Hoopers on Holiday: Summer Travel Plans

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We are officially 2 WEEKS away from summer vacation!

School is wrapping up in a dizzying spell of events. It is officially hot hot outside and we are all antsy and grumpy and losing our minds. Teachers everywhere are raising their fists in solidarity.

With that said, you have probably noticed a slow in posts on this little blog. I’m going to go down to about 2 posts a week from here until August when I have a consistent routine again. My goal is to have enough content scheduled to post all summer while I’m gone, twice a week. Then I hope to post a bit while were on the road to update you on travels and fun things. (PS if anyone has a suggestion for a good app or way to post quick and easy let me know!) So don’t check out for summer, I have plenty of fun things coming up for you! Including a really fun announcement (July) and Creative Captures will run the second week of each month all through summer still!

I’ll be mostly hanging out on instagram if you want to follow along with our travels @laurenlikesblog. 

In case you are curious here is a quick break down of our summer plans: 

June 10-21: We are doing the Transiberian Railway. We will be spending a few days in Vladivostok, Irkutz and Listvyanka.

June 21-27: We will be in a small village in Russia WITH MY MOM AND GRANDMA!!!!! (can you feel my excitement?!) Helping them run a children’s camp at a church they support. Its has been 6 years since I have been there and I am SO excited to go back. My mom has been almost 20 times! I will be teaching an art journal workshop to the sweet Babushkas for a night of women’s ministry and Terrell will be teaching a ‘stomp’ band to the kids and of course there will be lots of games and crafts and snacks!

June 27-28: We will be hanging out in Moscow and Saint Petersburg taking tons of photos and using the hashtag #smellslikepootin because we are just so mature.

*We will be attempting to get a phone card so we have internet while in Russia (for travel help, etc) so I may be active on Instagram here, but may not during this time, so you’ll just have to stay tuned and see. I am really looking forward to taking the time on the train to disconnect, read, write, rest and watch Russia fly by my window.

June 28-July 7: We fly to Berlin!! We will be road tripping around Germany and hope to pop over to Prague and Vienna too.

*I hope I get to see all my internet friends since so many of you live in Germany! So if you want to hang out/let us sleep on your floor let me know! 

July 7-21: We will be in the states hanging out with our family and squeezing every single baby there is!

July 22-23: We fly home to Korea! WOW. And start work negative one day after we arrive…Yep you read that sentence right, we are actually flying in on the day were supposed to start work (and my new position as the elementary counselor!!!), so I will have to make up a day somewhere along the way. #sigh

Theres no rest for wanderlustful… 

Ahhh! I really can’t wait for this summer. There will be so many great blog posts and scrapbooks coming out of this trip. I’m probably equally as excited about that! And on that note, my plan to ‘keep up with’ project life this summer is pretty simple. I will take a polaroid photo a day, stamp the date on it and slip them into project life pockets when we get back. Of course I will be journaling and collecting memorabilia and dreaming of all the amazing big scrapbooks I can make when I get back…

Ok! So now that you know the plan, I need to make some plans! Any suggestions of what to see/do/eat in Russia, Germany, Prague or Vienna? Got any babies that need squeezing? 

 

Scrapbooking & The Dealio

Kimbop Heaven by Lauren LikesA few weeks ago I snagged this menu from our favorite Korean restaurant by our house with the idea to use it in a layout as a background. Then we took Terrell’s sister to said favorite restaurant and she snapped this photo with no prompting. I saw it, had her text it to me and within 24 hours it was in a layout in my project life album.

Welcome to my new scrapbooking philosophy.

I have been in a weird slump lately (and by lately I mean like 2 years) with scrapbooking. I love scrapbooking. I love crafting. I love pretty paper. It has always been a huge part of my life. I began scrapbooking with my mom in elementary school, but I didn’t really keep it up during high school or college, except for random projects here and there. (Thanks mom for YOU keeping up with it though and having our whole lives preserved so amazingly, so now I don’t have a whole life’s worth of photos to catch up on!!) Then when Elise designed the Seafoam edition (I still have no idea how I found her blog, but gosh I am thankful that I did!). I really thought about it for a long time, discussed it with friends and then for valentine’s day (we’re a no gift giving couple) Terrell just bought it for me, though we did not have the money to spend on something so ‘frivolous’. Thus, Project Life was born in our household. I made these first layouts and loved every second of it. I already had this blog and was sharing crafts, so sharing my Project Life pages was a natural extension of that.

Laurens First Project Life(My first and still to this day, most favorite page I’ve ever made)

And then. Oh man. Then I found the online scrapbooking community. It changed everything for me. There were SO many great, modern products out there. This revolutionized how I saw this hobby and set me on a whole new course. I was so excited to get back into this medium with fervour. And I did, slowly at first because we had noooooooo money, but I eyed those Studio Calico kits and design team projects like a jealous kid in summer time who wants to eat all the popsicles! And slowly, the creep began. I wanted in. I wanted to use those products. I wanted to be on those design teams. I wanted to define and claim my place in this amazing community and I wanted people to take notice. 

I began creating layouts based on what was popular and trendy. I was creating to keep up with a blog content schedule. I was creating these layouts and meticulously labelling which products I used and uploading them into project galleries on sites hoping to get noticed. I did, a little, but not really. I applied for design team after design team. Anyone and everyone’s teams. I got Rejection Letter after Rejection Letter (which was great for my rejection letter program, but not so great for the ego). I signed up for subscription kits and loved them at first, but then I didn’t so much. They then became expensive and burdensome. I began consuming at a rate much faster than I could create. I began feeling like my pages were just like everyone else’s. I was so frustrated because ‘this is what I wanted’. But why? Why was I not happy just being a part of the community? Being inspired by the great pages others were making and contributing my own pages to inspire others on my own time and in my own way?

Why was this not enough?

Why was I putting so much pressure on myself and getting hurt over something that is a hobby that grandma’s do so they can show their friends photos of their grand babies?!

And then it hit. I had lost sight of the grandmotherly goal: To preserve my photos to tell my story by doing it through a medium I enjoyed. 

Project Life 01(Week 2 2014) 

So I’m doing a cleanse. I have finished up my design team duties. I have cancelled my subscriptions. I have stopped buying copious amounts of new products. I have slowed down heavily relying on scrapbook content on this blog. But I’m making more and I’m loving my pages more. I’m letting myself off the hook for taking up real estate in the scrapbook world and this has been such a burden lifted. Stopping the endless applications to design teams (where I end up not liking the products and not being able to meet deadlines anyway) has made me more confident in my own style and creations. It has also allowed me to focus on more of what I want to be doing and taking my blog and my momentum in that direction. It has allowed me to be in control of what I create and when.

I really respect the crafters who are SO talented, but are not a part of a team because they are only doing this as a hobby. Free stuff isn’t worth the stress. I also respect the design team members who churn out so many inspiring projects each month. THANK YOU. To those of you pursuing those endeavours, I hope you find the perfect team for you and that you shine. For those of you feeling this same awkward burden, slow down with me and reflect if this is even something you truly want and need. Let’s all stop looking at each other and saying “I want what you have just because’, OK?

All of this long rant to say: No more pressure. No more comparison. No more burdens and deadlines. No more taking up space unless I have something that adds value. 

Ann-Marie recommended the UnStuck App recently, its free, so I immediately jumped on and worked through my “Project Life Problem”. I realized that as much as I love documenting in this format and keeping a log of our normal, daily life, I was still putting too much pressure on it with no real direction. So I’m changing it up again.

I will be focusing on events and photos that excite me. I will document the things that I’m excited to document. I will take time and infuse creativity into my spreads. I will use good photos. I will document events and people and specific moments that I want to remember. I LOVE looking back through my old album and seeing just the everyday stuff, but I’m too tired for that. My time is too limited. I have to choose and this is what I choose. I will allow those things to naturally work their way into my pages.

So I’m taking the grandmotherly approach. I will share my projects when I am excited to show you. I will make my projects when I have time. I will try to link products if I can. But I will make what I love and I will cherish and document, with grandmotherly love, the moments of my life. 

This moment where we are in our favorite restaurant, eating our favorite meal, in our everyday clothes is what I want to remember. Kimbop Heaven Layout by Lauren LikesPage made with the Messy Box which is the only kit I will be receiving as the products are my exact style at the moment and it is just the right price.

 

Around Here

2015-05-14 17.26.09 2015-04-29 21.12.19 2015-05-02 12.00.03 2015-05-09 22.46.21 2015-05-11 16.10.47-1 2015-05-16 17.41.57 2015-05-22 12.46.53Around here in real life, life has been busy, busy.

Around here we are preparing for graduation and saying goodbye to students. Which means lots of concerts, end of year events (field day!! field trips!!), awards ceremonies, final exams, gift giving and classroom cleaning to be done. TWO MORE WEEKS!

Around here Terrell’s sister is in town so we are travelling with her and showing her around this city that we love so much.

Around here we are trying to balance eating out and eating in with the busyness.

Around here I taught a little watercolor lesson to my small group one night, because well why not?!

Around here I performed a Brazilian dance at the international festive. Because again, why not?!

Around here we are planning and booking our Russia and Germany trip for summer. So much to see and do, how do we decide?! Any suggestions?!

Around here we are so excited to be getting a new washing machine and even a DRYER! Who would have thought this would be the best gift I ever received?

Around here we are getting excited about coming home in a few short weeks to visit friends and family and getting nervous too. So many people to see and not enough time…

Around here I am loving getting videos of friends babies who aren’t really babies anymore.

Around here I am trying to prepare lots of blogs and posts and things for when we are out traveling.

Around here I am tired and need a serious nap.

 

Creative Captures Recap!

Color ChallengeCan you taste the rainbow….

AHH! You guys! Ya’ll are amazing! So last week I hosted the first Creative Captures Photo Prompt Challenge on Instagram and to say it was a success would be an understatement! You guys rocked it way above and beyond what I ever imagined. I truly had no idea how many people would participate when I announced it, but there are 100s of bright and colorful photos under the hashtag now! You did some serious color hunting! Thank you all so much for your amazing contributions and for sharing it on social media.

I have another great set of prompts lined up for the second week of June and will share the prompts the first week so you can start getting ready a few days early @laurenlikesblog on instagram. 

Until then, browse the hashtag #creativecaptures to see all the wonderful color shots and for a little more inspiration I have rounded up a few people who did a fantastic job for you to see. Remember, this challenge was made to be short, simple and adaptable. You can do it as a crafter or maker of any kind or as just an observer of color in your world. You can do this challenge in a week or a month, whenever you have time. The point is to be able to look around you and capture things you wouldnt normally.

I chose to do a bit of all of them. I made an art journal page with each color and then looked around for color around me. I posted 3 photos a day so I could color cooridinate my instagram and I just want to stare at it alllll day long….

Here are some of my favorites for your inspiration: 

People who made an art journal a day: 
@paperhelen
@abstractinspiration
@imapapernerd
@justlittlejen
@cayleegrey

Colorful captures from around their world: 
@dansmoncrane
@juleneigl

Here is the prompt if you would like to save it and participate at a time that works better for you in the future! Feel free to add your photos to the hashtag #creativecaptures.

 Thank you so much for playing along and check back next month for the new set of Creative Capture Prompts here and on instagram @laurenlikesblog! 2015-05-07 14.22.04

Lost things and found people

I lost two of my SD cards. With new photos on them. They fell out in a cab. Our wonderful school staff are trying to find them for me and are going above and beyond what they should to do it. I probably wont get them back. I’ve had multiple melt downs over this already. My sweet husband went out and bought me a new SUPER GIANT SD card to replace them that night. Then I got this in the mail from Vanessa just a few hours after I lost them. I sat in the cafeteria and couldn’t really look at it because I knew I was going to have another meltdown. My coworker who witnessed the initial meltdown checked in on my 3 times during the day.

I lost the photos from our weekend trip and some random other things. But I found that at least 5 five people were willing to help me, care for and love me, all in one day, when I couldn’t do those things for myself. I’m still a little weepy when I think of the lost photos and a little embarrassed of how weepy I am, but I am eternally grateful for my people. I will be sure to not lose them.

This is a copy of the zine that Vanessa sent. IMG_6937 IMG_6939IMG_6940IMG_6935IMG_6936

Power of Community

The Power of Online CommunityDISCLAIMER: This post is not a push for people to sign up for the Get Messy community, nor do I received any affiliate payments by recommending any of these communities (except Get Messy obvs). I just truly believe in the Power of Community. 

Community is a powerful thing. Online and offline. I have shared before about our offline, in real life community we have. They are our bread and butter, the salt and light in our life. We would not exist without them. We would simply wither away in this world with no one to notice if we did not have these wonderful groups of people surrounding us. When we moved we left the, literally, most amazing small groups we have ever (and quite possibly will ever have) been in. As soon as we moved though, we jumped right into a new community group. These are small groups of like-minded people from our church that we meet with and learn from on a weekly basis. I believe this is absolutely essential to everyone’s life, no matter what stage of life you are in, no matter what you believe. Find a group of like-minded people and create an intentional community of people to be friends with and people who will support you when the going gets tough, celebrate with you when life is awesome, sit at the pool with you and make you laugh daily.

I recommend this for your offline life first and foremost. Then I recommend this for your online life also.

When you are a part of an online community, you learn and grow in your specific niche. You can make legit online friends who turn into real life friends. You receive SO much inspiration and new ideas from all over the world you would never be exposed to otherwise.

I am a crafter and I have plenty of in real life friends who are crafters. But it is hard to find people who totally get how crazy much I love crafting and who are always available at 2am when I want to craft or who are also constantly pumping out inspiring and new craft ideas. This is where I turn to the internet. Many of us have very niche interests and sometimes our in real life friends (are wonderful and supportive), but don’t ‘get it’ the way someone who lives in South Africa/Germany does. I come to this internet space to feel validated, inspired, encouraged and to be with the like-minded crazy paper hoarding people. 

I am a social worker/counselor by day and crafter/blogger by night. I receive training and support at my job and through conferences for my day job. So why shouldn’t I get training and support for my night-time hobby/job? That’s where I turn to ecourses and communities.

Ecourses and communities can sometimes be the similar in nature. Programs like Get Messy and 100 Rejection Letters are courses and communities in one. You learn valuable content, but it is balanced 50/50 with the community side.

Some programs are just learning centered (and they are awesome) but have no real interaction except maybe comments can be left or you can email the teacher. These are great for learning a skill and then putting it to work and moving on.

Then there are programs that are just community driven. I am a part of a small (less than 10 people) Facebook group that is for women who have an Etsy business and are like-minded. Someone just started the group and invited people we are friends with through the internet. It is just a forum for anything you need it to be. Sometimes people post great resources they have found. Sometimes people rant about terrible customers. Most of the time though, we are asking and answering questions such as ‘How much should I charge this client?” or “What’s wrong with this design layout I made because I can’t put my finger on it?” or “how do you schedule your day to be most product?”. Some questions are super specific to each of our unique businesses and some are general ‘life’ questions. I learn SO MUCH from this group and it is free and has no curriculum. It can go silent for weeks and then one day I have *literally 120 notifications from it. There are other communities like this that are free or paid for. When you pay you usually are paying for the expert advice of the person who runs it or the exclusivity of the group. But you can always start your own like we did.

There is power is all of these different types of communities. From having a safe place to vent or ask personal questions to learning a specific skill set to enhance your craft or business to finding like-minded paper junkies to inspire you and hoard with you. This is important for me. My husband and my friends support my love for crafting as best they know how, but know that I need a true, unfiltered, totally craft saturated outlet and know that I am a better, more inspired, happier person because of it.

Being part of an online community though is not an excuse to check out from the real world, nor should it turn into an unhealthy habit or obsession. It should fill a need or a void and only be a supporting voice in the chorus of your life.

 

So go find your community (online and offline). Here are a few I whole heartedly recommend because I am either a paid (or free!) member of them or I follow all of their other stuff and know they produce quality content.

Lemon and Raspberry: A group for creative entrepreneurs
RuKristen: Currently listers and Awesome Ladies group are for scrapbookers
Sean Wes: for online entrepreneurs
100 Rejection Letters: for biz’s who want to seek out new opportunity
Get Messy: for art journalers
BlacksBurgBelle: for creative biz’s
Big Picture Classes: for crafters
Studio Calico: for scrapbookers

Did I forget any? Please add your favorite community program in the comments! 

Adventures in pattern making: around the house

Adventures in Pattern Making- Around the house by Lauren LikesThe other night I started doodling and painting with my watercolors. No real direction or plan, just painting patterns. I ran out of ideas, so I perused Pinterest for a bit. I painted some patterns off of there. Then I went to start cooking dinner and saw the stove. There was a pattern in how the burners were layed out. Then I looked around and realized there were patterns on literally every surface of the house. Traditional ones, funky ones, weird ones. Everywhere! So I ran back into my craft room and began painting. Every time I finished a few I would run through the house scanning for more. I came up with a ton! I even challenged myself to find the pieces of the house that annoyed me the most to see the patterns/shapes/designs in them and those paintings turned out to be some of my favorites!

This was such a fun and easy excersize that got me practicing my painting skills, trained my eye to find inspiration from around my surroundings and I came out with some really cool cards that I can use in my Project Life or art journal. Win, Win, Win!

What are you inspired by? Take a look around and see what patterns and designs you see in your world and use that. See where it takes you! I think this could be a really cool excersize that you could do frequently. Maybe go on a photo walk and then bring your photos back and paint the patterns you see in them. Or take your paints outside! Or challenge yourself to see patterns in different areas, etc. Oh the possibilities….IMG_6477 IMG_64782015-05-04 19.58.18 2015-05-05 15.37.01 2015-05-05 15.39.282015-05-05 15.38.04 2015-05-05 15.41.03 2015-05-05 15.44.102015-05-05 15.42.11 2015-05-05 15.45.39   2015-05-05 15.46.502015-05-05 15.43.102015-05-05 21.58.20

My Selfie Scrapbook Pages

Last week I talked about what I learned from the My Selfie Scrapbook Challenge and the Belle Insta Inspiration Challenge. With the Selfie Challenge though the other half of the title is ‘Scrapbook’, so that’s what I am sharing today. I literally joined in on this challenge for the sole reason of creating this page. I saw Elsie create this page using the Messy Box days of the week washi tape and I wanted to do so also. When I saw the selfie challenge I knew it was exactly how I was going to be able to do that.

My Selfie Scrapbook by Lauren LikesI had completed this page before I was even finished taking the photos and had to make myself wait to do it even at this point! I was just so excited about how beautiful the photos turned out and how easily the page came together. My Selfie Scrapbook Project Life using Messy Box by Lauren LikesThe premise for this project was simple: a unique photo of The Dr. and I each day. Dr. T got sick a few days in and wasn’t in the mood for my ridiculous photo shenanigans, so I took a few by my selfie and then to balance it out used one of him by his selfie at the end. I loved this project because we came out of it with seven new, great photos. It allowed us a few minutes of creativity together each day. And it really pushed my photography skills to think of new angles and new ways to capture our story and the details of our lives.

My Selfie Scrapbook Lauren LikesThe pages are simple. Just a photo a day + the day of the week washi. The beginning cards reads: The Joy of Life. So perfect.

Remember, from this challenge, I created the Creative Captures Photo Challenge. It is a week-long, monthly photo challenge for crafters, adventurers and photographers! This week we are doing ROY G BIV! There is still time for you to play along or you are more than welcome to do the prompts at your own pace. Read more about it here or follow me on instagram for more info and colorspiration @laurenlikesblog!

 

Hawaii in Photos

Photo Mar 22, 1 12 06 PMOver spring break in March we spent a week in Oahu. We spent lots of time sitting on the beach reading, lots more time driving around and exploring. This was our second time in Hawaii, the first was our honeymoon to Maui. This place is just pure magic. Here are a few photos from my iPhone. Photo Mar 22, 1 14 04 PM Photo Mar 22, 1 14 59 PM Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Photo Mar 23, 1 42 02 PM Photo Mar 25, 8 46 18 AM Photo Mar 26, 9 03 04 AM Photo Mar 26, 10 42 49 AM Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Photo Mar 27, 1 13 39 PM Photo Mar 27, 10 23 20 AM Photo Mar 28, 9 44 45 AM Photo Mar 28, 9 48 05 AM Photo Mar 28, 9 53 16 AM Photo Mar 28, 9 53 18 AM (1) Photo Mar 28, 9 53 18 AM Photo Mar 28, 9 53 19 AMPhoto Mar 28, 9 53 19 AM (1) Photo Mar 28, 9 53 19 AM (2)  Photo Mar 28, 11 05 17 AM Photo Mar 28, 11 06 34 AM

Art Journal 101 is live!

I’m so excited that today is the day! Get Messy Art Journal 101 class is live on Big Picture Classes! And remember you get a two-week free trial so you can go through the class totally free and then tons more fun classes after that! I hope you are excited about this course and take advantage of all it has to offer. We can’t wait to see how many people start art journaling and see all the great pages they create.

Here are a few sneaks of fun photos from the class!  Can’t wait to see you there! Get Messy Art Journal 101 on Big Picture Classes Get Messy Art Journal 101 on Big Picture Classes Get Messy Art Journal 101 on Big Picture Classes