So, I spent this past weekend organizing and printing my favorite photos from the past year, and then scrapbooking the shit out of them.
My mom gave me a scrapbooking kit for my thirteenth birthday; scrapbooking was really new at the time and she thought I might like it. She was totally right. For me, scrapbooking is tied to my long love of journal-keeping (which I’ve done since I was ten years old), and I just enjoy the added arts and crafts element. I worked on that first scrapbook all through high school, and then did a general college one, as well as the massive one I created after I returned home from studying abroad for six weeks in college.
But to be honest, I haven’t thought much about scrapbooking in a while. I started my most recent scrapbook – a recipe scrapbook – a few years ago, but never finished it (though it’s super close to being done) for reasons I can’t really explain. I guess I could say I don’t have time, but I’ve always made time for it before. I think perhaps my creative needs were being satisfied in other ways, I wasn’t taking a ton of great pictures, and I sort of just…forgot about scrapbooking? But then I saw a picture that Emily posted on Instagram of her Project Life album and I was totally intrigued. I finally got around to researching it on Friday, and after an hour or so on the Project Life website, I had determined that this new-to-me system of scrapbooking was exactly what I…well, it wasn’t what I was looking for, exactly, but it was basically everything I never knew I always wanted.
The concept is very simple; it’s quite similar to a traditional scrapbook, but instead of getting large plastic pockets and sliding in a full completed page, the clear pockets are divided (similar to the kind you’d use to store trading cards) and come in a variety of sizes, designed to hold both photos and pre-cut papers and design-y note cards. The system allows for less gluing and designing, and a lot more on-the-fly scrapbooking.
So at like 11:00 on Friday night, I was rekindling my love of scrapbooking. I couldn’t find the exact items I wanted online, so I went to Michael’s first thing on Saturday morning to get my starter kit. I really wanted the mini album, but unfortunately, they didn’t have them in the store either. I ended up getting the album and clear pockets from another brand (Oh, Snap!…which I’m pretty sure is designed for teenage girls), and then I bought the Project Life core kit, which comes with a variety of pre-cut papers and note cards to use in the different page slots.
I spent the rest of my weekend printing off photos from the past 10 months (more on my experiments with different printing methods/apps another day) and getting started. It took me a little while to get into a groove because I was totally approaching it like I did traditional scrapbooking, which meant I was really overthinking things and creating extra work for myself. And because I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I printed my photos and bought supplies, I had a ton of pictures of varying sizes and found the best way to incorporate them into the templates I had was to do some old-school-style full pages. It wasn’t a huge deal — that’s what I’m used to, so the extra gluing didn’t bother me.
But even with the hiccups, I was able to get on a roll and blast through nearly a year of pictures in about a day and a half!
I also plan to just incorporate the recipe scrapbook idea going forward!
(Now I really just need to finish that original recipe scrapbook and be done with the damn thing.)
One downside to using the smaller albums is that they filled up pretty quickly; I actually had to do three separate albums to accommodate all my photos. Also, the non-Project-Life-brand page templates meant my design options were kind of limited. Once I finish the current album at the end of this year, I may switch to the 12 x 12 style; not only will it hold more photos, but I think it would definitely be easier to do the pages, and just more convenient overall.
And now that I’ve done some more research into the different ways to do Project Life, I’ll probably go into it with a better approaching to taking and printing photos for the next few months, and for the new album I start next year. I found as I did the more recent pages, I did more notes/journaling than I did in at first, and I want to find a way to do that regularly that doesn’t feel super cheesy. It’s definitely still kind of a work in progress for me, but I’m enjoying finding new ideas online and experimenting. Their whole philosophy is making scrapbooking easy, so I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself to make it look OMG AMAZING.
Anyway, if you’re a fallen scrapbooker like I am, or kinda want to start doing something with all your iPhone photos, definitely check out Project Life!