Tuesday, January 24, 2017

My Monthly Kits

As I've mentioned before, part of moving to our new house involves some serious down-sizing. Our new house is about 900 square feet; that's about a quarter of the size of our previous home. And there is only one bedroom, which means no separate offices and no craft room.

As someone who has amassed a shitload of supplies over the last 20-or-so years, that was a hard pill for me to swallow initially. But I've come to terms with the fact that my habits are going to have to change...no, I've more than come to terms with it, I've embraced it. I'm ready for change. I'm ready for new challenges. And I'm ready to have less stuff to deal with.

What I'm not ready to do is to simply toss all the things I've collected over the years. There are a lot of supplies in my stash that I still love, even if they are a little out of date or out of trend. So instead of getting rid of everything and continuing to collect new things, I made a pact with myself. I cancelled the Studio Calico Documenter Kit subscription that I've had for over two years and instead decided to make my own kits from things I already own. 

My goal for 2017 is to limit what I buy to essentials (page protectors, glue runners, etc.) and a small amount of digital products. Other than that, I want to only use things that I already have. It's a big goal, and I'm almost positive that I will slip up at some point, but that's okay. I will still be adding less to my stash than I have in past years, and more importantly, I will be using the things I already have and love. 

For each kit I tried to stick to a kind of recipe so that I would be sure to have enough to work with but wouldn't add too much and overwhelm myself. Each kit has two sheets of 12x12 colored cardstock, 10-12 12x12 patterned papers, 8-10 sheets of 6x6 paper, 8-10 of both 4x6 & 3x4 journaling cards, alpha stickers, washi tape strips, and various other embellishments. 

When I sat down to make the kits, I started by picking twelve of my favorite items from my stash, then built a kit around each item, keeping seasons and holidays in mind. Each kit is coordinated and completely different from the others. 

I had more than enough in my stash to make 12 kits, and I can't even tell you how fun it was to put them together. I have all of them packaged up and waiting for me to rediscover at the beginning of each month. 

I also set some goals for using the contents of each kit, like I want to make more traditional layouts and even try my hand at card-making, in addition to continuing with project life. And there's plenty in each kit to do all of that. 

Now the only thing left to do is get this house finished enough that I have space to actually make something!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Home Sweet Home

We bought our first home in 2004. It was the summer before my senior year in college, and we knew we'd be around for at least another year, so it seemed like a solid move.

It was definitely a fixer-upper. We removed fake wood panelling from nearly every room in the house, took down rickety make-shift closets, and had a list a mile-long of other things we hoped to accomplish while we were there.

A year later, when I had finished school, and we had managed to make a small dent in our list, J was given the opportunity to work in Vancouver, B.C., and we took it. We left our little house for the big city, and when we returned six months later, our priorities had shifted. We were ready to move on to bigger and better things.

Luckily our little house was located in a college town, and there were no shortage of renters. So we finished as many of our to-do list items as we could, and our little house became a rental.

Fast forward 8 years to the fall of 2015. I was living in an apartment in a small town in southern Indiana while working as the local library director, and J was still living in our country house three hours north of there. It was hard and stressful and lonely for both of us.

Then our thoughts returned to our little rental house. It was half way between the two places, within driving distance to both of our jobs. So after much thought, we decided to move back home.

Being a rental for 8 years had taken a toll on our little house. It was in need of some serious TLC. We started renovations in August of 2015 with the intent of being done by the end of September. Oh, how optimistic we were!

Renovations never go exactly as planned, and now, a year and 5 months later, we are just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. That means that for the last 17 months we have been living in a construction zone. The word "chaos" doesn't do it justice. 

I wanted to share this to give you some context to my life as it is right now. So many of my decisions over the last several months and my goals for the next year have come from this place of chaos and the need to feel more grounded and settled. 

I couldn't be happier to be back in a town that feels as much like home to be as anyplace ever could, with old friends I've missed terribly, and in a house I know I will truly feel at home in. But it's been a long road getting here, and we still have a long road ahead to finish what we've started. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hello, 2017

I don't do resolutions. I don't make big sweeping statements about radical changes I intend to make just because I flipped a page on the calendar. It's not realistic. And I know myself well enough to know that I will buck against any rules I try to set for myself.

But I do believe in the power of goal-setting. I set goals for myself all the time. Some of those goals are well thought out and have a support system in place to help me keep them. Some of the goals I set are more like wishful thinking. Clearly one method works better than the other.

So for the start of 2017, in an effort to put last year behind me and focus on the coming months, I have set some goals. Goals that I have been thinking about for quite some time. Goals that I have done the work of creating support for. Goals that I am invested in enough to not simply blow-off in a week or two.

I'm excited about the changes these goals will effect, both physical and mental, and I hope to share more about them over the next several weeks.

What goals have you made for yourself for 2017?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 In Review

Let's be real here. 2016 was a total shit show.

All of my plans went to crap, and I spent the year living in a house without a kitchen or most of a bathroom. It was stressful and depressing, and I'm pretty sure it took a good five years off my life.

...And that's not even mentioning the things that happened outside of my personal life. Ugh.

To say that I'm glad 2016 is over is an understatement. If I could have kicked 2016 is the ass as it headed out the door, I totally would have.

So here's to hoping 2017 is a better year. And just to start the year on a positive note, let me recap the handful of good things that happened in 2016.

J had the opportunity to spend two weeks in India. While that doesn't sound like a good thing to me, he had been looking forward to it and hoping it would happen in 2016. He met some great people, had some interesting experiences, and brought back presents, so it was a win-win.

We had the chance to spend lots of time with friends, including camping for a week and attending the John Hartford Memorial Festival in Bean Blossom for the fourth year.

J and I also got the chance to get away, just us and the dogs. We spent a week in Michigan on Glen Lake, and I will never get over how beautiful it us up there. 

We added a new member to our family. Nacho kitty has been great for Scrunchy the demon cat. Scrunch has completely given up attacking us and now saves all of her pent up frustrations for Nacho. Plus Nacho is the sweetest, cuddliest kitty I have ever known.

Abi completed her therapy dog training, and she was a rock star. All that's left is for her to take the final test, and then she'll be a certified therapy dog. Not bad for an old girl.

My mom and I drove to Kansas to spend the weekend with family at the Whatever Craft House. It was amazing. We had so much fun (maybe a little too much, eh mom?), and the house was gorgeous. I'm so glad we were able to make it happen.

And that about covers the positives for the year. So adios 2016. Here's to a better year ahead!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Early Morning Scrapbooking

This morning I woke up with an almost urgent need to make something. Does this ever happen to you? This feeling that you just need to create something, like NOW. It happens to me all. the. time. Though I have to say, it rarely happens before 8 am. But today I woke up with the dawn itching to get my hands messy. How could I ignore such a desire?

Normally, my Project Life album would have been my obvious go-to project, but I just sent off a full year's worth of photos to be developed (March - June of this year, and a good portion of 2015), so I knew I didn't have any Project Life pages ready to work on. What I had was a photo, taken several years ago, that had been sitting on my workspace for several weeks. It's one of my all-time favorite photos, and I had been waiting for a moment such as this to give it the attention it required.

And so, in a frenzy of creativity, I created the page below. All before 9 am.

I don't do 12x12 scrapbook layouts very often. Even when I was first starting out (nearly two decades ago - yikes), I preferred to create smaller pages that would fit in a standard 8.5x11 binder...mostly because I was broke and they were cheaper than 12x12 albums. But lately, I've been drawn more to this larger size. Maybe it's the piles of 12x12 papers I've been hoarding, or maybe it's because I've switched to a 9x12 Project Life album and so to switch things up I need to go bigger rather than smaller. Whatever it is, I'm enjoying working with the 12x12 format. 

To give credit where credit is due, this layout was largely inspired by this one by Niru for Cocoa Daisy. I loved the black and white striped background broken up by the gradient, watercolor-look paper running down the center. 

Of course, I needed to change the color scheme to match our outfits...which was the whole reason the photo was taken in the first place. 

Products Used:

Dear Lizzy Fine and Dandy 12x12 Paper Pad
Studio Calico Sundrifter 12x12 Paper Pad
Amy Tangerine Cut and Paste Cut Out Accents
Maggie Holmes Confetti Celebrate Thickers
We R Memory Keepers Inked Rose Sentiments 12x12 Paper
Alison Kreft for Echo Park Capture Life Bokeh Blur 12x12 Paper
Chic Tags Happy Place Labels

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you're having a creative morning!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Week In The Life 2016, Part 4

It has been a crazy couple of weeks around here. This driving back and forth between the two houses (in two different towns) stuff is getting old. But at least there is an end in sight. More on that later...

The important thing right now is that I was (finally) able to get the last video of my WITL album recorded, edited, and posted. Woohoo!

It's a short one. I really just wanted you to get to the see the finished album in its entirety, and I really didn't see the need for a long, wordy video in order to get that done. So without further ado...

The ridiculously long supply list I promised is below, so be sure to scroll down if you're looking for a particular element I used in the album.

Since the video flips through the album pretty quickly, I thought I'd share a few close up photos as well, so you can peruse them at your leisure.

I can't say enough how much I enjoyed working on this project. It was exactly what I needed at the time. I will definitely do it again in the future.

And I've been thinking a lot about Ali's upcoming Day In The Life date as well. More of my thoughts on that at a later date.

Previous Week In The Life 2016 Posts:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Full Supply List:

BasicGrey Hipster Capture Album & Inserts
French Bull wrapping paper from Michaels
Album label holder from Michaels (similar)
Becky Higgins Project Life Golden Themed Cards
Simple Stories 6x8 Page Protectors
Ali Edwards Handdrawn Day Brush File
Ali Edwards The Story of Today Digital Cards
Ali Edwards Read Story Kit
Inkjet Transparency Film from Amazon (similar)
Pebbles Family Ties Mini Alpha Stickers
Martha Stewart Label Stickers from Staples
Studio Calico Geotags Chipboard Shapes
Gelly Roll White Pen
American Crafts Slick Writer Pens
Studio Calico Snippets 6x6 Paper Pad
EK Tools Mini Heart/Star Punch Set
Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher
We R Memory Keepers Fuse Tool
Studio Calico Sundrifter Love Wins 12x12 paper
Becky Higgins Clementine Edition Paper Pack
Becky Higgins Seafoam Edition Paper Pack
Studio Calico Project Life/Documenter Kits:
Hello, Hello
Penny Arcade
Poet Society
Park Ave
Far Far Away
Lisse Street
Carolina Moon
Pop Art
Wink Wink
Film Club 
Jolly Holiday

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Project Life: 2016 Title Page

I ran into a little snag in getting the final Week In The Life video posted. Actually, as I write this I'm out of town for a job interview (keep your fingers crossed for me!). So while I'm away from home working on scoring a paying a gig, I've decided to share this year's Project Life title page. Seems appropriate since we're now over halfway through the year, right? Oh well, better late than never.

I actually completed this a couple months ago, and I honestly had so much fun doing it. It was one of those rare moments where inspiration seems to strike out of nowhere, and I was totally in a state of flow. That doesn't happen very often in my craft room.

I chose to do a 9x12 album this year. And I'm keeping with the monthly, rather than weekly format. I works better for us and our not-so-exciting daily lives.

2016 Project Life Title Page by Krystal L Becker

I've also decided to keep my corners squared off instead of rounded. This proved to be a little difficult to do with the Studio Calico Documenter kits, but I'm making it work.

 I'll have more details about my 2016 album soon. No, really I will. I promise. ;)

I'm not caught up by any means, but I have plenty to share. Besides, I've kind of given up on the idea of ever being "caught up" anyway. It's overrated.


Studio Calico January 2016 Arendal Documenter Kit
American Crafts Printshop! 6x6 paper pad
American Crafts Amy Tangerine Rise & Shine Grace Gold Phrase Thickers
American Crafts Amy Tangerine Ready Set Go Roller Date Stamp
Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher

I hope to have the next (and last) Week In The Life video posted early next week along with some close-up photos, so check back soon!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Week In The Life 2016, Part 3

Guys, I finally have some real progress to show you! Day 1 is complete! It took me forever to figure out the best way to deal with the awkward pocket sizes in this album, but once I decided what I liked best, it came together in a snap.

I'm really loving this album so far. I'm so glad I took them time to do this project! Thank you, Ali Edwards, for the inspiration and motivation to do this!

If you missed the first two videos, you can find them here and here.

The font I mentioned is Amatic, and it's available here. The two Ali Edwards digital files I used are Handdrawn Days brush file and The Story of Today digital cards.

I'll be back later this week with lots of pics as well as a video walk-through of the finished album, so stay tuned!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Week In The Life 2016, Part 2

Today's video will walk you through how I decided to structure my album, as well as how I handled my photo sizing/printing and journaling.

If you missed the first video, you can find it here.

The two Ali Edwards digital files I used are Handdrawn Days and The Story of Today 3x4 Cards.

I hope you all enjoyed seeing my process. Check back next week for the third video of the series!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Week In The Life 2016

This year I finally decided to join Ali Edwards in doing a Week In The Life album, and I am so excited to be sharing this project with you guys!

Since I was out of town during the week that Ali chose for her WITL album, I chose to document the week of May 15th through the 21st instead. I also made the very difficult decision not to purchase the WITL kit. I really loved everything about the kit that Ali put together for this year, but ultimately, I couldn't justify purchasing more supplies when my stash is already overflowing.

So today I have a video for you that walks you through the supplies I've chosen and the first steps I've taken towards putting the album together.

I hope you were able to find some inspiration in my rambling. :) Stay tuned for more videos as I continue to work on my Week In The Life 2016 album!