Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Project Life 2013; recap on 2012

Wow, seriously?  Where does the time go?  I don't know if anyone else is reading this blog but it is a good way for me to collect my thoughts anyway.
I am in the process of finalizing my Project Life album from 2012.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this method of scrapbooking/memory keeping.  It can be whatever you want it to be.  You can do as much or as little as you want with it - from pre-made cards and your photos, to making your own cards and playing with your photos (adding text, overlays, etc).  Heck, you could even do a totally digital version.
For 2012 I kept it as a week to a spread with a few weeks that were photo heavy (mostly from travel) that had an extra {smaller} insert within the spread.  I like this method.  Some weeks I had very few photos (one week I had total 3) but you can always get around it.  Enlarge the photos and crop them to fit into multiple sleeves.  Use receipts, notes, quotes, patterned paper - anything really to fill up the extra spaces.  I think this is truly reflective of the project - some weeks there is a bunch of stuff happening, and others there is not much worth documenting.  
Yes, I did get behind... but I kept taking photos and now I am only a couple of hours away from a complete album.  I don't print my photos at home, so suddenly getting 200 photos (some of which were 2 3x4s that needed to get halved so it was probably more like 250 photos) is a task to sort and place and journal for.  I did get behind from week 33 onwards... but it is surprising the stuff you do remember - looking at some of the photos brought back memories of the little things which I jotted down because I know 12 months from now that memory will be gone.
When I had the album out the other night my husband (who is not the least bit interested in scrapbooking) was looking through the first 33 weeks and commented that is was really good because you forget so much of what happened.  That was pretty good praise in my opinion.  Job Done.
I will be continuing Project Life.  I have created my own journalling cards (using digital elements) and will use some commercial products too and largely I am sticking to the colour theme from last year (I still love it) - blue, orange, yellow, brown.  I have ordered my We R Memory Keepers 12x12 Aqua album and the Project Life Design A sleeves (pk 60), with the addition of a 12pk Design G which I will use as my inserts the weeks I have too many photos. 
I have also downloaded an app to my phone called Memoires which allows you to type a short description and you can add audio and photos too - perfect to keep track of what is going on.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Photoshop Elements and Actions

I love using Adobe Photoshop Elements (I am using version 8).  It took me a while to master, and I still have a lot of learning to so - totally self taught from the internet... but as well as learning all the controls to change this or that, it is awesome when you can just apply an action to a photo.
I'm pretty sure I've spoken about actions before, but they are essentially a series of settings applied to your photo to give a certain effect - similar to the filters in Instagram (the iPhone app).  As I mentioned in my setup of Project Life post, there are some great sites that have free actions that you can download and use in elements (different photo editing software uses different actions so make sure the actions are compatible with the software you are using).  Rita's Coffee Shop Actions and Pioneer Woman sets are awesome, but if you google "free photoshop actions" you will get a whole host of pre-made effects for your photos.
Who says you need to be a professional photographer to get great photography results?
Check out this lovely soft action, or this pastel vintage look.
Almost all the photos I now print are in some way adjusted (even if it's an "auto adjust" of contrast and colour) and one of my favourites is the "Lovely" action (which I think came in the Pioneer Woman sets). Just make sure you save the file as a "copy" or name it something else (I often put "edit" or "v1, v2, etc", otherwise you may overwrite your original image if you click "save".  I always keep the original - just in case I want to alter it to something else later on, it's better to work with the original.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Project Life - the real stuff + freebie download

The last week has been a tough one.  My husband's grandmother quickly deteriorated and passed away last Friday and the funeral was this Wednesday.  Seeing as I had been playing around with PS Elements a bit, I offered to make the Order of Service booklet for the funeral and the "photographic journey" slideshow.  Everyone was very pleased with the results.  As you can imagine that has taken most of my time for the last week, along with visiting family and family visiting us.

I finally got my photo's printed (at Big W) and I still have no coloured inks here at home, but today I decided I would take some ME time, and I had a play with making some of my own Project Life journalling cards (slightly smaller than 3"x4" - 2.875 x 3.9375 inches).  I have a plain version of the grid cards in blue, and a matching set of days of the week cards.

Click HERE for the Days of the Week Cards in Blue (A4 PNG file)

Feel free to use these in your own albums (please don't use these for commercial use).

Click HERE for the matching Plain Grid cards in Blue (A4 PNG file)

Simply print and cut them out to use in the Project Life pockets.
*** I'm not sure why the page is saying the file is not found, but if you click Download Image it will download the file. ***

Speaking of the Project Life pockets, my page protectors arrived in the mail Wednesday (while I was at the funeral) so I got to pick them up at the post office yesterday morning and place all of my weeks 1-7 into their real homes.  This made me happy.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Project Life Setup

**If you want more info on what Project Life is, check out Becky's site**
I have decided that I will do my own thing for Project Life this year and I am determined to follow this through.  It just makes so much sense and requires so little effort to keep your scrapbooking up to date.
I got creative last week and this, and made my own journalling cards using the formula I found on Cathy's blog.  I created a new blank file using PS Elements and inserted layers to add digital patterned papers and used the rectangle tool to create lines (I am totally self taught, so this was the only way I knew how to add lines).  I came up with about 15 designs that I have printed and will use, along with some patterned paper I had on hand to coordinate.  I really like the Turquoise and Clementine ranges so I tried to mimic the colours and stick to mostly blues and yellow-oranges mixed with neutrals.
This is my personal kit setup:

 The top cards are 4x6" and the ones underneath are slightly smaller than 4x3"
 I plan to keep this on my 'desk' (I use a buffet unit as my scrapbooking storage and work surface) and just grab items as I need them.
Due to my printing of the journalling elements (which I printed on Matt Photo Paper) my printer is now out of coloured inks. I'm in 2 minds as to how I should print my photos.  I like the idea of printing at home because I can update the layouts instantly but the end cost is a lot more.  I like the cost and ease of printing in-store (no mess, no fuss) but I am not a frequent shopper apart from the local grocery store so it may take a few weeks to get to the shop - meaning I will always be behind on the photo side of things. I think I'm leaning towards the at home option.
In the last week I have put together my first 5 weeks of journalling and organised which photos I will be using.  I found it hard for the first 4 weeks because I had not decided I would be doing this project and I wasn't focused on taking photos so a few weeks have very few photos.  I can live with that though.  I wasn't going to focus on a week to a layout, but it is a lot easier to organise it this way, and with modern technology it is easy enough to get extra visual content if you don't have the photos - like print outs from websites (I printed a picture from a restaurant website where we had dinner) or even just pretty patterned papers.
I have placed my order for the Project Life page protectors but until they arrive (hopefully some time this month) I am using some Pebbles Inc 6x4 protectors to hold everything - it just makes it a bit difficult to access some of the journalling cards.

I will add the photos once I get ink to print.

Here are some of the downloads I am using (all currently free):
Cathy Zielske's Free Day Cards
Polaroid style photo frames
Old sticky tape textures
Spontaneous Delights free kit by Carrie Stephens
DigiKit Boho Chic by Brandy Buffington
Breezy papers by Karla Dudley
Official Project Life Grid journalling cards
The CoffeeShop Blog Storyboards and Frames and Actions and Presets

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A first for 2012

How is it February already? Time is certainly flying and on looking over my blog (yes, last updated in October last year) I still haven't achieved any more!  I seem to have all the good intentions and plans but I'm not so good on the carrying them out part. I have compiled all of the Week in the Life project photos (from July?) but I have not printed them... yet. I will either buy more ink for my printer or get them printed in store. Then it will just be a matter of re-reading my notes and write out the journalling I want to keep in the album.  In a way it is nice reflecting on all the bits and pieces from 6 months ago, because as life has a habit of doing, it has all changed since then.
I am loving the look of Becky Higgins' Project Life - it has everything I love from Ali Edwards' albums - photos + notes/ephemera without doing dramatic pages.  The more I look at this style, the more I am preferring it to the classical scrapbook pages.  I like collecting stuff, I like not having to think about layouts (I am a huge fan of PageMaps), I like the mix between a conventional pocket photo album and a scrapbook.  I love that it can be as easy or complicated as you want.  I would even go so far as to not even bother with a week to an opening - just adding things as they come along - some weeks could be 10 photos, some weeks 2.  But no matter how much I get told about chronological scrapbooking, I can't give it up - I NEED to have order to my photos.  I hate when albums are not in order of the events as they occurred.  The only thing holding me back is that I can't source ANY of the core items until at least MAY - when almost half the year is gone.  I am really disappointed about this, but I have cut up some of my own 4x3 journalling cards to use and will possibly be able to source some of the page-protectors this month, so I can do it my way and see how it goes, but it is an ongoing project (hence the name) so I will possibly source it this year anyway even if I don't use it until next year.
So, what's happening in my craft plans for this year?  I am not choosing a One Little Word this year (after I didn't really do much with it last year) but is something I could consider in the future.  I will be participating in a Week in the Life project for this year although I may choose my own week instead of the week in April that Ali has announced.  We have a new addition to our household so I have a new family member to photograph and journal about (the 4 legged kind, not a baby!).  I want to focus less on amounts produced and just enjoy the crafts I have loved for years - one page is better than none.  I want to take more photos (and focus more on taking my camera with me).  I want to have balance.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Snap Happy

Of late my crafting has taken a back seat to everyday life.  I am trying to capture the moments that often pass by so that when my motivation returns I will have some projects to work on.
Yesterday I took the girls out for a picnic to a local park.  It was a great opportunity to grabs some photos of them, and we also had a quick stroll near the beach as well.
Here are some of my favourites:
The effects used on the photos come from the Pioneer Woman website, used in Photoshop Elements (for more great free actions try Rita's blog).  If you have PSE I totally recommend these actions - once they are installed, you open your image it's as simple as clicking the effect you want and selecting apply.  I did alter a few of the opacity percentages on some of the layers to get the desired results, but it's certainly much quicker than fiddling with trying to add each layer yourself.

As yet I have not completed my Week in the Life project.  I did manage to capture and document each day for the week, but so far I have only collated Monday and Tuesday.  I hope to have the rest done by the end of next week (once school goes back).  I will share it once it's done as it's the first time I've used an 8.5 x 11 format for a project.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Being grateful

This year I am recording my "week in the life".  I haven't been too successful with my other attempts at scrapbooking but if I can at least record my "week in the life" in some way surely that's better than nothing at all?  It will be a bonus if it ever makes it's way into some sort of album.
If you check out Ali Edwards' blog/website there is a PDF to record the week and in that each day there is a prompt about being grateful.
Today I had a "grateful" moment.  I was randomly invited to attended a government feedback forum about family payments.  Some people there had lots of kids, some only had 2 like me, some were older, some were younger - but we all had the one thing in common: we were all mums.  In sharing our stories with each other I learned about one woman who has twins of a similar age to my youngest, one of which has a learning disability and as a result of needing to provide early intervention, has had to go back to work to fund the intervention program instead of being at home with her 3 young children.  Her story touched me and although it is somewhat selfish I was so grateful for the healthy children I have and for being able to be a stay-at-home mum.  I know some people have circumstances that prevent them from being at home with their kids, and some just choose to work, but I wouldn't swap my job for anything.  For that I am grateful.