ariestrash
Friday, February 5, 2016
get messy: season of happy week one

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Get Messy is back and I am so happy to be back home to participate in Get Messy 3.0! The first season just started on February 1st, and it’s the Season of Happy! While I’m nowhere near to being happy myself, this first weeks’ prompts have been such great therapy for me. Short backstory: in the third month of my 3-month backpacking trip to Southeast Asia, I got bit by a dog in Thailand. So being the complete hypochondriac that I am, I went to the hospital knowing for certain that I was going to go through a series of Rabies shots. I don’t like taking any chances with my health, so that first day, I got my bite cleaned and received my first of five Rabies shots, plus a Tetanus shot as well. The doctor put me on a mild antibiotic for seven days and my friend and I continued on our trip, scheduling hospital visits to get my subsequent Rabies shots along the way.

Honestly, while inconvenient, the shots weren’t so bad. Yet, on the eight day of this entire ordeal, the first day off of the antibiotics, I broke out into hives all over my body. So another three hospital visits after that, I find out I’m allergic to Augmentin, a penicillin-based antibiotic and have to take more meds to clear up the rash. Fine. The rest of my trip went on smoothly, except for the silent fact that my anxiety was through the roof. By the time I came home, I was exhausted and so stressed out, I honestly thought I was dying. I’ve always suffered from anxiety, but I’ve always found ways to “deal” with it, even if that meant suppressing certain emotions and avoiding certain situations that I know would trigger a panic attack. But when it came to a life-threatening disease that I honestly don’t even know if I was exposed too, that uncertainty just drove my fragile little mind insane! I was–and still kind of am–a hot mess, but I’m trying real hard to think positively and to de-stress by keeping myself occupied.

Enter my evenings of art journaling. I always find that I go into a trance when I art journal or scrapbook. So, it was refreshing to step away from myself for a bit while working on these pages. Don’t get me wrong, I was still so stressed out, but my brain got to chill out a bit. It really helped with my headaches. So, once the prompts for this week went up on Monday, I picked out a few scrapbook papers and made myself a little 6×6 book for the season. I tried to choose bright-colored papers that were rather out of my comfort zone to match the 6×6 size that I’m just not used to using for my art journals. I tried my hardest to stick to the theme and the prompts, though as always I deviated just a little. This spread above is my response to the quote, “We depend on circumstance, but some people have more of a gift for happiness than others.” I honestly believe that we create our own happiness. Happiness is completely relative and what I may consider to make me happy maybe not make everyone else happy. And that’s the beauty of being human; we can pick and choose these things and create our own bubble of happiness.

These two pages, while they look fine as a spread, are really meant to be two separate pages. The first page reads “Throw joy like confetti” and it was super therapeutic to make. Honestly, while dealing with my stress, not a lot of happy thoughts were going through my head, so I just started with a bit of gesso and splattering the page with bright-colored paints, then some confetti I saved from my hole punch, then added these felt hearts from Crate Paper that I had. This one was just a no-thinking sort of page. The opposite page is super simple. I just spelled out the word “Hello” using chipboard pieces from Crate Paper.

This spread is a response to what I find to be my happy place. I think like a lot of people, I find comfort in my imagination. Reading books and creating things always seem to make me feel content and I think it’s because I can escape my reality for a little bit and create a whole new one. Escapism is always such a nice vacation from life and to be honest, the worlds I make up are so much better than the one I unfortunately have to live in. I used this lovely paper from The Planner Society kits I get, along with some yellow paint and my favorite gesso. Butterflies are my absolute favorite.

These two separate pages are my responses to the color only prompt and the line drawing prompt. The scrapbook paper that I used for the color-only page already had a few colorful triangles on it, so I just added more in different sizes. The second page was interesting. I absolutely hated my line drawing so I covered it with gesso, did an image transfer of some magazine text, added a few black paint splatters and wrote a quote from the magazine clip I transferred which says “the first time in a long time somebody had really, really liked me.” That line just stuck out to me when I was looking through magazine clippings and I think it’s because I’ve alway struggled with fitting in and even though I put up a terrific front, I want people to like me, which I think is a universal desire. We all want to be well liked. It’s something that makes us happy.

I totally didn’t intend for these pages to be so profound, but I suppose that’s what happens when you’re in a rough place mentally. It’s the reason why I love art journaling so damn much! I quite grateful for Get Messy and I honestly can’t wait to see how the rest of my mini journal is going to come out!

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get messy


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Monday, February 1, 2016
my 2016 heidi swapp memory planner

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Since I decided not to continue with Project Life for this year, I finally had the chance to play with Heidi Swapp’s Memory Planner. I wanted to try her planner last year when she came out with her new system, but I had already decided to do Project Life and to keep two different albums documenting the same bits of my life just seemed a bit redundant, so I passed on Heidi’s planner. But I never did complete my 2015 Project Life album as the system just didn’t do anything for me anymore. So this year, I have decided to try Heidi’s planner and with the her new planner range out, I was able to order a bunch of her embellishments to accompany the planner I picked up at Hobby Lobby.

Now, her planners come in a rather big, Project Life styled binder that I didn’t really like. For storage of extra pages and such, it’s great, but for me to carry around would just be too much. Even though I haven’t had to carry my planner anywhere–and don’t really plan to do so anytime soon–I still didn’t want anything to bulky. So I order myself my very first Marion Smith A5 planner to put Heidi’s inserts into. Now, I ordered my MS planner way before I bought my HS planner, but I just thought the pink and gold hearts of my MS planner just paired so well with Heidi’s inserts that I just had to put that planner into my MS. So when I got both of them together, I carefully paired the two together, punching extra holes into my Heidi Swapp inserts to fit the three-ring binder (HS planner comes in a four-ring binder). The whole of the HS planner almost line up with your typical A5 planner rings, but I still had to add the extra two holes on either end and repunch a few of the holes already there to make them a little bigger, so that the fit was better. I did all of the inserts without a problem.

To complete my setup, I just added a bunch of matching embellishments from Heidi’s line into the front and back pockets of my Marion Smith planner. In the front I have lots of stickers and labels tucked into the big secretarial pocket. In the smaller pockets I keep a few 4×4 and 2×2 matching cards, some heart puffy stickers, and a few sheets of sticky notes from The Planner Society kits I get that I though match so well with everything. I also keep a spare paperclip handing there as well, if I need to mark a page or section off.

When I first started filling in the month of January, I didn’t know what to use the first page of the planner for. Just to give you some background, the planner is broken into months, each month begins with its own divider and subsequent page (not pictured) is a monthly dashboard of sorts, with different boxes for To Do lists and such. As of now, I still don’t know what to used that page for, as I’m not using my planner for practical day-to-day things, but more like a journal, documenting what’s already happened. This also made deciding what to use the monthly view a challenge as well. In the end, I did my best at decorating it and jotting down one main thing that happened each day in the tiny box. I played around a bit with my handwriting and tried to keep everything as neat as I could. All in all, I think my monthly spread came out well.

The heart of the planner are the weekly pages. For the first week, since the month of January began on a Friday, I covered the page with some scrapbook paper and made a little intro of sorts, with a picture of myself and my 2016 intentions listed underneath. On the other side, I began documenting January, using photos and embellishments, jotting down the main thing that happened each day in the space provided.

I believe Heidi’s whole concept with this planner is to jot down one little things each day for an entire year, because even those little moments are worth just as much as the bigger moments that you may make minibooks out of. I fell that even though this is similar to Project Life, it’s a bit simpler for me as I just need to jot down one thing each day and I have the freedom to do whatever I want in terms of visuals and not be confined to a small pocket. Some of my pages are simple, where as others I did a bit more decorating.

I did a bit of catch-up with the month of January, but now that I’m all caught up to February, I will try to get into the habit of filling in each day then sitting down on Sundays to do all of the decorating for the week, that was if I have photos I want to include, I have all of them ready while I decorate my spread. Right now, I’m really enjoying fill out my Memory Planner and I hope to have a stuffed planner by the end of the year to look back on!


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Friday, January 15, 2016
photo diary: chiang mai, thailand

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chiang mai, thailand
Chiang Mai was a nice break from Bangkok. We went up on an overnight train for a weekend before heading to Hong Kong, and while I wasn’t feeling too well (I had an allergic reaction to something, I don’t actually know what it was, but that’s another story entirely) I still managed to enjoy my time there. Chiang Mai is very small. We were able to walk from the train station to our accommodation near the city center and it only took 30 minutes. The “old city” as they call the city center is encased within the ruins of the old city walls and a moat that surrounds the city in a square. All of the main temples we ended up visiting are located within the old city. We stayed at Top Garden Guesthouse, just a block or so from the old city wall and it was great. The owners Victor and Thunya were super sweet and accommodating and I’ll definitely stay there again if I were to ever return to Chiang Mai.

We began our first full day with a delicious breakfast at The Cat House, which was located right across the road from our guesthouse. The food at The Cat House is amazing! Seriously, you can not go wrong with anything on the fairly small menu. Everything is delicious. We ended up having all our breakfasts there, as well as our final meal in Chiang Mai before we caught our overnight back to Bangkok. But for this breakfast I enjoyed a wonderful plate of French Toast made with their homemade bread topped with bananas and drizzled with honey. So good.

After breakfast we began our walk around the old city. Our goal was to try and visit as many temples as possible since there were so many. The temples that we managed to visit (that I know the names of) were Wat Lam Chang, Wat Chiang Mai, Wat Dab Phai, Wat Phrasingh, Wat Phantao, Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Dokkham. Unfortunately, I don’t recall which Wat was what, so this post will be brief and you can admire all the photos below. We just did a lot of walking and sightseeing before heading back towards our guesthouse to a small restaurant nearby that had 39 Baht Pad Thai. Along the way, we did get to walk down Rachadamnoen Road and check out a few of the more touristy shops. But after our late lunch, we decided to head back to our room and rest up before heading back to Rachadamnoen Road for the Sunday Night Market.

The Night Market was very crowded. I say if you ever find yourself with the opportunity to visit a night market in Chiang Mai, try to get there early, even though it’s best to experience it when it’s in full swing at night. But if crowds aren’t your thing, best to go early. It was still really cool though. This particular market catered to handcrafted, handmade goods. I was able to find a few nice gifts here. We didn’t stay long. After awhile all of the stalls seemed to be selling the same things and after trying some street food and grabbing some fruit shakes, we took a different side road back to our guesthouse.


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