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During January, I was deep in Disney album mode, and I got a lot done for that album!  It was exciting–and I used that momentum to plan out more of that album.  However, somewhere toward the end of the month, I found myself getting a bit burnt out, so I decided to switch gears to an entirely different scrapbook project.

When V was four years old, she developed appendicitis, and our ordeal involved emergency room visits, an ambulance ride, and a few days’ stay at the hospital.  When I told her (now 7 years old) that I was working on this project, she said, “Why would you want to make a scrapbook of that??”  And it’s true, it’s not something that you might think of right away to document in a pretty scrapbook.  However, throughout the entire situation, we felt very blessed by the Lord: His protection and His provision, and I wanted to make sure to document the experience and how He was at work through it all.  I’ve had the photos printed for some time, intending to make a mini-album, but I just hadn’t gotten to it.

Recently, a friend gave me a 7″x7″ Creative Memories album (strap-hinge!! I love strap hinge!!) that she no longer wanted, and I decided that it would be the perfect home for this story.  In addition, one of the January Use-It-Or-Lose-It Stash-busting challenges from Crafty Jen Schow had me looking at my stash in a new way.  The challenge was to use themed product for a non-themed project (or vice versa).  When I pulled out an untouched collection pack of Echo Park’s Head Over Heels line, I realized it could work perfectly!

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I made this album “all at once” in a vaguely batch-processed manner.  I got out my photos and my Lightroom catalog (complete with photo captions, of course), and I sat down to write out the whole story on scrap paper.  Once I had the story written, I determined my maximum number of pages for the album (dictated by the actual physical pages I had available), and I divided my photos and ephemera in story-order throughout the pages.  I tore the journaling into chunks to lay with each of the photo groups so that I knew how much of the story was going with each page.

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When I realized that I couldn’t come up with just one layout for all the pages, I started trying to make them all different…. but that was equally unfeasible! There are only so many ways you can arrange 3×4 photos on a 7×7 page! After I determined a few page designs I liked, I just tried to spread them out in the album so that no two neighboring pages (except the one double page spread) were alike.

Speaking of 7×7 pages—wow, that was a difficult size to work with! I can see why it didn’t catch on… you can only cut one full page out of a 12×12, and there weren’t enough papers in the pack to do a full background on every page, so it became a bit of a puzzle game for me.

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This album used up almost the entire collection pack!  I have two full sheets of paper left: one full-page pattern and one cut-apart, plus most of a second cut-apart.  There are a few stickers and some letters… and a few smaller scraps!

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I also decided to add doilies throughout the album; partly because I wanted a layer that I could carry throughout many, if not all, the pages, and partly because I was on a doily kick from the Belle layout I’d made just before this project!

I finally finished this album in May, when I completed a photo order that I’d been assembling since the beginning of February!

The title page has no photo, so I used one of the cut-apart cards with letter stickers and the word “appendicitis” cut with my new Cameo (did I mention that I have a new Cameo?).  The font is Farmhouse Country.

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Here’s a look at the whole album “at a glance:”

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…and a look at the individual spreads.  Almost all of the journaling (and there’s a lot…) is on the tags that tuck into pockets in the pages.

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The final three pages are pockets to hold cards and notes that Vivian received from loved ones.  We were overwhelmed with the outpouring of love that we experienced through this ordeal.

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The finished album is quite thick, and I hope that my girl values it as a testimony to God’s provision and protection during this scene in her life.

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Melissa has re-released another fantastic top pattern at Blank Slate Patterns– the Rose top (and dress!).  This knit shirt is so flattering and comfortable, and with the contrast woven neckline, the fabric combinations are seemingly endless!

For my final version in the testing process, I decided to go with a blue and white double brushed poly for the main body of the top, and I added plain white cotton at the neckline.  I chose to end my sleeve just above my elbow, but there are short- and long-sleeve options, too!

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I liked my first test version so much that I finished it, as well– this is a lighter weight “mystery” knit paired with a bright patterned cotton at the neckline.  (do you recognize that grey-purple fabric? ::wink::)

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I started putting together this big 200-print order from Persnickety Prints in January, and I worked on it through mid-May (album planning sometimes takes me a while).  I placed this order on May 16 and received it within a couple of days!  (Persnickety is awesome.)

When I got the order in the mail, I had the idea that I could do a super-sped up video of how I separate out my photos into my different album projects.  You see, for about every project I do, I start with an enormous amount of pre-planning.  I like to know where my photos are going to go and what sizes I plan to use.  That way, when I get to the paper cutting and gluing and making things pretty part of the process, the photo part is already finished.

It’s taken me a while to get this video completed (my very first voiceover ever!).  But now it’s ready to share!

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With this order, I have photos for 5 specific projects, in addition to some that I intend to frame or to use on a few scrapbook layouts that aren’t part of a particular album project:

Husband helped me rig up my tripod with my camera so that I could put together this video.  I increased the speed to 20x… and just because I’m a nerd, I did keep track of the actual time it took for each stage:

  • unboxing+sort = about 10 minutes
  • appendicitis mini album = about 15 minutes
  • mommy book = about 5 minutes
  • baby album = approximately 31 minutes
  • Disney album = approximately 22 minutes
  • 2019 Jan and Feb = approximately 39 minutes

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Here’s the video!

We had some tasty food for our Lego birthday party!

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We set up the island in our kitchen to hold the main “feast,” where we tried to do a little bit of theming to go along with the party’s theme.  Husband made a napkin holder and a utensil holder from Duplos, and we had fruit kabobs skewered on sword toothpicks.

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However, one of our favorite food ideas was these ninja cheeses–made from partially opened Babybels!  (We found this idea on Pinterest and LOVED it!) . The eyes are edible cake decorations.

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The dessert table displayed some more Lego mold prowess on the part of Husband: we made a bunch of Lego Jello– some with basic brick molds (affiliate link), and some– and this is the really awesome part– from an awesome Jello kit that molds interlocking blocks (affiliate link)!  They actually work, and it was so cool!  (these blocks form the cars in the photo below).

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We made cupcakes: B requested strawberry cake with chocolate frosting.  He also wanted the Ninjago golden weapons on them, which were going to be beyond my capabilities, especially that week… so we compromised and used edible gold stars from a cake dec mix.  Each cupcake was topped with a brick that we molded from another silicone mold–that makes smaller bricks– that I bought at Michaels.

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The birthday boy’s cupcake was at the top of the cupcake stand, and his cupcake had 5 gold stars and a “5” candle, of course!

B really wanted to be involved in the party prep, and so he helped Husband do some of the candy melt molding!  Husband was amazing– he did so much molding (Jello, candy, and crayons) for this party, and he always worked out the best method.

 

For a fifth birthday party, you gotta have games!  Since B loves both Lego Nexo Knights and Lego Ninjago, we created a little storyline that involved both of them throughout the activity part of the party.

As the kids came in, they used Lego-shaped crayons with some coloring pages that I printed — there were Nexo Knights and Ninjago pages available!

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Once all the guests had arrived, we moved onto the first official “activity”– a craft to create their own Nexo shield.  Each kid got a white cardstock shield background and chose a colored digital border to glue onto it.  They used the Lego crayons to draw a Nexo power onto their shield, and when they were finished, I used a glue gun to attach the cardstock to a cardboard base, into which I had threaded an elastic wristband.

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We got a cool group photo at the party, but these are just the shields that my own kids made…

Now that the knights were prepared for battle, we told them that globlins had invaded our backyards, and we needed them to use their Nexo powers to defeat them!

Husband (and I helped, just a little) blew up 60(!!) red balloons and added globlin grumpy faces to each one!

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When it was time for the game, he released them onto the grass in the backyard, and the kids “CHAAAAAARRRRRRRRGE”d around the corner of the house to do battle!  It was amazing and hilarious.

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And it lasted for about 30 seconds! Haha.  After their victory, the kids made quick work of picking up all the balloon bits from the yard… Now that they were victorious Nexo Knights, it was time for the next phase– Ninja training!

I made each guest a personalized “ninja headband:” I used the font called “Shanghai” and cut the names out of vinyl using my Cameo.  I simply used blue painter’s tape to transfer the letters to 1.5″ wide white satin ribbon.  It was my first vinyl project, and now I’m hooked!

 

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Look at those awesome ninja moves!

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Husband found some suction cup throwing stars on Amazon, and he printed pictures of eight Ninjago villains, which he then mounted inside a poster frame.  The kids took turns “fighting” the villains!

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Finally, we sent the kids on a “ninja hunt” around the ground level of our house.  We printed tiny (about 1.5″ square) pictures of each of the six Ninjago ninja so that each kid had to find a complete set!

All in all, I think the kids had a good time with all of the games… and then we ate!

At the end of the party, the kids got to take home a goody bag that included their personalized ninja headband, their Nexo shield, a little set of Lego crayons, and a small Lego kit (the kind that come in the little packets).

For his fifth birthday, my son requested a Lego-themed birthday party!  And, as is our wont, Husband and I went all-out!

The party was a combination of general Lego goodness plus Nexo Knights and Ninjago theming.  As we browsed Pinterest for ideas, we quickly decided that Lego brick molds were going to be an important factor!

One of the first projects we did was to make Lego crayons.  The kids used some of these to color and work on a little craft at the party, and we also gave each kid a set of eight as a party favor.

I didn’t realize until we started working on this project just how many crayons I had stashed away!  We used almost exclusively Crayola crayons, and we spent a good long while one Saturday morning peeling off wrappers to prepare them for re-melting.

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V was particularly helpful with the peeling and sorting, and once we’d finished that step, we used an old cutting board to chop each color into tiny bits in preparation for the melting and molding.

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We got our molds from Amazon (affiliate link), and the blocks were a great size for crayons.  We liked the rectangles the best, but it was fun to have other shapes, too.

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We baked the crayon bits at about 300 degrees Farenheit until they were smooth and melted… it took a different amount of time for different colors!

In the end, we had red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, black, peach, white, gray, and brown crayons, and because we didn’t separate out the different hues in each color family, we had lovely marbled crayons as a result.  I thought the pink and the green were especially beautiful.

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They’re so pretty… let’s look at some more photos!

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This is part two of a two-part post about the digital scrapbook/photo book I created for our Rehoboth 2018 vacation.  You can see the first part HERE.  

The next spread in the book is the only one that doesn’t “match”– for the most part, the stories of adjacent pages were at least coordinated, if not one whole story.  In those cases, I used matching background papers on the facing pages.  But here, I decided to emphasize the disconnect by using different papers.

I fit a LOT of photos into this book.  I adapted templates that I’d created for my other (square) photo book projects. I also made good use of Katie the Creative Lady’s (formerly Scrapbook Lady) “Sixteens” templates (looks as though they are no longer available), which I rotated one, two, or three times, and then adapted to fit onto my 8″x11″ pages by cutting off a row of photos.  They ended up holding about 12 photos in their revised forms.

I was delighted that one of the digital “wood veneer” pieces was a bicycle– perfect for this next spread about my husband and I biking through Henlopen!

…and the closing page:

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I don’t know how many times I went through these pages, checking for consistent shadow styles, looking for typos and stray embellishments… I even had my husband look it over for a fresh set of eyes.

And yet, we didn’t notice the little stray button on the back cover!  It was the first thing my daughter spotted when we looked at the book when it arrived from Shutterfly, though!  Next time I’ll ask her to proofread, too!  I’m just glad it’s not on someone’s face…

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It is so satisfying to have another vacation documented in a way that we can all enjoy it!