: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.

: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.

:first trip to Maido:

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Over the weekend, I got some me time and I made a trip to Maido in San Jose. Doug gifted me with my first real fountain pen for my birthday this month, and I wanted to actually try some before I bought one.

Being the obsessive researcher that I am I had narrowed it down to the Lamy Al-Star. I could have ordered one online, but I wanted to actually feel the pen in my hand, so off I went to the only place in town where I could try one.

I had never been to Maido, but I’ve been wanting to go for a while.

Oh. My.

I geeked out over everything in that store. It’s not very big, but it is packed wall-to-wall with anything the stationary obsessed could want. There were stickers, journals, planners, notebooks, brush pens, gel pens, everything! I was in heaven.

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I could have spent hours in that store.

I got to see the Traveler’s Notebooks from the original Traveler’s Company. There were so classy and tempting. Unfortunately, I have a new bujo, so I am not willing to make that kind of an investment until I’m near the end of my current notebook.

One of the store employees helped me try the different nib sizes on the Lamy pens. I had to dip them since they do not keep any cartridges in the tester pens. I had never dipped a pen and my experience writing with any fountain pens is limited, so I found dipping awkward. Even so, the Lamy felt really good in my hand, and my tiny writing definitely called for the extra fine nib. I ended up picking a purple pen.

I went ahead and bought a converter and a bottle of black ink instead of more cartridges. I get the feeling this pen and I are going to get to know each other very, very well.

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I’ll show her off in another post.

:january 2018 zentangle challenge

In the past my drawing efforts have been sporadic at best. I’ll do a big piece and then I won’t touch my pens for months. So, to go with my word for the year, I am doing a daily drawing challenge in my bullet journal this year. this is my first effort. Unfortunately, I did not start it until I came back from my trip to Florida, thus the crossed out days.

This month I am going to try a more free-form format. I may not always do zentangles, as I want to start doodling and drawing in other styles as well.

We’ll see how that works out.