from break up to make up

About a year ago I decided to cancel my scrapbook kit subscription. While I liked most of the product, I felt overwhelmed by all the stuff I still had yet to use, not to mention all the boxes that I had not even opened. I also felt like choosing my own stuff might be worth the effort if it meant that I would end up with only the things I wanted.

That worked for about two months...and then I took a break from buying stuff period. At least paper crafting stuff. I think I just needed a really good purge and some time to figure out what I really wanted. My style had evolved so much. I no longer made traditional layouts and had more than enough supplies to support both my card and stamping habits...but what about my pockets?

Granted, my memorykeeping style is very simple. I place pictures in pockets with a bit of story and that's it. Would going back to a kit make sense for me? Well...this past month I did it. It's an experiment really. This time I chose a kit more in line with what I do. The Studio Calico Project Life® kit. I've been curious about it for a while. It's smaller...just enough bits and pieces to do a monthly spread and then some. Truthfully, not everything was my style. That happens sometimes with a kit. But this time I had a system. I use the elements for three main things...my pockets, minibooks and layouts. I separate out what I know will work for each one and put a rubber band around them.  Everything I know I will absolutely not use I place in a flat rate postal box. When it's full it's gone...I'll either sell it on my blog for a small cost, give it away, or drop it off at my local Goodwill.

If you're thinking about subscribing to a papercrafting kit...specifically a memorykeeping kit here's some things I've learned...

Choose a kit that fits your hobby. If you don't make cards a card kit might not make much sense in the long run.

Give yourself 3-6 months to just look at what's released. Look at projects made with those releases. If you can see yourself using a large percentage of the materials it might be a good idea.

Make sure that the designs align with your personal aesthetic and challenge yourself to use items within a 30 day period.

This may not matter to you but if the company has a design team that makes projects you like it can make a big difference. Sometimes all I need to get going is just a bit of inspiration.

If you hoard more than you make, a kit may not be a good idea. If you have more than 1 or 2 boxes that sit untouched....don't be afraid to put the breaks on your subscription. You can always pick it up in the future.

If you find the product or community not to your liking. Just. Stop. Subscribing. Use the product list as a jumping off point and curate your own kit.

If you receive a kit you don't like, challenge yourself to use it in a different way...home decor, a minibook, recipe cards, make a notepad and stick it in your purse, love notes for your family or yourself, create a cute ephemera pack and send it to a friend who loves paper like you do. 

You can't worry about missing out. I know that we all want everything...but that can make you crazy. After that major Target/Missoni nightmare I will never go nuts trying to buy anything online again. On reveal days...I get off the computer and I go and DO something...make dinner, knit, walk my dog, watch a movie, read. Sure, I may not get everything...but I get my kit, and that's enough:)

**this month I totally missed out on that cute 4x4 gold album. I ended up scoring it week or so later and received it way before my other stuff. Missing out gave me time to think about whether I really wanted it and come up with an actual use for it. I always manage to track down the things I must have and when I don't...there's always next month:) 


finding spots | the kitchen nook

Let me preface this post by saying yes, I am quite happy with the fact that I have wonderfully warm little roof over my head.  But the popcorn ceiling I see when I look up sucks. it does, it sucks. but it is a roof and yes, I'm okay with it.

I use to have issues. I'd look at something and my eye would go directly to the flaw...even in myself. I do believe age has been a major factor in just letting so much shit go. One day you just decide, I want to be happy and f*ck who isn't on board with that.

I live in a rental. It's an adorable house in a fabulous neighborhood with the best garden on the street. Really, I have the best garden...no thanks to me. This house was built by my landlord's grandfather and he is the only one who tends the lawn. It helps that he used to own a landscaping business. That said, it's old and really quite out of style and he knows it...that's why he lives in a marvelous apartment downtown. 

I have a choice when I walk through the door...I can either see the popcorn ceilings, the dated light fixtures, the weird bluish greenish carpet or I can find spots. Spots in my home that I have made my own. I'm not talking about painting the walls or putting in wood floors...I know people do that in rentals...I don't. I'm talking about working with what's already here. For example...my kitchen has a lovely nook that sits between two windows. It's almost always bathed in some kind of light. It's where i drink my tea and read blogs. it's where I share tea with friends. It's where i daydream while I wait for the lilacs to bloom. I sit on a table left for us by my landlord. It was built by his grandfather for his grandmother. It has been well preserved and I keep up my responsibility to do the same. There are many things about this kitchen that aren't perfect...i mean there's no dishwasher if you don't count me, but this nook...this is truly a perfect spot.


pocket memorykeeping | my process I

Because I update my album monthly, I am always working a month behind. I love it...for me it means that I can relax, take pictures, and just let life happen. I use a small notebook to jot down highlights...it's not a journal or a date book, it's just for things I might forget. I don't even concern myself with the current month until it's over. Once the new month begins I begin my process... usually within the first week.

Step 1. I transfer photos from my devices to my computer. I save to an external hard drive at the same time.  Sometimes this is all I do on a given day. It helps to break things up a bit.

Step 2. Using Aperture, I clear out the pictures I don't want and I place the ones I do want into an album titled "month_year." I occasionally edit my photos in Aperture using VSCO, but this is rare. I simply prefer and am more proficient in Photoshop.  I create a new folder and export the images I want to use into that folder. I then edit using Rad Lab. I always edit a bit...it makes up for my less than stellar photography talents. I stash any ephemera I have in a MS zipper pouch.

Step 3. I draw up a little sketch of where I want things to go and then crop accordingly. Because my style is so basic, I use a handful of different designs over and over. At this point I work on adding journaling...some directly to photographs...some on journal cards in Illustrator. I know that there are people who add journaling the way I do using apps on their phone and just printing the whole thing out, but I don't.

Step 4. I print my pictures separately and then adhere them to plain white cards that I've already printed and cut. It might seem a bit inefficient to print them separately, but it's my process and it works and it allows me to utilize every inch of photopaper for pictures.

Step 5. Once I have all my photocards completed, I look them over and see if anything needs to be added. Usually I keep things basic...occasionally I'll add a label, a bit of flair or some wood veneer or washi...but more often I just slip them into the page protector and call it done.

That's it. 90% of the work takes place even before the pictures are printed out. From start to finish it takes me no more than a few days. I know this isn't the most creative process...I don't use that much stuff, but that's not what it is for me right now. I get creative with other parts of this book...but I'll leave that for part two.


The winner of the giveaway was Rhonda Nichol.

rhonda nickol said...
Right now my go to essentials are my stamps, mist/spray paint, wood veneer,labels/tags esp. Bananfish(my favorite),tiny attacher and i recently found a liking for doilies and enamel dots. I love adding some of these items to projects, I like alot of detailing to projects. Gotta start using my stash!
April 8, 2014 at 9:22 PM

send me your mailing address and I'll get your album out pronto. france@bananafishstudio.com


the best smoothie evah

I like a hearty breakfast. If I can't stick a fork in it or scoop it up in a spoon my brain tells my stomach "you're still hungry, girl." I've been trying to change my mind when it comes to a lot of things, namely food and its been a major adjustment...especially when it comes to breakfast.

Now I'm not big into smoothies, I was never really into Jamba Juice or anything like that. I typically like my food in solid form, that was until I came across this smoothie. When people use to tell me "oh, this smoothie keeps me super full and energetic until lunch" I always thought "yeah, right." But I'm now that person and it's real guys...it's super real.

Enter the best smoothie evah:

1 medium banana: i chop it up and stick it in the freezer the night before
a handful of blueberries fresh or frozen cuz they're good for you
a half cup of reg milk or almond milk...whatever you drink
a big ol handful of spinach. YES. spinach
a drizzle of honey but i've gone without it
a spoon of ground or roasted flaxseed
and that's it. sometimes I add a spoon of almond butter it all depends.

my recipe is loosely based on this one

I want to try one of these greenies next.

it's hearty,  it tastes good and it keeps you full until lunch...at least my brain thinks so.


pocket memorykeeping | my essentials

If you haven't a clue what I'm talking about, *pocket memorykeeping in its most basic form is a style of scrapbooking or documenting that utilizes plastic page protectors divided into various pockets. You can add strictly photographs to those pocket much like a traditional photo album...but we memorykeepers like to include journaling, ephemera, embellishments and sometimes quite a bit more. The degree to which each book is embellished remains completely in the hands of the creator.

I myself prefer a decidedly simple approach. You can see my September 2013 pages here. Shortly after September I fell a couple months behind and in the interest of time discarded all the extras. What remained were the basics: pictures, stories and little else. I would now describe that as my style. 

Today I thought I'd share my slightly longer list of essentials since it seems to vary from person to person. This is not necessarily what you need to get started, but what I find useful to my own process.

An Album: I use the 6x8 Snap Album by Simple Stories...it's really very basic chipboard. I am considering upgrading...but not quite yet.

Page Protectors: I use a combination of the protectors made for the Snap system as well as some others that I cut apart and manipulate to suit my needs.

Photo Supplies: My IPhone, an older HP Photosmart printer with coordinating paper, and a small notebook.

Tools: A Tonic Guillotine paper trimmer, a Sharpie Fine black pen, a Therm O Web tape runner, a tiny attacher, my sewing machine, a pair of fine tip scissors, rubber stamps (this could be considered an embellishment, but since they are not disposable I consider them a tool)...mostly date stamps and very small bits of text...I like roller stamps.

 Extras: Washi tape, patterned paper, wood veneer, flair, alpha stickers/labels and printables. I really like the value of printables. Journal Cards...some are my own, some are digital that I print out...and I just started getting the Studio Calico Project Life® kit.

Yeah, that about covers it. The Extras are things I use sparingly. I never design around an embellishment rather I complete everything and if there's a space for a little something, I add it. I reserve creative play for layouts and minis. Could you get away with a fraction of these items? YES, absolutely. My short list would include: album, page protectors, photos, trimmer and a pen.

My next post in this series will be my process beginning with how I prepare my photos.

Let me know what is one of YOUR essentials in the comments and win this brand new Project Life® 9x8 Mini Album. I will choose a name on Friday:)

*Many of you refer to this style of scrapbooking as Project Life® but since so many other companies have produced their own pocket systems and I don't currently use any PL branded items, besides the Studio Calico kit, I hesitate to call it that. Becky Higgins was the first person to introduce an all encompassing system and philosophy to this pocket based form of scrapbooking. Read more about it here.



 when I refer to "diet" I am referring to a way of life, not a weight loss plan.

I'm DONE reading books about food. 

I started several months ago with one book. It wasn't recommended to me I just wanted to begin an approach to health that wasn't necessarily about shunning food, but understanding it and the role it plays in my overall wellness. I've read so many articles and heard so many opinions...I didn't want to just jump on the next trend.  I was looking for something more than just stories passed from one person to the next in a very elaborate and unreliable game of telephone.

The first book started off well enough. Authored by a lauded physician with credits a mile long. It was chock full of the clinical, scientific data I loved, but was it really the full story? I mean, I know what it's like in a research lab...there's a lot of data that comes out of any study and scientist are known to use what supports their position. I had no reason to be skeptical...except I was.

The following book was the exact opposite. Even spending some time refuting information in the first book. It encouraged a diet based on the foods cavemen ate. It made a lot of sense and the simplicity of the message was compelling to me...but whenever anyone advocates an all or nothing approach to food...well, the jury was still out. That was until it dropped the bombshell "beans are bad." HUH? Well, my mom is a Latina as was her mother before her as was my great grandmother a proud Mayan Indian. Beans are our thing. But, the book was good and I wasn't ready to fling the baby out with the bathwater. I had to be open to the idea that maybe something I thought was good really wasn't.

The next book I read was in complete or at least semi opposition to the two before and I remained on that train over the course of the next ten books. Back and forth with some overlap, some agreement, some disagreement. I was incredibly confused...what's good for me, what's bad for me, What do you mean the "organic" label means nothing and "cage free" doesn't really mean cage free? UGH!!!!!

I was beginning to feel a little crazy and helpless. Vegan, Paleo, Raw, No Gluten, Autoimmune, Vegetarian, Pescetarian, Flexitarian, Real Food. I'm sure there's more I've never even heard of. Should I just throw them all in a hat and draw one out and stick with it. Living off the land like a caveman isn't practical...not to mention the centuries of evolution separating us. Moving to a farm and raising my own shit might happen one day, but not today. Going to the farmer's market and spending 35 bucks on 2 pounds of local grass fed beef and uncured bacon does not fit my budget.

What I gleaned from my literary journey this past year is that everyone just does what he or she thinks is right. You can find a study, in some cases, lots of studies to support just about any idea. Gwyneth Paltrow does not hold the monopoly on health or achieving health. Data is highly subjective and highly prone to manipulation. I won't die if I don't juice or own a Vitamix. Corporations don't care about health they care about money...but so does everybody. If it comes in a box or a bag it's probably not great. Water is precious. A chicken mcnugget won't kill you....but a lot of them...who knows. Stress will most definitely kill you. The body is a most extraordinary vessel. Trust it for the truth for it will not lie to you. Don't eat the foods that make you feel like crap. Do eat the foods that make you feel awesome. I think that any of the aforementioned diets can produce happy healthy people. Good overall health means a lot more than fitting into skinny jeans...but skinny jeans can still be a part of it;)

In case you're interested here are some of the books I read...

The China Study, Eat the Yolks, The Omnivores Dilemma, In Defense of Food,
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Fast Food Nation, Real Food  etc.

In a follow-up to this post I will share more specifically how I eat and the changes I've made that have had some pretty positive results. None of the books I read addressed diet in terms of weight loss.  I'm still really figuring things out and have developed a true love and affinity for cooking. I thought this article kinda summed up how i feel about all of this.


I Went There | Bainbridge Island, Wa

Okay...here's proof that you can have a fabulous day trip even when you wake up late, need to shower, skip breakfast and washing your hair and don't even make it out the door until 2pm.

Keith and I have set a goal. We will seriously try to do more stuff that doesn't involve catching up on Bravo programming. The truth is, like everyone, we work hard during the week and the idea of curling up on the sofa for an entire weekend sounds like bliss...at first. Granted...it's still awesome to curl up on the couch with my boo and watch a movie...but it can't be ALL CURLING. I need some activity that requires me to be in an upright position doing things that stimulate my senses. 

I decided two things. I want to collect experiences and it doesn't have to cost much more than a ferry ticket and the price of lunch. It doesn't have to cost anything but a bit of time and some willingness to get going. Keith was all in...well maybe 75% in. This is really something I want for myself and while I love having him along he has his own weekend interests and I don't want to co-opt his precious time. I'm so okay just going it solo.

There was no planning involved. The pup was at camp and we were free as two somewhat scruffy birds. Sure there was cleaning to be done and maybe some laundry, but there was also sunshine and we made a choice to head out to Bainbridge Island. Nope, we've never been, nope, we did not check the ferry schedule...we weren't even sure which ferry to take...but we made it, and boy oh boy it was worth it. The island is beautiful. We ate a late lunch, went to the beach, collected seashells and drove around making plans for all the things we want to see on our next visit. I promise you Bainbridge...we'll be back!


on the needles | knit bunting

Whenever I begin a long knitting project...something certain to take me months to complete, I like to have something (sometimes multiple somethings) on the needles as well.  This keeps me from getting too bored with the long project and more likely to keep it going. This lovely bunting fit the bill perfectly as it worked up in just a handful of days.

I originally got the idea when I spied it online hanging above a crib in an adorable baby room. I loved it...and since my nephew lives in LA, the land of earthquakes, I figured this would be far safer than picture frames. I think hanging it on the crib would be cute as well.

Before endeavoring to begin sans pattern, I searched and found plenty that I knew would work. I just ended up adapting this one to my liking. I didn't want to thread the ribbon so instead of doing row 2, I just copied the decrease of row 4 and continued all the way through according to the pattern. I switched to my crochet hook for the white edging.

I chained 25 and then single crocheted through the top loops of the first bunting triangle, I then chained 5 and repeated the process until I finished the final bunting triangle and chained another 25. I then turned and completed a single crochet all the way back across.

I enjoyed this project so much that I intend to make another one for myself...it would be the perfect thing to bring out for birthdays or any other special occasion.

Note: I am not an expert on baby safety...so use caution. I don't want any babies getting tangled in bunting.