Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

April 27, 2011

Request for Memory Keeping Q & A

It’s been awhile since I did a big round of memory keeping Q & A here – August 2008 to be exact (you can check out that series here) – and I’d like to take some time over the next week to do that again.

Feel free to ask anything related to scrapbooking, supplies, creative process, words + photos, organization, techniques, minibooks, paper, digital, classes, etc.

I’ll leave the comment section open until Friday at noon Pacific with the first-round of answers posted Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

PLEASE NOTE | Some basic FAQ questions (such as what equipment I use) are covered on my FAQ page.


  • 51.
    Christine said…

    I scored an old typewriter–where do you get ribbon, or how do you ink yours? This one has a ribbon, but it is dry, and when I tried stamp ink. it didn’t work. Thanks!

  • 52.
    Linda said…

    What are your thoughts on journaling with cursive handwriting, considering that many schools are eliminating it from the curriculum? I’m torn because I love the look of cursive, but it is sad to think that my son (age 2) may not be able to read my journaling when he gets older.

    • ….
      Gypsy Chaos said…

      oh good thought. My first reaction was “well we can read the Declaration of Independence through all those flourishes”. Maybe that will be the case for future generations?

  • 53.

    I don’t know if blogging questions are ok? I’ve noticed that you write about pretty personal things on your blog about your family and your children. I am never sure what is too much to share. We are not really comfortable with having our daughter’s photo online at this point either (she’s 4) so I never show her face on my blog. How do you decide what is the right amount to share and what is too personal?

  • 54.
    Claire said…

    I know you use albums with rings rather than posts. Do you find that these store upright okay, or do the page protectors sag? Do the ring holes in the page protectors last or get weak/tatty? I am finding the post albums hard going – they are really tricky to fill and add to, so I am thinking of switching to ring albums for ease of use.

    • ….
      Gypsy Chaos said…

      I use Pioneer Snapload thingies to replace the posts. Should be easy to find by searching. Pretty sure sells them.

  • 55.
    Henriettae said…

    Maybe this is only slightly scrapbook-related, but I was wondering what kinds of crafts you have been introducing Anna to. I have a son in the same age, and I am reluctant to let him use my stamps, stamp pads, scrapbooking paper etc, even though he loves to paint and color and do other crafty stuff. Should I just get over it and let him use my stuff, should I buy him more kid-friendly stamps etc, or should I wait to introduce him to those kinds of crafts? Any input?

  • 56.
    Mefi said…

    Do you photoshop most of your pictures before posting or are they straight from the camera? Any books or blogs you can suggest to improve on photographic skills?

  • 57.
    Sharon said…

    Hi Ali – Thanks so much for offering this. I have the Adobe photoshop program and really don’t have a clue on how to use it. Any suggestions on where is a good site to learn to use it? Thanks again.

  • 58.
    Amy said…

    Thanks for the offer to answer our questions!

    How do you store your ribbons and and stickers??

  • 59.
    Jennifer Kolakowski said…

    Hi Ali,
    I would love to know :) * how you organize your day to manage work + family+ exercise + home; *What you ended up doing with your Disney Pictures (I’m staring at 600+); plans for your next on-line class.
    THANKS so much for the chance to submit questions!

  • 60.
    Brooke said…

    Obviously part and parcel of memory keeping is the need to store your albums and Project Life, etc. How do you manage to maintain space in your home to fit them in? I’m currently trying to cull unnecessary items from our home. Clearly sentimental items are harder!

    I imagine ten years or so down the track of say Project Life, would amount to 10 albums you have to store. I know memory keeping has been in your family for years. How did your Mom manage with keeping things and knowing what to keep/what to cull etc?

  • 61.
    Beth F said…

    I have Photoshop Elements 7.0 and I love it but it really messes up the colors if I print from there. I have been printing photos from windows or larger ones from Microsoft Publisher after saving them as a jpeg in Photoshop & reopening them in Publisher and the colors are just fine. I would love to save myself the time and hassle of the extra steps. Do you know what I am doing wrong in Photoshop?

  • 62.
    Martha Thomas said…

    Do you ever struggle with a total lack of motivation? When you are alone at home with no physical boss, do you ever find yourself completely wasting time? Not with intention, but maybe as an escape to feeling overwhelmed and/or frustrated? If none of this applies to you, please just skip this question. Thanks Ali!

  • 63.
    Lindsay said…

    Ali – You mentioned that you aren’t using the binder that comes with the Project Life kit – what type of binder do you use for Project Life?


    • ….
      Lindsay said…

      Nevermind! I actually went back to one of your post on PL and found the answer to my question! :-)

  • 64.
    Maureen said…

    Where are you now with the relationship between your digital photos and your scrapbooking? I am wondering about a more global view to taking hundreds of pictures a month, and scrapbooking a small percentage of them. While I am enjoying scrapping random things with a small percentage of my photos, I am also feeling a tug towards my entire photo catalog and how I want to edit (as in reduce,not process) organize, annotate and preserve these files for the future. Is this something that you think about?

  • 65.
    Heather Tarrant said…

    Hi Ali,
    I would like to know if you’re planning on doing a Disneyland/world project similar to your Scrapbook on the Road? And maybe even collaborate with Cocoa Daisy again to put together a Disney minibook kit?? I’ve seen some mention and questions from others regarding this in your past post comments section and was just curious….and hoping you might!!

  • 66.
    slmnontec said…

    I already asked a question (#8). Brooke commented on my question saying she uses Project Life journaling cards to tell the stories.

    But that’s not the type of story I’m referring to. I do Project Life and journal those little bits of daily life, but I’m talking about the in-depth reflective introspective stories, those we connect with. I’ve taken your Yesterday/Today classes — it’sthat kind of journaling. How do you decide which ones to tell?

    • ….
      Brooke said…

      Owh sorry!

  • 67.
    Mary Beth said…

    Most of my pages seem rather two-dimensional. I would like to ask how you use semi-bulky embellishments, like ribbon, brads, or chipboard, on your pages. Do you use page protectors on those pages? Thanks for an inside peek into your scrappin’ world!

  • 68.
    Rhadonda said…

    Am a fairly new member of the Technique Tuesday AE collection. How do you store the clear stamps, yours and others, so that they are easily accessible and usable? Do you categorize by designer or company or theme? Thanks so much. Love your creations!

  • 69.
    Gypsy Chaos said…

    When you realize or decide you just are not going to use a specific supply or tool, what do you do with those items when throwing them away is not an option?

  • 70.
    Jen said…

    I am curious how you and others out there handle your physical prints from the past. I have boxes of photos (childhood, high school, college + my husbands) and I am not planning (right now) to scrap them but I want to keep them for when I do get to that project one day or just to flip through. How do you decide what to keep (questions/process you ask yourself)? what to part with? how do you organize and store? I feel like there is a lot of focus out in blogland on digital which is valuable but I struggle with those prints from the past. Really fun to read everyone’s thoughts and responses!! Love all the sharing!

  • 71.
    Reneecrops said…

    I would like recomendations on design books, web sites etc. I have the instinct to know when something is wrong with a layout, but I do not have knowledge base to fix the problem. I’m sure I can cure the problem (or at least move on to a different problem LOL) if I simply read, but the books I’ve picked up are over my head and not really a cure. Thank you!!

  • 72.
    Sharon W. said…

    I love to take photos, I’m just not very good. Any recommendations on how to become a better photographer and not be so scared of my camera? (I have a DSL.) Any decent on-line classes you can recommend? Thank you.

  • 73.
    joni possin said…

    I have soooooo much paper and I just dn’t know how to organize it. I have metal racks and I’ve done it according to colors. Then I’m looking for polka dots, checks, or stripes so I changed it again. I’ve broken the paper down by seasons and holidays… didn’t work for me. How do you organize paper?

    Thanks so much,
    joni possin

  • 74.
    Melissa H said…

    I first have to say I love your work and find it inspiring and do some scrapbooking/journaling/memory keeping of my own but for some reason I get caught up worrying about what will ultimately happen to it all. Part of me is completely fine with enjoying the process and enjoying my 5 year old getting a kick out of her baby book but part of me worries what if my daughter doesn’t want all the scrapbooks of her childhood and then do you just toss them? Do you ever worry about this and how do you get over it and just keep creating? As a note, I think I worry about this partially because my mom make about 10 giant scrapbooks for me and I can’t figure out what to do with them :)

  • 75.
    amyw said…

    I am sitting on about 3000 slides my father took over a 40 year period of travelling the world. It’s amazing to think about the places he has been and he was quite a good photographer. He even wrote notes on each and every slide!!! I want to cull the images, send them off to be scanned and digitized, and get them in a photobook. The project is so daunting I’m not sure where to start. Help :)

  • 76.
    Anna Vollmer said…

    Do you have a list of photos you take often or like to take? Ex: Things around your house, Kids playing, Dinner, Etc. I would love a list of photos to get in the habit of taking to better document my stories.

  • 77.
    Shauna Miller said…

    First of all thank you for this website and all your inspiration.
    I have learned so much from you in the past year especially with digtal scrapbooking. I just bought your letters and downloaded them onto my computer. So my question is how do I put them in Photoshop or word where I can use them to journal with? I have been trying to use them but it only lets me use them one letter at a time!! (grr.) sorry if this is a silly question but I still feel very new and clueless in the digtal world! Thanks again.

  • 78.
    annette said…

    Hi Ali,

    I have a granddaughter that lives accross the country, I have started a scrapbook for her (she is 13 mo.) the photos I get are posted on FB with little or no comentary. Wondering what is a way to document for her without being there to experience her in person?? I’m running out of ideas. the whole “I’m missing you grow up is getting old”??? Thanks


    • ….
      Karen M. said…

      I have the same situation with grandkids. Sometimes I will repeat stories the parents have told me – even if it doesn’t match the picture. I figure just getting the story down is important.
      I also use find photos of my son at the same age and put both photos on the page and compare their likes and dislikes, or what their days looked like or some other compare and contrast stuff. I have even used pictures of me at their same age.
      And sometimes I just write down what they say to me over the phone. It’s just a different kind of memory keeping.

  • 79.
    Jessica B said…

    I was wondering about your cameras. I know you have a DSLR and something a little fancier. But, do you ever use a point and shoot? I am thinking of investing in a ‘fancy’ camera, but I really love how easy it is to throw my point and shoot in my purse. So, I was just wondering your theories or thoughts on using cameras.

    • ….
      Birgit said…

      Exactly my thoughts. I have dropped our Olympus c-5500 zoom again and have to buy a new camera. At this point I don’t have the time and energy to figure out how to use a Nikon Rebel/SRL …(although my husband and I are thinking about getting one in the near future but right now I am looking for a an easy to use point and shoot camera – I love the zoom on ours. Any recommendations? Thank you.

    • ….
      An said…

      there are many DSLRs with full-automatic programs that you can use as a point and shoot camera. Only the pro-level cameras (the most expensive ones for the professional) don’t have an automatic program. The maior advantage of a compact camera is the size. The maior advantage of a DSLR is the quality of the photos. I use them both, I always carry the compact on me, but I’m somethimes disappointed on the quality, so more and more I bring my DSLR with me.

    • ….
      Jessica B said…

      I have a canon point and shoot and love it! But, I do find myself wishing I had a higher quality camera a lot.

  • 80.
    Tiffany Welk said…

    Hi Ali!
    I would like to know how you decide which layout to put in which childs album, ie. if they are both in the pictures, do you do 2 layouts? Make a copy? Keep a family album?
    Thanks so much!

  • 81.
    Karen M. said…

    Who do you use for your website help?

  • 82.
    marisa said…

    I’d love to know how you pick and choose which photos to scrapbook? I find myself printing every single photo I take and becoming overwhelmed. Do you also have just photo albums for some photos?


  • 83.
    Michelle N said…

    My scrapbooking style has always been on the very linear and simple side. However I have always been a fan of the more free form styles of scrapbooking…I especially love the mini books of seemingly found objects with varying sizes and mediums. Over the years I have tried to replicate the feel of those books but it always seems TOO organized and put together.

    My question is: What is your one piece of advice for getting from linear and simple to creative and different?

  • 84.
    Betty Silva said…

    Organizing, always about Organization…
    hi Ali! My favorite Topic is Organization. I’ve been trying to Organize my whole life, and realized that it is all about keeping organized instead of spending time trying to do it once & again. But I know you are pretty organized, so any tip you can give us in this particular issue would be simple GREAT!
    Thank you for keep on chatting..

  • 85.
    Christine said…

    I was wondering what is the major difference between Apple iPhoto and Aperture? What are the avantages of Aperture over iPhoto? Thanks.

  • 86.
    Anthea said…

    How do you choose which layouts to put in whose album?

  • 87.
    An said…

    Thanks for the opportunity to ask questions.
    I looked at the album of Simon, there are about 48 lay-outs in them: how many lay-outs do you make a year? How much time do you need to make one lay-out? How much time do you need to gather all the supplies, and more important how much time do you take to decide which supplies you’ll be using? Can you still make that many lay-outs, since Anna is born?
    I also follow your PL, thanks for sharing this every week, with us: do you keep extra stuff of everyday that not make it into PL? Or are the stuff in PL the only things you keep? Have you, like I have, extra boxes filled with stuff, that possibly will never leave these boxes again? What is your strategy in keeping, or storing stuff? Photos and stories you can easily store in a computer, but what about all the others things, clothing tags, birthday cards, arts from the kids, school stuff, magazines, folders of things you bought… Do you keep that kind of stuff extra, of is it in PL or in the trash? When you keep that kind of things, how much space does it take? For me I’m keeping way to much and there are boxes, and boxes and boxes…
    Thanks for all your answers.

    • ….
      Birgit said…

      Same at my house. I have organized it my month and year and not used any of it. My husband sometimes wonders what I am going to do with all those cereal boxes, clothing tags and labels, spelling tests, math home work, writing projects, drawings and paintings, letters, postcards, food labels etc. Do you just collect them for a week, print your photos, decide what to use for PL and toss the rest? Thank you.

  • 88.
    An said…

    How much time do you spend, weekly on making layouts?

  • 89.
    Susan Anderson said…

    When doing your layouts do you start with photos, layout or the story? And do you print your pictures for several layouts at a time or just photos for the layout you are working on?

  • 90.
    Electa from El Cajon, Ca said…

    Hi Ali,
    Can you please tell us how you organize your digital scrapbooking papers, templates, etc? Do you print a hard copy and keep it in a notebook and then reference it on the computer? I am struggling to figure out how to use different elements from different manufacturers. THANKS so much for sharing your insight :-)

  • 91.
    Kathleen said…

    Hi Ali,

    I have been scrappbooking with Creative Memories for the last 18 years. With our very large family, my philosophy has developed into “done is better than perfect, done is better than creative”. With the birth of identical twins 10 months ago, I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed with what to do with albums for twins. I have started their 12 X 12′s albums but have kept them “identical” for the first four months. It has been very difficult to tell many of the pictures apart and I feared if I didn’t get going, I might just keep putting it off. Any thoughts as to how to work with albums for twins?

  • 92.
    Tina Lee said…

    How do you like your Brother sewing machine? You mentioned ordering one like Mary Ann Moss’ from Dispate from LA.

    • ….
      Tina Lee said…

      oops! I meant Dispatch from LA.

  • 93.
    An said…

    Hi Ali,
    the journaling in your PL: do you first make a rough draft, or do you write straight on the journaling cards?

  • 94.
    Susan McL said…

    wondering what pens you use to write on photos and if they are archival safe—or if that matters anymore??

  • 95.
    Amy said…

    Hi Ali,

    I’d just like to know how you build a page…do you place the photos first and then decide on paper and embellishments? How do you decide the look and feel you want the page to have? Do you just pull different embellishments until you get the ones you like?

    Thanks so much!

  • 96.
    Kelly said…

    I would love for you to make a class (like your On the Road) based on your Technique Tuesday journaling class from last year. Or just a general class with journaling techniques and prompts and getting us thinking in new ways about our writing.

  • 97.
    Val Irwin said…

    I am so inspired by how you scrapbook and I think you have really helped me to find my “scrapbook groove”. With two little boys (4 and 2), I don’t have a bunch of extra time but I want to get get everything down so I don’t forget. I have been looking at digital scrapbooking and hybrid scrapbooking and have played around a bit with some of your brushes and other digital elements and I love how they are turning out.

    I recently purchased your Today You Album from Designer Digitals, it says it is Shutterfly ready, when I look on Shutterfly I don’t see how where I need to go to publish my own photobook without using the templates supplied. Thanks!!

  • 98.
    Laura said…

    This is such a great opportunity and I don’t know what to ask!

    How do you organize your supplies? Color, manufacturer, “kit” whether premade or assembled yourself….