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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 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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Remember when I said I had another Abrazo tee (affiliate link) on my cutting table?  Here it is!

This top is made from the excess yardage from a dress I finished at the beginning of February (that’s another–long–story!), and this brushed poly was so nice to work with– it will not be my last brushed poly, if I have anything to say about it!

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I added a ruffle detail at the end of the sleeves using the circle sleeve tutorial on Melly Sews (Melissa is the designer of Blank Slate patterns!).

It was my first time ever binding a V-neck t-shirt, and it worked like a charm.  Have I mentioned before how much I love this pattern?!

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Now I just need to get my hands on some more knits (preferably brushed poly–oh so soft!) and make some more Abrazos!

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I’m going to jump out of chronological** order (both in the event date and the actual creating of these pages) to show the inserts I just made earlier this week to document our Game Weekend with friends.

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In a discussion of using up stash in the Use-It-Or-Lose-It FB group, I mentioned that I was finally cutting into this older collection pack that I’d received in a giveaway.

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This one is not really my typical style– I usually prefer clearer colors and a less antique/distressed look (I really don’t like brown, unless it’s wood! :)).  So this was a bit of a challenge that I set myself: I want to actually USE what I have!  When I got to this set of photos, I realized that this collection pack could work, so I pulled it out.

The first insert is about the actual game weekend itself: Husband and I traveled to the Midwest to get together with friends–friends of his since childhood!–to spend the whole weekend diving deep into the game that we usually play once-per-week via Skype and an online gameboard.  It was a really great time!  (And it was the beginning of an annual tradition that we’ve continued!)

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Since I wanted to really get into the papers and stickers in this collection pack, I tried to make quick decisions about what sheets I should cut into, and what stickers I could use.

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I used some washi tape to set off my title from the group photo.

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And I added black enamel dots to this insert to give some contrast and texture.  Paper and stickers are so flat together without some help!  On this 4×6 spot, I used a Jillibean Soup kraft tag for journaling and popped it up with some foam adhesive.

The second insert is about what was happening with the kids while Husband and I played games 🙂  Husband’s parents had a great time taking care of them at their house!  Since this insert is in my son’s 1st year album, I wanted to make sure to specifically highlight photos of him.

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The second side of this insert is fairly simple: I wanted the posed photos to stand alone, and I used a card from the cut-apart sheet, simply embellished with a couple of white enamel dots.

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I made sure to use more stickers to embellish on the front.  I didn’t know when I would ever use the peacock, so I decided to hide most of him behind the camera sticker, and he looks similar to some of the doily motifs elsewhere in the collection.

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The text on the black label sticker had nothing to do with the topic of my layout (or any layout I plan to make, really…), so I decided to layer it behind one of the tag stickers.  It felt good to use stickers in this way– they aren’t getting wasted, and they are adding layers and interest to the page.

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Finally, I made a coordinating 4″x6″ card to go in my “daily” slot for the album, and I used a few more bits from the collection pack: I layered a doily from my stash with the rest of that black label sticker onto some patterned paper, and added a piece of border sticker.  I topped it all off with the “you & me” pointer sticker from the sticker sheet–popped up on some foam.

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I’m curious to see if I’ll use more of this collection pack now that I’ve “broken into” it.  I’m glad that I gave it a try, and now I’m more familiar with its contents for future projects.

 

**In general, I do NOT scrapbook chronologically.  However, it makes sense with the way my brain works that all of my scrapbooks are organized chronologically.

 

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For the past two years, I used a Sugar Paper for Target planner for all of my goal-setting, to-dos, and daily planning.  I’d switched to the Sugar Paper one when I was unable to find another favorite planner of mine, and I discovered that its weekly layout with a facing weekly planning page was exactly how my brain worked!  When I went to buy one for 2018, I made the sad discovery that they weren’t selling that planner through Target any more!  I had fallen in love with the weekly layout, and the planners directly sold from Sugar Paper didn’t even meet my needs 😉

As I discussed this “tragedy” with Husband, he suggested that I make my own.  He even volunteered to set up an Excel spreadsheet to auto-populate the dates onto the weekly pages and calendar spreads so that I wouldn’t have to do it by hand.  In fact, he went so far as to program it so that I can enter any year, and it will calculate the proper dates!  Hooray!  He really is amazing.

Not only that, but he helped me fine-tune the margins and cell sizes so that it prints out just right.  I decided to make a half-letter sized planner and use the Staples Arc system to bind it (I purchased THIS punch–affiliate link).  In past years, I stuffed all sorts of bits and pieces into my planners and they ended up bulging in an unsightly way with extra papers (and then they’d fall out if I dropped the planner…).  I purchased a set of Arc covers and the largest discs I could get so that it has plenty of room to grow.  I’ve already added several bits and pieces (notes from my daughter, slips of paper with school information, ephemera stapled to patterned paper, and cards…) and it makes me so happy to see them as I flip back.  I love that these bits of life are now part of the planner in a sleek way.

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After lots of fussing with the layout and fonts, I finally reached a look that satisfied me.  I took my favorite aspects of the two planners I’d loved and some modifications that I’d been making to them and mashed them all together.

At the front of the planner, I have a year-at-a-glance calendar that I modified from HERE.  Because it wasn’t quite the right aspect ratio for what I needed, I took a screen shot of the .pdf and re-created the title with fonts that match the rest of my planner.

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Each month starts with a notes page, which I am using to keep track of the things I accomplish during that month.  On the facing page, I have a planning page to help me keep track of my intentions for that month in each of a number of categories: scrapbook (memory keeping), sew, home, and health.  I also have a spot for important dates and a box where I can make notes for future goals and hopes — the ones I want to get to but aren’t reasonable for that month.

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Right after that comes the month’s grid.  In a future iteration, I hope to have the boxes programmed with conditional formatting so that the borders show up only if there is a number inside… but for now, I might add pretty patterned paper to the blank boxes… maybe!  These pages are printed on card stock, so they serve as a bit of a divider.  I may add little tabs (maybe with matching patterned paper??), as well.

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Each week has a planning page and a week-at-a-glance page that I use to keep track of my daily to-do list and appointments, etc.

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It took me until almost the end of January to get everything in order, but I was using test pages from the beginning of the year, and that really helped me work out some of the finer details before I printed everything.  I am really, really happy with how this turned out!  I am so very grateful for Husband’s help!  This wouldn’t have come together without him.

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Squid

This handsome fellow was a surprise Christmas gift for Husband.

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

 

His name is Qubit, and he is a squid.  Or SQUID, if you are a physics-y kind of person.  😉

Indulge me while I share some more beauty shots.

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

I used the simply fantastic Menagerie pattern by LiEr at Ikat Bag to make this handsome sea creature.  He is made from two shades of solid-colored fleece that I bought on an extreme sale (it turned out that when I had to buy a spool of lighter green thread for matching topstitching on the eyelids, I spent more on it than the fleece!).

He came together so quickly!  I absolutely loved using the pattern.  Every step was well-explained, and the amount of information provided is fabulous.  I am really looking forward to the chance to make more animal variations.  I highly recommend this pattern to anyone who wants more whimsical animals in their life.

Qubit is now at Husband’s office, overseeing his work there, and providing some squidsperation.  I hope he gives Husband a laugh or smile whenever he sees him!

 

P.S. Happy birthday today, Husband!  I love you.

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Friends of ours have a fantastic annual Academy Awards party.  One of the best parts of the party, to me, is the food!  Not just because I love food (which I do), but because everyone who attends brings refreshments that are cleverly tied into the award nominees.  Food and puns!  Can you get any better than that?

This year, we were excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy on the nominees list.  Husband and I both really enjoyed the movie, so when we came up with the idea of making dirt pudding with baby Groot on top, we were thrilled.  It got even better when I realized we could make the dirt pudding gluten-free for my friend.  In my excitement, I misspoke and said, “Oh!  We can make it grooten free!” And then we had to do it 😉

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We based our dessert on my sister-in-law’s dirt pudding recipe, but we made a couple changes to ensure that it was truly gluten-free.  Instead of using the commercial pudding mix and milk called for in the recipe, we made a batch of Better Homes and Gardens’ homemade vanilla pudding using tapioca starch instead of cornstarch.  We also purchased gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies to swirl inside and top the pudding.

But in my opinion, the best part is the baby Groot.  Husband and I worked together to form him out of Wilton’s Shape-N-Amaze edible modeling compound (which is also gluten free, and even though it is technically edible, it does not taste very good).  His body is given support by a chopstick inside his “trunk”, and we bored a hole through the middle of a couple whole cookies to give some structural support at the base.  The pudding wasn’t very solid, so baby Groot had some trouble staying upright, but it was all okay, since it was just for fun!

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