Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Goals

It's only been a few weeks of summer - my university gets out late and goes back late, so though it's already July, we've only been out for two weeks (much like a lot of public east coast k-12 schools - though they go back sometimes two weeks before Labor Day!).  I guess we were out a little before that, but as an RA, I stayed up until the very end.  I've been spending the last two weeks getting comfortable in the summer apartment, getting to know the metro system (the buses, really - I know all about metrorail already), and relaxing.  I've even been scrapping a little.  I read ENDER'S GAME and HARRY POTTER AND THE METHODS OF RATIONALITY (a fanfic - and, well, most of it), and watched THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, which I thoroughly enjoyed (we also re-watched SHREK, which I haven't seen in probably seven or eight years).

Anyway, though I always have a lot of hopes and dreams for the summer, this year I've decided to narrow it all down to three major goals.  There's a bunch of other "stuff" I'd like to do (like update this blog on a regular basis, and make a habit out of it), but it's not as important as these three major goals.

1. Make major progress on my honors thesis.
2. Change my handwriting (print first, then script).
3. Record my life history.

The first one is the most important - I'm being paid to do it, and it comprises 75% of my academic goals for all of my undergraduate experience.  That's importance.  An honors thesis is, in my mind, a rite of passage; even if it weren't, I couldn't imagine graduating without one.  I won't push that option off the table, but I have a lot of work to do and I'm going to work hard to do it.  To be frank, in the first two weeks, I've done very little except realize that I'm an idiot - even with researcher privileges, the Library of Congress doesn't have open stacks.  Duh.  That's been a huge setback, but I'm thankfully in a city where I'll have a lot of other options as long as I keep my university ID handy.

The second one is something I've been wanting to do for the past two or three months.  I don't know what's gotten into me, but I just don't like my handwriting anymore.  It flat out bothers me nowadays.  It's inconsistent, some of my letters have disappeared all together, and it's got no spunk.  I'm thinking of adding some spunk.  That said, I don't want to sacrifice the great speed I've accumulated.  So, there's that.  With a new ultrabook in my life, I've been typing more and writing less, and I think that's had something to do with it.  Still, I'm looking at fonts and others' handwriting to see what I want to emulate and go from there.

My last goal is just something I've been meaning to do.  Freshmen year I always joked about how I was going to write my autobiography.  Well, sitting down and starting on page one isn't going to happen, and maybe something polished isn't going to happen at all - but I've downloaded a lot of resources, and one prompt at a time, I want to start recording memories, thoughts, feelings, desires, etc.  Two years ago I started journaling every day (or every other day).  I haven't done that as much lately, since Project Life covers a good bit of what I've been doing, but it's not enough.  I need to get back into that, too.  So now: history and right now.  I've created a virtual journal for it (using OneNote).  I have prompts from Kerri Bradford's The History Project, not to mention a dozen other resources.  I just need to start typing away.

I haven't made any progress so far, but that's okay.  I also only have until the first week of September, since I have early move-in at the university (and things will be quite busy right from the start).  I have to remember not to get discouraged just because I'm starting off slow.  And it's not like I haven't had any fun so far - because trust me, I have.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


As my blog states several times over, I'm a university student.  That means I don't often have time to post during the school year - and having been knee deep in grant proposals and urban design studios, I certainly haven't had time to post since Christmas break.  I'm hoping that, with any luck, I'll be able to get in a few posts by the end of the academic year (we're on the quarter system, so we won't be out until mid-June) and then post regularly through the summer.  Wish me luck!  I have so many updates!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

More PL Page Protectors!

If I were going to do a OLW (one little word) for 2013, it would definitely be RESTRAINT!  Wowza.  Anyway, this week I discovered that WRMK 8.5x11 albums measure 12x11 on the outside - which means they will (just barely) hold a page protector 12" tall, but will hold a 10" wide page protector pretty well.  I have several sets of 3x4 and 4x6 PL cards and/or pockets, and I've found a way to use them.  Behold...

The "small variety pack."  These inserts measure 12x10, 12x6, 12x7, and 12x4 respectively.  Though I don't think I'll use many Design G pages (since they're just so large), the value pack was worth it since I didn't need a bajillion each of Design H, I, and J.  Plus, I want to see which ones I like.  I'm thinking these will make a) excellent event inserts (snow trip, anyone?) and/or b) month dividers.  They are going to stand a lot higher than my 8.5x11" inserts, so I'll have to see how I like that - and technically, I can cut them down to 11" without too much trouble.

In other news, unless this week ends up having some document-worthy moments (which it may), I think I may officially start when I go back to school, giving me until next Sunday to officially start.  It's not really that important - perhaps I'll end up doing an insert for winter break.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

8.5x11" Divided Photo Sleeves

An initial concern about doing Project Life in 8.5x11 is the lack of photo sleeve variety.  Becky Higgins, the original creator of Project Life, offers page protectors in designs A through H (as far as I know), as well as various single pocket pages and envelope style pages.  Some people keep it simple using only Design A, and others mix it up.  And if you're willing to go outside the scope of Becky Higgins' official line, WRMK, Echo Park Paper, and American Crafts offer numerous page protectors, some with original designs.  But for letter-sized albums?  Well, for awhile folks were using baseball card holders from Walmart-like stores.  Finally, We R Memory Keepers - known for sturdy albums - released the 9-pocket baseball style page protectors, as well as a few other varieties.  I'll link to them here, though I don't particularly care for them.  Here, though, you'll find photos of the three types of page protectors I am using (and of course, the single pocket standard that comes with the album).

These WRMK page protectors hold two 4x6 horizontal photos, but they have strange little pockets. Some creative person could certainly find a good use for them!

These WRMK page protectors hold two 4x6 vertical photos. They'd be perfect if the top was divided into two vertical strips.

Here we have the standard 9 pocket page protector.  They hold 3.5x2.625" photos or inserts.

I found these babies on Amazon.  They're letter-sized with 8 horizontal pockets.  The inserts?  3.5x2.75".  Perfect!  That means I can use all the inserts I cut vertically for horizontal.

Finally, these 4-pocket page protectors are from Martha Stewart (possibly exclusive to Staples, as I haven't been able to find them anywhere else).  I don't yet have the pocket measurements, but I've seen Geralyn Sy use them in her PL.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New from Silhouette

Looks like Silhouette is going to come out with chipboard soon!

Monday, December 24, 2012

A few of my favorite things...

Since last night as our sort-of annual viewing of The Sound of Music, today I'm humming the tunes... or at least I'm singing it in my head, since I have a stuffy nose and can't hum much anyway.  I think I'll spend this post talking about my favorite (scrappy) things right now.  I'll narrow it down to four products even though such a listing would be hopelessly inadequate.  There are all kinds of lists of "favorites:" things I am using the most right now, things on my wist list, things I admire most in my stash...  Eventually I'll conquer them all.  Today, I'm going to conquer the products in my stash that I find the most inspiring - the products I want to use on every project, card, or layout.

1. First up is Kerri Bradford's InForms kit.  It's a great kit of ledger and vintage style cards for printing.  Firstly, it's black and white, which is great since I (gasp!) don't have a color printer.  I can print them on kraft or white, two of my favorite background colors.  But I've actually found something more fun to do with them.  KB includes each of these as a .svg file, which I can open in my Silhouette Designer Edition Studio software.  That means I can run it through my Cameo.  To do so with a blade would be a tangled mess of lines, so instead, I use the Chomas Creations adjustable marker holder for the Silhouette to hold my favorite pen (which doesn't fit in the traditional sketch pen holder.  I then use my Cameo to draw out each of the shapes... which means I can draw on a variety of materials, plus draw and cut really easily.  This technique isn't necessary if you have a color printer, but hey, it's something I enjoy.

2. Next up is this kit from 2Peas, called the "Pieces of Me" kit from one of the workshops they released this summer.  It hasn't actually hit my doorstep yet, but I already have one. That's right.  I bought a duplicate.  I purchased one of these ages ago... must have been what... July?  I sold the stamp for a whooping $15, but otherwise the kit was brilliant - beautiful colors and chock full of stuff.  Even better, the second time around it was 25% off - $30 instead of $40, but just as full of stuff!  I'm really pumped to get a hold of this one again.  I'm guessing it's going to make great PL spreads.

3. With number three I bring you two of my favorite things of all time: simple ledger prints and bright colors.  Narrowing down what I like most of the SN@P line isn't an easy task.  I could have just as easily linked the entire line here.  I chose this pad (of which I have two in 12x12 and one in 6x6) because the simple grids and colors make die cuts from my Silhouette Cameo - which is really my best scrappy friend of all - truly POP.  Plus, they make great journalling cards, photo mats, and more.  The ledgers are also great for stamping and drawing with the Silhouette.

4.  Anything with a map print on it!  Pictured is the print from Studio Calico's Roma map background stamp from their partnership with Hero Arts.  I have this, as well as another Studio Calico map background. the Cocoa Daisy world map stamp, and so many others.  Plus, map print papers from Studio Calico, Crate Paper... even more.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Prepping PL

I've been thinking a lot this year about whether I'd like to do Project Life.  I'm a busy college student, but I love crafting, so here I am.  I keep a regular journal, but even I must admit that my memory keeping has been slowing down of late.  I don't take a lot of photos, and I want to change that.  (I know, I know, a scrapbooker who doesn't like taking photos...).  That, and journaling is all about my feelings... not so much about the funny little things that happen on the day to day.

I was so impressed by Geralyn Sy's PL (here's all of her blog entries tagged "Project Life") that today, I downright decided that I was going to do PL, too!  So I've been shopping for products, prepping my Silhouette Cameo, and even registering for Studio Calico's Day by Day class for January.  After picking up some WRMK nine pocket page protectors and some Martha Stewart four pocket page protectors, I got down to the nitty gritty business of measuring out inserts.  Inserts for the nine pocket page protectors measure 3.5" by 2.625".  My first order of business was Silhouette cut files.  Click on the photo caption below for some freebies in .studio format (so you'll need the free Silhouette Studio software to open them).

click here to download this file

Still, that's not all I did today.  I use a handy program called Photosheet (PC only) to print multiple photos on a single 4x6 sheet, helping me get the most out of my Canon Selphy.  Traditional Project Life uses 12x12 page protectors, which lend themselves well to standard sizes - 3x4, 4x4, and 4x6.  That's not quite true with 8.5x11 PL.  But fear not! You can still teach Photosheet to print two 3.5" by 2.625" photos on a single sheet.  If you have any questions, I can hopefully de-mystify the process - just leave a comment.

1. Open Photosheet. 
2. Under "Layout," scroll to the bottom and click "<Edit Custom Layouts...>" 
3. This should open a Windows Explorer folder with two files in it: CustomLayouts.XML and PhotilityLayouts.XML. Right click CustomLayouts.XML and choose "edit." This should open Notepad. 
4. Scroll down to the first line of <layout name="BLAH BLAH BLAH... 
5. Paste the following quoted material ABOVE the first line but BELOW the --> sign. 

<layout name="PL (2 3.5 x 2.625 images)" size="6x4">
<rectangle left="5.00" top="6.25" right="48.75" bottom="93.75" />
<rectangle left="51.25" top="6.25" right="95.00" bottom="93.75" />

6. Save your file. 
7. Close and re-open Photosheet. 
8. Look for the layout named PL (2 3.5 x 2.625 images).