Monday, December 3, 2012

December Daily 2012 | Plan + Pics

After some intense internal debating [see previous post], I decided to give this December Daily thing another whirl AND suspend my Project Life album for a month while I'm doing it. Here's the plan:

The Foundation | 5x7 kraft pages with digi elements added to the bottom of each page [I made them using some word art from Ali Edwards.] I kind of scraplifted Ali's base plan for this year and added paper scraps (mostly old Cosmo Cricket), stickers, ribbons, and washi tape to each page. I haven't decided on a cover yet, but I'm hoping to find a cool old book so that I can 'upcycle' it to something similar to this.

The Photos | I'm trying to use this project to renew my interest in my DSLR camera. It's been really neglected lately. I've been keeping this prompt list from A Content Housewife in my mind, but if I find something else of interest on a particular day, so be it. I'm shooting for one 4x5 DSLR picture for each day (all using the Colorized PSE Action from Pioneer Woman... I like how using the same photo finish really ties the album together) and then maybe an Instagram collage every week or so. 

The Extras | I'm definitely using all of our received Christmas cards again this year... I think that's the primary reason I keep coming back to this project! I love having a place to keep all of the holiday 'stuff.' I've already made one insert using some scrap wrapping paper and part of a gift box. I'm using it to document the first gifts I received. Each day/page has about a 1x5 space left for journaling. And I'm looking forward to having some nice photos that I can enlarge to 5x7 and dedicate an entire page to them. I'll probably just print the photos in one or two batches. I got some cheap refurbed printer ink for my home printer and I'm still paying for it!

So there you have it. Day one and two photos are processed and ready to print. I've made an insert. And the first day of journaling is done. Here we go!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

CD Revamp

Before we moved last year (almost a year ago to the day!), I went on an organizing / purging / pinning / 'natural' cleaning supply making / Goodwill donating spree. It was MUCH needed and still a work in progress. Last weekend, I finally got around to one of the big organization projects on my list: the CD collection.

Using this IHeart Organizing post as inspiration, I purchased two packages of CD sleeves from Amazon a few weeks ago [mainly so I could make it to the magic $25 free shipping number]. They're pink. :) I won't lie... it took A LONG TIME to swap the jewel cases for the sleeves, but the project served as a good excuse to camp out in front of the TV for all of the Halloween-themed stuff on the Travel Channel. Best Buy (and I think pretty much anywhere that sells electronics) offers a recycling program for electronics, so three bags of jewel cases are on their way there. I did one disc + liner notes for each sleeve AND pulled out the paper from the back cover of the jewel cases, so if you were just pulling the discs, I'm sure you'd plow through much quicker.

The great news is that I went from about 53" worth of CD's to 24". It may sound like a lot of work for not much benefit, but I'm all about the condensing. There were a few original cases that I kept... they're the cardstock kind. Still on the lookout for some boxes to house the sleeves, but I love that I freed up most of the cabinet. Another plus? I went through the back cover artwork with a paper punch and made a Project Life insert using this page protector.

So, hooray for that. I see a vacation day, Carrie Underwood concert, soccer game, road trip, and family time in my immediate future.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Tale of Four Decembers

I'm a very big believer in no Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but I've come to a big crossroads in my scrappy calendar: to December Daily or not to December Daily [for more info on the concept, check out this collection of posts by Ali Edwards]. If I decide to do it this year, I'd like to have some stuff ready to roll before the Thanksgiving hoopla strikes... and that's not too far off.

To help me make the decision, I went back through my four past efforts. Some worked well... others didn't.

2008 Size: 6-1/2 x 12 | Binding: American Crafts 3-ring binder

On my first try, I went crazy. Crazy sizes, crazy mix of papers, stickers, rub-ons, ribbons, page protectors, etc, and crazy preparation. I made every page in this album in October... then I waited. Once December hit, I did pretty well documenting my days until about the 10th. Then I started sticking my pictures in and adding Post-It notes to myself with the intent of going back in to finish the journaling (Exhibit D). And then... towards the end of the month... there are just random pictures added in. Better than nothing? Yes, of course. But the whole making EVERYTHING ahead of time and not really having a standard size just didn't work for me. Fun facts: I mentioned Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert in my journaling... even back in 2008 (Exhibit A). Haha! I'm reminded of the days when there was a motorcycle in my living room (Exhibit D). And when my husband's face was naked (Exhibit B).

2009 Size: 8-1/2 x 6 | Binding: Scrap cardboard covers + binder rings
I resisted starting another failed album the next year, but I eventually succumbed. It started out as a simple gathering of Christmas cards and a cover, but by the 12th of the month, I started journaling and throwing some pictures in. I basically put no thought process into this one. It's put together with scraps, lots of ephemera, lots of cards, and no planning. Literally, I'd sit down every day, print a picture or two out, put them on some paper I pulled from my scrap pile, wrote some things down, and called it good. I only did the last half of the month, but this album is FAT. I love it. Fun facts: This one cracked me up because it played witness to the birth of two new holiday traditions in my family: Chris's Christmas tattoo and the Christmas Eve run to Redbox (Exhibit D). I'm also remembering that this was the year I became addicted to Guitar Hero (Exhibit C), showed the kids how to play it, and now Alec is like a master guitar player (at least in my world). For real.

2010 Size: 7 x 5 | Binding: Scrap cardboard covers + binder rings
I think this one's my favorite. The cover is hot glue circles + spray paint + patterned paper + Diamond Glaze... and that was fun. I actually bought materials for this one, but spent less than $10. I think I ended up with about 8 sheets of double-sided Echo Park paper from the same collection. I cut them all into 5 x 7 pieces, punched the holes, and had them ready to go before December rolled around. I added Christmas cards and miscellaneous ephemera as the month went on, but kept it pretty basic. I used one 3x4 black and white photo every day, added handwritten journaling onto graph paper (sometimes a lot, sometimes a little), and a date stamp. As I went back through this one, I noticed that I'd skipped the date stamp during the later days, so I need to go back and add that. No biggie. I made a plan, kept it simple, and stuck to it. The result was a (mostly) completed account of the entire month. Yay! Fun facts: That hot pink/clear page (Exhibit A) is part of some Victoria's Secret packaging. I journaled on the clear part with an American Crafts Slick Writer. Favorite!

2011 Size: 7 x 5 | Binding: Heidi Swapp mirrored cover + binder rings
Well, I had a system that worked well for me, so I stuck to it for the most part. But I decided to get fancy. I started with a photo-a-day challenge group on Facebook... each day I had a one word prompt. I made a PhotoShop template, a little December Daily logo, and the album base using an old Cosmo Cricket mega kit I had in the archives. Each day I'd take the photo using the Retro Camera app on my phone (this was before I had Instagram!), then combine the photo, template, and some photo-challenge based journaling in PhotoShop. Sounds easy enough... but I only made it about 10 days. What IS done, I think looks nice. I just wish there were more of it. I do have a month's worth of complete Project Life pages for this time period, so it's not a total fail.

So, what about 2012? I'm still doing Project Life, so a huge part of me thinks that's good enough. But another part of me really likes to have a collection of Christmas cards and holiday 'stuff' for the year and I really REALLY don't want to add everything to the PL album. Plus I love making mini albums. Plus it would be like breaking tradition if I quit now... 

Perhaps another 5x7 album for cards and 'stuff.' Maybe add some full page photos and some journaling direct to the photos. Maybe finish it all up with my Bind-It-All. Right now, that's what I'm leaning towards. You?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Autumn does strange things to me... it makes me want to blog. And decorate the house inside and out... which I'm usually not that into. What is that about? I'm rolling with it and sharing some photos. 

Pinterest-inspired burlap covered wreath. Made last year.
Scarecrow amputee.
My grandpa made these for me while I was in college. They're my favorite.
Can't get enough mums. I've never bought them before because it felt like throwing money away, but Dad swears they'll come back every year if I keep them watered. Hmm.

Wheelbarrow (sans wheel) of mums at our driveway. Need to add some hay and... water for the mums.
So, as it turns out, Blogger is as big a pain in the ass as I remember. Thus concludes this post. Until next year, kids.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Project Life | Video Tour

Oh man... never realized how much I said 'um' until I watched this video. Yikes! I actually should've said that at the end... now that's all you'll be able to hear. :) We will blame the early morning and the fact that I was trying to beat the clock AND my memory card.

A few general notes about the experience so far:
  • To begin with, I only purchased the Project Life page protectors (Designs A and B) and journaling cards. I thought I would want to make my own kit, but after those pieces sat untouched for a few weeks, I caved for the ease of the complete kit. So glad I did.
  • Of the extras, so far I have used one of the Design B protectors and a handful of the cards.
  • I never approached this with a 'photo a day' goal in mind. Rules have never been much of a motivator for me! That being said, I can count on one hand the days that I haven't taken any pictures in the past several months. The harder part is narrowing them down.
  • Of the photos in the album, I'd say they're equal parts SLR, point and shoot, and camera phone. I obviously prefer the SLR images, but sometimes I'm just too lazy to get it out.
  • I use the kit's days of the week stickers, date stamp, and journaling cards constantly, but not so much the arrow stickers and filler cards.
  • Project Life has been awesome for getting me into a regular photo routine. With the exception of one or two weeks, I've spent Sunday afternoons dumping and editing all of my photos from the week, then uploading the PL ones for printing at the local Walgreens. Their quality isn't perfect but it's close to home.
  • In a perfect week, I'll have my print order picked up by 5 or 6:00 Sunday evening. After dinner, I can spend the last little bits of weekend vegging, corner rounding, writing, etc.
  • I LOVE having a place to put all the random crap I collect. Brochures, mail, ticket stubs, etc. I've been either incorporating this stuff into the design or tucking it behind the pictures.
  • I add some sort of digital effect to one or two photos a week, mainly month frames, story title brushes, and hand drawn words by Ali Edwards. Also love the Pioneer Woman Actions for PhotoShop Elements. I've created several photo collages using a stitch element by Anna Aspnes. I think it came from a freebie pack, so I don't have the link.
  • Also a big fan of Century Gothic. :)
  • To the basic kit, I've only added the Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher, We R Memory Keepers Corner Chomper, some scissors, black and red Staz On ink, and a hole punch. Use them all the time.
  • Keeping a pack of journaling cards in my purse works really well for me. I typically do one at lunch time for the previous day. I've gotten behind a few times and rely on technology to help me out. The voice recorder on my phone to record some notes, the Evernote app, Twitter, and Facebook status updates have all filled in the blanks a time or two.
  • Constantly looking at my album and my 'big white box' have also helped keep this train rollin'. I will confess that my box/kit has remained on my couch for months. Partly to keep the dogs off of it during the day, but also so I'm always thinking about it.
Last, and certainly not least, please help out Joplin, MO if you can. Joplin is halfway between our house in Oklahoma and where our families live in Missouri, so we're stopping through there at least once a month for gas, food, or shopping trips to Academy or Walmart. Now almost all of that is gone. So crazy. I still can't really believe it. The quickest, easiest way to help is by texting "convoy" to 50555 (donates $10 to the local Convoy of Hope) or texting "red cross" to 90999 (donates $10 to the Red Cross). For more information, please check out this resource from the local NBC affiliate.

Have a great weekend and happy summer!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Project Life | Week Two thru Four

I recorded a nice little Project Life video update this morning but forgot to bring my USB cable! I will try to get that uploaded tonight but there are pictures in the meantime.

Week Two. Experiment with black and white image + story brushes by Ali Edwards [I will do a detailed product list with the video]. Loving the folded journaling cards!

Week Three. The 30th birthday week with lots of inserts! I used the other half of the divided 4x6 page protector I used in Week One to store some birthday cards. All I had to do was trim the cards and punch the 3 holes in the protector. I also printed all of my Facebook/Twitter birthday greetings out on photo paper and mounted them on the 2-sided patterned paper from the kit. A few other birthday cards were added into the page protectors or just hole punched. I used an Ali Edwards month frame to mark the start of my April photos.

Week Four. The week I met Miranda Lambert. :) More black and white, more digi elements from Ali, more ephemera, more photo collages, and more folded journaling cards. One of them I didn't fold - I wrote out the concert story on one side, added a picture of us on the other, and slipped it, our parking pass, and my Meet & Greet instructions behind one of the week's main photos. I added a total of 3 small photos inside the folds of the other card.

More updates to come. Loving this project!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Project Life | Week One

I bought a few components of the Becky Higgins Project Life kit back in January but ultimately caved to the whole shebang a few weeks ago. An early birthday gift to myself. :) The original plan was to start on my birthday, but I decided to start last week with our trip to Milwaukee. Almost 1,600 miles logged on the bike through cold, rain, wind, small hail, sun, and 70+ degree blue skies. Quite the experience. All captured in Week One. The only thing I added to the kit was a divided 6x12 page protector (originally a divided 12x12 protector that I cut in half) with extra photos and ephemera:

Week Two is turning out to be not quite so exciting... sinus infections don't make for lots of photo ops. Blah.