#2 of 52: Space, Spells, Sisters and Systems

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So I’m running out of space on this website. In fact, my dashboard tells me I have already done so. I don’t have a premium package anymore, as I downgraded my services last year when I really wasn’t sure what would happen to this blog. That means no new pictures until I can delete some old posts, which I am slowly doing. I’d like to keep the posts I actually wrote, and delete the links to books I enjoyed, or the Friday cartoons. Re-read them if you want, because some posts from June of 2012 will be disappearing soon.

I promised I would talk about notebooks this week, but before I do that I want to talk about a beautiful book my sister sent me for Christmas: The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane, illustrated by Jackie Morris. This heavy and huge book is a picture book, a self-proclaimed spell book, of magical words that have vanished from the language of children. Essentially it is a collection of poems about certain words, like acorn, heather, raven, and wren, to name a few. The poems are glorious and definitely meant to be read aloud. But the real wonder of this book are the illustrations. Jackie Morris brings the natural world to life , interspersed with beautiful floating alphabets in whimsical fonts. I hadn’t heard about it at all but my sister is much more in tune with new titles and the latest publishing marvels. So it was the perfect surprise on Christmas day. It is very special, as is the sister who gave it to me. She continues to surprise and delight and support me, and I only hope I do the same for her.

Okay so let’s talk about notebooks! It’s pretty much the same system, with a planner and a journal or three. 🙂

My most used journal is the Eccolo World Traveller discussed in this post. It is almost filled up and I have loved writing in it and pasting things into it. I will probably start another one when it is filled (there are three blank ones on my shelf!)

I am also using one of my custom Bookblock Original notebooks to organize my blog posts. I jot down ideas for each week as I think of them, with my overall aim to have some sort of coherent plan for the year.

As for my planner, I have HUGE news!!! In December of 2016 you may recall I wrote a blog post about my plans for 2017, to use a Leuchtturm 1917 Jottbook as a bullet journal planner. And I used it all through 2017! And I’m still using it! I can’t believe I actually stuck with a planner for over a year. Very proud of myself. I don’t have a lot of appointments/tasks to keep track of, but it works for me. Who knew the simplest system would work the best? I still love my Filofax binders but just can’t bear to carry them around with me. My bullet journal weighs nothing and I don’t feel bad if I don’t look at it for a couple of days, because there are no wasted pages. Ryder Carroll is a brilliant man. I’ve heard he has introduced a Bullet Journal app to support the analog journal but I haven’t tried it out yet.

And here’s another piece of huge news (lowercase huge): I have added a log book to my journal system. I got the idea from Austin Kleon from his post On Keeping a Logbook. My writing is long-winded (bless you reader if you’ve made it this far!) and often I find myself running out of time for my long journal pieces. Right now I’m still trying to write a coherent journal entry about Christmas – the joys of getting together with friends and family, tempered by the power being unable to stay on – and then something amazing will happen in my day that I just have to write about (saw David Letterman’s new show for NetFlix, My Next Guest. The guest was Barack Obama and what he said about voter apathy really got my cylinders firing). In the past I would tear into a new journal or have two, three or four journals on the go. But I may have solved this with a logbook: I can at least write down a brief description of what I want to write about later. This has the obvious benefit of prompting me to remember it and empties my brain so I can focus on other things. I love Austin Kleon’s newsletter; I almost always have something to copy into my journal, or to send to David, as Austin has an eclectic taste in music. If you haven’t already done so, check him out. Oh I almost forgot – the notebook I am using as my logbook is the Colouring Notebook. Today is January 14 and I haven’t missed a day. They say it takes two weeks to form a habit so this bodes well!

Hope you all had a great week. Happy journaling.

 

#1 of 52: Detachment, Gratitude and Light

First let me say this is not the blog post I thought I was going to write. I had planned on writing about the notebooks I’m using now, some pens and inks I’ve discovered, and a new way of journaling I’m trying. I’ll save that for next Sunday’s post because a) I’m exhausted by the week’s events and b) every writer knows that what comes out when the fingers start typing is usually better than what one planned anyway.

I find myself thinking about generators and propane of late, as we’ve had two power outages in the last two weeks, once on Christmas Day and once on Jan 4. Both outages lasted 24 hours and even though we were much better prepared for the second one, there is still that feeling of detachment, of disconnect, that being “off the grid” creates. The modern world is so dependent on electricity – and it is good to be reminded to be grateful for it. So many do not have it, or only have it for a few hours a week. First world problems to be sure, but it is frightening all the same. One comes to rely on one’s friends during such times, and we have amazing people around us, who sent messages to check on us and welcomed us into their home, cats and all, when we didn’t know when the power might come back on and in the face of plummeting temperatures. Hats off to the amazing ground crews of NS Power, who got the power restored for 130,000 customers in less than ideal conditions.

Thursday night the 140 km/h winds kept me up until 5 am, when I was finally sure the roof was going to stay on. I held our cat Halley to try to calm her down, and listened to the wind batter the house. The windows rattled with each gust. I could just make out the tops of the trees, against the backdrop of stars and moonlight, in their furious dance. We spent Friday night with friends and it was the perfect antidote to the stress of the night before, a kind of peace that comes with old friends, good, simple food, and laughter.

We believe the power came back on Friday night, and we were back at home early on Saturday afternoon, just in time to prepare for some friends coming over that evening. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, that the lights were on, my oven worked and my tap responded with fresh, clear water when I turned it. Little things that are so easily taken for granted, until they can’t be.

So here’s to friendship, neighbours, and sharing food and drink; and here’s to light in the darkness, may it always find us.

Happy journaling.

Hello

I wasn’t sure this was going up tonight but here we are. It’s been almost a year since my last post and I’ve been wanting to get writing again for a while now. What better time than the first day of a brand new year?

2017 was a hard, frustrating but ultimately magical year for me. I’m happy to report that my health is vastly improved and my new life in Nova Scotia is settling down wonderfully. I don’t know for how much longer I will be able to get away with being “new”; in May it will be two years since we moved here. I think the “new” is wearing thin. But that’s ok because with each passing day I feel more and more connected to my present space in the universe. And more and more thankful for the opportunity to shine.

My plan for the blog is simple: 52 posts for 2018, one for each Sunday in the calendar. I am still in love with journals and stationery and fountain pens; I still have something to say about them. But when I was blogging somewhat regularly in 2016 I found myself buying items not because I loved them but because I was running out of things to talk about on the blog. I have beautiful pens and notebooks that I’ve used for years; I want to celebrate them. So the new items may be few and far between. I can’t tell you more than that what the new format will look like because I’m still figuring that out. Hopefully it will be of interest for those of you who still visit this space; thank you for sticking with me.

I hope 2018 is a great year for all of us. I’m looking forward to journaling my way through it.

My Last Post….For Now

So first let me apologize for my extended absence. Over the Christmas holidays there were two trips to the emergency room, and one phone call for an ambulance. Not to be alarmist or dramatic, but my health has taken a turn and my energy levels are most definitely not what they once were. I received a beautiful fountain pen from my sister for Christmas and I have not even inked it up yet. I also received some beautiful journals from family and friends and they have not been opened. I have not been able to write in my journal for more than 10 minutes at a time.

My life right now is about pain management stemming from my scoliosis. I have not been sleeping very well and I find it difficult to concentrate. I took three weeks off work and probably went back too soon. Even writing this has taken far longer than I anticipated.

But…I will get better. I have a medical program I am following and every day I see improvement. I have incredible people in my life who help me and foster positive energy. I am slowly getting my life back to normal but I can’t give this blog the attention it deserves. I’ve been feeling terrible about the radio silence but at least now you know.

Thank you so much for supporting this blog and for all of your kind words. This is not the end but a hiatus to allow me to get back to fighting form. I don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver so I will not put a time frame on how long I will be away. Know that I truly miss this blog and writing in my journal with my beautiful pens. I can’t imagine I will be able to stay away forever.

Thanks for listening and happy journalling.

 

Christmas by the Sea Antique Finds

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I have returned to the land of Tea and Sales and Christmas Craft Markets. I recently attended the 27th Annual Seaside Christmas, sponsored by the Seaside Tourism & Business Association for the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. It took place over three days in mid-November, and included 19 stops from Lawrencetown Beach to Salmon River Bridge, a route spanning some 45 km. Numbered wreaths guided the journey.

One of the most interesting places was Old Times, Old Friends Antiques, Collectibles and Dolls, located in Musquodoboit Harbour in a very out of the way and enchanted seaside spot. The tiny shop is actually part of the owner’s home, and is bursting with items from yesteryear. And they serve shortbread to you as soon as you walk in the door! I found some plates in my china pattern, Johnson Brothers’ Shakespeare’s Sonnets, for a very reasonable price. And I was thrilled when I spotted two pen/ink stands minding their own business on a bottom shelf.

two-stands

A little bit of bling for the desk eh? These brass inkstands were made in Belgium around 1910, apparently. I was able to find them on various ebay sites so they appear to have been a pretty common item at the time of manufacture. So nothing especially rare and not that expensive; I paid $65 for both and that price is in keeping with what they are listed for on the various ebay sites I visited.

pen-stand

Here’s the pen stand. So fancy! We’ve got angels and flowers aplenty. It came with the pen but the pen is in very sad shape. It looks old and well used. I might review it in more detail once I ink it up but for this post I want to focus on the stand. I thought it was just divine.

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Here we have an angel playing a horn to his friend the donkey. I’m not sure of the significance, if any, of these creatures but it is very charming.

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And here is the ink stand. It doesn’t match the pen stand but they do look nice on the desk together. The sides could act as a pen rest, or a cartridge holder.

open-ink-stand

I imagine the idea was to decant the ink into the white liner and dip your pen into it. I won’t be doing that; I doubt I will put anything into the liner. I just like to look at it.

I will definitely be returning to Old Times, Old Friends Antiques. There was a lot to see and I’m sure I missed some amazing treasures. It’s worth the trip for the shortbread alone!

My Posting Schedule and My Planner for December and Next Year

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Hi everyone hope you are all having a lovely weekend. I was hoping to resume my pre-move posting schedule, but as you have seen that has not happened. My back has been giving me trouble since the September Labour Day Weekend and this week I wrenched it mightily which did not help. I find when I am in a lot of pain my focus is very narrow; I go to work and get only the essentials done at home. My amazing husband is keeping the house running while I concentrate on chiropractic appointments (finally found one I connect with), massage therapy and light exercise. This weekend I spent the majority of Saturday in a medical clinic waiting to see a doctor about pain medication. I shall put regular blog posts as one of my New Year’s Resolutions.

Anyway, onto more fun stuff, like what planner I will be using in 2017. It seems everyone is talking about their plans so I thought I would share mine. I’ve been using my A5 Filofax Finsbury since July. I’ve had so much to keep track of during the move that I needed the big binder. But things have calmed down somewhat, most of the To Dos are checked off, and I thought this month might be the perfect time to try out a Bullet Journal.

I last wrote about Bullet Journaling in July of 2014 and I’ve been watching YouTube videos about this system ever since. I like the simplicity of it; I find the A5 Finsbury big and bulky to lug around. So this afternoon I took a couple of hours and wrote some notes in my journal about Bullet Journaling. I watched videos from BohoBerry and Ryder Carroll and decided to tackle my own.

bullet-journal-notes

Ryder says to commit to the system for at least two months to determine if it works for you, so I decided to start with a Leuchtturm Jottbook, something small to start off with.

jottbook

The squared option is best, because with Bullet Journaling you are essentially making lists, of tasks, events and notes. This is much easier to do if the squares are already there for you.

index-bullet-journal

Luckily the Leuchtturm notebooks come with a Contents page (which I am using as my Index) and the pages are numbered. Perfect for mapping out the Future Log, Monthly Log and Daily Log.

future-log

I’m starting my Bullet Journal in December 2016 so my Future Log starts with January 2017. I chose the 6 month layout. I only had to draw two straight lines – easy!

future-log-2

Here are some future tasks I wanted to make note of. You can see I am using the standard Bullet Journal legend: a dot for tasks, a dash for notes, and a circle for events. Well I hope you can see it; the photos didn’t seem so dark when I was editing them. Sorry about that!

monthly-log

Here is the Monthly Log page. I covered up some personal events. Ryder says to be super brief here, so if you have more than one thing happening on a given day you can fit it all in on the one line. And I see that I put a circle by Christmas but forgot the circle by New Years.

If you want a day or event or task to have priority Ryder suggests adding an asterisk to the left of the symbol. Be sure to leave space on the left margin for such signifiers: an asterisk denotes priority, an exclamation point denotes inspiration, and an eye denotes exploration, meaning that idea or tasks needs further research.

daily-log

December is a busy month, and so far my tasks all have to do with Christmas! The task list goes on the opposite page to the Monthly Log.

daily-log

And here is my Daily Log. It is suggested not to plan the days ahead; do that on your monthly log or future log. This space should be free form in that you never know how much space you might need for a particular day. And this space isn’t just for tasks; record whatever you want, from ideas to the weather. This was my To Do list for today and I only have one thing left. Notice I didn’t write down blog post! But I will now, and mark it done, using an X. To change the status of a task, X denotes complete, > denotes migrated to the next month’s log, and < denotes migrated to the future log. You wouldn’t start the migration process until the end of the month, when you likely will have your next month’s spread laid out.

Ryder has made provision for tasks and notes that are similar, which you might want to keep together. He suggests putting these in a Collection spread, in the next blank spread available. This could be tasks for a project or a shopping list. As I move through the month I will see what makes sense for me.

And that’s it for my Bullet Journal, at least for now. Boho Berry has some amazing spreads, and there are lots of Bullet Journal examples out there from which to get inspiration. People have added tracker pages for every habit imaginable, along with book, movie and tv show lists. I will revisit my Bullet Journal before the New Year to see how it’s working. Please comment below if any of you use this system, and your thoughts on it. Until next time. 🙂

The Colouring Notebook and a Different Kind of Advent Calendar

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Hi everyone. Tonight I wanted to tell you about a Colouring Notebook that I purchased on a whim; I saw this video and promptly went to the link and ordered one. I don’t do that too often but I just had to have one.

I have been watching JournalJoy’s videos for a while now and always enjoyed them. A few times I have been tempted to buy a notebook she has reviewed but usually the companies either do not ship internationally or the shipping is prohibitively expensive. But this time everything was in my favour; Colouring Notebook ship internationally and right now the price is only $14.95 US! You can order one yourself at https://coloringnotebook.com/. You can choose blank, lined, or dot grid. Mine arrived in a little over a week. The postmark on the package said Ukraine.

I have some adult colouring books which I use on occasion but as soon as this arrived I started colouring in it right away. The 100 gram paper is very smooth and creamy. There are about 50 beautiful illustrations in it, interspersed with lined pages for writing. I will not be using my fountain pens in it due to feathering, as mentioned in the video. But my gel pens look fantastic in it, for writing or for colouring. I used my Staedtler Triplus 0.5mm markers for colouring and there was no bleed through.

I’m thrilled with it and would recommend it for a Christmas gift or a treat for yourself. It adds a new dimension to your journaling. I didn’t post any pictures of mine as I thought the video did a wonderful job.

And the second thing I wanted to talk about was the Hannah Braime Becoming Who You Are Advent Calendar. I get weekly emails from Hannah and her site is an amazing resource for journal writing and self-awareness. Her articles and classes encourage authentic living with compassion and courage. Her weekly emails are free for subscribers, as is her library with tons of thought provoking material.

I signed up for her Advent Calendar where I will receive a prompt each day, focusing on the year that has passed and the year to come. I’m so excited! Maybe I will write about them in my new Coloring Notebook. 🙂

A new pen and notebook from Amazon

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Last week an Amazon package was delivered to my door, which is always exciting. I had ordered a Fuliwen pen after seeing a Youtube video, and a Valery refillable notebook which I had found when browsing notebooks.

pen-on-desktop

I am unfamiliar with the Fuliwen brand. Amazon says this pen was made by a “famous company in China called Fuliwen”. I thought the barrel and hardware was very pretty, although now that I see it in person I am not a fan of the pearl bead on the clip.

uncapped-pen

The section is an interesting shape, one which I have not seen before. The material is advertised as celluloid but I would be surprised at this price point: $19 Cdn.

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The medium nib is on the small side for the size of the section I feel. It is stamped Straffen, which I read are made by X-Fountain Pens. I cleaned it and tried to find a blue ink that would match the barrel.

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Clockwise from top: Noodler’s Blue Upon the Plains of Abraham, Parker Blue Quink, Paradise Pen Blue, Waterman Serenity Blue, J. Herbin Blue Myosotis, and Lamy Blue. I chose Parker Blue as the best match to the barrel.

nov-13-writing-sample

And here’s the writing sample. I chose a Clairefontaine notebook. The pen is very smooth with no skips or hard starts, and it started writing as soon as it hit the paper. I was using it in my regular journal later on that day, and it suddenly went dry. I shook it a few times and it resumed writing. But it will never be a favorite pen of mine. That pearl bead is ugly, as I mentioned before, and the pen can’t be posted, which this pen needs, due to it being super light. It just doesn’t fit well in my hand either. But I can’t fault it’s performance, other than running dry once, which was soon fixed.

I also purchased this notebook and cover, made by Valery.

front-of-notebook

It’s not leather but a very nice imitation. I really like the white stitching and the tree motif on the cover and in the charm bookmark. There is another charm on the spine of an eagle with wings unfurled. It doesn’t seem to fit in with the tree motif; kind of sinister really. But luckily it can be removed.

empty-notebook-cover

Here is the inside of the notebook cover. The cords could easily be loosened to release one or both of the charms if needed.

inside-notebook

The notebook is pretty standard, lined with very thin paper. I do not know the gsm. I didn’t have high hopes for the pen test but it stood up fairly well.

nov-13-pen-test

I’m just realizing now I deleted the photo of the opposite page. Oh well there was no bleed through and just a touch of ghosting. And very little feathering. Safe for our fountain pens.

Overall I am happy with the pen and notebook. Taking a chance on unknown products can be fun.

Happy writing everyone.