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Sep 25, 2014

More Project Life

Every Spring for about a week, while the apple trees are in bloom, the dandelions in the grass also bloom. This creates the effect of white trees with a carpet of yellow underneath. I have found this one week to be the single most spectacular sight since moving to Kelowna in 2003.

Every year since K was little, I have wanted to dress her up and take her into the orchards for a photo shoot. But every year something transpires to stop me, whether it is rain (which closes up the dandelion flowers), or after school activities, we always seem to miss it.

This year I was determined to get to it, after all, just how many years can I make there excuses! K is 10 and the cutest factor is rapidly fading into teenage years when I doubt she'll be willing to pose for the camera. So I dragged both girls into the car and we went roaming round the neighbourhood looking for nice looking trees with lots of dandelions. The latest orchard fad is to dig up the old, gnarly looking trees and replace them with trees that grow along wire like vines. Great for the apple pickets but not so attractive. After hunting around we found what I was looking for.Of course, it had taken me so long to get around

Of course, it had taken me so long to get around to doing this the dandelions were starting to seed. Little "I" just loves seeding dandelions. Ever since she was old enough to talk she's called them "bubble blowers", I guess because the look like bubbles on the stalk and you can blow them like blowing bubbles on a wand. She will pick every dandelion in the field and blow it, never getting bored of the game.

Besides being a great girly photo shoot, it was actually a lot of fun coaching them and watching them play together.



Sep 21, 2014

Project Life , the app - reviewed

I have been a long time digital scrapbooker, and paper scrapbooker before that. I made the move to digital as a result of having little kids around the house and not being able to leave scrapbooking supplies out for the time it took to complete a page with all the interruptions.

Digital has been great. I learned to use photoshop, learned to edit photos and basically had a great time filling up my hard drive with about 200GB of "supplies", papers, ribbons, button, and other embellishments. I got my prints made at Costco on 12x18 and trimmed them down. But building these digital pages took just as long as the paper ones - sometimes longer as the options were greater. For example, with paper - you can make it *any* colour in photoshop, you weren't limited to what you had on hand, like paper scrapbooking.

Earlier this year, after a hiatus from digital scrapbooking (and scrapbooking period), I discovered project life. I had already seen and used the 4x6 pocket protectors back from my paper scrapbooking days with CTMH, but the packs of cards already "matchy matchy" appealed to me, and I purchase 2 kits (Midnight and Honey) as well as some more pocket protectors with different shapes. I printed off all my 2*+ photos (I am now doing picks in Lightroom instead) from 2012 and 2013 and tucked them into the pockets, putting in cards from the kits - awesome! I got a lot done, but in the back of my head a little voice said - you only have 1 copy of this.

You see, with digital scrapbooking there is one *major* advantage - you can print multiple copies. One for grandad, one for nanna, one for our family, etc. You can't do that with paper. (Yes you can scan it or take a photo of it, but it's not the same).

Enter.... Project Life, the app.

About Project Life

Becky Higgins, creator of Project Life, and long time scrapbook template queen, has just released Project Life, the app (click the link to read more about the app).

So what is it? It's an app that reproduces the experience of the project life system but on your phone or in my case, my ipad. You are welcomed by an intro screen where you simply select "Make a Page".

Introduction Screen

Then you choose a layout by selecting Change Layouts.

Menu system

These are the same layouts as the pocket protectors so you can match your existing albums easily.

Choose a layout from the layout bar

Then you touch each space on template and choose whether to add a photo or a card - easy.
Select the add photo or add card button

If you choose a journaling card, you then have the ability to add text on top. The cards feature the same sets as you buy on paper, Midnight is one of the 4 free sets and there are several other sets for a couple of dollars each, and additional templates for a couple of dollars each - but really you get quite a bit included in the app itself which is just $2.99 (and I think a bargain).

In about 2 hours, I made 8 pages using the system.

Saving, Printing, Exporting

You can save to ipad, photostream, email, flickr, evernote (basically anything) and even export to print! This is great if you take a lot of photos on your iphone as you have everything you need right in the palm of your hand.

I haven't printed yet, but the 12x12 export produces a file of 2760x2760 (230 dpi) which should be adequate - I typically create 12x12 digital layouts at 3600 (300 dpi).

Ease of Use

It is super easy to use, as my 10 year old made her first page in about 15 minutes with no help from momma.


Criticisms, well I have just one. Only journaling type cards can have text added. Yet there are some other filler cards with speech bubbles that *should* be allowed to have text. This is something that I'm sure they'll realize eventually and given there are lots of journaling cards in each set, its a small issue.

Here's the pages 

Note, everything seen here is free except the layout in the bottom image.

Pictures are taken from 2009 and were all taken by our Nanny at the time. I didn't know they existed for a long time until she posted them on her FB page (that's why they weren't scrapbooked - oh the excuses I can come up with... but I digress.. on with the show).


At $2.99 this is a real bargain for a well designed and functional app. I've seen and tried a few scrapbooking apps but this one just hits the spot. Everything about it is right from a usability standpoint and I love that they give you enough supplies to get started. Yes you can buy more but you don't have to (although I know you are a scrapbooker and that what we do - all the supplies in all the colours!).

TIP: Use your own supplies

And if you need more supplies and don't want to purchase them, then here's a tip for you. Go online and find digital scrapbook papers, these should be in jpg format. Then add them to your camera roll. Then instead of adding cards, add a photo and choose the paper you downloaded. Great for decorating with specific colours or themes!

TIP: Using Project Life app with Lightroom

If you're like me, you don't take photos with iPhones. I use a mirrorless DSLR style camera) and upload from my SD card to Lightroom. I use the Lightroom mobile app and sync the photos over to my iPad. From there I can save them into an album on the iPad and then Project Life has access to them. It's a little bit of extra work but for me the picture quality is worth it (I cannot take a good photo with my iPhone 5C).

TIP: Doing Project Life on paper

At $0.99-$1.99 a kit, this is a great way to purchase a kit where you only want a few of the cards. Simply purchase them on the App, create a layout using the cards you want and then print it. Cut out the cards and use them in your paper layouts. (Tip from my friend Kelli W)

I'd love to know what you think! Leave a comment below.


Apr 13, 2014

Gallery representation {Marina Garrison Blog}

Just to let my art fans know you can now purchase original artworks via Ballantyne Gallery, an online art gallery that sells original art from British Columbia artists. They have several of my works listed. If you are interested in a piece that they don't have, please contact me directly.

South Kelowna Vista 19x26 Pastel Painting


Dec 8, 2013

Winter Scenes {Studio M}

The snow is now on the ground here in Kelowna. It'll probably be here until Spring now (today it was -13C).  In the spirit of Winter, I have entered two of my Winter paintings into the Winter Scenes contest.

I am not sure why I love painting the snow so much, perhaps it is the challenge of painting something that is white but really isn't? I love the idea that the snow takes on the colour of the things around it as it is a reflective surface similar to a body of water.

I have both of these pictures hung in my hallway at home as I love the colours (blues and purples).

I would love if you could vote for one or both of my pieces (click the title or picture to vote)
Pastel on paper

"Snow Scene"
Pastel on paper

Both paintings are available for sale as originals (directly from me) or as prints or cards through


Sep 8, 2013

How to create a collage in Lightroom 5 Video Tutorial

One of the most popular posts on my site is a post I made a couple of years back on creating a photo collage in Lightroom. At the time the instructions given were for Lightroom 3 but I've recently updated them to the new Lightroom 5.

In addition I have created a new video tutorial showing how to do this. I'm hopeful the video tutorial will prove just as useful and popular as the written instructions have been.  If you think it is, I'd love if you could leave me a comment either here or on the YouTube page and I'll make some more.