My apologies for not having much blogging done in the new year. My house is this endless wreck that I can't seem to get ahead of, and my body is only about halfway into actually trying.
We spent New Year's Eve at my parents, out of pure boredom. (Not because my parents are boring, but because we had nothing planned and didn't want to sit home alone.) Evan had band practice and Ardyn and I went over there because I needed to go through my cardstock for the "hootie owl" Project I have been working on. I decided that I don't have the cardstock colors I need, and none that I have match, nor is there even remotely enough. I ordered three colors from CTMH to compensate and get the project going.
New Year's Day we slept late, Ardyn didn't wake up until after 12:30, but then again she did stay awake until almost 1am. I would say that she partied like it was 1999, but actually she aimed for 2009. And it makes me feel incredibly old to remember that we actually WAITED for 1999 to come so that they could actually play Prince. Ha.
We spent the 1st just lounging around the house doing nothing really. Friday I went and got groceries and Ardyn and I ate at McDonald's. Our local Wal-mart is no longer going to carry fabric, so we stopped there because Ardyn needed some new socks, and they had the fabric all clearancing out at 50% off. I grabbed some basic flannel, a yard of each color, since I use it for Ardyn's wipes, Pants, and also for mamma pads. It was like $1.29 a yard. Last night I watched Ocean's 12 while Ardyn was napping and then we heated up leftover Pizza Hut and played on the bed for a while. Then we played in her room, she took a bath, and then she stayed up until Dad got home.
Today Ardyn and I got packed up and spent the afternoon at my mom's house, so I could do some scrapbooking. Last night I started on a "scrapbook plan" that I found inspiration for in an old issue of Creating Keepsakes (January 2008.) It's a plan to get caught up and stay caught up on scrapbooking, and it has you write out a list of what you need to scrapbook still (backlog) and then a list of what you intend to scrapbook in the new year. I spent several hours last night looking through old issues of scrapbooking magazines, as I had about 1.5 years of them that I had never looked at or dealt with (Dec 2006 till sometime in early 2008) which is why I stopped my subscriptions (or in some cases just let them run out as two of them were freebies.) So I went through and tore out layouts and ideas that I knew I would use, and compiled them into a notebook, and I made my backlog list as well as my scrappin plan for 2009. Things seem so much clearer now, and I feel much more organized and inspired.
Today I worked for about 2.5 hours and got 6 pages done, which was great. The hardest part was trying to be somewhat neat because my space is limited and I need to leave things picked up at my moms versus still strewn about and in progress if I were at home. But the 6 pages turned out cute, and I was especially pleased to be able to use one of my new sketchbooks (layout books)- Cherish By CTMH. It's a lifesaver and it actually moves me FORWARD versus having me sit there re-arranging things trying to acheive perfection for hours on end. and never actually COMPLETING anything. I am ALMOST finished with Ardyn's first birthday now. I have another 2 page spread to do of her birthday party, and then pictures from her actual birthday when we went out to eat and took photos of her at home in the "chair" that we used for the first year pictures.
Once I get those done, I still have plenty to do from her first year. I want to get caught up on Ardyn before Marek is born. My goal is to scrapbook at least twice a week until then. Hopefully I can get that done! If I can complete an average of 4-6 pages twice a week until April 1st, that would give me somewhere between 96-104 pages complete by April. I think I will set my goal at an even 100 and see what happens! I guess this means that I do have a New Year's Resolution after all!
In my plan I have decided to scrapbook events and holidays with their own layouts, and then to do a 2-page layout for each MONTH of Ardyn's life, at least for the first year. I KNOW that I have plenty of pictures, I just have to narrow them down far enough to do that. I use Flickr to organize the photos, and for some months I would create a set for myself that was "Mom's favorites for (June 2008)" and then add just my very favorite photos. I wish now that I would have done that for EVERY month.... but it may be just as easy to go through the months (which I have all organized on Flickr anyway) and tag the favorites similarly, and then order them through Qoop. I always try to grab one 5x7 of each major event or activity that REALLY was my favorite and captured her well, then I get the rest in 4x6. I find that many of the 4x6's can be easily cropped (physically with a paper cutter) to make sizes like 3x3 and 3x6 that are in many of my layouts sketchbooks. I like the look of a layout with a larger photo that sort of sums up the layout, and then smaller supporting images. This has really helped me to eliminate the problem of having all these 4x6 photos staring at me and looking boring and identical on my page.
The sketches have also really given me a good handle on cutting and layering Cardstock and B&T papers. The only problems I have ran across so far is not having ENOUGH Cardstock that matches my B&T papers. Each layout takes at least two base cardstock pieces (which show on the layout) and then anywhere from 1-3 more coordinating sheets/colors of cardstock, with even more B&T (Background and Texture) Papers. So really, I will be better prepared when I buy patterned paper to be sure to have enough solid papers that are an exact match. That's my toughest challenge right now. I may have lots of solid colors, but they don't match as well as I need them to. Or I may have two that match exactly, but need more like 3-5 for each 2 page layout. That's a bummer. I think that getting into this routine and knowing what I need to purchase BEFORE I get working on a layout will really really help.
Before I start any layout, I find myself sorting pictures, counting number of pics and potential sizes, and then looking through the sketchbook to determine which layout will fit best. Ideally, I should do that ahead of time, then write down the layout number and the amount of each paper I will need on a sticky note and attach it to the photos. Then I should organize the photos in a clear envelope and take that envelope on my shopping trip to purchase the paper types, quantities, and colors as well as my matching embellishments accordingly. As I take more and more advice from the professionals (Master Scrapbookers) in magazines, I see that many of them use this method and that is how they always seem to have exactly what they need. I feel like I have the creativity, but I am not managing my time effectively and planning ahead accordingly.
I have three Cropper Hopper 12x12 layout folders that I ADORE and I always wish I had more of them. Problem is they are $6.99 for a three pack, and that's a it pricey. Especially when you see each event as a layout, and have a backlog of at least a year's worth of events... and when you figure one folder for each month of your child's life in ADDITION to the event layouts. Recently I have decided that I do need more of them if I intend to follow this schedule and actually accomplish my goal. The price is probably worth it, as It should help me in my organization and planning stages, as well as in my shopping stage. I figure I should Go through the checkout at Hobby Lobby and then sit in the car and put the appropriate embellishments and papers in the envelope with the photos.... and the layout number has already determined and written down. Complete those steps and BAM you are ready to scrap and the planning and matching and buying are already completed.
These are the things that take the most time, and when you sit down to scrapbook, you can feel like you have taken FOREVER just getting things ready, and never get much of anything completed. It's my goal to make the most of my scrapping time by scheduling and maintaining ways to stay organized and prepared to actually WORK on a LAYOUT instead of sitting there planning when I would rather be scrapping! The planning and layout parts can also be done at home, which would allow me to maximize my time with my scrap supplies when I travel to mom's.
Of course then there is another layout and planning system (Croppin Companion) that I have seen in magazines that is a binder style system. And this makes sense to me but I need to investigate it online and see which is more cost effective and which one I am more likely to use.
I am sure this seems dizzying (or completely boring) to most of you, and maybe it's inspiring to others, but I have to tell you that it has finally helped me to get a handle on how and why these masters have such successful techniques and finished products. And I really hope that I can get this rolling (I guess I already have!) and keep it up to actually get done what I want to get done. Otherwise it seems pointless to have the thousands of dollars of scrapbooking supplies that I already have, and even MORE pointless to kid myself into accomodating any more.
Thoughts? Scrapping Tips to share? I'd Love to hear them!