{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 …

{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!!!

Project Life: keep it real



Since the start of the year I’ve been enjoying popping over to the Big Picture Classes message boards and checking out all the ideas on the Project Life board. I am normally not a “chatroom” person but something about this community is inspiring to me.

Welcome new readers who’ve checked in from BPC, I’ll be posting regular Project 365 updates, ideas and links I love. I hope you’ll visit again.

A reminder: unless you’re like no one I’ve ever met, odds are you don’t smile every minute of every day, and neither do your kids. Keep it real …

This week’s idea is to bring your online life into your album by printing out weekly (or monthly) lists of your Status updates, Tweets and what you’ve Googled. Those tell their own stories, don’t they?

p.s. It’s not too late to join us!


Friday Favorites & This week on Google

Favorite snack: apple slices and almond butter

{a funny thing is happening, things I used to dislike for not being “sweet enough” I’m now acquiring a taste for. Almond butter compared to “normal” sugary peanut butter was like grainy cardboard to me until I cut back on sugar. We had a surplus of apple slices that didn’t fit onto the drying trays and were out of peanut butter … and bread – so I made almond apple sandwiches. Sam, Jake and I had seconds, thirds … and bought  more apple butter today}.

Favorite scrapbooking tool: my stapler + colored staples

{born of laziness, perhaps but now I love it. Example below. }


Favorite kitchen tool: my Pampered Chef chopper

{A friend of mine has the Pampered Chef hookup, so let me know if you’d like one, too}

Favorite kid: just kidding whichever one slept through the night

Website of the week: http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/

{Don’t miss out on this if your baby isn’t new or if you aren’t down with homemade bay food, there are awesome snack idea and easy meal ideas on here.}

This week on Google:

How to get poop out of carpet

Can you compost eggshells?

Easy salmon recipes

Can you compost apples?

Can you compost What to compost

National Room of One’s Own Day


April Henry

Oregon Beach vacations

United States of Americana

Kurt B. Reighley

*It occurs to me that this is a lot like posting a picture of me gazing at my navel. But I even like reading random grocery lists people dropped at Winco so I’m weird like that.

**For Project Lifers, this could make a cool journaling idea.



Ringing in the New Year

Goodbye 2010 .. for the first time in as long as I can remember I don’t have a long list of things to improve about myself and my life because I finally get that isn’t how it works. I’ve learned so much this year about what does, and doesn’t, work for me that I’m going into this new year with excitement, joy and a sense of calm I barely recognize. I wish you that as well: calm no matter the chaos and a slow, steady journey in the direction of your dreams.

Fun fact about me: New Years is my most favorite holiday. Not because of how we celebrate outwardly but because of what happens in my head and heart. For as long as I’ve had journals, back when I called them “diaries” and they had locks I pretended could protect my privacy, I’ve spent some time reflecting on the past year and making resolutions for the year to come. These days I have a little less time for quiet reflection but am learning how to make room for myself in my own life. If you’ve never done it, it’s hard to imagine how you can lose yourself but I think it happens all the time. There is joy in the re-discovering. And hope.

It’d become tradition for me to flip through old journals and read over my old lists of resolutions. Guess what? They’re the same. Every. Single.Year.

I have a written record of an other-wise intelligent human being doing the exact same thing every year and eagerly anticipating different results.

So not this year, friends. The start of this year finds me exploring some different ways to tweak things to make my life work better for me. One of the things is super simple: finding awe in the ordinary moments that actually make up our lives. I’m doing this by starting my Project 365 book and committing to sticking to it all year long. Even if it’s 365 post-its. More about this project later.

The Wellness Journey class, excuse the pun, isn’t going quite as well. I’m still stoked about it but I’ve got some kind of road block about starting the fitness part of the class which is the first step. Actually, it’s the second step. I seem to also have issues with the first step which is this: get rid of your scale.

But how will I know my worth in the morning? Just kidding. Kind of. I get why one might suggest getting rid of it. But I’m so used to using that very tool as a measure of my progress, or lack there of. I am, sorry to say, rather attached to that stupid scale. Which I didn’t realize until this week. How dumb is that?! Also, I’m attached to negative self-talk. Insert smiley face here.

So that’s that. I signed up for it and trust the instructor’s experience so I will get rid of the damn thing. Just not today.

I love all the Top 10 round ups at the end of the year and am working on one of my own to share soon. In the meantime, here are a couple sites I’ve enjoyed and think you might, too.




Project 365 …



Bed-head award goes to Sam this morning! So I know I have er … a few days of catching up on my December Daily project but I’m already getting excited about starting Project 365. Some of you have asked a few questions about it and I’d like to answer a couple of them now.

For so many of us “scrapbooking” means piles of product we feel guilty for not using. And, lots of photos in boxes we feel badly about not having done anything with. I think the best antidote for this is to start where you are right now. Stop feeling like you have to do anything with the past and focus, instead, on today.

An awesome way to do this is starting a project like Becky Higgins’ because it is structured in a way that allows you to work it into the life you have now. The one without the leisurely chunks of time to spend in your spacious, super-organized suite. The one where you probably really can take a few minutes off of Facebook, or during the commercials of “Private Practice” or while your kids work on their own crafty projects and use that time to pop a picture in a protector and jot a few lines on a cute piece of paper, tuck it in by the picture. Done. Repeat the next day.

I’ve said before, my first go at this project I renamed to “Project 365” sticky notes. The end result I fondly call “Project 182 days.” Incomplete? Yes. Failure? Nope. It is my favorite scrapbook ever. There are little parts of our life I’d have forgotten by now if I hadn’t noted them as they were happening. I love this idea so much and think many of you will, too.

On Becky’s blog there’s a video a woman shared about how she used the project so you can see a completed version. If  you want to do this, do it.

There’s still time to order a kit and we’ll support each other through the year.

For anyone thinking it might be kinda fun to do a December Daily next year, I suggest this: grab a page protector and tuck in some advertisements from this season, the sleeve of your Starbucks drink, a few favorite Christmas cards, whatever inspires you to keep for a possible project. Put the whole thing in the box where you store your decorations. I did that last year and have enjoyed  using those things for this year's book.