I'm happy when I'm scrappy

I motivated myself with my own pep talk yesterday (and the upcoming deadline on a limited time sale also helped) and I got scrapping!

Just a simple page created with the Project Life app and some Harry Potter inspired journaling cards by Emily Merrit and Valorie Wibbens. It got the ball rolling for me and I went on to create 8 more pages after this one. They are all related to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas though so it feels strange to share them here on my blog in July. I decided the Potter Run page was ok though since tomorrow is Harry Potter's birthday. lol!

It was good to remember how much I love playing with words and pictures. So great to get some memories documented!

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Flash sale on photobooks at AdoramaPix

I was surprised (and excited) to see this sale alert in my email inbox this morning.

It's funny because I was just looking around in my account the other day and noticing that I'm 40% done with my 2013 photobook. I was thinking to myself that I should hurry and finish it up so I would be ready for the next sale. Do you think I can get 60% of an album done in 3 days?

I know I can do it, but I've got to decide if that means that I won't be able to get everything else done that I need to accomplish during the next few days. 

I have several pages that are already in progress so I guess I better at least try. If any of you are close to the printing point, this is a great deal! I just love the other photobooks I've done with AdoramaPix. I highly recommend them!

Please read Cory's story

If you only read one thing today, I want it to be this post by Heidi Swapp about her son Cory's funeral. I have a great respect for her openness in sharing this and I know it will make an impact on anyone who reads it. It really resonates with me, especially because my own son has struggled so much with depression. We are always on the forefront of this battlefield. I really appreciate Heidi for sharing this and hope that their family will be blessed with peace at this difficult time.


Dashboard photography

As I was browsing through my photo files the other day, I found a few dashboard photos - meaning pictures I have taken from the dashboard of a car while on a road trip, from the passenger seat of course. Rest assured that I don't take pictures while I'm driving!

This photo was taken the way to Ophir in 2008, which is the smallest town in Utah. Now there are some very small towns in Utah but Ophir is really small and only has a population of 10 households.  It's also very beautiful.  On that particular night, were treated to a dinner date at a friend's cabin - I use the term cabin very loosely here because it really was an amazing and huge luxury home.

Ophir is totally out in the middle of nowhere and it makes me think about how much open space there still is in Utah. I've grown up seeing a lot of open space but that is changing here as the population grows. Of course I realize that some places just don't have views of nothingness like this.


This picture was taken one evening as we were about ready to head up to Logan for the night. It's hard to tell from this photo, but it's a very beautiful canyon. The clouds were my focus at the time and I love the fleeting light of the moment. 

 

I really love this photo because it was taken by my daughter from the backseat of my parent's car as they drove her from New Mexico from Utah in the summer of 2012. What a meaningful experience it was that she got to stay with my parents on her own and then travel with them across several states. I'm so happy that she took lots of pictures of her journey!

Speaking of backseat photography, that's my favorite spot for dashboard photography. I like to capture some of the details of the car and driver with the view of the road. This was taken on a trip to Cedar City, Utah in the fall of 2013. My husband is driving what was my car at the time (a Nissan Murano) and my son is acting as navigator. My daughter and I were in the back together.

On our way home from that same trip, we took a leisurely Sunday drive through Elberta, Utah and got caught in the middle of a cattle drive. It felt like a scene from a movie and I was so glad I was able to snap some quick photos. How cool is it that there are real life cowboys in front of the car and that one was also captured in the rear view mirror? Hands down my very favorite dashboard photo!

After searching through my files I have realized that I don't have any pictures of city driving and that there are many epic road trips where I waited until we pulled over to capture the moment. I'm making a mental note to add dashboard photos to my travel routine from now on! 

Apparently, I'm on a break

I've been trying to come up with a new blog post for two days now and it's just not happening. Apparently, I'm on a break - or at least my blogging brain is. Of course, I can't hear that phrase without thinking about Ross from Friends yelling "We were on a break!"

I just love the look on Joey's face. And I love Chandler's reaction.

But don't break up with me though. I guess my brain just needs a little break. lol! I'll be back soon. In the meantime, have a great weekend! I'm sure going to try to relax and enjoy mine!


How I organize my digital scrapbooking supplies

This is a topic I get asked about a lot and I've also written about several times before.


Several years ago I wrote a post for The Daily Digi that explains the system that I still use to this day. Different organizing trends have come and gone. I've experimenting with tagging (I have enjoyed tagging previews, but the rest of it drives me crazy) and sorting using different methods, but I always come back to my tried and true system. It works for me. That's all I need - something that works. It's not fancy. It's not for everyone. Many people get hung up on the idea of my specific folders and say that it's hard to decide where to file more general items. I've loosened up my own standards on this over the years and I will say that the majority of my supplies are probably just sorted by designer now. I do still believe in the theme folders and I do still REALLY love my system for filing templates.

I'm not going to re-write the same post from The Daily Digi because there's no need to do that. I'm just going to share a few screen shots and notes about how my system has evolved over the years while basically staying the same. I'm also going to share some great links at the end to help you find the method that works best for you.

FOLDERS and MORE FOLDERS

On my external hard drive AND also replicated in non-syncing dropbox folders, I have my basic folder system set up. I've already explained how I organize my photos and my scrapbook pages. I've also posted about how I organize my documents. Now I will let you peek at my digi supply files. It feels like I'm letting your look through my closet or something. LOL!

The numbers in front of each folder name ensure that they sort themselves in the order that I want them to appear. I have folders for holidays and themes throughout the year that I have named according to how I want them to appear.

  • 01 Birthday
  • 01 Winter
  • 02 Valentines and Love
  • 03 St. Patrick's Day
  • 04 Easter
  • 06 Asian (I have a lot of Asian themed kits to scrapbook some travels in Asian countries)
  • 06 Scouts and Camping
  • 06 Disney
  • 06 LEGO
  • 06 Summer and Beach 
  • 06 Travel
  • 07 Independence Day
  • 08 Cooking and Food
  • 08 Music
  • 08 School
  • 08 Sewing and Crafts
  • 08 Sports
  • 09 Fall
  • 10 Halloween
  • 10 Harry Potter
  • 11 Thanksgiving
  • 12 Christmas

I have so many people tell me that they are not chronological scrappers so they don't need these types of folders. Even if this is the case, I still think it's very handy to have things sorted this way. Even if I'm just scrapping a picture that has a lot of fall colors in it, I can quickly find a kit or supplies that will work well because of this system.

Next up are the folders with basic digi supplies in them. I don't put every piece of digital stitching I own into the stitches file, but if I do buy a pack of stitches, that's where they get filed.

  • 13 Buttons and Brads
  • 13 Frames
  • 13 Numbers and Dates
  • 13 Pocket Scrapping BH (Becky Higgins Project Life digital supplies)
  • 13 Pocket Scrapping - all other journaling cards and supplies that will work on pocket pages
  • 13 Stitches

So many of my digital supplies fit into one of the above categories. For everything else, I use the catch-all of folders named by designer. You might ask why I don't just file everything that way and skip the theme folders? I may not always remember the designer who made a Harry Potter theme kit and so I would have to look through a ton of folders to find that. Also, I think the folders would get too full to manage if I didn't use the structure I have in place. Again, it's something that works for me. It might not work for you. 

As you can see, I'm a huge supporter or the digital scrapbooking community. I love SO many different designers and I enjoy a wide variety of styles. You are also looking at purchases accumulated over a long period of time. I've been a digi scrapper for TEN YEARS!

When I buy something new, I try to file it (and also add it to my backup file) as soon as possible. It really takes very little time to keep this system up to date and tidy. I will admit that it took quite a while to set up all the folders the very first time.

One of the biggest time/sanity savers I have come up with for my system is the way I file templates. I always count the potential photo spaces (doesn't mean I have to use them all) and file them in the appropriate folder.

This makes it SO easy when it comes time to scrap! If I have nine photos of an event, I just open up that folder and look at the templates that will fit nine pictures.

If I don't find anything that will work, I might look in my 10 photo or 11 photo file and just fill those extra picture spaces with journaling cards or patterned papers.

My last few files are named as follows:

  • 15 my templates (designed by yours truly)
  • 16 other templates (from other designers)
  • 17 actions and presets (misc. photoshop tools)

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Digital Supply Organization Resources

There are many great programs and ideas out there to help you tame your digital supply collection. During my time as a writer for The Daily Digi and as the co-host of The Digi Show podcast, I ran into some really great resources that I want to include links to here so you have plenty of support material. Here are some of my very favorites:

The last thing I want to emphasize is that it is really easy to get overwhelmed with the task of organization and spend so much time on it that you never get any scrapping done. Don't feel like you have to be the poster child for organization! I spent a lot of time on my own system because I was teaching others how to do this. I've also spent years refining it and I worked on it slowly over many months. At times, I put the effort in. Other times I ignored it and just threw everything in a folder to sort later. That pretty much sucked. Then I learned that just doing a little bit at a time is SO much better than doing nothing at all. Eventually, it adds up to something useful. 

And if what you are currently doing for organization is working for you - no need to change it!

How I organize my documents

You might be surprised to know that it's only recently that I got my documents all sorted and organized on my computer. I had some basic folders set up for years, but I often neglected them and haphazardly saved and backed up my files. Then it hit me that these were probably the most important to pay attention to (except photos which are always King in my world) because they contain the information that my family would need if they didn't have me to provide it for them. And even without that dreadful thought, don't I deserve to be able to find what I'm looking for? I simply got tired of the (digital) mess so I took action!

my documents scrapbook lady.jpg

I decided to use a folder and subfolder structure since I have had such great success with this approach in my other digital organization projects. I was worried that it would take a long time to get years worth of documents in order, but it went surprisingly fast - mostly thanks to the fact that I usually name my files in a logical manner. If I just saved everything as document1, document2, etc. then I would have to open them all up and read them before I knew where to file them.

Instead, I've had a long time habit of trying to be descriptive in file names. In the last year, I've thought to add dates to the naming process, but even before that the date can usually be found by accessing the file properties. However, it is often the "last modified date" that shows up so be aware that you might need to look more closely at the properties information if you need to find the creation date. I just have found it to be a good practice to include at least the year in the file name.

Or if you aren't concerned with the year, you can always use another identifying factor in the naming. The point is to make it easy to search your own files and to locate what you need. In the case of filing the knitting patterns my daughter has downloaded, I don't need to know the date of each one - it's more important to know the name/description of the pattern.

Overall, my biggest tip of keeping your files organized is to name them well. Then save them in a folder where you can find them. I decided that the best system for my own filing is to have a folder for each family member (with appropriate subfolders such as: school, medical, records, etc.) and then include a few catch-all categories like household and travel where there are documents that are not specific to one family member.

Because I access my documents all the time, I keep this folder structure on the hard drive of my laptop and I also keep backup copies on my external hard drive + dropbox. Most of my other files (photos + digital scrapbooking supplies) usually go directly to my external hard drive.

Many of my files are simple things like knitting patterns, scrapbook journaling, and school assignments. The few files that I have that contain sensitive financial information or personal records are given an additional security of password protection. This is easy to do in Microsoft Word or other similar programs and can also be added to PDF files. That way if somebody does hack into my cloud storage (which is also password protected) or steals my computer, they have to know my own password security measures to get to those documents. Another word of caution on this topic - be careful about emailing this type of information or adding unprotected attachments. Email accounts can get hacked!

Finally, my last bit of advice is to get a document scanner and use it. Who needs stacks of paper to manage? If you digitize your documents, you can store backups of them as well as originals if needed. I personally love the Evernote ScanSnap scanner, but it's expensive so I know it's not a great option for everyone.

There are other ways to digitize your paper collection, including just using the scanner feature you probably already have on your home printer. Here are a few resource links to help you find the solution that is best for you.

Even before I had my fancy Evernote Scanner, I found Evernote to be a helpful tool. It took me a while to come around to the idea and my friend Steph kept telling me how much I needed Evernote in my life. She was right! I use Evernote on my phone, tablet, and computer to keep track of a lot of the information I previously only typed up in Word or jotted down on Post-It notes. I also use IFTTT recipes to automatically turn blog posts into files in Evernote and to keep logs of my Facebook posts and other social media activity. Nothing like using automation! If you need a referral to get some free premium points for Evernote, let me know and I can send you one. There are also great benefits even when using a free account so don't overlook that option.

No matter how involved you get in organizing your documents in digital format, just find a simple method to use that makes sense to you. It doesn't have to be complicated or take a lot of time!

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