Thursday, January 31, 2013

Your Next Stamp Guest DT

Hi there! A few months ago I got an e-mail from the super sweet owner of Your Next Stamp, Karen, asking me if I'd like to be a Guest DT Member. I was a little nervous at first, because I'm not a very good color-er, but I absolutely ADORE the cute YNS images, so I decided to take the plunge and accepted! I'm so glad I did. As most of my regular blog readers know, I've been taking a little break from stamping the last couple of months and although I was a little rusty at first, it felt good to create a card again! It really got me brainstorming about different ways I can start to blend my love of stamping with my new obsession of Project Life - something I'm going to try to do more of in the coming months. We'll see how it goes.

Anyway, I already had a few stamp sets from Your Next Stamp and decided for my first project I'd pull out my all-time very favorite YNS set, Space Boy, and create a new card.

Pretty cute, right? My son Dean is still really into all things space related, so that little space guy always reminds me of him. I pulled some old October Afternoon papers from my stash and got creative with the sentiment. I didn't want a birthday card, so instead of using the entire birthday-themed sentiment, I taped off part of it and only inked up the "out of this world" portion. Then I just added the "u" and the "r" (get it? Like the cool way of saying "You are"? wink wink) in yellow Thickers. And I have to say, not bad coloring for an amateur, huh?

Stop by the YNS Blog today - you can read my oh-so-interesting bio and see a super nerdy recent headshot of me (YAY!) as well as see if anyone else is sharing the Guest DT spotlight with me this month.

I'll still be sharing my weekly Project Life spreads throughout the month (and I realize I am now a few weeks behind with that - I have plans to catch up on posting this weekend if all goes well!), but I'll also be sharing a few fun projects using some of my favorite Your Next Stamp sets throughout the month! And who knows...maybe I'll even find a way to combine the two!?

ETA: When I say "the month" - I mean February! ;-)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Project Life 2013, Week 2

Hi there! I've been meaning to write this post all week and just now have a few minutes free to get it done. We're in the middle of a major Room Makeover for Dean that is reminding me why I really don't like DIY projects. ugh. The only thing left to do is paint, which will be done tomorrow, then that project can be marked off the 2013 To-Do List!! YAY! So anyway, I was super excited to receive my Seafoam kit in the mail really quickly and had it in hand before I started working on this week's layout. I mixed and matched a few things from that kit with more Studio Calico PL goodies as well as some of their cut files and printables. There definitely seemed to be a yellow theme this week, although I didn't set out with that in mind. I just kept reaching for yellow. But it works I think.

I used another 3x4 Calendar Card on the left side of the layout, with the week circled. I recolored it to match the yellow in the Seafoam kit. I also used lots of Studio Calico printables as well as that fun days of the week cut file. I'm starting to get the hang of my Silhouette Cameo and this past week finally figured out how to use the Print and Cut feature - AWESOME! The paper under the days of the week cutout and the brownish arrow paper are both from the SC Project Life kit.

The right side has more printables from Studio Calico (labels, 3x4 cards, etc) as well as some of my new favorite alpha stickers that came in the Block Party kit. That "love this life" cutout is from the Silhouette store and was designed by Lori Whitlock I believe (I've had it for awhile now but never used it). I also put together a fun collage in the upper left in order to get lots of fun pictures from Dean's 1st Grade Field Trip that week (they went on a Whale Watch boat trip one morning. Unfortunately the whales weren't in the mood to put on much of a show, so they only saw 2 whales, but it's still fun for the kids to get out of the classroom and out on the ocean. The Pacific Whale Foundation also does a really cool classroom presentation in their research center at the harbor - so it was a fun morning for the kids!).

And that's it for Week 2. I'll be working on Week 3 either tomorrow after we finish painting or possibly on Monday when we get home from the beach (It's a holiday and we spend holidays at the beach around here!). How's everyone else doing with Project Life?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Project Life 2013 Cover Page

It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to do for my Cover Page, but once I received my Studio Calico Project Life Kit, it started to come together in my brain. I knew I wanted to use the little SC Wood Veneer People, and I thought I wanted a map of Maui (where we live) somehow with a geotag over Kahului. We took a family photo New Year's Day (that may or may not have been staged specifically for my Project Life Cover Page...), and I had already created a little pocket of sequins, Wood Veneer Stars, and some random confetti bits that I thought I might include. I sat down the other night and came up with this:

I'll be honest with you. I pretty much LOVE it. So far, one month in, I'm pretty happy with the Studio Calico Project Life kit. Most of the journal and filler cards on this page are from the kit. There were only maybe 2 or 3 vertically oriented 4x6 cards that I don't think I'll use (because I don't tend to use the vertical 4x6 pockets ever). Otherwise, I'm pretty sure just about all of the kit will get used. And those sneaky SC people coordinated it just enough with the scrapbook kit that I can still use my scrapbook kit with it too. So I haven't unsubscribed from that yet. We'll see how long I can stretch the craft budget to allow me to continue subscribing to both kits. Because I sometimes like to get an add-on and that is going to definitely add up!! But as I mentioned, I'm not spending much at all on stamps or other supplies, so I think it might all come out in the wash at the end of the month. We'll just have to wait and see. What supplies are you using for PL this year? Do you stick with just one of the PL Core Kits or do you like to mix and match other stuff? I did order the Seafoam Kit yesterday and got my shipping notice today, so hoping that arrives early next week!! YAY! So anyway, back to this cover page...Don't you love that "Hello, My Name Is" card? I used some of the Darling Dear Alphabet Wood Veneer to spell out each of our names, then wrote in our ages and what we do. (and thank you in advance for no smart-ass comments about the fact that I'm 6 years older than my husband. I'm well aware of that fact). When my son Dean saw this finished page, he commented about the 3 wood people, "Are those supposed to be us, Mommy? Because that lady has on a dress and you don't ever wear dresses". Nice.

It's hard to see it in the photo, but I used white Woodgrain Cardstock (from Studio Calico) with my Silhouette Cameo to cut the image of Maui. I added a little geotag sticker over the approximate location where we live. Simple and fun way to document your current residence. Pretty much all of the states are available as cut files in the Silhouette store. I purchased the state of Hawaii and then just deleted all of the other islands and sized Maui so it would just about fill a 4x6 space. Initially I thought about placing a small heart sticker over our town, but decided to go with the geotag instead. I still think the heart would have been cute too though.

And that's it for my 2013 Cover Page. What do you think? So glad to have it done and out of the way. Last year I found the cover pages to be the hardest things to do for some reason.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Project Life 2013, Week 1

So excited to be sharing Week 1 of Project Life 2013!! I don't have all of my supplies that I plan to be using as my "go to" items this year just yet, but I didn't want to fall behind before I even started. I was never more than 2 weeks behind in all of 2012 and I plan to stay just as caught up in 2013. I feel that staying caught up, for me anyway, was the key to my success with Project Life. I think without any DT commitments this year, it should be even easier.

I haven't decided on an album yet and need to do that soon. Any advice? I am waiting to decide until after CHA - hoping something new will be released that will be perfect. I used the Becky Higgins Black Signature Binder for 2012, but honestly I was slightly disappointed with the quality of the signature binders. Not in the actual binder craftsmanship necessarily, but in the way the black color seems to already be looking really worn, like it's rubbing off. And this is the case with all 3 of my binders, which were purchased at different times of the year. So I'm a little hesitant to go with one of the Project Life brand binders again, unless it's possibly a different manufacturer (like American Crafts maybe? Anyone out there have experience with American Crafts binders?). I do like the We R Memory Keepers binders, but I think I want something other than black, but I just don't know what. I know, indecisive much?

Anyway, I didn't use just one kit last year and I doubt that I stick with any one kit this year. But I will be ordering the Seafoam Edition when it comes out -hopefully next week. (I already have the digi version of it and used it this week, but I'd like to have the physical product as well). I also subscribed to the Studio Calico PL kit and am hoping it is worth the $$. I'm already a SC scrapbook kit subscriber and use a lot of those goodies in my PL spreads each week. I will have to decide if it's worth it to continue subscribing to both kits, which will be expensive. On the other hand, I don't really plan on doing much stamping / card-making this year, so that should cut down on my craft spending some. I'm hoping it balances out in the end. I'd really hate to have to sit down and figure out exactly how much money I spend on this hobby! So, Seafoam kit + Studio Calico kit(s) + my stash. I use a lot of printed digi goodies, so I guess technically that makes me a hybrid Project Lifer. I also like to use digital stamps and brushes. I have a Silhouette Cameo that I'm extremely unfamiliar with and definitely have not got my money's worth out of - I'm also hoping that changes this year.

So, here's a look at 2013 Week 1, which covers Jan 1-5:

Right now, my plan for my "Anchor" card (top left) is to use my Silhouette to cut out a "week" and number to identify which week we're on and then somewhere use my date stamp to show the dates. I may or may not include a 3x4 calendar card if I need the filler. So anyway, It will look similar to this, with the colors and placement varying week to week. Some weeks if I have lots of photos, I may include small instagrams on this card as well. Or I may journal on it and use it as a sort of "Week in Review". We'll see. I used a fun free end-of-the-year card from Cathy Zielske in one pocket and stamped the "awesome" from my fave Happy Days Verve stamp set. I love the Twenty13 Calendar Card by Robyn Meierotto. You'll see me using the 365 Days Photo Overlays by Ali Edwards very, very often. (these are available for the whole year, which is how I purchased them, or in individual months).


On the right side I used more Studio Calico digital printables and a printable from Cathy Zielske's Move More, Eat Well class that I signed up for (not because I need to lose weight, before anyone thinks I have some weird eating disorder. I know I don't need to lose weight. But I do need to eat healthier and get more exercise than I do and I have absolutely ZERO motivation to do so. Hoping a class will hold me accountable). I also used Cathy Zielske's Journal Cards 01 for my Week in Review. I use this quite a bit too. Not every week, but almost.

And that's it for Week 1! So a little different approach with blogging about it this time. I focused more on the products I used and less on the photos, which I think you can see for yourself. I'm not sure if I'll continue posting product links or not. It's a lot of work and I'm still not sure how many people are really reading these posts. This is a big change for my blog and I might be losing my readership, based on the lack of comments, LOL. I'm OK with that really. But if you are reading this and you have an opinion one way or the other about product links - let me know! :-)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Project Life 2012 Weeks 50, 51, and 52

Well, here are the final 3 Project Life spreads from my 2012 albums!! I put the finishing touches on my 2013 Week 1 layout this afternoon, so I'll be back tomorrow morning to share that - but these 3 layouts were some of my favorites of 2012, so I really wanted to share them first. So, long post ahead... Here's a look at Week 50:

On the left side of the page I used a variety of papers from both new and old Studio Calico kits, some Elle's Studios labels, and a Cathy Zielske digi file to mark the number of years Joel and I had been married (we celebrated our 7th anniversary on Dec 9th, so it seemed appropriate to include a wedding photo. It might be hard to see in the picture, but there's a little label on the wedding photo that says "12/9/05" and another little label on the 7 years card that says "12/9/12").

On the right side of the page I included a scaled-down (shrunk from 5x7 to 4x6) version of the front of our Christmas Card in the top left pocket. Also, just a quick note that this was the week of the Sandy Hook school shooting. I didn't want to dwell too much on it in my Project Life album, even though it weighed heavily on my mind and in my heart. The thing is, Dean had just turned 6 yrs old, is in 1st grade - the same age as those young children who were killed. It hit so close to home for me, as I'm sure it did for many of you. I can't even begin to imagine what the families of those children are going through. Joel and I decided not to discuss the event with Dean at this time. Every family had to make the best decision for themselves about this issue and this was the decision we made. The day of the shooting was the last day of school before Winter Break here in Hawaii. Dean is a very sensitive little boy and we felt that at this tender age, there was just no sense in trying to explain the unexplainable to him. We didn't feel it was something that he could fully understand and we didn't want him to be afraid to go to school. We kept the TV off for most of the following weekend and heavily filtered the radio and just stuck close to home. We knew there was a chance he'd overhear something and we were prepared to address the issue if it came up, but were hoping it wouldn't. And so far it hasn't. We did ask him about various drills they have at school and if he knows what to do in case of various emergencies (fire, earthquake, tsunami, and yes - lockdown). We were relieved to hear him tell us exactly what to do in each of those situations and he seemed very well prepared. He already knew what each of those emergencies were and what his school's protocol is (and he didn't seem to think it was weird that we wanted to talk about this either). So anyway...this is why I didn't dwell on the topic in Project Life. I included a poignant quote from Mr. Rogers courtesy of Cathy Zielske (freebie on her blog) in the bottom left pocket, and did a little journaling on the back of that card to serve as a future reminder of my feelings about the day - but hidden from sensitive young eyes for now.

And now moving on to Week 51. The whole week, including an extra insert that holds Dean's Letter to Santa, which was pretty funny (I had to tell him that I made a copy to send to Santa and kept the original just in case it got lost in the mail).

On the left side of Week 51, I included the back side of our Christmas Card in the top right pocket. Joel's Mom and Stepdad (Grandma Jo and Grandpa CR) got here this week, and I also included a Christmas drawing Dean did (one of my very favorite things to add to Project Life).

And the right side of Week 51. A trip to the Garden of Eden on the East side of Maui, dipping pretzels (my personal favorite holiday treat), new house shoes for me, and Book Club, as well as a  "Currently" journal card to just capture what life looks like during the holiday season.

And finally...Week 52 - the LAST WEEK OF 2012!!! I did include an insert this week, but here's a look at the spread with the insert removed (the front and back of the insert can be seen at the end of the post)

This was the week of Christmas. Lots going on. Kiwi Crate non-gingerbread-house decorating, Cookies for Santa, and our traditional Christmas Eve at the beach.

The front of the insert covered Christmas Eve at my Mom's (Tutu's) house in the evening. Family friend Jayci was there too and we walked down to the beach for sunset before opening gifts. Lots of journaling this week. Some typed directly onto digi journaling cards before printing, some handwritten. I really don't like my handwriting AT ALL, but I try to make a point to include it every week. You know you can always recognize your Mom's handwriting instantly, and I feel very strongly that having my handwriting in these albums - no matter how much I may dislike the way it looks - will make them that much more special in the future for Dean and future generations.

The back of the extra insert with a favorite picture of Dean and my Mom in front of her "fire" DVD - so funny! She insists on playing this DVD every Christmas Eve the whole evening for "ambiance", even though it's 80 degrees outside! And everyone swears that "fire" makes it unbearably hot in there, but she refuses to turn the TV off! Says it wouldn't be Christmas without a "fire" on the TV!!! ha!

And the right side of the layout with our hilarious Christmas PJ photo that is intended to poke fun of those perfect Hanna Anderson catalog families that are so super annoying...Joel loved it (ha!). Some journaling about Christmas morning and a photo of our Christmas afternoon walk on the beach. Then a couple of photos from later in the week and it was DONE!

So that's it. Project Life 2012 is complete. I have to say that this has by far been the most rewarding project I have EVER done. I started out the year planning to fill an album and ended up needing 3 albums by the time it was all said and done. (yes, THREE). I was a little disappointed about that - I'm planning to do Project Life forever and the thought of 30+ years of 3 albums per year makes me a little nauseous. Where in the world will I put all of those albums?? But I'm sure as Dean gets older, I'll eventually have less extra "stuff" to add to them. I definitely could have made my albums less bulky this year by not using any thickers, but I really liked the way they look and so will probably continue that, although I do have a different plan for my "Week of" card each week that will be less roomy. I also added lots of inserts in the form of Dean's artwork and various pieces of schoolwork that I wanted to keep. I feel like I was pretty selective about what I kept. On average, there's probably an extra insert about every 2-3 weeks. And at some point I may figure out a different system for storing these items, but for now I really like having them chronologically in these albums in the same place as the photos of him at the time in his life when he created those pieces of memorabilia. So for now, it looks like 3 albums per year is what it will be. We'll see if I can trim it down to 2 next year, but I seriously doubt it. I'm OK with that. Project Life is what you make it, whatever works for YOU and this is what works for ME and I LOVE it. So who else is doing Project Life in 2013? Are you blogging it? If so, please let me know and leave me a link to your blog. I'd love to check it out and add you to my reader!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Project Life 2012 Weeks 48 & 49

Well hi there and Happy (belated) New Year! I'm happy to say that I've already got a good start on my 2013 Project Life Album and am hoping to share my first week with you in the next few days. But in the meantime, I thought I'd first share a few of the final weeks of my 2012 Album, starting with Weeks 48 & 49.

First up, Week 48, which covered November 25 to December 1. This was the week we went on a little mini vacation to Oahu over a long weekend to celebrate Dean's 6th birthday (which was the following week) and my Mom's birthday. I already mentioned that I don't do a Photo-a-Day approach with Project Life and my Week 48 spread only covered our 4-day trip to Oahu. I didn't take very many photos before our trip and the trip was such a major part of our week and I had too many great photos not to use them all! That's the great thing about Project Life, I just make it work for me each week. So anyway, here's the whole week:

On the left side of the page I included a piece of a small paper bag from the gift shop at the resort. We stayed at Disney's new Aulani Resort & Spa on Oahu and it was AWESOME. We arrived Thursday morning and stayed through Sunday afternoon and had a great time. We didn't even rent a car and just stayed at the resort the entire time (when you already live in Hawaii, you don't feel the need to do all the "tourist" things and staycations are more about the resort and relaxing and playing in the pools anyway!).  We had an amazing ocean-view 1-bedroom villa that was directly above all the pools (see 2nd 3x4 photo from the left for a photo of the view from our lanai). We had fun playing in the pools, going down the slides, Dean snorkled in Rainbow Reef, and even Tutu couldn't resist all the slide fun!! I used lots of Studio Calico goodies from a couple of recent kits on this layout as well as some of their digi printables.

On the right side, I couldn't resist adding a Koa Wood postcard I picked up in the giftshop that was too cute! And more fun pictures from the weekend. A couple of the highlights from the trip were Dean losing his first tooth while we were there. Also, be sure to notice the picture of Dean with Minnie Mouse...Dean is NOT a fan of costumes or people dressed up as characters. When we went to Disneyland in May, he wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with the characters (honestly, I was kind of OK with this, I've never understand waiting in *that* particular line and was happy to avoid that). Aulani is much less over-the-top "Disney-ish" - very tastefully Hawaiiana, but you do see some of the main Disney characters walking around in Aloha wear every now and then. Dean once again was not impressed. However, at breakfast Minnie kept flirting with him and he finally caved and let her give him a hug! He was SO HESITANT, but overcame his fear / anxiety / whatever it is that creeps him out about those characters and even let me snap this photo! Proud Mom Moment right there!

So that was it for Week 48. Moving on to Week 49...December 2nd to 8th. This was the week of Dean's birthday and most of the layout covers various celebrating.

On the left side of the page there's a group photo of us as we get ready to leave Aulani on Sunday afternoon (My PL weeks cover Sunday through Saturday. I'm OK with splitting up my weekend. If an event covers the whole weekend, I just decide which week I want to cover it in and then go with it. And sometimes, like this week, I'll let it spill over into the following week. I'm OK with that. But I like my weeks to start on Sunday - Sunday is the day we prepare for the work / school week, and it just feels like where things should start). I also photographed my first Peppermint Hot Chocolate from Starbucks of the season. And there's a little bit about the small celebration we had at school for Dean by way of 2 instagrams, including a shot of the goodie bags I made for all of his classmates.

And on the right side, more birthday fun - we didn't have a real party for Dean. The last few years we've given him the choice between a party with a bunch of friends or a weekend staycation at a fancy resort and he chose the resort (bonus for him that we, along with Tutu, decided to splurge and go to Oahu this year). It probably ends up being only slightly more expensive than a party once things are all said and done, but this way there's no stress of planning a party in between Thanksgiving and Christmas - and Joel & I actually get to relax and enjoy ourselves too! So on his actual birthday (Dec 6th), he wanted to go to dinner at Genki Sushi, then we just had cake at home with the 3 of us. There are also photos from his school's Winterfest event (SO FUN!) and our trip to see our local Maui Academy of Performing Art's production of the Nutcracker.

And that wraps up Weeks 48 and 49. I'll probably go ahead and share the last week or 2 of 2012 before I share Week 1 of 2013. I'm so excited to be starting this project again!!