29 September 2012

project life: week #2


Week 2 took longer to pull together, I knew I wanted to include pictures from my walk on Saturday, (my weeks here run Sunday - Saturday) and sorting through everything I'd taken took time. I love that this project is forcing me to take more pictures. I often find myself not picking my camera up for a while when I'm in a routine, but this is getting me to look at everyday life in a different way & giving me an opportunity to really practice and develop my photography. I love that I have somewhere to keep track of all the random little things that happen - stuff that isn't particularly important, but is worth remembering all the same. Those photo's are usually my favourites but until now I haven't had anywhere to put them.

I think this is going to stay simple, I want this to be simple. The colours will change week to week but I don't feel the need to add much more to this than words and pictures. I think its all it needs. I'm definitely planning on getting this printed, and trying to decide at the moment whether it's best to print each page off as a 12x12 sheet and insert them into a regular scrapbook, or to wait until the end of the year and splash out on a 12x12 book.  

Are any of you digital scrappers? Do you print your pages? 

26 September 2012

25 reasons why Autumn is wonderful

The entire purpose of this list is to make myself feel better about the fact that its absolutely chucking it down for the third day in a row & it'll probably be 7 or 8 months before I can wear shorts again. So I came up with this... a long list off all the things I love about Autumn.

  • Drinking hot chocolate (the fact that I drink it all year is irrelevant)
  • Boots
  • Knee high socks & thick tights. Does anyone else find this warmer than jeans? Because, I really, really do.
  • Duvet days. It just feels more acceptable to spend the entire day on the sofa when its freezing outside
  • Piles of crunchy leaves that can be jumped in and kicked through
here - I found this pattern just at the start of summer, hoping to get them knitted up this winter!
  • Frosty mornings
  • Falling asleep to the sound of rain 
  • Wellies
  • Blankets on sofa's in the evening
  • Carving pumpkins

Fresh snow - Frosty mornings III
here - If you have time you should definitely consider checking out this entire photostream, there are some absolutely stunning images here. 
  • Looking through pictures from 2008 & remembering how awesome it was to spend Hallloween in a                  small town in California
  • Watching scary films on Halloween
  •  Layers
  •  My electric blanket- this should probably be at the top of the list. So amazing. 
  •  Looking at photographs of New England - I'm desperate to visit whilst the leaves are turning. 
Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
here - this photostream is worth checking out as well - there is some amazing HDR work here
  • Friends birthdays 
  • My birthday 
  • Winter sunsets
  • Bonfire night 
  • Scarves
Frosty Evening
here - I love subtle HDR
  • Evenings spent knitting (and searching for patterns)
  • Soup 
  • Watching the leaves turn
  • Christmas shopping
  • Big jumpers + cardigans
Started this jumper last year + still haven't finished it... Oops!

What do you love about Autumn? 

23 September 2012

happening here #4

This week has been supremely uneventful & incredibly enjoyable. Lectures don't start until next week so its been a whole week of not doing much & catching up with uni-people. M, R and I have have pretty much picked up where we left off last year. Its all kinds of awesome when you get to live with 2 of your best friends. We argue & we probably all annoy the heck out of each other at times, but it works.

Thursday was a lesson in accepting rejection. True story. A couple of the other girls from the Zumba committee & myself were handing out leaflets in the activities fair. The reactions you get from people when you're trying to make them take leaflets is seriously hilarious. People can be split into 3 groups - the polite, the blank and the crazy. Polite people either take the leaflet or say "no thanks". Blank people look straight through you like you don't exist. Crazy people completely overreact... "Are you interested in joining the Zumba society?" "NO!" (accompanied by a completely horrified expression).  I'm sorry, I didn't realise exercise/dance classes were that offensive...So. Funny.

This city just stops.
The best day of the week was undoubtedly Saturday. Me and R decided to go for a walk (hike? What's the difference between those two words anyway?) to make the most of the weather and get out of the house for a bit. We didn't have much of a plan so we just headed out in the direction of countryside. I've always felt before like we live in 'the middle' of a city, but I'm revising my opinion somewhat in light of recent events. We  walked out almost to the edge of the Peak District & found the most beautiful places along the way.

Several times we discussed the possibility that we had either a) been teleported somewhere or b) accidently gone back in time before the city was built. Obviously both are valid options. I really want to go back and explore some of the paths that we didn't take, with snacks this time. We were starved by the time we got back! We were also kinda bummed out that we turned around when we did - another half a mile and we'd have made it to the reservoir. Next time!

Sunday I spent most of the morning going through Saturdays pictures & most of the afternoon designing and installing a new blog layout (did you notice?). I love it. More pictures from Saturdays jaunt  I also drunk a lot of tea, its damn cold in this house + hot drink are definitely the way forward!

How was your week? Did you get up to anything exciting?

21 September 2012

project life: week #1

left hand side
right hand side

For those of you who haven't come across project life, I suggest you check out this page for an explanation. The whole system was originally designed to be done with card & paper, but a lot of people have been doing it digitally and they've actually now released digital versions of the core kits. I would love to do this in a 'proper' album, I really would. For me, typing words up just isn't the same as physically putting pen to paper and recording my thoughts. That said, I can't really justify spending out on everything I would need to get started, so I'm sticking with my own digital version.

The template I designed myself in Photoshop - I might play around with different layouts in the future but for now this arrangement is exactly what I want. I love the rounded corners look so I just used the rounded-rectangle shape for each 'pocket' and use a clipping mask to 'slot' everything inside it. Pretty basic, but it does the job. All of the journal cards/papers/etc are freebies that I've found online. I've tried to pin everything I've downloaded to keep track of sources - so if you have any questions about where anything came from please just ask! The 'stamps' I'm using are mainly free photoshop brushes - there are more of them out there than you can even dream of. This week I've created a couple of brushes myself for words/phrases that I can see myself using a lot. I expect that the week number card will change every week, depending on what colours I decide to use. The quote card is something that Elise uses in her layouts & its something that I really love. I have a whole collection of quotes saved + it'll be a good excuse to actually use some of my favourites. I plan on the quote relating to the week somehow but we'll see. A lot of the journalling has come straight from blog posts - if I've already written about something then I'm not going to do it twice! I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to use background papers, maybe they'll work some weeks and not with others.

I have two favourite things about this project: One is how fast it is. This spread probably came together in around 45mins, I say probably because I didn't do everything in one go. As I was sorting pictures through off my camera I stuck the ones I wanted to use straight into where I wanted them to go in the spread. I'm trying to (roughly) organise everything into chronological order, so the pictures on the left hand side are from the start of the week, and the right hand side are later in the week. The second thing about the project? It's simple - I like that. I love that I now have somewhere to put the random pictures of everyday life that I take. I love that embellishing pictures is a choice. I love that I can choose whether my jounalling is brief enough for a small card or detailed enough for a big card. I think this project is going to be awesome.

Questions? Leave them here & I'll be sure to get back to you! 

19 September 2012

ready for third year & a new project

It's good to be back here, I haven't started lectures yet (not 'till next Wednesday) but I'm on the ZumbaSoc committee this year and there's quite a lot to be sorted out with that, so I'm keeping busy! The girls on the committee are great & I have a feeling that being this involved with a society is going to be a ton of fun. I'm missing being home... but I'm not missing home, just the people there! Our little house is wonderfully awful, I love it but at the same time... it has more than a few problems. I think maybe we need to talk to our landlord about the fact that the slugs invading R's room don't pay rent. Hardly fair in my opinion!

I spent most of yesterday unpacking my stuff and sorting out my room, I could have sworn I tidied it before I left for the summer... but obviously not. Its kind of nice to have some time to just adjust back to student life & get used to freezing my butt off before I start lectures again. Hopefully by the end of the week we might remember that we need to get meat out of the freezer if we want to eat that night... It might be a tiny bit obvious by the top picture that I really love my roof window. I will probably (definitely) be moaning about it by the middle of winter, when its super windy and the tree is trying to get in my room. For now though? I love being able to see the stars from my bed, its kind of like sleeping outside - but warmer.

I mean, seriously, Who wouldn't want to wake up to this?!

For a while now, I've been reading about Project Life & really wishing I could afford to get stuck in. Last week I was browsing a few design blogs & I came across a digital version. I did a bit more digging and came across an entire community of project lifers that work digitally. So cool. I've designed my own templates in Photoshop and have been pinning a TON of freebies. I did my first layout last week & its possibly the best project ever. Seriously. Its so simple. I'm not sure whether I'll manage to keep up with it over the year once work starts piling up but I'm gonna give it my best shot. I'll be sharing soon! 

16 September 2012

happening here #3

breakfast & pinterest/co-ordinating papers for a Spain minibook/ brunch at a new (to us) cafe/ writing birthday invites/ view from my window/ TGI Fridays

This week has been a good one. It was my last week at home so my main priority was spending as much time as I could with people before I left. I've also been researching flight prices + planning for next summer (getting so excited!) & planning my birthday party!

As of today though, my summer is officially over! I'm sitting here, back in my student house & it already feels like summer is a million years away. Hate that feeling! I'm excited about getting stuck into my third year & its good to be back but leaving home is always a bit of a wrench! I got up a bit earlier today to take Zak for a walk before the 4 hour drive back up here. We dropped my stuff off and headed out for the afternoon, Sam was pretty amazed at how big the Uni was & decided that I live in "the best city ever". So funny. I think I ate enough at TGI Fridays to last me the rest of the week - love that place! A phonecall with M last night informed me that we had slugs in our freezer, plaster was falling off the stairs & there was damp in my room... So I was a tiny bit apprehensive on the way here. It's not quite as bad as I'd imagined though, but we're off to the estate agents in the morning to try and get things sorted - wish us luck!

It's not all bad though, the Sainsbury's order has arrived, and we're back to looking at hilarious pictures of cats on the internet... Totally normal!

14 September 2012

a summer minibook

I've had quite a few comments/emails about my minibook (I wrote about it here, here and here) so I thought I'd share some more of it with you guys. Unfortunately most of the pages are pictures of friend/family so I won't be sharing those! I'm SO pleased with how this has all turned out (can you tell?), it was something completely new to me but I really loved the simple approach and how fast I got it all together. Speed is good for me, I get bored if projects drag on for too long.

I didn't really choose a colour scheme for this project, which is unusual for me - usually when I start something I like to get everything together that I'm planning on using and go from there. With this though, I just took all my cues from the pictures. Some images I felt needed a little 'something' and other were fine on their own. I cropped a lot of them down so they were more focused on one part of the picture. If I was printing at home I would definitely have done this in Photoshop & enlarged a bit, but it still worked out pretty well doing it the other way around.

I'm a big fan of including small details consistently throughout a project to pull it all together - there are a lot of people I've come across who do this and it really adds something to the finished piece. I stuck with circles + rounded edges for the majority of my journalling for precisely this reason. I used a lot of stitching & I did it all by hand. Next time I'll definitely use a sewing machine - zig-zag stitch is time consuming!

I LOVED this project. As I said before, its simple and that's a huge thing for me.  Traditional scrapbook layouts took me absolutely ages to get together - I could easily spend 2 or 3 hours on a 1 picture layout. As it stands at the moment, I have 31 pages in the minibook and although I spread it out over a few weeks, I probably could have completed the whole thing in 3 or 4 days. I'd also really recommend it for people who want to try scrapbooking out but don't want to invest too heavily in supplies. Scissors, glue/double sided tape, cardstock, papers, book rings, a few different coloured pens and photo's is pretty much all you need to get going.

P.S: I promise I'm not turning into a craft blog... I just like to make stuff sometimes.

12 September 2012

walk me out in the morning dew today

Sometimes when I look back at pictures I've taken, there's an image that I've captured that I love. Other times it seems like I've frozen time in those pixels and it feels like I can step right back to where I was when I shot them. These images are like that for me. They're not just pictures. 

They're the feeling of freedom that comes from having nowhere to walk to, the sense of peace that morning air brings, the feel of wet ferns against bare legs + the sparkle of dew on thousands of strands of spiders web. They're a place where hearts are peaceful and minds are still, where dreams are tangible and strangers are friendly. They remind me to listen to my soul & follow my heart. They are so much more than just pictures.

Do you ever feel like this about pictures? 

09 September 2012

happening here #2

morning cuppa on the back step/finished minibook/finally remembering to ask how to use the sewing machine/ phone sunset snapshot/ Spain pictures all trimmed down for the next minibook/ this little guy cracks me up/ loving the weather we've had this weekend

Its been busy around here this week. I've been checking things off my to-do list like nobody's business and its a good feeling. My summer minibook is as finished as it can be without more pictures printed off & I've started my second. Words cannot describe how much I love these as projects.  A coffee date with the girls ended up being chocolate milkshake and 2 hours in our new favourite place. So typical. I've taken a LOT of pictures. I did 200+ squats & nearly died running the next morning (I'm joking... sort of).  I've walked miles, found new paths & hung out with Zak. Convinced myself that someone had broken into the house & barricaded myself in my room with my dressing table chair (a fantastic plan, I know). Plans have been made for when I get back to the city next weekend but I've also realised just how much I'm going to miss these woods and fields and the summer haze I've been living in these past few months. How was your week? 

06 September 2012

lists & dates & budgets & states

Planning, planning, planning. This is what's going on in my head at the moment. Next year I'm embarking on a  huge adventure, its like nothing I've ever done before and its scary as hell - but its exciting. So, so exciting. I'm flying out to Costa Rica, on my own to join a conservation volunteering team at a remote research camp in the rainforest. Then I'm hopping over to California for a couple of weeks with no real plans at the moment. I know. Typing this seems completely crazy, and at times I wonder what the hell I'm doing - but my deposits paid up. This is happening. Its going to be awesome. I've already decided.

Everything's a little bit up in the air at the moment because I can't book flights yet, but I've got my route sorted and I know flight times for the smaller airport I have to fly to from San Jose. So stuff is happening, and its a good feeling. I've never planned anything like this on my own before and at times its getting a little overwhelming! I've made lists (and lists, and lists...) now, of absolutely everything I can think of, so now its just a case of crossing things off, one at a time until everything's done.


I can't wait to get stuck into living in the jungle, patrolling beaches for baby turtles, surveying monkey populations and learning to track big cats from the signs they leave behind. To be honest that probably means looking at a lot of cat crap, but in all fairness its jaguar & puma crap so its still pretty cool. I love that its going to be a research camp rather than just a conservation camp. I love that I'm going somewhere unlike anywhere I've ever been before. I love that I'm going on my own. I love that I'm going to California afterwards, because to be quite honest I've missed that place. I love that I have the opportunity to do something this amazing. I love that I have something to motivate me through this year at uni. I love that the next few pictures have been taken by people who've done the exact same thing and I really can't wait to experience it for myself.

all here
Periodically the blog will probably turn into a travel planner, but whatever! Have any of you done anything like this before? Got any advice for me? I'd love to hear your stories/advice!!

02 September 2012

happening here

making wedding thankyou notes with mum/ minibook makin' (still love this)/ rain & rainbow scissors/ new wellies/ almost done/ cross-stitch title page/ Meggie's birthday present

I really love my new wellies. I think this just needs to be said, I can't even remember the last time I had a pair of wellies that fit me and these are seriously cute. I was SO happy that it rained, it was the perfect excuse to wear them! We made Meggie's birthday owl at a craft cafe thats just opened in town - so good! I can see us spending a lot of time there. Its our kinda place. The minibook is almost finished, I love this project. I had some spare embroidery floss left over so I'm using it to make the front cover. Odds and ends happening around here but its good stuff. 

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