Saturday, January 14, 2017

Scrapbook Your Year | August 2016 Pages

Well, I have a blast from the past to share today. Since we've been in a cold snap here (it's reached -45C with the windchill, and hasn't been much warmer than that in the past week), I'll share my August pages I've completed for my 2016 Scrapbook Your Year album, to help me remember some warmer times.

A brief update: In January 2016 I'd started a weekly physical 'Project Life' album, and fell off the wagon sometime in March. After trying to catch up for a while, I decided to scrap that, and do a digital album a la Cathy Zielske's Scrapbook Your Year class. You can read a more in-depth about that decision here, and check out Cathy's class here. 

I believe the class came out in July of last year (or around then), so in my memory I had completed a few months of pages - I was thinking four or five. Well... when I went back to check what I had done, I discovered I'd only completed two months. June and July. Ooops. One of my January goals is to have my 2016 album done and ready to send off to print as soon as a good print deal comes along, so that means I'd better get cracking. The nice thing about Cathy's Scrapbook Your Year process is that you can easily bang out a month's pages in just a couple of hours, so even though I currently only have three months out of twelve completed, I'm still pretty confident I'll be able to finish off the year by the end of the month.

Here's a look at my August 2016 pages!

Lots of everyday life moment captured! It's been fun getting these pages done, because even though this was less than six months ago, life moves so fast, and so much has already changed since then. It's been nice getting these little snippets of memories recorded.

That's a look at August. I have September's photos culled and ready to get into pages. I should be back in a few days to share them!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"A Year In Review: Bro Edition" | Scrapbook Layout

One of my January goals was to make a scrapbook layout using the Ali Edwards Review Story Kit, and I finished one up last night. Yay! (Sidenote: I'm finding that having goals written down and somewhere where others can see them is helping me stick to them and get stuff accomplished so much better than my old way of having random goals in my head and forgetting about them all the time.) Anyways, it turned out that I didn't actually use too much product from the actual kit for my page - but the inspiration for the layout totally came from the kit and the classroom content. And I'm a pretty minimal scrapper, so I tend not to use too much product, period.

Onto the layout!

I have to say, this is probably one of my favourite layouts I've ever made. It's one of those ones where it turned out even better than I'd imagined it in my head. I went through all my photos from 2016 (literally all of them in my Lightroom catalogue), and somehow managed to narrow down my favourites of the two boys together to these 15. All of the patterned paper I used was from the Crate Paper Cool Kid collection. (Love that collection!) I cut the "A Year In Review" title on my Silhouette using the png file from the Review Story Kit, and I also made the "reflecting and remembering" word strip using a stamp from the kit. For the "bro edition" mini-title I once again used my silhouette and the Bobbles font (also a current favourite.) I left the edges of it curled up off the page to add a bit more dimension.

I love looking at this layout and these pictures and seeing how much love these brothers have for each other. It's just the sweetest :)

Since, as I mentioned, I didn't actually end up using much of the actual digital story kit on this layout, I'm hoping to try to make another layout with it this month, using more product. I'm already considering my goal met for this one, but we'll see what I can get done!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

One Little Word Album | January Pages

Hi! :)

Today I'm sharing my January pages for my One Little Word album. I know it's the beginning of this project, so there's probably some of that 'fresh start' feeling that's got me excited, but I'm feeling much more into this project this year than last. I think part of it is because last year I was kind of scared of my word... Choose seemed much more daunting to me. I loved that word and felt like it brought so much to me, but I think Happy is going to be an easier one for me. But still just as valuable :)

*Excuse the not-great photos. So hard to get good ones in this winter light* 

Here's a look at my pages. I stuck pretty much to what Ali did for this month. (If it ain't broke, don't fix it!) I always feel like a total nerd setting up my tripod and taking these selfies, but the one I did last year for this album was one of my favourite pictures of myself, and let's face it... Jason wouldn't take this good of a photo. Haha.

For this album I plan on kind of just sticking with the neutral colours of the kit, with a few little pops of colour here and there - like that marbled pattern paper.

Lots of writing!!

Aside from what was included in the digital downloads for the month, I also printed out the Action and Reflection cards for January. Right now I'm thinking I may fill out each of those cards every month, but we'll see how it goes. I like the idea of having a set of little actionable items to focus on every month, and then reflecting back and seeing how I did. For the quote, I just found a photo I liked on the Photos for Class website (an awesome site that has photos that are all licensed under Creative Commons for public use) and typed my quote out over it in Photoshop.

More of that marbled paper, and my Reflections card that I'm leaving blank until the end of the month when I'll fill it out.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Things Making Me Happy | 01

As part of my One Little Word Happy, I'm starting a blog series about stuff that makes me happy. Small, little, everyday stuff, or big, exciting stuff! It all counts :)

+ Using our new porcelain dishes

+ The Happier podcast from Gretchen Rubin (fitting).

+ When I wasn't feeling well and JJ gave me a hug and told me, "There, that should make you feel better" as if that's the cure for feeling sick. But it did make me feel better :)

+ That all of our Christmas stuff is down and packed away. The living room looks so empty and spacious and I love it.

+ I've started working on potty training with Austen and he is catching on so quickly! (Which is a relief, because potty training with JJ was a horrible experience, for all involved.)

+ Employing the one-minute rule throughout the day. Guys, it has been a LIFE-CHANGER.

+ The boys going for sleepovers with Grandma and Grandpa. Love them so much, but some quiet time does wonders to recharge this introvert.

+ Date night at Original Joes! And watching the Jets game, and Snowden afterwards.

+ My monthly BFF date with Tabitha, at our usual, Prairie Ink restaurant.

What's making you happy right now??

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

One Little Word 2017 | HAPPY

"If you want to be happy, you have to be happy on purpose. When you wake up, you can't just wait to see what kind of day you'll have. You have to decide what kind of day you'll have."  - Joel Osteen

Since my first year with One Little Word went so well last year (you can check out my CHOOSE recap here), I definitely wanted to join in on the project again this year. Towards the end of last year, when most people were talking about finding their new words, nothing was really coming to me. After Choose came to me so clearly, I was wanting/expecting the same thing to happen again.

In the last few months, I'd started feeling really blah and slightly depressed. Not so much about things in my own life, but world events. Despite being Canadian, the US election was taking it's toll (it's outcome and just the general ugliness of the whole campaign season), the horrible atrocities taking place around the world, learning more and more about the cruelty that goes on in animal agriculture, and the damage and impact of climate change that we (humans) are contributing to. I was feeling so hopeless and so helpless. After a good couple of weeks of moping around, I realized that I needed to choose to be happy, and choose to do more myself to make this world a better place. And just like that found my word for 2017: HAPPY.

I'm still fleshing out exactly what my intentions are, and how I plan to use this word, but I'm tired of feeling sad and hopeless. I want to feel happy - for myself, and so that I can spread happiness to others.

I have a few thoughts on things I plan to do to bring HAPPY into my life:

+ Keep a 'Happiness Journal'
I'm stealing this idea from @amyteegan on Instagram, but I'm going to have a journal where I keep only happy thoughts/moments, quotes, compliments, etc. A place that I can look back on if I'm feeling down, or having a bad day, and be reminded of all the good and happy.

+ Read "The Happiness Project" and start one of my own
I probably already should have read this so I could be starting my happiness project in January, but whatev. I 'got' (bought myself) the book for Christmas, and it's next on my 'to read' list. In the meantime I've been bingeing Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast (and loving it!), and am planning on participating in her #Happier2017 Instagram project too.

+ Evaluate all the little things in my life that are making me unhappy, and take action to correct them.
By this I'm thinking of things like too much scrolling Instagram/Facebook, checking in on forums a ridiculous amount of times throughout a day, having clutter in the house, spending money on scrapbooking supplies that aren't getting used and cluttering up my scrapbook room, further preventing me from scrapbooking. Most of these things are unhealthy habits that are going unchecked, and not directly making me unhappy... yet my mind would feel so much clearer, and I would be happier if I got them under control.

+ Make more time for doing things I like and want to do
This goes hand-in-hand with the above. By cutting out the time-wasters, I'm wanting to make more time for activities I enjoy - more reading, doing puzzles, practicing handlettering, blogging, scrapbooking, being fully present when with the boys and do more 'activities' with them (arts & crafts type stuff), spending more time doing things with Jason, instead of us sitting in two separate rooms doing separate things.

+ Take action to help make others happy
I'm not sure how I want to do this yet - besides the obvious of just being a nice and kind person and spreading happiness in everyday interactions. But on a larger level.... either by volunteering, donating (time, money), taking action to help the causes I believe in... Something to think about further.

+ Work on all the small things that will add up to being a happier person
Getting more sleep, eating better (I made big strides last year, but can still improve), smiling more, less screen time, more time with the people I love, less clutter, more being productive, more laughter. And a million other things, I'm sure. I also really want to focus on letting go of frustration and anger, or at least dealing with it more appropriately. Lately, Austen has really been getting to me. He's going through the Terrible Twos (or at least I hope that's what it is), and it certainly has been terrible. The pushing, hitting, taunting, biting, not listening (unless it benefits him)... it's been a rough go. And I've been letting my anger and frustration get the best of me and doing things I regret - a lot of yelling and giving into the craziness. We've got to get that under control. As of right now, I'd say it's the main cause of any personal unhappiness.

So, a lot to do, and a lot to still ponder. These are kind of just my beginning thoughts of what I want to do with my word. Once I do this month's prompt* I'll probably have some more concrete thoughts and actions to take. But I'm feeling happy (pun intended) with these beginning steps, and looking forward to seeing what this year - and word - brings!

*One Little Word is an annual project and workshop designed by Ali Edwards. The project asks you to bring a single word into your life, and use that word to focus on, to live with, to investigate, to write about, to craft with, and to reflect upon as you go about daily life. Learn more about it here.

Do you have a word you're focusing on this year?

Monday, January 2, 2017

GOALS | January 2017

I'm going to try something new and start posting some monthly goals here. As part of my obliger tendencies I thought maybe putting them where someone else could read them would help keep me more accountable to them (even though this blog is currently read by a small handful of people). Or maybe even just 'putting them out into the world' will help me stick to them. Either way, here goes!

January 2017 Goals

* Make a scrapbook page with the Ali Edwards Review Story Kit

* Complete my 'Scrapbook Your Year' 2015 album and have it ready to send to print. (I'm going to wait for a good deal before printing it)

* Participate in the #Happier2017 project on Instagram

* Get my email inbox under control. This means cleaning out all the junk and putting anything I want to save into folders so that my actual inbox can be empty every night by the time I go to bed.

*Use the 1 Second Everyday app to document our life via video snippets. A few people I follow on Instagram or blogs did this project last year, and I love the idea of it. I actually did this myself for a while in 2015, but just never kept up with it. Gonna give it another go!

Recurring Monthly Goals

* Post at least once/week to my blog

* Have two date nights with Jason - this can be either staying in, or going out, but is a night that we do something together.

* Complete my January pages for my One Little Word album

Have a great January!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

17 Things in 2017

Well, it's here. The fresh start of a new year. Like many others, I always love the freeing feeling of beginning a new year. It seems like everyone is ready to be done with 2016 (that's all I'm seeing on my Instagram and Facebook pages), and aside from all of the sad and depressing stuff that went on in the world in general in the past year, I felt like I personally had a pretty good year. We had some exciting new purchases (a new truck and camper - Yay!), I quit eating meat (and most other animal products), I got back into reading again, and a lot of other small things that add up to me feeling like this year was more positive than negative.

I'm not necessarily into setting "New Year Resolutions", but I always like to be a little introspective at this time of year, and think about things that I'd like to accomplish. So, with that, I've come up with a list of "17 Things in 2017". These are things that I want to do or accomplish, or goals to work towards - big, small, and anything in between.

  • Read 30 books. Years ago this would have been a laughable goal - I'd be done it in a couple of months. However, with life right now, I feel this is more realistic. Aiming for about two/month, with a few extra thrown in there. 
  • Start the year off with a three-month spending freeze. I've been buying so much stuff lately (mostly scrapbooking related) that is just sitting around and not getting used. Time to start using it, and stop buying more! But for good measure, I'm applying the freeze to all areas of my 'personal spending'.
  • Start employing the "one-minute rule". I first heard about this on Gretchen Rubin's "Happier" podcast, and the idea is to immediately do any task that can be finished in one minute, instead of putting it off. Ie, hang up my coat, answer an email, put a dish in the dishwasher, make the bed, put my clothes in the hamper (instead of in a pile on the floor). I've become a little tidier in the past year, and I'm hoping this will help make a bigger dent in the clutter around the house.
  • Blog at least once a week. Ideally, I'd like to do more... but I'll start small and attainable.
  • Have a weekend getaway without the kids. I'd love to get out west to the mountains... maybe Banff or something. "The Mountains Are Calling, and I Must Go" - this quote is me right now. It's been a few years since we've been out to the mountains, and I just feel like I need to get out there and be in them again. And it'll just fill this little hole in me. 
  • Start doing yoga at home. This has been on my list of things to do/start for like, three years, but I'm just gonna keep adding it until it happens! After some searching, I found this Youtube channel, Yoga with Adriene, that lots of people say is good, so I'm gonna give that a try!
  • Make one new dinner recipe a month. Since switching to eating vegetarian/vegan, I need to start building up some go-to meals. I rely a lot on soups, wraps, quesadillas, etc. since they're pretty easy and quick, which is handy when Jason is away. But I want to add some fuller, hearty meals into the rotation as well. 
  • Work on mindfulness with the kids (and myself). Right now Austen is in the throes of the Terrible Twos... and some days are definitely terrible (understatement). I think all of us, but he especially will benefit from being more mindful. He's our temperamental little wild child, prone to fits, tantrums and just general craziness. Hoping to bring a little more peace to our household this year.
  • Go through my phone photos nightly to review and cull. Especially now that I have a newer iPhone with a great camera, I'm taking so many more phone photos. Add to that that I often take like, 10 photos of the kids at once to maximize my chances of getting a decent one, I end up a with a lot of photos on my phone - most of which are duplicates/garbage ones. 
  • Get a handle on all of the photos/videos on my laptop and on our family desktop. Piggy-backing off of my above goal, I need to get all my photos under control. Between my laptop and our desktop, I probably have 70,000+ photos... half of which are probably garbage or duplicates. Gotta come up with an easy and manageable system to get those under control. 
  • Do some puzzles! I got a sweet Harry Potter puzzle for Christmas, so I'll start out with that one. There are so many cool ones out there! I want something relaxing but 'productive', besides reading, to do in the evenings once the boys are in bed.
  • Buy and build the Lego Disney Castle. This probably seems super random (and it is), but when this lego set came out a couple of months ago the little kid in me just wanted it so badly. The boys aren't really into Lego yet, but I'm hoping they will be once it's a little more age appropriate - there are so many cool sets out there! JJ would just love to have a version of "The Castle" in our house!
  • Continue to overhaul my wardrobe and add classic, timeless pieces to it. In the past year or so I've been working on getting rid of clothes that don't fit me or that I just don't wear while trying to add some nice, high-quality things into the mix. 
  • Continue to practice hand lettering. This is a hobby that I practice in such spurts... I'll letter nightly for a couple weeks, then not touch it for months. I want to try to be a little more consistent with it. Handwriting is always something I've loved, and I find it to be so relaxing.
  • Get my email under control. As I'm writing this I currently have 1013 unread emails in my inbox. 😳  Almost all of it is junk mail that I let pile up and pile up instead of just deleting it (or unsubscribing). I do use the app, but obviously not well. It's my dream to be one of those people that have an empty inbox at the end of every day. I'm not counting on that happening anytime soon, but I need to get this mess under control.
  • Not have a million internet tabs open at once. I am horrible at this. I'm the person that always has about 20+ internet tabs open on my computer. Stuff that I don't have time to read in the moment, but that I 'plan to come back to', or stuff I don't want to forget about. This leads to mental clutter every time I look at my screen, plus, half the time my computer randomly shuts down (from having too many things going on at once) and I lose all those pages anyways. (Are you noticing a theme here that I need to get my mental and digital clutter under control???)
  •  Scrapbooking/memory-keeping. Come up with a plan of what projects I want to take on this year, what ones I want to finish up that are already started, and how to better fit scrapbooking into my life right now. Last year I didn't accomplish as much as I would have liked - partially because I just wasn't "feeling it" at times, partially because I'd get so sidetracked looking for 'inspiration' that I wouldn't actually accomplish anything, and partially because my scraproom is such a mess, and I have too much stuff that I didn't know where to start. I need to figure out a sustainable plan and stick to it. 
  • Have two date nights/month with Jason. This doesn't have to mean getting out of the house for dates necessarily (although that's great too!), but at least two dedicated nights where it is us hanging out, with each other's undivided attention. 
So that's actually 18 things for 2017, but that last one just came to me, and I feel it's something really important, and that we need. So, a lot of stuff to be working on and thinking about this upcoming year! I'm excited for this fresh new year, and all the energy it brings. Time to get cracking!

What are some things you hope to accomplish in 2017?