New Blog!

Hello! Just making my way to a new home. Here's the link if you are interested!


Hope to see you there!

p.s. it's definitely a work in progress


Little Summer Joy | Introduction and Manifesto

Hello again!

I'm excited to announce I will be a contributor for a fun *free* little summer project called Little Summer Joy! I'm excited to be contributing online again. I had started a little mini book to document the little things that bring me happiness this summer and had even used the "little things" concept from Ali Edwards Story Kit for my title page (more on that below.) But as many of my projects go, I feared the title page would be about all that I finished! :)

So when I saw my Instagram friends Jen Lake and Julie Gagen create a new site called Little Paper Projects and launch the first project: Little Summer Joy, I knew this would be a great fit for me. Lucky for me they had a spot open for a contributor! Maybe it will give me the spark I need to actually do something more with my site. Or maybe I will just enjoy my summer, documenting what I can and enjoy sharing that. How about we just enjoy living, creating and sharing with one another? That's pretty exciting!

I really like the idea and philosophy behind Little Paper Projects as well. I love the idea of using memory keeping as a way to explore how we see and experience our world. That using little projects like this can create more self awareness and self love. I've been pretty much on board with that philosophy since I started memory keeping and I like how they are creating a community around it. Hooray for an awesome community of folks wanting to build each other up! It's awesome.


Okay, so here's my plan for my Little Summer Joy book this year. I'm using a 4x4 mini album from Seven Paper, some of Ali Edwards "Little Things" Story Kit™ and a bunch of my stash. I am not looking to go super minimal with this project. You totally could and that would be awesome! Jen and Julie shared several options here. I've done simple journals before--for an example is my 30 Lists journal that I still adore. So, I might do a journal on the side with it. But right now I just want to PLAY with some of the cool stuff I've collected and make something with it. I've decided I need to make more stuff or I need to put the collecting on hold. And since I really like it, why not use it?! 

Also, I recently picked up the Fuse Tool and am really loving playing with it too! So you'll see some fun sequin pockets as well. Let me know if you would like to see a video "how to" on that. It's quite simple to use! Here's a look at my main title page. I just added some confetti I had plus some sequins. You start from the bottom pocket and just build up. Love how it turned out!

The first lesson for Little Summer Joy is to create your summer bucket list / manifesto or whatever you want to call it. I really liked Tracy's idea to also include things that might be holding you back from joy. I primarily included things we want to do as a family, plus a few things I wanted to include on my own. 

Here's a look at my title page plus my manifesto. I kept it simple and just used the back of the 3x4 title cards to create a 4x6 canvas to write on. I stamped Summer Manifesto with this stamp set from Kellie Stamps. Wrapped the edges in some glitter washi tape from Target and just wrote my list. Simple and done!

The nice thing about including my summer manifesto here is that I can easily refer back to it, but I'm not creating a book solely on these items. Some of them while will be included and who knows, maybe all?! But one of the focus points for me for this book is to be documenting the little things that are making me happy. Things I want to do and how to inspire myself to actually DO them. Plus, a reflection component of noticing things that brought me joy just because and not because they are on a list. Does that make sense? Plus, I want to include some of the prompts for the class. So I'm keeping a pretty open mind and heart here. It's summertime after all! Keep it easy!

I hope you will join us!! You can sign up at Little Paper Projects here + many will be sharing their projects on Instagram. #littlesummerJOY. p.s. did I mention it is free?!

And mostly I just hope you enjoy your summer or the season in which you live!

SUPPLIES: A few pics of my basic supplies:

1. Seven Paper Amelia 4x4 mini album
2. Seven Paper Number Transparencies
3. Seven Paper Transparent cards
4. Seven Paper gold foil letter stickers
5. Fuse Tool - This one is from Becky Higgins
6. Little Moments Kit from Ali Edwards (no longer available)
7. Lots of my stash! (note the Summer cards are an old set from Ali Edwards)

Check out the hashtag: #littlesummerJoy on Instagram to see the latest posts.


Week in the Life™ with Ali Edwards | a brief look back

I am thrilled to be a part of looking back and sharing our Week in the Life™ memories as part of gearing up to participate in it again with Ali Edwards this August. For more information on Week in the  Life™ click here. For more information on my own albums click here.

***note I have fully completed one album (2011) and the rest are a work in progress. I do have notes and photos and partially filled albums, which is fine. It was a busy period of my life and the last thing I want to do is berate myself for not finishing some project. But, they are on my list and will happily announce when I do finally finish them!! And just because life is busy doesn't mean you can't take some photos. Make the time. It will be worth it. Click on!!

Now back to the story. 

As part of the gearing up for Week in the Life this summer, I was asked to share one day for each day of the week (Monday through Friday) to be able to share on Instagram. Yes!! of course I would love to share! Happily most of these were already finished, just a few needed a bit of journaling and hoping I had not lost the little Thursday flair button! 

A little note for finishing up old projects: keep a "materials file" which is a gathering of the products, photos, notes that you want to use. Keep them in a plastic bin or folder of some sort. Makes it easier to pull together old projects. (or say goodbye to them if you are really uninspired…but hopefully you won't feel that way with this project! Re-work it or try something new to get your inspiration back.  I did that for my 2011 project and it worked out great. This project is worth it!)

Here are my five days I have shared on Instagram this week on AliEdwardsDesignInc


MONDAY | APRIL 23, 2012

"hello Monday | get to work day"

A little about me: I am a work outside the home mom and was working a pretty heavy schedule with long hours and a long commute for four years while my husband was in a PhD program. We all have different seasons of life and reasons we are busy. This just happened to be one of my busy work seasons. And even though the schedule was tough, I have found that capturing self portraits helps increase my self awareness, self compassion and decision making. I also know that I am part of this story and I want to make sure I am a part of these books as well!

On this particular Monday, I worked (as noted by the photo of my purse with my work tablet and other accessories) and then made it home before dark to do finish up work. I was driving a lot for work during this part of my life so the fact I made it home at a decent hour was a good thing. And I like that I captured my scrapbook desk / work desk that was actually in the bedroom of our apartment at that time. Making it work, right?



"Remembering the little things"

Fast forward two years. My daughter is now four years old and is definitely growing up. Here's my journaling from the title page: "The story of this photo is her independent spirit at 4 years old. That she often gets her own milk and cereal, even when the jug is full and she boasts how strong she is since it is so heavy. That today I poured some in a measuring cup for her because I was stressed and didn't want to clean up a big mess, just in case. That one of her habits is pulling her hair back with her left hand because she refuses to wear anything in her hair and loves it long. That the yellow sunflower mix is still looking good after celebrating her grandma's birthday over the weekend. It was a good morning. Hello Tuesday."

The story of this photo is also that I am no longer driving the long distances I was. Still working but not to the extent I was in the prior 4 years. So thankful I had time to spend at home that morning to capture little moments like this.

I also love the daily schedule in Ali's kit last year but I had not filled it out during the week. I just finished up my journaling in time to share it with you now. Thankfully I had written notes on Ali's daily sheets so I had some great nuggets to add to the schedule. My favorite little nugget: 8 am: "Mom, you can't go to work in those pants can you?" Note to self: must do laundry!



imperfect stories + photos matter

I love to make sure I capture some photos of the characters of the story that is our life. That afternoon I came home from a busy day and because it was Week in the Life™ I grabbed my camera and got my daughter to cooperate with a few photos on the balcony. And while I'm super thankful to capture her cute face at 17 months, I'm also happy I captured the story behind our day with additional photos, like places I went that day. Lunch at Panera (so that's where my Panera card is!!) Clean bathrooms at Central Market (when you drive a lot in Austin traffic you are thankful for clean bathrooms!) And then the stories not told with photos. Here I added a note from her teacher at daycare and I love that I added those details.

Also remember the photos and stories don't need to be perfect. It is the collection of little photos and stories that make this project so great.



the bedtime routine

In 2013 I started each day with a focus on a particular time of day or routine. So for each large photo on the left side and the smaller photos on the right side I have a focus on things like the morning routine, work routine, afternoon routine, bedtime routine and after school routine. You can break it down as you need for your routine. I liked that it gave me some focus to make sure I got a good photo for the enlargement each day. That took pressure off of me to not feel like I had to take a zillion photos each day. Again, my work routine was very busy during this time but taking the time to capture a bit of my life has been amazing to look back on. Instead of focusing on the negative, I was able to reflect on the beauty that is all around me and the stories that are present if I just look and reflect.

Here I captured how her room looked at the time, which is cool to look back on. I also captured her love of pajamas and blankets. Doing the the pajama dance and hiding under her blanket. So happy to have these little moments recorded!

The journaling: Evening routine: "You right now. Bedtime routine at 3. You really love your pajamas. Just like Mom, as soon as you get home it is PJ time! We like reading a few books like Sandra Boynton "Pajama Dance" and maybe watch a Curious George episode or two. And milk. Always milk. We love you."


FRIDAY | JULY 29, 2011


One of the things I love about Week in the Life™ is just simply to observe your life as it is right now. I like to capture the photos in a documentary style much of the time. And I like finding new points of view, such as placing the camera on the floor and then seeing what you get (as in the top right photo.)

I also love this project for easy comparisons between years. For instance, in Thursday's photo I notice the difference in her bed. Here she is 17 months old and still has the full crib. Two years later she has the rail off for a toddler bed. ***big sigh here as I reflect on how fast time flies

I also like that I captured my husband picking up my daughter from daycare. He is a very caring and involved father and he did this most days so I could focus on work. He was going through a rigorous PhD program and stressful internship at the time, which makes me even more thankful for all he does. Again, this time of our lives was busy. But I'm so very thankful I captured what I could.

And I'm so thankful for Ali for her inspiration with this project. It's amazing and I will happily be joining in again this year! Hope to see you there too! Below is a free graphic Ali created. It's in the Week in the Life Community. You can find that here!

And a few more thoughts:

- Looking back over several years at a time in such a compact view is amazing. To me it is like Project Life in a smaller time frame. Easy to compare previous years easily. Note changes, growth. Things you are proud of. Things you want to do better at. Things you are grateful for. As I looked back over these I  really think this is my favorite project. Unfinished albums and all. I'll get there.

- Have a plan. Using the digital templates and kit make it much easier. But you could go more simple or more elaborate. Do what's right for you.

- Be flexible with your plan.

- Plan for extra time during the week to take photos and notes. It does take a little more time than usual. If you need to, try to focus on a particular person, time of day or routine to make sure you get a good photo for that day's main photo. That has helped me.

- Take notes!! Definitely use a journal or notebook or Ali's Daily Sheets. Something. Jot down a few quotes or things overheard. Bits of life are what you are after. Things you may not remember if you are finishing it up later. A lot of the photos I take are just for triggers to help remind me of what we did that day. I don't include them all, but it helps with the journaling too.

- Like I said above, keep materials together in a materials file so you can put it together when you have time. Do what you can in the moment, but don't beat yourself up or let yourself feel down if you see others getting it done faster. "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." --Theodore Roosevelt.

- Relax and enjoy the week. Let it unfold as it happens.

You can do it!! I can do it!! One photo at a time, one journaling card at a time. Most of all, view your life through the lens of gratitude. When I do, I remember it's pretty awesome.

Thanks so much for letting me share some of my Week in the Life with you!


15 on the 15th in 2015 | February Edition

So I realize this post is actually happening in May. Yes, I'm a bit behind the curve. But if you have followed my posts on Instagram you may have seen I am tackling a personal project this year called 15 on the 15th in 2015. I also consider this to be my Day in the Life™ project each month.

The last time I participated in a project like this (as in a project for the whole year, besides project life) was in 2012. Ella Publishing (miss them!) ran a project called Take 12. And I kept up okay. Maybe finished about 1/3 of the project. For me, that's pretty good!

I've seen other folks that do similar projects:
  •  Tracy Larsen: click here for her 15 on the 15th template. click here for her layouts.
  • Ali Edwards: Day in the Life™ project: click here for more info. Also click here for info on when she is doing next (as of this post): which is May 12th.
  • lots of other memory keepers do similar projects or just pick a random day each month for day in the life. Great example here from Megan Anderson.
So here's my plan:

Take at least fifteen photos on the 15th of each month and create a two page layout using the Project Life™ App and Letterglow. Print these out with Persnickety Prints and call it good!

For the left side I am using Design Q in the app. I also created a title card using Ali Edwards digital brush set and my tittle in Letterglow.

For the right side I am using Design V in the Project Life™app. I also used digital cards from Love | Day | Seed. These are from the Calendar Collection.Two of them simply added right to the app from Dropbox. Another one I added to Letterglow to add the journaling. 

I've been experimenting with different layout options since it is so easy to do with the app. One of the challenges for me with project life is to keep it fresh but still keep it do-able. I had found a process that worked fairly well for me using primarily Design F pages for the past several years. And while I am considering going back to that, it has been fun to play around with other layout options without worrying about having to print the photos to that size. More on that when I start sharing more of my app layouts.

Anyways, I hope you will join me for 15 on the 15th! Even if you can't get them on the actual day, maybe try 15 photos each month for 2015! It's still a fun collection of photos and these are so cool to me to see since we are no longer in that space.

You can also join in with Ali Edwards for her Day in the Life™ which she is doing next on May 12th.