my journey

This is my story of how I started scrapbooking, doing photo-a-day and how I am where I am today.....

If you want to read about my story in more detail....

I started paper scrapbooking in 2000. I loved it and thought I would do it forever that is until I discovered digital scrapbooking in December 2004. In 2004, digital scrapbooking was still not well-known and there weren't many tutorials on what you needed to do to get started. I played around and figured things out through trial and error. Once I got the hang of it, I liked it, but I still continued to do my paper layouts.

I was happily doing both paper and digi when I had my first daughter in 2006. It was really in her first year of life that I noticed me leaning towards doing more digital. With having a newborn, it was just easier to sit
down at the computer and create a layout during her nap than it was to pull out all the paper, photos and other stuff and make a big mess and not accomplish anything! Than after the birth of my second daughter in late 2008 I made the decision that digi was the way to go. I went from using Paint Shop Pro to using Photoshop Elements.  What a change that was! It made me even more efficient in creating layouts!

It was in the summer of 2008, that I got my first big break and was published. I think it’s every scrapbookers dream to have a layout published. I know for me, my dream was to be published in my favourite scrapbooking magazine, Creating Keepsakes. My dream came true when the July issue of Creating Keepsakes came out. Not only was it my first time being published, but it was a digital layout that they published!! I felt like it couldn’t get better than that moment.

Fast forward to January 1, 2009, while on maternity leave that I decided to tackle project 365, taking a photo every day for a year! I thought this is perfect; I am at home on maternity leave for a year, what better year to do this project! I was super excited to embark on this journey. I approached the project as a way to document our life as a family, the good and the bad.  

About three weeks into the project I was faced with the bad, as my husband was laid off from work due to poor economic times. What a blow that was! I'll never forget the day - it was January 21, 2009. Part of me wanted to stop doing project 365, but another part of me said, this is life, it's real, stuff happens and it's how we deal with situations like this that makes us who we are! So I continued on, not missing a day!

With having two little ones, there was never a shortage of photo opportunities. Not only that, we were all together, as a family. Instead of looking at the negative of my husband not working, I looked at the positive, which was the fact that we were spending quality time together as a family. When would we ever get time like this again!?! Even though it was tough and there were some bad days, there were far more good days! For one, having him home allowed me a little extra time to scrapbook and blog. I started blogging in 2006, a month before my oldest daughter was born. I started the blog as I way to keep family members updated on her progress and a place to share photos. Now my blog has become my personal journal and my way of documenting our life. Up until 2009, I was blogging about once a week or so. Than in 2009, when I decided to do project 365, I started blogging every day! At the end of the day, I would upload the pictures I took that day and write about it. It was my way of documenting our day, so no matter what happened; I would always have my blog posts to refer to. This was and still is a huge part of my process for documenting life.

On top of my daily blog posts, I was creating weekly digital layouts for project 365. I was using templates and supplies from a variety of designers. It was great!!! I loved seeing my completed layouts at the end of the week! At the time, I had no idea what I would do with all the completed layouts, but I was researching a few different options. I knew I wanted it to be a bound book, not like my other digital layouts that I was getting printed and putting into traditional scrapbook albums.

The months were flying by and by March 2009 I had been very diligent about creating my weekly layouts each week, as well as creating many other layouts to go into my daughter’s scrapbook albums. I always knew that I wanted to maintain albums for the two of them, outside of the work I was doing for project 365.

I was posting all these layouts in the same online gallery I’ve been posting to all these years, Two Peas in a Bucket. I had discovered them back in my early days of paper scrapbooking. I use to scan my paper layouts to post, but now I could easily upload my jpeg file of my layouts! It was in mid-March that I received an email from Crystal Wilkerson, asking me to be a guest creative team member. When the month was up, she asked me to join her Creative Team.I was super excited and again thought it can’t get any better than this!

A few months later, while still continuing to do project 365 and creating weekly layouts and documenting life a few more of my layouts and even some photos of mine were published in Creating Keepsakes. Fabulous! I was super excited and just enjoying this creative outlet. Life was by no means perfect, as my husband was still looking for work, but as I said, we were enjoying this time as a family.

It was in May 2009, that I received an email asking me to join Two Peas in a Bucket as a Garden Girl. I really didn’t know much about Garden Girls. I always thought it was something for the super-talented, celebrity-type scrapbookers! People like Ali Edwards were once a Garden Girl. So how could it be that I was being asked!?! Once I had time to process how big this was and how much of an honour it is to be asked, I accepted. I continued on the journey of documenting life and enjoying my new creative team and loving it.

By the end of 2009, I had returned to work after being off on a year maternity leave. It was rough to go back, but at least my girls were in good care with their Daddy, as he still hadn’t found a job. The end of the year also marked the completion of project 365! I was very behind in my weekly layouts by this point, but I had a plan to get them finished and printed in a book. I couldn’t let all my hard work be for nothing! I needed to have that book to prove I had done it, but even more importantly to have as a reminder of what an amazing year we had as a family. A year that had many ups and downs, but in looking back, it truly was the best year ever!!

When 2010 rolled around, I made another significant change; I stepped down as a Garden Girl at Two Peas in a Bucket. Changes were taking place and I felt it was my time to move on. It was at that time that I got an email from a familiar friend, Crystal Wilkerson. She was now designing for, a very well-known and respected digi scrapbook store. Crystal thought I would be perfect to join Jessica’s Creative Team. A few weeks later, I got an email from Jessica inviting me to join the team! Again, I was just in awe of how truly blessed I was to have such an amazing opportunity. It’s been two years now and I have loved every minute of being on Jessica’s Creative Team. As time went by, more and more amazing designers joined the ranks. I counted myself very lucky to be able to continue to do what I love, all the while using amazing products from all these amazing designers! Again, I thought, it can’t get any better than this!

In 2010, I attempted to do project 365 again, but wasn’t feeling it. I think I put too much pressure on myself to take a photo every, single day! So around mid-March I stopped. I didn’t stop documenting life, because that has always been part of me, there was no way I would ever stop doing that, but I stopped taking photos every day. Instead I went back to taking photos when I felt the need to, which was still very often. I also continued to keep my blog updated with what we were doing as a family and I also kept on scrapbooking. So not a whole lot changed, I just didn’t have weekly layouts at the end of the year to reflect on. Instead, I printed all my blog posts as a book, well technically two books, as they all wouldn’t fit in one! Part of me felt okay with this, but another part of me wanted that book, a yearbook of sorts. So that’s why in 2011, I decided to tackle project 365 again. But this time around, I wouldn’t be so hard on myself. If I only took three photos a week, that was fine by me, I was still documenting life.

By the end of 2011, I was very happy to be enjoying my a day in the life project, as it really wasn’t a photo-a-day project anymore, as I wasn’t taking photos every day, although for the most part I was. I was loving that my weekly layouts were coming together, even though I had let myself get behind, since I didn’t start out the year wanting to do weekly layouts, but later decided that I loved my first book so much, as did my girls, so I knew I had to make another one. I was also still enjoying being on an amazing Creative Team at Life was good and I couldn’t have asked for more.
On Tuesday, January 31, 2012, an email from Becky Higgins changed everything.

I was a month into doing project 365/project life again and like in the past, I was loving it. I had just finished sending my 2011 book off to print and starting to work on my weekly layouts for 2012. This time around, I decided to use Becky’s Project Life templates and digital kits. I had just recently posted my first two weeks. I felt good about them, but didn’t feel like they were amazing by any means, I was just glad to be starting on my 2012 layouts and feeling like this time around that I wouldn’t allow myself to get too far behind!

So when I came home that Tuesday night and went to check email before starting dinner, I was in shock to see an email from Becky Higgins in my inbox!!! Once I got over the initial shock that a woman I have been following for years, who is the reason I even bought Creating Keepsakes to begin with and who I have admired was sending me an email, I then opened it to read what she had to say. I was completely and utterly shocked when I read that she wanted me to be on her Creative Team!!! This could not be happening to me!! I have been blessed with so many wonderful opportunities, but this one was like the icing on the cake. To have someone like Becky say that she admires what you’re doing is BIG!! Here I was, just doing my thing, documenting the life of my family and enjoying a hobby that I truly believe in. All I could think was, how is this happening to me?!? My husband was the first person I told. He joked with me and said, “Who is Becky Higgins?” Of course he knows exactly who she is, because for the past 10 years I’ve probably mentioned her name a thousand times and shown him at least a hundred layouts using one of Becky’s sketches. He got how big this was and how much it meant to me.

And so my journey continues….

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a prize! At least now you know how I started on my journey into digital scrapbooking and how I started doing project 365/project life and how I am where I am today.

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