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Two weeks ago, I was able to take time with my daughter on two different days so that she could make some scrapbook layouts to add to her 8″x8″ album.

I’ve learned that it’s best for me to create a mini page kit for her (out of her own stash of supplies!  She has her own box.  I don’t ever use any of her items, even though some of her embellishments are so tempting! 😉 but I do add to her stash from mine on occasion.) Using page kits means that she has a coordinating set of products that are appropriate for the photos (which she also helps me to choose), and not an overwhelming mish-mash of everything in her scrapbook box.  I think it makes the final product look cohesive, and it also reduces my control-freak-stress because it’s not a free-for-all when she starts creating :).  It also minimizes the sticker-sneeze effect, haha!

I set up two page kits for her to scrapbook photos from our beach vacation last year.  We were preparing to go on this year’s annual trip to Myrtle Beach, and I wanted her to tell me her memories from last year before they got mixed up with this year’s memories!

This first page is about being on the beach.

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I asked her to tell me what she liked about being on the beach, and I printed out the words for her to copy in her own handwriting.  She is just starting to read a little bit on her own, and she loves writing things herself.  I love the idea of having her own words in her own handwriting in her own album!

This second page is about the fun she had in the pools at the building where we stayed.  Again, the words and handwriting are her own.

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We added lots of sparkle to this one– glittery circle and wavy strip stickers, prismatic hearts punched from the excess from a sticker sheet, rhinestones, and shiny studded tropical flower stickers.

Of course, anything sparkly delights my 5-year-old, but I also made sure to include the sparkly elements so that she could enter this page into the Simon Says Stamp “Anything Goes With Sparkle” summer vacation kids’ challenge.

Aside from my choosing the set of supplies for each page and applying adhesive using the ATG or liquid glue (PPA), she did the placement and final product selection for each of her pages.  I did remind her of things like layering, having embellishments and titles touch something to keep the page cohesive, and I tried to teach her about clustering in a visual triangle!  I am so glad that we got to spend this time together!

 

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This is the third in a short series of posts in which I am sharing some “artful devotions” from this summer: hand-lettered verses.  You can find the first post HERE and the second post HERE.

Later in the summer, I veered off of the Letter the Gospel series of verses, and I lettered some verses that I’d been studying on my own in response to other things in which I was involved or that I was experiencing.

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P.S. All the verses are from the ESV

My husband tells me that I’m hard on computers!  I must be, because three years after I got a new computer (that we thought was optimized for how I use one…), and one year after I replaced its fan, I am in the midst of transferring all of my files over to a new machine.  I hope this machine will be better for me (psssst: I’m switching to Mac!  Gasp!!).  The transfer process is going much more slowly than I anticipated, so while I have a post or two scheduled in advance, I am not yet in a position to add my photos to some posts I have planned (and written).  Soon, soon, I will have some new content!!

This is the second in a short series of posts in which I am sharing some “artful devotions” from this summer: hand-lettered verses.  You can find the first post HERE.

I found that hand-lettering verses this summer really made me meditate on the exact and specific words used.  As I planned the way the words would look and fit on my page, I had to decide their importance and weight– and how that would impact how a viewer saw the verse.  I think the emphasis that I’ve placed on some of the words also says a bit about how God was working in my heart and what He was teaching me as I studied.

I am hoping that the time I spent meditating on these Scriptures will help to implant them firmly in my heart and mind–similar to the way God’s attributes impacted me and I am remembering them better for having made illustrations in my Bible last summer.

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P.S. All the verses are from the ESV

I love memory-keeping.

This is not a surprise to anyone who knows me even a little bit.  I like to say that photos are my love-language!  I take so many photos, and I have a detailed system in place to make sure that all of my photos have some sort of caption attached to them.

The form of memory-keeping I like best is paper scrapbooking.  “Traditional” scrapbook pages are at the top of that list: I love adding pretty paper and embellishments to my photos and stories to enhance them and turn them into creative works.  I love the layers, the colors, the feel of the paper and chipboard and veneer and…and…

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Recently, though, I have had to prioritize other things, and so I have been doing very little actual scrapbooking with paper.  Add to that the fact that my craft room had to be involved in some plumbing replacement during our bathroom renovation, and you find a girl who is desperate for a creative outlet without a place to make stuff.

And so, I decided to take advantage of the forced time away from my physical supplies to do some digital work.  I had photos to catch up with, and I also had some photo books that I’ve wanted to make.

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monorail and Dry Gulch Railroad, 2013

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Ladybugs and Sack Slide, 2013

 

I have mixed feelings about photo books.  Anyone else?  Sometimes I feel like it’s cheating.  It feels like instead of actually making a scrapbook, I’m just throwing some photos onto pages and printing them into a book, and calling it good.  I choose and edit my photos, I upload them to Shutterfly and make the books right in their software.  For these most recent photo books, I just used the standard styles (not even the premium ones) to construct my books.  I didn’t even use my own digital supplies in PSE to make my own pages!  Cheating?

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Starship and Ladybugs, 2016

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Flying Falcons, 2016

When I really stop to think about it though, I realize that it’s not cheating.  Yes, I used the website’s software and basic templates and supplies.  But I spent hours on them– adding embellishments in just the right places, tweaking the photo placements so that they were just right, and adding text to tell the stories of our annual trips to Hersheypark.  These are scrapbooks, too.  They might not have the tactile end result of layers of paper and embellishments, shadows and textures, but they are lovingly made– and they are completely personalized to our family’s story.  And best of all: they are done!  They are available on our bookshelf — the kids browse through these photo books, reminiscing from the photos, and asking their Daddy and me to read the words to them.  I am so glad that I have taken the time to write so much about each photo.  The metadata in the photo files helped me to construct the narrative that runs through each book.  It’s not cheating: it’s another form of memory-keeping.

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Cocoa Cruiser and Livery Stables, 2017

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Trailblazer and Convoy, 2017

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Ladybugs and Swing Thing, 2017

I still love paper scrapbooks, and I hope that I am always able to keep making them.  But I will also be making more photo books, too.  Sometimes those books will be done on the Shutterfly website, and sometimes I will completely design them myself in PSE.  I’m making my peace with photo books, and I’m glad.

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photo with Mr. Hershey, 2013

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photo with Mr. Hershey, 2016

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photo with Mr. Hershey, 2017

In this post, I’ve shared photos of the three most recent photo books I made in June and July of this year.  I am trying to keep a series of photo books of our annual day trips to Hersheypark.  We went for the first time in 2013, and we’ve gone every year since– I’d like to have a book for each year.  I have not yet made my book for 2015 (there are so many photos from that year!), but I have made all of the others so far!  (I made the book for 2014 way back in that same year, so I’m not showing it in this blog post.)  It’s so fun to see our kids grow up– which rides are new for them each year, and which ones are perennial favorites.  

 

Last year over the summer, I did some illustrations in my Bible as I studied God’s attributes and names.  It was a really satisfying way to add some artistic creativity into my devotional time.  More than that, the attributes and names that I illustrated have really remained in my heart and mind because of the time that I spent meditating upon them as I worked.

This summer, I decided to do more “artful devotions,” and in the late spring, I came across Krystal Whitten’s “Letter the Gospel” challenge.  I bought myself a blank sketchbook and worked on a verses throughout the summer.

I’d like to share some of what I made here on the blog.  I studied each verse for a bit before I started working on the lettering.  During my studying, usually I would have an idea of how I wanted to present the verse on my page, and I penciled in lines with a ruler and added my lettering in pencil, too.  I used my three thicknesses of black Becky Higgins Project Life pens to ink the words.  (I’d really like to try a brush pen, but I haven’t purchased one yet!)

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P.S. All the verses are from the ESV

On Tuesday morning of VBS week, I had no idea what I was going to do for myself for superhero night (we had the kids covered–see my summary post for VBS this year).  I almost gave up, but during breakfast, I had a flash of inspiration: I could make myself a superhero apron!  I served on the snacks team, so an apron was definitely appropriate– and since I love aprons anyway, the work I put into it wouldn’t go to waste!  I wear aprons all the time in the kitchen (you would think I would have more by now…).

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The kids and I hung out in the craft room almost all day!  I was sewing like a crazy woman, taking these final scraps of comic book print cotton and blue solid cotton to embellish the striped upholstery-weight apron base (thank you, S, for the upholstery fabric!).

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I used the basic shape of an apron I already own and love.  It was purchased for me by Husband at the beginning of my love affair with aprons, and I’d long ago traced it to make another one for a friend.  So I pulled out that pattern, lengthened it and left off the original bias ruffle.  Instead, I ruffled as many strips as I could eke out of my scraps of comic and blue cotton and went to town!

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I’ve determined over the years that pockets are an absolute necessity on my aprons.  I sometimes need to check out at the end of the day, whether it’s during dinner preparation or doing dishes, and I listen to podcasts with headphones to my phone.  You can be sure that these apron pockets securely hold that phone!

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In the above photo, you might notice that the top edge of the comic book ruffle at the hem of the apron is just finished by a serged overlock.  That is for two reasons: 1) I literally got this apron to a wearable state minutes before we needed to leave for the church!** and 2) I ran out of blue cotton.  I wanted to make a little binding strip to cover that edge (like at the top of the pockets and the top of the apron itself), but I have no more blue.  I’m just going to leave it the way it is.

**I was glad for many reasons that I finished the apron in time for Tuesday evening’s VBS– the next day, the contractors started demolition on our upstairs hall bathroom, and the plumbing replacement we did required a hole to be cut in my craft room ceiling first thing Thursday morning!