Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Planning for Project Life 2014

I really enjoyed Project Life during 2013, which was my first serious attempt at it. I got behind after getting pregnant and having surgery, but I've made some headway already with my catching up and I'm not too far behind now. I used a monthly approach and that worked well for me, so I'll be continuing with that in 2014. I have the Seasons and Polka Dot Party mini kits, but aside from that have used my scrap stash, in particular 6x6 paper pads.

What helped me during the first half of 2013 (and would have helped in the second half if I'd used it, hehe!) was having a planner where I could jot down ideas, journalling, prompts for the photos etc. as well as a list of photos I wanted to include for a particular monthly spread. Sometimes I drew a picture showing the placement of the photos, but I'm not sure if I'd do that again. I've found it very helpful to watch the Project Life videos on the Two Peas in a Bucket website, in particular Melissa Stinson, and I've started using parts of her process in my Project Life to help me get a more cohesive look in my layouts.

In 2013 I also used the planner to reassess my creative goals each month. Having a specific place where everything was written down was very helpful, and setting goals helped motivate me to action. I will be using a similar approach this year.

For 2014 I bought Lori Whitlock's planner through Jessica Sprague's site and printed it double-sided on 8.5x11 paper. After cutting the pages in half, I added washi tape to the beginning of each month so there would be some colour as well as a monthly delineation. Then I made my own cover pages (front and back) with heavy cardstock that I covered with patterned paper, a little washi tape on the edge, and Thickers to spell 2014. I used my Bind-It-All to put it together.

I'm pretty pleased with the result; now I just have to use it! :-)


December (not) Daily 2013 completed

I was actually able to complete this much-easier, low-stress version of December Daily in December, but didn't get photos taken until today. I really enjoyed the process of journalling in these specific areas, and including photos that I took during the month without feeling any particular pressure to match them exactly to the words.

I think the end result is a project where I really enjoyed the process, and it gives a pretty good overview of the feel of our December and what the Christmas season was like for us in 2013. I would definitely consider a similar approach again.

For the back page, which was previously blank, I cut up part of a beautiful gift bag I was given. It had additional pieces adhered with glue dots which I added to the outside of the page protector. I don't typically do that, but it was too pretty to pass up, and I like the added texture. Hopefully not too much of the glitter will disperse itself through the rest of my Project Life album where these pages now reside! :)

(Click on each picture to see a larger version)

I still have some Project Life layouts to complete for 2013, but not too many. I'm hoping to have that done in the first half of January.

Happy New Year 2014!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Prep for December (not) Daily 2013

This year, in the spirit of keeping things simple and not overwhelming whilst still wanting to be creative during the Advent/Christmas season, I decided to adopt a non-daily approach to documenting December. In fact, what I've put together is a combination using inspiration from several sources, which includes:

Ali Edwards and her December Daily concept
Melissa Shanhun's prompts from her December project last year
Jennifer Wilson's Holiday Storyteller free e-course running during December 2013

I'm using two baseball card inserts which I'll put into my Project Life album. Another simplification for me this year was not using a totally separate December Daily album. There are also 13 prompts and 21 spaces for photos - not daily, but enough to give a pretty good idea of what's happening.

(Click on each picture to see a larger version)

I printed the prompts onto vellum; the font is called 1942 Report, available here for free. I used my Xyron to make the vellum into stickers to adhere to the papers, which are from an old My Mind's Eye collection entitled Snowed In. I wanted some pattern but really want the focus to be on the journaling that I'm going to add to these cards, so the vellum toned down the designs just enough but allowed some design to show through.

For the background to the journaling cards, I used a pattern within Silhouette Studio, and used my Cameo with its print-and-cut feature on white cardstock. Why do the cutting myself when I have a machine that'll do it for me? :)

For the title slot, I filled it up with sequins and then used my tape runner to put adhesive all over both sides of the title (which I'd backed onto more patterned paper). Then I very carefully eased it into the slot and eventually persuaded it to stick to the page protector and not my fingers.

The intention is to use the activities from our Advent Calendar that I previously blogged about, to help add inspiration and ideas to the journaling on the prompt cards. I'll fill the remaining slots with photos, which may or may not correspond directly to the journaling. I will just be happy if something is documented from the season, whilst still enjoying both being present in the activities we're doing and enjoying the documenting process.

May your Christmas season be low-stress and high-joy!


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Advent Calendar 2013

Hello, poor neglected blog!

The past few months have been filled with finding out I'm pregnant with our first baby due in April (it's a boy!) and then subsequently needing major abdominal surgery (me + babe are both fine thankfully) so blogging has been pushed even further down the list.

However, I've been able to put together the advent calendar pictured here while I'm on the road to recovery. It is inspired by this one that I stumbled across on Pinterest, and simply had to try it out myself! (Original blog post for that one is here - scroll down to see the hardware organizer countdown)

The hardware drawers, as suggested in the original post, come from Home Depot and cost about $17. There are only 22 drawers so I just doubled up for three of the days in the larger drawers. I measured the drawers and counted how many of each shape I'd need to cover the front of each drawer, then let my Cameo do the work of cutting out the shapes. The papers and pre-made die cuts are from an old Making Memories collection, Twinkle. The die-cut numbers are from the Silhouette store (here) and cut out on my Cameo. The large snowflakes on the top are also cut by my Cameo and come from a free font I found online, DH Snowflakes. I absolutely love that I can cut out any font with my Cameo! The washi tape on the lip of each drawer is from Michaels, their Recollections line (they call it Craft Tape).

To adhere the premade die cuts I used foam tape to add some dimension, and for the numbers I used a regular glue stick. I used my Tombow temporary adhesive to stick the snowflakes and the shape for each drawer, because after Christmas I plan on repurposing the drawers into some additional storage in my oh-so-messy craft room!

I wanted this calendar to provide something meaningful as well as have a fun element. Each of the drawers currently has two things in it for each day, a Bible reading and an activity. Here are a few for the first week of December:

I made the designs for these shapes in Photoshop Elements then cut them out using my Cameo, which makes it so easy!

I'll also be adding chocolates and other goodies each day (although hubby doesn't know this...yet!)

Happy Advent, everyone. :)

~ Caroline ~

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Project Life and Faith: May/June

Feeling a little behind on getting these posts out, but doing what I can! :) For May I made an attempt at lifting the design of some of the Becky Higgins core kits' 3x4 filler cards, but using Bible verses. I've made two of these cards so far, one of which I've put in May's spread, and the other I haven't used yet.

I picked my Bible verses, copied and pasted them into a paragraph in Photoshop Elements, then played around with the colours, font (Bebas Neue) and direction. I really like the result and think I'll do this again in the future.

The verses in blue are from 2 Corinthians 4, and the verses in green are from Isaiah 61. They are two passages which have been a great encouragement lately.

For June, I have a photo and a story to share (as-yet unwritten for PL, but below is the content of what I'll share). Here is the photo:

This is a picture of the roots of one of the (many, many, MANY!) "potato vines" that we have growing in our  back garden. The leaves of these vines are what looks like a pleasant heart shape. Unfortunately, in the time it takes to blink and realize that there's a vine growing, it's just about taken over the whole back garden. Pulling on the vines is quite satisfying, but the only way to stop them from returning is to dig out these roots, and they're often not easy to locate. They really do look like potatoes, hence the name of the vine (I'm assuming, anyway). In recent weeks I've found myself spending every weekend, and several weeknights, going outside to pull a few more of these things out of the ground. And every time I'm outside doing this, I find the Lord is speaking to me. In this case, it was about the seriousness of sin, and how if you let it get out of hand, it gets much worse than if you deal with it properly in the first place. Going for the root really is the only way to deal with the issue, and yanking on a couple of leaves won't address the problem and could even make it worse. Even though it's a bit of a pain to have to put forth the effort in pulling all these vines up, I appreciate the life lesson that the Lord whispered to me, as it felt like my chore had not been in vain!

As far as sharing this photo and story in PL, I'm intending to display the photo and have the journaling on a card behind it, with a tab to pull it out to read. This is another technique I haven't used, but I think it may be one that I repeat at some point.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Project Life and Faith: March/April

Other commitments mean my blog is continuing to be sadly neglected, but I have still been including aspects of my faith in my Project Life. Here are two of the ways I've done this in the past couple of months.

Firstly, I made a journaling card based on this wonderful verse in Psalms, in the Message translation. I played around in Photoshop Elements to make this. I was inspired by this text after seeing it on a layout that Wilna Furstenberg had made here.

Secondly, I journaled about why I switched off Facebook during Holy Week. Here are the two cards next to each other:

I've started something new in my quiet times with God and decided to take a picture and write about it:


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Project Life and Faith: beginnings

I've been wanting to share a few different ways that I incorporate my faith into my Project Life. I am adopting a largely monthly approach, and while I won't be sharing all my layouts (I prefer to keep them private), I do want to share some aspects, tips and tricks that I'm picking up along the way. The idea of PL+Faith has been going round my head for a while now. With other life stuff going on, my blog constantly seems to be neglected, but I'm at least going to give this a shot! :-)

For January's spread, I included a small insert between two regular Becky Higgins "design A" page protectors. These are inserts I made myself by taking apart a 4x6 brag book that I picked up very cheaply. I hid the part that I cut with some washi tape. Sometimes I just need a small pocket to add a little something, and this seemed like a good way to do it. The subject matter for this is a piece of music I learned in choir about the New Year, with the lyrics on one side and my thoughts on the other. I made the front part digitally in PSE, and hand-wrote the journaling on a piece of patterned paper from My Mind's Eye.

For February's spread I took a screenshot of the badge I earned from the YouVersion Bible reading app, then journaled about why I love the app so much.

I look forward to sharing more ideas in the coming months!

~ Caroline ~