Saturday, February 22, 2014

Our hopes for 2014 and my Project Life process

Yes, this is our 2014 PL Cover Page. I completed it in early Jan and forgot to post it :)
This year, I really went simple, putting only 1 large photo of us, a verse that spoke to me of how God is the One who will fulfill His Promises for us, a Twenty Fourteen card (with 'everyday kind of wonderful' in my own handwriting), and the 'this is our story' and 'so happy together' filler cards. 

Our Word for 2014:
I've shared my prayer for 2014, our family's Theme or word for 2014, Dh and I also both chose a Word individually for this year. His word is GRACE and mine is CENTER.

This is what I wrote regarding CENTER as my word: 

My word for this year is Center. Or to be Centered.
To be centered in the Lord, centered on His Word
To know where my center is, and not move off center.
To be centered on what matters, anchored.
Picturing less distraction, wavering, worrying, fretting, over-reacting, flustering, and instead more focus, balance, calm, joy.

Can you tell what I struggle with most of the time?  :)
May I find myself more focused, balanced, calm, and joyful as I move with this word this year.

My Process and my January Pages
Let me take this chance to share a bit of how I go about pulling my month's PL pages together. I guess you can pretty much call mine a hybrid style - I mostly use digital PL supplies for photo collages,  filler cards, titles, etc and get them printed out, then like to add journaling by hand onto physical PL core kit cards.

I start working on PL at the end of each month, by looking through my month's photos and memories (random stuff or thoughts jotted down on my phone or post its). A photo for each day is picked for my P365 half monthly in reviews, then I decide what stories/events/thoughts I might want to capture in more details/with more photos in PL.

For January there were 4 such stories/sections that I identified:
1. Words/Thoughts/Prayers for the year
2. R & J's birthday celebrations
3. R's living away from home and what's changing
4. Chinese New Year celebrations

First I plan by sketching the 4 sections on paper, deciding which page protector to use, which photos will go where, space for journaling, filler cards, and where I might have to use photo collages to squeeze more photos into a space. This was my rough sketch for Jan:
Then I open up photoshop and start working on the photos, ticking them off on my sketch as I 'complete' each for printing. This is our first page for January. Notice I picked up the colors for this page based on the colors of our clothes in the photo - nice!
I don't have a photo printer at home, so I bring my photos to our local photo printing shop for printing in 4R size. Thus I have to save all my PL printing in 4x6 jpegs. In the case of the first page above, all the photos for printing are in 'portrait' 6x4 sized jpegs. I set up a photoshop page sized that way, and arrange two 3x4s stacked one on top of the other for printing. Like this below, and then cut them apart for slotting into my albums. 
For the large photo that spans two spaces, I bring the photo into the same 6x4 sized photoshop file, tap it all the way to the left so only the left half shows up and save that as a jpeg, then do the same for the right side. Check that the faces do not get cut off in the middle!

Happy Birthday!
The boys turned 15 and 17 respectively on 13th and 17th of January! When and how did they become all grown up?? We had a full day of celebrations, in the morning with J's friends, and in the afternoon with R's friends. 

For the Design A page above, I set up my photoshop file sized 4x6 'landscape-wise' and proceed similarly. So the 3x4 photos are saved two together as one 4x6 jpeg, then cut apart after printing.

I also love to make collages, I like Tracy Larsen's Simply White Collection templates, like this one:
But also adjust them to suit the pictures, like this one.

More birthday photos, then on the right of the Design G page below, included journaling and pictures of R's moving to hostel living. I included the 'Around Here (changes edition)' post, his own words on hostel living, his room, the posters he has on his walls, and a computer screen-shot of us skyping with him! All memorable of this stage of his life!

Finally, a page full of Chinese New Year goodness - dinners, visiting with family, learning mom's secret recipes, decoration and goodies around our home, all red-themed as is traditional for CNY!
It took me two nights from choosing the photos and sketching the layout, to completing the 4x6 jpegs for printing (about 4 hours in total). The next day after getting the photos, it took me another hour to cut them, slot them in, and choose the journal cards, and finish up the journaling. I would say not too long considering I only do this once a month!
Hope this was helpful for you :)

I'm linking up at The Mom Creative where Jessica hosts a Project Life Link-up with lots of inspiration!

Finally, in case you did not get the link from The Daily Digi's newsletter sent out last month, you can download this Christmas themed template here.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

A Disclaimer

I have thought of issuing this disclaimer for some time - that my real life is not equal to my blogged life! I am inspired by (but not limited to) blogs that are very honest and transparent, but that's not how I blog here. Although I post PL and P365 of our everyday lives there is much that is kept personal and increasingly I also have to guard and respect my teenage boys' privacy in what is posted. So lest any reader think the pretty layouts and happy photos are all there is to us, hence the disclaimer! :)

Obviously we have our fair share of struggles, failings, worries, are in need of and receive much Grace everyday. As I replied to Rhadonda in the last post's comments, there are lots of frantic paddling below the water, haha! But God is mighty and He covers our shortcomings and help us make beauty out of ashes, and on this scrapbooking blog I try to celebrate all the goodness.

On a different yet similar note ... 

My husband and I were discussing if we would have a goal or theme for our family this year, what would it be.. and he brought up the idea of WARMTH. Warmth in our everyday living, Warmth as you find in being human, as opposed to the computerised world, Warmth in patience, Warmth as in accepting imperfections, cutting each other some slack, expecting mistakes or that the best plans can go wrong, Warmth in giving grace and being kind and making time, Warmth as in "it's okay", "take your time", "that's alright". And so much more. I love this idea, especially for our fast paced, super packed, short-tempered, modern-day lives. Practice warmth.

So I hope if you come to this blog you will find that that there is warmth and goodness and so much to be thankful for, amidst the imperfections and mix-bags of our everyday lives. And that's okay. :)

Now on to Scrapbooking - Year in Review

I really think that memory keeping helps me live more thoughtfully. Looking backwards and reflecting always inspires me to to look forward thoughtfully and purposefully. As I uploaded all my 2013 Half-monthly layouts to Pernisckety for printing last week, I can't help marveling at how an entire year was spent, what we did, how much we were blessed, the new, the challenges, the mundane, the laughs, the memorable, the friendships, the fun, the important, the trivial, the growth. How will we remember all of it without memory keeping? 
This was my 2013:
Monthly templates P365 a photo a day

And I want to challenge you to do this - you can use my templates (available in the store or download the free sample further down this post) or any others, take photos everyday and save them on your phone, (I use Project 365 app, there are many others, where you can collect them by date and type a short note if you like) and at the end of the month take a couple of hours to lay them out. It is totally do-able and so very precious!

My Process - step by step guide
I had a morning free recently over the Chinese New Year holidays, so I thought I would time myself and save my progress at each step, to show you how I get my daily 365 photos scrapped:

10:40am - Open template and save as new file
I opened one of my template files and save it under a new file name : 2014_1 
(you can download this template at the end of this post)

 10:50am - selected 15 photos from the month
It took me 10 minutes to select 15 photos from the 264 photos I have uploaded from my phone to the January folder on my computer. This process is helped by referencing my Project 365 App where I had already selected a photo to save under each day.

 10:53am - moved photos over respective space in template
In the next 3 minutes I simply moved each photo layer over to the photo spots in the template that I think will work - visually this helps me decide which photo should go where.

11:07am - photos processed and 'clipped' into place
In the next 14 minutes I 'processed' (adjusted the lighting or brightness) of my photos and 'clipped' them to the respective photo mask layers in the template.

 11:28am - selected background papers, alpha and elements
Now this is where I can spend the most time if I get carried away. Selecting the papers, alpha and elements  - the fun part! It helped that I already knew I wanted to use Kaye Winiecki's Base jumpers markers papers for my P365 layouts when I bought them last week. For the elements and alpha, I looked through the last month's newly downloaded/purchased files, opening only those that have similar color schemes, picked out a few elements and word art and dropped them into the file. It took me 21 minutes apparently!

(credits: alpha by mommyish designs, brush word art from Studio Basic and Just Jaimee's Live for Today kit  , button and red heart from Pink Reptile & Studio Basic's Take Note kit, cut out heart from Amore by our misadventures, speech bubble heart and spring cleaning word art from The Daily Digi's My Life At Home kit, 'blast' and days to remember word art by Gina Cabrera, Joy wordart by One little bird designs)

 11:38am - All elements moved into place
Only 10 minutes to move all the elements into place and to color the alpha (I tried 3 colors I think)

11:52 - completion with journaling done!
And finally, it took me 14 minutes to type my journaling (it did not seem that long when I was typing it), add the date and the half month in review is complete!!

Here is the other half month in review

Since this will be the 3rd year I'm going to do this, I made 8 more templates to give myself more styles to choose from to switch it up a bit. You can find this set in the store

This is how the 2013 pages look in my Project Life album!

And this one that I used in the process example above can be downloaded here. I hope you catch on! (wink) Love to hear what you think!

And you can sign up for my Yin Designs Newsletter Here - where you'll be updated on freebies, sales, new templates and so on about once a month. Thanks for your interest!
I will post the link to this in the next newsletter (couple days' time) and also in the next few months' newsletters. Look out for it!

                                            (click to sign up and stay updated)


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