Archive for the ‘memory keeping’ Category

During January, I was deep in Disney album mode, and I got a lot done for that album!  It was exciting–and I used that momentum to plan out more of that album.  However, somewhere toward the end of the month, I found myself getting a bit burnt out, so I decided to switch gears to an entirely different scrapbook project.

When V was four years old, she developed appendicitis, and our ordeal involved emergency room visits, an ambulance ride, and a few days’ stay at the hospital.  When I told her (now 7 years old) that I was working on this project, she said, “Why would you want to make a scrapbook of that??”  And it’s true, it’s not something that you might think of right away to document in a pretty scrapbook.  However, throughout the entire situation, we felt very blessed by the Lord: His protection and His provision, and I wanted to make sure to document the experience and how He was at work through it all.  I’ve had the photos printed for some time, intending to make a mini-album, but I just hadn’t gotten to it.

Recently, a friend gave me a 7″x7″ Creative Memories album (strap-hinge!! I love strap hinge!!) that she no longer wanted, and I decided that it would be the perfect home for this story.  In addition, one of the January Use-It-Or-Lose-It Stash-busting challenges from Crafty Jen Schow had me looking at my stash in a new way.  The challenge was to use themed product for a non-themed project (or vice versa).  When I pulled out an untouched collection pack of Echo Park’s Head Over Heels line, I realized it could work perfectly!

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I made this album “all at once” in a vaguely batch-processed manner.  I got out my photos and my Lightroom catalog (complete with photo captions, of course), and I sat down to write out the whole story on scrap paper.  Once I had the story written, I determined my maximum number of pages for the album (dictated by the actual physical pages I had available), and I divided my photos and ephemera in story-order throughout the pages.  I tore the journaling into chunks to lay with each of the photo groups so that I knew how much of the story was going with each page.

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When I realized that I couldn’t come up with just one layout for all the pages, I started trying to make them all different…. but that was equally unfeasible! There are only so many ways you can arrange 3×4 photos on a 7×7 page! After I determined a few page designs I liked, I just tried to spread them out in the album so that no two neighboring pages (except the one double page spread) were alike.

Speaking of 7×7 pages—wow, that was a difficult size to work with! I can see why it didn’t catch on… you can only cut one full page out of a 12×12, and there weren’t enough papers in the pack to do a full background on every page, so it became a bit of a puzzle game for me.

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This album used up almost the entire collection pack!  I have two full sheets of paper left: one full-page pattern and one cut-apart, plus most of a second cut-apart.  There are a few stickers and some letters… and a few smaller scraps!

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I also decided to add doilies throughout the album; partly because I wanted a layer that I could carry throughout many, if not all, the pages, and partly because I was on a doily kick from the Belle layout I’d made just before this project!

I finally finished this album in May, when I completed a photo order that I’d been assembling since the beginning of February!

The title page has no photo, so I used one of the cut-apart cards with letter stickers and the word “appendicitis” cut with my new Cameo (did I mention that I have a new Cameo?).  The font is Farmhouse Country.

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Here’s a look at the whole album “at a glance:”

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…and a look at the individual spreads.  Almost all of the journaling (and there’s a lot…) is on the tags that tuck into pockets in the pages.

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The final three pages are pockets to hold cards and notes that Vivian received from loved ones.  We were overwhelmed with the outpouring of love that we experienced through this ordeal.

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The finished album is quite thick, and I hope that my girl values it as a testimony to God’s provision and protection during this scene in her life.

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I started putting together this big 200-print order from Persnickety Prints in January, and I worked on it through mid-May (album planning sometimes takes me a while).  I placed this order on May 16 and received it within a couple of days!  (Persnickety is awesome.)

When I got the order in the mail, I had the idea that I could do a super-sped up video of how I separate out my photos into my different album projects.  You see, for about every project I do, I start with an enormous amount of pre-planning.  I like to know where my photos are going to go and what sizes I plan to use.  That way, when I get to the paper cutting and gluing and making things pretty part of the process, the photo part is already finished.

It’s taken me a while to get this video completed (my very first voiceover ever!).  But now it’s ready to share!

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With this order, I have photos for 5 specific projects, in addition to some that I intend to frame or to use on a few scrapbook layouts that aren’t part of a particular album project:

Husband helped me rig up my tripod with my camera so that I could put together this video.  I increased the speed to 20x… and just because I’m a nerd, I did keep track of the actual time it took for each stage:

  • unboxing+sort = about 10 minutes
  • appendicitis mini album = about 15 minutes
  • mommy book = about 5 minutes
  • baby album = approximately 31 minutes
  • Disney album = approximately 22 minutes
  • 2019 Jan and Feb = approximately 39 minutes

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Here’s the video!

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This is part two of a two-part post about the digital scrapbook/photo book I created for our Rehoboth 2018 vacation.  You can see the first part HERE.  

The next spread in the book is the only one that doesn’t “match”– for the most part, the stories of adjacent pages were at least coordinated, if not one whole story.  In those cases, I used matching background papers on the facing pages.  But here, I decided to emphasize the disconnect by using different papers.

I fit a LOT of photos into this book.  I adapted templates that I’d created for my other (square) photo book projects. I also made good use of Katie the Creative Lady’s (formerly Scrapbook Lady) “Sixteens” templates (looks as though they are no longer available), which I rotated one, two, or three times, and then adapted to fit onto my 8″x11″ pages by cutting off a row of photos.  They ended up holding about 12 photos in their revised forms.

I was delighted that one of the digital “wood veneer” pieces was a bicycle– perfect for this next spread about my husband and I biking through Henlopen!

…and the closing page:


I don’t know how many times I went through these pages, checking for consistent shadow styles, looking for typos and stray embellishments… I even had my husband look it over for a fresh set of eyes.

And yet, we didn’t notice the little stray button on the back cover!  It was the first thing my daughter spotted when we looked at the book when it arrived from Shutterfly, though!  Next time I’ll ask her to proofread, too!  I’m just glad it’s not on someone’s face…

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It is so satisfying to have another vacation documented in a way that we can all enjoy it!


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Throughout April, my big project was to complete an 8″x11″ photo book of our trip to Rehoboth beach last summer.

And boy, was it a big project!  I wanted to create all the layouts in PSE before importing them to Shutterfly for printing, which meant I was creating a set of base templates in a size that I haven’t used very much (or at all from scratch!  I’ve made three other beach vacation books in this size, but they were created in Shutterfly’s website software).

Because of the nature of beach vacations (beach: sand+ocean, eat, play, repeat) the books that I make for them are not strictly chronological like most of the other photo books I create.  Instead, the books have more pages that are “categories” (e.g. sand creations, playing in the ocean, food we ate, etc.).  This time around, I decided to leverage Shutterfly’s “storyboard” feature to figure out which pages would have what photos.  It was nice to toggle the “hide used” button so that I made sure I was placing all the photos that I wanted in the book. Once I figured that out, I would use it as a reference: I exported the set of photos for an individual page and create that layout in Photoshop Elements.  Sometimes Shutterfly’s suggested page design helped me decide how to arrange my photos, too.

For my digital papers and embellishments, I decided to use a collaboration kit from Design House Digital– a freebie blog hop kit from 2012 called “Beach Party.”  I also used this gorgeous kit for some digital design I did for some church events in 2015 (of which I am still pretty proud!), and I borrowed some of the clusters and paper layers directly from those designs, which helped me get started on this book.

Another thing that I did to streamline my process a bit was to create a few “reference sheets” of all the embellishments and papers.  As I was working, my version of Photoshop Elements would occasionally get hung, and closing everything down and re-opening it was getting tedious and frustrating.  Having these reference sheets also helped me to keep my shadows consistent (since I would duplicate the items’ layers on to my actual book pages each time) and save particular clusters of embellishments to use as the basis for new ones.

Here’s the cover and title page:

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The fonts here are “LD Handwritten Greetings Regular” (script) and FFF Tusj Bold (block letters), and throughout the book, I used Baskerville Regular (size 10 with 11 point leading) for the text.

I’ll share the first half of the page layouts in this blog post, and the rest in an upcoming post.

You can click on each page in the spread to see it a little bit bigger!


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I’ve been pretty occupied with tasks and responsibilities other than scrapbooking recently, but a couple weeks ago, I just really, really wanted to make a scrapbook layout for fun (not that all of my scrapbooking isn’t fun–it really is! I just wanted to make something that wasn’t part of a larger project).  I had recently been quickly flipping through the most recent digital issue of Scrapbook and Cards Today (Spring 2019), so I decided to continue my “intentional inspiration” goal and use the magazine to directly influence this layout.

I really liked the layout by Heather Little on page 66 of the magazine– there was a grid of photos plus a some fun layering.  I knew I could translate it into a layout of my own fairly quickly.  I had some photos printed from summer 2016 waiting around, so I pulled out these ~2″x3″ photos from the night we took our kids to their first minor league baseball game.


I also am trying to be intentional about using up my stash, and when I saw the colors in the photos, it immediately made me think of the BasicGrey Highline collection kit that I‘d started using for two other layouts.  The papers had the perfect warm, sunny evening colors to coordinate with my memories from this warm, sunny evening.  I even used the big “hello” speech bubble sticker that is out of my style comfort-zone, and it looks perfect on this layout!


You can also spot some spiral paperclips embellishing the photo grid.  I was a bit stumped on what embellishments to use for this page, so I started going through my divided boxes of little bits and pieces.  I like the shine and the subtle nod to spherical baseballs.


In the end, this layout is pretty simple.  There aren’t even that many layers!  But with the colorful patterns in the papers I chose, I think simple is best, and I had lots of room to add my whole story.

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Every year, on October 4, I document our day, from waking to sleeping.  I document as many little details as I can, and then I put them all into an 8″x8″ photo book.  I started in 2013, and as of last week, I have the books done through 2017 (yay!)

It has helped that I have a particular format that I follow for each year’s book, although it’s not a quick project to complete!

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I actually finished 2017’s book last spring: even while I took the photos for the project, I had a very specific vision of how I wanted to display the photos on each page: in general, one large one with small ones supporting it.  It was an easier project to complete, because I had around 79 photos earmarked for inclusion, plus a plan in mind as I got going on the pages.


I really love how this one came out, and for future days-in-the-life projects, I plan to have a similar intent in mind as I take photos.  In fact, I have 2018’s photos and words waiting for me…

It was really bothering me, though, that I still had the gap in my book collection from 2016.  For some reason, I had an extra large number of photos for this book– I have 117 earmarked my Lightroom collection for that day!  However, I was a woman on a mission last fall with a couple photo book projects, and I powered through most of the 2016 book… until I got to page 18 (out of 20).  I hit a creative wall, and I just couldn’t get further.  Plus, I had Christmas crafting to do!  So it got put on hold, even though it was so close to being completed.

Recently, Shutterfly had a weekend sale for a free photo book, and as is typical of me, that deadline got me moving again.  I was determined to get this book finished, and I did!  I gritted my teeth and made page 18 work, and then it was smooth sailing after that, thanks to all that I’d completed (including a lion’s share of the work on the cover!) back in the fall.


This 2016 book was the most photo-intensive book I’ve done so far, and I think it’s my limit (at least for a 20-page book!).  I hope in the future to streamline the number of photos I use… but in this book, there were a few series of photos that told the story better than just a single picture.


It makes me so happy to see my little photo book shelf filling out.  It is such a satisfying feeling to have these projects all lined up.

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Even better is the fact that my 7-year-old loves to read these books.  It makes my heart happy to see that she also appreciates this documentation… and it motivates me to keep going.

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This layout was a challenge for me!  I don’t have any good reason for it: I planned to make a “then and now” layout with these photos ever since my husband asked me to take the photo of him on the speeder bike in Hollywood Studios (it’s even written in my journal from that day!)

And on top of that, when I was looking through the photos I have printed (so far…there are a LOT more to come…) and came across this one again, I realized that a Shimelle layout video I watched recently had the perfect design — a grid style with plenty of room for journaling.  Bonus– a grid layout is one of Crafty Jen Schow’s January stash-busting challenges!

The challenge came in when I started worrying about whether I am going to have enough paper from the Starshine collection to distribute throughout, and then I got skittish about cutting into anything… It was pretty ridiculous, but thankfully I pushed through, haha.  I pulled in a couple papers from my stash, which helped– both with the cutting-into-things issue, and also for a better balance of colors in the palette I chose for this layout.


My lovely husband agreed to write the journaling for this one, and I am so thankful that he is willing to contribute to this crazy obsession  –I mean– hobby of mine.  The photo at the top is from a trip he took to Disney World in 2000 (when this park was called MGM), and the bottom photo is from our 2016 trip.  When we were walking through Hollywood Studios and saw the speeder bike photo op, he immediately stopped and remembered this old photo of his.  We dug it out after our trip, and I’ve squirreled it away until now.


I opened a new pack of Thickers for the title on this one– and I was able to combine them with a very, very, very old leatherette ampersand from my stash (it’s one of my favorite alphas, and I just can’t get rid of them, even though there are so few left).  For the years on each photo, I also colored some tiny BasicGrey alphas with a Copic marker to change them from pale yellow to light green so that they would blend a bit more into the foliage on the photos.



Aside from the enamel dots and wood veneer (the two things I have on every layout in my Disney album), every other embellishment is cut from the papers from Shimelle’s Starshine collection (both 12×12 and 6×6).  I had fun adding little sayings that are a bit tongue-in-cheek like, “You will go far” and “to the moon” (get it– Endor’s moon? ….yeah, I’m becoming somewhat of a Star Wars geek over here…)


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