2021 Brain Dump + A 2021 Gift for You

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Happy New Year, friends! I pray everyone has welcomed 2021 with open arms and slammed the door on 2020! To be honest, I really wasn't ready for the holidays to end. It was cooler than normal in December for us here in Florida. I couldn't get enough of cozy nights by the lighted tree, Christmas-scented candles, and wearing a puffy jacket in the mornings when walking Zoe. But it was time to turn the final page on 2020 and begin to move forward. I am taking a little break from removing holiday decorations to write my first post of 2021. Over the weekend, I did a Facebook and Instagram Live, where I spoke about variety of things–my background in documenting, my collaboration of a digital kit with The Practical Scrapper, my plans for documenting 2021, and a few exciting things I want to do with Pixels to Pages this year. I want to repeat some of that here in this post, and even mention a few other things that I forgot to in those social media videos.

If this is your first time visiting Pixels to Pages, welcome. I am so happy you are here. Really I am. I'm not going to go into a deep introduction of myself here, but to learn a little bit more about me just click on the "About" link in the navigation bar above and you can get to know me in a nutshell! Please be sure to follow me on Instagram accounts–@pixelstopages is where I share all things documenting! My @kmsill account is where I share more personal and family things! I'd love to connect with you there!

So now on to my 2021 Brain Dump. The past several days I have had so many ideas of what I want to do in 2021 that it is causing me to lose sleep. From documenting projects, to home improvement projects, and business plans. There is a lot swirling around in this girl's 52-year-old brain. And even though I discussed some of them in the Live social media videos, I just need to do a little more to get them out of my head. Writing them down helps, so that is what I am doing here.

My 2021 Word: Self

While I am not participating in the One Little Word project by Ali Edwards, I do have a word that will be my focus in 2021–it's "self." This particular word started to show itself to me in the last few months of 2020–self-taught, self-starter, self-employed, self-care, self-assured, be true to yourself, self-discovery. I could go on and on. I just feel like this word is talking to me and I look forward how it makes its appearance throughout 2021. What about you? Do you have a word for 2021?

Family Yearbook (Project Life)

2021 will mark the 6th year I am creating my yearbook in the Project Life App. That is not to say I am completely caught up on my 2020 album. Come to think of it, I still have a few more months to go in 2017 (I was working on both years at the same time. 2018 and 2019 are done though!).  In 2020 I documented in a monthly format. I am almost done with September and hope to share that soon. I seem to go back and forth–one year I document in a monthly format, and the following year I do a weekly format. For 2021, I am going back to a weekly format. 

I will be using the Project 12/52 Foundation Kit throughout the year. This is the kit The Practical Scrapper, Meagan Johnson, and I collaborated on. I'll talk a little bit more about that kit at the end of this post (and there is a freebie there for you!). Something new I want to incorporate into my album this year are the weekly story prompts that Becky Higgins publishes on her My Modern Story Instagram account, using the Editorial Templates in the Project Life App. I absolutely love the concept of these story prompts and look forward to including them in my album somehow. I enrolled in her My Modern Story class when she first released it several months ago and just went through the course this morning (January 3). Wow. So much inspiration! I don't care how seasoned of a scrapper you are, or how comfortable you are with the Project Life App, you will always find little nuggets of knowledge in Becky's classes that you can take away with you and work into your own documenting process. Seriously good stuff in there! And you guys, the class is free! Here is a link to the classroom for you to enroll. No affiliation whatsoever. I just like to share!

Live the Story You Want to Tell

"Live the Story You Want to Tell" is an audio course by Becky Higgins and her podcast partner, Becky Proudfit. This class was gifted to me a while back, but is no longer available to enroll in. I have been holding out for 2021 to begin the class and I'm super excited to dive in. The reason I am bringing this up now is that upon finishing the My Modern Story mini course, Becky really inspired me to dive even deeper in telling MY story. Sure in my family yearbooks I document about good times, bad times, etc. But I just want to write something a little more personal. Maybe I will share those pages here and on social media, maybe I won't. But I know I feel compelled to write more about myself (see, there is my 2021 word). I look forward to beginning this audio course and taking a journey into self-discovery and documenting it using the Editorial Templates. I've already decided that I will be doing 10x10 pages, printing them through the app and using the Greige binder she sells in her shop. Again, I am not sure how much of this will will share on social media, we'll see!

Pixels to Pages Classroom

If you are a memory keeper who used to scrapbook using physical product (papers, stickers, etc), you are very familiar with ever-changing product lines, trends, and techniques. You may find the same holds true when you are a mobile memory keeper–new apps are released, tried and true apps are updated, new digital techniques are discovered. Many of you may remember that I used to teach a series of online classes at Scrapaneers.com called Art of the Apps. They were a big success and I had so much fun teaching others how to use document their photos and stories using a variety of apps on their mobile devices. I haven't taught an online class in several years and man, do I miss it. I've been wanting to host my own classes in my own classroom for a while now, and I am determined that this will happen in the first half of 2021. I'm not going to give any other details other that what I am writing here or what I said in my Facebook/IG Lives a few days ago. But I will keep you posted as I get closer to opening the classroom for enrollment! Stay tuned!

Social Media

While I do publish posts and photos on Facebook and Instagram, one of the things I want to become more comfortable with in 2021 are Facebook and Instagram Lives. I want to connect more with all of my Pixels to Pages friends and have you get to better know the person behind the logo. I did my first Instagram Live this past weekend. I think it went pretty good–although I think I messed something up when I tried to end the Live. But it's a learning process, so bare with me as I move forward with this! For Christmas my oldest son and daughter-in-law gave me this really cool phone and tablet stand to record video and/or live stream. I plan on putting it to good use this year!!!

2021: The Year of DIY

Do-It-Yourself. Again my word for 2021. This will be the year of DIY for me. From simple home decor, to building a custom cabinet in our family room, I've got this need to create like you wouldn't believe. Ryley, our youngest son, gave me a sewing machine for Christmas. I am so excited! I haven't sewn in years and I can't wait to make all. the. things. And I am planning on sharing what I create here on the blog. So I hope you all don't mind a sprinkling of other creative endeavors here along side of my scrapbook pages! Joann's, Michael's, Home Depot, and Lowe's are going to be my new favorite places to shop!

Project 12/52

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I mentioned earlier in this post the Project 12/52 Collection that Meagan Johnson and I collaborated on. Meagan is so talented! Make sure you are following her on her Instagram–@thepracticalscrapper. I am so, so, so very grateful for her helping me get this kit out of my head and into our shops! The idea for this kit has been in my head for 2 years and it is so freeing to have it out there! It really allows me to move forward with other things! But I want to explain in a little more detail about the Collection and what you can expect from it throughout the year:

Project 12/52 Foundation Kit: This is the main kit in the Collection. It is full of over 600 cards for you to use in the Project Life App. To use them within the Project Life App, simply save your cards to DropBox or other cloud storage (I keep mine in iCloud Drive) and then you place them on your Project Life App page just as you would a photo. Feel free to use the cards in other apps, too! Or, if you are a digital scrapper (creating pages on your desktop or laptop), these cards can be used in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements,  and Affinity Photo.

Project 12/52 Add-on Kits:

Meagan and I know that not every app-scrapper are die-hard users of the Project Life App. There are many apps mobile memory keepers use to document their stories and photos. This is the main reason why we decided to offer the Digital Papers and Overlays in separate kits. We didn't want the Foundation Kit to have products in it that those who use scrap strictly with the PL App wouldn't use. Make sense? Right now there are 3 add-on kits in the Collection:

Digital Papers: 25 patterns and 12 solids. Use them in your desktop software or in mobile apps such as Affinity Photo, Over, or Letterglow.

Monthly Overlays: This kit has 3x4 and 4x6 overlays in black and white. They come in both horizontal and vertical orientation.

Weekly Overlays: Same as the Monthly overlays! The kit contains the overlays in 3x4 and 4x6 sizes. They come in black and white, and in both horizontal and vertical orientation.

The Project 12/52 Collection is available in both of our shops (you can get to mine by clicking the link at the top of the page). It doesn't matter which shop you purchase from! And guys, Meagan's shop is great! She has a ton of  kits not related to the Project 12/52 Collection that you may be interested in! Click this link to go to her shop!

We know that sticking with one kit throughout the year can get a little boring. So Meagan and I will be releasing seasonal add-on kits throughout the year! Yay! There may be a few other surprise kits added as well!  And here is the first one–a mini Happy New Year Kit. Thank you to all those who have purchased the kit so far! We appreciate you! For those who haven't decided on a kit to use for their 2021 album, we hope you will consider Project 12/52 and use the cards below to help you get started!

Click the image below to download!

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Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave any questions or comments below!

 

 


December Daily : Stories 7 + 8

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Up until now, each of my Stories this month have been double-page spreads. Stories 7 + 8 will be placed side-by side in my album. Let’s take a look:

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Story 7

You can view Ali’s Story 7 here and compare her physical page with the one I created in Affinity Photo on my iPad. 

During the month some stories may not have a photo to accompany them–like my Story 7. I took Ali’s lead using the journal prompt “December is...” and just wrote a few thoughts. It was a nice little break from working with photos.

To create the page I first started by placing a hi-res photo of a fabric texture background I had in my personal stash. Then using the Art Text Tool in Affinity Photo, I made the large “December is...” paragraph using the font “Blackout.” I gave it a little bit of dimension by adding a drop shadow. It look like a die cut, doesn’t it?  The red text reads:

December is cozy
December is magical
December is sparkly
December is love

I then created a white rectangle and placed my text on top. Even though I know Ali has a Digital Tab Christmas Bundle, I ended up creating my own “Noel” tab and used my staple to attach it to the journal block. I finish the page by sprinkling a few gold glitter stars around and the number 7 chipboard.

Story 8

When I saw Ali’s page for Story 8, I knew exactly what I was going to do for mine. You can view her story here.

My story is about donating Christmas decorations to a local women’s shelter. I took a photo of the decorations that were loaded in the back of my car. Where Ali used her “Working” word art from the 2020 Prep Day Downloads, I used the “give love” acrylic word art from the main kit. Instead of using Pom-Pom ribbon, I used a strip of green glitter paper. Ali used a large gold glitter star where she attached a number 8 sticker to. I tried that, but that glitter star was getting lost within the photo, so instead I used a speckled, transparent circle and placed the chipboard number 8 on top. To finish, I used the red enamel heart.

I really like the way these two stories look side-by-side! 

Thanks for reading! Leave any thoughts or questions below!


December Daily : Stories 5 + 6

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I want to thank everyone for all the love you guys have been showing me here on the blog and on my social media platforms. The approach I’ve been taking with my December Daily this year has been so fun! If this is your first time visiting the blog and are not familiar as to how I am going about creating my pages, you can read this post for a better understanding. I’m basically mimicking the physical page layouts Ali Edwards creates for her album this year in digital format using Affinity Photo on my iPad. They may not be exactly the same, but I explain how the layouts I create are reflective of Ali’s.

If possible, it may be helpful to have two devices open or two windows browser windows open while reading this post. One device/window can have my blog post open and the other can have Ali’s blog post open so you can compare the physical and digital pages. This has been a lot of fun so far. So let’s take a look at Stories 5 and 6.

Story 5

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You can view Ali's Story 5 here if you would like to compare physical vs. digital.

We were so excited to finally have a night on a weekend that was cold enough to build a fire in the fire pit! We had such a lovely evening and I think this layout reflects that! 

If you remember my Story 2, I created digital star shaker boxes to because Ali used physical ones on her layout. Well, Story 5 has something similar–a star shaker page.

I started out with a blank canvas in Affinity and created a white rectangle to cover the entire page. Then I switched over to the “Selections Persona” where I created three rectangles and removed the insides of the rectangle to create “windows.” I then added an inner drop shadow and a small bevel to this layer.

I placed the 3x8 Merry transparency from the 3x8 Transparency Journal Card Set behind the window layer so the transparency will show through the windows. 

With Ali’s Story 5 blog post opened, I referred to her shaker page for placement of the little stars. I know–that’s a little OCD.😂 The stars were created using the Shape Tool in Affinity. I added a slight drop shadow to each of them and then it was just a matter of copy/paste and changing the colors when needed.

I used the Glitter Stars from the Main Kit on the top and bottom window. In that center window, Ali used the “Make Magic...” transparency from the Transparency Journal Card Set. I used this on the cover of my album and didn’t want to repeat it here. So I ended up creating a white box and lowered the transparency, then attached the “holiday magic” die cut from the 2x2 Die Cut Bundle using my staple. 

For the right side of the page I used a black and white photo of the fire. In Ali’s layout, she repeated the “magic is something we make” three times at different opacities. It wasn’t looking right on my photo so just using it once was good enough for me! She also used a star transparency on the back of her photo that she printed on vellum, which faintly shows through her photo. To represent this on my page, I used the 3x8 Star Border Transparency, which I  believe is from a previous December Daily collection. I duplicated it and placed them both at the bottom of the page.

I finished off the page by adding the “magic is in the air” circle transparency, and a gold star.

 

Story 6

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The outside looking in. Super simple story. Super simple page. While this doesn't really look anything like Ali's physical page (check out her Story 6 post here), let me show you how elements of her layout are representative in mine. 

First let's talk about the photo. I love me some great photo editing apps, and A Color Story is one of my faves. While playing around with the filters, I was in the "Vintage" pack and loved the way the "Summer of '59" filter made this photo look. It added a hint of pink to it and gave it such a 50s vibe to me. 

Ali uses glittered letters in her layout. To represent that element in my digital layout, I clipped a silver glitter background to the Chipboard Number 6 and applied a 3D effect along with a drop shadow to give it some dimension. I then added a pink transparent circle and puffy star sticker. I thought the pink transparent circle picked up the pinkish tone the photo filter gave the picture.

Instead of recreating the metallic quote tag from Tim Holtz that she placed on her layout, I typed out the quote on the right hand side of the page and clipped the same silver glitter background to it. By adding a 3D effect, it really gives the illusion that the letters have embossing powder on them! The background is just a plain, pink rectangle with a 6x8 Small Speckled Pattern Transparency Sheet on top. I believe this sheet has gold speckles. But I used a white color overlay to recolor it and then duplicated the layer to make it a little more vibrant. I really, really love the way this spread turned out!

Thank you so much for reading! Let me know if you have any questions! I love working in Affinity Photo for iPad and will be happy to help!

 

 

 

 


December Daily : Stories 3 + 4

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Not all of my photos and stories in my December Daily album will revolve around Christmas. My third story is one that does not, per say. But it does bring me lots of joy, so I guess that does embody the spirit of the season! I’ve adopted a row of strawberries at the University of Florida’s IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center Center. The picking season has started and I love to share what I pick with friends and neighbors. 

You can view Ali's blog post about her third story for the month here, as it may help to see how I reflected her physical layout into a digital page.

Story 3:

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In Ali's spread she had a photo of her advent calendars shot on an angle. To replicate that on the left hand side of my page, I made a template with placeholders on the diagonal and clipped my photos into those placeholders. I gave some dimension to the "pleather" digital sticker by separating the text from it's background in Affinity Photo for iPad. Once separated I applied a bevel effect to that background. By doing this, it gives the illusion that the white text is embossed into the green background. I also added a stroke to the inside of the rectangle and applied the same effect. Once done, I merged the two layers and added a drop shadow.

The page on the right took a little more manipulation. If you look at Ali's page, she used a the 3x8 "Fa-la-la" Kraft Pocket. Here is what I did to mimic this pocket.

1) I placed the 4x6 Fa-la-la filler card from the main kit in the bottom half of the screen. In it’s original form it is red with light pink text. I put a white color overlay on it and changed the blend mode of that color overlay to "Hue." This desaturated the colors to a dark gray background with white text.

2) I then used the background kraft texture from the digital version of the 3x8 pockets, and enlarged it to fit in the bottom half of the page, making sure it is above the Fa-la-la card. I applied a layer adjustment of "lighter color" to let the white text from the card below it show through!

Just like I did in my first story, I applied a felt texture to the number 3. I used the red, digital enamel heart and gave it a little bit of dimension by adding a 3D effect to it. I made my own "a merry little christmas" label tape just by creating a black rectangle and using the Courier font for the text. I did decrease the tracking between the letters because Courier is a font that is spread out when you use it.

The "Holiday Memories" is actually from the December Daily 3x8 Shipping Tag set. I increased the size of it, extended the two black lines to the edges of the page and covered the hole at the top of the tag with the green diagonal strip of paper from one of Ali's previous collections (I don't think it was from a December Daily kit). This green diagonal strip represents the green and white ribbon she looped through the tag on her physical page.

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I love our Friday Night Pizza tradition. We have three places in town where we usually order from and we rotate between each one. This week we had pizza from our friend's “permanent” pizza truck! You can view Ali's Story Four here.

Ali's fourth story layout was quite simple to replicate into a digital version. In Ali's layout, the page on the left was a photo of 3 cookies lined up in a vertical orientation. I represented that with three photos of the pizza truck and menu board. I added a transparency circle and typed in the name of the pizza place. The staple is one I created a few years back and I keep in in the December Daily stash to use over and over again. 

For the page on the right, I believe Ali used some transparencies and sewed them together. I followed her lead with the transparent circles and "attached" them with my staple. The stitches around the "wonder of the season" circle are by Kristin AAgard Designs. I bought them off  The Lilypad a few years ago. I am not sure if they are still available. 

The entire background of this page is white. But to make it look like I have two pieces of paper stitched together, I made a white rectangle and placed it on the right side of the page and added a drop shadow to it, so it looks like there is one piece of white digital paper on top of another. I placed the Be Merry and Bright filler card to the top of that white rectangle and applied a drop shadow to it as well. Then I used a stitch brush from Katie Pertiet to "attach" the pieces to the white background (yes you can use install ABR files in Affinity Photo!). 

The number 4 is the black chipboard number from the Main Kit. I added a 3D effect and drop shadow to give it dimension. 

Thank you for taking the time to read! I'd love to hear any thoughts your may have!

 

 


December Daily : Stories 1 + 2

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Usually I have several December Daily posts published by now, but 2020 has been anything but “usual,” right? Even though I have already been sharing this year’s pages on my social media accounts already, I wanted to go into a little more detail here about my approach this year. If you make it through the entire post, there is a freebie waiting for you at the end!

So my 2020 December Daily Album. Some of my processes are staying the same: I will only be using December Daily Digital Products by Ali Edwards. All of my digital supplies are stored in iCloud Drive. My pages are being created in Affinity Photo on my iPad. Storing my supplies in iCloud Drive makes it easy for me search for, and drag/drop exactly what I am looking for into Affinity. The size of my album is the same as in years past, 6x8. When the book is finished, it will be printed through ZNO. Their quality is amazing, and as far as I know they are the only printer around that print hard bound 6x8 books in landscape or portrait orientation. Several months ago, I did a walkthrough of these albums on my Pixels to Pages Facebook page. You can watch it here when you get a free moment!

The big change I am making this year is how I am creating my pages. When I did my 2016-2019 I was using Ali’s digital templates. I think I have every single one of her December Daily templates. But this year I didn’t purchase them. While I LOVE the templates, I wanted to do something that was a little more “organic” this year, as I felt that my albums were all starting to look the same. So what I decided to do was attempt to recreate or “interpret” Ali’s 2020 physical pages in digital format. I’ve been waiting to work on my stories until Ali publishes her December Daily pages on her blog. When I see that she has posted, the wheels immediately start turning, figuring out how I can mirror what she created, but digitally. I have REALLY been enjoying this process. It’s been so much fun. Let’s take a peek at what I’ve done so far:

But first here is my cover page. Now I did not mimic Ali’s cover page (although I loved it). One of my favorite shapes I’ve seen in her collection this year is that little tree from the 6x8 Tree Stamp Set. I wanted to incorporate it into my cover and did so by duplicating it three times on the page and combining it with the “Make Magic” card from the 2020 December Daily Digitals Transparency Journal Card Set. I added the “twenty-twenty” text on top of a red rectangle.

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Story One:

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You can view Ali’s Story One here if you’d like. It will give you a better idea of how I took some of her ideas from her physical pages and applied them on my digital page. I used “around here” word art from her Product Play class on the left hand side. Ali used this on each of the photo tags she created.

I interpreted the page on the right in this way: Ali created a pocket page using a printed star transparency. If you look at the back of those photo tags she created, one of them has the black patterned paper from the 2020 December Daily Main Kit. That is what I used to create the “pocket” on my page. The red stripe behind the pocket is a digital paper from one of her previous kits. It represents the ribbons she used on her tags. On top of the pocket I used the Large Felt Number 1. While the digital felt numbers are white and have the gold stitching around them, they do not have a felt texture. In Affinity,  I clipped a high-resolution photo of a felt texture to the number and applied a 3D effect and drop shadow to it. I love the way it turned out! I used a digital cork star and the gold star from the main kit and placed them on the top of the number, just as Ali did on her physical page. I added the tag with the photo, which I guess you can look at it as representative of those individual photo tags she did. 

Story Two:

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Ali’s Story Two is here. Looking at Ali’s spread, the left side of the layout is actually the backside of her pocket page from Story One. The “Joy” background is from the 2020 Prep Day downloads. I played around with several color options, but they were too bold next to the black and white photo on the right. I ended up applying a very light gray color overlay to the digital file and sprinkled some stars around. 

Now for the page on the right: I took a photo of items in my cart while at Target. But the lighting in the store cast such a glare on the cellophane wrap on the products, I felt the need to change the color to black and white. And while I love the colors of the wrapping paper and wooden houses, I knew I would be telling individual stories about these two things later in the month were there will be full-color photos. Black and white for the win.

I’ll admit, I was a little intimidated to recreate those shaker boxes in digital format that Ali used on her page. But I was up for the challenge and couldn’t be happier with the results. The first star I created is the one placed near the center left of the page. During my process of creating this, I was a little OCD, and while working in Affinity, I had a second window open on my screen with Ali’s blog post be refer to it for placement of the stars in the shaker box. That first star shaker box took about an hour to create the other two went a lot quicker as it was just a matter of copy/pasting the different elements, again, referring to Ali’s blog post for star placement.

In Ali’s layout she created a pocket to hold her journal card using a a piece of a page protector and the “Let Your Heart Be Light” fabric half-circle. I made mine by just using the digital version of those half-circle and clipped a fabric texture to it to make it look like the physical piece. I used the same journal card as she did although I did manipulate it a little bit to make it longer. I created my own “number two” brad in Affinity Photo. 

By the way, I love these little star shaker boxes so much that I want you guys to have them. Click the photo below to download. Enjoy! 

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So there you have it. Stories One + Two. I am loving my process. I look forward each day to Ali’s blog posts to see how my app-scrapping skills will be challenged! Leave any thoughts or questions below!


Getting Crafty : An Advent Calendar

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During my studio refresh, I found an Advent Calendar that I bought YEARS ago from Kaisercraft and never put it together. I mean I think I had this thing for over 10 years. Well, this year I decided I was going to put it together. My niece Jessica and her family were coming over for Thanksgiving and I wanted to give it to her daughters (my great-nieces), Elsie & Penny, to take home with them. 
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I’m not sure what type of material this is made from (some sort of pressboard), it comes unassembled, but really easy to put together. The little boxes were unassembled, too. They are made of chipboard material and were flat in the package. I used some craft glue on the edges of each side to put them together. 

As far as what I covered the little boxes with, all of the products I used are left over December Daily papers and embellishments from Ali Edwards. I have so much of Ali’s December Daily products left over from years past, that I really want to use it in a variety of Christmas decorations. This little project was the perfect place to start!

I filled the boxes with a variety of Hershey’s Christmas chocolates, stickers, mini ornaments, mini cookie cutters, coin, and a few dollar bills.

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However on days 5, 10, 15, 20, and 24, I did something a little different. I found several little Christmas craft kits at Joann’s a few weeks ago (see photo below).

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So on those days mentioned, I put a few of the pieces for each craft in a designated day, along with a note that says “Check Santa’s Magic Bag.” The rest of the supplies went into a muslin bag, along with the directions. I told Jessica that she had to be sure to fill the Magic Bag with the other craft items for the other days. I provided Jessica with the other crafts in ziplock bags with the day written in it so she would know which craft went with each specific day. So for example, on Day Five, you can see in the photo below there are a few pipe cleaners with the little tag “Check Santa’s Magic Bag.”

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The next photo shows the supplies to complete the craft that are in the bag. Cute, huh?

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I used some card stock to cover the inside of the calendar and created title on my Silhouette. The patterned trees are from one of the past December Daily collections. I used a few pop dots to adhere the middle tree on to the background to add a bit of dimension. 

This was such a fun project to do and I’m glad I was able to use up some of my paper supplies (although I still have a lot left!).  Leave questions or comments below! 

 

 


Journal Blocks: Winter Collection

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Hey friends! The Pixels to Pages Journal Block Winter Collection is now live in the shop!!! Memory keepers are LOVING these kits because they offer extra-large, decorative journal cards, giving documenters a little more space to tell their stories than the standard 4x6 or 3x4 journal card allows. To celebrate I am offering a "Buy 3 Get 1 Free" Promo this weekend! Beginning today, November 20th, 2020, when you purchase ANY 3 Journal Block Kits, the 4th one will be free! Place 4 kits in your cart, use promo code WINTER2020 at checkout, and a $5.99 discount will be applied to your order! This offer will end at 11:59pm EST on Sunday, November 22!

Keep reading to view each kit and see what some Santa's Elves created with them! Be sure to read all the way through as there is a freebie at the end of the post!!! For more inso, hop over to my Instagram feed where there are a few more layouts in the "Journal Block" Story Highlights!

Farmhouse Christmas

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I did something a little different with the 4x12 Vertical Journal Card with this release. Instead of it being a “journal card” is now a patterned “filler card.” You will have to rotate it in its placeholder when dropping it into a horizontal pocket so the pattern doesn’t look extra-large. I think you will enjoy having a pattern to accent your pages with!

The Farmhouse Christmas kit follow the same aesthetic as my Christmas Planner! You may be able to use some of the 3x4 and 4x6 cards from either kit on both your scrapbook pages or in the planner!

Mbennett-doubleSpread above by Megan Bennett. You can follow her on Instagram: @mbennett13

Carla Jennings created the 6x8 spread by using the 6x8 Vertical Journal Card from the kit as a full page! Great idea! 

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You can follow Carla on Instagram: @tybromom

Teresa Carlucci shares her festive spread, too!

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You can follow Teresa on Instagram: @totallycre8tive

Happy New Year

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Let's celebrate the new year with a little sparkle! There is a little digital glitter in this kit. It's the perfect way to add some bling to your pages without the messy clean up of the real stuff!

Here is a spread Ingrid did using the Happy New Year Kit. She used over half of the cards in the kit in this spread!

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You can follow Ingrid on Instagram: @ingrid_u_lim

I love how Heather used the 4x12 Celebrate Journal Card for a Disney Page!

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You can follow Heather on Instagram: @moonpiegirl

Frosty Fun

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It is still hot here in Florida and the photos these scrappers used in their layouts helped to keep me cool! Check them out:

Sean Eyring, aka "Project Life App Dude," and his family look like they have a blast when it comes to hanging out in the snow! And he's right, that snow beard and eyebrows are EPIC!

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You can follow Sean on Instagram: @projectlifeappdude

Check out these layouts from Dawn Bowra:

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She did the above layout in the Project Life App. Can you figure out how? She used some fun techniques here!!! And I love how she placed the photo(s) in the layout below:

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You can follow Dawn on Instagram: @proudtobemrsb

The photo Stephanie used in this layout is stunning! Don't you think? Although Stephanie created this layout in Photoshop, it can easily done in the Project Life App using the  The Big Shot 4 Template!

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You can follow Stephanie on Instagram: @stephhokenson

Christmas in the Sand–U.S. Version

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Not all of us celebrate Christmas in the snow, including yours truly!!! It's about time there was a kit for those who prefer to make a sandman instead of a snowman! Check out the quick spread I did using photos from 2018:

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I also experimented with placing a filler card in an Editorial Template and super happy with the result!!!

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And finally...

Christmas in the Sand–Australian Version

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I've never seen a Christmas kit geared towards an Australian Christmas. A little while ago I asked my followers from Australia about how they celebrate the Christmas season being in a warm weather climate. I have a lot of followers and students from this beautiful country and I wanted to create a little something for my them. The response to my question was overwhelming! Based on their answers, this is what I came up with! 

Susan Bunning has a TON of photos to share in her spread! Read her journaling about these photos! This is exactly why I wanted to create kits for a warm-weather Christmas! Susan placed the 6x12  Christmas In The Sand Vertical Journal Card, into a 4x6 placeholder and arranged it so the top portion of the card is showing. This is a good example of how to experiment with the cards by placing them in a different placeholder that it is intended for! She did the same with the Christmas BBQ filler card-that is actually a 3x4 horizontal filler card–and she used the Free Form Text feature in the PL App to add more text to the card! Susan-XmasintheSand

You can follow Susan on Instagram: @brisbaneangel

Now Elmi doesn’t live in Australia, but in South Africa! Turns out they celebrate in much of the same way Australia does! Elmi got really creative and not only used the Project Life App to make her pages on her Android device, but she used the Over App as well. In addition, Elmi used Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer on her Mac, to accommodate her style of Project Life! While she doesn’t share her pages on social media, she does have a blog you can visit: creativedepths.wordpress.com.

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It turns out that Elmi is a graphic designer. While she was making her pages, she also created a few extra cards to coordinate with the kit and wanted to share them. Click on the image below and you can download these cute cards for free! THANK YOU ELMI for sharing your talents!!!

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To all of those who provided page samples for the launch of these kits, THANK YOU!!! I appreciate each and every one of you!!!

Questions? Comments? Feel free to leave them below!


Digital Scrapbook Day–10.3.20

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Hey guys! Do you know what tomorrow is??? It's Digital Scrapbooking Day!!! I wanted to celebrate by giving you a 40% discount on your ENTIRE ORDER!!!! WHAT???? That has never happened! I assure you it won't happen again this  year! For ONE DAY ONLY–Saturday, October 3–use the code DIGIDAY2020 when you check out for your discount! Sale begins October 3 at 12pm ET and will end October 3 at 11:59pm! Click here to be taken to the shop. Have fun shopping!!!


Progress Update : My Christmas Planner

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It’s the middle of September. Kind of hard to believe there are less than 100 days until Christmas! Yes, you read that right! Less than 100 days until Christmas. When it comes to the holidays, are you a planner or more of a last minute kind of elf? Personally, I consider myself to be more on the organized side of the Christmas chaos. Sure there will always be last minute things to take care of or the unexpected house guest, but for the most part I try and get a grasp on the reigns of the Christmas sleigh a few months before the madness begins.

Back in July I created a printable Christmas Planner and made it available for purchase in my shop. I’ve made a few of these over the years, and I think this is my favorite. Although this is still a work in progress, I’ve got enough done and wanted to share with you what I’ve completed so far! 

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Let’s take a look at each section:

The first section is my calendar. The printable planner comes with 3 month-at-a-glance and week-at-a-glance calendars (November-January). It’s up to you if you want to use one or all of the months. I use the month-at-a-glance calendars for November, December, and January. 

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Even though the calendars looks a little sparse, more events will be added to them as time goes on. There are several things we do during the season that have become a tradition, such as going to the Holiday Pops concert by the Florida Symphony Orchestra and various Holiday Boat Parades. But due to Covid, venues and organizer still trying to figure all these things out. We also may be throwing in a getaway in November, so as soon as these plans are finalized, I will add them to the calendars. And guys, I know there are a lot of planner addicts out there and would be prettying up their calendars. But not this girl. I really don't have time to do that. I just want a space to write in and leave it at that.

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The next section in my planner is the address section. As I was looking at the address from my old Christmas Planner, I realized many friends, and some family members had moved over the past year. So I wrote several messages through Facebook and some text messages asking for their new addresses. I was so happy to here back from almost everyone! I’m still waiting on about 3 or 4, but they will be easy to add in. I’m so glad these addresses are all updated now and I won’t be scrambling to find them when it comes time to send out Christmas cards! (addresses have been blocked for privacy)

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There are other 3x4 cards and overlays in the kit for Christmas stamps and photos that are not pictured here. They will be added to this section when the time comes!

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The Gift Section of the planner is going to be so helpful! My “Master Gift List” page will be filled in as we get closer to the holidays, but these “Santa Reports” are being filled in now! There are two different sized “Santa Reports” in the kit, a 4x6 and a 6x8. The 6x8 size I am using for our immediate family: Chris, our two sons, our daughter-in-law, and I filled one out for myself as well (sometimes the Sill men can use a little help when it comes to gift-giving 🙄). To make these reports resemble something like a “case file” I cropped photos of everyone into 1.75” squares, put them in a 4x6 document in Photoshop and printed it out. Then I just trimmed each photo from that 4x6 printout and attached them to the “Santa Report.” Super fun!

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The "Santa Reports" for Chris and Ryley will be filled in one night over dinner. The ones for Dustin & Becca just came in last night. I texted each of them and asked them for the information I needed. They wrote it out on a sheet of paper for me and took a photo of that paper. So all I have to do is copy what they had written onto their individual reports!

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I am using the 4x6 “Santa Reports” for extended family members. Shortly after I first released the kit in my shop, I visited my niece and her family (they live about 45 minutes away). I brought two of the 4x6 Reports with me and had Jessica fill them out for her girls (my great-nieces, Elsie & Penny). I used a 6x8 page protector with two 4x6 pockets and placed the completed card in the bottom pocket and a photo of each girl in the top. When my sister was visiting, I printed out a card for each of her kids and had them fill out a card. I ran out of those two-pocket page protectors to place them in. I ordered a few packs from Ali Edwards and they should be here in the next few days!

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The Decorations Section is partially done.

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I have my inventory sheet filled out and I’m looking forward to replacing or purchasing those items needed. I will be going down the Pinterest rabbit hole over the next few weeks for decorating and craft ideas. Last year instead of going shopping on Black Friday, I had my bestie Jill, come over for Bloody Marys and Christmas crafting. I want to find a few ideas of what craft to do this year, print them out and place them on the various cards 6x8 and 3x4 cards that are also included in this section (not shown). And even though we may not do every project I find, these are ideas are fun to refer to and see what is trending from year to year.

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And finally we have the Recipe Section.

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One of my main goals with this planner was to consolidate all of the recipes I make throughout the holiday season into one place. Whether they were recipes for Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Morning Breakfast, or Christmas Cookies, I wanted all of these recipes in one binder instead of having to pull out various cookbooks old magazines or search the web for these recipes I use year after year. Because there were so many recipes, I ended up using InDesign on my iMac to create these cards. I know, I know, I’m a mobile memory keeper! But there are some projects where the hybrid scrapper in me comes out! As a graphic designer InDesign is a program I use for page layout. It was easy for me to set up pages and drop the JPG of the 4x6 or 6x8 Recipe Cards into my document. I then I took the time and gathered all of those recipes together and started to type everything out! I then exported my documents as PDFs, printed it out, and then trimmed to place them in the page protectors. 

Screen Shot 2020-09-18 at 9.33.23 AMSome of the recipes have photos and some do not. That will definitely change once these dishes are made. I will make note of which recipes I want to photograph and will be prepared to do so when the time comes. Some recipes I may prepare between now and the holidays just to get the shot prior to the busy day they will be prepared on. (Hmm...I may need to select a few days to do this and add them to my calendars!) So although this section is very recipe card heavy, this will definitely change once the photos are taken. I know these recipes will not stay in the order they are in now. Using this binder for my planner will make it easy to move things around when the time comes!

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Some of the recipes are crazy long. So long that the instructions needed to be carried over to a second card. I turned these recipe cards into flip pages to accommodate a photo. So far I have two of these pages. One for the Christmas Tree Puff Pastry and the other for the Beef Wellington. I think I’ll have two more (cookies) once I get the photos taken. I will do another post with a tutorial on how I did this in the upcoming weeks.

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I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels to have all of these recipes in one place! Goal achieved!

The printable Christmas Planner is available in my shop. The pictures above do not show all that comes in the kit! To get a better idea of what is include, click the link to the shop in the navigation bar above There is a link to the shop in in navigation bar at the top of the page or go directly to the product listing by clicking the image below:

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Questions? Comments? Leave them below!


My Creative Space

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The end of October will mark 6 years since we moved into our home here in the Tampa area. We live in a boating/fishing community, in a "Key West-style" home on a cul-de-sac street. There are neatly manicured lawns out front and a canal out back where dolphins and manatees pay us a visit every once in a while. One of the windows in my studio/creative space looks over our canal. I love the view and I love my space that overlooks it. But after 6 years, the space was looking a little tired and uninspiring. It was definitely starting to feel cluttered. I needed to open things up a bit so it could breath and look as fresh and inviting as the water outside my window!

I started this refresh back in mid-August. And although I am still waiting on a few things for it, like shades for instance, I am going to consider it DONE! And I love it. In this post I am going to share what I did along with some 'background" of the room. So grab a drink and snack, because this may get long.

Our home was built in 2006, making it around 7 years old when we bought it. Although we have done a TON of updates to our home, my studio is one of the rooms that hadn't been repainted. It still had that builder's grade paint. It was a neutral-beige color and over time has gotten to look pretty dull and made things look too "warm." I wanted things super bright and selected a plain white paint for the walls and baseboards. I went with "Oxford White" in eggshell from Sherwin Williams. While I love the plain white, let me tell you, I was not happy with Sherwin Williams paint at all. I mean I have painted PLENTY of walls in my time, in all different finishes, and usually it is a latex paint. Even Chris thought something was a little off about this paint. This paint didn't seem to go on "smooth" and seemed to "drag" across the walls. And then when it came time to clean up...I just threw away the brush (I was able to save the roller). The paint clumped to the bristles and just wouldn't come clean. I took a closer look at the can and realized that instead of a latex paint, this was acrylic. What???? Seriously, I have NEVER painted walls in acrylic paint before! And I assure you, that will never happen again. Anyways, even thought the paint itself was not the best, the walls are a nice & bright white, making me a happy girl.

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So I'll give a tour of the room as you walk through the door. To the left is a large wall where I have my workbench. It is actually a kitchen island from Ikea that we bought from Ikea back in the mid-late 90s. They don't carry it anymore, but I will share a link to one that is similar at the end of this post. This thing has been a workhorse! It has even traveled overseas with me! In the drawers I keep rubber stamps, various paper trimmers, and odds & ends crafting supplies. Nothing too exciting. On the shelves below I keep whatever physical scrapbook supplies I have on hand, which isn't much (more on that in a sec), loose memorabilia for each member of our family, some other items that need to be filed away.

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As far as any physical scrapbook supplies go, this is a VERY SMALL collection compared to what I used to have. What I do have are physical products from Ali Edwards' December Daily and Travel Collections, some random Halloween & Beach products, and lots of Alphabet and Label/Tag stickers. Years ago I did subscribe to the Cocoa Daisy and Studio Calico kits, so I do have a container with those items as well. Even though I am a full-blown mobile memory keeper now, I do have Physical Project Life albums that I need to go back and complete, so I will hand on to some physical scrapbook items in order to do so!

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Above the workbench is something totally new for me. This is a Skådis Pegboard System by Ikea (it's pronounced "sk-oh-dis," I believe). One of my goals in updating my space was to clear all clutter from my workbench and desk. And this system definitely helped to do so. All of what you see here used to be in bins or totes or desk organizers. I just wanted to get these supplies out of those collect-alls, be able to see them, and have them in reach. What you see here are three 22x22 pegboards with a variety of containers, shelves, clips, brackets, and elastic cords. This system is very fluid and all of those items can easily be moved around. I will be adding another row of pegboards in the near future as I found there are more things I want to put in reach. But for right now this is working for me. And I do have it organized in a way that makes sense in my head: The board on the left has all things that poke, punch, or cut. Things like scissors, paper punches and Xacto knives. The center board has all office supplies–pencils, pens, highlighter, alligator clips, rubber bands, ets. And the board on the right has all things that "attach"–adhesive, glue dots, stapler, washi tape, etc. Something to note: When I purchased these boards I went to our local Ikea here in Tampa. It just so happened that it was right as college students were getting ready to go back to school. Our Ikea looked like a tornado blew through it! While there were plenty of pegboards, all of the shelves, containers, etc that attach to them were sold out. Many of them were sold out online as well. I ordered what I could and due to Covid, Ikea's delivery times are pretty long. Those items took about two weeks to arrive. As I mentioned above, I do want to add three more pegboards above what I have now, but I will wait until sometime in October. Hopefully the supply chain will be replenished a bit! 

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Moving on to the back wall. This wall has the window that overlooks the canal. My desk faces the window and I have two Ikea cabinets on either side. Again, this furniture was purchased at the same time the island was. I am not sure if it is available anymore.

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To the left of my desk is my Silhouette. The cabinet is sits on has some Silhouette supplies and empty 3-ring binders (school binders, not scrapbook albums). Above the Silhouette is my "Kelly & Jill" wall. Jill has been my best friend for 35+ years. After moving all over the place during Chris' time in the military, Jill and I finally live in the same state again, about an hour away from each other. I have had a bunch of things she has given me over the past few years that I knew I wanted to one day display in my space. So excited to have finally made that happen!!! The illustration of the two girls playing in the leaves is from Roxy's Illustration's on Etsy (link will be down below). She gave that to me for my 50th birthday. And that one of the yoga girls with wine? Same artist. But I gave Jill an 8x10 of that one. When communicating with the artist about the yoga illustration, she gave me the 5x7 size so Jill and I would each have one. I just love the way this wall turned out and I still have a little room to add things in the future.

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Now on the other side of my desk is my printer. It's an older Epson, but still going strong. The cabinet underneath has extra ink cartridges along with lots of photo paper. Above the printer is my "Kelly & Kristen" wall. Kristen is my sister and one of the most hilarious people I know. Here I placed a folk-artsy poem she gave me years ago along with a few photos. Years ago Kristen and I took a letterpress class together when I lived in Virginia. I framed one of the cards I made in the class. And on the clipboard I have two letters she wrote to me when I lived in Kiev, Ukraine. They were included in some "goodie" boxes she would send. They are soooo damn funny to read. I used to keep them folded up in my desk organizer and would read them whenever I needed a laugh. I like the idea of keeping them on a clipboard. I will scan these because I am sure they will fade over time since they are now out in the open. 

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The wall opposite my workbench is so different from what it used to be!!! It used to have a tall Ikea bookshelf, filled with 12x12 card stock, professional design books and other memorabilia. But no more!!! I purged and reorganized big time! It totally opens up this space! The letter ledges are from the Etsy shop, Spotted Owl Avenue (they are on a break right now). I bought them 2 years ago when Becky Higgins featured them on her Instagram feed, with the intention of one day putting them on this wall (she had a discount code)! So you could say that this refresh has been two years (or longer) in the making!

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I replaced that tall Ikea shelf with the Kallax (still from Ikea). I kept only the design books that I felt I would refer to from time to time. I was a huge Martha Stewart fan back in the day and kept some of her books as well. As far as the card stock goes, I took all of it out from those upright holders and it is now being stacked in the shelf. Most of those holders have been repurposed which you will see in a moment. Chris and I will be building two horizontal paper holders this fall to make the paper easier to access. They will be like the ones from Stamp and Storage (they are REALLY expensive to purchase there, so I know we can make our own). That will be a project for October. The water hyacinth woven baskets are from The Container Store.

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On the shelf you will see a wooden box. I bought this thing from Ikea 15 years ago. It came unassembled. I just now put the thing together!!! I have some essential oils stored in it. There are also some random cords for Apple products and some electronics instruction brochures.

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On the side opposite the box, I have a small display of some family photos and a "For the Love" foiled art print by Ali Edwards.

Now can we talk about these closet doors??? Like I mentioned earlier in the post, this house was built in 2006. And even though we have done a lot of upgrades to the place, all of the closet doors look very dated to me. I can't stand that rounded top inlay. I wanted something more modern, but didn't want to buy new doors. So after jumping down the Pinterest rabbit hole, I found several tutorials on how to resurface bifold doors. I went to work and just love, love, love the results!!!! After the Sherwin Williams disappointment, I went with Behr paint, which is what I should have done for the white walls. The color, "Racing the Rain" is actually a Sherwin Williams color, but I took the paint chip to Home Depot and had them color match it in the Behr brand. I'm just so happy with the way it turned out!

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I would say that the inside of the closet is still a work in progress, but everything has it's place and I know where to find things. The upright holders from the card stock have been repurposed to hold a variety of things like PL protectors, travel memorabilia, and even 12x12 Project Life papers. You can even see that I still have some of the original Project Life Kits! I will definitely use these again when I go back to finish those physical PL albums that I started! The cabinets hold family photo albums from Creative Memories. On top of the cabinets I have my December Daily albums and Cropper Hopper totes FILLED with printed photos. 

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And there you have it. My Creative Space. It's open & airy and filled with my favorite things. I can't wait to create here. I'm a happy girl.

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What do you think? Leave any comments or questions below and I will be happy to get back to you!

A few product links:

Ikea Skådis Pegboard System

Similar Ikea Kitchen Island

My favorite Art Bin

Etsy Illustration

Water Hyacinth Baskets