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The Anti-Goals and Resolutions Post

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Lotus Flower
A couple of years ago I realized I could probably accomplish more of what I wanted to do if I would stop making goals. I haven’t made goals since (though I flirted with the idea for one day last November, then decided against it). And I was right. I’ve done more of what I truly wanted over the past two years than I ever did when I was making goals and resolutions.

Why I Don’t Think Goal-Making is All That Great

I was raised to be a goal-maker. I started goal-setting at a very early age and it was a systematic part of my life until the past two years. Here are the reasons why I’ve gone goal-less…

Passions Propel Us. Goals Do Not.
If you simply spend time doing the things you naturally love and have a passion for, you rarely need to try to get yourself to do them. Just start doing them and then your passion will move you along. And by the way, I also believe that we best serve the world when we do things we truly are most passionate about — not the things that others get us to think we should do.

The Sitting Position is a Poor Position for Determining What You Should Do with Your Life
I don’t know how many hours of my life has been in the sitting position with a pen and paper in hand while I decided what I wanted to do over the next three months or year or five years. Like most people, I’ve accomplished a very small percentage of those goals I spent so much time planning and writing down. On the other hand I have accomplished much of what I’ve wanted from my life simply because I do what I’m interested in without having to make lists about it. I would die happy and fulfilled today if my time came.

My best triumphs, accomplishments, and ideas happened because I was doing what I loved. Opportunities surface unplanned. Below are the three things that will make you the best person you can be. They’ll bring you the best ideas and the best opportunities for growth…

  1. Do what you’re passionate about. You must spend time doing and living your passions for any truly worthwhile progress or activity to come to you. This usually means walking away from other things that seem (especially to everyone else) like good ideas, but don’t necessarily stir your soul.
  2. Learn. Learn about your field of interest (for example, scrapbooking), but also learn about related interests and even non-related interests. So many of my most helpful insights on one subject come when I’m learning about something else. Be a constant learner.
  3. Associate with other active people. Opportunities come from working with others.

You can’t sit down on January first and plan for opportunities to come your way. They will come randomly and spontaneously if you know what you want from your life and if you’re doing, learning, and associating with others. The only exception to this is when you have specific actions you need to accomplish in time for a legitimate and compelling deadline. The new year is not one of those.

The Arbitrariness of a Year

We make goals at the new year because it’s a motivating time period — at the start of it. The problem is that the end of the year deadline is arbitrary when it comes to your actual goals. Your goal doesn’t have to be accomplished by Dec. 31 for any reason other than that you said so. This isn’t compelling enough for most of us. Dec. 31 is forever away, so it seems very doable — until October or November swings around, that is. And then the following year suddenly seems more appropriate for the accomplishment of that goal. Am I wrong?

The end result is procrastination and disappointment in self. Every year we make goals and resolutions, we set ourselves up for failure when in reality, you could more easily be having lots of successes. Here’s how…

Choose Instead to Focus

I had an amazing year in 2009. When 2010 approached I just wanted more of the same but with the previous year’s experience and learning. I dove back into the waters of everything I loved and didn’t need to over plan by writing goals. 2010 was a fantastic year — packed with accomplishment!

When November 2010 (last month) came around and I started thinking about the upcoming year, I was ready for a more fine-tuned focus in just a few areas. I wrote down all of those areas in my journal (and have come up with one or two more since then).
Oct2010 1511

Here are those areas:

  • Be present. Live in the moment.
  • Give love — be more available with my love for my main people (close friends and family), and remember love and empathy for all living beings. A lyric from Trevor Hall’s song, Unity, is one of my favorites: “Love all, serve all, and create no sorrow.
  • Live sustainably. Be more of a minimalist.
  • Practice Zen.
  • My story — connect with my own story through writing, art, photography, and the things I surround myself with in my home.

Image Symbol

Have you been wondering about that picture with the flower at the top of the page? I’m finally getting to it.

After brainstorming my focus areas, I came up with an image — a symbol that represents all of those areas for me. It’s the lotus flower. In my mind, it encompasses everything I want to focus on for the next phase of my life.

(I say phase because I started this new focus in November and while I imagine it might continue until next November, I might carry it to January 2011, or I may feel a need to change it midway through this year. Again — I believe in going with the flow of life and its real needs instead of arbitrary restrictions that may have no true relative meaning to me.)

For the next while I am experimenting with different representations of the lotus flower. I made the one at the top with Copic Markers –it was my first attempt at making something with those markers. I’m going to practice some more and I hope to add the lotus flower into a collage. In my journal I sketched some that are more similar to lotus flowers common in Hindu art.

One Little Word: Connect

I wasn’t sure if I would join Ali Edwards in choosing a single word to focus on for the year. I’ve done it both successfully and unsuccessfully in the past. Last year I chose to go without a word. After I brainstormed my focus areas in my journal, a word surfaced that seemed to encompass all of the areas.

Since November I have been meditating for just a few minutes almost every day. My meditation lasts only as long as I take to chant (in my mind) my word and my focus areas. This is my chant…

Connect.
Connect with my people — family and friends.
Connect with Earth. Live sustainably. Love all, serve all, and create no sorrow.
Connect with now. Be present. Be mindful.
Connect with my story. Express through writing and art.
Connect.

Projects

I have a lot of project ideas that I’m envisioning over the coming months that will help me with my focus. They’re not goals. They’re possibilities. I’ll do some of them while others will move out of the way for ideas and opportunities I don’t yet know about. It’s all about going with the flow — the ebb and flow that goal-setting in January can never predict. If you have a focus and you’re living your passions, you can ensure that the flow that carries you is a good one.

* * *

Looking for Scrapbooking Ideas?

I’ve been posting scrapbook projects every day this week!

Next week we’ll release a new Paperclipping Video Tutorial for our members. Make sure you have your membership in time! We’ll also resume our regular Roundtable and Digi Shows!

Scrapbooking Ideas for Your Own Holiday Story – First Gift

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

decdaily_4_1-copy
What is the story behind the first gift under your tree this year?

Last week I shared a story as a prompt for you. It was a story about my parents’ gift-giving ways and how I adopted and then adapted them. Today’s stories are about my children.

But you don’t have to have kids to use this as a regular yearly story prompt. It just happens that my kids’ actions last year and this year propelled these stories. And now that I’ve done two in row, the “First Gift” prompt might become a tradition for me to note and document — even though the story behind the first gift won’t always be as stellar.

These are my stories about the first gifts under the tree . . .

First Gift – 2009

first_gift_2009_
Journaling reads: The first gift under the tree was from Blake to Mom. We were at Starbucks and when I went into the restroom Blake quickly bought a mug that I’d been eyeing. He had been saving money for stuff he wants for himself, so it made me feel good that he was so excited to buy a present for his mama.

First Gift – 2010

25_merry_days_2010
Journaling written mainly to Aiden:
First gift under the three this year. There’s a story behind this gift. Aiden — you had gotten your hands on a box we were going to recycle. (Somehow you instantly get ideas of things to build when you find clean trash).

You also saw on the floor the chipboard dividers I use to separate layers of ornaments. Had I realized what they were when I was helping you tape them into place, I would have stopped you. I didn’t realize until later, though.

You had asked me to get the boxing tape out. Then you proceeded to cut my chipboard pieces into the shapes and sizes you needed to make wings and a propeller to put on your box, turning the whole thing into a plane.

But this wasn’t an ordinary plane. This was a plane that could be folded shut to look like a regular box when gift-wrapped. I saw you making adjustments to make sure your wings would be able to shut as flaps, but I didn’t know why until you asked me if you could go wrap your plane.

A good while later, you emerged from my bedroom where I keep the gift-wrapping. You had a big box-shaped present that you could not wait to put under the tree!

“It’s for all of us! Even me!” you announced. Then you found a sharpie and wrote our names on the box and set your perfectly imperfectly-wrapped gift under our Christmas tree.

* * *

What’s your First Gift story this year?

Coming Up At Paperclipping

There will be a video tutorial for our members, as well as a Roundtable and Digi Show episode the month of Christmas (next week)! Both audio shows will be taking the week off after Christmas. Don’t forget to listen to this week’s shows!

If you think you might like to have your membership in time for the next video tutorial, please click here to find out how it works!

I hope to start posting more of my December Daily 2010 pages with you very soon!

Happy Holidays,
Noell

Scrapbooking Ideas for Your Own Holiday Story

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Stories Are Gifts - Share
Years ago I scrapbooked every Christmas because that’s just what you do as a scrapbooker, right? Well, not necessarily. Later, I only scrapbooked what I really felt like scrapbooking.

It turns out that I always want to scrapbook about Christmas whenever holiday season comes around! But even my holiday scrapbooking inspiration has been evolving. Lately, it’s been more about capturing certain stories — deep rooted stories, funny stories, important stories, revealing stories. I find myself wanting to scrapbook more than just one Christmas layout per year because I’m digging deeper now than I used to.

Do you feel you scrapbook the same thing over and over again every year for the holidays? Or do you avoid scrapbooking Christmas for that very reason? What if there are rich stories revolving around your winter holidays that you haven’t even noticed?

Guess what? There are!

Our winter holidays are all about family traditions. Think about the way our personalities cause us as adults to either embrace some of our parents’ ways of doing things, or to toss them away, or to allow them to evolve to accommodate the needs of our own children. Much of what we do we don’t even realize is a “tradition” because it’s all we know. It’s all we’ve seen. There are lots of rich stories to reveal from this time of year. If you don’t think you have them, you just haven’t identified them yet.

For the rest of the December newsletter articles, I will share some of my own stories, mostly as I’ve recently been discovering them while poring over my parents’ photo albums from 1967 to 1975. I had no idea that by looking through these old photos I would learn things about myself — why I do much of what I do during the holidays. Here’s the first story. I hope it makes you think of something from your own life . . .

christmas_for_two

I searched the picture on the left quite a while for a clue as to who all these presents could be for. My parents’ first child was still months away.

“Mom!”

I had to ask her.

“Were these presents from you and Dad to each other?”

She looked at the picture, laughed, and said, “Yeah, I think so. Dad and I have always gone overboard for Christmas.”

I still couldn’t believe it, but then I took a good look at the other pictures.

buckland_christmas_c1967

  • Dad trying on a bullet belt, holding a polaroid camera box in his left hand and a suitcase under his arm. He looks like he’s wading in a shin-high river of tissue, packaging, and wrapping paper.
  • In another photo Mom is holding a dress (or robe?) to herself. At her feet, empty boxes are scattered around the floor, along with what looks like a rolled up sleeping bag. On the sofa the suitcase in the first photo has a mate. Above the pair is some clothing, and on a chair in the foreground is another stack of opened gifts — probably a set of stemware and more clothes. There are yet more items in the other pictures

The undeniable proof, though, is in the final picture of this set which you see in the top right photo. Mom relaxes on a chair, overlooking the aftermath of Christmas morning, eating an apple in the same relaxed and pensive way I’ve seen her eat apples my whole life.

The trash is all over the floor. There is nowhere to walk. It looks like they tore into their gifts without the slightest thought for cleanup. It’s a disaster.

This was how Christmases were for us when I was a kid but I never would have thought the mayhem to have also happened when it was only the two of them.

Even when we had a low income, my parents threw us huge Christmases! The stacks of wrapped gifts under the tree were tall and beautiful, though most gifts were not expensive and some of them were just practical — the stuff they would have bought us over the next few months out of necessity.

My parents wanted the promising beauty of a tree with mounds of presents. They wanted to draw out the main event of the holiday — exchanging and unwrapping gifts.

How do I know this? I didn’t actually ask my mom. I know because she passed this desire on to me. I remember my first Christmas with Israel. We didn’t get ourselves quite as many presents as my parents did, but we weren’t quite as practical with our gifts either. I remember how happy I was to have so many gifts under our tree. I also remember the wide eyes and comments from other couples — friends of ours — who were only exchanging one or two modest gifts with each other.

I remember being embarrassed about it, too.

Over the years Israel and I have shrunk Christmas down to a modest amount of gift exchanging that is more in line with our deeper values. Despite those values — the value of a certain level of simplicity and minimalism — these pictures of my mom and dad’s extravagant pre-children Christmas make me smile. Because I relate. And I remember.

What’s Your Story?

Thanks for letting me share my story with you! Did you relate? Or was it the very opposite from your own Christmases? Did my dad’s bullet belt remind you of your dad? Or did that blue fridge take you back to an earlier time (if you clicked on my photo and took a good look at it!)?

If you thought of one single thing from your own life while reading my story, then you have one of your own to share. In my kids’ school they call that seed writing. I tell you a story which, without fail, will always trigger a memory of some kind in your own mind. If you tell me you didn’t think of one I won’t believe you! So what’s your story? Write it down, quick. It may seem too small, but if you start writing it, you’ll begin remembering more. There’s always more to a story than you initially think.

Photos From the Paperclipping Members’ Holiday Photography Tips Course

For the holidays I’m giving our members a course in photography. I wanted to share a few that really caught my attention . . .

Shannon Van Sluytman
DSC_0019

Melissa Stinson (scrappyjedi)
_DSC8589.jpg

Weekly Roundup

Happy Holidays!
Noell

Learn From Others Using Scrapbook Supplies You Already Own

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

There are so many fun challenges, group projects, and exciting classes happening around the internet right now! I feel like a kid at Christmas time again! Do you find yourself getting inspired, wanting to participate, but without all the supplies you see in the demo’s?

I’m raising my own hand here. I’m following along with Tim Holtz’s 12 Tags of Christmas project and I’m still fairly new to most of his supplies and techniques (though not to his metal pieces!). Clearly, we cannot go shopping every single day to purchase the supplies he uses on each of his daily tags. So what do you do?
12 Tags of Christmas
Here is the tag I made from the inspiration I got from Tim’s first tag. My tag is not taking my breath away. I made the mistake of gluing a transparency (the snowflakes and green flourish) over a tag before I was satisfied with the background I gave it. That left me with only the upper corner to try and adjust. And I ended up adjusting it multiples times turning one mess into a different mess into a different mess.

But never mind my (lack of) inking technique here. There are some things that I think are pretty good about the tag. I happen to like my reindeer and his Christmas wreath. Here’s how you can learn from others’ techniques using supplies you already have . . .

Specify what you like.

When I saw Tim’s tag I was drawn to the colors. I really wanted to make a tag with layers of blues tones in the background and the bold red and green as accents, like he did.

What I was missing: A die cut machine, or a house of any kind for that matter * a wreath * a snow flake stamp (I know, how lame is that?) * those great inkable ribbons * blue distress inks (I have one light blue distress ink pad and that’s it).

Identify what supplies you have with similar characteristics.

  • I had multiple tones of blue Glimmer Mist, one blue Distress Ink, and one blue Stampin’ Up ink pad.
  • I had two tones of green wire.
  • I had red rhinestones.
  • I found some sparkly snowflakes that I could cut away from a photo transparency.
  • I had cream-colored organdy ribbon, which I thought might possibly take some ink — and it did!

Identify any problems caused by your lack of supplies

I started by coloring my tag blue and white in ways I don’t care for and will no longer discuss. I also had a way to make my own wreath, but there was a problem. You can’t just hang a wreath from the winter blue sky — a wreath hanging in the sky would cause a good amount of cognitive dissonance to the viewer!

Identify replacements based on supplies you do have.

I looked through my stamps and found a reindeer head with lovely antlers. I had grungeboard, gold embossing powder, and some Walnut Distress Ink to stain the edges of said reindeer head.

Notice the common characteristics between what I had (a reindeer) and what Tim had (a house):

  • Both are made with grungeboard, allowing me to have the three-dimensionality and the weight of a focal point item
  • Both are in the brown tones, allowing me to continue with the overall color scheme

But here’s the important part . . .

  • Both are great for hanging Christmas wreaths!

Reindeer Tag

When You Have Almost Nothing

How about a few more case studies?

Case Study #1: IZZY
Izzy's Tags
Izzy decided to make tags along with me last night! He has even less experience than I do, and what’s worse, he doesn’t know what supplies are even available to him, since they’re mine. He decided to just use the fact that he felt inspired by Tim’s tags, and he practiced the techniques he was already a little familiar with. Aren’t the tags awesome?

Case Study #2: TERESA ROBSON
DOF2
We are on Day 3 of my Holiday Photography Course for Paperclipping Members. The first challenge was to photograph either ornaments, decorations, or the Christmas tree. Not everybody has their Christmas stuff out yet, or even plan to put any out. That didn’t stop Teresa! She took her camera shopping and got these neat shots.
DOF5
Who cares that they’re not her own ornaments? She got some photography practice and she captured what we all experience of this season while we’re out shopping, whether we even celebrate Christmas or not!

Holiday Photography Course — You Still Have Time!

So far, 336 of our members have signed up for the course, and 47 of those decided to join the group gallery and forums.. This is a free course for Paperclipping Members. If you get a membership now, you can still join us! You’ll just be a couple days behind, and that’s okay. Email me if you are a current Paperclipping Member and I will send you a link to the sign-up page!

Members will also get their two video episodes this month, of course! One will be a brand new Flexible Template. The other will be on design for titles! New members will also love getting access to the 158 tutorials we already have in the archives! You can find out more here!

This Week @ Paperclipping

In case you missed it . . .

Happy Holidays!

How to Get My Holiday Photography Tips

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Cranberry Pear Pie
The Paperclipping Roundtable and the Paperclipping Digi Show are taking the week off! We have pies to bake, food to cook, and houses to clean!

If you missed this week’s video tutorial, please feel free to check it out. If you’re not a member, you can take a peek at the layouts I posted. If you are a member, you know where to find the video in the Member’s Area or in your Paperclipping feed.

Paperclipping Holiday Photography Tips – a Course for Members

If you are a member — or if you sign up to become a member right away — you will receive an invitation on Tuesday, Nov. 30, to join my course on Holiday Photography Tips. It is free to all current members (and only available to members).

If you will be doing the December Daily project along with Ali Edwards, myself, and what seems like half of the scrapbook community, my photography tips will help you get photos you love for your album. If you’re not doing the December Daily project, I think you’ll love having better photos of the holidays, regardless!

How It Works
Every day for fourteen days you will get an email from me. Every other day the email will direct you to an article on holiday-related photography. Subjects range from photographing ornaments, to Christmas trees, to outdoor Christmas lighting, to holiday food, and more You will also receive a challenge related to each subject.

On the off-day, you will receive an email reminding you to share your results with us in a private group! In the group you can ask for feedback. You can start discussions and ask questions. You can comment on other members’ pictures. It’s going to be a lot of fun and will lead to lots of great photos of your favorite memories!

How To Sign Up
If you are a member, you will not automatically receive the photography emails and the course. Not all of the Paperclipping members want or need the tips, so you must opt in by responding to the invitation that I will email to members on Tuesday.

Remember also, this is free for Paperclipping Members. You need to sign up for your membership right away in order to be eligible to participate.

If you are a member and do not receive your invitation this coming Tuesday, please email me so we can get you started!

Thanksgiving 8

Izzy and I are grateful for all of you who enjoy and support Paperclipping! We’re so thankful to be able to support our family by doing and sharing the stuff we love.

Happy holidays to all and Happy Thanksgiving to our American audience!

How to Be Organized When You Have 29 Unfinished Projects

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Nov2010 1529
Do you have unfinished scrapbook projects? Does it cause you stress? Recently I decided to embrace the fact that I always have a lot of unfinished projects.

Instead of making it a goal to get my projects finished, I decided to reorganize my space to accommodate my madness — or at least what some might consider to be madness. As a result I found that . . .

  • There is a way to feel calm and happy, even with lots of unfinished projects
  • Having a number of unfinished projects has huge benefits!

Since I decided to start projects when I think of them, I learned that the prolific 39-time Best-Selling author, James Patterson, has been known to work on more than five novels at one time! You may love Patterson’s books — you may not love them. I don’t particularly like his style of writing, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is evidence that you can be successful and accomplished with lots of projects bubbling at one time.

So how does he do it? How can you do it? Organization!

But wait! Doesn’t multiple unfinished projects equate to DISORGANIZATION?

No. You still need an organization structure to filter your idea bursts and your project streams. Patterson does it. Having been a corporate CEO, he is known for his exceptional organization skills. When I decided I was going to act on my ideas immediately, rather than add them to a to-do list, I knew I also needed to restructure my scrap space to meet my project needs.

This article tackles storage of unfinished and on-going projects. Here are posts on other organization subjects:

Three Types Of Unfinished Projects

There is an important difference between various unfinished projects . . .

  • Projects you’ve lost interest in
  • Projects on hold – you need to work on something else because of a deadline, or you need a specific item to complete it
  • Intentionally on-going projects

Lost Interest

Nov2010 1534
How Many - 7
Organization -
If I really feel a project is not all that worthwhile, if I have negative feelings about it along with my lack of interest, or if I feel sure I won’t be finishing it, I salvage any pieces I can use on something else and then throw the rest away. Otherwise, if I think there is some potential in the future but have no interest in touching it any time soon, I put it in the drawer at the bottom of this plastic rolling drawer set, or in the plastic bin on top.

I also have one item here that I haven’t really lost interest in. It’s just not a priority. I had an idea and wanted to start it before I’d forget. If I ever feel like finishing it, it’s in the drawer. If not, no big deal. My idea is an experiment and I’ve already gained one thing by starting, even though it’s unfinished: I learned that the technique I was testing will work!

If I need to add a project here and the drawer is full, I pitch my least interesting project to make room for the new one.

On Hold

Nov2010 1529
How Many - 14
Organization -
If I am very much interested in finishing a project but need to move it off my work table, and if it doesn’t have a lot of pieces, I set it in a stack on this top shelf. Projects that are only waiting on one quick item, like a photo, are in the front. Projects that will require an hour or more of work are in the back. This front and back system is surprisingly helpful!

  • It keeps stuff off my current workspace.
  • The projects that I can finish with just a couple steps are prioritized in a visible place. This helps me realize how close I am to finishing them. We procrastinate things that seem hard or take multiple steps. Knowing that these items in the front are just a couple steps away from being done is motivating!

Projects that have a lot of parts and pieces, embellishments, papers, etc, go in the white boxes on the two lower shelves. I purchased large 12×15 inch boxes at Ikea. I like that I can have 12×12 papers or pages at one end of the box and scraps and embellishments on the other end. I name the project on the front label of the box in pencil because eventually I’ll rotate a different project into it.

The projects in these boxes are much more involved, so I love that I can have the chaos of all their supplies in nice clean containers. They’re in my sight as a visual reminder, but don’t add clutter to my mind.

Intentionally On-Going

Nov2010 1537
How Many - 5 active, 1 still in prep, and 2 I haven’t fully committed to yet.
Organization -
On the red shelf above my worktable is an art journal, a writing and ephemera journal, and an altered book about myself. On the same shelf, but farther from my reach are two altered books I’m still contemplating. They will be on-going once they actually get going.

Because I decorate my altered Book About Me with lots of scrapbooking items, I keep the supplies in one of those white boxes on that shelf of on-hold projects.

One of my other on-going projects is a New Year’s book that gets a two-page spread of silly family predictions each year. I keep that in my drawer of completed seasonal mini-books, even though it isn’t really completed. This makes sense for me because I don’t need to reserve specific scrapbook supplies for it, and because I only sit down to work on it two days out of the year.

TOTAL UNFINISHED PROJECTS RIGHT NOW: 29

Projects that I’m very close to finishing: 6

Nov2010 1535

The Huge & Awesome Benefits

There are times when the ideal thing to work on is a project you’ve already started but never completed!

I often grab an unfinished project when I . . .

  • Have short bursts of time
  • Am attending crops, scrapping while traveling, or working at a coffee shop
  • Want to scrapbook without thinking much

Unfinished projects are ideal in these situations because . . .

  1. The supplies are already all together, or the project is close to being finished and doesn’t need a lot of supplies.
  2. Since you’ve already thought the project out (you know the story, you’ve picked the colors and papers, etc), you’ve already made the hard choices that require more introspection. Now it’s just play time.

Other benefits for having lots of unfinished projects . . .

Do you need to clear some space for unfinished projects? I recommend you first identify clutter and excess you can get rid of — stuff you don’t love and never use. Next, identify the vertical spaces around your home or scrap area where you can add shelves, containers, or drawers. Almost all of us have vertical space we aren’t maximizing. Almost all of us have excessive clutter that isn’t really benefiting us. Free yourself! Free your ideas and turn them into something, even if they’re just the start of something.

Okay, now who’s ready to start some new projects?

I have lots of project ideas to get you playing that I share in video tutorials. Many of those videos also share how I set up my space for certain things, like mini-books, for example!

CLICK HERE for more info on our video tutorials!

How to Inspire Thanks Through Your Photos

Friday, November 12th, 2010

April  4553

Family Time: 2010 Photo Review

Last night I gathered my kids around me to look through our 2010 photos. We laughed. We remembered things we’d forgotten. We had a good relationship-building time. You can remind yourself and your family of all that you’ve had to be grateful for this past year by reviewing 2010 through your photos.

Benefits:

  • You’ll find out what your family’s favorite memories are, along with your own. You can prioritize the favorite memories as your upcoming scrapbooking projects.
  • It’s a great way to collect information and details that you yourself forgot or didn’t know. Your family members will naturally offer many of the details without you even having to ask!
  • You, yourself, will remember details that you can add into the metadata of the photos.
  • You might realize a different perspective on events by listening to their observations, reactions, and stories.
  • It’s fun! And it’s a great reminder of all the good in your life.

Set Yourself Up for a Great Viewing Experience

We do this activity right from my laptop. I LOVE viewing photos from my computer, and so do my kids. I usually hear people talk about viewing photos on computers as a negative experience — quite the opposite of my own. Maybe it has to do with the way you manage your photos?

To make your computer-viewing experience pleasurable, make your favorite photos viewable in a spot that is separate from your less-than-favorite photos. Here’s how . . .

Create Quarterly Digital Files or Albums for Fave’d Photos

Every photo manager is different. I’ll explain how mine works and you can look at your photo manager to see how to do the same thing. I’ll share two other options, as well. Hopefully your computer or your manager will have at least one of the three options.

Option 1: Photo Manager with Sub-folders
Here’s how I do it . . .

  1. Yearly Projects or Folders – Within my library of photos, I create Projects for each year of family photos. I keep all of my family photos for the year — the great as well as the not-so-great — within that one project.
  2. Albums or Sub-folders -I then create albums within my yearly projects. I make four quarterly albums, plus an additional December album, since there are so many photos from December. I want to be able to easily see December photos on their own.

    My photo manager allows me to place pictures from my yearly projects (or folders) into my albums (or sub-folders) without actually moving them. This means I can see my favorite photos in both places, whether I’m looking in the first quarter album for 2010 or the Project for all of 2010.

    This way, you can enjoy all of the best photos without having to weed through the clutter of all the bad ones. It’s an entirely different experience to view photos on your computer when you only see your favorite photos. These are also the photos I choose from when I am scrapbooking.

Option 2: Smart Albums or Smart Folders
Another option for placing favorite photos in their own sub-folders while still keeping them in their main fodlers: Smart Albums. If your computer has the ability to create smart albums, you can give your favorite photos a specific rating of your choice. Then you create a smart album with the following criteria:

  • the date (ie. 2010; or January February March 2010)
  • the ratings you assign your favorite photos.

Option 3: Completely Separate Favorite Photos from the Rest
I don’t like this option as well. I only recommend doing this if there is no way to view a photo file in two different place like I explained in the two options above. But if your computer or software does not offer those functions, it’s still worth it to do option 3 and be able to view your favorite photos on their own.

Just make a folder for the year (or the quarter/year) with your favorite photos, plus a separate folder for the year and call it, “Non-Favorite Photos 2010.”

Hyman Family Favorite Memories from 2010

I was surprised to find out what my kids’ favorite memories were so far. Most were not the ones I would have expected. Now that I know what made them most happy, I want to make sure I scrapbook them over the coming year . . .

Gatsby’s Crazy Tongue
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_MG_4550

Karaoke
2010-03-12 at 22-02-59

4th of July
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July 725

A Newly Painted + Decluttered Bedroom
2010-03-13 at 10-42-17
I’ll admit it. This last one may have been one of my own favorite memories.

Weekly Roundup

Seven Why’s & How’s to Keep Memories via Scrap-Journaling

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

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From age eight to college I was an avid journaler. For most of that time I journaled daily. I could spend an hour or more pouring my life and views into my journal, and I think it may be one of the reasons I remember so much of my childhood.

As an adult, four activities replaced my old method of journaling in big blank lined pages:

  1. scrapbooking
  2. blogging
  3. journaling into the metadata of my photos
  4. art journaling

But all of these journaling methods are lacking one thing, and recently they haven’t been enough for me. What could possibly be missing from traditional scrapbooking and my other three journaling forms?

IMMEDIACY.

I wanted to be able to write just a sentence or two about my day — every day — and include some little bit of ephemera, like a receipt or some scrap paper I took notes on. I wanted to document the kind of stuff that is just way too mundane for even the scrapbooks of the most everyday kind of scrapbooker. I wanted the ability to record something on the spot without having to wait for a photo, without having to pull out my art supplies, or be tied to my computer.

A few weeks ago I added a fifth way to share my story, and I now feel totally and completely fulfilled in my ability to express myself and share my thoughts, whether it’s through my photos, through writing I develop on my blog, through some uninhibited art activity, or through a few words and bits from my day.

Scrap-journaling

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This is my scrap-journal. In it you will find my words, my doodling, my brainstorming, my extra-mundane bits of ephemera, and an idea of who I am right now. It’s currently one of my favorite things. You could use a “normal” blank lined book intended for journaling. Or you could make a scrap-journal out of cute scrapbook or found papers.

I keep a stack of unloved hardback books that sit and wait for me to alter them, and I decided to use one of them as my scrap-journal (you can see its spine in the top photo. It’s a hard-cover book of short stories). Why would I use a book that is already full of somebody else’s words? And how do you do it without turning it into a project instead of a quick spontaneous three-minute activity?

Here is the why and the how . . .

  1. It’s green. I am trying to decrease the amount of manufacturing I cause by buying something new. I figure, every time I buy something, they’ll make another one. I know that’s a simplified summary of how the system of stuff works, but it keeps me on the green path.
  2. There are some blank areas at the front and back of the book, and at the beginnings and ends of chapters.
  3. Oct2010 1507

  4. I like to play with the words already on the book — circle some, cross out others, or even respond. The words also inspire little humorous (to me) thoughts, and that encourages a light-heartedness that I enjoy with my scrap-journal.
  5. Oct2010 1509

  6. I add journaling to my own scraps of ephemera when the typed words of the book don’t give me enough writing space of my own.
  7. Oct2010 1514
    Above: a summary from my dentist.
    Below: a scrap of paper I used to test paint colors I had mixed that day.
    Oct2010 1517

  8. The book’s text encourages me to doodle. I don’t want to have pages and pages of the original text, so I doodle on top of it. The doodling makes it feel more mine — more like me. And doodling is always good creative brain food.
  9. Oct2010 1513

  10. It’s not intimidating. I don’t have to fill a blank page. Because I do so much journaling in the other ways I listed above, my goal with my scrap-journal is not to get deep or to say a lot. I just want to share a little bit of myself every single day without the task of making it “pretty,” or making it into a project that takes time.
  11. Oct2010 1515

  12. The text causes the writing “canvas” to be non-linear. I get to write in different spaces around the book, and this is much more similar to the way we think. Our brains bounce around from thought to thought and it’s good for the brain to develop thoughts the way it is naturally inclined, instead of in the linear fashion of typical writing.
  13. Oct2010 1512

Since this added form of memory-keeping has been so fulfilling for me, I decided to share it with you. It’s not typical scrapbooking as we know it today. But it’s easy and spontaneous. It’s fun. It’s real. It’s definitely scrappy. And you don’t have to wait for a photo, or a time slot, to sit down and do it.

How to get Good Halloween Pictures

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

It’s dark. Everybody is high on Halloween adrenaline. Nobody wants to wait any longer to start the candy collecting around the neighborhood. How do you get great Halloween photos at a time like this? The conditions are not ideal, but you really can get good photos that will capture the excitement of this fun holiday.

Here are nine tips that will help you get pictures you love, and expand your ideas for fun shots!

Four Photo Ideas

Halloween '08
1. Put your camera on a tripod and document the transformation of applying the makeup and putting on the costume. For the makeup portion, try to maintain the same position in each photo to get a slideshow effect.

2. Capture the little details. Consider taking close-up pictures of a child’s hand dipping a brush into Halloween makeup. Focus in on the crooked mouth of the jack-o-lantern. Take a still shot of the pile of candy on the table.

3. It’s sometimes better if you don’t shoot from head to toe, since shoes are often the weakest part of a costume.

Halloween '09
4. To maximize the photo and costume, identify the best part of the costume. Is it just the mask? Or is it the mask and the torso? Get in close – the closer the better — and fill the frame with the parts you’ve decided are best. A generally good ratio to strive for is 90% person and 10% background in your picture.

Five Halloween Photography Tips

Halloween '09
1. You’ll get your best Halloween photos at dusk. For that hour or so while the sun is setting, you’ll have enough natural light to easily forgo your flash while still capturing the glow of your jack-o-lanterns and the bright colors of your costumes.

After dusk, use a high ISO setting (400 or more) and hold your camera as steady as you can (or use a tripod) to capture action without a flash. The rich, dark colors of Halloween will illustrate the spooky holiday mood, so make sure your flash doesn’t overpower them. Remember, Halloween is not a bright holiday. Dark and creepy shots can work in your favor.

2. The more light your jack-o-lanterns emit, the more bewitching they’ll appear in your pictures. It’s important that you turn off your camera’s flash so it doesn’t overwhelm your candlelight. Since jack-o-lanterns don’t move, you can use a long shutter speed (a low number) and set your camera on a steady surface or a tripod.

If you’re photographing outdoors and you find that your shots only capture the light of the carved facial features, but none of the pumpkin’s outer shape, try adding some low lighting with a flashlight shining on the shell of the pumpkin.

Put 2-3 candles in each jack-o-lantern to get a good glow

3. Take pictures as soon as your subjects are in costume. Makeup likes to rub off, and costumes get disheveled.
Halloween '08
4. If you’re shooting a child or a group of children, get down at eye level to show the real effect of the costumes.
Halloween '09
5. With groups of monsters–young or old–pack them together and have them touch. Do your best to fill the frame with them. But keep it casual! Don’t line them up. If you’re photographing three, group them in a triangle–this arrangement usually looks best. In a larger group, have some kneel or crouch down in front of the others so you get an up-and-down arrangement.

Weekly Roundup

Heads Up!

  • Paperclipping Live! – This live scrapbooking show is every Tuesday at 6:30pm PST. Are you free?
  • Paperclipping October Challenge! There are only a few days left to submit your layout or project for a chance to be highlighted on the Paperclipping blog! Hurry quick, before Halloween sucks up all your time! This will probably be the last monthly challenge of 2010.

If you celebrate Halloween, I hope you have a festive holiday! And thank you for celebrating four years of Paperclipping with Izzy and me all month! We hope you enjoyed the promotions and special extra goodies. We’re looking forward to another great year to come!

Ready for an Idea Burst?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Did you know that by jumping on an idea, you feed your mind’s ability to generate even more ideas?

Progressively better ideas!

And if you continue to act immediately, your ideas will multiply to such a beautifully overwhelming amount, you’ll have a plethora of projects to choose from at any given time! More projects than you can complete (which is why I’ll have an article in November that shares how I deal with incomplete projects. Go ahead and free yourself!)

If you get an idea for digital scrapbooking but you’re missing the supplies, you can purchase them online and start right away! Not so if you’re missing essential supplies for paper scrapbooking. But don’t let that stop you! I start projects a lot before I have all of the essential parts.
queen_of_organized_1
You might remember this mini-book page from Paperclipping 150 – Task Batch Minibooking. You saw all of the pages of that mini. Did you ever notice that I never showed you the cover? That’s because I didn’t have a cover. I used the leftover pages of another mini-book, and I figured I would eventually be able to find some chipboard for the cover. At the very least, I could cut some chipboard down to the size I needed.
Oct2010 1290
And that is exactly what I did. I found two large pieces of chipboard and I cut them to fit two different books (because I immediately started a second cover-less mini after I completed the pages you see here). Now I just need to find the o-wire in the size I need so I can bind it!

Problems From Lack of Planning

Of course, you sometimes run into problems when you don’t plan ahead of time. But then you exercise and increase your creativity even more by figuring out how to make your hodge-podge of pieces come together. For example, when I was making the pages of this mini-book, sans cover, it didn’t occur to me that the front side of the first page and the back side of the last page would be bare.

I had jumped on my idea and made four 2-page spreads with no thought for the morrow. And when the morrow came, I had to decide what to do with the first and last blank pages. I didn’t really feel like making an intro page. So this was my solution . . .
Oct2010 1292
I stuck the left page onto the inside cover and added the pink patterned paper to the remaining length of bare chipboard, since the chipboard was so much longer than my pages. I did the same thing with the back.

BEFORE:
queen_of_organized_10
AFTER:
Oct2010 1304
Of course, this was a pretty simple problem, relatively speaking. It wasn’t as difficult to solve as my attempt to turn a Mexican punched tin mirror into a mini-book cover . . .

Making Room for Complicated Problem-Solving

Mexico Mini from Punched Tin Frame
I bought the mirror without any idea how I would actually pull it off. There were a few days when I almost hated that mirror. It was hard to figure out how to make it work! And it’s a little weird, maybe. But I did it! And I’m glad I did. I’m positive I’m more creative now than I was before I made that thing.

;)

Plus I love looking at the pages. Here are a few, but you can see them in my Mexican Minibook Flickr set.
Mexico Mini 2
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Oct2010 1302

So here’s where I encourage you to act on your ideas as soon as you can, even if you only have a few minutes or you don’t know how it will come together. Even if it means you’ll only assemble the part that is already in your head and you’ll leave the rest to figure out later.

I’ve actually been revamping my scrap room to better facilitate idea bursts and project-beginnings. I’ll share the results with you in November! Maybe you’ll have a pile of unfinished projects by then and will need the tips!

Weekly Roundup

Heads Up!

  • Paperclipping Live! – This live scrapbooking show is every Tuesday at 6:30pm PST. Are you free?
  • We’ll have another extra goodie for the Paperclipping Members next week as we continue to celebrate Paperclipping’s birthday! If you’d like to get your membership in time for it’s release, please visit the Membership Information Page. You’ll get immediate access to the archives of over 150 tutorials to hold you over while you wait!