Monday, January 28, 2013

Simple Cards

Just a little preview of an upcoming project. :)
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Project Life 2012: Weeks 13 & 14

  {Supplies: August 2012 Studio Calico Kit and printable files)


This layout combined two very boring weeks in our lives. Sometimes, that just happens, I guess.

Right now, I'm working on catching up on the 2012 album. I'm into July now, which is awesome, but I have a few special events in May and June that aren't really done yet. I was really excited to learn that you can take screen captures on the iPhone 4s, so I'm planning to work in some prints of text messages in the November and December layouts - and all future layouts.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Currently: 1.23.13

Drinking: Seagram's Key Lime Seltzer Water
Eating: Freeze Dried Strawberry Slices
Listening: Lenka Station on Pandora
Wearing: Fleece. Winter has arrived in ATL.
Reading: iMessages. Trevor and Rachel both text frequently while they are flying.
Feeling: Stuffy. Disappointed that this sinus headache will hamper my productivity all day today.
Weather: Sunny, but chilly.
Wanting: To work! The only sub calls have been coming too late in the morning for me to pick them up. 
Needing: To clean the office and buy groceries...and plan a menu for the next week.
Wishing: I hadn't watched both Netflix discs yesterday. I would have gotten more done at home and I would have had one to watch today.
Thinking: About our next trip(s). Making at least one in February, probably two, but possibly three. And another in March. And definitely one in April. And July. And August. Love this crazy airline life!
Enjoying: Being caught up on my 2013 Project Life! I know this won't last long, so I'm enjoying it while I can.
Loving: The flexibility of being a substitute teacher, knowing this might not last much longer (God willing).

Inspired by Amy Tan, who was inspired by Tina Azmus.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Project Life 2012: Week 12

This is a fairly photo intense post about week 12 from last year's album. This is one that I put together fairly quickly after the week it showcases, but for whatever reason, I never shared it here. I thought this might be a good one to share because I included an insert featuring our DC day trip on Sunday, March 18.

{Supplies: Studio Calico May 2012 Scrapbook kit, Studio Calico star stickers, Studio Calico Stepping Stone Alphabet & Number stamp sets, brown chipboard alphabet from Studio Calico August 2011 Scrapbook kit, Studio Calico PL Adventure stamp set (word "week"), brown ink from Stampabilities, blue ink by Hero Arts, green ink by Jenni Bowlin, October Afternoon Mini Market Stickers}

I used the same paper here because it was a pair of related photos and journaling cards. Normally, I like to mix it up a bit more than this, though.

This might be one of the most simple title cards I've put together, but it's also one of my favorites. I have a bunk of those little labels stamped in several colors and pre-cut to go in Project Life or other scrapbook projects. It's so handy to have them ready to go!

Yes, that is Newt Gingrich in my Project Life album! My sister was at a conference in DC, but Sunday was a scheduled day off to sight see on her own, so she asked if Trevor and I would fly up for the day. We were fortunate to see wide open flights each way, so we made the trip early that morning and came back on the second to last flight back to Atlanta that evening. We met up with my college friend, Jeff Strauch, who was living in DC at the time. We basically saw all the monuments and the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. The cherry trees were in full bloom, so we spent a lot of time walking along the Tidal Basin - which is where we spotted Newt and Calista Gingrich out for a "casual Sunday stroll" - in suits and followed by a throng of reporters! Can you say, "publicity stunt?"


I'm not sure there will ever be another layout so appropriate for the "Jet Set" stamp as this one!
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Project Life 2013: The Basic Supplies

This is a run-down of what I use, broken down by how complex you want to make your album. I have used everything listed here, though you can certainly get by with far less than that!

If you want the absolute basics:

  • a D-ring album. I use the linen-covered binders from American Crafts, but We R Memory Keepers also makes similar leather albums you can purchase at Target!
  • Page protectors with slots. I highly recommend getting a Big Pack of Design A from the Becky Higgins/Project Life store on Amazon. If they are out of stock, you can get smaller packs with 12 page protectors for about $7 (I actually got two packs of the $7 set to start with for 2013).
  • Project Life grid cards. They are a simple, clean design that works with just about anything. The grid is printed in the palest shade of grey, so it's very subtle, and you can use the cards horizontally or vertically.
  • Other 3x4 inch  journaling cards to add color, if you'd like.
  • 4 x 6 inch title cards. You can order plain cardstock cards from the Becky Higgins store on Amazon.
  • Or you can skip the previous three and just order a Project Life core kit, but I've never actually done that! 
  • Good journaling pens. I like the American Crafts Precision pens and the ultra fine point Sharpie pens. 
  • Something to put your materials in. I use some metal buckets from Target for my basic supplies. I bought them in the "Dollar Spot" for $2.50 about a year ago.

If you want to kick it up a notch:

  • a paper trimmer. This lets you make straight, clean cuts if you want to cut down a photo or card.
  • scissors let you do some fun things, like selectively trim your papers or cards to remove or highlight elements of the design.
  • stamps and neutral inks. I love using acrylic stamps, mostly from Studio Calico, to add the day or date to my journaling cards. I also have pre-stamped a few journaling cards with some of the Studio Calico border stamps from my kits, too.
  • a rolling date stamp. Just like they use at library! I got mine from the Studio Calico March 2012 kit, and it has definitely gotten its use! It's one of just a few stamps I don't keep with the kit it came in.
  • Small punches are a great way to add a little something extra to a card or photo. I frequently use a small airplane punch on cards that detail our travel itineraries or Trevor's work as a pilot.
  • Cardstock and patterned papers let you create your own customized cards. I use these for my 4x6 inch title cardsmost of the time.
  • letter stickers. I love Tiny Type from Cosmo Cricket and Mini Market from October Afternoon for adding small titles or captions to my cards and photos in Project Life. I like using Thickers for my title cards, though they can add a lot of extra bulk to the album.
  • Decorative tapes are a great, flat embellishment to add a little pop to your cards. You can get them just about anywhere right now. I picked up about a dozen rolls at Michael's last week for about $1 a piece, and you can also find some in the office supplies at Target. These are on the low end, though. You can pay upwards of $8 for authentic washi tape from Asia. My ultimate pick, however, is Freckled Fawn tapes. The tapes range from $4-6 and they have a ton of cute styles.
  • Small labels make a great home for embellishments or a simple stamp or sticker showing the day of the week. There are tons of options for labels, too. You can find label stickers, label-shaped stamps and punches, or even printable labels that you print and cut yourself. I like the printable labels from Studio Calico because they match my monthly kits AND if I want, I can set up my Silhouette to cut out the whole sheet for me! I haven't actually been successful with this yet, but I was attempting to do it before I took an online class on how to use my Silhouette.
  • printables. I touched on these briefly when I discussed the labels, but there is so much more available! Studio Calico has journaling cards and decorative elements you can download for about $4 a set each month with their kits. Geralyn Sy creates tons of cute, themed printables you can use in Project Life. There are some freebies on the Project Life website, as well as tons throughout the internet. Pinterest is a great place to start your search.

If you want to go all out:

  • An assortment of flat embellishments
  • chipboard pieces
  • wood veneer
  • border punches
  • a diecut machine like the Silhouette Cameo or the Cricut
  • Additional page protector styles. Project Life has a ton you can choose from, but We R Memory Keepers also has a pretty awesome selection of slotted page protectors you can use, too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Project Life 2012: Weeks 10 & 11

I won't be sharing every layout from my 2012 Project Life, but as I work on catching up, I'm going to share some of my favorites here and there until I run out! Today, I'm showing you weeks 10 & 11. I chose these two because they are both one page spreads. Since the design team blogs are more about two page spreads with extra inserts, I thought some of you might benefit from seeing some one page layouts.

{Supplies: Studio Calico December 2011 Kit, October Afternoon Mini Market Letters}


{Supplies: May 2012 Studio Calico Kit, Studio Calico chipboard stickers from August 2011 kit, foam Thickers by American Crafts, date stamps from March 2012 SC kit, green ink by Jenni Bowlin, blue ink by Hero Arts}
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Saturday, January 5, 2013

What I made with my Studio Calico December Kits

In December 2012, I got:

  • The scrapbook kit
  • The card kit
  • Kris Kringle Add-On
  • Penn Station Add-On (free through a special offer when I purchased the card kit)
  • Herald Square Add-On (free through the same special offer - a happy surprise in the package since I didn't order this one!)
  • Printables
  • Cut files
Would you like to guess what I have made so far?

If your guess was, "Not a darn thing. It's December and you had a full-time job, the holidays, and travel," you would pretty much be right.

I did pull the gold Pow paper out of the main kit and used the Geometrees cut files on a Project Life layout, so the kits didn't go entirely unused. Here's hoping I get the chance to come back to them soon!

Also, here's hoping I do a better job with my January kits, which should be arriving on Monday. I am now getting the Project Life kit in addition to the scrapbook kit, so I think the whole Project Life thing will go more smoothly AND I should still have enough full sheets left to actually make traditional layouts and cards, too!

What I Made with my Studio Calico {Month} Kits will be a recurring series on roughly the first or second Saturday of each month. The posts will detail what I made with the previous month's Studio Calico kits. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Thoughts on Project Life, one year in


In 2009, I tried to do whatever that first version was - the version Creating Keepsakes sold in very limited supply and eventually made available as a free printable download for the many, many people who couldn't purchase the kit.

I started on March 1. I thought it would be the perfect year to document. At that point, I was just under five months away from getting married and moving from North Dakota to Atlanta. Documenting the move, the wedding, and our newlywed life seemed like a great way to fill up an album.

By March 15th, I had lost interest. I took pictures of my keys, my books, my magazines, everything...but I was living alone for a few more months, and the idea of continuing this project even that long seemed crazy. I toyed with re-starting it on our wedding day with our wedding and honeymoon photos, but when we came back to Atlanta, life was too unsettled for any regular scrapbooking. I think it was nearly three months before I scrapbooked anything again, and that was only because I was invited to a crop by a group I had found online.

I toyed with the idea of trying again in 2010. By then, we were newlyweds living in Atlanta, and I had more interest in documenting the pre-kids years of our lives. Trevor was around more, we were traveling more...but I didn't really like the plain, simple versions available at the time. I decided it wasn't the project for me, even though I loved the idea.

Same story with 2011.

But 2012 was different. During 2011, I started seeing lots of great stuff pop up on blogs. These awesome Project Life albums incorporated other items that elevated it from simply 7 photos + 7 journaling cards + a title card for each week. People were using items from their stash instead of the pre-printed core kits, and they weren't taking a photo every day. Some people combined a few weeks or even a full month on their layouts, making the project seem more manageable than it had before.


I jumped in head first. In December 2011, I went through my paper stash and chose a number of patterned papers that would work well as journaling cards, and I sliced them into 3x4 inch rectangles for journaling. I pulled out anything else I thought would work. I pulled out my slotted page protectors that would work well enough until I could get the official Project Life page protectors.

I did really well for the first few weeks. My focus was on just getting it done. I usually sent a week's worth of photos to CVS or Target and tried to complete the full week in one sitting. This worked pretty well until February came around. At that point, life got busy. We went to Chicago. My mom and grandma came to visit, and ten days later, I started a long-term sub job that lasted from the end of February to the middle of April. It's okay, I told myself. I'll catch up over the summer.

But I didn't.

I was busy going to weddings, bridal showers, and bachelorette parties from April 21 to September 15. There were four weddings, two bridal showers, a bachelorette party, four or five house guests, and a horrible six week bout of laryngitis caused by allergies. I was sick, tired, and just worn out. I am only now catching up with the summer months.

What Worked:

  • The weekly layout format is definitely my favorite. If I combined weeks, I feel like I was cramming too much into it. I'd rather keep each week separate and fill the extra slots with decorative elements, even if it's just a piece of pretty cardstock.
  • Making time to work on it each week. One evening a week is really all that's needed. I just need to give myself permission to take that one night a week, no matter what.
  • Using the Project Life page protectors. These were so much easier to use than the ones I bought from Hobby Lobby that didn't have the slots for the smaller journaling cards.
  • Giving myself permission to miss a day of photos. I don't need to take a photo of something inconsequential, like a pen or to-do list, if nothing happened that day. Seriously. My kids aren't going to care in 50 years that I had a favorite note pad that I used for six months in 2013. 
  • Letting myself combine weeks (even though it isn't my favorite approach) definitely helped me get it done.
  • Using bigger journaling cards to show what happened when there weren't photos. Sometimes, a journaling card detailing our travel itinerary was a better indication of what we did that day than a photo of the airport or an airplane or our luggage could ever be. 
  • Project Life grid cards. These little cards were a serious life saver some weeks because they can be horizontal or vertical, they are easy to embellish, and they are the perfect size for the slots in the Project Life page protectors. 
  • Studio Calico kits. The coordinated papers, decorative tapes, smaller embellishments, die cuts, and stamps usually found their way into my Project Life album pretty quickly. I am really excited that I got a subscription to their Project Life kit, though, because I really miss being able to use my kits for making regular scrapbook layouts!

What didn't work:

  • The page protectors from Hobby Lobby. Ugh. They were too wide for the Project Life cards I ordered in February, so those cards slid around a ton. I ended up switching to all Project Life page protectors once they arrived with the grid cards because they fit together so well.
  • My pre-cut, homemade journaling cards didn't fit the smaller pockets in the Project Life page protectors! I didn't know until they arrived that the pockets are slightly narrower than three inches, so I actually cut my journaling cards to 2 7/8" by 4" now. 
  • Trying to do a month's worth in one sitting. Yes, I tried it, and no, it doesn't work well at all. The same goes for ordering a month's worth of prints at once.
  • Letting myself get behind.
  • Letting myself skip taking pictures for more than a couple days.
  • Mixing up page protector sizes. This is something I want to work on this year. I like the idea of mixing them, but it creates a problem for the following week because you lock yourself into using a certain format when you mix up the page protectors. Design A is definitely my favorite, but design G found its way into my scrapbook a lot, too. Not so much the other designs - likely because they are so different and are so hard to work with a week later. 

Goals for 2013:

  • Take more photos.
  • Stay on track. If I get off track, move ahead to the current week and work back when I get the chance.
  • Experiment with print sizes, Instagram prints, iPhone prints, and screen captures.
  • Use my Silhouette to create more custom, flat embellishments.
  • Use my sewing machine! It's been in a box for literally years because I just have it for sewing on paper. I need to use it or get rid of it.

What worked for you in 2012? What would you do differently in 2013? Do you have any other questions about Project Life? I'm planning to do this as a series, posting a few lengthy posts throughout January about how I approach Project Life, and I'd love to include your feedback.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Goals

1. Create meals based on what's on hand until we run out of food. This saves us time, space, and money, and it makes us be creative.

2. Approach scrapbooking the same way. Purchase with intention, and don't be seduced by pretty colors or low prices.

3. Get organized by reducing the contents of our home. The less we have, the less time we need to spend organizing and cleaning.

4. Be active. Walk or run or dance thirty minutes a day, every day.

5. Work on building up relationships.

6. Read books, and lots of them. Hopefully, 30, but I'll be glad to complete 24.

7. Read the Bible all the way through this year. I say it every year, but with an iPhone app, I think I have a better chance of succeeding this year.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Little Word: 2013


  [pur-puh s-fuh l]  Show IPA
having a purpose.
determined; resolute.
full of meaning; significant.

My word for 2013 came to me this morning as I was lying in bed. I had already chosen another word, and I had even shared it on Twitter. However, something made me realize that purposeful meant the same as the other word, but it literally added meaning to the definition. 

Over the past three and a half years, I've sort of floated from job to job, never finding a full-time teaching job. It is tough to find meaning in your life when you are basically just doing "odd jobs." Seasonal employment rarely uses your full mental capabilities, and long-term sub jobs usually don't give you a lot of creative control over your teaching methods or subject matter. 

But the thing is, if I am going to wait for something else to give my life meaning, it will never happen. If teaching is what gives my life meaning, will I feel meaningless each summer? Maybe. So maybe I need to find a better way to give my life meaning.

This is where purposeful comes in. It means living my life with purpose and determination. It means finding my purpose, my significance, in 2013. There is more to life than work, and my goal is to live a purposeful, fulfilling life without full-time employment. This adds a challenge to the process because it means I will be completing these tasks on a limited income. However, living frugally is an important virtue, so I'm looking forward to doing these tasks on a limited income!

My initial goal is to focus on one purpose of life each month through the end of the year. My January purpose is spirituality. On February 1, I'll update you on what I did to be purposeful in my spiritual life and how I feel the project went, as well as share what my February purpose will be. My hope is that spending a month focusing on each purpose will turn the purposes into habits, and they won't simply fall away on the first of the following month, when I start to focus on something else. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

Even years seem to be my best years. 2012 was an exception. It wasn't good, it wasn't simply was. Here's hoping that this mediocre year will give way to an exceptionally wonderful year - even if it is an odd year.