Thursday, 23 October 2014

Cultivate a good life - and record it

Becky Higgins, founder of Project Life, has the above as her tagline: cultivate a good life – and record it. When compared to the tagline of someone like Heidi Swapp (“make pretty stuff”)*, Becky’s can seem, well, a little pretentious maybe?
But in the past year since I started doing PL – and in November I will have done either weekly or daily layouts for every week or day for a full year – I’ve found that I actually appreciate Becky’s tagline.
It boils down to this: because of Project Life, I have done good things that I otherwise wouldn’t have done. Because it could be a picture or some journalling in a spread, I’ve gone out and done something interesting on a weekend instead of staying at home.
I’m such a homebody – especially on weekends. I just want to hang around at home and potter and try to Get Things Done. But it’s good to get out of the house and do good and interesting things, and I’m finding that the lure of filling a space in a layout – especially in a slow week – helps me immensely with this.
I had a particular example from earlier in the year, but of course I can’t remember now what it was. Still, it’s like the fact that the kitty boys are making me be tidier around the house: an unexpected additional benefit to something that I love anyway.

*Earlier this year, Becky and Heidi released a collaborative line. The videos they produced ended with them each using their tagline, and the result was an interesting tale of contrasts.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The project life app for my recent reads (September 2014)

I follow Megan of the Nerd Nest on Instagram, and I've really loved her monthly reads posts. After a bit of chat with her, I came up with something I hope I'll now be doing monthly over on the Book Blog, and possibly posting here as well: a PL Layout of the books read this month.

I did this early on - and okay, I could probably (certainly) re-do it better now, but I think I'll leave that for my October layout.

Now if only book covers came in nice 3x4 proportions.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

At Chez Stutters lately

I don't quite know what happened, but I've been neglecting this blog in a way I never meant to.

On the other hand, I'm almost totally up to date with Project Life - okay, so there's some journalling to do here and there, but in general, I'm up to date.  (So up to date that I actually did last week's spread on Sunday, when the week hadn't even finished yet.)

But here's some news and photos from around the place.

It was our Bion's first birthday yesterday - he is officially no longer a kitten!  I love this photo of him, even though it's a few months old.

The Garden

OMG the garden!  Beans are sprouting, the zuchinni has the beginnings of flowers, the snow peas are growing like crazy, and even the cucumber has finally woken up.  

These photos were taken a week ago: the lettuce has grown *lots* since then.  We're able to make a salad every night now, I'd say.  And the perpetual basil is almost enough for a pesto.

I'm working on a purple and black skull slouch hat for M for Halloween.  She found the pattern and asked if I thought I could make it: it looked a little complicated, but it's turned out to be mostly straightfoward, and I'm really enjoying it.  It's actually much further along than this photo would suggest: I'm onto the fourth row of skulls and the first decrease.  It's a fascinating pattern because it begins at the brim and works up to the crown, where most hats I've seen work the other way.

And on Sunday I got out the sewing machine and started working on some Halloween bunting.  I'm planning a blog post on the bunting itself, but I'm now away until the 25th of October, which won't leave me much time to get it done (the bunting, not the post) before Halloween.  There are many more flags than I had kind of thought - which was my fault for the choices I made - but still.

Meanwhile - I'm at a work conference this week down in Melbourne.  I'm hoping to finish the hat and a bunch of poppies this week, as well as start working up some blogposts for the future.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Week 39 at Chez Stutters

Again, thanks to the shiny new app, I've already worked out this week's PL layout.

M was on school holidays this week, which put our (well) my routine a little off usual - and on top of that I had an unusual roster.

Thursday I worked late, so we went to one of our favourite eateries for breakfast.  I used to work late Thursdays as a rule - and M used to work a 6-9 childcare shift, and I'd pick her up after her shift and we'd go to breakfast together.  We don't get to do that anymore, and it was lovely to go to breakfast together for once.

The weekend started with the Farmer's Market, then breakfast with my parents and my aunt, before we went off to Aldi to buy outdoor furniture.  My brother-un-law works for Aldi, and we totally blame him for the fact that our garden looks like it was purchased almost entirely at Aldi.  We got an awesome table and chair set, and then on Sunday we had parents-and-aunt over for morning tea.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

How I'm using the Project Life App: #2 - Planning my physical layouts

Earlier this week I posted the first in my series of posts about how I'm using the new Project Life App.  That was about making 3x4 collages to easily print out as 4x6 photos.

This time it's about the major use I can see for the app: planning my physical layouts

This is possibly what most excites me most about the app (apart from getting sets of cards like Everyday Adventure and Just Add Colour a lot more cheaply and more enviromentally friendly-ly - yeah, I made up an adverb): being able to easily plan out my layouts and determine what sized photos I need to get.  

A few weeks ago, I had a week that eventually went out to two 12x12 spreads.  I had it sketched out (badly) and it took ages to work out which photos I wanted, how I wanted to collage them and etc.  

Also, I was very bad at sketching out layout designs, even on grid paper.  (This, by the way, is a photo from my bullet journal, which I've been meaning to blog about since about June.  Must do that...)

I can see this app making that process so much easier.  It's not seamless (creating collages means changing from layout to collage, remembering which photos and cards and possibly journalling you want, etc) but there's a lot less mental guesswork with this, because you can see the photos in the layout in front of you instead of having to visualise.

So, here's my layout for Week 38 on the App.  


In general, this was a quick-n-dirty job.(If you look closely, you can see I wasn't even sure which week it was - on the title card I've put "Week 37?" when it's actually Week 38.)  I started working on it Thursday when I had the first three photos, but it's changed a few times since then (for example, I originally had the title card in its traditional place, upper left hand corner.  But that meant that the story couldn't flow chronologically - and I generally prefer it to do so.  I had no photos to include from earlier in the week, and I really wanted to keep all the photos from the UnitingCare AGM.  (I'm still considering getting a 6x8 of the heart made from vegetables for another of my albums.  The design work is beautiful.)

So as the week went on, things shifted.  (And then shifted again, after I'd got the photos printed - see below).

Meanwhile, because this was never meant to be printed exactly as is, but was just about designing the layout, the filler cards aren't as important as they might be in a proper layout.  And, I was able to use them as sticky notes and journaling reminders.  On one on the right hand layout I have a mention of which week this goes with.  (Enhancement suggestion for Becky's team - the ability to view a double page spread together :-) ).  I also remembered on Sunday evening what a big deal the Scottish #indyref had been, and wanted to remind myself to do some journalling on that.

And so here are the photos of the finished layout, so that you can see the progression:

Obviously, the lighting leaves a bit to be desired.  The observant will also notice that some things have changed sides (it's a chronology thing).

This layout is also waiting for an insert.

It will actually be a Design H insert, but for Reasons (including editing the photo of my brother-un-law and his fiance, and the fact that I just damn loved the rainbow hearts from the Everyday Adventure kit (which I don't own physically) for this layout) I'm getting this printed via Persnickety Prints, and when it arrives I'll cut it up and put it into either a design H or a 3(6x4) Memerology insert I have.

So.  That's an attempt at showing you the major use I suspect I'll have for the app.  I love the ability to plan: so much easier than my bad sketch attempts at an earlier week.  And you know what - it also means I can do much clearer versions of my layouts for blogging!