Tuesday, January 31, 2012

112 in 2012 Progress: January

Hi all,

It's the last day of January {wow, has time flown} and I thought I'd check in on my monthly goals. The original post is here if you want to read it. I'll hopefully give an update at the end of each month so I can keep myself accountable.

Normal text - haven't started
Italics - making progress
Strikethrough - failed miserably
Bold - completed

1. Pack or eat a healthy breakfast on days I have to work {don’t stop for fast food or skip it} {1/12}
2. Pack or eat a healthy lunch on days I have to work {don’t stop for fast food or skip it} {0/12, I am so terrible at this}
3. Plan dinners the night before so we can stop for necessary ingredients or take things out of the freezer to thaw {1/12}
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 {I'm actually printing pictures weekly, which is helping me keep up on with PL}
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 { 0/12, I think I managed 2 times per week, I'll work my way up to 3 next month!}
16. Engage in at least one activity per month to promote my business
17. Take at least 1 picture per day {I figured out this doesn't really work for me...I've been doing weekly PL layouts, which is much more attainable}
18. Take pictures during important events/gatherings
19. Plan 1 date night per month with Mike {1/12, We went to Mic's karaoke bar with friends this month, so much fun!}
20. Complete 1 project per month from inspiration found on Pinterest {1/12, I saw the cutest baby shower invitation, and used it as inspiration...I'll share later on this week}
21. Start an idea binder to keep inspiration from magazines, etc.
22. Visit grandparents at least 1 time a month {1/12}
23. Plan and work on 1 craft project per month with nieces and nephews {0/12, unless you count butchering as a craft}
24. Take at least 1 vacation out of state {We have plans under way for 2, so excited!}
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 {?/12, I can't actually remember if I did or not...}
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 {1/12, I haven't been keeping track to know if it's 3 or not, but I've been drinking a lot more water}
58. Find at least 1 new blog per month to follow {1/12, turns out, this isn't hard for me...check out these awesome blogs:  Design Editor, The Small Things Blog, and Twenty Three Oh One}
59. Comment on at least 1 blog post per week  {4/52, I've been trying to do this every day I catch up on my Reader}
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 {I have plans!!}
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} {4/52, though I don't want to always count this, so far I've considered PL time as meeting this goal...it's been a joy to actually scrapbook again}
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 {I'm getting much better}
79. Check Etsy and local stores first for gift giving options {I bought some really cute straws for a baby shower I'm hosting}
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} {I feel physically ill if I don't hit the snooze buttons a couple of times...I tried it, I'd rather just wake up at my own pace}
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 {I missed a couple days and came up with a solution that works for me...weekly photo layouts in PL}
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 {I honestly forgot this was on my list...whoops}
107. Organize the photos on my computer
108. Clean out refrigerator weekly  {Major fail}
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 {I tried...it didn't work. I need to be more assertive. I'll keep trying.}

There you have it! I've been making progress on quite a few things, failed at a few things, and so on. The things I've failed on don't seem to be one-time events, so I'm going to keep trying, and hopefully I'll be able to remove that black line and say they're in progress!

{I added a label for the 112 in 2012 if you want to check out my progress over the course of the year.}

Have a great day!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Project Life: Week 3

Happy Friday everyone!

I know, I'm a couple of days later than I promised with this post. I have an excuse {technical difficulties with my inserts}, but really...who wants to hear excuses? :)

Here's the full layout:

I actually have 2 inserts in addition to the 2 Design A page protectors this week. I wanted to include a DVD of a video I took on my phone {my husband reading to our niece...cutest thing ever!}, and an 8.5x11" insert of the facebook posts and blog post from the day I announced Gather on the blog. On the back side of the insert is a drawing my nephew left in the car when I picked him up from school one day.

Here's the left side, close up:

This is a pretty standard page. The picture of Mike in the bottom right corner is one of the still shots from the video I took of him reading to Brookie. So adorable.

Here's the right side, close up:

Again, a fairly standard page.

If you look at the full layout view you can get an idea of what the insert looks like {I'm not going to show you a close-up for privacy reasons}. I took several screenshots of my Facebook wall because I couldn't get them all in one shot and spliced them together. I also copied some of the text from my blog post that day and included the Gather logo.

Finally, here's the title card for this week:

I'm having fun figuring out creative ways to simply embellish these. It feels like a mini scrapbook page, without all the stress of embellishing the full layout.

I'm still in love with this project. I'm really proud of myself for keeping up with it for even these last 3 weeks. I've found myself taking more pictures than normal, which is a nice push. I'm still loving using my iPhone to take the majority of my pictures. It's just handy for everyday photos since I don't care my big camera with me all day, every day.

I joined the free class for Project Life on Big Picture Classes. It's completely free, and there's a gallery with tons of inspiration and a great message board to connect with other Project Lifers. My name on BPC is Jen V. and I've uploaded all my layouts from the first 2 weeks into the 2012 gallery. I'm also hoping to participate in a blog hop with other PLers on February 5. More details on that to come!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Randoms & Gather Questions Answered

Happy Monday!

My mind is going a hundred miles a minute today, and I can't even focus long enough to write a post about one particular topic, so you get my random train of thought. Enjoy!
  • I adore every song of Adele's that I've heard. I love her. Rumor Has It just came on my Pandora station. LOVE. Thank goodness for Pandora, it makes my days so much better.
  • This weekend was busy and full of fun. Friday I spent the day working on a couple of parties I'm planning and worked from home a bit, and then met some family for dinner to celebrate my grandparents' 53rd wedding anniversary. Saturday we were up at the crack of dawn to butcher our meat for the year. Sunday, we were exhausted and enjoyed a lot of time on the couch with our pups. It's not very often we clear our schedule to be lazy, but I'm glad we did {even if I'll pay for it this week}.
  • I'm attending a volunteer fair tomorrow to promote opportunities at our company. Just got me to thinking - even if you only have an hour or two a week to give, go out and do something for someone else. The things we have on our list are as simple as helping someone paint their nails or talking with someone about sports. I'm not saying you should only help elderly people {though I'm obviously a fan if you choose to}, but get out there and help someone if you can.
  • Since we have an influx of meat after this weekend, I'm looking for good recipes to use ground beef. If you have any, please leave them {or the links} in my comments. I'll be forever grateful...I'm so out of creative ideas.
  • I'm still getting love and encouragement about Gather. Thank you!! Seriously, I light up when I hear things like that; it completely makes my day. Here's the answers to a few questions:
Where will Gather be located?
I already have a space secured in Elmwood, Nebraska {which is where my husband's family is from and where we hope to be moving this year}. Since I don't have an opening date yet, I'm not going to publish the address quite yet, though if you really wanted to find it, I'm sure you could! For those who are local and still have no idea where Elmwood is {I don't blame you, I didn't either}, it's between Omaha & Lincoln. About 20 minutes east of Lincoln on "O" Street/Highway 34, or about 30-45 minutes southwest of Omaha {depending on where you're coming from}. Once I'm ready to open, I'll be sure to post detailed directions from both Omaha and Lincoln and a map of the area.

Are you quitting your job?
Ha, no. Unfortunately. As much as I'd love to run Gather and create lovely things all day, I just don't think it will pay the bills. I do plan to reduce my time spent in the office {though not my hours working} once I get through this busy time of year and get closer to opening. And maybe with your help, I'll someday be able to make Gather my full-time job!

What will your hours be?
I haven't set them in stone yet, but I do know I'll be open on Friday & Saturdays for sure. During some times of the year, I'll be open on Sundays I'm sure, and also by appointment when I'm not scheduled to be open. I do plan to host some evening classes during the week once I get the classroom up and running. And again, with your support, maybe I can make this my only job and be open even more often!

Do you have an online boutique?
Yes, I have an Etsy boutique that can be found here. It's fairly empty at the moment, but there are some cute printable collections still available, and I'll be adding more of those as soon as I can get a space to take photographs and stage parties {either in Gather or outside where I take most of those photos}. I'll also be adding the wedding invitation suites as soon as they're created and photographed and maybe some of the smaller items I'm selling in Gather.

I'm also planning on having a catalog of certain items once I get a new website, but I haven't thought that through completely yet. Let me just say that even if you don't live locally and don't want to plan a vacation just to shop at Gather, you'll be able to see what items I have for sale and purchase if you'd like.

Are you on Facebook?
I know of a lot of people who read this blog are friends of mine on Facebook, However, I've also created a Facebook page for Gather that you can find here. I need to have 25 followers before I can activate a username, so if I could pretty please get you to follow the page, that would be great! I'll fill it with updates about the store, photos of my progress and products and anything else I think might interest you.

Okay, how's that for random? I hope everyone has a great day, and I'll be back on Wednesday with my Project Life Week 3 layouts for you to see!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Project Life: Week 2

Hi all!

First, I just want to say how much all of your support meant to me about my big announcement on Tuesday! I can't tell you how much it means to have so many awesome people in my life who are willing to be so supportive of my crazy ideas! Every single note you left on my Facebook page, texted me, comments on the blog...it meant the world!! I can't wait to have more updates about Gather for you in the coming weeks.

On to my Project Life Week 2 layout. I'm a day later than my goal, but I'm close! The project is still going really well...I like that I've given myself permission to not take a photo a day, but instead tell a week's worth of stories during one layout. It definitely keeps me from feeling the pressure of a Project 365.

Here's the full layout:

Very simple again this week, although I did add a couple of extra embellishments to the title card. Every photo this week was taken with an iPhone {either mine or the husband's...loving that he's so supportive of this project!} I realized this week when the battery on my camera died that I'd left my charger at my brother's house at Christmas. Bad news because I wanted to take pictures with something other than my phone, good news that my battery lasted as long as it did without being charged!

Here's a close-up of the left side:

And here's a close-up of the right:

Last week was a pretty slow week for us. Lots of ordinary, everyday things to be done. I actually don't remember a lot of what happened last week, other than what happened over the weekend, which just means it was a normal week full of work and work and more work.

Like I said above, I did add a couple of embellishments to the title card this week:

The wk2 letters are Thickers by Dear Lizzy for American Crafts. I found these when I was looking for something else and I thought the shade of pink would be cute to add a pop on my title card. Plus, the font looks a little like my writing, which I thought was fun.

The flag with the dates on it is something I created. I told you in my Week 1 Layout post that I would go back in and add dates, and these flags are what I figured out. I designed them based on the flag that's on one of the front page cards in the Clementine kit {you can see the one I'm talking about here...it's the bottom right corner, with the clock}. I used 7 of the colors found in the Core Kit and made flags for the whole year. It's will be a lot of cutting, but I figured I could trim them while I'm watching tv one day. Or I can cut them as I need them weekly. I'll go back and add the Week 1 dates this week, and you'll see more of the flags going forward in my layout posts. I attached the flag with Tim Holtz's Tiny Attacher {which I love, by the way}.

I'm really excited for the page protectors to be restocked on Amazon {expected in early February}...the more I use my iPhone, the more I realize that I might need some protectors that are oriented vertically, in addition to the trusty Design A that I said I would be faithful to.

For those of you doing Project Life this year, how's it going? Are you keeping up so far? I'd love to see any progress you've made!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Big Announcement Day!

Happy Tuesday everyone! In my last post, I promised you I'd have a big announcement last week, but I'm a little late! Friday through Monday completely got away from me with having fun and all the things I had to do...and I didn't get the post written. So, here we go.

After many, many dreams, plans, ideas, and brainstorming sessions {in my head and with others}, I've decided that now is the time to open the boutique I've always wanted.

When people have asked me what I want to have in my boutique, I could never narrow down the answer. Stationery, party decorations, craft supplies, home decor, antiques, unique finds, classes...you name it, I've probably thought about it at some time or another. I couldn't make it all work in my head though...how the heck do you explain to people that you sell a little bit of everything?

Gather is that concept. When I was trying to figure out the name of the boutique, I ended up searching for the meanings of words in the dictionary. I wanted just the right thing. Here's some dictionary definitions when I looked up the word "gather":

1. to bring together into one group, collection or place
2. to bring together and assemble from various places, sources or people; collect gradually
3. to pick up piece by piece

The products that will be for sale at Gather will be exactly that...a collection. A conglomeration of things I've found, collected or created myself. A little something for everyone.

I'm in the early planning stages at this point, but I do hope to open my doors this spring. As you saw in my pictures from the first week of Project Life, Mike & I and our family have been busily working away in the boutique to make it a beautiful blank canvas to display everything I'll be selling. It's been a lot of wallpaper removal and painting so far, and I'm looking forward to having some new flooring put in soon, and then I can focus on the fun stuff - filling the store with all sorts of fun things.

So what will I be selling?
  • Home decor
  • Gift items
  • Party decorations & supplies
  • Wedding stationery & decor
  • Craft supplies & tools
  • Stationery
I also have space planned out for a classroom/work room area. I'm sure at first it will mostly be a work room {for example, I've already talked with a few friends about having a monthly Project Life work session to keep us all motivated}. I do plan to eventually teach scrapbooking and card making classes {and possibly some other craft projects}, but my primary focus right now is filling the space with product.

As I said before, much of the product will either be things I've made or things I've found and loved as I've shopped for myself or with this store in mind. But, I've also run across a couple of other artists who make beautiful creations I plan to feature in the boutique, and I'll be on the lookout for more as the need arises for new products.

Finally, with all these changes, I figured it was time to work on a couple of other goals I've been floating around for the last year or so. I'm working with a web designer to develop a website that will feature inventory from the store, link to my Etsy boutique, and also offer what I hope will be a ton of inspiration for party and wedding planning. My blog will eventually move over there. This is all in the very early stages, but I think it is the ideal solution to link vogtstories, Vogt Design Co. and Gather.

My other big change is that I'll be stepping back from completely customized wedding stationery. While I love creating one of a kind stationery suites for the brides I work with, it's become terribly time consuming and a lot of work. It's also becoming more difficult to do this kind of work when clients are spread out across the country, and not sitting across from me sharing their visions about their wedding days. So, instead, I'll be creating a few stationery suites based on current trends I see in the wedding industry and offering the pieces individually so brides {and grooms!} can build their ideal stationery suite from what I have to offer. Designing multiple suites is a HUGE undertaking for me, but it's something I'm excited to do, and share both in my Etsy boutique and at Gather. I'll add designs as I have time, and once things get a little more settled at Gather, I may still be able to take on the occasional custom order.

Whew...there you have it! Lots of changes to my business that I'm extremely excited about! Remember my post about 112 in 2012? #14 {in no particular order} was to grow my business. I told you that some of the things I was putting on my list were things I already knew would be happening...and making progress on Gather was definitely one of those things. I wrote last year that I wasn't sure I would be keeping my "real" job, and when I started brainstorming what I wanted to do when I grew up, this boutique was it. My job wasn't eliminated, but I knew Gather needed to be a priority in 2012, no matter how much work it took and how little sleep I would get.

Look for updates about Gather in future posts...I'll keep you in the loop about what's going on with my little dream!

Thanks to everyone who has known about this project for all their support and encouragement. I don't know if I could have ever taken the leap without you. Especially my sweet husband, Mike, who has been cheering me on since our first date almost 4 years ago!

Have a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Project Life: Week 1

Hi all,

Happy Wednesday! I wanted to pop in today to show you my Week 1 layout for my 2012 Project Life album. Look at that, I got a layout done! I'm one farther along than I did with my 2011 album {though, with as simple as this system is, I'll be caught up as soon as I find a spare hour or two}.

This first photo is the entire layout as you're looking at the album. Today is kind of a dreary day here, so the photos are a little darker than I'd like them. Plus, does anyone have any tips for taking a good photo of page protectors? I really didn't think it would be that hard!

Anyway...it's a two page spread, plus I included one 6x12 page protector for my 2012 goals.

Here's a look at the left side:

In the top left corner is my title card for this week. I labeled it week 1 {I will probably go back in and put the dates on the card, but I want to find a uniform way to do this throughout the album, and I haven't come up with it yet} and I also included some things that happened last week that I don't have photos of but that I want to remember or were an important part of my week. This won't happen every week, but I'm sure it will fairly often.

This page is also where I put my filler 3x4 card {the furthest left} because there are slots for 8 journaling cards and 7 pictures once you have a title page in there. I used the date stamp that came with last year's Project Life kit to include the date on my journaling cards. These don't come in the new Core Kits, but you can find them in any office supply store.

One other note - on the bottom left corner, you'll see Jim Carrey's face in my layout. No, Jim and his penguins don't hang out with my family. We had movie night with the fam, and since I didn't have a picture, I found the cover of the DVD we watched and had it printed in 4x6 to include with my album.

Here's a look at the right side:

The right side has a similar layout. I did crop one of my photos down from 4x6 to 3x4 and include it in the journaling card slot on the right of this page, just because so many of my photos were from the same project and I didn't need to journal about each of them separately. {If you look closely, you're also getting a preview of a big announcement I'm planning to make this week...no, I'm not pregnant, just chubby. It's something else!}

And finally, here's the 6x12 page protector I put in the middle:

These are my 2012 goals, printed front and back on this piece of light blue cardstock. I read something somewhere that you're more likely to achieve your resolutions or goals if you post them in a prominent place. I thought from time to time, I could look at my goals and see which I'm doing and which I need to step it up on. We'll see if it helps.

There you have it, my first week's layout. This layout is Project Life in it's most simple form. Pictures in the slots, journaling cards in the slots, week done. There are a lot of very talented people out there going above and beyond and adding things to their albums. It's great and really inspiring! But, I didn't have time to do that this week {as I probably won't most weeks.} The reason I stopped scrapbooking in the first place is that it got to be too overwhelming to me and took more time than I had. This layout was finished in less than an hour, and it probably only took that long because I was working on it on my lap on the couch in front of a Gilmore Girls DVD. I just want everyone to be aware that Project Life can be as simple or detailed as you want it to be...and you don't have to pick one or the other. It really is a great memory keeping system no matter where you are on the scrapbooking spectrum

I hope to be doing these kinds of posts weekly. It's helping me to keep accountable! Wednesday seems to be a good day for that, so I'll make it my goal to have my Project Life layouts for you on Wednesday.

And don't forget to check back later this week for my big announcement! Have a great day!

PS: You may have noticed I'm labeling my Project Life posts now...just click the link at the bottom of any of my Project Life posts to see everything I've written about Project Life and my personal projects.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Project Life Set-up

Hey all,

I wanted to pop in quickly this morning to talk a little about how I set up my Project Life album!

I got the Clementine Core Kit from Becky Higgins. As I said in my last post, I've ordered 7 Project Life kits in the last year, so I've seen every design. I love them all...really love them. But I decided Clementine was best for me at this particular time...subtle colors, some vintage images, cool phrases...love it all.

I decided against the coordinating binder, even though I think it's really cute with this set. I've been thinking about having my albums in a neutral color for awhile now. White and black seem a little too boring to me, so I went with this 12x12 binder from We R Memory Keepers {the company who makes the Project Life binders as well}. The one shown is black, but I got mine is a pretty shade of grey. I didn't see it on the website, but I got it from Archiver's, where they told me they'd just gotten them in.

Finally, the page projectors. I'm using 3 varieties for now, because that seems to work for me. That may evolve over the course of the year, but here's what I have {all from Becky Higgins}:
Design A is kind of the "classic" Project Life design. It's what used to come standard in the kits, so it's what I'm used to, and in general, I really like it. I don't take a ton of vertical pictures, so I don't mind the horizontal orientation {and I'm fine with turning my album to look at pictures}. This design is currently sold out on Amazon but is expected back in early February.

The 6X12 size is new for me, but I've already got one in my album. I thought I might want to share a longer, typed story from time to time, so that's why I got these and exactly what I'm using them for. Again, these are currently sold out but expected back in February.

The Big Envelopes are kind of a dream come true for me. They're really sturdy construction and great for holding all the "stuff" that accumulates in life. I'm not great at holding on to those types of things unless I have a specific place to put it. However, when I look back through albums, I love being able to pull out those things and look at them. Again, currently sold out, back in February.

Set-up for me is pretty easy, thank goodness. I basically follow the instructions that come in the kit, put the title pages where they're suggested to be, put the end pages where they're suggested to be, and move on with my life. I love that Project Life can be as simple or intricate as you want it to be.

I am a little OCD from time to time though {you know, the waking hours} and filling my page protectors takes a little planning before I get started. I take the title cards that are included in the kit, and sort them by style so I won't have two of the same style too close to one another in the book.

Then I do the same thing with the filler cards. Wouldn't want those too close to each other either. I also consider their placement in the album when I'm putting them in the 3X4 slots. For example, during week 1, the filler card is in the left most slot. In week 2, it's in the slot second from the left, week 3 it's in the third slot, and so on. I just keep rotating throughout the album.

Finally, I do the same thing for journaling cards. I didn't fill my journaling card slots last year with the intention that I might want to journal on the go. I actually didn't do that more than once. This year, I'm filling in the journaling cards, and I will journal as I include pictures, unless there's something specific I want to include {though I'm just as likely to include a post-it and write the whole story once I've printed the picture. We'll see how it goes.}

That's basically the extent of my set-up. It's not too complicated, and it doesn't even have to be that complicated if you don't want it to be. I plan to keep my album out where I can see it so that I'm going to keep up with it. I don't know if it will be on my desk in the dining room or on the dining room table or on the kitchen counter quite yet, but it will be on one of those 3 places, along with my core kit {I adore the core kits this year and that I can use them to hold all the supplies that came in the kit without taking up a ton of room.} I'll probably also include a little basket of supplies there that I might use throughout the project - my corner rounder, a couple of my favorite pens, some post-it notes, and maybe some other little embellishments if I feel like getting fancy on a particular layout.

Let me know if you're also planning to do Project Life! I'm planning {hoping} to upload my weekly layouts here on the blog, also to hold myself accountable, so I hope you'll be hearing a lot about this project over the near year!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Favorites of 2011

I definitely have some favorites for 2011 that I've been thinking about lately. If I don't already have photos of them, I'll probably stage some to put in my 2011 Project Life album as I try to complete it {ordered a bunch of photos yesterday I hadn't bothered to print yet...}.

Favorite Business Purchase

Definitely the Silhouette Cameo. Now, I'll be honest, I haven't even taken it out of the box yet and it's been sitting in my dining room for almost a month now. {Are any of you weird like me and hold off on using something you're super excited to use because you want to keep feeling excited about something? I also use it as a reward system..."Self, you can't take the Cameo out of the box until you decorate for Christmas." Never happened. "Self, you can't take the Cameo out of the box until you organize your craft room." Probably not going to happen til I move. You get the idea.} But...that doesn't mean I don't already love it. I've been stalking some very talented ladies who use it and I'm excited about all the things I think will be possible with it. Check out this blog post by Shanty 2 Chic for a great promo code on the Cameo and a fabric kit {it's too late for the giveaway, unfortunately} and for more information on the Cameo, visit the Silhouette website.

Favorite Personal Purchase

Project Life. Hands down. I purchased 7 kits in total in 2011. Yup, 7. 5 were for gifts and 2 were for me {2011 & 2012}. I can't say enough good things about this project, but if you want to read where I try, check out this post and this post. I purchased my album cover last night {this one, in Grey 12x12, which is apparently so new it didn't make the website...I got it at Archiver's} and will be assembling what I can tonight and taking photos. I only have 5 page protectors at the moment...silly me wanted to wait til after Christmas to order my own stash, and they ended up being sold out. My adorable niece was kind enough to let me borrow back 5 that I had given her for Christmas until the new ones come in. Then I'm to drive to her house immediately to replace them so she has room for all her pictures. Anyway...Becky Higgins did a great post yesterday filled with tons of Project Life inspiration. Check it out!

Best Thing to Happen to our Family

Abby Gator. Who turned 1 on Monday. She's not a baby anymore {even though she acts like it most of the time}. She doesn't know her own strength {which is why she's wearing the chain - she's broken 3 "unbreakable" tie-outs that have a 300lb. resistance.} She is easily the sweetest dog I've ever met. She loves everyone immediately {and will show you by jumping up for hugs}, always wants to play, and loves to cuddle. I can't imagine our family without her.

Favorite Gift

The Keurig coffee brewer. I have the Special Edition one, which was a Christmas gift from my super awesome mother-in-law {along with some k-cups to try and a travel mug}. I like coffee. I definitely don't drink it everyday though {until now, perhaps}. In winter, I drink it a lot more, especially in the morning or on weekends. I like to be warm. In the summer, I don't even think about it. I like that I can make drinks over ice {I just can't bring myself to drink a warm drink in the summer}, I like that it has multiple cup sizes, and I like that I can make just enough for me and not have to worry about wasting half a pot of coffee. I'm buying 2 more {probably this one} for each of our campuses at work to have on hand for visitors. For more info on Keurig, check out their website.

Favorite Discovery

Pinterest. Lots of hours, lots of pins, lots of inspiration. I still go back nearly every day, looking for more things to pin. I'm continually amazed by the talent that's out there - it makes me feel motivated and like a slacker all at the same time. Let me know if you need an invitation, if you haven't already jumped on board. {Click the icon below to follow me on Pinterest}
 Follow Me on Pinterest

There you have it. Just a few of my favorites from this last year. What are some of your favorite products from last year or the first few days of this year?

Have a great day, hope your 2012 is off to an awesome start!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Customer Request {Blue Milk & Cookies Printable Collection}

Happy New Year everyone!

I quickly wanted to share with you a new printable party collection I created at the request of one of my sweet Etsy customers. It's the blue counterpart to my Pink Milk & Cookies Printable Collection that I blogged about here.

She requested this collection for a 1st birthday party, which I think will just be adorable. The Blue Milk & Cookies Printable Collection is now listed in my Etsy store.

Thanks to Laura for the great idea!