Scrapbooking solutions

One of the things I am most excited about in my next house is my scrapbook room.  I cannot wait to have a space to just SPREAD OUT all of my stuff and leave it up to continually work on things.  It has been a while since I’ve been able to work on my albums and I am having major withdrawals!  I miss it!  There are so many different ways to record your story and/or your childrens’ stories.  Most of you know that I’ve been using Becky Higgin’s Project Life albums.  I love that they are so flexible. 

 If I want to spend a little time and personalize certain pages it’s easy to do that.  
OR if time is limited I can just pop in the pictures, add a little journaling and call it a day!
(You can see more of my Project Life pages here)
But alas, life is busy and scrapbooking takes time that is often hard to find.  While I am still going to attempt to keep up my kids’ albums the way I’ve been doing (fingers crossed I have more time for that once our house is finished and we are settled!) I am always searching for new ways to save and record the endless amount of papers and memorabilia my kids bring home.  I found two fun systems on-line that I thought I’d share with all of you!  Just in case you are often on the look out for memory keeping ideas like I am.  :)
I’ve shared before how I save my kids’ special papers, art work, etc. before I place them in their albums.  
Below is a picture of how you can make this type of system work to take the place of albums…

Simple files in a box.  Files are labeled things like: baby information, health records, age 0-3, grade levels, portraits, sports.  Label away!  The possibilities are endless!  Such a simple solution to taming everything you want to save for your kids that takes NO time at all.

Here is another similar solution where binders are used:

This busy mom creates “memory binders” to hold all of her kids’ memorabilia.  Nothing fancy.  Just page protectors holding each child’s important papers with each child’s name labeled on the side.  Genius!

You can check out the links for more details on each of the systems I’ve shared above.  Fun stuff! Nothing like finding a system that works for you.  And nothing like finding the time to actually implement the system that works for you.  That’s the tricky part.  :)

Kole’s album (off to a good start!)

Sharing a couple of scrapbook layouts today!  Yes.  You heard me.  Its been a while, right?  It is harder than ever for me to fit in time for scrapbooking, but a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned taking the night off from blogging to do some layouts for Kole’s book it felt so good.  I miss it!  And I decided I’m going to have to make it a priority to find some time.  Even if it’s only enough time for a layout or two a month.  I am so behind on my girls’ albums and poor Kole only has a handful of pages for his baby album.  I had no clue where to even start!  So I just decided to start with Kole’s one year old birthday.  I set a goal.  A really simple goal for this year because we are so busy with the new house.  My goal is to catch up and stay caught up with Kole’s album (starting at age one).  Someday when he is in preschool and I have a little more time I can go back to complete his baby book (birth to age 1) and I can work on catching up the girls’ albums.  This should be attainable because I’m keeping things simple and not scrapbooking every single picture I’ve taken of the little dude (or even 1/3 of them).  As you know I’ve taken a lot.  :)  
A while ago I ordered the Turquoise Edition of Project Life.  Since then Becky has come out with a newer binder that I’m tempted to get!  (Smaller binding and a side label this album doesn’t have.)  But whether I stick with the old binder or get the new one, this is the kit I’m using for Kole’s album starting at year one.  
First layout of his one year old birthday party… 
 The blue number one I cut out from one of his birthday cards.

I had an extra 4×6 slot so I used a large journaling card to display his year one stats.  All of my babies had huge heads!  They get it from Kenny.  I’d say it’s because they are all so smart, but I have a small head so I’m not going to say that.  Even though I just did.  I do have big hair though – does that count?

I still need to print out this post to add to his album with his birthday layout.  It’s written by Kole himself so I think it’s an important addition.  :)

The next layout is just some random pics from March/April (around his birthday)…

This boy still LOVES to swing! 
 I spelled out “spring” with just some random stickers I had on hand.  

These pictures of him in his frog towel are some of my favorites so I didn’t want to shrink them down to 4×3 like I do with most of my vertical pictures.  So I ordered some new page protectors (Design B) with the large vertical 4×6 slots.  Perfect!

  Then below I just turned the journaling cards the other way and attached some smaller pics.  
Simple.  Easy.  DONE.  
My favorite kind of scrapbooking these days.
Hope it won’t be another year before I share more!
Enjoy your week everyone!  

Project Life Organization/Update

Last year around this time I came up with a system to organize my girls’ school work because I needed a place to keep things I would eventually place in their Project Life albums.   

I gave Ellie and Addison each a section in this crate and labeled each of their folders by the season/year (that makes the most sense for the way I scrapbook).  The last section held extra school work.

Well.  Life is a bit busy right now and I have had zero time to scrapbook.  The kids’ school stuff/memorabilia has been piling up.  So a couple of weeks ago I dumped everything I’d been stashing in the middle of the living room floor.  And then I organized it.  

This is the new and improved folder system!  Which totally looks just like my last folder system!  But I tweaked it a bit.  I made some new folders for the girls for all of their 2012 stuff and then I changed the last section (which used to hold school stuff) into a section for Kole.  Now Addison is blue, Ellie is yellow, and my little dude is red.  It’s SO hard for me to look at this and see how behind I’m getting on their albums, but at least everything is organized so that when (if!) I find some time to scrapbook it will be a cinch to catch up.

I’ve been asked many times how I decide what I should save and what to trash.  Kids come home with SO much stuff.  Initially I save anything that speaks to me and makes me smile.  Stuff that shows their personality and is my favorite.  I also save things like report cards, awards/certificates, etc.

 Addison’s Spring 2012 folder – a Kindergarten homework packet, what she is grateful for, running club certificate, various handwriting and artwork that show her growth in Kindergarten.

Seasonal artwork, handprint, a note from her teacher.  

Ellie’s Winter 2012 folder – PE certificate, baptism program, birthday party invitation, a princess she drew one afternoon at home, note from mom that was in her lunch box on Valentines Day, note from Addison that says “From Addison.  love you Ellie.”  I found that one on Ellie’s bed one afternoon and may have teared up just a bit before filing it away.

I said these are the things I “initially” save because less than half of this stuff will actually make it into their albums.  This is the first cut.  Then when I’m actually putting together their albums I just pick a few things I think they will cherish most to save.  Usually the certificates get tossed and the special notes and artwork find a way into their books.

I was surprised when I started sorting through my stash that there was so much for Kole!  I have done NOTHING for his scrapbook.  Wait.  That’s not true.  I’ve done these layouts:

 “look at you” (4 months old)

 I adore this photo.  And I miss this stage!  

 “your room”
 and mommy’s too.
 “first summer”
That’s it!  Three little layouts.  That’s all I’ve done for my boy.  I haven’t even put together his hospital pictures.  I covered his birth in the girls’ albums but not his.  So I have some catching up to do!

His first folder holds hospital stuff – ultra sounds, blessing certificate…little items like our hospital bracelets I keep in a small pocket holder that came in a baby kit I ordered from Becky Higgins years ago.

I even saved the page in my planner for delivery day.  I was induced and knew the date I would give birth with all three of my kids.  Not a bad set up for someone who loves to plan.  :)  The rest of Kole’s folders are organized by year and are full of things like birthday cards and doctor visit info.

So even though this doesn’t look much different, it feels A LOT different to me because I’m caught up!  Caught up on filing things I may keep for their albums.

Now to answer this question:

“Hi Erin.  I have a question for a future Q & A… what did you decide to do with your kids photos?  Are you still doing a Project Life album for each of your children or did you decide to do photobooks in the end?  I keep alternating between the two and am so indecisive!”

I’ve decided to stick to what I’ve been doing – individual Project Life albums for each of my three kids.  I really debated just going to one family album – it would be SO much easier to stay on top of!  But at the end of the day, I just really want each of my kids to have their own special albums that document a bit of their childhood.  Created with love from their mom.  It’s my gift to them.  And I just can’t switch to digital photo books because I love including their school work/memorabilia.  BUT.  Since it is getting harder and harder to find time to scrapbook, my plan is also to SIMPLIFY in a big way.  I’m really going to cut back on how many photos I put in each album and my goal is to fit at least two years in each binder.  This will be tricky for the picture taking maniac that I am.  :)  But I don’t want them taking 20 albums away with them when they move out.  Too much of a good thing is never a good thing.

Aside from organizing their school work, I’ve also been attempting to organize my photos and select which ones will make it into their albums.  That’s the most time consuming part for me!  I keep thinking I’ll have time to develop them and get to work scrapbooking, but honestly, every time I find a spare minute during my day I am on the phone dealing with house stuff.  Once this house is built and I have an actual scrapbook room I will be a scrapbooking machine!  I won’t come up for air!  I’ll scrap all day and all night!  

Or I won’t.  
But it’s a nice thought, isn’t it?  
For now, at least things are organized.  That’s a nice thought too.  

Project Life 2012

A lot of buzz is going on in blog land about Project Life – as it always is this time of year.  Those of you who have followed my blog for a while now know that I am a huge fan and have been using Becky’s Project Life kits to create albums for my kids for the past couple of years.  I never followed the “picture a day” concept, although I think it’s brilliant.  For me, I just wanted a simple way to create something special for each of my kids.

Albums that would document our family traditions,  
the funny things my kids do and say, 

close family relationships,

and all of the fun we are having together. 
Albums that would include special artwork,

special vacations and memories,

and special family moments.
I wanted albums that could be low maintenance, just slip in a picture and some journaling, but something that would also allow me to be more creative when I found the time.  The Project Life system has worked beautifully for me and I cherish the albums I’ve created so far.  So does the rest of my family.  
BUT.  At this very moment I find myself a bit unsure.  Unsure about my Project Life scrapbooking plan for 2012.  
Last February I asked Kenny for three new Project Life kits for Valentines Day (two Amber Editions for each of my girls and the Turquoise Edition for Kole).  Aside from looking through them last February, they have sat untouched.  The problem?  I now have THREE children to scrapbook for and even LESS time to scrapbook.  I finished up some school pages for my girls last summer and haven’t had two seconds to even think about scrapbooking since.  Well.  I’m ready to think about it again and here are some of the questions and answers going through my mind:
– Three albums is A LOT to take on right now.  I’ll never be able to keep up.  Should I just do ONE family album?  But I love that my kids have their own albums with their own stories being told.  THEY love that they have their own albums.  It’s my gift to them.  I could do just one digital Project Life album that I could make copies of for each child?  But creating a digital album wouldn’t be an enjoyable process for me.  I don’t want to spend more time on the computer.  I LOVE the creative process of putting together an album with real pictures and real handwriting and real memorabilia that you can see and touch and remove.  Their albums are also where I keep their special school and art work.  How would that work in a family album?  Or a digital album?  
– Ok.  So I clearly need to keep doing one album per child.  But I need to find a way to simplify.  Less pictures for sure.  Maybe a layout for each month?  
– And since I’m a year behind should I start where I left off?  Or just start with current pictures and hope to someday go back and finish up the lost year?  I’ll most likely never get to it.  But if I start where I left off will I ever get on top of things?  
I don’t know the answers to these questions.  What I do know is that I need to come up with a system that is enjoyable, simple, and DOABLE for me or it just isn’t going to happen at the stage of life I’m in right now.  
Why didn’t any of you warn me that keeping up with three kids would be so much work!!??  ;)
Are YOU doing Project Life this year?  I’d love to hear any thoughts, suggestions, or how you are making it work for your family.
p.s.  You can see all of my past Project Life layouts here.