It’s been about a month since I posted my 2021 documenting goals. Here’s a quick recap of what I’m planning to do this year:
Finish documenting 2020
Print 2020 pages
Document 2021 as it’s happening
Keep a weekly journal on my phone
Work on 2015 photos, then 2014 photos
Finish documenting 2020 & Print Pages
I am so very proud of myself! I finished documenting 2020 on January 11th and ordered a HUGE stack of completed pages for my 2020 album that very same day. A couple of days later, a box full of gorgeous, carefully packaged, perfectly-printed pages from Persnickety Prints arrived on my doorstep. I paired them with sheet protectors from Hobby Lobby, and a We R Memory Keepers 12×12 album.
I absolutely LOVE the little thank you card that comes with my prints. I love that it says “Your Story Matters.” That’s why we’re all doing this, right? We’re trying to tell the stories that matter to us, the stories we want to pass on. Under that cute green tissue paper, there’s an elaborate system set up to protect your prints. Look at that tape! I love how much care they put into keeping my prints safe and my corners crisp & sharp.
Just looking at my pages in the plastic packaging brought tears to my eyes. There are photos from the summer when my niece & nephew came to spend a day with us. There are pages of photos of my bruised & swollen face when I had a laser procedure done this fall. There are pages and pages of portraits I took of my beautiful daughters because I want to remember their faces this way forever. There are pages of photos of friends and family members we’ve lost in the last year. There’s sadness and so much joy.
I sorted the pages into chronological order and slipped them into sheet protectors and put them in the albums. When I ordered my We R Memory Keepers album, there was only one in stock, so I put the rest of the pages in a less expensive album from Hobby Lobby. One day I’ll replace it with a nice faux leather album. The photo on the right shows why I prefer the faux leather album. With a dog and dusty house, the cloth albums collect every dust particle and loose hair.
Document 2021 as it’s happening & Keep a Journal
I’m not doing very well at keeping a weekly journal. I did one entry, but that’s all so far. I did decide to use my Google Docs app so that it’s accessible anywhere. I typically have a couple of minutes while I’m waiting for my daughter to come out of school in the afternoons. I’m going to try to use that time for journaling instead of opening Instagram.
As far as documenting, I have through January 24th documented so far. And I have big Super Bowl Sunday plans to get caught up with the last couple of weeks tomorrow.
Getting caught up
At the beginning of January, I was only finished with the first three months of 2015. I have now finished April and the first half of May! I’m really excited that I’m getting caught up! My Life in Pockets templates really are helping speed things up!
Look at this fun field trip I went on with Hannah while she was in 5th grade. The 5th graders take over a miniature city and run it for a day. They have real-world responsibilities like jobs, paying bills, and running errands. It’s such a fun field trip!
I’m obsessed with these fun pictures of my girls eating dinner at one of our favorite local pizza places. I miss the days when my kids would make silly faces at dinner. And my little niece and nephew are so adorable! I love these photos of my daughter with our dog. They have a special bond.
I’m looking forward to reliving these memories! Looking back at my kids when they were little makes me nostalgic. What are you scrapbooking right now? How are you doing with your scrapping goals?
Huge gaping holes in our family’s story. How do I fill in the holes? Do I want to fill in the holes? Or are there parts of our story that I’m still just not ready to share yet? Maybe parts I never want to share?
Lack of journaling. Do I remember why I took the photos? What was happening in our lives when the photos were taken, or when we didn’t take any photos at all? What was happening in the world? What’s the backstory?
Clutter & lack of organization? Where is everything? How do I combine the digital and physical bits of our lives? There are time periods with just physical photos and ephemera. I have time periods with a mixture of digital and physical photos and ephemera. I have other time periods with only digital photos and physical ephemera. How can I combine things? What do I need/want to keep?
There are so many different ways to tackle this. What tools do I want to use?
I came up with some solutions to some things then that I wanted to try. Since it’s been over two and a half years, let’s check in and see where I am.
Did I Meet My 2017 goals?
According to my Summer 2017 recording for Modern Photo Solutions, out of the previous 11 years, I only had TWO years completely scrapbooked, and had more than 15,000 unscrapbooked digital photos, and boxes of 35mm photos.
Update: As of January 8, 2021, I now have 2005, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018*, and 2019* finished. I am almost finished with 2020. Two years have an “*” next to them because I’ve finished scrapbooking all the photos I have from those years. I am waiting for photos from a couple of plays my girls were in. I was in the process of getting them from the director when Covid hit. I have to physically go to her home with my external hard drive to copy the photos. It will likely take a couple of hours. I’m counting them done until I get the photos! As far as the 15, 000 unscrapbooked photos, I’m not going to physically count all of my unscrapbooked digital photos. I don’t want to know how many I have now! I am really proud of myself for accomplishing this! I documented some really hard times our family went through during these years. It can be hard to fill those Huge Gaping Holes, when there’s a lot of pain hiding there. Here’s the secret… there was also a lot of joy and happiness and beauty right next to the painful memories.
My 2017 memory keeping goal was to stay current with 2017 while finishing my 2016 pages. I’m not sure if I met that goal during 2017, but as of today, 2016 & 2017 are both finished.
Organization Sundays still pop up on my calendar, but they have become a thing of the past. I do remind my family to open Dropbox and upload their photos on a weekly basis. A couple of times a month, I transfer everyone’s photos to my computer and organize them in LightRoom.
My Goals for 2021
I don’t want to label it as a goal, for some reason, but I definitely want to place an emphasis on telling our story in 2021, and I want to tell our story while it’s happening. 2020 was an eventful year and I feel like a lot of it is a blur. Already. I don’t want to lose 2021. So much has already happened and we’re just over a week into the year.
The Prep Work: Gathering all the stuff
We have so much information at our fingertips. As I’m scrolling Instagram, Twitter and news sites I am taking screenshots of the things I want to remember, and the things that will help me tell the story of our year. Weekly, I’m taking a screenshot of the forecast for the week, the Covid testing numbers for Utah, the school Covid dashboard, as well as emails & communications from the school. I’m taking screenshots of new stories and images. I take a screenshot of our Come Follow Me Sunday School lesson title & image almost every week. If anything stands out to me in the study, I add a screenshot of that as well. I’m also taking screenshots of quotes, memes and other cultural references that will help round out our story. Not all of those things will end up going in our scrapbook each week, but they’ll help me remember what was going on and help me tell our story. I’m also planning to write a quick weekly journal of how & what everyone in the family is doing. It will probably live in an app on my phone until I’m ready to document that week.
I’m still finding that I really love doing a weekly 2-page layout in a pocket-style digital format. Some weeks end up being 4 pages or even 10 (yep, 10). And that’s totally okay with me. I’m not limiting what I want to share. Other people are very strict at keeping to the 2-page layout and that is completely wonderful for them. I wholeheartedly support them. I am not a minimalist, in any way! I designed a set of This Year 2021: Journal Cards that I’ll be using, along with my Life in Pockets Templates, to tackle this year. The Journal Cards are very similar to 2020’s cards. I scrapbook all my weeks from Monday thru Sunday so that weekend events are all together.
What I’m Hoping to Achieve
Sunday evenings, I’m hoping to spend an hour documenting. I want to scrapbook the previous week’s photos. This part is going to sound confusing but since I scrapbook Monday thru Sunday, I don’t mean the week I’m currently in. For example, the Sunday at the end of Week 2, I hope to be documenting photos from Week 1. I’ll be seven days removed from the stress but will still be able to remember the details. Hopefully, these pages don’t take an hour each week. I’m planning to have 2020 finished by the end of this weekend. That will free up some time to work on 2015, then 2014 as well. Those two years are going to take a long time. I only have 3 months finished in 2015, and none finished in 2014. Thankfully, I didn’t take a ton of photos in those years.
For now, I’m using Photoshop with my Life in Pockets Templates to document these pages. I originally planned to use the Project Life app, but my phone is too full and can’t handle running the app. A new phone isn’t in the cards, and neither is an iPad right now. I have my eyes on a shiny new gold 128GB iPad with an Apple Pencil and I’m hoping to purchase it for myself in the next few months as an incentive for meeting my business goals. At that point, I’ll likely use the ProjectLife app for my “catch up” years to fill in holes.
As soon as I have enough finished layouts to fill a section of an album, about 3-4 months, I print the individual pages at my favorite professional print lab, PersnicketyPrints. Then I add them to these black faux leather 12×12 albums from We R Memory Keepers. They can be hard to find and they are frequently out of stock, but they’re my favorite. I want to eventually replace all my other albums with these.
As soon as I get my 2020 pages finished, I’ll put in a PersnicketyPrints order and document my process. Putting the pages in sheet protectors and adding them to albums is my favorite part of this entire process.
This got a bit long-winded, but the plan is to tell our 2021 story while it’s happening, and use any extra time to fill in the 2015 then 2014 holes. I also will be putting together photo books for my daughters with pages from the various musical theater productions they’ve been in, assuming I can get the photos from the director. This is a totally manageable plan. And guess what, it’s flexible. I’ll be checking in with you and sharing tips and tricks I come across each month. I’ll be doing layout shares and pointing you towards fun products I’m using for my albums.
This is the transcript of a recorded message played on Modern Photo Solutions, a podcast with Steph Clay, in Summer 2017.
Hi, this is Meredith from meredithcardall.com
I started digital scrapbooking in 2005 when my daughter was almost a year old. I skipped around and scrapbooked whatever I felt creatively inspired to scrapbook. Last year, I realized that I had gaping holes of time in my scrapbooks. Out of the previous 11 years, I only had TWO years completely scrapbooked, and had more than 15,000 unscrapbookeddigital photos, and boxes of 35mm photos. That’s a problem!
I was really overwhelmed at the enormity of the project of getting caught up. I took a quick look at my Photo folders and realized that I could remember most of what happened in 2013, but anything prior to that I would need to do quite a bit of research in order to do any meaningful journaling. I set a goal to finish scrapbooking all of 2013 by the end of 2016. I finished the very last page at 7pm on December 31st. My memory keeping goal this year is to stay current with 2017 while finishing my 2016 pages. One of the best solutions I have found for scrapbooking a large volume of photos is to use apps to scrapbook. While I do still enjoy scrapbooking as a creative release in Photoshop, I am using the Project Life app to scrapbook most of our everyday moments. I was able to scrapbook 11 pages yesterday between waiting in the carpool line at school & at a 1 hour play rehearsal. I can literally scrapbook anywhere I can use my phone.
Once my 2013 to current photos are all scrapped, I will go back to 2004 when my older daughter was born and start filling in the gaps. I am hoping that I can start that by the end of December. As I do my organizing & cleaning this spring & summer, I am purposefully seeking out and gathering all of the old journals, planners, calendars, photos and memorabilia that I have stashed in various spots throughout the house into one easily accessible spot in my office. I file those items it in monthly file folders. Anything that’s too large for a file folder or if I can’t determine the date it gets placed in a bin next to my desk for an Organization Sunday. Sunday evenings are my memory keeping and story-telling time. While most of that time I can be found scrapbooking, two Sunday evenings a month I dedicate at least some of my time to getting organized. At the beginning of each month, I make sure that I have tagged all of the previous month’s photos in Lightroom and back them up. I am backing up to an external hard drive as well as Google Photos, Prime Photos andDropBox. I also continuously back everything up with BackBlaze. My other Organization Sunday rotates to whichever Sunday I just don’t feel like scrapbooking. That’s when I go through the bin next to my desk and determine dates for the old photos and memorabilia. Then I file it in its monthly file folder. If I have time or if I find something really important that I wouldn’t want to lose, I will scan or photograph those items that evening as well. For documents or pieces of kids’ artwork that I want to include in our family album, I take a photo with my Samsung phone camera on my white desk. If it’s a photo or an important document I scan it using my 10 year old Epson Perfection 4490 Photo Scanner. I scan documents at 600ppi and important photos at 1200ppi. Through this purposeful searching for photos and memorabilia, I have found priceless family treasures in the form of letters written by my Granny who passed away more than 10 years ago. I have been able to digitize the letters so they’ll be available for future generations. My goal is to get them organized and uploaded to FamilySearch so that my extended family has access to these treasures as well.
I have a lot of work to do, but I’m excited to be making progress when I was completely overwhelmed just a short time ago.
This was written for a blog post in June 2017, and never published.
You may remember, Problem #4 was that I have pieces of memorabilia and photos scattered throughout my house.
As I do my organizing & cleaning this spring & summer, I am purposefully seeking out and gathering all of the old journals, planners, calendars, photos and memorabilia that I have stashed in various spots throughout the house into one easily accessible spot in the house. If an item is dated or if I can quickly determine the date, the items get filed in monthly file folders. Anything that’s too large for a file folder or if I can’t determine the date it gets placed in a bin next to my desk. Sunday evenings are my memory keeping and story-telling time. Most of that time I can be found scrapbooking. Two Sunday evenings a month I dedicate at least some of my time to getting organized. At the beginning of each month, I make sure that all of the photos from the previous month are tagged in Lightroom and backed up to my external hard drive. I recently added Google Photos, Prime Photos and DropBox to my back up list. I am in love with Google Photos. I also continuously back everything up with Backblaze, which has saved me several times. My other Organization Sunday rotates to whichever Sunday I just don’t feel like scrapbooking. That’s when I go through the bin next to my desk and try to determine dates for the old photos and memorabilia. When I can determine the date, I file it in its monthly file folder. If I have time or if I find really something really important, I will scan or photograph it that night as well. For documents or pieces of kids’ artwork that I want to include in our family album, I take a photo with my Samsung phone camera on my white desk. If it’s a photo or an important document I scan it using my 10 year old Epson Perfection 4490 Photo Scanner. That scanner is amazing! I scan documents at 600ppi and important photos at 1200ppi.
Just before Christmas, while I was cleaning out our extra bedroom/storage room in the basement, I found a box of letters my granny wrote to me while I was in college. I was taking a Family History class and asked her to write me letters about her life so that I could write her biography. She wrote me a few letters with enough information to write my required 5-page biography of her life. After I finished the class, the letters kept coming. They were more detailed and jumped around to different parts of her life. I read each letter and loved receiving them, but my 20-year-old-self didn’t do anything else with those letters. So, my organization Sundays in November and December were spent scanning and backing up those priceless letters from my now-deceased Granny. I haven’t done anything else with them, but finding those letters started this urgency within me to tell our family story, and to back it up! What else do I not have digitized?! My goal is that when my grandkids ask for information to write a biography, I can point them to the rows of completed scrapbooks, or I can email them completed pages, and we can sit down together and I can show them our story, not only the good and fun things, but also what we learned from the things that maybe weren’t so good. I can’t think of anything better.