Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New Year is Coming...

I read my friend Deb's post this evening and it compelled me to sit down and write this because she said some things I can relate to. These past few weeks I have been taking it easy on the computer and as this year is drawing to an end I have been thinking lots lately about blogging or lack thereof and it has forced me to look at the things I want to accomplish this year and a couple changes you will notice. 

You may have already noticed but I made the decision to no longer share my Project Life pages. There are a few reasons for this, but mostly I feel that was all I posted last year. My Project Life album is a form of recording my life and I don't really feel it is necessary to record it twice (blog + album). So perhaps I will share snippets from my album or something new I have discovered rather than weekly spreads. I may however share them on my Instagram feed with other poject lifers on the #pojectlife feed.

A big change that happened this year was reading! Lordy, have I missed reading. In 2011, I read two books, "Pillars of the Earth" - which I loved and "the Poisonwood Bible" which I did not like so much. In January this year I promised myself I would become a better reader and without looking back, I believe I had a goal of 10 books (either 10 or 12). I have just finished reading my 16th book and fear I won't finish the one I am currently reading in time for Januay 1st, because our plans have changed for the New Year! No matter though. I have already got my list of books for 2013 and I want to exceed 16 and try for 25! So for now, you may hear me mention the books I am reading. I wanted to do a post of all the books I read this past year, but I might do a layout instead.

Photos. I hate to admit this but I have pulled out my Canon once in the past month. Yikes. Mysteriously, though I have added 1000 photos to my November & December folders. Yes, in 6 weeks I have taken 1000 photos with my iPhone. I will continue to share photos and you will have already noticed a change to my blog header. I will switch them out to give more visual interest.

I have a few other things I want to focus on personally this year and that is exercise and nutrition. I plan to sign up for Cathy's Move More Eat Well class over at Big Picture Classes and take the time to be a part of the community. I am also looking into Yoga and making a stronger commitment to going to the gym.

Other interests you may see are drawing, photography and painting.

So after saying all that, I am uncertain of the frequency of my posts at this time because I have lots of things I want to "accomplish". I will find a rhythm though, this I am certain of.

I want to take the time to thank each and every one of you for stopping by and visiting my little world and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

Happy New Year bloggers! And to friends and family too!

Friday, December 21, 2012

So Far... this is December

Hello friends, I can't believe it's almost two weeks since my last post, but I have been busy like most of you preparing for the Christmas season. I'm off work now for a bit and hope to have more time to see what all of you are up to.

In the meantime, I am in love with Instagram and find it so easy to use as a means of documenting and sharing, plus it's just plain fun.

Here are a few of the photos I  have taken in the last few weeks.

I enjoyed watching "Miracle on 34 Street" and hope to watch a couple more Christmas movies over the next couple days. That is the most recent book I finished and adding to my surpassed goal of 12 books this year. If you haven't read "the Art of Racing in the Rain" I highly suggest it.

I decided at the very last minute to organize a 12 Days of Beer for Marvin. I selected 12 different beer from one of our local liquor stores. I was laughing at myself because I was drawn to the pretty labels. I don't know much about beer, but so far Marvin has only mentioned not liking one of them. The second photo is a new recipe I tried and I was told it was a keeper. The recipe came from pinterest and you can find it here . I added diced chicken by sauteing and seasoning with curry. It is delicious.

I am slowly but surely completing the pages to my JYC 2012 album/December Daily. I started a new job and have since returned to the office building I left 3 months ago.  I missed Henry's so much I made an extra special point of taking as many photos as I could. If you are looking for a gift or something for your home, they offer beautiful treasures. You will not be disappointed.

More trinkets from Henry's. This photo of the wreath does not indicate the scope in size. It is hanging on the wall of a very tall building downtown and when we walked by it the other evening it caught my attention.

Dinner out and then "a Christmas Carol" at the Citadel. There were strict instructions to shut off all phones and pictures were prohibited... I snuck this shot at the end with no actors on the stage, so shhh don't tell anyone!

Ahhh Winter... yes it is the Winter Solstice, although there are times when I really don't mind our Winter weather, it's more the lack of daylight hours that gets me(7 hours 27 minutes). Tomorrow we gain a minute of daylight! This is what I look forward to. That last photo is the cheese ball I made as requested by my sister in law for the family gathering tomorrow!

That is all for now. Thanks for stopping by and I wish you all a wonderful weekend and ease of preparation for the days to come!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Weekend in Review

I just checked my countdown app and we are at 15 days, 8 hours and 53 minutes til Christmas Day. I do have a list of things to complete still, all of which will I'm sure will be completed in time for the big day!

In the meantime I thought I would share a few photos of what I was up to this weekend.
That top photo is the view outside our front window this morning. Yes, it will be a very white Christmas this year as opposed to last year. That gingerbread man is the first I had ever decorated and let me tell you he was very tasty!! I managed to get mostly caught up with my Christmas album as we were at an all day crop yesterday. That last photo was us being silly. Treasured Memories had an all weekend crop and Friday night they always have photo props - we were not there for said photo props,  but took the opportunity to have some fun last night!

There it is, I hope your weekend was full of Christmas mischief! Or at the very least, some season cheer!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December Daily/JYC 2012 | December 1

I have just started to work on my album this evening. I did make the base of the album at a class taught by Nadine at Treasured Memories and I love it. Now comes the fun part for me, I get to plan how to put it all together!

I have been using Instagram to capture my memories/photos of the day and so far it's working well.

Here are a couple pictures to show you how it is coming along.

I took a screen shot of my countdown app on Saturday morning and made that the first page to Day 1.

I want to keep this a bit more simple this year. Last year I typed all my journaling and found it time consuming (although I really liked how it looked in my album). This year I downloaded Ali's 3x4 journaling cards, so everything will be written out. Also, I will be uploading my photos daily so I can print them, likely in a square format as shown here.

What about you? How is your December album coming along? Are you doing photos only?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Storytelling Sunday | December Edition

Sian, over at From High in the Sky hosts the infamous Storytelling Sunday on the first Sunday of the month. A time and place where bloggers from around the world share their stories.

For this edition, Sian has suggested a "coming home" theme. It made me think of a story I shared a couple years ago in my "Journal Your Christmas" album and it seemed fitting for this theme. I have adjusted it from the original post to tell a bit more of the story. You can see the original one here.

I live here with my two sisters and while the rest of our immediate family live some 7oo km away. For more than 20+ years, many of my memories of Christmas are related to the excitement of traveling home to visit family along with all the preparation and planning that encompasses such treks. I remember vividly the last time we attempted the trip home for Christmas and there seemed to be a force greater than anything I experienced before, preventing this event from happening! 

The weather that week was bone chilling (-35C) - a cold snap from the arctic had transferred itself across the prairie. We were not planning to drive my vehicle, so the malfuntions I experienced earlier in the week had seemed irrelevant until the furnace broke down two days before we were to load up the SUV. Luckily, we have a split level house which means we have two furnaces. Albeit, is preferential to have both working in this kind of environment, we were at least not in an emergent situation as was mentioned by the furnace company (at 1 AM when we noticed said problem). They would come in the morning, which they did and all was well. At this point I mentioned to Marvin my concerns with traveling the distance and asked if he thought perhaps we should stay home. Nonsense! We are going to see your family!

We woke up early the next day so we would miss the morning rush hour traffic. We both knew immediately the furnace wasn't working again! After much debate we decided to continue with our journey home even though I did not have a good feeling. Marvin is not a risk taker and so I trusted him that all would be okay. We would make arrangements to have a friend come and check the cats and house daily to ensure all was well and that the second furnace was functioning. 

During the 2.5 hour drive to Lloydminster (always the first stop on the trip home), I was excited. I knew my mom was at home cooking us some chicken noodle soup which led me to think of all the other family favourites we would be tasting over the holidays. It was at that point we had stopped to get a cup of coffee and as soon as we turned the ignition off we both smelled it.  The scent of oil. Not a good sign. Here we were with another 4.5 hours to drive. The disappointment washed over me as I knew we would be turning around and heading back to Edmonton, the risk too great in these temperatures.

We arrived at our home and even though there were no Christmas decorations of any sort we made the best of the situation. We had our first "alone" Christmas Eve by making some of our favourites such as pancakes for breakfast, a tasty chicken Caesar salad for dinner, and for snacks we baked Marvin’s mom’s famous Nuts and Bolts recipe. On Christmas Day we drove to Barrhead and shared the afternoon with his family.

Since this little experience, our Christmas traditions have changed. Rather than worrying about the weather on long journeys, we now stay home, here in Edmonton and chose to visit with family in the warmer months!

Thanks for stopping by! Now head on over to Sian's, for more Storytelling Sunday!

UPDATED FOR MRS WOOKIE! I happened to have a photo of the recipe!!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thank You, Sir.


Edmonton thanks you Sir Paul McCartney!

For those of you heading to tonight's show, there are two encores and 3 hours of entertainment!

Amazing... Amazing...Amazing!

Oh and for the doubters... trust me he can still sing!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Project Life Series | How do you keep up? Part 2

Hello again! This is the second installment of my Project Life Series where I am sharing methods or tips on what helps to keep me up to speed with my Project Life album. Last week many of you shared your own ideas for how you plan Ali’s Week in the Life or December Daily, and Shimelle’s Journal Your Christmas.  I shared my photo and note taking tips last week. You can find them here. Today I would like to discuss the layout spread.

If you are not purchasing one of Becky’s Project Life kits, then my biggest tip is to have your papers cut to the size you need for your album and any journaling cards printed/bought and ready. Having this done is the biggest time saver of all, especially if you are concerned about being efficient. There are LOTS of free printables on Pinterest. You can read more about how I created my own PL kit from here.

The Layout Spread
  • Last week I mentioned I don’t photo edit until I am ready to print my photos. My reasoning? This is when I plan what will go in the layout. I keep in mind which photos are horizontal and which are vertical. I use American Crafts page protectors and two page spreads alternating between two styles of protectors. A 12x12 protector with 6 horizontal 4x6 pockets and a 10x12 protector with 3 horizontal 4x6 pockets and 2 vertical 4x6 pockets.
  • There are many sizes of page protectors from a variety of companies. I find when I have several weeks to plan, it is useful to sketch the layout spread because it helps me to keep it consistent.
I found this app called Pic Frame and tested it out. You might find it visually useful too and the great thing about it is the amount of collage spreads you can access, all of which could easily be translated into the Project Life layout. Here is a screenshot from an example I used.

This is the closest to the style of the10x12 page protector I use. You can make little notes too which is helpful for planning. After I have organized my layout  based on this pic frame above, then I save it into my camera roll on my phone to refer back to. Once the spread is complete I delete it. If you are interested in using the collage feature to print out photos you can change the size of the format. So if you wanted to make a 4x6 photo collage, or even a 3x4 you can change the ratio. Very cool! It does cost $0.99 though (worth it I think).
  • I collect the printed photos for each week and open up my album.
  • I place them in the pockets working quickly from left to right.

  •  I always keep the top left pocket open for my weekly introduction. This includes the dates for the week.
  • I move on to the next week and place the photos in the pockets and so on.
  •  Once I have all the photos placed, then I pick up my stack of 4x6 patterned papers and choose one for the top left pocket. I look then to see which pockets are empty and this is when I go back and review what I would like to journal or document. 

  •  I find my 3x4 cards and pick whatever is appropriate. Some are for journaling and some are patterned paper. 

  • Once I have everything in its place I start to embellish. My embellishing decreases when I feel I am behind schedule.

That’s it. That is the process I use.

I am looking forward to American Crafts teaming up with Becky and Project Life! I already noticed they have more variety of page protector sizes, this is VERY exciting.

Thank you for all of your comments and interest in this form of scrapbooking. I know for myself it has truly changed how I document our life and to me that has made this so very worth it!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What's Happening in Your World?

Why is it that November seems like the new December? I have organized myself with every intention of getting things done with plenty of time to spare, but there are things popping up to alter my plans. I suppose that's life and I'm trying to keep some perspective here.

I am busily planning my 3rd Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange and thank goodness I got the cookies made, but I was a week behind in that and now I won't have time to make a fruitcake - something I really wanted to do this year. *Sigh*.

Theory has it purchasing a prelit Christmas tree saves time with set up, that is until you discover several sections will not light up. This results in a painstakingly, 2 hours + of going through section by section, light by light, ensuring each one is working and not going to start a fire at which point it's hard not to give up when you realize you have no replacement bulbs. *bigger sigh*

Having said that, I did have a great Saturday. I finished making the base to my December Daily/Journal Your Christmas Album. I took Nadine's class and we had a great time. I love how the album turned out and I look forward to next weekend! Thanks Nadine!

I do have something crafty to share. This layout was sitting on my art table for a couple weeks and I finally finished it up this morning. It was made based on Shimelle's layout, she challenged us to use this design. I have to say it was very challenging for me as I seem to never use more than one photo these days and it's probably the reason for taking this long to finish it!

On another note, I have my new iPhone and LOVE it! Why the heck did it take me so long to get one??? Anyway, I am excited about all the photo apps and all the new discoveries :)

I hope you all have a great week. I will be back with the second post to my Project Life Series.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Project Life Series | How do you keep up?

After starting this post I soon realized I had lots to say about Project Life! So I have decided to divide it into two separate posts.

A few weeks ago when we returned from our vacation to Alaska, I had a look at my Project Life album and realized I was 5 weeks behind with my weekly layout spreads. Reality is, this will happen given how busy our lives are, but what I hope to achieve in this post is to help decrease the stress you may experience. With just a little bit of planning you can rest easy and know you are in a good spot. I have based my tips on my experience this year and on the process that works for me. There are many different ways of playing along with PL and most of you who are already doing it will have your own method, these are some ideas I have found helped me.

Today I want to focus on the photos and reflection (notes).

I find if I have my photos organized into files then it takes a lot of the pressure off what I am printing and placing in my album. You might choose to do your photo editing at this stage if you like, but I usually wait until I am ready to print.
 ·         Each new month I create photo files labeled PL

·         Within those files I create new weekly files with the dates for the week (I start my week on Mondays, some people like a Sunday start). You could also add the week number if you prefer. Most Project Lifers post the week number on their blog, I might consider adding this to my files next year – only because I can never remember what week I am posting and always have to look it up from my previous blog post.
·         At least once a week I upload all photos from my camera and cell phone.
·         Once I have the photos uploaded I use this time to go through them and pick which ones I will utilize in my PL spread. I add them to the weekly file.
·         If I am several weeks behind I typically will not do extensive photo editing. Unless you feel strongly about having perfect photos, this will save you lots of time.
·         I have a photo printer at home and find this convenient, but that doesn’t mean you need one. Recently, I ran out of printer cartridges and used the same system above for the photo-lab I access.You can use Picasa to edit your photos or make collages and then upload to the photo-lab if you like.

Reflection/Keeping Notes

I will admit reflecting on what has transpired each week is not something I keep up with on a weekly basis. This is actually my weakness, but I am here to tell you I make it work and I don’t let it bother me. Here is how I plan around this:

·         Windows has “sticky notes” I post on my desktop. I will use a new color sticky note for each week and start tracking what I think I want to include in my weekly spread. These are quick notes and mine are not very detailed. They are what I refer back to when I do my journaling on my spreads.
 ·         At times if I have more detailed information I want to track I will create a word document. This was helpful while on vacation where there was lots happening.

·         There are organizational apps out there like Evernote and Cathy Zielske shared the Day One app for iPhone users which is like a journaling app.
·        Typically I refer back to my uploaded photos for the week. This in itself will help to remind me what has transpired each week. Other things that assist are reviewing emails, referring back to my work schedule and looking at the calendar.

·         I print off emails, save screenshots of conversations from textiing, online classes, pinterest etc. I save ticket stubs and any other memorabilia I want to add.  
At first you might think it is too time consuming but once you get into it you will find a rhythm that works for you.

Next week I will share my process of creating a layout spread.

What do you use to organize your photos and notes with your Project Life? Do you have any great apps you utilize for Project Life? I would love to hear.

Thanks for stopping by!