Last week found me trying to decide what to do with all of the pictures of my baby boo that I finally got printed.  In my Pinterest quest for ideas I got swept up into this Project Life craze, which felt at once really appealing and really intimidating.  If you haven’t heard of Project Life before, it’s kind of like a cross between photo albums, scrapbooking, and journaling.  It aims to make memory keeping simple and personal.  Which is great.  And people do some A-MA-ZING things with it.  But I know myself.  I can’t handle pressure.  And all of those beautiful cards and accessories are just a whole lot of pressure.

Of the photos I shared last week, I was most inspired by the Pink Ronnie album, but I had a really hard time finding a book that I liked enough to permanently attach photos to.  So I decided to get simple.  Really, really simple.  My photos, my words, the end.  In the end I used a 4 x 6 dollar store photo album, some card stock, paper punches, and washi tape, and that was it.  I love the results.  I love that I felt no pressure, just enjoyment at looking at the pictures and putting words to them.  What’s great about the size of the album is that it’s small enough for my little guy to flip through and enjoy whenever he likes.  Big albums are great, but also they feel imposing to me and are a little bit too awkward for little hands to maneuver themselves.  And because my album is only 48 pages of photos, I was able to concentrate on one moment- our camping trip last summer.

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I really let the photos be the focus of this journal.  I removed the insert that came with the photo album and typed up a title for the album, then printed it onto card stock.  I used one of my favorite pictures from the trip for the cover page.  I printed up a few lined journal pages and cut them to size, some vertical and some horizontal, and I inserted them where it felt appropriate.  I have since learned however, that you can buy pre-printed journal pages on the Project Life website!  I stocked up immediately.  You can also buy blank, precut card stock in many awesome colors, if you tend more towards color.  There are tons of great accessories on the website that I may explore at a later time, like photo overlays and little envelopes.  So cute.

 

One of the things that I do really love about Project Life is that it allows you to personalize photos and capture stories and sentiments that go along with the pictures.  What I don’t love so much are the pre-printed quotes.  I feel a little bit weird about someone else picking my words for me.  I stamped out a few card stock shapes and in the spots that I really had words to share, I shared them.  In my own funky handwriting.

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I love when things come out Pinterest worthy, but really, this album is for me, and not for Pinterest (although, if you want to share this, by all means, do!)  So perfect type and immaculate handwriting were really not super important.  I did my best, but in the end real life is not Pinterest and photo albums are not a competition.

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I found a series of pictures where it looked like we were each earning brownie points for doing things for the first time.  So I made little awards for each photo.  Gaspar stoked a fire, Eric put up a tent, and Jojo the dog . . . well I’m not sure what he did exactly to deserve brownie points but he looked like he wanted some so I gave him the “Ummm” award.

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And I just loved this picture of me and our littlest camper.  There’s nothing more fun than a dog on the beach.

 

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I had tons of fun with my humble materials.  On the day that we went to the beach there were tons of kites in the sky and Gaspar was really loving them.  I took tons of pictures, but none of the kites came out very well in the photos.  So I added them in later with bits of wash tape and embroidery floss.  I love, love, love the effect.

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Over all I am just so in love with this simple photo album.  I can’t wait to make more of them.  I think that for the sake of consistency I will just stick to cream colored card stock, rounded corners, simple journal pages, and black text.  So if anyone else out there is crushing on Project Life, or has started and album but felt overwhelmed, I’d definitely suggest testing out your own simple dollar store version!

 

 

Stress Free Project Life

Soooo Many Pictures.

posted on Jan 28, 2015

Like most moms, I take every opportunity to photograph my munchkin.  I post pictures and favorite quotes to my personal Facebook page almost daily.  But you know what?  That isn’t exactly the best way to capture my precious child’s life.  And I know that.  I aim to do better.  I’ve never been a scrapbooker, and I am terrible about getting pictures printed.  But one of my biggest goals this year is to be better at capturing these fleeting moments.  I want a record of all of the most beautiful little details that make up my days with the people I love.  So I’ve just ordered about a bazillion prints, and I’m starting to think about how best to organize and contain them.

I love the idea of combining words with photos.  I love texture.  I love paper.  I don’t love pressure.  And to me scrapbooking, and even “Project Life” type scrapbooking, is just loads and loads of pressure.  The reality for me is that if it’s not casual, relaxed, and spontaneous, I simply will not do it. I will stare at my materials and go blank.  I also don’t totally love purchasing a bunch of stuff that someone else has designed and is supposed to represent my own personal feelings.  Too weird.

Here are a few bits of inspiration to get me, and maybe you, going on a path to more regular journaling.

I like this idea because honestly I am not the world’s greatest photographer, and yes, sometimes I print pictures without spending ages editing and adding cool filters.  So I like the idea of chopping the less cute pictures up and doing something fun with them that still tells a story.

I’ve always had a crush on Smashbooks.  I like the layering and details.  I like DIY Smashbooks even better.  I’m feeling like I have enough paper in my stash to put together something fun and quirky.

And isn’t everything cuter when it’s mini?  I feel like mini photo journals would be a great way to document specific events, like a camping trip or birthday party.  These are just way too stinking cute.

This super cute mini scrapbook is made up of the inserts for a Project Life book.  Super cute and has lots of texture and prompts.

 

 

And this might be my favorite idea of them all.  Because really what matters most are the photos and the stories.  I love, love, love how simple and low pressure this journal is.  Ronnie uses one page for groups of photos and the other for a standout photo or a story.

 

How are you all with journaling/scrapbooking/memory keeping?  Do you have favorite ways to keep on top of recording life?  Please share!

 

 

 

 

 

Bows are in the shop!

posted on Jan 21, 2015

What a lovely Wednesday morning it is!  My living room is flooded with sunshine and life feels good.  I have just posted a couple of my favorite new bow treats in the shop.  I’ve got so many more cuties coming, but for today you can now purchase Chubby Bow Hair Clips and Chubby Bow Bookmarks!  I also noticed that I’d been having some weeiird shipping issues, and those have all been fixed.  And now I’m off to work on some teeny tiny felt bow earrings!

Hair Bow Rainbow

New Year, New News, New Stuff

posted on Jan 12, 2015

Well here we are again, a brand new year and a fresh start.  My last blog post was definitely a false start to what I had hoped would be a fresh beginning for the blog.  But right before the holidays is definitely not the time to throw oneself into blogging!  Well, you live and you learn.  Now that Christmas and New Years have passed, and my holiday messes are (mostly) put away, I really am ready for that fresh new start.

Behind the scenes lots of fun and exciting things are happening, and also some less fun things like moving junk to the basement and cleaning out files- woohoo!  But let’s talk about the fun things, shall we?  Like the fact that I’ve got a whole new line of adorable products for you cute-lovers!  During the holidays I tested out some oh-so-cute new products and I’m really, really excited to put those in the shop for you all.  Cute stuff, like, oh, I don’t know, Big Bow Bookmarks!!  I can’t tell you how much fun it is to pick up a book and see a chubby bow looking up at me.  It cheers my soul every time!  Soo, those will be in the shop soon.  And a whole lot of other bow-inspired treats.  But I don’t want to give away too much just yet.  Just expect cuteness.  And a lot of it.

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Other fun things going on over here include growing a person in my belly!  Yep!  We’re adding a number 4 to our family!!  It’s pretty exciting news, but to be really honest, it’s also kind of scary for a person who barely feels like they’re just barely getting back into the swing of things, crafty wise.  My goal for the year is to create some kind of system so that I don’t completely lose my mind when this next little person arrives in late June or early July.  I’m always so impressed by moms who blog, but I also know that the reality is usually waay more complicated than those beautiful pictures and highly edited words will convey.  Wish me luck on my journey!

How are you all finding the new year?  Store ads are full of organizational-stuff sales, but I’m wondering if I’m the only one who still has Christmas decorations up and stacks of half-finished projects still laying around.

 

At one time I had 2 criteria for making things:  1.  It must be useful and 2. It must be cute.  Well now that I have a very smart, very cool kid, “useful” has a whole new meaning.  Last week what I needed, and I mean  NEEDED, was trees.  Of the small sort.  Diorama sized.  I’ve tried and failed at making great trees on several occasions, but this time I really meant business.  So I came up with a pretty hearty, long lasting solution for anyone out there who just must have trees for their diorama or fairy cottage or toddler small world play.  I did this tutorial during nap time, so my blurry, discolored, step by step pictures are missing a step or two, but hopefully the directions are pretty straight forward and you’ll figure out what to do.  These trees stand up straight, let me tell you.  They’re super versatile and inexpensive to make.  And guess what.  My little person loves them!

 

DIY Tree Graphic

Materials:

– Fake foliage (the smaller the leaves the better)

– Cardboard (got mine from a diaper box)

– Round wooden wheels (small tree cookies with holes drilled into them would also work really well).

– Green, brown, or sand-colored felt, depending on your “scene”

– A glue gun.

– Wire snippers.  They will make your life easier.  Get some at the dollar store if you don’t have any.

How To Trees 1

 

Step 1.

Cut your cardboard into about 5″ squares.  Hot glue your wooden disks onto the center of the cardboard, preferably on the side that has the picture/words on it.  Do not cut your felt yet.

Step 2. 

Make hot glue strands in a radiating pattern from the center out, and make sure to get glue on the top of the disk.  Do about half of the cardboard square at a time. Place the felt over the cardboard, and use both hands to apply it good and wrinkly.  This is what will make the tree’s roots.  I promise that it makes for a much more natural looking set up in the end.  Do the other half.

How To Trees Step 2

Step 3.

Turn the cardboard over and cut the felt in an organic pattern, well away from the edge of the cardboard.  (I tried a few trees where I actually cut the cardboard in a wavy form and it was more trouble than it was worth, plus it made the trees a bit more wobbly).

How To Trees Step 3

Step 4.

Using an awl, or exact, or sharp scissors, poke a hole in the top of the wood disk.  Snip off a tree sized bunch of leaves from your fake foliage.  Stick the tip of the hot glue un into the hole and fill about half way.  Insert the foliage into the disk and hold upright until the glue sets.  Voila!  That’s it.  You just made a tree!  There are so many ways to customize this.

How To Trees Forest

You know that you’ve found the right career path when you take a 2 year break from your job and the only thing you want to do during that 2 years is get back on your original path.  Being a mom has been a beautiful, wonderful challenge.  I’m sure that some moms find it easier than I did to be crafty while caring for an infant, but for me, my crafty life pretty much skidded to a halt when our little one came along.  Every project was a struggle, plus I had the bonus fun of being in the middle of a really intense construction project that displaced all of my furniture.  It took a while to bounce back from the double shock of shifting focus to the needs of a baby and living amongst boxes and a chaos of furniture.

 

And clearly I got to a point where I just couldn’t juggle writing this blog with living my life.  So I took a break. What did I do during that break?  Ohh, not much, just opened up a brick and mortar shop, taught a bunch of crafty classes, made a bunch of friends, and watched my infant turn into an amazing toddler who talked almost as much and as clearly as I do by his 2nd birthday.   I have had a heck of a year, folks.  I’m sure that I will one day share all the details of how and why I opened my shop, and how and why I ultimately decided to close it up after a year, but for now I just want to say AHHHH,  it feels so good to be back in my studio and back at this blog once again.  I’ve missed it more than words can say. And I’ve got a tutorial coming for you.  Cos I’m jumping right back in where I left off.

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Dreaming up a busy board

posted on May 22, 2013

I’m building a busy board this week! What is a busy board? It is a place for busy little hands and minds to occupy themselves while practicing motor skills. You can buy plastic, blinky lights versions at Walmart or Target, and you can pretty easily make your own with latches, locks, knobs, etc. You can also buy semi homemade versions on Etsy. I, of course, am opting to make my own. I want something for G that will not just entertain him now. My goal is for his toys to last a really long time and have open ended use. Which is why I can’t JUST make a busy board. Nope. It has to have some fuel for the imagination. Gaspar’s busy board will be a combination of fun things to manipulate and spin plus a spaceship control center for later on when his imagination kicks in. Take a look at my inspiration.

Isnt it adorable? This is my manipulation/ function inspiration. It has a bell, buttons, magnifying glass, wheel, spinning things, shiny things, so many elements for busy hands! (Click on any photo to visit the source).

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So that is my function inspiration. My design inspiration comes from old control panels. Like the ones you’d find in a Soviet rocket ship. Or a submarine. Or a zeppelin. Feast your eyes.

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I mean, a control panel would come in handy for a ten year old, am I right? I’m having SO MUCH FUN with this! I’ve been digging through every drawer and box for things that can be something else. Here are two of my test runs- oh, and these are reference shots before I cleaned up my mess at the end of the day, so they’re rough and incomplete. But you get the idea.

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Almost everything so far has come from the junk drawer or the basement. I did make a couple of purchases, and so far I’ve spent less than $12. I bought a red calculator for a buck, and a meat thermometer for three bucks, but my biggest splurge was this set of faux vintage dials and gauges from Pork Chop Show on Etsy. I think they are genius and so perfect for this project! Now I just await my dials and then my control panel can finally come together!

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