Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snapshots Album 2011

If you have been around The ScrapRoom for any length of time, then you probably have heard about my yearly "Snapshots" Album project. Back in 2007, I decided that I wasn't really telling the story of who we are and what fills our lives in a way that made sense. My scrapbooking was "discombobulated" and, and I wasn't enjoying the process of it anymore. I felt like I was always way behind and that I couldn't possibly catch up. When I would try to work with older photos, I found myself frustrated that I couldn't remember the details of the stories behind the photos, and when I would try to work with newer photos, I found myself frustrated because our stories now had huge gaps in them.

In an effort to share more details from our daily lives, and to continue to be able to enjoy traditional scrapbooking where pages are actually created, my "SNAPSHOTS" album project was born, and it suits me perfectly. Here's the skinny...

1.) THE JOURNALING: I have created an editable journaling template in MS Word. Each template contains about 1" worth of journaling space for each day - Sunday through Saturday. Every day, I type in an inch worth of details from our lives - or sometimes I'll journal for the whole week in one sitting. Some of my journal entries are about something someone did or said, and sometimes the entries are about things that I'm feeling or thinking. Every once in a while, one of the boys will contribute something in their own words (but that doesn't happen very often, unless I assign it. :)) At the end of the week, I will print out the journaling page onto cardstock and slip it into the left side of a two-page layout in my album. There, the journaling page waits for the companion scrapbook layout that will sit next to it in the album.

2.) THE PHOTOS: I create one scrapbook layout to correspond with each week's journaling page. I try to choose a photo or two that will correspond with something from that week's journaling or that was taken during that week, but if I don't have photos that match in theme or general time frame, then I'll just create a layout that highlights a person or a relationship in our family. About once each quarter, I'll select photos and slip them into the page protector next to the journaling, so whenever I'm ready to scrapbook, my photos are ready to go.

3.) THE ALBUM: In the past, I've always created my album in 8x8 size. I do love this smaller size, but I my journaling font had to be really small, and I found myself unable to get more than a photo or maybe two on a layout. This year, I want to journal with a larger font and I want the option of including more photos on each layout, so I'm switching to 12x12. My journaling template is 8.5x11 size, which is the perfect size for my printer. I'll print these out and then adhere the 8.5x11 journaling page to a larger 12x12 background to create the left side of my two-page layout.

The thing I love about this album is that I am able to keep up with the journaling throughout the year, so the details of our lives are preserved, regardless of how much time it takes for me to get the photos printed out and the scrapbook pages actually created. The hardest part of scrapbooking for me is actually taking the time to select the photos and get them printed out, so by selecting and printing photos for several pages at one time - AND KNOWING EXACTLY WHERE THOSE PHOTOS WILL GO IN MY ALBUM - this takes the pressure off me. Whenever I have a few minutes to scrapbook, I can go to my album, pull out the photos for a layout, grab my sketchbook and a layout kit - and I'm ready to go.

And the very best part... even if I go for several weeks or months without actually creating the scrapbook pages, the details from our lives are not lost. With this system, I could go back in 5 years to scrapbook my waiting photos and still feel good about the process and the finished album.

In the end, my Snapshots Album is simply a random collection of things from our lives throughout the year. The journaling is rarely profound, and sometimes I fear it might be uninteresting and maybe even (dare I say) boring - but it is the day in and day out of our lives, and I love the finished product. The journaling gives meaning to the photos, and the photos on the scrapbook pages make it interesting to look at - it is a glimpse into the life of our family throughout the year - Snapshots of our life.

Last year, I decided to give Becky Higgins' Project Life a try because I wanted to force myself to take more photos. With her album project, you take a photo each day and slide the photos into divided protectors next to small journaling cards. This was a hard project for me because the photo comes first and the journaling follows. My biggest struggle is getting the photos off of my camera and printed out, so all of my photos from 2010 are still on my computer waiting to be printed out (although I do have them sorted into folders and named.) I haven't done any of the journaling. I will have to rely on the photos to dictate my journaling, and I'd better get on it before I forget why I took the photo.

With my Snapshots Album Project, I start with the journaling - the story - which is my preferred place to start. So, if you're motivated by the journaling and you want to do some super-easy life storytelling, then you might want to give this project a try. If you want my journaling template, shoot me off an e-mail and I'll be happy to send it to you. E-mail me at admin@scrap-room.com with the phrase "Journaling Template" in the subject line and I'll reply with the MS Word template attached.

I just finished my January 1-8 journaling template today, so I'll create the corresponding layout this week and post it so you'll have an example. In the meantime, here are a few of my 8x8 layouts from previous Snapshots Albums. I just love this project, as it suits me. If it suits your scrapbooking style as well, let me know and we can enjoy the process together. :)

To recap the process, here are the simple steps to stay on top of this project. You'll never feel like you're "behind" again!
1.) Type in one inch of journaling for each day of the week. (Feel free to adapt the journaling sheet to allow for extensive journaling about one event instead of 1" for each day if your week calls for it.) Print out journaling at the end of the week and slide it into a page protector.
2.) Select a photo or two from each week. Print out selected photos and slip them in the page protector with your journaling.
3.) Creatively scrapbook the photos whenever inspiration strikes.


  1. Wow Tammy, that is a really organized system! I have been thinking about having a running diary/journal in Microsoft Word so I can have a better system for remembering stories. That way, when I get to the scrapping eventually the details will be there. This seems a little like your system and with your vote of confidence I think I will definitely start doing that. Congratulations on finding a system that works for you! Those are some great layouts too!

  2. Wow, you just blew my mind! So here's what I'm wondering now... what do you do when you have too many good events in one week? Do you ever break your rules and go multiple pages? (Oh, I spose that's part of the move to 12x12?) And... is your Snapshots book your only album? (I ask as I eyeball the avalanche of scrapbooks around me. Could I really go from 150-200 pages per year down to 104? Hmmmm...)

  3. Hey Savi! To answer your question, yes I do occasionally create more than one page in a week if I have more than one thing that I want to highlight. In fact, that is another really great thing about this style of scrapbooking. You've got a place for extra pages if you want to add them into your album - and again, the journaling is already done, so if you want to add more pretty pages, it works. I've also added more journaling pages, like when we go on vacation and. I just add in as many pages as I need. However, I always try to break up a lot of journaling with some scrapbook layouts with photos. If there are too many words and no photos, people lose interest (like you probably have in this response). :)

  4. And yes, I do have other scrapbooks. Almost 20 years ago, I started chronologically and then found I couldn't keep up, so I switched over the Library of Memories format a few years back, so there is always a place for any layout I create (who we are, all about us, things we do, places we go). When I create 12x12 layouts, I have an album to put them in... but to be honest, my heart still yearns to scrapbook chronologically, as that is how life is lived - chronologically. My Snapshots album allows me to scrapbook chronologically (since the journaling is all chronological), but the layouts can be created as the mood strikes so I have a lot more freedom like when I scrapbook categorically (as in the Library of Memories system).

  5. that sounds like a wonderful idea and great system! i usualy just rely on teh pic to tell teh story (remind me), then i journal. love it!

  6. Tammy, I peeked over here for ideas for all the past kits and what a wonderful surprised! Love, love your sb style! So much detail but yet does not overpower the picture. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  7. Thanks so much for your responses! I'm a storyteller, so your approach of story first, pictures later really grabs me. There are aspects of this that are going to make their way into my routine. THANKS!

  8. What an amazing system you have developed! I've never really thought about letting the journaling be my guide. I may have to give this a try. :)