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

PL 2016 – Weeks 10 & 11

Week 10: 

  • Downton Abbey ended after 6 glorious seasons. I shall miss it terribly.  
  • Gus really is a gorgeously photogenic cat yet also insanely moody. 
  • It’s amazing when you have a PL card that is so perfect for the time your daughter tells you adults shouldn’t use the word ‘adorbs.’
  • Even short visits with family are better than none at all. 

PL 2016 – Week 10

Week 11:

  • Jason decided to try a French press with a new flavor of coffee – Verena Street’s Mississippi Grog
  • Enjoying the muted greens and oranges of Ali Edward’s newest Day in the Life kit as I prepare to join in the fun in a few weeks. 
  • And a lovely reminder from Bill Watterson, of Calvin and Hobbes fame, that life is what you make it. 

PL 2016 – Week 11

Page Construction Notes

  • Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp
  • Becky Higgins Design A Page Protectors
  • Chipboard stars from Studio Calico

PL Weeks 8 & 9

I am loving how easy it is to pull my PL pages together when I use one Core kit and only add a few embellishments or other products when the need arises or I want to. It’s simple and clean and FAST; I can complete a page in less than an hour and that’s with journaling! Which is what Project Life was always meant to be, right?

So, Week 8. It started with the musical Once and ended with socks, lots and lots of socks. 

Once was just phenomenal. I’d seen the movie a few years ago and loved the music then, but seeing it live just took it to a whole other level. As a trained vocalist and someone who has performed in a theater setting, I truly appreciated the level of talent that each one of the musicians brought to the stage. Most honest, it made me miss live musical theater – not only as audience member, but also as performer. There is just nothing like sharing your voice with others to create something outside and beyond all of you.

PL 2016 – Week 8 

Oh, the socks! Let me tell you about the socks! Here’s a closeup of the story, which reads: “It’s cold in the girls’s room during the winter months, so Ella sleeps in a sleeping bag under her comforter and several other blankets. Evidently she gets overheated and takes off her socks. She does not, however, remove them from the sleeping bag. She surrendered 8 pairs tonight. Oh, and clearly she doesn’t bother to match them before she wears them.”

PL 2016 – Ella’s Socks

Week 9 kicked off with a fabulous dinner before watching the Academy Awards, which is always must see TV for me. The highlights of this year’s broadcast were Chris Rock selling Girl Scout cookies to the celebrity audience and Leo DeCaprio finally winning his Oscar. Lady Gaga was also fabulous.

Ella spent two days home sick on the couch and we ended up at Urgent Care to determine it was an ear infection. I tried for a picture while we waited for the doctor, but Ella deflected. I guess we’ve finally reached the point where she would prefer not to have her picture taken. We shall see how much longer I can, at least, get deflected pics before she says no altogether. 

PL 2016 – Week 9

Page Construction Notes

  • Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp
  • Becky Higgins Design A Page Protectors
  • Chipboard stars from Studio Calico

PL 2016 – Weeks 5 & 6

I spent the first week of February cleaning my desk, which had been sorely neglected since before Christmas. It seems to be the place where everything gets dumped and I wanted my crafty space back. That required going though the stuff of life that had accumulated for a few months. 

Desk – Before

Desk – After

With my newly clean space, I was finally able to dig in and complete the January 2016 OLW prompt and I received a little happy mail from Feed Your Craft and Brandi Kincaid. 

PL 2016 – Week 5

Week 6 of 2016 was all about entertainment: Super Bowl 50 (Lady Gaga was phenomenal), a premier date for the upcoming season of Outlander (still two months away on April 9th), a Deadpool for Valentines’s Day date night (brilliantly irreverent and absolutely perfect – date and movie both), and the Girl Scouts Father/Daughter dance (fun times with friends). It was a good week. 

PL 2016 – Week 6 

Page Construction Notes

  • Becky Higgins Picturesque Core Kit designed by Heidi Swapp
  • Becky Higgins Design A Page Protectors
  • Random wood veneer pieces from Studio Calico

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. 

PL 2015 – Week 17

This week’s PL spread features two of my NSD cards. 

The first one I created was for Studio Calico’s NSD15 Challenge 1 – Picture Your Mood in which you had to create a layout or card using   color elements from a mood board. This was full of navy, fuchsia, gold, and aqua and I had has a blast using the goodies from SC’s Lisse Street PL kit to make this card. I even got to use my favorite Sarah Williams quote, which is always a good thing. 

Challenge 1 Mood Board  

#NSDSC1 PL Card 


My second card was for Studio Calico’s NSD Challenge 2 – From Crafternoon to Kitchen. For this one, we were required to use a recipe of specific elements (tag, wood veneer, patterned paper, washi, journaling card) to create a layout or card. I chose to feature the fabulous selfie headshot I took to include with the Parish Council application I turned in this week. I was also able to incorporate my OLW, INCANDESCENT, as well. 

#NSDSC2 PL Card 


One other note from this week, on Wednesday, the girls had their last choir practice with Faye Hansen, who is retiring as the Music Coordinator at St. Edward Parish. Ella and Sophie have been members of the Children’s Choir since they started at St. Edward School two years ago and it is sad to see Faye go. Her love of music and the kids she worked with was evident each time they sang for Mass or the annual Christmas concert. We’re really going to miss you, Ms. Hansen! 

PL 2015 – Week 17


Page Constuction Notes

This was my final week working with Studio Calico’s Lisse Street kit. Page protector is Becky Higgins design A. 

NSD 2015 

Every year, usually the first weekend in May,  the scrapping community gathers together – physically and virtually – to celebrate National Scrapbooking Day. 

I have been scrapbooking since 2004 and used to participate in NSD crops with my good friend Julie Graff, who was a Creative Memories consultant at the time and was the one who got me started putting pictures on pages with words and embellishments. Her philosophy? Simple is done. 

Julie has since moved on to other things, but the need to preserve pics and memories stuck with me. It led to my discovery of Project Life and that led me to Studio Calico. I signed up for their PL kit club back in 2013 and have enjoyed getting my little boxes of ‘happy mail’ ever since. 

 My Scrap Space 

For the past two years I have participated in SC’s online NSD events, trapping myself in the office where my scrap space is and knocking out PL layouts and cards and even some traditional scrapbook pages. I also interact with others from the SC community (and to a lesser extent the BIg Picture Classes community), entering contests and challenges as I am able. 

This year, I completed 2 weekly PL spreads (Week 15 & Week 16) , 2 traditional layouts (Beautiful Birthday Girl and Together, both featured in my previous blog post PL 2015 – Week 16) , two PL cards and won BPC’s NSD kit giveway on FB (scored one for Julie as well) and a prize for entering one of SC’s #NSDSC15 challenges. It was a great day!