Holiday Open House | Come on in!

Christmas is not far away- and I am winding things down at the drawing board for a few days to be sure to enjoy some unplugged time with the family.  I have to tell you, taking time off is one of the hardest things to do when you work on your own- especially with a home office- because the temptation to get a few more things done is always there. But this year- with the knowledge that Christmas won't soon look like they have these past 15 years- with Ryan getting ready to go to college soon and Liam approaching 9- I know I have to make a real effort to give our Holiday season my front and center attention.

But- the paradox is- this year- as I focused on really making sure the magic of the season came alive in our home- I found myself doing a little less- and all of us enjoying it a little more. Instead of bringing down all 6 boxes of decorations and filling every corner with Christmas nick-knacks-  I only brought down 2 boxes. Instead of putting all the decorations on the tree and 6 strands of lights- I only put my most favorite on- and put 3 strands of jumbo lights.  And call me a hum bug- but I really dread putting lights up outside- and then taking them down just a few weeks later. So, instead, we put some live evergreens in a planter and a pretty wreath on the door and called it done. I think my best trick this year was replacing endless trips to the mall with late nights with a nice cuppa tea online shopping. And unless they read this post- I know for a fact that the boys haven't noticed a thing being different. Except maybe that Mom is a little less harried this year.

Now, this time of year its no secret I get a little mushy and can't help telling friends and family how much they mean to me. So of course, I had to take a moment out and tell you all how very much your comments, emails and support has meant to me this past year. I love seeing your #joycreated in my shoppe gallery and on my social media feeds! ForeverJoy has grown to a wonderful point- and I have a drawing board full of designs and plans I can't wait to share with you all next year! There will be more tutorials and challenges - and we will be starting a Guest Creative team as well. Lot's of good stuff coming up- and though I will be taking a few days off- we will open the New Year with a new design I am truly in love with lots of fun at the Lilypad including Month of Challenges that I wholeheartedly invite you to play along with!

So let's wind down this year by having you come over my cozy place in NYC for a little visit and a shared cuppa something warm and tasty!....

In NYC- houses are not very big. But my boys will tell you its not the size of the house of matters, but the amount of love that fills it. (they tell you that because that's what I've drilled into them lol!) There are lots of little bits of holiday magic here- like the traditional Amaryllis that I always plant on December 1st that will bloom to welcome the new year and this little Advent house that starts each day off with a kiss- literally Every drawer holds a little Hersey kiss for each of the boys. That Santa used to be in my guest room- until one Christmas it fell on my Mom's head while she was sleeping  and gave her a heck of a scare and a  nasty cut!  It was pretty unsettling then- but now- we just crack up about it- and I leave him at the front door to tease her. It's a kind of twisted Holiday joy!

Usually I like the old fashioned types of trees- the ones where you can see through the branches.  Around here, they call them "Grandma Trees" because they are the ones you used to be able to put candles on- back before the days of fire codes I guess. We drove around for two nights- and not one of those trees were to be found- but this one came in a close second. It's from North Carolina- and it smells divine!! You can see my little electric fire place here too- I would love to have a real one- but this will have to do for now. The red slipcover on my little chair comes out for the Holidays- You'll find I often "dress" my furniture for the seasons. Ikea makes it super easy to change the look with their slipcovers- and makes it semi-sane to have white furniture with two boys! One of the  baskets under the table holds seasonal photo albums. My December Dailys fill them up these days. The boys love going through them!

The dining room is kind of the heart of this home.  We share our meals here, play board games, do homework, pay bills, make projects and laugh and share the events of our everydays. Sometimes it's dressed with pretty table clothes and china- often there are just a few place mats and a candle. I hope that looking back- my boys will always remember it as a place they felt safe and loved. The hutch you see here holds some of my most favorite things in my house. You can see a set of Blue mountain China I bought with my mom at an auction in Pennsylvania one year- I adore this set- mot only because its so pretty- but I always remember that sunny day we had such a great time together! While I was bidding on it- little did I know my mom was secretly bidding on it as well to get as a gift for me- we were bidding against each other until we saw one another and then just cracked up! It also holds all my cookbooks- which are dogged eared with favorite recipes and notes.

This cabinet in my kitchen holds my other favorites- pink depression-ware glasses and favorite piecs of china.  I love to collect china- and use them all throughout the year.  Sometimes people will say- "aren't you afraid to put that out- it's so nice?" But I think that if you don's use it- it will never have any memories attached to it- and that's really what makes something special-right? You can also see my little goose here. I have an embarrassingly large collection of clothes for her. Yes- she takes up counter space- but I love her. This silly little thing makes me smile - especially when i dress her for the next season or celebration. Sh'es been on  my counter for 15 years- so it's safe to say she's a part of the family!  PS- if you look way on top- you can see Jingles- the little elf that hides in our home during the Holidays! He's very tricky! 

This is the place where all good things happen! Morning cups of coffee are born here- breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinners, cocktails, desserts and more snack all come from this little piece of real estate! I am a big foodie- and love to cook- so this is my happy place for sure. The window looks out onto our yard where I can watch the little guy playing- and will soon be filled with paper whites.  I plant them after Christmas through February to keep the winter doldrums at bay. So- now that we are here- what can I get you? A cup of coffee? Some tea? Some sweets? Whatever it is- let me say this first- from the bottom of me heart- thank you for your support! It never fails to feel awesome when I see ForeverJoy designs used in your memory keeping! I wish you all the very best for the Holidays- joys big and small and a very wonderful New Year!

PS: Finally, I wanted to share a little promo code with you in case there were some ForeverJoy goodies you'd like to put under your own digi tree! Use promo code FJSECRETSANTA4U and you'll enjoy $2.50 off your ForeverJoy purchase of $10 or more- including designs on sale- today the Christmas Eve!You can click thru to the shoppe HERE


Creative Team Positions Available

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CLOSED Blog Team Member: 

I am looking to add 3 Blog Team members to the ForeverJoy Creative Team. Applicants should be experienced and consistent scrappers who have a genuine joy for this type of memory keeping. Ability to meet deadlines is a must. A picture is worth a thousand words- but you will need strong skills in both photography and writing (experience in Blogger is a plus!) Hybrid and Digital pocket scrappers are welcome to apply.

Blog Team Member duties will entail creating 1 layout a month and awesome accompanying blog post using any combination of ForeverJoy products. These posts should be tutorial in nature- and have lots of pretty images and closeups.. 
This is a four month term position. The person selected must be able to commit through the end of April 2014. Promotion is needed on a regular weekly basis for posts and releases. The Perks: FREE access to ALL of the products in my shop you wish to use for your projects + becoming part of a fun and supportive Creative Team. 

Interested? Apply HERE by December 14th. Announcements will be made no later than December 20. Please be sure to include your email address to contact you!

CLOSED Marketing Assistant | Challenges
I am looking to  one add energetic self motivated  person to this position.  Duties will entail creating and managing a challenge blog post once a month. Challenge should be centered around a trend or tutorial/ tip you create. You will be responsible for all areas of management of the challenge including social media promotion and blog post follow up. Ability to meet deadlines and fluently communicate in a positive way with others is a must. The Perks:  FREE access to ALL of the products in my shop you wish to use for your projects + becoming part of a fun and supportive Creative Team. This is a four month term position. The person selected must be able to commit through the end of April 2014. Promotion is needed on a regular weekly basis for posts and releases. 


Project Life ®| Pocket Scrapping Creative Team Call

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Hello! I am looking to add 2 Project Life/Pocket Page Artists to the ForeverJoy Creative Team. Applicants should be experienced and consistent pocket scrappers who have a genuine joy for this type of memory keeping. Ability to meet deadlines is a must.  A picture is worth a thousand words- but you will need strong skills in both photography and writing (experience in Blogger is a plus!) Hybrid and Digital pocket scrappers are welcome to apply.

1 Double Page Project Life/Pocket Page Style Layouts per month beginning January using ForeverJoy Products accompanied with a blog entry including tips + tricks, a write up of your process, and/or sharing your latest entries.  A series of attractive photos of the project must accompany the post.

Actively promote ForeverJoy products via various social media (Instagram, Facebook, scrapbook galleries, etc.) on a regular and ongoing basis.

This is a four month term position. The person selected must be able to commit through the end of April 2014. Please be sure to include your email address to contact you! 

FREE access to ALL of the products in my shop you wish to use for your projects. Also, becoming part of a fun and supportive Creative Team.

Application deadline is Sunday December 14.  Announcements will be made no later than December 20.

Interested? Please fill out an Application Form HERE.


Tuning Into the Holidays

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Well- we are off folks! The Holiday season has officially begun at my place with the arrival of our little Elf on the Shelf. Yes- I know it is blatant merchandising and a tradition contrived by marketeers- but boy do I love waking up with the little guy and seeing the joy on his face as he looks for his little friend, Jingles! That dose of Christmas magic wakes me up better than any blend of coffee I could brew up :)

I took my first photos today for my December Daily book.  I am a big fan of this project- and have been doing it for several years now. Sometimes I use a kit- but most times I hodge-podge one together with supplies I have on hand. It's really the photos that make it so special though.  I follow Ali Edwards' plan of really capturing the everyday things that happen during the month- not just the Holiday highlights. I think this year having my little Selphy hooked up wirelessly will make it alot easier to print my photos on a regular basis.  I like to add the photos and journaling into my book on a regular basis during the month of December- and then I pretty the whole thing up after the 25th. I put all the past years books in a basket on the coffee table for the boys to look through during the Holidays. It's fun- and a sneaky way for me to reinforce how awesome scrapbooking is!

Another one of my favorite little pleasures of the season is watching the Holiday specials on TV with the boys.  It's A Wonderful Life always get me in the spirit (and bawling like a baby at the end- though I do have a scary bit of un-Christain rage for Mr. Potter... ) and its a tradition in our place to decorate the tree to the animated version of The Grinch. I am going to set the DVR today to be sure we don't miss any- and wanted to share this link with you-you can see a listing of all the Holiday Specials in one place HERE.  Simple little pleasures like this are what I hope to bring focus on for the boys this year- It's so hard to keep things manageable this month.  There are so many parties, events and things to do- not to mention the silent anxiety of cost- that keeping it fun really takes work! But- I try and do that behind the scense so they just get to enjoy the end result.  There are only so many childhood Christmases, right? And I see my job as making sure theirs are ones they will smile back on.  I don't think they will remember the toys and gifts so much as the little traditions we share- like our little elf- or driving around with hot chocolate looking at the decorated houses or decorating gingerbread houses... It's my hope that these little moments will add up for them- and they will remember Christmas as a season in our home- as well as a special day.


OH JOY! Black Friday Sales at ForeverJoy!

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The Season of Giving has officially begun- so why not give yourself a little treat too? Select ForeverJoy items are on sale up to 60% offthis weekend!  There will be select items on sale for Black Friday today thru Saturday- and a NEW batch of savings for Cyber Monday starting Sunday thru Monday!

And- it just wouldn't be right to start off this season with a little NEW Holiday Cheer!  I have created a fun spirited design for those who like their Holidays Hot! Happy Huldays is packed with 29 papers, holiday flamingos, sandy starfish and decorated palm trees- it premiers at the shoppe this weekend at 30% off!  

lo by jetje

artwork by amandac

artwork by jacqueline


Project Life | Finding My Photo Flow

As I shared in an earlier post, I have found a few tricks to make Project Life work for me: I do my spreads on a monthly basis as opposed to weekly; I print at least 13 photos for each double page spread and I always try and work on two pages at a time. So this month- I paid close attention to what was preventing my work flow from really sailing along smoothly- and I found it was editing my photos.

I can't just let editing go- especially since I print from my Ipad and collage most of my photos into 2 photos on a 4x6 sheet to print. I'm in there anyway- so it seems kind of slack not to do a bit of cropping, tweaking and brightening while my apps are open. And, I have really come to love text on my photos- so chances are high that I will open an app for that.  The problem is- there were so many photo editing apps on my Ipad I would become a deer in the headlights trying to figure which would be best- and which I should use first. Perfection kills me all the time.

A few weeks ago, I downloaded the Beck Higgins Project Life App. And while I had played around with it a few time making layouts in the 12x12 format,  it wasn't until this weekend that I really explored what it could do for my 4x6 printing- and I have to say- I was blown away by how much easier it could make my photo editing process. Now, this app isn't the magic bullet for all I need to have done- (it tends to be a bit buggy when I try to edit the photos inside the app) but, I can definitely say it sure is the icing on the cake! I an officially addicted.

Here's the work flow I have now adopted:

First things first- make sure the photos I want to use are on my Ipad or in my Dropbox.

Dropbox.  I am a big Dropbox fan.  For the longest time, I couldn't figure out a great way to get my photos off my Ipad and onto my computer. Then, I downloaded the Dropbox app- and photo sharing has been so easy! When I open the app- my photos are automatically uploaded to the Dropbox cloud- I can open that folder on my desktop and copy whatever photos I'd like onto my hard drive.
Every two month or so- I remove my photos from my Ipad by making sure they are all copied into my Dropbox.  I then take then from the Dropbox and put them on my computer. I find two month is a good time range because I will have printed or scrapped what I needed by then. (and my photo file gets filled up quickly on my Ipad!)

When scrapping- I can print right from my Ipad or Dropbox.  If there are photos on my computer that I want to print or edit on my tablet- I can copy them into my Dropbox and then access them whenever I'd like.

Next- edit the photos I'd like to work with.  For me- editing can be a black hole that zaps my free time for scrapping.  I don't want to spend too much time editing my everyday photos- but I'd like to pimp them up a bit-  it was a paradox until- by much trial and error- I narrowed my editing down to these apps:

AVIARY is my go to app. So many times- I would hit a wall if I had to change the orientation of my photos- or if I needed to correct the white balance in them. And so many apps that have filters that are just too artsy for my everyday shots. I wanted something powerful- but easy. This app works well for me.
Tied for second place are PicTapGo and Snapseed. PicTapGo is super easy- and great for a quick touch up - Snapseed works well for me if i need to do a selective adjustment- like brightening up a certain area of a photo.

If I'd like to add text to my photos I turn to Little Moments or Typic . Both are terrific- I like the word-art, doodles and font choices of Little Moments and will typically open that app first.

*I have found that I can save time editing by copying photos from my camera roll to a folder I created called "To Edit" as i go along my days.  I may take 20 photos of an event- but when going through them right after that event- if 2-3 really strike me- I will simply copy them to the "To Print" folder- that way, when I take time  out to edit- I don't have to hunt for the "good" shots- I just look in that folder. After I edit them- I can save them back to the photo folder- or upload them to Dropbox.

Finally- I collage the photos for printing. This is where the Project Life app is unbeatable. When doing my Project Life pages- I will put two 3x4 photos on a 4x6 sheet- I will typically cut them apart- but will sometimes leave them on the 4x6 and slip them into a pocket of that size. The Project Life App makes this so simple- and will let you open the photos from your library- or yay! from Dropbox! Here's the awesome thing- you can have a Dropbox folder with your digi Project Life cards in it- and drag them over to the app to be printed on the 4x6 sheet!

Whats I also like is that I can make a bunch of collages and the save then in a Library in the app. That means- I can make collages to print all month long- and then, when I sit down to scrap- they are waiting for me in the Library and I can just print and go! I have yet to play with the 12x12 layouts in the app- though I would like to do that in the upcoming year.

Finally a PS: If you have not visited the site already- I highly recommend popping over to the Persnicky Prints blog.  I can tell you that after years of being disappointed with other on-line photo companies- I am now turning more and more to Persnickety for my printing needs. (And- nope- they are not paying me in any way to say that.  None of the apps I have talked about here are sponsors- I'm just writing form my own opinions and experiences.) The Persnickety blog is packed- and I mean packed with great tutorials and tips- and the posts on Project Life can be found here.

Here are two pages that I did for the month of October. See the photo in the top right corner that has the "Carve Out Some Fun Time"? That's two 3x4s printed on a 4x6 sheet- I like how that turned out. I am glad I haven't given up on Project Life- now that the year is beginning to wind down- I love looking back on all my pages- there are so many little moments that never would have made my 12x12 layouts- but taking the time to slip them in a little pocket means I'll get to keep that memory forever. And that is so worth the effort it has taken to find a workflow that makes this process easy to do.  I hope that sharing my lessons helps make it easier for you too!

I would love to hear any tips or tricks you have learned in making your Project Life work flow more fun- just leave them here below as a comment! 


Now in the Shoppe | Gather Together Minibook

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It seems like right after the last candy corn disappears - we are full speed ahead into the Christmas. Around here, I really try to slow things down and make sure we enjoy all November has to offer. I put out a few gourds and branches of colorful leaves in the front hallway, fill a few bowls with acorns we find on our walks and fire up those pumpkin and apple spice candles.  We always try and make the Veterans Day parade and really stop and respect the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of November. And, and really I work to make the boys look forward to seeing family on Thanksgiving as well. 

It's sad I have to use the word "work" isn't it? But with all the TV and print ads focusing on Christmas- and the stores being packed with Santas as far as the eye can see on November 1st- you really have to work hard to bring focus to the month we are living in as opposed to the one coming up. Not a day goes by that I don't grumble that November is not a prequel to Christmas- we need to pay attention to Thanksgiving, gosh darn it!   This is not to say that I don't think about Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving- but I think it's really important not to let the joy of this holiday season get lost in the anticipation of the December holiday. 

One of the best things about Thanksgiving is that it really can't be commercialized - not really beyond the grocery store sales of pumpkin spice and turkeys, that is.  It's a day of simple joy- getting together for a great meal with the people you love and just taking a moment to give thanks for all the blessings we have. Don't get me started on all the early bird sales that happen on Thanksgiving now- The fact that we now have shopping sales on the day we used to all pause together and give thanks- it just seems wrong to mean on so many levels. Black Friday I can embrace- and yes- really enjoy. Especially shopping online. I have a big turkey and stuffing sandwich on my desk- cozy/comfy clothes and a credit card cleared to charge away. Good stuff there folks.

So, before I sat down at the drawing board to bring on the Christmas joy- I wanted to give a last hug to Thanksgiving with a design that could help you capture this month's memories with a simple to make and special to keep design: a mini book! I adore mini books- especially for the holidays.  I never seem to have as many photos as I'd like- but there are always a bit more than I can fit on a 12x12 layout. I love having them in my Project Life book- but also like having a little something extra that I can put out on the coffee table as a type of decoration. It's fun to gather up a few of them and put them in a basket- people may not jump to see your scrapbooks- but I promise- no one can resist flipping through a sweet little mini book! Here is the design I created for capturing memories of family time together this month:
You simply print, fold and assemble the pages to create the 3.5x4 inch mini book that is perfect not only for your own memory keeping- but to give as a favor or house gift this holiday season! 

Included are 3 sheets that when assembled will create a 16 page mini book.  Each page comes as a PDF as well as a  PSD file.  The PSD file has 3 layers: The page to print, the page numbers and the instructions.  This file has also been flatted to a PDF in case you do not have a photo editing program.  You can easily drag your photos and digital pretties on top of the pages before printing- or add them the old fashioned after you have completed your book. Also included is an instruction .txt file as well as a link to the tutorial YouTube Video HERE that explains how easy it is to create!

As always- I'd love to see what joy you create with my designs. Be sure to share your images at my designer gallery at The Lilypad HERE- or if you post on social media use the hash tags #joycreated so I can find you! Enjoy!


Now in the Shoppe | Gather Together

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Hello November!  I am trying with all my might to enjoy you for the awesome month you are, as opposed to a merely prequel to Christmas!  At the very least, before we begin the winter holiday celebrations, we should embrace all that Autumn joy November has to offer: Chilly grey days, bright crisp leaves, late nights round the fire and roasts in the oven, the last days in the football field stands bundled up and cheering for the home team under cozy plaid blankets, and  of course, Thanksgiving!  So dear November, before  all the Holiday hoopla begins- I wanted to be sure to hit pause on the drawing board and dedicate a design specifically for this special time of year. This one's for you....
The ForeverJoy GATHER TOGETHER Collection is part of the November 2014 *BYOC that premiers November 7th at The LilyPadavailable for 20% savings off this weekend. 

by debbie

by laluna

by ellent

by jetje

by roxananmdm

by mrivas

by motherbear

by louso

by leandi scraps

by elitka

by jillw

by enjoyyourpix

by plm
by ica jovita


Now in the Shoppe | EAT MORE CAKE

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HAPPY DIGITAL SCRAPBOOKING DAY! It's an awesome weekend to be a Digi scrapper!  Especially at the Lilypad! There is a storewide sale- and tons of games and fun to be had in the forum- be sure to check the schedule at the end of this email!

I really wanted to have a new design to share with you during this great savings period- and I was drawn to a quote that is on a Kate Spade Design I adore- it advises "Eat cake for breakfast!" Of course- I do enjoy a slice of chocolaty goodness any time of the day- but I think what I like most about the quote is that it really not about cake at all. It's about making sure you stop and enjoy the fun things- even when you think you can't or shouldn't!  We could all use a dose of Ferris Buller once in awhile- and take a break purely for the sake of having fun!  As he advises: "Life moves pretty fast- if you don't stop and look around once in awhile- you could miss something!" 

This DSD- take some time out to enjoy this hobby- even if its only playing a few games, chatting in the forums or enjoying the inspiration in the layout galleries- in other words, EAT MORE CAKE!