Category: Little Summer JOY

#LittleSummerJOY Finishing Your Album | 3 Simple Questions

So far this week, we’ve talked about defining what it means to “finish” your project and adding a summer yearbook-style quote to your album. Today’s conversation is a build off of both of those, as we talk about deciding what to do with your remaining Little Summer JOY Traveler’s Notebook pages.

Let’s Finish this Album

If you’re here and you’re reading this, you’ve probably made some commitment to finishing your album pages. Congratulations! That’s awesome. And it’s a big step. So let’s talk about what your options are and give you some tools for deciding what to do.

First, Inventory

How many pages do you have left in your album?

Depending on the number of pages, and what you want to put in them, this could feel overwhelming, or it could be a breeze. For me, it was a little overwhelming at first. I had more than 20 pages left in my album. And while I knew there was a lot left to tell, I had no idea where to start or what to include. So I asked myself another quest.

Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen

What stories have been told? What stories are missing?

My stories were broad. There were certainly some favorites, big events, and meaningful experiences. I had bullet journal entries from most of the weeks. I had a calendar layout and planner style stamps of what we did each day in June and July. But there was an entire vacation missing. There were random adventures that I wanted to include. And there was a general sentiment – a feeling – of this summer that was missing from the pages.

WHAT | Make a List

Still, I needed clear direction. With so many pages to fill, I needed a bit of a plan if I was going to make this happen while I still had the interest, motivation, and the commitment to doing it. So I made a list of what I wanted to include.

This is my list:

  • One more week of bullet style journaling
  • One more monthly calendar with planner stamps
  • A favorite quote
  • Travel photos from our last vacation
  • A list of favorite places, things, events from the summer

Decide on HOW

Once I had my list, I had to decide HOW I was going to bring that all together. I knew what the bullet page and monthly calendar layouts would look like, so I did those first.

Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen

Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen

Next, I added the favorite quote to the last page of the book.

Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen

Then I decided which stories I wanted to tell from vacation. This was a bit more complicated. I knew I wouldn’t be able to capture our entire vacation – nor did I want to – but I wanted to highlight it in some way.

Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen

Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen

My solution was to use collaged images, printed on matte photo paper, and cut to fit the book.

Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen

I also printed some panoramic photos that I knew would be fun to include.

Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen

Then I added a brochure and one more favorite picture from our trip. You can see how it folds out.

Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen

Love that I had a place to store that because it was an awesome experience for all of us.

Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen

In the last few pages of the book I included our summer favorites. And, truly, this was one of the fastest ways to fill the pages, and also one of the most creatively fun.

Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen Little Summer JOY Finishing Your Album | Pages by Julie Love Gagen

Because it was a series, I picked a single format for the layouts. Each page had the same photo size, the same border, the same layout, and the same elements. I brushed titles and noted details. And below each picture, I added a short entry on what I loved most.

IMG_3246

So simple. So quick. SO DONE.

Little Summer JOY Summer Quote Brush script by Julie Love Gagen

I’ll admit: I didn’t take much care for the brush script. And I know when I look back on my album, I’ll probably cringe a little at the messiness of the titles. But done is better than perfect, friends. And this time, “done” meant doing unpracticed brush script via book light with a brush I’ve never used before.

Your Assignment

Your assignment today is to make a plan. You don’t need to detail every single page, but take some notes. Figure out which stories or elements to include and how you want to include them. Pick a format for the pictures and start printing.

And, when you’re ready, start creating those last layouts.

If you’re feeling stuck, or feeling blah about these pages, try incorporating a new technique, medium, or element in your pages. Make it fun. Make it more than worth your time – make it a creative experiment. Enjoy the process. 

I promise, finishing this album is one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in a long time. Finishing projects, and doing so while feeling that you’ve done a good job, is totally worth the push to make it happen.

 

Good luck and happy documenting!

xoxo,

Julie

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#LittleSummerJOY Finishing Your Album | Your Summer Yearbook

You probably don’t know this, but I am a HUGE fan of podcasts, friends.

Honestly, I can’t get enough.

At any given time, I probably have 100 hours of podcasts to listen to. And somehow, I listen to nearly all of them. Whether I’m driving in the car, cleaning the house, or getting ready for the day, there is often a podcast narrating something related to living a good life, memory keeping, or personal development.

Bullet Journal in a Traveler's Notebook #LittleSummerJOY with Julie Love Gagen

So I say all that to introduce some ideas that came from a recent podcast by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, and Better Than Before. Yes, she’s one of my favorites. And, yes, she also had a podcast. Yay!

And a recent podcast episode, episode 74, inspired this extra little addition to my Little Summer JOY album.

You can get all of the notes from + listen to the entire podcast here: http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2016/07/podcast-74/

A Yearbook Quote

Yearbooks. Remember those? Whether you loved them or hated them, or both, they were a rite of passage, especially for seniors graduating and moving on to life unknown. Adulthood. WORK.

Each year, our school asked three things of its seniors: (1) a tiny square picture, (2) graduation plans, and (3) a favorite quote.

I found my senior quote in a book about the history of western civilizations. It was the summer before senior year and I was doing the pre-semester reading, under a tree, in the yard of my house. It was one of my favorite spots.

The quote was about heroes, and what makes them. As soon as I read it, I immediately fell in love. I read it over and over again. I tried to memorize it, and did. But the words themselves were so meaningful, that I had to write them down. I copied the quote on a hot pink index card and used it as a bookmark for years to come.

The hero acts alone, without encouragement, relying solely on conviction and his own inner resoruces. Shame does not discourage him… Indifferent to approval, reputation, wealth, or love, he cherishes only his personal sense of honor, which he permits no one else to judge.”

William Manchester

In the year that followed, I would refer to that quote 100 times. In the years that followed, I still think of it when life gets hard. The words matter to me. And they speak volumes to where I was in life at that time.

Choosing a Summer Quote

So now we come to this summer. And Little Summer JOY. Is there a quote that speaks to you? Is there a feeling, a sentiment, that is symbolic or representative of where you are in this moment? In this season?

For me, it was a long HOT summer. It had ups and downs, was packed with adventure, and included a lot of time spent resting. With two boys in tow, and a baby on the way, there were times when it was easy – and times when it was not. Our experiences were driven by the unusually hot, dry weather and whatever energy I could evoke.

Little Summer JOY Summer Quote Brush script by Julie Love Gagen

And yet, as long as our days were, as hard as it was – at times – it also flew by. I feel myself reaching to enjoy these last days before the school year starts. I feel myself clinging to the few precious moments that remain. I want to enjoy every minute while also wishing it away.

This summer, the hours were long, but the season was short.

Your Assignment

Your assignment for today is to think about your summer. What was it like? How does it compare to other summers? Think about it and get a clear idea in your mind.

Then do your search. Maybe you come up with it on your own. Maybe you spin off a popular saying. Maybe you quote a song or artist. Maybe you find something on Instagram. Keep your eyes open. You can also search Pinterest for a quote. Look for some pretty brush lettering. Maybe even use just one word.

Once you find your quote, write it down or print it out. Maybe even practice it in brush script or fancy hand lettering. Think about how you want it to feel as you practice. And once you have a method, add it to your book.

Need a little inspiration? Check out This Pinterest Board.
Happy documenting, friends!

xoxo,

Julie

 

#LittleSummerJOY Finishing Your Album | Defining “Done”

Hi, friends!

We have had an absolute BLAST seeing all of the work you’ve done with this project. TRULY, truly we are inspired and excited by your work. It’s been an amazing season, and we’re so happy to have enjoyed it with you.

This week we’re highlighting something that often gets – ahem – overlooked in the scrappy world.

And for good reason … because none of us really want to talk about it anyway.

This week we’re talking about FINISHING your project.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist Layout by Kim O

Let’s face it — it’s HARD to finish projects.

No matter how much we love something, no matter how much we want to finish it, eventually, the passion and excitement that comes with starting something new begins to fade. And what we’re left with is a collection of layouts and photos and memories all begging to be brought together, without the extra motivation to make it happen.

We get busy. We get distracted. And we desperately want to move on.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m naturally unskilled when it comes to finishing projects. At times, it can feel forced. Difficult.

It can feel a lot like .. work.

And that’s especially true when we’re caught up in the “lasts” and “firsts” as we transition seasons.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist Layout by Bonita Rose

Reframing Your Mindset Around “DONE”

I like to look at the last pages of our books not as a piece of work to be finished, but as an opportunity to do something different. To get creative. To experiment.

Because, let’s face it – your album is already gorgeous. It’s already totally worth looking and and referring back to. So whatever you do in the remaining pages? That’s for you to decide. It’s your opportunity. To try something new. To work it different. To explore. To take it to the next level.
And all we need is a little push. A little inspiration. And a quick conversation about what it means to be “done” with this project.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

Defining “DONE”

Each of us has a different definition of “finished.” Some of us want every detail completed to the level of our own standard version of perfection. And that means spending the time to work through each page, add final touches, favorite details, and special embellishments. And it shows in their final album. In the details that translate from beginning to end.

I admire those crafters.

And if you’re one of them, seriously, full applause. You deserve it!

But “finished” can also mean finishing the lessons, and leaving the last pages of a book blank. Or maybe just finishing the lessons that you liked most. The ones that spoke to you. And leaving the rest.

And “finished” can also mean that you’ve reached the end of inspiration in a project. After all, not every album needs to be completed. Not every project turns out the way you wanted it to. And sometimes that means either dramatically changing the rest of the book, or scrapping it all together. (I’m certainly not saying to do that, but if it suits you, by all means, friend.)

For me, finished means filling in all of the pages. It means adding in the stories of the season that didn’t fit in any of the lessons. It means completing the entire book, cover to cover, with the essence and meaning of this project.

Stamps + stamping techniques used in a Traveler's Notebook for #LittleSummerJOY with Julie Love Gagen

Your Assignment

Oh, you didn’t realize there was homework? Sorry, friend. But we’re here for you. And we promise it’ll be as painless as possible.

Your assignment today is to take a quick flip through of your album, look through the lessons for this project, and decide – what is your definition of “done”?

Write it down on a sticky note and place it on your cover. Tomorrow we’ll have another – small – assignment for you.

Good luck!

xoxo,

Julie

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#LittleSummerJOY Lesson Six | Changing Seasons

As we draw this project to a close (and, hold on, because we’re not totally done yet!), transitions – from finishing this project, this summer, and looking forward to what comes this fall – are a time for reflection and planning.

For looking back and looking ahead.

And that’s what this week’s prompt is all about. Whether you’re transitioning to the start of the school year (as we are in some places) or rounding out winter (in the southern hemisphere) or somewhere in between, transition is – or will soon be – upon us. And documenting that as a final piece of our albums is a poetic way to usher change into our work.

So join us, and our friend Kim, as we discuss change, reflection, and planning and bring it into the end of our album.

Julie

Howdy! Kim Oedekoven here to say Congratulations, you’ve made it to the last of the #littlesummerjoy #littlewinterjoy prompts for 2016!  I’m so very glad to have chosen to journey with us! 

The emotional and physical change of Transitioning Seasons is what I have chosen for you as your last lesson! For those of you who are joining us from the Southern Hemisphere, please know that Winter to Spring is glorious time for you to show us your change as well. I will be focusing on Summer to Fall since that is my gig but I think the prompt suggestions work well for you too!

Little Summer JOY Lesson Six | Changing Seasons with Kim Oedekoven

Transitioning Seasons

For me, no other time of year has quite the emotional and physical transition like the change from Summer to Fall. From changes in weather, to the shift from unscripted summer vacations to structured fall plans, from vacation to back to work and back to school. Life shifts dramatically and the swift adaptation in life and work that we make is what distinguishes this transition from any other time of year.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Six | Changing Seasons with Kim Oedekoven

Whether it’s the anticipated loss of summer, or the impending shift towards winter, the feeling of this time of year hits me right between the eyes every.single.time.

Now, there are a lot of ways to approach this prompt, so we’ll start, first, by looking back and reflecting on the summer we’ve had.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Six | Changing Seasons with Kim Oedekoven

Reflecting on this Joyful Summer

There are so many things that I love about summer. The freedom of travel, vacation, and unplanned days. The beauty. The warmth. The joy.

I could go on and on .. and on!

But take a moment to think about the summer you’ve had. What did you love most? What did you eat, crave, do, adventure, explore, document most? What defines the season you’ve had?

What did you love most?

Document that. In photos, in collages, in the form of a list or journal entry. Just write it down and include it, in some way, in your album.

Look back on your Summer Manifesto, your Bucket List, and notice both what you did, what you still hope to do, and what you’re skipping. Think back to how your summer shifted from what you planned to what you did. Notice the themes. Reflect. Write about it.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Six | Changing Seasons with Kim Oedekoven

Notice the Transition

Now, the change from summer to fall (or winter to spring) might not happen in the final weeks of this project, but think about what marks the change in season.

For us, that means earlier sunsets, cooler evenings and drier, hotter days. It means back to school planning and debating about buying a new bottle of sunscreen.

It means soaking up the last opportunities to have unplanned backyard barbecues, saying goodbye to summer friends, and making plans to get in those last adventures before school and work start back in full swing.

What events, moments, choices, mark the transition of seasons for you? What defines where you are in the process, if at all?

Little Summer JOY Lesson Six | Changing Seasons with Kim Oedekoven

Documenting the Shift

Every single year I document my kids first day of school. It’s a milestone, a measuring stick, for which I can compare each and every year. I see them grow and I see myself grow and change. And that focus on documenting has an effect on how I view life, growth, and change.

In many ways, it is the real start to a new year, more concrete than January 1st. More documented. More comparative.

In places where seasons bring dramatic shifts in weather and environment, the change from summer to fall can bring a change in diet, cravings, and clothing. A change in patterns. And for areas with lots of school age children, college towns, and seasonal communities, that change can mean dramatic increases – or dramatic decreases – in traffic.

What does this mean for you? And how do you prepare for it?

Little Summer JOY Lesson Six | Changing Seasons with Kim Oedekoven

 

These are the questions we ask ourselves this week. These are the things we have the opportunity to discuss, reflect, document, and remember in our albums.

Thank you all SO much for participating in Little Summer JOY! And stay tuned for next week, when we bring our albums together and share our work, as a whole.

Happy documenting, friends!

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#LittleSummerJOY Contributor Spotlight | Marie’s Album

As you’ve probably noticed by now, we have a wonderful group of contributor’s for this year’s Little Summer JOY. Each one of them brings their own unique perspective to their project. Each one has a story to tell. Each is unique, and talented, and the combination of stories and perspectives has made this project such a joy for all of us to watch unfold.

Today we wanted to take a moment to feature Marie Shiel, one of our #LittleWinterJOY Aussie contributors, and her gorgeous traveler’s notebook. Here are her pages.

#LittleWinterJOY Pages by Marie

Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel Little Summer JOY Contributor Spotlight with Marie Shiel

Where to Find More

As you know, Summer in the Northern Hemisphere means Winter in the Southern Hemisphere. So while we’re sweating and swimming our summers away, our friends in places like Australia New Zealand are celebrating their winter. You’ll be able to find them + their work on Instagram under the hashtag #LittleWinterJOY (and of course, they typically use #LittleSummerJOY as well).

To connect + follow Marie, you can find links to her social media + website on her contributor page.

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#LittleSummerJOY Lesson Five | Simple Moments

Well, friends, after last week’s prompt, it’s time to slow down. To take it all in. To have an easy, short, but meaningful prompt from our friend Bonita.

We first discovered Bonita last year, when she played along with our Little Summer JOY project and made some of the most colorful, interesting, and artistic pages we’ve seen. Her passion for life, for inspiration, and for color is unique and wonderful.

And we’re so happy to have her here today.

I think her lesson does a wonderful job of framing, quite simply, the message and meaning behind our prompt this week, so let’s take a moment to welcome Bonita!

Julie

Hi everyone! I’m Bonita Rose and I live in sunny Florida here in the USA with my hubby Greg. About three years ago, we moved from North Dakota, USA to change our lives and live in FL. Here are some little snippets about me: I love anything paper, stationery, and flowers, oh how I love flowers! Taking photographs and later editing them to make them the best they can be is something I love doing.

My camera is with me all the time to capture my life and the lives of those around me.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Five | Simple Moments with Bonita Rose

I’m also a deeply creative soul, a renaissance woman, an inspirer. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t do something to inspire others. I believe in using our own lives to inspire others.

And I also take the time to inspire myself. To try new techniques, to use new supplies. I believe in the daily practice of rest and solitude, where we take the time to just be silent, alone with ourselves, without the distractions of others or our technological gadgets. There is much to gain from being comfortable with who we are, both inside and out.

Simple Moments

This week I’m sharing with you all about The Simple Moments. Simple moments are those moments, those brief snippets of our lives that if we move too fast, we’ll miss them. The moments that craft and frame our lives. Those moments that distinguish our individual, imperfect, but wonderful lives from any other life.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Five | Simple Moments with Bonita Rose

A simple moment has us laughing with our partners, our kids, our friends, or receiving a warm, friendly greeting from our pets.

Life is a collection of those moments. Every day is a new opportunity. We just have to open our eyes to see them.

This summer, I’m making a more conscious effort to slow down. Partly because the arthritis in my knee prohibits me from doing much and partly because I know that slowing down and just doing nothing sometimes, is so good for the soul.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Five | Simple Moments with Bonita Rose

The Prompt

So this week we’re going to make an effort to slow down. Not all day. Not every day. But, occasionally, take a moment to pause. To see and appreciate the people, the things, the aspects of life that so simply and so beautifully capture your simple, fortunate reality right now.

If only for a few minutes.

Take a longer breath. Notice your surroundings, your mood, your state of being. Maybe light a candle. Look around with new eyes. And take a moment to write.

What do you see?
What do you feel?
How do you feel?

You see, life can be SO busy sometimes. And that can be a good thing. A great thing. Shuffling in between vacations, travel, the unpredictability of summer happenings, the last minute plans. It’s all wonderful. But if we’re not aware, we can miss it.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Five | Simple Moments with Bonita Rose

So this week, we’re slowing down. Taking it in. Pausing, even just for a moment. To notice the little things. The simple things. Those things that are often right under our noses, that we just fail to really appreciate in our day to day living. What are they? How do they make us feel? What are the joys they bring to our lives?

Let it be simple, not complicated. Let it be short. Let it come easy.

 

Bonita

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#LittleSummerJOY Lesson Four | AE Day in the Life

If you’ve never heard of Ali Edwards’ Day in the Life, this week’s lesson is your invitation to play along, get inspired, and learn all about what it means to capture a day in your life.

A few times every year, Ali hosts this documentation project, designed to inspire you to capture what you do in a day. The hope is to capture routines, habits – you know, the “every day” stuff that makes up life right now.

And we love that idea.

So this week we asked France to take us through her Day in the Life documentation project, see and learn from her best tips, and share some of our own along the way.

Happy Documenting, fiends!

Julie

Hi Everyone! France here today to share my tips and ideas for participating in Ali Edwards’ Day in the Life. It’s a project you can do ANY day, anytime. It’s a project where you can get deep into the detail of your day, or take just a few photos and do some journaling.

Day in the Life is one of my favorite memory keeping projects. Ali hosts it a few times every year and people all over the globe participate and share the ways in which their day unfolds. If this concept is new to you, simply put, it is a project wherein you record the details of your day using words and pictures.

This year Ali is hosting Day in the Life on Saturday, July 30th. You don’t have to pick that day. In fact, you can pick ANY day to do this project, but you’ll see a lot of activity on Instagram #dayinthelife, blogs, and on Ali’s site on that day.

Some people prefer to include more words and others rely heavily on pictures to tell their story. What I love most about “Day in the Life” is the attention to detail. The celebration of ordinary moments. The ways in which I capture the EVERY DAY – you know, the mundane and uneventful – parts of life that would otherwise be ignored it it weren’t for this fun project.

In the end, when it’s all put together, I have this small collection of ordinary moments that reminds me how much I value this messy, sometimes boring, and sometimes beautiful life of mine.

Sounds Great! How do I get started?

Lesson Four | Day in the Life

It is easy to get overwhelmed by any project that requires consistent note taking or photo taking all day long. And each time I do this project, I learn a little more about what I want to document, how to document it, and how to simplify the process to make it an easy, enjoyable experience.

First, pick a day to start. That can be ANY day, and the more average the day, the more you’ll capture the true “every day” aspects of your life.

Second, and this just a personal preference, I like to choose specific aspects of my life to focus on. A theme for the day. This helps in terms of not feeling like I have to capture every little second.

Third, when you’re taking pictures or writing notes, take a moment to connect each photograph to a small, anecdotal story (just like we talked about last week). And, essentially, that’s what we’re creating: a story of your day.

Fourth, make a list. I like to plan out what I want to document during Day in the Life, so I make a list of the activities, the things, the aspects of everyday life that I want to document.

Here’s a look at what my list looks like:

Little Summer JOY Lesson Four | Day in the Life with France Wisniewski

For some, using a timeline, capturing your day event-by-event is a natural way to do this project. You capture pictures, and use photo time stamps, to write a story about you day. For me, I use a list to drive what I capture. It’s absolutely about what works best for you, in this moment, on that day.

I encourage you to come up with your own list and focus on the things in your day that are important to you. It’s okay if you don’t capture every second – and, in fact – you don’t want to. The Traveler’s notebook only allows a small set of photos in your book.

For this Day in the Life, try to focus on the highlights. It’s just one if you don’t feel particularly camera ready, snap a picture of your hair, hands or feet – really,.any part of you that YOU love in this moment.

It’s no big deal if the kitchen is a mess, take a picture of your favorite chair or a cute little corner in your home that makes you smile. Don’t force yourself to take pictures you don’t like. Don’t worry that you’re not being “authentic” if you don’t record every single moment.

The story can be told honestly from a lot of different angles. If this project has taught me anything, it’s that life is all about perspective. My perspective just so happens to include a tiny bit of staging and a few photo filters. 🙂

Little Summer JOY Lesson Four | Day in the Life with France Wisniewski

Incorporating More Photos in Your TN

One of the things I love about memory keeping in a notebook is coming up with ways to include additional photos for a single theme or event. For many of us, “Day in the Life” is a pretty photo heavy project…so how exactly do we deal with all those photos without filling up the whole book?

Here are some of my tips for including Day in the Life in your Little Summer Joy Traveler’s Notebook:

  • Small 1-inch or 2-inch square photos
  • Create a photo collage
  • Create a photo pocket
  • Use small square Project Life App layouts

Check back later this week when we share examples of our favorite ideas!

 

#LittleSummerJOY Lesson Three | Get into YOUR Story

You probably already know this by now, friend, but we’re *just a little obsessed* with telling our own stories here at LPP. We can’t help it. It’s just part of who we are.

I can’t tell you where my obsession with story telling came from, but if I had to name a reason, a single inspiration point that drives me to tell stories over and over again, my answer would be: connection.

I love connecting with people. And I think a great way to do that is through telling personal stories that are a little funny, or a little ridiculous, or a little silly.

When I was a young professional, just starting out in my first office job, I would come in nearly every morning with some story from the time between when I left the office the day before and when I arrived that following morning. Sometimes that story would be a 10 second acknowledgement that the barista at that coffee shop was definitely hung over. Sometimes that story would be an exciting event, like trying out a new restaurant. And sometimes that story would be something funny my cats did.

Oh yes, friends. I’ve told PLENTY of cat stories in my day.

The truth is, I always knew that no one cares about my cats. They definitely aren’t interested that my cats and I watched a squirrel climb through our neighbor’s tree for a half hour. And they definitely don’t care that my cats love the chewy treats better than the crunchy ones.

They might, however, have cared about that one time my cat used the actual potty, unprompted, all by herself.

It’s still one of my best cat stories.

Anyway, no one cares about my cats. And I know that. And I told the stories, every single day, to every single coworker, anyway.

Why?

Connection.

Telling stories is a way of connecting with people. And getting in the practice of telling your own silly, unimportant, ridiculous little stories is a skill that will absolutely make you a better life-documenter, and also a more interesting coworker and friend. 

So, with that, I’ll hand this prompt over to Marie Sheil, our dear Aussie friend, who will inspire you with a fun little challenge to get started on this journey of getting into YOUR STORY.

– Julie

G’day Mate!! It’s me, Marie, from Australia. Here to share my love for telling stories, complete with the Crocodile Dundee voice/accent. Feel free to read the rest of the prompt this way.

😉

My lesson for today is about telling your story – with words.

As memory keepers, we tell our stories with the photographs we choose and the products and embellishments that go with them. This practice of visual story telling is something we learn as children, long before we can make sense of words and sentence structure.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Three | Get into YOUR Story with Marie Shiel

From our earliest moments of life, we learn through what we see. Our books begin as picture books, with simple shapes and colors to convey simple messages. As we get older, more words are added, the pictures are given more detail, and the stories told through those pictures and words teach us about life, culture, and how to navigate the world.

Eventually, we graduate to reading books, novels, with no pictures at all. So how can we tell what the mood is, what the era is, how the scenery looks and feels, what the food tastes like?

It’s written in the words the author chooses and what those words mean to the reader.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Three | Get into YOUR Story with Marie Shiel

They say a picture paints a thousand words, but any random photograph will only have meaning to the people who were there, who understand the place, the event, the feeling and sentiment of the spaces missing from the picture.

Your Assignment

Last week we navigated a local, familiar place through the eyes of a tourist. This week, the same concept – the same assignment – applies. Except rather than being a tourist in your home town, you’re going to be a tourist of your own life.

Great! Sooooo … what does that mean??!

It means being curious. It means seeing the random, happy coincidences that occur on your commute as something worth remembering. It means writing down, or taking a random photo, after something makes you laugh, or cry, or roll your eyes. It means taking a photo as a point of reference, so that you can later go back and tell that story.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Three | Get into YOUR Story with Marie Shiel

Every day this week, you’ll step into the world with curious, tourist eyes. You’ll notice the people riding next to you on the subway. You’ll notice the details in your routines, or – especially because it’s summer – the lack thereof.

Imagine you overhear a funny conversation between two people on the train. Take a picture of your feet, or of the train as it drives away, or the station that you arrived at. Think about the conversation you overheard. Why was it funny? What about it is worth retelling? And, most importantly, why?

Or perhaps you really do have a funny cat. And you get home from running errands, only to find the cat unrolled your entire toilet paper roll, or decided to fall asleep in that ONE PLACE where you didn’t want her to. What do you do? You take a picture of your cat, or of the toilet paper roll, and you write about it. It can be a one sentence description. It can be 3 paragraphs on you, in your mind, yelling at the cat about her lack of sensitivity towards bathroom needs.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Three | Get into YOUR Story with Marie Shiel

The point is, it can be whatever you want. And you can write it however you want. And you can record and remember it however you want.

Just pick a story, if you can, about something that makes you happy. Something that made you smile. Something you want to remember, not because it’s important, but because of how unimportant it is.

And make sure to write about your feelings for the moment. Write about why you chose to capture that particular image, that story, that sentiment, at that particular time. What do you like most about it? What about it makes you smile?

While jotting down notes and drafting your stories think about painting a picture with the words you use. Get descriptive. Get out of your writing comfort zone.

And when you’re ready, please share your creative stories from this lesson and your budding novel { giggle } on Instagram and feel free to tag me @mariesheil @littlepaperprojects #littlesummerjoy #littlewinterjoy.

As always, Happy Documenting, friends!!

Marie

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#LittleSummerJOY Lesson Two | Julie’s Album

SERIOUSLY, friends! I can’t get over how much I love this project, and this album, this year.

It’s just so good.

This week’s lesson is all about being a tourist in your home town. I know I’ve said this a dozen times already, but I seriously love this concept. And I had a great time bringing it all together…

.. which is why I did not one, or two, but THREE layouts this week.

Here we go.

Bullet Journal in a Traveler's Notebook #LittleSummerJOY with Julie Love Gagen

First, I’m starting with this week’s bullet journal entry. It’s packed with a ton of detail. And I should say that part of the reason why it has so much detail is because I’m using these entries for the final leg of my 100 Day Project. It’s a free project through Elle Luna where you take on something creative to do every day for – you guessed it – 100 days.

My 100 day project was a commitment to write something every day. And it changed my life.

Anyway, back to the album.

I LOVE how this mini instax-inspired print came out. Truly. It was a happy accident that I couldn’t be happier about.

Bullet Journal in a Traveler's Notebook #LittleSummerJOY with Julie Love Gagen

Bullet Journal in a Traveler's Notebook #LittleSummerJOY with Julie Love Gagen

The top of the page has some of my favorite washi – which, if you read that section on findings from Target Dollar Spot, you’ll appreciate both how cute it is, and how much of a great deal it is.

Win, win, friends!

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

The first layout I made was about a local adventure we took to a wading pool not far from the kids’ dentists’ office. We went there as a treat after Cal’s cleaning and – believe me – going to a wading pool after a dentist appointment is a FANTASTIC motivator for these boys. They were so good and so well behaved and couldn’t wait to get their “prize” visit to the pool after their dental cleaning.

Who would have known. 😉

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

This week I also played around with the DIY embellishments technique (which you can learn all about in the paid version of this class). I went super simple with mine – making a simple lime shape to round out the page and it was perfect for what I needed.

Though, if I’m being honest, I want to go back and make a hundred of inspired DIY embellishments because they are SO FUN!

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

The stamps you see here are from a Studio Calico kit, circa 2013. It’s my favorite stamp set. Honestly, the stamps are so worn by now that you would think it would be time to say goodbye.

And I don’t care. I love them SO MUCH.

I added text at the bottom of the page to add a short version of the story. To be honest, I’m surprised I’m so okay with not adding a ton of text to these layouts. It’s so out of character for me that it’s truly surprising. We’ll see how long it lasts…

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

The left side is a layer of thin scrapbook paper, cut to 4×8, pasted on the page with flat glue dots tape. I added a tag, stamped it, and included a little phrase element from an old studio calico kit.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

The stamp I added is from Ali Edwards’ Believe story stamp kit and I love how perfectly it fit with the theme of this spread.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

I love the off center tag, the film strip, and the way the colors work together. Truly, this was a layout I can’t get enough of.

 

The second layout that I did is from our weekend away with friends. It was a semi-local trip to a place we’ve been before. And, truly, the adventure was in staying with a half dozen families, and all the chaos that comes from being out of town with littles.

It was a total joy and something I was SO happy to capture and include in this album.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

On the right side, I used a map that we picked up from a local tourist information center as the backdrop for this layout. I LOVE using ephemera collected from a trip (this is another technique explained, in detail, in the paid class).

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

I love the layering and how the small pictures all came together for this layout. The Great Outdoors title is a digital stamp by Kellie Stamps coming out at the end of July.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

The circle stamp in the upper left is from the same release and the physical stamp A Touch of Summer is from Kellie Stamps physical stamps release last year. The little star is from a Heidi Swapp stamp set.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

I added some text to the bottom of the page with a little stamp to round it out (also from the Heidi Swapp stamp set).

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

My third – and final – layout for this prompt was made using digital stamps from the same Kellie Stamps release this month.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

I used a train ticket from our ride on the right side, added a photo strip of our adventure down the center, and layered it all over Citrus Bliss paper.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

On the left, I created this page, including the edited image, the text frame (Kellie Stamps digital release), the “explore” stamp, and the text in Photoshop Elements, printed it on Matte photo paper, and affixed it to the page. It was SO easy and such a great way to add a clean, happy addition to my book.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Julie Love Gagen

I hope you enjoyed this summary of my layouts this week! Happy crafting, friends!!

Julie

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#LittleSummerJOY 2016 – Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist

Touring your home town is one of my favorite summer activities. So when Natalie suggested it as a possible Little Summer JOY prompt, we responded with an enthusiastic YES, PLEASE! Read and follow along with this prompt and you’ll see exactly why we love it so much.

-Julie

That little travel bug sure does have a way of getting under one’s skin.

You know what I mean?

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Natalie Dill

I love wanderlust. The word. The idea. The experience. Honestly, I need it tattooed on my skin. I have a constant desire to be away, wandering in a place – preferably outdoors – enjoying new sights, foods, drinks, smells, sounds and experiences.

And when I arrive home after a trip away, it doesn’t take long for the wanderlust to overtake again, and the wheels spin about my next destination.

Of course, and I’m sure you can relate, my travel lust exceeds my ability to travel. The demands of a job, bills, two small children – not to mention life in general – dim the travel prospects at times.

Still, I love all the things demanding my attention (except the bills, of course!), so finding ways to cure my wanderlust, to curb the travel desire helps me get the best of both. Scrapbooking, and documenting life, is one of the ways that I do that.

Whether you are a traveler at heart who must remain home this summer, or a homebody who is looking for a new adventure, I suggest a summer experience to do just that – be a hometown tourist.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Natalie Dill

Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist

Keep it local. Even if you eat at the same restaurants, shop at the stores, and participate in the same activities each week, I promise there is still an adventure in your own backyard.

It’s a matter of finding it.

Your assignment this week is to find a local adventure, to do something you’ve never done before, to explore your home town with tourist eyes. Take a look at a local map. Notice the details. And make a plan.

Here are some options:

  • Play at a new park, splash pad, sprinkler park. Ask your neighbors and friends for recommendations, or check nearby towns for their Parks and Recreation departments.
  • Go hiking. Check local preservation lands, find the green areas on maps, and look for state and national parks.
  • Explore history. Find a local historical home, or historic tour, using recommendations from your local historic society or your local library.
  • Find free and nearly free outdoor events, fairs, and movies. Check with local businesses for their summer calendar of events, ask the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Try a new restaurant. Maybe try one that opened recently or get lunchtime appetizers at that expensive place you’ve always wanted to try.
  • Visit local gift shops, tourist traps, art and craft shops, and places you would only look through if you were looking for a souvenir or window shopping.
  • Find a new fishing or swimming spot. Check local meetup groups, moms groups, and other local organizations that collect information on the best spots. Try one or try them all!

Personally, my little family participates in the hobby of geocaching, which we have just begun this year. I love it because it has already led me to so many places in my own town that I would typically never venture. I have visited a historical home I had never seen, a super fun rock tower I had never noticed, parks I did not even know existed, and new locations with which I had never been acquainted.

Pursuit of adventure gets our family outside more often with hikes, exploration, and exercise!

Document your trip

When you travel to a new city, you typically document the experience and interesting sights you find. Do just that within your hometown. Photograph your touristy activities, collect ephemera as you do on vacation (brochures, napkins, stickers, etc), journal your experiences.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Natalie Dill

If you’re communing with nature, write in a traveler’s notebook while swinging in your hammock. If you’re completing a walking tour, document a spread in your mini-album when you stop for an ice cream break.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Natalie Dill

Not so much into words? Try your hand at a sketch of the local landscape or watercolor your skyline view. Pack a zipper pouch of necessary supplies & take them with you to journal on the go.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Natalie Dill

You can use instant film, or just leave space in the notebook for the photos you know you’ve shot to fill in later.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Two | Hometown Tourist with Natalie Dill

Documenting in the moment will entice you to sit down, relax, while enjoying your time as a hometown tourist, as well as record your summer joy!

 

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