Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Scrapbooking My Kids School/Life Albums

We have finally moved into our new home and the dust, literally, has nearly settled. My office space is not quite as neat and organized as I would like it, but I am so excited and inspired to get started on my 16 year old son's scrapbook!

I have two other kids whose scrapbooks are pretty bare. I'm hoping the systems I have set up many years ago will be helpful now!

I had started by ASSESSING what I had and what I've done over the years. I realized I had a few albums that were partially done. LOTS of loose photos, digital photos, photos on cd/dvd, and negatives.

Next, I started GATHERING all of my photos, papers, art, memorabilia - basically everything I had from their school years.  I have been doing this through the years. I started out compiling everything into filing bins with file folders labeled by age and then by school year (birth, 1, 2, 3, preschool, kindergarten, grade 1, etc).  The file bins were similar to these I found at Staples.

Now that we've moved into our new home I have a smaller office/creative space. I have set up a temporary desk until I decide what I will do and bought two commercial size filing cabinets, that are  acting as temporary desk supports. I chose these Staples filing cabinets because they are heavier duty and much deeper than the others I had found. I have three kids and have designated a drawer for each of them and this is where I now hold all of their school stuff. It's easy to file things away now that I have the drawers and files in place. 

I have already collected and sorted all of their stuff because I had been doing it all along as their items came in. If you haven't sorted the school stuff you will want to do that per child. I pulled out all of their stuff and organized it by year and/or teacher. I used stickies and wrote the grade/year/teacher's name on it and sorted everything into piles. Once sorted, I placed everything into file folders as "holders" until I could scrapbook them. I didn't make any decisions as to what to keep or toss. At that moment, I wanted to just sort and organize. (Batch process!)

This is where I am now. The next step will be to DECIDE WHAT I WANT TO KEEP OR WHAT THE KIDS WANT TO KEEP. For items that are too big I will photograph and include that in their album. For other papers and artwork I will either cut it down to size or scan it and use in the Project Life App to create a page. I may also make digital pages using photoshop depending on the items.

I currently have two different scanners. One is the Fujitsu Scansnap ix500. It's fast and efficient. It can scan a lot of pages at once. You can go into the settings and have it save as a jpeg or pdf. You can set the image quality to automatic resolution or as high as 600 dpi for color/grey scanning or 1200 dpi for black and white scanning.  You can choose to scan in color, grey, black and white or automatic color detection. Duplex (double-sided) or simplex (single-sided). AND it can be programmed to be used wirelessly! It's a little pricey, but worth the money. ($495.99 at Staples, but you may be able to find it for less elsewhere).

I also have the Epson Perfection V750 Pro. I've had this one for many years. I don't use it quite as often, but find it is great for scanning older prints. It can scan up to 6400 optical resolution and can automatically remove dust and surface defects from your photos and can even remove scratches from old black and white photos. It is also great for batch scanning negatives, slides, and more. I haven't used it to its capacity, but it has been great for scanning more fragile or bulkier items. 

My next step is going to be to go through, sort, scan, and photograph starting with preschool. 
I can't wait to get started!

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.