plan Your Dreams' class at Big Picture Classes to help you get started.


I made this today bookmark live on Periscope, which you can watch here: TODAY BOOKMARK TUTORIAL I do tutorials live every Thursday using fun products from the Hip Kit club kits, so please come join us, or if you miss it you can catch the replay. Check it out so that you can see how I made the back look as pretty as the front :D

For my weekly spread for this week, I wanted it to feel special for my kids, since it’s our last full week before school starts. So, I named it 'magic’ using a sticker.

The tip-in is a die cut that I washi-ed in. I can always use a little more room on the back to write :D 



Have a fantastic week, and don't forget, you can start anytime!!

Let me know in the comments what you are going to start and WHEN?