Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Transformation Tuesday: Transforming the way I capture memories

Transformation Tuesday: Transforming How I Capture Memories

When I began modern scrapbooking in the year 2000, I created traditional, 12x12 double page spreads with photos, mats and embellishments. I got more elaborate as time went on stamping and embossing, using eyelets, yarn and brads. My pages were very theme oriented and told stories about our life and the world we live in (9/11, the deaths of Pope John Paul and Ronald Reagan, etc.)

This is a title page to my 2004 album (picture taken by daughter on iPhone).
I trimmed 4x4 pieces of card stock and placed in quilt pattern.
Each outer square has highlights of a month of that year.
The months and numbers were stamped.
For years, I did one family album per year (though it was often several albums by the time I was done). In addition, I created a baby and toddler album for my oldest and occasionally would do summary albums for her up to age nine or ten (She is now twelve).

Then my second child arrived. I had a dilemma. Do I create a family album and a separate album for each child each year? Do I make two or three of every spread (One for family album and one for each of them)? There were so many stories to tell. What to do? 

I created a baby album for my little girl's first year and a toddler album for up to age 2-1/2. (She is now 5-1/2 and I need to "catch up.") At the same time, I continued creating an annual family album and working on a summary album for my oldest.

And then, my third child came along (and is now 3-1/2). Ok. So now what do I do? How can I possibly keep this up?

Somewhere along the way, I found Project 365, a way to capture daily life by taking a photo a day for a year. I was immediately taken with the concept and got my camera out and started shooting. With photos of the mundane to the marvelous, I turned my family album into this method for several years. 

Here each picture was about a different day, however, I don't feel the story of July 4th, Joey's therapy and my sons birthday were really highlighted. Each of these would have been a separate 12x12, double page spread (or three) in my previous albums.
Then came Project Life, another method of capturing daily life (by day, by week, by month or by topic) using these great products where you just slip in photos and journal cards, embellish if you want and your done! In 2013, I moved to a more month-by-month and themed approach using many of the Project life products and insert pages but not obsessing of capturing a photo a day. I still told the stories of our everyday life but in a more cohesive way.

Here, I tried to focus on grouping pictures by event
or theme to tell the story. This is Thanksgiving.
Looking back on my early albums, I find I miss my more elaborate pages that told a more complete story of a subject, event, time. However, those pages can take an hour a piece to create! 

Yet, I find the 365-approach, while showing everyday life, leaves out the deeper stories that can be told through a number of photos of a subject/person/place/event. And the quick and easy Project Life-style leaves me missing out on some creativity.

This year, I want to catch up on four albums for my kids, plus begin the family album for 2014. I'm just overwhelmed and don't even want to do it at all.

I must find a better way.

So my plan moving forward is to do more of a hybrid approach and focus on storytelling. I will use a mix of traditional and insert pages/project life pages. 

I have started, but not finished, my son's baby album and I'm doing this mostly with a Project Life Baby Boy Album kit with some 12x12 spreads included within.

I also need to catch up on the time from his first birthday to today.

I'd also like to start a book for the other two, leaving where I've left off in other albums.

To be realistic, I cannot create spreads for every event that happened the past three years in the lives of each of these children. (I have to keep reminding myself of that fact). I need to be specific about the stories I want to share about each of them (such as my son's therapy successes, My little girl's imagination and my tween's interests) and then the best way to tell them without getting overwhelmed.

I have on hand Project Life kits, traditional page kits, traditional pages already made and awaiting photos, and enough product to design to my hearts content. With that in mind, I think these three albums will be hybrid style in traditional, three-ring 12x12 albums.

Meanwhile, I'm considering a digital family yearbook for 2014. And as I go along, I'll tag photos and take note of the stories that should go into each child's book that summarize this year. Maybe I'll create these traditionally or take the plunge to digital moving forward- who knows? I know there is a season for everything and I'm in the season of KISS (keep it simple silly).

In upcoming posts I'll share my research on the best digital software, best photo book designers/printers, best digital sources for designs, and what I'm capturing for our memory albums (paper or digital). I'd love to hear how you handle creating albums for your family! Please share in the comments below.