April 20, 2017

April Lilli Design Team: Some good advice.

Last time I told you that I was choosing only those photos that tell a story. Turns out, this month I also seem to have chosen some pictures with a high cuteness factor. I started this layout by adding some white gesso to my background paper called TRANCE. Then I used the packaging technique to add color. I used my new watercolor set for the very first time here. Then I added some more texture to the background using the washi stickers. And I also backed my photo with a scrap of patterned paper and green cardstock. Unconsciously, I started to place the embellishments sorted by colors. And I really liked how that turned out.

But what do you do when you don't really have a story to tell? I went through the ephemera pack and found some affirmations that I liked and that I wanted my son to read one day. So I took them all out and placed them on the layout. Again sorting them by color and placing them near their corresponding background. That looked ok but did not yet convince.

It was still a very random layout with little meaning to it. And I also hadn't used the puffy alphabet stickers, again! With this in mind, I decided to form full sentences, grabbing my stash of alphabet stickers and transforming the random affirmations into personal I-messages. I went for a visually pleasing effect which makes the message a little harder to read: "I love when you are dreaming with eyes wide open, I hope you will reach for the sky, take one step at a time, never forget to live for the moment." I just thought that I could add an "&" right above the "never" - it might help find the start for the last part of my motherly advice better and also make the whole sentence more fluent. I really love how the layout turned out.

After I finished, I felt that I needed some kind of border at the bottom. So I went into my small colored cardstock stash and looked for the most dominant colors in the layout and staggered smaller strips to form a line. I then added the rubber chip house and stamped two dates: when the photo was taken and when I created the layout.

The dream on collection by pinkfresh studio is 20% off for the whole month of April 2017 in the April Lilli shop!

April 19, 2017

Cocoa Daisy: April Planner Setup.

I was on the Cocoa Daisy Blog last week, sharing my April Planner Setup. Here it is:

In April I switched from a standard size TN (= traveler's notebook) to a personal size. I have four inserts in my TN: a folder, the April DaisyDori, a monthly insert and a bullet journal insert.

When I made the folder I filmed the process. If you want you want to follow along, this is what you need: cardstock and/or patterned paper and a page protector. I sewed along the edges but you can easily swap the sewing out for washi tape. You can find the video on my youtube channel here: Making a folder with pouch and clear pockets.

I even repurposed the packaging from the Planner Addon kit. My initial idea was to have a place for my dashboard and the Cocoa Daisy Planner stickers. However, the stickers had about 1 cm overhang, so I put them in the pocket in the front of my TN.

Then I decorated the cover of my April DaisyDori with a Cocoa Daisy dashboard, some exclusive paper, the April sticker from the sticker sheet and this beautiful puffy butterfly sticker. Yes, I know: there is a huge contrast between my colorful, mixed media-rish dashboard in the front and this very clean and simple cover. That is exactly the way I like it! This photo is a bit older that is why the DaisyDori is sandwiched in the folder. I have since moved the DaisyDori to its own elastic because it was moving a lot when I wrote in it. That bugged me. A lot.

Before I'll move on to roughly show you what I use the other two inserts for, I want to give you a closer look at my DaisyDori setup. I am using the monthly calendar to record my step count in April and if this works out, I might continue to do so in the following months.

Then on the first two pages I have -and always had ever since I started using the DaisyDori- my meal plan for the whole month on one side and on the other my monthly goals. This month I chose three because it is Baseball season and two of my sons play. So I am very busy and don't want to overwhelm myself with too many goals. I have learned this the hard way and put myself up to failure last spring.

One of my goals is getting back into a cleaning routine. I have had times when I cleaned the whole house in one day and it worked well but since starting my youtube channel, creating for Design Teams and volunteering a lot at our elementary school, I didn't want another full day blocked and not having time to be creative. So I am trying to clean one room each day, leaving Saturdays for Baseball and reserving Sundays to supervise the kids when they do their chores. To keep track of my success I cut down one of the weekly pages from the personal planner pages to fit into one of my folder pockets. I added a tab and a "clean" sticker and can now check off each week. I really like to have this separate so I can check my progress after the month. Since this is not a routine yet, I make sure to add it to my daily to do list as well.

I use the rest of the DaisyDori as a daily planner. The DaisyDori has 36 pages, minus the first and last page and minus the two pages I use for meal planning and goals, this leaves 32 pages to be used. I don't pay any attention to the page design, some of my daily pages are divided in sections and have a grid, some are lined, some are blank and some are sectioned. Since April has 30 days I will end up with two spare pages in the back. I haven't thought about a use for them yet. But I am also not concerned if they will be left blank.

Here is a look at my MO2P (=month on two pages) in my monthly insert. When I used the DaisyDori in standard size for March, I actually used the calendar in the front. In my monthly spread I indicate birthdays, doctor's appointments, lunch dates, school breaks and any other activities that aren't reoccuring.

Finally, the last insert in my TN is this bullet journal insert. This is where I house all of my lists and collections that I want to keep separate from my daily and monthly planning, mostly because I need to refer back to them all year. Since I just moved from a standard size TN to this personal size, I still need to move some of my lists.

In case you want to find out more about me, here is how I introduced myself on the Cocoa Daisy Planner Fans Facebook group: Introduction. I have been subscribed to the DaisyDori since January 2016 and if you want to see how I started my DaisyDori journey, I am sharing them on my youtube channel here: Throwback Thursday * Planning 2016.

Thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to read about my April planner setup, I hope I was able to inspire you to get creative. If you want to know more about my change to a personal size Traveler's Notebook or how I use my standard size DaisyDori, make sure you check out my youtube channel and follow me on instagram.

April 6, 2017

April Lilli Design Team: Hello Berlin!

It is an new month that means, I get to work with another collection for April Lilli. In April, the Design Team is working with the colorful, bold "dream on" line by pinkfresh studio. My creative process when working with a collection is very similar every month.

First, I film the unboxing video. This is a great way for me to have a closer look at the colors, papers, embellishments and themes included in a collection. Then I go to my computer and look at my photos. For this design team I have decided to narrow my choices down using these two self imposed rules: No. 1 - Look at photos from 2010 to 2013. No. 2 - Look only at photos that were taken during the month that the collection you are working with is featured in. For example, for this collection I looked at photos from April 2011, April 2012 and April 2013. Every photo that sparks a story will be marked and placed in a separate folder. Then I go back through all of my marked photos and choose 4-6 photos or sets of photos that will work well with the collection. Finally, I edit and print these photos. The television tower (Fernsehturm) of Berlin was one of those photos that sparked a story. When looking at that photo I immediately knew I wanted to make a layout about my love for Berlin.

When my photos are printed, I go back to the collection. I take out all of the papers and try to find ways to pair photos and papers or specific embellishments. Sometimes these papers also spark layout ideas, just as the photos spark story ideas. With this very muted circle background "Wish" this was exactly the case: I saw it and knew it would lend itself perfectly as the background for a centered layout. It fit perfectly well with the muted photo and the blue "Reverie" paper brought in the much needed contrast and also helped emphasize the blue in the photo. So the decision was made: a centered layout using these papers and this photo.

Having these ideas in mind, I went ahead to create my layout. I filmed the whole process, you can watch it here on youtube: Hello Berlin! In addition to the dream on collection, I also used the Saturday Hello phrase thickers by Dear Lizzy that had the perfect title for my layout. When looking at the "Hello" you will find that the letters overlap the stitching, the photo and also the different layers. This helps to connect the different layers and also to break up the clear lines of the layout.

I used very few embellishments on this layout. The few I used were placed very deliberately, like the washi sticker "one of a kind" that nestled perfectly above the "Berlin" and right next to the "o" and filled in an awkward space. I used several other washi stickers from the washi sticker set on the layout. I especially love how this rubber banner from the rubber chips helps to strengthen and ground the title. Having it underneath the stamped "Berlin" it balances out the heavy black bold "Hello".

The dream on collection by pinkfresh studio is 20% off for the whole month of April 2017 in the April Lilli shop!

March 30, 2017

April Lilli Design Team: Mixed Media Bookmarks.

The Lovely Day "tag paper" called to me all month long. I wanted to make bookmarks but wondered what I would do with eight of them. Then I had the idea to make them and send them out to my friends, some new and some old friends. After knowing that they wouldn't go to waste I started and went all in: gesso, structure paste, stencils, stamps, neocolor crayons, washi tape, stickers, die cuts, everything I had in my stash was put to use. I have never done art journaling and mixed media and just wanted to try and play. These bookmarks seemed to be a great way to start without being overwhelming. I totally love how they turned out!

There are still two days left in March, so go ahead and get some or all of the Lovely Day collection in the April Lilli Shop where it is this month's featured collection and 20% off. There is a video on youtube where I show you what I made this month and also how much there is still left. Hope you go and check it out: Dear Lizzy: Lovely Day - projects and kill-a-kit!

March 23, 2017

April Lilli Design Team: Santa Cruz Selfies.

When I am done with my two projects for the month and I still have photos and material left from the featured collection, I love to experiment. This is exactly what I did here. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do: the pink ledger paper from the Dear Lizzy Lovely Day collection went so well with the pink jacket I wore in the pictures. Then I saw the numbers from the embellishment pack and started to play.

When I started out, the photos were still collaged on one 4x6 photo, I went ahead and cut them apart. Now I had four small ones to work with. Should I group them together? Layer papers behind them? If I placed them on four different spots on the paper, then I would need something to justify the place they would go. So I went with the trusty tickets and added one number. To ground them I added the washi tape behind the photos. I really liked how that looked so far.

Now: what about a title and where would the journaling go? I had this long sentence in my head: "The day we went to Santa Cruz and took so many selfies and not a single one turned out nice." What if I made that my title? That would spread out in between the photos, highlighting different words? That would actually fill the paper and give me a chance to balance the layout. I used the thickers from Crate Paper's Heart Day collection because I didn't want to add more color.

After adding the title there was some awkward space left that was ideal for some larger embellishments, so I fussy cut some of the flowers from the color me pretty paper. This way I was able to repeat the flowers from the washi tape and connect the different layers. After this base was done, I went a little crazy with the ephemera and puffy stickers. And there you have it - done.

Don't forget to grab your favorite pieces from the Dear Lizzy Lovely Day collection in the April Lilli shop, it is 20% off for the month of March 2017.

March 18, 2017

Cocoa Daisy Saturday Seminar: A5 sticker sheet.

Today for our Saturday Seminars in the Cocoa Daisy Planner Fans group, we talked about the A5 sticker sheet. This is a tricky sheet for me both in size and in the way I use it: the size only fits into my standard size traveler's notebook if I cut or fold it in half. I usually fold it right underneath the tab stickers, then I'll only have to use one sticker right away and there is no damage happening to any other stickers. The stickers itself are a mixture of both: functional stickers and pretty stickers. And this is where the problem occurs, I usually use the functional stickers very quickly but have a hard time using the pretty stickers. I tend to hoard pretty things instead of using them and have just recently started to force myself to use all the things. In my opinion, I have been doing very good so far in March, there are a lot of stickers already used. But there have been months where I haven't used a single sticker.

I'll start with showing you how I used the two top stickers: they are always to rectangular stickers, one with the month printed on it and one label. Putting the monthly label on the cover of my insert is something I have been doing almost every time I got my hands on this sticker sheet. The clear label I used this month to note my stats for youtube and instagram on the first. I also used one of the little hearts right next to the label to emphasize the milestone. Yes, I have actually reached 1000 youtube-subscribers at the end of February!

These next to photos show how I often use the tab stickers - for decoration on my pages. I hate it when my tabs are too floppy which is often the case with these sticker labels. So I tend to use them for decorating and layering. For this I cut them apart in the middle. In both cases here, I actually added text into the tab, but there have been numerous times when I simply covered the tab with a die cut or another sticker. In the right photo you can also see two more stickers from this sticker sheet: I added the small arrow from the "flag and arrow" stickers to the tab embellishment cluster making it quite clear that it was Theo's birthday. And since this is indeed a very important day, I also used the corresponding sticker at the top of the page.

Every month the sticker shapes are the same on this sticker sheet but the design and the words are different. In the past I have really struggled when I tried to use these quarter circle stickers on my pages. But this month they fit perfectly as appointment reminders. I hope to use the rest of them as well and try to keep going in April. The flags from the "flag and arrows" were equally hard for me to use: I always need some kind of edge to place them and never thought outside the box enough. So -in my mind- I only had the top of the page and they never worked there. But by simply drawing a box or a line or adding some washi for the sticker to rest, I can now place this sticker anywhere on the page.
This month the arrows were stickers indicating a specific event like the start of daylight savings time or St. Patrick's Day. In the right photo you can see how I used the "hop forward" sticker on March, 12 and then also used the tiny arrows to add the tasks for that day.

Are you using your stickers? Or are you a hoarder like me? After trying really hard to use my stickers and not hoard them since the start of March, I can tell you: it is far more satisfying to use all the things instead of having a growing stash and a slight feeling of guilt. And using pretty things makes me happy!

March 17, 2017

Cocoa Daisy: April Planner Kits and TOP 5

When my package from Cocoa Daisy arrived at my house on Wednesday, I filmed an unboxing video and then arranged all of the items from the kits on my white foam core for some pictures. Theo -my youngest- was home with me and pointed out the different things he liked and was generally very interested in all of the pretty planner things, that I had the idea of a new little series: every month Theo and I will pick our TOP 5 items from the kits and share them.

Theo's choices are dominated by the pretty butterflies, he picked those first and then he also chose the washi tape and the week on one page from the personal planner pages. I totally understand why: the stripes perfectly represent the color scheme of the month and are always an eye catcher. Then his and circled above the die cuts once more and the minute he read: "Today will be a good day!" he dove down and made his last pick.

I leaned towards the clouds this month: I chose the puffy cloud paper clip as well as the cloud sticker sheet. I love the patterns on the clouds and I cannot wait to use them. Then I chose the journaling card which not only includes my favorite pattern from the patterned papers but also this quote from Shakespeare. And even though I don't use the tab die cuts very often, I love them non the less and this one has a raindrop pattern! Lastly I chose these two dandelion die cuts which are by far my most favorite item in the whole kit. I just LOVE dandelions.