Friday, December 23, 2011

Fresh Start- Arriving 12.30.11

Happy Holidays everyone! I can't believe this happened, but yesterday I sat down to select a color scheme and find some inspiration for my next kit (that I planned to release in January) and the next thing I knew- the entire kit was designed! Talk about creative inspiration! I swear this kit designed itself.

Here's a little sneak peek of what's to come:

Enter to win! 

To enter the giveaway to win "Fresh Start", simply leave a comment below. Extra entries can be earned by:
1. Like Amy Jaz Designs on facebook. Come back here and leave a comment letting me know you became a fan.
2. Tweet about the Giveaway, and leave a comment below with your link to your tweet.
3. Blog about the Giveaway, and leave a comment below with your link to the blog post.

The Giveaway will end and the winner will be selected on Thursday, December 29th at 9:00pm Pacific Time. Good Luck!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December Daily | Day Sixteen

Hey look- I'm only five days behind! :-)

Today was an easy story to document- my Hubby's birthday! We had an entire five minute conversation the night before his big day about whether he was turning 33 or 34. He thought he was turning 34, but I reminded him that he is only 33. Sucks getting old. The mind is the first thing to go.

On the left I have a simple photo collage of pics from our dinner at The Outback and a gathering at my Mom's house later for a giant birthday cookie (it was really more for the kids- the hubs isn't a big fan of sweets). Notice the huge color difference between the actual jpeg (below) and the picture of the print (above)? Yeah. Me too. And I'm not happy about it, but I was low on ink when I printed this page, so I'm guessing that's the problem. Now that I'm actually using my printer, I'd like to spend some time getting to know it, and how it prints. So far it prints red- big time. 

On the right I simply typed my journaling in a random pattern, print, and cut it into word strips. I used a kraft paper background, and added a striped paper from A Very Vintage Christmas to the bottom. I stapled a mini tag to the bottom, and used alphabet stickers to add the "16". 

December Daily | Day Fifteen

I took a page out of Ali's book, and decided to send my girl's their own video messages from Santa, courtesy of Portable North Pole. This was a really fun thing to do, and it was quick and easy. Of course, Lilly was more interested in pounding on my laptop than the message from Santa, but Jules got a total kick out of it.

On the left side, I have two close ups of the girls watching their videos. I wish I would have turned these Black and White because the color is pretty awful, but oh well. I printed these on photo paper and then added a word strip from my  Candy Cane Lane Element Pack.
On the right, I have a picture of my screen while the video was playing, and I typed my journaling directly on the photo (font is geosans light). On the bottom, I added two paper strips using papers from A Very Vintage Christmas and Candy Cane Lane
 The tag is also from A Very Vintage Christmas, and I added the text "fifteen", and then print and cut.

Journaling reads:

"Tonight the girls received a very special treat.... they each received a video message from the one and only Santa Claus. Santa wanted to make sure they knew he was watching them from the North Pole, and that he had something really special planned for them for Christmas, so they needed to stay on their best behavior. Both girls were on the “nice” list, and we all want them to stay there! It was so cute watching their faces as they received their message from Santa. Lilly was more interested in pressing buttons on Mommy’s computer, but  she still thought it was fun to sit on her sister’s lap and watch the video. Jules was relieved that she was on the nice list. "

December Daily | Day 14

Hi friends! I bet you think I forgot about my DD album didn't you? Well I haven't! I'm still in the game and we're almost done (thank god)! Today I am bringing you Day 14 which was a relatively uneventful day, so I chose today to share our Christmas card for the year.
 But before I go into the specifics of my page, I must first share with you a revelation....

So up until now I've been sending my photos off to a print lab every few days to print and put in my album. As I've mentioned several times, I am a print snob, and even though I have a nice photo printer- the prints weren't cutting it for me. Well, as much as I love the prints I have made, it's a pain in the butt and it slows me down to have to do this. As I am preparing for Project Life in 2012, I knew this was going to be a huge obstacle for me, so I decided to give my printer one more shot. So last night I ran to Office Max,  and bought new ink and new printer paper for my Epson and gave it a whirl...

Wow. What a difference a little paper and ink can make. I realized the photo paper I've been using, although a good deal (it was free from my Dad), was not a good deal at all because it was old (or something!) and the prints looked terrible on the paper. But once I loaded my printer with some new photo paper, the difference was astonishing! And I have to tell you about the BEST deal I got at Office Max- they were running a sale on all HP photo papers, Buy One Get One Free, so I picked up TWO packs of 50 sheets for $36. On top of that, both boxes include a code for Snapfish for a free 8x8 photo book. So essentially I got 100 sheets of photo paper and two 8x8 custom photo books for $36. How's THAT for a good deal??!! Run, don't walk to Office Max!

So long story short, I am so happy to be back in business and printing from home. I started working on my Project Life album last night, and life will be A LOT easier if I am printing from home.

Anyway, back to Day 14...

On the left I have a simple page that I created using a solid grey background from my Candy Cane Lane Paper pack, and I stapled my 2012 Christmas card to the page. 

On the right, I have a simple instagram shot of my cards (unfolded) with my christmas tree in the background. I printed this page on photo paper, and that's it!

Are you still hanging in there with your December Daily? We are SO close to done!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Preparing for Project Life 2012

As we head into 2012, I've been doing a LOT of thinking about how I want to approach documenting our life this year. At first I wasn't going to go for Project Life since I couldn't get past the obstacle of printing my photos at home. Since I figured that out, I made the decision to give PL another go for 2012.

The thing that I really love about Project Life is the ability to include the bits and pieces from every day life. Having a toddler in preschool, I have a lot of art projects that I want to save!

If you've read my blog long, you probably already know that I'm a planner. I need a plan for everything, or I feel overwhelmed. So I've begun my planning and I'm gathering my supplies.

I'm still waiting for this binder to become available:

Please Becky- all I want for Christmas is my 2012 Project Life Binder! ;-)

As of right now, I'm sticking to Design A  for my planner pages. This makes it easier on my planning, but I can see how I might get bored with the same layout for each week, so we'll see how it goes.

I will begin each month with a little 6x12 divider page.

Next I went to Joann's and stocked up on some Smash products, including almost all the Smash Pads they had, paper tape (a MUST- and I want more to choose from), a date stamp, and some other random goodies.
At this point you might be wondering which kit I am using- Clementine? Cobalt? Turquoise? Well....IF I was going to buy a kit I would definitely go for Clementine- it's yummy!  However, I know myself, and I will be bored with just using one kit for an entire year. I won't make it past January without being bored! 

So I have settled on this- I will incorporate my own kits (yes, you can expect journaling cards from me in the coming year!), and I will use one kit per month (to reduce a crazy amount of design time, and also to give each month a little cohesion). For January, I am definitely using my new "Fresh Start" kit! It's perfect for documenting the start of the new year. 

Now for the execution of my album...

This year I found that once I started getting behind, it was really hard to remember what happened each week, and getting caught up was becoming impossible. So a few months ago I started using Oh Life, and have found it to be EXTREMELY helpful in remembering what happened when I get behind. I also love it that half my journaling is already done by the time I got to put my layout together. 

However, I also needed help in mapping out what happened each week, and how I was going to get it all in my album, so I created a weekly planner:
click image to download

And a weekly map, so I can sketch it all out before I go to put it in my album:
click image to download
I have been using these two pages for my December layouts, and for ONCE in this process, I do not feel overwhelmed because my weeks are already planned out, and thanks to Oh Life, my journaling is half done. I keep my planner pages in 8.5x11 page protectors in my album as a place holder for that week. I made these planner pages a free printable. Just click on the image to download these PDFs.

So that's my plan for 2012! Are you ready? What materials are you using?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Big Lens- iPhone App

If you are like me, you have more iPhone pics than you do regular pictures. It's just so dang convenient- always right there when you need it. The downside for me is that I'm a quality snob, and the quality of the pictures from the iphone just don't cut it for me. So I'm constantly on the look out for apps that improve the quality of your photos, or add vintage filters and such (like instagram) that makes it look like the grainy quality of the picture was intentional.

Today I ran across this post from showcasing an app called Big Lens. The app is meant to mimic the look of using a lower aperture lens on a DSLR camera. Being the photography app junkie that I am, I had to give it a shot.

I downloaded the app, and in just a few minutes, I transformed one of the pics I took of Lilly over the weekend from drab to fab.

Original Image:
 Image after using Big Lens (I used the Lomo 2 filter):
Much better! However, the grain is still killing me, so I ran it through my Photogene2 app, and ran a little de-noising. Here's the final image:

Now it's still not a DSLR quality image, but it's good enough for my Project Life, and it's a cute capture of my baby feeding herself (a relatively new trick), and that's the important part!

End thoughts- Big Lens is totally worth the $0.99. It's not perfect for every photo, but I have a feeling that I will playing with this one a lot.

December Daily | Day Thirteen

EEK! I'm falling behind! But I'm not panicking- I have the pictures and the plan for each day. I just need to hammer it out. I was hoping to get caught up this weekend, but we were gone most of the weekend finishing up our Christmas shopping. Are you ready for Christmas? I'm still not. Most of the presents are bought, but we now have to wrap EVERYTHING!

In other news, it has been CHILLY here in Arizona. I know I can't complain, as the rest of the country deals with snow storms, but last week (and this weekend too), it was just cold and rainy. I made this the topic of my Day Thirteen, with a simple instagram photo, a hand cut snowflake, and some patterned papers.

Here's a close up of the left side:
 My favorite part of this page is the hand cut snowflake. It's hard to tell in the photos, but it is cut from some really beautiful pearl metallic tissue paper that came in a package that I received. I didn't know what I was going to do with the tissue paper, but I knew I had to keep it because it was so pretty. Using this tutorial on TLP's blog, I grabbed my pretty tissue paper and cut the snowflake (yeah I needed a tutorial. It's been soooo many years since I cut out snowflakes).

The button is my next favorite part of the layout. I made it myself! Yeah- I have a button maker. I'm a big craft dork and I have a LOT of random craft supplies- including a button maker.
I made a little banner at the top of the page using papers from my Very Vintage Christmas kit, and punched them out with a 1 inch circle punch. I then folded the top part down and stapled them around some bakers twine using my tiny attacher (LOVE this new tool!) . The title "Baby it's cold outside" was created digitally using the font Luna Bar, and then glittered with Stickles. I actually do not love this part of the layout, but oh well. I had to carry on. 

The right side:
 An instagram photo backed on paper printed from my Very Vintage Christmas kit. No major journaling this time- just a little sentiment "rain, rain go away".

Hope you like Day Thirteen! Fingers crossed that I'm going to get caught up this week!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Take a Deep Breath- Keep Calm and Carry On

So this week I have been in a bit of panic mode with my December Daily album. I was several days behind, with not many ideas on what to do this week for my album. I started freaking out that I wasn't going to finish, and I almost threw in the towel and said- forget it! I can't keep up. But then I decided to take the pressure off and just go digital for the rest of the album. Well it turns out that the problem wasn't hybrid/digital- it was a creative block that didn't want to come undone. So I took a few days off, looked around the web for creative inspiration, and today I'm happy to report that I'm back in the game! And not digi either- I'm back in the hybrid game!

We are almost halfway through this album process, and I imagine this about the point where people start giving up and getting behind. And it's understandable- it's crunch time! Christmas is in a week, and if you are like me, you have absolutely not one present wrapped, are not done Christmas shopping, and the clock is starting to tick loudly- kinda like a time bomb.

But taking a step back, realizing that it's okay to fall behind a little, giving myself a bit of a break- has gotten me back and track, and the layout (day 12) that I've done and redone, and done again is finally DONE done! And you know what- I think this is one of my favorite layouts yet! So without further ado, I give you- Day 12.
 Day 12 is the story of "Mickey melting". On the first side, we have a simple patterned paper from A Very Vintage Christmas, a large number 12 (font is genuine), and of course- some Platinum Stickles glitter.

On the second page, we have a simple grid accented by some Stickles glitter. My original plan for this page was to stitch the dividing lines, but then I got lazy decided that I liked glitter better. Well can you blame me? What is more exciting? Glitter or thread? Sorry, but glitter will win every time.

But I digress.... the blocks are papers from A Very Vintage Christmas. The word art is my own (not yet released).

The journaling reads:
"So last night it rained  and rained, and in the morning when I took Jules to preschool, she saw the deflated Mickey (because we turned him off for the night), and thought he “melted ”. She shouted “Oh No! Mommy, Mickey melted! Him melted in the rain!”. For some reason, I think we are going to remember this quote for many years to come."

Font for the journaling is myriad pro.

And I leave you with a terrible quality video, but one that is the cutest thing ever...Jules is cracking Lilly up, and her laughter is infectious.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December Daily- Day 11

Today is one of those days that I'm fudging the date a little bit. Yesterday was such an eventful day with the 6K race, and my hubby's Christmas party, and today was pretty uneventful, so I split the day up and put my story of the christmas party on day eleven.

This layout is pretty simple and classic, with a large photo on the left, a smaller photo on the right, a large simple title, and a little journaling.


In other news...I am having a big sale on my facebook page for my jewelry line Modern Elements Jewelry. Here are just some of the goodies on sale- but pick them up quickly as there is only one of each!

December Daily- Day 10

Today was a totally awesome kick butt day! Today was about personal accomplishment. This past September I set a goal for myself- to run a 5K by December. At the point that I set my goal, I couldn't run to the mail box. But I set a goal for myself and started training. Now I know in the world of runners, 5k is a big fat nothing, but for me- it was a huge deal. On Saturday I laced up my shoes, and ran my first 6K (it was the 12K's of Christmas race, and I did the 6K). My hubby and two girls were there to  cheer me on at the finish line. Very proud of myself for achieving this goal, and happy to document this achievement as part of my December Daily!

Left page:

Right Page:

Products used include: Modern Merry Element Pack, Modern Merry Paper Pack, and Modern Merry Flag It- all by Amy Jaz Designs

December Daily- Page 9

Today's December Daily is very simple, and is all about taking a moment to be thankful for what you have. I heard a horrible story on the news about a little 4 year old boy that got hit in the parking lot of Walmart. I sat down and wrote about how thankful I am for the health and lives of my little family. On the left I included a coloring book page that my daughter colored for me. She calls presents "prizes".

Sweet and simple for day nine!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December Daily- Day 8

Getting caught up! And since I'm getting so behind- hold your breath- I'm switching back to Digi! I am still going to print them out in the 8.5x5.5 format, but I need to get caught up, so these pages will just printed out and slipped in the page protectors. I love hybrid but with the pressure of Christmas headed our way, my hubby's bday on Friday, and because I'm a few days behind- I made the decision that I'd rather go digi than not finish.

My December Daily page for day 8 is all about what's on our Wish Lists!

The left side shows two instagram pics of what Mommy and Daddy would like for Christmas (yes that is a Silhouette Cameo you spy). The little banners and the green paper strip are papers from my Candy Cane Lane Paper Pack. The little tape is from my Very Vintage Christmas kit, and the red paper on the circle tag is from my Modern Merry Paper Pack. The frame was doodled by me.
On the right side, we have the what the girls would like. Candy for Jules (insert eye roll here), and Weebles for Lilly (even though we have no idea what she'd really like since she can't tell us yet). I then created the On My Wish List word art.

The journaling reads "Daddy | a diecast corvette car that is a replica of a Dale Earnhardt car. It's been on hi s wish list for a LONG time. Mommy | a Silhouette Cameo to make all my crafty dreams come true. Jules | candy. If you ask her what she wants for Christmas, every time hands down, she wil tell you candy. This kid. Lilly | Weebles. Well, okay we don't REALLY know if that is what Lilly wants because she can't tell us, but Mommy thinks she'd like  a fun toy like this that is all her own. "
Font is Veteran Typewriter. I hope you are enjoying my December Daily posts! I'm trying to keep up!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Amy Jaz Designs Creative Team- Announced!

You've all been so patient, and it's finally time to announce...the Amy Jaz Designs Creative Team! It's been a really fun process and I want to wholeheartedly thank everyone who applied! It was really tough to choose, but the decision had to be made, and I am so proud to welcome the following wonderful creative ladies to my team:


Check out Sarabeth's awesome hybird projects on her blog Chronicles of Sarita.


Anna has a great blog titled- What Anna Loves, be sure to check it out!

Visit Justine's robust gallery at Digishoptalk. You won't be disappointed as you scroll through the enormous albums of creative layouts and projects.


Jude joins us from just the other side of the pond, and posts her beautiful layouts on her blog at Things I Made.


Stephanie is building up her TLP gallery- she had a very unfortunate incident with a blog hacker and she's starting fresh!

 Macy has such an inspiring blog full of scrapping and photography inspiration. Check it out at The Goode Life.

These ladies join my existing Hybrid Crafters which were previously announced here.

Please join me in welcoming these ladies! Also, if you are a flickr user, be sure to join the group Amy Jaz Designs Creative Inspiration to view all of the creative inspiration from the team and to add your own!