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August 2020
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October 2020

September 2020

Progress Update : My Christmas Planner


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! 


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. 


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.


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)



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!


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!


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!


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!


The Decorations Section is partially done.


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.


And finally we have the Recipe Section.


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!


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.


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:


Questions? Comments? Leave them below!

My Creative Space


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.


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.


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!


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! 


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.


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.


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. 


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!


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.


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.


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!


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. 


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.


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



2020 Family Yearbook : August Pages


Hey guys–thanks do much for stopping by to take a peek at my August pages. These actually came together fairly quickly. So let's take a look:


I'm still continuing to use my Monthly Journal Block cards to tell the majority of my stories (you can find them in my shop here). I'm actually finding that I run out of room sometimes on these big blocks! But I love to "talk!" I don't want to decrease the font size any smaller than what I have now. I have to remember that these pages are going to be printed in 10x10 albums, and I want the text to be legible. But for any additional stories I need to tell, I can put it on a journal card like I did here on the left side where I shared a little story about these chocolate chip cookies. 


August is the beginning of birthday season in the Sill household and it continues through September. Our son Dustin, my dad, Chris's brother, and Elsie, my great niece. She just turned 5 and had a birthday party at Dinosaur World in Plant City, Florida. I shared the story in the big journal block on the first spread. If it wasn't for that Journal Block, I wouldn't have been able to use all of these photos on one side of the spread. One of those pictures would have been replaced by a journal card. This is why I love trying to keep all of the journaling condensed on one page–it leaves so much more room for photos! The filler card on the left side is from the Wish Big kit in the Project Life app. 

The "pieces of me" filler card is one I created in Affinity Photo on my iPad using digital products by Ali Edwards. The Corona/Hurricane filler card is one I created in the Adobe Spark Post app. The words are from a meme I saw on Facebook a few weeks ago when there were two hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time. I thought it was hilarious and wanted to recreate something different for my page. Adobe Spark Post is an app I used on EVERY single page in my 2020 yearbook. I LOVE IT!!! It is the app I use to place all the white borders you see on my photos. I do have a blog post/tutorial about how I do this. You can read that here if you'd like. 


My favorite story from this month is the one about beginning the redecoration of my creative space! I have been wanting refresh my space for a few years now, and for some reason I thought the middle of August was the perfect time to do so. Why not? It's the middle of summer in Florida. The temps are in the mid-90s and there is 1000% humidity. I am not going to get into too much detail about the refresh, as that will be coming in a post on Friday!!! But just so you know, this project started in mid-August and, aside from a few minor things I still need to purchase, this room will be done tomorrow! Be sure to follow me on Instagram as I will be doing a live walk-through of my space sometime during the day on Friday! Anyways...back to the spread...

You may have noticed that yellow seems to be a recurring color when it came to the filler cards in all three spreads this month. It just happened that way, it wasn't intentional, but I really like it! I love the "creating my space" filler card I made in Affinity. Ali's products are so versatile!!! The "these are my people" card is another one I created as well! Word art for the win!!!

Thanks for taking time out of your day to pay me a visit! Leave any comments or questions below!