sharing my creativity, one project at a time

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Project Life – week 27





This week I am just keeping it simple with one layout. I finally finished my girls’ school albums for the previous year and then school started, so this past weekend is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and work on PL. While this is my only complete layout, every layout from this one up to current has photos and journaling cards in the page protectors. I just need the time to sit and journal about it all and put the finishing touches on.IMG_8143




We saw a lot of movies over the summer. We took advantage of Cinemark’s Summer Kids movies, so we were at the theater once a week. This week we also happened to go see a movie as a family on the weekend. I’ve been adding the ticket stubs right on to the journaling card. As someone that used to work at a movie theater for several years, it’s pretty cool when I find my stubbs for movies like “Forrest Gump” or “Twister” and remember what it was like seeing those movies on the big screen.

Project Life

My husband found an online game that he can play with both of our girls. It’s funny to walk around the house with them all in their favorite spots playing the same game. That “Plugged In” card from Take 10 was perfect for that spot!



I put off starting work on the girls’ school albums thru the entire month of June – when July rolled around I told myself that I couldn’t blow it off any more. I was having a hard time getting started. I found this card that was a cut apart and thought it was perfect – it was the “advice” that I needed to get started.


I am handling their school albums much differently this year, but that’s for another day 🙂 Thank you for stopping by to read. I will be linking up with The Mom Creative for her monthly Project Life link up. Now that we’ve made it thru the first week of school and I am starting to get back into a routine, I hope to have more content here on my blog. If you have been reading along I want to thank you for sticking with me!



The School Scrapbook Project

*** This is not a Project Life post, but it is related to Becky Higgins and another of her concepts***

(Natalie's title page)

(Natalie’s title page)

For as long as I’ve had my blog, I’ve made mention of “the school scrapbook project that I do”.  It may be more commonly know as Becky Higgin’s Personal Yearbook (not to be confused with Project Life).  HERE is a blog post where she talks about her newer, digital version of the Personal Yearbook, but also gives a little back story on how it began. I’m not a very naturally trusting person when it comes to who is around my children/who is responsible for them when I am not around. I spend a lot of time volunteering at school and have since my oldest started school(let me clarify, I completely trust my girls’ teachers, but in the beginning, they were all strangers). Around the end of her kinder year I read about Becky Higgins doing the personal yearbook with her son and thought it was a great idea for a few reasons. First of all, it gives me a “reason” to be at school and know what is going on with my child. Second of all, I was already planning to make my girls their own school scrapbooks and this project would make it easier for me to get photographs of her and her friends at school without looking like some sort of stalker 🙂  I spoke to her first grade teacher very early on and she was so excited about the project and couldn’t wait to start. I offered to help the other first grade teachers if they wanted to do it as well and the first year I worked with Natalie’s class and two other 1st grade classes. Just like anyone else that has done this with their child’s school, I learned quite a bit that first year of what to and what not to do. The following year, Natalie moved on to 2nd grade and Sydney started kinder. Even though I hadn’t done this project with Natalie in kinder, I approached Sydney’s teacher (who was also Natalie’s) about the project before the start of the year to get her thoughts. At first, she wasn’t sure, but after giving it some thought she decided we would have the student’s copy in the beginning (which is a skill they need to practice anyway) and towards the end of the year, they would write themselves. Okay, enough words, let’s get to the pictures 🙂 Here is a sample of one of Natalie’s layouts for this current school year: IMG_5658

left side - photo and journaling

left side – photo and journaling

right side - art work

right side – art work

We do a layout every month (sometimes two) and the teacher chooses the topic (sometimes I suggest things as well). The paper strips are 8.5×2″ and are a great way to use up patterned paper you aren’t going to use … or can be picked up at Michaels/Joanns/Hobby Lobby cheaply using coupons or when on clearance. I also get donations from parents on occasion. IMG_5661Since her class is all fourth graders, I’m trying to encourage them to give a bit more detail in their journaling instead of “I liked it. It was fun.” Some of the kids are doing this, some are not. It took me a while to finally understand that even if there is not a lot of “deep” journaling on the page or if there’s not a whole lot of effort of any kind, it’s not a reflection on how hard I work, but of the student his/her self. IMG_5662 For the “art page”, I usually bring up stamps from my personal stash along with blocks and ink and let the kids stamp to help with their illustration. It started as a way for me to feel like I was getting some use out of some neglected stamps (and sometimes an excuse to buy a new one). The kids absolutely LOVE this part! Even the youngest ones learn the “rules” quickly about what is acceptable for using my stamps and what isn’t, so I don’t really worry about my stamps getting ruined. IMG_5665   Here are some examples from Sydney, my second grader. Here is her title page: IMG_5673   Some months, the topic isn’t something that a photograph of each student will work well with. This is one example – Sydney’s class grew some plants from seed in class and I took some progress photos. It made more sense to use the same collage-style photo for each student, instead of having them each pose with their plant. IMG_5675

her journaling/photo

her journaling/photo

IMG_5680Here is a closeup of her journaling: IMG_5682 The girls have two weeks of school left, so I am at my frantic “will I get everything done?” time, but this three day weekend helped a lot! I do try to file the pages into the page protectors as we go during the school year. The first year I waited until the end and ended up staying up until midnight for about 3 weeks trying to get it all done. The only thing I really save to the end of the year (last month and a half or so) is the cover page. Since these go into 3 brad folders, I wanted to make them look a little nicer. Also, the parents don’t always know about this project, so when they are going thru their kid’s backpack that last week of school, I didn’t want this to look like just another random folder. I stamp a generic cover page and have the teachers run off black and white copies. Then at night, while I watch tv, I use my favorite Lawn Fawn alpha stamp and stamp the students’ names in colored ink. This is extra work that is so not necessary, but I know it makes the kids feel even more special. IMG_5670

(haven't finished Sydney's class yet)

(haven’t finished Sydney’s class yet)

One one last note, I just did this layout a week or so ago and wanted to share it. Last year was my busiest/craziest year (and I don’t think I’ll ever do that much again), but seeing that many happy kids made it worth all the work! IMG_4104 Okay, I think that about wraps up everything. If anyone has questions about specifics on how I get this project to work, especially with multiple classes, just leave me a comment. I will be linking up with The Mom Creative (next week) and will be getting my PL layouts back up on a regular basis real soon … in about two weeks 🙂

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Project Life – Back to School

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a weekly Project Life layout and even longer since I’ve actually done one. I haven’t quit, I’ve just been busy with other scrappy type projects. One of those was both of my daughters’ school scrapbooks for the previous school year. Each year, I promise myself that I am going to work on them as we go thru the year and each year June rolls around and I don’t have a damn thing accomplished. I was doing them in an 8.5×11 format, but realized that doing it with pocket page protectors would make my life so much easier. Here are some photos of my youngest daughter and her first grade year:

as you can see, I made the title page before deciding to change the format

as you can see, I made the title page before deciding to change the format


I found a back to school interview a few years back and print it off each year for the girls to fill out. I like to include a little bit of the activities before school starts as well. We help out at the school each year and start back the week before school when the teachers do. I started doing that because I wanted the girls to understand how hard their teachers work to get things ready for school. Now it’s something the girls look forward to each year.


The photo in the bottom left hand corner is a photo I have taken every year since my oldest started kindergarten – I always snap a photo of the girls walking in with daddy the first morning.


I do Becky Higgins’ Personal Yearbook with my girls’ classes (and some others) each year at school – this means that I photograph each student in their class. This usually gives me the opportunity to make my own class photo of the kids on the second day of school, but this teacher takes her own (I love working with a teacher that photographs everything, too!) .  The page on the right is something her teacher did with the students on the first day, too.

I thought the easiest way to do their albums was to make monthly spreads – some months will only have one page or one 2-page layout, others have multiple pages.  It all depends on what was happening that month. With our family album, I usually fill most of the layout with photos or journaling and just a little bit of the “pretty stuff”. I decided to use more filler cards in their albums and make the layouts a little “lighter”( for lack of a better term). My reasoning being that these are elementary school albums and they are only going to remember the fun things here and there – we don’t need to detail every single day. I know *I* don’t want to remember that much detail from my school years 🙂


the bottom left photo was not from school, but was something that I wanted her to remember

the bottom left photo was not from school, but was something that I wanted her to remember


Around this time, she was working hard at recess every day to master the monkey bars, so much so that she ended up with bad blisters on her hands. Since it was so important to her, I knew it was something I needed to document for her.

a piece of her writing was chosen to be put on display by the front office

a piece of her writing was chosen to be put on display by the front office




a few of her art pieces are scattered thru the layouts, the rest are at the end of the album

a few of her art pieces are scattered thru the layouts, the rest are at the end of the album

fall portrait

fall portrait


field trip

field trip


The above layout is not something that was school related, but something special we did over Christmas break from school (spending some time with their grandmother). Another big thing that happened in January was her eye exams that ended in her getting glasses.

due to the way the layouts were done, the photo of her glasses was a layout on top of the exam photos

due to the way the layouts were done, the photo of her glasses was an insert on top of the exam photos




baseball card pages are the perfect size for kids' Valentine cards

baseball card pages are the perfect size for kids’ Valentine cards


these were of her Valentine flowers, but also made a good "before" photo for hair cut

these were of her Valentine flowers, but also made a good “before” photo for hair cut


author visit to the school

author visit to the school



…. and well, you get the point. I did want to show you what I did with her artwork. I’ve seen a few different people do this and realized this method worked much better than trying to put the actual work in page protectors in the album.





So, that was a sampling of my younger daughter’s album. My older daughter was in third grade last year. I put her album together in a similiar way with a few differences. The first one being that I did not do the journaling for her – I draw the layout on post-its with notes and then go over what I had in mind when she is in the mood to write:

neon colored Post-Its make them harder to miss :)

neon colored Post-Its make them harder to miss 🙂

The second thing I do differently is that I leave some blank areas and let her choose the journaling cards (for my younger daughter, I pick everything out) or give the option to just be decorative with stickers.

colored cardstock squares and stickers/drawing were all her idea

colored cardstock squares and stickers/drawing were all her idea


What I’ve posted is just a small fraction of what is in their albums, so now you can see why weekly layouts have been pushed aside for now. And if you’ve made it to this point, then thank you for looking thru all the photos of some stranger’s kids 🙂 Every year since Natalie started kindergarten, I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to do school albums for my girls. This, by far, has been the least effort (with much better results) and was a lot more fun… and it helped me not feel so guilty about all those PL cards that I’ve got! I let each girl pick one of the childhood editions and then we split up a Blush edition (again, letting them choose the cards they like) and then we store them in the Studio Calico PL boxes.

I hope this helps someone out there trying to figure out how best to document school years for your children/yourself. I will be linking up with The Mom Creative this week (finally – I’ve missed quite a few weeks) and hope to get back to posting weekly layouts real soon.

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Week 22 of Project Life

I thought I would start this week showing my “setup” for taking these photos. I’d been having trouble for weeks finding a good spot to take layout photos that wouldn’t have horrible glare. I used to be able to go out back and use a shaded spot on our deck, but I guess the change of seasons or something changed that.

my high tech studio

my high tech studio

Monkey (my husband) recently built a step for our dogs (one large/older one who can’t get around very well and one small/younger one with knee issues) to help them get into the house better without slipping. Turns out it’s the perfect place to photograph layouts. It’s far enough back from the edge of the covered part of the concrete pad that there’s no harsh sun, but still enough light to get good shots.



And so, now on to …






left side

left side

right side

right side

This was a three day weekend. We started the week going to a birthday/pool party for a friend of my oldest daughter. It was a pool we hadn’t been to before, so the girls loved it!



Monkey has been doing races and obstacle courses for the last year or so. He has one coming up in December that might turn into a 2 day thing so that he can volunteer (and lessen his entrance fee). Instead of staying in a hotel, we talked about maybe camping in the area. Our girls have never been camping, but both my husband and I did as kids. We pulled out some of my dad’s tents/gear and Monday set it up to air out and check out the condition. He must’ve gotten soft in his old age, because the tents he had for us as a kid were nowhere near as nice as what he had for him and my half sister 🙂



I was having a bad weekend (medically) and then Tuesday morning my youngest woke up with a fever, so I took it as a sign we should both stay home and rest. We stayed in my bed and watched Disney all day. I think the down time with mommy was just what she needed.



The photo on the far right is Natalie’s test scores. Third grade was the first year for her to take standardized tests and she literally stressed herself out about it (she puts too much pressure on herself – it does not come from us). She scored an 80% on the first practice and was so upset about it, so I know this(93% on both) made her so happy 🙂

Sydney’s (youngest) birthday is in the middle of July, so she wouldn’t get to do cupcakes, etc. with her school friends. I didn’t want her to feel left out, so I take up cupcakes at the end of May for her “almost birthday”. She made the cupcakes almost entirely herself. I only f



(with her teacher, then her teacher took one of her with me)

(with her teacher, then her teacher took one of her with me)

Very close family friends of ours live about an hour or so away from us. Their girls are Noel (1 month older than Natalie) and Kira (halfway between Natalie and Sydney). They got out of school a week before us (private school) and were maybe an hour into their summer vacation when Noel was bit by a rattlesnake (they live on acreage – we live in Texas). I won’t go into all the details, but her smart mom did everything right and got her to the hospital in time. She was then transferred to the bigger children’s hospital in our area. Saturday we went to see her and bring her some food. Because it’s a children’s hospital, there were a lot of cool art installations, like the one I photographed:


Here are the actual photos I took of it.





Well, that about wraps up week twenty two of 2013. I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks because I’ve been finishing up the first of two school albums I’ve needed to get done. I plan on doing a post about it since a new school year has started/is starting. As always, I will be linking up to The Mom Creative on Tuesday. Thanks for reading along and I’d love to hear from you!

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Week Nineteen

I mentioned in my previous post about May being a crazy month. This week was no exception – I felt like I was being pulled in all different directions, hence my arrow stamps on the week card:


And here is the full spread …



(left side)

(left side)


(right side)

(right side)

I finally got around to ordering two of the Childhood Editions for my girls (let them each choose the edition they liked the best) and they were delivered this week. I think they were actually just as excited as I was, especially once they took a look at the cards. We plan on using them for their school albums. I actually just started working on their albums from the school year that ended in May. Maybe I’ll do a separate post on how I have done their school albums and how I’m changing it up. Anyway, I photographed them with their editions.


As you may have noticed in the above photo, the card for Tuesday talks about Teacher Appreciation Week. The school sends home a letter with themes for each day with gift ideas for the teacher. This year they did something a little different and suggested that parents take over lunch or recess duty for their child’s teacher. I did that for both of my girls’ teachers. I used to sometimes go out to recess with Natalie (oldest) when she was younger, but haven’t gotten much chance to do so for Sydney. I’m glad I did – it was fun to watch how she acts at recess.


Something else I mentioned in the previous week was my older daughter’s QUEST project. This week was the QUEST fair. It’s a very big deal and ended up being half of the second page of the layout. My favorite photo is this one with her proud smile. She chose Thailand because one of her classmates (who has a little brother in my youngest daughter’s class) is from Thailand. Once I told Natalie that my mother and step-father went on a trip there a few years back, she decided it would be a perfect subject for her project. She got input from her classmate and photos/bits and pieces from my mother. We even used a PL mini album to display the photos my mother had of the trip.


May is also a crazy month because I am wrapping up the school scrapbooks I do (using Becky Higgins’ free “Personal Scrapbook” template)with classes ranging from kinder thru 4th grade. I got a little overzealous this past school year and did it with fifteen (yes, 15) classes. It was overwhelming, but there were little moments here and there that made it all worth it. The top picture was totally one of those – the theme for the month was “friends” and one of the 1st graders asked if it was okay if he wrote about me. I literally got choked up. His journaling said ” Mrs. Ware is my friend. She is nice to me. I like to stamp with her.” (melting again as I think about it again)


The bottom picture is a group of first graders from my daughter’s class and was taken by my daughter’s teacher who also happens to be a wonderful friend.

I had a small 7×5 insert for this week talking about some medical issues I was dealing with that week. On the back I wanted something to fill the space and finally got to use some of those cute Smash pads I’ve picked up. Natalie is addicted to those and loves them, but has yet to actually use one herself (I’ve only bought her one for that very reason).


Well, that’s it for week nineteen. Today I finally ordered the rest of the photos I need to get caught up thru week thirty!!! Yay me!! So now I leave you with this so I can go put my layouts together. Maybe I’ll get wild and crazy and post more layouts this week so I can be even closer to being “up to date” by next week. As always, I will be linking up with The Mom Creative. I would love to read any comments you have! Thanks for reading 🙂

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Patiently waiting …

I have never stalked Amazon before, but I did for the Seafoam Core kit of Project Life. Now comes the hard part – waiting for it to be delivered! Until it gets here, I won’t have any Project Life layouts to share. I decided to wait until I got the kit so that the whole album has a cohesive look all the way thru. I did however get the digital version of the journaling cards as well so that I can print them out/handwrite my journaling until I get the kit.

In the mean time, I am finally finishing up Natalie’s 2nd grade album (last school year) and then I can finish up Sydney’s kinder album, too. I have always kept supplies for each type of album separate. For example, any paper for the girls’ school albums is stored separately from the supplies I use for our main family album and that is separate from my Project Life supplies. I’ve also never really worked on the albums at the same time. I finish PL for the year or the family album for whatever year I’m on and then do the girls’ school albums. This year I am going to attempt to work on everything all together. I’m going to attempt to go back to ordering photos as I edit them so that I can work on layouts while it is still fresh in my mind. And I’ll be catching up on 2012 while also trying to stay current. This is how I used to do things back when I could order photos and have them sent to the photo lab at our grocery store. I picked up the week’s photos when I shopped. Then they closed their lab and I had to start using Costco. Fortunately it is on the way home from work for my husband, but it is still a separate trip most of the time.

We’ll see how it goes. How about you – are you changing or rearranging the way you work on your projects this year?