With my ever-increasing love for designing and creating story books for my family, the basic building blocks of my memory-keeping these days are still my Project Life albums. Today, alongside my Weeks 14 and 15 page layouts, I thought I’d recap on why I think using pocket pages as a memory-keeping system rocks, and why I am committed to all five of our Project Life albums. (Yes, it’s five now because Bear has one too now that he’s turned one. Crazy, right?)
I love that it’s a system that allows me to go back and change or add things if I want. One of the main stumbling blocks when it comes to starting a photo album or a scrapbook is that you worry about getting it wrong and making it perfect. A system like this takes that fear factor out of the equation, so that you can just start.
I have the freedom to choose how often I work on my albums. While most people choose to do weekly spreads for their main family album, you can do whatever suits you: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even yearly. As you all know, I use a weekly system for our family albums, and a monthly system for each of our boys’ individual albums. It all comes down to: whatever works well for you.
If I fall behind, it’s easy enough to catch up. I simply ‘double up.’ For example, if I’m three weeks behind on our family album, I simply work on two weeks at a time for three weeks, and then I’m all caught up! For our boys’ albums, I sometimes like to give myself a break from doing them for a month, and so the next month I simply work on two months’ of photos and journaling, and then I’m up to speed again. (I never, ever try to catch up on a heap in one go anymore because I know from past experience that that usually becomes too big a mental hurdle. It’s all about spacing it out, and knowing what I need to be doing at any given time.)
I can use inserts to my heart’s content! When we’ve had special events like births, birthdays, anniversaries or special milestones like the first day of school, I’ve made use of countless inserts to help me document these momentous occasions. Other times, inserts have come to my rescue when I’ve simply had extra photos or extra journaling that won’t fit into the regular two page layout.
I can include keepsakes and memorabilia in our Project Life albums. Keepsakes like movie tickets, brochures, something your child drew, a note, a letter, cards, and school certificates can all go inside the albums. You can either slip them into a photo pocket or include them in an insert or a special 12×12 envelope designed to hold keepsakes or simply punch holes in them and put them into the binder directly.
I love the fun of seeing a page come together. Obviously, my style is super simple and minimalist, but I still enjoy the process of deciding which photos go well together and working out where to add journaling. Photos that are seemingly insignificant and mundane in and of themselves suddenly shine with meaning and beauty when they are carefully laid out together on a page.
I love being able to document our life on a regular basis. Every week, I write a short summary of what happened. I pick my favourite photos in Aperture. Using the InDesign templates I’ve set up, I add extra text or journaling when I feel it’s appropriate or necessary. I add the day and dates of the photos. I print the photos out on my Pixma. I slip them into the pockets. And presto! One week of our family life is documented, and the whole process takes me about 1.5 hours at most (if I’m not distracted by Facebook). I do this every week of the year, and at the end of the year, I have a complete album filled with memories of our family life: precious every day moments that would otherwise go undocumented. And because I’ve been systematically working on it all year, there is no catch-up at the end of the year. No huge, empty scrapbook for me to fill.
The thing I love the most about Project Life is that it gives me an easy structure for documenting our family and family life from every angle. In ten years’ time, I don’t want to only have a record of events like birthdays or holidays, I want to have something like this so that I can remember those little moments and what our day-to-day life actually looked like. Our Project Life albums cover every single aspect of our family: important milestones, big events (e.g. birthdays, holidays), candid portraits, little moments, corners of our house, etc. Our Project Life albums are the reference point for everything – this is why I see them as the building blocks for my memory-keeping. I also like creating photo books, story books, journals (for example, this one), and scrapbooks (for example, this one): these are projects that allow me to ‘zoom in’ and focus on a particular story or a particular period in time. However, at the end of the day, it’s our Project Life albums that tie everything together.
You can read all my Project Life posts here.
Other posts you might be interested in reading:
My thoughts on the Fujifilm Finepix x100s
My weekly Project Life process from beginning to end
Tips on taking photos for Project Life
What you need to get started with Project Life