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Anatomy of an Album

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Here's a look into Simon's 2007 album. It's a good example of what all the mixed-up page sizes look like when they are together in the album. I have also created a new photo album over on the side bar so you can see all the photos in a group.


The album interior you see here is not in date order for the year yet. I grabbed my 2007 pile and put them in randomly before heading to the Portland CKC Convention last weekend. Planning to move them around within the album so that they are as close to chronological as possible (taking into account single page layouts vs. spreads vs. different sizes).


I like chronology in the anatomy of my albums, but am not concerned with it in terms of story telling + creating.


I am using the cloth 3-ring binder albums from American Crafts - you can find them online here and here or check at your local store.


[ Many of the pages below are featured, with supplies listed, in my book Life Artist © 2007 or in my column in Creating Keepsakes © 2007 ]


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This layout, created in 2007, shows a variety of different photos over the last few years. Makes a nice opening page.


For more information on divided page protectors check out this post.


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The back of this divided page protector (and others you will see below) are currently empty. My plan is to create pages/content to fill in those spaces or just add in photos.


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Another back that can be filled in with either a complete story or five different ones (each on their own individual canvas).


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One of the big hurdles for people to move away from post bound albums seems to be a fear that 2-page spreads won't translate with the ringed-gap in the middle. I have no issue with 2-page spreads that don't "touch." I find that my eyes automatically connect the two together based on their shared colors, photos, embellishments, and design.


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Another common question I receive is what to do about single page layouts. I have been doing a combination of single and double pages since I started scrapbooking. I like having variety. I just stick the single page layouts right into the album (in date order when I am paying close attention). Your children and your family will not even notice that there are single page vs. double page spreads. They are going to be interested in the photos and the stories. Some stories need two or more pages; others need just one. 


And again, one of my favorite things about these sorts of albums is that it is easy to insert new pages and move things around to accommodate new stories you are telling.


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This is the back of a divided page protector with two, 6 inch x 12 inch pockets. I am thinking that I will do two individual pages that are each 6x12 for these spaces.


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In addition to the purchased divided page protectors, I also have quite a few page protectors that I have simply cut and stitched to fit my page size. The ""today you" page here is one that I ran right through the sewing machine to create the 6 inch x 12 inch pocket.


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Such a great helper in turning the pages for me.


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Here's an example of a layout where I stitched two page protectors together (which creates a seam that brings the double page layout together). I did this mainly because it was actually a three page layout and I wanted to literally communicate that within the album. Close up:


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One of my all time favorites. Words + photos.


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Thanks buddy!


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Questions? Leave a comment and I will answer them in an upcoming post.


[ Follow up post with Q & A can be found here. ] 

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180 thoughts

  1. Gigi says…
    03/06/2008

    I am just starting to organize my layouts and pieces of papers which I have collected during my vacations. I am now INSPIRED!!!
    Thank you very much!

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. jamie says…
    03/06/2008

    oh ali. this is so beautiful. so so so wonderful.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. evelyne says…
    03/06/2008

    Hi Ali, I really love the album, but I am a disaster at stitching with machines:( so stitching my own sizes page protectors is something I can only dream about.
    My little girl's into Easter right now and I thougt it would be fun to give her an Eastercalendar: I painted 27 eggs (a mix of gesso and acrylic paint) and filled them with little Playmobiltoys that together become an Easterset she can play with all Easter long (afterwards it goes on the attic 'till next year). Each egg has its number and she really loves it!! Your Christmasboxes gave me the inspiration.
    You can check the result at my blog:
    http://www.bloggen.be/scrapalicious/archief.php?startdatum=1203857444&stopdatum=1203943844

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Ady Abreu says…
    03/06/2008

    Ali, I am such a fan of your work. It's funny because as the pages turned I remembered these layouts from magazines or from your blog. I loved seeing it together and it all flows so well together with all the layers and styles. Thank you...

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Molly says…
    03/06/2008

    This is wonderful to see! Thank you. Currently, my pages are just sitting around in a pile. I don't own any albums yet and this seems the logical approach. I'm wondering what the Heidi Swap clock is between the pages - is this a layout with photos/content only on the bottom half? I just purchased one of those myself and there are so many ways to use it.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. cori says…
    03/06/2008

    I scrapbook not only as a creative outlet for myself but for the joy I see in the faces of my children when they see the moments of our life on paper. I would love to hear some of your thoughts of how Simon feels about seeing himself in these marvelous books. Does it do wonders for his self esteem? You have such a fantastic grasp on scrapbooking as art + life and am thinking about that philosophy and how it translates to the ones we love.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Jessica S says…
    03/06/2008

    Wow, love looking at the album. I am so far behind and I tend not to scrap in chronological order so I love the AC albums.
    Are you sorting your pictures using Stacy's 4 categories. I started trying to sort my pictures using the 4 categories and got totally overwhelmed. I still have some pictures from my son's first year that are not scrapped yet and he is five. Also, I have lots of pictures that need to be scrapped. Do you use the photo albums to store your pictures like in LOM approach? Help, need some of your sage advice. Jess

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. young c-m says…
    03/06/2008

    Ali, thanks for sharing! Glad I got to see this in person at Portland CKC. Am wondering what you do with scraps? Do you have techniques that revolve around using them up or do you usually just toss? I hate wasting the scraps, so am looking for some suggestions. Thanks!

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Margaret says…
    03/06/2008

    Such a beautiful way to show your loved ones how much you care and document your lives together. I love that.
    So I do have a funny question. I have been loving how you and Becky Higgins have all your albums in the same kind of album. Love that. But my issue is that I would like to convert from a Creative Memories album to a normal 12 by 12. I cannot figure out how to convert...like what year do I start. I wish I could just cut off the tabs and slide them in a sheet protector. But my friends think I am crazy to try that. Hah!
    Also, I have friends who had their albums with normal top-loading sheet protectors who recently converted to side-loading sheet protectors. They didn't like having all that dust at the top of their albums. Have you found this to be a problem?
    Thanks for your help!

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Anna Aspnes says…
    03/06/2008

    Ali, I totally have an issue with the binder space between 2 pages but LOVe your idea of stitching pages together. Definitely something to consider!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Ann says…
    03/06/2008

    This post couldn't have come at a better time! Within the past few days I was catching up on some of your older blog entries and was completely inspired by your album reorganization project. I want to do this with my layouts, but I had a few questions about the specifics of how you had addressed the issue of different sized layouts/page protectors...and your blog today answered all of my questions. Thank you! You're always an inspiration!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Anna Aspnes says…
    03/06/2008

    Oh...and I do have a question. What are your thoughts on longevity of canvas albums over leather? I started with canvas albums back in 2002 and had to switch them out later...granted they were in the humidity of Japan where we had no A/C which would certainly do it. Just throwing the question out there...

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Emily Barklage says…
    03/06/2008

    In the vain of Jack Nicholson ...
    You make me want to be a better scrapbooker.

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. iowajewel says…
    03/06/2008

    Ali,
    i just want to thank you for all the time you put into posting all those pages and the notes about them! i just gobbled them up! its like you fed my creative soul Ali and i can't get enough of your pages, thank you for the wonderful peak inside Simon's album! know that i will probably never be able to attend one of your classes in person so i can not begin to tell you how much your daily posts mean to me.
    love to you, julie

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Tina J. says…
    03/06/2008

    I'm even more excited to make my album with you, at CKU Provo this year! I love the look of all those different sized pages in one book! Can't wait to get started!!!
    Tina J.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. lisa says…
    03/06/2008

    Ali, Your generosity is inspiring. Thanks so much for taking the time to take those pictures, compile them in this post, and share your tips - as well as your family.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Kari says…
    03/06/2008

    I would reiterate what everyone said above: thanks for this post. Not only is it inspiring, but also so aritistic, in the fact that we are shown the "complete" work of an album, and asked to look at it as a whole, too. I love what you've done with the different sizes, and will be referring to it in the future as I start to rethink my own albums.
    As, quite possibly, the only scrapper in Ecuador, I also very much appreciated that you show how a 3-ring binder album can work. Here in Ecuador there is virtually no way to get albums, so I use big ugly office binders, but after seeing this post I realize that it's OK. I don't need the fancy albums to get the message(and story) across. With that said, your album cover is much nicer on the eyes than mine: what brand of album is it?
    Thanks!
    Quito, Ecuador

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. mrstjshelby says…
    03/06/2008

    It's just so cool!
    It's inspiring, and wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing. I could look at your art all day.
    SHARE MORE!

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. Chana says…
    03/06/2008

    Beautiful album!
    QUESTION: Do you have any pages with interactive parts? I.E. flaps or pockets? Do you cut your page protectors to leave space for those parts? How do you deal with this?
    Thanks!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Raquel Daroda says…
    03/06/2008

    Your scrap is perfect!! wow!! The colors, details...I love it!! I admire your work and I don´t have words to say how much beautiful it is!! Kisses ;)

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Valerie says…
    03/06/2008

    Wow. Thanks for sharing! I'm always amazed at how you so openly share yourself with all the readers out there. It's really inspiring. I do have a question, too- what kind of printer do you use for all of your photos? I'm shopping for one and would love some recommendations. Thanks again!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Kara says…
    03/06/2008

    Love this post Ali! I've been trying to organize my pages in albums (chronologically) for awhile now, but always get frustrated because I hate to use just one size paper for the entire year (8 1/2 by 11, 12 by 12). Absolutely love the idea of using 12 by 12 and putting all different size pages in!! Plus this looks so much easier to add or move around rather than the post-bound! I can't wait to go to my LSS this weekend and stock up on these American Crafts books and get them organized to share! Thanks so much for the inspiration Ali, I love your blog!

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Nicky Anderson says…
    03/06/2008

    Love it - so great to see all Simon's layouts and love the mix in page sixes, etc.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Debbie says…
    03/06/2008

    As always THANKS for sharing!! I was wondering if you included your 81/2 x 11 pages in with the 12x12 pages. Looks great!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. cindy b says…
    03/06/2008

    OH MY GOD!!!!! That looks so yummy and filled with such goodness! And the pic of Simon helping is just too cute! My question is this: I also use AC 3 ring albums but have tons of trouble finding refills. Either online stores are sold out OR I just can't find them!! Are there other brands of protectors you use without seeing a big difference in the size? Thanks Ali for always inspiring all of us and most of all - sharing!! .. peace and blessings..

    Reply 0 Replies

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