WITL 2014: Tuesday Photos + Words

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The Photos

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The Words

6:37 AM I am in a deep sleep when my alarm goes off. Think to myself, “now that was a good night’s rest”. I get up from bed and Pup E Boy immediately takes my place at the head of the pillow. Charlie typically sleeps with us, and during these cold fall nights, I don’t mind him at my feet, keeping me warm. His tail a wags and he yawns. He is such a loyal / loving dog.

7:11 AM Marvel that I am almost completely ready for work when Rowan wakes up. First thing we do is head to the bathroom. Aaron reads “A potty for me” book as girlie sits and listens intently. Oh yes, we are in the glamourous stage of toliet training. Its only been a week, but I wonder, we she ever be trained?

7:37 AM This mornings temper tantrum is brought to you by a banana. Although we were finished breakfast, Rowan had left the table and was heading up the stairs to get dressed, she wanted the banana as soon as I cleared the table. When I said ‘no’, down came the tears. We got dressed and were able to eat more of said banana before leaving for daycare. Good times! Seriously, I can’t believe how much I do before 9 am.

7:57 AM Aaron puts on his shoes – while Charlie clearly dislikes that it is a weekday. I look for my keys for the umpteenth time. Take a few deep breaths and try to remember where I had them last. Rowan runs to the door and then to the car. I love our new house and two parking spots that we have in the back. Rowan climbs into her car seat and I say good bye to girlie. Aaron is doing pick up and drop off today so that I can see clients in the afternoon.

12:47 PM No wonder I’m hungry! Clinic runs late and my tummy starts to rumble. I head to the “Waiting Room” a restaurant at work to buy lunch. I order my favourite: a doc’s salad with tuna and balsamic vingearette. I head back to the clinic for rounds and to prepare for an afternoon of clients.

5:37 PM After having a few laughs with Sonia, I leave the office.  It is foggy and raining and I attempt to run to the car. All I can think about is getting home to my girlie, but I take the opportunity to do some much needed errands for myself that I normally don’t get to do.

6:00 PM I swing by the bookstore and pick up Amy Poehler’s new book, “Yes, Please”. I love comedy and specifically, I love female comics especially Amy Poehler. Between this book and Lena Dunham’s book of essays, my nightstand is overflowing. With all the fun creative deadlines that I have on the go right now, I think to myself, it will be a while until I can focus on “just reading”…and I am totally okay with that.

7:47 PM Finally arrive home after a nightmare commute. With the DVP closed, I was forced to drive the city streets which took for-EVER! I make it home just in time for bath with Rowan. Aaron says that she had a good day but that she chose not to eat dinner. We read 3 bedtime stories and then it’s lights out. Rowan says “Good night! Sweet Dreams Mommy!” I tell her that I wish her the same. Aaron finishes his Spanish homework, while I go downstair to work.

11:00 Blog, blog, blog. Seriously, I am doing a second shift at home. After watching a crazy rap by Daniel Radcliffe on Jimmy Fallon, I fall into bed happily.

Observations

It is amazing how much difference one year makes. Last year, I felt like I was just keeping my head above water as a mother. Although I continue to have these days, they are few and far between. Our family is cohesive little unit.

Gratitudes

1. I am thankful for a partner who is an involved parent.

2. I am thankful for patience I didn’t know that I had today.

3. I am thankful for abundantly full creative life.

Favourite Moment of the Day

When a client gave me a hug and said thank you for helping her.

WITL 2014: Monday Photos + Words

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The Photos

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The Words

6:37 AM I am not ready to get up. It is dark outside and everyone else is asleep. I would like to stay in bed but it is a work day and I must start my day early or we will never get out the door. Oh yes, I have a case of the Mondays – is it coffee time yet?

8:10 AM Daycare drop off and Rowan says, “Burr – I’m very cold Mommy!” I say, “Yes it is very cold Rowan, it’s 3 degrees in Toronto”. Unfortunately, I am distracted – my mind is buzzing with the latest news from Ottawa, the city election and the story related to former Q radio host, Jian Ghomeshi. A part of me, wonders what kind of world we are living in and wishing I could alway protect my girlie from these dangers.

9:20 AM: Arrive at work, in my work attire. Confession: I never know what to wear and this outfit was the third choice of the day. Feeling like I am always late, I run as fast as my swollen ankle can take me into the office. It’s a busy clinic day. In between meeting with clients, I chat with co-workers and return emails. The common theme that runs through today meetings: families being able to access / afford their medications. As a social worker, on any given day, you never know what you are going to face. I enjoy the challenge and helping families get what they need.

3:21 PM Coffee break as I chart on patients I saw in this morning’s clinic. I am aware of the time and soon I will be running out door to go grocery shopping and to vote. It is the calm before the storm that is known as evening routine.

4:47 PM I complete my civic duty and vote. Regardless of who wins the mayoral race tonight, I can not tell you the pride I feel as a woman, every time I get this chance. I am so lucky. Of course, I am hoping for my candidate to win and that at the very least there is some change at city hall.

5:16 PM I pick girlie up from daycare. I love that she runs and gives me a big hug. Sarah tells me that Rowan had a good day and put on her own shoes. Hooray! While sitting in her car seat, Rowan sings her ABCS and asks if we are going “grocery shopping”. I tell her yes! As soon as we arrive home, Rowan hops in the stroller and we head down to the market at the end of the street. Seriously, I love our hood.

6:54 PM I make a quick dinner as Rowan watches an episode of Dora. Yes, it’s Dora, Dora Dora, all the time. Tonight we have breakfast for dinner aka: scrambled eggs / huevous ranchos. After eating, Rowan expends copious amounts of energy, running and jumping, as Aaron goes out to vote. During bathtime, we sing songs and Rowan giggles. Once Rowan goes to bed, I head downstairs to watch the election coverage + blog while Aaron watches shows upstairs on the iPad.

Observations:

As Aaron puts it, before children we were somewhat aimless, with no direction. Three years into parenting, we both know that our top priority is Rowan. Making sure she is well taken care of is what we focus on daily. I can no longer remember what life was like before her, nor do I want to.

Gratitude:

1. I am thankful for the rights I am a afford as a woman in Canada.

2. I am thankful for a supportive family focused workplace.

3. I am thankful for simple family moments, like singing at bath time, that bond Aaron, Rowan and I together.

Favourite Moment of the Day

Hearing that Rowan put her own shoes on today at daycare.

WEEK IN THE LIFE 2012

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THE BASICS: 

So in 2012, I was on my year long maternity leave with Rowan while Aaron was working at a new job and traveling alot for work. As a result of Aaron’s business trip to Utah, I seriously considered not documenting this WITL. I thought I would be too stressed and too tired because I was looking after a 5 month old. I am so glad I didn’t listen to that voice of fear because this is one of my favourite WITL albums!

THE DESIGN PLAN

Full disclosure: I was going through a Real Simple magazine phase and as such, created my album with that aesthetic in mind. Like 2010 and 2011, I documented my week in 8.5 x 11 format and a combination of Gill Sans and Georgia fonts. This album also included our daily schedule with a time stamp and as well as gratitudes and reflections on the similiarties differences from the previous year.  In all this album had 30 or 4 pages dedicated to document each day. Bottom line: I really wanted this album to be easy to read….you know as if you were reading a magazine. Have a look!

MONDAY 

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TUESDAY

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WEDNESDAY

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THURSDAY

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FRIDAY

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SATURDAY

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SUNDAY

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REFLECTIONS

So much goodness in these pages! I can hardly remember what I did yesterday versus what I did with a 5 month old back in 2012. Ha! After completing this project 3 times, I felt that I finally felt that this year, I hit my design groove in putting it all together.  And speaking of which, I waited until July 2013 to compile all the information into these layouts. I am so thankful for my blog to literally be an online diary that I could go back and reference. Thanks for looking!

Week In The Life 2011

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THE BASICS:

Oh the summer of 2011! Although we didn’t know whether we were having a girl or a boy – I was approximately 6 months pregnant with Rowan. We still lived on Lee Avenue and Charlie was our one and only fur baby.

THE DESIGN PLAN:

This year, I stepped up my game plan. Since I was know the proud owner of a fancy iPhone 4, I documented life via Instagram. Yes, I used white border and the Kelvin filter to “edit” all my photos….gasp! I know not the creative decision I would make today, but it captures a point in time. Like 2010, I came up with my own design plan, using 8.5 x 11 page protectors. All I have to say is that “the look” I was going for was “Modern French Country”. Funny enough the album was mostly pink and it turns out that I had a girl. The other conscious choice I made was to journal more. This included detailing our daily schedule with a date stamp and to write down daily gratitudes and reflections on the differences from the previous year.  In all this album had 30 or 4 pages dedicated to document each day. Have a look:

MONDAY

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TUESDAY

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WEDNESDAY

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THURSDAY

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FRIDAY

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SATURDAY

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SUNDAY

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REFLECTIONS

Although I would not make the same design choices now, I totally appreciate the growth in my creative process. I still love this album and that I have a record of taking afternoon naps, just because I could! I love that I documented the excited feelings of my pregnancy and the anticipation of Rowan joining our family. My heart smiles because I see where we were and where we are now. Oh how innocent and well rested I was! HA!

Thanks for looking!

Week in the Life 2010

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THE BASICS : 

My first year of completing WITL, I used my DSLR and a journal to write down some thoughts on the go. I didn’t have any specific ideas of what to capture, I just went about my day taking pictures.

THE DESIGN PLAN: 

I created 14 – 8.5x 11 pages, two dedicated to each day. The “opening pages” had an enlarged photo as well as a reflections from  the day. The second page, aka the “collage page” included some static and action photos. Although I didn’t write a ton of detail, my main goal was just to get something, – anything really – down on paper. Check. Check. As you can tell, I used a repeating design through out using similar product over and over. Clean and simple: Have a look!

MONDAY

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TUESDAY

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WEDNESDAY

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THURSDAY

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 FRIDAY

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SATURDAY

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SUNDAY

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REFLECTIONS: 

Super cool to see what we look liked four years ago. Fun fact: We no longer live in the house on Lee Avenue – nor do I have the time to lounge on the couch but I still have that blue sweater! This first year, I uploaded my unedited pictures to a developer and printed the summary pages at home. It was the big first scrapbook project that I completed. Hooray!

Succeeding at Week In The Life

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Next Monday, I will be documenting my fifth Week In The Life project. Yes, my 5th WITL – where did the time go? It feels like just yesterday, Ali mentioned my work on this early episode of the Paperclipping Roundtable. Fun fact: around the 20 minute mark that she talks about the page shown above. To this day, I feel super lucky for the shout out. After all, that small, kind comment encouraged me to start a blog and to share my work online.

Obviously – WITL and memory keeping have become incredibly important part of my life these last four years.  To date –  WITL project has documented my life from 2010 to 2013: from a time where Aaron and I were a childless couple, through my pregnancy, to the first two years of Rowan’s life. How cool is it to see the growth, literally and figuratively, on a scrapbook page? I’m sure I don’t have to tell you but:  so cool!

Over the next few days, I will be sharing some visual inspiration with my completed albums, including the never before seen 2013 album, next Monday October 28th.….And the crowd goes wild! Ha! Before then, here are some of my own personal tips to finishing a Week In The Life, because having a final album in your hand is so awesome. Of course….I totally deferred to this post from Ali who has great free resources for completing WITL. 

TRUTH: WITL is an intense project

Ugh – If I am being honest, by the time Sunday, the  7th and final day in this week long project rolls around, I am ready to stop documenting. And when I say, “stop documenting” I mean like I don’t even want to think about scrapbooking again.  After a week or two has past, I am totally keen to create again – but WITL takes a lot of me. This project is a marathon not a sprint. Most people start out strong, taking a lot of pictures the first day and then end up loosing steam and dropping out. I find that there is an ebb and flow to it all. Some days I take lots of photos and others I don’t. I accept that fact, move on and focus on the finish line.  During the week I try to remind myself of these 4 things:

1. Something is better than nothing (ex. Any photos/any journaling = good / no photos/no journalling = bad)

2. I don’t have to document everything especially on the first or second day. (And I do take lots of similar pictures through my week and that is ok)

3. My life doesn’t have to be “pinterest pretty” to document – I just have to be willing to capture life in a slow and steady manner.

4. The finished album is so worth it. Trust me, if you have never completed this project – it’s so awesome and so worth the effort! (ex – I often look through my old albums and marvel at the small details. Things that I would totally forget about, if I didn’t take the time to document them. I especially like to get out my completed albums and document what is similar and different than the year before and writing daily gratitudes)

TRUTH: Relying on others for support / encouragement can help

Summarizing what happened each day, whether on a blog or Instagram, is a great way to keep yourself accountable. The last three years, I edited photos in the moment and then posted them to Instagram. Information included in that post was a time stamp and journaling. Next, I took that information and wrote a blog post which included the “best photos” along with journaling from the day. I am not gonna lie, when people “like” my posts or  left comments on my blog, I got energized. In return, I did the same for other people completing the project. Frankly, it’s nice social media etiquette and as memory keepers it can help unite us to the same end goal. That type of social support is real, freaking awesome and addicting!  I can also help push you through to the last day!

Do you have any tips for completing WITL? I would love to hear them! Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to show you my albums over the next few days!

Project Life 2014: Week 30 – 36

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Summer 2014 will always been known as the summer of the fedora in our house!

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Okay – I am not gonna lie:  August was a bit of a blur. Having just moved into our new house and being in the process of  moving offices buildings at work, I really didn’t know if I was coming or going. Although I took lots of pictures I feel completely uninspired and totally overwhelmed with the idea of catching up on 6 weeks worth of documenting. So what’s a girl to do? Simplify, of course! Yes – this spread represents 5 weeks in our lives…

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Instead of struggling to make my pictures work, I simply printed one picture and journaled some funny little conversations, I had with my girl over the course of the month. You may remember some of these conversations that I wrote about them here. Although this doesn’t visually represent everything that happened in August, I am just happy I have something down in my Project Life book vs. nothing. I have all my photos saved in Dropbox.  If / when I feel the need to, I can always go back – print out more of August 2014 pictures – and put inserts into my album. Easy, peasy!

I specifically chose to use this picture as it captured summer 2014 otherwise known as the summer of the fedora in our household. As a result it seemed like the  right fit with the journaling cards. Bye bye stress!

Journaling cards are from the Dreamy Core Kit; Wood Veneers are from Studio Calico and digital stamp from Ali Edwards.

How do you deal feeling overwhelmed?

Project Life 2014: Week 37

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Orange, Black, White and Grey for the win!

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So I am jumping ahead in my 2014 album. I find that summer is for relaxing and fall naturally energizes me. I have my summer pictures backed up but just haven’t documented them. No stress, no guilt, no worries.  This week, I am scrapping pictures that excite me – and this was a week was one for the books as we attended a gala movie at TIFF! That combined with our regular weekend routine of going to the dog park and playground, this week shows off a nice balance of big and small events. Done and done!

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I took a bit of extra time and typed up a week in review card. I created a text box in Photoshop Elements and printed it on a blank 4×6 Project Life card. Since this week marked the 13th anniversary of September 11th, I wanted included some of my memories from that day 13 years ago. Seriously this layout covers so many stories, no joke!

If you are interested in learning more on about how to use your computer while scrapbooking, I will be schlepping my computer and printer to Two Friends Scrapbook this Saturday, October 4th to teach a beginner  Photoshop Elements for Scrapbooking class. It’s a small class, limited to 8 people. If you are interested in learning from me check it out here. I am excited to talk all things scrap!

Layout features Design A Project Life page protectors and cards from the Jade Edition.

Documenting Argentina + Chile

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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!

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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….

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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”!

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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.

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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!

Inspiration Blog Hop

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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!