Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Keeping Company :: August

gianna nature journaling (her first time using my waterbrush -- i think she's ready for her own ;))

mama nature journaling

Hi, friends.  I know most of you are knee-deep in summer planning -- I hope you'll find some inspiration here as we all work together to think through the Keeping in our homes for the upcoming school year!

Now that our school year is well underway, I have switched gears and am thinking about conferences -- specifically the CMI Western conference starting tomorrow!  (Will you be there?  Let me know!)

Starting the Discussion

In getting ready for CMI, I've been doing some very deep thinking...about notebooks and pens. Ha!  I know you ladies understand, though.  Do I want to use the same notebook for the nature journaling workshops that I do for the plenaries?  What kind of paper is best: lined, unlined, mixed media, something a bit thicker? Do I need to bring along watercolor paper too? Do I pack just my regular nature journal, or do I also want a smaller one that I can carry around in my bag?  Which commonplace books should I take along -- all four, or just my education book?  And what about writing instruments: ballpoint pen, gel pen, mechanical pencil, sketching pencil, illustration marker?  I'm guessing I'll need at least one of each, in addition to my painting supplies and a bunch of other odds and ends.  You can see how this has been occupying my brain this past week!

I actually had a chance to consider my note-taking materials before I went to the John Muir Laws workshop a couple weeks ago because for the first time in a long while, I was going to be at a lecture.  I take my reading notes in regular spiral notebooks, and I go through them like crazy.  But a conference setting needs something a bit different -- something durable enough that I can write with it on my lap yet light enough to cart around in my shoulder bag.  Also, I much prefer bright white, unlined paper for my less-linear note-taking style.  I had a tough time finding a notebook that met all those criteria.

I found a cheap sketchpad at the store in my preferred size (8.5x11) with smooth unlined pages and even a little pocket at the front -- perfect!  But the cover wasn't perfect: it was very flimsy and sure to rip off the spiral in short order.  I bought it anyway, and when I got home, googled and came up with a super easy fix!

If you flip the notebook over, you see how the spirals connect with one another:

If you gently pry each one open all the way down the line, you can easily remove the flimsy cover.  I then took the back of an old sketchpad, cut it to size, used the old cover to mark where the holes should be, and hole punched down the edge.  Then I slid in the new cover and squeezed the spirals back in place.  Ta-da!

In just a couple minutes, I had a super-durable notebook with just the paper and size I wanted.  It's the quality of a nice hardcover sketchbook for only $3.  I can even embellish the cover at a later date (though I'm rather a neutral kind of gal).  We'll see how well it serves me at the conference!

Anyway, that's enough notebook chat from me. :)  Please feel free to weigh in with your thoughts or preferences when it comes to Keeping supplies!

This Month's Round-Up

A few favorites from Instagram from the past few weeks:

brc_mackenzie - cmnewby - littledrops5 - sarahjonna - sarahjokim
mariasugiyopranoto - sarahjonna - obispo98 - theycallmemommy618 - athena_amidstthereeds

And from the July collection here on the blog...

Beautiful commonplace entries by Amber and Carol.  They are doing some wonderful summer reading and sharing it with us on their blogs.  (And Amber picked a quote from Elizabeth Goudge that I shared {From My Commonplace} last year -- great minds and all that! :))

from Melanie -- what a collection!

Melanie put together a truly delightful combination of nature and history finds that places her local habitat in the context of local history.  Both exciting and inspiring -- and I'm sure her nature swap partner was thrilled!

Ann and her family bought new nature journals and have launched into nature study this summer -- go take a peek at what they're working on!

And Carol provides a peek at her Australian wintertime colors and how they made their way into her nature journal.

And now it's your turn!

The Link-Up

:: For bloggers: Click on the "Add my link" button below, and it will prompt you to include the information for your post.  Once you submit it, your link will be added to the list, and others will be able to click over and read what you have shared.
:: For Instagrammers: Tag related photos with #KeepingCompanyCM to join the link-up.

:: Remember to link to a specific post and not to your blog's homepage. 
:: Any posts about CM-style Keeping are welcome!  The prompt is optional.  Your post can be as simple as a photo of your commonplace book.
:: Feel free to add more than one post.  The link-up will be open for a month, so you can come back and add more if you are so inclined.
:: You can grab the button over there on the sidebar if you'd like to add it to your post or site.

I look forward to seeing your late-summer shares!


  1. I'm so glad you took the time to share that about inexpensive sketch books being turned into sturdy ones. I am always spending too much money for good covers. Now I won't have to. I wish I could have gone to one of the CMI conferences and met John Muir Laws. Enjoy and take lots of notes to share with us, please!

    1. I will definitely be taking lots of notes! :) I think you could get a very similar experience just watching his YouTube videos -- so much inspiration there!

  2. Forgot to say how impressed I am by both your and Gianna's nature illustrations!

    1. And thanks! Gianna is constantly drawing -- it's her "thing" and it's something I'm happy to be able to share with her. I have visions of us heading off on hiking and journaling adventures when she's an adult. :)

  3. Celeste - the artwork is beautiful! I'm amazed! I've been reading slowly through The Laws Guide to Nature Journaling and absolutely love it! Unfortunately I'm on bed rest and can't wait for baby to be born so I can get outside again! Again, beautiful and inspiring work!

    1. Ugh, bedrest is rough! :/ Have you been able to do any hand stitching from bed? I hope so. And thanks. :) It's such a great book and I am learning a lot!

    2. Unfortunately not as much as I would like. The bed rest has come about because of pain which has me just trying to get somewhat comfortable. Some days are better and I'm getting close to the end - there is light at the end of the tunnel!

    3. Oh my, I am so sorry! Prayers that baby comes soon!

  4. Kudos on the journal upgrade, good idea! And I thought I had seen that quote before somewhere... I should have known it was here! 😄 I'm really looking forward to the conference... I leave for the airport in 45 min (which means I should probably finish my breakfast and get moving!

    1. I'm leaving in 2.5 hours to drive down -- see you this afternoon! :)