Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

March 19, 2012

Thoughts On Documenting Spring Break

Spring Break is just around the corner. Some of you may have had it already and others have to wait a few more weeks.

Have you thought about how you want to document your adventures? You don’t have to be going anywhere special to do some documentation over the course of the week.

We are going to be traveling so I’m thinking about what’s going to make sense for our situation this year.

Here’s some of the things I’m considering:

1. SCRAPBOOK ON THE ROAD | This has been one of my favorite ways to document travel in the past. Think a small journal, glue stick or other adhesive, and on-the-go documentation. I’ve found I’m most successful with this when on solo (without kids) trips but love the idea of including them or giving them their own journal for writing and gluing as we go. I think I might try that this time regardless of what I end up doing overall. Simon is really into Diary Of A Wimpy Kid again and is asking for a new journal so I might be able to encourage him to document in more than one way (so cool).

If you’re interested in learning more about this concept I’ve got a great Scrapbook On The Road self-paced workshop for just $14 that you can read more about here.

Maybe something like these mini-books from Amy Tangerine? Cute and ready to go – I’ve got a couple of these here and they look great with Instax photos.

2. PROJECT LIFE | A couple options with this one. My sister is doing Project Life and I think she’s going to bring some page protectors along with her. I could do that too or just bring along an envelope and stuff paper stuff in there over the course of our adventure (that’s what I did last year). When I get home I could print out my favorite photos, most likely include an insert or two and call it good. I could journal on a Word document or in a notebook along the way.

Here’s a cool video from someone who incorporated a trip to Disney in her Project Life album.

3. 8.5×11 ALBUM | This one I’d put together when we get home. This is what I did for our Disney trip back in 2006. This is what I plan to do with our Italy photos from 2010. It’s also what I’ve used for my Week In The Life album for the last number of years. One thing I like about this approach is that the stories tend to be more thought-out with the perspective of looking back on the adventure (vs. in the moment journaling). As I type this I think my ideal is a combination of the two – something that includes those in-the-moment pieces of the adventure and the over-arching perspective stories.

4. DIGITAL PHOTO BOOK | Loved seeing this example from Julie of how she used my Story Of Today layered template set (it’s great for Week In The Life too). I’ve never tried doing a digital book on the road but might be something to try and see if I could make it work with our trip. Not that it has to be done while we are experiencing it, but I know I at least want to get a bit of documentation down while traveling (all that “in the moment” stuff). Above is an example of a summer memory book I did a few summers ago that included a trip to Chicago using my Today You layered template photobook set.

5. VIDEO | I was chatting with Amanda the other day and she brought up this idea. Definitely thinking about some ways to incorporate video as well. Even one video a day asking the kids what their favorite thing was each day and burning those to a DVD to be included in the album. I also saw a link on Two Peas last week about using QR codes in your scrapbooks (to link to videos) and then found a tutorial by that same person here. I’m interested in investigating that more. Jenny had a great post about the topic of QR codes last week too.

6. ALL INSTAGRAM ALBUM | I was super inspired when I saw Elise’s Blurb book last week that showcases all the photos she took and ran through Instagram during her husband’s deployment. I especially loved how she want back through the book after she got it and hand-wrote things she wanted to remember. I think this would work really well as a vacation album.

7. JUST GO AND HAVE FUN AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT | I think a bit about just going and experiencing without documenting (not sure if it’s really a fantasy or a nightmare). Or at least without having a plan in advance. There’s something really great about just taking photos and having fun and not having to think about writing anything down or remembering to do it after an exhausting day of fun. That said, I so know and value and treasure those in-the-moment memories. Obviously, right?

I’ll be thinking more about all these options this week as I get ready for our trip.

Do you have a favorite way to document Spring Break or your own adventures?

JUST A NOTE #1 | I actually have a couple past Spring Break’s I haven’t documented yet either and have them on my list to go back and make something with the photos and content. Always lots of projects on my list – anyone else know anything about that? No guilt about it – it’s really just a time and focus issue.

JUST A NOTE #2 | Next week I’ll be celebrating Spring Break with my kids and will have a bunch of great guest bloggers to educate and inspire you.


  • 1.
    Megan said…

    Hey Ali,

    I know a lot about the feelings that surround having a list of many projects. I work 3 jobs and now I’m planning a DIY wedding. I wrestle a lot with the completion of projects and which are most important and making time to get back into my studio.

    I wrote a post about it over here:

    The biggest thing for me is something you mentioned – no guilt. I’m allowing and understanding that when the project is ready to be finished I’ll get it done. Just this week I finished a greeting card album from our engagement in September. In the end, when I get it done, it feels great and I know that the time it took to get it done was just right.

  • 2.
    sharon said…

    Hi Ali,

    ditto for me I did a digital photo book for my niece’s birthday and what i did was to document in the printed book by adding a manila tag or library pocket and daisy d had some darling birthday mini folder that I added with journal…my choice was also for her Mom to add journaling as well…selection was non bulk but space for journaling …it worked very well

    have great spring break and relax and enjoy

    hugs & blessings

    Sharon Phoenix Az

  • 3.
    elise said…

    super fun to see my book included in this roundup. excited to see what you end up making & follow your adventures on instagram! xo.

  • 4.
    Neelu said…

    My family and I are going for a trip day after tomorrow. I’ve couple of Amy Tangerine minis and will also carry an adhesive runner. I don’t know whether I’am going to be able to document everything everyday. But I thought if I don’t try, I will surely regret it later. ;)

  • 5.
    Tina Johnstone said…

    That “Today You” book is one of my favorites that I’ve ever made! Made it in a class in Iowa, several years ago, with you, Ali.

  • 6.
    MelissaL88 said…

    We just got back from our Spring Break adventure (I know…it’s soooo early!). My boys went to visit their grandparents in Tennessee while my husband and I went to London for vacation/work. I took a journal with me and wrote in it each night after we got back to the hotel. I’m not sure how I’m going to incorporate it, but it at least gives me what we did and what I was feeling at the time.

    My oldest son (almost 13) took his camera with him and took over 100 photos during the week! I was so proud of him. He even came home with a large ziploc bag filled with brochures from the places they went. My MIL even got a map of Tennessee and highlighted the paths they took and the places they went during the week.! Talk about a gold mine! It was more than I could have hoped for.

    My proudest moment was when he told me that he saved the unaccompanied flier folder and scolded his younger brother who wanted to tear up his boarding pass. He told him “Mom would want this for our Project Life book.”

    I’m still not sure how I’m going to organize it all. I think I’m going to do a combination of Project Life and a separate Week In the Life type scrapbook of our adventures. I’m not sure…things could change. I’m still sorting through all the pictures I have!

    • ….
      Mary in IL said…

      My proudest moment was when he told me that he saved the unaccompanied flier folder and scolded his younger brother who wanted to tear up his boarding pass. He told him “Mom would want this for our Project Life book.”

      Okay, this makes me smile!

  • 7.
    Nicole B. said…

    If you’re in love with the instagram book idea Paper Coterie recently announced their new MY Life product line. They have books that you can simply drop in your instagram photos or edit the book how you’d like it to be. They are currently running a promotion to get any one of their My Life products for free using the code Capturingmylife. I’ve used them before and really enjoy the options. The books are gorgeous when they are finished.

  • 8.
    Suzanne Bux said…

    What perfect timing for inspiration on Spring Break documentation! My children just went back to college from their breaks and I have my own Spring Break in a few weeks (one of the perks of working in a school). Last week with them was such a crazy, hectic & FUN time and I am looking forward to getting the good times we had documented in my PL book <3. I'll also give thought to my upcoming Spring Break – I'll be road tripping to visit my sis in Ohio!

    I've got to tell you, Ali, how much inspiration I've gotten through your posts and I am beyond thrilled at having made the great decision to do PL this year!

    Thanks for always having the way to spark our collective imaginations :)

  • 9.
    Allie said…

    Hi Ali –
    Great topic! We just came off of spring break that included a family trip. A trip on Spring Break is a bit of a tradition and I’ve followed your lead in documenting over the past few years. One year I did week in the life over the course of the vacation, another was a digital album that was story rich, while another was a fun mini-album. This year, I decided to be more “in the moment”. I took way less photos than usual and only documented quotes that I wanted to be sure to remember (my kids are 5 & 7 so they come up with some priceless stuff). When the trip was over, I had everyone come up with their top 5 memories. I then compiled a really cute mini-digi album using the memories, photos and quotes. I love how it turned out and I spent way less time capturing and documenting during the vacation and compiling the album after the fact. Thank you so much for continuing to create and inspire. Without you, I’m certain all of these wonderful memories would be limited to photos on my hard-drive!

  • 10.
    Jenni Hufford said…

    hey ali! i love all of these ideas! i finally decided to document the greece trip in project life sleeves… hopping to start that soon– it’s only been 18months! : / have a GREAT spring break!!!

  • 11.
    Carrie Rosalind said…

    Great ideas! I don’t have kids and I don’t get a spring break, but if I did – I’d be documenting it in Project Life! :)

  • 12.
    Toni from said…

    Thanks for the qrl link, I will be making a lot more videos now, wish I had this 12 years ago. Have a great spring break Ali!

  • 13.

    Oh, how I wish I was going on a vacation right now — our last real vacation was in Aug. 2010, to Seattle. I tend to find vacation photos overwhelming, so the Project Life approach to vacation documentation would be a good one for me. I have the Momento app now for my iPhone, which would be useful on a trip, and I think future trips will include some video recording as well. I will definitely check out those two instructional/inspiration videos you linked to. Thanks for sharing, Ali, and I hope you and the kids (and I gather your sister and family as well??) have a wonderful, restful, joy-filled vacation.

  • 14.
    Paula said…

    Wishing you and the kids a fantastic Spring Break full wonderful memories written on your heart!

  • 15.
    HeidiY said…

    Love that Disney PL video you shared! Thanks! Loved the way she incorporated QR & videos into her PL!! Definitely will be using it cuz Hubby always records via videos & kids are starting to do it, too! Love all the other projects you shared, too! I’ll be using your Scrapbook on the Road soon!! Enjoy your Spring Break!

  • 16.
    Jan said…

    Have you thought about using the voice recording on most phones now to record thoughts/journaling as you go? Then #7 would not be so scary – you could have the pictures and the voice recordings to use later. Just a thought…

  • 17.
    Peg said…

    Love to see your thought process as always. I have never had a lot of luck doing much more than a quick writing down at the end of the day but have fantasies of doing something along the way. Maybe next time. For you, I wanted to suggest that possibly this will be an important trip to do at least some level of ‘in the moment’ recording. Things are changing so much in all your lives right now and it might be really different to look back on this trip with even a short period of time elapsed. Some food for thought.

    Have a lovely, lovely time and travel safe!

  • 18.
    christen said…

    my husband, son and i were all on different trips during spring break (last week) and all had cameras! so we are each getting two pages in my project life album (plus an 8 1/2 x 11 if needed).

  • 19.
    Kirby said…

    great, great post, Ali! thanks for gettin’ the wheels turnin’ on this. hoping that you guys have a wonderful week together!

  • 20.
    Janet K said…

    Hi Ali, Hope you have a great spring break!! Love all the ideas that you mentioned. I just got one of the Amy Tangerine minis…my husband has a conference in Portland, OR in June and I am going to tag along to check out Portland..I was planning on using that mini book, as I will only be gone for a few days.

  • 21.
    Mel said…

    Good thougts going on here and all great ways to get things told. I think doing little trip projects in whatever format is my favourite scrapbook method.

    Have a great break.

  • 22.
    JayEssJay said…

    I never fail to create a digital scrapbook to document each of our big vacations. I take along a travel journal and write in it each night (or squeeze in time anywhere along the road)… writing what we did, where we ate, what we felt. And, then back at home, I use that journaling (usually word-for-word) to accompany our photos. The last page always includes a letter to my husband (and someday my kids) that sums up the trip for me and the memories I treasure from the experience. I have the book printed by Blurb, and then add it to my scrapbook shelf. I have four “Adventures of Jana and Rob” books so far, with one more in the works. They are some of my favorites to flip through.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I love the idea of writing a letter at the end – that’s awesome.

  • 23.
    Jennifer Levin said…

    Today I’m putting together a blog post about how much I loved creating my first “scrapbook on the road” while on our Disney trip in Feb! It’s my new favorite way to document vacations.

    Thanks for all the great ideas for documenting trips! ~Jennifer

  • 24.
    Jenny Meyerson said…

    Love the Scrapbook on the Road idea. I think that is possibly the only project I haven’t completed of yours. My to do list looks a lot like this post. I have an Amy Tan album sitting on my desk and a sticky note to remind myself to do a Blurb book like Elise did. Thanks for including me in your post. Awesome ideas.
    Now I want to skip swim practice to create something!

  • 25.
    Karman Barner said…

    Hi Ali. We just had our Spring Break last week and I did a mini page for each day for PL. All pages were less than 12×12 so that it would all still fit between the two pages. I put a “Day 1, Day 2″ etc tab on each insert. I love how it turned out.

    Have fun on your break.

  • 26.
    Dori said…

    After reading this post, I couldn’t wait to flip through my WITL album from Oct. 2008. That was my very first WITL and I used Ali’s “The Story of Today” overlays and format – my absolute FAVORITE way to document a trip! Love those overlays very much and I highly recommend them for a classic, clean, timeless look.

    I hadn’t looked at that album for quite a while and I must say it made me a little misty. I had forgotten some important memories from the trip and it was so cool to read about them and see all of the photos and little ephemera that I collected along the way. (We flew to CO to welcome my son home from Iraq.) I saved receipts, brochures, little embroidered bees from The Golden Bee restaurant at The Broadmoor, ticket stubs, napkins, even a twizzle stick, and I took photos that I never would have taken before – my new shoes, food, drinks, the airport, plus tons of candid photos of my son and his wife instead of the standard look-at-the-camera-and-smile shots. I included a lot of detailed journaling (bless you, Ali, for teaching me to do that) and I’m so glad I did. That trip really came alive in my heart just now.

    My advice to anyone going on any trip is to take lots of photos (of everything!), carry an envelope or baggie in your purse for ephemera (save everything!), and keep a pen and little spiral notebook with you at all times to jot down your memories. In the future you will be SO happy you did. The photos are important, of course, but the ephemera and journaling make the memories come to life.

    Oh, one more thing… remember to hand the camera off to someone else once in a while so they can take your picture, too.

    Ali, I hope you have a fabulous week!

  • 27.

    Scrapbook on the road seems a good idea but I’m not sure it would work for me. I mean, I just can handle the mess I create every time I design pages. But I can save photos in my camera and have them printed when I get home.

    Have a great week Ali!

    Creative Photo Albums

  • 28.
    Nat said…

    Really great ideas! I usually wait a while and let everything cook for a couple of years (okay, it’s really because I’m behind). Anyway, I take a big envelope on every vacation and deposit every item I pick up on the vacation inside. That way at least I have everything contained when I want to finally turn my intention to it.

  • 29.
    Dawn Cheshire said…

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I planned on doing a mini book while I was away last year but never managed it! Going to keep it simple this year! Enjoy your Spring Break!

  • 30.
    audra said…

    If anyone is considering purchasing Ali’s “Scrapbook on the Road” do not think twice. I HIGHLY recommend it! LOVE IT! It was so helpful before our last vacation. There are some excellent ideas and tips I would have never thought of. I purchased it when it first came out, and I’m looking SO forward to watching it again before our Spring break vacation. Even if you are not going away there are just SO many creative ideas that you can benefit from for everyday scrapbooking and journaling. Thanks again Ali for all that you do!

  • 31.
    Holly S said…

    I am curious…you are in a lot of pictures on your scrapbook pages and you always look great…I am not photogenic AT ALL…like scary photos of myself…I have read hundreds of times that in the future no one treasuring my scrapbooks will care how I looked, if my hair was out of place, etc., but I still can’t get past it…wondering how you have learned to let go and scrap yourself ‘as is’…I am sure it is a learning process and any comments I’d love as long as it’s NOT the same generic answers I’ve (we’ve) heard everywhere…thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Morning Holly – happy to write up some suggestions, but you’ll have to fill me in on the “same generic answers” so that I don’t repeat those -

    • ….
      Holly S said…

      Thanks for getting back to me~I guess what I am looking for is what do you say or not say about/to yourself in pics you are scrapping of yourself…we as women are overly critical of ourselves and I am especially in photos of me…in order to get one ok pic of me a ton have to be taken…wondering if this is true for you and if you just go with it and use not so good ones? I find I only have this over critical eye about myself-this is a major block for me-how do you push through? Thanks!

  • 32.
    Deanna Lynn said…

    Thanks so much for this post Ali. I have been wrestling with how to document my upcoming, very quick trip to Italy and Germany. I really appreciate you continued inspiration! Have a great Spring Break!

  • 33.
    Christine said…

    I have three trips started but not yet complete. When I start feeling negative or am just not enjoying the process, it’s time to put it away until later. It’ll all get done or not. Just want it to be a joy and not a chore to get done. Enjoy your trip.

  • 34.
    Dina said…

    I’ve been doing the same sort of thing for vacations for a few years now – sort of similar to your “Scrapbook on the Road.” I take a smallish journal with me (I think the one I’m using now is about 6×8″) along with some adhesive, pen, pencil, scissors, etc. My goal is to journal every night along with adding some memorabilia from the day – like tix, cut-outs from brochures, coasters – and I also leave room (2.25 x 1.5″) for photos that I print at home after the trip. At the end of the trip, I usually ask my husband and daughter to each write their three fave things that we did during that vacation, so I have their input.

    My family just got home from a week at Disney World and let me tell you how much I didn’t want to write anything at 11:00 at night when we finally stumbled into the room. What I did was catch up on our “relaxing” day while my daughter played in the pool. And I finished most of the writing on the plane trip home.

    I love these journals just as they are, the whole in-the-moment thing, but also that way if I don’t get around to the traditional scrapbooking right away, I still have all the info I need when I do get to it. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate myself to work on it (especially at WDW), but I know now that it’s totally worth it to me in the end.

    Have a wonderful time on your vacation!

  • 35.
    Laura said…

    Ali, I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing, hug-filled spring break.

    I just got back from a trip with my family and I used one of the Amy Tan daybooks to do a little scrapbooking while we were away. I think it changed my mindset — made me think of saving little snippets of things to include that I might not have otherwise. I put together a little minibook from old patterned papers and binder rings for my 7-year-old to use but since she had schoolwork to do, too (we were gone during a school week) she only used it a little. The most successful thing I did was weed & edit photos in the evenings — I placed an order for prints before we were even home and my husband picked them up the evening we returned. I was able to finish the book over the weekend!

  • 36.
    HelenH said…

    I’m in the middle of a 3 week trip in Italy (with husband, no kids). I made a scrapbook on the road inspired 6 x 6 binder. Every night I unload my purse and slip some of the stuff into the binder, the rest into envelopes – e.g. One holds restaurant receipts &cards.

    I buy lots of postcards. I use one in the morning to plan activities and restaurants for the day. I write notes on another all day long. When in museums, I write notes in the guidebooks and brochures, or underline what I want to remember seeing. I write postcards to my mom, she’ll send them back to me. Those are “highlights of the day” cards. In other words, I have a pen and paper with me everywhere, and I only write short notes. If I write at the end of the day, I use another postcard.

    I try to write the date on papers I use for jotting notes. I’ll rely on my photo time/dates for itinerary info. I take photos of street signs (we walk everywhere), too, as reminders.

    Love the digital book idea – I’m checking into it right now!

  • 37.
    Jonda said…

    I have a smartphone that allows me to make notes in a Word document. For our past 3 family vacations, I have created a new document in my phone and journal the memories along the way. (I also keep my shopping list this way and just delete the items as I purchase them and add to the list when I think of something – no more scrap pieces of paper with lists everywhere!)

    I just make simple notes with the date, usually the time of day, and what we were doing, funny things that were said, or how we were feeling. It’s something I can put together with my photos later. This has been much easier for me than sitting down and intentionally journaling since my phone is always with me and I can do this while we are driving to our next adventure, or while waiting in line. When we return from vacation, I sync my phone to the computer and print my memories. :)

  • 38.
    Tami said…

    I bought one of the new K&Company Smash books. It was hard to decided which one I wanted, I just knew I had to have one. Pen/Glue stick are attached. They are so cute! Check them out, there is a travel one…

  • 39.
    Debbie P said…

    I watched the “Scrapbook on the Road” videos for the second time,today. I’m in the process of making a scrapbook/journal for a trip that I will be taking to CA in May. The workshop is well worth the 14.00, and will be using what I’ve learned for a long time. Thanks Ali!

  • 40.
    Rebecca said…

    I like the butterfly – ‘go’ is my One Little Word for 2012.

  • 41.
    Lani said…

    Getting ready for Spring break in 2 weeks. A project will help pass the time on our long drive to and from. Thanks for the great ideas!

  • 42.
    Tanya Rey said…

    Ali – You inspire me with all your creativity! I still get overwhelmed at the thought of starting my girls’ scrapbooks & albums, but your designs and layouts inspire me to finally get to work!

  • 43.
    Katie scott said…

    We did 3 ski trips in 3 months & I took short videos on my iPhone for future scrapbook journaling purposes; I also brought along a home made smash book to collect the stuff / memorabilia of the vacation & a simple composition book for writing down all sorts of things. I am dividing up my pictures among the smash & composition books; project life; a few 12×12 layouts & last night I made a shutterfly photobook of all 3 trips.

  • 44.
    Marilyn said…

    I envy all of the stories with the spring trips and your little guys. I’m unemployed so my home became my Disneyland…Big imagination down in TX. I’m completely overhauling my scrapbook room. Took 7 trunks full to the YMCA and have probably 2-3 more then it will be way too awesome. I feel guilty registering for these wonderful prizes b/c my children are grown and live so far. Winning “Project Life” would fill my heart with joy. Because I don’t have children I do have English Bulldogs. The project life forces me to look at my daily life and creates joy and appreciation of the tiniest things.Seeing what each day documented brings to me decreases the possibilities of depressed feelings of “I have no life”. It allows me to break it down into moments which fills me with worth and value. I’m so excited about this give-away. I never win anything so to win an Ali give-away would put me in orbit.

    Marilyn in TX

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