• "Oh, if I could only put things into words as I see them! Mr. Carpenter says, 'Strive, strive -- keep on. Words are your medium -- make them your slaves -- until they will say for you what you want them to say.' That is true, and I do try, but it seems to me there is something beyond words -- any words -- all words -- something that always escapes you when you try to grasp it -- yet leaves something in your hand which you wouldn't have had if you hadn't reached for it. ... I have written myself out for tonight, and am going to bed."
    - Lucy Maud Montgomery, Emily Climbs

    This is my place to "write myself out" -- sharing both my day-by-day thoughts and my artistic output. Thank you for visiting! - Carmen Pauls Orthner
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Project Life – Week 1, Jan. 1-8, 2012

Filed under Project Life 2012,Ramblings • Written by Carmen @ November 5, 2012

And here we start into the actual weekly documentation! :) My kit actually arrived the third week of January, but I had been enthusiastically storing memorabilia, taking photos and taking notes for my journaling, so it wasn’t too much trouble to get caught up. (Wish I could say that now — I have a lot of catching up to do with our summer photos. This blog sharing will help motivate me to get those pages done!)

This year started on a Sunday, and I’m running my weeks Monday to Sunday, so I just added New Year’s Day photos to the beginning of the week. I’m not sure how I’ll juggle the “short weeks” at the beginning and end of each year with future volumes of Project Life, but for this year it was okay. (On a technical note — today the snow in La Ronge was melting (!), but it was still really cold out on my deck, and it was getting toward late afternoon (ie. less light), so I decided to try taking the photos inside by the window. What do you think? Does the lighting look okay, would it help me sleep with the leg wedge pillow? I didn’t notice until I was editing these photos that I was in such a hurry to get the spread photo taken that two of the cards slid out of their pockets! Oops. I’ll be more careful next time.) I took a lot of photos on our weekend trip, and those ended up being my first insert — I just cut a Design C page protector in half, but Becky Higgins has this three-pocket look now with one of her new designs, if that interests you. :) I think I may add a tab on the edge to make the smaller-sized insert more obvious, as it seems to blend in too much in these photos…. Anyhow — here are some closer looks at the individual pages.


I really liked that Gilda Radner quote, and there was a good bit of “white space” on the postcard design for this title card, so I added it in. The photos include a post-midnight New Year’s Eve game of “Ticket to Ride: Europe” with our friends (and pastor couple) John and Timea, playdough on the Disney Princesses table Sara got for Christmas (I was aiming for a snail with my pink and green creation — there is a snail character in what was then Sara’s favourite DVD, “Babies Love Music”), John and Timea playing with Sara, and Bryan attempting to settle Sara for the night. I also journaled about my One Little Word for the year, which was “light”.


I want to get back in the habit of adding this sort of memorabilia, which to me is one of the nicest things about the pocket pages — just slip those bits in, and they are preserved as part of our lives instead of just landing in the recycling box. The recipe was actually scanned in and added to some digital paper, just because it was too big, but you can still see the egg stain on it. ;)


The photos here include a collage of images from a weekday at home, me admiring my new haircut, a hospital stay, and a visit with friends in Prince Albert, the city nearest to us (a 2.5-hour drive).


Isn’t that the best quote?! :D


I had some medical tests done that week, and ended up fainting — very strange experience. I had my husband take a photo with his Black Berry (good scrapbooker, right? — must stay dedicated to the cause… ;) ), and also saved my appointment card and the lid from the orange juice I had after my tests were done.


The friends we stayed with in P.A. were Wilna and Jaco Furstenberg — Wilna is a fairly well-known designer/instructor in the scrapbooking industry, and we got to know her and her family because they live fairly near us, and Wilna taught an on-line course I took. They are from South Africa, so it’s kind of neat to be posting these pictures today — we had our first call via Skype this morning with our new supervisor in Johannesburg. The little photo is of the Furstenbergs’ dogs, and then there’s a seasonal embellishment that happened to be the tag from Sara’s new pajamas.


Front and back of the insert with our weekend photos — we had some missions support-raising appointments in Saskatoon, and stayed with friends who used to live in La Ronge, and also shared a meal with another SIM couple and their kids.

Thanks for stopping by. :)

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Project Life – Introducing Us

Filed under Project Life 2012 • Written by Carmen @ November 3, 2012

When I began Project Life in January, our expectation was that we would be moving in August to Toronto, Ontario — two provinces away from our home in La Ronge, Saskatchewan, and a city of 6 million people as opposed to La Ronge’s population of just over 3,000. So I decided that I would start my album with an introduction to “us right now” — where we live, our ages, occupations, activities, etc. — so as to compare and contrast with where we were at come December. As it turns out, we are still here in La Ronge, but will be moving next year to South Africa — an even more dramatic change! — so I am very glad to have this record of our last full year, with all its holidays and seasons. Anyhow — that was the motivation behind these next couple of pages, but they will also be useful should anyone come across our albums some time in the future and want to know a little bit about the “main characters”, setting, etc. :) (By the way — I have been photographing these pages on my deck, as I get more accurate lighting outside, so that is the reason for the patches of white (snow!) visible in a few of the clear spots on the page protectors. Just in case you’re wondering. ;) )



A few close-ups…


I used Google Maps to get this satellite view of our little town, the neighbouring village and several First Nations (Native American) reserves. It’s neat seeing how small “our world” is, compared to the huge lakes — especially Lac la Ronge to the right.


I decided to do “12 words to describe us in 2012″, from the other person’s point of view — I cribbed from a love letter for my husband Bryan’s words about me; that’s why his words are more poetic. ;) Bryan works in the IT field, so I picked a patterned paper that reminded me of a motherboard, and I was taking Melody Ross’s Soul Restoration class when I made these pages, so I picked a paper with colours and images that reminded me of the Brave Girls Club she runs, and added a fabric label that she designed.

This card, and the one with the lightbulb image and Dr. Seuss quote on the blue background, were among my first attempts at using digital embellishments in my scrapbooking, so I was rather proud of them, simple as they are. ;) I used several lines from a “Schoolhouse Rock” song to focus on us being a family of three, and I added a glittery heart to highlight the number 3. :)

Thanks for taking a look at my pages — I really appreciate it. :) On a technical note — please let me know your thoughts on the photos (eg. are there too many?) and their presentation. I’m working on an iMac with a large screen, so I like being able to see the full-sized images, but they may be too big for some screens. I could make it so you can click to see the bigger version. They are mostly sized to 600 or 650 pixels on the largest dimension (either vertical or horizontal). I hope the size works, but I’d appreciate any feedback. :) Thanks again for visiting.

Project Life – Welcoming 2012

Filed under Project Life 2012 • Written by Carmen @ November 1, 2012

Here is the opening page for volume 1 of my 2012 Project Life album collection. :)

I wanted a playful look for the start of my album, so I cut up a sheet of Sassafrass paper with an explosion of rainbow colours and hot air balloons, and used the pieces to frame the page. I like that the little boy is a redhead, like me (thank you Penny’s Hair Design ;) ), as is, of course, Raggedy Ann on the “postage stamp”.

I also wanted my opener to say a few things about what the album would be about — stories that tell the truth of our year in both its good and difficult times (I like how that card from the Clementine collection looks like a bookplate that would be stuck in the front of a book, and the word strip has both “joyful” and “hard times”), about the three of us (thus the “O3″ and the pen-framed photo of us), sent out as a visual “letter” to anyone who cares to read it (the “airmail envelope” card with the camera sticker), full of both photos and memorabilia (like that Canon printer cartridge box).

I really believe those words I added to the hot air balloon: “An ordinary life becomes great when remembered well.” And the balloons themselves, lifting up and away, convey a lovely image of being open to possibilities and moving forward, yet going slowly enough to really experience the journey — and, now that I think about, these albums provide the view from high up, allowing for a big picture view of what we’ve been through this year. :)

2012 in the books

Filed under Project Life 2012,Ramblings • Written by Carmen @

This has been a very, very full year for us, and Project Life has been a Godsend for me, by enabling/forcing me to pay attention to the good, cope with the bad, and celebrate so many of the big and little moments of our lives here. It’s a year that has not turned out as I anticipated — ie. I thought that by now, we would have moved to Toronto — but instead, I have been able to capture our last full year in La Ronge. Next year, we will be re-locating much farther away than we had ever dreamed: to Johannesburg, South Africa, where we will be serving as full-time missionaries with SIM (Serving In Mission) in the Region of Southern Africa office. I am very excited (and truthfully, more than a little nervous/scared…) to see what 2013 will look like for us.

With the year nearly over, I’ve decided that since I have been far more faithful with this Project Life approach than any of my previous “documentation attempts”, I will start at the beginning of my album, and share it with you. Since I don’t know any other local Project Lifers, I have derived a lot of inspiration from the many Project Life bloggers I’ve encountered, and I thought perhaps I could contribute a bit myself to the well of inspiration. I’d love to hear any feedback you want to share.

My goal is to share every other day from now through the end of December, and then in 2013, I will post once a week with either the current week’s pages or one very recent — most likely on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, depending on how organized I am! I run my weeks from Monday to Sunday to keep the weekends together, and Monday is generally a less busy day than the rest, so my aim will be to finish my pages by Monday night and photograph them on Tuesdays.

Okay — here we go. :)


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