Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

September 5, 2008

weekend creative : summer memory book

The other day Chris was on my computer looking through photos from the summer and he mentioned to me that we had done a ton of stuff this summer. Because I have been out of it creatively for a bit (due to this little bundle growing inside me) it has been awhile since I really looked at the photos as a whole. I knew we had done a bunch of different things, but the proof, the actual documentation, was definitely in the photos.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the daily events (and I definitely love capturing those) and miss the bigger story over the course of a few months or over the course of a year.

Today’s prompt is to create something that is an overview of your summer. This may be a minibook, a digital photobook, a layout, or some other altered creation. What were the highlights and favorite memories? Did you travel or stay home? Did you follow the same routine each day or mix it up?

For my project I put together a digital album (that could easily be translated to paper – more on that below) and am having it printed through Shutterfly. This is an overview album, an album that skims the surface from June through August of where we went and the things we did together. It’s still called Today You (the name of the template ) and it is directed at Simon (the journaling talks to him and tells him the story of the summer). Each of the spreads represents a trip we took, an event we attended, a routine (like summer school) or a gathering of some everyday shots from the summer.

This layered template (read more about those here) album is a digital remake of a class I used to teach called Today You that incorporates the same basic design: one photo on one page of the spread and either patterned paper or photo squares gathered together on the opposite side. The download for the instructions for the older paper version of the Today You album is available here: todayyouHOWTO-chipboard

I put together the digital version over the course of a couple hours. It includes 24 individual 12×12 pages (10 spreads with an opening and a closing page). I made some adjustments to the template as I went along (moving the journaling blocks around, coloring the flourish brushes, etc) so that it worked with the story I was telling and the photos I was using. The word accents and flourishes are included in the template. You can purchase this Today You photobook template here (download includes Shutterfly ready pages).

Edited to add: digital patterned papers used in this book include Katie Pertiet’s Mixed Up Playdate and Graphic Garden No. 2.

Words + Photos : Here’s a look at the opening page, the spreads, and the closing page:

A couple things to note: This photobook is not the same format as the Everyday Life photobook I created for Shutterfly. This book does not use
the “drag + drop” creative tools within the Shutterfly system. To make this digital photobook you will need Photoshop Elements or Photoshop, the layered template package from Designer Digitals, and a basic understanding of working with layered templates (check out my tutorial here). Once you have created the layered templates you want to use in your photobook (and saved them as .jpg files) you then upload those to Shutterfly to have the book printed.

This same format could be easily used to highlight each of the months throughout the year.

This design is also easily translatable to paper scrapbooking. Pick out one of your favorite minibooks and follow the same design formula: large photo on one side and a bunch of square punched photos on the opposite side. Here’s a photo of the Today You class that I used to teach:

Edited to add: If you wanted to create this album in a 12×12 paper format, the large photo is about 10.5 inches wide x 9 inches tall. The smaller photos are 3.25 inches wide x 3 inches tall (the main thing I wanted was for the height to be the same for the gathering of small photos and the enlarged photo).

This weekend take some time to reflect back on your summer, go through your photos, and create an overview album to celebrate the summer as we move into fall.

[ weekend creative is a semi-regular feature appearing on Fridays : past projects can be located in the archives. ]


  • 1.
    Amy said…

    I actually just did this same thing with your kit that you put together for Cocoa Daisy for the vacation album. I have it here…
    I loved the kit and the sections translated so easily for the months! Thank you for making it simpler for us! :)

  • 2.
    melissa m said…

    I LOVE this idea. I was totally at a loss for what to do with the WHOLE summer series of pics. We did so much too!!!! I think having a BIG pic of my fave to focus on the event and then little ones to capture all the rest is an AWESOME. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • 3.
    Jennifer said…

    Love this idea as well. I was planning to put a small book together for my daughter as she was sad summer was ending and didn’t think we did much. It’s kind of my way of showing her we had a great summer as well as a way for her to remember it all.

  • 4.
    Sasha J Nygaard said…

    This is so great – I can’t wait to work on this. We had a really busy summer as well and I’d really love to document it for my family. Thanks for the inspirational push!
    It’s pretty fabulous that even though you haven’t been feeling 100% creative-wise with your new little sweetpea sapping your energy, but you still manage to inspire creativity in others. :)

  • 5.
    Erin said…

    Super duper cool! I would love to know what size you did the one large picture on each layout for those that will try this with paper. Hope you are feeling well :) Erin :)

  • 6.
    Rochelle said…

    Hey Ali-
    Great book! I was wondering what digital papers you used in the book?

  • 7.
    LisaZ said…

    I actually started printing photos for a project like this one yesterday. Not too good with the whole techno digi stuff, but I can work with a LO or mini-book today.
    Take care…Hugs to Simon.

  • 8.
    Cathy said…

    That picture of Simon on the bench with a drink, daydreaming…it did something to me…I know it’s weird, but it brought a tear to my eye…I miss my kids (they’re grown) and that kind of afternoon…just sitting, daydreaming..simple…life ahead of them… it’s magical. Cathy

  • 9.
    Jessica said…

    WOW! Incredible book Ali. How big is the book?What size is the big picture?
    I am trying to figure out if I am brave enough to try it without the drop picture in features. My son had a fabulous summer! I want him to remember it. Thanks for the info on paper version. Thanks for the inspiration…I remember how tired i was when I was pregnant, good for you to creating this book. Take it easy. Jess

  • 10.
    Heather H. said…

    This is lovely. Thank you for sharing it. Love the idea of a summer overview.

  • 11.
    Vicki said…

    I have tried to do the online books before – and I always get a little boggled and quit before I actually get the project finished. I had just logged into Shutterfly this morning to put together a book for my granddaughter’s summer visit. You’ve encouraged me to follow through this time!

  • 12.
    Steph said…

    as always, thanks for the inspiration….. now i just need to go DO something….

  • 13.
    Linn said…

    Thanks for the inspiration, Ali. I really think I might do this one, as it’s been a summer of sewing instead of scrapping for me. It’s been a welcome change, but I’d also like to capture the memories while they’re still fresh in my mind. Great idea.

  • 14.
    Shelly Kettell said…

    Awesome!!! Love it!! Can you do mine? :)
    In the “paper” book you used to teach…is the book plain chipboard or did you paint/alter a kids board book?
    THANKS! Hope you have a great weekend!

  • 15.
    Lisa Jackson said…

    Sweet girl,
    Came home from dropping my son off at Pre-K and found your newest book waiting on my doorstep! I’ve already browsed through it, and will be using it this weekend to create a mini-book about my mom’s surprise 70th birthday party. As always, your book rocks the house.
    Rest. Eat chocolate. Be good to yourself.

  • 16.
    Yvonne Busdeker said…

    Cute book, love the look. I’ve created an end of summer book the last few years. My one from this last summer is already completed. I’ve done digital some years and traditional others. THis year was traditional. The boys always love looking at it. It’s a great snapshot of a fun filled summer!

  • 17.
    young c-m said…

    Great idea – thanks for the project idea!

  • 18.
    Jen Davis said…

    Very fun post, I so enjoy it when you show some of your work with us on the blog! =) Great idea too about gathering things and stories from the summer….thanks for the inspiration!

  • 19.
    Brandi Osborn said…

    Ali-I love this Weekend Creative! Totally going to put an album together using this idea. What sizes are your photos-I will probably be doing a paper version so I’m curious about the large picture sizes and the small ones too. Thanks for inspiring me yet again.

  • 20.
    Ali said…

    If you wanted to create this album in a 12×12 paper format, the large photo is about 10.5 inches wide x 9 inches tall. The smaller photos are 3.25 inches wide x 3 inches tall (the main thing I wanted was for the height to be the same for the gathering of small photos and the enlarged photo).

  • 21.
    Jonnelle said…

    That is just gorgeous! What a great idea, thank you for sharing it!

  • 22.
    Maria said…

    Your prompt totally made me weepy. As I looked through the summer photos of your family, I saw how connected the three of you are and how this summer if nothing else was a celebration of the three of you before you become four. Continue to bask in it being the just the three of you. I treasure every moment my daughter, husband and I spent together before our little boy arrived. It was such a special time…our last summer as the “three of us,” our last “Thanksgiving as the “three of us,” etc. Since Pete was born, we continue to celebrate our “firsts” together. It has been so fun. Congratulations.

  • 23.
    Nicky Anderson said…

    Love it – will be doing this soon. Just received my new MAC computer – now time to order my WACOM tablet to get photoshop elements!!! HAH!!!
    Your the best and love, love the book.
    Have a great weekend.

  • 24.
    jamie said…

    so great to see weekend creative again! thanks! loved it…i was hungry for doing a mini album…that just might be the ticket…your so awesome to share your wisdom and insight. so grateful!

  • 25.
    Christine F. said…

    Ali – you are such a good teacher. I really enjoy reading your blog, and I pick up so many wonderful tips and ideas.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and for the inspiration.

  • 26.
    michelle norris said…

    great pictures alli — and great ideas. thanks michelle

  • 27.
    Sarah said…

    just wow.
    wow on the “Today You” concept and book
    wow on the “Sharing your Story” book
    wow on 1st grade
    wow on your new baby
    just wow.

  • 28.
    Rachelle said…

    Love the new templates for photo books at Shutterfly. Last year I did a year in review 8×8 of 2007 and loved the idea, but at that time there was not enough journal room. Glad to see that great scrappers like you have solved that problem for my 2008 book. Thanks Ali!

  • 29.
    Molly I said…

    beautiful book! I started a summer compilation last weekend … it’s just taking so darn long this time — and I’m really trying to keep it simple. I am. Yours is very fun. Thanks.

  • 30.
    Jenni said…

    THANKS for this prompt! I especially LOVE to see your work and focus on WORDS plus PHOTOS. When I think of it in that way, I get down to business and create!!! (If I look at too many lovely, intricate LO’s I get overwhelmed and nothing gets done.)
    So, just wanted to add…. I spied another fantastic DD paper in your fabulous album… its “Beachy One” by Andrea Victoria. (Love that kit… used it on my hawaii album!)

  • 31.
    vdalton said…


  • 32.
    Emily S said…

    Ali, thank you so much for providing the weekend creative in an easily printable, fun to look at PDF. So helpful and inspiring! Think I’ll work on it this weekend, the weather is supposed to be very bad due to the hurricane, and I’ll be indoors!

  • 33.
    annette said…

    Hi Ali,
    GREAT idea. I had pictures already ready to go for this idea, I was in the process of trying to get started on my own SUMMER ADVENTURE BOOK. This has inspired me to really get going now. Have a great weekend.

  • 34.
    Martha - EP said…

    Hi Ali, love your blog. I have a quick question. I have the same printer you have and love it. However the other day I noticed that when I’m printing from Photoshop Elements 6 say a 4×6 print, it cuts off 1/4 in or so of my picture. I am selecting borderless 4×6 prints but they aren’t printing that way. Do you know if I have a setting set wrong or something. It gives a message about a post script printer or something. I know I must not be making sense, but if you have any idea…anything would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

  • 35.
    kate said…

    I just have to say that you rock, Ali. Seriously, I know you hear that all the time, but it’s true. I haven’t bought many of your digital things but I LOVE the inspiration they give me. Thank you so much for inspiring another artist, you are truly talented in your ability to make me think!
    love your work, take care!!

  • 36.
    sara said…

    I really love the papers you chose to intersperse (sp?) throughout. It kept it clean while adding just enough fun. What a treasure. And it never ceases to amaze me how well you capture Simon’s personality in photos. I never seem to have the camera at just the right moment like that. (Either that or my camera is too slow to catch it.)
    Off topic, but I really love your hair in the photo of the three of you sitting together on the beach. :)

  • 37.
    Cameron H said…

    Such a gorgeous book! Thanks for sharing. I wondered if you have a supply list that goes along with the pdf of the “Today You” chipboard album? I was especially curious about who makes the album itself that you used. Thanks! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  • 38.
    Ali said…

    Cameron – the album I used is from Maya Road. All the other patterned papers were random ones punched from my box of scraps. Many of them are older as this project was from a few years back.

  • 39.
    Bree said…

    Great idea for a summer recap! I am off to make my own now :-)

  • 40.
    Susan said…

    Love looking back at my Today We book I made in your class – can’t believe it’s been 2 years already! Also can’t believe how much we look at it. Now why haven’t I done another??? Hmmm…seems like the time to do another is now!

  • 41.
    Lori S said…

    Excellent idea, perfect timing! Thanks again for your constant inspiration!

  • 42.
    Tracy said…

    I recently started a monthly overview (started in May, and worked backwards until all of 2007 was complete), but I love the idea of a “summer” overview as well, that I could include in my “monthly review” album. I do this for Halloween and Christmas (double-layouts for each, in addition to the double-layouts for Oct and Dec), so why not for a season?
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • 43.
    Jen said…

    You know…as the summer is ending and the weather is getting cooler I was thinking about all the summer photos…I haven’t printed any yet…how bad is THAT…and we just got back from Labor Day vacation and wanted to put it all together with an exclamation point. Oh how I love it when I go on your site and there it is…the perfect, perfect most beautiful idea…just exactly what I needed…and I didn’t even know it…or couldn’t put it into words. He he! Thank you again for another wonderful weekend creative inspiration for us. I’ve been wanting to do a photo book…I love shutterfly anyway…just gonna do it. Thanks for the shove!

  • 44.

    I’m not a digi girl but I love that!! It looks wonderful!

  • 45.
    Kerry said…

    Hi Ali! I picked up Sharing Your Story today and I *heart* it. It’s so awesome. I’ve only flipped through it once but I know there are many more hours to come. Thanks for your continued inspiration and I hope you are feeling good!

  • 46.
    Jane said…

    You continue to inspire — that is amazing!

  • 47.
    jennyg said…

    Love the weekend creative project….love your photos. Still waiting for book to arrive…can’t wait to get it!!!!

  • 48.
    Michelle said…

    This is fabulous. Thank you so much for your never-ending flow of creative inspiration. I know what I’ll be up to this weekend!

  • 49.
    michelle collazo said…

    Pretty sure my favorite posts of yours are the projects…you come up with some inspiring ideas that are just so meaty, full of substance and room to play. I really appreciate that about your blog. I probably should check out the new book…still, I don’t ever get tired of looking through the previous ones, though.
    Thanks for thoughtful scrapbooking.

  • 50.
    Lisa said…

    What a neat idea to celebrate a season and have something wonderful to look back on! I love how you capture the every day…it’s something I haven’t done, but hope to start!
    Thanks for sharing your art/life with us.
    Lisa :)

    • ….
      Brandy Tamlyn said…

      Your’e little guy has so much personality! Love the bottom right pic of the tiger “today you” layout page. Love the beautiful essence of him!

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