Top Menu

Essential Guide to Scrapbooking Your Summer Trips and Vacations

Vacation scrapbooking offers a unique creative challenge, primarily due to the volume of photos taken on a trip. The transition to digital, and then mobile, photography has only accelerated the pace of amateur pic-snapping.

In this post I’m sharing a set of guideposts for planning (and successfully finishing) a vacation scrapbook along with a range of options to help you personalize your vacation scrapbooking plan.

Plus, I’m including a few tips and suggestions on staying creative away from home, including whether you should bring your supplies along for the ride.

Last week’s episode of Simple Scrapper Live kicked off our discussion on the topic. Here’s that recording:

Guideposts for Vacation Scrapbooking

In the episode I outlined three guideposts to simplify the process of scrapbooking a vacation. By keeping these points in mind you’ll set yourself up for project success:

1. Cherry-pick Your Photos – You can’t scrapbook every photo. Choose images from multiple scales, from small details to the broader landscape, that add context to the relationships represented.

2. Find Your Perfect Fit – Vacations can be incorporated into your ongoing scrapbooks or documented with a separate project. You get to choose which works best for you right now.

3. Know Your Priorities – Starting a new project might mean that another project is put on hold or stopped. Make sure to consider how scrapbooking your vacation fits into your overall plans.

Vacation Scrapbooking Project Ideas

The best approach for your project fills you will creative excitement and fits your needs in this season of life. The large range of options today means that finding a fun and practical project is nearly certain.

Layouts

Layouts are of course the traditional format in scrapbooking. A vacation can be documented with a single layout, an entire album, or something in between.

Read more about this page at Deep in the Heart | Simple Scrapbook Layout.

idea for vacation scrapbook layout

Pocket Page Insert

Pocket pages, including Project Life products, offer an alternative to layouts that can be quicker to design. From a special insert to an entire album of pages, the pocket format also offers a natural solution for memorabilia-rich projects.

Read more about this page at What Happens in Vegas | Simple Scrapbook Layout.

idea for vacation pocket page

Photo Book

Photo books make an excellent choice for photo-intensive projects by further simplifying the creative experience. They make it easier to include more photos on a single page and the repetition can add substantial ease to the process.

Get step-by-step instructions for this photo book inside of The Finishing Project, one of the classes exclusively available with Simple Scrapper membership.

idea for vacation photo book

Ongoing Album

Independent of the chosen format, an ongoing album for your vacations (or a specific type of vacation) is worth considering. It creates an opportunity to deeply explore a style or format beyond your typical routine.

idea for ongoing vacation album

Mixed Paper Mini Book

Smaller mini albums are a portable solution that’s perfect for scrapbooking during a trip or vacation, or back at home if that’s your preference. The more petite size means it’s also easier to finish.

Watch a video about this project at In My Office | Vacation Album.

idea for vacation mini book

Photo Collage

Photo collages and even individual photos on social media are just as much “memory keeping” as any other format. A photo collage can sometimes capture an adventure in just the right way.

Read more about this page at Our Boston Adventure in Photos | Simple Scrapbook Layout.

idea for vacation photo collage

How to Plan Your Vacation Project

This week’s episode of Simple Scrapper Live continued the conversation about vacation scrapbooking, focusing on how to stay in the creative zone while away from home.

In the recording I share my tips for what to do before, during, and after your trip to streamline the scrapbooking process.

1. What to Focus On – It’s helpful to have a sense of your creative direction (even if it’s quite minimal) in advance of a trip. Above all though, I recommend intentionally staying in the present moment in order to best absorb details and begin to mentally identify the themes of this journey. We all sometimes need the reminder to stay part of the story instead of just a witness to it.

2. Which Supplies to Bring – The items you bring along on a trip will vary by your mode of travel and how much you intent to create while away from home. Think through each idea that sounds fun and test it for practicality. I often lean towards packing lighter to make a trip easier, relying on technology and minimalist supplies while I’m away.

3. How to Get Ready – Thinking through, planning out, and setting aside time for a project will make it easier for you to finish, but there’s one critical first step: photo management. The quantity of photos taken on a vacation is what governs the complexity and challenges of scrapbooking them. Thus, the most important step in the creative process is importing your photos and beginning to sort them.

Scrapbooking your trips and vacations doesn’t have to feel overwhelming when you choose the best project approach for your needs and make a conscious effort to focus on what matters most.

How have you scrapbooked a big adventure? Share your favorite approaches in the comments.

Continue Reading

Minimalist Scrapbooking with a Photo Book Series

Once a year I wonder whether I should only make photo books. They are beautiful, compact, and easy to share with others. Then I hear about a new collection from Crate Paper and that thought floats away for another 12 months.

I love my scrapbook supplies and the tactile experience of combining them with my photos and words. But some of the time, I turn to photo books to solve particular challenges in traditional scrapbooking.

Most notably, I rely on photo books when the quantity of photos feels overwhelming. This could be a vacation or a lengthier span of time. It is then when a minimalist approach to design and construction helps me feel like the project is feasible.

In this post I’m sharing how I’m using a series of 5.5″x5.5″ photo books as part of my overall memory keeping plan.

For an off-the-cuff discussion, plus Q&A, this was also my featured topic on Simple Scrapper Live. I’m embedding the recording here for you, or you can watch the full replay on Crowdcast.

After my daughter’s second birthday I recognized that my less-than-chronological approach to scrapbooking was causing a small photo backlog. It generally doesn’t bother me, because I enjoy being able to jump around and fill albums one layout or pocket page spread at a time. But, I’m not the only person who cares about these pictures.

To get more of these images into the hands of doting grandparents, I started an annual series of 5.5″x5.5″ photo books using Artifact Uprising. Each book runs from birthday to birthday and since she was born August, the timing works well for holiday gift-giving.

Photo books make big scrapbooking projects more feasible. In this post I'm sharing how an ongoing series fits into my memory keeping plans.

I primarily use photos that I’ve posted to Instagram, because Artifact Uprising can ‘slurp’ these in easily. I will supplement with photos from my DSLR or my phone as needed, but I don’t stress about making sure everything is included. I look on these books as a highlights reel, not an encyclopedia.

I’ve also made the personal choice not to include any words, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Journaling can be added through your photo book software or even by hand directly in the book.

My favorite feature of this book series are the covers. I use a photo of my daughter’s feet on each cover, as I love the symbolism and the changes you can see through them. I imagine one day there will be a pair of heels on the cover.

Photo books make big scrapbooking projects more feasible. In this post I'm sharing how an ongoing series fits into my memory keeping plans.

Artifact Uprising is my favorite source for minimalist photo books, but I also recommend these providers: Blurb, Chatbooks, and Shutterfly.

Are photo books part of your scrapbooking repertoire? Leave a comment sharing how you have used or plan to use photo books.

Continue Reading

Ideas for Organizing Scrapbook Kits

Scrapbooking kits are by no means new, but recent years have seen the rise in popularity of mail-order kit clubs. Coupled with kits being the go-to delivery format for digital designers to sell their work, these curated collections of creative supplies are very much mainstream.

In last week’s Simple Scrapper Live I discussed the pros and cons of breaking up kits into their respective categories vs. storing each kit as a coordinated unit. I also shared the approach I’ve settled on after testing out the full spectrum of options. (Hint: It’s the simple solution.)

I’ve embedded the video here, in case you haven’t already watched the new episode.

This post extends this conversation and is for scrapbookers who love to keep their kits together long-term or just want an interim storage solution. I’m focusing primarily on tangible scrapbook supplies, but I’ve also included some specific tips for digital scrapbookers as well as many universal ideas.

Whether you store paper scrapbook kits over the long time or just until you make a few things, finding the best storage solution for your needs can add ease to the creative process.

With every organization project I start with the question “How will I reach for this type of item?” I think about what I search for when creating, the proximity these items should be to my work space, whether they need to be easily visible, and how much tolerance I have for browsing.

Storage Options for Physical Kits

I have personally tried most of these options for storing my scrapbook kits. There are pros and cons to each.

1. Storage Bags and Totes, Vertically – This is my preferred approach, because I like to easily browse through options. Some kits now come in storage bags, such as those from Studio Calico, but there are a variety of retail options. Typically you’ll see these advertised for 12×12 paper storage. I’ve also seen jumbo ziplock bags used, especially for short-term transport to crops.

Storage Studios – Paper Folio
This 3″ expandable tote could hold multiple kits or one mega kit.

Whether you store paper scrapbook kits over the long time or just until you make a few things, finding the best storage solution for your needs can add ease to the creative process.

Totally Tiffany – Paper Manager Kit
This tote with included inserts could storage multiple kits with flat embellishments.

Whether you store paper scrapbook kits over the long time or just until you make a few things, finding the best storage solution for your needs can add ease to the creative process.

2. Paper Trays, Horizontally – I use these trays from Umbrella Crafts for micro kits that I assemble for a single layout. Horizontal trays help you limit the number of stored kits and also have them easily accessible.

Umbrella Crafts – 12×12 Stackable Paper Trays
I have my trays stacked 6-high side-by-side to easily fit in my shelving unit.

Whether you store paper scrapbook kits over the long time or just until you make a few things, finding the best storage solution for your needs can add ease to the creative process.

3. Iris Boxes, Horizontally – I’ve only used the larger versions of these cases myself, but this solution is by far one of the most popular.

Slim Project Case
At just 1.6″ thick, these sturdy cases are just right for keeping your kits together, visible, and portable.

Art Bin – Super Satchel
This 3.5″ variation by Art Bin has a handle and is perfect for storing a particularly large kit.

Whether you store paper scrapbook kits over the long time or just until you make a few things, finding the best storage solution for your needs can add ease to the creative process.

4. Pizza Boxes, Horizontally – Many scrapbook kits are shipped in 14″x14″ boxes that open like a pizza box. These can be handy for ongoing storage on shelves or in a closet, especially if they are labeled with the kit name and date. I’ve even seen scrapbookers use actual (clean) pizza boxes because they are so handy.

14″ x 14″ x 2″ Pizza Boxes from ULINE
At just $31 for a case of 50 boxes, this is an economical and reusable solution for ongoing storage of scrapbook kits.

Whether you store paper scrapbook kits over the long time or just until you make a few things, finding the best storage solution for your needs can add ease to the creative process.

Storage Options for Digital Kits

I recommend storing your digital kits unzipped and with a consistent naming structure that you understand. You’ll want at least one folder, depending on the number of kits you have and whether you’ll be using any software to browse your supplies.

1. Folders – Storage of digital kits doesn’t have to be complicated. Keeping all your kits together (each with its own folder) and nested within another folder is the best starting point. You don’t want to be hunting for files in different places across your computer or external drives. This tutorial by Traci Reed for Sweet Shoppe Designs offers some additional discussion on using folders to organize digital scrapbook supplies.

2. Folders + Software – Modern computer operating systems allow you to visually browse the contents of a folder, but software can add a layer of ease to browse files across multiple sub-folders. This article from Scrapaneers is outdated (Picasa is no longer supported by Google), but offers some of the pros and cons of various software choices.

Organization Strategies for Kits

Within each storage solution, there are additional options for organizing your scrapbook kits. It is recommended to choose an option for ordering the kits based on what you think about when browsing. Do you consider the manufacturer, how recently you purchased the kit, or the color palette?

1. By Manufacturer – The “manufacturer” here could be a collection’s brand name (e.g. Crate Paper) or the curator of the kit (e.g. Citrus Twist Kits). If you purchase kits from multiple places, you might want to keep them together by that source.

2. By Date Purchased – If using your oldest supplies first is a key driver of your decision-making, storing kits by date might make the most sense for you. Know that it’s OK to follow your brain’s natural patterns, even if others organizing things differently.

3. By Color Palette – For some scrapbookers, coordinating the color or mood of a kit with the photos on hand is the predominant thought. If you commonly search for supplies by color, storing your kits in this manner might make sense for you.

Like nearly every aspect of this hobby, storage and organization of scrapbook supplies is ultimately a very personal decision. We all think and work differently, so experimentation and thoughtful planning are needed to make sure your chosen solution is a perfect fit.

How do you organize and store your scrapbook kits? Share your approach, and others you have tried, in the comments.

Continue Reading

Tackling Journaling Anxiety to Actually Finish Scrapbook Pages

Do you have a stack of layouts that are 99% complete and just need journaling to be complete? This is a common, and often quite personal, struggle among paper scrapbookers that I don’t see talked about enough.

Whereas the stack of photo-less layouts you created at a crop reflects a disconnect between design and meaning, this phenomenon of stopping just short of the finish reflects something deeper: anxiety.

What I see is anxiety about handwriting, about choosing the right words, about the page design, and more broadly, anxiety about putting finished work into the world.

Do you have a stack of layouts that are 99% complete and just need journaling to be complete?

I’ve been fighting against this kind of anxiety since I became a scrapbooker and some of my best ideas can be found in this post. You don’t have to keep adding to that pile of unfinished layouts.

If handwriting is the source of your stress…

I shared my best suggestions in this recent episode of Simple Scrapper Live, including:

  • Why it matters which pen you choose,
  • The ways in which I practice my handwriting,
  • Clever tricks for Plan B  (in case you mess up), and
  • When I turn to the computer for help.

If getting the words out holds you back…

Even though I spend my days writing, I know how frustrating it can feel to be unsure of what to say. In most of my scrapbook journaling I write just 3-4 sentences that include a fact, a feeling, and a memory. I use the literal details of the photos to ask myself why this story matters and how it connects to other stories in my life.

Here are two examples that illustrate the ease of this technique. Try to identify the fact, feeling, and memory for each. You can click each image to enlarge it in your browser.

Tackling Journaling Anxiety to Actually Finish Scrapbook Pages Tackling Journaling Anxiety to Actually Finish Scrapbook Pages

Both handwriting and storytelling anxieties can be manifestations of an underlying perfectionism. This can also crop up when designing the page’s layout or as a feeling of general unease about journaling right now. The deeply personal nature of scrapbooking only intensifies a need for your projects to be blemish-free.

I’ve consciously worked to embrace the beauty of my journaling just as it comes out, and to intentionally seek imperfection as an recognition of its value. Acknowledging that you have anxiety about scrapbook journaling is a simple and healthy first step.

Want more strategies to get your journaling done? Check out 7 Strategies for Anxiety-Free Scrapbook Journaling from our blog archives as well as The Finishing Project from our course library.

Continue Reading

Hybrid Project Life Album Process

At the end of last year I was feeling burnt out on scrapbooking.

Don’t get me wrong, I love our community and this hobby. I’m in it for the long haul and am excited to see how our industry evolves in the decades to come. But after 8 years of creating (much of it on display for the world), I was tired of the anxiety I continued to feel.

I’m planning on digging into this further at the next Simple Scrapper Live, but I have some serious handwriting hang-ups.

While I do wholeheartedly believe in embracing imperfection, I have to be having what I call “a good handwriting day” to complete a scrapbook page. If I’m not, my brain and hands don’t work well enough together to make the letters.

This challenge has led to me creating less consistently than I really wanted. I have stories to tell and time keeps on passing.

Download free templates for creating a hybrid Project Life spread using Lightroom and Photoshop.

In this new post I’m sharing more about my decision to do hybrid Project Life pages in 2017 and the process I’m using to make spreads. I’m even including a peek at my first pages with this approach.

Why I Switched to Hybrid Project Life for 2017

In last week’s Simple Scrapper Live I shared the three reasons why hybrid scrapbooking makes sense for me in 2017. Hopefully my story above explains a little bit more about the anxiety I feel about handwriting and scrapbooking.

I’ve embedded the video here, in case you haven’t already watched the 15-minute segment.

Beyond that stress was also a need to switch things up for variety’s sake. I’d been doing pocket pages consistently since 2011, but only used my computer for the journaling a few times.

While I certainly don’t lack for Project Life supplies, when the idea for hybrid popped into my head I instantly felt relief. It just made sense in my current season of life.

How I Use Lightroom for Project Life

You don’t need to use Lightroom (or any photo management software) to do Project Life the hybrid way, but it is a key part of my process.

Step #1: Organize Assets
I started by creating a collection set for Project Life 2017 and another collection set for each month (02_February, for example). Then within that collection set I have three collections: Plan, Cards, 3×4 Photos. The Plan collection is my working folder of candidate images and supplies. Final choices get dragged to the appropriate collection for ease of printing (see Step #3).

Download free templates for creating a hybrid Project Life spread using Lightroom and Photoshop.

Step #2: Plan Spread Design
I set up a Lightroom print template that matched Project Life Design A so that I could visually plan out my spread.

Download Project Life Design A Lightroom print template.

Download free templates for creating a hybrid Project Life spread using Lightroom and Photoshop.

(click to enlarge)

I love being able to drag photos and supplies into each cell until I get a composition I’m happy with.

Download free templates for creating a hybrid Project Life spread using Lightroom and Photoshop.

Step #3: Print Photos
With all of my assets selected, I started the process of printing. My 4×6 images were printed directly from Lightroom. My 3×4 images were collaged 2-up using a Lightroom print template and then printed from Photoshop.

Download 2-up 3×4 on 4×6 Lightroom print template.

Step #4: Export, Journal, and Print Cards
Printing of the journaling cards is similar, but requires one extra step. I started with a print template where I could collage my supplies onto an 8.5×11 canvas. These pages were exported as JPG and brought into Photoshop. I journaled directly on the large images before sending them to my printer.

Download Lightroom print template for 4×6 and 3×4 cards.

Download free templates for creating a hybrid Project Life spread using Lightroom and Photoshop.

(click to enlarge)

Tool Tip: The photos were printed on Canon 4×6 Semi-Gloss Photo Paper Plus with my Canon PIXMA Pro-100. The journaling cards were printed on Epson Double-sided Premium Presentation Paper Matte and cut apart with my Rotatrim Paper Cutter.

My 2017 Project Life Pages (So Far)

We were well into 2017 when this approach finally clicked for me. I didn’t want to get started with a new album just because the calendar turned over to January, so I waited it out.

After seeing some beautiful hybrid pages on Instagram and thinking “I wish I could have that clean look.”, I took the plunge. This spread took about 90 minutes in total.

Download free templates for creating a hybrid Project Life spread using Lightroom and Photoshop.

(click to enlarge)

I used five 4×6 photos and three 3×4 photos, along with three 4×6 cards and five 3×4 cards. All photos were from my phone and edited with Lightroom. The black and white images were also processed with RadLab using Milk and Cookies.

Download free templates for creating a hybrid Project Life spread using Lightroom and Photoshop.

My biggest surprise with this new process was how much more I typed than I would write by hand. It took me back to my days of digital scrapbooking, where I admit, I told more involved stories.

Download free templates for creating a hybrid Project Life spread using Lightroom and Photoshop.

My Ali Edwards Story Kit embellishments are some of my favorites, so being a scrapbooker, I had to add just a few to complete the page.

Download free templates for creating a hybrid Project Life spread using Lightroom and Photoshop.

It was fun to be reminded that I only need my printer in order create “patterned paper” for scrapbooking. While doing that on a large scale is not efficient, for these small pocket it makes a ton of sense.

Download free templates for creating a hybrid Project Life spread using Lightroom and Photoshop.

I see Project Life as a snapshot of our life through my eyes. My layouts will often include different perspectives, but these pages are more “mine” than the others. I’m thinking of including a selfie each month.

Download free templates for creating a hybrid Project Life spread using Lightroom and Photoshop.

I’m just as guilty as anyone about making scrapbooking more complicated than it needs to me. The simplicity of this card in particular reminded me of what I value most in this hobby.

Questions to Ask about Hybrid Project Life

My approach to creating hybrid Project Life pages in 2017 won’t be for everyone. If you’re intrigued, however, it is my hope that you pause to ask yourself why. What might need to change so that you can feel even more excited to create? Here are some good questions:

  • What reasons do you have to make a change?
  • Do you have the technical skills or are you willing to learn?
  • Is there an even-better option?

Download free templates for creating a hybrid Project Life spread using Lightroom and Photoshop.

Continue Reading
X