Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Family Yearbook 2016: Title Page and Plan

I'm still here!  The holidays got the best of me and I'll keep working to catch up with my posting.

So, it's that time again!  Time for a new project life plan.  I didn't make any real significant changes in past years, but this year I'm shaking things up a bit more.

I think my title page speaks to a bit of it...

So here are my changes for 2016:

  1. I am no longer calling my project "project life", it's now our family yearbook (more on that in a bit).
  2. I'm no longer limiting myself to one template set per year (crazy, I know!). 
  3. I'm going back towards the original PL plan with my weekly spreads.  No extra pages, just a two page spread summary of our week.  My weeks got too complicated and too big in 2015, I didn't like the flow of them and I lost all motivation to work on them when all of my weeks were turning into obnoxiously long 8-10 page spreads.
  4. So, the point above might make one think that I'm going against my "scrap all the photos" philosophy of last year, but that's not the case.  This is why this is now a yearbook vs. a project life book.  Each week will have a project life spread, but behind that spread will be scrapped pages of any photos/events that need more space.  My project life page will serve as an index, so to speak.  Why do this?  Well... this year my weeks got out of control and when they got out of control, they got really weird.  For example, in December I had a week (which I haven't posted yet or finished for that matter) where Clara had a dance performance on Friday night where I took lots of photos and then we had a one photo event on Saturday.  The flow ended up being a two page spread of dance photos with a random single event photo tacked onto the end.  I don't like that. It bugs me.  So now, a photo representing the dance performance and the one other event photo will go on the PL page and a spread with the rest of the dance photos will go behind.  These extra pages will probably still be pocket pages, but I'll have more freedom with my template choices and I'll get the chance to play with more fun, themed kits.  The one thing I need to watch though is keeping these extra pages an even number.  If this ends up being a problem, I may split the projects into two... with a PL book and a book of the other pages.
Things that are staying the same:

  1. I am still printing these as 12x12 photo books from Shutterfly.  I will print multiple times a year again.  Three times worked well last year, but I might up it to quarterly depending on how many extra pages I'm adding.
  2. Ideally I would like to pick one template set for the year for the PL spreads in my book (I know I said above that I wasn't going to limit myself, but that was for the book in general, this is for my PL spreads specifically).  This was my plan, I even bought a whole new set of templates when they were on sale.  I see people using these templates all of the time and I LOVE the look.  However, I sat down to use them on my title page and I just. couldn't. do. it.  Sigh.  It was another case of a style that I admire and love to look at, just not working with the way I scrap.  I was having huge internal battles with myself just trying to make a title page... I couldn't do that to myself for a whole year.  So, now I'm on the hunt for a new set to use all year (suggestions welcome!).  The template I ended up using is one I bought for my extra pages, but it worked well here and buys me some time to find a new year long set.
  3. I would like to have a set journaling font like I did last year.  That worked out really well for me.  I'm not 100% sure, but I think I'm going to be using The Sidekick by Heather Joyce. (I tried it out on my title page here)
Hmm... I think that's it!  I'm excited to get started and see how this new plan works!

And as before, I have new pinterest boards set up this year.  One for pages and one for supplies.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Capturing Christmas 2015: Advent Calendars

One tradition that the teens aren't ready to give up yet is the Lego Advent Calendar.  I wasn't sure, so I asked before I bought it.  They made it very clear that it will be quite a while before they outgrow it :-)  And since I was at Trader Joe's and they were only $.99, they also each have their own chocolate advent calendar as well.

Supplies - Storyteller 2015 3x4 Month Calendar Cards and Storyteller Riley by Just Jaimee.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Capturing Christmas 2015: The Chicago Tree

I'm still here, still chugging right along with my Capturing Christmas project.  Last week just got away from me.  Last week was crunch week.  It was the week I needed to get all of my photo gift projects done so I could send them to print and get them back in time.  After the photo gifts were done, it was time to figure out what gifts were left to buy so I could place orders if needed.  I think everything is pretty much under control now (except being weeks behind on PL, but I have bigger issues with that than just time), so I'm back to posting!

Here are my pages from when we put up our tree at home...

Made with Photo Overlays:  Christmas No. 1 by Sahlin StudioStoryteller Riley by Just Jaimee and The Sidekick Font by Heather Joyce.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Capturing Christmas 2015: The Tree and a Movie

Finishing up the last of the pages for our weekend at Bearski.  So far I'm liking my approach to December Daily this year.  It was a little overwhelming at first because I had so many "events" that happened and I was feeling behind.  But once we were back home, the Christmas activities slowed down.  I'm almost caught up and I'm looking for things to document :-)  I think that's what is next... more of the "things", like maybe walking the neighborhood and taking pictures of the decorations or getting down the stories of some of our decorations here at the house.  The beauty of documenting things is that they don't really have to be done, if I get crunched for time, it's okay.

So here are my last pages for Thanksgiving weekend...

Made with Storyteller Riley and December Papers and Accents by Just Jaimee.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Project Life 2015: The last of week 44

Finally coming to the end of my week 44 pages.  I started working on my Halloween photos and then realized that 1) I had only enough for one page and 2) I had forgotten my monthly sibling photo for October when I did my first pages for this week.  So, I did a single page for Halloween and then stepped way out of my current comfort zone and did a more traditional page using the sibling photo (I did use a template, so I didn't get too crazy - but it did get me thinking about my plans for next year).

Made with Thirty-One and Thirty-One Pocket Cards by Amber LaBau Designs and Sara Gleason.

And here is October's sibling photo...

Made with Storyteller Luka by Just Jaimee.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Capturing Christmas 2015: Garland

This page is super simple.  I wanted to document the new garland we got for Bearski.  The photo on the "deck the halls" card was a total accident.  I was trying to take a quick pic of the kids putting ornaments on the tree, but didn't realize that my lens had gotten switched to manual focus.  That was the resulting photo.  I thought it was cool and would make a neat title card.

On this card I used Photo Overlays:  Christmas No. 1 by Sahlin Studio and a card from Shelf Elf by Just Jaimee and Mommyish.

Project Life 2015: Week 44, Part 4

 So... what do you do to entertain 15 8th grade girls during a birthday party at your house?  First off, you feed them Chipotle... I can't believe how excited the girls were when they came upstairs and found a Chipotle catering set up.  It was perfect!  Second... you set up a photo booth.  By the end of the party, the girls had taken 1,008 photos.  I did buy some props, but since they were all still in the costumes from the Halloween party at school, they didn't use many of them.

I'll give you a brief run down of how I did this and if you want more details, let me know.

1.  Backdrop - this I owned already.  Back in the day (like 10 years ago) I briefly played with the notion of being a portrait photographer and bought a few basic supplies.  I dug this backdrop stand and black backdrop out of some boxes in the garage.

2.  Lights - last time I tried this, I used my external flash.  The results were really dark, but fixable in PS.  I didn't want to have to edit photos this time, so I decided to buy a cheap set of studio lights off of Amazon.  They were definitely worth it.  The color cast is a little off, but I probably could have adjusted for it if I had wanted to mess with it.

3.  Camera set up - I used my Canon 5d, with my wide angle lens (20mm, 2.8).  I set the exposure manually and left it alone.  With my lights purchase, I also added a cheap tripod and a wireless shutter remote.  I did spend money on the equipment for this set up (~$100), BUT it was still way under what we would have spent to host a party for 15 girls at some outside venue.

4.  Photo delivery - thankfully every girl at the party had an iPhone.  Clara set up a shared iCloud album for the photos (free).  I had two memory cards, which I went down and switched out periodically.  I have a Mac, so the next part went really smoothly.  I would download the photos to my computer and then batch processed them with a saved for the web action that I wrote.  Once they were resized, I uploaded everything to the iCloud album.  The girls were all instantly able to see all of the photos and download the ones they wanted.

5.  Props - since it was around Halloween, we went with that as a general theme.  The girls used very few of the props I bought but what I bought, I was able to get at the dollar store by shopping early in the month.

That's basically it!  Please let me know if you have any questions about anything!

Oh... and the scattering of scrapping supplies came from Storyteller Kenner by Just Jaimee.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Capturing Christmas 2015: Elf & Photo Shoot

I got a start on my Capturing Christmas album!!  Partially because I had several events to scrap and partially because I'm avoiding a project I'm supposed to be working on (a gift album that I have GOT to get ordered by the end of the week).

Our Christmas activities start on Thanksgiving night each year.  We watch the movie Elf and this year we broke out the egg nog as well.  Egg nog is one of Alex's favorite parts of holidays.

On Friday, we took a walk in the woods to try to get our Christmas card photo.  We got a good one!  I included one of the runner up photos on this page and will save the actual photo for when I put our printed card in the album.
Made with the Storyteller Riley collection by Just Jaimee.

Project Life 2015: Week 44, Part 3

October 30th was a busy day... Halloween Parade at Clara's school and her birthday party at our house after school.  This day alone ended up being four pages.  Again, if I wouldn't have messed up with forgetting Thriller, I might have been able to pare this down by two pages.  BUT, I'll never regret having the extra photos scrapped and in my book!

Week 44...

Made with Simply cards, elements and papers by Amber LaBau Designs and Acceptance elements and papers by Just Jaimee.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Project Life 2015: Week 44, Part 2

After my Christmas project post, I'm going to hop back to Halloween for a bit.  Back to the week that exploded into 10 pages!  Not only did we have a lot going on that week, but a mistake on my part also played a part in the large number of pages.  I know it's probably hard to believe, but somehow I completely forgot about this event when I was putting together my project life pages.  Completely forgot.  I went on my merry way, scrapping the rest of the week and it wasn't until a while later that I remembered Thriller.  I was faced with either redoing the pages I had done, or making this event into it's own two page spread.  The easy answer was making this it's own two page spread, so that's what I did.

Here are the pages for Clara's Thriller performance...

Made with Bewitched by Little Dreamer Designs (the link is to their Facebook page, since I'm having trouble getting to their actual site at the moment).

Friday, November 27, 2015

Capturing Christmas 2015: Plan, Prep and a Present

Here we go again!  And this time, I think I'm really ready.  :-)  (get comfortable, this is a long one!)

If you are a regular reader, you know that I have attempted a December/Christmas project the past couple of years and I have failed (mostly) each year.

The first year I attempted a straight up December Daily project and that didn't work. We didn't do something Christmas-y every day in December and it began to overlap too much with project life.  It also didn't feel different enough from PL for me.  I did digital square pocket pages, which was similar to what I had been doing all year with PL.

Last year, I knew I needed something different.  Daily wasn't going to work for me.  We just didn't do enough stuff.  I needed a new name that would reflect my new plan.  I thought about some of the usuals like Document Your December (but some of our Christmas stuff fell in November), or Countdown to Christmas (but our "Christmas" with my in-laws was going to be after Christmas).  I finally decided on "Twenty-Six Things" (what was I thinking?!?!??).  I wanted to use some cute number cards I had, I *needed* #25 to be Christmas day and I had to go to 26 so I could include Christmas with the in-laws and keep things in chronological order.  I had thought 26 things would be easy... turns out, it's not.  Especially when you have fickle teens who will randomly reject some of your "things" (turns out that riding the CTA Holiday Train with mom isn't that cool anymore... who knew?).  I did take note of the last year's attempt being too similar to my PL and went with a different format.  I tried a hybrid 6x8 Sn@p album.  BUT... not having a color printer, I was having to dummy things up in photoshop to see how they would look and then send to print every so many pages.  It became a chore.

So, that brings us to this year.... 2015 the year of the successful Christmas project!!

Here's the plan:
  1. New name.  I thought about it for a quite a while and ended up with "Capturing Christmas".  This name allows me to call this what it truly is, the place where I capture all things Christmas this year.  It doesn't confine me to December, ending on the 25th or any set number of things.  I'm happy with the name.
  2. Same binder and pages as last year (in fact... some of them are the exact same unused pages I bought for this project last year).  I'm completely in love with the 6x8 album size!  And the physical pocket pages makes this feel completely different than my usual project life pages.
  3. Prep!  I think this is going to be key.  Something I have learned from the more digital projects I've attempted the past two years is that being proactive is key.  With being primarily digital, my pages became more reactive than proactive.  After each thing, I was starting from scratch.  This year I picked a bunch of cards that I liked and made some of my own (more on that further down).  This worked well with the travel journal that I did for our trip to NYC this summer.  With that success, I'm hoping for success with this project.
  4. This goes along with #3, but this year I'm printing my own cards and photos (hooray for owning a color printer!!).  This was key to my travel album success and I think it will be key with this as well.
Now on to prep:

First thing I did was make myself a set of easy to cut apart templates using the sizes of the openings in my sets of page protectors.  I am using pages by Simple Stories, mostly standard sizes, but have a couple of the insta sets as well.  I made templates on 8.5x11 sheets with 3x4, 2x8, 2x2 and 4x4 spots and I lined the cards up so they required fewer cuts to separate them after printing.  I do have page protectors with 4x6 openings, but I figured those will mostly be photos which I will print as individual 4x6s.

I made a bunch of sheets of cards while watching TV throughout the week and Saturday was print and cut day.

Oh look... my assistant has arrived...

Actually, she's fairly useless in the card prep department, she just wanted to go o-u-t-s-i-d-e yet again.
The templates I made, ended up with an odd shaped spot leftover when I made things square.  On some, I put elements to cut apart and add to my pages like below...

Others, I turned off the layer (like in the title photo at the top) and some I left alone.  That way I could see where to cut when printing white cards on white paper....

The bulk of my cards came from two kits.

First, the brand new collection for December, Storyteller Riley by Just Jaimee...

And second, Shelf Elf by Just Jaimee and Mommyish....

I've set up a new pinterest board for my supplies this year and another one for my pages, as I complete them, so be sure to follow them.  I plan to have another post soon with some of the other products I'm using, plus I'll add stuff throughout the month as new sets get released.

And finally, we get to the present.

I have zipped up the template set that I made and have it for you as a free download, if you would like to use them to speed up your card trimming process!  All that I ask in return is for you to leave a comment below (I would especially love a link to see your December/Christmas projects!  I'm always looking for more inspiration!).  Here is what's included:


I did three templates to be printed on card stock and one photo template (one 4x4 and 2 2x2s).  I will also be using templates to split a 4x6 into two 3x4s and another to split one into 6 2x2s, but I didn't need to create those since they were included in one of the template sets I have by Designs by Lili.  I hope this freebie set helps with your prep!  I had so much fun making 2x2 squares from all of the fun patterned paper that I have!

Okay, that's it for my ramblings at the moment!  Off to start my pages!!  Good luck everyone and enjoy the season!!!  (oh... and even if you don't download the freebie, I would still love to see a link to your holiday project in the comments... I think I enjoy looking at other people's projects more than I actually like creating my own!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Project Life 2015: Week 44 Part 1

Week 44 went spectacularly out of control.  Lots of events that required lots of photos.  This is the week that really prompted me to rethink my plan for project life.  My project life has evolved from the straight forward one spread per week the first year, to mostly one spread but with a couple extra pages when needed last year, to huge explosions of pages this year.  I've been working on a plan for 2016.  I miss my simple summary pages of year one, but I don't want to cut photos out either.  I think I have my plan pretty much worked out.  I can't wait to see if it actually works!

Anyway, here is the first part of what ended up being a 10 page week (yikes!).  But as you will see, we had some pretty cool stuff going on...

Storyteller 2015 Month 3x4 cards by Just JaimeeStoryteller 2015 Everyday Titles by Just JaimeeStoryteller 2015 Everyday tabs by Just JaimeeStoryteller Asher by Just Jaimee

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Project Life 2015: Week 43

I don't normally post on a Saturday, but I'm trying to get caught up with PL pages so I can save room for posting DD pages once I get started.  I spent part of yesterday afternoon cutting cards apart for my project.  I'm excited.  I think I should have my post ready on Wednesday with my plan.  Just for kicks, I went back and read my plan for last year.  I thought I had it all figured out then and still failed miserably.  BUT this time I'm SURE I have it figured out :-)  I'm also excited to post about my PL plan for 2016.  I think I've just about got that figured out as well.

Here's week 43 (the first of a couple of multi spread weeks)...

Made with Storyteller Luka by Just Jaimee.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Project Life 2015: Week 42

In case you're keeping tracking, yes, I did skip week 41.  That was the week I did A Week in the Life.  The official week was a few weeks earlier, but a group of us didn't attempt it then and picked a new week to try.  I have kind of decided that I should stop attempting AWITL.  I adore the project, but it doesn't work well for me.  Maybe it's another one of those projects that would work better for me if I didn't do project life, I don't know.  I always incorporate it into PL since it overlaps so much with that project.  But there would be something really cool about having a series of stand alone AWITL books.  Anyway, back to my week 41... basically, it's not done yet.  Eight pages are sitting there with photos on them and a day of the week card for each day.  And that's it.  I haven't touched them in weeks.  I didn't write down my journaling, so I'm sure I've forgotten it all by now.  Sigh.

On to week 42!  Ahhh... the week I had fall family fun planned for Monday when both kids had off from school and Jeff took the day off from work.  And where did my children choose for their day of fall fun?  Was it the pumpkin farm, the apple orchard, the dunes with friends from school???  Nope... Ikea.  Oh well... we had a fun day together and everyone was happy.  I guess that was the main point of our day together anyway.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Project Life 2015: Week 40

Still plugging along with posting, but I must admit that planning my December Daily (my take on it anyway) has completely taken over my brain.  If you have been reading for a while, you know that I have failed at DD every year.  BUT... THIS is MY year!!  I WILL be successful this year!  I'm working on my prep and will do a big post about my plan probably next week.  What makes this year different than previous years?  I own a color printer now.  I think that's going to make all of the difference in the world.

Reining it back in to project life, here is week 40...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Project Life 2015: Week 38

 Another set of pages with lots of Alex!

It's nice being reminded of weeks like this since he's pretty much absent from my latest pages.  I need to remember to sneak in more photos of him!  Thanksgiving is coming up, so I'll make sure to get a lot since we'll be hanging out together as a family.

More pages made with Storyteller Asher by Just Jaimee.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Project Life 2015: Week 37

Week 37 was a big week for the boy... first day of school, backstage at the Zac Brown Band concert and the Annual Radtke Men MSU Football Game outing.  I like it when there are Alex heavy weeks because he doesn't show up in my project life pages as much as he should.  He's an independent teen boy who doesn't like to be in or take photos.  I try to sneak in photos when I can, but since I can't always do that, I tend to over do the pages when I do get a chance to take/get photos.

 Week 37....

Made with Storyteller Asher by Just Jaimee.