Thursday, December 30, 2010

Unable to leave well enough alone

 I tried to be happy with the way the beginning of the book was...but I just wasn't.  January was any learning should be...and the rest of the book was clean and lovely.

I woke up this morning thinking,"I bet I could disassemble that book, print a new January, and reassemble it again". As it turns out, it's not so hard to take apart a coil bound book, if you're careful and don't try to take out too many pages at once!    I carefully slid the pages out, printed new ones, then put them back in.

You'd think I would have been happy with that.

But that's where you'd be wrong.

I kept would be nice if there were some contact pages at the beginning for all those numbers  that our family needs to have close to the surface.  And some more pockets would be nice.  And some dividers - one at the end of June, one at the beginning of September....

I took it all apart again.  I folded and punched, stamped and glued, and put it all back together again into a really lovely book that I feel very good about. If I'd left it as it stood last night, I would have thought - this could be better... and never felt quite right about using it.
All things considered, it went together rather well.

Fave details:
  • It doesn't necessarily look like a homemade planner, but definitely has a hand crafted feel
  • It has pockets and dividers where I want them, where they will be used
  • room for notes and miscellany in the back (no doubt also for notes on how to make next year's one even better yet!)
  • The heaviness of the sketchbook paper
  • The portable size
  • The colours
  • Little reminders here and there to 'do art'.  That's my main goal for the do more art.


As the year closes

 The last couple of months I've been rolling around an idea in my head. Well, okay, more than one idea...but this one is about my day planner.For the last several years I have bought the same planner - and loved it.  It has room for all the things I need, and more.  It's the 'and more' part that got me thinking. Much as I appreciate the organizational brilliance of these books, I rarely use the family profile pages, note pages or contact pages (except as grocery list paper).   After all these years of planner use (at least 20), I know what I need from a planner.  

So, typical of my personality, I decided to make one myself.  
After surfing the web looking at endless templates that weren't quite right, I decided to draw my own. Rather than attempt to print out all the pages from my computer in the proper order, double side them accurately and collate them, I opted to buy an existing book and play with some ideas.

The things I liked about the purchased planner were the hard cover and the coil binding (can't beat a book that will lie flat!), so I bought a 5.5 X 8" sketchbook and made a stencil template to rule the pages.  There were a bunch of letter and number stamps kicking around a drawer upstairs begging to be put to good use, so I employed them as my typeface.

It probably took me about 4 hours to print up (to be honest, 2 of those hours were spent watching a spaghetti western movie with my husband, and the other two listening to a Jeffrey Archer book while printing).  I learned a LOT in the process (for example, mounted stamps are far easier to handle than unmounted took until about June to figure that out!).  My later pages are far prettier than my earlier ones, but that is to be expected, isn't it?

And here, my final picture of my sample page, will not load the way it should!!  This is my 3rd try to get this particular picture to load...and it will remain rotated, as I can not get it to go any other way.

It made most sense to put the month on the right page.  My weeks are all Mon - Friday on the left, the weekend on the right.  The lower right divided area is for 'to do' lists, and telephone messages.
My planner tends to spend most of it's life on the kitchen counter being consulted daily for meal planning and open for use and referral by other family members, so the loosely divided space on the lower right doesn't get formal designation...

It's hard to see in the picture, but I've put big gold stamps on family birthdays (Youngest's is Sept 29, shown at left).

 After all the stamping was done, I added some expandable pockets for receipts, etc. The whole works is sitting under a pile of books upstairs while the glue dries.  Tomorrow I begin the adventure of writing in all the different things we have already lined up for the coming year...not the least of which involves speed skating.

It's silly, but every year I have the same satisfaction with closing the previous year's planner, and opening the new year's one.  As we get older there are fewer milestones - and the ones we have tend to get further and further apart.  There's something about the ritual of literally closing the book on one year and opening a fresh new book on the new one that's so appealing.  All those blank pages will be filled with the story of our lives... the literal story, the minutiae. We have the stories we tell about our lives, the love, the memories, but these planners end up being the record of how we get from one day to the next.

Enjoy the rest of the year.  I hope your next year's book is filled with lovely things.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday morning

It's pretty rainy here today...well, it's actually been pretty rainy for a couple of days.  When the weather's like this I have a tendency to get uber-domestic.

Yesterday I made granola (again), and banana bread, and chicken cacciatore from scratch.  The bread that is currently baking in the oven was started last night, too.

The last few days have been good for cleaning up the garden (between - and sometimes during - rain showers).

Earlier in the week, before all the rain, I'd set aside this sunflower head so that I could try my hand at toasting seeds.  I figured, "how hard could it be?"

As it turns out, not very hard at all.

I started out by separating the seeds from the head and washing them in the sink.  The seed head was pretty dry, and all the ripe seeds separated by the simple action of rubbing my palm across the flower head. Once they were in the sink, I picked up double handfulls of them and rubbed them against each other to knock off all the garden dust and debris.
They were then left to sit in the sink so that the debris could settle and the seeds float (coincidently, this step corresponded perfectly with the amount of time it took to check my email!).

Because I didn't think to put them in a salt brine last night for today's roasting, I opted to boil them in a brine (5:1 ratio of water:salt) for about 20 minutes.  They're still a little saltier than I'd like, so next time I'd probably do 6 parts water to one part salt.

Once they were boiled, I drained them in the colander, then spread them on a baking sheet for toasting.  They were toasted at a higher temperature (375F) than I normally would have done them - but - I was baking the bread at the same time.

I took them out and stirred them at 10 minute intervals to check on their progress.  I think they were in and out of the oven about 4 times...making the total roasting time about 40 minutes.  It was pretty obvious when they were getting close to done, as the whole house started to smell like roasted seeds.  Mmmmmm.

The inspiration for all this activity was a memory I have of big sunflower heads that Mom and Dad grew on the farm when I was young.  I remember passing those seed heads sitting in the shed, drying, while I fed that cats (I think) each night.  It's funny, the way that memory is, but I don't remember if we ever did anything with them, or if they just eventually ended up in the massive compost area that we had behind the greenhouse.  Either way, the sunflower seeds today are a little tribute to those long-ago sunflowers, to that long-ago garden.

Enjoy the weekend.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Morning self-portrait

Things are pretty quiet around here.

I'm on call for work, which means right now that there's a very low chance that the phone will ring.  The beginning of the school year was tough last year, and I have to keep reminding myself that I didn't get a lot of work until mid-late September.  I'm so low on the seniority list that I can't expect much.  I did work one day last week (our first week of school), so that is somewhat hopeful.

There are other projects to keep me busy - I'm learning how to build a website using WordPress for a collaborative project (more about that as it emerges), and am getting the van ready to sell.  I'm working on some quilting patterns for Threadsongs, and doing a lot of cooking.

I keep wondering if I should just bite the bullet and continue with my schooling.  Selkirk College/UVIC will allow for someone with a Bachelor's Degree in Child and Youth care to go into the teacher's training program...which might be a really good idea.  It would mean picking up a few academic courses (English, Psych), then entering 3rd year online from UVIC.  My experience so far in the school system has been good, and I think I could see myself managing a classroom.  It seems like the right thing to do...

This fall feels like a new year - or a new beginning.  It's seldom in this stage of life that everything seems to slow down or stop at the same time like this.  I feel almost as if it's the deep breath before the next plunge...I just have to figure out what that plunge is going to look like.  I like it when life is busy, and am happiest when I can spend my day with people, working together and figuring things out.

Don't worry, I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back again! With lots of knitty content!!

I guess the boys and I didn't get enough of camping with the family and had to - just HAD to - go back for more.
Much as we missed all the cousin action and the laughter, the lake was pretty tranquil with just the boys, one of their friends, and me.

The weather was gorgeous, not too much smoke made it down the valley, and we all got a lot of swimming time in!

When I wasn't swimming, I was beach sitting.  It gave me a great opportunity to get some knitting, journal writing and drawing done.   Every year, at least once over the past few years, I've drawn Saddleback from the vantage point of the beach.

Typically I've got watercolour pencil crayons in my bag, along with some coloured pens.

This year I also brought some pre-cut artist trading card sized cards of different weights and textures. 

And, because I'm that knitterly kind of girl, I finished up two projects that I've been working on for a while.

This shrug, from this pattern, has been on my needles for only about a week from start to finish - pretty big project considering the gauge!  The yarn is one of my all-time favorites, Noro Silk Garden Sock. It's a blend of wool, silk, angora and nylon meant for sock knitting, but I think it's far to lovely to hide in my shoes.

For the curious, I used colourway 268 - colours that coincidentally completely match this season in this area.   Something that doesn't really show in the photos is the beading in the cuffs.  This was my first adventure with beading in knitting, and it's spawned loads of ideas for my next projects.  Now if I could just settle on one and get started!

The other major project that I finished was this big red cardigan.  It was originally started as something to keep my hands busy while I sat on my rear recovering from my broken toe.

Please excuse the cheezy self portraiture - it's hard to set the camera, run around to the front and quickly look natural!!

For those who are interested in the process and modification notes of either sweater (or in seeing more photos of how they go together), there is a great deal more information on my Ravelry page.  Look me up, if you care to - you'll need to be a member or become one to sign in - you'll find me there under the username Threadsongs.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pulpit Rock

The boys and I hiked up Pulpit Rock yesterday with a couple of dear friends. It was the first time on this particular hike for the 3 of us, but a regular hike for our friends.
The weather was perfect for it - although Oldest claims it was about 10000degrees!  We were pretty hot and dusty by the time we got down the hill, so went straight to Lakeside park to jump in the lake for a swim. The weather was perfect for that, too.

In all honesty, I wondered if I was going to make it up!  It's only 3 km, but pretty steep most of the time - and I'm obviously pretty darn out of shape from sitting on my duff this summer!  Good motivation to get out more!
The boys and I are picking up one of their friends, and heading out camping for a couple of days.  See you soon!


Monday, August 16, 2010


It's late morning, DH has gone off to work after 3 weeks of holiday and the boys are still sleeping (one out on the deck, the other up in his bed).

I turned 40 last week.

The day itself was pretty anticlimactic, in a way, as lovely people in my life have been celebrating it with and for me for over a month already!

My dear girlfriends from Nakusp whisked me off to Lillith Fair in July to see amazing performers(Sheryl Crow! Erykah Badu! Sarah McLachlan!) and be silly for a couple of days. If it weren't for these girls I'd not know the what chicken gizzards taste like (yummy), that dollar store beads can colour skin in beautiful hues, or the multifarious meanings of the word 'Schrag'. I can't begin to say how wonderfully silly and profoundly deep my experience of these women is... but they've certainly been heavy influences in my growth and emerging adult womenhood over the past 15 years.

As we do each summer, we camped for a week with the extended Thiessen side of the family. I continue to be amazed at the connections made and tended amongst us all. I know I'm very blessed to have such loving and welcoming in-laws - ones who are not afraid to create some high silliness in honour of milestone birthdays! Two of my sisters-in-law also reached the 4 decade mark this year, and the family rose to the occasion with a ceremony complete with hand carved staffs, paper towel gowns, tiaras, champagne and (literally) jumping through (hula) hoops.

My own family honoured the day with lovely notes and calls, unexpected gifts and beautiful sentiment. I can't seem to write about how that made me feel without tears springing up.

Through all of this I've been knitting and drawing, jounaling and thinking, and just letting the summer soak into my bones. I've been counting my blessings and feeling deep gratitude.

Somehow I wanted to weave into this post something about my hands...just how grateful I am for them, how they have been the locus of my interaction with the world, the place I learn and the place I create. Though people flatter me with saying that I look younger than my 40 years, I think my hands show each day of that time. They're strong, wiry and capable. The skin is showing my age. And that's as it should be.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

finishing is so sweet

And now, for the knitters in our audience...

I finished it. That's right...the sweater I've been working on since the beginning of the year.
It's from a book by Martingale called Dazzling Knits. I bought the book for the cover sweater pattern after seeing photos of ones other people had done on Ravelry.
The whole sweater is made modularly(in small units that all fit together to create the whole). Part of my attraction to the sweater was the method, as I've never done anything like this before.
The pattern and book are well written - if a little preachy about colour- and well worth the read, if only for the tips and techniques that are of interest to us yarny-types.

For those who care about such things, I used Noro, Ella Rae, Gallway and some Jojoland wool. By the way, it was 30 degrees C outside while Youngest was helping me out with the photo shoot! Not the weather that I intended to be wearing this sweater in when I started it in January!
I guess there's something to be said for sitting on my duff for a few days - and my foot is doing much better, too. The swelling has gone down a lot, and it's no longer quite such a bright blue. I think it'll be better sooner than the doctor thought.

Happy stitching,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Changes in plan

I had a bit of a mishap last night....and fractured a bone in my little toe. I caught it on a deck fixture that I'd been stepping around without issue, but as I went to start the BBQ, I nailed it good and hard, in full stride.

The upside is that I get to spend a bit more time knitting, I think, as this poor ped of mine needs to stay elevated. Knitting on the deck - doesn't that sound nice?

With school having finished, it was expected that things would slow down around here...but many, many things that had been put off for a long time clamoured in to fill the space. Some
days I don't know where all the time goes.

We had a houseguest for the weekend, which was part of why I was running out to start the BBQ last night - and the weather was perfect for cooking and eating outside. I had this
week set aside for more deep housecleaning, and lots of different plans for the boys. No more!

This is my new plan:
Sit. Knit.
Hopefully I'll finish the sweater in progress in the next couple of days. All that's left to do now are the sleeve cuffs.



Sunday, June 27, 2010

June's end

I managed to finish up my final classwork for the last class of my diploma the other night. It seemed anti-climactic, somehow, to end two years' work by clicking 'upload', but that's the way online learning ends! Last year, at the college, we had a day devoted to closing, there were all the goodbyes and hugs and promises to keep in touch...

So, with my classwork done, I've been indulging myself in the activities I was putting off - such as knitting. It's the wrong time of year to work on a big, heavy wool sweater, but I can't help myself! The colours and texture of this project have been whispering to me for months, telling me to put aside my schooling and immerse my hands. I was so good, and resisted - but don't have to anymore. Last night I managed to add another long chevron and am looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of this project.

It's sunny and beautiful here as we count down the last few days of school. Oldest has been done since last week, but Youngest and I (because we are in the Elementary part of the system) close out our year on Tuesday of the coming week. The close of this school year marks the end of this job for me. Being a school district employee at the level I'm at means some uncertainty at this time of year, as I don't really know what position I'll be in come fall...and most of the students that I spent my days with are moving on to other schools. If I stay at the same school, it will be with other students; if I stay with the same students, it will be at other schools. Change is inevitable.

I think my 'to do' list for summer might be a little bit unreasonable, but who knows? Maybe I can get everything done. All the little things that have been calling out over the last few months are on the list, plus new things seem to be emerging daily. Today, though, I will have another cup of coffee, knit a little, hang out with the boys and take it easy. Summer is stretching out in front of us, and I think we should begin by taking it slow.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rock wall completion!

Boy, there's nothing like finishing a big project to make a girl feel good. Randy and I spent the morning working on the rock wall again, jostling those balking boulders into place.

DH was able to use his amazing tractor powers to move the remaining rocks over to the area under the windows where I'll build the perimeter of a flower bed.

Randy also dug and poured the footings for the deck today, and is in town getting more supplies. There's a real, honest to goodness deck in our future....

It started raining just as we finished up. The timing could not have been better. Once the rain stops, I'll get out there and rake out the soil to level it and groom the grade a bit. Next step, topsoil and grass!

I guess while it's raining I'll just keep surfing the 'net for plants that would be happy growing in rock walls...

Hope you're having a lovely long weekend,


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The slow emergence of green

Youngest is feeling sick today, so I'm home. It's a bit of a blessing to be off work, in a way, as I got to catch up on my school work and write a test for my last course while he slumbered upstairs.

We've had a couple of lovely changes around here, not the least of which is the emergence of green.

DH has been outside every morning raking topsoil and chicken manure compost around the yard, seeding areas and getting them to grow. It's hard to explain how wonderful it is to come home to this particular colour of green every day after the last two years of nothing but sand. I love our home, but an especially wide smile spreads across my face as I pull in the driveway these days - it's like an unexpected surprise, all that green.

Yesterday I came home to a pile of fencing materials - apparently the fellas had come to drop off our gear and will start installing the fence tomorrow! Our big ol' dog has no idea the freedom in store for him once the fence is up.

I'll miss watching the coyotes run across in front of the house at dusk, but not the nagging worry that they may want to eat our cats or our old dog.
No more elk in the yard, no more deer. I can start planting my garden in earnest very soon.

On a completely different note, I'm reading a book called 'Spark'. It's about the science of the brain...on exercise. Dr. John Ratey talks about all kinds of different brain imbalances (ADHD, anxiety and clinical depression among them) and different research done about the effects of exercise on brain chemicals. Interestingly, he doesn't reject the idea of medication, but looks at multivariate situations in which medication and exercise (either or both in combination) are used to successfully treat individuals with various difficulties. The evidence is pretty convincing, and makes me want to get everyone I care about and work with out doing something active. If you get a chance to, you should read it.

Off I go, to dig in the garden.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day weekend

Saturday was our second anniversary of buying the property here - the official start of the biggest darn project ever.

Last year on Mother's Day weekend, I got up on a ladder (at times supported by the bucket of the tractor) to seal the cedar shingles on the second story...this year I was back up there, sealing the shingles on the south side again! Hmmm. A tradition in the making?

Hopefully not every year will involve me getting up on the roof for one reason or another!

The next phase of the yard work has begun in earnest - the rock wall. The top picture shows where we stopped on Sunday afternoon. It took DH and I all of our combined efforts on both Saturday and Sunday to get it to this point. Thank goodness for our big-ass tractor.
DH was able to move the rocks over using the tractor, and between the two of us we leveraged, shifted, budged and swore these stones into place. All in all, rather satisfying.

The wall will continue out as far as the near edge of the photo on the right. I think we may have, in two days, accomplished about 1/3 of the wall's total length.
Part of what made it so difficult is the size of the rocks we had delivered (I picked out some humdingers!).

The idea is that we'll be able to walk out the double doors onto the deck (not yet built) and have a level exit to the upper yard. The rock wall will diminish in height over the length of the courses and curve gently toward the soon-to-be lower lawn so that we can have a gentle slope of lawn from upper to lower (for ease of mowing, etc).

You can get a bit of an idea from the picture of the house on the right. In my mind it's already finished. I can look at the photo and see it with the grass in and growing, some wooly thyme and other rock loving plants growing in the wall, and the deck all finished. Maybe housebuilding requires that one be an optimist. Or delusional. Or somewhat of both.

The final photo here is to show from what is the existing mini-deck the point at which the real, big deck will meet the soon-to-be lawn. The garbage can (actually a compost can) gives you an idea of how big these pesky rocks are!

Things am learning while building this rock wall:

1) Rocks like to stay put. They don't want to move, it is not in their nature; thus the saying, "solid as a rock"
2) I don't like being brought up hard against my physical limitations, and am not used to being unable to do something I've set my mind to. No matter how much I try, how hard I think, how much I push, some of these rocks will not budge. (See item #1).
3) Much as I like low-tech solutions (leverage involving crowbars and shovels), the diesel-powered solutions can make life easier.

Of the things I've learned so far, I think #2 is the most important one. I'm used to being able to tackle problems and shift them or change them, or find some kind of solution. Not possible when confronted with a rock that weighs as much or more than I do! This particular building exercise is not just to exercise my muscles, but to exercise my ego control. Hard to do, but worth it in the end.

Hope the weekend was lovely in your part of the world,


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Garden and yard changes and a dramatic haircut (photo heavy)

Surprise Grandma and Grandpa! After what we think is five years, Oldest elected to get his hair cut short....

And we were amazed to see that he had grown into a young man under all that hair! A trip to the barber can not remove his sense of humour, though (and we're so glad!). Nice pose, eh?

And because there is no natural segue into what else is going on in our lives I will just jump on in:

Little greenhouse joy:

All the seedlings that I started at the end of March and the beginning of April are stretching up...even the ones that I didn't think were going to!

Everything that has shown true leaves has been transplanted over the last week or so, with the last of them being finished today. I'm new to this whole gardening thing (I have kept other gardens, but not with great degrees of success...) and am trying to learn to do it well.

I grew up in a gardening household. Both my parents and my sister have green limbs, not just green thumbs - and to my eye, they have the Gardener's Midas touch - everything that they touch seems to explode into jubulant, lush growth. They can tease growth from plants that not even the plant knew it was capable of.

I'm doing my very best to forget everything I thought I knew about gardening and learn, as a complete newcomer would. I'll make lots of mistakes, I'm sure, and some of these little guys will probably make the ultimate sacrifice in my learning curve.

My little greenhouse of seedlings seems very modest compared to my family's beautiful gardens and wonderful indoor plants. I've always loved the smell of growing things, of soil - and love the humidity and heat of the greenhouse. Although I'm in a bit of a seedling frenzy right now, I'll be happy to eat one or two cucumbers and tomatoes, and to have a couple of tall sunflowers...

On the home front, we're getting ready to put in the lawn. Randy pushed a LOT of dirt around today, and we had our first load of topsoil delivered. It doesn't look all that big without anything to give it scale, but that big pile at the bottom of the yard is about 14yd of topsoil. We'll need to do quite a bit more raking to get everything smoothed out to the level we want, but a greener area is on our horizon!

Now if it will just keep raining, the other grass will germinate.

Although it's hard to see in the house picture, Randy has moved a LOT of soil/sand over to the front end of the house (the far end in the picture). We're hoping to get a load of large rocks delivered so that we can dry stack a retaining wall the height of the sonotubing (that's the concrete cylinders that the deck roof posts are on). The idea is that we can then backfill the front yard area to be level with the hight of the eventual deck. There will probably be stairs down from the deck into the lower yard (the one that is shown here on the left/south side of the house).

Bit by bit, it's all coming together.

We probably won't get the deck built this year. Our next big adventure is going to be fencing the whole acreage and gating the driveway.

Anyhoo, I'm off to start some more seedlings...maybe some broccoli and parsley, hmmmmm. Maybe some monarda, and some nasturtiums and some....


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring joy

Armed with a magazine that was given to me as a leaving Nakusp gift (Hi Beth!), we started a little hothouse project this weekend.

We had the wire left over from the stucco debacle, and lots of wood kicking around. The foundation blocks are ones that were poured when the fellas were pouring the cement for the second floor of the house (each block has a piece of rebar embedded in it). I only had to buy the pipe and the plastic.

So far, this little project has cost about $60.

The footprint is nice; it's about 8' square at the base. The top of the hoop is about 6' from the ground. (Being a shorty, it's just right!) There's enough room that I might be able to fit a table in there for the seedlings that we've started in the house.

Once the wind dies down (or it stops raining long enough - or both) I'll wrap it in plastic. This week has been pretty blustery so far! Two trees have come down on the land next to ours, one onto our place from the neighbour's.

Sunday we spent the afternoon over at my Mom and Dad's, celebrating what would have been my paternal grandfather's 100th birthday. It was a lovely afternoon, and a great way to remember Poppa.

Oh, and I spent some time with Youngest yesterday going through back blog entries...these last few years have certainly seen some major changes in our lives! I'm grateful for this place to record and remember, to share - and to those of you who read, for taking time out to come and look in on our little lives out here in the mountains.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Reflecting on the last week

I spent most of this week in a workshop on Applied Behavioural Analysis...and it reminded me of how much B.F. Skinner contributed to the whole field of psychology. I recently read a book that talked about how true Darwinian philosophy (extrapolated into modern day) was anti-Skinner: that behaviouralism is a crock of s****.
I found that point of view to be pretty darn shocking, considering that my whole education is predicated on the idea that as individuals, we can learn new things based on the way these things are reinforced. If I were to stick with the idea that our genetics are all that makes us who we are (considering I've been a life-long evolutionist), then there is no reason to do the type of work that I do.
I'll have to spend some time thinking about all of this.

Maybe it's about the idea that the individual has potential, within the parameters of the genetics. Maybe we can each learn to be the best potential self we can be...but then we can not pass that down through our genes, only through our memes. Hmmm. Yes. I will have to spend time thinking about this.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beginnings and endings

Let's start with the endings, shall we?

I realized as I was starting my new journal that I'd not yet finished the last few pages in my old journal...something I'm notorious for. I have many, many journals that don't end, but rather sort-of peter out. In my mind I rationalize that it's because the journals themselves really are only sections along a continuum, not fixed points, and that to have them end would mean that I ended!

This last journal, the one I finished yesterday, is especially close to my heart. In it are recorded the last 3+ years, and it was a gift from my Oldest for Christmas, 2006.

These have been some busy years, on many, many levels. This book travelled all over with me (even to New Hampshire and back, twice) and was comforting in it's weight and heft as much as in its pages. It deserved a proper ending.

The pages are creamy and thick, I was able to do almost anything to them. To close out the book, I did several pages of quotes about endings of various sorts, and this is my favorite. You can click on it to see a larger version (that goes for all the photos).

I couldn't leave yesterday's page alone (it just felt 'unfinished') and went in with one of my sepia toned pencil crayons with dictionary definitions of and synonyms for 'begin'. It's a good exercise to meditate on one word like that, to explore it fully. I'll have to remember to do that if I find myself in need of creativity exercise.

The page feels much more finished now, if still a little unbalanced.

And (because I'm completely hopeless once I get going) I added a bookplate page to the new journal. This piece of paper has been kicking around for at least a year, and it's high time that it found a home. It's in need of a much more elaborate frame than it has right now, and that is coming. I learned a little with this page (don't paint over glue, it cracks and then can't be written on), and am looking forward to working it up into something much more elaborate over the next while.

Oh yes, and I finished both of my school papers yesterday and sent them off. Whew.

I'm losing my steam for being a student right now, mostly because I'm not all that well suited to being an on-line student...there's something about a classroom full of people that makes it all more interesting, makes the subject matter make more sense. I'm a little past halfway on my current courses, then one more and I'll be done!

Happy Sunday, happy end of February. Bring on March!



Saturday, February 27, 2010


A gift recently got me going on something that I've wanted to get back to for a while now: journaling.

I spent a little quality time (in between working on the papers that are due this weekend) painting up the first pages. I find it's hardest to start, and I really didn't have a direction for this page until I got really going. It seems to reflect a lot of things that I have going on right now:
my work, the academic work, and the learning I've done in the last years about myself. Every day I have to remind myself to begin, not to avoid.
I've also recently had an opportunity to do a little illustration, which makes my heart happy. The little detail photo below is from a doodle I did during some quiet minutes at work yesterday - while thinking about the illustration op.

The piece ended up being about starting the new journal (and ending the old one), but also about many other starts...the commencement of learning to read or count, the start of the day, the movement forward, the taking of risks.

From a technical point of view, there's a lot more I could play with (and perhaps will, over the next day or so). The space in the final piece does not quite seem to be effectively used, and I would love to have a sepia toned pen with which to fill in more of the background. Perhaps the art supply store is not yet closed......?