:3/30:

One of the new things I have decided to do is to begin sketch journaling. There are a few things which prompted me to start one. I have always, always, always been fascinated by journals which include drawing. I love seeing those old travel journals and artist sketchbooks of victorians. I love sketchbooks that incorporate ephemera and photographs in with the writing. But I really do not consider myself an artist.

To say I was never really encouraged to express of pursue any kind of creativity is an understatement. Coupled with an almost crippling self-doubt, I never did the things I wanted. It took decades and an uber-supportive husband (and watching my Breezy blossom as an artist) to give myself permission to try.

I also found this amazing artist. Her name is Samantha Dion Baker and she is a graphic designer and illustrator from New York City. I first found her on Pinterest. It turns out she is mostly on Instagram (Yes, I broke my self-imposed IG ban to look at her work!) It was beautiful. I also found out she has written an inspirational book on starting sketch journaling. I ordered it right away. It was so worth it!

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This book has prompted me to start sketch journaling in my bullet journal. I had finished the lined journal I was using, So I jumped into it on November 1st. Here are the first two pages:

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One of the things that really called to me about how Samantha Dion Baker does hers is that she focuses on the beauty of the mundane in her life.

At that point I decided not to just draw random sketches, but to use the pages to draw a true record of my life. I thought, Instead of writing out my day for may journaling practice, why not illustrate it?             (Draw Your Day, page 3)

She can turn a piece of fruit or a tin of tea or a the bodega on the corner into a beautiful record of her life. Her book took the intimidation out of sketch journaling.

I also realized that the long-hand written journals I have are not anything I want my kids or Doug EVER reading. They are filled with a log of anxiety and worry and fear and anger. Page after page of it.

I have ordered the three of them to burn any handwritten journals they find, unread upon my death.

Pretty grim.

I don’t even want to ever read them again. Those books represent hours of my life, and I am ashamed to share them with anybody. 

I know now I do better focusing on positive. Plus I really do want a record of my life to pass down.

So now I am going to throw myself into documenting my days in my journal. Doug got me the a brown Traveler’s Company notebook. I’ll be moving my planning over to it in December (though it is already here and I am so tempted to start now!) I have a few pages left in my current bullet journal, so I will finish out November there. But I am on day three of art journaling, and really, really loving it.

:2/30:

In the course of my sixteen plus years of marriage, I’ve lived in six states. In that time I’ve added to and gotten rid of at least two houses full of furniture. You learn quickly that the more you have, the more you have to move. The result being that I keep what I love for the move, and get rid of the rest. Usually, I end up at Ikea buying cheap things to replace what didn’t make it in the move. Sometimes it’s just cheaper than hauling it to a new state.

The result is that we when we moved into our own house (finally!) we didn’t have much in the way of real furniture. Sure we had beds and a couch, but not much more beyond that.

So I am now turning my attention to getting things to fill the house. And while Ikea is around the corner from some of the kids’ activities, I’ve chosen to go the thrifting route. I (and Doug) have been watching Craigslist, Free-cycle and a local group for things we really love and that will fit what we want our little homestead to be. I don’t really have a style picked out. I just know that Doug and I both love cozy and character, things that stand the test of time and can weather trends. We also want quality pieces.

Unfortunately, doing things this way takes not just tenacity and the time to dedicate to the search, but also speed and the ability to stomach some disappointments.

Then last month I scored three amazing pieces in one day.

I found this dresser for Doug:

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This amazing roll-top desk for myself:

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And the cabinet on the left there. It is actually a match for the dresser, but it is going to house my fiber stash

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I’m still on the lookout for bookcases and a couch which better fits the feel of the house, but this is a good start.

The best part is all three were FREE!

Yup.

Go, Pili.

:1/30:

Day one is proving to be not what I wanted. Today I was all set to start my day by blogging. Alas…

Well, I am doing this just for me. This blog gathers dust and the guilt of it eats at me. I have half a mind to just micro-blog on Instagram once my year of self-imposed social media exile ends.

But something in me just loves blogs.

I love reading them, and I love finding new ones.

I’ve heard the blog is dead. They also say books are dead.

I have a hard time believing either statement.

Maybe I’m just in denial.

:NaNoWriMo 2018:

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I’m going to be a rebel this year!

I am not writing a novel.

I am not writing fiction.

I am not hitting 50,000 words.

Nope.

Instead I am dedication the month of November to posting daily on my blog. It’s a blog I’ve had for years and have sadly neglected. It just sits gathering dust and taunting my wallet. So, I decided to commit to daily blogging. I will publish one post every day, maybe more than one a day (ah…the magic of smartphones!)

Why is this a priority? Well, I feel like if I can’t do this, then I need to just let it go. Maybe blogging is just not for me. Really, though, I just want to get into a rhythm, like I do with my writing.

So, there won’t be any validating, but I will be updating my daily word count.

Good luck to everyone else doing the full NaNo! (Including my daughter!)

:a dragon and a headache:

I want to tell you all about our bountiful chestnut harvest, our plans for the barn, and the twenty-four hour blackout we enjoyed, but I have a massive headache.

Sorry, kids.

So, instead I’ll leave you with photos we took of the Space X Dragon 9 launch taken from the back of the house. If it wasn’t for that blackout, we would have missed it.

Sometimes the Universe sends you blessings in disguise.

:chestnuts:

The first of our four chestnut trees have started to drop nuts. I can already tell you I’m going to be eating a ton of these! They are sweet and perfect. I’m also going to start looking up chestnut flour baking recipes. It’s a perfect alternative to our Celiac household.

:car days:

Theses days are a necessary evil. Homeschooling means shepherding the kids to classes and activities in town. It also means sitting in traffic in the Bay Area.

Usually it’s not so bad, since we drive try to avoid rush hour, but on days like this….On days like this I just want to be on my mountain.

The heat in the valley is a muggy eighty degrees. The high temperature up at the homestead is sixty-four and has that bite of fall I love so much. It’s also humid, but it’s the kind of humidity that makes me want to pull on thick socks and wrap a hand-knit shawl around my shoulders, tea in hand and kitten in my lap.

Sitting stopped on I-85 really makes me appreciate the quiet of the vineyard, the crowing of Helios and Turkey (our roosters) in the early morning, even our only partially paved road.

:finally fall:

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Fall is my absolutely, hands-down favorite season of the year!

This weekend I had a perpetual grin on my face because knitting season has arrived!

We are settling in to our little homestead, but when I say that it’s not the kind of settling in where there is a respite from doing.

Oh, no.

Not. At. All.

It’s more about us starting to find our footing in the rhythm of work needed to make this property into what we see in our heads. It comes with ups, like the beautiful, heavily ladened vines of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. And downs, like the vines getting decimated by birds and resulting a very poor harvest. It’s about figuring our how to work around D’s new work schedule. It’s about despairing our chickens were cannibalizing their eggs, and then finding the hidden nest with thirteen eggs. It’s about a disastrous first attempt at making jelly, and the triumph of finally getting a perfect gluten-free, made-from-scratch apple pie…with apples from our own orchard. (It’s not pretty, but the taste was amazing!)

So, now I have the freezer packed with local, grass-fed chicken, beef, and pork. My knitting mojo is letting me get through long neglected projects such as these two pairs of Stepping Stones for my parents. And I have also thoroughly cleaned and re-oiled my Ashford Traditional. That’s a braid of undyed Shetland wool Atalanta is trying to spin.

And of course, I had to include the photo of a kitten falling asleep in a shoe.

Unfortunately, the last month has proven to be horrid for my fiction writing. The story I was working on is just…gone. I’m not ready to give up, so I keep approaching it from different angles, but it just doesn’t seem to want to let me continue.

I am not willing to give up just yet though.