Christmas layouts with Pixels To Pages kits (guest designer post)

I am sharing something exciting today! I was a non-official designer for the Pixels To Pages’ Journal Blocks Winter Collection that released mid-November.

Kelly from Pixels To Pages has released a number of Christmas kits in her Journal Blocks series, and needed designers for her sunshine-and-sand-themed kits. Since I live in South Africa, next to the ocean, I went like Donkey in Shrek (“Pick me! Pick me!”).

Our December weather is similar to Australia’s, therefore I used the “Christmas In The Sand – Australian version” kit. So, without further ado, let’s get to the layouts.

This is a Project Life double-page layout of our Christmas in 2019, using the Project Life app. I love the kit’s playfulness, like that funny “Baby, it’s cold warm outside” filler card. The kit is designed to give you lots of space to tell your stories, and works great with the new Editorial Layouts that are slowly being rolled out in the Project Life app. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to those yet, so I ended up reworking the designs into journal and filler cards to fit into the standard 3×4 and 4×6 pockets [more on that at the end of this post, so keep reading.]

Those beautiful journal blocks were just begging to be used, so I decided this would be a good time to catch up on my Christmas scrapping, so I documented our 2018 Christmas too. I shortened the 12″ tall “Christmas in the Sand” block to fit more photos below it, and on the “Boxing Day” journal block there was plenty of space for my story, a little photo collage, and a QR code to a cute video!

There was still one more journal block left, which was fortunate since I had one more story to tell: our 2017 Christmas story.

The Christmas of 2017 was a very hard one for my family, and I’m glad I worked my way backwards from later years where things were back to being good, because it reminded me how fortunate we were that things worked out in the end. This is the power of memory keeping, and the magic of long form journalling. I’m glad I was “forced” to revisit that Christmas and tell a story that should not be forgotten.

Have you tried long form journalling yet? How has it helped or changed the way you remember your life? Let me know in the comments.

Have a great day, and thanks for looking!

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 voilĂ !

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)