Archive for the ‘memory keeping’ Category

Lemme just say, I’m pretty proud of myself for finishing yet another photo book!  When I knew I had ankle surgery coming up, I started planning projects for myself to work on while I was recuperating.  I knew that I’d be off my feet for a while, and so I compiled a list of specific things I wanted to try to finish while I was confined to a chair or couch for most of the day.  One of those things was photo books.  I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again: I LOVE the end result of photo books, but I really dislike making them.  My kids love looking at them– and I love seeing them enjoying the books, too, so I grit my teeth and get them done.

In the time since my surgery, I’ve completed three photo books: Hersheypark 2015, Day in the Life 2019, and this book: Day in the Life 2018.  With the completion of this book, my DITL book set is completely caught up– I’ve been doing this project since 2013!  I am glad that I’ve made good use of this sitting-down time (and proud of myself for staying motivated) to accomplish these goals.

Here’s the cover of my 2018 DITL book:


For this book, I used the beautiful digital papers from Karen Funk’s “A Fresh Start” paper kit.  It’s a smaller set of papers, but I had a lot of photos for this book (there are 106 included), so there were fewer spaces to fill.


There’s not much new to say about my process that hasn’t already been said…but that basic formula that I use made this book a quick finish, even with so many photos!

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I thought it might be interesting to write down my process for planning the pocket pages in my 2019 album.  So while I was working through my April photos and stories (yes, I know it’s November…but life got busy!), I took some photos and wrote down my steps.

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1. Gather all the stuff. 

I’ve made a point to save bits and pieces: ticket stubs, business cards, name tags, programs, wristbands, etc. to include in this album.  I think physical memorabilia is really interesting.  In my album, I’m keeping a 12×12 page protector for each month to collect all these things in one place. I’ve also been using a free printable from Simple Stories (specifically a page from the February 2019 printable set) to collect some notes each month (I fell off this bandwagon during the summer, but I’m getting back on it this fall!  I’ve actually printed it out 12 times, duplex, so that I have it ready for each month).  It’s on this sheet that I record notes that don’t necessarily have specific dates associated with them: the things I’ve been listening to or watching, the foods that I’ve especially enjoyed throughout the month, and occasionally some notes about how I’ve felt during the month.

I spread out all of this stuff where I can see it easily, and I get out my computer and my planner to help me with the next step.

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2.  Make little paper notes. 

I’m a fairly visual/tactile planner, so I’ve found that it helps for me to start out with little slips of paper — one slip for each thing I want to include in my album.  Since I use a lot of PDF sewing patterns, I save the off-cut portions of the pages to use as scrap paper.  They’re usually oddly-shaped, so they’re perfect for tearing into little slips.

In order to write these slips, I look through all my stuff (step 1), all the photos I took that month, and all the notes I made in my planner.  Each item gets its own slip so that I can physically move it around as I do my actual page planning.

At this stage, I’m starting to get an idea (from looking through my photos again) which things will have a larger (literally) presence in my album.  I’m starting to think about how many inserts and “regular” (not pocket page) layouts I’ll add… but that’s for the next step.

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3a. Plan the pockets. 

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m a pretty structured person.  For me to enjoy my scrapbook-making, I like to have all of my photo sizes and placement planned ahead, especially for pocket pages.

In this step, I take my little slips of paper and I actually move them around on the divided page protectors.  I have cut out templates of my “standard” smaller photo sizes (3″x4″, 2″x3″, 1.5″x2″– these are the orange and olive green pieces in the photos) so that I can really visualize what will fit in a pocket.

I’m using Design A for my main pages.  I don’t have a specific number of pages that I am aiming to fill–just what makes sense for the stories I have.  However, I do try to make sure that I end up with filled pages– I want each month to start on a new 12″x12″.

The pockets aren’t exactly in chronological order, but I do try to stick to a general idea of chronology– the stuff on the left hand page generally has occurred before the stuff on the right hand page.  When I want a particular photo/story in a particular place, I use some items (like family swim, projects I completed that month, “listening,” “watching,”) to fill in gaps and keep that general chronological flow.

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3b. Make a diagram.

In addition to the little slips in the actual pockets, I have found that it is super helpful later to have a diagram of the pages, too.  I’ll do a rough little sketch of pockets, make notes about what I want to make sure to include in the journaling, etc.

As I determine my photo sizes, I move them into collections in Lightroom.  I have collections set up for each of my smaller photo sizes so that I can batch “print” them to 4″x6″ canvases for actual printing.  I also export my “full-size” 4×6 photos to a To Print folder that I keep on my desktop.  This is where I collect all of the files to send to Persnickety Prints (my favorite).  I like to print in large batches, so this helps me to keep track of what is ready to go.

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4. Plan inserts.  

While I’m deciding where each smaller story will go in my pockets, I’m also identifying larger stories that will get pulled out into inserts.  For instance, the issue with my ankle has become a larger story this year than I expected, and so I’ve started making inserts where I’m “highlighting” all the ankle stuff for that month when there was a lot going on.  We also took a big road trip to visit family and friends in April, so that is being “upgraded” to several inserts that will spotlight the different aspects of that trip.  Since it was Easter, I’m planning to make two traditional layouts that feature a family photo and the egg hunt my kids did at my in-laws’ house on Easter Sunday.

Sometimes these inserts get planned as I’m working on the main plan for the month, but usually I leave these until the end of my monthly process!

Except for the traditional layouts, which I am planning to make 12″x12″, I like my inserts to be smaller than 12″x12″.  Most often, I simply cut down different pocket pages (one column of a Design B page, or a Design A cut down to mimic Design H), but I also like the Becky Higgins Design G pages.

5.  Print the photos and make the pages!

After I plan several months and/or decide on other photos I want to print for other projects, I use Lightroom to batch print the smaller sizes into 4″x6″ photo files.  I have a number of printing templates set up for this, and they make it so quick and easy!

I send off my photo order (usually to Persnickety Prints!) and eagerly await their arrival in my mailbox.  You can see how I distribute the prints into my albums in THIS post

and then….it’s on to making the pages!  Check out my 2019 album progress by clicking THIS link (as of the writing of this post, I’ve only fully completed the January pages!)

~ ~ ~

….now on to plan May…and June…and July…and August…and on and on!  I’ve got some catching up to do!

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I surprised myself and managed to finish another digital scrapbook photo book– this one in less than a week!

This is my Day in the Life book for this year (2019! finished already! …but I still do need to complete the book for 2018…).  Since it was an unusual day (off my feet due to ankle surgery, plus I was leaving for an out-of-town trip that afternoon), I didn’t take as many photos as usual.  (In fact, I almost didn’t document at all, but in the end, I’m glad that I decided to take photos and write my journaling!) Husband was so kind to help me take many of the photos I try to capture annually.

Aside from the smaller number of photos, this project is a bit more straightforward than my other digital scrapbooks, because I have a fairly tried-and-true formula by now.  The backgrounds of all my pages are white, and I make flat (no shadows) collages of photos and patterned paper blocks on each page.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve made a lot of basic templates, which I use for these pages!


I used patterned papers from The Lilypad collaboration kit “All About Me” — it was a freebie blog hop kit that I collected in September 2019.

The title page and front cover are the same each year, too.  The title page is always a photo of the front of my house taken that day, with a title banner and typed credits.  In the past few books I’ve made, I’ve made a point to add the day of the week with the date.


The very first year I did this project, (back in 2013!!) I made the cover collage by tiling four Scrapbook Lady “Sixteens” templates together, and I add photos and patterned papers that I used throughout the book.  This cover comes together more easily if I add photos as I work on each page rather than waiting til the end!

The scripty titles are from Ali Edwards– back in 2012, she created this freebie, and I’ve been using them every year!

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(This is the final post in a series about a digital scrapbook/photo book I created for our trip to Hersheypark in 2015.  See also PART 1, PART 2, and PART 3!)


A tradition we started the very first year we went to Hersheypark was to get a photo of our kids (although it was just V that year!) with the statue of Mr. Hershey near the historic Carrousel.  We’ve managed to continue that tradition every year, and I have ended each photo book with those photos!


The back cover of the book features the park map from that year– thankfully back in 2015 I thought ahead and downloaded the .pdf from the Hersheypark website.  I took a “snapshot” (screenshot) from that pdf to use here.  I like having this little record of the layout of the park each year on the back of the book!


I like to make a contact sheet of all the pages of the book to see how they look together!


I ordered this book through Shutterfly, using their “Digiscrap” book style.  I’ve been using their 8×8 page templates for years, and it seems like the bleed and gutter margins are increasing (the templates they provided haven’t seemed to change; the ones provided currently for download have a file date of 2013 for the spine/covers and 2009 for the inside page!), so I’ll have to leave even more room around the edges than I already do.  Also, I am finding that the spine template is off: I used the exact same file as my 2018 book (with just the date and background paper changed) for the spine.  That book’s title printed perfectly centered on the spine (the book was printed in August 2018), but this one’s is shifted and overlaps the edge, which is disappointing (and I noticed it happening on a couple other books I printed recently).  I’ll have to remember these details for future books.

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(links to: PART 1 and PART 2)

Here are the next three spreads in this digital scrapbook/photo book…


Most of the pages were single-page, standalone layouts (albeit all telling one continuous story through the book, so no individual titles on each page), but this next one merited a two-page spread:


This is one of Husband’s and my favorite page spreads in the whole book.  I am so glad that we caught these photos of us going down the sack slid– the expressions on our kids’ faces are priceless.

To create this spread, I simply designed one side’s basic “sketch” and mirrored it for the other side.  I then added an extra photo space and the journaling on the right hand page.


Even though there were so many photos in this book, I was glad for the chance to feature special shots by making them large on the page.


One more post to go!  Stay tuned for the final pages and back cover of this book.

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(See part 1 HERE)

Here are the next three spreads (six pages) in the Hersheypark 2015 photo book.



To make my task a bit easier, I used a couple tricks I’d learned from the Rehoboth vacation photo book I wrote about in May: first, I again leveraged the Shutterfly software’s “storyboard” feature to help figure out how to divide my many photos over the 20 pages.  There are approximately 100 photos in this book!  Even though I made my final pages completely in PSE, it was nice to have a visual representation of the photo organization to help me as I went along.

Second, I made another set of “reference” documents (maybe contact sheets is a better term?) for the papers and the embellishments from this kit.  I opened all the files and made one .psd document with all the papers, and then I put all the embellishments into the other .psd document.  Not only did this allow me to see all of the embellishments at once, but it helped me to keep the shadow styles consistent from page to page.  I applied the shadows in the reference document and just copied and pasted the embellishments onto the layouts as I worked.


For this book, I decided to use the same white textured background on all the pages (except for the title page) for a bit of consistency.  On most of the pages, I also added a bit of digital “mixed media” from the kit, but occasionally, I left them without, like the following spread:


Stay tuned for more pages soon!

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Being off my feet after my ankle surgery has forced  enabled me to focus on some projects that I’ve been putting off.  I have a growing collection of photo books on our shelf, and I decided to use some of this time to fill in a gap in our Hersheypark collection.  We go every year, usually on my husband’s company day, and in 2015, it was my son’s first time.  That meant that there were more photos than other years, which in turn meant that it would be a more complex book to make, so I’d put it off.

Until now!

Over the next few posts, I’m going to show (off ;-)) the digital layouts I made for this book.  It’s an 8″x8″ photo book that I’m printing through Shutterfly using their Digiscrap book option.

Front cover: 


For my Hersheypark books, I usually make the title page very similar to the cover, but this time, I had some more photos I wanted to include right off the bat, so I added them in a photo strip with labels containing captions.


I embellished the book using the Sweet Shoppe Designs collaboration kit “Create Something Beautiful” — I’ve had it for a long time in my digital “stash,” and this was the perfect use for it.

As I make more of my photo books by digitally scrapbooking the pages in PSE (rather than using the printer’s site software), I have been growing my collection of basic me-made templates.  Every page in this book was my own template design, and I’m kind of proud of that!


I had three sets of photos/brief stories that I wanted to include on this next page, so I set them in columns to delineate them, while still keeping the look cohesive.


Look at those cheeks!



Stay tuned for future posts showing the rest of the digi layouts!

PART 2 …… PART 3 …… PART 4


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