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13 posts from May 2012

May 31, 2012

Project Life, Week Twenty-One


OBSERVATIONS: Another week of Project Life mirrors another week of real life. Ahhh. Love how it works out like that. This week includes a majority of photos from our weekend up at the family cabin. We stayed through Sunday but those pictures will have to be part of next week's Project Life. If I'm following PL Protocol, I document Sunday through Saturday in each spread and not an extra day on either side. If I end up splitting a trip, so be it. Call me a crazy PL Rebel… or don't.

This week also included some shots with my new lenses. I definitely need to get out and practice with them both and work on that steady hand for the crispy shots I so love.

Here are the pages:



One thing that was intersting about the cabin this time out? My brother in law, Steve, has his iPhone set up as a wireless hot spot, so we could get online inside the house. Usually, we go next door and steal Dan's Aunt and Uncle's wireless signal (they live there much of the year). So it felt a little indulgent to be inside and online. We were debating whether it was a good thing or a bad thing. But we all agreed it never got old to point out that Steve was a hot spot.


I also love this not so great shot of breakfast. We always crowd in around the table for meals and it's so quintessentially the cabin.


Here's the weekly recap card:


And that wraps up Week Twenty-One.


Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.

May 29, 2012

The Scrapbooker's New Toys


Photo taken with my new Canon 50mm Compact Macro lens.

You know how every now and then photo-lovin' women get the itch for something new?

Or maybe how it happens more often than every now and then?

When I was in Seattle last week, I got to spend some time with the beautiful and talented Tracey Clark who introduced me to two cool lenses that I decided on the spot I really needed to have. Needs? Wants? What the hell! Mama likes them write offs!

I bought one of these:


I took it up north over Memorial Day weekend and started to get to know it. I've never had any macro capabilities, and am really looking forward to exploring what it can do. Here are a few images I shot with it.


I call this one Extreme Bark.


And this one? Extreme moss.


This one is of a clematis in my back yard.

The second toy lens Tracey showed me was the Olloclip.


This nifty little guy goes right over your iPhone 4 or 4s camera. Like this:


The previous two Olloclip photos were taken with my new 50mm Compact Macro. I call that Blog Post Lensception.

It offers you three options: wide angle, fish eye and macro (and let me tell you, it is an extreme macro.)

Macro example:

Photo May 23, 4 44 08 PM

YIKES! What IS that? (The same clematis blossom as seen above.)

Photo May 25, 8 16 57 AM

And that? My patio table.

I realize that this extreme need for close up might be overkill, but here's a nice image from my weekend up North using the Wide Angle lens. I call it: Cabin Juice.

Photo May 25, 10 20 40 PM

What's so fun about the Olloclip is that you can use it with your favorite iPhone photo applications. For me, that means mostly Instagram.

I'm guessing I'll get a lot more use out of the 50mm lens than the Olloclip, but hey, sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet.

And by all means, save your receipts for the tax man.



May 24, 2012

Project Life, Week Twenty


OBSERVATIONS: Well I guess the card says it all: what a fun week! Kicking off with Mother's Day and ending with dinner at the Space Needle in Seattle, last week was fairly atypical for this homebody. Up until last week, I hadn't flown since Simple Scrapbooks folded. I used to fly a lot. Now, not so much. It was a real treat to fly out to my home state, and that dominates the week's images.

Side note: I don't love flying. I think the older I get, the weirder it seems to me to be hurling through the atmostphere at ridiculous speeds. And honestly, how do those planes stay in the air? I mean, really? At one point, on the way home, we were heading into Minneapolis storms, so they were going to divert us to Fargo. The turbulence wasn't crazy, but it made my stomach drop a few times and in order to keep my cool, I had to picture that scene in Bridesmaids when the woman turns to Kristen Wiig and says, "I had a dream last night. That we went down... You were in it." Always makes me smile.

Second side note: Yes! I used washi tape this week for the first time ever. Who says an old dog can't learn new tricks?

Onto the week's pages!



Who doesn't love cute little blond girls? P.S. Molly, why didn't you make them my God children again?


This week I dropped a couple of type treatments onto a few of the Seattle photos. I like the way that looks. Simple and not in any distracting area of the photo.


More journaling about Seattle.


And the recap card.


And that's all she wrote for Week Twenty.




Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.

May 22, 2012

My Hometown


Last week a business meeting took me all the way to Seattle, the city that I love and the city in which I was born. It's been over three years since I was last in Washington, so I tacked on a few days in order to spend it in my true hometown, Everett. My best friend, Molly, still lives there where she's married and raising her two adorable and precocious daughters, Anne and Aida.


There is something about the air there. It smells different. Maybe it's because you can get close to the water and smell the salt in the air. Or maybe it's all those pine trees and all that moss and all that rain. It's a verdant land, that Pacific Northwest.


After my visit with Molly, I headed to Seattle for a meeting with the folks from Big Picture Classes.


Lucky for me, that meant getting to hang out with Ali and Stacy and my new friend, Tracey.


We stopped at Ivar's on the Pier for a fish and chips snack.


We headed off to the Space Needle for a tasty dinner with a 360-degree very slowly rotating view.


We left Seattle to head over to Carnation where Stacy's parents live and held our meeting on Saturday morning before all boarding planes to our respective homes.


I always get a bit nostalgic when I'm home for any length of time. Though I wouldn't trade the path of my life for anything, I still wonder what it would be like to live in the town I'm from.

This is a picture of Silver Lake. I spent every summer there, trying in vain for that Washington tan, swimming in the lake, and probably doing a few things I ought to not have been doing. So many memories wash over me just looking at this Instagram shot.

Photo May 17, 4 21 50 PM

A song came to mind, a song called "Hometown" by the insanely underrated Joe Jackson. If you're a fan, you'll know it. If not, here's a little taste of the lyric:

Hometown by Joe Jackson

Of all the stupid things I could have thought
This was the worst
I started to believe
That I was born at seventeen
And all the stupid things
The letters and the broken verse
Stayed hidden at the bottom of the drawer
They'd always been
And now I plough through piles
Of bills, receipts and credit cards
And tickets and the Daily News
And sometimes I just . . .

Wanna go back to my home town
Though I know it'll never be the same
Back to my home town
'Cause it's been so long
And I'm wondering if it's still there...

For anyone who somehow became separated from the place in which you grew up, it might resonate with you. In fact, sometimes this song breaks my heart in the best of ways.


Here's to where you're from.

May 17, 2012

Project Life, Week Nineteen


OBSERVATIONS: Another week, another set of photos and stories I love. The process of putting this together each week is really becoming a true labor of love; a chance to look at the notes I've taken and the photos I've shot, and see what our lives looked like for another one week stretch. It's good stuff, people. It truly was a joyful week. Here are my pages.



My favorite photo this week is a tie between me and Dan, and the red heart. The red heart came home with Dan and serves as a reminder that our time apart was a key for re-connection. Using InDesign, I typeset a line of text from an email he wrote while he was there.


Sigh. A little slice of romance indeed. Moving on…


Thank you, Aidan Zielske, for taking this picture. I love your eye.

And speaking of my first born, here's a wee story about her.


And no early summer would be complete without the Zielskes finally getting around to burning our Christmas tree. Note to self: up your homeowners insurance for the next round. That thing was a pyre of potential disaster.


And that concludes our coverage of Week Nineteen for Project Life.




Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.

May 15, 2012

From the vault: Fly Girl

I'm getting on a plane tonight for the first time since the fall of 2008. I don't really go anywhere very often via large metal flying machine. I used to, back in the glory days of Simple Scrapbooks magazine, when I'd fly to beautiful Salt Lake City (read: Draper) for editorial meetings every 8 weeks.

Even though I got good at packing light, carrying my bag on, keeping my liquids in their tiny plastic 3-oz containers, I never really loved the traveling.

I remember thinking back then, "How did this get to be part of my job as a graphic designer?" Graphic designers sit alone in darkened rooms very much engaged with terra firma. Flying places for work was something my Dad did when I was growing up. Was I really that grown up?

I made this page in 2008 to document the fact that I'd become a fly girl.


It's funny. I still carry the same purse (although my present one is in black) and I still bring as much in-flight entertainment as possible (my iPad is loaded up with three flicks). Hopefully, it'll be smooth sailing all the way to good old Seattle, Washington, the city of my birth.

One thing that hasn't changed for me as a traveler is that even though there is always a bit of excitement or nervousness on fly day, there is also the part of me that truly wishes her feet wouldn't be leaving the ground at all.

Up, up and away, as they say.

May 14, 2012

A lovely day


Yesterday was one of the nicest days I can recall in the annals of Mother's Day history.

To all of you mothers out there, or those who are mother figures in anyone's lives, I hope you all feel loved and appreciated as often as humanly possible.


May 10, 2012

Project Life, Week Eighteen


OBSERVATIONS: This week was all about two things: Dan and changing up the color scheme. Lucky for me, Dan's best friend is a serious photog who sent me 650 photos from Dan's 11 days in Slovenia. I would download them from Facebook as I eagerly followed along with their daily adventures.

One of the photos, the image of grafitti that says "I love her," informed the color direction for this week. I decided to go with a drabish mustard. There's no law in Project Life that says you can't change up a week, right? I also went with more black and white photos than in past spreads, which I may continue here and there. I liked the monochromatic feel of this spread, with the litle bursts of color provided by Dan's Slovenian Adventure.

The other thing here? Dan. Featured heavily. And why not? I mean he's not hard on the eyes, people.

This week I created a few new products which will be on sale this weekend at Designer Digitals as well. Let's take a look at the pages for this week, shall we?


How fun is this? All Dan, all the time? Ridiculously fun, I'd say.


I used a Project Life folded card to write a more personal note about how vital this time apart for me and Dan was. You can read more about that here.

Here's my recap of the week with a new colored background in place.


One of my new products coming out this weekend is a layered 4 x 6 photo template set that includes simple black labels. Less wordy than Tiny Templates, there's just enough room for a sentence or a few words here and there.




You can change the color of the bars as well. Here, I wanted to continue to mustard theme.


And, a new month meant a new page divider. I'm not quite in need of a second album yet. I would say I'm going to have to break my Project Life into 2 binders. Mostly however, my pages are so flat that I really seem to be fitting a lot into the one I have.

And that is all she wrote for Week Eighteen.




Project Life, created by Becky Higgins, is a flexible, easy-to-use, highly customizable way to save your memories in a fun, stress-free way. Learn more about getting started with Project Life by clicking here.

May 08, 2012



I posted last week that Dan, also known as My Better Half or My Partner in Crime and Therapy, spent 11 days visiting his best friend, Christopher, in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

It's been a coon's age since we've had this much time apart. Once in the 1990s he flew out to Santa Cruz for work for three weeks (I know, rough place to be), but that's the only other time we've been apart for any real length of time.

I've written here a few times, admitedly not much, that Dan and I have been working on our, for lack of a better word, shit, for the past few years. We've been a couple since 1989 and that has translated to an awful lot of stuff to work through, understand and figure out.

It has been and continues to be a slow process but a much needed one.


As we planned this getaway for him, part of me thought the time apart would be good for just chilling out, not thinking so much about 'us' all the time and just using the time to simply be. In other words, I thought I would use the time to check out mentally from always trying to work on myself and on us.

If there's one thing I'm learning, however, it's that checking out translates to very little progress ever being made. It's also a great way to avoid reality, something I've done an awful lot in my 46 years of living.


But the exact opposite happened. I wasn't prepared for the depth of the transatlantic communications that ensued. It seemed that by removing ourselves from the grind of everyday life, we were able to connect in a way that has been elusive during the past few years. We were able to lower our defenses and realize that sometimes, the mucky muck of our neurotic selves needs to take a back seat to love and kindess and nurturing and seeing what is right in front of you.


I believe anyone who's tried to work on a relationship knows that it can be incredibly challenging at times and that it can also seem effortless at others. I also believe that making the relationship work is not always the right path for every couple.

For Dan and I, it's the path we've both chosen, together, come Hell or high water or 11 days in Europe.


Or everyday life right here in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

As Dan wrote to me in an email on his fourth or fifth day there, which he sent with the very first picture of this post: "It shouldn't take a trip to Europe to realize how much I love her."

I think for both of us, this trip was exactly what was needed.

Thanks to Christopher and Kjara for providing so many wonderful photos from this adventure.


May 07, 2012

Layout Share: Spanish Rose


You remember last week when I posted about Aidan's most recent role in The Theater, yes? Well, I realized that it's all well and good how often I blog about my life, but I do need to make a page or two every now and then. So much of my documenting is being done via Project Life—and don't get me wrong, I'm loving this year long experiement—but I still want pages for the kids' albums too.

I grabbed a handful of photos from the show and designed a very simple, old school Cathy kind of layout. No bells and whistles, folks. Just words and photos.

Here's my simple page:


Here's what it looked like before I broke it apart for printing (I'll explain this below.)

Spanish Rose

JOURNALING READS: Aidan played the lead role in GRS’s first ever musical production, Bye Bye Birdie. Coming right on the heels of playing the White Witch in Narnia: The Musical, she was initially thrilled with getting the part, then the excitement waned just a bit for reasons of which we aren’t completely sure. But on the weekend of the performances, Aidan was really on. Her performance was memorable to say the least. The Shriner’s Club scene was laugh out loud funny. I had tears in my eyes watching my 16-year-old daughter trying to seduce a table full of those shocked Shriner’s Club members. The sight gags were so funny and so well done. We’re so proud of her for doing these shows. It’s quite a remarkable thing to see your child up there being simply amazing. Way to go, yet again, Miss Aidan. Your curtain call was well deserved.

DESIGN NOTES: This is a very simple, photo-intensive page with an asymmetrical balance, in the sense that if you divide this page down the center, the elements are not equal to one another. Notice also the space between the photos and the journaling—all equal on purpose to create an underlying sense of unity. Notice the inch wide cushion of space that surrounds the entire design. This adds a bit more breathing room to a content-rich page. A little note: having the black title box break out of the frame outline and bleed to the edge also adds a small element of surprise to an otherwise very straightforward design.

TECHNICAL NOTES: I designed the entire page using Adobe InDesign. Then, I moved the copied the photos and the title box into a new doc to print those out onto photo paper. Then I printed the remaining journaling and box outline onto white cardstock. I've been doing his process for years. Rather than just print the whole design onto a sheet of 8.5 x 11 photo paper, it gives me the opportunity to do the cutting and pasting that I love in hybrid scrapbooking. One cool tip: I use a program plug in for InDesign called Cropmarks from Cacidi. This little plug in allows you to add crop marks (trimming guides) to each individual photo. Why is this important? It allows you to extend the photo a bit past your crop marks for a true trim to size, so that what you designed is what you end up being able to create.

DIGITAL VERSION: I created a fully layered digital version of this template that you can find here.