Stories Of Summer : Summer In The Life MiniBook by Monika Wright


AE_StoriesOfSummerBlueLogo_Small copy


Two years ago, I fell in love with Ali’s December Daily adventure and right then, my love of mini albums was born. Her posts and the December Daily Flickr gallery led me to discover that I really like the idea of telling our family history in small doses. I get to concentrate on a specific subject and tell the story in as much, or as little, detail as fits into my schedule at the time.

How many of you wanted to play along with the Week in the Life project several weeks ago? Yeah, me, too. It didn’t work out for me though.

My schedule was full with a birthday, Mother’s Day, design team projects and last days of school for two kids. And one of those last days was really “THE. LAST. DAY.” My oldest graduated from high school. EEK! Didn’t I just graduate from high school myself? (No, Monika, you did not. You graduated a very long time ago. Back when all those songs they sing on Glee were hits the first time around.)


That’s how this Summer In The Life mini-album came to be. Okay, you got me... it originally started out as a giveaway for the anniversary celebration week at and quickly evolved into much more. While assembling the mini, I made another one for a friend and then I thought to myself, “Monika, you silly girl, why aren’t you putting one together for yourself, too?”


To begin I chose four words I wanted to focus on for the summer: play, splash, laugh, chill. After choosing my summertime words, I designed page tabs in bright, happy colors, which were printed on matte cardstock at home on my awesome Epson R1900 printer (see free PDF download at the bottom of this post). Another choice would be to print them on photo paper.





Next, I trimmed my patterned paper and cardstock to 4x6. I know, I know. You’re thinking that 4x6 is just not all that exciting. Or inspiring. Remember, I originally designed this album as a giveaway? And, honestly, I think the majority of us print our photos as 4x6‘s, which makes covering the back side of patterned paper with a photo effortless. The result? A completed mini page in no time at all.


Behind each tab, I included an envelope for memorabilia, a manila tag, a page of graph paper, a time card and a vintage book page. It doesn’t take any more time to pull out four of something, rather than just one, so why not? I then sorted my paper and cardstock into piles that fit the color scheme of each tab. That’s not really necessary, but that’s just the way I roll.


I embellished a few pages by adding tabs, ribbon, journal spots, label stickers and chipboard so that I could print photos and just slap it in there. Yes, I did just say slap it in there! Remember the goal is no-stress and fun, fun, fun! Although I generally use my Zutter Bind-It-All for mini albums, I felt that this project called for binder rings. Other alternatives would be ribbon or ball chain.


With three kids at home, I won’t have much time to be at my craft desk. They’ll be much more interested in the fun, fun, fun part! I’ll need to get it done quickly, which will be easier with my pre-assembled pages.



I don’t intend to document each day of our summer, just those that strike me as a good story, a special memory or as an example of another ordinary day in our extraordinary life. I’ll also include bits of life (receipts, to do lists, movie stubs - we plan to see Toy Story 3!).





I also know that not all my pages will have photos. I plan to include stories in this mini-album, which will include:

  • conversations between the kids that I overhear and don’t want to forget

  • things I remember doing with my brother during our summers at home compared to what my kids are doing together now

  • our love of Cherry Limeades from Sonic on hot, humid days

  • a page to document each family member’s favorite Summer memories, in their own handwriting if I’m lucky!



Won’t you play along and record your summer memories, too?

If you’d like to use these four tabs in your very own SUMMER IN THE LIFE mini-album, click below for  your free download:

Download MonikaWright_SummerMiniBookDownload

Note: The CHILL tab came as an afterthought, but we all need a little CHILL time don’t we? I know that I will definitely be trying to sneak a photo of my husband taking a cat nap on the settee in the gazebo while we’re taking a break from swimming at Nana’s and Papa’s!

ABOUT MONIKA : Although she didn’t begin documenting her family’s stories until 2008, you can usually find Monika in their combination scrap/computer/laundry room crafting and pretending to her husband and 3 children to be doing much more laundry and ironing than is actually being accomplished.

When the kids aren’t begging for computer time, using her markers or sneaking pretty paper, Monika is creating projects and layouts as a design team member at In addition to having one of her December Daily pages featured on Ali’s blog, her work has been featured on the blogs of SEI []
and Colorbok. Her Etsy store, i love it all, has mini-albums in stock similar to this one. Use code ALI to receive 20% off one item in the store through July 30, 2010. Monika blogs, when she can, about projects she loves.

Related Posts

Sign in or sign up to comment.

37 thoughts

  1. Susan Bowers says…

    Love the idea of a few words to focus your summer activities on. I might try to 'add' something like that to my album. I am having so much fun with it. So far it is all digital but I'm thinking hard about adding hand scrapped pages too after seeing your album [and all the other wonderful ones too!]. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Monika Wright says…

    I remember those newborn days, hectic but oh, so sweet. My Mom just told me today that she keeps the mini's out that we give her and she just loves to sit down with her coffee and re-read them from time to time. A year from now you'll be so glad that you documented Summer 2010 in an easy, but fun, way!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. dawn says…

    This is such a cute album. I love mini albums also and how you can pick a theme and just go with it. Thanks for sharing and for the download. Have a fun summer!!
    Ali, I have to say I miss seeing your posts and pictures of your kids is there a chance we can see somthing from you this week. Hope your summer is going good for you and the kids.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Monika Wright says…

    I like a nice mix of hybrid and traditional scrapping...that's why I thought the tabs were a good choice, Susan. I agree, all the Stories of Summer contributors have had some thought-provoking posts.
    Have fun and have a great summer!

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. cinback says…

    I am planning to set up my summer album in a similar fashion to this. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Moira says…

    Love it. December Daily is so much more than one month - it's possibilities are endless! Thanks for the inspiration :-)

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Terri says…

    Thank you so much for the free download! What's amazing is that I do swim laps for exercise in the summer so the splash applies to me in that arena. And the play applies to my teenager who plays French horn in the summer music institute here and will play the mellophone in her marching band camp later in the summer. She also plays her piano daily. Chill and laugh are good for every single person in the world!
    Thanks for sharing your process, too. Have a great summer and enjoy every second of it!

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Monika Wright says…

    I'm glad that there's a Summertime mini in your future and that you there were some ideas that got your creative juices flowing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Monika Wright says…

    I'm glad the tab download is a hit. It would appear that I designed them just for you...gotta love that. And I love your statement:
    Chill and laugh are good for every single person in the world! What a great theme for Summer, which we will enjoy. I only wish I had your willpower for exercise...someday.
    Make every day a fun day.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Lynnelle S says…

    Thank you so much for sharing your idea! Last night I stayed up way to late to create my base for a summer mini album. This is giving me the creative boost I needed. Thank you!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Monika Wright says…

    Good to hear that you'll be ready to add your photos and stories of summer throughout the next few months! I must say that getting the mini-album prepped for photos always pumps me up!

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Laurie says…

    I know it's been quite awhile since you posted this! I'm wondering if you plan to do it again this year? I really want to make one for this summer but I had no idea where to start so thanks for all the tips!

    Reply 0 Replies

Sign in or sign up to comment.