This is a guest post from Megan of The Nerd Nest

Get Creative | The Nerd Nest 3

Over the past few years, I’ve been OBSESSED with pocket scrapbooking. (You may have also heard to it referred to by the brand name Project Life.)

Pocket scrapbooking is a form of memory keeping that involves sliding photos, journaling cards, and (optionally) cute products into plastic pocketed page protectors. It has become my primary form of documenting my life and is my very favorite for so many reasons. I thought I’d share a few of the main reasons I love pocket scrapbooking with you and invite you to try out documenting your year in pockets too!

Here are my top 5 reasons you should document 2015 with pocket scrapbooking:

Project Life 2014 | September 7-13 | The Nerd Nest 7

1. Memory is fragile.

When I try to think back on years past, I can barely remember even just a few details about any given year. But when I’m memory keeping with pocket scrapbooking, I’m consistently recording details of my everyday life. I love that, when I’m older and my memory is even less reliable, I’ll be able to look back at the life I’ve lived. I think there’s something magical about that.

Pocket Your Year - Test Run

2. It is so very easy.

Pocket scrapbooking can be very simple or very elaborate, if you’re a person who loves to get fancy with embellishments or mixed media. You can make it your own. But at its core, it’s easy: put photos into pockets, pick cards to write on / fill space, add journaling. And that means it is FAST. I can get 10 things recorded in the time it takes me to record 1 thing with traditional scrapbooking. And that means I don’t have to play favorites with memories: I have time to record everything I want to remember.

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3. You capture the small things.

This is especially true for me because I use photo collages, but you can squeeze A LOT of photos and words into a 12×12 spread. I love that pocketing my photos allows me to document little bitty moments in my life without feeling silly. I might feel weird about making 12 full pages about latte art (though there’s nothing wrong with doing just that, of course). But by slipping a little photo into a pocket every few weeks, I’m celebrating one of the small things that make me happy.

Pocket scrapbooking also gives you a big picture as a whole: having those coffee photos every few weeks documents how big a part of my life coffee is over time with the frequency it shows up.

Because I don’t feel like I’m should just capturing things that are big and important, I document more of the little bits that make up my life, and this gives a much better picture of what my life is “really” like. The small things are a big deal.

Catch-Up-with-Project-Life-at-Big-Picture-Classes-Sneak-4

4. There’s something for everyone.

I go a little overboard with documenting (I include weekly spreads, extra thematic spreads in-between monthly breaks, and traditional pages just for fun). Because of my pocket scrapbooker overachiever status, I end up with 4 albums per year, but the same amount of documenting for me would take up 40 albums with traditional scrapbooking (no joke). I’d be able to fit more into fewer albums if I was willing to part with chunky embellishments (I’m not).

But there are so many other approaches. You can just stick with basic supplies and add only the photos and the cards: you don’t need to be “creative” or a “scrapbooker” to capture your life in this way! If 12×12 spreads seem overwhelming, there are smaller sizes you can work with like 6×8, 8.5×11, and 9×12. (I use the 6×8 size to document vacations.) You can go the digital pocket scrapbooking route and have your pages printed in a digital photo book–thousands of memories in an inch of spine space. You even can use the Project Life app on your phone and create pages in the palm of your hand.

With so many formats to choose and so many styles to pick from, there’s really a format of pocket scrapbooking that will work for everyone.

Maker Faire 2014 - Project Life 2

5. Documenting becomes part of your routine.

The most important part of pocket scrapbooking for me? How much it has influenced me to document over the past three years. I’ve taken so many more photos, written so many more stories, and captured it all in these awesome albums. Knowing I’m going to be doing something with those captured memories influences me to look at my life in a new way.

Before, my everyday life seemed boring, now I look back on all of these little moments that were special to me and am just so very grateful to have lived them. There’s no better reason than that.

Thanks so much Amy for inviting me to share my love of pocket scrapbooking today!

Pocket_Your_Year_Ad

Want to pocket scrapbook this year with me? Join Pocket Your Year, a year long pocket scrapbooking course that will help you improve photography, journaling, process, and design January through December!

Lemon and Raspberry readers can receive $5.00 off of the already discounted early-bird price with the coupon code LEMONANDRASPBERRY.

Coupon expires January 31, 2015.

Megan is a crafty nerd from The Nerd Nest. She spends her time filling up Project Life albums, reading big stacks of books, going on nerdy adventures with her family, and making stuff. Follow her on Instagram for daily memory keeping tips!

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New Project: January Reset

It’s here. January 1. My new favorite project.

I am so excited to invite you to reflect along with me throughout the month of January….

January Reset

January is a time for fresh starts, new eyes, recalibration.

Join me each January for a RESET project.

Throughout the month I will post different journaling prompts and topics to help you review the year behind and RESET for the year ahead.

I will be using the brand new RESET digital kit designed by Alexandra Rae Design (with some input from me). It includes lovely word art, prompts and elements, as well as pre-made quick pages to get you started right away.

This kit can be used any time, but throughout January, Allie and I will be leading the way through reflecting on the past year and resetting for the year ahead using this kit as a base.

(the kit is on sale right now and kind of a crazy steal, so if you are at all considering this project I would grab it)

reset digital kit

January Reset

(above are some journaling cards I created with the elements of the kit)

Each Monday in January here at Lemon and Raspberry, I will post about how I am using the kit to journal about the following topics.

Week 1: Reflection (January 5)

Week 2: Right Now (January 12)

Week 3: Goals (January 19)

Week 4: Action Steps (January 26)

Throughout the month, my primary goal is to encourage journaling and reflection. I mean, this kit and playing with paper and stamps are fun and lovely, but I believe it is our words and individual stories that really give these projects their worth.

We’ll go over what is working and what is not, give you reminders to just start and mini-celebrations when you’ve finished. We’ll reiterate goals and give you the easy check-off pages to establish those new habits.

To start us off, a quick look at my ‘title’ and first couple pages. The very beginning.

I’m still waiting for an order of photo prints to arrive, but the empty pocket on this first page will be this self-portrait from September 2014 (from an event I was super scared to go to and so glad I did. Totally changed my life. I love the way that event/weekend made me feel and – bonus – I’m wearing a blue/teal color in the photo).

The RESET card is included in the kit, and the FRESH START card I made using Ali Edwards Story Stamp kit.

I’m a big fan of the white space. Very clean, new, blank slate. We chose blue/teal as the main color for the digital kit because it can feel both invigoratingly wintery (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) but also cooling summer (for those in the Southern Hemisphere).

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The first opening spread …

The PRACTICE journaling card I made (simply matched the color to the kit and used a similar-ish typewriter font) with a quick jotting of what my One Little Word means to me. The floral journaling card I made with an element from the kit.

The blank 4×6 space will be a photo of my husband and me from last night (New Year’s Eve).

A quick note — one of the reasons I am so excited about this project is because my husband and I had a rough 2014. Both of us are working really really hard at our respective careers, both of us making giant sacrifices for the future, both of us insanely proud of what the other is doing. But that means that our just-hanging-out-being-together time was cut to …. honestly, less than the bare minimum. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you a couple could spend that little time together and still be happy.

Anyway, the point is that this project is in part about Team Schubert. You may choose to have the project all be YOURS. Let it be your quiet in the storm of having 4 kids. Or let it be a project with you and your senior in high school daughter who is facing big life decisions this year. Or let it be about your business and partnership with your best friend. Whatever YOU need right now, this project can work for.

Mine is for Team Schubert.

Which brings me to the first Quick Page (from the kit) I used….

(the Quick Pages are 8.5×5.5. Half of a regular letter sheet of paper. So they should both be easy to print AND fit into your 6×8 album (or larger) and probably your planner too)

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As you can no doubt see, it is almost empty. That is only for the photo. I actually did the journaling on the next page first (photo below) and realized I wanted to blur out 2/3rds of the words before posting a photo. So for this ‘This is my WHY’ page, I just took the photo first.

You will likely see a lot of that kind of thing in my pages throughout January. This is a very personal, and at times private project. Yes, I would love you all to join me throughout the month, but this album is my own little space and I will be writing things that are just for me (and Andrew).

In designing the kit, Allie and I didn’t really specify which pages or elements go where. There’s no rules for how to use this kit, and if you want to save this quick page for next October or not use it at all, that works well too.

But I love it for an opening statement.

The backside of the quick page I adhereed white cardstock (so that page is nice and sturdy) and used one of the label prompts across the top.

The second week of January will explore the NOW feelings, positioning, etc in more detail, so this list is more of a beginning list. More of where I’m starting from before doing the project. It includes feelings about 2014 and desires for 2015 among other things.

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I’ll have more pages to share with you Monday! All these posts will be tagged here, too. And most of the content reposted and reshuffled here throughout the year.

Supplies so far:

Let me clarify, that the digital kit is in no way required to join in the project. As you can see I created some journaling cards on my own (the practice card, for example, didn’t use any kit elements). I would still love if you joined me in journaling and reflecting each week throughout January when you do it all your own way.

That said …. This is the kind of digital kit that you can use all year – not just for a holiday. You’ll find 3-month, 6-month and 9-month check-in pages to encourage you to move forward all year. You’ll find journaling prompts that remind you why you are doing this and what you don’t want to do in the future.

The quick pages will get you started right away. No excuses. 

This kit pairs perfectly with a small 6×8” scrapbooking album, or even your favorite planner. You’ll be inspired to be ambitious and to let go of the old, when you dive into the RESET project.

I want to make this project an annual one, and I’m very proud of how this kit will help.

My intention is to do this project every year. I think it is the perfect companion to choosing a One Little Word, mantra or 1 big goal, especially for those of us who have a tendency to maybe think too much about mistakes and should-haves in the past.

I seriously love this and I can’t wait to see what you all do with it.

Happy January! Will you be joining Allie and me in the RESET project?

P.S. #JanuaryReset

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5 Memory Keeping Myths You Can Ignore

This is a guest post from Meg of Marmalade Mementos

New to Memory Keeping? 5 Myths You Can Ignore | Marmalade Mementos

Stop me when any of this starts to sound familiar:

You’ve casually browsed the scrapbook aisles at a local craft store and thought “I’d love to create a beautiful record of our lives, but _______ [fill in excuse here].” Or maybe you’ve caught a glimpse of some expert art journalers’ works of art on Pinterest and thought “I could never do that, I don’t have enough ______ [insert resource or personality trait here].” Maybe when you hear the word scrapbooking, an image of a certain kind of person comes to your mind… and that person is the complete opposite of who you think you are or want to be. So you’ve come to the conclusion that memory keeping is probably just not for you. If any of this sounds like you, allow me a few minutes of your time to try to change your perception!

Curious or skeptical about whether you could make memory keeping work for you? Here’s a quick little quiz to determine if you’re the type of person that could become a memory keeper:

  1. Are you a human?
  2. Do you have people, places, objects, or activities you love?
  3. Do you have any positive or negative memories of anything that’s happened in your life, ever?

If you answered yes to all of the above, then surprise! Memory keeping is perfect for you! Still not convinced? Here are 5 memory keeping myths that may still be holding you back… and ideas to help you bust them!

Myth #1: Memory keeping is only for certain kinds of people.

Maybe you have the perception that memory keepers are all mothers with young children. Or that all scrapbookers are “crazy cat-ladies” or empty-nest grandmothers. Or that only people with extensive travel histories under their belts have stories worth documenting. Maybe you’re a single person without children who has only been on one vacation since you were a child, and you think you don’t have much going on in your life that’s worth documenting. As someone who has been following memory keeping bloggers for years, I can assure you there are people from all walks of life who are documenting their stories for many different reasons. (Keep in mind, there’s more to memory keeping than just scrapbooking! More on that in just a bit!) See if one of these awesome memory keepers might spark your interest based on your specific life situation:

  • Single woman, no children? Check out Tracy’s blog, The Single Girl’s Scrapbook.
  • Committed relationship, but no children (or only fur-babies)? Caylee’s and Olya‘s blogs may provide some idea (*cough* and hopefully mine! *cough*).
  • Into social justice issues and activism for causes you believe in? Kristin’s and Megan’s blogs might be up your alley.
  • Raising a family? Andrea, Rachel, and Aaron might spark your interest.
  • Spend lots of time with your grandbabies? Donna’s pages are sure to inspire!
  • Love traveling or going on local adventures? Kelly and Kam are a great resource!
  • Voracious reader? Kristin is too!

Myth #2: Memory keeping is reserved for big events and happy memories only.

Think of your life as if it were a newspaper. A whole newspaper, not just the front page. Sure, there are the big headlines, the most important things, the things the reader should be drawn to first (what is referred to in the publication world as “above-the-fold” content). By all means, document those big memories (the holiday gatherings, the anniversary trip to Italy, the birth of your sister’s first child). But remember that a newspaper tells a whole lot more than just the headline stories that fit on the top half of the first page. There are also sections for:

  • Letters to the editor (try including that letter you got from Grandma on your birthday last year or documenting a screenshot of a memorable text conversation with a loved one).
  • Movie reviews (include a list of the last 5 movies you’ve gone to see in the theater; interview the friends and family you went with about their thoughts on each movie!)
  • Local events (did you take a trip to your community’s newly-opened farmer’s market? Could you share a story about how this new resource will affect your family’s eating habits in the future?)
  • Obituaries (yes, it can be painful, but documenting the loss of a loved one or even a popular public figure can be a part of the healing process, and the sad moments are every bit as much a part of your story as the celebrations).
  • And many more…

Think of your life in an overall-big-picture kind of way, imagining the things you’d like future generations to know about you, your family, or what life in this century was like. Some of the details you might consider mundane now (your favorite musicians, where you buy your groceries, what method of travel you use to get to work) might someday be fascinating to someone from a different era, when things will no longer be the way they are now. What are some things you would love to have been able to learn about your great-great-grandfather? Document some of those same things about your own life. You may be grateful as you get older to have these details to reminisce over (or to help you retain or regain your memories in the unfortunate event that you may someday suffer from Alzheimer’s, amnesia, or other neurological difficulties), as well as to pass these stories on to your children, nieces and nephews, or community.

Myth #3: You have to be crafty or artistic to be a memory keeper.

Nope. False. Remember when I said above that there’s more to memory keeping than just scrapbooking? It’s true! If you’re doing something that you’ll be able to look back on at some point in the future that will help you remember a moment, a thought, a special person, or a feeling, you’re memory keeping! Writing in a journal, making lists of your favorite things, participating in various photo prompt challenges, even posting on social media… all of these are forms of memory keeping. You don’t need to have an eye for design to jot down a special memory you’d like to preserve for yourself or your family in the future. Likewise, if you feel like you don’t really have a way with words, a photograph with a short-and-sweet caption might be more your style. If you’d love to start documenting your life but aren’t sure where to start, you’re in luck because the internet has countless resources to give you a starting point.

If you think you’d prefer to use words to tell your story, head over and download Kristin’s free Currently list card, which you can fill out as often or as infrequently as you’d like in order to capture what is happening in your life at a given moment. Want to go into more detail with your storytelling, but can’t think of any specific stories to tell? My journal prompt collection has over 400 prompts to get you started, with fill in the blank questions like “When I hear the word adventure, I feel…” as well as list prompts like “Last 5 people I’ve hugged.” You can also check out the 30 Days of Lists challenge, which typically runs in March and September (sometimes also in December), where you can share your responses to 30 different list prompts with a community of other life-documentors. Prefer to focus on the photos rather than the words? Check out Capture Your 365 for a daily idea of something to photograph. Fat Mum Slim’s photo-a-day challenge provides a similar resource. Check out the hashtags #cy365 or #fmsphotoaday on Instagram to see how others are participating in these challenges!

Myth #4: You have to have a good camera or there’s no point in memory keeping.

Friends? There are SO. MANY. MEMORY KEEPERS. who use only their phone to capture photos. Personally, my camera is at least 8 years old, is far from fancy, and rarely sees the light of day. I use my iPhone for everything. That being said, even if you don’t have a phone with a camera, there are no rules about the level of photography quality required in order to be a memory keeper. Repeat after me: There are no memory keeping police. There’s a quote (that I believe is attributed to this iPhone photography book by Chase Jarvis, though I’m not sure if he was the first to actually say it) that says “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” Take this to heart, folks. Sure, good pictures are better than bad pictures, but bad pictures are better than no pictures. And even if you have no access to a camera at all, you can still be a memory keeper without ever taking a single photograph. (See myth #3 again in case you’ve forgotten!) Even scrapbookers sometimes create photo-less pages. Check out this great post from SuzyQScraps for some examples!

Myth #5: Memory keeping is expensive.

There is some truth behind this myth. Memory keeping CAN be expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. If you have access to a piece of paper and a writing utensil, you have all you technically need to document your memories. From there, it can be as affordable or as expensive as you choose to let it become. It can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole in a scrapbook aisle and walk away having spent enough money to empty your bank account. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, fall down a different rabbit hole on Pinterest, search for “free scrapbook printables,” and come away with more freebies than you could ever know what to do with!

Print them at home, save them on a flash drive and take them to your local print shop, or even just use them to document your memories digitally using an image editing software program. If you have a little bit of spending money to spare, by all means, have some fun buying a new art journal, some letter stickers, some pretty paper, or a new camera. But know that all of this is optional. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses in the memory keeping world, because you’re documenting YOUR life, not theirs! When Anne Frank was writing in her diary, I highly doubt she was worried that the events she was recording on paper weren’t surrounded by enough glittery stickers and flower embellishments. Remember, it’s the stories and the memories that matter most, not the way you choose to record them.

So, what do you think? Have you been convinced that maybe memory keeping is a better fit for you than you originally thought? Do you still have some skepticism, or questions about how to tackle a roadblock that’s keeping you from documenting your stories? Let’s talk about it in the comments! Want to check out how I document the everyday moments that make up life as a whole? Take a look at my Project Life page gallery!

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Meg Woolston is a memory keeper, wanna-be world traveler, and pint-sized semi-nerd who blogs at Marmalade Mementos. Although a Michigander at heart, she currently lives in Washington D.C. with her husband where she works a day job in the nonprofit industry, but her true passion is helping others preserve their sweetest memories. Follow Meg on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, or check out her digital and printable scrapbook shop.

 

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(mentioned above in Myth 3)

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Last One Little Word NURTURE update

I’m spending this week saying good-bye to 2014 …. and so good-bye to my One Little Word: NURTURE.

I took Ali Edwards’ class last year, and updated my One Little Word album periodically. Not every month. But I still love the class. Later today I’ll post about my new word for the new year. (in case you missed it … earlier glimpses at my One Little Word album here in January and here in May)

I *still* have a bit of gaps to fill in. It’s on my to-do for later in January. I’ll probably take a full day to finish up NURTURE for 2014 and start the OLW album for 2015.

I’m not sure which month this project is from, but it is supposed to be a letter to yourself. I love the journaling projects so much. I like taking the time to write this all out to really see what I think about things.

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In the photo above you can see a bunch of blank pockets on the right. That will be filled with the November project, each pocket will hold a photo.

Not necessarily in this organization (but maybe), but here’s a look at the photos I am ordering. I’ll add a *tiny* bit of journaling to each one. For example, right side middle will say “I’m thankful for Sterling and Stone” … left side middle will say “I’m thankful for the week with Grandma”

Nurture November project

Backside of those pockets will be this …

These are all various ‘categories’ I wanted to nurture at the beginning of the year. I had these cards taped up on my wall for most of the year as a reminder.

The journaling of each card is more or less how I did (not great).

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The next page is this … another year-long journaling project but broken down by month instead of topic. As you can see there are blank spaces. I’m not 100% sure what I want to put in there. I’m *bad* at using ‘filler cards’ or other scrapbooky stuff strictly for decoration. I want to *try* but that’s why the pockets are still empty.

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That’s probably it. I think there was another December journaling project in the class, but I am just not feeling it. 2014 needs to be behind me, so the next page in this album will likely be the first OLW project for 2015! I’ll share soon!

What do you do for your One Little Word?

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December album (progress)

I love Ali Edwards’ December Daily project and I love making the holiday season *special* by giving it its own album.

My December album is only barely started, but I thought you might like to see the so-far progress.

Just a reminder, I am NOT doing a daily album. My husband and I barely saw each other in December, we didn’t even put up any decorations at all. We didn’t even watch any Christmas movies until December 23, so the *daily* aspect wasn’t really working.

“Title” page. Notice that I’m still missing a family photo. I have a big order of photos to order this weekend to fill in these gaps.

The 2014 I made pretty easily in Photoshop. It’s the Tw Cen MT Ultra typeface that is in my Lemon and Raspberry logo.

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First spread will be about #HPDec (I still need to add the journaling). I *love* this new edition of HP books and I love these photos and I love Kristin’s HP journaling cards!

Harry Potter + Mint M&Ms is basically the best way to begin the holiday season.

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Next spread will include a 4×6 journaling card (not yet there) about our lack-of-holiday decor. We pulled it all out on November 28, and put the wreath on the front door (next photo) …. and that is literally it. I want to write all about it so I gave myself plenty of room.

The photo of the tinsely trees (with Fang smelling them) is a 5×7 with holes punched directly in it. No page protectors.

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The picture of our front door is (again) the only holiday decor we put up.

I’m going to add a little bit of journaling on top of the other photos — the top 2 of lovely fall-ish leaves, the bottom 4×6 is of my husband’s recording studio which *officially* opened for clients in December. (yea, he’s kind of amazing. I’m so proud)

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This next spread is …. I’m not 100% sure what I want to put in these 3×4 pockets, but I do love the coffee stamp from Kellie Stamps. The 4×6 photos are from a weekday morning when I went with my mother-in-law to help her pick out her Christmas tree. Family tradition.

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This is the next spread…. the left side is mostly set (without journaling), but more photos and journaling will likely go before the right side (with the card numbered 13).

Number stamps, “watching” stamp and gold ink are from rukristin papercrafts. Washi tape is Freckled Fawn.

December  012

I’ve got much more to add — a Starbucks sleeve that you can probably see peaking out, a receipt from my husband’s work Christmas party, holiday cards, wrapping paper and some other stuff.

I’m hoping to get the rest of the book finished in the next couple weeks (I’ll take it through December 29 when we got to see Andrew’s brother from Chicago).

If you’re interested, you can check out this earlier post for more supplies and links.

I’d love to see a link to your December album, if you want to leave a link!

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Completed album: Week in the Life 2014

I feel like I need to do a victory lap!! Last week I finished my Week in the Life 2014 album. Not only is this my first completed memory keeping project for 2014, but it’s my only completed WitL album (I recorded stories for WitL 2011 and they’re still on my harddrive).

Kristin’s prep post is what inspired me to do the project at all (and grab the kit). I’m not really a kit kind of girl (there’s a ton of product from this kit that I didn’t use)

That said, I almost certainly would not have completed it if I had not bought the kit from Ali Edwards — partly because I then had all the supplies, but also as an accountability thing. Couldn’t let that money go to waste, right?

(note: all credit and trademark for the project belongs to Ali Edwards. Totally her idea. She’s brilliant)

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Here is a look at my Week in the Life 2014 album. Not all the pages. Maybe not even most of them. But plenty to give you an idea of what the book looks like!

I got the gold album, and painted the chipboard numbers gold (Andrew loves gold). I don’t think I did anything too fancy that would require explanation but be sure to leave a comment if there are any questions.

Cover pocket page 100% inspired by stolen from Annette Haring.

witl  001 witl  002 witl  003 witl  004 witl  005 witl  006 witl  007 witl  008 witl  009 witl  010 witl  011 witl  012 witl  013 witl  014 witl  015 witl  016 witl  017 witl  018 witl  019 witl  020 witl  021

Supplies:

My WitL Pinterest board is here — if you have blogged about your completed WitL leave a link in the comments! I’d love to see.

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Coming soon: January Reset project

I love the new year. I love the fresh start. I love the annual feeling of resetting. Yes, you can absolutely set new goals at any time of the year, but I love the special-ness of re-evaluating at the same time every year.

So this January I am starting something new — the January Reset project — and you are 100% invited to join me!

January Reset

 You don’t *need* anything specific to join me — but this is what I am using:

Supplies pictured:

You will LOVE the kit that Allie and I are releasing. You don’t *need* it to participate, though. No worries.

We’ll be launching the digital kit on January 1 (at my blog party) and I will be posting throughout the month of January.

Can’t wait!

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What I’m working on this week

Working for myself means I get to decide what project I want to work on when — AND IT IS THE BEST. Just the other day, I tweeted about how reading Harry Potter totally counts as work for me this month.* Depending on what kind of blog content I have planned, I may need to be reading a non-fiction book for a review or working on a memory keeping project. I can be watching a video series on how to build my email list or reading a novel to provide edits to the author or journaling about when we bought our home for an example for a new product.

It’s the best.

This month is a combination of finishing projects started earlier this year and getting ready to start 2015 with a bang. Here’s what I’m working on this week, a look into what my to do list looks like ….

Editing my novel, working title Academy of Secrets

novel writing and editing

This will be my first completed and published novel (!). I would like to send it to my first round of beta readers this week (or, really, last week), so this is going to be the biggest chunk of my week. Throughout 2014 I dedicated A LOT of time to writing fiction, spent a lot of money on it and didn’t earn a penny. 2015 is going to be the opposite, hopefully, but the first thing to do is finish this novel. Tentative release the beginning of March. Sign-up here for first news!

Week in the Life album

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This is the first memory keeping project I actually have attempted in 2014 and I really want to finish putting it together before the end of the year (especially considering the last time I did this project was 2011, and all those photos and journaling are still sitting on my harddrive). I have everything I need to finish, I just need to sit down and do it.

December Daily album

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I love the holiday season and I love the idea of doing a December album, but if I don’t keep up with it semi-regularly I will never do it. So this week I am editing photos from last week and getting them printed. I’ll fill in some journaling and embellishments as I go. Little by little.

30 Days of Lists

To be honest, most of the WORK work is done for #30Lists. Which means I get to just spend some time in the Facebook group with the participants and keep 1 eye on email just in case. SUCH a fun project!

Blog party posts

January 1 will see 24 blog posts in 24 hours. That’s many weeks’ of content for Lemon and Raspberry, so I need to get started early. I begin with revisiting what I have done in the past (some post topics are great to use year after year), and then also brainstorm a bunch of more topics I could write about. I usually have about 30-40 post ideas ready and narrow them down to 24 by December 30 or 31.

Previous years I have spent most of the day December 31 (and even the morning of January 1) writing blog posts and I definitely don’t want to do that again! The earlier I start the better!

(I’m also accepting guest posts if you think you’d be a good fit!)

What are you working on this week?

*If you’re wondering how I am justifying that, remember that I am helping lead the Harry Potter book club, remember that I am launching a fiction-writing career. And every person in the Harry Potter book club is a super-passionate reader. What better way to find potential readers for my own books than get in front of and make friends with these readers? Therefore reading Harry Potter = marketing!

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Preparing for December Daily

December 1 is in a couple weeks! I bet you have all sorts of plans already, right? I will be participating in Ali Edwards’s December Daily project …. kind of.

I’ve used Blurb for my December Daily books in the past and I love those. Last year I combined #30Lists with DecDaily in a 6×8 Snap Album and loved that change too.

…. With a couple caveats.

I’ve heard people say December Daily is like a crescendo to Christmas Day, and so don’t want to include the 26 through New Year’s Eve, but for me it’s very different.

I know I’ve mentioned this once or twice, but Andrew works A LOT. A LOT. Like he will have November 28 off (hopefully) and then not another day of until Christmas. But, basically that means that our holiday seasons these last couple years have been anemic. The bare minimum of festive. Until Christmas Day when his boss goes out of town, and we can actually celebrate with family and things.

So, this year I am doing a December album (not daily), to capture the holiday fun stuff that we DO do, and carry it through the end of the month (because we are spending the weekend after Christmas with my family).

I am ALSO doing 30 Days of Lists in December, but it will be a different album altogether. Register for the challenge to see how I’m doing it.

My December album preparation:

I have no plan. I gathered some favorite, color-coordinating Christmas and daily supplies and I’m just going to go with it.

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There is a 6×8 page protector in the front that will be the title page, and then this 4-pocket 3×4 page. I like leaving title pages for halfway through I’m done making the album. I like to wait and see how it’s shaping up to make sure the title page matches.

But this gives you an idea — easy accent cards. Photos. Journaling.

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I’m really (really really) excited to attempt this project without a specified framework of SOMETHING every day. I think I would never finish if I tried to force myself into that kind of workload.

Last year I had a plan. This year I’m just going to see how it goes …

Supplies:

Are you planning on doing a December album?

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Storytelling tip: Regular photos from the same angle

Last week I participated in Ali Edwards’s Week in the Life project. I have exactly the kind of life structure that discourages people from taking part in these kind of memory keeping challenges: No kids, no photogenic house, no special activities planned. I work from home almost completely on my computer, so photos of my days are all the same.

But, that has never stopped me before.

Instead, I focused on the small changes in the everyday things.

My new favorite technique that I stumbled on last week — taking the same photo from the same angle on different days.

photography tip for storytelling

I set the camera on Andrew’s side of the bed, to get a wide shot. Reading every day is a priority for me, so I always (always) have at least a few minutes in bed every night. I’m so grateful that I thought about getting these shots of our/my nightly routine.

These are from Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I didn’t get a photo every day last week, but even in these three I can see changes that tell the story of our week:

In the top photo you’ve probably noticed I’m not wearing pants, but in the bottom photo I’m under the covers. The week of Halloween is usually the time of year the weather changes around here.

In the same vein, in the top two photos you can (kind of) see the floor fan on my side of the bed. By Friday I had put it away for the winter.

In the top photo I’m lying down; in the bottom I’m sitting up. I spent a lot more time reading in bed Friday night (hiding from trick or treaters).

Andrew is only in the middle photo. On Tuesday night he was with his mixing engineer working on a project; on Friday night he was recording 3 songs with a band (overnight).

I’m reading the same book in the top and bottom photos (and its on the nightstand out of view in the middle). It’s a long, overly detailed biography so I’ll be working on it another week probably.

My nightstand and bedside lamp have been “temporary” for years. Maybe one day I’ll take the time to go find stuff I like.

These are just the stories I notice off the top of my head from these images — maybe you notice other ones. I’m excited to include these as a kind of recurring theme in my WitL album! My goal is to get that album put together and finished by the end of the month. It will be my first memory keeping project finished so far in 2014 and I’m so excited.

P.S. I think I took a similar photo Sunday night, too!

What’s your best (easy) storytelling tip?

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