Rock – paper – scissors

Or in the Project Life world: physical – digital – app.

Three formats, each with their pros and cons.  It’s a completely personal decision and no one format is the best.   Whether you’re a complete paper or digi scrapper, or find a hybrid in between, like anything else in this hobby, find what works best for you.

Personally I’m a physical product scrapbooker.  There’s a lot of different reasons I’ve stayed working with paper.  First, it’s what I know – digital wasn’t really a thing when I started scrapbooking.   There’s something about the actual act of flipping through tangible cards, paper, pictures, and embellishments that’s comforting to me.  Plus products seem to be released in the physical format first and I’m not the most patient person when I want something new!  I think it’s easier to capture handwriting when you’re working with physical product.

Of course, there are downsides.  Living outside the US, it can be difficult to get my hands on new releases, and especially frustrating when there’s exclusive kits released to US-only stores. When you have a certain card in a kit that you love, there’s not an unlimited number of them, and you often end up with a stack of ones you’re not crazy about.   And there’s storage to consider – how much space they take up and how to store the collection of cards you’re sure to amass.


The biggest appeal to me of digital scrapbooking are the fact that you can modify cards fairly easily.  It’s easy to mix and match between kits and even brands, and there’s hundreds of digital-only options out there.  If there’s a card you love, you can use it over and over without running out.  If your physical space is limited, all you need is a computer and you’re good to go.

I see some of the same challenges as with physical scrapbooking though – how do you organize all that you have digitally?  And although it’s easier to add space digitally, through external hard drives or storage in the cloud, space still can be an issue.  It can get expensive as well – between purchasing software such as Photoshop, then printing out pages either individually or in a photo book.  The number-one reason I decided to stay away from digital when I switched to pocket scrapbooking was that I’m on a computer at least 8 hours a day at work.  I want my hobby to be a break from the screen!

The Project Life App

An inexpensive app with kits that are reasonably priced, it’s the perfect way to scrapbook on-the-go.  I downloaded the app to see what it was all about, and I’ve used it to create a few collages but that’s it.

The biggest downside to the app is that currently, it’s available for Apple products only.  An Android version is in the works, but tough bounce if you have a Windows phone or don’t have a smartphone/tablet at all.  Using a small screen is a turn-off to me – even working on an iPad strains my eyes after a while.  There’s still the costs of printing pages as with digital scrapbooking.  There aren’t as many ways to manipulate pictures or cards easily through the app, or utilize non-Project Life brand products.

In the end, I think it’s fantastic that there’s a variety of options to get your pictures off your camera and get your memories recorded.


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.

Scrap retreat recap

I was really excited about heading out for a scrapbooking weekend in April.  I had intended on taking at least part of Friday off, but I forgot to block off my calendar, and ended up scheduled in meetings for most of the day.  Things wrapped up a bit early and I was able to sneak out just after 3, then I got caught in construction traffic on the way out of the city.  But I was at our bed and breakfast around 5 pm, hauled in all of my stuff and got set up.  We ate dinner and I was ready to get rolling.

A word about stuff – I hoped I’d haul less stuff than when I was still doing 12×12 pages, but not so much.  I had no idea how much I’d get done, so I took pretty much everything – there’s not much worse than running out of stuff when you’re away and have the time to work on things! I packed tons of pocket pages, all my pictures, cards, embellishments and stamps.  The only thing I didn’t take was my Silhouette and cardstock.

The first night, I focused on finishing the journaling in my 2013 album. It was trickier than I thought it would be. You always think you’ll remember dates of events, or funny things your kid said, or the little details to use for journaling but two years on, I struggled! Fortunately, we had wi-fi available and I was able to go through Facebook and my iMessages to figure out a lot of details. It took longer than I figured it would, and in retrospect working on journaling wasn’t the best use of my time. I could have taken a completed album anywhere and worked on it. I need to lose my pathological need to complete things in chronological order and be able to work on new pages when old ones aren’t 100% complete.

Saturday I slept in a bit, and was off to a slow start, finally getting around to sitting at the table around noon.  I continued to work on journaling, and finally completed it just before dinner.  I started working on new pages and was really mad I’d spent so much time journaling.  I stayed up till close to 1 am, then was up early Sunday to get back at it.  I got about halfway through 2014, putting pictures in pockets then adding cards, before I had to pack up and head home.

In the end, I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped.  I don’t want to say I “wasted” time on journaling, but it wasn’t the best use of my time out there.  I learned some other things through the weekend:

  • I need to find another way to keep track of things as I go – whether it’s a journal or planner, I’m not sure, but Facebook and text messages aren’t the way to go.  I’m probably not ever going to be 100% caught up, and that means I forget things.
  • I did some stamping on my cards and I really liked the look of it.  I need to learn how to do it better and figure out what the best ink pads to use are.
  • Pocket style doesn’t necessarily equal less stuff.  I’m hoping that if the retreat goes ahead in the fall and I’m able to attend, depending on our house situation, I can spend some time getting more organized before I head out, taking less stuff with me.

Actual scrapbooking time!

In four hours, I’ll be packing up my extremely overloaded desk at work, hopping into my car and taking off for a much-needed break. After a couple of years where either we didn’t have enough people to make it work or the days didn’t work for me, I’m off on my semi-annual scrapbooking weekend.

It’s been so long since I’ve had the time, energy or inclination to work on my albums. Once we started to get our feet back under us after my dad’s diagnosis, we met with some realtors to get some advice about listing our home. With a shaky economic situation in our province, every one of them agreed we should list sooner rather than later because it could take a bit of time to sell. So we spent all of our free time decluttering, cleaning, organizing, staging and doing minor repairs to our house.

Guess what…6 days on the market and we had an offer. And to add another level of complication to the issue, our new house is a bit delayed. So now my free time has been split between looking for a short-term rental and starting to pack.

Needless to say, I’m ready to get away and ignore apartment-hunting, house cleaning, packing, work and cooking for a weekend. This is the first retreat I’ve gone on since starting scrapbooking pocket-style, so I’m anxious to see how much I get completed!


First pocket pages

My first venture into pocket page scrapbooking was with my daughter’s first year album – this is what got me hooked.  I used the Baby for Her core kit, patterned paper and coordinating American Crafts cardstock.



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After Miss A’s first year album was done, I began catching up on pictures I hadn’t yet scrapbooked.

Pictures of my childhood dog – using the Project Life Dogs theme kit.


New Year’s Eve 2010 – Cobalt core kit.


A pregnancy page – Blush core kit