Saturday, December 15, 2012

Garden update: Week 49

Just an update, stay tuned for a "how I built my square foot garden" post :)

Early December has been quite warm so far with an average temp in the mid 70's. We've had some rain (thank goodness!), which the plants LOVE. I had always read about how great rainwater is for a garden (referred to as liquid gold even!) because of the nitrogen content and that it is not chemically treated. I never really saw the effect because I always used Earthboxes, but now that I have things in the ground, it's so much more obvious! It's literally like they grew overnight!

My super awesome neighbor had leftover onion transplants, so those were added at the beginning of the week (sorry for the poor photo quality- iphone photos are what I have right now!):

New happy onion transplants in bottom left corner :)

Iphone panorama of the garden, note the BROWN unhappy,crunchy grass around the raised beds!
After the rain came, they seemed MUCH happier. You can see the brassica family growing on the right (broccoli and cauliflower). The two winter squash plants are doing very well in the back too! 

Growing right along

I have been working 12 hour night shifts so I hadn't the time for close ups of the plants.. but they are all doing well! Even the carrots (left, bottom 2 squares in and 2 squares up) have started to peek through the soil! We also had a cold snap come through with night temps in the low 50's, so we will see if that stunts growth or not!

That's all for now, I will keep you all posted as the zone 9 winter begins.

Happy gardening :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Project Life Organization

As I look back into my 2010 Project Life album, I'm amazed. Some pages are completely done- and some have all journaling but no photos. Others have bits and pieces from an event to one day be placed in their prospective pockets. Some are beautiful, others are messy. And I totally love it. It feels so much more REAL than my previous scrapbooks, with all their fancy, labor intensive fluff. This book is well used, and I love every bit of it.

My organization process has not changed much. Journal during the week and go back and print once every few weeks. I must say I was much better with keeping up on journaling back then.

I find it funny that I randomly took this picture and later realized it was the first journal entry into project life (see the far right journal card)
These are my favorite pages to "catch up" on because all the journaling is done :)

I think one of the things I love the most about project life is that it allows me to "scrapbook" in segments of time. For example, that wedding invitation you get (and the bridal shower invite/thank you card, and the save the dates and the memorobilia from the wedding....yadda yadda yadda) immediately go into my book. Yes, even if it's months away. I slip it into a 8.5x11 sheet protector and ignore it until the wedding comes and goes and I have pictures from the event. Here is my cousin's wedding (she was such a beautiful bride!), photos were printed from the photographer and are safely tucked away. Once I print the rest of them, I will take the 30 minutes needed to adhere the memorabilia and then I'm DONE. How awesome is that? 

Memorabilia safely (and chronologically) tucked away.. this is one of my "messy" pages
All the printed photos are in the same place as the memorabilia for future scrapping :)
Project Life has also allowed me to be organized. Remember that box I mentioned in my last post? It's the same one you all have, containing a mishmash of previous years' memorabilia, napkins, newspaper articles, nametags and anything you brought home from an event because you thought you might scrap it one day. Yeah, I haven't either. The point is that currently, that box isn't growing. Anything worth "saving" to be scrapped goes right into the book. AND there's another bonus.. I stopped "saving" the things that didn't fit into the book and instead took pictures of those items so that they wouldn't be forgotten. So now I'm more organized and decluttering? Say it isn't so!

Newspaper stashed away in a 12x12 page for safe keeping

So, I have to confess.. I LOVE inserts. The reason why is because I like to print a lot of photos. I know some people can choose just a few photos a week, but I can't. I've decided that since PL is my ONLY album each year, I'm going to fill it with as many photos as I want. Sometimes that means my album is HUGE. If there is an event (vacation or holiday) where I want an abnormally large amount of photos printed, I plan to just make a photobook instead. It takes up less space, and I can make as many copies as I want. The other option is digital photo collages, which are very handy to have.

Continuing the organization topic.. I basically use design A for my week and any extra photos go into inserts, and that's where I take the opportunity to scrap the "old way", but only if I want. These photos are all from Christmas, so there are quite a few inserts. I really do try to limit them to one or two inserts per event.. sometimes it gets out of hand.

The front of insert was decorated with Becky Higgins' paper (LOVE that it's double sided!!) and just a few clear Christmas stickers. 
This is the back of the above insert and the front of another. Nothing fancy here, but a good example on how to cram a lot of photos into your book!

Another tool I use VERY frequently is the Planner Pages by Marcy Penner (who also has some AMAZING printables BTW).  I am admittedly type A, and these pages satisfy my serious neurotic tendencies. They are especially helpful when I have a lot of inserts. The following are pages from my October New York City trip. Notice there is only a general outline of what we did and the dates. I will devote an entire post to finishing this layout series, but for now a teaser.

Thank you Marcy Penner for your fabulous pages! These are the older design, she now has a few others that I have yet to try.
So many postcards, so little album space...

My central park leaves are safe and sound for now!

And last but not least. Remember that eye candy I promised? I have found a love for washi tape. After a quick run to my favorite chain craft store..Here's my little treat to myself :)

Happy Crafting :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

MY Project Life

So many of you have watched my youtube videos and asked a ton of questions about how I organize my Project Life albums, what products I use, etc. I've answered a lot of those questions on my videos but since this is a fresh start, I think I'll start from the beginning!

My albums:

Most of my albums are in a cabinet, the top shelf are the "old" way of scrapbooking and the larger albums are my project life albums.
All project life albums :)
Don't let this apparent organization fool you... all of these albums are unfinished. BUT- I am totally okay with that. And do you know why? Because those big black albums are all from the past three years. There are photos, journaling and memorabilia stashed in those albums that would otherwise be sitting in a huge Tupperware box to be gone through at "some" time in the future (I have been saying that for a few years now- one day I WILL go through that box!). 

I digress. Anyway, the top albums are from ALL THE YEARS PRIOR. Let's do the math on that one. 10 small unfinished albums covering roughly 25 years versus 6 (2012 albums not shown) very large albums covering the past 3 years? It's a no brainer. Project Life is the way to go for me. It literally has changed the way I scrapbook. 

The other bonus? It's WAY cheaper.. well if you want it to be. Here's some more math for you: that purplish album up top on the right? That's from my bachelorette weekend- I bought stickers, paper, adhesive, fancy letters, and all SORTS of blingy embellishments for that album- PLUS some Disney related papers (it was at downtown Disney), which were not cheap. Total cost, minus the album and photo printing? WELL over $100. I am not kidding, I promise. And this was only for a 3 day event. I dread working on that album now (yes, it's still unfinished) because it was done in the "old" way of scrapbooking, and it used to take me two hours just to finish one layout! Do you KNOW how many project life layouts I can get done in that period of time? Probably 10-15 depending if all my stuff is in the album already.

So that's my love of Project Life. I don't know Becky Higgins personally and I don't make any money off promoting her products. I just LOVE the fact that she has removed the overwhelming-down-in-your-gut feeling that I will never "catch up" on albums. I am admittedly a very simple scrapbooker, even when I did 12x12 layouts, they weren't very fancy. I realize my layouts will never be as pretty and inspiring as Ali Edwards, but that isn't my goal. My goal is to document my family life, and I am succeeding :) Thank you, Becky Higgins, I am forever grateful.

Happy crafting :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Household Notebook

Ready for more total randomness? Thought so.

I try to stay organized. I have been much more successful at it since I learned about the benefits of a Household Notebook. It's basically a "go to" folder where you keep a little bit of everything. Our notebook contains shopping lists, price books, coupons, recipes and grocery money. Important phone numbers are in the back and our schedules are at the front. I am about to go grocery shopping, and went to, printed everything and just clipped it in the book, to be organized later if I want. The important thing is they are with me when I'm shopping! It has really saved me a lot of money with very little time invested!

I get all my notebook printables online from a great little website: Organized Home

I highly recommend this little book! It keeps me organized and helps me save money. Plus, it gives me reasons to buy more page protectors :) and what project lifer doesn't love that?

Happy crafting :)

The front of the notebook contains pens, scissors, a highlighter and grocery money

The shopping list is the section I go to most frequently for sure

I love this, but I'll admit I wish I used this more often- it would totally save me time when I go shopping! When I do use it, it's fabulous :)

The REAL money saver is right here! Everytime I go shopping, I add to this list (usually the more frequently purchased items only). When I can, I sit down and figure out what items are cheaper where! You can see I haven't had time to break down the prices yet :)
I put the most frequently used recipes in this book- very handy when I need the hubby to start dinner!

Used baseball card holders for manufacture coupons

I seriously love When I can, I cut out the coupons and arrange them by basic category (food, soaps, cleaning supplies, etc), then  tape them to a blank sheet of paper and slide into a sleeve.
This is what happens when I run out of time! Just punch holes and go shopping! Scissors in the front pouch and extra 8x10 sleeves to put leftovers

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Garden

Part of the reason I wanted to start a blog as also because I wanted to keep a virtual "journal" of sorts for my garden!

I have always gardened in containers. Always. I've mostly just used plastic pots from big box stores but over the past year I expanded to earth boxes. Since we finally moved into our dream home, I wanted a more permanent garden.

But, of course I didn't want just and old plot of dirt- I wanted to build and plant in raised beds.. Specifically square foot garden beds. I chose this method for two basic reasons. To start with, our soil here in zone 9 is basically sand. I'm not kidding when I say this- if you dig down 1 foot, you unearth what looks like wet beach sand (note what's around the fence posts? That sand was not brought in!) Not good for a garden. The second, and more pertinent reason was because I'm a numbers girl and with square foot gardening (SFG) I can get more bang for the buck.

SFG basically means you break up the raised beds into one square foot sections and plant in a grid system instead of rows. The benefit is that the soil never gets stepped on, and as a result, you can grow things much closer together (aka the bio intensive method). I'd never done this type of gardening... Until today :)

My sweet husband was kind enough to build a fence around the area we determined was best for the garden.. Ill go into details in another post, but basically we have a 50x60 area to do whatever we want to. He built me two awesome raised bed boxes out of lumber (not pressure treated)- then I stapled a combo of weed wacker line and garden tape to make the grid system. Today, I officially became a square foot gardener, after spending many hours transplanting and seeding the grid. It looks pretty good, I think :) I wish we could have afforded the drip irrigation before the plants went in, but we gotta start somewhere, so I decided to go ahead and start planting! I love the result.. There are still a few empty squares so I will have to decide on what they'll be filled with. Regardless, here's the final product, I'm quite proud :)

Happy gardening :)

We've gone mobile!

Oh how I do love technology! I've downloaded the blogger app, so you should definitely hear more from me!

I wanted to let some of you see what project life is. I will probably dedicate many posts to it in the future, but for now, here is a quick little glimpse of what it should look like and what it looks like now. I do plan to add more to the empty pages, but that's another discussion for another day. Ignore the photo quality on this one.. I promise eye candy later! :)

A Brand New Blog

Ah, fresh starts. Don't you love them? This blog has been long overdue and I hope to really get to show off some of my favorite bits of randomness to anyone who is willing to listen!

Let me introduce myself :)

I am a 30 something wife to an amazing husband. We recently moved to a small bit of land down south (zone 9b for you gardeners) and are loving the homesteading life.. even if we just started. We don't have kids at the moment, so most of our time is spent working or at home on the "ranch". 

Our sunset view off the front porch, still can't believe it's ours!

Back when we lived "in town" I had a youtube page which I started because I love to scrapbook and found myself wanting to share it with the internet. I found Becky Higgins Project Life scrapbook products to be Uh-Mazing and I felt  like the whole world should know! I made a ton of videos and realized there were other passions I wanted to share with people- gardening, cooking and photography were just the beginning!

One of my favorite products of all time! This changed the way I scrapbook forever!

Then we moved "out here" and low and behold, the internet is... well.. sub-par to say the least. It takes 4 hours to upload one video. Ugh. Anywhoo.. I was thinking a blog may be the next best thing, so here we go! Wish me luck!

First up on the blog? A recipe.. sort of!

Let me start by saying, I love food. Who doesn't? And I do TRY to eat healthy. I don't always meet those goals, but this little dish (if you can call it that) does help satisfy a craving.

Warmed Cinnamon Apples:

Okay, so it doesn't LOOK amazing, but it tastes pretty darn good!

1 apple (I prefer red because they are sweeter, but green will do in a pinch)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2  tbsp butter (or spray butter)
Optional Toppings: 
         caramel sauce (store bought or homemade)
         vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
         graham crackers or leftover crescent rolls, biscuits, etc.
         whipped cream

1. Slice or cube apple
2. sprinkle cinnamon
3. add small pats of butter
4. place in a bowl in microwave for 45 seconds-1minute
5. top with anything you want!

I keep apples around the house JUST for this recipe. It's similar to apple pie, but healthier :) You're welcome.

That's it for this post. Enjoy your dessert :)