:7/30:

A super busy day today, most of it spent chauffeuring the kids. Now I’m taking the time to work on my journal. I’m doing my first urban sketch of Uncommon Threads, the local yarn store near one where they have an activity. I get a blissful couple of hours, hanging out with other knitters and drooling over the new shipments. Here’s the unfinished page:

I’ve figured out that I am not going to make it to the end of the month in my current Bullet Journal, so I went ahead and set up my Traveler’s Company notebook. I can at least start the art journal there before the calendars get put into use.

: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.

: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.

:how i spent my summer:

Actually, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to know. My summer…my summer was a bit on the horrible end of crazy.

Now, how I ended my summer. That’s worth a read. Here on the Grace Homestead I’d like to introduce you to our two newest members.

Hercules (A.K.A. Herc or Boo Cat), who came to us at four weeks old and in the mouth of our kill-everything dog Cassie. I was shocked when D sent me a text asking be to bring home kitten formula and some litter. This is the only cat Cassie-girl has not tried to kill on sight. He came from our neighbor’s property (the had two stray litters), and due to an injury we figured we would keep him and nurse him back to health. Farms do need a cat after all.

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and Atalanta (A.K.A. ‘Lanta), from the other litter on our neighbor’s property. She’s three weeks younger, and the mom abandoned the whole litter. We took her and the rest went to a neighbor down the street who works with kitten rescue.

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We have also added our flock of chickens back into the homesteading dynamic.

The business of raising orphaned kittens and caring for a flock has given this place a bit of a boost as far as how our days are spent. The garden ended up producing a little bitty zucchini and three giant yellow squash plants. We have so much squash, I don’t even know what to do with it!

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As far as the writing front goes, I am getting back into the swing of things. I did a ton of reading this summer, and it has fired up my juices to get back to my story.

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I’ve got my BuJo all set up to get back into the swing of our regular school year and to make sure I start looking at my work as a writer as my WORK.

:haven:

Growing up, I have always re-written stories. Long before I knew what fan fiction was, I would close the book on the last page of a story, and imagine myself into that world. I was a princess, befriending the dragon everyone feared and ultimately saving the kingdom. I was the young girl crossing the American west into a brave new world full of hardship and discovery. I was the space pilot, stranded on the enemy ship and trying to find a way back to the rebellion. Those stories shaped me more than anything else in my life. Through books I have lived thousands of lives. I have saved planets, vanquished villains, found my true love, and found my purpose. 

There is nothing I like more than a good book. 

I’m one of those people who walks into a used bookstore and feels better just breathing in the smell. I can spend hours and hours just drifting along the stacks. I love to touch them. I love the feel of them in my hands.

If I was ever the last surviving human on earth, I would be happy as long as I had books. 

As a child, I was shy, painfully so. It was almost debilitating. Books were my refuge to another world where I was brave and beautiful and had a ton of friends. Where I had a sharp and witty comeback to every taunt, and were bullies always lost. My sister, the gregarious one, was my buffer. I always had a book on me, and social discomfort usually found me retreating to a quiet corner and escaping into another world. 

I am so grateful for books, in all their forms and genres. Maybe that is why I have long wished to write my own. I am working on that now. I started my first attempt with winning NaNoWriMo last Year. Now I’m looking ahead to Camp NaNoWriMo in July. 

Maybe one day my own story will be among the others on the selves. 

:introducing my other planner:

So one change I have made to my journaling and planner set-up this year is the addition of a Happy Planner. Basically, I was walking through Michaels and they ambushed me.

One of the things I do not enjoy doing in my BuJo is drawing out the monthly and weekly calendars. I know they are not part of the “standard” set-up for most bujos, but I find them necessary for knowing how my time is going to be spent. I usually just put them off until half the week is over and I’m forced to make one.

So, I decided to keep both a calendar and a bujo this year so I can have a pre-made planner, and I can do the rapid logging which makes the bujo so necessary for me. Obviously, my Happy Planner does not have the space to do the rapid logging I love. But it does give me the layout I like. Plus…STICKERS! I loved stickers as a kid, so this is fun for me.

I have seen some of the layouts on Instagram (back in December) and YouTube, but the lack of writing room just did not make it functional for me. So, last week I finally found what suites me. I actually do very little with the layout at the beginning of the week. Instead, I do my planning and stickers for that day. The only thing I set up beforehand are appointments or deadlines.

I most likely will not be posting much on this system, since there is such a glut of Happy Planner posts out there which are super creative and beautifully laid out. But, I’m happy I finally hit a good spot with this.

I may only use it for this year. I am not one to waste money, so if I decide to switch, it will be for next year.

Does anyone else have a multi-planner system?

:Lamy Al-Star:

So, here she is in all her glory. I’m pretty sure long-time fountain pen aficionados are laughing at me gushing over a starter pen. I don’t care. I love her. After leaving Maido I went to one of my local Starbucks, and did my morning pages using the Lamy. (That’s where I took all these photos. I’m sure everyone there was looking at me like I was daft.)


I found the weight of the pen to be a real factor in how I hold it. It actually makes it easier to hold it in the “proper” grip with the barrel resting in front of the knuckle of my index finger. I believe this is called the calligrapher’s grip. It is the grip described in the Spencerian theory book.

That extra fine nib also lends itself to my natural writing style. I write very small, and most gel pens are too thick to make the writing legible. You can also see why I’m attempting to learn better form for cursive. My n, m, u, i, and even r all look the same. If I wrote the word minimum, all you would see is a bunch of Us strung together.

I have not yet used it in my penmanship practice, as I am just enjoying it and getting to know it. Unfortunately, the cartridge in the pen was blue ink. The salesperson in Maido thought it was black. So, I am trying to use it up as quickly as I can, because I am definitely a black ink kinda girl. I’m sure there is a way to take it out and switch to the  converter and black ink I bought, but I need to do some more research before I do that, and I just have not had the time. The last thing I want is to be covered in blue ink.