Amy Tan shows us her new Sketchbook line, including her Daybooks. She also takes us through one of her own scrapbook albums!
We got our first Christmas card on Dec. 1 and I decided to put this year’s cards in my mini-album instead of my Holiday Cards Altered Book.
The left page was a fun one to make. Maybe I’ll share the technique in a Paperclipping tutorial at some point. Aiden made the tag on the right and I need to add a couple journal strips for my words. I’m just waiting until I have other journaling to type up so I can print it all one piece of cardstock.
I chose two of the cards to add as individual pages to my album. I punched page holes in the envelopes, scalloped the opening of one, and then stuck the photo cards back inside. Because of the page holes, the cards poke out to reveal themselves just a bit and create curiosity.
All the rest of the cards are inside this third envelope, which I taped to a transparency that is the foundation for the second half of Dec. 1st.
One envelope had this cute wreath on it, so I punched it out with my Fiskars Scalloped Punch and taped it to this envelope.
(Actually, I taped the wreath to scrap cardstock before I punched it to make it sturdy).
And here on the left is the 2nd half of Dec. 1st. I turned my photos into pockets for my journaling cards. I added these cute Christmas brads by Teresa Collins to the ends of my journal cards and tied some string for easy pullout.
My digital journaling overlays were designed by Ali Edwards. The bottom one came with her Yesterday & Today class last year, but you can purchase the top one — Title and Journal Photo Overlay No. 1 — at Designer Digitals.
Affiliate links where possible.
When Ali shared her page for December Daily on the 2nd, I knew her banner was just what my photo of Christmas lights needed. And since I’ve had a sudden desire to use stars over the last few months (in all of my 15 years of scrapbooking I’ve never cared for stars), I went along and added stars to my page, like she did.
Other than those two elements, my overall page is different. Remember this fabric-covered piece from my last page?
It’s the other side of the bingo card for Nov. 27th.
The foundation of my page is a glittered die cut. To stabilize it, I attached it to an old Hambly transparency with a loose silver flourish design.
Here’s what the back of that looks like:
I think the white back of that XOXO paper is just find so I’m leaving it as is, as you can see in this little sneak peek of the next day.
So how are you doing keeping up with assembling these pages every day? I’m quite a bit behind (though I DO have more pages done that I have shared so far).
I started my album on my birthday this year. This is a picture of the vegan cheesecake Izzy bought me from one of our favorite restaurants, where we had gone for my birthday breakfast.
The red and white polka dotted paper is the wrapping paper he wrapped my gifts in. I really like doing that. For me, wrapping paper takes me back to a memory in a way that patterned paper does not.
This is the back side of the cake page. I used an Ali Edwards Day and Month Overlay for my journaling and added the “26.”
Those presents are from the Martha Stewart Deep Edge Gifts Punch — which I highly recommend! It cut wonderfully through my thick cardstock-quality patterned paper (Imaginisce from a couple years ago).
I added red rhinestones to some of the presents.
I love this little page. It was a great way to balance my two different reds and make everything flow. It’s a piece of textured dotted fabric on top of the back of a vintage bingo card, which introduces the next day.
Observation On My Process
I explained my process for this year last week. Having worked this way for a number of days now, here’s what I’ve observed: my process this year is just right for me! I’m so much happier doing it this way. Believe it or not, I’m finding it easier to assemble my pages by not having them prepped.
I also like working behind a bit and being able to do a couple days at a time. It’s easier for me to get a nice flow with all these different page types when I’m thinking about what’s coming up next.
(affiliate links when applicable).
I had so much fun making this cover. I was inspired by two things: the peppermint candy dominance in my Christmas tree decorations, and a homemade sign similar to this one at a locally grown exotic fruit tree lot down the street from me.
I have all kinds of ideas for these quirky old signs and I plan to share how to make them in one of the January member video tutorials (find out about that here).
I’ve been assembling an album about the fun stuff we do when we visit Grandma and Grandpa in Missouri, so I’ll be making a similar sign to this one for that album in my tutorial.
Here’s the inside of my cover:
The glittered snow flake on the right was an ornament for our tree that broke last year. I love it against the gold and clear transparency. I added Glossy Accents to the snow flake and it seems to be nice and sturdy.
I’ll be back as I have a few minutes to share each of my pages individually. Thanks for looking!
First I tell myself I’m not participating with Ali’s popular December Daily project — not because I don’t think it isn’t awesome (it is), but for these other reasons:
- Do I really want THAT many mini-books sitting around just for Christmas?
- Do I really want to add to the chaos and busyness of this time of year?
- Do I want ANOTHER unfinished Christmas mini (not one of my three are done).
- And these last two are statements, not questions: I don’t like non-Christmas stuff in my Christmas mini-book. “Daily” inevitably means a non-Christmasy page here and there. It works for Ali, but I don’t like it in mine.
- Also, I sometimes like my prepped pages better than my completed pages. That makes me slightly sad.
Every year since my first attempt I’ve decided to skip out. And then all those Christmas themed supplies start popping up, and people start sharing their prepped pages, and I start to feel the itch.
I do LOVE my 2009 mini-book, which is the most complete, most interactive, and most glittery. LOVE IT! (except for those non-Christmas pages!).
Why Simplifying Didn’t Work
Last year I was adamant. I decided I wasn’t doing it.
Then Ali simplified her book for that year and released digital templates. So that seemed less stressful and I decided to go for it.
But guess what? I don’t really love that book. It’s missing the things I love most about my first two albums — the surprising unusual pages types. And the glitter.
So this year I was adamant. I’m not going to participate this year.
I started going through my Christmas supplies for some layouts and I realized something. Christmas supplies and the idea of glitter make me happy. Like, really happy.
Great-looking numbers throughout a book make me happy too.
Who cares if I have too many mini-books. It’s just FUN!
So I re-evaluated why I do and don’t want to join the ranks and came up with a plan that feels right for me.
36 Merry Days
Yeah — I added eleven days to my book. Sounds crazy, right? But my book won’t necessarily be daily. Here’s what factored into my decision:
- I just want to capture stuff that either is Christmasy, or LOOKS Christmasy in the photos.
- I try to put our trees up the day after Thanksgiving, so it’s always bothered me that that day isn’t included within the December Daily album.
- We have three birthdays around the Christmas season. Mine is Nov. 26, Blake’s is Dec. 7, and Trinity’s is Dec. 31. They all feel like a part of the season to me, so I want to include them.
I’m not focusing on December or daily. For me it’s going to be about the 36 merry days of Christmas time.
So that’s it. I’ll be capturing my Christmas along with so many of you! Here’s my plan:
- I’ll be numbering the days on each page, just like Ali, but I expect to skip some numbers and days.
- I’m preparing piles of numbers, embellishments, pages of various sizes, but I’ll pick and choose and assemble each page after I’ve got my photos, ephemera, and journaling in hand. I think I’ll like my finished designs better.
- I’m excited to return to the mixed-up pages with lots of fun techniques that I loved so much before.
I’ll share some of those techniques in the first of next month’s video tutorials! If you want to get in on some fun interactive and dimensional ideas for mini-books, be sure you have your Paperclipping Membership!
So what about you? Are you doing a December Daily album this year? What will your approach be? Have you gone through a similar process of customizing Ali Edwards’s cool project to make it suit you?
Here’s a common scenario: you’ve come back from vacation and you’re thrilled at the pictures you got from your exciting adventure. You can’t wait to scrapbook them, but when you pull out those photos, confusion and overwhelm take over. What should be a pleasurable visit with your memories is becoming a dreaded “obligation.”
Do you feel this way? A while back I shared my five steps for making a meaningful vacation album. If you have a stack of photos and memories from a vacation that you need to scrap, I hope you’ll pull them out and follow along with each step.
To start your 5 step journey toward a vacation album, please click here:
This week and next we are turning photos and memories of one of our trips into a visual memoir using my step-by-step process to keep it meaningful and prevent overwhelm. If you missed the first three steps, you’ll want to start there first:
Step 4: Eliminate
This is where we get to the bare bones of the story. We are going to eliminate unnecessary photos.
*Which photos do you really need to tell each story?
*Which photos can tell a totally different story that is unrelated to the trip and can better express itself in a different album?
Moving A Story To A Different Location
I have a few piles of stories and photos from Disneyland that will make more sense as part of a different story, or album. For example, Israel took this series of photos of Blake and Trinity while waiting in line:
After Trinity’s had her hundredth picture taken, Blake can’t stand it anymore–he’s got to get in on it…If nothing else, he should give her some rabbit ears.
Trinity tries to push him away while posing at the same time (#3), but quickly decides that rabbit ears for him would make a good shot, too.
I love watching them play like this.
This story is more about Blake and Trinity and how they play and less about our time at Disneyland. I decided to pull this group of photos out of our Disney stack and make it a page for our This Is Us album–an album with stories about who we are–and how we are–as a family.
Eliminating Pictures Altogether
It’s easy to eliminate the blurry or bad shots. It’s harder when there are so many good ones. It’s a lot like the state of our children’s bedrooms and the amount of stuff they have. When there is too much stuff, they can’t keep it under control, and they can’t enjoy their things as much as they could if they weren’t surrounded by so much chaos.
One great photo can often have more impact than three similar ones unless the others contribute to the story in a meaningful way. Think of this as getting rid of the clutter so you can enjoy the best of it.
And remember, you’re not actually eliminating those extra photos from your life. You’re just eliminating them from this album. You can still view them on your computer or somewhere else.
If you’ve kept up with us so far, you should have stacks of photos and note cards with a brief description of each story. Your assignment today is to go through each stack and decide which photos you can eliminate by asking yourself the two bolded questions above.
This will make you better able to begin assembling the album, which we will start doing in Step 5!
This week and next we are turning photos and memories of one of our trips into a visual memoir using my step-by-step process to keep it meaningful and prevent overwhelm. If you missed Step 1, be sure to go back and read that first.
Step 2: Get Your Photos Out Onto The Table
This step is not about organizing. It is about connecting and catching the vision.
Take this time to go through each photo so you can put yourself back into the vacation frame of mind. What did it feel like to be there?
Your photos are probably already in the chronological order of the trip and grouped by smaller events and activities. As you do go through the photos to lay them on your table, proceed with these steps:
1. Keep groups of photos together in loose piles so you can still see at least a part of each photo.
2. Lay piles close together so that you have a choice of seeing them in their various groupings or seeing them as a part of a whole.
Doing it this way allows you to keep the artistic, story-connecting part of your brain working, as opposed to the linear, organizing part. By seeing all the pictures together, you will be able to identify stories that go beyond the events.
For example, seeing pictures of my sister with her family and different points in the trip led me to the idea of telling the story of being at Disneyland with my big sister and little brother again. Had I kept my photos in a linear and organized manner, I might never have thought of that angle, which is part of the most important aspect of this trip for me.
Step 3: Organize the stories with their supporting photos and separate them into piles.
1. While looking at your photos scattered all over the table, identify the stories that pop into your head and begin writing the dominant idea of each story onto a note card. My note cards say things like, “Family & Faces–who we were with,” “Enjoying the scenery–just as enjoyable as the rides,” “Mom & Me,” “Splash Mountain-The big people and tiny little Sidney.”
Make sure you jot down a note for all the stories that come to mind, even if you have no photos to support them.
2. Match stories to photos. Sometimes this means pulling photos out of their event grouping to use it for a different subject.
At this point, we are only partially turning ourselves over to the organizational parts of our brains. There is no need to put these into a fixed order yet. You can still leave the piles in a haphazard manner on the table, allowing your mind to stay within it’s artistic play area of the brain. Or if you need to put them away, you can stack them in any order with your story note cards in between each stack of supporting photos.
What Is The Story?
You’ve now written down the individual stories. You’ve connected with your memories and made connections between photos you might have separated before. Is there an overall story or theme that is starting to creep out?
If there are any words or ideas running through your mind, begin writing them down. You can brainstorm or make a word map. However you do it, have a place to collect these thoughts so you don’t lose them. If you’re able to solidify a theme at this point, that is great! If you’re still trying to work it out, that’s okay, too. The next step might help you out…
Continue to the next steps as we proceed to turn our memories into memoirs…
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Your assignment for today is to complete the two bolded instructions under each of the steps above.
Here’s a scenario: You’ve come back from vacation and you’re thrilled at the pictures you got from your exciting adventure. You can’t wait to scrapbook them, but when you pull out those photos, confusion and overwhelm take over. What should be a pleasurable visit with your memories is becoming a dreaded “obligation.”
Do you feel this way? I’m working on an album right now for our Disney vacation and I have a method for assembling this type of project that coincides with my philosophy of scrapbookers as story-tellers, and scrapbooks as visual memoirs. It will also simplify the process and keep your mind clear.
Over the next week and a half I’ll share my step-by-step process with you using my Disney vacation as the example. If you have a stack of photos and memories from a vacation that you need to scrap, I hope you’ll pull them out and follow along with each step. You can even give us a report of your progress by leaving a comment.
Step 1: Begin with Two Fundamental Questions In Mind
1. What are the stories I want to remember from my vacation?
The funny things someone said * The thoughts and feelings you had at various times * The way a relationship developed * The things you did, saw, or experienced.
2. What is the overall story — or underlying theme — that encapsulates all of the smaller individual stories?
This is a deeper question that requires some thought. Each vacation has its own meaning. If you take some time to identify this early in the process, you’ll be able to create a complete and cohesive story out of the many pages, pictures, and smaller stories.
You don’t have to answer all of these questions now before moving onto step number two. Having the questions on your mind while you proceed to the next step is just fine. Have a pencil and some note cards next to you on the table so you can jot down each thought, story, or theme idea as they come. Having each story on its own note card will allow you to place them with their coinciding photos.
The Theme Of My Disney Vacation
While I’ve been working on the next steps, I’ve been thinking about the word, “present,” in all of its senses, for my Disney album. Here is what I mean:
1. One of our days at Disneyland was a present from my parents. The other day and the rest of the trip was Izzy’s and my own Christmas present to our kids.
2. It was an awesome experience to be present with my parents and the two siblings closest to me in age, at a place that holds so many childhood memories with them. I had such pleasurable moments, enjoying my sister and brother as if we were kids again.
3. Together we relived some wonderful times from our past, while mixing them with the present. It is such a joy to give to my children the happy experiences that my parents gave to me.
How Will Step One Benefit you?
1. Sometimes having a theme will provide you some visual images, icons, embellishment ideas, or colors. The story of Disney as a part of my childhood that I am gifting to my children gave me the idea to capitalize on a classic Disney icon that identifies Disney from any time period: the Mickey Mouse ears silhouette. I decided to use that icon as the major embellishment throughout my album, rather than buy new Disney products.
I may also use some clock and time images, and possibly classic gift images.
2. Sometimes having a theme will provide you with title ideas. Titles of different pages in my album could be…
A present to us.
A present to you.
Present And In The Moment.
Present Again With You.
Step number one isn’t a step you can easily do when you’re cropping with friends. For most every project, I like to take some quiet time to dig deep and relive moments–to gain from those times all over again. I do it best with a pencil in my hand so I can solidify my thoughts and give them some life. My notes tend to be organic and unstructured, just like my thoughts.
Prepare For The Next Step
Tomorrow we’ll cover the next couple of steps, having to do with sorting the photos. You’ll want to print up your photos if you’re following along and you haven’t done so already.
Don’t worry about whether you’ll want enlargements unless you already know which ones you’ll enlarge and in what size. I printed all my photos to 4×6, knowing that I will later want to enlarge some of them. Since I don’t know which ones I want larger yet, it’s easier to just print them all up front so I have something physical to work with in my hands while I plan the structure and size of my album.
1. Get some note cards, a pencil, and write down the following questions:
*What are the stories I want to remember from my vacation?
*What is the overall story or underlying theme that encapsulates all of the smaller individual stories?
2. Print up all of the photos you might put in your vacation scrapbook. Don’t worry about sizes or whether you have an album or not. That’ll come later.
I’m looking forward to following these steps with you.
* * *
This is part one of a series, Stories From Our Vacations. You can follow the rest of the steps here…