January Project Life Blog Hop

Good morning and welcome to the first of 12 Blog Hops from the 2014 Becky Higgins’ Project Life Creative Team! We are all passionate about Project Life and memory keeping and we want to continue to inspire each other (and you, of course!) as we move forward in 2015.

As I’m looking around my space, I realize that my house isn’t getting any bigger but I’m bringing in more products, photos and albums. My goal this year is to keep it light (which is my word for the year). I want to keep the year to two volumes (I’ve done three volumes in the past) and record my son’s year in one album (up until this point, I’ve done two albums per year).

Here’s a look at my title page for 2015 |
2015 PLWeekOne-25
This pocket page protector is from October Afternoon and holds 12-3″x3″ photos/cards. I trimmed off a column – mainly because I like playing around with the lengths of the pages. My goal is to stop hoarding Studio Calico cards so I’m putting them to use here.

Here’s a look at week one | January 1-42015 PLWeekOne-18
A few of my friends asked about how I would do week one — they mainly wanted to know if I start on Monday, Dec 29 or Thursday, Jan 1? I like to keep each year separately, so I started with January 1.  It’s a short week so I used a big photo of us on the right to fill in the rest of the layout.  I also included a drawing from my soon-to-be-four-year-old, Samuel. I love his drawings — they just get better every day. By the way, do you like my “bee hive hair”?

2015 PLWeekOne-20
I really enjoyed working with 3×3 prints and think that I will be using more of these pages throughout the album.  By the way, the bottom right photo is one of my son “freakin’ out.” It’s his new thing — the freak out face.  Apparently, I freak out all of the time.

2015 PLWeekOne-9A closer look at Samuel’s drawing of our family — check out my “bee hive hair.”

Week two | January 5-112015 PLWeekOne-12Really making use of my Studio Calico stash that I hoarded last year. 

2015 PLWeekOne-5A closer look at the left page.  Samuel really wants a Star Wars party for his fourth birthday so he agreed to a little photo shoot for his invites (with him as Yoda Vader).

2015 PLWeekOne-10
Big story this week? Samuel stepped into the shower and washed his hair. No goggles. No fear. “I gotta be brave,” he says.

For more Creative Team Inspiration, click on the links below:

Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favorite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too!

We hope you enjoyed this hop!  Project Life is a memory keeping system from Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and product here.

December Daily 2014 | Days 08-15

I made seven mini-books (6″x8″) and one large (12″x12″) Project Life style album as gifts this past December. Gathering the photos for those books took a lot of time — and then I still had to assemble them in time for Christmas. Those gifts were all special and unique for each recipient but that was just too much.  Glad I did it but that was way too much.

So here were are.  January 2015.  I just finished my December Daily album. The month of November and December are looking bare in my Project Life album.  And the book for 2015 is sitting around waiting for some attention too. Ha!

I’m excited to share my December Daily album – days 08-15.

December 08
2014 DecemberDailyThe story of Samuel’s ornament — Jim and I thought we found the perfect ornament for Samuel (Mickey on a motorcycle to celebrate a big milestone – learning to ride without training wheels) but we failed to look at the details!  The motorcycle had training wheels on it … and that was the first thing my detail-oriented boy noticed.

2014 DecemberDaily-4
I wanted to create a shorter page here so I trimmed off half of the 4-pocket page protector. I then realized that I need more room to complete the story so I stitched the part that I cut off back on.  I must admit — I like the end result.

2014 DecemberDaily-9
After we trimmed the tree, he did a happy dance before settling down to admire the tree. I love the image of him under the tree.

December 09
2014 DecemberDaily-12
I love the idea of documenting nine things I was still looking forward to in December (thanks, Ali) and I did just that (left page). Today was also a big day in shrinky dink art ornaments so I decided to make day nine a two-pager.

December 10
2014 DecemberDaily-13
Samuel asked to make a stocking to surprise his friend.  He made her a shrinky dink ornament and we delivered it to her house by bike. Such a sweet gesture.

December 11
2014 DecemberDaily-16
Our Christmas cards arrived this evening and I spent the evening on the couch addressing envelopes.

2014 DecemberDaily-19I included the family letter that accompanied our cards here.

2014 DecemberDaily-21Back in November, we had a family photo shoot with the talented Jenny Lin.  The session package came with a set of holiday cards so it was appropriate to add here.

December 12
2014 DecemberDaily-22
Wrapped gifts tonight.  I like giving gifts — but I don’t enjoy the wrapping part so much.

December 13
2014 DecemberDaily-25
Family tradition – Santa Parade (which almost did not take place due to a lack of funds).

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We really like parades.

December 14
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Horse riding lessons have become part of our weekend routine. Samuel has been riding regularly for a little over a year now and continues to enjoy it. He looks so confident and proud on that horse.

December 15
2014 DecemberDaily-31
First Santa letter.  He worked so hard.  Proud mama over here.

Will share the rest of my book in the next day or so.  Thanks for visiting.

December Daily 2014 | Days 01-07

The month of November flew by and then before I knew it, December came … and the month is flying by.  Hanukkah is 3 days away.  And Christmas is right around the corner. The list is long but things are getting crossed off.

I’m a bit behind in December Daily.  I have the photos and words for each day but the actual documentation is a bit slow.  Today, I’m sharing days 01-07.

December One
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We started the advent calendar with Samuel last year and he loved it.  This year, we kept things simple — we went with a Playmobil Advent Calendar I picked up on clearance at the end of last year.  It’s working out great so far.  He looks forward to it each morning.  We just keep it on the dining table (where he eats breakfast) and he enjoys playing with it each morning.

December 02
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Samuel and I went to the Lego store for the free mini-build giveaway today.  He’s almost four and has decided that he’s ready for Legos.  The pieces are small and he sometimes struggles to put things together, but he loves the challenge. This evening, we made a little gingerbread house.

1412 DDOneToSeven-5I’m using my sewing machine to add some texture to the layouts. I’m experimenting with other stitches on the machine — really love the x’s here.

December 03
1412 DDOneToSeven-20Crazy weather in Sacramento today.  I left work at 3:20 to pick up Samuel and within 5 minutes of my drive, the heavy rain made it impossible to see.  Freeways were backed up and roads were flooded.  It took me over an hour to get to Samuel.  As soon as we got home, Samuel helped me rake leaves from the gutter to allow for proper drainage on our street. He’s a great little helper and I am so thankful for this little guy.

1412 DDOneToSeven-21A close-up shot of more stitching.  

December 04 (left) & December 05 (right)
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We pulled down our small stash of Holiday decorations and ornaments and gift wrap. Samuel is pretty excited that “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

1412 DDOneToSeven-10The “Bring on the Joy – ‘Tis the Season” masking tape in the Ali Edward’s December Daily kit is pretty bad ass.  I love it and am using it a lot … I will definitely be sad when I use it all up. And I can’t get enough of the gold stars.  

1412 DDOneToSeven-12Saucy, Samuel’s Elf, made a comeback on the fifth of December. I used my sewing machine to stitch the red boxes and a sharpie to write in his name.

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The story of Saucy’s visit is behind the photo.

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The components of Day 05 — I printed a couple photos and adhered them back to back and used the masking tape to attach it to Saucy’s note to Samuel.  It folds up and fits in the 4×6 pocket.

December 06
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We picked up a tree at a new tree lot this year. I’m in love with the place and think we will be back next year. Our favorite tree is the Noble Fir (from Oregon).

1412 DDOneToSeven-29I’m still looking for the perfect journaling pen.  Haven’t found one I really love but  the Uniball Vision Elite is becoming a favorite.

December 07 (Left)1412 DDOneToSeven-30
I spent most of today at home at my computer. I made and ordered our holiday cards.  I also processed and exported photos for several holiday projects.

1412 DDOneToSeven-31A close-up of day 07.

Day 08 is in the works.  And so are days 10-12.  I have a story for day 13 — but want to live out the rest of the day before I decide on which story.

Thanks for visiting!

Shrinky Dink Ornaments

Before going to bed last night, Samuel said, “Can we make more ornaments for our tree?”

“Of course, buddy.  We can definitely make more ornaments.”

So this evening, we made this for our tree …
141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-36

Yes, folks.  I’m bringing back the Shrinky Dinks. This method, however, does not use the authentic Shrinky Dink sheets.  Rather, I’m recycling plastic to-go containers that you get when you buy a salad (or bring leftovers home from eating out).

141209-SuppliesI’m using these basic supplies — plastic to-go containers, sharpies, a hole puncher, and a toaster oven.  Not all plastic to-go containers will work — make sure you look at the bottom of the container for the number 6 in the recycle symbol.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-5Cut the top and bottom of the containers.  This will be the writing/drawing surface. Rounding the corners is a good idea — otherwise, you may end up with sharp edges once  it shrinks.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-9
Each container will allow you to make two big Shrinky Dinks (measures approximately 2.25″ x 2.5″ once it shrinks). Or you can make four smaller pieces (size of a dog tag) by cutting the big pieces in half. Because Samuel is learning to write and draw, he needs a bigger surface to work with so I left it as is.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-14I had him sketch his work on a piece of paper about the size of the plastic.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-22I taped the plastic sheet over his artwork and gave him the sharpies to trace his original design. Oh, if you want to string something through it, make sure you punch a cluster of holes at the top.  A single hole will shrink in size and will not be big enough for ribbon or string.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-24Here’s a look at the original artwork and the plastic sheet.

141209-OnTrayOnce we were satisfied with the design, I placed the plastic sheet on a metal tray with a layer of parchment paper between the plastic and tray.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-29I preheated the oven to 325 degrees F and placed the tray in the oven.  We watched it curl and twist and ultimately flatten. There were some suspenseful moments as we watched it curl up on itself.  If it does not come out perfectly flat, use a spatula to flatten it immediately once you remove it from the oven.

141209-SamuelSampleHere’s a look at the original artwork, original size of plastic, and the piece that we shrank. The plastic is thin at the beginning but once it shrinks, it is about a millimeter in thickness.

Isn’t this rad? I absolutely adore his artwork.

That was a lot of work for a three (almost four) year old.  But he loved it so much he wanted to make more.

141209-SamuelSample1When we did it the second time, I did not have him do a rough draft of the artwork. It was a lot of work to draw it out and then trace it. I did not want to discourage him — so I just gave him the plastic and pens and he went at it. He’s learning to draw so I was right there to guide him as needed.

These little pieces of artwork are so perfect for our tree.  I would like him to do at least one per year — to see how his drawings and writing evolve over time.  I plan to keep extra plastic sheets with the Christmas ornaments so that I remember to have him create at least one drawing per year.

141209-SamuelSample3He also drew this for his friend.

141209-CurledUpSampleBut unfortunately, due to some imperfections in the plastic, it never uncurled.  I tried to pry it open once I took it out of the oven but I could not save it.

But hey, that’s how science works sometimes. This process is really an experiment on polymers — and sometimes things turn out the way we predict. And sometimes, the results are surprising and requires a repeated experiment.  It is all part of the learning process.

He wasn’t upset about it.  He had a positive attitude about it and said, “We’ll try again tomorrow.”

Have fun with your littles!  And share your images on Instagram.  Please tag me so I can see your creations.

Around Here | March 2014

Around Here is a new addition to my Project Life album this year.  It’s a place where I can add additional photos to tell our story.

140308-Ba74thBday-27Around here, we celebrated my mom’s 74th birthday.  She is beautiful, strong and independent.  I love you, mom.

140305-MSDN-115Around here, I helped organized the 7th Annual Math and Science Discovery Night.  I was thrilled to be able to organize the science portion of the event.  Honestly, I’m good at it and it feels good to be back doing something Jim and I started (and love).

Around here, Samuel and I went to Paradise Beach and enjoyed getting sand between our toes, dipping our toes in the freezing water, trying our best to skip rocks and building a lovely little sand castle equipped with a stick-leaf flag.  Wednesday afternoons are ours – now and for always.

Around here, we were thrilled with the change in daylight savings.  We love the extra hour of light.

Around here, there are lemons and tangerines on our trees.  We are drinking lemonade and fresh tangerine juice daily.

140323-BanhXeoAround here, I am bringing back the Vietnamese dishes (specifically, banh xeo and spring rolls) into our weekly meal rotation.

Around here, spring has sprung and Samuel’s allergies are worse than ever.  We are also noticing a lot of dry spots and bumps on his skin.  We can’t figure out what his skin is allergic too.

Around here, Samuel continues to take riding lessons and music classes.  He decided that soccer isn’t his sport so quit it in the middle of the season.  We are not thrilled that he quit soccer so we continue to have conversations about finishing what we start.  It has not worked yet.

140325-Swing&Birthday-49Around here, Samuel is fascinated by the swing.  It’s about time.  Ha!

Around here, I’m starting an exercise routine (again).  My ankle injury has healed and I am ready to shed some pounds.

Around here, Samuel has been eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for breakfast every morning.

Around here, I just booked our Disneyland vacation.  We are also talking about a couple other summer trips.

Around here, Spring Break is just 9 days away!  And summer vacation is 39 days from today.  Yippee!

Around here, I am thinking about my garden but I haven’t put my thoughts into action yet.

Around here, we have many unfinished projects.  We’re hoping to knock a couple of those projects out during Spring Break.

Around here, I am making smarter financial decisions.

Around here, I am reading Catching Fire (second in the Hunger Game series).

Around here, it feels like winter. I’m really enjoying the much needed rain.

140330-FamilyPhoto-15Around here, I am 3 for 3 for monthly family photos.  I’m hoping to get one where we are all looking at the camera.

Around here, we are happy.  We are having fun.  We are thriving.  That’s how it should be.

Project Life 2014 | Weeks 2, 3, 5 & 6

Last night, I went to our monthly Project Life Crop and got caught up on my 2014 album. 140329Crop

Week 02 | Jan 6-122014-Week02



Week 03 | Jan 13-19



Week 05 | Jan 27 – Feb 2



Week 6 | Samuel’s 3rd Birthday Celebration (just the three of us).

I am experimenting with how to take decent photos of my pages.  This afternoon, I found myself using my iPhone for all of the photos in this post.  It was way faster — and I didn’t have to fight the glare as much!  Interesting, huh?  How do you take photos of your pages? Feel free to share your tips in the comments.

Weeks 9 – 13 will be on the blog later this week.  Thank you for stopping by!

Project Life 2014 | Samuel is THREE!

I remember lying in the hospital bed after giving birth (via C-section after 40 hours of labor — yeah, crazy right?) and the nurse asked me, “Would you like to hold your baby?”  Really, all that and she wanted me to hold my baby?!?

I vividly recall my quick snarky response, “How am I supposed to do that?”

She looked at me and said three words. “With. Your. Arms.”

I was in a fog and was numb all over.  My response at that point was slow and methodical — “Oh, yessssss.  I doooooo have arms.  Ok, I’ll hold my baby.”  Honestly, I didn’t know what to do with him at that point.  He’s here.  So now what?

I struggled as a new mother.  I questioned myself and everything that I did to care for him. I worried all the time.  But he thrived. We thrived.  And just like that, he turned three.

At three, Samuel is an inquisitive, detailed-oriented, happy, energetic cowboy who has a passion for horses, garbage trucks and stories.  He is a problem solver and loves piecing together puzzles.
140323 RidingChancey-36

We celebrated THREE with a hoe-down at our house.  Here’s a look at what went down …
140301 PLFeb-15I sent out personalized invites.  I spent hours making stick horses and painting cardboard boxes to create an old western town.  My sister made the awesome carrot cake.

140301 PLFeb-25Because of rain, we had the party indoors. Seven toddlers. Seven stick horses. Nobody tripped. Nobody fell. Nobody cried. It was joyful. Jim and I enjoyed watching him interact with everybody.

140301 PLFeb-32I left a basket of blank 3×4 cards out for birthday wishes.

140301 PLFeb-33The stick horses and buildings were a hit.  They didn’t care about the color station or games I had planned.

140301 PLFeb-53He was especially happy because his best friend came for the celebration.

We also had a birthday shindig at my mom’s house the following day for the family.
140302 PLCut&Paste-9Great day for all of us.  

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Products used | Project Life Themed Cards, Celebrate & Coral Edition.  Project Life Cut & Paste kit by Amy Tangerine. Studio Calico wood veneer. Word Stickers from Cosmo Cricket.

Project Life 2014 | Weeks 4, 7 & 8

I’m getting back into the swing of things around here.  And it sure feels good.  The house is a mess (and so is my work space) but all is good.

Since I’m so behind in this year’s Project Life album, I decided to tackle the present and slowly work my way backwards.

Here’s a look at Week 08 | February 17-23
140301 PLFeb-13
I went to Portland for a week to help my sister and her husband welcome Bodhi into the world.  Bodhi was born on February 16 at 3:57 pm.  He was 6 pounds, 2 ounces and 18 inches long.  He is little and precious with a fine head of hair.  I am excited about being an aunt and Samuel is excited about having a baby cousin.  Only thing is — I wish we weren’t so far away.

140301 PLFeb-66It was hard to be away from my little guy for a week.  Grateful for my brother’s iPad because we were able to FaceTime every night.  Not the same of course, but it certainly helped.  (For this layout, I used the new Project Life Azure Edition.  Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher, but one of my favorite cards is the T-chart card shown above.  I used it to compare Samuel and Bodhi at this point in their lives.)

Week 07 | February 10-16
140301 PLFeb
Samuel’s first visit to the dentist was a success.  He climbed up on the chair and sat there with his mouth open without any hesitation — this surprised me (and the hygienist).  Go, Samuel.  Go.  (Project Life, Azure Edition)

There were a lot of snuggles and family time this week as I prepared for my week-long trip to Portland.

Week 04 | Jan 20-26
140201 FebProjectLife-20
Obviously, I’m not doing things in any order at the moment.  Kinda going with what inspires me — and the photos that are speaking to me right now.  I remember being really sick this week.

140201 FebProjectLife-23
I love the “I want to remember” stamp and the cards in the Jade, Midnight and Coral Editions.

Project Life 2014 | Title Page

131230 PLTitlePage2014-2I have several projects to wrap up around here (including Project Life 2013 and December Daily) but I am really excited for 2014.

131226 Ornaments&DrummerBoy-8
Jim recently made this cross-stitch of our family.  I love it so much — makes a perfect addition to my title page for 2014.  I used the Martha Stewart Cross-Stitch Family Portrait tutorial to draw the figures and he stitched it up.  The Cross Stitch Family Patterns are here.

131230 PLTitlePage2014-10The This is Our Story stamp is from Catslife Press.  Definitely one of my favorite stamps.  The 4×6 card is from Project Life Midnight Edition.

131230 PLTitlePage2014-19
The page protector came from the Just Add Color Kit on HSN.  I love all of the 2×2 pockets. I split the kit with three other friends but am considering ordering one for myself because I want more of those page protectors.  They are so fun.

131230 PLTitlePage2014-17


131230 PLTitlePage2014-15
Samuel started drawing people this month.  I made an overlay using a couple of his drawings.  I look forward to doing this more this year and incorporating more of his artwork into our family book.  The 4×6 card is from the Project Life Jade Edition.

131230 PLOrganized-4I will be using the Project Life Jade, Midnight, Sunshine and Seafoam editions for my 2014 albums (I say albums because I can never fit a year into ONE).  The Coral Edition is on its way from Oregon — I decided to split it with my friend and she’s shipping half of the kit to me.

131230 PLOrganized-7The 4×6 cards are organized by kit (and theme) here.

I will be using the We R Memory Keepers 12×12 binder album in black again this year. When I started in 2010, I went with the We R Memory Keepers albums in Buttercup. Unfortunately, last year’s shade of buttercup was more of a pastel yellow so I decided to go with black for our family albums.  I figured that black is easy to find — and it’s hard to mess up black.  Ha!