Let's get back on track here with some insight from Brandi, who took Library of Memories in 2007 and joined in again this year, as a review …
… I accomplished so much the first time around, but I decided to follow along again this year to see if there was anything I missed the first time. I have had so much fun and it has helped me to fill in the gaps (some I didn't even know were there!) I am in LOVE with this whole system. I wasn't a big chronological scrapper to begin with but I was obsessed with keeping the pages I completed in chronological order. It made me crazy and I ended up with stacks and stacks of finished pages that no one could look at! Now I have a home for all my pages, as I finish them. I have also been able to make connections and have completed some truly special pages that I would never have done before. I love having a supply of little "this and that" photos to mix together on layouts. I love how my pages turn out and showcase so much more of my family's lives. You helped me rediscover my passion and enthusiasm for scrapbooking and showed me a way to sustain it!
So, clearly I've highlighted what stands out for me. First of all, as you adapt and customize this system to you, be patient. If something doesn't feel right as you begin to implement it, don't worry too much. There is much that you learn in living with and using the system and sometimes you just need to move forward with some faith around uncertainty. There is nothing that you do that can't be "undone" and most of the time, you will see things you didn't expect to see as you trust my experience and let time show you important patterns in your life and scrapbooking habits. I think Brandi articulated so well, one of my favorite things about category drawers, which is the thrill of both knowing where to put and find the odds and ends. The first several times that you come across, or are given a random photo and the light bulb goes on and you know where to store it, you feel incredibly powerful and some of that former confusion and frustration around photo organization melts away. Case in point, not long ago, I came across a photo of me and a college roommate. I could have put this photo in the People We Love drawer behind the Stacy Friends tab, but as I looked at it, I noticed that we were leaning against her little VW beetle bug that was such a part of our comings and goings. I decided to place it in the Things We Do drawer behind the Cars tab and when I pulled out the other photos I was amazed at the variety and range of photos I have accumulated without even realizing it. I suddenly imagined a little mini album, titled "Car Talk" wherein I could share memories and stories with cars as a jumping off point. Geof and I traveled to New Zealand last fall and stopped at a very cool car museum where I did that thing (and I know I'm not the only one) where I take LOTS (printed 20+) good pictures of cars and detail shots of cars and then I get home and think "why did I do this?" Well …. I'm now going to thumb through the Fall 2007 storage binder and triage several of those photos into the Cars category, knowing that when I get around to creating this little project I will have some fun photos to use almost as decorative elements.
Wait, wait .. it gets better. Clark started driver's ed yesterday afternoon. How cool would it be to give him the album, or at least dedicate it to him with some "rules of the road" (life lessons) recorded inside.
All this brings me to Brandi's last sentence about rediscovering and sustaining your enthusiasm for scrapbooking. All the inspiration you ever need for pages and projects is in your photographs. Photographs are pure magic — you can just have to know how to magnify and capture the magic. And when you do, you will have an endless stream of ideas to sustain you in telling cool stories. We have, in our industry adopted the notion that new product and new technique are the only way of sustaining us in our ongoing quest, but this is simply not true. In fact, over time, this notion can create expectations around the outward appeal of a page and even shift the focus to the design or decorative elements, which is not what matters in the end. To truly sustain your passion, you've got to engage in life, learn to capture what you see and establish rituals of work and play that will generate the content/stories you most want to share. New product is most exciting when it is employed in the process of telling a great story!
And now, questions from Stephanie:
I have two questions…since American Crafts
no longer carries the 3-ring binders you started with, can you
recommend a good quality substitute? My second question is about
putting photos into storage binders when you have decades of photos to
triage. You mention that your storage binders go back five years or so,
but what is your suggestion for storing the to-be-scrapped photos that
go back way more than five years?
My original albums (as shown in the book, The Big Picture) were not American Crafts albums. I purchased them from a catalog and was not able to find them again, when I outgrew my original purchase. I now use and LOVE the Modern albums, by American Crafts. I love the bright colors, the quality and the versatility of the binding that allows you to store and display a variety of layout sizes. In other words, you could create a library of 12×12 albums showcasing 6×6, 8 1/2 x 11 and 12 x 12 pages. This is what Ali does and it's just way cool.
I also recommend the classic leather albums from We R Memory Keepers — they are kid-proof and come in an amazing array of rich, decor-enhancing colors. If you haven't seen these albums, they are worth some investigating. Both of these albums can be special ordered through your local scrapbook store or purchased online at Scrapbook.com
Corralling and storing years of photos can be an utterly overwhelming task. As storage binders go, my advice is to purchase a limited number of binders. It is very easy to get caught in the trap of "I've got to completely finish this step before I can move on!" Pretty please, don't do this. Again, the beauty of this system lies in the fact that you can begin organizing (start with the last five years) and also begin scrapbooking. In fact, it is in the 'scrapbooking' that you will learn best how to customize and fine tune the parts and pieces of the system to your situation. So, get the last five years of pictures you REALLY want to scrapbook in storage binders, practice triaging a small percentage of those into category drawers AND start scrapbooking event-based pages. As you remove and use pictures from your binders, you will create space in them. You can before too long, combine the contents of two storage binders (so what was originally two binders for Spring 2006 and Summer 2006, becomes one binder labeled Spring/Summer 2006) and you can now go back and slip more photos (perhaps snapshots from 2002) into the binder you freed up. Does that make sense? In the meantime, your collection of triaged photos in your category drawers is growing and aging beautifully. If you have pictures from your childhood or other pictures you know you are not going to get to, anytime soon, by all means do a quick sort and triage some into your drawers, but remember since the finished pages are not displayed in annual albums, you can easily go back in time and add pages anywhere you like!
But, seriously, you need to trust me and avoid filling up too many binders, b/c the joy in all of this is how you can move pictures through your system and grow a library of completed layouts. Key words being completed layouts. Let yourself scrapbook. In so doing you will find the right "flow" for you and you will get better at selecting highlights to print and better at knowing the kinds of layouts you most want to create and better at allowing yourself to pass over pictures and eventually move them into cold storage (knowing that you can go back) and better at triaging out key pictures that will inspire you in magical ways.
If you've made it this far.
here's a little eye candy and some links that will help you find something similar.
I've been asked, Where can I find these or something similar? Thanks to Susan chiming in, I now have the actual link!
And this is the cutest "something similar" I could find: