February 9, 2016

50 Shades of Scrapping | Getting in the Mood

Admit it girls. Sometimes we need help getting in the mood. You know you want to, but there are just some many other things calling or, there are so many ways you want to do it- that the choices seems to overwhelm you and then the mood is gone. You know I'm talking about scrapping, right? Because seriously, isn't that the most fun you can have on a Saturday night?

But lately, I found that the spirit may be willing but the mojo is weak, and I blame it in part to a wealth of supplies and glut of photos I accumulated over the holidays. There were lots of great sales, awesome new designs and projects and I had accumulated about 1200 photos since early November- but between work, holidays and life, there wasn't much free time for me to scrap. And now when I did decide to carve out some time-  I was faced with too many choices and a little bit of guilt in having so many things to choose from. 

I used to make it a point to take time on the weekend just for me to do my memory keeping. It was when I would catch up on blogs and classes, do some scrapping and fill in my Project Life- but right around early November, I began breaking those dates and now it's been way to long since I just sat down to play. But see, that's the problem.  If you don't take the time, no is in going to give it to you. And that one selfish thought got me motivated to kick myself in the pants and get out of this creative rut. I put together an action plan- a manifesto of sorts to get me back on the scrap happy track- here it is:

Start with the photos, not the supplies. Before you scrap, weed out all your photos that make you go meh. and keep the ones that bring you joy. This make not be the "best" photos- they may be over exposed out blurry- but if they evoke an emotion or a story that you'd lie to tell, keep them.

Start with the story too. The photos you pause on mean something, not necessarily because they are pretty, but because there is a story behind them. A voice. That's why I scrap. So that my special photos will not lie silent in a shoe-box 25 years from now- but will have a voice, a song, a secret, a smile- all because I chose to give them life on a page. 

Make a simple bullet list of the stories you'd like to tell. This can be on index cards, in a notebook, or in the margin of your planner or calendar. But I recommend it be in ink and simple.   Refer to your photos to spark your stories- but dont worry if you have a story but no photo that actually goes along with it- you can fill in the blanks with a photo that fits after your story has been written down. 

Don't worry about the timeline- but start with recent photos first. I still have holiday photos and my December Daily to complete- but I'm going to work on the past 2 weeks of photos first, then work backwards as time allows. Life goes on- and I don't want to miss now looking back on the past. The past isn't going anywhere- but this moment will if you don't seize it. 

Let go of perfection. I love doing Project Life- and adore my 2015 album. But early on the process last year- I realized I can't do it as a strict weekly project. My album is more like a monthly summary- but I find doing it twice a month works best for me because I don't feel overwhelmed and I usually have a few good stories to tell on a bi-weekly basis. 

Clean your scrap supplies. Whether its your hard drive or your scrap stash, physically go through it, organize it and get rid of whatever doesn't work for you anymore. Take stock of what you have. Rediscover things you've forgotten. I always find that going through my supplies sparks ideas of even more stories I'd lie to tell- and then I flip my whole process on its ear and start with the supplies. But that's cool. You need to go with the flow, because all that really matters: what is really going to bring joy to you years from now is having a meaningful collection of stories you have captured.  

Be the friend you love to chat with. Think about it- when you spend a great night catching with a friend, you don't share things in a chronological order, and speak in just one way. Sure, things may start with a quick run down of what's happening lately, but then you enjoy a few anecdotes, some remember whens and then the treasured- oh my gosh I almost forgot about that! Your stories will range in emotion and depth- but collectively, after sharing them together, you will end the night with a smile. That's how I want my scrapbooks to be. I want to close each book with a smile and think, "that was a great time!" 

I guess when it comes down to it- the way I got back on track was by remembering why I jumped on the track to begin with.  Going through my photos, collecting stories taking stock of the different ways I can tell a story and focusing on one medium at a time-  and Ill leave you with this: Take the time to scrap. Take it- because honey, no one is going to give it to you. And no one ever regretted putting aside a few chores to make a layout. The laundry will always be there, the dinner can always be ordered- but the memories- they need to be captured. 

February 8, 2016

NEW in the Shoppe | Just a Moment

You know I'm a big fan of the pause button- and that love of taking a quiet moment to soak in all the good stuff happening almost silently during the symphony of the fast forward of life spilled onto the drawing board with my latest design, Just a Moment.  I think its fair to describe it as filled with delicate colors and out loud sentiment- a contrast that reflects the balance of our every days, don't you think?

January 25, 2016

NEW in the Shoppe | YOUR SELFIE

I wrote about my shameless love of selfies in an earlier post and hope it inspired you to squish up close to a few of your favorite people and get in the shot! This love spilled onto the drawing board and help me create this fun design,  YOUR SELFIE.  I packed it full of bright happy colors, sketched cameras and frames and meaningful wort art!

Fun- right?!  You can see more layouts made with this design here at the Lilypad or here on the Pinboard packed with #joycreated (almost 1,000 layouts!) using ForeverJoy designs! 

January 22, 2016

SELFIE love is not a sin

It never fails. Whenever I turn my camera over to a member of my family, somehow they manage to capture and exaggerate the most  unbecoming sides of me. My husband will take a photo pointing down, adding about 20 pounds to my hips, my little guy will look up at me- adding 2 chins to my face and my big guy will horse around so long that by the time he snaps a photo, my brows are furrowed and my mouth is open in a manner becoming a sea bass as I yell, "will you just take it already".

And so, once I became an owner of a decent camera phone, I became to take matters in my own hands and take photos of myself. Well, not really of myself- mostly of myself and the the people I am with. Us-ies. I have been advised however, time and again by my children that is not a word. So, we will leave it at selfie. At first, I was hesitant because the boys would gasp in horror- "Not a selfie Mom! Please! That's sooo embarrassing!" as I would grab them close and stick out my arm. And I wondered, is it? Is it vain? Is it too self absorbed? But then, I figured a moment of embarrassing them was worth the life time of memories the resulting photo would give me. (The moment of embarrassing them was pretty cool too!) And I kind of liked being in the shot- I am an important part of the story- and I always feel like something is missing when I am not in the photos. 

The boys declared this was the lamest thing ever- but I'm glad I ignored their advice. I love this series of shots of us together! #mamaknowsbest
I also like the fact that these photos are never really perfect. They are a little askew, always full of emotion and always involve getting real close. I have also found that the more I take them, the more I wear the boys down. The frequency has made them  become the new norm. The frequency of taking them coupled with my purchase of a selfie stick, which I threaten to whip out if they don't just get over here and show mama some love already. 

Doing a few photo journal projects has led me to take some timed self portraits- and I have to say, taking those coupled with the journaling has become one of my favorite new tricks I added to my scrapbook last year. Here's a layout I made when doing a project for an Ali Edwards class I took- where we told stories of our daily AM and PM. I set the camera up by the coffee pot and snapped a few photos on timer. It's not pretty- but it's real.  And it's a real portrayal of how my boys see me on the average school morning. I hope that this will bring back some great memories and a few laughs when they look back on this layout years from now. I wish I had photos of my school mornings when I was little. I remember them well, but sometimes its hard to remember what my mom looked like-

That's why selfies can be a good thing. They get us in the story. They help keep things real. That's a great foundation for good story telling! Here are a few selfies I took with the boys last year- even without telling you the stories beyond each photo- the expressions in each one are spontaneous and I think give you a great idea of what was going on.  You can also see how the big guy still wont look directly into the selfie- the little guy is still yo young to not give a full on smile. It's all good because that's part of the story too. 

My one word of caution is that I think its really important to always get a few photos of the whole story as well when you are documenting a day. The full outfits of at least a few people even if you cant get in the shot, and the location.  How cool is it to look back on photos from years gone by and see that ugly couch, that cool car, those leg warmers and the skyline that has since changed? I wouldn't want an album full of only selfies, but I think they add a great and well needed dimension to our albums.  I recently designed a page kit to celebrate my love of selfies, called, what else- but Your Selfie. The creative team is playing with it this weekend- and I will share their layouts with you a little later.

For now, consider this permission to take a few photos of yourself. (A while back, I wrote a post that had a great video explaining why we never really like photos of ourselves- you can check it out here.) Have fun and don't take it all too seriously- life's to short to wait for someone else to take a photo of you!

January 17, 2016

Digiscrap Tutorial | Layering Up Leaves

Hello Everyone! This is Jenn, aka jk703, here to she some scrapping tidbits on this warm January. It's an odd January here, actually, an odd winter! We've got 60 degree weather and plants are starting to grow! I think Mother Nature wants a vacation!

Today, I'm going to focus on leaves and a simple tip that might bring more oomph to your flowers clusters than you thought! This is also not my strongest skill in Photoshop, but if I can make it simple, and show you one easy way... then you can give it a whirl too!

Here is my page - I've used Forever Joy Blessings Kit (so gorgeous) and New Years templates from new designer at TLP, Scrapping with Liz.

When adding a flower to my pages, I always look for foliage to layer underneath them. This gives them a little more space, and sometimes a more focused focal point for one of my little clusters. I love bigger flowers, too! Here is my page, using a flower and a set of leaves found in the Blessings kit. 

While the flower is there, it feels sort of empty and a little bare. Having a larger element within your cluster. I also tend to use different sized elements when making a cluster. You can scrap any way you'd like, but adding different sizes, textures, and kinds of elements adds more to your layout. One set of leaves are on this layout:

January 1, 2016

NEW in the Shoppe | CIN CIN

Happy New Year! I'd like to say I'm raising a toast of bubble champagne as I wish you all the best for 2016, but in truth, it's a big mug of mocha latte this Jan 1 morning! 

January is one of my favorite times to catch up on holiday scrapping, especially with the Month of Challenges happening over at the Lilypad (awesome inspiration there!)  When looking at my scrap stash, I realized I needed a sparkly, shimmery kit to toast the memories of parties and celebrations we enjoyed over the past year! So, I hit the drawing board and  created this fun design!

I've added some fun twists to this paper pack- sequins, glitter, sparkle and photo realistic designs! 
Of course it works well with new years memories- but I wanted to be sure it would compliment year long celebrations as well- so you can be sure whatever you are toasting this year, CIN CIN will go perfectly with it!  CIN CIN is part of the January BYOC at the Lilypad, and you can purchase each piece separately. But- as always, I've made a secret link for you to access early at a little extra savings this weekend. Just click here and you can purchase the pretties and papers together at  30% off this weekend.  Please note that this savings can not be combined with the BYOC Buy More-Save More offer.