Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Project Life | Finding Workflow

I have not given up on my Project Life Rehab efforts-(in case you missed my earlier post about jumping back on the wagon- you can read it here)  In trying to make it work for me- I've been playing close attention to the things that seem to stumble me. The first- and largest hurdle I seem to face is where to get started.  I usually order my prints in big batches when there is a sale at one of the online printing shops.  That means when I sit down to do my pocket pages, I am faced with a big envelope of about 300 photos. I'm like a deer in the headlights.  Where to start?

DIVIDE AND CONQUER: I have found a very powerful tool to help with this- and its one that is probably inches away from you right now.  A paper clip.  I have found if I just break up the piles of photos into little segments- and clip them together, now instead of 300 photos, I have a pile of 30 stories I want to tell.  And while doing this, If I come across a few super star photos that I want to dedicate a traditional layout to, I put them in a pile all of their own. 

PICK AND CHOOSE: These Project Life groups will usually contain about 10 photos to choose from. I like the look of a few photos and a few cards mixed in, so I try to narrow the number of photos down to between 5-7.  It means being a little ruthless, but once I toss a photo from the pile- there's no looking back. We must weed before we can plant something beautiful, right? Then, with the photos chosen, I go through my stash and pull out the cards I'd like to work with.  I just randomly choose whatever catches my eye.  Most times I use less that half of these goodies- but if gives my a narrower number of choices than looking at my whole supply box.

PHOTOS FIRST: The next step for me is to figure where I'd like my photos to go. I like to see which order and flow makes the most sense in telling my story- and which works best in an aesthetic way. The story may not be told chronologically- but it's told in a way that flows.  After this is done, I can see which i cards I will need in the layout-

PLAY AROUND: Now is the time I decide if I need to print out some things from my computer- journal blocks, digital elements or cut files. I also see if there are certain pretties I'd like to make for the page.  On this layout I wanted to use a bit of gold beacuse it was a Saint Paddy's Day story- and, well, these days I am crushing BIG TIME on gold accents. I have some awesome paint I picked up from the craft store- and I just love using it to pimp up my ellies- 

PRETTY THINGS UP: Next, I do a little shopping in my stash for ways to pretty things up. I have come to realize the elements I love for my traditional layouts are not always the same as the ones I like to use on my pocket pages.  This is something you really can't figure out until you start to make pocket pages on a regular basis. One my current Pocket Wish List: Alpha stickers, wood veneers, cut files, and clean styled elements. And, I have come to see my journaling as an embellishment of its own.  It really adds a lot to the pages visually.  Sometimes I type the journaling, sometimes I write it out by hand. * I have come to love my Project Life Pen set because it offers 3 sizes. I am currently hunting for the ultimate white pen. If you have any recommendations- I'd LOVE to hear them! 

Here's a peek at the process again- gather, sort arrange. Then pretty it all up!

Below is a page I made using nothing but Photos, Project Life cards,Alpha stickers and elements from my Model Behavior Page kit cut out. It just goes to show that you don't need a lot for the pages to come together! 

DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE: Now that I've found my flow, my pages have been coming together easier, but- and this is the biggest truth I've learned to embrace for myself:  Pocket Pages DO NOT come together quickly for me. I cant just throw photos and cards down like a game of Slap Jack and be happy with the result. Maybe that will come in time, but I'm not there.  I  don't approach making a few pages thinking "this will be quick".  If I did that, I would be very discouraged. I would say a Pocket Page for me takes about the same time as a traditional scrapbooking layout. I can also say that a completed Pocket Page makes me as happy as a a completed 12x12 page. And I just LOVE seeing the pocket album grow!

Hope this gives you a little inspiration and motivation to keep stuffing your pockets! And I'd love to hear any tips and tricks you have!

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

We have a Winner Folks! | Red White Blue Challenge!

I really enjoyed the Red White and Blue Challenge- not only seeing the awesomeness the Creative team put together- and packing it all up in the E-Zine- but seeing the beautiful work of the"Joyful Scrappers".  Seeing my designs in action is a feeling of *wow* I don't think I'll ever get over- so to everyone who played along and cheered us on- thank you!

I ran the entries through a Random Generator- and Lor was chosen as the winner of the Challenge! Lor, send me an email at and I'll get you all set with your prize!

Thank you so much for the inspiration and the coupon; I couldn't resist!!! I had to play along, and her is a link to my:

Pinterest Post:

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Around Here | Rooftop Views

I just uploaded and ordered my photos from the holiday weekend and I always love reliving the happy moments-but I have to say, going through the photos made me a little home sick.  Right now, I live in a sweet New York suburb that is a just 23 minute train ride from the city- but most times, that life seems a forever away. I have a pool and a lilac tree and a beautiful little garden that can easily make me forget city life- and most times I embrace that. But sometimes, especially after visiting my family in Brooklyn, I miss it. A lot.  Growing up in downtown Brooklyn the Manhattan Skyline was always in sight and our front lawn was the stoops of pre-war brownstones. There were always people around and a terrific meal was right around the corner. No cars needed- and no need to mind the time.

Many times after coming in a little late in the am- my sister and I would call in an order for a way-past-midnight snack. 3 am deliveries were not a problem- whether it was sushi - burgers or Greek food. I miss the history of the area- the old architecture- the charm. There was one carriage house in particular that always caught my wonder- (I'll have to take a photo for you)- that has the Underground Railroad running right underneath it! The first battle of the Revolutionary War took place in my neighborhood- and it's always pretty neat thinking about this during the Fourth of July fireworks.  Could George Washington ever had imagined this skyline that grew in the footprints of his battle? Love it. 

I could write for hours about my love for my old neighborhood- and probably get myself in trouble detailing a few antics of my younger years. (My mom does read this blog once and again- and I don't think I'll ever be too old to get in trouble lol!) I can share with you a crush I had on the local beat cop whose post was just around the corner from where I lived. It took a few years- but I finally got the cutie to go out with me- and yep, we fell in love and got married. My favorite part about this story is that my mom and dad also met around the corner from each other just two blocks over.  Gotta love this place.

Anyway, I wanted to let you see a bit of this past weekend through my eyes- 

The neighborhood is always crazy bustle during the Fourth of July because the views of the Macy's Fireworks are just spectacular! Come 4pm- there were close to a thousand police officers and the streets were closed to traffic. Luckily, we were on a rooftop- away from the crowds, enjoying a barbecue with the family. The rain let up and the breeze was delightful. I love being on top of the world on "Tar Beach"- that's what we called the roof growing up! Our backyard was 6 stories up!

Perhaps the best part of the day was that I got a photo of the 4 of us all together- that NEVER happens!
Hope you had a great weekend too- and got to enjoy a your piece of home- no matter the size :)

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

It's Red White and Blue Sale Time!

THREE CHEERS for the Red White and Blue!!! It's Fourth of July Weekend and the BBQs, flip flops, sparklers and watermelon are ready to go! Of course, there had to be a SALE celebration at the ForeverJoy Shoppe- but I thought it would also be fun to have a little Red White and Blue throw down as well! It all started when I gave the ForeverJoy Creative Team a challenge: *create a layout using red white and/or blue - in any combination- and share a few tricks and tips with us about your process. 

There were some beautiful classic RWB pages- and a few more- not-so-typical takes on the them- take a look here:


So- now the fireworks begin! I'm throwing it back to you- here's the challenge: 

  • Stick with the Color Challenge
  • Use only ForeverJoy Products (other templates are fine)
  • Post to Instagram and/or Pinterest
  • Use ALL the hashtags
  • Link your layout posts back here in this Post
  • Last day to post: July 9 11:59pm EST

Whether you unplug with the family, play along with the challenge, just flip through the ForeverJoy-FULL E-zine for some inspiration or do a little shopping in the ForeverJoy shoppe with the promo code- I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend! 

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

PROJECT LIFE | On the Road to Recovery

So, I've taken the plunge and decide to give Project Life another go. I say "another go" because I fell in love with the idea of it all back in 2010- and began an album which pretty much ended in February of that year.  I came across the sad skeleton of that album a few weeks ago- and it kind of haunted me.  Not because I felt I had wasted supplies and money- (well, a little bit of that) - but really because I knew this was a great idea- and that maybe I had given up too easily on it. Recently, I have fallen in love with the beautiful pages made by Christine aka Listgirl and wanted to have this type of pretty in my albums- but was it possible?  I took a good look at what I had accomplished in the 2010 album, and worked to figure out why I dropped out- and if it there was anyway I could get back on track. Here's some truths I learned about me and Project Life:

Why I stopped:  First, let me open this closet and show you a scary skeleton of mine: When I was in school, I was the type that would rip out a page in my notebook if it was "ugly".  Especially if it was a new notebook.  Control-Alt-Z did not exist in those days. Mistakes drove me bonkers.  Now, fast forward to 2010 and not-so school-aged me.  I started Project Life by defining it as Project 365.  I was going to take a photo a day! I had seen so many people do this- how hard could it be?  Well, I was a little lax in uploading and developing- and each day, I'd get analysis paralysis wondering which moments I should be taking my photo of. It was kind of stressful.  I kept up with it until February- but then missed a few days. The gap in dates bothered me.  Like, alot. But I couldn't rip out these pages and start over.  This wasn't fun for me. So I put the album away- and went happily back to my world of 12x12s and mini albums. 

What I've learned: I am just not a 365 type.  I love the idea- but not the practice. I'm not even a weekly type.  I'm a free love hippie type of scrapper- and a rebel at heart. Blame 12 years of Catholic school for that. Don't fence me in with dates - because that's just not how I can work happily.  So, to make this Project Life work for me- I needed to change how I define it for myself.  I decided to approach it as a collection of everyday moments. A stream of everyday consciousness.

Doing this is very different than making a 12x12 layout. At least for me.  When I decide to work on my PL pages, there needs to be a work flow- otherwise its very stop and go.  So, two weeks into this, here's a look at my process, which seems to work for now:

I live in the past.  It's really overwhelming for me to try and stay current.  So, I don't. Right now, I'm working on my 2010 album and starting a 2014 album. I will put photos from one period on a page- front and back. This way, I can add to the book without being out of order. The two pages that face each other may be a few weeks apart- but that's OK for me. Working backwards lets me have a little perspective too, I can plan which products I'd like to use for my pages with a little more ease.

I hunt: I collect my photos.  Right now, most come from my Ipad and phone- because that's what I usually have on hand everyday. I edit my photos on my Ipad with Pic-Tap-Go and Fotor.  I use Fotor if I want to make a collage or add type. I use Dropbox to automatically upload all photos I take.  I either print them right from my Ipad wirelessly out on my awesome Selphy  or, if there's a sale- I'll order them online. I have to say though, I'm getting spoiled printing stuff out myself. 

And gather: Now, I see which photos I am going to use and how they relate. Most often, they are chronological. If I have 5 photos from a week- I will put them on a page.  But, I may focus a page on one event- or one theme or story.  It's OK for me to treat my pockets as a compartmentalized traditional layout. One I have my photos and the story I'd like to tell,  I choose which journal cards I'd like to use. 

Most of my supplies were from 2010 Project Life, and really didn't match my tastes today. So, I splurged a little a bought 2 PL kits from the craft store- and this Hello, Hello PL kit from Studio Calico. I am new to kit clubs, but the forums and examples of what can be done with the products are really helpful to me- especially as I am working to find my style in pocket scrapping. Getting pretty new supplies was a great way for me to jump start this new project. Kind of like getting a cute new workout outfit before joining the gym! 

I stalk people. Kind of.  When I first sat down with my pile of photos and pocket pages and supplies- I looked at the little grids and thought- um, now what? A 12x12 or mini book? No prob at all- but wrapping my mind around this format was hard.  I don't know why- but for me- it was a real shift in thinking about the story I wanted to tell.  So, I spent some time on Pinterest just looking at PL pages and seeing what I liked, and what I didn't. And slowly, my mind began to see how these pockets worked- and how important the journal cards were for transitioning, journaling and titling a page. 

I give in to my Type A.  I know its been written time and again that it's very important to journal in your own hand- but truth be told- I have terrible handwriting. So, after I gather my photos, I open up a 3x4 or 4x6 template I've made on my computer and type away. It's neat and tidy and there's spell check. Gotta love spell check. I still incorporate some handwriting, but typing out journal blocks has really made things easier for me. 

I do the Two-Step.  After I've typed out my journal blocks, I go up to my scrap room and start putting the photos and journal cards in pockets. I usually work on 2-4 pages at a time. Getting the photos and journaling into the pocket pages is Step One.  After that's done, I go back and pretty things up- with elements, stickers, pretties and cut files. I find doing it this way makes more sense for me because having the story drafted out on the page lets me get a clear picture of what I'd like to highlight, and what colors are trending on the pages.

It's a process, but it's fun!  I really needed to embrace that pocket scrapping is different for me that traditional scrapping. The pages are going to be done in steps. There's just no getting around that. It can all be done in one night- though, I usually make my pages in two little sessions. It's not like doing a traditional page for me- which is very devil may care. This has to be planned a bit. But, once you do it 2-3 times, it gets a lot easier- and  the results of your efforts are like scrappers endorphins because it all looks so cool put together! Take a look at how different my pages look once I changed my way of approaching Project Life:

BEFORE: Here's the last page of my abandoned project. I was so focused on "doing it right" and getting a photo everyday, then when I missed a few days, the whole thing fell apart.  Putting the pictures in date order took all the joy out of the process- and left me with no desire to pretty things up. 
AFTER: Here's the same page reworked. Once I freed myself from thinking 365, I weeded out the photos that really didn't have a story but were put in just because they were taken on a certain date. My pages had a better flow.  These photos were all from February 2010, but are not in date order. I mixed a little handwriting with a lotta typed journaling- and- I learned from my Pinboard stalking that I like to mat smaller photos on the 3x4 journal cards- not all photos need to be 3x4 or 4x6.  And,  putting titles on the photos before printing them is a great way to date and title them. 
I hope to spend a little time working on some pages with my new supplies- and new enthusiasm! I'll be back to let you know how it goes! Until then, have a wonderful weekend- and be sure to take time for yourself to make something pretty, no matter how you choose to do it!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Notes from the Drawing Board | Starfish

Let's kick off summer with a little "love fest" ForeverJoy Style! I'm a sentimental fool- you know, they type that gets weepy at the sound of Patriotic music at a Fourth of July Parade- and tears with embarrassing ease at the unexpected sight of my boys suddenly looking bigger. The boys are used to it now- but strangers are often so taken back, they find themselves crying with me! Not that my goal here is to make you cry- but, I have to share a little background of the kit STARFISH that I am bringing back to the ForeverJoy shop this weekend. It is a fan fave from 2012- but so many have written asking for it to hit the scrappy beaches again this year- I had to bring it to the shoppe! ;) And, truth be told, it still has a special place in my heart. Of course, I love it because of its sun-washed colors - but the story behind the kit means the most to me. 

I designed this when my little guy was just finishing up kindergarten.  He had a very rough time being away from me and would often get homesick.  We were so blessed with a teacher who always took the time to bend down to him, put a hand on his back and comfort him. There were so many other children, and so many other problems to address than this little guy crying quietly into his book, hoping to hide the big silent tears that fell- but she always stopped. Always tried to make it better. And that made the difference. It reminded me of the Starfish Story- (which never fails to get me in the heart.)  I've written it out in a 4x6 printable for you to download and enjoy. Maybe you'd like to frame it, or mail it or just tuck it away some place. It's words are just so inspiring- and many times I'll find myself redirecting my day to focus on my boys because my purpose is to make a difference for them. I told you- I'm a sentimental one!

Just click HERE and your download should begin automatically.
The STARFISH kit itself is beautiful and timeless- I designed a few sweet sea critters and a gentle wave of beach pebbles - it's still among my favorite summer kits. Take a look at some of the magic my creative team worked with it this week:

STARFISH by ForeverJoy | artwork by laluna
STARFISH by ForeverJoy | artwork by roxananmdm
STARFISH by ForeverJoy | artwork by iowan

STARFISH by ForeverJoy | artwork by ellent

Newsletter subscribers enjoy an extra 15% off the kit this weekend- so you may want to sign up on the sidebar to enjoy this extra dose of fan appreciation! And, along as we are talking about the love newsletter subscribers receive in return for letting me visit their inbox each week- I have designed a free PNG file desktop wallpaper that will be included in this week's newsletter! I will be sending it out early Thursday morning- but will set some magic in motion so that if you sign up after the mailing, you should receive a copy in you mailbox within an hour or so.  Just be sure to check that naughty spam box! Here's a look at the gift:

I hope you enjoy it all!

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

The big pause button and nunchuck skills

Over the weekend, I was talking to some not-so-close family and they asked what I was doing to keep myself busy.  I spoke a bit about work and the kids and home projects- and then went on to happily talk about how I had rearranged my scrap-room and was really enjoying stealing a way a bit a few times a week to work on some new skills.  They looked at me and gave a little shake of the head - it looked like pity!- and said, "Wow- you're still doing that thing? I thought that fad died out." Yah- like I said, a not-so-close family member. ;)

A few days later, I  received my order of the first half of 2014 photos- about 350 in all. And in going through them, flipping one over the other, pausing here and there- it really reinforced to me that scrapbooking is like a big awesome pause button. The scrapping process makes you more aware of the now that you'd like to save for later.  Beyond the big events and holidays- the everyday gets a spotlight that may go unnoticed if you didn't consciously stop and give it your creative attention.  And better than all the pretties and papers that go into that spotlight- there's the voice.  Whether it's in a title, a caption, or a journal block-  the voice you give your photos is what really stops time and draws in focus. Whether you are working with photos from yesterday and giving them a present tense voice, or scrapping photos from awhile ago, and giving them perspective.

Like I said, I've been working on some new "scrappy nunchuck skills"- um, I have to stop here to give you a look at my Napoleon Dynamite reference (of which I am very fond!)

Skills. I think its important to try new things- new styles, new techniques. You either learn something new- or realize what you've done all along is just perfect, thank you.  As for me, I've been pushing myself beyond the comfort zone of 12x12's and have begun to "pick pockets" with my new Project Life gear.  I've been seeing so many darn beautiful pocket layouts- I needed to give a real amount of effort.  It hasn't been intuitive for me- it's definitely a different way of looking at things, but I like it.  I'll be sharing some thoughts on this maiden voyage with you later this week- truth told- it's been a little hard. But very much worth it.

Finally, I came across the little video I made a few moths back trying to explain how scrapbooking puts a little magic into a photo. It's not super fancy- but I like how you can see the photos transform into a layout.  I thought I'd share it with you here:

I'll see you later in the week!

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houston, we had a problem

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