Monday, January 30, 2012

It's all about the balance

I meant to post this on Friday but being sick and all the day just kept slipping away until it was dinner time and I just didn't feel like tackling it.  Thankfully despite being sick we managed to have a really great week.  I ended up working on my Project Life pages yesterday, it was nice getting it done on Sunday.  It was quiet here and there were no football games competing for my time.  Check back on Wednesday for those pages.

For now, the real star of the week was Simone's first attempt at riding her bike without training wheels this past Wednesday.  Larry felt she was ready having seen other kids her age riding on their own, so he took off the training wheels and the peddles.  It's all about the balance so the first step was teaching her how to push with her feet while keeping the bike up on the two wheels.

First a little demo from Dad

Then lots of attempts by Simone.  She was just so excited about all of this and so proud of herself.  When she kept her balance she would jump off her bike run over to us and give us big hugs.

Only a few wipe outs but they were always slow and no big deal.  She jumped right back up.

After she was comfortable with it, Larry pushed her from behind just to see if she could keep the bike steady. 

Then he put the peddles back on so she could actually peddle the bike and she managed to make it all happen in unison a few times on her own.

Here she's actually peddling the bike and went a whole two squares on the sidewalk before putting her feet down.

I had to leave to work at Simone's school so while I was gone Larry took Simone to the park and had her ride her bike there and back. He said she did really well, scooting along and balancing the whole way.

This is her practicing on Thursday and doing really well.

Hopefully if the rain holds off like its supposed to this week, she'll have lots of time to practice and get even better. 

Way to go Simone, we are so proud of you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Project Life - Week 3

This week was tough for me, I think it has more to do with me being sick than anything else.  It felt like I was moving in slow motion and it took a lot longer to put together than last weeks pages.

I forgot to take a picture of the two weeks together last week, so I remembered to do it this week.

I had so many photos to add this week I started to feel overwhelmed while I was planning and was worried it was starting to look overloaded with photos and not enough journaling and white space.  I liked my pages last week because it felt like there was white space.  I ended up changing up a few things from the original plan.  I shrank some photos down and found myself loving Cathy Zielske's new Tiny Templates that I just bought.  I know I'll be using these a lot for this project.

Here's a close up of the left page.

The little Beauty and the Beast pieces came from a toy Simone got after her doctor appointment, her reward for getting through three shots.  I wanted to use them and added them here at the last minute.  The doctor visit was a big deal this week so it seemed appropriate to add them here.

An Instagram shot from my Sunday trip to Costco with the caption I used for the photo on the journaling card.  This page was hybrid.  Photo printed on photo paper the rest printed on card stock, date stamped after printing.

The photo on the right is a screen shot of my Costco list.  My husband and I use the OurGroceries app to sync our lists, its very handy and you should check it out.  The other shot is Simone being goofy.  The tag is from the Clementine Element set from Jessica Sprague, I printed out a whole sheet of them and cut them apart to have on hand.

The journaling for Tuesday was written on the free journaling cards Cathy Zielske put on her blog this week.  Love these so much!  The next slot is one of Cathy's Tiny Templates.  I love that you can have a photo but still have some white space with journaling.

This slot was just a photo but I felt it needed something so I added the Tuesday overlay on top by Amy Jazz at The Lilypad.  My printer wasn't lining up right when I printed this photo so the alignment is a bit off but I didn't want to print it a 3rd time so I went with the best of the first two I tried.

Here's a close up of the right side

The big doctor visit, I wanted to add these two photos with some journaling, so after some trial and error with a few different layouts I ended up putting two of Cathy Zielske's tiny templates on a 6 x 4 canvas and it totally worked the way I wanted it too.  I just deleted one set of title and journaling layer's and made the other one bigger so it traveled over the whole canvas.  The whole thing is printed on photo paper.  The tiny date label is from 7gypsies.

I had a lot of Instagram photos that I wanted to include this week so I made a collage using a template from this set of four of my favorites and added the journaling to the spot on the left meant for a photo.  I did a little search on Google and found out that the Instagram logo is a font called Billabong and it's free to download! I love being able to mimic the logo in my journaling.  The number's I used were a freebie from Persnickety Prints, I changed the color and adjusted the transparency to mimic the look of vellum stickers.

More stuff that came from Simone's doctor visit, Monster Spray and her new Chore Chart. I shrunk the actual chart down to fit on the 3 x 4 card and added the journaling to the bottom.  I thought about writing it by hand but knew I couldn't write small enough to get it all on there.

A small journaling tag attached and trimmed to fit the corner and another Instagram printed 2 x 2 and attached to the journaling card.

I used this template last week and loved it so I used it again.  A great way to get three shots from one day on one 6 x 4 canvas.  The flag is from the digital Clementine Elements kit at Jessica Sprague that I shared above but this one I used digitally, I added a drop shadow to make it pop and typed the journaling.  I love the blue and the orange together, such a happy combo. 

I wanted to date the photo with my date stamp but also wanted to print the whole thing on photo paper so I found another font called STAMP that mimics the look of a date stamp.  Love this!

A simple page to end the week with a photo and a simple day of the week graphic.  The photo was printed on photo paper the rest printed on cardstock.  There you have it another week done!

I'm kind of loving that I wait to pick which cards I want to use each week.  For example this week ended up being a lot of blue on the right side so I chose the blue week card for the left to help balance it all out.  When I did this version two years ago and was doing a strict photo a day with journaling I layed out all of my cards in advance.  I much prefer to start each week with a blank canvas.  That way I can choose based on any themes or obvious color stories that comes out based on the photos I picked for each week.

If you have any other questions about specific items I used let me know.

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 23rd

This day is special for two reasons, its the day I got married, 01.23.99.  Thirteen years ago, lucky number thirteen.  Seems like yesterday, but also seems so very long ago.  Time is flying by.  I couldn't be happier.  We have a wonderful life and a wonderful family.  Here's to many, many more years of fun, laughter and love!

The other reason is this lady, my maternal grandmother, Evelyn Nichols, born January 23, 1913.  A woman so full of life, full of energy and full of love for her family.

A woman who was happiest in her kitchen cooking for the family at every holiday imaginable.  I still can't figure out how she managed to cook 6 course meals and fit us all around her dining room table but she did it with gusto, like any good Italian grandmother would.

A woman who would move heaven and earth for her grandchildren and spoil us rotten whenever she could.

I love you so much Grandma and miss you everyday.  I'm honored to share this special day with you.  You will forever be in my heart and the hearts of everyone in your family.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Monster Spray

On Wednesday we took Simone to the doctor for her 4 year checkup.  I'm happy to report that she is very healthy, has perfect vision and perfect hearing.  Not sure why she can't hear me when I call her name or tell her 'no' but the doctor assures us her hearing is perfect. 

Here is photographic proof that yes she can hear the beep just fine!

He also said that she is as tall as the average 5 1/2 year old, yikes! She better slow down or she'll be taller than us before she hits 3rd grade.

One of the things we spoke to the doctor about was how lately Simone has had a hard time staying in her own bed.  The last few weeks she's come in our room several times wanting to sleep with us which we have been guilty of letting her do in the past but its become more frequent and more disturbing to everyone's good night sleep.  She is also having a hard time with the dark and is pretty concerned there are monster's in her room.  The Doctor had a wonderful suggestion for us, we need to get some Monster Spray.  We've never heard of it so the Doctor took me out into the hall and told me where to buy it. 

Here is what Monster Spray looks like if you were wondering...

Made by me of course but she doesn't know that and was very excited to see that I was able to find it at the store.  It's just water with a few drops of fragrance oil so she can smell it.  I made the label in photoshop because I thought it was cuter that way.

Last night Daddy sprayed the Monster Spray by the door of her room, by the window and in the closet and guess what...NO MONSTERS!

Simone was very happy this morning and if she is comforted by the thought of Monster Spray than by golly we'll make gallons of it.

One of the other things the Doctor suggested is using positive reinforcement which of course we have been doing and seeing good results from.  We also talked about reward charts which is something I've thought about doing.  I looked online and found tons of inspiration on Pinterest and found one that a very nice lady created for her kids.  She has a free download on her blog if you want a copy.  I decided to modify it a bit for my needs and added some different graphics at the top, things that I want to make sure Simone is doing like sleeping in her own bed every night, brushing her teeth, letting us brush her hair without complaint, taking her fluoride and picking up her toys.

Here is my version of the chart;

and a close up of the graphics that I added. 

It took me a long time to find clip art that would work for my needs so if you are interested I found it here.  I just right clicked the images I liked saved them to my desktop then dragged them into my photoshop document, recolored them and voila!

We plan to start this on Sunday and I bought cute little multi colored star stickers to mark each task as she does them.  I'm hoping for good results from both the Monster Spray and the Chore Chart.

Have a wonderful weekend!  We're planning on cheering loudly for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday and I'll be back Monday for more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Project Life - Week 2

Right on schedule and so far so good I keep telling myself.  It was definitely a lot easier for me to put this set of pages together this week than it was last week.  Part of the reason for the added ease was using these super cool page planners that Marcy Penner made up and shared on the Studio Calico board.  This is the one I'm using for design A.

My process has been to a) gather up all my photos from my two cameras and my phone, b) choose what I really love and what I feel needs to be included and c) what little bits do I have that I saved (receipts, packaging, etc.)  After I do all that I start penciling it in on the sheet as shown above.  Last week I did it in pen and ended up scratching it out too much so this week I switched to pencil and it allowed me to make changes as needed. 

I really try to have a good representation of the week but for this week so much happened on Sunday the left side is pretty much dedicated to that day except for one spot.  I like to add the dates as I'm planning, it helps me make sure I covered as much of the week as possible.

Once that's done, I go box by box and open the photos and crop and edit as needed.  What a print saver this has been, I'm only printing what I need to print in the size I need to print it in so there is no waste at all. 

I pulled my old HP Photosmart printer off the shelf, not sure why I stopped using this little guy because it prints out the best images and makes it so easy.  It looks like its discontinued but can be found used on Amazon, here.

One thing that I found myself doing this week with the larger 6 x 4 slots is using Photoshop Elements a lot to plan them out especially with the few that had photo collages in them.  Here are close-up shots of the pages and slots in detail so you can see them.

This is the left side for the week

For the week card I stamped it with the date stamp and then attached a piece of the Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissant box that we had on Sunday morning.

For this slot I chose a photo of the croissants and added a label from the digi kit of Project Life elements.  I resized it because it need to be taller to fit all the text I wanted to add.  I also added a drop shadow to the label so it would stand out and printed it, easy took minutes which I like.

Just to let you know I don't have the Design A page protectors because they are still out of stock, I'm just using 4 x 6 page protectors and sliding in my smaller cards two by two to mimic the layout of Becky's protectors.  When they do come in I'll order them and switch my stuff out to those protectors but these are working for now. 

Simone made this super cute drawing that she ended up mailing to her cousins so I snapped a photo of it before she put it in the envelope.  I wish we could have saved it because I loved it so much but it was nice she wanted to share it.  I added a digital word art element of Ali Edward's that I got from Designer Digitals awhile back.  I also took a screen capture of the weather outlook for the week because I knew it was going to be exceptionally good for this time of year this week so I wanted to remember that.

I ended up doing only one journaling card but spoke about all the things we did on Sunday.  I used one of my new 7 Gypsies roller stamps that has the days of the week on them.  I love these stamps and I'm glad I grabbed them when I had the chance.  They will be great for this project.

For this slot I used one of my Instagram shots sized to 3.5" x 3.5" square.  I feel they fit best in the 6 x 4 slots when they are this size.  I attached it to a cream colored piece of cardstock, stamped the date on it since this was the only picture on this side of the week that was not from Sunday and added a tag with my journaling.  I inked around the edge of the tag so it would stand out more from the background.

Here's a look at the right side of the week.

I love how this slot turned out, I essentially made a hybrid page using my digital supplies.  I didn't want the background, tag or text to be shiny, so I printed those parts on cardstock and printed the photos on photo paper.  I used my little photo printer for the cardstock portion too, I just trim my cardstock to 4 x 6 and run it through the printer, so much faster than printed on 8.5 x 11 paper and them trimming it down. I love how this came out and I'm sure I'll repeat it again. 

I chose to use a template for this slot as well.  This one is all printed on photo paper vs. the other side.  It's a great way to get 3 photos in one tiny area.

The left photo is all done in Elements I added the digital journaling tag and the text and printed the whole thing on photo paper.  For the right side I wanted to add screen captures of the tweet Mini Burget put out announcing that they were coming to Elk Grove and my reply.  I just cropped them and dragged them onto a digital journaling card and printed the whole thing on photo paper.  I love this because it helps tell the story without me telling it.

Another journaling card that tells the story of Parent's Night, in my own hand, not easy for me but I did it.

Here's another Instagram photo, a collage I made the day of the 49er game showing some of our yummy food.  I printed this one out at 3.5" x 3.5" as well, attached it to some kraft cardstock and added the date and journaling.

All in all I'm pretty pleased with myself this week. I forgot to time myself but I'm guessing it took me about 2 hours to put the whole thing together.  I'm betting it will be about that much time each week give or take a few minutes.  That's a time commitment I can handle and so far I'm loving the hybrid approach, I'm sure I will stick with it.

If you playing along too, I hope you had a great time putting your week 2 together as well.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fix it Up, Wear It out

Yesterday I did something really stupid...I went to Costco on a Sunday.  Crazy, I know and my gosh was it insane.  I swear some people wait to go to Costco until Sunday just so they can eat all the free samples.  All they end up doing is jamming all the aisles with their empty carts getting in the way of those of us that are there to do some real shopping.

While I maneuvered through the aisles I had a list and planned to stick to it.  Easier said than done.  There are always so many things to tempt you at Costco; movies, books and gigantic cans of nacho cheese.  The giant bags of potato chips were trying very hard to tempt me but I managed to stick to my list, no easy feat.

The reason I stuck to the list was a phrase that keeps ringing out in the back of my mind.  Something I read way back when, I'm talking all the way back in October 2008 when I first started reading Heidi Swapp's really great blog she did a post that has stuck with me even after all these years.  Here it is;

In it she talks about being mindful of what you do with your resources.  Are you throwing things away that you can still use, are you buying something just because it's easier or can you reuse something you already have laying around.

When I first read her post we were still adjusting to me being home full time, we needed to tighten our belts and slow down a bit.  I find myself feeling the need to get back to these basics and really pay attention to what I'm doing and how I'm doing it.  I mean lets face it, I can certainly rein in on the frivolous purchases, I really do have all that I need.

I printed out the sign Heidi made to post around the house again to remind myself to take better care about what I'm doing and how I'm doing it.  It doesn't hurt to remember how fortunate I am and how lucky I am that I get to spend my days at home with my family.

Are there things that you could live without or fix up?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Project Life - Title Page and Week 1

This week has flown by and I've had every intention of getting this post up a lot sooner but lets be honest, I just wasn't ready.  I didn't realize how hard it was going to be to come up with the title page for my Project Life album.  I easily could have just gone with what came with the kit and that would have been perfectly fine.  The thing is I'm seeing so many other really great title pages out there that had amazingly lovely family photos and really wanted to put our faces on there too.  The only really great pictures we had of all of us were from November and I had already used them in last years book but I decided to use them anyway.  I just had to figure out a way to change them up a bit.  I opted to use one photo of the three of us and then crop other photos to make single shots of Larry and I to go along with a single shot I had of Simone.  I also used an action in Photoshop Elements that I got for free from The Pioneer Woman to change up the appearance of the photos.  Here's a look at the whole title page;

The action that I used was Soft & Faded and it gave the photos such an interesting tone.  It's not quite sepia but has the same flavor, just more soft and I love how it looked.  Here's a look at the original photo and the edited photo so you can see the difference.

Once I had the photos printed I knew bright bold colors weren't going to work so I opted to switch out and change up the cards that were meant for the title page. 

For the top left card I printed out our name and added the year and just placed it over some of the lines of text on the card.  I wanted to make sure our name and year were on there somewhere.

The 3 on the middle row is from a set of digital numbers from Ali Edwards at Designer Digitals.  I placed it on top of a grid background and changed the color to a taupey-brown shade that I picked up from the background on the photos.

For the card on the bottom left I added two pieces of gold sequin trim that I purchased at Michael's at Christmas time.  I had intended to use it in my December Daily but it never made it in. You can see it close up below.  My life would not be complete without a bit of sparkle and it makes me happy to see it here too.

The bottom right card was not meant to be on the title page but it looks exactly like the one that was.  The original postcard that was intended for the spot was red, white and blue, like an old airmail card.  I loved the idea and knew I wanted to use it but the colors didn't look right.  I looked through the other cards that came in the kit and found this one, exactly the same and the tones I needed!

I struggled for awhile on what to put on it.  Since I haven't been scrapbooking the traditional way for a very long time my stash of embellishments is pretty non existent so I went digging in my old supplies.  I knew wanted to put a postage stamp on it so I found this P rubber stamp in my collection and I also found an old pair of decorative scissors that cut a stamp edge.  I stamped on cardstock, cut it out and inked the edge in a celery green ink so it would stand out against the cream background and I love how it looks.

Once I knew I was going to complete this to look like a postcard that was ready to mail I decided to turn it into a dedication of sorts.  I wrote a note to Larry and Simone and signed it.  I addressed it also but I've blurred that part out for security.

Before I even started the title page I had pretty much finished by first week's pages, it was fun to do and I'm kind of glad I got my feet wet by doing that first week first.  It helped getting the creative juices flowing.  Here's a look at the two pages together.

 It's always interesting when I start these types of projects, I never really like the first pages I do. I feel that way when I do my December Daily album too and it takes a few days or in the this case it will take a few weeks for me to see that I'm on the right course and things make sense to me. I'm not exactly sure why; perhaps because its new, its fresh and I'm out there on a limb hoping with all hope that it looks good. I know I have my own style and I know it will come through as I progress through it but getting there is always a struggle for me.

We had some fun stuff this week, The Oregon Ducks played and won the Rose Bowl which was super exciting. I scored a super cool vintage typewriter on Craigslist for $25.00, cue happy dance. Simone got her 2nd haircut, a nice healthy trim off her length and she continues to excel at writing her name on her own.  I started and plan to continue on an Instagram photo challenge and spotted a QR code on our bananas of all things.

Here's a close up of the left side.  I'm thinking I need to add something to the title card with the dates in the upper left corner, more to ponder I suppose.

And the right side.

My goal is to post this project on Wednesday, my week ends on Saturday so that will give me time to gather, print, complete and post by then.  I'm excited for this and can't wait to see what unfolds for me.
Have a wonderful weekend!