Tag Archives: Project Life

Your Short Story

I have been contemplating posting this for quite some time.  I consider myself an open book and fairly free in the “social media realm” but this has been a struggle for me.  I was inspired by the courage of a friend whom I already admired and respected for her talent in photography but for whom my respect grew even more when she announced the loss of her pregnancy on Facebook last week.  She did so with grace and gratitude for the love that she is surrounded by and it was a sad but beautiful thing to see.  So here it goes.  This is our story of loss.  It can’t all be butterflies and rainbows but it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and share something that hurts as much as something like this does.  I am hopeful that sharing this story will bring comfort and companionship to someone, anyone that has to go through this.  This is very raw and perhaps offensive at times, but it is as real as it gets and my true account of one of the saddest events of my life.  I wrote this mostly to document my experience and put it into my Project Life but it has always been in my head that I should and eventually would share it.  So here it goes….

 

 

What We Thought

The photo on the left is what we THOUGHT you looked like… The photo on the right is what you truly looked like when you stopped growing….

 

January 16th, 2014

The day seemed long because I was anxious about our appointment.  Your Grandma made me chocolate banana cupcakes with strawberry cream frosting.  They were a Pinterest request and “she just happened to have everything she needed laying around” so she whipped them up and brought them to work.  They were DELICIOUS!  Those pretty little cupcakes seemed like the perfect way to start the day that would be the day that we would FINALLY know you were “real”.  Your Dad and I would finally get to hear your little heartbeat and see your tiny little body on the ultrasound screen.  Yes, I was anxious but MOSTLY excited!  

Cupcakes

Your Dad (always the multitasker!) was dropping a car off at Brandon Outback so I picked him up there.  On the way out to Brandon I listened to “Riding Elevators” on repeat.  I sang the lyrics at the top of my lungs with the windows down and my heart wide open.  I had such a content and peaceful feeling, so light and…. happy.  We were about to actually FEEL like parents!

We made it just in time for our 3:15 appointment.  I did my obligatory “pee in the cup” and luckily we didn’t have to wait very long.  So in we went to the ultrasound room.  She told me to just undress from the waist down so she could do an intravaginal ultrasound and get really close for the “pictures”.  So I did, slipped on a gown from the waist down and laid back in the chair.  The space was very small so it was a little awkward with Don in there, but he found a corner to occupy and the technician came back in.  We got started and she told your Dad that we would do the “fun stuff” first.  So he was ready with his phone to take pics and video.  Within a minute she had an image on the screen and I remember her saying something like “looks like you’re not as far along as we thought”…  To that I naively responded with something like “yeah we found out really early so it may be off a little…” (Whatever the hell I meant by that?)  I will hold in my heart the memory of this one flash, this one image where I could see “you”.  You were “floating” in darkness… and then in an instant, “you” were gone.  She started rapidly snapping through taking screen captures of every angle.  Still completely chill and unaware of what was happening to me, to us, in that moment I asked he if we could at least hear the heartbeat?  She said “No, I wouldn’t do that with this machine, let’s just wait till you see the doctor.”

And just like that she stood up and left the room, I put my pants back on and looked up at Don and shrugged my shoulders and said “well maybe something is wrong?”.  He looked at me with love and said “I’m sure there’s nothing wrong”.  Such sweet naive little love birds we were.  So off we went to the next set of waiting rooms.  As we sat there I still really had no idea what had just happened or what was about to happen I don’t think Don did either.  We were ill prepared to say the least.  Fortunately I wasn’t letting my mind wander to worst case scenarios, I was just existing in that space and time.  I was present in only that moment and that was all I could manage.  

My favorite, “Anna” (she’s a nurse practitioner) was in the hallway giggling and laughing, basically shit talking about a crazy patient.  Don and I giggled, it was hard not to hear them and it was funny.  A nice little distraction while we waited.  She saw us and proceeded to give us the story, we laughed some more and then she ducked away for a minute.  I took that chance to explain to Don how much I like her and that she was who I saw for my annual visit right after he and I got together.  She stole my heart at that appointment when she told me “this is the happiest I’ve ever seen your vagina”.  I mean how could I not love her after a statement like that?  She also made sure to hook me up with as many free samples as she could manage and extra scripts and what not.  So yeah, she’s cool and I really like her.

A few minutes passed and she came back with my file (“our file”) and she called Don and I into the doctor’s office.  We followed her in and sat down….

She had “the face”….

She began….

I remember so much about this day, but the next minute or two?  They are in there somewhere but it’s a blur.  I do know that in those two minutes I put on my “matter of fact face”, nodded, accepted the facts, asked logical questions and said “ok…” an exceptional amount of times but I don’t remember Don saying anything…  “Anna” left to “give us a minute” and so we could wait some more for the doctor…  As she shut the door behind her I remember her saying “the doctor will be in with you shortly”.  Never in my life has that phrase bothered me or incited any sort of anxiety, but, in this moment it hurt.  I couldn’t understand what the hell I could possibly need to see the doctor for at this point.

Time passed….

and also didn’t…

and we were quiet.

So very still and quiet.

I pulled out my phone and sent Anita a text.  She was at the port on a cruise ship and was eagerly awaiting an ultrasound snapshot.  Instead I crafted a text:

“Baby stopped growing 😦 I am ok, we are still at Dr.’s office now.  Just wanted to let you know before you left. I love you.”

That was seriously shitty but necessary.  She was moments away from setting off on a trip and I had to TEXT her the news that her niece/nephew didn’t make it.  Just one of many messages that would need to be relayed.

“Anna” came back in and said one more thing, what that was I couldn’t tell you because that’s when I broke.  My “matter of fact face” melted right off and right behind slid the first tear betraying me and my keep it togetherness completely.  The damn burst and then I was wide open and vulnerable.  Hurt seeping into every cell of my body as reality and her cold bitchy ways started to set up shop right in my dead womb.  As this is happening “Anna” says “There it is. It was inevitable.”….  She then hugged me and I wept.  Embarrassed and hurt I wept in her embrace.  She looked over my head at one point and asked Don how HE was, if he was ok.  I remember that but I do not remember hearing him respond but I am certain he had his “military/strong man face”.  She left again, this time leaving me with the box of tissues. Dammit.

Don and I alone in the room again I finally look over to him and said something like “I’m just worried about what you’re going to do…”  In my head I was worried about what he was going to do as in be mad or crazy upset?  Because I knew I didn’t have it in me to help him manage any of that in this particular moment.  His response was epic and so classic THE DON, he says, “Well I’m not going to divorce you.”  HA!  To that I said something like “you better not mother fucker! and that’s NOT what I meant!”

Dr. “S” finally arrives.  I don’t know her, never met or seen her before… Seems appropriate that she should have “this talk” with us.  So she begins by going over the facts.  The baby stopped growing at 7 weeks, I was in the midst of a missed miscarriage and here are your “options”.  A fantastic snapshot of our life at the time would be the first question I ask as soon as the “options” are brought up, “is that going to be covered by medicare?”. “Medicare? or Medicaid?” she asks.  I seriously responded with “I don’t know, I have a gold card.”  (Fuck my life.)   She said that she didn’t want me to worry about that, that it would all be covered…  She pretty much told me that having a D&C was my best option.  My body had let five weeks go by without aborting the baby itself so there was no telling how long the “limbo” could take if it happened naturally… So I chose to have a D&C.  We went over some paperwork, signed my name a couple times.  Then it was off to the checkout counter.  This part of the process was way too long and I was doing my best not to completely fall apart while answering questions, making decisions and scheduling.  Don kept it together too although it was difficult and I could feel his patience waring thin as we waited and waited to get out!  In the end it was decided that I would have the D&C on Monday, the 20th, Martin Luther KIng Jr Day and Mikaela’s birthday… As good a day as any I suppose.

We got in the car and it was quiet.  I had been playing “your song” through my iphone so now there was just silence.  We stopped at a gas station to fill up and headed home.  We didn’t say much.  Don seemed to be most worried about having to tell his sisters which pissed me off a little bit at the time.  But looking back it seems like a perfectly acceptable concern.  I considered turning on the radio but couldn’t think of any station that would be playing the appropriate soundtrack for the drive home after finding out your baby is dead.  So it remained quiet.

We took the new expansion off of the crosstown, mostly by accident but it turned out to be a good distraction.  It was the first time we were on that road, seemed strange to get such different views of our city from way up high.  When we got to “malfunction junction” it was almost five o’ clock and I knew that your grandma was waiting for an update…  I was so sad to have to call her and tell her this.  Nothing is ever real until you tell your  mom, you would have learned that I know…  So I took a deep breath, let out a sigh and called…

I think I said “Hey Mom” I don’t remember what she said after that, I think she asked a question about you.  I remember I managed to squeak out through my choked throat “there is no baby” and then she said “what?” in the sweetest most comforting heartwarming voice that can only come from one’s mom and then I explained that you had no heartbeat.  That you had stopped growing at 7 weeks.  A lot of what came next is a blur I just remember being very worried about her.  She was so excited about you and so very happy for us.  She will someday be the most amazing grandma.  I am so very sorry that she will never know you.  She asked if I felt like I needed her to come over and while her love is always welcome it felt like something that Don and I needed to tackle together.  Not to mention a mom hug in that moment would most likely have sent me into hysterical convulsions.  We said “I love you” and with that the hardest call was done.

Once we got through traffic we stopped at Al’s aka Nebraska Mini-Mart to get ice and coke because we had decided that cocktails were definitely in order.  He gave us what we morbidly deemed the “Dead Baby Discount” after he asked how “things” were going and he became the first person we told… in person.  I just said to him that it didn’t work out and he reassured us that we’ve got time and we’ll try again but that he most definitely would not be taking our money on this occasion.  Good times.

Conveniently we had an appointment scheduled with Joelle to sign the new lease for our house.  So when we all sat down to go over the paperwork she became the second person we got to tell in person.  She too was reassuring and kind.  After she left Don and I went to ABC on Kennedy to get some more cocktail supplies and then we headed to Chipotle so that Don could get some comfort food. 

Doing the best we can

We came home, made cocktails, took a couple pictures to shove into my project life and Don ate not one but TWO Chipotle burritos.  He loved you a lot little one.  Dead baby grief requires double duty comfort food apparently. We spent the rest of the night making seriously inappropriate dead baby jokes which helped us to laugh instead of cry. I called Valerie and let her know, she too was heartbroken but, she and I are both very logical people.  Mother Nature knows best and she decided it just wasn’t meant to be this time.  Val does a great job of helping me to see the silver linings of things. Excelsior!  I decided that a round of informative matter of fact texts to close friends was the easy way to tell everyone.  There was no way I could speak out loud the explanation over and over.  I just couldn’t.  So I checked that task off my to-do list and had many heartfelt responses of sympathy.  I realized that Don had not called his “people” and I knew he needed a little push…. So, I texted Don’s bestfriends and let them know that they should call him.  One called after I had some time to text with him which worked out good because the other called right away.  He spoke to both of them for a little while each and he seemed to feel “better” once he had gotten those conversations off his chest.  I eventually got to talk to Amber which was an extremely hard call, but luckily Don and I had had time to loosen up beforehand.  It was really sad to realize what a precious opportunity it was for Amber and I to be pregnant with our first babies at the same time and to face the sadness in knowing that that will never be possible again.  It was a once in a lifetime chance that was now gone.  

We wrapped the night up dancing in the front room to techno songs to the point of pure exhaustion.  We cuddled together very tight in bed that night, neither of us giving the other too much space to move or to get lost.  Our grips were fierce having been reminded in such an intense way, just how very fragile this life is.  We are lucky to have one another and we will always love “you”.  You helped Don and I to see just how much we do want a family and also to feel and experience just how intense the love for one’s own child can be.  You were so tiny but you shifted our world in the best way you could by showing us a glimpse of everything we’ve always wanted. Thank you for that.  We needed you.

Love, 

Your “Mom”

 

January 26th, 2014

It had been a long day celebrating Gasparilla and it was so nice and comforting to end the day at home with just my big sister.  Anita and I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning talking.  We covered every emotion that I was going through but also everything that she was and had gone through.  It’s tough work being a big sister.  It was the first time we had been together since everything happened.  It was so incredibly good for my soul to share everything with her.  

When she left the next afternoon, I was just starting to have “cramps”.  They came in waves and were uncomfortable but mostly manageable.  But as I stood in the frame of our front door watching her back out onto the street and drive away, I realized that I was alone.  And it started to ache.  Being alone is not something that normally makes me unhappy or vulnerable, but, I think my body and mind knew what lay ahead and being alone felt more relevant in that moment than it has in a very long time, maybe ever.

I was alone with what was left of “you”… and “you” were about to leave me completely.  There I was alone and becoming empty.  I ached for my husband but I quickly became too consumed with the process to think of much else.  I started to hurt all over, physically it would come in waves, later I would learn that those “waves” were similar pains to contractions… Thank you for the practice sweet one…  

My heart hurt the most.  I missed you, I missed the hope for you that I fell in love with.  What was left of you was leaving me and I was ALONE.  Alone in a new and foreign way.  

“I go home to the coast it starts to rain I paddle out on the water. Alone. Taste the salt and taste the pain I’m not thinking of you again. Summer dies and swells rise the sun goes down in my eyes. Take these broken waves, darkly coming to take me home. And I’ve never been so along and I’ve never been so ALIVE.”

-Third Eye Blind

A part of me wanted “your dad”, my husband, my partner…But this way was better. I was not in charge of managing anyone else’s emotions, instead I had the freedom to FEEL EVERY ONE OF MINE.  I now know that I needed this to be something just you and I shared.  An experience only to be remembered by “us”.  And so “we” did… and so it was.

After about 6 hours of painful waves, throwing up from pain meds and taking care of the physically real remnants of “you” I finally felt the last bit of “you” leave me.  It was done.  “We” were done and I was now left with the task of once again feeling complete with every piece of “you” gone.  I was alone.  But I, unlike you my love… was ALIVE.   

Thank you so much to all of our friends and family that have been so amazing as we have recovered from all of this and somehow managed to fall even deeper in love.  We are incredibly grateful every day.

-thejensspin

 

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I’m 32, the highlights

This past Friday I had the privilege of turning 32.  I have never been one to dread my birthdays or worry about getting old, to me it has always been a good thing.  This year like every other year a sigh of relief was heard.  “Thank goodness I Made it another year!”  This will be the first year that I have been  somewhat maintaining a blog and I am excited to start a new birthday tradition.  Each year I will post my highlights and this year seemed like a great year to start since it has been such a monumental year!  These highlights aren’t just what I would think of for typical yearly highlights, these are LIFE HIGHLIGHTS!  So here’s my list, in no particular order… (With the exception of #1 of course)

  1. My Wedding Day Jen_&_Don_Wedding_Papered_Heart_Photography621
  2. Ate THE BEST oysters with my husband on our own private balcony overlooking the Vegas strip.  IMG_7316
  3. Took a helicopter tour of The Grand Canyon and was moved to tears by nature for the first time in my life.  IMG_7365
  4. Did a bar crawl in San Francisco.  IMG_0137
  5. Took a cruise down the PCH in a Mustang convertible, top down THE ENTIRE TIME!  IMG_0540
  6. Moved to tears once again by the mountains of Carmel.  IMG_0464
  7. Had a Nerd Bachelorette party.  Nerd Bachelorette
  8. Shot my FIRST newborn session.  IMG_3762
  9. Had dinner at The Precinct with 3 generations of Ernst’s.  IMG_5205
  10. Started Project Life.  IMG_5578
  11. Had a blog post shared for the first time ever, thanks to Juliechats.blogspot.com with Whimzee’s Scrapbook Studio who shared my “Deep Thoughts of a Rookie Project Lifer” on the stores’ Facebook page.
  12. Completed (not ran, but… completed) my first 8k.  IMG_2805
  13. Celebrated Gasparilla for the last time at my bestfriend’s house on Davis Island… Bittersweet.  IMG_2072
  14. Set up my first Photobooth for my mom’s 60th birthday.  IMGP9860 copy
  15. Learned the basics of Photoshop.
  16. Made a book filled with 60 years worth of memories with my sister to give to my mom.
  17. Saw the fountain show at The Belagio.  IMG_7304
  18. Drove across The Golden Gate Bridge and took a picture with my husband at the lookout point.  IMG_0320
  19. Learned how to sew… on paper… (kind of…LOL)  IMG_4640
  20. Went to the top of the Carew Tower in Cincinnati, Ohio with my husband.  IMG_5194
  21. Completed my first SMASHBOOK (it took about ten months).  IMG_4962
  22. Reached 1427 followers on Instagram.
  23. Inspired a friend to SMASHbook.
  24. Inspired 3 friends to consider starting their own Project Life projects.
  25. Won a 5 month war with the rats that were trying to take over our 100 year old rented Bungalow.  IMG_2653
  26. Went to my first music festival, The Hangout.  IMG_4234
  27. Did my first glow run 5k.  IMG_1852
  28. Created an awesome amount of crafts for my DIY wedding, including a backdrop, cornhole set and more.  Jen_&_Don_Wedding_Papered_Heart_Photography281IMG_7087
  29. Did Deal’s Gap with The Don in the QX4, it’s no Supra, but it did alright.  IMG_5354
  30. Attended the most concerts in one year that I ever have in all my years of living!
  31. Rode on a streetcar in SanFran.  IMG_0184
  32. Reached 3,557 view on thejensspin.com

Thirty two, you have been spectacular.  Thirty three, let’s see if we can top it.  Remember:

“For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”

-Souza

My favorite quote keeps me grounded and grateful that each day comes and goes and that I am surrounded by love, family and friendship.  My heart is full and my eyes are open. Happy Birthday to me.

-thejensspin

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AS REQUESTED: my must have Project Life supplies

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It makes me VERY happy when my friends reach out to me with interest in Project Life!  This is my first year and I have had three friends express an interest in starting their very own Project Life Albums, two of whom are expecting new additions to their families in the very near future.  As I have said before, Project Life WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO HAVE A BABY, I can now say that it seems that HAVING A BABY WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO DO PROJECT LIFE!  Most recently, my friend Jenn, who is expecting a baby boy sometime very soon, and who is also an INCREDIBLE photographer (you can check out her work here) told me that she was starting project life and asked me what else she might need other than a core kit, pages and an album.  Now, I have to say that while one of the most beautiful things about this project is that you don’t NEED anything else, you can MOST DEFINITELY use SO MUCH MORE if your heart desires!  I feel like I am far enough into this adventure now that I can accurately share the supplies that I reach for most often if not for every single spread.  This is in no way all of the supplies I use, that list is embarrassingly long, but that’s because that’s how I like to craft.  I love having lots of options! So these are my absolute faves and all things I would recommend to any and all who might be just getting started with Project Life.  Part of the fun of this whole process has been learning what works for me, hopefully this helps you to decide what works best for you!

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Pictured above MY MUST HAVE PROJECT LIFE SUPPLIES:

Thickers: I use these EVERY single week!  Be sure to check in the tiny craft section at your local Marshalls or TJ Maxx for some great deals!

Roller Date Stamp: I need to use them more, but I love them!

Elmer’s Glue Dot Runner: This is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE of all the MANY different brands that are available!  There are also Tape Runners, some semi-permanent, some permanent (like immediately!) and on and on, I recommend this one as a good starting point.

Washi Tape: BE CAREFUL! THIS STUFF IS ADDICTING AND CAN BE FOUND EVERYWHERE NOW! But, it is such an awesome way to accent alpha sticker, add pops of color with no fuss, and of course it also serves it’s purpose as an adhesive method, so there’s that 🙂

Fiskars Scissors: Any scissors will do, these just happen to my favorite.

Fiskars Corner Rounder: I like having the option to round the corners of my photos, but I don’t always do it.  I do think that I am going to go back and round all of my corners because there is something about that little magical triangle of space in the pockets that make everything come together.  And since my Project Life is completely scattered with constantly changing color schemes and what not, it would be nice to know that there is AT LEAST ONE thing that is uniform throughout!

Project Life Corner Rounder: I just found this at my Michaels, I am happy with it and it’s pretty cool that the corners are the exact same as the Project Life core kits. It is not available on Amazon yet but it should be SOON!

Silhouette Pick Me Up: This little tool makes moving Thickers and the smaller alpha stickers that come in the Studio Calico Kits a lot easier to adhere.

Staedtler Fineliner Porous Point Pen:  LOVE the way these write!

American Crafts slick writer (see below)

Project Life Pen (see below)

Staedtler permanent Lumocolor (see below)

uniball Signo broad (see below)

Custom Stamps (see below)

Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher: This little magic stapler is just SO MUCH FUN TO PLAY WITH!  It’s such a dainty little staple that you will find yourself using it constantly!

StazOn Ink Pad: This ink is great because it will “stay” on most every surface!

I have provided links to almost everything through Amazon or etsy because that is what is easiest for me to do, but these items don’t have to be purchased on the internet, I bought lots of them at Michael’s or Joann’s using their weekly coupons.  You can also check out these awesome scrap supply sites:

Two Peas in a Bucket, Scrapbook.com, Studio Calico, and Simon Says Stamp.

A little closer angle:

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Pictured Below:

Canon Selphy Printer

Studio Calico Project Life Kit

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The Canon Selphy is awesome because it allows me to print, via wifi, directly from my iphone.  It has proven to be extremely helpful in times when I am falling behind and want to catch up quickly on my weekly layouts.  Now that I am almost done with my first year I do find myself using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to resize, edit and add text to my photos which I then print on my HP printer, but when I need things to be simple I like knowing I have the Selphy available.

Here’s a closer view of my favorite and most used writing utensils as well as the silhouette tool which works GREAT to help align thickers on your layouts.  The white pen is BY FAR THE BEST option for writing on a photo, just be sure to write slow as to give the ink time to flow as well as allowing time to dry before sliding into your pockets.

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These are all great pens, the project life and precision writer are the same pen and are great for writing on all kinds of paper, the slick writer is perfect for writing directly onto your photos.

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The Studio Calico Project Life Kit

photoThis is Studio Calico’s August Project Life Kit, it is part of a monthly subscription program (you can also purchase month to month at a little higher cost).  This subscription is BY FAR the best addition to my Project Life process!  I LOVE their products and feel like a little kid at Christmas each month when my box full of goodies arrives from them.  I have never once regretted signing up for their monthly kits.  This picture does a pretty good job of showing all of the adorable things you can expect each month, but just click here to take a look on their site.  If you do decide to order a kit you should pick up some of these Fiskars Acrylic Blocks for clear stamps, they come in a package of varying sizes which will accommodate the stamps that are included in SC’s Kits.

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Custom Stamps!

photo 1Even if you don’t really think stamping is for you, I HIGHLY recommend picking up a couple that you really love, I think you will find that it adds something special to your layouts.  These stamps are from three of my favorite crafty ladies!

Click on their names below to be taken directly to their stamps shops.

Elise Blaha Cripe “THIS” “FOR THE RECORD” “YOU ARE HERE” “<3” “HELLO”

CarrieLSunday “THIS IS WHAT love LOOKS LIKE” “HUSBAND” “WIFE”

Kelly Purkey “IT’S MY JAM” “#”

And last but certainly not least, I have to give you the list of blogs that I have become a loyal follower of, all of which provide me inspiration for all things crafty, especially Project Life, on a daily basis!

Amy Tangerine

Ali Edwards

Elise Blaha Cripe

Design Editor

Deb Duty

Pink Ronnie

Sudio Calico Blog

Kelley Purkey

For those of you that are prego you might want to pay special attention to Amy Tangerine as she expecting VERY SOON! Elise JUST HAD a baby girl, so I would check back through the last couple of months for some GREAT inspiration from her, she has done a lovely job documenting and sharing her daughters entry into the world! I have linked a few blog posts at the bottom of this post for your enjoyment!

I SERIOUSLY hope that this blog post is helpful for you, it has taken me MUCH LONGER to write/create than I anticipated LOL! Tomorrow is my birthday. and I plan on sharing my “32 Highlights” so keep an eye out for that.  As always, THANK YOU for reading! If you are new to Project Life or a seasoned veteran, What supplies do you love the most?  Please share, leave comments and/or ask questions!  It let’s me know that you were here, that someone is reading and more importantly, I LOVE KNOWING THAT I HAVE SHARED SOMETHING USEFUL!

-thejensspin

P.S. I am not cool enough or popular enough to be getting paid for any of these recommendations! (A girl can dream that some day she might be!)  Everything you see listed here is here because they are all things that I actually use/read/need! Thanks!

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It’s been a while… Brief Project Life update

Sigh…

Well, keeping up a blog is work, plain and simple and it’s not just work, it’s creatively inspired work.  Thus, when the creative mojo is sparse or non-existent, it’s damn near impossible to get the fingers to the keyboard.  It’s been about two and a  half months since I have taken the time or have been inspired to sit down and write something here, which is ok, I don’t have a hyped up following that is chomping at the bit to read what I will type next, so I am safe for now.  There are however; a number of bloggers whose pages I have become accustomed to reading every day, those bloggers are not allowed to go on hiatus for months at a time! But I am a “baby blogger” so I am not going to feel too guilty about my absence. For those of you that do read when I write I am thankful for you and hope that my sporadic nature doesn’t take away from your enjoyment of my posts!

Project Life:

Well, it’s going.  It’s going really well at times and then slow and then swell and back again.  Which, with a project like this is to be expected.  One thing is for sure, I still love it and I have no intentions of abandoning it or not completing it.  I have visions of beautiful book shelves filled with Project Life Albums.  My kids will love them someday (my future kids that is) and I know that it will bring my husband and I joy to look back through them as we get older.  All of that being said, it is a time commitment and I would say that it is probably wise for any and all “Rookie Project Lifers” like myself to approach the first year as a complete and total experiment.  I am STILL, almost 5 months in, figuring out what does and doesn’t work for me and what exactly Project Life means to me.

Things like:

Do I want to include memorabilia within my pages? or do I want to save those things for Smashbooks? Or has the streamlined method and look of Project Life changed my mentality all together and now I just want to focus on pictures and journaling?

What is my style? will my style keep changing or will I eventually fall into a rhythm? is falling into a rhythm the same as being lazy and will I be happy with my pages if/when I do find a rhythm?

Do I really like core kits? or do I just like to make my own cards or subscribe to the kits from Studio Calico? or just print the digital kits?

Do I want to stay committed to majority handwritten journaling or do I want to start incorporating more typed/printed text?

Do I like “brushes” on my photos or no?

Will I ever learn how to use the Silhouette Cameo? and if I do, what kinds of things will I use it for for Project Life?

Inserts and embellishments or no?  Right now they seem necessary but, at this rate there will be at least two if not three albums PER YEAR… That’s a REALLY BIG BOOKSHELF we’re talkin’ about in only a few years LOL!

Things I do know:

I do seriously LOVE, having this record of our lives.  I find myself wishing I had been doing it all along and Becky Higgins posts success stories of people going back and documenting their lives on a regular basis, so, maybe that will happen some day.

I like randomness.  Matchy matchy throughout a whole album is probably never going to be my style, but I will say that I like the idea for albums that are based on a theme such as a baby album or wedding album, I can see the cohesiveness making more sense in those situations.  I am contemplating using a blend of core kits to put together a wedding album for Don and I.  So I guess I still do desire some variety lol.

I am not committed to always using the 12×12 format, I have seen a number of examples of people using different sizes such as 8×10 and 8×11 and I think I am more attracted to rectangles than squares, but we shall see how that goes.

I just recently stumbled upon annmarielovespaper and LOVE her style, this is a great example of what is generally more aesthetically pleasing to me:

Love this!

One issue that would arise for me if I switched to this kind of format would be photo selection as it is already very difficult for me to whittle my photos down for each week and I don’t think re-sizing them will be solution enough. For now I am happy and committed to sticking with the 12×12 albums for the first full year.

I am not nearly as obsessed about rounding corners as I thought I would be.  Now this could be because I have let myself get behind so my priorities have shifted towards completion rather than “perfection”.  I’m not ruling out the possibility that I may eventually crack and go back and round every single corner, but for now, my corners are random and that’s just fine by me.

More on getting behind.

At first, around the time of my “Deep Thoughts of a Rookie Project Lifer Part 1” post, I was up to date, working at the end of each week on the week that came before and while that was working, it was also a bit… frustrating.  I found myself wanting more to work on and also wishing that my Studio Calico kits were already there for me to use, so I decided to intentionally let myself get 2-3 weeks behind so that I could use the SC kits when I wanted to and also so that there would be more to work on at once.  It was good in theory for about two weeks and then…. LIFE HAPPENED!  One event, sickness, new car purchase, maternity shoot, Netflix marathon led to another and before I knew it I was 6 weeks behind RAPIDLY approaching 7.  That was NOT a good feeling.  I started to panic and flail around in the quicksand of my craft room and quickly had visions of writing my “I Failed at Project Life” post.  But, after I let myself have a breakdown I pulled myself together, organized my photos, all in one night, printed them two nights later and then WENT TO WORK for a day and a half.  I would guesstimate that I spent probably about 16-20 hours that week catching up on Project Life.  Now that’s A LOT of time BUT, that averages out to a little under three hours a week for the 6-7 weeks that I was behind which is about how much time I was spending when I was doing it week to week.  Plus, all of those hours were enjoyable for me, I love working on Project Life and working with photos on the computer, it’s stress relief in and of itself even though not having kept up with it was what was really stressing  me out.

A couple of months ago Don and I went to a baby shower for some very sweet friends of ours who were expecting their first (and only) child, baby Ty.  I decided that I was going to give them what I wanted them to have and not so much what they picked out at Buy Buy Baby, I mean, that’s what friends are for right?  So, I ordered them the Project Life Core Kit Baby for Him edition, a 50 pack of Project Life pages, a We R Memory Keepers Album and a Canon Selphy printer.  They seemed pretty excited about it and the handsome little man has since arrived (he was born last Friday) which just happened to be the day that I assembled her album for her, perfect timing!  So I am hopeful that she will keep up with it, at least for the first year and honestly if she does, how could she not fall in love with the concept and want to keep on going? Right?… We shall see.  I will be dedicating an entire post to the baby album putting together process and when I do I will link it up here.  For now, here is a sneak peek at what that whole process entails:

Project Life Baby Album

I will just say that before you offer your services in this particular area, make sure you truly do love the person you are doing it for because it is quite a bit of work and also that you have a VERY large space to work in!

That’s all for now on the Project Life front, I will continue to work on part 2 of my “Deep Thoughts of a Rookie Project Lifer” post and hope to post it in May sometime.

 

 

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Because I too like Projects!

Doing my morning scroll through my google reader and I have found two new blogs to follow, www.hernewleaf.com, from my own wandering on Pinterest and the other via Ali Edwards’ perusing of Pinterest, where I found www.moorea-seal.com. I absolutely LOVE Pinterest, but it is one of those places that I have to tell myself to NOT GO TO quite often because if I do then before I know it 3 hours of my life are gone and so are the three hours that I could have had to work on all of the incredible Pinterest projects I had posted on my last binge… It’s a vicious cycle but also an incredibly inspiring place to visit.

  • I am working on not saying “So” SO MUCH in my writing, so I am going to put it in parentheses for a little while, every time that I would have used it… Starting… now:

(SO) On my EXTREMELY long monthly Project Life post last week I mentioned that I really want to find a way to get myself back into Smashbooking and this morning I was inspired by a project that Ali Edwards is doing, it’s called 52 Lists and she found it on Pinterest via the lovely Moorea Seal’s blog.

I’m a sucker for lists…

Simple enough, A new prompt each week for a new list.

Isn’t it amazing how much easier it is to get a project going when you have the reassurance of someone else giving you the prompts?  LIke #fmsphotoaday,

there is nothing too incredibly unique or unusual about the prompts that are on here monthly lists, but the fact that someone else came up with the subject matter just gives me the freedom to focus on the fulfilling the request and responding openly and that is what I find most enjoyable about projects like this.  I would feel completely overwhelmed and unsure of where to start without the prompts as a starting point, but this is something that I think I can get into.  It would/could be an insert into my Project Life, but I think it will be more fun and interesting to use a Smashbook to document it.  (SO) Along with my Project Life I will now be doing 52 Lists.  I plan on trying to incorporate some of the Studio Calico kits that I have been hoarding since I joined the monthly program as well as magazine clippings that I have been habitually collecting, categorizing and hoarding since birth it seems like!

  • I once took an art class (and by that I mean that I took EVERY one available to me whilst at community college, to the point that my parents got a real kick out of asking me how “basket weaving classes” were going) and we had a couple of mixed media projects that we were assigned.  Most of the other students brought in a couple of current magazines or pulled from the stash of magazines at the studio… but not me.  I came in with my six categorized gallon size zip-lock bags completely full of clippings.  The Professor came by and took notice of my collection and asked where I had gotten “all of that”, I replied that I had been saving “this stuff” for as long as I could remember… “Just in case”… Spoken like a true hoarder LOL  But, there have been many times when my collection has come in handy so I’m happy that I have kept up with it.  I can never send a printed material of any sort off to be recycled until I have determined that there is nothing else in it that can be useful to me in some way, UPCYCLE/RECYCLE for the win!

This will also give me a chance to start using up some of the washi tape that I have been collecting and hoarding since I purchased my first roll from the K&Company Smashbook line.  Moorea is encouraging those that decide to take part in her project to link their blog posts and/or pictures back to her site corresponding with the prompts so that we can all see and share our lists with one another.  (SO) I will be doing that as well, look for that post on Mondays most likely as I am a procrastinator to the core and she posts her new prompts on Tuesdays so I will most likely be completing the previous weeks lists just before the new one comes out (of course that’s just after I catch up on the last 5 weeks worth of lists!)

-thejensspin

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Freebies from www.Misstiina.com

Just stumbled across her blog and her awesome products via Pinterest and thought I should share 🙂

<p  style=” margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;”>   <a title=”View MissTiina Everyday Journal Cards on Scribd” href=”http://www.scribd.com/doc/122615695&#8243;  style=”text-decoration: underline;” >MissTiina Everyday Journal Cards</a> by   <a title=”View ‘s profile on Scribd” href=”undefined”  style=”text-decoration: underline;” ></a> </p>

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The “Deep Thoughts” of a Rookie Project Lifer

This is how this post got started, I typically just start typing, but today I jotted down “just one note” and before I knew it I was cursively scribbling away all of the things that I have been keeping in my head that I thought I should share whenever I FINALLY did this post.  So, the result was a yellow stack of the backs of sheets from a message pad book filled with inspiration, so here it goes:

photo

Project Life, Month 1:

I am hoping to make this a monthly series in which I recap each month of my maiden Project Life voyage and just touch base on things such as: what IS working, what ISN’T working, pleas for help and guidance from all of the incredible Project Life veterans that have already tested these waters and made their way to the other side, products I loved, new methods of planning or just reinforcing the tried and true.  Essentially just the random stream of thoughts that will be coming out of me at the end of each month that is a milestone to me sticking with and completing the longest running project I have ever signed up for.

I have no doubts at the one month marker that I can keep up with this, of course I must admit that as I typed that I immediately thought to myself that that may make others chuckle and that I may be foolishly confident and have no clue just how far behind I might become… But, for now, I’m feelin’ good 🙂  I hope that this post has something/anything that is useful to someone out there, I can’t even count the amount of blog posts, youtube videos, pinterest boards, forums etc etc etc I have scrolled just looking for advice and tips and stories about Project Life and I have been soaking it all in like a sponge and thoroughly enjoying it!  So here is a list, in no particular order at the moment, I am going to try and run with that but once I get everything into the draft I may have to categorize things so it doesn’t make me crazy, but I am hopeful I can just transfer everything from my cursive notes onto here without stressing over the order… We shall see….

  • I take A LOT of photos!  I read that some people struggle with not having many photos to work with, but that is NOT a problem for me. But, all this photo taking comes with a “price” and while it’s not without hope at the moment, if I don’t develop and start sticking with some sort of SERIOUS organizing/storage system for my digital photographs I am most definitely going to have a HUGE problem in the not so distant future.

     I am taking all sorts of suggestions on this front, I would like to know all about your photo storage solutions, how you keep them from eating your computer, what makes you feel safest and most secure that your precious memories are taken care of?  

  • I purchased a Canon Selphy for myself for Christmas and I have NO REGRETS!  It is a great compact photo printer that is perfect for printing out 4×6 photos and also will print my instagram images as well.  However, I know I am using it as a crutch at the moment to put off learning Photoshop (I am ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of Photoshop for some reason, like to the point that I think I need a tutor and a support group simultaneously!)  But, the point is that I know I would feel so much better if I didn’t feel like I was constricted in how I can size my photos, I just know that my creative mo-jo is going to overflow once I get a hang of Photoshop!
  • Photographing Project Life LOs is NOT EASY!  It is HARD WORK! And I just have to give serious props to some of my favorite Project Lifers, these are only a few as the list of blogs I follow on my google reader has grown considerably since taking on this project, but these lovely ladies all have something unique to share!

Amy Tangerine:

Amy Tan‘s AWESOME LO Photography!

Ali Edwards:

Beautiful shot of a stunning LO by Ali Edwards!

This picture is actually from a post that Ali did just the other day which was all about HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH PROJECT LIFE LOs and she does a great job going into detail about her process and what works for her.  There is a link to that post at the end of this one as well! Of course at the end of the day a lot of it comes back to basic photography knowledge and a good understanding of using light (NOT my strong suit!) but, I am committed to keep working on it and find a way to make my LO pictures more beautiful.  Having a massive wall length window would be a great start, I’ll be sure to let the hubby know we will need to be moving 🙂  I did read a great post by Heather Johnson yesterday that had a lot of good suggestions for using light, shooting indoors and getting back to using manual mode on your “real camera“, it is linked on my blog or you can find it here.  She also reminded me about one of the greatest photography books ever written with regards to light and photography which is called “Understanding Exposure”.  Many years ago my father gifted a copy to me and I will most definitely be revisiting it this month on my journey back into “Real Photography”.

Ashley Bennett:

Ashley Bennett who is OBVIOUSLY a photographer, not only has breathtaking photos within her Project Life but she also has outstanding shots of her LOs. She is definitely an inspiration!

Elise Blaha Cripe:

Beautiful spread!

 

Elise had to be on here not only because she takes wonderful photos both of her LOs but also of her life, she has become all the rage since designing the Seafoam Core Kit for Becky Higgins’ Project Life.  And the kit is absolutely gorgeous!  She has become an inspiration to me and I am loving her quirky takes on blogging and the engaging manner in which she writes.  Not to mention it’s incredibly cute watching her little baby bump grow from week to week! (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this project WILL make you want to have a baby!)

This is just a small sampling of what I aspire to someday be able to do with my LOs, it will be so rewarding to be able to take incredible photos of them and share them with friends and family near and far as well as with my readers.  Ultimately I have decided that photographing Project Life LOs is WAY MORE COMPLICATED than actually making them!

Here are some photos of My Project Life (iphone only!)  I hope next months photos of my LOs will be much better quality!

Cover Page:

Cover Page 2013

Week 1:

Week One

Week ONE

Week 2:

Week TWO

Week TWO

Week 3:

Week THREE

Week THREE Left side & Tampa Jay’s Birthday Insert

Week THREE Right side & Tampa Jay's Birthday insert.

Week THREE Right side & Tampa Jay’s Birthday insert.

Week 4:

Week FOUR

Week FOUR

  • Google Reader is one of my favorite things (I use Feedler on my iphone) and the amount of daily motivation, encouragement and enlightenment I get from all of the blogs I have started to follow is immeasurable.
  • This definitely isn’t new information, BUT, it has become painfully apparent this first month that I NEED to learn how to use my Silhouette Cameo!  There are SO MANY adorable things that I find myself drawn to in others LOs that I know I COULD be making if I would just sit down and figure out how to use the darn thing!  Add that to the list of things to do.
  • I have ZERO regrets about subscribing to the Studio Calico Project Life Kit and feel incredibly lucky that all of my blog following paid off in that I was one of the first ones to get on the waiting list thus one of the fortunate ones to get one in time to use it for the first month of the year!

Studio Calico’s First Project Life Kit “Block Party”

 

As you can see, the elements that SC includes are not only cute but they are also thoughtful.  I have found that the kit is neutral enough to compliment other core kits from Becky Higgins, but also, innovative enough to stand on it’s own and be the ONLY kit one uses if they so choose.  I have a blend of Clementine, Amber and Seafoam core kits and there are pieces from all of those that blend nicely with the SC kit, its a beautiful thing when products from different companies and collections can be combined.

  • I would like to start including a “weekly roundup” aka highlights as a part of my weekly title card, it sometimes feels like putting the weekly title card with nothing else on it is kind of a waste of space and I think it will bring some uniformity to the pages having a designated spot where there will be some journaling each week.
  • I need to remember to take better notes throughout the week either in my Erin Condren Planner or in my DayOne app (both of which I love btw) so that when it comes time to write I am not trying to remember what happened but instead drawing inspiration from the things I have already documented.
  • I like that I included a “Now Playing Card” in Week 2 and I would like to make sure to incorporate one for each month throughout the year.
On repeat this month

On repeat this month

 

  • Seeing my husband’s smile when he flips through my modest 10 pages of Project Life makes every moment of thought put into it worth it and to hear him explaining it to others in a way that focuses on it’s “coolness” as opposed to the nerdy craftiness of it puts a stupid little smirk on my face that makes me bashful and giddy. (love that he still has that affect on me…)

    He's pretty adorable...and manly...and super tough :)

    He’s pretty adorable…and manly…and super tough 🙂

  • I am thankful to have atleast one “human friend” (as opposed to cyber/ig friends) that is doing Project Life for the first time as well.  She didn’t take much convincing and now she is LOVING it!  We just had our show and tell this morning and it is so awesome to see what we are each doing with our projects and to get inspiration from one another, it’s a beautiful thing!  Not to mention that neither of us are what you would call “completers”, we are both filled with good intentions and not much follow through, once again, one month in, we are both feeling pretty good about it.
My Project Life Teammate Alysa

My Project Life Teammate Alysa

 

  • I REALLY like Elise Blaha’s ratio breakdowns at the end of the week i.e. pictures taken by her : pictures taken by her husband or pictures taken with “real camera” : pictures taken with phone, I am thinking I am going to try and work that either into my PL LOs or into my blog posts, I find it entertaining and also think it will serve as a good reminder to bust out the “real camera” more often when I see that 100% of my photos are taken with my iphone!
  • I am enjoying my system for organizing photos on my iphone although I am sure there is probably a more streamlined way of doing it, this is working for me for the moment.  This is my process:
  1. Since right now all of my photos are being taken with my phone, the first step is having them accessible in my library.
  2. I have a “filtering problem” which I should definitely work on, but, for now, applying filters from an array of apps on my phone is the next step.  My favorites at the moment are Pixlromatic, Vintique, Camera+ and afterglow.
  3. Once the images look the way I want them to, I save them to my library so they are all in one place.
  4. Throughout the week I add photos to their corresponding day via a new event created on my DayOne app.  This allows me to keep track of when the photos were taken, to add a sentiment or explanation and also gives me a simplified reference at the end of the week so that all of my photos are assigned to a date.  It is also nice that I can add an event to a specific day regardless of when it happened so if I fall a couple days behind I can still go back and add them.
    Very handy.

    Very handy.

    This Photo Stream makes finding which photos I want to use much easier!

    This Photo Stream makes finding which photos I want to use much easier!

     

  5. I saw a great tutorial on how someone else organized their photos and I just can’t remember where it was, but if I find it I will link it here, but she basically shared how she uses DropBox as her storage/organization program for her Project Life.  So that is what I have been doing.  Before the year started I created a main folder simply titled “Project Life”,Dropboxwithin that folder I created sub-folders for each week with the label “PROJECT LIFE WK 1” etc. Dropbox Once that was created it made it easy to just upload within each week the photos that I might use for that weeks LO.  This past month I had two “events” that were photo intensive and that I knew would require and insert and/or their own LO, so within the “Week File” I created an “Event File” so that those pictures could stay within the respective week but be grouped together and ready for printing for that event.Dropbox
  6. When I get ready to print my photos I look through my DayOne Photos feed and decide which ones to print, sometimes I print them all and other times I leave some out or decide to make a collage to incorporate more images in one printed photo.
  7. Then I print from my phone to the Selphy printer.  This has been working so far, but, I know that I want to learn how to size images to fit pockets so printing on the Selphy won’t always be practical, but it is a great option for printing 4x6s.
  • I have decided that if I am going to blog about Project Life that I need to not stress about it too much.  Just like making my lay outs, creating my blog posts should be something I look forward to and not something I over analyze, so I am giving myself permission to just write and share however it comes out of me because otherwise the obsessing over getting it just right is going to keep me from doing it at all.
  • I think that I feel comfortable committing to an end of the month recap, I mean that’s only 12 posts a year right?  But, I would also like to be sure to share more often than just that, hopefully with stories of triumph pertaining to the Silhouette Cameo and Adobe Photoshop (aiming high!)  The monthly recap will be a good way for me to assess my progress and also to keep an ongoing and evolving reference of what has worked, what hasn’t and also what I have learned along the way.  In my biggest dreams it will have helped others that I don’t even know yet conquer their own challenges regarding Project Life, only time and your comments will tell.
  • So being just one month in, I already find myself wishing that everyone I know was “PL-ing” so I could flip through their books lol!  Perhaps one day I will inspire most people I know to “cultivate a good life and record it”.
  • Not just this month but in the last few months (I am not being too hard on myself since the last few months did include our wedding, our 11 day honeymoon, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Gasparilla) but in that time I have abandoned my first love having been so pre-occupied with Project LIfe and I sadly have not done ANY SMASHING (aka SMASHbook-ing) in a VERY long time.  I really need to set time aside to delve into my smashbooks because I truly do love and enjoy them and I think that if I have them as an outlet for my “messy crafting/scrapping” that I will feel more comfortable keeping my PL pages clean, simple and streamlined.  As of right now it’s almost as if I am smashing on each card for each pocket which can be quite a bit of work!
  • My “friend” Carrie (I say “friend” only because she is amongst the many wonderful people I have gotten to interact with and come to know a bit via my rekindling my relationship with the craft world via the internet, blogging, twittering and instagramming but yet I have not now, nor will I probably ever meet her or any of the many in person.)  But even those these “friends” aka “cyber-friends” are not “real”, the “relationships” I have with them feel very similar to “real world friendship” and I certainly can’t deny that they bring me joy on a daily basis.  So to call them anything other than “friend” just feels strange so, “friends” it is.  But.  I digress, back to Carrie, she was the reason I made the jump on to the “Project Life Train”.  I asked her back in October (the month before my wedding lol!) if she PL AND Smashbooks and she said “Yes!”.  She went on to say that while she loved both projects, that they served very different purposes for her, Project Life is for the every day and Smashbooks became more of a themed/event oriented project which made perfect sense to me.  The point is that the craft world is a very kind and open space and I am happy that I have been able to engage with and get to know so many due to my love of this project.
  • I need to work on capturing the everyday ordinary which I have been doing a better job of this week, but the month of January as a whole was filled with mostly “head shots” and I would really like to branch out and add some variety and capture the small elements of Don and I’s days that make this life what it is right now so we can recognize the differences when we look back from our future.
  • I need to learn to let myself just love a photo.  #NOFILTER
  • In February I would like to start using the timer and remote for the “real camera” and even on the iphone so that I can start incorporating my hands into my images and also to allow more possibility for captured movement.  This will also allow for more unique and interesting angles.  LIke this shot by Elise:

 

Whats not to love about this photo? I want to incorporate more images JUST LIKE THIS!

  • As far as my “process” I have learned about myself this month that I use what I see, what is readily accessible and also what is fairly new mostly because it is fresh in my mind.  I have complete admiration for someone like “Glitter Girl” aka Shimelle who is able to recall the brand name and collection for EVERYTHING!  She is amazing to me, I really enjoy watching her videos on YouTube which are a part of a series for Two Peas in a Bucket called “Glitter Girl Adventures”,

she pulls questions right from the discussion boards and provides solutions, very clever girl 🙂  But, for now, I do not have the ability to remember everything I have in my stash, let alone who made it and which collection it is a part of!  So I am thinking that knowing this about myself mean that I need to either weekly or monthly select random supplies, papers, ephemera etc and put them in a container directly on my table so that they are readily available and fresh in my mind.  I think this will help insure that my pages don’t become predictable and also will help me delve into the abyss that is my craft collection and actually take advantage of all of the different products that I have been hoarding over the past year or so.

  • I would like to start incorporating a “Favorites right now” insert or card atleast once a month listing out favorite movies, tv shows, books, music, food, hangouts etc…
  • And last but not least I think I am going to start including a monthly Instagram insert in the hopes that that will encourage me to embrace my photos as they are or to explore apps that allow me to use filters but not neccessarily change the dimensions of my photos in order to do so.  The security of knowing that the IG insert will be there for me to fill should help A LOT!  And besides, I am really not a big fan of putting square photos into rectangular pockets, it urks me.

 If you have made it this far then you deserve a reward of some sort as well as a BIG THANK YOU from this girl.  Those of you out there that do blog know that it can be incredibly time consuming but when others actually take the time to read it and even better leave comments and feedback, it makes it all worth it!  Have a wonderful weekend and I will be back hopefully sooner than a month from now but MOST DEFINITELY in a month from now!

-thejensspin

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I heart Amy Tangerine

So I just have to say that I have the biggest girl crush on Amy Tangerine!   She is incredibly talented, love her style and she is a down to earth scrappy chic, gotta love that!  I tagged her in an instagram photo just the other day because I was excited and also surprised that I found some of her adorable stickers on clearance and….  she commented on MY photo!

"Fun Indeed"

“Fun Indeed”

I have to admit that I was totally giddy about it 🙂  That is one of the awesome things about instagram and the crafting community, there is opportunity to share and collaborate with people you may never have encountered otherwise.

While we are chatting about Amy Tangerine, her blog post the other day, “Project Life with Two Peas” was really great so I wanted to share it here for those of you that might be interested, she gives some hints and a couple of tricks for how she works on layouts and also talks about Persnickety Prints and of course, Two Peas in a Bucket.

 

And just a little more on Persnickety Prints (LOVE that name btw!), I have not ordered any prints from them just yet, but after visiting their site this morning I don’t see how I could pass it up as they are having a give a way of 12 adorable Project Life cards with a $30 order.

Persnickety Prints Project Life Giveaway!

Super cute right?  Well there are SO many more exciting things going on in the craft community, I will blog about some more later on today or this week and I shall be sure to show off my Persnickety Prints once I receive them 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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thejensspin meets smashbookcrackbook, jepaperie and project life

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Blogging is a labor of love which can of course become lucrative, but I think most people who start one do it to share a part of themselves and to make connections with others that share the same interests, at least that was my motivation when I got started.

As the new year starts and I am assessing my list of new ideas, goals, projects and commitments for 2013 I have decided that all of my “worlds” need to meet, melt and become one as far as the cyber world is concerned.  Initially I felt as though I needed to keep my blogs separated by subject matter, even though the idea behind this blog was “a deposit box for all things jen”, because I was worried that my “first world friends” would tire of my cyber endeavors.  But alas I finally realized that there’s no reason to hide my passions in shame just because I don’t think the majority of my friend group would be interested and it’s also keeping me from discovering whether or not writing and sharing about my passions can be interesting and perhaps even inspiring to the very friends that I ASS(outof)U(and)ME-ed would not be interested.  So, this blog is now where I will share EVERYTHING.  Which simplifies my life and makes me that much more eager to share.

 

PROJECT LIFE 2013!

 

My path back to “craftyland” was paved with Smashbooks:

“Messy and beautiful”

 

 

and of course, Washi tape:

 

Along the journey I discovered another incredibly awesome and simple way to incorporate photos, journaling and memory keeping.

Que Project Life by Becky Higgins

“Project Life is a solution-based approach to scrapbooking that was created to simplify the process in order to allow you more time to enjoy life! It requires no glue, no scissors, no tools, and no skills of any kind. The design of our products takes the guess work out of layout design so that you can focus on recording your everyday moments through your photos and journaling. The simple design is stylish and makes it possible for you to complete more pages in less time.”

Even though her system can be incredibly simple it turns out it can also be very complex.  But, that is the beauty of it, make it as fancy and ornate as you wish or as plain as you like or have time for.  A brilliant method of documenting the everyday things that so often get overlooked or just snapped into the iphone only to get lost in the sea of one’s camera roll.

 

This is an awesome example of a more detailed spread, which I absolutely LOVE!

This is a BEAUTIFUL example of what Project Life pages can look like from one of my favorite blogs http://www.cherisheveryday.com.

 

I will still be Smashbooking, but I will use those more as a themed method and Project Life will be my way of documenting weekly, the ins and outs of The Husband and I’s first year of married life.  Ultimately I hope that one day our kids (future kids) will look back through these little time capsuled modge podged pages and see what their parents were like, to get a glimpse into the psyche of their “creators” pre-creation.  And hopefully by the time they come around I will be in the swing of things and documenting their lives will be like second nature at that point. WARNING: PL (Project Life from this point on) WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO HAVE A CHILD LOL! If not just for the quality and content of your photos then for the necessity of acquiring Becky Higgins’ newest line of core kits, the baby editions!

 

So, thejensspin is now the only blog I will be using to share craft projects, life stories, etc…  Looking forward to 2013 🙂

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