Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

September 29, 2008

Week In The Life : Monday Morning Thoughts


I forgot how much work (fun "work" of course) this project can be once you get going. The first day is always the most challenging – it gets easier as you get into a groove as the week goes along. I’ve taken a bunch of blurred shots this morning since it was still pretty dark when we started our day – needing to get out my tripod tomorrow morning or add on the external flash.

Received a great message from my friend Carrie this morning as we were talking about the project, "I think it’s important to embrace this even amid life’s imperfections…It’s easy to say, ‘Well, life isn’t perfect right now, so my week isn’t worth documenting.’  Not true."


Don’t beat yourself up if you miss something. If you forget your camera. If your day isn’t how you hoped it would be. If you don’t write anything down. Hello life, right?

One of the things I am remembering that I love about this documentation process is the awareness of my surroundings that I begin to have again. For awhile, it has been hibernating. I am excited to welcome it back.

As for my writing so far, what is working for me is to have a Word document open on my computer to jot down thoughts/activities as they happen.


Just a note: I am answering questions in the comment section this week as we embark on this project together. Feel free to leave questions and suggestions.


A complete list of posts related to the week in the life project can be found here.


  • 1.
    Danielle said…

    I love that you have a word document open to take notes. I have a small notebook I had from the Target $1 bin – I opted for this so that I can throw it in my bag and write on the go if need be :)

  • 2.
    megbarnes said…

    Hi Ali!
    I just wondered what size/type of album you had you class use when you taught this @ CKU. I’ve looked at several completed projects and love the divided page protectors, wondered if you could give me any ideas where to find some. Thanks for being so inspiring! I haven’t been this excited about a project in a long time!

  • 3.
    Shannon said…

    I started this yesterday. I made it through about 1/2 the day taking pictures. It was hard to remember to capture what I think of as our everyday activities (though I know that is the point). I kept a little journal throughout the day and then made a daily collage this morning (for yesterday). After going through that, I think even though I didn’t take a ton of pictures, I was able to capture a pretty typical Sunday for our family. I still want to keep an eye on what you are taking pictures of because I think I am missing some of the obvious things. Thanks for this challenge!

  • 4.
    Ali said…

    Hey Megan – I will be doing a big post with ideas/suggestions and specifics tomorrow or Wednesday. That album (the one with the divided page protectors) is the Anthologie (formerly Bay Box) system from Scrapworks.

  • 5.
    jenny said…

    This is fun!

  • 6.
    Judith said…

    Hi Ali I already started friday :) we were celebrating my husbands birthday, so had to capture it! I love this project, just wanted to let you know, love from Holland, Judith

  • 7.
    ElisabethC said…

    I just wanted to say thanks for doing this!! I started today and am sooo looking forward to doing it! I haven’t scrapped all summer and have had hard time getting inspired, and this is just what I needed, and it’s been so fun this far!!!

  • 8.
    ElisabethC said…

    I just wanted to say thanks for doing this!! I started today and am sooo looking forward to doing it! I haven’t scrapped all summer and have had hard time getting inspired, and this is just what I needed, and it’s been so fun this far!!!

  • 9.
    Margarita said…

    Some pictures just seem so silly to me right now (i.e. I took a picture of my Halloween decorations – from the dollar store!) – but I was thinking that in a few years, I’ll have the picture and the memories of taking my 3 and 1 year old children to the store…right???

  • 10.
    reenie said…

    I had a GREAT first day with the project..then today I was feeling like just starting over…picking another week in my life! So not perfect, son has the flu this morning. Thanks for reminding that life just isn’t perfect. I needed to hear that….I’m going to continue.

  • 11.
    Megan said…

    Ha! MY morning started out with a dead coffee maker. Talk about a fun-buster…but also part of life. Actually already laughing about what I wrote. (Now that I’ve had some coffee…)

  • 12.
    vanessa said…

    I glad I’m not the only one with blury morning pictures.

  • 13.
    Rebecca G. said…

    Thanks for taking us on this journey with you. I’ve missed out on all of your CKU classes, which is a total bummer. But now I feel like I get to be a part of the class with you. I’ve been looking forward to this all weekend… even though my life most certainly is NOT perfect right now. I definitely want to take the time to document the imperfections…

  • 14.
    Ali said…

    Right Margarita :) . Don’t judge right now – just document.

  • 15.
    Jen Davis said…

    YAY, Ali! I am so excited to get started on this…I was thinking it may be overwhelming this week at first, but after reading today’s post I’m going to just go for it! =) I think you are right on when you mention getting more familiar with your surroundings again with this project. I’m so excited to get started in this!
    Thanks so much for doing this, I’ve been itching to do a group project for awhile now and this is just the thing.

  • 16.
    Nora said…

    I have 1 question:
    Approximatly (sp? lol) how many photos do you take each day? And how many make it into the finished project/album per day? I know you cant give an exact answer but I’m just wondering if its 5 or 50 sorta.. :D

  • 17.
    Ali said…

    I usually recommend 30+ if you can. I will be putting the album together differently than in the past (so I am not really sure yet) but it is always better to have more than less when it comes to putting the project together. I like to have choices.

  • 18.
    Emilyt said…

    What legs this project has…so neat to go onto other cyberplaces and see the participation! I started yesterday. Your post today is perfect – I forgot my camera this morning (so disappointing) and I got called to pick up my daughter from school. If that isn’t real life, I don’t know what is? Thanks for having me. This is a GOOD process – to validate and punctuate my everyday. LOVING this.

  • 19.
    Bree said…

    Great quote about documenting imperfect life. It is what it is. I needed to hear that as I felt frustrated by this project already this morning. :-)

  • 20.
    Tammy said…

    Ali and friends: I am totally overwhelmed at the idea of taking pictures the So much so that I have considered abandoning the project altogether.
    Since I really want to give it a go, I have given myself permission to take a picture(s) of the major activity of my day. Today it is steam-cleaning my carpet. A single picture of the torture machine will suffice. Tomorrow I am volunteering at my son’s school – a picture of the front door. Along with that single picture I am keeping copius notes that will translate onto a scrap page.
    Just thought I’d share how I’m making this project “my own” – something Ali advocates.

  • 21.
    O said…

    I love blurry pictures and use them because they show motion. Life is motion. *Life* is moving along no matter what *we’re* doing. Thanks for inviting us to participate in this project. My thought is this: no picture is every too silly or random because it shows a moment gone by. Never gonna get it back. Life is made of many, many moments. I began documenting my moments this morning. :)

  • 22.
    Andrea said…

    Hi there ali… I started this project yesterday… and had a blast… I thought about starting it today but knew i would be too overwhelmed with it (since i teach 9th graders) so i started with going to church yesterday… perfect way to start my week. I’m super duper excited for this process and the finished project… i’ve been keeping my notes on random stuff… like the bulletin from church… my receipt from something and a notebook while i’m at school…. i also made a place to stash the fun random stuff of the day… receipts, ticket stub from the swap meet… etc…
    Thanks lady for the inspiration! YOU ROCK!

  • 23.
    Therese Bradley said…

    I took this class with Ali at CKU San Jose. I have 65 photos in my finished project. I made a lot of photo collages with bits and pieces of photos and everyday memorabilia. I included pictures of my sink filled with my son’s sippy cups (he doesn’t use these anymore so I’m glad I took this photo.) I have a picture of the inside of my refrigerator, my laundry waiting to be folded, the storefronts that I went to that week, the view from my kitchen sink, etc. I included my grocery list, to do lists, bits of envelopes from mail, the plastic thingys from flowers I planted, etc. I’m amazed how much has changed in my life in a few short years, and how much has stayed the same. Hope this helps those who are struggling a bit. Therese

  • 24.
    Ali said…

    Sounds perfect Tammy – I am finding as I work here at my desk most of the morning/early afternoon that there is not a ton of variety :) . As I move around the house I bring the camera with me to capture whatever it is I am doing (like making lunch in a bit).

  • 25.
    Amy said…

    I’m glad that you said it gets easier, I’m tired already! lol Although it didn’t help that while I’m trying to document my week, I have a submission at work, and then I lost my cell phone today. (Turns out it was on the floor of the car, under the seat- Had to take the regular phone into the car to call myself. lol) But of course, it’s Monday! But you’re right, this is all real life. :)
    I have planned to do this project for a while, but I needed some motivation so thanks to everyone participating for the motivation! I’m already enjoying everyone’s pictures in the flickr group!

  • 26.
    Noel said…

    Thank you for posting that even if your day is not going great to keep going. My Monday has been horrible so far; a bad grade on an exam and a ticket all before 9am! I just keep telling myself its got to get better! Thanks again.

  • 27.
    Diana said…

    Ali! I LOVE this idea, when I spoke to my hubby about it, he says it sounds like a lot of work! Well, yeah but it will be awesome to help me remember and appreciate the things I do and have. I have to tell you people were looking at me strange when my good buddy was taking pictures of me after our workout in class. Life right?! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  • 28.
    Nicky H said…

    I’ve decided to join you! Woo hoo!! I have already taken 40 or so photos and it’s only 9:36am!
    I have a question. I plan on making 12×12 pages- probably one for each day. I know you know about Stacy Julian’s Library albums- which album would you put it in- All About Us or Things We Do?
    This is going to be a blast!!

  • 29.
    Heather said…

    Yikes. I’m brave enough to include the link to my sad little blog. Anywho…..Ali; any way to make the pics of your pages any bigger? I’m a real nosy parker and I want to see your ephemera and journalling close up. :D

  • 30.
    Michelle said…

    I recently used the Anthologie album for just a few months of regular family photos and have TONS of pages protectors left over (I bought too many, I think the variety overwhelmed me)….but I also have your Designer Digitals “Story of Today Overlays”—THEN I saw your DD “Story of Today Layered Templates”–LOVE THOSE!!! don’t got ‘em yet….hmmmm….Am I spoiling the beans to ask if you are going to use those? I’m sure you’ll let us know but the curiousity is killing me! *grin* I’m feeling more paper than digi right now so I started making some 4×4 journaling cards w/the days on them.
    Friends—write down the economic crisis / bailout news! =)
    Also liking writing down the songs I am listening to in the car (or for others at home / at work)….
    I started today. My favortie photo today is me taking a pic in the kid/rear-view mirror of my car as I am taking my 2 and the boy we carpool with to school. Then I had to get the token shot of me in the rearview and felt a bit relieved I had at least one of me (my biggest challenge).
    My other favorite was sidewalk chalk all over our driveway leftover from a full day of outside play yesterday. It made me realize that photos capture NOW and ALSO capture history already made, as in my artful driveway, now sitting all alone with just yesterday’s traces of activity.
    I’m long-winded, sorry. ;-) …just loving this. Just wanted to do it for a long time (since Life Artist, I guess!) and to have a “community” to do it with is fun.

  • 31.
    Ali said…

    Heather – when I post the album I do this time I will make it bigger for sure. I will also be posting my writing/journaling for today this evening so you can see how I am jotting things down.

  • 32.
    Ali said…

    Nicky – I would probably lean towards All About Us…but it just depends on the content you end up with :) .

  • 33.
    Aimee Confer said…

    Yay Ali! Thanks for inspiring me to get going again! I haven’t scrapbooked all summer. We moved in June and then I got pregnant so I have been super slow in getting going! Now I can really start up again. Thanks!

  • 34.
    merry said…

    I started something similar to this the year I turned 40. Basically I begin the month before my birthday and take at least one picture a day that captures what’s going on at that time in my life. I generally do an 8×8 album with each page chronically one day. While I try to do pages daily sometimes life is ‘overwhelming’ and I end up sitting down over the weekend and doing the week. This is my third year of doing this (I will wrap pictures this week and hope to finish the album over the weekend.) It’s fun looking back to see what was going on at that moment in my life.

  • 35.
    Robin said…

    Okay, I am in. I began taking pictures this morning of just ordinary things going on around here and then the camera battery died. :) It is charged back up and I am back on track. We have a lot going on this week so this will help us keep track of it all.
    Ali, do you plan on scrapping at the end of the week or through the week as you go? I like the idea of keeping a document open. I will do that too.
    Thanks for doing this, I think it is a great idea.

  • 36.

    Can this be done online as opposed to actual pages with printed pictures? I was thinking of using collages to document the day, along with the writing.

  • 37.
    Ali said…

    Robin – I am gathering ideas this week as I document but not doing actual creative work/putting anything together until next week. I personally like to focus on one part at a time (but it can be done any way you want – I think a lot of it depends on time).
    Secret Agent Mama – this could totally be done online! On your blog, digitally, on Flickr, etc. This is YOUR project – you can make it in whatever way works for you :) .

  • 38.
    violetkey said…

    What a great project! I’ve started this morning. I might do a digi-book but i might be brave and print out pics for a mini-book.

  • 39.
    Nicky Anderson said…

    Moving along and what a different perspective this gives you. Loving that part. I am still trying to figure out photoshop elements (still very very new) as I ordered some of your overlays and am excited about putting this together as I go along. Any suggestions to help with the photoshop elements – I have been trying to get to Jessica’s tutoritals – any words of wisdown would help. Very excited about this.

  • 40.
    Nicky Anderson said…

    And PS – thank you Ali for your added inspiration!!

  • 41.
    Kristin said…

    I have just downloaded my photos of the day – i took 111 photos.
    Crazy, i am going to have a lot of photos at the end of it all!
    Ali, do you have any must take photos to suggest? One photo from when you have done it before that you are so glad that you took, but wouldnt of thought to take it beforehand?
    Today i took a photo of my hand holding my daughters walking to her playgroup, never would of thought of taking that one before today, yet it means so much.

  • 42.
    Lauren said…

    OKay, here was my first entry today:
    A Week In the Life, a class led by Ali Edwards
    Monday, September 29, 2008
    12:09pm – reading Ali’s blog as I eat lunch at work. Decide to “go for it” even though I know this weekend will not be normal, as I will be on a scrapbook retreat, but heck! Now, or never, right? (photo taken). Lunch is a homemade chef salad and iced tea (unsweet) with one homemade oatmeal cookie. Here’s to hoping the tea will make my caffeine headache go away (I haven’t had a soda today…)
    And the first pic:
    Thanks for the encouragement! I had decided yesterday to NOT do this and I am happy that I have changed my mind today! :)

  • 43.
    KariLynn said…

    I am doing pretty good so far taking photos. Even took my camera along on a walk with a friend this am and got a photo of me and one of her. I dragged out my little tripod to take the photos of me folding laundry, putting away dishes, making the bed, etc. Hopefully I can keep this up all week. Thanks for the inspiration Ali, this is a really worthwhile project.

  • 44.
    Becky W. in VA said…

    Thank you for the reminder! Always good to hear the pick me ups!

  • 45.
    Katie said…

    I am so excited to have a direction.
    Seems like the little ‘daily’s” start to take over and you forget to live in the moment.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  • 46.
    Ali said…

    Kristin – I don’t really have any must-take photos. I think I tend to really love the most basic ones that showcase real everyday life – like laundry or lunch, etc. When the album comes together I love to see those in combination with the faces of my family.

  • 47.
    Laura said…

    Hi Ali, I took your class at CKU Chicago in 2006 and I’m excited to play along with you again. Off to check out the Flickr group.

  • 48.
    falwyn said…

    I want to do this too. But my beloved dslr is in the shop and my friend (with twins, in another city) has my old digital camera. I have actually ordered a back up point and shoot for myself, but it won’t be here till tomorrow.
    I thought about waiting to start, but didn’t want to. So get this – I’m going to use my Polaroid camera (luckily I got some film for my birthday) to take some pictures today, and maybe a few throughout the week to keep things consistent. I guess this means that I (an all digital girl lately) will have to do some real paper scrapping for this project… but that should be fun too.
    Anyway, so I’m excited, and just wanted to share – the idea of polaroids (I have some of me when I was a baby) tickles me.

  • 49.
    Sara M said…

    I took your class at CKU in Chicago. It was awesome and so neat to look back and see how even the everyday stuff has changed.
    I used this “week in the life” project to document things people normally don’t take pictures of. I would just tell people, “I need to take your picture because I HAVE to have it for this class I am taking.”
    I captured great things. I took a whole bunch of pictures at my grandma’s. She makes breakfast every Saturday for any of her kids or grandkids that can make it. I am 34 yrs old and she has been doing this for as long as I can remember. However, this was the first time anyone actually took pictures of her!!!
    Also, I don’t want to sound bossy but we all need to make sure we are IN OUR PICTURES!! A wonderful friend of mine died today at the age of 32. She lost her battle with cancer. She leaves behind 5 boys, the youngest only 4. She was in a lot of pictures but just think how meaningful a album like this would have been to her boys, years from now.
    So thanks, Ali, for spreading this idea. Life is too precious not to document it.
    Sara M

  • 50.
    Melissa said…

    Amazing how many seemingly mundane things we pass through in a day.
    Ali, I think that your quote by Mary Jean Iron is perfect for this album and I will probably include it to remind my children (one day, when they are interested) that life is made up of a series of normal days.

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