#4 of 53: Molly and Rex, Zibaldone and Brinded Cats

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Hello! I’ve been working steadily moving my pictures over to Flickr. It is a long and boring process but I am so grateful to have found a way to keep my posts while reducing my media usage. Apologies for missing last Sunday. I’m hoping to double up at some point to get back on track.

It’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed a notebook and I must say I’ve been enjoying my Sunday morning taking photos and inking pens. Today’s notebook review is the Anything is Possible softcover notebook from Molly & Rex. The balloon and whale on the cover is slightly raised. I think the cover treatment is called linen embossed.

Anything front cover

A good friend gave it to me as a going away present when I left Alberta for the Nova Scotia adventure. The cover reminds me of her as she and I worked together and would often be the first ones in the office. We would often watch the sunrise together from our lofty perch on the fifth floor of our office building. She would educate me on what kinds of clouds we could see. There was even a scary (but exciting!) afternoon when we watched the path of a funnel cloud (that ultimately came nowhere near us). She knew of my passion for notebooks and chose this beauty for me.

Anything back cover

The back cover mirrors the front.

Anything whale front cover

The inside covers. I love the whimsy. Wouldn’t this be fantastic as wallpaper in a child’s room?

Anything cloud writing

One of 4 spreads, and I think my least favorite.

Anything baloon edges

This is definitely my favourite!

Anything balloon corners

 

Anything balloon bottom

These journals are produced by Molly & Rex.

Anything inside back cover

These beautiful journals are available on Amazon and Chapters, and from the company directly. And their website! Beautiful stationery. They love animals, penmanship and illustration and their products definitely show that. Michaels also carries some of their items. Love the stickers!

I tried a number of pens and the paper is definitely fountain pen friendly.

Anything pen test

The fountain pen ink did not feather. All of the pens were very smooth on the paper. This notebook is not in my current rotation but I look forward to it when it’s time comes.

In other news I was tickled to learn a new word this week: zibaldone. In the Italian vernacular it refers to a commonplace book, and in translation means “a heap of things” or “miscellany”. Of course this is what we do in our journals. I really enjoyed this article, detailing the history of the form, and in particular a young poet named Giacomo Leopardi, who created a 2,000 page “zibaldone di pensieri” with his sketches, lists and frustrations. It’s good to know we are in good company and keeping such a long tradition of authors and scientists. Lots of good stuff to be copied into my journal.

And finally on to reading news. I’ve been getting into e-books from my local library and just finished Alan Bradley’s Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d. His books follow the adventures of the precocious twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce, amateur sleuth and chemist extraordinaire. I’ve read all of the Flavia books and I was thrilled with this one, number eight and not just because the title is from my favourite Shakespeare play. All of the books have been set in a delightful English village, Bishop’s Lacey, with the exception of number seven, which was set in Toronto after Flavia is sent (or in her words, banished) to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy (As Chimney Sweeps Come To Dust). It was not as satisfying as the others, and Thrice is a wonderful return to the tried and true. Number nine in the series has just been published (The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place) and I hope the library gets a copy soon.

Next up is Sue Gee’s Trio, a novel set in 1937 England in which a young man lives in a remote moorland village and mourns the loss of his young wife to illness. He takes up with a small band of musicians and starts to fall under their spell. As war approaches a decision is made that will call all of their lives into question. It was recommended by one of the booktubers I’ve been following. Hopefully I enjoy it as much as they did.

Happy journaling.

 

 

#3 of 52: Flickr, Handwriting and Lost Letters

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Hello there. Sorry this is late; after uploading last week’s post I got a message saying no more posts until I freed up some space. Hopefully this one will upload.

I am making headway on the space issue, and thanks are due for that to Paul Godden, who commented on last week’s post and pointed me in the direction of Flickr. I’m now hosting my photos there and linking to them from here. Genius! And they have a LOT of space at Flickr. Thanks again Paul. The photos are slowly being moved.

I wanted to write today because it is National Handwriting Day! Today we celebrate the practice of handwriting with a pen or pencil, on John Hancock’s birthday. And on the 41st anniversary it looks like the US congress is supporting their efforts. Let’s hope this signals a shift in thinking in regards to bringing back the teaching of cursive in schools. Goulet Pens is giving away a Lamy 2000 gift set to celebrate. Fun stuff!

More along the handwriting vein: a review of Kyo Maclear’s book The Letter Opener by Liz over at the Wonder Pens blog. My local library does not have a copy but I have flagged it on Goodreads as one I want to read. It is 1989 and Naiko is working in the Undeliverable Mail Office, looking through the contents of letters and parcels for clues as to the address to which the items belong. When her friend and coworker vanishes Naiko tries to piece together what might have happened. There actually is such an office at Canada Post; I was contacted by them many years ago when a box of personal items was undeliverable. When opened there were quite a few letters bearing my name and address. They belonged to a dear friend of mine. When they phoned I was deeply touched he had kept them and equally sorry I could not help them find him, as we had lost touch many years before. I offered to take the items off their hands and do further research but they, rightly, rejected that idea. The box was not mine to claim. I hope somehow the box found its way back to him, along with my letters.

I hope you wrote something by hand today, and that you enjoyed the pen, the paper and the fluid joy of it. I know I did.

#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.

close-up-of-pen-stand

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.

closed-ink-stand

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. 🙂