Project Life 2018: Week 1

I wanted to share the first week of my 2018 Project Life album with you guys. I know already that I will not be sharing every week here on the blog. It took me since Monday just to get these pics taken and the blog post written. I will likely share every week over on my Instagram, and just sporadically include layouts here on the blog.

But here is week one. It's a very simple layout, which is my goal. I used a few different sets of stickers/thickers and a label, but really no embellishing at all. I can't compete with the amazing Project Life creative team every year, and trying to defeats my goal of keeping this project simple.

And here are the two pages a bit closer up:

The first picture I included is actually from just before midnight on December 31. We woke Austin up to watch the ball drop (he'd requested to go to bed and have us wake him up rather than him staying up). He fell back to sleep while waiting so we had to wake him again. I just wrote a quick note about this onto a little card stock label and attached it to the photo. 

I had to include a photo of some of the Lego sets we have been doing since Christmas. I received the BB-8 Lego set for Christmas and really enjoyed putting it together. Since then I've been doing a few older sets we have in the house and I ordered another smaller Star Wars set for me. Austin (and sometimes Brad) have been doing their own Lego sets at the same time so it's been kind of a fun family activity.

I included a photo of two ornaments that were given to us this year that were really special to me. My grandmother has been in a nursing home for a few years now and she isn't doing that well, and my mom had found a bag of ornaments she had purchased for everyone in the family. So my mom wrapped them up and gave them to us this year. It would have been the last time my grandmother was able to shop on her own, so they just mean a little something more to me than ornaments she's been able to give me in the past.

Brad and I have been playing a game together on the Xbox called Diablo 3. It's a cooperative fantasy type of game, very similar to the old Baldur's Gate games we used to play together. It's been really fun playing together again, so I added a photo of our characters as they were the other day (as we get new armor and weapons our appearances change).

This was my first week being unemployed. I was able to get a few things done, like starting a cleaning routine with the Tody app (though I haven't gotten to the whole house yet - but the bathrooms are on a schedule now and that pleases me). I've just kind of been working from zone to zone in the house. I also find that I'm really tired a lot, and when I really think about it, I just think it's the past two years of stress (both good and bad) catching up to me and telling me to take a little break. But I'm struggling with doing that and trying to find my fit as a stay at home.

I've got some motivation in me for a craft project I've been thinking about doing for a loooooong time, and I'm going to try to work on that over the next week. Basically I've been wanting to find a place to donate handmade cards, as many of the ones I make never get sent to anyone. I also would really like to make some uplifting cards but have no one to send those directly to. And I've been inspired lately by Kristie Marcotte's YouTube channel and her amazing ways to use a 6x6 paper pad to make like, 35 cards! So I think I'm going to incorporate her card making style into a (smaller) project to make some cards up to send to a few places I've found that take cards and give them to children in the hospital. I have so much paper...more than I'll ever need (yet as with most crafters, I always seem to need more!) so I thought it would be a good idea to start using them! I'll be sure to post about it if/when I complete the project, which I hope will be soon, and link to those places to donate as well.

Happy Birthday Card

Sharing a card I made for my stepmom's birthday today. I received the Hero Arts Happy Stamp & Cut stamp & die set for Christmas and I couldn't wait to make a card with it. The 'happy' die (and stamp) is just such a great font. I used purple glittery paper from Paper Studio (Hobby Lobby's brand, I believe). I love this glitter paper - it doesn't flake off at all...even a tiny bit!

I stamped 'birthday' from the stamp set with VersaFine Onyx Black ink (I find that this stamps words better than Memento - but I used Memento on the pieces I colored) onto some Stampin' Up! Pool Party card stock. Not only is Pool Party my favorite of the colors from Stampin' Up!, but I feel like the purple worked well with the aqua.

Next I stamped (with Memento Tuxedo Black) the fox from the Party Animal stamp set from Lawn Fawn. I colored him in with my Copic markers (I have the Ciao set with 72 colors which are now almost 7 years old according to when I purchased them and still work beautifully), and carefully cut him out. (I don't have the matching dies for this set). Then I took the Memento Tuxedo Black marker and carefully ran it along the edges so that my cut appeared super clean. I also stamped one of the little gifts from the set and did the same - cutting it out and running the marker on the edges.

Before adhering the Pool Party strip, 'happy' and fox to the card, I used the small stamps from the Party Animal set and various Memento ink colors to randomly stamp around where the strip was going to be. I tried to place the stamps closer to the border and then spread them out the further they went, but I'm not really that great at that kind of spacial arrangement so it didn't turn out exactly as I had planned.

I attached everything down to the front, using some very thin foam adhesive for the fox (I'm mailing this card) and added some teeny tiny Martha Stewart star sequins to the left side to tie in with the stamped images.

On the inside of the card I stamped a phrase from a Simon Says Stamp set "It's Your Birthday." 

And that finished off my card! Since it is being mailed the only real dimension I used was the thin foam adhesive behind the fox.

The ibotta App

My full time job ended at the end of December. For at least several months, I'm planning to take time off, get my house in order, do some crafting, and figure out what it is I want to do next. In the meantime, I have a goal to try to cut down our monthly expenses - starting with groceries. I've already switched from our usual grocery store (Wegman's) over to Market Basket, as the prices are better there. I've also subscribed to a number of YouTubers who offer tips on saving money on groceries or other household products. 

Through one of these lovely YouTubers, I discovered the ibotta app. This is a free app for your phone. You find offers on products at the places you shop for groceries, and basically earn a rebate if you purchase them. It's very easy to get the rebates - you send in a photo of your receipt and scan the product barcodes. I downloaded this app on Wednesday and already have earned $21.50! (I haven't been able to figure out the lifetime earnings vs. total available yet but I think it might be my "any item" offers - those don't count towards any bonuses you might earn). 

I used it at Dollar Tree and Market Basket this week, but I notice the app has other stores that I regularly shop at like Target as well. 

When I signed up and linked my Facebook account I realized that lots of my friends already use this app too. I feel like I was living under a rock not knowing about it, but it turns out I have a few other friends that didn't know about it either. So I thought I'd post here to let you know about it too! I do have a referral link if you'd like to use it to sign up, and then you'll be on my team. There are monthly bonuses you can work on together to achieve that way! 

Click here to sign up for the free app and check it out if you don't already use ibotta but are looking for more ways to save on groceries!

2018 Project Life Cover Page

Happy 2018! Today I want to share my simple cover page for my 2018 Project Life album. I'm still in the mode of snapping my blog photos with my iPhone as I'm just trying to get myself back into a real blog routine.

I didn't print any photos for this cover page, which is completely different from any of my past albums. I still haven't figured out if I'm going to print my photos at home or try to run them off at CVS or Walgreens each week. I've had some issues with my photo printer during the past couple of years, but I suspect it is because I used non-Epson ink. I did switch to a new Epson cartridge recently, but haven't had time to test out whether my pics print better again.

I used the cards that came with the Currently Edition Core Kit and just added some items from my stash. The 2018 is done with white foam thickers from American Crafts. The little chipboard arrows under the "True Life True Story" card are from a Dear Lizzy chipboard embellishment set.

I wanted to add our names, so I used stickers from Simple Stories in different colors. I had picked up these on super sale a couple of years ago - I actually bought three packages so I have plenty to last me a long time.

The large chipboard W is from an older set from BasicGrey. Just a simple representative of our last name.

I didn't do anything to the top left, third middle and bottom left cards. On the far right card, I used a stamp set from Ali Edwards/Technique Tuesday (Everyday Words) and Memento Tuxedo Black ink to stamp "capture life" around the camera image.

And that's it. Super simple, and ready to kick off the new year.

Last of the holiday cards

Just quickly sharing the last of the holiday cards I made. As I am sure it is for everyone, Christmas season is a bit crazy around here, especially now that I am taking the time to enjoy the holiday instead of just rushing through it as I did last year.

This one is a shaker card I made for my best friend, Shannon.

This one uses a really cool Simon Says Stamp bow die. I heat embossed the outline part, and die cut the present insets from several different Christmas themed papers.

I love the repeat "merry" on this card, and the single gold sparkly one. It's a fairly simple card but I love how it turned out.

Another shaker card using the gifts die. I think I will be giving this one to my mom.

This one uses the same stamp in multiple colors. I did heat set the metallic pigment inks as well to avoid smudging.

This card was made using some of the gorgeous thick embossed wrapping paper Shannon gave me on my presents. I saved a ton of it as I think it will be a beautiful background for cards.

Right now I'm wrapping up a just-shy-of 11 year career at my job - 5 work days left after today. Add the holiday season craziness (which I'm taking time to really enjoy this year) and things are very busy. But I have my eye on my upcoming break of at least a few months in 2018. Lots of big plans - crafty ones, cleaning and organizing ones, and hopefully some relaxing time too. :)

If I don't get back here before the holiday, I wish you guys a Merry Christmas if you celebrate it! :)

Minecraft Melty Bead Ornaments

Earlier this week, I spent a glorious 3.5 hours on a project with my son. We made Minecraft themed ornaments for our Christmas tree.

We both really enjoyed this project, and this may be the longest I've ever seen him focus on one specific thing! :)

2018 Project Life

I had been thinking about starting Project Life again for 2018. As a lot is changing at the end of this year (done with LuLaRoe, my job ends December 28), I thought starting up a fresh Project Life album might be a good thing to kick off this new year where I am not sure what will happen.

I'd switched to digital Project Life back in 2014, and quit all together in 2015. Then 2016 hit and I had zero free time for anything craft related. I'd like to get back into physical Project Life, but keep it simple. I used to get so bogged down in competing with everyone else's gorgeous, creative spreads. I don't have the energy for that anymore. I just want to document each week (and eventually, go back and document 2015, 2016, and 2017) simply and quickly.

I spent some time browsing the Project Life website and eventually settled on the Project Life Currently Core Kit. I like that it's fairly neutral and I can mix in cards from the dozen plus older kits I still have.

I ordered it with Prime and it showed up on Friday. On Saturday, I took a Project Life binder I've had unopened for a couple of years and filled it up with empty Design A pages (which I've also had forever).

I used the suggested cards for the first and last pages, knowing I will likely swap a few out with some photos of us.

I decided to put a blank 4x6 card into every spread as a space for a title card for each week. I figure I can change them out as I go if another color or card would work better, but that it would be easier for me to have them placed into each week already.

Next I sorted the rest of the cards from the kit into one of the storage units I have for my Raskog cart from Ikea. I took out the cards that were only horizontal (as I'm using Design A I don't expect to use those too often). I also took each stack of duplicate cards and flipped half of them so I could see both options. I sorted them into blank journaling cards, journaling cards with a "theme" or text on them, and the "filler" style cards. I also put my blank grid cards into the same organizing tray.

The second shelf of the cart is holding some of the clear plastic overlays and some stickers. I'll likely add some embellishments for quick access as I get into actually putting the spreads together each week. But I don't want to have too many embellishments at easy access. My goal is to keep this simple.

Finally, I placed the open album on a table in my craft room. I'm hoping leaving it out will keep me accountable and remind me to do my documenting each week. We shall see how it goes!

Season's Greetings Card

This is another one of the cards I made last weekend. I really like how this one turned out. It's sort of a simple look, but it took a little time to create.

First I stamped the Season's Greetings sentiment from the Technique Tuesday Christmas Cheer stamp set, and heat embossed it with Ranger Liquid Platinum embossing powder. I love this embossing powder - it heats in such a smooth not-quite-gold and not-quite-silver finish.

Then I stamped the holly leaves with the Stamps of Life holly4Christmas stamp set and colored it in with my favorite Staedtler fineliner markers. On top of the coloring, I added red and green Wink of Stella brush pens.

To finish off the card I just put the front panel on top of a cut piece of red candy cane striped Christmas paper, and then on a plain white card base.

I have so many more cards to make...need to get cracking! But this past weekend we decorated for Christmas so I didn't get too much done in the way of making cards. Soon!

The card that took me 3 hours!

This card seriously took me three hours to complete. It shouldn't have, but I need to get back into the swing of things. I do love how it turned out though.

My first step was to die cut the snowflake background using the Spellbinders Shapeabilities Flurries die set out of glitter card stock. Then I attached it to a soft blue background paper. I used the Stampin' Up! Frosty Friends stamp and some subtle coloring and glitter for my main image, along with the 'Let it Snow' stamp from the Spellbinders Large Fancy Holiday Sentiments set.

Then came the part that took me so darn long. I couldn't figure out how I wanted to finish off the front. After many failed attempts, I ended up die cutting the snowflakes again and cutting out the border to layer on top of my original die cut (so a rectangle edging all the way around), and then I used one of the My Favorite Things Stitched Snowdrifts dies to cut a partial "snowy" border for the bottom, and added a single snowflake from the Spellbinders set to finish. I'm not sure I'm describing that right but I think the pictures show it pretty well ;)

I do love this card...just don't love spending 3 hours creating one!

Happy Holidays Card

I made cards this weekend! First time since May of 2016 (the last card I think I made was a Mother's Day card). I'm taking pics with my iPhone, at least for now, so the quality isn't the best, but I haven't used my big girl camera in oh-so-long (I haven't even brought it on vacation in a few years), so it is what it is.

The first one I made is a Happy Holidays card featuring gold heat embossing. The stamp sets I used were Stampin' Up!'s Polar Party (I think this is retired), and Technique Tuesday's Christmas Cheer. I used Stampin' Up! gold embossing powder and my Martha Stewart heat gun for the gold embossing.

This wasn't my original plan for the card - I had a stamped larger tree with the 'happy holidays' going over it but after three attempts at that, I decided to change up my design to use the trees from the Polar Party set. I just colored them with my favorite markers for intricate coloring, the Staedtler Fineliner pens (I'm shocked they haven't dried out in almost two years of non use, haha). The metallic is from a pack of Gelly Roll Metallic pens.

And then I just added a shiny gold card stock behind the white card front and on top of the card base. I think that's from a DCWV paper pack.

I have two more cards that I'll share with you this week, and I hope I can make even more this week too! It felt SO good to get back in my craft room, but man, was I rusty. I even had to look up the dimensions of a standard card! And I had trouble finding things (I still can't find the AC adapter to my Brother P Touch labelmaker). But it'll come back, I have faith!