Leah O’Neil's Blog Posts

Hello creative hearts! Welcome back to the Simple Stories blog. Leah here with you today showing you a new traveler’s notebook insert I’ve set up to document some of my 2018 travels. I am currently using and loving the Travel Notes collection. This collection truly embodies a love for traveling and adventure, which is the heart of why I fell in love with traveler’s notebooks to begin with. I love having a journal that I can bring with me on my travels and document the stories I want to remember.

My husband supports my love for crafting and memory-keeping, but it’s probably fair to say he doesn’t quite “get” the obsession. I’ve chattered excitedly about a new project to him before and bless his heart, he tries to act interested, but crafting just isn’t his thing which I understand. However, you can imagine my excitement when I told him about a new project I wanted to start and actually seemed genuinely intrigued.

We love visiting new places and traveling together, even though we don’t get to do it as often as we like. One of our favorite parts about traveling is experiencing the food and craft beer culture the area has to offer. Living in VA, there is no shortage of craft breweries popping up all over our state. We’ve found a lot of joy in taking weekend trips here and there to visit them. I decided to start a new insert in my traveler’s notebook specifically for documenting those trips.

I love how this cover turned out! I used my favorite 12x12 paper from the Travel Notes collection to create the cover itself. The tag that says “Adventure” was cut from one of the 4x6 Travel Notes SN@P! cards. I used the 6x8 paper pad to tear strips of different colored patterned papers to layer at the top and bottom of the tag. I layered a few stickers over the paper strips, trying to keep colors grouped together so I could keep the rainbow effect I was going for without feeling like the layout was getting too busy.

It was important to me to make this notebook very portable so I added pockets inside of the front and back covers for holding stickers and journaling cards to decorate with. The Simple Stories SN@P! Cards are amazing for giving you easy, portable options for decorating and journaling on-the-go. I can also tuck   photos and ephemera collected on our travels into these pockets for safekeeping until I’m able to sit down to create a layout.

It’s exciting to have a new creative project that I can involve my husband in a little more. Breweries often have stickers that he enjoys collecting for me when we visit so I can add them to the journal. It’s like collecting stickers for a passport. I plan to add the stickers, along with photos from the trip and notes about our experience and our favorite beers.

Have you picked up the Travel Notes collection yet? If you love traveling, it’s a must have! You can follow along with my travels and see other ways I’m using my traveler’s notebooks and planners over on my Instagram. Check out lots more inspiration using the Travel Notes collection on the Simple Stories and Carpe Diem Planners Instagram accounts. Until next time, happy crafting friends!


Hello creatives! Welcome back to the Simple Stories blog. Leah here with you today and I'm so excited to share a new project with you using the Crafty Girl collection. The second I saw this collection, I was instantly inspired to create pretty things. The artsy and crafty sentiments and bright colors truly speak to my creative heart. One of my big goals this year is to find more balance in my life that includes more time to feed and nurture my creativity. So I embraced the creativity this collection was inspiring in me, and channeled it into setting up my new A5 Color Wash planner.

The intention of this planner is to serve as a creative journal of sorts. I have a TN insert that I love to art journal in as well, but it is my hope that this planner will be a more casual project to help me work  towards my goal to do something creative every day. I don't have any set focus or theme in this journal, other than to just be creative. I may doodle, I may color, I may scrapbook, I might write...maybe I'll do something simple, like color swatching new markers or paints. Whatever it is on any given day, there will be no rules. I just want to spend a few minutes doing SOMETHING that stretches my creative muscles. The Crafty Girl collection was the perfect collection to set this planner up with because that's what it's all about – creating.

I decorated the pockets with several die cuts from the Crafty Girl Bits and Pieces pack. I also layered some paper scraps behind a couple of photos. If you have been following me for awhile, you may already know how much I love incorporating photos into my planner pockets. It makes them feel so much more special and personalized. My favorite element in this pocket setup is the paper clip I made by wrapping some paper around the edge of a gold paperclip so that it hangs like a little flag. I added a few of my favorite stickers to it to dress it up and love how it turned out!

The dashboard of this planner was also super fun to make. I used the new A5 divider templates to cut down a 12x12 paper and a sheet of vellum down to the same size, and then sewed the vellum on top of the paper, sewing the sides and bottom edges but leaving the top open. I added a bunch of glitter and sequins into the pocket and then sewed the top closed to create a shaker dashboard. If you don't have a sewing machine, don't worry! I have made many, many shaker dashboards using thin double sided tape (my favorite is the super thin 0.125 Super Sticky Red Tape from American Crafts because you can't see it through vellum and it doesn't budge). To decorate the dashboard, I cut the cute girl out of a paper from the 6x8 paper pad. I added a little watercolor to her skin and hair to customize her. I also fussy cut out the letters to spell “create” from a card on the 4x4 Elements sheet.

I used a 4x6 pocket insert to add a few strips of washi tape for creating on-the-go. I made the pocket on the left using white cardstock and it has a fun story to go along with it. While babysitting my 5-year-old niece, we had an arts and crafts night and had a blast with some straws, water and watercolor paint (got that idea from the lovely and talented Amy Tangerine). My niece also painted the stars that are hanging off the purple yarn on my planner rings here – an adorable planner accessory with an even more adorable memory.

To finish my creative journal setup and prep it for later crafty endeavors, I hole punched all the rest of the papers in the 6x8 paper pad to use as inserts. This was super quick and easy to do using the Six Ring A5 punch. Then, I mixed in papers from the A5 Basics Inserts pack. I am sure that I will mix these inserts around and alter them later, but pre-punching them into my planner gives me a template to start with each day, which helps me find a little inspiration on the days I may be feeling less creative.

I hope this planner is going to help me stick to my creative goals in 2018. Do you have creative goals for the year? I have learned that keeping your creativity and inspiration alive and thriving takes practice. It really is like exercising a muscle – the more you do it, the more you want to do it! How are you exercising those creative muscles? Comment below or over on my Instagram post – I'd love to hear from you!


Hello creatives! Welcome back to the Simple Stories blog. Leah here to show you a peek into my traveler’s notebook. Right now, I have a pretty good planning system going that involves one A5 ring bound planner and one traveler’s notebook. I hope to share the details of that system later, once I work out a few details. My traveler’s notebook has several inserts, two of which I want to show you how I use today – one for making lists and the other for documenting memories. The other inserts in my TN are for brainstorming ideas and journaling.

I use one insert in my traveler’s notebook for making lists - to do lists, to buy lists, to read lists, to watch lists, etc...any type of list. I sometimes like to decorate these list pages, just for fun. I am still using remnants left over from the Romance collection, which I used to decorate these pages.

I’m using this insert for some random on-the-go memory keeping. Whenever I have random day-to-day memories I want to document, I put them in this TN insert. This layout was all about a fun road trip to Kentucky with my niece to visit my sister and dad to see our favorite basketball team play. We had a blast! I didn’t have a ton of photos to document from this short trip, but I still wanted to get these memories down on paper. I created this layout using a couple of pieces from the I AM collection on the left page, and this beautiful I AM free printable (available here) on the right side.

I mixed a few bits and pieces from the I AM collection and a couple of practical items like paper clips and sticky notes in the front pockets of my traveler’s notebook. I always have the goal of on-the-go planning and memory keeping in mind and this traveler’s notebook is serving that purpose very well.

Do you use more than one planner/notebook to plan? I always feel like I need at least two to serve my needs. I’m curious to hear more about your planning/memory keeping systems in the comments below or over on my instagram. Come say hello and check out some beautiful  planner inspiration on the Carpe Diem Planners Instagram while you’re at it. See you again soon!