Jamie’s first year journal

Finally, here is a look at Jamie’s first year journal (you might remember me giving you a quick glimpse of it here). I have to say from the outset that I really love this keepsake – it is so precious to me (and Rick), and I hope that when Jamie grows up, it will be precious to him too. We did something similar for Pete as well, and there is no doubt we will create a similar journal for our this little one in utero – affectionately dubbed Newbie by Rick for now. (I did something rather different for Angus’ first year, and though I now much prefer this journal, I’ll share it further down the track.)

I know I mentioned this in the other post, but the journal I used is a custom handmade one from Badger & Chirp. Their journals are beautiful and I love the quality of their products. For Jamie’s journal, I chose orange lambskin for the wraparound cover and plain white fabric for the cover lining. I also went with their tied binding option, which was less expensive but still allowed all the journal to open up flat. The journal size I requested was 6 x 8 inches, and I asked for 370 pages to be included in the journal, so that there would be one page for each day of the year, with a few extra ones for title pages and end pages.

For the title page, I simply chose one of my favourite photos from Jamie’s first year, and stuck it in, centred on the page. It’s a photo of him holding a Christmas ornament on Christmas eve, only a few days after we moved into our new home. I just love the way his chubby little fingers are holding the ornament so carefully, and how his face is actually reflected in the ornament itself.

Setting up this first year journal was simple: I numbered each page Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc. in the top left hand corner for the left hand side pages and on the top right hand corner I wrote the date that corresponded with the day (for right hand side pages, I swapped the positions around). So Day 1 was the day Jamie was born, Day 2 was the day after that, and so on and so forth, which meant that Day 365 would be the day before Jamie’s 1st birthday.

Thereafter, my approach was just as simple: On any given day, if we had the time and energy, either Rick or I would write something to Jamie on the page that corresponded with that day. Some days we would write a whole page. Some days we would write just a few sentences. Some days our handwriting would be nice. Some days it would be messy. The important thing was not to stress about how often we wrote or even how neatly we wrote. The important thing was simply to write when we could, and not to feel bad when we didn’t. This is so crucial when it comes to memory keeping for little ones, because the reality is that when you have a young family to look after, there will be so many days when you simply want to fall into bed and crash. And that’s okay. The key is not to let the blank pages get you down – just keep going! Don’t look back.

In terms of what we wrote about, it would be either something Jamie did that day, or something we did together as a family, or something special/funny that happened, or a reflection about the way he’d been changing and growing. Sometimes we would just tell him how much we loved him, and how important he was to our family.

Then every three to four months, I would go through all the photos of Jamie in Aperture, and select the ones I wanted to go into the journal. As much as possible, I would select at least one photo from every day (since the whole idea is that it’s a 365 day journal after all). The quality of the photo was not important, since I knew I would be making a proper photo book for his first year as well. As a result, lots of funny photos that were captured on the iPhone, which weren’t necessarily great photos, made it into the journal. This didn’t mean that I excluded photos that I took on our Canon EOS – it just meant I had the freedom to choose the photos which I felt were most meaningful to each day.

Using Aperture, I would print the photos as 3 x 6 contact sheets so that I end up with 18 miniature photos on just one A4 photo paper – this is the same as what I did for Peter’s scrapbook. Again, I would number the photos chronologically on the back before cutting them. Then, using the photos’ metadata information in Aperture as a reference, I would stick the photos in on the corresponding date in the journal. I was flexible in terms of layout, but stuck to a simple grid layout as much as possible.

Once the photos were all stuck in, I would go back with a black ballpoint pen and write either a simple heading above the photo(s), or a few sentences under or next to the photo(s). Other times when I felt the photo(s) told the whole story, I would leave it alone with no text. As with all of my memory-keeping projects, I didn’t use any embellishments, and I tried to keep each page as simple as possible.

If the photos for a particular day didn’t all fit onto the page, or if that page was already filled with writing, I would simply find the nearest empty page (as inevitably there would be days when we didn’t write anything and I hadn’t taken any photos), stick the photos there and simply reference them to the actual date they were taken on. This gave the journal extra flexibility which I was very happy with.

Again, the key was not to let my usual perfectionism get in the way – it was way more important to get it done and to be able to include photos that were meaningful and special.

The end result is a first year journal that’s relatively low maintenance. More importantly, it’s a wonderful keepsake (more than 3 inches thick, might I add!) that not only shows how Jamie grew and changed throughout his first year, but that contains heartfelt words written by both his parents for him to read when he’s older.

(Linking up with Kootoyoo.)

54 comments

Diane October 11, 2012 at 1:23 am

Ronnie, this is so beautifully done. I love photo journals and reading how you overcame perfectionism to create something very special. Kudos!

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 10:54 am

Thank you Diane!
Ronnie xo

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allison October 11, 2012 at 2:45 am

There’s nothing better than a good quality journal. I love how simple this journal is. I’m definitely going to keep this in mind when I have my own little munchkin someday :) The last journal page is my favorite!

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 10:57 am

Thanks Allison – and you’re right, I think the quality of the journal makes a huge difference. I think the beauty of the product itself goes a long way to how special the journal can end up feeling…
Ronnie xo

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michele h. October 11, 2012 at 3:54 am

i found your blog via a link from pinterest and love every bit of it. your memory keeping style is classic, beautiful…just plain amazing. what a lovely book for your little to look through when he gets older. i look forward to reading your past and future posts:)

take care
Michele

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 10:58 am

Welcome Michele! :) So stoked to get visitors from Pinterest! It’s really lovely to have you here. And yes, I do like simple when it comes to memory-keeping.
Ronnie xo

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Jane October 11, 2012 at 5:28 am

This is a beautiful project. I hope I will be lucky enough one day to have littles and create one for them. Thanks for sharing!

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 10:58 am

Oh, I do hope so too Jane!
Ronnie xo

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lamina @ do a bit October 11, 2012 at 5:47 am

What a beautiful way to celebrate a first year of life… gorgeous photos of Jamie too :)

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

Yeah, he’s a cutie, hehe. :)
Ronnie xo

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Kirsty October 11, 2012 at 7:39 am

What a lovely lovely book. I can see why you all treasure it so much

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

Thank you Kirsty for your sweet comment.
Ronnie xo

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Megan October 11, 2012 at 9:44 am

This is awesome! I’m sure he will love it!

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

Thanks Megan – I hope he will too.
Ronnie xo

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Deb (Two Cheeky Monkeys) October 11, 2012 at 11:13 am

This is so adorable! I had plans to do something similar for my kids but still haven’t finished them…oops.

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm

No fear Deb, there’s no time limit on when you are able to finish!
Ronnie xo

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Kirsty October 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Just a beautiful, beautiful project.

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Thanks so much Kirsty, really appreciate you stopping by and also your kind words.
Ronnie xo

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jen October 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm

another beautifully done journal! :) it looks great! and reminds me i should really get on with making my own!

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Thanks Jen! For sure you should do yours – it’s so much fun!
Ronnie xo

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max October 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm

so beautifully done. and more than a keepsake, it’s real treasure, like an old photo times a million in terms of meaning and communication. so worth the effort, lucky boys. congratulations on your pregnancy. looking forward to exploring your blog at length. max x

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Oh wow, thank you Max for such wonderful words. What an encouragement!
Ronnie xo

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max October 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm

so beautifully done. and more than a keepsake, it’s real treasure, like an old photo times a million in terms of meaning and communication. so worth the effort, lucky boys. congratulations on your pregnancy. looking forward to exploring your blog at length. max x

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Miriam October 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm

What a stunning and beautiful record of that first precious year. That is so, so lovely

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Thanks Miriam, and I’m really glad you stopped by.
Ronnie xo

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Hayley October 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Wow this is such an amazing keepsake you have made for Jamie. It is so well done and beautiful. I found your blog after I read your kind comments, I noticed that you live on the Northern Beaches and so do i. Such a small world. Xx

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Small world indeed! It’s always lovely to meet another blogger from Sydney – and even better another one from the same area! Thanks for your sweet comment and for stopping by.
Ronnie xo

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rooth October 12, 2012 at 12:54 am

This is so fantastic and will be a wonderful keepsake. I’ve said it before but you are one awesome momma

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Thanks Rooth, and thanks so much for your lovely card. You’re the best!
Ronnie xo

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Laura Gofton October 12, 2012 at 7:15 am

This journal is just lovely Ronnie. You certainly have a knack for memory keeping – future business idea perhaps? Just one question for you, do you use special paper/ink that ensures the ink won’t fade? I haven’t printed photos at home in a long while but I know years ago the ink used to fade with time and obviously you’d want to ensure this didn’t happen with these journals? x Laura

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Thanks so much Laura. I’ve been thinking of running workshops down the track, so who knows? I use the official Canon Pixma ink and I buy Kodak’s premium photo paper so hopefully the photos should be quite long-lasting. I think the ink technology is pretty good nowadays.
Ronnie xo

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Chantel October 12, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Oh wow Ronnie, this did not disappoint! I love it!!!!!!!!

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Thanks Chantel!!!
Ronnie xo

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Wendy T. October 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Oh my goodness, Ronnie. This is amazing. I’m certain Jamie will treasure this as he gets older. I know I certainly would if I had one of my first year.

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I really hope so Wendy!
Ronnie xo

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trishie October 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Oh this is just beautiful. Imagine his joy when he reads it when he is older.

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm

That’s one of the things that keeps me going late at nights… :)
Ronnie xo

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Shoko October 13, 2012 at 2:59 am

he will be so, so happy to have this later in life! such beautiful work!

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Pink Ronnie October 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Thanks Shoko, that means a lot!
Ronnie xo

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claire October 14, 2012 at 9:23 am

You have no idea how much I am loving these glimpses into the memorykeeping (or maybe you do – I keep carrying on about it!)…Think the flexibility you gave yourself is key to a lot of memory keeping projects. How satisfying is a fat wad of journaled pages though? I love the look of my travel diaries bursting full of paraphernalia :)

More memory keeping posts please!! x

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Pink Ronnie October 17, 2012 at 11:56 am

“How satisfying is a fat wad of journaled pages though?” So true Claire – it’s the best feeling being able to flip through something precious like that…
More MK posts coming! :)
Ronnie xo

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Debie Grace October 14, 2012 at 2:07 pm

This is so cute! I’m so inspired by this, Ronnie. When I have a child, I’ll do something like this. :P

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Pink Ronnie October 17, 2012 at 11:57 am

I’m glad Debie!
Ronnie xo

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J3SS1C4 October 14, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Hi Ronnie,
I just want to say that I love how simple yet meaningful this project is!! Instead of getting all caught up in using fancy products to scrapbook your son’s first year, you’ve created something with so much meaning that I’m sure he’ll treasure it always, while still making it something that can be achieved fairly easily while having a young one!
J3SS1C4

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Pink Ronnie October 17, 2012 at 11:58 am

Thanks Jessica, I do like trying to keep it simple so that I actually get it done…
Also, thanks for stopping by my blog – really lovely to have you!
Ronnie xo

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eek! October 16, 2012 at 9:16 am

What an amazing album. I love that you just use writing and photos and that’s all you really need.

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Pink Ronnie October 17, 2012 at 11:58 am

Absolutely. With a beautiful journal, it’s bound to work…
Ronnie xo

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Ananasa September 9, 2013 at 8:19 am

That is such a wonderful idea! Love it!

Ananasa.com- Home For handmade

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I love hearing from you!

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