Category Archives: Everyday

How I Survived My First Half Year Of Pocket Scrapbooking

Hey, it’s Alina aka alinalove writing and bringing you my experiences of my first half year of digital pocket scrapbooking. This is actually not my first year. I tried it last year and failed miserably at following through. Week 13 in 2013 was my last one and looking back, it was no miracle I couldn’t finish the year up. I will come back to that later. What you will know after reading this article is what my stumbling blocks and stepping stones were to my half year success. And you will know that I’m not made for long time projects. So just be sure that even when you are awfully behind, have close to no photos or journaling of the yet unscrapped weeks, you can still catch up and follow through if you want to. If I can do it, you can do it, too. Let me inspire you to find a new start!

My front cover for the book

My front cover for the book.

Starting a New Year Beginning something is always easy for me. I suppose you can relate. Everything is fresh and exciting. I have lots and lots of ideas in my mind how, when and why I want to do it. I knew right away that I wanted to keep most of my rules open. When I am thinking of a long term project, I want to look forward to trying new kits, new colors, cute embellishments. If I make my rules too narrow, I will get bored easily. So I chose to have only two rules: 2 pages per week and using the same kind of templates through the whole year. I had some other rules on a mental note but I couldn’t keep up with them. E.g. initially I wanted to set a color scheme or at least one color per month. This wasn’t working for me, as I’m always convinced I need THIS SPECIAL KIT for the coming week and the colors aren’t as important anymore. I also wanted to use more of the theme specific stamps and wordarts. This just wasn’t happening because it took too long for me to decide which items I would be using on this particular spread. There are too many choices, too many cute kits. Did you set up some rules for your new year regarding your pocket scrapbooking? Did you stick to all your rules?

Last week of being caught up.

Last week of being caught up.

Falling Behind In February it happened. I just stopped making my spreads. I had other projects beginning at that time just like last year and it sucked up all my additional energy for my creative outlet. And later, even if I had the time, I had no spark to continue. In May I realized, that if I want to finish my year, I have to get up and do something.

First week of catching up. Also becoming more minimalist. Not too many photos.

First week of catching up. Also becoming more minimalist. Not too many photos.

Catching Up I’m not a big planner or organizer anymore. I had been and all the planning and organizing took a whole lot of time and energy but I was never following through with my intentions. On one hand this is great, because I just “do” things instead of wondering for a long time how I would do it. On the other hand my projects might get a bit messy at times. And that is what happened here. I had some photos for most of my weeks. For one week or two weeks, there weren’t many of them. Additionally I had close to no journaling taken through the weeks that I fell behind. So what could I do? I used what I had. I took my photos, asked my husband to provide his and sometimes used pictures from the internet if it was fitting. To get an idea what was happening through the weeks, I consulted my calendar and emails and also asked my husband what happened in his week. I started from my first week that was undone and slowly crawled my way up to week 26. It took me about two months to catch up with 16 weeks. The closer I got to the current week, the easier it got because I had more info in my head and in the later weeks I got more aware of taking photos for my project. I also noticed that the more I proceeded, the more minimalist my spreads got. Speaking of consistency. Well, no, not me. I had two weeks that were dominated by an exhausting event. My dog was sick. I took mostly photos of him and us waiting for him to be treated in the vet clinic. While these were important weeks for me with lots of insight, I still didn’t want to “spam” four pages with the same content. I decided to break my rule of two pages per week and made two pages for two weeks. How do you catch up on your project? Do you have any tips and tricks for me?

One of the weeks when I had very little photos and not much journaling at hand. Still love that week scrapped.

One of the weeks when I had very little photos and not much journaling at hand. Still love that week scrapped.

Motivation There are two ways for me of looking at motivation here. One is the general motivation, why I do my weekly spreads and the other is the not too literal kick in the butt why I continued in May. I know that many of you doing pocket scrapbooking have your kids in mind. You want them to know in years ahead what their childhood looked like, what you did together, how much you love(d) them. This is a perfect motivator to keep on scrapping. Since we have no kids, this can’t be my reason. I don’t want to bother you that much with all my reasons why and only mention two here. It’s just that everytime I look back at an event I can’t remember when it was. That’s pretty much it! I seem to have a partial dementia when it comes to past things. I don’t remember that much. Life seems to have passed by and I wasn’t in it. I remember my first attempt at pocket scrapbooking last year, when I suddenly remembered everything that happened during the first weeks. That was so relieving and making me happy. Pocket scrapbooking is my diary. Beside that I just love scrapbooking and working with pretty things. These are my biggest general motivators. I had several motivators to get me up from my slump. First I knew that I would be writing this article. How should I do that without having made my spreads? I also knew that I wanted to print a halfyear book. I love to have my year in two books because it makes me look back at the first six month and reconsider what I want for the rest of the year. It’s like a new year in June. Looking forward to having my book printed (for real!) made me go even faster. What could your kick-butt motivator be to make you continue with your project?

MInimalist me taking over again. Starting with more pictures for the spread.

MInimalist me taking over again. Starting with more pictures for the spread.

Outlook for the next 6 months What do I want to keep on my journey to the full year and what will I discard? I do go along with my project a little randomly. I like it that way, it’s just how I am. I do embellish a lot, I do process all of my photos for a consistent look in a week. And yes, all of that takes a lot of time. I know it would be easier if I took one look and replicated it through the whole year. Sounds boring to me though. I might let go of the large scale embellishing. I have to have something 3d on my pages to make me happy, maybe it doesn’t have to be that much to still make me smile. I will keep on with the two pages per week and the same templates. I will rethink that for next year. I really want to be up to date with my weeks but I know this won’t always be the case, so I just don’t promise myself or I will be dissappointed. I have to keep it open as much as I can to be able to finish this time.

Last page for the half year book. It was so relieving to have the 6 months closed.

Last page for the half year book. It was so relieving to have the 6 months closed.

Just Do It! My approach to this kind of project might differ to many others, because it’s very open, unorganized and random. I made the project my own and do it although I’m not perfect at taking notes and photos. There are lots of styles out there and looking through them I like all of them because I can see the person behind the project peeking through. I hope I could inspire you to get your project on your desktop again or sparked a new motivation to get going with more fun! Don’t believe that your spreads have to be perfect in any way. Just let them represent your life!

My first half year in printed form :-)

My first half year in printed form 🙂

If you want to browse through my weekly gallery, here is the link to my pinterest board. You will also find descriptions to most of the stash I used. Thank you so much for reading and stay tuned for more tutorials and inspiration on Gen’s blog!

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The Everything Planner – Updated for 2014


It’s Laura O’Donnell on the blog today sharing my planner put together with Gennifer’s The Everything Planner digital kit.  If you remember Gen’s post from last year she had the whole thing spiral bound.  I put mine together in a 3 ring binder so I thought I’d share some pictures as another option.

Here is the kit, updated for end of 2013 through January 2015.  And, it’s on sale through the end of the year!  It is marked down from $13 to $6.50.  You will be so organized in 2014!

everythingplanner1 I sent all of the PDFs to Staples for printing and they came out great.

Here is a look at the binder, then I’ll open it up and show the insides

planner1 copy The binder, tabs, and pockets are all from the Martha Stewart/Avery collection sold at Staples.  I am not affiliated with these vendors, just a happy customer.

planner2 copy I put the monthly sheets in first.  It’s nice to see the whole month along with a space for goals.

planner3 copy Then the weekly sheets.  These have worked out great, both for planning and for keeping track of things we did on these days.  I’m doing Project Life scrapbooking and find that just a few extra notes on these pages at the end of the week makes Project Life so much easier if I’ve fallen behind.

planner4 copy Then I thought a notebook section would be helpful with some plain lined paper, tabs, and stickers.

planner5 copy This is where I put all of the Organize Me printables.  These are included in the full kit or you can get them separately.  Did I mention this is a photo heavy post?  This planner kit is packed with great stuff!

planner6 copy This is the sheet for important contacts – neighbors, babysitters, doctors office, etc.

planner7 copy A Party Planner.

planner8 copy Weekly menus, shopping, and to do lists.

planner9 copy School information.

planner10 copy Gift Giving Record.  Such a good idea!  When you spot a perfect gift add it to the list, then when birthdays or Christmas comes around you know just what to get.

planner11 copy Special Dates.  I love to make cards but I’m not always so good about remembering to send them.  I needed this!

planner12 copy And then some tabbed pockets at the end to store whatever important papers might come my way.

Did you notice I didn’t print the Chore Charts?  We’re not nearly that organized around here to assign chores, but if you are I think you’ll love them.

Here is one more look at the kits.

everythingplanner1 The Everything Planner Kit regularly priced at $13, on sale now for $6.50 through the end of 2013!

everythingplanner2 The Organize Me Printables $4

everythingplanner3 The Chore Charts $3

gb_tep_2014_refill And the 2014 Refill Calendars $4

And that’s everything!  I took the pictures as soon as I made my binder, before I started writing in it.  I’m finding it nice to be able to take the weekly sheets out when I’m working on Project Life, and having all of our important contacts and things in one place is really useful.  I hope this inspires you for planning in 2014!

Design House Digital – No longer home to me

I know, probably the last thing anyone ever expected to hear, and the last thing I ever expected to write, but it is true. Today is the last day you can buy my products at Design House Digital, and the last day I’ll be hanging out there. It’s been over three years from conception until now, and I’ve been involved almost every step of the way. I’ve uploaded 113 layouts (that’s a bit sad, honestly!), written 266 blog posts, posted in the forums over 3700 times, answered hundreds of emails, and made countless new friends. Thanks to everyone for letting me be a part of your lives! As a special thank you to my blog readers, in addition to the 50% discount on my products, score an additional 15% off using this coupon code: freakycool.

Not to worry, though… I’ve got some great things on the horizon that I’m crazy excited about. I’m a firm believer in this: For something to be truly wonderful, it has to be hard… That’s part of what gives it value. And, as I “sign off” on my last day at DHD, here’s a fun peek at how my style has changed: I present you with the first layout I created for DHD:

And, my last:


A bit of introspection…

Earlier this month, I signed up for an online class on building a better business. I figured that it’s the responsible thing to do, now that I’m (not only) a significant portion of our household income, but also bearing some responsibility for the income of the other designers at DHD. Unfortunately, I haven’t had as much time to devote to it as I would like, since I’ve been transitioning to my new laptop, which HP replaced after damaging my previous one in transit on three different occasions. (THREE! It was like a bad joke!) Luckily, I can access the class information down the road, so while I’m trying to get the overall lessons, I’m definitely planning on getting the “meat” of the information down the road.

But, it’s gotten me thinking. When I transitioned from blogger to WP a few months ago, I specifically cleaned things up. I eliminated the sidebars, to give my blog a light, airy feel. But, really, to be an effective marketing tool, the blog needs to have those things. Right?

I’m not entirely sure that’s where I want my focus to be, though. I blog at least once a week at the DHD blog, for business. I post on the DHD FB page, on my business FB page, and on my personal FB page. I post in a few forums where I’m active, and read a few where I’m not. I’m out there.

I think that I don’t want this blog to be that. It might not be the most effective marketing tool, but I’m okay with that. It’s the one place that I can be the true me… The disordered, slightly irreverent weirdo that I am in real life. The one who makes pledges and doesn’t follow through, who vents about her weight, who writes public love letters to her husband that he will never see. (Yeah, I don’t think he even knows the web address!)

So, if you’re a friend who still reads this, you’ll have to put up with a bit of my digi stuff, because that’s a part of me. If you’re a scrapbooker, you’ll have to put up with a bit of my everyday stuff, because that’s a part of me.

These days, I kind of miss me.

The Everything Planner : 2012-2013 Printables

It’s that time again… The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. No, I’m not talking about Christmas, silly. School starts on Monday, and I can hardly wait.

Don’t get my wrong. I love my kids. I LOVE my kids. But, with four of them running around my small house, plus an oversized fifth one (AKA my husband), plus a large St. Bernard, well… Let’s just say that the sum of these can be greater than the parts. Add in the fact that I am a small business (co)owner and work from home juggling the business, design time, working occasionally at my family’s business, and also selling custom family trees. It’s enough to give anyone a headache!

In all seriousness, back to school means that I am able to get back on a schedule. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I’ve become my mother. I work best on a routine schedule, with lists and check marks and accountability, and my productivity and creativity go way up when I’m organized.

A year ago I debuted the original The Everything Planner, and the new version (The Everything Planner : 2012-2013 Printables)  has a few updates and changes, based on my experiences over the past year. Let’s take a look:

First of all, I’ve included three different cover design options (front and back), and each comes in both a vertical (for binder use) or horizontal (for binding) orientation. There’s also a 2″ spine for binders, which can be trimmed down with scissors for a smaller binder.

Last year I used a binder, but this year I decided to have it bound, instead. I had the covers laminated, which makes it very durable, even though I don’t really carry it around ( it pretty much just stays on my desk). The binder is just a bit bulky for me, but it does give you the option of moving your pages around as the year progresses. I’ve locked in the order of my pages based on what I found last year, so it’s not an issue for me.

The first page in mine is this one:

(Obviously, mine is filled out, but I’m not showing pictures of a few of these for privacy purposes.) In the other section I have a few random phone numbers: my and my husband’s cell phone numbers, my esthetician, my husband’s car pool partner, etc. When we have a babysitter, I open the planner to this page because it has everything in one place.

Next up are my month-at-a-glance pages:

I have all of these at the beginning, instead of mixed in with the week-at-a-glance pages like I did last year. It’s easier for me to find them than having to flip through the entire binder.

This page has just my basic notes. The left side has projects I have going on during the month (and when they need to be completed) and on the right I jot upcoming events. Following a Pinterest tip, I will use washi tape to highlight events that span more than one day, so I can see those at a glance. I’ve got a scrapbook expo coming up and a site sponsorship, so those are both marked off. I will also use this to keep track of my husband’s business trips, as well as any travel plans for my family.

Next up are the week-at-a-glance pages:

These is where I write down the specifics of each day. In the boxes, I write down specific events: appointments, their times, and who they apply to. In the left-hand column I write projects and goals for the week in general, and underneath each day I add ones that apply to that day. For example, I have notes on the days that I need to remember to send out newsletters, or want to blog, etc.

Last year, I started things out by doing each member of my family in different colors of ink, but this year I’m just going with one. Honestly, it was a pain to have to keep switching pens, and somehow, the pens kept migrating… I’d find them in backpacks, drawers, the garage, in between couch cushions, and even one in the crisper of my fridge. (I have no idea.)

Next up is the friend/school info:

I don’t have to access this page nearly as often, so it’s back here. I’ve got it filled out as you’d expect, with a few extra lines of information since my youngest daughter is starting a dual-immersion program this year, and therefore has two teachers.

The next one for me is the 3 year/bill pay checklist:

This is especially handy if I am looking at something long term, and I can quickly see what days/dates things might fall on. In addition, since my husband and I both pay our bills (and not necessarily together), we can see at a glance when they are due, and if they have been paid already.

The last few sheets are the “fun” ones:

A perpetual calendar to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

A party planner, which comes in very handy not just for birthday parties for my kids, but even when hosting informal family get-togethers with my family (7 siblings!) or my husband’s family (5 siblings!) to keep track of food assignments, etc. I printed multiples, because I like to keep them, but you could just print one, laminate it, and then use a dry-erase marker.

The last page(s) in my planner are the gift giving records:

These come in SO handy when doing birthday and holiday shopping! All year long, I make notes if I come across something that I think would make a good gift for someone. I can also keep track of websites/stores, sizes, and whether I’ve bought, wrapped, and shipped/delivered. Things are especially crazy for me right around Christmas, because my two youngests’ birthdays are Dec 29th and Jan 7th, so we’re usually shopping for all three events at the same time. It’s a lifesaver! Again, I printed multiple: I use one for each of my children (birthday and Christmas), one for my husband (anniversary, birthday, and Christmas), two for Christmas (everyone else), and two for birthdays (everyone else).

So, that’s my version of The Everything Planner. But, WAIT! Did you notice a few things missing? That’s right, the chore charts (the catalyst for the entire planner!) and the menu planner! So, where are they?

I printed the menu planner out double-sided, and then laminated it and hung it on the side of my fridge:

This way, I can plan out my menu for two weeks at a time, and my husband and oldest daughter (who share meal prep with me) can see exactly what I have planned, make additions to the grocery list, etc. The left-hand side has projects/chores that apply to my entire family, as well as the day I would like them to be done.

The chore charts are also laminated:

The top one also comes in an editable pdf file, but I left them blank this year so that the chores could be changed as our needs change. I’m not sure yet if that will be better than having them printed on there, and I may go back. That’s the beauty of the planner: you can pick and choose which you want to use, and how you want to use them. It’s super flexible, and can be tailored to your needs so easily. It’s available as a complete planner, or broken down into individual components.

The Everything Planner : 2012-2013 Printables: $12.99


The Everything Planner: Chore Chart Printables


The Everything Planner : Organize Me Printables


And, for those who previously purchased last year’s version, The Everything Planner : 2013 Refill Printables (Note: Refill pack is month-at-a-glance and week-at-a-glance only. It does not include the chore charts or covers that are new, and included with the 2012-2013 version.)


So, that’s it. That’s my secret. I do have also keep a composition book (for jotting down design ideas) and a binder (with all of my business information) on my desk as well, but this is my jumping off point. It’s what keeps the rest of me going.

Well, that and Mtn Dew.

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