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Life | England Trip

EnglandCollage

The month of April took the ever lovin wind out of me you guys. Holy crap.

I spent two weeks with boyfriendman driving all over England (and part of Wales), never staying in one place for more than two days. It was lovely, amazing, and super exhausting! Seeing Chatsworth, the outside of Highclere (Downton Abbey), and Jane Austen’s house were major highlights for me. My love for Seattle runs deep, but I still found myself not ready to go home yet. I already can’t wait to go back.

After arriving home, I had exactly two full days here before leaving for a work trip in Portland for six days. During then, I got some awesome news that I’ll probably share here at some point, but it’s still pretty new and I can be weird about posting things on the internet. (It involves music, not scrapbooking, I’ll say that at least!)

So in a nutshell, I have not been able to craft or concentrate on blogging for the last few weeks, but I have been Project Lifeing up a storm the last few days…YAY FINALLY!

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Life | Recently Read #1

Recently Read

I made a goal to read 50 books this year, because my To Read list is only just going to keep getting bigger if I don’t. (Though that’s not really a bad thing) I love hearing what other people have to say about books they’ve read, so I thought I’d start doing a monthly recap of mine here. And geez, I managed to pack in a lot of reading in March!

• Texts From Jane Eyre – Mallory Ortberg

Holy crap you guys, this book is HILARIOUS. I actually made audible laugh noises while reading it, which is something I rarely do with humorous books. (Weird maybe?) I borrowed this from the library, and now I want a personal copy just so I can giggle at it again later. My only gripe is that I want it to be so much longer.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. – Viv Albertine

You know the kind of book that you want to devour and savor at the same time, and then want to hug after you’re done? This book was that to me, and I predict it will be my favorite read of 2015. The Slits were a band way before my time (and one that I knew nothing of before reading this), but Viv Albertine covers her punk-era London to modern day housewife life with such grace and openness. If you enjoyed “Just Kids” by Patti Smith, or any good memoir or music bio, then this is a must read.

Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham

Okay, I have to confess first that I have never seen any of Lena Dunham’s film or tv work. This book has been popping up everywhere though, so I borrowed it to see what all the fuss was about. It was a quick read, and Lena definitely has a gift for writing, so I enjoyed it a lot in that aspect. I know it’s not her fault she’s spoiled (my opinion), but the girl just feels like a hot mess to me. I couldn’t find anything to identify with here, and the sister thing definitely weirded me out. Women telling their stories is always a good thing though, so I’ve got to give props for her honesty.

The Girl Who Came Home – Hazel Gaynor

Historical fiction that revolves around the sinking of the Titanic and its 70th anniversary in 1982. I’m fascinated by the Titanic, but this was a sluggish read for me. I picked up the pace once it got into the ship sinking, but as soon as it would flip back to the modern day part, I felt myself sigh inwardly. The romantic element to the 80’s era protagonist was SO unnecessary and forced! I did get a touch watery-eyed in some places with this book though.

Arranged – Catherine McKenzie

Girl in her early 30’s goes through break-up. Feels frustrated over her string of failed relationships. Signs up for an arranged marriage service. This one was just interesting enough to get me through it pretty quickly, but some parts of it felt a bit cheesy and rushed. Enjoyable, but mindless, read.

Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosh

READ ALL THE THINGS! I’m a fan of Allie’s website, so was excited to dig into this one. Definitely a fun book, though it does feature some already published stories from her blog.

 

Phew! Hope I can keep up this pace! Have you read of any these? What were your thoughts?

FYI – book links in this post are Amazon affiliate

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Life | My 2015 Scrapbook/Project Life Plan

2015 Album Opening Title Page | Blackbird Darlin

The past year has been a bit of an experiment. After a few years of feeling lackluster about making 12×12 layouts (to the point I was only making cards), I finally hit a creative stride in 2014 with using smaller formats – both 8×8 and 6×8.

My 2014 album is a mess though! Lots of unfinished pocket pages due to spontaneously adding those in in the middle of the year, and not really having a plan or organization method for them.

Since that is the kind of thing that drives me mad, I needed to make a few changes this year, so here’s my M.O. for 2015:

2015 Album Plan | Blackbird Darlin

1) Prep Album

This means doing the following:

  • Buy an album – okay, this is obvious, but I went forever last year needing one and delaying purchasing it because I wanted to buy prettier things instead. (DOH!)
  • Have enough pocket page protectors on hand for Project Life pages – because this is the equivalent of running out of adhesive when you’re ready to make a layout. The. Worst.
  • Punch necessary holes in Simple Stories protectors to fit in my We R Memory Keepers 8×8 album – since I’m mixing brands and sizes of protectors, I have to punch a few extra holes into my Simple Stories 6×8 pages to fit in my album. Just an ordinary 3 hole punch (that I’ve adjusted the holes in) does the trick, but doing this beforehand means I get it sorted in the album faster.
  • Make album title page in advance – because I’m terrible about doing this, and it instantly makes everything feel more cohesive. But hey! Done! See first photo!

2015 Album Plan | Blackbird Darlin

2) Use File Folders To Collect Memorabilia And Photos

Oooo, I found out real quick that this is a must for pocket pages. I don’t always work in chronological order, but my pages are arranged that way. And since I’m sporadic about WHEN I’m making stuff, it’s a lifesaver to have all the random bits (tickets, magazine pages, etc) that I want to include already sorted. I separate everything by month, because the traditional PL weekly format would never work for me.

Previously, I was just throwing printed photos and everything else into a plastic bin with no rhyme or reason. YIPES. Not productive!

2015 Project Life Plan | Blackbird Darlin

3) Edit Photos On Phone And Add To Collect App

For reasons that I don’t understand, I LOATHE editing photos on my computer, but enjoy doing it with apps on my phone. So I’ve decided to just run with that. So many of my photos end up being square (cause I love them that way!), so the majority of my photos are going to be added to the Collect app after editing, and then printed with my Canon Selphy. I love having the date automatically on the photo, it makes it sooooo much faster for me to plan where it goes! And the Polaroid style bottom is great for leaving blank, journaling on, or adding a strip of washi tape.

Since my Selphy doesn’t print true 3×4 photos, I’ll still be matting them on cardstock or patterned paper to fit the pockets since that is the kind of thing that drives me crazy. Photos that I really love or have a bigger story will be printed in larger sizes (not through Collect) and made in layout form…cause those are still more fun for me to make :)

I also plan on upgrading my phone this year, since that’s how most of my photos are taken – my iPhone 4 with only 8GB of memory is barely cutting it at this point, eesh.

 

We’re over halfway through January, and I’m already loving this method so far. YAY! How about you? Does the idea of planning your crafting stress you out, or does it make you more productive? (I love reading what others are doing!)

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Life | Blog Hop – My Creative Process

Layouts in progress

Today, I will be giving you a little peek into my creative life. (How juicy!) I was invited by Tisha at Tisha’s Scrappy Heart and Emily at Mrs. Crafty Adams to join in on this lovely blog hop, and couldn’t resist giving it a go. They shared their answers to the following questions last week, so here are mine:

1) What am I working on right now?

The above layouts (who knows when they will finally come into fruition), and a bunch of June/July Project Life pages. I have SO MANY travel photos this year, so the pocket page format is going to be pretty popular for my 2014!

Timer

2) How long does it take me to complete a project?

It usually takes a full hour for me to get a layout to completion, though I always leave the journaling for last, and sometimes that doesn’t happen til days (or months) later. If I don’t like how a layout is going, or if I’m stuck, then they just sit…and sit…and sit.

I spend longer on pocket pages because my brain doesn’t work around that format as quickly yet, and I think cards usually take me about half an hour to do, though I’ve never really paid attention to how long I spend on those!

Fave products

3) What are my fave things to create with at the moment?

6×6 paper pads and ephemera packs…especially ones from Crate Paper. *Homer Simpson drool* I’m also pretty addicted to roller phrase stamps. ALL THE PRETTY THINGS, I WANT THEM.

Writing pens

4) How does my creating and writing process work?

I don’t really work chronologically, but I often want to use more recent happenings. Normally, it’s photos that start the project, but sometimes it’s product that gets me going! I decide on placement of the photo(s) after I’ve selected the paper I want to use, then figure out title and journaling spot placement. Embellishments come last, and they’re always pretty minimal.

There’s no real process to my writing…it tends to be an afterthought, and I hate writing long journaling. Which probably wouldn’t be an issue if I didn’t hand journal so much.

Oh, and there must be music, a podcast, or Netflix happening in the background, or I can’t function. AT ALL. Silence is not golden for me, it’s a nightmare.

Traveling in color

5) What inspires me?

Some days, it feels like everything is inspiring, but I can always count on: blogs, my Pinterest boards, color (mint and gold especially right now), stationery shops, Instagram, craft and fashion magazines, traveling, rain, Seattle.

Annnnnnd to conclude this little Q&A session, here are three other blogs I think you should check out for more paper inspiration!

Pine and Plum – Love Carson’s bright and colorful style, and her watercolor experimenting makes me want to give it a shot too

Create Mess – Carlie makes me want to relax a bit on my clean and organized way of making, and she’s got lots of process videos on YouTube

Betwixt and Between – Aimee has such beautiful photos, layouts, and Project Life pages

Now, what about you? Do you see yourself in any of these answers, or are you a whole different kit and kaboodle? :)

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Life | The Leisure List

The Leisure List | Blackbird Darlin

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these because life got a bit non-leisurely. It’s been home-sweet-home a lot lately though, so I’m FINALLY catching up on music releases and my towering book pile!

1) I recently celebrated a birthday, and am now the happy owner of a Canon Selphy, thanks to the lovely boyfriend man. (YAY!) My biggest issue with Project Life pages and layouts is the frustration of uploading and then waiting for photo orders to get to me, so the instant gratification of this printer is already sweet. Also, I can’t get over how tiny and cute it is.

2) Did any of you have an Etsy Craft Party happening near you on June 6? I went to the one here in Seattle, and had a fabulous time playing with vintage photos, hanging with other crafty ladies (like Melissa) and drooling over the bins of washi that were set out for our crafty use. Definitely want to make this a tradition now!

3) So, my favorite band released a new album recently, (I can’t bring myself to post the album artwork cause it makes me cross-eyed) and that’s a super YAY! Still feeling it out a bit though…not a top favorite, but The Black Keys really can do no wrong with me, ever. (“Weight of Love” has been repeated an embarrassing number of times at this point)

4) I was only a chapter in of “Spin” by Catherine McKenzie before I wanted to knock some sense into this character…I couldn’t fathom doing what she did over the chance of a job like that, but that’s where the story comes from. I think her immaturity might continue to annoy me a bit, but I got totally sucked in to this book, and have been up waaay past bedtime to continue with it.

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