Friday, February 6th, 2015

Interview with Penny Shima Glanz on the Versatility of Index Cards and Anniversary Contest Winners!



After finding the above image on Instgram tagged with #rhodiapaperproject, I reached out to Penny Shima to learn more about her love of index cards, and also what she thought about the Exacompta cards in particular.

RHODIA: What do you like about index cards?

PSG: I like the size and that it’s possible to buy them just about everywhere (though quality will vary).

RHODIA: Did they serve one initial purpose for you?

PSG: Initially? Yes. While I first used them as a child to make library checkout cards for my books, I rediscovered them as a tool useful beyond the card catalogue for planning and data organization probably back in the early days of GTD, Merlin Mann’s 43folders and D*I*Y Planner, those sorts of websites.

Today? I use them in different ways depending on what I’m tracking and the actual index card — paper weight, ruling, etc. Despite advances in syncing across devices and the ability to search, not to mention the ubiquity of smart phones and tablets, I still find them very useful.

How do I use them? So many different ways. Here are a few:

  • Bookmarks to record notes while I’m reading. I borrow many ebooks from my public library. It’s not really easy to take notes in the app, so I keep an index card handy.


  • Recipe cards – and the “snack size” plastic zip-lock pouches nicely protect 3×5 cards while you’re cooking if you don’t have recipe-card protectors


  • Weekly meal planning & the grocery list


  • Cheat sheet guides for a knitting stitch or pattern. Most patterns are multiple pages and I often only need reminders about what I need to do while I’m knitting and I don’t want to schlep around the entire pattern just for a few lines of notes!
  • Notes about yarns, knit and crochet swatches, reference measurements etc.


  • Focus to the day’s task list. I keep my master task list electronically and create a daily list.


  • I’m trying to combat my tendency toward perfectionism by drawing on one every day for 30 days and posting the result to Instagram (and other social media).


  • Another thing I did many years ago was buy library card pockets. I paste these into notebooks that don’t have pockets in the covers to keep my index cards easily accessible.


I either recycle them immediately after they’ve served their use (mostly for the meals, grocery list, and day’s task focus) or I store them in my catalogue. In the address card tabs I keep notes — about books, kittens I’ve fostered, gifts I’ve made for friends, knitting pattern notes, business ideas, and more. I have sections for frequently made recipes. There are also monthly and weekly sections — notes on birthdays, cleaning schedules, etc are in there.


RHODIA: Do you have a favorite ruling for the cards?

PSG: It depends what I’m recording. Lately I seem to prefer portrait mode, though recipe ingredients are written landscape in 2-3 columns if there’s more than a few and the instructions are often portrait on the reverse.

In general, I love grids and dot grids… but the weight and colour of the ruling are just as important. I like muted colours and fine hints of lines and prefer narrower rule as I tend to write “tiny”.

RHODIA: Do the rulings serve a purpose?

PSG: I like my cards to be visually organized and lines and grids allow me to do that.
That said, sometimes I prefer a plain card!

Depending on my currently household printer, I’ve also printed some over the years. My friend Dave has created various templates over the years, such as the Task-Order Up cards.

RHODIA: What did you think about your samples of the Exacompta cards from The Paper Project?

PSG: I love the weight of the paper and the grid line colour and weight. I love that they’re not icky pastels but tastefully muted shades.

The Exacompta cards are a beautiful weight and feel and take kindly to my fountain pens. I think they’re better suited toward my more-permanent card needs, such as favourite recipes and knitting pattern notes.

Be sure to visit Penny on the web:

And on Instagram, user name pennyshima

Announcing the January Anniversary Contest Winners!

Kathi Sharp
Kristin Cowles
Cody from Little Rock
vicki nishioka
Brent A
Karen Y.
Pam Magnus
Chris Meisenzahl
Harry Warren
Niel from GA
Alice Hendon
Lynn Bustle
Holly {ha! designs}
Alexander Law
Luisa M Davila

2 thoughts on “Interview with Penny Shima Glanz on the Versatility of Index Cards and Anniversary Contest Winners!

  1. Woohoo! I love contests (and index cards, btw)!

    Also, what’s up with the new website? None of the pictures are loading.

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