Leah O’Neil's Blog Posts

Hello creatives! Welcome back to the blog. Leah here with you today, showing you how I have begun the process of setting up my Christmas traveler's notebook. Eventually, I hope to set up this TN to be a jack of all trades for me throughout the Christmas season. I want to have a notebook in here for planning, a notebook for my millions of holiday lists, and a notebook dedicated to documenting December memories. I'll be using the Very Merry collection to decorate this TN. So far, I have decorated my front pockets with bits and pieces from the collection and I have focused my efforts on assembling my December Daily notebook insert.

I created this notebook by taking the staples out of one of the Carpe Diem traveler's notebook inserts and disassembling it. I used one of the notebook papers as a template to cut down the 12x12 Very Merry patterned papers to the same size as the insert pages. I then mixed in the patterned papers with the white pages to create a thicker notebook. I got this brilliant and fun idea from Michelle Baxter @quirkyheart on Instagram. My goal was to have enough papers in my insert to do a 2 page layout for each day of December. I also printed out a couple of my favorite Very Merry digital papers onto vellum so I could add those in for texture.

Making this custom insert was very simple but it's a process, so I am taking my time with it. So far, I've just cut down the papers and arranged them in a way I like. I think I will hold off on sewing or stapling the papers together until later in December, that way I'm not totally committed to the current arrangement and will have more flexibility as I start documenting memories. I plan to add in a variety of 4x6 SN@P! pocket pages throughout the notebook and will use washi tape to tip them in.

I also took a little time to decorate the cover of my December Daily album/TN insert and start gathering and organizing my supplies I'm planning to use this month. I am not the best about finishing things...however, I do my best to set myself up for success in finishing my December Daily album by doing a little preparation before hand. I still have several things to do before December starts up. The inserts I'll be using for planning and listing will be simple notebooks without much décor, though I might dress up the covers to be more Christmas-y. If you'd like to see how this TN setup continues to develop, head over and follow me on Instagram and YouTube for updates. Have you, or are you planning to set up a Christmas planner and/or Christmas album? If you aren't following the Carpe Diem Planners Instagram, you will find some amazing inspiration there. So many BEAUTIFUL Christmas planner and TN setups have been shared already!


Hello creatives! Leah here with you on the blog today. I recently took a vacation to the West Coast and brought along my Vintage Floral Traveler’s Notebook to use as a travel journal on my trip. I had a few ideas brewing for how I wanted to document this trip and how I could incorporate this journey as content for my YouTube channel. Relaxing on vacation has a beautiful way of clearing the mind and making room for new creative ideas. I came up with so many ideas on the trip for new content that I decided to launch a Creative Travel Journal Series on my YouTube channel.

The first video that went up in the series showed how I used the Beautiful collection to decorate the cover of the notebook insert that will be housing my vacation memories. You can check that video out here. I chose the Beautiful collection as one of the collections I wanted to use throughout this journal because not only is it absolutely gorgeous and one of my favorite Simple Stories collections of all time, it’s also very neutral so I can add in other collections or little mementos from my trip without having to worry about colors clashing.

For this post, I am sharing with you the next process video of the YouTube series. In this one, I am documenting some of the memories from my first day in Portland, Oregon visiting my best friend. Again, I used mostly the Beautiful collection to decorate this layout. I picked up the “Portland Oregon” chipboard piece (made to look like the iconic sign located in the city) from a well-known craft store in Portland called Collage. Check out the process video below!


Here is the finished layout:

If you’d like to follow along with my travel journal series, be sure to follow me over on Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Lots of new content in my Vintage Floral traveler’s notebook to come! You can also see all of the other creative ways people are using their Simple Stories traveler’s notebook over on the Carpe Diem Planners Instagram account. Until next time friends, happy crafting and happy Halloween to those of you who celebrate the holiday!


Hello fellow creatives! Leah here with you on the blog today. Happy Tuesday and welcome back to the Simple Stories blog for another dose of creative planning fun! I hope you all are having an awesome September so far. It’s been a pretty busy month for me since I last spoke with you. I got a promotion at work! I’ve been undergoing a total life and culture shock in this new job, all changes for the better as far as I’m concerned, but still a significant adjustment to my life. My schedule is way different, my responsibilities and workload are much more challenging than any job I’ve ever had. I bought a cheap daily planner that I’ve been using strictly for work stuff, but I have a lot of personal life things that need planning as well, especially right now. A lot of home priorities, including my creative time, have fallen to the way-side as I continue trying to find a new work/home balance. It doesn’t help that I’ve been in such a planner funk when it comes to organizing my home and personal life. I have been itching to change up my planning system. I am on that infamous, never-ending quest to find planner peace.

I am still in the process of figuring out what will work best for me as a day-to-day life planner, but something I learned at the start of this year is that I really love using a spiral planner. I think it’s the ease of being able to fold the planner around to lay flat when I’m writing that appeals to me. Imagine my excitement when I found out that Simple Stories was going to be releasing spiral planners! I could not WAIT to get the “Beautiful” one in my hands – it was love at first sight. Well that time has come my friends, and it is everything I hoped it would be!

Not only is the planner simply BEAUTIFUL, as the name suggests, but it is extremely sturdy and well-made. Stay tuned to my YouTube Channel – a thorough review is forthcoming because I love this planner so much it needs to be featured in its own video. The biggest highlight of the planner for me is the amazing paper quality (standard 120gsm, like all other Simple Stories planner inserts), which is pretty rare to find in a spiral planner. The monthly and weekly pages are mostly black and white, which I prefer so I can decorate with any colors and supplies I want. The dividers have the same gorgeous muted colors and stunning designs found throughout the rest of the Beautiful collection, giving this planner a very sophisticated and elegant aesthetic. The gold foil accents are like the strawberry on top of my favorite cheesecake…..assuming my new favorite Simple Stories collection was a cheesecake. ;)

I am excited to show you a couple of weekly layouts I created using products from the Beautiful collection in this gorgeous new planner. For both of these layouts, I used mostly the same supplies - from the Beautiful collection: the sticky notes, die cuts, and A5 sticker tablet. I used several washi tapes from my Simple Stories collection as well: two from the Reset Girl collection, the new butterfly washi from the Bliss collection, and the “Dream Big” washi from the Bloom collection.

Here is the first weekly spread:

The Beautiful 6x8 paper pad is full of charming vintage florals that I cannot get enough of. I used one of the pages that had flowers along the bottom, fussy cut the floral edge out to use on the bottom of my planner spread, and then used the leftover paper to punch out little butterflies to scatter around the layout.

Whenever I add paper butterflies to a project, I usually add a small dot/line of adhesive along the body only so that the wings can lift off the page to add dimension. I’ve done this on scrapbooking and mixed media projects a lot, but it’s also a really fun way to add dimension to your planner pages because it doesn’t actually add any extra bulk. The butterflies just lay flat when you close the planner.

Here is the second weekly spread:

Page flags anyone? I used some in their original form, from the sheet of sticky notes and the sticker tablet. However, I often cut square or round stickers, paper, and washi tapes into different sized flag and banner shapes as well, to add variety and interest to my embellishment clusters.

When I finished these layouts, I was in the creative zone and was so inspired by this collection that I had to keep going. I thought to myself, I dress up the front of my ring bound planners all the time, why not dress up the front of my spiral planner too? I decided to turn the intro page into more of a decorative cover page, much like a dashboard. In the center of the page, I layered a doily, a couple of my favorite die cuts, and a tag I cut out of paper scraps from earlier. I fussy cut some more vintage florals from another 6x8 paper and arranged them around the edges of the page, and then added the paper butterflies and a fancy paperclip as a finishing touch.

To make the front pocket feel a little more special, I left the sticker backing on the big “life is beautiful” chipboard sticker and used some repositionable adhesive to stick it onto the pocket, just in case I wanted to remove it later.

I had such a lovely time playing with the Beautiful collection and my new spiral planner. I’ve never been so excited to film a planner review before! What new planner or collection are you the most excited about? There are SO MANY amazing new products to choose from. Be sure to go check out ALL of the new pretty paper planner things over on the Carpe Diem Planners Instagram!