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 ūüôā¬†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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

 

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā )

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā )

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 ūüôā Be on the look out for some of those projects coming to this space soon.

Thank you so much for stopping by today!

 

December Daily 2016

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December Daily¬ģ season is just around the corner! And Christmas came early for the Digital Creative Team. As part of the creative team, we got early access to this year’s main kit and a mini kit and album of our choosing ūüôā

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I was so excited to work with the 6×8 Merry Merry album and Liz Tamanaha’s mini kit in addition to this year’s main kit by Ali Edwards. Here’s the video to see what’s included in these amazing kits!!

In all honesty, I have a terrible track record with completing this project. I love Christmas. I love all the beautiful scrapbooking supplies and embellishments. I buy a kit every year. And I’ve got 1 out of 5 albums actually completed. I’m guilty of making it waaaay more complicated than it needs to be and overthinking things.

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I started playing with this year’s kits (because who DOESN’T love digging into a box full of new products!) ¬†to figure out how my album might come together. I printed a few photos from last Christmas and within 2 hours, I had 7 days worth of stories pieced together (minus a bit of journaling)!! For me that meant 1) I’ve CLEARLY been making things too complicated and 2) the kits are fantastic (which really should go without saying…but the proof is there).

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If this is the kind of project that has caught your attention, here’s a couple of helpful links to check out:

What is December Daily¬ģ? It’s an awesome memory keeping project, started by Ali Edwards, to document your December/holiday stories with photos and words. But she can explain this far better than I can ūüôā Check it out here!¬†

All of this year’s kits (as well as a few items from previous years), stamps, inks and extras are available in Ali Edwards’ online shop.

The kits and stamps will also be available digitally as of October 10th.

If this is your first year taking on this project or you’re just as inspired by Ali as I am, you might be interested in checking out the “Storytelling with December Daily¬ģ” workshop. I took the class last year and LOVED the video walk throughs of all her previous albums. They are so awesome! It’s scheduled to begin November 1st and registration will likely open very shortly (with an alumni rate for people who took the class last year).

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask away!

My Reason Why

My “Believe” Story Kit arrived in the mail this week! I always feel extra lucky to get to work with the digital version of the kit first, a definite perk of being part of the Digital Creative Team. I also¬†subscribe to the physical Story Kits and have¬†from the very beginning because I LOOOOOOVE them.¬†The products are awesome (love the acrylic word each month!) and¬†the themes always spark stories I otherwise wouldn’t have thought to tell.¬†My favourite part of my subscription is the classroom, which includes a presentation about the theme to spark some ideas.¬† Why am I telling you all this? Because this month, there was this little piece of digital word art included that brought it all back to WHY I value scrapbooking/memory keeping/storytelling so much.make love visible by Ali Edwards(digital word art by Ali Edwards) Not gonna lie, scrapbooking lately has felt challenging. I’ve been lacking in motivation and energy. And I KNOW that for me, if I try to force it when I’m just not feeling up to the task, it does not happen. I don’t know why. I’ve been¬†telling myself “maybe I’m just supposed to sit back a listen to the stories for a bit instead of telling them”. The timing of this little reminder to “make love visible” could not have been better and I’m so glad it came when it did. (Sidenote: my One Little Word this year is “Make”. How’s that for a good fit?!¬†¬† ūüôā¬†)

The theme for this month’s Story Kit is “Believe”, and with the idea of using memory keeping to “make love visible”, I was more than happy to take this opportunity to cheer for Liam. Back in March, we finally got¬†him enrolled in Karate. It’s something we had talked about since last September, hoping it would help him learn to focus and develop confidence.¬†Last week he earned his yellow striped belt!

Believe full layout¬†I made a spread to go into our album for the year in celebration of his achievement, because I sure do love this kid!!¬† The left side is 6×12 and the right side is 9×12.

left side front

The front of the 6×12 is a full page photo with digital word art from the kit and a gold chipboard star from Studio Calico’s “Scout” Documenter kit. Full page photos are my favourite ūüôā¬† I do not have a large format photo printer, just a standard size one, but I discovered a while ago that you can still print big photos as long as they’re 8.5″ or less wide (!!!). I have a Canon Pixma MG7520, but I “think” you could probably follow these steps on other standard size Canon photo printers as well.

print tutorial 1

Here’s a screenshot of what happens when I select “Print” in Photoshop Elements 13. (If you click on the photos, they should¬†pop up larger so you can see the words on the menus more clearly).¬†I cropped my photo to 6 x 12 at 300 dpi and added the digital word art before I selected print. Notice section 5 where it says “select print size”, I’ve got “Actual Size” selected and I do not want it to “crop to fit” the canvas, so that box is not checked. First thing I need to do is “Change Settings” in section 2: printer settings. Click on that box.

print tutorial 2

A new window pops up, and I want to select the “Advanced Settings”, so click on that box.

print tutorial 3

We’re going to make a few adjustments in the “advanced settings” window. First of all, select the option for “Standard” under the heading “commonly used settings”. This is very important, because it’s the only option that will allow you to choose a custom paper size, even though we’re printing a photo. Under “Media Type”, select the type of paper your printing on. I’m using a 13 x 19 glossy photo paper from Staples that I’ve cut down to 7×13. Next¬†up is choosing the paper size. The very bottom of the “paper size”¬†menu should say “Custom”, pick that one.

print tutorial 4

When this window pops up, type in the dimensions¬†of your paper. You’ll notice that the parameters¬†for how big you can print with your printer are included in this window (example: the custom paper size option on my printer will let me print as large as 8.5″ wide by 14″¬†long!)¬†When you select a “standard” printer setting on a photo printer,¬†that setting will print with margins¬†on the right, left, top and bottom instead of “borderless” like you would get if you chose photo printing. So I’ve intentionally set my paper size to be larger than the 6×12 print so my photo should print as a true 6×12 (or pretty darn close anyway) without the edges being cut off.¬†The paper is loaded into the bottom tray of my printer and hangs out over the edge by about an inch or so, but prints exactly as it should.

If you haven’t played around with your printer settings before, I think you’ll be excited by this discovery ūüôā

Back to the story. The back side of my 6×12 is another full page photo (his white belt)¬†and I’ve typed my journaling right onto it before printing.

left side back

 

The digital word art is from the “Cheer” Story Kit. I’ve also added a wood veneer piece from Elle’s Studio that seemed like a perfect fit to go along with the “I remember” sentence starters. I started and erased the journaling on this page so many times, but once I went back to the technique of starting each memory with the same phrase, it all gushed out so easily.

The 9×12 pocket page was fun to piece together.

pocket page

My journaling was pretty much done on the left side, so I got to fill the right side of the page with pretty cards from the digital kit that I printed onto matte photo paper ūüôā I love that these cards work together to enhance the story and “make love visible” all on their own, without having to add anything to them.

So that’s my first Believe project. Hoping to share a few more stories and images of recent projects over the next week.

Thank you so much for stopping by! Pam

Crafting our stories in February

Feb sneaks

February has been full of stories about everyday kind of moments.

There was a pretty typical Monday…

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(supplies: Ali Edwards “thicker days” and “encouragement bubbles”¬†, Studio Calico “Arendal” Scrapbook Kit, Citrus Twist Kits “Stories” pocket life kit )

followed by a holiday Monday (the best kind of Monday!!)…

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(Supplies: Ali Edwards “Valentines Journal Cards” , Citrus Twist Kits February “Sprinkles”¬†)

and a haircut.

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(supplies: Ali Edwards “Craft” Digital Story Kit, “Craft” Story Kit, Studio Calico’s “Arendal” Scrapbook Kit, One Little Bird’s “Cheri” papers, Citrus Twist Kits “Stories” Pocket Life Kit, and the cork paper is one I’ve been hoarding forever from an old Crate Paper¬†collection “Story Teller – Archives”)

Liam and Gus

This story isn’t just about a haircut though. This is a story about passion. That man in the photo cutting Liam’s hair is Gus, proud owner of “Gus and Son”. Gus just turned 90 years old (!!) and has cut the hair of 4 generations of Baldwin men. Now¬†THAT is a man who has a passion for his craft! Here’s what I want to remember¬†about him:

This photo will without a doubt be remembered as one of my most favourite photos ever, not just because it’s awesome (it is seriously awesome!), but because it will always remind me of the day I met Gus. At the age of 90 (yes 90!!), Gus has now cut 4 generations of hair for the Baldwin men.

I‚Äôll never forget walking into ‚ÄúGus & Son‚ÄĚ, a little 2 chair barber shop on King Street that I‚Äôve passed by so many times before. It was like stepping into a time capsule, with photos pinned to the walls that easily go back to the 50‚Äôs. We walked through the door and were greeted with the most wonderful smile from Gus and his son Lou, and stories about how he had given Brett his first haircut, and how he had cut his dad‚Äôs hair, and even his granddad‚Äôs.¬†

I watched in awe as he gently combed and cut Liam’s hair. He spoke so gently, with a heavy Italian accent as he worked. I sat and I watched and I tried hard to soak it all in. Because there is something special about this place, and there is ABSOLUTELY something special about this man!

I can’t think of any greater way to live than with passion for what you do, and that is so clearly Gus!! You can hear it in his stories, see it in his smile, and feel it just being in the room while he works. He is awesome. And when you know how rare it is to get to meet someone who has found their passion and lives it everyday, even at the age of 90, you feel humble in their presence. You want to sit and watch and listen and learn, and you hope some of that magic will rub off onto you.

As we got our coats on to leave, Gus smiled at us and said with such sincerity, ‚Äúyou have a beautiful family‚ÄĚ. And I knew it was true. Because after 90 years, you definitely know a thing or two about what is beautiful.

The part that didn’t make it into the story was how badly Emily wanted her hair cut too, and Gus’ son Lou played along, giving her a little trim. She was ecstatic¬†¬† ūüôā

Emily and Lou

Thank you so much for stopping by today!

 

“I Totally Dig You!”

One of the best parts about Valentine’s Day has GOT to be the cheesy puns¬†¬† ¬†ūüôā The other best part is getting a little bit crafty and making Valentines for the kids’ school parties, and this year, I am pretty excited about what I’ve come up with for Liam. So excited, I thought you might love them too and I created a little tutorial for how to do this yourself.IMG_3756Liam’s love for all things “dinosaur” started last spring/summer. One of the coolest projects he did (pretty sure it got captured during Week in the Life) was a Dinosaur excavation kit. It kept him entertained for DAYS!! So I did a little searching and came up with our very own Dinosaur Dig kits for this year’s Valentines ūüôā

IMG_3757Each kit includes a heart shaped “dig” block with the pieces to a dinosaur skeleton (and a heart shaped gem) inside, a wooden dowel and paintbrush for the “excavation”, a magnifying glass to inspect their find, a little plastic mounting stand for assembling and displaying the completed skeleton, and a 3×4 card with instructions as well as an image of the skeleton pieces.

IMG_3689I purchased the magnifying glasses ($5 for 12) and skeletons ($7 for 12)¬†from the party store, the paintbrushes ($3 for 25) and wooden dowels ($1 for 12 – 12″ dowels, cut down to 4″ each) came from the dollar store and the digging blocks were a homemade concoction.

IMG_3677Supplies you’ll need to make the digging blocks are a nontoxic dry plaster mix, sand, water¬†and some sort of disposable mold. I picked up the heart shaped tins from the dollar store ($1 for 24).

IMG_3656Mix together two parts sand, one part plaster mix, and one part water.

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It only took a few seconds to mix it all together for an even consistency.

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Pour 2 big teaspoons into the bottom of the molds and spread it evenly.

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Scatter¬†your “treasures” throughout the mix. When I first came up with this idea, I was planning on just digging for a variety of colourful gems…something along the lines of “You’re a gem valentine” or “I treasure you”. Coming across the dinosaur skeletons was pure luck! The digging for gems would ALSO be awesome, but Liam’s all about the dinosaurs, so that’s what I went with this time around.

IMG_3670Top them off with more of the sand/plaster/water mixture. You’ve got two options here…you can let them air dry, or you can speed things along a bit in a warm oven. I chose to use the oven at 275 degrees for about 15 minutes and it worked beautifully!

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When they come out of the oven, they’ll look pretty much the same as when they went in, but dry ūüôā

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Let them cool just a few minutes and then you can feel free to slide them out of the molds.¬†Ours came out really easily! Once they had cooled down, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and assembled the rest of the kit. The assembly for this project is pretty kid friendly if you’ve got a little helper in the house. Liam helped bury the skeletons and sort out all the pieces of the kits by colour (that was his call). I did up the packaging and he wrote his name on all of them.

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He was dying to test¬†one of them out and it was so awesome!!¬†He was just as excited to uncover the bones in this little homemade kit as he was with the big project he worked on last summer. He tried out some of the tools from his previous excavation kits, but the dowel we included in¬†our kit actually worked the best.IMG_3742This is definitely a project I would do again! Happy Valentine’s Day!

One Little Bird – January

January 1st was apparently a super eventful day for our family. How do I know this? Because I’ve got 6 pages worth of “January 1st 2016” documentation in my album already. 6 pages!!! I swear, our life is not normally that exciting. Thank goodness, because if I kept going at that rate, I’d need 10 albums by the¬†end of the year¬†to hold everything (and my house is not that big!!). Good news is…they’re 6 pages that I love.

January 1st, 2016 started around 5:30am with the sound of little footsteps outside my bedroom door and little visitor in my bed. That’s because January 1st, 2016, was the day Emily learned to climb out of her crib…and life as we know it changed all over again.

onelittlebird-thrive-bypambaldwinI made a hybrid 8.5 x 11 scrapbook layout to capture that sweet little face with the “Thrive” collection by One Little Bird and a few embellie’s from Studio Calico’s December kits (Lollipop Guild and Tinman).

onelittlebird-thrive-bypambaldwin-detailI mean seriously…the cuteness!!

So we were up bright and early with an adventure in mind.

onelittlebird-agenda-bypambaldwinWe had planned a¬†trip to the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. I asked Liam if he wanted to go see some sharks and I swear, I’ve never seen him get dressed so quickly in the morning before. The aquarium was beautiful and I was pretty happy to get to try out my new camera for the day ūüôā

onelittlebird-agenda-bypambaldwin2I used the “Agenda” journaling cards and embellishments by One Little Bird and a few pieces from the “Scoop” collection (journaling cards and embellishments)¬†as well. The enlargements (6×12) are a fun contrast to the grid of smaller 3×3 photos.

onelittlebird-agenda-bypambaldwin-detailI added the word bubbles to the outside of the page protectors to break up the grid a bit. And because sharks are totally¬†deserving of¬†a “Whoa!” ūüėČ

onelittlebird-scoop-bypambaldwin

There was a LOT to see, but it was just the right size for a half day outing with the munchkins. The sharks, the jellyfish, the stingrays, the seahorses…all of it¬†was breathtakingly¬†beautiful. And for the record, I was the first one in our family to touch a sting ray. (weird and squishy is how I would describe it)

With the little miss’ new found ability to scale her crib, it was officially time to give her a big girl bed.

onelittlebird-thrive-bypambaldwin-2We converted her crib to a toddler bed when we got home that evening and she LOVED it. We could hear her awake in her room still at 10:30pm. It was definitely an adjustment, but I “think” she’s got the hang of it now.

Her new found independence means that when she hears Liam up (around 5:30 am, he’s an early morning kid. I do NOT know where he gets that from, because I am anything but), she calls for him to help her break out of her room and the two of them wreak havoc together. Seriously. I heard them giggling together around 6am the following Monday and talking about a sled…and I knew… You know how sometimes moms just know. Sure enough, I found them at the top of the basement stairs with a sled, ready to re-enact the scene from Home Alone. (I had to get my hair coloured last week to hide all the gray. I think there’s a relationship there.)

onelittlebird-thrive-bypambaldwin-2detailThose word strips from the Thrive collection were a perfect fit with this photo (and inspired some of my journaling on the first page I showed you!).

So there you go. 6 pages to start off a brand new year.

onelittlebird-thrive-bypambaldwin-3detail2Thanks so much for stopping by today!