Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Project Life | Week 17

Continuing on with the Moments Like These spreads, I bring you week seventeen.

Once again, this week's spread was made using two Design G page protectors. I love that the 4x6 cards in the Moments Like These Card Collection come double sided with both a horizontal and a vertical design. This flexibility is helpful when using a page protector with 4x6 vertical pockets.

Am I the only one who doesn't take enough vertical photos?

In this spread, I chose to take advantage of the Moments Like These stamps. Some of my favorite stamping techniques are mixing stamps and typed text to create cards like these fun day-of-the-week journaling cards, but also to use stamps directly on top of photos to create captions.

On the right, I mixed stamps from this kit and Kellie Stamps to document what is truly my everyday, not just Sunday, routine --- an iced chai latte.

Products Used: Design G, Moments Like These Card Collection, Moments Like These Accessory Pack, Moments Like These Polymer Stamp Set, white acrylic letters from Hobby Lobby (similar available from Color Cast Designs), "Routine" stamp from Kellie Stamps

Project Life is a system created by Becky Higgins that is designed to simply your efforts to document life + get your photos into a book. This year, I am creating spreads as part of the 2015 Creative Team and you can view all of my Project Life posts here. To learn more about the product + how to get started, visit BeckyHiggins.com.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Project Life 2015 | Week 16

Part of me hopes that you haven't realized that we've just skipped from week 11 to week 16, while another part of me - this part of me, obviously - feels obligated to point it out. I swear those other weeks are coming. Someday. Along with the months of May and June. Having surgery on the opposite side of the country really put a pause in working on my main album but I'm determined to get caught up before the summer ends. Hold me to that, okay?

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about this new PLxSU kit - Moments Like These.

You may have already caught one of my spreads on the Becky Higgins blog when the kit was announced but this week, I will be sharing four layouts made with this collection. As you've realized, my "signature look" is black, white and a pop of color and just like you'd expect, Liz Tamanaha delivers just that with her newest Project Life designs.

If you hadn't noticed, the Midnight Edition is my go-to. It was the very first kit I purchased and the kit which appears most in both my 2014 and 2015 albums.

I may have actually squeeled when found out that Liz was designing a new set of cards.

By the time April began, I was feeling a bit burnt out on 12x12 layouts. I found myself struggling to find enough photos each and every week, all while watching others design pages in the new 9x12 and 6x12 sizes. To change things up a bit, I decided to start and end each month with a 12x12 page, while filling the inside of each month with Design G, cut down Design F, and other inserts. While I mostly stick to a chronological structure, I have adjusted the start and end dates of the weeks to make this work.

It's July and I'm still loving this new approach.

But, back to the Moments Like These collection. Throughout the kit, you will find accents of mint green and pink - or Mint Macaron and Watermelon Wonder, if we're being exact.

And it comes not only with cards (including both 2x2 and 4x4 cards) but wood veneer, stickers, washi tape and even a stamp set. Scripted days of the week? I can't get enough.

Products Used: Design G, Moments Like These Card Collection, Moments Like These Accessory Pack, Moments Like These Polymer Stamp Set, mint alphas and asterisks from Studio Calico, "On the Menu" Veneer from Color Cast Designs

Project Life is a system created by Becky Higgins that is designed to simply your efforts to document life + get your photos into a book. This year, I am creating spreads as part of the 2015 Creative Team and you can view all of my Project Life posts here. To learn more about the product + how to get started, visit BeckyHiggins.com.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Make Monday Magic

There is only one time of the week that is harder for me than Monday morning and that is Sunday night, when the weekend is coming to a close and I know that my busy workweek is just around the corner. It's not that I don't love what I do between Monday and Friday, but that I have so many other things I love to do, too and I can't seem to squeeze all of those in to the 48 hours we call the weekend.

So, when I saw a journaling kit called "Make Monday Magic" appear in my Facebook feed this month, I was intrigued. While I am a diligent journal-er in the context of my Project Life albums, I struggle with keeping a regular written account of my life. When I am working on my album, I include funny stories, quirky moments from our week, captions that fit the photos I am sharing - and while I am honest in that space, I don't include a lot of writing about my struggles, the little moments in each day, or even my hopes and goals.


It's not that I haven't tried to keep a journal in the past - in fact, my bookshelf is full of notebooks with a page or two of writing, nearly blank sketchbooks, and other journals that were, "just to pretty to write in." But until Make Monday Magic, what was missing from my attempts at journaling was a system.

I think the reason that I am so successful in recording our lives with Project Life is because the system is already defined for me. I know that each weekend, I will sit down to record the week before, in two pocket pages. I have developed a routine for editing my photos and printing them, for photographing my pages and sharing them with you here.

Journaling has never been a ritual for me but that is about to change.

In her introduction to the kit, Sara Blette, owner of Make My Notebook and creator of Make Monday Magic, explains that "inside this box you'll find my ritual to start your week off on the right foot; a way to jump-start your day with positivity and learn how to find calm within the chaos that comes along with life. By taking just 15 minutes each Monday morning and following these simple instructions, you'll transform your mindset, be more productive, reflective and thankful."

15 minutes a week? I can do that.

I don't want to give too much away about this "just enough" journaling technique but I will tell you that Sara put thought into every part of this journaling kit. Not only do you receive instructions on creating a journaling ritual of your own, and a beautiful journal to do it in, you receive a fun purple pen (because as Sara says, life is too shirt to write in black ink), 12 gratitude notecards that moonlight as inspirational artwork and Altoids, because there is no better way to journal than over your morning coffee and who wants coffee breath?

Thinking back to why I am successful with Project Life, I realized that in addition to having a system, I have a community. That is why I am inviting you all to join me in a closed group where we can share how we are making Mondays magic.  You can click through to join, or leave a comment with your email address to receive an invitation.

Ready to order your own journaling kit? Buy it here with free U.S. priority shipping.

So tell me, do you keep a journal? How often do you write?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

When I Am Drowning

Writing about my life, and my struggles, with chronic illness is not easy. I worry about putting too much negative into the world. I worry that my words will sound like complaints. I worry that others will pity me, or grow tired of my stories. And yet, when I am brave enough to share, I find only positivity.

Last week, I shared a piece of my story on Instagram. I shared a story that I have told many times but that I cannot stop telling. Do you have one of those? I shared that I began Project Life because I didn't want to live a life that I would forget.

I shared that at the age of twenty-two, my doctors approached me about my memories - they told me that my mind, in it's own act of self defense, would choose not to remember the months that had recently passed, or the months ahead, as my body struggled to physically get through each day. Even at that time, I knew that they were right. The fog that had settled into my body, had also settled into my mind, and it took constant effort to remember the words I meant to say, the instructions for taking my medication, when my next appointment or scan was. My mind had no capacity for the everyday.

And so, though I was sick, I kept living, and I began documenting. I told myself then that it wasn't about documenting the big moments or my happiest days, but about documenting the everyday. It was about documenting the good alongside the bad. For me, the promise to document it all meant documenting doctors appointments and MRIs. It meant documenting the first time I had to take an incomplete in graduate school, in the same week that I documented my first standing ovation after speaking to seven hundred people about how scholarship funds meant that I could get medicare care and an education.

I confessed that i isn't easy to document the hard stuff but that I do it because I believe in the value of those moments. That, I know, in twenty years, when I flip through my albums and look for the moments that defined my life, it will be these. I know that the days which seem the hardest now will be the ones I look back on with the most thankfulness.

When those words were re-shared today, I received a compliment greater than that standing ovation. A friend, who I did not know before these words, told me:

"Your words inspired me so very much. I have met incredible people, seen things, felt things, experienced such love, kindness, and overwhelming support. I realized that not documenting (my illness) is also letting go of the amazing. Like you, I would never want to forget any of that... You really have had a life changing impact.. I cannot thank you enough for helping me start my journey." 


And while those words said so many things, what they told me was that even when I feel like I am drowning in this illness, my story is worth sharing. And so is yours. (I no sooner published this post, and the rain stopped, revealing a rainbow.)

Because I shared a piece of my story, someone else is going to take the time to record her own. Along the way, I hope that she will find value in her illness, but also, the value in sharing her own story.

This month, I am contributing to RuKristin's Find Your Voice workshop, a workshop for anyone who wants to find their own storytelling voice, and I would love for you to join me. This week, I will share why my stories mean so much to me.

What stories do you want to tell? What do you want those stories to look like? Register for the class and get those stories on paper.