I recently asked my Facebook followers what device they used to scrapbook (expecting a pretty even split between laptops and desktops!) and was really intrigued by those who were using just their phone for all their scrapbooking and memory-keeping. I reached out to prolific scrapbooker Sara who records all her family adventures using apps on her phone and she generously agreed to share her memory-keeping process with us! Here’s what Sara had to say:
“I’m so delighted to share my process for successfully keeping up on our family and infant yearbooks. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity! I’m so incredibly proud that each of my babies has a finished “first-year-book”, but only because I found the most perfect creative and productive medium for my incredibly busy life. I try to live my life by my husband’s favorite saying, “If you were hit by a bus today…” I could say my kids have photos as a baby in a format that shows my love and our daily life together. It’s a major on-going life accomplishment for me.
I’ve been scrapbooking since my high school days 25 years ago, and as with everything creative I do, it’s evolved considerably in these last two decades. I was a paper scrapbooker for about 12 years, until I found I could purchase digital artwork, and subsequently taught myself how to be a digital scrapbooker. I didn’t have a budget for Photoshop so I used the free editing program, GIMP. Although not as robust or automated as Photoshop, it worked.
Why was digital appealing? I was quickly running out of storage space for my physical scrapbooking “stuff”. My toddlers were always underfoot wanting my supplies, touching the unfinished layouts, etc. My husband was frustrated by the “stuff” sitting out. After switching to digital scrapbooking, my hobby was condensed in physical space. It was also portable, and I wasn’t having to print photos. The process was streamlined and everyone was happy…until I wasn’t.
Sometime in late 2015, I convinced my husband to purchase an iPhone for me. It had to be an iPhone as this app I’d been reading about and researching for months was only running on Apple products. It was a hard sell as he is a diehard Android fan, but he finally agreed. (As an aside, I am still the only one in our house using Apple anything, and now the app is supported on Android also.) I never look back now. Not only did the desire for something more feasible lead to an iPhone platform, but it also opened up memory keeping freedom I never knew possible.
I’m the proud mom of seven children with mostly updated annual family yearbooks, and six completed and printed baby books. The Project Life® app has literally transformed my world both as a mom and a scrapbooker. If I am hit by a bus tomorrow, my kids will know what I thought of our day to day lives long after I am gone. Isn’t that why we tell our stories?
Why Project Life?
- My photos are exclusively on my phone. (Long gone are the days when I had my hands free to carry and use an SLR camera. Someday again maybe.)
- Creativity is possible. (Although choices are streamlined, I have enough options to make me creatively content. I can select various template layouts, and the artwork that’s available is extensive.)
- New art is available to purchase regularly. (Purchased art is stored in-app automatically! It is also very reasonably priced.)
- Journaling is easy! (The in-app artwork has cards just for the purpose of journaling, and you can layer typeset on top of photos and cards easily!)
- The app has excellent integrated photo editing. (I have come to adore the PicTapGo app both in and out of the Project Life process.)
- Dropbox is easy! (I can access photos from Dropbox and store finished .jpeg layouts in Dropbox. My Android husband can also upload to a shared Dropbox folder.)
- Social Sharing is convenient. (The app resizes and condenses it for me!)
- It is fast! (I can complete a one-page layout in mere minutes! Literally!!!)
Still not sure? It’s so easy you can complete a page in just a few steps!
- Open the Project Life app and choose your template layout. (It can be changed later.)
- Click on a photo space and insert either a photo or a piece of artwork. (You have two options on each square.)
- Add your journaling by choosing a journal piece of art or layering a text box on top.
- Continue adding photos and art and especially text until your page is finished. (It does save your work within the app.)
- Export your layout for photo sharing or printing.
- Close the app and move on with your day! Your page is done. (Rarely do I spend more than maybe 15 minutes on a single layout.)
My workflow process is not fail proof, but it serves me well. I try really hard to keep up on my photos DAILY; deleting ones I do not want and backing up the ones that I do. I allow iCloud to back up my things automatically, but I also use Dropbox to create folders organized by year/month and also event. This makes my long-term photo storage easier and folders allow me to quickly search years from now. As I mentioned above, I access Dropbox within the Project Life app.
I find myself using the Project Life app many times throughout my week, starting or finishing layouts. I typically scrapbook by event, creating a single page for worthy occasions in our week. A single snapshot from each day becomes part of a monthly layout with simple on-photo text explanations.
I find that sometimes I long to use my “pre-Poject Life artwork”, so I simply upload it onto my device or into Dropbox, and use it in my layouts as I would an actual photo. It is such a happy little hack. I can also create 3×4” or 4×6” cards with art and drop them into my layouts via photo albums. Kate has already created a few for purchase. Woohoo! The Halloween layout here uses her art and journaling cards uploaded to Dropbox.
I also use Project Life to make photo collages and mini scrapbook “pages”. I use these a lot in my online journal app, Qeepsake. Someday I’ll print books from it also. It’s a great little mommy app. I record the kids’ one liners, accomplishments, personal conversations or moments I don’t want to forget. I can upload photos and in an attempt to condense my content, I’ll combine my photos/art first, save as a jpeg, and upload into their online Qeepsake album. It makes me happy to employ my favorite things everywhere!
I print almost exclusively with Youngevity/Heritage Makers. I started with them more 10 years ago, and although no longer a committed rep, I love their flexibility in design options. As a digital scrapbooking platform, I love having access to art and templates in their extensive product line. I have stayed with this company as they don’t claim to own anything I upload. (Check your big box publishers. They can use your images if they want.) Heritage Makers stands behind their products and offers great print quality. Now that I use the Project Life app almost exclusively, I simply complete a layout, save it as a jpg, and upload to a HM album where I can then use it in any of their product lines, ie. canvas prints, 12×12 cardstock, greeting cards, mugs, etc. You can find out more at www.taketimetoremember.com.
There may be a time when I go back to a more extensive scrapbook process, but for now, I am far more concerned with telling our stories efficiently. Project Life is everywhere I am, and I can do it with one hand while holding a sleeping baby or riding in the van to another event for our kids. It works for my life now. I’m grateful there are great options, art, and a focus on storytelling in this world of memory keeping.
Happy creating fellow scrapbookers.