I Just Want to Stay Home & Make Pretty Things

19112014_2StayHomeAndMakePrettyThingsIt is so so true. I do just want to stay home and make pretty things and tell my story. I’m not sure I could have put it any better than Shimelle has in her collection for American Crafts. Aside from an obvious affinity for a similar colour palette of teal greens and pinks there is so much to love about all the little details in this collection, not least of which are the beautiful touches that celebrate the crafting/storytelling streak, in we scrapbookers, and that is exactly the direction I wanted to take with this layout. 19112014_1StayHomeAndMakePrettyThingsThe only things on here that aren’t from Shimelles collection are the teal Kaisercraft background the black striped patterned paper and the text print love hearts. Really though it was the “make pretty things” sticker that sparked this layout for me and the “tell my story” die cut just fit so well with the theme. I am such a home-body and there is no place more enjoyable for me to be in, than my scraproom. This year has been an especially wonderful part of my scrapbooking journey and I have spent a fair portion of my time in this space. I wanted this layout to sum up how I am feeling about this wonderful craft right now and hopefully catch some of the passion and excitement I still have for it. I have so much more I want to do and be as a scrapbooker but I am enjoying the process and growth that I’m going through at the moment. I just can’t ever see myself wanting to give up scrapbooking for all the wonderful things it adds to my life and I’m sure that in years to come I’ll enjoy looking back and seeing where I’ve come from.19112014_3StayHomeAndMakePrettyThings

 

 

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In Search Of Happy: a call to Live, Create, Love It

As we are heading towards a new year and all rolling along with plans and ideas and possibilities of what is to come I thought I’d take a little time to share a bit of the back-story behind the name of this here little piece of the internet and why I chose to call it Live. Create. Love It, as a way of reflecting on the past year.

For some reason I still can’t quite put my finger on I began 2014 feeling wonderfully optimistic. 2013 was not a terrible year but it wasn’t a particularly fantastic one either, I spent most of it feeling apathetic and uninspired. It felt lacking in joy and I couldn’t ever quite find myself in that happy place that I wanted to be in. So I found myself exploring what it means to be happy. The things other people have tried, what is it that makes my heart sing. For me I knew it had something to do with prioritising the things that are important to me – my faith, my family, and my passion. Creating space physically – so that I wasn’t drowning in clutter and the next little thing that came along demanding my attention, instead of getting to the things that I really wanted. Life was happening but I kind of felt like it was just going on without me.  17112014_1InSearchOfHappy17112014_2InSearchOfHappyI wanted to feel alive and like I was doing what I was meant to be doing but I wasn’t reaching goals I wanted to reach, I wasn’t being challenged in ways that made me feel like I was moving forward and a lot of what I kept bumping into had to do with my thought patterns. Those things I chose to have on repeat all the time and the way they affected my attitudes and behaviours were not serving me well at all. The things I said about myself were often negative and they were hurting my relationships, my outlook and my ability to get out of my own way and into the kind of person I want to be. I was focused on my failings and ungrateful, and it was making me miserable. Looking towards 2014 I was ready to be done with all of that. So I read – a lot. I took classes and I spent time really thinking about the nature of happiness where it comes from, why we feel it. As I pondered my One Little Word for 2014 I just couldn’t figure out what it was that would say all of that stuff that I was thinking and feeling and reading and dwelling on – and then I prayed and there it was: BRAVE, and it scared me.17112014_5InSearchOfHappyIt is very clear that I let two things stand in my way often – FEAR and APATHY. I am perpetually afraid. Afraid of getting it wrong, afraid of getting it right, afraid of putting myself out there and being misunderstood or misinterpreted, afraid of truly embracing who I am and what I’m about, for fear that it will not be received well. And it has been holding me back for a long, long time. I wasn’t really living. I was just treading water and hoping that I’d stumble into the kind of life I want to live , but you know I don’t think that’s how it works. 17112014_3InSearchOfHappy 17112014_4InSearchOfHappy I’m not sure if you can read that little Pebbles journaling card on the layout above, but it says “It is good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and… be happy”, was the thing that I circled. I has to consciously start to choose to be happy. I started choosing to be grateful. I started choosing to focus on things that matter and what’s more I started choosing to do things that added to my happiness. I started being brave doing things like this. Live Create Love It is my reminder of all of these things. It is a call for me to Live – to embrace this one unique life and shake the stuffing out of it and LIVE. It is a call to continue to grow and change and look at that fear in the face and tell it to bugger off cos it’s not going to stand in my way. It is my call to Create, I live and breathe and think and love scrapbooking, it is the lens through which I view the world and I want to share that with other people. It is my call to CREATE the life I want to live, to choose to be happy, to create happiness for those around me who my life touches and it is my call to LOVE IT. To take the messy and the crazy and the good and the happy and the brave and all those bits in between and love my life and love who I am and love what I’m about and be grateful for it.

This is big and this scary for me but I’m showing up anyway.

And by no means am I done with it. I have indeed had a fabulous year. 2014 has been very, very good to me and it’s not even over yet. I still get to squeeze a little more life and creativity and love out of it yet and in this little piece of the world I get to share some of it with you. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Documenting December: Step 4 The Words

Now to the written part which for me is really the reason I scrapbook this or anything else. As part of my process for creating a December Daily I make sure I document each day as it happens into what I call my December Daily Log – basically a Word Document with a header for each of the days of the month up to the 25th. This is the space where I just free-write and dump out all the daily happenings and specific parts of the day I want to remember. Sometimes I spend 5 minutes, sometimes more depending on what has happened, how much time I have and how much I might need to vent or gush about the days events, but as a rule I try not to go to bed until it’s done. My December Daily lives or dies on my ability to keep up with the daily documentation in words and photos. It’s really important for me to get it down as it happens because even two days later I’ve forgotten things I want recorded.12112014_1DecemberDailyWordsDSP

I then refine what I want to actually write into my album in a separate document titled December Daily Journaling. This is where I write out what I actually want to say on the page. I have found in the past that this is an ideal way to process my thoughts before putting them in the album. Some people just write out each day directly onto their layout but for me I need a little bit of thinking time before I commit. There are various reason’s that I choose to do it this way. The first being that story is so hugely important to me. Some days are good days and some are bad days and I need a little breathing room to remove myself from the emotion of the day. I would rather give myself a few days grace if needed and gain a little perspective, before I put it all out there in ink for time and all eternity. Case in point is my 2012 album when I was going through five days of pre-labour I would rather not have journaled the intensity of my feelings at the time. Instead I chose to tell my story with some humour (found here), it still conveys the same ideas but has a much better delivery. 12112014_3DecemberDailyWordsMy December Daily Log helps me also to work out what direction I want the layout to take and what photos I want to use. For some days I may take few pictures, others I may take many and that means multiple stories. Using my December Daily Log I have at least some of the specifics for anything that happened that day. I can then choose between documenting one thing that I’ve photographed over another or go a completely different direction and talk of something else, like a tradition or story that has happened over time. This is where the December Daily Journaling differs from the Log. I can see from what I’ve written in the log where the stronger story lies, or even if there’s a story I want to tell there at all. If you’re a paper and pen kinda gal and want your own copy of either just click on the images below and print yourself a PDF, essentially though they’re the same document.

12112014_1aDecemberDailyWords12112014_2aDecemberDailyWords

From there I format my journaling for printing. Most of the time I favour printed journaling in my December Daily Albums. I just find for a project of such intensity, that typed journaling allows much more freedom to change my text and manipulate my design to fit specific spaces. Depending on what kind of space allowance I have in my design my text usually takes one of three different forms. Block text – printed directly onto a piece of paper from my printer, Shaped Journaling – which I arrange in Photoshop and then print out for my layout, and Text on Photos – which as it suggest is text formatted directly onto my image for that day and then printed out on photo paper like I would any other photo. Occasionally as in the example above I’ll let something else do the talking for me like the comic strip.

How do you do the words for your December Daily? Are you a get-it-down-get-it-done type journaler or a planner like me?

Documenting December : Step 3 The Photos

Now that you know a bit about the beginnings of this years December Daily and how I plan each year I thought I would get into the nitty grittty of how I document my December. Obviously a huge part of my documentation is my photographs. My camera and I are almost inseparable for the month of December and everyone knows that they are fair game for photos at this time. I’m quick and direct about my picture taking and don’t overtly make a fuss of having a camera in someones face but I do tend to take pictures at this time of year that I may not usually at other times. For me the photography is as much about documenting the specifically seasonal things as it is about the everyday aspects of our life. Some of my favourite spreads over the years have been that day to day stuff that’s changed through the years like when my sons were babies learning new things, or my husband playing cricket for a now defunct team or David’s short-lived obsession with Lego Duplo.10112014_1DecemberDailyPhotos10112014_2DecemberDailyPhotos10112014_3DecemberDailyPhotosWhen it comes to editing & selection of my photos due to the sheer number I take I prefer to deal with them each day or two. I will upload to my computer and tag them as December Daily (insert year) upon import then spend 5 minutes going through and getting rid of the obviously bad ones right off the bat, at about the same time as I do my written documentation. Tagging them immediately numbers them all in sequence and makes it super easy for me to pull them up at a later time without wading through a mess of photos and most importantly keeps things managable by doing it in smaller chunks. If my story for the day is a pretty obvious one like “we went Christmas shopping” or “today’s the day we got our Christmas tree”, I’ll then think up a design and flick the photos I want to use into Photoshop. Then I let the editing begin, I can’t seem to minimize the number of photos I want on a layout even when doing December Daily so usually I do a quick edit on multiple images (adjusting levels, cropping, exposure) and once that’s done I re-size them and get them ready for printing.10112014_4DecemberDailyPhotosMy process after that is similar to my process for each album I make. Each year has it’s own December Daily album folder on my computer which is then split into three other folders: Design, Images & Jounaling. The Design folder consists of A4 sheets of photos I want to print for the album; the Images folder is a quick reference for any massively edited images that are very different from the original (tighter crop, converted to black & white, replaced someone’s head, ha ha) and for images I may source off the net; and the Jounaling is obviously the words for the project, for December Daily this is where I keep my December Daily Log and my December Daily Journaling which I’ll explain in my next post. Some years I may also include other things here as well such as my Embellishment folder for all my printables for my 2013DD or photo check lists or something similar depending on what and where I am being inspired by at the time.10112014_5DecemberDailyPhotosBecause I print mostly from home one of my pet peeves is wasting photo paper so I try to get as much out of each A4 sheet as I can, even to the point of coming up with layout designs because I can fit photos in leftover spaces on a Design page. For December Daily each Design page is pre-numbered eg DecemberDaily2013pg12. If I have Design pages with two or more days worth of photos on them I simply label them as such eg DecemberDaily2013pg12-13, for consecutive days or DecemberDaily2013pg12_16 for days that don’t follow on from one another but for which I can fit an image to suit my design. I find this makes it easier to locate photos for certain days if there’s a bit of lag time between printing images and the days events. Because it’s so visual it also helps me track what I’ve printed and what still needs to be done. When I’ve got a full page of prints then I’m ready to move onto getting things in my album.10112014_6DecemberDailyPhotosHow do you manage your photos for December Daily?   In my next post I’ll explain all about how I get the words prepped for December Daily with my December Daily Log and my December Daily Journaling documents.

Instagram Inspiration

Forever ago in IG terms (it was way back in August, ok) Stephanie Howell posted this to Instagram when I was deep in the throes of Super Stashbusters. While she saw enamel dots, I saw an awesome way to use up brads. But I let that piece of inspiration sit for a while before busting out the brads the other night when I finally got around to scrapping it with a little of my own unique flavour.07112014_1instagraminspirationI have zero enamel dots but brads & eyelets… those I have in abundance. What I thought was great about Stephanie’s sheet of dots was that they were randomly placed and incorporated different sizes, which meant when I pulled from my own stash I took a fair bite out of a few different colours and sizes of brads. The eyelets on the other hand are still in abundance. I think it was the whole cute factor that meant I “had to” accumulate so many containers of a thousand tiny eyelets, in multiple colours, but they sure do look purrty on a page. Note to self though if you’ve got a bunch of these ans want to use them up too – put them on first. I put my larger brads in position and then tried to put the tiny eyelets in between. There’s quite a bit of height difference between the two and the paper tore in places, while I was hammering away. But that’s just how things go somedays so I’m going to embrace the imperfection and just roll with it. Interesting fact: those pink ones do tend to show up on my layouts more than any other colour since I live in a house of blokes I think that’s a pretty good effort to break out the girly.07112014_2instagraminspiration07112014_3instagraminspirationYou know I just had to sneak a little Heidi in too. The love title is one from her Gold Foil Value Kit and was a perfect fit to mimic the scripted word on my inspiration piece, and whats more perfect than a wedding layout to use it on.

Have you caught on to the Instagram craze? I blame it on Stacy, BPC and the NSD10k but I am so hooked.

Good Stuff

So here it is my first Frozen layout and if your don’t mind me saying its a good’un. You better believe some Heidi & Shimelle loveliness got on there. Glitter – oh yes please. Love hearts – don’t mind if I do. Celebrate – well why not. (insert happy dance here, okay not my happy dance but you should totally check it out anyway). This layout truly is about Good Stuff. My birthday was so much fun this year and really quite special due to the thoughtfulness of my lovely hubby and my beautiful sister so I wanted to be sure that I got it on a layout quick smart. 03112014_1GoodStuffMost of the supplies used were ones that I got for or on my birthday as seen here so they were an easy choice to highlight the b’day festivities. I just adore that teal background paper, its so simple yet stunning, and my sister sure has a knack for picking out fabulous paper pads from Typo. I haven’t been in a Typo for a while so I’m not sure if that’s just how they roll but from what I’ve seen Typo’s aesthetic just seems to suit my style down to the ground. One of the first things I did when looking through my birthday pretties was pair that gorgeous teal with the awesome pink 4×6 card from the Heidi Swapp Glitter Value Kit. I love that the Good Stuff sticker brings the glitter and teal together so nicely and makes for a lovely title. For Shimelles contribution you may have to look a little closer but it’s certainly there. The list journaling block was cut from a paper in the 6×6 pad and the pink heart and cork heart are her’s also.  Heidi makes yet another appearance on the Highlight card for a bit more in depth journaling.03112014_2GoodStuffAnd what’s a birthday layout without a birthday banner? The cork triangles come from a Francheville cork sticker set that has multiple banner shapes which I then dressed up with some white rub-on letters. That was probably the most serendipitous move of the whole creative process because while they are a lovely rub-on they also have the advantage/disadvantage of being super sticky when applied. When I was returning the sheet back to its packaging it got caught between the backing paper and the plastic and a whole bunch of rub-on’s were stuck to the plastic. I could have chosen to see it as a waste of rub-ons but then I decided to just cut them out and use what I have to make a messy rub-on element to my background. Love it when stuff like that turns around so nicely.03112014_3GoodStuffYou know I’m loving these Heidi Swapp and Shimelle supplies lately. What are some of your current faves?