Friday, August 30, 2013

Those Unfinished Scrapbook Albums

6 years. SIX WHOLE YEARS and I've finally finished an album that has become the bane of my scrapbooking existence. It actually became a joke between my scrapping friends and I when we would get together to scrap... oh you are working on "that" album again, huh? Of course that was back when it took 2 hours per layout. I would be so annoyed, wanting to work on newer albums and pages, but being determined to get the album "done". It really did take the fun out of scrapbooking.

Once I started Project Life, I mentally put my older albums on a back burner because I didn't know what to do with them and almost all of them were only half finished. The prospect of finishing them "one day" was there.. but never actually happened.

Well, this week, nesting has taken FULL EFFECT. I have reorganized everything, and I decided to tackle that album, but do it project life style! 

The album in question? My bachelorette weekend. Several of my friends and I went to Downtown Disney in Orlando, where we shopped, laughed and at night, went to Pleasure Island, which was a safe way to "bar hop". We had a great time, and I really want to preserve all the fun we had- which is why I was hellbent on finishing the album. 

I will warn you, the photos you are about to see contain a bunch of ladies drinking adult beverages, laughing at stupid things, and making goofy faces. View them at your own risk :)

I also decided to take them out of the album and put them into my 2007 family album. This will also eventually be a project life type of album, but for now, it holds memorbilia from the year as I really don't have any photos printed for it yet!

Below are some of the beginning pages done the "old way". There are a bunch more, but you get the idea. It's AMAZING how my style has changed. I don't love these pages but I wouldn't change them for anything :)

And HERE is where things basically stopped:

So as you can see, I put the photos and background paper in, but never quite got to the last few layouts. I had big plans for some of them, actually, but I never had the time or motivation. 

So I started on one of the pages. The first lesson in integrating old with new? The first page (left side) has to be the OLD style- so I pulled out my old scrapping supplies and went to town. I had already pre cut several photos with good intentions, so now all I needed to do was adhere!

BTW, don't mind the random crappy image quality. I'm still learning how to use my Canon 7D and it's TOTALLY operator error.

Step 1: Layout ALL YOUR photos to see what you have!

Used the 6x6 pages, and LOVE them!

A very easy, and FINISHED page! Nothing fancy, but DONE!
Okay, so now I can continue the Project Life style.. using inserts instead of full 12x12 layouts! So I went to the next page, started to layout my photos to see what I had, then hit a roadblock...

I had WAY too many pictures! This was one of the biggest troubles I had with traditional scrapbooking. I would try to cram a million photos into one layout. So, I started thinking and decided the best way to handle ALL these photos? INSERTS :) I use inserts ALL THE TIME with my current albums, why not here? So the "layout" will be full 12x12 pages, although not traditional layouts. And the insert can fit a TON of photos, but is smaller than 12x12 so it fits snugly in between the two 12x12 pages. 

Left 12x12 page is Becky Higgins design E. The middle (has a sticky note on it) is Becky Higgins design G (one of my FAVORITE designs)

The right side is a We R Memory Keeper page. I've left a blank space for journaling. 
There. DONE. Why have I waited SOOOO long to get this album done?

On to the next. I had big plans for the next page. One of the things we did was try to get me to take a photo with as many guys as possible. It was fun, and I wanted to make this big layout with all the boys.. well that never happened. What I DID do, was use design J as an insert, and you know what? I like it better than the original idea. WAY less work, and still gets all the photos in there. I love the versitility of the project life way of scrapping. The outcome may not be exactly the same, but it works and takes a FRACTION of the time. 

Used Becky Higgins Design J for the first time, which worked perfectly!
On to the next! 

Laying out the photos

Both are We R Memory Keeper pages. I was glad to use them up! Again, blank area for journaling!

AND.... on to the next and LAST page! HOLY COW, is that possible? 

Again, I layed out the photos to see which plastic I would use. 

Left and right are both We R Memory keeper pages. I will be journaling in the blank areas :)

And I'm done....?

How is that possible?? I think total time, start to finish was maybe an hour and a half, and that included food breaks, potty breaks, taking photos, and getting some old scrapbooking stuff out (and putting it away).

THIS is why I love project life. Are the above pages my most favorite work? No. Are they done and somewhat cute? YES! Can my friends and family look through the album and get an idea of the memories created? YES! Can I take a big breath in and shout "I'M FINALLY DONE WITH THAT ALBUM!!!" yes :) Can I choose NOT to use pink and black pages in an album again? Oh yes!

For those who are just thinking about project life, and are still debating it, think about the time it takes you to do one layout. Now think about all those unfinished albums and count roughly how many layouts you need to finish. Now multiply them. For me, 2 hours per layout was a safe average. That meant in an 8 hour session, I got 4 layouts done. AND.. I had to pull ALL my stuff out and really make a day of it. I don't know how many project life layouts I can do in eight hours, but what I can tell you is that it excites me to know that it's a bunch. 

Take a look at your older albums and see what you can do to get them finished!

Happy scrapping :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

My TOP 10 Project Life Videos

I am in full on "nesting" mode. I have rearranged little man's closet three times. His room is almost completely done (I went with a "world traveler" theme- it's very pintrest worthy, and will share once he is born!). I've organized my hard drive where I keep all my photos and now I've organized my social networks... when does it stop?!

I was thinking, I have 29 videos posted on my youtube page DEDICATED to project life.. I feel as though I should pay homage to them somehow. I LOVE making videos.. but since we've moved to the country, our satellite internet service just wouldn't cut it, which was the WHOLE reason I decided to be a blogger instead! We are supposedly getting real internet.. I hope by January of 2014 but we will see.

SO! Here is a list of my top 10 videos:

1. What is Project Life?
By far one of my most watched videos! It's long by youtube standards, but it's basically the reason I started using project life and why I will probably NEVER go back to traditional scrapbooking!

2. How I scrapbook my Christmas Cards 2011
Do you save your holiday cards? Me too, and it was bulking up my albums! Here is a great solution!
3. How I Lay Out Project Life Pages
Only 5 minutes long, this basically shows my process of laying out my project life pages. It's nothing fancy, but some people aren't sure how to go about it!
4. My Nightly Project Life Routine
I no longer do this EXACTLY, but this is good for the beginner to see :)

5. EASY Thanksgiving scrapbook "layout"
Showing off why project life is so darn easy. I love inserts, and use them frequently in my albums!
6. Print Your Own Journaling Cards
Many subscribers asked, so I put together a "how to" for printing your own cards
Just an update on my album. After recording this, I had to finish one of the pages so the follow up video is here: My Type A Personality Kicked In

8. Thank You Marcy Penner!
I STILL use and love her planning pages, they make things so much easier!
9. Have YOU ever felt GUILTY about scrapbooking?
I made this video to be honest about where I was at that time. Most people out there cannot keep up with the weekly version of project life, and instead "catch up" in blocks of time. And that's OK!
10. Setting Up Project Life
Just my method of setting up a new project life album!

And if that's not enough, here are two awesome bonus videos on how I organize my photos and in general!

These videos are truly nothing fancy, but they've helped a lot of people get started with project life! I hope you enjoy watching them! 

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to Document Your Vacation (the easy way!)

So this is not one of those "come home from vacation with a finished scrapbook" posts. I've done that before, and I can talk about it in a future post if there is interest! However, THIS post is ALL about how I currently document vacations and incorporate them into my project life albums. It's a long one, because I go into lots of type A detail.. so grab a cup of coffee and snuggle in :)

Let me back up here and explain my general organization process...

I am type A so of course everything is chronological. Therefore, all my albums are in order by year and month. This means I DO NOT have separate vacation albums. I used to- and then realized I was wasting a lot of space, money, time.... you get the idea. My theory is that I print my FAVORITE photos from each day, and do one side of a layout per day (or both sides if we did a lot of different things. The photos should remind me of the trip but I don't need them ALL printed.

I repeat, and italicize. I do NOT need to print ALL the photos from one trip. I stress this because it was what held me up in traditional scrapbooking. I wanted every little detail on those pages. I still do, honestly, and can add as many as I want to if I really want to go crazy. But I am learning that, no, I don't need a photo of me and hubby at every "event" during vacation. Sure, I take those photos, but I choose only my favorites. If I take those "detail" types of shots.. hotel room, flip flops by the door, dinner or a nice desert, I will plan on those going in the smaller 3x4 slots and take the photo accordingly. Quality, not quantity, is my focus.

If I REALLY want to make an album just for a vacation or event- I usually go to shutterfly for that. Or if I love all the photos... in the past I've printed all 200 photos and put them in a photo album (remember those). BUT, the memorabilia goes in my project life album- that's what it's for!

Back to the HOW TO:

Okay, so when I start packing for a trip, I make sure I bring a "kit" with me. This usually consists of a pen, journaling cards or index cards, and a large, stiff envelope or two. I cheat and use old photo envelopes from getting 5x7 or 8x10 prints done. You can buy plastic versions of these at walmart (packing and mailing section), or any office store. Heck, you can use one of those padded yellow envelopes or even a page protector and put some cardboard in them to keep them stiff. I prefer, at a minmum, one 8x10 size envelope. This stays in my suitcase and is where I stash all the things I collect during my stay (more on that in a minute). I also bring along a 5x7 size envelope that fits in my purse. This is where I stash those collectibles while out and about, and assures they don't get lost or squished!

My vacation documentation "kit". I like to use hole punched index cards and throw them on a binder ring so they don't get mixed up!

So what do I "collect" in these envelopes?? LOTS of things, but for starters, I have stopped buying t shirts as souvenirs and started buying postcards. They usually are a great representation of where we are staying, always have perfect weather and lighting and never have the random person in them- plus they are SUPER cheap! And FLAT! I also search for patches (you know, like girl scout style) which are great additions as dimension. Occasionally, I'll pick up a key-chain or magnet or bumper sticker, as long as they are thin and lightweight and don't bulk up a page. DO NOT GO CRAZY buying everything you see.. I usually wait until the END of a trip to buy these items so I know what places we've visited. I limit myself to about $15 total for these types of items. 

Here's an example of what I came home with after 5 days in New York. Note- I went WAYYYYYYY overboard! Theres so much to do and see, I tried to take a little bit of something and came home with a whole lot! I will eventually add photos to this, but for now it's just all memorbilia :)

Okay I definitely went WAY over my budget while in New York City for the first time! BUT, I got some great stuff.. Patches, stickers, rubber bracelets, playbills and play tickets!

MAPS! They are great additions to your album, even if they are printed off your computer! We actually had this while roaming the streets so I had some idea of where the places I wanted to visit were in relation to our hotel.

We went to NYC in october, and these leaves were from central park.. I'm shocked they made the trip home, but can thank my envelope system for that! Also on the right you'll notice lots of postcards, maps, guides!

Also, while we are out, I collect all receipts, parking passes, etc. Even armbands for theme parks look great in an album. Maps are always my favorite backgrounds too (and way fun to cut up). If you are going to a city rather than a theme park, make sure to grab one of those "local" magazines with "area guides" and whatnot, they always have a local map in them that's perfect project life size! Oh and always ask the hotel desk for maps (can't beat free!) and make sure to grab anything with their logo on it (I love to grab a few sheets of the notepad paper and an envelope from the rooms if available!). Anytime you do some sort of excursion make sure to grab a brochure, or at the very least, a business card. At restaurants  grab take out menus, napkins, etc. Oh and my FAVORITE souvenir?? Those pressed pennies you see all over the place! Cheap, flat, and kind of cool- just make sure to use a shiny penny :) 

ALL of these should go in your envelope. Mine gets full pretty fast, so I've brought 2 smaller envelopes in the past. It's nice to have one in the car to switch all your stuff into. 

So once the day is over, and we are back in our hotel, I put all of these things into the larger envelope. Like I said, it gets full quickly. If I was more organized, I'd bring one large envelope per event and put them in some sort of binder.. but it's always a last minute thought so I haven't gotten that far :)
Speaking of last minute thoughts, the purpose of the journaling pen and index card/journaling card is to jot down events during the day. I am not good about this, but in theory, you can stash it in your purse and add funny quotes said during the day, favorite places, meals etc. I don't do this, much to my dismay :( The other equally great option is to leave it in the hotel room and fill out an index card each night with whatever you don't want to forget. Again, I don't do this.. I try, I swear, but I'm usually so caught up in the moment I forget until the last night... WHICH I do sometimes use to reflect on the trip and jot down a few things. This has saved me many, many weeks later when trying to remember ALL that we did!

A note on photo taking... don't forget to take photos of signs. Sounds simple, but there's nothing more frustrating then journaling about your favorite restaurant or a really great band you listened to, and NOT remember the name. Also- if you like to document everything, make sure you take a photo of the CLEAN hotel room, before you set anything down! And don't forget to take a few pictures of street signs. Duval St. in Key West, Broadway in NYC and Bourbon St in NOLA are all good examples. You don't always need to be in these pics, but they are fun to cut out later and add to your album. 

Ahh, are you exhausted yet? Trust me when I say all the stuff I just wrote about becomes second nature and it's really not that complicated.

Once you get all your photos printed, the fun begins :) I only had bits and pieces from our July vacation pictured below, but I made it work and most importantly, I made it fit with the rest of the week.  I don't think I need to explain much here, I'll let the photos do all the talking!

So this is just a regular ring bound scrapbook page protector and inside is a sheet of cardstock from the seafoam collection. I did a small amount of journaling and I keep "embellishing" extremely simple.. washi tale and a statement or two.
This is the "other side". I made a small pocket out of more Seafoam Edition card stock and filled it with memorabilia. Note the above left is a postcard from the hotel.
So here is an example of what to do with those sheets of notepad paper! I took a blank journaling card, decorated it with washi tape and journaled a small amount about the whole trip. I could have just written on the paper itself but it was kind of thin so I adhered the card to it. I also added a brochure, map etc.
Vacation fell at the end of my normal week, so you can see I'm still missing photos for that, but you can see the little map with a heart on it.. easy as pie and it was free :)
Again, vacation mixed with "when we got home" pictures for the week. I usually pick one photo to represent each day on the normal layout and then put the rest of my photos in an "insert" which is on the right.

So this insert is photos from just one day. If I had more I probably would have cropped them to 4x4 and used a different page protector, but this worked for me. Any vertical photos do get cropped to 4x4 as you can see above. 
More photos from another day. 
My favorite embelishment is washi tape and a note written on a blank journaling card. Sometimes I don't need the whole 3x4 space and a simple note will do the trick!
My newest, favoritest way of dealing with vertical pictures is to crop them to 4x4 and add a journaling card to the right or left. So simple, but so effective and a good use of those cards!

So I really hope this gives you an idea of what I do. I realize this seems long, but I promise, if you just bring an envelope to toss things into, you'll be light years ahead when it's time to put things in an album! What has worked for you? When your photos finally get printed, do you feel overwhelmed? Comment below!

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Got Birthday Cards?

So I finally (after about 6 months) am catching up on my Project Life album. I totally hate using the word "catching up" because it implies that Project Life is hard. It isn't, being pregnant has taken up a lot of my energy and honestly, I was a bit lazy about it!

The BEAUTIFUL thing about project life is that you can work on it in segments. I spent about 20 minutes uploading photos to (they had their "100 free prints" deal that I can't say no to!). Once they arrived, I got straight to work- which is made easy because Shutterfly actually prints the date the photo was taken (if it's part of the photo properties) on the back of the picture. Super easy! All I did at first was place the photos in their "week", this took about 10 minutes. Then, I sat down and did one layout at a time- I take my time with this part, usually pulling up my calendar to make sure I'm not missing anything when I journal. Each layout takes about 20 minutes. So here's your breakdown:

               20 minutes- upload photos
               10 minutes- place photos in their "week"
               20 minutes- finish layout (corners rounded, title card and journal                                      cards filled out)

SOOOO much better than my previous average of 2 hours per layout, and that would not have included pulling ALL my crap out, taking over my desk, and getting photos printed!

I find it easiest to work backwards.. as in start from last week and just go backwards from there. I still love and use Marcy Penner's planning pages.

Now that I'm back into the swing of things, I have lots of photos printed and in their weeks, but no journaling. I also have things stashed like vacation memoribilia and birthday cards that kept falling out which annoys me like no tomorrow- so I just put them in a cheapie 8x10 page protector until I had a chance to do something with them!

This is what my album looks like post vacation! Everything in one page protector until I get photos printed!
I am actually currently working on those vacation photos- and will dedicate an entire blog post to how I make scrapbooking your vacation easy!

I digress! 

So I also had some birthday cards that kept sliding around the album... which is a big pet peeve of mine. I originally was going to put them in a page protector and get back to them, but then they would be super bulky and annoy me that way (I'm a little type A if you hadn't guessed). So I decided to take the 10 minutes and put them together the way I have done for the past 3 years. Once upon a time I made some youtube videos that explain this concept much better, but I still have terribly slow internet and will have to resort to photos for now :)

SO- I am not a good birthday card/christmas card/valentines day card thrower awayer (no those aren't words but they convey my lack of ability to throw away something so sentimental!). I just can't do it! I love looking back on them, reading the inscriptions or just seeing the handwriting of a signature of those I love. I like the big envelopes Becky has come out with, but you get so much BULK when you just pile those cards in there! So, my solution was to put them onto a single sheet of cardstock in a way you can still read them! I use 8x10 size for just a few cards and 12x12 when I have a bunch.

Here's what I do:

1. Separate the cards into vertical and horizontal cards. In this case I only had one horizontal card. Then I figure out which cards mean the most, and which ones I want to read the front of (the butterfly card was from my husband, so it HAS to go up front!). I separate the vertical cards into two piles, one for the front and the other for the back of the page. 

The verticals are in 2 piles, and the lone horizontal card sits there with a smile :)

2. The next step is hard to describe without video, but I'll try. I try to organize them by size, and choose the largest card for the back. I place it in the top left corner of the page, then glue it down. At this point you just have one adhered card. Next, I place the second card on top of it, and only glue on the first card so that I can still open both cards. I continue this process until all cards are glued to eachother but NOT the cardstock. If you can, put the horizontal card on the cardstock but make sure you don't prevent the cards from opening. Man I hope this isn't as confusing as I think it sounds.

Only adhere the cards to themselves, NOT the cardstock! Then sneak in the horizontal card where it fits.
Horizontal card still opens but is adhered to the cardstock!

Repeat the process on the other side of the cardstock. You could use a second piece of cardstock but we're trying to reduce bulk and it works fine if you just use the back. 

Your result should be a much less bulky collection of cards that you can still open and read the inscriptions. I will occasionally try to embellish, but I prefer to keep it simple- some washi tape and a small title usually work for my taste. Get as creative as you want though :)

The finished product
I prefer just one piece of cardstock to reduce bulk. 

The other side is finished. Nice, neat and simple!

So what to do when it's done? Put it into a page protector and call it a day!

No more cards falling out of albums! Yay! Now to finish that week's layout!
So if you are still confused, I'll reference my previously made video, which should clarify it a little better!

Let me know how this works for you, I love this method and use it pretty regularly. It keeps my albums organized and really doesn't take all that much time. 

Happy Crafting :)