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!



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