Thursday, July 31, 2014

Project Life July 2

As I write this post, it's the last day of July; and here in NZ, we're 2 months into winter. Today it's 19.5 degrees C. It's very warm, the sun is shining and it smells like spring outside... you know, that freshly cut lawn smell. Yes, tomorrow, the weather may revert to winter, but I'm enjoying every bit of today.

Looking at my photos in this spread, you would be forgiven for thinking winter is all blue skies and sunshine here. In Auckland we have a relatively mild winter, but some of the blue sky days are chilly, or we can easily have 3 or 4 seasons in one day!

This spread is another marriage of my favourite 8.5 x 11 plus 12 x 12. I'm loving adding more journaling in this manner.

Thanks for stopping by.

Supplies used:
Becky Higgins 8.5x11 and Design A pages
Becky Higgins It's a Man's World filler card
One Little Bird digital elements
Paislee Press Month in Review card (altered)
Ali Edwards Digital elements

Friday, July 25, 2014

Project Life - July - Capturing winter magic in NP

During the July school holidays, I flew to New Plymouth with Anna to spend 3 nights with mum and dad and catch up with all the family.  The weather in the days prior to leaving was VERY windy and stormy. Although it had calmed down significantly by the time of our flight, it was the roughest take off I've ever experienced!  I have flown into Wellington on a very windy day though, so I know it can be a lot worse!

We had a lovely, relaxing few days and the weather stayed pretty kind to us, although the first full day was a bit wet. I wasn't going to let that deter me from getting out in the garden to find a bit of their winter magic. My parents are very keen gardeners and although they say there's not much to look at in winter, I beg to differ. At first I think they thought I was a little crazy, out in the drizzle with my DSLR, but dad was keen to see what I'd photographed and before I knew it, he was my sidekick, holding pots out and pointing me in the direction of his beloved plants. That was pretty special:)

I'm not sure he grasped fully that for me the magic lay in the rain drops nestling on the petals, the moss attached to a little wall, the rain drops sitting on the clothes line, as much as the beautiful flowers and foliage.

My nerdy attention to focusing on the little things paid off when I stood under the eaves quietly with my zoom lens and waited for the gorgeous little Waxeyes to start feeding off the special treat. I'm thrilled with my results from this little exercise.

And then one morning, the mountain (Mt Taranaki) was uncovered and I snapped this photo from the back door step, before the clouds formed again. I was brought up on a farm under this mountain. It holds a special place in my heart and for me this capture was pure magic.

I wrote about my reason for adding some 12x12 layouts again to my PL album here. I'm not done with 8.5x11. Just mixing it up. These pages make up part of my July pages.

Supplies used:
Becky Higgins pages - 12 x12 full page + Design A
Becky Higgins Project Life Midnight Edition Digital cards
Ali Edwards digital elements
Paislee Press digital elements (ampersand)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Regaining my creative mojo

I knew there would come a time when real life events sapped my creative energy. In the dark depths of winter, it happened. One of my solutions is to have something simple to focus on. This winter, enter my winter magic project.  It came about as a result of 2 things:
1. my OLW for this year ... moment. Part of living in the moment is to take time to really look at what's around you and to take notice of the little things.
2. Winter is my least favourite season and I wanted a way to appreciate it more. After all it takes up 1/4 of my life!

It's become part of my every day now to seek out the magic, or the beauty in my days. Some images I share on Instagram. I'm working on a design for a photo book as I slowly regain my creative mojo!
1 page for my 8x8 photo book

Somewhere along the way, I seemed to lose my project life mojo though. I surprise myself sometimes. For someone who claims to be pretty organised and loves continuity, this year I have wavered all over the place with this project. I love the look of my 8.5 x 11 pages but sometimes I miss the ease of landscape orientation 6x4 pockets. So, on a whim, I designed a few 12x12 pages again... I know. My album is a real mixture. And I'm perfectly fine with that. This will be the year of experimentation!

I've said before that for me, much of the joy in project life is designing the pages. I took some time to go back and look through last year's album. I love it but the last thing I want is another album with the same regular stuff. I noticed a repeat of the same things in the same weeks each year! So, while change was afoot, I decided to abandon weekly spreads. Just accepting that it was okay to do this made me feel energized again. It's enlightening to find creative ways to catch up as well as stay enthusiastic!

I'm just finishing a series of pages for July which I'll share soon. Thanks for stopping by:)

Donna xx

Friday, June 27, 2014

Project Life - Plant love pages

In lieu of last weeks regular page layout, I decided to make a plant layout instead. Just as I had the layout coming together, I received an email notifying that One Little Bird had just released a new set of digital elements. Perfect timing:) A couple of the elements were just what I needed to give a clean and simple, minimalist finish to my pages.
The right page is an 8x10 photo collage - just because it's cheaper to print that size than 8.5 x 11 in NZ

I love how this turned out. Main focus on the photos, enough story and a quote which perfectly sums up why I love plants and flowers. 

I also love breaking up regular weekly pages with photo heavy themed pages. I've been giving a lot of thought to how I complete Project Life. There are no rules. The only ones are set by me and I don't mind breaking them! Honestly, I started the year with the intention to do weekly double pages, using the same sort of format each week for continuity. Ha! I veered off track in the early weeks. I've come to realise that to stay interested, I need to adapt to what I feel like doing each week. 

So for now, that could mean some weekly, some themed pages, some monthly summaries... whatever. 

And I still love doing this project:) 

One Little Bird digital elements

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Looking at a real food diet

A few weeks ago I read an article which scared me a little. I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease nearly 17 years ago, after becoming extremely ill after the birth of my first child. It was a scary time and one that I've never talked about here. Basically, I was probably losing weight personally while I was pregnant and within 2 weeks of the birth, I weighed 40kg. I thought I was on the way out. I can't explain how that felt, being a new mum. My mother in law, and sometimes my mum, dropped their own lives to come and look after us. I will be forever grateful for that.

Anyway, after a million blood tests, they finally made a diagnosis of CD 2 months later! I was so pleased to have an answer. And so started the gluten free diet. Soon after I realised that I was suddenly intolerant of things like high fat dairy, but I'm okay on low fat yoghurt. Still can't figure out why I could eat something one day and then, suddenly it makes me vomit my insides out.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. The article I saw said there's a likelihood that a GF diet may not necessarily be enough for coeliacs. There's a chance that a lot of the food that's GF may still cause leaking of the gut. Um, eek! I try not to read to much about diets. The whole Paleo/real food thing makes sense but I always wonder, is it just the next fad?

This last weekend my mum, who it also turns out is a coeliac (and mis-diagnosed for many years until I was diagnosed), was admitted to hospital with severe pain. She has an ulcer and this is not the first one. I googled the subject and don't much like what I read. I think being a coeliac, being O blood group and taking after mum, I need to take notice of some of what I've read. But am I ready to commit to yet another life changing change of diet?

I've been perusing information about 'real food' diets, paleo, 'whole 30'. It all gets a little overwhelming but today after hearing about mum, I have a new determination to make myself even more healthy. I gave up most sugar late last year in a pact with my daughter. Just cutting out sugar and ice cream (yeah!), I dropped over 6 kgs that I didn't even realise I was carrying as extra! It's still surprising how much 'sugar' sneaks into the food I eat. It's so much more than sugar though. Grains, dairy, preservatives...

I follow Australian chef, Pete Evans, who has adopted a real food way of life. I love his philosophy. I've ordered his latest cookbook (as interestingly, it's sold out of several local bookshops) and looking forward to having a good read.

It's not something I intend to just leap into. I know my body type is not like others. I know I'm allergic to gluten. I can't get out of my head that my specialist who diagnosed this, said to me that this must be a lifelong diet or I could risk getting cancer if food irritated my system. Am I still eating irritating foods? It certainly can't harm me to trial eliminating things and see. But can I stick to it? We'll see.

I'd love to hear from anyone else clean eating.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Project Life - Week 24

I didn't make any pages for week 23. Why? A variety of reasons... busy, not many photos, not anything to set it apart from a regular week. For a few days I almost threw in the weekly idea, but I find myself struggling to know how to pull a group of events together without using a weekly, or maybe monthly format. Themed pages are easy.

I decided to do another catch up on journaling - a 'right now/currently/lately' page. I find them interesting to look back on more than just random journaling. Sorry I've had to blur out some of it. There's a lot going on that I just can't risk out there on the web!

Doing the 9 pocket pages is a little more work but I've settled on a system. I size my photos 2.5 x 3.5 inches and place them on a 6 x 4 for printing. It's just a matter of trimming them to size.
The Enjoy Life is from Studio Calico's free basic digital class. I recoloured it white and added to a Sunshine kit card which balanced out the bold colour of the photo I wanted for the right page.

So, essentially another simple look. I actually stripped a few elements off it to simplify it to the look I prefer.

Supplies used:
Becky Higgins Project Life Midnight and Sunshine editions
Paislee Press digital elements
Ali Edwards digital (was a freebie from Hello Story class)
Studio Calico free digital element (as described above)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

My quest to capture the magic of winter - 1

It's a hard gig to capture the moment sometimes. Like today. I had my camera in one hand, delicately poised to try and photograph the waves hitting the walkway. The other hand was holding the dog lead because one woosie dog was scared of the waves and trying to run away. Argh, a moment lost.

You see, today I woke up with an urgency to go out and take photos. I could see the light peeping through a partly cloudy sky over the sea while I was driving and I was anxious I would miss it. Turns out the light was nice, but not great as it sometimes is. Still pretty awesome for winter though!

Backing up to early this morning, two things happened. I saw that this online camera course was open for purchasing again, and then as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across something that had me clicking through to their blog for a full read. This struck a chord with me:

“It’s not always about those big ol’ grandiose trips or constantly living by the seat of my pants. There are so many places around my own home that I want to explore. Some of the people I admire most are the ones that find adventure right outside their door. It’s something that I’ve been trying to learn – a life that is fulfilling is all about having simplicity and finding beauty in those things.” CHRIS BURKARD

That just links in beautifully with my OLW thoughts and words - moment (this year) and simplicity (last year). 
I've been researching living in the moment and one of the things listed is to really take notice of the little things around you. That's one of the reasons I decided to set my winter magic photography project.
On days like today, a photo taken could easily look like any season. The sun is bright and warm - sharp contrast to the nasty storm we had on Tuesday. So, my challenge continues. Hope you enjoy a few faves from this morning's walk.