Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘nerd’ Category

As I mentioned in the color challenge post, the Disney Creative Co. April 2022 Once Upon a Stash challenge had a big part in getting me in the right frame of mind to finally make the title pages for the sections of my 2016 Disney scrapbooks! This month’s stash item is wood veneer, and I must admit– until this month, I hadn’t opened the packages of Simple Stories wood veneer I’d purchased for this album project… I bought them back in April of 2016!! They were so pretty and perfect for this project… and for some reason, I wasn’t brave enough to open them!

So this challenge was the perfect opportunity to break into those packages. And being the *ahem* organized and planning person that I am, I took out all the feature pieces and distributed them among the park days that are in my albums. (So be on the lookout for how I use them as I complete more section title pages!)

But clearly, for a wood veneer challenge, I needed to use even more wood veneer! I pulled out the jars of pieces I have earmarked for this project, as well as the adorable Scraps & Ink wooden pieces, and I used as many as I could on this pocket page:

This title page features two out of the only three whole-family-group photos we got on this entire trip ! I am so glad that we took them– they were both taken within minutes of entering the gates!! (the other one was in Epcot)

As you can see, I used the wood veneer in an approximate diagonal across the page. The main title block has two feature pieces and a sprinkling of tiny pieces.

I’ve decided that each title page will have a tiny bit of journaling about the weather that day. (Weather played a definite part in this trip!). I tucked some tags behind my journaling card to pick up on a design element I used on the facing page, and I added a wooden Mickey head, too.

I have some fun decorative cards in the center, including a detail-cut floral cluster (to give a hint looking forward to the next set of pages) and another cluster of wood veneer pieces.

My date is in the bottom left corner, and I brought in another tiny cluster of detail-cut flowers, as well as a wooden Minnie and some sprinkly veneer bits!

Scraps & Ink CraftsFacetsWooden PiecesMouse Tag die
Shimelle Starshine “Hubble,” “Mercury,” Shimelle Starshine 6×6 paper pad, Fancy Pants Designs Happy Place “Hello”
wood veneer: Simple Stories “Say Cheese II,” Simple Stories “Enchanted,” Studio Calico cameras and hearts, Elle’s Studio Magical Memories Wood Veneer Confetti
alphas: American Crafts Thickers Daiquiri (white foam)
stickers: Echo Park Beautiful Life cardstock stickers
date stamp: Elle’s Studio Mini Dated stamp set
other: Shimelle Starshine ephemera (tiny ticket), Project Life Jade Edition journaling card, Spectrum Noir ArtLiner (.005), labels via Silhouette Studio print-and-cut with Cameo 3, Lawn Fawn Jet Black ink, crochet thread, plain white cardstock, washi tape, craft foam

Note: I was provided products from Scraps & Ink Crafts at no cost as a member of the Disney Creative Co. design team.

Read Full Post »

As the March 2022 Disneyboundchallenge comes to a close, I decided to do a wrap-up post to reflect on how it went… and it includes some nerdy statistics because, well, I’m a nerd!

At the end of February, I shared some thoughts and goals for the month. All of those thoughts are just as true at the end of the month now as they were then!

I managed to complete 20 of the 31 prompts, which felt like a pretty good achievement for my second time ever participating! There were more days that I wish I could have participated (after all, I am a completionist/perfectionist), but even though I had a spreadsheet to keep me on track and had taken a number of the days’ photographs ahead of time, I still didn’t have the time or energy… or sometimes the outfits!

My goal was to create only outfits that I would actually wear in “real life,” and I think that I really stuck to that goal. Perhaps in “real life” I would leave off an accessory or two… or maybe even add a couple more! There were times that I could have upped my game in terms of the little details, especially with the accessories, but overall, I am proud of the outfits I put together– and I will definitely be wearing them again, especially as the weather gets warmer.

The one exception to the “real life” outfits was the Red Carpet prompt… Even though I have no occasions in the foreseeable future in which I will get to wear any outfit as dressy that, I am really pleased that I went for it. I was so thankful to the neighbor who gave me a hand-me-down bridesmaid gown to use… and I’m proud of myself for being brave to take– and post!!– the photos.

I learned a lot about taking photos of myself, especially regarding posing: what poses are flattering, which ones are not. Most notably, I discovered that when I’m lighthearted about it– even silly!– I get some of my favorite photos. There were days where it was hard to think about getting in front of the camera, but I think this was a useful “exercise” in having a positive attitude toward the way I look to myself. That being said, I did hit a point about mid-month at which I hit a limit. It was almost like I had spent too much time in front of the camera just posing. I’m glad that I overcame that hurdle, because that meant that I got the photos for Pocahontas and Cinderella!

So how about some of those statistics?

About the photos…

  • I completed and posted 20 of the 31 prompts, and since I did two looks for Hook, I put together 21 outfits for this challenge.
  • I took photos for 19 of the 20 prompts in advance of the day they would post; 8 outfits were photographed before March began.
  • I photographed 7 outfits in one day on March 8 (Fear, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Kim Possible, both Hook looks, and Indiana Jones)!
  • The very first outfit I photographed was Mickey Mouse!
  • The last outfit I photographed was Cinderella!
  • I photographed all the looks by myself with a camera, tripod, and remote shutter release except for Pocahontas. My husband helped me up the hill and into the trees and maneuvered the tripod for most of those shots.
  • My husband helped me choose the photos for 20 of the 21 looks. He is wonderfully supportive and encouraging.

About the outfits…

  • I purchased only one item for this challenge (an olive green duster cardigan), and it cost about $8.
  • 14 of 21 outfits included at least one handmade item. (In addition, I added beads to the ready-to-wear gown for the Pocahontas look.)
  • I sewed three garments particularly for this challenge: the chameleon top, the white blouse, and the black-and-white checked skirt. All three of those items were sewn with fabric I already had on hand– and all of that fabric had been handed down to me!
  • 7 of 21 outfits included at least one item that was given to me by a neighbor in our local Buy Nothing group (this counts the chameleon fabric that I turned into a top!).
  • The white blouse that I sewed ended up being in 4 outfits!
  • The checked skirt that I sewed ended up being in 2 outfits!
  • Three of the outfits were what I would call “waist-up” ‘bounds, inspired by a post by @boundingonabudget in February 2021. All of the character-inspired parts were on my top half, and I wore just plain black slacks or some other neutral on my lower half. Therefore, most of those photos are just from the waist up.
  • I wore my yellow shoes for 4 different ‘bounds!

Thanks for reading all of my musings and nerdy analysis of this month’s adventure in creating a magical wardrobe!

~ ~ ~

For more details on the individual outfits, have a look at these posts:

Days 1-7
Days 8-14
Days 15-21
days 22-31

Read Full Post »

Winter is my least favorite season, and so I love looking forward to the warmth and new life of spring. During the bleakness of January and February, I’m taking a look back at my garden in 2021 so that I can start making plans for 2022.

In this post, I’ll be reviewing some of the things I learned this year, sharing some harvest data, and starting to think about what I will do for the coming growing season in my little container garden plot.

CONTAINERS – Some of the containers in my garden are from the very first garden I ever grew! Over the years, I have continued to add more (and replace containers that have broken). In 2021, I purchased some inexpensive plastic planters for my tomatoes, and they were…okay. Midsummer, I discovered that one of them had gotten clogged, and Husband was able to pull off the attached saucer, which seemed to solve the problem and allow proper drainage. At the end of the year as I scrubbed all my pots, I pried off all the saucers, so I hope that they will be better for 2022. I would love to be able to grow more varieties of tomatoes and possibly give other things a try (for instance, bell peppers??), so I’m hoping to get my hands on even more containers for this coming garden. Note to self: this will likely mean increasing the footprint of my plot!

SOIL – I was very unimpressed with the Miracle-Gro Organic Potting Soil I used in 2021. I did not care for the texture; it seemed full of large woody chunks. I also did not realize that I would need to add fertilizer so frequently (not necessarily a fault of the soil, but I guess I expected organic soil to be nutrient-rich). I’m not sure what I’ll use in 2022, but I’m on the lookout for options. I dumped all the soil at the end of the growing season, because it didn’t seem like it was worth saving (so many roots from those big plants!), and I was concerned that disease (especially from the cucumber pots) might stick around and/or spread. One of the reasons my garden is in containers is because the soil in-ground is not in good shape. I go back and forth between wondering if I should be dumping my containers “in place” to start layering a fresh start in that plot… However, I like the “fresh start” each year in containers and that I don’t need to worry about rotating my crops or dealing with soil-borne pathogens in such a small space.

Now that I’ve discussed the basics of my garden, let’s get into what I grew. Since I am a nerd at heart, I kept a spreadsheet of my produce data throughout the season. Below is a chart that shows an overall glimpse of everything I grew. It’s not very informative on its own, since the cherry tomatoes dominate the numbers.

TOMATOES – I grew Best Boy, purple cherry heirloom, and Brad’s Atomic Grape tomatoes this past year. My favorite of these varieties was the Atomic Grape, because the flavor was delicious, plus they were so pretty! However, the fruit split so easily on the plant (even before fully ripe!), which also meant that it wasn’t very long lasting after harvest, either. The purple cherry tomatoes (seedlings from a neighbor) were wonderfully prolific from beginning to end of the season, and the flavor was good. Since both of these varieties are heirloom varieties, I saved some seeds so that I can try growing them again this year. The Best Boy tomatoes were definitely a disappointment. They seemed flavorless, and they didn’t produce very well until much later in the season, and even then, I had been hoping for more. Part of this may have been the fertilizer situation (definitely learning a lesson there!), but it’s not the first year I’ve been underwhelmed, so I won’t be growing this variety again. I would love to try some slicing tomato varieties known for their sweet flavor. I’ll be doing some research into this!

Interestingly, as you look at the individual charts below, it seems that late August and September were when the tomatoes were in highest production. I would have guessed it would have been a bit earlier, but I need to remember this in the future to have appropriate expectations for my harvests.

CUCUMBER – As I mentioned in a few of my monthly updates, I was extremely disappointed in the cucumber situation in my 2021 garden. I had intentionally planted more containers with cucumber vines, and I think this was the worst year I’ve ever had in terms of cucumber production. As I mentioned in the August summary, I first had issues because the soil needed more nutrients, and because of my past experience with other potting soils, I didn’t expect to have to add fertilizer! The graph below shows that the most cucumbers I got on any given date was five, and that was an anomaly! I don’t know what sort of disease or blight got to my vines (I tried looking things up, but nothing quite matched what I was seeing(, but it was devastating. I love cucumbers, so I’m hoping that I can do better in 2022.

NASTURTIUM – I loved having nasturtium in my garden. The leaves are such a pleasing shape, and the flowers are absolutely beautiful. I don’t care as much for the taste of them, but their visual beauty is enough for me! Midsummer was quite hot for them, and I probably should have been fertilizing the soil that I used in my containers last year, but the plants were spectacular as the summer came to a close. I collected and saved a number of seeds, and I’m hoping to grow them in addition to the leftovers from the original seed packet.

MARIGOLD – Marigolds were a surprise hit for me this year! I remember growing them when I was little (often for a Mother’s Day gift in Sunday School or something like that), and feeling fairly ambivalent toward them. The marigolds in my garden were a gift from a neighbor, and I just loved the color they brought! And they were huge! I also was delighted to watch all the different insects they attracted to my garden. I have plenty of seed saved up from the 2021 plants, and I will definitely be planting them again. I am considering adding multiple containers and even having some of the containers outside the perimeter of my garden as a wildlife deterrent. If the containers are smaller, they would be easy to move for lawn mowing.

HERBS – Quite possibly, my 2021 garden was the “herbiest” I’ve ever had! I grew basil, parsley, dill, and chives, as well as lavender. It was not a surprise that I LOVED having these fresh herbs available for my use, and I definitely intend to grow these herbs again in my 2022 garden (I even saved dill seeds from the 2021 plant). I’d like to figure out how to make my parsley more prolific, because of all the herbs, I use that in the largest quantities. I never did figure out how to propagate my lavender, and I would really like to know how to do that. I will admit that I just left the chives and lavender in their pots outdoors all winter. I am interested to see what happens, since both could be perennials. It is my hope to have a lavender bed in another part of my back yard. I just love the scent.

I’m already checking out container gardening books from the library and dreaming about the types of vegetables I’ll be growing in 2022. I’ll be checking my local extension office’s documents about seed starting dates and gearing up for the next growing season as soon as I can! Here’s to a prolific 2022!

Read Full Post »

The Sheikah slates for our children’s costumes were created entirely by Husband, so I’ve asked him to write a guest post about how he made them!

~ ~ ~

One of my principles of Halloween costumes is that they need to have some element that glows in the dark.  I could pretend that I’m very concerned about safety and visibility in the dark, but really I just think it makes costumes more fun and cool.  The Sheikah slate in the video game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is such an integral part of the gameplay that I knew the kids would want to have Sheikah slates as props in their costumes.  I also thought that if I did it right, they might be toys that the kids could play with after Halloween, too.  

For the body of the Sheikah slate, I made a template that seemed big enough to hold the two pieces of electronics hardware, and cut a baseplate out of cardboard.  Then I started using lots of adhesive-backed craft foam to build up layers and thicken the tablets, making sure to leave a central cavity big enough for the speakers and lights.  After a few foam layers were down, I inserted the speaker button through the foam so that it rested on the tab of the Sheikah eye symbol, and kept adding layers until the sides were high enough to enclose the electronics.  Since I needed to maintain access to the electronics to turn them on and off and eventually replace the batteries, I hot glued strips of velcro to the top layer of craft foam and to the back of what would become the ‘screen’ of the Sheikah slate.


To make the screen, I used black adhesive craft foam and drew the Sheikah symbol on it and cut it out.  I had to make some adjustments, because unlike an actual screen, when you are cutting material you can’t have fully enclosed shapes floating in mid-air.  After I had the symbol cut out, I peeled off the paper and adhered a square of light blue vellum to the foam.  Even without the LEDs, it has pretty good contrast with the foam, and when the LEDs are lit up, the vellum smoothes out and softens the glow from the point sources of light.  


For the electronics, I found some battery-powered blue LED lights (aff link) and some battery-powered programmable speakers (aff link) like you might find in a singing birthday card.  I found mp3 files of the Sheikah slate sound effects from the video game and loaded them onto the speakers.  When you press the attached button, it plays a random sound from the list of downloaded files.  


At this point, I had functional, but parti-colored, Sheikah slates.  I wrapped the edges in black craft foam to hide the multi-hued strata of foam, and then painted all the remaining nooks and crannies with black acrylic paint.  I used orange craft foam on the handle to mimic the orange glow there in the game, and then wrapped the handle in brown yarn.  I cut out the decorative Sheikah symbol for the back of the tablet from orange, yellow, and blue craft foam.  For the border of the screen side, I used some more blue craft foam shapes and then free-handed some designs with metallic gold paint.  


They are definitely just approximations of the video game devices, but the kids were thrilled with them, and they are pretty durable and should hold up to being played with for at least a while.

Read Full Post »

Our son dressed as Link from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. At the time we were deciding on our costumes, his game character was wearing Zora armor, so he specifically requested to wear that gear as his costume. We brought up his character in-game and took photos for reference!

I made the blue shirt and stealth leggings by hacking Simplicity 1030. It’s a Captain America costume pattern in which the lower half of the shirt is pieced stripes. (Side note: I am really impressed with the design of this pattern. Often costume patterns are badly drafted and ill-fitting, but this is not the case for Simplicity 1030! The style lines and construction are well-done!). The upper part of the shirt has some nice style lines that were perfect for Link’s blue shirt, so I combined the side panel pieces to extend as one piece from the underarm to the hem and lengthened the upper torso pattern pieces to the hem. The result was a very sharp-looking athletic shirt, and I’m contemplating making it again with another fabric!

I added the side accents by layering some scraps I cut into the proper shapes and attaching them to the shirt with basting stitches. The blue fabric I used for the shirt and pants was an interesting athletic knit I found in the clearance section of G Street Fabrics, but it was difficult to stitch, so I thought it would be better for those side panels to be temporary. We will likely repurpose the shirt and leggings as winter pajamas!

I found a free jacket pattern (in my son’s size!) that was the perfect starting point for the scale jacket, and I hacked it beyond recognition, haha! I used a sueded fabric that was handed down to me in a bin of fabrics–it was the perfect color. After I cut the outer layer pieces, I hand-cut all the scales and sewed them in rows before stitching the pieces together.

My final contribution to the Link outfit was the beaded bandolier. I used Sculpey (polymer clay) to mold the moon medallion and the long beads (in retrospect, perhaps dry ziti would have been a lighter weight and easier solution for the long beads!). I strung them with some plastic faceted beads, and my husband spray painted them all with chrome paint. I used a scrap of vinyl to create the “leather” strap that goes over his shoulder, and the beaded strand is attached to key rings I stitched to the ends!

Now, on to the showstopper parts of the costume: the armor!

Husband sketched out the armor pieces on paper after studying the reference photos we took of all angles of Link, cutting out the paper templates to test sizing on our son. When he was satisfied with the design, he traced the pieces on to layers of craft foam and cut them out by hand. After constructing the pauldrons, bracers, and faulds (hip guards), he spray painted them with chrome paint. If we make foam armor in the future, Husband notes that he will apply some sort of sealant to the foam before spray painting to prevent the metallic paint from soaking into the foam and give a shinier end result.

The pauldrons are pinned to the shoulders of the scale jacket.

The faulds are threaded onto the belt with elastic loops that are adhered on the back.

The bracers have elastic straps for our son to wear them on his forearms.

The greaves (shin guards) are also constructed from craft foam, which Husband hand-painted with brown and metallic gold craft paint.

We had a lot of fun taking action photos of our soon acting as Link during our photoshoot at the pumpkin patch…

(No healthy pumpkins were harmed in the making of this trick shot!)

This last photo is a little teaser: Husband created Sheikah slates for our Zelda and Link! Stay tuned for a guest post from him about how he made them!

Summary of patterns:
shirt: Simplicity 1030 (hacked)
scale jacket: Shwin and Shwin Mr. Postman (hacked)
pants: Simplicity 1030 (lengthened)
belt, shoes: ready-to-wear

Read Full Post »

Our daughter dressed as Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

We found some amazing reference images from a book of concept art (aff link), and those images gave some great insight into the layers we needed to create.

We used ready-to-wear leggings and boots on her lower half, and we spent our energy creating the layers on her upper half.

The first layer was a blouse with lantern sleeves, and I used the Blank Slate Bookworm Button Up (aff link) as my starting point. The main hacks I made were to the collar and sleeves. Zelda has a tall collar closed with a single round button, so to create that effect on my daughter’s blouse, I increased the height of the collar stand and omitted the collar pieces altogether. I was pleased with how easy it was! Since there is no visible placket on the character’s blouse (fantasy means no practical concerns such as how you put on a garment!), I added hidden snaps between the placket layers.

I used a modified version of the Melly Sews lantern sleeve hack: instead of inserting a rectangle, I used a trapezoid shape. That resulted in an ungathered seam at the elbow and an asymetric blousing effect at the cuff. I stitched the gathers to wide elastic and then covered the elastic with a cuff made from the same knit as the jacket. If I were to do this again, I would omit the elastic and just stitch the gathers into a cuff!

The middle layer was a jacket effect. Since there were no visible closures (again!) and raglan sleeves on Zelda’s, I decided to use the Blank Slate Rivage Raglan (aff link) as my base pattern and an aqua knit I found in the clearance section of G Street Fabrics. After making a quick trial version from scrap knit, I added 2″ of height toward the neckline on the back and sleeve sections, drew the notches in the hemline and sleeves, and modified my pattern pieces. After I cut and assembled the new hacked pieces, I started adding the gold trim. Let me tell you, lamé bias tape is no joke to work with! I also realized only after I’d opened my packages that I’d purchased single-fold bias tape, rather than double-fold! It was an adventure, but I took it slowly, stitching it on with a long stitch length in clear thread (and just plain white in the bobbin). (I will admit that this costume was an exercise in not letting perfection be the enemy of the good…).

I cut the decorative shape at the neckline from craft foam, painted it with a few coats of metallic gold paint, and attached it at the front, behind which the gold crosspieces are pinned in place: I wanted to have enough room for her to get her head in and out!.

The outermost layer is a corset effect (velcro closure in the back), which I constructed from scratch. I added batting and quilted the design, adding the top bands of gold trim over a strip of aqua fabric to match her jacket layer. Husband created the “leather” belt from craft foam. He scored and heated it to give the effect of leather tooling before painting it brown and giving it a wash of black paint for further depth.

He also created the Triforce medallion from layers of craft foam and painted the details with metallic gold paint. We simply hot-glued it in place!

The final touch was her hairstyle! I have no idea why I have not used YouTube for braiding tutorials before–now this has opened a whole new can of worms, haha! THIS video was the perfect tutorial for this cute headband braid style: I learned some new tricks, and we’re excited to keep trying some more in the future.

We got some absolutely beautiful (if I do say so myself) photos of our daughter acting as Zelda during our photoshoot at the pumpkin patch…

Summary of patterns:
blouse: Blank Slate Bookworm Button Up* (hacked)
jacket layer: Blank Slate Rivage Raglan* (hacked)
corset: made from scratch
leggings, boots: ready-to-wear

*affiliate link

Read Full Post »

My children talk almost nonstop about their progress playing through The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild! Since they love the game so much, it was the perfect source for costume inspiration. Without further ado, I present Link and Zelda from Breath of the Wild!

Our son specifically requested to wear Link’s Zora armor, which is what his character in the game was wearing at the time we decided on our costumes.

The costumes were a collaboration between Husband and me: he made all the foam accessories (Link’s armor pieces and brooch, Zelda’s belt and Triforce medallion, and the Sheikah slates), while I focused on the fabric pieces (and I made Link’s beaded bandolier).

During our photo shoot at a nearby pumpkin patch, they had a really great time getting into character and acting out scenes for the camera.

I’m thrilled with the costumes, and I think our children are, too!

I will do separate posts (Zelda, Link) with details for each costume and one for the Sheikah slates, but until then, here is a list of the patterns I used:

Zelda:
blouse: Blank Slate Bookworm Button Up* (hacked)
jacket layer: Blank Slate Rivage Raglan* (hacked)
corset: made from scratch
leggings, boots: ready-to-wear

Link:
shirt: Simplicity 1030 (hacked)
scale jacket: Shwin and Shwin Mr. Postman (hacked)
pants: Simplicity 1030 (lengthened)
belt, shoes: ready-to-wear

*affiliate link

Read Full Post »

Our son loves Minecraft.

A lot.

So it was not a surprise that he asked for a Minecraft-themed cake for his birthday. Note: his birthday was during the summer; I’m just now getting my act together to post about this cake. It came out so well that I definitely still want to share it!

When we asked him what sort of Minecraft cake, I was expecting him to ask for a scene or a creeper (or both). Instead, he asked for a grass block! He wanted the brown parts to be chocolate and the green to be mint. Challenge accepted.

I baked the cakes and mixed up frosting– I baked two square chocolate cakes, which we trimmed down so that we could make four layers. The top and bottom layers are solid squares; the middle two layers are made from the offcuts stacked perpendicular to each other. We used chocolate frosting between the layers.

Husband did all of the outside work! Of course, we waited until late at night to begin the frosting process, and I was so wiped out that all I could do was offer some suggestions. Husband did an absolutely amazing job. He figured out that he could cut a cardstock template for the grass detail on the sides of the block.

Husband took it one step further and did some sugar work to create the new growth that would occur if the block is sprinkled with bonemeal in the game. I really think this is such a showstopper!

It was so fun to see how completely delighted our son was about his cake! (and it tasted pretty delicious, too!)

Read Full Post »

The rush of success in finishing my princess dinner layout prompted me to take action and figure out a way to jump start my creative inspiration. Creative inspiration has been eluding me recently, particularly this fall, and although I *missed* scrapbooking and *wanted* to scrapbook, I was finding it to be a struggle. 

I decided to give myself a challenge, and with Husband’s help, I was able to dedicate a couple hours each day of a long weekend to complete it.

Here’s the framework of my little challenge-to-myself:

1. Watch the replay of Inkiequill’s December 2020 Scrap Stream on YouTube.

2. Create along with Adele!  For each project she created during her livestream, I made a parallel project of the same type. I even tried to stick to the same general timing. 

3. I focused on adding pages to my 2016 Disney scrapbook, and I also made an art journal page along with her —the idea was to get back into the creative process!

I documented the whole thing in my Instagram Stories (there’s a saved highlight here: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17946705103397268/), and I found that taking the time-lapse videos of each project really helped me to focus and make decisions instead of waffling around.

And WOW. It was amazing.  I can’t believe that I actually made so many projects in one weekend (probably a bit over 7 hours of creating time), and I am really happy with the way every one of them turned out.  This challenge re-energized, inspired, and made me excited to scrapbook more in the coming days and weeks.

In the next few blog posts, I will share each of the six projects I made in my Solo Crop challenge:

  • Disney pocket layout: Hollywood Studios lunch
  • Disney pocket layout: Hollywood Studios afternoon
  • Disney layout: Great Movie Ride
  • art journal page (grab 5)
  • Disney layout: Goodnight, Epcot
  • Disney layout: Bedtime Fireworks

I’d like to do another self-challenge like this again. Having dedicated time–and time LIMITS–was definitely a key to my success! I am also considering taking more time-lapse videos of myself to further train myself to make design decisions more quickly and confidently.

Read Full Post »

I thought it might be interesting to write down my process for planning the pocket pages in my 2019 album.  So while I was working through my April photos and stories (yes, I know it’s November…but life got busy!), I took some photos and wrote down my steps.

2019-10-30 12.10.58-1

1. Gather all the stuff. 

I’ve made a point to save bits and pieces: ticket stubs, business cards, name tags, programs, wristbands, etc. to include in this album.  I think physical memorabilia is really interesting.  In my album, I’m keeping a 12×12 page protector for each month to collect all these things in one place. I’ve also been using a free printable from Simple Stories (specifically a page from the February 2019 printable set) to collect some notes each month (I fell off this bandwagon during the summer, but I’m getting back on it this fall!  I’ve actually printed it out 12 times, duplex, so that I have it ready for each month).  It’s on this sheet that I record notes that don’t necessarily have specific dates associated with them: the things I’ve been listening to or watching, the foods that I’ve especially enjoyed throughout the month, and occasionally some notes about how I’ve felt during the month.

I spread out all of this stuff where I can see it easily, and I get out my computer and my planner to help me with the next step.

2019-10-31 15.08.13

2.  Make little paper notes. 

I’m a fairly visual/tactile planner, so I’ve found that it helps for me to start out with little slips of paper — one slip for each thing I want to include in my album.  Since I use a lot of PDF sewing patterns, I save the off-cut portions of the pages to use as scrap paper.  They’re usually oddly-shaped, so they’re perfect for tearing into little slips.

In order to write these slips, I look through all my stuff (step 1), all the photos I took that month, and all the notes I made in my planner.  Each item gets its own slip so that I can physically move it around as I do my actual page planning.

At this stage, I’m starting to get an idea (from looking through my photos again) which things will have a larger (literally) presence in my album.  I’m starting to think about how many inserts and “regular” (not pocket page) layouts I’ll add… but that’s for the next step.

2019-10-31 16.54.55

3a. Plan the pockets. 

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m a pretty structured person.  For me to enjoy my scrapbook-making, I like to have all of my photo sizes and placement planned ahead, especially for pocket pages.

In this step, I take my little slips of paper and I actually move them around on the divided page protectors.  I have cut out templates of my “standard” smaller photo sizes (3″x4″, 2″x3″, 1.5″x2″– these are the orange and olive green pieces in the photos) so that I can really visualize what will fit in a pocket.

I’m using Design A for my main pages.  I don’t have a specific number of pages that I am aiming to fill–just what makes sense for the stories I have.  However, I do try to make sure that I end up with filled pages– I want each month to start on a new 12″x12″.

The pockets aren’t exactly in chronological order, but I do try to stick to a general idea of chronology– the stuff on the left hand page generally has occurred before the stuff on the right hand page.  When I want a particular photo/story in a particular place, I use some items (like family swim, projects I completed that month, “listening,” “watching,”) to fill in gaps and keep that general chronological flow.

2019-11-01 14.07.40.jpg

3b. Make a diagram.

In addition to the little slips in the actual pockets, I have found that it is super helpful later to have a diagram of the pages, too.  I’ll do a rough little sketch of pockets, make notes about what I want to make sure to include in the journaling, etc.

As I determine my photo sizes, I move them into collections in Lightroom.  I have collections set up for each of my smaller photo sizes so that I can batch “print” them to 4″x6″ canvases for actual printing.  I also export my “full-size” 4×6 photos to a To Print folder that I keep on my desktop.  This is where I collect all of the files to send to Persnickety Prints (my favorite).  I like to print in large batches, so this helps me to keep track of what is ready to go.

2019-11-07 18.03.07

4. Plan inserts.  

While I’m deciding where each smaller story will go in my pockets, I’m also identifying larger stories that will get pulled out into inserts.  For instance, the issue with my ankle has become a larger story this year than I expected, and so I’ve started making inserts where I’m “highlighting” all the ankle stuff for that month when there was a lot going on.  We also took a big road trip to visit family and friends in April, so that is being “upgraded” to several inserts that will spotlight the different aspects of that trip.  Since it was Easter, I’m planning to make two traditional layouts that feature a family photo and the egg hunt my kids did at my in-laws’ house on Easter Sunday.

Sometimes these inserts get planned as I’m working on the main plan for the month, but usually I leave these until the end of my monthly process!

Except for the traditional layouts, which I am planning to make 12″x12″, I like my inserts to be smaller than 12″x12″.  Most often, I simply cut down different pocket pages (one column of a Design B page, or a Design A cut down to mimic Design H), but I also like the Becky Higgins Design G pages.

5.  Print the photos and make the pages!

After I plan several months and/or decide on other photos I want to print for other projects, I use Lightroom to batch print the smaller sizes into 4″x6″ photo files.  I have a number of printing templates set up for this, and they make it so quick and easy!

I send off my photo order (usually to Persnickety Prints!) and eagerly await their arrival in my mailbox.  You can see how I distribute the prints into my albums in THIS post

and then….it’s on to making the pages!  Check out my 2019 album progress by clicking THIS link (as of the writing of this post, I’ve only fully completed the January pages!)

~ ~ ~

….now on to plan May…and June…and July…and August…and on and on!  I’ve got some catching up to do!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »