April Stories

So so many stories about April. As I sat down to begin working with the April Digital Kit by Ali Edwards, I looked through my pictures and started a list of all the things that have happened so far this month. It’s loooooong. A lot of them are just little stories about everyday life right now that will be a perfect fit for our Project Life album. And there’s a few that have my heart and deserve a bit more attention. This month, I chose to make 2 hybrid layouts with the April Digital Kit to tell those longer stories.

Easter morning. Our day started at 3:58 am. I imagine that one day it will be a struggle to get these guys out of bed in the morning, but that day seems pretty far away with these two early birds. The design for this layout was completely inspired by a super talented scrapbooker, Steffi Ried. I’ve seen her work in the Studio Calico gallery, on Pinterest and Instagram and it just takes my breath away. My version really doesn’t do her’s justice, and I’d highly recommend you go check it out for yourself 🙂

I loved the egg shaped chipboard pieces in the digital kit! I repeated the shape with my pictures and organized the shapes to create a frame around my title (digital stamp). Just this morning, Emily was looking at a video on my phone from Easter morning and even if the mornings are early, the excitement from these two almost makes it worth it. Almost.

Easter Monday. The kids and I had the day off. We took our time getting up and going on this wonderfully lazy day, but we definitely did not waste the day away. We packed up their scooters and kites, made a picnic lunch and headed to the Bayfront park for the afternoon. It was seriously the best day, and I knew I wanted to remember it with a big photo and a scrapbook layout the moment we got home.

The design for this page was inspired by the new collection of 2017 Week in the Life Digital Templates. There are a variety of sizes available, but I stuck with the 8.5 x 11 template here. I print and cut the title from the template onto matte photo paper and popped it up off the page with foam dots. I also used those egg shaped chipboard pieces from the April Digital kit, but cut them into kites instead. And a little bit of colourful stitching to make our kite tails. This is a fun one, and I’m so happy to have this story in my album.

In other news, I’ve got a new class that just started over at Big Picture Classes all about Hybrid Pocket Pages! It’s perfect for beginners and people who want to learn how to use digital products to make hybrid projects like the ones I share here in this space. It’s the first one in a series of what will hopefully be 3 classes this year. LOTS of videos detailing my process from beginning to end (with a focus on pocket pages for this round, not just the usual weekly Project Life format). I’d love to have you join me over in the classroom 🙂

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

March Stories

I’m having a hard time believing that April is just one week away. Seriously. March has flown by, so I thought I’d share a few of the projects I made this month for Ali Edwards’ Creative Team.

March is a big birthday month for us! Liam and Brett’s birthdays are just 4 days apart. I haven’t made a page yet about Liam’s birthday (which was awesome and crazy and busy), but I did jot a few things about how we celebrated Brett’s big day this year. This hybrid 8.5 x 11 layout came together with the March digital kit. I enlarged the “march stories” digital stamp (definitely one of my favourite pieces from the collection) to make the background here.

LOVED how excited Liam and Emily were about his birthday 🙂 They gave him lots of love that day, sharing the Pikachu birthday pin, insisting that they both sit beside him for meals, and letting everyone know everywhere we went “today’s my dad’s birthday!”

Right after birthdays, March break started. We wound up with the first big snow fall of the whole winter and I was so excited to take the kids sledding! This is a 2 page 6×8 hybrid layout, inspired in part by this awesome design I came across on Pinterest.

Super simple but pretty much perfect. I enlarged this 3×4 card from the March Digital kit to 4×6 and attached it to the oversized 12×8 photo with a few pieces of washi tape.

This month’s Story Kit theme is Eat! And it totally stumped me at first. (crazy right) There’s got to be a million stories that relate to this topic, but it took me a while to realize that the one I wanted to tell most was this little snapshot about what dinner time looks like these days. It’s not at all glamorous. In fact, just the other day the words “no more fart noises at the table unless they’re coming from your but” were spoken. For real. I used the digital plastic circles, the title from one of the journaling cards, and you might be able to very faintly spot the story notepad in the background of the journaling page to create this 2 page 8.5×11 layout. And those little utensils are my FAVOURITE!! In the physical kit, they’re wood veneer pieces, but you can print/cut any colour you like from the digital elements. As stressful as dinner time feels most days, I’m truly thankful for the time we get to spend together. And now I’ve got LOTS more story ideas for this theme. Looking forward to working on those in the coming weeks.

Hoping to spend some time catching up with our Project Life album again in the next few weeks! Thanks so much for stopping by today 🙂

Week In the Life 2017

Anyone else planning to play along with Ali Edwards’ Week in the Life™ this year? I’ve been joining in every year since 2011 with varying degrees of “success”.  I don’t have a completed album for every year, but participating anyway has resulted in some of my most favourite photos in the history of ever, and that alone is a good enough reason!! My goal for this year is to be more on top of the “real time” journaling, jotting down some of the little conversations that happen around here on a daily basis, and expanding a bit more on the facts and feelings that go along with the stuff of life.

We’ve been incredibly lucky as part of the Creative Team to get to play with this year’s kit and a few of the new Week in the Life™ products! Here’s what I’ll be working with this year (in addition to the digital products, anticipated to be released in April):

Last year’s album is one of the one’s that didn’t get completed. I’ve got hundreds of time stamped photos from the week, but very little journaling about the specifics of what was going on at the time. I’ve been spending some time this week looking back at those photos and printing them out to play around with this year’s kit. Every time I do that, I find the pages come together so easily and find myself wondering why it felt like such a huge job at the time! It gets me motivated to go back and finish it up.

Here’s what some of those pages are looking like (and why I’m really wanting to buy a second kit):

First of all, those wood veneer days of the week, LOVE THEM!!! I’d buy and hoard several packages if they were available individually. The colours in this year’s kit are seriously a perfect blend of classic neutrals and fun pops of rainbow colours. The font used in the big chipboard alpha is lovely. Super clean lines and sized approximately 2×3 for a perfectly centred fit in the 3×4 pockets. I’ve always loved full page 6×8 photos, and the gigantic days of the week acetate die cuts (sized around 4×6) are a really fun addition to the kit this year!I’m just not sure if I’ll keep them separate for each day of the week or put them together for in intro page at the beginning of the album. Love the 2×2 pocket pages, but I’m not always sure what to fill them with. They’re perfect for a collection of similar photos. And there’s lots of embellies in this year’s kit that almost look like they were made for them. Those chipboard squares are awesome!In addition to the kit, there are some new products that have been released in Ali’s shop that compliment the Week in the Life products, including silk screens and additional stamp sets.

If you’re hoping to play along with this year’s Week in the Life project (or curious to learn more!), here’s what you need to know:

  • You can do this project anytime you like, but it’s always more fun to join in with a group of like minded people 🙂 April 17th-23rd is the “official” week in the life date for this year.
  • Super awesome page and detailed description about this project right here.
  • You don’t have to have a kit to participate! The point of the project is to document an in depth look at one week in your life with photos and journaling, and a lot of people put it all into an album. If you’d LIKE to work with a kit to bring it all together, there are 2 new one’s that have been released for this year that include an album, page protectors, journaling cards and awesome embellishments. Both are still available as I write this. There are also a few of last year’s kits still in the shop and a huge assortment of other coordinating items to check out. You can check them out here.
  • If you want the opportunity to chat with other participants, check out the Facebook group for Craft the Story and/or Week in the Life.
  • There will be LOTS of posts on Instagram about this project. Look for #weekinthelife, #witl, and if you’ld like to see what the Creative Team is working on, look for #aecreativeteam

It’s going to be fun! Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Dad’s Girl

Last week, I needed a photo of Liam for his birthday party invitations. So I asked him if he could take a Pokémon break for a minute and let me take his picture. He reluctantly agreed. Emily was jumping up and down because she wanted HER picture taken too! And noticing she had her dad’s girl shirt on, I asked if she wanted daddy to be in her picture with her. He was game 😉

This shirt is one of her FAVOURITE things to wear!! And she’s always so excited to show him when she’s got it on. So on an average Monday, I wound up with a super sweet little collection of photos of these guys together… and of course that meant I HAD to make a page with them!The theme for this month’s Story Kit is “Bond” (how perfect is that!!). I used the digital version of the kit by Ali Edwards to create this pocket page. I played around with a few design ideas, mostly involving one BIG photo, but I like how the series of photos tells more of their story. And I’ve been on a roll with pocket pages lately, so after struggling to put together a design I liked (for far too long) I found myself leaning towards another pocket page. This time, rather than telling the story of our week, it contains just one little story about “Dad’s Girl”.

I made the title card in Photoshop Elements with a digital stamp from the kit (it’s actually the same stamp layered in two different colours for that effect). The font I used for “dad’s” is a freebie called Pacifico, and I added their names and date with “Remington Noiseless” (also a freebie). In the physical kit, there are some really awesome cork tabs, but in the digital version they’re black. I recoloured this little heart tab navy and popped it up off the card with a foam tab.

I used the same navy colour to on a long digital chipboard banner from the kit. After I printed it out, I decided to cut it up into word strips instead and added it to patterned paper from Studio Calico’s Confidant kit. The pink wood veneer stars are from Studio Calico’s Confidant Documenter kit.

I also used a digital version of the stitched hearts from the Bond Story kit as the home for my journaling. I purposely made the heart bigger than the 3×4 size in the physical kit so I could fit more of the story in and have the heart run off the edge.

There are lots of great cards in this months’ story kit, but the “you bring so much love to life” card is my FAVOURITE! I knew I wanted to use that one as soon as I saw it, and I’ll probably use it a few more times 😉 It’s actually a 4×6 horizontal card, but I’ve cropped it to fit into a 3×4 pocket.

I “might” have remembered to write the story of her “dad’s girl” shirt at some point, but it was definitely this month’s “Bond” theme that got me to get it done. So happy to have it in our album along with these new favourite photos 🙂

Thanks for stopping by today!

February – Week 6

Another week in the books!This week’s spread came together with the February Digital Kit by Ali Edwards. The digital kits are something new for this year! A collection of journaling cards, stamps and chipboard elements all in exclusively digital format will be released each month, often with a seasonal theme. With Valentine’s Day in February, it was no surprise that this month’s theme is all about “love”. This is definitely a theme I can incorporate into my projects all year long. Going back to that idea that “memory keeping is a way to make love visible”.

This spread covers a few of the highlights from February 6th-12th.

I’ve been using the digital chipboard pieces by printing them out onto matte photo paper and cutting them out with scissors or shape punches. I changed the text on that heart in the upper left corner to just say “monday.” and stapled it onto my photo. Emily is so ready for spring!!

My mom asked if I could find a few photos for her from when she and my dad were dating and first married to go into a frame she recently purchased. Liam took a look at them and said “why do you have a picture of Terry Fox?” when he saw my dad, lol! That pic from their wedding in the bottom left…love having that in here.

I made a few cards myself with the digital kit. This “love” card is actually a 3×4 canvas, a pattern from one of the 4×6 cards, and a digital stamp all merged together to make something new.

I worked with the colours in this month’s kit and used them to re-colour some of the journaling cards and elements to make a more cohesive spread in combination with my photos.

There’s also a quote card included in this month’s kit that is so perfect for this week. I didn’t even realize how fitting it was until I was putting this spread together. It says “When I get to the end of my life and I ask one final “what have I done?”, let my answer be: “I have done LOVE.” I’ve been trying to be more intentional about how I spend time with my kids this month. (My daily practice for OLW was to try to spend at least 20 minutes everyday playing with them, without the distraction of my phone or my to-do list. Just spending time WITH them. I haven’t been successful every day, but the days I do feel a whole lot better.) So there was that connection.

And then a crazy Friday at work had me starting at 8:30 am and not getting home until 4 am the next morning!! Very very not the norm, hence the full moon reference. But again, the quote stuck with me because as nurses, we make sacrifices for others to do what is right and to show love for people, to provide care and support, even when we don’t know them.One more customized journaling card, recoloured and literally a white space added to include some journaling. And that wraps up week 6! I probably say it every week, but I love how this one turned out 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Love Story

I love our stories. I really really do. And that’s why I love this scrapbooking hobby so much!! Because I get to preserve and remember both the little ones and the big ones. This month, I’ve been working with Ali Edwards’ February Digital Kit. And somehow, pieces of the universe have aligned to make me see all the little love stories going on around me. A big one these days (one that is not new, but not always present either) is the love story between Liam and Emily in their big brother/little sister relationship. Knowing what story to tell for this one was so easy, but deciding on a design… lets just say that today I’m sharing 3 versions of the same layout.

 

A really important part of this story was the photos that go along with it. Liam and Emily were deeply into a pretend scenario of being doctors and getting ready for “doctor school”. I asked them to stand against the wall so I could take a photo of them for their ID badges, because clearly ALL doctors have to have an ID badge 😉 They were more than happy to agree and stood side by side as I snapped a few photos with my phone. It was on the 5th snap that Emily leaned over to Liam and whispered “I love you”. And the pictures that followed, that’s what love looks like!! His face transforms with a giant smile and even Emily lights up. A perfect little moment and a super lucky capture.

So I started this project the way I usually do, playing on my computer. I created a photo grid to be able to organize the photos in sequence and used numbers from the digital “Numbers” kit, pulling the colours from another card in the February Digital kit. I started with 8.5×11, because that’s my go to, but I struggled finding the right size and scale to create a well balanced layout. I worked and reworked this one so many times, I wound up with 3 different versions of the same thing. Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration for your own projects. Here we go:

  1. 8.5 x 11The thing I love most about this one is the colourful title and embellishment clusters!! The first time around, I printed the left page on a sheet of matte photo paper and it felt like too much white space. I couldn’t figure out how to add a bit more visual interest and balance. After playing around a bit, I trimmed about an inch off the white paper and mounted it onto pink cardstock. I also printed the chipboard hearts from the kit onto matte photo paper and punched them out to build a few little embellishment clusters. And now I kind of love this version…
  2. 12×12As I was struggling with the 8.5×11 design, I spotted the film grid from a previous Studio Calico kit on my desk and thought “ooooh, this might work!”. I already had the photos and numbers printed from a previous attempt, and it turned out the fit pretty much perfectly! I reworked the title and journaling to fit down the right side of the grid and mounted all the pieces onto a 12×12 sheet of cardstock. I liked it…but it didn’t really feel like a great way to show off the kit elements because there was just that one digital stamp there. I moved on to a third attempt with a different size, but went back and added a few more of the heart circles. I have to say, that extra little pop of hearts really does help.
  3. 6×86×8!!! The scale of elements feels like a much better fit in this size. I put together a quick video tutorial to share how I recoloured the digital stamp for the title, so if that’s something you’re wondering about, feel free to check it out 🙂

    Thanks so much for stopping by today! I’ll be sharing our Project Life Week 6 tomorrow with more elements from the February Digital Kit 🙂

**Note: None of the links in this post are affiliate links, just here for your reference if you’d like to check them out!

 

Project Life: In the beginning…

Recently, I was invited to have a chat with the amazingly talented and fellow Canadian scrapbooker, Jess Forster, for her Podcast “Pocket Talk”! Jess and I are both a part of Ali Edwards’ Creative Team this year, and it turns out we have quite a bit in common! We chatted about our mutual love for memory keeping and story telling including the process and why we do what we do 🙂 We also spent some time talking about how I got started in this hobby, and it brought back all those feelings about why I love doing this so much. So I took a little trip down memory lane and thought maybe you’d like to see what my Project Life albums looked like in the beginning.

I filmed a video walkthrough (warning….it is NOT short!!), and you are all invited to check it out 🙂

My Project Life style has definitely changed over the years. I lean more towards clean and simple, don’t worry at all about having a photo for every day, and I include a lot more words to tell our stories now than I did then. But I still LOVE these albums!! I’m genuinely so thankful to have these photos in a place where I can easily see them and share them with my family.

I also wanted to mention that Ali Edwards has re-opened registration for an awesome class that I took last year called “Storytelling with Project Life”. I’ve recently found myself going back and watching the videos over again and come away feeling so inspired to keep going with this project! Class begins February 14th and you can check out the details here if this is something you might be interested in.

Hoping to have an update later this week with Weeks 5&6. Thank you so much for stopping by today!

 

January – Week 4

Back again with the 4th week of January, and possibly my favourite week so far!

This week is made up of 2-9×12 pocket pages, a 6×12 insert, and a variety of supplies from my stash from Studio Calico, the “Everyday” edition of Project Life by Liz Tamanaha (Becky Higgins), and the “Numbers” Story Kit by Ali Edwards.

Highlights from the first half of the week, ANOTHER lost tooth (#6), the kids were super excited to get their own bank accounts, the Anna boot battle that resulted in the ultimate “I’m not going to play with you!” threat from my 3 year old, and a field trip to IKEA.

As I worked my way through my stories and thoughts for the week, I found myself leaning toward a lot of the negatives. I’ve always been a fan of documenting “real life” and that means including the good AND the bad. But I must have really been in a negative mood, because it seemed like everything I wrote had a snarky tone to it. I gave myself the pep talk… “Memory keeping is a way to make love visible”. I need more of that these days. More love. So I went back and revised some of my word choices.The facts about the events are still the same, but this week, I decided to consciously choose to write about something good instead of focusing so heavily on the bad.  By the time I was done, I FELT happier. I really think that little shift in my mindset to look for the good made a difference.

Example: Emily and I spent at least 2 hours at IKEA, and it wasn’t exactly the enjoyable, leisurely browsing experience I would have loved. It was the “don’t touch the glass…. please leave the cupboards alone…. no, you CAN’T climb the bunkbed ladders, there’s a sign….please stop jumping on the bed and get your shoes back on” experience. I originally wrote that after 2 hours, I was ready for a speedy exit. Yes. Real life. And some days are just like that. What I decided to write about instead was still the facts about our trip to IKEA with my adventurous girl, and the good part, that we found some good options for a big girl bed 🙂

When I look back at these albums, and more importantly, if my kids are reading these stories one day, I want to make sure the message isn’t “hey, your mom was way tired and you guys drove her crazy”. I want to make sure they hear loud and clear, “You are LOVED!”

Many of us are programmed to see the negatives first. And my stories could easily be over run with that perspective if I’m not paying attention. Sometimes I have to work a little harder to look for the good in everyday moments too.  Trust me…. there’s still a healthy dose of reality checks peppered throughout, along with some laughter. Because sometimes the only thing you can do is laugh!

This week, we took a grown-ups only mini road trip to a Twenty One Pilots concert in Albany. It included multiple stops at Chipotle and Target, 1130 km of driving in 2 days, and a really good time. (I apologize for the crazy amount of glare in these photos. I need a better strategy for taking photos in less than ideal lighting conditions.)  Digital word art from Ali Edwards “Drive” theme.

Highlights from the second half of the week include Emily’s flowers, TGIF (seriously!!), and a pretty fantastic “stay at home in your jammies all day” kind of weekend.

Journaling cards here are from the “Numbers” Story Kit by Ali Edwards and the Story Board Documenter Kit by Studio Calico.

Loved adding this little story to the album about the flowers. Emily was very happy to show us the pink flowers Papa bought for her when we got home 🙂

The photo of the our bags all lined up by the wall Friday evening. That one’s a keeper. Such an everyday real life moment captured.

The second half of this week’s spread is definitely more about the photos than the words. Sometimes, the photos say it for you and I love having that mix in my albums.

That’s it for this week! Thanks so much for stopping by today, and definitely feel free to leave a comment or ask questions below 🙂

 

January – Week 3

3 weeks into 2017, and I’m feeling excited about this project again! I look forward to pulling my spreads together at the end of the week and love that they seem to be coming together so quickly (in just one sitting!). Here’s a peek at week 3.

I used the digital version of Ali Edwards’ “Numbers” Story Kit to pull this spread together, as well as some puffy heart stickers (Crate Paper – Heart Day), and one of my favourite journaling cards from Studio Calico’s “Story Board” Documenter Kit.

A few of the highlights from this week were a haircut for Em, ANOTHER lost tooth for Liam (his fifth one, and he actually lost another one just yesterday. The tooth fairy must be going broke here!), and I learned about the stickers on Liam’s backpack (which was awesome 🙂

Emily has probably had 4 haircuts in her life already (minimum! It might be more!). She’s one of those little ones who spent the first 2 years with very little hair. So every time we go to get a “haircut”, they think it’s her first one. She’s got at least 4 “first haircut” certificates now, lol. The journaling cards I used here were both from the digital “Numbers” Story Kit. The blue one is actually 4×6 in the physical kit, but with the digital version I was able to shrink it down to 3×4 and change the orientation to work with my layout 🙂

I made the “5” journaling card with the digital plastic numbers from the kit on a 3×4 canvas in Photoshop Elements.

I don’t know why, but I never thought to ask Liam about the stickers on his backpack. I’ve seen them there plenty of times but never really asked why he put them there. Just figured it was his own self expression. This week I learned that they’re actually the stickers he’s earned for good behaviour at school. I had no idea! And somehow learning this little thing about him felt so special. (Yes, there’s a banana sticker on there too).

Other highlights from this week: the weirdest “snow day” ever, sickies in the house again, and a couple of “real life” moments captured.

Those little puffy sticker hearts by Crate Paper… LOVE THEM!!! I might have to track down another pack. I want to put them on everything.

Loved adding the “cost of goods” card into the mix this week. That one’s from the “Numbers” kit as well. Also, I don’t know why it took me so long to realize that my trusty date stamper from my very first “Project Life Core Kit” ended at 2016. (NOOOOO!!) I used one by Heidi Swapp for this week instead, but I guess I’ll have to see if I can find another one that just uses numbers instead of the written month. That middle card is one of my favourites from the “Story Board” Documenter kit by Studio Calico. I don’t think the full kit is available any longer, but you can still get a digital/printable version of the cards here. I pulled a Shepard’s Pie out of the freezer Thursday morning to cook for dinner, but when we went to put it in the oven it was still frozen solid. We ended up going out for dinner instead. I left it in the fridge to continue thawing and popped it in the oven for dinner last night instead, and after 45 minutes of cooking, it was STILL FROZEN!! How is that even possible?? True Story.

Emily is so funny. She started the day dressed in her Elsa costume singing “Let it Go” all around the house. And stripped down to her underwear, content to play that way for the rest of the day. The journaling card I used here is another one that’s actually 4×6. I cropped the digital version in the middle to be 3×4 instead, removed the numbers and told the story of “him” and “her” instead.

Love the colours this week and how this spread turned out. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

January in progress

Week 2: Still repeating to myself, “don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be”. This spread doesn’t have any embellishments. None. But it’s got the important stuff. Some snapshots of life right now and the words to tell their stories.As I was looking through my photos this week, there really wasn’t much to choose from. My first reaction was, “oh man. I don’t know if I’m going to have enough to fill in a spread”. But a quick glance at the notes I had jotted down in my planner helped me put that worry to rest.

Lots of everyday kind of stuff here. These are the kind of photos that will be fun to look back on in the years to come.

“The Best Parts” card is from the most recent story kit release by Ali Edwards called “Numbers”. The perfect little prompt to include a few of the positive moments from the week. Sometimes you have to dig a little, but it’s so worth it.

The “messy” card is from Studio Calico’s Roman Holiday Documenter Kit. This is a digital version of the card that I printed at home. I love it so much! I plan to print an enlarged version to hang up somewhere at home.

The put together the right side of this spread with some of the journaling cards from a new digital kit by Ali Edwards for January 2017 (+ 1 from the Numbers Story Kit). They’re switching things up a bit this year and will be releasing digital products in the form of a kit each month! I’ve only used the journaling cards here, but each kit will include a digital stamp set and embellishments (eg. digital chipboard pieces) as well. You can read more about it here.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I speak about the morning struggle to get everyone out the door. Maybe it’s because it’s winter, maybe it’s a growth and development thing, maybe it’s just a rough patch. Whatever it is, mornings this week have been ROUGH. And I’m SO THANKFUL for weekends, to have a little break from the rush.

The weekend in review card is actually a combination of products. The card itself is a modified digital card from the Numbers Story Kit and the word art is by Liz Tamanaha of Paislee Press.

This might be the fastest spread I’ve ever made for PL – photos selected and printed + journaling completed  and everything in its place within 2.5 hours. That’s pretty good for me! It feels great to be on track and up to date for a change. Keeping a few notes in my planner has seriously been a game changer for me and I hope it’s a habit I’ll continue.

Thanks for stopping by today!

(Note: None of the links in this post are “affiliate links”, just here in case you’d like to check them out for yourself 🙂 )