Thursday, July 31, 2014

Spreading the JOY in the Lily Pad Guest House!

I can say, without a doubt, August is going to be a GREAT JOY-full! month for ForeverJoy Fans and Newsletter Subscribers! There will be fresh new designs almost every Friday in my Lily Pad Guest Shoppe- starting with these THREE NEW PRODUCTS I have in the BYOC - and all are available at 20% off through the weekend:

artwork by iowan
artwork by jaqueline

artwork by motherbear
artwork by ellent
artwork by roxananamdm

artwork by mullemaus
artwork by marnel

artwork by sunflowersbaby
artwork by carolinascrapper

    Now, I' ll let you in on a little secret! There is a hidden Subscriber Sale available today thru Sunday night at midnight EST- and you can enjoy 50% off the ForeverJoy BYOC DANDELION DAYS Collection! Each piece is also available separately at 20% off thru the weekend as part of the BYOC sale! Not yet a subscriber? You know what to do! 
    Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive sales, promotions and a little gift every now and then! 
    Remember what I said about subscribers enjoying a gift every once in awhile? Well, here's one that is going out over the weekend! There was so much love for the July desktop- I just had to make one for August!

    Finallyeach Wednesday in August starting August 6th you will find FOUR ForeverJoy Faves exclusively at The Lily Pad for 50% off in the SOSN category! I told you! GOOD STUFF!  You can stay connected with all the hoopla by subscribing to my Blog, watching the ForeverJoy Fan Page or checking your inbox for your newsletter updates! 
    I hope to see you at my "Guest Pad" this month!

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    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    Slowing Down to Speed Up

    Sometimes you don't realize how much you don't know until you start learning something new. I like to think I'm kind of up on all things scrappy, and in tune with trends in graphic design. After all, it's a big part of how we pay the bills around here! And for about a year straight, on an almost weekly basis, I have been designing non-stop. But, for the month of July, I had to take a break from my regular work flow- for a few reasons beyond my control- and that was scary for many reasons including how it would affect my workflow. But I knew there were a few things I wanted to change at work- and change only happens by going outside your comfort zone.  You can't hope for different results by doing the same thing, over and over again, right? I think that's actually a definition of insanity- doing the same thing, over and over but expecting a different result! A funny thing happened when I took a break- by slowing down- I was actually able to move forward!

    Here are 5 ways I slowed down in July:

    I lost about 20 pounds. Of scrapbooking supplies. I revamped my craft room. I had made the move form my pretty but-too-little wood desk to the ugly-but-so-practical folding table in June. Having more space made such a positive change in my workflow that I knew I needed to push reworking my craft space a little further. I got a few pieces of furniture- like a much more comfortable chair and a neat little cart to corral and organize my supplies- but most importantly- I purged a lot of supplies I no longer liked. Papers that I bought in mega bundles about 5 years ago because they were on sale, tons of decorative scissors, ink pads and pens that were long dried up- punch outs that no longer fit my style- all of it went in a box and was sent over to my sisters 4th grade classroom as rainy day art supplies. The benefit was two fold- I got more space- and released myself from the guilt of having supplies I didn't use. It was like a silent albatross- an unspoken scolding of "look at all you have here and are not using"... Now my room has only things I really love- and that has had a great positive impact on my time crafting.

    I went back to school. I signed up for a few online classes including Process at Big Picture Scrapbooking. No matter how well you think you know something- there is always something new to learn. I think that helps keep you creatively fresh. Refresher classes on design theory, new classes in Illustrator- I feel like I have sharpened my focus a bit- and I have learned a few new pony tricks! I can't wait to share them with you over the next few months!

    I have tried new positions. In scrapbooking. I have worked to make pocket scrapping a part of my memory keeping process- and have to say, its been a mental workout to work "inside the lines" of pocket pages. But I like the result and the way  it's broadened how I tell our everyday stories beyond the 12x12 and mini books I usually do. I have also added QR codes to my pages- and that has definitely amped to "cool factor" of my layouts in my kids eyes! 

    Using QR codes is super simple and allows you to link videos to your scrap pages! I simply made a personal channel on YouTube, uploaded my video to that channel on an "unlisted" setting, then copied the URL for the video into a QR Generator like this one. Then I printed out the code and put it on may page. You can download QR scanners on your smart phone for free! The results were so cool, it has made me more conscious to take videos with my smartphone because now I have a really easy way to share them! 

    I have been following people. In a non-criminal way. I have made my blog reading much more streamlines with Feedly and Blog Lovin' readers. I enjoy reading my feed each morning with my cuppa coffee so much more than listening to the world news. Actually, I wont even tune into the news until about noon- because it's just a bummer anyway. And I've been gallery watching as well- I think creativity is contagious- and seeing others make pretty things makes me want to do the same! 

    I have gotten back to my roots. I have been scrapping like crazy this month! And I believe this will only translate positively to my designs. I needed to get back to the basics of scrapping to reconnect with what makes for the best ingredients in a page kit. Sometimes the littlest bits and pieces can make for the most useful when creating a layout. 

    Taking a break was just what I needed to move forward!  I have so many new designs to share with you over the next few weeks exclusively in my August Guest Shoppe (stay tuned!) And- because there was so much fan mail for the July desktop I shared with you last month- I have designed another one for the month of August! 

    Just sign up for the ForeverJoy newsletter- and you will receive  yours starting August 1.  In addition to getting this little gift, newsletter subscribers receive exclusive discounts and promotions- so, it's really a no-lose way to stay in touch!  

    I'll be back later this week with my first new release- and news of my Guest House address!

    See you then-

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    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    Project Life | Finding Workflow

    I have not given up on my Project Life Rehab efforts-(in case you missed my earlier post about jumping back on the wagon- you can read it here)  In trying to make it work for me- I've been playing close attention to the things that seem to stumble me. The first- and largest hurdle I seem to face is where to get started.  I usually order my prints in big batches when there is a sale at one of the online printing shops.  That means when I sit down to do my pocket pages, I am faced with a big envelope of about 300 photos. I'm like a deer in the headlights.  Where to start?

    DIVIDE AND CONQUER: I have found a very powerful tool to help with this- and its one that is probably inches away from you right now.  A paper clip.  I have found if I just break up the piles of photos into little segments- and clip them together, now instead of 300 photos, I have a pile of 30 stories I want to tell.  And while doing this, If I come across a few super star photos that I want to dedicate a traditional layout to, I put them in a pile all of their own. 

    PICK AND CHOOSE: These Project Life groups will usually contain about 10 photos to choose from. I like the look of a few photos and a few cards mixed in, so I try to narrow the number of photos down to between 5-7.  It means being a little ruthless, but once I toss a photo from the pile- there's no looking back. We must weed before we can plant something beautiful, right? Then, with the photos chosen, I go through my stash and pull out the cards I'd like to work with.  I just randomly choose whatever catches my eye.  Most times I use less that half of these goodies- but if gives my a narrower number of choices than looking at my whole supply box.

    PHOTOS FIRST: The next step for me is to figure where I'd like my photos to go. I like to see which order and flow makes the most sense in telling my story- and which works best in an aesthetic way. The story may not be told chronologically- but it's told in a way that flows.  After this is done, I can see which i cards I will need in the layout-

    PLAY AROUND: Now is the time I decide if I need to print out some things from my computer- journal blocks, digital elements or cut files. I also see if there are certain pretties I'd like to make for the page.  On this layout I wanted to use a bit of gold beacuse it was a Saint Paddy's Day story- and, well, these days I am crushing BIG TIME on gold accents. I have some awesome paint I picked up from the craft store- and I just love using it to pimp up my ellies- 

    PRETTY THINGS UP: Next, I do a little shopping in my stash for ways to pretty things up. I have come to realize the elements I love for my traditional layouts are not always the same as the ones I like to use on my pocket pages.  This is something you really can't figure out until you start to make pocket pages on a regular basis. One my current Pocket Wish List: Alpha stickers, wood veneers, cut files, and clean styled elements. And, I have come to see my journaling as an embellishment of its own.  It really adds a lot to the pages visually.  Sometimes I type the journaling, sometimes I write it out by hand. * I have come to love my Project Life Pen set because it offers 3 sizes. I am currently hunting for the ultimate white pen. If you have any recommendations- I'd LOVE to hear them! 

    Here's a peek at the process again- gather, sort arrange. Then pretty it all up!

    Below is a page I made using nothing but Photos, Project Life cards,Alpha stickers and elements from my Model Behavior Page kit cut out. It just goes to show that you don't need a lot for the pages to come together! 

    DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE: Now that I've found my flow, my pages have been coming together easier, but- and this is the biggest truth I've learned to embrace for myself:  Pocket Pages DO NOT come together quickly for me. I cant just throw photos and cards down like a game of Slap Jack and be happy with the result. Maybe that will come in time, but I'm not there.  I  don't approach making a few pages thinking "this will be quick".  If I did that, I would be very discouraged. I would say a Pocket Page for me takes about the same time as a traditional scrapbooking layout. I can also say that a completed Pocket Page makes me as happy as a a completed 12x12 page. And I just LOVE seeing the pocket album grow!

    Hope this gives you a little inspiration and motivation to keep stuffing your pockets! And I'd love to hear any tips and tricks you have!

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    Thursday, July 10, 2014

    We have a Winner Folks! | Red White Blue Challenge!

    I really enjoyed the Red White and Blue Challenge- not only seeing the awesomeness the Creative team put together- and packing it all up in the E-Zine- but seeing the beautiful work of the"Joyful Scrappers".  Seeing my designs in action is a feeling of *wow* I don't think I'll ever get over- so to everyone who played along and cheered us on- thank you!

    I ran the entries through a Random Generator- and Lor was chosen as the winner of the Challenge! Lor, send me an email at and I'll get you all set with your prize!

    Thank you so much for the inspiration and the coupon; I couldn't resist!!! I had to play along, and her is a link to my:

    Pinterest Post:

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    Wednesday, July 09, 2014

    Around Here | Rooftop Views

    I just uploaded and ordered my photos from the holiday weekend and I always love reliving the happy moments-but I have to say, going through the photos made me a little home sick.  Right now, I live in a sweet New York suburb that is a just 23 minute train ride from the city- but most times, that life seems a forever away. I have a pool and a lilac tree and a beautiful little garden that can easily make me forget city life- and most times I embrace that. But sometimes, especially after visiting my family in Brooklyn, I miss it. A lot.  Growing up in downtown Brooklyn the Manhattan Skyline was always in sight and our front lawn was the stoops of pre-war brownstones. There were always people around and a terrific meal was right around the corner. No cars needed- and no need to mind the time.

    Many times after coming in a little late in the am- my sister and I would call in an order for a way-past-midnight snack. 3 am deliveries were not a problem- whether it was sushi - burgers or Greek food. I miss the history of the area- the old architecture- the charm. There was one carriage house in particular that always caught my wonder- (I'll have to take a photo for you)- that has the Underground Railroad running right underneath it! The first battle of the Revolutionary War took place in my neighborhood- and it's always pretty neat thinking about this during the Fourth of July fireworks.  Could George Washington ever had imagined this skyline that grew in the footprints of his battle? Love it. 

    I could write for hours about my love for my old neighborhood- and probably get myself in trouble detailing a few antics of my younger years. (My mom does read this blog once and again- and I don't think I'll ever be too old to get in trouble lol!) I can share with you a crush I had on the local beat cop whose post was just around the corner from where I lived. It took a few years- but I finally got the cutie to go out with me- and yep, we fell in love and got married. My favorite part about this story is that my mom and dad also met around the corner from each other just two blocks over.  Gotta love this place.

    Anyway, I wanted to let you see a bit of this past weekend through my eyes- 

    The neighborhood is always crazy bustle during the Fourth of July because the views of the Macy's Fireworks are just spectacular! Come 4pm- there were close to a thousand police officers and the streets were closed to traffic. Luckily, we were on a rooftop- away from the crowds, enjoying a barbecue with the family. The rain let up and the breeze was delightful. I love being on top of the world on "Tar Beach"- that's what we called the roof growing up! Our backyard was 6 stories up!

    Perhaps the best part of the day was that I got a photo of the 4 of us all together- that NEVER happens!
    Hope you had a great weekend too- and got to enjoy a your piece of home- no matter the size :)

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    Wednesday, July 02, 2014

    It's Red White and Blue Sale Time!

    THREE CHEERS for the Red White and Blue!!! It's Fourth of July Weekend and the BBQs, flip flops, sparklers and watermelon are ready to go! Of course, there had to be a SALE celebration at the ForeverJoy Shoppe- but I thought it would also be fun to have a little Red White and Blue throw down as well! It all started when I gave the ForeverJoy Creative Team a challenge: *create a layout using red white and/or blue - in any combination- and share a few tricks and tips with us about your process. 

    There were some beautiful classic RWB pages- and a few more- not-so-typical takes on the them- take a look here:


    So- now the fireworks begin! I'm throwing it back to you- here's the challenge: 

    • Stick with the Color Challenge
    • Use only ForeverJoy Products (other templates are fine)
    • Post to Instagram and/or Pinterest
    • Use ALL the hashtags
    • Link your layout posts back here in this Post
    • Last day to post: July 9 11:59pm EST

    Whether you unplug with the family, play along with the challenge, just flip through the ForeverJoy-FULL E-zine for some inspiration or do a little shopping in the ForeverJoy shoppe with the promo code- I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend! 

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    Thursday, June 26, 2014

    PROJECT LIFE | On the Road to Recovery

    So, I've taken the plunge and decide to give Project Life another go. I say "another go" because I fell in love with the idea of it all back in 2010- and began an album which pretty much ended in February of that year.  I came across the sad skeleton of that album a few weeks ago- and it kind of haunted me.  Not because I felt I had wasted supplies and money- (well, a little bit of that) - but really because I knew this was a great idea- and that maybe I had given up too easily on it. Recently, I have fallen in love with the beautiful pages made by Christine aka Listgirl and wanted to have this type of pretty in my albums- but was it possible?  I took a good look at what I had accomplished in the 2010 album, and worked to figure out why I dropped out- and if it there was anyway I could get back on track. Here's some truths I learned about me and Project Life:

    Why I stopped:  First, let me open this closet and show you a scary skeleton of mine: When I was in school, I was the type that would rip out a page in my notebook if it was "ugly".  Especially if it was a new notebook.  Control-Alt-Z did not exist in those days. Mistakes drove me bonkers.  Now, fast forward to 2010 and not-so school-aged me.  I started Project Life by defining it as Project 365.  I was going to take a photo a day! I had seen so many people do this- how hard could it be?  Well, I was a little lax in uploading and developing- and each day, I'd get analysis paralysis wondering which moments I should be taking my photo of. It was kind of stressful.  I kept up with it until February- but then missed a few days. The gap in dates bothered me.  Like, alot. But I couldn't rip out these pages and start over.  This wasn't fun for me. So I put the album away- and went happily back to my world of 12x12s and mini albums. 

    What I've learned: I am just not a 365 type.  I love the idea- but not the practice. I'm not even a weekly type.  I'm a free love hippie type of scrapper- and a rebel at heart. Blame 12 years of Catholic school for that. Don't fence me in with dates - because that's just not how I can work happily.  So, to make this Project Life work for me- I needed to change how I define it for myself.  I decided to approach it as a collection of everyday moments. A stream of everyday consciousness.

    Doing this is very different than making a 12x12 layout. At least for me.  When I decide to work on my PL pages, there needs to be a work flow- otherwise its very stop and go.  So, two weeks into this, here's a look at my process, which seems to work for now:

    I live in the past.  It's really overwhelming for me to try and stay current.  So, I don't. Right now, I'm working on my 2010 album and starting a 2014 album. I will put photos from one period on a page- front and back. This way, I can add to the book without being out of order. The two pages that face each other may be a few weeks apart- but that's OK for me. Working backwards lets me have a little perspective too, I can plan which products I'd like to use for my pages with a little more ease.

    I hunt: I collect my photos.  Right now, most come from my Ipad and phone- because that's what I usually have on hand everyday. I edit my photos on my Ipad with Pic-Tap-Go and Fotor.  I use Fotor if I want to make a collage or add type. I use Dropbox to automatically upload all photos I take.  I either print them right from my Ipad wirelessly out on my awesome Selphy  or, if there's a sale- I'll order them online. I have to say though, I'm getting spoiled printing stuff out myself. 

    And gather: Now, I see which photos I am going to use and how they relate. Most often, they are chronological. If I have 5 photos from a week- I will put them on a page.  But, I may focus a page on one event- or one theme or story.  It's OK for me to treat my pockets as a compartmentalized traditional layout. One I have my photos and the story I'd like to tell,  I choose which journal cards I'd like to use. 

    Most of my supplies were from 2010 Project Life, and really didn't match my tastes today. So, I splurged a little a bought 2 PL kits from the craft store- and this Hello, Hello PL kit from Studio Calico. I am new to kit clubs, but the forums and examples of what can be done with the products are really helpful to me- especially as I am working to find my style in pocket scrapping. Getting pretty new supplies was a great way for me to jump start this new project. Kind of like getting a cute new workout outfit before joining the gym! 

    I stalk people. Kind of.  When I first sat down with my pile of photos and pocket pages and supplies- I looked at the little grids and thought- um, now what? A 12x12 or mini book? No prob at all- but wrapping my mind around this format was hard.  I don't know why- but for me- it was a real shift in thinking about the story I wanted to tell.  So, I spent some time on Pinterest just looking at PL pages and seeing what I liked, and what I didn't. And slowly, my mind began to see how these pockets worked- and how important the journal cards were for transitioning, journaling and titling a page. 

    I give in to my Type A.  I know its been written time and again that it's very important to journal in your own hand- but truth be told- I have terrible handwriting. So, after I gather my photos, I open up a 3x4 or 4x6 template I've made on my computer and type away. It's neat and tidy and there's spell check. Gotta love spell check. I still incorporate some handwriting, but typing out journal blocks has really made things easier for me. 

    I do the Two-Step.  After I've typed out my journal blocks, I go up to my scrap room and start putting the photos and journal cards in pockets. I usually work on 2-4 pages at a time. Getting the photos and journaling into the pocket pages is Step One.  After that's done, I go back and pretty things up- with elements, stickers, pretties and cut files. I find doing it this way makes more sense for me because having the story drafted out on the page lets me get a clear picture of what I'd like to highlight, and what colors are trending on the pages.

    It's a process, but it's fun!  I really needed to embrace that pocket scrapping is different for me that traditional scrapping. The pages are going to be done in steps. There's just no getting around that. It can all be done in one night- though, I usually make my pages in two little sessions. It's not like doing a traditional page for me- which is very devil may care. This has to be planned a bit. But, once you do it 2-3 times, it gets a lot easier- and  the results of your efforts are like scrappers endorphins because it all looks so cool put together! Take a look at how different my pages look once I changed my way of approaching Project Life:

    BEFORE: Here's the last page of my abandoned project. I was so focused on "doing it right" and getting a photo everyday, then when I missed a few days, the whole thing fell apart.  Putting the pictures in date order took all the joy out of the process- and left me with no desire to pretty things up. 
    AFTER: Here's the same page reworked. Once I freed myself from thinking 365, I weeded out the photos that really didn't have a story but were put in just because they were taken on a certain date. My pages had a better flow.  These photos were all from February 2010, but are not in date order. I mixed a little handwriting with a lotta typed journaling- and- I learned from my Pinboard stalking that I like to mat smaller photos on the 3x4 journal cards- not all photos need to be 3x4 or 4x6.  And,  putting titles on the photos before printing them is a great way to date and title them. 
    I hope to spend a little time working on some pages with my new supplies- and new enthusiasm! I'll be back to let you know how it goes! Until then, have a wonderful weekend- and be sure to take time for yourself to make something pretty, no matter how you choose to do it!

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