on the bandwagon...off the bandwagon...and then back on

Listen, I love the idea of project life. I love the variety of options available and the beautiful approaches people take in completing it. And I tried, I did, to do my own version of something like that. I struggled and kept up for a little bit but in the end, that just doesn't work for me. Basically, I gave up on it but then, a few weeks ago, I found Izzy oohing and aahing and "I remembering" over this:

and I knew that somehow, someway, I had to keep this up.

This morning, I knocked out four weeks worth of PL in about 3 hours. Start to finish. Selecting and printing photos, brief captions, the barest of embellishments. You guys, I think I can do this. Finally. I'm not sure it's worth sharing all four weeks because it's pretty boring. Not kidding. I'm not saying I'll stick with this photo + kraft look Every. Single. Week. but it's working for me now and I'll definitely continue in this vein while I plow my way through the backlog (not necessarily going to do all the weeks between when I fizzled out and the present but we'll see what happens.)

"hello" brush from STUDIO CALICO | dot card from STUDIO PEBBLES
heart brush from AC | hearts + "let's do this" from LLP
flip up on center right has more journaling...QR code is a link to Jake's VP speech
star and paper from PAISLEY PRESS here and here
I almost never pull out my "real" camera anymore. I'd estimate 95% of the time, I'm using my phone camera. It's terrible. But I figure for project life, I'm sticking with phone photos. That's it. No looking back. If I have a dSLR photo I have to use, I'll scrap it with a regular layout (and as little as that's happening these days, I think I may add layouts right into my PL album!)

So my process now:

  1. I have my Dropbox app set to automatically back up my phone photos to my computer (which is AWESOME because the file name is the date/time the photo was taken.) Having the file name set to the date makes it so easy to quickly browse through and choose photos from the week.
  2. Momento is perfect for quickly refreshing my memory (via, instagram, twitter and facebook updates) about what was happening during the week. I'm getting better about using the note feature too (which is how I remembered that quote that I found + loved in week 37 and my current playlist for week 39.)
  3. I have easy templates set up for the week card as well as the caption cards (adding the social media icons for text taken directly from a tweet, facebook status or instagram upload - here's a good font for those.) I simply plugged in the text - copy and paste for many of them, and printed on kraft cardstock. 
  4. Figure out where there are still holes to fill, and add what works. 
  5. Cut, slide into the sleeve pockets and embellish in the most minor of ways.

One of the appeals of project life, for me, was the inclusion on kid art and little bits and pieces of life "stuff." I'm sure it will work it's way into the actual spread here and there but mainly, I'm just adding a regular letter size page protector every four weeks or so and sliding in the stuff I can't bear to part with (dated on the back, of course.)

So this is what worked for me this time. I'm hoping to spend another few hours this weekend getting current for October and then, possibly, work backwards into the months I've missed. It's maybe basic and boring but I'm going with "timeless." And done.


a children's book recommendation for my children's book loving friends

I've been following the Red Nose blog for years now - I'm a huge fan of the seeing the process used to create those magical little characters and scenes. Last week though was the first time I actually picked up a book that had been illustrated via Red Nose and it was just so lovely, I had to share.

While we have accumulated a lot of children's books over the years (because books are really the one extravagance that I feel absolutely zero guilt in indulging) I'm become much more selective in what I purchase versus what we check out from the library because 1) we LOVE variety and 2) a book needs to be really, really special to return to over and over.

We have our personal family favorites like anything Shel Silverstein or Oliver Jeffers, plus a handful of series that the boys love to collect and flip through long after the first reading (the typical choices of Origami Yoda, Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants variety) but we don't make too many impulse purchases anymore.

I read The Beginner's Guide to Running Away from Home to Izzy a few days ago and found myself studying it alone a handful of times after. I usually return books a couple of times a week to pick up a new stack, always returning the ones that have already been read but this one, I held onto through a couple of additional trips because I couldn't bear to part with it just yet.

It appears as though there are two other books, The Look Book and Here Comes the Garbage Barge, that have also been illustrated by Red Nose so, this year for sure, the entire collection will be under the Christmas tree.

One other library book that we recently checked out that Izzy enjoyed (and had fun illustrations) was Picture Day Perfection. A silly little story but enjoyable enough to read (a must for a book that will be read multiple times) with a pocket in the back for framing a school photo. I plan on getting that one for her as well - a perfect gift for a kindergartner as she's just started the whole school picture thing and it will be a fun way to collect each year in one place.

(also, you MUST, MUST, MUST check out this post on Seven Impossible Things!)


Go Places

I recently did this layout with this photo/quote combo and had a request to make the quote art available as a digital download wall print in my etsy shop. SO I did :)

I also made a small 3x4" version that can be used in your project life or anything else you might use for. You can grab that here - enjoy!


Ham Solo

This is a play on words that's probably been riffed on a thousand times but when Zack thought it up a couple of weeks ago, well, he was pretty impressed and amused by his cleverness. I know you don't "know" Zack but seeing him smile and laugh is one of my greatest joys in life because it doesn't come as naturally to him as it does to Jake and Izzy. He's more reserved with his emotions so when they're on display, I soak up every grin and giggle like the best kind of sunshine.

I knew I wanted to do something with the phrase to surprise him with so I found an iconic shot of Han Solo and a regular old pig photo and mashed them up into this silhouette. After searching the better part of the day for my MIA iron (no, I don't iron much...I'd venture to say that in the past year it's been used maybe twice. And both times for this application versus actual wrinkle remover. Which is what the dryer is for.) I was able to knock this out in under 30 minutes and that included the actual cutting. I hope he likes it.

If you have any desire at all to make one yourself, I made the file into a png that you can just print and cut. Grab it here!


31 Things, once again

Gangbusters, baby. I am so ready to finish this project and order a completed book!

Day 18:
Day 19 (this one took awhile because when I stumbled onto this photo, I was paralyzed with memories:)

Add caption
See the rest of my 31 Things layouts (and download the templates) here.


31 things continued...

Day 16:

Day 17:

See the rest of my 31 Things layouts (and download the templates) here.


things I find on my phone...

This is what she does when using my phone in the backseat while I drive...practices her morning pledge routine (I really, really love our elementary school pledge.)

(also, her "s's"...so in love.)


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