In all of the posts that I’ve shared about our house, I have never shared the best part: we live next to our best friends. In all honesty, it’s just as epic as it sounds and I’m dreading the day that we don’t live 15 steps from front door to front door.
Earlier this year when we were talking about all things outdoor landscaping and gardening, their empty raised beds came up. I jokingly mentioned using them if they weren’t, and next thing I knew, we were huddled over their kitchen table with a ruler and a plan.
We went to a garden store within a couple days and got lots of veggies and flowers – tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños, zucchini, basil, mint, and lots of marigolds. We did a lot of research on companion plants ahead of time and we read that Marigolds are really helpful to have around vegetables to prevent bugs and other pests.
We got lucky that the beds were already filled with some pretty amazing soil and each spent time tilling one of the beds. We didn’t get to plant right away because we had a torrential down-pouring for a week straight. All of the plants we purchased, aside from the zucchini and half the marigolds, were “starters” or baby plants, so we keep those under an awning to prevent them from getting washed away in the rain. In the meantime, I did a little black-hole style pinterest browsing about garden journals and of course had to make one of my own.
When it was finally time to plant, we quickly learned that we either 1) needed more marigolds or 2) needed to invest some time in shooing the animals away. Within the first week or so, we lost a couple tomato plants and felt very weary about the zucchini seeds, which landed us back at the store. We decided then to expand our garden to another area of their backyard. This allowed us some extra room, which was a good call in retrospect.
I’ve only ever grown vegetables in pots, and even then, they didn’t ever turn out very good. During my last attempt, the landlord at my old duplex sprayed something inside of the pots around the plants. I wasn’t sure what it was and when I asked, he had already thrown the the packaging away, so I was afraid to eat or offer the veggies to anyone. During that summer, the plants never got very tall or wide and stopped producing veggies early in the season.
Because of that failed attempt, I think I was even more excited when we started to see new growth and flowers, because I knew vegetables would eventually follow. From the beginning, we agreed that I was going to water on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings and then she was going to check on them and water as needed on the other days.
Probably my favorite part of the whole experience was when she was telling her sister how much joy she was finding in garden, only to learn that she loved playing in the garden when she was a little girl. I don’t remember gardening growing up, but I’m the same way, I can’t deny how much I love being out there (as long as I have bug spray on) so much that even pulling weeds doesn’t phase me. I’d much prefer that to getting ready for work every other morning.
I’ve shared by heart on producing fruit here once before, but I couldn’t help but include something similar in my journal. The whole process from tiny little seeds to food that I get to use to nourish my body is such a good reminder of our growth as Christians and the importance of being pruned and watered regularly to continue to bear fruit.
It’s been about four months since we started our garden and yesterday was our biggest harvest yet. Based on the number of green tomatoes and almost ripe peppers, I have a feeling it won’t be our biggest by the time the season is over. I can already tell that growing veggies is something I really want to continue to do. There is so much to learn and perfect that I don’t think this will stop being challenging and exciting. I got to have a lot of fun conversations with co-workers (some who convinced us to try pollinating our zucchinis by hand) and giving veggies away just tends to make people happy.
I’m off to start planning next years garden – what are your favorite things to grow?
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Project Life has been a main staple in my creative process for the past four and a half years. Many things have changed in the way that I’ve completed it between then and now, but one thing remains the same – this project helps me get photos out of my camera and into physical albums. This is the primary way that I document our lives – all of the travelers notebooks and journals are gravy. Documenting my life in this way has followed me through some of the most exciting times of my life – graduating college, getting engaged, our wedding, the honeymoon, adopting our dog, buying a home and lots of daily life in between. We love cracking those albums open to take a peek at our memories and how much has changed in just a couple years.
I was originally introduced to Project Life by my Aunt who encouraged me to try out some of her supplies for an album of a trip to California. As soon as I started, I was hooked. For Christmas, I asked for all of the supplies – an album, pocket pages, and even Elise’s Seafoam Edition of the cards – so that I could get started on January 1st of 2013.
The way that Becky Higgins intended it and the way that many of her creative team members use the system, is on a weekly basis. While there are a lot of options when it comes to the sizes of pocket pages, the main pages are 12 x 12 and have spaces for 8 – 4×6 inch photos or journaling cards and 8 – 2×3 inch photos or journaling cards. Many people use a card a day in the middle row and then a coordinating 4×6 photo but I was just finding that it wasn’t working for me. There were three major things that were holding me back: 1) my life isn’t that exciting, 2) printing photos is expensive, and 3) space is limited.
The other two points aside, space and clutter are issues for me as I tend to be more of a minimalist than most scrapbookers. The idea of having multiple albums for a year terrifies me, so I had to find a way that worked for me that still documented my life in a way that was meaningful yet, more realistic for me. As you will notice in the pages below, instead of doing it on a weekly basis, I just do one spread for each month and then if we go on vacation or there are extra photos, I’ll simply add another page. This has allowed me to fit about two years in each album which is a significant win in my option.
Since I use a month format, I have a lot more photos to choose from than I would if I were just working with a week at a time. I try to include photos that go well together, but also ones that tell full stories. I use a piece of scrap paper to plan my layouts so that I’m only printing the photos that I need. From there I grab a bunch of supplies in similar color families and then use each pocket opening as if it were it’s very own scrapbook layout. As a more visual person, I tend to hide a lot of my writing. I generally use a card to write “highlights” for the month and then include specifics, such as names of friends, places, and events, on the back of the photos.
At the beginning of this year (my 5th doing Project Life), I started considering alternate ways to document our lives – possibly something online. Obviously, I decided to keep going but my thought process changed a couple months ago when I plugged in my external hard drive to back up my iPhone photos, only to discover a blank folder where all of my files once were. All of a sudden, well over 50,000 photos were gone. I couldn’t help but feel SO thankful that I had a few Project Life albums full of our memories.
I’m not sure how long it was later (it felt like hours), but we finally were able to get the files to show up. I virtually thumbed through my photos feeling reassured that, indeed, the best ones were printed. It was a good reminder, that photos are a priority to me and that I cherish documenting my stories and my life. I care about it so much that even now when I’m at my parent’s or grandparent’s homes, I’ll look through family photo albums that include everything from travel to family history and everything in between. I can’t imagine not having my own stories to share with… well, basically anyone who’s interested.
Needless to say, I’m not giving up on Project Life anytime soon and I might even share it here more frequently.
How do you document your story?
If we were on a coffee date, we would grab our drinks and head to a park. It’s cooled down considerably in the last week or two, so it’s only natural to want to spend as much time outside as possible. We have some spectacular parks so we’d go to the one we haven’t been to in a while. I’d definitely be drinking something iced, or maybe even frozen if I’m feeling a little wild.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d bring you a shopping bag full of tomatoes. Our little garden is flourishing and I couldn’t be more excited not only to pick them but to share them with others as well. I never imagined I’d have to hold onto the hem and fill my shirt with veggies to be able to carry them all back to the house.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask how you keep track of your calendar and tasks. I’ve been asking people about their favorite planners and checking some out online. I’ve been doing bullet journal style planning and while I don’t hate it, the process does require a decent amount of time and I want to make sure there isn’t anything that I’m missing out on. I know that there are a lot of gorgeous ones out there, so I might even show you some IG photos of planners I’m crushing on (particularly Get To Work Book and the Illustrated Faith Planner).
If we were on a coffee date, my hair cut would inevitably come up. I had a terrible experience with a new-to-me stylist prior to my appointment but was quickly able to get in with my regular lady. I was mostly looking for a fresh set of ideas to wrangle this curly hair, but regardless, I’m happy with how it turned out. I got about 2 inches cut off and her go-to styling of my hair always ends up looking like this, but shorter.
If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask what things you do in your life to create space. I read an article Rachel wrote about creating space and haven’t stopped thinking about how I can create space and quiet in my own life. I’d admit that I’m a busy body and am constantly reading self-help books with all of the answers, “all you have to do is _____”. They can be super helpful in making progress because I really do want to be the best version of myself, but they can also really wear me down. I’d ask your advice in the area of balance and tell you I’m already considering that as my word of the year for 2018.
If we were on a coffee date, our reading list would obviously come up after our topic. I’ve already passed up my GoodReads goal of 15 books and I’m not stopping anytime soon, although I do imagine I’ll be slowing down a bit due to some reading I’ll have to start doing for work. I’m trying to vary the genre of books that I’m reading a little more to get away from self-help. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all of the amazing books in the world, knowing that I’ll never come close to reading even 1% of what the world has to offer.
What would you tell me if we were on a coffee date?
Today I’m linking up with Erin for her monthly coffee date linkup. Join Us!
Dear Friday, why do you wait so long to come back around? I’d really prefer to see you more often. Dear Kevin, thank you for a yummy lunch date and a million laughs this week. You spoil me. Dear letterboard hashtag on Instagram, thanks for the sweet and witty inspiration. We need more of that around here. HA! Dear $5 Sushi Fridays, you keep us fed all weekend. Dear plants, whether you produce veggies, flowers, or just fresh air, you’re my favorite. Dear 26th birthday, can we wait another year before we start counting again? I’m not ready to be closer to 30 than 20. Dear internet, thank you providing me with some great reads this week – especially this one about creating space. Dear weekend naps, I’m comin’ for ya! Dear IRL and virtual friends, I’m so thankful that you stopped by.
August, august. I’m so thankful for the changing of the month and the cooler weather that August seems to be bringing us so far. I’ve always been a lover of the summer, but I have to say that I’m seriously looking forward to the fall this year. As we gear up for fall, I’m looking forward to so many things – college football and tailgates, mums on our front porch, taking my pup for more walks when the sun’s still up, and lots of layered clothing. But before I wish away August, let’s talk about goals for this month.
On the blog in July:
July Goals Recap:
- [Faith] Ask someone to be my mentor – Womp womp. I’m really bummed that I didn’t put more thought and prayer into this in July.
[Faith] Keep working on my faith binder – I made some serious progress on my binder this month
[Health/Faith] Complete Camp Reset – This project overwhelmed me quickly due to the amount of time it required, but I kept up where I could.
Creative] Do something creative for myself – I loved being more intentional about this in July!
[Health] Food journal – I feel like I did great on this, continuing the progress into August.
[Health] Work out – I randomly joined a boot camp in July which really kicked my butt into gear and got me excited to work out again. Even though boot camp is over, I’m looking forward to continuing this through this month and beyond.
[Creative] Instagram – I posted 8 times in July, which is a bit more frequent than I have in past months.
- [Faith] Quiet time – I really just need consistency here.
[Health] Oils – Last month, I used DoTERRA oils every single day. I don’t know if I’ve ever completed a whole month of a daily goal – so I’m super pumped about this one.
- Celebrate turning 26 – I had the HARDEST time with turning 25 last year. You’re probably rolling your eyes, but I honestly felt like there were so many (ridiculous) expectations I had placed on myself that I hadn’t met yet. I have a feeling that turning 26 will go more smoothly.
- Schedule a hair cut with a new stylist – I’ve been going to the same stylist for a while and finally got the name of someone new who specializes in curls. I’m ready to keep the most open mind possible.
- Read Artist’s Way and complete challenges – I read this book two years ago but didn’t have time to complete all of the challenges. I picked it up again at the end of last month and have really been focusing on the challenges.
- Send two cards using the INK app – The INK app is an app that makes a post card out of your photos – all you have to do is upload the photo and add your message to the back. I’ve used this app once before and was so happy with the quality, so I really want to send a few more this month.
- 8 Hours of sleep each night – this will be next to impossible, but it would even be worth it if I could do it a couple nights a week.
- Low FODMAP foods – I mentioned last month that my doctor suggested the low FOD MAP diet for me, so I want to do better at eating foods that fit into these categories as opposed to taking antacids to make me feel better.
- Journal – I’m doing morning pages each morning, which goes hand-in-hand with the Artist’s Way.
- Workouts – Just trying to be consistent with working out this month – probably more of an every other day thing as opposed to daily.
- Oils – Keeping my DoTERRA streak going from last month!
You’re turn! How are you going to kick butt this month?