2015 | New plans for my Project Life

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Yesterday I could finally reveal a secret I've been keeping. I can't believe how one email from Becky Higgins sent me on such a range of emotions within a few minutes. I'm very honoured and totally excited to be part of the Project Life Creative Team for 2015!

I'd just printed out this filler card from the Dazzle kit. Believe in the power of words!
Over December I've spent some time thinking about how I want to move forward in 2015 and how I want to record our memories. For a short time, I was almost going to go totally digital. But almost as soon as that idea formed, I started on my version of December Daily in photo book form. From about 10 days in, I knew that I was already missing having a tangible album and actual photos. I'm not sure I have the patience to wait for a year long (or even 6 month) photo book.

So what that means is I've changed my mind again (!) and decided to go with the best of all systems.

  • A 12x12 Project Life album for weekly/monthly spreads. 
  • A 6x8 album - a continuation of my Studio Calico class 30 Days of Me. I didn't complete this album and there's still lots of room left to add in some more personal pages. I plan to include some OLW work in this one.
  • An 8.25x11 Photo Book for digital stories. I've started writing down things about my children which I'd like preserved in some way. 
I was talking with my daughter last night and we had the same feeling about this time of year - the days between Christmas and New Year and how it feels like a void or lost time. I think of that in a good way. It's holiday time. A chance to finish Project Life pages for this year. Time to finish and order my December Daily Photo Book. Time to reflect. Time to make plans for 2015. 

Tomorrow's a New Year. Happy New Year to you all and may it be a year of learning, growing and wonderful things happening!

I'll see you on the other side:)

My 6x8 Album Title Page

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

While I'm deciding on a title page format for my 12x12 Project Life album, I started playing around with the idea of using vellum, much like the cover for my 30 Days of Me class 6x8 album. Then I decided to go with that idea for a title page within that same album... I only finished some of the suggested topics and have decided to continue the album as a personal viewpoint. I think I'll include things inspired by my OLW perspective.

The week before Christmas I finally got a family photo. I had ONE opportunity. I summoned the family, set my phone on a 10 second timer on the mantlepiece, and jumped onto the sofa. As soon as it clicked, Nicholas got up and left as I knew he would. I was grateful for any photo, but pleased with the outcome, albiet he had PJ pants on! That pretty much sums us up though.

Behind the photo, I enlarged a filler card to 6x8 to give a bit of colour. The heading is "Finding the magic in our everyday" which is my mantra heading into 2015 with my new OLW.

Now to finish my other title page:)

Supplies Used:
6x8 Album and page protectors: Becky Higgins Project Life
Filler card: Becky Higgins Project Life AT Cut & Paste Kit

Inspired by| Colour

Sunday, December 28, 2014

We've just returned from a 4.5 hour road trip. One thing about these is they give me time to think. Well after we've finished playing games like A to Z of films, actors by first name, actors by surname... and then everyone suddenly becomes quiet.

As we drove along looking at the beautiful and changing landscape between New Plymouth and Auckland, I realised how much I'm inspired by nature. There's its form, the way the light falls creating light and shade, the texture, but what I really love is colour.

You won't find me wearing a mix of bright colours, nor will you find my house decorated in lots of colour. But I do love colour, it's subtle differences, and the way it works together and that's the way I use it.

When I'm out walking I take heaps of photos of flowers because I'm instantly drawn to them. That's where you find nature working colour magic. The variegated colours, light and shade working on the different forms. I love to use this as inspiration in my Project Life pages. Sometimes a flower may send me looking for some filler cards of a certain colour. Take the multitudes of pink roses climbing over lots of fences. That sparked my recent pink fascination which translated to these pages.

Last summer on holiday, I was inspired by yellow flowers growing wild on the beach where we were on holiday. The interior design magazine I bought at the same time seemed to have yellow popping out at me too and suddenly I couldn't get enough of it! More images here.

I always use a colour in moderation though. For me Project Life is primarily about the photos taking centre stage. The filler cards and any embellishments are there to enhance. Much the same as I view accessories in my interiors and my wardrobe.

Complimentary colours are my favourite combination and one of my favourite pages this year was this one where the green complimented the pink. More images here. If a page isn't working, my best advice is to look for a colour to compliment the colour which is the strongest in your photos. Find a way to balance this on your page.

I have a board on Pinterest where I pin colours and moodboards which may inspire me for a project. I haven't referred to it much but I guess that sometimes, just the act of pinning something plants a seed in the mind. It's always a good place to refer to if I'm feeling devoid of ideas.

I have so much to share about colour and where I find other inspiration. I think I might make this a new regular blog topic.

I hope you're enjoying the holiday season? For me it's summer and we've had beautiful weather for days now. I'm trying to get my mind back on to my December photo book to finish the last few pages and to wind up my December PL pages so I can launch into 2015 with all this inspiration!

(All links to products used can be found by clicking on the links provided above).

December Daily | 4 and Seasons Greetings!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gosh, this time next week it'll be Boxing Day! When we get this close to Christmas I always get a strange mix of emotions. Excitement that we'll be seeing our families in a few days. I've only seen my parents twice since last Christmas. Excitement for my daughter. She loves Christmas so much. And just general excitement for all that goes with Christmas Day.

I have a pang of anxiety too. Christmas for us ever since we lived in Auckland, has meant us travelling to family nearly every year. With small children, that's quite a feat. With big kids, well, not so stressful packing wise, nor hiding Santa pressies but still a lot to think about. Checking and double checking we have all the gifts is probably my number one on the check list! Packing the camera, charger and phone charger number 2. Priorities!

I also want to have my December photo book up to date so I can just add in the Christmas Days when we get home and call it complete. By this time of the month, my mind is wandering to the new year, new beginnings, new things to record. I absolutely LOVE starting off new projects.

Added to that, it's holiday time for us. We're having a week at the beach later in January but in the weeks after Christmas, hopefully we have a few day trips and adventures. I think it's my favourite time of the year! We just need summer to install itself (there's been a joke on the internet that summer failed to install due to an error). Whatever the weather, it's important to find the magic in every day. That's my plan anyway.

Wishing everyone the most wonderful HOLIDAY SEASON.

A couple of digital pages for my photo book...
 There are, of course, words to accompany these photos above on the following pages in the same format as in this post.

One of the extra stories. I've included a number of stories as well as a daily diary.

You can see all my December Daily posts here. So looking forward to having this book printed in January!

Supplies used:
Paislee Press templates
Ali Edwards Design digital brushes

One Little Word for 2015

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I've just signed up for my third year of One Little Word. If you're unfamiliar with what this is about I recommend you read this post by Ali Edwards.

In 2013 my word was simplicity. It came at a time I was trying to simplify my life in all areas... less stuff = less mind clutter. I'm still on that journey.

In 2014 the word moment chose me. I've had an incredible journey with this word this year. You can read my posts here, although I'll say here that a lot of my journey has been quite private and unrecorded on my blog.

I think for any word to work, you have to be ready for change and open to learning, accepting, admitting, and trying to change. There have been specific events in my life that have made me learn to be open to accepting and learning. Although some of these events have been negative, they've had a positive effect on my life because I've been forced to change my attitude and direction. Maybe those events were meant to be? I don't know. Life is strange. It throws curve balls at you and they seem to be a test. You can choose to sink or swim, depending on the way you work through them. All I know is that for me, this class is a wonderful way to look at things in a new light.

Which brings me to my word for 2015. I had a list of about 10 words I'd written down over the year. Somehow they all seemed to be too easy. I was sitting at the beach for 5 minutes of solitude a few weeks ago when suddenly a word popped into my head.

I knew I'd seen it written in someone's comment and maybe that's why it was in my head. Anyway, I'm a little scared of the word and I'll explain why shortly. What I do believe though, is that this word will push and test me the way this year's word did. And that's what I want. To be challenged.

My word is perspective. It seems a natural follow on from moment. I want to take particular attention of the way I see things. It's also about attitude.

Why am I scared of it? Well, years ago I trained in Interior Design and we had to draw many freehand perspective drawings. No computers then. You had to know about one and two point perspective, bird's eye view and all of that. It was something I dreaded doing for my assignments. It's funny how that experience made me shy away from the word when it means so much more.

2015 will be my year to conquer that word. I've signed up for the early bird special price. I'd love to hear if you're doing the class too and what your word is.

Looking forward to another enlightening journey:)

Project Life | Nov 3

Hello summer! Hello festive season. Hello Christmas.

I made this page to finish off November and added an insert in with N and A getting awards at their end of school prize giving. I'd included these in the Week in the Life book but I felt they needed to be in the album as well... being a proud mum and all.

I'm having a thing with pink at the moment, which is a surprise to even me because I've never really been into pink!

The right side is a page for December. There will be a few things to add to December which won't be in my Festive Season photo book. I will add December journaling behind the insert.
Supplies used:
Becky Higgins Design A and 6x12 pages
Becky Higgins Project Life digital Dazzle Kit
One Little Bird digital kit
Paislee Press digital kit
Ali Edwards Design digital stamps

Thanks for stopping by:)

Week in the Life 2014 | My Photo Book

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I'm so impressed. I pushed the order button and 9 days later my photo books arrived on my doorstep in New Zealand from Artifact Uprising in USA. I made some photo only books for Christmas gifts so it was so exciting to sit down and look through them. In fact Anna stole one off me and I had to look at it over her shoulder. She also read the journaling in my Week in the Life book (and laughed at some things I wrote...). I call that a resounding success!

I've just photographed a few pages to share here. I adopted a simple approach with this book. I used mostly Ali Edwards WITL templates and kept the photos clean with journaling separate. That's pretty much the way I like it for theme books.
And below all of Saturday to give you an overview of how each day was recorded.

Supplies used:
Photo book 6x8 by Artifact Uprising
Intro page frame from One Little Bird
Templates - Ali Edwards Week in the Life 

My Christmas book is a little more involved than this one and good practice for my project Life intentions for 2015 where I'll be using a larger sized book.

December Daily | 3

Sunday, December 7, 2014

I felt a bit challenged as to how I was going to include something daily in this book. That is, something Christmas related. In years gone by, we'd have had kids school Christmas events, carols, and as they got older, prize giving in December, but this year both are Seniors and so they had prize giving in October before exams and have now been on holiday for weeks.

I've allowed myself to include some non Christmas related December things. After all, for us, the festive season includes the beginning of summer, end of the school year and school holidays. It includes preparing for some summer trips, updating wardrobes, garden planning and maintenance. All sorts of things non Christmas related but all have the same festive season feelings.

My solution:
-1 set of pages to cover a daily photo for week 1 of December. I concentrated on photographing some Christmas magic within each day.

-1 set of pages to cover daily Dec stories. While it doesn't seem we did much exciting, I know we always read these pages later and think "oh yeah, that happened".

-1 set of pages for extra (special) photos, not necessarily Christmas related. (This is when I'm more likely to be able to include some photos of Nicholas...)

I'll probably roll with versions of this idea each week of December. In between each week I have other Christmas related stories and pages.

Here's the pics and word pages for Days 1-7 December...
(click on photo to enlarge)
 Supplies used:
Top page: Paislee Press December faves templates
All script is Ali Edwards Design

This will be a 6x8 printed Photo Book when finished. You can see my other posts here and here.

2014 | Thankful for the life lessons!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It's a stunning summer morning here. On my walk I got to thinking (the sun and sea air are so good for the soul) about how far I've come this year and the impact several things have had on me.

Yesterday I pulled my Hello Story photo book off the shelf. For those unfamiliar, Hello Story was an online class by Ali Edwards run through Big Picture Classes last year. I read a story I wrote which I called Light & Shade. It wasn't part of the class but because of what I'd learned in class, I knew it was important to write about our story... the good AND the not so good. It was dated 7 Nov 2013 (I love when I remember to date things!). It was a story about a particularly hard week we'd had with our son who had only been diagnosed with ASD a few months at the time. It was around the time of his first major exams and it was also when we were noticing an increase in his sensitivities, particularly to noise. The slightest noise could tick him off.

What surprised me was that I read something I'd forgotten about. "In that time of shade I feel such an array of emotion from sadness to anger to helplessness. Ian says it's like I have a tortured soul at times."

Almost 13 months on from this, I know I'm in a much better place. Thankfully, we all are. I know I've worked hard to put things in place to find ways through the difficult times. I strive to look for the joy in the simple things. It makes such a difference. Actually I can say that I'm thankful in some ways for the whole experience because it helped me learn to see things a different way.

I also know that doing One Little Word (another yearly class with Ali) has also solidified the way I look at things. I'm amazed how one word can do that! I guess if you're open to learning and accepting, then you see things you may not have otherwise.

My word for 2015 found me the other day while I took 5 minutes out of my walk to sit at the beach and stare at the sea. I'm not going to say what it is yet, but I feel excited that it's a continuation of what I've learned this year with moment. It's not a straight forward word. I'm actually a little scared of it! I hope it will push me.

As I reflect back on the memory keeping/project life completed so far in 2014, I see it as a year of experimenting for me. Different sizes, different formats. One day while I was contemplating 2015, I just thought, what am I doing? What is my real passion? Just get on with that. So next year, I will be changing things a bit. Thank goodness for December Daily and Christmas to keep me excited and occupied until 2015:)

December Daily 2014 | 2

Monday, December 1, 2014

I was talking to someone about how I was going about designing a photo book for my December Daily project. I mean a book with more than just photos.

For me it's pretty much the same as thinking through making an album project. You need to have some sort of vision of how you want your project to look. If you're stuck for ideas, a great starting place is to create a board on Pinterest to gather ideas. Try and narrow it down to what you really love. I find it useful for any project to have a moodboard and colour scheme.

But with a physical album you can prep foundation pages. How do you do this with a digital album/photo book?

You need a few simple things to allow you to get started:
1. Decide on a size and photo book printer. I'm going with Artifact Uprising 6x8. I've used other printers before which are located in my own country but once I used Artifact Uprising for my Winter Magic book, I was so taken with both the quality of the book and the whole philosophy of the company that I'm happy to pay the extra postage costs. At the end of the day, I'm sure I'd spend the same on physical scrapbook album, photos, papers, embellishments etc anyway.

2. Choose your digital supplies. Because I want to make my pages before I upload as photos to a photo book template, I gathered a few suitable templates. I purchased Paislee Press 6x8 templates. I already have some 6x8 templates from Ali Edwards from Week in the Life and I have some others I can use if needed. These make putting simple grids together in PSE a piece of cake.

I also purchased Ali Edwards Noel digital brushes - words which will be useful. There are some with the Paislee Press templates. Where the words don't work for me, I've deleted and added in what does work.

I'm hoping to add some of my own script in as well.

3. Sketch out a rough plan for pages. For me this always changes multiple times but it gives a starting point! Because I started my book from Nov 25th when we put up our tree, I had to think of a different way to lay out the pages. My inside title page is Christmas Memories 2014 and a few pages in I've made a December title page and will record daily from there.

4. Get title pages, filler pages and anything else you can, completed as soon as possible. We all know that once Dec 1 arrives, time just disappears. Once you have these pages done and saved as JPEGs, you can start your photo book online and add in as per your rough plan. You can always shift things around as you go. All photo books are saved so you can just open and edit as you like.

5. Commit time daily to work on this - even if it's just remembering to take a few photos and jot things down.

I've allowed a few pages for each week's daily photos in grid format and some room for enlarged photos. If I get the 'hero' photo, then I'll get that uploaded to the photo book asap. Remember, you can always change it but these little steps all help get it done. It also helps give you an overview of the book as it's going along.

This year I want to include a few pages of stories in text. I've been able to complete a couple of these already. (see below). I've allowed pages where I'm hoping to have some 'moments' to write about. Actually I'm hoping to ask my teens for some thoughts to add in. We'll see!
{Pages 14 and 15}
You can see a couple of other completed double pages here. Hopefully you can see my plan/scheme coming together:) I'll talk about my colour scheme next time.

Right now just tweaking "my reason why" using a free download from Ali Edwards. This has really helped me nail the reason why I'm doing this project and the angle I need to take to nail it as planned.

December Daily 2014 | 1

Friday, November 28, 2014

This week I suddenly got the Christmas spirit. Probably something to do with so much inspiration on the internet, plus a daughter with so much spirit!

I'd decided to make a 6x8 photo book which will be my attempt to capture the magic of Christmas. As my children are in the mid and late teens, I definitely sense that Christmas as we know it will change as they decide they no longer want to travel away to our family for the Christmas period. So it feels important that I also capture the 'now' to make sure it becomes a memory.

In this post last year I pointed out why I need to get Christmas done with before New Year. At the same time, I want to enjoy the season as much as possible.

Although I had pre-conceived ideas, as soon as I saw Paislee Press December digital releases, I purchased the 6x8 templates and papers because I knew I could make pages fast and keep them minimal but elegant and interesting. I also couldn't resist Ali Edwards digital 'Noel" word art. I just decided to work one set of pages at a time.

My book starts pre-December as the magic has already started:)

Pages 2 and 3

Pages 4 and 5
I used templates from Paislee Press for pages 2, 4 and 5 and the digital script words from Ali Edwards Design.

I can't wait for December to begin so I record it all!

Project Life | Nov 2

Monday, November 24, 2014

This is the story of a Saturday walk on a wild spring afternoon which turned into a bit of an adventure for us because we chose to go across the local golf course and through the adjoining bush/forest. It was wet and really windy but we loved it. Thank goodness for my iphone to capture a bit of it.

Supplies used"
Becky Higgins Project Life pages
Ali Edwards digital
Paislee Press digital
Studio Calico Sandilot kit digital

Project Life | Nov 1

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Keeping it clean and simple... as I always do. After completing my Week in the Life and only managing 3 sneaky photos of my son, I can't tell you how happy it made me to get these photos of him with Shelby the following week!

And on another beautiful day I got photos of my hubby on our Sunday morning walk. I look at these photos and count my blessings for living in such a beautiful place. Water lapping up to the walkway, SU paddle boarders, sun shining. Perfect.

And then my crazy adorable daughter frolicking with the dog. After a scary time with her health, it's awesome to see her looking and feeling well again.

This kindness quote was due to a conversation I had with Anna. She follows a bunch of bloggers/vloggers/YouTubers just as I do for my interests. What I love is that the people she follows seem like an awesome bunch of motivating role models. Believe me, when your children become young adults and you don't have so much influence on them, knowing they are following the right sort of people is important and a big relief. Anyway, one was talking about spreading kindness, and I remembered this quote I'd seen somewhere.

Will have another layout to share shortly:) Love progress.

Supplies used:
Becky Higgins Project Life pages and cards
Paislee Press digital elements
Ali Edwards digital elements
One Little Bird digital elements
my hand script

Around here

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Waiting for exams to start and finish, transporting my two to and from their exams and generally trying to keep things calm and as stress free as possible.

Waiting for results. It's been the month I took my daughter to have an echocardiogram and saw her wearing a heart monitor for 24 hours... something I never imagined doing for my seemingly healthy 15 year old! Thankfully it all seems fine, although we've yet to get the final briefing. Hopefully the weird symptoms were just part of some awful virus she had.

Stepping up the clean eating and have 3 of us pretty much completely eating real food only. The other has tried hard to come on board and I'm proud of him for ditching some of the sweet sugary treats he was addicted to. Small steps... I love this lifestyle. I'll admit it's very time consuming as almost everything is made from scratch. But ultimately so rewarding. Who'd have thought I'd be making coconut yoghurt a few months ago? The other day I had lunch out with Anna and I weakened and bought a gluten free cake. I regretted it soon after and felt yuk after eating it.

Trying to finish off my Week in the Life photo book and catch up Project Life pages. I'm pleased to report that late yesterday I finished the book AND uploaded my order for photos for 2 sets of PL pages. Progress!

Deciding to continue my 30 Days of Me album as my personal album over the next year. Clearly it wasn't completed in the 30 day class and I don't want to rush it.

Thinking a lot about December Daily and Christmas in general... and wondering how it's almost that time again already! 

Planning ahead for 2015. I hate wishing time away, but I'm excited for a new year, new projects to be started and a summer holiday! Bring it on!

Gratitude and how it helped me through some tough times

Thursday, November 13, 2014

This morning (as I sit here still wet from my walk which ended in a downpour), I was browsing some favourite blogs and read a wonderful post on gratitude on Ali Edward's blog.

I guess what she says is not rocket science, but sometimes once we realise we have the power to view things differently, we can appreciate the difficult things that happen. We realise that sometimes we become stronger because we have to fight our way through situations.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a strong person. I cry at the simplest things (ask my teens to comment on that), but I do know I have an inner strength which I've developed to help me find peace. It's learning to be thankful for the positive things. Sometimes if you look for one little good thing amongst the chaos, it fills you with good emotions.

I've discussed our family situation on a few posts here before, so long time readers will know that last year we learned our teen son has ASD and he went into a very dark place emotionally. We had to learn as a family how to deal with it - indeed how to actually all cohabit the same space.

At the start our psychologist said we were possibly going through some sort of grief phase - because suddenly everything we knew was changed. It was extremely challenging at times. The only way I could keep myself in a good emotional place was to find a way to be happy.

Somehow I decided to keep a document on my computer and to write in anything that I felt good about each day. From that other things developed and I guess that planted the seed for my One Little Word for this year - moment. Of course this lead to other projects like capturing winter magic and really if I look back through scribbled notes in my journals from this year, it's lead to a whole string of ideas and definitely helped me deal with my world in a better way.

 I've thought many times about how grateful I am to my son for teaching me so much. He may be hard work at times but he thinks on a different level. When we connect on a common interest, he fills me with inspiration.

So, while I'm pretty miffed at getting wet again and our crazy spring weather, I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to walk in the mornings when many others are at a desk job. And I'm grateful for the cardio workout running up the hill.

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