Saturday, February 20, 2016

Scrapbooking Like a Bookkeeper

I truly enjoy the creative side of making scrapbooks even though I have moved to a much simpler style over the years. I especially love to write the stories to accompany the photos.

I enjoy the practicality of it too: getting photographs into albums along with the stories.

But unlike many scrapbookers I cannot begin anything without completely planning it out. I even have a SPREADSHEET. See? Bookkeeper Girl strikes again!

I have never seen anyone use this type of system but I cannot scrap without it. Each box is two pages and my scrapbooks are generally between 15 and 40 sheets, meaning 30 to 80 individual pages.

I list the events or topics and count up how many pictures each group has. Then I list the extras: tickets, brochures, and so forth. Then I take a pencil and start filling in the template:

The big "X" indicates the inside cover. An "X" at the end will indicate the last page too.

Here's a closer look:

I know where each group of photos will go and where each piece of memorabilia will go too, so nothing gets forgotten. When each page is complete I put a little check mark in the boxes.

I definitely make changes and edits as I go, which is why I use pencil. That's where CREATIVITY comes into play! But with this system I have a pretty good idea how the project is going to go and if I need to put a project aside for a while then I know exactly where to pick up.

One other thing that helps is using the computer to write, edit and print the journaling. I usually put the photos, title and other page decorations on the actual page and then measure the space available for the stories. Then I use MS Word to create a bunch of text blocks, fitting them so they fill the entire sheet of paper. Then I print out a batch, cut them out and stick them on the correct pages. I have a Post-It Note system for that part!

A lot of scrappers hate their handwriting and don't write much in their scrapbooks because of it. I like my writing just fine and my block printing is even better. The trouble is trying to make manual writing fit into the required space, otherwise it ends up too long or too short. You are basically regulating the font size as you write and that ain't easy! Or the dreaded problem of reaching the end of a line and the word you need to write is too long and will slop off the journaling square and you need to start over. Who knew scrapbooking could be so angst-y?!

(Spellcheck is telling me that "scrapbooking", "scrapbooker" and "journaling" are not words but they are used all the time in the scrapbook world. Stop it, Spellcheck!)

I found that if I put the project away for a while I forget where everything goes! So each square has the measurements of the text box and where it goes. I also made notes so I could keep track of each little rat. We could certainly tell them apart in real life but it's less easy in a photograph sometimes!



I am currently working on a digital scrapbook using an app on my iPad called Project Life. It's very easy to use and ideal for this particular project because then I can print multiple copies if necessary (at least one for us and one for my in-laws). This project features the Disneyland trip we took with CPA Boy's whole family in 2009. (As you can see, I'm right on top of things!)

It turns out that most of us were TERRIBLE photographers --- but most of us did not yet have smart phones which helped cut down on the number of photos --- so I went through and weeded out the blurry shots, the pictures of Disneyland scenery that include strangers, and so forth.

That means over 800 pictures went down to 350. Still way too many but I have made an index print with tiny photos that I can now use to fill in my grid and in the process cut down the number of photos even more. In some cases you had several cameras taking pictures of the same things! I need to pick the best one or two shots.

So that's a peek into my scrapbooking process. Just how a bookkeeper would do it!

This has been another installment of GETTING THINGS DONE™!

GETTING THINGS DONE™ includes finishing up all the scrapbook projects in 2016!


  1. I can see how that would be satisfying - I too enjoy making a scrapbook after a big trip or a major life event. But for me, I am so so so glad that the urge to scrapbook my everyday life left me sometime in our senior year of college. I remember feverishly pasting in movie stubs, etc., and almost crying, because, Was I going to be doing this the rest of my life???? But I couldn't quit, I felt COMPELLED. And then one day like magic - POOF! Gone. Hallelujah!! My senior year scrapbook remains unfinished. I think about finishing it from time to time, but I almost never look at those scrapbooks; a better use of my time might be to prepare them for the recycling bin, as I am 100 percent sure that my progeny won't care about them. (If I do that, I will certainly send you the exquisite drawing of Six Ladies of Chastity Castle by Jenny Davis! I may not know art, but I know what I like!!)

    Good luck with your projects! Mine are so much more mundane: Call eye doctor, research college scholarships, shop for comfortable flats, give my editing clients a poke. I did tell Ruth Doan MacDougall that I would write a new trivia quiz for her, and that will be fun, at least!

    1. I would indeed LOVE that exquisite piece of art! Yeah, now I'm just doing the "big" events and letting the rest go. I want to MOVE ON. Over the decades I collected EVERYTHING and now I am tossing so much because it DOESN'T MATTER. No one wants my old movie stubs. *I* don't want my old movie stubs!

      And I have a zillion mundane projects to do too: new toilets, electrical work needed, housecleaning, etc... It's a struggle to find a balance between fun projects and facilities management projects!

  2. I can hardly wait for the finished project. Or, mess with the system and get more rats!