Spotted {06.10.2012}

One of my most favorite things to do when I have the time is just to spend a few many slow moments wandering the galleries and soaking up all the inspiration that lives there.  Whether a person shares pages for a creative team or for no particular reason at all the fact that they have shared it..out something pretty wonderful.  I love seeing all the art and stories (and hearts) shared.  It’s like a wonderful, creative kind of  Lazy Sunday Afternoon Drive.  I take my time.  I stop and smell the roses.  I just soak it all up.  And every time I do that, I walk away feeling inspired and even more in love with scrapbooking. (more…)

Putting Pen to Paper: The Stuff, Documented {Day Eleven}

When you think “Story Lives Here” what do you think of?

Do your thoughts land on events?  On people and relationships?  On moments?  On everyday happenings?

I confess this is my usual tendency and it’s why most of my scrapbook pages are filled with photos and stories of my daughter, husband and the moments we share together.  I have deep love for scrapping moments.  And personality and character.   You know, People Things.

This month’s Putting Pen to Paper prompts ask us to consider the Story from a different perspective as we consider The Things, The Stuff that we interact with, depend upon, enjoy, and otherwise make use of in our days.  This Stuff…These Things…they are “artifacts” of our story.  They often reveal a lot about who we are at any moment and what we care about or how we spend our time.  And scrapping the story of our artifacts can provide a fun and fresh glimpse into our lives and relationships with our loved ones.

So as we approach these prompts about our nouns, our stuff…keep your eyes open in a fresh way and pay attention to what surrounds you as you walk through your day.  Sometimes these artifacts are symbols of something you value, or symbols of the nature of a relationship or season in your life.  Sometimes scrapping The Stuff can simply be fun and easy going, even silly.  But together with our other stories and pages it weaves a beautiful portrait of our lives.

So let’s have a little fun considering our Artifacts and get started with the first prompt for this month (which is Day Eleven in the Putting Pen to Paper series).  Here is today’s prompt:


There are so many avenues you could take with this prompt.

You could take photos of the things “left behind” at the end of the day.  A kind of “Kids Were Here” documentation wherein you are capturing the *evidence* of what happened in your day without actually photographing it as it happens.  Think: shoes or puzzle pieces strewn on the ground, chalk left on the sidewalk, flour on the counter, notes on your desk…any Things that reveal what happened in your day — the evidence.

When I was writing this prompt I was having fun taking photos with my phone and preserving them in Instagram as part of my Time Capsule project.  And on this day I had decided to snap photos of various “things” in my life that day.  I called it Day Described in Nouns.  It was a fun exercise for documenting the everyday and it inspired my thinking of all the ways Things appear in our Daily Stories.  You could take this approach.  It’s like a Photo Walk as you walk through your day.

You could document the Things that define a loved one’s personality.  Or a current favorite.  Or a pet peeve.  Or something you cherish.  Or, or, or…let your creativity guide you as you explore the possibilities of revealing and sharing your story through the documentation of The Stuff.

And let yourself be inspired by these amazing prompt plays from the Storytellers:

From Aaron:

Aaron, a school teacher, scrapped a simple something that seems to be filling his days more and more: the copier.  Which of course, on its face, reveals a bit about his work life but it also reveals more..that his focus in work recently has been more focused on preparing his students for testing.  That this is a Story of his Now reveals what he is caring about at this moment and how some of his time is filled.  I love how he cohesively echoed the theme with his schooly element choices.

From Stephanie:

Journaling reads:

Every weekday morning we have the same routine. Breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, out the door. You two add into this bickering, bothering and bantering. I end up prodding, reminding, yelling. It’s a frustrating and vicious cycle.

Stephanie fabulously used color choice and played with word art (adding “not” to the “happy” pennant) to reveal the story of a Thing that dominates her morning routine…and often in a really frustrating way.  I love her use of a brief and simple list of morning tasks coupled with action verbs that define the tone of that can emerge in this time sensitive before school morning (bickering, bothering and bantering,  prodding, reminding, yelling) in her journaling.  Both work together to  subtley convey that ever present  *tick.tick.tick* of the clock and the time-focused hecticness of a morning routine.

From Jude:

Journaling reads:

Food is pretty important in our house, it doesn’t necessarily have to be really flashy, but the day is never entirely satisfactory unless there’s been at least one yummy meal. We mostly cook from scratch, so we don’t mind spending time in the kitchen but we do prefer things that aren’t too complicated! We have an extensive range of cookbooks and they’ve all got nice, authenticly splattered pages to show they get used. Our favourite recipes are usually the really interestingly flavoured ones. I love to have Mexican food as a treat, Enchiladas are my absolute favourite, but I adore Thai and other east asian cuisines as well as Indian, Mediterreanean and lots of others.

Luckily, the girls share our tastes. They’ll try pretty much anything, and mostly like anything too (unless it’s hotter than can be fixed with a big glass of water) so it’s ok for us to be adventurous when we’re cooking.

I really love how Jude chose to document a Thing that at once reflects family traditions and likes and shared time together.  This is the kind of portrait of the little things that I would have loved to see in my grandparent’s scrapbook and in my own.  The little things that are SO regular for us that we may not even think to document them, but they will be so wonderful to have remembered.   Jude also chose elements to underscore her journaling and that creates such a fabulous cohesiveness and colorfulness to the page.


Putting Pen to Paper is a story-centric scrapbooking and journaling series. I hope it will inspire you to document your stories in a meaningful way that helps you live life more meaningfully too. Please remember anyone is welcome to join in and follow along at any time.  Looking forward to sharing a fresh prompt next Wednesday!

Happy Scrapping!


Making Facebook Work for You :: Volume Two

Wherein I build upon my previous Making Facebook Work for You post and share another tip for controlling content on Facebook.  We all appreciate having a little more control over what we see and how we interact with people and content on Facebook right?  So let’s grab a little bit of it.

My first post was all about the list-y goodness.  And I’m still a BIG fan of lists.  It is the single easiest way for me to keep up with everyone I want to connect with and organize the content that comes through my News Feed.  So if you haven’t made friends with listing, I would highly recommend it.

Today I want to share a tip about interacting with Pages.  This is something you may have discovered on your own already but it’s one that is relatively New to Me.  And it’s worth a share because the dynamic for what we see on Facebook has changed a bit with the implementation of Timeline.

Have you noticed that some Pages you’ve liked don’t seem to appear in your News Feed very often?  Do you ever feel like you’re missing posts from people (or Pages)?   You may find yourself wondering “Hey, I haven’t seen any posts from So-And-So lately”.  Only to wander over to their actual FB page or profile to see they’ve actually been quite chatty and you’ve just missed seeing it.  

Or maybe you run a Facebook Page and have noticed a downtick in interactions with your Page? 

It’s not just your imagination.

You see, the gurus at Facebook have developed some pretty smart programs that influence what we see in our News Feeds, especially with regard to Page content.  Generally speaking, while most of us don’t really know *exactly* what factors dictate what we see or *precisely* how it works, we do have a decent idea of what makes News Feed content tick.   The best information we have indicates these programming formulas and algorithms are designed to work in a way that builds upon how we interact on Facebook.  With What and With Whom.  And How Often.  And in What Way.

And in this context, “interact”  means “like”, comment, tag, post on walls, and all that other fun stuff we users of Facebook do.

These programs have figured that what we interact with MOST is what we would want to see more of, right?  Makes sense.

This works on an individual level and on a Pages level.

And it’s not necessarily anything New New, especially with regard to our friends lists.  We’re kind of used to it by now.  This kind of “interaction based” organization of content is actually the driving force behind that “Top Stories” option for the News Feed.  It’s FB programming trying to show you what they THINK you want to see because the posts are getting a lot of interaction from others you know or maybe you yourself have interacted with said person before.

{Incidentally, as an aside, hopefully by now you know that you can control this setting too.  FB has finally responded to complaints about that and there now (again) exists the option to choose “Most Recent” instead of “Top Stories” for the viewing of your main News Feed.  YAY.  And Hooray.}

This means you’re likely to see posts from your BFF in your News Feed more often and more regularly because you’re likely to “interact” with her posts more regularly and more often.

And that part is great.

But it’s (more than) possible that your friends list isn’t filled only with people you interact with regularly and consistently.  You may have many more acquaintances, community connections or even gaming friends that aren’t as near and dear to your heart in a personal way and so you’re not posting to or with them as often as BFF.

Like Dear Sweet Aunt Edna for example (who is super hip and with it and therefore has a FB profile herself now).  Dear Sweet Aunt Edna is certainly dear and sweet and super hip, but maybe she’s not a person you interact with regularly.  And so it’s likely she (or anyone else who you don’t actively engage with on a regular basis) may not appear in your feed when she posts.  Still, she’s someone you don’t want to ignore or pass over when she finally makes a post about something.

And this is true for Pages you have liked too.

And what you see from Pages in your News Feed is even more rooted in interactions.  It’s all about “EdgeRank“.  Which basically means: The Pages you interact with regularly and consistently are likely to appear in your News Feed more regularly.  Whereas all other Pages are likely to fall off your News Feed map.

So a page that is like your BFF (one you “interact” with via likes, comments, and such) is more likely to appear in your News Feed when they make a new post, whereas The Useful Page But One You Don’t “Talk” To is likely to fall away from your News Feed.

This means the onus is on the Pages and Brands you like to create engaging content to keep you interacting with their Pages so that their content shows regularly in News Feeds..  Which is good.  More engaging content is good.

But I’m a Page lurker.  And I suspect there are many more like me.  I don’t necessarily post on pages, but I *do* want to know what they are saying.  So I’ve been missing content from Pages I have liked.  Bummer.

So. What is a Person (Who-Doesn’t-Want-To-Post-On-Pages-All-The-Time-In-Order-To-See-Them-In-Feed) to do?

Here are two ways to Manage Pages (and friends) content.

One solution is:  The lists (trust me: you totally want to make friends with lists).  This is an especially  great way to solve this problem for keeping up with individual friends or groups of friends.  Lists will help ensure you see anyone you want to see.  And it’s the best way to make sure you’re keeping up with posts from BFF and Dear Aunt Edna or any of the other people you don’t interact with regularly but who you still want to pay attention to.

And this is how I chose to keep up with Pages I was interested in before I discovered this New to Me thing.  I had created a list called Pages.  And added all those Pages I wanted to “lurk”, quietly following their content.  And all was well and merry.  Worked beautifully.

And then one day…poof!  My “Pages” list was gone.

Only it wasn’t.  It was just someplace New to Me.

And this is where the second solution lives:

Now there emerged an Interests List.  This is a new-ish feature from Facebook.  You’ll find it in your left sidebar.  You may need to click “More” to reveal it.

And Facebook placed my “Pages” list there.  Look! Yay!


You can build and use your interest lists much like you would any other list.  Only it’s most valuable and useful for organizing the Pages you’d like to keep up with.

You can create different Interest Lists for different Interests.  I’ve created one for my “favorite” pages.  It includes business connections, scrapbooking and storytelling related pages, and a few other uplifting pages.  And by clicking “Manage lists” you can further control what content you want to see from your Pages.

You can create any of your own pages here:

Simply click “Add Interests” to create a new Interests List.

To add Pages to your Interest List go to any Page you’ve liked (or do this when you *first* like a page) and hover over “Like” (or “Liked” as the case may be).  There you can add the Page to a specific Interest List.  You can also decide to show this page (or not) in your News Feed by (un)checking “Show in News Feed”:

You can also add any page to an Interests list this way.  Under any cover photo, toward the right of your screen you will see the “Like” and Message Interface.  Next to that is a wee “gear”.  Click on it and a drop down appears.  Here you have the option to Add to Interest Lists as well:

With your Interests Lists YOU are in control of what you want to see and how you want to organize it.  You can be sure to keep up with any Page you hope to follow regardless of how often you actively “interact” with it.

Recently during National Scrapbooking Day, I found my Interest Lists to be invaluable.  I was able to keep up with all the News from my Favorite Pages and didn’t miss a thing.  And I make really good use of it when hoping to find a little inspiration in just a few clicks from one of my favorite uplifting pages.

I hope you will find this useful in your own Quest to Control Content.

(Here’s a link from FB help that further shows how you can control what you see in your feed: How do I control what I see in my News Feed?)

Making Facebook Work for You

Otherwise known as: How To Best Control Your Content on Facebook.  OR:  How To Best Navigate Recent Changes To The Facebook Feed.  OR:  How To Show Your Facebook Feed Who Is Boss.  OR:  How To Spend More Time Organizing Your Facebook Than You Really Want To But So That You Can See MORE Of What You Want To See And Less Of What You Don’t, All The While Protecting Your Privacy As Best As Possible.

Whew?  Whew!  Goodness I am a master of run-on sentences even when speaking in Topic Headings.

ANYway.  I’ve been seeing a lot of…unhappy and some grumpy (and some giggle-worthy cartoon commentaries)…in my Facebook feed since Facebook rolled out their latest changes to the masses yesterday.

And I totally understand the frustration and the “Ugh. Another change to get used to” or the “Boo on you FB! Stop messing with my FB” sentiments.   I do.  I really really get it.  Because about a month ago, when my feed and content magically changed overnight,  I realized I was unwillingly part of a “test group” of Facebook users for these new changes to the feed and format.  And I really was not a fan of the changes.  I sent emails and “feedbacks” and I never send emails and feedbacks.  I even joined a group of fellow annoyed “testers”.  I’m usually really laid back about changes to Facebook.  But that’s how irritated I was with these changes at first.  Especially because when my feed changed initially..there were no listing options.  None.  Just the annoying mush of a single feed with Facebook determining what content was a “top story” and not discriminating between content I am interested in and content I am not interested in.   And that ticker.  Blugg.  I was so frustrated, I thought to myself (more than a few times) “That’s it! I’m done with Facebook.  It’s Google + all the way for me now”.

And while I do love Google + and Twitter and Flickr and Tumblr and Pinterest and this blog, I still have love for Facebook in ways that I don’t for other platforms so far because of the options for keeping up with family and friends across the globe and interacting with all of you and with others who share love for scrapbooking and storytelling.  It’s been a good intersection of personal and business for me.  I have time and connections and interactions invested there.  So I wasn’t ready to just shun the BookFace just yet.    I wanted to try to make the changes work for me.  At least as much as I could.

And I was able to do just that.  Finally Facebook brought back the listing feature and with it came a bit of control over content that I had lost.  And now, apart from that Stalker Ticker (which I loathe with a fiery passion), I have been able to get to a place of actually not hating the NuFB (as sweet Christine called it today).

In fact, I think I have more control over my content now than I ever have before.  And I rather like that.  And I’m feeling laid back again.  Because every little thing gonna be alright.

Soooo.  I thought I’d take a little time to share what little I have figured out and what adaptations I’ve made in the past few weeks in my Facebook experience with the hopes that it may help others adjust or customize their FB feeds too and bring a little bit of the happy back.   Please keep in mind, this is what works for me.  There may be other (and better) ways to Make Facebook Behave.  I know some prefer to make use of third party applications or browser boosties to make the best of their FB experience.

But here’s how I am doing it.   And it’s all about the Lists.  You may be familiar with lists because it’s not really *that* new, but it has been generally underutilized for a lot of people.  I went list crazy when they were first introduced and then was in list withdrawal when they temporarily disappeared and now I am living happily ever after with Lists again.  And find them even more crucial than ever before since the rollout of NuFB.

Lists can be a fabulous avenue for controlling content and seeing what YOU want to see when YOU want to see it.  I have made good use of my lists to keep up with my different “circles” of friends and contacts.  And once you are familiar with this organizational option, it’s really quite simple to use and modify.

Here’s the Listy Lowdown:

When looking at the “home/news feed page” you will see “Lists” in the left sidebar. If you’ve not made any lists before, you will still see a couple of what FB calls “smart lists”. They include any family you’ve listed, and “work”  or “education” you’ve listed and two new ones “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances” — seems they are kind of mimicking the idea of circles in Google + but that’s neither here nor there.

ANYway.  Next to “Lists”,  just to the right of it, you will see “More” — click on that.  If you don’t readily see it, be sure you are hovering over the word “Lists” (hovering is the key to getting the most out of FB apparently.  They like The Hover).  And it will list any lists you have.  And you will see a button for “Create a List”.  You can create a new one…call it anything you like.   And then add people (or pages!) to the list.   I have a list of scrapping friends, military friends, church friends, and I made one called Pages that I am beginning to add pages I like to keep up with on. (this is important to me because they have done away with the default “pages” list option for now and I still want to keep up with pages I’ve “liked”).

Then when you have your can click on it in the sidebar and the center feed area will show the “feed” of that list. And all the stories will show in chronological order. As far as I can tell so far, there is no top stories mumbojumbo in the individual lists.  There is also no ticker in the right sidebar (so far) when viewing a list.

You can also “filter” the content of your lists. When you are looking at the feed of any list you have created you can click on the “Manage List” button in the top right corner. From there you can indicate what kind of updates you want to see from people in this list (Games, Updates, Photos, etc.) by clicking on “Choose Update Types”.

Here’s an example of one of my custom lists:

You can see in my sidebar the first several lists that I have and how my “Pages” custom list looks so far.   When I am viewing this list..I see the feed only of the people (or pages) I’ve included on my list. I have set the content to show only the updates and photos.  But you could easily create a list of friends you like to play games with (if you’re into the game-y stuff) and include the Games information.  Or you could limit it to updates only.  Or you could include everything.  It’s all up to you.

A couple of handy listy notes:

* You can create a custom list for any subset of people in your friends’ list that you want: scrapping friends, gaming friends, pages, what have you.

* You can modify your list at any time by clicking on the list name and then the “Manage List” button.

* You can add people to multiple lists (for example I have my mom in my family list and my fellowship list)

* When you add a person to a FB profile “smart list” –which is any list that FB has started from the information you’ve shared in your profile (work, education, family relationships and NOT a custom list you create) it will send a “notice” to the person you have added asking them to confirm/respond.  When they do, the “relationship” will be reflected on their profile too.   I learned this through trial and error.  If you prefer not to approach things this way or make an imposition on the friends you add to these FB generated lists, you can simply create your own custom list.  Custom lists are for you only.  They don’t “ask” your friends to confirm the categorization of your list.  The exception is the FB generated “Close Friends” list and the “Acquaintances” list.  You can seemingly add people to these lists without their notification.

*If you make use of the FB generated “Close Friends” list, FB will automatically send FB notifications (though I think this is only via FB itself and not email) of posts your besties make.  You can turn off these notifications if you prefer via the “Notifications” button for the Close Friends list. Simply uncheck it if notifications like this bother you.

*FB has also created a “Restricted” List.  I have not made much use of this feature (since I have tailored my privacy settings pretty specifically and don’t really feel the need to block people) but it is a handy one.  This is what FB says about its “restricted” list: “This list gives you an easy and private way to limit what you share with someone—without blocking or unfriending them. They won’t see the list name or be told they’re listed.”  SO you can list individuals here and their placement on the Restricted list will prevent them from seeing your updates unless you remove them from the list or specify a different list to receive the update.  And it may be a friendlier alternative to unfriending anyone who is especially annoying to you.

*when you are viewing one of your custom lists you can make a Status Update and it will share with only those on your list.  Woot!

*when you are viewing your regular News Feed or your profile itself, you can choose who sees an update or upload or what have you by clicking on the little “gear” and utilizing the drop down options.  You can choose to share with any list segment you’ve created or the usual generic “Friends” or “Public”.  Your default (as in you don’t pick anything specific) will share with whomever your privacy settings are set to share with.  For me this is also pretty specific, for some this is “public” (but really..please please please…unless you are a public celebrity of some sort and you want everyone to see everything, your privacy settings really shouldn’t be set to “public”).

Neato right?!


This approach does require a bit of extra work for organization from the off and maybe it feels a little unintuitive at first, but if you’re like me and really value control over your content and want to be sure you’re keeping up with everything you want to keep up with, you’ll probably find it worth your time.  If not, then I imagine you probably weren’t fussed about the changes to begin with (woot!).

The foundation for all of this is, of course, the privacy settings.  I really encourage you to set your privacy settings to a level you are comfortable with.  I am pretty stringent with my privacy.  I try to control as much as possible.  You may be more loosey goosey.  Whatever approach you take, just be aware of your options and know that generally speaking FB’s default way of doing things is NOT in an opt-in kind of way.  Your profile is pretty public-y by default vs. the other way around.

So check this often.  Because there are little changes that happen here and there that may compromise what your preferences are.

Hope this is helpful in some small measure!  Hope you have a Happy Wednesday!!!

Grow With Love: One Year Later

July of 2010 marked the beginning of something special.

One year ago, Crystal and I introduced our storytelling concept Grow With Love.  It was fresh, it was a little challenging, and we were a little terrified but hugely excited about it.  Grow With Love was and remains our vision for our personal storytelling and it also reflected our philosophy and heart for encouraging others in their own storytelling.  We hoped to create story-and-prompt driven projects that would challenge and encourage scrapbookers and storytellers to document their personal stories in a more meaningful way.  And more importantly, in a way that would have a tangible impact on their lives beyond the page.  In the year since we first put ourselves and this heartsong “out there” we have been so amazed and inspired by the beautiful pages and stories we have seen shared.  And it was Grow With Love that gave me the personal nudge of confidence to really surrender to my love of Story and develop Plant Your Story.

So reflecting on this adventure, one year later, has me feeling a little nostalgic and ooey and gooey.

And Crystal and I both agree that our first project, Grow With Love: Marriage, holds a special place in our hearts (and in our albums)…and not just because it was our “first” but because of the impact it had on both of us personally.  To this day, the pages that I created during the GWL: Marriage process remain some of my most favorite because they are full of my heart and they document the most important relationship in my life.  It was transformative.  It was empowering.  It was challenging.  But it was worth it.  So so worth it.


So today, in honor of our One Year Grow With Love “anniversary”, Crystal and I would like to offer three Plant Your Story readers with the chance to take part in this storytelling journey as well.

Grow With Love: Marriage was inspired by deep reflection of our own loves and relationships.  It is a series of templates and journaling prompts that we hope will inspire you to share your own stories and create beautiful pages from the heart that you will love.   Includes twenty layered templates and twenty printable thoughtful journaling prompts that we hope will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone a little bit, reflect on your relationships and loves, and love a little more deeply and truly.  And as you scrap, at your own pace, you can review the process and get inspiration and encouragement that was posted here on the blog.

To enter this giveaway, simply comment here by next Friday 5 August at midnight (PST) for your chance to win Grow With Love: Marriage Edition.  To increase your chances of winning, you can tweet (or retweet with a visible link) or blog or share news of this contest — be sure to share a separate comment with the link to your tweet or post.

If you have already scrapped Grow With Love: Marriage Edition, you can still win something special!  Simply share one of your pages on the Plant Your Story FB page  (For a “how to” see this link) and comment here for your chance to win $20 to shop my store!

Lots of luck!  And thank you for one year of growing with love!  ♥

{grow with love: letters} Day Eighteen

Hope everyone has had a beautiful week!  I’m filling in for Crystal who is up-to-her-eyeballs in vacation preparations…can’t think of a better thing to be busy with really and I know she’s super excited to be getting away for a spell…to the beach!

So here we are with the second prompt for May, which is Day 18 of our letter writing adventure.  This month we are honoring family and celebrating legacy and history with our prompts and pages.

Here’s a peek at today’s prompt:

You may take a peek at this prompt and feel, like me, that you need to take a pause and a deep breath.  One way or another, this is a kind of nudge to write and reflect about something emotional.  And that can be challenging or convicting or a little scary or overwhelming or even empowering.  It’s prompts like these that encourage us to tell the WHOLE story.  Even the emotional or difficult chapters…because these do shape us so.  And many times, reflecting on the goodbyes and the legacies (good or bad) can help close a door or facilitate the letting go or even reaffirm a person’s importance in our lives.

We hope that you feel inspired in this way today.  And we hope you will find some inspiration in these pages by the Storytellers.  They are so heartfelt and emotive and so beautiful.




Grow With Love is a story-centric scrapbooking and journaling project.  We hope it will inspire you to document your stories in a meaningful way that helps you live life more meaningfully too.  Please remember anyone is welcome to join in and follow along at any time.  You can access the complete Grow With Love archive and hop in to any past Grow With Love project or follow along with the Letters project which will be highlighted here every Wednesday.

Grow With Love Archive

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