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My 2015 Plan: Scrapbooking in 8.5×11 or Smaller

Sometime in the second half of 2014 I was working on a layout in 8.5×11 and it hit me: I adore this size.

I began to wonder what my scrapbooking would look like if I created only in that size and smaller. Would that excite me? (Yes, I believe so.) Would I get bored? (Maybe, but there’s an easy solution.)

I didn’t exactly toss the idea around, listing pros and cons. I just ordered a new We R Memory Keepers album in 8.5×11 and said: I’ll figure this out as I go.

So far? I’m loving it.

8.5x11 is so much more manageable than 12x12

8.5x11 is so much more manageable than 12x12

For starters, 8.5×11 is so much more manageable than 12×12. It’s lap-friendly and totally not awkward. This is key to having people (myself included) actually browse through the album.

8.5x11 is so much more manageable than 12x12

The very best thing, however, is the ease of combining pocket pages and layouts in this single album. The new 6-hole Handbook page protectors from Studio Calico fit perfectly in 3-ring binders (8.5×11 and 12×12), making it effortless to include smaller pages.

8.5x11 is so much more manageable than 12x12

8.5x11 is so much more manageable than 12x12

Seriously. Awesome.

I am taking a more fluid approach this year, creating layouts and filling in pockets as the inspiration strikes. I am focusing on capturing stories with an emphasis on my words.

In a way I view this album as my art journal for the year, the kind of art journal a left-brained scrapbooker would make. Something about the size makes it feel more intimate, more mine, than 12×12.

8.5x11 is so much more manageable than 12x12

8.5x11 is so much more manageable than 12x12

Part of that feeling perhaps stems from including the 2015 Start Fresh Workbook & Planner inside of my album. For ease of writing it’s living at the end, but having my plans combined with my memories feels absolutely perfect.

8.5x11 is so much more manageable than 12x12

2015 Start Fresh workbook and planner for scrapbookers

Will I still create 12×12 pages? Yes.

The excitement of this new project will be balanced by the flexibility of creating layouts of any size for other albums. But this new year, full of growth and possibility, it will be delightfully letter-sized.

8.5x11 is so much more manageable than 12x12

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27 Responses to My 2015 Plan: Scrapbooking in 8.5×11 or Smaller

  1. Melissa Shanhun January 22, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

    I love that you said what if… then made it happen! 😀 I can’t wait to see how it works for you this year. Are you putting ALL your pages in just one album?

    • Jennifer Wilson January 23, 2015 at 11:51 am #

      I am putting all the pages that have 2015 stories in this album… or series of albums. We’ll see what the year brings. All I know is that I’m ready to try a new approach.

      I also know that I’m still working on some things for 2014 that will go in that album.

  2. Delanie January 22, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

    Jennifer, just a heads up that the inLinkz album link isn’t working (not currently active message).

    • Jennifer Wilson January 23, 2015 at 11:50 am #

      Thanks for letting me know!

  3. Carmelle Landreville January 22, 2015 at 11:50 pm #

    HI Jennifer,

    I love your album 8 1/2 X 11, I think I will take one like that also. I was thinking too big as alsways ???

    Do you put all the sheets for Start Fresh in the same album?

    Is it your printer for photos that I see on the last page? If so, I would like to know where I can get one?

    Thanks a lot for all the precious info you’re giving to us all year long….

    Carmelle xxx

    • Jennifer Wilson January 23, 2015 at 11:54 am #

      I am trying out putting my Start Fresh planner inside of this album. We’ll see how it goes. If I run out of space the planner will be the first thing to be removed.

      My printer is the Epson PictureMate Show and I got it from B&H Photo.

  4. Catherine Gervais January 23, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    Your album is so charming already! I really like this size, too. It’s familiar. I find often when I scrap 12×12, I could easily crop down to a letter size canvas without losing anything. Do you have a source for sketches in addition to the templates in our membership materials? I scrap pretty simply but I like getting new design ideas to mix things up.

    • Jennifer Wilson January 23, 2015 at 11:56 am #

      I like the Sunday Sketches at Studio Calico. More often though, I’m browsing Pinterest and galleries for new ideas. Then, I’ll translate that to a new sketch.

      Make sure you check out the visual index in the membership where you can see all of the past member sketches organized by type.

    • Kay Gregory-Clark January 25, 2015 at 9:52 am #

      Catharine, I have followed Cathy Zielske for years and she favors the 8.5×11 size. She has LOTS of templates for it, plus some neat smaller ones (4×4, 6×8) that I mix and match with letter size). I love her simple approach, too. Also, there are a lot of ideas in the Designer Digitals gallery. That’s also where you can buy Cathy’s templates.

  5. Honoré January 24, 2015 at 7:46 am #

    I too love the idea of 8.5 x 11. Never liked -perhaps intimidated by?- the 12 x 12 but “graduated” to it when I started Project Life…my favorite size is 8 x 8 but I think it’s pretty off beat these days. Anyway, thanks for the idea & inspiration…and I really like the idea of keeping the Simple Scrapper 2015 Planner within the album, too. Lotsa possibilities here…

    Cheers~

  6. Claire Withee January 25, 2015 at 5:37 am #

    About a year ago I began scrapping 8 x 8 pages and fell in love with this size. This process began with creating albums for my 3 daughters as a Christmas gift. Now this is the only size I do and I am continuing the tradition of separate albums for each girl. On the back of each layout I write my memories of the photo and leave space for each girl to write their own thoughts. This has been a very satisfying ongoing project and my family loves the albums!

  7. Sandy Hearn February 1, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

    I have been scrapbooking for 14 years, I did not have a clue, so I checked my dial up internet and hit on a site that explained about putting them in sheet protectors, Oh! that made great sense to protect those gled on pieces from falling off so I ran out to Office Max and bought a box of archival protectors in 8 1/2 by 11, I never realized there was any other size. I have stuck with that size over 60 scrapbooks later. I love them because I feel I save a lot of money by never having to deal with more expensive 12 by 12 page protectors or albums, etc. I use inexpensive office binders which all have a clear pocket on front to slip a decorated cover into as well as the spine. They fit nicely on my shelves and I can and do scan most of my pages for backup and to share. I can also play a slideshow of them. I love 8 1/2 by 11. This size also works great for my genealogy, I scrapbook that too.

  8. Honoré February 12, 2015 at 8:44 am #

    That’s a really neat idea to have your girls add their thoughts, too!
    Cheers~

  9. Cannycrafter February 12, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    Great! Thanks! I did this size for my Dec Daily this year and it inspired me to keep going! Loved it!

  10. Renate Olsen July 24, 2015 at 4:13 pm #

    Awesome Jennifer!
    But how do you manage the start fresh planner with your album??
    How do you choose what stories to tell in this album, versus the bigger albums?

    • Jennifer Wilson July 25, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

      Renate, I need to do an update on this… as my whole plan fell apart. I didn’t like using the large-size planner or the smaller-size album. It just didn’t work and I’ve since made changes.

      One thing that did not change was how I approached story-choice. This was always my 2015 album, so any pocket pages or layouts that were stories of this year would go there. Any stories from other years would do in their respective albums.

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