If I’m being honest, I tried too much to keep up with the Joneses at the beginning of last year in terms of memory-keeping and social sharing. I was excited about being on the creative team, and having a blog and the prospect of having followers and people care about my hobby. I quickly realized how the more it became something I had to do…the less I wanted to do it. I was trying to do too much that wasn’t comfortable for the stage of life that I’m at right now. And the result? I got burned out.
I decided early on in February that trying to make a passive income through blogging was not realistic. Fortunately I figured that out early on in the year because my life got crazy busy soon afterward and I stopped scrapbooking as much for a few months. Even though it was a hard phase, I’m glad it happened because it taught me an important lesson- I need to do my hobby for ME. Not to make money, or have just as many followers as ___, or whatever. If I help people along the way, then great. But my main goal is to have joy in my hobby, and share that joy with others. And not to get caught up in the rat race of social media marketing.
That being said, 2016 was a SUPER productive year for memory-keeping for me. Once I let go of all the unnecessary pressure I was putting on myself, I was so much happier to actually scrapbook. After my few months of doing nothing documenting-wise, I dove in and started a million projects, and came close to finishing a few!
Things I Learned About Myself & Scrapbooking in 2016:
-8.5×11 didn’t work out. I take too many pictures to fit on those templates, and once I measured, I realized 8.5×11 albums aren’t much smaller than 12×12. Plus the dimensions of the photo slots on my templates were a little weird. I reverted back to 12×12 and am glad I did, because I started doing 12×12 on the app and love it. 8×8 is still, and always will be, too small. #foreverandeveramen
-I need multiple projects going on at once because I tend to get really bored of the same project quickly. Projects I worked on this year: my husband’s mission album (99% finished), my husband’s childhood album (work in progress), our family yearbook, 2 baby books, a recipe book, a vacation album, and a gratitude album- all ongoing.
-I need to scrapbook for ME, as explained above. Having joy in my hobby is so important. Getting “serious” and competitive takes away from that joy. But I DO love sharing my projects. It gives me validation to know other people appreciate my hard work and are inspired by what I do.
-I was really resistant to using the Project Life app at first because I love the creative aspect of Photoshop, but I dabbled in the app this year after having a baby and definitely grew to love it. I embraced a simpler sort of creativity in the app that has made me a lot more productive in getting layouts done faster.Like Becky says, simple=done.
-It’s important to me that these albums get looked at. I didn’t want all of my hard work hiding on a closet shelf. I wanted it pretty and visible, just begging to be flipped through. With that in mind, I picked a shelf for our entry that would specifically be big enough for my huge 12×12 albums, and I love the result. The rest of the shelf could use some work styling and organizing (after bed rest and a baby, I’m still not completely unpacked and settled into our new house) but the albums look gorgeous. Out of 13 albums, 9 of them are full-ish. Not all of them have Project Life pages…a lot of pages are traditional ones I scrapbooked back in high school, some are printed blog and journal pages.
-This year since I got such a good deal on albums being on the creative team, I wanted to stock up on as many albums as I could at a good price. I didn’t want to do photobooks because they are more easily damaged, and I don’t want to worry about my young kids looking at them. I also love the flexibility of being able to insert pages as I go with the 3 rings, since I am bad about completing projects start to finish (more on that later). Before I bought the albums, I needed to make some big picture decisions about what memory-keeping would look like for my family. In the end, I decided that each member of our family would have their own color album, with an extra white one for our wedding album, and brown for our family yearbooks (I fit multiple years in one album), and occasional small 6×8 albums for vacations or other projects. I decided on 3 albums for each child. Since the first album is dedicated to their baby and toddler years, the other 2 albums will be split between the remaining 15-16 years of their life. I figure that’s roughly 7-8 years in the other two albums. 60 2-page spreads fit in an album, so that’s about 8 spreads per year of their life. That’s definitely doable for me. I am so glad I began with the end in mind because now I have a solid game plan! That plan might change, and that’s ok. But for now it feels good.
-Even though it is helpful for me to begin with the end in mind, sometimes I spend too long trying to reach a decision about the long-term plan, and then things never come to fruition. For one project in particular, my husband’s childhood album, some of the details that I hadn’t worked out were preventing me from ever starting it. Once I put those less important decisions on the back burner, I was able to actually start this project and get a lot of work done on it. I learned that having a plan is good, but if an imperfect plan is preventing you from ever starting, decide on a “good enough” plan and figure the rest out as you go along!
-Another thing I learned from my husband’s album, and other projects I was working on, is that I LOVE the flexibility of the 3-ring albums. Photobooks are pretty and save a lot of space, but since I have crafter’s ADD and work on so many projects at once, it is hard for me to complete any one project 100% start to finish, and I knew it would be a million years before I actually got around to printing completed photobooks. The albums give me the flexibility to print pages as I go, which makes a lot more sense with my haphazard approach. My husband’s childhood album is the perfect example of this, because I have scrapbooked everything in that album totally out of order.
-I embraced themed pages and let go of the need for everything to be chronological or exactly dated. My husband’s album was so much simpler to complete once I decided that I didn’t need every detail from their Europe trip, or that all of the random pictures that I had of his childhood didn’t need to be in 100% chronological order. With his album, I found simplicity in doing themed pages of school, hobbies, sports, pets, vacations, family, big events, mixed in with lots of stories about these topics.
-For our family album, I also found it easier to “catch up” on months I missed by combining months or seasons onto one spread. Some months I even skipped altogether if I didn’t feel inspired by what happened that month. Again, simple=done.
Plans for Memory-Keeping in 2017:
-Keep the family album simple using the app.
-Stay current on my kids’ album layouts
-Finish our Orlando trip album
-Get current with printing- recipe pages, kid pages, and previous family yearbook pages. For a lot of these pages I need to compile videos & make QRCs to add on before printing them.
-Slowly add to hubby’s childhood album and recipe book
So excited for a new year and new projects! Bring on 2017!