Thursday, November 21, 2013

Becky Higgins on Creative Live - the development of the Project Life memory keeping system

So it's 4:30am here in Melbourne, and I'm up watching Becky Higgins live on Creative Live! Yes, I will pay for this tomorrow... but here I am, watching it on my iPhone (low resolution - I had trouble with it on the PC, I guess my internet connection wasn't fast enough). This is going to be three full days of live online classes with Becky Higgins, on memory keeping with her system, Project Life. And it's FREE to watch live!

Her Introduction has been about Memory Keeping, going back to the beginning of photography. Becky shared an old family album, with photos of relatives, a very precious family keepsake.

Then she shared three of her early scrapbooks.

Oh my, how I love Becky's teenage scrapbook! I did the same thing! But with a lot more writing. I covered notebooks, made my own books, altered old books. All before I had heard of the term "Scrapbooking". I knew about scrapbooks; my Mum showed me her scrapbook from her teenage years, the same sort of thing in an exercise book. But it wasn't called ScrapbookING, it didn't have special products, I never saw those until I was quite a bit older, and honestly I thought it was pretty dumb, because I knew you didn't need to buy special papers to make a scrapbook. Haha!!

She spoke about the advent of the "Scrapbooking Industry" in the 1990s, and then the downsides of this hobby - it can be time consuming and expensive. Knowing where to start can be hard if you don't feel creative. It can be overwhelming.

Now Becky is talking about the upsides: organising our photos. Scrapbooking can be a social experience. A creative outlet - it's FUN! It's meaningful, its personal. And she is now talking through her personal journey from her high school scrapbooks, into college, and her career, beginning with asking at local stores if she could run classes! She joined Creating Keepsakes magazine, writing and teaching Creative Lettering, and then layout Sketches. She published nine books on Sketches between 1999 and 2007.

Then Becky moved on to talking about the time-consuming aspect of the hobby while having children. She has three children three years apart. After already scrapbooking for many years, spending a lot of time and creative energy on her hobby, "reality set in!" when she became a mother. At a time when she had a full and busy life, and wanted to "keep up", with her scrapbooks, particularly for her children, Becky needed a quick and simple solution to memory keeping. 

So in an attempt to solve her own problem, she experimented with a concept she'd seen photographers do - "Project 365". She decided to capture a picture a day to represent her year. While doing this she got pregnant and it hit her hard. She was very sick, and didn't manage to finish her memory keeping project, but the two months she worked on Project 365 were so fulfilling that she knew she was onto something. From here, she developed the idea from Project 365 into a more complete solution that would present the photos better than in a regular photo album, and allow room for journalling. Becky launched the product "Project 365" through Creating Keepsakes. This was the precursor to Project Life - no embellishments, just photos and journal cards slipped into pockets. It was so popular, it sold out within hours!

Next Becky further developed the concept, so it was no longer about a daily photo, it was much more flexible so people could capture and record whatever was meaningful to them. Project Life was born! So in 2009, Becky resigned from the magazine and began a company with her husband to launch her memory keeping system. More than a photo album, the journal cards allow you to capture the important details, and also add a creative touch.  It looks like a scrapbook, but there are no added embellishments. It's beautiful, but simple. "Back to the basics of Photos and Stories." Yay!

The benefits of Project Life are greater than just getting your photos printed and in an album. "By doing something with your pictures, you will become more aware of how you are blessed." And also more aware of what you need to do and do more of. It can help you to be thankful, to recognise the blessings in your life.

"We'll do it, if it's manageable" - by making whatever we need to do in our lives simple and manageable, we'll be much more likely to do it! There is a little audience interaction at the end of the session. The host says he regrets not finishing his son's album, and Becky says, yes, there is often a feeling of regret, or guilt, a wistful "I wish" I had finished this or done that. But over the next three days Becky is going to cover this. She says she's going to break it down and make it achieveable. Sounds fantastic!

The next section is "Getting Started". It's 5:25am and the first 90 minute session has just finished. I'm going to add some pictures, proofread and then I'm off to bed! Oh, and I will definitely be watching more of this, as I find Becky to be very inspiring. Apparently Creative Live run replays of the day's show throughout the day, so I may be able to watch the rest at a more civilised hour ;D

Friday, November 8, 2013

Edward & Grandma (August 2011)

I'm sharing this layout for the Life.Paper.Scrapbook October Colour Challenge. Check it out here to see the gorgeous inspiration image - a sweet old typewriter and classic garden rose the colour of buttery lemon icing. So pretty... mmm, now I'm hungry ;)

I often find myself working in brown and turquoise, or yellow and turquoise, so it's great to bring the three colours together - perfect for a boy layout, and just right to complement these pictures of my Mum and son taken on the piece of furniture known as 'The Yellow Couch'. My little one was just five weeks old - how time flies!

2Ps-Jennifer Pebbles-Winter Deer; 2Ps-Scrap Originals-Ocean Breeze-String Frames; Aprilmouse & Hanulienka-Spring Vol 2-Postcard Frame; Emily Powers-Blossom; Gunhild Storeide-Paper date wheel, Retro style tape, & Tab; Lettering Delights-Hero 12x12 QP; Little Dreamer-Michelle Coleman-Frosted & Wild Sorbet; Pixel Scrapper-Marisa Lerin-Hinge tag; Raspberry Road-Susan Darter-Travelogue; Shabby Princess-Promise; Thaliris-A Precious Moment Sampler; CVW_SupplyTracker.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

You are my Sunshine (November 2012)

I'm sharing this for the Life Paper Scrapbook October Project Life Challenge! The theme this month is "Square or Instagram Photos", so here is an example of how I've included these in my Project Life album.

On the left I've used a WRMK page protector with three 4x4 inch pockets across the middle, holding Instagrams. They are all printed by Persnickety Prints. The first two are their special 4x4 Instagram prints and the third is a regular 4x6 photographic print which I've trimmed down. The first Instagram print is on Matte Card Stock with 1/8 inch white border (if anyone wants to order one!) I tested quite a few of their different print styles to see which I liked best. These card stock prints are not that great for photos. In my opinion, the card stock is better suited to graphics, and works well for journal cards. The middle Instagram print is metallic photographic paper and is absolutely gorgeous! I'll have to try to get a good photo of it. It's a bit pricey, at 85 cents (US$), but just so beautiful. Next time, instead of printing at the 4x4 Instagram size, I'll print them 4x6 inch and just trim them down. 4x6 metallic is 39c.

On the right side I've used Becky Higgins' Design A. I often used Adobe InDesign to lay out two 3x4 inch designs on a 4x6, and print these with the rest of my photos at Persnickety Prints. I usually cut them in half to put in the 3x4 pockets, but for this spread I've left two of them uncut, to fit in 4x6 pockets.

I'm rather behind, so this is from November 2012, which I just finished last month ;D I don't think there's much hope of ever fully "catching up", but I'm happy with what I've done as there are photos in my album and memories recorded. That's what matters, right? (This isn't actually the first spread, I will have to post that later.)

For the month of November, my first month of Project Life, I had the theme "30 days of Thankfulness". As an Australian, I've celebrated Thanksgiving only once, when I visited the USA. I really enjoyed it, and think it's a great holiday, and a wonderful practice to think about what we can thank God for. So when I saw the idea of 30 days of thankfulness on another scrapbooker's blog, I wanted to have a go myself.

Each day I recorded something I was thankful for, using the Memento app. Then I included those notes in my Project Life. Some are very brief notes and I've handwritten them on journal cards, or typed them on my photos before printing. Other notes are longer; some I've written on the back of the cards, and some I didn't have room for, so I've made a little concertina book to contain the notes that didn't fit anywhere else (bottom right pocket in the photo above).

I found it challenging some days to come up with something to be thankful for, but it was a great discipline to TRY, and I really enjoyed it. It seemed to help me to be happier and more positive, because I was making the effort to be thankful. I will definitely be doing "30 days of Thankfulness" again this year! I have seen people work on "One Little Week" or "Week in the Life" projects and also "December Daily". While I love looking at what others do with these, as a personal project they didn't really click with me. My daily life is already recorded in my photos, and December is the busiest month so it's too stressful to think of adding another project. November is a good month for me to look back on the year, and pause each day to spend some dedicated time thanking God for His blessings in our lives.

P.S. I didn't manage to take the best photos; I had to stop after a few shots, because THIS started to happen...!

Products used: Simple Stories Harvest Lane, and Summer Fresh 12x12 papers. Becky Higgins Project Life Wellington Childhood Mini Kit and Design A page protector. WRMK #50064-3 page protector. Typo bird ribbon. Tear out notes from Kikki K 2012 Sweet A6 weekly diary. Digital papers and embellishments from Lori Whitlock (clouds paper), Gennifer Bursett (doily paper), L Riches (Lil Angel-red swirls & hearts papers), E Giovanni (Christina Renee-red paper top left), Gunhild Storeide (Friday Freebie-file tab), Raspberry Road (Botanical Bliss-stamps frame) and Dydyge (DigiCrea-Rainy Day Kit-umbrella).
Photos: iPod Touch 4, Canon Digital IXUS 85 IS. 
Apps/Software: Pic Frame, Rhonna Designs, Bubble Frame, Snapseed. Adobe Photoshop & InDesign.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Project Life Approach

Everyone approaches Project Life differently. A lot of people do it in weekly spreads. I like my monthly approach. I don't worry about keeping the photos and journalling consecutive, so long as it's in the correct month. I also use as many spreads and inserts as I need, so not restricted to a set number. I include a calendar each month, but it can be anywhere within the month, and any size. I have a few packs of dividers which I might put in at some stage to make it clearer where the months start. Some months are one spread, others are five! It just depends how many photos I have that I want to include.

When I first saw Project Life, I thought it was a strictly weekly project as that's what everyone was sharing online. Then I looked at Becky Higgins' website and realised it's completely flexible! She's designed it to be used however you want, and she wants it to be fun and freeing, not a guilt-inducing chore. I also liked how her examples are really simple! Not the highly embellished "scrapbook" style layouts that I was seeing in galleries. Going by Becky's philosophy, I realised it was something I wanted to do.

I've used the Collect App a little too after seeing Persnickety Prints' Chari post about it on Instagram. I saw Annette Haring's and also Kristen Tweedale's Project Life pages using the Collect app and it certainly is a quick way to include small photos. I still use 4x6 pics too, and the Becky Higgins kits, as well as bits and pieces of patterned paper and whatever I find. Amanda Obanion has a great video showing her Project Life process using the Collect app, over on her blog. She'll be adding a second video soon too.

Here are some of my Collect pics for my June spread. I've combined them into 4x6 inch pics to print.


These pictures were all taken and edited on my iPhone 5, using various apps, including Bubble Frame, Rhonna Designs, Pic Frame, Snapseed and Filtermania 2.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Little Ted's Big Adventure

This is a page I created to document Edward's first plane trip, for my Project Life album. I took a lot of photos that day, so I decided to tackle it digitally. I originally made this for a Design House Digital 4-Play challenge, so it used just the four specific kits from the challenge, and then I later added the compass under the title.

I'm SO sad that DHD closed down a few months ago :( It was my digital home. BUT, I have found a new community to belong to, the Project Life Australia group on Facebook. That's how I heard about Life Paper Scrapbook... and so with this post I'm entering...

...the Life Paper Scrapbook Project Life Challenge #1: Layering in Project Life! How exciting!

I've used lots of layers on this page: the patterned papers as a base layer, transparency and text over a photo for the title, and then many clustered and overlapped photos to fit as many in as possible. The pictures are jostled a bit to get a sense of movement, and the order they're in shows the progression of our journey.

About my layout:
On the TV channel ABC4Kids, there's a cute little show called "Little Ted's Big Adventure". Yep, it's Little Ted from Play School, he has his own show! Actually I just saw today that Jemima now has her own show too: Jemima's Big Adventure :) Anyway, because our son Edward's nickname is Ted, that's what we called this holiday from the start!

This was the first time we used the car DVD player, so I have pics of that (VERY thankful that it kept him calm, as we'd hoped). Although Edward was able to walk from 15 months, he rarely did until Christmas, so going for a long walk was still a big deal, and I took a bunch of pics of him walking along. He has a little toy that we call "Pizza Man" as he looked to me like a little pizza chef (but someone pointed out he is probably a traffic controller - oh well, the name has stuck!) So it was pretty cool to see a real live Pizza Man - he was such a nice guy too. Edward fell asleep before we took off, so he probably didn't realise we went up in the air at all!

I followed the configuration of Becky Higgins' Design F page protectors, which I love, and used InDesign to create the entire layout, as it's much easier work in a grid and to crop images to frames than in Photoshop. I'm trying to avoid Photoshop for my Project Life, as it's a major time sucker for me! I only edit photos if they really need it, and I'm a lot less tempted to edit when designing with InDesign.

DHD-Inkling & Wit-Destination Word Art
DHD-Tayler Mitchell-Tags & Tape
DHD-Tisha Chestnut-Photo Journal Papers
Compass from StockXchng User: Kalilo, Image: 490615
There were four DHD kits used originally, but I later removed a stylised flower (from Mary Moseley's Reminisce-Flowers, Frames & Borders kit), and replaced it with the compass, so there's nothing from that kit on the final layout. The flower was quite geometric and resembled a compass, so that's where I got the idea, but I wanted a proper compass to complete the look.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Project Life: Dear Lizzy Fifth and Frolic

I started working on a Project Life album last November, as a creative way of displaying my photos and recording memories. I bought the Neutral Baby kit and Wellington Childhood kit and have also used a lot of papers I already had, digital scrapbooking kits, and some Simple Stories Snap papers. I have loved the process so far!

I pre-ordered the Dear Lizzy Fifth and Frolic core kit the day it went online at Australian stores. This beautiful kit was an exclusive for a store in the USA, so I had already admired it from a distance but a limited amount of stock was then released to international sellers. Yay! I recently received it and absolutely love it! Here are some creative photos I took highlighting some of my favourite cards:

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September 2013 Calendar page

This is my September calendar page. It's my first and only nephew, Elliott. What a cutie pie. I was so happy to have another boy in the family! This photo was taken on his first day outside the womb - and now we are coming up to his first birthday! 

This layout was "scrap-lifted" from Hutchie; I drew inspiration from her gorgeous layout and made it my own. Here's Hutchie's layout, 'Sisters'. Love it!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 2013 Calendar page

This is my August 2013 Calendar page, featuring my beautiful sister and niece with my son Edward. These photos were taken two years ago when he was a newbie :)

Quick Page: DHD-November 2011 Bloghop-Liz Jutila
Alpha: Sahlin Studio-Sunshine Sticker Alpha
Bookplate: 2Ps-Michelle Underwood-Bright Smiles
Backwards Brad: Pickleberry Pop-Anne Marie-Kit Bash
Resin Button: Christina Renee-Scorpio Sue-A Walk in the Park
Font (small text): Palatino Linotype

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My September 2010 Calendar - Monet's Garden at Giverny

While in France, Mum and I absolutely had to visit Monet's house and gardens in Giverny. Claude Monet is her favourite painter, and I adore his work too. We had a fantastic day and really enjoyed looking around the house and the two large gardens Monet so lovingly created. I took over 100 photos. The gardens are separated by the road that leads to the tiny village. This photo of his famous waterlily pond is taken in the lower garden, which has a free Japanese inspired design, in contrast with the formal upper garden with its symmetrical flowerbeds. You can just see the grey roof, pink walls and green shutters of his house through the trees in the centre of the picture. Many of Monet's best loved artworks were painted in his gardens, but of all his creations, the gardens themselves are the works Monet spent the most time perfecting.

2Ps-Rhonna Farrer-Pink October Free Template 1
KISM-Keepsake-Flower 1
Thaliris-Just for me-el84
Fonts: American Scribe, Bookman Old Style (Bold)

I also clipped a small section of one of Monet’s most spectacular waterlilies paintings to the “M” for Monet. This was from a photo I took at the Musee de l'Orangerie.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vintage Sunkist-inspired postcard

Postcard for a bowling night to encourage the many people serving in leadership at St Jude's Church Carlton.

I illustrated it myself, but based my design on this vintage advertising image from Dover clip art: