Pocket Page featuring Elle’s Studio Title Builder Vol. 3

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I am so excited to share this pocket page spread with you all today! I exclusively used the brand new Title Builder Vol. 3 Stamp Set from Elle’s Studio to create my own cards for this page. And it was so fun to create!

Here is the full two-page spread using only cards I created with the Title Builder Vol. 3 stamp set. I am still extremely backlogged on my 2019 album (at least by my own standards) and I’m looking for quick ways to get the photos in pockets and get the stories written down. This approach allowed me to create cards and sentiments based specifically off the stories I had to tell for this spread. I made a few that were more typographic “filler” type cards and some that had room for journaling where I knew I wanted to do my writing ahead of time.

I tried a couple different techniques to create my cards. One technique I loved was masking off a strip on this 3″ x 4″ card above and stamping a smaller type sentiment across the background diagonally and then removing the mask (Post-It Tape) and stamping a larger sentiment with a different font in a contrasting color across the card. I love the way this ‘Good Life’ card turned out and will definitely use that technique again!

Another technique I used was repeat stamping. So I made phrases (either using single stamps or by combining stamps) like “Best Ever” and repeat stamped them in multiple colors to create both a filler card and a journaling card. This was a fun way to really drive home the point and make a visual statement to my layout.

On some of the cards I added some additional elements such as hand-drawn lines or images. I created the hand-drawn lines by using markers in the same colors as my ink to simply draw a series of lines across the card – no ruler, definitely no perfection! The Title Builder Vol. 3 Stamp Set also includes a few little stamps with doodley images that I used on a couple of my cards.

The cards that were most fun for me to create actually highlight how awesome this stamp set is. The set comes with a myriad of single words or brief phrases in a small variety of fonts – enough to give you an interesting look while still coordinating – that can all be combined and work really well together to make titles for your cards or pages. It’s kind of a marvel how much design and planning must go into a set like this – let alone 3 sets like this!! (Title Builder and Title Builder Vol. 2 are also available and currently on sale!) So I was really excited to make my own combinations and create a few cards to really take this stamp set for a test drive. I LOVE how this 4″ x 6″ journaling card turned out!! Being able to mix and match colors and fonts and phrases was so much fun. The stamp sets even come with a digital PDF of a TON of suggested phrases, so Elle has already done some of the work for you!

Finally, it was a fun challenge to have to come up with what colors I would use for which cards. Being able to customize my cards and use the colors I wanted – not the colors that matched a kit but not my photos – was really liberating! I used a dark blue and pink to create this journaling card to go along with the photo of my niece and nephew being adorable together. If this card had come pre-made in a kit who knows what colors it might have been and whether or not I would want to use it if it didn’t “go with” my photos. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE kits and someone designing coordinating elements to go together, but it was nice (and a little stressful) to have total freedom in this project.

Have you tried the Title Builder stamps before? This is really the first time I’ve really used them front and center and it definitely won’t be the last! Let me know what you’ve made and if you have any innovative ideas you’d like to share on using these brilliant sets! You can check out ALL the Title Builder awesomeness here.

*Disclaimer: I am part of the Elle’s Studio Design Team and received these stamps as part of my commitment to the team.

Project Life 2019 :: Week 16

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My Project Life album for 2019 is nowhere near “caught up”, but I am making progress a little at a time. For Week 16, which included Easter, I really wanted to use the Elle’s Studio May kit and extras because I felt like it coordinated really well with my photos.

This coral color is totally my signature color right now, which is shocking to me because I am usually a teal and blue kind of gal. I seriously just can’t get enough of this color – I even bought a pair of shoes in this color! So I’ve been ecstatic to see this color appearing in the Elle’s Studio kits all year a little at a time. In the May kit, it was pretty prominent, so I ran with it. I’ve secretly been hoarding every kit piece in this hue all year, for what I don’t know yet, but I decided that the only way I was going to show my appreciation for these beautiful coral pieces was to use it up!

I made the title card and a custom journaling card using papers from the gorgeous Beautiful Day 6×6 paper stack and stamped out my title and subtitle using the Large Jane Alphabet and Outline stamps, which are my favorite supply right now. I really love how these cards turned out.

On many of my photos in this spread I layered up some labels, die cuts, and stamped sentiments from the Everyday Phrases Vol. 2 stamp set. In some cases, I used the labels to add a little more journaling and additional context to the photos.

Not every Project Life spread I create is a favorite, some I don’t even like very much when it all comes together, but this one I love! It feels perfectly springy and fun and will be a great addition to my yearbook.

Do you have any products that you’ve been hoarding or holding onto for a special project? Show them some love and use them up! I promise you will love them even more when they are paired with your photos and used to tell some stories than just sitting in your stash. Let me know if you use something that’s a fave!

And if you are interested in any of these products, you can still get your Elle’s Studio May Kit & Extras here!

Week in the Life 2019 :: Sunday Words + Photos

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The final set of words and photos for my 2019 Week in the Life. I have such an appreciation for this project! It’s definitely my favorite annual project and I can’t wait to begin the process of printing photos and bringing together the album. While this is the final day of words and photos, I will be back in a few days / weeks as I start working on the album and sharing parts of that process.

For this final day of this project for the year, I used the story lens “Through the lens…” for my main journaling, which is what I’m sharing here.

Through the lens I see two sleepy members of our family enjoying some good morning snuggles. Ruby is so good at snuggling and I typically don’t partake in the morning because I am up and working out, but sleeping in a bit this morning and having a really slow wake up has afforded me this moment of luxury.

Through the lens I see a new habit that has formed of making it to my mat more days than not this year. I see increased determination and an improved mindset as a result of this practice. I see a mind and a body that are more healthy because of this near-daily practice. I see a body that is capable of more than I believe and a mind that is learning to quiet and be more open. I see a space that once was full of clutter and now is calm and peaceful and nearly empty. I see a habit that I love and that has actually been gradually changing my life as I show up here each day. 

Through the lens I see a girl who has recently learned that she likes to spend time alone. This wasn’t much the case for me growing up, but I think I’m much more of an introvert than I ever realized. After a busy day full of people I need time alone or with just Shawn and Ruby to recharge, sometimes more. 

Through the lens I see a willingness to try new things. I do not consider myself a hat person, but really loved this Patagonia hat we found at REI last weekend and I figure hats might be good for the summer with longer hair. Shawn really likes the hat on me, but I’m still unsure. Feeling a little like an imposter but willing to give it a few gos to see if it will grow on me.

Through the lens I see a partner who is incredibly supportive of all the parts of me. In this moment, I appreciate his patience and even willingness to help contribute to this project. In other moments he’s my biggest cheerleader and comfiest shoulder to cry on, we have developed amazing communication, and he is my best friend and true soul mate. I’m so grateful for him and all he does for me. 

Through the lens I see a great lunch and chat with half of my family. It’s so nice to just enjoy each other’s  company and eat delicious pizza! Nice to spend time with both of my parents together, since Dad is only in town some of the time. 

Through the lens I see our hard-working, well trained, well behaved awesome pup. She’s so great most places we go and she’s very adaptive. We are both so grateful for Ruby! 

Through the lens I see a family cozying up together in bed in the middle of an easy Sunday to fight of the chill from the cool temps and pouring rain. A family responding to their needs by taking a well-deserved nap. Shawn surrounded by all his favorite nap-time necessities: his gravity blanket, Ruby in a deep pressure position, and me snuggled up beside him. A recipe for a great nap! 

Through the lens I see the routines that keep our household running. Laundry is something that’s done most weekends around here in preparation for the week to come and because that’s when I can make the time to do it. Today I need to do a few small loads so that all our clothes are clean before we travel this week. I like to have the hamper empty and laundry all done before we go away so I come back only to what we dirtied on our trip and so that we have our full wardrobe to pack from.

Through the lens I see our favorite Sunday tradition; visiting Mom Mom and Pop Pop. I see genuine interest in our lives and the people we are. I see enjoyment of flipping through one of our travel scrapbooks and intention to read every word and look at every photo. I see time and love and attention spent on each other. I see memories and similarities drawn to my own grandparents who aren’t here anymore. I see a space that was once our home for a brief time and the enjoyment of living there and how we sometimes think that would be nice again. I see family. 

Through the lens I see our current favorite place to eat. A place we grew to love when Ruby was a puppy because they are dog-friendly and we could eat outside in the warm sun with her before she had any public access training. A place we eat usually once a week and they are beginning to know us by name and order. A place we love to eat with family and friends alike. A place that has hosted many big moments in our lives, like Jean Carlos moving away and Finn’s first family dinner, Adam’s return to DHF and Darius’ promotion to Tech Center Director. 

Through the lens I see a necessary accessory for our current life – a place to store full dog mess bags when we aren’t near a trash receptacle. It’s magnetic and mounts to the body of our car. Yes, it might be strange, but it has been so useful to us. Our life are full of harnesses, leashes, travel bowls, car seat covers, jackets, toys, treats, bags, contraptions, puzzle toys, and Velcro patches that all make our jobs and outings a little easier. 

Through the lens I see the place we are happy to come home to every night. Lots of green and our fourth straight day of rain. Little grass seedlings blooming faster than we expected them to as we (hopefully) fill in the garden around our walkway since neither of us has a green thumb or really care to make the time to maintain even a small garden. 

Through the lens I see as I’m scrolling through Plex, our media library, looking for a show to watch that one of our favorite shows, Agents of SHIELD, has returned with the first episode of a new season. I am so excited that I take a photo to tell Nicole about it since I also got her hooked on this show. I know how we are spending the next hour of our evening! But first we find a video recap of last season on YouTube.

Through the lens I see sweet snuggles with my girl! For the last couple of months Ruby has been spending most evenings upstairs by herself so it feels extra special to have her snuggle up in the loveseat with me. I picked out this chair specifically for her and I to cuddle in before she came home to us. I also thought it would be a good chair to read books in,  if I definitely haven’t done as much reading as I have cuddling in this spot.

Through the lens I see an immense amount of gratitude for this one extraordinary life. I see the family I never expected, but can’t imagine not having. I see the kind of love and admiration that takes half a lifetime to build and cultivate and another half a lifetime to enjoy and savor. I see our perfectly imperfect life that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I see all the epic, life-changing moments and the tiniest of details and steps that brought us to this time and place and that led us to each other. This is my whole world gathered together in this bed.

Week in the Life 2019 :: Saturday Words + Photos

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This day was a full day during the week centered around our nephew’s baptism and 2nd birthday party. I decided that the story lens of “Celebrating” would be quite fitting for this day.

I have really enjoyed selecting a story lens for each day and using that prompt to guide my journaling. It takes out the guess work of thinking of what I want to feature in my journaling and how I want to write about things. I think this is an approach I will use in the project for years to come. What about you…do you use story lenses during Week in the Life? How do you like it?

Celebrating allowing myself to sleep in a bit this morning and that I got out of bed after only one snooze.

Celebrating making it on the mat for a sweaty yoga session then out for a good walk. 

Celebrating that McDonald’s serves breakfast until 11am on the weekends. I had the thought that Hotcakes sounded good for breakfast at 10:27am, but then felt really let down because to my knowledge they stop serving breakfast at 10:30am. Shawn said he was pretty sure they serve until 11 and I rushed out the door to check it out. So glad he was right, it was delicious! 

Celebrating this dress. For many years now I haven’t really wanted to wear dresses unless I was wearing leggings underneath because I was uncomfortable. Losing 40lbs has made me want to wear dresses again! This dress I bought at Old Navy last week is a size large which is so exciting to me!

Celebrating Stevie’s baptism! Definitely not my favorite sacrament and this one was especially long and hard to watch as Stevie is going through a fear stage with water. But it was special and important to others that were there so that is worth celebrating. 

Celebrating my relationship with Bailee. That girl has such a sweet soul! She was really excited to see me when they got to the church and gave me the biggest hug and just kept squeezing me tighter and tighter, which totally melted my heart. Hanging out with her made the service more enjoyable.

Celebrating Brynn’s unexpected special role in today’s ceremony. She got to hold a candle and participate in the “march” with everyone. She didn’t like the incense and was trying everything she could to avoid the smell from holding her breath to plugging her nose with her fingers. But she waited patiently until it was her turn to get involved and did a good job. So proud of the girl she’s becoming. I love her personality! 

Celebrating Ruby venturing into the pool at the dog park. She typically avoids the pool altogether, but today with a gentle prompt she got it! She even sat down, but only so her butt was on top of the water, not the bottom of the pool! 

Celebrating Stevie! Today has been all about him and some big milestones in his tiny life. He’s got a lot of personality and it’s so fun to watch him grow up. He and Bailee are too funny when they are together and today was no different. Also celebrating that I get to be an Aunt to these awesome kiddos!

Celebrating making it through a lot of intense family time today and typically anxiety-inducing situations with grace, and even a little ease and enjoyment. Shawn and I both struggle in different ways in these large family situations, but today we were both able to use our meds, tools, and techniques we’ve learned through years of therapy to, not only make it through and stick it out, but actually enjoy ourselves. 

Celebrating the calm and quiet of our own lives and home. Upon leaving the party I took a few deep, cleansing breaths of relief. Being part of a big family means I’m very accustomed to the loud, crazy, everything at once sensations, but it also has made me really really appreciate the calm after the storm and the quiet of our normal life. 

Celebrating the long-awaited return (perhaps?) of our favorite pastime of playing tabletop games together with another mission in our Imperial Assault campaign. I don’t want to jinx it, but I’ve missed playing games so much the past couple of years. This hobby of ours took a backseat after we stepped down from the Baltimore Gamer Meetup and moved to the trunk when we got Ruby as there just hasn’t been as much time for it. I have a feeling we are entering a season of more games and I am stoked! We’ve made a plan to set a game out on the table each Sunday to a visual reminder that we want to play and take the guess work out of what to play. Excited to see how it goes.

Celebrating another Rebel victory in Imperial Assault! In tonight’s campaign mission, we ran a side mission and the Rebels (my team) got to use an AT-ST on their team and it was kind of awesome! Our first “massive” figure of the game and it definitely helped secure a victory over the Imperial Guard Champion who is a total beast! 

Celebrating a long, full, happy, funny, busy, somewhat stressful, enjoyable day.