Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Social Media Stinks

I am losing hope in social media.  Quickly.

Because we all are just typing, and because those typed words seem to fly off into a meaningless outer space, it is far too easy to type things that are negative, hurtful, unprofitable, argumentative, defensive, prideful, and everything else in between.

And the thing is, I have been guilty of this.  I am one of "those people" that has contributed to this pile of crap by typing negative, unprofitable, horrible sorts of things.  It makes me wonder if it's even worth it.

A while back, I blogged because I thought the Lord had given me a story to share - a testimony of His faithfulness to encourage others to hope in Him more.  I was also having a lot of fun designing and crafting and was so excited about it, I just wanted to share with everyone.  I engaged on other social media platforms because it was fun to connect with people I would never otherwise connect with...and I truly believed these media sorts of things could be redeemed and used for the Lord's purposes.

Great intentions, folks.

But here I am.  Processing what feels like a bit fat mess.

Though I started with the best of intentions, it just seems too complicated.  Though I DO have a story to share, and though it IS a story of the Lord's faithfulness, I feel like I can/should only share the good parts...and that the valleys and the yucky parts are too dark, too riddled with negativity and doubt...and only sharing the good parts feels, well, fake.  Though I DO have fun sharing design and crafting sorts of things, is it, in the end, just unprofitable?  Meaningless?  And, perhaps, even rooted in my own pride or false identity?  Though it IS fun to connect with people, is it really worthwhile to "invest" in 100 relationships at the expense of 10 face-to-face, undistracted sorts of deeper, more relational interactions?  Though I DO believe social media can be redeemed for the Lord's purposes, I, personally, feel too weak and too sinful to sign up for that job.  I will screw it up - and HAVE screwed it up.

Sharing on social media is complicated.  Even completely innocent, well-intentioned sharing can be misunderstood, or could offend.  After all, you hardly ever have FULL control over who will see or read your content.  How will Jane Doe in Never Never Land respond - especially when you've never really considered someone like HER will be reading your posts?

And here's another thing that's even more discouraging...  Some of my favorite blog authors have been inundated with horrible, hate-filled, argumentative comments on their posts.  It makes me wonder if blog readers are even interested in the heart of what's being said vs. a misuse of a word or a tiny point that could be taken out of context.  Is the social media world really this dark?

Are we all looking for an argument?  Looking to jockey our positions or wisdom over another's?  Are we all looking to just be heard?  By someone - anyone?  Are we all frantically adjusting our highlight reel for others to think we're successful and worthwhile?    Are we all desperately connecting with hundreds of faceless people just to feel known?  Yuck.

Bah.  Is it worth it?  I am not sure yet.

Do I overanalyze everything?  Yes.  Yes, I do.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Etsy Shop Sale!

Reading this blog is finally going to pay off.

20 percent off EVERYTHING in my Etsy store for a week, friends.

Use code DEC20 to apply.  Expires 12/12/13

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Warrior Will

Warrior Costume c/o Auntie Naomi and Micah's craftiness.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Project Life Tutorial : Preparing Your Photos to Be Printed

Project Life uses several different sizes of photos to fit into their pocket pages.  The most common are 4x6, 4x3 and 2x2.  All of the sizes that are NOT 4x6 can be a bit tricky to layout and then print, since most places like Snapfish or Shutterfly or, heck, even Wal-Mart only really print 4x6...

Here's a little tutorial on how I layout all of my photos to be printed on 4x6s.  To give you an idea of you'll end up's your finished product.

6-2x2s on ONE 4x6 photo:

2 - 4x3s on ONE 4x6 photo:

You will need to get the PhotoSheet download (free), from a site called Photility.  Get it here.

1. Pick photos you want to print.  Since prints are relatively inexpensive, I always err on the side of choosing too many.

2. OPTIONAL - Edit your photos, if necessary.  Most times, I opt for a nice balance between color and black and white pics, but do what you like the best!

3.  Choose what sizes you want to print your photos.  I print the best and most important photos as 4x6s.  Less important photos are 4x3s.  I print even less important pics as 2x2s.  I drag and drop the corresponding photos to folders - big, small, tiny.

4. Big folder - leave alone!  They're ready to go.

5. Small folder -

  • Open PhotoSheet, and under the "Sheet Size" portion of the window, make sure 6x4 is selected.  
  • Under the "Layout" section, select "Grid 2 (1 image x 2 images)".  
  • I do NOT add space between images and I do NOT round corners.  
  • Select your desired "output location"...just a choose a folder that you want PhotoSheet to save your finished "sheets" to.
  • Drag and drop all of your "small folder" photos.  PhotoSheet will automatically lay all of your photos out, two pics to every 6x4 sheet.  
  • Click through your files in PhotoSheet and make sure they look good.  You can click the fourth button on the "files" portion of the window if you want to zoom in/out and/or drag the photos around until they fit the way you want.
  • When you're finished checking the layouts, click "start" at the bottom of the PhotoSheet window.  This will automatically save all of your sheets to your output folder.  Now, when you upload to a place like Snapfish, Snapfish will recognize these sheets as regular 4x6 photos.  Only, because you're thrifty and cool, you will get TWO photos on ONE 4x6 sheet.  Half the price!
6.  Tiny folder (2x2s) -
  • Follow the same steps as listed above under the "small folder" section, EXCEPT...
  • Under the "Layout" section, select "Grid 6 (2 images x 3 images)".
  • Now, because you're thrifty and cool, you will get SIX photos on ONE 4x6 sheet.  One SIXTH of the price!
7. Visit your favorite photo printing website, and upload your regular 4x6s from your Big folder, and all the PhotoSheets from your Small and Tiny folders.

8. Order your prints and wait for the goodness to arrive in your mailbox!

9. When your prints come, cut your 4x3 and 2x2s apart.  I like to use a corner rounder guessed it...round the corners of my photos, but it's really not necessary!  Then, start scrapbooking! :)

Project Life Update: HUGE Batch Three

Goodness gracious, I love memory-keeping.  Taking pictures, arranging them in their little pockets, and looking through all of the pages time and time and time again.  (Ask Mark how often I look at our scrapbook.  It is a little embarrassing.)  I don't want to overspiritualize this whole thing, but I have totally found myself being MORE thankful for the little parts of our life, MORE mindful of the Lord's faithfulness throughout all our memories, MORE joyful about the messiness of our "everydays"...  

...And, I finally have an excuse to take pictures of things that make me happy, and to save silly ticket stubs and other bits and pieces.  Finally, I have a reason to do the things I have WANTED to do for a long time.  

(Insert heavenly sounding music...)  

I've finally arrived and found my true calling in life, people.

Just kidding.

So...moving on... 

This is a mammoth Project Life update.  I completed these sheets over the last few months, but never really took any pictures of them.  I'm lame like that.

These pages were from this summer!  So crazy how quickly time flies.

I am getting in the habit of punching holes in things lately - our Compassion letter, Mark's news article, etc.  The binder I use has the regular 3-ring spacing, so it's pretty slick!

I love how Project Life's journal cards add a little jazz to my pages, but leave a little space for me to write a few sentences here and there about life at the moment.  If I want to write things that are lengthy, I usually blog them, them print them off and throw them in the binder.  But journal cards are a great way to jot down quick notes here and there.

I am a little embarrassed about my "selfies", but I DO want to remember, someday, what was in style, how I was experimenting with my personal style, etc.

Project Life is ALSO a super great opportunity to take pictures and remember the "little blessings" of life.  In the above pictures, remembering Will meeting all of his milestones on the therapy checklist, homemade granola from a friend, summer veggies, etc.  In this way, our scrapbook will reflect our REAL life, versus just our "put-together" moments.

My new favorite pages are COIN collecting pages.  See the little 2x2 squares?  The pockets are designed to store collector's coins in, but they are PERFECT for instagram pictures and/or less important photos...the pictures that don't really need to be huge, but are still fun reminders of what our "real" life looked like at the time.  I usually cut down journal cards into 2x2 squares for the "fillers".

Some Project Lifers record everything by WEEK.  Since I am not interested in being this committed to the project and since I do not take THAT many pictures, I just arrange my pages based on the order they are taken in.  From there, I insert journal cards to jot down notes about the pictures and why they were significant in the certain season of life.

The pockets are perfect spots to stuff little labels or tickets or other fun bits of life.

I have been using regular ole page protectors (the cheap-o ones from Wal-Mart) to stuff things like letters or programs or other fun memories.

More 2x2 goodness!  You can print SIX of these pics on ONE 4x6 sheet, so each picture is much less than a penny.

The above layout was sort of an experiment using some new page protectors, which included 2x2 pockets directly in the sheet.  I won't waste my money next time.  Coin sheets are much more fun and inexpensive.  I will be sticking to the basic "A" design in the future.

I used a regular page protector to stuff some of the cards Will received at his dedication party.  Before Project Life, these cards would have been collecting dust in a shoebox in a dark corner of our basement.  No fun.  Now, I look at them often! 

Did I mention I am still LOVING this method of scrapbooking?!