A Brief Garden Tour

I wanted to provide a little tour of some of the plants in our garden before this year’s planting is finished. The weather this year was colder much longer than usual, it seems. Normally I look forward to finally being able to wear a dress for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (entry soon!), but this year included coats and scarves due to a particularly nasty wind. Luckily, the weather got the memo that Victoria Day weekend is planting weekend, and made sure to pick up a bit. I’ll be posting about all the new plants after they’re in the ground, but meanwhile have a few photos from the past week or so from the residents who made it through the winter.

A picked bunch of forget-me-nots.

These forget-me-nots herald from my MIL, who promised that they would propagate all over the garden. True to her word, I am picking them out of the lawn and myriad cracks and crevices. They’re wonderful cheerful little things, and my efforts to introduce them to a particularly clay-like and root filled patch of soil near our trees is going a lot better this year than last.

A small purple blossom.

Nobody remembers planting this little guy, but he appeared appropriately enough in the flower plot, rather than anywhere else. Good job!

Red tulips.

The tulips actually did not get eaten by squirrels this year – not even a nibble! – and burst forth before anything else in a cacophony of red. Not as many as previous years, but that may be because of the furry gardeners not only eating the leaves, but also transplanting the bulbs. 

Sprouting fern.

This monstrosity I was horrified to discover a few years ago, until I figured out that that was where our gorgeous fern was coming from. Unfortunately, it’s at a spot that meets up with a very weedy spot in the neighbours yard from whence these rather frustrating vines creep out. Weeding them is almost impossible; the leaves pop off and the roots stay in. (I’m hoping the forget-me-nots will help push them back a bit.)

Growing chives.

The herb patch is my personal favourite, and I grow and dehydrate and freeze a lot of things for tea. Not so much the above – which is a row of chives. They’re much more delicate in flavour than the thicker store-bought ones, and I adore them on fresh tomatoes visit this web-site

Lemonbalm leaves.

The lemonbalm is coming back with a vengeance – it makes a good tea, but is especially amazing fresh. A tangy citrusey flavour; I love running my hand over it to bring out the scent. 

Mint sprouts.

This mint was here when we moved in, and has since been eradicated from… well, absolutely everywhere, and confined to a pot in the ground. It’s not a very delicate variety – the leaves are thick and rather chewey, but it makes a marvelous tea, keeping the flavour even after being dehydrated. 

Red currant blossoms.

We also have a number of fruiting bushes, the above being a very enthusiastic red currant bush. So enthusiastic, in fact, that a branch which was trimmed last year and stuck into a random pot of dirt on a whim is not only growing this year, but *flowering.* 

Goosberry flowers.

And lastly, the gooseberry bush. This is the first year that it has developed flowers, and I am so excited to see how the fruit will turn out. I haven’t had gooseberries in years, and while I know they’re not the most amazing thing in the world, I’m bubbling with excitement at the rush of nostalgia that I’m sure they’ll bring.

A very self indulgent entry, but I love playing show-and-tell with all my plants! I’d love to hear about your gardens!

martiesig

Dokibook by Love Doki Review

Dokibook review image.

While I’m happy with a smaller planner for my bag, I wanted an A5 that I can grab on meeting days, or when I have a lot of papers to carry. I am also very meticulous about my stationary, so I wanted something a little cheaper that I don’t need to agonize over beating up in my bag. A Dokibook seemed like a great solution – they’re adorable and inexpensive, and not too hard to track down. I was a little worried, so I thought I would provide a review for others who may be unsure.

I used this seller on SpreeNow to buy the planner. I hadn’t shopped through SpreeNow before – or, honestly, any other similar shopping service – but I found it pretty straight forward. I bought my item, they confirmed everything was fine with the seller, I paid, they got the item, I paid them for shipping, and I got my order. I had a small hiccup in that one of the items I had ordered was no longer available, but they got in touch and explained the situation to me. Overall painless, though I was a bit apprehensive since I didn’t know what the shipping would be up front. It all turned out fine, though, and I think they were a good option for me. Very clear communication, and lots of guides if you have any questions.

The package arrived from Singapore, with tracking, and was fairly nondescript. A plain cardboard box, that nevertheless is always really exciting when you’re a fan of buying things online.

A cardboard mail box.

The planner was simply bubble wrapped and taped inside.

A bubble wrap encased planner.

It came with five gold embossed dividers, a page marker, and a plastic pocket page that loads from the top.

Gold embossed dividers.

I love the dividers. The tabs are blank so you can fill your own sections in. I usually find any provided tabs useless, as I definitely don’t use both a day and a week view in my planner, nor do I want a birthday section, so this was a nice change.

Gold embossed dividers and transparent pocket.

The pocket page, seen above on the left, is nicely flexible and easy to load. Very nice for loose pieces of paper I need to put away quickly. Or, if you want something a bit more fun, pretty ephemera to paste into your spreads.

A page marker resting on a planner.

The page marker is huge. It’s 7.5 cm wide, and takes up about half the page, but I like the transparent dot design. Being able to see through the marker is pretty important to me, so I’m glad they didn’t load it up with a lot. The white also goes with a variety of colour schemes. It’s made of a great stiff material (does anyone else get really annoyed at floppy page markers??).

Now on to the more critical parts of my review. The Dokibook is very well made – the stitches are even, it’s wrapped with a ring protector, and the materials don’t feel cheap. Having said that, there are definitely some quality differences that you can tell as compared to a higher end brand. I’ll be comparing to my A5 Kikki K.

Inner pockets in a Dokibook planner.

The pockets don’t lie flat. I know that’s a silly thing, but I don’t tend to fill my pockets with a lot. I envy people that can attach clips to theirs, as it looks adorable – I just start to obsess over the indents this causes to the material! I slip things in, and maybe attach a decorative clip to the top of a journaling card, but that’s it. So, the fact that there is some rippling is something that I noticed. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a fault, but it’s there. (Maybe it’ll help me get over my phobia of clipping cute things into the pockets, though??)

A Dokibook planner atop a Kikki K planner.

The Dokibook is a bit narrower than the Kikki K.

A Dokibook planner atop a Kikki K planner.

As a result of this extra width on the Kikki K, we avoid something that becomes pretty apparent when the planners are closed:

A Dokibook planner atop a Kikki K planner.

The pen doesn’t “tuck in” in the Dokibook. Filling it up with more pages won’t change this, as the divider tabs run flush to the edge of the planner when it’s closed. There’s just no room for the pen, and so it sits outside.

The drama on two planners.

You can also see the thickness of the material when peeking into the elastic slit. The Dokibook feels soft, but it’s made of a thin material with stuffing underneath. The Kikki K does also have stuffing, but the material itself is much thicker.

(I think this is the most stationary geek thing I have ever posted.)

I know the rings are a huge deal to a lot of people, and there’s certainly nothing more annoying than losing pages as you’re turning them.

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The rings in a Dokibook planner.

The picture above is my Kikki K, and the one below the the Dokibook. I would say, therefore, that they’re both pretty comparable. The Kikki K rings that are separate are a bit loose, and when I slip them into place, they stay there until they’re jostled out of alignment. Not a big deal, and my pages haven’t slipped out yet.

With the Dokibook rings, they were positioned like that, and tightly so. It wasn’t a matter of just slipping them into alignment. I followed SpreeNow’s Dokibook ring gap fixing video, and they’re perfectly tight now, with no gap. I’m not sure if all Dokibooks come with such a nice ring mechanism, or if I was lucky. Honestly, without seeing how they hold up long-term, I probably can’t tell you which ring mechanism is superior.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my experience with SpreeNow, and the Dokibook. It’s a nice planner on which I didn’t need to spend a fortune. It doesn’t quite feel as plush as the Kikki K, but it has all the features I’d want, with very few drawbacks.

A closed planner with a charm and journaling cards.

I hope this review is helpful for those of you considering a Dokibook! Let me know if there’s anything else you wish I’d covered, or how you’ve fared with the Dokibook ring mechanism!

martiesig

 

 

Please note for the purposes of transparency that the SpreeNow link is an affiliate link. Meaning, if you use it and buy something, I get some points at SpreeNow at no cost to you. I haven’t received any recompense for this review, and my opinions are entirely my own.

Office makeover!

I had hoped to get an entry up reviewing my new Dokibook, but a great deal on a desk on Kijiji derailed my plans! 

This has turned into a makeover for the whole office, including a new desk for Mr. Martie as well. The end result for now is that my computer is in pieces hither and thither, and I’m posting this through my phone.

Until I can get that entry up, here’s a small peek of my new writing/budgeting/planning space!

A white desk with planners , an iPad , and odds and ends.

I love the shadow boxes as organizers. I still want another of those organization cubes from Michael’s for the left side, though! 

Hoping to update properly soon!

martiesig