Summertime Hybrid Layouts

SZayas_JuneDigitalKit_FullLayout_Project1.jpg

Hi Friends!

Today I’m back to share a couple of layouts I put together using the June digital releases from Ali Edwards.  I absolutely loved working with this month’s kit, which was filled with fun summertime details as well as some Father’s Day elements.

SZayas_JuneDigitalKit_Detail_Project1.jpgFirst up is the layout I put together for Father’s Day.  When I first saw the card that said “So Thankful For You Dad.  Super Love You” I knew I had to do something special.  While I wanted to have a layout for myself, I also wanted to find a way to turn this into a card that I could give to my Dad.  In order to do that I took the “Dad Stories” 3″ x 8″ card and adhered a photo to the back to make it into a bookmark.  It was the perfect alternative to a card and I love that its handmade and extra special.  I love that my dad and I will both have a copy of the journaling and this great photo.

SZayas_JuneDigitalKit_FullLayoutProj.jpgNext up is a layout I put together using a lot of the summer-themed elements from the kit.  The colors worked perfectly with the photos from this celebratory weekend in May so I really didn’t have to do anything other than print everything out.  Love when that happens!SZayas_JuneDigitalKit_Detail_Proj2.jpg

I’m looking forward to making many more summer-themed layouts in the next couple of months!

Thoughts on Story Camp 2017

2017-06-08 09.11.13 1.jpg

Last weekend I had the incredible opportunity to attend the 2017 Ali Edwards Story Camp in Eugene, OR.  If you had told me even six months ago that I was going to have an opportunity to meet Ali, who has so heavily influenced the way I think about memory keeping, and in turn just thinking about everyday life, I probably would have brushed it off in disbelief.   So, as uber cliche as this is to say, going to this event was honestly a bit of a dream come true for me.StoryCamp1.jpg

Story Camp started on Friday (June 2) evening with a writing workshop.  Writing has always been my biggest challenge when it comes to memory keeping, so I was excited to dive into this portion.  Some prompts proved to be more challenging than others, but I was happy to stick with it.  The whole session felt therapeutic being surrounded by so many supportive friends who understand why this is important.

StoryCamp3.jpgSaturday was a very full day.  After breakfast and a quick walk to grab a chai latte, the day began. We finished up the writing portion of the workshop and then headed into the 4 projects Ali had planned for us.  It was so fun stretching myself with each project.  Each project got me out of my comfort zone in some way, and for that I’m grateful.2017-06-08 09.11.18 1.jpg

(Photo above by Laura Wosnik)

I’m so used to scrapping on my own, so to have the opportunity to walk around and see what others were working on, and to see their excitement about the projects, was so much fun.

In the evening I had dinner with 4 fellow creative team members, Brandi Kinkad, Jess Forster, Laura Wonsik, and Pam Baldwin.  It was seriously the best.  Each of them has inspired me so much, and to have the chance to talk to them (in real life!) was incredible.  Jess also recorded a bit of our conversation to go on her podcast (coming soon!), so you might want to check that out if you’re interested in hearing multiple perspectives on what people got out of the workshop.

StoryCamp4.jpgIf I were to plan my trip all over again I would have given myself 2 extra days- one to explore Portland and another to explore Eugene, but, in the few minutes that I did get to walk around, I tried to make the most of it.  I was super charmed by lovely Eugene.

The whole experience was pretty emotional for me, which definitely came out in a good cry on Sunday morning when I met up with Ali, Katie, and the other creative team member attendees for donuts and conversation . . . and inevitably, to say goodbye.

2017-06-08 09.11.12 1.jpgSo, here I am, one week later, still trying to process everything and how much it meant to me.  I will forever be grateful to Ali and Katie for their generosity, and to each and every person that attended who I got to know and hear their stories.StoryCamp6.jpgIMG_5826.jpg

Spring Reading Recap

Spring Reading Recap.jpg

Hi friends,

I’m back today with another reading recap!  I enjoyed some really good books in April and May, so today I thought I’d share.

First Comes Love by Emily Griffin: I’m a big fan of Emily Griffin novels.  She seems to find a really good balance between lightheartedness and emotional.  This story follows two very different sisters, their relationship with each other, the life struggles they are going through, and how they are dealing with a tragic family accident that happened many years before.  The way I’m describing it probably makes it sound more sad than it is.  There’s a nice balance between emotional and funny, lighthearted moments.

Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes:  This book would be perfect to take on a trip!  The first half of the book (about 150 pages) is a short story about a young woman who gets stood up by her boyfriend in Paris, but breaks out of her shell and makes the most of her trip!  The last half of the book is made up of several more short stories.  Typically, I’m not into short stories.   I usually feel like just as soon as I start to get into it, it’s over, but this book was pretty enjoyable.

The Widow by Fiona Barton: After a couple of lighthearted books, I went for something darker.  In a nutshell, the story is about a woman whose husband is accused of kidnapping and murdering a little girl.  The story is seen from multiple perspectives: The widow, the detective who follows the case, a reporter, the mom of the kidnapped girl.  The subject matter made me cringe, but I found myself reading on to find out how it all would end.

Startup: A Novel by Doree Shafir:  This was my Book of the Month pick for April.  At first, I found this book really hard to get into.  I started it before I read ‘Paris for One’ and ‘The Widow’ but only got through about 20 pages before putting it down for awhile.  I’m so happy I decided to give this one another try.  In the first few pages the tech lingo really frustrated me, but once I got through those first couple of chapters I found myself hooked on each character’s story and how they are all woven together.

The One and Only by Emily Griffin:  As much as I love Emily Griffin novels, this one was sadly not a big hit for me.  Listened to this one as an audiobook as I was painting our downstairs bathroom and driving to and from work.  I’ll admit that it kept me entertained in that regard, but I don’t know if I would have been able to just sit and read it from cover to cover.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware: I’m currently on the wait list for “The Woman in Cabin 10” so while I was waiting (I’m still waiting . . .) for that one to come in I decided to listen (its another audiobook) to In a Dark, Dark Wood.  This book is great on many levels.  It’s laugh out loud funny at times, each character is interesting in their own right, and its all set in a who done it type of plot.  So good.

Currently I have ‘Into the Water,’ ‘And We’re Off,’ and ‘Since We Fell’ on my bookshelf.  What are you reading?

Hybrid Pocket Page Layout

SZayas_MayKit+Pets_Detail_Project1.jpg

I know I’ve said this so many times before, but as much as I love working with traditional paper products on layouts, there’s just something so clean and simple about going digital/hybrid.  The biggest perk (for me) is the ability to resize and customize colors.

SZayas_MayKit+Pets_Detail2_Project1.jpgFor this layout I used Ali Edwards’ May Digital Kit and the ‘Pets’ digital brush set that also released this month.  The colors in the kit were so bright and fun, but not everything coordinated with the colors in my photos.  That’s where a bit of customization came in handy.

SZayas_MayKit+Pets_FullLayout_Project1.jpg

I changed the color of the quote card (top right) to better match the ice cream cup in the photo below it, and also changed the colors of the “Love Us” and “Special Moment” embellishments to better math the colors on the page.  It’s amazing how the smallest changes can make a world of difference in the look and feel of a page!

Lens Story Kit Layout

SZayas_Lens_FullLayout.jpg

I’m pretty sure I say this with just about every new Ali Edwards Story Kit release, but the new Lens Story Kit  has to be my favorites!  All of the icons and colors have me like, WOAH!  This kit is not only beautiful, but the ‘Lens’ theme is so versatile.  I can definitely see myself writing down some meaningful stories using this kit.SZayas_Lens_Detail1.jpg

This 2-page 6″ x 8″ layout was put together using mainly the digital kit.  In fact, the only piece that isn’t from the digital kit is the top right circle where I used my traditional stamps to stamp out ‘Lens’ in blue ink and ‘See the Good’ and ‘Today’s View’ in grey ink.

All of these photos are from my documentation of Week in the Life, which I captured last week, and I’m thinking I might actually use these as title pages when I start to put my album together.  I like the idea of having a page that provides an overview for the week before jumping into each day.  Plus, now I actually feel a bit ahead of the game having a page in my album done! It’s a win, win!

Elle’s Studio Guest Designer Project

SZayas_Elle'sStudio_Photo1.jpgI’m so excited and humbled that I was asked to be a guest designer for Elle’s Studio this month.  I’ve been a fan of Elle’s kits for so long!  Having the opportunity to play around with the April and Live Laugh Love kits and to share some projects this month was so much fun!  If you’re interested to read more about this project head on over to Elle’s blog.  More projects to come later this month!!

Pocket Prompts Class at Big Picture Classes!

BPC.pngTo say that I’m excited to share today’s news is a huge understatement, friends.  I’m in a bit of a “pinch me” state at the moment.  Next Monday, April 17, my very first class will be launching over at Big Picture Classes!! Hooray!!

Putting this class together has been a journey, and one that I am so grateful for.  Over the last 4 months I’ve been brainstorming, sketching, playing with paper, and reflecting on my process so that I could share some of my very favorite photo and journaling prompts and also do a complete walkthrough of how and why I do what I do in my pocket pages.

As I was working on this class I wanted to make sure that I was reaching both the crafters that have never done pocket page scrapbooking as well as those who have been doing it for a long time and are maybe looking for a fresh perspective to add life to their pages.

I hope that if you love pocket page scrapbooking or if you’re curious to try it out for the first time that you’ll consider this class!  You can sign up for a free two week trial over at Big Picture Classes today!

ALSO, later this week I’ll be doing a giveaway over on my Instagram for two people to win a free one month subscription!

All of the workshop details can be found here.

Hope to see you there!!

January-March Books Roundup

Books.jpgHappy Saturday, friends! It’s been quite awhile since I’ve chatted about books here on the blog, so I thought today would be a good day to recap what I’ve been reading over last few months!  These posts are always a bit out of the norm for me as most of my ramblings here center around all things crafty, but since I always LOVE reading about what everyone else is reading, I thought I’d share what I’ve been reading too!

In January I decided to subscribe to the Book of the Month club (BOTM). I had been debating a subscription for so long, trying to figure out if I could justify the purchase, but in the end I decided to just give it a try.  I’m so happy I did.  One of the biggest selling points for me was that the company allows you to skip months, so if you don’t see a book you like you won’t get charged for that month.   I’m not an affiliate, just a fan ;).

Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman: I picked this book up on a whim one afternoon while shopping at Target, and  I’m so happy I did!  I sailed through the pages in about a week.  It’s on the longer side for a novel, but it’s a really easy read.  I loved how this book spanned three generations.  In a brief summary, a 30-year-old woman travels across the world to discover a part of her grandmother’s life that no one really knew about.  You read about her courageous and loving grandmother who had some crazy obstacles to overcome at a very young age, and also get to see how her granddaughter is transformed as she is seeking the truth about her grandmother’s history. It’s a really beautiful story.  (4.5 stars)

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn: I was happily surprised when I saw that this short story was going to be shipped for free with my first Book of the Month club box.  I’m not one to purchase short stories and don’t really seek them out at the library either so it was fun changing things up with a book that could be finished in one sitting.  The plot gripped me enough to finish it, but I don’t know if it would have held my attention if it were a full novel . . .  (2.5 stars)

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough:  This was my BOTM club pick for January.  It was a little eerie, very twisted, and there was no way I could have predicted the ending.  Still, I can’t tell if I loved it or hated it . . . it was just that strange.  I’ll base my review on the fact that the story has stayed with me for the last month (I’m still thinking about the crazy ending!).  I’d totally recommend it just so you can judge for yourself! (4 stars)

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero: This book is like one big pep talk from a no-nonsense caring friend. I didn’t find any of the advice in here to be earth shattering or something that I haven’t read in other motivational books, but I did find it to be uplifting, concise, and to be a good reminder to believe in myself and take action! (3.5 stars)

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel: This was my BOTM club pick for February.  I can’t remember the last non-fiction book (other than motivational books) I’ve read, so this was a really nice change of pace.  The true story follows a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for nearly 30 years by choice.  I found myself closing the book a lot and just thinking about the different circumstances he was in, wondering how someone could choose to live in negative 20 degree temperatures winter after winter to avoid human interaction when comfort was literally just a short walk away.  It got me thinking about how we all come from different walks of life and how we’re all just trying to figure out what works best for us.  (3.5 stars)

Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge:  This book was recommended to me by my mom, so of course I was excited to jump into it!  I started this book on a weekend trip to Vegas and finished it shortly after we returned.  Parts of it reminded me so much of What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, but I think I liked What Alice Forgot a bit more.  Overall, it was a quick and easy read and I liked the emotional ups and downs and how each character’s flaws were explored. (3.5 stars)

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg: Confession: I only got about a third of the way through this before I had to return it to the library, but what I ready was completely fascinating!  If you’re interested in how habits are formed, this book is totally for you! (4 stars based on what I read :)

Currently on my nightstand: First Comes Love by Emily Griffin

What are you reading?  Any recommendations?