Project Life: January

Project Life continues to be one of my favorite things ever, and since 2015 began, I have been trying to keep up the momentum I had in finishing my 2014 album. I feel like I spend a lot more time looking at blog posts and instagram photos of other people’s spreads, and it makes me want to get my hands on paper and printed photos of my own really badly. So far this year, I have been ordering prints of my photos once a month, and then making the pages once the photos arrive on my doorstep. This is partly because more often than not, when it’s time for my free time during one of Ben’s nap, I have to do basic human things like shower and eat. (The logic there being that it’s easier to edit and order photos in one chunk on a weekend, rather than in ten minute increments each week. I’m not sure if this process will continue to work, but I’m going with it for now. Even if it bums me out to have to wait so seemingly long to actually make pages.)

I have decided to use a 9×12 album this year, after two and a half years of working with the 12×12 size. I wanted to change things up, and I was also thinking that the slightly smaller page size might be easier to keep up with. I also theorized that I’d use a more “interesting event/noteworthy day” set up, as opposed to the more strict two pages per week method I’ve used up until this point. I’m not sure if it’s my rather… orderly… personality, but so far? It’s mostly working out to be two pages per week. I am giving myself a little more leeway when it comes to leaving out photos or days that don’t seem all that interesting, though. So maybe it’s working? Or maybe I just like the freedom of not feeling like I have to put a card with the week number in there each week? Either way, I’m enjoying the creative jolt that the different size has given me so far. Oh, and I don’t actually have an album yet, because I wasn’t totally jazzed about the initial release of 9×12 albums. But there are different designs/colors supposedly coming soon, from two sites, so I’m hoping I can get one soon. (Having my pages loose is making me nuts.)

So here are my January pages!

I’ve been really drawn to black and white lately, and I always like to keep my title pages relatively simple (and full of stripes, of course). I am using a printable calendar from Harley Quinn & Co for monthly calendar title pages, printed 5×7.

I’m also including my weekly photos of Ben in my spreads, and it’s really nice to know I have a really good, non-iPhone photo of him to include each week.

These pages included some major milestones for Ben (which I’m also documenting in his baby album, but they were so noteworthy I had to include them here, too), as well as our two year wedding anniversary. I hesitated to include a photo from two years ago in this year’s album, but the photo makes me so happy that I had to include it.

Project Life: January
I keep finding myself drawn to gray and black and white when it comes to journal cards and filler cards this year, so this was my attempt to make a concerted effort to include color. I sorted all of my cards by color right after the new year, thinking it would make it easier to find cards that coordinate with the photos on my pages, but I keep reaching for black and white cards. I’m wondering if it’s a winter thing, or if it’s more of a style evolution. This week was also a great example of just using the best photos – last year I would have used an insert for those beach photos, or just included one, and it was so fun (and liberating!) to be able to include all of them.

And this turned out to be one of my favorite spreads of the month. All of the photos of Ben on the left side are from one afternoon the day after he learned to crawl, and most are screenshots of a video I took. (And therefore all blurry and grainy, so black and white was absolutely the way to go!) He has been SO busy and all of my photos of him are blurry these days, and I like that these photos reflect that.

So that’s it! I’m hoping to be able to get my February photos ordered today, because I can’t wait to keep working on this.

Project Life 2014 Highlights


When I came back here a few weeks ago to see how far I got when it came to posting my Project Life 2014 pages, I was really surprised to realize that I only ever posted my January pages. And then I remembered that while I stayed current until the beginning of February, I didn’t make a single page from early February until I began my maternity leave in May. I got myself all caught up, and then didn’t touch it again until Ben was two months old… and that pattern continued until December. December was amazing, because the instant photos meant I could stay caught up, which felt SO GOOD after being epicly behind all year long. I’m determined to keep this momentum with 2015, but we’ll see how that goes. I’m switching to 9×12 albums, but they aren’t available yet. Ah well. Anyway! Here are some of my favorite pages from 2014!


Many of my winter pages look like this, all snow and ice and blue.


Here, I was documenting my maternity outfits each day, figuring I’d want to remember that some day. I also included this blog post, and the paper with my extended family’s guesses for Ben’s arrival and size.


I don’t use a lot of green, but in 2015 in general, I was really trying to stick to color schemes with each spread. This is also a good example of the method that made it so possible to catch up – I made these 3×4 cards with the Collect app on my phone, and then uploaded them directly to Persnickety Prints. In 2014, I finally started ordering 3×4 prints, rather than printing two on 4×6 paper; not having to trim them really saves so much time.


I had to share this page, because I stared at that left side for months; I made that page just before Ben was born, and then my album was open to that page until I caught up again. I included some 8×10 inserts, with one of our first photos of Ben, which is one of my absolute favorites still.


This is the rest of Ben’s birth day spread; on the left you can see the 8×10 inserts, which include a really detailed version of his birth story, and some photos Dan took in the hospital. The right side has our bracelets, a quote I found on Pinterest while I was in labor that was SO perfect, and some photos I took in the hospital.


This spread also includes some cards from the Collect app, plus one of Benjamin’s teeny tiny newborn-sized onesies (this one was my absolute favorite, so it’s fitting that it has a place of honor here). I’m fairly sure I saw this in Elise‘s Project Life album when her daughter was born, and it stuck in my head because it really reminds me just how tiny he was.


Here’s a page from the end of the summer. I like it because I printed images of some of our summer favorites (the beer we couldn’t stop buying, and those frozen pizzas that I’m still addicted to.)


On the left here is one of my VERY favorite photos of Ben; it was just begging to be printed full size. (And printing full page photos is absolutely a secret trick to catching up when you’re super behind.) On the right are a bunch of photos from one day with Ben; I had been planning to do a day in the life but I never got around to writing out what we did.


This is my first page from December; you can see how I incorporated the daily instant photos, plus some cards writing out what we did each day.


I love the color scheme here; I had a 6×6 paper pad with holiday paper, and it made it really easy to make things look cohesive. On the right, I used a 2×2 coin protector page to include a Day in the Life. Dan and I both did Day in the Life in March, and I’ve been wanting to do another now that Ben is here and we’re in the thick of it. It was a regular day at home together, and I took photos and wrote the journaling as the day went on, which was really fun.


And here’s the last page of the year, with our last few instant photos, and the before and after of my epic haircut (and yes, I did totally cut all my hair off on New Year’s Eve. What better way to start the new year totally fresh?)

So that’s it! I’m really glad I started Project Life a few years ago; it’s such a wonderful creative outlet, and knowing my photos have a home and aren’t just lingering on a hard drive somewhere is SO gratifying. I’m so excited to keep going with this project in 2015!

Wedding Countdown Paper Chain!

Not long after we got engaged, I found an app for my phone that let me see right on my home screen how many days were left until our wedding. (And actually, I kept two widgets: one to count down to my wedding, and one to count down to my sister’s wedding. We both had them and exchanged a lot of amazed texts as the numbers have gotten lower and lower.) I like numbers and quantifying things, so seeing this every day has been both interesting and hard to believe. I’m not sure when I got the idea in my head to make a paper chain to count the days left, but once it lodged in my head, it was very hard to forget about.

But it was one of those crafts that seemed crazy, like, okay, you’re going to cut out more than a hundred strips of paper only to tear them off? Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to wait until there’s a month or two to go? But reasonable isn’t always my prominent characteristic when it comes to projects, so in one of my random Target runs, I found myself buying a scrapbook paper pad. The cheap price was my excuse, but let’s face it: as soon as this idea planted, it was absolutely going to happen. So one Saturday afternoon when we were firmly entrenched with no plans (and Dan reeeeally wanted to spend the day playing Xbox, so I needed something to keep me busy anyway), I started calculating. How many strips would I need? How many of each color to keep it balanced? How many of the 8.5″ square sheets would I need if each strip was an inch wide? You know. And I set to work.

Cutting the strips was a little tedious, but ultimately easy with the paper cutter. I used my tape runner to glue them all together, one by one, starting with 0: Wedding Day!!

I made a special link for our wedding day and for one month to go using my chevron stamp and some washi tape. And I numbered the links to make sure I didn’t lose track of where I was (and so we’d know as we tear them off where we are).

As the chain grew and grew and grew .. into the living room, Dan just kept giggling at me.

I tried to keep the colors disbursed as evenly as possible, and using the scrapbook paper pad was fairly smart on my part, because at least all the colors coordinated without me having to think about it too much. (Because you know I’d over think that.)

Dan helped me hang it up (trusty Command Christmas light hooks to the rescue yet again!) and it was fun to figure out how to drape it across our fireplace artfully. We’re already looking forward to re-hanging it as the links disappear. I took these photos when we had 169 days to go; as of this writing we have 160 remaining. We are both totally loving the visual representation of how far we have to go… it’s hard to believe, but pretty damn exciting all the while. And you know these 160 days are going to FLY.

Completed: Fall Minibook

I bought a fall minibook kit from Elise’s shop at the end of the summer, because I can’t ever resist fall colors mixed together that way. I kept notes and printed photos months ago, but somehow never got around to putting it together. But an afternoon of chatting minibooks and Project Life with Jodi and Kelly last weekend got my papercraft-inspiration-juices flowing, and I just sat down to make this book on a weeknight and finished it in a few days. And it felt really, really good. It’s simple, mostly photos and date stamps, but six months late is better than never, as far as I’m concerned.


297.365 :: six months late








(This also counts for week 47 of Handmade52!)

Completed: 30 Before 30 Minibook

So I turned 30 back in July, and meant to get this book done soon after. (Back when I finished my 27 Things Before I turned 27 list, I finished the book BY my birthday, which seems crazy looking back. The 28 Things While I’m 28 book was only shortly after my birthday.)

Things were a little crazy just after my birthday, what with moving a week after, and starting a new job a month and a half after that. I was busy, and honestly? I pretty much lost my crafty mojo there for a while. I have this awesome craft room now and haven’t really used it. But a few weeks ago, I finally got the room organized and tidied up so that I could actually get some crafts done in there. I haven’t always felt like working on this, now that it’s so far past my birthday and some things have changed even since the list, but I pushed through, knowing how much I wanted to have the book completed, mostly to be able to come back and see it in a few years. It’s not my favorite minibook, but that’s not to say that I don’t love it and the things it contains. This list was my favorite of all the birthday lists, and I think I got some pretty major things done this year thanks to it.

Completed: 30 Before 30 book
#7: Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame
#22: Get a Tattoo
30 Before 30 minibook

Week 37: Geometric Paintings

One of the things I wanted to get right in our new place was decorating, in the living room, especially. I had a lot of posters and things that I liked in my old place, and I wanted to keep them, but not necessarily in the same configuration, just so the new place felt like “our place” instead of just everything from my old place but with Dan now.


So I knew I wanted to hang my Keep Calm and Carry On poster above the couch, but I had a lot of trouble figuring out what to hang with it. At first I thought I’d buy prints from etsy or somewhere, but that got overwhelming really fast. I have a bunch of frames that I like but never knew how to use, including two worn-in white frames from my parents’ old bathroom. And then I realized that I could just make something to put in those frames, duh, and that I could then make sure the colors coordinated but didn’t match too twee-lee.


I bought a bunch of craft paint at AC Moore, and just used some extra white cardstock, cut down to 8×10 to fit into the frames. This was my first major hurricane project, done sitting on the floor next to the big glass doors out to our patio. Dan helped me pick the designs and the colors, so that made it feel much more “us” instead of just me.


I painstakingly cut painters tape into strips, the chevron being WAY TOO FUSSY I should have just used washi tape instead of paint why did I think this would be so easy and straightforward? Ugh.


Ahem. The stripes were easier, but I still cut the painters tape into narrow strips, trying to paint in a not-too perfect pattern.


The cardstock became clearly the wrong paper for the painters tape (washi tape would probably have been better, even for the same purpose) as it ripped the paper in some spots when I pulled it up. I tried not to be too much of a perfectionist about it, trying to convince myself that the sort of fuzzy lines go with the weathered frames just fine.


I finally hung them up this past weekend, in preparation for Dan’s parents coming over to see the new apartment for the first time, and added my old beer bottle cap wreath to balance it out. I’m so happy with how it looks now, and it’s such a nice sight to see as I come in to the apartment, and the colors obviously are super matchy with the afghan that I assume I’ll finish one day, and I couldn’t be happier. Except if the painters tape hadn’t torn the paper but… we’re not talking about that.


Week 30: Moving Announcements

I don’t know what it says about my personality, but one of the things I was most excited about when it came to moving was picking out and sending out moving announcements. I like everything about sending mail, from picking out cute stamps to writing out my friends’ and family members’ addresses, to updating my address book (I always write addresses in pencil so I can update neatly!), to putting a giant pile of envelopes in the mail slot at the post office.

I mean, I had our moving announcement picked out and favorited before we even picked out our apartment.

I fell in love with a print-at-home announcement from nelliedesign’s etsy shop, not only because of the color scheme, which is pretty much exactly the colors we’re using in our new living room. She emailed me with the final high res version within hours of my order, and I printed them once we hooked up my printer in our new place.

oh craft room, you are so great

One of my goals with my birthday Paper Source trip was to get some red envelopes, and since the whole point of moving announcements is to reveal your new address, I just stamped our initials in place of a return address.

e : d

And then covered the envelopes with washi tape. And bought the cutest stamps ever.

handmade52.30 moving announcements

It was fun, I got to use my new craft room and my paper cutter, I got to gather some new addresses, and I got to send mail. It was a good re-entry into the crafty world, since I haven’t been in that mindset for quite a while. So it’s super good.