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.


Hello Again

Just a quick update to say hello…again! If you have stayed with me this long, I want to say thank you!

Life in 2015 has been anything but smooth. I knew it was going to be a bumpy ride, but I had hoped to be able to keep up with things better. But, some things including this blog had to go on the back burner for a while.

But hopefully that is behind me. Decisions have been made. Life goes on. And happy to say we are in a new space! Out of the apartment and into a really really real house! can't tell you how awesome it is to see how much Maggie loves it--especially the backyard. One of the things I'm working on is making this place our own and embracing being where we are. Grow where you are planted, right?

My plan is to start sharing some of the project life layouts I've made with the Project Life™ app. I'm in the process of getting those off my phone and into my album using Persnickety Prints. I had some layouts printed with them and have always been very happy with their quality. Plus I was able to visit their store this spring and got to see first hand their "persnickety process!"

Currently I have project life layouts finished through Week 7 as well as other layouts  and the 15 on the 15th project. See below for one of layouts I created on my phone.

Other things I've been up to (besides work):

I've also been working on layouts for my 6x8 personal album as well as various other layouts. I am subscribing to Ali Edwards Story Kits and Stamps and I love love love them! The education and inspiration plus the products are so worth it! I'm still working on getting going on actually making things.

And last month I started subscribing again to Studio Calico. This time to the scrapbook subscription. I had subscribed to the Project Life™ kit since the beginning but last December I cancelled it because I knew the first half of this year was looking to be tough. And honestly I just needed a change. With the recent move I saw how much stuff I had collected and went through a big purge. Since I'm wanting to create more layouts I decided to subscribe to the scrapbook kit and plan to purchase some Project Life kits when I want to. I've been purchasing the digital cards each month so I still get my fix that way for right now. And I can use those in the app! So it's a win.

Hoping to share more about my 15 on the 15th project soon too. I've really liked this project although in April I was away on business and am going to be "flexible" on the actual date to make April work.

So here's a look at one of the layouts I created on my phone using the Project Life™ app and Letterglow. These are cards from the Dazzle and Love Story editions in the app and Ali Edwards digital cards: Simple Lines 3x4 cards. Love that set.

This is a simple two page spread showing my daughter in her new room. She loves her new loft bed from IKEA. And yes, those boxes in the corner are still there…work in progress, work in progress. Big sigh. But she loves her room and it will get there in time. It's all good.

I've had quite a few questions about using Letterglow and am planning on making a video once the update is live. There will be fewer work-arounds and app-smashing together. It's going to be awesome!

So that's where I am right now! Considering upgrading to a new site but everything is a work in progress, right? 

Thanks for sticking around and for your support! Hope to be back soon!


One Little Word | Light | January 2015

I thought I would finally share some of my pages from the January prompt for One Little Word. This is a class taught by Ali Edwards. You can find information on it here.

I've participated with One Little Word since 2008 I think. Past words were simplify, savor, adventure, focus, awake, move, magic and now light. Some years I am intentional about it, other years I just listen and take note of the words that stand out. From my own experience, I am better with a word that is more broad. I'm a perfectionist and the all/none of a specific word really gets me down if I don't accomplish all my goals. Some years I have participated with the prompts and other years I just go with the flow and let the word be a part of my life. Either way has worked well for me. Last year there was no way I could keep up with the prompts. I just let "magic" work its magic and took note of how it worked out in my life. There were definitely tough times in 2014, but overall I hope I remember the magical times. The times when things worked out. When I noticed magic moments of our everyday life.  There were definitely some big things that changed as well. I'm still learning some lessons from my choices last year and I hope to keep them in mind as I move forward. Thank you Magic. You were much needed last year and I hope I can wrap up 2014 with embracing the good and the tough learning moments as well. To forgive myself of not so good choices made. To know that I needed to learn these lessons and that it is time to move forward.

Which brings me to 2015. 

I started noticing Light around the end of November. "Let Your Heart Be Light" was coming quite strongly to me. I picked up this print from Ali Edwards and I knew this would be my word this year. 

I knew this word was a complex one. There is light and there is dark in life. It's not all bokeh lights and shimmering twinkle lights. It's also the shadows. Learning how to find the light in dark places. Noticing the lights that are my loved ones and doing more to rekindle the flames of relationships and love. To LIGHTEN UP and give myself a break. Enjoy more laughter and silly moments. Not be so darn defensive and lighten up with my self talk. Embrace my imperfections and move on. Be patient with myself and be better with "living in the grey areas" as Ali calls it. So tough right now. I'm a planner. I want to know what I need to do and take action. Some things take time. I want to lighten my loads: take on fewer assignments that do not contribute to my family's and my own wellness and happiness. Lots of listening to my heart in this area: does it make my heart lighter or do I feel heaviness and stress? Making the deliberate decision toward choosing the light is making this year a happier one so far. Yes, it's fewer "big things" in the scrapbooking community, but it means more time to be with family and savor this time. To sink into being a working mom and my profession. I work to support my family. I work because I do love what I do. I just happen to have quite a few passions which can make it tough sometimes to focus on what matters most. I want to be lighter physically and do more to nourish my physical body. Let go of past failures and choose more healthy options. And to clear the clutter around me. Let go of overspending and clutter. Let the light of a simplified life lift me up. Travel lighter and let my true self shine.

Those are just a few of my random thoughts right now. It's definitely a work in progress. 

I've started with setting goals each month around a theme, but also being open to the other aspects of "light." January was lightening up the clutter around me and getting more organized. It was so helpful. The apartment is much cleaner and organized and I am liking how the other aspects of light are playing out in my life too. I'm also listening to the "Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin as well as reading "Embracing Imperfection" by Brene Brown. And I'm considering doing a 30 Day Minimalism challenge as well.

February is already here and my goals are to feel lighter physically and emotionally. I already feel like I need a restart for February! But I have some goals and I'm going to review them instead of getting down on myself and try again. Lighten up and embrace my imperfections, right?

So, finally I get to my pages. I guess I had a lot to say.

I am using a 9x12 white Handbook from Studio Calico for my One Little Word. I've purchased two so far and have already moved my past years into my other white album. You can find those here. I used my Silhouette to cut the word "light" from Ali's brush set Noel. You can find it here. The word cards are from Ali's One Little Word class and some of the filler cards: the quote cards / patterns are from Oh Snap! Boutique (find those here.) Stamps and word stickers are from Ali's First Story Stamp / Kit. You can find those here. (Please direct questions regarding the story kits/stamps to Ali's site for the most accurate information.)

The gold painted star page was created by me and my daughter having fun with some paints and a silkscreen from Studio Calico. (find similar ones here if they are available)

So there they are! I'm working on the February prompt and hope to finish that one up soon as it is quite messy!

How about you? Do you choose a One Little Word? If so I would love to hear your word and how it is going for you!