Archive for February, 2010
Friday, February 26th, 2010
Hello, Friday. And hello to all you fine people. I had an awesomely creative day yesterday. Didn’t even sit down at the computer until 11:00 pm. Spent time with a couple of my besties and hung out with my family and I put together something beautiful for our home. Here’s a hint.
I’d show you the whole thing but then I’d have to kill you. Actually, it’s the perfectionist in me. I have just a teeny bit of tweaking to do before it’s just right. And then I’ll share the full arrangement. : )
Now on to a few items of business:
[ SOLD OUT ]
As of this morning, Project Life is officially SOLD OUT on Amazon! This leads me to make 2 important comments:
1. YES, we are printing more Project Life kits. Yes, yes, and yes. I will be sure to let you know as soon as we have an approximate availability date.
2. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. This is so much more than a business for me. It didn’t even start that way. This is a passion. A passion for organizing pictures and stories and memories into a anyone-can-do-this format with beautiful results. And because so many of you get that about Project Life … you have shared the concept with friends and family. And so I thank you for being an essential part of our Project Life community.
[ LIKE FONTS? ]
I’m pleased to tell you that in the digital version of Project Life we have now added two of my fonts to the collection. CK Jot is my everyday handwriting (legible enough for the journaling) and CK Becky is my script — a looser cursive (fun for titles). So if you already have an account, you’ll notice these in your font options now.
If you haven’t played around with the digital Project Life, IT’S SUPER EASY. And totally free to get in there and start building a book. No obligation to buy anything if you don’t want. Check it out HERE, watch the short instructional video, and get in there and play!
PS – The “CK” part of those font names is because I created the fonts back in the day … at CK. During my 12 years at Creating Keepsakes magazine, one of my little things was that I created dozens of fonts. These two fonts integrate particularly well with Project Life.
[ YOUR QUESTIONS ]
Referring to the post right before this one … you guys are awesome. Some really great questions in the the mix. Some are just so funny, some are rather deep, and some are for sure not answer-able in 3 words or less! I will be posting many of those answers in the coming days. You’re still welcome to add a question to those comments here, if you want.
Wishing you an awesome weekend.
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Let’s have some fun today. (I would argue that it’s fun around here every day!)
Ask me anything. Anything at all. It has to be a question that I can answer in 3 words or less. That’s the only rule. Well, that … and Be Nice. What you ask me is entirely up to you.
I’ll choose 20 questions to answer in a post this week. Maybe more. We shall see. Fire away.
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
This was the note I attached to a bridal shower gift last night (click on it to enlarge):
The gift, naturally, is Project Life. And I happen to think it’s a brilliant wedding gift. Think about that for a second. How cool would that be to have a record of daily glimpses of your first year of marriage? What I wouldn’t do for that. Know anyone getting married soon?
I’m just sayin’.
PS – I just checked the inventory on Amazon and — folks, we’re at the bottom of the barrel. Like the bottom. Yes, we are reprinting more kits but manufacturing takes time and we’re expecting that Project Life will sell out before we can get more kits in stock. So if you think you want to order and you can picture yourself being really bummed if you go to order only to find out they’re sold out … I would recommend you go for it.
Monday, February 22nd, 2010
I was creatively fed over the weekend.
(Seriously, how amazing is this door? This color?)
Thanks to a super supportive hubby, I was able to spend the entire Saturday with some girlfriends as we enjoyed GIRLS DAY OUT. I am immensely blessed to be surrounded by amazing women in my life – near and far. Obviously we were looking forward to spending time with each other … shopping, eating, gabbing about life and just enjoying a break from kiddos and housework and jobs. Such a healthy thing to prioritize once in a while. I recommend it.
But I was also looking forward to being inspired. I was planning to be inspired. I felt it coming. You see, I am perfectly content in my little bubble of local retail. Besides, all I really need is Target and Costco, right? But on Saturday, I was so looking forward to bursting my bubble and heading to places I haven’t been before, seeing things I hadn’t seen before.
We started with the always-creative experience of digging, digging, digging that is called Last Chance (1919 E Camelback Rd, Ste 1 in Phoenix, AZ; (602) 248-2843). You’d think we were outside the Apple store on the day the iPad becomes available. Not quite that exciting. Just bargain clothes shopping. We walked in those doors at 10:00 on the dot. Right when they opened.
I am grateful my friend Karolyn forces me to go to Last Chance once in a while. Because I am usually not in the digging mood. But I geared up for that on Saturday and totally scored the best deals. My favorite find? Yummy. I feel like I’m walking on sunshine in these shoes (and they were $19 – yay!).
I promise I won’t go over the play-by-play of our day, but I have to tell you that it was so fun running into Allison Tyler Jones at her photography studio! Totally random, actually. We were next door at Domestic Bliss in downtown Mesa and Allison happened to be next door and happened to be wrapping up a photo shoot. You do know who she is, right?
First of all, how fun to see Allison! I first met her years ago (it must’ve been about 1998-ish?) when I walked into Memory Lane, her scrapbook store. I was overwhelmed with her store’s coolness and she was just genuinely kind and I felt support from her as I shared thoughts on wanting to publish a book about creative lettering (which did happen and it was my very first book). Allison was one of the early “scrapbooking pioneers” for sure.
Anyway. Super to see Allison and even more super to see her in this environment of where she evolved to be. Her style and vision and talent, combined with her sister’s interior design expertise makes for an amazing studio space. All of it. The studio. The offices. Even the bathroom. Amazing.
This is just outside her studio:
This is inside her studio:
No space was left un-touched. Check out this wall in the bathroom:
Amazing, amazing, ah-may-ZING. Thanks for the impromptu tour, Allison! Such a treat. You can see Allison’s photography here.
Moving on. More boutiques and home decor stores and fun, fun eye candy.
And let’s be honest. Some things just couldn’t remain as eye candy. Some things had a little voice that said, Becky, I am yours. Take me home. And so I did. Oh man, does this piece EVER have potential! I can’t wait to play.
Found that piece at The Crowded House in Mesa, by the way. I don’t think they have a website, but their address is 1927 N Gilbert Rd Ste 1, Mesa, AZ. Tel: 480-834-3002.
Speaking of playing … and last but not least … I can’t wait to get to work on this collection of happy colors!
The vision is there. It’s been in my mind for months and it’s just taken this long to make time for it. And thanks to Designer Blvd., my friends and I pulled together a mad collection of yumminess. It’s been probably 10 years since I last put together a real floral arrangement. Watch out. I am so ready.
Monday, February 22nd, 2010
February’s theme for the kids’ scrapbooks: Classroom parties! Our specific focus – and the POTM (photo of the month) – was from the classroom’s Valentines party earlier in the month.
Here’s a completed layout:
Those of you who have been doing this project know that I keep it simple. I usually give the kids strips that either go across the top of the layout or on the sides. I’m usually throwing the layout components together at the last-minute so keeping is simple isn’t just my style. It’s also due to time constraints.
Anyway — decided to take a few extra minutes this time and do some free-hand-giant-scallop-cutting on the strips. Just take those scissors and cut a couple at a time. Scoop, scoop, scoop. Keep it irregular for a whimsical look.
Pink for girls. Red for boys. Our theme was Valentines, after all.
Here are the files in 3 different formats:
Friday, February 19th, 2010
I know. This picture practically matches my website. Ever wonder where the color palette inspiration for my website came from?
This is a corner of our kitchen counter. I so enjoy clear containers. You might remember the tall piece filled with sparkly ornaments for the holidays (this post). I was on a quest to find something to put in there after the holidays. Thanks to one of my all-time favorite go-to stores, Home Goods, I found the perfect filler last week. Love, love, loving the orange with the aqua.
Big canisters: Where else, but Target? : )
Stuff in the canisters: Ingredients we actually use (I love when form and function come together). Flour, sugar, rice, granola.
Challenge: Have you taken a picture of one of your favorite corners in your home? If not, do it this weekend.
By the way, for those of you trekking along with your Project Life (or for anyone intrigued) … How would you like to take a peek at someone’s work in progress? Jessica Turner did a short video, flipping through her album, discussing her approach. She also shares a few links to other really great Project Life albums. So if you’re in the mood for a little inspiration … go here.
Yes, we’re still working on getting a Gallery set up here on my site so that we all have a home base for sharing Project Life ideas and photography ideas. It’s coming.
Friday, February 19th, 2010
Background: I have recently embarked on a little quest to somehow do some sort of exercise almost every day. Could be a class. Could be a bike ride. Could be the elliptical machine in my bedroom or even a walk. Whatever. Just do something. And yet, it seems that I am faced with roadblock after roadblock every time I try. But I am making progress.
This morning: I am challenged to even get out the door this morning let alone squeeze in a workout. For several reasons. But I am doing this. No matter what. It’s the only time today that will work and nothing is getting in my way.
So I go. We go. Me on the bike, pulling the trailer with 2 of my kidlets snuggled & strapped in. So I don’t even know how much weight that adds, but let’s just pretend it’s 500 pounds so I can feel better about myself.
We go. We chat and ride and I petal. The route is almost entirely uphill to our destination (Claire’s preschool). It’s slight but ever-so-challenging for this out-of-shape body of mine. And by the way, Crew took Claire’s lunchbox and threw it out of the trailer at one point. Let me remind you that I was on this slight hill. My thighs were already getting numb from the workout and I had to stop, get off, get the lunchbox, get back on and start pedaling … on. the. hill. Not really a hill, but an incline. Doesn’t matter. Can you feel the burn?
Okay, so all is well and I’m working hard and asking Claire to cheer me on with her little “Go, Mama, go!” chants that I taught her.
I turned that corner to the hill. The hill. This is the one I didn’t make it up last time. Just too hard. Last time I had to walk my bike up most of the hill, but I was okay with that. I’m just trying to get back into the swing of things and my body has forgotten how to feel athletic. So no big deal. But that was a few days ago.
Back to this morning. I start up the hill, knowing that I wouldn’t make it up the hill. I was okay with that. Again. I had already decided it was okay and I would do the best I could do. But then something inside of me just snapped. Why was I settling for that? Why couldn’t I make it to the top?
I’ll tell you why: Because I had already decided that I wasn’t going to make it.
So that “snap” I’m referring to? It suddenly dawned on me to visualize the result. I needed to visualize biking to the top of this hill, completely and totally focused on nothing other than getting to the top. And so I did. It was so. very. hard. But I kept that image of me biking all the way to the top in my mind. And I required Claire to keep up with her chants. And … AND …
I made it. I made it!
This may come off as a little melodramatic for a little hill-defeating situation. But for me, this was big. This experience reminded me of a principle that has worked time and time again. Begin with the end in mind. (Thank you, Stephen R. Covey.)
So if you find yourself a little unsure about a goal you’re working on, do yourself a favor. Picture yourself having already accomplished the goal. See yourself at the top of the hill. You’re a whole lot more likely to reach that point if you can see it.
Speaking of goals, these are two of my amazing friends, Bri & Tina, who just climbed “The Incline” (Manitou Springs, Colorado) together. It is a strenuous, mile-long trail of railroad tie stairs, straight up.
A few more bike rides like today and I’m ready to join them.
Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
Porter (7) usually prefers a snack and playing with his brother & sister as soon as he walks in the door after school. But there was a day recently where he went straight to the kitchen table and got busy with a project. Before anything else.
Whatcha doing, Porter?
I’ve gotta make these pictures for the treasure box.
Perhaps like some of your school children, his teacher has a treasure box in the classroom. When they earn enough points for doing certain things, they choose a small toy from the treasure box. Great little reward program. Porter had noticed the treasure box getting a little low in goodies. So he offered to create some art — coloring pages — to contribute to the treasure box. He thought maybe his classmates would enjoy that. His teacher (this is key) was supportive of the idea and encouraged Porter to do it.
Yay for amazing teachers.
So he worked and drew and cut and drew some more. He’s wearing out my black Zig Writers, by the way (he’s a boy after my own heart). Porter put a set of 4 little coloring pages per baggie. This is all his idea. I offered to help him create a label for packaging and he’s officially on-board with that whole concept. (Should I cry tears of joy now?) I just cut and folded the labels and he came up with his title and logo.
So how does a child get to this point of feeling confidant in his artistic (and even entrepreneurial) abilities? I full-heartedly believe this is a case of NURTURE and NATURE. Nature is … well, it is what it is. But nurturing — well, that’s something of a choice. Something we can control. So I’ll share with you some thoughts on nurturing creativity in your children.
1. Invite your child to explain. Instead of saying, “That’s a great picture of the jungle with a family of monkeys”, say “Wow, tell me about this picture. It looks like an adventure.” Don’t assume you know what the picture is about. Allowing the child to explain what they drew or created — and why — will aid in their creative growth.
2. Allow the mess. Creativity isn’t always clean and organized. (I will argue that sometimes it can be, by the way.) Having supplies scattered about is just part of the process of creating. Let it be. The clean-up can happen when they’re done.
3. Be involved. Regarding the treasure box project example: I could have said, “That’s nice Porter” but I wanted to be a supporter, a fan, an assistant (if he wanted it). Did he want me to help this idea become a little more tangible? If not, I would have let it be. But he was very receptive to my helping him “kit” those coloring pages and it was total bonding. (As a mother, I admit I started daydreaming of Porter designing his own mouse pads or opening an Etsy shop.) If your child wants to sell lemonade, help them make flyers and set up a lemonade stand in the neighborhood this Spring.
4. Praise freely. We should never hold back complimenting those we love the most. Our families should have no doubt how talented, smart, charming, funny, and creative we think they are. So if you think it, say it. This does not mean that we say, “That is the most amazing art I have ever seen. There is no one in the whole world who could create something better than that!” Umm, no. Not necessary. That just sets them up for disappointment when they get 3rd place in the art fair. It does no one any good to tell them that they’re the best ever in some sort of skill. That would mean there’s no room for growth & improvement.
5. Make creativity accessible. Where are the art supplies in your house? Are they in a place that the kids can easily access? Strategically place some “stuff” (paper, pens, crayons, paints, glue, craft supplies, popsicle sticks, empty toilet paper rolls, etc.) where they can get to it whenever they’re in the mood to create. By doing this, you are providing opportunities for discovery and nurturing their creativity.
6. Ask them what they think. If your child asks you something like, “Where’s this piece go?” or “What color is this supposed to be?” turn the question back to them: “Well, what do you think?” If they’re just handed answers, they’re not really being creative, are they?
7. Display, display, display. Just think of what this does to boost a child’s ego! You like her painting so much that you put it on the refrigerator. You enjoy his storytelling so much that you laminated his papers into a little spiral-bound book. You are such a fan of his Lego creations that you take a picture of each one before he tears it down and then print these pictures. You are so proud of her handwriting that you frame a sample of it and set it on the table.
I want to mention that this has nothing to do with what we would love to see our kids do when they grow up. This has everything to do with encouraging well-roundedness and overall well-being and happiness. So … what works for you? In your family or with your students. What are some ways that you nurture creativity in children?
Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
Yesterday I asked a question to those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter. It was a follow-up to yesterday’s blog post: What would be your one word that describes how you feel today?
And hundreds of replies later … you told me. You told me how you felt. A one-word answer to sum up how you were feeling yesterday. By the way, so many of you said tired! Sounds like we may need a little pep talk on prioritizing a good night’s sleep tonight, people. Some of the others that really stood out to me for one reason or another were:
Canadian | favored | defeated | futility | longing | pink | fragile | fanciful | moody | melancholy | cluttered | de-cluttered | hurting | tested | renewed | healing
So I’ll remind you of the challenge: Take a picture that might express that feeling you have in any given day. Didn’t have to be yesterday. Doesn’t have to be today. Just sometime when you’re ready to do a little creative exercise. Many of you have already taken the challenge and photographed the feeling. Awesome. You will soon have a place to share those pictures with others who share your interest of capturing life, one picture at a time.
I’m pleased to tell you that we are really, really close to launching the Gallery on beckyhiggins.com. The Gallery will be a place for you to share your photography, as well as your full Project Life layouts, if you want. It will be a place for you to share with others, and a place for all of us to learn from each other and gain inspiration on the kinds of pictures that we take … whether for Project Life or just because.
One of my recent POTDs was this.
It wasn’t “what we did” that day or “today’s highlight” or even “how I felt”. It’s the little stuff. It was a day that I washed out all my makeup brushes. That’s it. A routine thing. Nothing special. It’s just something that I do, and therefore … it’s part of life.
Hey, by the way — I have finally, FINALLY posted a new recipe. I know. It’s a big day here on beckyhiggins.com. It’s only been since … oh, Thanksgiving (!) that I posted a recipe, for pete’s sake. Kinda got busy there for a while, sorry. Anyway, it’s a salad and it’s super duper de-LISH. As in, way yummy. Check it out here.
Monday, February 15th, 2010
If you could pick one word that describes how you feel today, what would it be?
domestic | productive | regretful | frazzled | distracted | tired | peaceful | content | swamped | confused | insecure | entrepreneurial | surprised | nervous | focused | seeking | betrayed | sorry | heartbroken | enlightened | frustrated | faithful | giddy | motivated | unmotivated
Do one of these words seem to nail it for you? Okay, come up with your one word for just today. Here’s a little creative exercise for you. A challenge, if you will.
Take that word and then somehow, make that into a photograph. For those of you doing the POTD version of Project Life, this could certainly be your POTD (picture-of-the-day).
So how do you do it? How do you turn an emotion into a picture? I’ll give you a couple examples.
One of my little struggles in life right now is figuring out how to fit exercise into my routine. Sure, I’m busy. But the bigger obstacle is my sweet babe who is almost 18-months-old and doesn’t like the idea of me getting anything done or doing anything that doesn’t involve holding him, feeding him, or otherwise giving him my full attention. So exercise is a challenge for me. And I’ve become a little frustrated. And then one day last week, I feel incredibly motivated and therefore … determined.
I jumped on my bike, strapped my two littlest ones safely in the little bike trailer, and I went biking. Crew cried half the time and just seem disgruntled for no good reason. I was determined to stay with it. Keep going. Don’t stop. Reach my goal of getting this workout in my day. I even trained Claire to chant, “Go, Mommy, Go!” as I pushed our way up a big, long hill. She’s a great cheerleader.
So this could have been my POTD. It shows the bike. Shows what I did so I could write my little caption about how we went on a bike ride.
But I wasn’t merely talking about a bike ride. I was talking about my determination and how that resulted in a successful workout for that day. So I took a different picture, which seems to tell more of a story of “how I felt” that day instead of “what we did”.
Maybe today you’re feeling nervous or anxious about something that’s coming up and you find yourself constantly checking the clock. Well then, how about a picture that demonstrates those feelings a little bit.
Perhaps today you’re feeling healthy. You’re making a conscience effort to have a more balanced diet and you’re making more healthy food. Instead of a picture of say, the scale or a cookbook, how about a closer look at your real-life application of goals you’re setting.
(By the way, these fresh vegetables are all ingredients that go into one of our favorite soups. Recipe found here.)
Alright. So this is my challenge to you: Go about your day. Do your thing. And pay attention to how you feel. Obviously you will have more than just one feeling today. You should. You’re human. If there seems to be one overriding feeling, create a photograph that will help you tell that story of today.