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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Becky Higgins Post

Um….this post is pretty self explanatory but I was really excited to find out that Project Life creator Becky Higgins used my photograph to promote the Project Life App and online store.