Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December Daily 2013, The First Half

As I sit on my couch tonight, drinking hot cocoa and watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, thinking over the month, I realize how very blessed we are. My problems and stresses, that seem so insurmountable as I face them every day, pale in comparison to what so many in the world, even close friends and family, are facing right now. We have a home, car, food, steady job, and even toys under the tree. It's been a rough year, but because God is with us, Emmanuel has come, it's all worth it. Every tear, every doctor visit, every dirty diaper, every lonely day. I'm so thankful for my longsuffering, sweet husband, and for our three crazy, amazing boys. Merry Christmas!!

Not technically December, but our new elf's arrival (christened Twinkle Thomas) is certainly a big holiday event! This new tradition has been a huge hit.

More journaling on the back of the Countdown card. For our Advent "calendar" this year, I tucked journaling cards into little 3x4 linen bags that my friend stamped with numbers for me. Each day we did something fun, a craft, small gift, or activity. Often Twinkle Thomas got involved, appearing with a new craft (or tangled up in it!) some mornings.

Journaling tucked on the red card about how much I love my Hallmark ornament collection.

Please excuse the leftover sticky note! 

By far my favorite part of the month, the few days my parents flew in to visit! An early Christmas celebration, children's museum, Santa's Wonderland at the train museum, and more precious memories crammed into a short six days!

Our movie's done, three adorably pint-size bikes are put together and hidden away, gifts have been magically relocated under the tree, and Twinkle Thomas' goodbye letter is printed, wrapped in tinsel, and stowed behind the tree. After all the other presents are unwrapped, the boys will find his letter, which will lead them on a scavenger hunt to find the bikes! I am so excited I'm not even tired and it's way past my bedtime. Time to sleep and wake up to Christmas! It may be a day late, but my boys don't care and what's important is we're together and IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Merry Christmas :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Project Life, Weeks 42-43 and a double digi page

It's hard to believe I've completed over 40 weeks of this Project Life thing. I moved the huge album holding the first half of the year onto a shelf in our living room, and I love just seeing it there, knowing I have so many memories and little moments captured. My boys are growing and changing so fast I can't keep up, and being able to look back even a few months is precious. I really do love this project!
Now, on to the good stuff :)

Week 42

Quite a few digital cards and a couple tags made it onto this week's spread. Digital elements from Essential Everyday by Traci Reed and Studio Basic, and Seasons Change by Traci Reed and Kristin Cronin-Barrow. Paper supplies from Studio Calico, Gossamer Blue, Scraptastic, Cocoa Daisy, and more. 

Week 43

Week 43 was not a fun week to live through, but it was fun to scrap! The True Story cards and printables by Traci Reed were perfect for documenting both the good and bad parts of our week. The title card by Scraptastic matched the colors perfectly, and I just added a few wood veneer pieces here and there to finish it off. Love how cohesive the whole spread and insert are (contrary to my usual, throw-everything-I-love-together mishmash!). It was a hard week emotionally, but I'm glad I captured the details. I suppose we'll laugh about it all later, right?

Double Digi Page
Just for fun! I scrapped this two-pager with some of Traci Reed's Digital Scrapbook Day releases this past weekend! I'm so excited about Christmas, I turned on some Christmas music, poured myself a mug of hot cider, and dived headfirst into all the pretty holiday stuff. This is my first attempt pairing a "regular" page with a pocket-style page and I'm thrilled with how it turned out. May do more of these!

That's all I've got today, but I'll be back soon to share some of my 30 Days of Gratitude, Project Life-style. It's pretty much taking over November in my PL book!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Project Life, Weeks 39-41

Finally got all the photos printed so I could finish these weeks! Feels good to be caught up again, sorry about the long, image-heavy post. 
For Week 39, I chose to stick with mostly Scraptastic kit stuff. Although I didn't get any new kits for October due to budget reasons, I have plenty of leftovers from previous months to use up. I had barely cracked open Scraptastic's September This Life Noted kit. Since I had fewer pics this week, more of the fun cards made it onto the spread. 
I particularly love the little yellow tag I made by coloring the September kit tag stamp with gelatos, adding water, then stamping onto cardstock. It makes a pretty watercolor effect. 

Week 40 is a mix of Scraptastic This Life Noted and Gossamer Blue Life Pages kits from July-September. Got some more use out of my SC Woolf foodie stamp set (so glad I caved and bought that!). And I did something a little different this week, I was pretty short on photos plus I inserted my pages for the Big Picture Classes Pajama Party challenge in between Week 40 and 41, so instead of using a full two pages I used a page and a full insert for Week 40. After the insert comes those three special pages, then Week 41 picks up like normal on the backside of the last special project page.

The ampersand, flowers, and word stickers are leftover from my Maggie Holmes class kit from CKC. They don't really match the rest of the spread, but I just thought they were pretty :). Sometimes that's the only reason you need.

For Week 41 I returned to my good 'ole Studio Calico stash. I had bought the Marks & Co Project Life kit on a great sale for the BPC Pajama Party project, and the cards are really lovely. I actually used the back side of several cards I used in that special project for this week (I'll post those photos in a separate blog post so this one doesn't get totally out of control!). 
Gelatos again for some stamping on my title card - a little tricky to get the hang of, but I'm loving this technique. A couple diecuts a friend cut for me on her Silhouette, and a few little labels/stickers from Scraptastic and Gossamer Blue, plus my staple washi and glitter tape, and this week is in the bag. 


If you read any of the journaling you may catch on that this wasn't the best week in our life. Actually, it was one of the worst in recent months. Lots of sickness, things (including our car and Josh's wedding band) breaking, and general financial stress. Although I definitely mentioned all these things, I intentionally try not to let this album dwell too much on the negative. I want to remember the good times, the blessings in our lives. From the forest point of view, I want my Project Life album to convey a sense of family, togetherness, joy, and peace to my children when they look through it in the future. Even though we struggle through many weeks, even though sometimes I want to rant and rave across the page, the struggle is not what our life is about. Our life is about Jesus, about His power and provision, about our unity and togetherness in the face of trials. I try to strike a balance between portraying a realistic view and a, well, spiritually realistic view of our daily lives. 
And sometimes, it's just about recording what I want to remember, and not what I don't!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Project Life, Week 38

Between sickness, Week in the Life recovery (anyone just need a break from "documenting" after that intense week?!), and regular life stuff I fell a couple weeks behind in my Project Life album. I decided I really hate that feeling! I had also run out of photo paper at home and had to wait for a sale to print the photos I needed to catch up. Still waiting on a few, but I did finish Week 38.
This current week should be interesting to document, most of my family is sick, and we've had one calamity after another all week. From car to lawnmower, wedding ring to chair, things are breaking left and right. It's crazy! How do you document no-good-very-bad weeks? I'm not even sure I WANT to remember!
But moving on (or back?) to Week 38 now...

I chose to use mostly Gossamer Blue for this week, especially since I finally had an opportunity to use the travel-themed stuff from August's Life Pages kit. Josh graciously let me go to a CKC scrapbook convention Friday and Saturday, and it turned into quite the adventure! I ended up staying overnight in the hotel room of some ladies I met at the crop (not nearly as creepy as it sounds, I promise!) and we had a hilarious, fabulous time staying up way too late!

I really love that 4x4 Extraordinary Photo card - it was part of the printables for September's Life Pages kit (most of the stuff on the left side is from September's kit). Isn't that Traci Reed (who designs their printables, among other things) so talented?! 
I also figured out a way to use the cute 4x6 overlay. I think they're adorable but really struggle with actually using them in my spreads. If you have any ideas or examples, please share in the comments! 

Surprise! I hid an adorable photo of my boys, when they were actually being sweet to each other for .2 seconds instead of fighting, under that Extraordinary Ordinary Photo card! That pink tab is attached with a glue dot to the card and to the plastic page protector, letting the card flip up. Super simple.
And that's another week in the book! I'm waiting on a 99-photo order from Shutterfly to finish weeks 39 and 40 (most of those photos are for my son's baby album - I did not take 99 photos in 2 weeks!). Hopefully by early next week I'll have those weeks posted and be more or less caught up again!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Week in the Life 2013, September 9-15

I joined in again this year with Ali Edwards' Week in the Life project, even though I've been documenting our weeks through Project Life this year. I definitely went more in depth day by day this week, noting little bits of our day on Ali's daily sheets (found in her planning post) and loosely tracking our schedules. I designed my own daily summary cards, and jotted down the highlights from those daily sheets.
In addition to the cards I made, I used a hodge podge of cards and embellishments from Cocoa Daisy (coffee cards and stamp), Freckled Fawn, Studio Calico, Scraptastic, Gossamer Blue, and Basic Grey (alpha).
My favorite elements, though, came from a new digi kit by Traci Reed, Essential Everyday. I printed off several of the cards, and some tabs, word strips, and day of the week labels.

I started off strong on Monday and Tuesday, with one page and half an insert for each day. I tried to keep plenty of neutrals in my color scheme with (lots of) pops of color, especially orange and red. I'm no designer or color expert, but I like how the week turned out. It's visually busy and full, just like our lives! Also I intentionally went heavy on the photos and very light on the filler cards. 
That fun days of the week/number paper is from the Essential Everyday kit too. Definitely my favorite paper of the kit!

By Thursday and Friday, life was taking over again and I had less photos and just less to document. I used a couple "thing/environment" photos and combined these days on one page and insert. Please ignore that neon post-it tab, I use those to mark where I want photos to go as I plan my pages. They're easy to move around as I decide where everything will go. Guess I missed removing that one!


Saturday and Sunday each filled up one page with no inserts. I did tuck a little handout booklet behind that Lowe's card on Saturday, it was the instructions for the fire engine that Josh and Cai made. I got a little artsy and used my newly acquired Gelatos to smear some blue around that days of the week/numbers paper on the bottom right Saturday card. I also used Gelatos to sort of underline the "life is beautiful" phrase. It's a new medium for me, but definitely fun to use and add just a hint of color.
Sunday was a very light photo day, so I included a list of TV shows we're currently enjoying and a collage photo of the week's lists for the 30 Lists project I've been working on this month. I need to remember to use some of these filler ideas in my "normal" Project Life!

I'm definitely glad I did this project again. I will probably slip those daily pages into a page protector to keep them with the project, and I"m sure it'll be fun to look back and see how our daily routines, schedule, and activities change over time.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Project Life, Week 36

I finally got the last few photos printed from Riah's birthday for my week 36 layout. My baby is 2!!! Wow. I kept it simple with one of my favorite inserts, Design I, to include some Instagram and other photos I snapped during the day. I've been enjoying using the Rhonna Farrer app to add cute overlays, text, and designs to my photos right in the phone, which minimizes the time I spend editing on my computer each week. Some weeks I actually do all the editing and ordering prints from my phone - isn't technology amazing?! I do want to work on taking more DSLR pictures, though.

On the left side, I worked in a few little hybrid touches. The "letter b" collage is from the 365: Unscripted 3x4 collage cards, by Traci Reed, with a paper and letter from her recent collab Virtuoso. I printed that "Together is the best place to be" overlay (I think it's from my Studio Calico class) onto transparency paper. Paper products used include Studio Calico cards and that awesome Scraptastic "Feeling Like This" stamp. Plus my usual washi, veneer, and sequins :)

More hybrid here including the chalkboard card from Traci Reed's Mr. Mister cards, a Studio Calico freebie (polaroid picture), and the Rhonna Farrer app. And it's a little hard to see in the photo, but there's a days of the week overlay on the middle right journaling card. That's from Traci's 365Unscripted: 3x4 Transparencies 2 set. Next time I print transparencies I'll be sure to make the colors darker!
I wrote a short letter to Riah and tucked it in a little pocket behind his photo. I did the same thing for Avyn this year, and hope I remember to make that a tradition for each birthday now!

And here's the insert. I took several videos throughout the day to share with family who couldn't celebrate with us, and after some trial and error, managed to (hopefully!) create QR codes that link to those videos. I should probably test that...

Week 37 happens to be Ali Edwards' Week in the Life project, and I chose to participate again this year. I won't have it all finished until next week, but it will be several spreads and inserts. Basically I did it as a more in-depth Project Life style. I'm also still keeping up with 30 Lists, following along with Fat Mum Slim's photo a day on Instagram, and just started a class I won, Picture Everyday, at Big Picture Classes. Whew. Busy month for memory-keeping, but I'm loving it. Keeps my mind off the more depressing stuff of life, and I really need that right now.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

30 Lists, In the Middle

I intended to share my lists for the 30 Lists workshop weekly, but my computer's been having some health issues and it's been more or less out of commission the past couple weeks. I've finally got it patched up a bit, and now it's time to play catch-up with my blog. I'll also have Week 36 (?) of Project Life up in the next day or two. 
But today, my lists! I've been jotting them down every morning, in my few moments of peace before the kids wake up. I'm so glad I prepared my album and mini-kit ahead of time, I love having it all in that little bag and just flipping through it for the perfect journal card and maybe a sticker or sequin. I've kept the embellishing very minimal - I think the cards are pretty enough! After I finish my list, I snap a pic and post it to Instagram, where I usually end up browsing other participants' lists. Fun to see the different answers!

Day 1: What's new so far this year?

Day 2: Projects I'm working on

Day 3: Things younger me would like about current me (planning to add a selfie in the left pocket)

Day 4: Favorite time wasters

Day 5: Things I worry about
Day 6: Rules to break

Day 7: Today I see
Day 8: Childhood chores 

Day 9: Things that make me cry

Day 10: Memorable Gifts given and received

Day 11: Things my family taught me

Day 12: Things I love about this month

Day 13: Bad habits
Day 14: When Josh is home (adapted from the "weekend essentials" prompt)

Day 15: In my junk drawer

I've really enjoyed this workshop. I think I'll do it the next time around and just keep adding to this album, since it's loose-leaf. Or maybe add in other lists. Or whatever I feel like :).