If I had no constraints I could spend all day making stuff. I would bake cookies and sew quilts and embroider and make scrapbooks. Alas, I have accounting spreadsheets and laundry and Sunday school and Girl Scouts and a very old house. And I am a taxi mom. And I like to take walks and ride my bike and read and play.
Yesterday I mentioned that I wanted to scrapbook on my own terms. These are my terms: enjoy it, make it meaningful, and enjoy other stuff too.
This month I am going to focus on my children's albums, although I also do an annual family album, and I have ongoing albums for vacations and the books I read. I also love to make gift albums, but I'll save that for another month altogether.
My favorite thing about my kids' books is my system. Although I save bits & pieces all year long, I only spend time actively updating their books about four times a year. It is not something that hangs over me as an obligation. I enjoy it, partially because I enjoy making stuff but also because I have a streamlined process.
My process is based on annual design schemes. Every year I develop a new design scheme for each child and gather enough supplies to complete about 8 spreads per year. Each scheme typically includes:
paper -- I choose four to six coodinating colors and/or patterns
embellishments -- buttons, brads, ribbon, etc.
lettering for titles & text -- sometimes titles are my own lettering, sometimes stickers, sometimes chipboard, sometimes handcut
techniques -- inking the edges, rounded corners, stitching, etc.
Sometime around each child's birthday, I start thinking of ideas for the next year's scheme. I might go shopping or look at ideas online, consider new trends and remember old favorites. (I never seem to tire of stitching and buttons!) After I've settled on materials, I usually jot down some page ideas just in case I run out of motivation later in the year.
I keep everything together in a large 13x13 zipper pouch for each child (my supplies & my ideas). When I have a weekend I can set aside, I gather all the notes I've made, the memorabilia I've collected and photos, and go to work. It's important to me to look forward to it, not to feel pressured into it. For me, eight spreads per year feels right. I think if someone wasn't crafty but wanted to keep memories for their children, one two-page spread per year could really do it: favorite photos (not necessarily the same as the best photos), a bit of everyday life, a party invitation, some thoughtful journaling...it really doesn't have to be elaborate to capture what matters most.
For the next thirteen days I'm going to share the thirteen design schemes I've used so far. (Why reinvent the wheel? Maybe they will work for you too!) Later in the month I'll write more specifically about the type of content I like to include (especially everyday stuff). I hope this gets you thinking -- and coming back for more next week. Have a great weekend!