This is what it looks like when you remove all of your layouts from the hodge-podge of albums holding them:
This is all of them.
All of my layouts from when I began scrapbooking in late 2002 to today. I haven't counted them yet but they came out of 28 12x12 and 8.5x11 albums.
This is something that has been on my list to do for awhile now. In between doing all those things this week that go along with caring for my sick guys (so much laundry, the never ending dishes, pushing liquids, and dosing meds) I decided to pull out all my albums and finally do this.
This, for me, is getting my layouts in order and organized by date (for some of them) + by theme for the others. Prior to this they had all been in albums pretty much in the order they were completed. (And I was definitely inspired again by reading Stacy's new Photo Freedom book. )
Here' s the process I am going through (I am about half way through - I figured with everyone sick no one was really going to be sitting at the table for meals so this was as good a time as any to tackle this project):
1. Remove all layouts from the hodge-podge of 12x12 and 8.5x11 albums and place them in piles. My piles included 2002-2008 by year (each year was a pile) focused on Simon, a pile of layouts about me, a pile of layouts about Chris + I (and our friends + travels, etc), and a pile of layouts about general family (some about me as a kid, family reunions, my parents, Chris as a kid, etc). It took me a couple hours to remove the layouts from all the albums.
2. Next I began the process of putting them back into albums. I began with 2002 and inserted pages in date order (as close as I could). Note: I wish I would have ordered additional page protectors. I can fit twice as many page protectors inside each album. It took two albums for 2002 and 4 for 2003 (2003 + 2004 have the biggest piles).
3. Having a piece of paper + pen nearby to document my thoughts + observations was a really great way to collect all the thoughts going though my head as I went through this process (see observations below).
It was really a pretty amazing experience to handle each and every page I have created over the last five years.
Here's some observations I jotted down as I was going through the process:
- I loved looking back over everything. I kept coming into the living room and showing Chris and Simon and saying remember this + remember that. This is the first time I have gone back and actually looked at each and every page I have made since 2002. Most of these books have just been in my closet waiting to be organized. I was flooded with memories - not only through the stories being told on the page + the photos - but the memories of what was happening in our surrounding lives at those times. I love scrapbooking.
- There were many pages that I really just LOVE plain + simple. I had the overall feeling that I am so thankful that this has been such a big part of my life. There were also many (too many I think) that really said nothing other than showing a cute photo (more on these below).
- I liked looking at the overall evolution of the pages. From the very simple beginnings of cardstock + photo + pen to the addition of stamps to metals to bunches of different products to a much looser/more eclectic style. It was like looking at the history of scrapbooking products as much as the history of our family.
Many of my favorite pages are ones that tell the story of my own childhood using the photos that my parents took of our family. Many of those pages feel more thought out and complete (especially in comparison to others that simply show one photo of Simon + a quote).
There were lots of pages I don’t love - lots with no written story, no sense of balance - ones that just felt incomplete and/or hurried. I looked at them, noted on my piece of paper what I felt was missing and then put them in order and inserted them into the page protectors and moved on. (Note to self: make sure to include words to complete the story.)
- I have done a good job including my own story and that is important to me (the pile was nice and tall).
- I had to staple a bunch of chipboard letters that had come unstuck and were just hanging out inside the page protector. That was a bummer because I love the look of them. Most everything else was still in place.
I liked that there is an overall balance: some single page layouts that highlight a certain photo (more-so back in the beginning) + others that were two page spreads with lots of photos and a more complicated design and a more complete story.
- After 2004 there was a drop in the number of layouts I did for the year. This is either because I began creating more about my own story, doing more “other” work such as writing, blogging, traveling & teaching, etc., or because I had started making minibooks.
- I am including both 12x12 and 8.5x11 layouts into the 12x12 3-ring binders from American Crafts. I have a few smaller ones in there (a couple 8x8's and 6x6's) that I decided to adhere onto 12x12 white cardstock.
2002 + 2003 were almost all single page layouts. There are a few 2-page spreads included in there that were created later on (you can tell by the products + the style). I love the double page spreads - again, most of those seem more complete + actually tell the entire story of an event, moment, time, place, etc.
- I love seeing the photo compilation pages. Some of my favorites were ones that showed a bunch of photos from a single year or a season or that compare and contrast different events + times. Here's a good example of this from 2003:
If the layout included different years I put it in the later year's album.
- I was also really drawn to the pages that included specific information such as Simon's height, weight, what he was saying (or not saying), etc. There is simply no way I would remember those details if I had not recorded them in some way.
Those are my thoughts so far. I imagine there will be more as I complete the process. One of the biggest benefits of this entire adventure, in addition to simply getting organized, is that it is solidifying for me again the sorts of pages I want to spend my time doing.
I'll try to do another follow-up with additional observations as I finish getting everything in place.