Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Hellllllllllllllllllllllooooooooo ECHO ECHO ECHO

It has been such a long time since I wrote a proper blog update... I wonder if there is still anyone out there who stops by occasionally?? Please leave me a comment if you do... just so I don't feel like a Nigel No-Friends. ;)

So, in the immortal worlds of ERII herself,  2012 has pretty much turned out to be MY annus horribilis ... BUT there is much to be thankful for and a midst all the challenges and setbacks and meltdowns and struggles we have plodded along and we are getting there.

My darling husband has returned home to work locally after 8 years of FIFO work on the mines. It was all getting just a bit too much stress with having to stay in hospital.  His work has been so supportive of us and they offered him an adult apprenticeship as a diesel fitter. It is something he has wanted to do since he was a little boy so a wonderful opportunity... but financially it has been very difficult. The kids love having him home but it has taken a little while for us to find our fit... and a HUGE adjustment for me too... love the guy with my life... but I don't know so much about actually LIVING with him! ;)

Austin and Albert are doing really well with their treatment so far despite a few setbacks along the way... Just a few hospital admissions due to viruses that have seen them have breathing issues and requiring oxygen... oh and not to mention Austin playing Evel Knievel and standing on a little table to reach a light switch, falling and breaking his arm! Arrrgggh!!! Kids are going to send me stark raving mad... bless their cotton socks!

You accept a new level of "ok" when you have kids needing medical attention. We are OK... not brilliant... not fabulous... but we are OK... and those boys are a constant source of inspiration to me.  I lamented that they would ever be one of those kids you always hear about with serious illnesses. You know the ones, you hear about them all the time.  The ones that always smile despite all they are going through.  BUT they have gotten so good at coping and even though they still cry at the finger pricks and blood tests and ports being needled they have gotten so much better.  They bounce back as soon as they are done so much quicker... and all the general poking and prodding doesn't bother them hardly at all anymore.

The last blood test did get to me a little.  They both have to have finger prick tests done each time.  It had been a while since we had to have one though and when we walked into the phlebotomy department both of them sat on their hands (they still ride in a pram... there's a LOT of walking for little legs).  Then when the lady said, "Who's going first?" They each pointed to the other and said the other's name in unison. It was so cute but so sad too.  Breaks my heart to have to let the ladies hurt them.  They handle it better than me though and as soon as we were done they were happy again.  Bless.

It is lovely that people keep telling me how strong and amazing I am (and don't get me wrong, I really do appreciate it even if it sort of makes me squirm when people give me a compliment like that) ... but the reality is I am neither... I have had my moments I can tell you... I just prefer not to SHOW you! ;)  I guess my strength lies in continuing to get up and keep on plodding.  It's easy to wallow in a bit of self pity on occasion .. and for me I actually find it helps... pretending everything is all sweetness and light, sunshine, lollipops and rainbows just ain't me!!!  I prefer to confront the tough stuff head on... it knocks me down sometimes and I feel totally defeated... that's just the kinda gal I am! ;) The trick is knowing when and HOW to snap out of it, focus on the positives, set your sights on the task at hand and just get on with it. I am blessed to have that ability even if some days are harder than others.  I am hopeless when people be too nice to me... I can be tough when things are hard... but buy me a cup of coffee and give me a sympathetic look and take your chances... I am not generally a "crier"... takes a lot to set me off (especially in public) but jeez I am an ugly crier when I do! ;)

I keep trying to "learn the lesson"... for me I thought it was asking for help.  I have been blessed with friends who made that much easier than I could have ever imagined.  Well, friends who recognised my need for a helping and hand and offered it BEFORE I had to ask more like. I am so very grateful for them.  Unfortunately, both our extended families live too far to be able to help us physically but of course they are our emotional support.

I HAVE learned to stop "fighting"... to stop getting so wound up in  the injustices and inadequacies of the "system". I still get frustrated but I have learned to roll with it a bit better... and that has been a huge accomplishment in itself.  I have far more important issues to deal with and my energies need to be directed in the right place.   For now we will just keep on plodding... and try to make it look like we are "flowing" with it... sounds so much more at peace don't you think?  Flowing is riding the wave... plodding is trudging... just surviving. Yes, I will flow I tell you! Flow!  So much more romantic. ;)

So anyway, it's been far too long to catch up on everything we have been doing so I am going to share something I have been playing with for the last three years with you... and in a way... it sort of answers the "what have you been up to?" question anyway.

In 2010 I took part in 365project.  It was a kind of photo a day visual diary / challenge site.  I decided to use it to start keeping a track of our day to day lives.  Then I stumbled across Becky Higgins blog.  Actually, I don't know how I found Project Life originally. I think MAYBE another 365project photographer may have mentioned the album as a solution to storing their 365 {2010} photos. Anyway, I clicked a link, liked what I saw and ordered an album from Craft House.  It was "everything you need in a box"... and the rest, as they say, is history.

I have for the past three years, been doing Project Life.  To me this IS traditional scrapping.  It's a system that Beck Higgins created to take scrapping back to the basics of photos and stories... you can read more about her philosophy on her blog.   It can be anything YOU want.  I approach PL from a photo a day “this is my life, warts and all” perspective... and trust me there are plenty of warts!

So I got my Original kit at the end of 2009 and used it to document 2010... it is now named Cherry... is it just my dirty mind or does anyone else think it's hilarious they named it that?  It WAS the first after all but Becky Higgins is far too sweet a girl to think like me!

Then I used Turquoise for 2011 and this year I am using Clementine. I have Seafoam on pre-order for 2013. ;)

I have what I think is a unique approach in that I use the digital products to plan my LOs in Photoshop. Then I print everything out individually, in the sizes I have decided on, and still create a “real” album using paper, journaling cards and page protectors.

My main LO is usually a double spread using two Design A protectors.  I do include some photo collages and inserts each week because I can never condense this crazy, hectic life into just one photo per day... which has meant a second album to hold all those memories. ;)  Thanks to a fellow PLer (Leah!!!!) I have had this as my mantra ever since she said, "Don't cull the photos, just buy another album."  It's rather symbolic don't you think?  LIVE your life and fill as many albums as you can! ;)

I use my Canon 500D and iPhone (the Hipstamatic and Instamatic apps are personal favourites) to capture our life. 

I also use Photoshop Elements 7 to put journaling and word art onto my photos.  
My journaling is day to day... funny little stories... frustrations and challenges... gratitude and gripes...  the good, the bad and the ugly.

I also do a little embellishing because I have so much “stuff” to use up its ridiculous...
BUT I started Project Life to keep it simple and get back to the basics of photos + stories and that’s mainly what I am doing now.  

So here's MY Project Life 2012.
First of all these are some examples of my PSE "planning" pages... some include the "inserts" so they look bigger than the normal double 12x12 (Design A) REAL pages... as you will see most of them don't have all their journaling yet... that's because, as I said, I print all these out individually and still put them into the divided page protectors.  So I do SOME journaling with PSE7 and then the rest with a combination of handwriting and an old typewriter then I add a few embellishments and I am done.

If you want to see any of these close up just click on the image and it will open larger in another window.

Week 14 has a newspaper clipping... I scanned it for the digital version but have the real thing in my paper album.  I LOVE ephemera! ;)

Week 15 includes some freebie journal card downloads from a blog that I WILL come back and put a link up for... my external hard drive is being a pain in the proverbial so I can't figure out where they are from right at the moment. :(

Week 16 includes some journal cards I designed myself! Seriously SO simple and I printed them out onto Project Life grid cards.  I will also come back and put them up as a freebie if I can ever get this hard drive working.

Oh and yeah, Week 17 has a rude one... hey, I told you warts and all... I was having a bad week! ;) 

Week 35 is COMPLETELY digital... but I will still print these out individually to go into the divided page protectors. 

Week 37 has a WRMK 12x12 9up (4x4s) insert but cut down to only a 6up if that makes sense???  I will get my a into g and show the REAL version soon so you can see exactly what I mean.


... and these are my REAL pages in my album...

I have a few links that I need to include for some of the extra items I have used but I am running out of time this morning so if you have any questions about where I got things please ask and I will endeavour to find my sources... THERE'S a lesson for you... keep a track of where you found "freebies"... you want to credit the person that created them and I haven't always kept a very good handle on where I am downloading stuff from!!!

One particular shout out  I do want to make is September Blue.  If you go searching through her blog you will find all the little WEEK badges I have used.  She has some other pretty cool stuff too. ;)

OK... so this is a bit of MY Project {crazy, hectic, boring, wonderful, beautiful, heartbreaking, every day} Life... if you are interested I hope you will come back to see as I share more...

NOW for the good stuff!!

I also have a give away (actually THREE)... because I went a little crazy and ordered a few too many Potty People washi tapes... then I found some Turquoise Project Life stuff from last year that isn't getting used... so I thought I should share the love... leave me a comment and you will be in the draw for one of THREE sets... designs may vary! ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by...Take care and have fun cultivating some great stuff to record... but don't leave out the not so great stuff... it's what make life REAL and teaches us to appreciate the good stuff a bit better... even if it is crappy when you are in the middle of it! ;)