Somebody that I used to know

Unless you’re completely up-to-date on your scrapbooking, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll come across pictures of a time in your life that isn’t so happy.  Whether it’s a person that’s not in your life anymore, or pictures taken around a sad event, it can be difficult to want to scrapbook those pictures.

So what to do?  I’ve dealt with it a few times over the years and each time I’ve handled it differently.

When I split up with my boyfriend that I’d lived with for five years, I had tons of random pictures of him, as well as pictures of trips or events we’d been to.  Once I got to working with those pictures, I scrapbooked the stuff I truly wanted to remember, making as little reference to him as possible, and trashed all the candid shots.  At one point, I considered going back and redoing some layouts I’d done when we were together, but decided against it – it’s still a part of my history and important to remember it.

Last fall, I avoided working on my albums because I scrap chronologically, and knew I was coming up on a bunch of pictures I’d taken with my bestie.  There were pictures of things I needed to scrapbook, like my 40th birthday, so there was no way to avoid them.  We had a falling out and it made me incredibly sad to look at them and remember how much fun we’d had.  I figured with some time, it would be easier to work on the pages and reminisce.  On the bright side, we both got our heads out of our behinds and reconciled, before I got around to working on them, so obviously it’s been much easier to scrapbook the pictures.

I haven’t gotten to pictures from last Christmas, but once I do, I know that it’ll be hard to look at them objectively, knowing how sick my dad was over the holidays.  While I try to focus on the good things in my albums, I plan to do some hidden journaling or something which talks about his illness and diagnosis.  I try to keep my albums positive, but in chronicling real life, there’s going to be times that aren’t upbeat and I think it’s important to include that.

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Ordering prints

It’s the most basic supply you need to scrapbook – your pictures.  I take a LOT of photos and until recently, I’ve always sent everything to be printed.  So I’ve always been on the lookout for good quality prints at a reasonable price.  Here’s my take on some of the services I’ve used in the past few years.

1.  Walmart.  They had a wicked sale just after we got married – worked out to 5 cents a print.  Very handy given that I sent well over 500 pictures to be printed.  I used them exclusively for a while, but the price kept going up and the quality was hit and miss.  It’s handy if I need a reprint or two quickly, but they’re not my go-to anymore.

2. Costco.  I’ve printed the vast majority of my pictures there the past 3 years.  I’d wait for a print sale – usually 8 to 10 cents – then upload hundreds of files a couple times a year.  The quality has been pretty good but I haven’t been thrilled with the last couple of batches.  That’s what’s started my recent search for a new photo lab.

3. Snapfish.  I had a deal for 200 free prints from Snapfish a couple of years ago so I sent a batch of pictures there to try.  I wasn’t impressed at all.  I waited two weeks for prints that were way too blue.  In retrospect, I should have contacted them and not accepted them.

4.  Shutterfly.  I received my first order from them this week.  I redeemed some diaper rewards points for 200 free prints and when I created my account, I got another 50.  I uploaded just over 300 files, and paid around $10 for the extra prints.  Shipping to Canada was a ridiculous $19! So my “free” prints cost me 30 bucks.  It’s too bad the shipping is so high because they were good quality.

5. Blacks.  I haven’t ordered from there yet, bit I scored a good deal on a prepaid card which worked out to 15 cents a print.  It’s more expensive than Costco, but I’ve heard great things about the quality.  If the quality is better, I don’t mind paying a bit more, especially if I continue to be more selective in what pictures I send to print.

6. Other options I’m considering.  I’d like to try Persnickety Prints.  The US girls on several Facebook groups I’m in rave about them.  Shipping is more reasonable at $10 flat rate, and they have some cool options for printing 3×4 and Instagram sizes.  I used a local store called Don’s Photo to print Miss A’s newborn photos, on the advice of our photographer.  They were awesome, and I need to look into their prices again.  Also, I plan on checking out McBain Camera, another local photo lab.

if you’re in Canada and are looking to get photos printed at a good price, both Costco and Shoppers Drug Mart have deals right now for 9 cents a print.

And now…some pictures?

I’ve blabbed a lot about my scrapbooking, so the next logical step is that I should share some pictures.  Buuuuut…

I’ve had to think long and hard about posting layouts including pictures of Miss A.   I have no problems sharing my own photos, but I personally believe there’s a balance needed between sharing things about my girl and her right to privacy.

Like many out there, I use Facebook on a regular basis, and post status updates and photos of her there.  My privacy settings are friends only, and I mentally run any kid-related status updates or photos through a “would this end up on STFU, Parents” filter?  There are certain photos and stories which, while hilarious, have no place other than within our family and a close group of friends.

On the other hand, if I’m going to share any of my pocket scrapbooking layouts, then 95% of the pages I’m doing are going to contain pictures of Miss A.

So I’ve come to the decision that I’m going to start posting some layouts.  I can always blur out faces and cover up journaling that I don’t want to be made public, and that’s probably what I’ll end up doing.

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Photos – Azure Core Kit

I wasn’t prepared to like this one based on what I’d seen online.  The red looked really orange.  But in person, it’s really pretty.  I had ordered this one because my bestie had wanted it, but I ended up keeping a third of the kit!

She loves it because they PUT A BIRD ON IT!  (Anyone else out there a fan of Portlandia?)

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Photos – Kiwi Core Kit

Although the Kiwi kit is an exclusive to Joanns in the US, Scrapbookers Inner Circle was able to get the rights to distribute it internationally.  When Becky Higgins announced the kit on Tuesday, Tammy announced it shortly afterwards, and she already had it in stock!  I ordered it right away and it was at my door Friday afternoon.

Kiwi is also super fun and bright.   I can’t decide whether I like it or Strawberry better.  They’re definitely both some of my favourite kits.  I forgot pictures of the bifolds – sorry!

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Photos – Strawberry Core Kit

So we in the Great White North have managed to get our hands on the new Becky Higgins core kits already!  This NEVER happens.  Seriously.

I’ve done some quick pictures of the new core kits – they’re unedited and not the best but at least it gives people an idea of what the new kits look like.

Strawberry – soooo gorgeous!  It’s bright and happy and makes me smile.

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My scrapbooking goals for 2014

In November I watched Scrapbooking With Project Life on Creative Live – a three day class that Becky Higgins hosted which was all about Project Life.  A lot of the concepts she talked about would be just as applicable to a traditional scrapbooker, including journaling prompts, documenting the everyday, theme albums, etc.

One of the things she suggested on the first day was doing an assessment of where your scrapbooks, supplies and photos were in your house and then trying to get things into a central area.

After the assessment, she suggested you create a list of your goals and priorities for scrapbooking.  Whether it was only one album, a few over time, focusing on the future or doing everything, it would help to get it down on paper and then spend some time prioritizing your goals.  I enjoy writing lists so much, it’s really ridiculous, so this was totally up my alley.

My assessment surprised me, because I really thought all my stuff was in two places – completed scrapbooks in the bookcase in our office and my supplies, work in progress and pictures in my scrap area in the spare room.  One of the things I realized was how many of my pictures were scattered over my house, either stored on CDs, still on our cell phones, on the camera’s memory card, or only on my computer.   This changed a lot of what I thought my goals would be – they ended up not just being about completing Layout X or finishing Year Y.

Some of the other concepts she discussed also ended up influencing my list of goals.  These were ideas like ensuring you are backing up photos, how to edit using Photoshop, and the big “ah-ha” idea for me – batch processing – which I’ll talk about in another post.   The general idea is that there’s 4 steps – going through photos, printing them, inserting pictures and cards into pocket pages, and then journaling.   You work on one of these steps in one sitting.

So here’s the goals I’ve established for myself for 2014:

Taking pictures

  • Take more pictures of our everyday lives, not just the big events.
  • Make sure I’m in more of our pictures, not always the photographer.
  • Get more photos of the three of us.
  • Take pictures of non-kid related things in our life.

Photo Organization

Right now, I organize things when the urge strikes me.  Whenever Costco has a print sale, I upload hundreds of pictures at a time, with no attempt to go through and delete the really crappy ones because it’s too overwhelming with that number of pictures.  I print them all out, and then I get mad when I throw out hundreds of prints because they were fuzzy, or not a good picture of someone, or I printed 30 of essentially the same thing and only needed one or two.  It’s the downside of digital photography!

My new goal is to schedule time monthly  to organize the pictures I’ve taken in the past month.  I’m tired of uploading hundreds of pictures, waiting for a Costco print sale, then only using a small amount.  The plan is:

  • Ingest: download all pictures from both our phones and the camera.
  • Organize: rename my files using my batch renamer program, save into the month’s folder, and decide which pictures I’m going to actually use.
  • Edit: use Photoshop Elements to edit any pictures that need touching up.
  • Print: upload to Costco to print later or order prints at that time.
  • Archive: back up pictures to Google Drive and our external hard drive.

In addition, I need to go back and find all the CDs of pictures I have lying around, get them on the computer and backed up to Google Drive.

Memorabilia

My daughter is only 2.5 years old and already I’ve got a file box with art projects from daycare that’s getting out of control.  I don’t need to keep every single scribble drawing or piece of paper that she’s put stickers on because my house will be overflowing by the time she’s done school.  I want to get a system in place to control the memorabilia now.

  • Go through the files I already have and categorize the items:
    • put the originals into my albums
    • scan the originals to put into my albums
    • photograph the originals to put into my albums
    • determine if I want to keep the original in my file box
  • Schedule time to do this monthly as well to stay on top of it.

Layouts

I’ll touch on this in a different post, but there’s all sorts of ways to “do Project Life”.  A lot of people do the picture a day or weekly approach, but that’s not for me.  What I plan to do for my 2014 album is work on monthly spreads.  Some months might only need 2 pages, some might need 20, and I’m totally OK with that.  I don’t want to stress myself out by attempting to fit my style into what Project Life “should” be.  That defeats the purpose of me moving to this style of scrapbooking.

Ali Edwards has done a neat project the past few years called  A Week in the Life.  You take pictures of your everyday life every day for a week.  You document things like what you ate, what you wore, the weather, or anything you want to remember about that week in your life.  I’ve decided to take this one step further and do this four times a year – once per season – February (winter), May (spring), July (summer), October (fall).  Our lives are very different in each season and I thought it would be fun to capture the differences.

Of course, I’m also still behind on scrapbooking my daughter’s pictures, and I have a couple of loose ends I’d like to tie up in my (mostly) completed albums:

  • our wedding – finish typing out our engagement story, print it and put it in our album
  • my pregnancy pages – finish journaling on them and do the month-by-month layout I’ve planned
  • our cats – create the layouts and insert them into my 2012 album
  • catch up from July 2012 to December 2013
  • put the newborn  and 4 month professional pictures we had done of Miss A into her first year album

Whew, seems like a lot when I get it all down but I actually feel like it’s very manageable.