New PL kit

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with project life. I love the concept, absolutely love the albums, colours, cards and all the great options. I hate when I fall behind far enough that it actually stresses me out. I spend way too much time in the ‘fallen behind beyond belief’ stage.

I go weeks without getting a chance to do anything at all, so when I get a chance I spend hours choosing, organising and printing photographs. That part is exhausting so I almost never get to the fun part with the beautifully designed kits and albums. Then weeks later I get another chance to look at it and the whole photograph process needs to happen again. Luckily I have weeks upon weeks off during the summer and I plan to dedicate a couple of weeks to catching up and hopefully staying up to date before I go back to work in the middle of September. I’ve already been off for 8 weeks but they’ve been pretty busy (sometimes they were just busy not living by a schedule) but I plan to have a couple of weeks at the start of September. So this is what I have to catch up on:

November & December 2014: complete spreads including photo printing which is quite time consuming because I was doing weekly spreads last year. Plus it’s the Christmas period which means much more to take photos of.

March – mid July 2015: photos are printed and in their places so I just need to add PL cards as well as stickers and embellishments etc. I decided to do monthly spreads this year and not to put too much pressure on it. Some months will have multiple spreads, depending on how much the month was, some will only have one spread. I feel much more relaxed about monthly spreads and it take a lot of the pressure off keeping the photos and dates in order.

Mid July – End of August: complete spreads including photo printing.

I’m really not sure how I’m going to go about it but one thing I know for sure, I have to go in chronological order. It’s the only thing that works for me. So does anyone have any tips for how to fit that into a couple of weeks? How do you catch up on Project Life?

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imageReading… The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a J.K. Rowling). It’s taking me an absolute lifetime to get through it because I seem to keep falling asleep after 3 pages.

Watching… 90210. I wanted something that was easy watching for a couple of weeks & now I’m kind of hooked.

Listening to… Some 90s cheese, The Beatles & The Riptide Movement.

Trying… Meditation. I went to a class for the first time last week and loved it. I’ll be signing up for more in September.

Drinking… Diet Coke as usual but I’ve been trying infused water lately. Next up…berry.

Scrapping… Catching up with my Project Life album. I was WAY behind. I’m getting there though.

Enjoying… Having the summer off work, bright warm days & and peony season.

Hating… The dog hair. My dogs are shedding like crazy with the warmer weather.

Going to… See Ed Sheeran in concert on Friday.

Looking forward to… New York in December.

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The home department of Penneys (Primark) is on fire right now. I’m so happy with the things I managed to pick up this week. At the minute my bedroom is white with a bright yellow Billy bookcase from IKEA (which they no longer stock) and a turquoise bedside table (which you can find here) so I was delighted to find the photo frame with grey and turquoise in it. I plan to paint one of the white frames yellow so I’ll share it here when I do. The grey and white cushion with yellow writing matches perfectly too. Finally, I’m excited about the weekly planner and I cant wait to use it in my craft room. Lord knows I need to be more organised so I’m hoping a planner will help. I’m pretty excited about some of the stuff coming up from Penneys.

 

OLW

I know I’m a little late to the party considering I think Ali Edwards started the concept of One Little Word in 2006 but I’m going to attempt my first OLW this year. I have no idea yet how I’m going to document it. I already do Project Life so I’m not sure if I will try to incorporate it into my monthly spreads or document it in some other way. 

I have, however, decided on my word. I went back and forward over a few different words but I’ve finally settled on ‘Stronger’. I’m aiming for 2015 to be a stronger year for me in many different areas. I wanted to pick a word that could transfer from personal life to work life to how I think.

My aim this year is to:

  • become mentally stronger. I want to be able to stay at home on my own at night without feeling terrified. That seems like a huge challenge but I did say strongER. 
  • become physically stronger and fitter and healthier.
  • become stronger as an individual person. Be stronger as a ‘me’ instead of a ‘we’.  I enjoy my own company but I’m learning how to live my life as a single person again after 6 years. Learning to rely on myself if I need to (not that I have to very often, I have amazing family & friends) and become stronger as a real grown-up person.
  • build a stronger, more organised blog and hopefully build a stronger following too. 
  • become a stronger friend/family member. Sometimes I have to be in the mood for people and if I’m not and it doesn’t suit me, I can flake on things.
  • have a stronger attitude. I’m not pushing the ‘Positive Mental Attitude’ but I’m trying to be less negative and more thankful for what I have. 
  • Stronger at my job. more patient, better time keeping skills, better organised. 

Is anyone else taking part in the One Little Word challenge this year? I’d love for people to share how they plan to document it?

If any of you are interested in taking part, you can check all Ali Edwards has to say about OLW here.

Phone case

A while ago I started a new mini series called look what I found and this week I want to share my new iPhone 6 Plus case. I bought it from Paperchase and it combines my favourite colours. I love anything black & white and I always love love love all things yellow.

It’s a little more expensive than what I would usually pay for a phone case (I’m normally a Penneys kinda girl) but it was totally worth it. If you would like to buy it, check it out here.

cork board 2 cork board 1

Whose idea was it to start Create 52 right before silly season? Obviously I was ridiculously busy in the lead up to Christmas like everyone else and I’m back in work now & have things on 4 weekends out of 5 this month so I’m waaaay behind. There goes New Year’s Resolution number 1 – be better at organising blog posts and Project Life in advance. Must try harder.

So I’m kind of back on track with Create 52 as of week 2 of January and I’ve started off with something simple. I’d love to say I bought a blank pin board & went from there but that would be a complete lie. I bought the board, from Forever 21, with the black map already printed on it. I bought it last September so I’m not sure if it’s still available but I’ve seen some other options online. I’d also love to see some creative people adding their own maps to pin boards. I just picked up some pins (I couldn’t find a size I wanted so I had to buy dress making pins and cut them). I added a white pin to where I live (Ireland) and red pins to all of the places I’ve been up until now. I’m toying with the idea of adding another colour to places I plan to go but I’m not sure yet.

Finally I chose a quote I like that was short and simple and added it to the board using Amy Tangerine Thickers.


  

Adding nail varnish to water Adding white card on top of nail varnish removing card from nail varnish Finished prducted Using my cards for Project Life

Saying I was going to post my weekly Create 52 projects on Sunday was a ridiculous idea. Sometimes I won’t get a free bit of time to make things until Sunday and then it puts pressure on me to edit the pictures and write the post the same day. So I’ve decided it’s more realistic to post them the following Wednesday. Let’s see how this goes.

Last week I had a lot on so I didn’t get around to any crafting until Sunday. I’ve wanted to try this marbling effect on paper for ages so I decided to try it on 6×4 and 3×4 white card so I can use them in my Project Life album. I really wanted to use Christmas colours like red and gold but unfortunately I didn’t have those colours. I’ll definitely pick up some cheap red and gold nail varnishes soon and try it again.

All you need is:

  • A container (preferably a disposable one because it may get some nail varnish on it)
  • Water
  • Nail varnish (whatever colours you like but glitter in a clear varnish doesn’t really work too well)
  • Card (or what ever you want to add the marble effect to)
  • A wooden skewer or something to mix your nail varnish
  • A tweezers

It’s a really simple process:

  1. Add the water to the container until its 3/4 full.
  2. have your card ready as the nail varnish sets quickly.
  3. pour a couple of small drops of nail varnish onto the water. It should sit on the water rather than sinking (if it sinks, you may have added too much).
  4. Swirl the nail varnish around with the skewer immediately to mix colours or change the design.
  5. Using the tweezers, gently place the card onto the nail varnish, which should be sitting on the water.
  6. Leave it for a few seconds.
  7. Again. using your tweezers, lift the card from the container and leave it somewhere to dry. It should be dry and ready to use within a few minutes.

I hope you try this technique. It’s quick, easy and fun. Next I’m going to try marbling a plate to use as a ring plate and I’m also hoping to make some marbled Christmas cards to use in my Project Life album.

Have you tried this marbling technique before?

Google Search

I’m not going to pretend I know everything there is to know about ‘branding yourself’ but I will tell you the most important thing I’ve learned so far. Deciding on and sticking to an easy name for your blog or brand is the most important thing you can do. I have no experience or qualifications in marketing and this website is probably the nearest I’ll ever come to having to ‘brand’ anything but when I put ‘Paparali’ into a Google search, the first thing that appears is this blog. My Twitter account, my Instagram account and my photo website (alimccann.com) also appear on the first page of the search results. When you Google my name, you get similar results although they’re spread out a bit more over the first few pages.

 

This blog is not exactly where I want it to be and I have a long way to go to get it to a steady readership but the name ‘Paparali’ is on everything I own from my Instagram account to Twitter to Pinterest and I think that’s a pretty good place to start.

 

Do you have any branding tips?

I’m thinking of starting a kind of mini-series of posts about things I find that are interesting or make me smile or when I’ve grabbed a great bargain, etc. I had to think twice about this because I don’t want it to come across like you need to be spending money and buying new things in order to be happy or fulfilled. We can very easily become obsessed with money and I’ll put my hands up and say, because I don’t earn money all year round, it can affect my mood at the times of the year when I struggle financially. That being said, the purchases I share here won’t very often be the kind that break the bank. Some of the things will be old treasures resurrected and some will cost nothing at all. So here goes….

 

Look what I found this week…..

1. A mason jar glass with a handle for €4.50. It’s a little steep for one glass but I have been looking for one for quite a while and although I could buy 1 online easily, it wouldn’t be worth paying the postage and packaging. “Did my diet coke taste better out of it?” you ask. Obviously!

Mason jar glass

2. Thickers. And lots of them. Up to this point, I’ve found 1 shop in Ireland so far that sells Thickers, so if I want to buy them I have to order them online from the UK or the US. I don’t think I’ve ever found them for less than €5 and then I have to pay postage and packaging on top of that. On Friday I was walking through an Irish bargain shop called Mr. Price (I suppose you could kind of compare it to a B&M or Wilkinson’s in the UK or a really tiny, not nearly as awesome Target in the US) and what did I see right there in the arts and craft aisle – Thickers!!!! On top of that, they were only €1.49 each. They had 10 different types and needless to say I bought them all…twice! 

Thickers haul

Did you find anything great this week?