March 30, 2012

Project Life Week 10, 2012

Back today with Week 10 of my Project Life pages. For this week I made a few changes and I immediately knew that this week would come together quicker than usual. I did two things that made a huge difference: I used 10 photos this time instead of 15-20 like I've been using lately and I used more 4 x 6 photos instead of a bunch of smaller ones. These two things were huge time savers all the way from the time it took to print my photos to the time it took to journal & fill up the inserts. I think I can definitely find solutions to spending less time on my pages when life gets busy. Again, thank you for all the nice comments left on yesterday's post. It's good to know that we have other friends who need a little help too.

Okay, I must apologize for the somewhat washed out photos. Not the look I was going for but unfortunately my big camera is on it's last leg. But none the less, I'll run you through this week.
Here's my 2 page spread. Lots of aqua, yellows and that weird yellow-y chartreuse color that I love so much.
The left page. You'll notice this week that I used a lot of tags from my shop which made for very quick and easy accents. I also reached for a My Mind's Eye stamp set called Favorite Stamps from the Miss Caroline collection to add some color & design to my 3 x 4 inserts. Just one little stamp set can do wonders for adding the smallest of details.
The right page. I already love how the spread looks more clean and simple by using the larger 4 x 6 photos.
This is my main dated insert. I included a photo of myself which you don't see much of in my layouts. This week I chose a few inserts to get really creative with. I really love the tag accents. I used a Printed Hang Tag and a White Garment Tag. With just a little journaling, a yo yo from my last Studio Calico kit + some stamping from the MME set, this came together really quickly. I tucked the tags under a strip of patterned paper which has the dates for this week. That new gold Washi tape from 2 peas adds just a shimmery touch. A little tip for the tag strings: Give them a twist to create a loop then staple the loop with the Tiny Attacher.
On to the 3 x 4 inserts. I used all Project Life core kit cards or the plain, grid Project Life cards as bases this week. Again, quick and easy to build upon. On the left I used a flower stamp from the MME stamp set. On the right I added a photo of Jordan with wild hair + some sticker letters.
Here I used the quoted stamp from Studio Calico + some Hero Arts letter stamps. On the right I added a strip of patterned paper, a Crate border sticker from my Studio Calico kit + more sticker letters.
A few simple sticker letters + a typed Grid Label on the 4 x 6 photo.
Here I had 2 photos of some meals we had this week. I love to include meal time in our Project Life as that is where we sit together each night and talk about our days.
Two of my favorite 3 x 4 inserts. The one on the left was a fun collage of sorts, referring to the 4 x 6 photos of my shimmer paints. I used a flower border sticker from Crate Paper, some artsy stickers from Cosmo Cricket, various chipboard letters and a fun tag from Banana Fish Studios. I loved getting creative with that insert. On the right I used more of that quirky stripe paper, machine stitching, and another strip of the Crate border sticker. I used just a handful of elements over and over again this week. Limiting my supplies also helped reduce the time I spent on this week's layout. I also used a Rectangle Hang Tag stamped with a wood grain pattern from the MME stamp set. The painted chipboard is from my chipboard butterflies that got a paint make over.
Two more 3 x 4 inserts. More sticker letters and a music sheet brad were added to a Project Life card on the left. On the right is another one of my favorite inserts. I stamped the edge with the MME stamp set + added a few letter stickers. For the notched flags that I stitched on I used a scrap of the striped paper that I cut with my scissors. The top layer is a Small White Tag that I notched with my scissors and then added a sticker to. Love that look and will be using that again.
And my last 4 x 6 insert using a Diptic collage. See my page on the left side bar for a blog post on how to create these. The base is a 4 x 6 stamped piece from a previous shop kit. I stamped a flower and then added a snippet of the cork sticker border + added the little Studio Calico wood house.
A very fun week to work on. I have 3 weeks to catch up on so I'm hoping to squeeze in some time over the weekend to get at least 2 more weeks done. We'll see how that goes!

I'm off to get a new kit uploaded to the shop today. Very cute and springy and I have lots of samples to blog soon. Then I'm off to Josey's first track meet this afternoon. She's SO nervous and excited she can hardly contain herself. Looks like a beautiful day is in store too so that's a bonus! Have a great weekend, friends.

March 28, 2012

Time spent on Project Life....

Edited: Thank you for the comments everyone. There were several questions in the comments sections. I think that some of my previous blog posts linked up in this page will be helpful to you. If you don't find what you're looking for in those posts, feel free to ask more questions.

Okay Project Life friends, this post is photo heavy so I'm going to try to keep my thoughts short. I've been reading a lot about how some of you have put your Project Life albums aside for various reasons. You don't have the time, you forgot to take photos, it takes away from your other scrapbooking. I get where you are coming from. It a time commitment for sure to keep up to date on Project Life albums....whether you are doing it in it's simplest form or getting scrappy with it.

For the sake of today's post, I'm speaking from the perspective of going scrappy with Project Life. You want to add fun embellishments and accents and papers. You want to add scrapped inserts. But the problem is that a weekly layout is taking up too much time. Like 5 hours or more a week. Again, I know where you are coming from.

Today I'm going to share my thoughts with lots of photos for examples. My personal concern is this: I want to continue to work on my Project Life albums in a scrappy fashion but I need to reduce the # of hours I work on my albums per week. Our busiest time of year is coming up with Spring sports, day time track meets, gardening, a lively puppy...and soon to be summer break for the girls. For the last 2 years May is about the time I get behind. 17 weeks behind in 2011. I don't want to go there again. I took a look through my albums to do some analyzing. I noticed a few things that might help reduce the time I spend per week on them. Note: When I have 5 or more hours to work on my albums, I love it & I'll continue on as normal. But if not.....

3 x 4 Journaling Inserts:
This is where you write the stories, the events, what went down with a particular photo. The next 6 photos shows what I've been doing lately which is time consuming. Adding small photos to the 3 x 4 cards.
Adding lots of different kinds of embellishments. Plus stitching.
Printing journaling cards...
Stamping out words and titles. Using my vintage typewriter for journaling.
Adding lots and lots of little tidbits.
Making each 3 x 4 insert look like a mini layout of its own. I love it all but when time is a factor, these extra additions are real time suckers.
So now take a look at the next 5 photos. If you do a comparison to the above 3 x 4 photos you'll see a big difference. Still embellished but much simpler. Still used my typewriter because my handwriting is big and loopy. I used a Project Life core kit journaling card for the base.
Another standard card with hand written journaling, a simple strip of patterned paper and a little stamping. No extra embellishments. Super fast.
A Project Life grid card that I had previously stamped with a Studio Calico frame. Easy to pull from my stash. Again, hand written journaling. A simple tag from a shop kit I made earlier. Very simple. Note: LOVE the Week in Review cards and will try to incorporate those weekly still.
More typewriter journaling with very minimal embellishments.
Hand journaling on a Project Life journaling card. A few stickers. Stickers are simple and make quick work. Result: When time is spare, I will definitely be paring down the embellishments.
4 x 6 Photo Slots:
Originally designed for a simple 4 x 6 photo. Plain and simple. I love that these have become mini canvases in my album for me to get scrappy.
Smaller photos so that I can fit multiple photos onto a 4 x 6 insert. With the added bonus of embellishments.
Absolutely love it but again, a real time sucker.
Since I don't do much traditional scrapbooking, I'm okay with spending time on these inserts. IF I have the time.
But if not, these little layouts can take on a mind of their own.
You want each one to be like a mini page. Sometimes it's just not gonna happen this way. There's too much other "life" stuff going on. Or I notice that I'm getting a few weeks behind. Which leads into a month behind....or more. Not a good place for me because then I start feeling guilty for not keeping up. Or like it's a hassle. Note: That is NOT what Project Life is about. It should always feel enjoyable and like something you want to do.
Now look at the next set of photos. A big observation I made is that I really like the weeks where I went back to adding 4 x 6 photos. The photos are more visible and the weekly spread looks less cluttered.
I still added some journaling on my grid labels. Plus some stickers and accents here and there.
But overall the 4 x 6 slot is filled with a photo. I don't have to make a 4 x 6 base and add more to it.
The embellishments are there but it takes so much less time this way.
Plus it makes printing at home a breeze. I simply print a 4 x 6 photo and don't have to worry about what size I need the smaller photos to be.
This also keeps my purpose of doing Project Life in perspective. My weekly layouts are to be an overview of the week. A photo per day so to speak. By reducing the # of photos I select each week, I'm keeping that goal in mind.
Weekly Dated Inserts:
I do love these and plan on going back to them when possible. I insert them into the top, left hand corner.
They may or may not have a photo but the goal is to record the timeframe of the week and perhaps make a title for the main theme of the week....if there is one. Like this week I took 2 road trips.
Or the week of Valentine's Day. It makes the weekly spread seem like one large layout with a title...just like a traditional scrapbooked layout. So these are coming back. And use that date stamp to record the timeframe of the week. I noticed some of you are numbering the weeks (like Week 1, Week 2) instead of using the dates. Cool.
What about the extra photos?
I love my extra photos. I want to include each and every one of them. You too, right? Well we can't do that all of the time, especially if we take a lot of photos. And with the nifty cell phone cameras it makes it very easy to snap more photos every day. I'm with ya. Some of you are keeping up with your traditional scrapped layouts too. This is a terrific way to add in layouts with those special photos. I wish I had more time to do that.

But what I have noticed in my albums that I LOVE are these collage pages with TONS of photos on them.
Typically Instagram photos in the square format. My printing program allows me to make a simple collage. I just select the photos I want and hit print....with a few custom adjustments.
Reduced in size so I can fit a ton on one page. This just might be my saving grace for reducing the time spent on Project Life weekly layouts: I'm going to reduce the # of photos I use per week (we'll see how my plan works).....and I'm going to make a monthly collage of the rest of the photos I still want to scrapbook. Probably not a lot of journaling. Just photos that capture our life. All on one insert page. A little scrappy, maybe just photos sometimes. Maybe Instagrams, maybe just a collage of reduced 4 x 6 photos. Maybe at the end of the month....maybe where I need to fill a back page of another insert. My plan is to just go through my iPhone photos & regular camera photos and see what's left for that month. I can already breathe a sigh of relief.
I'm going to start with making my weekly layouts a little simpler if I don't find those 5 or more hours to get really scrappy. I'm not going to feel badly anymore that I didn't use a certain photo for the week. I'll pick it up at the end of the month. We'll see how it works.

So what are your thoughts?
Are you holding on for dear life? Breezing through? I'd love to hear your thoughts on where you are with your Project Life. And again, if you're going digital or simply adding photos & journaling cards or only doing a monthly spread on 2 pages, it all counts. You're doing it! Isn't it awesome?

March 26, 2012

Chipboard makeover....

Well it's back to school for the girls after 10 days off for Spring Break. I'm not sure what to do with myself today. I guess it's back to work for me.

Today I have one last little tidbit to share with you on the organizing front. This is not really an organizational tip but more of a "making the most of your supplies" tip. I've had these Studio Calico Butterfly Chip Shapes + a few other tag shapes in my stash for a while now. I use them quite often and I still have lots of them in my stash. Some of the colors are just not ones that I reach for that often. So I decided to give my chipboard a makeover. Using some Martha Stewart paint I grabbed my chipboard and went to work.
I painted all kinds of shapes to give them a fresh new color. What I thought would take 2 coats of paint actually took 4 coats. I think if I would have sanded the chipboard first the paint would have went on a little thicker the first few times.
The end result was a whole new stash of chipboard shapes. I found that I reached for them quite a bit because I just love the new color.
Here's a little butterfly that I stapled to a Project Life journaling card.
And here's a whole stash of tags that I made for cards & shop packaging. You can see all my new tag styles in the shop.
I love the dimension that chipboard gives to projects. I used pop dots to raise them up even more on a few tags.
And that's it for today. Last night I went on a major purging mission in the craft room. I have 3 big boxes ready to be taken outta there. Feels so good to actually have drawers and cubbies with nothing in them. I'm going to keep at it today keeping the "less is more" mentality as I go. Have a great week!

March 25, 2012

Organizing Your Stash...Day 3

It's the last day of Spring Break for the girls. We've had sunshine on just the last 2 days so we really made good use of our time outdoors this weekend. After cleaning out the flower beds and trimming all the old grasses and bushes my arms feel like wet noodles. I'm kinda glad to be back inside and plan on spending my day organizing my craft room some more.

Here's the last of my tips for organizing those smaller items in your craft stash. First up is this package of fabric strips that came in a Studio Calico kit. I hadn't broken into it yet so I knew that I needed to make it easier to reach for. I reached for my old stand by for organizing ribbons and such....clothespins.
I simply wrap the ribbon/fabric, etc around the clothespin and secure with a pin.
I also did this with a piece of glitter ribbon that came in a Studio Calico kit. I nestled them all into an vintage tin cup. You could use muffin tins, old glasses, planters, jars...anything that you like. I've reached for those fabric strips several times since I got them on the clothespins.
Now, moving on to the little paper pieces like tags, journaling cards, paper accents, etc. Since starting Project Life there has been a lot of designers creating printable tags and journaling cards. I love to have them on hand when I start a new Project Life layout but I didn't have a central storage place for them all. I gathered up them up along with some tags I made to have on hand.
I recently purchased a cute bundle from Banana Fish Studio also. The packaging is so adorable I didn't want to tear into it. But I did.
All my bigger pieces went into this vintage planter that I purchased recently. Smaller items in the front, larger items in the back. So easy to thumb through. I just bring the unit over to my work table when I want to look through the items.
A few of the smaller pieces and tags went in the second little Hob Nail dish that was a recent vintage find. I tend to put the more recent, newer items out where I can clearly see them. We always want to use our newest finds first, right?
Here's a photo of all the packaging that stacked up. I really love to see everything out in the open.
Like this. I think it's much prettier, visible and more likely to be used. It makes me feel like I'm shopping my own stash when I have it displayed like this. And that is a good thing! You may feel like saving or hoarding an item but why do we do that? Don't we purchase items to actually use up? My motto is this: There will always be something newer coming out soon. Use up what we have so that we can justify those new purchases. It's really a waste to purchase something, never use it and then give it away for free or half price at a garage sale.
Now. This is just one tiny part of my craft room that is organized. The rest of the room is quite messy. I'll be happy to show you more photos of my room......but only when it gets cleaned up. I have to work in little sections. Then purge some more. Than organize some more. Plus I have a mish mash of storage items that are new, old, I'm always challenged to find new ways to store my goodies. I'm just thankful that I have an entire room to myself and that I can shut the door when it gets messy. Oh wait, I don't have a door yet. Never mind.

Okay on to some questions that were left in the comments section from previous posts:

Where do you get your lovely washi tape-do you get it from several different places? Yes, I get my Washi tape from lots of places. Lately I've found a great selection from 2 Peas. Otherwise I just do a search through Etsy and order from shops where I find something new and fun. You might check In The Clear, Pretty Tape, Happy Tape and Cute Tape for starters.

Let me ask you this, once you have said items in said dish, where do you put it? Is it right on your main desk? This is what I'm struggling with. I love having my items right out on my desk where I can see them, but at the same time, I want my desk to be clutter free. Is this possible??? :) I try to keep my work tables free of product, except for my paper trimmer, my 3 tiered Pottery Barn unit and a small basket of frequently used tools. This way I can put my entire Project Life album on my table when I'm working on it....or I can have a lot of free space for card making, gift packaging, etc. You can see from the photo above that I sit my storage out on little shelving units, shelves, etc.

Hey, how about some advice on how to purge? I need to purge some things. What do you do with it? This is tricky for me. Some items I can finally look at and say "you need to go". Then there are those other items that I want to hold on to. I paid good money for them, I love them and even though I don't use them I still want to have them and look at them from time to time. I'm a collector by nature. My mother was a huge garage sale goer in her day and I learned to snatch up those good deals. But unfortunately I often end up with more than I need. I'm really trying to get in the mind set that I don't need it all. What's that saying, "Keep only the things you love". I try to think about that when I'm trying to purge. Also, when I see areas in my house that are organized I tend to want to hang out there. Getting rid of the physical clutter also frees the mind. I really need to practice what I preach here cuz it ain't so pretty around here sometimes.

Okay, guys. I've pep talked myself into purging and cleaning more so I better do it while I'm in the mood. Good luck with your organizing! Stay tuned as I have one more little tidbit for you: giving your chipboard a makeover. I know you have lots of little pieces of it. Let's use it up!
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