Journal

Planning and remembering

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I love making lists, particularly to-do lists. There is just something about writing down all the things I want to learn more about and get accomplished in a month that gets me really excited. And then I remember that I have chronic fatigue......and I'm a five on the Enneagram......and I have a long history of setting unrealistic expectations for myself. 
So, instead of writing down what I want to get done in a planner or bullet journal, I tend to record what I have already got done as a reminder to myself of all that I've accomplished. Not only does this help me not stress myself out, it helps me to appreciate what is unique about each day. 

 Planning and Remembering || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

So, as I get my pages ready for January, I figured this would be a good time to share how I set up my planner/journal. First off, supplies! I love my Whitelines Graph Paper Pad. The background is a light gray and the lines are white so your words and sketches are what really show. (There is even an app that will take pictures of your pages and send it to your email or dropbox. I don't use it, but click on the link to see a video about how this works.) I have listed the pen and marker I use down below. I write small so fine point is a must, and I just prefer blue ink over black. The highlighter is my choice to fill in boxes where I have completed a task such as posting something to social media. 



Second, habit tracking and daily log! I keep track of my water intake, core exercises, doing my BSF lesson, and a time for meditation on the left side of my daily log. It helps me have a more wholistic picture of what is going on if I'm not keeping my habits. For, my daily log, I like the forced simplicity of having only one line to write. Journaling has never been a strength of mine, but I can usually come up with one sentence to describe my day.

 Planning and Remembering || Bullet journal || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
 Planning and remembering || Liturgical calendar || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

Other sections to note: completed books, viewing/listening, liturgical calendar, blessings, notes, and my "got done" list. I think each of these is pretty obvious, but maybe a couple of these could a little bit of explanation. I think the shows we watch and podcasts we listen to can be just as formative as the books we read, so I choose to record them both under my daily log.

 Planning and remembering || bullet journal || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

 

On my second page, I draw out a little chart showing the present interval of the liturgical calendar as a way to ground myself more fully in the time we are living. It helps me pause and appreciate what is good and glorious about the current season even when the thermometer does not get above 0 F! 


At the bottom, I record all of the things that I have gotten done in the month. I purposefully keep this area on the small side, so that I can more easily fill it up! ;-)

 

If you like this and other planning/bullet journaling inspiration, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to this topic! 

 
 
 

 

 

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Commonplacing Cookbooks || a mini tutorial ||

When my husband and I were first married, I began collecting the recipes I used most often in a steno pad. Unbeknownst to me, I was commonplacing.

Commonplacing is the act of writing down favorite passages (or in my case recipes) in a book. The choices we make about what to enter in our book tell us a lot about who we were at the time of the entry. For instance, when I look back to the entries I made at the beginning of my Commonplace Cookbook, almost all of the dishes have meat or dairy in them while the latter sections do not. Beans and lentils are completely absent for the first quarter but then, over time, come to dominate the main dish entries. t

 Commonplacing Cookbooks || a mini tutorial || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

My little book is about full so as I get another steno pad ready to go, I thought I would right up a mini tutorial on how to start this practice.
 

 
 Commonplacing Cookbooks || a mini tutorial || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
 

First off, your notebook selection is key! This is a book that you will (hopefully) be writing in and using for years to come so make sure you select something with a line height you prefer and will lay flat when open. I love steno pads because of their top binding and sturdy cardboard back. (I take out the binding and flip the cover around because I don't usually like the color of the covers.)

 
 Commonplacing Cookbooks || a mini tutorial || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
 

Second, do yourself a favor and make a table of contents log.  I didn't do this for mine and have spent so much time flipping around for recipes that I knew were in there!
 



 Commonplacing Cookbooks || a mini tutorial || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

 

Third, start adding recipes! Food blogs and recipe books from the library are my two favorite sources.  Like most people, I tweak recipes to fit my family's preferences and to accommodate what I can readily find at the grocery store. By cooking something multiple times before entering it into my book, I can better ensure that I am recording a more accurate version  of my cooking method.

 

 

Cookbooks from the library go through an additional step because I only have them for a short while. I start by making a list of all the recipes I think I will actually cook in another steno pad. I used to just use scrap paper for this but switched to a notebook because sometimes I would lose my list! Also, unless we are on a school break there is no way I will have the time to try to cook each recipe I wrote down, so when I’m in a cooking lull I sometimes flip through this book to see what cookbooks really inspired me and will check them out again.

 Commonplacing Cookbooks || a mini tutorial || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

Hope this inspires you to start commonplacing your recipes too! Feel free to tag me on IG (@rachelloewen) with your books!


 
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First lessons from my residency: choosing what I value

Sunday night we celebrated my oldest turning 6 at my mom's house. It was a lovely night full of good conversations, yummy food, and laughter. 

Dried hydrangea flower || Cyanotype in progress || Rachel Loewens

My mom's hydrangea bush had a few blooms leftover from last year so I snatched them up to do some sun printing. 

 
Outdoor studio || Omaha, NE || Rachel Loewens
 

While Omaha's forecast predicted 15 straight days of clouds and rain, we had plenty moments of sunshine for me to work in my "outdoor studio". 

Days later I set about mounting some of these prints because I hope to sell them as a means to fund my residency. The kids were all occupied and my supplies were at hand so I set forth to make a quick job of it. Of course, disaster quickly ensued.  Little ones offered to "help" me, I politely declined and in my haste to be as efficient as possible I ruined a print (my mom's favorite one, of course!). 

 
Mounting fail || Rachel Loewens
 

Of course I was immediately frustrated with what I did, but more so that I wasn't valuing my children's involvement with my work. Then I realized that I wasn't actually valuing my work either since I was in such a hurry to get it done. 

Studio mate || Rachel Loewens

A minute to slow down my breathing, a prayer asking for wisdom and grace, and we moved on to have a better day.  My daughter made flowers with her glue gun, and I returned to mounting the rest of my prints. 

Update: 

I have two 5x7" cyanotype prints available for instant digital down load here! Only $10 each! (they even will fit into standard frame)

My got done list. AKA: What to do when you feel like you are getting NOTHING done!

Like many people who suffer from sort of auto-immune disease whose symptoms include chronic fatigue, I often feel like I've gotten NOTHING done by the end of the day. My husband is very good at reminding me that that is a lie to tell myself and, in all reality, I always accomplish something just in the day to day care of my family.

This week my daughter had her first spring break ever, and I had a whole to do list in my head of cleaning out closets and art making. Guess what? Most of that didn't happen due to an elbow injury. *sigh* Thankfully, a shot of Novocain in my joint has eased the pain and I'm now able to get a few bits done.

Spring break at Henry Doorly Zoo || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

I once read an article that suggested people who have these seasons of low productivity should document all that they have gotten done instead of focusing on what they didn't get done. So here's my list:

#artistresidencyinmotherhood || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

+    Prepping for my Artist Residency in Motherhood. I thrive off of goals and accountability so I'm excited to take on this residency in the summer months.

+     Obsessively read my new favorite blog: Jocelyn Mathewes. She is currently participating in the same residency that I planning for AND does cyanotype printing. Her post on productivity and journaling how you use your time have been most helpful. 

+     Printing while the sun shines. 

+     Trip to the zoo with my kiddos!

Cyanotype in progress || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

How do you cope with less than productive seasons of your life! I would love to hear your tips! 

The highs and lows of being a #momboss

 

 

For the first time in about six months, I am starting to feel like I have gotten into a good routine of housework, homeschooling, and time in my studio.  I've even been able to do some of the not so fum work of making "Certificate of Authenticity" papers and thank you coupon codes for my next online art sale (sign up for my mailing list if you don't want to miss it). 

packing inserts || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
 
toddler snuggles || Rachel Loewens  Fine Art

 

This newfound sense of balance and order was, of course, immediately follow by a round of the stomach bug hitting two of my littles. If having three kids in three years has taught me anything it is that when the unexpected or urgent strikes, drop everything that you possible can and focus on what needs to be done that day. All those things that were dropped can and will be picked up again, and my blood pressure/stress levels will stay much lower than if I tried to keep up with my plan for the day. 

 

Sure enough, by the end of the day everyone was feeling well enough to go to Grammy's house, and I was able to have a little time in my studio before my husband came home from work. It has been a long time since I've made a 6x8" collage so it was nice to get back to working in a format that feels so comfortable.

001-2017 || a collage by Rachel Loewens

I would love to hear your stories of being a #ladyboss or #momboss. Please share your experiences in the comments or post links to your blog posts on the subject!

Weaving in as you go along

I am not much of a detail person. Thankfully, I married someone who is. His ability to complete one project before starting another one, to see the value in doing the small things well, and his steady mannerisms are quite the foil to my big picture, abstract way of thinking and living. 

Hap in progress|| Rachel Loewens Fine Art

My latest knitting project, The Lang Ayre hap from the The Book of Haps is proving to be an excellent opportunity for me to slow down and take care of the details; specifically, weaving in all the ends as I go along. The pattern suggests that you select a yarn that is %100 wool and not a superwash yarn in order to splice the yarn at each color change. Splicing involves dampening the ends of the two pieces of yarn you want to join together and then rubbing the two pieces between your hands in order to felt them so weaving in your ends is unnecessary. Of course, I selected my yarn for this project before I read the pattern and chose a yarn that does not felt. 

Yowza yarn || Rachel Loewens Fine Art blog

Even though the end-weaving is forcing me to stop every ten rows or so, I can't say that I regret my yarn choice. I have wanted to knit with this yarn for years now, and it is just as lovely as everyone says! Also, I am feeling like a process knitter instead of a product knitter which is a nice change of pace for me. 

Yarn Bee Astounding
Squidge Cowl/hat || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

I did take a break from my hap knitting for one afternoon to whip up this Squidge cowl for my son. He ended up not liking it so now it is a sort of hat/ wide headband for me to wear. 

Thanks for stopping by and home you have a great weekend!

Knitting therapy

Like many woman who have suffered abuse or exploitation at the hands of a man, I am feeling the scars of previous trama rise to the surface this week. Those old lies that I am powerless victim are being whispered in my ear. Fear and anger and rising up and wanting to take over, but I know that they will only do more damage to my soul.

So what does that leave me with? Well, for starters, my knitting. As the tension inside me effects the tension of my stitches, I take a breath and think of the things I can do. Forgive, be empathetic, compassionate, assertive and courageous, and more importantly teach these virtues to my children.

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Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.
— `Elizabeth Zimmermann
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Does making help you deal with difficult seasons of life? Would love to hear your stories, too!