~ Warning: long post ~
I have thought long and hard about this – about sharing my scrapbooking process.
I guess the main reason is that scrapbooking and sharing our stories is very personal and I truly believe there is no right or wrong way to do it. I don’t want someone to read this and say “Oh that’s how you’re suppose to do it”, nor do I want someone to read this and think “she has it all wrong”.
Here is my personal philosophy about memory keeping…
I don’t take photos to scrapbook. I take photos to capture moments in our lives.
Putting my photos into a scrapbook is the format I use to share those moments with my family and friends. Therefore:
- If it isn’t simple, I won’t do it.
- It must be stress-free
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t enjoy the process of getting the photos in the scrapbook, but I will be honest, it is a means to an end. What I love the most is to watch my family relive the memories we have created together.
Let me touch on the two points above.
1. If it isn’t simple, I won’t do it.
I have a busy life, we all do. I love the things I do, the activities I am involved in and the precious time spent with family and friends.
I love Lisa Bearson’s quote. “It should take longer to create the memory than record it”
I need something simple and quick to hold all those memories, whether written or photographed. That is why when Becky Higgins introduced Project Life in
2010 late 2009, I was over the moon excited. This was the system for me.
2. It must be stress-free.
In mid 2009, I had learned about Becky Higgins Project 365, which was focused on taking a photo a day for 1 year. The purpose was to help you capture the little, everyday things in life. The bigger goal was to realize how much we are grateful for. I had decided I would try it for 2010. Then the Project Life system came out and many of us went “Viola” here it the system to go with Project 365. Although completely suitable, it was not meant be used solely for that purpose, but like many of you, that is how I chose to use the system.
I will be honest, although there was a renewed sense of appreciation for the everyday, I was increasingly frustrated, overwhelmed and generally stressed out. It just didn’ t fit with me. It was not my style.
I quickly regrouped myself for 2011. By this time I had been working closely with Becky to bring the Project Life system to the world and had a much better handle on the real purpose of the Project Life system. To me the real purpose was to simply ‘record my story’. Whatever that meant to me. Not what everyone else thought it should be – for me. No two Project Life albums needed to be the same. Period.
The stress instantly left and my creative heart soared. I once again found myself taking pictures the way I use to. Photographing the things I wanted to capture even if it was 20 or 30 pics of the same thing. No more stressing out if I was capturing something every day or if it was ‘blog’ worthy. It was then that I also made the decision that I would not blog my personal layouts (unless I wanted to share a particular story).
So from 2011 to present this is my process:
1. Take photos when I want, how many I want and with NO RULES in mind. There is no right way. Some weeks my camera is out everyday, sometimes I won’t pull it out for 2 or 3 weeks. I may have 100 photos from a birthday party. I may have not taken a “first day of school” photo until a month into the school year. My only RULE is “it is what it is”.
2. I don’t spend time editing my photos or deleting them. As my memory card fills up, I simply download them to my computer. File them using my photo organizational system and then forget about them. I have an automatic off-site back up system that I check once a month to confirm all is well.
3. I use the Big Envelopes from the Project Life system to hold the memorabilia I have collected through the year. Ticket stubs, brochures, newspaper clippings, receipts of interest and notes I have recorded.
4. Once a year I print ALL my photos. I mean all of them. I don’t spend much time deciding if that photo is in focus or that maybe I have to many of that one pose. I print them all. Most years I have about 1000 photos. If we have done a family trip that year, I may have 500 more. I know some of you are thinking “what a waste” as I won’t use them all. However I view it like this… My time is precious and to spend hours on my computer analyzing my photos is not a productive, nor a stress-free way to spend my time. The time I save is worth the extra $50 is may cost to have printed photos I don’t use in the end.
5. My mom, sister and I go on a yearly scrapbooking retreat. Just us girls getting away for some ‘girl-time’. I LOVE it! With the switch to the Project Life system and letting go of everyone else’s expectations of how it should be done, I now use those retreats to put my photos for the year in my Project Life album.
Whether the retreat is part of a formal community retreat, or the three of us just meeting at one of our homes for the weekend, we make sure we have our girl time each year. We don’t over think this. Keep it simple. Take-out or potluck if we are doing it at home.
I arrive with my Project Life Album, Big Pack of Photo Pocket Pages (Design A is my preference), a couple packs of Design G (for those very few vertical photos I take), a Core Kit in my favourite design, my photos from the developer (usually Walmart or Costco) and my Big Envelope of memorabilia.
For tools I do bring a trimmer as I love to use photos in the 3×4 slots as well. Also note that I do NOT corner round my photos.
At the end of 2011 I recorded our entire year in less than 3 days – that includes all the journaling. I used the Amber Edition. It was liberating and I was ecstatic with the freedom and having NO STRESS recording our story. I knew right then, there was no going back.
I used the Amber Edition Core Kit and Original Amber Binder
At the end of 2012 I recorded our entire year as well as the 600+ photos of our son’s trip to London in his own album. He is doing the journaling and sharing his stories.
I used the Black Signature Binders for our 2012 Year. For our son’s London trip, I used the Cobalt Edition Core Kit and Binder
Then in early 2013, my mom and I had an opportunity to go to a Spring retreat. That is when I decided to do some historical scrapbooking. I have a box of organized photos that have been pushed aside for too many years. I also had a digital file of all our photos from our trip to Trinidad and Tobago in 2008. My original intention had been to make a photo book (similar to the Shutterfly books), but just never got around to it.
So, in my usual style, I sent the entire folder of images (900 +) off to Walmart to be printed. Along with my box of historical photos, off I went for 3 days of ‘girl-time’.
I used the Olive Edition Core Kit and Binder for our trip to Trinidad. For the 7 years, I used a Black Signature Binder and assorted core kit cards
I succeeded in scrapbooking our entire trip (including journaling) in one day – I ended up using about 500 of the photos. The other 2 days I was able to record another 7 years of photos from my box of historical photos. If you are anything like me, in the years before owning a digital camera, there were a LOT LESS photos. So these seven years have filled one album. That said, I was also creating full 12×12 layouts with single images back in that day, so I will spend a day this summer consolidating them together and will likely end up with a total of two albums to hold those 7 years. Hence the reason I have not labelled the spine yet.
My mom decided that it was time to tackle our old family albums. All of which were in those sticky/magnetic old photo albums.
Some of the photos were no longer attached, but in some cases she had to use floss to get them off of the pages and then scrape glue residue from the back of the photos. YUCK! Unfortunately, back in the day, photo albums were not very photo friendly and most of our photos are aged/yellowed. She was so relieved to be getting them out of those albums and into something safe.
As each album held a year and not many photos per page, she was able to take 10 years worth of photos and get them into 2 Project Life albums. She did 6 years at our retreat in late 2012 and 4 years plus our family pet’s mini album at our retreat this spring.
She used assorted core kit cards and a Turquoise Album
The Ultimate Goal
The best part was that our family now has photos and stories to look at. They are no longer hidden in a box or on my computer. And with my Mom’s albums, they no longer need to worry that the pages will fall out or crumble.
Sharing memories = PRICELESS!