Monthly Archives: August 2015

An Abrupt Left Turn

An Abrupt Left Turn

When the summer began, I had a vision of how the summer was going to go. I was going to get some writing done on my sister’s laptop. The kids were going to practice their writing. We’d get caught up on projects around the house, maybe even organize the workshop in the basement.

Yep. None of that happened. Although I did attempt to write, and get the kids to write too, they’ve spent most of the summer in front of screens. That laptop? Too old to support a recent enough version of Dropbox or Amazon Cloud to make it useful for writing.

And the house projects? I’ve gotten one done, and about half of another. The workshop is still a mess.

my one finished project ||

My One Finished Project

And this fall? It’s going to be wildly different than I thought it would be.

You see, I’ve got a new job.


Scrapbooking, you say? You’ve got that covered you think. And I do. I can teach Scrapbooking practically with my eyes closed. I’m not sure how I’m going to grade it though.

But Scrapbooking isn’t all I’ll be teaching. How does a section of high school Biology sound? Shouldn’t be too hard. I do after all have a degree in that. But wait, there’s more! A section of Chemistry is in the plans too. Now that’s going to be a stretch.

And for the cherry on top?

We’re going to be hosting an exchange student this year. This is super exciting, but as I said before, completely not where I thought we’d be at the end of the summer.

It’s a good place, just completely unexpected.

What does that all mean for this lovely blog? It will probably have fewer posts on a regular basis. The November month of cards is still on the plate on the moment, but that could change if I find I need to spend more time on school planning.

I will be working on my next scrapbooking book as well. It’s about half done, but the kids have completely disrupted my ability to string two coherent thoughts together, so it’s going to have to wait till after they’re back in school. Mornings will be devoted to school planning and writing. Then I’ll be teaching in the afternoons, and playing chauffeur and short order cook in the evenings.

Welcome to the new normal.

Hope you enjoy it here with me!

Re-visiting The Category Drawers

Re-visiting The Category Drawers

A big part of the Library of Memories system that Stacy Julian pioneered are the category drawers. (Not necessarily drawers. Mine are photo storage boxes.)

The purpose of category drawers is to organically find and source stories that are deeper and more insightful through the juxtaposition of photos that you wouldn’t normally find together. You can do this in a digital catalog by using keywords and metadata, but with physical photos, you need category drawers. Typically there’s a drawer for people you love, things you do, places you go, and one all about yourself and your immediate family. Within each drawer you add tabbed cards with related topics. For instance, in my category drawer “things we do,” there are sub-headings for reading, art, playtime, etc.

Last week I dug out a random drawer, and poked through what was already in there that could spark a story. The first thing that popped out at me ware a few pictures of my boys when they were younger, and getting along really well. Which made me think, “When did getting along become the exception rather than the rule?”

With that in mind I pulled a few pictures from the category drawer, and then poked through the more recent pictures I do have printed to find a similar, more current one.

when ||

Everything on the layout came from a kit put together last spring. It was a kit making frenzy around here for awhile. It’s going to take some time to use them all up, but it’s so handy to be able to pull out a kit and limit yourself to that, and the bins I have on the desk. (Currently on my desk: scraps bin, small jar of embellishments mostly intended for Project Life, and bin full of journaling cards and labels.)

This layout makes me happy, because it reminds me that my kids do like each other, underneath all the petty bickering and button pushing. Plus it’s a slice of real life, because it seems like the silly arguments are all they do right now.

Anyone else have some category drawer inspired pages they’d like to share? Anyone else want to create their own category drawers so they can find stories like this that are just waiting to be told?

Photo Failure

Photo Failure

I have a problem. I am failing at maintaining my photo organization. Stories are falling through the cracks!

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but not that much.

I’ve only printed one big batch of pictures once since we’ve moved. Three years. One printing.

I have printed new photos on a regular basis from the local Walgreens, but except for the ones that have ended up in my Project Life album most of my newer pictures are sitting on my hard drive, gathering proverbial dust.

My photo storage albums have gaping holes from photos being taken out and used on pages, and yet, I have no room to add the remainders of the last big printing I did do, or for new photos when and if I print a big batch.

I haven’t looked in a category drawer in ages.

My library of memories is getting rusty with dis-use.

photos to organize ||

It’s not that I haven’t been scrapbooking. You all see a lot of what I create on a regular basis. It’s that the things I’ve been scrapbooking are, for the most part, the leftovers of projects and Project Life.

It’s time to take back the photo storage.

Officially on the to-do list:

Consolidate my photo storage albums to make room for more photos.

Add the photos I have printed but not sorted into the storage albums.

Purge photos that are less inspiring or duplicates from my storage albums and get them into my category drawers or the circular file.

Print photos from the last three years that inspire stories. Be picky. I’ve told a lot of these stories already.

Now to figure out when I’m going to do these projects.

Anyone else falling down on the photo printing and organization follow thru? What are you going to do about it? I think I’m going to visit my category drawers and make a page next week. That’s a good place to start, don’t you think?


Go Visit Save Your Photos!

Go Visit Save Your Photos!

Want to learn about some of the many mistakes I’ve made when preserving and organizing photos? Go check out my guest post at Save Your Photos, where you can learn all about what not to do as far as digital photos goes.

And be sure to come back on Thursday, when I confess the rest of my poor photo organization sins.


The Perils of Poor Photo Organization at Save Your Photos (guest post!)

A Full Year!

A Full Year!

This may be cause for celebration. I finished a full year of Project Life. In a timely manner. As in Finished. Finite. Finito. Fin.


last page PL album ||

Things I have learned:

Having a plan for printing photos on a regular basis has helped me do this project in a way that I call successful. (What you call successful may be entirely different. That’s the cool thing about scrapbooking. You get to decide what your successful memory keeping consists of, no one else can define that for you.)

PL album june ||

I suck at remembering to take daily photos, or writing daily journaling. I work best in spurts. I can do Layout a Day easily now. But I no longer feel like I have something I need to prove. I know what I am good at, I know what my style is, and I can whip up a decent page in next to no time. I don’t have to take a picture every day or write every day to capture the essence of our lives.

Plus I really don’t like having to figure out how to squeeze in vertical journaling cards with vertical photos.

PL June 2 || noexcusescrapbooking.comSpeaking of which, the part that takes me the longest? Deciding which photos to use in which pocket page. Have I mentioned that I take a lot of vertical photos?

I need to work on improving my handwriting. My family keeps complaining about how difficult it is to read what I have written. That’s partly a result of the kids not getting a lot of cursive instruction in school, and partly a result of me not taking the time to write neatly. I can’t tell you how often my Ys look like bumpy Js.

PL June 3 ||

Getting my boys involved in adding their own thoughts is hard. But every time I run across a card they’ve written, I’m glad. Now if only I didn’t have to nag them to do it.

Remembering to use memorabilia is hard. Deciding where to put it in my albums is hard. Too bad memorabilia is so cool.

You know what’s even cooler?

Knowing the album is done, having a plan for the next one, and being able to start right on the next year’s book.


PL album 2 ||

I’m a month into the next album already. Now that’s what I call successful.