Showing posts with label Project Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Project Life. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Blog Planner (with Free Printables)


Organization makes me happy. I love having everything all tidied up and pretty. So I knew that if I wanted to make my blog plans for 2014 happen, the first thing I'd have to do is get myself organized.

I started using the Blog Planner a little bit last year, but it didn't quite work the way I wanted it to. I hopped back into Publisher and busted out a new Month-at-a-Glance Sheet and redesigned the way the binder will be used. Let me take you for a tour. Along the way, I'll give you a few freebie files so you can make your own blog planning binder.


The first page in the binder is my To Do List. (We'll come back to the stuff in the pocket later.) I'm using my To Do List to keep track of my progress on blog projects that have been planned, but not scheduled to a specific day. That way I make sure I don't forget about them. Right now, I have designing a new cleaning schedule for our family and reorganizing my meal planning process among the items on that list.


After the to do list is a spiral notebook. I love me a spiral notebook. To be honest, I just love office supplies. Binders, folders, spirals, pens, paper...oh my. My two favorite stores in the world (other than scrapbook supply and fabric stores)? Staples and The Container Store. 

I know I'll end up using this spiral for quite a few plans, but right now it's my planning organizer for the items I want to get done in the house, sorted by room. These are projects that I want to complete and use for blog items. For instance, my list for the scrapbook room includes purging supplies, reorganizing my paper scraps, and sorting my memorabilia. This way I make sure to attack each specific item and document them while I get things completed.


After the spiral comes my favorite part of the binder, my new Month-at-a-Glance Planner.
Month-at-a-Glance Planner
The Month-at-a-Glance has the names of all the planned posts so that I don't forget anything I have specifically in mind for a particular month. It will also help me remember what day I'm planning on having a particular post published. This way I can start getting ahead on blog posts instead of feeling like I have to sit down and write them the day I am planning on putting them up. Much better, because right now I still have a small handful of drafts that have been forgotten along the way.


When I finish a post, I can mark it as scheduled in the bottom check box for that day. On the day of publishing, the planner reminds me to post to all of my social media sites in order to get the most traffic directed to each post as possible.


The Blog Post Planner is the meat of the Blog Planner. Without it, the rest wouldn't work nearly as well.

Blog Post Planner
The Blog Post Planner is a more detailed and individualized version of the Month-at-a-Glance. This is where I can make notes to myself about what I want to specifically include in each post, as well as where I got each idea (in case I used a project I pinned to Pinterest as inspiration).

I used this part of the binder last year, but without the Month-at-a-Glance to keep things organized by the month, all of my posts were jumbled and it made it difficult to find each one easily. Now they're kept in order by date that they will be published. I'll show you how I'm adding in unplanned posts a little later...


A lot of posts have a project and those projects take individual planning. The next item in the binder - the Project Planner - keeps me on track.

Project Planner
I can use the Project Planner to keep track of all the supplies I need to buy and what pictures I should be taking as I make each item. I've had a tendency to get finished with a craft project just to realize that the only picture I have is the end. That makes creating a blog tutorial a LOT more difficult. This way, I can track the fabrication of each project by individualized steps and check them off as I go. Again, I have a spot to note the source of my inspiration. I think it's very important to note your sources. Original creativity is great, but a lot of times the best products come from ideas that grew out of projects made by others. It's only fair to give them a little credit along the way.


Remember that stuff in the front pocket of the binder? Along with scrap paper I add when I write down project ideas without the binder handy, I have a series of pre-printed labels stored up front. These are for my unscheduled posts. Most of the time, these unscheduled posts fall into some particular categories, so I've made up labels to be ready to go for them.

BOTY Labels
I never know when I'll finish a good book that warrants a review. This way, I just write the book and the author down on the label along with the date the post is planned and then stick it into the Blog Post Planner portion of the binder in between the posts that proceed and follow. It helps me remember to schedule the publishing as well as track my social media.

Same goes for posts about food...

Recipe Labels
And scrapbooking posts...
Project Life Labels
Speaking of scrapbooking posts, I use a planner for my Project Life as well. It's stored in the same binder and helps me track what we did on specific days and aids me in pre-planning my layouts.


Want to see more of this and get a free printable to use yourself? Head on over to my post about my Project Life Planner and get yourself a little more organized.

And there you have it! All nice and tidy and ready to roll. I have my Month-at-a-Glance planners all filled out and ready to tackle the monthly themes for 2014. Now it's time to dive in and start planning those individual posts. It should be a good year.

All of the planners I've shown you on this page (with the exception of the Project Life Planner - which is featured on another post) can be printed for free by clicking the links by each corresponding picture. Enjoy!

The planning and organizing for January continues in a few days. I'll be working over the next couple of weeks to reorganize my craft supplies after the mess that came from December's crafting. I'll be sharing my progress with you soon. Happy planning!

Monday, January 20, 2014

It's Time for a Plan...

I've had a couple of down days from crafting and it's been kind of nice to just regroup. But...it's time to get back to work and get this blog back on track. In order to help me do that, I've decided that I need to get a little more organized and come up with a 2014 plan for EPJ.  New year, new EPJ!

First up...it's time for a new logo!


I needed something simpler and brighter. It seems to have more pep.

And now for other changes.

Last year, I didn't post nearly as much as I really wanted to. I let all the other little things that happen in day to day life get overwhelming and then spent a lot of time spinning in circles. My biggest obstacle to getting things up on the blog was often my photos. Typically one of two things happened with craft photos. A lot of the time I had photos of projects taken, but I had so many different things on the camera waiting to be uploaded to the computer and edited that I never got any of them ready to go. Other times, I'd get so caught up in the projects themselves that I forgot to take pictures along the way. When it came to recipes, I'd often be cooking after the sun went down, resulting in no natural light and photos that looked less appealing than I wanted them to. So...new plan.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be editing all of the project photos I have stored and will start placing them into the blog as drafts. This will get them off of the camera and out of editing as well as help me figure out which projects need new photos and which crafts were made without photo documentation. For my food posts, I'll be focusing on making recipes for the blog on weekend days. This way I can start earlier in the day and take advantage of the light when it's available.

In 2014, I'll be pushing myself to get back into crafting...especially scrapbooking, which has fallen by the wayside over the last year. I'll be playing catch up so my scrapbook pages won't always be super current, but the memories will be getting put together - which is what counts.

I'm going to start out by aiming for 3 posts per week, including one Summary Sunday post each week (I've missed those). During the week, I'll be mixing it up a little. So what should you expect?



Books :  2014 Book of the Year is already underway! I have set a goal of 64 books for the year. I'll be posting reviews of books rating 4 or 5 stars and will occasionally give updates on where I am in the BOTY process. Darian will also be sharing occasional posts with reviews of his 4 and 5 star rated books. I'll be taking part in a couple of read-a-thons to keep myself working towards my BOTY reading goal.



Crafts : I have a bunch of projects to share from the past couple of years and I have some others in the planning stages that I'll be working on as the months go by. My Pinterest boards are bursting with things I want to try. I'll be sharing at least two finished crafts each month. I'll also be working on getting finished projects together to finally post things up on my Etsy shop. I've been stalling long enough. It's time to get some finished product out there.



Food : After a short hiatus, I'm getting back on the meal planning wagon. I'm going to be redesigning my meal planning process as well as sharing some great recipes, including both new and old favorites. I'm going to be working on our family cookbook throughout the year and hope to have some progress to show as the year continues.



Scrapbooking : I've kind of let scrapbooking fall by the wayside over the last year and I've decided that it's time for a revival of sorts. I'll be reorganizing my scrapbook room and then getting back to it, so I should have some finished pages to show for it. I'll be sharing both traditional scrapbook pages and completed pages for Project Life.


I've enjoyed doing some theme posting in the past, so I've decided to implement a focus for each month. Alongside the topics listed above, I'll be focusing on one item during each month and will have at least one post each week spotlighting that particular theme. Here's what's coming up...


January : Well...the month's not over yet! January has been a lot about regrouping for me and it's about new plans and resolutions for a lot of others, so the remainder of January will be focusing on organization. Among the things in store, I'll be getting my blog planner ready, updating my meal plan, reorganizing the scrapbook room, making plans for my family recipe book, and drawing up the plans for the redecoration of my sewing/craft room. Organizing and planning is bound to run over into February, but I'll get a big jump start before month's end.

February : February is the month of love. My parents will be celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary and Collin and I will be celebrating our first Valentine's Day as a married couple. I'll be sharing some of my favorite memories of my parents and my family, our engagement and wedding photos, our love story - including the story of our wedding day, and some of the DIY crafts I completed for our wedding.

March : March is all things spring. It will be time for spring break and spring cleaning. I'll be undertaking the sewing/craft room reorganization and tackle some other house projects to share. I'll also be doing some spring themed crafts to help balance out our holiday decor stash and keep it all from being just Halloween and Christmas.

April : April is the A-to-Z Challenge. It's "26 posts on 26 days of April, with Sundays off for good behavior". I'll still be posting Summary Sundays during the month, but the rest of the days will be posts themed by sequential letters of the alphabet. It could get a little crazy.

May : May is the first of two book months. Bout-of-Books 10 Read-a-Thon runs from May 12th to May 18th. I'll be doing some serious reading, posting some book reviews, undertaking reading challenges, and seeing if I can keep up with my 2014 BOTY goals. I'll do my best to get Darian involved since he seemed to have a good time with it last year.

June : June is my Pinterest challenge month. I'll be picking projects from my Pinterest boards and actually accomplishing them! Recipes made for the blog and books read for reviews will come from things I've pinned.

July : In July, it's time for vacation! We'll be talking all things travel. I'll be sharing some favorite family vacation memories and showing you how I organize my vacation memorabilia, as well as posting some complete vacation scrapbooking from over the years.

August : August is reading month number 2! The month will be filled with book reviews and updates on my 2014 BOTY goals. Bout-of-Books 11 Read-a-Thon runs from August 18th to August 24th. It's back to reading for a solid week with daily updates and challenges.

September : September is all about scrapbooking. It's time to hit the books...scrapbooks, that is. I'll be sharing how I organize my supplies and photos, what products I like best, where I like to shop for my scrap stash, and of course showing off some scrapbook pages (including Project Life). I'll be working a lot on mini-albums during the year and hope to have a couple to share.

October : If you've been around the blog long enough, you know that October is our favorite month of the year around here. I'll be posting our Halloween Pumpkin Project plans, sharing pumpkin carving progress and debuting the final results on Halloween night.

November : It's time for NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month. I'll be working on writing something every day and showcasing a few tidbits here and there on the blog. I'll also be starting the 2014 Christmas Present Project Countdown and checking off those presents as I finish.

December : I'll be crafting up a storm in preparation for Christmas, but there will still be blogging! It will be time for some year end wrap up posts, including how things went for my goals this year and how the bracket is looking for the 2014 Book of the Year. I'll be sharing some ideas for the following year as well as keeping up with the Christmas Present Project Countdown.


Well...that should be enough to keep me busy! I may be adding a few challenges to the schedule here and there to keep things interesting, but it's good to have some goals set out. I'm looking to a fun and productive 2014 here at Erratic Project Junkie. I hope you'll join me!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Success! Planning for 2013...

Did everyone enjoy their holiday? I did. Well...until yesterday when I caught a ridiculous cold and spent the entire day in bed. I'm a little better off today, but still not 100%. But...it's still been super to have some relaxation time here and there.

I completed all of the 2012 Christmas Present Project Countdown with time to spare!


I completed the last of the 54 Christmas projects on the night of December 23rd. A full day earlier than last year! Hopefully I just keep getting more and more efficient at this. One step at a time...

I am still reading steadily in order to try and complete my reading goal for the year. I have a feeling I will probably come up a little bit short. But...no worries. I have a contingency plan. If I don't finish all of the 64 books I had planned, then the books with 5 stars will automatically win their initial bracket and the remaining books will be shifted accordingly. That probably doesn't make much sense without actually seeing the bracket, but trust me...it will work. I should also probably take this opportunity to explain that all of the books are actually read. I don't do the audio book thing. To me, that just feels like cheating.

I plan on continuing the book reviews through the end of January and then hopefully will be revealing my favorite book of 2012 by the beginning of February. There are some pretty good contenders. And once again, I have learned a few things that will lead to a revamping of the system for 2013.

Following that endeavor, it's back to the projects. I have quite a bit to share and I'm excited to show off some of the things I've made.

The plan for 2013? Ready?

Here are some of the things I'll be posting (in no particular order):

1. Kiddie Kitchenette
2. Sock Monkeys
3. 52 Things I Love About You
4. Patchwork Name Quilts
5. Alphabet Soup Quilt
6. Homemade Vanilla Extract
7. Homemade Sugar Scrub
8. Jean Aprons
9. Monogrammed Plates & Mugs
10. T-Shirt Quilt
11. "Sparkle" Quilt
12. Gameday Dresses
13. Little Girl Tutus
14. Pony Hoodies
15. Pajama Pants
16. Rice Warmers
17. Rag Rug
18. Beer Bottle Glasses

...and there are some things I'll be working on...

1. Project Life (I've kind of slacked off this year)
2. 2013 Book of the Year (changes to come)
3. 2013 Pumpkin Patch Planner
4. 2013 Christmas Project Countdown

I'm sure there will be things added as the year goes on. In fact, after the blogging extravaganza in October and all of the resulting Halloween decorations, I have decided that other holidays deserve just as much attention. So, I'll be planning some ways to complete projects to increase my holiday decor throughout the year. I have to get some good ideas on how to keep things fun - for readers as well as for my own sanity.

I'll be undertaking some photography challenges in order to increase the number of photos I take throughout the year as well as improve my photography skills. I'll be devising a way to feature these challenges soon.

And...finally...I can't leave out food. I'll be undertaking another round of meal planning in the spring. We are currently winding down on the meal planning/shopping that I completed last fall, but it's going to be a bit before I can fire back up. Unfortunately, our garage side-by-side fridge/freezer decided to bite the big one on Christmas Eve, so I have to wait until we either have it repaired or replaced before I can go do another big shopping run.

And there you have it. There will be organization, there will be planning, there will be posts, and...finally...there will be projects!!! Happy holidays everyone!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Project Life Week 3: This Year Needs to Stop Going By So Fast

I have been in a serious funk lately. Scrapbooking has totally not been my thing. I've been avoiding Project Life for weeks. The only thing I have done is I've kept up on my Project Life Planner. Thank goodness.

So we're going to take a little trip down (recent) memory lane. Yup. That's right. Moving right along, here comes week 3 of Project Life 2012. I am seriously rolling my eyes at this right now. Just pathetic. January? Really? Embarrassing.

Anyway...


It was a dry, dry winter around here. The temperatures were really warm and we weren't getting any snow. In fact, our first snow of the season fell in the 3rd week of January. It was strange.


And...of course it snowed while Collin was out of town at the mine, leaving me with the little 2WD Ranger. I had to move the heavy sandbags into the back of the truck to try and get some weight for traction. It doesn't do so hot on icy roads.

On the upside, I got some pictures of the snow before it quickly melted the next day. And that was it...our brief glimpse of winter. Not much snow after that.


We celebrated Miss K's second birthday and I took the pictures at the party so that Patti could actually enjoy herself. Collin was his usual goofy self, wearing the Minnie ears like a good sport.It was really fun. K is so cute with her little friends.  It's been really fun watching her grow up. She's getting to be such a big girl. She calls me Auntie now...asking Patti if it's me on the phone when I send her a text. So cute. I love it.

My fancy recumbent bike showed up and Collin put it together for me. The rheumatologist told me to get one and suggested that I bike at least 10 minutes (preferably 15-20) per day five days a week. She says that it will get the neurotransmitters flowing and may help me get more energy and feel less pain. I honestly thought it was bunk...but guess what? It really does work. I can tell that I do better when I bike. Less fatigue, less pain. It's kind of nice.

I've taken to going downstairs with my iPhone or latest book and reading or playing games for 10-15 minutes while I bike (I do occasionally do 20 minutes). I need to be better about it though...I typically only get it accomplished around three times a week. It's a work in progress. Maybe it can help me get out of this funk. I need to be productive again. All of these partially finished projects floating around are driving me crazy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Summary Su...Monday: Let's Pretend This Never Happened Edition

Okay...ya...I know it's Monday. Yesterday was crazy. We headed out at 7am to host an EMT National Registry test at Collin's office and by the time we got back home last night I was too pooped to write. I did, however have the privilege of being strapped down to a backboard about...oh...eight to ten times...so that was fun. (Insert sarcasm here.)

This was pretty much the highlight of the week :



Yup...that's right. It showed up on my doorstep last week and I have been loving on it ever since. It also helps add to the excitement that this showed up a few days before :


So now I have Jenny's autograph glued to the inside of the book. Yay!

I'm currently reading it and both Patti and Erin have asked to borrow it. I'm finding that I'm awfully protective of my new little treasure. There will be restrictions and I've told both of them that they must treat it like a newborn baby. This seriously might currently be my most prized possession. (I'm a little obsessed. How obsessed, you ask? I considered telling them that they would have to come over and read it here in my library just so it wouldn't leave the premises. Ya...I know...)

What else happened this week? Well...let's review...

Posts I Posted : It was another book week, with reviews of funny lady Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and other concerns) as well as the super cute and tear-inducing young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Amazingly enough, I actually posted a project as well. Not even just a project...a tutorial (sort of). I showed you how I made Abigail's teddy bear from my couch cushions and Collin's pants.

Books I Read : I finished up Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close and Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. Reviews will be coming shortly. I'm currently reading Let's Pretend this Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson. Let me tell you...awesome. I love her. We should be neighbors. She'd be way more fun than crazy neighbor. Especially since he returned from his secret disappearance (which we assume was rehab) and has been far too quiet and boring.

Recipes I Tried : I made Tuscan Chicken with Tomato Basil Cream. I was really excited to try this one because it sounded so simple. Ya...it was simple...and tasted pretty simple too. I can make something just as easy that tastes better. It's off the list. Bummer. What a let down.

Projects I Finished : We are SO not even going to talk about Project Life. I finished two weeks' worth of journaling. I'm still a boat load behind. Enough said.

I did get a bit of a present this week though. You know the Big Secret Project? Well...it involves some woodworking and remodeling of a furniture item. I managed to see another similar item last week...sitting out on someone's curb for the garbage man. I mentioned it to Collin and he picked it up for me (after asking the people if it was okay, of course). So I now have another similar furniture item that I will be remodeling as well. That should take care of one little girl's birthday present and another one's Christmas gift. Yay! Oh...and thus far, I'm into both gifts a total of $15. I'm just that awesome. And that's all the info you get for now. (I'm doing SO well at keeping this a - kind of - secret.)

Alright, well...I'm done with being indoors for now. I'm going to go see if I can figure out how to get some sun tea brewing on my patio while I continue to read Jenny's book and veg out in the lovely weather. (It's freaking 90 degrees here people! I have to enjoy it before it goes back to 60 on Thursday.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Summary Sunday: Sawdust Edition

I need more weekend days. I love them. Don't you? I can lay around for a few hours and still feel like I get a ton of stuff done in a day. It's fantastic.

So this week had some pretty decent ups and downs. Collin's birthday was Thursday and we had a nice sushi dinner and beer with friends on Friday night. But the best thing of the week? You're going to be so jealous... Look what showed up in the mail!!


I am really, really excited. You'd think I was going to Disneyland. Not only do I have this autographed bookplate, my copy of Jenny Lawson's (AKA The Bloggess) book should be arriving next week. I can't WAIT!

Unfortunately...the entire week wasn't all sunshine and unicorns. Darian is still being an issue. His teacher sends the students home every day with an "agenda" that tells what they did during the day and what work needs to be done. Since we'd been having issues with him selectively writing things down, he has been having his agenda checked and signed by the teacher daily. 

I had noticed some erasing earlier this week and questioned him on it...to which he replied, "Oh, I just wrote it down wrong." I let it pass (because I am obviously a gullible idiot). Friday however, I noticed more of this erasing. I was already suspicious since he had miraculously only had one homework assignment all week. I chalked some of it up to his ISAT testing on Monday and an outdoors all-day project "Wagons Ho!" on Wednesday. This time though...I could see "Assignment 83" through the erasing in the math section. Funny...he did Assignment 81 earlier in the week... 

Yup, you guessed it. He was writing everything down as instructed, getting the signature of his teacher and then erasing what needed to be done. The only reason he did his earlier math assignment is because she had drawn an arrow with "make sure this is finished" next to the line. He was smart enough to know he couldn't fudge that one. Even better...I opened his math notebook to find that he had completed nearly half the assignment and then erased it. Seriously?!!? When I asked him how many problems he would've had left if he used that erasing time to do the assignment instead his answer was, "One or Two." Ugh. *facepalm*

So...I took him back over to the school on Friday and had the office staff open the classroom so that we could retrieve the work he "didn't feel like doing". Nice try, kiddo.

I'm going in to talk to his teacher in the morning. From now on he will be writing his agenda in pen. Oh...and what has he been doing in school instead of his work? Reading, of course. I'm glad that he enjoys reading, but this is getting ridiculous. I found three library books in his desk and one in his backpack. So...I will also be visiting the librarian to strip him of his library privileges. Reading for coursework. That's it. 

Adventures in parenting are so fun...

Okay...let's get back to the happy stuff...I'd like to keep some hair attached to my head rather than pulling it all out.

Posts I Posted: Apparently Darian isn't the only one who likes reading. I managed to put out a slew of book review posts this week. I talked about my two newest Goodreads wins: A Gift for My Sister and Elza's Kitchen. I also hijacked one of Patti's Goodreads wins and reviewed the YA novel, Eight Keys. And...lest you think reading is all I do as well...I was oh so kind as to give you Week 2 of Project Life.

Books I Read: With all those reviews you'd think I'd be caught up. Nope. I am currently one book behind my goal on Goodreads and I have two books that I've finished that I still need to review. Those finished books? Both excellent reads : Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Projects I Finished: Because I am SOOO behind on Project Life, I finally sat down and completed two weeks' worth of journaling. Yup...that's right...two. So now I'm only six weeks behind. Oy. I see a lot of journaling in my future. 

Since I've been avoiding journaling for about the last 36 hours, I've been spending time working on the Big Secret Project of the year. I have to call it that because I'm totally going to blow it here in the next couple of weeks and show you what I'm making. I'm a braggart like that. But I have managed to dismantle some pieces that needed removal and I'm nearly done with sanding. That's right, sanding. I'm using some serious power tools for this project. (I'm a little scared...) I am covered in a fine layer of dust and learned that sometimes safety rules are helpful...like say wearing glasses and a mask while sanding. Sawdust under contacts and in the lungs is not so fun...

Recipes I Tried: I made Easter dinner last weekend and I was totally not wanting to go buy a ham. Instead, I busted out some pork tenderloin from the freezer and made my very own "Crack Bacon" tenderloin. It was quite yummy. A little infusing of the brown sugar/honey/pepper mixture and I think we'll have a very strong winner.

Phew! Not bad for bouncing back from inactivity! I think the rest of this afternoon might be spent reading and otherwise avoiding journaling...I'm getting so good at it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Project Life Week 2 - Because I'm Always a Few Steps Behind

Because I'm just that awesome, you're getting a nice pile of posts this week. (Really I'm just trying to make up for the fact that I totally crapped out for the last two weeks.)

So...I think I'm going to post some Project Life. Hey...it's April...maybe we should get on with it and post week two. Ugh. I'm seriously lame at keeping up with posting this stuff. Humor me.


I just can't tell you how much I love this system. It makes it really easy to just slide things in and move on. Realistically, I could probably get away with doing a lot less journaling than I do, but as usual...I really like to make sure that someone from the outside would be able to understand why I have chosen the pictures I use and what they mean. So...the downside is that I do a lot of journaling...which you know I hate. Hence the reason I am now currently two months behind on my journaling...ouch. I need to step on it. I guess I know what I'm doing when I finish this post.


Collin began working as an on-scene medic up at a mine about five hours from home last November. He was pulling one seven day shift a month. This was a big change for our family - we're used to being able to see each other every day. Even when Collin is on a 24 hour ambulance shift we usually meet up for a meal or to say hi. At very least we have a phone call. But...the mine is different. There is no cell reception up there and the crazy snow storms make their internet connection very iffy. We typically manage a 10 minute conversation per day at most. At this point in the year we were using Skype, but with our new(ish) iPhones we're now able to use FaceTime as well.

If you've been reading my posts for the past few months then you know I've been dealing with pain of an unknown origin. During the second week in January, I managed to grab an open slot at the rheumatologist's office by luck. I was originally scheduled for the middle of March, but I was having an intense amount of pain and called to see if there was anything earlier. I got in three days later. Crazy enough, I got diagnosed one week after my original appointment date. If I had waited until that date it would've been summer by the time I had any answers. I'm very grateful that I was able to speed up the process.


Oh, how I miss the good old days. Darian came home with his first B on a report card in January. We were hoping that it would help him realize the implications of being lazy and not doing his homework...of course, that hope was dashed this last quarter. Instead, he came home with a B and two C's. Ugh. Patience is a virtue...right?

Darian was also sick this week...an oddity for the kid who had perfect attendance last year. Lucky me...I ended up catching it from him the next week...

And Saturday was my reward for the long week without Collin. Darian was with his mom so I spent some time with Owen & Patti. We went out to take pictures for K's 2nd birthday. She is always so darned cute. She has a cheese face that is hilarious. Afterwards, Patti treated me to a pedicure. It was awesome. And look how pretty my icky toes turned out. Patti gave me crap for picking a "safe" color. Apparently I need to be more adventurous.

And there you have it. Week two. Yay! I am so embarrassed that I am still working on February. Back to work I go...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Project Life Week 1: A Book, a Nook, and a Bit of Standard Me

The Project Life experiment continues successfully. I'm hitting it hard with some serious journaling tomorrow. 

Journaling is often the bane of my existence. When I first started scrapbooking, I didn't journal much at all. I thought it would be simple just to remember all of the memories...I didn't need to write them down. Then I came to a couple of realizations...

#1 - It's hard to share my memories with others if they aren't there for them to understand. A picture of someone in the middle of a cornfield won't make a bit of sense without the explanation of why it is important to me. 

#2 - Alright, let's face it, I'm getting older. And I'll be perfectly honest, my memory isn't always stellar. 

I realized that the pictures and the journaling have to be partners. Yes, there are pages that don't necessarily need it - they're just pretty or funny - but the majority of times the memories need to be documented. My LIFE needs to be documented. So...I started writing it down as much as I could. Sometimes it's goofy and sometimes it's not the smoothest, but it's there. 

Maybe one of these days it'll come easy, but for now it's just one of those things I struggle with. All of the thoughts are there, I'm just too lazy to put them on paper. Sometimes it can just be difficult to sift through it all and find the things that are important.

So the journaling has been the biggest challenge of Project Life for me. But I'm persevering. I love this system so much that I'm working hard to keep up with it. Documenting life has become even more important, but vastly easier and a heck of a lot more streamlined.

I mentioned last time that I'm doing a two-page spread for each week of the year. I'm going to share them with you one week at a time. So...here it is...Week 1 (January 1st - January 7th).


I'm kind of learning this system as I go and making changes as I go along. I'm liking the pattern that I've settled into. Each spread has a card with the date and each page at the start of a new month has a section for the name of the month. I know that sounds super awkward, but I can't think of an easier way to say it - just look at the page. You'll know what I'm talking about.


I'm using a hodgepodge of materials to fill my journaling spaces. I'm using the journaling cards provided in the kit, but I'm also using printables I've found from other Project Life users and bits of my own creativity. Yup...occasionally I have those.

The first week of January was the beginning of new resolutions and new journeys. I finished up my bracket for my favorite book of 2011 and decided that it was a project that I really enjoyed in 2011. The excitement increased when I received a Nook as a Mother's Day present from Carole. I'm addicted. I love it. I was reading so much that I upped the ante and decided that the goal for 2012 is 64 books.

Darian decided to join me and made his own goal of 32 books for the year. I'm really impressed with his desire to read so much.

I also managed to pull a standard dumb moment. What would 2012 be without me being an airhead? I went to the post office to mail a package on my lunch break and managed to lose my phone. Twenty panicked minutes late, I located it at the post office. I had dropped it in the parking lot. Crisis averted.


The first week of January was also the start of my journey to get my pain diagnosed. I'd been having random joint and muscle pain since the summer of 2011. During the first week of January, I finally got in to see the rheumatologist. I was in a lot of pain that day and decided to switch vehicles with Collin so that I didn't have to drive the stickshift. I made it home just in time to have Collin call me to say that he didn't have a key to the Ranger. He stubbornly refuses to put the extra key on his key ring. I wound up driving back to his office to give him the key and then made the return trip home. Ridiculous.

So Week 1 ended up being half new starts and half stupid mistakes. All right...quite possibly par for our family.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Project Life 2012: In the Beginning...

I've been promising and promising that I would share my Project Life pages. I am finally coming clean on that promise. It only took me two months. I'm breaking it up into pieces since the posts will otherwise be crazy long, but we're getting started today. I mean it!

I will tell you though, it was not without some serious stressing on my part. The first problem came with the fact that I forgot to request the pocket page protectors when I made my Christmas list. When I went out to get myself some (on the day after Christmas, mind you) they were sold out! The nerve. I had to wait and wait and finally got them two weeks ago. In the meantime, I've been using the pocket protectors from We R Memory Keepers. A very good substitute and they have added more variety to my scrapbook - something I always like. The second issue was the photography. I couldn't get them to properly scan due to the height of the pages. I love my scanner, but apparently that extra 1/2" is just too much for it. So...I tried regular photography. Fail. Flash blobs everywhere and I couldn't go without flash because (as we all know) I tend to procrastinate and do my blogging late at night. Attempt #3...the light box. This may end up working find for regular pages, but again, the pocket protectors posed problems and...well...I just got pissed and gave up.

This week I decided it was time to suck it up and just go with it. So...I found the best light I could in my apparently dark and shadowy house and took photos of the pages...in...their...binder. The horror. I'll admit, not my proudest moment, but too stinking bad. This is what we're going with. You can no longer call me a liar...at least with this project. We won't talk about the Christmas projects I still haven't made tutorials for. (Pretend you didn't read that last sentence.)

My stash...the turquoise kit with binder and POCKET PAGE PROTECTORS.
For those of you not familiar, Project Life is an ingenious product created by the wonderful Becky Higgins. Everything you need comes in her little kit (if you remember to buy the pocket pages. BUY THE POCKET PAGES!). You just add photos and journal. It all gets compartmentalized into cute little pockets. Easy. I'm finding that I really like it. I will still continue to do my regular scrapbooking, but this works fantastically for creating our family album for the year. I'm planning to continue to do one for each year.

Initially I was afraid that I wouldn't have enough photos...I'm doing a 2 page spread for each week and I was worried that most of my pockets would remain empty. I'm finding that this isn't the case. For the most part they fill up quickly and I end up with extra photos.

This is where I confess...I might be a little OCD. Just a tad. I decided that I couldn't do this without some sort of organizational system. I needed something to keep track of what happened when because I am a serious procrastinator when it comes to journaling. Like a lot. So I jumped onto Publisher and made myself a Project Life Planner. And since I'm so nice...I'm going to share it with you...

Here it is:


I'm a little nuts. I admit it. Ok...so this is how it works.


The left side page has diagrams of all of the page protectors. Once I know which pages I'll be using, I indicate them on the page. I write into each piece as I know what I want there. Sometimes this takes a little rearranging...like when I have a horizontal 4x6" space, but a vertical 4x6" picture. But it definitely helps.


The right hand page is - for all intents and purposes - my daily journal. I track the day/date and what each one of us did, the highlights of the day or recipes that we tried. In the far right column I keep track of the pictures I have taken or want to take and the items I want to add to that week's pages.

This all helps take off the stress of putting the book together. If I don't have time to work on it one week, then I just jot down the daily activities and I'm good to go for later. I like it much better that way.

If you want to use these pages for yourself, feel free...here are the links...but if you mention them on your own blog, please give me credit and/or link back to this post.

Project Life Layout Plan

Project Life Planner

Finally...I'm going to go ahead and show you my title pages for 2012. Hey...it's a start. And...as always...clicking on the photos will blow them up larger for you.


The title line took me forever to decide how to do. When I first started, I had cut out the title in brown cardstock using my Pazzle. It just ended up looking too drab. So...I traced around it thinking that would make it pop more. Meh. It was okay. I ended up pulling the cardstock off completely and coloring in the outline using my white Uniball Signo. (I love that pen.)

The opening photo is our annual photo from The Farmstead, a local pumpkin patch. This one was taken in October of 2011.

 

I have always been a huge fan of rub-ons. I loved being able to capitalize on the presence of this circle. The quote seems fitting enough.


I am also a big fan of Ali Edwards. Ali supports a campaign she created called One Little Word. She challenges scrappers to base their family scrapbooking for the year around one word. Mine seems simple enough. To me, the biggest importance of our family is being together. So that was it...together is my word for 2012.


Some scrappers move right into the week by week pages after their title. With my One Little Word approach, I decided that I needed to explain the theme a little before I moved into weekly photos. So I added this extra spread.


The left side page spewed out of me. I just sat down and started typing. This was actually before I had officially chosen my 2012 word, but it became pretty obvious as I wrote that together was going to have to be the word I used. (For those of you wondering, the font I'm primarily using for the year is another Ali creation, it's CK_Alis_Hand_Official. I love it!)


For the right had page I further set up our family togetherness by using photos of us from 2009 and 2010. While looking for these photos I also realized that I need to start making sure we get more photos of the three of us together through the year. We have very few.

And that's it...the setup. Now hopefully I can stay on the ball and regularly post the weekly layouts. Because I'm a total sloth at journaling, I'm going to aim for one 2-page layout every other week. That should give me a sufficient buffer to get my crap together. If I'm doing better than that, well...then I guess you'll get lucky!


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