About a month ago I spotted our first anole (common lizard) in the backyard.  I remember spotting these cute guys around my grandparents condo in Florida as a child, and we obviously didn’t have these where I grew up in Minnesota, so seeing one in my own backyard still gives me the same excitement I felt as a child.  

We have three Crepe Myrtles between the patio and a gravel area that the kids play on, and as the bare branches have begun to sprout new growth for the season, it seems to be the anoles’ favorite hangout.  I’ve since spotted a baby and at least two different adult ones.  Maybe a little family.  And almost every time I go out back with the kids, I take a look.

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A photo series/challenge was born after I took these first two.  A photo focusing on the anole with my sidekicks wandering around the backyard.  It’s definitely proving difficult, especially as the leaves have grown and the anoles are becoming harder to spot, but also because it forces me to pay close attention to my aperture and composition.  I hope to get a few more throughout the Summer, and possibly use them as a series to hang in the house somewhere.

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Everywhere you look these days there are photo challenges (daily, yearly, by subject). They can be so good for developing your photography skills, but I have to say I find them rather fun as well.

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Nearly a third of the way through the year already!  How are your Project Life pages coming?  Are you staying caught up?

Oh, I just love this Kiwi Edition. & I particularly enjoy when I come across an opportunity to add pink to my spreads.  Living with three boys, those opportunities are definitely limited.

Week 12 was the perfect week to use the pops of pink because the azaleas began blooming in our neighborhood and I bought an adorable pink Armeria for our backyard corner garden.

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The highlights of this week: We searched for clovers in the backyard on St Patricks Day. Beau cleaned & organized the garage. We planned and picked out flowers for a new garden. New storage spot for our family albums now that the upstairs hallway is done. The insane amounts of pollen collecting on every surface outside. And new palm trees next to the patio.

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I dissected a couple of journaling cards in this spread just for fun.  The first was the card on the left, where I added the tiny pink stripe to the bottom.  After I added the journaling I realized that it wasn’t about a single day, but oh well, I like that it adds some extra color.  For the second card, I cut part of a circle off of another card and added it  a journaling card, just to switch things up.  Seriously, I was all about making the most of my opportunity to add pink!

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On to Week 13 where I played with the Studio Calico April kit: Bluegrass Farm

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This week we started renovations on the office, creating quite the mess after removing 1/4 of the drywall.  We took photos in the Bluebonnets.  More gardening, of course.   & enjoyed a craft night with some new friends.

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I’m continuing with my attempt at including a favorite song most weeks.  & this week was most definitely Happy by Pharrell.  It’s been a fun challenge to create a different look for each card too.  This week I took the color theory mini alphas from Studio Calico and cut out the letters.  Instead of placing the letters themselves on the card, I used the outlines to match up the style of the “Hello, my name is” card.

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Love how telling that demolition photo is.  It truly was a mess and my boys (all three of them) sort of liked it, I think.  All cleaned up now, thank goodness.

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Totally inspired by Leena Loh’s guest post on the Studio Calico Instagram about stamping on cork sheets.  Since I had the supplies on hand, I immediately got to work on trying it out.  Definitely will be doing more of this in the future.

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Supplies Used: Project Life Design A photo pocket pages, Project Life Kiwi Kit (exclusive to JoAnns), Studio Calico Bluegrass Farm monthly kit, Studio Calico Mini Alphas, Project Life Journaling Pens, and Becky Higgins Corner Rounder.

Project Life® is a simplified memory keeping system created by Becky Higgins. To see my previous posts, click here.  Have questions?  Leave a comment!

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There’s something about letters on the wall that I just love.  It’s modern.  It’s simple.  It’s good.  It’s totally a style that I’ve discovered over the years that works for me in my home.  In fact, it seems it’s a style I like on clothing as well.

It started with this letter G.  Beau and I were newly engaged, in college, and I worked at a craft store.  I found this letter G on clearance and painted it black once we moved into our first house.  Originally I kept it in the kitchen, but it’s moved 3 times since and now lives in the entryway.

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Then came the letter E for my firstborn, Ephram.  E’s quickly caught my eye wherever I went and I picked up most of these before he was even born.  They still have a spot in his room and I have plans to add more.

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EAT was next up in my growing collection.  We had just moved to Texas and it was the perfect addition to our bare, builders-beige kitchen.    I definitely copied this one from Pinterest and played around with black and silver paint to create a stainless steel look like the ones you can purchase at Anthro.  They sat on this shelf for about 18 months before being packed up and finding a spot on our wall in our new kitchen.  I took these photos around Christmas right before we moved.

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Baby number 2 meant more letters.  I went with these adorable lower case letters from Land of Nod.  This time I wanted to go with a graduated dark to light tone of green, so I started with a green I loved and mixed in a little more white as I made my way through painting the letters.  Right now they are located above Alwyn’s crib.

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And most recently, Home Sweet Home.  Another Pinterest find that I pinned during our move and new right away I needed to find a place for it in our new home.  I painted it the same color as the wall since I knew the shadows in this location would be plenty enough to show the letters off, but at the same time I wasn’t looking for something to make a big statement here.

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Modern.  Simple.  Clean.  That’s what I love about this style of wall decor.

& it’s totally addicting. I’m sure more letters will be popping up on our walls in the future.

In other news, check out tons of Project Life inspiration being featured over on Becky’s blog today!

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Jumping back to my 2014 album today and sharing a couple spreads from early March.  These two weeks were when we had family visiting so they are super special pages in our album.  Since we live 1000 miles from both Beau and my own family it’s important to me to get these types of photos documented in a spot the boys can see.

So on to Week 10 (March 3rd through the 9th)!

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This week my mom was here for a visit for Ephram’s birthday. We also had a mini ice storm (the third icing event of the season for Houston this year!). Beau turned 29. And we planted our veggie/fruit garden.

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Loved using the Plus One mini-kit for this spread.

Below, on the XOXO card, I added some thin scraps of green paper to the X’s just to add some color.  And the triangle patterned paper in the corner of the photo is from Kiwi Core Kit.

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Of course I just *had* to include this moment in my album.

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Okay, on to Week 11 (March 10th through the 16th).

This week we had more family visiting and we went to the Houston Rodeo.

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Here’s a look at the spread without the insert.

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Love using those plane wood veneers when we have family flying in for visits.

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We listen to a lot of music in our house, and since music can bring back memories similar to the way a smell does,  I’ve been toying with the idea of including a card in each week’s spread about a favorite song. It worked out really well this week since we were going to see Keith Urban at the Houston Rodeo. & I love this song.

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Below is a close up on the insert. I cut off part of the Design B pocket page to make it since it worked well with the photos I had chosen to include.  Love the flexibility of creating your own inserts this way.

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This adorable ‘Captured’ die cut is from the Office Hours Studio Calico Project Life kit.  I finally decided to become a monthly subscriber recently and am not quite sure what took me so long.  I’m in love with the fun designs and colors they provide in each kit.  Though I still love my Becky Higgins kits, these provide some super fun embellishments for those weeks I have extra time to play.

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Supplies Used: Design A photo pocket pages, Design B photo pocket pages, Amy Tangerine Plus One Mini-kit, Becky Higgins arrow stickers, Studio Calico Office Hours monthly kit, Project Life Journaling Pens, and Becky Higgins Corner Rounder.

Project Life® is a simplified memory keeping system created by Becky Higgins. To see my previous posts, click here.  Have questions?  Leave a comment!

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At just 81 days since move in, we’ve officially painted the walls and trim of every room in the house except the kitchen and bathrooms (and tiny laundry/mud room). Phew! It’s been slightly exhausting, but a good exhausting. There is so much reward found in making a space better. Having plans and dreams for what you want a space to look like.

Yesterday I posted about how I feel like I have a ton of projects going on that are 90% finished. We’ve been so busy painting (much needed in this house), I haven’t had time to add final touches to the boys’ rooms. One whole wall in our bedroom is bookshelves that I’d like to fill but for now they sit somewhat bare. And my computer desk is currently sitting in the living room surrounded by toys while we finish up painting the office.

Then yesterday afternoon I read Elsie’s article on A Beautiful Mess about having a space to learn. It rang so true in my head. My house is always going to be a place of change. I may “finish” one room, but I’m always adjusting and learning my style. My taste. Even with Alwyn’s nursery, there were so many things I wanted to add/change to it, but never got around to it before we realized we were moving. His new room is a whole new style, new lighting, not to mention he’s transforming from a baby to a little boy.

While I know my home will be in a constant state of change, I want to feel less like it’s incomplete. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be enjoyed. The whole point of moving from a home built in 2013 to a home built in the 1970s was to have projects to work on and enjoy working on for years to come.

“Our home isn’t perfect, but it is our dream home.”

- Elsie, A Beautiful Mess

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Today I’m sharing my first video tutorial and it’s a fun little trick I like to perform with digital Project Life cards.

There are so many great Project Life kits these days that it’s hard to not purchase them all and drain your bank account. Instead of buying every single one, I like to purchase the digital versions of the ones I like and then only print what I need. And as a big bonus, if the kit colors don’t go with the spread I’m creating, I can alter them to match.

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This particular spread from my 2010 album I’m working on this year was created with a couple different kits: Polka Dot Mini Kit, Sunshine, and Seafoam.

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If you’re interested in adjusting the colors of digital cards and don’t know how, here’s a short tutorial in Photoshop showing how I like do it.

As mentioned in the video, when I print journaling cards, I like to use Persnickety Prints because they offer a card stock paper option. If you have any questions about the video, I’ll be sure to respond to any in the comments below.

And since I’m a bit behind on sharing these, here are two more from my 2010 album. I’m having so much fun looking back at photos from 4 years ago and so incredibly happy to have them in an album with journaling along with it.

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Supplies Used: Digital Project Life cards, Becky Higgins arrow stickers, Amy Tangerine Cut & Paste Mini-kit, Design A photo pocket pages, Project Life Journaling Pens, and Becky Higgins Corner Rounder.

PROJECT LIFE® is a simplified memory keeping system created by BECKY HIGGINS. To see my previous posts, click HERE.  Have questions?  Leave a comment!

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What do you get when you stick two silly boys in a small patch of Bluebonnets for 5 minutes?

I will admit that this is one Texas tradition that I’ve completely fallen for. I almost didn’t have the motivation to get the kids dressed yesterday morning (after a late night with Alwyn) and drive over for photos, but I knew I’d regret missing a year. And I’m so lucky we happened upon a great spot last weekend because I wasn’t about to drive 50 minutes back to last year’s spot.

I kept my expectations low since I knew neither of them would likely be in the mood to sit still and give me natural smiles. But I knew I’d at least come away with some beautiful flower shots. Luckily they surprised me with a few happy moments.

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This kid and his eyes… my goodness.

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Though most of the out takes did look like this.

Insert caption, anyone?

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Local friends, if you’re looking for a great Bluebonnet location, check out Mercer Arboretum. Their bluebonnet area has narrow stone paths allowing access into the middle of them without stepping on them.

This is a great spot to take a walk with the kids too. My kids love the fish pond at the front, but there are many trails to walk through while gazing at all the beautiful flowers.

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Check out the archives for more fun family activites in Houston!

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I guess you could stay it’s been a very slow process, me coming to like gardening. Over the nearly nine years I’ve lived with Beau, he’s always been far more into plants than me. I’ve even joked on many occasions that he would appreciate a bouquet of flowers more than I would. I’ve always enjoyed the look of the plants he’s purchased, including the hibiscuses he cared for in our college apartment. I remember even giving one plant we had a name, but that was about as far as I came to really caring for them.

We moved to our first home shortly after college, and the summer before we moved to Texas, Beau built a nice garden/patio in our backyard. He begged for me to come up with a design. I think I helped a little, but mostly I just contributed a few yays/nays to his plans. But I loved the outcome! My appreciation was growing, that’s for sure.

Then we moved to Texas. Over the past two years and two different yards, we’ve gardened a ton.  Mostly Beau picks the plants and I weed the garden beds when needed.  Something about our current yard really has me excited though. It’s so established, yet there is so much room to grow. Once again Beau was begging me to come up with a design for a garden.  And one evening last week, when the light was coming through the trees in the most perfect way, I had a vision.  It sounds silly, but I wasn’t even brainstorming in my head about it.  It just came to me.  A garden design that would create a perfect backdrop in our backyard.  We spend the rest of the weekend creating it (which meant hauling around 60 bags of dirt and gravel – a good workout).

I’m really starting to understand the joy that comes with gardening. How embarrassing that it’s taken me so many years to discover this since I grew up surrounded gardeners – my mom, dad, & step-mom.  Just add this to the long list of things I wish I would have appreciated as a child.

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Anyways, March has been fabulous.

Here’s how I intend to make April great:

  • Fill the walls in the boys’ rooms.

  • Visit 3 new parks with Ephram & Alwyn.

  • Keep the gardens alive.

  • Organize & purge stuff in my office.

  • Slow down on the house projects and simply enjoy.

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While this house was begging for a few minor renovations when we moved in, it also had quite a bit of old home charm that we obviously wanted to keep.  This book shelf in the upstairs hallway was one of the first things that charmed me when we toured the home, but we used it to store tools for the first month or so while we renovated the boys’ rooms.

We finished up their rooms a few weeks ago and then quickly painted the hallway before we had guests arrive last week.  The tools are back in the garage and I finally had the opportunity to fill the shelves with something a little prettier.

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When I first saw this corner bookcase in the upstairs hallway, I immediately began imagining what I’d use it for. Since it’s located right outside the boys’ rooms, I had initially thought about keeping their books here. Maybe a place they could nicely choose a bedtime story to read together without any fighting.  A mother can dream, right?  But we recently purchased two Expedit bookcases for their rooms and have more than enough storage for their books right now.

The Before:

So a couple weeks ago, I was cleaning up the shelves and decided to see if my Project Life albums fit.  & they did!  Hurray!

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I only have two years (four full albums) currently finished, but by the end of this year I should have another 3 or 4 albums containing 2010 and 2014.

Never mind the spot we haven’t painted yet in the photo below…our staircase is in need of a very tall ladder to finish all the painting.

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To fill in the extra space I added a few frames to the shelves as well. The first holds the back of Ephram’s first birthday invitation in it.  I love all those photos from his first year and I really want to create one for Alwyn too.  Another is a photo of Alwyn that I had displayed in his old room.  And the third features a card from the Kiwi Edition which I had put in a frame for Valentine’s Day and just never ended up taking out.

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On the opposing wall, in between the boys’ rooms and their bathroom, I have two frames hung – one for each of them – that I update every so often with what I’m currently loving about them.  This is entirely inspired by Becky Higgins (and I would link to her blog post about it but it seems to be missing currently).

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Overall, I just love that my Project Life albums are now displayed in a spot that the boys can see.

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Where do you keep your family photo albums? Safely tucked away? Out in the open? I’d love to know.

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