Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What's good for the Gander is good for the Goose

I was looking at all the starting points for my husband's family history albums last Friday, and I was proud of the progress I'd made, but at the same time, I felt guilty that I hadn't even started my own family albums.  About 5 years ago, I went through all the family pictures at my grandmother's house, and pulled out all the ones that I wanted to scan and use in scrapbooking.  Needless to say, that didn't happen.  I think that the main obstacle was that I thought that I needed to scan the photos first.
Once I had conceptualized how I planned to do Alfred's album, I figured it would be really easy to get mine done too...if only I didn't have to scan the pictures. I really felt like I wanted to get this album done though. (How could I do it for his family and not mine?) I thought, all of my supplies are archival quality.  Why do I have to scan the pictures?  So, I didn't.  
Friday evening at 8 pm I sat down with half of the Sundrifter collection pad and the whole Snippets collection pack (both from Studio Calico) and a stack of cardstock for backgrounds.  I used Shimelle Laine's system from her class "The Perfect Collection" and just started cutting up the papers (I did pull out a few papers I thought I'd want to use as whole background sheets). 
Once I'd cut up all the patterned paper, I put all the background papers and cardstock into page protectors.  I went to my shoebox of pictures and pulled all the ones that had a story that I wanted to tell right away and slipped them in the page protectors with backgrounds that seemed to go with the pictures (although most of my cardstocks were pretty neutral so they weren't too hard to match). 
Next I went to that huge pile of scraps I'd produced and picked a few scraps to work with for each picture/set of pictures in the page protectors.  I stopped there at midnight.  That's right, by midnight I had all my starting points kitted up for all of the pictures I'd pulled and had them in page protectors to work on at my leisure. But then, the kids went to bed on Saturday night and again on Sunday night (as kids sometimes do), and working from bedtime to midnight each day I eeked out a total of 12 hours from Friday night to bedtime on Sunday.  
I got every single one of those kits done up to gluing down all the paper layers and the pictures.  I'm looking at the pile right now and I still can't believe it.
I posted pictures of the whole album up to starting points here, but these are just a few examples of what I did with each of the pages so far.

I can't tell you how excited I am to have these pictures in a form that makes them easy to flip through with my girls.  It came together so quickly, that now I think I'm going to do something a little involved for the journaling.  Thanks requests from some of the ladies on the TwoPeasinaBucket.com forum, they're all photographed and in my flikr, so why not get my whole family's take on the pictures?
The plan is to find a time when everybody can be online (the hardest part of this plan), and virtually flip through the scrapbook.  I'll record the conversation and use pieces of it for the journaling on the layouts and include the whole conversation on mp3 cd in the album.  
I can't wait until everyone is back from their respective vacations in a couple of weeks so we can schedule this event.  This book is going to be awesome!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Alfred's Family History Project

Most people who scrapbook for their children have worried at some point or another about not being caught up.  People come to all sorts of different solutions, and the one I’m most fond of is just not to worry about it at all.  This isn’t completely true.  I have an album for each of my girls first year that I want to be complete as soon after their first birthday as possible.  Lilah’s was done 2 weeks after her first birthday, and I’m hoping to be able to do the same for Michaela. All the rest of my scrapbooks are a fairly random assortment of everyday memories and letters to my family.

There are, however, a few things that keep tugging at my guilty conscience.  The chief among them is that I don’t have much (or anything really) about Alfred’s family.  I have a ton of heritage photos from my family, and I know a lot of our family history, but the same isn’t true of my husband’s family.  I grew up not knowing much about my father’s family and because of that I know very little about what it means to be part Jamaican.  I don’t want my daughters to grow up the same way.  I want their father’s history to be as important to them as mine. 

Enter my newest project.  Two scrapbook albums (one for his mother’s family and one for his father’s), that will give my girls a little bit of an overview of the history on that side and check scrapping his family history off my list forever.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll try to encourage him to keep telling them about his family, but once I finish these two albums, I’ll consider my obligation fulfilled and no more guilty conscious for me…at least not on this account. 

These are the project envelopes I've put together for the two albums.

Here’s the general outline of how I plan to complete this project. 
  1. I’ve already put together 30 starting points (see this link on Shimelle.com about using starting points for scrapbooking), for each album. Here are photos of all my starting points (with sketches when I've used them).

  1.  We’re taking a trip to visit his family next month, and while I’m there, I’ll take an afternoon for each side to photograph their family photo albums. (With good light and a decent digital camera, photographing the pictures is just as good as scanning and takes A LOT less time.)
  2. In the evening, I’ll quickly go though the photos that I’ve taken and copy the ones that strike my interest into their own files, and send them off to print.
  3. It will take another 3 or 4 hours to decide which pictures will go with which starting points (but I’ll probably be thinking about this as I’m choosing the pictures too to make the process go faster)
  4. I’ll adhere the photos to the starting points and put them in order and number them.
  5. On another day (or two), I’ll sit with an audio recorder (I use this app I got for my phone for free, it’s the same app I use for doing my voice overs when my sister edits my videos.) and Alfred’s grandmother (on his dad’s side) and then his mother and grandmother (on the mother’s side) recording whatever they can think of to say about the pages I’ve put together.
  6. After I come home, I’ll transcribe the recordings and print them to use as journaling on the pages.

That’s where I’ll call the project complete for my girls, but then (just because that’s the kind of person that I am) I’ll photograph the layouts and provide copies to anyone in his family who wants them.  We’ll see how it goes, but (in theory) this doesn’t seem too difficult.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Smart phones are amazing little machines, but what's even more amazing are the things that programmers dream up for us to do with them.  It never ceases to amaze me what you can teach a computer to do, and that's all a smart phone is really.  I don't have that big of an imagination when it comes to technology.  Mostly, I think of something I want to do with the computer or phone and try to figure out how to make it do that.  I've learned from listening to The Digi Show, that it pays to just go browsing around the Google Play Store every once in a while.  It really payed off last week.

I keep hearing people talk about editing video on their smart phones, so I decided to look for video editing software, and I stumbled upon Magisto.  Oh, Magisto, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways!  I'm getting ahead of myself, though.   It was free, so I installed it, kept browsing, and promptly forgot about it.  That is, until a few days later when I accidentally tapped the icon for the Magisto app.  (You know it happens to you too)  The interface caught my eye, so rather than going about what I had been intending to do, I decided to play with it a little. (Yes, sometimes I am that easily distracted.)

When you open up the app this is what you see
When I saw that I could use my gallery, and this wouldn't require any pre-planning, I was hooked.  In a couple of easy steps, my choices were made, and I was informed that it would take a few minutes to put the video together.  I got distracted again, and went for a drive.  (What can I say?  It was one of those days.)  Five minutes later, I was stopped at a long light, and I got a message that my video was ready.  I hit play and this is what I saw:

Needless to say, I guffawed and continued to do so for quite some time. (No worries, I did get through the light and pull to the side of the road to continue my fit of giggles.) I still can't believe that video was produced with so little effort from me.  I'm sure you're doubting how easy it is, so let's just make a video together.

Here's the app again:

Use the gallery.

This is what you see.  The photos and video from my gallery.  I pick the photos of my daughter having a fit in a store yesterday and the little video clip that went with it. 

And hit next, which leads you to the screen that prompts you what editing theme you'd like to use.

I pick So Cute!  Then choose an Elizabeth Mitchell song for the soundtrack.  They have lots of songs to choose from, and you can also use your own music.
Once your choices are made, you title your video, and you're done! You don't even have to stick around waiting until it finishes processing. We wait less than a minute and this is our video

If I had complete control of it, I probably wouldn't have left my voice in it, but still not bad for 90 seconds worth of work.  I really encourage you to try Magisto, too.  I haven't had so much fun with my phone in ages!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Taking a Walk

I really do hate to admit it, but this is me. I love those little girls, but I'm not a big fan of what my body has become in the last few years.  I look at my face and I barely recognize myself.  I finally got really and truly fed up this week, and I decided to take a walk.  It started when I put the board across my treadmill and was working on my computer while I walked, but I found that it just wasn't enough.  I needed a longer walk.  I needed to remind my muscles of what it meant to move.  I'm just not ready for running, so I walked...and I walked.  I started with my parents house, taking the girls over there in their stroller for a grand total of 6 miles on Wednesday.  Thursday, we went to the library and the park, about 3 miles there and 3 miles home.  Friday, we went to the pool and it was another 6 mile round trip.  Yesterday, I got a little side-tracked by a trip to feed the ducks with my sister and all of our kids.  It was just too much fun to pass up.  This morning when I woke up, the weather was ugly so before I could talk myself out of it, I told Alfred I was going for a walk, and I plunged out the door, about 2 hours later, I was back with another 7 miles under my belt.  I can't say that I feel any different yet, but maybe before too long I'll see this person looking at me from the mirror again. (Maybe then we can start working on that guy beside me ;-) )

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Treadmill Desk

I've been trying to be more active lately.  I'm more than a little tired of carrying around this baby weight.  It's always a balancing act trying to get things done and get some exercise.  There have been treadmill desks around for years, and I liked the idea but not the price.  Finally, in a bout of frustration (and feeling more than a little fat if I'm being honest) I got out a scrap of flooring that we had in the laundry room (which happens to be a few feet from the treadmill), and I strapped it to the treadmil with some bungee cables.  I'm writing this post waddling along at 2mph at a 2% incline.  That's about as fast as I can go without losing my ability to read or type, but at half an hour in, I think a little bit of sweat might be coming up on my brow. Let's see how long I can keep this up.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A couple of hidden notes

August challenge #1 on the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog is to hide something on a layout.  I've said before that my scrapbooks are meant to be a diary for my girls.  Like any diary, they contain plain speech and private details, so sometimes, it's necessary for me to put my journaling behind other layers.  Sometimes it's because I have something to say that my girls aren't ready for yet, and sometimes it's just that it's not something I'm willing to share with just anyone who might be in my house flipping through my scrapbooks.
For this challenge, I used two journaling cards in a pocket made from the picture of my two girls together.  Most of the time, it's my voice that is recorded in the scrapbooks, but I try every once in a while to get Alfred's voice as well.  Here, we have a little note from each of us tucked onto the layout.
It's a pretty simple layout, but I like it just the way it is.  Not every page can be a masterpiece.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Silly Mistake

So, I've been working happily along with my August Counterfeit Kit (better than a boy).  I've made 4 layouts with it so far.  I've been enjoying it so much.  I was all ready to share them in this post when I realized my silly mistake.

I've never been on a design team before, so I'm not used to having to hold things back before I publish them.  I was so excited to work with my counterfeit kit, and so excited to work on my simple sketches, that I used them both together.  This would be all well and good except that the sketches I was working with aren't due to be released until September!  Oh goodness me!

I do have a bunch of pieces of the kit left, so I'll have to get myself in gear and make something I can actually share on here!

So, I dug back into my files, and found a layout that I loved but hadn't shared yet.

I like this layout mostly for the pictures.  If I had it to do over again, I would tone down the shadows, mat the pictures, and move and duplicate the flower so that I would create a diagonal line from top left to bottom right of the page.  That being said, there were so many negative things going on around this time, but we were determined to see the tremendously happy event of the girls' arrival for what it was...a gift.  I love that despite what was going on, we found the strength to smile and to celebrate life.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Trying to catch up

My sister in law is staying with us this week, and we're having a great time.  It's been almost 2 years since she's been here, so I've had fun showing off all the little (and not so little) projects I've been doing around the house since she was last here.  While I know that a ton of projects have been completed, looking through all of these things keeps reminding me of all the projects that are in closets all over the house abandoned partway through. I think that most people who like to do crafts have abandoned projects.  There are all sorts of reasons:  you ran out of time, you ran out of space, you just got bored with it, it was just too overwhelming.  I'm realizing that I have all of this stuff.  I just need to get these projects finished. So, in no particular order, here's the list of projects that I'm trying to make a dent in before I start anything else
  • Michaela's summer baby quilt
  • Michaela's winter baby quilt
  • A knitted baby blanket
  • reupholstering my couches
  • painting the basement
  • New covers for the dining room chairs
  • reupolstering the "thinking chair" (long story for another time)
  • Diploma framing/family collage wall
  • Beach bags for Maggie and Loraine
  • Twin Comfortors for the girls (Hawaiian Fabric)
  • Fill in Michaela's Baby book
  • Hang mirrors in dining room
Tell me I'm not the only one!  What projects are sitting around your house undone?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August Counterfeit Kit

The last few months, I've been working along with the ladies over at the Counterfeit Kit
Challenge blog (I was even one of July's Fab Five!).  This month, the Master Counterfeiters are forging this kit called The Confidence Kit from Scrapbooking from the Inside Out.  I was momentarily disappointed because it struck me as very boyish.  I don't have much call for scrapbooking little boys.  Then, I noticed that there really were a lot of bright colors that would go great with all the pictures of the adorable girls in my life.

The first things that I noticed when I looked closer at the I  kit were the arrow and number prints (mostly because I knew I had those in my stash).  I found the arrow print first, and I went through all of my papers looking for the circled number print only to realize that it was on the back of the arrow print.  Oy!  The rest of my kit was based off those papers.  Here it is:  

I'm calling it "Better than a Boy" Starting from the top, the kit contains:

  • Pink Balloon Sprinklers from the Midway Collection from October Afternoon.
  • Red, Pink, and Purple Gelatos
  • Cinnamon Thickers from American Crafts
  • A yellow set of punch out letters
  • Papers
    • Good Stuff, Simple Stories, 27/Seven
    • Floral, My Mind's Eye, The Bright Side
    • Handsome, My Mind's Eye, Collectable
    • Camera Paper, Project Life, Honey Edition 
    • In the Neighborhood, My Mind's Eye, On the Sunny Side
    • Label, My Mind's Eye, Nostalgia
    • Boardroom, October Afternoon, 9 to 5
    • Red Glitter Paper, Martha Stuart Crafts (older line)
    • Yellow Glitter Paper DCWV (older line)
    • Cardstock--Bazzil
      • Black
      • Navy
      • Brown 
      • White
      • cream
      • Kraft
    • Cardstock--Coredinations
      • Pearlized Aqua
    • Grey Laminated Cardstock, Martha Stuart (older line)
I think I'm going to have fun with this!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

An awesome new Sketch source!

I'm super excited to announce that I'll be joining the team at Simple Sketches.  Melissa will be putting out great sketches every month and issuing challenges to go with them!  She has picked a talented team of 12 scrapbookers, and I'm very honored to have been selected as one of them!  Check out the other members of the team here.

Here's the layout I submitted for my design team application.  I hope you like it!