My Halloween Scrapbooking Challenge – After (Memories Captured!)

Halloween Collage

I was a little worried about how long it would take me to scrapbook the many Halloween photos I took.  I’m proud to report that I completed 8 pages with 39 photos over the past two days.  It took about 6 hours total (on and off while the baby napped or after the kids went to bed – hubby was away so I did this instead of binge-watching Gossip Girl on Netflix), but it didn’t feel like a long time because I enjoyed it!

This is the beauty of Project Life…the ability to capture a lot of memories and not be forced to choose only 1 or 2 pictures to include on a traditional page.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love traditional scrapbooking.  But right now, this is working REALLY well for me!

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My Halloween Scrapbooking Challenge – Before

I took a lot of photos this past Halloween, there was an endless variety of cute moments with the boys!

I printed the pictures through the Walmart website and have to say…the quality isn’t good…at all. But I can make it work (or I will reprint them at Costco which is MUCH better).

If I was going to scrapbook these traditionally, I would have to narrow my choices down substantially and make about half a dozen 12×12 pages. But thanks to Project Life, I can include most, if not all of them!

Stay tuned for the after photos! Hopefully by early next week!

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Becky Higgins…Please Pick Me!

A few weeks ago, Becky Higgins announced her 2015 Creative Team call for submissions on her blog.  Immediately I thought, “that’s cool, but I’m not good enough”.  But then I started looking at the blogs of the 2013 and 2014 Creative Team members and realized that my style is very similar.  So I decided to send a submission!

The selection criteria are:

  1. Fantastic photography – I think my pictures are decent, especially when the boys cooperate!
  2. Great storytelling – I’m pretty good at this, after all, it’s my day job!
  3. Use of product – The hardest part about this one is limiting myself to Becky Higgins products when I have an ever-expanding stash!  They are also looking for simplicity so I’ve had to restrain my embellishing somewhat – which is actually quite freeing!
  4. Layout photography – I’ve struggled with this a bit, but this blog post (which Becky posted on her Facebook page yesterday) really helped me a lot!

Here’s the layout photos I submitted, along with a short write-up.  Hope they like them!  Best of luck to everyone else who is trying out!Submission 1 Submission 2 Submission 3 Submission 4 Submission 5

My Scrapbooking Journey – Part 2 (Reigniting A Passion)

In my first post, I wrote about how I discovered scrapbooking, how I grew in my knowledge and excitement for the hobby, and then hit a giant wall when my first son was born.

When my second son arrived in late 2013, my scrapbooking room was a glorified storage room.  It was full of toys, junk and a mountain of supplies and unfiinished projects.  It was daunting to open the door and gaze at the mess inside.  Where the heck would I even start to restore it?

Slowly I moved out the toys and sold off the ones my son didn’t like.  I found homes for the random junk and slowly it regained its feeling of calm and creative promise.  The next task took me nearly a month.  I decided I need to go through every bit of my stash and purge.  I had acquired a lot of paper, tools, embellishments and projects from the many scrapbooking stores and events I visited, and I needed to make sense of it all.  I was ruthless and set aside everything I didn’t love or think I would ever use.  The result was a large pile of castoff items that I was able to sell for nearly $200 through some local mommy boards.  I reorganized everything, labelled colour and tool drawers and put all of my unfinished projects in a rubbermaid bin so they were all in one place, but covered so they weren’t piled up and intimidating me every time I entered the room.

What a transformation that was!  Not only did I purge the things I didn’t like, but I also rediscovered a lot of pretty things that I forgot about.  I could feel the excitement building to get back in there and play!

But where to start?  There were SO many projects to finish, and so many I wanted to start.  I decided to visit Michaels to check out the new products (it had been years since I looked in their scrapbooking aisle) and get some inspiration.

That’s where I stumbled across Project Life by Becky Higgins.  Very simply, it’s pocket scrapbooking and meant to simplify how you record your memories.  It looked very familiar…I used a Creative Memories photo album to record our honeymoon in Aruba, and it was pocket scrapbooking style.  I remembered how easy it was to assemble, and decided to try it out again!  I purchased some pocket page protectors and decided to cut down some of my massive paper stash to create the cards.

My first Project Life project was a birthday album for the boys.  I had a lot of photos I wanted to include, and this was a fantastic way to do it.

But what a pain to cut down the paper!  So back to Michaels I went.  After much deliberation, I purchased my first Project Life Core Kit – Honey.  It’s SO pretty!  I also went onto Facebook to see if there were any Project Life groups where I could get some inspiration.  There are a few!  Including one just for Canadians.  It was there that I discovered that I could swap portions of my core kit for other core kits to build up my supply and round out my collection with other styles and colours.  Little did I realize that this would turn into an obsession!

Over the last six months I’ve built up quite the collection of kits from Becky Higgins, Me and My Big Ideas, and We R Memory Keepers.  I’ve tried to buy kits that will work with predominantly boy and family photos, but I couldn’t resist the odd girlie kit!

And not only is it pretty, but it’s so simple to use!  I’ve scrapbooked nearly 100 photos and I’m still excited and full of ideas.  Many people document week by week, but that seems to become a challenging task and you’re always behind. I prefer to work in monthly batches. After all, in ten years, will anyone really care which week we went to the beach? I’m not putting down the people who do it that way, to each his own, but for me it’s just too much pressure when I have very little free time.

For me, the easiest route is to group the photos by category within a one month period, and then add them to the page protectors.  Then I go back and add the cards, journalling and embellishments later.  For me, the hardest part is sorting the photos and choosing which ones to use and how.  Separating the tasks keeps the fun part…fun!  Here’s some samples of the pages I’ve completed (most recent ones are at the top):

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As you can see, you can add as many or as few embellishments as you fancy.  Some photos stand well alone, while others need a little sprucing up.  It all depends on my mood and the theme of the pages. Sometimes I feel like playing or trying out a new technique.  And I try to journal on every spread!

I still love traditional scrapbooking, the 4 – 6×6 page protectors challenge me to be more creative, and I love adding 12×12 pages and other items to give my album more interest.  But I what I really love about Project Life is that I can document our lives quickly and in a way that my kids enjoy, and I can have fun doing it!

If you are a scrapbooker in need of a little inspiration, or someone who wants to begin the hobby and you’re overwhelmed with all the options, I encourage you to check out Project Life!  You won’t be disappointed!

My Scrapbooking Journey – Part 1 (Cultivating A Hobby)

I started scrapbooking just over 10 years ago.  I can’t believe it’s been that long. It feels like it’s always been a part of me.

When I was little, I loved arts and crafts.  I was always trying to come up with an idea of something to create.  Shopping for school supplies was one of my favourite events of the year!  Little did I know that this seemingly fleeting interest would turn into an adult passion.

My mom was the reason I jumped into the hobby.  She showed me some pages she created after my nephew was born, and I was intrigued.  I knew I could create something like that and I loved the idea of combining crafts and photos.  So off I went to the local scrapbooking store, and I was immediately hooked!

This was my first layout.  Pretty basic, but now that I look back, it wasn’t that bad!  I worked on it in the cropping area at the store where we had full use of a Sizzix die cutting machine, and endless possibilities of paper and stickers within a 50 foot radius.

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Here’s the pages that followed, you will see that my technique started to evolve over time, but I was always about simplicity.  Not too many embellishments, but also very little journalling with my own handwriting.

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I had subscriptions to Simple Scrapbooks and Creating Keepsakes magazines and poured through every edition looking for ideas and the latest supplies.  When I purged my scrapbooking room this past spring, it broke my heart to give away nearly 100 old copies of those magazines, because I wanted the space and hardly looked at them.  But I did keep the special editions, which you can see on my shelf!

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I attended quite a few CKC Buffalo Conventions with my mom and aunt, which were a great opportunity to take classes, learn new techniques, shop and crop!  I have a storage bin on the floor in my room of all the CKC Buffalo projects I need to finish.  Someday I’ll get through all of them!  This is a layout from one of the many classes I took.  I love the colours and structure of the page!  It’s one of the very few I have with a photo of me.  Most of them are about my nephews, sons and family.

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After a few years of scrapbooking, I started to lose motivation for the hobby.  I could only scrapbook so many pictures of my nephews, regardless of how adorable they were/are.  I have stacks and stacks of mini albums about trips hubby and I took before and after we got married.  I needed new subjects to focus on!

Before our first son was born, we moved into a new house and I claimed a small room in the basement for my scrapbooking space.  I painted it a bright teal, it felt energizing and brightened the otherwise dreary space.  I love this space, it makes me happy when I hang out in there.  I really do forget about everything else and just play.

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My ribbon, Colour Shine, and washi tape collections.

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My happy place

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Like many scrapbookers, I’m a bit of a hoarder. I use colour drawers to organize my embellishments, and categorized my tools so they are easy to find. I also have copious amounts of paper. Because you can never have too much paper!!

Before our first son was born in 2011, I forced myself to finish an album I was working on for a Europe trip hubby and I took in 2007.  That was the last project I worked on for two years.

Everyone made maternity leave sound like a glorified holiday.  For those who don’t live in Canada, we get a year home with our child.  I had no idea how little time I would actually have to myself!  And when you’re only sleeping in 2-3 hour increments for many many months, there aren’t exactly many creative juices flowing!

Instead of scrapbooking his first year, I created a number of photo books.  I liked being able to create them quickly, and they looked great!  My poor scrapbooking room turned into a glorified storage space, the door forever closed to hide the clutter.  When I went back to work, I had even less time to myself.  And the time I did have was usually spent unwinding or catching up on household to-do’s.  I thought I would never get back in there…that is, until my second maternity leave when I discovered Project Life.  But that’s another story altogether…stay tuned for part 2!