Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Project Life: 2014 Week 6

Hello, hello!  I'm here with another completed Project Life spread to share today!  I like to mix up the colors from week to week, so for Week 6, I decided to play around with a black, white and pink color combo.  I had seen a few layouts done using these colors, and I absolutely loved the look of them.  Here is what I came up with:


For the left hand side of my spread, I used the design F that I had used in my previous Week 5 layout.  Since I usually do a title card in the upper left 4x6 slot of my layouts, and that slot doesn't exist in design F, I had to be a little flexible and move my title card over to the upper right 4x6 slot.  I know... the horror.

I have been loving the printable labels Studio Calico offered for free back in April, and have used them on pretty much every layout I've made since I downloaded them.  They are just the perfect embellishment for layering, or adding extra emphasis to a title or a bit of journaling.


For this layout, the one new thing I made sure to try out was making my own alphas using my Silhouette Cameo.  After seeing this tutorial over on The Pocket Source, I knew this would be a technique I would use on the regular.  After paying around $5 for each set of thickers at the craft store (with never enough of the letters you actually need!), this was just a complete game changer for me.

First I made a set using the exact font and directions found in the tutorial video (used for my Week 6 title above).  Then I played around and made myself a pink set using the font A Love of Thunder (Feb title below).  I am just so excited about this new way to make custom alpha in whatever font, size and color I want!!


I also had to be a little flexible with my pizza title on the above left card.  I originally planned the title to say 'naan pizza', since that it what we made for dinner that night (so good!!).  Unfortunately, after already sticking on the letters for 'naan', I realized I wasn't going to have enough space.  So I improvised, channeled my inner 90s child, and just used the abbreviation 'za.  People still say that, right?!


I was able to include some memories that didn't have a picture to go along with them on a large label attached to a 3x4 card.  I have tried to be deliberate about including the memories you can't really 'see' in pictures, because those are still worth remembering as well.  I'm just so thankful I have my Project Life planner to record all those memories in, otherwise I would have completely forgotten about the time Melissa surprised my on my lunch break at work!


We had a crazy beautiful ice storm back in February, and I just love this picture I snapped of a tree I saw on my way into work.  After picking out this pink striped 3x4 card that came in a Studio Calico kit to be my journal card for the "ice tree", I realized the background was a little too busy for my alphas to stand out on.  The card was also drawing a lot of attention to itself, since no other card really had that much color going on.  So I simply stuck on a strip of white cardstock to back my title, and problem solved!  I still got to see those fun pink stripes, but it was less 'in yo face', and you could actually read my title.


I kept these cards pretty simply, with minor embellishment.  I love the nice and clean feeling of these cards, especially on the left.  I thought the "these moments captured" sentiment was perfect for my picture of pictures!  I then hand lettered "home alone, time to craft" on the 'Love This' card, and stuck a heart embellishment over the O.


The last two 3x4 cards are dedicated to the 4x6 bubble card I made using my silhouette (still so proud of myself for that one!).  And then I completely geeked out when Studio Calico liked my picture on Instagram of my DIY version of their wood veneer card... cos I'm super cool like that.

Usually when I do a Project Life spread, I use one design A pocket page, and one other random 12x2 page.  For this spread, I rebelled against my own rule, and went with a pocket page from the Just Add Color kit for my right hand side, even thought I used Design F for my left side *gasp* #rulebreaker.


I also have to apologize for having to blur out one of my cards on this spread.  I included a map to our new apartment as a full 4x4 card, so for privacy reasons I decided to keep that slot to myself.  There's really not much to see in that spot anyways, and you'll still get a glimpse of the title in a picture a little further down.  Other than that, you're really not missing much.


I mainly used cards from the Midnight Edition core kit for this entire layout, since they are all mainly black and white, which went perfectly with my overall color scheme.  However, there is a bit of yellow mixed in on those cards.  I really wanted to use the above "remember this" card for the card above, unfortunately, there was a big stripe of yellow polka dots going up the left side of the card.  I fixed this by covering some white cardstock with hot pink washi tape, and cutting the washi/cardstock combo down to perfectly cover up any yellow.  Problem solved!


Melissa surprised me after one of her Saturday classes with cupcakes... since I'm a cupcake fiend and she is just to good to me!  I embellished this card with a bunch of 'sweet' elements to keep a mini theme.  I really love the packing tag freebie printable from Hello Forever, and this was the first time I was able to use one in a layout.  I just love the overall softness and sweetness of this card.

For the next three cards, I had to figure out how to fill up the 4x4 slots.  As I already, mentioned, I trimmed down a map to our new apartment to fit into the last slot.  For the first two slots, I simply picked out some 4x6 cards I like from the Midnight Edition, and trimmed off the edges so make a 4x4 card.  Easy peasy!


For the 'Hello There' card, I added a few of my pink DIY alphas into the title slot to coordinate with the next card (below).  I thought about adding a little more to this card, but in the end decided I liked the simplicity and just left it.  After all, I am about 20 weeks behind and currently in the business of getting things done!


This card I had the most difficulty with.  There is always that one card that does not seem to cooperate, and you can't land on a design to save your life.  For a while I played with the idea of having a bunch of those pink flowers in the background under the picture, but I could never get it to look right.  So I settled with making a little layered cluster of simple embellishments and called it good.


This card, however, is actually my favorite of the layout.  And not just because Melissa looks super cool in her new sunglasses!  This card just seemed to put itself together, and every embellishment I tried just seemed to work perfectly.  The sliver of a grey tag at the bottom of the card was actually a last minute add after the rest of the card was completed.  After cutting up the tag for another card, I didn't want to waste a perfectly good embellishment, so I just stuck it on the bottom of this magic card and loved the tiny bit of extra it added!


And finally, the most exciting event of the week was when we put a hold on our brand new apartment (that we have now been living in for 3.5 months... time freaking flies!).  You can also see a tiny peak at the title of the map card above this one.  I simply used my pink DIY alphas to spell out @HOME, and embellished with a sticker arrow pointing at our new address.  We were so excited to be moving into this place, and I'm so happy we love it here as much as we thought we would!


And voila, week 6 is in the books!  Have you scrapped any memories recently?  Ever run into a "problem card" or an area of a layout that just won't work no matter what you try?  What about playing favorites, do you find there's usually one card you just love to bits where everything seemed to perfectly fall into place?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and feel free to add a link to share your favorite cards with the rest of us!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Project Life: 2014 Week 5

Today I'm so excited to share with you my week 6 layout!  I am just plugging along with playing catch-up and I am so pleased with myself.  I will be caught up before the year is over!


This layout is when I just decided to stop second guessing myself and really just go for it.  It was taking me way to long to complete layouts while trying to place everything perfectly and think things through ten times over.  With this layout, if I got an idea, I just went for it.  I wasn't too worried what the entire layout would end up looking like.  I just picked a few main colors, and took it one card at a time.  And I must say, I'm pretty happy with how this layout turned out!


This title card may be my favorite I've created so far.  I know I say that every time, but this time really is true.  I just love to bits every single part of this card!  I cut the letters and numbers for the date out using my Silhouette, then embellished using mostly printable embellishments and a few alpha stickers.  I'm really getting comfortable layering multiple items, and I'm just giddy with the result!


The first card of my layout shows where I ended up putting my Alex once I finally got it all assembled.  I didn't have a specific spot for it in mind when I bought it, since it an impulse buy that I had been resisting for a few years.  When I figured out that it would slide perfectly between my desk and dresser, I was just thrilled!


Since putting my Alex next to my desk, that meant I had a shoe organizer that was displaced.  I had been meaning to clear out my closet and get that organizer in there pretty much since we moved in, but this is what finally pushed me over the edge.  Unfortunately my closet wasn't big enough to allow both shoe organizers to be side by side, so I just made a little L shape, and put the shoes I pretty much never wear in harder to access slots.


Working on all these winter layouts really has me thankful all over again that winter is over!  I still can't believe we had snow here until April.  I'm not a winter girl, so I included a fun little countdown to the first day of spring on this card, since I know I was already itching for warmer weather in week 5.


I had to memorialize this dinner.  I do not cook.  As in, easy-mac-is-not-so-easy-for-me I don't cook.  So putting together a nice meal of spaghetti and meat sauce was one of my finer accomplishments!


I also love how this card turned out.  I was super excited when I hit 666 Instagram friends.  And no, I don't worship the devil, I just like repetition!  So I snapped a screen shot and put together this little layout.  I cut out the 'hello' title using my Silhouette, and added some additional embellishments and description with the help of some stamps and and a printable label.


This was my first door decoration working as an early education teacher.  I used my Silhouette to cut the 'Special Delivery' title out, and it was my first big project after I got my Silhouette.  I added a few 'frou-frou' embellishments when decorating this card, since this was an infant classroom door and the decorations were for Valentine's day.


This is the page where I pretty much threw color coordination out the window.  I just didn't care, and wanted to bang out some layouts!  I'm kind of digging the all-over-the-place vibe though, I feel like my eye can just jump from one memory to the next, all around the page.


I had a lot of fun with this layout.  Since getting Red Robin for dinner isn't a journaling-heavy topic, but I wanted this picture in this 4x6 slot, I just had fun with the rest of the blank card.  I had a bunch of circle cut-outs leftover from making my Studio Calico inspired bubble card, so I placed them randomly around the blank space of the card.  I then added fun embellishments on top of each white circle.  I love how fun this card turned out.


I finally was able to use my 'live creatively' stamp from Studio Calico for these cards.  I had been waiting for a reason to use it, and I thought it was a perfect fit to be paired with a Michael's Project Life haul.  I also added a tiny strip of decorative paper to the top of that card, which ended up really pulling the whole thing together.  Aside from that I just layered a bunch of printable labels and some chipboard embellishments.


This tax time card is another favorite of mine.  If I had had more time, I may have done a little more to it, but it told the story it needed to with just what was there, so I left it.  After seeing this layout I was just itching to do something similar.  And as luck would have it, the free shape of the week from Silhouette was a pie chart!  So I whipped up a fun little graphic to illustrate a not so fun activity.


Back in the beginning of the year, Melissa and I began shopping for a new bed.  We were just so done with having a double bed, and we knew that once we moved, we were upgrading to a queen.  Since mattresses can be an expensive investment, we really wanted to do our homework and make sure we were sure about our final purchase.  It really is funny how the most random things, like mattress shopping, can make you feel like you're "actually" an adult.

And even though I'm not the hugest sports fan, I did have to include a reference to the Super Bowl in my Project Life.


The left card I really didn't know what to do with, so I just had fun with some printable embellishments and used some stickers to display the year again.  People can't be reminded too often about what year it was, right?

Next to that card I shared my process of starting to fill up my Alex.  I knew this was going to be a "craft zone", so I started to slowly with the drawers with my embellishments and crafty things.  I used my Silhouette to cut out the 'important' label for this card, and backed the letters with some colored paper to make the word pop a little more.


Another new technique I wanted to experiment with in this layout was cutting out stamps.  I did this with a few stamps sprinkled around my pages, including the 'oh yes' on this card.  I simply stamped an image onto plain cardstock, and then trimmed around it to make my own custom embellishment.  I really think it gives the stamp a little something extra, rather than stamping right onto a card.


And there is my finished week 5!  I am thrilled to just be moving right along with these layouts, and I just hope I can keep this creative momentum going until I am at least almost caught up.  My goal is to be only a month behind in the next month or two.  A girl can dream!

What crafty things have you been up to?  Anyone throwing caution to the wind and just diving in on a project, fingers crossed it will all turn out ok?  Anyone trying new techniques just for the sake of trying them?  Let me know in the comments, I'm all ears!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cape Cod, Newport and New Jersey, Oh My! - Our 2014 Vacation

Hello everyone!  As a lot of you who follow me on social media know, Melissa and I recently took a trip up to the New England area.  We had a great time, and it was so amazing to take a break from the "real world" for a little bit and enjoy a relaxing vacation.  In keeping with some of the goals I chatted about during my Blogiversary, I thought I'd share a little recap of our vacation.

The Drive


We started our trip the day after the Fourth of July, so we could (fingers crossed) miss all of the holiday traffic that was guaranteed to be going on.  Before we could really begin our drive though, we had to make a pit stop to drop off our little munchkin.


My parents were generous enough to watch Dakota while we were out of town.  My parents also have a pom, Rufio (or Uncle Rufio, Captain Pufflepants, The Pants, Fluffles and other very masculine nicknames).  Dakota loves Uncle Rufio... unfortunately the feeling is not so mutual.  So while Rufio was less than thrilled about the house guest, Dakota was able to enjoy a little vacation of her own while her mommies were away.

After dropping Dakota and her luggage (she's not a light packer) off, Melissa and I stopped to get some bagels, and then we were on our way!


Our first destination was Springfield, Massachusettes, which is about a 5 hour drive.  To keep things interesting, we decided to take pictures each hour we were in the car.


Luckily we hit absolutely no traffic except maybe 20 minutes going through New York.



With the addition of two half hour stops for lunch and coffee, we made the entire trip in 6 hours, arriving around 4:30pm in Springfield.  We were thrilled with the time we made, and so thankful we didn't hit any holiday traffic.


Springfield


We stayed in Springfield, Massachusettes from Saturday through Monday morning at Melissa's aunt and uncle's house.  We spent most of Sunday walking around and window shopping in Northampton.  Northampton is a very LGBT friendly place, and I loved that they had a rainbow pride crosswalk.


Later that night Melissa and I took a walk around her aunt and uncle's neighborhood, including a lovely park that was about 2 minutes from the house.


There was a beautiful lake in the park, with ducks and geese.  The entire park was just stunning, and we had such a nice, relaxing evening walking around and enjoying nature.


Cape Cod


Monday morning, we packed up our stuff and headed out for the quick 2 hour drive over to Cape Cod.  On the way there, we decided it was time for a caffeine break.  Apparently things are all about Dunkin Donuts up there, so we did as the New Englanders do and, gave Dunkin Donuts a shot.  But boy let me tell you, it was sweet.  Way to sweet for me... and I like my coffee sweet.


Places


It was my first time up to Cape Code, so it was really exciting getting to experience and explore everything it had to offer up there.  While we were there, Melissa and I stayed with her aunt and uncle in one of their guest houses.  They were so generous letting us come stay with them, and I am so thankful we got to enjoy this beautiful place for our vacation.

Cape Cod was absolutely stunning.  There were just so many beaches!  And I don't know if we were just lucky, or if there were so many beaches that people could really spread out, but there was never more than maybe 10 other groups of people on the beach with us at any time.


Above was the view from one of Melissa's aunt and uncle's houses, nicknamed 'The Loveshack'.  It stood on top of a huge vertical dune, so the view from the balcony was just breathtaking.  The picture does absolutely no justice to how high up we were, or how beautiful the view was.


Here is the view from our guest house.  The guest house and the main house were tucked back from the road in a beautiful wooded area, so we were surrounded by wildlife.  We were in Truro, and I loved that the houses weren't packed in as-close-as-possible like many other resort  destinations.  It really felt like we were in our own private paradise, completely separate from the world.


One of the many beautiful sunsets we enjoyed while in Cape Cod.


One of the many beautiful beaches we enjoyed while in Cape Cod.  It was crazy how much each of the beaches varied.  Some were rocky, some had sand as smooth as silk.  Some had freezing water, and some were the perfect temperature to walk right in.


We definitely took full advantage of the beaches while we were up there.  We even saw a bunch of seals one day!  I had no idea exactly how huge these animals were, and it was just so cool seeing them bob their head up, then dive back underwater.

We also went to Provincetown quite frequently throughout the week.  Let me tell you, there is no place like P-town.  It was amazing.  There were people everywhere, walking up and down the streets, going in and out of the many shops that lined the road, walking out to the pier.  It had such great energy.



And an added bonus, one of the gayest places in the world.  I swear, it seemed as if Melissa and I were part of the majority rather than the minority up there.  There were queens all over the place , gay men handing out gay fliers to gay shows, Pride flags everywhere you looked, gay and lesbian couples everywhere... it was so cool.  Maryland is a very accepting state, but I still had never seen anything like this place outside of Pride weekend.


Ok dialing back the gay pride now.  Provincetown also had a ton of other cool features, like a freaking boat in their library.  Yea I'll say that again.  There was a boat.  In their library.  Like a huge, actually used to sail on water, sailboat.  Probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen.


And since Melissa loves sailing and boats, we also walked out to the pier to check in this really cool boat.  I couldn't tell you as much about it as she could, but I know it was pretty neat looking.


While we were up in Cape Cod, we also toured the Truro Vineyard and enjoyed a wine tasting.  Lots of fun, lots of wine.  We even bought an awesome lighthouse-shaped bottle of wine to bring home with us.


It was really cool walking around this little vineyard and learning about their process for making all their different wines.


Food


What is a good vacation without some pictures of the food you enjoyed?  Lobster is huge up there, and so, so delicious, so we ate our fair share a ton of lobster.  I even tried my first (and then second) lobster roll!  It was delicious, but I have to say I preferred the hot lobster roll with butter (not pictured) over the cold lobster-salad version (below).  But I would definitely eat either again in a heart beat!


I also got to indulge and drink a morning coffee each morning.  It's probably out of laziness, but before this trip I never really drank coffee at home, I'd only buy it when I was out and about.  I may have brought this morning coffee habit back home tho, because I've been enjoying a cup each day since we got home!


We spent a  fun evening with Melissa's aunt and ate lobsters one night.  This was the second time I've eaten lobster, and it was as good as I remembered!  What's not to love about a food that you just straight dip in butter??


The next night we had a huge feast with Melissa's aunt and uncle.  We ended up making enough food to feed a small army, and it was all delicious!!  We ended up eating, drinking and hanging out for hours that night.


Throughout the time we were there, Melissa and I had an ongoing Scrabble game.  Although we both thought for sure that Melissa had it in the bag (especially after a 32 point 'Qi' was played), I ended up winning.  It was really fun to unwind each night after a long, hard day of vacationing by playing a nice game of Scrabble.  We even decided we wanted to get a nice Scrabble board for the apartment.  Because apparently we're 80.


We left Cape Cod Friday evening to start making our way back down to Maryland.  We had a few places we wanted to hit on the way home, so we gave ourselves a couple of days to slowly get back home.


Newport, RI


Our first stop was Newport, Rhode Island for one reason.  The Newport mansions.  I am a huge, huge fan of historic mansions, and so I couldn't live with myself driving by RI and not touring The Breakers.


For those of you who don't know, The Breakers was the Vanderbilt's summer home.  Yea, not even their real house, this was their modest, used 2 months a year, summer home.  This thing is huge.  And beautiful.  And has walls of platinum.  Walls.  Of.  Platinum.


We spent about two hours touring the entire thing.  Unfortunately you weren't allowed to take pictures inside, but we got more than enough pictures of the exterior.


Above is the side of the mansion.


Above is Melissa and I at the back entrance.  This is the side of the house you can access from the road.  The front actually faces out into the bay, and the home was given it's name because of the waves breaking over the shore that surrounds their front lawn.


And here is me being all "Welcome to my home, dah-ling".  But for real, I would pretty much die to live here.  Touring this house has been on my life's to-do list forever, and I was so happy to cross that off my bucket list.  I can now die a happy, happy girl.


Jersey Shore


After leaving Newport Saturday night, we drove down to New Jersey, where a bunch of the rest of Melissa's extended family lives.  We arrived around 10pm, so pretty much went straight to bed, but we were able to spend all of Sunday hanging out with her family.


We even made it to the beach one last time, although it was pretty windy and chilly, so we weren't able to get in the water.  It was still nice hanging out on the sand with her aunts, eating seriously the best subs I've ever tasted (apparently its the water that goes in the bread??) and catching up.


Before we left New Jersey that night, we apparently had to stop at an Italian Ice place called Lighthouse.  Every time we went to Rita's over the past year, Melissa has brought up Lighthouse and how it's so much better, and we really need to go there.  So we did.  And it was good.  Highly recommend.



After eating dinner in New Jersey, we made our final trip home.  Somehow we went this entire trip without hitting any sort of traffic.  We did get blasted with a huge downpour of rain about 20 minutes from home, followed by an emergency trip to a Dunkin Donuts for their facilities.  But other than that it was smooth sailing.

We stopped by my parents to pickup the munchkin, then headed home and passed out.  The next morning, all three of us had a pretty severe vacation hangover, and took the day to relax and recover.  Vacationing is hard work!


So there you go.  Our family vacation of summer 2014 up and down the east coast.  I still can't believe how many places we visited in 9 days time.  I'm so thankful to Melissa's family for making this vacation possible, and I can't wait to hopefully visit each of these places again in the future!

Have you taken a summer vacation yet?  Where did you go?  Or if you don't have vacation plans set, where is the one place you've always dreamed of traveling to?  I'd love to hear all about it in the comments!