New Year, New Planner

Meet my new notebook!

Six years ago, I started bullet journaling. I’ve tested out other planner systems, but I always return to it, or at least to my mashed up version. Recently I decided to house my bullet journal in a discbound system, which is what I use for my Tarot notebook. I like the discbound system’s flexibility, and since I can no longer fit a full year in my trusty grid-paper Moleskine, I decided to find a notebook that I would use for years to come.

Reader, forgive me for sending you down this (somewhat pricey) rabbit hole. I have been eyeing William Hannah notebooks for a couple of years. I made the justifications about why an expensive notebook would be worth the splurge, as one does, and in December, after saving up my pin money, I purchased.

I’m now the delighted owner of an A5 Whiskey and Kingfisher notebook. The quality is outstanding, including the quality of the paper and dividers I purchased. I love writing in this notebook, and I am thrilled that I can move pages around to suit. In fact, it’s renewed my use of fountain pens, and I had a fun afternoon cleaning and inking two Lamy Safaris (extra fine nibs if you’re interested) languishing in my pen box.

Would you like to see it in action? Check out this little video I made!

If, like me, you enjoy writing by hand, need more flexibility in your planner and are willing to pay for high quality, you might put a William Hannah notebook on your investment list.

Mid-May Friday Faves

impavid

I’ve gathered some links for lovely things to read, to make, to buy.

  • I’m taking a class to learn Uncial calligraphy, and this week my postcard project (if you haven’t signed up for one, there’s still room!) has focused on practicing it by writing an interesting word on a watercolor background. Want to read a few interesting words? Check out this site!
  • Speaking of postcards, Gale’s Nash Island postcards are back in stock! I include one when I send a package to a fiber-loving friend, but mainly I gaze at them (especially those two lambs in front of the barn!) and am transported for a few minutes to a happy, peaceful place.
  • My former student Damian is a talented illustrator and writer and a beautiful human. He’s written a book called I Want a Kid and I Don’t Care. Take a look at his Kickstarter video. The book is done; Damian is raising funds for the costs associated with publishing. If you know someone with foster or adopted kids or someone who is thinking of fostering or adopting kids, this makes a sweet gift. I’ll be posting more about Damian soon!
  • It’s time for Through the Loops MKAL shawl! Kirsten’s patterns are so clear and always elegant. Did you see her recommended yarn? Another fave:
  • Dragonfly Fiber Pixie. I wound my two skeins last weekend, and it is so hard to wait until June 1 to cast on! Oh, what colors did I pick? Wine Country and Sixteen Candles (Molly Ringwald 4-evah, yo).
  • Want more pretty yarn and shawl combos? Check out the Sundara Petals Collection. Kirsten and my new chum Thea both have patterns in the collection. And: cashmere!
  • Last week I put out feelers on social media to see if there is interest in another friendship bracelet swap for grown ups. Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in playing summer camp again this year! In the meantime, you can grab a sweet deal on a set of Et Voila Design’s version of friendship bracelets here! The April special is continuing for some extra time, just for you!
  • One of the things I love about summer break is that the teacher gets to be a student. I took Cal’s Pattern Drafting class in NYC at the beginning of the month (it’s also available on Creativebug). If you have a chance to take any class with her, do eet! She is a patient, wonderful teacher. I’m eager to be her student again!

Your turn: leave a link to a fave of your own!

Friday Faves

I’m spending the weekend visiting my niece at UNC Wilmington. I’d like to think I’ll need sunscreen, but weather predictions (rain!) tell me otherwise.

While I’m away, how about some link love, or list love, or, in other words, stuff I’m into right now?

  • Sara launched her new website, Et Voila! recently. Be sure to sign up for her newsletter–trust me, her recipes and pictures of her European adventures are worth it!
  • Kirsten’s new book is out! Knitters, you know she writes elegant, fun-to-stitch patterns, and the book includes exquisite new photographs from our fave photographer, Gale Zucker.
  • smartphone workshopSpeaking of Gale, if you want to learn from her, and if you’re like me and only carry your phone camera most of the time, be sure to check out her Making iPhone Magic classes in NJ May 2 & 3.
  • Can’t make Gale’s classes? Love her work like I do? Grab a set of limited edition Nash Island postcards. I didn’t grab enough at the January pop up shop, so I ordered a full set. Those lambs!
  • Tress by Larissa Brown. I’ll post a review for you soon. In the meantime, if you love fairy tales, magical realism, and vivid writing, put this on your must-read list.
  • Handmade watercolors from Greenleaf and Blueberry. Jess helped me select a basic palette of her handmade paints, and I love using them as I paint birds and interesting things I find on my daily hikes.
  • International Fake Journal Month. I’m participating this year. You can see some of my character’s pages here.
  • Uniball vision fine pen. Humble? I suppose. Here’s why I love this pen. Sometimes I lay paint down first and then sketch over it. Sometimes I sketch (and I prefer sketching in pen to pencil) and then want to put down paint. This pen gives me just the right line, and the ink is waterproof. And it is inexpensive enough that I don’t feel precious about using it in my bullet journal or to grade.

Your turn. What are your Friday Faves?

 

Quit Yer Griping!

Neal came home from work on Friday to me, blue with professional envy, and his joy at having a few days off deflated. I could see it in his posture, in his face. And I felt like a jerk. Who wants to come home to glum Beverly? Sure, part of a relationship is being able to air out the prickly stuff, but sometimes, despite knowing how fortunate I am and feeling grateful for all that is good in my life, I give in to the easy thing: complaining.

After about an hour of conversation, we decided to institute Friday Night Complaints. We’ll try to refrain from petty complaints during the week (there’s a difference between the petty complaints and real issues that warrant discussion) and save them up for Friday night, when we’ll get ’em out all at once. The benefit we expect: most complaints will be forgotten (petty, natch), and we can clear the air and our minds and turn our attention to enjoying each other and our lives.

In that weird way the Internet has, as soon as an idea blooms, I see related information everywhere. Rachael posted a link to this Joshua Becker post. Reading it, I felt invigorated to quit my griping and strive for gratitude, the far more becoming mindset, as my default attitude. What better time than November to focus on this shift?

Here are a few things, in addition to Friday Night Complaints, that I’m trying:

  • Add Complaint and Gratitude pages in my bullet journal. I feel so silly writing down the complaints and rewarded by the gratitude list.
  • Examine complaints to see what I can change. If it’s in my power to change a situation, I’ll aim for change. If not, no point griping about it!
  • Take it one day at a time. Becker reminds us how hard it is to say “I’ll never do this again”. Instead, I’ll wake up each morning and tell myself I’m going to resist complaining just for that day. I can do almost anything for one day, right?
  • Celebrate all I’m grateful for. My #DigiWriMo project this month is an Instagram collection under #30daysofgratitude.

One thing about which I’m grateful: the tremendous response to Craft Friday. Viva the rebellion!

A Journal and Ink

journalRarely do I regret a purchase I don’t make, but after visiting the Long Ridge Farm booth at Rhinebeck, I was sorry I didn’t pick up one of Nancy’s hand made journals. I remedied that, adding a jar of her black walnut ink to the mix today when Sara and I visited The Fiber Festival of New England. Nancy creates beautiful yarns and fabrics, and she also carries elegant wrap bracelets made in Kenya and gorgeous leather bags. From the first time I met Nancy, I was smitten by her lovely smile, curious nature, and deep, kind soul.

I have loved the missives that she sends back while she travels in Rwanda where she works with local women to teach them natural dyeing. In 2015, she’ll return to Rwanda for a dye plant residency at INES. Her compassion and genuine desire to make change in ways she is able inspire me. If you’re on FaceBook, you can ‘like’ her page to learn more about her work…and maybe you’ll be inspired to purchase something from her to help her continue that work.

As for my precious ink and journal, I plan to use them as a repository for my 2015 intentions and dreams. Can you believe it’s only a matter of weeks before that particular fresh start is here?

You still have time to leave a comment for a chance at winning more inspiration!

Cake!

cake 1 It was a special weekend at Chez Golightly. My oldest sister turns, well, a milestone age next month, and since fall break gave many of us a long weekend, we gathered from different parts of the country to celebrate.

We enjoyed dinner at Bricco Trattoria on Saturday evening, all of the siblings, my parents, and a few of my sister’s long-time friends (note, I avoid saying oldest) sharing stories and a lot of laughs.

I woke up early on Sunday to bake my sister’s birthday cake. I used this lemon ricotta cake recipe, leaving off the lemon curd.

cake 2Only one small piece remained. I think it was a hit!

What did you do this weekend?

 

Welcome, Autumn, You Bringer of Squash and Yarn!

garlic barn

Keats had it right. I’m like the bees, “…think[ing] warm days shall never cease…” and listening for Autumn’s music, though the music of summer and spring is so much more inspiring. Still. Let’s take a look at some of the loveliness as summer slips away.

My CSA share comes to an end in a few weeks. Saturday the old tobacco barn, now used as a farm stand, was filled with bunches of garlic drying. The tomatoes may lack the sweetness that burst out of them in late July, but Autumn’s bounty brings warmth and depth of flavor. I’m especially excited to cook squash again–here is my favorite butternut squash galette recipe, and my go-to butternut squash soup.

I did no canning this summer, but I’ve been freezing leeks, fresh sauce, and garlic scapes, which means there will be a little taste of sun and earth and rain in this winter’s meals. In another week or two, I’ll buy up all the butternut squash I can handle and spend an afternoon peeling and chopping and freezing it. I want late Autumn and Winter me to think fondly of Summer and early Autumn me!

 

sweater

Even better than the terrific foods that Autumn brings is the return of my knitting fun! I spent most of the summer crocheting motifs for a linen shawl. With Rhinebeck around the corner, it was time to pull out a languishing WIP and get the wool turned into sleeves! The first arm of the sweater is about elbow length as of this morning. I don’t like pushing sleeves up to keep them from getting in the way, so I will only knit to just above wrist length.

I started this in 2012. I know. I told you it was languishing. But this is the year I wear it to Rhinebeck. I just know it is.

What has Autumn got you excited about? Are you trying any new recipes? Starting any new projects?

Fiber College 2014

I had the pleasure of spending last weekend in Maine, where breezes blow in from the bay, wafting curtains, dappling the sunshine.

breezeThis was my second year teaching Savvy Storytelling with Gale Zucker at Fiber College. We worked hard. Our students worked hard. But I’d be hard put to imagine any of us felt like work was happening.

From left: Gale, Jani, me. Photo by Kirsten Kapur
From left: Gale, Jani, me. Photo by Kirsten Kapur

You can see what I mean. Gale’s a terrific photography teacher. Here she showed the class how props can transform an ugly corner into a story-telling background. Jani was a good sport, letting the students boss her around as she modeled Kirsten’s newly released Duane Park Triangle shawl.

I look forward to Fiber College, not just for the groovy vibe, the chance to learn and teach and fondle fiber, but for the excuse to live in my dream house for a weekend. The cottage is amazing, but what makes it a dream house is sharing it with smart, funny, caring, creative women. If I didn’t share the little ranch in the woods with Neal, sharing the cottage on the bay with Gale, Kirsten, Cal, Amy, Mary Lou, Jani, and Ellen would be my next-perfect arrangement.

Several of us, upon realizing that ’twas blogs what brought us together have decided to bring back the blog. Sure, we love our short forms of social media, but we want a return to long form conversation. So, I’ll take up the question Kirsten posed: what blogs should go on my feed?

Next time: sewing! More sewing!

Thursday Loves

porchSure, it’s officially still spring, but with grades submitted and my other end-of-semester duties pretty well dispatched (except cleaning my work office. It’s like a library threw up in there. I’ve never allowed a work space to get so sloppy!), it’s time to slow down and call out “Summer’s here!”

Want a peek at what I’ve been loving lately?

1. TTL Mystery Shawl. I’m using Swans Island Fingering (so is Sara…we chose it as a reminder of our time in Maine at Fiber College with lovely Kirsten). This yarn feels great both as I’m knitting and once it is fabric.

2. Crochet! I’ve taught a lot of private crochet lessons this year, and I’ve been working on my Dune shawl. I’ve spent more of my craft time crocheting than knitting. There. The secret is out.

3. Mary’s invitation to play Book Bingo. I’ve been doing so much academic reading lately, and I miss reading texts other than journal articles. I’m well on my way to calling out Bingo. Play along, but know that I’m probably going to win. (Probably. Maybe.)

4. Karina dresses. I’ve said it before, but with Megan and Ruby joining me for my upcoming trip to Scotland and France, I’ll say it again: these dresses make the best travel companions. They are easy to wear, easy to style, easy to care for.

5. Ash Beckham’s Ted Talk. I love her message. I’ve watched this over and over and over.

6. Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers. This recipe is so good. I abhor boxed veggie burgers. I try to avoid soy, and I’m no fan of meat replacements. I haven’t eaten meat in nearly 16 years, and I don’t miss it. I don’t want a fake version of it. If I’m going to have a patty of some sort, I want it to be toothy and flavorful and taste like something. This recipe tastes like something-something GOOD! I usually make the full recipe, cook it all, and freeze the patties I don’t eat. They warm up nicely. I only made the dressing the first time…it’s delicious, but I like the patties on their own.

7. Living Proof products. Sara got me hooked on Amp, and then I got samples of Perfect Hair Day Shampoo and Prime Style Extender, and I had a few really good hair days. I’ll be buying full-size products soon!

8. Everything about Carla Sonheim’s work, site, and classes. If you want to have a playful afternoon, take a look at some of her tutorials and mess around with art supplies!

9. Sandra Pawula’s e-course Living with Ease. Give yourself this gift if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

10. Life on the porch! Neal put up the ceiling fan this weekend, and declared the porch finished. I’ve been out there every day, rain or shine, hot or cold (hey, that’s what blankets are for)! It’s like having a vacation home right in my own back yard (well, right off my kitchen).

Spill: what have you been loving?

Happy 2014!

2014 hikeHappy New Year to you!

Neal and I celebrated the end of 2013 by writing out lists of what should stay in 2013 and burning those lists. How satisfying to let go of troubles that way.

And we welcomed 2014 in our usual fashion: a fantastic hike with friends. We packed festive foods and drink to enjoy at the top. Today’s crisp weather made for great hiking; Sarah and Josh schlepped a large carafe of hot coffee up the mountain…welcome warmth when fingers, bare to get at the Camembert cheese, numbed!

I’ve envisioned some endeavors for 2014:

  • Return to a paper planner. I’m testing out a bullet journal. It’s only day one, but the method appeals to me. I finally grokked the difference between a calendar and a planner (I’m a slow learner), and this grand bullet experiment will be supplemented by the calendar section of Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year.
  • Do 44,850 push ups. I’ve got a month-by-month plan (in my bullet journal, natch!).
  • Formulate and investigate a beautiful question. I’m undertaking a research project to prepare me for a digital writing class I’m teaching in the fall.
  • Help Oskar become a Canine Good Citizen. I want to train him to be a therapy dog who can visit nursing homes. I think he’ll brighten lots of elders’ days.
  • Knit an Icelandic sweater. I registered for Ragga’s Craftsy class ages ago. I have the yarn. I can’t wait to wear the sweater!

What endeavors have you dreamed for 2014?