Tag Archives: Organization

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 : 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

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The Everything Planner: Chore Chart Printables

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The Everything Planner : Organize Me Printables

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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.)

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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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[inter] National Scrapbook Day – Blog Hop Freebie!

You know, I’ve decided something. Any hobby that celebrates its own craftiness is freakin’ awesome.

This weekend is [inter] National Scrapbook Day, and as part of the hoopla at Design House Digital, we’ve got an awesome collaboration kit from the Design House Digital designers, called Retrospect:

Did you know that you can grab it for free? FREE! And, to make it even easier, you don’t have to download eleventy billion little pieces, or mess with any of the file-sharing websites and their ridiculously slow timers. It’s right in the shop at DHD, and all you have to do is follow along on the blog hop to grab the coupon code, and then download at your convenience. Pretty darn awesome, huh? So, if you wandered in to my blog first, you need to stop (collaborate and listen!) right now and head back to the beginning.

I’d like to share a little bit today about layouts, and what to do AFTER they are finished. Just like with so many other aspects of digital scrapbooking, the possibilities are many, so we’ll touch on a few, and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Don’t print it. No one says you HAVE to print your layouts. (I have a friend who has never printed a single one, because she likes the way they look in her monitor!) Display them in a digital frame, post them to your blog, or carry them around on your iPad or cell phone. What a great way to show off some pictures of your loved ones, right? Cons: You definitely want to back them up, because if you lose your device (or it crashes) you are out of luck, since most of these will be displaying low-res versions.

Print it yourself. This one is pretty obvious, I know, but there is a benefit to printing at home, namely instant gratification. Unless you have a wide-format printer, though, your sizes are limited, and if you do have a wide-format printer, ink cartridges and paper aren’t super easy to find. (At least not for me!) There’s also probably a bit of waste involved, because usually your layouts need to be trimmed.

Have it printed, by page. Obviously, a nice feature of our digital age, and the fact that our layouts are already on the computer. You can upload, have it printed, and shipped right to your door – perfect for those hectic times when we get a bit behind. Or those lazy times, when you’re vegging in your pajamas all day. You do need to allow time for shipping, and not all companies do common scrapbook sizes like 8×8 and 12×12.

Have it printed, by the book. You can upload all of your pages and have them printed in a single, bound book. How cool is that? Again, delivery to home is a nice benefit. There are a few cons, though: Formatting them can be a beast, since you really do need to allow extra room along the spine. Also, you can’t have your books too full, or the stitching doesn’t hold. (Don’t ask me how I know.)

So, out of all these options, I’ve got to throw the one I like the most at you. Are you ready?

Have it developed. The one biggest con to the above three printing options is that they are printed, and not developed. That means fading, scratching, and water damage are all real possibilities. Plus, the visual difference between a layout where the ink is sitting on top and one where the image is actually developed into the paper are astoundingly different. Don’t believe me? Take a look.

The one on the left was done using a photographic print process (aka developed) by Persnickety Prints, and the one on the right was printed by me. (Excuse the winter layout… I’m out of ink and have to buy it online. A serious con.)

It’s hard to really demonstrate it on screen, but the difference is crazy. Here’s a closer look:

Don’t tell my husband, but it looks like the super-expensive wide-format photo printer I [used to] use just isn’t cutting it. The detail of the background paper is lost in the home print, but shows up nicely in the developed version. The whole thing is just richer and more vibrant, and my shadows look amazingly realistic!

I’m going to do a more extensive blog post soon showing you the differences (and discussing the speed, because HOLY COW! they were fast!), but trust me, the appearance alone was enough to change my mind… the rest of it is just icing on the persnickety cake!

Bottom line, though? We work so hard at preserving our photos, so let’s make sure we’ve preserved them all the way. Computers fail, external hard drives fail, our favorite sites (and their online galleries) have bugs or even go offline. Don’t take a chance with your memories.

And now, on to some fun stuff! I’m having a little contest here, and the winner will get a $50 gift certificate to my Design House Digital shop!

Comment here, and link a product from my shop that you like.

That’s it! Want more chances? Post a link to that same product on your own blog, Facebook, or Twitter, let me know once you’ve done it (one comment for each), and you will be entered into a drawing.  You can enter daily, and every comment posted between now and 11:59 PM (MST) on Tuesday, May 8 will be eligible.

Don’t forget to grab your letter, because you’ll need that to get the amazing Retrospect kit free! Your letter is:

If you’re doing our Layout Challenge, my challenge is to rotate your title sideways.

Now, head over to Tiffany Bodily’s blog, where you can see what she’s thinking today: Tiffany’s Thoughts.

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Leap Day Sale, plus a coupon!

Aww. I love Leap Day! Just the idea of a whole extra day… it’s full of possibilities! Maybe I’ll clean out a closet. Maybe I’ll paint my baseboards. Maybe I’ll finally start those quilts.

Then again, maybe I’ll read a book. Maybe I’ll paint my nails. Maybe I’ll just take a nap. The point is, it’s a free day, so it’s totally fine!

(And, I gotta be honest: The latter ideas are far more likely than the former. Steve has been away for a few days on a business trip, so I’ve taken every opportunity I could to slack off. We’ve been eating out every night, I haven’t done a single load of laundry, and the house is a wreck. Today is my last day, because I’ll be in a mad cleaning frenzy before he gets home tomorrow night. I’m just keeping it real here, folks.)

If you’re a scrapbooker, Leap Day is a great day to stock up on kits, because Design House Digital is having a super quick sale: 29% off the entire shop! Yes, everything, even my newest kits like County Fair Part 2 (a collab with Sara Schmutz) and my very popular Simply Said.

It’s also your last chance to stock up on February’s 60 brand new dollar kits, including these four by Yours Truly:



They’re great for both digital pages and Project Life, so grab them today before they go up to their regular price tomorrow!

And, for those who’ve stopped by my blog, here’s a little something just for you:
Grab The Everything Planner for just $2.90 today (regularly $12.99) and use the extra day to get yourself organized. Use coupon code blogHAPPY at checkout.

Happy Leap Day, however you spend it! (I won’t tell.)

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