September 11, 2014

filling in the gaps

Last Friday it was my turn to host the blog for Simple Stories. In that post I shared a project that has been on my mind for quite a long time now. I don’t keep a Life Documented album... Honestly, I find the whole concept completely overwhelming. There is just no way I could ever keep up with such an endeavor. Because as I've mentioned before, scrapbooking is something I never want to have to "keep up" with in the first place. But something that I’ve wanted to do for many years now is to find the best way to include all the “extra” photos into our family scrapbooks. You know, the ones that never make it onto layouts.

I knew that I wanted to use divided page protectors to accomplish this, but for some reason I always thought that I would include the extra photos by month. Don't ask why. That's just where my mind always went, but thinking that way just seemed to make the project too overwhelming. Finally, after putting it off for, right, years, I realized that I should just do a yearly summary. So that's what I did. These are the photos and stories that fill in the gaps of 2013:

Even though the idea behind this project was to include my extra photos, I knew that I needed to set limits in order to make it manageable. To start, I decided to use only two Simple Stories Design 3 page protectors which altogether make 32 slots for photos or journaling or title spots. I knew that to keep the project doable, I wouldn’t be able to include all of our extra photos. When choosing photos from the year I aimed to pick somewhere between 25 and 28.

Again, part of why I put off this project for so long was because it seemed too overwhelming. In order to keep things easy, I also limited my product choices deciding not to use any embellishments other than stickers, and keeping mainly to using Sn@p! Collections already in my stash. I relied most on the Him and Everyday collections, but also used Baby Boy, Family, Christmas, and Summer.

As you’ll see below, I also included two cut-out elements cards from Sea to Shining Sea. I think Gabe must have seen this flag cake on "The Martha Stewart Show" back when it ran on The Hallmark Channel. He's been asking to make one for a long time. I really wanted to include one photo each of Gabe and Nathan creating the Fourth of July flag cake. So these photos got half a page to themselves.

The boys had so much fun doing this, but I never made a scrapbook page to document it. It feels good to finally have that story recorded!

I don’t take tons and tons of photographs, but I take enough that they can’t all make it onto layouts. Plus, some of them, while cute, aren’t all that great. Perhaps they are too dark, or maybe out of focus. Sometimes, there really isn’t enough story there to warrant making an entire layout. This third page includes a few photos that fit into those categories.

And, while I don’t create my layouts in chronological order, I do store them in my albums in chronological order. When I created this fill-in-the-gaps project, I decided to put the photos in order as the year progressed. On this last page are photos from fall, Halloween, and Christmas.

These two pocket pages will be placed behind the year-in review spread I make each year (which is more a highlights layout of photos already scrapbooked), and together they will give a more complete picture of our year. Some more close-ups of the pages, here is a birthday photo of Sam:

As it says in the journaling, we had a very simple celebration at home. And because Sam did not like the cupcakes (a good thing really... turns out he is allergic to, lots of things, and shouldn't have eaten them anyway!), I really didn’t have all that many photos of him celebrating. But again, it is good to finally have at least one photo in our albums documenting that special day.

The photo below is from our first day of school last year:

In this case, I actually do have more photos from the day and have meant to scrapbook them, but have just never got around to doing it. I may go back and to do that, but if I don’t, I’ll at least have some record of that day.

Finally, in some cases there really isn’t much to say about a photo. I do get bored sometimes scrapbooking the same types of stories over-and-over again each year. For example, I love our annual trip to the pumpkin patch, but carving the pumpkins isn’t really my thing. But I did take a photo of the boys cleaning their pumpkins last year:

The photo is pretty self-explanatory, but I decided to embellish it simply with some stickers from the new Frankie and Friends collection.

As I worked on this project I kept repeating to myself, keep it simple! There are so many product choices available to scrapbookers today. And the Life Documented/Project Life inspiration available online in galleries and places like Pinterest is likewise a bit overwhelming. I'm glad that I stuck with my instincts and simplified my choices ahead of time. I am super-pleased with how this project turned out, and the end result is in keeping with my style.

The best part of completing this is that Gabe and Nathan saw the pages on our kitchen table as I was photographing them, and they were so happy to see all our memories from the previous year in one place.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

September 5, 2014

hello out there

Posting on this blog has always been a bit sporadic. And I've never really apologized for it. When I started this blog, goodness, a little more than five years ago, I knew that I didn't want guilt to ever play a part in the why or how of my posting. Still, I know it's been more than quiet around here this past year.

I still feel like this post, which I wrote about two years ago, is still very true. Life is busy. Not for the sake of it, but it is.

Within that post, I linked to another one. I think that post is also so very true. Her comments about Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and add to that now, Instagram, are all even more true. Although I will say that I don't compare myself with other bloggers, and certainly do not fall into discontent about the whole thing. But, I'm with her, very much behind the curve.

So what has been going on? Let's catch up a bit...

This year I taught my first class at Big Picture Classes. It was a good and wonderful experience. Creating quality class content is important to the team at BPC, and I certainly didn't want to let anyone down! I learned a lot and had fun, but it also took a lot out of me.

Of course, there is school work to be done. I might talk about that more in some upcoming posts. I am a new homeschooler, to be sure, and so I will offer no advice. But, early on when I was discerning whether or not to homeschool I found a lot of comfort in reading what others were doing. So, I might share a little of that here.

And then there is all the stuff of daily life, cleaning, laundry, and making meals. I cook a lot. As in, almost every meal. I try to use the idea of "cook once, eat twice" (or more) as often as I can, but I get restless in the kitchen. Lately, I have been trying at least one (sometimes two or three) new recipes a week.

I started running last summer. After a 7 year break. Then December came along and I fell out of my routine. In January, I got back into a rhythm, but then come mid-March I got really sick. It was just a cold, but it took me about 6 weeks to recover fully (it was two colds really; one right after the other). It was not fun. Happily though, as soon as I felt well enough I started running again. I only run three times a week, and I'm not fast and do not go far, but it is something.

We'll see if I can blog a little more often. Not because I have to, but because when I go back and look at old posts, I'm happy at what I've shared and the stories I've told. I like having that record here. In the cases of some stories, it's the only record we have. So, I'm gonna try to do that a little more. If only for my own sake.

Happy Friday, and here's wishing you a good weekend. 

August 23, 2014

a change in seasons

This morning I woke up at 6:00 AM and had to pull our comforter up over myself. I figured if it was that chilly I could afford to sleep in a bit before getting up for my Saturday morning run. I usually get up at seven, and this morning sleeping in constituted about 15 minutes. But still.

When I finally did make it out the door I noticed a distinct chill in the air. And it made me think, wishfully, that fall might be just around the corner.

The thing is, around here it will stay warm for quite some time. Not really cooling down until mid to late November. Sometimes even later. But we'll get these cool, even chilly days from time to time that trick you into thinking otherwise.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy the mild weather and the beautiful day. And be thankful for it all.

Happy Saturday, friends.

July 8, 2014

Grammar Free Journaling, Sneak Peeks and a Giveaway!

Coming this July, Angie Lucas' popular workshop, Grammar Free Journaling, is back for another run! She asked me to be a contributor this go-round and I happily accepted her invitation.

The class starts on the 24th, just a little over two weeks away, and will run for 4 weeks. The basis of the class are 12 fun, unconventional, yet useful writing strategies that will help you tell awesome stories in completely new ways. There will be several layout examples demonstrating each lesson from multiple contributors, including all-new examples from myself, Natalie Elphinstone, Maggie Massey, and Jennifer Gallacher.

I thought it might be fun to share sneak peeks of my layouts with you today. I don't typically start my layouts with my journaling. I usually begin with photos, then choose a design, and then work on the journaling as I go along. Most of the time it is the last thing I add to a layout. It was fun to switch things up a bit and begin the process with my journaling and then think about how the design could work with the challenges that Angie gave me.

First up, a layout utilizing single-sentence journaling:

This is a technique I use quite often actually. I tend to let photos speak for themselves - at least when what they have to say is obvious! This approach worked well for this layout because we don't make a big deal about Valentine's Day. There just wasn't a lot to say about the photos, and so one sentence was enough.

Next up, Angie asked me to use a Venn Diagram.

I'll admit this challenge was the toughest for me, but I was so pleased with how the finished layout turned out! Can you guess which of my boys I am talking about here?

Finally, a layout using a quiz as the journaling device.

Confession:  I took the questions for the quiz on this page directly from an old (and much loved) copy of a Simple Scrapbooks special issue titled, “Scrapbook Shortcuts with Quizzes & Questions.” Perhaps you remember it?! Gabe, turned eight recently, and just before he did I asked him the questions listed on this layout. I then compiled a few of my favorite photographs from his seventh year and put them into photos strips. It was fun talking to him about his favorite toys, TV shows, and vegetables. I was genuinely surprised by some of his answers, and now we have a page documenting our awesome little guy.

On to the fun stuff! I have a free spot to give away to Grammar Free Journaling! To enter, leave a comment telling me your biggest journaling challenge. Comments will remain open until Monday July 14th at 11:59 pm PST. Please be sure to leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win! I will select a winner at random and they will be contacted with instructions on how to register for class.

Just a few more things before I go, Angie previously taught Grammar Free Journaling in February 2013 and August 2013. This class features the same content, in a self-paced version. You can check your Big Picture Classes account to find out if you have already taken this class.

Also, in case you don't win the free spot, but still want to take the class, I have a coupon code to share with you. Save $7 off Grammar Free Journaling now through July 24th using the coupon code, GOGRAMMAR.

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

May 21, 2014

Scrapbook Generation's CREATE Magazine 

Are you familiar with Scrapbook Generation's CREATE magazine? It is a free monthly digital magazine which focuses on sketches. Each month they feature a manufacturer's design team and this month's issue featured Simple Stories. I have both a layout and a tag included in this month's issue and thought I'd share them with you today.

If you look at the original sketch, you'll see that I simplified the design quite a bit. I wanted to keep most of the elements the same, but still wanted the finished layout to reflect my own personal style. That can be tricky sometimes when using sketches made by others. And yeah, I'm going to insert a plug for my workshop here, I will be covering this topic in class because I think it is one of the biggest questions that scrapbookers have when using sketches.

Here is the tag I created:

The little watering can on the tag above is from the chipboard stickers from Homespun. I used the title pieces from that set on a layout, but probably would not have ever used this watering can on one. And honestly, isn't that true for a lot of embellishments? You like parts, but not all, of a package of brads or chipboard, or whatever. Tags and cards are a great way to use up those little bits and pieces of embellishments that you might not use on a layout. A simple gift can be made very special with the addition of a handmade tag or card, and in my experience people really do seem to appreciate something handmade.

You can see the original sketches that inspired these projects along with lots of other inspiration from both the Scrapbook Generation team and Simple Stories in this month's issue. Again, it is available for free to view either online or you can download a PDF.

Thanks for stopping by!


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