August 31, 2015

Enjoy the Ride | Backstory

I guess if Freud was a scrapbooker, he would have me pegged. Not that's its really too hard to figure out where so many of my designs come from- I've always been one to wear my heart on my sleeve. This week, I release a design call "Enjoy the Ride"- and I'll share a few layouts and bits of scrappy inspiration from that collection in a later post, but today I wanted to share the story behind the design with you.

The end of summer brought with it a few special stay-cations for us, including a terrific night at a little amusement park close to home. It was the little guys first roller coaster ride - and although it was called "The Ladybug", trust me, it was enough to make me scream out loud. I wanted to close my eyes- but I'm glad I didn't because I  would have missed the sight of the little guy's eyes wide open as he laughed and screamed and laughed some more! I also went on the swings for the first time in forever- and somehow, my memory deceived me.  I had loved this ride when I was younger- but now, as the swings started to spin a little faster and then rise a lot higher, I had a terrible fear in the pit of my stomach and visions of YouTube videos of rides gone wrong. Then I looked over to my big guy who was the only one to go on with me, even though he really didn't want to. We both were freaking out a little, but then started to laugh like crazy in the face of the fear of it all. And when we got off, he hugged me tight and I knew that it was a good thing to take that ride.

The best part of the night was when the four of us rode the lazy Ferris wheel at sunset. There was a calm summer breeze and time seemed to stand still for awhile. Push pause. I looked at my boys faces and suddenly missed them. I missed them because I knew once this ride was over we would be walking into the last days of summer and then into the flurry of the school year.

This school year is going to be different because it's the big guy's senior year in high school. Lots on the immediate horizon: college visits, applications, and the "lasts" of so many things... last time we do football camp, last Varsity home game.. last this and last that... I seem to be the only one who mark these milestones in my heart. The rest of the family skips happily along day to day. Maybe that's good. I'll just document the days so when that moment comes that they stop and see the road is ended, and turn to look around to wonder where it has gone, I will have a time capsule to share. Because that's what we do as scrapbookers, isn't it? Freeze time. We are the empaths who realize this is all a fluid novel and that the only way to relive a moment is to record it.

But like those rides I took with my boys, there are  really only three choices you have - don't go on the ride, ride it with eyes closed and regret- or ride it with eyes wide open feeling the fear but screaming out loud so that fear turns to laughter and when it's all done you look back and say, "woohoo!! what a ride!"

School is starting in just a day.  I'm about to step on this roller coaster, even though my heart is fighting it. I'm going to have to get on and enjoy it- because it will make the ride so much better for all of us. The joy will be contagious, and if we let ourselves laugh a bit- it will tone down the fear. And hopefully, come June, when the graduation cap goes on, my big guy will turn around, smiling, and hug me tight and thank me for sharing this wonderful wild ride with him.

August 26, 2015

On the Drawing Board | Play and WIN!

OH! It is a (happily) busy week here at ForeverJoy and there is a new design on the drawing board that I can't wait to share with you called "ENJOY THE RIDE"! I don't know if the inspiration came from the magical nights we spent at our little hometown amusement park, or from the fact that I am buckling up for the wild ride of Senior year in High School for my older guy! Either way, both are a little terrifying to me- but in a happy sort of way!

So how about you join me for a little thrill ride? Come on over to this thread in the Lilypad Forum and play along for a chance to take a ride with the new collection before it hits the shoppe! 

Ready? Hands up! Lets GO!

August 17, 2015

Monogamy does not apply to Planner Love

(1) Google Calendar  (2) Paper Source Monthly Calendar (3) Get To Work Book  (4) Day Designer and not shown: the big monster generic kitchen wall calendar. 

I have chosen to love more than one, and while that may have caused me guilt in my younger years, I now embrace my polygamy, and choose to have as much fun as I can with it. I'm talking of course about "planner love".

I have always been a lover of all things listy (is that a word?) and organized. Throw in show check boxes and blank spaces for me go go free range on with my colored pens and stickers and we are talking serious crush here, people. 

This year may have been the "worst" of all- I started January with spending considerably more on a planner than I ever had, and it was a very big decision for me. I live by my Google calendar and have it integrated into so many parts of my techy life.  I share it with my older son so we can stay up to the minute with changing schedules and plans and it has worked perfectly for me.  There is a;so a huge paper calendar hanging in  the kitchen  that I manually sync with Google because not only do I love seeing my plans in a real life 3D monthly spread, the little guy at home needs to be part of this type A game and my husband is a tech Neanderthal. No cell phone- no email, not even a beeper.  He calls my computer "the machine" and thinks colored Post Its are high tech. So, yeah, a paper calendar is a must. 

Back to my indulgent purchase. After much research including reviews, screen shots You-tube unboxing videos (a strange addiction of mine) I decided to go with the Day Designer. There is so much to love about it, especially the goal and planning pages in the front. It has been a coach and work horse for me all year long, and I know it will be a staple on my desk for next year as well. That put me back more than 50 bucks and I was second guessing it's value all the way to the point when I received it. But- once I got to using it- I found it to be such a strong tool in keeping me on track in a way that made visual sense to me, and that motivated me, I believe it was worth every cent. 

Then, Elise Joy Inc. came out with the mind blowing Get to Work Book.  The weekly spreads, project friendly planning spaces, and layout of it all just fit so seamlessly with the way I work, I couldn't resist. And much like the Day Designer, it is a clean and simple design- I'm not a fan of colors and embellishments in my planners- I like to do that myself. Again, this was a bit of an investment- and I already had a great planner- so the big guilt ridden question for me was, was it worth it? 

After working with 5 planning systems at the same time, I can tell you without a doubt, yes.  Here's why:
  • I will always love Google calendar because it integrates with my tech side and has features that are unmatched in a paper planner, especially with the new Google Calendar App. 
  • I need a work horse big kitchen wall planner as a family hub for the tech virgins and just because its great to see things in black and white for me.
  • I like having a stand up moth at a glance calendar on my desk to keep me on track with work deadlines during the day.  Yes, I can simple turn the page in any of my other calendars, but having one calendar always open and propped up in front of me just for tracking monthly projects and finances really keeps me focused on time and project management. 
  • The Goal worksheets in the Day Designer were invaluable to me this year, and I use this planner more as a running to-do list for both work and home life. I work from home and often have to bounce between roles, especially during the summer months or when the kids are off from school. Having both work and family priorities on one page is a great way to make sure nothing gets left out because I forgot to look in a certain book. I also really like that it reminds me to plan for dinner first thing in the day- too often I would forget to to this, and when the end of the day rolled around, we had no other choice but take out. 
  • Finally, the Get to Work Book is just awesome for planning my short and long term work days out.  There is so much space to work in for brainstorming and organizing ideas and it is organized in a way that fits perfectly into my job's workflow. 
Here's how I look at it: in my kitchen I have more than one knife. Sure, I could use one to cut tomatoes and carve a turkey, but that wouldn't be the best way to do either task,  Something would suffer.  Sometimes you need different tools for different jobs. Even if the tools look very similar on the surface, someone who has different specific and definable needs to be met will appreciate the minute differences and will not only appreciate them, but with work better with them. 

So, yes, it's perfectly fine to have more than one planner, especially if you have more than one planning need. Tech, household hub, monthly tracking, running to-do lists,  and work-flow focused are my needs, and this polygamous love affair meets each one in a way that happily works for me. So, of you find your eye wandering a bit, especially during this tempting time of back to school shopping, do automatically feel self indulgent guilt. Ask yourself, are you being tempted by just another pretty face, or is there a planning need that is not being met by your current system that will really be nailed by an additional one.  Will the effort to bounce between several systems be outweighed by its utility? If the answer is yes- then go for it! No guilt! And if you want to pretty them up with stickers and colors- go right ahead! There's no rule that says function can't be combined with fun!

August 11, 2015

Digital Scrapbooking Tricks | Filling in a Filmstrip

One of the best things about working with a creative team is not only seeing your designs come to life in their layouts, but also learning new ways to trick out your scrapbooking.  I fell love with the way CT mrivas used this filmstrip from the ForeverJoy Captured Collection - and wanted to share this video showing you you an easy way to recreate this effect in your own layouts! Enjoy!

August 9, 2015

NEW in the Shoppe | NIGHT LIGHTS

One of my very favorite things about August is the night falls in such gorgeous colors as the fireflies blink and glow in a silent symphony- the last song of summer I guess you could say. I find us spending time together well into the quiet dark evenings outside on our little deck. The boys are swimming and splashing as I grill- and our little radio plays some top 50 tune that I like to sing along to.  These aren't milestones or fancy occasions- they are paper plate and soda pop memories. But they are special times. Times I hope the boys will remember with a smile when they think back on their childhood summers.

It was this feeling I hoped to capture in the NIGHT LIGHTS collection. I designed papers decorated with glowing lights and delicate fireflies and rich ombre sunset tones. Inside you'll find shimmering gold foils and glowing neon word art paired with warm woods and jeweled flowers- and a few sweet fireflies as well!