Project Life 2016: January Layouts

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It’s alive! Yes, a few weeks ago, on Periscope I hinted at the fact that I was going to start my own Youtube channel. I am happy to say that is finally a reality – Eek! Yes, it took too many hours & days to figure it all out but, I did it. Check it out my first video here. Basically it summarizes my approach to my 2016 album and takes you through 4 layouts from January. As always, thanks for all your love and support. Have a great weekend!

His & Hers: February 2016

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Ah, my two favourite little people! Here they are in the only snowstorm we experienced in February. I wanted to be a “fun mama” so I decided to take them to school by sled. Rowan’s smile says it all – she loved riding with her brother and still asks if we can go by sleigh. Although Sam looks shocked, he “talked” all the whole ride. Here is a glimpse of some of the kiddos favourite things / experiences from last month.

FebHat

She wears a purple cat hat while he wears a blue puppy toque. Both were Christmas gifts from Nanny & Bobba.

FebWall

She has a purple gallery wall filled with favourite family photos & arts prints from the stylish Penny Paper Co. He has a blue gallery wall filled with various nautical themed art. Both walls include their birth dates.

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After a fun filled weekend with cousins. I love how they are slumped over in similar positions their carseats.

His & Hers is a monthly year long photo project that showcases glimpses of my children’s lives through the lens of my camera. Currently, I am learning to shoot in manual mode of my Nikon D5000. I occasionally use my iPhone 5s from time to time. 

Episode 16: UK Emma

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On today’s show, I am speaking with the sweet and stylish, Emma from the website Create the Simple. Living in the UK with her husband, Emma works in London in finance and carves out time for memory keeping on evenings and weekends. Currently she creates for Ali Edwards Design and Kellie Stamps. What I love about Emma and her layouts, besides her clearly defined colour schemes, is how she has adapted her process & pages to fit her memory keeping goals. In our discussion Emma tells us her favourite fonts, why she switched from 6×8 to 6×12 and when she is most productive. It was a pleasure to talk with Emma!

Enjoy the show!

Overheard: January edition

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If you are friends with me on Facebook, you know that I will sometimes post funny anecdotes I overhear Rowan saying. Typically I am hanging out with little man Sam, feeding him or putting him to bed. This has been a really fun way to get to know Rowan, especially over this past year, as she has made so much progress with her speech. It is so fun/awesome/amazing (that’s a word right?) to hear her personality shine through. Below are some of my favourite things I overheard this last month:

Overheard in the kitchen
Snack time

Rowan: “Can I have some juice?”
Aaron: “Is that a nice way to ask?”
Rowan: “Yes!”
Aaron: “You forgot the magic word…”
Rowan: “Fine. Abracadabra, can I have some juice?”

Overheard at story/bedtime:
Explaining Star Wars to a 4 year old

Rowan: “So he’s a good guy?”
Aaron: “Yes, Han Solo is a good guy. And here is his best friend Chewbacca.”
Rowan: “Who is Chewbacca?”
Aaron: “Chewbacca is a big furry puppy…”
Rowan: “Like our Charlie*!”

*Charlie is our 8 year old mini golden doodle.

Overheard at bath time:
Talking about Stars Wars (again!) and I find out where my place is in the family

Aaron: “Hey Rowan, next year for Halloween, you could dress up as a character from Star Wars!”
Rowan: “Yes! I like that idea! I could Princess Leia, you could be Luke Skywalker; Sammy could be Han Solo; Charlie could be Chewbacca and Mommy could be Darth Varder…”

Overheard in the car:
Coming home from an appointment

Rowan: “Mommy, I got you that bag with Daddy?”
Me: “I know honey, I LOVE my bag and I LOVE you!”
Rowan: “and I LOVE Daddy!”
Me: “Who else do you love?”
Rowan: “I LOVE Sammy!”

Sigh.

Overheard in the kitchen:
Planning our day

Aaron: “Rowan, do you want to learn how to skate like Ana and Elsa?”
Rowan: “I want to learn how to drive the car.”

Yikes! Go big or go home girlie!

***

What do you overhear your kiddos say?

Happy Tuesday!

Episode 15 : Jessica Upton

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On today’s show, I am speaking with the passionate and persistent Jessica Upton. Living in Colorado Springs with her husband Keith and her kids, McKenna, Riley and Kiefer, Jessica is the owner of the embellishment company, Colorcast Designs. Jessica has been a scrapbooker for the last 14 years and currently she is on the Sahlin Studio Design Team and the Amber LaBau Creative Team. What drew me to Jessica’s modern & colourful pocket pages is her ability to create texture and visual interest through the use of simple embellishments. During our conversation what impressed me the most about Jessica’s process is her clear sense of purpose for creating. In our chat Jessica discusses the rewards and challenges of owning her own business and what it’s like to manage a creative team and how she keeps herself accountable to create pages.  Jessica is such an energetic and open individual, I loved chatting with her. I am sure you will be inspired to scrapbook after listening to our talk.

Enjoy the show!

December Daily 2015: Part 1

Opener

Hey-ho! Did you ever hear the story about the tortoise and the hare? Yes? Good! Apply the moral of that story to my December Daily album and you get the idea of my approach. Slow and steady wins the race! 

Okay, so here’s the backstory: I am the queen of too high expectations. I have never finished a December Daily album besides including Christmas photos in my Project Life album. Since I am on maternity leave, I thought I would give this project another go. Before the holiday season, I set some ground rules for myself. My only goal for the month of December was to take pictures and jot down some notes. In January and February, I would take some time to compile my album. Today, I share with you the first third, or roughly 8 stories of my album.

Title

For this page, I took frozen cranberries and placed them on my counter in a circle, to make them look like a wreath. After snapping a picture, I then uploaded the photo to PSE. I added the word “holiday” from Ali’s Noel digital brush kit and then added stories using the Remington Noiseless font. Finally I added the 25 wood veneer from the Simple Stories, Claus & Co line. Eh Viola – my own unique title page! I should note that my intention for this album is to tell 25 Christmas stories, including stories from the present and stories from the past.

Reason1

For this album, I purchased the Peppermint Granberg December Daily mini kit. There was something about the traditional colour scheme that was calling out to me. I love the colour of reds in this kit. The first page includes the reason why I decided to take on this project at this time.

Reason2

Essentially, 2015 was a really interesting year for the Forster Hunter household. It started off rough and I wanted to have a fun creative project to end the year off on a high note. I also love talking about the kind of traditions and memories, I want to create with Aaron and our wee family. Story one done and documented!

Recipe1

The next two pages showcase a new recipe I made: chocolate candy cane pretzel kisses. I am a fan of most holiday goodies and these did not disappoint! This page allowed me to play with Aaron’s 62 mm macro lens. So fun!

Recipe2

I typed up the recipe in PSE and printed on the back of a 4×6 journaling card. Although it takes a lot longer to journal using my computer, I love that I can match the red in the title to the red in the journaling card.

Recipe3

In addition to the recipe, I also included a story of who I gave these kisses to as well as my favourite memory of baking cookies with my mom when I was a kid. Both stories were typed up in PSE. On the top card I added, “good cheer” and a star sticker from the DD kit. For fun, I included the candy cane wrapper from the hershey kisses on the botton of the right 3×4 journaling card.

Tree1

Oh christmas tree, indeed! Since I love the previous 4×6 journaling card, I created my own  using one of the green striped 6×8 papers.

Tree2

The journaling was printing out on a piece of white card stock and I added the green stripes of paper. The story talks about how we bought our tree, it’s size and when we decorated it. Fun facts: Rowan named our Christmas tree “Fifi” and the man who sold us the tree said that it came from Nova Scotia and then joked with us that if you hold it close to you ear you can hear the sea gulls squawk! Lol!

DearSanta

Out of all the pages in the album thus far, this one feels not done, design wise. Rowan still needs to sign her name to the letter to Santa and I am just not sure about the red circles on the 4×6 journalling card. At this point, I am resigned to leave it be and move on!  Since we visited Santa at the Toronto Christmas market, I have left telling a longer story to a different page. Journaling wise, including Rowan’s letter to Santa was enough. As you can tell Christmas 2015 was all about the paw patrol!

SamSelfie1

Giving mad props to Cathy Z for the quote inspiration and Amie Lamm-Griffin for the idea of doing footprints on kraft paper. Like on previous spreads, I typed up “Selfie Christmas” the journaling in PSE on 6×8 canvas. Knowing that I wanted to have some of that classic green paper peeking through, I reduced the scale from 100% to 95%. The mistletoe wood veneer is also from the Simple Stories Claus and Co collection. The large sans serif “S” wood veneer is from a craft store in Guelph.

In terms of the story, I just want to capture what the kids look like right now. When I saw the through 3 x 4 pocket page, I knew I immediately wanted to use that for a series of photographs. The selfies were taken with my iPhone against the white wall in my kitchen. Oh man do I love that wall! Both kids are wearing their green Christmas outfits that I purchased here. Here is a look at Sam’s selfie page:

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Here is a look at Rowan’s foot print & selfie page. The large sans serif “R” wood veneer is also from the same craft shop in Guelph.

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And finally, the last page is an Around Here post of everyday activities we did through the month of December. It was surprisingly easy to remember all the things were were up to!

AroundHere

So roughly have 8 out of 25 stories documented from the month of December. In terms of next steps, I want to finish another 8 by February 2nd. So I need to decide what stories I want to tell and then edit and print my photos. Like I said, slow and steady wins the race! Haha!

Are you finishing your December Daily album? Are you taking a break? Id love to hear where you are at in your process!

Episode 14: Jen Carlson

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On today’s show, I speak with Jen Carlson. Originally from St. Louis, Jen now lives in North Carolina with her fur children, dog / Winston and cat / Gracie. By day Jen is a process engineer and by night she is an avid scrapbooker. Don’t believe me? Listen to the list of design teams Jen is currently on: Ali Edwards Design Inc,Colorcast DesignsOne Little BirdSahlin Studio and Amber LaBau Designs! You can also check out Jen’s work on her drool worthy instagram account: @jecarl.

What stands out in this conversation is Jen’s clearly defined process for mundane tasks like downloading and printing photos. In contrast, she then follows her inspiration to create pages. Jen discusses tips for taking great photos on a DSLR and how she approaches storytelling on her pages.

Enjoy this conversation!

Sam: Month 3

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(Pardon me – I am doing a little blogging catch up! Currently Sam is 5 months old, soon to be 6. Cray, cray, I know. This entry was written at the end of October 2015. )

Oh Mr. Sam, you have the best expressions! It’s like your eyes are saying: “Mama, again with the camera?”

More than ever Sam, you are bigger and stronger. From holding your head up consistently, to physically feeling heavier, I had to order 3-6 month clothes the first week of October for fear it would snow soon! lol! Yes, although we are experiencing summer like weather here in Toronto, I have been worried that winter would come and that I wouldn’t didn’t have any long pants or jackets to fit you in. Good thing Grandma and Nanny visited us and brought you sweaters and a snowsuit!

If last month was all about smiles then this month is all about babbling. One afternoon in October, after changing your diaper in the bassinet, you responded when I said, “Ah goo”. With your eyebrows raise, you ooh’ed and aaw’ed back. Suddenly our interactions matured from just feeding to something more. Heart Swoon! I have spent many an afternoon, just sitting on the couch,  face to face with you just “talking” back and forth.  At this point, Mr. Sam, you have great eye contact and seems to  be “plugged in” to what’s happening around you.

Sammy, you are alert that’s for sure! For the most part you are a pretty good sleeper – especially at night. Currently you sleep in the bassinet in Mama and Daddy’s room. Right now you go to bed at 7 pm and get up at 1 or 2 am for a feed. I’d love to tell you that we are on a schedule through out the day but that is simply not the case. After dropping big sister Rowan off at school, you sleep either in the stroller, my arms or the swing. In fact, when it comes to school drop off as well as big sister’s appointments, we wing it and you sleep on the go. To be honest, I am not sure how to schedule your naps. Life is a bit chaotic right now. For the most part you are super happy and content. You even tolerate bath and tummy time, showing us your smiles. For right now we will go with it.

Although big sister loves to play with you and always wants to help with your diaper changes, she has said to me: “Mommy, Sammy is your best friend & Daddy is my best friend.” In those moments, I remind big sister that in our family we are all best friends together. Minus a few hiccups here and there, we are feeling like a family of four.

Three months in, it is hard to imagine life with you – especially when you give us these “Blue Steel” looks. I promise to tell you where that reference came from when you are older. *Cough, cough* Zoolander *cough*.

Month3b

His & Hers: January 2016

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Two posts in a week! Can you tell that I love a new year and a fresh start?

I also love a good photo project. Why not combine the two? Yes, time moves a light speed when you have a second baby, folks. Although the sleepless nights are tough, I want to savour this time at home with my little people. I want to capture what are interested in, what are they wearing/eating/reading, and what makes them, them. So here goes nothing!

Right now: Rowan is 4 years and 1 month old and Sam is 5.5 months.

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She loves Star Wars thanks to Daddy. He loves drooling and putting things in his mouth. Both received these items as gifts for Christmas.

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She loves a good penguin story; he is learning about the little piggies.

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She requests “shreddies with ALOT of milk” for breakfast and still eats with her hands although we encourage her to use a spoon. He says “mmmm” and tries to grab the spoon whenever he eats.

His & Hers is a monthly year long photo project that showcases glimpses of my children’s lives through the lens of my camera. Currently, I am learning to shoot in manual mode on my Nikon D5000.

2015 Recap

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So…..how you doing? 

I realize that the crickets have been chirping in this space since October. Sorry about that! I took an unintended break from blogging because life is very full and good. Honestly, it never seemed like a good time to jump back in. However, as we start off a new year, I always get the urge to get back to a regular writing schedule. I guess, I am a sharer-er-er! I don’t know if how often I will be posting, but I do have some fun entries in the works. Before we move forward, let’s look back at the year that was twenty fifteen.

So Jess, what did you get up to this past year? Good question, my friend!

Aaron&Rowan

I took Rowan to lots of therapy appointments

Yeppers, my girlie was diagnosed with mild ASD and a whole world that I didn’t know existed, opened up. Twenty fifteen was an interesting year filled with a lot uncertainty. Honestly, I am finally feel like we are beginning to breathe and see all the benefits of our hard work payoff. More on Rowan and how she’s doing in another post. Although, twenty sixteen will be filled with more therapy appointments, I know where we are going and how we are going to get there. Hooray progress,  for a new year and a fresh start!

I recorded the first season of my podcast, Pocket Talk

Yes, I combined my love of pocket page scrapbooking + podcasts with my “can do” attitude. I recorded 13 interviews with some of the nicest and talented Project Life scrapbookers out there. As a really curious person with a microphone, I love to hear about others creative process. The ultimate goal for the show it to educate and inspire others to be successful in their own scrapbooks – whatever that looks like for the listener.  After taking a break since August, you should know that I am back  taping interviews!!! Look for season two to be released sometime in January!

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I had a baby!

Yes, little man Sam was born three weeks early via csection. Although he spent 12 days in the NICU due to a pnuemothorax, he is out of hospital, happy and healthy. He is growing like a weed! Just last week, he cut his first tooth and starting to sit up. What !?! He has been the best addition to our family and we are slowly, but surely finding our footing as a family of four.

imageI taught classes at Big Picture

Because I had a baby, I made a pregnancy album. I then, wrote about that album for class at Big Picture Classes. In fact, I created a few online courses this year. They include: Beyond the Pocket, Pocket Page Adventures and A Pocket Page Pregnancy. Check them out & let me know what you think! I love teaching; both online and in person. I am super thrilled to be teaching in person in 2016 at Crop and Create in Markham in March and Moncton in April!

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I collaborated with Scrapbook Cards Today and designed new the Life in Pocket quarterly kits

What can I say, I am BEYOND thrilled at the opportunity to work with Catherine and Scrapbook Cards today. This quarterly kit, which I hand picked all the items, gives you a chance to document three months out of your year. In addition to the products in the kit, you will receive a colourful handout with instructions on how to recreate the layouts. Super fun, I am excited to shake up my memory keeping process and intentionally choosing the stories I want to tell. For more information check it out here.

Whew! Twenty fifteen was a very productive year! No wonder, I am so tired – haha! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am gonna have a nap! Happy 2016! I can’t wait to create more.