life right now page juli

How I’m documenting life right now

It’s such a weird time that I often find myself not wanting to document it all, and then other times I feel like I need crafting to process all my feelings. In March I started seeing people find their own ways to document the current state of the world–there’s even a Vice article about it. I saw gratitude journals, coronavirus notebooks, project life layouts, and more.

My scrapbooking goal for 2020 was to go with the flow and not feel pressured to document every single week. This had been working out well for me until I started working from home and felt confused trying to process how my everyday life had changed. I decided to commit to Daily Pages as a way to establish a bit of a creative routine in my new schedule. It was working out for me, but as March turned into April, I felt like I needed more to process my  “new normal.” I initially started by just journaling more of my feelings in a new notebook.

It was helpful, but I wanted to turn it into more of a creative project. I wanted a creative outlet where I could just throw my conflicting thoughts onto a page. I just felt like I needed a new space to document my life right now. 

Picking a format

When I start a new project, I often get stuck trying to pick the “perfect” format, and my head starts spinning with possibilities. I love digital scrapbooking, but I stare at screens all day for work so I decided this would be better as a physical project for me. I started looking at the supplies I had on hand and writing out the thoughts of my decision-making process.

Here were some of my considerations:

Notebook vs. discs vs. rings

I’m a lover & collector of notebooks so it would have been easy to grab one off my shelf for this project. I just had this weighing thought in the back of my head that since I didn’t know how long this quarantine would last, I didn’t want a notebook with a fixed number of pages. (I know I could just get a second notebook in that case, but it was easier for my brain to just rule out notebooks.)

Then came the question: discs or rings? I’m a big fan of Happy Planner discs and have plenty of supplies that I could have pulled together to create a disc-bound notebook for this project, but it just didn’t feel right. It felt like too much like what I’m used to doing, and I just felt a pull to do something different from my normal. I felt like this strange time needed to be formatted in a way that was out of my normal, so I went with binder rings. 

Picking a size

I love seeing people document in the traveler’s notebook size, but I don’t have a ton of paper cut in that size. I’m one of those people that doesn’t want to spend time trimming pages to a specific size. I had been enjoying using a Field Notes book for my daily pages, so I decided similar-sized pages would work well. I figured the easiest thing would be to trim 8.5×11 inch papers into 4 pages. Instead of the 3.5×5.5 Field Notes pages, I had 4.25×5.5 inches papers.

As a note: during my process, I did watch this Life.Love.Paper video about making a one-page zine and found it really inspiring even though it wasn’t what I ultimately decided on.

Making my album

Although I decided on making a mini album with binder rings, it was something I had never actually done on my own before. Last year at Awesome Ladies Live we created a mini album, but Kristin had done the prep work of punching the foundations pages and helping us through the process. I decided to just go it on my own (and I figured if I hated it or failed miserably, I could just go with a disc-bound notebook!)

I looked at my paper stash and decided to go with some pastel cardstock I had bought from Joann. I found out before that the paper was too thick and smooth to go through my printer so I figured this would be a good project to use it on to create nice, sturdy starting pages. I picked one page from each of the 10 colors and cut them into 4 pieces.

With those 40 pages I had a pretty thick album. To punch the pages, I just fiddled with my dad’s old adjustable three hole punch until I got two holes spaced a way that I liked. Then I put washi tape to mark the spots where I should slide the paper in. I’m sure there’s a more official or technical way to do this process, but it worked for me! 

Making a digital “kit”

Although this project isn’t in a digital format, I did create a sort of digital “kit” of supplies. I started with Ali Edward’s Day in the Life 2020 digital kit. I bought it earlier this year and wanted to use the “-ing” and “thankful for” cards for this project. I also bought digitals from Ali’s 2020 Week in the Life Collection.

I like that with digital products I have the ability to reprint things as I continue to add things to my album. I used the image of the cardstock to match the colors when I recolored my digital elements. It gives my album an overall cohesive color scheme, even though the original digital elements were all different colors. 

Now I just create pages when I feel inspired to document moments from my stay at home life. I try not to put pressure on myself to work on it daily or anything. So far I’ve really enjoyed the process, and it’s been exactly what I needed. I just had to make it what would work best for me and my life right now.

Here are some pages from my album so far: 

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Juli Asks — A Beginner Series

As I’m starting to build up my scrapbooking stash, I’m trying to navigate buying supplies that I will actually use and not just accumulating a bunch of product. I want to make my photos and stories the center of my projects, but of course I still want cute embellishments. Any advice so that I don’t get caught up in buying all the things?

Responses

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  1. This is exactly what I need right now! I usually do a Project Life -ish album (6×8) for the previous year around now (mid-year, May, June, July) because it gives me the distance to see the year behind me as a whole and overall themes (ha! No guesswork on the themes for 2020!). But it’s the end of June and I haven’t done squat because I just wasn’t feeling like m usual routine works for such a weird year. When I look at my row of albums, I want to have a radically different format for 2020, the Year We Paused. I use 2 tiny binder rings on my little Daily Watercolour book, I used index cards and gessoed a bunch of them in January. I’ve had to add hole reinforcers to some pages, but it’s a great convenient format. I think index cards are US 3×5″ (inches). I just use a single hole punch and eyeball the hole punching. I like things to be a bit messy, kinda wabi sabi and kinda grunge. I don’t stress if paint from one page drips on other pages. Sometimes I come up with cool accidental compositions.