First holiday card of the season, yay! 

I made a quick Happy Holidays card from a pre-printed card base and some bits and bobs I had in my stash. It came out pretty sweet, don’t you think?

Cute Bookmarks

Aren’t these just the cutest bookmarks? I don’t know who made them (sorry—leave a comment if you do!), but I’m definitely going to CASE them one of these days!

Reblogged from Collection at

Scrapbook page of hip hop workshop fun and using the Project Life App

I have been trying out the Project Life Android App by Becky Higgins, and I must say I’m impressed. For the first time in my life I can (potentially) finish a page right there on my phone which saves me a lot of time, and there’s enough free, beautiful kits to get even the pickiest scrapbooker started.

Scrapbook page of dance workshop

Dancing used to be a big part of my teenage and new adult years. When we moved to Hermanus in late 2010, I discovered a dance studio and convinced my husband to take ballroom & latin dance classes with me 🙂 But after I got pregnant with my first child I had to give it all up, and it’s been a long 3 ½ years. That’s why this dance workshop was such a major event for me. I love hip hop—that’s my roots, and favourite style of dancing—and my youngest is finally old enough that I can “disappear” for a few hours on a Saturday morning. Even if I can’t pop to save my life, LOL!

About the layout:

This scrapbook layout documents a single event, so I’ve “cheated” a little by using a Project Life template—since there are no rules in this wonderful hobby of ours it’s all good! This is what I love about pocket scrapbooking, it takes the guesswork out of a page’s design, and because it places hard limits on the number of photos and areas where one can journal, it actually makes it easier to tell the story. I simply picked my photos, chose two journaling cards and voilà!

Using the Project Life App:

The Project Life App is a wonderful tool, and because it lives on the same device that houses all my photos, it’s a godsend. Unfortunately the app still has some ways to go before it can be a one-stop-app for complete scrapbooking.

One major pain in the behind is the app’s limited font editing capabilities. Oh. Em. Gee. Don’t get me started on it. To work around this majorly lacking functionality, I finish my page without adding any text, then save the layout to pull it into Photoshop Elements where I add the final journaling. This way gives me more control (e.g. in this layout, I ended up changing the journaling card colours to match the photos), BUT it defeats the purpose of making the Project Life app a quick and easy way to churn out layouts. I suppose I could settle for a layout that uses very simple font options —I’ve done it before—but it makes my inner-designer cringe spasmodically, something I try to avoid if I can.

Another big usability issue is that you can’t move elements between pockets. For instance, if you want your journaling to appear in a different location, you have to retype and reformat your journaling from scratch; if you want to use the same photo but in a different location, you have to load it from the Gallery again instead of moving it around between pockets.

A big gripe of mine is that every change overrides whatever was in that pocket previously, and there’s no undo button. I’ve lost count of the number of times a painstakingly edited text block disappeared because I accidentally selected a filler card instead of a journaling card.

It also lacks even basic image editing functionality, like rotation, shadow/highlight, brightness, etc. which is a strange deficiency in a photo-type app. I usually edit all my photos first with Snapseed before importing them into Project Life App.

Besides its amazing array of editing functions, filters, and special effects, Snapseed doesn’t compress the final, saved image like most other apps I’ve used before. This is very important if you want to print out your pages at full size.

How do you use the Project Life app? Do you have any workarounds for some of its limitations?

  • Project Life Kit: Midnight Edition (digital)
  • Software: Project Life Android App by Becky Higgins; Photoshop Elements.
  • Fonts: Avenir (main journaling), Bebas Neue (date), serialSue_TRIAL (filler card body), Times New Yorker (filler card accent)

[Scrapbook page] Digital layout of my 2-year-old daughter at play

Scrapbook pages of my little girl playingIt’s been a while since I’ve scrapped because I simply don’t have time. My little boy is already 7 months old, and that just spurred me on to start documenting our life the way I intended to two years ago before my first one was born, so I began to gather photos (not an easy task between two phones, an SLR, and two point-and-shoot cameras). I fully intended to make a Project Life® layout, but when I saw all the beautiful photos of Linnae playing, it quickly turned into a “Linnae at play” double-page spread 🙂 .

SB Linnae Speel (page1 web)I guess I channelled my inner Cathy again, because this is typically her style for digital layouts, with the wide margins, sharp corners, and unapologetically symmetrical design. She prefers a more monochromatic approach, infused with lots of puns, white space, and #hashtags, while I opted to keep the photos in their fully coloured glory, and used words in a purely functional fashion. But even though the pages are quite busy, the wide margins and symmetry help to keep the layout balanced. And I wanted that happy, almost ecstatic look—it suits my daughter’s personality to a T.

SB Linnae Speel (page2 web)Because there were so many photos to choose from, I decided to rather use all the spaces for photos and skip any elaborate journalling and pocket page-type “filler cards”. Instead I created a post on my personal blog that goes into detail about every one of the photos, hence the QR code. Gotta love the digital age! 😀 For that reason I’m not going to go into any personal detail here, so if you’re curious go read it over there. (It’s in Afrikaans; if anyone who does not understand it asks, I’d consider doing a translation here).

I used a beautiful kit from Mommyish called “Daily” because it has nice PL elements—which I didn’t even use, go figure. I intend to print this in a 12 x 12″ photo book¹ once I have enough pages, as part of my Projek Leef memory keeping (my own Afrikaans version of Project Life®).

Project Details:

Digital elements: “Daily” kit by MommyishTemplate: Elmi (that’s me!) • Fonts: Bebas Neue (title), jr!hand (labels/journalling) • Software: Photoshop


¹ photo book: Q-photo is running a 50% off sale on all photo books until the end of October. If I can do 18 more layouts (just 9 double pages *cough cough*), I will have a beautiful, full colour memory book for roughly R350 (incl. delivery). That’s a bargain!

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

Are you living your calling?

Most people are frustrated with where they’re at in their lives, but very few ever know what to do about it. Personally I find it difficult to balance a “normal” life with all the things I want to do but feel too guilty/scared/inadequate to pursue; so I keep them separate, tucking the big, scary, “selfish” dreams away while the safe, mundane, everyday eats away at my soul. And I can’t shake this nagging feeling that I am missing something big, that I’m meant for bigger things.

The Art of Work by Jeff GoinsJeff Goins has managed to break away from the shackling mindset that prevents people from living their best life to the fullest. He has discovered how to live his calling, and has spent a year researching, interviewing, and gathering his own life experience into an inspiring, actionable book, The Art of Work, that has garnered the praise of industry giants such as Seth Godin, Michael Hyatt, and Steven Pressfield.

I’ve been a fan of Jeff for a while now—I follow his blog, listen to his podcast, and have read most of his books—because what he has to say is simple yet profound and I always take something away from it. The Art of Work, due to be released in March, promises to be as good (if not better) as his current groundbreaking body of work.

Right now he is on a mission to get his book into the hands of as many people for as little as possible, so he is giving it away for free if you pay shipping and handling. That means you pay $6,99 (roughly R85) for an awesome, life-changing book that will be delivered straight to your door in March! Once it gets released, it will retail at $16,99—and since we in sunny South Africa will most probably not get it at our local Exclusive Books, we have to add shipping as well. And then you won’t even get the bonuses*.

Once it gets released on March 24th, this amazing price goes away forever.

I strongly urge you to go check out his website to see what it’s about. If you have to, watch the video, read the amazing reviews by people who matter, and read the blurb, but make sure you buy the book before you close the tab.

* If you’re still not sure, let me tell you about the very enticing bonuses you’ll get with his pre-release offer that makes this deal a no-brainer:

  • A PDF version of the book that you can download right now (yay!)
  • A downloadable workbook with practical action-steps to take
  • A mini-video course to help you find your calling
  • An exclusive community of people pursuing their life’s purpose, as well as access to the author for community Q&A

Are you still here? You should be on Jeff’s website, buying The Art of Work!

Very important disclaimer: I am NOT an affiliate of Jeff Goins, I am NOT getting any compensation for this post, and I will NOT make any money if you do decide to buy his book. Why did I write this glowing endorsement then? Because I honestly believe his book has an important message that can change your life for the better. I have already ordered my copy, and am off to read the PDF the moment I’ve published this post off to bed. I’ll read it tomorrow.

Beautiful life banner

It’s time for a change around these parts

I work with WordPress themes all the time, and the themes and designs available these days are just mind-blowingly beautiful and modern. When I looked at my website this week (like, really looked at it) I thought, “This is so 2011! What’s up with that?” So, here’s a heads-up that things are going to change around here, because this place is long overdue for a redesign and upgrade

PS: I’m also having a baby next week (!!!), so this process may or may not be due to the strange and uncontrollable phenomenon called “Nesting Syndrome“, and may or may not take several weeks to complete thanks to the new bundle of joy/spit/poo that’s coming my way with the certainty of a freight train.

UPDATE 19 FEB: I did it! I updated the look & feel and started updating older posts with large header images to suite the theme, but I’ll probably only go back ±15 posts okay? Okay.

Welcome to my “new” home 😉

Header for Murder of Crows

What do you call a group of crows?

So, what do you call a group of crows? (Hint: it’s not a flock)

Answer: A murder.

Very handy Wikipedia list of animal group names for writers who want to get it right.

Header for Publish While Broke Workshop

Too broke to publish your book? Learn how to do it for $5 or less

I have been writing stories for a long time. Years, in fact. I’ve done it mostly to satisfy my inner voice, but recently I realized that I might actually be good at it and that maybe, just maybe I should take this writing thing seriously. Then I discovered self-publishing (a.k.a. indie-publishing), the phenomenon that makes it possible for any aspiring author to publish their books themselves without a Big Bad Publishing House playing god over their precious manuscript. Suddenly it felt like the world could be my oyster.

So I took a deep breath and cranked up my search engine. I mean, if you need to know something about anything, like how to self-publish your (still unfinished) book—especially for free—the internet will show you the way. Right?

That was more than a year ago. I definitely found out things, like the fact that you’ll waste a lot of time you could have spent writing, and that you’ll have too many false starts to show for it.

When it comes to actually self-publishing a book, well, I’ve been there. Still is, in fact. The amount of information out there—good and bad—is simply overwhelming, and I still don’t feel like I’m equipped to do it after all this time. But then, I’ve been doing it the hard way.

No more!

Cover for Holly Lisle's Publishing While Broke workshop Author Holly Lisle has been around long before self-publishing existed, and she has used her success and skills to teach others how to do what she does. Now she has done it again by creating the perfect solution for writers who want to self-publish on a non-existent budget.

The Publishing While Broke workshop is the only manual you’ll ever need. No more pages of confusing search results or trying to learn how to work that free software that promises you the world. To add to all this awesomeness, because November is NaNoWriMo, she has discounted it with 20% until the end of the month! And before you ask, yes I have already bought it, since I know her courses are of immeasurable value, and I’ve spent at least 10 times the price of the workshop on time wasted.

In case you didn’t know, I did Holly’s 6 months super-intensive How To Think Sideways Writers’ Boot Camp, and that course changed my life (and my writing) forever. Since then I’ve also bought some of her clinics, books, and every free course she has ever created, and this woman really knows what she’s about. She is inspirational in every way that matters.

If you want to publish your book on a shoestring budget, get this workshop before the end of the month.

The information alone is worth more than US$200, and that doesn’t even consider the time you’ll save. But being Holly, she’d rather make it affordable than ask what it’s really worth. So, for only US$8.80 (that is only R98! For real!) there is no way you’ll ever get this kind of information at such a low price, all in one place. Even if you decide to “do it yourself” with your trusty sidekick whose name rhymes with oogle, it will still cost you more. Trust me, I know.

Convinced by now? You can buy it here.

If you’re interested in or curious about any of her other products (whether fiction or non-fiction), you can go to her online shop here.

(Necessary disclaimer: Because I have done her workshops and believe in her products, I am a Holly Lisle affiliate. That means that if you click on any of the course links and decide to buy something, I will receive a commission.)