9 Things I’ve Learned About Scrapbooking

project life | the handcrafted story

I’ve been scrapbooking off and on since my Disneyland pocket scrapbook in 1990. I am currently loving digital scrapbooking and enjoying working with pocket pages (as seen in the image above) and making mini books.

This September I started printing iPhone photos that I have been taking and putting them in a binder with plastic pocket pages. (Some people call this Project Life®, which is the brand name of one company that makes plastic pages, binders, and cards). I have been experimenting with how I want this project to look and have learned what I like and don’t like, so far. I first posted about this weekly family pocket scrapbook.

These images are my pages from September and October. I’m doing one 2-page spread per week, using my favourite photos from the week (so some days might not have any photos, and some might have many). The photos are almost entirely from my iPhone 4S.

I LOVE THIS PROJECT! I love seeing my photos printed. I love that our girls can see the photos. I love that I’m recording details about our days that I would otherwise forget.

project life | the handcrafted story

These are the 9 things I’ve learned so far about how I like to do memory keeping.

1. I like white space. Too many photos bothers me. The above and below layouts are some of my favourite so far. I think it’s because there are quite a few photos but there is a lot of breathing space between the photos. A lot of my photos include people’s faces, which make the images seem busier to me. So I could probably include more photos if more of them had more white space within the photo.

I like this layout enough that I will definitely be using it more. I like how simple it is, which saves me time preparing it. I also like order and grids and therefore this entire project appeals to me. I like this layout because it’s an easy formula to work with. Everything’s in order and that makes me happy. 🙂

project life | the handcrafted story

2. I don’t want to use journal cards that other people make. Although I really like the look of many journal cards designed for this type of project, I think I would prefer to either design my own or not use them. While I like the following layout, I find journal cards (the polka dots, stripes, “Hello” speech bubble) kind of distracting. (But I really like how they look, and will use them in the future, I’m just not sure how yet).

project life | the handcrafted story

3. I don’t really like the results of my photo printer. I love to print from home but I’m not super happy with the results I’m getting. But, I don’t have money for a new printer now, and part of the reason I’m using my printer is that the only printing option in my town is Walmart, and I find their printing even worse. On almost every layout there are pieces I would like to fix and reprint, but I’m trying to do this cheaply, so I’m not. Ultimately, I’m just so glad to be finally printing photos. But one day, I may reprint the ones that really bother me.

(Note: I don’t like the black and white conversions of the photos in the following spread, and some other details, but for now, I’m leaving it.)

project life | the handcrafted story

4. I like circles. I’ve noticed circles in other people’s memory keeping projects and want to include them more in mine. I like the photos in the following spread that I cropped in circles.

5. I like photo series. Kids repeat actions many times, so it seems appropriate to include a series of photos of their actions. For example, in the circles on the left side of the following spread, my youngest daughter is playing peekaboo while on her swing. Another example is the series that Ronnie includes in the second image on this blog post(Note: I like the black and white conversions WAY better on the following layout than the above layout).

project life | the handcrafted story

6. I like some photos without people. I have a four-year-old and a one-year-old so my phone is typically full of photos of them. But I enjoy looking at pages that include scenic views, objects from our daily life, rooms in our house, and places we go. I am planning to add some 2-page spreads, in addition to the weekly spreads, with photos from around our home, and frequent places we visit (grocery store, church, library, preschool, work, rec centre, etc).

project life | the handcrafted story

7. I don’t like white borders. I like white space so I thought I would like the following spread with white borders around the photos but I don’t. If I ever reprint the photos I will probably crop the 4×6 photos to 3×4, and print them without a white border, like the second and third spreads on this page.

project life | the handcrafted story

8. I would like to include my handwriting more. Before I started this project I assumed I would hand-write all the text but I found myself doing it all on the computer, in Photoshop, before I printed the photos. I think I will try to use my Wacom tablet more and include my handwriting digitally.

9. I like squared corners rather than round. Many of the physical journal cards available now have rounded corners, and I bought a corner rounder punch thinking I would round the corners on my photos to match the journal cards. But I like my corners square.

I have been inspired by Ali Edwards, Caylee Grey, The Digi Show podcast, Elise Blaha CripeJamaicaMakes, Jot MagazineOne Little Bird DesignsPaislee Press and Tracy Larsen.

By | 2017-09-21T13:23:35-07:00 November 25th, 2013|Pocket Pages, Scrapbooking|3 Comments


  1. Marilyn November 25, 2013 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    It’s great to see you find something that works for you! I get overwhelmed when I think of how disorganized my photos are. Good for you and good for your girls for you to be starting now! I think you are right to include more of your own handwriting. Seeing my mom’s and dad’s handwriting is very precious to me. What is a Wacom tablet?

    • Anika April 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      A Wacom tablet is like a digital pen and tablet to either draw with or replace your mouse. It’s great for adding handwriting onto photos. Now I want to organize all the photos from CDs onto USB flash drives so I can add them to the girls’ memorabilia boxes.

  2. […] have been documenting our family life with photos and words in a 12×12 pocket page binder, what is often referred to as “Project Life“. I am […]

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