Christy Strickler for The Awesome Ladies Project- Curated Collections

How to Document Your Right Now With a Curated Collection

Documenting me… it’s something I want to do but something I don’t do often enough. I’m the first one to admit that I hate taking photos of myself. Over the past few years, I haven’t always been comfortable with the physical aspects of who I am. When it comes to documenting photos, I find myself more excited about photos of my son, my husband or our cats. I tell myself that my son( and possible future grandchildren) will want to know who I was, but I always put off getting the stories down. If you are like me, you need something to break the ice. A way to document you right now without the pressure of suddenly having to take a selfie. Today, I am going to show you how to document your right now with a curated collection of items.

Why a Curated Collection and What Should I Collect?

I made my first curated collection in 2013 for Get It Scrapped. I had just read an article about how to create portraits of a person using just objects. I wanted to try it for myself.  Collecting items from the objects that surround you tells you something about yourself. It captures a little bit from the time frame you are currently living in while also directing you towards sharing the aspects of your life that you value. It’s not just about the things but rather, the fact that you chose those things and what that says about who you are.

As you decide what to collect, start by thinking about the following: your current hobbies, favorite things that you wear, favorite foods, favorite color, and the people in your life. What do you have that represents these ideas? You will likely have a few obvious choices but try to challenge yourself to choose something that symbolizes a bigger story. The symbolism of some objects will be obvious while for others it is more subtle. You likely won’t be able to fit everything into one photo. That’s okay! You can supplement your story by using scrapbook supplies with motifs, texture or colors to support your photo.

Christy Strickler for Get It Scrapped, A Beautiful Life


My first curated collection consisted of my favorite faux fur jacket, scrapbooking tools, cat toys, my tablet, glasses, a game controller and a cat toy. I used the faux fur coat as the backdrop to my flat lay, spreading the objects over the top of it. I chose resin birds and flowers to represent my love of nature. Blue plays a predominant role on the page as it is one of my favorite colors.  I chose a retro design pattern paper because I love retro modern patterns. I have a small metal pendant that says ” Mother”, representing my life as a mom.

Photographing Your Curated Collection

You don’t need a pro to photograph your project. Search the Pinterest for Flat Lay Photos. If you need a place to get started, check out my Pinterest board.  Pinterest has a lot of inspiration along with tips and tricks for laying down the objects and photographing them. I just experimented with the position of my items until I liked the way they looked. I took the photos during the afternoon when I had a lot of natural light. While it’s nice to have a great photo, don’t get caught up in it being a perfect one.

How Does Everything Come Together on the Scrapbook Page?

Choose scrapbook paper that supports your story. You can start with a patterned paper that you simply love or find a design that depicts something symbolically about you right now. Look for scrapbook embellishments that reinforce or repeat items in your photo. Alternatively, find embellishments that take the place of items that never made it into the picture. When it comes to page design, think about how you feel in your life right now. Do you feel secure? Consider a block design. Do you feel like your are moving towards something or have had a revelation? Are you excited about something you are doing? Choose a burst design.  If you feel insecure or unsure, choose chaotic patterns and design your page that way.

In this video, I take you through my process for creating the scrapbook layout with my curated photo:

I purposefully didn’t look back at the 2013 scrapbook layout when I began curating my items. Though I did vaguely remember some of the things I chose, I did not want it to heavily influence me.You can see that some items repeated from the first curated collection in 2013. I collect camera bodies and I love photography which is why I included a camera in both photos. The backdrop in my second photo changed to blue. It’s still one of my favorite colors. Both video games, my love for my cats and scrapbooking are represent on both layouts. I also found it interesting that I included my glasses both times.

Christy Strickler for The Awesome Ladies Project- Curated Collections


I am still a mom, but now that my son is 16, I find that more of my artistic voice is once again emerging. As my son continues to gain independence from me, I find more time for myself.  My role as mom is still important and always will be. I think I have just realized in the past few years how that role is changing and it has allowed me to redefine who I am. I think this layout reflects that.

Journal about you right now in a free form listing of ideas

How Should I journal About Me Right Now?

Don’t overthink the journaling. Relax and just let whatever you feel comfortable with flow out onto the page.On the first layout I created in 2013, I wrote short sentences based on each of the objects I had chosen. In a way, the objects acted as a sort of prompt. A list would have worked well too. One the second layout, I just let my thoughts for free flow onto the page. There is no right or wrong way to journal about who you are right now. Share as much or as little as you wish.

Carry This Scrapbook Layout with You Throughout the Year

While this scrapbook page tells the story of you right now, it has also provided a way for you to represent yourself in future projects. Whether it’s a scrapbook layout or an art journal page, you now have a library of motifs, colors, patterns and textures that you can use to represent you and your story this year. Try selecting one or two to add into family scrapbook pages or choose one concept as the main theme for an art journal page. Curating collections is also a way for you to document your loved ones. Try creating a collection about them or invite them to curate a collection about you. It’s an interesting way to learn more about who you are and your relationships with each other.

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