Project Life | Finding My Photo Flow

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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! 


Now in the Shoppe | THIS IS SCARY!


October is typically the month that we celebrate all things scary- and with Halloween  a few days away, I decided to bring to life one of the scariest experiences I have ever been through...( you can see some found footage of one of my encounters here in an earlier post.)  Of course, I'm talking about being a parent of a teenager. Brrr! Chills down my spine!  Are you living through this horror as well? Or have you been a teen monster yourself? Then you can relate to these terrifying images:

A Promo-Poster for the documentary chronicling the disappearance of my sweet little boy and the sudden appearance of this creature know as "TEEN"!

In this scene, the teen is trying to avoid all eye contact with the photographer in the hopes it will not be seen,  To its dismay, the mother has taken the photo none-the-less and is now sharing it as living proof that she does in fact have a teen living in her home. 

artwork by amandac
I think this one speaks for itself.

artwork by jetje
"This is what happens when you make your near-teenager wear last years coat that is now too small."

FEEL the tension,  SEE the eye-rolls , HEAR the exasperated sighs
 in the THIS IS SCARY Collection by ForeverJoy!
Today through Sunday October 26,
 you will enjoy the coordinating Journal Cards FREE 
with your purchase of the Page Kit!


A Peek at What Scares Me the Most


Nothing in the headlines or on the news reels come close to the horror I am now living in.  It's been this way for almost 3 years- and I know so many of you are going through this nightmare as well. It's time we join together and fight it the best way I have discovered- with our cameras and scrapping skills.  What is the monster we are battling you ask? Take a look at this lost footage....

I think you know where I'm going with this folks! 

Let's have some fun. Want a chance to WIN the soon to be released THIS IS SCARY design? Leave a comment here about your thoughts and one comment will be Randomly selected tomorrow afternoon at 5pm to win the Page Kit and coordinating Journal Cards! Winner will be announced at 6pm- and newsletters will be sent out with the exclusive design premier links and an extra savings promo code.  (Not yet a subscriber? That can be easily fixed by signing up below.)

10/23/14 *UPDATE:  Lmjrocko! You were randomly chosen to WIN the THIS IS SCARY Collection!! Drop me an email at ForeverJoy.Designs@gmail.com and I will send over a promo code ASAP!


Now in the Shoppe + a Halloween Bash!

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Fall has kicked into full gear- and if you're like me- you are soaking it all up with a Caramel Salted Latte in one hand and your camera in the other. Good stuff. This week you'll find the FALL LOVE PENNANTS in the Shoppe.  I wanted to make a fun fall accessory for your scrap stash this week- they are terrific in pixel or print- and are a great way to update your seasonal layouts!
Looking for more seasonal fun? Don't miss the scary good HALLOWEEN BASH going on this weekend at the Lilypad! You'll enjoy fun, games, prizes a FWP kit and 30% off ALL Halloween Goodies, including these in the ForeverJoy Shoppe! 


Project Life | More Lessons Learned

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It's no secret I have been working to make my Project Life work flow more fluid. (You can follow my journey here on this blog.) But even now, a few  months into getting back on the proverbial horse, I feel like it's still a little bit of a bumpy ride for me. Sometimes, I look at the little grid of pockets and draw a blank. There seem to be so many spaces to fill- and I never feel like I have enough moments to fill them. But the pleasure of looking at the completed pages is what fuels my determination to keep at this and make it work. And truly, my family loves looking at these pocket pages- more than the 12x12s I adore- they just "get" these pages- and love the everyday stories they tell.  It's been a lot of trial and error with my pages, and I wanted to share with you a few things I did differently while working on my last PL spread that made it easier for me:

Hindsight. I worked on my pages after the month was over.  Weekly doesn't cut it for me. By waiting for the month to pass- I feel like I have a complete picture of the story I want to tell for that period and can make my photos flow better. Gathering the photos of the month is pretty effortless too- I mainly use photos I take with my iPad mini- and can see the whole month at a glance just by looking at my album like this:

Just by looking at my collection above , it was pretty clear that the end of school would play predominately in my spread. Once I decide on the photos Id like to use, I edit them right on my iPad.  I mostly use Snapseed and Fotor and Little Moments.  Then, once I have decided on the ones I am going to scrap- I can upload them to my Drop-box and transfer them to my PC hard drive. Now, my iPad is cleared, photos are printed (and scrapped!) and all is right with the world.

Print more photos than you need. Anytime I hit a wall pocket scrapping, it's because I don't have enough photos. And, the only thing stopping me from printing the photos is my frugality. I can be a scrappy cheapskate. But, I am working to embrace the mantra that "one can not scrap happy with alligator arms" and I make myself hit the print button. I've said it before- but it's really worth repeating- I love my little Selphy 910.  Something about having a wi-fi printer makes scrapping life so easy. The 4x6 photos are terrific- but most times I collage 2 2x3s on a sheet.  I also like adding captions to the photos in a program like Fotor or Little Moments before I print them out- I think it adds a lot to the page. 

I typically print 13-14 photos- and use 1-2 4x6's  in my spreads. Adding text to my 4x6photos in a photo editor is a terrific way to add to the story telling.

Limit decisions. Monthly Project Life Scrapping also works well for me because  I am subscribed to the Studio Calico Project Life Kit- and all I need to do is pull out the kit from that month and work from it. It doesn't matter if I am "behind"- , that little box is waiting for me with beautiful pieces that will play well with that time of year.   But here's the real beauty of the monthly kit-  it prevents my analysis paralysis of deciding what products to use and trying to make them work together. I force myself to use the kit as a starting point- and see how much I can use from it before looking anyplace else. This approach can work even if you don't subscribe to a monthly kit: Just gather supplies and make yourself use the ones you've chosen.  Face it- there are a hundred ways to scrap the same photos- you will never find the "best" way.  Make a choice and commit to it. No looking outside your initial choice until you've exhausted its possibilities ;)

Do two pages at a time.  I tried working on one page at a time back when I was gathering photos on a weekly basis.  I discovered for me, it's just too hard to get a good flow between pages this way. Also- I rarely have a weeks worth of photos that will happily fill one page- but filling 2 pages with a months worth is never a problem.  The photos I want to spotlight often find themselves repeated in a 12x12 spread- (which I may be incorporating in my PL book- I haven't decided yet-).

Don't worry about matching cards to the photos. I think this was one of the hardest things about pocket scrapping for me.  The photos I chose were over a period of time- and rarely would they have a common color I'd like to pull out. So I've changed how I approach this- and just have the cards all work together.  Then I bring out any accents in the photos with embellishments, like flairs, stickers and tags. Somehow, by approaching it this way- my pages seem to be more cohesive.

One of my favorite things about this page is the fact that i was finaly able to write with white ink on my photos.  I must have at least 10 white ink pens- but finally found one that works AH-mazingly! It's the Signo White Uniball Impact pen. I got it for less than $4 at Scrapbook.com 

My project Life Album and technique are both works in progress. I have a long way to go to get my pages where I like them- but that's my critical designers eye. My family adores these pages. And it's a great feeling flipping through page after page and seeing a year play out in front of you.  Even if the composition isn't perfect- the stories the photos tell are speaking out loud.  And that's what keeps me coming back for more.