Back Porch Renovation Start

I live in an old house. One hundred and ten years to be exact. My grandparents lived here and my mum was eight years old when they moved here. I purchased it in 1998 but have not lived in it the entire time, hence it's still a work in progress. There were a lot of renovations done. A LOT. Mostly the 'gut stuff' as I like to call it. The important things like rewiring the entire house (hello tube and knob electrical and exterior wiring throughout the entire house), some plumbing, kitchen cabinetry (there were none!), central air/heat, refinishing all of the molding - doors, windows, casings, picture rail - to the natural wood finish. That was painstaking and grueling, to say the least. All new walls were installed as the plaster was literally crumbling, and well you get the idea right? I could go on and on and I have plenty more to say and share but I'll save it all for another post(s).   

All of that to put some perspective on things and introduce the back porch. The old, dilapidated, wreck-of-a-back-porch that is. It has basically been written off, neglected and unloved . . . with good reason. Look at it! It is not original to the house and it is poorly constructed. The floor slopes, it is not insulated, it has exposed conduit (but it's up-to-date & more importantly safe), lovely gold linoleum from the late 70's and it's just dingy and gross. The plan was and still is to remove it completely so it has never been a priority but the problem is that it is still here. It's not going to be removed just yet and since that is a reality ignoring even further is just making it more sad and ugly.

Go back a few years to my first house. We had an old, very dark and ugly 60's kitchen. The entire house was a fixer upper, and fix her up we did! The kitchen was a write-off in our minds. We were going to tackle that last and do it up proper - all new everything - after we took a break, regrouped and had the finances to make it happen. We gut renovated the rest of that house and then the opportunity came along to buy this house. That obviously changed the plans for the kitchen and any further renovations as we were going to make that a rental property. The kitchen did get a make-over and a good one at that. Without breaking the bank and going overboard we made that kitchen really nice on a budget and as we started to pack up and move our things out we were both happy and sad. Happy it looked so great but sad we were not going to be the ones enjoying that nice, bright new kitchen. What in the heck were we thinking? Well, we were inexperienced and timing and circumstances pushed us to do something that turned out to be a huge learning curve. That brings me to the back porch. What the heck was I thinking?

It's progress folks, progress. I'm hoping to share the after when well, it's finished. i'm not making any promises to a time line but for now this is a wonderful start and i can't tell you how bright and transformed it is with just one small section of it being painted. And not even completely painted but it has been started and that feels good.

The goal here is to make it a nice, bright and more cheerful place without too much fuss over scraping, sanding, finishing, etc. This is not the place to waste that sort of energy, time and especially money. I want to do this on the cheap using some good old sweat equity. Thinking positive that one day it will be removed and the dreams I have for this house will come to fruition. Work in progress, work in progress folks!

To Do/Want List: Back Porch
• Clean, scrape, fill (minimally) and paint with a nice bright white
• Paint door, metal trim of window, replace/paint doggie door
• Get new door hardware eventually (because that shiny gold has to go)
• New affordable vinyl flooring (there's some cool stuff available now and it sure beats that gold 70's stuff currently there)
• New entry rug/mat
• New window coverings ( I believe we have some blinds & they will suffice as that's money saved and they're white and will do)

*Notice the canine helper in both shots. Always by my side. That's Lucy. Love her

Project Life | Week One

Hello! Here it is. Week one, yikes. Pardon me now please for gasping each time I post as I'm still laughing at myself for how far behind I am. I know, I know. Get over it!

New Year's Day was a good one. The top features a homemade bowl of posole (and I spelled it pAsole ~ oh well!). A dear family friend always hosts a New Year's Day feast mainly composed of Mexican food, as she is Mexican, along with plenty of other things ALL homemade. Just a really fun day to sit around, eat and visit and enjoy. Hoping I'm invited back.

I had to add a Downton Abbey photo because really who can resist adding the gorgeousness that is Downton Abbey. I got the idea from Design Editor. Funny thing is that I still have not seen season 4 of DA so I'm looking forward to enjoying it on DVD prior to season 5 beginning. The "Keep Calm Carry On" is from Me&My Big Ideas, striped 3x4 from a Project Life extra pack thingy I picked up at Michael's. I dotted the b&w DA with gold ink, numbered the different photos and then journaled in brief about each one.

Second page contains a scripture Ephesians 4:32, a packaging tag, some Seafoam Kit paper (digital version link but I used the pack but it looks like it's currently sold out on Amazon) and photo I pieced together for the 6x12 top portion of this page. Bottom is 3 6x4 slots. The middle one is from the same Project Life extra pack I mentioned above. (And yes that's my friend Steve photobombing us).

More to come . . .
I really enjoy doing Project Life.
xo, Collette

Project Life | My Title Page 2014

Here we go! My title page for Project Life®.  FINALLY. Yeah I know it's August folks but hey who's keeping track, right?

A Few Things:  I purchased a variety pack of pages from Amazon (not official Project Life® pages) a couple years back when I had the idea to start Project Life®. I thought the variety of layout pages would be best but I didn't find that the case. Not for me anyway. If you're doing weekly pages I think it's easier to stick to a single format. Just my opinion. I find it easier to get in a routine and you're not fumbling around each week with different photo sizes and or inserts, not to mention all of the great products + kits that are made for Project Life are made in the standard 4 x 6 and 3 x 4 sizes. Now, since I'm mixing things up I fell behind I do think it easier to manage the variety layouts if you are doing monthly spreads. Again just my opinion + experience.

For my title page this particular layout has a 4 x 12 insert at top. Now, because I don't have a large scale printer and my designerly skills with PhotoShop Elements are in progress and for the sake of keeping it simple and keeping my sanity and making this fun and completing this project without feeling less than and inadequate because I'm not a professional scrapper (not yet!), I'm figuring stuff out, learning A LOT as I go along and have a strong desire to learn so much more. Mostly, develop my technical skills with photography and digital editing, etc. I find all of it so interesting and fun and yes frustrating at times too. The goal: have fun, share it, jump in and enjoy the process. And give grace when needed. It's ok to fall behind. It's ok to share it even if it is, oh . . .  say 9 months later [grinning here].

From top to bottom, left to right:
• Instagram photo with text from ABMapp
• 'Selfie' Instagram adhered to have edges as to fit the 4 x 8 space, doodled chevron edges freehand with a sharpie
• Project Life® 3 x 4 pack (can't remember which one?) with a silver letter C sticker from Martha Stewart (if memory serves me)
• 'You Can Never Have Too Much Happy' 3 x 4 card from Me&My Big Ideas
• Freehand insert I made with some silver glitter paper, a packing tag, and some glitter letters. I'm all about the gold and silver this year. Who would have thought?
• My dog Lucy adorned with a glitter star and dots I did with a pencil eraser end + gold ink directly on to the photo
• My OLW for 2014: Proclaim. I haven't participated in an official class for this that Ali Edwards offers but I did choose a word. It also happens to be the word my church chose for 2014. Stickers: Can't remember. Writing on card: my own.

* All photos on my iPhone5. I have an old Canon 6.0 megapixels point and shoot, yikes. I don't own a DSLR camera but it is something I really hope to have in the near future.

Hope this is helpful in some way shape or form to someone.
I really enjoy Project Life and memory keeping. 

xo, Collette

Project Life | Organizing August

So it's August, nearly the end of August, and I'm way behind with Project Life but that's ok. Rather than not post, and in an effort to get back to this thing called blogging, I decided to share some progress for August. This is me getting things in place. Just choosing the things I want to document. Not finished, in progress. Thank goodness for digital photography and the details it records. Sure helps keep my photos organized, as does iPhoto. I've also been doing a good clean-up of my photos in iPhoto to help keep things organized and man that feels good. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to share and write about my Project Life album but I figured if I just do it things will start to flow. I'm giving myself freedom and grace to explore this however that looks for me. I decided to do monthly spreads to catch up instead of scrapping (no pun intended, honest) the entire project. I've got a lot to share and that's exciting and fun for me.

The Sunkist Exchange

Day 2 of August Break.
I took an early morning walk with iPhone in hand and canine as well. Downtown we went. I am always inspired by my local downtown. On the lookout for pattern, I shot three subjects. This was my fave. This is a fabulous little historical nugget called the Sunkist building owned by a neat man named Tom Porter who I had the pleasure of meeting quite a few years back. Ever since, I have been dreaming of having a soirée in this place. No kidding. Seriously, the interior is to.die.for. I didn't find find that Mr. Porter has a website for his location which surprises me as it plays host as a fine arts gallery. Hhmmhh . . . . ? I need to stop in and say hello to Mr. Porter soon and see about that soirée. You can read a little more of an overview about Old Town Orange here.

August Break

I'm taking part in The August Break community project. I've been saying I'm going to get this blog back up and running and thought this would be a good way to ease back into it. A do-able project like this is great for me. Welcome August and hello to anyone out there who may have actually landed here and is reading. I'll be posting to my IG account and sharing here as well. Not sure if I'll do it daily or group a week together, etc. I'm going to let it happen as it will.

xo, Collette

The Week Past: Rain, Shine and Him

This past week brought the most gorgeous, sunny day after a few days of rain. Naked branches are my fave.

I might possibly have the cutest dog ever. Love her to bits I do. She loves to catch the sunshine on cold mornings.

Last week's rain also brought with it wobbly drops on branches. Lovely aren't they? 

We also had shiny sun peeking through the branches the morning after the rain stopped.

The weekend saw my favourite bridge as we drove south. It wows me every single time.

And so does he. The best part of the week is always time spent with this guy. I still have the biggest crush on him. Yes I do.

Education Illustration

We watched this in class tonight. I'm pretty sure I had seen something else illustrated by RSA Animate before as it was familiar. I like this. I like the message and the clever illustration makes it so much more fun to take in.

Get Your Skate On!

Do you roller skate? Or did you use to roller skate? I think it would be safe to say that my second home was the local roller rink when I was a young teen. Oh how I loved to skate and still do. 
Last year whilst still living in Australia I went roller skating for the first time in years, and by years I mean a lot of years. I had not been to the roller rink since those teen years I'm sure. And like riding a bike I hadn't forgotten how and remembered why I liked it so much. It's wicked fun and great exercise. Now my guy and I get our skate on regularly. Yes that's right! We bought new skates. I know total geeks, right? We love it and we like discovering new places to get our skate on. They're usually old and quite weathered and feel a bit like stepping back into 1982 but that's all part of the charm. It's old school and it's still fun.

We went skating together for the first time at our old haunt where we both skated as teens. Lots of memories there and it hasn't changed that much.
So the story goes like this: We ended up liking it so much after two times we were hooked, again, and decided we'd invest in our own roller skates because using those yucky rentals is just that, yucky! And we knew we were going to be doing this regularly so why not.
The pair in the photo above are mine. Very similar to the ones I had as a teen. I love that! And funny enough now we're talking about getting some outdoor wheels and different indoor ones to suit our roller skating needs and I'm cracking myself up thinking about how we have become a part of the roller skating culture. And let me tell ya, it is a culture!

Cirque Du Soleil

My mum's Christmas present was two tickets for her and I to Cirque du Soleil's Ovo at The Santa Monica Pier. Here are a few highlights from the day/evening.

We had hoped to eat at an old favourite deli but it is no longer. We wanted something new to us and not the usual. Mum eyed this place and so we tried it and we liked it. Very much. I don't know the name (or I'd give it praise + a link) so I guess we'll have to go back and try it again. It was a lovely little French cafe/bistro with great service.

We spotted these buskers on the corner. They had this cool, stylish thing going on. Kind of quirky. My mum really liked their music and I loved that there was a guy playing the accordion. Neat stuff.

Here's my sweet mum. I don't have a fancy camera so night shots are always a challenge. I keep saying I'm going to learn more about the camera I do have to remedy this as I know having the fancy camera does not equal the great shot. We have a little tradition and that is to take a photo in front of the sign at each show. So we did.

And then there's me. Here's as about as close as I'm going to get at being a performer in a Cirque du Soleil show. I can still dream though.

After we walked the pier, mum got a coffee and we chatted like we always do. I love hanging with my mum because she's fun and always game to try new things and she enjoys all the detail. We took in the magic of the day/night and had ourselves a good ol' time. The End!