Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Getting Started with Project Life

So I've been memory keeping and scrapbooking for most of my life. Becky Higgins has revolutionized scrapbooking/memory keeping in a way that makes it doable and super easy to document your story, your way. You don't need a lot of materials to get started. 

Everything they do is centered around cultivating a good life and recording it. That’s why they created Project Life® — the super simple pocket scrapbooking system that makes it ridiculously easy to document your story! Project Life is a memory-keeping life saver. 

It's also known as pocket scrapbooking/memorykeeping.  Project Life® is an ultra-simple, ├╝ber-stylish solution for getting your photos off your phone and computer, out of boxes, and into albums. Gone are the days of cutting, pasting, buying oodles of supplies, and spending hours on an album. Or even hours on just one page.

Enter Project Life. Simply choose a Project Life Album, select a Core Kit full of artfully-designed cards, and slip them into their Photo Pocket Pages along with your treasured photos and you’re done! By spending less time on your albums, you’ll have more time to rearrange your sock drawer, give Fido a bath, or clean your house. Well, you get the idea. 
If you've been on the fence or think that scrapbooking is not for you... think again. It could't be any easier.

If you'd rather not deal with any paper at all, there is a digital version that you can use on your computer using photoshop elements or photoshop. You will need to know the basics of adding photos into photoshop (but this is a very small learning curve). 

Or even easier, you can download the project life app from iTunes and memory keep in the palm of your hand.

Becky Higgins has also started selling Stone wrapping paper. It makes wrapping gifts a breeze. The paper does not tear. It cuts like butter, and can be used for more than just wrapping! It comes in many different designs too. (I'm in love with the black and white striped paper). It can be used for any.thing.

Here is a link if you want to get started!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

(Re) building a Post and Beam Home

Have you ever built a home before? I've heard from many people that have built their own homes that they would probably never do it again. The process is long and more likely than not, much longer and more expensive than you think it will be. You have to do your due diligence in finding the right builder, an honest builder, and honest hardworking subcontractors. That's not an easy thing to do.

We originally finished building our post and beam home in 2004. I'm pretty sure we started thinking about the idea of building in 2000 and actually broke ground in May of 2002. The ground was too hard and cold from the long winter we had to wait until it thawed out.

We spent many hours (well, my husband spent many hours walking the land that we were going to build on (while I spent a few hours).  In my defense, I was pregnant at the time, and had a one year-old who didn't like to sleep much.

Anyway, he spent so much time walking through the forest with a compass, ribbon, staked it all out and put ribbons on trees marking out the very long driveway, and the direction the house should face, etc. He was amazing and a bit OCD about building this house. He has a spatial brain, while mine is... well, let's just say, I was better at seeing things once the trees were down and the space was ready to build and the home was ready to decorate.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Catching up with Project Life

Okay, get ready. Grab a snack and your favorite drink, settle in. This is a long post. :-)

I have been scrapbooking since 2000 when my first little baby boy was born. I didn't really scrapbook before then, but I had always kept a diary. Putting words to paper was a way of dealing with so many emotions and thoughts I obviously did not want to share with the world. From my first crush, to my first heartache. I may not have been scrapbooking, but I have always been a memory keeper. My love for memory-keeping, scrapbooking, telling stories, has only gotten stronger through the years with the birth of my kids. I have a strong urge to want to share our family history, our stories, the funny ones, the sad ones, the stories behind the pictures, the stories no one would ever know if they weren't recorded.

My very first scrapbook was a baby calendar scrapbook that was given to me, from my obstetricians wife, after my first son was born.

It was simple. It was easy. I put no expectations on myself that it needed to be "perfect". It was fun, there was no stress, no pressure and I loved it.

Since then I have collected what is sure to be thousands of dollars worth of paper, stickers, adhesives, albums, tools, etc trying to  keep up with printing photos and scrapbooking them. The more stuff I collected the less room I had to store all of this stuff, and the more stuff I had, the more difficult I found it to find what I needed for a scrapbook page. The more I collected, the more I felt bogged down, I was feeling like I  was unable to find the creativity to make a page. I would end up spending my precious time organizing over and over and over again, instead of actually memory keeping.  I was becoming a scrapbooking hoarder rather than a memory keeper. Raise your hand if that sounds familiar.

Back in 2009, I started "Project 365" when Becky Higgins released her first kit.

I started slipping my photos into pockets and journaling on preprinted cards. Before I knew it, my first ever, yearly family scrapbook was done! I had never actually finished an entire scrapbook before.

I tried making a digital book as well when she had her project 365 kits on I ended up making 4 copies. One for each of my kids and one for us. I tried making another one, but never did end up finishing it. 

I was finding that the slip in method was working for me. I continued with what then became a Project 52 kit. I loved the ease of photos, pockets, cards, and pen.

Over the years, my scrapbooking started sliding back again. We were in the process of a HUGE move from one state to another and taking on an enormous project (taking down and rebuilding our post-n-beam home - that will be for another post... or many more posts). ;-)

In the process, I started packing up 17 years worth of stuff we had accumulated. Not until I started going through my creative space did I realize just how much I had collected over the years. It was overwhelming. It was outdated. Yet, I couldn't seem to let any of it go. I had spent money on it. I came to the realization that if I hadn't used most of the products, it was unlikely that I would. It was weighing me down.

I had sold, given away, and packed up what was left of my scrapbook products. It would be three years before I unpacked the same products I ended up keeping.

During this busy time, Becky came out with the Project Life App.  I had been stalking her social media accounts waiting to hear about the release date! (September 17, 2014)

It. Was. A. Match. Made. In. Heaven. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. What a game changer this was for me! I had my iPhone, I had my photos, I had the project life app. THIS IS ALL THAT I NEEDED TO KEEP UP WITH MY MEMORY KEEPING.  I was adding photos in on a daily basis and journaling. I was memory keeping while making our drive across the state. At the airport. IN my car. While waiting at the doctor's office, in bed, etc. I could do this anywhere. Did I mention it was Life-changing?

The Project Life App was only available for apple phones, in the beginning, but is now available for android phones as well! The app has evolved quite a bit. You can edit your photos in the app either directly or with 'PicTapGo'.  Awesome.  You can now also print photos, pages (4x6, 6x8, 8x8, or 12x12) from the app! Awesome-sauce.

I have not given up all of my traditional products (my kids could use it for homework assignments/school projects, etc.) I still have papers, some stickers, glue, pens, and punches, but I see myself letting go of a lot of that as soon as I get settled into our "new" old home.

I am now in the process of getting back to scrapbooking my kids albums. I'll share that process with you as I go along.  Bottom line is: I am able to EASILY keep up with our yearly family album, which leaves me time to "catch-up" on my kids school albums! I'm feeling pretty excited and motivated to start on that. I'll be sharing that with you as I go along.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Live A Great Life...

I write this post with a heavy, broken heart.

Last weekend we woke up on a typical Sunday morning. We slept in. The kids slowly meandered downstairs and joined us for breakfast. I got a phone call from a friend asking if I had heard any news of an accident that had occurred in the wee hours of the morning. We hadn't heard anything. She proceeded to tell me there was a horrible, tragic accident involving 5 teenagers who were killed while driving back from a concert in South Burlington, an hour away. A man driving north in the southbound lane hit the teenagers head-on killing them all. At this point, we did not yet know who those kids were. No one knew. My 16 year old, Alex, had asked to go to that concert. I didn't let him go. We started to panic knowing many of his friends had gone to this concert.

As the news trickled in there were unconfirmed rumors that there were kids we knew in the accident. They were not from our hometown, but a neighboring town. Vermont is a small state, small communities that are very close, a state where there is usually only one degree of separation among people. Five of those teenagers were all from the same neighboring towns. Four from the same school and one, who went to a private school, was just home for the long weekend. This has left all the communities in Vermont devastated with this horrible, tragedy. We are all numb. We are in shock. I try my best to protect my children from hurt, from harm, but this week I have not been able to protect my son from this unbelievable pain.

Those five teenagers were Eli Brookens (16), Cyrus Zschau (16), Liam Hale (16), Mary Harris (16) (students at Harwood Union Highschool) and Janie Cozzi (15) (student at Kimball Union Academy).

Our whole community has been dealing with this horrible, tragic, unfathomable loss.

We attended a candle light vigil where several people spoke, but one speech that really left a mark on my heart was from Mary Harris' uncle, Darryl Mays:

"This is a beautiful day. We live in a beautiful place," he said as he warned against feelings of negativity — even toward the suspected killer. He thanked the emergency responders.
"Be thankful for your friends. Be blessed that you got to live today. Do your best. Live a great life. That's what you can do for your friends who died," Mays said to the students, many of whom wept in response.
I loved his words. A reminder and a message to not just adults, but especially to the kids... to be thankful, to count our blessings, to do our best, to leave a positive mark on this life, to live a great life. Like Becky Higgins' motto, "Live a good life, and record it." I think it's so important to take those photos, share your memories, share your stories for in times like this, those photos, those memories, those stories may be the only things we have left to help us remember those who have come before us, to help us remember those we have lost much, much too early.
This is the message that I want my son to take away from this. To live a great life, to enjoy all the blessings we have around us, to be thankful for our life today, to do our best, to LIVE A GREAT LIFE.
XO, Rosa