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My Plans For Memory Keeping In 2015

I've been thinking a lot over the last few months about how I want to approach my memory keeping in 2015. 

I'm ready for a bit of an adjustment. I want something more loose and less structured (as in less emphasis on weekly) and from what I've been reading around the web that seems to be a bit of a trend. 

I'm ready for one album for my stories this year. 

One 12x12 album to hold pocket pages, traditional pages, and stuff of life (kids artwork, notes, etc). I don't literally mean that I'll force everything into ONE album because I might fill up one and need another, but I mean one home for all my stories this year. 

This one home will be a mix of pocket pages and traditional layouts in 12x12 and 8.5x11 and 6x8 and it will hold stories from 2015. Supplies will come from my Story and Stamp Kits™, from Studio Calico kits, and from other things I find here in my stash or from Scrapbook.com

This isn't new or revolutionary. People have been combining layouts and Project Life® style documentation since it's inception and I've been using divided page protectors mixed in with my traditional pages from time to time for many years. 

I think really what I'm ready for is something more organic and less structured and more focused on stories. I still love everyday life documentation - which has been my passion since I first started this adventure back in 2002. I still love capturing little and big things and I'm definitely not stopping any of it. But it's time for me to mix it up. 

This means I will not be committing to weekly Project Life® documentation in 2015. I'm up to date until June of 2014 and I plan to finish that as time permits (lots of photos already printed and "stuff" in pockets, but it needs some TLC). I anticipate that I will still do some specific weeks-at-a-glance like I've been doing the last few years, but it will be significantly looser than in the past (and include more of a mix of divided pockets when I do use them vs. always using Design A). I'm ready for that change. Just writing that out feels good. Does it mean I will never do weekly Project Life® again? Nope. My first Project Life® album was in 2010 and I've loved the process but I'm ready for the next evolution. 

And if none of this makes any sense, know that it's a work in progress and I'll be figuring it out as a go.  

Here's a look at how I'm starting my 2015 story album: 

The album begins with a divided 6x8 page protector from Becky Higgins (this is inside a black 12x12 We Are Memory Keepers album). 

"Hello Life 2015" is a new digital set now available in my shop. I cut it out with my Silhouette and vellum. I've got a tutorial here that shows you how to trace PNG files with the Silhouette software here.

The big ampersand was from a previous Studio Calico kit (can't remember which one). I embossed it with black opaque embossing powder on both sides.  

Along the edge of the page protector I added a 2-inch Avery index tab and stamped 2015 using this awesome Pebbles rolling stamp.

On the back side I added my favorite 2014 photo of the three of us. I'm just about done over-using it (taken during Week In The Life™ and used as my Christmas card). Note to self to take more group shots of the three of us. 

I like it so I'm going to use it. Again. 

The next pages is a 12x12 page protector from this variety pack that I cut to 6x12. 

"Give" in vellum was a left-over mistake from the end of my December Daily® album (the thread came out of the stitching). I decided to give it a home here as a nod to my One Little Word® for 2015 (I do have a separate album for documenting my experience with my word but I like having it included here as well). The "hello" label on top is actually on the outside of the page protector. 

The monthly paper and the floral 3x4 card are from the Park Avenue Studio Calico kits.  

The gold glitter remember card and the canvas 3x4 card are both from Heidi Swapp Project Life® kits (available via Michael's if I remember correctly). This was a 4x6 card that I cut down to 3x4.  

The letter stickers for "our" and the small word stickers are from my Firsts Story Kit™

It's a very simple beginning to what I hope will be an awesome mixture of long and short stories from 2015.

Here's to stories and documentation and flexibility and evolution and giving myself permission to loosen up the way I'm documenting, holding, and sharing my stories.  

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93 thoughts

  1. prairyk says…
    01/05/2015

    Interesting. "Like minds" and all that....I've sort of done this for some time, but it was more out of frustration or rebellion than a concerted plan! I don't like being stuck with one size & format; yet I like the consistency & appearance it presents. What a dilemma! But as some have said, now that Ali is doing it, it's OK to mix everything up—in fact, as I recall, you were the first person I heard of who put different size page protectors together & I thought it was the greatest thing! So, I'm officially giving myself permission now to do this for 2015. I do have some UFPs (unfinished projects), albums in progress, that I want to keep working on with special themes, but for new work—I'm going the mix-it-up route. Hey! A new style: "ECLECTIC SCRAPBOOKING." (just like my decorating style)

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. carlatte7 says…
    01/05/2015

    I've decided to do MORE with PL this year- as it relates to stories, coincidentally. I am using my PL album As a diary/ gratitude journal. There's a stack of blank 3x4 cards inthe drawer by my chair so every day the plan is to write one good/funny/ amazing thing that happened. We just went through a 3 month period of crazy, stress inducing, out of control busy-ness and i dont remember any of it. There are photos, but no storiesof how we got here and what i am feeling. We'll see how it turns out down the road :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Lwills54 says…
    01/05/2015

    I was so excited to read your blog post ali, i have actually been stressed thinking about everything i want to do this year, OLW, finish my december daily, do some random art and project life, story stamps, one week in the life, lens of joy. And of course family, friends, travel and spontaneous fun!!! Having project life not be so structured is perfect. Im following your lead. Thank you.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. juliepaule says…
    01/05/2015

    I'm not going to lie, this makes me a little sad. :(

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. maudi says…
    01/06/2015

    This approach has also worked for me for a few years now. With kids grown and grandkids, some times are uneventful, others are more significant. I really just use the pocket pages for their ease of use, as a snapshot of what's going on, but a page could be several months or just one day. And then, sometimes a picture of story deserves more space, or a different format. I love that mix! Really this goes back years to the first class of Ali's I did - Scrapbook on the Road - and the freedom of format that enabled me to capture a month-long trip to Italy (2 full 12x12 albums) that would have otherwise taken me 3 years to finish; and I loved the result and felt it was much more creative. I think this approach is like life - sometimes it's just the everyday, and sometimes we need to pause and tell a deeper story.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Rina_AbbottJard says…
    01/06/2015

    Cool, and heres to more family unit group shots! I'm trying to get one set each month with the self timer / remote and not just group selfies. Good luck!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Sandra_Lomas says…
    01/06/2015

    I have done this for several years now. My husband and I are empty nesters and my kids all live in other cities. My husband travels for work and I work from home. I go in spurts where I scrapbook quite a bit (when the grand kids are visiting, I'm at home with Mom and Dad and my brother and sister, I'm traveling, or I take time to go out on photo junctures), then there's times when I'm so busy that I don't scrapbook at all or I have very few picture. I have to remind my daughter to send me pictures of the kids often or I get them off of FB. Usually there's already a story written about the photo when I get the photo off of FB. This set up has worked best for me. I think it's freeing and very artist. It's more like life. I love to flip through and see all the different sized pages together (PL pages, PL pages I've cut down, and traditional pages, even single photos). I'm even doing that in my 6x8 December Daily. I have to remind myself that there are no rules and this should always be fun and relaxing, not a chore. My goal this year is to document more pictures and tell more stories on a more regular basis. I want to keep my DSLR with me as much as I can. I have relied on my phone camera too much. I agree that the best camera is the camera you have with you, but I miss a lot of GREAT shots I could have taken. Plus I want to learn to take better pictures and not rely on auto shot. I'm excited to use your Story and Stamp kits to help me accomplish my goals for scrapbooking and storytelling this year. They are small enough to take with me wherever I go, but they pack a great punch. I think you're going to love this new process you're doing. Cheers! Here's to a new year and many "firsts".

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. bcbc says…
      01/06/2015

      I'm in a similar space---almost an empty nester. Family and close friends are not nearby, so I often have many photos and stories when we are together, but the day-to-day is, well, quite different from when our child was young. I often include pages that are really just folders for the material I pick up at museums, concerts, craft shows, etc.
      I also want to take better photos and that is a goal for the year. It requires more time than I put into snapping a moment with the iphone.
      I'm not sure about putting everything in one album, but throughout the year, I need a mix of 12X12 and the ease of PL.

    2. Sandra_Lomas says…
      01/07/2015

      BCBC, i know the idea of putting it all in one albulm sounds crazy, but I hope you try it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I hadn't been keeping our tickets and memorbillia , but I was inspired by Ali to start scrapbooking even some of that again. In her December Daily she told a story about taking Simon to a movie and she scrapped the tickets. The way she told the story was very clever. I know that every movie I go see or every museum I go to isn't as big an event as her and Simons outing, but there is a story behind them. Maybe just the details of the ordinary day or just the way I'm feeling that day even. Those things can go in PL pages. It really is a very artful look when you put it all in one book. I did put my December Daily in a 6x8 albulm even though I was temlpted to include iit n my larger albulm. I think the grandkids will enjoy flipping through the smaller albulm more that way. They already have and I haven't even finished it yet. It's about doing what works for us. I love to see everyone else's ideas and their pages for inspiration. Sometimes I even scraplift pages. I just want to keep it all as simple as possible. I don't know if you get the Stamp or Story kits, but those really are very versitile and useful. The packaging that the Story Kit comes in is perfect for making a take along bag to scrapbook. Together with some mini ink pads, a tape runner, scissors, a few pocket pages, some card stock for tradition pages along with a 6x8 or 8x8 paper pad and your good to go. I'm probably going to store my monthly stamps in the story kit. I havent scrapbooked 12x12 pages in a long time so that makes it easiier to carry around... In my opinion. I spend a lot of time helping with my mom who can no longer be left alone for very long and can't drive anymore. She lives about an hour and a half away and Im there at least 2 or 3 times a week for a few days at a time every month. When I'm there it's pretty hectic. I'm helping her get ready for dr appts and taking her to therapy. My dad does a lot, but I try to help with the house and give him time to get out and play golf or spend time with friends or my sisters kids. Sorry for the boring details. All that to say I've had to rethink this scrapbooking thing and make it fun and easier for myself. Good luck with finding a way that works best for you. I'd love to know what you come up with. Happy New Year.

  8. jenjeb says…
    01/06/2015

    Love it Ali! I was also getting burned out of keeping up with my PL and wasn't planning on doing one this year at all. But your approach to it this year makes so much sense! As always - thank you for all the inspiration!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Lize says…
    01/06/2015

    Ok, I'm going to lie down for a while....he-he, disappointed Ali, but looking forward to what's next.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. mom22cherubs says…
    01/06/2015

    One of my favorite things about your approach to memory keeping is the idea that it's OK to do things your own way. I've been doing project life since it was project 365, and I love it but I have found the albums a little cumbersome. This year I plan on doing the same format but in digital form. Becky's new app is great for quick and simple documenting anywhere. I can create pages on my phone or ipad anywhere! I love the idea of having our year in digital format so I can print out books for the kids in the future. I plan on printing the pages at home and also including more detailed stories. To me this seems like a simpler way to continue with the daily documentation I love while telling more in depth stories.

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. standoodle says…
    01/06/2015

    After a long hiatus from all things scrapbooking/memory keeping due to a long personal journey I won't bore you/everyone with, I'm ready and finding my way back. I don't think it was an accident your site was the first place I came back to at the end of December. Looking for inspiration, and perhaps a little confirmation that everything would be okay again, I found it all here. I signed up for the One Little Word yesterday and then I saw this post today. Again... it's no accident :) I stopped believing in 'accidents' a long, long time ago. I have been thoroughly overwhelmed with the "how do I begin again?" thoughts stomping around my head with heavy boots on after seven years away from all this. Your approach, your honesty around the idea of change in approach was exactly what I needed to see - not that you posted this for me or anything - but you know what I mean :) It resonated. A less structured approach, free-flowing perhaps. I see this direction for me as well. I can't go back to what I did before and I can't approach documenting life the way I was before. Here's to moving forwards and releasing past expectations. Thank you Ali. I have followed your journey from the very beginning. Our lives have taken similar turns these last few years and I have found and continue to find comfort in your everyday strength and your infectious creativity. All I can say is thank you. The gratitude is genuine. Onwards 2015 :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. dalongage says…
    01/06/2015

    love the idea of keeping things more simple!!!
    {Project Life is a wonderful tool - love the phone app also ;-)}

    this year I am going to focus on documenting when it feels right
    and make a weekly plan to print at least 4 photos of the previous 7 days

    I'm finding that other things have taken priority over scrapping
    feeling like "I can't keep up" makes me not even touch it :-(
    (sad place to be!!)

    I still take notes - journal when I can - and I'll keep doing that
    now my approach will be to live and document as we go - whenever I can - with what I have on hand - and accept that this is what I can do right now - and it's enough

    I used to "scrap from the top of my desk" when I felt behind - no rhyme or reason - just insert things in albums using pocked pages so I would have them organized - it's so much fun to look back at the randomness ;-)

    thanks for continuing to share your story Ali - your journey - your ideas - THIS is why I love this craft!!!
    I've met the most amazing people through scrapping :-)
    (did I mention that years ago when I was selling product my business name was "Scrap Your Story"?!)

    here's to an amazing year of documenting our lives everyone!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. TracyG says…
    01/06/2015

    love this idea...can't wait to see what you do with it. always an inspiration. thanks!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Raylene says…
    01/06/2015

    Thanks for the inspiration! I've been thinking a lot about a change up too! I usually do digital, but I'm enjoying the story stamps & story kits, so I'm going to mix it up! I love playing with paper! Now that my life is simplified, I can get back to more of a project Life format, but not daily! Such fun!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Krys72599 says…
    01/07/2015

    Holy crap! I LITERALLY JUST finished writing this in my Heidi Swapp Memory Planner: "Project Life 2015 will be less structured this year - no more week by week."
    It's like you were in my head when you wrote this post! I've been doing Project Life for about 4 or 5 years now and I LOVE it! I've converted a friend'o'mine over to it but she jumped right into her own version: no dates, more artistic pictures, not chronological, including vacation photos, minimal journaling - in fact, when we get together at a crop, we don't call it scrapping, we call it "arting." We're creating art, in our own unique formats, and I think PL2015 will be a bit more "flowy" and a lot less week 1, week 2... Although I am tracking my Instagram photos that way, just to keep an idea of when...
    LOVED Lens of Joy, by the way! Just finishing up the last two videos this week - I got a bit sidetracked!
    Happy 2015!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. deigalynn says…
    01/07/2015

    I decided a few months ago to mix my memory keeping up a little and more simple (hopefully) at the same time. I love Project Life, but not the implied pressure to document every single day. So, I decided to just take pictures as I go, then do a monthly page or two (whatever the number of pictures I have dictates), with the addition of a calendar page at the end of each month, showing appointments, etc. I kinda did this last year with Heidi Swapp's Memory Planner. Loved the idea, because it combined the memory keeping system I had when my kids were small (and before scrapbooking became a thing) - the wall calendar! and my current passion - scrapbooking. Actually completed it on January 2. And love the finished project - but decided to translate the idea using my favorite 12 x 12 album with the ability to add other sizes, etc. I'm excited.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. JulieBode says…
    01/07/2015

    I'm crazy about the new download. Is it possible to cut using a Cricut? I hope so because I found a bunch more of these that I would love to buy!
    Thanks!

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Binxcat1 says…
    01/08/2015

    Loved this post. I have also been tossing up the idea of changing it up this year but wasn't sure how or where I was going with it...You just helped me consolidate how I was going to incorporate your Story Kits into my "PL" album this year... this post just has me going, "yep, that's me, I'm sorted."

    I know what I'm doing and where I'm going and how I'm going to get there now. Thank you as always.

    P.S. At the risk of sounding like a stalker... we have an Ali Edwards - Australian Followers facebook group for anyone interested.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. tinawo says…
    01/08/2015

    I totally love this. Have had it in on my saved list to read. I truly had been tossing up the idea of not even doing a PL album this year. As in week to week. I find I do take the photos but I can't keep up on the weekly layouts. Then you feel guilty. Then you just don't go back to it. I thought why even bother this year. So I was just going to do my projects that really are only the ones I do with you. I truly love project life and I think I'm just going to be kinder to myself and not worry about dating that little weekly card. This may get my stories back in an album without the pressure. Thanks Ali. I can breathe a bit easier knowing I'm not the only one who has felt this way. x

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Cheitner says…
    01/08/2015

    I have always done this. I knew I couldn't commit to weekly especially with sons in college. I've also done a mix of page types.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. tinka323 says…
    01/08/2015

    Love this post, Ali! I'm really getting excited to start scrapbooking on a regular basis...all part of my DISCIPLINE...and reading about how you are going to approach this got the wheels spinning in my head and I could actually see how I would put an album together. I'll be at a 3-day crop next weekend and I plan to put together some different sized layouts then! XOXO

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. byrder says…
    01/08/2015

    I've done weekly (sometimes combining weeks) for the last two years. I definitely need something to freshen it up. I'm exploring doing biweekly spreads or a mix of 12x12 and pocket pages. Or maybe both of those. I love that others are interested too - that means I'll find lots of inspiration!

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. junea says…
    01/09/2015

    Hi Ali,

    I love this post because I can relate! In the beginning of 2013 I started PL in the traditional 12x12 size, but decided one spread for each month was more realistic than one each week. A few months into it, I realized that format was too rigid and required a lot of planning, which I did not enjoy, and that it seriously lacked in the journaling department. Then, about mid year, two things happened: I got my first iPad and I switched to the 6x8 sized album. This made a huge difference in my memory keeping experience because I started a regular journaling practice with the iPad and found the smaller album size to be completely flexible (for me) as far as time sequence, and I no longer needed to spend time planning layouts. Smaller groups of photos allows me to tell any story of my choosing in as many or as few pages as I like. Furthermore, I can add pages in wherever I like if I want to expand on a story or if I just decide I want to add something like memorabilia I found somewhere tucked away and forgot to include. Overall, this has been a huge success for me - I have managed to fill 6 albums!

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. CathG says…
    01/09/2015

    I'm actually committing to a weekly-in-Design-A Project Life album this year - going with the flow has felt too scattered for me in the past. Love seeing your evolution and plans - such wonderful food for thought!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Juliannph says…
    01/10/2015

    I want to focus on the stories this year too. Love that idea

    Reply 0 Replies

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