Tuesday, January 31, 2012

5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

I had to share this story + video of Parker today. Sadly, I haven't done this in a while, so I think our families will enjoy this. I was shocked when it happened and asked Mark to grab the video camera while we were eating dinner to see if Parker would do it again. And he did. Here's a little background :

On Sunday afternoon, I made some Jello and I told Morgan if she ate all of her dinner, she could have a cup of it for dessert. Well, she is a very slow eater. Mark and I were done eating, so I went to the fridge and got a couple Jello's for us, thinking maybe she'd pick up the pace if she saw us eating them. At first, she got a little upset and thought there were only 2 and we were going to eat them both. "No," I said "I made 4, one for each of us. You can have one when you are finished, ok?" She was okay with that and then counted around the table, pointing at each of us "1, 2, 3, 4" and then Parker continued :


It's obviously not clear counting, but we knew what he meant. At 19 months old, his grunting has only recently turned into recognizable words this month. Hahahaha, what a cutie pie! Bedhead, messy face and all.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Project Life : Week 04

Week 04 : January 23-29

Photos : Parker practicing drinking from a cup, packages ready to go to the post office, Morgan's boo-boo, sneaky Parker getting into the clementines, my handmade gift from Sue, his + hers lunches, and a very cold + snowy Morgan.

Other Bits : I ordered my Link with Love keytag (insert is not the keytag, but the graphic from the website), a Timbits box, the library's storytime calendar, a business card from one of our favorite restaurants, the tag from a clementines bag + the card Sue wrote with my iPhone cover.

Insert : winter scene artwork Morgan + Parker made at storytime.

Click any of the photos below to enlarge. Left side with insert :
Close-up of left side :
My favorite quote of the week from Morgan :
Close-up of insert. Their drawings were 6x9 so I trimmed them down just a 1/2" and slipped them in an 8 1/2" x 11" page protector and cut the excess off the top. I've been cutting off about half of the left margin on these American Crafts page protectors so they match the Design A pages. Then I repunch the binder holes with my crop-a-dile :
Back of insert + right side :
Close-up of Parkers work. The "P" (as well as the "M" on the other side) are old Heidi Swapp chipboard letters that I attached to the outside of the page protector :
Close-up of right side :
Morgan fell and scraped her knee on our way to storytime this week. I attached the photo to the library's January calendar :
You can pull out 'the story' tab and I wrote on a journaling card about how she got her boo-boo. This is the front :
And the back :
I love these foldable 4x6 journaling cards! I used one this week to write down all of the words that Parker has started saying this month :
Inside of the card. I alternated fine + thick pens to distinguish between the words. Can you see my mistake? Oh well, I just went with it :
We went out to dinner to one of our favorite restaurants last weekend. I added some decorative tape to the business card to make a long tab and slipped it behind the journaling card.
I have linked up my Week 4 of Project Life at The Mom Creative.

If you are not familiar with Project Life, click here. All of my 2012 Project Life posts can be found here.

Products I used this week :

Sunday, January 29, 2012

my less list : no 05

  1. Take the bag of clothes I purged last week to Salvation Army. Easy. Done. Even had a simple conversation with Morgan about what we were doing there and she seemed to like the idea. :)
  2. Find a solution + make a plan to resolve Parker's night wakings. This falls under the 'less crappy sleep' category. Funny how I wrote this 'to-do' last week and he slept really well Saturday night. Maybe he knows... :) Update : Parker actually slept really well all week, so no 'plan' was made. For now, I will leave this item unchecked until I know for sure it is not an ongoing issue.
  3. Go through my box of scrap scrapbook paper. Time permitting, cut some of it down to 3x4 and 4x6 to use in Project Life album. Completely done. Simple enough and now I have a big stack of equal sized scraps to use for Project Life, since this will be the main, if not only, album I plan on completing this year. These sizes are also perfect for using in minibooks + cards. Good decision.
  4. Make a 29 dinners list for February. This includes browsing my foodie Pinterest boards (meals + more and fun treats) and printing out recipes I want to try. Finished. I tend to put stuff like this off (and I did) but it feels so good to have it done. Meal planning + grocery list making tend to be my least favorite 'chores' each week and this makes it 100 times easier. I may plan to share my master list of meals, and how I use it, soon in a blog post.
  5. Pull old papers out of the filing cabinet + destroy/recycle. Collect necessary tax forms and see what is missing before filing taxes next month. Done. And much quicker than I thought. I think it was because of the major paper purge I did last year. It seriously only took 15 minutes.
Each week I am going to write a short list, no more than 5 items long, of simple tasks that I want to complete during that week. Small things, not huge projects, that I can easily do in the span of 7 days. Things that will keep me focused + help me keep my eyes open to the big picture. You can read more about my One Little Word, less, why I chose it + how I'm documenting it in 2012 here. You can read all of my (now updated) less lists here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Project Life : what I've learned during my first month

As a Project Life newbie, I really didn't know what to expect as far as how much this album and this project was going to mean to me. Almost fours weeks down, and wow, I love it! I know everyone's experience is different (especially if you are like me and new to this system) but I have really enjoyed it and it is simpler than I thought it was going to be. As I've lurked around on the message boards + galleries on the internet, I know there are people out there that are having the opposite feelings. I know I did several weeks ago, before I even got started. They are overwhelmed, they have too many photos, not enough photos, too many photos of one child versus the others, they hate their handwriting, their printer broke, they can't keep up, and on and on. I know we are not all in the same boat, but I wanted to share with you how I, a 30-something stay-at-home mom to 2 under 4 who is brand-new to the Project Life format, am making this work, and loving it. Sorry to the veterans out there that may find this redundant, but if you are having a rough time maybe this will give someone out there a little extra push to keep going or change it up a bit. This is what's working for me :

TIP #1 : STAY ORGANIZED : One of my favorite words, ha! Seriously though, the things that have helped me get my weekly layouts completed within a few days of the weeks end are :
1. Having a planner to keep all of my notes in. I'm using a MyBook Planner that was sent to me as a thank you from Big Picture Classes and I love the format. Each week is on one page with plenty of lines to jot down notes each day. I also like that it has the number of the week at the top.
  
2. Using a page planner for each weekly layout. I love both Marcy Penner's (she made them for every page protector design!) + Robyn Meierotto's. I write my notes in pencil + I don't have any rhyme or reason as to where certain pictures go. I just use these page planners to keep track of how many 4x6 and/or 3x4 slots I have left to fill. I don't figure out where they will go in the album until I'm putting it all together.
3. Having a place to store my extra bits + ephemera. I keep my album on a shelf close to my scrap space, open to the current week with a page planner on top. Below the album are narrow slots where I keep the box top + bottom from the big pack of Design A page protectors. In one I keep my ephemera :
 
I've kept stuff in there from past weeks, just in case I need a filler later, but I will definitely have to stay on top of regularly purging it. In the other, I keep a stack of page planners, this printable 100 Bits of Life page from The Mom Creative, Liz's template for printing on 3x4 journaling cards and printouts of some other downloads I've gotten online this month :
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
 
4. I was beginning to acquire a lot of digital templates, journaling cards and other downloads that were Project Life related. Before they got too out of control, I started making some folders on my computer so I could find what I needed quickly (and hopefully not forget I had it in the first place!). I'll be sharing the contents below.
5. Something else I did after reading about it on the Studio Calico Project Life message board, was to put all of my page protectors (except the Design A ones that are already in my Project Life album) in one scrapbook/binder. Brilliant, right? I had been keeping mine upright in a basket between some thick chipboard to keep it from bending. This was not the best way to store it, or the easiest way to see what I had. Putting all of my page protectors in an empty scrapbook that I already had took all of 10 minutes and now I love that I can just open it up and quickly find the size or style protector I am looking for - which I expect to happen almost weekly if I am adding an additional page or insert. And clearly, I shouldn't need anymore for a while - except I do plan on getting the Design G page protectors when they are back in stock. :)

TIP #2 : DON'T WORRY :
1. My One Little Word this year is 'less' and part of that meant less worrying about what other people are doing. I adore message boards + online galleries + blogs as much as the next scrapbooker but I quickly learned that when the amount of time I spend looking at other people's work exceeds the time I'm spending on working on my own stuff - that's not good. Now, I have a handful of blogs I read regularly and when I'm in the mood for more, I either search Pinterest (keywords : Project Life) or Twitter (#projectlife). Becky Higgins is great about sharing her finds on Facebook and Twitter and her creative team is a fantastic source of inspiration too.

2. I won't always have an equal number of photos and stories for Morgan + Parker each week. Some weeks are going to be bigger/more memorable for one of them or the other. What I am going to strive for is overall balance throughout the year/album and make sure I am telling the big stories, as well as those little everyday, I-probably-would-have-forgotten-that-moment-next week-if-I-didn't-write-it-down stories.

3. Work on my album when I can, even if it's just 15 minutes at a time. As these first few weeks have gone by, I find myself working in spurts, on the current week. My weeks are Monday-Sunday and so far, I've been loosely filling in the page planner on Friday evenings so I have a good idea of what to expect for the weekend. "Who is missing from this week?" is usually the big question. In one sitting I might note the file number of the photos I want to print, or journal on a few cards, or print photos and lay them out to dry, or rearrange the photos + cards on the page protector. A little work goes a long way and what I've learned is I usually don't want to stop once I get going! :) That shouldn't be a surprise. Then when it's finished, I love looking at it + reading all the notes. Then that turns in to looking back at the past weeks again. So fun!

4. I've decided not to take the 'photo-a-day' approach. Instead, I am choosing the best photos, stories + everyday moments that round out our week. On that note, I hope to include longer stories and/or inserts each week, but I'm not going to force it either. And I need to find ways of getting ME in the pictures too. That's never easy, but I'm working on it.

5. I'm working on not being overly concerned about matching colors / patterns / themes. I actually really like the hodge podge look of my album so far and I think that will lead to less stress about how it looks (or should look) in the end.

6. Be inspired by the stories people are telling, not necessarily the products or creative techniques they are using. On a similar note, I really loved this quote from Ali Edwards first Creative Lifts newsletter : "It's easy to spend your "practice" time researching, reading, looking at images online, getting lost in other people's work and inspiration, etc. While I think there's definitely some value in that process, for me the real value is in actually doing/making/writing/photographing/etc. Don't spend all your practice time watching other people's practice." If that isn't spot-on for me right now, I don't know what is. If you'd like to subscribe to her (free) weekly newsletter, sign up here. It's fantastic!

OTHER STUFF :

If you are doing Project Life and have done any internet searches lately, you have probably noticed how many designers + scrapbookers are making journaling cards and other Project Life goodies. And many of them are FREE! This list is just a portion of what is out there, but what I have decided to add to my own stash, on top of the Turquoise Core Kit :
 
Phew, okay, last but not least, if you are looking for an online community to stroll around, Becky has a (free) classroom at Big Picture Classes and Studio Calico has a Project Life message board + gallery. Lisa Truesdell (gluestickgirl) has a free year-long (and amazing) class at Two Peas that just started a couple weeks ago called 2012 : Captured. She has had so many great Project Life tips both in this class and on her blog! Also, Jessica from The Mom Creative has been doing a Project Life feature on Tuesdays where you can link your previous week's layout. Last I checked, this past Tuesday had over 120 links! So even if you aren't looking to link up your own project, it is undoubtedly chock full of inspiration + ideas.

So newbies, how are YOU doing this first month? Anything you've learned about the process? Or yourself? Is Project Life better or worse than you expected? Veterans, feel free to chime in with your own tips! I would love to hear them!

If you are not familiar with Project Life, click here. All of my 2012 Project Life posts can be found here.

Sold Out!

Just a quick shop update. The 20 Questions albums are sold out! Once I am able to process + ship the current orders, I will restock the shop with more red, pink + blue albums. Hopefully around the same time I will be able to get my hands on the green + black albums too.

If you placed an order prior to Monday January 23, your album will be going out in Friday's mail. The rest will follow shortly after. Thank you!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Project Life : Week 03

Week 03 : January 16-22

Photos : Morgan + Parker drawing together, working hard on restocking the Etsy shop, iPhone screenshots of the weather + texting with Mark, crafting with mom + Kristin, Mark's view of the Detroit skyline, my 'kini girl + muscle man, sledding + the coolest birthday party ever!

Other Bits : my Target shopping list on the back of an envelope, the tag + receipt from some new boots I bought on sale, Morgan's drawing of Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba + an envelope clipping of Mickey Mouse.

Insert : front side is from our morning of sledding on Sunday. The back contains the invitation and a few photos from a birthday party we went to the same day.

Click any of the photos below to enlarge. Left side with insert :
 
Close-up of left side :
I love these page protectors that you can just slip extra photos into. I presume some weeks are just going to require adding more photos + stories. Close-up of insert :
The labels are from Martha Stewart / Avery (available at Staples). On the edge, I used my file tab punch to make a tab and stapled it on the page protector (a la Elise Blaha) to record the date :
 
Insert + right side :
The birthday party was at a gymnastics center. So much fun! Many kids, including ours, were crying when it was time to leave. Close-up :
Close-up of right side :
I cut up the envelope that we got in the mail about joining the Disney Movie Club. Thought it would be cool to see in future years what Mickey Mouse looked like in 2012 + how he has evolved. He has already changed so much since his debut in the 1920's.

Mark took a picture of his view from the top of the Dime Building in Detroit and texted it to me. He is working on a big project for Chrysler there - very exciting! He had a very busy week at work + I had to include it in this weeks spread :
Yeah, now I'm caught up!

If you are not familiar with Project Life, click here. All of my 2012 Project Life posts can be found here.

Products I used this week :