It has been far too long since I posted a new Color Me Happy inspiration board! I love this series because it is makes me just so happy (corny, I know!). Recently, I’ve been attracted to all things gold, and in particular, anything with gold polka dots…or dotted with gold. What color or pattern has been making you happy recently? 


:: sources ::

*technology: mouse pad (diy by lovely indeed) | kate spade iPhone case
*bedroom: gold wall decals (found at house of fifty, sold by urban walls on etsy) | caitlin wilson textiles gold dot pillow (spotted in my office!)
*gifts: kate spade twirl perfume | accessory tray by the altered chain on etsy

… more color me happy inspiration: color me happy (pinterest board) and the color me happy series

p.s. thank you to the lovely meghan for serving as my graphic fairy and helping me create this magical color me happy board!


Jan 31

Quoted No. 29

image: original source unknown

… i found this quote while reading brene brown’s latest book, daring greatly (highly recommend, in addition to her other books!)

… more quotes in the quoted series and on the quoted pinspiration board

… i am so grateful for your support of two rubies (thank you, thank you, thank you)! if you haven’t already,you can “like” (i get giddy with each new like!) the facebook page and add yourself to the VIP list :)


ps. thank you for hanging in there as i try to balance my life as a phd student and launching two rubies (one day!) and blogging and simply being… (the list goes on!). i am so grateful for your support as i continue to dare greatly in uncharted waters :).


Welcome to this month’s Pen & Paper: Living Between the Lines written by the amazing Hope Wallace Karney. To learn more about Hope and the column, please check out this introduction post!

pen and paper: living between the lines

This month, I’m featuring Kari Ramstrom, an inspiration to anyone who journals life’s memories. You can see some of her previous journaling in the archives of her blog which she maintained for six years, Artsy Mama.

Kari writes about how she came to see the world through the lens of her camera:

I was born with a camera on my hip or at the very least, in my face. Throughout my childhood, my dad took hundreds of pictures of me and my sister. He documented all of our family adventures and they are all housed in dozens of photo albums.  My grandmother did a lot of genealogy and would make wonderful scrapbooks of family history with photos, letters and family stories. It seems to be in my blood to see the world through the lens of a camera and to share my own interpretation of it visually.

Kari begins to unite her journaling with her photography:

My journaling and my picture taking began as separate pursuits. I actively kept a diary and notebook journals with friends as early as elementary school. I also took lots of pictures that I kept separately in albums. Some of my college journals contained sketches, but it wasn’t until I kept a pregnancy journal in my early twenties that I began the marriage of photos and journaling together to document an important milestone in my life. I found it very inspiring to be able to share the physical changes I was going through in photos, along with my heartfelt thoughts about what was going on in my inner life.

After having my son, I continued on documenting in this way in his baby book and scrapbooks. I printed pictures on to fabric and made altered books depicting my “altered” state of mind of being a new mother. I began to incorporate images I was seeing in catalogs, magazines that fit with what I was wanting to journal about. The journals contained lots of everyday images about life as a mother of two and what we were going through. I wanted our story to be told and it felt natural to pair something visual along with a written account of our routines and adventures.

This also began to affect the types of photos I was taking. I took photos that weren’t just all smiles and posed special occasions, but that told a story and many times didn’t even have people in them. I photographed around the house and treasures that I would find at estate sales. It helped me to be less attached to these memories and material possessions. Many times if I had a photograph of something, that was enough, it wasn’t something that I needed to physically own. The photos don’t need to be perfect, they are part of the everyday stories and that certainly isn’t perfect. That’s what makes it authentic and deeply satisfying.

pen and paper with kari ramstrom

Q and A with Kari Ramstrom

What age did you start keeping a journal? I still have my “all about me” book I filled out when I was seven years old. My daughter loves to look through it! I then started keeping a journal notebook with friends in elementary school. Instead of passing notes, we would pass entire notebooks filled with juicy girlhood thoughts. I wrote in journals all through high school and college and still do today!

Who’s diary/journal (dead or alive) would you like to read? Drew Barrymore

Who have you suspected of reading your diary? Nobody, really.

What is your idea of the perfect journal? A binder or spiral bound with pretty scrapbook papers to get my creativity flowing.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse (in speech and/or writing)? Yay!

What quote most speaks to you? “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” The Buddha

Who (or what) inspires you? Nature, my kids, looking at scrapbooks and journals that I did over the years

Who is your favourite fictional character? Harriet the Spy

Who are your favourite writers? I love kids books, I read a lot of non-fiction and spiritual writing, Thich Nhat Hanh condenses heavy topics in beautifully simply ways

Which natural talent would you most like to be gifted with? To run very long distances without getting tired

pen and paper with kari ramstrom journaling

You can tell your story any way that you want. What’s important is that it’s being told. Grab a few photos and write something about what you remember, what you learned or simply what that picture means to you and you’ll be off to a good start! —Kari Ramstrom

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Welcome to this month’s Pen & Paper: Living Between the Lines written by the amazing Hope Wallace Karney. To learn more about Hope and the column, please check out this introduction post!

December is such an exciting month—a time for tradition, a time for celebrating with family and friends, and a time for wrapping up the year, and thinking of the one ahead.

For me, this will be the third year that I will create a December-Daily-#reverb-Hybrid journal. A bit wordy of a name, but a perfect union of two great ideas. Amongst the stacks of journals I’ve created over the years, these two are by far my favourites.

I loved the concept of Ali Edwards December Daily and making one brings me much joy. However, I do not have a huge family, or children, and find that the majority of my days in December may not reflect the holiday spirit (or much spirt at all beyond working in my home office in my pajamas past noon). Besides,  I already keep a daily journal, and my journaling in general leans more towards contemplative and analytical rather than documenting everyday life.

When I caught wind of #reverb10, that is when I had the idea to merge them (December Daily and #reverb10). I could make an art journal and record answers to reflective questions inside. Perfect.

To create a December Daily journal, you make a “day-page” for each day (some people only do it up to Christmas day, but I do the entire month), before the month starts. Once you’ve created all the pages and assembled your journal, you are all ready to go! In December, all you need to do is the journaling for that particular day and add it in—making it easy to keep up with all month long.

December Daily Origins

Back in 2007, Ali Edwards posted about how she wanted to create a journal all set to go for the month of December so she could easily add words and photos to the album during the busy festive month. She shared her pages daily, and it grew into December Daily.

Now it has a huge following, and you can find lots of inspiration across the internet (and places like pinterest) to help get  you started. The main idea is to make the journal before December starts, then record each day as it unfolds.

#Reverb Origins

Back in 2010, three woman, Gwen BellKaileen Elise, and Cali Harris started what they named #reverb10. It was a prompt a day throughout December, delivered via email to help you reflect on the year and manifest what was to come in the upcoming year. The questions came from 31 different people across the web.

It was amazing. I used my first December Daily journal to respond to each of these prompts.

Closing in on December 2011, the #reverb10 team sent out an email saying that for 2011, they were not hosting it again, and gave steps on how anyone, and everyone, could host their own #reverb11. So many people took up the torch—and I am hoping the same will happen again for #reverb12.

Both Carolyn and myself will be hosting #reverb12 prompts, and I urge you to google for other people to support them as well.

December Daily Alternatives

Merging a December Daily and #reverb into one journal project perfectly suits my needs; however, this may not work for you, so I do have some other ideas that may help.

  • Every day, recall a memory from December past. You could do it from when your kids were small, or when you yourself were small. By the end of the month you will have 31 fond holiday moments to reread year after year.
  • Instead of writing something daily, add a photo from the past… try doing it as a childhood album. Focus half the month on your childhood holidays and then the other half on your kids. This can be split up several ways—you could do some for you and your spouse, or if you have several kids, divide the days up between them.
  • Focus on the year—for every month, pick out two fun things you did and document them. This exercise will get you through 24 days (and remember you can tell it from your viewpoint or a family members, or both). For the remaining 7 days—think of things, one for each day, you would like to do in 2013.
  • Make it a wishlist of things you want for 2013. Each day think think of something you want to obtain, accomplish or experience in 2013—and journal, add photos, etc .for each day. Refer to it often to help manifest these things for yourself over the coming year.

Getting Started

… Follow along with me for 2012 HERE

… To see more of my December-Daily-#reverb-Journals you can explore them on my blog (2010, 2011) or on flickr (2010, 2011).

… Join Carolyn’s facebook group for Reverb HERE (blog post with prompts for 2012 coming soon!).

… To see Carolyn’s 2011 prompts visit HERE.


… See all of Hope’s Pen and Paper Posts here


On this last day of October, a simple reminder to let go of the need to be rational all the time. Let yourself think outside the box, get creative, and above all—be impractical. Life is far more fun when you begin to let go of the play-it-safe mentality!

image: original source unknown