Your Thoughts: Do You Scrap in Chronological Order?

So this has been on my mind lately. Do you scrap in chronological order? I don’t usually scrap in chronological order, and I think there’s good and bad to it. I like that I can scrap whatever speaks to me whenever, when I feel inspired to scrap something. If I try to stay in order, it seems more like a task than a hobby to me. However, I know that by jumping around, I risk forgetting to scrap something, or losing a story. How can I be sure that I am getting all of the memories I want to scrap done?

So what do you do? Do you scrap in chronological order? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Posted in Scrapping Tips and Techniques

Entering the Depths of my Pinterest Boards


I’ve been on Pinterest for a while now.

In fact, I’ve been using it from pretty much the beginning. I absolutely love the inspiration I get from the pins I find on other people’s boards. I’ve created layouts from things I’ve found on Pinterest, I’ve made recipes I’ve pinned, and I’ve used it as the main inspiration for the remodeling my wife and I have been working on around our house. When I look at my account, I have 469 pins arranged into 20 different boards. I was amazed, but it led to another question..what things have I pinned?

So I decided to look back into my pins.

I was amazed. I think it’s easy to remember what you pin over the course of a few days, and it’s easy to remember the pins that are at the top of your boards. Have you ever thought about the pins that you can’t see though? The pins from months ago? Well I went to find those, and I was floored at the things that I found. Recipes I swore I was going to make that week, things I wanted to print out for my girls, and tutorials I really wanted to follow up on were all hidden in the depths of my Pinterest boards. I even found a good number of pins that I pinned multiple times. Yup, that’s right, I pinned the same thing three times over. Guess I really liked it, just not enough to remember it.

So my question is this.

How do you keep track of what you pin? Do you bother to see what things you have pinned over time, or do they just live in the bottom of your boards? How do you keep track of the recipes or crafts you want to try, and the ones that you’ve done? After going through my account, I’ve come to see that I really need to get a handle on this. What strategies do you use to make Pinterest more efficient for you? Let me know in the comments below, I will be forever grateful…and so will my Pinterest boards!

Posted in Social Media

A Week in the Life 2012

I don’t have a good record of keeping up with long term projects. I did Project 365 for all of 9 days. I can never seem to keep resolutions. Project Life and Project 52, all have fallen by the wayside after swearing that I was going to be able to make it through them. Needless to say, while A Week in the Life has always intrigued me, I’ve been hesitant to jump into the project. This year though, I am jumping in.

I’ve gathered a few resources this time around to help make it a bit easier to get this project done. First, I’ve decided that I’ll be using my phone exclusively to take the pictures for the project. I am planning on using Instagram for the majority of the pictures. I like the sharing aspect of Instagram.  I’ll be using #weekinthelife to label the pictures, as Ali suggests in this post.  I realize that the pictures I take with my phone and Instagram may not be the best, it will sure make it easier to get the pictures taken than having to carry around my point and shoot.

In terms of writing, I’ll be using a mixture of techniques. On her blog, Ali has provided some great sheets for recording notes as the week goes on. I’ll be using those. I also anticipate having a ton of small notes jotted down on all kinds of paper. These will make nice inclusions in the final album. I also plan on using Evernote on my phone for capturing some journaling on the go. When I go to put the album together, I’ll gather from all of these sources.

I’ll admit, one of the things that was holding me back from doing this project was what the final product would look like. How would I lay it all out? Would all of the pages look the same? What should I include? Do I want it to be a more graphic magazine style, or am I going to stick with a scrappy look? On Saturday morning those questions were answered. This weekend, Sara Gleason released this fantastic product:

I’ll be using these album templates exclusively to capture my Week in the Life. What I really like about them is that there are varying pages and prompts to help the album flow together. I also like that it includes both 8.5×11 and 12×12. I am planning on using the 8.5×11 and printing them out to include in an album. I’ll also be using some page protectors to gather all of the little pieces of memorabilia that I gather throughout the week. While I’ve seen some impressive Shutterfly books of the project, I like the idea of including all kinds of goodies in the final product.

So that’s the plan. I am really hoping that I can stick with it this time. Just putting it here on the blog will help keep me motivated to get it done.

Are you doing A Week in the Life? How are you planning on making it easier on yourself?

Posted in Scrapping Tips and Techniques

What Makes Me Happy

Teaching is not easy. I know there are people out there that think we have a cushy job, full of vacations and ends at 3pm. To put it simply, they just don’t know what they are talking about. Teaching is a challenge each and every day, but that’s not what this blog post is about. This post is about why teaching makes me happy.

Lately, I’ve been feeling very frustrated at school. We are in a weird transition time between the holiday break and the upcoming winter vacation, which always makes the kids (and a lot of the time, the teachers) crazy. On top of that, we have high stakes state testing coming up soon, so everyone is feeling the pinch. Over the last few weeks, I’ve found myself leaving school more and more frustrated every day. Last week, I told my wife that I didn’t think I could do it much longer. For someone who has wanted to be a teacher since he was five, this was utterly devastating. I didn’t let it get me down for long though, smiling and trying to make it through my days, and then coming home and feeling the same again. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, at the very end of the day, I got a visit from one of my previous students. Due to the fact that I’ve moved around a lot in my building, I had this student for two straight years, sixth and seventh grade. She started out as a difficult student, but managed to completely turn herself around and become a hardworking student. She was the sweetest girl, and would play with my two little girls when they were at school. I was so happy that she had turned things around.  Then, she was faced with some incredible challenges. Challenges that changed her life, and made coming to school difficult, challenges that made her whole attitude change again. Still, I knew my good girl was inside.

So, while everyone tried more and more to make her come to school and do well, I quietly supported her. Helping her whenever I could, letting her know that I cared, but giving her my famous hairy eyeball and telling her to come to school everyday. In fact, I didn’t think about it much, it was just how things were between us. I saw her at summer school once over the summer, and told her how happy I was to see her there and that she HAD to keep going. When she came today, she told me that she has in fact been going to school every day, and her grades were decent. She was happy, and doing well. She even asked how my two girls were. I knew that she had turned things back around.

This is what makes me happy: as her teacher, I made a difference in her life. I made such impact that she felt the need to come and see me and tell me how well she was doing. I made so much impact that she remember my two daughters by name. Through all of the frustration of everyday school life, I had forgotten what an effect I can have on each of my students’ lives. I left school today with a smile on my face, and a renewed sense of what it means to be a teacher.

Teaching is more than tests and books, it’s changing lives. So, as you go about your day, think about the people whose life you could be changing. The reality is that whether we know it or not, we are making a difference in someone’s life. In the hard times, remember, that to someone you are a positive change.

Thanks for listening today.

Posted in Everyday Life

Help! To Do Lists on the Go?

If you’re a long time reader here, you’ve heard me talk about my never ending To Do lists that keep me organized and working.  I’ve tried tons of other methods, but my lists are by far the most effective.  Right now, I have a notebook that I bring with me to school and keep on my desk when I’m at home with my various lists in it.  Recently, I’ve been longing for something that will really help me take my lists with me wherever I go.

So today I need your help.  How do you keep your to do lists with you while you are on the go?  Please help me find something that will work for me!

The specifics:  I have an Android phone, and a Nook Color.  I do use Google Tasks in conjunction with my Google Calendar.  That’s it…the rest is up to you.

What do you recommend?

Posted in Productivity

Five Digiscrap Kits That Inspire Me Right Now

It’s no secret, for as avid I am as a scrapbooker, I am an even more avid scrapbook shopper.  Just ask my wife, I’m sure she’ll agree!  I spend a lot of time each week picking up kits and working with them, and some just spark amazing creativity in my mind.  Today I wanted to share with you five digiscrap kits that I find totally inspiring lately.  I am not on any of these Creative Teams (but wouldn’t turn them down if I had the chance), so this is just my total honest opinion as a digiscrap customer.

Little Miss Personality by Jenn Barrette

I love all of the fun little bits that you can include on the page here!  Plus, I really like how there are bold graphic papers like the houndstooth mixed with the soft floral paper.

The Little Things You Say by Lauren Grier

A totally fun basic kit with great colors that is perfect for all of the “moment” scrapping that I do.  Plus, fun doodled elements make it interesting to work with.

Today Journal Cards and Today Papers by Valorie Wibbens

While not a kit, these two coordinating products work together to create some great everyday pages.  I love the look of the journal cards slipped into those page protectors with one of the fun papers behind it.

Everyday Fairytale by Traci Reed and Susan Bartolini

The soft colors, the pretty patterns, and great word art make this kit a MUST for scrapping either love stories or you own little girls.

Me Heart Be Yers by Lauren Grier and Shawna Clingerman

A fresh take on the Valentine’s Day kit, this makes it possible to scrap even a boy themed Valentine’s Day layout.  I haven’t purchased this one yet, but it’s on my list…maybe I can get the girls to dress as pirates for a photo shoot?


What kits have caught your eye, and your creative mind, lately?

Posted in Scrapping Tips and Techniques

Your Thoughts: Reusing Photos on Layouts

This weekend, while I was scrapbooking, I started wondering about something. Do most people reuse photos on their layouts? Often, I find myself going back and pulling a photo of one of my girls that I’ve used before to include it on a layout. Is this something that you do, or do you think it’s almost taboo? Reusing pictures is a strategy that I use often, and I’ll tell you why.

A good picture is a good picture.

Let’s face it, while we take a ton of pictures throughout the year, there are always going to be some that are true standouts.  I can’t turn down a great picture, I just need to use it, and I like using it over and over.  Why choose a picture that might not be so great instead of one that is awesome, just because I’ve used it before?

I’m a moment scrapper.

I don’t often scrap events, I spend my time scrapping moments and memories from our lives.  This lends itself to a having numerous options for pictures.  A picture can represent many different memories, so I can feasibly use a picture for a number of different layouts.

Is anyone really going to call me on it?

We talk about this often.  My scrapbooking is my scrapbooking, and there are no “rules” that I have to go by.  If I want to reuse pictures, then I’ll reuse the pictures.  Hopefully, down the road, my girls won’t look at their scrapbooks and ask me why I reused a picture.  Hopefully the focus will be on the memory.  That’s why I do this.

What about you, do you reuse photos on layouts?


Posted in Scrapping Tips and Techniques

My Tips for Using Evernote

Over the last few months, Evernote has become an invaluable tool in my day to day life.  I use it for a number of different things and areas of my life, in ways that I thought I would and ways that I never would have imagined.  I’ve written about Evernote a few times in the few months, and they are some of my most popular posts.  So, I thought I would bring those posts back up front for everyone who may have missed them.

How I Use Evernote to Maximize Productivity

More Ways to Use Evernote to Maximize Productivity

If you are new to Evernote, or are interested in checking it out, these posts may give you a better idea of how you can best use it for you.  Enjoy!

Posted in Time Management | Tagged

My Most Useful Scrapbooking Trick

Do you have a “toolbox” of special tricks you use when you are scrapbooking? I do, I have some great tricks that I use to add a little punch to my layouts all the time. Some of them, I use over and over. One trick I always come back to is adding a thin white border around my photos. I think it really draws the attention to the picture, and helps set it apart from the rest of the layout.  Like this:

Here’s how I do it:

  1. Find the photo layer, and open the layer style panel for that layer by double clicking on the layer.
  2. Look down to the bottom of the list and click on “stroke”
  3. Now you need to change the settings.  My preference is to set the size to 16px.  Then switch the position from “outside” to “inside.”
  4. Finally, click on the color box and change the color to white, and hit ok.
  5. Now, back on your layout, add a blank layer above the photo.
  6. Select the photo layer and the blank layer, and merge the two together by right clicking and selecting “merge layers”

Now your photo is ready to be shadowed!

It’s really that easy. I am always impressed at what a difference doing this one trick does for my photos and layouts, especially when I am using really busy patterned papers and elements.

What tricks do you have in your scrapbooking toolbox?

Posted in Scrapping Tips and Techniques | Tagged , , , ,

Save Time by Setting Limits

I feel like I am always adding to my never ending to do list. There seems to be no end to the amount of projects and responsibilities I take on, even when I am not sure if I can get them done. More and more time taken up, when if I could just set some limits, I would find more time. It’s not so easy though, to say “no” or to turn down potential projects and activities. I am determine to try and scale back this year, and here are three ways I plan on setting some limits.

Understand that YOU don’t have to do it all.

This is one of the hardest things for me. It’s not about control, either. When I see something that needs to get done, or someone needs help, I want to do it because I want to be helpful. A perfect example of this was this week at school. There was a project that  needed to get done, and instead passing it up and letting someone else take care of it, I volunteered myself to do it. It wasn’t necessary for me to do, and I didn’t really have a lot of time to get it done, but I said I would do it anyways. If I had just let someone else take on the project, I would have saved myself a lot of time.

Instead of just saying “no,” let people know why you can’t take it on right now.

I’ve always had trouble saying “no” to people, so when I have to turn down and event or project, I make sure to let them know why. It doesn’t need to be a long detailed reason. I often find that saying, “I wish I could, I just don’t have the extra time right now” works like a charm.

Make sure that the things you are doing are things that make you happy.

I’ve done a lot of this lately, looking at my commitments and asking if they are things that truly make me happy. If you are doing something that doesn’t make you happy, you need to truly reevaluate why you are doing it. This is hard for me, but I am working on making those choices.

Hopefully these changes will help me get a handle on what I take on.

What things do you do to set limits in your life?

Posted in Time Management | Tagged , , , , ,