Our grandparents used to paste small photos with white boarders onto black pages with photo corners.
My parents filled magnetic albums, and, in the days of “Free Double Prints”, filled shoe boxes with envelopes of photos.
This is the story of my memory-keeping evolution, but if you had your first child in the late 90s/early 2000s, it might look familiar.
I had always loved photos and journaling, but had never combined them. My mother-in-law first introduced me to scrapbooking in 1997. Brian and I had just returned from 2 and a half years in Russia as Peace Corps volunteers, and she had just been to a Creative Memories party. For Christmas that year, she set me up with a giant paper cutter and a travel-themed album.
I never finished that album. I remember feeling overwhelmed with wanting to accurately describe our experience in Russia. I wish I had done more back then, because those stories are less vivid now. That summer my friend Angie came to visit and I scratched my head at her passion for this hobby---she had all her supplies spread out on our living room floor and wanted to stay up all night “scrapping.”
And then I had a baby.
Once Aidan was born, I couldn’t take enough photos, and I couldn’t capture enough stories. Those early stages move so quickly. I also escaped what were (at least in 2002) the narrow confines of Creative Memories and discovered Simple Scrapbooks (which continues on in a different form at Write Click Scrapbook). I fell in love with this hobby that combined two of my favorite things: words + photos.
Over time---and more pregnancies, my approach to memory-keeping changed. With three little boys, I no longer had the luxury of spreading out lots of supplies and that led me to discover digital scrapbooking (to learn more, check out the free guide from The Daily Digi).
My very first all digi layout. Templates by Katie Nelson.
As my photography skills grew, my interest in the embellishments of a layout decreased. At the same time, my appreciation of the stories increased. I could look back at pages from Aidan’s first year and see the value in the pages that captured some of his personality and told a story that at the time I was sure I would never forget but which would have been lost if I hadn’t written it down.
In 2010, I took a photo every day that year, and added them to an album designed to hold short journaling cards beside the images. It was the best thing I ever did for my photography, and my favorite thing I’ve ever done for memory-keeping. I still remember that year better than most---not just because I’ve looked at the pictures and re-read some of our stories but because just picking up the camera, just writing the words, seals memories in my mind more clearly. My boys still suggest shots to be our “photo of the day.”
(Sorry about the photo—my 1st time photographing with page protectors. I have new admiration for those who do it well!)
Becky Higgins created that photo project and then simplified it even more to create Project Life. Memory-keeping has evolved and branched out to include art journaling, as well as video and blogging. But Becky’s Project Life system is the development that has taken scrapbooking by storm and made me fall in love with photo+words all over again. She describes it best herself here.
It isn’t about taking a photo every day. Some use it to capture a week at a time, others a month. I’m using one for each of our sons--- to collect the little things they want to save and mixing it with larger digi layouts too. What’s magic about it? It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s fast and it can be whatever you want it to be (if you want to be blown away by people much more creative than me, check out some of my favorites here, here and here!). Looking at my layouts from different years, I see a pattern of using grids, straight lines and short journaling---all of which Project Life combines.
Here’s my confession: Aidan has a huge baby album. Sean has a half-completed one. Nolan has none. I took photos and I blogged to capture Nolan’s first year (still archived here as Baby#3), but I haven’t printed any of it. How I wish this system existed back then! To be able to add photos quickly to a page projector, with small journaling cards so you don’t feel like you have to write a novel. The Baby editions of Project Life even include short prompts to help you capture milestones and stories.
I’m not affiliated with Project Life or Becky Higgins other than being a fan. I just believe this system of memory-keeping works, especially for a new parent who wants to remember the big and small moments from a child’s first year. As part of celebrating DOK Photography’s first anniversary, I’m thrilled to give away one Baby Edition Project Life Core Kit.
This doesn’t include the album/binder or the page protectors (there are lots of styles but I prefer the original Design A page protectors and We R Memory Keepers 3-Ring Binder ). I will include the Month Dividers for whichever edition the winner choosers: Neutral , Boy , or Girl .
**UPDATE: Becky read this post and sent a message that she would like to provide the Core Kit + Monthly Dividers, AND a Big Pack of Photo Pocket Pages! Woohoo! Now all the winner will need to create a complete Project Life Baby album is the binder----so I will also provide a $25 Amazon gift card for Project Life Binder - Seafoam Edition or the edition of your choice (lots more being released this May!). Thank You, Becky Higgins!
Please follow the Rafflecopter prompts in the widget below to enter. Basically, you need to follow/like DOK Photography on Facebook and leave a comment below by February 28th.
You can also enter Monday’s giveaway of Kelly Rae Robert’s special edition of Brene Brown’s Parenting Manifesto, and if you were photographed by me in 2012, enter Wednesday’s giveaway of a 12x12 gallery-wrapped canvas from your session!
Be sure to check back on March 1st to see if you won!a Rafflecopter giveaway