Archive for the ‘mini-album’ Category

Back in October, I attended our church’s annual women’s retreat. The organizers asked if I could lead a craft activity, and after some brainstorming, I came up with the idea of making a tag mini album. The ladies were welcome to make anything they wanted with the craft supplies we provided, but for the sample, I decided to use the group photo we take (almost) every year as the basis. The idea was that they would have one tag “page” featuring the photo and could add more tags with thoughts about the retreat, moments they wanted to remember, and/or more photos from our time together.

I am so pleased that the ladies who participated enjoyed this crafting time. Several of them commented to me about how relaxing it was to just play with pretty paper. That was the goal!!

Since I was preparing the sample in advance, I had printed out a few 3″x4″ group photos from past retreats. This led me to the idea to make my own mini album a summary of all the retreats I’ve attended since coming to this church.

I made a “cover” tag for the album and on the reverse, I wrote a tiny bit about why I made the album.

I have one tag for each year: On the front of the tag, I added the group photo, a label for the year, and a little cluster of embellishments.

On the reverse of each “page,” I have a little bit of information: the dates, location, and speaker for the retreat.

There were a couple unusual years, and so I used a little die-cut tag to write out some thoughts.

In my mind, mini-albums should be full of texture, so I added layers, doilies, and ribbons that spill over the edges.

I have a few blank tags left, and I saved a small collection of the leftover supplies for myself so that I can keep adding to this album each year!


For reference, here is the starting set of supplies we used.

tags for album pages: manila shipping tags from Amazon (aff. link)
patterned paper: Recollections paper pads
doilies: “Sunny Side Up Bakery” from Hobby Lobby
ribbon: Michaels
twine: Christmas Paper Crafts from Hobby Lobby
flowers: The Paper Studio from Hobby Lobby
die cut tags: The Paper Studio from Hobby Lobby
leaf punches: Craft Tools from Hobby Lobby
labels: print-and-cut via my Cameo 3
pens: various fine-tipped Sharpies

In advance, I trimmed at least one sheet of each pattern to the width of the shipping tag bases, and I pre-cut all the cut-apart sheets from the paper pads. I laid out all the materials on a table in the room where we were doing the craft so that the ladies had a buffet of pretty bits and pieces!

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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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Yet again this year, a looming expiration date of a free-photobook offer gave me the push I needed to complete my 2015 Day-in-the-Life photobook/mini album back in July.  An upcoming trip helped me, as well– I wanted to get it finished before we left (it was also one of my July 2016 goals)!  Now that we are just a few days from this year’s day-in-the-life date (October 4), I thought I’d post about my 2015 book.

I kept my design the same as the previous two years’ (2014, 2013), which made it much easier to complete!  The basic layout is white backgrounds with grid-like arrangements of photos and blocks of text.  I add digital papers into the mix of photos to make it a bit fancier.  😉  For the digital papers this year, I pulled out a collaboration kit called “This Moment is Your Life” that I downloaded as a freebie from Sweet Shoppe Designs a while (read: years) ago.

I had almost twice the photos as last year’s book, which meant that more photos ended up on each page. I was also pleased that I finally remembered to get a posed family photo!


As per tradition (does doing it for two years make it a tradition?), I made a photo-and-digital-paper collage cover design.  I plan to use this template every year.  Since I had over 100 photos in the book this year, I picked the best half(ish) to add to the cover rather than use them all as in previous years.



Every time I finish one of these photo books, I am so glad to have the day documented.  Each year it gets easier, too, now that I have a plan of attack– as long as I make sure to write good notes during the day!  Let’s see if I can finish my 2016 book sooner! 😉


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As soon as I started making V’s princess album, I realized that my son would also probably like to have a little scrapbook to look at–focused on his favorites from the trip.  It turned out to be a longer process than I’d expected!

It was easy to select photos, and I purchased an 8″x8″ album the next time my local Hobby Lobby had a sale… and then I got stuck on patterned papers.  Which is so silly, right?!  I hemmed and hawed, and tried to use papers I had in my stash, but I just didn’t like the way they looked.  Finally I went out and purchased a Simple Stories Sn@ap! “Color Vibe” 6″x6″ paper pad.

The next hangup was that unlike V’s album, for which I came up with a basic layout formula for each spread, I had varying numbers of photos in both orientations for the nine favorites I’d picked for B’s album.  I’m not sure where I got the idea, but I finally decided to color block/collage the photos together with monochromatic patterned papers to coordinate with each photo set.



Also unlike V’s album, each page was a different topic, so I opted to create a title.  I used the font “Lobster 1.4” and cut each word three times from black textured cardstock.  I glued the layers together to give the words some substantial dimension before I added them to the page.


I kept the embellishments minimal.  Not only is the album for a two year old, I also wanted it to be finished quickly!  I used the cut-apart tags from the “Color Vibe” paper pad and kraft tags from Jillibean Soup (jb0413), to which I added some crochet thread.  (By the way, I had to make a few more tags because I wanted to stick to only a star motif– I just used a 1.5″ circle punch and a tiny star punch I have that just happens to match the Jillibean tags perfectly!).  To top it all off, I added some Hobby Lobby enamel dots.


For the title page, I broke from the color-block look and instead did some layering.  I chose the “classic” Disney colors (red, gold, and black), and added aqua for some kick.  Again, I embellished with the enamel dots and kraft tag… and the title is triple-layered die-cut cardstock.


The 8″x8″ album I purchased at Hobby Lobby had a photo window in the front, so I chose a photo of Husband, B, and me from our day in Epcot and added a quickie title in PSE, using the same font (Lobster 1.4).


(pardon the reflection, the protective plastic over the photo created quite a glare!)




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The album is finished!

The very last page I made was actually the title page.  I used one of the great shots from our family photo shoot (thank you again, B!!) printed in a creamtone finish.  I added our name, die cut from white cardstock using the Bruselo font (again, with an offset to thicken it just a tad!).  To embellish, I used some specialty brads from “Nordic Holiday” and a border sticker from “Peppermint”– it really blows my mind how well those two collections coordinate, even though they are from two different manufacturers!  I chose the aqua, red, and white color scheme to coordinate with the album itself, which has an aqua spine.  (The colors/patterns also match the very last page in the album).

the 2015 December Daily album is FINISHED!!  Finished it last night :)

Wow, this was an epic project.  Way more intense than I realized (or maybe intended).  I just had so many little stories I wanted to include!  I really did try to follow Ali’s advice and choose the main story for each day, but in many cases, we had several special events that I wanted to include, or so many wonderful photos (e.g. from gift opening) with mini-stories associated with them.  You might not believe me, but I really did narrow it down a lot!

The album contains over 160 photos in various sizes, from 6″x8″ all the way down to 2″ square… and I’m not even individually counting the photos in the several collages!

Working on my December Daily album at craft day at church

Not only did I spend countless hours working on this project at home, I also worked on this album at about three different craft days (ladies gathering at our church to hang out as we work on our own projects).  I snapped this photo of my work area on one of those days. This was pretty tidy compared to what my craft island looked like when I was working on the album in full force at home!  (I wish I’d taken a photo of that!)

While I am absolutely beyond thrilled with the final result, I have to admit that I didn’t always enjoy the process of working on the album.  I always have the most fun planning (here is the planning post about this one!) projects, and when they end up taking a really long time, I lose my excitement.  Thankfully, I’m a completionist/perfectionist and that propels me to the finish line.

After being on the Scrap Gals podcast last month, where we had a little tangent talking about pocket-page scrapbooking, I really started thinking about why exactly I don’t care for the process of working in that style.  I started to get a more concrete idea as I worked on this album.  In theory, or at least in my head, I have this idea that pocket pages are “supposed” to be “simple.”  But when I start to get into them, I feel like I need to make a mini layout in practically every pocket– which turns into a lot of little layouts!  Not simple at all in reality!  (…not least because I love the real estate available on a 12″x12″ or even 12″x24″ layout)  When something that I think should be simple turns out to be complicated, I get grumpy.

I also discovered that having multiple pockets made me feel like I could/should be including many, many photos and stories– more than I would try and fit on my regular layouts.  I don’t mind having a lot of layouts about a special event in my albums, but in general, each story has its own layout and therefore has breathing room.  My pocket albums feel a bit more crowded.

I don’t know if I’ll do another December Daily album in the future.  I won’t say never, but I doubt it will be any time soon!

All that being said, I want to emphasize that I am so glad that I did this one.  It satisfied a creative itch.  I am totally happy with the result and delighted with how much I fit into this album.  It really captures a slice of our life throughout the month of December, and that is priceless in my mind!

~ ~ ~

I’m using the Crate Paper “Peppermint” collection as the main set of products for this album, supplemented heavily by BasicGrey’s “Nordic Holiday;” but I am also adding in various Christmassy and not-themed products (including doilies!) from my stash.  If you have any questions about a particular product, let me know in the comments.  

See all my posts about this album HERE.  

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After a huge day of photos on the 25th, I didn’t use my camera a whole lot the next few days!  Day 26 is a 4″x6″ photo that I embellished with a tag sticker and some washi tape.  At the top of the page, I included a family photo that we took during my in-laws’ visit, embellished with a word die cut from “Peppermint” and some Silhouette-cut holly leaves.  I added a tag die cut to the top to top off the washi  tape that I added across the opening of the page protector because the pictures kept sliding out!


On the reverse, for day 27, I told a story that is depicted in a photo collage in the bottom slot.  It was about my father-in-law making my son laugh with a drinking-straw mustache (and my son imitating him!)– and I used the little Santa die cut to embellish the story.  I don’t usually use Santa motifs, but the mustache tie-in was perfect in this case!  I also used a Project Life card from the Jade Core Kit to write out the story.  The colors of many of those journaling cards coordinate so well with the Crate Paper collection!



I added the brochure from the train garden and light display that we visited in between the pages.


The dimensional Christmas lights sticker was absolutely perfect to embellish this page.  I wrote out my journaling on plain white cardstock and cut it to slightly smaller than 2″ square so that I could frame each block with patterned paper.


This additional entry for day 28 is slightly out of order, but it went so well with the gingerbread baking that that we did on the 29th!  The number stickers for “28” were originally a light blue, but I went over them with a yellow permanent marker to turn them into a shade of green that better matched my color scheme for the top half of the page.



The embellishment for this first part of day 31 is very simple.  A piece of doily behind my (almost all-time favorite) Thickers, and a bit of crochet thread tied through a small hole I punched at the top of the ornament die cut.


I layered a lot of die cuts and stickers from Peppermint to embellish the reverse side for day 31–visiting another train garden!.



My last page is a back-to-back layout.  On the front, I told the story of our extremely low-key New Year’s Eve celebration (you can hardly even call it that!) with our traditional Bananas Foster.



The last page in the album is very simple– two 4″x6″ photos of another New Year’s Eve tradition– a family kiss picture!  I die-cut my words using the Bruselo script font (I added a slight external offset with the Silhouette software since the letters would be so small)– the almost white-on-white was hard to photograph!  I love these photos, and I think the white title is the perfect simple embellishment.

~ ~ ~

I’m using the Crate Paper “Peppermint” collection as the main set of products for this album, supplemented heavily by BasicGrey’s “Nordic Holiday;” but I am also adding in various Christmassy and not-themed products (including doilies!) from my stash.  If you have any questions about a particular product, let me know in the comments.  

See all my posts about this album HERE.  

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I made a mini-layout for day 21 about wrapping gifts.  I slipped a Project Life card under the photo to add some journaling– the card is from the old baby core kit!  But the yellow was the perfect shade.  I need to remember to use those cards more often.  I have a whole box full of extras!



On the back of the day 21 mini-layout is another mini-layout for day 22.  Another warm day– and lots of poor-quality iPhone photos…  We had so much fun playing outside, I had to tell the story.  I used my Silhouette to print-and-cut a journaling label (the font is my own handwriting) and then cut four layers of white cardstock to stack under the top patterned layer for each of the twos in the date.


In between days 22 and 23/24, I added a card a friend sent me as a thank-you.


I completely forgot to take photos of a fun playdate that we had on day 23.  I remembered at the very last minute and photographed the craft we did together.  I used the rest of the page to start documenting our relaxed Christmas Eve.


For day 24, I took some very old no-name-brand chipboard numbers and peeled off the glossy top layer (the colors didn’t match–neither the layout nor each other), and I finally tried my hand at heat embossing chipboard.   The first three photos were mini-stories about my daughter, so I numbered them and added the stories all on one card with coordinating numbers.



Yes, there are two night photos of the Christmas tree with the gifts under it (and another with the kids in front of it on day 13!).  I just love the glow of the tree in the dark, and I just can’t resist taking photos.




Christmas day is a number of pages in the album, because so many things were going on!  I started the day with a 6″x8″ photo of our family (backing up to the 6″x8″ Christmas eve tree photo).  I used another 2″ square grid divided page protector to fit lots of photos of our kids opening their gifts.  I had a lot of little stories that I wanted to record with them.

The number for day 25 (as well as for day 11!)  is from a set that I created for my daughter’s December album.  I enlarged it to fill the 2″ square on this page and wrapped some red-and-white twine around to add a bit of detail and dimension.

There were a few photos from the gift-opening that were composed in such a way that did not allow for them to be cropped into squares.  These photos I actually adhered on the outside of the page protector.  To continue the look, I used a few labels on the outside of the protector to write journaling.


Clearly, one 2″ grid page wasn’t enough– I added another page that had 2″ squares along the top and bottom and a 4″x6″ spot in the middle, where I added even more photos and stories.  Throughout these pages for consistency, I used the same set of papers and red labels, and I embellished with the same buttons, doily bits, crochet thread, and silver thread.  In between these two pages, I added a 4″x6″ Project Life card (Jade edition; one of the title cards) upon which I made mini layouts about the gifts that Husband I and I exchanged.







Later in the afternoon, my in-laws arrived, and so I finished day 25 with a page highlighting the big gift they gave to our kids.

~ ~ ~

I’m using the Crate Paper “Peppermint” collection as the main set of products for this album, supplemented heavily by BasicGrey’s “Nordic Holiday;” but I am also adding in various Christmassy and not-themed products (including doilies!) from my stash.  If you have any questions about a particular product, let me know in the comments.  

See all my posts about this album HERE.  


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For day 18, I had asked Husband to write about going to see the newest Star Wars movie on opening day; he wrote me an email with his thoughts, and I printed it out.  To show that they were his words, I asked him to sign the journaling block.  I added his ticket stub and printed out a screen shot of a movie poster I found online.

I had fun embellishing these crummy-quality cell phone photos of our errands at Costco on day 17…


Also on day 18, we finished up getting our Christmas cards ready to mail.  I included one as an insert.



I backed our photo card with a layout I made on patterned cardstock.  Not only does it give the photo card a bit more stabilization, but I was able to make the two layers into a little pocket to hold the letter we included with the card. It pulls out with the silver chevron tab you see at the top.



I wish I could remember where I saw the idea (was it Ali Edwards?  Kelly Purkey?), but someone collected the stamps from all of their Christmas cards and slipped them into a 2″ grid page protector.  I LOVED the idea, and so I saved the stamp from every single Christmas card we received in the mail.  I put this page together by layering one of each design to cover one of the cardstock pages that came in the Snap! album.  The “Christmas card seals” sticker from the “Peppermint” collection was the perfect way to explain the page of postage!


I love the texture of this page.



On the back of the page of stamps, I wrote some thoughts about receiving Christmas cards. (I love them.)



On day 19, we made a Norwegian Christmas treat called lefse with friends.  Yum, yum, yum!


Since I wanted to write some journaling, include lots of photos, and also have an embellished number, I added another flip-up to this page.


For day 20, I scanned a coloring page that my daughter very carefully filled in during our church service.  I printed it as a 3″x4″ card to slip into the pocket next to the photo of her coloring.


~ ~ ~

I’m using the Crate Paper “Peppermint” collection as the main set of products for this album, supplemented heavily by BasicGrey’s “Nordic Holiday;” but I am also adding in various Christmassy and not-themed products (including doilies!) from my stash.  If you have any questions about a particular product, let me know in the comments.  

See all my posts about this album HERE.  

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Day 11 is a pretty simple set of 4″x6″ pockets.  Instead of writing out captions for each of the photos, I decided to make one long title to tell the short little stories of each of them.  It was a low-key day!


Because I had a full-page photo for the next day, I made a 6″x8.5″ (did you know that’s the actual size of the page protector for a full-page in the Simple Stories albums??) layout for Day 12.  I used some old Making Memories letter stickers (from one of their last wedding collections) to give each photo pair a title, and then I used a print-and-cut label (using my Silhouette) to add a little story.  The vertical stripe of snowflakes (rub on from Lily Bee) is sort of tongue-in-cheek, since the day was warm enough for me to go for a run outside in short sleeves!


See HERE on the blog for a similar photo to the full-page one of them looking at the lit Christmas tree early in the morning of day 13.


We had a lot of exciting things that we did on day 13, so not only did I include the (in my opinion) beautiful photo of my kids in front of the tree, but another whole front-and-back of a page.  We went to see an abridged Nutcracker performed by a local ballet school with a dear friend of mine.  I chopped down the program (which was just a photocopied sheet of paper) to put behind the title to my page.


To help the numbers stand out, I punched a circle of washi tape and added a silver-sprayed die-cut flourish and some rhinestones.


On the back of the page, I included photos of a gathering of our church small group.



We had a big day the next day, too!  We celebrated Christmas with my side of the family.  All of us except Husband (who had to work!) went to the aquarium together for the day.  I took a LOT of photos and I wanted to include quite a few, so I added some flip-ups to the 3×4 2″ square divided page protector to add in some extras while still being able to add lots of journaling and to embellish.  Speaking of embellishments, I made the top right square into another shaker pocket so that the number 14 from the following page shows through.



More photos fit on the reverse, and I had room for even more journaling.


I punched holes in our aquarium tickets and added them right into the spread.



Our festivities continued into the evening, when we opened some gifts and spent time together as a family.


Aren’t these little present puffy stickers cute?  I got them from a friend who was clearing out some of her craft supplies.



After two very busy days, we had a couple quieter days (at least, in terms of my photo-taking!)  Days 15 and 16 went together onto one page.  I kept the design unified by using the same format for the numbers and using the same combination of letter stickers to give a bit of a title to each photo.

~ ~ ~

I’m using the Crate Paper “Peppermint” collection as the main set of products for this album, supplemented heavily by BasicGrey’s “Nordic Holiday;” but I am also adding in various Christmassy and not-themed products (including doilies!) from my stash.  If you have any questions about a particular product, let me know in the comments.  

See all my posts about this album HERE.  

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