Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Project Life: Take 2

Happy Tuesday, all!

If you read my post yesterday, you noticed a lot of Project Life mentions throughout my goals list. No, I'm not getting paid to mention them or convince you to jump on the PL bandwagon. I just love the product and really want to use it to make my memory keeping a lot easier throughout next year.

I've blogged about Project Life before when I first heard about it, almost exactly a year ago. You can read my original post here. You can also see some of the photos I took for my January PL spreads here.

I know I've mentioned the project off and on, but I haven't shared a whole lot about it. Please don't let my laziness reflect badly on the project, because that's really the only reason. PL is extremely easy to use, it doesn't offer a lot of pressure, and it's really really cute.

Project Life is a memory keeping system. If you want to read the skinny about it from the creator, Becky Higgins, please check out http://www.beckyhiggins.com/. I also highly recommend following Becky's blog and liking her Facebook page. Both are full of tons of useful information {related to memory keeping and life in general}, and you can't help but walk away inspired.

Why did I get started?
I've called myself a scrapbooker for years {12 now} and I think of that as one of my main hobbies. I have an entire room dedicated to scrapbooking and card-making, and I read blogs every day related to keeping memories. It truly is one of my passions. But the reality is, when I force myself to face it, is that I haven't completed a scrapbook in 8 years. And in the entire time I've been scrapbooking, I only have 2 albums that I would say are finished. 2!! Isn't that ridiculous??

I realized that as much as I love looking for inspiration, buying product, figuring out what the latest trend is, scouring magazines...that's not actually helping me preserve my memories. Sure, I love to go into Archivers and drop a ton of money on fun supplies, but the reality is that I rarely use them as I intended, and none of that helps me share my story with others {or even myself, several years down the road}.

With Project Life, I don't have a need for all the extra stuff. I can still look for inspiration, buy product, etc. and I can get my photos off my computer and into an album! I can use the product if I want, or I can hoard it for special projects, or I can actually save money and only buy the things I'm going to use right away.

How did 2011 go?
Well, you'll notice that there weren't a lot of updates after January. Quite frankly, I didn't make time to do this project the way I wanted to - but that was my own fault. This memory keeping system is really set up to be a stress-free, make it quickly sort of thing. I am an out of sight, out of mind type of person, and my Project Life album got tucked away in my craft room, which meant it didn't get the attention I planned to give it. But - I'm okay with that. The cool thing with Project Life is, I can go back, print out all my pictures from 2011, do some quick journaling, and probably have the whole album completed in few hours. I had to adjust my expectations along the year - for example, I originally thought I'd have one, 2-page layout per week. That didn't work for me and my photograph taking last year, so I plan to have at least one, 2-page layout per month. Some months will have more. Some special events will get their one 2-page layout {a family reunion, for example}. The best thing about Project Life is that it can be whatever I want it to be. NO PRESSURE!

What's the plan for 2012?
Well, you saw my list yesterday. Big plans! I do want to try a layout a week again. It shouldn't be that difficult to do, especially since I have my iPhone with me all the time. I'm aiming for a picture a day, but it's a loose goal. If I don't get one a day, I know I'll have at least 7 over the course of a week to make my layouts.

I've already purchased my Core Kit {I got the Clementine this year} and page protectors, I just need to get the coordinating album ordered and I will be on my way {actually, I'll be on my way before the album gets here, but you get the idea.}

Another fun plan - I gave 3 of my 4 nieces their own Project Life kits for Christmas! {The 4th is too young to have her own yet, but she will someday!} I promised them that we could spend at least one afternoon per month putting together our albums. I loved seeing the girls look back through their pictures that I printed for them, and I can't wait to spend time with them sharing something I love to do.

I also hope to share more around the blog. I really do take a lot of pictures, I just have some issues getting them from the phone/camera/computer to the blog. The goal in my head is to share my Project Life layouts weekly on the blog. For me, that's a pretty lofty goal, so I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself if I miss a week here and there. But, I do like the accountability it would provide me.

Finally, some exciting news for those of us who love Shutterfly - Shutterfly and Becky Higgins have teamed up to create 2 Shutterfly photo books featuring Project Life designs {Clementine and Turquoise}. If you haven't made a Shutterfly book before, you should consider it - it's really easy and not at all time-consuming. And they have a custom path option now that allows you to direct the look of your book if you'd like that option. I plan to use the Shutterfly option to catch up on some of my books from before I was introduced to Project Life and complete at least one book.

So, there you have it. Obviously, I love Project Life, but I would be happy to answer any specific questions you have if you're on the fence about the project. And hopefully in the next few days, you'll be seeing some photos here on the blog of my completed 2011 Project Life Album!

Have a great day, all!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

112 Things for 2012

I typically make a goal or two for myself at the start of the new year, but really, not much comes of it {unless I cheat and know something will be happening, so I make it my goal}. I thought for this year, I'd make a list of things that I'd like to do over the next year, and hopefully keep track of them and check many off the list. Some are things that are gimmes {because I know they'll be happening} and others are things I'd like to do and others are things I have to do. The whole point of this list is that I'd like to do them over the course of the year, not stress about making them happen at the strike of 2012.

Here I go:

1. Pack or eat a healthy breakfast on days I have to work {don’t stop for fast food or skip it}
2. Pack or eat a healthy lunch on days I have to work {don’t stop for fast food or skip it}
3. Plan dinners the night before so we can stop for necessary ingredients or take things out of the freezer to thaw
4. Move closer to Elmwood
5. Donate at least 20 boxes of things to the thrift store before moving
6. Sort and organize all holiday decorations so they are easily accessible
7. Donate holiday decorations that won’t be used prior to the next holiday
8. Start a family
9. Complete 2011 Project Life Album
10. Start & complete 2012 Project Life Album
11. Complete at least one additional Project Life Album from a previous year
12. Print pictures at least once a month from the previous month
13. Work with nieces on Project Life albums, including printing pictures for them monthly
14. Grow my business
15. Blog at least 3 times per week
16. Engage in at least one activity per month to promote my business
17. Take at least 1 picture per day
18. Take pictures during important events/gatherings
19. Plan 1 date night per month with Mike
20. Complete 1 project per month from inspiration found on Pinterest
21. Start an idea binder to keep inspiration from magazines, etc.
22. Visit grandparents at least 1 time a month
23. Plan and work on 1 craft project per month with nieces and nephews
24. Take at least 1 vacation out of state
25. Take at least 1 vacation in state
26. Visit 1 place I’ve never been before
27. Pay off at least 1 credit card
28. Use at least 1 coupon with every grocery purchase
29. Try one new recipe per month
30. Learn to sew
31. Donate items from couponing to an organization in need
32. Take a photography class
33. Make our new house feel like our home
34. Purchase/borrow bikes and go riding on the trail this summer
35. Plan an outing/visit with friends at least once a month
36. Take pictures for my blog posts
37. Create a video to post on my blog
38. Send birthday cards on time to important people when we can’t celebrate in person
39. Create a stash of cards for multiple occasions to have on hand
40. Frame pictures for our home and display them
41. Create a gallery wall in our new house of important/sentimental pictures
42. Work on creating Christmas decorations throughout the year
43. Relax and enjoy December and Christmas preparations
44. Finish all holiday shopping by December 1
45. Wrap and label Christmas gifts so they are under the tree by the end of the first week in December
46. Use my iPhone calendar to help keep me organized
47. Build a stockpile and only shop for perishable items as needed - otherwise, use the stockpile
48. Plant a garden or work with family to have a garden
49. Freeze or can fresh produce to use throughout the following year
50. Take a family picture to display in our home, including both puppies
51. Attend 1 Christmas event in the community {tree lighting, Santa visit, etc.}
52. Visit the local library
53. Become a member of Mike’s church
54. Take all my nieces and nephews to the zoo for the day
55. Go to the Farmer’s Market at least once a month during June/July/August
56. Make homemade rolls for a holiday dinner
57. Drink at least 3 big glasses of water daily
58. Find at least 1 new blog per month to follow
59. Comment on at least 1 blog post per week
60. Host 1 holiday celebration at my house
61. Have a family dinner for no special reason at least every other month
62. Identify a space in our new home for books and make use of it
63. Visit a large flea market/antique show
64. File important paperwork so it’s easily accessible
65. Organize my spice cupboard so it’s not overly full and difficult to find what I’m looking for
66. Utilize my closet
67. Make a plan to complete chores/housekeeping responsibilities on a routine basis
68. Purchase a new vacuum cleaner and use it!
69. Begin filling my home with meaningful decorations that make us happy
70. Make time weekly to create for myself {rather than for customers or gifts}
71. Attempt to make contact with the people who received organs from my mom
72. Send Christmas cards
73. Carve a pumpkin
74. Attend a training/seminar to learn a new skill for work
75. Take a picnic
76. Learn how to use Photoshop
77. Take flowers to the graves of loved ones who have passed away
78. Use my time wisely to eliminate stress
79. Check Etsy and local stores first for gift giving options
80. Plan ahead for gift giving to allow time for shipping or searching for the right gift
81. Complete the Week in the Life project and get photographs into an album or Project Life layout
82. Get my house into a state where I would be comfortable with people dropping in
83. Keep my new house in a state where I’m comfortable with people dropping in
84. Change my mindset that people can drop in on a house that is not perfectly spotless
85. Strive to be more patient with people
86. Get up at least 3 times per week after hitting the snooze button only once {set alarm for the time I want to get out of bed instead of 45 minutes early}
87. Become more active in an attempt to be healthier {and lose weight in the process}
88. Purchase a pair of dress shoes that are cute and do not hurt my feet
89. Send at least 1 “thinking of you” card to someone for no particular reason
90. Make and display an advent calendar
91. Organize my pantry
92. Don’t give up on taking photographs daily if I happen to miss one day
93. Don’t complain about anything for a week
94. Watch a movie I’ve always wanted to see but have never made time to watch
95. Make a custom recipe book {or find my favorite online recipes and pin them onto my Food board on Pinterest}
96. Eat 3 things I’ve never tried before
97. Learn to knit or crochet
98. Make Cold Cookies for Grandma {and Mike & me}
99. Make my own cleaning product rather than buying something
100. Go to the county fair
101. Go to Groundhog Days
102. Don’t swear for a week
103. Identify 25 things that make me happy and find a way to incorporate those things into Project Life
104. Journal in Project Life as I take pictures - complete journaling for the previous month at the start of a new month
105. Visit at least 1 photo booth
106. Take vitamins daily
107. Organize the photos on my computer
108. Clean out refrigerator weekly
109. Send thank you notes in a timely manner
110. Donate expired coupons for military use
111. Create/purchase a family calendar to be used by both Mike & me
112. Say no to things when I don’t have time or am feeling overwhelmed

Whew! That was harder than I thought it was going to be, especially toward the end of the list. I think it's manageable though. And if I don't finish something, then there's always 2013. I don't want this list to be something that creates more pressure for me.

I plan to print this list and include it at the beginning of my 2012 Project Life album {if you actually read the list, you'll notice I hope to be much more dedicated to Project Life this year}, and revisit it every month to see what kind of progress I've made.

Have you thought of your goals or resolutions for 2012 yet? Anyone want to join me in a list of things to accomplish? {It certainly doesn't have to be 112...}

Leave me a note in the comments of your goals for the coming year. Have a great day!

Monday, December 19, 2011

An Amazing Gift

The best Christmas gift I could have imagined didn't get wrapped up and put under the tree. It wasn't something I knew I wanted or needed. It was something I'll treasure for a long time.

What was it? I let go.

I let go of wanting to do everything this holiday. I let go of feeling like I was a failure if I didn't get everything done. I let go of a lot of the pressure I put on myself to do things just because everyone else is doing them. I let go of my deadlines and my to-do lists and my expectations of myself.

It feels amazing.

I didn't just give this gift to myself. I had the support of my loving husband, who always wants me to be happy. My brother and his girlfriend stepped in and let me switch our Christmas eve dinner to their house instead of mine. Everyone in my life is being extremely patient with me. I couldn't be more grateful.

I don't know what it is about this year, but I couldn't muster the excitement I normally do. It's terribly disappointing, because Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love to decorate our house, shop for gifts, bake Christmas cookies and so on. 

I shopped for gifts, but the majority of the things I'm giving are homemade.

I put up two tiny trees decorated with a simple button garland, and I framed this print:

That's it, nothing else. {Feel free to click on the image to expand it, and save it for your personal use.} I brought up some other decorations from the basement, but I'll pack them all away tonight.

I didn't bake a single Christmas cookie. I'll put together a few things at the last minute, and I asked my grandma to make my very favorite cookies from my childhood. Everyone will survive.

The thing is...Christmas isn't about all that. And it feels good to come to that realization - that Christmas won't be ruined because I didn't do these things. I'm not saying that decorating or gift shopping or baking are wrong. Traditions are so much fun, especially at Christmas. But for me, this year, I need to just enjoy some time off. Spend some time with family and friends. Stop stressing.

I've been able to spend more time with my family this year. Tonight, my brother & his girlfriend, my nephew Michael, the hubs and I are going to pile into a car and drive around the area to look at Christmas lights. It was so cool to have my brother tell me he wanted to go to this elaborately decorated farm we used to visit as kids. I wanted to go there too, but didn't want to ask everyone to endure the long trip with me. So glad my brother wants his son to experience the same things we did as kid.

I'm excited for the possibilities the new year will bring. There's so much on the horizon and I can't wait to see how it all turns out. I'm already starting to feel energized about my 2012 Project Life {and my resolution to actually use it throughout the year instead of waiting til then end!} I also have some exciting news to share {hopefully soon} about a new direction for Vogt Design Co.

I probably won't be blogging again before Christmas, so I hope everyone who is reading has a very happy holiday season and has the opportunity to enjoy the blessings in your lives!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Short post today, as I didn't really plan to be back to blogging quite yet, but here I am...

I'm disappointing everyone these days, most of all myself. There just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done that I need to. I'm ridiculously over-committed, and it's no one's fault but my own. There hasn't been a day that's gone by the last few weeks where I haven't thought that I failed at something.

I'm trying. I'm working harder than I have since college (when I was younger and full of positive energy and had many things to look forward to). I know it's not enough, but I promise, it's all I have.

If I've disappointed you lately, I sincerely apologize. If it's any comfort, I'm twice as disappointed in myself.

Crossing my fingers that this will turn around after the holidays, if not sooner. I desperately need some peace.