PL 2016 – Weeks 28 & 29 & 30

Week 28 is one where I collected a bunch of quotes, but only managed to take one single, solitary photo, and an accidental one of my knee in the car at that. Oh well, nothing I can do but make lemonade out of lemons. So here is that one picture surrounded by some of my favorite quotes found that week.

Kudos to Color Cast Design for having the perfect wood veneer piece with which to add a little embellishment to an other wise sad spread. This is from her Hot Mess set. 

PL 2016 – Week 28

Maybe the reason I don’t have many pictures this month is due to the fact that for the first year since 2012 that we aren’t travelling to see my favorite band, Alice in Chains. They did tour this summer, but either played festivals or opened for Guns N’ Roses, and only played a few solo gigs well outside of driving range for us. They have a killer live show and I am sad to have missed them this time around. Here’s hoping they are out next year. I WILL NOT miss them again. 

PL 2016 – Week 29

And while our travels this year did not involve any concerts, it did include a week long vacation to my sister’s house in the Twin Cities. The kids all had a blast at ‘Cardboard Camp’ and in the pool, while the adults enjoyed each other’s company. 

PL 2016 – Week 30

PL 2016 – Cardboard Camp 1

PL 2016 – Cardboard Camp 2

Page Construction Notes

  • Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp
  • Becky Higgins Design A Page Protectors
  • Wood veneer pieces from the Hot Mess set by Color Cast Designs

PL 2016 – Week 24 & Decorah

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find it difficult to document everyday life. Let’s face it, our days can be monotonous, only occasionally broken up by a special occasion or something curious/exciting/funny, which makes it hard to find new stories to tell. And sometimes, the news of the world is just so heart rending and horrifying that I want to curl up in a little ball and hide rather than go through the effort of documenting the seemingly insignificant happenings of my family. This week was one of those times. 

On Sunday, we woke up to the news of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. 49 people killed and another 53 wounded in what ended up being a terrorist attack/hate crime. It was a hard day, as were the ones that followed.

I found myself deeply saddened and prone to tears several times over the next few days. Suddenly those little everyday moments became a saving grace – Gus snuggling a little too close to Sophie, writing out the lyrics to Queen and Bowie’s Under Pressure, making time for crafty endeavors, and connecting with nature and as a family. These small moments remind me that I need to carry on, to keep living my life  and telling my story as only I can. 

We can’t stop bad things from happening, but we also can’t pretend they didn’t happen. They carve out a place in our lives and deserve a place amongst our stories. 

PL 2016 – Week 24

PL 2016 – Decorah 1

PL 2016 – Decorah 2

PL 2016 – Decorah 3

PL 2016 – Decorah 4

PL 2016 – Decorah 5

PL 2016 – Decorah 6

Page Construction Notes

  • Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp
  • Becky Higgins Design A Page Protectors
  • PL overlays from Becky Higgins
  • Acrylic and wood veneer pieces from the Getaway set by Color Cast Designs

PL 2016 – Week 16 & Prince

Sophie’s birthday falls in the middle of April and this year we ended up celebrating three different times, each with a different group of people. We started with dinner at Hu-Hot, her favorite restaurant, with Jason’s family, then had a sleepover with friends, and finally we celebrated with my family. Lots of cake, lots of presents, and a very loved Sophie. 

PL 2016 – Week 16

Also this week, 2016 claimed another musician far too soon. 

PL 2016 – Prince
It seems I’ve listened to Prince my entire life and his passing was unexpected. He was such an amazing talent, a phenomenal guitar player (how did I not understand what a gifted guitarist he was?!?), and so very much more. The world is a little less audacious without him. 

I wanted to honor Prince in my PL album as I’ve done with many of those we’ve lost in 2016, but I struggled to find a way to truly capture how I felt. Until I found these amazing words from Christina Garner, who was kind enough to let me borrow them for my tribute.

“My grief over Prince is surprising me. Not that I’m grieving, but the depth and breadth of it.

I’m listening to his music non-stop, reveling more in his lesser-known work than I’d have thought possible. I’m gobbling up anecdotes and stories as a lifeline to a man I never met, but now more than ever wish I had.

Rock stars carry a heavy load: the collective dreams, most of them unexpressed, of all of humanity. When one dies, especially one as genius, talented, and prolific as Prince, we begin to question not only our own mortality but our impact and legacy. Are we living life to the fullest? Are we expressing our gifts? We see an example of someone who most certainly was and begin to question our life choices.

And then there’s just the pain of it. The abject, raw pain of losing such a talent. And our personal pain—the knowledge that whether we never got around to seeing him in concert or saw him a hundred times, the opportunity of just one more is lost forever.

And we hope he knew. How loved, how talented, how appreciated and needed he was and will continue to be. Because what all of us want in our deepest souls is to be seen. To be understood. And that’s why we project so much of ourselves onto musicians. Because they sing our pain and our dreams and our love. They hold it and express it in a way that few others can.

Life is this fragile, resilient, unknowable mystery. No one embodied that more than Prince, with his small frame and large presence. His need to be seen and yet hide.

Words fail me but it’s just as well. There’s nothing I could say that Prince didn’t say himself, and better. I don’t know if I believe in an afterlife, but Prince did. And if ever there were anyone who could will something into existence—someone who, if the rumors are true, would never accept “no” or “impossible” for an answer—it would be him. So I trust that right now he is in a world of never ending happiness where he can always see the sun, day or night.

Thank you, Prince, for giving your life to us so that we might know ourselves a little better, and for keeping so much of it for yourself, so that there was always more to give.”

Page Construction Notes

  • Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp
  • Becky Higgins Design A Page Protectors 
  • Heidi Swapp Wood Veneer and Stickers
  • Acrylic stars from Color Cast Designs
  • Purple and metallic copper card stock
  • Vellum photo mat and border from Creative Memories
  • Stamp from Studio Calico by CD Muckosky

Project Life 2016

It’s only taken two months, but I do believe I know how I will be handling Project Life in 2016. Before I get to my plan, please allow me to digress and explain how I came to my decision. 

After dabbling with Creative Memories for a time, I found PL in early 2013 and immediately fell in love with its simplicity. Pictures in pockets with words. Yes! I can do that. I collected supplies for a few months and started my first album in 2014, using Studio Calico’s Project Life kit. It was as awesome as I thought it would be and I loved working with a small kit of supplies each month. My 2014 album makes me happy every time I look at it.

I started out with the best of intentions in 2015, but life happened and I fell behind. Those small monthly kits stacked up and I ended up with quite a stash of left overs that was, quite frankly, overwhelming and demoralizing.  

When 2016 rolled around, I seriously toyed with giving the whole thing up and just getting rid of everything. Even as I was setting a goal to be sure to complete my PL pages weekly, I was questioning my desire to do so. Then came Ali Edwards’ Storytelling with PL class and everything changed. 

I cannot tell you how amazing this class has been for me. From showing us her past albums to walking us through her workspace and her PL process, Ali managed to provide insight into a couple of the things that have been keeping me from moving forward with PL – namely over saturation of supplies and perfectionism. 

One of the things that struck me most was Ali talking about knowing your reason why. Why are you doing Project Life? Why are you choosing to document your life this way? Why is it important. Most honest, I had to take some time to really think about my reason why. Here’s what I figured out.

I come from a family of picture takers. 

My Grandpa Roy loved to take pictures of his family and he passed that love onto my dad, who in turn passed it onto me. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad and his camera, first as subject then as student. He got me my first SLR and helped me pick out my first DSLR. He taught me how to change a roll of film and how to frame a shot. And he took pictures of everything. I have boxes full of his slides, negatives, and photos to prove it. 

What I don’t have are his memories. The reasons why he took all those pictures.  Sure, some of his pictures ended up in albums, but they were all photos and no words. I don’t have any idea what moved him on any given day to pull his camera out and photographically document the occasion. And I want that. I want those stories – the ones only he can tell. You see my father and grandfather, they were photographers. Me, I am a storyteller and memory keeper.  

Now, I am fortunate. My dad lives close enough to me that I can take some of those old photos to him and begin digging into his story. I can get them into albums – words AND photos. I have plans to do that, along with all of the other photo collections from my family that I have taken it upon myself to keep and protect. One of my intentions this year is to get all of these photos organized and scanned so I can begin collecting the stories to go with them. And let me tell you, it’s a daunting task. But it’s one I truly feel compelled to undertake. I know some of the stories I am looking to gather are lost to time and, as sad as that makes me, I am not going to let it keep me from doing what I can to tell my family’s story. 

And what about my own story? As much as I want the stories of those who came before me, I also need to tell my own – the ones I’ve lived and the ones still to come. I dare say I have just as many photos as my dad does, stored in boxes, CDs, flash drives, hard drives, and my iPhone. I also have containers full of the stuff of life I’ve collected along the way. And right now, it’s all just a bunch of untold stories, sitting around collecting dust. 

It just don’t think it’s practical for me to assume that either one of my daughters will catch my storytelling/memory keeping bug and I can’t say that I’ll ever push it on them. It’s enough for me that they understand/accept that I take pictures and squirrel away the stuff of their lives, so their story is told until they are able to do it themselves, when or if that time ever comes. 

So it’s all on me then, right? I have to tell my own story or run the risk it never will be. 

Which brings me to Project Life in 2016.  


Thanks to Ali, I feel a renewed focus documenting my life with PL. At the same time, and fully aware that I will be doing quite a bit of scanning this year, I need simplicity.  

So I went ahead and purchased the Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp to use as the foundation for my 2016 album. The grey, navy, and teal color scheme combined with simple geometric designs and words in Heidi’s handwriting is both lovely and elegant. 

Becky Higgins Picturesque PL Core Kit  

And because I just love her style, I will supplement my new Core Kit with Ali’s Story Kits and journal cards, along with the occasional assist from my stash.

PL 2016 – Cover Page 


Now that I have Picturesque in hand, it has taken me no time at all to create my cover page and jump right in to the stories of 2016. And they are stories – more than ever before. Granted, they are small ones right now as I develop my new style (what used to be photo heavy inspirational is morphing into story driven inspirational – I still really do love a good quote!), but my pages are coming together so much more quickly now that  I’m back to pictures in pockets with words, which is really what it’s all about, right? 

Pictures taken. Stories told. Memories kept. Simple and done and exactly as it needs to be. 

Page Construction Notes

My cover page is made from the title cards from the Picturesque Core Kit in Becky Higgins Design A page protectors. The ‘FOCUS’ wood veneer is from Color Cast Designs’ The Little Words Set. The ‘H’ monogram is a mix of two stamp sets, both designed by Lindsay Letters for Studio Calico – Monogram and Cotton Candy Add-On. I also threw in a navy chipboard star, also from Studio Calico.