Monday, January 07, 2013

My 2011 and 2012 mini books with monthly reviews - why I document life

Thank you, A, for your recipe on my last post. I drooled this morning when I read it - can't wait to give it a bash this weekend.

Then, I'm so excited since  at least two other people are trying out lots of new recipes this year. If there are a couple more, we can do a linky once a month or something???

Speaking of which, this Saturday is our photography challenge. Our theme is faces :)

But for now, I want to talk about mini books.

I've kept a mini book for the last two years. The first year, 2011, I received a little photo album with 24 sleeves from a friend.

Remember the Keep Calm trend? I loved it so much then - I also got a lovely red pencil from her which my son threw into the heater...

Immediately I decided to do a photo and a month-in-review card for 12 months.


Here is a little sample of my book. I'm not showing you everything because, well, I tell you almost everything and I want just a few things private :)

The photo I chose is from that month but one that shows what the month was generally about - e.g. Jan shows a pizza = lots of eating out for me and D (at that point my kids didn't eat pizza!) on holiday.

Oct 2011 was the month of doctors, hospitals and gall bladders for me. Lots of you were around at that time.

I actually tossed those pj's - they had such bad memories for me of 3 am emergency room visits, emergency surgeries, etc.

Here's an interesting (to me) fact which a work friend reminded me about. That 3 am visit was on Friday 7th Oct. On Sat 8th at 9 am we were in Newtown having our beautiful pics taken by Jeanette! I think I was running on adrenaline because I don't think I look bad at all. Julia said in those comments I looked thin (BFF!) :)

Kendra looking at my hospital and her hospital pics
The Dec pic is of Kendra in the hospital and on the back I put another pic of Nanny V and Connor  = Kendra at the doc means those two were together a lot.

And then last year's book.
beautifully imperfect :)

I went bigger last year - pic of month, journalling and then, because this was my "thing" for the year, I wanted pics of me with them every month.

I will show you all those pics in another post because you can see the improvement in me being more comfortable in front of the camera.

I read a Brene book in Jan last year so I have a personally autographed sticker :), and then my Jan pages
Dec pics with us in them
Connor looking through the Dec pic
My kids love looking through my little books.

Someone said to me today "who even looks at printed photos these days?" and of course, I made a lunch appt with her for Thursday so I can brainwash her to print her pics.

I said all that to say this: I am not a scrapbooker but just the process of writing down the monthly highlights has been so good for me, to quickly recap the year.

Remember in 2011 when I wrote my good, bad and ugly about 2011, I started off writing that it was a terrible year. It was.... BUT when I started writing down the good stuff too, there was a TON that I'd forgotten. I ended off that post and that year grateful for all the good things that happened.

I really want to strongly encourage you (!) to do a monthly review (just the highlights package) in a little book. I've made year in review books for some of you - if you haven't used them yet, now would be a great time because they're small and un-intimidating :)

I never plan to stop doing a version of these and I mentioned before that I've been drawn to Project Life. I've seen millions rave about it and some say that it's too sterile and plain and whatnot. That's exactly what I like.

However, for someone so unfussy like me, this weekly layout thing is overkill. Honestly, from one week to the next I sometimes don't even get a chance to menu plan (which takes 5 - 10 minutes); where will I get 4 hours to do a weekly layout?

I'm a big believer in setting yourself up for success so I've decided to do "my version" of Project Life.

A monthly version, of course. I can certainly carve out my 30 minutes like I used to do with my monthly reviews to do my PL little version.

I also like the period of a month. A week is too much like navel-gazing for me - I would become obsessed with the details (like I need more attention to detail!) so a month is just enough of a big picture view without losing a lot of detail.

Does that make sense?

I used journalling cards I downloaded for free on Monika Wright's blog. I can't find them quickly - they may not be free downloads anymore but have a squiz.

This is the Turquoise Edition of Project Life. I've been using all these lovely cards in a million (non-Project Life) ways.

Coming up...

how I've been using my cards
how I organise them
what I'll be using for an album

Will you be documenting your life in some way this year? How?
Have I convinced anyone out there to try doing a mini book?


  1. Well, I print a book with photos telling our stories every year... 2012 will be the 3rd one I've printed, and I also do a calendar for the family. Mine is not a journal with words though, that's what my blog is for ;)
    There's something very special about the feel of printed photos, and even though our kids are brought up in a digital age, they absolutely LOVE paging through the books.
    I encourage all my clients to print images

  2. I am going to do the seven on sunday photo thing and my blog in many ways is a journal of our life - maybe I need to think about putting it all together?

    I definitely think we need a recipe link up!!!!!

  3. I think this is a fabulous idea! Where do you get the books from? Do you just buy a book that speaks to you and go from there? I'm definitely inspired to do this!!


  4. I love your mini books. I first have to finish my boy's first year photobook before I can start journaling my life like this.

  5. Lesley11:31 am

    Well you've sold it to me!! Will get a book this week and start. I had been thinking i need to make more effort to take pictures again and here is the vehicle to help me to do it. Thanks. Btw i always print of my pictures :)

  6. I love the way you document your life and that you love printing the photos. I don't really do printing of my photos - I take too much and it will be so expensive if I try to print because I never can decide which ones.
    Documenting our lives as a family will be done digital. Taking digital photos, sorting them into folders and burning them onto disks. One day I will make copies of these disks for the kids and they can decide which ones they want to print or not (if that is what they're into.)

  7. The only way I document my life is on my blog. ;-)

  8. Your photo books look so cool...well done Marcia. I love Brene on earth did you get her autograph?

  9. I enjoyed my month in review blog posts so much last year, I want to do more detail-keeping this year. I bought a nice paper planner (even though I've gotten really good at using my phone for keeping up with important stuff), and I'm trying to document something about each day. Just small notes, nothing major, but I'll also record quotes and things I want to remember.

    I used to do this in college, and I love coming across old calendars and checking out all my notes! I don't know what I'll do with it, but I'll figure that part out later. : )

  10. I actually suck at the whole “being the memory-keeper” business. I do have the YIR booklet that you sent me. I started out really well and then lost momentum. I was thinking this past weekend that I should finish it – interestingly enough, I kept ALL the stuff that I wanted to add into and I found a whole lot more when I was decluttering at the end of last year.
    I easily forget the camera when we go out. And on occasions when I REALLY need to take pics then I end up taking crappy phone-quality pics. And then I get EXTREMELY annoyed with myself. I am going to TRY this again this year. But I do know that the whole Project Life thing will NEVER work for me. I simply don’t have the attention span. I guess I just need to be more intentional about it and actually SCHEDULE time to do this?

  11. OMW, Marcia your creativity never ceases to amaze me. It is so beautiful. And for the no so creative me, this definitely looks more doable (read much easier) than photo books, though I shall not be defeated - I will make a photo book before 2013 is over (repeat 10ce over) ;) And I will try to do a mini-book 12 to 24 pages max, just need to find an appropriate book to use and be more intentional with my picture taking for each month. Will make a nice Christmas gift for my parents (Yep, already thinking of Christmas again)

    I intend to try more recipes from my lovely recipe book, I should be able to try 12 recipes (I think it has about 50 or thereabout) from it to be able to link up every month.

    Looking forward to the photography challenge this Saturday :)

  12. Ok, I love the mini album idea and I do think I can do that! Ok, let me think how and what....


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