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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Let's Do This Thing :: Project Life!

For local friends: the garage sale is ON for this week-end.  We'll be here Friday and Saturday from 8-4.  If you know where we live, stop on over.  If you don't know, send me a private message on FB or via email (click "contact" tab at top of blog), and I will be glad to share our address.  We will have lots of miscellaneous home decor items, Christmas items, a washer and dryer, a wedding gown, a student desk and chair, lots of computer gadgetry, a gaming chair, LOTS of homeschool books (ABeka -- and others), a SPODE "Christmas Tree" coffee pot, sugar, creamer, and bowl set, lots of mugs, table lamps, a floor lamp, a vintage 1946 Singer sewing machine in cabinet, and another more recent model w/o cabinet, and SO MUCH MORE!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled post! 

So I'm off and running on my Project Life.  I've ordered a few more items -- some specific themed items that will fit nicely into my album.  I'm ordering pictures like crazy -- all the way back to January of this year.  I've cleared out my photo files, and printed everything family-oriented from my 2014 files [meaning: not the kazillion photos of flowers, or the other pictures I use here on the blog.]

Just do it.
I dragged my feet for a long time, promising myself that I would catch up, and it just didn't happen.  When I decided to commit to Project Life full time, I saw myself moving forward, leaving the past in the dust, with the thought of eventually catching up on it all.  You've got to start somewhere, right?

Well here's what happened.  My supplies were delivered, and I went online and ordered my "so far" photos from this month: JULY 2014.  I was done in an instant.  No joke.  So, I thought, while I am waiting to make some more memories and take some more pictures, why don't I work backwards?  It seemed silly to just sit here all excited about the process with nothing to do.  So, you guessed it.  I ordered all of my JUNE 2014 pictures, and then MAY and APRIL.  The next thing I knew, I had gone through and ordered pictures all the way back to JANUARY!  Boom.

Embrace the individuality of the project/process.
So, you may be wondering about the best way to start.

I purchased an album, some pocket pages, a core kit, and two themed card kits.

Regarding the pocket pages... there are several styles.  I TRY (though sometimes unsuccessfully) to take horizontal photos, as it seems most efficient to me to stick with one style of pocket page.  I buy STYLE A [pictured above].  You may see other page-styles pictured in my posts, but they were purchased early on when I did my Disney and POTD projects.  I'm basically just using those up at this point.

So what happens when I end up with a vertical picture, and I have all horizontal pocket pages?  Well, I've discovered two things that work -- and you can see examples of them both on the page below.

I crop the height of the photo, allowing it to fit in a horizontal pocket.  Of course, that leaves some room leftover at the side of the photo, right?  I just pick out some coordinating scrapbook paper or one of the Project Life cards, sizing it to fill in the remaining space of the pocket.  I DO use adhesive to keep this in place. [see arrow pointing at bottom photo]

If the scene in the picture is small enough, I also have been known to crop it down to the card size which fits into the strip in the center of the pocket page. [see arrow pointing to photo in middle row]

What is a core kit?  This is the fun part.  A core kit is a great collection of large (photo-sized) cards and small cards that fill in all of the blank spots in your album.  They are styled by various designers, printed on both sides, and the color schemes vary.  The larger cards can be used as a title card on a page, or just to fill an empty spot when you don't have enough photos to fill a page.  The smaller cards fill in that center strip, as I mentioned above, and can be used in a strictly decorative way [think of them as the embellishments on your pages] -- or for journaling!  [JUST AS A SIDE NOTE :: let me say... Don't forget the journaling!  It's easy to stall out on that, but it'll be worth it when people look at your album, and know just what they are looking at! You'll also realize how much time you are saving by not cutting paper, and not unsticking adhesive squares.  Use the time to journal.]

I am loving the elements in the Americana theme kit,
and have used them for Memorial Day, 4th of July, and the Soap-Box Derby pages!

So then... what are themed kits, you ask?  Themed kits are a more specific collection of large and small cards that follow a theme, like the Americana Kit, above.  Other themes include (but are not limited to Family, Graduation, Celebrations, Christian, Fall, and etc.  They are a great way to further tailor your album to the events in your family's life.  [FYI - I buy most of my supplies HERE.]

I'll bet you're wondering how you know where to put all of these cards, aren't you?  Well, that's the beauty of this system.  It is totally individual.  Initially, there are cues inside the cover of the core kit box to give you ideas for the first and last pages -- and then it's up to you!  Have fun with it.  Follow a color scheme taking a cue from your photos, or just be random!  It's easy to make changes along the way since there are no adhesives involved!  I'll admit that I had some pages all finished, and when I found the sweet themed "family" kit, I changed out some of the cards!  I just couldn't resist.

Still feel overwhelmed about starting?
Don't!  There's no wrong way to start or to proceed!  That said -- in the interest of having a PLAN, I'll share what I typically do.  Remember, sometimes I am working backwards and sometimes forwards.  I have to take my path into consideration as I position my photos so that I don't have any empty page-gaps. Typically, my photos fit on a two-page spread or less.  I have had a few occasions lately that have been photo-heavy, and I'll just say that in those cases, I have been glad to have some leftover Design C pages on-hand.  Without those, I would consider cropping many more of my photos into the vertical "small card" positions at the center of the page.

I lay my photos out on top of the page protectors, and move them around so that are arranged in a way that best tells the story.  Usually, I work from left to right and top to bottom of each page.  When I like the arrangement, I slip the photos in the pockets.  If there aren't enough photos for a page, I add a large card to a photo pocket.  Use this as an opportunity to have a title card on your page if you like.  Then, what's left are the 4-8 vertical card pockets across the middle of the page.  Sometimes, I have a random small photo to fill one of those spots.  Otherwise, I use the small Project Life cards [either from the core kit, or a themed kit] to fill in the blanks, trying to balance decorative cards and journaling cards across the page.

I started off being really random, but now that I have sort of... found my stride, I find myself moving things around to make the page a little more cohesive.  There is no wrong design.  No wrong moves.  It's super flexible.

Hmmmm, a lot of information in this post, right?  I think I'll stop for now.  I'm going to have to start taking notes about the things I want to share with you.  Hopefully, the photos in this post have been good examples to explain my points.

Happy Scrappin'!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Making a Space More Functional

This is our microwave cart.  On top, there is room for the microwave, the toaster, and the napkin-holder. Underneath there is this great storage space -- which has always been helpful as our kitchen doesn't have tons of storage.  I try to be efficient in the way I store things -- purging often (which ends up being not as often as I should, but you know how that goes....)

See that mandolin-slicer?  Bad news.  Here's a tip -- always lift it by the handle, and then you'll know you're not going to run your finger across the blade inadvertently... not that that has ever happened here.


I admit, this space has looked worse than this, for sure.  Baking pans move in and out of here, and I guess what bothers me most is how it all leans.  When you pull one thing out, two other things usually follow.

I was at TJMaxx the other day and found these sturdy iron organizer racks.  I purchased two for this project.  I love how they give each item it's own space -- even the mandolin!  Each organizer rack has three slots.


In my space, it still leaves room at the end for some cookbooks.  Notice that I didn't cram too many things into each slot.  After-all, that kind of defeats the purpose.

Aaaah.  A fresh start!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I've Taken the Plunge :: Project Life!

Last Friday, I received my summer Project Life SALE items from Becky Higgins.  I ordered a bunch of pictures from Walgreen's (thankful for the timing of the coupon code!), and I was on my way.  In less than one week's time, I've completed seventeen pages, which covers a period of about three months!  BOOM.  I'm excited.  I'm finally feeling like I'm going to be able to catch up on this scrapbooking journey.  I am tickled with this process, and I highly recommend it.

[My story:  I have always loved, loved, loved the more traditional process of scrapbooking, but have found that I also love, love, love having a blog.  For me, it seemed that the two were mutually exclusive.  Time did not allow for the processes of both.  It bothered me that I was falling behind on the family memory-keeping, while watching scrapbook stores and online sites go out of business!  Determined not to give up, I decided to change the way I scrapbook.  I mentioned before that I have used Project Life for a 365 photo project, as well as a Disney album -- and enjoyed the process, so I decided it was time to convert for real.  You can read more about Project Life HERE, and see the products HERE.  I am not being compensated in any way for sharing with you.  It's just... well, if you're feeling frustrated about scrapbooking [the way I was], this may be just what you need to get jump-started.]

Sunshine Edition album

Here's a little description of Project Life from Becky's website:

"Project Life is a solution-based approach to scrapbooking that was created to simplify the process in order to allow you more time to enjoy life! It requires no glue, no scissors, no tools, and no skills of any kind. The design of our products takes the guess work out of layout design so that you can focus on recording your everyday moments through your photos and journaling. The simple design is stylish and makes it possible for you to complete more pages in less time."

'Nuf said.  I love that I don't need to take the time to cut paper, coordinate designs, or peel the backing off each and every square of photo adhesive.  This process just speeds you along...  I love the feeling of accomplishment!  I'll share a little bit more about the process later, but for now -- I'm rollin'.  Stay tuned!

Sunshine Edition Core Kit

Americana Theme Cards

Road Trip Themed Cards

Monday, July 14, 2014

Flutter By, Butterfly!

The other morning, I stared out the kitchen window at our back yard.  I love our back yard.  I love how over the years it has become enclosed by green.  I won't try to pull the wool over your eyes... there are weeds, and plenty of them.  But, there are also little areas that we've planned out and nurtured -- like the trio of Cleveland Pear trees that we planted strategically so that we couldn't see into our neighbor's yard... long before the trees were tall enough to block anything.  These days, the healthy leaves provide a beautiful screen!

And then there were the butterfly bushes... another trio.  Two white, and one a shade of purple.  I always knew they attracted butterflies to our yard, but I never realized how much -- until this year.  You see, last winter was the last straw for our butterfly bushes.  They made no appearance this year.

... and neither did the butterflies!  I thought about the fact that it was early July, and I hadn't seen one butterfly in our yard this year!  Not one.  I made a mental note that those butterfly bushes had to be replaced.

Hours later, I stood at the same window preparing dinner, and couldn't believe my eyes!  A beautiful butterfly was fluttering around my pot of marigolds.  Marigolds are a humble flower, but one that will always be beautiful to me.  I recall styrofoam cups of marigolds each Mother's Day -- a gift that the church Sunday school department helped us prepare for our moms.  And then, as a young wife and mom, I remember planting marigolds because they were easy, and hearty, and dependable for a new gardener.

I guess I'm a little sentimental about marigolds!

Even today, they do not disappoint.  My hubby planted a big pot of them on our patio, and it was there that this fluttering beauty decided to land for a photo shoot.  I would've dead-headed the flowers for you, but I wasn't sure the butterfly would wait.  I knew you'd understand.  *wink*

Thursday, July 10, 2014

This Week In My Kitchen ~ 7.10.14

:: Capturing my love of food, combined with the activity of a bustling kitchen.
A weekly collection of photos from the heart of our home. ::

Joining Heather for:
[click photo to join blog hop]

Dinner: Taco Chicken, roasted red potatoes, and spinach.

 Itsy bitsy wild strawberries.  Perfectly tiny.  Sour.

More snackin' fun, on sale this week!

Cooking root veggies in foil has been my "go-to" technique since my mom served them that way Memorial Day weekend fresh off the grill.  I've been doing them on the grill and in the oven...
this time, just sweet potatoes with olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  This is one of my favorite combos, and they are melt-in-your-mouth-tender done this way!

Pumpkin waffles...

from my favorite recipe, HERE.

Lunch.  This 5-ingredient salad has unbeLIEVable flavor!

Hope you're all having a great week.  I can't wait to see what all of you are up to this week!

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