Project Life January Album: Part I

I am so excited to be sharing the first part of my January Project Life album over on the Studio Calico blog today!!  I am having so much fun with this little book and I love that it really does hold every single bit of our lives from this month so far!!  And I promise you, putting this book together is so not complicated.  It may look look a lot of work because each page is a little different from the next, but the best part about this approach, is that I can work on a few photos at a time, or even just one photo and then be finished!!  I love adding in bits and pieces of our life, and you will see that I added that right into the book!  

And I am loving using up all of my supplies!!  I even STAMPED using those amazing Alyra Alpha stamps I've been drooling over!  That's right....I stamped....in COLOR!  Ah...new beginnings!!  For my January book, I used most of the January kits from Studio Calico!!  
The Project Life kit went so well with the pages, but the other kits worked out so nicely as well!  The silkscreens, stamps, papers and cards all make an appearance in this little book!  

Because I love walk through videos, I put together a short video overview of my album.  I hope you will check it out!  In the video, I share with you why I love this approach so much, and how I'm making it work for me!!!  

The full page photos, photo collages and artwork are my absolute favorite!  I really am enjoying this process so much!  It's brought life back into Project Life for me!  

Here are a few photos, but you can see the rest in the video, as well as in the Studio Calico gallery. 

So what are your thoughts???  


Love Notes

If you've been here for a while, you might have heard me say that I lost my mom when I was 19 years old.  There is SO much about my life I wish I knew.  I'm so fortunate to have an aunt and family who have been able to fill in a lot of the details, but I so wish I knew more about my childhood.  What I was like, what I did with my parents, my favorite foods/colors/friends, etc.  And those reasons alone are the big "why" of "why I record our memories".  Who knows what the future holds, but what I do know, is that the last five years of our lives have been recorded, documented, photographed and saved.  To me, there is nothing more precious than that.  One thing that I have mentioned over and over, though, is that I want to make sure that I'm "telling" our story.  The story of my life.  The story of my children's lives.  The story of my marriage.  The story of our everyday.  I want those stories to be recorded as much as I want to have photographs of everything my children do.  But I kind of fall short with the "stories" in my memory keeping.  I don't think it's for any particular reason, just that I really enjoy creating, so sometimes the "creating" part takes over and the "story part" loses out in the battle.  

And do you know what??  
I'm totally okay with that.  

Creating and crafting are a passion of mine.  There are no rules or right.  No one says that every page or memory has to have a story attached.  No one says every picture has to have details written down and recorded.  I create because I want to record our memories, but I also create because it's fun and freeing and I love to try new things.  Period.  I think it's a super big bonus that my passion coincides with memory keeping.  

I keep coming back to the stories that I don't know about myself.  The stories of my childhood.  And I keep thinking about what I so wish I had from my mom....and I keep coming back to letters.  I wish my mom had left a hidden little box of loves notes for me.  Something I could sit down and read and cry and read and cry.  A piece of her heart, written just for me.  I wish I had letters in her own writing about me, us, our family, our everyday.  

I'd like to think that I would be able to combine the two (memory keeping and stories) together, but I come up short almost every single time.  Maybe it has something to do with sharing thoughts written just for my children or maybe I just can't marry the two together.  Whatever the reason, I'm definitely not going to force myself to put something down when it doesn't come easily.  Instead, I've decided to take a different approach this year and handwrite letters to my children (I've been inspired by so many who do just this, especially the amazing Carly!).  These letters will be nothing fancy.  No embellishments, no layers, no painting.  Just letters...and maybe a photo or two.

My goal is to write one letter to both my son and daughter each month.  Some months might be short and sweet.  And some months might tell more stories.  Again, there are no rules (other than the once a month deal...I gotta hold myself accountable somehow)!

To hold all of these letters, I have decided to use two photo boxes that I've had for a few years.  They are roughly 9x9 inches and are about 2.5 inches deep.  The boxes are super sturdy and will be able to hold quite a few years worth of letters.  Right now, there really isn't anything in each box other than a few cards, photos and notepads.  I don't really have a system for writing these letters yet, though.  My thought is that I can just grab out the box, write a letter and slid it back inside.  We shall see how it goes!!  I might share a little bit about my progress here and there if anyone is interested.  I think the idea of writing letters to our children is priceless and I hope you will join me and do the same.  I think writing down our thoughts and feelings helps to put our lives into perspective.  It makes us stop and think about all that we have in our lives.  For me, it helps me shine brighter and that's really all I need.


Creative Jumpstarts 08

Happy Monday and welcome to another Creative Jumpstarts challenge!  I am having so much fun with these!  And I especially love how they touch on so many different areas (scrapbooking, Project Life and photography)!  It's fun to mix things up and these challenges are doing just that!!  This week, Marcy and I invite you to play along with our photo challenge!!  Pick up those cameras and get to clicking!

The photo prompt for today is "in the distance".  I went back and forth with ideas, but in the end, I couldn't shake the idea of an outdoor shot.  I have to admit, though, I don't think "distance" shots are my go-to.  Maybe it's because we live in suburbia where there are houses and trees and people just about everywhere.  This shot was taken out by our local lake at sunset.  I love the weathered look of this fence and how you can see the trees and glowing sky at sunset. 

I decided to incorporate this photo into my art journal and created a simple page using gelatos, thickers and my photo.  I selected colors that reminded me of a sunset and then watered them down and let them run a little across my page.  I sewed a title "chase the sun" into place and then added my photo on the right hand side with a small piece of washi. 

It's a very simple page, but I think the watercolors really help bring out the pinks and orange from my photo.  And the best thing about an art journal is that anything goes!!  It's the perfect place to experiment, get messy and explore different mediums. 

Be sure to hop on over to Marcy's blog to see her take on this challenge!!  And we so hope you can play along with us this week!!  Link up your photos here, and tag us over on Instagram!!  We can't wait to see your photos and how you use them in your projects! 

Creative Jumpstarts were created by Marcy Penner and Stephanie Bryan to challenge each other with their paper endeavors. Delivered in the form of bimonthly challenges, they encourage us (and hopefully you too) to stretch supplies, think outside of the box and to remain intentional about the memories we capture.  Challenges are posted on the first and third Mondays of every month.  Projects are shared on our blogs and on Instagram using the hashtag #creativejumpstarts. We'd love it if you'd share along with us at either of those places and be sure to tag us (@helloforeverpaperco and @stephaniebryan) if you do!


Around Here

And I thought things would slow down after the holidays.  Sheesh....boy was I wrong.  January has been packed full so far!  But it's a good full.  Anna was still tracked out of school until this week so I have only had ONE DAY TO MYSELF since December 15th (not that I'm keeping track or anything).  We've been to the beach, roller skating, to the museums and have hit up every Starbucks in North Carolina, I think.  There has been lots of planning and organizing and getting ready for this year.  (I love a new year).  We've had nice, warm days and freeeeezing cold days (hello NC).  Around here, things have been good, although I hope February is a little more relaxing!!