I'm sure this is more than you've bargained for, but I said I would do a thorough report of my photobook. Here it is!
After years of digital scrapbooking, I started to feel like my photos and the stories that go with them were getting lost in the "creativity" of the page. I felt like I was falling way behind on logging the memories that we had and a printed album was never going to be a reality. Last year I stopped scrapbooking for a few months and let some ideas on the subject marinate for a while. I finally decided that I wanted to have a very clean, very streamlined, very simple approach to memory keeping so that my photos and stories would be center stage where they belong. Enter Project Life. It's kind of a no nonsense approach to scrapbooking that can be whatever you want it to be: simple, embellished, photo-centered, anything.
Before I jumped in with a full year's worth of Project Life, I decided to do a test run with our most recent trip to Canada. Let me tell you, I am hooked. This was the easiest type of scrapbooking I've done in a long time. And the results are exactly what I was hoping for. So...let's get to it! For a digital slideshow of all of the pages, read this post.
I started with a list of items that I kept handy so that my album would have a cohesive and organized look to it.
1. Project Life style - 12x12
2. Rounded Corners - I used an action that came with the Project Mouse products.
3. Hope Action for all photos by My Four Hens Photography (came with the Resolution set of actions). I think I got it for free on Facebook...not sure though.
4. Fonts: Century Gothic, JH_Mary (this is my handwriting), Bebas Neue, and Simply Glamorous
5. Two text colors: white (F8F6F3) and the gray (4A4A4A)
6. Shadows - I used this Sahlin Studios set of shadow styles
7. Project Mouse Bundle no. 1 by Sahlin Studio and Britt-ish Designs for MOST of the book. Other products were just pulled from my Sahlin Studio stash.
8. Typeset Alphas no. 1 by Sahlin Studio
9. Templates - I created my own set of templates for my album. They helped a TON!
I also created a naming system to keep my book organized. I started with the page number and then a short title. So the first page is 01-gettingthere. This really helped when I was putting the book together in Shutterfly. I always knew which page was next. When I do my yearly album, I will have to use 001-name since there will be many more pages.
Now I will share some of the best and worst features of the book...mind you - Shutterfly's quality is AMAZING! I am so sold on their books (even though I will wait for a 50% off coupon each time) and I highly recommend them. None of the following complaints are their fault...keep that in mind!
My first complaint is the cover...why, oh why, didn't I spend more time on it?! I was on a tight deadline (before the coupon expired) and just rushed through this part. I just plopped a photo on the front and wrote a simple title. Next time I will do more of a scrapbook type cover for sure.
I went through the book after it was printed to look for typos and mistakes...that's the WRONG time to look for them. I have one right on the first page. It's more of an accident and it works, but I still know that it shouldn't be like this...and now you do too! The bottom photo of Kent is from a different page layout. I was simply replacing the photos and papers from another page that I had done previously and forgot to change that one out. Good thing it sort of works for "looking forward to our big adventure."
I was a little worried about the amount of white space that I had left. I thought it might be too overwhelming to have all those pictures and not many places for your eyes to rest. I'm SO over that. I think there is plenty of white space and will use the same templates for my next album. I also loved that I was able to fit in so many pics. Even the smallest size which is a little smaller than 3" x 4" is big enough to see details.
The funniest part about this page is that when I was choosing which pictures to add, I decided not to use a picture of Cameron eating raspberries from the garden. Well, I had included the fact that he did eat them straight from the garden just like he did 7 years ago when we were there. But now the journaling doesn't match the photos since I forgot to add that pic. Just a note for next time...
Here's a close up so you can see the binding. It just about takes up the 1/4" white border that I had left around the layouts.
When I got the book back, one of my favorite things design wise was when I used word art on the photos. Not just the writing on the photos, but stylized word art. I'd love to incorporate more of that in my next album. To be sure it may also impact the way I take photos since I have to leave enough white space to add word art.
I loved creating little element clusters on some of the patterned papers. It gave it that scrapbook quality without detracting from my photos or stories. It was especially handy when I didn't have the right number of photos.
Here's one of those other mistakes. This picture of Clark with the Peregrine Falcon sign has absolutely NOTHING to do with "No Rest for Clinton" ...oops! I was again using a layout that I had done previously and just replacing photos and text. I missed this one and now it looks dumb. We'll just pretend that Clinton is the Peregrine Falcon's name.
Since we're talking about text...I really liked having a set of fonts that I would go to. I didn't want there to be too many fonts, so I chose one in each of the following categories: basic, handwriting, script and unicase block style. The journaling was almost done exclusively in my handwriting font. I felt it was the right way to go. On the longer story of the rattlesnakes I used the basic Century Gothic so I could fit more on the journaling card. The script font, Simply Glamorous, was used mainly for the dates and for some title work. I liked the way it looked with the basic alpha I chose. Finally, I used the unicase block font, Bebas Neue, for writing on the pictures. In the future, I might choose a typewriter font to add to the mix.
I also loved this little design element for larger stories and when I couldn't fit in a huge title. I just made a title on my journal block with Bebas Neue and then underlined it. I think I would have liked to use this on some of the water sports pages. I don't have a title on each of them and I think it looks funny. Next time I will definitely be putting titles on every page or at least a title for a two page spread.
I used Sahlin Studio's Typeset Alphas no. 1 for the titles since it was a simple and clean alpha. I knew it would work well for a variety of pages and made it so much easier not to have to think about what alpha to use! Win! One word of caution...don't place it too close to the edge. This one goes right to the edge of the page. Another thing to think about next time. I also think this alpha might have been a little too big. If I use it again for an album, I might shrink it down a little. I love that there are three colors to this alpha too...in an annual book it might be fun to use the different colors on different pages to change things up a bit.
Another funny thing...when we left Banff, we took pictures at the Calgary Temple site and then didn't take any more pictures for the rest of the trip (which was essentially just the ride home). It feels so abrupt when I I turn the page after the temple site and it says the trip is done. Now I know that I have to take a goodbye vacation picture for the last page. I know it was because I was so exhausted and the ride home was awful. But still...
If you've read all the way to here...you're a rockstar! Holy cow! I had to write down all of my thoughts since I will forget it all by the time I start my next album...which I do hope is soon. I have the photos organized by folder, but that's as far as I've made it.
Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try to answer them!