On Friday, I finished this layout:
And with it, I accomplished my January goal of scrapbooking all of my Christmas 2013 layouts. Toss in the fact that I also decided to do Christmas 2012, which I didn’t do last year (my usual custom being to scrapbook in January the Christmas photos from the just-passed December), and I confess: it was a pretty intense month of holiday revisiting.
I like doing this, though. A process I’ve come to think of as one-topic scrapbooking. It means I focus on just a single topic for a given length of time. (I did this back in October of 2011, when I finished years of Halloween scrapbooking in a month.) Working just with Christmas photos, writing (or revising) just about the holidays...little themes start to pop up. You see things in a different light. An added bonus: you use your stuff. A whole bunch of your stuff!
To set up a round of one-topic scrapbooking, here’s what I do:
1. Process and print a bunch of photos. As I process I start to pre-plan the layouts in the sense that I watch for great photos (or ones that have an important/memorable/sweet/insightful story) that I might want to highlight on a single-photo layout.
I also plan on two-page layouts by printing a mix of 4x6, 3x5, and 3x4 photos. (Two 3x4 photos fit on one 4x6 print, so that saves a bit of money, too!) This layout has a mix of all those sizes:
I get all of my photos printed at Persnickety Prints, which, I confess, I live about a mile away from so I don’t have to pay any shipping. But I think I’d have them print for me anyway. They do a great job.
2. Find any pre-written journaling. I try to write about what happened on a holiday fairly quickly after the holiday happens. That way, if it takes me a year (or...a decade, or longer!) to get to a set of photos, I still have details to work with. Sometimes I don’t get it done...but write something fast on Facebook, or maybe something longer here on my blog. I round up all that text so I know where to find it.
Kaleb was the only kid I whose journaling I wrote for 2012 in 2012. I used memory, my Christmas notebooks and planning spreadsheet, and even my checkbook to figure out more details for everyone else's!
3. Gather the holiday supplies I want to use. I put all of the embellishments together in a 12x12 bag and the papers in a pile, and then keep them accessible. (For me, this means that the box right under my scrapbook table that holds white, cream, grey, and black cardstock is also the repository of my one-topic supplies.) I first gathered up all of the new holiday stuff I’d bought in the fall when it first started showing up in stores, and then I went through my stash for other things. (Going through the stash also helped me to: A—destash a bit and B—reaquaint myself with some supplies I love but forgot.)
For this layout, I used the new Timbergrove line, mostly, with a few other papers tossed in for the hearts:
Then I just got busy! All told, I made 21 layouts in January. Which is a lot for me—and, honestly, isn’t a pace I can continue, but that’s OK. I wanted to do this all January, and I did! I did three more Christmas layouts this month to get all of 2012 and 2013 scrapped, so since not all of the layouts I’ve made this year are Christmas layouts—some were for other assignments, I made a total of 17 holiday layouts. Nine single-page layouts and eight two-page spreads.
I’m so happy to have all of those memories down!
I don't make December Daily albums like many scrapbookers do. I'm just too overwhelmed during December to even consider scrapbooking. Instead I just make layouts for each of my kids. I always do a two-page spread about Christmas. Sometimes I'll also do a Christmas Eve layout, or one that expounds a smaller story that would otherwise get lost on the two page spread. I reuse several of the same pictures on each layout, but the journaling is completely different because the kids' stories are all different. I know this isn't an approach everyone takes (making a layout for each kid about the same holiday), but for me, it works.
Some take-aways from this round of one-topic scrapbooking:
1. Ideas for other layouts I need to make. Especially since I went back a year, to 2012, there were ideas sparked from just working with the Christmas photos. (Like how much Kaleb loved his Star Wars hat last year.)
2. On Christmas morning, Jake (who HATES having his photo taken) said “Mom, will you not take pictures of everything this year?” and while I have never taken pictures of everything, ever, I did take fewer photos. Partly because of his request, partly because of an article I read somewhere about a study that showed people who take pictures of experiences remember the experiences less (oddly enough!). For most of the present-opening I took almost no pictures, and I found I was OK with what I did take, but there are a few photos I want to make sure to take next Christmas:
*The weather on Christmas day. I did this in 2013 and I want to make it a new tradition.
*All four of my kids with my mom.
*A picture of me and Kendell together.
*More, in fact, of myself in the action. I’m there on Christmas too, yes?
*One really good representative photo of each kid. (I didn't get a great one of Nathan this year.)
*The moments between opening presents and dinner at my mom's house. Like...I don't think I've ever photographed Christmas morning breakfast! Or the kids actually playing with/using their new stuff.
3. I’m drawn to non-traditional colors quite a bit. I found myself digging through my regular color drawers as often as I got into my Christmas drawer. (I need to remember this when I am tempted by 2014's new Christmas pretties!) Both of Haley's Christmas-day layouts, in fact, are with non-traditional colors. This one is one I loved putting together because I had some quiet introspection about my sister Michelle and the process of forgiveness while I was drawing in those gold swirls (plus, you know...gold swirls! The secret to making it extra-lovely is a mix of two different gold pens):
4. I really like using my Silhouette. I used it on nine of my Christmas layouts, so more than half! I have some new techniques I figured out that I will likely blog about soon. In this layout, I cut out all of the title, and the big scalloped border pieces:
5. When you do a bunch of layouts using the same pile of stash, you push yourself to use the same supply in different ways. I think people who buy scrapbooking kits already know this, but it was sort of an ah-ha moment for me. (I don’t subscribe to any kits, although with Archiver’s closing soon, I might.)
6. I fell in love again with multiple-photo layouts and two-page spreads. Especially the two pagers. I’m not exactly sure when I stopped making as many two-page layouts, but I love the room they provide for plenty of images, lots of journaling, and embellishments.
7. No matter what I tried, Studio Calico alphabet stickers are just not sticky enough. I ended up sewing them down on the three layouts I used them on. (All were from different lines.) As this is one of my scrapbooking pet peeves—make a sticky sticker or why bother???—I shall remember this upon shopping again. The red script stickers in this layout, for example. LOVE the script. DON'T LOVE having to stitch them down:
8. This is a take-away from photographing all of those layouts (which is something I HATE HATE HATE doing and another reason I am soooo sad over the Archiver’s closing, because now I can’t just take in a pile and have the girls there scan them for me). First of all...it is HARD to get a photo perfectly square. I'm thinking I might get a level for my camera. In real life, my lines are straight and my layouts are square, even though they kind of sort of don't really look like that in the images. And second: I need to take my camera in to the repair shop. It is NOT taking sharp photos, and it doesn’t get the color balance correct, either. That is on my to-do list for next week!