Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

October 7, 2008

Week in the Life : Album Creation Part One


I definitely felt like something was missing yesterday. Having a camera attached for seven full days and then taking it away definitely made for a different sort of day.

One of the things I hoped for in doing this project again was to get back into the groove of taking daily photos. It has been awhile since I felt that desire or excitement related to using my camera daily. It definitely renewed my spark and appreciation for the everyday.

This past week I took 247 photos. That is quite a few less than when I have done this project in the past. Monday had the most photos with 83 and Sunday had the least with 14.

I spent most of my working day yesterday figuring out my formula for this album. Here’s what I ended up with: two 8.5×11′s (also called a spread) with one baseball card divided page protector sheet sandwiched in between. So far I have just completed the basics and plan to do a bit more embellishing (especially on the patterned paper rectangles as the week goes along) – process details to follow below:

NOTE: A lot of information follows. Take a deep breath, read through, and adopt the pieces (if you want) that make sense for how you want to put your album together. This is my album and the way I approach the process is what makes sense to me :) – everyone will be different.

Also, I work fast. Once I get going and decide on a formula I just go for it and don’t spend a lot of time wondering if this is the “right” way or if I should be adding this or that. I want to get it done :) . This approach is not hard, there are just steps to go through along the way.



[ album: Corduroy American Crafts 8.5x11 (ended up with chestnut); page protectors: Avery Baseball Card Protectors; cardstock: Bazzill Lily White ]






When attacking a project like this I prefer to do “like” things all at the same time. It’s basically working in production-mode: doing things that are the same from one spread to the next all at the same time rather than finding yourself jumping back and forth. 

Here’s my process:


1. Print out all the daily templates (I am using the 8.5×11 Story of Today templates. A 12×12 version – that could be adjusted to 8×8 for printing at home – is also available). I added my journaling to my templates before printing them out. I simply copied and pasted from my Word document and adjusted the font/spacing/etc.


As you will see, some pages have much more words than others. For these pages I adjusted the height of the title on the Story of Today template to make room for the journaling (this means my photos on these pages will be smaller).

Here’s a look at how to change the height of the title to adjust for your journaling (images are from Photoshop CS3):


1. Type or copy and paste your journaling on a new layer (on top of the template).
2. Select/activate the template layer. Using the rectangular marquee tool, draw a box around the title, line, and days of the week. Be careful not to cut into the border as you are selecting this area.


3. Switch to the Move Tool (the black arrow) and the selected area should just include the title, line, and days of the week. Use the up arrow key to move the entire piece farther up the page to accommodate your journaling.
4. Print.


2. Add a stamped date and circle the day of the week on each of the
first page templates. Circle stamp from savvy stamps. Letter stamps are
unknown. Ink is from Stampin Up.



3. Order photos or print out at home. I ended up printing all mine at home today once I established my design formula. I printed photos for the opening page of each day. If you are using the 8.5×11 templates the width of my photos were 7.25 inches (the height varied by the amount of journaling – Monday had the most).

Before adhering I rounded the corners of the photos on the top to mimic the frame from the template. 

There’s seven pages finished (six are shown – the seventh is in the album already).


4. For the other full-page part of my spread I decided to do a gathering of photos that would fit into the same Story of Today template frame as the first page. Again, I followed the steps above to move the title to the top of the page (I removed the line and date at the bottom and the days of the week). I printed out seven of those onto white cardstock. 

My photo gathering (created in Photoshop but could be easily done by cropping and arranging printed photos) is 7.25 inches wide by almost 9 inches tall. I varied the placement of the photos (large vs. small, etc) from one day to the next depending on the number of photos. Print, trim, corner round the bottom edge, and adhere to the white cardstock.

14 pages done and in page protectors (even though I plan to go back in and add a few embellishments – most likely word stickers, felt pieces, etc).



1. Print photos 2.5 inches wide x 3.5 inches tall. I chose to go with twelve of these size photos for each day – six for the front of the page protector and six for the back. The other pockets are filled with patterned paper (see below) or pieces of stuff cut to 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches.

Here’s a look at the canvas of photos in Photoshop:


To do this and any other sort of gathering I create a new canvas (usually something like 8 inches x 10 inches at 300 dpi) and then open photos I want to use. Each photo is re-sized before adding to the canvas: in this case to 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches (which requires portions of the image to be cropped). I usually set my photo to 3.5 inches tall first which gives me a width of over 5 inches (if you have the proportion lock checked).

From there I use the crop tool to crop the image to 2.5 inches wide. I get to keep a lot of the image that way. After sizing the image I drag and drop it onto the new canvas and print after filling it up.


2. Cut up patterned paper rectangles for the divided page protectors: 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches. I cut seven of each pattern. Here’s what I went with (from top left: Basic Grey Recess, Hambly Studios, Scenic Route Claudia Street (this one has big numbers on the back), 7gypsies Life Creme, Bazzill Basics Dotted Swiss Cardstock, and Scenic Route Sonoma Napa Street. Any six papers you have at home will work.

3. Slip a combination of photos and patterned papers into the divided page protector pockets. If you have many more photos you could skip the patterns and go with all photos or if you have a lot of stuff cut up pieces of those things to 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches to fit. Consider adding more pages if you need more pockets.

Some days I had less than 9 photos to crop after doing the photo gathering for the second page. For those places I will be adding more stuff/patterned paper rectangles.

These patterned paper rectangles will be embellished over the next few days.

Make this project as simple as you can for yourself so you will actually DO IT! You have already done so much work in taking photos, gathering stuff, and documenting life. Give it a home.


The pumpkin muffin recipe can be found here at


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


  • 1.
    Peggy said…

    I love that you finished this already. I just finally downloaded everything last night, I will order the pics tonight or tomorrow.
    My 4 year old took some pics on Saturday at a Halloween festival and they are some great shots, I must have a budding photographer in my future.
    Thanks for doing this.
    I hope to do something similar in December.

  • 2.
    Hannah said…

    Ali, this project is turning out great!!! I’m working on mine today!!! Thanks so much for the inspiration! (love the PP’s you picked out, those are some of my favorite colors!!!)

  • 3.
    Melissa said…

    YAY for you, Ali!!!!
    I am just learning PSE6 so I spent the majority of my day resizing & distorting photos into your DD 8.5×11 overlays!! ‘Not sure how to “un-distort” them w/o redoing them…*sigh*
    I am wondering if anyone can tell me where to have .psd files printed out; none of the online photo developers are recognizing them.
    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: THANKS for getting me ‘moving’ on this. My mojo had taken a hard hit lately and this will get something done and, hopefully, moving again. :-)

  • 4.
    Rachel M. said…

    Wow…amazing! I am so inspired, as always!
    Thank you so much for continually sharing your time, life and creativity with us! :)

  • 5.
    Nicky Anderson said…

    Love it Ali – have started to figure out which pictures I will do as my main and then which ones to add. Love the process, Can’t wait to get mine done. With a houseful of company for thanksgiving this weekend – I am going to at least organize my pages this week, then create my picture spreads in photoshop (which now that I am getting the hang of – I love)
    Can’t wait to see the finished product.
    Can’t wait to get mine done.
    Thanks again for the inspiration!!

  • 6.
    Ophélia said…

    Great Great album.
    Are you doing the same template on 8,5*11 landscape size?
    I have a old AC album in landscape size and i am thinking to do my week in a life album in here…
    Thanks a lot for this fabulous project, and sharing your work.

  • 7.
    Heather said…

    This is awesome — I love the way your are organizing — I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the end product. I may do this way when I do this project again in the spring (for this year I am going to try to do a fall, spring and summer version). For this time I made photo composites that I plan to put in a 5×7 album– or maybe a 6×6 and inlude the story on the facing page — we’ll see, I am picking up the photos this morning and will try to workon it today/night. :) Heather

  • 8.
    Danielle said…

    I love that you are encouraging us to keep it simple you are so right if things get too complicated I would give up on it. Yesterday I put together a photo collage of each day so I have 25 snapshots of each day and then today I’ll print those and start putting my pages together.

  • 9.
    telisj said…

    Ali-this is so super cool! I love it!

  • 10.
    Kim said…

    Oh sure, you’ve already done your album for an entire week and I have yet to even download my photos from one 24-hour period! LOL!
    Although I didn’t photograph the entire week I did get a bunch of great shots, this was a really fun project and it was great to see you “week in the life of…”

  • 11.
    Becky Swisher said…

    Hey Ali- love it! If you have Any Photoshop Elements users that can help with the redesign of the templates I would be eternally greatful! Just let me know.

  • 12.
    Jamie Rex said…

    Ali, it’s been awhile since I “tuned into” your blog. I’ve been away from daily scrapbooking, and focused on my garden. I had to say, I’m so glad I peeked when I did. My husband is getting ready for a second deployment overseas. He’ll leave in 2 months, and I think I will do a one or two of these week-in-the-life albums for the kids to look at while he’s gone. Last time he was deployed we made laminated pictures, and videos, and this time we’ll do it again, but the addition of a story about everyday life with daddy should really help them not lose sight of who he is while he is gone. My kids are 2 and 4, and they love to look at my scrapbooks. Thanks for the inspiration as always. Your art is, as always, fantastic!

  • 13.
    Laura B. said…

    I was so excited to start this project. Prior to this week I hardly ever used my camera. My husband was always the photographer. Hopefully I can spend tonight putting my game plan together for the finished project. Love the look of yours.

  • 14.
    jennyg said…

    Your album looks great! Can’t wait to start pulling mine together!

  • 15.
    Maria said…

    Thank you, Ali, for all that you do to encourage us and make us appreciate our lives all the more – God Bless! Maria

  • 16.
    simply said…

    wow! I love it…now how would you do the “mini” card part if you didn’t have a printer at home??
    any ideas?

  • 17.
    alexandra said…

    This is seriously fabulous!
    Can’t quite figure out why it made me weepy to look at it – I’m either sleep deprived or totally inspired by your creativity – come to think of it… it’s both!!
    Thanks, Ali!!

  • 18.
    amy said…

    I have loved this project. I didn’t do it this week but plan to next week. It is so inspiring.

  • 19.
    tracy said…

    amazing. wow.
    You have already accomplished a lot and I just love how it flows together.
    I am going all digi and did what I hope are my first two pages (well, I need to do an intro)but like you, might add a few embellies. it is here:
    I am running off to a meeting but will include the materials I used sometime today.

  • 20.
    tania said…

    way cool! i love how simple, yet GORGEOUS this is!

  • 21.
    Christine_H said…

    I love your finished album Ali!! :) Totally inspired to start this project. Thanks for sharing :D

  • 22.
    Maggie said…

    Whoa. That is some serious work. Not a good project week for me, being Fall Break…that’s why I posted so many finished pages as I went last week. I got through Tuesday or Wednesday with that approach. Maybe i can print and add…not even sure on the size of my album for sure yet, though. Still mulling. Love that quote “give it a home!”

  • 23.
    Molly said…

    super, super cool, Ali. I love seeing the process and the project. What a keepsake!

  • 24.
    Mish Gasser said…

    Your album is really coming together nicely…clean lines, lots of words + photos. :-) I really like the idea of putting the baseball card holders in the middle of each day to hold the “goodies”. I’m still collecting those things from the week. Can’t wait to see more.

  • 25.
    Becky in VA said…

    Question: Are you including original receipts or did you copy them and print them out? I’m wondering if the thermal printing will hold up. Also, are you incorporating the newspapers you saved at all?

  • 26.
    Sue said…

    Thank you Ali so much for sharing your creativity. I cannot wait to put my album together!

  • 27.
    Ali said…

    Becky – yes, I am including original receipts. You could just as easily scan or photograph them as well :) . The newspapers are going in an additional page protector in the back – you can see one popping up in the photos of the cover page + spread.

  • 28.
    Ali said…

    Simply – I would either just have your photos printed at regular size (4×6 or 3×5) and then crop them to fit. You could also print wallets (which are 2×3 – just a bit smaller) and either mat them or just go with that size.

  • 29.
    bloomingayls said…

    Reading everyone’s comments makes me anxious to start putting the book together. I just wanted to say, I really missed my camera today. I don’t want that part to end. It made me look closely at the little stuff and liked that.

  • 30.
    sandee said…

    wow, feeling a little over whelmed with all this information. I think my eyes glazed over somewhere after reading about the Avery baseball protector pages, which I do like for the receipts, but after that I think I froze.

  • 31.
    stephanie said…

    thanks ali. I only did a weekend in the life and this will help me with trying to arrange the set up! plus the avery card holders are easy to find. I think I will add this to my regular album and not give it a seperate album though.

  • 32.
    Kerry said…

    Hey Ali! Thanks for sharing your process. It’s so helpful for those of us who stare and stare at your projects and think, ‘Okay, how did she do that?’. I fell off the wagon about the middle of the week but I did still take a couple daily pictures. So I’ve decided to do a ‘Photo a Day Album’ for the month of October. Something I think might be fun to do for a whole year.
    Melissa- If you hold down the shift key while you are cropping your photo it will eliminate that distortion. :)

  • 33.

    you know what’s funny? my brain can’t think so orderly like this and so that makes it harder for me to do it so simply! i am better off just grabbing some scraps and making it simple, but not all the same because that’s too hard for me to grasp! LOL!!!!!!!!! but i LOVE LOVE LOVE what you did! so so much! i wish i could copy it but again, that’s too hard for me!!!!
    i will get mine done by sunday!

  • 34.
    Shelly Kettell said…

    LOVE IT SO FAR!!! Can’t wait to see the finished product! You’re great! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!!

  • 35.
    Linn said…

    Wow. This is really inspiring. I haven’t scrapbooked in months, and this is just enough to light my fire again. I’m taking Jessica Sprague’s digital class right now and am thinking something like this combined with her digital pages we’re creating might just work for or recent vacation album of 500+ pictures! Thank you, Ali.

  • 36.
    Ali said…

    Becky – are you looking for help in addition to what I wrote above? Email me :)

  • 37.
    Ali said…

    Melissa – hold down the shift key while you are resizing to keep the proportions correct. Also, you will want to save those .psd files as .jpg (just click save as and choose .jpg) before uploading to a developer.

  • 38.
    Ali said…

    Melissa – hold down the shift key while you are resizing to keep the proportions correct. Also, you will want to save those .psd files as .jpg (just click save as and choose .jpg) before uploading to a developer.

  • 39.
    kat said…

    so great! thank you so much- i looooved doing this project, and can’t wait to put it together!!!!!
    just a question- i don’t have photoshop. do you know another way i can get my pictures to the width of 7.25 and still print at home?

  • 40.
    LesleMora said…

    Truly inspirational. Thanks!

  • 41.
    rachel carlson said…

    this is FANTASTIC ali, thanks for the continued inspiration! mine will all be digital but i will probably add to my (the year i turned 40) album.

  • 42.
    Ali said…

    Kat – what sort of program do you use to print at home? I would guess there is some way to set the width and height of the photo.

  • 43.
    jonipossin said…

    Thank you so much, Ali, for the fantastic inspiration and ideas!! I have loved reading (and seeing) the daily modeling of your album. I know it took oodles of your time and it has been very appreciated. It’s such fun to see a project from beginning to end… and sooooo helpful.
    I did an innovation on yours… “A Year of Tuesdays”. I volunteer in a friend’s 1st grade classroom every Tuesday. As a retired Reading Specialist I am having fun doing a story with a response to it in the form of a class Mini-book that each child contributes to.
    Using your album format… I’m journaling through words and pictures about each Tuesday. I’ll send you some photos when I have the past 5 weeks completed.
    The mini-albums are on my current post on my blog.
    Merci to you!

  • 44.
    Kristin said…

    WOW – you have been busy, looks fab!
    I took in total 653 photos. Can’t believe it. It took me ages to sort through them all. I finally got down to under 200 for the week and now just waiting for them to arrive. On Monday i really had a problem not taking photos all day, my outlook as the family photographer is now for sure a lot different.
    I now can’t wait to scrap them all.
    Thank you so much for such a great challenge and sharing a bit of you with us all.

  • 45.
    vanessa said…

    I defiantly missed my camera yesterday and by noontime I had to bring it out! I can’t wait to get started. I’m thinking I’ll do an 8.5×11 also. We’ll see. Thanks again.

  • 46.
    Amy said…

    You rock, Ali! Fantastic album. I so love the way you concentrate on the photos and the words. My “Week in the Life” album from CKU-Anaheim 2007 is my most prized.
    Thanks for the daily inspiration. You truly are my creative hero.

  • 47.
    Jakes Mom said…

    Another winner! Love this formula. And all the photos of everyday life are fabulous.
    Thanks again for sharing this with us and working through it step by step.
    Sharon F.
    Oakland, CA

  • 48.
    Christene said…

    It has been so much fun to play along with this project.
    After (or on) the last day’s spread, I am going to do a ‘lessons learned’ page. Such as… (start) I hate this new P&S camera – too slow, too few options, etc. (end) This new camera takes nice clear pictures and I managed to capture a good idea of our week in the life shots. (start) It was harder for mommy than Matthew to say goodby to his bedtime bottle this week. (end) I am so proud to see my little baby growing into such a happy little boy.
    I can’t wait to finish the project. Thanks again for the inspiration, Ali.

  • 49.
    Liz (Sweden) said…

    Wow, wonderful album! Love how the album is not filled with lots of decorations but more focused on telling the story.
    After seeing this and other very inspirational mini albums by you I have started to make my own little minis. I will definitely have to make “a week in the life” album too. So many ideas so little time.. but next up is a travel mini of my recent trip to Iceland.
    Thank you for such an inspirational blog.

  • 50.
    Kristin said…

    I used all of the information I gathered for the “Peek into my Week” class at CKC-Hartford and made an awesome mini-album which, thanks to all of the homework I did beforehand, I was able to complete while I was there. Woo-hoo!
    But now I have another question — how do you store your minibooks? I am usually a 12×12 scapper, and have just recently started making some smaller books with chipboard/acrylic and alternative bindings. The new books don’t really sit well on a shelf and I have two small kids so I don’t want to leave them on a coffee table. I want them to be handy for sharing with others, but I don’t think I have a suitable place. Any suggestions?
    PS – so funny that you took 247 photos while taking photos 24/7.

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