Category Archives: chronological scrapbooking

Documenting My Summer

Documenting My Summer

In order to document my summer, I need a plan. Something small, easily carried, and visually inspiring. Luckily I have a stash that will help me do this.

Are you all familiar with Amy Tangerine’s little mini-albums? I think she called them daybooks. (Check some of them out on Amazon.) Way back when, when there was a local scrapbook store here, they carried many of her mini albums, and I stocked up on them.

I used one to make an album about the summer of 2012, and now it’s time to use one for this summer.

A peek at a few of the pages:amy tangerine daybook ||

The product packaging for this album consisted of a heavy cardstock actually on the spiral spine, so rather than cutting it off, I cut the hang strip off the top, and covered the product description on the back with the first piece of scrap paper I found that was big enough to cover it.

The plan for this is to use only papers from my scrap bin, project life cards, and whatever embellishments are lying around handy. I’ll print small pics at home, and bug my kids to add their two cents in occasionally.

The point is to make this as free-flowing and unconstrained as possible. we’ll see how that turns out. ūüėČ

Apparently I’ve never shared the previous daybook, so I’ll share that with you all next week. It’s one of my favorite albums ever.

Go make something! I’m going to go play too!

Solutions for the Chronological Scrapbooker: Project Life Baby Edition

Solutions for the Chronological Scrapbooker: Project Life Baby Edition

We’re going to switch gears for the moment, and talk about how you can use Project Life style scrapbooking to document a big event or a baby’s first year, even when the baby’s now 30 and expecting their first child, and the big event was so long ago you’ve forgotten all the details.

If your baby really is 30, please, don’t ever feel guilty about NOT scrapbooking. There is no behind. There are no stories you must tell. This is a hobby you can choose to do or not. It is not, and never will be, something you HAVE to do. “But!” you say. “I have all these photos from my wedding/baby’s first year/Christmas that I have to use! If I don’t, my mother-in-law/best friend/random stranger will hold it over my head for decades!” Or even better, there’s the self-induced guilt of “I have to do these photos in chronological order! If I don’t we’ll never remember what we did in May of 1995!”

Please, stop right there. You don’t have to scrapbook to please anyone else but yourself, and you don’t have to do it in order. Did that work? Are you listening? Probably not, right?

I bet you are still running around in your head, thinking that you do need to do these things. I know nothing I say is going to stop you feeling like you have to scrapbook that way. So, rather than try to talk you down off the scrapbook ledge of guilt, let’s approach chronological and big event scrapbooks from a different perspective. Let’s make them fast and approachable, instead of overwhelming.

If you’ve been aware of the scrapbook business for any length of time, you probably know all about¬†Becky Higgins, and her Project Life products (affiliate link).¬†You’ve probably also heard that people who do Project Life try to take a photo every day, write a little every day, and then just slip the daily photo and journaling into a divided page protector that looks a bit like this:


(You can buy those here through my Amazon affiliate link.)

Does that idea scare you? Me too. The first time I tried to do Project Life¬†I got about a month and a half into it before I quit. I don’t want to take a photo or write THAT often, or buy into the resulting guilt when I don’t manage to do either for weeks at a time. (It is working much better the second time around. You can see my posts about Project LIfe here.)

But! These page protectors and Becky’s other product can help you get your stories told quickly and easily. How? Easy.

Let’s work with a concrete example, say a baby book?

If you use the standard page protector, you will need eight horizontally oriented photos for each month of the baby’s first year, plus three of the baby at birth, and another three of the first birthday. Choose only your favorites, and do not print every photo you have taken since your baby was born. If you have vertically oriented photos you’re dying to use you have a few options: buy a different style page protector; print it smaller to fit in the smaller pockets; or (gasp!) cut it.

Sort your photos in chronological order. Slide your three birth photos in the pockets of the first page, along with a title card, and small cards with name and birth statistics. For each following double page spread, add eight photos from each month, and eight small cards with any journaling you want, or even just some pretty patterned paper. For the last page, make sure you’ve got a photo of the kid at one, along with either photos that show how the baby has grown in comparison to the one-year-old, or how you celebrated the first birthday. A little bit of journaling to document changes over the course of the year, and some reflection about it, and your baby book is done.

This is a process that can work for any big event.

Want to document a trip?

Create a title page with an overview of where you went, who you went with, and what you saw, then fill in pocket pages with your favorite photos and memorabilia and anything you can remember from your trip. You can keep it chronological, and do a pocket, a page, or a double page spread per day. You could build your album based on places or people you’ve seen as well. The options are just about endless, and you can make this set-up work for how you think about your photos and memories.

A few things to remember that will help you succeed:

1. Limit your photo selections. While you could use every photo you took during the baby’s first year, or on your once in a lifetime trip, it is so much easier and faster and more attractive to choose your best or most memorable photos. And yes, sometimes the most memorable photos are the worst from an artistic standpoint, but they show an important part of your story, so use them! However, don’t use all 37 photos of the baby learning to walk. Choose a handful, or only one. Curate your photos. You’ll be happier with the end result, and finish your project sooner.

2. Either choose your photos based on the orientation of your photo sleeves, or be willing to trim and adjust photos to fit. Another option is to be willing to turn the album when you look at it. Don’t get hung up on having a mix of photo orientations. This is what takes the longest when putting together a project life page, and by choosing photos appropriately, you can avoid the issue entirely.

3. Don’t feel you have to have tons of heartfelt journaling. A few bits of the details you can remember is more than enough. If you have more journaling spots than you need, fill the space up with pretty paper or another photo.

4. Embellish if you want to, but try to stick to flatter, less three-dimensional elements. Intricate roses and huge beads take up a lot of space in your pocket, and might force you to trim your card or photo in order to fit.

5. Enjoy the process. Take time while you’re putting your project together to reminisce and recall the details. You’ll be able to include more information if you savor your memories, rather than rush to complete the project.

Think you’re ready to take on a baby book, or a big event book?

Show me what you make!



A Huge Pile of PL Pages

A Huge Pile of PL Pages

When preparing for a crop, I prefer to bring projects that don’t require a lot of thinking. I can NOT journal in company. Just having people around thinking is too loud for me.

For the crop two weekends ago, I brought Project Life pages with me to assemble, thinking that they would be easy to do while chatting. So not true.

Project Life was intended to make scrapbooking simple. It really doesn’t work that way for me. The simple arranging of photographs and choosing of journaling cards takes much longer than creating a page. Although, PL does allow me to cover more volume quickly than if I were to make a page for every story covered in my PL album.

But then again, I will probably use these photos again to tell variations on these stories, because I’m crazy like that. Who said you can’t repeat yourself? I apparently plan on doing that!


Anyhoo… How about a few photos of PL pages for you? Or should I say, 20 zillion?

Welcome to January. And lots of iPhone photos! (In fact all these photos are from the iPhone I got for Christmas. Very cool birthday and Christmas  present from my family.)


You know how you plan on doing something, and then midway thru it, you forgot what you were doing? Yep, that’s what happened with the journaling labels on the star card. There was going to be a rainbow of labels, but I forgot I was doing that while writing. Literally decision made and forgotten within 10 seconds.


I brought an old Studio Calico kit with me to the crop, just in case I wanted to switch gears and make a regular page. I found all sorts of things I could use on my PL pages. Including these stickers. Also, the love is a punch from mirror cardstock. My cheap, use what I have, version of gold foil for the day.


Before I put myself on a spending freeze, I treated myself to the mini superheroes stamp set from Mama Elephant. I love their stamps!


I have a little jar, filled with tiny flat or almost flat things to use on PL pages. I think it’s time to replenish the jar. I used a lot of bits and bobs.


I am loving playing with the filters on Instagram. Also, we’ve made it to February!


I tried a watercolor technique on a Heidi Swapp card, but it came out very subtle. Not a bad thing, but hard to see here. Also, a bit of stamping, and the ink wasn’t completely dry when I slid the card in the pocket, so there’s ink transfer to the pocket itself.


I found the Creeper Valentine’s card on Rebecca Cooper’s blog. I love being able to use something from an awesome scrapper.


Using up some more stickers and chipboard and overlays. And, the super cure kitty from the Mama Elephant stamp set.


The month at a glance cards are from the old Turquoise PL set that I am still working on using up. Fit perfectly to point out when winter vacation was.


A few shots of the paint I put on the walls at my sister’s house. and on my hands as well. The splats of distress ink on the Heidi Swapp card really seemed to emphasize the theme.


A last day at my sister’s and then back home to try to get some work (at least planning) done.


I don’t know about you, but I am very tired of the cold at this point. And getting sick didn’t make it any more fun.


Shhh… Don’t tell my husband there’s a picture of him sleeping on the interwebs! Also, hello March!


My mother and I have been walking more. Laps at the mall when it’s yucky outside, neighborhood walks when it’s nice out. You’ll be seeing that window display again.


Big fluffy snowflakes at the beginning of March and my son dressing up for school. He actually was looking forward to school that day. I wish that was the case all the time.


How about some funky food holidays? Pumpkin pie for Pi day, and very green deviled eggs for St. Patricks. Maybe I should do something funky for Easter and Passover too. (The only traditions we carryover from my Jewish Grandfather, Jewish food on Jewish holidays. Which means latkes and matzos and occasionally matzo ball soup.)


Which brings us to the middle of March, when I went to the crop. The bottom card has space for a photo, and then I’ll finish out the month on the next few pages.

One of the big reasons Project Life takes me a bit longer to do than average, is because I do not consistently take horizontal or vertical photos. I’ve been taking photos for a loooong time. I’m used to turning the camera to suit the composition and topic of the photo. I don’t think I could stick to one orientation to save my life.

How about you? How do you usually take photos?

No Stress Project Life

No Stress Project Life

I have not been doing Project Life on a daily basis. Nor on a weekly basis, or even on a monthly basis.

PL Sept W3 ||
The thing is, I’m not scrapping all the time. (Shocking, I know!) Sometimes I’m sewing, sometimes I’m making cards, sometimes I’m crocheting. I scrapbook in batches. I find I like how I scrapbook if I do a bunch at a time. Also, I appreciate it more every time I get back to it from some other project. I really do love scrapbooking.

PL Sept W4 ||
I was trying to write every day when I first started this year’s version of Project Life, but that quickly got away from me. It’s hard to remember to write things down, when it feels like everyday is the same. Wake up, get kids to school, work/write/chores till the kids get home, then nag about homework, make dinner, and chase everyone off to bed.
It sometimes feels like a boring daily slog. But, I am using Project Life to try to remember all the little things that WILL change as the kids grow up.

PL Oct wk 2 ||
And that really is what Project Life is to me. A chance to capture details that are going to change, no matter how repetitive they seem now.

PL Oct wk3 ||
During December I found time to catch up on the past two and a half months. Family visits. Birthdays. Exciting announcements.

PL Oct wk4 ||
I had chances to get crafty with both kids for Halloween. Even though my oldest didn’t go trick or treating because he didn’t get armor for his birthday. (Seriously. He wanted chain mail!)

PL Oct wk5 ||
That’s the thing about Project Life. It can be anything you want it to be, and you can manage it in whatever way works best for you.

PL Nov wk1 ||
If you like to print photos on a daily or weekly basis at home, you can. If you like to save up and do big batches all at once, you can.

PL Nov wk2 ||
Project Life is flexible. Scrapbooking is flexible. There’s no one, right way to do any of it.

PL Nov wk3 ||
Do whatever works best for you. Tell your story. Tell your family’s story.

PL Nov wk4 ||
That’s all that really matters.

Project Life Update (Month 2)

Project Life Update (Month 2)

Over the weekend, I updated our Project Life album.PL Aug 1 ||

To adjust for the photo variety, I used an old We R Memory Keepers sticker organizer page on the right, which also required a bit of paper finagling.

PL aug 1 ||

I just got a smart phone, so I’ve been playing with the camera a little bit. Not too impressed with the quality so far, but then again, it was a very cheap phone.

PL Aug 3 ||

While on our first group family vacation ever– my family, my sister’s family, my mother, and my brother’s daughter all in one house for a week!–I managed to sprain my ankle, my mother tripped and fell face first into a patch of poison ivy, and my niece got a gigantic splinter in her foot. ¬†Apparently we wanted to share everything, even injuries!

PL Aug 4 ||

You might be able to see, on the right, all the journaling cards have the writing sideways. Since I am trying to write every day, I am not worrying about card orientation. That may lead to some awkward pages like this, but I want to make sure I’m capturing stories.

PL Sept 1 ||

The last few days of vacation, first couple days of school, and then I got struck down by yet another case of strep throat. That’s an important thing to think about when doing long term projects– are you going to try to maintain your tempo when you’re feeling unwell, or are you going to give yourself room to heal and recover? That’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself, based on what you want to accomplish, and what will most likely help you succeed.

I needed to slow down a bit, so there’s only a handful of cards and pictures for the two weeks I was sick. That’s alright. I’m back on track now!

How do you handle being sick? Do you keep making stuff?