Found these very pretty handmade paper flowers at our local farmers' market …
Andrea emailed me several weeks ago and had LOTS of questions after reading Photo Freedom. I'm going to respond to a couple of these questions today …
But before I do, I want to remind you of something I have had to learn again and again. You can't have all the answers before you start. What I mean by that is at some point, you have to jump in and decide it's all going to be OK and as you work on setting up a system and as you learn to live with it and make time for it, answers and personal adaptations will become clear. I can tell you everything I do and why, but until you make the effort to begin yourself, you will always have questions and no real answers. You'll have my answers (and I personally think they are pretty good) BUT … you need your own answers. Reading a book and learning in theory is one thing, but true learning requires application. What I recommend is trusting me on the essentials of my system:
1. Storage Binders
viewable, short-term chronological storage of printed photos you are 90% you want to scrapbook
2. Category Drawers (or boxes)
long-term active storage of prints by category. Remember, these files hold a very small percentage of your pictures overall, and you will both pull and use pictures, as well as age them over time, so that you can make cool connections and share authentic stories and I think the coolest thing of all — find what you need, when inspiration strikes!
3. Library Albums
a final resting place for completed pages, organized so that you no longer feel the pressure to keep up and you are encouraged to celebrate life in a broader, richer and more meaningful way — when you have a People We Love album, guess what? You are more aware of the people you love, more thoughtful of taking pictures and more excited to include them in your overall story.
Start with these. Focus on these and then add, as it becomes important to you, the extras (either mine or your own) But don't worry too much about these extras or how they all fit together, until you get a good, working understanding of the essentials!
Ok, from my friend Andrea:
I finished reading photo freedom and already feel good about getting organized. I am stuck in a few areas and am hoping you can provide some advice/guidance. Currently I have an album for each son, and a family album. I mainly scrap the boys and family events. I don't usually scrapbook a lot of other people.
I am definitely going to use your photo storing system, grouping pictures in those categories… so that if I want to scrap a girls trip, or my best friend, or the boys friends, or my niece, everything will be right there. Where I am stuck is my albums.
Q: I'm having a hard time with boys "books for me", and ones for them.
I guess I figured they'd get the books I've done for them when i die (yes i know how morbid)
So here's what I was thinking:
All about Zach and All about Nick (for me or them??)
also, not sure if I need All about Us (Because I don't scrap myself — although this could be the book I keep for myself.) Things We Do — can i include places we go in this? I usually do separate books for major vacations. Also, my girls trip could fit in here, etc …
Then I figure eventually when I have more time and scrap more people… I can add a "people we love" book.
Does that make sense?
A: It does make sense, but I think you need to understand that when I started formulating ideas that would become my Library of Memories system, I didn't just want a way to organize my photos. I wanted and desperately needed a new approach to scrapbooking. You can absolutely embrace whatever elements of my system feel right to you — but you will have more success if you are willing to embrace the philosophy and not just the tools. In other words, I want you to consider scrapbooking in a new way!
What Zach and Nick want from you is NOT 20+ albums. What they want is to see themselves as part of something bigger — a family, with extended relatives and friends and living in an amazing time, immersed in a unique culture and experiencing places that will shape and change them and prepare them for life. Here comes one of those hard-earned opinions that you do NOT have to agree with. I don't think children can become intimate with volumes of scrapbooks and I do NOT think they want to take 20 or 30 or more volumes of scrapbooks with them (I'm almost certain, their eventual wives will bemoan the idea of making room for such a collection) What they want is a happy, engaged mother who stops and notices and teaches them how wonderful the world really is. How cool would it be to have a growing library of scrapbook pages that span a variety of topics. How cool to additionally have one or two or half a dozen small books to grow up with, to keep in your nightstand, to take to school or summer camp or college. How cool to come home to your childhood home and find that same familiar library still there, still inviting exploration, still available to new family members, still communicating a few of the things you did, but more importantly recognizing and celebrating what you are and what makes you, as a family different.
So, Wow. Sorry for the ramble, here is what I would do …
All about Zach and All about Nick — volumes in the library that will stay in your home and celebrate these boys as they grow and eventually leave.
All about Us — start it NOW. Zach and Nick want and need your story as much or more than they need their own story. I'd rather they had fewer pages focused on them and a few more focused on you!
Things We Do — yes, you can include Places We Go here. That sounds like a great adaptation to me, especially where you are eager to create separate theme albums for major vacations.
People We Love — you will never have more time to scrapbook other people, than you do right now. I'm absolutely certain about this. These kinds of "less than obvious" pages will never be a priority for you, until there is an album in your library begging for pages.
Once you set up an initial set of library albums and begin filling them up, you will automatically become more open to inspiration and less obligated to the "next pile" of pictures. You will begin to see and sense what is "missing" in your story and you will feel less obligated and more enthused about your potential as the family story teller. Try not to worry too much about eventualities — it will all work out.
If you made it this far, I want you to know that I do feel a little bad that I take these questions so seriously, almost pontificating (sorry!) You probably think, sheez … you could have just answered the question without the lecture.