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 🙂 )

Hello 2017!

We’re up and running with a new year ahead of us, and the thought that keeps coming back to me is how thankful I am for fresh starts! I’m excited!

I’m looking forward to a year of getting stuff done and that includes continuing to document our family’s story, getting our photos off our phones and camera and computer, and getting the stories down on paper. I don’t have a grand plan to change things up, but what I do have is a mindset to not make things any more complicated than they need to be and continue to do “what works” for me.

That means creating pocket pages (or doing “Project Life”) and hybrid scrapbook layouts to capture a mix of our big and little stories. I’ve got a 12×12 album and a variety of page protectors. What’s working for me right now is the 9×12 pocket pages! Love them! But I haven’t made the full leap to a 9×12 album yet. I like knowing that I can use a combination of sizes and formats as big as 12×12 when I’m up for it.

My album will be chronological and monthly, but for the sake of getting it done, I need a bit more structure to guide my process. Working one week at a time as I put the spreads together really helps, along with a little bit of flexibility to add more pages or take them out as needed.

So, having said all that, I’ve got my first spread done for 2017!!

I love our stories. Love them!

I think that’s probably a huge factor in why I choose to include so much journaling in spreads. I start each spread by looking at the photos I have to choose from for the week and picking my favourites. I usually end up with waaaaay to many, but I start to narrow down which ones are keepers based on the stories I want to tell.

This year, I’ve started something a little different to help jog my memory when I’m playing “catch up” or making spreads way way after the time frame I’m trying to document. I picked up a really cute planner/organizer from Chapters and I’m using it to jot down a few notes about the events of the day. It might include quotes from my kids, reflections on something I saw or read or heard, observations about our habits or the things we’re loving (and not loving), the highlights and/or the challenges from the day, etc. It’s like a journal, but with just a few point form notes. Just enough to remind me about why I took a certain photo or to remind me to include the stories that don’t have photos (which I would have otherwise forgotten).

One of the thoughts on my mind this year is creating spreads using the stuff that I love for no other reason than because I love it. There are so many amazing products out there, but my favourites are the journaling cards and embellishments that match in some way with the stories I’m trying to tell. So maybe the spreads won’t always include the super trendy, most recent supplies, or fit a certain “look”. They might look busy at times, and they will pretty much always have lots and lots of words. There might not be a lot of filler or “fun stuff”. I’m okay with that, because that’s not my goal here. My goal (the most important one for me !!) is to tell our stories in a way that makes me happy.

Favourite quote that I discovered on Pinterest last week: “When you find people who not only tolerate your quirks but celebrate them with cries of “me too!”, be sure to cherish them. Because those weirdos are your tribe.” I have no idea who said it, but it makes me want to cheer “YES!!”.

A little off topic here, but the way our kids will experience technology in their life is astounding! My kids were totally spoiled with the incredible gift of iPads this Christmas and it has totally opened up a whole new way to communicate with their world. Liam had a sleepover at Grandma and Papa’s house over the weekend. In the few hours he was gone, there were at least 4 FaceTime phone calls and he learned to text message us. Loved waking up to find that he had sent me some of his artwork. He’s been “Facetiming” everyday since with his people 🙂

This spread came together with a few cards from the Studio Calico December and January Documenter kits, digital templates by Paislee Press, and the chipboard embellishments are from Freckled Fawn. (These are not affiliate links, just here for your reference 🙂 )

I’m so incredibly happy to be joining Ali Edwards’ Creative Team for my 3rd year!! When I talk about using products that prompt me and inspire me to tell our stories, Ali’s stuff is EXACTLY what I’m talking about 🙂 Be on the look out for some of those projects coming to this space soon.

Thank you so much for stopping by today!