Ghosts of Christmas Past, failures, and lessons learned

 

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Throwback Thursday you guys…for today’s edition I am sharing an overview of some of my December documented albums from past years. Before I begin, let me just provide a little background. Most people are aware of the December Daily® phenomenon started by Ali Edwards and from which she grew a multi-million dollar brand. I get it. It’s brilliant. And it’s meaningful. And popular. My history of  being an EPIC FAILURE on the other hand at a Day/Week in the Life ®, One Little Word®, and of course DD haunts me to this day.

So I promise you that this year I will NOT promise to do anything in the month of December, and more than likely I will never again promise to try to do anything daily ever. But that doesn’t mean I did not have tons of fun buying cute Christmas paper crafting supplies in anticipation of December scrapbooking. And yep…I did it again this year. So what could possibly go wrong?

Well, I’ll tell you what.

  1. I could start the season with the best of intentions and then blink and it’s already New Years and everyone has moved on from December documenting to picking out a word and buying organizing stuff from Target. Then it’s time to pack up all the pretty Christmas stuff in one of those organizing things until next year when…holy smokies there is so much NEW cute stuff again and the cycle continues.
  2.  I could dedicate several crafty binges to assembling foundation pages only to get sick of the project by the time I start “living” the days I planned to document on them. So I set it aside waiting for my mojo to return and before I know it I have a pile of half done “foundations” with no photos in them.
  3. I could struggle to take interesting pictures because none of the photo prompts I am trying to follow apply to  when you live in Hawaii and they are all geared to cold climates and white Christmases.
  4. I could take so many pictures and realize I don’t really have a plan for my album and get overwhelmed because I don’t know where to begin.

I am totally speaking from experience as these are all scenarios from my Christmas’ pasts attempting a December Daily album. Ya feel me?

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This one is from 2013- do any of you remember that clipboard album from Maggie Holmes? This was the year I realized that Crate Paper Christmas collections are always going to be my favorites.

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A few of the inside pages. Since this was my first album, I did number the pages by days and tried to use one “story” a day from Christmas shopping, to ornaments, to haircut day,etc It is definitely my favorite that I have done and completed.

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2014 I used the first Clique into the Holidays Limited Edition kit in a 6×8 album. This time, I had made the so-called foundation pages ahead of time and ….WOOPS…did not actually insert any photos until (gasp) 2018. Yes- like a month ago. But at least I did eventually get it done!

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This little guy is a handmade Instax photo album. I used an XL size Sizzix die by Eileen Hull  called Passport designed to make the framework for a mini album. I used recycled chipboard and red and black buffalo plaid fabric from Wal Mart. This album has a definite junk journal feel to it. I used my Instax printer to print out mini polaroid style photos daily. I kept it simple- just a snapshot from my Instagram account each day. This was my attempt at following a photo prompt a day format.

At some point I will probably photograph and post the inside if anyone is interested. It definitely is less popular with the kids because the photos are more of “stuff” than of them.

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I also have an aqua Simple Stories Snap album in 6×8 that I believe was from 2016 to show you which I will save for another day. I am sorry to be the deliverer of Bah Humbug, but yeah.  This year, while not doing december daily, I think I am going to use my Clique Kits Hipster Holiday kit and other Christmas products in my 3 x8 binder from Ali Edwards. I am going to have a plan- which is to do the whole album on New Year’s Day this year. I will limit my supplies to one kit and my favorite stamps. I will create a sketch outline and rotate 4-6 page designs through the album. Repetition creates unity and cohesion. I will take pictures organically during the month of December and only think about enjoying the moment until Dday. I’ll let you know how it goes–(and maybe I’ll run into you at Target) LOL.

-xGia

 

 

What’s on my desk Wednesday: Gratitude Journaling 2018

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My top 3 reasons to start a gratitude journal this year:

  1. November is of course known for its association with gratitude because of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.
  2. #30daysofgratitude is a thing
  3. The Healthy Lifestyle Plan I have been following called “Bright Line Eating”  makes keeping a journal-preferably a gratitude journal– mandatory to the program

I found Susan Pierce Thompson’s book “Happy, Thin, and Free” by accident in my library and did her 14 day challenge last year in January. In the first month I dropped 10 pounds and then was able to lower my cholesterol and decrease some chronic pain in my back and legs. So I kept going, and by the summer had lost a total of 25 pounds. Since July, I have been maintaining and holding steady. But I have gradually started to…well Halloween candy. Enough said!

In order to re-zoom and re-boot Dr. Thompson recommends going back to basics -commiting your food choices in advance and writing them down, journaling, weighing and measuring food, and the hardest ones: no sugar or flour AT ALL.  These are the so-called bright lines that keep things very black and white and straightforward, reducing the number of decisions your brain is taxed with making every day.

It is hard enough to deal with every other kind of stress and decision, which is the main source of erosion of willpower, Dr. Thompson explains. Further, sugar and flour are not foods they are actually drugs. When removed from the natural, fiber lattice framework they grow in, grains and carbohydrates in the form of any kind of sweetening substance are highly concentrated and highly addictive! Of course, everyone has their drug of choice and not everyone is equally susceptible to every illicit substance– which includes those in processed food.

That is the very quick and dirty summary of the science behind the program. It also explains the rationale for the bright lines and how they restore your brain to its healthy, natural state when it comes to eating behavior, appetite, craving, and physical well being.

So, even though this is not a health or lifestyle blog but a scrapbooking, mixed media, and paper crafts blog I thought it might pique the interest of some of my friends and worth sharing!

ACS_0807One of my favorite mixed media techniques is to collage my backgrounds. I save magazine clippings of fun sayings and pictures which is a great way to also recycle!

Here are some pages I made shown “before the pen.” I used one of the Artsy Traveler’s Notebook Kits in my Etsy shop. I also used some scraps from my stash and some Tim Holtz distress oxide inks.

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You can pick up the exclusive Clique Kits Travelers Notebook Insert that I designed last November here in the Clique Kits shop while supplies last- on sale for only $2.99.

Use my code GIA15 FOR AN ADDITIONAL 15% OFF YOUR PURCHASE!

-x Gia

 

 

 

Football Mini Album

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Hi friends! Don’t you love it when something that almost ended up in the rubbish can (and subsequently the landfill) finds a new life in a DIY project? I do! That’s why I was so happy when I realized that the football banner I had used for my son’s flag football team end of season potluck would make the perfect cover set for a little mini album! Oddly, the string the banner came on was glued kind of poorly to the back of the footballs so I had to rip it off and then punch my own holes in the covers with my Cropodile. The spot where the adhesive was left a mark so I did cover the backs with patterned papers.

These football sequins are from the Clique Kits shop and are currently on clearance for $.99!

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I used a couple of papers in my stash from the Doodlebug Designs Touchdown collection. I also used up some random stickers!

 

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The name of Jesse’s team this year was the “Hard Naks” which in Hawaiian pidgin’ is an alternate spelling of “Hard Knocks”

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My son really loved his little mini and I was pleased that it: 1. Used upcycled materials 2. Used up stash and 3. Was made in about 20 minutes.

-xGia

 

A Mini Album using the Meadow Kit

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Aloha everyone…today I am sharing a teeny tiny mini mini album that I made officially killing my Clique Kits August Meadow kit. At least I do not think I can squeeze out anymore projects but you never know- I still might. LOL. I really don’t want to say goodbye to summer, do you?

For this project I used the little glassine bags that kit contents are sometimes packaged in as a base for the album. I stacked them on top of eachother alternating which end is the open end and then stitched straight down the middle at the fold. The bags were 2.5 x 4 inches I think so the final album measured 2 x 2.5 inches- so cute and teeny tiny!

The embellishments basically all came from the exclusive cut apart sheet included in the  Meadow kit (and might look familiar to you since it consists of my designs some of which I have shared on this blog) I love that these exclusive print and cut sheets are included in kits now and do not require you to download and print anything (I almost never have enough color ink to do them justice)

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I also used what remained of the die cut ephemera in the kit which included all of the title phrases I used on my album pages. By using this sheet and the matching ephemera it kept the mini album simple and cohesive. Here it is:

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In each of the pockets I was able to tuck in a small card with additional photos and journaling to complete my album. I tied it closed with a natural jute ribbon and tucked it inside a small canvas bag for safe keeping. The photos I used for this mini were all from the month of August and reflected nature in our environment. It’s good to slow down and notice things like wildflowers and little creatures living all around us.

-xGia

 

Getting Started in a Traveler’s Notebook: Gratitude

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Aloha! I am still working on “catch up” posts to share projects I did this year but did not get up here on the blog. It is all in the name of trying to bring blogging back into the routine of my daily life, where it has been pushed aside and left on the back burner for far too long! A gratitude journal is a great way to get started with the traveler’s notebook format, if you have not tried it yet.

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I created this gratitude journal for a workshop that I taught last November in The Clique. We used the Maggie Holmes Gather collection from American Crafts-Crate Paper. I made the mini book in the standard TN size, but I stitched pockets into my pages to give it a twist. There was an interactive component of this project-tags where I asked all of the kids to journal their own gratitude thoughts, and later tucked these into the pockets.

Sometimes the simplest projects are the most satisfying. My favorite supplies for traveler’s notebook albums are Instax film to print photos on using my Instax Share printer, 

I also love using stampswashi tape, and a simple black gel pen. These large copper colored clips make it easy to keep my pages spread open flat on my desk when working and photographing.

If you have not tried documenting memories and journaling in a traveler’s notebook format, you might really like it. To test the waters, try picking up a kit like the ones here available a la carte before committing to a subscription. It is very easy to find pre-made inserts with decorative covers and different types of pages such as plain white, off-white, dotted, graphing, black, and lined. This section of the Clique Kits shop has traveler’s notebook inserts in plain white style that are very pretty, and also some options for purchasing a cover album.I also love to make my own! I simply cut paper 8.5 x 9 inches and fold it along the middle so each side is 4.5 inches. Then I staple the seam with my Sparco long reach stapler, which I found on Amazon. Once the book is constructed, I trim the pages so that they are even.

Now it is ready to be filled with grateful thought, memories, bits and pieces, scraps I want to use up, and lots of room for creative expression! I guarantee that once you start, you will get hooked like I did!

-xGia

 

#Finish-it-February

On February 1st I was scrolling my newsfeed on Facebook and came across a post in the Scrap Gals Community Facebook Group on the tradition of using the month of February to finish several of the projects that you just never got around to completing! It made me think about some of the pitfalls for completing projects that often affect me.

  1. By the time I come across an unfinished project, I have no enthusiasm for the project anymore.
  2. Other events or pictures have eclipsed those memories in importance
  3. Sometimes I don’t like the products I was using at the time (even though I thought they were perfect at one time!)
  4. I’m just not into whatever style or media I was using when I started.
  5. I have new products calling me to use them right away.
  6.  I am afraid to “waste”  what little time I have to scrapbook on an old project when I have current stories and photos to document.

Do you relate to any of these pitfalls? I think that the idea of setting aside one whole month to go back to my unfinished projects would possibly help me to finish at least some of them, and in the process rid me of some of the guilt of “wasting” supplies, and my past time and energy. I may not be able to finish everything I want to finish (I have the 3 past years of unfinished December dailies and if I am honest I have been putting these off for- well- 3 years.) But I can do what I can for one short month, and let the chips fall where they may. Right?

I really love to travel, and when a photo album I had of a trip I took to India was destroyed (in the pre-digital photo days) I cried over the loss of those photos and memories. So for me, this month is going to start with finishing some travel journals that are really important to me. I am happy to announce that I did it! I finished the TN insert of my trip to Thailand last September! One down and…never mind how many to go.

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Here is the short list of Clique Kits products I used in this journal. I love that Clique Kits is now offering Limited Edition Traveler Notebook kits. I hope that at some point there will be enough demand for a full TN subscription kit.

  1. The Cosmo Cricket Art Deck. This is a booklet, the same size as a TN insert full of pretty sayings hand script with trendy designs as resist patterns on watercolor paper, along with some gold foiled designs.
  2. Assortment of Washi Tapes
  3. My goes-everywhere-with-me box of Prima watercolor paints and a waterbrush. (no link because they are sold out- but I imagine they are available other places!?)
  4. A bunch of skeleton clips like the ones visible in some of the photos. These are a must for using anything wet while on the go since you need a way to keep your pages open to dry.
  5. The travel stamp set by Meli Melo studio that Clique Kits sells, which is perfect for stamping in your TN!
  6. This lovely butterfly stamp.

A couple of things to note before I conclude this post.  This was my first attempt at working in the Traveler Notebook insert formula and there was a little bit of a learning curve for me. First, I am used to working with wet media on cold press watercolor paper or at least mixed media weight paper. I learned that the paper in the average TN insert is quite thin, and I figured out halfway through the project that it was better to paste two pages together than to try to use them singly when using anything wet on them. So yeah, the front half is full of wrinkled, flimsy pages and the second half is much more sturdy and lays flat.

I loved adding little bits of memorabilia to the album, like this 20 baht note (Thai currency). There is a story behind this particular note- and now I will never forget it!

I used this project as an opportunity to practice some brush stroke lettering, without pressure because my lettering was not perfect and I was totally okay with that! (unlike how I would feel if it were on a scrapbook layout) I am now enamored with traveler notebooks and whatever the trip or subject, I know they will be very personal to me and something that I love to look back through in the future. I also plan to work on an archiving system for them for when they are finished and end up on my shelf. There is much to talk about with Traveler Notebooks that I will save for future posts!

I would love to hear from you if you have any unfinished projects to work on during #Finish-it-February and what some of your pitfalls are to getting them done. Maybe we can help each other!

-xoGia

 

Clique into Summer: Hawaii Faves

 

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I used the Clique Kits Limited Edition Summer Kit to create a fun mini album which serves as a pictorial guide book to all of my favorite scenic and cultural sites on Oahu. We frequently have visitors who naturally want to take in all of the beauty and culture in Hawaii-so what better way to get my “extra” photos into an album I can keep on display for them to peruse! Most of these photos were taken during day trips, hikes, and other events but never made it onto a layout of that particular event or trip.

Here are some of the specs of this album! It is approximately 4 x 6 in dimensions, perfect for holding my 4 x 6 photos and designed to resemble a camera with a twist! This album features a zebra pattern cover. My cover also features a peek -a -boo wooden hand-marbled heart. Throughout the album I repeated the design of white gesso backgrounds, crab washi tape, and full page photos. Both of the cover items (zebra and marbled heart) are on clearance in the Clique Kits shop! The rest of this album was made very simply from the Clique Into Summer 2016 kit which features the Simple Stories collection You Are Here. It is perfect for my Hawaii Album! I hope you enjoy the flip through my mini album.

 

 

-xo Gia

Clique Kits August Pep Rally

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Well, it’s official. I no longer post on this blog unless it’s a Pep Rally day! How sad is that? Still, I am really grateful that this monthly event for my kit club Clique Kits happens, or I just might let this passion-scrapbooking- totally disappear from my life! I really hope I can carve out more time to create and blog- it is so much fun to be part of this online community of creative friends around the world.

This month we are sharing projects using the August kit: Rio. It was kind of fun to have a kit whose name was inspired by an ancient global sports competition that only happens every 4 years! Rio was one of my favorite kits this year. Details on winning prizes can be found on the Clique Kits blog post (see link below). If you are a blogger who enjoys doing blog hops and posting your creations online, I highly recommend you visit the Clique Kits website where you can read about the many benefits of subscribing.

August 2016 Line-Up

If you get lost or need info go back here—->Clique Kits
Gia Lau <—-You are here
Go here next—->Erica Thompson
*Kat Benjamin
*Marcia Dehn-Nix
Kim Allen
*Maryam Perez
*Caroli Schulz
*Melissa Vining
*Leeann Pearce
Sara Mishler 
Donna Espiritu
Leigh Ann Odynski

An Instax Mini Album

First let me say that I have had an Instax Mini 8 camera since Christmas. The thought of spending $1.00 per print (that is approximately how much the “film” costs) -I’m not gonna lie-made me really hesitant to snap a lot of the time! What if it didn’t come out as expected? What if I end up with lots of wasted time and money? The camera sat on the shelf except at birthday parties when my kids would take it out for their impromptu photo booths. At least they could have fun, because they didn’t think about the cost!

Then I decided to try the Instax Share printer, which I finally got for my birthday this August- which uses the same film to produce mini polaroids, but prints images directly from a source- such as my iphone! Yay! I love this so much better, and did not hesitate to print out an album full of pics, knowing in advance how the photos would turn out!

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Disclaimer**

If you cringe at the thought of a somewhat corny, lovey-d0vey  album featuring two “old people’s ridiculous selfies” –that is a direct quote from my teenagers– then you might want to skip to the next blog (Ahem. You have been warned.)

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Everything I used to fill the pages came from the August kit Rio , plus a couple of store item add ons (the Amy Tangerine rubber embellishments , the  blue acrylic heart on the cover, and one pineapple die cut from the Clique into Summer kit)

I just love a little chunky mini that fits in the palm of my hand and is FULL of memories. Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the rest of the hop!

-xoGia