I didn’t scrapbook/Project Life/document anything all summer. I finished the Universal day-trip mini-album early in the summer and then just totally didn’t do anything. I took a few photos, but not really… and didn’t even download them off my phone. I guess I was burned out, and I was having a good time with watercolors and markers, so I let it go.
While I was blowing off scrapbooking, Gracie became super interested in decorating planners, which is sort of a sub-hobby of scrapbooking. Instead of doing scrapbooks or Project Life, some people have been buying paper planners and decorating them and using them as a way to document life. Gracie ordered herself a “Happy Planner” by Me and My Big Ideas with her saved allowance, and a bunch of things to get started with decorating her planner and went to town. For her, it’s like a really amazing sticker book (remember those we had as kids?) with color paper supplies. I got really inspired by that.
Before she got her planner, I was really not interested in that whole planner thing for one major reason: I don’t plan much ahead. I keep meticiulous to-do lists, and am very organized, but I don’t like planning specific things for specific days. Honestly, the idea of planning gives me tremendous anxiety. Because of the fact my health dictates a lot of what I do, I kind of have to be open to see what each day brings. After years of planning stuff I wound up feeling too crummy to follow through with (and following through anyway, because I didn’t want to screw up anyone else’s day) I realized that I really champion flexibility and freedom and the ability to determine what I do every day by honoring how my health is going. So the idea of keeping a really detailed planner is just not something that matched my particular situation.
But when Gracie’s planner arrived, I LOVED it. I loved the size, loved the different things inside. I started thinking about using a Happy Planner as a scrapbook. I found one that *I* loved and thought would work for me as a scrapbook/art journal/space for collage, splurged on it, and started working on it. I don’t use it to plan (at all), I simply use it as a pre-formatted scrapbook.
This is the planner I chose:
The structure of it (two pages for each week, plus a two-page month overview, and a page for “currently” lists) is what sort of sets me free- because there’s only two pages for each week, it’s very easy to keep current. Because it’s not a traditional scrapbook, I feel free to use images cut from magazines and quotes and random ephemera from life. Because there’s not a lot of space, I can mix photos from different things (one of Gracie, one of the garden, one of the cats, etc.) on the same page and not feel like it’s a jumbled mess.
I’ve been working on it for the last week and I *love* it. I’m still finding my groove with it after doing “traditional” layouts for several years, but it reminds me a lot of my old art journals/scrapbooks which were a hodge podge of ephemera and photos and anything else I felt like including.
And because it’s “pre-formatted” (with the grid lines and color splashes, etc.) it’s easier to start and work in- I just *add* to it, as opposed to creating it from scratch.
I got the planner in the third week of September, so I had to “backtrack” a tiny bit and fill in a few weeks so that ther weren’t an empty pages. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
The day I got the planner, I also got a package from New Zealand, so I cut the front of the envelope (with the super cool stamps and postmarks) and inserted it into the planner. One thing I invested in with the planner was the Levenger portable hole punch – it works perfectly with the Happy Planner and I know from experience that I love inserting things into the binding of whatever books I am using as a scrapbook, so after dithering on it, I just went ahead and got it.
I was supposed to put my name here, but I put this Mary Oliver quote instead, which basically is what I want to use the planner for.
The planner starts in July 2015, but I decided to remove all the earlier pages and just start it the week that Gracie went back to school. Clearly, I’m still in “traditional scrapbook design” mode with this page, but I wanted to document her graduation from her Montessori school and her start at her new school. I never got those graduation photos scrapbooked before summer, so I wanted to get them in here.
Two parties that week (Gracie’s BFFs birthday and my dad’s 80th) so I just made the week about celebrating and used a paper punh to cut little banners.
I used the “Currently” page from August to use as a place to put some photos from summer that I wanted in a scrapbook but never got done. So I covered the page design with some patterned paper and just stuck in the photos.
These two pages talk a little bit about the adjustment with Gracie’s new school schedule. Gracie is fine and is adapting perfectly- me, not so much (!). It was a really hard transition to go from the complete freedom of summer to this new school schedule. It’s a much longer day for Gracie because the school is off-island, and there’s a lot more homework and studying, so there’s a lot to help her keep track of. Instead of her having her afternoons fairly free, she really has to stick to a schedule.
As far as the images- there’s a photo that her teachers took of her in class, reading (which is Gracie’s favorite thing), plus some photos I took over the summer, a quote from a magazine, some ephemera, a butterfly sticker, and some washi tape.
A little bit about the morning routine of the two boy cats (sleeping in the sun) and some garden photos I wanted to include. Plus ephemera, another quote from a magazine, etc.
This is actually the pages for the week I got the planner. It rained – a lot – and I wanted to mention that so I used some punches to create that. I also wanted to talk about how fall was in the air, because it’s my favorite season.
One thing about documenting life week to week- it really has forced me to be super mindful about what’s happening *now*. Instead of compartmentalizing things into larger segments of time, into things that can be summarized by a scrapbook layout, I find myself REALLY paying attention to each day, because now I’m documenting days and weeks instead of subjects (does that make any sense?) I’m so glad I’m doing this, because for the past few years I have been noticing myself sort of “losing” fall because it went by too quickly and I didn’t pay enough attention.
Finally, catching up to the “present” – this week I created as it happened, which I kind of like. Ginger had her big surgery, and it was okay, but I was just anxious and agitated and sad and feeling jumpy all week. I wanted to document that because it’s how I felt. The big “IT’S OK was a good reminder to calm down and take a deep breath. The “Happy Crafting” was from an order I placed for clear stamps (a new love of mine- I love floral images) and I also included a piece of a seed packet for Coleus, which I planted that week.
It also rained – a lot- so that image of the woman gardening in the rain resonated so much. The “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself” quote REALLY hit home. Then I just included some washi, a photo of Chester being cozy (he’s kind of my rock lately), and a piece of ephemera to finish the week.
In the middle of the pages I punched a Project Life card, journaled a bit about Ginger’s surgery and how I was feeling (note the “BLAH” spelled out with veneer letters) and inserted it into the book. That punch is really great.
Finally, I filled out the “Currently” page for the end of September, and decorated the “October” cover page with an image from Better Homes and Gardens, some washi tape, and some letter stickers.
I have to say, I love this scrapbook-in-a-planner thing. I love being able to use ephemera and collage again. I love the fact that I can mix up photos and stories within the same spread. I love how mindful I am because I am looking for things to document. I love that I can work on it throughout the week. I love collecting images and details and everyday things from life to include. I love that I can also use all the pretty paper stuff I have collected over the years. I haven’t felt this way about scrapbooking and documenting life in a long time. I hope the enthusiasm for this project continues.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading! I hope you have an amazing weekend!