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Artist Spotlight: Sam Plans

Artist Spotlight: Sam Plans

This week, Chic Sparrow is excited to feature Sam Kelley on the Artist Spotlight Series. Sam has been active in the planner community for years. You may have seen her work on Youtube and Instagram. Sam's planner setups, plan with me series and amazing photography have given her a large platform in the journaling community. Learn more about her story here!


Sam Kelley Artist Bio:

Sam Kelley (AKA Sam Plans on YouTube) is ridiculously happily married to her husband of over 24 years. They have been blessed with six wonderful children. Sam loves planning and pens, but only the gel kind. She loves God, cats and never misses a chance to be sarcastic. She chases shoplifters for a living and likes to journal about all the crazy things she sees. 

Check Out Sam's Work on Social Media!

Sam Kelley Planner

Journaling & Creativity

Describe your journaling & planning history. How long have you been doing it? 

For me, loving stationery started very young. I was always excited to try out whatever pen my grandmother had when I came to visit, and she always had fun notepaper to write on. When I would spend the night in the summer, she would take me to a shop in the mall filled with all sorts of things, and I always came away with a new pen or those fun cubes of note paper in all the colors. My first “journal” was one of those little diaries with a lock and key. I have always loved the idea of journaling more than actually taking the time to sit and write about my day. I was never good at keeping up with journaling, even in those tiny pages. The idea of journaling was always there, and I have started numerous journals through the years. The only journals I fully finished were the diaries I kept for each of our six children. 

As far as planning goes, I go back once again to my grandmother, who always had some of those little monthly calendars from Hallmark. I would track when I was visiting my mom, family birthdays, along with any other big event in our family. When I got to high school we were issued academic calendars, and my geek level increased drastically. While my friends talked about fashion, I was always in my planner. I would do the usual tasks and due dates for school, but I would also doodle in it, make up crazy weeks and days to celebrate, and write goofy things in the back with my friends. I always kept my goals in the front and would keep up with them each month. 

After high school, I ordered my very own weekly calendar and I never looked back. I began homeschooling my children later, and was more than excited to order a homeschooling planner. I even had an online friend make me a PDF file of my very own system that I had designed for a planner tailored to how I planned. When I found the planning community in 2013, I was honestly shocked that more people drooled over planners in the same way that I did.  

How does planning & journaling help keep you productive?

I am not sure that journaling makes me feel productive, but planning certainly does. I have always written shopping lists to keep from making multiple trips to the store, and written down appointments so that I don’t miss them. Having a planner with room to jot down more than just appointments is helpful as well. I have had numerous occasions where taking notes has been imperative for dealing with ongoing billing or customer service calls. Knowing when an appliance was purchased or when a repairman or delivery is taking place also helps ensure that I am where I need to be when something important arises. 

What are your favorite stationery products to use when journaling?

My favorite fountain pen is a Pilot Vanishing Point in Fine. I love the muted look of Noodler's Lexington Gray to go with it. Since journaling isn’t my strong suit, I have been doing short journal entries in the back of my Hobonichi Mega Weeks. My Weeks is housed in a Weekly Cascade Folio, currently an Austen Morland, but I like to switch up my covers regularly. 

What inspires your creativity?

I honestly don’t have a lot of creativity for journaling. I tried to make myself be more creative in my planner, but I felt like it distracted me from actually planning. I don’t decorate much at all now, aside from the inside front of my Weeks, which is so fun each year.  My planning is pretty functional as a result. I do enjoy photography, and my photos often make their way into my journal, and sometimes even my planning pages. I love nature and old things most of all, and will stop whatever I am doing to capture what catches my eye. 

Chic Sparrow Leather Planner and Journal Covers

Community & Self Care

What is your favorite way to stay connected with the journaling community?

I wouldn’t say that I stay “connected” as much as I would say I admire from a distance. I love to watch YouTube videos of other people setting up their bullet journals and I love to scroll through Instagram photos.

Other than journaling, what are some of your favorite self care practices?

I am active in my church, and believe that spiritual well-being is essential to caring for yourself. I also love weight lifting and kickboxing. Those three things help keep me sane in our modern, busy world. 

What is your favorite way to stay connected with friends? 

My favorite way is to have game nights at my house. I cook and we play board games until too late and laugh too loud. Unfortunately, some of my friends are a little too far away for that. I try to keep up as much as possible via text and Marco Polo. 

Social wellness reminds us that a healthy relationship with ourselves and others is vital. What does social wellness mean to you?

For me, taking control of what I see and hear is social wellness. The internet can be a toxic place. It is okay to step back and take a break or unplug. We also need to remember that no one is perfect and usually the posts we see on social media are people at their best. We need to be kind to ourselves and avoid comparisons to know that we are loved and worthy. 

Writing in a Journal With Leather Cover

Reflect & Look Ahead

How has your creative process evolved over the past year?

The pandemic and personal losses in my life have caused me to be even more focused on what works for me, instead of what others around me are doing. I am no longer trying to make art in my planner or journal, because that isn’t what works for my planning style. Instead, I have reconnected with my love for decorating and photography. 

 Looking ahead, where do you see yourself 1 year in the future? How will journaling help achieve those goals?

This may sound silly, but I generally do not have big dreams about how to transform my life or become someone great. I do hope to become wiser, fitter, and stronger in my faith. Journaling can help achieve this by writing down these goals, and checking in with them as the year progresses. I also love to see trackers in my planner!

Brown Leather Notebook Covers

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