Saturday, November 12
We went out for breakfast to Jamaica Blue at Central Park (not NYC, Beijing - it is the name of the apartment complex across the street).
Photo #2 - walking through Beijing's Central Park
Sunday, November 13
Mandarin oranges are in season! YUM! Delicious and so easy to peel. What could be better?
Photo #2 - while Paul and I were finishing up our coffees outside at Crepennini, the boys created a game called "Hostage." They used the Turtle Fur: easy scarf/turtle neck without the shirt, to cover one person's face, lead them around and see if said person could guess where they ended up before looking. They love this game so much, Reece asks almost everyday if they can go downstairs and play again.
Monday, November 14
I made these for a party at the orphanage preschool. We were saying good-bye to two volunteers and one teacher and celebrating one year of operation for the preschool. My 13-year-old son created a slideshow using iMovie and the photos as I have been taking as well as photos from two other volunteers who run the program. It was so fun to see the changes in the space and the children. They have come so far! I know I keep saying that, but it is true. They loved the cupcakes. Our theme this month is farm animals, so they were perfect!
Thursday, November 16
I found this English version of National Geographic at a market in The Place. I was so excited and the cover story was the perfect topic for me considering we now have a teen! He was even interested in reading the article.
Braden set himself up on two fabric covered storages boxes behind the brown chair and worked on this drawing for a few days. I love the characters!
Friday, November 16
Photo #2 - Birthday cupcakes: the boys watched the Planet of the Apes movie so Nicholas picked these for his cupcakes. They are supposed to be baby apes. We used thin apple slices for the bottom of the mouth, but I wouldn't do that again. The moisture from the apple caused the icing dye from the mouth bleed. THough it made them look more vicious, which pleases eleven-year-old boys! The ears are chocolate coins cut in half, the eyes are brown M&Ms, the mouth is made from Duncan Hines canned frosting I tinted with Wilton icing color and the nostrils are Duncan Hines dark chocolate icing in a can.
I was hoping to have some finished album pages to share with you today since I am determined to complete the album up to the day that we leave to go home for the holidays on December 15, but my photos haven't arrived yet! I received the phonecall today that they will be delivered this afternoon. So, keep your fingers crossed for next week.
In the meantime, I have jotted down some things I plan to do to help me keep up with Project Life next year!
PREPARING for PROJECT LIFE 2012
One of the things I have learned after doing Project Life for 2010 & 2011 is that preparation and having a plan are HUGELY important. Of course, logically this made sense to me when I started, but I am naturally resistant to plans and sometimes even preparing ahead of time. I have to experience the failure first hand from not being prepared and having a plan before I am motivated enough to put one in place.
As I have been looking around the internet for Project Life inspiration, I have noticed many peoples' last blog posts with finished album pages are from summer. What this tells me (and I am no different) is that the hardest times to keep up with a long term project such as Project Life are during times of transition as well as times of increased busyness. I don't think that is rocket science, but if one doesn't step back and recognize it and put a plan in place to prepare for the predicted stumbling blocks, the project, more often than not, will get abandoned.
I will wholeheartedly admit that most of this year and much of last, I have been scrambling to keep up with Project Life and never quite hit my stride for more than a few months at a time. Now, I do have a very good excuse in that I live in China so doing many of the things at home that are a no-brainer are far more time consuming , expensive and often impossible here, but I keep hanging on by a thread optimistic that one of these days I will complete my albums.
Participating in this project for the past two years, though not complete, has still taught me a lot and this is what I PLAN to do (and am starting to set up NOW) for next year.
1) Create a space where my Project Life album can lay open at all times so I can slide in bits and pieces from the week. This took me several attempts and some rearranging to find a place where it wasn't in the way.
2) Keep all my Project Life supplies together. I keep mine on a wooden tray with two inch sides. It contains several baskets that hold the cards and one that holds pens and stamps. Currently I am looking for a place in my home where I can keep the tray so it isn't taking up so much of my desk space. I would like to put my sewing machine on top of my desk.
3) Label each week well ahead of time so that it is clear where items from the week go. This way if I do fall behind, and a week doesn't get completed, I can still slide in things from the current week. (I lost my place this year and didn't have new cards labeled to mark the weeks and the weeks started getting away from me so I have a bunch of ephemera and it is not organized, so that will take some work to get that sorted.)
4) Get photos printed regularly. I am not sure yet how often I will get my photos printed. Ideally, I will do this once a week, but at the least, it will be monthly. At first I was printing at home using my own photo printer, but printing ink here in China is outrageously expensive, not to mention, I cannot get any photo paper so it must come from home (Calif). That means if I run out between visits, I'm out of luck.
5) I've purchased the Snapfish add on for Lightroom, that way I can set up a smart folder for my weekly Project Life uploads and it will make printing photos that much easier, more automatic and less time consuming.
6) This year I am going to WRITE THE DATE (or stamp it) on my memorabilia before I save it. This way if something happens to Plan #3, it will be easy to figure out which week the memorabilia belongs to. (This is a good back up plan for those unforeseen busy times when all the best laid plans go awry, i.e., kids are home for summer, winter holidays when we are busy, busy, busy, family vacation, extended trip home to the States for my family, beginning of the school year, etc.)
7) Saving stories on 100 Journaling Cards - 3" x 4" with Grid Design - I started doing this a few months ago when I started getting behind on my album. The kids would say funny things or I would notice something and I would grab a Journaling Card - 3" x 4" with Grid Design from my Project Life tray and a pen from the journaling basket that sits inside and jot down the antecdote, stamp the date and put it in my tray for the next time I work on my album.
Do you have any great tried & true Project Life tips to share? Post them in the comments. I'd love to hear.
EDITED 11/28 TO ADD:
BLACK FRIDAY PURCHASES
I was so excited to see that Becky decided to offer some discounts on PL products on Black Friday. Even I, living in China, could partake. Very exciting! Here is what I bought:
Project Life Core Kit - Amber Edition (I plan to buy the Clementine core kit when it is available. With both kits and some of my own patterened paper, I will be able to complete all 3 albums - 2009, 2010 & 2011)
Not a Project Life/Becky Higgins brand product, but a totally great addition to a PL album. I can't wait to use these:
in my cart. But by the time, I went to purchase, they were sold out! Luckily, I still have lots but I don't want to run out because I love them so much. Becky's blog says they should be back in stock in January so hopefully that will be before I return to China in mid-Jan. Fingers Crossed.
If not, though, my plan is to use the backs of journaling cards from the original Project Life kit that I don't like so much. I love having the mini blank canvas to play around with and make it my own. So much less intimidating than a huge 12x12 page.
Project LIfe Inspiration
Now that Becky is highlighting all of the Project Life albums around the web, I almost feel posting these links is redundant, partly because many of them I have found through her. But why not continue? There is a lot of inspiration to be found out there. It was hard to find just a month ago! So glad it is all being unearthed. I want to save these links as much for myself so that when the frenzy dies down, I'll still know where to find more inspiration. Complete pages are the most interesting to me.
Wendolonia (40th Year project) - love this!
Do you post your finished Project Life layouts on your blog? If you have any recent posts (the last month or so), post in the comments or send me an email and I'll link to you next week.