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.

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My scrapbooking history part 3

So there I was, floundering with too many supplies, no inspiration and pictures continuing to pile up.  I didn’t know what to do – ditch it all and just make photobooks online?  Continue with traditional scrapbooking?  Find something in the middle?

I needed to get the mountains of stuff I had under control first.  I started getting a monthly newsletter from Scrapbooker’s Inner Circle which helped me declutter and purge tons of supplies that I no longer needed.  My daughter’s daycare was thrilled with the stash of paper I donated to them!   Things began to feel more manageable when I wasn’t overwhelmed with piles of stickers, stamps, or embellishments that I wouldn’t use. 

The last “scrapbooking secret” I got from this newsletter was about using Project Life to simplify your scrapbooking.  I had a couple of core kits sitting on my shelves at the time, and I was feeling inspired to work on an album for the first time in ages.  As my daughter was almost turning two, I thought I’d start working on her first year album.  I’d googled and found a few really good suggestions about how to set up a Project Life baby book, so I made a few notes, pinned a few sites to Pinterest, and then decided to dive in.  I took the Baby For Her core kit, some photo pocket pages, my album, a pen and my pictures and sat down to scrapbook.

It felt weird to be sitting there with basically no stuff surrounding me, and it took me a few pages to get into the groove.   By the end of the first night, after 3 hours of scrapbooking, I’d finished layouts covering her family history, the story of us, my pregnancy, a time capsule of the day she was born, my labour and delivery, her arrival, and her first few days of life.

I was HOOKED.

The simplicity was exactly what I needed.  No spending half my time hauling supplies out of my craft area and setting them up and then putting everything away.  No stressing over what paper to use or what embellishments looked right.  I could have scrapbooks that were done, focused on the pictures, but still looked nice.

There were more overhauls of my craft area, keeping only the basic supplies to do a 12 x 12 page when the inspiration hit me.  I went from 16 of the modular storage cubes you can buy at Michaels down to 9.  I got my hands on more core kits, because I like to have variety in my supplies, and a few extra items like matching patterned paper and cardstock for times I might want to embellish Project Life cards or create a 12 x 12 page that coordinates.

By mid-October, having only had a few hours here and there to work on my pages, I had my daughter’s first year album finished.

My scrapbooking history – part 2

In 2009, I was surfing around the internet as one tends to do, and I came across Becky Higgins’ website.  She was always one of my favourite scrapbook “celebrities” – I loved her creative lettering, and her sketch idea books were staples in my craft room.  In the blog post that I read, she was talking about her Project 365 kit.  The idea was to take a picture a day for a year, and buy her kit with title cards, filler and journal cards, an album and pocket page protectors to slip the cards into.  Intriguing idea, but the thought of keeping up with that seemed very overwhelming to me.

So I continued on with my 12×12 pages, finding less joy in the process of scrapbooking.  I went to my scrapbook weekends and would come home energized to keep working on my albums, then would lose the enthusiasm after one or two nights of working at home.  If I had a spare couple of hours, it would take me half an hour to set up all my gear, I’d get to do one or two layouts in an hour, then spend another half an hour putting it all away.

When I found out I was pregnant and was going to stay that way, my thoughts turned to all the pictures I’d be taking of our baby.  It was almost overwhelming when I considered the two or three years of pictures I needed to catch up on, plus the certain thousands of pictures that would be coming. My plan was to do a 12×12 album with traditional layouts of my favourite pictures, then making a photobook of all the extra pictures.

When Miss A was just over a year old, I came across Becky Higgins’ products again.  She had expanded the Project 365 kit to Project Life.  There were a few different core kits and albums available by then.  I thought this would be an even better way to contain all the extra pictures I would have of her.  I couldn’t find the system easily in Canada at the time, so I ordered a Clementine core kit, album, cardstock and page protectors to my parents’ house in the US and made them schlep it home at Christmas.  The products made their way to my scrapbooking storage shelves and there they stayed.

I was still trying to catch up on my older pictures.  Our 5th wedding anniversary came and went, and I finally admitted I wasn’t going to do a wedding scrapbook – I was too afraid I’d be unhappy with my pages when they were done.  I designed and ordered a photobook and was thrilled with the outcome.

I continued to read Becky’s blog and was intrigued when the Baby kits were available in early 2013.  I’d found a Canadian source by then so I placed an order.  Again, the product made it to my shelves to wait.

My scrapbooking history – part 1

In 1997, I had finished university and started working my first full-time job.  I mentioned to my boyfriend that I thought it would be a good time to take up a hobby of some sort.  Early in 1998, a coworker invited me to a Creative Memories party.   I went and immediately fell in love – I’ve always taken a ton of pictures and this was a fantastic way to marry my picture-taking with my desire for a hobby.

Back then, scrapbooking was just becoming a “thing” and I had very few resources.  There was one store in my city, no craft box-stores, and online shopping was a few years away.  A lot of the products I could get my hands on didn’t suit my life – most of the products were were very kid-focused and  that wasn’t anywhere on my radar.  Because of the lack of products, my layouts were always fairly simple.  That’s not to say I don’t have pages with “sticker sneezes”, pictures cropped into stars or hearts, cut with decorative scissors, or horrible patterned cutesy-froo-froo paper.  I tried to focus on highlighting and enhancing my pictures – but I also enjoyed getting more creative on certain layouts, especially as the hobby evolved and the selection of available products grew.

As time went on, I found myself becoming less inspired, and I found fewer things to be inspired by.  So much of what I saw on blogs, in magazines or posted in my local scrapbooking store seemed so focused on the STUFF on the page, and the picture (often only one on a 12×12 layout) seemed like an afterthought.  It wasn’t a style that worked for me.  I didn’t like the distressed, vintage trend.  I wasn’t really into the lumpy embellishments, like brads, eyelets, stitching, or big chipboard elements.  At the same time, I was getting bored with my layout style, using mostly cardstock, sometimes some  patterned paper, often using a Deluxe Designs color blocking template.   I loved my Cricut and enhanced my pages with titles from font cartridges and a few basic shapes, but even then the novelty soon wore off.

Life changed a lot for me in the years after I started starting scrapbooking.  The university boyfriend became an ex.  I changed jobs and found the career of my dreams, reconnected with a dear friend, bought my first condo, entered the dating world, left the dating world to join the ranks of the married folk, became a new homeowner, took up musical theatre and camping again, and after 3 years of the joint hell of infertility and pregnancy loss, became a mom.

I had more things in my life to scrapbook than ever, and yet my enthusiasm to pull out my stash and work on my albums wasn’t there.  I went to a scrapbooking retreat weekend twice a year, and after our November 2011 get-together, I was so disappointed with everything I worked on.  My pages were boring yet seemed too time consuming, and I thought I’d exhausted all my creative ideas.  I also was so far behind, and felt like I’d never be able to even start my daughter’s album or that I’d constantly be working years behind.  I was so very close to selling the whole lot of stuff I’d collected over the years, shoving all my remaining pictures in photo albums and calling it a day.