June 30, 2015

june book report

This month I fell back onto the reading bandwagon. Here's what I've been reading the last few weeks. 

Scar Tissue by Michael Ignatieff // I picked this book up from Good Will in February. It's about two brothers relationship with their mother as they watch her go through something similar to succumbing to Alzheimer's. Mostly it reminded me of my grandma, who has dimentia and was placed in a home right before I moved to Waupaca. Parts of it made me cry because of the similarities between my story with my grandma and the characters relationship to their mother. 

The Perfect Marriage by Kimberla Lawson Roby // This book was short and didn't really hold my interest all that well. It's about a couple that has been married for close to fifteen years, they have high power jobs and they're very well known socialites. The wife, Denise, is sneaking pain pills to help her get through the day, while her husband, Derrick, is socially using cocaine. They both become addicted to drugs and their lives fall apart. I wasn't really a big fan of this book. 

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen // I love Sarah Dessen. She's by far at least in top 3 for young adult authors. I've read all of her books and loved them, and this one was no exception. It took me two days to read, but I didn't want to put it down. It chronicles the journey of Sydney, as her older brother goes off to prison, and she changes schools as discovers who she really is. And there's a shout out to one of my other favourite Sarah Dessen books, This Lullaby, in it. So good. (And I got the last signed copy from Kmart!)

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins // When I was in high school, I read every Ellen Hopkins book I could get my hands on. All of her books are actual stories told through poetry, which is they look so thick and intimidating. Perfect was told through 4 main characters and each of their stories was woven together through them each doing something to achieve whatever their idea of Perfect meant. 

The Sometimes Daughter by Sherri Wood Emmons // The story of Sweet Judy Blue Eyes and her relationship with her estranged mother. She was born at Woodstock and after that her father grew up and got serious about life and work and taking care of her, but her mama never did. I remember the first time I read I made my mom read it after I had finished. Excellent book. 

No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July // I've had this book since high school, and every time I read it I balk at how much sexual content is in this collection of short stories, so if that makes you uncomfortable, I would not recommend this one. My favourite story in this book is Something That Needs Nothing. It's a good story about all encompassing love and how far you're willing to go when that love gets pulled out from under you. 

At this rate, I'm going to have 10 books knocked out in the next couple weeks. Hooray for reading. 

June 29, 2015

magic monday

Life feels hard. It's hard to get out of bed in the morning. It's hard to do the dishes that have been sitting in the sink since last week. It's hard to go to work and play pretend that you're really happy. It's hard to talk to people. It's hard to plan a wedding. It's hard to like my body enough to actually order a wedding dress. It's hard to have my everyday actions criticized when I feel like this. 

So today I'm trying to celebrate the little victories. I'm trying to do the best I can. 

June 24, 2015

new project inspiration

Photo credit: Elise Cripe

I was going back through Elise's 26 projects archive when I came across the coffee table her & her husband built. Then they redid their living room and stained some old crates to put on the walls. And then the gears started turning in my head. 

For months, I've been brainstorming a way to move my camera collection from my bookshelves to make more room for art supplies. I considered floating shelves. I considered some sort of display case. I considered a whole separate (smaller) bookshelf. But I keep coming back to these crates that my favourite blogger put on her walls in 2011. 

I've been doing research on crates and stain all afternoon. I've definitely decided on the ArtMinds Half Crate from Michael's, and Minwax stain in American Chestnut. The only logistics I have yet to figure out is where to get some sort of drop cloth, and if I can get away with doing this inside the apartment or if it would be better to do it outside in the parking lot.

I feel so inspired to get this apartment decorated. 

June 23, 2015


Primary colours, taken throughout the last week & a half. I love the look of these together like this. 

June 22, 2015

magic monday

I'm gonna be honest here. After a weekend where I worked an 11 hour shift followed by a 10 hour shift 9 hours later, I'm grateful for sleep. And for couch naps and that feeling of tired and achy freedom that comes from taking off constricting work shoes that make your feet hurt 6 hours into a shift. 

I'm grateful for pretty sunsets. I truly am obsessed with the sky. I always look up during golden hour, when the sun filters just right through the clouds. Maybe it's the sense of feeling that something bigger is up there, or maybe it's just a sense of calm that tends to overcome everything else when looking at a pretty sight, but the sky never ceases to amaze me. 

June 21, 2015

dear padre

Dear Padre,

Thanks for teaching me how to ride the carousel at the fair. Thanks for teaching me how to ride a bike without training wheels. Thank you for late night movies & hanging out at the laundromat. Thank you for those Matt Kenseth fan club conventions & all those weekends we spent camping together. Thanks for teaching me how to drive a car in the empty middle school parking lot. Thank you for finding me a car... And thanks for always fixing the POS now when I need you to. 

And hey Padre? Thanks for being my dad. Happy Father's Day. I love you. 

June 19, 2015

truth time

8:48 pm on Friday June 19, 2015
I only wore simple makeup today. Did my eyebrows, highlighted my inner corner and my brow bone, put a few coats of mascara on my lashes. I worked for almost six hours at the job that I am the least passionate about. I freaked out that there are only 105 days until Justin and I get married. I realized that I do not know how to be an adult, to be responsible and do things like pay the bills and cash checks and leave the house when it's the absolute last thing I feel like doing. I feel like I have entered into my summertime rut, and the first step to getting out is admitting that it exists. I am trying. And trying is all that I can do. 

June 18, 2015

currently, june edition

reheating coffee from yesterday

reading like a maniac... I've finished four books this week & it's only Thursday 

vowing to use my library card more

crossing things off my wedding to do list like a champ

cleaning up my office/bedroom... a complete overhaul is 100% necessary

using a disposable camera that expired in 2004 to capture life the past couple days

hoping the shots turn out & I can make a mini book out of them

thinking about ways to get my camera collection off my bookshelf & onto the wall

punching holes in everything I can so I can add to my confetti envelope

still working on my scrap yarn blanket... which at this rate might take me until Christmas to finish

cutting stars out of gold duct tape to embellish a page for my summer book

deciding which photos to print from the first half of june

enjoying making time every day to make stuff

wishing my momma a happy birthday today :)

June 17, 2015

wedding wednesday: flowers

Here's my thought process on flowers: I want them to be pretty & vibrant, easy to find, and not too much of a hassle. Orange roses are simple to find at flower shops. Sunflowers and still in bloom in October. And there's a giant field of Queen Anne's Lace not too far from where we live. 

I'm thinking roses & Queen Anne's lace for boutonnières.  Sunflowers & roses in mason jars for center pieces at the reception. A combination of all three for the bridal bouquets. 

I'm on the fence yet about real flowers vs fake. One thing I do know though is that I want to do them myself. (And maybe bribe my bridesmaids & Justin into helping me.) 107 days until October 1!

June 16, 2015

magic sky

After storm sunsets are on my Top 10 list of the most beautiful sights in the world. 

June 15, 2015

magic monday

I'm back on a reading kick, and I wanna ride this wave for as long as I can. I've read three books in the last two weeks. My goal of reading 10 books for the whole year (#3 on my 23 to do list) will be knocked out in no time if I keep this up. 

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins is my current read. When I was in high school, I read all of her books one right after the other and then fell off with her as an author. When I saw Perfect at Good Will a few weeks ago on clearance (aka for 79 CENTS!) I knew I had to get it, and that I absolutely wouldn't regret it. So far, 250 pages in, it has not been a let down. 

I'm really glad I'm reading again. I feel like it helps me sleep better at night, when I sit on the couch with Justin and read before heading to bed instead of playing on my phone. I feel more calm & relaxed & enthralled to be inside the heads of these characters instead of my own. I will always be grateful to books for giving me an escape from reality. 

June 12, 2015

summer mini book: may

Supplies used: computer paper, Scissors, Excel X-Acto knife, Sharpie marker, paint, photos printed through PhotoAffections.com, Sharpie pen, needle & thread

This is the start of my summer mini book. It's not perfect. My pages weren't quite cut all the same and some of them don't match up correctly, but I'm learning to not care and #doitfortheprocess. I'm trying to add more journaling to this little book for June, whether it's blog posts or actual in the moment journals. 

June 11, 2015

great minds think alike

Yesterday I drove to Appleton to meet up with Jordan Snyder, our wedding photographer. We discussed our ceremony and reception plan, wedding colours, the smaller details that so often get overlooked. After I had signed his contract and we were more comfortable with one another, we sat in Starbucks and talked about cameras and lenses and our most and least hated things to photograph. It was a rush, sitting down and chatting with someone who gets it. Because they've been there, done that, seen it all before just like you have. 

On my way home yesterday, I thought, "Y'know, that was nice" and made it a point to befriend more creative people. It's not that I don't love any of current friends, but man sitting and talking with someone for half an hour about the thing that they're as passionate about as you are: nothing compares to it. 

June 10, 2015


I got an envelope full of photos for my summer mini book yesterday. All morning I've spent trying to put them all together. Now I'm taking a break and trying to sew on paper. My thumbs hurt, but I'm practicing. 

Tonight Justin an I are going to Appleton to meet with a photographer. I'm excited. 

June 09, 2015

playing with paint + Brave

I made this page last night after I got home from work. The left side is the actual painting, and the right side is the palette I used to paint it. I cut them both down to 4x6 and glued them back to back. 

And then I had a dream last night that woke me up in a cold sweat with my heart forming a lump in my throat. I reread my blog post from yesterday, reread the email that inspired it, and told myself that I need to be Brave. Amazed at what the power of words and inspiration can do. And painting and making a mess is probably one of the best forms of therapy there is. 

June 08, 2015

magic monday

I am a member of a secret society. The Hannah Brencher Monday Morning Email Club. This weeks email was all about bravery—what it means to be brave, all different forms of bravery, why people like to attack you for not being brave. And it hit me right in the heart. 

"You don’t actually get to stand beside someone and tell them whether or not they’ve reached a level of bravery. You don’t actually get to determine what does or does not make a person brave, or lovely, or worthy, or good. That’s not your right. That’s not your calling.That’s just a tactic to try to keep someone else from reaching their full potential. If you ask me, the world already has enough of that floating around."

This mornings email made me think about my anxiety, that beast that lives in my head and attacks my heart with such a fury it makes me panic. Lately, I have not been doing well. Lately, I have been putting up walls again between me and the people I love the most in this world. Lately, I feel more and more like I did when I was sixteen: cold and empty and lost and broken. 

I am working on it. I am always working on it. Trying to not put my walls up anymore. Trying not to hide my feelings about the things that bother me and unnerve me right to the core. I am trying to make the best of my coping techniques: my breathing patterns I once learned in a blue recliner in my therapist's office 5 years ago, counting backwards from 1000, willing whatever is bothering me to just please go away. 

Lately I have found my best coping mechanisms come through expressing myself. Putting words down on paper, playing with paint, cutting and glueing and making stuff gives me the best sense of calm. But I suppose subconsciously I already knew that: photography and writing have always been my standbys, learned through the anxiety brought on by my PTSD. Now I've just translated my making into a new tangible form, making books from paper and paint and glue. 

Maybe this is what it means to be brave. To take your feelings and create something you can hold and see and touch. Maybe this is what it means to stand and face your fears, even when your anxiety says you can't let anyone else in. Maybe I am brave. 

(Dear Hannah Brencher, thank you for making my Monday's a little more awesome. Thank you for the pep talks and the love letters. Thank you for the inspiration.)

June 06, 2015


Yesterday after work I went to Good Will. Thrifting has always been a hobby of mine. The thrill of looking through everything on the shelves, never knowing what you're going to find makes me so excited. All of this stuff is what I brought home from my trip yesterday. 

Coffee mugs and clothes are my thrifting weakness. I always browse through the clothes and even though I know I shouldn't because my cabinet is way too full already, I always make a stop at housewares. The ribbon & the rubber stamp I think will be an awesome addition for mini books or any other scrapbooking I might do in the future. And that rolling pin is to help make me accomplish #14 on my birthday list, bake some bread. The picture frame I just thought was cute, and so it came home with me because having frames around will actually make me print more photos, right?! I can't wait for fall to wear that cardigan & shirt together. 

Thrifting makes my soul (and the bargain hunter in me) so so happy. 

June 04, 2015


These three quotes have stuck in my head a lot lately. The Kübler-Ross one when my anxiety creeps in, Ginsberg when it's late at night and I can't sleep and I make myself get out of bed and make something, and Dylan for every day encouragement. I can do this. Happy Thursday!

June 03, 2015

happy wall

Last night I finished the painting I had been working on for the past six months. It felt great to finally have I done, but honestly I was more excited to decorate around it. The pink and blue colour scheme is something I find myself going back to over and over again when I paint, so it was pretty easy to find art to complement it. 

When I was done pulling this thing and that thing from other parts of my office, I took a step back and just smiled. Because I think it feels done, this one section of just one wall. Now I can't wait to tackle the rest of the house. 

Hustle art, yarn garland, canvas painting: DIY, paper daisies: DIY following this tutorial, You Are My Sunshine plaque: Shopko, Wooden Ampersand: elisejoy make29, Keep Calm & Snap On print: Photojojo store

June 02, 2015

it's tuesday.

Sorry about the abandonment yesterday, Blogland. I opened at work yesterday and came home to take a nap and then slept until 7 o' clock this morning (#oops). 

Happy June! We have 121 days until we're married. I have to go to Appleton tomorrow to meet with a photographer. I'm ordering my wedding dress next week (yes, I finally picked one!). Still don't know if we're having a reception. Still have no concrete guest list. But we're getting there...

In other non-wedding related news, I'm mad at Mother Nature. Mostly because it's the beginning of June and I still have to wear a sweater and pants. Normally this time of year it's all dresses, all the time (unless I'm going to work). Can't wait for it to really start warming up around here again. 

Today I have errands to run and photos to print and a summer mini book that needs some stuff in it. Can't wait to share!