sharing my creativity, one project at a time

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I’m Still Here, I Swear!

I just realized that I haven’t posted since the end of May – eeek! What is especially funny/ironic is that “posting to my blog regularly” was on my summer bucket list. Guess I won’t be checking that item off, huh?

In an attempt to catch up, I’m going to do a quick overview of some of my layouts. I am still about 5-6 weeks behind in doing them, but I haven’t posted any since week sixteen, so here goes:


I had a lot of fun doing the 4×12 pocket across the top of the left side of the layout. I used my Cameo for the grass and some older stamps for the eggs. The sun clip was from the dollar bins at Joann’s and it is also there to help that bit stay in the pocket. The grass is pop dotted and just doesn’t want to stay in the pocket. On the right side is a photograph from a small wedding I shot for a teacher at my girls’ school. She and her husband chose this tiny deck out in the middle of some hiking path because they had seen silhouette wedding photos online from this exact place. They both told me that they really wanted the same photo taken of them and were very happy when they saw that photo.


left side/week17

left side/week 17

right side/week17

right side/week 17


Week 18:


This layout felt a little disjointed from one side to the other. I was hoping the green on either side would join them together better, but I think those orangey-red cards may have been a little too strong of a color to compete with.



Week 19:


For some reason, I forgot to photograph each side separately for week nineteen. My husband, my best friend and another one of our friends did a Tough Mudder race that Sunday. It’s like that journaling card was meant for that photo.


I also added an insert this week. I got my very own credit card in my name – this is a big deal since I haven’t been able to work in 10+ years and we are working on our credit scores. I also realized that my nail polish obsession (that started when I was around nine) has never really been documented. I saved little insert cards from my Julep subscription box and my first month getting the Square Hue subscription box.


Week 20:


For this layout, I wanted to not use any core kits or pre-made cards – I wanted to do them myself using some 12×12 papers. I normally would feel bad cutting up a full sheet of paper, but since half the layout was 6×6 squares, it didn’t bother me so much 🙂 See that last 3×4 section on the far right? It’s a flip open spot and opens to this:



Yeah, baby! I was really excited when I won, but wasn’t sure if I’d get something that I would actually use, so when I opened it up to all the brightly colored Simple Stories DIY stuff, I was ecstatic!

In the interest of not overwhelming anyone with tons of pictures, I’m going to finish up this post here and save the other four or five weeks for a separate post. If you made it this far – thank you! I have a question for you, do you get *more* done over the summer months or do you find yourself several weeks behind before you even notice?

I’ll be linking up with The Mom Creative. I missed it last month, so I made sure to make a little note in my calendar so as not to forget this one!




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 🙂


Project Life – week 6


I think that week six has been my favorite week so far in regards to the color and putting it together. The way this layout looks? *That* is why I chose to use the Honey core kit this year. On to the close ups:




When I was first trying to decide what cards to use with this layout, I noticed I had a lot of strong colors, so I pulled out one of the title cards with a lot of color. The actual “week 6” part was getting lost against all of the color, so I recut it on gray to make a bit of a shadow.


One of the photos was of my girls at a birthday party that I didn’t make it to (Monkey, aka daddy took them). Instead of trying to reword what they told me, I made room to have them both journal about the party. Aaaaannnd because they are kids and listening is not a skill they are always familiar with, this was the second version of the journaling cards because the first time they wrote with the arrows pointing up, even though I said I needed them to point down. See, don’t you feel better that it’s not just your kids? 🙂


Something I’ve been wanting to try is using pockets in the pocket pages (there’s a joke in there somewhere). I picked up a couple of Simple Stories’ sets when Archiver’s was having it’s closing sale.  Here is my first attempt – it’s holding hockey tickets.



A good friend of ours really wanted an excuse to see the Lego movie that recently came out. Since he has no kids of his own, he borrowed ours and another close friend’s and took all four girls, the other girls’ mom and my husband (we’re all friends) and they went to the Lego movie. I was more interested in some kid-free scrapbooking time at home. I wanted to do something fun for the girls to remember the movie by, so again I turned to a magazine (see this layout where I used a photo for Breaking Bad). I found this photo/synopsis of the movie in Entertainment Weekly. Also, my husband was sweet enough to remember to take a photo for me!

(journaling made easy)

(journaling made easy)

Finally, I had a small 6×8 insert this week for the start of the Olympics. I found some free journaling/filler cards online and used those along with the photos my husband found online. The Olympics have always been a really big deal for him, so I left the journaling and choice of diecuts up to him (I just did the work).





I knew I wanted to use the Silhouette die cut of the flaming torch and finally decided to put it on this card and loved the final result:


For the back two 3×4 spots I knew I wanted to use the Silhouette to cut out dies of my husband’s favorite winter Olympic events. Hockey was a no-brainer. He also chose snowboarding and I thought just a black silhouetted image of each was the best look.

(flying off the card)

(flying off the card)


Okay, that about wraps up our week six. I will be linking up to The Mom Creative for her first of what will now be a once monthly link up. Thanks for reading along and I would love to hear from you!



Project Life – Week 26 (Summer Love)








The fact that it is now December made me realize that I need to get my butt in gear and not only get caught up on my pages (I’m about a month behind) but that I also want to try to get all of the weeks posted by the end of the year, if possible.  Come January, I am starting fresh, so here goes …




When I start putting a layout together, I use the week card as a starting point and try to draw the colors from the photos. This was one of those weeks where the colors were just all over the place. I had a few brightly colored filler cards that I wanted to use, so I decided to go with bright, summery colors.



I wasn't sure if this red would clash with the "I love summer" pink card, but I think it works

I wasn’t sure if this red would clash with the “I love summer” pink card, but I think it works

I think it helps to have something with multiple bright colors in it that incorporate the colors on the page to “tie it all together” and this was the one I used

circle note is from Sydney

circle note is from Sydney

This week I finally got a good picture of Keet. Sometime in May, my husband and some of his coworkers found a lone parakeet searching for food in their office parking lot. There were talks of making him the office mascot (they are very pet-friendly, on any given day, there will be at least 1-2 dogs in the office), but someone needed to take care of him over the weekend. Well, my husband was the last person to leave, so guess who brought the bird home? He now lives with us. Keet (as in para-) is very shy around people and so just being able to get a picture of him has been difficult. This was a big achievement for me.

this is the original - the one from the layout had a glare on it

this is the original – the one from the layout had a glare on it

With my health issues becoming more and more of a presence in our daily life, I’ve decided to not try to gloss over/hide it like I usually do and just add it in as a factual part of our daily life. My hair has always been one of the few things on my body I was proud of. As a kid, I had the longest, thickest blonde hair. I literally did not have it cut until I was twelve years old. It went from being just past my butt to chin length in the matter of 30 minutes. When I was 16, I watched my cousin with such jealousy about her natural curls … until I tried to do what she did and realized my hair is also naturally curly (it had always just been too long/thick for the curls). A few years back, I got tired of the dumb blonde jokes and the “are you a natural blonde?” questions and colored my hair red. Most people I “work” with at school assume the red is my real color and ask where my girls get their blonde hair from 🙂 ANYWAY … just thought a little backstory was important.


Something very cool happened this week – my mother decided to try Project Life! She is not a scrapbooker. My mother’s version of what most of us do was to make photo collage frames of events or groups of family/friends, but she is running out of wall space quickly! I’ve shown her my albums a couple times and explained to her how easy it is to do and that it doesn’t have to be an album of your daily life. She is doing hers with events in her home – starting with finding the house as it was finishing up being built. It was nice to have something common for us to share/talk about.



My husband started about a year and a half to two years ago getting into shape and learning to eat better. It all started because he wanted to do one of those obstacle course races like Tough Mudder, but knew he needed to get into shape first. Now he has lost over 40lbs and is in better shape than he was in high school (excuse me sticking my tongue out at him). He wanted to be able to practice wall climbing, so I suggested we take down a part of our multilevel deck that we rarely use and reuse the wood to start building the wall in it’s place. So he did.


Finally, this week I started chore charts with the girls. They have their “chores” that they do around the house, but had been slacking off. We had a sit down talk with them about needing them to step up and help out more since I’m able to do less and less. I made the charts with stickers because (1) Sydney will do just about anything for a sticker and (2) Natalie (like her mom) likes to be able to check things off a list. Win – win, right?




I figured those chore charts will be something they will get a kick out of seeing later on in life (“Remember when we only had to remember to feed the dogs? And not worry about making enough money to feed ourselves and our family?”)

Okay, I’m off to link up to The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday. I would love to hear from you in the comments!



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Project Life – weeks 24 & 25


This was from way back in June – our first full week of summer vacation.



I stuck with a lot of greens and oranges to give it a summery feel. I love taking photos of flowers in bloom during the summer and put these three together onto one 4×6 so that the entire layout wasn’t just flower photos. Now that school is out, I have the time to relax and just enjoy what’s around me.


When the mason jar stuff first came out, I was loving it, but not always sure how to incorporate it into my layouts. I’m just not one of those people that puts random designs on a layout for decoration with absolutely no meaning. I did think that lightning bugs in a jar was good imagery for summer, so yay!


Something else that screams “summer!” in our family is all of the summer reading programs in our area. We usually sign up for all of them and then choose the ones that we really like to keep up with. We are a family of readers anyway, so it’s nice to get prizes and incentives to continue doing something you love, right?


My girls and I spend most of our summer mornings on our back porch, either reading, playing or keeping cool in our little blow up pool. As goofy as I look in this picture, I was trying to make my youngest laugh while remembering to include myself in photos more (especially with them).


click on the photo to read the journaling

click on the photo to read the journaling

I’ve told my girls this story before, but I wanted to record it to make sure it’s remembered. This is one of the reasons I started Project Life – little bits like this that are important and should be remembered, but don’t really need an entire 12×12 layout.

This week had one insert. Last year we took the girls to Blues on the Green (free concerts outdoors) and took them again this year. We didn’t leave early enough and spent over an hour trying to get into the park/find parking, but the short time we were there was fun!

7x5 insert

7×5 insert

and now ….


See the arrow over the dates? Yeah, I didn’t realize I was stamping with the back of the stamp (gray part), so I had to keep going with it, then flipped the stamp over to get the detail with black ink. I’ve seen that “technique” done before with other images, so I’m glad it was in the back of my mind 🙂


For some reason, I forgot to take close ups of each side. Sunday this week was Father’s Day. The girls gave him the presents they made and then we tried a new bbq place for lunch. Turns out the food was not really what we liked, but hey, we tried a new place.


My youngest daughter has become obsessed with the clothes in the Lands End catalogs. She wants to order everything and I’ve explained to her that we can’t really do that. I told her she could cut out the pictures of clothes she likes and we could save that for back to school shopping. She turned it into a morning long project. She made her own book and everything – love it!


This popsicle stamp is from The Stamps of Life – it’s really cute and gave me a chance to practice coloring with my Copic markers. I may or may not have given my girls popsicles for this very reason.


My husband had surgery this week to remove a kidney stone. The doctor came out after the procedure to let me know that the problem was that the stone was situated wide across instead of down (see photos) and that’s why it didn’t pass. I had my husband journal about it. ( he gave me permission to post this – I promise I asked first)

it might be hard to see, but the yellow side thing in the middle is the stone

it might be hard to see, but the yellow side thing in the middle is the stone

close up of his journaling

close up of his journaling

This was not his first kidney stone surgery, but the first one that the doctor gave us pictures (is it sad that I immediately thought “This is going in the PL album”?)

Okay, well that’s two more weeks closer to being up to date. I’m actually working on September’s layouts right now. Thanks for taking a look. Are you up to date with your pages? Now that we are so close to the end of the year, are you feeling that push to catch up before starting fresh on January 1st?

As always, I’ll be linking up with The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday.

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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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Remember Me?

Hello, remember me? I’m still here. With school coming to a close and all that goes along with that, as well as some health issues I just haven’t had a chance to post. But, the last day of school was last Friday and I have cleaned up my desk and put it back together, so … I shall be posting very soon. I am hoping to get back to posting every Tuesday and then linking up with The Mom Creative as well as share some other projects I will have going on.

1. Catching up on the several weeks behind that I am in PL

2. finishing up our 2012 family album

3. getting the girls school albums from this year put together

4. setting up a PL style school album for the upcoming year for both girls

5. a mini album of our weekend trip to Galveston

6. redoing our wedding album – it’s 3 different post bound albums and I want to make it one (D-ring) pocket page album

See you soon!