I had a look back over the things I wanted to Focus on in 2017 and I won’t lie, some of them are going horribly wrong. That being said, some are definitely working, or at the very least, improving. 

Some of the things that are working:

Saving more money:

Ok so I’m not going to be saver of the year anytime soon but I have made a positive change. I used to save the odd bit of whatever money I have left at the end of the month but now, on pay day, I transfer a certain amount into the savings account I set up in February. 

Focussing on my own shit:

I talked about this a little in my last OLW post. Part of focussing on my own shit was thinking about where I was going career-wise. This is kind of a cheat because it’s not something I actively worked on, but I have been offered a new contract in work which will make it easier to plan for the future. There’s still a lot up in the air that I hope is clarified soon so watch this space. 

Spending more time with people & books & less time on devices:

Ok this is a small change. I’m probably not spending much less time on devices but I’m definitely reading more and I’ve also started working on my Project Life albums again which is a nice device free, creative (ish) thing to do. 

Growing my hair & getting it back to a healthy condition:

So these two things have yet to actually kick in but I have been using Olaplex and I’ve started taking Biotin to strengthen my hair. Fingers crossed I see a difference soon. I’ve also made the decision to dye my hair brown after the summer to see if that helps. 
Some of the things that are not working:

Losing more weight:

This is going horribly wrong. I have a great week, then I reward myself with food and have a terrible weak. I read a quote the other day that said “you haven’t come this far, to only come this far” and my friend sent me a picture that popped up on her Facebook Memories from 2 years ago and there’s a huge change so hopefully, they’re the things that will motivate me to push on through. 

Being productive & not just busy:

All I’ll say is I put the PRO in procrastination.

The here & now & letting go of the small things:

I’m the biggest worrier and over thinker so these two are proving really difficult, but I haven’t given up. 
Are you doing One Little Word for 2017? If not, is it something you might consider?
I found this picture on Pinterest. Check out silhouetteonlinestore.com You can keep up to date with my OLW ‘Focus’ over on Pinterest. my name over there is @paparali. You can also check out my other OLW posts here


Reading… The Shack by Wm Paul Young. I didn’t realise the movie had just come out so it’s a happy coincidence. I look forward to watching it once I’m done reading. This book has been on my list for a very very long time.

Watching… Grey’s, Grey’s and more Grey’s. Almost finished season 11 though so suggestions for TV shows are welcome now for when my Grey’s anatomy journey ends. 

Listening to… Elise Gets Crafty Podcasts again! Season 4 has just begun and I really really enjoyed episode 1.

Drinking… Wine!! I drank two glasses of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc last week and really liked it. This might be the year that I become a wine drinker. That would make life easier on holidays when I’m trying to figure out what the hell to drink. (it’s important that I point out that I mean holidays in the Irish sense – as in vacation to any American or Canadian readers – although if I’m giving off the impression that I only drink a few times a year at like Christmas etc. I’m cool with that too!)

Focussing on… getting all things work tidied up before I finish up for most of July and August. Yay!

Eating… pizza…today anyway…

Scrapping… my 2016 Project Life spreads. I’m getting there slowly but surely. I should have the 2016 year finished in the next couple of weeks.

Purging… clothes and cheap sunglasses. I have an embarrassing amount of them.

Cooking… thai curries with prawns, so many prawns.

Looking forward to… A wedding in two weeks and then a few days in Kerry all going well.

Next up in my ‘Favourite Things’ series is blogs. There are a few I love and check in on regularly so I thought I’d share them here. 

 

Enjoy It

http://www.elisejoy.com

Elise Joy’s Blog ‘Enjoy It’ is my absolute Favourite. Elise lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters. She owns a brand called GET TO WORK BOOK which provides tools for goal setting. You can check that out here. She has also sold many other things through the shop on her website. She used to post on her blog every single day. She doesn’t anymore but checks in with a new post every now and again. I absolutely love her posts and there’s a huge back catalogue of posts covering many things from her family life, to goal planning to DIY and homemade projects. She also has a brilliant podcast about small business and creativity, amongst other things. You can check that out here.

 

The Band Wife Blog:

http://thebandwifeblog.com

Laura Gummerman is a band wife who lives in Nashville. She recently had a baby girl and has two adorable cats. Lately she has been sharing posts about her lovely daughter Lola and her pregnancy but there’s also plenty of posts about her home life, her tour life, her style, her home and cats, cats, cats! Laura is a staff writer and project assistant for the ‘A Beautiful Mess’ blog which I will mention next. She has a really fun casual style of writing and she’s very funny. 

 

A Beautiful Mess

http://abeautifulmess.com

A Beautiful Mess is run by two sisters, Elsie & Emma.It is an entire lifestyle company. They share lots of home decor projects and craft projects as well as recipes and more. They also have a couple of photo editing apps and a couple of books. They sell lots of pretty things and you can check out their shop here. These women work hard and have turned what was once just a blog into a huge and very successful business.

 

Becky Higgins

beckyhiggins.com/blog

Becky Higgins is the creator of the  scrapbooking brand Project Life. I’m a huge fan of this memory keeping method and you can find some of my posts about it here. You can find out all about the concept and shop her products over on her website but you can also read posts about Project Life, digital scrapbooking,  “cultivating a good life and recording it” and lots more!

 

Ali Edwards

https://aliedwards.com/blog

Ali is a designer, blogger, workshop instructor and an author. My interest in her started a few years ago when I first learned of the concept of One Little Word, which I have posted about and you can check those posts out here. Since then I’ve also (kinda) taken part in her ‘A Day in The Life’ project. Ali is an avid memory keeper and her blog has lots of posts about Project Life and other creative projects.

 

My Tiny Mind

http://mytinymind.com

My Tiny Mind is something quite different from the rest of the blogs I’ve mentioned. It is a blog belonging to a middle aged, middle brow (his words, not mine) man who shares his opinion on things from Trump to his generation to local charities. He also discusses life long learning and random topics from what he calls his ‘Man Drawer’. Mostly though, he shares reviews of books and his travels which are definitely worth a read.

 

Some other new blogs, belonging to friends of mine, which are worth keeping an eye out for include:

National Steographic

Small Matters

Building Our Home

All of the pictures above where taken from the relative blogs. 

I’m ridiculously far behind on posting (and finishing) spreads for Project Life but I’m on a roll now so I’ll be sharing the rest of 2016 over the next few weeks. 



Spread 1:

My March spread was mostly made up of Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day, some of the male students in one of the classes I teach brought cake and flowers in for me and the female students. It also included a trip to the vet for Chief and Lady to get their teeth cleaned and there’s a pic of some fresh nails for me. 

Project Life Kits: 

  • Plus 1 (Mini Kit)
  • Dreamy (Core Kit)
  • Blush (Core Kit)
  • Midnight (Core Kit)
  • Mom (Mini Kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The pink alpha stickers used for ‘March’ are Eclair Thickers.

Embellishment Stickers: 

  • The pink girl outline sticker is Snap! Studios by Simple Stories.
  • I’m unsure where the arrow sticker is from.
  • The ‘Girl Time’ sticker is Now & Then by My Mind’s Eye.

Pocket Pages: I used a pocket page from Photo Freedom for the first layout and Becky Higgins Design G for the right.

 


Spread 2:

The left side of spread two is from Catherine from work’s Hen Party which was a brilliant day in Dublin City. It’s simple and pretty. 

Project Life Kit: Blush (Core Kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • Dear Lizzy ‘Fox’ Thickers.

Pocket Pages: I used Becky Higgins Design G.

The right side of this spread is from Dublin City on St. Patrick’s Day and naturally it has a green theme.

Project Life Kit: I think, but can’t be sure, that they are all from Seasons (Core Kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • I have no idea where the stickers are from. Oops, sorry!

Pocket Pages: I used Becky Higgins Design D for this 1.

 

 

February was a pretty big month so I had 3 spreads. 

Feb 1 Feb 2

Spread 1:

The month started off with a weekend in Exeter visiting family  so that’s what spread one is about. It’s made up of black, white and a kind of turquoise.I used a turquoise Sharpie pen for the handwriting. 

Project Life Kit: Favorite Things (core kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The black ones used for ‘February’, ‘Orla & Oscar’ and ‘cream tea’ are ‘Ali’ Thickers designed exclusively for Studio Calico.
  • The small light blue stickers used for ‘The Darwents’ are Ocean Melody by Webster’s Pages.

Embellishment Stickers: 

  • The black love-heart outline sticker is Amy Tangerine for Thickers. I think but I’m not 100% that is part of her Plus 1 range.
  • I’m unsure where the arrow sticker is from.

Pocket Pages: I used Design F for the left and Design G for the right.

 

Feb 3

Spread 2:

The left side of spread two is from a trip to London with my mam and brother for a match. The right side of this spread are a few random snapshots from the month. I almost always go for white but this kit has a cream base. It’s great for a change but I normally prefer the crispness of white.

Project Life Kit: Azure (core kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The grey ones used for ‘LFC V MCFC’  are Project Life stickers.
  • The red ones used for ‘More of February’ are Sn@p Studios by Simple Stories.

Stamps: 

  • I’m unsure where the paw print stamps are from but they’re rubber stamps that are used with an acrylic block.
  • The ink is Dovecraft pigment ink pad in jet black. 

Pocket Pages: I used Design G for the left and Design R for the right.
Feb 5 Feb 6

Spread 3:

Spread three for February is a mixtures of snapshots from the month as well as a mixtures of kits.

Project Life Kit: The left page has a 6×4 card from the Confetti core kit with some words about documenting on it. it also includes a 6×4 grey and white striped card from the Midnight core kit.

The right page has a 6×4 polka dot card from the Midnight kit, a 6×4 lined card with a love-heart from the Plus 1 mini kit, a 3×4 quote card about cherishing the little things from Becky’s Quotes themed cards and a fold-able 6×4 card from the Seafoam kit with ‘date’ and ‘story’ on it. Instead of folding it, I cut it in half and used a corner cutter to round the new edges.

Alpha Stickers: The black stickers used for ‘Still February’ are ‘Hard Cover’ Thickers.

Stickers: The quote sticker on the striped 6×4 card is from K & Company.

Pocket Pages: I used Design R for the left and Design A for the right.

April

Reading… ‘Not That Kind of Girl’ by Lena Dunham. I’m not enjoying it as much as I’d hoped which means I’m reading less and falling behind on The Big Book Challenge.

Watching… I’ve just finished watching Chicago P.D. and now I’m starting Chicago Fire. I like the idea that there’s a few TV shows happening in conjunction with each other. Lovin’ the crossovers.

Listening to… George Ezra ‘Wanted on Voyage’. It’s bringing back all the feels of me bopping away on my own (with lots of strangers) to him at Electric Picnic last year.

Pinning…Project Life layout inspiration.

Drinking… Less Diet Coke as of this week. 2 can per day is my lot but I’m not feeling too optimistic about weekends.

Scrapping…February & March’s Project Life spreads. Pictures are printed and I’m working on completing the spreads now. It feels good to be up almost to date.

Enjoying… The longer, brighter days now that the clocks have changed.

Cooking…Using the new Slow Cooker. We’ve had some lovely pork chops and chicken curry so far. I’m looking forward to trying something more sweet next.

Purging… Kitchenware and baking materials. The last month has seen a big attic and food press clear out.

Planning…My meals a week in advance to try and get back on track with my weight loss plan.

Looking forward to…pay day! Feeling kinda broke and that seems to be a regular thing these days.

 

 

 

 

January 1January 2

After a crazy December and Christmas, January was thankfully a little quieter. so I only needed one spread for this month. Deciding to do monthly spreads last year was the best plan I could have had, it’s a lot more do-able and means I only need to work on my albums once a month instead of every week. I still hate my handwriting but I think I’ll be glad I included it in years to come because it’s a more personal touch. As usual my spread is mostly photograph based.

Project Life Kit: Dreamy (core kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The grey ones used for ‘memories’ and ‘bath time’ are Project Life stickers.
  • I’m not sure what the multi-coloured ‘bed head’ stickers are. I have them a long time and there’s no label.
  • The bluey-green stickers are Jillibean Soup.

Embellishment: The wooden arrow embellishment is from the Project Life ‘Note to Self’ value kit.

Pocket Pages: I used Design A for the left and Design F for the right.

 

Project Life dividers and pocket protectors

Last week’s post focused on how I take my photographs and organise them as the month goes along, you can see that here if you missed it. This week I’m focusing on choosing photographs, choosing pocket pages and editing and sizing the photographs for printing.

I use a variety of pocket pages including design A, D, F, G and K. You can check them out on Becky’s site here. I find that I mostly use A and D and I almost always run out of design D most regularly.

I look through the folders I’ve already created on my phone for photographs and check how many portraits and landscapes I have. This gives me an idea of which pocket pages I want to use. I then start deleting any photographs I don’t want to include. I almost always have a lot more portraits because I take most photographs on my phone and portraits come more natural. It’s rare my spreads would have back to back of the same pocket pages, I typically use one A and one D. 

I mostly use a free app called InstaEditor to edit my photographs. You can do lots of different things with the app but I use it to Enhance the photos (Hi-Def and Portrait are my favourites) Sharpen them, Adjust the brightness and contrast, Crop them and Blur out any distractions or unwanted backgrounds.

InstaEditor

InstaEditor

I use another free app called Pic Collage for sizing my photographs to print. When I’ve edited my photographs, I decide which ones I want to print 6×4, 4×3 and 4×4. The 6×4 photographs are ready to go and don’t need any more work. Pic Collage allows me to ‘stitch’ two photographs together in order to print them as 6×4. If I want to print 4×4 then I can change the template in the app to add a 4×4 photograph to a 6×4 and 2×4 template. I leave the 2×4 section blank. Pic Collage adds a watermark to the bottom of your template but for €1.99 you can permanently remove it.

4x4 photograph on Pic Collage Two 3x4 photographs on Pic Collage

Now my photographs are ready to print. It’s easy and can all be done on my phone.

How do you edit your photographs before printing?

I take 99% of my Project Life photographs using my phone. I have an iPhone 6 Plus and have had an iPhone for my last three phones too. I’m an Apple fan when it comes to phones and part of the reason for that is because I think the camera is really good and it seems to improve with each new model. The other 1% of my photographs are taken using my Canon EOS 600D. I go through periods of using the camera more but I find organising, editing and printing from my phone easier so I tend to use that a lot more.

At any given time I have way too many photographs on my phone so it’s important for me to organise them weekly if I can. The iPhone displays photos in two different ways. The first is in albums and when you take a picture it automatically goes into your ‘Camera Roll’ album at the top. The second is just individual photos which are date stamped (Today, Yesterday, Monday, 22nd March etc.) and also location stamped.

Photos

Photo layout including date (‘Today’) stamp.

Albums

Album layout

 

I create an album for the current month (e.g. April Photos) and every week, I go back through the date stamps and add every photo from that week to the album for that month. At the end of the month, I separate the photos into three more albums (April Portraits, April Landscapes and April Square).

How do you take, organise and store your Project Life photos?

Check back in next week for information on choosing and editing my photos.

 

2016 Cover

So it’s April and I’m only just sharing my cover page for my 2016 Project Life album now. I know, must try harder. I try to mix it up when it comes to my cover pages but yellow has made an appearance on my cover page two years in a row because I love it. I rarely include pictures on this spread. I like to include the year and it’s the second year in a row I’ve added my One Little Word to the cover spread. 

Stay tuned for some posts on my Project Life method.