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{Project 365: week 12}


week 12

Week 12, side 2

The scrapbooking community in general and with this project specifically there’s no such thing as “copying” or “stealing” ideas. The term is “scraplifting” and anyone’s allowed to do it … in fact, it’s encouraged. The only thing is that isn’t cool is not giving credit where it’s due – the sharing of ideas is widespread and some of the most simple things are inspiring. I saw a Netflix envelope in Amy’s book and commented on it, she said she saw it on Ali Edwards’ site … and now, it’s in mine. A little scrap of life. That envelope was for a Mater movie which Sam deemed “too scary” in the first few minutes. Now we have Weeds, Season 6, disk 2. FYI Smile

Some of your questions have been about process and what’s making this year work compared to the year of Project 180 sticky notes. I’ll get to those soon … for now I’ll say what’s working for me is a combination of routine and flexibility. I suppose that sounds contradictory but for me it’s been just right. That, by the way, has also become the key to my parenting and homemaking. Speaking of which … duty calls.

{Project 365: week 11}


Week 11 (2)

Week 11

Week 11, side 2

Almost caught up! Although, really this project is like laundry – there’s no such thing as catching up. It’s more like a constant work-in-progress. Truly, that’s part of the joy for me.

More of you are reading this than I realized … thank you for your comments and emails. It’s so fun to be in this together!

I’ve been planning to get another kit when I can scrap the cash together and was pretty sure I was getting the turquoise edition … until I saw my friend Karen’s amber one. Now … a dilemma (one I’m happy to ponder).

But first, I have to figure out how I’m going to somehow sum up a powerful 186-word book in 200 words.

Also – to those who care about my little journey through clutter rehab … things are a changin’ in the best of ways! I am almost down to my “box of shame” (which I should probably rename)* and my piles and folders full of notes of random writing things, story ideas, scenes, character notes, overheard bits of conversation … I’m not quite sure how I’m going to handle that yet. I did realize that one of the reasons I haven’t finished my book is I know I have bits and pieces of it in journals, on notes and in these piles … being this close to sorting through it all means I can overcome that recently discovered roadblock.

*Box of shame (new name ideas, anyone?) includes graduation announcements yet to respond to (circa 2007 and on), Christmas card that got returned to re-send, thank you notes for things long-forgotten, pictures I made copies for people and didn’t send but now forgot who it was for … as well as some more important, uh, financial details.

{Project Life–week 10}


Week 10

Week 10, side 2

I’m having fun with sepia and black and white pictures mixed into the book. I also tucked in a note to our babysitter because it’ll make me smile some day to remember the (very specific) instructions for putting our boys to bed.

Jake – one zebra, one bottle, froggie – turn on heater

Sam – 4 cars books, 2 giraffes, puppy, cold water with ice – turn on fan

Some of you wanted to see the journaling better – I think if you double click on the pictures you can get a closer view … if that doesn’t work let me know and I can post them but I don’t think most people care  as much about the day-to-day besides me and my mom.

{Project Life–week 9}


Week 9

Week 9, insert

Week 9, side 2

I’m on deadline for three things due on the same day so expect to see a few posts as I procrastinate.

Week 9 … my 35th birthday and a snow day … working on combining my everyday pictures and basic notes on life as we live it makes we want to actually start scrapbooking again, I think I’ve mentioned that. I get ideas like the huge, pink blanket Matt’s grandma made – Sam calls it the “sprinkle” blanket – was in another picture with Matt when he took a road trip around the country in what I thought was the world’s ugliest van … until I saw the one in our driveway … anyway, I thought that would be a cool page to show the evolution along Matt’s journey … maybe even find a picture of his Grandma Bernie to include. Those are the stories, huh?

And, of course, I adore this little snowman. It came home on a huge piece of paper so I cut it to size and since I love seeing Sam’s name written on his art I cut that out and stapled it to the top.

I totally get that 90% of you sweet readers do not care in the least about technique and details behind the scrapbooking part of me … but for the 10% who do … and for my own process, here they are anyway! For the rest of you, I’m nearly “caught up” and you’ll get a break from this Project Life stuff soon.

{Project 365: week 8}


Week 8

Week 8, side 2

I’m trying to get a mix of real life happening in this album so I decided to include the picture of sad Sam and Jake melting down because, well, mama said there’d be days like this!  There are a few pictures I love in week 8: the one of Jake “in the lead” during Team Hardy’s table racing time. (an hourly event around here!) I also love the picture of Sam and Ella hugging and the picture of Sam’s muddy boots and “outside cars” soaking before they’re allowed back in. Just little details that mean a lot these days but won’t when table racing is replaced by a less legal kind and the muddy boots are no longer a single-digit size.

This week is full of “inserts” which is one of my favorite things about this project. You can do this part, or not, but it’s a perfect place to tuck birthday cards, holiday art work from school,and random ephemera.

Week 8, insert

I stitched all of the boys’ valentine cards into a sheet … it took me awhile to figure out how and it’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen but it makes me smile every single time I see it. I was really proud of it until Sam decided he wanted to look at his valentines again. Out of the pocket. He didn’t understand they were sewn in for good, nor did he appreciate my handiwork.

Week 8, insert 2

Week 8, insert (2)

A special pocket for the valentine’s from Sam’s Nana and Papa – a plain sheet protector cut to size and stitched closed.

week 8 insert

I adore preschool art!

{Project 365: week 7}


Week 7Week 7, side 2

It’s taken me awhile to tweak my way through the first few months of the year to see what works (and what doesn’t) for me. I was loving the trial version of Photoshop but alas, dumping my coffee all over my computer meant I didn’t get the sweet birthday gift of Photoshop as planned. (I do however love my new computer). Which meant I had to dig up some free ways to get multiple pictures on a 4x6 page – and I found it on the community message board for Project Life – it’s called Photosheet and is pretty cool way to get your own collages, wallet size pictures, etc. And, it’s free!

I think I’m going to get sick of my handwriting by the end of this year, but again, it’s free.

Nathalie's Notes: added later - an unexpected personal benefit of Project Life for me is that it makes me actually want to start scrapbooking again and brings up stories and memories I'd long forgotten. A note I made from this week is to scrapbook the story of how I got my nickname 'Lois' and what it means to me. It's a story I never shared with my friend Bob and, of course, now regret.

{Project 365: week 6}


Week 6

Week 6, side 2

Have I mentioned how much I love this Project Life thing?!? If I could force my will upon the world (we all know how well that works) I would encourage every one I meet to do two things: a personal version of Project Life and write in a journal. I know, I know. I just think the benefits would be more remarkable than most could guess.

Project Life is a constant reminder to me of all that I have to be thankful for … even on the days when Sam takes it upon himself to scoop the dog poop with his pliers into his wooden tool box (week 6, Tuesday). I happen to be one of those who believe we create what we focus on … so the more I focus on my blessings and the extraordinary in the ordinary, the better. To have proof of a a life well lived? Golden.

It is so not hard.

I used the extra pocket this week for a picture of our friend Bob, who died that Sunday. It was taken the last time we saw him. The day he fed my baby cake.

It figures that my last memory of Bob is of his blue eyes twinkling and him grinning at me while I waited for Jake to go into anaphylactic shock. He didn’t. And now, I can always tell Jake that Bob introduced him to the sweeter things in life.

Fun fact: Bob and Jake share a middle name – Henry. I didn’t know that until I read the leaflet (what is that called?!) at his celebration of life …

{What’s working–simplicity}



Two fun facts about me:

1) I’m the kind of person who can make simple complicated. But, I’m happy to share that a shift in how I spend my energy and money has lead to my working out a system for truly simple dinners that taste good, are generally healthy and not even a little bit gourmet, but work fine for weeknight “get ‘em fed” meals. Details below.

2) For the last couple years I’ve spent an inordinate time loathing dinner and everything about it from meal planning to grocery shopping to the actual making of meals while one, or two, hungry/cranky/daddy-craving kids clung to various parts of my body. By the time I finally got dinner on the table if someone so much as suggested they didn’t like something I had to resist the urge to dump the plate on their head, whether they were 3 or 38. This is a stress (and rage) I know I share with some of my friends and readers … so, here is my solution:

Grain + Protein + Vegetable + Sauce = Dinner.

Favorite grains: quinoa, brown rice (freeze batches add water and defrost), tortillas

Favorite proteins: eggs, canned tuna or salmon, chicken breasts, beans, cheese

Favorite veggies: whatever deal I can get on fresh or frozen

Favorite sauce: When my computer broke, I had to use my trust old cookbooks and learned to make a white sauce … really, it was new information to me and has changed how I make dinner. Sam hates tomatoes. Every time he tries a bite, he still hates it. So learning to make and dress up white sauce has been huge for us. I add artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, sautéed onions, lemon juice … whatever. It’s been good every time. If anyone wants details or specifics, email me … when in a real hurry, melt butter, add lemon sauce and chopped up herbs, fresh if you can.

Another thing I’ve been doing is saving myself steps and cents, even little ones, where I can … hence, the homemade taco seasoning packets.

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 onion powder

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1/4 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp paprika

1 1/2 tsp cumin

tsp salt

tsp pepper

repeat into as many snack-size baggies as you’d like and stash in your pantry.

I still wish dinner wasn’t every day … but I’m adjusting.

{Project 365: Week 5}


IMG_5458Week 5, side 2 

I’m nearly current on this year’s Project Life! It’s so fun to see this coming together. I love how this shows life as it evolves (or doesn’t). In this photo from week 5 of this year is my office just after I’d moved everything (again!!) from downstairs where we first set it up. I thought that was going to be the space.

And then things evolved a little more. Now, week what, 12?, I’m once again setting up shop in what I expect to be my writing studio for awhile. It’s even better than the first two … after I get it dialed in, of course.

Speaking of which … I’m nearly finished with my story board for Breaking Branches. Between that and the Scrivener writing program … I’m making steady process toward my goal of finishing my first book.

Have I mentioned that? At the last Northwest Author Series a woman mentioned her goal was to finish her book. That’s it. Just finish.

Huh. Why hadn’t I thought of that?

Here I was with the whole “what genre is it? Could I still publish as YA if I keep these scenes? I need an agent. Now. When could I get it published …”

Or, I could simply start with this:

finishing it.

So there.

Meanwhile I’m listening to the Rolling Stones’ “Mother’s Little Helper” on repeat as I work on my review of “A Strange Stirring” by Stephanie Coontz. I’m calling this one a must-read, FYI. It’s a biography of a book, how cool is that?! (Ignore that beeping, it’s just the nerd alert).

ps links to come, I just looked at the clock and have to go pick up my boys. Thank you Katie White for the best kind of Mother’s Little Helper!!!