Anatomy of an Album


Here's a look into Simon's 2007 album. It's a good example of what all the mixed-up page sizes look like when they are together in the album. I have also created a new photo album over on the side bar so you can see all the photos in a group.

The album interior you see here is not in date order for the year yet. I grabbed my 2007 pile and put them in randomly before heading to the Portland CKC Convention last weekend. Planning to move them around within the album so that they are as close to chronological as possible (taking into account single page layouts vs. spreads vs. different sizes).

I like chronology in the anatomy of my albums, but am not concerned with it in terms of story telling + creating.

I am using the cloth 3-ring binder albums from American Crafts - you can find them online here and here or check at your local store.

[ Many of the pages below are featured, with supplies listed, in my book Life Artist © 2007 or in my column in Creating Keepsakes © 2007 ]


This layout, created in 2007, shows a variety of different photos over the last few years. Makes a nice opening page.

For more information on divided page protectors check out this post.


The back of this divided page protector (and others you will see below) are currently empty. My plan is to create pages/content to fill in those spaces or just add in photos.


Another back that can be filled in with either a complete story or five different ones (each on their own individual canvas).


One of the big hurdles for people to move away from post bound albums seems to be a fear that 2-page spreads won't translate with the ringed-gap in the middle. I have no issue with 2-page spreads that don't "touch." I find that my eyes automatically connect the two together based on their shared colors, photos, embellishments, and design.



Another common question I receive is what to do about single page layouts. I have been doing a combination of single and double pages since I started scrapbooking. I like having variety. I just stick the single page layouts right into the album (in date order when I am paying close attention). Your children and your family will not even notice that there are single page vs. double page spreads. They are going to be interested in the photos and the stories. Some stories need two or more pages; others need just one. 

And again, one of my favorite things about these sorts of albums is that it is easy to insert new pages and move things around to accommodate new stories you are telling.


This is the back of a divided page protector with two, 6 inch x 12 inch pockets. I am thinking that I will do two individual pages that are each 6x12 for these spaces.


In addition to the purchased divided page protectors, I also have quite a few page protectors that I have simply cut and stitched to fit my page size. The ""today you" page here is one that I ran right through the sewing machine to create the 6 inch x 12 inch pocket.








Such a great helper in turning the pages for me.




Here's an example of a layout where I stitched two page protectors together (which creates a seam that brings the double page layout together). I did this mainly because it was actually a three page layout and I wanted to literally communicate that within the album. Close up:



One of my all time favorites. Words + photos.










Thanks buddy!



Questions? Leave a comment and I will answer them in an upcoming post.

[ Follow up post with Q & A can be found here. ] 

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  1. Kate

    2008-03-07 11:06:53 -0500

    Thanks for sharing this! I always LOVE seeing how people put together their albums!

  2. Sharmaine

    2008-03-07 11:20:33 -0500

    Hi Ali, Just popped over to say thank you!!
    Have read your Life Artist book, love LOVE it. I love the 'pocket' file pages and after a recent purchase at the craft store I created a page that you can see here I also scraplifted one of your gorgeous pages. This was a challenge for me as I stuggle with scraplifting but I just wanted to say THANKYOU for inspiring so many to create and be creative in their everyday.

  3. Julie in Houston

    2008-03-07 14:40:52 -0500

    Thanks for this post Ali. I always have a hard time putting my pages into an album. You are such an inspiration! Simon did a great job!

  4. Ann Marie

    2008-03-07 17:50:59 -0500

    first of all--I always love to see your pages, and some of those I haven't seen before, so thank you for sharing!
    second of all--my question is not deep, nor philosophical, and I even know you've answered it before, but I can't remember/find it--where did you get that great stamp (flourish/swirl thingy) on the top of the last page?
    Ann marie

  5. Candace

    2008-03-08 02:26:11 -0500

    You know what I love?
    Your album's main thing is the pictures - not an overly intricate (and expensive!) design.
    And for me - that is inspiring!!

  6. Melissa

    2008-03-08 02:26:32 -0500

    Thank you so much for giving us a glimps into your every day life. This section alone answers a lot of my questions about combining page sizes and 1 and two page LOs. I really like how it looks. After seeing it in action I'm not so scared to try it myself.

  7. Mariana Perri

    2008-03-08 13:45:40 -0500

    You simply never cease to amaze me! This is the most beautiful album I have seen in a LONG time!

  8. Lindsay

    2008-03-08 14:01:22 -0500

    I was thinking as I looked at your album--I just don't know what I'd do without your inspiration and influence!!! I mean it--I get so inspired to go and create just by looking at your ideas and albums!
    THANK YOU!!!!

  9. Laura Buckingham

    2008-03-10 02:16:14 -0400

    Ditto what everyone else said! This is a fabby album.
    I scrap the same way, D ring albums and I use all different sized PP, 12x12, 8.5x11, 8x8, 6x12, 12x6 etc etc.
    I just wanted to add a tip that I learnt at a class, I hope I am not stepping on your toes. When you wanted to pull two of the pages together you stiched them, which I think probably looks really neat, but a tip for peeps without a sewing machine, it that you can staple the two PP together, to create the same effect (though maybe not quite as seamless, and neat)
    also, Bazzill make 6x12 and 12x6 PP, which you can buy instead of making your own!
    Great blog
    Laura (London, UK)

  10. Giulia

    2008-03-11 08:05:44 -0400

    I have also written a post in my blog
    Hoping it will be useful for you.

  11. ToneF

    2008-03-12 11:59:02 -0400

    Thank you again! Just wanted to tell you taht having been inspired by you, I got myself a D-ring binder album and pockes in different shapes today!
    I am sooo happy about it :D

  12. Kristi Kortman

    2008-03-14 08:21:27 -0400

    LOL--I see some overspray on your cement. I also have this at my house, but I do it in the street to keep my driveway looking pretty ;-)
    It's so fun to take crafting outside, isn't it?

  13. Kristi Kortman

    2008-03-14 08:22:02 -0400

    LOL--I see some overspray on your cement. I also have this at my house, but I do it in the street to keep my driveway looking pretty ;-)
    It's so fun to take crafting outside, isn't it?

  14. Susan Wilson

    2008-03-17 06:43:49 -0400

    Did you include in this yearly album all the small theme books you might have made for Simon during 2007? Does it include travel you took with him?
    Thanks Ali. You're doing a great job with this blog. I come here often.
    Susan Wilson

  15. HeatherC

    2008-04-21 15:35:20 -0400

    Wow -- I just do not know where to start to tell you how cool this is -- all your work actually. Your style is very different from mine and I find it so refreshing free (mine may be a little rigid!) I am curious to know how much preplanning you do when you create an album or a page --- do you sketch it out, define your materials, or just grab some photos and go with the flow? How long does it take you to typically creat a page? How much time per day do you spend creating?

  16. Sue

    2008-04-23 12:45:38 -0400

    Ali, I feel like I have been given a gift, freedom, or permission to combine different size layouts in one book. My scrapbooking has been so constricted...I never knew what size album to use and a lot of time was wasted on that decision when I could have been creating. Thanks.

  17. Donna

    2008-05-11 06:37:42 -0400

    ali - of all the artists/designers that i have had the opportunity to experience through the 11 years i have been scrapbooking, i can without a doubt say that you are the absolute best. no matter what i see of yours either in magazines, on-line or through your newsletter, i am so inspired! you have such a gift...thank you
    for sharing it!

  18. Emilie

    2008-09-30 10:13:40 -0400

    Wow, I really like how you explained all of this. BTW, I have that album! :)

  19. Amy

    2009-01-18 06:14:37 -0500

    Hi Ali,
    I just signed up for your AE newsletter, and am looking forward to all the new inspiration that I know i am going to get from it.
    I just love your layouts! They seem so fun and easy. I am totally inspired to redo some of my old scrapbooks in your style and format. I have learned from you that journaling is so much more important than just decorate pages full of photos. I forget to tell the story behind the photos.

  20. Julie

    2009-01-18 06:46:06 -0500

    That is so interesting the way you've put the different page types together - love that! I've got an 3-ring album that I've had forever not knowing quite what to do with it. I'm inspired! Thanks!

  21. Deonne Beron

    2009-11-19 08:12:57 -0500

    I've very much been wanting to do this with my albums- sort them out and organize them a bit more. Just looking at yours fills me with the inspiration for the project and renews my desire to go create...I simply must use one of my remaining vacation days to hole up in my creating room. :-)

  22. lkj

    2010-02-12 23:36:16 -0500

    Great album, ali! I like the variation in page sizes - breaks the "all one size" mold, and I can see it would work fine if your albums are standing up. What's most fun for me: I recognize many of your pages from years of following your work. Simon's adorable face is almost as familiar as my own child's. Thank you for sharing!

  23. Mandy

    2010-09-26 21:04:54 -0400

    Ali, this is truly the spirit of scrapbooking. I love, love, love how your books look eclectic and collected. Thank you so much for sharing. It helps us Type A's get over the constant double page LO, with symmetry, same size, same style, drive for perfection, inevitably becomes boring scrapbooking! ;)

  24. ana smith

    2011-07-20 02:06:16 -0400

    I love the look of different size pages. One day I'm going to try this. Thanks for the inspiration Ali.

  25. Rina

    2012-12-07 22:35:15 -0500

    Ali, it's so great looking through these archives. I'm so grateful for your generous nature. It just shows how timeless words and pictures are. So much project life like content.

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