Life Lived with Intention and Simplicity // Marcy Penner

Life Lived with Intention and Simplicity // Marcy Penner

My name is Marcy Penner and I am super excited to share my analogue system with you through Baum-Kuchen's Love for Analogue series!

I'm a simple girl living in a white farmhouse in the Canadian prairies with my husband and three kids. On any given day you can find me homeschooling our two youngest, tending to our yard/farm and home, and documenting our day. I'm deeply passionate about my home (including the people in it) and my life in the country. In being purposeful with my actions. About documenting everyday moments and nurturing creativity every day, even in small doses.
Simply put, it's all about living an intentional and simple life. It's a philosophy that rings true to me in life and on paper.
I may strive to live a simple life, but that doesn't mean that's always a reality. Aside from the privilege of teaching my children I also have a lot of other things on my plate on a day to day basis. I design paper crafting supplies for Studio Calico (under the name Hello Forever/Goldenwood Co.). Papers, stamps, stickers and more... it's so much fun to see things I create go from idea to product. I won't lie... it's also a blast to get to play with them in real life! In addition to graphic design, I also create projects/inspiration for Studio Calico and Kerri Bradford Studio as well as teaching creative classes over at Big Picture Classes (with some focused on travelers notebooks coming in the new year). Back in the day, I acquired my teaching degree so I'm pleased to find it has come into play both in homeschooling AND in my creative life. In addition to all these obligations, I also satisfy my desire for simple planning by creating and selling planning printables for notebooks over on my website Goldenwood Co.

It's a full life but a good one.

Looking back, my childhood was always full of creativity! My great-grandfather was a toy maker, my grandmother a painter. I was surrounded by it. From candle-making and bookbinding to photography and scrapbooking, I've dabbled in many “crafts” while even turning some of them (like photography) into careers. My current creative efforts veer more into real life and the everyday. I've become obsessed with gardening and interior design and look forward to Spring when I can get my dream garden going. There's always a project in the works it seems.
Creatively I think I'm most excited about incorporating the things that have been inspiring me in interior design and nature onto my future projects. A looser approach to design. More carefree. Simple. Muted. Organic. Grounded. Woody and natural. 
I love white space when I'm creating and designing. Simple typography and design are timeless. 
Unfortunately, with a busy life comes only small pockets of available time to create. Even still I feel it's important to make the time for that to happen. If I only have a small amount of creative time available I'll jump right into my notebook. Drawing, writing, planning.

Sometimes just the act of picking up a pen and paper and scribbling for a bit is enough. Lately, I've been intrigued by old notebooks... those from Einstein, DaVinci and the likes. Scrawled writing and random ideas just jammed together with no concern over being written in the “right” notebook or being organized in a certain way.
On a larger scale, I find that my joys are seasonally based. In summer I adore working in my garden and photography. When I can't be outside (which in Canada means from about November to April) I love to scrapbook and paint. Right now I'm working on a little studio refresh in anticipation of some cold winter nights with more free time to play!
I resonate with analogue and as a result, my analogue system is my third arm. It's my “what one thing would you take with you on a deserted island?”. I'm totally lost without my notebook.
It's the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing at night. It's my place to plan, to document, to create... it's my everything.
I'm thrilled to see a resurgence of analogue in this digital world. To me, the act of writing just goes along with my whole “keep it simple” mantra.

One of my most treasured possessions is a slip of paper belonging to my grandmother. It has a sketch for a painting idea on one side and a little grocery list on the other. Nothing momentous. Probably something meant for the trash that just got overlooked. But to me, it's so much more. It's a glimpse into her life. A peek at a mundane moment of her day. 
It's tangible and real. It's a moment frozen in time.
It instantly takes me back to my childhood and moments spent in her home and garden, drawing and exploring. It's this rush of memories and the ability to freeze time that draw me towards an analogue life!

Since high school, I've been the girl with the planner. Always the thick daily one. I'd write out my whole day, add stickers, journal... the whole thing. I'd have a planner for scheduling, a notebook for drawing, another for journaling and so on and so on. And then I discovered the Travelers Notebook. It looked just like my dad's old beat up leather wallet that I adored and thought told a million stories. I was sold right away. It didn't take long before I became obsessed with the simplicity of my notebook and realized that it could do it all. It's so customizable and adaptable! I think that's one of the reasons I love my Traveler's Notebook so much! 
Over the last few months, I've been a little unsettled with my system. Nothing major had happened in my life to necessitate any kind of change in my setup, yet I felt the pull to simplify my notebook even more than it already was. I analyzed exactly what I was carrying... what was important and what wasn't.
I've been playing with different setups, all the while slowly realizing that the ability to change my system to reflect where I was in my life was a beautiful thing. It's okay to not be sure of what I needed. It was alright (in fact ideal) for my setup to tell me what it needed to be and for me not to force it to be something I didn't need. So for right now, I'm allowing my system to develop organically. I think this will be key for me as I finish out the year and look ahead to the coming year. Will it change in a month? Maybe. But that's okay. I'm all for letting go and letting it be.
So, with that said, here's what I have in my Camel Travelers Notebook right now with a hope that the concept of simplicity translates into my life as well.

| Monthly Calendar | 
This is my planning must-have. I use my monthly planner mostly for future planning and reference it consistently throughout the month. Usually, I don't have more than one or two things that are date sensitive, so a monthly calendar works perfectly for me.

| All-in-One Notebook | 
My current system features just one notebook for ideas, notes, simple memory keeping... whatever. A catchall for everything. So far this has been working great for me! I don't have to stress about what I'm writing/documenting where. Everything is in one place. Right now I actually have two notebooks in place... one that's just about full and another waiting in the wings to take its place. I'm considering then just moving the full one to the back of my notebook until I'm sure there's nothing in it that I need to migrate over to my new one.

| Kraft Folder | 
Around my monthly calendar, I utilize a kraft folder. In here I have that little piece of paper of my granny's, some lists (right now a cleaning schedule and a holiday to-do list), some inspiration collages, some family photos, a couple scraps of paper, etc.

| Additional Analogue Goodies | 
Some crossword puzzles slipped under an elastic, a zipper insert (from BK/Soft Goods 1.61) when I want my notebook to double as my wallet.
This past year I have fallen in LOVE with fountain pens. I currently carry the Travelers Factory fountain pen (which I love) as well as a pencil alongside my notebook

In addition to printing my own planner here are a couple more ways I like to personalize my

| Tabs and folders | 
I like to add my own tabs where I can and create my own folders. Currently, I have a homemade kraft folder around my monthly notebook and pieces of patterned paper around my two extra notebooks. 
| Washi strip sheet | 
I use a thin sheet of plastic or vellum around my last notebook. Here I keep little bits of washi tape that I can peel off easily when I need some. It beats carrying around an entire roll (or two)!
Other than that I consider the entire contents of my notebook to be personalized. I love how each Travelers Notebook is a reflection of the person using it. The core contents can be totally the same but each notebook takes on the personality of the user and, as a result, no two are the same!

A pretty notebook is great! But I also need my notebook to function. I need to stay organized to keep everything I'm juggling going smoothly and for me to make the most of my time. This requires a little bit of time on a consistent basis to get my week planned before I get to the fun stuff (like memory keeping and journaling). The following is a little peek at my routine.
I generally add to my monthly calendar as things come up, usually in pencil until it gets closer to that date and is confirmed. Every Sunday I sit down and look at the week ahead and write down my tasks for the week. My days are usually pretty light as far as a set schedule goes but heavy on the “tasks to accomplish” side. As a rule, I make my daily task list the night before and add to them throughout the day.
I'll also jot down random things/memories/plans in my notebook and lightly embellish as I go through the day. It's really just a big mash-up of my life. Schedule, tasks, ideas, thoughts... it's all me. It's recorded and that's the important part. Admittedly journaling is still a challenge for me. I'm trying to let go of the idea that my journaling has to look perfect. A work in progress for sure.
Overall, I can pretty much guarantee that my 2018 system will be very similar to what I'm using now. It has worked great in 2017 and I'm really excited about the changes I've implemented and how they've been working this last little while. It's really freeing to just carry the essentials on a day to day basis.
Throughout the past year, I've come to realize that change is just part of life and it's a process that I'm learning to embrace.
I have grown to treasure the opportunity to take a look at real life and evaluate how my notebook can complement and enrich it. 
To craft a system that reflects me and my life right now. To slow down and to keep life and paper simple, intentional and real. And that's just the way it should be.

Where to find Marcy:
Instagram: @goldenwoodfarm
Studio Calico " Hello Forever / Goldenwood Co."
Big Picture Classes
Goldenwood, Co.

1 comment

  • Kaori: August 09, 2018
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    What a beautiful piece of writing! She so beautifully captured the joy and essence of journaling and having an analogues system that fits your life style. A lot of what she wrote resonated with me and kindly reminded me that it is okay to be flexible with your system. I can see myself coming back to this post whenever I feel lost or have doubts about my analogue approach to life. Very nice! Thank you!

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