Wednesday, 29 February 2012

On the critical list: niceness

Back in the days when I was gainfully employed, my use of social media was pretty fleeting. I'd have a quick browse of FB for news from friends, I'd maybe tweet for big news events, and I'd blog perhaps once a month if I was lucky. I really wasn't that observant online. I was just visiting that world, and as a tourist, I liked the views.

In the past few months, I've had more time. So rather than my previous dash through the virtual town that is online-ville, I've been able to casually stroll down the streets, look in some shop windows, get beyond the tourist traps, and 'overhear' lots of passerbys' conversations.

In doing this I've come across some of the most amazing people I have ever met. In the online communities that have built around common interests (for me it's crafting and Project Life in particular, but I'm sure it equally applies to any hobby or pastime), online seems to brings out the best in people - you get to make friends with enthusiastic, caring, considerate, curious, sharing, energetic, living life to the full, encouraging, strong, funny, passionate and inspiring people you would never have had the chance to meet in real life. I count myself very lucky to have met quite a few of those lovely people.

And on FB and Twitter, there are some utterly fabulous people who are harnessing the vast power and influence of the online world to help people, to share good news, to pass on a smile, to get communities working together and just to brighten people's days. I'm lucky enough to know some of them too. And I'd kinda like to be even a little like them one day - I'm working on it.

Conversely, I've noticed that there is a whole group of other people who seem to use that online freedom to be mean. Perhaps it's not intentional, perhaps it's because the real-timeness of these media means people don't stop to think before they post, but it is a trend that is absolutely happening. I'm not talking about the light funny jokes here; I'm talking the really horrid stuff. I see tasteless and sick posts about tragic celebrity events or deaths, I see people openly mocking other people and their beliefs and morals and lifestyles; and perhaps most frequently, I've seen so many cruel comments about people's looks - what their hair is like, what they wear, their weight, their style, the list is endless.

Don't get me wrong; I'm no angel, I know that for instance I have made the odd comment about celebrities and their odd choice of stage clothing. But I don't understand the reason why people would post updates about real people, criticising them for what they look like in any way. Why would you want to do that?  Seriously, what happened to being nice? If you have an opportunity to say something nice, or even to simply say nothing at all, why would you choose to say something that makes fun of someone? What does it say about the author of that post? What do they get from that?

And I know people will tell me to lighten up, that it doesn't really matter, that it's just words, that it doesn't mean anything. Maybe. Perhaps I am being too serious about it. But I do think words are powerful. I do worry that it's becoming less normal or ok to be nice, it's now cool to be mean; that a comment mocking someone's looks gets more 'likes' than a comment congratulating someone on an achievement. I do have concerns that the more we let this happen, the more we just shrug our shoulders and say it's harmless, that being mean becomes the norm, and that niceness will be lost forever.

Niceness is on the critical list. Time to give it some love.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Project Life 2012: February part 4

As usual, I'll be linking up to The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday. Do take a few minutes to visit her blog, for her own fab PL posts, and links to pages from PLers all over the world, as well as other lovely stuff.

So, this is my last entry for February and its focus on what we love. We're talking love in the wider sense here, you understand; it hasn't just been lots of photos of crush-worthy males!

Here's the whole page:

In the top left I captured a facebook moment I've loved this month. The facebook status template was a fabulous freebie from Candice at Feeding the Narcissism. To fit in with the Elektra theme I added some zig zaggy red borders from Doodlebug:

Chloe Loves (yes, with a capital L) clothes and fashion. She likes to wear things that no one else has, and the UK isn't great with teen clothes - everything is either too childish or too grown up - so when our friend went to the US recently, she brought Chloe back a haul of goodies from Selena Gomez's range. Chloe proceeded to give a mini fashion show of her newly acquired goodies and we got a couple of photos of her posing.  I resized these and added them to a re-coloured Katie Pertiet freebie journalling card (I no longer have direct link but sure it will be somewhere on her blog).  Alongside this, I popped in a cute filler card that has been in my stash for a very long time, just waiting for a home. Now that's something else I love about PL - getting to use all those old stash goodies!

Another thing I adore and I always wear is jewellery, especially necklaces and chains and pendants. I took some shots of my collection and put together a card to journal my self-confessed status as a 'jewel junkie'. To fit in with that theme, I added some pink bling to the card. I like how this turned out!

Right next to that is a February shot that really makes me realise how Chloe is growing up. Right now (at so very almost 15) Chloe loves anything that makes her look older, and feel grown up. So she has taken to drinking her soda from a wine glass. So cute. So scary! I did try to tell her that one day she will do anything to not look older, but so far she ain't convinced! I think this may one of my favourite cards from this week, vying with Saturday Chill (below).

I am not too vain a girl, but I do love just a little cosmetic enhancement. And right at the top of my must-have list is mascara. Not being blessed with fluttery long lashes, I've spent years hunting for a mascara that actually works for me. And by jove, I think I've found it. So this was a memory I definitely had to capture. I just jotted this down on a Clementine digi card, added the photo, printed out and then added the leaflet that came in my mascara packaging.

Last is a card documenting one of my favourite things. Chloe and I often do fun stuff and go cool places together, but there is nothing I love more than just a cosy Saturday night in chilling with my girl. Gotta love the everyday! More old stash found new life on this card, including some rather cute Making Memories raspberry dot alphas that were languishing at the back of my alpha file.

So that's it for now. This page has been one of the most fun to put together, and a big part of that has been rediscovering and getting to use old stash.

I'll be back in March with another PL page - and I'll be breaking out of my Design A monopoly and mixing it up with another design from that big variety pack of page protectors I was so excited to get a couple of weeks ago!

In the meantime, why not check out some PL pages from just some of the amazing bloggers whose pages have blown me away and made me get Pin it button-happy :

Dee at Finally Me (whose namecheck list a few weeks back gave me this idea of sharing the love)
Amy Mallory
Sharon at The Projects of My Life
Deb at comfy*cozy*crazy
Amanda Rose
Julie at IamJuJu
Sarah at Square Goods
Joscie at ohscrap
April at Careless in the care of God
Candy at Little Wonders
Jenny at Learn with Jenny

This is just a small portion of the list I want to give you, so go check out The Mom Creative's Project Life Tuesday to see a whole lot more!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Make like Annie and love tomorrow

I saw this on Pinterest and loved the sentiment. If little orphan Annie can love tomorrow, so can you!

Project Life 2012: February part 3

And so the Love theme continues in this third instalment of my February Project Life pages!

Continuing to document things we love this month is really making us aware of all the everyday pleasures and joys that we sometimes overlook, so it's almost turning into a Gratitude month too. That's always a good thing.

Anyway, this week I kept it fairly simple as far as layout and design were concerned; it's really just photos and words.

First up, here's the whole page overview:

In the top left hand, I used a CZ Tiny Template (available from Designer Digitals) to record a Valentine moment and thought. Those heart ring cupcakes - totally yummy by the way.

The top right is a collage of some recent shots of me playing with the webcam and its special effects, which is something I love to do (being 40 doesn't mean you can't have fun messing round!):

To accompnay the collage, I wrote a quick journal card. I used a digi Clementine card and recoloured it to fit the page better. NB the other Bath Love journal card is still blank because I want to have Chloe write a quick note about her passion for baths, as shown by the bottom right photo. A passion that is perhaps only surpassed by her adoration of pjs. The girl loves a good old soak in a warm bubble bath. She'd stay in there all day if she could!

Lastly, I included a recent shot of my adorable nieces and nephew, because I really do love being an aunt. I used a very old journal card from my supplies to journal this:

As I said, a simple week, but I do like how it worked out. We have a few more things to document in our February focus on all things love, so I think we'll have the last page(s) next week or week after to wrap up the month.

In the meantime, I'll be linking up to The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday - this is a really fantastic way to 'meet' up with other Project Lifers and see all the fab work everyone else is doing. If you've come here from there, welcome to my blog - great to have you stop by - and if you haven't been yet, go check it out now!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Project Life 2012: February part 2

I have to tell ya, I am loving seeing my Project Life 2012 album coming together! Continuing with the February monthly focus on things we love, I found myself having completed another page this week, although I hadn't anticipated I would. And the way things are going, I can see myself doing another page in the week ahead - there are just so many things we love!

Anyway, here is the overview of the page:

I included a postcard for our new website which is still a work in progress, but when it's finished, we can use these postcards to promote it.

I also added a list of some random things which make me smile. I'd posted this on my blog last year, but as it still holds true, I just formatted it onto a digi 4x6 journal card, printed it out and added a 7gypsies sticker:
I added some smaller journalling cards about these:
Look at me with the "pointing to my smile" shot! Major silliness!

 I also got Chloe to document some of her current favourite things, and clipped in a headshot of her:
One of the highlights of the past week was me buying a new bag. Given I am a self confessed accessory-aholic, this isn't exactly an unusual occurence, but it definitely represents something I love, so I wanted to include it. And hey, this one is pretty AND practical - gotta love that! I just stapled the tag to a 4x6 patterned paper and added some journalling and a title:
Lastly, I included a small journal card about a range of artwork I love called 'gorjuss'. These beautiful little girls are the wonderful work of an amazingly talented artist called Suzanne. She produces original prints and there is also a whole range of merchandise featuring the artwork. I have most of that merchandise from cardmaking kits to bags to pin badges to business card holders to storage tins. I'm not being paid to include this incidentally - I just think it's utterly adorable. 

I also made a quick title card (featuring the beautiful sprayed effect 'love' digi stampfrom Katie Pertiet which I got as part of her Valentine freebie with DesignerDigitals):

I'm having a blast documenting all the things we love, and there is so much more to talk about in the rest of February!

I'm linking up again to The Mom Creative and One Happy Mama - be sure to stroll on over there for more Project Life loveliness.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Project Life 2011, yep last year!

[Courtesy warning: photo-heavy post]

My Project Life adventure began in spring last year when the kits were first available in the UK from Amazon, although I've only started blogging about it this year.

I was in love from my very first page. The simplicity, the flexibility, the I-totally-got-this-down-ness of it all, not to mention the sheer fun. I said this in one of my recent PL 2012 posts, and I will say it again (and again and again): I get a little hurrah every time I slip something into one of those little pockets.

As you can see from my recent page shares, I haven't committed to weekly spreads, I'm a monthly gal. Also, I'm not one of those lovely talented artsy people who can make a mini masterpiece from each page. I love those pages. Adore them. In fact I have been known to rather swoon a little over them. But I know right now that's not for me. So I keep it relatively simple. Generally, it's a case of adding something from my PL go-to set list: photo collages, borders, patterned paper, artfully placed stickers, journalling tags, or maybe some lettering and some momentos; and I'm done. (Of course I then stand back and admire my shiny new pages too.)

Back in 2011, I was even simpler. You could say I was using PL at its most basic. Just photos, journal cards, pens, and the odd sticker. And people, basic as it is, it still rocks. I looked back at my pages and I still love what I see - such a cool way to capture those moments that would otherwise have been forgotten, that I wouldn't have done a traditional scrap page about. 

Here are some photos:

The conclusion? Project Life - as basic or as creative as you want - just works!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Happily Ever After Hypothesis*

"Happily ever after" never rang true for me. Not that I don't believe in happiness. Just not endings.

My rationale for this? Well, if you are focussed only on one thing and that's your destination, with no flexibility, with nothing else that excites you or intrigues you; what happens when you reach that destination? What then?  If getting there was your ultimate goal for your happiness, what now? What comes after your happy ending?

I read in a magazine the other day an article about women and their goals for 2012. One of them said, "I've always been the odd one out, so this year I want to meet the man I'm going to marry. Having a huge wedding will make me so happy."  Another talked about how her job was getting her down and how she wouldn't be happy until she had a new one. Yet another talked about how she "can't wait to lose the weight and my new happy life will begin." I totally applaud all these women for having goals, but I wonder if they've considered being happy now, on the way to reaching those goals? I don't want to be someone who says "I will be happy when X happens."

I've always believed that life was about the journey, about the what happens along the way, about the people you meet on the path, not about the destination.  I'm not the no57 bus, my destination isn't written all over me. So I don't always know exactly where I'm going. Don't get me wrong - I'm not directionless, I have goals. But sometimes, events and people change how I see things and that means my next step is in a different direction than the one I'd originally anticipated. I get to achieve my goals in a different and perhaps unexpected way. And I learn something. And I keep going. I don't think I'm ever going to be 'at' happiness. I'm creating and choosing it every day, every step I take along that path.

*and yes, that is another TBBT inspired blog post title.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Project Life 2012: February part 1

As a reminder, I'm using PL to document our lives on a monthly basis -I haven't committed to producing a 2 page spread for each week, and will just fill as many sides and pages as I need to document the month.

Even though, I am still finding that I am doing something every week. So this past week, I began my February entries, and am surprised to find I have filled one side of a page protector already. It being February and Valentine's, I'm focussing this month on things that we love.

Here's the overview:

I embellished the title card a little to match the Love theme - I like the strip of hearts and single hearts which were cut from paper in the Making Memories  "je t'adore" range.

Next up, on the top right is a 'Praise Postcard' which Chloe brought home from school. Her English teacher had given it to her for being a 'responsible citizen'. I paperclipped it to a 6x4 piece of paisley paper, added a Heidi Swapp pink journaling spot and some 7 gypsies stickers, and called it good. I love that PL allows me to add this kind of memoribilia into my album! Here's a close up:

In the middle row, I've included two journaling cards detailing the tv programmes Chloe and I love to watch just now. Yep, these are the small tiny templates from the amazing Cathy Zielske. Love these!

Next to them, I have a journaling card with a photo of my new shoes, which I took on my mobile (cell) and sent to my Polaroid PoGo for printing. These little snaps are such a cute size, and I love that you can peel the backing off to make them stickers. Perfect for PL, even if the photo quality isn't fabulous. I've included a quote from one of my favourite Paolo Nutini songs, which fits exactly my thoughts about shoes.  I didn't like the design of this journaling card, so I just used the blank reverse.

Alongside this, I've printed out one of the filler cards from the digi Clementine set, which I just recoloured in PSE to match my page a little better.

In the bottom left, I included a card about my current favourite treat - Fab ice lollies. I adapted a Cathy Zielske 4x6 journal card template for this, to include a small snap of the treat and add in the product name (cut from the packaging) with foam squares for dimension.

Lastly, in the bottom right, I documented the exciting day last week when the PL 2012 products were available in the UK for purchase and pre-order. It was an exciting day - and there were so many eager PLers in UK & Europe that the traffic crashed Tammy Morales Scrapbookers Inner Circle shop site for a little! But we all managed to get on and place our orders. As you can see by the angel and devil circling round my head (webcam photo with clipart), my PL heart and my wallet-aware head battled it out, but I did order page protectors in big pack of design A, big variety pack and some 6x12. Together with our VAT tax and shipping, that little lot came to £70GBP, but it will keep me going for absolutely ages, so totally totally worth it! The Clementine core kit is available for pre-order, but not sure if I can afford it now, and I'm finding the digi kit I purchased is fun to use. Huge thanks to Tammy and Becky for bringing PL to UK and Europe.

Been a busy start to February and looking forward to continuing to record the 'love' for the rest of the month!

Linking up again to The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday, and to the ever lovely One Happy Mama. If you haven't visited these blogs already, do pop along for a huge shot of inspiration and plenty of PL!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Ferris knows

A short and sweet blog post today, because I'm busy with the crafting again - lots of cards and jewellery and website tweaking. But in the midst of being very busy, I saw this quote online.

Not only is from one of my fave films of all time from one of my face directors, but it's also a great quote in itself. Life does move fast. There are so many moments I don't want to miss because I'm trying to see what comes next.

So I'm trying to live in the now, appreciate all I've got (and scrapbook it of course)! And in the spirit of taking a moment to look around, I'm going to stop working now to take a break for hot chocolate.