Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

September 26, 2008

weekend creative : documenting a week in your life

Next week, from Monday through Sunday, I will be documenting a week in my life with photos + words and I invite you to play along. (You could even begin today or tomorrow if you wanted – there is no reason it has to be Monday through Sunday vs. Saturday through Friday.)

This is a creative adventure. It requires little more than a camera and a willingness to pay attention and gather up stuff from your daily life.

Even if you have never scrapbooked before you can do this project.

This will be a pared down project from the one I have taught previously. Right now I am most interested in the photos and the words and that is where my focus will be throughout the week.

Some of you out there may be thinking: my life is boring or I do the same thing everyday or what story do I have to tell? As with many of the projects I have created, the preparation process is just as (and maybe more) important than the creative process of actually putting the album together. Most likely you will learn something about yourself over the course of this project. I learn something new every time.

Daily Tasks For The Week:

Take photos. Commit to keeping your camera with you throughout the day. Capture everything. Capture things that may seem silly or dumb. Capture the normal. Capture little things. Capture your environment. Here’s a couple questions I ask myself or I keep in mind as I am going about this project: what’s my daily routine, where did I go, who did I see, what do I do, what does the inside of my home look like, where do I spend the most time, etc. Capture stuff that you use everyday: your computer, a coffee mug, a favorite pair of shoes, a book, etc. Make sure to take a photo of yourself each day. See the list of possible photos below.

Upload photos. Take a bit of time each evening to upload your photos for the day. You can use this time to eliminate duplicate shots and if you are really on top of things you could print them out or upload them to your favorite developer to have them ready to create with the following week.

Designate a place for notes. Have a notebook or a couple sheets of paper set aside to jot down notes, stories, things to remember about each day. Don’t make this complicated. Don’t run out and buy a new notebook. The back of some junk letters, the leftover pages in a journal you have always meant to get around to, etc. You simply need somewhere to write down notes over the course of the day.

Take notes. Once you set up something to write on, do the writing. What should you write? Thoughts you have during the day, things your kids or your boss or your partner say, things you notice (simple and profound), what you ate, etc. Go for the basics. These notes will be transferred into your album when the time comes. See more about recording the story under the category heading below.

Designate a place to store life-stuff. Part of the process is collecting bits and pieces of your life over the course of the week. For this I recommend setting up an envelope or folder for each day. You may use some of this stuff and you may not. I tend to keep things like receipts, handwritten notes, etc. These will be companions to your photos + words.

Possible Photos:

- think about the most basic things/the real life things that you see everyday: those things that are so much a part of what you do each day that they simply blend into the blur of images
- chores
- loves
- dishes
- food you cook
- food you eat
- driving to work
- driving your kids to school/kids at the bus stop
- computer
- what you do for work
- looking down at your shoes
- your front door
- thermometer/temperature outside
- gas prices
- the grocery store/your grocery cart/bags of groceries
- the mess
- piles of stuff
- the funny face your kid is making/funny things they are saying
- laundry
- your child’s room, toys, favorite books, etc.
- document the imperfect normalness of your existence

Check out a couple articles I wrote for my Everyday Life photobook at Shutterfly (these definitely apply to this project):
List of Everyday Photos
8 Techniques for Choosing or Taking Photos

For more everyday life photo ideas check out these Flickr groups:
My Everyday Life
Corners Of My Home
The New Domesticity
Self Portrait Tuesday


To prepare for my journaling in the past I have designated categories: food, gratitude, work, stuff, etc. You can totally implement something like this for yourself – it helps keep you focused on what you need to document in a written format – or you can be more free-flowing. This time around I am going for more free-flowing word documentation – capturing bits of my life in words rather than giving myself specifics – either way you go will be just fine. Just make sure you write something as you go along. It is way too hard to try to remember what the heck happened on a specific even a few days later.

A couple things to note:

(1) This is not a class. I do not have a finished project to show you or specific instructions to follow. I will be working alongside and adjusting and going with the flow from Monday through Sunday. It’s a journey we can embark on together. One of the big reasons I am doing this on my blog is so that I will actually do the project. You are making me accountable. This project is worth all the effort you will put into it…but it does take work.

(2) This does not have to be a 12×12 album. It can be smaller or larger. You can include tons of stuff or just photos + words. Part of the process will be figuring out how to showcase your photos + stuff. One of the things I am excited about in relation to sharing this journey is the variety of different albums that will result. Part of what I will be thinking about as I go along next week is how I want to put the album together. I am envisioning a hybrid combination of paper and digital elements. Other than that I will be using things I have on hand here at home. I will post some ideas for supplies/formats for putting the album together on Monday or Tuesday next week.

(3) Take this one day at a time. If you take a ton of photos on Monday and only a couple on Tuesday – no big deal. Let’s get rid of that pressure before we even begin.

Special Request:

I know there are a bunch of veterans of this project out there. If you completed this album in the past, would you post a link in the comments section to your album if you have it posted it in an online gallery or blog? I would love to give people who are considering this project a peek at how some have turned out in the past (there have been more than one design for this album and lots of variations).

Also, if you have photo suggestions from your experience that would be great to share as well.


My friend Tracey over at Shutter Sisters is highlighting this project today and is planning to do a book giveaway with all four of my books. Click on over to enter and check out the Shutter Sisters blog.


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


  • 1.
    Kristin said…

    Hey Ali,
    I will be doing this challenge. Have done a day in the life project before, but a week will be great! Can’t wait to start doing it!
    Thanks for all the inspiration!

  • 2.
    jennyg said…

    Can’t wait to get started!!

  • 3.
    René said…

    I’m going to try this, as well. I’ve got a lot of travel this next week and it will be nice to document it.

  • 4.
    Stacy said…

    Hi Ali,
    I’ve not done this particular project before but have always wanted to do something like it and I am really excited to get started. Thanks for posting it and the accountability portion and the ideas/suggestions. Yippee. Also, congrats on the new baby girl!

  • 5.
    Amy said…

    I’m definitely going to do this, I just hope I can first get the courage to take pictures at work and then hopefully not be swamped where I don’t have time to pay attention!
    And next week is shaping up to be extraordinarily ordinary, so it should be perfect! lol

  • 6.

    Ali! I took your class in Atlanta in 2006 and even completed the album on my return home. You are so right – it is absolutely one of my favorite moment in time scrapbook projects ever! I believe I’ll commit and play along too – I even have another Baybox album in my cupboard waiting to be filled, so no more excuses for me! Thanks for all the awesome inspiration you provide. Solisbury Hill is now one of my fav background songs and you changed the way I view scrapping! My scrappy hero!

  • 7.
    Tina Schadone said…

    I am going to try this!!!! Thanks for the inspiration.Taking a pic of myself everyday will be the most challenging thing and probably the most deleted photo.

  • 8.

    BTW, if you wanted to see my finished product, I uploaded it to this site:

  • 9.
    kate in OH said…

    OK, Ali, you have inspired me to give this a go!
    I am looking forward to capturing the normal moments in our lives.
    Thanks for the ideas!
    Can’t wait for Monday morning.

  • 10.
    Cara said…

    OK, I’m going to do it. Have been thinking about this for a while, and you have gotten me super excited about it again.

  • 11.
    sannika said…

    I’m in, this sounds absolutely great!

  • 12.
    Sarah said…

    This is awesome!! I’m so excited to be doing this project–and more excited to be doing it at the same time as everyone! I always enjoy seeing your finished project, but I think it’ll be really neat to be going through the week thinking about everyone else documenting the everyday with me!

  • 13.
    Nicky Anderson said…

    I might be able to squeeze this in – sounds exciting and a new way of looking at thinks.
    Looking forward to it.

  • 14.
    Lisa said…

    I’m going to try this starting on Sunday with my birthday. It will be a different than normal week though as I will be out of town moving my daughter and will only be working one day this week. I guess not all weeks are the same, huh! :) I am still trying to stick to my 365 day project also. I’ve missed some days and am behind in getting the photo’s in the album…but I’m still trying. Thank you for all your inspiration!

  • 15.
    Jerrie said…

    I am so excited. I have started this project a few times and hopefully will be a bit more motivated following along here. Very cool!

  • 16.
    Jennifer said…

    I loved the idea of this class when you taught it before, but I was never anywhere near where you were teaching.
    This project sounds wonderful and I’m looking forward to doing it. I’m really going to put some effort into doing this because I think the end result would be fantastic.

  • 17.
    Jodi said…

    Ali, I am so excited about this project! I take pictures of my sons almost every day, but they always seem to just be “pictures.” They don’t really tell a story. I’m excited to shoot the everyday “things” in our life as well! I’m so inspired, I might just start today!

  • 18.
    Kerry said…

    Hi Ali! I am looking so forward to doing this. Next week seems so perfect for me. Thanks for the prompts!

  • 19.
    Lauren said…

    As a ‘veteran’ of this project, my photo advice to any newbies is to take more pix than you think you’ll ever need. Just take photos of everything! Even the stuff you think you won’t want to remember (piles of laundry, your cluttered desk or kitchen counter, etc.) Also, be SURE to get more than one shot of yourself each day. I was a bit of a slacker on that, and I regretted it very much when it came time to pull the album together. Yea! This is gonna be fun!

  • 20.
    Lydia said…

    Next week will be the perfect week for this! We’ll be on vacation, so it won’t be a typical week, but it’ll be cool documenting the little things of vacation as well as the tourist attractions.

  • 21.
    Tina Stryde said…

    I’m in! This is going to be a lot of fun…thanks once again Ali!

  • 22.
    tracey said…

    oh goodie. i am excited…and a little nervous. is that normal?

  • 23.
    Maureen said…

    I’m going to do this as a gratitude journal. What IS more important than the daily?

  • 24.
    Sher B. said…

    This is a wonderful project! When I took this class with Ali in Nashville I thought it was going to be overwhelming taking all the pictures and trying to capture my “boring” life. It turned out to be so fun to ask the people that I see all the time and sometimes or some even complete strangers if I could take their pictures (store clerks for example) while I explained what I was doing. I even met some scrappers along the way who were interested in the project. Have fun, you will be surprised at what you “see” in your daily life as you do this! Sher

  • 25.
    Tina J. said…

    It’s my pleasure to share my Week in the Life album. (By far my favorite scrapbook project ever!) Here’s the link:
    Tina J.

  • 26.
    Kasey T said…

    Yeah, I’ll play! This is a little out of my normal which is a very good thing. Time to try something new. Thanks for inspiring us and letting us peek at your week too!

  • 27.
    cindy b said…

    AWESOME!!! Your ideas and suggestions are just wonderful!! I am trying to do the September project in Stacy’s class at BPS and it’s HARD to do a whole month with school, work, volleyball, play practice and more. I feel like I am failing the project and it’s frustrating to me. Perhaps 7 days would be more manageable for me. Thanks Ali! peace and blessings…

  • 28.
    Sharon L said…

    I’m in! This will be fun and inspiring. Can’t wait to get started.

  • 29.
    Judith said…

    This sounds great Ali!! I am joining in too :) lots of love from Holland!

  • 30.
    iowajewel said…

    wow Ali, i feel so special to be included inn this project! thanks for the email too!! i could never afford to attend CKU so this is such a special treat for me! i am very excited and can’t wait to see everyone’s books!! how can we ever thank you for what you do to inspire and teach us? i am over whelmed by your willingness to share and help us with out getting anything in return and on top of that you give us wonderful chances to win free gifts all the time! i consider it such a blessing to to “know you”, even though we have never met! julie

  • 31.
    sharon said…

    Looking forward to it! I was always intrigued by this project when you’d talk about it as you were preparing to teach the class at CKU. So excited to see so many others playing along, too!

  • 32.
    Mary M. said…

    Tks Ali; I took your class at CKU-Orlando, but never finished it because I had not taken enough pictures. I am going to do it over with all the supplies I received at CKU, but with enough pictures this time around.

  • 33.
    sharna said…

    I love that pic of you over at Shutter Sisters! That’s just awesome!

  • 34.
    Nichole said…

    Here’s a link to my 2006 album:
    Wow, gas was $2.27, and I thought that was outrageous at the time. :-( Gas prices, postage, bank signs with the temp, grocery receipts – I liked including everyday numbers in my album.
    I’ll probably also focus on news events next week. We’re supposed to have the VP debate in town on Monday, for one thing, and I’m totally obsessed with the campaign. Also, just think of all the transitions the US is experiencing. If I banked at WaMu, for instance, I’d probably put my statement in my book. Maybe it’s just me, but I get hung up on transitions, and love to document befores/afters.
    I’m really excited for this project!

  • 35.
    Kimberly White said…

    This is awesome Ali! Thanks for the invite to work on this project! I’m really excited about it!

  • 36.
    angie said…

    i am so in!! this will almost be as cool as taking a live class with you – almost.:)

  • 37.
    Amy Q said…

    Thank you so much for sharing this experience with everyone online. This class was so much fun and I learned a bit about myself that week as well. That I wasn’t quite as boring as I thought. I’ve posted a few pictures of my album on my blog this morning:
    Thanks Again Ali!

  • 38.
    Stacy/CA said…

    We are in the middle of a major home renovation project (getting all new flooring downstairs), so this will be a great way to document the progress and how we are dealing with living in a construction zone. I’m looking forward to participating!

  • 39.
    Rinda said…

    Okay. I’m in. I did a photo-a-month project in March, 2007, and it’s one of my all time favorite albums. I tried that again in February, 2008, but ran out of steam mid-month. This should be a little easier.

  • 40.
    Anissa said…

    Great Project! I’ll try to do it!

  • 41.
    LisaB said…

    Fantastic! You have inspired me to join in on the fun! Thank you so much. I can’t wait to follow along with you and actually finish an album myself.

  • 42.
    Vicki said…

    I’m so in! I’ve been working on journaling daily life since March and I find that I’m nearly at the end of September with only 3 entries for the month!! This will be a perfect way to keep my journaling commitment to myself! I’m starting today!

  • 43.
    Megan said…

    I’m excited to try this next week.
    I wanted to say that I bought the Giga square punch with my 50% off coupon at Michaels last week and have LOVED using it on my layouts. Thanks for the inspiration, Ali!

  • 44.
    amanda said…

    You are so full of beauty, kindness and inspiration, Ali. I can’t wait to see all the goodness that comes from this project next week!

  • 45.
    Karin said…

    I was inspired by your idea and did one album a couple of years ago:
    a week in my life:

  • 46.

    I really want to join! I’ll start tomorrow!

  • 47.
    Leslie said…

    I took the class back in 2005 in Connecticut – here is the link to my finished album from then:
    I plan on doing this again next week, though it will be a crazy week….

  • 48.
    Sandee said…

    I’ve already started. I have taken around 8 pictures after reading some of your tips. I’ve never done anything like this before and I am so excited to do something new for my album!

  • 49.
    Gina said…

    Thanks so much for the inspiration and the push to get this done. It’s been on my list of things to do for awhile now, this is reminder I needed to get it done!
    (had to smile about the yellow from your previous post, my son came home in the yellow yesterday with quite a story as to why-I guess we all have our “sneaky” days!)

  • 50.
    summer said…

    I’m in. Plus I’m finishing up my Evolution album! yay!

Post a comment