Thursday, 1 December 2016

Always Forward

I am happy to report that November was a much better month than the disaster that was October. I participated in NaNoWriMo, but I didn't finish because I didn't want to. I realized that the fun factor had worn off so I let it go. I then spent the time I was spending writing catching up with Project Life and re-kindling my interest in art journalling. I'm finally considering myself caught up with Project Life. October is complete up until Thanksgiving and the first half of November is 'roughed in'. I'm still debating/leaning towards documenting weekly in 2017. 

As for my goal of being a lady with a plan again after Plans A - Z were total fails from August - October I have made a lot of progress but nothing is for certain yet. I have an interview for a full time, year round, permanent position at a camp next week. I'm hopeful, but if I've learned anything over the past few months it's that competition is fierce and possibly out of requesting audition videos out of control. I want a job, not a spot on The Amazing Race (although, if this doesn't work out maybe reality TV is an avenue I should explore). 

My goals for December are a little dependant on how the interview goes, if all goes well then I'm going to spend some time figuring out the logistics of moving across the country. And if it doesn't go well then I will be in pursuit of a Plan B...and maybe also C-Z,  but we'll focus on Plan A for now. 

All of the things I've ordered online have arrived at the house this week, except for Old Navy so I officially have 90% of my Christmas shopping done and in my possession. I need to get a few little things to go along with my mom's and figure out exactly what to get my father, who is near impossible to shop for. I also need to send out Christmas cards, but it's only the start of December so there's plenty of time to make that happen. 

I do want to keep journalling because I fully recognize that when I spend 15-20 minutes before bed doodling and writing not only do I sleep better but I feel a little less overwhelmed. I've been doing a devotional using the YouVersion Bible app which is also helpful. 

Last month if I had to choose one symbol to represent life it would have been a big bold question mark. The end of November feels more like an ellipses, there's no definitive answer or solution but there is a lot of potential and possibility. I'd be lying if I said I'd love an exclamation point or some other definitive answer but I'd also be lying if I said I didn't feel okay with where I am now. 

What's New With You this month? Share your life's happening and linkup with Gretch Runs and See You In A Porridge!


Monday, 28 November 2016

Weekending: Golden Rainbows Edition

"Golden Rainbow Edition" make it sound like I spent a lot of time with unicorns this weekend but (unfortunately) that is not the case. My weekend centred around two main events, my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary and our Spark/Brownie Enrolment ceremony. Now is also a good time for a friendly reminder that it was not Thanksgiving here in Canada...we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. 

Friday we were busy decorating the hall for the anniversary open house on Saturday. I also squeezed in a little bit of 'Black Friday' shopping on this side of the border. I took advantage of everything being half off at Old Navy and ordered a few more gifts (and a pair or pyjama pants feature kittens wearing boots for myself, because that is something I need in my life) and ordered some planner stickers on Etsy and cut myself off because I do not need anymore stickers. 

Saturday was the open house and even though it was technically only two hours it was a busy two hours. When we counted the names in the guestbook afterwards over 100 people had signed, which I guess is what happens when you're married for 50 years. When everyone had left and the hall was cleaned up our immediate family went back to my grandparents to watch them open their cards before we all headed home. I was exhausted and even though I had originally planned to Skype with H. & R. I cancelled and went to bed early. 

I had anticipated Sunday being a pretty low key day apart from Sparks/Brownies but as it turned out I went to the elementary school's Christmas Market in the morning and then to town with my grandmother, her friend and my cousin in the afternoon before Sparks/Brownies in the evening. It was a shorter meeting than usual but it was fun to have the girls' parents there to watch them officially become Sparks/Brownies and they were so excited to get their badges. Heck, I was excited to get some new crests for my camp blanket! We had cake & lemonade to celebrate and that was that. 

I was home with plenty of time to Skype with H. & R. who filled me in on Gilmore Girls, I had been seeing some "Can't believe the ending!" posts on social media and wanted to know what the surprise ending was, but didn't actually care enough to look into on my own. I stayed up way past my usual bedtime getting calendars finished for my grandparents and uncle before I missed out on the Black Friday sale and watching Oak Island.

I'm cautiously optimistic that I will be able to finish the rest of my Christmas shopping this week. And get some cards ready to send out.

Linking up with B Loved Boston.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Bloom Where You're Planted {Thankful Thoughts}

For as long as I knew it was a possibility having a full time, year round job working at camp was my career goal. When I first set off to university with that goal in mind I had visions of returning to the camp I grew up at making some changes and helping it grow to it's full potential. Things changed pretty quickly, as they often do when church politics and wills get involved, and so I found myself transplanted to a place I'd never planned on planting myself. 

There were times (many times) that I didn't want to be planted there. I wanted someone to come along and pick me up and plant me somewhere else. Ideally a nice vase with fresh water where the soil wasn't so rocky. As fate would have it though that's not how things turned out.

Last spring the first opportunity to move on popped up just as I was preparing for my fifth summer, something I never thought I'd see. Parts of me were giddy with thoughts of pretty new vases but the idea of being uprooted still felt hard. I would miss certain nuances, the gophers, the sheds, eating ice cream with a fork because all the spoons had disappeared (again). As it turned out though I wasn't what they were looking for, instead of the pretty vase I was shoved back into the rocky soil on the side of a cliff (at least that's what it felt like).

Towards the end of the summer the second opportunity to move on appeared on the horizon. This time it involved a full on gold vase encrusted with diamonds. After a particularly stormy summer, in the rocky soil, on the edge of a cliff I was ready to make home in the fanciest vase that would hold me. Except I wasn't what they were looking for either, although I was closer this time. 

Fast forward a few weeks and I've found another option. Except this one doesn't feel like a vase, more like a nice terracotta pot you put on your front porch. It's sturdier than the cliff but still exposed to the elements and maybe a little rough around the edges. I have an interview the second week in December and hopefully there will be a nice terracotta pot with a red bow and my name on it under the tree. Even though I never planned on planting myself there it might just turn out okay. 

I'm thankful for the places I've been forced to grow and for the ability to look around and think that even if the view isn't perfect there's still reason to bloom. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

What's Up Wednesday: November Edition

What I'm Eating This Week: Breakfast for Supper, perogies, chicken, stuffing & veggies, hamburgers & broccoli salad and an experimental naan bread grilled cheese that turned out delicious!

What I'm Reminiscing About: Nothing in particular, November isn't a very noteworthy month. 

What I'm Loving: Global Warming is pretty terrible but I can't deny the fact I'm loving the warm fall we've had. I'm also rekindling my love of making pizzas. 

What I've Been Up To: November was SO much better than October. I'm in the hiring process for another job that is pretty far out of my comfort zone but if it works out I'll be super excited. So keep your fingers crossed that this is the one!

What I've Been Dreading: I'm dreading the possibility of this latest job prospect being another no. #realtalk 

What I'm Working On: Christmas shopping! I had shopping in huge crowds and feeling rushed so I'm trying to get it all done. There are still a few things I need to get or am waiting to arrive that I ordered online but I've put a good dent in my list. 

What I'm Excited About: The possibility of this latest job prospect being a success! 

What I'm Watching/Reading: The Curse of Oak Island is back on, which makes me so happy. I've also taken to watching Degrassi because all of the morning talk shows are terrible. On Netflix I'm watching How I Met Your Mother and I haven't read any novels this month. 

What I'm Listening To: Lately when I'm getting ready or doing something else I have Plan With Me videos playing in the background. I'm excited to put my Happy Planner to use in the new year.
What I'm Wearing: It's been unseasonably warm here so I've been wearing my spring jacket a lot along with jeans  and a long sleeved top whenever I venture outside.
What I'm Doing This Weekend: Celebrating my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary and having our Spark/Brownie enrolment ceremony. 

*She may also move to the mountains

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Moth: Hopefully getting some good news on the job front! 

What Else Is New: I feel a little less stressed and overwhelmed this month. I still don't have any real answers about what happens next but I feel a little more okay with that. As long as I keep reminding myself that everything happens for a reason and what is meant to be will find a way.

What's My Favourite Thanksgiving Memory/Tradition? My favourite Thanksgiving tradition is blog readers being surprised to find out that in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Show & Tell Tuesday: Want, Need, Wear, Read

Want: I'm always happy with scrapbooking supplies or stationary, particularly I am eyeing stickers from the Etsy shop Abundance of Erica. In terms of less tangible things, I would really like a full time, year round, permanent camp job. 

Need: I have a really hard time with this category because honestly there's nothing I NEED. To me a need is something that I can't function without and I am functioning quite well. In the interest of preserving my photos I do need an external hard drive so I can back up my photos. 

Wear: Here's a fun fact about me, I take really good care of my things. I buy pretty plain/basic articles of clothing and don't often buy new stuff unless I absolutely love it or genuinely need it. Up until last week I was rocking the same three pairs of black yoga pants I've had since university (we're talking 5+ years here). And then two pairs ripped within two days. One had to go directly in the garbage, the other is acceptable for wearing around the house but is in rough shape. All that to say I'd like some black yoga pants. Technically, this might be more of a need but I'm opting for wear. 

Read: Simply Tuesday, The Wilder Life: Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie, The Tao of Martha. Or any of the other 200+ books on my Goodreads "To Read" list. I'd also like to have The Pioneer Woman's recipe books. 

I've been told I'm a very hard person to shop for, which could very well be the case but I happen to think I'm pretty easy to please. Give me a big bag of pretzels, a notebook and a new pen and I'm a happy person. What's on your list this year? Are you easy to buy for or do you fall into the hard to buy for category like me?

Linking up with Show & Tell Tuesday.

Monday, 21 November 2016

What I Learned From My First Year of Project Life

I set off this year to do Project Life on a monthly basis but then decided that during the summer I would make a separate album for camp and document each session individually,  so I inadevetrly got a taste of two of the most popular methods. I really like the weekly method and it worked perfectly for camp. I don't have a significant other, children or close friends that live nearby my life isn't that exciting so I'm not sure that weekly is the answer for the full year but I am tempted to give it a try. There's also the logistics of printing photos every week, if I do dive into the weekly method I will probably still print photos once a month but it will change the way I put my spreads together.

Keys to Success:

Organizing photos regularly. As often as possible I uploaded photos and got them organized. I kept a folder on my desktop labeled "PL - Month" and whenever I uploaded photos from my phone or SD card I looked through them and added the ones I thought I'd like to print for my album into the folder. At the end of the month I went through the folder and deleted some photos if I felt like there were too many. Occasionally I would go back through all of my photos and add more in but for the most part I had chosen plenty along the way. From there I roughly decided what photos I wanted which size. The easiest to choose were always the ones I wanted to keep 4x6 the others I just sort of filled in where needed. When I first started out this tutorial taught me everything I needed to know to resize photos using PicMonkey. Once that was done I put all the photos for the month on a jump drive and printed them off at Wal-Mart.  

I had a system. Once I had my physical prints I roughed them into my album (like plumbing, only with more glitter). I put them into pockets and chose filler/journalling cards creating a bunch of rough drafts. Then once that was done I went back and worked on the individual cards/pages. Is this a time consuming way of doing things? Absolutely. Is there an easier way? Absolutely. But this is what worked for me. 

I love Project Life. This system works for me, it might not work for you. Just like anything else if you don't enjoy doing something you're probably not going to keep doing it. It definitely took me some time to find my groove (honestly, it probably wasn't until camp season when I was doing things weekly that I really figured out my style).

One other thing that really helped was watching process videos on YouTube. I know they're not everyone's cup of tea but seeing what others are doing got the creative juices flowing and helped me figure out how to get started, because getting started is always the hardest part! My favourites are  Annie LuMayeFroggie251 and Mercy Tiara.

This is a roughed in page. The photos and cards are slid into the pockets but nothing is glued down and I haven't added any journalling or embellishments. 

Bumps Along The Road:

I fell behind. (Sort of.) As I mentioned before, when camp season hit I started a new album just for camp and documented after every session, because there is more than enough stuff to document on a weekly basis during the summer...sometimes I could have done a page each day. While I was focused on my camp album I neglected my monthly album. And once camp ended it left me figuring out how to fill in the gaps from May-September without repeating myself. I decided that I would use the leftover photos from the summer (Some PL-ers pre-plan pages and exactly what they need for each page, that's not my style so sometimes I end up with extra photos) and call it done. The end result of this is that for July and August I only have two pages, which sort of bugs me but it solved a problem so I went with it.

I'm kind of boring. I eluded to this above, but there were months (February & March) where I really didn't do a whole lot other than work. At that point I was even working overtime on Saturday and Sunday so I wasn't left with much to document. This is my biggest fear in switching to the weekly method. There might be weeks when the only photos I take are what I ate for supper one night, a screen shot of my phone and a handful of cat photos.

I went a little overboard. I really tried to start with just the essentials. An album, some page protectors and one core kit. Less than six months in I had three full core kits along with half a dozen mini kits plus all of my traditional scrapbook stuff. It was/is excessive. If I could do it over again I would have subscribed to a monthly kit and invested in one core kit or started the process earlier of cutting my 12x12 pages into Project Life sized cards. Eventually I will use the cards I have but I fully recognize that I didn't need that many to start.

One thing that is certain is I will 100% keep up with Project Life. I absolutely love the concept and how relatively easy it is. I love the finished product and will happily sing the praises of Project Life to anyone who will listen. Full Disclaimer: Project Life has no idea who I am, while I have given them a lot of my money over the past year they have given me nothing in return (other than great memory keeping products).

Friday, 18 November 2016

Blogging, Crafting & Adulting

Anyone else feel like they blinked and all of a sudden it was Friday?! Tuesday evening we had an 85th birthday party for my great-aunt, Wednesday I helped with set up for an event at church this weekend, yesterday I spent the day making cards for the craft table at said church event and today I need to finish those up and bake some cookies for the bake table. 

The Back to Blogging Challenge wrapped up this week and Alyssa compiled a list of some of her favourite responses. I was pretty excited that one of mine made the list and I loved getting to read some of her other favourites that I had missed over the course of the challenge. 

And in other blog related news I hit 100 followers on Bloglovin'!
I totally recognize that 100 is peanuts compared to a lot of bloggers but 100 was the number I wanted to reach this year based on my 52 in 52 list. So it's a milestone worth celebrating.

I had grand plans to take lots of cool photos of the Super Moon but it was so foggy that that my ambition was short lived. This week it's really started to feel like fall, it's been rainy and foggy and when it's not actively rainy it still feels damp. I've gotten to wear my rain boots on a daily basis though so I'm okay with the weather. 

Last night I made a quick trip to Michaels and determined that the only thing better than a good browsing session at Michaels is when the weather outside dictates you get to stroll the aisles in your rain boots. I was on a specific mission since the Project Life albums were on sale for buy one, get one free. I scooped up two of those to use for 2017, in 2016 I ended up using one album to document life monthly and then another that I did session by session during the summer. I (probably) won't do it exactly the same in 2017 but I think I am a two albums per year documenter which was a happy surprise. 

Another happy surprise is a follow up to something I mentioned on Monday regarding a job application I was working on this past weekend. I got everything finished and sent off and yesterday got a reply along with some potential interview dates. I'm still a little  a lot overwhelmed and panicked about the thoughts of moving across the country but it's not worth getting myself worked up over until it's an actual possibility. Keep the prayers & good vibes coming through because it is an awesome position and I'm uncharacteristically optimistic about the whole thing.  

I was supposed to be at a Guiding event all day Saturday followed by a lot of Guiding on Sunday but the event on Saturday was cancelled due to poor enrolment I might brave the mall and finish off my Christmas shopping. I ordered a few things online so I'm keeping my fingers crossed they get here on time but figuring that I should be safe since I ordered from within Canada and there's still over a month to go before things need to be under the tree. This is the first time I've done any sort of 'bulk' online shopping and it kind of makes me feel like I've unlocked another level of adulting! 

Linking up here & here