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 ~

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Home is where the heart is

My parents-in-law have been working in different cities for the past few years, and missing each other terribly. Hubby and I had a long distance relationship before we were married, living on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, so we understand their pain!

As of this weekend, they're once again going to be working in the same city and living under the same roof. We're so happy for them and so I made this card in celebration of the occasion.

The small letter stickers are Recollections, and the rest are from Making Memories as is the heart brad. The paper is from an old stack from Me and My Big Ideas.

This card makes me happy because I know it brings back together two people who are still in love after over 45 years of marriage. :-)

~ Caroline ~

Saturday, January 19, 2013

December Daily 2012: the inside story!

I'm so happy to have completed this project, and glad to have cut myself some slack with its execution along the way. We spent half of December in Europe which meant a little bit of creativity with how I put this together. I even took a mini scrapbooking kit with me, although due to printing problems I didn't do much while we were there.

In the end I decided to dispense with numbering the days, or even the idea of this being daily, altogether. I just wanted to have some pretty pictures of things I saw, or things we did, during December, and to have this as more of an embellished photo book than a scrapbook with a ton of journaling. At the back I'm including more notes for myself, similar to the labels I've given here with the photos.

Another way I made it easy was just to use letter stickers for the titles, and I tried to keep them short and punchy. With few exceptions, I restricted myself to the "kit" I created for myself at the outset, and that definitely reduced the time it took me to decide what to put on the page.

I really enjoyed putting this together, and tried to just "go with it" which is quite unusual for me. But I got in the zone and I feel like it came together very well.

Click here to see my earlier post about preparing my pages for this album.

Our Christmas cards - just a few handmade ones this year and the rest were printed.

Going to a concert with a friend

One of many choir rehearsals

Fun little chocolate Advent calendar

This local in-store Santa did not have our names on his list!

The wreath I made for our front door

A fun evening in downtown Houston

Listening to the Nine Lessons & Carols service from King's College, Cambridge with Dad was a December highlight!

I love putting up all the Christmas cards we receive!

I love these lights we saw in London.

We had fun drawing on the paper tablecloths whilst waiting for our food.

These socks are continuing to keep my toes warm. :)

I left these sugared almonds on the kitchen island and they were great to snack on... until I dropped the tin and the almonds went flying rather spectacularly across the floor...

An overhead view of London shoppers

I was dwarfed by the enormous tree at Covent Garden

I realise I never shared what I'd done to the cover, so here it is:

Here is the spine:

The finished album!

~ Caroline ~