Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Project Life - January

I've been thinking a lot about Project Life lately... will I - won't I do it?  Do I want to?  Do I want to change how I do it?  Can I get enough photos each week?  Do I want to tell more 'story' about what is going on in our lives? Do I want to cut down to one page protector per week?  Digital vs hybrid?  You get the picture??

Anyway, as I was thinking, pondering and wondering about all these things... and as January was quickly going by... Cathy Zielske posted something to her blog that made me go... YES that's how I want to do this!  Here's a link to Cathy's POST.

I loved what she'd done for several reasons:
  1.  I LOVE Cathy's use of white space, wide page margins and her signature 'clean' look
  2. It was completely digital which makes it easier to share online because I don't have to try and take photographs of my finished pages in low level lighting in winter
  3. Instead of having two heaving albums I will have one photo book
  4. I can change the layout of each individual page without having to buy special page protectors and trying to match up the back and front sides of each page protector
  5. I don't have to buy new albums (which I'm fast running out of room to store)
  6. I don't have to buy more page protectors and inserts
  7. I don't have to go and get photos printed off each week
  8. I REALLY liked the monthly layout Cathy used
I already knew that I liked working with Cathy's templates because I've purchased several of them over the past few years and used them in other projects so, with all that in mind, I decided to go ahead and purchase a couple of the templates Cathy used for her Project Life book and give it a go... and here's what I've come up with for January:
I've decided to use my favourite black, white and red colour combo for my album but I'm also adding in a little bit of light and dark grey, limey green and dark turquoise as well just to add some visual interest.  Since Nivea was brand new to our family she features quite heavily in the photos :) 

Michael got busy making Nivea her own little dog kennel which she totally loves... although she still prefers to sneak up to the bedroom and get on our bed at every opportunity.  Michael also spent quite a  bit of time making our backyard 'Nivea proof'.  She's a great jumper and has proven that she can also dig holes!  At one stage she disappeared and we had no idea where she was until we spotted her coming back under the neighbours fence from the park.  Turns out she'd jumped the fence between us and the neighbour and then dug a hole under their fence and was quite happily playing in the park!  The fence has now risen to 1.8 metres and further unsupervised trips to the park have been stopped!

Krystal moved home in early January, complete with a portable cabin.  It fits perfectly on our patio and gives her... and us... some privacy while also being close enough to hang out together on a daily basis.  Michael managed to 'break' the washing line in half... it had three loads of washing on it at the time!  There wasn't a lot of point in repairing the old line as the whole pole had rusted so we headed down to Bunnings to get a replacement.  He got it all set up and concreted in place... and then it rained for three days so it was a little while before I could try it out but it works great!  Esther and Liam came to visit for a few days and Esther and I spent some time in the art studio... good fun and we enjoyed playing around with paint, stain, ink and stamps!

The herbs in our front garden were coming to an end so I decided to have a go at preserving some sage.  I made sage butter and sage oil and they both turned out great!  Nivea and Toby have discovered that when Michael leaves to go to work they can watch him from the bedroom window.  As soon as he goes out the front door they rush down to the bedroom, hop on the bed and watch him as he goes up the road... super funny!  I've been going to an osteopath for a few weeks now and it's made a HUGE difference!  You might not recognise Miss Mikayla... she's dyed her hair bright purple!  Actually I think it really suits her :)

Nivea inherited a pink piggy toy from Toby.  Mikayla gave it to him when she was up in October but he just didn't take any interest in it so when Nivea liked it he pretty much just let her have it.  Turns out she's as good at de-stuffing a toy as Toby used to be and we had 'piggy fluff' all over the lounge for days on end!  Mum and I had a little bit of photo fun when we took the dogs for a walk in the forest.  On January 17th a new phase in my life started... a signed up for boot camp!  It all started off with being weighed, measured and pinched... and the numbers were not in the least bit impressive!  I now attend boot camp on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and I'm LOVING it!  

Each evening we get put through our paces... and there's a LOT of us!  More than 400 people signed up for boot camp and there's people from all different walks of life... we're all on our own journey towards health and fitness and it's one of the best things I've done for myself in years!  No we didn't buy another car... the purple car is Miss Mikayla's new pride and joy... and it matches her hair!  I did get the opportunity to go up to Whangarei for a few days to visit Dad and Jan.  Miss Nivea thought she was going to come for a car trip too but she was sadly mistaken.  Dad, Jan and I spent lots of time just hanging out, catching up and chatting.  I even managed to go walking separately with both Dad and Jan which was great.  On the way home I was a bit heavy-footed and managed to get myself a speeding ticket which Michael has taken great joy over teasing me about!

I added some journaling to my album... nothing too heavy, more just a brief overview about what had happened during the month.  Little things to make it all more interesting.  I also figured out how to take a screenshot from my phone and upload it into my page... just a little bit of evidence about my steps, water and active minutes for my journey towards health and fitness.

For my final page for January I did a 'snapshots' page.  Some of the photos had already appeared in the previous pages (like my shoes, the berries and the blanket box)... and some of them are photos that didn't really fit but which I like for one reason or another... like the cool handwash bottle I bought in Whangarei... or the fact our herbs are growing so well... or the HUGE tomatoes Dad grows so one slice fits an entire piece of toast!  I also included a quote and a piece from my Move More Eat Well class.

I like that I can tell a bit of story but I can also let the photos do the talking.  I love that it was 'time manageable' to put my pages together. I also like that I can easily move things around if I want to.

At this stage, the idea is to complete 4-6 pages per month and then do a 'snapshots' page with some of my favourite photos.  

I've downloaded the personalised photo book app from Vistaprint to my desktop and as I complete my pages I'm simply putting them in the order they will go in the book... that way at the end of the  year all I'll have to do is wait for a good deal (they come up all the time) and order my book.  

One thing I've discovered with the Vistaprint app is that you can have more than one book being created at a time so I'm currently working on Mikayla's overdue 21st album as well.  

Thanks for visiting and any feedback would be greatly appreciated xx

Monday, January 11, 2016

Creativity is alive and well!

Hi there :)

My friend Esther has come to stay for a few days and we're having some creative time in the art studio.  We'd both seen Tim Holtz blog post about the Technique Remix tags for 2016 and decided that we'd like to give them a go.  Here's Tim's remix tag for January:

I'll show you the back of the tag I made first since it shows the two techniques Tim put together for this tag - Industrious Metal and Chalkboard:

I've done the Industrious Metal technique before and loved it but I've never actually tried the chalkboard technique.  Here's how my tag came out:

I'm still not 100% sold on the chalkboard effect... I tried several different stamps but this was the one I liked the most.  I've actually got some blueprint stamps on order so when they arrive I'll give this technique another go.

Meanwhile I decided that I'd make a tag book for 2016 showing all the various tags, so I made a mini tag for January:

On the back of the tag I did a little journaling about the techniques:

Esther decided that she didn't like the chalkboard technique so she used white embossing powder for her stamped image and then added chalk over the top:

It's actually very eye catching and effective!  I might just have to give that a go myself.

By the time we'd finished our tags we wanted to use a bit of colour so we moved onto another project... I can't show you the finished tags yet but you can have a look at the backgrounds I made on these MINI tags!

I used lots of distress paint, distress ink and stamping... and my fingers got very inky!!

I'm looking forward to seeing what other techniques Tim is going to combine during 2016 :)

Friday, January 8, 2016

December Daily: Done and Dusted!

Well I've actually done it... the cover is made... the album is together and I'm really pleased with the outcome.  The album cover has been sitting on my table for quite a while now... not ALL of December but at least half!

As I made creative pieces for my album I kept thinking about the things that were my favourites... and as I went through my stash and containers looking for stuff, I put things aside... and then this morning, the last couple of pieces fell into place and it came together really quickly.

I actually started off making the background.  As I was sorting through things I came across a box of layouts and this one really jumped out at me:

I especially like the embossing and the 'adore' card so I used both of those things on my cover.

My scanner is too small to get the whole thing scanned in one go so I've gone for photographs instead... so here's the finished cover:

You might remember me making the quilt pieces using my new die... I decided to make a few more and this one was perfect for the cover.  I also made a full size Prima girl to match in with my Christmas cards.

The 'December' and '2015' were both cut on my Silhouette and then I did a shadow layer for them to sit on.  The 'Daily' words were some cork stickers that I had in my stash unopened... to be honest I have no idea how long I've had them for!  I fiddled around with my Silhouette and made a shadow layer for them as well so it all ties in together.

Of course I had to use up my last few cork stars and the silver stars (on the girls skirt and the bingo card) are left overs from another creative piece within the album.

The poinsettia flower stem is a Prima one.  According to the packet it was in, there were actually two in the packet... I think the other one may have been white and I vaguely remember using it for something, probably a layout, although I can't remember which one!

Since I was taking photos anyway I decided to get a few more shots of my album from different angles:

By the end of the month my album was getting quite fat!

Mike hasn't seen the finished album yet but I'm pretty sure he'll like it... after all he features in it quite a bit!

So there you have it... an actual finished album!  Thanks so much for following along with me xx

Thursday, January 7, 2016

December Daily: Dec 31

New Years Eve turned out to be a fairly quiet day around here... and in fact nobody stayed up to see the new year in!

Our mailbox has been getting inundated with packages and parcels for Krystal lately and December 31 was no exception.  That morning I grabbed up all the parcels and simply put them onto the dining table and then went off to do something.  When I came back it must have been the way the light was coming through the windows but the packages looked really great so I got out my camera and took a few photos.

Around mid-morning Michael, my sister and my niece headed into town to look at new computers.  My BIL and nephews hung out at home with me and the fur babies until lunchtime and then we headed into town to meet up with the others.

Brew is definitely one of my favourite restaurants and this time Mike and I decided to share a 'surf and turf' platter that was full of delicious treats. We'd certainly have it again!

Later on in the day the craziness began... the kids got really hyper and poor Toby and Nivea got caught up in the hysteria.  There was a lot of laughing... lots of goofiness and... one photograph of a very bare bottom!!  We'll be saving that for my nephews 21st!!!   At one stage Toby looked at me as if to say... 'what on earth is going on Mumma?' 

One thing Mike always says when I do baking is 'why can't you make the cookies bigger?'  So since I was doing lots of baking for our New Years Eve I decided that I would make him his own special cookie... and it was BIG!  In fact it was so big that it didn't even fit on a dinner plate!  Mike thought he was up for the challenge but it turned out that he had to eat it over two days... although Nivea was very keen to try and help Daddy out!

For my creative pieces I made use of my Silhouette again and cut some words.  I really do love my life with all it's imperfections and craziness... and life is good!

For the second pocket I wanted to have something about the new year and I found the perfect cutting file online.  The words came out perfectly and I added some more of the cork stars.

So that's the end of my December Daily.  Hopefully I'll actually get the cover finished tomorrow and then I can share it with you.  Thanks for stopping by xx

Monday, January 4, 2016

December Daily: Dec 30

On Wednesday we had more surprises in store because my sister and her family came for an impromptu holiday!  They've been here for a few days and apart from the fact that the Big Day Out we planned for Saturday got completely rained off, we've had a great time.  We've even managed to have some 'grown up' time because Krystal was able to babysit for us.  On Saturday night the grown ups went to Lone Star for dinner and last night we went to see Star Wars at the cinema.  So nice to just do some fun things together!

Getting back to Wednesday... it was Nivea's first morning with us and she was not too sure about things but she did like getting under the Christmas tree!  She seemed to be like Dougal... it was all about the lights!  Toby was very aware of where Nivea was and he kept a watchful eye on her to make sure she didn't wreck anything.

We'd had a real battle keeping her off our bed during the night so I took Toby with me down to Animates and we picked her out a bed just like his one.  He got his bed a few years ago and he loves it... in the summer it's nice and cool because it's up off the floor and in the winter the warm air from the fire keeps the chill away.  It turns out that Nivea loves her new bed and she slept on it all night the first night... then she decided that snuggling up with Mumma and Daddy was much better!  We're still working on it!

My sister and her family arrived late in the afternoon and the kids needed to blow off some steam after being cooped up in the car for several hours so they all went to the park behind my house.  Their Dad went with them while my sister and I stood on the deck and just watched... we should have cracked open the wine LOL

With all the goings on and the need for space with so many extras in the house we decided to take down our Christmas tree.  Nivea and Dougal weren't ready for it but the rest of us definitely were.  Dougal 'helped' by sitting in the container of lights and sparkly baubles!  He LOVES the glittery bits of Christmas! and he wasn't too  keen to see them disappear for another year.

Speaking of disappearing...  with all the extra people in the house Dougal decided to make his departure and head off on his travels.  I love that he comes to visit every December even if he isn't very good at keeping in touch during the year.  I'm sure Toby and Nivea will have lots to tell him when he returns!

For my creative pieces on this page I kept it really, really simple.   I cut a dog with a Santa hat on my Silhouette and then added the date for the top pocket and for the lower pocket I used my Silhouette to cut a boy standing on a tyre to represent the kids at the park.

Only one more day to go and my album will be finished!  I'm almost finished my cover too... so pleased that I did the December Daily this year!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

December Daily: Dec 29

On Tuesday morning I was playing a game on my computer... nothing too taxing... and then Dougal arrived!  My game was a 'match 3' style and Dougal kept telling me where some matches were which on first glance you might think was helpful... but when you've only got ONE MINUTE to clear the level you've got to be super concentrated!  He kept saying that HE could do it faster and HE could make more matches than me... and his butting in was costing me to loose the level which just added fuel to the fire.

More than anything, I think Dougal just liked all the sparkly lights and tokens especially when it went into 'score frenzy' and EVERYTHING sparkled and shone!  We did manage to compromise in the end... he was super quiet during my turn and then he was allowed to have a turn!

Mike got the fence all finished on Tuesday.  He's done a really great job and it looks completely professional.  Actually it's amazing how much nicer it looks driving up to the house without the fence blocking the patio anymore.

Krystal came over in the evening to meet someone (I'll tell you about that in a minute) and we had meringue nests for dessert.  The nests were left over from Christmas so we whipped up some cream, sliced some strawberries and added some passionfruit juice... sooo delicious!

Tuesday was special for our little family because Toby became a big brother!  We have adopted a new fur baby!  Miss Nivea (like the face cream) has come to join our family.  She's two years old and a pound puppy.  She had an unfortunate start to life and at some point she's had a litter of puppies but she's got a kind nature and she's very affectionate.

As you can image Mr Toby wasn't 100% happy about Nivea joining the family after being an 'only child', but it's actually been quite easy overall.  They've had a couple of spats... mostly over food... and they've worked out all their little issues without too many hassles at all!

So far our hardest job is keeping Nivea off the bed!  She loves to sneak up on the bed during the night and bury herself under the covers... and she's worked out very quickly that Daddy is a soft touch!  

For the creative pieces on this page I based them all around our fur babies.  The 'LOVE' with the footprint was cut on the Silhouette and then I added the die cut date.

For the second pocket I cut a cute little dog house on the Silhouette and then die cut the word 'joy' using my Tim Holtz holiday words.

Thanks for stopping by xx

Saturday, January 2, 2016

December Daily: Dec 28

Michael has ALWAYS got at least one project on the go!  If he's not actually doing a project then he's thinking about a project so why should December be any different??

On Monday I woke up to find Michael in the dining room ready to apply Danish Oil to our new dining table.  On Christmas Day I'd wiped it down with a damp cloth and it had 'bloomed'... turns out the previous owners had put some sort of wax on the table to make it look nice but now the wax was coming off every time we wiped the table.

Michael Googled all about it on his phone and found a tutorial that said to use a cloth and hot iron to 'pull' the wax from the table and it worked brilliantly.  Now that he's applied the Danish Oil the table looks and feels so much nicer.

Then he was onto his next project!  Krystal is moving back here soon and she wants to put a caravan at our place to live in.  Mike decided that he was going to make the most of our patio area so he decided to move the fence and gate from the driveway side of the house to around onto the deck side... that way Krystal's caravan can go onto our patio area.

Mike had removed one section of fence when Toby went outside for a look and the expression on his face was priceless!!!  He came running around the corner... saw the fence... stopped immediately... and then looked at me as if to say "I didn't do it... I think we've been burgled!" 

Meanwhile, Mike kept working on the fence for the rest of the day.  He had to try and figure out a way to re-install the gate around the corner which meant drilling a couple of holes into my concrete... which meant using a concrete drill piece... BUT... the drill itself couldn't quite handle it and the next thing you know there was smoke pouring out of it followed by a few flames!  This of course meant a trip to Bunnings to buy a new drill... Mike wasn't too upset by that prospect.

By the time it got dark Mike had installed the gate into it's new home and worked out how the fence was going to go as well.  Then he decided that he'd make Moroccan lamb burgers for dinner!

Mike's been watching too many cooking shows because he often talks about 'letting the flavours infuse'... or 'using different flavour profiles'... and it's all said for dramatic effect of course!  He has actually been really enjoying cooking lately and I hardly ever get to be in the kitchen myself!

I really like my creative pieces on this page... some days they just come together really well.  For the date pocket I cut my date using a Tim Holtz die and then I got busy on my Silhouette and cut a pot plant pot and plant.  I did a bit of inking... added a mini banner from my stash and a cork star finished it off.

Since Mike was working on the gate I decided to replicate that in my second pocket.  The packaging the cork stars came in had a 'wood grain' background on the card so I used that to cut a gate from with my Silhouette.  It needed something so I added the black beams to match in with our real fence a bit and then I went through my flower stash and found a few pieces that looked good.

So that's what we did on Monday... thanks for visiting xx