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!

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