Documenting Argentina + Chile


Is that the beginning of a Project Life Travel Scrapbook? Why yes, yes it is!

When you are in the throes of parenting a young child it is incredibly easy to forget that you had a life before said kiddo. Right now, I am trying to remember what is was like to not be a human kleenex. With the desire to remember our pre baby days /adventures / vacations, I set a goal early this year to document three of the five trips we took before having Rowan, you know, before my memory completely goes to mush!


A few weeks ago, I shared this layout from our 2007 trip to Argentina and Chile and since then, I have been working hard, to actually finish the rest. And you guys, I am pretty stoked to share that complete trip and discuss how I set up this Project Life travel album. So here it goes….


For the title page, I enlarged a photo and added a title in PSE.

How did I choose one photo as my title page? Good question! I picked a picture that best represented our trip. When Aaron and I talk about Argentina and Chile, the first story we recount is that of asking about the wild horses in Patagonia.  Although we don’t speak Spanish, we attempted to confirm their existence to a cab driver. Through a series of gestures and stringing together the words, “cabjello sins trabejos” which roughly translates roughly as “horse without jobs”, we were able to figure out that they did exist in Patagonia and they could be seen roaming the countryside. An awkward funny moment that I often associate with this trip. A memorable story meant a memorable picture of horses got the title spot.


Next I enlarged another 12 x 12 and combined it with a Design A page protector. I repeated this design through out. 

How did you decide what to scrapbook first? Good question! I choose to document the trip by the places we visited and scrapped them in order we saw them. Since we visited Buenos Aires, Patogonia, Mendoza, and Chile, I created one or two pages on these locations, depending on what stories I wanted to tell. Below, you can see that I included two layouts highlighting our time in Buenos Aires where I grouped photos by neighbourhood and colour.



For our time in Patagonia, I decided to created pages based on the hotel we stayed at and the glaciers we saw:




For our time in Mendoza, I created a page our our winery tours:


For our time in Chile, I created a page on visiting Portal Natales, a national park:


How did you decide what pictures to include? How did you decide what pictures to “leave out”? Good questions! First, these photos were taken before I was a scrapbooker and I didn’t have a lot to choose from. I started looking at the photos taken and seeing what pictures helped to tell the best visual story.  I don’t scrapbook every photo, nor do I think it is possible to include everything you shot. One of my scrapbooking motto’s in life is “something is better than nothing”…..yes, I can’t believe I have a scrapbooking motto either – crazy, right!?! With that mantra in mind, I used “the best” 4 to 7 photos from the trip.  Should I want to include more pictures in this album, in the future, I can easily add in a Project Life envelope or 6 x 12 insert to capture those details.

How did you remember all those details for journaling? Good question! I relied heavily on Facebook status updates to capture my thoughts from 2007. I also used it to gather dates as I did not keep any memoribilla from that trip. And the audience gasps. Yes, I am bummed about that too. Luckily enough, I had some information to piece a story together !!! When i was stuck, I briefly mentioned the sights that we saw and/or I tried to answer the question, “what do I want to remember?” Again, “something is better than nothing”!


For the end page, I enlarged another photo and added a quote about travel in PSE.

How did I choose this one photo as my end page? Good question! I picked a “walking away” picture to signal the end. How very literal of me! I choose this photo of Aaron walking in the Patagonia mountains because it has similar light to the title page. Also the bottom of the page had space that I could add a quote.


How did I choose this quote? Good question! I simply went to Pinterest, searched “travel quotes” and choose which one “spoke” to me the most. The quote I choose was from a Winnie the Pooh story. Although I am not a crazy WTP fan, the words somehow reminded me of starting our first year of married life together. As I mentioned above, this was the first of five trips we took before we became parents. I think it sets a nice tone for the future album.

How do you plan on documenting the other 4 trips? Good question! I plan on doing something similar with the other adventures. I will use Project Life page protectors, cards from the Midnight edition and employ some of the same strageties as I have outlined above. Right now I am half through documenting our 2008 trip to California and enjoying the process.

If you have made it to end of the post – thank you and congrats !?!

Are you stuck documenting your vacations? Do you have questions about how I set up your own vacation album? Ask away – I am all ears!

Apple Picking

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Uhm, do you have a license for that?

It’s not too often that I am sans Starbucks on the weekend. Living in city, one of the many perks of our weekend routine is buying ridiculously over priced coffee as we walk through the park at the end of our street. However, this weekend I decided to forgo the caffeine as we ventured out of the concert jungle to roam wide open spaces for a few hours on Saturday. What was the reason for our non caffeinated day you may ask? Apples. Sweet and tart, big and small, delicious apples. Scratch that. Macintosh apples.

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Yes, we along with hundreds of other families, lined up to visit Chudleigh’s Apple Farm in Halton Hills. Just a few minutes waiting at the gates I was questioning if I should have brought an Irish coffee – not just my regular non fat vanilla latte…I kid! Sorta.

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Once we got in the magic began. We met my in laws, who helped controlled the excitement of the almost 3 year old girlie. Seriously, even with the 4 to 1 adult to kiddo ratio, Rowan kept us on our toes.

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We fed the animals…

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and subsequently someone attempted to climb into their pens.

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We had our first pony ride – where we screamed the entire time that we wanted to hold free balloon.

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We picked apples. We picked and picked and picked until we had two big bags full.

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We took rare mama /daughter pictures.

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We savoured time with Nanny and Bobba.

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We soaked up the time in the sun. And of course, who could forget – the free red balloon for the win! Seriously a part of me wonders, if we should have just bought her a balloon and called it a day in the city…I kid! Sorta.

In the end, I didn’t need “a Starbucks” or an Irish coffee, just a really long nap + good night’s sleep. Fall somehow inspires me to get out of old routines and to create new ones. Here’s to having new adventures and creating traditions both in the city and on the farm….and to apples, Starbucks and sleep!

Hope your weekend was a good one.

Inspiration Blog Hop


Last week, fellow Project Life creative team member and all around awesome lady, Erin,  invited me to participate in an Inspiration Blog Hop. Super honored, I immediately said yes. I mean, who doesn’t love a good ol’ Blog Hop? Without further ado, here are my reflections on what I am doing creatively right now. 

What are you working on?

Right now I have a few projects on the go. Generally I have 3 or 4 ideas in my head and then work on one intensively depending on what motivates me or deadlines that I have due.  I am in the process of finishing my 2013 Week in the Life album. I am also catching up on my weekly Project Life spreads as well as working on 6 unique travel layouts for an upcoming Project Life + Photoshop Elements class that will be held at Two Scrapbook Friends on October 4th.

How does your work differ from others?

Statements, simplicity and sentimentality. Hooray for alliteration! Let me explain:

1. Statement photos – I love taking pictures with my iPhone. In fact, I take hundreds. When I create a page, I look for one unique photo that stands out from all the rest. My overall goal is to create timeless albums that are classic and stylish. I choose the photos based on what story I want to tell. Which ever photo fits that criteria, I enlarge and print.

2. Simplicity – I am a minimalist through and through. My motto in scrapbooking and in life is, “why make things more complicated than it has to be?”  In my work, you can see, most of the pages I make have only a few products or embellishments with most of the focus on the photos and words. I have always loved photography and I let that stand out.  By day, I am a social worker, so as my coworkers joke, I am very in touch with my emotions 🙂

3. Sentimentality – I see memory keeping as a way to build a legacy. When I was 21, I lost my beloved Auntie to cancer. I have seen how fragile life can be and I see scrapbooking, and more specifically, journaling as a way to get all my thoughts and feelings recorded. Documenting my life stories and family stories to as a way honour the past, capture the present and connect with the future generations. Simply put, scrapbooking lets me tell loved ones how much they mean to me.

Why do you create what you do?

First and foremost, I create for me. When I snap a photo that I love, something inside of me lights up. I am energized by the creative process – it fulfills me in ways that I am just beginning to understand. It is my therapy – my me time – especially in these busy days of raising a young child.

Second, I create to record our family history. I want to look back on this time and remember something. My work doesn’t capture everything but it does capture something of our lives right now and to me: something is better than nothing 🙂

Lastly, I create because it’s fun and connects me to a great group of scrapbookers. I have made some pretty amazing friendships both online and in person because of this hobby.  I love the sense of community and the way scrapbookers  just “get it” – you know? Hooray for community support! 

How do you stay inspired? 

Another motto that runs through my head is “i can do that!”. I constantly try to challenge myself to do better. Better photography, better composition or just finding new ways to put pictures in page protectors, I like to show up and just try.

Although it’s hard, I try not to compare myself to others. I mostly just put my head down and work. I really try to carve out time to do something creative each and everyday. Whether that’s editing photos on my Iphone for 5 minutes or spending 2 hours printing our photos and journaling for Project Life, I must do something crafty.

Other than that – I look to everyday life for inspiration. I love architecture and design and can be inspired by little things. I also love me some magazines, for which I am always analyzing the layout and fonts used.

How long does it take you to create something? 

Depends on project. If I can “see” the end result or have a clear vision for the page / project then it’s quick. No joke my Project Life pages typically take an hour to an hour and a half to complete. On the other hand,  my week in the life albums,  generally take one month to finish as I love to think about and contemplate the design.

Thanks for reading! If you would like to join in on this blog hop – please consider yourself invited. Just link your post in the comments. I’d love to hear what you are doing creatively right now!

Project Life Meets Day in the Life 2.0

Last year, I wrote a blog post on how I incorporated Day in the Life  into my Project Life album. I am slowly working on getting my archives in order…sorry for no link – please forgive my tardiness! That post was a fun way to show you how I used a repeating design theme within the context of Project Life to document a Day In the Life. Today, I thought I would revisit the topic and show you how I am capturing DITL in PL in twenty fourteen. Cool? Cool! Let’s do this!
Examples from 2013:
January 2013
April 2013
PL2013AprilDITL3Example from 2014: January 31PL2014Week5Full


May 8




The biggest difference from 2013 to 2014 is that I am simplifying my design. Instead of incorporating 16 + photos (one enlargement and 15 in grid form), I am including 8 photos in my album (six 4 x 6 landscape and two 6 x 12). Instead of using my computer + different fonts to capture my thoughts, I am strickly using my handwriting and Project Life journalings cards. Instead of documenting my thoughts on my blog, I am journaling directly into Instagram as I take the picture in the moment. I am totally embracing the mantra: something is better than nothing!


Obviously, I am still heavily relying on technology to document various moments in our day to day life. Like last year, my iPhone continues to be my camera of choice. Like last year, I try to edit my photos in the moment and do so using PicTapGo – my current favourite iPhone app.  Like last year,  I continue to convert my photos to black and white. I find it easy and simple to design a page with black and white photos. It gives the classic look to my album. Win win!

Bottom line: 

Regardless on how I capture our memories, I am just so freaking excited that I some these small moments / stories down on paper. Looking back on these 4 layouts over these past 2 years, I see how much Rowan has grown, the different parenting stage I am at and how much we have grown together as a family. How cool is that? Growth, evolution, history all displayed through a few photos. No doubt, I try to keep documenting our life in this format moving forward.

What about you? Do you participate in Day In the Life? How you scrapbook your photos and words?

Date night @ TIFF

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Friday night, I was up waaaay past my bedtime, watching a movie at TIFF. My childless self would have been so impressed but as a working mama of a almost 3 year old, the running commentary in my head went something like this as we waited in line to see the show: “when is this thing going to start?” “oh my there are a lot of young fancy people here”  and last but not least: “all i want to do is go home and put on my sweat pants“. That was until realized we were going to Gala screening. Yes, a gala screening – like gala / “world premiere” of the movie.  Earlier in the week, Aaron got free tickets to a film, and without actually knowing all the details, I agreed to go. Whoops!

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Little did I know that I would be seeing the director and actors introduce the film. Not only did I see John Travolta, Christopher Plummer and Tye Sheridan – in the blink of an eye, they were sitting 100 feet away from us. Although I was exhausted, the commentary in my head changed to: “omg – this is so exciting! I can’t wait to tell my mom!” and “oh my John Travolta has had a lot of “work” done on his face” and “I really want put on my sweatpants”.  

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The film we saw was called The Forger. It is a lovely and enjoyable movie that left me thoroughly entertained and happy that we called a babysitter. Although, at times, it was predictable but the acting from the cast, particularly Christopher Plummer and Tye Sheridan was quite good. Totally worth staying up late and wearing “real pants” for! And in my books, that is a successful date night 🙂

Rustic Carrot Fennel Salad


Although labour day has passed, the warm summer weather has suddenly arrived in Toronto. Let’s face it – I am still not ready to turn on my stove so salads for lunch and dinner it is.


I call this little number “rustic” cause old Jess doesn’t have a medallion nor the mad knife skills to chopped the fennel thinly. Oh well….some you win and some you eat!


Truly this is the easiest salad known to man. I was first introduced to this refreshing recipe through friends. It requires a bulb of fennel, two large carrots, sesame seeds and the juice of lemon. That’s it!




So simple. So refreshing.  Just chop, shred and toss and you are ready to go.



Add some a little salt and pepper to taste. Boom! Yum 🙂 

Project Life 2014: Week 29



How is summer over? I mean, didn’t this just happen yesterday?



This week, I played around with two sizes of enlargements. Typically, I blow up the “best” photo to create a statement, but I couldn’t decide which picture I liked better. I love the picture of the sun setting as well as the one of Charlie, in action, getting out of the water. So two enlargements it is! Hooray for indecisiveness! On the left, I used Design A age protector and on the right, Design C. All cards are from the Dreamy Core kit, by Heidi Swapp.



Fun fact: the journalling doesn’t match all the photos. For some reason, I find it easier to design a page when all the photos “match”. Maybe I’m crazy, but that’s how my mind works. In addition to documenting our relaxed evening outs to beach, I also documented / wrote about our trip to the doctor and to Stratford to see the play, King Lear. Another week in the books!

Happy Tuesday!

How He Documents


If you are like me, when Ali says, “jump” – I often respond with “How high?”. No doubt that I am a keen follower. So when she mentioned last week on her blog on how she included her partner’s perspective in her scrapbooking, I started to reflect on how Aaron has helped to documented our lives. See, I am a lucky gal, who has a super supportive husband. He “gets it”. No only does he encourage me to document our daily lives, he also helps to record our memories. Below are a few ways, Aaron has shared his perspective in my memory keeping.

Project Life


Project Life 2013: Week 26

Aaron is always quick to let me know if Rowan is doing something cute. He will call me or snap something himself if I am not around.  The large picture of Rowan brushing her teeth is one example of how he encouraged me to get my camera. And when I say, “encouraged”, I mean “told me to I better come quick….and bring the camera”. Seriously, I don’t know what I would do without my iPhone…..Ok sorry for being so dramatic. I would survive, but I would hate lugging my DSLR around all the time!    

Pregnancy Album




Pregnancy Album

Back in 2011, I created a pregnancy album that highlighted my journey from conception to birth. It was before I started Project Life but essentially was a mix of pocket pages and traditional layouts. It included this layout, which had 20 facts about Aaron that he wanted Rowan to know. Aaron happily obliged and wrote some really lovely things. Essentially, I created and formatted a document in word, based on a sketch from Ali’s Yesterday and Today class, and Aaron wrote. and wrote. and wrote. Swoon!!!! Three years later, I still love what he shared.

Journal for Rowan



Aaron’s Book for Rowan

Lastly, on the day that Rowan was born, Aaron started to write in a leather journal he bought in Italy in 2009. It’s a mix of serious, silly and sentimental thoughts and notes. I love that he is doing this and that it is his own thing. Also great? His hand writing! What a keepsake!

Bottom line: Aaron is supportive of my memory keeping efforts and participates. He is not always a fan of selfies – but who is? Seriously, I am thankful.  Is your significant other supportive of your memory keeping ways? How have they helped you record your memories? I’d love to hear!

Happy Monday!

Grandma’s Gallery Wall


Ok – so technically this post isn’t related to decorating our house, but I did print the photos, buy the frames and suggest the layout for the gallery wall. Let’s just say someone recently had a milestone birthday and I wanted to do something special for my mom….I mean for the special person in my life. My mom, I mean, person, wanted to have pictures of her granddaughter and I was all too happy to oblige her.


Bottom line: I love living with pictures. Having sold our home this year, we de-cluttered our space of personal items, including family photos. I can honestly say that I missed having them around. There is something about the moment + memories captured in a photograph and proudly hung in a home that energizes my soul from the inside out. Giving that as a gift to someone else was a very fun thing to do especially when it involved my girlie…..I can totally say that now, after the drama of hanging said photos is over.


I know I am a total convert, but apart of me thinks that if I wasn’t a scrapbooker/Project Lifer, this gift would have seemed like daunting task. My photos are in no way shape or form perfectly organized on my computer, nor to I have the perfect life. I do remember specific moments, both good and challenging, better than I use to because I engage with my photos on a regular basis. I look back and honour the moments in time that have past while also reflecting on what they will mean for the future.  Taking pictures is just one half of the equation, but that’s the part that I love.

Turned out well / Cute, n’est pas?

Project Life 2014: Week 28


No toddlers were hurt in the making of this Project Life spread! Promise!


You may remember a few weeks ago, I did some baking with my girlie in our new kitchen. We were in the midst of unpacking and I unfortunately didn’t take many photos from this week. No problem! I did take *ahem* a few of our first kitchen adventure. Eh Viola – a baking Project Life spread was born! I know this spread doesn’t represent the entire story of our life and I am ok with that. I am really good a remember the stress and not always so great a remember the small little fun details. Looking at these photos makes my heart skip a beat. I loved baking with my mom and I hope to continue that tradition with Rowan. And as the journaling card says, I didn’t make them from scratch – but instead from a box!


I haven’t used many of the yellow cards from the midnight kit. Yep, I have a whole stack of them just sitting in the kit. When I printed these photos, ones with a neutral white background and limited colour scheme, I knew immediately, that I could use 8 of them across the double page spread. It a very basic template but I like how stylish it is.

Have you used Project Life to document your recipes?