Cultivating a good life

I was surprised (and delighted) to see my face on Instagram yesterday when Becky Higgins posted this:

I love her series about cultivating a good life and I'm such a strong believer that we are the ones in charge of how we cultivate our life. When I filled out the application to apply for her creative team, that was one of the questions - how do you cultivate a good life? I knew right away how to answer because it's something that has been on my mind a lot. I'm in a new season of my life right now where my kids are grown but in unique situations. My daughter is on a mission and my son is home with us. It's a different time than anything I've experienced before and I want to enjoy it to the fullest. I've tried to have that attitude throughout my life (sometimes it's easier than others) and focus on the here and now instead of wishing for the past or the future. It's a constant balancing act and an interesting one as a memory keeper.

I am enjoying this season though and one of the fun parts of it is getting to be a part of the Project Life creative team this year. What a great experience it has been already! Just take a look at the latest batch of pages from the digital and app team and you will be amazed at the talent. I know I am! 

Thank you Becky! And thank you to all of you who left nice comments for me on Instagram. Totally made my day!

Ten Video Tutorials You Should Watch for Digital Scrapbooking

If you want to learn or even brush up on some digital scrapbooking skills, I have a great list of ten video tutorials you should watch. Learn about how to use Photoshop Elements and even how to use your smart phone to document your memories!

  1. Why and how you should use a digital template - a video tutorial by me + related post
  2. Printing pages from finished layouts - a video tutorial by me
  3. Customizing digital templates - a video tutorial by me
  4. Project Life App video demonstration by Becky Higgins for Project Life
  5. Digital Templates in Photoshop Elements by Laurie for Project Life
  6. Using journaling cards to add text to your photos by Janet Phillips at The Daily Digi
  7. Perfectly imperfect shapes for your pages by Janet Phillips at The Daily Digi
  8. Using the Letterglow app to add journaling to designer's cards by Sonia Payne for Amber LaBau
  9. Recolor digital journal cards to match your photos by Christine Newman for The Lily Pad
  10. Setting guides with Photoshop by Scrapping with Liz


A Color Story

When I get a brand new photo app, I get pretty excited to try it out and I love to load pictures in and play around. I honestly didn't think I needed another photo editing app, but A Color Story changed my mind! It's free for iPhone and in development still for Android. You can purchase additional filters in the app. I've bought them all!

I like to start with a picture that I already think looks good. This is a bundle of flowers at the Pike Place Market in Seattle back in 2010. Not much has been done to the photo because it was taken with a nice point and shoot camera (Canon s95) in great light.

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Now it's time to play around with it in the app!

Organic Filter Pack - Cool & Bright

Organic Filter Pack - Cool & Bright

Blush Filter Pack - Rose

Blush Filter Pack - Rose

Chroma Filter Pack - Summer

Chroma Filter Pack - Summer

Fresh Filter Pack - Peach

Fresh Filter Pack - Peach

BW Filter Pack - Agent Cooper

BW Filter Pack - Agent Cooper

Vintage Filter Pack - Summer of 79

Vintage Filter Pack - Summer of 79

As you can see, this app gives great results. I love that it doesn't OVERDO the editing and you can control the strength of each filter with a slide bar. I decided to play around with one more photo from the same day. Just a pretty bouquet of white that is already a nice photo.

image.jpg

Here are the app results:

Blush Filter Pack - Film Camera

Blush Filter Pack - Film Camera

Organic Filter Pack - Comfort

Organic Filter Pack - Comfort

BW Filter Pack - Cherry Pie

BW Filter Pack - Cherry Pie

Vintage Filter Pack - Mellow Out

Vintage Filter Pack - Mellow Out

Special effect - Flare 1

Special effect - Flare 1

I follow A Color Story on Instagram and I decided to play along with their #AColorWeek challenge right now. I've had a lot of fun so far with red and orange and I'm excited to keep going. You can see my photos on Instagram and I think I will post them all together in a blog post at the end of the challenge as well.

I just love pretty colors!

Cuisine Themes

I've been married for almost 25 years (our anniversary is in March) and when I add up all the dinners I've prepared over that time, I can easily understand why I've gotten really burned out on meal planning and cooking over the past few years. Blah! Bored out of my mind! I know a lot of you feel me on this one. It's so hard to come up with something every single night. Plus, my son and I hang out at home all day so that means I have to think about lunches as well. He's great about getting his own breakfast, but we eat lunch together. We keep it simple, but you still have to plan for and prepare the meal.

I've been somewhat desperate for some fresh motivation in the meal planning/prep department so I got kind of excited when I saw a friend on Facebook post about how they were going to follow a different theme each night of the week for their meals. She talked about "Soup Sunday" and "Meatless Monday". I brought it up with the guys one night at dinner (it's just me, hubby, and our son these days) and I thought they would think I was crazy. They were all for the idea though (probably because it means I will be making food for them - lol!) and we proceeded to brainstorm our own themes. This is what we came up with:

  • Slow-cooker Sunday
  • Mix it Up Monday
  • Taco Tuesday
  • Worldwide Wednesday
  • Takeout Thursday
  • Fit Friday
  • Stir Fry Saturday

We actually spent a few days refining our list because we wanted the themes to be doable with our lifestyle. I do already use my crockpot (slow-cooker) most Sundays so that was easy. We are always quite busy on Thursday nights so takeout or eating out made sense there. I think the LEGO movie must be responsible for thousands of people eating tacos on Tuesdays now. LOL!

Fit Friday was our hardest theme to come up with. I usually don't feel like eating super healthy on the weekends so maybe that will help? I thought about Fast Friday but we worried it would just lead to fast food and we already have a night of takeout scheduled in. Stir Fry Saturday won't only be about stir-fry dishes like cashew chicken. We are using that term to refer to a lot of dishes that we serve where you mix a lot of ingredients together like pasta with vegetables as well.

We've been going strong with this new plan for about two weeks now and it's been pretty easy overall. It does help me to have to choose within a narrower field for each night. Instead of thinking "what on earth can I make for dinner?" I've been focusing on "what can I make with a taco theme?" It has led me to search for new recipes and try new approaches. I even rearranged some of my Pinterest boards to go with these themes. If you want to take a look at some of the recipes we've been enjoying, here are links:

cuisine themes.JPG

I'll keep adding more to these boards as we rotate through meals so be sure to follow them or just follow me on Pinterest. Also, be sure to let me know if you have any other great tips or thoughts for making meals more fun!

Document Your January + Roundup Your Memories

I want to start off by thanking all of you who gave me such great feedback on my monthly roundup prompts!  The form is still open if anyone else wants to chime in. It's nice to know that so many of you like the roundups and more than half of you are doing them regularly! Also, the majority of the other half of you would like to start. So this is the perfect time to jump right in!

It's time to get ready to document the month that is ending. I like to start thinking about it a day or two before the end of the month and I try to get my own roundup done as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the less fun it seems to be! I've been doing this since January of 2006 so I'm an old pro by now. It's so easy though that anybody can do this - just answer as many questions and prompts as you want to. That will help you document what has happened in the past month.

Feel free to save this image for your own personal use. If you share it anywhere online, please link back to my blog here so others can find the original source. Here are the prompts in a written list if you want to copy and paste them into your own word document or blog post.

Here’s a written list of the Roundup Prompts:

  • List what you read and/or learned in the past month.
  • What fun things did you do with friends and/or family?
  • What milestones occurred? Any holidays or celebrations? How about special events?
  • What happened in the news and the world around you? What was the weather like?
  • Talk about the everyday and routine bits of life in the past month.
  • What tv shows did you watch? Did you go to any movies or live performances?
  • What and where did you eat?
  • What places did you visit? Did you travel or go anywhere out of the ordinary?
  • What good stuff happened? What were the hard things? Anything unusual?
  • Report on the progress you’ve made toward your goals or list any new goals you have set. What accomplishments did you make? What projects did you work on?

Remember, you don't have to answer ALL of these questions and prompts and you are free to add whatever else will help you get your month documented in a meaningful way. This is just meant to be a basic checklist to help you think about what you want to remember.

What's the best way to go about all of this? How do you remember what has happened in the past week, or thirty days, or even a year? Yes, you can apply the roundup technique to any period of time! Here are the tools that will help you Roundup Your Memories! I created this graphic to help you see this task list all in one place. It's a great one to pin to your Pinterest boards for a reminder!

Here's the list in written form if you prefer it that way:

How to Roundup Your Memories

•    Gather all photos taken during the month and be sure they are uploaded to a labeled file with month and year in the name. That file can be on your computer, and external hard drive, or in the cloud. Try to be consistent wtih file naming and structure.

•    Gather any papers, documents, awards, receipts, etc. that help you illustrate your month. Scan them or take photos. Include them with your monthly file.

•    If others have taken photos during the month that you want to include in your memory keeping, be sure to ask them for copies. Include them with your monthly file. You can name them differently if you want to remember who they are from.

•    Look through your social feeds like blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. to find information you can use for journaling. Copy it all to one place (Word, Evernote, Email, etc.) if possible. Put a copy of that file in the same folder of the month that you have everything else saved.

•    NOW back that monthly folder up to a few locations. Make sure at least one of them is offsite (Dropbox, Flickr, Google Drive, Evernote, etc.) Back up photos more often if possible.

Need a few more resources? Here are some helpful links:

Have fun roundup up your memories and documenting your month! I promise that it's worth taking a few minutes now to have those moments preserved for a lifetime!

February is on the way!

I don't mean to rush things, but February is almost here! Crazy, right? I'm feeling excited though because I just finished a new Salutations set to help document the month ahead!

You can get it for a very low introductory price in my Scrap Shop right now (and you can still score the January set on sale through the end of the month) so hop on over to check it out!

I'm having so much fun with all the different sizes because I can use these papers for my memory keeping projects as well as for writing letters and journal pages. It's so hard to find letter size stationery that doesn't come in a giant pack. Now I can just print off what I need!

This is the second installment in a new line of Salutations sets from Katie the Scrapbook Lady. These sets include a variety of digital files to use for your creative projects. Perfect for digital and/or hybrid scrapbooks, planners, journals, stationery, note cards, mini albums, and more!

Each file comes in a wide range of sizes including; 3x4, 4x4, 4x6, 5x7, 6x4, 6x8, A4, letter, and 12x12. All digital files are saved at 300 dpi. If printing at home, set your printer to "borderless printing" for best results.

This February set will give you many ways to express your love  that will work for many different types of projects. The February title cards come with and without the 2016 year on them for maximum flexibility.

More than 60 digital files are included!